February 04, 2007

Superbowl Commercials, 30 Minutes Later - Name Your Top 5 Ads

By Li Evans

Coltswinsuperbowl The Superbowl Champions may be the Indianapolis Colts (Pat, I bet you are dancing right now!), but there's also other winners.  Who are they?  Those whose commercials you remember 30 minutes after the game and can chuckle or talk about tomorrow at work.  These marketers paid several millions of dollars on 30 second spots that they hoped caught your attention enough to remember them AFTER the game, enough to talk about them tomorrow and for days/weeks after the game has faded into memory.

So I'll share my type 5 favorite Superbowl Commercials:

  1. Career-Builder Ads - all of them, hilarious!
  2. Robertgouletemeraldnuts Emerald Nuts - so that's what happens at 3 p.m. - I'm on the watch for Robert Goulet now!
  3. Budwiser Ads - both the crabs (the animation/reactions - just funny!) and the JayZ/Don Shula ad (great graphics!) - both were great
  4. Nationwide's Federline Ad - *sighs* I admit it, I found it funny, even though I saw it on Monday- it's still memorable!
  5. Tie:  Coca-Cola Ads (all of them) / Footlocker Garnett Autograph Ad - Coke's ad were fun, classy and cute. Footlocker, just made me laugh, "oh no not my shoe!"

Those are the ones I'll be talking about - Viral Marketing / Word of Mouth Marketing in high gear, in a positive way.

The Superbowl Commercials I didn't really care for (mostly because they were lame!):

  1. GoDaddy - come on guys, you tried that same approach the other year - nothing new here, move on to another idea!
  2. Sherylcrowerevloncolorist Revlon - Uhhh, I don't have a colorist following me around for 6 weeks, why do I care that Sheryl Crow does?  Do guys really care about coloring their hair?
  3. Budlight - the one with the gorillas, just, kinda, stupid.
  4. Sales Genie - just plain out LAME-O
  5. Flomax - yes, just what ever guy wants to see, a commercial for male urinating problems! (I couldn't find it on YouTube - I wonder why!? LOL)

So, which one's did you like and not like?  I'm interested in knowing!

January 21, 2007

Google Behind Microsoft With Advertising In Video Games

By Li Evans

Adscapelogo Believe it or not, there are a few places where Google is behind or isn't even "playing in the game", yet.  One of those markets is Video Game Advertising, both In-Game and Published Title Releases bought in the store.  In this space, Microsoft's Massive Incorporated is a major player along with Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide.  There is a lot of news being reported this weekend that Google is in talks to buy its way into this advertising and marketing space by acquiring Adscape Media, Inc.

Last year, Microsoft acquired Massive Incorporated for what was speculated at somewhere between $200 and $300 million, although dollar amounts were never disclosed publicly. I wrote about Microsoft stepping into In-Game advertising back in September, when EA Games and Microsoft announced their deal to provide live in-game advertising within EA's games that can be played through the XBox 360 and PC's.

Massiveincorporatedlogo I'm involved with a project outside of my day job that keeps me pretty active in news on the video gaming front (I know David Temple's going to ping me and say "When do you find the time?!").  So, from experience, I am familiar with the fact that Adscape Media, Inc. is a "new kid" on the block when it comes to this particular market.  There are other companies that have a lot better foothold in this particular area, but they probably aren't quite as open to Google's courting since they have a lot more publishing deals signed and established titles than Adscape Media does.

Massiveincorporatedpartners I checked out Adscape Media's site, (if you are a SEO - please stop twitching, the site's done entirely in flash) today to see if they had any new titles signed on or publishers added, but nothing was listed.  Usually these firms are really eager to boast the titles they have locked in like Double Fusion and IGA Worldwide do.  This is important in the world of game development.  Game publishers want to know that these advertising companies are experienced in this realm of advertising and want to be able to converse with other publishers about their experience, especially in the area of "creative control".  They don't want some company who's going to make their titles into a parking lot of ads.

