Wright of Way

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

testing the HSW video mrss feed

this is a test of the mrss feed.




Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Keep Asking Back to School

HowStuffWorks Widget

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Don't Shop at Burlington Coat Factory

Don't Shop at Burlington Coat Factory. We are lodging an official complaint with the BBB and this posting is a link to the entire description of our ordeal. The online submission form only allows for 2030 characters to describe the horror scene, so I'm providing the full details here for further review.

For the Georgia Business Bureau:

We are writing to request your help in obtaining our merchandise ordered from the Baby Depot department of the Morrow, Georgia, Burlington Coat Factory store.

Our experiences with this store have been horrific. We ordered more than $1,000.00 in baby furniture for our (then unborn) daughter on March 27, 2006. When we placed the order and paid the 25% deposit, we were told at that time that the furniture would take 12-18 weeks to arrive. We began contacting the store at 12 weeks to check the status of our order. Each time we called, the stories and excuses changed. No one seemed able to give us any definite information. Some employees actually told us that there was no record of our order, but other employees said that our order had been placed. Each time we were referred to JoAnn, who is the manager of the Baby Depot Department of that store and the individual who originally wrote up our order. Incidentally, no other store manager or assistant store manager was ever able to help us; we always had to wait to speak with JoAnn and only on the days she was in the office. It is shocking that only one person can access the computers and track orders for the Baby Depot. Even the store manager, Timothy Thomas, was unable to assist. This included the time when JoAnn took a week-long vacation.

JoAnn sent us on quite a chase to “look” for our furniture. She initially stated it had been sent to the wrong store, but she dropped that story when we asked why that “store” (she never could determine which store incidently) wouldn’t just send it to the Morrow location. Then she said that it was sent back to the manufacturer, but she encouraged us to contact “corporate” to see if they could help us locate the order. We tried the phone number she gave us, but we were told that only employees of the store could request information on an order: another false lead with another dead end! We were calling JoAnn every other day to determine the status of our order and to see if she could help us, most times without a return call at all.

Finally, she contacted us on July 19 and said that three of the four pieces on our order were in. We arrived at the store and had to wait nearly an hour for workers just to get those three pieces (of course, JoAnn was not in the store that day). We were given a crib, hutch, and changing table.

As we began to put the crib together that weekend, we realized that it was the wrong model - the Rochester, not the Monterrey we had ordered. We immediately called the store, but were told by the store manager (not surprisingly) that nothing could be done until JoAnn arrived on Monday. On Monday, JoAnn asked us to come down to the store with the receipt to confirm our request and deposit for the Monterey model. Since we live more than an hour from this location, we asked to simply fax a copy, but were initially told that the store doesn't have a fax machine. After pressing JoAnn, she finally relented and admitted that the Morrow location has a fax machine but she didn't have the number - only the store manager has that information. We were also instructed to include her name on the "attention" line of the fax, even though the area code was a 610 number (New Jersey area code) and not in Atlanta. Unfortunately, the fax machine number was incorrect. It turned out to be an individual’s personal fax number. Knowing that she would never receive that fax, we made the hour-long trek back to the Morrow store and handed her the receipt. JoAnn told us that she has no idea when the correct crib and still-missing chest of drawers would arrive, but said that she would get it to us in 2-4 weeks.
We have been calling every few days to try and determine an estimate for the arrival of the missing pieces. The latest story is that JoAnn or anyone else in the store is unable to know delivery data on specific pieces. According to JoAnn there is no way to know. She just unloads inventory and hope it shows up. There is no record or manifest, no logistics manager or delivery system.

In summary, this 20+ week experience has been filled with lies, deception, irresponsibility and ineptitude. JoAnn, when pressed, actually admitted that they lost our original order and never had placed our original order. When we started to inquire about the status, they decided on their own to order the Rochester crib - without ever checking with us - because that is what "usually goes with the Beatrice Furniture" we ordered. They never ordered the correct crib. Our daughter is now almost four months old (we ordered the crib 6 weeks before she was born), and we are being told by JoAnn that we won’t know when the crib will come in. She had told us that the crib "might" be on her shipment this past Friday, but not suprisingly, she contacted us to let us know that the crib was not there. We are amazed that there is no possible way for JoAnn or anyone at her store to determine when a shipment has been placed and where it is in the delivery process.

Obviously, this is unacceptable. Our experiences at this store have been unbelievably frustrating. The 18 weeks (that was the latest time we could expect our crib)passed in July and we are going on 21 weeks with no crib or 5 drawer chest. We have already contacted our credit card company, since we have already paid our money for the $400.00 crib and were given a crib by the store that costs less than $200.00. Instead of the Baby Depot employees expediting this order, it was recommended that we contact the store and corporate headquarters to see if the crib would arrive in time. We have e-mailed corporate TWICE (once on July 25th and once on August 9th), but we have not heard ANYTHING from them either. We contacted our credit card company on August 12th to dispute the charges for us since no one is responding to our on-going cries for help.

We would ask your assistance in working with the Morrow location of Burlington Coat Factory to deliver both of our ordered pieces and receiving at least a 50% discount on both pieces to compensate for our time, inconvenience and poor customer service. Additionally, we would like this correspondence to serve as an official complaint against Burlington Coat Factory, as well as a warning for other consumers when visiting this location. As it stands today, we will never do business with this company again unless events take a dramatically surprising turn for the better.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Amazing Marketing Video

This is an amazing car video. Where did these guys learn to drive like this?

Why can't we make commercials like this? Truly makes me want to test drive a Gemini.

Friday, July 21, 2006

new video from HSW

what do you think?

check this out


New email video

watch this video - totally clears things up.

what do you think?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Revverized Video - Skydiving

check this out.

what do you think?


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Revverized Video - Georgia Aquarium

Great video about the world's biggest fish pond. Check it out!

