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OpuluxeLtd.com™ 2010 Luxury Holiday Gift Guide Extravaganza: Seasons Greetings to ALL of You!

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Holiday Hit List Sexy selections for the ladies

Erotic collection Cherry ring, Lydia Courteille (price on request). Alchemist, shopalchemist.com
True Religion for Women fragrance, True Religion Brand Jeans ($79). macys
Open-back knickers in Lipstick, Myla Rosalyn ($106). Journelle, journelle.com
Oscar Niemeyer earrings in 18k white gold with diamonds, H.Stern ($14,800). hstern.net
Snow leopard platform pump, Ann Taylor ($198). anntaylor.com
Statement necklace, Express ($60). express.com
iPod case in pink, Dolce & Gabbana ($525). dolcegabbana.com
Very Mix Swarovski peep-toe pump, Christian Louboutin ($3,695). christianlouboutin.com
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Treasured Tots 10 delightful playthings for kids
Emerson House, Brinca Dada ($299). FAO Schwarz, brincadada.com
Little flare table, Magis ($594). yliving.com
Eloise Suite designed by Betsey Johnson, The Plaza Hotel (starting at $995 per night). 877-418-3851
Vintage pedal plane, Restoration Hardware ($399). restorationhardware.com
Sprint baby shoes, Y-3 ($100). adidas.com
Cashmere cable-knit bear and elephant ($595 each), Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren Children’s Store, ralphlauren.com
Bambino Shadow Z wall art, Jennifer Mercede ($126). Three Tarts, 3tarts.com
Tee, Little Marc Jacobs ($57). marcjacobs.com
Designer LCD HDTV, Haier ($279). haier.com
Alphabet blocks, Girard ($120). MoMA Store, momastore.org
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Worldly Gentleman Sophisticated choices for any stylish man
Private jet, Avantair (price on request). avantair.com
Prince of Wales cashmere scarf, Tom Ford ($390). tomford.com
Humidor Havana, Assouline ($999). The Plaza Hotel, shopassouline.com
Sterling silver and onyx cuff links, Tous ($165). tous.com
Jules Audemars 18k white gold chronograph with sapphire caseback on handstitched brown crocodile strap, Audemars Piguet ($36,300). audemarspiguet.com
John Lennon Donation fountain pen, Montblanc ($920). montblanc.com
Whiskey Cave in monogram canvas, Louis Vuitton ($23,500). louisvuitton.com
Blue Label blended Scotch whisky, Johnnie Walker ($220 for 750ml engraved bottle). Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, johnniewalker.com
Overstitched stain-finish crocodile pilot case, Zilli ($25,100). zilli.fr
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Objects of Desire Artful gifts for those with a singular flair
Virgin vase (left), Christian Ghion ($684). Luminaire, luminaire.com. Large Fast vase, Rosenthal ($184). gretelhome.com
Évasions Joaillières collection ring, Cartier ($32,600). cartier.com
Rainbow stool, FriendsWithYou ($3,500). friendswithyou.com
Rubber crocheted bowls, Neo ($48–$89). gretelhome.com
Lotus copper candlestands, Robert Kuo ($3,750 per pair). NIBA Home, nibahome.com
Rose-gold, bronze and steel cuff, Rebecca ($445). Montica Jewelry, montica.com
Ivy Long sterling silver earrings, Tous ($209). tous.com
My Brother’s Frame, Harry Allen Design ($190). The Wolfsonian-FIU, wolfsonian.org
Mao bank, World Buyers ($40). The Wolfsonian-FIU, wolfsonian.org
Angelo vase sculpture, Jean-Marie Massaud ($2,005). Luminaire, luminaire.com
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Society Swells Dapper details for men and women alike Travel bag in alligator, Tom Ford ($28,355) Fans & Umbrella necklace, Louis Vuitton ($32,300). louisvuitton.com Tanzanite and diamond chandelier earrings, Loren Jewels ($11,185). Oxygene, Bal Harbour Shops, oxygeneboutique.com Leather shoe in Tobacco, Etiqueta Negra ($450), etiquetanegra.us Mia blue velvet handbag, Fendi ($1,050). fendi.com Magic Alhambra pavé-diamond bracelet, Van Cleef & Arpels ($40,100). vancleef- arpels.com Assorted silk ties, Façonnable ($97.50 each). faconnable.com So Pretty preserved-rose arrangement, Dried Flower Shop ($150). driedflowershop.com Silver glitter clutch with crystal bow, Jimmy Choo ($775). jimmychoo.com Garavani clutch, Valentino ($795) Red suede pump, Isabel Marant ($650). Oxygene, Bal Harbour Shops, oxygeneboutique.com MUDTRAP.COM Citizen of the World Sophisticated presents for jet-setters

