In response to customer requests (and after nearly a year of beta testing), the U.S. Postal Service has launched of the Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program for commercial mailers. USPS claims the program provides new advertising opportunities for commercial mail customers by allowing them to use corporate logos, product visuals or other brand images in the permit indicia space on their mail.
The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program is open to commercial mailers of presorted First-Class Mail letters and cards or Standard Mail letters. The premium for First-Class Mail letters and cards will be 1 cent per piece, and for Standard Mail letters, 2 cents per piece.
The program has been in a beta test for nearly a year, with Chrysler as one of its early adopters. It used a Picture Perfect indicia on direct mailers for its Jeep® 70th Anniversary campaign in May 2011.
"Dozens of our largest customers looking to increase brand awareness and increase the effectiveness of their mail have asked us to allow more creativity in the design of their permit indicia," said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. "Permit indicia enhanced with logos, photos or other brand images increase the visual impact of the mailpiece as well as its open rate and value."
The Picture Permit Imprint Indicia program launches officially June 24. According to Reblin, however, "Due to the expected popularity of the program, we are launching the website now and encouraging customers to get started,” in a four-step permit process.
Advertising think tank Kantar Media reports that while retailer advertising expenditures increased by 1.6% in 2011, retailer participation in free-standing insert (FSI) coupon promotion pages jumped by 30.7% in 2011 over 2010. Moreover, digital coupon events increased 40.4% during the year across leading retailer websites monitored by Kantar Media.
These data are the first to become available from Kantar Media’s DirectHEAT service, which enables consumer-packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers tounderstand retail opportunities.
“Retailers and manufacturers are working together to implement integrated advertising and promotion programs that reach shoppers in the home where they are creating shopping lists and planning shopping trips. However, important differences in advertising and promotion tactics were observed among leading retailers,” said Dan Kitrell, Vice President of Marx Account Solutions at Kantar Media.
“Manufacturers need to understand which retailers are increasing their ‘share of voice’ to drive more trips and win key weeks with their shoppers. Additionally, manufacturers must understand the strategic role of their categories at each retailer together with how their brands both complement and compete with other brands within these categories, including private label brands,” said Kitrell.
Top Retailers by Channel
Significant shifts in advertising and promotion activity were observed among leading retailers across the Mass, Food, Drug, and other retail distribution channels. For example, Walmart decreased total advertising expenditures 27.2% across the 18 media monitored by Kantar Media while increasing their participation in FSI promotion pages by 677.2% and having 989.6% more digital coupon events distributed on Walmart.com during CY 2011 versus CY 2010.
“Retailers are targeting shoppers in the home to drive trips, transactions, and profits for their stores. Manufacturers may be able to gain a competitive advantage by aligning their promotion timing with weeks in which retailers have greater advertising and promotion activity. Higher levels of weekly retailer advertising and promotion may translate into increased retailer share of voice with the shoppers, increased shopper traffic into the stores, and increased dollar sales across departments, categories, and brands,” said Kitrell. “Some manufacturers are leveraging the strength of their brand portfolios as part of corporate scale themed events that ‘stack’ retailer-aligned advertising and promotion support to break through the clutter with shoppers, improve the return on promotion programs with retailers, and convert category shoppers into brand buyers in the store during these peak weeks.”
Perhaps direct email marketing is not as quaint as we have come to believe.
As eMarketer reports, 57% of “brand advocates” who share their enthusiasm for a particular brand, prefer to do so through email. Another 35% does so through Facebook. The task for marketers and advertisers is to make those direct emails and Facebook ads easy to share. Brand advocates may of course simply forward a link or a screen capture in an email. But this data suggests that identifying those advocates through media like Facebook, then targeting those advocates directly with an email, will perhaps tweak an already strong brand ambassador to act on the advertiser’s behalf.
Brand advocates are what eMarketer calls a “volunteer army of supporters who disseminate recommendations to friends and family.” eMarketer was reporting on a January 2012 study from the Social media influencer and advocacy company Zuberance, which observed that that U.S. Internet users are making more recommendations than ever before, and across industries; they may recommend a consumer electronic (the most common category), restaurants, beauty products or services like insurance. On average, the influencers surveyed made nine recommendations per year, and 16% of them made more than 15 recommendations.
