Should Ads In Adult Magazines Feature Naked People?

I've always wondered why ads in adult publications don't feature naked people since contextually that would seem appropriate. Reading such a magazine, at least in part, is a goal-oriented activity -- you buy a Playboy to look at nudie pics and skip whatever content doesn't have them. If you ad features the desired content, it gets looked at. Kind of makes sense, no?

To see how it would work, check out this placement of Volkswagen Tuareg in a photoshoot for a Ukranian edition of Playboy (warning: naked people ahead, not safe for most work places).

On the other hand, "Sexual imagery attracts a viewer's attention and processing resources, leaving few resources available for processing of other ad information. As a result, brand information (i.e., reasons for buying the brand, brand name, sponsorship) is not processed to the same degree." (source)

Sexual imagery leaves few resources for processing other information.

Brand Mascots in Erotic Fantasies
Advertising With Porn
Shai Interactive Porn Fails to Move Goods
Porn Spam Has 5.6% Click-Through Rate
Forbes on Advertising and Porn
Subservient Store Clerks
Scientist Invents Condoms That Play Music

Culture Snapshot: Creation Science Fair

Living in Boston, while not without its advantages, isolates you from some of the more interesting things happening elsewhere in the country.

Creation Science Fair, 2001, high school:

1st Place: "Using Prayer To Microevolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria"

"Eileen Hyde and Lynda Morgan (grades 10 & 11) did a project showing how the power of prayer can unlock the latent genes in bacteria, allowing them to microevolve antibiotic resistance. Escherichia coli bacteria cultured in agar filled petri dishes were subjected to the antibiotics tetracycline and chlorotetracycline. The bacteria cultures were divided into two groups, one group (A) received prayer while the other (B) didn't. The prayer was as follows: "Dear Lord, please allow the bacteria in Group A to unlock the antibiotic-resistant genes that You saw fit to give them at the time of Creation. Amen." The process was repeated for five generations, with the prayer being given at the start of each generation. In the end, Group A was significantly more resistant than Group B to both antibiotics."

Military Recruitment Ads From Around the World

I put together a YouTube playlist with a compilation of 13 14 recruitment ads from different countries. Comparative military propaganda highlights of the weird:

The three Swedish spots are the best. Au Pair targets women and lures them with an opportunity to blow up bridges (when was the last time a Swedish soldier blew up a bridge?). Cube and Labyrinth are wacky but very stylish. Shows how the Swedish army values cognitive abilities over muscles.

British Army - shots of a party scene are there why? (another spot has a beach and women in bikini)

The Russian spot promises recruits that they finally will be able to afford to buy flowers and a night on the town for their girlfriends. Definitely not for external consumption. (The spot is for "kontraktniki", the volunteer part of the army).

I can't tell if the Ukranian spot isn't a spoof. YouTube has a translated dialog script if you expand "About the video" part.

Other armies in the playlist are Pakistani, Indian, Canadian, American, Czech, Slovak, Australian, [update] and Estonia (thanks, Toivo).

Soda Cans With Hidden Messages

"A Ukrainian inventor, Johan DeBroyer has created an idea for a re-sealable aluminum soda can which features hidden advertising messaging. The ingenious new can appears like a standard soda can -- until it is popped open.

When the tab is turned 180 degrees, the can becomes re-closed with a water-tight and gas-tight seal, revealing a full-color, high-resolution advertising message through the tab opening.

The vast potential for the new soda can is proportionate to the fact that there are 250 billion soda cans consumed annually."

-- emailed press release, Advercan

Glowing Electroluminescent Signage - Luminous Media

Here's a cool piece of ad tech for your production department: Luminous Media makes electroluminescent advertising -- posters, billboards, POS. The video demo is at the end of the post; Michael, director of company's operations, explains how the technology works:

"The technology is actually its own light source, even though its paper-thin.
There are special conductive inks, that when we apply a small electrical current so they illuminate (and very brightly too, as you can see in the video.)

We can also isolate, and define the areas which illuminate to create sequences and basic animations like you see in the Spiderman clip. We can control which areas illuminate at which time by connecting a small electrical driver to the sign (which is generally about the size of a DVD player for billboards.) This feeds the current to the appropriate areas at appropriate times through a custom-programmed timing chip, much in the same way you can create an animated GIF to having specific timings.

