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October 2008, Week 5 Marketing Archives

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coming Soon- Your Favorite Magazine: in Store Form

sports illustrated store Advertising executives in print media are fishing  for new ways to hook sponsors. Teen Vogue casted its fancy new lure -"Haute Spot"- at a mall in Short Hills,New Jersey. Teen Vogue doesn't refer to its creation as a store, but a "pop-up" hangout spot.

Haute Spot gives female shoppers a place relax, regroup and recharge their cellphones, as marketers pamper them with various samples and direct them to the respective store locations throughout the mall.
Think of the Haute Spot the modern replacement of  an insert or full page ad, where readers (and potential subscribers) get the chance to try the product first hand. Instead of a scratch and sniff perfume or cologne insert,they can get a full sample of the product.The Haute spot  won't be a permanent store, it's only open from black Friday (Nov. 28) to December 26.
Last month, Sports Illustrated cornered the opposite side of Teen Vogue's target market (males ages 18-35),  by opening a store in Detroit's Metropolitan Airport.Sports Illustrated's store isn't a temporary "pop up" like the Haute Spot, but it does offer an atmosphere not found in most sporting goods stores.

SI's store is partially a shrine to sports history. Computer kiosks give fans access to sports news at SI.com and there's also the "SI Vault", an online archive containing over 150,000 stories, 2,800 covers and more than 500,000 photographs from the magazine's 54-year history.Sports fans can buy merchandise for Michigan's professional and college teams, and there's also Sports Illustrated gear, including calendars, books and posters.

Personally, I haven't visited the store, but if it doesn't offer any apparel or merchandise for teams outside of Michigan, they've failed to cater to the thousands of out-of-state travelers browsing the shelves for their hometown team or Alma Mater.  SI's CMO,Andrew Judelso, told Sports Business Journal that SI will be opening stores in Los Angeles and other markets next year.

Of the two Magazines, I think Teen Vogue has a more efficient and promising concept. For the cost of a short-term lease, they connect readers  (as well as potential subscribers) with their sponsors in a laid-back, comfortable setting. I wouldn't be surprised to see more magazines test the "pop-up" model, especially niche publications such as Golf Week or Cooking Light.

Coming Soon- Your Favorite Magazine: in Store Form By Matt O'Hern at 03:41 PM
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AT&T Free Wi-Fi Site lacks Details on New Locations

If you're an iPhone owner, you've probably developed a habit of deleting most of those promo  texts from, AT&T, but the text I received this morning wasn't a pitch to upgrade my plan,  it was just spreading some good news:

Your Apple iPhone now has free AT&T Wi-FI access at thousands of hotspots nationwide, including Starbucks. For info visit www.att.com/attwifi

After I read  "including Starbucks", my reaction was, "Were they high?" 

I always appreciate free services, but AT&T dropped the ball with this text. In an effort to emphasize expanded service, AT&T featured a chain that's contracting.

There are two explanations for this massive blunder. Either Starbucks' made a promo offer that was to sweet to refuse, or AT&T's marketing team wrote this announcement six months ago,before Starbucks announced its plan to close 600 stores across the U.S.

att wifi at closed starbucks

In hope of finding a list of different stores and locations,  I logged on to AT&T's Wi-Fi page, which was just as useful the text message.The only "search" feature was a link "Find a Starbucks close to you!". Here is this extent of AT&T's list for its free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot locations nationwide

  • Airports
  • Hotels
  • Universities
  • Convention Centers
  • Sports Centers 
  • Starbucks locations
  • Restaurants
  • Bookstores
  • Supermarkets

Wow! Thanks AT&T! Your DETAILED list was extremley helpful! Now I know exactly where to go!  Hopefully this page will be updated soon, or we won't even know how to capitalize the expanded service.

AT&T Free Wi-Fi Site lacks Details on New Locations By Matt O'Hern at 10:44 AM
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New LinkedIn App, Company Buzz , Fails its First Launch

If you're a believer in the saying "Image is everything", you know the potential damage that awaits your company if a bad reputation develops within online communities, incuding social networks. We've offered advice to manage and improve your online reputation, but keeping tabs on twitter,blogs and social networks can become an overwhelming task.

LinkedIn recognized the growing need and developed CompanyBuzz for help , but there's only one problem: it's not working. After I added Company Buzz, I saw this:company buzz error
 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Company Buzz returns to a functional status, LinkedIn users will be able to read the latest  comments made about their company on Twitter. (I wonder if Linkedin will like the chatter regarding CompanyBuzz.)

