Why NBA Is Toast

This $40 toaster bakes your favorite NBA brand straight onto your carbs.

And next month NBA will start selling edible team logos made of made of sugar, starch and food coloring for about $5.  If you'd rather see your picture on a pizza, there's an app a store for that, too.  But of course, then you'll need edible nutrition facts, maybe even equipped with an edible RFID tag.

P.S. I just realized I had a post with the same headline five years ago.

-- via agencyspy

iPhonebook for Children Hits Stores

The amazing children's book peripheral by Mobile Art Lab that turns an iPhone into an interactive reading device is now selling on Japan's Amazon and a couple of other stores (Rakuten, 7netshopping) for about $30 in yen equivalent. You might have seen the video of the project last year when it was getting its well-deserved share of oohs and aahs. The companion app is available in  the Japanese app store, although not in the US one, it seems.

Imagining Apple TV

With the mythical tablet finally out and going strong, the next object of forward-looking gadget fetishism has gotta be Apple TV. Not the TV of the set-top box "hobby" variety; the real thing. A Piper Jaffray analyst said as much, Wired speculated about it, and patents shed light on some of the company's thinking. And then it kind of makes sense, too, for Apple to get into the business of pairing quality content with beautiful screens as it has done so successfully in the past.

I've just fretted, pretty publicly, about today's television sets being way too complex and yet failing to deliver the one thing we expect from them -- an uninterrupted stream of interesting moving images. Apple, of course, knows a thing or two about simple. A DVR that would program itself, channels that would organize themselves around your interests, un-buttoned remote controls, multiple sources of content converging in the background into one seamless stream, auto-adjusting volume. All the stuff that would makes watching TV easy again in the same way iPad has made computing accessible for two-year-olds.

The downside: expensive proprietary cables, no porn, and iFart apps stretched across a 50-inch screen playing in surround sound.

-- image source

Keep Track of Media Culture To Make Better Ads

In the creative brief, right under the media plan summary, there should be a description of each media property and the particularities of its audience. Which means there's a job for someone to do nothing but watch TV, read magazines, browse the web, and take lots of notes, sort of a mix between an account and media planners.  After all, we have well-paid professionals hunting down and explaining obscure cultural phenomena - why not somebody who keeps track of the stuff that's popular today. Somebody who'd work in the Chief Culture Officer's department.

Or maybe it could be an industry publication, CliffsNotes for popular media culture. Wonder if there isn't one already.

Then we'd have more ads that enhance the primary media experience instead of interrupting it, like these Target's 15" spots that ran during Lost finale.

Retro Photos For New-Media Report

The new Razorfish Outlook report is out. My favorite part:  photographs taken by the company's employees and used to illustrate the paper and the mention that "photographs were shot on Kodak 120VC or Tri-X film with a Holga 120 camera."

That, and in its "Publishers to Watch in 2010" list, Razorfish included MySpace.

Crowdsource Crowdsourcing

Got a press release yesterday that ended with "Privileged and confidential information may be contained in this e-mail and any files transmitted with it are intended only for the use of the addressee."

Ah, what the hell:

"GeniusRocket, Victors and Spoils and 99 Designs are offering up the chance to re-name their industry, and turning to the crowd to do so. Having decided the name “crowdsourcing” just doesn’t fit anymore, they’re crowdsourcing the new name, with the best submission earning a cash reward."

The site should be up some time today and the project have been delayed.

Update (May 25, 2010): Victors and Spoils aren't involved. The project "has been delayed but should launch soon." - source: PR agency.

Udpdate: (May 26, 2010): The site is now up at renamecrowdsourcing.com.  It's little more than a submission form.

Quote of the Week

Yes, on a Monday. It's from a very well put observation that social media pros, somewhat oxymoronically, are self-centered, by a blog that writes a lot about social media.

"It’s almost like social media labors under the suspicion that if it stops talking about itself, it’ll cease to exist."

And another one by the same author but earlier:
"In our minds, we’re all Lady Gaga with a slightly smaller wardrobe."

Study: People Share Room With TV Ads

They make it sound like it's a good news.

Center for Research Excellence released new findings from their massive and very expensive ($3.5M) ethnographic study of media consumption behavior. The researchers observed and recorded behaviors of 376 adults in four markets for the average period of 33 hours each or roughly two full waking days (or "three-quarters of a million minutes" altogether, as they prefer to put it.)  It looks like they used methodology and tools developed by Ball State Uni's Center for Media Design for its Middletown Media Study, which I've been following here closely since 2006.

The press release is pretty celebratory throughout, starting with the headline "Most TV Viewers Do Not Leave the Room or Even Change Channels During Commercial Breaks."