And, because they're so thin and flexible our clients use them on billboards, transit shelters, subway stations, for window signage, and in-store retail campaigns."

Machinima Production Tool Kit - MovieStorm

This homage to Pulp Fiction was made with Moviestorm.

Moviestorm is a stand-alone (and free) application for machinima production with an impressive list of features. The company claims this is the first such dedicated tool, but you'll remember The Movies game from a couple of years ago as well as Chrysler's machinima contest. And while machinima production might be a fringe activity, it's a "lunatic" fringe: The Movies Online game community website "has around 29,000 Studios with a total of 138,404 movies and all those received more than 803,000 ratings and comments." (source).

Some of these videos are fan-made interpretations of real commercials, like this one about AllState Insurance:

Your browser is not configured correctly to receive WMV streamed video
Please refer to our FAQ

Behind the Scenes of Best Buy's Social Network for Employees

Gary Koelling from Best Buy talks about Blue Shirt Nation -- a social networking site for the company's employees -- and about how to make a project like this survive the inevitable friction and committees:

"In the description of our seminar, it says that we're going to help you learn how to build a social network of your own. The truth is, and this might make you mad, we don't think you can. Not because of who you are, or what you believe, or anything personal like that. You won't be able to do something like this because of your company culture. Like we said, BlueShirt Nation is a fluke. The Best Buy culture wasn't set up to take on something like this. That's why its built outside of the IT network, that's why a couple ad guys run it. At every minute of every day, we still face the challenges that you'll face in your organization.

There'll be pressure to build the community fast - bad idea. And you'll face pressure to do it - good luck. There'll be a temptation to throw money at it - doesn't work. You'll want to believe it does - call me, I'll talk you down. There'll be talk of scale - big is better.

The truth is, you're at the mercy of the people that you're trying to influence. If you try to force it, its not real and will feel contrived - it'll backfire."

Where to Find Community Managers

If you are on your way to become The Agency of the Future (Forrester's version) and are looking to hire people to manage brand or customer communities, there's a job board run by the former long-time community manager at Lego, Jake McKee. If you don't know what he did at Lego, there was a widely referenced cover story in Wired about how Lego fans helped the company to come up with the Mindstorms robot constructor.

"Lost: Via Domus" Game Ships

If you are into transmedia storytelling, and especially if you are a Lost fan, check out the Lost: Via Domus game (PC, Xbox360) that Amazon began shipping yesterday (mine is on its way). You will be playing a new character -- a photographer with amnesia -- in an environment that is true to the TV series and that has been vetted by the show's creators. There isn't much shooting involved, but you will get to solve a lot of puzzles and explore a lot of places that has remained off the TV screen, including some hidden nooks inside the stations. Many of the original voices were recorded for the game, including Ben's, but unfortunately not Sawyer's.

Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising

Gamespot's Dubious Honors Awards for despicable use of in-game advertising:

2004 (Need for Speed Underground)
2005 (SWAT 4, where the dynamic in-game ads made one of the first appearances)
2006 (Fight Night Round 3, a boxing game with the Burger King's King in it)
2007 (Need for Speed ProStreet):

"Need for Speed ProStreet isn't exactly an example of in-game advertising restraint. Playing the game offline isn't all that offensive, but as soon as you jump on to Xbox Live, the deluge begins. The game has dynamic ads that start downloading the very first time you get online. What's worse and even more ridiculous is that the game's Xbox Live achievement points have ads attached to them. That's right, even the achievements in this game are brought to you by a commercial sponsor." Video review of the game below.

Also note the readers' choice selections as well as nominees.

Coke Behind The Real Ray Character

Yes, the mysterious Real Ray site turned out to be a Coke campaign based on the charming GTA-styled TV spot. They did send out a couple of clues by email over the past month in an attempt to make it ARG-like.

Flashback: Soviets Winning Race for Ads in Space

UPI, March 29, 1989:

"The Soviet Union has signed a deal to sell advertising space—in space, of all places.

