Monday, June 30, 2008

Rhapsody Music Store Will Challenge Apple's ITunes

Los Angeles Times: A new online music store from Rhapsody America -- a joint venture of RealNetworks and Viacom's MTV Networks -- will feature songs that aren't constrained by anti-copying measures in an effort to challenge the dominance of Apple's iTunes.

In May 2007, Apple broke new ground when it began selling music without copyright restrictions from EMI Group. But it hasn't been able to strike similar agreements with the other three major labels. Rhapsody will also announce that it will supply streaming music services and download stores on other Internet sites and services, such as Yahoo, MTV and popular social networking service iLike.

Rhapsody plans to charge 99 cents for a single and $9.99 for an album, the same pricing as iTunes. One of Rhapsody's selling points, however, is that customers will be able to listen to an entire song before purchasing it. ITunes gives customers a 30-second sample.

Hello a-bit-of-interesting, nice to meet you.
That's what I thought when I first read the summary above. Then I read the article.
I was a bit perplexed, not to mention full of questions about this-here scenario:
  • Let's just put this on the table - Apple has the same DRM free music in place, but only if the music is from EMI. Other downloads from iTunes have restrictions on the amount of copies that can be made.
  • If Amazon and Napster have the same copying-freedom as this Rhapsody thing will have, do they have an arrangement with all the other labels? Why is iTunes fcucked with only the EMI being DRM free? Where are the other peeps?
  • To add further kick to the previous point, I looked up the Amazon and Napster T&Cs.
    The Amazon conditions state: "You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use" No mention of a limit to the amount of copies you can make or a restriction to a music label.
    Napster goes a step further "Napster will not assign limits to the number of times MP3 Permanent Downloads purchased via Napster can be copyied, transferred or burned"
  • And if Rhapsody is doing this, who has said yes, make our music copyable? Why hasn't iTunes fixed that yet if everyone else is doing it? Surely if these other kids can get music DRM-free from any label, then iTunes can too?
I'm confused.
Either Michelle Quinn left out a whole crapload of information to inflate and fluff up the Rhapsody product into this great new music provider. When, it's really the same as all the other shmos out there.
OR, she didn't do enough digging into finding out why iTunes is now behind the rest of the pack in the binning of the DRM.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Facebook Finally Fends Off ConnectU

New York Times, By Brad Stone: Facebook has finally closed the book on its long-running, multi-front legal battle with the rival college social network ConnectU — but not before a new question was raised about Facebook’s supposed $15 billion valuation.

Stupid Litigious country
Every American just looks for their meal ticket. I have no doubt that this thought process goes through many a person's mind:
"What minor bad thing can happen to me, that I can escalate into ridonculous proportions and make my fortune from?"
And it just makes everything affected by the cycle, so much more expensive.

Howard Winklevoss: The Connect-U founders' dad. If you looked this name up in the dictionary you would find the words money hungry, greedy, pushy and silly.

His kids actually don't look like a bunch of nerds which is surprising, and if:
- they have the brains they apparently have
- they understand Facebook as well as they do
- and know the weaknesses of the Facebook
They should have not wasted so much time with this lame case, and gone a step beyond the lame "connect-U" that no one has even seen. Instead they could have made a solution to the problem facing all social networks today- work out how to monetise it.
Then maybe, Howard Winklevoss wouldn't be known as a greedy conniving ass, but a smart man who encouraged his genii kids.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Digital shop cries foul over not receiving credit for prize-winning effort

Advertising Age: Michael Lebowitz, co-founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, is faulting the inflexible awards structure at the Cannes festival for his digital shop not being recognized for its work on BBDO, New York's, multiple prize-winning "Voyeur" campaign for HBO; he also believes BBDO could have been more generous in sharing the credit. However, BBDO creative chief David Lubars, in an e-mailed statement, said the Omnicom Group shop was "the source of the idea," and therefore is entitled to the honors.

Who cares about awards?! Self congratulatory buffoons. No thank you!
Awards have become garbage. Kind of like the Olympics. All this crazy excitement that doesn't really make sense and the only people who really have fun, are the participants.
The only drama in these ad awards are the stories of the backstabbing, who banged who, the collusion and stolen ideas.
It would make for good television, but the real 'hero', the work gets forgotten in the craziness.

