Category Archives: Marketing

From Tweet to Ad to Mini Modern Scandal

AO Scott, movie critic of the New York Times, writes a personal essay on movie marketing and Twitter. After one of his tweets is altered and turned into a print movie ad, a strange conversation sparks.

Here we begin a rapid descent into a wormhole created by the collision of movie-awards campaigning and paracritical chirping. The world may be divided between those who think Twitter defines the boundaries of the universe and those who don’t know what it is. It may also be divided between those who follow every surge and stumble of the “race” to the Oscars and those who might or might not remember to tune into ABC on March 2. Somehow, I have found myself in the Venn diagram circle of hell where two pointless obsessions — with words and statues that, by any reasonable measure of significance, mean nothing — converge, and if you are still reading, I have dragged you along. As they say on Twitter: #sorrynotsorry.

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Bungie Unveils Its Destiny

The studio that brought Halo into this world has said farewell to Master Chief and the highly praised 10 year project and unveiled their newest endeavor: Destiny. Today Bungie released a CG teaser of their newest first person shooter. In a few weeks, at E3, actual gameplay footage will be shown of the “always-on” massively multiplayer adventure.

Destiny will be released in 2014 and will be available on 4 platforms: the next generation of Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as as well as the older PS3 and Xbox 360.

The trailer was directed by Jon Favreau, of Iron Man 1 and 2, and is exceptional. It’s Halo, Star Wars, and GUNS…lots of GUNS.

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Tumblr’s Failed Journalism Experiment

Hamish McKenzie of PandoDaily explain’s why Tumblr’s in-house journalism project, “Storyboard” was nixed.

Even though it had success with its partnerships program at placing stories into other forums, Storyboard’s stories always had the whiff of marketing, or what is these days being described as “native advertising.”

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The Disruptive Potential Of Native Ads

Felix Salmon of Reuters discusses a magazine article on the new industry of native advertising. On websites, traditional marketing takes place through banner ads: annoying blocks of text that flash or blink, peddling some terrible product. We view them as intrusive. And we have learned to ignore them.

On sites like BuzzFeed however, native or sponsored ads are used. This is where ads are created to resemble real news articles or fun lists. The sponsored ads mirror the content of the websites that they are placed on.

(Ethical dilemmas have been raised about this kind of marketing, though. For example, while BuzzFeed clearly marks their sponsored ads as such, letting the reader know that this is, in fact, an add, more strictly journalistic or “serious” content sites risk confusing their readers. This is exactly what happened to The Atlantic when they ran a native ad for the Church of Scientology that read like a news article.)

Salmon argues that native ads on the Web are just like good TV commercials (the kind we hunger for during the Super Bowl.) They tell a story, and we want to share them. They work for the networks who air them, the brands who sell them, and the audience who views them.

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Elysium Trailer – Matt Damon Is A Cyborg In District 9 Director’s New Movie

Now I know I say this about every new sci-fi trailer…that it looks like Halo. But this one really does! As a matter of fact, the director of Elysium and District 9, Neill Blomkamp, was associated with the ill-fated Halo movie several years ago and even directed a live-action short film to demonstrate what his Halo universe would look like.

Having to settle for Elysium doesn’t look so bad, though,

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Do Men Read?

Bryan Goldberg, entrepreneur, founder of Bleacher Report and contributor to PandoDaily, explains why his next business venture will be a news/content site just for women.

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On Facebook, News Feed Ads That Track You

“These ads take into account people’s browsing behavior outside Facebook, as captured through cookies, with the aim of offering up messages about products they’ve already shown interest in,” writes Jennifer Van Grove of CNET.

Personalized advertising based on one’s Web browsing isn’t new, but this marks the first time Facebook has allowed advertisers to market their products directly on News Feed. (Prior to Tuesday, advertisers were only permitted to display these ads on the rightsize column of the site.)

As Van Grove notes, these types of ads are extremely valuable to merchants; they know that the products they’re pushing are the same ones you’ve been browsing and they can determine, with precision, whether you follow the link and make the purchase.

The tricky part for Facebook though, is not further alienating its users. Van Grove, and the analyst she quotes, use words like “creepy” and “jarring” to describe the feeling that consumers might have as they come upon their ad-augmented News Feed.