The Tass news agency said Wednesday that Glavkosmos, the Soviet commercial space agency, signed a contract with a Swiss firm that includes selling advertising space on cosmonauts’ space suits and painting two 6-by-9-foot advertising messages on the hull of the orbiting Mir space station.

Besides the advertising patches on the space suits and the outdoor space billboards, clients will have the opportunity to have a 3-minute commercial filmed by cosmonauts onboard the Mir."


Digital Paper for Talking Billboards

This is from an article on BBC back in 2007: "Researchers from Mid Sweden University have constructed an interactive paper billboard that emits recorded sound in response to a user's touch. The prototype display uses conductive inks, which are sensitive to pressure, and printed speakers.

The key to the billboard's capabilities is a layer of digital paper that is embedded with electronics. This is printed with conductive inks, which, when applied with pressure, relay information to a micro-computer that contains recorded audio files. Sound then streams out from printed speakers, which are formed from more layers of conductive inks that sit over an empty cavity to form a diaphragm."

Would make nice packaging. Or talking money, whispering "Spend me.".

Advertising on TV Test Card

From the creative media planning department: an ad for a mattress company on Brazilian TV's test card after the end of the day's programming. (via Ads of the World).

And below is what one of the first test cards ever looked like (from Test Card Gallery, an amazing site with lots of history and test cards from around the world).

Fog Screen Comes to the US

Just got hit up with a press release about Fog Screen, a cool screen technology mentioned here last year, announcing that the European company is now open for business in the US and is having a demo in Las Vegas this week. Lost of pictures, details on the event.

They say: "Our patented technology produces a virtually dry fog using ordinary tap water with no chemicals whatsoever. Viewers can stand inside the image and remain perfectly dry!"

Amazon's Bestselling Advertising Books

Out of curiosity, I went through Amazon's bestseller list for the business category and plucked out all books related to advertising:
It's amazing how Dale Carnegie's self-help How To Win Friends book is still on the top of the list (120th sales rank overall) after so many years. It is a great book, too; one of the few that I keep re-reading to discover new ideas. After Carnegie's, a lot of the recently published books seem rather derivative or reduntant.

The Psychology of Persuasion and Made to Stick should be fun to compare -- the seem to cover similar grounds. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on Predictably Irrational written by a professor at Sloan. It is also #1 on the bestseller list right now.

EA-Land: Virtual Worlds and Web Widgets

Electronic Arts is opening up its The Sims Online game to free membership, renaming it into EA-Land, and introducing a number of changes, the following one being the most interesting:

"In EA-Land, game data is available to the internet through web services so users can add gadgets to their Google pages to monitor the state of data they care about in game, for example, if a store is open." (source)

There will be user-created assets and an economy, of course. And, likely, ads.

The Communist Manifesto of Chris Anderson

Deep under the layers of acquired historical meanings lies an often overlooked core of the economic theory that describes production of goods under public ownership, their free exchange, and their free consumption by all members of the society according to their needs.

This economic theory is communism, and the idea that Chris Anderson outlines in the latest Wired cover story and in his upcoming book is strikingly similar.

It is already remarkable how much vocabulary is shared between "socialism" and "social media". One definition of socialism refers to a system under which "community members own all property, resources, and the means of production, and control the distribution of goods" (source), which also captures the spirit of economic relationships in most of the current social media environments. In his most recent book, The Long Tail, Anderson pays a fair amount of attention to those relationships, which are largely non-monetary in nature.

Anderson's current argument is that under the rapid pace of modern technological progress, marginal production and distribution costs are trending towards zero (hence the article's title "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business") and so are the prices of goods and services.

The Wired article discusses those goods whose production and distribution is based on the rapidly cheapening web infrastructure, but in an earlier speech at last year's Nokia World Anderson also touched upon an entirely different class of goods -- the stuff you can touch, smell and sit on -- and how 3D printing will drive the marginal costs of making the "real" merchandise also to zero (it's around the 15th minute into the speech; Real Player).

(Long-time readers of this blog will remember a few thoughts on the role of advertising in the era of mass 3D printing.)

