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Cutie Katie Couric Brings in the Tonight Show Ratings

The "Today" show co-anchor made the numbers as guest host of "The Tonight Show," as the program received a 42 percent ratings gain over its Monday night season average, according to Nielsen.

Appearing in a sexy black gown that showed off a lot of leg, Couric took over the "Tonight Show" on Monday in a one-day job swap with Jay Leno. In the monolouge, she told jokes she heard from her kids and got big laughs.

Her guests were comic actor Mike Myers, "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell and British pop star Robbie Williams. Self-help guru Dr. Phil McGraw also made a surprise walk-on appearance.

The May "sweeps" stunt made "Tonight Show" history, marking the first time someone other than Leno presided over NBC's late-night proceedings since he succeeded Johnny Carson as host in 1992.

Leno's stint on the "Today" show, however, did not do so well posting only a 9 percent uptick in ratings over regular Monday night averages. Leno conducted interviews with Secretary of State Colin Powell and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Joking about his "Today" show performance on the syndicated TV show "Access Hollywood, Leno said Powell was a "good sport," adding, "Why get a hard-hitting journalist when you can get softball Leno to ask you the questions?"

by Steve Hall    May-14-03    

Daytime is the Internet's Prime Time

The Online Publishers Association announced Tuesday the results of a new media consumption study focused on the At Work Internet audience (defined as users who indicated they had accessed the Internet from work in the past 30 days for non-email purposes). The study, conducted with Millward Brown IntelliQuest, confirmed that daytime on the Internet is primetime for these users. For nearly three in ten of them, the Internet is the only medium consumed during the daytime. These findings reinforce the emerging view that the At Work Internet audience is an ideal choice for advertisers seeking to reach young, highly educated, highly affluent consumers.

Probing deeper into the online activities of working people, this new study provides insights into the ways that Internet usage levels, and 13 distinct online activities, vary by demographic group and time of day. In addition, the study provides further proof that online tenure (the number of years a user has been online) is a key determinant of usage levels and activity.

"This research broadens our understanding of the At Work audience and the subtle differences in how key demographic groups use online media throughout the day," said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the Online Publishers Association. "As we learn more about the ways consumers have integrated the Web into their daily lives, it helps clarify the importance of this medium for advertisers seeking to reach some of their most elusive targets."

Specifically, the study found that Internet usage by daypart i varies by demographics. For example, usage among top-level professionals exceeds all other At Work users during most dayparts by anywhere between five and 13 percentage points, with the greatest percentage (81%) found online in the morning before lunch (Daytime I). In addition, affluent users with annual incomes of $75k and above are more prevalent online throughout the day until evening, when average income levels of online users decline.

Generally speaking, a greater percentage of men are online than women during most weekday dayparts. While the highest percentage of both men (77%) and women (68%) can be found online during the morning before lunch (Daytime I), the greatest gender difference occurs in the Early Morning (6am to 8am), when 52% of men are online vs. only 39% of women.

For 13 surveyed online activities ranging from checking the weather to planning meals, daytime usage predominates, with the exception of shopping and multimedia downloads (a proxy in the study for online entertainment), which peak both during the daytime and also in the Prime Time TV viewing hours at night.

Online activity levels and patterns also vary by demographic group. For example, top-level professionals use the Internet in the morning to keep up with the news and to prepare for meetings, whereas shopping is dominant among this group at night. Affluent workers display similar patterns, with a slightly larger share of them engaging in online shopping activity during the lunch hour.

Other key findings from the study include:

Working women avidly check the weather during the day and use the Internet to shop in the evenings, if they use it at all;

Working mothers focus on both weather and local information during the day; they are less likely to be online in the evenings than women overall;

Younger workers show greater interest in world or local news than in business news during the day, and are somewhat less likely to be shopping than the norm;

Older workers are more apt to check stocks after the market closes than during trading hours and to seek out entertainment in the Early Morning, rather than the evenings.

For every surveyed online activity, the more tenured users (those who have been online for 7+ years) displayed higher usage levels than the least tenured users (those online four years or less). This indicates that the more familiar users become with online media, the more ways they find to integrate it into their lives.

Seventy-four percent of At Work users say that the Internet has improved their productivity at work. Fifty-six percent also indicated that they use the Internet at home for business purposes.

