Custom Branded Dollar Bills To Aid Economy

This artist has estimated the ROI of the media buy that would involve printing custom US dollar bills and created some spec work: "The average 100 USD Note is circulating for 7.4 years, it changes hands on average 3x per week, so each ad on a 100 USD note is seen by more then 1000 persons." The U.S. prints 38 million bills a day. Sell the space for a buck each -- for a Franklin, that will be $1 CPM over each bill's lifetime -- and add $14 billion a year to the ailing economy.

Hey, if it works for the U.S. Postal Service that allows branded stamps, why not for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing?

iPad-like Newspaper Tablet Concept from 1994

This video of Knight-Ridder's concept newspaper tablet is pretty prescient, except for the stylus and perhaps the size of the device. There's video content embedded in a newspaper page, interactive classifieds, wireless connectivity.  Created in 1994, 16 years before the iPad.
- via Paleo Future

Lady Robot Writes Window Ads

I'm having a blast here preparing my presentation for the FutureM event on Monday (you should come!). The panel is called "Flying Cars are Here: The Futuristic Present of Marketing", and I'll be speaking about robots and advertising, one of the topics I follow closely here on AdLab.  I'll post the slides when I'm done, but here's one awesome clipping from 1931 I just found about "the almost human advertising contrivance".

Between this and the software that creates ads from Euro RSCG, lot's of reasons to worry about job security.

Does This KFC Logo Make My Butt Look Fat?

USA Today: "Women on college campuses are being paid $500 each to hand out coupons while wearing fitted sweatpants with "Double Down" in large letters across their rear ends."  Should've used the programmable LED G-strings instead.

See older KFC stunts; more butt-vertising.

...and Statistics

If you haven't been following, Bob "The Ad Contrarian" Hoffman posted Top 10 Double-Secret Unknown Facts About Advertising, a digital strategist shot back with his own interpretation of the "secret facts", to which Hoffman replied, "Normally, I don't bother answering annoying gnats, but this guy accused me of cheating. I spent a lot of time on this and was painstaking in getting my sources."

You must be new here, Mr. Klein.

Hoffman and I had a similarly lovely exchange in the past: his numbers, my numbers, his graceful retort.  It was so much fun last time around that I couldn't resist poking a stick into a few of his "double-secret unknown facts".  Because, to quote Hoffman, "What I try to expose in this blog are the outrageous claims and misleading data." It's not that the numbers are not accurately cited, it's that some important nuances are painstakingly omitted.

"Fact #1) 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it."

Yes, well:

Source: EyeBlaster via eMarketer.  Here's the DoubleClick's Benchmark report Hoffman probably refers to.

"Fact #2) TV viewership is now at its highest point ever."  This announcement from Nielsen is Hoffman's source.  Let's look at it closely, especially at the pdf linked at the bottom of the announcement.  From the pdf, we learn:

Average viewership per day, persons 2+:
1991-1992: 4:06
2008-2009: 4:49
1991-1992: 1:12
2008-2009: 1:12

Not exactly an explosive growth.

And a related tidbit from Nielsen's "TV Audience 2008" report (pdf and a MediaPost article):

Number of available channels per average household:
1990:  33.2
2008:  130.1

Charting the two together, we get something along these lines:

(Chart source: Future of Media Report 2007 (pdf) and 2008 (pdf).)

"Fact #3) 96% of all retail activity is done in a store. 4% is done on line." Hoffman's source: US Census Bureau.

Let's look at the US Census then.  Here's the growth chart for e-commerce dollar volume for the past decade (click on it to zoom in). So far, pretty accurate, although one can say that last year the e-commerce volume was "highest ever", kind of like the way Nielsen talks about TV viewership above.

Now let's look at the footnote:  Electronic auction sales, mail-order sales and automotive sales are included in retail, not e-commerce. E-commerce also excludes "non-retail operations such as travel agencies, financial services, manufacturers, and wholesalers".

Oh, and then there's this: "Manufacturers led all industry sectors, with e-commerce accounting for 39 percent of total shipments ($2,154B) - up substantially for the seventh straight year."  (US Census E-Stats 2008, pdf).

"Fact #10) TV viewers are no more likely to leave the room during a commercial break than they are before or after the break." Hoffman's source: Council for Research Excellence.

I've already looked at this study back in May. If you do the math, it turns out that probably only about 20% of the people are sitting in front of commercials not doing anything else, maybe paying attention.

What If Nobody Followed Twitter Celebs

Some weird glitch on Twitter has reset all follower/following counts to zero. That's what a very lonely @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) looks like.

Using the iPad as AppleTV

I was reading a rant about the new AppleTV on SmugMug's blog and found myself nodding in agreement with "Imagine that the AppleTV ran iOS and had its own App Store."  I then reached into the drawer for the iPad's VGA connector I'd bought a few months back for $30 (haven't seen any cheaper knock-offs yet), plugged my iPad into the flatscreen, and there it was, an AppleTV with an app store. I downloaded a few Stanford's free video lectures  from iTunesU -- the native Videos app supports video-out -- and played them on the large screen. (Other shows rented or bought through iTunes might not play via VGA.)

I watched two movies from the Netflix app; they weren't of Blu-ray quality, but were still very watchable and streamed smoothly over wireless.  You can't charge the iPad while the VGA connector is in, but the battery lasted long enough to provide video entertainment for the entire evening.

Among other video sources that looked fine on the big screen were websites (some through Safari, others through the Perfect Web Browser app that almost lives up to its name), the ABC app, YouTube, and AirVideo for watching video files stored on other PCs at home and streamed to the TV via iPad over the wireless. The Hulu app, too, should work with video-out, but I don't have the Plus subscription to try for myself.  Many more video apps are in the works.

I've been looking for a small HTPC to replace a dead desktop as a bridge between TV and the internet, perhaps an Acer or a Lenovo, but for now, it turns out the iPad will work just fine.