Paperwork at W+K.
P&G came to town recently to give us our agency "report card".
So good to have a meeting with smart folks that can respect each other's positions and opinions. You get a lot further that way.
We are apparently a pretty specific agency.
All of us walked out of that room pretty darn excited - both with what we've accomplished so far and with the possibilities for the future.
On the couch. Is nice. He like. And at this very moment, he terrify me. See him at TBA:07 doing Sellout, his latest performance piece about an artist who goes to work for a soul-sucking ad agency and...hey, wait a second...
Advertising agencies used to have an ad as the end prodcut of their efforts. Mobile phone manufacturers had a...well, a phone.
Some history...back when the video iPod came out, I remember thinking "wow, game changer." Not because it was a portable video player, but because at its core, the video iPod was a portable hard drive. A massive multi-gig storage device. with a USB cord. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.
And I got salivating imagining a future in which we'd walk around with our media libraries in our backpockets. And when it was (as I hoped) wirelessly enabled, we'd head to our friends house with '300' merrily downloading to our backpocket via WiMax while we stocked up on big slurpies and red vines (= crazy delicious). When we got to our friend's place, we'd jack in (or not, since they'd have an 'airport') and we'd watch the hi-def gore on our monster-ass-big, wall-mounted, flat screen plasma fusion video playback unit (alright, dammit, TV)...
That was before we heard rumors about Google's not quite yet materialized GDrive and with unlimited gigs of tasty storage space floating in an awe-inspiring, cross-tabbed, ad sense enabled data cloud...but that's another story.
So now, before Apple could do it, Nokia throws down, pulling an Apple on Apple.
"Nokia said on Wednesday that it would soon introduce its own digital music service, along with an easier-to-use Apple-style mobile interface and an Apple-style touchscreen handset.
The Nokia Music Store, to open this year, will let users download songs from the Internet to their computers or directly to mobile phones over wireless networks, which Apple’s recently released iPhone cannot do.
In offering direct downloads, the Nokia Music Store goes beyond iTunes, which requires users to download songs to their personal computers before transferring them to an iPod, music player or an iPhone.
The music store also potentially puts Nokia into conflict with operators of mobile networks, which in many cases have developed music services of their own.
“Now Nokia is saying, ‘You guys had your chance to run music stores, or whatever, and it didn’t work, so now we’re going to give consumers what they want,’ ” said Paul Jackson, an analyst at Forrester Research.
And folks were wondering what they were up to when Nokia acquired Loud Eye? OOOOOOOOOOohhh. It's ON.
As an OEM, Nokia's been working to develop software and services accessible outside Carriers' walled gardens for some time. Which those carriers haven't appreciated. Unsurprisingly, those carriers like owning their customers and charging everyone a toll to access them. And some have tried to slap around Nokia for its efforts.
But is a smackdown in the wind? Nokia's ex-president is part of a management team piloting a project in Europe under the name of Blyk, which is effectively an ad subsidized FREE mobile carrier targeting 16-24 year olds. Here's what Business Week had to say about Blyk:
"If the company's approach proves successful, it could dramatically affect the mobile phone industry and pose a serious threat to existing operators."
"It's going to change the business model for mobile telephony in a big way." says Falk Müller-Veerse, managing partner at Cartagena Capital, a Munich-based boutique investment bank specializing in the mobile phone industry.
Oh, and did someone say "Gaming"? heeeeeeeeeeeeeere's N-Gage! It's back, and it's better - much better. More than a device, its a system playing across N-series ass-kickers starting in November and rolling out to S60's...well...not soon enough, but it'll be worth the wait. EA has already said they are in for this one, so expect this to get interesting.
In an impressive feat of corporate transformation enacted on a global scale, Nokia is becoming more than a manufacturer. It's a data company. A company about mobile software and services.
A device has gone from being an end point to being the start of a beautiful relationship.
And you can put that in your pocket.
A university consortium has developed software named "Tribbler", a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service focused on video (like Joost). What makes this one unique is how it puts the "sharing" back in "file sharing" - you earn credit to download content by uploading your own content. Folks can also band together to share download opportunities and to increase download speeds. No more "leeching" and "freeloading" - the terms used to refer to folks who suck down good content and provide nothing to the network in return.
According to the New Scientist article:
"David Parkes of Harvard University believes peer-to-peer will eventually replace existing methods of distributing video, including television...the BBC's iPlayer is built on top of a peer-to-peer network. These programs often prevent leeching by forcing users to upload constantly, which can be a problem for those who may be charged extra for using extra bandwidth.
"It is clear that in the future there will be a greater variety and volume of media to consume, requiring different ways of distributing it," says David Hutchison, who works on alternative methods of media distribution at Lancaster University, UK."
Con call fun with my phone. Marcelino Alvarez and Shelley Stevens, keepin' it real with CK Hill - the man, the myth, the legend. Cincinatti to PDX. Nothing like gathering campfire-like around the 'ol phone that I smashed off its base after a (moderately) frustrating prior call.
