Monday, September 29, 2008

Digital Rights Groups Urge Court Not to 'Chill' Innovation

by Wendy Davis: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology and other groups are urging a federal court to balance the need to protect technological innovation with copyright owners' rights in an infringement lawsuit brought by the record industry against peer-to-peer network Lime Wire. While the organizations do not take a position on who should win the lawsuit, they argue that at least some of the record industry's arguments in the case could "chill legitimate innovation" if accepted by the court.

Kids, when are you going to learn?
How long has this crap been going on for? 10 years? Maybe since the invention of the cassette tape? I remember sitting in front of the wireless, waiting for the good songs to come on and recording them. Then when CDs came along I'd make my own mixes for personal use, people would also make me mixes and give them to me. These were great methods of distribution.
Now, it's a lot faster with online.

Bottom line is, there will always be piracy and there is nothing you can do to stop it. It's time record companies stopped trying to fight these methods of distribution- in all honesty if someone's listening to your artist amongst the multitude of musicians out there, that's a pretty good thing.
It's really a continual wake up call to stop being so lazy, realise the music biz has moved from the old school formula to a different model and adjust. It's a hard road, but better than fighting a fruitless fight.

In the meantime, you can make me a mix. I prefer the usb variety these days. Retro chic.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Advertising Week: The Future Belongs To Creative

by David Goetzl: In the continuing tug-of-war between what drives the train--creative or media--a top Unilever executive Thursday came out in favor of creative. Strong media plans are only as good as the work. Says Babs Rangaiah: "We have to penetrate the culture."

Hmmm, why do marketers need to box everything?
Media or creative?
Copywriter or art director?
Online or traditional?
Everything is blurring. And to be as close minded as choosing one over the other is incredibly naive. Marketers continue to talk in a language that is the familiar, but the tower of Babel has come down and this language just don't work anymore.

It will no longer be a question of one or the other, it's combining the best of all worlds to bring the most creative well placed solution. It's about stepping up to the plate and meeting the changes head on, using all the tools at hand to create the most optimal solution . No more of this 'do what we've always done because if it doesn't work I can just blame it on the past'. The multitude of consumer preference, combined with options available to consumers makes our jobs more exciting and challenging. Did I mention cost effective?

Marketers, don't be scared. I'll hold your hand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Google's G1 Takes On iPhone and Mobile Web

by Mark Walsh: Move over, iPhone--the Gphone has arrived. After months of Internet-fueled speculation and hype, T-Mobile Tuesday unveiled the G1 mobile phone powered by Google's Android operating system and bundled with Google software including search, Gmail, Maps, and YouTube

Biggest storm in a teacup since Hurricane Hanna
Yeah it's new and it's cool and it is potentially very sexy- but it won't be anything we haven't seen before. There are no surprises anymore.
It's great that there is competition and it will be exciting to see how Google applies their thinking to smart phones- creating more options for the consumer and more healthy competition in the marketplace. But the challenge isn't overcoming the excitement at the new technology, it's about how you're gonna use it in the marketplace and monetise, baby.

Just keep it realistic and don't get too nuts. Keep perspective against the hoopla.

Monday, September 22, 2008

GM To Reverse Strategy, 'Pull Back' On All Media

Advertising Age: General Motors, which lost $15 billion in the last quarter, plans to cut its digital-media budget after dramatically increasing it in the past few years. Mark LaNeve, marketing executive, says GM "is going to pull back slightly in all media types" in 2009. In each of the last two years, GM pulled back on TV spending and beefed up digital.

Unlike in prior years, the automaker will not advertise during the Super Bowl in 2009. A month ago, GM also dropped out of its longtime sponsorship of the 2009 Academy Awards.

Two months ago, GM's CEO Rick Wagoner said ad spending would be cut in 2008-2009, but the company planned to protect "launch products and brand-advertising" budgets.

I honestly think GM's agencies aren't working for them HARD ENOUGH
If your thinking is clever, you know the way marketing works today and you know what consumers respond to, you should know that it's pretty damn cost effective. You don't need fireworks displays of 30 second ads costing 17 zillion dollars. If your agencies are smart enough they'll come up with solutions and methods to have the same sort of 'air time', 'conversation time' and 'attention grabbing time' that you did before the shit ads. You'll probably even get more time with all of those things if your agency does what they're meant to do- be creative with their solutions.

