Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Media Navel Gaze

The Week Unpeeled

The New York Times management-change story seemed to escape much of the spotlight by the end of last week with attention turned to mergers and some high-profile corporate charges, allegations and fines, with AT&T agreeing to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion, blurring the lines between mobile, cable, video and pay TV.

Elsewhere:

  • Google was reportedly in talks to buy Twitch a live video-streaming service;
  • Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to criminal tax charges in helping customers evade taxes;
  • Barclays was fined last week 26 million pounds for gold rigging;
  • The US Justice Department, meanwhile, charged Chinese military officials for allegedly hacking US computer computers in an effort to steal trade secrets;
  • Time and Sports Illustrated have started to put ads on the cover, a first for a big publisher in the US (put you kinda have to really look for it under the bar code) put a significant step nonetheless;
  • Thailand’s military staged a coup, the second time in about a decade that the army has ousted the government; and
  • The markets rallied last week with the S&P closing at a record high of 1,900 and the Dow at 16,606. End of Story
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There you are, bored on any given weekday night with nothing more to watch than yet another rousing episode of American Idol or House Hunters. While the seemingly endless supply of everyday individuals who think they can carry a tune or afford a 4000+ sq/ft house with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a multi-head shower deeply intrigues me, there are times when I find my attention hungering something with a little more intrigue. Thankfully, locked away within a secret bunker deep inside the innards of an advertising agency, there dwell creative visionaries whose very jobs are to create a vacuum in which we’re all socially sucked in. And I applaud them.

Beginning in November, creative agency BBDO Atlanta unleashed a television ad series starring Beck Bennet and a boisterous variety of adorable kids, answering questions designed to highlight AT&T’s prominent features/services. These commercials don’t hurl facts and figures into your face, nor do they serve up steaming piles of propaganda for your unwanted digestion. Instead, Beck posts a basic question to some articulate adolescents, and their adorable answers create and instant chuckle fest. You forget that AT&T wants you to know about their network speed or sizable download capabilities, and instead just learn that a robot shooting lasers from two eyes instead of one is more powerful, or that fastening a cheetah to grandma’s back might make her faster. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up. But I wish I did.

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This has been a big year for Apple. Of course, every year for the past five years has been relatively big for Apple, but hey—we finally have the iPhone 5! And iOS6! And a fantastic new maps app!. . . Wait, what's that? Hold on, there was drama surrounding the app because it didn't have the normal coat of polish that most Apple products have? And both Google Maps and Youtube apps are no where to be found in iOS6? Oh my, I feel weak, I need to take a breather.

Apple recently released the  iPhone 5 along with iOS6. With these releases, they've introduced their own maps and navigation app to questionable fanfare. Should Apple be concerned about the more-than-usual bad press?

Okay, I'm good now. I just needed to cuddle with my functionally sound Samsung Galaxy S3. Amazingly, it was able to tell me how to navigate from freak out mode to sanity once again. How do the following amazingly intelligent individuals feel about Apple's current drama?

"They should be concerned for a few reasons, but not the obvious one some people may raise: will the maps issue have any impact on sales of the iPhone 5? I think everyone agrees that the five million devices sold over the first weekend – after it had been well-documented that the maps app was an issue – makes that a moot point. And let’s also differentiate between the maps and navigation. While of course the navigation relies on the accuracy of the maps, the turn-by-turn voice navigation and easy-to-read street signs are clearly an upgrade from Google. But yes, the accuracy is an issue and currently Google by far has the better overall maps app.

Further exacerbating this situation is the attention they covet and force upon themselves. You can’t hold press conferences and make a spectacle of a phone launch and then not expect the media and consumers to exploit issues when they develop. They set themselves up for this extra scrutiny in comparison to a more subtle launch; although, they were not going to hide this flaw and hope they could work out the issues by themselves before anyone found out.

What they do need to be concerned about is the loss of their total control and dominance over consumers. No longer will people follow them blindly and assume everything works perfectly, nor defend them as vigorously when issues arise. They will be like every other company that has to prove itself, even to its most loyal customers. Tech reviewers will spend more time trying to exploit glitches and imperfections. Apple can regain control by launching the next device with no significant issues, known or unknown, and position maps as a one-off issue and not a slippage in engineering, marketing, quality control or communications.

