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October 2007

please help out - we're trying to do some good

Helping_hand_2 Out of control fires are ravaging the west coast, forcing thousands from their homes, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.

I'd love to help, but I don't have the technical knowhow to create my own "Donate Now" widget.

In the interim I've linked to The American Red Cross donation page in the widget on the upper right corner of this blog. 

If anyone out there has any ideas as to how we can help those displaced by these fires, please comment below.


If you have your own blog, please share this linkTogether we can make a difference.

double standards - marketing in social media

Zoom_vick_19 Major brands have historically been hesitant to play in UGC and/or social media because of unknown content adjacency concerns.

I can understand not advertising on Howard Stern.

I can understand not marketing in Grand Theft Auto.

I don't understand a hesitancy to play in UGC.

Your customers are in social media. 
Your audience is in social media. 
Do you (big brand) really not trust your customers enough to trust them their social behaviors?

HOWEVER, these same brands sponsor sporting events where fighting, cursing and drinking are common! And why? Because sports is a family activity.  Families bring their kids, YMCAs bring their constituents.  The environment in most social media is not inherently dirty, just as the environment at the ballgame is not inherently obscene.  If spectators at a ball game choose to pollute the social environment, brands won't pull their sponsorships.  If a player chooses to do something obscene, brands won't spot sponsoring the sport as a whole. 

So why can't we cross this divide when it comes to social media?

around the blogosphere : 10-23

  • And soon Google Docs?  How about Zoho?  How about *shudder* YouTube subscriptions?  Granted, this is still a couple years away, but this is why the Gphone will rock!
  • Why can't we just embed WiFi and and ethernet connection on our TVs and get it over with?  Stream our content to, from and over our home networks and cut out the middle man!  Our set top boxes are already going digital... let's just get this over with.
  • There are so many reasons... but the common need is for a system that speaks to our computer's digital media in the same way that our computers do.  We want to play everything we own, not everything we bought in your format.  When will we learn?
  • Digital Evolution: WWII was filmed, Vietnam was televised, the Gulf War was televised live, the current Iraq war is being blogged and the California fires are being twittered.


Early Disclosure: AmEx is a client, but that in no way impacted the post below.

Kudos to Digital Hive for sharing the amazing ad below.

OK, so hopefully by now you've watched the video above.

It's cute, it's personable, it spoke to me and hopefully spoke to you.


Because we all have an inner child.  We are all funky in our own way.  We all have an inner circle of friends who "get" us.  When I told a co-worker that I was going to my friend's 25th birthday party - and it was a costume party shared with his 5 year old half-sister - I got weird looks.  This co-worker clearly wasn't in my inner circle of funky friends. My college buddies however, all thought that this was hilarious.  They got me.

MasterCard has taken an apply-approval-acceptance-spend/loyalty product and made it all about you, the user.

MasterCard is sending a clear message: we get you. They didn't however, go the route of many other brands and come out and say - we get you - which to me screams of inauthenticity.  They didn't have to come out and say it, because they emoted it.  I'm not sure that emoted is even a word, but I think emoted is a term we're going to increasingly be using as we transition from disruptive advertising to active branding and content marketing.

transitioning from the old to the new - in need of a map

Globe Most of our digital behaviors are extensions of our analog behaviors, somehow supplemented, augmented or made better by their new digital iterations.  We as an industry are heading down a new road and the only map we have is years is nearly a century old.  So how do I get from point a - today - to point b - tomorrow... before we arrive there?  If I learned anything from Back To The Future 2 it was that knowing the future is a profitable business.  So let's break this down.

What we're really asking is - to what extent does digital media create new behaviors?  How has the digital evolution gradually become a revolution?  Our roads have been rerouted and redirected so many times that our maps are oftentimes obsolete, yet we haven't undergone too many major overnight changes.

What started as digital mail (email) became file sharing and ultimately P2P-Torrent-like digital asset distribution- ultimately changing the way we view, store, access and interact with media as a whole.  The gradual evolutionary steps we have undergone as a society  - when viewed through the lens of a decade of progress - have become a virtual revolution in our social and behavioral ecosystems.

So bottom line: we're all in this field as consumers, professionals and/or hobbyists - how does anyone know where we're going to be 5 miles down the road?

Firstly, I would suggest that we cannot forget the lessons we have learned as a market over the past 80 years, nor can we afford to ignore that which has  not yet been discovered - or was previously rejected.  Nothing is irrelevant.  iTV may have failed 8 years ago, but I may become huge in the coming years.  Print media may be undergoing a fundamental shift, but with new technologies (like e-ink) we may see it rise in the digital domain once again as a growing media.  The continuous shift the digital marketplace has seen and will continue to witness over the coming decades will continue to open new doors without closing all existing ones. 