Now if they'd just let me bring in my fishing pole...Not that that has ever been done, right Capt. Walter?

Monday, July 17, 2006


This guy can do these amazing feats, but we can't figure out how to not kill each other. Truly sad...

Friday, June 30, 2006

Great marketing video

I'm not a gun guy - in fact I hate them. But what an amazing display from a marketing perspective. Talk about the power of video and showing the application of this product. Wow!

Now if there was only a way for the gun to know if an idiot is holding it and then shut off...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Air Jaws

Now that's what I call "Fish On"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

When is Rich Media Marketing...Just Rich?

So I was reading my overflowing inbox and I come across a story in the New York Post about online ad spending. But that's not the story. The story is the ad on the site from Lincoln. Not the Cornhusker capital, but the car company. Here's the ad that was wedged in between copy. It's called "Lovely By Surprise."

You click on this and you get a movie trailer about some wierd movie called "Lovely By Surprise". The trailer looks like an American Express commercial - it just has that ad feeling - but it's really content/entertainment, I think. The site is interesting, but confusing. Still, the aspiring screenwriter in me made me click deeper into the site.

Then I noticed that Ford is actually sponsoring the site. So as any marketer would ask himself or herself - will this site help the struggling Ford Company (who makes the Lincoln Navigator) sell more cars? Does it have to? Obviously the Surprise site is part of a much larger and more complex integrated marketing effort ,which arguably hasn't really worked for Ford given the recent massive layoffs. So why put so much time and money into this effort...especially now?

When is rich media marketing just rich?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Low Down on Mash Ups

In a previous post about the big trends in rich media marketing today, I wrote about how the concept of "authorship" - giving consumers the power to create, react, publish and own a piece of the brand - is going to increasingly drive marketing strategy.

I have another example of that. Mash Ups. We're seeing more and more of these as broadband again opens the possibilities to share and create rich media marketing experiences that not only promote brand products and services, but also ingrain customers in these brand experiences. That's the key. Take a look at some of the recent video Mash Up greats:

Take the Lead


Creative Commons even has a quick tutorial for those of us not as familiar with the concept or how to Mash Up audio tracks.

This tactic is all part of a larger rich media marketing strategy. Showing others about what you're selling is one thing, but getting them to play with it and share it with their friends is pure marketing nirvana. This is another huge benefit to rich media marketing. It makes your brand more personal, extending the exposure in a more friendly and familiar light.

Think about it - which movie would you go and see - one that Ebert recommends or one that your best friend recommends?

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Basic Instinct 2 email...It's as Bad as the movie

For those of you who remember the shockingly graphic scenes from Paul Verhoeven's first Basic Instinct movie, you undoubtedly have a whole new meaning for an ice pick. Well after clicking through the promotional email for "BI2", I want to take that ice pick and take out my eyes. This piece of creative is lackluster and the strategy, while it uses a Drive-To-Web structure (which is great), the execution gets Two Thumbs way down. And they had such big brand partners too - Sony PSP, FHM and Casa Del Mar. Very surprising.

Let's take a look at how the email works, or in this case doesn't:

1. HTML email - Good striking imagery of a well-preserved Sharon Stone (Catherine Trammel) sitting seductively in a chair; smoking cigarette in hand and dress slit up to her...well...you know. She's sitting front of a shattered mirror with her victim in the reflection. It's a great image. But how hard could it have been to make the smoke animate or at least glow like it's lit? Missed opportunity #1. However, it did compel me to choose from 1 of the 2 choices and make a click.

2. Transition - First I chose to "be in control", but what I got was a web page full of text and a tiny image of a PSP. Way too much text and nothing very compelling at all. Plus there was a survey and then a huge profile to fill out. For what? The questions were actually quite funny if you actually read them, but no one gave me a reason to do so. Missed opportunity #2. The other choice was equally as poorly executed, but at least there was a more compelling background graphic.
(click on these images to see what happened when I clicked the email image)

(these emails were actually each presented vertically, but I reassembled for spacing on this blog)

3. Payoff - Not that anyone would ever take that much time to do all of this, but even if you did, then this was the reward for all my time and effort. A fricking static page with a "Thank You for Entering" message. Huge missed opportunity #3. Why not at least play the trailer for me or give me a clip of Sharon stabbing someone, or chasing someone, or just connect me to the Sony site for goodness sakes.
With all the promise and possibilities that rich media marketing can now provide, I couldn't have been more disappointed in this. MGM needs to be ashamed. I want my money back.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

One Word, Benjamin..."Authorship"

Everybody looks for that one word that symbolizes an era, an age, a year, a month, a day (March 22nd is National Water Day, btw, as I learned in Keith Weaver's blog). For the Benjamin character in "The Graduate", that word was plastics.

Today there's an argument for "online video", "rich media marketing", even "avian flu" has probably made the list somewhere; none of which are technically one word.

I think the one word for the next few years is going to be AUTHORSHIP. Think about it. All the YouTube and Trailer Crasher and similar sites are all based on the concept of creating and sharing content to the masses. The broadband web is the vehicle, but the need has been and always will be the human desire to express himself or herself.

Madonna chose to use Evian bottles. OK. Good for her. Others have chosen online video sites, like this hilarious spoof of Apple iPod. Companies are picking up on the concept and power of Authorship in their product promotions, like this Slither Theater where you can "mix your own trailer" using clips, sounds and sfx.

Accentuating a brand's ability to talk with consumers is now even more vital since we all have less time and attention to spend with each precious brand impression. Engage, excite and educate - yes, always. But don't forget about giving an intuitive and compelling way for the consumer to talk back and author their own part of the marketing conversation.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

We're Still Missing the Target

I get about a dozen rich media marketing newsletters everyday, not to mention all the content on my RSS feeds, Furl links and water cooler conversation ("hey'd you see that new site?"). It's enough to drive a guy insane. And they're all talking about the increasing use of video.