What has happened to most of the agencies out there? They've all lost their kahones.
I thought that when a creative mind is stuck with their back up against the proverbial wall, what other alternatives are there but to come up with newer, better ways of doing the same old crap?
You're sitting right there at the apex of falling into sameness, or needing to cut back the same crap of what has always been done- and you KNOW this is the time where you're meant to come up with something different don't.
Shame on you GM for not addressing your agencies inabilities to meet their job as an agency. Shame on you agencies for not showing GM the right way to go.

Tsk Tsk. No more of these for you:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Social Networking Passes Porn As Top Search Category

Reuters: In his new book, "Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why it Matters," Hitwise General Manager of Global Research Bill Tancer reveals that social networking sites are the Internet's biggest attraction, surpassing pornography and underscoring a seismic shift in the way people communicate. "There are some patterns to our Internet use that we tend to repeat very specifically and predictably, from diet searches, to prom dresses, to what we do around the holidays," Tancer told Reuters. He conducted his research by analyzing consumers' searching habits

One of the biggest shifts in Web use he found over the past decade has been the fall of interest in pornography or adult entertainment sites. Searching for porn has dropped to about 10% of searches from 20% a decade ago. "As social networking traffic has increased, visits to porn sites have decreased," Tancer said, adding that 18- to 24-year-olds were searching less for porn. "My theory is that young users spend so much time on social networks that they don't have time to look at adult sites."

Yeah, it just means people have met their porn needs on social networks
Our world exists in 3 concurrent dimensions - physical, digital and virtual.
I believe that:
Physical is the actual real world, you know, the one you used to get up in the morning for.
Digital is the actualisation of retrieving and finding any type of data or content on the net.
and virtual is the social interaction that happens on the internet. It's certainly not real world, and it's an extension of existing relationships to those who know you, and a highlight reel to those who don't.

I definitely do not think that users don't have time to search for porn. Multitasking, tabbed browsers and the unmitigated need for teenage boys and the general male population to find porn is and always be prevalent.
Seen mySpace in the last 6 years?
Have you seen the pictures of women on there? Porn/slut central, proof here and here (I don't think these are worksafe). Tila Tequila. Remember her? I think her biggest problem in life is working out whether she is gay, straight or bi and her next greatest issue is what heels to wear with her bikini.
Case closed. Porn lives.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The End of Consumer Surveys? -- Procter & Gamble and Unilever are linking with the Advertising Research Foundation for an industry effort to embrace online chatter and other naturally occurring feedback like never before.

Wa wa wee wah
Imagine, an end of income for many consumer research participants who claim no to not working in the ad industry, no relative in advertising/journalism/or any of the above and have not completed any other survey in the last 3 months.
An also impressive initiative, but I don't know if it's solid.
I think you can certainly use online chatter to bring further insight and validation to a marketing problem, but I don't think you can use it as a replacement.
But it's good. Good job. Can't wait to see what they come up with.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nerdy crap maintains coolness factor

Boing Boing: LEGO album covers on flickr
From the fantastic Flick Lego Album Covers Poll comes the Beatles "LEGO it be" by minifig and the White Stripes' "White Blood Cells" by Joanna Saves the Earth. Of course the White Stripes are no strangers to lego, having worked with Michel Gondry on the LEGO-ised "Fell in Love with a girl" video. LEGO Album Covers Pool (Flickr via Geekdad)

This stuff is sophisticated playtime.
Do a bit of research, get out the old skool lego and combine it with a bit of pop culture and you have yourself some avant garde mash up that excites and makes people laugh. Better than that cute cuteness factor garbage.
And the best thing about this stuff- anyone can do it, but is usually is just smart people who are funny and have a good grasp of pop culture.

