Online consumer conversation measurement companies BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek, along with its BlogPulse blog prtal, have combined to form one mega-metrics analysis company called Nielsen BuzzMetrics. BuzzMetrics parent company VNU has been on a buying spree lately scooping up linguistics analysis company Trendum, BuzzMetrics and now Intelliseek. With the acquisition, VNU hopes to create "the new global standard for measuring and understanding word-of-mouth behavior and influence."
For those who don't know what these companies do or why you should care, the press release puts it quite succinctly explaining the companies "mine publicly archived online sources including blogs and discussion forums to collect and transform large volumes of unaided conversations into actionable consumer insights." In other words, they find out what people are saying about your brand and they package it up with a nice bow on top for your review.
In what might be the first use of a million dollar homepage for something other than personal gain, Sweden's Sam Nurmi has created HelpFirefox.com, a site that sells pixels for one dollar a pop and donates all the money to the Mozilla Foundation, makers of the open source Firefox browser. Given that the Mozilla Foundation has been very successful is raising money both for development and for advertising, it would appear this particular million dollar homepage idea might see some action.
Not that there's really any news this week nor any real reason to actually be working this week in the advertising industry, typically the time when upper management leaves the grunts behind to play pool and download music...uh...perform minuscule tasks referred to as work, but there are plenty of the usual 2005 wrap ups and 2006 pontification stories. One that caught our eye is written by Intelliseek CMO Pete Blackshaw.
Writing on ClickZ, Blackshaw offers up some personal insights he's experienced over the past year from buying more online (he has two newborn twins) to incessant bombardment of advertising, both consumer and B2B, into our lives particularly the insanity of pre-movie ads to cable company-based DVRs making television advertising irrelevant to increased consumption of online video to his experience with personal blogging that got him blogging about his babies and blogging to save a neighborhood pool.
There's not much Google does that doesn't garner praise which has lent itself to consumer love and consumer generated media. Micropersuasion reports someone likes Google Maps so much, they went and created a commercial for it on their own.
Just when you thought the million dollar homepage trendlet had run its course and couldn't be taken any further, University of Maryland Baltimore County graduate Jason Gunther has elevated the game with Smash My Viper. In short, the more an advertiser spends on the page for pixel space, the physical greater damage they can inflict upon Gunther's Viper. Yes, he's letting people pay to destroy his car while offering them ad space in return. Gunther hopes the ongoing saga of the slowly destroyed car, which will be covered in detail on the site and the site's blog, will keep people coming back for more and keep the impression level high for advertisers. Oh, and then there's the eye candy. And we don't just mean the sexy car. Gunther has gathered together some models, likely his friends, to slither all over the viper in typical car model poses all while the car is being slowly destroyed.
Purchasing one ten by ten pixel gets the advertiser a 6 inch key mark on the Viper. Purchasing five ten by ten pixels get the advertiser a hole drilled in the car. A purchase of 25 ten by ten pixels gets a Louisville Slugger bat smash and placement of the advertisers' 12 inch by four inch logo on the car. And, in true media negotiation style, for those advertisers who purchase 50 ten by ten pixels, Gunther will allow the advertiser to come up with their own idea such as placing a pig wearing a sweater with the advertiser's logo on it in the car for a week or have Gunther do a burnout until the tires pop.
This is ingenious. Ingenious as million dollar homepages go, that is. This is consumer created all the way. Content, promotion, sales, everything. And it has a purpose beyond simply making money. Gunther hopes to use the money to launch a business.
After Art Director Stuart Wilson and Producer Mike Connolly had a discussion about extreme weather this planet has experienced in the last 12 months, the two created a simple spot with a powerful message called SkyOpener and partnered with the U.K.'s Green Party to promote their cause. In the face of declining travel costs, the spot puts forth the notion there's no such thing as cheap air fare as it costs the earth by affecting the ozone layer.
It seems our story about the house that explodes with an audio-visual Holiday spectacular which we thought had nothing to do with advertising actually, as pointed out by Charley Brough, does. The house, which is decked out with 25,000 lights and computer-programmed to synchronize with Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizards in Winter", had a visit from a Miller Brewing film crew which spent seven hours last Thursday filming this year's version of the spectacular to be included in an upcoming commercial.
The house, located in Deerfield Township, Ohio, is owned by the Williams family. Carson Williams, an electrical engineer for Cincinnati Bell Technology, spent three hours on each minute of music programming the lights to move in sync with "Wizards of Winter" and broadcasts the music with low power FM transmitter so that passersby can listen on their car radios while they watch the lights. In addition to the video of last year's spectacular in the original story, you can view the slightly bigger video here.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, some gawkers got in a car accident and, as promised, Williams has shut down his light show indefinitely.
Time Magazine is promoting its Person of the Year issue on the Reuters board in New York's Times Square. As part of the promotion, developed by Fallon, the first 50,000 people who submit their photo will, after review, be shown on the 45 foot tall electronic display at 43rd Street and 7th Avenue. There will also be photographers, who will beam photos of selected people to the board, roaming Times Square from 12 Noon until 3PM each day until December 8. Each headshot will be framed in Time Magazine's Iconic red border on a mock Time Person of the Year cover.
People don't have to actually be in Times Square to see their headshots displayed - a digital camera will snap photos of each new image as it is displayed, and will place these photos in a searchable database online at www.impoy.com. Photos can be emailed, printed and shared with friends and family. 50,000 headshots will rotate through the display along with real Person of the Year candidates such as Lance Armstrong, Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Bono and J.K. Rowling. The display will ask passersby who they would choose to be Time's 2005 Person of the Year.
The promotion, presented by Chrysler, will run for a total of 6,000 minutes from Dec. 1 - Dec. 19 on The Reuters Sign in Times Square. We submitted our photo. You should too.
IDG World Expo has released details of the "Syndicated Media Environment" conference track at Syndicate, scheduled to take place December 12-14, 2005 at the Hilton San Francisco. This track will discuss how new syndication and social media tools such as RSS, blogs and podcasts are being applied by old and new media companies.
The Syndicate conference shows how syndication and social media tools such as RSS, blogs and podcasts are helping to change the way businesses do business. The "Syndicated Media Environment" track is one of four tracks and a timely topic following recent news of more and more people accessing TV shows on BitTorrent and pulling the programs down as an RSS feed. David Berlind of ZDNet explained that once a TV show is digitized and loaded into BitTorrent, "not only are the broadcasters completely disintermediated from the distribution of their content, so too is their adverstising business model." We tend to agree.
While this song has been out for a while, it's yet another shining example of consumer created brand love. After discovering Apple's GarageBand, Daphna Kalfon created a song called I Love My Mac. Similar to George Master's iPod commercial, it expresses a deep appreciation of a product that people love. Not to be outdone by Mac lovers, a Windows lover has created a song based on the Windows start up sound and other system sounds.
Not every brand can generate this sort of appreciation and creativity but as Seth Godin has always said, create a great product first and all else will follow.