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Sophie Lee, the Techno Baby

by Nick Faber
May 5th, 2011

Have you met baby Sophie Lee yet? She’s been making the rounds this week, starring in a heart-warming new spot for Google Chrome that is pulling the heartstrings of the technorati:

Tim Nudd, AdWeek (AdFreak):

…it shows a father using Google products (all accessed through Chrome) to create a scrapbook of his daughter’s early years. Google says it’s based on a true story, although it used actors for the spot. Still, nicely done by Google Creative Lab and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Shawn Hartley, AdPulp:

How many parents of little ones watch this and think they might start writing to their kid(s) via a destination email account?

Matt Brian, The Next Web:

With many computer owners not knowing they are even able to download a new browser for their machines, Google is hoping that the sentimental value of its campaign can increase visibility and ultimately downloads.

Jeff Sass, Dad-O-Matic:

Google has a winner with it’s current ad for Chrome, as a Dad’s love and pride for his daughter is brilliantly expressed through the thoughtful and personal digital history he creates for her, leveraging Gmail and other Google products from within his Chrome browser.

Tug McTigh, American Copywriter:

Holy schnikes is this awesome. If you’re a parent, you will not be able to hold it together. Fine, fine stuff from Google. And that closing line, “the web is what you make of it” is terrific.

But little is being said about all the layers of technology between us and Baby Sophie. Clair Caine Miller of the New York Times reports that this is part of Google’s “the Web is what you make of it” campaign. But in this day of techno-ubiquity, doesn’t this prove that we are what the Web makes of us?

The Ad Warehouse: Where Ads Live On as Content

by Nick Faber
May 3rd, 2011

In his essay, “It Will Shock You How Much It Never Happened,” Chuck Klosterman says this about our relationship with TV advertising:

We’ve become the ideal audience for advertising—consumers who intellectually magnify commercials in order to make them more trenchant and clever than they actually are. Our fluency with the language and motives of the advertiser induces us to create new, better meanings for whatever they show us. We do most of the work for them.

Somehow this relationship has not been as amicable when it comes to online ads. We block banners with browser plugins, get annoyed by half-page auto-expanders, and poke fun at contextual ads. Commercials get extra life on YouTube, TV specials and dedicated praise sites, while online ads appear today, and drift off into pixelated oblivion tomorrow. Until now.

We couldn’t help but notice a new trend of online ad warehouses. From Facebook’s ad testing ground, to what is essentially a rest home for banners that treat online executions with the same sort of dignity as their television counterparts, here’s our roundup:

Facebook Studio

In a move that garnered mixed reviews from the ad world, Facebook stepped into the online advertising arena last month, with a site that houses ad creative, case studies and awards. It’s integrated with Facebook Connect, allowing users to “vote” on their favorite creative by “liking” it. It seems like a site that would only be popular with industry types but with 31k “likes” for the site itself, you’ve gotta think it’s being used by non-ad people, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Featured Blogger: Sara Ost of EcoSalon

by Paige Wilcox
May 3rd, 2011

According to its “About” page, “EcoSalon is the conscious culture and fashion website.” Publisher and Editor, Sara Ost lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she pries herself away from her laptop and EcoSalon just often enough to check out the latest restaurants and hike in the beautiful hills of Marin. She was educated at Pepperdine University and is originally from the Seattle area. Sara and the rest of the Ecosalon crew can be found on Twitter where they are followed by a range of eco-friendly organizations from @WWF to @MotherEarthNews, and on Facebook where they post updates and host contests.


Sara Ost, Publisher and Editor of Ecosalon

Q: How did you decide on the name for EcoSalon?  Could you elaborate on the meaning behind the site’s motto “Have a Heart”?

A: The name credit  goes to a flash of brilliance from one of our founders. You know immediately what the perspective will be (“eco”) and the retro concept of an intellectual gathering (“salon”).

“Have a heart” is about living consciously, fearlessly and fully. We believe green will not go mainstream unless we start with the heart. All the problems we face, from social to economic to environmental woes, will only be resolved when we live in a more conscious way. This doesn’t mean touchy-feely or warm-fuzzy. Having a heart takes courage.

Q: Were there any unexpected joys or pains you experienced when you started blogging?

A: Oh, yes, lots. Pains I didn’t expect: the literal physical pain in my hands from very long hours at the laptop. New media is relentless – you don’t put the edition to bed and go to bed, too, you work nonstop and the goalposts are always moving. For me that’s thrilling, but it can also lend itself to things like constantly apologizing to your friend for not returning her phone call…for a week! There are irreplaceable joys, as well. I’ve had the great fortune of becoming connected to so many talented and good people, personally and professionally, who inspire and push me. Blogging creates an ecosystem of ideas, competition, collaboration and creativity that is breathtaking at times. Read the rest of this entry »

When Everyone is Responsible, Chief Innovative Officers are Most Responsible

by Nick Faber
April 28th, 2011

Last week, Ben Malbon, the Director of Strategy at Google Creative Lab, wondered aloud if C-level Innovation Officers were necessary for creative agencies:

But do we really need them? If so, why? And what do they see as their value to creative businesses?