Anderson aptly called this new paradigm "freeconomics", which, I guess, means the economics of communism without the political terror that accompanied nominally communist -- but, in fact, barely socialist -- regimes in the last century.

There are at least two answers to the question whether and how communism is compatible with capitalism. Marx would say that communism is the next logical step in civilization's development that would replace capitalism (Marx would also add "violently").

Much closer to Anderson's are the ideas of Howard Sherman, a radical American economist who in conclusion to his 1969 paper "The Economics of Pure Communism" wrote:

"The economic arguments against communism were examined and found wanting. An economy of 70% or 80% free consumer goods seems possible--with little or no loss in perfotmance--in an easily foreseeable future. A gradual increase of the free goods sector, with careful attention to elasticities of demand, should make it possible to maintain equilibrium of supply and demand for all products, assuming present rates of productivity increase in the USA or USSR. Second, a gradual increase of free goods combined with continued wages to pay for the remaining priced (luxury) goods should present few new incentive problems. Third, with the use of accounting prices for free goods (derived from optimal programming processes), optimal planning can continue to function as well as under. socialism. Moreover, the planning can be centralized or decentralized as preferred, assuming the accounting prices are given to the managers as parameters. Finally, if economic performance is at least as good as in socialism, most of the arguments in favour of communism are non-economic--but these are beyond the scope of this article."

Anderson concludes his article with "[...] a generation raised on the free Web is coming of age, and they will find entirely new ways to embrace waste, transforming the world in the process. Because free is what you want — and free, increasingly, is what you're going to get."

A quote from the original Manifesto would not be out of place here: "The feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder."

The authors of this parody poster are not entirely inaccurate.

Quote of the Day

"It makes perfect sense that technology companies should take over the advertising industry. Nobody in Silicon Valley will win a Clio Award, but they will help clients get more than $1 back for every $1 of advertising they spend — and advertisers have always cared more about their bottom lines than Madison Avenue’s ego."

-- Publishing 2.0

Microsoft Offers Engagement Mapping Method for Ad ROI Calculation

Press release: ""The 'last ad clicked' is an outdated and flawed approach because it essentially ignores all prior interactions the consumer has with a marketer's message," said Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions (APS) Division at Microsoft. “Our Engagement Mapping approach conveys how each ad exposure -- whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels -- influenced an eventual purchase. We believe it represents a quantum leap for advertisers and publishers who are seeking to maximize their online spends.""

Beta coming on March 1.

The Danger of Widgetized Web


Widgets-shmidgets. YouTube goes down, and half the blogosphere with embedded videos is greyed out. YouTube should at least insert one of those TV test cards when it can't serve the videos, like this:

Forgotten Media Skills

Rewinding VCR tapes. Balancing the tonearm. Calling collect. Formatting floppy disks. Loading film into a camera. Numbering punchcards. Getting up from a couch to change channels or volume. Dialing. Remembering phone numbers. Using carbon paper. Rewinding a tape with a pen. Sending a telegram. Sending a telex.

More in this great list of obsolete skills.

-- via textually

Advertising Lab Endorses Candydate

The Red M&M is our candydate! Vote now (or meet other candydates, too).

NYTimes Builds Bridge to Russia on LiveJournal

"The New York Times in Russian. Tell Americans and the entire world about Russia."

The New York Times has started an interesting project on LiveJournal (LJ), one of the first blogging platforms that was recently sold to a Russian company. The newspaper picks an article about Russia, translates it in Russian, posts it on a LJ, solicits comments, than translates the comments back to English and posts it under the original article. The newspaper's editors moderating the site promised, "You'll see that we are not afraid of critisism and willl post a large number of negative comments in our address."

The first and so far the only article about the upcoming elections has attracted 1780 comments from mostly angry Russians. About 140 of the most civil were translated back. Here's one of them: "I read the first paragraph [of the article] and it was enough. Sort out everything in your democracy first."

Scientists Measure Laughter

Pink Tentacle: "Researchers at Kansai University have developed a machine that can scientifically measure the quantity of a person’s laughter, as well as distinguish between the real and the fake.

The sensors, which attach to a person’s cheeks, chest and abdomen, take 3,000 measurements per second. Sensor data is relayed to a computer, where it is analyzed by special software that determines the nature of the laugh and assigns a numerical score based on the quantity."