Paris Shanghai necklace, Chanel ($8,300). Bal Harbour Shops, chanel.com
Dome rings, Pomellato ($7,350–$8,325). pomellato.it
The Chairman smartphone in red gold and black, Ulysse Nardin ($49,500). uncells.com
Fly in Black shoes, Original Penguin ($110). originalpenguin.com
Scorpio yellow-gold-plated watch, Seah ($2,995). Sowinski Jewelers, sowinskijewelers.com
Luggage tag, Montblanc ($100). montblanc.com
Holiday gift basket, Santa Maria Novella ($2,054). Bal Harbour Shops, lafcony.com/smn
Erine sunglasses, Chloé ($330). chloe.com
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Extra Presents… More goodies for everyone on your list!

Crocodile handbag, Tod’s ($18,500). tods.com

Elements 2 Libra bracelet, Seah ($1,995). seahwatches.com
Nightflight hold-all bag, Montblanc ($1,325). montblanc.com
Sterling round cuff links, Ralph Lauren ($495). ralphlauren.com
VSOP Hot Holiday Bottle, Rémy Martin ($50). remy.com
Crocodile iPad cover, Kelly Locke ($895). kellylocke.com
Ecuadorian wrapped cigars, La Palina ($220). lapalinacigars.com
Jingle Nail Rock Gift Set, Piggy Paint ($24.99). piggypaint.com
Suede boot, Ferragamo ($550). ferragamo.com
Co-op birthday notebook, Marc by Marc Jacobs ($29.95). barneys.com
Dita Von Teese cocktail coffret, Cointreau ($299). cointreau.com
Chocolate gift set, Max Brenner ($39). maxbrenner.com
Paper New York (Rizzoli/Universe, $19.95) by Kell Black. rizzoli.com
Wireless speakers, Zikmu ($1,600). zikmu.parrot.com
Tulle mini skirt, Ann Taylor ($98). anntaylor.com
Flaming Heart 2010, Compass Box Whisky Company ($100). compassboxwhisky.com
M9 Titanium camera, Leica ($26,500). leica.com
Eco boombox, Merkury Innovations ($19.99). merkuryinnovations.com
Hardcover People You’d Like To Know (Omnibus Press, $34.95), with photography of legendary musicians by noted photographer Herb Wise. amazon.com
Brut Fleur de Champagne with glass gift set, Perrier-Jouët ($130). perrier-jouet.com
The Modern Architecture Pop-Up Book (Universe Publishers, $45). barnesandnoble.com
Cowhide notebook, Cartier ($270). cartier.com
Sunglasses, Burberry ($200). burberry.com
Caiman alligator belt, Torino Elite ($495). lesrichards.com
Jeweled baby slipper, Libby Edelman ($19.90). hsn.com
Silver Limited Edition Bottle, Belvedere ($29.99). belvedere.com
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It’s a Gift Our favorite presents for an edgy ingénue

Marilyn Monroe portrait with ruby-red crystals on sparkling silver canvas, Bert Stern ($35,000). Keszler Gallery, keszlergallery.com
The Best of Helmut Newton: Selections from His Photographic Work by Zdenek Felix ($35). Strand, strandbooks.com
Black silk satin pointed-bra bodysuit with back-stitch detail, La Perla Jean Paul Gaultier Collection Createur ($980).
Black cadet boot, Burberry ($1,095). burberry.com
Hand-detailed medium square tray with 22k gold detail, Waylande Gregory ($295). Bergdorf Goodman, waylandegregory.com
Satin puffer jacket in Studio Gray, Ann Taylor ($198). anntaylor.com
Mis En Dior bracelet, Dior ($1,400). diorcouture.com
Malachite cuff, Jack Vartanian ($9,970). jackvartanian.com
Mink brass knuckles bag, Yves Saint Laurent ($995). ysl.com
La Marca Prosecco ($17). Chelsea Wine Country, 212-366-4904
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Cutie Beauty Gifts The season’s most elegant makeup, fragrances and beauty items
Dior Minaudiere in Pink Golds ($80). nordstrom.com

