Advertising Age - Bob Garfield's Chaos Scenario 2.0

Advertising Age - Bob Garfield's Chaos Scenario 2.0: "Maybe you'd better lean forward. Presently you will be given five reasons to consider something barely imaginable: a post-apocalyptic media world substantially devoid of brand advertising as we have long known it."

This is a tough read. It's long for Garfield. And it rings more than one bell - the final one for advertising as we know it. I have to date downplayed pronouncements about the iminent collapse of the marketing communications agency vertical. This article is the first to give me pause.

Second Life Loses Luster

Second Life Loses Luster: "'The most successful business people in Second Life have taken a look at the commercial landscape and determined where needs exist,' said Catherine Smith, Linden Labs' director of marketing. 'If you are not authentic and do not offer anything to the community, you are likely to be ignored.'"

The AT&T Communications Inc. corporate headquarters building is seen in San Antonio, Texas.   Telecommunications giant AT&T announced Tuesday that it formed an alliance to enable people in the United States to use mobile telephones like cash, checks or credit cards.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Toby Jorrin)

"ATT said it was working with Atlanta-based mobile banking firm Firethorn, online commerce website CheckFree and a set of US banks to fulfill the vision.While people in parts of Europe and Asian already have the option of using mobile telephones to make store purchases or tend to banking, the innovation is in developmental stages in the United States.

"This is revolutionary," industry analyst Jeff Kagan told AFP.

"This is the first wave for cell phone banking here in the United States. We've been watching for years overseas. It is a proven system. People love it.""

"Video ads within online TV programming is great for brand awareness but repetition is watering that awareness down, according to a new study from MillwardBrown, reports ClickZ."

One line of thought is to jump early because every new wave comes fast and fades faster. Smirnoff's "Tea Partay" viral video killed in August 2006. Would it have a chance today? Not with about 150,000 YouTube uploads a day. It's just part of the clutter.

Now we know for certain that hundreds of millions of US Internet users are watching video online. Many are downloading favorite shows. And already ad effectiveness is eroding. That's too bad. It hints at one important point, though. Effective interactive campaigns provide engagement and "lean forward" experiences. Just watching video - whether it's online or on TV - is neither.

Finally, Somebody Is Measuring Mobile
M:Metrics is trying become the Nielsen of the mobile phone advertising world. "MeterDirect, the service is targeted to programmers, media planners and advertisers needing to know details about the way people are using mobile devices." Read more here.

TV, Print Trigger Online Searches
Traditional advertising plays a key role in prompting consumers to search for merchandise online, according to a study by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) and BIGresearch.

Roughly half of the consumers told researchers they take cues from TV, magazine and newspaper ads to determine when and where to shop online. In order of preference, 47% said they turned to magazine ads, followed by TV commercials and newspaper ads at 43% each. (Respondents could choose more than one medium.)

In-store promotions motivated 27% to search for products online. When it came to coupons, far more women than men used them for online guidance, at 42% of women versus 29% of men.

The survey findings seem to reinforce the evidence that many marketing agencies are collecting, which indicates online and offline marketing programs work better than online-only or offline-only campaigns.

Microsoft Launches Clickable Video Ads for Kohl's: "If the Daisy Fuentes shirt in that online video ad looks like something you'd want to buy, go ahead and click it. Microsoft has made it possible for viewers watching ads for Kohl's department stores to click the images they like for more information, or even buy the items directly from

The Video HyperLink (VHL) technology was developed by Microsoft's adCenter Labs, and is the group's first stand alone product. The Kohl’s ad (click to view) is currently running only on the MSN Video portal."

Kohl's and Microsoft have launched spots that let you click on specific items (in this case clothing) while watching the commercial.

This is online-only at the moment. Remember though, Microsoft is deep into Gaming via Xbox Live. Plus MS is going deep into on-demand video via your TV at home. Also, MS is delving into TV via your smart phone/PDA with Windows Mobile (like the Moto Q and Palm 700W, for example).

All this adds up to clickable commercials on three screens - Internet, TV and phone.

Not a pipe dream. It's already here.

MediaPost Publications - Viral's Not For Just Anyone: 50% In Survey Rate It Fad For The Lucky Few - 03/19/2007

MediaPost Publications - Viral's Not For Just Anyone: 50% In Survey Rate It Fad For The Lucky Few - 03/19/2007: "'What it means is a lot of people are asking for viral campaigns because they see a lot of free reach and the creators getting a lot of PR. There's a lot of desire to do it, but viral is dependent on something big, outrageous or new. Dove already did 'Evolution.' How many more can do it now?


