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October 2006 Marketing Archives

Friday, October 06, 2006

AllState Ponies Up Dollars for College Football

If you are a college football fan you've undoubtedly seen a new product placement this year whether or not you realized it or not, Allstate is marketing to you!

Allstate has bought advertisement space on the nets that catch field goals and extra points on Saturdays during college football games and if you've watched your favorite team on TV you have undoubtedly seen one of these ads. This is great exposure for Allstate no matter how good or bad your team is, someone in the game is bound to score and raise the net!

Curiously, I wanted to know how much Allstate had paid for this placement so I did some research and found out they paid on average $25,000 a year for their logo on the net in your favorite team's end-zone. I watch a lot of college football and to date I have personally counted 20 of these nets at different stadiums around the country and I'm sure there are many more.

That brings their current tally according to Evan Interactive (me) to somewhere around $500,000 +/-. For the amount of exposure they get, it is one hell of a deal if you ask me. Do the math. The average college football team has 6 home games, thats a little over $2,000 per game to have your brand prominiently displayed to 50,000 fans in house and the millions watching games on Tv. Smart move All State, thats one helluva CPM!

Unless we chalk this major marketing effort up to branding, I'd guess Allstate is hoping that as you get in that car accident with the drunken fan on your way out of the stadium, you remember that you could be in good hands with Allstate.

PS - AllState(and others) you can advertise on and get seen by 500,000+ viewers a month, and its a much more affordable then a college football game ad!

AllState Ponies Up Dollars for College Football By Jason Dowdell at 11:03 AM
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Search: Innovation Vs. Inertia

The article in BusinessWeek about the search market skims the surface of the search engines who are distinguishing themselves from Google by offering visual, social, or topic searches.

Despite the alternatives, Google continues to grow stronger, but that won't be the case indefinitely. Today Google is dominant because it is simple, familiar, and a pretty good algorithm. But some part of me has to be believe that Google's page-rank system is not close to the best we'll ever see.

It's hard to believe that they hit the magic formula more than a decade ago, and that's the end of the story. Every interface for acquiring information undergoes evolution or sometimes revolution, and search is no different. Whether it's controlling your cable TV or organizing email, the way we work with information always gets better, and some derivation of the current Google alternatives will likely take hold.

On the other hand, inertia is powerful in retaining an audience (just ask AOL). Consumers are used to the search results paradigm, and getting them to change habits is about as easy as getting someone to quit smoking. Inertia will allow Google to remain atop the industry long after improved search technology arrives, but the company can't take users for granted and will have to continue its substantial investment in R&D.

Search: Innovation Vs. Inertia By John Gartner at 10:47 AM
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LOST has TV's Answers To Advertisers Woes

I'm a huge fan of ABC's hit Tv show LOST and while I was watching this Wed. I realized how brilliant they really are. Even if they don't know it yet. In a post a few months ago, Jason has discussed how ABC wanted to stop Tivo from allowing people to skip ads and John has discussed how DVRs are causing a decline in television ad revenue, down 11% this year, an unprecedented amount of money.

Despite all of its complaining ABC may have inadvertently discovered an answer to it, LOST.

If you have watched the show, most likely you are addicted and know that throughout the last two seasons ABC has brought the mystery of Lost outside of the boundaries with an online mystery type game that will give you clues as to what in the world is happening with the show. They've put up fake websites, pictures and video clips around the web but what they have also done is put clues on during commercials on the network. This is forcing us addicts to watch the commercials so that we don't miss anything. I don't know many Lost fans who will fast forward through commercials these days for fear of missing the next big clue.

I don't know if ABC did this on purpose, although I'm sure they will take credit for it but on Wed night when I thought twice about skipping ads I realized ABC was on to something.

PS - I still skipped the ads, but did it a lot slower this time :).

LOST has TV's Answers To Advertisers Woes By Jason Dowdell at 10:36 AM
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Game On for Branding

If you think that going to an arena or stadium is an overwhelming explosion of advertisments, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Video game companies are infusing their sports titles with a plethora of pitches, making every virtual player and building look like a Nascar driver's jacket. According to Wired News, Electronic Arts' new NBA Live 07 is a continual onslaught of Adidas branding.

Does Adidas' willingness to pay to have its logo displayed everywhere give hope to the banner ad, and CPM model, where no direct customer response in necessary? While much of the industry is moving to cost per action and investing heavily in analytics, there will always be a place for branding.

This reinforces the fact that all those DVR owners who skip through TV ads are still receiving the branding part of the message. I still recognize that GEICO gecko and the golden arches each time I'm fast forwarding, so advertisers are getting some value.

