Thursday, September 27, 2007

Decent Advert from ITV

ITV seem to be trying to make people notice their programmes a bit more.

I like their latest outing - caught it on the front page of the Guardian:

It's quite rare to see people being brave with online advertising. There seems to be tendency for clients to sit behind the creatives with a whip shouting "More Flashing! More Text! Why doesn't it say 'click here!'" Glad to see someone's experimenting to see if intrigue can drive some interest to the site.

Obviously it has been tried before, but there's a good whack of investment behind it - homepage of the Guardian is not cheap.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Gordon Brown's Favourite Phrases

Although Swivel is one of my favourite sites at the moment (currently being overwhelmed by the Economist's daily chart news story), Many Eyes from IBM supplies some fantastic options for analysing text content. Unfortunately it does not yet offer embedding.

Have a look at the two pages I created analysing the text of Gordon's Speech:

First a normal tag cloud

Secondly a text analysis that shows the way certain words were used.

Quite useful way to get to the heart of a long speech. Could be useful for a presentation - turning a long argument into bite sized slides?

Monday, September 24, 2007

DoubleClick Launches Site-Side Mobile Ad Management, Advertiser Version in Development DoubleClick Launches Site-Side Mobile Ad Management, Ad

Here we go...

Finally we're seeing the big boys start to take mobile seriously. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I've been using Opera's mobile browser in recent weeks and I've been hugely impressed. It converts normal pages (not flash) into pages that are digestible on the mobile. They've also made a good interface that allows the pages to be navigated easily.

There is a slowly rousing argument that there should be no need to develop more than one site for any major media owner - the phone should be able to translate the site's content into a readable format. The problem at the moment is that there's very little in it for the sites - what do they gain from allowing people to read their content, for free, with ads being automatically stripped out.

Hopefully doubleclick's solution will allow sites to begin receiving money for the effort they put into developing their mobile sites. There is more and more content being accessed on the move. Google have put a good amount of effort into helping with local navigation. All the networks have good quality portals with sports results, simple news and travel information.

At some point soon there will be GPS systems which will also be reasonably usable browsers - this should allow passengers to find internet enabled content around their destinations and current locations. Mobile internet isn't necessarily limited to phones, there is plenty of room for location aware uses. Laptops being used with identified and registered hotspots will allow sites to begin to deliver customised content.

My own opinion is that the level of customisation available will not be fully taken up by the vast majority of advertisers in the beginning. Too much customisation will scare and alienate consumers, while the amount of effort and technological development required will put the majority off the investments needed.

However, DoubleClick, Google and their competitors will hopefully take much of the work out of delivering adverts on these platforms.

We'll see what happens!

Hours of Thought

Originally uploaded by mild_swearwords
Saw this in the tube the other day. Think it's in Holloway Tube.

Fantastically targeted product, placement and creative.

I'd be surprised if much thought was put into the advert to be honest, but they didn't need to. The story pretty much writes the advert. They've just taken the back of the book and put it into the poster.

Then, to add to the brilliance of the poster, they've added a competition to win some shoes. Simply awesome.

I suspect this has been made directly by the client, and well done them!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Old School PR fails to attract people to website

Some idiot from seems to be trying to get some free publicity for their website. They had the original idea of running a survey to find out people's attitudes to things on the internet.

This had the wonderful effect of finding out that people don't like popup ads. Very surprising. Somehow (I suspect a fancy lunch was involved) the survey managed to find its way into the Guardian as an aside within their business section.

They were very lucky and the article included the name of the site. This was then let down by the fact that their rubbish site has had no search optimisation whatsoever. Therefore it was difficult to find, and the site's listing on google just gives T&Cs.

I think more people would be able to find them if they did a bit of advertising. This might annoy the sort of person who will fill in an online survey, but at least it will be remembered.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Generic PR

It seems strange that a small project the size of Jellyfish can end up having such a range of people commenting on it.

To be completely fair to natmags, it was a small concern. They have a total staff of around 1,500 in the UK. Eight of them were directly involved in the launch and continuation of the Jellyfish project.

This has generated a decent amount of inquiry from people interested in the magazine industry.

The immediate verdict seems to be that the email delivery system was suspect, due to unconfirmed rumours across the industry.

I think, as someone who was there, I can safely say that there were a number of different reasons and pinning it down to one reason is more than slightly artificial.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to market a site. Jellyfish had healthy strategy and implementation across the entirety of the project but did not manage to gain enough traction with the target audience.

The main lesson is that the web is all about unique content which is refreshed often. Jellyfish did not fit either of those two criteria and so died reasonably quickly.

