Category Archives: Current Events

Traditional Media: Remixed

Within our ever changing media world it is a challenge sometimes to keep up with the latest advertising platforms. It seems as if every week there is a new app, digital medium etc. to research, digest and see if it would best fit your client. This is an exciting time for buyers, slowly going are the days of traditional mediums across all buys. However, our traditional mediums are still relevant, successful and used in my day to day buying. With the amount of traditional buying that is still done we have to think of different ways to” beef up”, for example, a radio buy and really think about our audiences’ behaviors and how they are changing and consuming advertisements.

I recently read an article called, Why Marketers Need To Rethink Radio Audiences Now. The article really spoke more to the tasks I do daily for our clients. I still spend most of my time carefully creating TV, Radio and Print buys. However, we are constantly looking for ways to connect not only with our audience through a :60 radio spot but adding elements to “beef up” that spot and make it become more interactive since we live in a world where people are constantly moving and interacting.

In this article the author references how successful Dunkin’ Donuts was with a recent campaign that wanted to promote ticket giveaways for its “Caught Cold” concert series. They wanted to use radio and knew from research who, how and when they wanted to target them. However, it was not just: 60 radio spots but included a call to action from their DJ’s to utitlize DD’s website, play a game and enter to win tickets to one of the five concerts. Pre-roll promotional video, announcements via social media and call-to-action banner ads helped with the promotion. At the concert, there were many other assets that promoted the “Caught Cold” product.

With all of these elements that gave “legs” to their radio spot the campaign was an enormous success. The point is, in order to truly engage your radio audiences today we need to use those loyal listeners to then move between media — posting on Facebook, checking email, uploading photos to Instagram or Pinterest, and utilizing their cell phones. In conclusion clients that want to reach and engage their particular audience need to be all of these places.

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CBS – Time Warner Blackout Update

If you’re a Time Warner Cable customer living in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, or several other major markets, you probably noticed your channel options for most of this week did not include CBS. The two communications giants have been disputing network fees and the valuation of CBS programming, which has resulted in a blackout of CBS programming in eight different markets. As retaliation, CBS blocked TWC internet users from CBS.com material. In short, if you’re a TWC customer in one of these markets hoping to catch the PGA championship this weekend, you may be out of luck.

This disagreement underscores the larger issue of the increasingly blurry lines between one media entity and another. The way today’s media landscape is controlled is largely a result of isolated chronological events. First there were broadcast TV stations, which established an advertiser-based revenue model. Simple enough.

Then, cable TV boxes came along, which function on both subscriber revenues and advertising dollars. If your home receives cable, your cable box also provides the over-the-air channels that non-cable homes receive for free (which is how TWC is able to cut off CBS from customers).

Finally, in the Internet age, we have even more subscriber-based options – such as Hulu and Netflix – in addition to streaming options, which can have any of these revenue models. In other words, you could be watching an ABC show on Netflix, through your Time Warner Cable internet connection. If you’re not confused yet, try deciding who you think really owns that transaction and who should be given the biggest piece of the pie.

I’m not sure, but apparently neither are CBS or Time Warner. TWC’s proposed solution earlier this week was to offer CBS as an option to customers “a la carte,” which is an interesting idea but to me would only be fair if all stations were offered that way (CBS promptly rejected the offer).

It’s always frustrating when consumers must suffer as a result of disagreements at the corporate level, and it seems a bit juvenile that both companies appear to be showing the other whose boss by slashing the options consumers are paying for (apparently without a deduction in their bills). I hope for the sake of millions of customers that the issue can be resolved soon. If not, there’s always the other 200 channels…

The NEW MYSPACE: Top 5 Things To Look Out For

Since I heard about the company’s comeback, I’ve been curious to see what’s different this time from the MySpace we all once knew. I did a little research and found some of the answers I was looking for.  Here are the Top 5 things to look out for with the launch of the new MySpace.

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  1. DESIGN

Unlike Facebook’s plain and congested advertising layout, MySpace looks more aesthetic and trendy. It offers high-resolution images, a built in music player, options to add music and videos by clicking or dragging, a search page for fans and artists to be connected with each other at all times and a horizontal activity bar where instead of scrolling up and down, you scroll side to side. Not everything is new; they kept some of their old popular features like streaming profile songs and a section for top 8 friends.

  1. A PLACE FOR CREATIVE INDIVIDUALS, MUSIC AND FANS

As we all know, music has always been a part of MySpace. But this time, the company plans to take it to the next level. Besides music, they are also going to focus on gearing the website towards the creative community as well; the songwriters, photographers, music video directors, etc. The new MySpace wants to help all types of artists become known by their peers and potential fans as well as to flourish in their industry and establish stronger connections between artists and their fans. The user can stream live their favorite band in concert and personalize their radio stations to listen to specific artists and genres.

