Category Archives: Entertainment

SocialTV and Emerging Platforms Overview

SocialTV-the return of the family room?I was invited to speak to Hollywood marketing executives on June 26, 2012 at the iMedia Entertainment Summit by Brad Berens and Nancy Galanty of DMG Events. The initial request was for an overview of up and coming along with more established companies in the SocialTV space. I’m far more interested in emerging platforms than the individual companies, although I admire and enjoy the entrepreneurship, vision and camaraderie of their leaders. As an angel investor or strategic partner I might invest capital or resources in the individual company, but in my agency role I’m infinitely more interested in the convergence of technologies and consumer trends that launch new behaviors and platforms into popular culture. As a result, I framed the presentation this way:

  • Overview/Intro/Definition
  • Underlying influences and market dynamics that make SocialTV compelling
  • Proposed a spectrum of engagement models for nascent, volatile and emerging platforms like SocialTV
Some key take aways:
  • SocialTV may become the new normal for consuming video versus a discrete space–the term “SocialTV” may go away
  • Almost 90% Tablet & Smartphone Owners Use Devices While Watching TVAccording to Nielsen’s Q1 2012 report almost 90% of Smartphone and Tablet owners use their devices while watching TV; about 40% do so daily and over 60% do so several times a week. Conclusion: you can’t talk about SocialTV without the context of mobile which is where the greatest innovation will happen outside of the box
  • SocialTV is currently comprised of content discovery and companion apps–think a better remote control or check-in and chatter–as well as analytics applied around TV content
  • There are dozens if not hundreds of companies chipping away at pieces of this space but only a few are top-of-mind brands–Miso, Get Glue, IntoNow, Viggle, TrendRR, Bluefin and a few network offerings were like USA Chatter and HBOGo–mentioned at the conference of Hollywood insiders and Execs
  • There’s a lot of interest in this space as it represents massive potential shifts in consumer and advertising revenues for Hollywood, marketers, SocialMedia companies along with emerging players able to capitalize on the expanding ecosystem
  • For consumers, the opportunity to engage with families, friends and networks may unlock the social aspects of SocialTV and usher in the return from our Entertainment or TV room to the Family Room
Below is the slideware prepared for the presentation, followed by the video which has much more nuance and information with some reference links to close this post:

Slides with voiceover:

Curated links in preparation for the presentation:

Special thanks to Nielsen along with Adam Broitman, Adam Burg, Mark Ghuneim, Jeff Minsky and Lori Schwartz for their input and advice informing the presentation.

Will Apps Disrupt Every Trad Media While Establishing a New One?

Perhaps the title question is too narrow and should focus on industries Apps will disrupt beyond Media, and my prediction is that Apps will disrupt nearly everything from the way we consume and engage with brands and media to how we transact, visualize, congregate and curate our daily lives and loves. With that thunderous prediction let me offer a couple of windows into the Apps EcoSystem which Gartner predicts will become $58 Billion in a few years and conclude with some thoughts informing these predictions:

  • AppNation Conference in San Francisco this Wednesday and Thursday, April 27-28, promises to deliver the “State of the Art” view of the EcoSystem. Register to attend in person and catch full-benefit of networking with founders and leaders in this emerging space or follow the hashtag on twitter: #appnationconf 
  • Spend an hour with Drew Ianni, AppNation Chairman and Founder, presenting his view from the top of the Apps Ecosystem. Former Wall Street and Jupiter Analyst as well as top guy at ad:tech, Drew created AppNation to provide the best and biggest conference for the space. You can catch his Briefing at Anthem San Francisco here:

  • And, here are the companion slides to the video:

Some additional thoughts to complement my prediction that Apps will disrupt nearly every business and consumer interaction:

As Drew points out the value chain is shifting from the hardware–although the most elegant hardware can win massive share as we’ve seen with the iPad and iPhone–to the software or Apps on these devices. This content spans devices and channels jumping from Social/Web to Mobile and PC/Tablets and eventually connected TVs. This shift has been swift and taken the most immediately associated/impacted industries by storm and surprise. PC veteran, Michael Dell, admitted yesterday that he didn’t see Tablets coming and PC-maker Acer reported 24% drop in sales as a result of tablet disruption.  The primary utility for Tablets? Apps.

