Tag Archives: google

The Connected TV: Cutting the (Cable) Cord

When Apple TV started shipping in March of 2007, hopes were high.  Most of us technology and advertising fanatics were expecting the device to revolutionize the industry (or at least enhance it).  Since its launch, Apple TV has been widely viewed as a disappointment, but it’s only a matter of time before the Internet and the living room TV collide.

Gene Munster, industry analyst from Piper Jaffray, has been “calling” a revamp of Apple TV since last August and again this past week.   In articles posted on CNNMoney.com and MediaPost.com, Munster predicts three major advances to come, most notably “iTunes TV subscription pass potentially replacing consumer’s monthly cable bill.”

While none of Gene’s predictions have come to fruition just yet, MacRumors.com does report, “Apple will be changing the name of its Apple TV set-top box product to ‘iTV’ as part of a major revamp later this year.”

In a press release this past May, Google began notifying the world of their plans to partner with DISH network and “seamlessly integrate[s] multichannel television with rich web media content.”

Apple, Google and some other lesser-known players are on the move to make a play at the next generation, “connected TV”.  According to a recent New York Times article, “People under the age of 45 were about four times as likely as those 45 and over to say Internet video services could effectively replace cable. ”

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To me, the notion of a “connected TV” means that I won’t have to pay $100/month for cable, if all I want to watch is ESPN, Seinfeld and a select few other shows.  Why are we all paying for hundreds of channels of content we don’t and will likely never watch?

TV watchers are experiencing more and more a la carte consumption opportunity.  As Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and iTunes continue to grow and provide more access to the shows and content we want, it’s only a matter of time before that content will become seamlessly accessible on our living room HD plasmas.

According to Rishi Chandra of the Google TV team, the average American watches 5 hours of TV per day.  In addition, $70 Billion dollars are spent annually in the US TV advertising market alone.

Technology continues to allow consumers’ content viewing habits to evolve allowing them to live “entertainment on-demand” lifestyles.  Given consumers growing on-demand consumption habits, the opportunity for brands to integrate into and create their own branded content has never been more necessary.  Ask around, you may be surprised to see how many friends have already evolved and “cut the (cable) cord”.

Video of the Week: Real Viral Campaigns

The Super Bowl has come and gone, and so have many of its commercials. You may still see a lot of the ads aired on TV, but, as Ad Age’s Viral Video Chart proves, most of the Super Bowl ads do not sustain their popularity in the digital world.

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On the other hand, some of the more “durable” viral campaigns, such as the Evian’s Rollerskating babies, are returning to the list.

“It’s the difference between a surge in audience powered by marketing and exposure from a big event, and a sustained viral campaign, powered by social media and marketing.”

Out of the four Super Bowl ads remaining on the list (Doritos, Snickers, E-Trade and Google), we thought we would share the top 2:

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Sesame Street: Teaches us more than 1,2,3,4

You may have noticed Google’s ongoing tribute to Sesame Street this week – featuring iconic characters such as Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo. Yesterday’s homepage showcased The Count, which really got me thinking about the number of ways that Sesame Street has influenced our lives over the years.



In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell analyzes the ‘Stickiness Factor’ of Sesame Street, explaining how the makers of the show use robust research to tailor programs that are able to hold the short attention span of their target audience. By employing repetitive messaging, writers are able to actually have the kids walk away remembering something. But I think Sesame Street’s significance goes beyond letters and numbers and segment recall.


Its content and characters have often served as a supplement to pop culture and a political meter of the times. Remember when Mr. Hooper died of AIDS, and the scandal behind Bert & Ernie living together? Or when stars like Michael Jordan, Gloria Estefan or even Chris Brown were featured? You know you’ve made it in Hollywood if you end up sitting on the stoop on Sesame Street, chatting it up with Big Bird and Elmo.

One of my most recent favorites was when Feist appeared to perform a re-make of her song “1,2,3,4”—revised to count to the number four with Monsters and Penguins on the show. The producers of Sesame Street understand that kids these days absorb far more media than children thirty (or even ten) years ago. To acknowledge this new attentiveness to media, they are integrating elements of pop culture and technology back into their show to keep viewers engaged.

Just take a look at the show’s website: They understand that kids are online early, and have developed a host of interactive games for children (along with tools for parents). Elmo’s Keyboard-O-Rama keeps children engaged by reacting to the letter or number they press on their computer keyboards. There is even a customizable section for you and your child.



From the beginning, Sesame Street has excelled at creating characters that people develop lasting connections with. I still feel connected to the characters on the show, and still wonder if anyone will ever believe Big Bird that Snaffalupagus exists. But it’s the show’s winning mix of endearing characters and cultural relevancy that makes it uniquely successful.

Whether Sesame Street employs pop culture (as with Feist’s “1,2,3,4”) or pop culture employs Sesame Street (as with this interesting post outlining five blogging techniques that one can learn from the show, there’s no doubt that the show continues to stay current.

From marketing proof for Gladwell’s "Stickiness Factor" to CopyBlogger’s social media lessons, Sesame Street’s reach continues to defy the rules of children’s programming (whilst still creating genuine, lifelong connections).

