Old Philips Factory

If there is one thing that seems to piss off hardcore gamers, it’s advertising in their beloved games.  Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford has actually had to defend himself publicly on the Gearbox website after Gearbox gamers showered him with wrath following his decision to partner with Double Fusion to integrate advertising into Gearbox games.  Saying that Gearbox hates “exploitive advertising that doesn’t offer value to the gamer”, Pitchford says that in-game advertising actually brings authenticity, better games through increased budgets, and out-of-game promotion that increases the user base for online gaming.  In the end, in-game advertising is good for gamers.  What a spin doctor!

In-Game Philips Ad


Barack ObamaInteresting article from the Washington Post has revealed that for every dollar spent on internet advertising by the Barack Obama presidential campaign, $27.16 were raised in the first two months of 2008. Not all of the $91 million raised in January and February were donated by internet followers, but the majority was.

Obama’s internet strategy all along has been “to build an online relationship” with supporters who will not only donate dollars, but also their time to perform essential tasks such as registering voters. Ads for Obama pop up everywhere from political blogs to traditional newspaper websites, and even on search engine home pages connected to certain search terms.

One potential point of interest that should be noted is the subtle way Obama is able to attract donations. While the Clinton campaign, which lags way behind in online strategy, comes straight out and asks for money in its emails, Obama’s links from ads and emails always direct the potential supporter to sign-up pages for online groups or invitations to Obama events. It seems that by building a real relationship with supporters and not making them feel useful only for their money, Obama has actually attracted record amounts of fundraising dollars. Definitely a useful lesson for those who are looking to use new media technologies to raise money for their various ventures in the future.

But there is another unmentioned point of interest to be taken from the article-the return on investment from the internet campaigns of Hillary Clinton and potentially John McCain actually dwarf the ROI stemming from Obama’s internet ad spending. While Clinton raised $37 million in the first 2 months of 2008, a small amount compared to Obama’s $91 million, she only spent a total of $369, 000 to raise that amount-an ROI of $100.27 for every dollar spent. McCain spent $262, 000 to raise $22 million, though no numbers have been released detailing how much of the $22 million came from internet fundraising. Even if McCain only raised $11 million from his internet ad spending, that would still render an ROI of $41.98 for every dollar spent.

So in the end, it seems we’ll have to wait for the election results to see which internet strategy is more effective. If Clinton’s impressive ROI for internet ad spending doesn’t translate into votes, it’s pretty well useless. Maybe ROI should encompass votes renders from internet ad spending as well. We have a while to wait to find out the truth. In the meantime, expect plenty more articles from all the popular news sources about how Obama is revolutionizing online campaigning, even though the numbers state otherwise.

Forrester TechnographicsForrester Technographic Data is now available on their website giving marketers some high-end insight into the which social media outlets to target in order to reach their target market more effectively. All the data provided comes from Forrester surveys conducted in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2007.

Via Web Strategy by Jeremiah

The New York Times website posted an interesting article this morning discussing the remarkable innovations in product packaging over the past few years.  Due largely to product commoditization, environmental awareness on the parts of both producers and consumers, the rise of the internet and infinite cable channels, and the short attention span of this generation of young people, marketers are being forced to become more and more creative in packaging products. 

We all know that the volume of information and amount of advertising vying for our attention everyday is way, way to much to process.  The average amount of time a product maintained the same packaging as late as the 1990s was 7 years; 10 years later the average is only 2 years because customers are constantly searching for “what’s new”.

If you are to walk through the aisles of your local grocery store today, you would probably notice that products that have maintained their exterior packaging designs for years and years have suddenly revamped their respective images to become completely different.  Unilever’s Suave shampoo bottles recently underwent a transformation for the first time in 25 years, Axe shower gel is now shaped like a video game joystick, and Coors Light cans now employ thermochromatic ink in it labeling so the color of the mountains on the label become blue as the temperature of the can decreases.


Eye Catching Designs On Bottles Of Mountain Dew (excerpted from New York Times Website, photo by Lars Klove) 


 In the next few years we may see Pepsi cans that emit a blast of pleasant odor or potentially water spray when we open them.  But the most disturbing image of creative packaging the article highlighted is computer chips and tiny speakers being implanted into packaging so the product can talk to customers!

That’s right.  Apparently some companies are currently experimenting with technologies that will allow companies to cross-promote their products.  The article used the example of a customer picking up a block of cheese which is simultaneously saying to the customer, “I go well with Triscuits”.  I think I would find this difficult to adapt to.  As Tracy Lovatt, director for behavioral planning at BBDO North America, an advertising agency in the Omnicom Group points out, “walking down a row in a supermarket and every package is screaming at you, it sounds like a terrifying, disgusting experience”.  I second that!