Would be fun to measure the quality of the canned laughter on TV shows.

A World Without Billboards

Above: an ad for Sky movies ("you don't like interruptions so we took out the ads") showing a world without billboards.

Below: a slideshow of Sao Paolo after the mayoral billboard ban.

Rant: Ads You Can Taste and Google Algorithm

Sometimes, Google can be really difficult.

Is the recent ad by Welch's for its grape juice the first one to incorporate the sense of taste? No: Is it the first one to incorporate First Flavor's peel-and-lick technology? No. Last September, there were alcohol flavored ads in Rolling Stone for a TV show; here's First Flavor's press release on the subject (and a brief mention on AdLab).

You could never tell, though, if you searched Google for "lickable ads" this week. Even First Flavor, the company that creates the strips, is not on the first three pages of search results. But all those blogs that regurgitate the same news piece are, in abundance:

Can the results that are obviously similar -- and derivative -- be grouped and collapsed, just like all related news are collapsed in Google News? Look at this mess:

Russian Gmail Ad: Killer Paper Prototyping

This spot for Russian Gmail (Saatchi Moscow, via Armando) is a great demonstration of the paper prototyping method (see a wiki definition, and a good book).

Speaking of Google and the Iron Curtain, check out (.by is for Belarus), a project where a cybersquatter an enterprising individual who created a bannerized version of the search engine's home page. Another google that's not Google is

Optimus Maximus and Keyboard Spam

The big gadget news today is that the Optimus Maximus keyboard is finally shipping. Each key is an OLED screen and the entire keyboard can be remapped to the functions of whatever application you are using at the moment. (Engadget has a review.)

Can't wait for the day when you click an attachment in your email and see CH3AP V1AGRA spelled out in colorful shiny letters, right on your keyboard.

Author, Stats for Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle

Talk about viral: a LOL CATZ kind of meme with political flavor. Today, I've got four messages from different friends with a link to Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle. Call it consumer-generated subliminal propaganda. Here's apparently the guy who did it, as well as some first-day stats.

Study: Who Clicks on Banners?

It's time to update the famous saying to "I know half of my clicks are wasted, I just don't know which half."

ComScore's press release: "The study illustrates that heavy clickers represent just 6% of the online population yet account for 50% of all display ad clicks. While many online media companies use click-through rate as an ad negotiation currency, the study shows that heavy clickers are not representative of the general public. In fact, heavy clickers skew towards Internet users between the ages of 25-44 and households with an income under $40,000. Heavy clickers behave very differently online than the typical Internet user, and while they spend four times more time online than non-clickers, their spending does not proportionately reflect this very heavy Internet usage. Heavy clickers are also relatively more likely to visit auctions, gambling, and career services sites – a markedly different surfing pattern than non-clickers.

Further preliminary Starcom data suggests no correlation between display ad clicks and brand metrics, and show no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked. The research presentation suggests that when digital campaigns have a branding objective, optimizing for high click rates does not necessarily improve campaign performance." (emphasis mine)

Not that it's a surprising news -- see AdLab's post on clicker demographics from a couple of months ago.

Study: Banners Work Even When No One's Looking
Study: Banner Ads Affect Memory
Subliminal Spam

ASCII Art in Google AdWords

ASCII art in Google AdWords for a car rental company in Europe (via coolz0r). Most likely a mock-up since Google will filter out the excessive punctuation and would not show three ads from the same account on one page, but maybe it might work with other text ad companies. There's a video on Banner Blog.

Graph: Life of a Blog Post

What happens to your post after you hit the "Publish" button, illustrated by Wired.

Study: Sad People Spend More

AP: A new study shows people's spending judgment goes out the window when they're down, especially if they're a bit self-absorbed. Study participants who watched a sadness-inducing video clip offered to pay nearly four times as much money to buy a water bottle than a group that watched an emotionally neutral clip. (via Neuromarketing)

From the "Misery is not Miserly: Sad and Self-Focused Individuals Spend More" paper: The present findings do, however, allow more than one explanation for the link among sadness, self-focus, and spending. Our working model proposes that sad and self-focused individuals spend more on commodities because they seek self-enhancement. Another possible model is that sad and self-focused individuals experience reduced self-value or sense of entitlement, and therefore value other things more by contrast." (site, pdf)

Cheaper, Stronger Heroin

This is today's front page of Boston Now, one of the city's free commuter papers, but it looks almost like an ad for, what else, cheaper and stronger heroin.