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  1. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Right now, the 32 year old is well known as one of the most innovating artists in the music industry.  His partners, the Vanderhook brothers say that “he provides the strategic vision for the company and was the person behind the idea of focusing on the creative community”.  With Timberlake’s strong point of view and experience in the business, I’m sure he will be an important factor in bringing MySpace back from the dead.

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  1. MARKETING STRATEGIES

In January of this year, an early version of the new MySpace was released to the public but it wasn’t until June 12 that they launched their $20 million ad campaign across cable, broadcast, radio and digital media. At the same time, the company also released an iPhone app for radio play. The campaign is seeking to engage individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 years and its commercials show hipsters dancing, singing, playing then smashing instruments and having a good time with each other.  They are trying to change the public perception from the old MySpace to a cool place for music fans and creative individuals.

During the first two weeks, the new MySpace tracked 31 million visitors, however the negative reviews about the ad campaign keep on coming. In my personal opinion, the TV commercial is poor in content and is not clear about the message it is trying to convey.  They need to improve their marketing strategy in order to appropriately promote the new experience.

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  1. MEDIA PLATFORM INSTEAD OF SOCIAL NETWORK.

The site is being promoted as a media platform where it’s all about the creative talent and the music, not social networking. Song writers or photographers can use MySpace to track where their fans are and what they are listening to. You can show your attraction to things by connecting with them, but you won’t interact on a personal level.

The new owners believe the News Corp Group made a big mistake when they tried to compete with emerging forces like Facebook, turning the company into a social networking site.

Shazam: Taking QR Codes to the Next Level

Shazam has been a popular app for smartphone users for several years now, but recently I have noticed the Shazam icon pop up in several television commercials. When the Shazam logo appears in the corner of the screen, viewers can use their smartphone to be redirected to the advertiser’s site for more information. This is very similar to the way advertisers have been able to take advantage of QR code technology. Since we live in a multi-screen world, this seems like a very convenient way to deliver more advertising content to potential consumers, but I have often wondered, are these means successful or does every advertiser have one just because every other advertiser does?

From the perspective of someone working in the advertising field, this seems like a simple and inexpensive way to deliver more content to potential consumers. But off the clock, I have never seen an advertisement and felt the need to pull out my smart phone, open Shazam/QR Reader, scan the audio/code and view more content. I am more of an “I’ll Google that when I get home” kind of guy. So does this sort of coding produce higher volumes of traffic?

Research from the 4A’s suggests that 1 in 3 smartphone or tablet users have scanned a QR code at least once and a study done by comScore Inc shows that QR codes perform best in newspapers and magazines. I have often wondered if people simply scan these codes because they are simply marveled by the technology or if they genuinely interested in engaging with the brand. A case study I was able to find on Shazam’s website gave the following statistics:

  • Brand interaction – 68% of people who tagged the ad went on to further engage with the brand.
  • Word of Mouth / Social Activity – 55% of people who tagged the ad talked about the brand with others.
  • Bookmarking for later use – 55% of the people who used Shazam to tag the ad cited that one of the reasons they did so was to save it for later.

So it looks like coded messaging has proven to be a successful means of generating more branding opportunities. I feel that the key to a successful coding campaign would be to get the ad in front of the right people. If advertisers are getting their coded message in front of the right people, there would be a higher chance that they would choose to participate.

Crisis TV: Analyzing The Latest Trends In News Reporting

In the aftermath of the week-long media coverage of the Boston marathon bombings, many questions have arisen about the role of media in breaking news stories, and how things are different from just a few years ago.

I was one of those people who followed the story closely from the bombings on Monday until Suspect #2 was captured Friday night. I watched the story on TV, followed blogs and live updates online, and scoured the internet for any news I could find. Along the way, I received a lot of misinformation (some of which I passed on to other people). Yet, in the end, I was happy to be informed about each development. It was difficult to take my eyes off the screen as I watched the story unfold live on Friday night when the younger brother was captured. Looking back on the week and how it was covered in the media, there are definitely some issues to consider and some takeaways for the future:

Are Cable and Network TV news still relevant?

Are people still getting their news from traditional sources or are they turning to social media? It seems that, despite the role of social and digital media in news

gathering and sharing, people are still turning to TV. The cable news networks saw huge numbers last week when they aired near-constant coverage of the bombings and the aftermath. According the Medialife, 10 of the top 20 shows on cable last week aired on Friday on CNN and Fox News, all of which had to do with Boston bombing coverage.

Furthermore, 46 million viewers tuned into broadcast and cable on Friday night to see the capture. Despite the speed at which digital media operates, there is still an appeal to TV. On Friday night, viewers could watch the capture of the suspect live on TV and actually see the story unfold. This is something that probably won’t change anytime in the near future, despite the increase in digital news sources.