Well whoop-pid-eee-do.

Until we can integrate interactivty and a better sense of directing a viewer's choice through content, we're still missing the point.

The video components are not the story. They never havebeen. Video is the new jpeg, except now it's an mpeg. The really big news is the context with which all these jpegs and mpegs are combined. Sight, sound and motion on the web is great, but it's the interactivity that makes the web wonderful.

I read about this new promotional site for a video game called SOCOM3. Great site and good use of video, but it's presented like a TV show. Lots of video clips. Again, great interface and the content is actually cool...if you're in to that type of thing...but where's the interactivity? I can still lean back in my chair and skim through all the content. That's a passive style delivery just like TV. But the web is not just another delivery channel for TV. It's not.

Even more risque online promotions like this one for Lynx UK body spray (it's called Axe Body Spray here in the USA). Good use of video...if you're in to that type of thing...but where's the interactivity?

Rich media marketing can be so much more if we engage viewers in a conversation. Interact with them. Listen to them. Give them choices. Create environments where they can explore, decide, chose and ultimately find their own way to what they want.

That's my vision of the Rich Media Web.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Peacock Erects an Iron Curtain

In a previous post, I wrote about how NBC, in its infinite wisdom, took down the "Lazy Sunday" and "Natalie Raps" SNL shorts off YouTube. Well today I read in MediaPost that NBC has now decided to take back all its clips and put them on NBC.com. The rationale on the site is:

"Now, instead of searching the web for 'borrowed' NBC highlights, you can go to the source! We've taken your viral favorites and gathered them into one convenient location. Watch. React. Tell a friend."

OK, so I give it to NBC for putting everything in a place where you can watch everything at once, but they're missing the whole point. You can't control and force rich media marketing, and espeically viral video.

Viral is by its very definition organic and wild and free. This is more like erecting an iron curtain.

This is great for people who know about SNL, who know about NBC.com and who will take the time to search for the video clips on the Peacock's site. But the real value in having the video out on the web - morphing and growing and spreading to other sites and driving interest for NBC content.

I think NBC needs to use tried and true broadband marketing strategies and concentrate on making a stronger connection between its content and the network brand instead of putting all the content under an iron curtain on NBC.com. Give SNL to the people and let it grow stronger than any marketing exec could ever hope to.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to Use Online Video

A report recently surfaced discussing the age-old question, "does online research affect offline sales?" The eMarketer report proved 2 main points:

1. That 47% of respondents actually made a purchase after doing online research. Okay. Makes sense. I do most of my research at 10pm and most stores are closed when I have questions. So I go online to get initial answers.

2. The merchant site (Circuit City/Best Buy as opposed to Sony or Panasonic) beat out search for the #1 way people get buying information. Okay. Makes sense. I see billboards and signs for these retailers a lot more than specific brands, so I translate that to my online search habits.

So, the answer - of course it does. My question is how can we enhance the traditional online shopping experience - and is rich media marketing the answer? Since everybody is at different stages in the buying process, shouldn't I have access to different levels of information at each stage to push me along the sales and learning continuum?

For example, if I'm looking at buying a gaming console - this is a great place to go at first because it sets the stage and gives me a foundation to build on. Good use of video too.

Rich media marketing should be the first step - like the icing on a cake. And video makes for a great icing. It's short and sweet and sets the stage for deeper exploration. Maybe then I move to a more detailed education with PDFs and price comparisons. But I can't get there until I understand the basics. And those basics need to be explained to me - someone needs to interact with me and ensure that I comprehend.

This is where I think video can be most useful. Excite me. Educate me. Entertain me. Do these 3 things and I'll move along the sales process and hopefully end up in your store - brick or online.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Amazing Juggler - What Can He Teach Us?

Ok, so the past two posts have really been clips of amazing video. Here's another one that really shows the importance of music and sound into your presentation. Great stuff.

But what does this say about the future of video online? I got this clip from Google Video and they had a link to embed this into my blog. Video is still in its infancy and everyone is clamoring to try and figure out how it's all going to work. Sharing video is great - but is there a business model? How does the fact that I can share video enhance the web experience? How could it be better?

All good questions...that we'll explore over the next couple of stories. What do you think? Anyone care to get the ball rolling...so to speak?

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Shot Heard Round the World

This has absolutely nothing to do with rich media marketing, but it's such a heart warming story, I just had to share it. Rudy and Radio have nothing on this kid. Check out the video from CBS News.

Incidentally - this video used to be free to the world on places like YouTube, but has now been trapped behind the CBS Steel Curtain.

Silly CBS.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You've Got to be Kidding Me!

According to today's New York Times article, NBC in its ever-present wisdom has decided to take the hyper-popular SNL skit, "Lazy Sunday" off the web in an attempt to prevent it from being emailed and passed around.

Are you kidding me?I even wrote about this in a previous blog post praising the rich media web for bringing this quality of content to the forefront.

Why would a network - who coincidentally is getting it's peacock stuffed by rivals ABC (Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy) and CBS (CSI franchise, 60 Minutes) - try and stymie the buzz that viewers are generating about one of its top shows...FOR FREE! It doesn't cost NBC a dime to let word of mouth spread its creativity around the world.

In the words of Jay Leno to Hugh Grant when he asked why Grand would cheat on his gorgeous wife (Elizabeth Hurley) with a street walker..."What were you thinking?"

Long live the Double True guys!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wanna See Broadband Really Grow?

Great brief that came out today in my eMarketer email. [If you don't get this, you should.]

This Yankee Group research (right) admits to a continued growth in broadband penetration and preference, but also claims that 30% of U.S. consumers will never switch from dial-up. Well, some people don't see the artistry in Beyonce Knowles' performance in Goldmember...and that's OK too.

