Archive for October, 2006

Blogs Give PR New Job

By October 16, 2006

By Eric PfannerInternational Herald Tribune To Steve Rubel, senior vice president at the public relations firm Edelman, there is a “conversation gap” on the Internet between America and the rest of the world. Like Americans, Europeans and Asians have become fervent bloggers. But many of them contribute to U.S.- based sites, or to local-language blogs […]

By Eric PfannerInternational Herald Tribune

To Steve Rubel, senior vice president at the public relations firm Edelman, there is a “conversation gap” on the Internet between America and the rest of the world. Like Americans, Europeans and Asians have become fervent bloggers. But many of them contribute to U.S.- based sites, or to local-language blogs that are fragmented and obscure.
Why should marketers care about this?

Corporate brand builders are growing increasingly conscious of the power, and potential pitfalls, of blogging. A favorable review from an influential blogger can generate the kind of buzz about a new product that traditional advertising struggles to achieve. A negative write-up can doom a product before it even hits the market.

Perhaps no marketing discipline has been more affected by blogging than public relations. PR professionals used to be brought in when a product was ready for the market, to invite journalists to “rollouts” or “launches” that were followed up by mainstream advertising.

Now many American brands, and some brands of other countries, are starting to include blogs in their marketing plans, using PR at a much earlier stage. By the time of the official “launch,” a product may already have been slipped into the hands of bloggers several months before. Feedback from their online discussions with other devotees can help inform a marketer’s subsequent advertising and media strategy.

“A year ago, brands were saying, ‘Oh no, not the blogosphere,'” said Peter Hirshberg, chief executive of Technorati, a blog-tracking service that last week, in partnership with Edelman, provided results of a global survey of blog use. “Now they’re saying, ‘Great, this is an opportunity.'”

But monitoring blogs can be a huge logistical challenge. There are more than 55 million of them around the world, according to Technorati, and the total is growing by thousands every week.
Some large corporations have employed specialist firms like Brandimensions and Nielsen Buzzmetrics to track online chatter about their products and services. And some ad agencies are moving to incorporate such services into their own offerings. Edelman monitors scores of blogs devoted to following individual clients of the firm, like Wal-Mart Stores.

Now Edelman, in partnership with Technorati, is moving to extend its blog-tracking abilities into new areas. Edelman has sponsored development of new Technorati sites in French, German, Italian, Korean and Chinese. Several of those services, which supplement Technorati’s existing English-language and Japanese sites, went live as “beta” offerings this month. Until February, they will be available exclusively to Edelman and its clients; at that point, they are scheduled to be opened to the public.

“It’s a way of determining in very short order who’s talking positively about you and who’s talking negatively,” said Richard Edelman, chief executive of the PR firm.
Edelman and Hirshberg said the European- and Asian-language services were particularly necessary because finding bloggers who write about brands and products could be more difficult in these regions than in the United States. In many European countries, the leading blogs focus on politics or cultural issues; in the United States, they are much more likely to look at business or technology.

The Edelman-Technorati study ranked blogs by region, gauging their influence according to the number of links from other blogs. Of the top 100 blogs in Italy, 43 percent are simply personal journals, the study showed, compared with 3 percent in the United States. In France, 30 percent of blogs are personal diaries.

In Germany, technology blogs are more common. The top 100 blogs, however, contain an average of four posts a day about one big brand, Microsoft, compared with 30 a day in the United States.

While rates of blog-reading are relatively comparable in major European countries and the United States – roughly one-quarter of the population looks at blogs at least once a week in America, Britain and France – U.S.- based blogs remain more influential, according to the survey.

The most linked-to European blogger, the study shows, is Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian and self-styled anti-corruption crusader. While his site is popular in Italy and is translated into English, it is only the 28th most influential blog worldwide, according to the survey. U.S.-based bloggers dominate the top of the rankings.

The new versions of Technorati, by helping marketers identify useful blogs dealing with corporations and brands, could drive more public relations activity to them. Perhaps then the readers will follow, and then, at least from a marketing perspective, the conversation gap will start to close.

http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=3160931

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The Graying of MySpace

By October 16, 2006

Last week’s release of audience demographics for MySpace set the industry abuzz. Was the MySpace crowd really that old? New data from Nielsen//NetRatings reconfirm what comScore Media Metrix told us last week. Nearly half (46%) of MySpace’s US-based visitors in September were ages 35 and older, up from 38% a year ago, according to NetRatings. […]

Last week’s release of audience demographics for MySpace set the industry abuzz. Was the MySpace crowd really that old? New data from Nielsen//NetRatings reconfirm what comScore Media Metrix told us last week.

Nearly half (46%) of MySpace’s US-based visitors in September were ages 35 and older, up from 38% a year ago, according to NetRatings. Visitors in the 12-17 age group slipped from 31.5% of the total audience to 20.0%.

