Marketing Madness in 60 Seconds: 8/7/09


With AMC releasing the “Mad Man Yourself” avatar creation tool the goal, as of these things are, is to get people to use the end result as their Twitter profile pic. That leads Brian Morrisey to point to profile pictures as the next great branding opportunity.

Interactive ads are being tested on television in an attempt to get the same sort of direct response and increased engagement rates that online ads are receiving. So there may not be more 30 second ads but those ads that are broadcast are likely to contain opportunities for people to get involved and respond to them.

Advertising spending may never reach prior levels since the entire equation has now shifted, with marketers looking for outlets that provide more bang for fewer bucks, so those that cost a lot may now be faced with an entirely different reality. Many of those dollars are now being used on social media campaigns.

New metrics from TiVo show just how much of the audience is lost during the commercial breaks due to fast-forwarding.

The FTC is looking to crack down on behavioral targeting, but it’s unclear how far they’re willing to go since being too harsh on the market could have a negative impact on the online ad market as a whole.

Right. Cause what we needed were more intrusive ads that can’t be closed when they get between the viewer and the content. That’s just what people have been asking for, except that it’s the exact opposite of that. and Hulu are taking opposite tacks in the search for online streaming video profitability. CBS is seeing what the absolute breaking point in terms of ad volume is while Hulu looks to limit the number but have those that do get included have more of an impact.


Arguments of Fair Use aside, the Associated Press is moving ahead with a plan to charge $2.50 per word anytime someone copies more than five words from one of their original pieces. That’s so wrong-headed it’s hard to enumerate them all.

Local news stations are putting their broadcasts on YouTube in an effort to, like everything else, reach the audience online without investing in a massive infrastructure itself.

YouTube has joined a Publicis-backed consortium of companies of all sorts called The Pool, the goal of which is to create ad format standards for online video.

The latest study on communications spending from VSS is out, showing that, with a couple of mild exceptions, most sectors are in a lot of trouble over the next five years. There are some bright spots but overall spending is not expected to rebound to previous levels.

The WSJ says it will no longer agree to “herd embargoes” – those where it’s one of a bunch of pubs the story is pitched to but have to remain mum about – but will still honor exclusives.

Social Media

One of the buried factoids in the EngagementDB report from a couple weeks ago is that Twitter is the most linked-to social network within marketer’s emails. That’s not that surprising considering that’s where everyone’s attention is right now, as well as the fact that those URLs are so short and pretty unlike the random number strings that some networks use., a URL shortening service I’ve been using with some regularity, probably won’t incorporate ads but it probably will launch a news service based on what stories are being submitted.

MySpace is reported to be launching its own version of a tool that would allow people to import their activity into their MySpace feeds in much the same way Facebook Connect does there.

Tom points out that RSS is still nowhere near mass adoption, with many people using it accidentally.

Finding an Audience: Distribution Notes for 8/7/09

movie-ticket-and-popcornHome Video

Richard Corliss makes the case against Netflix, but the primary point he has seems to be that it takes away the right to instant gratification that going to a video store brings with it. I don’t agree with him at all but it is interesting to see this sort of counter-intuitive thinking going on.

20th Century Fox wants to withhold its new release titles from vending kiosk rental service RedBox for 30 days after their street date out of fears that such low-price rentals are eating not only into more lucrative rentals but also sales.


IndieGoGo and SnagFilms have partnered to make many of the former’s films available on Snag.

SpeedCine has officially launched (in beta) as a directory of movies to watch online legally. Matt Dentler rightly pegs this as very important to the online distribution category.

The new pay cable movie venture Epix has signed its first outside partner, adding Samuel Goldwyn to the mix and making its movies that will debut theatrically in 2010 and 2011 to its offerings.

Warner Bros. has signed a deal to make movies from Image Entertainment, Gravitas Ventures and others available on VOD.

Picking up the Spare: Harry Potter, Paper Heart, G.I. Joe, Cold Souls

bowling-pinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

MediaPost profiles Avatarlabs, the creative shop that designed and executed some of the online ads for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, including tweaking those ads for deployment around the world.

Paper Heart

Karina flags how, despite the real-life relationship between Yi and Cera being the focal point of much of the movie’s buzz, Yi is now saying in interviews that the two never dated.

G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Paramount put together a video called Invasion of Cobra Island that features old-school action figures, vehicles and playsets being used to tell a story of the Joe’s discovering the location of Cobra’s hidden base and staging an invasion. While very fun and cool, it unfortunately highlights how much the big-screen movie ignores all this built-in audience good will by playing directly into that.

Cold Souls

While a number of movies’ campaigns are cited, the Soul Storage Company effort for Cold Souls is the lynch-pin of this AdAge article about the decade long history of “viral” campaigns online in support of films.

Quick Takes: 8/7/09

filmstripYet another list with someone’s opinions on what they think are the best “viral” movie campaigns of all time. I am very tired of such lists.

Peter Martin wants parents to stop relying so heavily on the MPAA’s ratings to decide what’s appropriate for their children to see in the way of movies and start taking some responsibility for researching what they can and can’t see themselves.

Anne Thompson points out how Comic-Con is especially helpful for independent films looking to stoke some buzz, even if they currently lack a distributor as many of these films do when they appear there.

Shel Holtz flagged an article on Twitter about how some filmmakers are using social media tools to connect with fans and promote their films. Note that most of these are the filmmakers themselves and these folks generally run the best efforts outside of any studio control.

Did Star Wars – the original – open without an official poster in support? The investigation begins

Anne Thompson turns the keys over to filmmaker Mike Kaplan, who makes a strong case for how some wrong-headed marketing by the major studios over the years has, in his opinion, largely killed the market for serious-minded adult drams.


About a week and a half after blogging went “mainstream” there started being discussions of blogging ethics guidelines, discussions that – rightly or wrongly – have never really gone anywhere for a variety of reasons.

Now, though, there’s a stab at this kind of thing from within a niche that’s been under more than a little scrutiny lately: Mommy bloggers.

Nearly 300 such bloggers have already signed a pledge on Blog With Integrity to fully disclose when the get review material, if they’ve been compensated for a post and other instances where business dealings are impacting the content on the site. Likewise they’re promising to draw a clear line between advertising and editorial content.

The main idea of the group campaign seems to be to get out in front of the issue and show the FTC – which is pondering stricter guidelines for disclosure on blogs than are in place for mainstream media and which says it’s trying to get these in place before year’s end – that the community members can police themselves.

Just like the more general blogging ethics guidelines this is a great idea. But it doesn’t change the fact that while there are things each writer should absolutely be doing regarding transparency and such there are also actions marketers should – or shouldn’t – be doing to keep up their end of the bargain. The industry can’t create an environment where paid posts are an excepted practice and then throw up their collective hands when it comes to potential Federal guidelines and say it’s up to the bloggers.

Unfortunately it also hits the same roadblocks that more general idea ran up against, the lack of a central oversight and enforcement body being only the first one.

Even so it’s a good move by a group that’s trying to reframe the discussion and start some positive movement forward.