Friday, October 26, 2007

Separated at birth?

On the left: old press shot for Apple iPod Nano . On the right: new press shot for Sony Cybershot camera.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Off-Road but On Message

If the line between entertainment and advertising isn't already completely lost to you, check out Toyota's new commercial set amidst 'World of Warcraft' videogame scenery.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

MySpace Gets In The Game

MySpace and casual gaming company Oberon Media have announced a partnership to create a MySpace Gaming Channel for launch in early 2008. The games themselves will be embeddable, and offer multi-player modes inviting competition amongst friends. Participants will also be able to chat with one another while playing. Of course, not to be forgotten is the allure for advertisers of being able to place ads in and around the games - an advertising terrain attractive for marketers targeting a captive gaming audience.

Dance Dance Resolution

South Korean Company, Samsung takes choreography to an entirely new level, using over 1,100 people and apparently only clothing (no cards) to create a gigantic human LCD Television and programming to boot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For Consumers with a Street Tooth

Honda's new advertising campaign for its CR-V SUV focuses on consumer cravings. To this end, Honda has purchased indulgent search words like "cupcakes", "chocolate" and "banana split" as part of an SEM initiative to direct people with a sweet tooth to its website to play a "Guess What You Crave" game. The game uses an image of the CR-V's navigation screen to ask a player 20 questions, after which it guesses what the player is craving. Too bad it can't emit that "new car smell" through the computer; that's always been the deal sealer for me.

Arcade Fire: First Interactive Video?

We've seen interactive ads, games, short stories, teasers... but a full length video? Check out the new video from Arcade Fire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Using the car as a platform and distribution channel for music

In a digital age where the CD is losing it's fanbase, the automobile industry is shifting it's focus to the newer medias of music. Out with the old and in with the new. Some examples below...

Sony BMG & Honda re teaming up on an online branded music player to jointly promote new video releases and the Honda Civic model. The player will feature Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, and Dido amongst others.

The Twingo Nokia is a music-enabled phone on wheels. The new car features an MPS-compatible radio & CD player (with USB, jack & iPod inputs), steering wheel controls, hands-free bluetooth phone control, and GPS navigation via the new Nokia 6110 Navigator phone.

Hugo Boss Holds Court

Finding an attractive way to market its brand in a place where a multitude of eyes are focusing at once, Hugo Boss used models as ballgirls at the Madrid Masters Tennis Tournament last week.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Smart Like a Foxy?

Rapper Foxy Brown's sentencing to a year in jail in late September makes her another in a growing field of female recording stars running afoul of the law and public opinion. Foxy and team, however, appear to be embracing her mishap as part of the marketing strategy for her new album, creating the website The pretense of the site is to allow Foxy to stay in touch with her fans while she's incarcerated, but with heavy promo language around her forthcoming album, and links for ringtones and merchandise, the "free Foxy" message looks more like a fox(y) in sheep's clothing. A more fitting adage may be, 'You do the crime, you sell the rhymes.'

Functional Fantasies?

Came across an interesting adaptation to the fantasy sports hobby that has become an obsession for many sports nuts (19 million participants in the U.S. and Canada alone according the Fantasy Sports Trade Association) - a similar points based fantasy game for wannabe TV Executives. provides players with a virtual budget of $300 Million dollars with which to create their own television network comprised of existing shows. Points are earned on actual ratings performances, finishing first for a specific time-slot, ratings growth, magazine covers, Golden Globe awards, etc. Players can then buy and sell the programs in their network to further bolster their budgets and points totals.

For the networks themselves, interactive involvement by viewers to this degree has to be appealing on account of the heightened attentiveness that participants will likely give to guest appearances and other newsworthy items, which in turn can generate added promotional buzz amongst the players themselves. Moreover, if networks are tapped into why players are selling specific shows, and for what reason, there are learnable opportunities for possibly turning a show around, or fortuitously cutting the chord sooner rather than later.