You'll also get to store comments historical charts, if you want to refer to older quotes. Another feature, Trends, lets you analyze the most common words associated with your company. Once the kinds are worked out, this could prove to be a solid addition to the career-connecting network.

New LinkedIn App, Company Buzz , Fails its First Launch By Matt O'Hern at 04:40 PM
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Aerovironment has "Unmanned" Advantage Over Competition

"The Future is unmanned."
That's the vision of defense contractor:  AeroVironment Inc., which makes electrical Unmanned Air Surveillance Systems, also known as "UAS".

Every American hates to see casualties of war, and AeroVironment's eco-friendly solution to reduce casualties in military conflicts gives it a distinct advantage over competing contractors, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which are known for producing jets and missiles.

Regardless of who wins the race for the White House, our military will still require the safest methods and smartest tools if they're in the midst of an international conflict. If soldiers' lives can be saved through the use a remotely controlled device, (whether its as robotic spider spy camera or a UAS), than it's a sacrifice worth the cost.global observer plane

UAS are ideal for spotting encroaching enemies, patrolling borders, or finding lost soldiers. The spy planes range in size and ability, from the lightweight ,hand-launched, Raven, which has wingspan of 4.5 feet and a weight of 4.2 pounds,  to the Global Observer, which can reach altitudes of 65,000 feet and carry a payload up to 1000 pounds for fly for several days.The Raven sends real-time color or infrared imagery back viewing stations at ground control.

johnny 5 robot

Judging from the past year in the stock market, investors agree that AeroVironment is leading the way to a safer and smarter future in national defense. Boeing's stock price has fallen from $102 per share last October, and is at $50 today. Lockheed Martin was at $108 a year ago, and is selling for $79 today. Conversely, AeroVironment was selling for $25 in Oct. 07 and is selling for $32 today.

Maybe these figures indicate of a future where we're protected by robots, not humans, but we known what that led to in the movies, I-Robot and Short Circuit.

Aerovironment has "Unmanned" Advantage Over Competition By Matt O'Hern at 01:03 PM
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Brand Name Toys vs. Generic Toys: Who Wins This Christmas?

Millions of children are already filling out their Christmas wish lists, but many families feeling the financial squeeze will be forced to shorten those lists or search for cheaper alternatives.

You wouldn't know it by looking at the homepage of Toys R Us, which still features all of the major brands (for obvious reasons). Highlighted items include High School Musical merchandise, Mattel's Barbie line, video game consoles like Nintendo Wii,XBox 360  Sony PS3, and hand-helds like Nintendo's Ds, Of course, there are plenty of the latest toys from the usual suspects:Fischer Price, Lego,Huffy and Nerf.nerf gun gladiator

There's also a section titled "Mom's favorites",  devoted to the average soccer mom. It features three categories- Kitchens and play food, outdoor play and video games.

(Maybe it's just me, but the video games category seems like a stretch.I'm not convinced that  Call of Duty: World at War and Monster Truck Jam: Urban assault, are "mom's" favorite gifts to purchase.)


 Leaders in the toy industry, including Bob Eckert, the CEO of Mattel, are crafting "survival strategies" for the final quarter. An excerpt from an article in bnet.com revealed Mattel's recent struggles:

During the three months ended September 30, 2008, bad debt expense increased approximately $10 million as compared to the corresponding period in the prior year as a result of certain customers facing financial difficulties.

Mattel's bad numbers could be tied to the fact that generic toys may become much more appealing to mothers struggling to balance budgets. They favor reasonably priced video games such as "Plug N Play Ping Pong", which uses motion-sensing paddles and sells for $34, compared to the Nintendo Wii.ping pong vs. wii tennis

There are also alternatives in other categories such as  RC  cars. The Thunder Tumbler Stunt Car, which sells for  $18.99 on overstock.com, is much more practical compared to the $59 RC Hummer H3 by Newbright Inustries.

 

 If more parents stay away from the frantic crowds and busy lines at major retailers such as Toys R Us, we may also see a surge toward bargain stores such as Big Lots and Family Dollar  and sites such as overstock.com.

 

Brand Name Toys vs. Generic Toys: Who Wins This Christmas? By Matt O'Hern at 10:08 AM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Iphone App ESPN Cameraman Test Eye Speed and IQ

espn arcade cameraman logo

I openly admit that during my childhood, I was  a video game addict.

