Friday, November 28, 2008

Programming for the YouTube Generation

I've been thinking a lot about the future of broadcast TV, both in terms of the business model and the format of entertainment content. The business model is getting increasingly complicated, as audiences want to watch TV on their terms. Hence, the use of the Internet as a channel, video-on-demand, and DVD/PVRs (digital recording of TV à la TiVo-like devices) are on the rise. Given the targeting of younger audiences (youth culture) and, more generally, the coveted 18-49 demographic, it makes sense to examine media usage trends of younger viewers.  The Pew Charitable Trust's Internet & American Life Project has been studying the use of social media, such as YouTube.  The prevalence of use is increasing and there's trends along gender lines.  Girls tend to create text content and boys post videos.  Moreover, 2007 numbers show 3+ hours of daily viewing a month (68 videos or a little over 2 per day) and one of the hallmarks of online video is that most posted content is fairly short (2.7 minutes).

While the networks had 15-minute shows in the 1950s, the format has fallen out of favor, save for cultural outposts like [a d u l t  s w i m], a block of animated shows for a younger (often male) audiences on Cartoon Network (US).  Will the use of media online shape expectations for broadcast content, in terms of shorter shows?  I think this offers great opportunities for building audiences and followings for shows in this "attention economy" where our time & attention spans are scarce.

Frisky Dingo clip from [a d u l t s w i m]

The show "*ssy McGee" has secured a single sponsor, Scion, and has integrated the ad into the look-and-feel of the show.  This model is evocative of streamed content on network sites and  I see the Scion's media buy is a good match with their target market.  MyDamnChannel, featuring the short YouSuckAtPhotoshop series shows how short videos can be disseminated online with a host site, but using Web 2.0 video sharing sites (YouTube) to enable the content to go viral.
You Suck at Photoshop #1

Ostensibly, the costs will be lower and ideally more shorter content can diversify a programming portfolio.  Therefore, the keys will be the revenues, so building online audience and going viral are the brass rings.  Firms and brand managers should be thinking creatively about sponsoring content that's "on-code" with their brands and plugged into their integrated communications.  A tricky issue that needs to be addressed is the one of royalty payments for online content, which I feel can be solved, although I predict a convoluted system akin to the Writer's Guild's rules for determining writing credits.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Stick it to the man...Wait, I'm the man..."

Craig Ferguson (Late Show-CBS) sort of explains the equal time rule.  More specifically:
"Simply put, a station which sells or gives one minute to Candidate A must sell or give the same amount of time with the same audience potential to all other candidates for the particular office. However, a candidate who can not afford time does not receive free time unless his or her opponent is also given free time. Thus, even with the equal time law, a well funded campaign has a significant advantage in terms of broadcast exposure for the candidate."
No Age guitarist, Randy Randall, could not wear his Obama T-shirt and at the last minute he took a Sharpie, turned it inside out, and wrote "Free Health Care."  Randy went on to blog about it, as did the LA Times music blog, as well as contacting as many friends and press contacts he could, including Stereogum.  They played "Eraser" which was slated for the 10/27 show, but CBS aired it early and Craig said he was all for their punk-rock rebelliousness.  Since Sarah Palin was on SNL, one can predict that Obama or Biden will make an appearance, as hinted at here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

**** Grapefruit

Do you have a strong opinion on produce, fruit to be specific?  This webcomic (may be offensive due to language) disparages grapefruit and garnered almost 540 responses.  

Web 2.0 allows us to be engaged with others on pretty much anything.  We've all seen news articles with thousands of comments.  So many that it's practically impossible to read them all.  What's the point?  Does Web 2.0 just allow the consumer to generate even more clutter for us to sift through?  Also, from the point of view of the consumer/user, why bother?  What is compelling about having voice in a discussion about someone's arbitrary typology of fruit?