All this pov/raw/not-too-profesh/not-too-whizbang production value stuff seems to work because it's the content that is focused upon.
Other things that work in this way:
Postman pat is a joke. Could pass for sophisticated playtime except it's professional and he loves his black and white cat.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

AT&T, Verizon Add Social Networking Hubs

by Mark Walsh: The carriers' new applications give users a single source for accessing multiple social networks including MySpace. While both use the same platform, Verizon's "SocialLife" costs $1.49 a month, and AT&T's "My Communities" is priced at $2.99 monthly

What's wrong with this picture?
This is an interim strategy which might prevent growth, might not. Can't you foresee see flat rates for full suite of service?
I'm talking phone, internet, sms- the works. None of this piecemeal crap involving greedy phone companies trying to make astronomical profit instead of trying to cultivate healthy consumption patterns of the future. By healthy consumption patterns I mean mobile phone usage which makes a person's life as convenient as it can be. Which as a result means more ad space and ad dollar. A no brainer.

With internet and mobile data speeds always on the up and up, data transfer will become faster and cheaper but, the growth and change need help.
$1.49 is pretty cheap, but I bet there are some pretty heavy conditions in there.
Come on- these changes are going to happen, but if you really want them to happen they need a lot of help....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're in a holding pattern

This is still bothering me and it will for at least the next 6 months (unless something comes along and surprises me).
But I think at this stage, we've found a happy place for all this new media and communications technology. Brands, Publishers and broadcasters have begun to integrate and I think they're doing an OK job so far. They're learning what works for them, what doesn't. A good effort. At least they're trying.
The only thing that hasn't changed is all the news articles about new media. Stagnant and boring. Lacking any insight or thought. You're boring me.

These articles today continue to demonstrate the holding pattern. i.e. how many times have we heard this crap?:
The Future of Media by Bob Guccionne Jr.
The expectations for accurately predicting the future of anything, especially something as mercurial and open-ended as media, tossed as it is on the illogical seas of pop culture and pulled by the currents of technology, are so low that the exercise invariably falls, like a failed soufflé, to the level of a parlor game. The boldest and most contrary predictions amuse and make people think a bit, and then everyone forgets about it.
except this one has a few good points

Mashable: New Media May Save Television Ads
More and more TV news hosts are asking viewers to "Twitter your comments to our guest." The Washington Post plans to create social networks among people with common reading interests. Why not create the same for fans of "Gossip Girl" or haters of "The View"?

Nielsen: Mobile Advertising Still Facing Hurdles by Mark Walsh
Nearly 77 million U.S. mobile subscribers recalled seeing some form of advertising on their phones--an 81% increase from a year ago, according to a new study by Nielsen Mobile. While such trends signal an improving mobile ad market, the report also highlights how advertising has lagged behind the growth of mobile media usage. The majority of mobile ad viewers (63%), for instance, see ads just once a month or less.

Marketers Taking Cautious Approach With Online Media by Laurie Sullivan
As budgets continues to tighten, marketers are resisting industry hype about emerging "cool" tech tools and are taking a cautious appr
oach to experimenting with new media, according to a recent Forrester Research study.

We're in these iterations where you get comfortable for a bit, knowing where everything kind of sits, then something else new comes along and we go back into a holding pattern. In the last few years we've had lots of change so the holding patterns have been pretty non existent. But change for a while and we can get a little comfortable.
This generalist diagram represents the changes we've seen over the last few years. The steps represent change happening, we absorb for a bit then another change comes along and we absorb again, represented by the horizontals. Except now we're not used to no change. Sure Facebook comes out with some upgrades, YouTube adds some improvements, but it's nothing that changes our lives like an actual YouTube, Google or launch of some technology which changes how we function as people. We've had so much change in the last few years that now we expect it. But really, nothing has been new for a while. Just new companies trying to offer different iterations of the same thing.

So kids, get comfortable. Unless a Cyberdyne Systems Corporation Neural Net Processor model comes out, I don't think anything new is coming for a while.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

MySpace Is Out, Facebook Is In

by Karl Greenberg: A panel at Monday's PMA Digital Marketing Summit in New York tackled social media. Its biggest conundrum seemed to be this: Which is better, Facebook or MySpace? Everyone pretty much agreed that MySpace is out, Facebook is in.

The panellists think that the whole white collar/blue collar thing was a meshigas?
I actually liked that research, it made a lot of sense.
MySpace is a mess and the kind of unedited trash that simple minds like. Facebook is refined, a bit more sophisticated and as we've seen, takes a lot of work to maintain and keep up to date.

