Archive for August, 2013

Many TV producers can only envy the success of “The Simpsons,” which has grown from an animated segment within “Tracy Ullman Show” in 1987 into the country’s longest-running sitcom. But now “The Simpsons” has found surprising success in the digital arena.

More people played the 'Treehouse of Horror' edition of 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out' than watched the Halloween episode on TV in the U.S.

More people played the ‘Treehouse of Horror’ edition of ‘The Simpsons: Tapped Out’ than watched the Halloween episode on TV in the U.S.

“The Simpsons: Tapped Out,” EA’s “freemium” game for iPhone and iPad that has users building their own Springfields with characters and tasks closely tied into the show, attracted 6.93 million players in October for its “Treehouse of Horror” update, according to EA. That’s more than the 6.57 million U.S. viewers who watched the “Treehouse of Horror” episode on TV.

EA and “The Simpsons” have previously partnered on a number of mobile games, including titles that predate the launch of the App Store as well as “The Simpsons Arcade” for Apple‘s operating system. But “The Simpsons: Tapped Out,” which requires a web connection to play, is the only live-service mobile game tied to a hit prime-time show.

“Tapped Out” puts players to work rebuilding Springfield from scratch after Homer, distracted by his “MyPad” from his work at the nuclear-power plant, causes a meltdown. Users can speed the process with doughnuts either earned by completing tasks or bought with real money. Prices range from a dozen doughnuts for $1.99 to 2,400 doughnuts for $99.99.

Players have used more than 3.1 billion doughnuts in the game, most of which were bought with real money, according to Steve Stamstad, VP-marketing for EA Mobile and Social Publishing. He declined to say how much money players have spent to buy doughnuts.

The writers, animators and producers of “The Simpsons” are all involved in the development of “Tapped Out,” which includes outbursts from the well-known voices of cast members including Dan Castellanetta, Yeardley Smith, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria. But the TV series and the game have gone further than that to promote one another. Aug. 26 and Oct. 7 airings of the show included commercials for “Tapped Out.” The Nov. 25 episode alluded to the game’s premise by showing Lisa win a “Mapple MyPad” for Homer at a school raffle only to have Homer become obsessed with the device until eventually falling and breaking it.

‘Tapped Out’ just got an update for the winter holidays.

During the October “Treehouse of Horrors” tie-in, moreover, players were asked to tune in to find answers to trivia questions that would allow them to collect rewards in the Halloween edition of the game. The “Treehouse” update let users play with this year’s Mayan Homer character, make a “diddily deal” with Devil Flanders, ride a broom with Marge the Witch or enslave earthlings with Kang.

Last month the game brought in the Fat Tony character, who then became the basis for a plot in the Nov. 18 episode. Earlier it offered players a Duff Racer car that was only available on the weekend of the season premiere, whose plot was set in motion when cars from the Springfield Grand Prix and bicyclists in the Tour de Springfield collide. Most recently the game introduced “Cool Homer,” a look that will be seen in this Sunday’s episode as Homer tries to fit in with hip new neighbors from Portland. The mobile games tend to see a boost in play time from the tie-in episodes in North America, according to Steve Stamstad, VP-marketing for EA Mobile and Social Publishing.

EA plans an Android version of “Tapped Out” for early next year, Mr. Stamstad said.

heinz-beanz-hed-2013In the U.S., Heinz Baked Beans are generally known as a retro food item and/or Mad Men plot device. But in the U.K., where they’re sold as “Heinz Beanz,” they’re still a popular pantry staple and childhood favorite (preferably served on a piece of toast).

The brand trades on that reputation as a beloved kids’ meal in this endearing new TV spot, “Little Brother,” from AMV BBDO and Blink director Benito Montorio. The ad is narrated by a boy named Tom, who has a hard time dealing with his mischievous younger brother, Charlie. (Not that Charlie.) As illustrated by a series of playful vignettes, Charlie’s many shortcomings include playing hide-and-seek, bike riding and goalkeeping. (Apparently he couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a soccer ball.) But despite all that, Tom considers the exasperating Charlie his very best friend—a love which he demonstrates by sharing his Heinz beans with him in hopes of “growing him up a bit.”

