Well well well, here we are again. Back in the joyful delight of holiday season in media. Cookies abound when we are not remotely hungry, drinks flow when we feel no trace of thirst, iTunes gift cards rain from the sky. It’s a good life as an overgrown college kid in the fun-filled place we call media this time of year. I love the holiday time – even though it happens each and every year, there really is always something seemingly fresh and new about the season despite how many times I have lived through it. It feels somehow innocent and childlike – a chocolate kiss has never tasted better than when wrapped in green foil taped to a red Seasons Greetings card. Every time I see the dancing Hershey Kisses commercial on TV, try as I might to feel cynical about the worn out longevity of the TV spot, it never fails to warm my heart. So said the nice Jewish girl from Chicago. Hypocritical as it may seem for me to sit here waxing about the joyfulness of the Xmas season, I don’t see it that way. To me, the season is not so much infiltrated with religion as it is permeated with fun that crosses all boundaries. It is a particular breed of fun: fun for the human spirit. And, of course, I would be remiss to omit the obvious…the free swag doesn’t hurt either. Thanks, media, for keeping me young, fresh, and always ready to embrace the holiday spirit. Cheers and happy holidays!
Let me begin by saying that, ironic as it may sound, I am not a huge TV gal. As a whole, I find sitting in front of a black box watching fake people do fake things for hours on end to be a bit of a waste. So many of us are more in tune with what is going on in the land of sitcoms and dramas than within the walls of our own homes. And this is a travesty. Now, as I’ve said before, I will proceed to put on my hypocrite hat if only for a few moments. Within the last year or so, I have gone from impartial citizen to adoring fan in one particular realm…Homeland.
Coming off of last night’s Season 2 finale, I am certain that anyone who claims to be a Homeland fan should agree that last night was utterly epic. It was unquestionably the best, most adeptly written episode of the season. From the opening scene where Carrie and Brody gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes in the woodsy cabin where they first consummated their terrorism-meets central-intelligence love affair, to Saul watching Abu Nazir’s white-sheet-wrapped dead body dumped into the ocean…to the bone-chilling final scene…a veritable governmental graveyard in flames. My soul was enthralled, horrified and in love. In love with Homeland itself.
In recent weeks (until last night’s earth-shattering episode really), I had been privy to quite a few hate-filled articles, social media posts and (gasp) live conversations, all of which conveyed the supposed “downward spiral” of the show since its freshman season. “How predictable.” “What a joke of a plot.” “#hatinghomeland”. I actually was witness to all of these tweets and snippets in the virtual sphere. I don’t make a habit of imposing my own judgment onto others’ opinions, particularly in the realm of television, however I must make an exception here. To all those who claim that they personally “could have written a stronger plot” or “spent the night laughing at the absurdity”, I would say this. I dare all of you to create an original series that inches anywhere close to being a quarter as brilliant as Homeland. Hats off to you, Alex Gansa, last night and always.
The Mashable Media Summit is a one-day conference, held at the TimesCenter in New York City on November 30th, that explores how new forms of technology are redefining media. This will be a great and unique opportunity to hear from the professional leaders in digital, tech, advertising, sales, marketing, mobile, and publishing from all over the world. Industry leaders from new media companies like Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit will be present. There will also be more traditional media companies present, including Conde Nast, Hearst, and NPR.
This conference will bring together some of the brightest minds in media, including content creators, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, social media executives, and journalists.
Mashable says, “There will be exciting announcements, powerful interviews, inspiring presentations, great networking opportunities, and in true Mashable style, there will be a few surprises as well!”
Some of the speakers include:
(From left to right: David Carey – President of Hearst Magazines, Jessica Bennett – Executive Editor at Tumblr, Kay M. Matadi – Head of Entertainment & Media at Facebook, Teal Newland – VP of brand strategy at StumbleUpon)
With Advertising Week well underway, we’ve had a busy few days here at TargetCast. Among the many great events, three featured our own TargetCast speakers, so in case you missed it here’s a quick recap:
On Monday, as part of the OMMA Global presentations, Steve Farella, CEO & Chairman of TargetCast, participated in the panel “What is a Brand?”. Steve, along with Rob Candelino of Unilever, Jennifer Kasper of Macy’s and Brent Poer of LiquidThread, discussed what it means takes for a brand to be successful in this day and age. Throughout the conversation a clear theme emerged: brands have always been important, the difference today is that now it is far easier to have a direct conversation with the consumer. “Brands have always been shared,” said Steve, “the difference is we’ve just begun to listen.” It is clear that the success of brands moving forward will depend on what marketers ultimately do with this information from consumers.
