Microsoft Corp has announced the general release of its NUads on Xbox LIVE. Among the first buyers are Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA, which are developing NUads campaigns to stream on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements transform standard 30-second TV spots into actionable experiences using the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360.
Engagement is what makes the ads different, said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising. "We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot. With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time."
Microsoft released a sneak peek of some of the first NUads that will air on Xbox LIVE this fall, including Toyota’s "Reinvented" ad campaign that premiered during Super Bowl XLVI, and which promoted the reinvention of the 2012 Camry. The ad marked Toyota's return to Super Bowl advertising. Today, Toyota is reinventing that campaign for Xbox LIVE, adding a layer of interactivity enabled by NUads. In this version of the "Reinvented" ad, Toyota asks viewers what they would like to see reinvented. Viewers can then respond using Kinect-powered voice or gesture controls. This gives Toyota valuable feedback it can use for its next campaign.
At first glance—a little underwhelming, according to Adweek. NUads on’t seem to innovate beyond TiVo and Cablevision ads that allow viewers to request more information from or respond to questions from advertisers, or even buy things. Still, with NUads, viewers can respond with hands or voices, rather than just remotes. “I would hope the launch of NUads leverages the platform,” Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide told Adweek. But Microsoft counters that it cannot ask TV advertisers to create Xbox-specific spots: NUads can be created from an existing TV spot.
Good enough for Toyota. "The creative possibilities of NUads are endless. We can take a 30-second TV spot and customize it for NUads to get an immediate response from Toyota's customer," said John Lisko, executive communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi LA for Toyota. "It allows customers to participate with our advertising, which is really exciting. The interactivity of NUads is leading the industry and changing the way we're connecting with our customers."
Also good enough for Unilever, which owns the Axe brand. Following on the successful campaign for the launch of Axe Attract for Him and for Her, Axe — called Lynx in the U.K. — will be one of the first brands to turn the digital ad into a NUad with Xbox. The creative centers around a cops-and-robbers setup with the tagline, "Nothing will ever be the same again." Using the new format, Lynx will ask the audience if the Lynx Effect should be given to girls. Viewers will have the option of voting "Yes, of course" or "No way" using hand gestures or a simple voice command.
"NUads and the gesture- and voice-based Kinect technology have great potential for creativity. What we're seeing now is at the very early stages of what we could do. And as always, we're keen to continue to explore more ways of inviting our consumers to get involved with our brands," said Babs Rangaiah, vice president of Global Media Innovation at Unilever.
Microsoft Advertising is claiming a younger, male-skewing and decently-wage-earning demographic for its Xbox LIVE advertising. Some figures:
•61 percent male
•39 percent female
•70 percent 18-34
•20 percent 35-44
•88 percent have a household income of greater than $30,000
•37 percent have a household income of greater than $100,000
In theory, TV ads and online video are two stops on the same campaign—but only in theory. What stands in the way, says eMarketer principal analyst David Hallerman, is "A fear of financial loss within the TV industry—broadcast and cable networks, and cable providers (which are often also ISPs)." That is what is behind tactics like broadband and mobile data caps (of which Comcast has been accused), and of authentication protocols that block cord-cutters from watching the tube online.
Still, predicts eMarketer, the growth in online video ad spending will surge past TV growth through 2016. It will surge by 54.7% this year, and slow to 18.9% in 2016; but that will far exceed TV’s 6.8% growth this year and 4.5% in 2016. But as it predicted in January, TV will still exceed the online ad spend in 2016 (albeit by a narrowing gap).
The current study presumes that us-and-them antagonism between TV and online impressions will continue unabated. But the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) announced earlier this week that it is pleased with the results of integrated cross-media campaign measurement, as the New York Times reported. This coalition includes such advertising powerhouses as AT&T, CBS, Discovery Communications, NBCUniversal, News Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Time Warner and Unilever. And they were evaluating cross-media measurements by comScore and Arbitron. CIMM commissioned the tests to determine how to measure consumption of video content in cross-platform ways, whether on TV, online or on mobile devices. So as far as Unilever is concerned, wherever an ad for its Dove brand runs, be it streaming on YouTube or running during a broadcast of “Glee,” it gets measured.
