Free idea to any hotel chain that wants it

Instead of providing lousy coffee in hotel rooms, offer complimentary packets of Emergen-C or mini-bottles of Airborne or something like that. I have no idea if the costs are comparable but the utility, I would imagine, to the average traveler would be much greater since so many hotels have a Starbucks or other coffee shop either in the lobby or within easy walking distance. And some bonus Vitamin C while traveling is always a good idea.

You got your brands in my Jelly…

(Note: I wrote this a week or so ago but just realized it was still sitting in Draft mode. The lesson, as always, is that I can’t even be trusted with my own stuff. –CT)

It took less than a week after the launch of Jelly, the new Q&A app that comes from some of the founders of Twitter, for brands to start poking their noses into the conversations that were happening there.

For those unfamiliar, Jelly is designed to tap into the power of your social networking friends, essentially crowdsourcing the answer to something you can’t quite figure out. It’s based on pictures and works by uploading photos and asking questions along the lines of “Hey, does anyone know what this is?,” with your friends then chiming in. The value proposition is that the people you know are smarter than a generic search engine, something that may not always be true but which is actually more applicable (at least in my experience) with pictures/photos than general queries.

81d02e33.HeroSocialSo far limited metrics are available, and those that are show after an initial flurry of excitement usage and engagement dropped sharply. Jelly itself acknowledges that in its check-in post by saying this is just the start of a long slog in terms of acquiring users and proving its value.

Interestingly, the pushback has already begun. First you have this, about the brands that are taking initial and tentative steps into Jelly:

There may not be a pure business play yet but brands are tinkering with the opportunity nonetheless. GE asked its followers which scientist (past or present) they’d like to sit down and have a coffee with, Travelocity stuck to answering questions as the roaming gnome character while CNBC posted a picture of a Tesla and asked: “If you could own any car in the world, what would it be?”

And then, not much later in my RSS reading, this popped up:

No, the real deal-breaker is the marketing. The thing launched like three seconds ago and already I’m getting notifications for “questions” from mobile phone companies, soft drink firms and so on. As Mashable put it, Jelly is the new “play toy” for brands.

And then this from that same article which perfectly encapsulates my feelings about introducing on a community that hasn’t even had time to form:

But for Pete’s sake, can’t you marketers let me get comfy first? Maybe let me poke around and see why this new platform is fun (a debatable point) before you start hitting me over the head with the brand hammer? Do you have to be in there from day one?

Reinventing the wheel with every release

There’s not a whole lot that’s new in this story about marketing movies to young audiences and the challenges therein, but this is the key graf that looks beyond that to the problem with the whole darn system.

With so many movies being produced, you would think it would make it easier for studios to retarget the same or similar fans from one movie to the next. But studios tend to market each film individually, as if each were a newborn baby, often starting from scratch to build an audience, market the film, and distribute it. For example, the “Hunger Games” demographic is probably similar to those who will go out and watch the upcoming, similarly-themed film “Divergent.” Nevertheless, because of the nature of the studios and the manner in which they’ve been marketing films in the past, the studio will likely start from ground zero. And every movie, each time, is treated like its own little startup, with new people, new PR, new marketing, new everything. Talk about expensive – and tiring!

via Getting ‘Gen Z’ into movie theaters | PandoDaily.

The core problem with social TV

Wow do I wish I’d written this:

Okay, video startups, it’s time to get real: That social TV thing you’ve been trying for the last couple years? It’s not working.

The evidence is all around us: A few days ago, Yahoo announced that it was shutting down Intonow, the social TV service it had acquired three years ago. The announcement came on the heels of i.TV discontinuing the GetGlue service and brand which it acquired late last year in favor of its new tvtag app.

And just today, social TV company Viggle bought Dijit, better known for its NextGuide app. Dijit of course had acquired social TV pioneer Miso a year ago, just around the time when Viggle tried — and failed — to buy GetGlue.

Dizzy yet? I haven’t even mentioned Matcha, Tunerfish, Screentribe, Twelevision, Otherscreen, BeeTV, Numote or Philo yet — all startups that tried and failed to revolutionize TV by making it social. Some got acquired and eventually sidelined, others just fizzled and ran out of cash. Part of this is simply how the startup world works — for every success, there are a bunch of failures.

But there’s more to it: from the very beginning, standalone social TV apps were a solution in search of a problem.

via Let’s face it: social TV is dead — Tech News and Analysis.

WordPress is just kind of great

Mullenweg has a must-read post about the valuable role WordPress – and open source software in general – plays in the world. The whole thing is great but this is the bit that stuck out at me in particular:

What they miss is that WordPress isn’t a checklist of features. It’s over 29,000 plugins created by the community, from the in-demand things like SEO to niche features like using your 404 page to help adopt homeless dogs in Sweden. Every WordPress site looks different, because of the thousands of themes available. Instead of one event to outdo, there are more than 70 volunteer-organized WordCamps on six continents (and there’ll be more in 2014).

via The Four Freedoms | Matt Mullenweg.

