Of its annual revenue, Google earns $38 billion from the sale of “sponsored links” alone. It seems Google has successfully convinced advertisers that the links they provide are of value to their businesses as a form of advertising. That is until recently.
Many European newspapers and magazines are pushing for legislation to change how Google, as well as other search engines and newsgathering sites, earn revenue. They believe Google and its counterparts should pay them instead as their newspapers and magazines provide the material these sites generate revenue from.
Reversing the monetary flow seems imminent. A German bill is already being reviewed by Parliament and would allow publishers to charge search engines and news curating sites a fee to display parts of their articles with links to the paper or magazine. In France, President François Hollande is aggressively pushing for similar legislation unless a solution is found by the end of the year to compensate the publishers for their content. Italy is also starting to look into similar action.
Google is adamant that these types of laws go against the free flow of information on the Internet and would destroy their existence. They have countered with threatening to exclude these sites from search results. This is no empty threat either as in France alone 30 to 40 percent of news sites traffic comes from Google. Publishers are already struggling to increase revenue, which is why they are trying to reverse the current monetary flow with Google.
It seems both sides are dependent on these dollars being placed in their favor. Is there a solution to benefit both sides? Would a pay wall help or hurt the papers and magazines? I think the most important part is that this will affect users. Either search results will be missing pertinent information, or site vistors may be forced to make up for missed revenue by subscribing. The ever-growing idea of free information on the Web is at stake.
Being the third most visited site in the world is not an easy task. YouTube ranks just behind the giants of Google and Facebook as the most visited websites on the internet. This comes as no surprise. The power for people to capture themselves through video is easy enough for a 3-year-old to manage, but how do brands and organizations leverage YouTube to their advantage?
Old Spice's YouTube brand channel.
According to YouTube, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, which equates to 3 billion hours watched each month. These types of numbers are mind-boggling and the ripple effect reaches far outside of YouTube itself. More than 500 years of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook and 700 videos per minute find themselves on Twitter.
No doubt a powerful tool, but most brands upload their TV spots, or try to think of something so funny and outrageous hoping that it will be the next “viral video.” Unfortunately, this is very difficult to achieve on YouTube. While this can happen, you have better chances of taking the money you spent doing this and doubling down at the nearest casino.
Companies such as Old Spice, Red Bull, and Go-Pro have found that YouTube can help drive exposure, but they are the few that have found success. Almost all companies find themselves spending a lot of money with little to no results, thus deeming it as a marketing failure. To avoid complete and udder failure here are five starter tips for marketers and brands to follow:
1st – YouTube is its own platform; content should be unique and should be well thought out.
2nd –Make sure that you promote your video(s) through YouTube using Google platforms. Spend money to help get some eyeballs and help leverage your plan.
3rd- Make sure that you plan your strategy ahead of time. Are you looking for views or do you want people to take action?
4th- Consider using YouTube celebrities (people already on YouTube that have thousands to millions of views and subscribers) for brand integrations and product placements.
5th- Ensure that your YouTube plan fits well with branding and other marketing strategies; YouTube can help you leverage your current and future goals within social media.
Success on YouTube can be very challenging, but using these basic tips can help you get on the right track. YouTube is a platform that allows you to target the audience you want, which keeps advertisers coming back. If you’re nice to YouTube it will be nice to you.
Mexico City efforts include medical tourism, green programs
Mexico City is on the move with new initiatives and programs designed to garner specific market segments, capitalize on the destination’s myriad offerings and showcase its total product line. The city’s minister of tourism, Carlos Mackinlay, said that “tourism is a key economic generator of Mexico City,” representing 7% of its gross domestic product.
USTA will highlight importance of travel at political conventions
The U.S. Travel Association has announced its Vote Travel 2.0 plans for the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions. The multipronged initiative seeks to inform policymakers about the crucial economic role of travel and tourism. “We are pushing a message that will stay with attendees — that the travel industry generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and includes 14 million of U.S. jobs — and without it, the conventions wouldn’t be possible,” said Blain Rethmeier, U.S. Travel’s senior vice president for public affairs.
Interjet applies to serve six U.S.-Mexico routes
Mexican carrier Interjet applied to the Department of Transportation for authorization to begin service on six U.S. routes. The routes are: Mexico City-Orange County, Calif.; Guadalajara-Orange County; San Jose del Cabo-Orange County; Toluca-Houston, Toluca-Chicago and Toluca-Las Vegas. Aeromexico and Volaris serve Las Vegas from Mexico City. Toluca is a secondary airport serving Mexico City.
