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Mobile Ads… and I don’t mean cell phones! October 10, 2008

Posted by lbmc in New Media.
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Every day I ride the metro in to DC. There’s the usual advertisement on the inside of the train, ads in the metro newspapers, and now there’s even ads moving along right outside your window!

I felt like I was riding next to one of those books, or old films… You know, the ones where you flip through the pages and it creates the illusion of a movie clip?  It reminded me of that only on a giant scale, riding alongside the metro. I was glad to find someone video taped this and posted it online:

These ads were even cooler when I first moved here. Makes me wonder just how effective they really are… now that I have joined all of the other suited zombies – half asleep, ipod on,  in the same morning routine everyday.

Heck – the other week, a woman was struggling to get off a crowded train in her wheelchair, and not one person got up to help her!  They didn’t even notice.

I just wanted to paint a picture of the type of “audience” that rides the Washington, DC metro daily.  Sure, kids love ‘em… but “take your child to work day” is only once a year… and all of the tourists are too busy dissecting their site attraction and monument maps to take notice.

So although the metro tunnel ads are pretty cool, they just may be a total waste of advertising dollars.   Any thoughts?

And yes, OF COURSE I got up from the back of the train to help the lady off.  When I sat back down the guy next to me said, “You aren’t from around here, are you?”

No, I’m not.   I’m from West Virginia.   🙂


Snap, Crackle, & Pop: Marketing with short films October 4, 2008

Posted by lbmc in Online Video.
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Some of the basic principles of advertising have remained the same even when the vehicles that distribute the information rapidly evolve.

This 1939 Rice Krispies’ Ad intersects entertainment with advertising, just as advertisers do today.  Although today’s short films are far more advanced and have the advantage of the limited advertising regulation online that creates a breeding grown for viral marketing such as Dove and Coca Cola ads.

It comes down to consumers wanting to be entertained.

In a 1994 NY Times article, Philip Durbrow, vice chairman of Frankfurt Balkind, suggested that advertisers “not think of consumers as targets in the cross hairs, in the traditional warlike way” and should look for more emotional appeal because

advertising’s voice and humor is its own, different than the voice and the humor in the popular culture.  And that’s why people tune out.

I think Mr. Durbrow had an excellent point, one that we have seen grow in the last 14 years with technology advancements and explosion on the web.  Yet, we must remember that this is no new advertising strategy…  and Snap, Crackle, and Pop are there to remind us.

Nick Usborne: Design Choices Can Cripple a Website October 1, 2008

Posted by lbmc in Research.
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In an article by Nick Usborne titled Design Choices Can Cripple a Website, he communicates the importance of web design by demonstrating three test versions of the same offer page, that – to me, didn’t look much different, however they varied slightly.

The Test

The first page is the original.  The second includes minor copy changes.  The third adds another column to add more content on the initial screen.   Same general pages, different layouts.

The test results of these pages were quite interesting, especially to learn the profound impact that design choices have on a page’s success.  Most people test their sites for usability, but do they take the time to test individual pages for content and layout to see which would yield the greatest return?

The results

The results of Usborne’s test results yielded that the second version with the copy changes increased 15.57% in sales from the original.  The extra column on the third page actually resulted in 53.28% fewer sales!

He notes That’s an astonishing reduction in sales and revenues, resulting from a design change that was intended to improve the performance of the page.

This just goes to show how vital it is to take the time and test all aspects of one’s site, to determine what works best instead of just relying on one’s own expertise, or the consensus of the in-house team.

Usborne lists the following design elements that can make a significant difference on the performance of a web page:
  • The position and color of the primary call to action
  • Position on the page of testimonials, if used
  • Whether linked elements are in text or as images
  • The amount of “white space” on a page, giving the content space to “breathe”
  • The position and prominence of the main heading
  • The number of columns used on the page
  • The number of visual elements competing for attention
  • The age, sex and appearance of someone in a photo
This is an important lesson for IMC practitioners.

