You are currently browsing the archives for June, 2011.

100 Years of Coke Bottles

Photo from via Nippys. That 1916 bottle looks great.

My Space Rollercoaster: Startup to $580M, to $6B, to $35M

Full timeline at PaidContent.

Making 4 Trillion Images Interactive

Earlier this month, in the lobby of Federated Media’s CM Summit, I chatted with Scribe Media about Pixazza, interactive images and startups.

“An increasing amount of content is being built around photos to enhance stories and increase engagement. Pixazza has looked through the eyes of consumers viewing your images and see they want more than just a limited, static experience. How much of an opportunity does this create for brand advertisers? Chas Edwards, CRO of Pixazza, states that 20% of those presented with interactive images engage with that additional content. He reports 100 million daily interactions by 150 million monthly uniques, with 100 publishers signing up daily for Pixazza.”

More at Scribe Media.

200 Brands With the Largest Ad Budgets

Would you have guessed that Chevy spends more than Ford or Toyota? Or that Macy’s spends more than Target? Other rankings that surprised me: Arm & Hammer spends more than Gatorade, Kia spends more than Volkswagen, and Ashley Furniture spends more than Ikea.

Check out this great infographic that ranks the top 200 brands by the size of their 2009 and 2010 ad budgets.

Top Auto Ad Spenders

The top two in each category (first, second):

Auto: Chevy, Ford
Retail: Walmart, Macy’s
Apparel: Skechers, Nike
Telecom: AT&T, Verizon
Restaurants: McDonald’s, Subway
Food and Beverage: Coke, Campbell
Beer: Budweiser, Miller
Cleaning Products: Tide, Clorox
Financial Services: American Express, Chase
Beauty and Personal Care: L’Oreal Paris, Olay
Insurance: Geico, Progressive
Consumer Electronics: Microsoft, Apple
Media: DirecTV, Dish Network
Drugs: Lipitor, Cialis

Web Usage Outside of Facebook is Shrinking

Growth of Facebook, Decline of Web

In the early days of Federated Media, we started new-prospect meetings with a chart that showed one line going up and to the right (“Internet usage is growing”) and another line going up more steeply (“usage of conversational media such as blogs and social networking sites is growing faster”).

Time to update that chart! The latest numbers from Comscore (the same source we used back in 2006) show that without Facebook, the Internet is actually shrinking.

More at Business Insider.

Coca-Cola Friendship Machine

This campaign won the Gold Lion at Cannes in the Outdoor category and is a favorite among the folks at Adverblog.

I’m not so sure. Cute idea for a party, but I’ve got to believe the delightful novelty wears off quick.

How Do You Feel About the Sponsor That Brings You Free Wifi When the Wifi Doesn’t Work?

No Connection, Brought to You By Today's Sponsor ATT

I love the concept and the crew at Jiwire, the company that offers free wifi in airports, hotels and other public spaces — if you’re willing to first watch the sponsor’s commercial. But just now at Denver International Airport, the service managed enough bandwidth to show me AT&T’s ad but not enough to open a webpage or pull down my email. After clicking a button to say I was willing to watch AT&T’s commercial, and then looking at their banner for 30 seconds while I waited for my connection, I’d say they succeeded in making an impression on me. But it wasn’t exactly a good one.

Does that matter? I mean, here I am banging out a post with AT&T’s name all over it. Did the ad work, since I noticed it, or fail, since I’m feeling kind of annoyed at AT&T right now?

(Note: I’m currently connected by way of AT&T’s Personal Hotspot plan on my cellphone. So they came through for me in the end. But I still feel cheated. They offered up a deal — my time in exchange for a quick, free internet connection. I did my part, and then they skipped out on their side of the bargain.)

The Ad Man Who Invented Father’s Day

Vintage Father's Day Ad

According to Jon Michaud, writing for The New Yorker, Father’s Day as we know was invented by ad man Alvin Austin:

“In the nineteen-thirties, representing a consortium of menswear firms, Mr. Austin set about turning the quieter paternal holiday — which had been first proclaimed by the State of Washington in 1910, without anyone’s noticing — into a blockbuster.”

Thank goodness for Mr. Austin. He really made my weekend.

The Exorcist Meets Dirt Devil Vacuums

Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.

For those of you who (like me) still have nightmares inspired by The Exorcist, this commercial brings good news. It was all just a silly mix-up involving a superstitious small-town priest and clean-freak in the apartment upstairs. Phew!

Creative credits at Ads of the World.

Editor’s note: You know when it’s the devil, true. But sometimes it takes the devil a few months to get in touch with the ChasNote reporter on the horror / religion / vacuum cleaner beat. Apologies.

(Thanks, Nicole!)

Inspiration to Action: Hearst and Pixazza Partner to Bring Interactive Images to House Beautiful and Redbook

Fashion and design magazines have always used their pages, and especially their photography, to inspire. In some cases the inspiration hits readers, who seek to imitate the beautiful people, clothes, hairstyles and decors that are profiled. In other cases it’s advertisers and retailers that find inspiration, manufacturing and pitching similar products that will be accessible to a wider audience of consumers.

Vintage L'Oreal Ad from Harper's Bazaar 1961
(Vintage L’Oreal ad in Harper’s Bazaar from 1961.)

I couldn’t track down the first appearance of a “get the look” feature in an American magazine, but as far back as the late 19th century French fashion houses recognized (to their dismay) that commercial retailers were lifting their styles and converting them into mainstream product offerings.

“French design and the superior craftsmanship employed in its realization had always guaranteed access to the world’s luxury markets for all of the decorative arts, including the couture. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, revival styles were common in France, and even art nouveau, created in the 1880s in an attempt to develop a French style competitive with the English arts and crafts aesthetic, was suffering from the omnipresence of cheap machine-made copies.”

For at least my entire lifetime, the editors at leading fashion and entertainment publications have supported the trend by helping readers dress like the beautiful people. Maybe you’re unable to get Vera Wang to sew you a custom-made gown, they imply, but here are some made-to-wear alternatives that affect a similar look.

Pixazza on Redbook

So perhaps we’re due for a digital make-over — some internet magic that makes it easier for magazine readers to look at inspiring photographs and turn that inspiration into action with a single click. Today Pixazza and Hearst Digital Media announced a partnership to help readers of House Beautiful and Redbook find products (or ones that are visually similar) that are featured in the magazines’ photos. Readers who mouse over images marked with a “Get This Look” icon are presented with an information card that links to products in the picture and advertising offers that are relevant to content tagged inside the image.

“We look for those marketing opportunities that are disruptive, unexpected and true to the brand voice. At the same time, though, any advertising medium must work toward getting do-it-yourselfers going by moving them from inspiration to action,” says Rob Horton, vice president for marketing for Akzo Nobel Paints, maker of Glidden Paint and the maiden sponsor of interactive images on House Beautiful. (More at the NYT’s Media Decoder blog.)

The Pixazza approach uses freelance shopping experts to tag objects inside the image. That’s different in two ways from the traditional magazine approach, where a staff editor finds the “similar look” content. One, the crowdsourcing approach is faster and easier to scale — Pixazza’s shopping experts are tagging images that are viewed 3 billion times per month (and it’s still a relatively small team of taggers). Two, the concept of tagging things inside the image — creating a database of products and brands and even lifestyle attributes such as “is she wearing exercise clothing?” — opens the door to a more versatile suite of applications. “Get the Look,” certainly, is a popular one. But that’s only the beginning.