JetBlue reportedly will boost flights to Colombia
JetBlue Airways is looking to increase its flights to Colombia, a newspaper based in Bogota, Colombia, reports. Portafolio also reported that JetBlue will add a route between Bogota and Puerto Rico in 2013. The carrier is also considering flights to Cali, Medellin and Barranquilla, the newspaper says.
Southwest explores flying outside continental U.S.
Airlines including US Airways, Spirit, American and Delta are imposing fees for window and aisle seats, two popular flier preferences. According to 2012 data from Expedia, 21% of customers chose window seats, while 20% preferred to sit along the aisle; the rest had no preference.
Airlines could continue to test demand with fare increases
A successful fare hike on trips shorter than 500 miles by Southwest Airlines could signal more airfare increases this year. “I think they are testing demand and they will continue to do it for the rest of the year,” said Rick Seaney, founder of the travel website Farecompare.com.
Agents are getting more online options for cruise training
More cruise lines are launching online cruise-training programs to improve agents’ skills in selling their products, this feature says. Training modules include destination education, brand orientation and sales and marketing training.
Cunard announces world itineraries for its 3 Queen cruise ships
Cunard Line has unveiled the 2014 world-cruise itineraries for its three Queen vessels — flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Queen Mary 2 is set to visit 19 countries around the world with overnight port destinations including Hong Kong, Dubai, and Cape Town, South Africa. Queen Elizabeth will visit Japan for the first time with port calls in Kobe, Kochi, Nagasaki and Yokohama. Queen Victoria will traverse the globe on a 116-day sailing that will visit 40 ports in 19 countries.
Carnival tries out drinks program about the Carnival Victory
Carnival Cruise Lines is holding a trial run of its “My Awesome Bar Program,” giving passengers access to a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks for about $50 a day including tips. The package is available to passengers 21 and older aboard the Carnival Victory.
MGM Resorts proposes $800 million Massachusetts resort
Juice bars and juicing-themed packages are popping up in hotels in response to the growing wellness trend, this feature says. “Hotels have taken notice that their travelers, especially those that spend time in the spa, are looking to keep their bodies healthy on the road. These clients are not interested in spending time and money detoxing in the spa only to fill up on unhealthy, processed food,” said Linden Schaffer, director of wellness-travel firm Pravassa.
Google ignites speculation with Frommer’s acquisition
Google’s announcement last week that it would purchase Frommer’s, the iconic publisher of print and electronic travel guides, touched off a wave of speculation over the search giant’s motives and what the move might portend for the travel industry.
Back in the beginning of January 2011, I made some predictions about things I thought would be important in that year.
Well, that year is over. Let’s see how it went.
I talked about the power of the personal brands. If you look at last year, the Personal Brand was in full force. From the Kardashians to Steve Jobs, to Zuckerberg to you. Yes, you. Due to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs, you are out there as a brand whether you like it or not. Everything you do is being looked at and scrutinized, to a degree, by others. You are, in essence, forming a relationship with the world. Individuals are looked at as much as their companies are. Even with mass movements – individuals and their tweets and status updates stand out. YouTube has given millions the ability to become brands with nothing more than a video camera. And these brands are making money … lots of it. Take Randall and Honey Badger for instance. I happen to know he has an agent and a brand.
Another was the Power of the iPad. OK, so the iPad was an easy guess. But just how much of a game changer is it? Well, it’s now replacing airline flight manuals. It’s used in hospitals, restaurants and offices everywhere. It’s the new children’s book. It’s the new art gallery. It’s the new canvas. It’s every presentation. But more important, it’s what the next generation will grow up on and that is the real game changer. iPad kids will have a whole different perspective on what mobile is and will be in the future.
One of the things that will play this year as well is Real-time Interactive experiences that went past the computer and into the real world. Take a look at these wonderful examples of that. This year, the HYBRID of real and digital will continue to grow.
Then there was Crowdsourcing. It’s not just for advertising anymore. It is now helping us discover new products and help get them on the market. It’s also helping to publish books. But, best of all, it’s working toward discoveries in health care and science.
