- This matters, if “social TV” takes wing. Ad Age has identified new TV shows with “top Twitter stars,” using data from social-media analytics company Networked Insights. The five most-followed actors on Twitter include Dane Cook who will star in NBC’s “Next Caller,” Matthew Perry (?!) on NBC’s “Go On,” with Anthony Anderson (“Guys With Kids,” NBC), Robert Buckley (“666 Park Ave,” ABC) and Max Adler (“Last Resort,” ABC) rounding out the five. The five most-followed women include Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project,” FOX), Ashley Greene (“Infamous,” NBC), Sophia Bush (“Partners,” CBS), Reba McIntire (“Malibu Country,” ABC) and Meagan Good (“Infamous,” NBC). Dane Cook, star of NBC's "Next Caller," has by far the most Twitter followers (more than 2.8 million) of anyone carrying a new series.
- There will be two “Silence of the Lambs”-inspired shows on TV, according to Indie Wire. Lifetime is developing “Clarice,” based on the character portrayed by Jodie Foster in “Lambs,” which will cover her early career (before meeting Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter). No announcement as to air dates, but “Lambs” fans can watch “Hannibal” on NBC this fall, which follows the yet-to-be-caught Lecter as he dines on strangers and helps FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) solve crimes.
- Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Shield”) will host, and singer Jennifer Hudson will perform when CBS covers the “Boston Pops Firework Spectacular” on July 4 10:00-11:00 P.M., live ET/delayed PT. This is the second year for Boston-area native Chiklis to host the broadcast, now in its 39th year. Hudson will perform some of her biggest hits with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of conductor Keith Lockhart. The entire concert will be broadcast in HD (high definition), courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance. In addition, the final 20 minutes of the broadcast, featuring the spectacular fireworks display, will be presented commercial-free by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
- ABC will debut its true-crime limited series “Final Witness” beginning Wednesday, June 27 at 10:00—11:00 P.M. ET. Each episode examine one case from start to finish, taking viewers inside the murder from the victim’s point of view. A hybrid of documentary and drama, “Final Witness” features interviews with real-life witnesses, prosecutors, law enforcement, family and friends, along with riveting dramatization that thrusts viewers into the heart of each crime. Shot around the world at the actual locations with cinematic style and infused with an indie-band soundtrack, ABC promises that “Final Witness” creates an Unforgettable look at the human psyche at its darkest. In the series premiere, “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” the program revisits the cold-blooded murders of almost every member of the Caffey family in rural East Texas.
- A French court has dismissed a copyright lawsuit against Google and YouTube, a case that “has parallels with the long-running struggle between YouTube and Viacom in the United States,” reports the New York Times. France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance declared that YouTube has made adequate efforts to remove programming like “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” from YouTube, for which France’s TF1 owns French broadcast rights. TF1 sought $176 million in damages and (humiliatingly) must pay Google’s $100,000+ legal expenses. Google lost a similar suit in Germany and Italy, while in the US, an appeals court has revived a copyright suit brought by Viacom.
All of the major TV broadcasters hate the idea of bypassing televisions, but some of their local affiliates love the idea.
All major TV broadcasters have joined forces to fight Aereo, “an upstart company backed by Barry Diller that seeks to distribute stations online to paying customers,” as Hollywood Reporter describes. If Aereo successfully fends off the lawsuits, then Aero will retransmit broadcast programming online (and charge for it) without paying retransmission fees.
Broadcasters see it as a slippery slope. As Matt Bond, executive vp content distribution at NBCUniversal, told a New York federal court on Wednesday, it makes no sense for cable systems or satellite broadcasters to pay for NBCU content: They need only follow the Aereo example and snag it for free. (Aero uses an individual antenna to do so.) Bonds declared that "I know for a fact that cable companies have already considered such a model." Bonds and his opposite numbers at rival networks foresee impaired retransmission negotiations with cable and satellite providers, and lost ad dollars.
At the same time, local station owners are actively working with technology startups that want to broadcast their content to tablets and smartphones, reports USA Today. "It's watching TV in your car or on the train," Colleen Brown, CEO of TV station owner Fisher Communications told USA Today. "There will be a time when consumers don't care how they get TV."
USA Today names Aereo alongside new ventures Syncbak, Dyle and Mobile500 as providing mobile digital TV technology for consumers looking to cut the cable cord.