Later Monday afternoon, Steve Minchini, President, Interactive Marketing, addressed the OMMA Social crowd on the state of advertising on Tumblr and whether it is a place that marketers need to take into account when planning their online campaigns. According to Steve, this “social media darling” has been steadily growing for the last several years. Though it does not have the most unique visits per day (when compared to sites like WordPress, Pinterest and others) the amount of time that visitors spend once they arrive to the site is considerably higher than other sites presenting a unique opportunity for advertisers. Although they may have just launched their advertising platform, Tumblr is certainly a space that marketers should be keeping their eyes on as it continues to evolve.
Finally, Tuesday morning, Audrey Siegel participated on a panel for “Breakfast with a minsider” where the question of the morning was “What do buyers want from media brands?” The conversation centered around print media and how it has, and should continue to, evolve for a predominately online world. The panelists agreed that magazine ads have always held a unique place with consumers and they don’t anticipate that these ads will become completely extinct right away. Rather, the panelists agreed that attention needs to be redirected into finding a new way to allow consumers to still have the experience that they do with a print ad. This likely will not be an easy task and it will be interesting to see how the advertising world shifts and adjusts to meet this need in consumers.
To all who were able to attend these events, thank you for coming! And to those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ll see you next year!
The summer’s music festival season was capped off Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia with Budweiser’s Made in America Concert. Curated by NYC’s legendary rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, the festival featured two days of music across a variety of genres and pulled a crowd of 75,000 over the two day span.
This large gathering of mostly 20-somethings provided a great opportunity for some transformational advertising on the part of both Budweiser and Jay-Z. Budweiser had exclusive rights to the alcohol served within the festival, and played tantalizing ads between artists on double 3-story-high digital screens that flanked the main stage throughout the weekend.
Jay-Z used the occasion to rep the new Brooklyn Nets team, in which he is a partial owner. This was all done with a single $400 snakeskin-brimmed hat. Fashion and sports blogs were buzzing about the accessory, confirming success for Jay’s efforts to make this once drab team cool. For one, the New York Post’s “What’s In and Out for the Fall” says “bragging about your seats at Madison Square Garden is out, while bragging about your seats at the Barclay’s Center is in”.
Connecting the brand to a unique experience is the key to transformational advertising. Through this festival, both Budweiser and the Nets were able to be a part of the live music, the dancing, and the pop culture as seen by the young adult population in attendance.
For the second year running, TargetCast has been selected as a finalist for the OMMA Awards!
The OMMA Awards for Online Advertising Creativity were created in 2006 to honor those advertisers that push the potential of online advertising creative and has now grown to 65 categories across three disciplines: Online Advertising Creativity, Integrated Online Campaign and Web Site Excellence.
This year, TargetCast will be defending its title in the Integrated Online Campaign, Entertainment (non-news) category. Last year’s work on AMC’s The Killing received high praise and we think this year’s work for AMC’s The Walking Dead deserves the same accolades!
Now, here’s where you come in. We need your vote to help us reach the winners circle!
Voting is easy: just follow this link to cast your vote today! Look for the Integrated Online Campaign, Entertainment (non-news) category and vote for us!
We’re thrilled about our nomination and big congratulations to the TargetCast and AMC team on a job well done!
Multi-faceted and enigmatic troubadour Beck just revealed the details surrounding the forthcoming release of his much anticipated 11th studio album, Song Reader.
Guess what? It isn’t exactly what people expected. And that’s par for the course when it comes to Beck’s musical oevre, a veritable smorgasbord of genres that has evolved to defy categorization and carve a niche of it’s very own.
It’s no secret the music industry isn’t what it used to be. Album sales are down significantly and artists across all genres, united in their struggle against the threat of widespread Online piracy, are responding to the challenge with innovative and experimental alternate distribution methods. Mos Def released his latest album as a downloadable code attached to a T-Shirt. The Flaming Lips released their latest psychedelic collection on USB drives embedded in edible gummi skulls. Even mega stars like Justin Bieber and Lady GaGa can relate–they’ve both partnered with Playbutton to release their albums as wearable mp3-player buttons.
Beck’s Song Reader is no exception from the rule. Though while other artists seem to be overtly leveraging tech gimmicks to help drive record sales, Beck, in characteristic fashion, has essentially zigged while others have zagged.
As the title implies, Song Reader will be not be issued on CD, vinyl or MP3 – but in the form of sheet music which other musicians can play for themselves. The collection, comprised of 20 booklets replete with illustrations and a foreword by the artist, will be housed in a lavishly-produced hardcover case, an appropriate dossier for what ultimately translates to a grand artistic experiment.
