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18 posts from January 2006

Putting more Science into Advertising

060120 One way to make advertising more useful to its audience is to use it as a way to educate, bringing your audience to a higher level of sophistication.

NY Times: Science Blogs as a Vehicle for Upscale Ads  by Stuart Elliott

...the increasing pervasiveness of technology in everyday life, Ms. Esquivel said, a trend that leads people "to feel more than ever they understand a bit more about science" and towant to learn even more about it. That can be seen in an announcement yesterday by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. that a commercial it will run during Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5 will be devoted to a hybrid version of the 2007 Camry.

Another important finding from the survey, Ms. Esquivel said, is that consumers say they "want to be more involved with how products are made, and want to know more about ingredients and how things are packaged and advertised."

That trend may accelerate as more marketers introduce products with scientific or technological underpinnings like hybrid cars and so-called nutraceutical foods, cosmetics and personal care products.

For instance, L'Oreal, which was founded by a French chemist, Eugene Schueller, in 1907, sponsors a program called For Women in Science that includes a partnership with the United Nations organization Unesco. The program is promoted extensively on the company's Web site.


Who is Sponsoring Whom?

060119a_1 Orawave doesn't take its highly innovative oral hygiene products to the grocery store without an escort in the form of a charity, the better to compete with P&G and OralB. While many companies have tried charitable tie-ins from time to time, it appears to be the main marketing strategy for Orawave and all its products.

The Detroit News: Orawave creates buzz with marketing tied to nationwide events by Barrett Kalellis 

As of October of this year, Orawave began selling a specially packaged Pink Ribbon 2-minute TwinSpin toothbrush and the manual Care whitening toothbrush with retailers to benefit the Komen Foundation. Orawave will donate to the Komen Foundation 10 percent of retail sales of each product sold, up to $125,000 annually.


Amazon Plans Own Talk Show

060119 As part of its effort to grow the entire category market for books, music, and dvd's, Amazon is testing all sorts of methods to attract new audiences to writers and artists. All creative types, media outlets and publishers should be watching closely to see which of these methods work, so they can climb on board.

In one such effort, they are launching their own web-based talk show program to be hosted by Bill Maher. It will actually run during the summer. (Try this link for more information.) Amazon is defraying part of the production cost by having the show be sponsored by UPS, who will have a live commercial that consists of real-life footage of an Amazon customer receiving a delivery.

NY Times: Heeere's Bill Maher, Live on Amazon by Saul Hansell

"We can give customers authentic and very provocative insight with the artists that they know or that they may not know," said Kathy Savitt, an Amazon vice president responsible for the Web site's content. The end result, Amazon hopes, will be that viewers will "want to sample them, discover them and actually buy them,...

"All of our original programming," she added, "will be to offer these innovative and interactive ways for customers to discover digital content, artists and, ultimately, products."


Broadcast Advertising Evolves

060118 As interactive advertising gains market share, broadcast advertising is responding by becoming 'rationalized' and possibly commoditized. The process of buying broadcast advertising is becoming more efficient, with more resources available to measure its effectiveness. One of the big drivers of this evolution is Google, but they are not alone. They just bought a company that brings radio advertising within reach of small businesses, called dMarc Broacasting (see excerpt below). Another company, Spotrunner, allows companies to select a tv commerical template, customize it and order local market tv time effectively. Templates allow inexperienced marketers to leverage more sophisticated ad formats.

To measure broadcast (and with Google, even print) advertising, these companies are all pushing advertisers to use 800 phone numbers and specific internet landing pages in their ads which allow the media company to compare the ads' performance. Another great side benefit of this system is that small companies receive an external database of inquiries, helping them track their prospects. Since small companies are often very sloppy in keeping track of leads, we expect sales productivity to improve as well.