Now, considering that most people's career daydreams involve themselves as a Rock Star, and that settling for the life of a Record Label Executive isn't too far behind, why couldn't a fantasy game for wannabe music executives be a big success? Say, give players a virtual budget with which to invest in a number of actual upcoming releases. Points could be accrued on sales success, chart position, magazine covers, Grammy and music video awards, and lost upon release delays, etc. The insight which could be gleaned for artists attracting a lot of investment attention, as well as the increased awareness of album release dates before they've streeted, would certainly be valuable for informing the real decisions that occur within our walls.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Combating Ad Fatigue

An interesting piece from the Wall Street Journal earlier this week examining the challenge marketers face in making sure that their advertisement's don't run too often in one medium so as to turn consumers off. Advertising wear-out - as it is called - has been researched primarily in the television commercial format, leading to conclusions that an ad can be viewed 3 to 25 times before losing its effectiveness, or can be brought back in the original format after being off air for at least 12 weeks and regain its initial effectiveness. The short of the article being that maximum reach and success require creative ways of adapting a single creative work across multiple mediums and formats. Nothing mind-blowing there.

However, for us music marketers, it is interesting to take up the question of consumer fatigue as relates to the job we're trying to do. In our business, the music itself is always the biggest marketing tool, and everyone is familiar with the concept of a song being "played out." Still, leading up to an album's release, our focus becomes getting a song played on as many music channels, sites, and radio stations and formats, and anywhere else, as much as possible. We aren't in the business of managing against listener fatigue, and I don't think we ever will be. But as we continue to play with questions for how long to lead with a single to radio before an album's release date, or whether to make a radio single available for download at first detection, it may be worthwhile to consider listener fatigue as affects purchase behavior during different time periods of song exposure.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Their iSights

Open season on Apple's iPhone by competitor carriers is officially here, and imitation appears to hold as the ultimate form of flattery based upon the look of the new Voyager by LG. One of Verizon Wireless' four new phones for the approaching holiday season, The Voyager slides open sideways to reveal a full QWERTY keypad in addition to its large touch screen seen at left. Other features are an HTML Web browser; Verizon Wireless' V Cast mobile TV, video, and music service; plus the ability to play MP3, WMA, and unprotected AAC files. Anticipated to be available for sale before Thanksgiving, Verizon is literally hoping to help you ring in the New Year.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Out of Their Radiominds?

Rock band, Radiohead is releasing its new album on October 10th. Want to buy it? your price. Seriously. Fans visiting are asked to enter what they're willing to pay (as little as 1 pence/2cents, plus the 45pence credit card fee). Independent after completing their contract with Capitol Records, the band is going what the LA Times calls the "tip-jar route" to maximize fan awareness and engagement on the album as opposed to sales revenues. Any attempt to qualify the success of the strategy will likely be up for debate, but, then again, if we're debating the album then Radiohead'll have accomplished a primary goal of the maneuver.

Monday, October 8, 2007 mp3 shop - also available for non-us consumers

Last weekend I was reading that this download shop is also accessible for us people overseas:
Simply use your credit card and fake an US billing address - only the ZIP code need to match. So I created a new account added my details with my German credit card and billing address 550 Madison, NY and than checked out the shop.

First of all it looks the same as the usual shopping cds at amazon and so I instantly liked it. Checking out the charts I recognized that our friends at Universal have chosen to make a big part of their catalog available as MP3's, EMI of course too and a lot of US Indies. Currently I am not buying music digitally because I simply not like DRM (call my and I will explain in detail why) and rather still buy CDs and rip them into my Itunes. So I was pretty exited to check out the shop.

To download with "1 Click" you have to install an "amazon download" manager which worked alright on my Mac and which downloads the tracks to a new folder (you can also choose to have it added to your iTunes automatically).

So I started to put some music into my basket. Being a little bit cautious I started with just one track from the "Apples in Stereo" for 0,89 cents (pretty cheap price especially if you live in EURO land) - all good and after I moved it my Itunes library I recognized that it's been encoded into 256kbps - nice quality and better than I usually use when I rip my CDs.

So why not to buy an album - I checked out "Spoon" and bought the full album for 8,99 $ - nice stuff and also the download worked fast and smooth. Later that day I bought the latest from "Stars" and an old record from "The National" which is not available yet in Germany.

Actually I spend more money than my total Itunes spending was in the past three years. If you check out the charts on the site looks like there is a lot of old "classic" songs like Verve , Nirvana or Don Mclean alongside new releases and my gut feeling is that this shop will turn more CD buyers into digital music buyers (and hopefully also some who get their music from illegal sites yet).

The sad part of it is of course that there is no SONY BMG or WARNER MP3's in that shop (that my opinion as a consumer) and that there is no news yet about how SONY BMG will deal with DRM in the future. We keep patient but want and need to know soon (that my opinion as a SONY BMG marketing guy).