So as of October 2005, we were at about 62.5% broadband penetration (of online users). Today, this is likely closer to 70% accounting for growth over the past six months. Wanna know how we can blow this number out?

Do what HBO did with The Sopranos. Create some "must see" content that is so compelling that you just have to watch (Zapruder film, JibJab's Bush Parody, SNL's "Lazy Sunday") ...

... then ONLY show it online

... and give the ability to send-to-a-friend

Sorry if you were expecting some big, drawn out MBA theory with lots of stats, charts and forecasts. It's simple sales really. Create a sense of urgency, make the experience fun and exciting, and empower your viewers to spread the word because they want all their friends to think they're cool for passing it along.

There's a lot of rich media marketing going on, but you'd think someone would have figured this out by now.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

You've probably seen the movie Minority Report. Well check this out. It's an interactive touch-screen experiment that reminds us that new media isn't confined to a web-only environment. Great development work here. (This may take a little time to load if you're not on a broadband connection.)

Now if we could just get Milla Jovavich to do this presentation...

Friday, February 10, 2006

A New Shining Example of Rich Media Marketing

Why go to all the cost and trouble of developing your own content when you can rearrange and enhance somebody else's? This is what the creator of this revamped Shining trailer did. Yeah, the movie, Shining ("Hear's Johnny"), is now a family comedy. Check it out.

I found this on a new site called Video Bomb. It's a community that filters up videos and shorts that we all think are great. The more votes, the more popular, and thus the better. Another example of the power of the community and how rich media marketing is continuing to shift from the big companies to the people.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

These Should Be In Wikipedia

Ten essential vocabulary additions for the workplace:

1. BLAMESTORMING : Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

2. SEAGULL MANAGER: A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

3. ASSMOSIS : The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.

4. SALMON DAY: The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die in the end.

5. MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

6. SITCOMs : Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What Yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids.

7. XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.

8. PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the crap! out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

9. ADMINISPHERE : The rarefied organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

10. OHNOSECOND : That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake. (Like after hitting send on an email by mistake)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What Cool Geeks Wear

A lot of these posts have centered on rich media marketing and the value of quality content and how to drive to web and retain viewers, yadda...yadda...yadda. What we sometimes forget is how broadband is driving other segments.

I found this on Digg.com (a very cool site, btw) and couldn't resist. Check this out from imation - a Flash wristband (256MB). They're apparently available at Target - or so the site says.

This I'm sure is just the first in many variations upon this theme. Creating products that enable rich media content to be easily stored and shared. The days of the floppy disk are over. It's all about size and speed (it always has been, now it's just bigger and faster).

Lance Armstrong would be proud. And maybe now I won't lose my USB drive as easily.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Singing Frogs? What Will They Think of Next?

The NY Times (free subs. required) had a great story today about the resurgence of e-cards. Think, the next generation of Blue Mountain. And wouldn't you know...it's being driven by the growth in broadband and rich media marketing.

These are great Flash executions and can really save your butt if - you're like me - and forget a family member's birthday, and need a quick fix until you can run to the store. Again, this is a great example of content driving the execution. No more pre-1980 Atari looking graphics. And some of these are hilarious.

But as the article discusses, Hallmark.com and its chief competitor AmericanGreetings.com, are not the market leaders. And it's not Wal-Mart either. Look out for the upstart - JacquieLawson.com. JL is a great business case study in its own right.

The next phase will of course be the gradual integration of interactive video and 3D animations. The cooler the card, the more popular it is, the more it's sent, the more you can charge for ads. It's a simple business model. The rich media web just makes the engine work.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Effective doesn't have to be all flashy

Here's a quick example - so take note all you guys - of a cool interactive site that proves that you don't have to be all flashy to be effective.

Granted, Ferry Halim is probably the best online creative I've seen, but the coolness is in the simplicity. Check out his Flash games too. Hire this guy. He's awesome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Weather Channel Makes a Bold Forecast

TWC launched a new show a few weeks ago called, "It Could Happen Tomorrow" which talks about what could happen if bad weather strikes major cities across the country. Production for the show began back in March 2005. Pre-Katrina and Rita.

ICHT microsite, click here www.whatifweather.com

The pilot episode ironically enough was a look at what would happen if a Category 5 hurricane hit New Orleans. The show predicted in great detail what actually happened from the levies, to the flooding, the Superdome being ripped apart, etc. Eerie.

TWC has since chosen not to air the episode, but you can see a clip of the show with a brief intro from TWC stud, Jim Cantore. The show also has a cool rich media promotional site too at weather.com.

I still think TWC missed a big opp here. Think if this episode was available on the blogosphere, or better yet, iTunes. At $1 a pop, think of all the extra revenue that the affected Southern Coast residents could use to help rebuild the area.

Understandly, TWC wants to avoid even a hint of profiteering from this disaster, but a controlled marketing spin could have mitigated that perception. Am I wrong? Wouldn't this have been an awesome use of rich media marketing? Or am I just a capitalistic pig who won't let time heal wounds?

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kodak's Foray into Rich Media

Online Media Daily had a story about Kodak's venture into rich media marketing. It's a thinly-veiled advertisement for Kodak EasyShare, but the microsite is at least using some of the wonderfully rich aspects of the broadband web.

The basic premise is that Kodak can used anywhere , anytime. A housewife (decidedly not Desperate - much more Mary Ann than Ginger, or the ABC variety) welcomes us in and sets the stage, but that's the last we see of her.

Oh the incredibly huge missed opportunity!!! Why not have her in each scene? How much more filming and editing could that possibly have taken? Now we're left with a relatively boring room. Sure the background sounds are nice, but it feels empty.

Plus - imho - it looks eerily similar to the Digital Max microsite created for Cox Communications. Look at the Kodak Craft Room and then check out Max's "Max to Go". Any questions?