News Errors and the Validity of Reporting

All week long there were reports that ended up not being true. Even major news networks were making mistakes by reporting too quickly: CNN reported that the bomber had been arrested when they hadn’t even been identified yet. When news is reported the next day (like in the newspaper), there’s time to check facts, check sources, and give a full, researched, account. When reports are instantaneous, there is no time to analyze and check the data.

Consumers expect their media quickly. We want to know what is happening when it is happening. But, we must accept that there may be errors when we rely on live new coverage.

The new phenomenon of “crowd sourcing”

Reddit fueled this topic during the hunt for the bombers. Anyone with access to the internet had the capability of scouring photos, looking for people they deemed suspicious. This led to a lot of false accusations and misidentified suspects. The biggest false lead came when a missing Brown student was identified as the Bomber. The family even took down a Facebook page that had been set up to help find him because people starting posting terrible things about the student. Reddit eventually had to issue an apology for the “witch hunt” that ensued, following the bombings.

Police Communication to the Public through Social Media Outlets

On other hand, there were many good things that came out of today’s media as well. For starters, Boston police and FBI were able to communicate with the public through Twitter. When there were false reports of an arrest, the FBI was able to tweet that this information was false. Additionally, the FBI was able to use the media to help aid in identifying the suspects. They put their pictures out to the media, asking for the public’s help in identifying them. Police also used photos and videos from people in the crowd to help search for the bombers. Today’s social media and news sharing allows for more communication between authorities, media, and the public.

The way big news events like this are covered will continue to evolve, but hopefully some of the lessons of last week will be remembered next time.

Showrooming: The New Wave Of Retail Shopping

As a consumer I have come to find myself visiting retail stores more often to “Window Shop” then to actually purchase one of the products in store. I rush home or pull up the internet on my smartphone and began searching better deals out there online instead of physically buying the product immediately.

Experian Marketing Services has called this new phase of shopping “Showrooming” Where a consumer checks out the product in store but buys the item online at a cheaper cost. Research shows this increasing trend will continue to evolve and ultimately affect the marketing strategies for big time retail stores such as Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us and more.

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Amazon.com has been the innovator of competition for the big brick and mortar retail shops where they compete with the prices in store and allow you to scan bar codes of the product you would like to purchase to see what the cost would be if ordered online.

Bestbuy.com has pledged to offer online prices in house to drive traffic to the store while keeping with online competitor pricing. There is, however, a catch; Best Buy will only honor the online pricing policy against specific online sites: Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Buy.com, CircuitCity.com, CompUSA.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, hhgregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com, and Walmart.com.

Over the past holiday season, Target tried shutting out the art of “Showrooming” by price matching Amazon.com and even including QR codes on specific toys to avoid consumers checking the cost out on the online giant.MK-CA445_BARNES_NS_20130127182406

Barnes and Nobles is planning on closing 20% of its brick and mortar stores over the next few years due to the increased demand of digital e books for tablets and e-readers. CEO Mitchell Klipper explained to the Wall Street Journal how adjusting the “overhead” is important in the success of a retail company and the 8.2% drop in in-store sales is just a portion of this decision. Barnes & Nobles is moving its focus from in store sales to online competition with e-commerce sites such as Borders.com and Amazon.com

Showrooming sounds like it’s not just a fad but more of a new style of shopping. It will be interesting to see how the retail mega stores will advance their marketing strategies to pull consumers back through the doors and out of the comfort of their own home.

The Super Bowl According to Facebook

Earlier this week, while perusing every ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and NFL-related blog article I could find (hey, it’s not every week your hometown team makes the Super Bowl!), I came across some fascinating information regarding NFL loyalties as measured by Facebook “likes.”

Facebook’s Data Science team released this nationwide analysis of NFL team “likes,” color-coding every county in the U.S. to reflect the team that had the most fans in that particular county. Take a look:

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Source: Facebook Data Science (https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-science/nfl-fans-on-facebook/10151298370823859)

As media professionals, we evaluate numerous sports-related proposals in many different markets. Though in some cases, sports associations are obvious “no-brainers” based on geography, it is not always clear cut. For example, Media Works places media in both Dallas and Houston, and I have always wondered how rest of the state of Texas cheers come football season – at what point between Dallas and Houston does the tide change? The Cowboys have been around much longer than the Texans, so I figured they’d have a slightly higher fan base … but look at all that Cowboy land! Not only does nearly all of Texas root for Dallas, but nearly all of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas do too.

According to the summary, over 35 million Facebook users have “liked” an NFL team page, and the number grows each year during the playoffs. In the media world, where data is a huge factor in making media-based decisions, sample size can be very important. A pool like that showing so many states where Cowboy loyalty dominates is a dream come true!

The author also provides maps showing remaining teams through each round of the playoffs. Below is a preview of how the country will be cheering this Sunday for the Super Bowl. Looks like the Ravens are the underdogs, but I hope the East Coast ends up happier than the West Coast!

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