Annick Goutal 2010 Noël limited edition candle ($295). barneys.com
RéVive Limited Edition Artbox 8 ($575). reviveskincare.com
Clarisonic Sephora Holiday Set ($225). sephora.com
Dolce & Gabbana The Make Up Lip Jewels palette ($60). saksfifthavenue.com
Diptyque holiday candles in Oliban, Pine and Orange Spice ($68 each). diptyqueparis.com
Sisley Limited Edition Eau du Soir eau de parfum ($290). neimanmarcus.com
Estée Lauder Pleasures Playful Squirrel by Jay Strongwater ($275). saksfifthavenue.com
Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady ($280). barneys.com
La Prairie Limited Edition Precious Platinum Rare Collection ($950). saksfifthavenue.com
Kai Holiday Trio ($49). barneys.com
Kilian Limited Edition Silver Travel Set (from $155). saksfifthavenue.com
La Mer the Luxury Essentials ($395). lamer.com
Lafco Avenue Boulevard de Waterloo Chocolate Dahlia candle ($48). lafco.com
Honore des Pres Love Coco eau de parfum ($98). spacenk.com
Molton Brown A Clockwork Orange gift set ($55). moltonbrown.com
Saffron James Parfums Ipo eau de parfum ($85). saffronjames.com
Tocca Coffret Set ($42). sephora.com
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Neiman Marcus Christmas Book Fantasy Gifts 2010

by Deidre Woollard via [Luxist] It’s here! Neiman Marcus has unveiled the fantasy offerings in its always eagerly anticipated Christmas Book. This year’s offerings include a Tequila Avion private party by Colin Cowie, a Dale Chihuly pool installation, a gourd ukulele handmade by Danny Ferrington, and a limited edition Leica M9 camera. This year’s featured car is the 2011 Neiman Marcus Edition Camaro Convertible. The Christmas book began in 1926 as a 16-page booklet initially intended as a Christmas card to the store’s best customers. The 2010 Christmas Book marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary His and Hers fantasy gifts. To celebrate Neiman Marcus is selling a one-of-a-kind precious jewelry charm bracelet as one of this year’s fantasy gifts. Each charm represents a memorable His and Hers gift from years past, including an airplane, a Chinese Junk, a hot air balloon, a camel, a sarcophagus, a Buffalo calf, a windmill, an ostrich, a Shar-Pei puppy, a robot, and a vintage motorcycle. Stanley Marcus debuted the His and Hers gift in 1960 with matching Beechcraft airplanes that cost $176,000. This years His and Hers gift is the MetroShip Houseboat costing $250,000. This year is the first time customers may access the Christmas Book on Apple’s iPad via the “NM Editions” app. When in Wi-Fi hot spots, customers can place orders directly from the iPad viewer. More details in the gallery below and in the video after the jump.

Check out previous years here: 2009–highlights included an ICON A5 sport aircraft with custom trailer and sport pilot license training for two for $150,000, an Algonquin Round Table Experience with Christopher Buckley, Roz Chast, Nora Ephron, Malcolm Gladwell, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Adam Gopnik, John Lithgow, Anna Deavere Smith and George Stephanopoulos for $200,000 and the HALL Artisan Wine and Art Experience for $20,000. 2008–highlights included the entire end zone for you and your friends at a Dallas Cowboy’s game, including tailgate party with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders for $500,000, his-and-hers life-sized Lego sculptures by artist Nathan Sawaya for $60,000 each, your own stable of a dozen or so thoroughbreds, trained and managed by Three Chimneys Farm for $10 million and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course in your backyard for $1 million. 2007–highlights included a dragon topiary for $35,000, his and hers portraits done in chocolate syrup by artist Vik Muniz for $110,000, a classical music concert by the Kirov Orchestra for you and 499 friends and a two-person Neiman Marcus edition Gem Triton submarine. 2006--highlights included tickets on a Virgin Galactic charter to space, a seven-foot tall pencil skyscraper for $40,000, your own $100,000 backyard waterpark and the house of Jacques Fath Couture Archives for $3.5 million. 2005–highlights included a Moller Skycar for $3.5 million, your own classic photobooth for $20,000, a steam-style 2-6-2 locomotive, a $1.2 million jewel collection and a performance by Elton John for $1.5 million.