So when someone cries foul, it just adds more nonchalance to an already "care factor zero" event.
I love how BBDO says that they're the source of the idea. in reality ideation is so evolutionary. An idea starts as a seed from one person and gets added and adapted to accommodate developments and improvements. With so many moving parts, it is unusual to attribute such things to one individual or even one organisation. Organisations aren't experts in all fields, they do need to consult in other areas of expertise .

And do you know at the Sydney 2000 Olympics 70,000 condoms for athletes went so fast that 20,000 more were ordered. Even these ran out before the Games ended. Now that's what I call a statistic!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fun for today, because we all need it.

I was talking about to-do lists today. You know, climb Mount Everest, swim the English Channel, win an Oscar....

So I've just added that Jell-O fight with Angela to the list. She isn't too keen, but I'm sure there's some place in NYC that does it. It's NYC for crying out loud.
And after that I am doing THIS:

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Apple Killed Music

Red Herring: According to a new report from eMarketer, Apple's iPod is partly to blame for the collapse of the music industry, having set the tone for a "rats nest of restrictions and incompatibilities" that put the stop on music's growth. Paul Verna, the report's author, says that end-user confusion played a major role, as music fans were forced to sort out an explosion of confusing and incompatible formats, players, restrictions and retailers. Thus, Apple's iPod has been a "double-edged sword" for the industry, having contributed greatly to the splintering of the music biz with its closed ecosystem, Verna claims.

Meanwhile, digital rights management, which restricts the number of devices where users can copy their music in an attempt to stamp out music sharing, has played arguably the biggest role in hindering digital music sales. Apple popularized DRM by moving away from the MP3 file format to adopt its own FairPlay DRM standard.

Big music initially thought that digital downloads would make for plummeting CD sales, but it hasn't turned out that way, Red Herring points out, as digital revenues haven't come even close to making up for CD sales losses.

As I said last week "I didn't break my headset, it braked itself"
Last week my mic on my headset broke. I don't know how it happened, it just broke. But, as the King of the replacements said to me "it can't just break itself!"
Now I know how dumb it sounds and it correlates to the ineptitude of these musical gits.

Paul Verna says Apple is responsible for music's downfall because people are idiots and don't know how to use iTunes. He then goes on to suggest DRM is at fault.
A conundrum.

DRM was meant to initiate further music sales because it prevents users from making multiple copies. We all told you it was a bad idea, but you wouldn't listen. Now you say it has prevented sales! Wow. I need a valium.

Idiots. Wake up to the idea that selling music as a product is dead. The labels themselves say that "for every single legal download there are 20 illegal ones" (source). What you can sell is a connection to a band, experiences around the band and the occasional T-shirt.

Theme of the day- change is here. Move with it or stay back in la la land.
This has always been my vision of la la land. Bessie, Fanny and the boys:

Kinky boots

I saw a nice movie last night- Kinky Boots. A nice little film, which I managed to relate back to my ad world.
The fella in the movie had to come to grips with his family's shoe factory going down the toilet. His dad, when still alive, had known this and kept on making shitty shoes to try and ignore that fact.
The son realised that to stay afloat, he would have to stop being complacent and change the product to roll with the times.
So he started making shoes that could handle the weight and motion of transvestites. That was the way he changed to meet the needs of the market.

Clever. Even based on a true story.

Now to really bring it back to reality
The ad game has changed. No more "is changing". Change has happened. People expect more they don't give a rat's about ads, they expect a brand to go above and beyond the status quo.
The only people who are still stuck in the old way are marketers and advertisers. I really think they just want to stay in la la land and ignore what's going on. It's easier doing what you know.

Of course answering to the change is scary, it's full of risk and there is no precedent. But it's better to attempt to change instead of carrying out the same old motions. And bloody hell, it's so much more fun!

I've worked at a few big agencies- they make these little 'departments' which are the custodians for all the 'new' and the 'change'. But it's all BS. It's just a front. A front to make the client happy that someone has shit under control. It's all talk and no action and made me want to slit my wrists every day that I went into the office.