The study was funded by Nielsen.

A supposedly sympathetic media executive is quoted as wondering rhetorically: "Do viewers actually pay attention during commercial breaks?"

Great question. Let's see what we can milk from the data highlights since the press release never answers it directly.

- 20% change rooms during a commercial break
- 86% of viewers remain with live TV during commercials (that is, don't change channels)
- Multi-tasking was found to accompany about 45% of all media use. That's 45% of the 80% who stay in the room. "Multitasking" here does not include concurrent usage of other media, as seen on the graph below (source: pdf).  And of them, 86% stay on the same channel.

In other words, about 38 people out of 100 (that is, 100 x 0.80 x 0.86 x 0.55 - does the math check out?) are in the same room and on the same channel as TV commercials and aren't working, eating, or attending to personal or religious needs.

Now, to fill in the gap on concurrent media exposure.  In Ball State's original media study in 2006, which was smaller in scope but similar in methodology, researchers found out that TV is an uncontested (single-exposure) medium during 71.5% percent of total minutes it is on (pdf).  (According to a different, newer Three Screen report, 59% of people use TV and Internet at the same time at least once a month.)

So, in the end, we probably have a whopping 20% of the people sitting in front of commercials not doing anything else, maybe paying attention. Maybe.

- via Ad Contrarian, who, too, thinks the news is good.

Intent, Context, Beer, Diapers, and Fishing

Hunch's Chris Dixon wrote a great blog post over the weekend about Facebook, Google and the difference between ads that create intent and ads that harvest intent. Hunch, being a recommendation engine, is, of course, all about harvesting intent. (I failed pretty miserably at their Twitter Predictor game with about 30% correct answers. Or maybe it was the game that failed, I don't know).

His post reminded me of two things. One is the urban legend about grocery stores putting beer next to diapers to boost sales of both.

The other one is an old Internet joke that not only has a lot to do with intent and contextual advertising but also points at the ideal state of things, at least from the advertiser perspective. It goes like this.

A young guy from a village moves to a big city and goes to a huge department store looking for a job. The manager asks him whether he has any sales experience, and the guy says that yeah, he was a salesman back in his village.

The guy gets the gig, the first day passes, and the manager stops by to check in on things.

“How many customers bought something from you today?”

The guy says, “one”.

“Just one? Our sales people average 20 to 30 customers a day. How much was the sale for?”

The guy says, “$101,237.65″.

The boss says, “$101,237.65? What the heck did you sell?”

The guy says, “First, I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fishhook. Then I sold him a larger fishhook.

Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast, so I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin engine Chris Craft. Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4×4 Expedition.”

The boss said, “A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?”

The guy said, “No, the dude came in here to buy tampons for his wife, and I said, dude, your weekend’s shot. You might as well go fishing.”

Dear Agency of The Year, You Suck

AdAge on Monday "wallowed in consumer generated advertising's trough of disillusionment", in the twittered words of @AdHack. The piece opened with " Dear consumer, Your 15 minutes are over. You suck."

It's the same consumer whom AdAge pronounced The Agency of the Year in 2007.

Rich, the author, called last week for a quote. I told him it's silly to dismiss the entire genre. Every time you have doubts about consumers' creative potential, head over to The Best of Craigslist, or Flickr's Explore, or The Sims Marketplace.

Yes, asking people who don't have any film-making experience to shoot a TV spot for you isn't very likely to result in anything.  But it isn't the only way to involve consumers into the ad-making process either. Ask people to do something they already know how to do and enjoying doing, and you'll get brilliant things like Nikon's Stunning Gallery or Chrysler's machinima.

Or else it's crap in, crap out.

Closely related:
Media Pendulum Swings On Second Life
Busted: Another "Consumer-Generated Ad" Myth

Celebrity Posters Reverse-Photoshopped

Photoshop GUI cut-outs pasted over celebrity posters in Berlin by a street art group. (I also like a similar use of Doom GUI over billboards.)

Comcast Turns iPad Into Xfinity Remote

From Comcast's blog: "Comcast Labs has developed a prototype of a web-based remote control that will extend our interactive programming guide to many IP-enabled devices. The Xfinity Remote, which Brian Roberts demoed today on an iPad at the NCTA show, enables you to search for your favorite shows and movies on television and video on demand, change the channel on your cable box right from your iPad, and set your DVR remotely."

Comcast already has a DVR remote for iPod touch and iPhone.  It also has a site for its Comcast Interactive Media Labs; wonder if it's the same as "Comcast Labs" above.