If you look at who actually spoke on this PMA panel, they're all upper crusters. One of the hardest and saddest things you have to remember when working within the marketing industry is that the majority of any population is uneducated and not that intelligent.
That's why the following makes sense:
  • reality shows continue to excel
  • People love gaming! wtf!
  • People read trash papers
  • Celebrity focused magazines are huge sellers

So I don't think MySpace is a bomb, it's just a case of diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks!

My favourite kind of graffiti

Shadow graffiti!

It's so clever and only turns up at a certain time.
Love it when something so simple, says a lot.

Care of Wooster

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Want What She Bought: TurnTo Debuts Shopping Widget

by Gavin O'Malley: On the hunt for venture capital, word-of-mouth technology startup TurnTo Networks is slated to debut the beta version of its e-commerce widget today at DEMOfall 08 in San Diego."We want to be the AdSense of social shopping," said Gadi BenMark, TurnTo's chief revenue officer.

Hang on...Let's come back to reality
Yes technology is great. But look at the segue. That was a *great* idea. The only 2 people who appear to use it are Steve Wozniak and some dufus in my building who parks it out the front with a lock and chain. Hey Marty, NO ONE is taking your segue.

The point is that not all technology is ideal for the human/socially salient population. So my problems with the widget lie in:

a) tells visitors to e-commerce sites exactly what purchases their friends and family made on that particular site.
Sounds a little like Facebook Beacon.....another idea that went down well.
I'm starting to think if a family and friend recommended a product that they bought, that would sit so much better with people. It is an active effort by a consumer to give a shout out/reference to a product they use. Same thing, just a little refined.

b) The company also is in active discussions with a number of travel, tickets, and events sites, BenMark said. "We think the service is particularly well-suited to ticket and events ecommerce," BenMark said. "That way, someone can go online and see what concert their friend is going to, and then buy tickets to that same show."
Mmm, thinking logically about travel and concert/event arrangements
  • Travel - involves planning. Seats on flights, accommodations are usually arranged together prior to booking a destination. Tag ons on holidays are difficult and would involve some kind of human etiquette to ask if the tag on is appropriate. This is opposed to someone finding out about a holiday their friends are taking and turning up on a honeymoon, uninvited!

  • Concerts - Arrangements usually involve a telephone or email:
    "I saw that Liberace is playing, do you want to go?"
    "Yeah I'd love to, I'll book for us"
    This is typical to allow for seats that are together. As opposed to a thought process going on in someone's head:
    "Oh look, Jean booked a ticket to Barry Manilow, I'll book too. Then I'll call her, tell her I'm coming and we can make plans to go together, sit separately and then try and find eachother after the show and go home together"
    Not exactly logical.
It's got potential, just a few kinks.

Twitter As A CRM Tool

BusinessWeek: A single Twitter message sent by a person with thousands of followers can hold tremendous sway, says BusinessWeek. As such, brands are increasingly following influential users of the microblogging service. Think about it: A negative tweet about a product or service can be read nearly instantly by hundreds of thousands of people. But a positive interaction with a representative of the brand or service provider can also help change the influential person's perspective.
The likes of JetBlue, Comcast, and H&R Block have all recognized Twitter's potential in providing customer service, the report says, adding that tools like Tweetscan and Summize (now simply known as Twitter's search tool) make it easy to follow what's being said about any brand. It's also free.
But not all Twitter users want corporate America following them. "It has potential for delivering business value, clearly, but at the same time there are some risks," says Ray Valdes, a Gartner research director, who adds that brands monitoring Twitter users can come across as "a little creepy." However, in some cases, the right follow-up message can earn them a second chance, as one Southwest customer found out after his flight was delayed and his luggage was lost. After tweeting his displeasure, Southwest sent him the following message: "Sorry to hear about your flight -- weather was terrible in the NE. Hope you give us a 2nd chance to prove that Southwest = Awesomeness." Later, in a blog post, the user called the message both "cool and frightening at the same time."

Wait, wait! The article mentions William Shatner? Can we bring it back to him? Is HE using Twitter?
Sadly not really. However the article does mention someone spotted Mr Shatner on a JetBlue fight and tweeted it.