It's so much nicer to know that I'm putting my money where my mouth is. So much nicer to know that I'm going with the flow instead of slamming my head against a brick wall every time I open my mouth.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kmart CMO Quitting, Will Fight for Gay Marriage Kmart Senior VP-Chief Marketing Officer Bill Stewart is leaving the company to become a full-time volunteer on a campaign to protect gay marriage in California, the company said. The Kmart marketing team will report to Maureen McGuire, chief marketing officer of the chain's parent, Sears Holdings, until the company completes a search for a replacement.

Thank god, SOMEONE is on the case!
It was touch and go for a second, but bless our lucky stars that individuals like Bill Stewart are in existence.
I don't have a problem with gay marriage. Not at all. What I do have a problem with is AdAge's inability to mention whether Stewart is gay himself. They mention he is a member of the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Which could allude to his sexual preference, but do you need to be a homosexual to be on that board? I would think not.

And really, the entire time I was reading that article, I was looking for the "is he or isn't he?" I didn't give a crap about the KMart/Sears connection. Come on AdAge, give the people what they want! At least Google can step up to the plate. Delivers EVERY time!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Get your bitch-slap on

Since the ad noise going on is rather boring, I've been entertaining myself with three parts Twitter and one part Amanda Chapel.

This character, I've heard a lot about her, is apparently really a man. Why anyone would want to spend additional amounts of time on Twitter as a character (and a lot of time, morning, noon, night and all the time) , I do not know.
But she talks a lot of shit, ruffles a lot of feathers and is meant to be an authority on PR. She-he may well be an authority, I don't know.

But now that I took it upon my wings to go into battle with her, a lot of people have come out of the woodwork to say she is a dick and I should get her good.
I think this has been accomplished. I'm actually bored of it already. She isn't a very good sparring partner, more abusive. Nothing clever in the use of the 140 character tweet.
Here is the lame stream.

And what's more, I have been looking at this image on my netvibes for weeks:

You know what that looks like? Reminds me of a Gucci ad I once saw

Only when I zoomed in to the real image yesterday, did I see what it really was:

If the short saga wasn't good enough....I think she has banned me from being a follower! Even more amusing. Wisey 1. Chapel 0.

I grew up with tormenting and torturous older brothers and sisters. I learned how to give it just as well, if not better than I could take it. This piss-ant has given Amanda Chapel - a likely pasty, overweight, middle-aged man, more than the she-he bargained for!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some pleasantness for today

The subtext of this post is: stop wasting resource, be friendly to your environment and realise that as an individual your contribution makes a difference.

Thanks Boing Boing

Monday, June 16, 2008

Interactive TV is more than a remote possibility

The New York Times: A new system from Boston-based Backchannel Media allows TV stations to air content with an interactive component, allowing viewers to essentially bookmark ads using their remote control. Currently, a handful of stations are experimenting with the Backchannel offering, including Hearst-Argyle Television stations WCVB in Boston and WMUR in Manchester, N.H., along with Media General station WJAR in Providence, R.I.

Ohhh, Not these goons!!
I've met these guys. The product is ridiculous. A storm in a teacup.
Let's pause for a moment....


Excuse me?
People are trying to get away from ads, and you have these men from Chelm, trying to shove it in your face.

I remember when I met them and the example that they used: "If you see a packet of chips and you click on it, they can send it to you."
What? Wtf? Why would I want to wait ten days for a bag of chips, which have become chip crumbs in transit, to arrive at my house?

It will work for one category though- apparel. Like the article mentions- click on an item of clothing worn in a TV show and find out where to buy it from. But that's not exactly "bookmarking an ad". Can I ask for a little more focus people?! Is that too much to ask?

Social networks struggle to monetize

The New York Times: While social networks have proven extremely adroit at attracting members, finding an effective way to advertise on this growing medium has so far proven an elusive goal. Analyst Debra Aho Williamson of eMarketer recently wrote, "The challenge is that all these new forms of advertising are more difficult to plan, measure and quantify than advertisers are used to, and that has impacted spending growth."

