Category Archives: Advertising

It’s Been a While Since I’ve Rambled

It’s been a while since I’ve written an entry in this blog.  I think this says a lot about the state of things.  In general, there’s not much to say, and, in general, there’s not much nice for me to say.

About a month ago while driving home from a night out at the movies, my husband asked me if I wanted to go to Best Buy or Fry’s and wander the aisles.  My response was, “For what?”  That’s when we came to the sad realization that, beyond the iPad, there is nothing for gadget freaks and computer nerds to be excited about right now.  3D TV repulses me and there’s no reason to buy a new TV just because it has yellow pixels.  There are no new speed leaps in PC hardware and I already have a multitude of iPods and PC’s in various form factors.  Ironically, the next day, while listening to Marketplace on my local Public Radio station, one of the news stories was about how sales at Best Buy had fallen.  I guess my husband and my sentiments are widespread.  There’s nothing new and wonderful to aspire to purchase (except for an iPad) and we are only buying on necessity for the purpose of replacing  broken items.  Sadly enough, our non-functioning XBOX360 doesn’t rise to the level of necessity.  We are now watching Netflix VOD on the laptop that’s connected to our TV.

This realization brought about further thoughts about the current state of things.  There’s a push/pull conundrum with the jobs situation.  People are holding back on spending because they feel insecure about their jobs and finances and companies aren’t hiring because there’s not enough demand for produces and services.  I think though, that job and financial insecurity are only a  part of the demand problem.  I think a big part of the demand problem is that there’s nothing exciting and new for consumers to consume.  Why do I say this?  Well, because of Apple, of course.  Despite the downturn, they continue to churn out great products and they don’t seem to be having any problem selling them to cash strapped consumers.  And believe me, my unemployed-behind is saving my husband’s money for a Christmas iPad.

I’m tired of hearing companies whine that they won’t hire because there’s no demand for their offerings.  My response to that line of complaints is “what are you offering?”  If it’s not something new and exciting, regardless of state of the economy, demand will slump.  In good times and bad companies have create demand by innovating and coming up with great new products to drive consumption.  So, in other words, big companies are going to have to spend some of the money they are sitting on, hire some people, and offer some great new products and services in order to kick start demand and spark the economy.  At the same time, there has to be investment in innovative small companies to get new ideas out.

My Dad likes to say that the economy won’t  revive until some sort of phenomenal shift happens — something on scale of the Internet or the steam engine.  I’m not sure if I agree.  It seems to me that there are a lot of “little” things that can get done, too.  Interestingly enough to me, it seems like clean energy isn’t fueling people’s imaginations.   I thought the clean energy revolution would be a phenomenal shift, but it isn’t.  Why?  I think it’s because oil is very much ingrain in our worldwide psyche.  I’m not sure I understand this emotional attachment to oil, but despite the damage being done to the Gulf, I hear the tears in people’s voice as they talk about the spilled oil ruining the environment, while at the same time, ruining job prospects and a way of life in which oil and fishing are intertwined.  The same is true for families in the coal mining industry — it’s like coal mining is part of the family.  It’s weird to me — why love something that kills you and hurts everyone on the planet?    Also, I think oil and coal are tangible whereas solar, wind, nuclear, and the biological and chemical methods of energy generation seem abstract to most people.   I imagine “blue collar” workers don’t see how they fit into a world that they associate with hard science and engineering — though, it seems entirely ridiculous to me, but understandable since BP saw it fit to fire the very engineers and scientists that could have prevented or more reasonably responded to the Gulf oil spill.  (By the way “technicians,”  “engineers,” and “scientists”  are not interchangeable!)  Anyhow…it seems to me that our reliance on fossil fuels is emotional and until that emotional tie is cut, other forms of energy generation cannot rise in its place.  The “everyday worker” has to see how they fit into a new energy future before they will buy into it.    Making alternative energy seem more accessible is a good problem for marketers to solve…

On the other fronts…well,  inventing new ways to print money never got us anywhere.  Yet, “Wall Street innovation” will continue, driven by finding new ways to scam people without technically breaking the law…personally, I don’t need it…but I imagine the new legislation that just passed will fuel a whole new round of “Wall Street Innovation…”

On a personal front, I’m watching and participating in the electronic manga revolution.  I want to be more active in it.  I think, though,  this is one of those things in which the large companies have to reach out to the smaller companies and hobbyist groups to get things moving in the right direction for consumers.  I just hope lawyers and greed don’t blind folks such that we end up losing the current opportunity.