LUXURY GIFTS FROM THE 2010 NEIMAN MARCUS HOLIDAY CATALOG!

Posted by — THE DOKTOR via [DeckThe Holidays]

Luxury retailer Nieman Marcus is out with its 2010 holiday gift guide. The catalog, which began as a Christmas card for shoppers in 1915, showcases the latest in fashion, shoes,jewelry and luxury items. Here is a listing of the featured luxury items that appear in this years catalog.

His and Hers Metroship Luxury Houseboat

On the 50th anniversary of His and Hers gifts, it is called the ultimate romantic retreat. With a 40 foot by 12 foot open floor plan and 7 foot high ceiling. Built as a luxury loft that floats. It has all the “bells and whistles” a loving couple could want in a little retreat from everyday life. Twin 60 hp Honda outboard engines. Price: $250,000.00 

Diamond and Gold His and Hers 50th Anniversary Charm Bracelet

Crafted from one of a kind 11 marquise-cut diamonds. Certified fancy-and extremely rare-naturally colored diamonds in the collection include richly hued pink, blue, and orange diamonds. The centerpiece diamonds have micropave settings and are surrounded by 18-kt white gold. Displayed from a classic link bracelet with a diamond lobster-claw clasp. The charms commemorate His and Hers gifts over the years. Only one will be created. Price: $248,000.00 

Leica M9 Neiman Marcus Edition Camera

Limited to a worldwide edition of 50, the Leica M9 Neiman Marcus Edition is the only camera that combines the classic Leica M shooting experience with the latest digital technology. It also is the world’s only digital rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses and a full-frame 18 megapixel sensor to capture ultrahigh resolution images. The body of the camera is covered in ostrich leather trim with a matching strap. The 2.5 inch LCD screen is protected by sapphire cover glass. It also can be personally delivered by a Leica photography expert and include a private training and orientation session. Price: $17,500.00

2011 Neiman Marcus Editin Camaro Convertible

The Chevrolet Camaro gets a luxury convertible makeover just in time for the holidays. Regular production will not even begin until 2011. Neiman Marcus exclusive edition of just 100. It has 6.2 liter V8 engine with choice of 428 hp six-speed manual or 400 hp six-speed automatic. Brembo brakes all around with Pirelli P-Zero ultrahighperformance tires, Boston Acoustics premium 7 speaker sound system. The NM edition will come also with tri-coat exterior paint in Deep Bordeaux with ghosted strips. The Pirellis are mounted on exclusive 21 inch spoke wheels with Brilliant Red detailing. Leather interior with red accents on the center console, steering wheel, and shift knob. Price: $75,000.00 

Tory Burch Family Chariot Electric Tricycle

 Handbuilt tricycle for three by Worksman Cycle. The company invented the delivery tricycle in 1898 for ice cream vendors. Features styling by Tory Burch. It has plush bucket seats with swivel armrests, seat belts, a footboard, and a retractable canopy. When you get tired of pedaling flip a switch which activates a clean-energy electric drive system. It also has turn signals and flashing LED pedals. Price: $4,500.00 

Edible Gingerbread Playhouse by Dylan’s Candy Bar

 Handcrafted from 381 pounds of gingerbread and 517 pounds of royal icing. Stands 6.6 feet high by 5.25 feet wide by 4.1 feet long. It includes giant cookies, lollipops, gummies, mints, gumdrops, and a candy-encrusted roof. There is also a lollipop tree inside. Price: $15,000.00 

Tequila Avion Private Party by Collin Cowie

 You can introduce 75 guest to the ultimate tequila-at the ultimate event, hosted in your home. A magical, memorable evening will be created just for you by celebrity planner, Colin Cowie. It also includes a gourmet culinary experience from celebrity chef Todd English. Savor signature Tequila Avion cocktails from mixologist Yusef Austin, and enjoy music from celebrity DJ Donnie d’Cruz. You also get a personal keepsake of a one-of-a-kind bottle of Tequila Avion commemorating its launch, signed by the dream team (and your guests, if you wish). Price: $125,000.00 

Dale Chihuly Pool Sculpture Installation

 Internationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly creates breathtaking designs in glass. A glass art installation measuring up to 22 feet by 12 feet-at the bottom of your swimming pool. You will work with the artist’s studio for a rare inside look at Chihuly’s creative process. Price does not include any costs related to pool design and preparation, lighting, shipping or installation. Price: $1,500,000.00

