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It’s Hard Paying Attention to the Gadgets

Three stats I saw last week got me thinking about our rising inability to pay attention to anything.

Empty Conference Room
(Photo credit: Tom Quinn/Flickr Creative Commons.)

One, while on conference calls, 60% of us report to multitasking and generally not paying attention unless we’re the ones doing the talking. (Nobody is paying attention to your conference call.)

Two, there were those stats about the abysmally low engagement rates for brands in Facebook. (Why brands are un-friending Facebook.)

“Red Bull’s main Facebook page has 44m fans. Maybe a lot, but by generating just 330,000 interactions last month, the brand managed less than 1 monthly interaction for every 100 fans…. Meanwhile, Coca Cola’s main page has a whopping 84m fans globally, but scored an engagement per fan 20-times lower than Red Bull’s. MAC, one of the digitally most sophisticated brands in high-end beauty averaged just one monthly interaction for every 500 fans. Same story with a top digital performer in the beer category- Heineken, earning just 1 interaction for every 180 fans.”

If you look at just those two stats, side by side, you might conclude that corporations produce really boring content, and when we’re at work talking about our corporations, we’re boring too. But I also saw this third data point: People reading on Kindles are much less likely to remember the plot of a story than readers who read the story in a paperback book. Digital readers experience comparable levels of “empathy and transportation and immersion, and narrative coherence” that are similar to physical-book readers, but there’s something about “the haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle [that] does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does.”

I don’t exactly to know what to make of that. (To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what all those words mean.) But it does suggest that current digital reading experiences are less memorable, at least in some ways, because they ask less of some of our senses — the movement of eyes across the page, or the work the brain needs to do to place words in a specific place on a rectangle of white paper. When you consider the capabilities of digital reading devices such as phones, laptops, tablets and Kindles — which can integrate sound and motion and even limited touch interaction — it’s odd that paper still tantalizes certain parts of the brain better. I wonder if that edge will hold when we start reading stories inside a pair of VR goggles.

3D Advertising in Newspaper’s Classifieds Section

3D Classifieds Advertising

From Adweek:

Innovative newspaper ads are a rare beast…. Here’s an interesting one from Colombia. It’s an ad for kitchens hidden inside a fake classifieds page — thanks to a nifty 3-D effect applied to the text. “The kitchen you are imagining is in HiperCentro Corona,” says the headline.

Pretty excellent, I say.

Print Magazines More Dangerous Than Ever

Everybody knows print is dead, but we often overlook just how hazardous the format can be for the rest of us. The new weekend magazine from The Guardian and Observer is being called “dangerously great” by Adweek. In its latest ad, The Guardian recommends readers consume its newest print product only in moderation. Here’s what happens to one fictional reader who fails to heed that advice.

2013 US Advertising Growth Includes Print Magazines Too

According to new data from Kantar Media, US advertising spending for Q2 2013 is up 3.5% over the same period in 2012, to $35.8 billion. Cable TV made the greatest gains, up 14.9%, and Spanish-language TV was up 6.1%. On the other side of roster, newspaper advertising is down 4.3%.

September Magazine Issues

The most interesting news to me, though, is the section on print magazines. Ad revenues for consumer magazines are up 1.9%, although (if you want to quibble over the details) they sold fewer ad pages than last year, each one at a higher average rate. And Sunday magazines, the magazines inside newspapers, grew ad revenues by 4.1% — the same rate by which Internet display ad revenue grew.

Digging into individual titles shows more signs of vitality. The September issue of Vogue is the fattest since 2008 — 665 pages of ads — and the September Elle just broke the record for highest page count ever for a Hearst publication. W, Bon Appetit, Allure, Teen Vogue and Glamour all had their best Septembers since the 2008 financial crisis. The Atlantic, with its diversified approach across print, digital and events, is on a tear.

Who’d a thunk it?

The First Issue of Ad Age

The first issue of Advertising Age, which hit the newsstands in January 1930, via Ad Age’s Instagram feed. Click on the Wikipedia W icon at the bottom of the image (Luminate’s Wikipedia app) to see a more current version of the magazine.

