Mitch and I sit down for our monthly debate and this one is a great discussion on the evolution of online video - Vine, Instagram Video and more. Some really great concepts introduced like "Authentic Place" vs "Authentic Voice" and more. Keeper quote: "The 30-second spot was the original SnapChat!" @jaffejuice and @mitchjoel
Can you believe it's Mitch Joel who brings up the "Life after the 30-second spot" topic? It's a subject which is near and dear to my heart, but it's also one that I have some very informed and strong feelings about.
It's a fascinating conversation, which touches on the evoution and future of TV, the very definition of what is TV versus video for example and the critical distinction between content and commercials. There's also an interesting exchange at the end where I talk about Bud United/Bud House, where - even though Mitch says I'm shilling for one of my clients - I ask whether this is digital, social, video or TV advertising. Or not even advertising at all...
If you like these "debates" between Mitch and myself, look out for our tweets about upcoming shows or get alerts via my page on Talkshoe. What's great about listening live is that you can also call in live and we want to encourage more listeners to be active participants.
“It’s like a giant iPhone, except without the Phone,” is probably not that an inaccurate description of the much hyped and it must be said, initially fairly criticized device. That of course was before it came out. About 300,000 people (in this economy) ignored any speculation and purchased the giant iPhone-without-the-phone within the first few days of its retail existence. And now 1,000,000 “early adopters” have followed suit.
If I’ve learned anything in my hate-to-love and love-to-hate relationship with the brand, it’s this, “never…and I mean NEVER write off Steve Jobs, Apple and anything they release (or unleash) on its denizens.”
Truthfully, you have to hold the device in your hand to appreciate what it is. If you’re Jeff Bezos, you’re probably not the happiest camper. If you’re anyone else in the space you should be significantly less happy than Jeff (at least he has a bookstore to support his device – not like iTunes or the App store). Think about it for a moment: how was it that until now, there wasn’t a single large-enough, full color, multimedia portable (read: lightweight) device on the market? Not one. That’s what the iPad brings to the table in terms of have-to-haves. On the nice-to-have front, touchscreen and wi-fi make it even more compelling from a user experience.
I’m not boosting this at all (even if it seems that way). I’m just calling it for what it is. A pretty cool all-in-one e-reader, “portable DVD player”, gaming console, digital photo frame and jukebox. And in the case of the latter three, it’s not exactly best in class in terms of practicality, usage and capability. Which leaves us in essence with a pretty nifty portable alternative to TV and as I’ll get to shortly, even magazines.
On the plus side, the iNtegration with iTunes and the Apps store make for another seamless and clean synchronization with Apple’s continued push to own, bundle and dominate the mobile market. Yes, you heard me correctly…Apple is very much a mobile player and operating aggressively to lead this market. From a practicality or usage perspective, expect many people to watch video (movies, TV, YouTube etc) lying down on their sofa with their iPad nestled neatly on their legs. To that end, expect an irresistible surge of innovation, creativity and even support on the accessory front that will make the impractical, practical and the impossible, possible. From hooks that allow your iPad to hang onto the seatback of your next flight or stands to support the digital photo frame functionality (which already exists by the way)
Like the iPod Touch and iPhone, the iPad community will step up to provide context, content and most significantly, the platform upon which to grow the equity and value exchange associated with the investment. It’s Crowdsourcing Apple style.
But before you run out and overspend, here is – in my opinion – the sinister underbelly of the iPad:
The iPad is way overpriced. An entry level $399 for literally the “bottom of the range” version make this a nice-to-have versus a have-to-have. Although it’s not a NetBook (nor does it profess to be), a consumer with $399 to spend would most likely be best suited to invest in a laptop or NetBook versus the bright and shiny iPad. I also think there’s going to be a tremendous dissonance associated with the first-mover-advantage premium paid to get in early on the iPad rush. Apple has already demonstrated a little too much eagerness when it comes to subsequent releases. Many (the wise ones) will hold back and wait for the next generation iPad which irons on various bugs, kinks and gremlins.
There’s an “iPad Tax” which seems to be synonymous with good old fashioned greed amongst developers. iPad applications are currently being developed for the iPad “in HD”, which is just a codeword for, “let’s charge significantly more for the same application because the screen is bigger.” Consumer backlash will probably help to equalize or normalize this egregious premium.
Another ridiculous premium is the additional/incremental fee for 3G usage. I’d like to ask why Apple and its 3G carrier partners don’t create an “all in” or “all-in-one” fee for iPad customers who are also iPhone customers. Unfortunately, I know the answer as to why there aren’t price breaks or built in tethering to support the synchronization of bundled devices. To counter this greed, many will “jailbreak” their iPads in order to tether them to their iPhone or similar 3G devices.
