Casting Call for San Diego Moms

Are you a FUN and UPBEAT mom who loves to save money? Would you like to participate in a shopping challenge that may be featured in a local commercial for a national retailer?

I’m looking for REAL MOMS (no actors) ages 28-45 in the SAN DIEGO AREA.

If interested, please submit the following information to with “CASTING” in the subject line:

  1. Name, age, kids/ages, city, occupation (or former occupation if unemployed), phone number and email address
  2. List the three stores you shop at most for groceries, household items, health & beauty, etc.
  3. Include a recent photo

If you fit the criteria, I will contact you to set-up a day/time to create a short casting video.

There will be multiple shoot dates throughout the year.

Please pass this along to your mom friends & family:



Social Media Contests and Giveaways

I’ve Been Feeling Lucky!

I’m a sucker for contests and giveaways, especially when they involve social media. When I was a kid I used to win grocery store raffles, event prizes and all kinds of random things – bikes, TVs, a video camera, savings bonds… For awhile I thought I had “used up” my lucky streak, but now I’m feeling it again and am just waiting for my next big win.

Not only do I enter to win a number of different online contests, but also I manage and promote them for my clients as part of my social media consulting services. Facebook giveaways and Pinterest contests are great way to grow “likes” and engage fans online. With the right tools and marketing strategy, a social media contest can work wonders for a company or brand!

I recently created a “Contests & Giveaways” Pinterest board to share some of these giveaways with my friends/followers. It’s a great way to put all of my entries into one spot for easy access, especially since many contests allow for daily entry by somehow engaging with the website or blog sponsoring the giveaway. For instance, if you tweet about a contest each day you can sometimes earn extra entries. Being a new mom (check out my Mama Melanie blog), the majority of the contests and giveaways that I enter are baby-related.

My Pinterest Board

My Chance to Win $1 Million?

But then there are the “big dogs.” I heard about the Lay’s Potato Chips “Do Us A Flavor” contest on a TV commercial in July and then saw it gain momentum online.

This contest is the ultimate crowd-sourcing activity, a method of turning consumers into brand advocates. In this case, Lay’s is inviting America to craft their own original potato chip flavors for a chance to win $1,000,000 OR 1% of the potato chip sales generated from the winning flavor over the period of one year. Entrants will be judged on (a) 30% Original and creative; (b) 30% Simple, straightforward and fun; (c) 40% Potential for delicious flavor for LAY’S potato chips. 

Chef Michael Simon and Eva Longoria are the faces of the contest

The three Finalist Flavors as selected by Lay’s judges will be developed and produced as a limited time offering on or around February 10, 2013. America will then vote for the winner using an “I’d Eat That” button instead of the traditional “Like” button on Facebook. In addition to the grand prize, 2 runners-up will win $50,000 each; there are also daily winners during the contest period who will receive $50 each.

I immediately took to Facebook to start creating my own original flavors

Lay’s (known as “Walker’s” in other countries), ran the same contest in other countries. Some of the past winning flavors include: Pickled Cucumber in Serbia, Caesar-salad-flavored chips in Australia and sausage-flavored chips in Poland.

“Builder’s Breakfast” was the winner in the UK version of the contest

The submission period ends on October 6th and the winner will be announced around January 15, 2013. For more information on the contest, read the official “Rules and Regulations” or visit the “Do Us A Flavor” App on Facebook.

What flavors have you created? Share them in the comments below!

Adding a Basic Twitter Feed to your Website

Establishing a full-circle social media presence is so important in today’s digital age.  One of the key elements in achieving this goal is to incorporate social media widgets and sharing tools directly onto your website.  Your website should be the hub of your online presence with your social media profiles acting as branches extending from this central location.

Image from: Social Media Vision

Why add a Twitter feed to your website?  

First, you get more bang for your social media buck.  Website visitors will see what your most recent tweets are about and then, in turn, will follow you on Twitter simply by clicking on the widget – this is a simple way to gain followers.  Second, the Twitter feed will keep your website content fresh even if you haven’t updated it recently.  Chances are that you’ve Tweeted more recently than you’ve updated your website, so this tactic will keep your website visitors up-to-date with your social media activity all in one place.  Finally, adding a Twitter feed to your website shows that you are up with the times.  When a current or perspective client is visiting your website, they will be confident that you are “with it” and utilizing tools to make it easier to interact with your company or brand.