They need to be able to work with writers and designers to create the strongest content/design combinations to effectively achieve their marketing communications goals on the web.  However most importantly, as Usborne reminds us, “neither designers nor writers know what the ‘best’ page design or copy is until we test.”     In the end, assumed expertise is a far cry from real statistical results when it comes to consumer interaction.

Who Paid Who? September 17, 2008

Posted by lbmc in In-Game Advertising, Uncategorized.
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Google is Diggin’ up the Past September 9, 2008

Posted by lbmc in New Media.
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They’re black and white and read all over…

That’s Right, Newspapers! Well, old hard copies, that is.

Google Inc. will soon add billions of articles from the past couple hundred years to its current online library. Yes, news before the Net’s existence will soon be available to us with the click of a mouse.

According to Google’s Blog on Monday:

Today, we’re launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives. Let’s say you want to learn more about the landing on the Moon. Try a search for [Americans walk on moon] on Google News Archive Search, and you’ll be able to find and read an original article from a 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. headlines, articles, advertisements and all.
Journalists should start learning HTML

According to a Market Watch special report, “There is perhaps no greater crisis facing newspapers right now than the dropoff in classified advertising. The attractiveness of online alternatives in recent years has left newspapers scrambling to find ways to make up for the income drop. In some cases, this high-margin, low-cost revenue source for newspapers can comprise nearly half a paper’s sales and publications are losing up to a third of that income.”

And what about the sacred Sunday morning bathroom reading?

According to a study from AOL last year, 59% of people check their email in the bathroom…

Well, looks like it won’t be too hard to adjust!

Brands need to embrace the power of social media September 5, 2008

Posted by lbmc in User Generated Content.
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Once information is sent out to the blogosphere, it remains forever.

Sure, text can be updated or deleted, statements can be made, but once it has impacted the minds of readers, their brand perception can be forever altered.

Today’s topic is about creating buzz via viral marketing, crowdsourcing, and blogs. After researching “unofficial” blogs of several companies, I found that consumer voices have undoubtedly become louder and stronger – thanks to online consumer generated media.

Perhaps all publicity is good publicity, but whoever said that may have disregarded the power of the blogosphere.

Like when Exxon Mobil got brandjacked in Twitter. And of course we mustn’t forget the buzz with the KFC/Taco Bell rat infestation last year that hit YouTube and bloggers everywhere!

But even the seemingly loyal and praising consumer-bloggers can generate bad press, too. Anyone remember when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was caught flogging (fake blogging) about how great the company was using the alias Rahodeb? And when Walmart supposedly hired bloggers to breed positive press? When unmasked, these tactics can be just as harmful to brand images.

So what do companies do after their images have been tainted by consumer generated media?

For starters, do not have your PR rep tell the public that the company “does not participate with nontraditional media outlets,” like the rep from Target stated when being questioned about their advertising campaign that wasn’t a good influence for youth. Bloggers got angry, and word spread like wildfire.

But if it is too late and the damage has been done, Andy Beal sheds some light on ways to recover your online reputation.

Web Evolution August 27, 2008

Posted by lbmc in Web 2.0.
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Web 2.0… The Machine is Using Us

Fascinating video on web evolution! I found it on the Digital Ethnography Blog, a Kansas State University working group led by Dr. Michael Wesch dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.

Then, check out the presentation Prof. Wesch gave at the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008. It’s a little long, so you might want to watch it when you have some extra free time. Check out the overview below.

0:00 Introduction, YouTube’s Big Numbers

2:00 Numa Numa and the Celebration of Webcams

5:53 The Machine is Us/ing Us and the New Mediascape

12:16 Introducing our Research Team

12:56 Who is on YouTube?

13:25 What’s on Youtube? Charlie Bit My Finger, Soulja Boy, etc.

17:04 5% of vids are personal vlogs addressed to the YouTube community, Why?

