You are currently browsing the archives for July, 2008.

AOL Stops Sharing Revenue With Its Bloggers

From Erick at TechCrunch:

“Plenty of people blog for free, but when you are blogging for a multi-billion-dollar media conglomerate like AOL (a unit of Time Warner) at least you can expect a steady paycheck. Or not. Recent belt-tightening at AOL is hitting its network of bloggers, many of whom are being asked to curtail their posts or stop altogether. Others are being asked to post for free, and are actually doing so in the hopes that they might save their jobs come August.”

NY Times Gets Hip to Conversational Marketing

Chevy NYT Welcome Page

The New York Times has launched a sponsored content section in partnership with Chevy that brings together editorial stories from the Times archive featuring GM, Chevy, fuel cell and hybrid vehicles.

I love it. How could I not? It’s a full sibling of The Best of the Green Web site FM launched in partnership with Chevy back in May. I may love it even more, since it’s validation from the Gray Lady that conversational marketing — if done transparently and authentically — can coexist comfortably with the most respected ethics in journalism.

Chevy NYT Artilces

(Disclosure: The Gray Lady is an investor in FM.)

Microsoft Underwrites 'Boing Boing TV World'

As Brian Morrissey at AdWeek puts it, “Brands Grab Web Video’s Long Tail.” In this case the brand is Microsoft (the charity-based I’M Initiative) and the long-tail video is Boing Boing TV.

BBtv World

“Xeni Jardin isn’t exactly a household name, but she has a sizable following. As one of the creators of the popular blog Boing Boing, Jardin’s a bona fide Web celebrity.

“Now, Microsoft is hoping she can lend some small-wattage star power to its ‘I’m Initiative,’ which promotes Microsoft instant-messaging and e-mail by tying them to social causes. Through a deal brokered by Federated Media, Microsoft is underwriting episodes of a new Jardin-produced Web series, ‘Boing Boing TV World,’ which gives snapshots of international cultures.”

Lenovo's Olympics App for Facebook Beating Goals

According to Lenovo VP David Churbuck, the Olympics app for Facebook is exceeding expectations:

“Well, we’re just a month into the program and I can attest that it is working as planned. Big credit due to our partners at Intel -– Megan McDonagh and David Meffe really pushed the program and helped us figure out how to design and pay for it. Intel CMO (and fellow sculler) Sean Maloney’s drive to transform PC marketing through innovative digital tactics is transforming PC marketing and the promotional plan for the Lenovo Olympic Blogger program has benefited from Intel’s insights. I won’t divulge numbers, but we’re more than 50% of the way to our target and the Games haven’t even started yet.”

John Shankman on AOL's Sponsorship of Fan House Leagues

It’s one thing to get scooped by the competition. But when you get scooped by a co-worker (James Gross) who gets an exclusive interview with another co-worker (John Shankman), it’s really humiliating. I’ll try not to let this cloud my judgment when I approve their Q3 bonuses. On to the story….

Here’s how John Shankman describes the AOL’s sponsorship of SB*Nations’s Fan House Leagues, where fantasy players can take on their favorite SBNation bloggers.

“Federated Media represents SB*Nation which is an amazing community of sports bloggers and individual sports team blogs. AOL FanHouse recently acquired a great fantasy football platform called Fleaflicker that players can use as instead of Yahoo!, ESPN or CBS Sportsline to manage their fantasy football leagues. There are value-propositions that Fleaflicker offers, that their competitors can not, the problem was though how do we make the fantasy sports playing community at large aware of this in a way that will cut through all the other ad messaging out there? And so, Fan House Leagues was born. I hope that the FanHouse community and SBNation community continue to use this brand asset to promote both of their brands for more than just this season. Helping to support a community like this goes so far in today’s marketplace.”

SBNation’s Fan House Leagues Site Demolition Man video

HP Print Ads Give Computer-Skin Contest Scale

At least twice a week I hear some variation of this question: “Gee, that conversational-marketing stuff is cool, but how does it scale?”

HP’s computer-skin design contest offers one answer. Back in September HP put out a call to artists who’d be interested in designing a notebook “skin” for an HP Pavillion, and 8,500 creations were submitted. HP then featured the winning design (by Joao Oliverira) in print ads to take the “Computer Is Personal Again” message to a significantly larger audience. Here it is, ripped from July’s issue of Wired:

HP ad in July 2008 Wired Magazine

Other examples: BMW, Dell, Haagen-Dazs and Intel sponsored Graffiti contests in Facebook.

Lenovo Finds Social-Network Marketing Sweet Spot

AdWeek profiles several brands that are using Facebook as a platform to amplify more traditional sponsorships, including Lenovo’s work in Facebook to extend and reinforce its official sponsorship of the Summer Olympics.