Honda Sponsors Tags on Boing Boing

An interesting format for tying ads to a blog's content via tags / categories:

Boing Boing: "Honda is sponsoring three special sections of Boing Boing, called "The Power of Dreams." They feature posts about safety, the environment, and innovation. (Links go to Honda sponsored sections.)"

Graph: Technology Adoption Rates

NY Times published an excellent graph showing adoption rates for different technologies by three income tiers of the US population. Links: the article, the graph.

Visualizing Merged Time

"Recreating Movement is a computer program for analyzing film sequences and has been developed within a diploma thesis."

On Kottke, a great round-up of time-merge visualizations. Below, "1000 cars racing at the same time", a video overlay of many play-throughs. Besides the obvious fun factor, it's a great tool for averaging user interactions within an environment.

MySpace Launches Games Section

MySpace did launch its own game portal after all (told you so). Unlike, say, Kongregate or Yahoo Games, MySpace lets users to embed games elsewhere (your MySpace profile or a blog; see Line Rider below it turns out, you can embed the game, but it's not playable outside the MySpace domain, so profiles only). The game I played was preceded by a pre-roll, but we will probably see advergames there pretty soon.

And Valleywag believes Electronic Arts is eyeing the social games space, too: "Former EA Los Angeles general manager Neil Young is in charge of a "stealth division" believed to be EA Blueprint, which will develop and publish games to social networks."

Explore YouTube Videos With Warp Speed

YouTube has this nifty alternative video browser interface called Warp Speed. I think the lines connect related videos or responses, and groups of similar clips are color-coded. For a similar interface but with products, check out

AdCamo Network Brands Web Page Backgrounds

We've seen brands taking over web sites and pasting their visuals on backgrounds, but AdCamo is an entire network that embeds CPC and CPM ad tiles embedded into backgrounds. I think the per-click part comes from the accompanying banner unit displayed on the same page.

MiraWorldTV Aggregates Online TV Streams

"MiraWorldTV is a plugin for windows media center. Miraworldtv consolidates various internet TV streams and lets you watch them from your media center PC. MiraWorldTV can be installed on Vista Ultimate or Vista Premium. Thousands of mainstream channels from all over the world are in-built with MiraWorldTV, and the database is updated frequently."

Hope there's a snooker channel somewhere in there.

Microsoft Shows Off Next-Gen Ad Tech

Video demo: "Contextual Ads for Video. Through speech recognition, this technology enables ads to be dynamically served based on the content discussed in the video." (Another demo)

Microsoft showcased a series of new technologies from their adCenter Labs during the lab's Demo Fest.

Press release: "The technologies highlighted at this event included the latest advances and algorithms in content analysis and computer vision for video and images, speech recognition for contextual video ads, and advanced marketing intelligence that enable enhanced audience insight and better targeting capabilities for advertisers."

Some of the geekier stuff:

"Contextual Ads for Video. Through speech recognition, this technology enables ads to be dynamically served based on the content discussed in the video.

Intelligent Bug Ads
. By using a computer vision algorithm to calculate the least intrusive spot in the video, it approximates human judgment and places the ad in the video where it is least likely to interfere with the consumer’s viewing experience.

Visual Product Browsing
. This tool uses computer vision algorithms to browse and categorize images as a human might, without the need for manual data tagging.

Content Analysis Engine. This technology uses advanced algorithms to automatically extract and categorize information from search queries and Web page contents to better understand user intent and minimize search engine marketing complexity.

Content Detection in Sub-documents. This technology identifies sensitive or unsuitable content such as pornography, weapons or negative sentiments that advertisers would not likely want to be associated with, and automatically blocks contextual ads related to that content."