Like many of you reading this, I often heard a general warning from my parents, that was usually something along the lines of: "Turn that video game off! You're just wasting brain cells!"

As I grew older, I became hooked on sports, and I still enjoy watching a great football game on the weekend. ESPN Arcade was designed for guys just like me, and its new  application for the : ESPN Cameraman, is one of the most popular free downloads from the App Store. It tests your sports IQ and your eye speed. The game was developed by Skyworks Interactive.  CORRECTION:  Thanks to Paul Melvin from ESPN Communications for spotting our mistake.  ESPN worked with developer EpicTilt in developing ESPN Cameraman for the Apple app store (for use on iPhone and iPod Touch).  Skyworks on ESPNArcade.com and the ESPN Cameraman game for the web, Skyworks did not build the iPhone app.  Thanks again to the ESPN Communications department for catching our blunder.  Nice find, next time I'll make sure the Easter Egg is harder to find ;)

The premise of Camerman is similar to many brain- building games out there.  At each level, you're given a set of sports action photos that are near mirror images, and you must tap to point out the differences between the two. (I.E. Derek Jeter's hat features the Yankees logo in one image, but not the other.) If you don't point out at least three differences, you're penalized one life, and you have three lives total. 

Each level is timed, and the faster you find the differences, the better. If you're stumped, you can tap one of the three camera icons for a free hint (only three are available per game) to help you move to the next scene. You've got to use your hints wisely, because you only get three per game. Your final score is kept on record so you can compete with sports fans across the world.

My first outing was a rough one, and I only made it to the third level, with a score of 1200. Despite my rough start as a rookie, I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of detail and the soundtrack ESPN implemented for a free app. If you're a sports enthusiast like me, you'll enjoy this free app. If you don't have an iPhone, you can play the game at espn.com.

Iphone App ESPN Cameraman Test Eye Speed and IQ By Matt O'Hern at 03:20 PM
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Google Book Rights Registry Will Enhance Book Search

google book search

New doors may be opened to online reading as a result of Google's $125 million dollar settlement with the Authors Guild and  the Association of American Publishers.

The AG and AAP weren't thrilled about Google's former partnership with a group of universities that agreed to scan their collections into an online collection. To reach a reasonable settlement, Google devised a solution that should appease everyone involved and created the Book Rights Registry.

Pending final approval from a U.S. District Court, the registry will allow holders of copyrighted books to scan their works into an online collection and receive compensation from subscription services or ad revenue.
According to Google, the new registry's system will offer:

  • Subscription services that provide participating universities free access to a variety of libraries worldwide.
  • virtual bookshelf, with the chance to buy lifetime rights to read and print books scanned  through Google.
  • Out-of-print books for preview and purchase.

Roy Blount Jr., president of the Authors Guild told BBC:

As a reader and researcher, I'll be delighted to stop by my local library to browse the stacks of some of the world's great libraries.As an author, well, we appreciate payment when people use our work. This deal makes good sense.

The Book Rights Registry is one of many changes in media where the consumer is given more power and access without a negative effect on the provider or producer.

Google Book Rights Registry Will Enhance Book Search By Matt O'Hern at 01:40 PM
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College Mascots + Pez Dispenser = Football Stadium Humor

inflatable tunnel entrance with pez logoYou can consider this post as a humorous observation that has the potential to develop into  a legitimate marketing model.

 While I was in Birmingham,Al for my college homecoming last Saturday, I used my iPhone camera to snap a quick pic of the new  entrance for our football team. It's an inflatable tunnel that spans about 20 yards, punctuated with a bulldog's open mouth at the end.

As the players storm the field, they run through the tunnel and out of Bulldog's mouth to make their grand entrance before the game. These entrances have been popping up at high school, college and professional sports stadiums across the country.

Later that night, while I was browsing my collection of pics, I joked with my oldest brother, Sean ,that the  tunnel entrance resembled a giant Pez  candy dispenser.Of course, being a friendly brother, he laughed along with me, but i figured it was just a kind gesture. That was until I posted all of my pics to facebook, and read a comment from one of my old friends from college, who said:

 'Our entrance reminds me of a Pez dispenser.'

I laughed, but eventually, I realized the untapped potential for a major advertising model.