To generate the code to embed a Twitter feed on your website, follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit while logged into your Twitter profile

  2. Click on “Widgets” and then on Widgets for “My Website”

  3. Click on “Profile Widget” to get a Twitter feed

  4. Click on each of the following to customize your new widget

    • Settings
    • Preferences
    • Appearance
    • Dimensions 
  5. “Test” the code to make sure you are happy with the appearance and then “Finish and Grab Code” to finalize the widget

  6. Embed the code into your website or Blogger profile (utilize your web designer if you run into any issues)

To see how a Twitter widget looks on a website, please visit

If you have any questions, please contact me today!

My next blog will cover adding a Facebook Like Box to your website…stay tuned!

Yelp’s Review Filter

As you may (or may not) know, Yelp has something called “Filtered Reviews.”  If you’ve ever written a review for a business and then noticed that it didn’t get posted to their page, it’s considered a filtered review.  If you aren’t a trusted reviewer then your review will not be readily visible to other Yelp users.  Kind of disappointing isn’t it?

On their March 18, 2010 blog, Yelp posted information about this process.

Here are 5 important things to understand about the review filter:

1. Reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences are sometimes filtered out by the review filter’s algorithmic processes. We agree this can be frustrating, but it’s the high cost we accept to avoid being a lassez-faire review site that people stop using. Everyone loses when that happens

2. Reviews are never “deleted” by the review filter; they are always shown on users’ profile pages. The review filter simply syndicates established users’ reviews from their user pages onto business pages. This automated process sometimes creates the perception that reviews are being deleted and re-added over time; what’s actually happening is users are becoming more-or-less established over time.

3. The best word of mouth is organic and unsolicited. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, Yelp discourages business owners from asking people to write reviews about their businesses. It’s tough for an algorithm to tell the difference between a business owner aggressively putting a laptop in front of a client and saying, “Give me 5 stars!” and that same business owner flipping the laptop around and manufacturing a fake 5-star review about themselves.

4. We’re purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an “established” user, because it’s a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.

5. Both positive and negative reviews can be affected. This is to protect Car Mechanic A from Car Mechanic B’s writing of malicious 1-star reviews about his competitor. It also protects someone with a toothache from being lured into the wrong dentist’s office based on 25 fake 5-star reviews he wrote himself.

Tips to Become an Established Yelp Reviewer

There are a few things you can do to enhance your Yelp credibility and hopefully have your reviews become visible.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that the more you use Yelp and interact with other users, the more likely your reviews will be trusted and in turn posted.  Start with these simple solutions:

  • Upload a profile photo
  • Add personal information to your profile
  • Create a custom Yelp URL
  • Review at least 3 businesses
  • Add friends on Yelp
  • Follow other reviewers
  • Send other reviewers compliments
  • Mark other user reviews as “Funny,” “Cool” or “Useful”

Managing Your Business Yelp Profile

If you’re a business owner who is discouraged by the amount of filtered reviews that don’t show up on your business page, you aren’t alone.  It’s important to remember that the quality of those reviewing your business is sometimes more important than the review itself.  Having more reviews can help your Yelp ranking so you can stand out from the competition.  There are also a few ways you can enhance  Yelp visibility for your business:

  • Claim your business profile (it’s free)
  • Address any negative reviews in a positive way
  • Interact with those who review your business
  • Offer a Yelp Deal
If you need help managing your Yelp account or other Social Media profiles, please contact me today for a complimentary consultation.

Social Media Fundraising

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting with friends, sharing news and promoting businesses.  Social media has also proven to be a successful tool for online fundraising.  I recently read a post from  Socialbrite about the success of the Trail of Tails Pet Walk and Festival, who raised $41,000 for the Jacksonville, Fla., Humane Society using social media tools.  As both a dog enthusiast and a social media professional, I am truly inspired by their success.

The San Diego “Barking Beach Bash” Walk for Animals is coming up on May 7th; I participated last year and had a blast!  This year I decided to form my own team, Media Melanie Mutts.  Our team’s goal is to raise AT LEAST $1,000 in donations.  With the right mix of social media and in-person fundraising, I’m confident that we can achieve this task.  The next 51 days will consist of using Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and other social sites to gain the support of other animal advocates who can spare a few dollars to help a dedicated team of genuine animal lovers.

A big “thank you” is already in order to my teammate and co-captain, Fantastically Faith, who always encourages me to make my dreams a reality.  Media Melanie Mutts would like to thank Point Loma Pet Pantry for their generous donation.  If you’d like to support our team, please click here.

