I Miss My Old Media

I miss all the news that fit to print -- not all the news, and pseudo-news, and churnalism, and press releases published verbatim, and gossip, and updates to gossip, and galleries, and listicles  that drive  just one more page view.

I miss editors who say no.

I miss reading Playboy -- or anything -- for the articles.

I miss cutting things out to save them for later.

I miss ads that sell hard from a full spread and feel good about it;  ads that don't stalk you, and nag you, and creep you out.

I miss hearing from my friends once a year and spending all night catching up and telling them how much their kids have grown since I'd last seen them because the last I'd seen them was a year ago.

I miss organically yellowed pictures.

I miss the way old film cameras used to smell.

I miss having just one TV remote on my couch.

I miss turning the dial on my radio, and hearing crackling, and static, and then catching a faint song that sounds like it's played thousands of miles away because it is.

I miss songs on the radio being selected by someone but a playlist algorithm.

I miss knobs, and buttons, and dials, and switches.

I miss running to my mailbox and finding a handwritten letter.

New York Agency To Host Competition for Marketing Technology Start-ups

A note from EDGE Collective:

On September 27, EDGE Collective is hosting their inaugural event Expand My Brand, an all day symposium matching up today’s top brands with emerging technologies and startups to explore how social technology is impacting brand marketing and advertising. At the end of the event there will be a startup competition where 5 new emerging startup technologies will pitch their product to a panel of brands and thought leaders, Shark Tank style, for a chance to win $30,000 in startup assets from EDGE Collective.

Buy your tickets here.

If you have a startup and are interested in participating, click here.

We Must Blaze A Trail To New Media [1946]

Found a small stack of PDFs of scans of old issues of Grey Matter, Grey's research newsletters the agency sent out to media ("since 1935"). Particularly cool is a 1997 retrospective (pdf) of what Grey had published about television over the years.

From a 1946 issue:
"Throughout the still-raging dispute concerning the precise position television will occupy in the advertising firmament, a point has been missed... television is just one phase of a new advertising age (we might call) the "electronic age" of advertising...
We hope we will not be charged with being anti-newspapers, anti-magazines or any of the established media... but we see a brilliant future for radio, for television, for (other electronic media). And we would be sadly remiss in our duty to advertising... to clients.. to future clients if we did not firmly resolve to explore those new media intensively and utilize them to the maximum of their potentials." 

Going to ARF's Audience Measurement Conference

For a recent experiment, we divided respondents into two groups. To both groups, we showed a trailer for an upcoming movie. One group was given two different descriptions for the trailer (as if there were two different trailers) and asked to chose one or the other. We have found that the presence of this "choice" had a significant effect on recall of key facts from the trailer. We are doing some follow-up work now to clarify a few things, but what we found was pretty interesting.

My colleague Rob St.Louis and I are going to the ARF's Audience Measurement conference in New York in June to present a paper with the results. Come say hi if you are there.  Our thing starts at 1.50pm on Monday June 11 in Majestic on the 6th floor of, I think, Marriott Marquis.

Oh, and we have also just published the results of another study that showed how fiddling with smartphones distracts people from TV and what could be done about it

A Cheat Code in Halo 4 Box Art Puzzle

Microsoft unveiled the box art for the upcoming Halo 4 game by emailing Xbox community members one of the 32 pieces of puzzle that when assembled together reveal the image.  The puzzle was cracked in about an hour, probably helped by the fact that the remaining 31 pieces could be seen by changing the last two digits of the image URL before the ".jpg" part, a fact that wasn't lost on the fans:


Google's Screenwise Project Listens To TV Habits

Google's Screenwise research project announced back in February is designed to collect data on more than just Internet behavior. In addition to custom wireless routers that gather information on participants' browsing and downloading habits, the recently mailed recruiting brochure describes a device "a little bigger than a smartphone" called Screenwise TV Tab. TV Tab "captures audio signals that enables the study to identify which TV programs are being viewed."

The information TV Tab collects includes:
  • Identity of person logging into the Screenwise TV Tab
  • Timestamps indicating time of log-in and log-out
  • Duration of television usage per session
  • The total amount of time a television is used in the household
[source: Screenwise Select privacy policy]

I haven't seen the device, but I think it could be based on Android and powered by this TV Tab app developed by Mobile Research Labs.  Android market lists the number of installs for this app at between 10 and 50.