This is also an area where your normal "mom and pop" advertisers are likely not going to be able to play as readily.  The major barriers I see are: understanding how it all works, price/budgets and what exactly is the model?  It certainly isn't PPC, so for Google, if they do "seal the deal" with Adscape Media, Inc. early this week, will it be more like the radio and print ads that they have in beta now?  I think it will likely take a road similar to that, but again, it will take a lot of eduction of the customer that is the advertiser.

Xbox_1 For Microsoft, acquiring Massive, Inc. made sense since they are the maker of the XBox.  However, for Google, this just seems like a much cheaper "YouTube like" purchase.  It is another way to quickly acquire the eyeballs that they are missing out on, and figure out how to monetize the acquisition in a "Google Way". 

Chrisgilbertadscapeceo If you would like to learn a little more about Adscape Media, (who by the way boasts over 100 years experience in the Video Gaming Market) check out Gamasutra's interview with Adscape Media's CEO Chris Gilbert.  He gives his thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of Massive, Inc., what he believes is their competitive advantage, hurdles this particular industry faces and bit more.

January 02, 2007

Can Microsoft Get it Right in 2007?

By Li Evans

2006 was not a banner year for Microsoft by any means.  Between delays of the new operating system (Vista) launching after the holiday season, to the launch of "Live Search", to the year end major snafu of sending laptops to bloggers, Microsoft has some heavy PR, Marketing and Branding issues on its hands.  2007 is going to be a year to watch and see how Microsoft deals with not being a leader in several areas that it tried to wade into.

Microsoft Marketing, Branding & PR Issues

  • Msnsearchorlivesearch Live Search vs. MSN Search - Microsoft has got some serious issues here.  Do "normal" people even know what "Live Search" is?  In the summer when Live Search was launched it perplexed me to no end.  Microsoft was already lagging behind Google and Yahoo in search.  Now add in the confusion between Live Search and MSN Search, its only managed pushed them further behind.  Advice:  Mr. Berkowitz please pick a name/brand, stick behind that brand and MARKET the darn thing to the "normal" people.
  • Zunead2_1 Zune - Where to go with this one, so many levels, so many mis-steps.  I don't even know if anything can save this brand/product.  Perhaps they should just let this product slip silently into the netherland?  Why with product advertisements that feature creepy bugs and skulls - it's a wonder they even sell at all with a campaign like that.  Advice:  Get a new advertising campaign, find customer evangelists and let them promote the product, and put a stop to incidents where stores are using Zune marketing pieces to promote iPods.
  • Freeacerlaptop_1"Bribing Bloggers" - Of course this wasn't the intent of the campaign to promote the launch of Vista, but it is how it has shaken out.  Pile on top, that it was Edelman who handled this (remember the Walmart Flogging Fiasco) campaign and it just made things worse.  In all honesty, it wasn't a bad idea at all, just how it was all handled did it in.  The lack of explanation, lack of disclosure on Edelman, Microsoft and don't forget AMD and Acer, and then the horrible indecision of whether or not the bloggers were allowed to keep the laptops - killed this beyond death.  Advice:  Really think before engaging the blogosphere with projects like this.  Giving laptops to the likes of Gizmodo, is one thing, but other bloggers should be filled in entirely on the who, what, when, where, why and how before they receive "free gifts" like they were sent.

That's just the three biggest issues that come to my mind - there are others that just compound onto this problems. Their search index is easy to game/spam, and security issues with Vista are just a few additional issues that come to mind.  However, not all is grimstone and pestilence at Redmond!  Microsoft actually has been doing somethings right, perhaps if they took lessons from their successes, and broadened them it could help them turn things around in 2007.