Also true, the study presumes that brands must integrate TV and online campaigns and events to be effective. They do not. Coca-Cola is skipping TV entirely with its over-the-top Coca-Cola.TV channel. It is using the Thismoment social media management technology to to target the online youth market in a social/mobile environment. A Paul McCartney one-time concert would have been a pay-per-view event a decade ago, but a May 10 outdoor concert in Mexico City streamed free via Coca-Cola.TV. Coca-Cola similarly streamed Vive Latino 2012, a three-day music festival in late March attended by hundreds of thousands in Mexico City, which featured four stages and numerous international acts such as Foster the People and Fat Boy Slim. So far, no ads built on either campaigns.
But Coca-Cola is not snubbing television—not by a long shot. As Information Week reported, the brand ponied up about $11 million for two Super Bowl ads in February; but hedged its bets by putting its iconic animated polar bears on TV for 100 million+ viewers, with invitations to visit www.CokePolarBowl.com on tablets and smartphones for more interactive content. So the brand ignored TV with the Mexican events, but blended with it for its US-based Super Bowl ads. And Coca-Cola has alredy booked its Super Bowl 2013 spots.
In short, the eMarketer study presumes that brands will be held hostage by the networks. Major brands will not. It presumes as well that networks are somehow terrified by over-the-top broadcasting. They have proven cautious, so far, but with heavyweights like NBCUniversal and Time Warner eager to prove their cross-media value proposition, the atmosphere in 2016 will be far less “us and them” between TV and online than simply “us.”
ESPN presented its annual upfront yesterday, with a heavy emphasis on authentication, apps and delivering advertiser value. While the networks struggle to create social TV experience, CNN will likely be the first to make it a norm.
At the same time, ESPN Films announced that it will resurrect its 2010 hit series of sports-oriented films 30 for 30.
As Ad Age reports, Eric Johnson, ESPN's exec VP-multimedia sales, promised advertisers more targeted reach through its digital properties including the espnW platform for female sports fans; a new ESPN radio app for both the iPhone and iPad; ESPNFC, a global soccer destination; and a partnership with Twitter that will start with the NBA Finals.
Johnson claimed as well that with the Watch ESPN authenticated TV Everywhere app (introduced last year), ESPN now reaches 40 million homes, a number it expects to double before 2013.
Of course, few networks have the budget of ESPN, and "Modern Family" fans are hardly as rabid as NBA fans. But ESPN sets the bar for cross-media convergence.
30 for 30 Vol. II
ESPN Films has announced the return of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning 30 for 30 film series. As with the first series, which included collaborations with acclaimed filmmakers such as Peter Berg (“Kings Ransom”), Barry Levinson (“The Band That Wouldn’t Die”), Ice Cube (“Straight Outta L.A.”) and Academy Award-winner Barbara Koppel (“The House of Steinbrenner”), ESPN Films will once again partner with a wide array of filmmakers to tell inspirational sports stories. 30 for 30 Vol. II is scheduled to premiere in October.
“30 for 30 was conceived as a finite collection and when the original series ended in December of 2010 with ‘Pony Excess,’ we had underestimated the strength of the connection fans had made between sports documentaries and the 30 for 30 brand,” said Connor Schell, vice president of ESPN Films. “We’re proud to have created a brand that has become synonymous with quality sports storytelling and we see value in bringing back a second collection of 30 films.”
In addition to a second slate of 30 feature-length documentaries, ESPN Films will broaden its scope to support a whole new crop of stories with the creation of 30 for 30 Shorts – a 30-part digital short film series. 30 for 30 Shorts will be similar to the feature-length films in that each piece will represent a specific point of view of the filmmaker and will be a reflection of how they blend the narrative with their own visual style. Beginning in September, a new short film will debut monthly on Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com. A 30 for 30 Short entitled “Here Now” about Pete Rose is currently online as preview of the series.
Volume II of 30 for 30 will have a much more defined multimedia component through closer integration with Grantland.com by featuring filmmaker podcasts with Bill Simmons, topical oral histories, in-depth features and more. Each feature-length film and digital short will be complemented with a long-form written piece on Grantland.com that deepens the experience with additional context.
Films scheduled to air as part of 30 for 30 Vol. II include:
- “Benji” about 17-year-old NBA prospect Ben Wilson whose life was tragically cut short;
- “Broke,” a documentary about pro athletes sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems;
- “Bo Knows,” another documentary about the marketing of pro athletes like legendary sports figure Bo Jackson;
- “The Season of Their Lives,” about the 1982-83 North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball team.