The “brotherly love” idea could have gotten a bit treacly, but the spot avoids any overt sentimentality by lending a deadpan seriousness to Tom’s role as weary mentor, and by framing the entire spot from the brothers’ perspective rather than that of a doting parent. Still, that doesn’t mean the end result isn’t completely charming; it’s pretty hard not to crack a smile at Tom and Charlie’s story, whether your childhood memories involved Heinz Beanz on toast or Heinz ketchup on a burger.

  Text of the Ad:

hathaway shirt adAmerican men are beginning to realize that it is ridiculous to buy good suits and then spoil the effect by wearing an ordinary, mass-produced shirt. Hence the growing popularity of HATHAWAY shirts, which are in a class by themselves.

Hathaway shirts wearinfinitely longer — a matter of years. They make you look younger and more distinguished, because of the subtle way HATHAWAY cut collars. The whole shirt is tailored more generously, and is therefore morecomfortable. The tails are longer, and stay in your trousers. The buttons are mother-of-pearl. Even the stitching has an ante-bellum elegance about it.


Above all, HATHAWAY make their own shirts of remarkable fabrics, collected from the four corners of the earth — Viyella and Aertex from England, woolen taffeta from Scotland, Sea Island cotton from the West Indies, hand-woven madras from India, broadcloth from Manchester, linen batiste from Paris, hand-blocked silks from England, exclusive cottons from the best weavers in America. You will get a great deal of quiet satisfaction out of wearing shirts which are in such impeccable taste.


HATHAWAY shirts are made by a small company of dedicated craftsmen in the little town of Waterville, Maine. They have been at it, man and boy, for one hundred and twenty years.


At better stores everywhere, or write C.F. HATHAWAY, Waterville, Maine, for the name of your nearest store. In New York, teleophone OX 7-5566. Prices from $5.95 to $20.00.

From: Direct Marketing Institute



3009340-poster-instagramDuring Facebook’s Q2 earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg alluded to the possibility of advertising on Instagram someday, but hardly seemed hurried.

Considering Facebook’s aggressive and successful mobile advertising business throughout the past year, many were surprised he wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to profit from Instagram faster. Facebook paid almost a billion dollars for Instagram, so one might expect that advertising would be just around the corner.

Rather than focus immediately on advertising, Facebook recently launched Instagram’s new video feature, a competitor to Twitter’s darling Vine. Instagram videos record up to 15 seconds of content, a perfect length for mobile ads. Some brands have already recycled old ads as Instagram video.

So why wait on rolling out Instagram advertising, which would compel brands to capitalize on the platform’s quickly growing user base?

As it turns out, Facebook can make money from Instagram by charging brands on Facebook, where ad budgets are already growing aggressively, especially on mobile.

It’s as simple as this: brands create Instagram videos, share them to their Facebook pages and then boost them into paid media that hits the Facebook Newsfeed, in the same way that they boost text or photo posts. This enables brands to reach Facebook’s 818 million monthly active mobile users, which dwarfs Instagram’s 130 million. It’s profiting from Instagram without having to advertise on Instagram.

Facebook isn’t the first major tech company to take an indirect approach toward increasing advertising revenue. Google sunk a significant investment into Google Analytics and then offered the product for free. But ultimately, website managers watch their traffic ebb and flow, decide they want more visitors and pay for ads on Google.

Although Google doesn’t make money directly from its analytics product, the product acts as an incentive to distribute ads on websites in the form of Google AdWords. Similarly, Facebook doesn’t make money directly from Instagram video, but the engagement that videos get on Instagram acts as an incentive to distribute them as paid ads on Facebook.

Facebook has a history of growing a thriving user base before turning to advertising. When Instagram grows bigger, advertising might ultimately become a direct part of the platform, with many foreseeable opportunities ahead. Beyond native ads within Instagram, Facebook could use Instagram hashtags as a new way to target. Someone who posts CrossFit photos using #crossfit, for instance, might see a CrossFit ad in his Facebook Newsfeed. The two social networks have massive potential to leverage each other for highly effective advertising.

