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Microsoft “New Family” Ad Gets Jup Raves September 12, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Consensus among Jupiter advertising types: we love the latest Seinfeld/BillG Microsoft ad from Crispin Porter + Bogusky. It’s hilarious and totally engaging.

Colleague Michael Greene likes the idea that it’s funny and quirky enough that you want to watch it all the way through, and again, to catch the details. We agree that Bill is pretty charming, in a goofy PC-Guy like way, and I see some hints of Yoda. 200K views on YouTube as of this morning, posted yesterday.

Joe, I often agree with your analysis — and even your taste in movies — but keep your day job.


New iPods: Solid Refresh but Nothing Much New September 10, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Enough people, including colleague Mark Mulligan, covered yesterday’s iPod announcement, and I certainly spoke to a few in the press. It’s a solid upgrade. Apple won’t lose any market share, but they’re not likely to bring any more new customers into the fold, at least not via features and pricing.

As expected, no on-demand service, subscription or otherwise. Apple has no need to endorse this $250-ish million market that’s fairly sluggish. Rhapsody, Napster and Zune haven’t proven differentiators or high growth businesses yet.

Nothing on the service/content side as innovative as Nokia Comes With Music (or as biz-model unsustainable?) or some kind of ad-supported strategy.

Cool colors (Jupiter orange!) and nice screen at the sweet spot of the market.

Zune Guns for Music Discovery Role September 9, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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A few comments on Microsoft’s latest Zune updates to tide you over till the Apple announcement. Announcement details here.

– Zune’s pitch that it’s a device (and services) about music discovery isn’t half bad, and allows for some differentiation from Apple and SanDisk. I’ve always liked the beam-a-song-to-a-friend capability — all too rare good use of DRM! Now Zune can tap the other major source of music discover — radio.

Jupiter consumer surveys show that radio (63% of online adults) and friends’ recommendations (26%) are the top two means of music discovery. Recommendations increase in importance for younger audiences and for sophisticated music fans.

– Microsoft continues to treat its Zune users well. All software and services are available and upgradeable for all Zune models.

– Channels and Personal Picks are logical extensions to the service, but they’re both table stakes for digital music services (eg Rhapsody, Napster) and personalized recommendations are the same for stores (eg iTunes, Amazon). There’s still no ad-supported service strategy.

– The build-out of Zune as a music-themed social network continues, but I remain unconvinced. Wouldn’t it be better to embed a lot of Zune connections into music communities with lots of members like the obvious social networking suspects?

– The hardware is competitive — at least for this morning — but undifferentiated aside from WiFi, which, of course, the iPod Touch and iPhone have, too.

It’s a long slog to a competitive position in media players, but we all said that about Xbox, too. But I’d feel a lot better about Zune’s fortunes if I heard something super-aggressive about on-demand services, advertising, and syndication.

September 7, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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At the Inverge conference on Friday, Joshua Green, research manager for MIT’s Convergence Culture Consortium, used the “AMC-Twittergate-Mad Men Nine” story to illustrate a fresh way of thinking about the entertainment value chain now that we’ve got social media. (AMC originally ordered some fans who were Tweeting as characters in Mad Men, its Emmy-nominated hit show, to cease and desist, then quickly backed down under blogosphere pressure.) Green proposes that, while brand ambassadors are useful, the real value of social media occurs when your entertainment content is “redacted.” That is, mashing up is worth more than passing along recommendations.

The argument is that the most intensive creation of cultural meaning happens among those fans that do things like fan fiction and re-mixing. Thus, the mission of an entertainment company is to give its rabid audience creators raw material to work with. That’s more valuable, in theory, because if a marketer can gracefully insert itself – or better, yet, interact – with that audience at this point of creation, it will be in a hugely valuable bonding position.

As mainstream new media offerings go, Green likes Hulu for its user experience and syndication strategy (including embed-ability) but he says it still behaves like old media, and is only subtly evolving scheduling and content scarcity. We’re in a world of entertainment plenty, he says, which means it’s all about letting the audience mash away and add cultural value.

Perhaps. But there are tons more viewers than creators out there, and the audience for user-created content is usually much, much smaller than for the mainstream broadcast product. Those Mad Men Twitter followers number in the hundreds or thousands, though the PR reach – a lot of it delivered via MSM – was much higher.

As usual, academics can get away with murder on this kind of topic. They don’t actually have to make a living creating and selling media, though Green was honest enough to admit he’s got some concerns about what do with his own forthcoming book vis a vis copyright and UGC. His thinking is provocative, if lacking silver bullet solutions.

A Good First Take on Shoe Circus September 5, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Anybody who reviews Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s BillG/Seinfeld campaign after seeing only the first chapter is asking for trouble. That said, this is the most insightful review I’ve seen yet, courtesy Andrew Frank of Gartner. Gawrsh, I bet I’m not allowed to mention them anymore…

Wieden + Kennedy at Inverge September 4, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Wieden + Kennedy’s director of digital strategies, Renny Gleeson, gave a very entertaining preso at Inverge on brand marketing in the interactive social world — bedecked in rolled jeans and red sneakers with lime-green soles (you were expecting dress casual, maybe?) — but one that raised more questions than answers.

– How much emotional weight do all these new social technologies really carry? And how do you increase that?
– Relationship quality counts, but you probably can measure it by looking at quantity, ie time spent.
– How do you make a brand live (in this environment) when it’s not in an active campaign/selling mode?
– How does the brand experience you create social value? (Probably by creating some kind of social cred value for participants.) When you are in selling mode, how do you make this appear to be an organic outgrowth of the ongoing social brand experience?

More to think about:

All these different social media formats and sites have certain social obligations when participating (respond, post, comment, forward etc.) You better understand them before you insert your brand in the middle.

Funny bits:

Most marketers are still in the “Hey, I’ve got $5 left, let’s do something viral!”

“How many of you Elfed Yourself?” Audience: Many. “Who sponsored it?” Audience: Office Depot. “Waaaaaah. OfficeMax.” (Make sure your social marketing actually carries brand message, let alone relevance. One of Emily Riley‘s favorite themes.)

Gleeson also called out some props to Forrester colleague Jeremiah Owyang, for tracking social media jobs and hires.

Social Everything? September 4, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Met with a handful of clients and prospects yesterday in Seattle. During one pretty free-form conversation with Classmates — one of the few companies that has pulled off paid consumer content online — the discussion ran along the lines of, if the Internet was a connection layer, and HTML etc. was a content/presentation layer, and now we’re adding a social layer, are there any applications that wouldn’t benefit from social functionality? At least from a user’s perspective.

Think about that for a second. It’s tough to come up with any. You end up mumbling about exclusive access/membership or information that needs to be “pure” — from a single, identified source (or artist). And even that could benefit from commentary. One-to-one private communications may be the only thing…

Boy, am I asking for a lot of clutter.

Invergence? September 4, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I’m at the Inverge conference in Portland for the next couple days. I’ll post about cool stuff.

Google Browser: Told Ya! September 1, 2008

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Google will do a browser after all. As predicted. A few times. (Is that better or worse?) Old Jupiter report on what makes Google tick, that seems to still work pretty often. Yes, it’s about platforms again. And about using APIs to control developers, and user interfaces to lock in users.

Not clear to me what makes Google Chrome a “fresh take.” Sandboxed tabs won’t make anyone switch. It’s built out of Google Gears, apparently, which means it will be able to run while off-line. Long-term, that could be about apps platforms and launchpads, but it doesn’t immediately add much value to a Web browsing experience for the masses. Wonder how the Mozilla folks think about Google doing no evil.