 Here's my idea- Imagine if all the football  teams,  baseball and basketball teams place the Pez logo on their tunnel. (For the record, there are 1,281 colleges that compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. )On Pez's end of the deal, it could release a new line of dispensers featuring the heads or helmets of the college  mascots. (I.E. The Gator head of Albert, the gator for the University of Florida). 

PEZ already has dispensers with NFL helmets and MLB baseballs w/ team logos, but  I haven't seen Pez logos on any NFL tunnels yet. The  Dallas Cowboys  placed an ad banner on their tunnel. A photo on eddriscoll.com shows  an ad for Levitra (the ED pill that even the Cowboys use). Bob Dole gave the ad a thumbs up.

College Mascots + Pez Dispenser = Football Stadium Humor By Matt O'Hern at 11:16 AM
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Our Poll on National Polls: Do you trust them?

gallup poll logo and espn logo

We love lists and we love polls- at least, that's what the media believes.

You may remember when I analyzed America's fascination with lists,and judging from the massive amount of time and space dedicated to the national polls, the media must be convinced that there's a high demand  for the latest stats and trends from the general public.

As the election enters its final stretch, cable news networks, political blogs and newspapers bombard daily us with the latest results from national polls. Whether you're a political junkie or not, you've seen the names,numbers and trends from surveyors such as,Zogby,Rasmussen and Gallup.

 One site that has gained plenty of exposure during the past year is realclearpolitics.com,, which combines the data from all of the major polls for the "RCP average". For politicians,  the national polls function as unofficial focus groups that offer accurate gauge of the public's viewpoint.

For the data analysts and advisors who scrutinize the numbers as close as possible, the  subcategories in national polls can reveal crucial data for each candidate. I.E.- "Who do you trust more with the economy?", or, "Who do you trust in international affairs."

Evidently, polls have legitimate power. We can't even escape surveys and polls when we're just trying to get customer service. It seems like almost every time I call for assistance with a product or service, I'm asked to participate in a voluntary survey.The answers we giveprovide the same insightful figures to corporate executives and marketers that politicians and their advisers scrutinize each day.

Polls are also interwoven into our sources entertainment as interactive features. Just visit espn.com and you'll see at least two instant surveys, including Sports Nation, which asks sports fans hot topic questions such as: "Which NCAA football team deserves to be #1 in the Bowl Championship Rankings?"

So what's reasoning behind the power of polls? I believe the answer is similar to why we're so fascinated with lists- both provide a sense of order  in a chaotic, unpredictable world. Considering that fact, it's only natural to wonder if all these results are significant or skewed.

You may agree with the quote: "Numbers are like hostages, if you manipulate them enough, you can get them to say what you want."

We're using Polldaddy to ask you:

 

Our Poll on National Polls: Do you trust them? By Matt O'Hern at 08:09 AM
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Economic Lessons USA Can Learn From Ukraine

ukraine flag

American's should view the IMF bailout of Ukraine as a forewarning of a darker economic future if we fail to improve our industry and restore confidence in our government. 

The International Monetary Fund rescued Ukraine's bankrupt economy with a $16.5 billion dollar loan, which is eight times the amount Iceland received. Parmy Olson's article in Forbes said that Ukraine is fortunate for the financial rescure because:

The behavior of the country's government has been as chaotic as the financial markets....the country has promised the IMF that it will set a balanced budget and reform its banking sector in exchange for the loan... its currency has tumbled, its large steel industry has been hit by a fall in steel prices, and its property boom (particularly in the capital, Kiev) has turned into a bubble on the verge of bursting.

Do any of those themes sound awfully familiar?

  • Lack of confidence in political system
  • Unbalanced federal budget
  • Collapsed real estate market
  • Downsized manufacturing industry 

In the U.S.,we have suffered a four-year free fall of our real estate, our nation is divided over who our next president should be and manufacturing plants are closing left and right.  Analysts will argue whether or not those three factors are interrelated or just coincidences. Instead of dwelling on the problem.but we should really be formulating a solution, otherwise, the United States may look like a third-world country within the next five to ten years.

It's no coincidence that many of the poorest parts of the world are also the nations known for political instability. It's also important to remember what I pointed out two weeks ago, inter-dependence can also lead to a domino effect. If you look at the Wall Street Journal's graphic of the countries hit hardest by the economic crisis during the past three months and the nations that fall into the"core" category (economically advanced or growing countries that are linked to the global economy and bound to the rule-sets of international trade)of Thomas P.M. Barnett 's map - you'll notice a direct corellation.