Facebook will have an opportunity to disrupt video advertising by itself if, as rumored, it rolls out 15-second newsfeed spots in the near future. Advertisers then could run both boosted Instagram videos and premium ad videos. The Instagram videos would allow for more active Instagram brands to distribute their content outside of the network in an efficient manner.

The company has yet to confirm this plan. But even it just stays its current course with Instagram, Facebook’s strategy turns out to be a win-win for the social-media giant. In the short-term, it can make money from Instagram videos indirectly on Facebook without changing the user experience on Instagram. Down the line, advertising directly on Instagram may become a huge moneymaker, but for now it’s all about capturing and sharing the world’s moments — and paying to distribute them on the world’s largest social network.

By:  James Borow

From: AdAge

Label: #DigitalNext

trackingAs mobile advertising dollars race to catch up with consumers’ evolving behavior, a number of startups have emerged with a tempting proposition: target the same user across both his mobile and desktop devices. It sounds logical: one core driver of advertising performance is frequency of exposure, so increasing this frequency across devices should help. After all, a consumer doesn’t undergo a change of identity when he closes his laptop and opens his smartphone, right?

Yes, but it’s not that simple. Consumers do exhibit different mindsets and behaviors as they use different devices. Though a person remains the same person as he watches prime-time TV, searches for a product on Amazon or checks his Facebook feed, he has a different level of receptivity to advertising in each of these contexts. We can’t effectively use cross-device advertising without taking this into account.

From a retention standpoint, it sounds intriguing to be able to identify the same consumer as he navigates from one device to another. Sending the wrong catalog to someone’s house is very expensive. Accordingly, customer-relationship management uses purchase data and other information to improve return by cross-selling or upselling to identifiable customers across multiple channels (voice/call centers, in-person/customer service, digital/email and print/direct mail). Retention and win-back marketing tactics personalize different offers to high and low-value customers. This may require identifying the same customers across multiple devices, often with personally identifiable information.

On the other hand, acquisition marketing relies primarily on anonymous identifiers to attract new customers (since by definition these consumers don’t yet have a relationship with the advertiser) and does not require identifying the same user across multiple devices. The only reason such a technical feat would be useful is if it drove down acquisition-marketing costs. However, since the reach is diminished and the cost increases with the technologies that try to stitch the same user across multiple devices, marketers should treat this new tactic with caution, beyond any concerns with privacy.

Tracking device-to-device activity for the same individual means you’ll have to limit the size of the targeting pool to the specific audience that you can trace across these multiple channels (PC, smartphone, tablet, TV, radio or out-of-home). Imagine the Venn diagram showing the overlapping audience holding those devices. And imagine the smaller and smaller subset of those individuals who fall into the middle. Since there are techniques to target the people who closely resemble the very same people on all these devices — but with a much wider net — why pay more to reach far fewer?

Furthermore, much ad spending would be wasted using cross-device tracking to send a similar message to someone whose attention is very different, depending on which device he’s using and his current activity.

Given relatively low call-to-action response rates on acquisition marketing, it stands to reason that the optimal approach would be to target advertising at a wide array of those who best reflect clearly observed behavior and interests that would most resonate with the advertiser’s products and services.

To target consumers across devices, it is important to evaluate whether the reach and ROI of tactics are being applied to the right marketing goals. Because of limitations and privacy implications, tracking the same individual across devices is best for retention marketing.

Acquisition marketing can benefit from cross-device analytics and planning. However, given the different mindset with use of each device, and the huge number of consumers targeted by acquisition marketing, the best approach is to take advantage of the channel-specific targeting abilities of each device rather than trying to cobble together techniques to find the same user on each of his devices. Marketers should use techniques to analyze all of the channels at their disposal – and not be singularly focused on trying to connect the mobile and desktop experiences.

