Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Election 2008 from Twitter

Twitter has launched an election site called Election 2008. Instead of "What are you doing?" it asks "What do you think?" Looking at it this morning, it showed a steady stream of thoughts, both opinions and links to other news and commentary. It's really a news ticker by the people. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mass media, advertising agencies, wise up!

It's been a rough year and an even rougher week. Not surprisingly, media is feeling the strain. According to the Miami Herald today, unless you're Oprah or Dr. Phil, you're in trouble. Mass media in general are suffering financially from the tightening of advertising pockets, and neither the media nor the advertising industry seem ready to smarten up.

We all know the cycle. Companies have to sell things to make money, and they support mass media via advertising to sell these things. When times are tough, the competition for consumers gets more intense, which means smart advertising (targeting specific consumers where they are at) is vital. This increasingly means going digital.

Problem is, while spending in digital media is increasing, budgets still aren't equivalent to the number of people who are online. From Wired: "The spending advertisers are doing on the internet does not equal what people are doing," said Jordan Hoffner, director of content partnerships at YouTube. "People are spending more time online, but advertisers are not flocking to [the internet] at the same rate."

This is nothing new. In fact, we've been having this conversation for close to ten years.

Although some do get it. Yesterday, AdWeek quoted Jack Klues a managing partner of Publicis Groupe's VivaKi about the future: "We won't be talking about analog versus digital or maybe even channels at all," he said. "It's all digital. What we're trying to do is identify by audience, whether it's new mothers or dog owners wherever they are."

Unfortunately, Klues is in the minority. For the most part, the old guard is seemingly unable to embrace change. They continue to act like children placing their hands over their ears and screaming "I can't hear you!!!" Problem is, the world is changing regardless of whatever tantrums they throw. Let's just hope they wise up soon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Transparency reigns — will advertising survive?

Trend icon Faith Popcorn was quoted on NPR today saying that more than 65 percent of US adults do not believe corporations, putting their credibility rating just slightly higher than the Bush administration.

Today, as the markets stumble in an attempt to recover from what may be the worst downturn in 80 years, Popcorn pointed to Suze Orman as a source that the average person believes. She also noted that essentially, marketing is done for — today communication should be about transparency and truth.

Absolutely. And that is why social media is so important.

But here's my question: Where/when/how did we get into a situation where honesty was not considered the right business approach? When did marketing and advertising turn that corner (maybe Mad Men gives us a clue)? And why is so shocking that this "new" approach resonates more clearly?

My guess is that, until the Internet became mainstream, corporations simply could put out messages based on their version of the truth. That's not to say that all corporations or all advertising is based on lies, but I think we all understand that the truth is not always the "whole truth and nothing but the truth."

We in the advertising industry are now being held accountable in new ways by our new boss — consumers. My prediction: the agencies that survive will be the ones who understand the new paradigm. Let's hope we all make it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The biology media intersection

Biology and media continue to morph at various points — some scary (like the guy with his house key implanted in his hand) some useful. The TechCrunch50 today featured a company today that I think falls on the useful side. It's called Me-trics, which was explained as Google analytics for you.
Me-trics measures personal data, such as blood pressure and weight against factors such as stress (and even tweets!). It's currently in beta so I don't have a whole lot of information about it, but it's one to watch.

(The TechCrunch50 panel suggested the company look for ways to integrate into medical hardware and tracking, which makes sense.)

In addition to medical uses, I'd suggest there are social uses as well. For example, I'd love to know when my husband is stressed out, or my mother's cholesterol is high. Some might say that's too big brother-ish but clearly it would be information we would allow others to see, and with clear limits. How would relationships change if we had this information? Or would it cause more harm than good?

Whatever side you stand on, it's certainly a fascinating use of data.

The iPhone is the web

Consider these stats from Net Applications:

-The iPhone now accounts for one out of every 333 web hits worldwide

-The iPhone is now the fourth most popular operating system on the web with a 0.30 percent marketshare, behind Windows (90.69 percent), Mac OS (7.84 percent) and Linux (0.92 percent)

Pretty amazing. When do I get rid of my laptop?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google's Chrome | No memory needed

I did trend research with some young people awhile back and I distinctly remember more than one them telling me that they wanted Google to just "know" what they wanted to search.

Enter Chrome, Google's new web browser.

In a number of ways, Chrome delivers on that request. First, it uses autocompletion in a non-intrusive way, enabling shortcuts based on your own behavior. For example, if you visit a lot, it assumes you will want to go to cnn when you type in "c," however it doesn't direct you to a specific page you visited within that site. So it essentially eliminates the need for bookmarking in many cases.

Second, and I love this feature, it populates your homepage with the sites you most visit. Again, no memory needed here. No adding feeds. It just automatically know where you go and visually provides you with your own history.

There's lots of other cool features as well, but what's so interesting about these two is the way in which they interact with the user's memory. It's intuitive, it's easy and it's smart.

Of course the worry is that we will forget how to remember. But with information coming at us in so many ways, features such as those in Chrome just free us to remember important stuff, like mom's birthday.

Images from Scott McCloud.