Screens are going to break. The bigger they come, the harder the fall.
The iPad will not save the magazine industry.
Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing until this point that has allowed as rich a digital magazine consumption experience as the iPad will allow. Not even close. A company called Zinio tried to create a similar experience on PC’s, but do people really want to read magazines on computers? Is that what they’ve been waiting for all this time? Is that the reason why magazines have been going out of business?
Personally I think magazine’s killer app has always been the ability to be read on a toilet and I’m hoping the iPad doesn’t resonate here, but on a more serious note the magazine and newspaper industry are going to lead the hype bandwagon with respect to the iPad. No doubt the ability to add in video, multimedia and other interactive components to the magazine experience will leapfrog the magazine business into the digital (and even social) era, but isn’t that what they once called websites? In addition, the real debate here will be an economic one; a numbers one – the million dollar question will be to what degree customers will PAY for their magazines on their iPad (and secondarily, what this fee – or heaven forbid, premium – will be) versus getting them for free in exchange for…advertising. In the case of the former, will people turn the pages any slower to avoid the advertising they were already avoiding or will the advertising become smarter, more engaging, more targeted and more valuable? That’s another million dollar question, but is it in fact irrelevant?
1,000,000 iPads doesn’t mean 1,000,000 subscriptions to the New Yawn Times or Vanity Fail. And even if every single iPad reader did pony up for a suite of magazine subscriptions, there are way too many to go round and way too few eyeballs to meet them. In other words, a short term band aid solution to massive continuing hemorrhaging circulation drops.
For what it’s worth, the battleground for the beleaguered print industry will be an economic one. Ala carte pricing or micropayments for extremely targeted articles, news and information may take the magazine and newspaper business in the same direction the music business is heading and the Cable sector will soon be heading.
…and if all else fails, there’s always giving away the content for FREE (gasp).
All in all, the iPad will usher in a rich and immersive mobile consumption experience and will ultimately become the one multimedia portable device to rule them all. The kinks will be sorted out and the base will grow. And as long as Apple doesn’t lose its focus and yield to the “Jack-of-all-trades” temptation, it will lead by example (especially with its iTunes-App Store vertically integrated feeder). In the various other categories (e-reader, video player etc.), the number of contenders will fall like flies, but expect one (maybe two at a push) leader to still prevail as a best-in-class specialist (I’m looking at you, Kindle!)
Finally, don’t be surprised if we begin to see a pricing normalization or equalization to “give back” to loyalists and early adopters, and recognize the investment into the iBundle.
So how can you take advantage of the iPad as a brand? Here are 5 thoughts:
I wouldn’t bet the farm on the iPad just yet. The reach just isn’t there. Put differently, if you haven’t invested in an iPhone App right now, that’s the place to start. That said, it’s not the worst idea in the world to begin planning ahead for a time when enough of the people who matter to you are taking advantage of rich, immersive and mobile multimedia experiences on screens larger than the Palm of your hand.
Think like a publisher. Apple has created a well-oiled vertically integrated machine that will allow you to be a true storyteller (finally!) and who knows, maybe even sell more stuff in the process. Why try and make the most of your “print advertising” i.e. enhance your flailing magazine and newspaper adspend, when you can serve up the entire experience? Content is King. Who knew?
The return of podcasting: what was once a subscription-based “video podcast” living on the outskirts of Fringeville is now front and center. The team over at “Will it Blend” are going to spend less time destroying iPads and more time delivering their compelling video through them!
Another unlikely comeback is going to come from the Convergence camp. A magazine is no longer a magazine, especially when it has interactivity and video. The same applies to the opposite end of the spectrum i.e. the medium formally known as “television,” especially when a viewer can become a reader at the swipe of a finger, and in doing so, learn or find out more; become better informed, educated and informed. This is a boon for the pharmaceutical space for example. On the flipside, convergence generally fails. I’m just sayin’…
The Creative Renaissance that began with the iPhone App store is going to get a whole lot bigger (but not necessarily better). New rules. New context. New usage scenarios may tweak the formula, but the end product is going to be even more consumer empowerment and utility. Brand have a lot to contribute and gain here.
Bonus: This wouldn’t be complete without a “Flip the Funnel” reference that goes beyond brand promises to actual customer delivery, service and experience. The stakes and potential are even higher here when companies can reward and recognize their existing customer base and subsets of loyalists, influencers, advocates and ambassadors.