“Lenovo has created 100 athletes’ blogs in an attempt to align itself with some less mainstream sports, such as field hockey and modern pentathlon. It gave the athletes laptops and video cameras to chronicle their preparation for the games.

“‘We wanted to do something that shows our tech prowess, not something that uses the Web as billboard,’ said David Churbuck, vp of global Web marketing at Lenovo….

“The blogging program is complemented with a Facebook effort that lets users virtually identify themselves with their country’s teams. Federated Media and Citizen Sports created country applications users can add to their profiles. So far, more than 100,000 have been downloaded….”

At one extreme, brands are building Facebook apps about themselves and their products, which deliver deep and relevant customer engagement — but the number of customers engaged might have only 4 digits or fewer. At the other extreme, brands are spraying banners across social networks to reach millions of consumers, though impact — let alone engagement — is suspect. In the middle is a sweet spot: Marketers collaborating with leading apps providers (in this case, Citizen Sports) to bring their brands to customers already engaged in a relevant conversations. Lenovo’s off to a nice start, with 100,000 customers so far primed to enjoy the Olympics through a Lenovo-powered feed in Facebook.

Lenovo’s Medal Race in Facebook

“[The] intangibles [such as positive buzz] were the lure of the Lenovo athlete-blogging program, said Churbuck.

“‘The old model of blunt impressions, the billboard model, is not going to do it for me,’ he said. ‘I’m far more interested in how many comments we drove, the traffic to athletes’ blogs, downloads of the applications. Those are more tangible expressions of engagement with the brand than clicks.’”

It’s worth pointing out that Churbuck isn’t easily swayed by the latest fad in online marketing, either. Back in March, he blogged about a panel of social-media marketing folks, including my boss and FM’s founder, John Battelle. Here’s what he had to say just four months ago:

“Battelle recounted a Dell campaign run in Facebook — seemed semi-interesting, but not earth shattering. Bell called out the move from 101 SMM to 201 and AP level discourse on the finer points. Indeed, moderator Polly LaBarre basically told the crowd of mostly clients that if they haven’t gotten the ‘transparent, authentic, marketing-is-a-conversation memo’ then they were essentially under a rock. Bell is working with me on a very cool Olympic play I’ll disclose next week. I don’t feel compelled to rush into Facebook anytime soon, and as for Federated — we shall see.”

(Congrats to Mike Kerns and his crew at Citizen Sports; the Lenovo team at Ogilvy and Neo; Megan McDonagh and the Intel Inside folks; James Gross, Jason Ratner, Pete Spande and their team here at FM for building a concept compelling enough to win over Mr. Churbuck.)

Darren Herman: Media Sales Execs May Survive After All

Media Kitchen’s Darren Herman scared me with his headline Goodbye Media Sales Execs. That’s it, I said, no more inviting Darren join me on stage at the Conversational Marketing Summit!

Then I read his post, and found myself in deep agreement with his take on the future of media sales:

“While ad exchanges currently supply Madison Avenue with inventory such as 300X250, 728X90, and other IAB standard impression units, you cannot purchase integrated/custom campaigns. While what you can do in a banner/button unit can be extremely creative and unique, you are not able to purchase page takeovers, custom content, or any other unique placements.

“I believe Media Sales Exec’s lives are going to become much more efficient. Let agencies and marketers buy standard ad-units through exchanges layering on different targeting data (not just technologies), but when the phone rings to publishers, it’ll be for the custom/highly integrated media opportunities: where the sexy dollars are.”

More on the topic from my colleague Pete Spande.

Here too is an earlier post at ChasNote.

Polar Bear on a Shrinking Iceberg

Dairy Council Teams Up with the Oprah of Oklahoma

Pioneer Woman

I forget who first used the phrase “Oprah of Oklahoma” for Ree the Pioneer Woman, but it works for me.


Not that the Pioneer Woman is the richest woman in America, nor does she dominate daytime television. But, like Oprah, she’s built a relationship with her fans that is cult-like in its fervor. When Oprah gives away Pontiacs, it’s national news; when the Pioneer Woman posts recipes featuring dairy products (as part of a sponsorship by the Dairy Council to promote 3-A-Day of Dairy), hundreds of readers comment on every post. This lasagna recipe, for example, elicited nearly 400 comments.

Ree, got any tips for little ol’ ChasNote??

(Credits: Matt Trotta at FM worked with the crew at Edelman on this sponsorship.)

Forrester's Owyang Calls BMW Drawing Contest Best of Social Network Marketing, 2008

Among Jeremiah Owyang’s Best and Worst Social Network Marketing round up, BMW’s Graffiti drawing contest in Facebook gets the top score.

BMW Submissions

Thanks, Jeremiah!