Digital hasn’t figured out how to showcase its great content. And, in many ways, still isn’t providing great content to showcase. Digital needs to look at TV and learn some things. TV spends the money on content. TV promotes content. TV makes content an event even with TIVO. And TV still has more resources. But most of all, too many digital agencies spend their time talking about usability, wireframes, click-through metrics and half a dozen other digital buzzwords. That’s all well and good, but I am going to spend two minutes on your Web page if you are lucky. Meanwhile, I will spend more than four hours watching TV. Stop bullshitting me and put more on the Web that I need to see as much as I need to see the season finale of Homeland.
We were all wrong about Foursquare. I don’t use Foursquare much anymore and I don’t do a lot of checking in. I have also tired of watching my friends check in from different dive bars. So, from my perspective, I have lost interest in Foursquare discounts and I don’t want to be an imaginary mayor. Plus, my coffee place went to a frequency card.
And since the economy is getting better, the companies decided they don’t care about Foursquare as much either.
The consolidation battle between Facebook and Google rages on and on and on. Who will win your soul? Google. No, Facebook. No, Google. It’s hard to decide. Consumers seem locked in to Facebook. However, Google keeps throwing stuff against the wall hoping it will stick. Maybe something that helps individuals stand out more will be the key for Google along with all the customizable friend and privacy settings.
But the best prediction of last year was the Power of the Disenfranchised. The Occupy Wall Street set and whole countries decided they didn’t like the way things were going for them and moved on it. Social media was a conduit for these movements. This has empowered a great many to think they can cause the CHANGE that politicians have been inept at bringing. And if these movements get more organized with stronger leaders and missions, the sky is the limit. This may be the new system in 10 years. It’s pretty obvious the current political party system DOES NOT WORK (see Herman Cain and a host of Republican contenders).
However, the banks will never change. Greed wins over common sense the majority of the time.
All in all, not a bad year. So, what about 2012? Here are some thoughts on what will be more important in the coming year. (Not in any particular order.)
1. The Need for Privacy
Simply put, we don’t have any. Facebook, Google, your iPhone and the nation’s security issues have taken most of it away. With Facebook’s suicide button, you can report a friend who seems too depressed. How far away is that from reporting a person who seems like they might commit a crime? With Facebook’s Timeline, you can look into the history of friends and coworkers. You can look at a relationship status. You can stalk. It’s a window that is always open. With Foursquare, everyone knows you are out while your valuables are home alone. Your iPhone is tracking your movements. Cameras are everywhere. Phones can take a picture and post it to numerous social networks in seconds, tagging you forever. What happens when local cameras are automatically linked to phones? Watch out, terrorists. And what about the social index that can map when large groups are happy, sad, hungry, etc., from their social interactions? Can’t the same be done searching the key words used by individuals? Maybe I want to be sad ALONE.
It seems nothing is sacred anymore. We recently put a campaign together within Vegas asking people to Protect their What Happens Here, Stays Here moments by tweeting and posting discretely when on vacation here. It’s just the beginning. In the next couple of years, the privacy issue will provide a host of apps and a ton of conversation.
2. Transcending YouTube
YouTube celebrities have been showing up in the mainstream for a long time. Someone gets a ton of hits and you see them on a talk show or they get a TV deal. This year, however, brands will hook on to them like fine cheese at the wine tasting. Because the sheer number of fans is so appetizing. From Randall for Emerald Nuts to DJ Dave for Hyundai, the brands are taking notice of the number of hits on their videos.
As well they should. The tie in to Web videos for the brand should be easier since that is the original home of the celebrities in the first place. And if you think there are only a few of them getting the really big numbers of viewers, think again. For instance, try Nice Peter’s Epic Rap Battles – millions and millions of views. Just one of the many.
3. Putting a Brand Worth on Friends/Followers
What are those 600,000 Facebook friends really worth? What kind of ROI can I put to them? How can I spur them into action? How can I turn then into Brand Ambassadors, Brand Evangelists and, eventually, Brand Instigators? Because, as we all know, the key is not those people, but the people they will eventually influence. As more companies start building these groups, they’ll want to know what they’re really getting for the money. They can look at sales, do surveys or follow an online promotion setup for that very measurement, but this is really a small part of the picture. A lot of this is on the “come” as they say. Your Brand Instigators could have already influenced someone to use your product or service – someone who will never become your brand’s friend or tell you how they were influenced on a survey. That’s the nature of social and why it is so successful. Social still feels like an authentic suggestion from a trusted friend. How often is that happening and converting to sales? It’s a big question that will be on more companies’ minds than ever before.