Nielsen Invests in NeuroFocus

To assess advertising effectiveness, NeuroFocus uses electroencephalography, a "measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp." (wiki)

AdAge has published the results of a study that showed what SuperBowl ads caused the most brain activity (it's Coke's balloons ad and a Bud Light spot). The study was done by Sands Research.

In other mind-reading news today:

Press release: "The Nielsen Company today announced that it has made a strategic investment in NeuroFocus, an innovative firm that specializes in applying brainwave research to advertising, programming and messaging. The two companies will work together in an alliance to develop new forms of measurement and metrics based on the latest advances in neuroscience.

The Nielsen Company and NeuroFocus are joining forces to initially bring an array of new science-based products, services and metrics to clients in consumer packaged goods, television, film and emerging media. At the same time, Nielsen will integrate NeuroFocus’ techniques into existing services to better understand the elements of successful consumer engagement.

Consumers wear a specially designed baseball cap embedded with sensors that passively track brain responses about 2000 times a second as they interact with advertising or marketing materials. NeuroFocus can precisely and instantaneously determine what parts of the messages they pay attention to; how they emotionally engage with them; and what is actually moved to memory."

If you want a sensor hat for yourself, you can get one here for about $12K.

AdRant: Advertising News Drudge Style

AdRant. Domain registered by two guys who do ads. I think a large part of the original Drudge Report's popularity is its interface's Google-like simplicity, so I can see how this site can become the home page on many agency browsers. AdblockPlus, true to its name, blocks all the ads, if that's your thing.

Animated Business Cards

This animated business card by Chung Dha works on the same principle as the animated packaging for the hearing aid covered here last November. The author explains:

"This is my animated businesscard, I design after receiving a special book called magic moving images. I learned how to design myself and developed a special way to make this. The card exist of a outer sleeve with vertical raster and the animated pictures are made in a special way."

(This is probably the book: Magic Moving Images.)

Watch the video of the card in action:

See other cool business cards on Adlab.

-- via Brand Flakes

Firebrand Ratings: How Many People Watch One Hour of TV Commercials

Quick intro: Firebrand is a one-hour 11pm weeknights TV show on ION that has nothing but commercials. The show has a website. The idea is that "viewers will gladly watch commercials" if they are entertaining and non-intrusive.

AdRants did a post on Firebrand a few days ago, saying, "We're pretty sure the only people watching Firebrand this week or any week will be people working in advertising, hardly an audience large enough to support the company's grandiose vision of becoming some sort of popular destination. "

Shari Leventhal, Firebrand's CEO, responded (fourth comment after the post on AdRants): "We've had over 2.5 million viewers watching Firebrand on average each week."

Curious, I checked the numbers:

  • Number of people watching Firebrand TV show on ION (11 pm weeknights): 106,000*
  • Number of people employed in advertising agencies in the US: 188,100**

Am I doing the math wrong? Is Nielsen off?

Below is the website traffic estimate (uniques) from

* Nielsen's ratings for Jan 1-31 2008 for Firebrand: 0.09 HH (106,000 average nightly viewers), 0.06 AD2554 (75,000 adult viewers 25-54)

** US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nov 2007 estimate, full chart pulled from this page.

Turn Gag Widget into Research Tool

Adlab's reader Doug writes: "Sawyer's Nickname Generator seems like a great, but missed, opportunity to gather data on ABC viewers and users. ABC just needs to add a few other variables like age, sex, and income."

My nickname? Speed bump.

Five Magazines You Have Never Read

Someone famous (Ogilvy?) said that it was a good idea to make a habit of picking up magazines that are outside of your usual set. The ones below would probably work.

"Each issue of American Cemetery offers in-depth coverage of issues affecting the cemetery profession in today's competitive business environment, including grounds maintenance tips, national and state association coverage, preneed, marketing, cremation, insurance computers/software and much more."

Onion World, because "onions are the third largest consumed fresh vegetable in the U.S."

Plumbing Systems and Design is "the official publication of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, is the magazine for plumbing engineers, designers, specifiers, code officials, contractors, manufacturers, master plumbers, and other plumbing professionals."

Railway Age "leads, instructs, reports and commands a $20 billion industry to review your products and services. Penetrate the marketplace with Railway Age, the publication that has written the book on the railway industry since 1876."