17:30 YouTube in context. The loss of community and “networked individualism” (Wellman)

18:41 Cultural Inversion: individualism and community

19:15 Understanding new forms of community through Participant Observation

21:18 YouTube as a medium for community

23:00 Our first vlogs

25:00 The webcam: Everybody is watching where nobody is (“context collapse”)

26:05 Re-cognition and new forms of self-awareness (McLuhan)

27:58 The Anonymity of Watching YouTube: Haters and Lovers

29:53 Aesthetic Arrest

30:25 Connection without Constraint

32:35 Free Hugs: A hero for our mediated culture

34:02 YouTube Drama: Striving for popularity

34:55 An early star: emokid21ohio

36:55 YouTube’s Anthenticity Crisis: the story of LonelyGirl15

39:50 Reflections on Authenticity

41:54 Gaming the system / Exposing the System

43:37 Seriously Playful Participatory Media Culture

47:32 Networked Production: The Collab. MadV’s “The Message” and the message of YouTube

49:29 Poem: The Little Glass Dot, The Eyes of the World

51:15 Conclusion by bnessel1973

52:50 Dedication and Credits (Our Numa Numa dance)

New Media That’s Effective August 26, 2008

Posted by lbmc in Uncategorized.
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Some emerging media tactics do better than others in the return on investment (ROI). People vary in opinions on the best options, although there isn’t really a standard best media vehicle to ensure success. So what makes new media as marketing tools effective?

Brand Image

A brand is like a personality, and can be real or perceived in the eyes of the consumer. The important thing is that once people make a connection with that brand, they expect the values to be upheld for the rest of the “relationship.” This brand then becomes a reflection of themselves, or what they aspire to be. Think about brands like Gucci or Prada… can you imagine brands like these using banner ads on AOL? Or could you see The Red Cross buying in-game advertising? Of course not! It would make their loyal consumers feel disconnected, almost betrayed. New media tools need to properly reflect the brand’s character in order for them to be successful.

The product

If a company is promoting their high speed internet special, an online video would probably not be a good choice, as the audience is probably using dial up and wouldn’t be able to view it efficiently.

Just yesterday, I was browsing the new IKEA catalogue. The second page included an insert to “WIN BIG!” You sent a text and received clues to play a game. Very simple. (By the way, all answers are “D” if anyone is playing.) The scavenger hunt had me flipping pages to answer multiple choice questions about certain products.

Did I win? No. And I’m sure my cell number is in a database somewhere. Yet I can tell you that Bestas are perfect for your TV, that you can mix-n-match the washable Ektorp sofa-beds, and that when you shop IKEA, your kids can play while you can enjoy a hot meal. I wouldn’t have known (or remembered) these things had I not played the game. So, I think their choice of interactive new media was a pretty good one considering I remembered the three featured products out of 374 pages.

The audience.

Did you notice that in the first two that audience still played a significant role? No matter what the brand or product is, the most important thing is to know your audience.

I like how media writer Joe Mandese says it: “People no longer consume media from designated channels. They create their own channels and pathways of media consumption, drawing from whatever content or platform suits their immediate needs.”

This explains why beer companies use online videos to target the 3 out of 4 young adult males that report online video viewing. And why there are pop up ads for arthritis medicine when people search “arthritis” on medical web sites. So I’m sure it explains why there are Coca-Cola advertisements in games like Madden, and why I feel that sometimes Victoria’s Secret knows my purchasing habits a little to well and sends me incentives at the perfect time.

So there isn’t a magical key to success when determining new media tactics, although audience is clearly the most important. And we mustn’t forget that although finding out what these individuals are doing online is important, the most effective information is finding out why, and going from there.


Blogging “newbie” August 23, 2008

Posted by lbmc in Uncategorized.
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Hello, everyone! Until now, I have always been on the receiving end of the blogosphere, and must admit, it is a little weird for me to refer to myself as “a blogger.” It sort of feels like being a journalist, as I hope the upcoming weeks allow me to share both fact and opinion, particularly on the impact emerging media is having on Integrated Marketing Communications in the world.

I’d say that I am a creative, yet analytical person. I’m hoping these characteristics will aid in my upcoming emerging media discussions, and you will find them worth the read. I will try my best to keep it interesting. If inclined, please feel free to post any comments, feedback, etc.

Until next time…