Moreso, Song Reader represents a unique social experiment. Fueled by the hyper-connectivity of Beck’s technology-empowered fanbase, the albums songs will inevitably be performed and shared by amateur and professional alike, inspiring not only listenership but creation, conversation and idea exchange, essential strands in the DNA of Social media.
In 1994 Beck’s slacker folk-rap anthem, “Loser”, hit the top of the charts, and for a moment, embodied the era. Nearly two decades later, Beck’s latest offering (while admittedly, likely to never reach the Top-40) just might come closer to defining the voice of a generation. Lee Brackstone, director of McSweeny’s, Song Reader’s publisher adds that along the way, it will certainly “reinforce the value and importance of performed and recorded music at a time when these very things are under threat”.
Last week, some lucky TargetCasters had the opportunity to visit the New York Time’s AdLab, located at their headquarters on W 43rd street. From the buildings unique all-glass architecture to the awesome technologies found within, the whole experience felt like a trip to the advertising equivalent of Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version of course).
Stop 1: Is there any way of knowing, which direction tweets are going?
Our tour started with a demonstration of the AdLab’s “Cascade” data visualization tool, which visually mapped @NYTimes tweets as they spread they were disseminated across the Twitterverse in-real time. Cascade not only displayed how many times a tweet was retweeted and clicked on, but created visual webs of interaction and sharing, identifying influential retweeters and related groups the tweets resonated most with. It looked awesome, and it would be interesting to see the technology used as an audience discovery tool for brands.
Stop 2: Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of ubiquitous content
The next stop on our tour was a demo of new connected technologies, including a next-generation 3DTV, a mirror that allowed you to surf the web, connect with social media, and watch video with voice activation, and the newest version of Microsoft’s Surface, a dining table with iPad-like functionality. While each of these devices was impressive in their own right, what was most exciting was the possibility of combining all of these devices to create a truly ubiquitous content experience. Imagine engaging with an article throughout your entire morning routine: from brushing your teeth in the bathroom mirror, to eating cereal at the kitchen table, to finally finishing the article on your phone during your morning commute. If the technology found in the AdLab was any indication, that dream will soon be a reality, and not only change the world of content, but digital advertising as well.
Stop 3: Media’s certainly not showing, any sign that it is slowing!
Our tour concluded with a presentation in the New York Times Idea Lab, where we were shown examples of how both brands and marketers were utilizing technology to tell richer stories, along with a presentation on emerging social media habits amongst the general population.
Overall it was an exciting trip; offering insights everyone could take back to the office for future campaigns, while also giving us a taste of what’s to come.
Ever since Chrome came out with the best commercial ever (Mark Potter: http://bit.ly/IQtjuP), I have refused to use any other browse (See ya, Safari!) But besides using Chrome for the usual web browsing, gmailing, online shopping, I never realized how many incredibly cool (and useful) features this browser has.
My personal favs:
For any online shopping addicts/people who subscribe to every sale mail email/people like me, the “Invisible Hand” tool will change the way you bargain hunt online. Log into the Chrome web store and download the invisible hand. When you are on a website and you have clicked on a particular product you are interested in purchasing, the invisible hand will tell you if the same product is available at a better value elsewhere. Pretty awesome and saves you from having to search websites on your own.
Or…if shopping isn’t your thing…
If you’ve ever looked for an apartment in NYC, you know what an irritating process this can be. Now you can use Chrome’s “Pad Mapper” to search for you. Pad mapper shows you available properties that are featured on a variety of different websites based on your criteria.
There’s so much more available on Chrome and it’s worth checking out.
AOL’s The Huffington Post launched a new iPad-only magazine called simplyHuffington. The weekly magazine mixes short news stories and three long-form features in each issue. Single issues cost $0.99 and subscriptions cost $1.99 per month (or $19.99 per year). The magazine has its own staff and the articles will be separate from those on the Huffington Post website.
Toyota has signed on as the exclusive launch sponsor. The format allows AOL to compete for magazine ad dollars for the first time by offering a premium magazine like experience to prospective advertisers. The Huffington Post has surpassed the New York Times in terms of unique visitors per month (to their website) and proven to the publishing community that daily blogging and aggregating can be a successful business model online. The publisher will now try to prove that it can play in a different sandbox and the marketing world is anxious to see if Huffington Post can in fact translate their website model to tablets and allow AOL to emerge as a true competitor to the top three magazine publishers – Conde Nast, Time and Hearst – and an even bigger threat to the publishing world at large.