Mobile500 Alliance is a joint venture of 50 TV station companies (Fisher Communications included, and Brown chairs the alliance), which plans to release an antenna and iOS app this summer to allow iPhone and iPad users to receive local TV broadcast signals. The content will be free, but the antenna will cost $50 to $100.
Thus far,other companies that aimed to deliver TV via Internet (including Filmon, Ivi.tv and iCravetv) have been blocked by lawsuits: But none was backed by a heavyweight like Barry Diller, or by a consortium like the Mobile500Alliance.
More on this as the story evolves.
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) yesterday released a Statement of Best Practices that encourages all marketers to take affirmative steps to address the serious problems of online piracy and counterfeiting.
The associations released the Statement at a meeting of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Conference in Washington, DC. The Statement specifically advises marketers to include language in their media placement contracts and insertion orders to prevent ads from appearing on "rogue sites" dedicated to infringement of intellectual property rights of others. In addition to the ANA and 4A's, the Statement is supported by a key industry partner, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
Bob Liodice, ANA’s President and CEO, stated: “Marketers must have confidence that their ads are not unintentionally providing financial support or otherwise legitimizing ‘rogue’ Internet Web sites whose primary purpose is to steal the intellectual property of America’s innovators and creators.” Liodice noted that “ads for iconic and trusted brands can lend inadvertent legitimacy to the illicit business models and can mislead consumers into believing that these ‘rogue’ Web sites are offering authentic products and complying with the law.”
Addressing online piracy and counterfeiting has been a strong priority for both the White House Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus. They have urged ANA, the 4A’s, IAB and other industry groups to play an active role in this fight. The Best Practices Statement supports this critical need by encouraging all marketers to take affirmative steps to avoid placement of their ads on "rogue" Web sites. “The deceptive practices of these ‘rogue’ Web sites are unfair both to consumers and the companies that invest vast resources to establish brand integrity,” said 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill. “Combatting online piracy and counterfeiting is a key priority for the entire business community and we look forward to continuing to work with the White House, Congress and all of our industry partners on this important issue.”
Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, stated: “Protecting the availability of quality, original content is vital to the health of the Internet. IAB remains committed to combating online piracy and through our Quality Assurance Guidelines program we will continue to develop a more secure digital supply chain. We appreciate the initiative by ANA and the 4A’s and look forward to working with our marketer and agency partners to find effective business solutions that can choke off revenue from these criminals.”
Liodice concluded: “We strongly urge all marketers to discuss this matter with their ad agencies and media buyers to stress your company’s commitment to combatting online piracy and counterfeiting. The entire Internet ecosystem must come together to address this problem."
The 40-year-old National Advertising Review Council (NARC), founded in 1971, is now the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC). The rebranded organization has not missed a day of work, but its new identity is live at www.asrcreviews.org.
But “Do you now what NARC is and what it does?” asked Ad Age. “Don’t feel bad if the answer is no.” Ad Age described a “perennial lack of awareness” in Washington and on Madison Avenue, and the organization felt that the moniker Advertising Self-Regulatory Council would be far more clear.
Too bad: NARC was a pretty bold acronym to begin with (it is of course the shortened version of “narcotics officer”). But it was not one the NARC board necessarily liked. Nancy Hill, president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and an ASRC board member told Ad Age "It has the connotation of people undercover, spying on drug dealers—and that's not at all what we do.”
Still, “This strong, bold brand recognizes the industry's commitment to self-regulation and the comprehensive scope of self-regulatory activities – the growing number of programs and services, the broad reach of decisions and the expanded industry representation on the ASRC Board of Directors," said Eric Mower, Chairman of the ASRC Board of Directors and Chairman and CEO of Eric Mower and Associates.
The new brand was developed pro bono by Leo Burnett USA, and comes as the self-regulatory system marks a 40-year partnership between the advertising industry and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) to provide objective third-party oversight of advertising practices.
Still - What Does ASRC do?
"The notion that advertisers could or would self-regulate was greeted with some skepticism in 1971. Since that time, however, the industry has consistently demonstrated its commitment to the establishment and enforcement of strong, meaningful standards," said C. Lee Peeler, President and CEO of ASRC.