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Yahoo! Runs with a Good Idea

The Wall Street Journal headline says it all, "Yahoo Hopes to Make Network Flop a Net Hit."

If you've been following this blog at all, you'll know that I've been evangelizing my aversion to companies and networks simply using the rich media web as just another distribution channel.

But what about using the web to revive a TV show? Maybe one that didn't work on traditional TV? Yahoo! is trying to do just this with ABC's cancelled interactive TV attempt called, "The Runner." Produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck - now this is a concept that I can get behind.

It's already got cache because of these guys, so why not use the broadband web to provide the engaging and entertaining content, and then you've got the added dimension of interactivity.

The trick is finding the content that organically grows over time. That's been elusive for Yahoo! to date. The WSJ article says that Yahoo! needs to find its Sopranos (the show really launched cable to prominence). Same holds for the web. Content is still king, but once you've got the audience, you need to give them more than a sit-back-in-your-couch experience.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Brand Atlanta -- Does it Really Suck?

At a recent AMA Atlanta luncheon, this was the question posed by a local radio station "plant" in the audience. After a compelling presentation by two of the top Brand Atlanta architects, Vicki Escarra and Hala Moddelmog, a 99X field reporter thought it'd be a funny bit to heckle the panelists and rib them about the Brand Atlanta campaign. We caught part of his tirade and badgering on mp3 as part of the AMA's Podcast series.

That joker aside, does the Brand Atlanta campaign really hold water? And what about from a rich media marketing angle? According to Escarra, the development team treated this effort like a political campaign and felt that 51% approval should be considered a victory. Here's how ATL's top politico (Mayor Shirley Franklin) sees the campaign.

Some media have been very hard on the campaign - and it's hard not to see there point when compared to other city's marketing efforts like Las Vegas or New York.

It certainly wasn't for a lack of effort. The Brand Atlanta team brought together some of the brightest marketing minds in the country to help get this off the ground.

The Brand Atlanta site was developed by Spunlogic, an Atlanta web design company. They likely had to get massive buy-in from creative by committee (a nightmare any way you paint it). My feeling is that the online component could have been so much stronger with the right touch of rich media marketing know-how. Where's the interactivity, the playfulness, the culture? These elements are tough to impossible to convey in a billboard or print ad. And it takes a ton of money to get the distribution of a TV spot (the campaign only had $8 million). That's why online should have played a bigger role.

In the end it was a good presentation and made me see their point of view. The shock jock was just there to be disruptive. He didn't give his name, but his did describe himself fairly accurately. This is the type of people that work at 99X.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Parking Spot...From 10,000 Miles Up

Here is my parking spot from Neil Armstrong's point of view. Just click and zoom all the way in.

Google Local or Earth or Maps - or whatever they're calling these days - has proven invaluable for me. Anytime my wife needs directions to her next appointment, I can walk her through every step of the way and even point out landmarks. I saw this technology when it was still called Keyhole (Google bought them in '04), but it's still pretty cool. Amazing what Flash technology can do these days. And as was discussed in a previous post on Google, it's amazing what this company has been able to do so far.

I think that 2006 is going to be one of those watershed years. We've had almost five years to pick ourselves off the ground after the dot bomb went off in 2000 (no disrespect or relation to the horrible events of 9/11 intended). Now it's time to figure out ways to use rich media marketing to add value, build engaging user experiences and make some money along the way.

This is a very exciting time, especially as CES kicks off the new year. It just gets those collective creative juices flowing.

I love the rich media space - its challenges, its opportunities and its promise. In fact, I think this picture is a great one as we look into the future of possibility.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Laughing and Linking on the Web

The L.A. Times is reporting that the Comedy Central (free subscription) is going to put a whole bunch of new content online. Now normally I'd yawn at this news, but the content they're hosting is web exclusive. Yeah, someone who finally gets it.

Use the rich media web to drive traffic, garner new viewers and enhance your TV ratings. It's like my head finally bust through the wall. Bad thing is that I can't watch it with a Firefox browser. Bad Comedy Central!

Remember, the web is not TV - it's much, much more. People like online comedy. As the L.A. Times article reported, "People seem to be desperate for content, because they're terribly sad at work."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A New View on Visa

Did I miss something? According to a Brandweek article, the stalwart credit company unveiled a new logo yesterday (it was released overseas back in September 2005). What was Visa thinking? Here's the old Visa logo:

Now here's the new logo. Get ready. Notice the massive sea change in meaning, style and overall impact. According to Visa, the new logo was created to "better reflect the choice of payments Visa offers to Member financial institutions, merchants and cardholders":

Are you kidding me? This is supposed to better communicate the company's capabilities. Please. Let's call a spade a spade - this is clearly just a PR ploy to drum up more interest in its Torino sponsorship.

And why does the USA Visa homepage have yet a different logo? Stop the insanity!

If Visa really wanted to enhance its image and clarify its capabilities, then why not leverage its promotional involvement in the Olympics and create engaging experiences that demonstrate its value. If ever a site screamed for rich media marketing, then this is it. A complex value proposition, millions of prospects and a high involvement purchase decision.

Hopefully the company's upcoming "Visa Championships - Torino 2006" will be a jump in the right direction. We'll see.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's Everyday for Lazy Sunday

Have you seen the hottest thing on the web? No it has absolutely nothing to do with Paris Hilton. It's Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg from SNL. Check out "Lazy Sunday".

This is destined to be an instant classic. And if marketers are looking for ways to reach tweens and 18-35 males - you'd better call and ask for Lorne Michaels because he's got lightning in a bottle. A story talking about it's success ran on the front page of the New York Times this weekend.

Interestingly, it's all over the web. I also saw this clip on a cool site called YouTube (www.youtube.com) where you can post video content in this vlog. I love the rich media web.

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Keeping an "Eye" on the Future...Not!