4. The Online Content vs. Risk Dilemma
As more companies get a digital knowledge base, they will take less risk online. The Web is becoming less new and ambitious and more usability and content-driven. This has been happening for the last few years. That isn’t to say there aren’t wonderful sites to see. There are. They just happen to look and feel like what already works. The new mentality is that we will work on original content instead of originality. This is not a bad thing as long as the content is great. If it isn’t, then you just have another site. What does this mean for next year and beyond? Two things: 1. Content is going to get more and more competitive. 2. True originality will stand out like a sore thumb for better or worse.
The bottom line is that originality moves things forward while content makes what is working watchable and engaging. Originality will take a back seat this year on the digital front.
5. Screen Integration
Putting the TV screen, iPad screen and smartphone screen together will be paramount this year. Apps like Yahoo’s IntoNow listen for the audio signature of the show you are watching on television and provide you a unique second-screen experience to go with it. Well, a somewhat unique experience. In other words, the experience could use more content. Content is the key again here.
First off, the app is 100 percent accurate when it listens to identify what you are watching. Better than Shazam by a mile. And if you like to watch TV in a social manner, nothing will beat this. You can discuss with others who are watching the show, watch tweets connected with the show, get information about the episode and season, even buy the show ION iTunes. It’s all on one screen. If you are watching a sporting event, the stats are right there along with a lot of other great information.
What the app lacks is extra original content from the network. However, this will come in the near future. Think of the extras that can be made available to someone watching a show like LOST.
And that’s just the beginning of shared-screen experience. There’s already an app where you can paint over what you’re seeing on your iPad’s camera screen. It’s called Composite.
Couple that with augmented reality and who knows what will happen when you hold your iPad up to a television someday. Hidden characters? Hidden clues? Where to buy the outfits they’re wearing? Alternate endings? What’s to the right of picture where the screen ends? Games? Think of the possibilities.
6. The End of Talking to Anyone But Siri
Talking is out. It is a lost art. Texting allows you to interrupt at any moment. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing to do it (well, driving, finally – you have to stop driving – or you should stop driving). It allows you to put something out there with less risk of rejection. It’s casual even when it’s serious. It’s immediate. There are no awkward silences. When you text, you can attribute those silences to anything. Maybe they got hit by a bus or their phone went dead or they’re in a meeting on a bus that hit someone. No one ever has to believe that they are the reason for the silence. And, most of all, it’s just easier than talking.
Siri is perfect for the texting age. Siri is also immediate. Now you don’t even have to type. You can teach Siri to text someone. You can teach Siri who your wife is or who your best friend is.
As Siri learns more and more apps learn to work with Siri, the dream of never having to talk to anyone real may become a reality. I look forward to the day when Siri starts to want stuff from me. Then I will know she is really learning.
For those on the constant search for authenticity, this will be the year of backstories. In the world of art, the backstory is everything. The “provenance,” as it is called, should be able to trace the past of any great painting or sculpture. Companies and their products will start telling these stories more and more to today’s untrusting consumer. You will see the Web filled with videos showing how boots are made by hand; inspiration that led to that craft-brewed beer you like; the history of your jacket, and the individuals behind it all. It’s the year of pulling back the curtain. Even bankers will give it a shot, but who will believe?
8. The Gospel of Jobs and the Spread of Apple Innovation
The Steve Jobs love affair is just beginning. Pretty much everyone has read the Steve Jobs book (not me yet, but I have it on my iPad at the ready). They have seen his rules for innovation. They have felt his world-changing power. Now they all want to be a part of it. They like spreading the gospel of Jobs. They want to be Steve Jobs. For all the people who say there will never be another Steve Jobs, there are millions of inspired people and companies that will be trying to become the next Steve Jobs. And that will lead to Apple innovation and simplicity in a host of new and exciting products that cover a wide spectrum of our lives. Like the one below.
It’s not new, but it will become a bigger story this year. With search engines, blogs and the ability to target consumers like never before, the ability to make your brand part of breaking stories is easier than ever. Ad campaigns will follow closer to trends and often be built around them. In a world where “there’s an app for that,” marketers will have to move fast. These days, consumers have a thought and they want it taken care of. They want things that make sense for the times because they live current and interconnected. The river of information is in constant flow. It can’t hurt to jump on one of the big logs so that someone might notice you before the falls.