Data released last week by comScore revealed that 51.6% of US MySpace visitors were 35 or older as of August. Teens dropped from 24.7% to 11.9% of total unique visitors.

Will a lot more MySpace profiles look like the one maintained by 53-year-old Nintendo VP George Harrison, whose page highlights his favorite movie (Dr. Zhivago) and his interest in historical nonfiction?
It is doubtful. Tracking the percentage of old folks who visit the site is only part of the story, and may not even be all that relevant in the long term. What is far more relevant is the amount of time people spend on MySpace and how they interact with the content and marketing messages there.

As blogger Fred Stutzman pointed out, “A parent knows that their child has a Myspace page. That parent visits Myspace.com, attempting to learn about the service. In Comscore’s index, they would be validly counted as a unique visitor.” But these visitors are not necessarily regular users of the site.

Young people still account for a vast proportion of usage of MySpace. They spend more time there than older people — which means it is quite likely that a lot of those middle-agers turning up in the NetRatings and comScore data are looky-loos who are there for work (see: George Harrison), who keep tabs on their kids’ activities or who are just plain curious.

“The average 12- to 17-year-old spent 260 minutes on MySpace and viewed about 808 pages. By contrast, the average 35- to 54-year-old spent 179 minutes on the site and took in 560 pages,” Ad Age reported earlier this week (but did not cite the source of the data).
In other words, teens consumed 44% more content and spent 45% more time there. Those are much more intriguing statistics to pay attention to.

http://www.emarketer.com/Articles/Print.aspx?1004212

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Audi Opens ‘Forum’ Showroom in New York

By October 16, 2006

Aiming to elevate its brand in the U.S., Audi of America held the official grand opening today in New York for its first U.S. Audi Forum, a “brand experience” center that can be rented out for events. Ninth forum, first in U.S. Audi Forum in New York, the largest of nine such forums in the […]

Aiming to elevate its brand in the U.S., Audi of America held the official grand opening today in New York for its first U.S. Audi Forum, a “brand experience” center that can be rented out for events. Ninth forum, first in U.S. Audi Forum in New York, the largest of nine such forums in the world at 6,400 square feet, will feature displays of the automaker’s vehicles designs past, present and future. The center contains large, high-tech plasma screens, a multispeaker sound system and 13,000 watts of lighting. Jim Sanfilippo, exec VP of auto consultant AMCI, said Audi’s U.S. Forum should help build the image and sales volume of the German brand, which has much greater stature in Europe, standing shoulder-to-shoulder to Mercedes-Benz and BMW. “Audi is really making a run at it in the U.S.” to accomplish those same goals, he said. “The Forum is sort of a fashion center for Audi.” “Visitors to the Forum will have the opportunity to experience the design principles and cutting-edge technologies that guide all Audi products,” said Johan de Nysschen, exec VP at Audi of America.

http://adage.com/article?article_id=112444

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Play With Cheerleaders, Make Your Own Commercial

By October 13, 2006

This has more viral potential than Ken Schrader! If you work in advertising, love cheerleaders and think the Super Bowl rocks, what’s not to like about CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders make your own commercial promotion for the network’s Dallas Cowboys Cheeleaders Making the Team reality show? Right. Nothing. So have fun crafting your creation by […]

This has more viral potential than Ken Schrader!

If you work in advertising, love cheerleaders and think the Super Bowl rocks, what’s not to like about CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders make your own commercial promotion for the network’s Dallas Cowboys Cheeleaders Making the Team reality show? Right. Nothing. So have fun crafting your creation by dragging a droping cheerleaders arond the page until you have your masterpiece.

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Walking TV Nets Nivea 6,600 Potential New Customers

By October 13, 2006

An idea for the upcoming Pompeii exhibit? A couple years ago, AdRants told you about a technology that mounted TV’s on people so they walk around and sell stuff. Now, everyone’s doing it including Nivea who contracted with AdWalkers, trained street walking marketers who wear TV’s and hand out stuff, to promote the company’s “Nivea […]

An idea for the upcoming Pompeii exhibit?

A couple years ago, AdRants told you about a technology that mounted TV’s on people so they walk around and sell stuff. Now, everyone’s doing it including Nivea who contracted with AdWalkers, trained street walking marketers who wear TV’s and hand out stuff, to promote the company’s “Nivea Touches New York” Exhibit.
Nivea deployed eight Adwalkers in its first week of operation and four during its second week. The Adwalkers fanned out around Chelsea, Union Square, Gramercy Park, and Herald Square on a Wednesday through Saturday basis. Of the people exposed to the AdWalkers, a total of 6,600 took a virtual tour of the Nivea exhibit and got a printout reminder/invitation to visit the West 19th Street installation.