So CBS announced this week that it's offering two of its hit comedies online.

According to a Boston Globe article 'Two and a Half Men" and ''How I Met Your Mother" are being offered for free video streaming this week from the Yahoo! website.

Well, move on over -- the bandwagon is getting full.

Looks like the "eye" has got it's eye on the future. Well, not really. When are the big networks going to realize the the web is not just another distribution medium? It's not just another place to broadcast TV content. I feel like I need to start my own Truth campaign about the dangers of underestimating the power of the rich media web.

Just like ABC lost out with Lost, when it failed to integrate mystery clues on the show's website, CBS is also losing a big marketing opportunity to help salvage its ratings and better engage viewers. Shows need cult followings to really do well. They need viewers that rearrange their schedule to make sure they watch (and record) the show. You can only get that level of involvement if your audience is REALLY engaged. So don't just re-run the same show. There's got to be more value. Build other content around the shows and their stars. Interact. Create conversations. Extend the story. Grow it.

At the very least CBS could solicit story ideas from viewers to embolden the characters and enhance the show with new life and energy. While 2 1/2 men is already doing well, according to Neilsen, the Marry Mother show didn't even crack the top 20.

My first question would be to Charlie Sheen - what were you thinking when you left Denise Richards?

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Googling Lyrics...What's Next?

Like I discussed in a previous post on what's happening with Google, today the search behemoth announced plans to offer Google Music (btw, not the official logo, just illustrative).

This will be a search tool aimed at finding music lyrics, artists and album names. Isn't Google in enough businesses? But like I said, they've got the cash to invest in new types of ideas. And the founders even said that they'd do things like this, so it really shouldn't come as any surprise.

The UnofficialGoogleBlog wrote about this back in early October in a post titled, "Google Music On the Way."

But what do you think Google will buy next? Rich media search? Write in and let me know.

Or if you're really lazy, go to Google and type, "What will Google do next".

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yippee for Yahoo!

This is the second company in our look at the Super Seven companies most likely to affect the rich media landscape in the next 6-12 months.

Before we looked at Google, but today I saw an interesting story in today's "Online Media Daily" (free subscription) that Yahoo! will launch a new reality show called, 'Wow House' next year.' It will be an integral part of Yahoo!' Tech, the online media giant's technology content channel.

Well yippee for Yahoo! At last a company that sees the future of the rich media web and is going after the most important piece - content.

Well, according to David Utter with Webpronews, "
The concept goes like this: two households get $10,000 each to spend on electronics for the home. Online viewers get to vote and decide which household keeps the new swag." Haven't we seen this before? Kind of, but not online exclusively.

This announcement comes on the heels of other big brands announcing broadband-only content exclusives such as HGTV who is (much to my wife's delight) developing a show aimed at kitchen renovations. Great - it was hard enough to hang on to the remote.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

I Thought I'd Seen it All...Until Tampax Did This

I'm sure this is making its way around the web and blogosphere, but I've gotta write about this great example of rich media marketing. I was reading Joseph Jaffe's blog and Adverblog (both had the link) and came across this story about Tampax and a new campaign devoted to ringtones targeted at tween girls. Talk about recruiting.

On first glance, if you're like me, you're thinking...Tampax... ringtones...okay, what's the punchline? But this site is actually pretty cool. Not that I'm in the right market AT ALL, but the creative is very well done. Kudos to the designers.

Check out the Tampax Ring Tone.

One nice feature is that individuals can make their own ringtones and then save them in a "Tone Gallery." So not only do I have the ability to create my own ringtone, but also get my friends' ringtones as well. Well done. Really great stuff.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Best is Yet to Come

On Tuesday, Dec 6, Steve Rubel wrote in his blog – Micropersuasion – about the increasing number of video and TV shows becoming available on iTunes. Shows like USA’s Monk and SciFi’s Battlestar Gallactica (alas, not the Lorne Greene version).

Well, this is good news and undoubtedly more and more will jump on the online video bandwagon. And that’s great, but this is a baby step. Don’t get me wrong, putting TV shows online is very convenient and I get the whole time-shifting thing. I’ve already downloaded two Lost episodes from iTunes – very nice. And I hear they’re making money which is fantastic too. Although I still think ABC missed a golden marketing opportunity by not extending the mysteries online, as I referenced in an earlier post.

But unlocking corporate video vaults and throwing the contents online is kind of like the early days of TV when all they could think to do was put radio shows on television. It's only when we realized that TV was an entirely different medium, that it blossomed into the monstrosity that can now get away with charging $2 million for a :30 spot interspersed with a little too much of Janet Jackson (if there is such a thing).

But the web is not TV 2.0 and it's not going to be. The web is a whole different animal - the sound is different, the motion is different, and the writing is even different. The best is yet to come because we're just now scratching the surface of what the Rich Media Web can do.

Just look at sites like Nike Lab or Freedom of the Seas (two of my favorites). Or some of the creative shops doing some really hot stuff, like this featurette of an online Underworld movie promotion.

The rich media web has enabled another paradigm shift with the added element of interactivity. That's where the real innovation is going to be. When we take video assets and enliven them with interactivity, gameplay, consumer-generated feedback and more substantiative depth, then we’ll begin to see the possibilities.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Desperate Shoppers - An Email Success Story

As I stood in line with my wife at her favorite store on Saturday morning at 11am, I tried to find the silver lining in my predicament. The pessimist in me was saying:

"Dude - it's Saturday morning and you're missing College GameDay - the last one of the season. Why couldn't you feign Avian Flu or something and get out of this nightmare?"

The optimist in me was saying:

"Dude - you're in New York & Company where the walls are adorned with perhaps the hottest Desperate Housewife of them all (Eva Longoria) and you got here because of an email. This is proof that rich media marketing works. This is great! Plus, Texas is probably killing Colorado so you're not missing too much." (which they did)

This is the beautiful face that launched a thousand successful emails and literally millions in revenue for New York & Company is this email (above). My wife got this email on Thursday and Saturday mornnig our AMEX bill took a big hit. Proof that online marketing can drive offline sales.