10. The Clouds
Consumers will discover the cloud this year. If you asked most of them last year, they would say, “What is that?” or “You mean the fluffy thing in the sky?” Most consumers look at the cloud as one, main place. This year, they’ll understand the cloud is Amazon, Dropbox, Facebook, Evernote, iCloud, Google and many more. The cloud is about as fragmented as it can be. As more consumers start to understand the cloud and what it means, they will look for ways to consolidate their information. This is the big hope of Google. Google has a place for all your stuff in the cloud under one account. Right now, it may be the easiest, but Apple is close behind with iCloud. And then there’s the personal cloud where you own the memory and the location of your personal server and access your information from there (R&R client Western Digital plug here).
If you’re using the cloud, get ready. Because the cloud wars are just heating up.
I hope some of this has been interesting to you. I certainly don’t know everything, but I would like to. So if you want to tell me what I’ve missed, argue one of these points or just call me an idiot, feel free. I am @arnied on Twitter.
After two classes and 16 hours of learning about how to target more relevant consumers on Google, and mind you this was two of four classes, I came to this realization: An effective search campaign takes a lot of work. More so, if an effective consumer search campaign takes a lot of effort, what about a B2B search campaign?
For B2B initiatives, certain complexities often arise that challenge the typical SEM effort. Ryan DeShazer writes on MediaPost.com that these complexities can included a lengthier purchase consideration, reflecting a far less transactional trend of searching which requires successful programs to focus on a series of “micro-conversions” that use search to progress through the funnel, ultimately leading to a sale and having more cooks in the kitchen.
Search trends and terms for B2B are much broader in nature causing the marketer to rethink how ad groups and messaging will impact purchase. DeShazer recommends our search efforts “must engage and influence the entire multi-disciplinary team as no single channel or message will get the job done.”
Not only do we have to combat a wider array of jargon, but there also more decision makers in the B2B process than on consumer search efforts. Each of these people can bring in their own opinions and biases to the decision. This is especially important for destination B2B marketing where cites like Las Vegas are always trying to combat the negative stereotype that the consumer lifestyle reigns supreme.
In the end, DeShazer reminds us that “the B2B search audience is comprised of human beings, and those human beings are no different than you or me.” They act in very consumer-ish ways. They are continually seeking new advice and new ways to better their process by saving time and money. We as marketers have to cast a wider net to collect these inquiries and turn them into something valuable for both parties.
1. Personal Brands – People now understand the importance of the Personal Brand. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook have alerted everyone to the importance of their Personal Brand. What kind of relationship does the rest of the world have with them – even if the rest of the world includes their close personal friends and no one else. Everyone on the planet sees what they do and is on the Web. Not all of them care about doing anything with it, but they have the awareness. And in 2011, there will be more and more ways for it to manifest itself. The future of you may not be who you believe you are, but who you want people to believe you are. Especially when it comes to getting a job.
There is no barier to the iPad. It's a game-changer.
2. The iPad – I have an iPad. My friend Mike has a Galaxy Pad. I feel bad for him, but I’m sure he’ll survive. When the iPad first came out, everyone viewed it as a big iPhone. Big mistake. I realized the iPad was much more when the owner of my company was carrying one around. He is not a tech person. But he is living on his iPad. That alone makes it a game changer. It’s something a computer couldn’t do. It couldn’t even level the playing field for someone like him. The iPad does. There’s no barrier to iPad. The iPad is for everyone. It’s just simple great. And simple great will take over the world.
3. Real-Time Interactive – It’s one thing to offer a website that allows you interaction. But how does that interaction change the real world? This will become more and more important as individuals start to look for a world outside the computer. They won’t let go of the computer, but they will want more real-world connections because of it. They will want to control or affect things that live in real time. They will want to be a part of more things that live in real time. Putting the Web world and real-time world together will be an even bigger deal than it was in 2010.
4. The Consolidation Battle – Facebook wants you to spend the majority of your time on Facebook, including your e-mail time. Foursquare wants you to check in on Foursquare and talk about things on Foursquare. Google wants you to turn into some sort of Google creature that can’t function without Google. Meanwhile, there are multitudes of other check-in sites including Foodspotting, Get Glue, Philo, etc. Many of these sites/apps are linked and many are not. The battle for the majority of your time is ongoing and well, pretty insane. Who will win? Will anyone? I don’t know but I know it will be a fight to the death.