Danny Ferrington Handmade Gourd Ukulele

Since 1975, he’s been quietly handcrafting custom string instruments for legends such as George Harrison, Johnny Depp, Keith Richard’s, and Chrissie Hynde. The son of a Louisiana cabinetmaker, the music worlds premier creator of custom guitar’s and string instruments. He will create classic four-string concert ukuleles, using split gourds as the bodies. He will build each one from scratch, with hand -selected woods for acoustics and balance and rich mother-of-pearl inlays. Price: $6,000.00 

Customized Marfa, TX, Experience

 What exactly is going on in Marfa? It’s a thriving international hub for art, culture, architecture, and nature. Enjoy private tours of The Judd and Chinati foundation’s. Both were created by visionary artist Donald Judd. Explore the beauty of the high dessert mountains from a glider. Explore Big Bend National Park, also includes limited-edition boxed print series by Arber and Sons. Includes gourmet meals and luxury accommodation’s in a private home designed and decorated by Houston designer Barbara Hill. Price: starting at $9,500.00 per couple (price does not include transportation)

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Facebook vs. Google: Homepage Choice via [pcmagazine, osm and mambomedia]

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Facebook vs. Google: The Contact Wars

By: Lance Ulanoff

  • Lance Ulanoff
If Facebook unveils its rumored e-mail platform, it may need to rethink how it handles and delivers user data—contact and otherwise.

Right now, Google and Facebook are in a war over contacts. If Facebook wants to import Google Gmail contacts through Google’s API, it has to let other services import Facebook contacts. No one was really talking about this lack of contact parity before Google made an issue of it, but now everyone wants to know which side will blink first. The truth is neither one of them is going to budge. Instead, Facebook may change the rules of the game.

Next week Facebook will unveil something e-mail and contact related. No announcements have been made, but this is the prevailing rumor and even the invite indicates some sort of message-based announcement.

If Facebook unveils full-blown e-mail with a Facebook.com e-mail address for all users, Google’s little hissy fit will suddenly look rather ridiculous. A Facebook e-mail system is actually a great idea. A half a billion members already use the social networking service as their primary means of inter-friend-relative-and acquaintance communication. This will simply give them a richer platform.

I hate the stories calling this development a “potential Gmail killer.” Why does each new advancement in an existing space have to displace something else? Could the Samsung Galaxy Tab “kill” the Apple iPad? Of course not. There really aren’t a lot of murderous products out there. Maybe the iPod (which didn’t kill all other MP3 players, but certainly turned them into zombies). In any case, whatever Facebook delivers would be exciting and useful for Facebook fans, but they won’t dump all their old e-mail accounts from ISPs, GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc, just so they can live exclusively on Facebook.

A couple of years after I began using Gmail, I did, in fact, import all of my contacts from Outlook. I had to export them as a CSV file and then import them into Gmail. I didn’t do this so I could leave Outlook. My intention, instead, was to protect (read backup) my vast contact library, in case something happened to my system or I lost my job. (Yes, that Outlook account is on a work system).Google’s angry with Facebook because it sucks in those Gmail contacts (if you let it) to help quickly build up your friends list. There is no way for Gmail to suck contact info from Facebook. I have never imported Gmail contacts into Facebook because I like to keep my work and personal lives somewhat separate. I don’t know if there are people clamoring to import Facebook contacts into Gmail, but I suspect not—they can already communicate with them through Facebook’s simple messaging and chat systems.

A richer Facebook e-mail, with real e-mail management, folders, attachments, CC and BCC functionality could change that, but it won’t for me. If Google develops a new social platform (forget Buzz) to compete with Facebook, then perhaps people will want to migrate their Facebook contacts to Google GBook. However, Google recently said it wasn’t all that interested in building a Facebook style social network. Which brings us back to the core argument between Google and Facebook. Google lets you put in and take out contact info, and Facebook does not.

That’s actually not entirely true.

Facebook now lets you take almost everything out of the service and, to my mind undercuts (at least a tiny bit) Google’s core argument.