What Microsoft Does Right

  • Adcenter Microsoft AdCenter - For a lot of marketers, AdCenter is where they get the best conversions.  If Microsoft could only work out the small kinks (reporting issues, etc.), they could have a really great product here.  They figured out how to give merchants what they want, now if they could only give it to them reliably, they'd have more "great press" about AdCenter.  Highlighting their advertisers' conversions rates wouldn't be a bad marketing idea either.
  • Xbox XBox - I don't game, I don't own any consoles, however I have friends who are gamers and they tell me, along with other prominent industry professionals that the XBox is a great gaming console.  The online gaming features are second to none and that in this Microsoft "Got it Right."  Engage the captive audience and create customer evangelists - word of mouth in the gaming industry is gold, just look at what its done for the Wii.
  • Adcenterlabs Microsoft adCenter Labs - This little hidden treasure isn't something a lot of folks know about, and perhaps they should.  Microsoft is not known for sharing or giving a lot of things to webmasters, but with adCenter Labs things are different.  Marketers can find a lot of different, informative and pretty neat tools to help with PPC & Contextual Ads and even Behavioral Targeting.  If Microsoft can utilize this as a point to really engage their merchants and even just engage webmasters as a whole (like Google's webmaster central) they might get a little more respect in the search arena.

How Microsoft pushes forward is totally up to them, but perhaps they should really take a look at what they are doing right and why they are succeeding.  Zunead_1 Of course it goes without question, they need to look at their mistakes and learn from them (please please please, get rid of the creepy bugs on the Zune ads!).  2007 marks a new year for everyone - hopefully Microsoft can make it a turnaround year for themselves.

December 22, 2006

Comparing Microsoft to T.O.?

By Li Evans

There's a big tussle going on in the RSS realm today.  Why?  Big old "Evil" Microsoft has filed for a broad sweeping patent on some sort of RSS technology for their reader.  Even though I am a geek - I'm not prepared to go into something I'm not well versed on.  I believe Dave Winer is the defacto expert in this field, and has a lot more to say about the matter.

What I do find very funny, amusing and perhaps comical, is how this story came up in my bloglines feed reader.  I found it in Megite's Technology section, the picture that came up with the headline was TO's (in his old Eagles jersey).  I couldn't find the picture itself related to any of the stories - so, obviously someone's got a wonderful sense of humor and who ever you are, I thank you!

Aussie - you should appreciate this too!  :)
Comparingmicrosoftto

December 12, 2006

Build Your Own Lightsaber Young WOMM Jedi

By Li Evans

Buildyourownlightsaber Don't know what to get that Star Wars Fan in your family?  Disney has just the thing!  Starting this Friday, visitors to Disney World in Florida can build their own Light Sabers.  Jedi or Sith - take your pick, Star Wars, Hasbro and Disney make it all possible.

I have yet to see an "Advertisement" for this in the main stream media.  This is making its rounds strictly Word of Mouth wise, through all of the SCI-Fi blogosphere (yes, I'm one of those geeks too).  What better way to sell this item?  Truly, whoever at Disney sent this off to the bloggers of Science Fiction and Star Wars blog and fan sites, has their finger right on the pulse of their niche market.  I don't give Kudos to Disney much (other than for PoTC), but this certainly deserves it for "smart" internet marketing.

What might be better?  Maybe a viral video of someone actually making their own light saber, or maybe someone showing off their light saber skills with their newly minted collectible?  What do you think?

November 29, 2006

Carolyn Kepcher Joins Microsoft

By Li Evans

Kepchercarolyn Donald Trump may have said "You're Fired", but a much more wealthy tycoon has said "You're Hired" to ex-Apprentice star, Carolyn Kepcher.  That tycoon would be Bill Gates or maybe Steve Ballmer, but you get the picture.

I am a fan of Carolyn Kepcher, I've read her book and really liked it.  The whole reason I kept watching The Apprentice was for Carolyn and I was disappointed when Trump fired her.  This upcoming season Ivanka Trump replaces Carolyn.  Ivanka's witty and pretty, but she's no Carolyn. 

As for Carolyn and Microsoft, I find this a really interesting combination.  Carolyn's going to be helping Microsoft Corp. find the best small-business idea in AmericaMsideawinsThis is a contest that Microsoft is running - minus the fake TV Set board room.  Caroyln, along with two others are going to narrow the applicants down to a remaining 4 finalist.  Out of those 4 a winner will be chosen by a combination of votes from the public and judging from the three person panel.

The winner of the "Ultimate Challenge" contest will get $100,000 in seed money, a storefront or other space in Manhattan for a year rent-free, and software to help get their business started.

