MTV Blurs Ad/Content Line With New Programming Block

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We'd have to see it to render fair judgment and we missed its debut opting instead for Survivor and John Hughes Sixteen Candles which unintentionally sucked us in as fast as people are leaving Agency.com but last night, MTV debuted its mixed up programming block. The block merges programming with advertising and intertwined them in a heightened fashion purposefully aiming to blur the line between entertainment and commerce.

MTV describes it thusly, "Interweaving show content and the commercial experience, MTV's Thursday Night Block will present continuous engagement for the MTV audience - where shows will merge into one another, and programming content will play in commercial time - throughout a continuous 2-hour block."

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 6-07    
Topic: Opinion, Television, Trends and Culture



Joost Will Rock Your World

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If you've been in the online industry longer than a day or two, you've certainly heard about a company called Joost which is, seemingly, about to turn the world of online video and television on its head. Still in private beta with an official launch date set for several months out, Joost describes itself as "free TV, with the choice to watch alone or with friends. Joost is packed with internet tools such as instant messaging and channel chat, allowing people to really share the TV experience. It's a completely secure platform for content owners that respects their rights, while protecting and enhancing their brands. And it's an incredibly flexible way for advertisers to reach a truly global audience, in ways that really work. Joost isn't just video on the internet - it's the next generation of television for viewers, content owners and advertisers everywhere."

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 4-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Television, Trends and Culture



MySpace to Host Presidential Primary

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MySpace will host its own presidential primary on January 1-2, 2008. Advance polls will be conducted as well. If the number of friends is any indication of who will win, Barack Obama, by far, will crush the competition. He's got over 90,000 friends. The next closest is John Edwards with 17,070. Separately, the thought of MySpace actually influencing a Presidential election is, well, odd to say the least. Or not. Depending upon how you view social media and its impact.

One could argue MySpace is just a collection of teens uploading risque photos of themselves for middle aged horny men to slather over. Conversely, one could argue that's just a bad generalization and MySpace members are socially connected people and representative of society in general. If you ask us, we'd like nothing more than the convenience of voting for President from the comfort of home without having to deal with crowds and grumpy local officials.

by Steve Hall    Apr- 4-07    
Topic: Online, Social, Trends and Culture



Cuss Cards Expand Everyday Vernacular to 6 Tongues

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The problem with cursing like sailors is when you're actually angry no words seem intense enough, so you just end up sputtering and needlessly flailing your hands. There is nothing worse than having righteous rage confused for epilepsy. For these situations, Cuss Cards come in handy.

Don't just say shit. Say merde. And if French ain't your cup of tea, raise verbal hell a la Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm.

Diseases are a popular means of expressing distaste in Dutch, whereas the Italians are fond of blasphemies. Don't you feel smarter now? For more worldly ditties, check out the map.

And yes! There are games, and their names are fun to say.

by Angela Natividad    Apr- 3-07    
Topic: Good, Online, Trends and Culture



Marketers: Meet the New Consumer

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Freelance Creative Gabe Chouinard is a consumer. Not just any consumer but a new consumer and he wants marketers to know this. As part of our random and completely irregular guest columnist series, Gabe authored a piece entitled "I Am the New Consumer" in which he summarizes many of the points we have made here over the years. Things are different. People are in control. Marketers and not. Things must change. Marketers must listen.

While change doesn't happen overnight nor should it, the tidal wave is approaching and every one of us ought to accept it and be prepared for that shift. In his article, Gabe mentions the pointlessly idiotic Flashturbation (our words) most marketers engage in when creating their facade on the web. Wouldn't it make more sense if the focus of a brand's external image actually included a free flowing, ever-changing conversation made up of people's comments and opinions of the brand and the company's reaction/response to those comments? That would certainly fair far batter than arriving at a site that's just a pretty picture and mindless marketing blather. Yes companies have blogs which help serve a conversational purpose but currently, they are off on their own and, for the most part, not an integral part of the company's face. That should change.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 2-07    
Topic: Opinion, Trends and Culture



Burrell Dissects Young Black Americans. Because Nobody's Ever Done that Before.

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Multicultural firm Burrell Communications Group conducted a study on current perceptions of Black History Month (February). At least 79 percent of those researched agree future generations should understand African-Americans' historical struggles, though the message of honouring these struggles doesn't resound as strongly for younger generations as in previous ones.