One of my students (Nick) sees the value in all of the data behind Web 2.0...the data behind the social network sites, blog profiles, tagging, Amazon transactions, wiki entries, etc., but is there value in experts or those "in the know" cutting through the clutter?  Can this even be implemented?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

Next month on November 23, Fox will air a 2-hour prologue to season 7, 24: Redemption (trailer).  The regular season will begin in January but won't have American Idol as a lead-in.  It's slated to be after Joss Whedon's (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly) new show, Dollhouse
Above is a spoof video that was circulating last fall from CollegeHumor.  I remember those early days of the Internet.  E-mail using Pine and Eudora, crunching numbers with SAS & SPSS on the VAX and having to pick up dot matrix printouts on green-bar paper, using Gopher, Telneting into the libraries at Oregon, Irvine, & Berkeley, and wasting time on Doom or that lame-ass Super Maze Wars.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Life on Mars

I usually take the time to monitor at least one broadcast TV show per fall TV season, seeing how it fares in building buzz and audience.  In 2006, it was Studio60 (NBC), in 2007, it was Pushing Daisies (ABC) & Bionic Woman (NBC), and this year it'll be Life on Mars (ABC).  This NYTimes article notes how David E. Kelly handed over the keys of LoM, which I think was a good move in terms of the show and production costs.  

I think this project is really risky--a high-concept period drama (it takes place in 1973 New York City) finding and keeping audience should keep most involved in the project up at nights.  The production team is trying to stack the deck.  The show is an imported formula from the UK, so the concept might get traction.  In addition, they're using starpower and familiarity, with Keitel, Imperioli (The Sopranos), Bonet (of Cosby Show / A Different World fame), & Gretchen Mol ("eye candy" 
that can be used as a feminist foil).  Like AMC's Mad Men, this period drama can talk about current themes (e.g., gender and sexism) in ways that would be harder for contemporary shows without sounding shrill.  Some of the writing needs to fall into better groove to build the characters, as opposed to allowing them to remain 70s caricatures. 
I found it visually interesting and gritty, feeling it was drawing upon a 70s NYC that Scorsese captured so well in Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, as well as a hint of Luc Besson's NYC (à la Léon). There was the obligatory reference to the 8-track cassette & a shot of the Twin Towers(left), but could it not?  I don't recall anyone drinking Tab, though.

Clip of the UK-BBC version

You can watch episodes online here, but you'll have to download an applet.

I think there's a lot of potential here, but the budget must be astronomical.  The Nielsen ratings are OK, but it's the best premiering drama thus far for the attractive 18-49 demo(graphic), (3.7 rating/10% in 18-49, and 11.33M total).  It beat out the CBS crime drama,
  Eleventh Hour (3.2 rating/9% in 18-49 , 11.37M), but both lost to ER which periodically resuscitates itself, keeping itself out of the morgue (3.9 rating/11% in 18-49, 9.41M).  Eleventh Hour is another UK format import. The original starred Patrick Stewart, but only 4 episodes of that UK-version were produced...probably because of the £4.5M pricetag.

Producers are trying to tap into the 1970s.  The summer replacement, Swingtown (CBS), tried to use racy themes (which prompted the show to protested by some), but the formula just didn't catch on despite that buzz.  Funny how advertisers and brand managers who were worried about the protests about Desperate Housewives changed their tune after it became a hit.

We'll see how this one evolves.  At the very least, it will expose a bunch of people to older Bowie tracks.  You can also listen to 1973 radio courtesy of ABC.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kath and Kim

I've seen the promos for a new sitcom on NBC's Thursday night lineup, Kath & Kim.  Like it's prime time neighbor, The Office, it's an imported format from Australia.  The stars of the US version aren't unknowns, Molly Shannon (Kath) and Selma Blair (Kim), but the early reviews aren't hopeful. It's timeslot is between My Name Is Earl and The Office, so everyone will be watching to see if the ratings tank between the shows, particularly over as the season progresses.  The SF Chron had an idiotic review comparing the two versions.  Huh?  The Office has to be tweaked for US audiences, as are most format imports.