Much to my surprise, Facebook has finally turned on the eagerly-awaited “Download your Data” feature. It works pretty much as promised (see the slideshow to learn exactly how it works), you can download virtually everything you’ve posted onto the site in one neat-little zip file. Mine came down as a 4MB zip file. Compiling it took Facebook almost two hours. In it I found my wall postings back three years, photos, notes, events and every single message going all the way back to May 8, 2007. The Zip file unpacks into a mini, navigable web site, so it’s easy to click through to all your data goods. Yes, Facebook even includes a list of all your friends. See? Take that Google!

Wait. Hold on. It’s not quite that good.

Truth is, this is also where Facebook stumbles—quite badly. The list of alphabetized (by first name!) “Friends” is flat—meaning it’s not linked to anything. So you can’t click on a name to learn more about who they are, or even, at least, go back to the associated Facebook profile. In messages, Facebook highlights all the names in blue, but it’s just a trick—those names aren’t linked either. It ends up feeling a little bit like I moved out of my Facebook home with all my belongings and then Facebook moved away. I know it’s still there, but why isn’t anything linked?

I guess this approach make sense if you’re leaving Facebook for good, since you wouldn’t be able to access any of contacts anyway. Still, it sort of fails as a true data backup and definitely doesn’t encourage porting those Facebook relationships to another platform.

If and when Facebook introduces its mail system, this Download option could change. It could also be engineered right out of existence if, in fact Facebook really doesn’t want to share e-mail contact info. This attitude would make Facebook a pain, but I still don’t think Google is taking the right approach. I’ve always loved how Google strove to be the better online citizen. Google, stop complaining, keep your contact API open and let Facebook make the stupid contact mistakes.

Facebook vs. Google: Homepage Choice

Facebook vs. Google: Homepage Choice

by Tim Ollason

Facebook vs. Google, the saga continues… previously we have brought you news surrounding their user data battle which continues along with Facebook actually failing privacy risk reports. Now we bring you the news that Facebook are going to be asking users to change their homepage to THEIR site.

This comes as no surprise to me as if you have a homepage set to the likes of Google, Facebook or anywhere else, it means guaranteed traffic for that site. Every time you open up a web page you will be giving someone traffic. Crazy when you think of the importance to all of these giants. Do you feel that Facebook have to offer more than just social media to be your homepage? i know that i can access anything i want with Google set as mine straight away.

Facebook will be doing this in the not to distant future so if you don’t want to set it be sure to click on the right choice! Will you be changing your homepage to Facebook ahead of the likes of Google? Let us know in the comments below.

Voter Smackdown: Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads

Laurel Hamilton
| Laurel Hamilton at Mambo Media

We get a kick out of politics at Mambo Media, so we were thrilled to be asked to design online ad campaigns for an initiative on the November 2010 ballot in Washington State.

The client asked us to spend an equal amount of money on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. And that was the beginning of the smackdown. Which platform is better for online advertising spend?

To answer this question, I focused on three priorities:

1.  Impressions: Facebook Triumphs

The chief goal of this campaign was to increase targeted voter familiarity of the initiative. Even if a voter only sees the ad briefly on the Facebook page sidebar, it’s an opportunity for him or her to learn the name of the initiative and associate it with the ad tagline and image.

At the end of the campaign, the Facebook ads had been viewed over 7.5 million times and the Google Ads had been viewed about 34,000 times. Yes, while spending an equal amount on each platform!

2.   Clicks: Google is the Victor

While not a top priority, clicks were also important to this ad campaign. In some of the ads, we directed voters to the initiative’s Facebook page (and gathered many new Likers and commenters in the process), and other ads sent voters to the initiative website to learn more.

In the end, the Google Ads provided 2,080 clicks, with an impressive 6.06% clickthrough rate, and Facebook Ads resulted in 1,599 clicks (clickthrough rate: .02%).

3.  Targeting: Facebook Prevails

Facebook Ads was the clear winner in precise demographic targeting.  If we had wanted, we could have shown the ads to ONLY 36 year old men in Washington who were connected to the opposition’s Facebook Page!

So, Who Wins the Smackdown?

As is the case with all social media marketing, the best channel to use depends on the campaign goals. In this campaign, impressions (views) were the priority, which means that we can officially (and obviously) declare Facebook Ads the winner!

However, it’s worth mentioning that a campaign more focused on detailed education from clicks would consider the Google AdWords results to be superior – especially since their clickthrough rates were much higher.