MediaPost Publications - Say Hello To Mobile Change - 03/16/2007

MediaPost Publications - Say Hello To Mobile Change - 03/16/2007: "Although mobile devices have penetrated nearly 80% of U.S. households and SMS has penetrated over one-third of all users, data services drastically lag behind. Only a fraction of consumers report using data services and the mobile Internet. It seems that in the rush to advance the mobile market, the consumer is the holdup."

Harris Interactive | News Room - Harris Interactive Reveals New Research on Consumer Acceptance of Mobile Advertisements

Harris Interactive | News Room - Harris Interactive Reveals New Research on Consumer Acceptance of Mobile Advertisements:
"Incentive-based advertisements
According to the study, a surprising 35 percent of adult cell phone users are willing to accept incentive-based advertisements. Of these adults, 78 percent say the best incentive would be cold hard cash, followed by free minutes (63%), free entertainment downloads (e.g. ring tones, games; 40%) and discount coupons (40%).

Preferred method of delivery
The survey further reveals that over half (56%) of those who are at least somewhat interested in receiving ads on their cell phone say they would prefer to receive them via text message, while 40 percent would like to receive them as a picture message. Less than one-quarter of adults would choose to receive them as videos (24%), while others would have them transferred automatically to email (23%), as a voice message (22%) or something else (7%)."

Also, MediaPost wrote an overview with additional insights - Read it here.

The days are numbered for the 30-second TV spot - Mar. 14, 2007: "'There's no question that one of the problems with the traditional 30-second TV ad is digital video recorders. The whole market is under threat from TiVo-like functions. And it's going to get easier to avoid commercials with Apple TV,' said Tim Wilson, a general partner with Partech International, a venture capital firm that is looking to invest more heavily in online video and other forms of new media."

Uh oh. Here we go again. The "end of advertising as we know it." This is bound to come up once a decade. When was that Wired magazine cover story anyway? Oh yeah ... 1994!

More "end of advertising" pronouncements -
Advertising Age (2006)
Sergio Zyman's book from 2002
and without further ado,
The amazingly prescient Wired (issue 2.02) article "Is Advertising Dead?" from 1994

Priceless | Golf | MasterCard®

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Priceless | Golf | MasterCard®
Those maniacs at Oddcast have done it again. This time they've synchronized Web video with phone-based audio in real time. How it works: You call a toll free number to speak with one of four golf pros (Ben Crenshaw, Arnold Palmer).

When you connect, the online video syncs in real-time with the voice on the phone. Caveat: It's not flawless. There's a lag if you're on a cell phone, for example.

MyStrands Mobile Adds Community To Streaming Audio

MyStrands Mobile Adds Community To Streaming Audio: "Symbian Series 60 users should take a look at MyStrands mobile, a compelling music sharing app that creates social playlists - you and your buds can share music - and discovery though tags and search. It even supports multiple languages so you and your friends in France can share your Serge Gainsbourg playlists.

The service accesses a collection of six million songs, so hopefully there’s something out there for you, and connects directly to your MyStrands page."


Go to fullsize image
This makes a good case for doing something interactively engaging when otherwise the brand has no real fit in a massive sponsorship.

It's a stretch, but I suppose I'd draw a link between Coke Zero's re-formulation of the classic Coca-Cola ("we should sue ourselves") and configuring the NCAA Tournament Bracket.

Might be jumping the shark. But in my online promotions experience that's often as much of a link as you get.

Tech Firms Push to Use TV Airwaves for Internet - "A coalition of big technology companies wants to bring high-speed Internet access to consumers in a new way: over television airwaves. Key to the project is whether a device scheduled to be delivered to federal labs today lives up to its promise.

The coalition, which includes Microsoft and Google, wants regulators to allow idle TV channels, known as white space, to be used to beam the Internet into homes and offices."

Get the Internet with rabbit ears. Welcome to the weird wide web, friends.

Viacom sues YouTube over copyrights - Yahoo! News

In this still image of a computer screen showing the YouTube website, an image of the Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants is seen, March 13, 2007. Nickelodeon owner Viacom Inc. sued the popular video-sharing site YouTube and its corporate parent, Google Inc., on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 seeking more than $1 billion in damages on claims of widespread copyright infringement. (AP Photo)

Viacom sues YouTube over copyrights - Yahoo! News: "Viacom claims that YouTube has displayed nearly 160,000 unauthorized video clips from its cable networks, which also include Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, marks a sharp escalation of long-simmering tensions between Viacom and YouTube and represents the biggest confrontation to date between a major media company and the hugely popular video-sharing site, which Google bought in November for $1.76 billion."