5. Crowdsourcing – Using the Cloud to do all the work is in vogue. Although it’s not necessarily new, the execution of it has gotten far more sophisticated. Agencies like Victors and Spoils have taken it to a new level. They have legitimized it to big advertisers like Harley-Davidson, WD-40 and others. Doritos and Converse have been doing it with their TV and Web films for years now. The trend will continue until it isn’t fascinating to advertisers anymore. That could happen soon or keep on indefinitely as more and more advertisers try it. It’s such a cost-effective way to go, that the trend is very appetizing and could remain so.
Foursquare checks in at No. 6 on our list -- as rewards and discounts for people who use it become more a prevalent business practice.
6. Coupon Gaming – Foursquare, Facebook, Yelp and a host of others are or will be rewarding people for checking in at their establishments with discounts and freebies. When I was at my coffee place (Sambalatte in Vegas), the Foursquare mayor was asking the owner why he wasn’t giving him a discount for being the mayor of Sambalatte. When the early adopters start demanding it, the regular folks will follow. It will be fun to watch the developments once everyone is in the game. And you thought seniors got all the discounts.
7. The Power of the Disenfranchised – Yes, they have power. And they are the multitudes. I’m not including myself because I have a job and can pay my bills. But I probably should add myself to the list. Why? Because I think there are a great many Americans who are figuring out that they are one bad Friday away from being disenfranchised. And that’s a frightening prospect that’s motivating people like never before. It’s also one of the reasons a Palin could become the Republican nominee for president. I didn’t say the disenfranchised made wise decisions. But they do have power. And that power will manifest itself outside the world of politics as they realize just how much they can effect. When roving mobs with pitchforks and torches come back, I will tweet about it.
8. New-Fangled Television Advertising – This is going to sound crazy, but I’ll say it. Television advertising is still important. The drive to spend more money online is hurting television advertising budgets and leveling out the mix but not making television obsolete. With Hulu, Netflix, Hi-Def DVRs, 3-D television, Google TV and about a zillion Web videos, you will need a good mix to have a chance at reaching anyone. Right now most digital shops don’t get the magic of television. They don’t understand what Web videos can be. They treat them more like content and not the branding vehicles they should be. When it’s done right, what you see on the computer is a perfect complement to what you see on television. I sit and watch television with my computer on my lap. I have learned to watch whichever one has the best stuff on it that particular minute. Try it.
9. Things That Have Nothing to Do with Technology – The wired world has already hit a kind of critical mass. Hipsters are looking for ways to let go of technology. That same need will get past the cool hunters and become a need for the rest of us this year. Like I mentioned above – computers are too entrenched for us to lose them completely. But we will start to look for things that can give us a well-needed break. But not exercise. That’s where I draw the line.
10. More and More Ways to Make You Part of the Entertainment You Watch Every Night – If you watch The Colbert Report, you know that he had an art episode with Steve Martin where he had Shepard Fairey and others work on a picture of him to make it collectable. Then he continued that online where you could participate and change the picture as well. Then those pictures that you created end up on the show. Conan has taken to involving the audience in making films for his show that live on the Web and on air. This is what the smarter shows will do – make you feel like a part of them.
“Men in tighty whities are disgusting.” – Mary Ann Mele, R&R Partners President and Chief Strategic Officer
Google won by simply being themselves. The eTrade babies’ “milkaholic” ad was a winner. Punxsutawney Polamalu is not only difficult to spell – it was also fairly creepy, but effective. Coke, while easy to spell, was painfully irrelevant. The GoDaddy ads should just go away.
That’s the general consensus from a solid hour of R&R Partners’ Monday morning quarterbacking of the advertising blitz surrounding that roman numeral-suffixed game played the day before. Our panel of critics included people from all disciplines within the agency.
In case you used commercial breaks for something other than awaiting the unveiling of new advertisements, every spot is easily viewable online. Check out YouTube’s channel, where you can vote for your favorite, or Fox/MSN’s site, which organizes them by quarter.
Overall, our panel thought the 2010 ads were mediocre, with a few bright spots. Absent were the emotional tearjerkers and ads with brand engagement through the Internet. Plentiful were ads bashing white, out-of-shape men – and other concepts we felt like we’d seen many times before.
“I just don’t like the tired formulas,” Associate Creative Director Tony Marin said. “People getting hit, underwear jokes – all of that just makes me cringe.”
“It’s a reflection of the times, but everybody is very, very afraid of doing anything that isn’t pretty safe,” Executive Vice President/Creative Director Randy Snow added. “Even the stuff that was ‘edgy’ was pretty safe. As much as I loved the Google ad, it was just a product demo. There was really no risk in that ad. … It’s because of the economy. Nobody wants to take a shot with $3 million. They’d rather animate animals or pull Troy Polamalu out of a hole.”