In conclusion, if a client or your brand can’t afford both for testing, look to Facebook for impressions and to Google for clickthroughs. But keep in mind, if you have a niche product, cause or audience, the hyper-targeted nature of Facebook Ads will tip the scales.

What are your experiences with Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads?



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Shoptimism by Lee Eisenberg via [WSJ]

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The Bonhomie Of Buying

Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter  WhatShoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What by Lee Eisenberg
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Our shopping habits may be easily manipulated, but they are not as irrational as critics like to believe.

book110209

As the economy tanked last year, pundits claimed that we were entering a new age of frugality. We would stop shopping and learn to “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” like our grandparents who lived through the Depression.

There was just one problem with this prediction: Given how much money is riding on the consumer economy, legions of people now spend their lives figuring out how to make the buying experience more alluring than the days of pulling Gold Medal Flour down from the shelves of the general store. As an IBM report once noted: “We probably know as much about the behavior of the human shopper in its natural habitat, the mall, the grocery, or the department store, as we do about the activities of any species of animal in the wild.” Now former Esquire editor Lee Eisenberg adds his own take, examining why modern Americans find shopping so irresistible.

Mr. Eisenberg’s previous book, “The Number,” was magnificently hyped as offering a new way of looking at retirement; “Shoptimism” aims to offer a similarly novel view on the big idea of buying and selling. There is a coincidental affinity between the subjects: One of the reasons we have such trouble saving for retirement is that merchandisers are so good at getting us to part with our money in the here and now. As for his credentials, Mr. Eisenberg tells us that he was once a senior executive at Lands’ End, in addition to being “a breadwinner, which means I take a proprietary and sometimes overbearing interest in how my wife and kids choose to disburse what hard-earned money I bring to the party.”

Mr. Eisenberg approaches consumer culture more as an anthropologist than as what he calls a Buy Scold (berating Americans for spending money on things they neither want nor need). He turns up some interesting tidbits. Black Friday shoppers, just after Thanksgiving, say that they’re battling the crowds on behalf of themselves rather than shopping for loved ones. November is usually the second biggest month for buying things, after December, “but not every year—global warming,” Mr. Eisenberg says, “can play havoc with sales of sweaters and winter outerwear.” The brains of tight-fisted folks react to high prices in the same way they do to physical pain. We absorb advertising messages so well that—in a world saturated with PC Guy vs. Mac Dude ads—we actually perform better on creativity tests after being cued by references to Apple products. At the same time, brands are losing their vice grip as shoppers figure out that generic items are often made in the same factories as branded ones and as retailers like Whole Foods manage to turn their private labels into desirable goods.

Much of this information has been written about before—Paco Underhill, the author of “Why We Buy” (who makes an appearance in “Shoptimism”), has explored shopping habits for some time now, and Martin Lindstrom‘s “Buyology” tackled the neuroscience of shopping last year. But it’s entertaining to have it compiled in one big box store of a book, packaged in Mr. Eisenberg’s genial prose.

After a while, though, his endless taxonomies of shoppers (e.g., Bring-Back Queens and Friends of Faux, with a soft spot for designer knock-offs) get as tedious as finding the right tie from a sales rack at Macy’s. And Mr. Eisenberg misses opportunities to create a more compelling narrative. As part of writing “Shoptimism,” he took a job working at a Target store during the holiday season, but he offers maddeningly few details about the day-to-day realities of the experience, aside from the fact that he learned not to touch the wheelchairs of disabled customers. By contrast, we hear more than we need to about his field trip to help his wife buy a little black dress. This escapade is supposed to show the shopping experience from initial idea to postgame wrap-up, but it seems to take the same hour and 45 minutes to read that Mr. Eisenberg reports he spent in the store.

Despite such meandering, Mr. Eisenberg does eventually stumble onto the overarching argument inherent in his title: Shopping, in modern America, is fundamentally an optimistic activity. While our shopping habits are easily manipulated, they are not quite as irrational as critics like to believe. For most of us shopping, when done right, really does make us feel better. We buy because it “confers instant membership in a community.” We buy “to express ourselves.” Most important, we buy because “buying is fun, sociable, and diverting, an escape from boring, predictable existence.” If a sweater or an iPod can do that, and Mr. Eisenberg is convincing that it can, then no wonder, recession or not, it’s hard to keep Americans out of the stores.

Ms. Vanderkam is a writer in New York.


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