Thursday, December 9, 2010

Electric Donut

People, great things are happening.

Last week my roommates and I were watching television. In one commercial break, we saw three absurdly ridiculous commercials in a row, all of which had us laughing and shrugging our shoulders. The commercials made no sense—and we loved them.

Babies cruising down the highway, awkward staring, misuse of power tools, it’s all delightful. And after all, it makes sense. People watch television to be entertained, why not make commercials as entertaining and provocative as the show?

Now of course this is just my preference. I know there are people who stare at these commercials like they were calculus problems and at the end render their judgment:
“I don’t get it.”

But to those people I say, must everything “make sense?”

Should the hare always beat the tortoise?
Should outer-space have walls?
Should every character in Spongebob be impossible to understand because the propagation paths wouldn’t conduct the vibrations? And for that matter, should the majority of the characters be mute because their species don’t actually have vocal chords?

What were we talking about? Oh, right.

Wisdom by Warren:
Enjoy nonsense. It’s good for the soul.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Initial thoughts on The Domino Project

Earlier today, Seth Godin unveiled his new book publishing model, involving a partnership with Amazon. On the whole, the thesis seems a little vague-- it’s difficult, without concrete examples, to understand exactly what changes to the publishing model Godin is proposing. However, there are a few pieces that I find intriguing right off the bat:

Adjustable, real-time pricing models. I’d like to see authors have more control over the prices they set, as well as being able to change those as they see fit. In Godin’s words, “Pricing can vary based on volume, on timing, on format.” I’m imagining that, instead of the Sony Reader Store telling me that they’re running a 10%-off promotion on all Anne Rice books, the prices might actually be able to reflect market interest. Books prices could lower as the book gets older, or raise if there is heavy market interest. This seems like much less guesswork on the publisher/author’s part up-front, when you don’t even know how the book will perform.

“Less middleman” equals more consumer insight. Godin mentions, quite a few times actually, that there are benefits to eliminating the “middleman” (in this case, bookstores). To me, this means that the author will have access to more direct data about his consumer, as opposed to depending on Borders for this information. (The importance of this direct data is covered in more depth in the book The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, which is an incredible read with many useful applications.)

Less bloat. It seems that when most authors want to pen, say, a business book, they drum up about five pages of useful information and stretch that out over 200 or so. What Godin is calling “manifestos” may act as a solution to this: shorter, more to-the-point presentations of content instead of the glut of filler that the industry sees currently.

Godin discusses his ideas in (slightly) more depth on his blog as well as on The Domino Project’s site. I’m still struggling to see what the landscape-changing, radical idea is here-- much of it sounds like a new marketplace for epubs-- but I trust that more information will be forthcoming and that this is a concept you’ll be hearing much more about in the near future.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010


It seems Apple has made the banner ad cooler, smarter and just plain better. And of course they have. That’s what they do. So what is iAd. If you google it, you’ll get a definition for IAD – Internet Addiction Disorder, which is kind of funny. But that’s not what I’m writing about.

iAds are mobile, interactive, immersed ads running on iPhones, iTouch, and iPads. The immersed means that you can click on the ad and not really leave the app. Once you close the ad, you’ll resume playing Angry Birds or whatever you were doing when you noticed the iAd.

The iAd makes sense. Apple has the world’s most devoted, passionate and captive customers. According to Apple, these iAds can run on any of the 7 billion installed applications. And each Apple user spends, on average, 30 minutes a day using an app.

Apple can also target users, delivering iAd content that they are most likely interested in. For example, Renault just launched an iAd for their electric car that will appear when users search for electric car charging stations using the PlugQuest app.

After the holidays, when every man, woman and child have opened their iPads, we’ll see some numbers on whether they’re working or not. Until then, I’m happy that Apple has made mobile advertising a little more interesting.
Monday, December 6, 2010

The Death of TV

In the first half of 2010, digital media buys exploded by 68%. “Tell me something I don’t know” you’re saying. Well, the value of that media skyrocketed by 117% -- to $9 billion, according to the "2010 Mid-Year Digital Media M&A Review" from Peachtree Media Advisors.

So what does that tell us? Digital media is no longer the future -- it’s the present, and with increased returns they’ll be increased spending. And as most of us know, all that money comes from the same pot. The pot from which creatives have schemed and squabbled over into the dead of night. Plotting their next trip to Fiji…because there’s more daylight there and it’s efficient for shooting TV of course. We’d stir our cauldron of creativity and spite the digital media gods with our wit and whimsy!

Then came the Mad Ave witch trials. Sure, brands were still producing television campaigns, but the end was in sight. No more black magic here, just click-throughs and analytics…whatever those are. And here we sit, on the verge of extinction. Anyone know how to code? Didn’t think so. But don’t go running for a Starbucks application just yet. TV isn’t dead…it’s just buried in the ground waiting to become a zombie and rise again.

As digital media grows, the perception is that content made for the web needn’t have a high production value. For starters the interwebs can be slow, making loading times unreasonable and file sizes too big to host such content. But much like the way our content is being delivered, that’s all changing. Soon, it’ll be cable company execs serving you your pumpkin spice latte, not us creative types. Look at Hulu or Netflix, heard of those? Do you think studios making the content viewed on these sites have skimped on production value? Not on your life. And as consumable media shifts into digital and our access to digital media increases, the demand for high production value online will increase as well. Perhaps even surpass what we’re capable of with traditional media.

All content, and I mean all content will be delivered digitally. And this shift will usher in a higher production value for online content, much like how Technicolor, HD and DVR changed the way we make ads. Content with a polished fit and finish will best represent your brand, as it always has. Once again, leaving creative types the world over circled round our big ideas working our voodoo magic, doing what we do best.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mobile Marketing

  • The US population, based on the 2009 census, is 307,006,550.
  • 285 million Americans, or about 90% of us are mobile users.
  • 1.12 trillion minutes of talk time a year.
  • 2.5 billion text messages a day.

Warren Buffett does not use a cellphone.
So, obviously, minus the gazillionaires, there’s a lot to be gained from putting your message out on the mobile platform. I think the most interesting direction this platform is headed is location-aware marketing.
A very cool Coca-Cola / Tron game.
Find the mini, take the mini, win the mini.
And as someone who does not like to shop, I think ShopAlerts is amazing. You download the app, opt in, and then when you pass by a store that has something on your shopping list, your mobile notifies you. And what’s more, it can also give you discount codes and coupons for the items you want!