Social TV Via Twitter
ESPN announced a strategic collaboration with Twitter that it believes offers fans and advertisers unique, interactive programs around major sporting events, beginning with the upcoming NBA Finals. The effort will be promoted across Twitter, ESPN networks, ABC and ESPN’s broad array of digital assets, including ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile.
Each program will be co-created by ESPN and Twitter, beginning with GameFace – the first effort, which will be focused on the NBA Finals. GameFace will be seamlessly integrated throughout the live ABC broadcasts and ESPN’s NBA Tonight programming with a dedicated Twitter hashtag #GameFace.
Fans will be encouraged to tweet photographs of their “game face” throughout the finals. At the conclusion of each game, NBA Tonight analysts will highlight the competition and reveal the best photographs on-air. The best photos will also be featured in a photo gallery on ESPN.com/NBA.
“Working together, ESPN and Twitter are giving marketers a clear and powerful way to link on-air and online social conversations around sports,” said Joel Lunenfeld, Twitter’s Vice President of Global Brand Strategy. “It’s the first time advertisers can engage the audience around ESPN’s premier content across screens and where the conversation is happening on Twitter.”
Added Ed Erhardt, president, ESPN Global Customer Marketing and Sales, “Advertisers and marketers have been asking for meaningful opportunities that tap into the power of social media. We know fans use ESPN and Twitter as their main source for content and connectivity. By taking that scale and combining it with the passion of sports fans, this program answers the value equation of social media while providing a new way for fans to engage with ESPN.”
On Twitter, #GameFace will be supported through Twitter’s Promoted Products suite (including a Promoted Trend during the Finals), and the experience will be plugged on the @NBAonESPN Twitter handle.
The latest version of the ESPN Radio app for iPhone, iPad and iTouch provides both live and on demand content, and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Versions for Android and Windows 7 smartphones are slated to launch later this summer.
“This latest version of the ESPN Radio App builds on our promise to deliver the best sports audio content across any device,” said Marc Horine, Vice President, ESPN Digital and Print Media. “With this update, fans now have complete control over their listening experience as the app provides the functionality to customize specifically by sports, teams and athletes they care most about.”
Beginning today (May 16), fans can download the premium version of the app at no cost for a limited time. After that, for a one-time fee of $4.99, fans can access the full experience of the app, complete with the new personalization features and enhancements. The premium app will continue to give millions of ESPN Radio listeners access to live radio streams from more than 35 ESPN Radio stations, fan favorite shows like “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd, “Waddle & Silvy” (Chicago) and “The Michael Kay Show” (New York), plus select play-by-play broadcasts, live scores and text messaging.
ESPN Radio launched its first app in September 2009 and has since been one of the top paid sports apps in the marketplace. Additionally, it was named Best Radio App by Radio Ink Magazine at the Digital Convergence Awards in May 2011. The ESPN Radio App is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore.
NBC Politics today launched a new app for iPad and iPhone that brings users inside the 2012 election with a collection of videos, reports, and interactive tools, graphics and games from the best team in politics.
NBC promises a seamless advertising experience through Zumobi’s new rich media mobile ad platform. Through the Zumobi Brand Integration (ZBi) platform, NBC Politics offers brands an immersive advertising experience that is "organic and complimentary to the app design." The NBC Politics App is sponsored by Nissan and Liberty Mutual Insurance. The app is available for free from the App Store.
The NBC Politics App "delivers the power of NBC News’ political reporting right to your fingertips – anytime, anywhere," NBC said in a statement, and from trusted journalists like David Gregory, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and the network’s deep bench of correspondents and contributors. NBC News
NBC Politics is now available on-air on NBC News, online at NBCPolitics.com and on mobile with iPad and iPhone, offering users a multi-platform experience of the political landscape. “With all eyes on the 2012 election, the NBC Politics App delivers the best political content and reporting – wherever you are. This all-access, easy-to-navigate resource puts the full power of NBC News in your hands, from the top headlines and stories to innovative features that allow serious political junkies to dig even deeper,” said David Gregory, moderator of NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“We’re excited about offering this interactive, up-to-the minute experience for the depth of our political coverage this election season,” said Jennifer Sizemore, msnbc.com general manager and editor-in-chief. “The expertise of the NBC Politics team is the essential ingredient for this app, which is another entry in our strategy to give our audience what it needs, wherever and whenever it needs it.”
