Friday, September 29, 2006

Flickr Photo that Could be Ad

1975 timex automatic
Originally uploaded by aleahey.
Still ticking.....
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

People's Photos on flickr that could really be ads

I think I'm going to start collecting these.

The one car that is clean and pristene among this snowy nightmare? The MINI of course. Worth protecting.
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Macbook enthralls

Macbook enthralls
Originally uploaded by mikefranklin.
Well, let's be fair, of course. Yesterday, I had a post of a photo on flickr with a MacBook in the trash. Today, I happen to find this photo. This should be a print ad. Or a billboard. Or something. The product is the hero, the consumers are clearly delighted. There's even a story behind it. If I ran the Apple acct, I'd be all over this!

The advice? Search flickr for images that use your brand name as a tag.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by *nathan.
Wow. I found this on flickr. Pretty compelling brand statement by a consumer.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

YHOO Free Fall

Yikes. Yahoo took a pretty big hit today, after warning that 3rd quarter revenues are going to be on the low end, thanks to a....slowdown in the demand for online advertising.

Seems like not that long ago that everyone was talking about the online ad shortage. Now we see warnings from one of the big 3 that there's a surplus? How did that happen?

Well, I haven't listened to the conference call or anything, so I can't talk specifically about Yahoo, but there are for sure some trends that have risen, as of late.

The first is that there is a tremendous blooming of inventory. YouTube's getting in the game, as are the blog networks and the game developers and my neighor's uncles' barber. Plus, the inventory is getting more interesting, with video stuff, sponsorship packages and better targeting. More stuff means shortage no more, premium pricing no more.

The other thing is that it seems that advertising can sometimes be a very lagging indicator of the economy as a whole. When this week's media plans were being put together, gas was north of $3.00 and the inflation specter was looming. That affects the decision to advertise, especially for anything extravagant. The online ad market has this built in nimbleness, and--if the marketing department felt that something should be cut, it wasn't going to be broadcast or outdoor. Online is easy to pull back on.

The third thing is, not to get too worried. Online advertising's bread and butter is still direct marketing. If you have to have a bad quarter, the third isn't such a bad one to choose, simply because you know the 4th will be great: the holiday buying season will bring all the regular ad buyers out, and Yahoo will see a bounce.
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Why lonelygirl15 Matters/Doesn't Matter

Lonelygirl15 is the screen name of young woman who posted up her diaries on YouTube. Ends up, lonelygirl15 was a big fake. There are three big points that come out of this whole thing.

Thing #1: Quality Matters
The lonelygirl videos were good. They had stylish editing, well-lit sets, good dialog and an attractive presenter. That last element should not be understated, and is not unique to lonelygirl. A good amount of discussion after Amanda Congdon left rocketboom concerned the attractiveness of Amanda.

The big thing about this point is that, the lonelygirl videos were simply posted on YouTube, with no more fanfare than anyone else's videos. And yet, they are the ones that popped. People like good stuff, CGM or not. That is a good thing.

Thing #2: lonelygirl hijacked the YouTube brand
What if the producers of the lonelygirl videos simply put them up on their own site? Or on iFilm or Heavy? The effect would not have been the same, because the YouTube brand stands for independent creation of personal videos. Something on YouTube (unless its marked as an ad, or totally clear that it is from a professional film) is assumed to be real, honest and personal. The lonelygirl producers put this fake diary up on YouTube and gained (greatly) from its success, including the mystery around whether or not it was real.

Of course, this came directly at the expense of YouTube. Personal videos viewed on YouTube are now somewhat tainted, because people were tricked. That means YouTube lost some amount of value. That is a bad thing.

Thing #3: Who really is real?
Not to get all French Deconstructionist here, but so what is Bree was fake? Is anyone we see on YouTube real? Not really. We don't have a direct investment in their reality, and often we simply consume their message and move on. So, Bree is just as much real as anyone else posting a diary. Online personality is a shifting, strange thing and we should not be surprised that any person we encounter is real, fake or somewhere in between.