What could they have done better this time around? Simple: better manage expectations. More specifically, they should have: 1) Let people know maps was still in beta mode, just as Siri remains on the iPhone 5 after her prior introduction, and that only a full product introduction will allow them to work out the known kinks with the help and support of dedicated Apple users; and 2) They should have continued to offer Google Maps until the next iPhone comes out, at which time their own maps app should be able to stand on its own. Enacting one – and certainly both – of these management-expectation scenarios would have bought them more time and allowed them to stay in front of the situation instead of appearing to be caught off guard.

I’m sure a few people were fired and some new policies for product introductions will be put into place so this isn’t repeated in the future. Now if they could just control Foxconn." ~Brian (@bschaffer)

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The Week Unpeeled

The Democratic convention ended last week and now the serious gloves-off campaigning begins.  Needless to say, gobs of ink and e-ink spilled on coverage and analysis but some interesting social-media analysis surfaced toward the end of the week on the campaign (not just the conventions), especially in Charles M. Blow’s column in The New York Times on Saturday, titled “The Engagement Gap” or the media engagement (social media, that is) gap. For example, the Obama campaign posted nearly “four times as much content as the Romney campaign and was active on nearly twice as many platforms,” according to a study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, referenced in his column and probably not too surprising.  Obama easily outscored Romney on retweets, YouTube views, likes, and the likes. Also, the President’s speech last week set a record for political moments on Twitter. Hashtag that! And in the old-school TV medium, one kinda embarrassing statistic (for the Republican camp and America), according to The Hollywood Reporter: The Republican convention on Wednesday was “outperformed” on every station among the 18- to 49-year market by the TLC show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”  Almost makes you miss the Kardashians.

Also, worth noting (for us pitching and for us educating clients and how we can leverage an interview) was a rundown of a day in the life of a reporter at the convention and how much their work has changed, observed by Thomas L. Friedman in his Sunday column in The New York Times: report, file for the Web edition, file for the International Herald Tribune, tweet, update for the Web edition, report more, track other people’s tweets, do a Web-video spot and then write the story for the print paper.  An NYT grand slam would be one interview in all channels, right?

Elsewhere:

  • The US jobless rate declined to 8.1 in August from 8.3 in July, mostly because the unemployed got tired of looking for jobs in a sluggish report overall and a big boo boo for the Obama campaign;
  • The Dow ended the week 1.6 percent higher to close at 13,306 on Friday amid talks of plans for eurozone bond buying;
  • Cosmopolitan of Hearst Magazines named Joanna Coles from Marie Claire as its new editor;
  • Apple announced plans for a Web-radio platform a la Pandora;
  • Also, this week saw the launch of new Smartphones from Nokia, Motorola and Amazon;
  • Figures from the British Retail Consortium highlighted the economic impact of the Olympic Games was not as strong as expected. Sales in some stores in August were down by 0.4 percent on the same period last year;
  • The Bank of England  decided to keep interest rates unchanged at 0.5 percent and not to implement additional quantitative easing; and
  • In another bad week for job losses, Insurance giant Direct Line confirmed that nearly 900 jobs are being axed and Nomura announced a retreat from London with an expected 400 jobs likely to go. End of Story
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Who doesn't like a good start-up story?  I know I do, especially with a commercial that's as sharp as a tack... or in this case, a razor. Enter California-based funny guy Michael Dubin, and his business partner Mark Levine. These two entrepreneurial geniuses saw what a hairy situation men had with purchasing over-priced shaving equipment and decided to do all of us manly gentlemen a favor. This favor, launched in 2011, is known as the Dollar Shave Club.

Have you seen the included video yet? It's Dollar Shave Club's recent commercial, and it's gone completely viral, garnering over three million epic views on YouTube in about a week's time. If you are a super savvy individual like me, or someone that had to start shaving way too early in life (curses to you, gene pool), you no doubt realize that those are a lot of views. Say what you will about the commercial; maybe you think it's not serious; maybe you even think its offensive. Maybe you're right. Pardon me while I lather on, but I see it as an engaging exchange with socially savvy men (with senses of humor) who are tired of paying too much money for dinky, multi-edged pieces of plastic and metal. I also see this as a hungry consumer pool looking for a chance to not only save money, but spend it.

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