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Printing from Mobile — uh, Why?

I’ve had the misfortune, lately, of watching TV with commercials.  In general I put commercials out of my mind, but the commercials from mobile service providers and a prominent printer company showing people panicking because they lost or forgot their paper presentations and then rejoicing as they remember they can, in some shiny near future, print their presentation are annoying me.  My problem — when was the last time a professional or a student presented anything to a group of people huddled around a spiral bound notebook?  If your presentation is accessible by mobile, you’re golden.  Download it and project it like you have been doing for the past 10-years.

It’s actually rather sad to me to watch the lack of imagination and the stagnation of thought in these commercials.   Did the marketing people who came up with these commercials present the concept for the commercials in a spiral bound notebook?  I shudder to think of the brains behind “print from mobile” and it appalls me to think that any company would actually spend precious R&D dollars on something so pointless.

Twitter Not Helping Me Much…Maybe???

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter to broadcast my scanlation releases and looking at my blog analytics, Twitter is completely ineffective.  Of the 69 sources of visits to my blog, Twitter accounted for 1 out of the over 2000 visits to my anime and manga blog last week.  Most of the visits to my blog originated from the popular manga websites, Google searches, links from other people’s blogs, or people directly going to my blog.

And here comes the VERY BIG BUT

There is a big unknown, though, with respect to Twitter.  I often don’t directly “follow” people on Twitter because I don’t want to broadcast to the world or the person that I’m following them, so instead I pull an RSS feed of the tweets into Outlook.  Clicking on link from Outlook gets counted as a “direct” visit to my blog.  I don’t know how to get information on pulls from RSS feeds, so I have no idea who pulling RSS from my Twitter or my blog.

Soooo….now a simple comparision:  there’s a BIG jump in visitors from the popular manga sites on days when I release compared to days in between releases.  On the days that I release, 70 – 80% of traffic comes from those sites.  On the days in between most of the traffic comes from Google searches and direct visits (about 50% combined).    I tweet the release at time of the release, so from this I conclude, that Twitter is most likely ineffective and the best way to get the news out about my scanlations is to go where the audience is and that appears to be the popular manga websites and their forums.

I don’t know how Twitter is working for other people who are trying to promote themselves or their products.  But this is my story and I imagine it’s not an uncommon one.  What does this mean for Twitter?  Well, it may not be the best tool for advertisement as hoped, but I think it needs more time and some serious studies to make a conclusion either way.   As always, its good to know where your audience is and to tap into those sources.  Following that logic, if your audience isn’t on Twitter, you certainly aren’t going to bring them there and it’s probably best not to waste your resources on maintaining a Twitter account.  A good way to find out if people are tweeting about you or your product is do a search of Twitter and see what comes up.  I did is for myself and my “product” and not much came up.   As for my future on Twitter: the experiment continues …

Wow, GM, Wow…

Uh … perhaps it’s not a good idea to so boldly put the name of a competitor’s car in your advertising …”Accord” is so big.  Do you have any idea what this car is?  Uh, …, Is a “compromise”  a bad thing? For me a compromise  is a win-win solution for all parties.  Wow … looking at this ad, I take away the Accord is a good value, maybe I should check it out.  It doesn’t help that the car’s styling is vanilla in the current style of the Accord and Camry …Wow …

And the second ad:

Uh … so is GM apologizing for the styling of this vehicle by implying it’s an “AppleCart?”  The redness of the vehicle reinforces this notion.  Yeah, yeah, we’re supposed to think the car “upset the apple cart” — so why not say that?  And call it an “AppleCart” instead of an “apple cart” makes me thing “AppleCart” is a brand name.  Wow … that’s something GM …wow…

Both of these ads suffer from mixed messaging that doesn’t reflect well on the GM brand, and, in the case of the Accord ad, may turn a potential customer to a competitor immediately.  I know the intention was to be ironic, but the mental and visual cues are doing the opposite of what may have been intended.

On top of killing the Saturn brand, it makes me wonder whether everything is okay at GM.

