Archives For Advertising

Google has rather quietly launched a catalog app for the iPad. After it’s last ill-fated attempt to digitize catalogs bit the dust two and a half years ago, the new tablet app (coming to Android devices soon) seems to be the right move at the right time. Even if you don’t enjoy shopping – or feel, like Engadget, that catalogs are best suited for starting fires in the fireplace (fair enough) – the new app has relevance. This is what retail and magazines should be like on a tablet. Digital periodicals have had a rough road so far, but there’s still a lot of potential in the medium, and if you add in an easier way to make money, the business should get a boost. The click-to-buy function gets at that powerful instant gratification impulse, and by couching it in an experience that’s fun, interactive, and playful, catalogs and publications should have an easier time drawing consumers in.

From a purely personal and frivolous standpoint, I love the new Google app. You can page through a range of catalogs with a swipe of the finger, zoom in on images, click to purchase, save favorites to a single location from different stores, share stuff with friends, and even create your own collages pairing together items from all over the place. It’s way cooler than the analog alternative, and much easier than opening up multiple windows on your PC to compare products. There are still a limited number of catalogs available in the app, but that will surely change. I expect we’ll see a big jump before the holiday shopping season. In the meantime, I’m happy with what I can get. It’s about time the tablet shopping experience got a makeover.

In the category of “not dead yet,” Engadget has caught word from the Yahoo Advertising blog that the Yahoo Connected TV platform still has life left in it. According to a post from last week, the Yahoo platform will be embedded in TVs from Sony and Toshiba by the end of this year, along with a D-Link media player. More hardware from Samsung, LG, Vizio, and others will hit in 2012, and the former search giant also says it will “soon” roll out its own app store for the TV, a plan that was delayed back in March. Apps will range from 99 cents to $99 (?!).

As I said at CES, I’m fascinated by Yahoo’s “broadcast interactivity” technology that it’s planning to use in its Connected TV platform to enable interactive advertising. I’m not entirely convinced Yahoo can be successful with it, but clearly the company has hit on a valuable concept: the idea of “listening” in on a TV program and providing relevant commercial information. Shazam is working on the same thing, although it has raised money for a platform that centers on the mobile phone, which you can use to “Shazam” content on your TV for more info. The whole idea is far more interesting to me than just another app store for the connected TV. It’s something the cable industry has been trying to get off the ground for more than a decade, with little success. Perhaps Yahoo and others can succeed with platforms that are over the top, and over the air.

kindle-ad3

Amazon has launched a new Kindle initiative and product, whereby they run full screen screensaver ads and homescreen footer banner ads on e-reader hardware in exchange for a $25 discount. The WiFi-only “Kindle with Special Offers” runs $114, versus the original $139 ad-free Kindle 3. As Harry McCracken points out, the one time savings runs only about 18%; he wonders if this product might more appeal to those interested in the deals themselves rather than the small discount.

Like Harry, I suspect this is a bit of an experiment on Amazon’s part. And why we’re not seeing this Kindle rev launch at the $99, or lower, price point. Can Amazon generate a large enough stable of advertising partners to keep this going, will a sizable percentage of readers take action on the ads, assuming an even more sizable quantity of Kindle purchases. Continue Reading…

I’ve been an online group buy participant as long as the World Wide Web has been a viable tool of commerce. Heck, I picked up one of the very first DVD players at a steep discount on uBid back in 1998 and did time on Paul Allen’s Mercata before they folded in early 2001. As far as I can tell, solely focused group buying branded sites never really went mainstream. Woot’s probably come closest with a large draw amongst of geeky and their $110 million exit (thank you, Amazon). Mercata once proclaimed “The more people who buy, the lower the price.” And even if most sites featuring that particular hook haven’t found long term success, the trend is in full effect as large retailers such Best Buy and Amazon demonstrate on a fairly regular basis.

As ZNF readers know, local, but still online, group buying has taken off in the last year via Groupon and LivingSocial. Yet, for me, it’s been a mixed bag. Instead of actually buying physical merchandise, these sites essentially sell coupons or vouchers to local businesses. In my experience, most haven’t been conveniently located or particularly compelling. But we’re always on the lookout for a deal, and have purchased three dining-related Groupons in recent months.