The research was conducted on a nationally representative sample size of 1,416 Internet users, of which 1053 had accessed the Internet from work in the past 30 days, and 363 had accessed the Internet from somewhere other than work in the past 30 days. The sample was recruited throughout the day from the Lightspeed Web panel. Interviews were conducted from Tuesday, January 14 to Saturday, January 25 to ask about weekday media consumption from the previous day.

by Steve Hall    May-14-03    

The Web Offers Involvement Branding

An informative article on the Internet's ability to serve both as a direct medium as well as a brand building medium. Also discussed, is an approach called "Involvement Branding" which claims to be all about creating a deep and lasting level of involvement between consumer and marketer on many levels. Both advertainment and weblogs would fall into this category. Well worth the read if you are interested in online marketing.

by Steve Hall    May-14-03    

Market Research Anthropology Style

Peter over at PeterThink just has a great customer experience at a new McDonald's in his neighborhood. Everything from the menu to the cleanliness to the salespersons' voice to the wait time was refreshingly excellent. After having such a great experience, Peter thought of an intriguing research methodology that McDonald's managers might employ to gain competitive advantage:

"Oh, and if I were the manager at this McDonalds I'd consider some retail anthropology. Done some gloves and pick carefully through the drive up trash can to see what I might learn about my customers. I'd probably find some bags from competing restaurants. Examining the receipts in these bags would indicate what my customers are ordering at the competition."

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

Why Weblogs Will Become a Serious Marketing Medium

Allan Karl, former co-founder of Wirestone, had this to say about the power of weblogs as a form of corporate communications.

"Point is, Weblogs may have succeeded where corporate marketing websites have failed. That is to communicate a voice that is focused, clear and representative of the organization, to establish a relationship with customers that goes beyond the traditional buyer-seller transaction, to consistently update and provide content that is interesting and provides incentives to customers to return on a regular basis and provides added value through a feedback system that is open and unedited where ideas, concepts and opinions are discussed openly and freely."

Full post here.

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

Beer.com Promotes Itself With two Soft-Porn Videos

Beer.com. the beer lovers web site has two spots featuring their beer girls floating around, one of which, amounts to mild, soft porn. Very fun to watch...if you like girls, that is. And beer.

The first features Evelina. The second features Lisa. [via TTR2]

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

ABC Makes Big Changes to the Fall Line Up

Just as NBC make's it's own radical programming changes (see sidebar for story) for the upcoming Fall season, ABC is making changes as well. Biigest news: The Practice is returning to it's Sunday 10PM timeslot. Here's what will be new:

  • Hope and Faith, a comedy starring Kelly Ripa (Live With Regis and Kelly) as a failed soap star who adjusts to small-town life with her sister, played by Faith Ford (Murphy Brown). Ripa will continue to co-host her talk show.
  • I'm With Her, a romantic sitcom about a movie star (Teri Polo) who dates a high school teacher. It's from writer Chris Henchy, who is married to Brooke Shields.
  • It's All Relative, a comedy about a man from a conservative family engaged to the daughter of gay dads.
  • Back to Kansas, a comedy about a shy New Yorker who marries into a large Midwestern family.
  • Karen Sisco, a drama starring Carla Gugino (Spy Kids) as a federal marshal in the role originated by Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight.
  • 10-8, a drama about rookie cops training in Los Angeles.
  • Threat Matrix, a drama about a homeland security task force.
by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

Old Spice Takes Advantage of Town's 'Armpit' Status

Battle Mountain, Nevada was named in a humorous Washington Post article as the armpit of America. The town has taken advantage of it's status by erecting a a billboard on I-80 that reads, "Battle Mountain, Voted the Armpit of America by the Washington Post," and "Make Battle Mountain Your Next Pit Stop."

Of course, a marketer had to take advantage of this as well. Old Spice will sponsor the town's now annual "Festival of the Pit" but will, of course, rename the event, "Old Spice's Festival in the Pit."

The town first had the event last year just after being named and had events such as the deodorant toss. Old Spice will now sponsor the event annually.

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

New Study Shows Magazine's Strength For Automotive Advertisers

A study commissioned by the Magazine Publishers of America and conducted by The Hudson River Group. While the study reveled television to more efficient than magazines, it also reached the saturation point much quicker leading to the conclusion that some media dollars might see a better return if shifted into magazines. Read the press release here and topline study results here (pdf).

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

Doctors Claim Agency Executives Are The Easiest to Operate On

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says, "I like to operate on accountants, because when you open them up everything inside is numbered."

The second responds; "Yeah, but you should try electricians, everything is colour coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers.....those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Ad Agency bosses are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, no brains, no balls and no spine, and the head and the arse are interchangeable."

by Steve Hall    May-13-03    

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