The NBC Politics App features Include:
- Video: Agenda-setting interviews and reports from “Meet the Press with David Gregory,” “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and NBC News’ entire line-up of trusted news broadcasts and platforms
- Battleground Map: an interactive map that gives users the tools to test potential electoral vote outcomes. How do different state election outcomes add up to 270 electoral votes needed for victory? Users can test out different scenarios, play along with NBC News political experts and create personalized outcomes with the chance to see their map on-air or online.
- Tip Sheet: A round-up of the day’s most memorable, must-know moments and headlines
- Live Election Results: Real-time results as they unfold.
- Candidates: Details about each presidential candidate through in-depth profiles and headlines related to each candidate
- Share: A feature to share articles on Facebook and Twitter and to follow @NBCPolitics for the latest updates and exclusive reports
When Baltimore, Md. city councilman William "Pete" Welch's proposed to fight Baltimore's budget crunch and keep the city's fire companies open by offering ad space on fire engines, he heard almost immediately from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.). PETA fired off a letter to Welch, asking to ads on one or more of the city's fire trucks.
PETA wrote Welch on Saturday the 20th, and PETA spokesperson Shakira Croce told us there was no response from Welch yet. There was from Adweek’s David Kiefaber, who wrote yesterday that "I'll give PETA this much: They reached out to the right guy if they're interested in keeping Baltimore citizens firing.” Kiefaber grumped that Welch is best known for living off of his mother’s name (she held the council seat before him), and firing a gun into the ground in an argument over $40.
The Baltimore Business Journal reports that three of the city’s 55 fire companies, to close a budget gap. "Cities in the future aren't going to be able to have these budgets alone," Welch said. "They are going to have to form partnerships with business."
PETA’s Ashley Byrne, director of campaigns, wrote the letter, and she describes the ad this way:
“Our ‘Vegans Are Hot! Free Smokin'-Hot Recipes: PETA.org’ advertisement, featuring a sexy woman showing off her vegan physique, will drive Baltimore residents to PETA's heart-healthy vegan recipes that will keep them firing on all cylinders…Our ad will help your city keep all of its fire departments up and running while passing along a lifesaving message: By going vegan, Baltimore residents can save animals, protect their health, and help themselves become ‘hot stuff’!”
“Stupid idea,” wrote Kiefaber, who lives in Baltimore. But However quirky Welch is, or overbearing PETA can be in its messaging, sponsorship and outdoor advertising have saved high school gymnasiums and school buses. The idea is worth considering, and will spare Baltimore's firefighters from having to pose for another of those "Firefighter Hunks" calendars to stay in operation.
“The Brand USA,” the new tourism marketing entity responsible for promoting the United States to world visitors, unveiled the USA’s first-ever comprehensive marketing campaign today during a press conference at International Pow Wow, the largest U.S. travel trade show held this week in Los Angeles. The campaign showcases the diversity of experiences available in the United States in a fresh and unexpected light, inviting visitors to “Discover this land, like never before.”
“Our goal is nothing short of rekindling the world’s love affair with the USA – the place, the spirit and the dream,” said Brand USA CEO Jim Evans. “We want to spread America’s message of welcome around the world and invite travelers to experience the limitless possibilities the United States has to offer. So we asked ourselves, ‘how can we best speak to multiple countries, across countless languages and cultures?’ We found the answer lay in the only truly universal language—music.”
The Theme Song
Rosanne Cash, daughter of American music legend Johnny Cash and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter, has composed an original song, “Land of Dreams,” to serve as the heart of the campaign. Initial advertisements feature Cash playing the song under New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, accompanied by musicians from around the world. As part of its marketing efforts, Brand USA will extend invitations to musical artists from around the world to come perform their music in their favorite U.S. cities and towns, profiling their trips and favorite things about the USA online and through social media. A YouTube channel is live already, with just two in-house videos, but visitors will be invited to upload their own.