Here's a clip of the Australian version on YouTube:

I don't think a straight copy of the formula would work, but more on the show later.

What caught my eye in NBC's promo blitz was the free preview on  An ad on Amazon got me to watch the pilot.  I think the premise can work, but the writing needs a bit of work to play to the strengths of the actors...the Aussie version's Kim is more edgy, while Selma plays-up a young/dumb/vapid caricature in the US version.  

NBC Universal defected from Apple last year, only to return a year later, underscoring the power of iTunes and its downward pressure on price (regular content is $1.99 & HD is $2.99).  Premium cable content may be higher, depending on the deal in place, but one thing is clear...Apple wants to keep prices low and structured.  

What's your take on the show itself?  What do you think needs to be done to build audience?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Communicating Safety Video: Virgin

This is a real safety video, unlike this one from Diesel.  I must admit I never pay attention to these.  Flying to Canada, I've also grown accustomed to hearing the safety information in (often butchered) French or a tape that sounds like those shrill old language lab recordings..."écoutez, ne répétez pas," still makes me cringe.

I'm sure one of the airlines has or will be offering up videos more like this take-off on "Survivor" by Destiny's Child (from Soul Plane).  Why not?  It's a challenge to get passengers to watch this stuff, but it's also an opportunity to bolster the brand.

Friday, October 03, 2008

sold out gold or how I really, really, really learned to hate cat power + chan marshall

In the late 80s or 90s, there was a SNL skit on "Sold Out Gold." {See transcript below, 9 Dec 2009}. A K-tel style ad parody featuring songs used in huckstering. So, I heard Mr. Blue Skies {ELO} + was pleasantly surprised by a quirky Jet Blue commercial. I'm not sure why, but I liked the ad, as well as the "Bubble Boy" VW spots a decade ago re-introducing the Beetle, also featuring said ELO song.

There are two Bowie songs being used in ads right now. One is for Rhapsody, using a few bars of "Sound + Vision."

The second is the indie heroine troubled with heroin, Chan Marshall, with a lame-ass cover of "Space Oddity," using that affected throaty jazzy schtick she does. WtF! Plus, the ultra-slick über-corporate commercial is for the gas-guzzling Lincoln MKS that costs $38K and gets 19 MPG. Selling out and f*cking the planet to boot. Some tool commented on an article that "people got to make a living." well, if you're a pop artist, sure. katy perry can {for example} slither on the ground selling {H/h}ummers to SUV afficionados and the bicurious all she wants, in my book. it bugs me when "indie" artists that pull this shit but still want the indie street cred, as Chan still mugs for.

Sellout? Flameout? Dark end of the street? Dead end of the street!

What are your thoughts on bands that you felt stood for something, who just went after the big brass ring?

Update 9 December 2009.  I've noticed that this post gets a fair amount of traffic, so I decided to post a transcript to the SNL parody ad I referred to above.

SNL "Sold Out Gold" Transcript
Airdate 18 April 1987, NBC

Sold-Out Gold

Daughter.....Victoria Jackson
Father.....Kevin Nealon
David Crosby.....Jon Lovitz

[ open on Father and Daughter dancing to "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys ]

Daughter: Wow, Dad, that's the Sunkist Song!

Father: No, Jennifer, it's the Beach Boys. I grew up listening to this music!

Daughter: Wow, Dad! You're cooler than I thought!

Father: You mean now, there's music we both can enjoy?

[ cut to David Crosby in a recording studio ]

David Crosby: There sure is, man! Hi, I'm David Crosby. Hey, did you know that many of today's best-loved commercial jingles are actually based on classics from the sixties? Cause they are, man. Now all this great music is available on one collection... [ holds up record SOLD OUT GOLD ] Sold Out Gold! You'll get great hits like Orange Vibrations.

