Tag Archives: advertising

The story behind the tweet

What came off as a completely natural off-cuff quip of the moment was actually the product of a well-scripted social media command center prepared to jump on the opportunity. Imagine a room with representation from marketing, creative, legal, and the “VP of Cookies” huddled around a table on Super Bowl Sunday, laptops open, ready to pounce on the latest conversation.

It’s all about catching the wave before it crests and surfing in on the momentum. One well-timed tweet netted 15,000 retweets and 8,000 new followers of @oreo on twitter and 20,000 likes on Facebook.

Generic Brand Video

If you’re a stock video company, what’s the best way to get your footage in front of future customers? Create a viral video that will be passed around by marketers and advertisers that license stock videos for their advertising.

This Is a Generic Brand Video from Dissolve on Vimeo.

Dissolve has done just that with their Generic Brand Video which brilliantly skewers the current state of brand placement videos today. Taking it’s inspiration from a McSweeney’s post, Dissolve had a voice-over actor with a Marlboro-man drawl narrate over a series of beautifully non-descript clips, poking fun at every tech, pharma, energy, financial, or auto commercial you’ve seen in the past three years.

Fast Company pulls in a few in for comparison.

Getty Images Opens Up

Getty Images added embed icons to 35 million photos in their collection. Not all images are available for embed (look for the icon). Images are for non-commercial use only and you need to use their embed code which adds the frames you see below.


Unable to close the barn door, Getty material was finding its way online into Google Image search which crawled sites that had properly licensed the images. The explosion of social media has accelerated secondary use via “right-click/save” so this was largely Getty reading the writing on the wall.

Getty Images is smart to do this. By providing a superior image search to Google and a simple way for people to use their images, they gain control of their assets again and wrap some marketing around its use, taking advantage of free distribution that was already happening. All the embeds point back to gettyimages.com so it’s great for SEO and exposure for the vast selection they have available. Getty Images has also said they will collect data on where the photos are used to improve their service which adds an important crowd sourcing to their ranking algorithms. Finally, buried in the Terms of Service is, “the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetize its use without any compensation to you.” The Nieman Journalism Lab ponders where Getty is going with this,

Aha! The data collected could have internal use (measuring what kinds of images are popular enough to invest in more stock photos, for instance). But they could also help with those ads. Imagine a day, five years from now, with Getty photo embeds all over the web, when they flip the switch — ads everywhere. Maybe there’s a photo equivalent of a preroll video ad and you now have to click to view the underlying image. Or a small banner on the bottom 90px of the photo.

And imagine your website has used a lot of Getty embeds over the years — enough that Getty can actually sell ads specifically targeting your website, using all that data it’s gathered. Or imagine there are enough Getty embeds that it could sell ads only on photos of Barack Obama, or only photos about Cajun music, or only photos about restaurants in Kansas City. You can start to see the potential there. Think of how many YouTube videos were embedded on other websites before Google ever started putting ads on them.

Embedded widgets used to be all the rage but they fell out of fashion as social networks became the place to share social objects. Getty is late to the game unless everybody gets sick of Facebook and fires up their own WordPress site. Notice how the sharing icons for the Getty Images are only for Twitter and Tumblr, the most open of all social networks.

Finally, what about all the folks that check the box on Flickr allowing their photos to be licensed by Getty Images like Phoenix Wang who took the photo above? Their works will now be used freely to help market the Getty service. On the plus side, clicks thru on the image will bring up options to license hi-res images for a fee so it’s not a total loss for the Flickr crowd. I wonder if the inclusion of the Tumblr share icon was a condition of including the Flickr photos in this deal?

The threat of ads running in the footer of the embed makes the service a non-starter for me but if you do want to use these images (which really are stunning), note that you can muck around with the width/height values in the embed code to change the dimensions of the image as I did below. It’s also possible to cover up the footer entirely but that would probably be frowned upon by the folks at Getty.

To Give and Not Receive

This afternoon New York Times readers were assaulted by a full page takeover that unfolded across the front page effectively roadblocking the news of the day with a “special report” layout that was both interruptive and offensive. If this is where they are going with their native advertising, I do not like.

Merrill Takeover

All publishers need to make a buck and, as someone that works in online publishing, I encourage experimentation but the fact that an institution such as the New York Times would stoop to running such an amateur-looking infomercial hints of desperation. While the Face Retirement campaign is innovative (the landing page asks for access to your computer’s camera so it can take a photo of you and “age” you), there page curl takeover is as old as the hills and takes me back to the Dancing Mortgage Man remnant ads we used to joke about at Yahoo. These ads take more than they give.

