February 7, 2008

Widget Marketing

Filed under: Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 3:48 pm

Reported in Brandweek, and based on findings from a new eMarketer report, here are some stats on the future of brandable widgets (“mini-Web applications that are downloaded and installed for use on personal computers, Web pages, blogs or social-network profiles”):

  • 100,000 developers worldwide are currently working on widget programs.
  • Facebook began allowing widgets on its site last May.  Since then, 13,000 widgets have been created for the site alone.
  • Social networking sites are a big destination for widget placement.  In 2007, 13.6 million Web surfers between the ages of 12-17 were social network users.  That number will be 15.3 million this year and 17.7 million by 2011.
  • Asked whether they thought mobile marketing or widgets would play a larger role in advertising strategies for 2008, 58% of marketers sided with widgets.

“Marketers spent $15 million creating, promoting and distributing widgets in 2007.  That number is expected to grow to $40 million in 2008.”

Is your brand represented in the widget world?

Stone Ward Bloggers

Filed under: Current Events,That's Just Cool — Emily Reeves @ 3:26 pm

Everyone has an opinion. Here is where other Stone Ward staffers are expressing theirs:

Blake’s Think Tank – Blake Rutherford, our Director of Public Communications, writes about politics and other current events.

Monkey Bulb – Chris Kindrick, Art Director, comments on creative executions of advertising.

Officially Lucky – Clint Ecker, Senior Web Developer, is a source for all technology and social networking.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Kyle Riley, Public Communications Account Executive, records news that is too good not to pass along.

The Angry Czeck - Jeremy Harper, Senior Copywriter, calls his blog “the most furious newsletter in modern times.”

Enjoy.

February 6, 2008

Political Mac vs. PC?

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events,Marketing — Emily Reeves @ 9:10 am

More on the influence and importance of design: this week the NY Times had an article contrasting and comparing the websites of Obama and Clinton as if one were a Mac and one a PC.  This further illustrates the point made earlier this week in the comparison of font use by the different presidential candidates–never underestimate the power of good design.  According to the NY Times article:

“The differences between hillaryclinton.com and barackobama.com can be summed up this way: Barack Obama is a Mac, and Hillary Clinton is a PC.

That is, Mr. Obama’s site is more harmonious, with plenty of white space and a soft blue palette. Its task bar is reminiscent of the one used at Apple’s iTunes site. It signals in myriad ways that it was designed with a younger, more tech-savvy audience in mind — using branding techniques similar to the ones that have made the iPod so popular.”

“In contrast to barackobama.com, Mrs. Clinton’s site uses a more traditional color scheme of dark blue, has sharper lines dividing content and employs cookie-cutter icons next to its buttons for volunteering, and the like.”

The article does question, however, if this “being a Mac” is good politics:

“While Apple’s ad campaign maligns the PC by using an annoying man in a plain suit as its personification, it is not clear that aligning with the trendy Mac aesthetic is good politics. The iPod may be a dominant music player, but the Mac is still a niche computer. PC, no doubt, would win the Electoral College by historic proportions (with Mac perhaps carrying Vermont).”

February 5, 2008

Value of YouTube for Advertisers

Filed under: Advertising,Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 12:43 pm

Coming off the Super Bowl surge of popularity for advertising (when commercials get higher audience than the game thanks to DVR devices), a NY Times had an article today noting the importance of the web for additional viewing of popular commercials. In fact, marketers should be thinking about ways to post all spots on the Internet on various sites:

“The ‘torture test’ for brands beyond their Super Bowl ads is how to make it easy for consumers to find the ads and engage with them, whether you put them on Web sites, on YouTube or make them easy to search for on Google,” said Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president at the Nielsen Online Strategic Services division of the Nielsen Company.

With broadcast production costs rising and media placement costs continuing to rise, it just makes sense to take the spots that have been produced for the paid media placement and use them in free media outlets that consumers actually seek out. As an advertising agency and strategic partner to our clients, we should be recommending that all produced spots are placed on the web.

February 4, 2008

Abercrombie & Its Risque Ads: Outlawed!

Filed under: Advertising — Emily Reeves @ 6:22 pm

I have an interest in law, especially when it applies to advertising. When I saw this WSJ Law Blog entry about Abercrombie & Fitch’s revealing ads being removed in Virginia, I was intrigued:

“On Saturday, police in Virginia carted away two promotional photographs from the A&F store in Virginia Beach’s Lynnhaven Mall (the picture above wasn’t one of them). Under a local ordinance making it a crime to display ‘obscene materials in a business that is open to juveniles,’ the store’s manager, who police say had failed to heed warnings to remove the photographs, was issued a citation. If convicted, the manager reportedly faces a fine of up to $2,000 and as much as a year in jail.”