[ SUPER: "SUNKIST VIBRATIONS - The Beach Boys", to the tune of "GoodVibrations" ]

"I'm picking up orange vibrations,
Sunkist Orange Soda taste sensations..

David Crosby: Or the Nike Song!

[ SUPER: "THE NIKE SONG - The Beatles", to the tune of "Revolution" ]

"There's got to be a revolution
Well, you know...

David Crosby: And if you order now, man, we'll sell you this additional album.. [ holds up record SOLD OUT BRONZE ] ..Sold Out Bronze! 20 never-before-aired commercials, including this one from Time Magazine.

[ SUPER: "IN-A-TIME-MAGAZINE - Iron Butterfly", to the tune of"In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" ]

"In a Time magazine, now baby
It's got all the news, if you care.

David Crosby: Or this Doors tune for General Electric!
[ SUPER: "GENERAL ELECTRIC - The Doors", to the tune of "People Are Strange" ]

"Self-cleaning oven,
Digital timer,
Chicken is tasty
When broiled in my range
G.E. range,
Pastries come out all the same,
G.E. range..

David Crosby: And White Shirt!

[ SUPER: "WHITE SHIRT - Jefferson Airplane", to the tune of "White Rabbit" ]

"One shirt makes you formal,
And one shirt has short sleeves,
Ask Arrow
For your shirt needs.

[ Shown: a picture of the Rolling Stones and a box of Eggo Waffles ]

"Hey you, leggo my eggo!
Hey you, leggo my eggo!
Hey you, leggo my eggo!

David Crosby: Plus, these other Sold-Out Bronze classics!

[ Titles scroll:

"(HEY YOU) LEGGO MY EGGO - The Rolling Stones"
"INCENSE AND FEENA-MINTS - Strawberry Alarm Clock"
"JEEP CHEROKEE PEOPLE - Paul Revere and the Raiders"

David Crosby: [ holding both albums] I've listened to these albums over 300 times, man! Now you can too by ordering today. Here's how, man:

(bugs his eyes)

Send $19.69 to:
P.O. Box 1965
Silver Springs, IN, 01965

Or call 1-800-SIX-TIES, yeah.

[ cut back to father and daughter dancing to the tune of "We Gotta GetOut of This Place" ]

"We gotta get out of this place
And take a trip to the Poconos.
We gotta get out of this place..

[ fade to black ]

Happy Jetting...

I've been a fan of JetBlue for a while, flying from Long Beach and now Burbank to JFK.  I saw this ad (above-60 sec) aired on Comedy Central.  The 30sec version is here.  ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" ( caught my ear, which made me take notice of the ad.  Even though it's been used to sell (VW & the Arnold ad agency used it brilliantly to reintroduce the Beetle a decade ago-below), I like the song and hear the influence of ELO in bands like Wilco and Air.

The quirky JetBlue ad is campy and the imagery is hard to place in time.  I think it does a decent job of trying to humorously frame the JetBlue experience in terms of...features that are benefits to travelers and reminding business clients that they're welcome.  Ah, if they could only have the "cone of silence" for crying babies.  If I were in charge of the campaign, I would have done several versions with slightly different "pseudo-retro" imagery in each one.

So, cool or not?  Comments welcome.

So, you like blogging?

Clearly, some of my students enjoy blogging and have taken to it.  Others haven't really started, but I haven't asked why.  I think a lot of times it's that ago-old dilemma...what to say.  That, and time.

As early as 2003, there have people making money off of blogging (Wired).  How much filthy lucre are we talking here?  A recent Slate article noted:
"Blogs with 100,000 or more unique visitors a month earn an average of $75,000 annually—though that figure is skewed by the small percentage of blogs that make more than $200,000 a year." 
I'm pretty sure I don't have the right stuff to have a Rose Bowl-sized monthly audience, but maybe some of my students do.  I blogged about the social aspects of the Lolcat empire back in May and that site bring in over $5000 per month (as of 2007).  Seeing how Perez Hilton rakes in $111,000 per month (as of 2007) makes me think about how those covering the celebrities become celebrities themselves and will how long will the "celebrity spectacle" bubble last.  Fad or trend?  I have some ideas there, but that's for another day.

