As I approach age 50 this year, I am learning to appreciate youth again, if only because now it is a distant fantasy rather than an identity I can cling to. My teen daughter and youthful girlfriend seem to be egging me into decrepitude, forever underscoring all of the vital functions (hearing, seeing, memory, walking, etc.) I "really should have checked." "Did you just wheeze, Dad?" asks my daughter -- followed by Nurse Girlfriend checking my pulse. Is it any wonder I find the childish enthusiasm surrounding mobile so invigorating and addictive?
It goes without saying that the voice channel is the under-utilized and under-appreciated piece of the mobile content and marketing puzzle. I say that it goes without saying because so many companies have been saying precisely that for a couple of years now.
If only I had known how much my consciousness was worth back in the day that I ODed on Oscar Meyer spots (you bet I was a "weiner") and knew by heart every jingle for every sugar-and-fat encrusted cereal Battle Creek could produce. Yeah, I was getting free cartoons on Saturday morning in exchange for renting my consciousness to advertisers every few minutes. That is the implicit deal we all make with modern advertising. But if I knew that my attention span could be priced by the minute, I might have watched a little less "Penelope Pitstop" (who really wasn't …
My daughter has embraced "I Love Lucy" in TVLand reruns lately, which fills her media maven dad with such pride. It also gives me the opportunity to teach her a few things about TV history, the golden era when networks actually mattered. I was the kid who had the whole prime time schedule committed to memory so my family never needed to consult TV Guide. My "dweebiness" notwithstanding, I bring this experience forward to the current situation and wonder what role mobile plays when TV networks are barely clinging to their relevance.
Vacationing with the women in my family leaves me with a lot of waiting time -- as they prep for the beach, for outings, for walks, for just about anything. I am not sure which paparazzi will be present at breakfast shooting pictures of them for the cover of "The Star," but apparently they need to be ready for them. So I get to spend a lot of time this week catching up on the new iPhone apps companies have been sending me this month.
I am all for anything that speeds up the traffic at shopping malls. Not that I am the fastest walker in the food court, mind you. There are loads of septuagenarians speed-walking their way to health in those boat-sized, super-white striders who blow back my thinning hair as they whisk by. But here in SUV-America, where the cars, the serving sizes, and the butts come super-sized, I sometimes feel like a ferret winding his way through the walk of the elephants. I know I am being intolerant and mean. But you can imagine my excitement when I heard that NearbyNow …
Virtual social networking is one of those phenomena that makes me feel my age. My teen daughter had to teach me how a Xanga and MySpace page are made. "You know HTML?" I wailed a couple of years ago. As if she had just dropped an innocent S&M reference, I said accusingly, "Who taught you HTML? I know I didn't."
After last week's open-ended rumination on mobile branding I invited readers to chime in about whether the content ecosystem on phones would generate its own endemic brands, or carry over the usage patterns and allegiances we had formed on the Web. A year ago I had asked that same question of a panel at OMMA East. To a person (a carrier, an ad network, and two content aggregators), they believed it would be especially hard for new brands to establish themselves on a deck with such limited size and navigability. But today that consensus is breaking down.
One of the great things about covering a nascent industry like mobile marketing is that there are so many questions that have no answers. We are simply too early in the mobile content adoption cycle for usage patterns to firm up, or for consumers themselves to discover what they really want from this platform. For now it is a process of marketers aiming their ideas just a few steps in front of a meandering customer, hoping to hit the consumer with something he doesn't even know yet he wants from his phone.
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