Turns out however, “the Virginia Beach deputy city attorney said Monday afternoon that police will seek to drop the charges against A&F…According to the story, city officials said thought it would be difficult to meet certain standards of the obscenity law.”

How much publicity did A&F receive for this waste of police time and effort? Probably enough to make the risk of removal worth it.

Iconic Logo Design

Filed under: Advertising,Current Events — Emily Reeves @ 6:00 pm

Who knew there was such a thing as a “specialty in semiotic analysis of package design for consumer-product companies?”  According to an article in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine,  there is just such a thing and what it means is that the specialist “applies the close-reading analytical skills you might associate with deconstructing a novel or a work of art to the breaking down of logos and packaging to their ‘constituent parts’ and ‘indexical signs.’”  For the article, he broke down the Tide logo in ways I would have never imagined:

“…the original Tide package…communicated ‘cyclone in a box,’ he says.  ‘There’s this great dynamic tension there.  The word “Tide” is bursting out of the circle, and the circle is standing out of the box.  It’s almost a baroque composition; it’s like what Steven Spielberg would do if he were designing a brand.’  The idea was that Tide is a ‘force of nature–it’s a phase shift’…’some sophisticated color research’–involving a psychologist who specialized in such things–went into selecting a bright scheme that would suggest ‘sufficient power,’ tempered with the ‘likable’ blue that had a more ‘sensitive’ connotation.”

This article is a great reminder that good design takes a lot of research, hard work and talent to produce.  Never underestimate the subliminal power of logos and design.  For a  timely example as we approach Super Tuesday, check out this article in the Boston Globe that breaks down the font use and logo design of each of the major candidates.  Here is a sample:

Clinton

“The Hillary type palette is far from fresh and colorful; it is begging for legitimacy instead of demanding respect. It projects recycled establishment. The type has a tired feeling, as if the ink has been soaking into the page too long. The Hillary logo has the look of an ’80s newspaper layout or an investment company. The tall lower-case reminds me of someone with their pants pulled up too high. I wonder about the significance of the three stars and three stripes. A third term?”

Obama

“Obama’s type is contemporary, fresh, very polished and professional. The serifs are sharp and pointed; clean pen strokes evoke a well-pressed Armani suit. The ever-present rising sun logo has the feeling of a hot new Internet company. His sans serifs conjure up the clean look of Nike or Sony. This typography is young and cool. Clearly not the old standards of years past.”

McCain

“McCain uses type that is a perfect compromise between a sans and a serif, what type geeks call a “flared sans.” Not quite sans and not quite serif, sort of in between, moderate, not too far in either direction. The strokes have contrast between the thick and thin, creating the feeling that the ends are going to have cute little serifs, but they just flare out a little, not forming actual serifs but wanting to. The military star centered and shadowed is a not-so-subtle touch. And McCain just says “President,” as if to say he’s already been elected. Everything about this logo says you can buy a car from this man. From the perfectly centered star to the perfectly spaced type, the entire design looks like a high-end real estate company. McCain has done something no other candidate has done, he uses all blue, no red – not even a dash. If we were to predict the results based on typography and design, we would pick McCain and Obama.”

February 1, 2008

More on the Kindle

Filed under: Technology — Emily Reeves @ 11:24 am

Earlier this week I wrote about my love of the Kindle after reading that Steve Jobs thinks it is stupid (I am exaggerating, of course) because no one reads anymore. Well, it seems his comments stirred up some others as well. Advertising Age disputes Jobs’ statistics on reading as well:

“‘Who are these “people” to whom Steve Jobs is referring?’ Publishers Weekly Editor in Chief Sara Nelson asked me last week. ‘Not the million-ish who are devouring Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” or the ones who line up for Harry Potter and/or James Patterson novels.’ She added: ‘All I can say is that when I sat in restaurants and airports or on buses or trains and pulled out my Kindle, I got more attention than if I’d shown up naked–with an adorable puppy.’”

Right on.

Mac Guy Reflects Real Mac Owners

Filed under: Advertising,Culture,Current Events,Marketing,Technology — Emily Reeves @ 11:11 am

This is from an article in Advertising Age:

“Research from internet ad network Mindset Media confirms the ad’s personification of Mac users as superior and self-satisfied.  Its recent Mac user ‘mind-set profile’–a psychographic ranking system that scores respondents on 20 different elements of personality–found them to be more assured of their superiority, less modest and more open of the general population.”

“Far fewer cohesive personality traits emerged among PC owners, likely because of the breadth of PC ownership.  Given that 95% or so of all computer users own a PC, those users essentially are the general population.  The one area where PC users did stand out as statistically different was in creativity–low creativity, that is.  Mindset Media found they tend to be realists who are emotionally steady and work well with what they’re given.”

This makes total sense.  I don’t think research really had to be conducted to learn these things, but it is interesting that now there are statistics to confirm it.