A Book of Human Billboards

A Dutch design studio bought as many human billboards on eBay as they could, and published an awesome photobook.  One more somewhat NSFW picture after the jump.

What Do You Call Two iAd Units?

If one ad on Apple's new network is called iAd, what do you call two ads? Well, not iAds, because the "iAds" trademark belongs to someone else --  the Innovate Media Group (see record).

All Your TVs Are Belong To Hollywood

The FCC "approved a request to allow companies that sell movies via video-on-demand services to activate signals that would block the copying or other re-use in home entertainment systems of recent releases." (NYTimes, via @stellawongo)

In other words,
- Content owners will be able to turn off, remotely, certain plugs on your new fancy TV or set-up box to prevent copying of new VOD releases;
- Some cable channels will be viewable only if you have a new fancy TV -- equipment that supports the Selectable Output Control tech.

These guys are pretty upset; BoingBoing isn't happy either.

Screwing with people's hardware is just wrong. Next thing, they will power down my fridge because I cook recipes off the net instead of buying an authorized cook book. 

Let's see who and how soon will be the first to suggest an idea to remotely shut down TVs of people who routinely skip commercials. 

Private Customized Adventures

Cleaning up an old archive, I found this. Hope the company is still in business.

Do you remember movie The Game in which Michael Douglas character participates in a game that blends with life, designed by a company called Consumer Recreation Services? Well, there is a company that provides just these kind of services. "Hire us to manipulate your or someone else's day. Using characters and scenarios designed specifically for the targeted individual, we excel in making, or breaking someone's day."

Directory of Fictional Phone Numbers

Here's a very comprehensive directory of the fictional 555 phone numbers from movies and TV shows. Add to your Rolodex the contact for the Fight Club's Project Mayhem: 555-1534.

What the iPad Could Have Been

A set of mock-ups from last fall that show iPad as a two-screen device. Maybe one day.

Record Analog Podcasts With Gramophone

Fire up your Skype and record that interview old-school style, with a real gramophone.

The Gakken Premium Gramophone ($149) "supports all record sizes, features speed and tone adjustment, and even lets you record music! No file formats to worry about, no batteries to replace, and the warm, nostalgic sound of analog - this just might be the perfect music player."

Your Family Pictures, Now With Limited Commercial Interruptions

Here's one genius idea whose time is yet to come: let people stream online pictures from their accounts on sites such as Facebook and Flickr to the digital frames on their desks, walls and nightstands along with news, stocks and weather updates, and an occasional ad.

There's a company called Thinking Screen Media that does exactly that via its FrameChannel service. Get a wifi-enabled frame, plug into the info stream via FrameChannel and select among dozens of sources, and there you have your own Captivate screen you stare at during elevator rides in the office.  Only now it's in your bedroom. Incidentally, Captivate's founder is on the board of this new company.

The company has done tests with IPG and plans to start selling its ad inventory some time this year. It also has just launched an iPad app that turns the device into digital frame.

The idea is genius because as hardware prices drop and people's comfort with the tech grows, everyone will soon have as many screens on surfaces around them as they now have old-fashioned paper photos. All of these screens will be online.

The idea is early because today wireless frame penetration is at 5%.

Some 5.9 million digital frames shipped in 2008 in the US and the market will remain flat until 2013, and IDC expects that by then two thirds of all frames shipped will have a wireless capability.

Funny, there are people who have already figured out how to block ads on this barely emerging medium (lie about your location during sign-up).

Eventually, digital frames will become wallet-sized. They will be monetized as well: every tenth time that you open your wallet you'll see an ad. Then, our windows will be internet-ready as well.

Starling Preps App For Social TV Viewing

For those of you who were interested in the last week's post about social TV, here's another recent announcement (also written up in Contagious and Creativity):

"Starling builds on the emergent trend of 'co-viewing,' which generates active social media chatter when fans of a show gather online. It connects fans with other fans of the show, and friends to what their friends are watching. Users engage each other around the shows they already enjoy, and discover new shows through the social graph.

Starling builds the experience by sorting popular comments, and comments from the viewer's friends. Comments that appeal to the viewer can be voted upon. Voting is simple. Viewers tap the screen to 'star' a comment and viewers with well-received comments are awarded points in a global scoring system."

Some relevant Nielsen stats from q4 2009: "59% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month; the amount of time Americans spent using the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month."

Trippy Japanese Ads for Schizophrenia Drug

This collection of Japanese ads for psychiatric drugs made rounds a few years ago; my favorite is the series for Serenace (haloperidol) that is used in the treatment of schizophrenia and, acute psychotic states and delirium.