As for me, I can’t help but laugh a little at the self-proclaimed early adopters lugging around their oversized iPhones. Silly little geeks. And I say that endearingly. You don’t need to try so hard to be cool.
So, I’ll be waiting for the second generation iPad, which should tell you something.
Fortunately, it will probably be announced by the time you read this Point of View.
 Credited to Peter Shankman in a conversation on marketing podcast, “The BeanCast”
People love to buy, but they hate being sold to. The ultimate paradox is our biggest challenge and biggest opportunity.
It applies to consumers and it applies to the B2B space as well. People either want to buy or they don't. And when they don't, perhaps we should stop selling and focus on building the relationship. However when they want to buy, we're no longer selling to them, but rather helping them get closer to making that purchase.
Simple huh? Paradox resolved.
What do you think?
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This is a little backwards, because I still want to spend some time over the next couple of weeks outlining the single most signficant project we've worked on at crayon, namely Panasonic's "Living in High Definition" community and commitment.
We've had the pleasure and privilege to work with Panasonic North America on a truly landmark effort - actively demonstrating that Living in High Definition changes everything.
And what better way to bring this to life than through a High Definition video show, presented by one of the real stars of the program, Laura Pollack, a mom and a community member.
The LiHD Podcast is a bi-monthly snapshot of the best of what the community has to offer. It's a showcase which operates on three levels:
Internal i.e. within the community - motivation for members; a showcase of recognition
External i.e. outside the community - a portal or window into the community; a source of promotion and membership acqusition
Both - a source or resource filled with tips, tools, tricks, how-to's and inspiration
Yesterday I moderated a panel at OMMA on Leveraging Video for Conversational Marketing. While my panel was talking, I was writing down notes and promised to upload them to those in attendance on my blog.
Some of the points might seem esoteric, but there are some good nuggets nonetheless
Yesterday, I was asked to do a taping for CNBC (it will air today and as soon as I know the time, I'll update this post) The thing was that I was also coaching my daughter's softball side (sponsored by crayon)
So we had to schedule the taping around the softball practice. How's that for prioritization!
I just found it quite surreal that I was in a suit in a studio at 3.15pm and on the field in shorts and a T-shirt at 4pm.
According to Ad Age, Bud.TV drew 152,000 unique visitors last month (March), 40% fewer than February's 253,000 visitors, according to numbers released today by ComScore Media Metrix. A-B executives have said that they hope to draw between 2 million and 3 million visitors per month by early next year to the online network, which is costing the brewer somewhere between $30 million and $40 million.
The new "Direct to Consumer" venture from Anheuser Busch has come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism of late, but I want to take this opportunity to throw my weight (90%) behind Bud.TV...or at the very minimum the idea behind Bud.TV
Personally, I believe that special interest groups (read: media companies) are responsible for a good chunk of the pushback from the various State Attorney Generals. There is so much hypocrisy involved that it makes me want to puke. We can run alcohol advertising on the Super Bowl, but online is somehow different...
But I digress.
I think it's early days for Bud.TV and I really hope A-B stays the course. On one hand, they're not in the content game and getting involved in this kind of effort is a committment, as opposed to a one-off campaign-like investment. On the other hand, the quality of content on the networks isn't exactly worth writing home about either...
Personally, I'd love to work on Bud.TV - take that anyway you want to. I'm just saying...
Here are some tips I'd give the executives over at A-B (you may be doing this already, but as a blogger that has not been engaged I wouldn't know):
You don't need to be running 24x7x365. Start with an anchor tenant like The Sopranos became for HBO and work from there
Liberate your content - the more platforms you make Bud.TV available, the more likely it will be to be consumed and embraced
Consider bite-sized programming chunks like Current.TV
Deploy extensive conversational programs, including blogger/podcaster/influencer outreach.
Build community around the content and encourage active participation and co-creation
Explore ways to link purchase of product to Bud.TV - reward your customers and turn them into the stars
Use traditional media to advertise (yes, advertise) Bud.TV.
Use your packaging to promote Bud.TV
Use every single one of your Super Bowl commercials in next year's game (XLII) and then pull out of the Super Bowl never to return. The chaos will make even Bob Garfield smile
Above all...experiment experiment experiment and be prepared to make mistakes. Your reported $30-40 million investment will be well worth it if you learn from your mistakes and innovate intensely.
There's a lot riding on this and I think there are a lot of people who want you to succeed. There are also a lot of people who want you to fail...don't be distracted by them. Cheers!
to the reincarnated and reinvigorated Jaffe Juice.
What was once a weekly op-ed column is now an unshackled, uncensored and uninhibited dialogue
on the subjects of new marketing, advertising and creativity.