That fear kept some normally ad-friendly brands, such as Fed Ex, out of the game entirely.
“They said it was because of cost and because of scrutiny. They laid off employees,” Executive Vice President Rob Dondero said. “And the official NFL beer, Coors, wasn’t even in it.”
Public Relations Group Account Director Clinton Pope asked about the propensity of allowing people to preview the ads prior to the game through YouTube, etc.
Executive Creative Director Arnie DiGeorge had firsthand knowledge. “I did that; I went on the night before and watched all the ones that I could actually see before the game and they all seemed to be bad ones, for the most part. I think those are the ones people are previewing – the ones that really don’t have confidence,” he said. “Your best choice is to have a teaser for the ad that isn’t the ad. But it still has to be great.”
That’s what it boils down to, of course – having a great ad. Some brands, like Doritos and Bud Light, chose quantity over quality, each using a bunch of completely unrelated spots hoping for one or two that “stuck.” Some chose to stick to one message.
“If you’ve got a good campaign and you’ve got multiple pieces of the same thing telling the story, that’s cool, and if you’ve got a brim of broad audiences and you’ve got one against different passion points, that’s cool, too,” Associate Media Director Jeremy Thompson said.
“I thought the Budweiser ads fell short. You go into it with people really expecting a lot from them, and I don’t think they got there,” LVCVA Group Account Director Kim Downing said. “I really liked the (Volkswagen) ‘slugbug’ ad. It was nostalgic; it showed the product. I just thought it was really good.”
Corporate Director of Digital Marketing Sean Corbett was enamored with the reaction from perhaps the world’s largest focus group – the instantaneous opinions offered up on Twitter.
“The minute a spot ran, you’d start seeing the opinions flow through the Twitter stream. It was really cool to watch. A lot of ad folks, obviously, every agency in the country, seemed to be online last night – and then general people catching on and talking about the ads was really cool,” he said.
Google’s spot, essentially a product demo, was lauded by the entire group. “It did everything it needed to do. It showed you how much Google is part of our life, it told a story. It was simple. It used their user interface. … It was a great spot,” DiGeorge said.
“It reminded me of why I choose to use it every day over Bing. They are about simplicity; they are about ease-of-use. It was a really great change-up from everything we had seen,” Corbett added.
“I think they accomplished in one ad what Bing has been trying to accomplish with tons of ads,” Marin said.
The T-Pain ad, even though it was basically a different vision of the “Wassup” ads of a few years so, still worked.
The eTrade babies, specifically the “milkaholic” spot, was solid.
“I liked the eTrade babies but I’d like to see them go in a different direction now. This should be the end of that type of campaign,” Pope said.
Coke’s efforts, which included a certainly-not-cheap use of “The Simpsons” and a few even less memorable spots, completely missed the mark. Nobody really cared for the sleepwalking guy, either.
“The fact that a bunch of people from an ad agency sat in a room just to talk about the commercials, and for an hour Coke never entered the discussion – for a brand that big to go that unnoticed says a lot,” said yours truly, Web Content Developer Sal DeFilippo.
The Who, and more so, the people who were stuck watching them.
“The Twitter backlash on The Who was vicious. One of the better comments was, “can somebody please hurry up and wrap up The Who show because they have to get home and watch Matlock.”
GoDaddy.com – most disappointing “by far,” according to Pope.
Taco Bell – the commercials that aired in advance leading up to a very dull “Green Eggs and Ham” spot featuring Charles Barkley. (Note: In fairness, not too many words rhyme with “gordita.”)
Another thought to ponder is what does local, on-the-go mobile advertising mean for the likes of Yelp, Foursquare and Gowalla? Will one of these location-based social networking portals discover a new revenue model in location-based advertising? Maybe, maybe not. Leave a comment and tell me what you think. Each day, we’re moving closer to having our digital content on any screen, at any time, at any place. Marketers need to keep that in mind.
Many bloggers and industry analysts have pointed to how our society uses social media in a time of crisis. Haiti, of course, has seen a huge reaction in social media- the devastating loss and suffering has touched people from around the world. Like most people, I’m sure, I first heard of the news through my social media channels. And through social media, the Red Cross has raised an astounding $5 Million towards their rescue effort in Haiti. Below is a special section about the reaction to Haiti in social media.