Now here's an even better idea. What if NY&C would have sent a rich media email (click the "holiday video" button) directed at husbands and boyfriends - using video of Eva that's already on the site - with her looking lustfully in the camera and espousing the benefits of accompanying their better halves to the mall - imagine the click-thru and drive-to on that email!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Who's a Blogger?

I was reading the AMA Blog and came across an interesting post by Blog Diva, Toby Bloomberg. She was talking about how seniors are the fastest growing segment of bloggers out there. Makes intuitive sense. Seniors - like my grandparents - love to reconnect, reminisce and stay active. Blogging is a natural fit.

But I did a little research and found out that while they may be the fastest growing segment, the 18-year-olds still dominate in terms of sheer number. This is a survey conducted by LiveJournal. There are a bunch of cool demographics in this study, but the age statistics are most interesting (sorry it's so hard to read, but you get the idea).

ClickZ recently had an article titled, "Blogosphere by the Numbers" citing similar results from other sources.

This is interesting because the largest category of blogs is political blogs. Hopefully younger people are getting more and more active with the political scene. Regardless on which side of the aisle you reside, we're all going to have to take more ownership of this country to keep the advantages we have. This isn't something I have to tell my Bill O'Reilly-watching grandmother.

Now if I could just get her to understand what I mean by "rich media."

Monday, November 28, 2005

What Happens When You Land on the Google Hotel?

As if on cue for my series looking at the Super Seven, BusinessWeek comes out with a cover story on Google, called "Googling for Gold" (subscription required). It's a pretty good article that mainly talks about the Google Effect and how tech start-ups are foregoing VCs and heading straight for the big money - Google itself - in hopes of selling directly to search monstrosity. It's also causing Silicon Valley VCs quite the problem because fledgling companies that were coming to them with scribbles on a napkin and a burning desire are now passing them by.

As an entrepreneur myself - I kind of agree with the logic. Why give some slick VC firm 40% and a seat at the table (read, letting the wolf in the sheep's pen) when I can cash out to Google if my idea is good enough?

So how does this fit into our look at the Super Seven?

This is the way I see it - the rich media web will be the epicenter of marketing for the next 10-15 years. The proof is already in that demonstrably illustrates the broadband web's ability to sell (persuade, educate, market, advertise and entertain) better than any other media. The challenge with marketing on the web today is that there's too much information. You need a way to sort through it all. That's where Google enters. I know - kinda basic. Where Google really makes a big difference - the aforementioned Google Effect - is that it with all its money, it now also controls the future of other developments. Like Microsoft, Apple and Sony have for so long, so will Google.

When Google bought start-up Keyhole last year (now part of Google Earth), it added another key ingredient to its offerings. Location-based search. When Google bought Blogger (which this posting was created with), it gained another piece of the future tech pie.

Think of it this way. Ever played monopoly? Didn't you hate it when your little brother got you to land on Broadway or Park Place with hotels. Then he proceeded to take that money and buy tons of little houses on every corner of the board. With a $120 BILLION market cap, Google can now afford to take chances on lots of little "houses" throughout the tech sector and essentially tilt the future of landscape in its favor.

That's the Google Effect, and why they're going to be a Super Seven Star for years to come.

Next issue - Yahoo!

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Impending Royal Rumble

Pick up, tune in, or click to any media outlet/search engine and you'll understand why I'm so excited.

With all that's going on with mobile and online content, I see a massive Royal Rumble beginning to take shape that would even make Vince McMahon jealous.

Who is gonna be standing after these "Magnificant Seven" competitors all go after the same market?
  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • AOL/Time Warner/CNN
  • The "networks" (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox)
  • Comcast
  • Microsoft
  • The "cells" (SprintNextel, Verizon)
Over the next several blogs - let's take a look at each and see what power moves each brings to the table and how they stack up against the competition. Secret (and not-so-secret) alliances are not out of the question either. CNN is a rumored acquisition target by CBS, or so the story goes.

Enter, the mighty Google.

Feeling the Google Effect

I'm a big deep sea fisherman. One thing I've learned is that there's always a bigger fish. The $25,000 question is how big must the company be that scares Wal-Mart.

A recent New York Times article (registration required) discussed how even the retailer behemoth is keeping a close eye on Google. That's when you know how you've arrived. When Wal-Mart is casting a wary eye. Talk about an ego boost.

With all that Google offers - it's a wonder they haven't been accused of anti-trust yet.

iPod Nano - Stayin Alive

OK, now I can truly say I've seen it all. We've come full circle. An Engadget blog posting covers the story of the launch of the "mTune". Hopefully this will be better than Olympus' awful mRobe - which as CNET reviews describe - bombed miserably. Hope the SuperBowl spot at least got the execs some free tickets to the game.

The mTune (left) looks like one of the best accessories out for the iPod set. Put your iPod mini or iPod Shuffle in these collapsable headphones and now you've got wireless enjoyment. As long as you don't mind the old school headphones.

Good products beget good products. That's life in the world of Apple. Man, this product saved Steve Jobs' neck. Talk about a fourth-quarter comeback.

I only hope they figure out a way for the iPod Video to have a similarly cool hook up. With video glasses or something???

This is a product from Icuiti. Pretty soon we won't be listening or seeing anyone else - just off in our own private worlds.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The future of broadband - Ripe TV?

OK so this may not be my ideal type of content, but the concept is on the right track. If you haven't seen "Ripe TV," check it out. It's obviously male 18-35 slanted and the style is a rip-off of the Howard Stern Show. Lots of girls and music videos. Production quality is ok in spots, but I'm more excited about the way that this is all coming together.