Anyway, the Slate article has links to ad rates, such as those for "Blogs for Dudes," but I have to admit what caught my eye was the micropatronage idea.  In 2005, Jason Kottke quit his job and asked his audience to sponsor him:  "at a suggested rate of $30 (per annum). He received $39,900 from 1,450 people."  Paypal tipjar anyone?

The key is how to build a big audience.  Compelling content for the masses.  What are your thoughts on this?  If you're interested, you can add Google Analytics to your blogs to track hits.  You have to add code to your template, but it's not that hard.  I think I'll offer a prize to the student blogger with the most unique hits.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Voter Abstinence...

This is from Colbert's 10/1 show. Those wondering why he had John McCain approving this message, click here.
"This year, those young people are of great interest. Allegedly they will be mobilized in huge numbers, and allegedly they will vote strongly for Barack Obama. The latest available Gallup weekly estimate (July 28-Aug 3) shows Obama leading 56%-35% among 18-29 year olds, while McCain leads 46%-37% among those 65 and older.

Why do you think younger voters tend to vote Democratic? Is it an effect of age or generation?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Selling an "Anti-Cancer" Vaccine

On Tuesday, I went to Adina Nack's talk on STDs and the cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil), based on her book.  Gardasil is currently approved in the US for prescriptions for women from 9-26 only.  She showed an Gardasil (Merck) ad from the campaign.  The narrative emphasizes cancer-prevention, as opposed to the STD itself.  The marketing of the drug emphasizes cancer (a disease evoking great fear) and glosses over the fact that it is a preventative for the viral source of many cervical cancers.

The launch ads (2006) featured the use of "one less" language:

The "one less" language has also been used for the Cancer Institute Foundation's PSA:

as well as in last year's Spanish-language "Una Menos" ads:

The New Zealand approach focuses on an appeal of knowing that cervical cancer is caused by a virus "that most New Zealand women will get."  Luckily, in the ad, mom and Gardasil are there to protect the child on the playground from the virus floating around, hovering menacingly:

I just saw a Canadian ad for Gardasil that used a visual "sight" metaphor, where women now "see" and choose not to be blind about cervical cancer and its prevention. Comparing websites 
between US & Canada, the Canadian site (much more minimalist) is more explicit about the STD aspects of HPV, but the appeals still focus on the cancer.  Adina mentions how the "stigma" of STDs affects how we react to them.  Marketing a drug that can prevent a set of STDs (four HPV strains) with a target user age range of 9-26 is a tricky proposition, especially when the decision-maker is a parent or adult guardian.  

I'm not surprised that the recent ads use "cool" to market pharmaceuticals.  According to Forbes, the 18-26 targets haven't really caught on and although there were high hopes for Gardasil, the drug isn't a "blockbuster."  Additionally, The FDA isn't allowing the drug to be available to women 27-45, further limiting the market.  

The drug also hasn't been without controversy.  Despite being marketed as an anti-cancer drug, some were put-off morally, as it could be viewed as encouraging sexual activity in young girls.  Other issues have been safety concerns and unknown long-term effects.  One would think that an "anti-cancer" vaccine would be a no-brainer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apple iPod Invisa-the pace of innovation?

Let's see how long this stays on YouTube.

New link 4/4/2009::
From the consumer point of view, is a fast pace of innovation a good thing or is it frustrating  What are the issues for firms marketing innovations when it comes to delivering value?