In the WSJ map and Barnett's core, the Ukraine was essentially on the border between the core and the rest of the world, but they've obviously felt the devastating impact from the spreading financial crisis. The same principle applies to marketing and business: Alliances can prove to be a great assett that quickly and significantly increase your value and status,but if you're too dependant on your partner(s), they can pull you down just as hard and twice as fast.

Considering all of these facts, it's hard to determine the nations at highest risk for financial collapse. Just be careful what you say about Ukraine. As Kramer and Newman found out, Ukranians are proud of their heritage.

 

Economic Lessons USA Can Learn From Ukraine By Matt O'Hern at 01:50 PM
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Could Stanza Inspire Free Audiobook App for Iphone ?

audio booksYou may remember my review of a new iPhone App, the Stanza, LexCycle's digital reader that provides free access to books in public domain. Stanza's convenient features, such as customizable layouts, opened a new world  of classic literature to every iPhone user, including classic works such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

As a result, Stanza is becoming one of the most popular apps, but I think an even better version could be developed. During my 10-hour road trip last weekend, I realized the  the rigors of a long journey are eased with a talented narrator reading a good audiobook.  That's what made me think of the next great app- free audio books. 

Obviously, a developer or publisher would have to negotiate a deal to compensate authors and publishers,  Currently, most of the best-selling  audiobooks sell for a price between $25 to $35 dollars per title at the iTunes' store, but imagine if you could access classic and contemporary audiobooks for free, and the only catch was that you had to listen to a 30 to 60 second promo of ads between each chapter. (An ad revenue model similar to Hulu's video).

Perhaps the best and only way to test the model would require a major publisher,  such as Simon& Schuster or Random House, to take on the role of developer. The first version could include the top-10 selling titles from that publisher, or 10-20 classic works from the past 20 years,featuring five titles from four different genres.

I think it's only a matter of time before we're listening to some of our favorite stories for free.

Could Stanza Inspire Free Audiobook App for Iphone ? By Matt O'Hern at 11:52 AM
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AJC,Boston Globe, Cox and Gannett Face Scary Six-Month Stats

gannett stock

Halloween is still a few days away, but print journalists are already scared to death. The latest stats show slumping numbers in major daily papers such as the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, which lost a staggering 13% of its readership in the past six months.

The dwindling numbers from industry leaders such as the Boston Globe, are echoes of the panicked screams we heard from  the Los Angeles Times and Palm Beach Post back in July, who remedied plunging profits by promising a stronger focus to the local news. 

I've worked at a metro daily and a weekly community paper. Initially, the community paper had a good model, but didn't prioritize its website, and the daily feared any drastic shift from its traditional model. The daily stretched so hard to retain the loyal readers, that by the time the editors realized they were about to drown, the water was already over their head, and the doors were slammed shut on the entire building.
David Hunke of the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett Paper, is a perfect example of yet another publisher who is about six years behind the curve.  I'm not sure how long he's been the publisher, but his quote to the Wall Street Journal reveals an industry-wide failure to recognize years of flawed philosophies.Hunke admitted

"It's time for us to look at some radical departures from our business model."

Welcome to 2008 Mr. Hunke. An interesting aspect of the latest reports is the slight increase in Sunday readership. I believe that spike is due to the extra coupon sections and the slower pace of a weekend that affords the average reader more time to relax and read through a section they would neglect during the busy weekdays.

So what's a reasonable short-term solution for these papers? "Well, with no sign of an economic recovery in the near future, more unemployed readers searching the classifieds and frugal families clipping coupons, here are three quick and easy fixes I would propose.

  • Daily editors and writers should load their best features for the weekend.
  • Weekly papers that publish in the middle of the week should shift their print date to Saturday or Sunday
  • Stop insulting the IQ of the average reader by calling your self the "new" Boston Globe.

 

AJC,Boston Globe, Cox and Gannett Face Scary Six-Month Stats By Matt O'Hern at 09:19 AM
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« October 2008 Week 4

  • Week 1 (10 entries) October 1-4
  • Week 2 (16 entries) October 5-11
  • Week 3 (16 entries) October 12-18
  • Week 4 (17 entries) October 19-25
  • Week 5 (12 entries) October 26-31

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Google Book Rights Registry Will Enhance Book Search
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