In addition, a different Screenwise app (which looks like a version of Lumi's AnalyzeMe) captures participants' smartphone habits. Among the more interesting things the app collects are:
  • Frequency of use of device calendar
  • Battery status
  • Whether you are using your smartphone inside or outside your home
  • How long music is played, and the title and artist for each song
  • Timestamp and duration of any video viewed on smartphone
  • all URL's and advertisements viewed
  • When a Panelist opens or closes an application
[source: Screenwise Select privacy policy]

Google, who is conducting this research together with GfK, is offering a sign-up incentive of $100 with up to an additional $50 for each month the participating household stays in the study.

Some people who were randomly selected to receive a recruiting mailer (accompanied with a crispy two-dollar bill), are concerned it might be a scam, or worse: "The money is real too! A $2 Dollar bill? SO weird man... never heard of anything like this."

In Case of Emergency, Eat This Book

Land Rover in the United Arab Emirates printed 5,000 edible copies of a desert survival guide. Twenty-eight pages of potato-based starch paper have a slightly sugary taste from the glycerin-based ink and are bound by a spiral that can be used as skewers. The book comes in  a reflective cover that can be used to send help signals.
-- Y&R Dubai; thank you, Guillaume

Pinnable Ads

Saw this page on AdKeeper, the company that is trying to make online advertising bookmarkable. This could be an interesting way for Pinterest itself to make money: becoming a network for ads that people will want to hold on to. Won't be a huge stretch for them, most of the pins are already very ad like. You will easily find pins for a book, iPhone app, music, movie posters and trailers, and even payday loans.

And I already see people pinning coupons. Here's one from Jiffy Lube someone has pinned after filing out a satisfaction survey.

Do People Hear Ads When They Are In a Coma?

"...when they run to the bathroom" is what I meant to ask.

In case you are wondering, some studies show that people in a coma can hear.


Pretty -- a panorama made of Pinterest boards.  Saw something similar on Flickr a few years back.
- via Grant

Play Scrabble Over Twitter With TwitterScrabble

Arrange 100 characters into the highest-scoring tweet of the day to win your box of Scrabble Trickster with this brilliant Belgian Twitter Scrabble promotion. Alas, only in Dutch.
- via Digital Buzz Blog

Google Still Indexes AdSense Ads As Content; Top Search Result Are PDFs

Four years ago, I noticed that Google was indexing AdSense ads as if it were content on the host pages. I thought I'd check to see if they were still doing it.  The reason I care is that,  for Google,  indexing ads it serves creates wrong incentives around ordering pages in search results. Here's a hypothetical scenario.  "Hey, look, here's a page with just the query you are looking for". The user clicks on the organic search result and then clicks on the AdSense ad. (My own experience with site analytics has shown that organic search visitors are the best AdSense clickers.)  Ka-Ching! Google is a dollar richer.

Putin, Viagra, and The Unfortunate Ad Placement of the Day

A new puppet show in Russia shows Vladimir Putin fighting the loss of his penis, according to this Reuters story that was accompanied by a I Can't Believe It's Viagra banner.

California Dogs Tune Into Their Own TV Channel

Cats can has cheezburger, but dogs are getting their own TV programming.

San Diego dogs subscribed to Cox or Time Warner now have their own 24/7 TV channel called DogTV, soon to roll out nationwide. "DOGTV offers scientifically designed content for dogs of all ages, and all breeds. If your dogs can hear or see, then DOGTV is right for them. DOGTV is working hard to produce fresh content all the time, so your dog will always get new, exciting visual and auditory stimulations."

DogTV will make money through monthly subscriptions, although dogs look like a promising advertising audience. According to the site, "nearly half of those surveyed had dogs that showed some interest in what was happening on the television screen." Which is more that can be said about most people. Besides, dogs are also afraid of remote controls.

For the busy dogs on the go, DOGTV also offers a YouTube channel and a Twitter feed.

