Thursday, May 7, 2009

Get Back to Work!

A recent study from PopCap Games revealed that half of AT&T Wireless customers who play games on their mobile devices now play them at work -- especially when they need a short break or want to relieve stress.

The most popular games (which will probably not come as any surprise):

  • Tetris (20%)
  • Bejeweled (18%)
  • Solitaire (17%)
Popular genres:
  • Puzzle (66%)
  • Card/casino (51%)
  • Board games (15%)
  • Action/Adventure (11%)
"Relaxing game play" is the number one motivating factor, but respondents also cited "addictiveness" as another influencer.

Source: MarketingVox

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Discovery and Hasbro Bring Toy-Driven TV to the Masses

Hasbro and Discovery Communications are partnering to create a reformatted cable channel with programs based on popular toys such as My Little Pony and G.I. Joe. The 13-year old Discovery Kids Channel will be replaced by this venture, but it has yet to be named.

This is a huge opportunity for Hasbro to bring its classic toys to life in a new way, and it revives the Discovery Kids brand.

Source: NYTimes

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's an App, App World

Greystripe, a rich media mobile advertising network, just published their quarterly Consumer Insights Report. It shows that users average 9.6 minutes of engagement per session on free iPhone applications -- not to shabby. Based on data generated via the 600 free, ad-supported iPhone apps in their network, consumers access apps 19.9 times over before discontinuing use. I'd say that's about how many times I used iFog and TipStar before they fell off the face of the (iPhone) earth.

Additional findings worth noting:

  • 42% of the firm's free iPhone app users have an HHI of $78K+
  • 15% earn $165K+ (extremely affluent)
  • 91% are involved in their household purchasing decisions
  • 65% of Greystripe's users said they would interact more with an ad if it were an interactive ad, as opposed to a static ad
Greystripe has made a name for themselves as the only mobile ad company that offers full-screen Flash ads on the iPhone. One of these formats is the Tailgate rich media ad format that the user interacts with before they access the actual game before they download. Basically, this is an advergame for the iPhone with the benefit of reaching a wide audience.

Source: FierceMobileContent Tries to Get the Word Out is a new virtual world that allows users to "grow up" inside the world itself. It's catered specifically to the 9 - 13 year old group and uses a level system that allows players toage up from 10 to 18. Within the game, people use avatars to socialize, play mini-games and hang out with others.

When a "birthday" rolls around, users gain access to new features -- age 11 means they can own virtual pets; age 16 brings their first car; 18 allows them to vote. In-game currency called spenders is used to buy everything from clothes, hair styles, furniture and gifts.

Users are also connected with an in-game cell phone which shows the status and location of any of your online friends. Even if they are offline, you are able to leave them messages and send gifts (acting like a standard social network).

SuperSecret says that tweens were involved with the development of this virtual world, and parents also have an immense amount of control over chat filters, player blocking and the ability to moderate. With so many other major players in the space (NeoPets, ClubPenguin), it will be interesting to see if the "growing up" idea is enough to set SuperSecret apart.

Source: InsideSocialGames

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Like Pop-Up Video, But For Twitter!

Squidder's Twitter Feed augmented reality t-shirt allows your tweets to have a little more impact in the real world. Printed on the front of the shirt is a special marker (almost like a bar code) that contains your Twitter user name. When an "appropriate sensing device" (phone, laptop) is pointed at it, your Twitter update will virtually appear.

Oh the things you can do with 140 characters...

Source: PSFK

PaperTweet3d: Augmented Reality T-shirts from squidder on Vimeo.

Honda Insight Lights Up The Web

I am honestly a sucker for great site takeovers. Not the synced banner ads that Apple does all over the NYTimes (yes, I do think those are cool too), but the truly unique, innovative, how-did-they-do-that takeovers -- the ones that, in some ways, Wario himself started.

Honda Insight is the latest brand to capture my attention with one of these. By partnering with Vimeo, they created a fully immersive video page takeover that dims the lights and shows you a pretty cool sunrise. And, it's all in sync with the music. Check it out!

Mo' Money, Mo' Video Advertising

IPG's media and audience research group, Magna, forecasts a 32% increase in online video ad spending this year. With more networks and cable TV stations pushing premium content online (as well as higher broadband penetration*), online video is becoming very appealing to advertisers. Spending money on user-generated content is often risky, but aligning brands with premium content from Hulu or Fancast can be a smart addition to any digital plan.

Source: ClickZ

*Reportedly, broadband now reaches over 75% of US households.

Monday, March 23, 2009

weekly media watch - 03.23


Topps Baseball Cards Get a Little Cooler

What is it?

With today’s sophisticated video games, social networks and endless amounts of online content, baseball cards need to work hard to be “cool” again –especially with kids. Augmented reality technology may be a step in the right direction. This month, Topps introduced special 3D Live baseball cards that users can hold in front of webcams; then, almost magically, three-dimensional avatars of the players appear on the computer screen. By rotating the card in your hand, you can see the full perspective of the figure.