ASRC sets the policies and procedures for advertising industry self-regulation programs. In 2009, the Board of Directors expanded beyond its founding partners – 4As, American Advertising Federation (AAF), Association of National Advertisers, (ANA), and CBBB – to include the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The CBBB serves as the third-party administrator of a self-regulatory system that now includes:
- National Advertising Division (NAD), 1971
- National Advertising Review Board (NARB), 1971
- The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), 1974
- The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), 2004
- The NAD/CRN Initiative, 2006
- The Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program, 2010
These programs examine the truth and accuracy of advertising claims, the appropriateness of children's advertising practices and, in the case of the Accountability Program, promote compliance with the advertising industry's self-regulatory standards.
Both the ERSP program and the NAD/CRN Initiative began at the request of a specific industry segment for ASRC-led oversight. ERSP was launched in partnership with the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and examines core advertising claims communicated through direct-response advertising. The NAD/CRN Initiative began at the request of the Council for Responsible Nutrition and examines the truth and accuracy of advertising claims made for dietary supplements.
The Accountability Program – the most recent self-regulatory program – was developed at the urging of a cross-industry coalition of trade associations. The Accountability Program reviews compliance with the industry-accepted principles for online behavioral advertising (OBA), focuses on transparency and consumer-control issues and monitors companies that may be engaged in OBA.
"Industry support is as critical now as it was in 1971," said Mr. Mower. "Our industry has always faced challenges – new technologies, societal and cultural sensitivities, legislative and regulatory scrutiny. And as we meet each challenge, we must demonstrate to consumers that we are focused on their concerns. The best demonstration is effective self-regulation."
- Bad news for ABC and “The Bachelor.” As a Reuters story describes, two African American men expect to file a racial discrimination lawsuit today (April 18) against ABC television and the producers of the reality dating shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette." Both men come from Nashville, Tennessee, and claim that the reality shows intentionally exclude people of color. Nashville residents Nathaniel Claybrooks, an All-American football player, and Christopher Johnson, an aspiring National Football League player, observe that in the 10 years and 23 seasons, neither show has featured a person of color in a central role. The lawsuit is expected to name ABC television, Warner Horizon television, Next Entertainment, NZK Productions and Michael Fleiss, the executive producer of the "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" franchises.
- Bravo Media has renewed the controversial “Shahs of Sunset” for a second season. The Sunday night season one finale earned its most watched episode of the season with over 1.5 million total viewers and 1 million adults 18-49. The show follows wealthy Iranians living in Beverly Hills, which Iranian-Americans have complained is stereotypical. One of its stars, Reza Farhan, scoffs at the criticism, telling the LA Times “This is not a National Geographic documentary about the plight of the Persian people from Mecca to Medina to Beverly Hills.” Compared to last week’s episode, the season finale spiked 20% among adults 18-49 and 15 percent among total viewers. Based on the show’s success the network greenlit a second season of the series from Ryan Seacrest Productions. Additionally, “Watch What Happens Live” hosted by Andy Cohen with guests Reza Farahan, Asa Soltan Rahmati and Mike Shouhed from “Shahs of Sunset” scored an impressive 1.4 million total viewers and 942,000 adults 18- 49, up 31% and 44%, respectively, over the week before.
- Still a few days to buy. Fox has unveiled the guest appearance list for its 25TH Annviersary Special, scheduled for Sunday April 22 from 8 – 10 P.M. ET/PT. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the star-studded special will pay tribute to Fox’s most memorable moments with appearances by Fox talent, highlights from iconic series and specials and reunions with cast members from some of the network’s fan-favorite series. Talent scheduled to appear include Calista Flockhart from “Ally McBeal”; Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler from “American Idol”; Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering from “Beverly Hills, 90210”; Seth MacFarlane from “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad;” Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Ed O’Neill and Katey Sagal from “Married With Children”; Kiefer Sutherland from “Touch” and “24”; and Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and creator Chris Carter from “The X-Files.”