The add was frequency capped so it only ran once per unique visitor but the CPMs must have been pricey. But I can’t help but think that the hundreds of thousands spent by Bank of America to run this ad could have been better spent in other ways. Instead of invading your senses, wouldn’t both the audience, publisher, and advertiser have been better served by underwriting an open house for heavy users of the site? What about granting a free subscription to the paper for three months in return for some personal information that helps you better market your retirement planning services with glossy mailers? There are so many other ways that you can spend $250k, throwing up roadblock banners just seems lazy all around.

Apple and Storytelling

Apple’s latest installment of their storytelling marketing campaign is on their home page today. Your Verse features Robin Williams who narrates Walt Whitman and invites you to stop watching and start making.

Poetry, Beauty, Romance, Love – these are what we stay alive for.

That the company that has produced one of the best media consumption devices ever made is now inviting its customers to begin to produce content, no, art, on these devices points the way to how Apple will expand the market for all the new converts to the Apple platform.

From the original Macintosh to the latest Mac Pro (“Built for creativity on an epic scale”) the premium customers of Apple’s products have been the creative class. By inspiring all those new customers with iPhones and iPads to delve into creating new media, Apple will nudge these customers toward the upgrade path to new devices and software that bring them deeper into the Apple ecosystem.

It’s cinematic in an age where advertising has stepped a bit too far on the wrong side of literal and clever. It’s not about specs and stats. It’s not about the devices at all. It’s about how you can use the devices. How these devices are both approachable and aspirational. And oddly, just as with the best cinema, the feeling you’re left with is one of nostalgia.

- MG Siegler

Apple Verse

Life on an iPad showed how others use the iPad to do things, how the iPad was integrated into our life to get things done. Your Verse is an invitation to create. Once again, Apple is changing the game.

That powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Reach out and touch someone on Instagram Direct

Instagram Direct

One line stood out on today’s announcement about Instagram Direct.

Photos and videos that you receive from people you follow will appear immediately. If someone you’re not following sends you a photo or video on Instagram, it will go to your requests so you can decide if you want to view it.

This is an open invitation for marketers to participate on Instagram in a more personal, direct way with Instagram users. Sure, the service is limited for you and I who can only send a direct message to up to 15 people at once but wouldn’t Instagram/Facebook open this up to the right partners to send to more people as targeted advertising? This is more subtle than the advertising program announced earlier this year. It’s an invitation to connect.

Louis Vitton in Venice

A couple of weeks ago I saw a full page Louis Vuitton advertisement in the New York Times with a QR code in the corner inviting me to install the LV app where I would gain access to exclusive content. It was the image in the advertisement that captured my attention and on a whim I installed the app which came bundled with links to behind the scenes footage from their Venice mini-site. It’s easy to imagine brands using Instagram Direct as an invitation to interact with a brand. What if the image above came via Instagram Direct with a discount code (not that LV would ever discount) and a link to the nearest LV shops?

Brands are trying to evolve their marketing methods to match the way people communicate today. We’ve moved from a broadcast world which was well suited to mass marketing, a single, highly produced message designed for maximum distribution. Think Super Bowl ad. Facebook and Twitter are experimenting with Sponsored posts/tweets that brands use to segment their audience and customize messages for each segment. Even Google Ad Sense is experimenting with new ad units that are designed for sharing.

Many view Instagram Direct as a copy of Snapchat’s point-to-point messaging feature but I think that misses the point. Instagram Direct messages are not ephemeral, they stick around . They are conversations hatched around an image. As you open and view images from brands, they enter into your social feed. Instagram Direct is an important step towards transforming your social feed into the likeness of a traditional magazine complete with large, glossy brand ads from companies that you have invited in to participate and an important way for Facebook to go after monetizing it’s increasingly mobile audience.

Technology as Connective Tissue

Two tear-jerker videos illustrate the power of technology to connect over distance. Watch and marvel the world we live in. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Google Search services connect two old friends across political boundaries. This video was put together by the Google India team.

Skype connects two girls on opposite ends of the earth who share a disability, part of Skype’s Stay Together campaign.

Van Damme Splits Volvo Trucks

Jea-Claude Van Damme Missing

Yesterday I saw this on a lightpost on the way to work. Kinda random. I walked on. There’s a link to the full image, some tumbler with links to the pdf so that people can print them out and post them on their own.

Today I see this video of Van Damme doing his “famous split” again.

Looks like this is set to go viral. They even have a making of teaser posted a few days ago.

The Missing Celebrities tumblr blog is only a few weeks old. If they were behind that too, well played Volvo.

UPDATE :

There’s a whole series of these “live tests” starting from August 15th by the Swedish advertising firm Forsman & Bodenfors.