He asked four prominent “new mutation[s] of communications professional” to tell him, in Tweet-friendly brevity, what it is they do.

Rishadt Tobbacowla (Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer)

Help drive future competitive advantage. Seek fresh insightful connections.

100 retweets later, the post had dozens of comments, both for and against the CIO position. A common theme in the comments was that we ideally shouldn’t need CIOs. Tim Brunelle commented:

To my mind, Innovation as a title is akin to “Digital [name your discipline].” We’re in an era overrun with both digital and innovation, which ought to mean *everyone* works in digital and innovation, to some degree. Right?

Malbon, inspired and enlightened by feedback, followed up his post with “Ten Things I’ve Found To Be True about ‘Chief Innovation Officers’ In Agencies.”

3. If Everyone’s Responsible, No One is Responsible: Yes, in a perfect world everyone in an agency would be responsible for both constant internal change and fighting for breakthrough work. In practice, everyone can’t be. So someone probably needs to be, even if they are merely the lightning conductor of action for a far wider group (if everyone in your company is, congratulations, you can stop reading now).

I put together a Twitter map using Twiangulate to see who follows whom in this tight circle of elite innovators. Of the 5 CIOs named by Malbon – David ArmanoEdward BochesSaneel RadiaFaris Yakob, and Rishadt Tobbacowla – each are followed by 3 of the other 4, except for Faris Yakob, who is followd by everyone.

So whether or not the Chief Innovators are important to agencies, at least they matter to each other. And when “Everyone is Responsible” for innovation, the CIO is most responsible.

Other people people playing in the same sandbox include: Karen Strauss (Ketchum), Dan Burrier (Ogilvy), Matt Freeman (McCann), Geoff Melick (GA), and Nina Sloan (BNO – technically, Chief Ideation Officer).

Persuasive profiling boosts advertising results?

by henrycopeland
April 27th, 2011

Move-on’s Eli Pariser had an awesome article in May’s Wired magazine about modes of persuasion.

Today, most recommendation and targeting systems focus on the products: Commerce sites analyze our consumption patterns and use that info to figure out that, say, viewers of Iron Man also watch The Dark Knight. But new work by Dean Eckles, a doctoral student in communications at Stanford University, suggests there’s another factor that can be brought into play. Retailers could not only personalize which products are shown, they could personalize the way they’re pitched, too.

Eckles set up an experimental online bookstore and encouraged customers to browse the titles and mark a few for purchase. By alternating the types of pitches—Appeal to Authority (“Malcolm Gladwell says you’ll like this”), Social Proof (“All your friends on Facebook are buying this book”), and the like—Eckles could track which mode of argument was most persuasive for each person.

Some book buyers felt comforted by the fact that an expert reviewer vouched for their intended product. Others preferred to go with the most popular title or a money-saving deal. Some people succumbed to what Eckles calls “high need for cognition” arguments—smart, subtle points that require some thinking to get (“The Hunger Games is the Inferno of children’s literature”). Still others responded best to being hit over the head with a simple message (“The Hunger Games is a fun, fast read!”). And certain pitches backfire: While some people rush for a deal, others think discounts mean the merchandise is subpar. By eliminating persuasion styles that didn’t work on a particular individual, Eckles was able to increase the effectiveness of a recommendation by 30 to 40 percent.

And here’s a simple 2006 video that sums up the strategy.

Featured Blogger: Matt Jordan of You Ain’t No Picasso

by Paige Wilcox
April 26th, 2011

Matt Jordan’s passion for quality music and musicians has struck a deep chord with his readers over the past six years of blogging on You Ain’t No Picasso. In addition to the blog, Matt continues to share his passion through outlets like Facebook and Twitter, where his followers range from @arcadefire to @pitchforkmedia. By keeping his visibility and standard of music updates high, Matt has positioned himself as a valuable opinion leader in the music industry.
Matt Jordan

Matt Jordan, author of You Ain't No Picasso

Q:  When did you start blogging, and what was your inspiration?

A: I started blogging in 2004 as a freshman at the University of Kentucky. I was getting into a lot of smaller bands, and the only place to find info about them were music blogs. After reading them for a few months I decided to start one of my own

Q: How did you decide on the name “You Ain’t No Picasso,” and have you ever wished you had chosen a different name?