Here's part of a graphic on Apple and the mass market created way back in early 2005, almost 4 years ago.  (It would be great if someone re-did this with current products and prices).  It discussed tipping points, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for the New Yorker I often take issue with.  The author of the graphic, Paul Nixon, makes a compelling case for Apple using iPod to create a tipping point in the PC market.  While Mac market shares are not in the double-digits, as Nixon offered as a possibility, there has been growth and being in the 7-8% range is saying something about the Apple brand.  The PC market isn't an attractive one.  Consumers want more and expect to pay less.  The margins are tough and the competition is fierce.  Why stay in the PC market at all?  Why not just quit selling Macs and just focus on the iPod and iPhone?  What do you thing the stakes are?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Annoying Ads 101 {may be offensive}

YouTube Link

I wasn't sure if this was a US or Canadian ad when I first saw it, since it was playing a lot on Canadian networks like Showcase (as opposed to US feeds which are commonly available in Canada). The commentors are right, the original cut used the term "liners," as opposed to "backup."  The narrative here is all about normalizing the body, trying to use humor to sell the brand's value-added.  Does it cross a line?

I'm wondering why mother nature is always a crank in advertising?

Here she is in the 1970s hocking Chiffon Margarine and when she realizes the spread isn't butter but hydrogenated oil, thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening..."It's not nice to fool mother nature."  I hate to admit I remember seeing these ads...I'm that old.

Canadian Anti-Drug Ad

This Canadian ad was ridiculed in Toronto this summer.  The execution was viewed as bordering on comical and delving into creepy, particularly the scene with the girl touching her hair when saying "love drug" (ecstasy).  Is this a PSA for parents or a "how-to" guide for the next crop of contestants on "Dateline: To Catch a Predator"?

Everyone Is Going Green...The Pragmatic Approach

YouTube Link

This ad got a fair amount of airtime during the US Open coverage, along with another "go green" IBM ad.  (I'm sort of going through sports withdrawal after 4 weeks of the Olympics & the US Open.)  This take on things is very pragmatic, emphasizing green as a cost-saving benefit.  The "story" is very staged.  The older, gruff manager having to be "sold" on the environmental angle, emphasizing how the proposal will be popular with the "tree huggers" and will make his company look good, but that his bosses don't eat granola.  The woman appeals with the 40% cost savings, alluding to a relatively painless way of increasing the bottom line.  All of a sudden, the manager "gets it," the b & w gives way to color and "Disneyfied" animals, plants, and flowers appear, along with music from The Wizard of Oz.  (I had to look this up).  There's no description of what is in the woman's report...the hook is the cost-saving narrative.  The featured link offers up the details.  Who is the target audience?

Seinfeld Microsoft Test Post

Friday, June 13, 2008

I get all my new music from commercials...

OK, fine, I did see feist on music TV last summer, but "1-2-3-4" really didn't register until leslie + co. were tapped by ad agency, twba/chiat day, to be in an iPod nano commercial last fall. never mind that I'm not that big of a fan of feist, it doesn't matter. commercials are getting so hip, I now know what I should be liking...or at least looking into.

I think it may have started with a target ad featuring the concretes', "say something new." Earlier this year, I saw a feel-good-candy commercial guessed it...candy. oreo candy bites {photo} . the song is by melanie horsnell, who also did a song for a JC Penney commercial, "today's the day." ::sure, some people hear cool stuff on KCRW or dramas like private practice, gray's anatomy or gossip girl, but I don't have the attention span/patience for that kind of time commitment. promos for dramas, now you're talkin'. I felt sooooo validated when desperate housewives used jem on a promo just days after I bought the CD.

I'm beginning to think I really shouldn't be allowed to make my own purchasing decisions...seriously, I got suckered in by this?!::
"In a candy house, with a secret door..
There's a magic world that I've dreamt before.
A little girl place is where I'll be,
On a star-lined street, with a big tall tree.
... Candy ...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Diesel infographic safety video

"Please pay careful attention to this video before entering a Diesel store."
DieselPlanet on YouTube trying to use humor (attempting to create viral videos) to maintain a brand image.  Do you think this is effective?  What's the narrative here?