According to the NYTimes, sports trading cards used to be a $1 billion business, but the market has shrunk to about $200 million in annual revenue. Total Immersion is a French company that approached Topps, still one of the dominant players in the trading card industry, with their augmented reality idea for the cards. Their technology has been used in theme parks, print ad integration as well as retail environments. (Source: NYTimes)

Why is it interesting?

It’s difficult to pinpoint today’s baseball card equivalent: Total Xbox LIVE points? The number of friends you have on Facebook? Comments on your blog? Baseball card fans used to take years to build a worthy collection and the physical act of trading cards was a social experience between friends and other collectors. Today’s collectors, mostly boys, can easily find sports stats and facts online. By adding an interactive, engaging layer to the cards through augmented reality, the industry could successfully transition into today’s digital world.

Augmented reality is eye-catching and exciting for consumers, but we should think carefully about how it can drive results for our clients. Viral impressions shouldn’t be a problem (the technology is pretty buzz-worthy) but campaigns with goals beyond branding should link AR efforts to specific, measurable actions.


Time Inc. Experiments with Customizable mine Magazine

What is it?

Time Inc. is hoping to bring the customization of the Web into the print world. mine is a five-issue, ten-week, experimental magazine that allows readers to select Time Warner/American Express Co. magazines that Time editors will combine into a personalized magazine with 56 possible combinations. Fast Company describes it as an expanded RSS feed of sorts, with content available from places such as Food & Wine, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated and Travel + Leisure. The magazine will be free, with a 36-page print edition available to the first 31,000 respondents and an online version available to 200,000.

All ads in the magazine will be for the Lexus 2010 RX SUV – but will be personalized messages for each subscriber, targeted to their interests. (Source: Fast Company)

Why is it interesting?

Newspapers across the country are folding (most notably The Rocky Mountain News and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer), a true sign that readers’ habits are changing. CNN reports that at least 120 newspapers in the U.S. have shut down since January 2008. Magazines are struggling as well, with many titles such as Radar and Domino feeling the economic crunch and behavioral shifts. Consumers today are used to fully personalized content, delivered when and where they want it. The concept of personalized print is a great one, but the payoff in Time’s experimental magazine is probably not enough to get people to sign up. Depending on the messaging, the Lexus ads may also be unwelcomed by readers.

I personally just signed up at the mine site, with the print version still available. After selecting five magazines (InStyle, Real Simple, Time, Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure), I then landed on a Thank You page with Lexus videos and a link to a widget. The widget is comprised of RSS feeds from the same magazine options, but it doesn’t have any multimedia content (or send to a friend functionality). Is the print edition even necessary, with the direct RSS feeds from these sources? Once the print version shows up in my mailbox, a review will follow soon after…

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mobui launches group chat product

Mobui, a mobile application development agency, just launched a very cool product called Mobui Audience Chat. It enables TV viewers to interact with the show they're currently watching by posting opinions, comments or questions in chat rooms via mobile. This could provide opportunities for viewers to get behind-the-scenes info by posing questions to TV hosts or cast and crew. Wouldn't it be fun to have something like this for awards shows (Oscars, Grammys) and sports programming?

The first station that's adopted the product VH1 and it works with shows such as "I Love Money 2." CNET's Download blog also reports that it works with Top Chef, but I didn't hear anything about it!

Source: FierceMobileContent

Purple is supposed to lure me into gaming?

While I am personally not a gamer (unless you count the annual Wii Sports fest with my family during Christmas), I am extremely interested in the gaming space and the latest technology. Portable gaming in particular is introducing new ways for brands to take their content and deliver it to consumers on-the-go.

Sony's PlayStation blog announced on Tuesday that new PSP bundles will be coming this year, including a Hannah Montana PSP Entertainment Pack and a new lilac PSP. Lilac? Is this supposed to sell me on gaming? Make a pink one and then we'll talk. (Of course the "Assassins Creed" bundle comes with a black console.)

In all seriousness, I'm not entirely sure that pop star-themed games and candy-colored controllers will fesult in more female gamers, but it'll be interesting to see how they sell. The Hannah Montana bundle also comes with stickers, in case you need a few more teeny bopper touches.

Source: CNET

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Counting Down... the Top Chef finale! Starts in about 10 minutes. They are touting it as "interactive," but I think SMS polling will really be the extent of it.

I'm rooting for Carla!

Text me when my table's ready!

FINALLY. I've been saying for quite some time now that the whole restaurant pager system is outdated and just plain silly. If we're all walking around with cell phones, why can't you just send me a text?

ReadyPing is a new service for this age-old problem, allowing restaurants to notify their guests by text message when their table is ready. All that's required is an internet connection and a computer. ReadyPing charges a minimal flat monthly fee of $35.

Can't wait to see this in action!

Source: Springwise

Marketers are trying to get me to eat more chips

I wouldn't say I have a sweet tooth. When I'm in the mood to snack, I'm ready for something salty...crunchy...and my weaknesses are Goldfish (Original, not Cheddar) and popcorn. Now, perhaps I'll have a reason to reach for a bag of chips also. Frito-Lay has recently researched women's feelings about snacking and guilt in an effort to produce new packaging, new flavors and even a new ad campaign.