And now ... the sound of a bubble bursting ... or maybe not!

MediaPost Publications - Dairy Queen Hopes FlameBlower Advergame Will Go Viral - 03/13/2007

MediaPost Publications - Dairy Queen Hopes FlameBlower Advergame Will Go Viral - 03/13/2007: "DAIRY QUEEN LAUNCHED THE DQ FlameBlower advergame, and will award a $25 gift certificate daily to a randomly selected player to encourage participation. "

Another glowering example of the confusing misuse of "viral" in marketing. DQ's online game is plainly an interactive promotion, not a viral marketing campaign. Of course they hope it "goes viral." Why not just say they hope it catches on?!

Study: U.S. game console ownership rising rapidly | CNET

Study: U.S. game console ownership rising rapidly | CNET "Media research company Nielsen released a study Monday showing that the number of U.S. households supplementing their televisions with video game consoles has risen more than 18 percent since 2004.

The study, detailed in a report called 'The State of the Console,' was conducted from the fourth quarter of 2004 through the fourth quarter of 2006 by the company's Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services division. Nielsen found that the number of U.S. households with televisions that also have video game consoles has risen from 38.6 million to 45.7 million homes over those two years."

Notable: There are 110 million TV households in the USA. That means gaming consoles have reached nearly half of all US homes.

MTV Networks embraces Web chaos to regain viewers | Technology | Internet | Reuters

MTV Networks embraces Web chaos to regain viewers: "The network, which already has 150 Web sites in 162 countries, plans to build literally thousands more, hoping to draw viewers by letting them watch, contribute and even re-edit its television shows.

'People tend to find content on the Internet through thousands of front doors as opposed to one,' said Mika Salmi, the new digital president of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc."

Is this an admission from the former music video network that its audience has moved on? YouTube, MySpace and Facebook account for hundreds of millions of video views per day. The most popular are (1) movie trailers and (2) music videos. MTV risks overreaching and overspending to launch "thousands of sites" in this strategic move to recapture some of its audience.

The end of analog TV broadcasting | Chicago Tribune

The end of analog TV broadcasting | Chicago Tribune: "For the 15 percent of American households that rely on over-the-air broadcast signals, their sets will just go dark, unless they have tossed that analog TV set in favor of a digital one or have purchased a digital-to-analog converter box."

On Feb 17, 2009 all over-the-air TV signals in the USA will convert to digital. Yes, television will remain free. But the rabbit ears of yore will no longer capture the signal.

Importantly, once all TV is digital then every tuner, every set and every show will be linked to some kind of database. That means we can potentially track every show on every set in every household. Whoa.

No Rest for the Wiki
BusinessWeek is consistently on top of new media tools and trends. Not only am I surprised that BW's hotter than, say, Wired on all this stuff, but I'm impressed by how smart BW is IT. (Now if I could only get more colleagues to read it.)

To wit, this excellent report :
"Welcome to the world of corporate wikis. The sites that make it easy for people to add and edit information have revolutionized encyclopedia creation, evidenced by the growth of Wikipedia (see, 6/7/04, "Wikis' Winning Ways"). And though they've been used by corporations for a few years, they're making deeper inroads lately and are gradually rewriting the rules of collaboration at companies as varied as Sony (SNE), Xerox (XRX), Disney (DIS), and Microsoft (MSFT)."

International Social Network of 90 Million Users

"Yahoo Answers, with the ‘flick of a switch’, has now become the Answers Network and in terms of social network size, is now one of the largest social networks online. Yes, Yahoo Answers now rivals MySpace and Facebook in terms of International reach and active member numbers.

But size is not all the Answers Network is about, it’s about niche social networking and in the tradition of other Yahoo social properties like MyBlogLog, Flickr’s “Contacts” and’ “Your Network”, the Yahoo! Answers Network Beta is working to enhance the overall user experience by helping people connect to the information they care about most through others with similar interests." (from this Search Engine Journal article)

Search Wars 2.0
There's a new global war a-brewin' again over the search space. This time it's about relevance and people-assisted intelligence versus the late '90s blitzkreig of pure indexing power (which Google won after we all crowned Yahoo!).

Look out for these upcoming "major" players:
- Wikia
- Cha Cha
- Divvio

CNBC's Fast Money and Logitech invite you go "Face 2 Face" with your webcam: "For the first time on primetime television, you can go on air via your webcam to ask your question. "

Watch out! Here comes the Webcam wave ... it's a trend-in-the-making.