Tips & Tricks with Texting

A friend of mine at a major cellular provider sent me an e-mail showing how this article was sent to employees and used to motivate the salesforce to sell more texting plans.

The PC World article, 10 Killer Texting Tricks, is interesting and some of these are useful. I've used SMS to take notes on the road and jot down ideas for screenplays. I've sent voice packets to friends, but only as experiments. I have yet to try Mapquest (driving directions) or Google using SMS, probably because I see it as a waste of nickels.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Whither Twitter

The proliferation 

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gift Cards Frozen

An AP story reported that Linens 'n Things is filing for Chapter 11 bankrupcy and will be closing 120 stores, about 30 of which are in California. A sidenote is that $42M in giftcards will be frozen, affecting 400,000 consumers. Consumers tend to think of gift cards as cash, but they are actually debt for the company. Payment was already received for future purchases, so the company technically "owes" in the form of merchandise. The lesson is to be wary of gift cards from shaky retailers.

The company has been in dire straits for a while and many have criticized their heavy use of sales promotions with coupons over the years.

Friday, May 02, 2008


Note: There is a correction to Verizon's 2007 satisfaction score, which is 71, not 61.
In 375 (ADEP), we discussed the Apple iPhone & AT&T exclusivity deal. I was out of the country when it launched (it still isn't available in Canada), so I missed the huge buzz and only read about the hype on tech blogs and Wired. Well, typically all phones make it to all 4 major carriers, but this exclusive lock-in with AT&T creates a tremendous amount of value for that carrier, which (ideally) fosters a huge commitment to the alliance. At the time of the deal, AT&T was the market share leader: AT&T 27.1%, Verizon 26.3%, Sprint Nextel 23.6%, Others 11.9%, & T-Mobile 11.1%, so Apple was going with the largest base. In terms of 2007 customer satisfaction numbers (a key marketing metric), wireless telephone carriers are in the high 60s and low 70s on a 100-point index. AT&T is up from being in the low-60s, but is still a lackluster 68. Verizon is a 71. The worst of the majors is Sprint Nextel at 61. All others are 68 and T-Mobile is 70. Strategically, what would you do? You would probably want to know which carrier has the best customers, in terms of "technographics" (technology usage & demographics).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Spontaneous Socialilty of the Web

I'm not original in thinking that the Web is a way users can structure life both online and offline.    Parodies of online life are nothing new, evident in the Make Love Not Warcraft episode of South Park a few years back.  The reality of the situation is that youth culture uses the technologies in both F2F and virtual realms.  The New York Times wrote about flash mobs in 2003, which was all about pointless "spectacles" generated by connected users.  Usually, being featured in the NYT means its already pasée, but flashmobs are still going on.  Spontaneous happenings for those "in the know."  The use of technologies to belong, to connect with others, and to gain "meaning" or simple entertainment are part of fundamental human processes.  What are the parameters here?  What happens when companies and organizations try to co-opt these organic happenings?

Another somewhat non-commercialized spontaneous activity on the web is the creation and dissemination of "lolcats."  These started out as images of cats using "lolspeak" captions, with the object being comedic value (which is in the eye of the beholder).   Time wrote about it last year, noting how the sub or microcultural becomes mainstream (and hence covered in magazines like Time).
 Like flashmobs, these were organic and spontaneous creations, not generated by a slick production house and spawned by WGA writers.  Now, they're commercialized, but there's still a DIY-feel to the phenomenon.  There seems to be a 
desire for these organic and spontaneous creations.  What can be done to foster more of these or does that do violence to the spirit of the idea in the first place?

Social Networking Sites for Mobile Users

There is a lot of hype about computing and the Internet going increasingly mobile.  "Contextual" marketing has been hyped since 2001.  Now, about 12.3M users access social network sites (SNS) on mobile devices.  Social media tracker has compiled 38 of them here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jack in the Box on MySpace

It's A Jack World

Video from Jack's Myspace Page with fictional bio.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Weakerthans-Live "Plea from a Cat Named Virtue"

Why don't you ever want to play?
I'm tired of this piece of string.
You sleep as much as I do now, and you
don't eat much of anything.

