Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Google TV Hoax? More evidence

Why do I find this so fascinating?

The world is buzzing about the possibility and the potentialy hoax-ed-ness of Google TV. You know, when I watched the video the first time I noticed that when the camera panned down the screen, there was a link called "Affiliate Programs."

That's pretty odd, and definitely not Google standard (which placed a link to "Advertising Programs" on the bottom of pages). So, that would mean one of two things:

1) the hoaxer mis-typed something at the bottom of the page, when creating his fake Google TV site.
2) Google is offering an affiliate program for Google TV.

I understand that part of the story is that Google will charge for subscriptions to Google TV, but I don't know of anything else that they currently refer to as an "Affiliate Program". For what its worth, I think the answer is #1, and the mis-type is the give-away.

(I have screen caps, but for some reason Blogger's not letting them load)
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SuperBowl Ad Interest Waning

"Borrowed interest is always something you look at, but [our marketing] will give us more pop, in our opinion, than going into a Super Bowl environment."

That's the informed opinion of John B. Williams, general manager- Microsoft Windows global communications, talking about the Super Bowl in AdAge. That's right, he's going to skip the Super Bowl this year, despite the fact that he's launching the biggest upgrades to Windows ever.

Is it possible that what Apple started,

Microsoft will finish? It may just be that advertisers are beginning to lose interest in the battle for attention of Super Bowl breaks. We've talked about this for a while, but this may be the turning point year, as not only Microsoft, but also P&G and Unilever look to more natural growth paths for their brands.
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Google TV Beta?

Well, speaking of Google rumors...there are a few videos up on YouTube, similar to the one above, claiming to have screen captures of a Google TV beta. There's a bit of controversy as to whether or not these are real or fake, but I have to admit that it looks fairly real to me.

Of course, even if it is fake, this is bound to happen, right? And, if so, this is a big disruptor in the broadcast space.

UPDATE TechCrunch says "boowowowowowowooooo-gus!"
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Google Virtual World?

MarketingVox is circulating a rumor that Google is working on a virtual world, in the SecondLife vein. I definitely have my doubts. The creation of a destination of this sort seems to go against the Google mindset. That said, they clearly saw value in YouTube, as well as Picasa, and a number of other applications that seem to take them further away from their "organize the world's information" mantra.

What certainly would seem likely would be an interest in indexing Second Life (as well as World of Warcraft and any other virtual worlds). Clearly, there's a lot of new data that is either emerging there, or at least being housed there. In fact, I've heard Linden Lab's business model as simply offering server space to content creators. Should that content also be in Google's index? Assumedly so, especially as more commercial content is created there.

So, how would an island appear in the Google index? How would the crawler index it in the first place? These are the questions that I would imagine Google to be interested in. In fact, if they put out their own virtual world before they solved this (more interesting) problem, I think I'd be a little let down.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Apple Love....ummm...yeah...

provided without comment...(via Scary Ideas.
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AdRants: Nike executes CGM the right way

AdRants has a post up this morning about Nike's Second Coming site. They see the execution as a way of doing consumer-generated media the right way, and I have to agree with him, to a degree.

If you haven't seen the Nike site, they refer to it as a mash up--a way to take the clips from the TV spots, remix them and add different music. It's cool and clever, and not a massive breakthrough from other executions we've seen. Shoot, Nike themselves did something in 2000 called Nike Digital Video which was more or less the same concept. The Motley Fool wrote about it, back then
Nike Digital Video is one of the funniest parts of the site. Essentially, it is a tool to make your own Nike-style commercial videos to send to your friends. You choose from a list that includes running, basketball, and snowboarding. Then you choose five images from the Nike collection, add two messages, choose your soundtrack, and email the results. The ones I made ended with a white swoosh, just to remind me where the video was made. This is a silly little diversion, but kind of fun to play with.
So, here we are, 7 years on, and Nike's getting accolades for essentially sticking with the same strategy. I think this is worthwhile: CGM is an ad-creative tactic. It is not a strategy. Nike should be commended, but not for sorting out the best way to do CGM. It is for understanding how they want to interact with consumers and not wavering in the face of over-zealousness.
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Five Things about....Me!