Game On for Branding By Matt O'Hern at 10:29 AM
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Revived Rhapsody Is IPod Wannabe

Looking to copy Apple's closed loop system for downloading music to portable players, RealNetworks teamed up with Best Buy and SanDisk to offer one-stop service for listening to music online and offline. As Wired's Listening Post points out, you can even move all of your iTunes songs to the Rhapsody player.

On the face of this it looks like a "me too" product, but the DRM and Real's proprietary format limits the portability of the music. This isn't going to win over iTunes users, but it may attract some folks who are new to digital music.

We're in the middle of a major shift to music as a subscription service. From satellite radio to Rhapsody, the days of the choice between free ad-supported radio where you have no choice in what is played or paying to "own" physical copies are over. If you can hear that favorite Train or Kanye West song whenever you want (car, home, office), why would you want to deal with carting around dozens of CDs that can be ruined or spending hours downloading and copying music to a $200 device that can easily go missing?

The recording artists should be in favor of this shift as it reduces piracy and lets the earn a few cents each time a song is played rather than hoping that someone will pay $15 for an entire album. Today we are experiencing the growing pains as everyone figures out and becomes comfortable with the new world order. It does feel like a loss of control in not having a physical copy, but we'll get used to it.

Revived Rhapsody Is IPod Wannabe By John Gartner at 05:09 PM
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Search Engine Probes Podcasts

A new search engine seeks to drive traffic to podcasts and video blogs while sharing the ad revenue. According to the Ecommerce Times, Podzinger searches streamed audio, and the company creates related links based on the words used.

I know podcasters are looking for ways to make a buck, but taking 50 percent of the ad revenue is steep.(Of course keeping all of zero revenue isn't enticing either.) This technology isn't new as IBM, Google and other researchers have been at it for some time.

What we who live in the world of current events need is a search engine that combines news, blogs, vlogs, streaming video and podcasts and ranks the results based on the most timely or most popular during a recent time window (say 24-72 hours). I'd listen to more podcasts if their results were listed alongside my standard news search. And how's about a rating system, ala digg? Tell me if users think this a 2 or 5 star quality report.

Timely information isn't limited to text, and whoever can integrate all forms of media will quickly find an audience.

Search Engine Probes Podcasts By John Gartner at 04:41 PM
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Networks Tempt TV Viewers Online

The tide has officially turned -- the Internet is friend and not foe to television.

This fall many television shows are being streamed online so that fans can catch episodes they missed (or forgot to TiVo) and to generate additional ad revenue for the networks. Fox announced it is finally catching up to the big 3 in offering some episodes online, saying that it will stream episodes of Bones and Prison Break on MySpace.

Even subscription cable network Showtime is expanding its programming online, offering Weeds and several other shows over broadband. It's
good to see that the networks have learned from the adult industry that by giving some but not all of your content away you can actually increase your audience.

So I'm calling it (quoting the docs on Grey's Anatomy) -- the time of death for "primetime" TV is Fall 2006. DVRs, video on demand, and broadband TV killed the concept that networks should solely base theirrevenues on expecting people to sit on the couch from 8-11 p.m. While many folks will continue to watch shows during their initial airing, they will no longer schedule their lives around primetime (American Idol excepted).

Found via MarketingVox.

Networks Tempt TV Viewers Online By John Gartner at 12:37 PM
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worm Boosts AdSense Traffic

According to FaceTime Security Labs a Yahoo Messenger worm will open up a browser and multiple iterations of expensive AdSense ads.

In a press release on PR Newswire, FaceTime says the w32.KMeth worm (which I couldn't find anyone else reporting) directs computers to a website and starts up several pages that includes ads for the keyword mesothelioma, a rare cancer that is also a premium keyword buy.

Now I would think that Google would be able to easily track the IP address of the host website and refuse to pay for the click fraud for ads delivered to these pages. However, it is nothing if not annoying. I would think that this story would have been picked up widely, so is the press release a virus too?

Worm Boosts AdSense Traffic By Jason Dowdell at 06:19 PM
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New Cisco Logo Thoughts

Ciscos new logo unveiled today Cisco unveiled a new logo and I'm guessing they're going for a less ominous, softer side of the infrastructure giant. Looks a bit too soft, almost childish to me, can you say Crayola Burnt Sienna?

Based on the press release, I guess they're trying to position themselves as more of a content / collaboration / framework company instead of just a hardware play. I guess Wall Street likes it since CSCO is up nearly 2 percent today. I however, am not buying it.

