Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Viral Video, Meet eCommerce. Shake Hands

July 2, 2008

Marketing VOX
Like it? Buy it

Splashcast released a tool that turns online videos into impulse buy opportunities, reports Mediaweek.

HotSpot enables marketers to tag objects — like a chair or a table lamp — inside a published video. Viewers that click on the highlighted item see a sponsored message and a link to the purchasing page.

Splashcast hopes HotSpot will inspire product placement opportunities in films that have already gone viral. The format was also designed to draw minimal attention to itself, so as not to irritate viewers.

“Video viewers are alerted to HotSpot content by a subtle highlighting of an image within the video,” said HotSpot.

Interested advertisers must contact Splashcast directly.

Splashcast specializes in connecting advertisers to social media users. Clients include Red Bull, MTV, Nike, and Sony Music.


3 fundamentals for successful branded video

July 2, 2008

iMedia Connection

When it comes to video, you have two options: create a commercial or create branded content. If you take the latter route, you’ll need to do more than just create a pretty video.

At one point during a film that I am too often chastised for quoting, the protagonist loses a competition and is confronted, quite publicly, with the realization that his old, tried and true methods for staying at the top of his game are no longer working.

Later, on a Manhattan backstreet, the heartbroken hero takes the opportunity created from his defeat to solemnly look into the eyes of his own reflection in a murky puddle. “Who am I?” he asks his reflection.

So, who are you?
In conjunction with the fabled “death of the 30-second spot” the web has put marketers looking to expand their online arsenal of tools in a position to offer the public pristine, longer-form video content. This means giving the base of enthusiasts even more ways to engage with the brand, while also allowing for the distribution of valuable content with which to catch the eyes, minds and hearts of users who may not seek out the brand.

Before an advertiser can start producing interesting, relevant content for their audience though, they need to make a decision as to who they are. The answer lies in whether they are making a commercial or branded content.

Branded entertainment
Whether branded entertainment employs an active or passive strategy, it still isn’t a commercial. To date, the videos used in banner ads have overwhelmingly been commercials. To successfully grab the user’s attention, the videos need to look amazing and have something engaging occur right away (a celebrity, an explosion, a hyper-targeted subject matter, etc.). Commercials need to express the benefit of the product or impart warm and fuzzy feelings in a matter of a few seconds.

With branded entertainment online, the canvas of time can be blown out to a three to five minute narrative, reducing the need for a hard sell. One company that has successfully extended branded entertainment content to longer form is AXE with its new “Naughty to Nice Program.” The program includes a five minute webisode about rehabilitating good-girls-gone-bad, featuring tongue-in-cheek product placement that’s interwoven into the plot. Another example is Dr. Pepper’s campaign “Band in a Bubble,” (also shown on MTV) which featured an online component where users could watch and interact with the band, Cartel, as they lived inside a giant bubble on New York’s pier 54 for 20 days, composing a new album. The only integration for the marketer there was logo placement in the bubble and on the website portal.

Last year, two television shows — “The Gamekillers,” which appeared on MTV, and “Cavemen,” which ran on ABC — were extensions of marketing campaigns from AXE and GEICO, respectively. The plots never revolved around being rejected because of musty armpits, or scavenging for lower car insurance, but with characters directly tied to the brand’s ad campaigns, the connection was very apparent. The staying power of the 30-minute shows didn’t play out on TV, but the ideas (which were highly anticipated) would have translated well in shorter webisodes online.

The three F words
So when the video you’re producing is longer than 30-seconds and doesn’t end with a call-to-action, witty tagline or activation button, how do you ensure success?

According to research by Millward Brown Chief Global Analyst Nigel Hollis in the paper “Branded Content: More than Just Showing Up,” branded content plays out on a continuum that goes from passive product integration up to actively produced branded entertainment. Success across the continuum lies with a focus on what he calls, “The 3 F’s: Fit, Focus and Fame.”

“Fit” has a lot to do with the relevance of the content to the brand and the relevance of the content to the target market. Dr. Pepper is a bubbly soft drink with a brand all about being young at heart. The band in the bubble concept fit the brand well.