- NFL Network, ESPN and NBC have announced their football broadcast plans, NFL Networks for Thursday nights; ESPN for Monday Night Football and NBC for Sunday Night Football. Thursday Night Football on NFL Network kicks off in Week 2 (Sept. 13) and features nine 2011 playoff teams, including six which won division crowns and both NFC Championship Game teams (Giants and 49ers). Game times for the contests are 8:00 P.M. ET. The 43rd season of Monday Night Football will kick off on ESPN with a doubleheader Monday, September 10 –Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens, at 7 P.M. ET, and San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders at 10:15 P.M./7:15 p.m. PT) – and will continue with a total of 17 prime-time games. NBC will broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2012 season, highlighted by: the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants hosting their division rivals the Dallas Cowboys on NFL Kickoff 2012, and the new Thanksgiving night game.
- Good news for FX and perennial disgruntled employee Charlie Sheen. According to TV Guide, test audiences who viewed the upcoming FX series “Anger Management” have given it high marks. The sitcom is based on the 2003 movie of the same name, featuring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Sheen plays an ex Major League Baseball player with rage problems, who becomes an anger management therapist. Over 80% of the group approved of Sheen’s performance. “Anger Management” will premiere back-to-back episodes on Thursday, June 28 at 9 P.M. ET.
- A New York appeals court has resurrected “an epic copyright case over whether Google should be liable for movies and tv shows uploaded to YouTube” during its early days, reports PaidContent. A lower court judge had dismissed the case in 2010 stating that Google was protected by a “safe harbor” law distanced hosting sites from infringing content uploaded by third parties. Viacom counters that Google actively enabled and encouraged the practice, and claims it is owed $1 billion in royalties over 79,000 clips of shows like “John Stewart” and “South Park.”
- Twitter is opening offices in Detroit, “looking for better proximity to car companies with hefty ad budgets” according to a Reuter’s story. This following a notable financial recovery by General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler from years of restructuring and depressed auto sales. Google. Google claims it will have a "handful" of employees in Detroit, focused on working first-hand with automotive brands and advertising agencies.
- Elsewhere in Twitter news, it is actively protecting users and advertisers against spammers. The company said on its blog that “Our engineers continue to combat spammers’ efforts to circumvent our safeguards, and today we’re adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law…we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco against five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers. With this suit, we’re going straight to the source.” As ClickZ details, the defendants include three companies and two individuals: TweetAttacks; TweetAdder; TweetBuddy; James Lucero; and Garland Harris. “By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal,” stated Twitter.” Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.
- Facebook is also cracking down on spam, reports ClickZ. It has filed three separate lawsuits in federal court this week, alleging violations of the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, (known as CAN-SPAM). The suits name two individuals, Steven Richter and Jason Swan, and one company, Max Bounty, Inc., of “using deceptive practices to trick Facebook members into handing over personal information, spamming friends or signing up for fake offers.” These filings come just two days after the Wall Street Journal alleged that makers of the top-10 Facebook apps (including Zynga of FarmVille fame) were transmitting Facebook User IDs to outside companies, violating Facebook's terms of service. Bad timing, with an IPO pending that is heavily dependent upon advertiser value.
- Time Warner Cable is promising an app for Android-based phones and tablets before Memorial Day, reports Multichannel News. But, not many Android devices currently on the market will be able to run it. The TWC TV app will run only on devices that support Google's Android 4.0 (known as “Ice Cream Sandwich”), and which few devices yet support. Still says TWC, it is “The only version of the Android OS that allows us the security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network." The TWC TV apps for iPad released in April 2010, followed by versions for iPhone and iPod touch.
- “This is getting ugly,” as Wired describes the Yahoo/Facebook fracas. Three weeks after after Yahoo filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, the social media outlet fired back yesterday (March 3, 2012) with a counterclaim alleging Yahoo has infringed on 10 Facebook software patents. Ted Ullyot, general counsel of Facebook, said in a statement that “While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation.” Facebook alleges that Yahoo infringed on basic web functionalities including search, headline feeds, photo tagging, and, of course, advertising. Facebook’s rapid response suggests it is clearly “spoiling for a fight,” reports paidContent. “Ordinarily, a defendant in major litigation will use procedural tactics to delay filing its defense or counterclaim.”
- The Facebook suit comes at a bad time for Yahoo, which is laying off “a whopping 2,000 staffers,” reports MediaBistro. New-ish CEO Scott Thompson expects the move to save the company $375 million a year. As Huffington Post describes, this marks Yahoo’s sixth mass layoff in four years, under three CEOs. Thompson claimed “Our goal is to get back to our core purpose — putting our users and advertisers first — and we are moving aggressively to achieve that goal.”
