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Does Mickey Mouse Know About iPhones?

I took this picture at the photo wall outside Disneyland California Adventure’s California Screamin’ roller coaster: A woman elbowed her way to the front so she could snap an iPhone picture of the one she’s featured in, the one she wouldn’t be buying from Disneyland. And she wasn’t alone. Almost every member of the throng of people exiting Space Mountain or limping off Tower of Terror was doing the same.

Maybe some were snapping shots as a way to remember the code number in the upper left corner, so they could later pay $16.95 for the commemorative version — but I doubt it. It’s not like the official version, blurred by the speed of the roller coaster, is especially high quality. Most of us are just happy to have survived the ride and a want a photographic memory of the fear-contorted look on our face.

Given how rarely the forces behind Disneyland pass up an opportunity to maximize revenue ($35 t-shirts, $25 per kid for PB&J pizza breakfast at Goofy’s Diner, $6 for a cardboard tube in which to carry your caricature portraits, etc) — and given that Steve Jobs himself was once a board member and the company’s largest shareholder — it surprises me that omnipresent digital photography is getting the better of them. They’ll find a way to get an extra 17 bucks from me next time, I’m sure, but for now I’ll put this one on the refrigerator and enjoy its free-ness.

Google's Biggest Advertisers in June 2010 (And What They Tell Us About Online Media)

Top 10 Google Advertisers June 2010

Hats off to Michael Learmonth at Ad Age for getting his hands on this sensitive document!

“While the search-spending document obtained by Advertising Age is not a complete list of advertisers on Google, the accuracy of its data was verified by multiple sources with direct knowledge of spending levels. It’s a revealing cross-section of Google’s business that gives some clarity to one of the most opaque areas of ad spending, and the lifeblood of many American businesses. “

Two noteworthy items in this story.

One, Google’s revenues are well distributed: Its top 10 advertisers (in June, anyway) represent only 5% of its total revenue. While 47 advertisers spent more than $1 million in the month, another 71 spent between $500,000 and $1 million, and other 357 spent between $100,000 and $500,000.

Two, Google’s revenues — which represents around half of all online ad spending — continue to skew heavily toward direct-response advertising versus brand advertising. Google’s top 10 includes University of Phoenix parent Apollo Group, Expedia, Amazon, eBay, Hotels.com and Living Social. Compare that to the list of top 10 US advertising spenders across all media:

Top 10 Advertisers Across All Media

Outside of AT&T, they are entirely different lists. At this point in the history of the Internet, it’s hard to argue that the big brands haven’t yet gotten hip to the crazy new technology. The only reasonable explanation is this: The giants of ad-supported online media — portals, publishers and social media platforms — are not offering solutions that do the stuff of brand marketing. Nobody beats search and behavioral targeting when it comes to serving up a coupon when we’re hunting for a product. But clearly the big spenders on the brand side aren’t convinced online ads can turn us on to a new shampoo or shaver, or convince us to walk into a dealership when our old car is still running fine.

Tired of Letting Fans Love Its Brand, Disney Shutters Virtual Magic Kingdom

I guess successful marketing can become too much of a good thing. Last week, Disney shut down Virtual Magic Kingdom, its popular (and free) virtual-reality theme park.

Disney Protesters

“Disney plans to throw everyone out of VMK and lock the gates — erasing their online profiles, lives and collections of virtual trinkets and real estate. Disney says it never intended the 50th-anniversary promotion to run this long, but money is also a factor: Virtual Magic Kingdom is free, and full access to Disney’s other online game sites — like Club Penguin and Toontown — costs as much as $9.95 a month in the case of Toontown.”

Will the subscription-fee windfall be big enough to recover the lost value in brand-love by a core of its most evangelical supporters?

(Thanks, Matt!)

Disney Offers More For Contextual Mis-Targeting File

Caught in the act by AdRants, Disney family resorts ads have been running alongside near-porn photos and content at sites such as Egotastic.

“Last Fall, some contextually placed Disney ads appeared in a webcam video of ‘Andrea’ fondling her breasts. Now, a series of banner ads are appearing on celebu-porn site Egotastic next to Keeley Hazell covering her breasts, images from a Kristen Davis ‘sex tape,’ images from a Lindsay Lohan sex tape, Denise Richards displaying her crotch and more. Screenshots are here. No nudity per se but possibly NSFW. More than likely the ads appeared on Egotastic as a result of a blind buy with neither the agency nor Disney having knowledge. It’s yet another reason why blind buys are rarely a good thing for most brands, especially one so very conscious of its family-friendly image.”

Disney Ads Next to Nudes