Happy 40th Anniversary Sesame Street!


Check out Big Bird’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live: 



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Facebook: Intrusive Advertising?

If you are one of 250 million Facebook users, odds are you recently received this message, or even passed it along:

“Facebook has agreed to let 3rd party advertisers use your posted photos WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION. To opt out: Click on SETTINGS (located on top of page in blue bar, next to logout); Select PRIVACY SETTINGS; Select NEWS FEEDS and WALL; Select the TAB that reads Facebook Ads. There will be a drop down box; Select NO ONE. Save your changes & then PASS THIS ON.”
Though I don’t consider myself an avid Facebook user, when I saw this statement popping up all over my newsfeed, I was concerned—I wouldn’t have expected something like this from a successful networking website that has allowed millions to connect socially and professionally.

Apparently, the issue is troublesome enough that Barry Schnitt—manager of policy communications at Facebook—wrote a blog entry concerning the matter, assuring readers that this was not the case. Of course, since the blog post, Facebook has taken “measures” to ensure this would not happen.


In Mr. Schnitt’s blog, he states:

“The advertisements that started these rumors were not from Facebook but placed within applications by third parties. Those ads violated our policies by misusing profile photos, and we already required the removal of those deceptive ads from third-party applications before this rumor began spreading.”

From my standpoint, I think any advertisements accessed on the Facebook website—even if they are third party applications—are Facebook’s responsibility. The ads which misused pictures were removed, but what about those third party applications? And what about ads that misuse pictures in the future? It seems as though either nothing will happen to them at all, or they will just get a slap on the wrist. Facebook even claims, “Please note that Ads generated by third-party applications you have used are not controlled by this setting.”

Obviously, companies such as Google and Facebook have to make money somehow, and targeted ads enable them to do that—but there is a difference between relevant advertising and advertising that is intrusive.

For example, Google’s third party ads are related to the web engine’s search terms. This is what I would call targeted, relevant advertising. Facebook’s third party’s applications violated the terms and agreements. That is, they used user pictures without permission (most people expect a greater degree of privacy). I consider this intrusive advertising; the sort of advertising that is unwelcome among social network users.

Though my internship here at Ogilvy will be over at the end of this month, I have been here for roughly a year and a half.  In my time here, I don’t think I recall having seen any Ogilvy ad or ad campaign—in any presentation or seminar I’ve attended—that could be considered intrusive. I am not an expert on marketing and advertising, but for big-name brands, it seems like advertising in this manner can be detrimental to the reputations they’ve built and hope to maintain.



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The Facebook/Google Debate: Targeted results at what cost?

I normally wouldn’t pick up Wired Magazine, but the weather being what it was this past weekend in the Hamptons, I found myself peeking over a friend’s shoulder as they were reading the July 2009 issue.  When I noticed that the article was about Facebook, my interest was piqued. I had to keep leaning and keep reading.




The article, “The Great Wall of Facebook,” focuses on the Google-Facebook rivalry, Facebook’s 4-Step Plan to online domination, and Google’s desire to crack the brand advertising conundrum. For the last decade Google has attempted to map out all the information in the online world by using algorithms and mathematical equations, their efforts thwarted by Facebook’s more personal approach to collecting valuable information about its users.  Facebook’s ultimate goal is to use this data in order sell targeted ads all over, with very personalized—but not intrusive—messages.

After reading the article I was faced with some mixed emotions. On one hand, being in advertising, I was excited about the potential and opportunities that Facebook is able to lend to our clients and OE’s business.  Facebook has literally created a “second internet” based entirely on its own servers using our user-generated data.   By Facebook’s estimates, there are 4 billion pieces of information contributed by its 200 million members every month.  The potential to sell targeted ads or content everywhere and make it really count is an ad man’s utopia.

Then the thought came to me that a lot of my personal information is out there in a shared public space: where I work, where I went to school, my birthday, and my personal pictures.  It started freaking me out.  While it’s not my first realization of this notion (I was hesitant from the start) I was a bit surprised when I read that Facebook can change the terms and conditions of its site at the company’s discretion (though, at least, not without member protest).  For now, each user’s information is not owned by Facebook–but who knows how long that will last?

Another thought came to me last week when I was searching for a hair salon. I needed a cut and highlights, and targeted marketing would have been completely handy and more efficient given my set of standards.  Rather than tapping into the cold mathematics of a Google search which may or may not bring results I like and may or may not be geographically desirable, a more personalized, humanized web would’ve been more practical and more efficient.  The only real obstacle would be making users feel comfortable without violating their privacy.   Of course, there is always the option to limit your data, but then, what would be the point?

So the whole idea of a search tool is now more complex.  Perhaps Google is still the heavy weight champion—but it will be interesting to see how the evolving Facebook network moves along in a relatively untapped online brand advertising platform. 

It would be nice if the two could find a way to work together to make my life more convenient and help the ad and content business become more effective, but it’s more likely that they will continue to race each other to the finish line.

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