Bynamite offers fresh take on hyper-targeted ads

For those who want to take Internet privacy matters into their own hands, there is a new service called Bynamite that aggregates information advertisers have collected about you in an easily managed personal profile. In addition, the site allows you to delete or add interests and send updated preferences back to ad networks and opt out of networks that don’t provide users with control of their interests. Bynamite purports to represent the consumer without profiting from information sent back to ad networks, and it operates via a program you download that automatically attaches to your browser.

What sets Bynamite apart from many privacy watchdogs is that the service generally embraces hyper-targeted advertising and has no qualms with sites like Google, Facebook, and Amazon that collect a wealth of information on its users. Rather Bynamite seeks to educate consumers on how advertisers view them and empower users to tap into the potential monetary value of their personal information. Continue reading “Bynamite offers fresh take on hyper-targeted ads”

Apple’s Gripgate saga deepens

Few things are as unnerving as an organization publicly improvising a PR strategy in the face of unexpected calamity. With BP, it took weeks to strike a sincere apologetic tone and admit wrongdoing. During the 2008 election when the Bristol Palin pregnancy story broke, it took the McCain camp a few days to refine the story of how the vetting process unfolded.

By most standards the Apple Gripgate saga that has Silicon Valley buzzing since the iPhone 4 launch is a mild calamity, but it looks to be getting worse. Consumer Reports unleashed an in-depth scientific test this week indicating the iPhone 4’s antenna is flawed in a way no other previous iPhone antenna has been, and is prone to dropping calls when the phone is gripped in the lower left corner. The reviewer would not recommend the phone and openly calls for Apple to provide consumers with free phone coverings (which does fix the problem) or some alternate solution.

Perhaps most alarmingly, the report calls Apple’s credibility and honesty into question. Continue reading “Apple’s Gripgate saga deepens”

Who killed the Kin?

After 48 days of courting teens with a device built for social networking, Microsoft killed the Kin mobile phone this week due to poor sales.  The product included an innovative feature which aggregates content from various social networks in one hub, but received complaints from some users for lacking instant messaging, easy access to apps, or the ability to upload photo and video to Twitter.

Although the online and television campaigns for the Kin captured the youthful energy of the demographic it pursued, there were bumps along the road.  Microsoft got flack from conservatives for a lighthearted scene in one of its Kin commercials, a clip of a male teen taking a photo under his shirt and sending it to a female who laughs when she receives it.  Although seemingly benign, the scene was deemed by some as an endorsement of teen sexting. Continue reading “Who killed the Kin?”

Google wins big in Viacom vs. YouTube ruling

After three years of legal wrangling, Google has emerged victorious in a $1 billion Viacom lawsuit claiming the video site knowingly profited from copyright infringement.  ThoughViacom has promised to appeal, the decision is a huge win for Internet Service Providers and a setback for media content providers.

Interestingly, the case revealed that YouTube’s execs welcomed copyright infringement internally in the early days even while they were prepared to fight it.  In employee emails submitted to the court, YouTubers lamented that site traffic could nosedive if users followed the site’s policy of only uploading user generated material.

Google owes its victory to a shelter clause in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which requires ISPs to police infringement only by responding to specific claims  from copyright holders. The sound logic behind this is that an ISP like YouTube can’t be expected to scan every upload for possible infringement.or accurately identify all infringing content. Continue reading “Google wins big in Viacom vs. YouTube ruling”

Innovative campaigns from Cannes

This week the advertising industry descended upon the French coastal city of Cannes for the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. For a complete list of winners, click here, or check out what caught our attention by clicking on the slideshow below. Note: To see commentary expand the slideshow to full screen and click on “Show Info” in the upper right hand corner.

Virtual good creation becoming real brand task

Virtual good creation becoming a brand task One of the big show stoppers at E3 was Microsoft’s roll out of Kinect, featuring a natural user interface and motion sensing capabilities. With Playstation’s Move, Sony’s motion sensing addition to the PlayStation and the preexisting Nintendo’s Wii, there’s now greater emphasis on simulated environments. And along with these simulated environments, or virtual realities, comes virtual objects.