The study found that women are snacking more than men; however, 61% of them tend to reach for drinks, fruits and veggies. Only 14% go for salty foods. Neuromarketing was used in this study, and 100 women kept journals about their lives for two whole weeks. According to the logs, women felt often felt guilty about a variety of things -- ranging from snacking to not seeing their children enough. Frito-Lay hopes to use new packaging and messaging to avoid tripping a woman's guilt during snack time.

I'm not entirely convinved that eating chips will ever feel 100% guilt-free. Even if I reach for a bag of Baked Lays during lunchtime, carrots or apple slices would clearly be the smarter option. But, what fun is snacking without just a little bit of guilt? :)

Source: NYTimes

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nielsen Report: TV Viewing Hits All-Time High

Nielsen reports that the average American now watches more than 151 hours of TV a month - or about five hours a day - marking an all-time high. That number is up 3.6% from the 145 hours watched during the same time period last year.

Time-shifting is playing a huge role as well. About 29% of households have DVRs and the amount of time spent watching time-shifted TV is up 33% from last year.

Mobile and Web TV are helping consumers take TV on the road, adding to the cumulative time spent. Mobile video alone has jumped 9% from the previous quarter, which should rise as phones continue to get more sophisticated. This should eventually open up new marketing opportunities, but brands may be hesitant to allocate too much money toward testing.

Source: MediaBuyerPlanner

weekly media watch - 02.23

Here is my WMW for the week. As you can see, I did another write up of Coraline. Hope you enjoy!


Coraline Finds 50 Lucky Bloggers

What is it?

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing Coraline in 3D. For those of you who think it’s a kids’ movie, I assure you there is enough to keep adults entertained. Some parts were downright creepy and the 3D effects really brought the movie to life.

Oh yes—back to advertising. Coraline, created by Laika Studios, is touted as the first stop-motion animation feature to be shot entirely in 3-D. Naturally, lots of props remained after shooting was complete, and their Wieden+Kennedy marketing team decided to do something special with them. They compiled a list of their favorite blogs (among them: NotCot, Pink is the New Blog, boingboing) and asked each blogger if they wanted to receive a “free gift.” 50 unique, whimsical boxes filled with movie props and items were created and sent, and the chosen bloggers immediately rushed off to show of the contents of their boxes. Even the actual handwriting on the address labels reflected the film’s tone and themes. If you have a moment, check out the film’s site – it’s a visually stunning, immersive experience. (Sources:, Future of Ads)

Why is it interesting?

We often chat about “influencing the influencers” and how we can get bloggers to talk about cool products in the digital space. Since Laika Studios is owned by Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike), he pushed W+K to come up with an innovative campaign (check out the Nike Coraline Dunks!). This brilliant idea for Coraline made use of some one-of-a-kind props and put them in the hands of people that have extensive networks of readers. The variety of blogs they came up with was impressive in itself – who knew there were so many knitting blogs?!


AdAge Confirms: Unpaid McFlurries

What is it?

It appears as though we all spoke too soon. AdAge confirmed that McDonald’s didn’t pay for the McFlurry product in the story line. “30 Rock” asked McDonald’s executives in advance if they could use a restaurant for filming purposes and write some products into the story. Since nothing portrayed the company in a bad light, McDonald’s didn’t push back or make any changes. The TV spot that ran during the show was “part of the traditional media buy” and no spots were moved around to be near that episode. (Source: AdAge)

Write-up from last week, in case you need background: There has been, well, a flurry of McFlurry activity online after last night’s 30 Rock episode aired. 2 characters on the show (Elisa and Jack) sat on the couch last night eating McFlurries – and after some discussion about how great the vanilla swirl, candy and cookies go perfectly together, Elisa exclaimed that it is “the world’s greatest dessert.” New York Magazine, Gawker and countless blogs have initiated virtual discussions around the product placement.

Why is it interesting?

Paid or unpaid, last week’s episode sure got bloggers and media sites writing furiously about the issues surrounding product placement. Where should the line be drawn? Are audiences becoming too cynical to accept advertising like this? As I mentioned in last week’s write-up, ad avoidance behavior continues to grow. DVRs make it far too easy to find the content that we really want. I’m sure we are all curious to see how 30 Rock will handle any product placement opportunities in the future…


How to be a Better TJMaxx Shopper

What is it?

Through my normal search and online shopping patterns, I recently stumbled upon TJMaxx’s online community. Called “What’s In,” it is intended to function as a social shopping utility with daily alerts and insider tips. Users can upload photos of Fashion Finds from their local stores and provide details about the department, price and brand. Votes and comments are also recorded, adding to the social functionality of the site. (Source: What’s In)

Why is it interesting?

From what I can recall, TJMaxx hasn’t done much to promote their What’s In site through their print or TV ads – a missed opportunity, since cross-promotion would be an easy way to drive more traffic. While the site could use some tweaking in certain areas (especially with their mapping and voting features), the concept is a great one for discount stores such as this. Allowing the users to hunt for bargains and share them instantly is more compelling than posting a weekly circular online. A mobile version may also work for their customers if they continue to see activity on the site.