Author: Joshua Coran

Label: #DigitalNext

IMG_0988Bunkered beneath a cliff a couple miles north of Los Angeles International Airport sits arguably YouTube’s most important real estate: YouTube Space LA. Google broke ground on the filmmaking studio last year — converted from Howard Hughes’ airport — and has opened it up to the video site’s creators to borrow equipment like TV-quality cameras, shoot their series using green screens and man newsroom-style control rooms.

Next month YouTube will begin to extend the invitation to brands, a handful at first and up to 100 by the end of 2014 (and will open up an East Coast counterpart in downtown Manhattan next year). The idea is to improve the quality of marketers’ YouTube content and indirectly play matchmaker between those marketers and YouTube’s creators who flit in and out of the production facility.

Basically YouTube Space LA aims to be online video’s version of the Chateau Marmont or Chelsea Hotel. Advertising Age took a tour of the studio to see what marketers may expect.

Like YouTube’s Bay Area headquarters, YouTube Space LA is pretty nondescript, holed up near the hillside with little ceremony to signal that one of the hearts of New Hollywood is housed here.

Source: AdAge.

Label: #LatestNews



LinkedIn_Offices_1_270x126LinkedIn did it again, posting earnings Thursday that blew past expectations Wall Street expectations.

LinkedIn earned 38 cents per share on revenue of $363.7 million in the second quarter, an increase of 59 percent from the year ago quarter. The professional social network, which now touts 238 million members, posted net income of $3.7 million, when accounting for all expenses.

Analysts were looking for adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents on revenue of $353.85 million.

“Accelerated member growth and strong engagement drove record operating and financial results in the second quarter,” CEO Jeff Weiner said. “We are continuing to invest in driving scale across the LinkedIn platform in order to fully realize our long-term potential.”

LinkedIn’s biggest money-maker continues to be Talent Solutions, a suite of hiring-related products for company recruiters. Revenue from Talent Solutions grew 69 percent from a year ago to $205.1 million. LinkedIn made $85.6 million from its marketing products and $73 million from selling premium member subscriptions. The businesses grew 36 percent and 68 percent respectively from the year-ago quarter.

The Q2 earnings report comes a week after the widespread release of Sponsored Updates, a Web and mobile in-stream ad unit similar to Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Facebook’s Sponsored Stories that the professional social network believes will funnel more revenue to its marketing solutions business.

LinkedIn’s stock spent most of Thursday climbing in anticipation of the report. Shares closed the day up 4.5 percent at $213, and are now up an additional 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Label: #Digital-Media

0225p43-adam-kleinbergReason #1. The Freedom.

The theme of Mr. Wieden’s talk was freedom. The freedom to fail. The freedom to dream. The freedom to take a different path.

Add to that now the freedom from the vested interests of the holding company. POGs (short for Publicis and Omnicom Group agencies) are already motivated to leverage the relationships, investments and proprietary trading desks of their parent companies. But those relationships and investments may not be in the best interest of clients. Further, the solutions those trading desks provide are formulaic and leave less room for innovation. Formulaic approaches lead to mediocre returns. Clients don’t get promoted for delivering mediocre returns. These challenges will only be exacerbated by this consolidation.

This provides an opportunity for small agencies to differentiate ourselves. While perhaps we can’t compete on the cost of every impression bought, we can devise strategies that focus on the value of every impression made.

More and more, brands are viewing small agencies as a viable alternative to big ones. Freedom is a key reason why.

Reason #2. The Fallout.

Pepsi and Coke may or may not decide to put their concerns about conflicts of interest behind them. Certainly some brands will — and others will not.

That means that inevitably, there will be some degree of shakeout. And, having just nabbed silver for Ad Age Small Agency of the Year in the West Coast region last week, I think it’s not too big a stretch to imagine that Traction might find itself in a review or three on some of those right-sized pieces of fallout.

Reason #3. The Message.

Perhaps the biggest reason I see this merger as an opportunity is the message it sends. This is a big story everyone is paying attention to, and it clearly underscores that there is a difference between big and small. Like so much of society, the rich get richer — and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

From: AdAge.

Author: Adam Kleinberg