First off, the lack of instant gratification has been an issue… because, beyond cyberspace, I’m not the most organized. Specifically, I purchased a $50 food and beverage voucher for $25 (to Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro) and forgot to put it to use before it expired. The other two Groupons were to Chicken Out, a local chain similar to Boston Market. The first dealio was redeemed with no problem, just beating the expiration date. But the second experience was kinda bizarre. Much like Groupon’s Super Bowl commercials (above). Continue Reading…

netflix-psych

I’m so confused… Netflix, known for streaming commercial-free movie content has launched a whole bunch of new television shows (and modernized TV site organization, as shown above). While Hulu Plus, a product of the television studios themselves, lands the Criterion Collection of classic films. The lines are obviously blurring.

Although monthly subscription fees are similar, the two services still take somewhat different approaches in presentation. Namely, Hulu insists on running commercial advertising on its paid tier. But wait, might even that be up for renegotiation? From the Hulu blog:

Criterion Hulu Plus subscribers will be able to watch the Criterion Collection free of interruption. (Any ads will play up front.)

Also interesting, as highlighted on Hacking Netflix, is Criterion’s rational for choosing Hulu over Netflix: Continue Reading…

The Top Ads of Super Bowl XLV?

Dave Zatz —  February 7, 2011

Another possibly Super Bowl has come and gone. The game was ugly early on and I feared a blowout. Yet many around me didn’t seem to mind, due to an overabundance of Steelers haterade. But Pittsburgh regrouped at the half and made it competitive, failing pull ahead of the Packers on the final drive. We solute Green Bay’s championship, although we continue to be amazed that such a small market manages to field a team in this media dominated environment.

Speaking of media, the Super Bowl has become a family event due to the big spend advertising – an entertainment spectacle, beyond football, in its own right. And, for the second year in a row, my favorite spot was a light hearted car commercial. While I bestowed top honors upon Kia in 2010, 2011 belongs to Volkswagen. And, as with Kia last year, a large part of of VW’s success is due to picking the right soundtrack. “Black Beetle” (above) features a cover of Ram Jam’s Black Betty… although, surprisingly, doesn’t actually feature the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle it advertises. My honorable mention awards go to VW (again) for the well done Young Vader spot (aka “The Force”) and Best Buy’s “Bieber & Ozzy” 6G pre-announcement from the future.

Regarding the $800 Motorola Xoom Android tablet narrative… well, it’s obviously been done before. And better. Wether this was an Apple homage, attack, or both, I wasn’t overly impressed. Yeah, we’ve become an iWorld and no longer Think Different. But this ad didn’t resonate in our group.

Lastly, even though I found their commercials to be mostly silly, Pepsi Max stuck in my head (given my love for Coke Zero) and is a product I intend to track down. And, boy, did the movie previews not get my juices flowing.

TiVo has once again crunched the numbers, from 37,000 DVRs, to declare their top ten ads of Super Bowl 45:

This information was prepared using aggregated, anonymous, second-by-second audience measurement data about how TiVo subscribers watched the game, and was determined by not just the most viewed commercials, but also the most engaging ads throughout the game. The most engaging ads are determined by looking for spots with the biggest bump in viewership relative to the surrounding 15 minutes of programming, offering a true reflection of change in viewership.

1. Snickers   “Logging”
2. Best Buy   “Bieber and Ozzy”
3. Pepsi Max    “Love Hurts”
4. Volkswagen Passat  “The Force”
5. Doritos   “The Best Part”
6. Teleflora    “Help me Faith”
7. Doritos   “House Sitting”
8. E*Trade   “Tailor”
9. Cruze Eco  “Misunderstanding”
10. Bridgestone  “Carma”

If you missed any of the commercials, or just want to catch them again, hit HuluFanhouse, or YouTube. What were your favorites?


Click to enlarge.

In an effort to drum up business for their commercial Stop||Watch audience measurement services, TiVo has launched a free web widget that compares the relative effectiveness of television brand advertising. I’d originally intended to pass on this bit of “news” as it’s not really directed at us gadget-loving consumers and I wonder if TiVo’s sample is differentiated enough to be of value.

But MethodicJon produced the interesting comparison above that motivated me to fire up the editor. TiVo indicates that DISH Network (their enemy) is outperforming DirecTV (their ally) in audience retention, while their own national television advertising campaign failed to register for whatever reasons – maybe date, scope, or region?