Brand USA, which created the campaign in partnership with JWT, the organization’s agency of record, will employ a fully integrated marketing strategy, using a mix of 60-, 20- and 15-second television spots, as well as digital, billboard and print advertisements and a robust online presence and social media strategy to reach potential visitors. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages will showcase country specific promotions and engagements and the newly re-launched website DiscoverAmerica.com will act as visitors’ information portal for trip planning. The YouTube channel is live, with just a few videos, including the promo spot
“Other countries around the world have prioritized tourism efforts for years, yet in the 236 years since the United States of America was founded, this country has never had a nationally coordinated effort dedicated to inviting travelers to come visit us,” said Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of Brand USA’s Board of Directors. “That changes today. This new campaign will tap into an incredibly valuable economic resource – the millions of visitors who want to experience all that our great country has to offer.”
The first wave of advertising launches in-market May 1st in the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, with a budget of $12.3 million for the first three months. A second wave will follow in Brazil and South Korea, with several other markets to follow.
Brand USA was created as a result of the U.S. Travel Promotion Act, federal legislation passed in March 2010 which established a public-private partnership between the travel industry and the U.S. government dedicated to increasing international visitation to the U.S. through marketing and promotional efforts to drive job creation and spur economic growth. According to the U.S. Travel Association, the average overseas visitor to the United States spends $4,000 per trip, and 35 incremental overseas visitors supports one new U.S. job.
International Pow Wow, which is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from April 21 through April 24, draws more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations and 1,200 international and domestic travel buyers from more than 70 countries. Together, these buyers and sellers will negotiate business that will generate an estimated $3.5 billion in future USA travel.
In what it claims is the “first massive takeover of its kind,” automaker Hyundai will take possession of “the most prime real estate Postmedia has to offer.”
On April 24 (and April 25 in Alberta), Hyundai will own the front page of every Postmedia digital, print and mobile platform for an entire day.
Postmedia Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of Postmedia Network Canada Corp.. am dos the largest publisher by circulation of paid English-language daily newspapers in Canada, representing some of the country’s oldest and best known media brands. Postmedia offers advertisers and marketers integrated solutions to effectively reach target audiences through a variety of print, online, digital, and mobile platforms.
The offering by Postmedia is called “Launch Pad,” and the company claims it represents the largest one-day audience available to marketers, and a way to achieve “accelerated audience reach.” Elements include a four-page full colour A-section promo wrap on all of Postmedia’s daily publications plus repped brands, a full cover wrap on Financial Post Magazine; opening homepage takeover on all newspaper websites, canada.com and Dose.ca; mobile homepage takeover on all Postmedia iPad apps plus site takeover of all standard ad units on iOS and Android apps and mobile optimized websites.
“Hyundai is a company that is always on the hunt for new ideas,” said John Vernile, Vice President of Marketing at Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. “We like to do things a little differently. One of our most important goals is to reintroduce ourselves to Canadians, so a front cover property with a first-rate group like Postmedia is the perfect approach to get our message out in a big way.”
“Take a bold advertiser with a big story to tell and a media partner with the creativity, products and the most coveted audience around and you have Launch Pad,” said Simon Jennings, Chief Digital and Revenue Officer, Postmedia Network. “Advertisers want high-impact creative solutions to meet their marketing objectives. Our goal is to provide them with not only innovative solutions but seamless execution and outstanding customer service. And have fun doing it.”
- Denny’s Restaurants is targeting younger diners with a YouTube channel and video series, reports the New York Times. The series, “Always Open” features serves films in a youth-sized three-minute chunks, featuring comedian Dave Koechner of “Saturday Night Live” who interviews celebrities as they share a booth at Denny’s. NYT observes a deliberately provocative tone from the family-friendly restaurant, as Koechner makes innuendoes about snuggling for warmth with actress Jessica Biel, and comedian Sarah Silverman makes one of her usual body-function jokes. The ads have taken six million views to date, and were conceived by Gotham and produced by DumbDumb, a production company headed by the actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett.
- B2B Media Business is accepting nominations for “10 Great Media Websites,” which it will present in its June issue. “We’re seeking nominations in the following categories: tech, trade (nontech), general business, paid subscription, launch, relaunch, portal, video/multimedia, mobile/smartphone and mobile/tablet,” says B2B. Nominees must prove themselves: B2B is looking for proof of “greatness,” including successful new features, redesigns that improve usability, and ideas that have led to greater social interaction among an audience, or between audiences and editors. Deadline for entry is May 1.
