Posts from date: October 2010
Virgin have launched their latest "cheesy" ad campaign partnering with the Looney Tunes classic Speedy Gonzales.
Taking time out from his busy schedule of Youtube appearances and Cartoon Network re-runs he has found the time to appear alongside a woman with a sponge in a bid to re-associate Virgin with the speedy broadband crown.
With BT Infinity rolling out and boasting speeds far in excess of Virgin's existing network, the time is nigh! However, BT have responded through the straight to market medium of Paid Search and taken control of Speedy Gonzales right out from under Virgin's feet.
Using Tom & Jerry to send a ransom for this all important spot, we will be keeping an eye out for Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and any other speedy critters making a claim for the fastest speeds on the net.
So, the nations beloved liberal-loving paper The Independent is set to launch a new daily title next week with a focus on "time-poor readers who want a quality read."
i goes on sale nantionwide from Monday 26th of October, with a cover price of 20p - cheap as chips.
Andrew Mullins, managing Director of The Independent, says:
"Quality newspapers provide a highly valuable audience for advertisers, but recently print circulations have been in decline
and the average age of the audience has been increasing" "We are creating a newspaper for the 21st century that is designed
for people who have a thirst for information and entertainment in the limited time they have available. i is a reader-led newspaper
with a broad reach and intelligence," he adds.
It has been reported that the title, described as a "concise, quality daily paper" will be targeted at readers in their 20's and
will include new content, seperate from the main title.
Now - I personally don't feel huge amounts of excitment about this new daily, i'm more of a 'good book' reader, but will it work? Will you be buying it?
When you look at Insights such as:1 in 5 YouGov respondents are prepared to forgo paying for newspapers altogether, agreeing with
the statement 'why pay when I can get one for free.'Is it really possible to revive or create a successful brand to compete and come out the other side victorious?
Looking from a different perspective: Nearly half (44%) of UK consumers prefer paying for a newspaper because 'the free ones haven't got as much real content.' argues a different consumer logic which is in line with the Independents ambitions to 'compliment and improve' the need for quality press.
So lovely London Commuters, will you be i-ing it up next week or passing up a new 20p daily bargain?
Answers on a postcard......
Last week Microsoft has finally unveiled Windows Phone 7, their most anticipated announcement in mobile since, well, Windows Mobile 6.5 a couple of years ago. 6.5, like all previous iterations, was pretty much an unmitigated disaster, one last final attempt to cram a PC operating system into a handset. It barely made a ripple in the consumer consciousness.
But will Windows Phone 7 put Microsoft firmly back into the mobile game?
Some would argue no, recently TechCrunch commented that “it’s an iOS, Android and Blackberry world now and there isn’t room for anyone else” but this seems to be a pretty narrow minded and extremely U.S. centric view. Nokia’s smart phones (much maligned in recent years) still out strip all of the above in terms of market share so I reckon we’re some way off an Apple, Google and RIM dominated market place, especially when you consider their are 5 billion active mobile users globally!
WP7 has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that could prove extremely useful. The obvious being the Windows recognition factor. Whilst the Windows brand may have taken something of a hammering at the hands of Apple their success does not depend on converting Apple or Android for that matter, fanboys. There are millions of people currently using ‘dumb phones’ who are looking to upgrade and this is where the familiarity of Microsoft and Windows will play a significant role in drawing people towards WP7.
Its other major strength is that Microsoft has imposed significant quality control on its hardware partners. Essentially they all have to conform to the same guidelines and the great thing about this is that it ensures the WP7 experience is almost identical on all handsets, weather it’s an HTC, Samsung, Dell etc. Without this quality control user experience can vary hugely from handset to handset, a problem Android is somewhat familiar with.
Developers like this too because it means they don’t have to worry about the varying performance of their apps depending on the handset. So if uptake is good developers won’t hesitate to take up WP7.
However, with iphone, Android and Blackberry taking up all the’ mind share’, Nokia releasing a raft of new handsets and doing 2.5 million downloads a day on Ovi store, Microsoft must get it right first time. There is very little room for error.
The mobile market is vast and smart phones are a continually growing part of that, there is plenty of room for WP7 and initial impressions are that it has every chance of succeeding. Competition is not only good but vital in this sector; it pulls innovation along at an ever increasing pace and drives greater smartphone reach into the consumer mobile segment. The greater the choice available, the quicker the sector grows and sooner we’re able to plan to genuinely mass reach mobile campaigns. Now all we need is the network providers to focus on improving their networks rather than on providing additional services nobody wants!
After recently attending a YouTube presentation we were taken through a number of best in class examples of brands which are leading the way with their brand channels, all of which are well worth highlighting and checking out if you have a spare minute or two.