How will brands introduce their real world products into these rich virtual worlds? Computer-aided design (CAD) suddenly becomes much more important. CAD is typically known for the design of tools and machinery and for drafting and design in architecture. But now CAD and other 3D software solutions play an important role as brands begin to populate these virtual worlds with virtual objects based on real life products. Continue reading “Virtual good creation becoming real brand task”

AOL launches “Cambio” – Will tweens tune in?

In the midst of cutting its losses on social network Bebo, last week AOL launched a new music venture called Cambio– a partnership with the Jonas Group and production company MGX Lab to deliver exclusive video content for artists like The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lavato, and Jordin Sparks. The initiative is part of a new AOL content strategy under CEO Tim Armstrong and president of Media and Studios Davis Eun (both ex-Googlers) to reorganize the company around high-quality TV-style content.

Cambio programming features an array of webisode style shows like “Nick In London,” which follows Nick Jonas as he joins the cast of Les Miserables, and “Cambio Cares” where stars ask fans to get involved in humanitarian efforts. The site also includes “Cambio Connect,” a daily MTV inspired news and updates webisode hosted by ex-MTV VJ Quddus. Continue reading “AOL launches “Cambio” – Will tweens tune in?”

Digital graffiti makes a mark

In its nascent stage, digital technologies seemed to excel at redirecting people away from the physical environment and into the digital universe. But now, with technologies like motion sensors and other human computing interfaces, people are able to share messages and art in their environment by digitally spraying graffiti with (or without) a mobile “aerosol” on their physical surroundings, and re-engage with their physical environments in entirely new ways. Digital graffiti breaks through the constraints of the physical environment, opens up a kaleidoscopic of new possibilities for people to interact with their surroundings, and demonstrates a crossroads where the physical environment and digital world can potentially meet for exciting opportunities.

Thanks to these new technologies, this digital magic can be performed in a natural and intuitive way. When users can add a layer of their own color to the environment and create an augmented reality experience, a more intimate relationship between people and their surroundings emerges. Continue reading “Digital graffiti makes a mark”

Meet the next generation of retail shopping

As reported this week in, IPG Media Lab along with our parent company, Mediabrands is joining forces with AOL to create the next generation of retail shopping tools. Our hope is to make it easier for shoppers to get the information they need to make smart choices while harnessing the best of traditional retail advertising with the latest in online and social media technology.

We want not only to build a better, smarter experience for consumer, but a more effective advertising vehicle for retailers themselves. With average circulation of larger newspapers on the decline (down nearly 8.7% according to an Audit Bureau of Circulations study) the media has spent much time wringing its hands over the future of print. What we don’t talk about is what that might mean for retail advertisers. Retailers have spent billions of dollars over the years teaching shoppers to look in the Sunday newspaper for the latest news about what’s on sale in their city. Retailers have relied on print because it has a focused immediacy that online can’t provide; it promotes timely sales, serves as a metaphor for the retail season and even educates sales people. Television, radio, and even banner ads have never been able to make up the difference from a low-tech free standing insert or full page ad in the daily and Sunday papers. As a result, for decades, very little has changed in the regular weekly newspaper insert, or the coupon mailers that go to American homes each week. Continue reading “Meet the next generation of retail shopping”

Blogs for sale

Last week’s Brooklyn Blogfest made headlines when it was uncovered that event sponsor Absolut Vodka gave gifts and promotional exposure in exchange for editorial coverage from bloggers who neglected to disclose ties to Absolut.  The ad campaign, created by New York’s Ketchum agency, promotes a special edition Absolut Brooklyn beverage endorsed by Spike Lee, who was also a guest speaker at Blogfest.  The ensuing backlash has invigorated discussion on ethics in the relatively nascent medium of branded blogging.

Last year the FTC published new guidelines for bloggers stating that “’material connections’ (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed.”  The commission investigated Ann Taylor earlier this year for a LOFT campaign that offered bloggers gift certificates in exchange for proof of editorial coverage.  While no fines were issued, the case is largely viewed as a warning to companies to take the lead in ensuring that participating bloggers disclose the nature of branded campaign.

Continue reading “Blogs for sale”