LG plans to release a new phone that let's you upload your videos to Youtube. I guess its a nice PR pop for them, except that you CAN'T YOU ALREADY DO THAT WITH ANY PHONE THAT SHOOTS VIDEO? wah wah waaaah.
Companies used to outsource their marketing/advertising to ad agencies. I know, because I watch 'Mad Men'.
Then they went and built marketing departments, and ad agencies had to adjust.
On the heels of MTVN investing $500 million into video games. Today Warner is getting into the game. In a statement made to MVC, Ron Scott, Warner’s Senior VP of worldwide sales and distribution stated:
“It is vital to be a fully-functional publisher. We are not just an arm of a business that is simply going to leverage the movie properties that Warner has – we are going to be a creative force as well.”
“The ability to cross promote our games product with our movie product in a compelling way will be key,” added Scott. “Our home video guys are very keen to target PS3 and 360 owners with next-gen movie formats. There are huge marketing and cross-merchandising possibilities.”
Nowhere does Scott mention the role he intends an ad agency to play in that equation. Because he probably DOESN'T SEE ONE.
And there are lots of releases like this one. Of companies "seeing the digital future and building out the infrastructure to best exploit the opportunities it presents". Companies across the country are taking out ads in Wired magazine to recruit digital talent, or poaching the same folks digital agencies covet. Forward looking companies have digital groups in place, or are building or buying their own internal capabilities.
Most companies are realizing that digital fluency isn't optional, it's a critical skill set to ensure relevancy - whether for getting close to their target audiences, or for distribution, commerce, communication, innovation, blah blah blah blah. Hell - I wouldn't outsource mission critical functions, and understanding and leveraging the interactive landscape is not 'optional' - its role is increasingly core to how brands communicate, and how we'll do business now and in the future.
The danger is that in the rush to nail this down, we run the risk of checking boxes without considering how the pieces will knit together.
This 'strategy' hasn't much worked for the agency conglomerates that spend more time and money buying up additional services/businesses than figuring out how to integrate them properly.
And without a well thought out strategy, brands and agencies risk falling into the same trap of creating silo-ed structures from good intentions.
And what of those internal capabilities? Being able to build a website or create a video for YouTube or make a banner, doesn't mean an agency or a brand knows the fragile magic of connecting with people. Of engaging with them on their terms. How to solve people's problems, not just a business's problems. Because love isn't rational, and its tough to build love by filling in the logical capabilities boxes on an org chart or from even the most well thought out P+L.
Agencies must partner with internal digital teams to ensure that the ways in which brands maintain their own ongoing dialogues with people in the interactive space are naturally considered as a part of an agency's efforts to create engaging communications and brand experiences on their behalf. Put another way - if a brand site doesn't reflect the current campaign, you screwed up.
But here's the rub:
As we all try to sort out what we do in a rapidly evolving space, what companies want to do internally vs. what an agency can or should is murky. Both want to establish their chops and prove their worth. Both trip over each other. Painfully some times.
Agencies need to clear enough room for brands to get their internal digital knitting in order. Because brands do need to figure this out. At the same time, brands need to trust that agencies aren't trying to screw them over, and figure out how to invite the agencies in in a constructive way.
Partnership is critical. Because you don't get a seat at the new strategic table without earning it, and digital fluency is increasingly the barrier to entry for a seat at that table - internally and externally.
Agencies used to have a seat at that table. Good agencies realize that in the new landscape, you have to earn that seat day in and day out - and great ones have fun doing it.
Wow. Honestly, wow.
Google Earth shows you our world from satellite height down to the cars parked in your driveway.
Google Sky knits together astronomical images into a navigable universe, as seen from Earth.
As a failed astrophysicist, this one blows my mind. I like features like the 'planet slider', the 'users guide to galaxies', etc. I just spent way too much time wandering around the universe. Virtually. I am drooling. I am actually drooling. I also love the awe inspiring banality of the naming scheme. Google "earth". Google "sky". Next up, Google "Air". You are breathing it. And they want it back.
Claudia Cristovao from W+K Tokyo found this article outlining the features.
Here's a quick video demo from Google about their new application:
download it here.
Attached below is a post I shamelessly ripped off from the guys over at Mashable that gives a solid overview of the lead dogs in the online video advertising business:
"While YouTube’s announcement that they will start including ads in video comes as little surprise, there are already dozens of companies vying for a piece of the video advertising industry, which is expected to grow to $2.9 billion by 2010 according to eMarketer. Here is a look at 10 of the top players in the market, ranging from startups to some of the Web’s biggest companies.
BrightRoll offers both pre-roll (meaning ads before a video plays) and mid-roll (ads that take place between segments of a video) advertising and places ads based on contextual, behavioral and demographic targeting. To determine content, BrightRoll looks at information like tags and keyword profiles, while using data for its publishers from ComScore to create demographic-based campaigns. The company claims to be the fastest growing video advertising company with more than 800 million ads served.
