A quick review of weblogs listed as recently updated on MSN Spaces revealed few, if any, containing more than a post or two. Many simply state, "There are no entries in this blog." Apparently, Volvo, in its decision to sponsor MSN Spaces weblogs, did not see this as an issue. The car maker has entered a sponsorship deal with MSN Spaces whereby it will receive ad placement on the MSN Spaces homepage as well as at the top of each MSN Spaces weblog.
Ad Age reports MSN has indicated Spaces has been "wildly popular" and now has 4.5 million users. That's all the blogosphgere needs - 4.5 million more empty, useless, pointless weblogs. Boing Boing also reported in December, when MSN Spaces launched, the blogs are heavily censored which, as Microsoft should know, really negates the entire point of publishing a weblog.
Volvo, seemingly unable to realize MSN Spaces is filled with newbies with nothing to say when a plethora of intelligent, quality blog content is right around the corner at the BlogAds blog advertising network, BlogAd Founder Henry Copeland informs Adrants the car manufacturer has not yet used the network commenting, "these MSN Spaces bloggers are writing about random stuff rather than specific, publicly useful information niches. Spaces bloggers are newbies on the fringes of the blogosphere. MSN may well have promised Volvo 100 million page impressions a month, but these are impressions seen by nobody -- or more exactly "nobodies" -- people who are viewed as influentials only by their moms and ex-girlfriends."
Further questioning Volvo's absence from the BlogAds network, Copeland made an analogy to Volvo's well known brand position of safety saying, "If you want safety, wouldn't you rather sponsor name-brand bloggers like Markos Moulitsas, Glenn Reynolds, Josh Marshall, Andrew Sullivan and hundreds more in blogospheres ranging from law to music to baseball? Why advertise on blogs of the anonymous once-a-monthers, when you can associate your brand - probably for lower cost - with star bloggers, folks who have national reputations in their respective fields and are the hubs for rabidly loyal communities?" Very good question, indeed, Volvo. Perhaps Volvo should speak to Audi who has fully embraced "real" weblogs with a substantial buy on the BlogAds network.
Writing on iMediaConnection, CooperKatz & Company VP Steve Rubel discusses the growing usage of tags to categorize content using keywords. Tagging sites such as del.ico.us, Flickr and Wists have popped up specifically to store content tagged by those who submit content, be it pictures, news stories or blog entries. Rubel posits the next logical (inevitable?) step as tagging grows: tagvertising. With tag aggregation sites, it will be very easy for companies to monitor what is being said about them as well as to advertise on tag term specific pages thereby achieving interest-based targeting.
To resuscitate itself, Estee Lauder has signed a deal with uber-designer Tom Ford to create a line of Estee Lauder branded fragrances as well as a Tom Ford brand. Estee Lauder Brand President hopes Ford can do for his company what Ford did for ailing Gucci, turning Gucci around from near bankruptcy to a $4.3 billion powerhouse. WPP Group's JWT will be on hand to help.
Latching on to a group toke scheduled for 4:20 PM on April 20, cause group Magic Propaganda Mill is promoting It's Just A Plant, a controversial children's book about marijuana written by Ricardo Cortes, with a "Box of Weed: 5 for $50" offer which consists of a box filled with five copies of the book for $50.
Predictably, the book has experienced an uphill battle since its inception with publishers refusing to publish, press analyzing it and politicians using it as a crutch in their pro and con drug positions. To a kid, it is just a plant. A plant worth learning about sooner than later.
The New York Post reports Demi Moore will take over for Madonna as the new face of Versace. The paper says speculation began following a sighting yesterday, noted in Women's Wear Daily, of Moore, boyfriend Ashton Kutcher, photographer Mario Testino and Versace herself eating lunch at V in London.
New York Times Columnist Stuart Elliott takes a look at a developing trend whereby advertisers are modelling their commercials after the tried and true game show format. Orbitz, Bank of New York, Cingular, FedEx and Old Navy are a few of the marketers who have glommed onto the trend. Orbitz has hired game show host oldtimer Wink Martindale, host of High Rollers and Tic Tac Dough three decades ago, to host a series of the company's game show style commercial.
ContagiousMedia, an organization that embraces consumer-created, contagious media, has launched a Showdown where prizes are offered for various categories including the creation of a site with the most unique visitors, the first site to reach an Alexa rating higher than 20,000, a Technorati prize for the site with the most links from blogs and a creative commons prize for the most popular site under an attribution ShareAlike license. Go at it all you creative types.
While the company might consider revising this number downward following GM's advertising exodus, the LA Time said, yesterday, it will launch a $10 million to boost its ailing circulation. The campaign, pointless in the face of steadily increased online newspaper readership, will include direct marketing, television, radio and, smartly, online. The paper's circ is down 5.6 percent and, rather than look to new areas for growth, the paper blamed recent telemarketing limitations for the decline. Perhaps we should just spell it out for the LA Times and for all other newspapers engaging in this losing battle:
NO ONE READS PRINTED NEWSPAPERS ANYMORE!
OK, so a few still do but wouldn't it make more sense for a company to embrace a growing medium as opposed to a declining one? That said, newspapers don't have to say goodbye to paper forever but they should concentrate on a business model with more promise such as custom published versions of the paper, based on a reader's interests, delivered online but, if desired, printable by the individual for those moments when it's not so cool to bring a laptop into the bathroom. Additionally, 70 percent of a newspaper's content is, likely, of no interest to an individual reader. It's senseless waste of time and effort to produce content no one will consume. Newspaper publishers should set their sights on delivering products where 100 percent of the content is of interest to the reader. Yes, much easier said that done but so was the notion of human flight.
More interesting that the usual run-of-the-mill taxi cab advertising, Taipei-based photographer Richy caught this image of Ronald McDonald's feet adorning a taxi. He also shot an image of this giant wallscape on which the likeness of Ronald McDonald has been placed to look as though he is climbing up the board. It reminds us of the Adidas board in Japan on which two players, hung from ropes, played ten minute soccer matches.
Teaming with U.K.-based mobile marketing company Flyxt, Time Inc. launched, on April 1, a text messaging campaign directed towards current and prospective People and Teen People magazines that provided news, polls, horoscopes and chat rooms. The campaign is expected to expand to other titles, including Time and Entertainment Weekly, this week and to Sports Illustrated in a few weeks.