Ok, Niki. I'm game. Here are five things 'bout me.

1) I curently hanging out at the Louisville, KY airport (see photo)
2) I have an MA in American Literature, and wrote my thesis on the effects on the Cold War on literature
3) I have 2 fantastic kids: Joad (3) and Eliot (8 months). They freakin' rule.
4) I'm a Cat3 cyclist. Both my wife and I ride on a team called CRC.
5) I co-wrote a book, a long time ago. You seem to be able to buy a copy for 45 cents.

Now what? I tag others. How about Leathern?
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The Perfect Hotel

The Museum 21C hotel in Louisville, KY is about as near to perfect as I can imagine.
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You're Soaking In It: When Ads are Everywhere

MIT's Ad Lab blog (which is always good for a burst of new ideas) has a post about an NYT article, pointing out what we've already known: there are a lot of ads out there in the world, outside traditional media channels.

I think this is a trend that didn't start, but got a boost from a key book, written (yeesh) a decade ago called Under the Radar. The book was written by K&B (of K&B fame). I very clearly remember reading this book, when it first came out. I was full of hope and wonder. The first sentence of the book reads as follows:
"We are in the midst of an epidemic of cynicism"
Hell yes, I believe I thought. Here was a marketing book, an advertising book, that started off by admitting the actual problem: people are actively tuning ads out. They have, in the parlance of the book, tuned their radar to such a fine degree that normal ways of advertising (TV, billboards, etc) just aren't getting in. The authors suggest going "under the radar".

The trouble is, however, that the book's thesis begins to fall down at the execution level. It's been a while since I've picked this book up, but they talked about how they have been successful getting ads in, under the radar, by simply putting them in unexpected places. One example that springs to mind was a Snapple ad on a mango.

OK. That's clever. And I know that a lot of ad-folks saw that and got excited. But was that really effective? Or was it just simply a gotcha-moment for consumers. "Oh! You got me...I certainly wasn't expecting an ad there...on my mango."

Listen: the challenge of getting consumers to notice and respond to your ads is not simply a cat-and-mouse game where we try to sneak some message in when the poor hapless consumer isn't looking. All that does, really, is expand the radar. The consumer now has to be wary of ads on a new medium. The Global MangoPlex is no longer an ad-free zone, and consumers now know this.

But, undeniably, ads are everywhere. I'm going to have to finish this post, but I'll do a follow up in a bit. The point, though, is that the spread of ads is a very clever and interesting reaction to an undeniable reality: if you are an industry dedicated to creativity, how do you re-create yourself in the face of your own doom?
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Trend for 2007: Offers, not Ads

I always felt a little off using the term "Search Engine Advertising". I'm sure I'm not the only one, since we (far) more frequently discuss "Search Engine Marketing".

The reason that I've avoided using "advertising" is maybe a sign of a desire for purity of definitions. I think the ads that (currently) appear alongside search results are more properly called "offers". That is, they are a specific response to a request for a certain product. They are making an offer. In fact, the whole bidding and pay-for-click system is more suited to making offers than it is to placing an ad. Who wants to pay just to offer something?

I think this is a mindset that is going to become more and more attractive, as we become more and more nimble at making offers that are relevant. Witness today's news in ClickZ about Google filing a patent to create an AdWords-type system to be used in-stores. Any medium that has a high-degree of flexibility is naturally drawn toward this kind of system and this approach. It offers a better chance to generate revenue and it even seems to be almost completely automated.

So what's the result? Well, everywhere there is now an ad should be considered as a target to be moved over to be an offer. Taxi tops, bus stops and radio spots are all near-term likely candidates.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm back--Happy New Year

Hello: I'm back from a fantastic family vacation down in Saylutia, Mexico. What a great spot. This is the second year in a row that we've gone down there. Certainly getting a bit more crowded, but a great little corner of the Earth.

So....what have I missed?
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