Our furry friends provide us with companionship and unconditional love, therefore reducing our stress levels. My goal is to “Pay it Forward” to adoptable dogs by finding them loving, forever homes so I can reduce the stress in their lives.  I’m about to organize a small dog adoption event in San Diego (thanks to Point Loma Pet Pantry) and I hope to roll-out bigger adoption events in 2011 and 2012 with the help of Brigitte Taylor Events and Pretties with Pitties.

I’m also starting to post adoptable dogs in my Media Melanie Mutts Facebook album.  If you or someone you know is considering dog adoption in San Diego, please let me know what you’re looking for – I make an excellent dog-owner matchmaker.

As I continue to see success as a social media consultant, I hope to incorporate more dog-related businesses and organizations into my client mix.  Please contact me if you need professional assistance with web marketing, video production or social media profile set-up/management.

If you have a successful social media fundraising campaign that you’d like to share (dog-related or not), please leave a comment!  Sharing is caring.


HBO vs. Showtime

The past few years have given way to exceptional premium television programming, creating fierce competition between networks.  From HBO’s early success with The Sopranos to Showtime’s hit show Weeds, premium networks are exceeding the expectations of viewers by utilizing well-known writers and actors and consistently delivering quality new programs.

Fortunately for them, this trend makes it much easier for cable subscribers to rationalize the extra monthly add-on to their bill in this wavering economy.  I’m guilty of cutting back in other areas but unable to give up my premium TV channels.  TV is clearly a huge priority in my life; I like to consider it “professional development” for my TV and film production career.  Great rationalization!

At the 2011 Golden Globes, HBO easily beat Showtime in nominations and awards.  Showtime wasn’t far behind with nominations for United States of Tara, Dexter, Nurse Jackie and The Big C.  But HBO won ‘Best Television Series – Drama’ for Boardwalk Empire, claiming victory over Showtime’s Dexter.  Boardwalk also earned ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama’ for Steve Buscemi, again beating Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall.  Showtime came through with a win for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical’ for Laura Linney’s role in The Big C (one of my favorites).  Congratulations, Laura!

Despite HBO’s commanding presence at the Golden Globes and my liking of “Boardwalk,” Showtime still dominates my DVR.  Here’s why:

Shameless with William H. Macy – This new series is CRAZY and entertaining from start to finish.  I was a fan in the first 5 minutes of the pilot.  “Shameless” is one of my favorite new TV shows (tied with Ancient Aliens on The History Channel).  Hats off to William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum whose fiery characters keep the plot rolling.  I’m not normally a Macy fan ,but his extreme alcoholism and insane antics make for an endearing train wreck.

Weeds with Mary-Louise Parker – This show has come a long way since suburban Agrestic in season 1.  No longer the simple pot-dealing mom, Nancy Botwin has had more ups-and-downs than most soap opera characters.  Even with it’s unrealistic plot lines and occasionally lackluster episodes, Weeds still has a hold on my heart.   It helps that Hunter Parrish is easy on the eyes.  Season 7 will be back in 2011 and I can’t wait!

(Hunter Parrish)

Dexter with Michael C. Hall – While many fans were disappointed with the season 5 finale, I enjoyed the season as a whole and was delighted to see Julia Stiles join the cast.  Sidenote:  I don’t think she had anything to do with breaking-up the marriage of Hall and his wife/on-screen sister Jennifer Carpenter. My question is:  Will season 6 be the end for vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan?  I hope not.

United States of Tara with Toni Collette – This Emmy award-winning show Executive Produced by Steven Spielberg sheds a hilarious light on mental illness.  Collette’s character Tara Gregson lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).  WOW.  Props to Collette for playing different roles throughout each episode – she is amazing.  I also adore her on-screen husband Max Gregson (played by John Corbett), he’s easy on the eyes in rugged teddy bear kind of way. Apparently I value good looking men on my shows.

(John Corbett, image from Showtime)

The Big C with Laura Linney – Who knew that cancer could be so funny?  Linney has a knack for turning the malignant into the laughable.  Her character Cathy Jamison is a complete bitch who you can’t help but love.  The first season was bittersweet but ballsy with a lot of “Did she really just do that?” kind of moments. Gabourey Sidibe and Oliver Platt round out the exceptional cast.  Catch up with this one on-demand before the next season!

Showtime isn’t perfect though; the latest season of Californication is lackluster and new series Episodes with Matt Leblanc didn’t make the cut on my DVR.  Friends constantly remind me that I’m missing out on HBO favorites like Big Love, True Blood and Entourage, but for some reason I prefer the dysfunctional/drug-ridden/serial killer/mentally ill/diseased plots that Showtime does so well (don’t judge).