How To Hijack Facebook Likes, and Other Social Engineering

The Pinterest Giveaway Scam got pretty big today; at one point about 10% of Pinterest homepage pins were scam pins. In addition to the Starbucks offer, I counted at least three others -- for H&M, iPhone (of course), and GAP.

What fascinates me about the scam is the authors' crafty use of recognizable social media symbols to create an illusion of authenticity, and -- more importantly -- an illusion of endorsement. In other words, exploitation of cognitive biases, also known as social engineering.

Let's take a closer look at the "Starbucks" page (now available at http://giftinterest.com/coffee_4y8l1 but likely not for long). What do we see?

The Illustrated Anatomy of a Viral Pinterest Scam

Update: Part II - How The Scammers Hijacked Facebook Likes

It started with a tweet from a friend:

Never one to pass a scam, I dutifully clicked and landed on a page with this URL: http://giftinterest.com/coffee_ob9ve

Instead Of Sales, They Seek Applause

From a book about which David Ogilvy is quoted as saying: "Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times":

 "Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship. Successes and failures in both lines are due to like causes. Thus every advertising question should be answered by the salesman's standards.

Let us emphasize that point. The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales. It is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen. Treat it as a salesman. Force it to justify itself. Compare it with other salesmen. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong. The difference is only in degree. Advertising is multiplied salesmanship. It may appeal to thousands while the salesman talks to one. It involves a corresponding cost. Some people spend $10 per word on an average advertisement. Therefore every ad should be a super-salesman.

Why Facebook Will Do Search And Why Google Needs Social

Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture of himself in front of his computer, and an eagle-eyed blogger noticed that his version of Facebook sports a larger-than-usual search box. An unintended leak or not, Facebook competing in search is only a matter of time just as, in retrospect, it was inevitable that Google would integrate social elements deeper into its main product.

This is why.

Convert Your RSS Into Email Newsletters With Ads

This is a sponsored post.

RevResponse, a company that helps bloggers make money by selling and giving away white papers and magazine subscriptions, has a new nifty tool that converts a blog's RSS feed into an email with automatically inserted promo offers.

RevResponse's aptly named RSS to Email Tool is a welcome addition to the pretty small group of  RSS converters. A field once teeming with start-ups, it is now the domain of a few email newsletter providers, notably MailChimp,  and Feedburner,  a once innovative product that has become stale after its sale to Google and the departure of Dick Costolo to the greener pastures of Twitter.

Like other similar tools out there, RSS to Email takes your most recent posts and packages them into a template of your choice. The templates come in a range of colors, and while they are not likely to win any beauty pageants the tool does come with a fairly flexible scheduling system that allows you to send digests of your brilliance either once a month, once a week, or on any combination of days of your choice.

Importantly -- and uniquely -- the tool adds rather unobtrusive ads for contextually chosen whitepapers or other publications right into your blogomail: either a set of text links or an ad with a thumbnail of the publication's cover. If you run a marketing blog, advertised publications could range from HubSpot's white papers and something called Chief Social Marketer to the awesomely esoteric niche B2B pubs such as Perishables Buyer and Archery Business.

Future: The Pirate Bay Loads Up on Physical Goods

Not science fiction anymore, this: "Once chairs and other things become content, the prospect of rampant chair piracy turns from unimaginable into very real."  The Pirate Bay is opening a new category for the new kind of piratable stuff: "We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years."

In the world where all merchandise is either basic materials or data about how to arrange them, what is the role of brands?

In Memoriam: Kodak Scenic Spots

I took my first Kodak Photo Spot (wiki) pictures at my spring break trip to the Disney World in the mid-1990s, and through all these years I've never stopped admiring their genius. It's a marketing idea whose elegance has rarely been emulated. I love how organically spreadable the signs were, how they subtly nudged you to spend another scarce frame of  film, and how they made people's lives a little bit better by giving their memories just the right composition.

Of course today the Kodak Picture Spot is something that could probably be built straight into the digital camera wired to recognize the subject and to statistically analyze thousands of photos taken from the same spot to recommend the optimal composition and camera settings.