There is a good-looking hostess (in fact viewers can vote for a new hostess every week - interactivity gets a check) who sets the stage and lets us know what's going on. Then we have an ad to start the segment. Then the content. There's also a roll-over ad during the content. The hostess rejoins to introduce the next feature.

It's a TV show online, delivered right to my desktop. Now the video player isn't full-screen, but it is delivered in Flash, so we know that it's fairly accessible on most computers. All in all - not a bad start.

The big question - will Ripe TV stay that way? If I was a betting man, I'd have to say that unless they can find a niche with this type of content - which there should be given the demographic - then this will be another good effort, but not enough to stay with the big boys.

Actually that brings up a question. If you've got a solid concept, big name advertisers, decent quality concept and an appealing targeted demo, why wouldn't you be successful? What is the secret ingredient that turns this into Jib Jab?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wanna Recipe for Blogs? Connect the Dots!

I was reading Steve Rubel's blog, Micropersuasion, today and he had a post about the "Secret Sauce of Blogging." His main point was don't just talk about your company and their views and benefits of their thinking. Add value to the conversation.

Sure - that's a great point. But I think taking that idea one step further may bring us a little closer to how to really "Kick it up a notch" as our friend Emeril says.

Robert Fulghum had it right. Everything you need to know, you really did learn in Kindergarten. The key to blogging is about connecting the dots. Don't just talk about the new things going on, or your company's new widget. Steve was right. But connect the dots. Talk about how events are inter-related or are counter-intuitive. The blogging community is really in a big search for understanding and insight. We can only get this if we better define what's really going on. And all of opinions and viewpoints will gradually help to pinpoint and focus the discussion/debate.

So you wanna know how to blog? Add to the conversation by connect the dots and help bring a little more understanding to your world.

Monday, October 31, 2005

It's Scary When I'm Right

I hate to say I told you so, but...

A few weeks ago, in a "Wright of Way" posting titled, A Lost Marketing Opportunity, I wrote about how the hit ABC series "Lost" missed a huge chance to pull in new viewers by answering some of the questions of the show through an online experience.

Well in today's Online Media Daily, there is proof that this would have been a great strategy. The article, titled, "Traffic Surges at TV Sites" talks about the growth in the number of viewers going to network and show sites to find out more about the characters, plots and upcoming episodes. Or in "Lost's" case - how many weeks they're taking off before some more all-new episodes.

This is another cog in the wheel of change. The web sites are an amazing place for shows to put content. It's all going to be the same eventually - why not begin the inevitable and cross-promote TV and online to garner more fans and more loyal fans. Turn fans into fanatics and fanatics into VPs of Ideation. In other words, let the people that are most into the show cast their footprint on the future of the show. This can only breed more devoted following and probably prevent the content from becoming too formulaic and predictable.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

No Way for Blu-Ray

I was reading an article recently in BusinessWeek about the ongoing argument between Sony (and its gang) and Toshiba (and its gang) over the competing interests of the next generation DVDs.

The article, aptly titled, "Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD" went into eggregious detail about the benefits of both and who's lining up to support which technology. Interesting to see the history and politics play out. It kind of reminds me of a WWE Royal Rumble.

Basically - Sony's version (Blu-Ray) is the cornerstone for the new PS3 due out next year, and will allow a ton of space on each disc. Plus, the movie and gaming studios like this one because it's going to have beefier piracy controls. Microsoft's version (HD DVD) will have arguably better quality, although not as much space on each disc.

But here's why this entire debate doesn't even really matter.

#1 - As we've seen with the recent iPod Video launch - and my even more recent blog posting - discs are merely another consumer electronics technology that will eventually go the way of the vinyl record, 8-track, cassette and VHS tape. If I can download an episode of Lost or buy my favorite song from the Black-Eyed Peas, then why should I rearrange my schedule to be home at Wednesday's at 9pm or buy 12 other songs I really don't like? With content On Demand, individually priced and mobile...I can interact/view that content when and where I want. CDs and DVDs are too limiting.

#2 - With all the big players lining up across from each other, the attention seems to be diverted from the one company that will make or break this whole discussion. Wal-Mart. According to a July 20, 2004 post in the Movie Marketing Blog (great read, btw), Wal-Mart accounts for 37% of DVD sales in the U.S. So goes Wal-Mart, so goes the decision.

My suggestion to Sony? Be sure and make the Arkansas Razorbacks nearly unstoppable in the 2007 edition of NCAA College Football.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Podcasting - Is it for Real?

Saw a great article that sums up the podcasting debate very well. In Jason Heller's article, "The Podcast Bandwagon," he makes a lot of good points. Podcasting is new and exciting. Yeah, that's great. But it's not for everyone and every situation.

I had a F500 client tell me that they wanted to do a Podcast next year. Why? Because it's the latest rage. Not necessarily the strategy I was hoping to hear - nor would I pin my hopes and financial projections on that strategy either.

That being said, there are a lot of great podcasts out there. From the very out there to the very interesting (depending who you are). If you're a broadband fan like me, you'll love Joseph Jaffe and Steve Rubel's podcast, aptly titled "Across the Sound" because they live across the sound from each other up in the Northeast. Damn Yankees. It's a look at the big things in media and marketing from their perspectives. Good stuff.

You can also check out the AMA Atlanta podcasts - I host this, in the spirit of full disclosure. We try to record as many of our speaking events as possible. This is a very basic podcast with a little post-production to trim it down and distill the really important points. Any comments are certainly welcome. Check it out.

Anyway, I digress. Podcasting is another great invention, but like all other marketing strategies and tactics, you need viewers (listeners, technically). That means drive-to. Think of it as radio On Demand. And you know how much radio devotes to self promotion. The big question is, will this phenomenon survive? Is it real?

It's still about the content.