Someone recently asked me, why would you blog if you could sell your ideas for money?  Firstly, I'm not convinced that I'm that smart or insightful.  Secondly, I don't believe that any one person (Godin included!) has all the answers.  The best we can hope to do is to read, to write, to discuss and to contribute, to create a new information and marketing ecosystem - together

In 10 years from now, college professors and mainstream media outlets will be looking  back at "predictive" blog posts from today and estimating the extent to which we were correct in our analysis and predictions.  What will they say about you?

Perhaps the greatest creative outlet generated by new/digital media is not the content itself, but the nature of the ecosystem in which the content resides.  There is conversation.  There is expression.  There is emotion.  And perhaps more importantly, everything is documented and recorded for all posterity. 

This post will still be here in a week, in a month, in a year, in a decade. And I'm sure we'll all have great fun looking back out our "pre-historic" thinking and have a good chuckle at ourselves.

So do us all a favor, and read before you write.  Comment without fear that you will be viewed as a newbie, the conversation is how we all learn!  And once you have a feel for what this whole social media thing is about... WRITE! 

Leave your mark.  Be part of the conversation.  Become part of tomorrow's thought leadership today.

around the blogosphere : 10-19

  • While I agree that the operating system wars are not news, nor are they exciting or innovative... to suggest that our rudimentary web as a platform opportunities are the new OS is immature.

the human element

Hands In our world of tech, we as marketers, brands and individuals often forget that we're selling to and interacting with individual humans.

This is why authenticity works.  This is why the Wii sells (it's all about the immersion, not the technical abilities).  This is why some messages hit home while others make us antsy (that one could just be me).

Chris Brogan has an amazing series of 3 posts, (all from today) that highlight this point. 

  • Hugs are real.  Hugs are human.  Sincere hugs are connection that welcome and make you feel at home.
  • We work to live.  We connect digital to join and enhance our lives as a supplement to our real world dreams and pursuits, not as a primary driving force in our lives.
  • Picking up the phone is more human than the typed word.  While it may occasionally annoy co-workers, I always prefer in-person drop-byes to phone calls, and prefer phone calls to email.  Email may be easier if you're in a time crunch, but real interactions are always more meaningful and directive.

So check these posts out, I found them to be incredibly meaningful. 

Please feel free to shamelessly promote you're own blogs, posts and thoughts around this subject in the comments!

And with that, I'm out!  Have a great weekend!

a legal quandry - with massive implications

Sand_2 Techdirt reports on an intriguing case that while on it's own may not seem that far reaching, the implications of this legal decision may well shape the future media landscape (see below)

The Case

Flying J is a truck stop operator.

They have been paying for a license to show TV content.

They have since begun skipping their broadcasted ads and inserting their own.

The Discussion
Their argument is: time skipping is legal!  It is our right to turn off the screens during ads, or to show our own ad streams in place of the content if we so desire!

Content owners are bringing them to court for copyright infringement.

If I can legally skip ads or turn off the tv whenever ads are shown, why can't I insert my own?

In the first model the content owners ads are not shown, in the second their ads are likewise missing.  Where is their loss? 

Techdirt reports:

You could even take the argument one step further and say that if Flying J employees turned off the TV whenever commercials were on (or, more realistically, changed the channel), it would still be perfectly legal. The only thing that seems to have somehow made this illegal is the introduction of the automated device, which doesn't even do anything to the broadcasters' content (which, again, has already been paid for). It's just blocking third party content, but that third party isn't a part of the case. So it's difficult to see how this is copyright infringement at all. Instead, it sounds a lot more like felony interference of a business model masquerading as copyright infringement.

My Thoughts
I would like to believe that the content owners are correct.  When you license a TV stream, you are licensing the right to display the stream.  If you want to edit the stream, that is your right.  If you want to show other content on the same television streams, that is your right.  However, to insert your own ads - to directly monetize their content - without a contract or clause allowing such behavior, should be a violation of copyright law and the licensing agreement. 

The Implications for the Future Landscape
Perhaps the most important trend here is not the case itself, but the implications therein.  If Flying J wins, what's to stop Tivo from offering a free Tivo to every home in America - one that will timeshift and skip ad breaks in the television content, replacing them with fewer but targeted ads?  Think about it: replace a 3 minute commercial break with a 45 second break containing three targeted fifteen second ads and you've created serious equity!  This should be enough to offset the cost of the hardware, and could put a significant dent in network viewership!

I'm not a legal expert, I'm just trying to figure out where we need to draw the line.  And hey, what if there is no line?  How will this change the media landscape as we now know it?