Years ago, my daughter explained to me the appeal of SMS among her peers in a convincing way. "You don't have to listen to them and you don't have to answer." In other words, SMS is great for teens largely for what it is not: full-on human discourse. And what it represents is control. "On a call you get stuck having to listen to them and not knowing how long they are going to talk. You can't get off," she says. There may be a lesson in this for marketers. SMS is not really a conversation, and we may not …
Just when I thought I was going to set the iPad aside for a while and move on to other topics, AKQA drops a truly impressive piece of brand advertising in my lap that the agency just deployed for VISA. More than any iAd I have seen, and certainly more than any magazine app ad yet, the "This is No Ordinary Wallet" creative is in harmony with the device's touch interface and nominally magical toy-like allure. Finally we have an iPad ad that has some whimsy and dramatizes a brand.
A funny thing happened on the way to the focus group research on iPad magazine apps. The readers actually asked to see those ads again. For this month's issue of Media magazine, I covered the magazine industry's enthusiasm for tablet platforms. Both Sports Illustrated's content chief Terry McDonnell and Jerry Beilinson, deputy editor of Popular Mechanics, related having the same unprecedented experience in their iPad focus groups. The testers asked to go back and see the ads again. It surprised both of them. In research like this, "you don't see that," says Beilinson.
Auto advertisers have been trying to figure out what to do with the iPad in recent months. The default modes seem to be either to mimic a magazine or mimic a video site. I am sure there are already (or coming soon) branded car racing games of the sort that made the VW GTI launch last year famous. But so far, the auto-zines on the iPad I have seen only hint at ways to do what should be a no-brainer: engage a touch interface to sell a car.
Yesterday Nielsen Mobile released a torrent of survey stats about mobile app usage and attitudes towards mobile advertising. The dominance of games, social networking, search and weather among mobile users was unsurprising. But the one set of figures that hit home for me was the rate of app usage among feature phone users.
Several years ago, "Saturday Night Live"'s Fred Armisen did a Steve Jobs send-up involving ridiculously minute iPods, culminating in the "iPod Invisa": too small to actually see, but when you drop it, it floats. We are almost there.
For as long as I can remember, the digital doyens at broadcast and cable TV companies have been trying to perfect the tandem over-air/Web viewing experience. In isolation, each of these experiments in "second screening" has been interesting enough, but I am not so sure they have become de rigueur. Most of us are not necessarily looking for the Web connection to drive us deeper into the TV experience so much as provide that low-level distraction we now seem to need. ADD is American culture's baseline behavior.
"You ran over your power cord with the lawn mower? Well, I guess we just have to go to Home Depot." Dammit! My partner lives for home repair. Home Depot is her haven. For me -- hell. No offense to the good people at Home Depot, but every aisle of obscure connectors and switches and fittings, every ambitious fixer-upper offering advice, just underscores my legendary incompetence as a homeowner. The deal was, we would go to Home Depot if we could also use the occasion to play with some of the various mobile apps that retailers are issuing to make …
The long, slow roll-out of the Apple iAds program continues to be more impressive in theory than in execution. Personally, I am all-in with the general notion that immersive experiences on a smaller screen have greater impact than a stray animated box on a cluttered desktop screen. Handled well, a rich-media ad could offer the user an entertaining encounter with a brand. And given the many rumors and tales of Apple's obsessive micromanagement of the ad creative on these first efforts, it is staggering to me that they aren't better.
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