Travelocity Banner Knows Where I'm Going

A couple of years ago I was wowed by a smart banner from Orbitz that knew where I was flying.  Just came across a very similar executioin from Travelocity. Do people respond better to this personalized targeting, do you know?

The Making of Dunkin' Run

For those of you who enjoy reading about how ideas evolve from a whiteboard mess to a finished product that sometimes gets people excited (definitely not a linear path), I've posted a small set of archive pictures from my experience on the team at Hill Holliday behind the Dunkin' Run application. In hindsight, I should've also graphed all the coffee and donuts that were consumed during testing.

As Heard On TV: Search Mentions with TV Trends

Very cool: search hours of recorded and indexed TV content for daily brand mentions and trending topics with SnapStream's new service TV Trends.  An opportunity: overlay these data with rating numbers to get some sort of reach or influence index.

Should You Pitch a Branded iPhone App?

There are days when it feels like iPhone apps are the new microsites -- every campaign has to have one. And on the surface it seems the numbers stack up just right: a healthy range of demographics, 50K apps, one billion downloads, 40 million devices (source), all going strong. But before you pitch an app to the next client, consider these usage stats from Pinch Media's deck on Slideshare (February 2009) and Greystripe’s Q109 Consumer Insights Report (April 2009, pdf):

-- Minutes per use: 9.6 (Greystripe)
-- Uses per user: 19.9 (Greystripe)
-- Only 20% of users return to use the app after the first day (Pinch Media)
-- After a month, this number drops to 5% (Pinch Media)
-- "39% of iPhone users cited weather-related apps as one of the three kinds of applications they use most frequently (Compete via MediaPost, April 2009)

About Digg's New Ad Format

A few thoughts about the recently unveiled (and heavily commented) Digg's new ad format that makes ads "diggable" and puts them in the general news stream.

1. The "sponsored post" about Sims3 on the mock-up was an actual story that appeared on Digg in February. It got 606 diggs and 110 comments. I wonder whether the same post would show comparable numbers if it had been an ad, as mocked up. In case you are wondering, all other stories on this screenshot have been made up.

2. I really like how the format fits the primary user behavior on the site -- reading and commenting on news. Techmeme's "sponsored RSS feeds" format is similar. I wrote (and someone else has commented) about this before: "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."

3. Advertisers will have to become content producers. That means headlines, not slogans. Not every brand produces diggable content.

4. Finally, a legit (as opposed to otherwise) mechanism to pay your way to Digg's front page.

5. What happens if someone else -- someone with a large network of Digg friends -- submits the same news with a link to a different page?

6. As one Digg commenter puts it, "Most ads will probably get buried anyway. Much like this comment. Cue the [bury] brigade." Which means "the more an ad is buried, the more the advertiser is charged, pricing it out of the system."

7. Back to #4: If before, underground networks of diggers like Subvert and Submit charged money to promote someone's story to the front page, now they will charge money to digg ads, if the math works for the advertisers.

8. Brands favorited by powerful well-connected diggers (say, Apple) will pay less then brands that are not liked as much (say, Microsoft).

9. For the reasons above, I think it would work better if Digg tacked its voting and commenting mechanism onto the more traditionally placed ads instead of sticking the ads into the content stream. I'd keep the rest of the social functionality, too, like letting my friends see if I dugg an ad.

10. On the mock-up, there's no username associated with the Sims3 ad. I'd actually let people placing ads create user-like accounts so that they could build their own social networks within the site and earn reputation points.

Targeting Zodiac Signs

Sure someone apart from horoscope sellers has thought of segmenting people according to their zodiac signs before, right?  If they can match two people based on their signs, and since each sign has its own assigned objects (stones, amulets), and each self-respecting brand has "brand personality", why not match people to their lucky products then?  It seems like a  perfect product placement opportunity for enterprizing horoscope writers. Plus, if you know site users' birth dates, does it make sense to show custom sign-appropriate ad units?

In 2001, according to Gallup, 28% of people believed in astrology and 18% weren't sure.

Showtime Samples TV Content on Kindle

Showtime is offering a free Kindle download of the pilot script of the upcoming TV show Nurse JackieAdAge quotes: "The idea of using Kindle, a text-based electronic reader, to promote a TV show may seem odd, but it falls directly in line with Showtime's typical modus operandi when it comes to hyping a new series, said Stuart Zakim, VP-corporate public relations at Showtime."

If you don't own a Kindle but have an iPhone, you can download the script through the free Kindle app.

Advertising in PowerPoint Decks

Coffee Company in the Netherlands is giving away free coffee to students who sneak in a branded slide into their homework PowerPoint decks.
-- via Media Post