You are currently browsing the archives for November, 2006.

Puppies Forever: Funny Viral for Michael Crichton Book

NewsCorp’s HarperCollins has put together a clever viral campaign for Michael Crichton’s new novel, Next (see WSJ). (Thanks, Metafilter!)

FM's Holiday Gadget Guide Gets Some Press

Steve Rubel at MicroPersuasion likes our Holiday Gadget Guide — and congratulates Best Buy for sponsoring it. ClickZ, WebProNews, Boing Boing, and The Houston Chronicle give it props, too. Thank you all!

Online Ads Drive Value Beyond Clicks

From NY Times: “About a third of consumers sometimes click on banner advertisements on the Web. But twice as many consumers sometimes respond to such ads indirectly, avoiding clicking on them but later visiting the Web sites advertised, according to a survey by DoubleClick.”

We all knew that — online advertising builds awareness too! — but I never get tired of reading more data on the topic.

Weblogs Inc Founder Leaves AOL

The big news yesterday: AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is replaced by Randy Falco, and Weblogs Inc Founder Jason Calacanis will also step down from his post running AOL’s Netscape.com (TechCrunch).

Like he did with the Google-YouTube story last month, Arrington got to the Calacanis news first. I love to see publications like NY Times credit their blog sources! Right there in the, um, very last line of the piece. :)

Digg's Jay Adelson in Forbes

Nice Forbes interview with Digg CEO Jay Adelson. My favorite part, of course, is where he says nice things about FM:

Forbes: Silicon Valley rumor mill blog ValleyWag wrote yesterday that you will be ditching Federated Media Publishing, your ad provider, for greener pastures. Is this true?

Jay: No. We’re not pulling out of Federated Media. We’re extremely happy with the relationship we have with them, so I have no idea where that comes from. We’ve seen incredible results from their team, especially in recent months. This is one of the issues with this new blogging community. There’s no real way to do fact checking. There’s no infrastructure to accommodate some of that. There are a lot of bloggers who do [check facts], but you have to be careful with the rumor mill, especially in the Web 2.0 space.

Thanks, Jay!

Time Warner, Dewars Team Up on Skip-Proof Ad

From AdRants. Hmm. I wonder how that will go over with viewers who paid for a service that, among other things, allows them to skip ads they don’t find relevant. In this age of consumer control, it seems like a step in the wrong direction!

Will Wright Shares Secrets to Popularity of The Sims

The New Yorker ran a profile of Will Wright in the November 6 issue, in which he shares some interesting insights on the popularity of The Sims, and — by extension — online environments such as Second Life. First, the social-interaction elements have brought girls to gaming, not mention more than $1 billion in revenues to EA:

When he was a kid, Wright told me, “I never played with dolls, which is more of a social thing than playing with trains. It’s about the people in the house. [My daughter] Cassidy helped me see that. She and her friends got into the purely creative side of the game, rather than the goal-oriented side, which really influenced me a lot.”

And the powerful idea that these build-your-own-virtual-world applications are more like software platforms than games:

Second Life seems like a logical outcome of Wright’s simulation games — and it isn’t technically a game at all. When I asked Wright about Second Life, he said, “I think what you’re going to see now on Second Life is people who will start to develop games — someone will invite other people to kick a soccer ball around, and it will go from there.”

NBC's Beth Comstock: Google Still Doesn't Bring Marketers Into Conversation

Battelle at Searchblog reports on his Web 2.0 interview with NBC’s Beth Comstock. His paraphrase:

“Certainly all of *us* may want a clarifying metaphor that helps us grok Google’s relentless push into nearly every advertising market on earth, the real question is whether *advertisers* want it as well. And I think in the end, the answer to that question is most likely a qualified no (qualified because they’ll always be happy to push a portion of their budget through automated and efficient channels). But in the end advertisers are not computer programmers, they are marketers, and while it’s true that the approach of AdWords and AdSense pushes remarkable efficiencies and opportunities into the practice of marketing, I posit that the practice of marketing is about more than efficiency. It’s also about emotion, passion, and conversation. And no matter how hard you try, you can’t automate conversations. At least, not until Google (or someone else) pushes computing past the Turing test.”

Cisco Campaign Becomes Wikipedia Entry

I don’t know what kind of value to put on this (is it $100,000s or $1,000,000s?), but Cisco’s Human Network campaign has apparently entered the popular discourse: It’s now an entry on Wikipedia.

Cisco wikipedia

Web 2.0: Marketers Have Lost Control; Some Ideas to Avoid Risk

There was good stuff at yesterday’s Web 2.0 panel, “Marketing: Where Are We Now.” Battelle — wearing his Web 2.0 Program Chair hat, not his FM Founder one — moderated a discussion with Curt Hecht (GM Planworks / SMG), Carla Hendrie (Ogilvy) and Casey Jones (McCann).

  • Curt Hecht: Search marketing can & should play a role in brand campaigns in at least two ways. One, always coordinate keyword buys with brand and PR initiatives. For example, make sure you own “Oprah” and “Pontiac” keywords when you have Oprah surprising her studio audience with free cars. Two, use search marketing to drive audiences to content you want them to see, even if you didn’t write it, eg, favorable editorial reviews on credible, 3rd party sites.
  • Casey Jones

    : Forget about keeping anything “off the web.” It just can’t be done anymore. He cited two examples — one, an XBOX 360 video spot that was rejected before it made it out of the marketing dept, the other an internal spoof video (what if Microsoft made the iPod) — that made their way to YouTube faster than an email leaves its outbox.

  • Ed Cotton, from Butler Shine, posited from the audience that there’s a lot of talk about innovation, but the fear of screwing up is still much more powerful. How do we get beyond this?
  • Carla Hendra’s examples provided interesting paths around those risk potholes. One, Motorola-sponsored silly Back Street Boys-inspired video in China with product placement for a cellphone. Two, Dove’s Evolution video that shows a model’s make-over (both by a stylist and with Photoshop), the transition from ordinary (even plain) mortal to the image we see on an advertising billboard. Three, the seed campaign for Cisco’s Human Network initiative. In all 3 cases, brands took advantage of amateur and viral videos and user-generated, participatory ad creative — yet the creative assets weren’t commercials starring cellphones, soap or routers. The campaigns gave customers some fun or thoughtful content (Motorola and Dove, respectively) to share with friends or an opportunity to converse, in a sense, with a marketing brand (Cisco) without expecting their customers to get excited about, say, soap.