- Time Out New York is making a “big leap into the digital world,” reports TechCrunch. Also a rather belated one, for an entertainment outlet that specializes in reviews and arts/entertainment/dining listings. Time Out New York is launching its first iPad app, an updated iPhone app, and a new e-commerce model for its properties. The updated iPad app personalizes the user experience, for example, targeting restaurant recommendations based on previous choices, a la Netflix and Pandora. The personalization is based on technology from LikeCube, a semantic analysis company that Time Out acquired last year. Perhaps more exciting, Time Out New York will be selling tickets to events, as Mashable reports, from its own inventory rather than as an affiliate.
- VideoHub, the end-to-end analytics and monetization platform for online video, has unveiled video ad verification signals to give advertisers insight into the viewability of their ads (e.g., for where they appear on the page, the size of player, the impact on viewer experience).. The new “Player Position” and “Player Size” signals offer advertisers and publishers “full transparency into video ad position and size for video campaigns running across ad networks, direct publishers and video exchanges,” says the company. Player Position and Size go beyond basic verification metrics by showing advertisers how many video ad impressions are 100-percent viewable, partially viewable, or non viewable. VideoHub promises clients they can also measure viewability alongside brand lift, engagement, and other KPIs, showing the relationship between the viewing environment and campaign results. These new features, following the platform-wide integration of Nielsen GRP reporting, help VideoHub marry verification, reach and ad performance, providing advertisers “a level of measurement and understanding that is unavailable anywhere else,” says the company.
- In an apparent vote of no confidence, ABC News appears to have abandoned Tumblr, the microblogging-plus-video social media site, reports Digiday. While Tumblr has a huge audience, Digiday describes its benefit to publishers as “uncertain.” ABC had run at least three Tumblr feeds (called “Tumblrs”), including for “Nightline” and “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” for over two years. ABC has declined comment. Digiday speculates that ABC may have been concerned about the liability of sharing content on Tumblr. ABC News has a strong presence on both Twitter and Facebook, with the Twitter accound @ABC has having more than 1.6 million followers and its Facebook page with more than 492,000 likes.
- Apple kept its word to developers. Apple on Sunday, April 1, announced to developers that it has increased their share of revenue in iAd from 60 to 70%. Also true, as AdExchanger reports the significance, advertisers can now spend as little as $100,000 to initiate mobile campaigns, down from a $300,000 threshold that went into effect last July. That is just a fraction of the “lofty” $1 million minimum for entry when iAd launched in 2010, and of the $0.5 million entry from last February.
- Google and Starbucks are planning a Google Offers campaign for this week, reports ClickZ, which “should be a boon for Google Offers subscriber numbers,” given Starbucks' popularity. Starbucks joins such national brands as REI, JetBlue, and Toys R Us which have partnered with Google Offers since Google launched the deals platform 10 months ago. Groupon still reigns as the source for bargains at local businesses.
- “The Economist” is putting the brakes on the “everything is free” ethos, reports Digiday. The magazine’s Managing Director for the Americas Paul Rossi called the free or lower-cost digital model “suicide.” Rossi spoke at Digiday’s Publishing Summit last week, and told the crowd that “It makes no sense in my mind if you think a mag on a news has a [value] to a reader of $4.99 that you sell that to a reader digitally for 99 cents or $1.99…I don’t understand the logic.” Rossi also addressed the problem of digital advertising not coming close to replacing print revenue—partly because lower- or no-cost content devalues digital ad placements.
- Business Insider has published a provocative article called “This Is What Advertisers Hate About Facebook,” citing a “top ad executive at a company that helps brands market on Facebook.” Among the dislikes: unreliable APIs. “[Google] technology has been reliable for the past 15 years. With Facebook, you feel like you're dealing with three developers in their garage changing their mind every week.” Also, ownership of data and content, particularly customer data. Facebook says it’s theirs, brands think it’s theirs. Finally, analytics. “It's not just that the functionality is lacking, the executive said, it's that the stats are virtually unusable,” says Business Insider. The executive cited disbelief that a big brand with a Facebook page for a small-town subsidiary had supposedly “reached” 1.3 million people.
- NBCUniversal has penned a multiyear agreement with FreeWheel to use its ad-management system to serve online and mobile ads across some of NBCU's network and cable digital properties, reports Multichannel News. Those properties include NBC.com, NBCSports.com, NBCOlympics.com, CNBC.com, USANetwork.com, BravoTV.com and Telemundo.com. NBCU will use FreeWheel's Monetization Rights Management system for multiple sites, including NBCOlympics.com in connection with NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. NBCU reports that advertisers have already bought more than $50 million in digital inventory for the Summer Olympics. With the FreeWheel system, advertisers can now buy specialized digital ad packages such as exclusivities, sponsorships and other converged-ad campaigns.