November 21, 2006

Trillian Astra On The Horizon - Check Out the Sneak Preview

By Li Evans

Trillianastra Slight diversion from Internet Marketing, but news worthy to pass along.  For those of you who are avid instant messengers, and have 5 or 6 different programs running and don't know about Trillian, perhaps you should check out the current version at Cerulean Studios first.  For those of us who have Trillian  - check out the sneak preview of the new Trillian Astra, and the accompanying write up at the DownloadSquad Blog.

As a true IM geek (I actually have an ICQ number that's 6 digits) that even goes back to the days of PowWow, finding Trillian was at first tough.  I didn't like it the first time around, but then they fixed a bunch of things and the version that's been out for a few years now is just great.  Its a true testament to Cerulean Studios that so many people are still using this program to support their IM'ing across several platforms.

I'm excited about this new version coming.  It will actually have support for the new MySpace IM, Google Talk and they split apart AOL and ICQ (although that's never been an issue I've had directly).  The new version is going to have Social Networking, Widgets & Bookmarking features as well.

Ceruleanstudioslogo_1 Cerulean Studios even has a blog to keep up on when the when the latest builds will be released.  As I find out more I'll post about it.  As I know more than a few of you Internet Marketing folks use Trillian, I even hear that familiar "doorbell" sound on phone calls & podcasts. ;)

November 15, 2006

TechCrunch's Arrington Gets A Cease & Desist from YouTube

By Li Evans

Techcrunch Not technically in the realm of Internet Marketing, however I felt this was a little bit interesting to pass on to the audience.  TechCrunch has received an email and a letter from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (the Silcon Valley law firm that represent about 90% of all tech companies on the West Coast) to cease and desist in regards to YouTube (or is that GooTube/GoogTube now?).

Googleyoutube_1 Why?  All because he developed a small tool that allows you to download YouTube videos to your hard drive and then port them over to your iPod.  Go figure, I guess receiving 1.67 Billion does go to your head.

Well it's hit Techmeme - so I guess now this is considered even "bigger" news.

September 02, 2006

Live Ads in Video Games? Count Microsoft In!

By Li Evans

Buckle up folks, another frontier in dynamic and live advertising is about to be upon us. What’s that you say? Another way to advertise via another electronic medium that has a captured, attentive market segment? 

For those advertisers salivating at ways to get their newest products out to that declining TV market segment of male 18-30 year olds, EA Games & Microsoft might have a solution for you. Announced on Thursday, August 31, EA Games in conjunction with Massive Incorporated (a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft) will be able to provide live advertising in the video games for Xbox 360 and PC games it releases – first up is Need for Speed™ Carbon. 

There tends to be a lot of debate on advertising in games.  The main outcry is that players are sometimes forking over near $60 a game to play – why on earth should they be subjected to ads?  That’s a great point – if the games were free, then by all means the advertising wouldn’t be as objectionable.  However there is the point of the games feeling “stale” after a few months with old advertising that is currently in the games, for example, billboard signs on the side of the road in driving games displaying out of date products or brands. 

EA Games' take on it is that this form of advertising will keep the games “fresher” and more realistic to what is happening in today’s world.  The Washington Post quoted EA's vice president of online commerce, Chip Lange as saying,  "Some areas naturally support the advertising. If you drive around an urban environment and there's no advertising, the space feels naked -- and if the advertising is dated, the game feels old." 

So why is this making news here at Search Marketing Gurus? Microsoft’s involvement is the main reason. While Google is looking to radio and TV, Microsoft has picked up on a revenue stream that just might turn in some real revenue for them, if they incorporate it into their host of advertising “search” offerings. 

When TV and Radio are loosing the market share of 18-30 year old males to video games – isn’t it smart to figure out a way to recapture that market? I wouldn’t be surprised to see more deals upcoming in this area because it’s smart marketing. Advertisers need to go where the market is to reach the consumer – Microsoft (through Massive Incorporated), right now, is the only major provider of the market to the advertiser. This is one market segment we'll have to wait and see how long it will take Google and Yahoo! to catch up in.

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