New Cisco Logo Thoughts By Jason Dowdell at 03:32 PM
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PR Can't Spin Gym's Service

If you join Bally's Total Fitness, the only thing guaranteed to get lighter is your wallet. The company is starting an integrated online, TV and print campaign (per Brandweek) that shows how one happy customer (maybe THE happy customer) has dropped 30 pounds by working out at Bally's.

But Bally's continues to have a poor (a generous adjective) record on trapping customers into long-term contracts. Bally's has been successfully sued by the Attorney General of New York and several other states for using deceptive practices in cornering new customers. Gym members have no recourse but to keep paying or have Bally's harass you by phone or damage your credit rating, and I have personal experience to verify that they only care about money.

According to the Miami Herald, Bally's is still up to their dirty tricks. The bad word of mouth will overcome any PR campaign. Bally's is not alone -- many gym companies are notorious for locking in people and forcing them to pay dues even if they are disabled, out of the country, or pregnant.

Just like when you go to jail, when you sign up for a gym you are forced to hand over your wallet and sentenced to months of hell. If a customer-friendly gym ever launched, they'd clean up.

PR Can't Spin Gym's Service By John Gartner at 01:33 PM
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Netflix Asks $1 Million Question

Netflix is offering $1 million to whomever can figure out a better way to recommend movies to its customers. The company wants to improve its recommendation (aka collaborative filtering) system for suggesting movies based on movies that other people liked, according to CNet. The company is making a huge database of movies ratings available to contestants.

But answering this challenge requires overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles -- that people have unique tastes, and that movies are not that easy to categorize. No two people agree on the majority of things in life (ask any married couple) such as their taste in clothes, cars, or whom they consider attractive. For example, just because two people like Bruce Willis and Jim Carrey movies doesn't mean they will also agree on Charlie Chaplin.

Also, films can be broken into countless sub-genres that makes it difficult to associate taste from one person to the next. A simple star rating system doesn't suffice -- the more important question is what about the movie did the person like, breaking it down to its component parts.

The same difficult question of associating taste has been asked by fashion designers, record companies and realtors, but the answer requires getting to know each individual better rather trying to do statistical analysis across a large data set.

Netflix Asks $1 Million Question By John Gartner at 10:46 AM
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Monday, October 02, 2006

Gambling Ban Hits Marketers

Online gambling companies and the financial institutions and marketing companies that support them crapped out on Saturday as Congress passed a law prohibiting online gambling.

The surprise move by Republican lawmakers will put a chill on the marketing of online gaming sites as they too could face criminal prosecution under the law, which specifically addresses organizations who take money for online gambling sites. In July, marketers who worked with BetOnSports were arrested along (under previous anti-gaming laws) with company executives, and the new law makes it even more clear cut that anyone who works with online gambling agencies could be prosecuted.

Online gambling is a multibillion dollar industry, and the pinch will be felt on TV, print and online as companies such as BoDog and PartyPoker won't be able to find partners that will to take their cash to promote their services. Affiliate networks and publishers who also want to stay clear of prosecution will likely have to find other avenues for income.

Gambling Ban Hits Marketers By John Gartner at 01:20 PM
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Marketer Pays for Diggs

Oh what schemers they are. Website is offering to pay Digg users to digg stories from advertisers. The website charges advertisers $20 to have their stories dugg.

The company paying to sabotage Digg's attempts at a democratic process is hiding behind anonymous registration through company that will hide your identity for a small fee. If these guys feel they have a legitimate business, they should have the courage not to hide behind anonymous registration. Let's see how the Digg community responds to I wouldn't be surprised if some folks crashed their servers by spamming their inbox.

Anyone who enjoys Digg and appreciate their efforts to keep the system open will have an issue with this spamming system. The company is offering a paltry 10 cents per dig, so for most people it isn't worth their keystrokes to participate.

Digg should ban anyone who is found to receive money for digging, and it shouldn't take long for them to figure out who is selling out. Also, an advertisers who participate are risking the ill will of a large number of people, so legit companies will probably stay away. It's a dumb idea that hopefully will pass quickly.

We asked Digg for a comment and will post their response as soon as we hear back.

Found via SearchEngineJournal.

Marketer Pays for Diggs By Matt O'Hern at 12:14 PM
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October 2006 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (13 entries) October 1-7
  • Week 2 (14 entries) October 8-14
  • Week 3 (16 entries) October 15-21
  • Week 4 (17 entries) October 22-28
  • Week 5 (3 entries) October 29-31

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