Just a couple of issues with mySpace and their new design
  • "MySpace is being redesigned beginning Wednesday with a new home page, which will be less cluttered and more hospitable to advertising."
    Less cluttered and more hospitable to advertising? Hang on...who are you catering for? The end user or the advertiser? Or wait, am I asking a rhetorical and retarded question....methinks this could be the case...
  • "But because MySpace commands a majority of all the money spent on social networking, it is viewed as a bellwether for the growing industry."
    Ok. And just because idiots spend millions of dollars on superbowl ads, it doesn't mean that they're great and everyone should do it. Just look at pleather. People wore that because it was popular, but it was a grave mistake. We're in a world of people following sheep, rather than using their brains.
  • "Mr. Nathanson, the analyst, said that MySpace’s perceived shortfall had been frustrating. “We don’t have much conviction in the long-term ability to grow this business based on what we’ve seen lately,” he said."
    Because you're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, dufus! Maybe if you adapted to the changing market, your long term ability to grow might change.

A pleather mistake:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why is customer service so hard?

I really don't get it. I just don't.
In the last few weeks I've had some not so good product experiences , mostly technical (you're so shit Vista) and had to go through the the lovely customer support people.

Some were good. Others need help. But help in a really 'this isn't brain science' way. You've got your customer on the phone, you can go from a little casual relationship, to one where they are completely hooked on you as a brand of choice. Think of it this way, if I have a problem and you help me fix it, I know I can trust you, implicitly. No brainer. And there is no way I will transfer to another product within the same category.

Case 1
I bought some environmentally friendly cosmetics. As a reward for purchase I was awarded the choice to choose 5 samples. As it often occurs, they may not have my samples, but they will do the best to supplement those samples if they aren't available.
The Package arrives.
I have 3 of what I want, and 2 samples can go fuck themselves. Not the same category of product, totally useless and unnecessary for me. So I called the company and explained that:
a) they should leave a note of apology when they don't have your sample as a courtesy (which they have now implemented);
b) they should definitely try and supplement the sample with the same type of product eg cleanser with cleanser, soap with soap;
The sample reward is a great tool for appreciating your customer. If you offer that carrot, you need to completely deliver. When you can't meet that, you need to overcompensate. And it isn't a question of a company just throwing the freebie in for the sake of it. It is an additional ploy to keep your customer loyal. When they told me the freebie was just a throw away, I felt a little cheated and they nearly lost me. They couldn't believe I wanted samples of within the category I requested. They thought it was preposterous. In the end they sent me not 2 of what I wanted, but 10. At first it felt unnecessary, I really did only want the 2, but then I realised they saved me as a customer, because I was already thinking 'fuck 'em'

Case 2
I got a Canon printer. Vista screwed up the installing process of the printer. Canon helped me fix it. They were awesome and knew exactly what they were doing. Thanks Ted. I hope those shrimp on the barbie went was a long conversation, there was waiting time, we needed small talk.

Case 3
I bought some Belkin software to hook up my printer through bluetooth. Again Vista screwed up what used to be a simple process. I call Belkin. This Indian girl answers, she has no idea what she is doing. She tells me to do something that doesn't exist, she says she has no supervisor then wants to transfer me to a supervisor. TOT.ALL.Y. whacked. She even let me uninstall something I wasn't meant to. Absolutely shithouse. I ask her for her name - it's Mary-Kate. Not only does she want to take me for a ride, she is an Indian who thinks she is an Olsen. I ended up being on the phone with this loser for an hour and a half "unplug the adapter, no plug it back it in". I will be having nightmares. In the meantime, I think I fixed it.

In Conclusion
There is some much opportunity. Don't be an asshole like those Dell customer service reps were. Use it. It's actually pretty rewarding (yes, I can be nice) and EASY.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Go read a good book because you're all boring

I don't know whether I'm slow on the uptake, but I picked up this book the other day.

A lovely little book about the shenanigans in BDAs. I'm about half way through and it's going good so far. The staff is totally obsessed with any gossip, any firings, hirings and possession of office furniture. People go around in circles to pass the time and it's making me reminisce about ad agency BS. I'm loving it.

It's good writing, none of that Peter Mayle crap- this guy has been nominated for some nice awards. A good read if you're looking for a book.