- OpenX has announced a deal with mobile device maker Samsung to supply a mobile, private ad exchange infrastructure called "the Samsung AdHub Market, Powered by OpenX," reports AdExchanger. Launch is scheduled for latter 2012, with a real-time biddable exchange that "enables advertisers worldwide to purchase mobile inventory from mobile developers and Samsung Electronics within a closed marketplace environment, allowing easy targeting of desired audiences.”
- Daily deal site Groupon is “fast clinching its reputation as the bad boy of the IPO circuit,” reports paidContent. Less than four months after going public, Groupon is facing a Securities & exchange Commission (SEC) probe, and shareholders are suing for “gimmicky accounting practices.” A Chicago man is seeking compensation on behalf of Groupon shareholders who were feel the stock price was artificially inflated. The charge is that Groupon failed to set aside adequate reserves for customers seeking refunds through its “Groupon Promise” program. Groupon’s liabilities increased, while the company’s IPO filings predicted refund amounts would shrink.
Advertising platform providers like Facebook and Google are “usually on the front line of the digital privacy debate,” observes paidContent. But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its long-awaited privacy report and recommendations called instead for tougher supervision on the data brokers who compile consumer data around shopping purchases, property records, court documents and so forth, then sell that data to third parties.
The FTC did not recommend legislation that forbids advertisers from gathering personal information, but praised the ad industry for its self policing (chiefly through new guidelines released by the Digital Advertising Alliance or DAA). FTC called as well for a “Privacy by Design” system making it easier for consumers to control their data; and praised Apple, Google and Microsoft for their various do-not-track and private browsing options..
As paidContent observes, the brokers like Lexis Nexis and Choicepoint fly under the consumer radar, but in many cases control far more data than do the Apples, Googles, Facebooks and Microsofts. But in many cases, the data companies control a far deeper pool of information.
FTC advocates a sort of online “do-not call list” among data brokers. To quote FTC’s recommendations: “To address the invisibility of, and consumers’ lack of control over, data brokers’ collection and use of consumer information, the Commission supports targeted legislation…that would provide consumers with access to information about them held by a data broker. To further increase transparency, the Commission calls on data brokers that compile data for marketing purposes to explore creating a centralized website where data brokers could (1) identify themselves to consumers and describe how they collect and use consumer data and (2) detail the access rights and other choices they provide with respect to the consumer data they maintain.”
So Google, Microsoft and Facebook (which the FTC refers to as “advertisers,” as opposed to platform providers), are now out of the limelight. But behavioral targeting is hardly safe. The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Self Regulatory Program, which the Alliance and member organizations announced in February, gives consumers the option to identify which companies track them, and opt out of that tracking; but critics charge that it is complicated, realistic for only the most tech-savvy consumers; and that behavioral tracking should be opt-in.
Short term, though, “the report does not appear to poise any immediate threat to the way that companies like Facebook, which rely on providing rich online platforms in exchange for personal information, do business,” paidContent observes.
- Social TV content and data solutions provider SocialGuide has launched SocialGuide Intelligence, an analytics engagement platform that tracks Twitter for networks, reports MediaBistro. SGI’s charter client for the service is A&E Networks, which will utilize the service for A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, BIO and its other networks. The service enables networks to see how many tweets roll in about a show, and get “social snapshot” of an audience. As the company describes its solution, SGI delivers daily, weekly and monthly social TV reports across 215 broadcast and cable channels in a dashboard view (see graphic), and “[measures] the social activity for every program type and every program air. Also, SGI is the only social TV analytics product in the marketplace that can be used to identify and engage with key comments and the social influencers of every network and program.”
- Apple announced yesterday that it had sold 3 million new iPads since releasing the newest iteration on Friday, reports Mashable. Forbes reported that as of Monday evening, the new iPad took of 4.6% of all iPad traffic in the U.S., citing data from Chitika. That sounds considerable, but Managing Director Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research reminded Forbes that Apple released the iPad simultaneously in 10 countries, versus the usual three or four. “Three million units sold, or 4.6% of iPad traffic…would be good if the release had been limited to three countries,” said Chowdhry, “Not ten.” He estimates that ideally, the new iPad should have taken 12% to 15% of all iPad traffic.