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Astroturf Blogging

By October 13, 2006

It’s known as astroturfing, as in phony grassroots — campaigns run by pros that are meant to look like the efforts of regular folks. The latest such endeavor to be exposed is a we-love-Wal-Mart blog called Wal-Marting Across America, written by a couple on a cross-country jaunt in an RV. Their raptures over the big-box […]

It’s known as astroturfing, as in phony grassroots — campaigns run by pros that are meant to look like the efforts of regular folks. The latest such endeavor to be exposed is a we-love-Wal-Mart blog called Wal-Marting Across America, written by a couple on a cross-country jaunt in an RV. Their raptures over the big-box retailer may be real, but their journey was underwritten by (as summed up by Online Media Daily after BusinessWeek broke the story) “Working Families for Wal-Mart (WFWM), an organization launched by Wal-Mart’s public relations firm Edelman. WFWM paid for the RV and all travel expenses, rerouted the trip’s original plan, and plastered a logo on the RV’s side. Although the blog featured a link to WFWM, it did not identify the organization as a paid sponsor.” Good summary of the story>>

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Pre-Movie Short Film Controlled by Audience Using SMS

By October 12, 2006

from AdRants. . . Brazilian-based AgenciaClick has created what would seem to be an intriguing interactive movie theater experience to promote the Fiat Idea Adventure, a light offroad vehicle. Movie goers will meet a guy named John in a pre-movie film and, using SMS messaging from their cell phones, be able to generate 16 different […]

from AdRants. . .

Brazilian-based AgenciaClick has created what would seem to be an intriguing interactive movie theater experience to promote the Fiat Idea Adventure, a light offroad vehicle. Movie goers will meet a guy named John in a pre-movie film and, using SMS messaging from their cell phones, be able to generate 16 different versions of the promotional film and choose the ending.

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Sports Marketplace Gets Mortal Combat-Like Game Promotion

By October 12, 2006

from AdRants. . .To promote the launch of online sports marketplace, Protrade, Pod Digital Design created Mascot Kombat, a fighting game parody of Mortal Kombat, where team mascots duke it out on a football field, basketball court as well as tailgate party, bleed team colors, and face the ultimate humiliation of having their helmets removed […]

from AdRants. . .
To promote the launch of online sports marketplace, Protrade, Pod Digital Design created Mascot Kombat, a fighting game parody of Mortal Kombat, where team mascots duke it out on a football field, basketball court as well as tailgate party, bleed team colors, and face the ultimate humiliation of having their helmets removed and true geek identities revealed.

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Gen Y Wears The Pants

By October 11, 2006

USA TodayMultitasking, Web-savvy Generation Y (1982-2000) has surpassed the baby boomers as the most influential generation for retailers. New research from online marketer Kelly Mooney, released today at the National Retail Federation, shows that 13- to-21-year-olds influence 81 percent of their families’ apparel purchases and 52 percent of their car purchases. At 82 million people, […]

USA Today
Multitasking, Web-savvy Generation Y (1982-2000) has surpassed the baby boomers as the most influential generation for retailers. New research from online marketer Kelly Mooney, released today at the National Retail Federation, shows that 13- to-21-year-olds influence 81 percent of their families’ apparel purchases and 52 percent of their car purchases. At 82 million people, Gen Y is the biggest generation. Its members have strong spending power, and stronger opinions at an early age. According to Mooney’s research, nothing turns these young consumers off to a brand more than slow Web sites, a dismissive sales staff and free shipping that takes more than two days. They tend to want merchandise that’s cheap (American Apparel) or elite (Diesel); retailers in the middle can get lost. “They are more demanding and more savvy than they feel they’re given credit for,” Mooney says, so in marketing to them, it’s important not to insult their intelligence. They will abandon a Web site that takes longer than 3 seconds to download; on average, they require access to information five times faster than older generations. “They don’t distinguish between ‘this is the store’ and ‘this is the Web site,’ Mooney says. “Part of the reason Gen Y has such influence over household decisions is because their parents tend to be nonauthoritarian. They value friendships with their kids over discipline, which tends to give them an “equal vote in the look and style of the family.” – Read the whole story…

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Excellent Movie Site in Flash

By October 9, 2006

Check out the flash-based site Sony created for their new movie, “Running with Scissors.” I’ve seen people try to do the whole “spiral bound notebook” thing in the past and they just came up short. However, this site really pulls it off nicely. Plus there are video clips from the movie placed throughout. It’s well […]

Check out the flash-based site Sony created for their new movie, “Running with Scissors.” I’ve seen people try to do the whole “spiral bound notebook” thing in the past and they just came up short. However, this site really pulls it off nicely. Plus there are video clips from the movie placed throughout. It’s well done and I think they really capture the feeling of a personal diary.

Click here to view the site
[www.sonypictures.com/movies/runningwithscissors/site/]

Enjoy,

Doug

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