With 5 favorite shows on Showtime and only 1 on HBO, (Boardwalk Empire,) I choose Showtime.  Where do you stand?

Media Melanie is a marketing consultant in San Diego, specializing in Social Media & TV Production. Visit to learn more! @mediamelanie on Twitter & Media Melanie on Facebook.

Movie Intermissions – Two Thumbs Up?

I don’t recall ever attending a movie in a theater with an intermission, but I do remember thinking that it would be a great idea.  As films get longer and drinks get bigger, I wonder why movie theaters don’t consider implementing short intermissions like Drive-in movies used to do between movies.

Perhaps an intermission would spike refreshment stand revenue to help compensate for dropping box-office sales.  It could also leave viewers more comfortable by allowing for a restroom break.  Ten minutes is ample time to return text messages, grab a snack, use the restroom and quickly ask your movie date if they like the movie.

What do you think?


Social Media and Dog Adoptions – My Pledge to Make a Difference

I love social media and have made it a big part of my life by starting my business, Media Melanie.  I also love dogs!  These are my two rescues, Paco and Maya:

Paco is almost 2 years old and was rescued from Second Chance Dog Rescue of San Diego; he was a Mexican street dog from Tijuana.  Maya is about 4 years old and was adopted from the San Diego Humane Society; I have no idea how she ended up there, but I’m glad she ended up with me.  They are both a huge part of my life and I wish I could adopt (a lot) more, but I don’t have the ability to do so at the moment.   Henceforth:

Love for Social Media + Love for Dogs = Promoting Adoptable Dogs (not adopting more dogs)

The past few weeks I’ve casually posted links to adoptable dogs on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.  My heart fluttered today when I noticed that a Shiba Inu I had grown fond of and longed to adopt myself finally found a home. It may or may not have had anything to do with my social media efforts, but either way I’m happy and overjoyed when adorable dogs like him are adopted.  Since I can’t adopt them myself, I’m promising to be a voice for them by promoting them on Facebook and Twitter as often as I can, in hopes that I can help them find a good home.  Here are links to successful social media/adoption campaigns:

What Can You Do?

Please follow me on Twitter @mediamelanie, “Like” me on Facebook and subscribe to my blog on WordPress. When you  notice that I’m posting about a dog who needs a home, please RT (retweet) the post or share it with your friends.  It’s that simple.  A little bit of social media love goes a long way.  Sharing is caring!

A TV Show in my Future?  Let’s Make it Happen!

One of my role models is Shelly Bookwalter from the show “Last Chance Highway” on Animal Planet. Check out videos of Shelly here! Shelly works with Kyle Peterson, owner of P.E.T.S. Animal Rescue Road Trips.

Together they have allowed for tens of thousands of dogs (and cats) to be saved from high rate kill shelters.  Awesome. I wish I had the resources to do what they do.  BUT…

With my love of social media and dogs as well as my experience in TV production, I’m ultimately dreaming of getting my own TV show where I go down to the streets of Tijuana, rescue dogs and find them homes.  How amazing would that be?  All I need is a little bit of support:

  • Resources to provide a safe and loving location to house the dogs until I find them homes
  • A strategic partnership with an existing dog rescue, foster program or organization (think Cesar Millan)
  • An investor to fund a pilot episode
  • Some really awesome volunteers and animal enthusiasts

Please spread the word to help my dream come true and also to make a difference in the lives of dogs.  After all, dogs don’t have a voice of their own.  Feel free to add to the idea and comment on this blog, I’d love to hear what you think.

Melanie Kellogg

“Media Melanie”

Who is Media Melanie?

Media Melanie is a freelance Media & Marketing Specialist based out of San Diego, CA.  Areas of expertise include:

  • TV & Film Production
  • Media Buying
  • Social Media
  • Ad Sales
  • Copywriting
  • Email Blasts
  • Promotions
  • Event Planning

Media Melanie has years of experience in a variety of professional settings that include an ad agency, a corporate marketing office and on-set at multiple TV and video shoots including TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”  Media Melanie is also a published freelance writer who contributed to multiple issues of Modern Fix Magazine. 

The most recent educational milestone for Media Melanie was in 2008 when she received a “Media Marketing Specialist” certificate from San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies; she also earned a BA in Communications (cum laude) in 2002. 

For a full professional profile please visit Linked In and also keep up with Media Melanie updates on Facebook and Twitter!