That is an interesting, odd thing and one that we need to get comfortable with.
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Friday, September 15, 2006

Sneaky Retailer tricks

I was once working on a brand of men's shirts. To do some quick, cheap research, we went to the neighborhood Macy's and wandered around, following people as secretly as we could, while they shopped. The very interesting thing that happened was that we quickly realized that we were being followed, by a rather large dude who seemed to be speaking into a sunglasses case. The store detective! We decided to cut this research project off rather quickly.

Anyhow: I happened upon a list of the tactics that store designers use to increase the effectiveness of their space. I've often thought that web designers should learn from store designers. Not necessarily to copy their actual tactics, but the way they thing about the space is key. Store designers think in terms of revenue per square foot. That forces them to not only be efficient, but to carefully consider what to put in which space, to get the most value out of the area.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Viral Cartoon

Too funny.
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Monday, September 11, 2006

Clique Through and Target Taxonomies

My ClickZ article this week is on Clique Through. This is a topic that I've spoken about at SES and to WOMMA--the idea is to focus viral marketing tactics not on the world at large, but on small, very highly-defined groups of valuable consumers.

The new idea introduced in the ClickZ article is the notion of Target Taxonomies. This is an evolution of the segmentation process, and one that is better fit for the level of data that is available to us in the digital realm. The approach dictates that we don't simply identify groups of people and name them, pretending that these segments are wholly distinct.

Instead, Target Taxonomy is an approach where you begin at a very high level, define it, and then begin to create sub groups underneath each. The subgroups will share many of the same attributes as everyone else within that family, and there are characteristics that define the family as a whole. But, at the group level, there are marked differences.

The point of this is to both better define these cliques, as well as be prepared to take advantage of technologies that would enable you to fine tune messages. It's a way of placing some order in the world, which can then be managed within your marketing/media plan.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

LonelyGirl15 is a Fake!

Wow...I have a hundred thoughts on this, but have to go to a meeting. I'll post more later, but the news is out LonelyGirl15 is the product of CAA.
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Thursday, September 07, 2006

All atwitter about Confidential Stuff on Google

A bunch of bloggers are all fired up...seems like a search for "Confidential do not distribute" on Google turns up a bunch of documents that are confidential and are not supposed to be distributed.

I'm sure people are rushing there now, seeing if they can find the manuscript for Harry Potter 9, wiring diagram's for George Bush's debate-ready hidden-earpiece and more. What I found was a bunch of guidelines for submitting papers and presentations to hospital boards.

Oh yeah--and in the top result: a little ad (pictured above). I love it.
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Search queries in 1997

The very cool blog Tasty Research looked up an old report (as in, nearly a decade old) research on search queries. Great stuff. We always assume that people are getting increasingly sophisticated in their use of the Web. Not too much, really. The software is certainly getting better at delivering what people are looking for. And the number of searches for the Nintendo Wii has certainly shot up. But things haven't changed too much on the consumer side.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Subliminal Spam

And....welcome to the bottom.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Buy yourself a search engine

The meta search engine HuckABuck is up for sale on eBay. Interesting: the name "huck a buck" sounds like precisely what investors seem to want to do with Web 2.0 companies. They have a very nifty "tuner" interface, which allows you to adjust the levels of the various search sources.

Cool enough of an idea. But you certainly could make it more user-friendly by making the sliders apply to things that people actually care about: mainstream/blog; news/opinion, etc.
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Great Advertising Movies

Marketing industry icon/blogging hero Rick Bruner runs (among other things)
an email discussion list about ad research. A thread appeared just a while ago, about movies that feature advertising. The list is just too interesting to let fade, so here it is captured; I'll keep adding as the titles get mentioned. (add your own in comments):

Putney Swope: a classic cult flick that is waaay too politically incorrect.
The Hucksters: Sidney Greenstreet classic
How to get Ahead in Advertising: another odd little underground classic
Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream Home: Cary Grant!

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