Does anybody have an example of a non-daily web publication working well? (Apart from Popbitch...)?

Yahoo acquires online collaboration suite Zimbra

Interesting move from Yahoo!

The net will be abuzz with news how Yahoo! is trying to get into the whole web 3.0 desktop \ web app delivery nonsense.

Basically Yahoo! is trying to stay within touching distance of Google. To be fair, Zimbra's application suite was more than slightly better than Google's, with the presentation app in particular stronger by far than anything else I've seen on the market.

We do have to remember that Yahoo! is still struggling in a variety of different ways, not least their inability to extract a decent value out of the inventory they are currently selling. For some reason they are concentrating on competing with networks to offer extremely cheap inventory whereas they should be leaving the networks to scrap over remnant inventory and spending their time selling their more upscale stuff.

I've still never had a salesperson try to sell me any of Yahoo!'s genuinely innovative sites - flickr, and the like. Yahoo! has proved adept at purchasing companies but it has yet to prove itself with the most important phase - the exploitation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The slow decline of Lycos

For anyone who was wondering why Lycos has been slowly declining in performance in recent years.

It used to be that and imdb were just sidetracks for Lycos' UK sales offering. They now seem to account for more than three quarters of Lycos' traffic. Although Lycos is beginning to focus a little more on providing content, it is starting to struggle.

My own opinion is that portals will become less relevant in the future. As more offline content providers begin to move online, people will seek out better content from them. Once people know where they can receive the news \ information they want, the only portal they need to visit will be their search engine.

The growth among portals is relatively static at the moment. This graph shows where they are:
MSN, Yahoo!, AOL, Orange, and Tiscali

Microsoft did something to messenger in January that I think has something to do with the spike in traffic. It also did some suspicious things to their daily visits.

I think that within a year we'll begin to see the larger portals start to show signs of decline. You can't be all things to all people, and the social networks will replace the portals as the homepage of choice.

Are we Geeky Enough?

Had an extended discussion last night with some people from my agency about Geekines.

Are we, as an agency, geeky enough. Considering that we specialise in digital media, there seems to be far too little gadget worship and far too little interest expressed in some of the things many people are wasting their lives doing. This is definitely not an agency specific problem.
Media owners seem to focus on giving us entertainment that wouldn't be out of place for Lawyers or general people. Obviously everyone wants to watch Wimbledon or something but only one media owner ever offered us a night out at NAMCO (which was awesome).
There is a general lack of blog reading, rss usership and other proven signs of geekiness. While I understand that our industry needs to understand all sides of the spectrum of digital usage, it does worry me that some people do not know what digg is. Our sales people sometimes genuinely have no concept of why their users are spending large amounts of time with their sites. The people selling me a particularly engaging music service did not and do not have their own accounts.
We need to find a way to find people in the industry rediscover the joy of experiencing a new product, regardless of whether it's any use. Gadgets and web services are always good, no matter how pointless. Twitter may be incomprehensible to most of us, but very few people have tried it.
As digital media planners, we're being beaten by some of the offline account planners. They're no longer just saying 'lets put up a myspace profile' they're actually spending time in the digital environment. If we don't put some effort in they'll be the ones guiding the advertising and therefore the money.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Mail Grows On

I have completely missed the rise and rise of the Daily Mail. Since they did their relatively soft launch about a year ago, they've seen a steady rise in their UK traffic figures.

Comscore shows the region they're currently in:
Sun, Guardian, Times, Telegraph, and Daily Mail

Of course the wonderful work our team did on the Sun has paid dividends in terms of driving traffic to the Sun - it's now receiving the most traffic of any news site in the UK.

The real surprise is the Mail though, when we look at relative growth rates, the Mail is just about growing faster than the Sun. They are only three percent below the rate the Sun's been seeing.

Some makes sense as the core audience for the Mail is only coming online at the moment. However, this is unlikely to be the only reason for the drive. I suspect there has been some in-paper advertising going on, but it would definitely be interesting to find out some more info.

One of the obvious areas of growth for them has been their daily visitors:

Sun, Guardian, Times, Telegraph, and Daily Mail

Many of the papers use their daily stats as a key metric - they relate it directly to their daily circulation. On this measure, the Mail actually beats the Times and the Telegraph at the moment (their visitors are obviously coming back on more days than their competitors).

The Sun absolutely cleans up on this one at the moment, which gives a graph I suspect we'll use in the next awards entry! I won't put it into Swivel, but they're approaching double the Guardian's number.

Overall I think we're going to see the Mail attempting to wield a little more influence in the coming months. As much as I hate to say it, but I think we're going to have to spend some money with the Mail...