A Kodak photo spot, (K. Mikey M on Flickr / group)

"As photography became more engrossed in American culture in the early 20th century, The Eastman Kodak Company began to look for new ways to advertise photography and its cameras. With the rise of the automobile industry and the development of American highways, the company began a campaign called “Kodak Scenic Spots.” Starting in 1920, Kodak began to place signs throughout American highways that advertised both their name and the practice of photography by marking interesting and beautiful scenery. Initially, these signs appeared on the roads outside of Kodak’s hometown of Rochester, NY in order to test the effectiveness of the idea. Within a year, they began sending members of their advertising department across the country to select the most scenic views to be awarded signs. By 1939, Kodak had placed 6,000 scenic spot signs across the country.
The exact phrases used in these signs changed over time. When the company began the campaign, the signs read: “Picture Ahead! Kodak as you go.” Eventually, the use of the work “Kodak” as a verb was stopped and the signs were changed to read: “Kodak Scenic Spot.” After the initial campaign ended in 1939, Kodak continued to place these signs sporadically in theme parks and tourist locations until the late 1980s. These signs also carried a new label, which read: “Kodak Picture Moment.”

Map of Kodak Picture Spots at Magic Kingdom (source)

Spy Plane As Propaganda Tchotchke

An Iranian company Aaye Art Group ("designer and manufacturer of artistic and cultural goods") is making replicas of the American RQ-170 drone aircraft downed in Iran last month:  "Most of the toys, which come in several colors and are made of Iranian plastic, have already been snapped up by Iranian government organizations. [...] The firm is now making 2,000 of them a day. "  (Washington Post)

If you want to buy one but are affected by the embargo, you could pick up a similar one on eBay.

Augmented Reality Glasses from Lumus

Ever dreamed of watching a video or a favorite TV show on the go?  Well, aren't you lucky:

Daily Mail: "Translucent TV: Lumus' PD-18-2 is a set of spectacles that can beam high-quality images directly into your eyes but allows the user to see through the images too." (This is Lumus.)

Memorable Metal Plaques From Impact Signs

This is a sponsored post.

The many uses for fine metal plaques are as varied as those who commission them. Whether they're intended for individual recognition, as a treasured memorial, or to identify a landmark or location, customized plaques make noteworthy markers.

Impact Signs creates metal plaques with distinction. Shapes of any style are available, and in most cases, turnaround is complete within eight business days; no extra fees apply. With exacting standards and superior services, Impact Signs is a leading source for metal plaques.

Abundant choices make it easy to create a unique and unforgettable plaque. After selecting the shape, material choices continue the design. Cast metals, such as aluminum or bronze, may be plain or textured in leatherette, pebble, smooth sand or stipple. Etched finishes offer a different, glossier look in brass, bronze, copper or stainless steel.

Several background color choices add to the appearance of metal casts, and specialty finishes lend an impressive air. Specialty finishes for cast bronze include oxidized options as well as colorful patinas, while both aluminum and bronze casts are available with a polished finish.

There are also numerous border and edge choices for cast plaques. Beveled edges, no borders, and single or double-line borders are available for both aluminum and bronze casts. Etched finishes come with either beveled edges or no border.

The finishing touches on a metal plaque are no less important than the plaque shape, materials and finishes. A variety of installation methods suit different materials and can create unique appearances, especially with the addition of rosette details to conceal or enhance the mounts. Additionally, both etched and cast plaques offer photo options that are truly exceptional.

In business since 1989, Impact Signs uses ecologically friendly practices, including recycled signage materials, solar technology and recycling of waste products. All work comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Clotaire Rapaille Patents "Before And After" Ads

Clotaire Rapaille, the author of The Culture Code who was featured in the PBS documentary The Persuaders, is the inventor behind the patent for "Advertisement for Leather Clothing" granted in 2005. The patent references Rapaille's "imprinting sessions", "archetype discoveries" and the reptilian brain to conclude that "by emphasizing the transformative nature of leather clothing, it is possible to produce a useful, concrete and tangible result, namely, an effective advertisement for leather clothing. In particular it has been determined that such an advertisement can be made yet more effective when the transformations involved is from a person who is less sexual to a person who is more sexual."

In other words, show "before" and "after", with the "after" being  the sexier of the two.