Thursday, January 29, 2009

When content and advertising collide - head on

So it's official then, AMP is "nothing special". I've had this YouTube advertisement bugging my browser for the past week or so and never really paid much attention to it. Maybe because it is outside my F-shaped pattern of reading but more likely because I'm not interested in financial products.

Now that I have taken a better look at the advertisement I notice that, in fact, it allows ratings. I guess the question is then, is this sponsored content or is it advertising?

The fact that it is sitting in a traditional advertising right-hand column suggests that it is an advertisement, and when following the link you get to AMP's YouTube channel which is, for all intents and purposes, advertising AMP with informative content.

But, the fact that it allows ratings would suggest that it is more closely related to content, because heaven help the advertising industry if we could publicly rate every advertisement we see! So what is this picture sitting in my browser? Content or advertisement? If it is an advertisement as it would seem should we ask to be able to rate all advertisements online? Imagine that!

Conclusion? AMP's YouTube channel is a great attempt at advertising through content, but by having ratings in the advertisement portion of the campaign leaves it open to vandalism (by competitors?) that will lead to a negative impact on consumer perception.


On a side note I see that AMP has had its YouTube account since 2005. Looks like some foresight on someone's behalf as no doubt 'AMP' would be a popular account to have!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Far Eastern Economic Review, 09 Jan 2009. Pages 58 - 59

What I'm reading:

Far Eastern Economic Review
09 Jan 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

International business news - #001

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More baby steps for Ad Agencies in the new-world

So yet another social media campaign is launched and shot down in flames within seconds of take-off. If it's not the UBank launchpad fizzer, or the agency-by-stealth undercover Guitar Hero video, then it's another agency built campaign that missed the final social-checklist question of: are we being legit with our customers?

This time we have Tourism Queensland's, "The Best Job in the World," a chance to be a caretaker on a Great Barrier Reef Island. Great concept, pretty good execution, but as always, one tiny flaw has earned a stern tut-tut from media old and new.

This time, as in the past examples, we again have advertising agency staff in the actual campaign without disclaimer or declaration. The ire of it all is that because they are posing in their own campaign they portray a skewed view of what the project has aimed to achieve.

I agree that undeclared 'planted' user generated content takes away from the spirit of social media campaigns, and I think that agencies that fall on this ground should be reminded about the spirit of the game. The spirit being, if you truly want to create such campaigns you must be ready to accept lame with the great, the creative with the boring, as long as there are no offensive or derogatory comments being made.

Mumbrella, has been on the inside of this case for a few days now and has some further insights from the parties involved. From these articles it is possible to see that innocent mistakes on a global scale do get noticed.

One thought on why these things seem to be happening is that much of the 'social media' activity is coming out of ad agencies still. Being two steps removed from the customer creates a little fog which can sometimes lead you to think a 'little' mistake doesn't mean much. I think it'll take time until Australia brings social media into daily marketing team activities. Using Zappos as the classic example, by having the 'social' part of your marketing inside the business, I think you can have a better understanding of exactly how to be 'social' with your customer.


In other news...

Catching up on new years proceedings, I see that Julian Cole has posted that UBank have some new online videos. Looks like they must have cost a bomb, but it's your bank fees paying, so what do they care? So, good to see they're still in the game, a different take, but as above, it's still baby steps for the Australian digital space.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How I tried to appeal to the left brain in a marketing blog

I have recently changed my blog template. It's part template and part me playing around with HTML/CSS or whatever the code is. Granted it's not pretty and I won't be getting a web design job anytime soon, but quite a bit of thought has gone into the layout.

The thinking has mostly been about, 'what is the most effective layout for a blog?' A quick perusal of a blog template page like btemplates will show you there is no set pattern for templates, but you can have a rough estimate that there are twice as may right-hand side bars as left-hand side bars and also three column (left- and right-hand sidebars) are becoming more fashionable.

But from a usability perspective what is the best? Are there rules for blogs? If there are, I haven't been able to find them.

The general wisdom of print publishers, has traditionally been that the left side of the page is more inspirational/pictorial and the right hand side is more informational/factual and the most 'viewed' part of a publication is the right-hand side. An example of this is a QMedia rate card (PDF) for the Qantas inflight magazine where a right-hand side placement commands a 10% loading.

While some might say that more purchase decisions are made by the left side of the brain and that's why there's a load, it also stems from the traditional way (most) people read magazines, the right-hand side is the first thing you see when turning a page. So does this translate to the web?

Like their printed siblings, online newspapers do reserve the right-hand column for advertising. Have a look at these examples taken from today's editions:

  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Guardian

  • It would seem that the right-hand side is the preferred place for advertising in online newspapers.

    But if an online advertiser were to take a look at the F-Shaped pattern for reading online content, they might be a bit miffed to see the right-hand side of a web page is almost vacant of any eyeball viewing.

    One more theory to throw into the mix is the left/right brain preference. One such test for this is the HBDI brain quadrant preference test. As seen in the above image, the left brain (therefore right side of the screen) is more anyltical, technical and organised while the right brain (therefore left side of the screen) is more imaginative, emotional and conceptual.

    It would seem that the F-shaped viewing pattern and left-brain preference would be contradictory, but this might also provide a possible opportunity. Imagine a news web page that had the travel and lifestyle section on the left side of a page and the business and world news on the right side of the page. In this scenario you would read the section you want to and it would be placed on the most preferable side of the screen to elicit the best response.

    In the end with my new blog layout I went middle of the road. I have centralised the main content but by placing my side-bar on the left I have skewed the text to the right so the informational/factual aspects of the content are brought to the fore.

    Yes my blog is about marketing and advertising and more right-brain ideas, but I want to explore the technical aspects behind the execution, and that is why I prefer to have my text slightly to the right!

    Friday, January 9, 2009

    Cheers to a new look

    To celebrate the launch of my new look I present the only thing cooler than my new blog...

    here's to beer.