It may be a bit of rationalization on my part, but I do consider myself a “contributor” to WordPress, despite the fact that I’ve never contributed a single line of code, use a free theme on this blog and so on. But my embracing WordPress and evangelizing its benefits to others I do feel I’m doing at least something to contribute to the platform. Luckily I work with some world-class developers who are doing real work, so part of me also feels like they make up whatever ground I may be slacking in.

I remember years and years ago when I first experienced WordPress it just felt right. After using Blogger for a while I was able to snag an invite from Auburn professor Robert French to build a blog on his PRBlogs system. Shortly after that I got my “golden ticket” to start my own WP blog – this one – at a time when they were being doled out on a somewhat limited basis. Every other platform has paled in comparison.

There’s more behind the “short trailers” directive than starting movies on time

So yeah, this is happening:

In a move sure to ignite plenty of debate in Hollywood, the National Association of Theater Owners has released voluntary guidelines calling for movie trailers to be no longer than two minutes — 30 seconds shorter than is the norm.

The guidelines also specify that a trailer cannot be shown for a movie more than five months before its release. Nor can marketing materials be displayed inside of a theater for a film more than four months away from release.

via Theater Owners Enact New Guidelines Calling for Shorter Movie Trailers – The Hollywood Reporter.

A couple thoughts:

One: This has to also be about in-theater advertising at some level. If they can cut down the time the trailers take it’s more likely that time would be filled by additional ads and not used to speed up getting to the feature film.

Two: I still don’t get why there aren’t more “internet-only” trailers that are created that go outside the 2.5 minute restrictions. If studios can’t put the trailer they really want in theaters, they can still put it on their own sites. Come on, this is no-brainer.

News, news everywhere

An interesting read on the current state of media and the massive changes that have been happening over the last year or so.

Just within the last month, all kinds of details have emerged about the construction of new, digital, high-quality-aiming national news organizations. What may seem like a gold rush is really something else, but the reasons underlying the great movement — and it’s only January! — are worth examining.

via The newsonomics of why everyone seems to be starting a news site » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Then there’s this on Buzzfeed that takes the piss out of much of the media world’s reporting on the media world:

Most of the “future of media” columns this week, written largely by established, authoritative critics at legacy media properties, lacked crucial context. This is a crowd that deeply understands the players in and economics of the media business, but that privileges old media over new (or even just old-new over new-new). Today’s most prominent media reporters watched and chronicled print’s financial troubles and the rise of scrappy web ventures, and drew from their own experiences with both, documenting and living in an industry changing against its own will. It was a short, under-appreciated golden era of media reporting — immensely compelling writers finding themselves at the center of a fascinating and consuming story.

Movie trailers have changed, man

A great piece on how movie trailers have evolved over the years and why trailers from just 10 or 15 years ago seem hopelessly square and odd by today’s standards. Absolutely worth reading and here’s the story’s thesis statement:

Ultimately, it’s because a trailer is built around the advertising ideas and dominant media of its time. In other words, a trailer is as much a product of its media environment as it is reflective of the film it’s selling.

via Why Classic Movies Have Terrible Trailers – Adrienne LaFrance – The Atlantic.

Flipboard looks to the past to guide the future

Interesting changes coming from Flipboard:

Flipboard co-founder Evan Doll said the new features — which launched today and will start rolling out to everyone gradually over the next few weeks — are designed to give users a way to scan the top headlines or items in the major content categories they might be interested in — whether that’s content on specific topics, or from specific sources they have chosen, or articles recommended by Flipboard’s human editors and algorithms.

via Flipboard wants to tame the unruly stream by becoming more like a traditional magazine — Tech News and Analysis.

Tumblr bests

Mary Gaulke on the PNConnect team has a great post that looks at some great Tumblr blogs and how they serve the brands who publish them. The post comes from the PNConnect Trends Report, a monthly overview of what’s hot and interesting in the social publishing world. If you’re interested receiving that let me know.

Tumblr is a force to be reckoned with on the social Web, with traffic to the site increasing by 74% from 2012 to 2013. Still, for many brands it’s an open question whether – and how – to leverage the platform. Among the many brands already succeeding on Tumblr, we’ve delineated three broad types of blogs to help provide some insight into what’s working particularly well. (Although, of course, many brands blend elements of the different types.) Here’s an introduction to each of those types, with some illustrative examples of how different brands are making the format work for them.

via Three Species of Tumblr Brand Blogs: A Field Guide « PNConnect | Digital Marketing Services from Porter Novelli.