Monday, June 9, 2008

What the Creators of 'Sex and the City' Know About Marketing That You Don't

Viewpoint by Bonnie Fuller: Women Flocked to the Chick Flick Because They Relate to Characters That 'Could Be Me'
Lots has now been written about the tsunami of success that "Sex and the City" has had, with its blowout $55.7 million opening weekend -- the biggest box-office score for a chick flick. But what I think is really interesting is why women are dressing to the nines and flocking with droves of friends to see it and then whooping it up in the theaters.

Bonnie- You bitch! Could you have written "Warning: Spoiler"?? I haven't seen it yet!!
I'm waiting till all the hoopla dies down so I can see it by myself, with no annoying women dressed to the nines who are going to the most anti social activity of all- the movies! To see a bunch of more moronic women.

And what I know about marketing that you don't
It's B.S.
And the movie isn't really about marketing- it's about a show. A show that had great characters (even though a bit moronic), great writing, and like all shows, dropped off a little towards the end there.
What they did well here, was use that asset of love for the show, to cram in every marketing shtick they could think of. That's not good marketing, that's using their noggins to get as much dollar as possible pumped into the movie.

I wonder if we'll get to see the sequel when they're all grandmas?!

Nielsen: Death Of :30 Greatly Exaggerated

by Wayne Friedman: Reports of the death of the 30-second spot have been greatly exaggerated. Nielsen Co. says when viewers watch ads in prime time, the majority of messaging still comes in this tried-and-true package, accounting for 55% of all advertising units.

Nielsen: Bunch of morons
Just because advertisers are still buying commercials doesn't mean the :30 is dead. Just because they are still on TV doesn't mean they're dead either. And just because this country airs a ridiculous amount of advertising doesn't mean ad sales are at an all time high.

Analogy time: People can go out and buy the most ugly looking items of clothing because it's apparently a fad. But: if you ignore the fact that the item itself is ridiculous, or doesn't suit you, then you're going to have a bit of a problem.

The 30 second is dead because people, your audience, don't give a shit about it. People have changed so much so, that the impact of a 30 second is minimal. There are other ways to really shift and make a difference to people's lives, in accordance with their boredom of regular advertising. Think about surprising people by adding some unexpected value into their lives. Change how they perceive your brand by using your ad dollars into something more worthwhile. And for god sake, do not wear leggings and t-shirts. It looks fucking moronic.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Why Advertisers Want The New iPhone

New York Post: The New York Post says that Madison Avenue, in particular, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Apple's new 3G iPhone, hoping the new handset will change the way people use their phones, enabling mobile marketing to finally come good on its promise. So drastically did the first iPhone change user consumption habits, that some advertisers even developed iPhone-specific campaigns. But in the end, the phone's speed proved to be prohibitively slow.
The upgrade should also come with GPS capability, unearthing a whole host of possibilities for location-based iPhone applications. As David Berkowitz, director of emerging media for digital marketing firm 360i, point out, "From the marketing side, more than the consumer side, there is the promise of location- based targeting. Marketers get really excited about this."

Haven't you idiots learned anything?!?!
The internet phone isn't a device for you to shmeer ad banners all over it. It's about functionality and utility. Mr Berkowitz begins to make a little sense but, I can just sense marketers taking that out of context and spamming individuals at every convenient (for them) juncture.

I hereby challenge you ad people- STOP! Take a look at what is really going on. Look at what people are doing and how they have changed and use that within the context of this potential iPhone. Match and combine the 2 together so people have a useful experience with your brand instead of you landing a shitty click or impression.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Everyone: Just calm down about Pork and Beans

  1. It's not kosher.
  2. It's old news. Ever seen this?

  3. So you know, get it together, and calm the fuck down. Weezer is a dork band and completely unoriginal

  4. You can't even share it! "Embedding disabled by user!". That's not very web 2.0 cool. I had to get an unofficial version

  5. So basically, if you're getting excited over this, don't.
    For the next band that does this, it's now simply known as a youTube highlight reel from the last few months.