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Netflix And The Niche Of Buzz: A “House Of Cards”

House of Cards

Netflix, Melinda Sue Gordon / AP via BuzzFeed

“Start with a charming but morally corrupted protagonist (usually a male) and throw him into a world populated by weak and compromised souls. Mix in explicit sex…Then intersperse those with non-plot-essential asides to give the show a “novelistic” feel, such as aspirational period or fancy dress…”

If you’ve glanced at a television anytime in the last decade, you’ll know what Richard Rushfield of BuzzFeed is describing here: The prestige cable dramas that are said to have displaced film as America’s cultural temple. (Andy Greenwald over at Grantland has a similar line on this: “The period setting — a crutch that, if we’re being honest, has become the Auto-Tune to cable TV’s pop radio…”)

But even as Don, Tony, Walt, and Nucky, captured dozens of Emmy statuettes and the attention of every media critic on the East Coast and beyond, the shows that reveal their souls–Mad Men in particular–are viewed only by a precious few.

In his piece on the media-hyperventilation over Netflix’s new series, House of Cards, Rushfield reminds us that while these respected programs on moral decay are critically praised, their cultural importance is largely overstated.

Sketching a brief history of “important television,” Rushfield contends that networks like HBO and AMC desperately seek the praise of TV taste makers: social media power users, journalists and art critics. And in this cultural chatterbox insulated with echoed hype, it’s easy to forget that these “adult” shows serve a small and select crowd. Rushfield writes, “while buzz is great, in the end it’s no substitute for actual viewers or subscribers, even if those viewers are more “desirable” upscale viewers.”

With Netflix and House Of Cards, critics are taking the logic of post-golden television to the next, absurd level: First, Tony Soprano killed network TV, now streaming will crush cable and Don Draper. (Netflix released all 13 episodes of House Of Cards at once, which is novel. The show is directed by David Fincher: Seven, Fight Club, and The Social Network and stars Kevin Spacey, aka Seven’s John Doe. Netflix’s series follows a cutthroat politician and, also noted on BuzzFeed, is wildly popular with Capitol Hill staffers and journalists – further proving Rushfield’s point: your perceived twitterverse is actually just a tiny solar system.)

“All of this is not to say that networks should not make shows that they consider quality fare, or that journalists shouldn’t write about them,” Rushfield concludes. “But when doing so, they should bear in mind that just because the group it appeals to is an elite niche, that doesn’t make it any less of a niche.”

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Illustrations Of A Digitized Life

Jailhouses by Felipe Luchi

“Jailhouses” By Felipe Luchi for Go Outside Magazine

Jailhouse by Felipe Luchi

“Jailhouses” By Felipe Luchi for Go Outside Magazine

Jailhouses by Felipe Luchi

“Jailhouses” By Felipe Luchi for Go Outside Magazine

Check out Felipe Luchi’s artwork.  Via Gizmodo.com

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How To Measure Influence?

Darcel Dissapoints - NYTimes

Darcel Dissapoints – NYTimes

Even as social media collect an increasing amount of data about our personal preferences, quantifying taste is exceedingly difficult.

The tech journalist Stephen Baker, writing in the NYTimes, frames the recent paradigm shift in advertising like this: Where clever humanists, “Mad Men” advertisers like Don Draper draw from the liberal arts to predict and guide our shopping behavior, search technology like Google has recently enabled a more quantitative approach.

Baker writes:

In the last decade however, those numbers people have rocketed to the top. They build and operate the search engines. They’re flexing their quantitative muscles at agencies and starting new ones. And the rise of social networks, which stream a global gabfest into their servers, catapults these quants ever higher. Their most powerful pitches aren’t ideas but rather algorithms. This sends many of today’s Don Drapers into early retirement.

While this narrative may lead one to believe that advertising on social media is the next frontier, Baker provides evidence suggesting otherwise.

Corporate advertisers are devoting only a modest 14 percent of their online budgets to social networks. According to comScore, a firm that tracks online activity, e-commerce soared 16 percent from last year, to nearly $39 billion this holiday season. But advertising from social networks appeared to play only a supporting role. I.B.M. researchers found that on the pivotal opening day of the season, Black Friday, a scant 0.68 percent of online purchases came directly from Facebook. The number from Twitter was undetectable.

Interestingly, Baker goes on to suggest that perhaps social media’s ineffective marketing is merely a function of firms measuring the wrong things.

Baker points out that while Facebook and Twitter may not lead to direct sales, their likes and retweets are potentially valuable, in nudging our inclinations. He writes, “The impact of new technologies is invariably misjudged because we measure the future with yardsticks from the past.”

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