Zuberance describes individuals who make more than one recommendation a month as brand advocates, and observe that this category is growing. As of January 2012, 68% of Internet users were in this category.
When it comes to the types of recommendations they make, Internet users talk about technology most often, at 25%, followed by restaurants and dining (15%), and entertainment and leisure (14%).
The Zuberance study also found that 67% of brand advocates were comfortable recommending brands, products and services related to both professional and personal purchases.
Upfront Digital: “Parade” Ad-Supported App | Google+ Favors Male Students | TWC Streams on PCs, Macs
- Parade (that slim magazine that comes with Saturday and Sunday newspapers) has gone digital with an ad-supported mobile app, “Celebrity Parade.” Min Online sees this as a good move, as “Most magazines seem distracted [by] the big shiny object, the tablet,” while ignoring the smart phone. Parade developed the app with Zumobi, which is behind apps for MSNBC, Motor Trend and Good Housekeeping, among other brands.
- NBA Digital (a partnership between Turner Sports and the NBA) will deliver multiplatform coverage of NBA All-Star 2012 through the league’s portfolio of television, online, digital and social platforms, highlighted by the first ever “NBA.com Social Spotlight” that will feature the best fan tweets, photos and videos throughout All-Star in one convenient and easy place to view on NBA.com. During NBA All-Star, NBA TV will deliver fans more than 95 hours of dedicated All-Star programming including interviews with LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and many other NBA All-Star participants, and an exclusive live presentation of NBA Commissioner David Stern’s All-Star press conference on Saturday, February Feb. 25.
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) is beta-testing a live TV streaming service (called TWC TV) for PCs and Mac computers, reports Multichannel News. This builds on its original iPad version. The 100+ channel line-up includes no Viacom networks, as TWC and Viacom have yet to hammer out an agreement. TWC TV provides seven days of searchable TV listings, a "Watch on TV" button to change channels on set-top boxex, DVR management features and parental controls, among other features.
- In online ad targeting 2/3 of google+ users are men, says BizReports. Website-Monitoring.com compiled a profile of google+ users from a number of sources (including Google’s official blog). Top 10 brands include H&M, Samsung, Pepsi and Toyota. The #1 occupation for a Google+ user? Student, at 20.01%. The second highest is “software engineers,” at just 2.65%. The remaining occupations all fall under 2% of share.
- Still hesitant about video ads? Mobile video traffic comprised 52% of wireless data usage by the end of 2011, according to Cisco Systems, as reported in Multichannel News. Cisco expects video traffic to soar 25 fold through 2016 and account for more than 70% of total mobile traffic. Global mobile data traffic grew 2.3-fold in 2011, and will increase 18-fold over the next five years to hit 10.8 Exabytes (10.8 billion Gigabytes)/month by 2016.
- Another forecast from Cisco Systems: There will be more than 10 billion Internet-connected devices in 2016, exceeding the projected world population of 7.3 billion people, according to a BizReport story. This is behind that 18-fold rise in mobile data traffic. Cisco’s VP of Product and Solutions Marketing Suraj Shetty told BizReports that by 2016, “60% of mobile users—three billion people worldwide—will belong to the 'Gigabyte Club,'” generating more than a gigabyte of mobile data traffic per month.
Americans are spending 33+ hours per week watching video, and across numerous screens, according to the just-issued Nielsen Cross Platform Report. That is a lot of media time, but where to buy ad time? It depends who you are attempting to reach. Older viewers watch the most television. Young viewers are watching less, but as The New York Times describes it, "Youths are watching, but less often on TV."
Nielsen reported data for Q3 2010 and Q3 2011, year-over-year (YOY), and as Nielsen describes it, “changes are afoot” as consumers seek the options that make the most sense for them (usually depending upon their comfort with the Internet, or household income).