More evidence for consistent cross-media campaigning. Between its traditional ads, social media ads and pages, Starbucks rated Number 1 in a study of the most socially engaged companies, reports the advertising research firm PhaseOne in a press release. Alongside Starbucks, the study's most socially engaged brands across three distinct engagement metrics are Audi, McDonald's, Red Bull and American Express. PhaseOne presented its findings at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Re:Think event in New York City on March 27, 2012.
PhaseOne conducted its study of 75 top brands across six vertical markets, between July 2011 and January 2012; and analyzed the social media engagement of 22 top brands. The goal of PhaseOne's study was to determine what drives social media engagement (measured by earned media) across the primary consumer touch points of paid media (the brands' TV ads) and owned media (the brands' own Web pages and Facebook page).
"Idealized Self" vs. "Private Self" in Driving Social Engagement
In looking for the commonalities between the most socially engaged brands, PhaseOne researchers found that social media users are drawn to brands that convey a social benefit. When the user affiliates with the brand, the user is sending a message to those in his or her social network about how he or she wants to be perceived. In this way, the brand reflects the user's idealized self -- the "Me Statement."
This very public aspect of social media can be quite different from the private self: those aspects of one's self that, while true, are not for public broadcast. Marketing messages that tap into the private self may drive sales, but they won't drive social media engagement.
"In PhaseOne's study, none of the brands that tapped into users' private selves scored in the top category of social media engagement," said Dr. Lisa Allard, vice president of Special Projects for PhaseOne. "Rather, we found that users engage with a brand in social media based on how they want to be perceived."
"For example, users may 'like' the Starbucks Facebook page because of what they believe it says about them and how they want to be perceived, while in reality, they also have instant coffee in their kitchen cupboards," added Terry Villines, vice president of Analytics for PhaseOne.
Starbucks Takes on the "Me Statement" and "Idealized Self"
The study found that a focus on a "me statement" (the idealized self embodied by a brand) was the key factor in driving social media engagement among the most engaged brands. For example, Starbucks, which the study ranked as the most successful in social media engagement, has a brand that uniquely delivers its story with consistent messaging and strategy across all of its touch points, appealing to the "idealized self."
To achieve this successful social media engagement, Starbucks focused its Web page, Facebook page and television advertisements on the individual and his or her individualized experience with the brand. For example, Starbuck's Facebook page engages the visitor by speaking to his or her coffee preferences and personal stories. It continues this trend today with a Web page featuring interactive content that taps into visitors' unique tastes, including "What's YOUR Everylove story?" and "Do YOU prefer Starbucks Blonde Roast, Medium or Dark?" In this way, Starbucks taps into visitors' desires for individualized experiences that appeal to their unique preferences.
According to the study, being consistent across all platforms—the brand's advertising, Web pages and Facebook page—are keys to being successful at social media engagement. For example, Starbucks has integrated its appeal to a personalized experience across all consumer touch points, including its television advertising.
A recent Starbucks ad starts with a coffee plant in a garden being grown for an individual person, "Sue." The ad then shows the life cycle of coffee beans from seedling to production, at every junction labeled for "Sue." In the end, Sue receives a cup of coffee with her name written on the cup. From beginning to end of this commercial, Starbuck's reinforces the highly individualized experience their brand offers. In this way, Starbucks becomes the embodiment of their consumers' idealized selves, seeking experiences uniquely their own.
PhaseOne's social media engagement study looked at 75 top brands and analyzed the social media engagement of more than 20 top brands. The study analyzed social media engagement (measured by earned media) as driven by paid media (the brands' TV ads) and owned media (the brands' own Web pages and Facebook page).
The study utilized metrics, including Facebook Likes, Klout and Netbase. Klout measures online "stickiness," which translates to online influence. Netbase measures online sentiment. PhaseOne coded each television, Web page and Facebook page for more than 250 variables to capture elements related to style and content, synergies across media, and brand or product ideas and messaging related to brand benefits.
The study analyzed brands across six vertical markets: Automotive, Dining, Food/Beverage, Retail, Services and Technology.
Brands studied are not clients of PhaseOne, and analysis was based on publicly available data.