- Elsewherein iPad news, Adweek reports that Apple is offering trials to publishers of auto-renewing subscriptions. This signals that the usually inflexible Apple is “paying close attention to the Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle, which already have the feature,” says Adweek. In the auto-renew model, customers who sign for a free trial are automatically charged at the end of the trial, unless they take action to turn off the auto-renew. unless they turn off the auto-renew option. Bonnier Senior VP Gregg Hano (who helms “Popular Science” and other titles” told Adweek said Bonnier will try the feature: “The downside risk is very small, and the upside is high.”
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) has added 26 live local broadcast channels in New York City to its TWC TV apps for iPhones, iPads and the TWCTV.com website, reports Multichannel News. This may be a direct response to Aereo, the broadcast-to-digital startup that offers much the same service for $12 per month. TWC's New York customers may now stream WCBS, WNBC, NBC NY Nonstop, WNYW (Fox), WABC, and numerous other broadcast channels.
A small developer of social media and online applications has filed suit against Facebook, alleging antitrust and anticompetitive behavior. Kotchen & Low LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of its client Sambreel Holdings LLC against Facebook for alleged violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and California state laws prohibiting unfair competition and interference with contract. Sambreel seeks an injunction preventing Facebook from requiring Sambreel's advertising partners to boycott Sambreel and to prevent Facebook from "gating" – i.e., scanning its own users’ computers without their consent to learn who downloaded a Sambreel application then forcing those individuals to uninstall Sambreel's applications before they are allowed access to their Facebook accounts.
- The social media source that women trust most is the –alas—ad-unfriendly Pinterest. That according to a survey by BlogHer, as reported in Adweek. When asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81% of American women said they trusted blogs and Pinterest; 73% said they trusted Twitter; and 67% trusted Facebook. By “trust,” BlogHer means making a purchase acting on recommendations from the various sources. Sixty one percent had acted on a blog recommendation, 47% on one from Pinterest. Facebook came in at just 33%, and Twitter, 31%. Because Pinterest is populated with reposts, it is more an indirect marketing outlet than a marketing outlet.
- What makes a campaign go viral? Humor is overrated, suggests David Sable, CEO of Young & Rubicam. He is one of the global judges for the Microsoft Advertising Story Awards. (The awards were conceived to honor truly innovative multiple-screen campaigns.) Sable said on the Microsoft Advertising Blog that his current favorite campaign is Kony 2012, aimed at bringing a former Ugandan warlord to justice. Sable calls it one of the great viral stories of all time, “And it’s a sad story, but it’s a story people wanted to share because [it’s an] important story…we need to be taking people to a place where we’ve moved them. That could be funny…but if we don’t create that story in their head and let them make that story their own, we haven’t done anything.”
- An unhappy user is suing Apple for false advertising, reports BizJournals. Plaintiff Frank Fazio filed a complaint in San Jose, California, claiming that the Siri voice command function on the iPhone 4S does not work as advertised. Part of the complaint reads “When [Fazio] asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer." This may be the first of a spate of such suits. Apple settled last month over the reception problems of the iPhone 4, with a $15 offer or a new wrap-around case that supposedly solves the problem.
- Discovery Communications has penned a digital content licensing deal with Amazon.com, says The Hollywood Reporter. The deal will add series from several networks to Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos streaming service, including shows from TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel. Among the programs covered by the agreement are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. Prime Instant Video's total title count now stands at 17,000+ offerings.
- Ad agency BBH is defending itself for its “Homeless Hotspots,” in a Digiday interview. It seemed like a good idea: have homeless people carry around 4G wireless equipment that made them into mobile hotspots, and enable them to accept donations (a suggested $2 for 15 minutes) for WiFi access. Participants from the Austin, Texas Front Steps Shelter wore T-shirts identifying themselves as “homeless hotspots.” Critics saw it as objectifying the homeless. But BBH Labs’ Head of Innovation Saneel Radia compares it to the street newspapers that homeless people sell (e.g., “The Big Issue”), which are generally well accepted by homeless advocates. “When we announced the plan, Mark Horvath (he founded Invisible People) ended up loving the idea and helped us figure out some of the mechanics of the project,” said Radia. The program is still in effect in Austin, but BBH appeared more interested in spearheading the idea, than in owning it or taking it national.