Political Idol?

April 26, 2007

Mark Burnett, the person behind the Apprentice and other reality TV series is in the process of developing a new show in conjunction with MySpace that could add a new twist to the elections next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The show called “Independent” will search for the next great politician by asking people who are interested in running for office to submit a video on MySpace outlining their position. The candidates would receive feedback from people via their MySpace profile. As the selection of candidates gets narrowed down, each candidate will be asked their opinion on a national issue. The popularity of their response will determine whether they move forward or not. The winner will recieve $1 million dollars which they can use for their own future political campaign or donate to another campaign.

I think this is a huge idea. In a time where a significant portion of the population feels their politicians are out of touch, there is great unease, and a desire for change, a effective populist canditate could really galvanize the national political debate by focusing on the issues that weigh most heavily on people’s minds. The implications for the actual Presidential elections could be enormous, if this attracts enough people to the program.

 No network has picked it up yet but this idea has my vote.


Interactive TV Ads are U.S. Bound

April 24, 2007

Interactive TV ads could become commonplace in the United States very soon, according an article in Mediaweek.com.

Interactive TV ads allow customers to use their remotes to find out more about products and even purchase. They are used a lot in England and are being tested in
Canada. Several companies have started testing in the U.S. and the expectation is that it will be deployed soon. Satellite TV provider Echostar has already debuted some and Time Warner, Cablevision and Cox are in the exploratory phases.

Interactive remotes will also enable people to vote on programs like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.

It will be bedlam.

It Means More If You Have To Pay For It.

April 24, 2007

BusinessWeek’s April 30th issue profiled Omniture, a Utah-based Internet Analytics software company. Already listed on NASDAQ, the company has met with amazing success and has scored companies like Hyatt, Microsoft,
Toyota and Wal-Mart track the performance of their websites, search marketing programs in one easy location. The company hasn’t yet turned a profit and needs to do that by the second half of this year to remain a favorite.

Judging by the press it is receiving, and the client list it is assembling, Omniture will be a success. It does face stiff competition, especially from Google, which offers currently offers similar analytics for free.  However, the cynic in me says that people want to pay for software to show much value they have received from their investment. Which means Omniture should do very well.

Now, What Do You Do Again?

April 24, 2007

In another cheerful report, entitled “Define and Align the CMO”, cmocouncil.org reviews why CMO’s are such misunderstood creatures. According to their report, most CMOs are unable to create and tie effective ROI metrics for marketing which undermine how they are evaluated by their fellow C-suite leaders.

Because there are so few metrics, CEOs and boards are at a loss to evaluate how effectively CMOs are designing the customer experience for their products. Add to that the fact that some CMOs are highly tactical and not seen as high level strategic players and you have a lot of missed expectations.

Regardless, it seems that CMOs have to show the value of their ideas through tangible metrics. In my opinion, that is increasingly more difficult given the nebulous form most communications take. It might explain why communications are focusing on web metrics and the like. However, one should not forget the value of the qualitative experience or feedback. Easy as it is to say, CMOs need to acquaint their fellow leaders with the entire marketing experience before marketing devolves into a numbers game.

Too Much Content For Advertisers to Handle?

April 24, 2007

Adweek.com has an interesting article on how user-generated content threatens to upend the media and entertainment business The article, profiling a survey carried out by Accenture and released last week, showed that user-generated materials in the forms of videos, blogs, etc. are giving consumers a greater voice in shaping their interactions with brands. The way that one could make money off them is through advertising and sponsorship revenue. However, in a confidence inspiring move, about a quarter of executives, said they had no idea how they would structure such deals. The article makes for interesting reading:http://www.adweek.com/aw/national/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003574662

A Good Time to Launch a New Magazine?

April 24, 2007

Last week Conde Nast launched Portfolio, a new entrant into the Fortune, Forbes and BusinessWeek milieu. Those publications have had either steady or declining ad sales and have been pumping up their online offerings to keep advertisers happy and revenues steady. Portfolio has a new take on business reporting. With a touch of glamour it hopes to replicate the presentation and report more in the style of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. In short, glam-business reporting.

I picked up a new issue as I was curious to see how Conde Nast was going to re-vitalize an increasingly moribund category. (I really liked what they have done with Men’s Vogue, even though I feel it may cannibalize some of the GQ audience and the more erudite portions of the Details audience.) Portfolio is interesting. They have imported some heavy-hitting journalists from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times among others. As one would expect, the first issue is good and highly engaging but I question how they can sustain it over the long-term. It will be interesting to see what multi-media advertising opportunities they offer the advertisers. That is what the big brands are looking at these days. However, for the short-term, they have managed to create interest and buzz for a “serious” magazine. I suppose one should be thankful for the little things.

Yahoo Broadening its Advertising Network

April 24, 2007

Even though it reported a drop in profits and slow ad revenue growth for the first quarter of this year, Yahoo laid out an interesting idea which may help it against the impending DoubleClick/Google ad behemoth currently in gestation. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel announced that Yahoo was looking to expand its advertising reach to offer ads not only across the internet but also on cell phones. As convergence comes hurtling towards us idea to be able to offer advertising across as many virtual platforms is a good one. Let us hope they can do it somewhat seamlessly.