Younger viewers are spending less time watching TV, at 120.56 minutes per month, while those over 55 watch the most at 195.10 minutes per month. But the total viewer time is more even, taking into account mobile media and online. The upshot, says TechCrunch, is that “the issue isn’t as simple as switching from one medium to another,” for example, from TV to TV-over-Internet. Rather, with a “plethora of new TV consumption choices,” the mix is inconsistent, even among viewers in the same household.
Three quarters (75.3%) surveyed pay for broadband Internet, up from 70.9% in 2011. Fully 90.4% pay for cable, telco-provided TV or satellite. Also, homes with both paid TV and broadband increased 5.5% since last year.
The number of homes subscribing to wired cable decreased 4.1% over the past 12 months, while telco-provided and satellite TV increased by 21.1% and 2.1%.
Although they comprise less than 5% of TV households, homes with both broadband Internet and broadcast TV are on the rise, having grown 22.8% over the last year. In those households, viewers stream twice as much video content as do the average households, and watch half as much broadcast TV.
Among other findings for Q3 2011, YOY:
- Households watching time-shifted TV increased by 65.9% YOY
- Mobile video viewing increased by 205.7% increase in users
- TV over Internet increased by 21.7%
- Asian wired cable subscribers declined from nearly 66% to 51%
- 12% of Asians opt for telco delivery, up 3% YOY
- Hispanic homes are more likely to be broadcast only at 15%, or satellite connected at 34%, than any other ethnic demographic.
- Metrics are in for the “Social Super Bowl”: Bluefin Labs, which analyzes social media commentary during broadcasts, clocked 11.5 million comments during last night’s game, up more than six times over last year’s broadcast, reports AllThingsD. Bluefin rival Trendrr clocked 15.8 million comments, up from 3.01 million in 2011.
- Social Times reports that YouTube has joined with See3 Communications for the third year to present their DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards, which honors members of the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Contestants are invited to submit non-profit videos by February 29, to compete for small grants and of course, magnificent PR.
- “The Daily,” the Rupert Murdoch/Steve Jobs digital-only newspaper, is struggling, reports the New York Times. A year ago Murdoch introduced the $30 million tablet-only publication, which Murdoch predicted would save the news publishing industry. But with 100,000 subscribers paying 99 cents a week, The Daily is on par to break even in five years—which is typical of a print newspaper.
- Also from the New York Times, Spin Media (of Spin Magazine) is expected to enter the Pandora/Spotify rivalry today, by announcing an overhaul for Spin.com, to offer a streaming music player; nine new blogs; and Internet-only content, including news and music reviews. The music player will sit in a banner on the homepage, and a new toolbar will allow users to share content and video on, for example, Facebook and Twitter.
• Apple has been “shopping around for TV parts,” reports AllThingsD, meaning an Apple-platform smart TV is inching toward reality. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a note to clients that Apple has been talking to TV component vendors. This following some January meetings in Asia, supposedly to scope out manufacturing facilities, which led Piper Jaffray to believe Apple is looking to manufacture large-scale LCD displays.
• Citing “inventory oversupply” in the mobile ad space, Digiday reports that during Q3 of 2011, only 18 percent of impressions were filled by the top 20 U.S. mobile ad networks, and 10 percent worldwide. This says Digiday makes it “increasingly difficult for publishers to generate revenues from their mobile audiences.”
• About.com (a New York Times company) with its evergreen content may not seem a serious ad outlet, but, it is serious enough for Charles Schwab and Procter & Gamble. Now the online outlet has launched Real Recipes, a free app for iPhone and iPod Touch, to deliver About.com’s “deep catalogue of culinary content” (more than 25,000 recipes and numerous menu-planning tools) to the digital space.
• Former “NBC Dateline” anchor will bypass television and anchor straight from the web, reports TV Newser. In a video message on the StonePhillipsReports.com website, Phillips declared that after 20 years in broadcast news, he will now report on stories important to himself. First out of the lineup—head injuries in youth football, in a story called “Hard Hits, Hard Numbers.” As yet, Phillips is not accepting advertising, just donations. Dateline NBC did not review Phillips’ contract in 2007, and he has not been on broadcast television since.