Magazine Publishers Prepare Themselves for Tablet Readers

Here’s an interesting article from Ad Age about how magazine publishers are trying to get a leg up on iTunes before the anticipated release of the Apple tablet.

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Not to disparage Apple (because iTunes is very easy to use and the pricing is right for the content), but I would love to have a device independent version of “iTunes” to purchase content.  I think Amazon is very well suited for that.   The magazine industry, however, wants their own storefront so they can control distribution (pricing) of their content.  Hahaha! Well, I hope publishers don’t get greedy and make their content so expensive that people turn to piracy or don’t get the information at all.

It will be interesting to see what the next generation of tablets are like.  As of now readability is a issue with LCD screen and some of the e-reader devices have resolution and color limitations.  Again, I can’t wait to see how laptops and e-readers will converge, both in terms of screen technology and usability.

I have seen some interesting Flash based e-magazines that could serve as prototypes for future e-readers.  I especially like those e-magazines that allow for zooming in and links to other content.  With schools looking harder at e-text books, I think we may be approaching a tipping point where e-reading begins to become the norm.  I am eager to see what will happen with all of this in the next 5-yrs.  How will this change “brick-and-mortar” bookstores (especially used book resellers)?  Will this be end the “periodical” as we know it? Will be see micro-targeted  advertisements in everything we e-read? And what will happen with books, newspapers, and magazines when reading becomes a shared experience through social networking?    It’s a lot to noodle on and I’ll more to say about it after I digest things for a bit.

Teens are Not Driving Twitter Growth

Thank goodness someone is finally debunking the myth that children and teens drive all technology movements!  Forgive me, but teens are NOT all that tech savvy.  Here’s an interesting article about how adults are driving Twitter adoption while teens stick to texting over mobiles.

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It is interesting that the teens interviewed for this article said that Twitter is for professionals and that Twitter is redundant with texting.  I think the important thing, and this sorta gets glossed over in the article, is the one-to-many nature of Twitter.  Teenagers’ lives revolve around their friends.  I recall, as a teenager, people outside of my immediate clique were non-existent.  So it makes sense to me that teens would want to stick to ways that maximize connections within their clique and texting over a mobile is probably the best way to do that now.

I also think it’s a good thing kids and teens are not adopting Twitter en masse.  About 90% of the folks that try to follow me are either people peddling porn or people peddling some sort of get-rich-quick scheme.  For me, the number of people I have to kick off my Twitter almost makes it not worth doing.  I think most kids are smart enough to stay away from unsavory people, but at the same time, people can disguise themselves as normal and “Twitter Stalk.”  Thinking about children’s safety, I wouldn’t want some unsavory people stalking kids over the Internet.  (I think, though, that starts with teaching kids about the dangers of the Internet and technology, rather than banning or limiting use.)

As for the “professional” aspect, I can sorta see that.  I mainly use Twitter to “advertise” my manga activities and the people I follow are mainly “advertising” too.  I could see teens following a string of “advertisements” they want to know about, but I don’t see them actively Tweeting into the vast ether.

Anyhow, it is an interesting article and one that I will probably mentally chew on for the next few days.

Mommy Bloggers Confront Ethics

Hahaha!!!  It didn’t take long for greed to spoil “Mommy Blogging.”  Here’s a little article from CNN about some of the upcoming self regulation and  government regulation coming for blogging.

Link

Well, I don’t know what to say other than greed is human nature and offering folks free stuff subtly corrupts.  But to me it comes down to the question of whether blogging a life supporting career?  For me, getting paid to generate specific content is the difference between blogging and freelance writing.  I think as soon as a writer is paid (either by cash, items, or services) to generate content, then that person is an employee and, as such, he or she should disclose they are doing a job for an employer.   It’s as simple as that for me.

Haha!!! Aside from that, a brilliant thing has happened here.  The professional news folks,  for years now, have been trying to discredit blogging and here’s the perfect ammo.  Have at it guys!  It’s a really good argument.

So where does this leave the advertisers?  In the same place as always — despised by everyone, but somehow still prowling around for the next convenient dupe.

As for Mommy Bloggers:  choose whether you are blogging or starting a career as a freelance writer or freelance advertiser.  Be clear with your audience as to which you are and all things should be fine.  However, if you choose to be a freelance advertiser, don’t be surprised if you find yourself despised and not believed.  I think this follows for all of us writing on the Internet, including me.