Does this Newspaper Make Me Look Fat?

The Newspaper Association of America has launched a new ad campaign with the tagline “Smart is the New Sexy.”

Nice tagline. But since when does reading news online or getting it from a television news source make you less smart? And the punchline of the ad — “Because a little depth looks great on you” — makes me think newspaper reading might thicken my love handles.

Peugeot Print Ad With Functioning Airbag

This is fun: On the first page of a 3-page ad sequence, Peugeot invites readers to smack the grill of one of its vehicles — a fist impersonation of an oncoming car in a head-on collision. The impact triggers a mini airbag puffing out of the steering wheel on the next page, where a 2-page spread shows the Peugeot’s interior.

Sort of like the VW print campaign where you could “test drive” their new swiveling headlights by guiding your smartphone around the curvy road pictured in the ad. And much better than VW’s recent campaign in South Africa’s Auto Trader magazine that invites readers to eat the road.

(Thanks, Adverblog!)

VW’s Print Ad You Can Eat

VW Edible Print Ad

Forget ad blockers and Tivo, if you don’t like this ad you can eat it.

From Adweek: “VW South Africa has cooked up a lovely little ad you can eat — and placed it in Auto Trader magazine. ‘Eat the Road,’ reads the copy. ‘Seriously, eat it.’”

Hmm, seems like a lot of effort (and use of questionably edible ingredients) for a gimmick that won’t get much actual follow through by Auto Trader readers. How many of them will tear out the page and gobble it down?! More importantly, how many of them will come away from the ad thinking that the Golf R grips the road better than the competition? Unless Auto Trader readers also follow Adweek or ChasNote, I wonder how many will notice that VW’s ad is more special — it’s edible! — than any other display ad in that month’s magazine.

Instructions on how to eat VW print ad

Comment from Marcia Simmons:

Marcia Simmons comment via Twitter

What The Rich Are Reading

Magazines Most Frequently Read Among the Rich

Pulling data from GfK MRI’s Study of the American Consumer, Adweek took a look at what the rich are reading. It’s kind of fun to see The Costco Connection among the most popular magazines. You have to wonder, is it their cost-consciousness that landed them in the top tax bracket?? But what’s more interesting is this: The most popular publications, it turns out, generally aren’t scoring so well when it comes to audience engagement. Among the top 10 most commonly read publications by rich Americans, only Consumer Reports and National Geographic are also top 10-ers when it comes to time spent reading each issue.

Magazines Read Longest Among the Rich

The other key difference between these lists: The magazines most popular among the rich are the same magazines that are most popular with lower-income Americans too. In other words, while Reader’s Digest, AARP and People are popular among older rich people, they’re also popular among older poor people — “wastage” in the eyes of many advertisers. The CPMs are much higher for magazines on the “most time spent” list.

Are they getting premium ad rates because their readers are more engaged, or just because they have fewer readers with low household incomes?

AXA Insurance Makes Print Ads That Launch iPhone Video Ads

I admire the effort. But really. Can you imagine the sequence of events here?

First, imagine you’re caught up on your email, TweetDeck, RSS reader and to-do list, and your kids are asleep, so you’re reading a newspaper like you used to back in 1993. Just taking your time — you suddenly have nothing but time! — reading every article and glancing at the ads along the way. Just then you notice an ad for the insurance company AXA. What’s that? Right in the middle of the ad is something shaped like my iPhone! Oh, I see, I need to visit the App Store to download AXA’s iPhone app. Hold on a second. OK, done! Now let me put my iPhone over that iPhone-shaped thing in the ad. Oh wow! There’s a fun video followed by a product demo of something new from AXA!

It’s an inventive idea an all, but does anyone read magazines or newspapers like that anymore, let alone make time to play interactive games with print ads?

For a more favorable review, check out The Next Web’s Now This Is Remarkable. An Amazing Interactive (Newspaper) iPhone Ad.