• In an attempt to promote its Bing search engine over Google, Microsoft has launched its “Putting People First” campaign in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. As Social Times describes, Microsoft argues in the ad that Google sells out users to advertisers by using personal information to influence the type of advertising each customer sees. Microsoft products including Hotmail, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and Bing, are far safer and more private, the company claims.
ESPN is pay TV’s most expensive basic offering, observes Deadline Hollywood, at an estimated $4.69 per customer per month. Still, ESPN President John Skipper defends ESPN as “bringing great value and getting paid for that value.” Skipper made the remark at yesterday’s D: Dive Into Media conference, hosted by AllThingsD.
“The rates we get from distributors are directly correlated to the value we provide,” Skipper said. Moreover, Skipper will be certain that it retains its value, by closely guarding its TV viewership. ESPN acquires rights for its content on all devices, but Skipper pledges the channel will not use digital platforms to draw viewers away from cable and satellite. “We don’t cannibalize ourself, we use those platforms to cross-promote,” with mobile alerts and fantasy game applications, among other offerings.
Digital rights could give ESPN a leg up over such rising competitors as NBC Sports Network. But as AllThingsD describes, the value of that guarded distributorship is strong local ad sales, and the draw of 3-D and HD content, which ESPN has pioneered. Skipper added that he believes the espnW web site, a women’s sports outlet, will become a cable channel.
Advertisers are just waking up to unmarried adult “singletons,” according to a Fortune story. Despite the perception of miserable loners sitting at home, they socialize up to five nights a week, and spend more than $10,000 per person per year more than married counterparts with children.
The Fortune story was adapted from the book Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by New York University sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. Among Klinenberg’s findings:
- 28% of U.S. households now consist of one person, 40% of city households
- Average per capita annual expenditure was $34,471 in 2010, versus $23,179 per person in high-income households with children
- The majority of singletons is female, at 18 million versus 14 million men
- 18-34 year olds are the smallest but fastest growing demographic
Singletons spend their discretionary income largely on socializing several nights a week at bars and restaurants, in special-interest clubs and joining gyms. This, speculated CEO David Eastman of advertising giant JWT, is why alcohol advertisers like Smirnoff now favor images of friends at communal tables, versus couples. Elsewhere, Nestlé reported that 90% of its Lean Cuisine meals are eaten alone, and failed when it attempted to market double-serving meals.
Still, the singleton demographic is largely untapped. Only a handful of big-ticket advertisers, including Norwegian Cruise Lines, Coldwell Banker, Lowe’s, Chevrolet and DeBeers have targeted singles. DeBeers now offers a “right-hand ring,” a diamond designed for single women, and Norwegian Cruise Lines offers “studio staterooms” for single travelers.
The advertising expenditure on national TV sports delivery grew $.6 billion year-over-year (YOY) in 2011, to reach $10.9 billion. That according to the just-released report Nielsen’s State of the Media: Year in Sports.
Nielsen measured the ad spend during sporting events on network and cable from Q4 2010 through Q3 2011. Cable is taking an increasing share of that spend, growing 37.3% YOY compared to 5.9% for sports ad spending in general.
“TV sports advertising is dominated by a few big spenders,” reports Nielsen, led by AT&T, Annheuser Busch (with the Bud Light brand), Verizon Wireless, McDonald’s and DIRECTV. The top 10 advertisers accounted for 26% of the total spend.
The increasing TV ad spend parallels the growth in content on national broadcast and cable TV; the more than 42,500 hours of live events represented a 5% increase over 2010.
Nielsen went on to break down trends among all major sports, and also for online, mobile and social media delivery. Some key findings:
- Brand recall was 33% higher for Super Bowl ads that directed viewers to link on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other social media
- The mobile web audience among sports sites increased by 22% YOY
- The five most-used mobile sports apps were ESPN at 62%; NFL Live at 18%; Yahoo! Sports at 17%; MLB.com, 16%; and Fox Sports Mobile, 13%