I don't know who you're talking to
I made a search through every room,
but all I found was dust that moved
in shadows of the afternoon.

And listen,
about those bitter songs you sing?
They're not helping anything.
They won't make you strong.

So, we should open up the house.
Invite the tabby two doors down.
You could ask your sister, if
she doesn't bring her Basset Hound.
Ask of things you shouldn't miss:
tape-hiss and the Modern Man,
The Cold War and Card Catalogues,
to come and join us if they can,

for girly drinks and parlor games.
We'll pass around the easy lie
of absolutely no regrets,
and later maybe you could try
to let your losses dangle off
the sharp edge of a century,
and talk about the weather, or
how the weather used to be.

And I'll cater
with all the birds that I can kill.
Let their tiny feathers fill

Lie down;
lick the sorrow from your skin.
Scratch the terror and begin
to believe you're strong.

All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV,
and frankly that thing doesn't really interest me.
I swear I'm going to bite you hard and taste your tinny blood
if you don't stop the self-defeating lies you've been repeating
since the day you brought me home.
I know you're strong.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Weaving content and advertising

Scion, Toyota's youth-oriented make has forged a deal to exclusively sponsor the Adult Swim show, Assy McGee, airing late nights on the Cartoon Network.  The deal was put together by Zenith Media giving Scion exclusive sponsorship for a year.  Scion will have 35 second commercial inserted into the 15 minute episodes (the runtime of the episodes are 11'30").  The April 6th. episode had "Assy" as a car dealer, à la Cal Worthington's My Dog Spot ads, offering low, low prices for the Scion xB.
Assy McGee premiered in late November of 2006 on Adult Swim.  Initially, there were no takers for advertising on the show, due to its questionable content of having a trigger-happy detective played by an animated pair of buttocks. 

Friday, April 04, 2008

Which isn't in the Top 10 of Internet sites in term of traffic??

As of April 4, 2008::


Answer on Quantcast. Amazon
Press release on Quantcast approach to web media measurement.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Subprime Crisis Explained-UK Style

This does a good job of explaining what went on to create the subprime crisis. It shows how business "doublespeak" is used to market and brand products that have credence qualities.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Embedding Video Example

This is a BMW Internet ad directed by Guy Ritchie from YouTube.

In order to embed video on your own blogs, here's what to do::

  1. Go to a video sharing site that has the option to embed videos on your site/blog (e.g., YouTube)
  2. Copy the code from the "Embed" window (not all videos allow embedding), using control-c or ⌘-c (Mac)
  3. Go to Blogger and log in
  4. Create a new post
  5. Go to the EDIT HTML tab
  6. Paste in the code
  7. Go back to the COMPOSE tab for WYSIWYG formatting

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Amazon Kindle Review on cNet

I'm interested in seeing where this technology goes.  The cost is $400 and it uses an EVDO (high-speed cellular data) connection.  The e-ink screen is black-and-white and a color screen won't be available for at least a year.  It was one of Wired Magazines top 10 gadgets for 2007, as well as one of its biggest heartbreaks.  I wonder...Is this something you would use?

Thursday, February 28, 2008 link for "kkambara"

Link to

"You Suck at Photoshop"

Here's some comedy from "Donny Hoyle."  The series is on MyDamnChannel and actually has some good tips here and there on using Photoshop, while the viewer gets to see Donny's marriage disintegrate and gets a peek into his stressed-out life.

Users are getting more and more content from sources that circumvent traditional "big media."  In addition, users are watching video content that have short runtimes, watching them repeatedly, sharing the links, and commenting on posts.  Sites like MyDamnChannel are providing venues to showcase content in one location, but its also being disseminated virally on sites like YouTube.

Here's the first installment:

List of Blogs for IM-Spring 2008









Blogs in Plain English