Supply & Demand Chain Executive is "the executive’s user manual for successful supply and demand chain transformation, utilizing hard-hitting analysis, viewpoints and unbiased case studies to steer executives and supply management professionals through the complicated, yet critical, world of supply and demand chain enablement to gain competitive advantage." Now with podcasts.

Game Consoles In Distributed Computing Project

"More than one million PlayStation 3 owners are taking part in Folding@home, the distributed computing project run by Stanford University." The research helps finding cure for Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many cancers.

The distributed computing application runs on many platforms, including the newest game console from Sony. Wired says "PS3s currently comprise about 74 percent of the entire computing power of Folding@home." The instructions on how to download the required software are on the Playstation blog.

Some teraflop stats.

Google Trends Predict Super Tuesday Outcome

Search trends have been credited for correctly forecasting an American Idol winner in the past. Today, writes that Google Trends results could be indicative of today's primary winners as "The amount of Google searches for a candidate’s last name has directly correlated with the winner of that state in every primary and caucus to date." McCain and Obama have the largest number of searches.

TiVo, USA Today Name Superbowl Ad Winners

First, the big question: if ad recall depends on viewer's emotions, who do you think will remember more of the ads: Giants' or Patriots' fans?

Onto the stats.

Press release: "TiVo announced this year’s top Super Bowl commercial moments. This information was prepared using aggregated, anonymous, second-by-second audience measurement data about how TiVo subscribers watched the game.

Commercials featuring slapstick humor and celebrity appearances dominate the list, with stars like Justin Timberlake, Shaquille O’Neal, and Carmen Electra claiming a spot on the list. Yet, for all the star power they generated, the E-Trade talking baby may have upstaged them all, taking the coveted top spot thanks to a humorous look at using E-Trade.

TiVo’s audience measurement analysis is based on aggregated data from a sample of approximately 10,000 anonymous households with TiVo service. TiVo viewership information gauges the interest in programming content by measuring the percentage of the TiVo audience watching in "play” speed."

It's gotta be the first baby spot, not the one with the clown. I'm ashamed to admit that I'd never laughed so hard during a commercial as I did at baby's "whoah" at the spot's end. I also loved Coke's balloons.

E-Trade's "Baby" Superbowl spot.

USA Today AdMeter scores here: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2000-1989. Since this year AdMeter celebrates its 20th anniversary, the newspaper asked its panel to rank all previous winners as well. The results are here: it's a Pepsi spot from 1996.

USA Today: How AdMeter works.

Ads On Social Network Sites Need Different Mechanism

Financial Times: "Google blamed the difficulty of making money from placing adverts on social networking sites for holding back its growth in the latest quarter, contributing to a 9 per cent slump in its shares in after-hours trading."

Techdirt has a small round-up of thoughts on the subject.

Content in different media is consumed in different ways. Ads are content. To work in a different medium, ad formats should reflect the medium's particularities. Facebook has made a step in the direction of offering a medium-specific format with Beacon. It might have not succeeded yet, but that doesn't make blanket display advertising on social networking sites any more effective.

GTA-Styled ARG-Looking Campaign in Belgium

Image source: Pietel on Flickr

Adverblog points at an ongoing campaign in Belgium that is remarkably similar to the last year's commercial by Coke about a thug turned do-gooder in a Grand Theft Auto - like city. If this is an ARG, than it's the very beginning of it, since the site doesn't offer any clues yet.

MSFT+YHOO: People-Generated Brand Names

Blogosphere hasn't had that much fun since Google's acquisition of YouTube that has enriched the vernacular with numerous linguistic gems ranging from GooTube to YouTooble.

Here's what we have so far for the Microsoft-Yahoo deal:

AdLab's favorite: Microhoot by Gizmodo

Seen on Infade (this one is back from May 2007)

Seen on Techcrunch

Seen on Ad-Supported Music

Seen on David Armano's

Pictureless: YahooSoft (CNN), Yaasoft (FastForward blog), Yahrosoft. A CNet blog considers relative advantages of Yasoft, Mihoo, and Microhoo (Micro-who?), and even has a handy poll .