WSJ.com: Google Steps Further Into World of Old Media by Kevin J. Delaney (subscription required) 

The radio deal is the latest of a series of recent moves by Google   in which it aims to bring its Internet advertising expertise to bear on   old-media markets. Since last year, Google says it has been placing ads on   behalf of advertisers in three magazines and the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.   And Chief Executive Eric Schmidt late last year acknowledged in an interview   that the company is considering extending its ad system to TV advertising as   well.


A Chance to be Friends at MySpace

060111 MySpace has been all over the news recently with many reporters visiting it and trying to figure out why it's so successful. (The site founders are not real sure, but having the right tools at the right time is starting to be the general consensus.)

The tools provided by MySpace are not for design or communication, but socializing. And more so than Ryze or Friendster or even LiveJournal, MySpace makes it fun to socialize online. I suspect this is not because they invented any new tools or used them differently, but rather because they discovered a better recipe--the exact right proportion and arrangement of the ingredients.

USATODAY.com: Teens hang out at MySpace by Janet Kornblum (via Extra Texture)

"Whatchu gonna do with all them friends, all them friends that's on your page," the song begins. "I'm m-m-m-m-make them comment, make them comment on MySpace, MySpace ... OMG (Oh My God) its MySpace, MySpace."

Then there's the purely social part of it: Instead of the antiquated teen ritual of talking on the phone for hours, MySpace members spend hour upon hour sending each other instant messages and short messages called bulletins.

But mostly what they do is cruise, big time, wandering from page to page in a tangled network that allows people to create links to one another's pages by naming each other a "friend."

The process of finding new friends — often complete strangers — is called "friending." And for many teens, it's the glue that makes them stick with MySpace.


MyCityRocks, where the Audience Works

060107d_1Cliff Kurtzman helped create MyCityRocks to give its members a chance to enjoy life in exceptional ways while also helping them represent and get involved with the things they are most passionate about, including their music and their pride in their local community.

According to Cliff, "It’s all about thinking globally while acting locally, and using technology to enable people to do it. There seems to be a natural tendency for people to want to take pride in being a part of their local community, and MyCityRocks was conceived to leverage on this desire. We also wanted to be able to create a community that functions both online and offline, and that is easiest to do when members are in close geographic proximity. This also allows us to target events, sponsors and advertisers on the local level, and eventually to allow members in different geographic areas to challenge and compete against one another.

"The MySpace social network provided the initial backbone and much of the inspiration for MyCityRocks. MySpace has built a very successful network for allowing people to interact and express the things in life which they are passionate about. But MySpace only provides the infrastructure to allow the interaction. Our concept with MyCityRocks focuses on providing content and activity over the social networks in order to affect people's behavior and enable social action and change. It seemed the next logical step in using the technology.

"We’ve been very surprised at how strongly the brand seemed to attract people wanting to get involved and help, even in our earliest days. When we put out a call for a Street Team to help us with all our activities, we had fifty people volunteer to support the company, even though there were costs associated with doing so. The support we have received has been extraordinary."


Reebok Brands Sony Connect for the Barrio

060106 Reebok has paftnered with Sony Connect (a free internet radio station focused on the Sony music library) to present BarrioRBK.  Targeted at young Hispanics, the site offers a niche radio station as well as games, products to buy, and a contest to win shoes by submitting a new music mix composition.

InternetRetailer.com - Barrio style on the web (via www.ExtraTexure.com)

BarrioRBK.com highlights the latest Reebok products such as the Pump Wrapshear running shoe and links visitors directly to Reebok’s web store. The site is designed to appeal to young Hispanic males who purchase licensed clothing from sports teams such as Chivas, a Mexican soccer team. “Barrio RBK allows Reebok to connect with the ever-expanding Latino youth audience,” says Marc Fireman, Reebok’s global director of advertising and integrated marketing. “We’re offering a new, culturally connected destination for consumers.” To make the site more interactive, Reebok has partnered with Sony Corp. to launch RBK Radio, a digital media program where users can listen to 200 free Latin and other music tracks.