Twitter is a great platform for companies and people (aka consumers) if used in a way that doesn't resemble ADHD. Sometimes I wonder how people get any work done using twitter all day. And I have no doubt that most brands will pick up this or a similar type of technology to bolster their customer service platforms.

The article does mention that those at the helm of these companies or marketing departments are in control of these Twitter accounts, but doesn't focus at all on how important that is. Realising as a consumer that you are contacting someone who really knows what they're talking about and someone who can actually help you is huge. These Twitter honchos have real control and can correct if something isn't working.

Isn't it amusing that I mention these people can really correct it, I don't feel that way at all about customer service peeps:
a) Because they still seem so inhuman and are reading out of a manual
b) They're really at the lowest rungs of the company and I doubt give more than 2 shits about their company
c) They really can't make any decisions outside their authorised standard set of solutions

What this means is that in 6 months, when everyone else has caught on and hundreds of companies are involved on Twitter
1. It will no longer be the head honchos you're speaking to (unless they follow the Zappos model)
2. It will be like everything else, something new will come along and we'll jump on that bandwagon.

Oh Denny, you're so great. Please Tweet for me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Starbucks' 'Billion-Dollar' Plan Starts With Breakfast Rollout of Healthier Menu Items Said to Meet Consumer Demand.
Howard Schultz's "billion-dollar idea" starts with oatmeal, apple bran muffins and a protein plate. The Starbucks CEO has been promising healthier and better-quality choices in his stores, the result, he says, of consumer demand that will ultimately rake in a billion dollars for the company.

America is the most unhealthy country in the world
Whenever I want a snack, I am always under whelmed at the options available to me- sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fat and oil.
I am also surprised that fat-sodden foods are always the cheaper options and the only snacks supplied on domestic flights. Disgraceful!
I am even more surprised that with a country with so many fatties, there isn't more being done to help curb the over eating.
As far as I can see it, this is a necessary to-do. But it seems the consumer demand they're meeting must be mine as no one else seems to be interested. Then again, I don't even go into Starbucks- as it's been said before the largest public toilet network in the world!

...and if the Yanks go as far as the Aussies do, there might even be a jury to address the banning of fast food advertising between 6am and 9pm. That's a really long time....
"Parents groups have reacted angrily to the decision by the Australian Media and communications Authority not to ban junk food advertising on television, claiming the proposals issued by the government watchdog did not go far enough.
The Parents Jury, which is calling for a complete ban on junk food advertising between 6am and 9pm, said 97% of its members support a ban"
Apparently these 9.7 people think that advertising causes children to be obese and banning the ads will stop the obesity. Last week they tried burning books, the week before that they banned MySpace (this was actually a good one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"My Facebook Page Called Me Fat"

The Washington Post: Every time Washington Post writer Rachel Beckman logged into her Facebook home page, an ad showing a bulging stomach would appear with the headline "Muffin Top?" After a while, Beckman began to notice, and she posted the following status update: "Rachel doesn't appreciate her Facebook page telling her that she has a muffin top."

As Beckman points out, the basic goal of product advertising is to shame us into buying products, and Facebook, knowing that Beckman was soon to be married, got even more vicious with its product ads. Next came, "Do you want to be a fat bride?" Better learn how to put off the pounds before the big day by going to such-and-such Web site.

Facebook lacks tact, like an overly verbose uninvited Aunt.
This is great. Really so very funny. It is like that relative who always says the wrong thing and then digs in the knife even deeper:
"You're looking a bit sallow dear. And those dark circles aren't helping either"
"Put on weight love? Those pants are so tight and I don't think your thighs appreciate it"

I wonder how Rachel Beckman got the fat ads in the first place. I get them too. Perhaps it's someone's great insight that ALL women wish they were 5 pounds lighter!
But the fact that they just go for the jugular every time is fantastic. Fantastically bad. This isn't a sales scheme, this is abuse and taunting. It won't be long before this type of marketing goes down the route of someone hurting themselves because Facebook was mean to them. Only in America and I have no doubt it will happen. Better fix it before FB has a lawsuit on their hands.

Even worse are those Jack Myers ads with a woman on each arm. I find those incredibly offensive. Enough to give anyone nightmares....