As a result of this consumer draw, we can anticipate new, creative business models and entertainment forms to emerge and become as large a part of popular culture as anything Hollywood has ever produced. And, of course, Hollywood may spawn and will appropriate these new entertain forms.

As we’ve seen with Social Media, consumer adoption and new behaviors will inspire enterprise adoption as well. So, my prediction started in the title with Media, the most obvious place for disruption as we see media transformed with superior features, connectivity and transaction abilities to change how we think about distribution and engagement with Print, Radio, TV and even the Internet media that came before Apps. In establishing a new medium and channel it’s important to emphasize this is about disruption not replacing or destroying. Incombent business models will have to evolve and embrace the new medium to survive and thrive in the disruption.

Will Apps have their own mass-events like the Oscars, Grammy’s, Cannes or Tony’s? They already have their own conference. Hope to catch you at AppNation this week and every year going forward. Cheers!

Weekly Round-Up 12/13/10

In the News

  • Find your keywords for monitoring social media. Like the best conversations Listening is one part brain, two parts heart
  • After 77 years, P&G pulls the plug on day-time soap ad spend, invests instead in social media. Two observations: 1) took 77 years to decline where Social’s taken 5-years to build; 2) Social Gaming is the new Soap pwning daytime viewership with a larger audience than same daypart TV shows
  • Rumor – Apple iPad 2 will ship by February with back & front camera, USB slot and anything else you need to jump in
  • To Trend or Not to Trend – how Trends—as in Trending Terms—are measured on Twitter


  • WikiLeaks war continued throughout week with anonymous hacktivists attacking Visa and Mastercard
  • Former WikiLeaks members form spin-off site “Openleaks,” with more structure around who can obtain the goods


Relevance through constant reinvention

In two unrelated acts I found myself reacting to the work of our business in very different ways. It’s really a story of where advertising has been and where marketing is headed. Our main characters are Delta Airlines and Red Bull. Maybe you already see where this is going…

I was compelled to comment on AdWeek’s column by Barbara Lippert reviewing Delta’s new “Climb” advertising as much because of the advertising content as for the product it’s trying to represent in a positive light. Unfortunately, Delta and many other old-line airlines have been re-framed by newer and more relevant airlines like Virgin America, my current favorite, through a series of continual micro-innovations including: in-seat USB & DC power supply; in-flight wifi; seatback ondemand entertainment systems; microbrews and beverages of this decade/year/month; and more surely to come. These should be easily replicated commodity benefits for the industry to defy attempts at re-framing, but instead they respond with extra baggage fees and these ads/cinematic masterpieces.

Lippert quotes the famous David Ogilvy line to which I subscribe, “the fastest way to kill a bad product is to give it good advertising.” Eric Ryan, at Method Products–another company defined more by innovation than an advertising artifice–like to say advertising is a tax for sucking. Real Branding should be the honest, multi-faceted, self-aware expression of the most dramatic truths about a brand. In these spots, we get only some commodity industry truths and very little about what makes Delta special–because it isn’t. Ultimately, Delta has no recourse but to create big, interruptive and, yes, beautiful distractions to carry their brand advertising, because their brand truths simply don’t stick or attract you. They have to interrupt you because you wouldn’t invest the time to hear their false case any other way.

In Contrast:

I was just as compelled to post this video to my Facebook wall. Really, nothing to add here except this: Red Bull consistently creates engagements with super-influential categories and associations that inspire in all ways, from the Idea to execution. I was cheering for The Clutch at the end of this piece. I wanted to watch and share. I was drawn to the story and inspired by this piece of marketing. I look forward to how Red Bull will inspire us next and in what compelling form. I feel the power of their truth in their deeds, actions and expressions.