What does all of this tell us?  In the Conceptual Age, we can count on the commoditization of pretty much anything and everything out there.  No matter how innovative a product may be, it’s almost a guarantee that someone else will either copy it or improve on it to grab a share of your market.  That is why “design” is such a talked about concept these days.  It is also the reason behind the Heath Brothers’ (of Made To Stick fame) 105% rule.  They believe that any product or experience that is not at least 5% better than the norm is not worth talking about, meaning missing out on the miracles of word-of-mouth marketing.  So, this weekend add a little innovation to all of your activities, see how creative you can get.  A little exercising the “design” center in your brain is much needed if you plan to enter the world of business today and in the future!

So far, on my little journey into the blogosphere here, I’ve enjoyed highlighting businesses, business models, people, etc. that have an innovative bent.  I’ve also discussed in the past my hopes of completing my business program with a narrative, interactive, multimedia-based (I’m going to have to work on narrowing those descriptives down to something more malleable) business plan. 

The New York Times reported today that Sean Combs, aka Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, is looking to recruit a new personal assistant.  He is rumored to be a rather demanding boss judging by the NY Times article.  If you like the idea of being yelled at and holding his umbrella, it may be your type of job.  The interesting slant to this that makes it worthy of the Conceptual Age is the fact that Diddy is not accepting resumes.  Not paper ones anyways.

Diddy has uploaded a video on YouTube alerting cyberspace he is looking for a new assistant.  He is not accepting resumes, but rather maximum 3 minute video clips describing what makes you the right person for the job, to be uploaded onto YouTube.  Viewers will pick the finalists, and Combs will pick the winner.

It would be of interest to those considering applying for the job that Diddy’s last personal assistant, Fonzworth Bentley, used his position to land a recording deal, endorsements, and launch his own line of umbrellas!

I’m starting to see more and more evidence that my idea of a multimedia narrative business plan will be something that we may see more of in the future and likely we will see more employers asking for videoclips to be attached to resumes to give them a more personal quality.

Check out Combs’ video below:

There is an interesting posting on the blog of Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek  from a few days back in which he highlights the 3 best ways to get on TV.  The first two points he makes surely work, but not really the best method of achieving television publicity.  The third point he makes, however, is interesting:

“Create and pitch a trend + segment instead of you and your product”

The majority of people when pitching a story to the big networks tend to pitch the person and the story, buy Ferriss makes a good point in saying “a single person, unless already a celebrity, doesn’t fill 30 minutes on the most popular shows”.  It’s very true.

So what does he propose?

The solution is to develop an entire segment based on a new trend or phenomenon.

Here would be Ferriss’s list of steps to successfully pulling this off:

  1. Compile statistics that indicate a new trend
  2. Connect yourself and your personal brand into that trend
  3. Add experts, case studies, PhDs, and other guests to help fill 30 entertaining and
    credible minutes about the trend
  4. Give the pitch a sticky headline and head to the big producers

Ferriss seems to have derived this insight from the business know-how of Richard Branson and recommends Branson’s book, Losing My Virginity, as a must-read for learning how to “pitch media and create buzz”.  Another influential book was named as being Author 101 Bestselling Book Publicity by Rick Frishman, Robyn Freedman Spizman, Mark Steisel.  I’ll have to add those two to the must-read list.


Just back from my first anniversary celebration, which was amazing, I sat down to check my email.  I came across a review in TechCrunch for Boomj.com, a social network aimed specifically at Baby Boomers and Generation Jones (1954-1965 in case your wondering; I myself have never until now heard of Generation Jones). 


  I started to think about the advertising potential on the site if it takes off, which of course is a possibility given the huge possibility of Baby Boomers/Gen Jer’s in North America, so I went to their advertising section and came across these stats:

  • According to Jupiter Research, Baby Boomers and Generation Jones account for one-third of the 195.3 million U.S. web users 
  • Baby Boomers and Generation Jones’ represent over 27 percent of the U.S. population and make up 46 million households. (Time and Business Week)
  • Simply based on population growth trends, if a product is marketed to the Baby Boomer and Generation Jones audience and maintains its market share, it should increase in sales by 35 to 50 percent in the next 20 years. (Rick Adler, founder of The Senior Network)
  • Baby Boomers and Generation Jones own 65% of the net worth of all U.S. households (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • It is estimated that retiring Baby Boomers and Generation Jones will have $1 trillion of disposable income
  • Two thirds of Americans that use the Internet are made up of Baby Boomers and Generation Jones’.
  • The Boomj demographic is the fastest growing group on the Internet, according to surveys conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
  • comScore Media Metrix reports that the number of online adults age 55 and older grew by 20 percent to more than 27 million in 2005

Obviously the potential is huge.  I look forward over the next few months of tracking this sites progress and looking for some ROI stats for advertisers on the site although judging by some quick research there are lots of unsuccessful Boomer-targeted sites out there as well as a fair amount of negativity on Techcrunch concerning the term Baby Boomer itself.  Everyone seems to have overlooked, with the exception of one commenter, that Generation Jones is undertargeted on the internet despite the fact that the age group makes up a rather large proportion of the North American poplulation.  I don’t have exact numbers, but if you take some time to look them up, I’m sure you’ll agree.