A: It’s the name of a demo by the band Bishop Allen. Aside from it being a little long, I’m happy with it.
Read the rest of this entry »

Simon & Schuster Generates 292 Tweets With Tweetable Ad

by Nick Faber
April 21st, 2011

Advertisers continue to start their own Twitter trends with Blogads new “Tweet This” feature, which allows readers to update their Twitter status directly from the ad.

One of the earliest adopters of this new feature is publisher Simon & Schuster, who used tweetable Blogads to promote Bethenny Frankel’s new book, A Place of Yes. When blog readers clicked the “Tweet this” button at the bottom of the ads, they were given this recommended tweet:

The ad generated 292 tweets on top of 6700 clicks. Its success is due to a smart tweet that included a link to the book, the author’s Twitter handle, and the hook, “Get Your Happy On.”

Ready to get your ad’s tweet on? Build your own tweetable ad with our DIY system now!

How One Blogger Quintupled Her Ad Revenue

by Nick Faber
April 21st, 2011

Why did she do it?

“So that everyone else can learn just how great I already know you are.”

Last month, The Possessionista, the blogger who helps you replicate celebrity fashion, offered up an incredible deal that quintupled her monthly ad revenue. She thanked her loyal readers for their support using a Blogads feature available to all of our bloggers. Her “thank you” post, and accompanying discount offer, exposed her site to 35 new advertisers and potential repeat customers.

The Possessionista used this attractive "Thank You" image at the top of her post.

Her pitch? Offer affordable ad space to her readers, many of whom have blogs and small businesses of their own that they want to promote. For just $5 a month, her readers could purchase a 125×125 ad and reach her loyal fanbase of likeminded possessionistas. At that price, buying an ad was easy for first-time advertisers, and the way was paved for future buys.

Read the rest of this entry »

Featured Blogger: Ryan Parsons of Trailer Addict

by susie
April 19th, 2011

According to Wikipedia, movie trailers first appeared in 1913. Since then, they have enjoyed nearly 100 years of loyal cinema-goers who purposely arrive 15-20 minutes before the opening scenes to enjoy the clips of coming attractions. Trailer Addict, born in 2008, recognized this loyal following and dedicated a site to hosting hundreds of trailers from 1950-2008. Brothers Ryan Parsons and Shawn Lewis maintain and update the site regularly with HD videos. In their words, “Trailer Addict has been built not for those who like a good trailer now and then, but those who understand that the need to watch trailers is a state of mind.” Their vast Twitter following ranges from @DisneyPixar and @UniversalPics, and over 11,000 self-labeled trailer addicts follow their Facebook page. The following features Ryan’s responses to our questions about Trailer Addict.

ryan-shawn trailer addict
Ryan Parsons and brother Shawn Lewis (right), co-owners of Trailer Addict

Q: Trailer Addict seems to cater to a niche crowd; what was the inspiration behind the site?

A: At the time of TrailerAddict’s launch back in January of 2008, there were not yet any video sites offering embeddable HD or even high-res video. Trailer Addict was one of the first to do so. This of course has changed over the past couple years, though Trailer Addict still works to match up HD bitrates with today’s Internet users.

Q: Do you handle your blog software yourself, or does someone else do it?

A: Trailer Addict was developed from the ground up with no blog software working as the backbone. Each component to the site has a particular purpose with no resources going to mundane functions. Since Trailer Addict is process oriented, it enables the quickest loads possible. The site is now run and edited directly by site admins with all work being done in-house. Read the rest of this entry »

Direct response advertising indifferent to ‘content or context’

by henrycopeland
April 18th, 2011

By disaggregating individual readers into their interests/behaviors, does dynamic ad serving ignore something powerful?  Randall Rothenberg, past and future president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, gets into the topic in his Q&A with Adweek:

AW: If you can go back in the 15-16-year history of digital media and make a business adjustment, what would it be?

RR: I’d get rid of the dynamic serving of advertising. You want me to explain?

AW: Indeed.

RR: Direct response used to be expensive—you had to pay postage—but suddenly, if you could serve five ads on a page, in a medium where your incremental cost of content and distribution is practically zero, direct response becomes incredibly cheap. There’s nothing at all wrong with direct response advertising. But it’s a business that doesn’t care about content or context—it just cares about the yield curve.

AW: This idea of the free-floating audience—a demographically defined audience ofNew York Times readers, for instance, made up of people who have effectively never read the Times. Who’s that good for?

RR: The real question is, “Is man a modernist construct or a post-modernist construct?” Man in the modernist construct is a single, unitary, consistent being. Post-modern man consists of multiple cells. Reading the Times I’m a different person than when I’m watching what not to wear on Bravo.

We’ve always believed that one of the huge advantages of advertising on blogs is the knowledge that, beyond reaching an interested individual, your brand or message are tapping into passionate community. Most important decisions are based on social judgments — who else is buying or listening or laughing — and the smartest advertising leverages a communal consciousness.

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