Black youth also have a different picture of black challenges, believing issues of racism and oppression are more covert today. They focus more on financial empowerment, battling crime, and educational advancement, and prefer for Black History Month to highlight current African-American accomplishments and issues.

63 percent of respondents also think companies' participation in Black History month helps enhance their image and are more likely to buy products and spread hype for those that tote black achievements.

So maybe Nissan's onto something. But we doubt it.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-29-07    
Topic: Agencies, Research, Trends and Culture



Girl in Shorts Says There's Not Enough Girl on Girl Advertising

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Becky C., publisher of Just A Girl In Short Shorts Talking About Whatever (and, yes, she looks good in her short shorts), has written a piece entitled Girl on Girl Advertising which examines advertising that features women with women and may or may not portray a lesbian relationship. She points to ads from Skyy Vodka, Banana Republic, Beefeater, Cartier, Abercrombie & Fitch and several others and wonders why there aren't more positing men would respond to these ads as well as women because, after all, what man doesn't like to see two women together?

She cites a study which finds gay male ads are ten times more prevalent than lesbian focused ads and also posits marketers are missing out on an important point: bi and lesbian girls love to shop just as much as straight girls. She's right. Bring on the girl on girl ads.

UPDATE: Actually, Becky C. seems to be misleading us a bit regarding her appearance. An Adrants reader tells us the Beck C. picture is really actress Andrea Bogart with whom he claims to have gone to school. Well, I guess you can't blame a girl for wanting to look hot is denim shirts.

by Steve Hall    Mar-28-07    
Topic: Campaigns, Opinion, Trends and Culture



Want Love, a Fake Gay Marriage or Just a Poke? Facebook Helps

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For friendship, a relationship, random play or whatever you can get, Facebook.com can help you nail an equally drunk, confused and vacuous co-ed.

Facebook has kept its head down in the media since the stalker-feed inclusion and the shedding of its university exclusivity, but finally there's a spoof worthy of mention. Produced for EXPOSED, a TV show for University of Southern California, and directed by Mu SunIn, this eHarmony-style infomercial gets the tone down perfectly, from the pompous manner of the narrator to the non-serious-but-serious use of relationship status on the site. And we love the self-conscious indifference leaking out of Walter Pederovsky's pores.

...What is that poking function anyway?

by Angela Natividad    Mar-23-07    
Topic: Spoofs, Trends and Culture, Video



ABC Introduces Embedded Commercial Format

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At a program development meeting in LA yesterday, ABC introduced a new commercial format which would have actual paid commercials appear in media vehicles shown in the network's dramas and sitcoms. In other words, a character on a sitcom might be watching TV, an actual ad would appear on the screen withing the show and then it would widen out to the viewers TV and be viewed in standard fashion. The plan, still in development, would also incorporate print ads seen in magazines depicted in shows as well as ads shown on cell phones. Presumably, there wouldn't be official commercial breaks rather the commercials would be embedded within the show and appear individually rather than clumped together the way they are now.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-22-07    
Topic: Television, Trends and Culture



Commercial Ratings Upfront, Germs Needed, Siemens Gets Hip

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- A tipster attending OMMA Hollywood tells us R/GA Chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg told his VP of Visual Design Nick Law not to sit on a panel he was scheduled to participate in because, apparently, he's stealing too much limelight.

- Commercial ratings, versus program ratings, are fast becoming the gold standard and many, including Starcom CEO John Muszynski, will be using them in this year's upfront.

- If you're in search of an email address, Tattoo Projects has created Abalooba, and email address search engine.

- MTV's The Andy Milonakis Show which will premiere on a wide variety of digital platforms - including iTunes Store (www.iTunes.com), Amazon Unbox, AOL Video, MTV Mobile, MTV On Demand, MTV2.com, Wal-Mart Video Downloads and Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360 - all prior to the show's on-air MTV2 debut on April 27th.

- Entries for international viral awards show, Germ, must be submitted by March 31.

- The New Yorker, Wesley Autrey, who saved a man from being hit by a subway train in January, is featured in a new colon cancer PSA campaign.

- T wallow in the oddity of Japanese culture, check out a few kinky commercials for Axe in Japan.

- Copyranter disses the Siemens' ongoing wannabee hipster campaign complete with headlines like "Bling Bling" and "Chill."








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