Red Bull gives wings to inspired marketing and represents the new marketing model in which “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” are all one line:

  • where any act can inspire and add to your brand’s marketing fame
  • where advertising draws you in and invites you to stick around versus interrupting like a loud, rude–albeit good looking–guest
  • where a local-market tactic can project as large as a national spot
  • where truths are core and essential and lies are exposed or simply ignored
  • where digital and social aren’t just media or a channel, but core to connecting and discovery with new brand recruits

It’s an example of the dynamic of “Magnetism” which you’ll hear more about more frequently here. Welcome your thoughts and contributions.

Lessons from Book Quote’s Viral FB Meme


The Book Quote Game Goes Viral in Facebook

Virally speaking based on watching my own response along with others in my social graph, a clever little meme called the “Book Quote Game” is exploding over on Facebook. Over the weekend a quick challenge gambit  appeared in my Facebook socialgraph and I took it. I responded in to a friend’s post asking me to find a random but specifically-placed quote from “a book near me.”

What followed surprised me: within 12 hours 18 others added their quotes–more comments than my FB posts usually get; their socialgraph represents 3641 people and inspired another 23 comments. I didn’t crawl their comments to see the network effect in added reach, but if we use the averages based on mine, the echo would include another 9300 in reach. With an average friend duplication of 7.75% you still reach over 10,000 people per post in the first two generations of the meme. Because the active socialgraph/profile will bury this meme, it needs to reappear at different times, which it does as others replicate and comment. I expect to see this meme come back around many times in the coming months.

More surprising is that this isn’t even a Facebook application. It’s an activity that’s as catchy as an application but relies on The Groundswell to crawl all the SocialNetwork’s carriers to produce the Metacalfe effect. So, without any programming and low-production content you can create a viral campaign by following the best practices of The Book Quote Game.

I’ll give more evidence and details then see if there are best practices that can be applied for Marketers. Please add your reactions below in the comments area as well. Continue reading

Little Known Fact-In Case You Missed It

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Twitter search results on Little Known Fact Sarah Palin

Starting Friday and over the long Labor Day weekend the twitterstream was full of a new meme, “Little Known Fact, Sarah Palin” It was a gambit that started to fill in the lack of information on the new McCain ticket running mate, Sarah Palin, with disinformation and humor. Within three hours of the announcement the meme started, and thousands of tweets were submitted by every corner of the twitterverse. It was a spontaneous gag that kept getting better or worse, depending on how you view the sophmoric humor. It was a “Saturday Night Live” skit that took off with the collective contributing at a furious pace. In most cases it kept to the humorous bend, but ranged from critical to fawning. Here are some selected tweats; where attribution is missing they were pulled from

Brand Promise (bringing it back to digital marketing for a second)

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin softens your hands while you do the dishes.

@diabolos: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin isn’t qualified for VP, but she did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

@MovableHype: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

@kevinbinversie: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows what’s in her wallet.

Sarah Palin will pry your Klondike bar from your cold dead fingers.


@JonHenkeSarah Palin’s enemies are automatically added to the Endangered Species List

When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

Sarah Palin plays Whack-a-Mole with her forehead, and always gets a perfect score.


Sarah Palin knows who was on the grassy knoll.

@stuartturner: Little known fact: There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Sarah Palin’s computer. She’s always in control. Too bad McCain doesn’t have a computer

@podcastmama Little known fact: Sarah Palin know’s what it’s like to be the sad man behind blue eyes.

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

@markaiken: Little known fact: Sarah Palin IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU

Chuck Norris Comparisons (follows the “fake Chuck Norris” meme format and consumes it)

@DarkAdapted: Little known fact: Chuck Norris backs down from no man. He does back down from Sarah Palin.

@brennanm: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin blows her nose with Chuck Norris.

@steezydeezy: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin and Chuck Norris together in one room would create a black hole!

@miketrap: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin once kicked Chuck Norris’ ass, just because he thought about looking at hers.

@conblog: Little Known Fact: There are only 2 forces Chuck Norris recognizes: brute force & Sarah Palin. He practices one & lives in fear of the other

Pop Culture

@neoskeptic: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin’s milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. She could teach you, but she’d have to charge.

cheesie_67: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is the last daughter of Krypton.