YouTube’s approach to video advertising closely mirrors that of VideoEgg, who powers video uploads for major publishers like Bebo and AOL. VideoEgg uses what they call a “ticker” that shows a promotional banner within the video that can be clicked if a user wants to learn more about the product or service being advertised. In the example below, an ad is shown for the film SuperBad that when clicked shows a trailer for the movie. Ads are sold through the eggnetwork, a collection of VideoEgg’s largest publishers serving more than 15 million videos per day. The format is less-intrusive than pre-roll advertising since it doesn’t delay the actual video from running and is optional for the user.
AOL’s online advertising network, Advertising.com, now offers pre-roll video as well as in-banner video (video ads that display in conventional banner ad sizes such as 728×90). In-banner ads seem to be growing more common on content-heavy sites replacing traditional graphic-based banner ads. Most in-banner ads require a user to click them in order to play, but some more invasive ads start automatically. In the example below, a video ad is displayed in an article on investment site TheStreet.com.
Roo is a resource for web sites looking for video content, video producers distributing content, and advertisers that want to advertise via video. This works by Roo licensing video content and selling advertising across their network of sites that host it. Unlike several of its competitors, Roo gives web publishers control over the advertising, allowing you to sell your own ads in addition to those sold by Roo. Through its content channels (such as sports, music, etc.), Roo targets pre-roll advertising based on user interests and demographics.
ClipSyndicate is a video network comprising of web publishers, video content producers, and advertisers. Like Roo, ClipSyndicate licenses video content from a variety of sources and distributes it via a network of web sites. Web publishers then have the option to pay a fee to host videos and sell their own ads, or can do opt for a revenue share on the ads that ClipSyndicate sells for them. At this time, ClipSyndicate ads consist primarily of 15-second pre-roll video ads.
The massively funded BrightCove operates the BrightCove Syndication Marketplace which connects video producers, content web sites, and advertisers. The company offers several different advertising formats, including combined video commercial and banner ad, video overlay (a small ad that appears while the video is playing; similar to VideoEgg), or player takeover, where the sponsor’s ad occupies the entire video player and can either be clicked or skipped.
Broadband Enterprises is another online video network consisting of producers, publishers, and advertisers. The company claims more than 450 publishers including Fox News and Warner Brothers that deliver over 400 million monthly video streams. It appears the majority of the ads Broadband Enterprises sell are of the pre-roll variety.
The largest remaining independent ad network, ValueClick’s video ad program is currently in beta. ValueClick’s “In-stream” product displays pre and post-roll video ads, while also offering in-banner ads to place ads in traditional banner slots. In the example below, a post-roll ad for TaxBrain is shown, while the web site also makes use of ValueClick’s traditional banner network by placing a 728×90 TaxBrain ad at the top of the page.
AdBrite, which operates a marketplace for a wide variety of online advertising including text, banners, and in-line ads (those ads that turn words on a page into ads) recently launched InVideo, its own video player and ad network. The ads show up in “split screen” format so you can continue watching your video as the ad is displayed. InVideo also allows you to place your own watermark into the videos, a nice feature for branding your video content.
Adap.tv places a variety of ads through the video watching experience. While allowing you to have pre and post-roll video ads, adap.tv also attempts to analyze the content of the video to provide relevant text ads while the video is playing. In the example below, the video hosts are talking about the movie “The Prestige” and a text ad promoting the DVD is shown. ScanScout offers a similar technology.
Danielle Pak found a good summary of players over on TechCrunch, too.
The Wall Street Journal popped a nice piece on Facebook today. Facebook has been trying to figure out how to turn the 30.6 million unique monthly visitors they get into cold hard cash. Up 'til now, unless you had a labor intensive custom sponsorship, they've had a pretty barebones targeting system for ads - allowing advertisers to hit 'Facebookers' based on age, gender and geographic location ("geotargeting").
The new plan is to convert all the juicy tidbits Facebook users post about themselves on their pages into data they can use to target more 'relevant' ads, and charge (...our clients up the wazoo) higher CPM's for the privilege. All those little apps you download to your page, the ones that ask you if they can mine all your deepest personal info, and won't work unless you say yes? Think of them like little digital doubleagents - using your input as flags for advertisers.
"Most users of Facebook treat it as a sort of online scrapbook for their lives -- posting everything from basic information about themselves to photos to calendars of events they plan to attend."
The article quotes a source saying that the ads aren't going to be the standard banners and buttons around the content, but embedded in the 'news feed' function on users home pages. Not a bad plan. Because everyone scans the feed - its the place you see what your friends are up to, what posts have been made, new content featured, etc. - sort of a....well..news feed.
From the WSJ:
"Facebook's plan, if it works, could be potentially powerful for advertisers. While Google's keyword-targeted ads aim at "demand fulfillment" -- that is, they are triggered by Internet searches conducted by people who are actively looking for something that they want -- Facebook's new ad plan could help advertisers address an area called "demand generation." This involves using available information -- not just from a user but also the activities and interests of his "friends" on the site -- to figure out what people might want before they've specifically mentioned it."