Announcing the “Blue Monster Show”

The Blue Monster Show: now this might become interesting. I’ve got as much information as you about what this is going to look like (that is after watching this video) and probably nobody really knows. To some point, that is part of what made the Blue Monster so interesting to me so far, the fact that you never really know where it is going. Apart from the fact that it is a good conversation starter for better conversations about Microsoft and where the company is going.

Here’s the video announcement of Loic Le Meur and Hugh MacLeod on Seesmic, since that’s where you should be able to find the “Blue Monster Show”. As Hugh states, the Blue Monster isn’t really owned by anyone, which is good. I know that many benefit from it, and that’s maybe even better.

bluemonsterseesmic2.jpg

And Loic, if you read this, thanks again for the Seesmic invitation but I haven’t had time to record anything on it yet… but I’ll get to it ;)

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Birds Eye in 3D

I’m planning on doing a longer review of some of the recent updates on Live Search, Windows Live Spaces and a few other services but this was something that I didn’t want to hold back until then. This video shows a new feature in Live Maps that combines the 3D view with the Birds Eye view. Both were available for a whole range of cities (unfortunately not a lot of 3D for Europe) but also I was wondering how these 2 would combine in 1 view. The video does a great job bringing that to live though, check it out:

I think this looks really great. Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft.

[Via LiveSide

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A few good creative men

You can’t handle the ads.

I’m thinking I should start a whole new category of little viral videos that make fun of advertising somehow. I’ve collected quite a few here over time. I’ll list them all up in a few days in case you missed some – all classics. Here’s the latest addition:

[Via Beyond Madison Avenue]

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When I grow up…

… I want to be so far removed from the day to day business that I need a crane to pull my bloated head out of my ass!

Brilliant, some of these kids do say the darnest things ;) I’m not sure if this is an oldie or something new, but I hadn’t seen it before and liked it so here you go. Check out this ad for Monster.com.

[Update: The buzzing bees commented that it’s about a year old]

[Via Buzzing Bees]

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Online video advertising

It was no real surprise that this was coming, but it’s still interesting to see how every video service is trying out different kinds of advertising on and around their videos. I honestly expected it to happen earlier as we all know the daily costs for services such as Youtube are quite high and there’s little monetization just yet.

The solution that most services seem to bet on is the advertising pre-roll: showing a short ad before you see the video you actually chose/came for. Also here are some differences as some have a pre-roll for every video while on MSN Video for instance this is based on time spent on the site. So regardless of how many videos you watch, you’ll only get a pre-roll every 3 minutes. It’s interesting to see how ads are not tied to pageviews anymore although also this model will continue to improve. (disclaimer: I work for Microsoft)

Another solution is the advertising that shows as a partial overlay on the video. VideoEgg has this for a while now and it is also what Youtube introduced on their service not so long ago. After user complaints they made this an opt in for content owners since many weren’t happy at all. It would be interesting to find out how many content owners opted in for this.

And since online video is so popular, it attracts other types of advertising especially when people share videos. Google just introduced their Adsense Video Units which is basically a way of embedding video into your site/blog with ads surrounding it. People who do embed this can make a bit of money (similar to AdSense) but they could have done with a little bit less ads I think.

A last type of advertising with video that I found just recently is the Wildfire Network. It’s less related to advertising before and during online video, but I thought it’s still somehow part of this discussion. Basically it’ll pay bloggers to post videos on their blog, and it’ll show it’s a sponsored entry. Pay-per-post for video basically and I guess the whole pay-per-post discussion applies here as well.

Anyway, will any/more of these solutions attract advertisers? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I remember back in 2001 or 2002 (I still worked at Kinepolis Group, which is a cinema operator) we changed all online movie trailers from Quicktime to Flash (which back then was hardly used for video). At the same time we introduced the possibility of adding a 7 second commercial before each movie trailer and I always found it weird we were never able to sell that to anyone. And cinema advertising was big part of our business remember. Curious to see if that changed today, 5-6 years later.

Wait and see.

Brands on fire

There are a few reasons why I got very interested in the email Chris Abraham sent me a week ago about Firebrand. Not only did it seem to be about a very interesting project, but also the approach Chris and Firebrand took to get the news spread was a good example of good engagement in social media. Since Firebrand is not live yet for public viewing (launches on October 22nd) I will talk a bit more about their outreach to bloggers and leave the review for once I get access.

firebrand

Here’s just a little introduction to Firebrands though, so you know what I’m talking about:

“Firebrand is a new, opt-in entertainment and marketing destination that gives consumers interactive access to their favorite brands, products and promotions.  Firebrand programs the “coolest” TV commercials the way MTV used to program music videos and its multi-platform network, slated to launch on October 22, is the first to go “live” simultaneously on TV, the web and mobile.  Firebrand even has CJ’s (commercial jockeys), the same way MTV had VJ’s, who will contextualize the commercials as art and entertainment, and guide consumers through playlists, contests and promotions.”

And while the above copy may sound like your average PR speak (and it is from the press release obviously) the approach taken by Firebrand is interesting:

  • The email from Chris Abraham announcing Firebrand was personalized enough to make it feel personal. I know many people will have received an email that was pretty similar to mine, using my name and blogname in the email shows the effort to make it personal. And I can tell you that – even though that simple – that doesn’t happen very often.
  • They invited influential bloggers to their press event together with press, not as a separate event.
  • It’s right on target as well. Advertising, marketing, etc are amongst the topics I cover regularly so telling me about Firebrand makes sense. Again, pretty obvious to some, ignored by many. I receive emails about the most random things and I don’t even consider myself influential… think about the silly stuff bigger bloggers are getting.
  • Apart from their blogger approach, they also used social media in a smart way. Not by just creating the next Youtube video, but really making good use of the power of MySpace, Youtube, Delicious, Flickr and Facebook. All links which were included on the PR site (click on the links to see the examples).

It remains to be seen whether the service will become a success but I can only notice they seem to have their act together at Firebrand and given some of the most popular videos on the web are actually ads there’s definitely potential. Hopefully I can tell you more in a few days/weeks.

Who’s who?

tech-figures-as-simpsons-characters

Nathan Weinberg found this blog where a few well know tech guys were Simpsonized. Now I already found Simpsonizeme.com probably one of the coolest online marketing activities of the last months but I hadn’t really thought of using it this way. I think the result is pretty neat and you should be able to recognize at least 3 of them quite quickly.

If my blog would allow it, I’d write the answers upside down below this post, but unfortunately that’s not possible yet. But you can find them here.

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Simpsons. The horror!

Well, at least some of it’s advertising is. I think the Simpsons movie is going to be great and most of the advertising & promotion I’ve seen from around the world were quite good as well. But what I saw today on the Flemish newssite HLN.be was just a horrible experience. I’ve put a screenshot up here and if you go visit the site today, you’ll probably see it for yourself as well (never mind the Flemish, you can’t read anything anyway).

HLNSimpsons