This was a great example due to the fact that the videos are populated by the staff of each store, showing off to users the expertise of their employees. Videos are broken down by mobile model and give simplistic reviews, allowing viewers to use the integrated channel search bar to find their desired phone. There are also additional tabs such as Top Tips, Wow me, and Demos to further inform users to find out more. http://www.youtube.com/user/eyeopeners
Eon - Talking Energy
Talking Energy apparently came about by Eon's desire to own the energy debate online, this was a very brave move as it was a subject users were quite passionate about. The crucial thing this can teach brands is that although the commentary can start negatively, as with Eon, with time the conversation can turn around with active users actually defending what the channel stands for. http://www.youtube.com/user/talkingenergy
Virgin Media - Powerful Stuff
The Virgin 'powerful stuff' brand channel is slightly older but still a good example of what is possible. Promoting Virgin Media's faster Broadband proposition this channel allowed users to upload their own videos and then edit them with special effects in order to at that extra 'pizazz' before sending them to their friends. http://www.youtube.com/user/powerfulstuff
Annotations - Californiacation 'Fill in the Hank'
This is definitely worth checking out as an excellent example of YouTube Annotations, which invites viewers to take part in a quiz to guess how a number of scenes from the show play out. Not only is it very well executed, but very funny and well worth a look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G96sxmrJMOg
At my recent Media Circle training we were told that anything is possible with outdoor!
And thanks to my friend’s amazing example we are now beginning to see how digital technology can be used to enhance observation of target audiences and circulation of advertisements.
Face recognition software is being developed to research consumers. It acts by placing cameras behind posters to register the age, sex and even mood of those who view them. This enables researchers to study who these advertisements are actually reaching and at what time of the day/week etc. It’s a new revelation that could alter the face of outdoor advertising and enable brands to target their consumers more efficiently. There is even awareness that as a result of this technology, advertisements could be more personalised by instantly changing the creative to suit the age, sex or mood of the viewer.
But with consumer cutbacks in spending taking place across the country, is this the best time to launch this technology? Or as some might say, could these personalised advertisements be just what we're looking for to increase targeted advertising and as a result lead to increased spending.
If you are a regular Twitter user and have been feeling a bit down in the dumps lately, a bunch of flowers could be on their way to you!
Interflora have begun a new social media campaign to approach online communities and increase brand awareness. Their campaign involves monitoring Twitter users to find those who are feeling a bit low then contacting them to get their address which they then use to send them a bouquet of flowers.
It is a unique idea that spreads the message of the power of the flower for cheering people up. Virtually every woman would love to receive some! So much so that it’s tempting to tweet lots of sad messages in the hope of being selected!
As Sky launches Europe's first 3D channel today it seems like a good time to take a look at the format as a whole. There are a lot of 'naysayers' out there who simply dismiss it as just another fad, probably aided by underwhelming 3D cinema experiences and the thought of having to wear special glasses, or 'face furniture' as I’ve heard them called, when sitting down for an evening’s TV. However it certainly has the backing of the industry, as one tech blogger eloquently put it, you couldn't "spit on the CES Convention floor without hitting a 3D HDTV". 3D was most certainly 'in' at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January, a pretty sure fire indicator that the format is headed for wide spread commercial success.
I’m sure Sky will do an excellent job with their channel, although the suggestion in Stephen Fry's promo video that the glasses should become fashion accessories is probably a step too far! All the major television manufacturers have 3D ready sets on the market and we've already seen cinemas and pubs showing sporting events in the format. However 3D is still in its infancy and there are number of factors that have to be taken into account and issues resolved before it becomes a wide spread consumer and commercial success.
The two biggest hurdles are the expense and the actual need for glasses. Until these are resolved it is likely to remain a niche product with limited, all be it creative, advertising routes. Firstly the expense, it takes two cameras for everyone to shoot in 3D (one for each eye) meaning significant investment is needed from the broadcasters themselves. The lenses in the active 3D glasses decode the image to create the 3D effect and as such are not cheap, circ £70-100 each (the passive glasses are far cheaper but don’t provide such an immersive experience). The sets themselves are also prohibitively expensive for your average consumer. However aside from the cost, the need for glasses also presents a number of real world problems. Losing them, breaking them, ease of replacement, scratched lenses and so on.
The industry is working hard to resolve these issues, filming and production will inevitably become more efficient and costs will reduce, 3D HDTV sets will, just like HD ready, tumble in price as take up increases, but the real key to success lies in screen technology, manufacturers and technology companies are in a race to produce viable 3D screens that can be used without any glasses. Intel demoed their technology at CES and whilst there are serious limitations, namely where you can stand/sit in relation to the screen, when stood in the right place the experience is reportedly excellent.
Sky 3D should have a good take up, the fact that all Sky HD boxes are 3D ready will certainly help and those in the market for a high end plasma telly will find it hard not to justify paying a little extra for 3D given the now ubiquitous nature of their HD ready predecessors. In fact it’s essential that Sky 3D has good take-up, people need to rave about it, people need to talk about the vast difference in quality between programming made in 3D and programming converted to 3D because it’s this that will give broadcasters the confidence they need to continue to invest in proper 3D programming which will in turn start to create genuine momentum across the industry as a whole. Increased content should drive the market.
Nevertheless 3D as a format will struggle to break through in the same way as HD until the need for glasses can be removed. Once this happens, and given that a large number of the key TV manufacturers also make mobile phones, laptops and general tech gadgetry, the possibilities are huge. How long before we see the first properly integrated, cross-platform 3D advertising campaign? It may very well depend on the take up and success of Sky 3D...no pressure then!
It’s often said that by the time a technology gains mass relevance it’s no longer cool or interesting, let’s hope then that 3D losses its ‘cool’ factor sooner rather than later because it’s the natural next step in mass visual entertainment.