  6. A shout out to my friend Pablo J.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

2 faced

You ever worked somewhere where your agency says "Yes, we work in new media. We know how to shake our money maker in the social media/conversational space", when really they're just all talk and it's a front. Clients feel safe that buzz words are buzzed and their agency is 'on the ball'. But all the agency cares about is the bottom line and being safe in the old ways of doing things. may be a stretch of a demonstration, but these girls/girl/thing could epitomise it. Either way I'll stretch it. These girls are awesome and it deserves a showing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Facebook, Google not exactly friends

The Washington Post: Google's plan to allow users to access multiple social networks under a single user ID hit a snag when Facebook announced it would not let members to sign in using Google's "Friend Connect" service, owing to privacy concerns. More generally, social networks are confronting the question of whether their value is in being open or walled off from the wider Web.

That's right Facebook, pull out the 'privacy' card when it suits you!
I have some cards too, you know. I've got the flirty card when I want something quick; the play dumb card when I need to get out of a sticky situation; the bitch card when I need to be unstoppable and the no idea card when I'm lazy or don't give a rat's ass.

But Facebook, the we care about privacy card!!!! A bit risky methinks. In the article it just sounds like you're dicking Google around and making a PR hoopla. You are bloody sneaky. Not the love hearts and tweeting birds image that I had of you. I'm beginning to feel like you have some Dr. Evil Style master plan.

Facebook you should be careful though. Don't be an upstart, flash your cards early and play in the grown ups' game. You should consider getting on Google's ship. Everyone knows that they're everybody's friend and you definitely don't want to rock that boat.

If you have a low end marketing ploy, don't ask me to do it- I'll sabotage it!

For the past few weeks I've been suffering visual and mental abuse through blogger outreach emails for a product called "Social Spark". Horrid stuff. Basically getting bloggers to endorse product for cash.

I went to check it out, just to see, just to look, and it is my worst nightmare.
"Social Spark: Premium Entry - Get paid to write sponsored blog content on a per post basis, or have advertisers pay per day to sponsor your blog."

They did nearly get me for a second with their "premium entry" bit, but no, I put myself together and came back to reality, realising it's all a ploy.

I hate fake. These days it's all about realness.
In the blog space, endorsement is about endorsement because you want to endorse, not because of an incentive. It's the 'X-factor' of the product and why it appeals to you, that makes it good. You can't buy that. And why, oh why, would you want to damage the blog-o-sphere? Even if you notate that it is a sponsored entry, that only means most individuals will gloss over it.

And as if you could ever trust me to do something like this. I would completely sabotage it. I wouldn't care if I got paid either way. It's probably such a nominal amount. Worse than child labour!

How ironic that the emails go straight to my junk folder. Good work Outlook, you get a gold star.

Monday, June 2, 2008

'Sex/City' Poised To Become Era's 'Feel-Good' Movie

by Laurie Sullivan: Look for Americans to embrace and buy merchandise related to pre-Sept. 11 nostalgia across many product lines and services as a way to weather tough times, trend spotter Faith Popcorn says. Brand guru Robert Passikoff says the movie will cause a life in fashion sales, as did the TV show.

SATC develops cure for cancer, creates world peace and locates the ever elusive Osama bin Laden in addition to shoddy plot line.
That's what the headline should be. How did a show about 4 moronic women become such an uplifter of spirits and a world changer? How does it get so many people to open their wallets in a time of a hard hitting recession and astronomical petrol prices?
I'm flabbergasted. And actually no, I haven't seen the fil-m. I'm a little scared to sit in a cinema full of over excited women gasping and wetting themselves over ridiculous scenarios and costume changes.

The article goes on to mention several ways that it and other movies have impacted society so distinctly :
  • "Sex and the City" is poised to become the new Depression Era feel-good movie that makes cash registers ring in shopping malls"
  • "Fedora sales rise each time an "Indiana Jones" sequel is released"
  • "Undershirt sales declined after men noticed that actor Clark Gable didn't wear one"
  • " Look for Americans to embrace and buy merchandise related to pre-Sept. 11 nostalgia"
'oly crap. Pre Sept 11 nostalgia??? That's a bold statement and over sensationalised.
Laurie, Laurie... I know you wanted to finish the article with a bang, but come on! It's only a movie and I'm not sure I even know what that really means. Do people dance in streets? Or kiss random sailors? Should we maybe hold a SATC parade?... actually I don't think that would be a bad idea.