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GMail’s SPAM filters don’t trust Google

In a wonderfully humorous bit of irony, GMail is now sending Google Alerts to the Spam folder! Do their servers not speak the same language? Is there a family spat we should know about? Do they need a hug?

Gmail - Spam (8) - Google Alerts

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Where’s the ballerina?

Continuing my Toronto culture theme today, I am loving the new National Ballet of Canada contest: Where’s the ballerina?

I received an email last week announcing the first week of the contest, as I have opted in to receive communications from the National. The email was elegant and simple, it matched the branding of the website, and it was compelling. The contest is fantastic & runs over a four week period – win two tickets to the gala opening of The Sleeping Beauty at the new Four Seasons Centre. And the hook… well, what can I say, I’m in love…

A ballerina has been sighted at various locations throughout the city of Toronto. Your job is to identify where she is from 4 multiple choice locations. The “clue” is a beautifully shot black and white video clip set to music from the ballet of the ballerina exploring the location. It’s visually stunning and engaging.

The contest, although simple and to the point, hits all the right privacy marks with opt-outs and policies upfront; and it encourages viral by building in a refer a friend for more chances to win option. Finally, the entry form design is excellent as it’s built into the page and doesn’t ask for more info than they need. In fact, they only ask for name and email address.

Bravo to the National Ballet for using the interactive medium in a intuitive way that speaks directly to the brand, the community, and the art.

Update: Although the campaign is terrific, one way to add depth and buzz would be to tie in the theme into an exclusive grand prize where those users who entered correctly all 4 weeks had an extra chance to participate… perhaps a 24 hour period where an exclusive ‘part 5′ is posted that is more difficult to decipher… with a chance to win tickets to a different ballet, or a pre-show chat with Karen Kain. Once you open the door to connecting so well with your brand and your audience, the possibilities are endless to increase the experience.

[photo credit: foreversouls on Flickr]

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