Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Month that just flew by....

Well, Happy Valentines' Day to everyone (although, I do recommend you spend a few days with Freestyle creation My Black Valentine).

This last month pretty much flew by me. I don't know about the rest of you, but the pace of business feels pretty brisk. Certainly a good thing, as we get flooded with RFPs and new projects. Things are definitely cruising along here.

But this hasn't been a very good blog month. So, now that a few things have cleared my desk, it seems like a good opportunity to catch up and clean out the notebooks of a few things that have been defining the worlds of technology and advertising.

The Kiss that Killed the Super Bowl Ad Frenzy
Well, that may be a bit of hyperbole, but...c'mon. The Snickers Kiss ad was terrible. The version on YouTube, placed by a consumer has the following tags: "Snickers Mars Homophobic". But more than that, this is an so clearly crafted just to generate a reaction. Not to generate awareness or sales, but just startle people into noticing it. That's no strategy. They pretty much undid the good vibes they created with their outdoor "Hungerectomy" campaign, which was brilliant.

The fact that they assumed people would flock to a site devoted to the ad is even more evidence that this was a strategy gone awry. Send people to the store to buy things. Not to your own playground to prattle on.

Speaking of YouTube: The Hammer Falls
Viacom comes down hard on Google and I have to say I have some mixed feelings. I recognize that this is a big company attempting to throttle what feels like a natural impulse, but...c'mon: Viacom owns content. They paid good money to create The Colbert Report and should have the right to govern the way it is used. Clearly, technology has made it simple to take video from the television and put re-distribute it. It's also dead-simple to slap your own logo on top of it and get a little action from your work. But it seems pretty clearly illegal, from my view point. Ease-of-use does not connote a change of rules. If your bank decided to place all your money in a big pile in the parking lot, rather than in the vault, it would still be wrong from someone to take it.

HOWEVER: it is also clear that big media is breaking a butterfly on a wheel. They send out blanket notices to everyone who they think may potentially be breaking the rules. This, they appear to be doing without a lot of consideration or thought. So, a whole lot of dolphins are getting caught in the tuna net: people who really haven't done anything wrong, as well as people who actually may be creating some new, clever, innovative value for the brands.

The head-to-head conflict is a mess. Nothing's going to get done here. The big media companies are the ones who can act monolithically, and should take the initiative. They need to establish a new set of practices....maybe a new department...that is designed around enforcement (yes), but also innovation and partnership.

If I ran a big media company, that's what I'd do: Stop the blanket threats. Create a group comprised of a lawyer, a new-media specialist, a community organizer and a technologist. Have them scan the world for uses of their content and do one of three things: leave it alone; request its removal; find a way to work with and support the artist.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary, while the media companies are going about it in a somewhat different and seemingly haphazard way, the options you list are the ones they're pursuing, even if it's using the carrot and stick at the same time. I don't blame them.

I also think in the end, search engines will play a big role in leveling the playing field and helping media companies connect with their audience online. YouTube's already showing signs of vulnerability, and it has no shortage of competition. If media companies gain major visibility for their own content, consumers may learn to go right to the source.

It's not unprecedented either. Travel aggregators haven't killed the airlines' sites, for example.

1:57 PM  

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