@wolfcat: Little known fact: Sarah Palin will eat the twitter fail whale for breakfast if elected

@I_aint_Eddy: Little known fact: Sarah Palin is never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.



@cscan:Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin has been governor for less time than John McCain has been running for President.

@YooPlaceTop: ★ Little known actual fact: Sarah Palin tried to ban book …

@Trudaluck: Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin is simply the best….better than all the rest

@fpaynter: Little known fact: Sarah Palin shot the state trooper, but she did not shoot the deputy.

Sarah Palin’s finishing move in the VP debate will be pulling Biden’s still beating heart from his chest & taking a bite.


Impact:Like a lot of internet memes and one-hit-wonders, this one lived strongest for about 24-36 hours getting discovered at varying points by MSM and bloggers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this catches fire a few weeks from now when another media discovers it. I’m also confident that these results will game the search engines and take over top search results, perhaps even influencing some votes. The good news about these memes is that they eventually fizzle out. They’re the equivalent of Sunday Funnies for those that remember, or a good Sienfeld/Simpson’s line that crept into popular culture. They serve their entertainment purpose for the moment, then need to go away.

If you liked any of this, you might also like:


Transformers and Me–More Than Meets the Eye

space-era, robotsI’ve got a lot of robots and Transformers in my office. The quick explanation is “they’re cool.”
The more involved version follows.
I have a small collection of 1950s-60s space/atomic era rockets in part because I love the naive notion that “science will save and lift us” and the object lessons this notion offers.
I added robots—some original and replicas—to my “save and lift” collection.  FWIW, I share the starry-eyed optimism in all pursuits. And I have enough experience to know that there’s another pole to that perspective.

A Real Brand Can Stand Parody, Flattery

A great idea usually inspires other great ideas, even if in reaction to them. You see a fair amount of parody, imitation and adoration when searching brand terms on YouTube, Flickr, etc. That’s merchandising for Real Brands and can be an opportunity to listen, respond, stunt (IMHO, Marvel’s Cease & Desist to Techblogger Arrington re: Iron Man screening was just that) and maybe even innovate. The mega-benefit of posting + parody + commenting + rating + @replying + blogging + sharing is trust for consumers and the search algorithms that crawl all this activity. In terms of the latter, that means better organic placement.

So, if you see something out there about your brand that you don’t like, consider all your options for response and remember that your customer is smart enough to tell the parody from what’s real, even in your actions. A Real Brand can stand parody and even benefit from it. Who knows, you might even have your next big seller, as in this video for an innovation-on-innovation violation (consider watching with sound on mute if in shared office or if potentially offended by lyrics):

Dramatic Chipmunk Resurfaces

Awhile back I spoke about one Dramatic Chipmunk (later identified as a prairie dog) that held it’s 15-minutes of fame as a break-out hit on YouTube.

Was thrilled to see it resurface at a Google/YouTube agency day, where participants were encouraged to create their own User Generated Content. Look closely and you’ll see Jeb and Deirdre from our NY office showing off their mad acting skillz. Keep the day job, please.

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Good Use of Video to Reposition Brand

before the redesignBaby Einstein hired Real Branding to re-position their line through the digital channel. As you can see from the “before” shot to the left, we repositioned from a product towards a brand, from functional benefits to emotional in a few simple videos. These videos also serve to demo the product versus the static image you see on most ecommerce sites.  Our challenge was to take highly functional transactional requirements and marry them with equally demanding emotional expectations. This isn’t a TV spot or a print ad, but consider for a moment how much information is conveyed within your first three clicks.

There are also great tools for selecting the right products based on age, stages, fancy or fascination through simple exploration. And we’ve invited parents to share their experiences at every touch.

Without opening up the strategy completely, we’re moving the brand to a “smarter” place which parents intuitively understand: that the most powerful learning happens within their arms and intimacy, where Baby Einstein has always advocated and delivered.

Mad props to the team that delivered business-changing engagements in a transactional website for a Real Brand.

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