“Focus” is the concept of where the attention is placed…on the content or on the brand? This is where the tight rope must be walked since, at the heart of it, marketers want people to be enamored with their brand, not the content. But alas, this isn’t a commercial. One issue with “The Band in a Bubble” campaign was that at times, extremely prominent logo placement distracted users from the band’s activities. Also, to get access to the bubble video feeds, one had to enter massive amounts of demographic information about oneself. This took away from the experience.

“Fame” is the “level of additional supporting activity” that an advertiser lends to their branded shows. In promoting “Cavemen,” GEICO played a veritable game of Where’s Waldo with the media, having the cavemen attend award shows, corporate parties and sporting events, as well as show up in online campaigns. Research from ComScore supports this strategy, stating that “brand recognition resulting from exposure to both placement and advertising is 23 percent higher than that achieved by advertising alone.”

Video is powerful, and when distributed online, whether as a straight commercial or as an engaging piece of branded content, it definitely needs to be of high quality. The difference, though, is that once an advertiser decides to benefit from the branded content format, he must recognize that there’s more to it than just making the content look really, really, ridiculously good.

Top 10 Video Sites Account for 55% of 11 Billion Videos Viewed Online in April

July 2, 2008

Marketing VOX

US internet users viewed 11 billion online videos during in April, with Google’s alone comprising over 4 billion of that, and the top 10 comprising 55 percent of the total, according to data from the comScore Video Metrix service – via MarketingCharts.

Top 10 Video Properties (by No. of Videos Viewed)

comscore-online-video-properties-videos-viewed-april-2008.jpgIn April, Google Sites once again ranked as the top US video property, with more than 4.1 billion videos viewed (38 percent share of all videos), as accounted for 98 percent of all videos viewed at the property.

Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 558 million videos (5.1 percent), followed by Yahoo Sites with 352 million (3.2 percent) and Microsoft Sites with 268 million (2.4 percent).

The top 10 sites by number of videos viewed accounted for 55.2 percent of all online videos viewed in April.

Videos per Viewer

Nearly 135 million US internet users watched an average of 82 videos per viewer in April:

comscore-online-video-properties-unique-viewers-april-2008.jpgGoogle Sites also attracted the most viewers (83.7 million), where they watched an average of 50 videos per person.

Fox Interactive attracted the second most viewers (52 million), followed by Yahoo Sites (37.3 million) and Microsoft Sites (29.9 million).

Other Notable Findings from April 2008

  • 71 percent of the total US internet audience viewed online video.
  • The average online video viewer watched 228 minutes of video.
  • 18-34-year-olds were the heaviest viewing segment, watching an average of 287 minutes per viewer.
  • 82.1 million viewers watched 4.1 billion videos on (49.8 videos per viewer).
  • 46 million viewers watched 481 million videos on (10.4 videos per viewer).
    The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes.

Dockers Contest Generates Lawsuit Along With Videos

July 2, 2008

MediaPost Publications

by Wendy Davis, Tuesday, Jun 3, 2008 7:45 AM ET LIvemercial ad company Dockers adLevi Strauss recently attempted to create some buzz among the Web 2.0 crowd for its “Dockers” brand by launching a high-profile user-generated video contest. But the initiative, announced by Jay Leno on NBC, had an unintended consequence–a lawsuit.

At launch, NBC and Levi Strauss asked people to create video ads, which they called “livemercials,” and submit them online. The companies promised that the winning “livemercial” would air June 13 on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The streaming video was powered by San Mateo, Calif.-based Mixercast.

The problem: There is a 6-year-old online ad company also called Livemercial, based in Valparaiso, Ind., which happens to have its own streaming video player.

Livemercial May 15 quietly filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal district court in the northern district of Indiana. The company named NBC Universal, Levi Strauss, ad agency Draft FCB and Mixercast as defendants.

“Defendants’ unauthorized use of the Livemercial mark is likely to cause, and has already caused, confusion, mistake and deception,” the complaint alleges. Livemercial also said in the lawsuit that it was approached by representatives from two different companies at a recent trade show and was asked about the Dockers contest.

Livemercial asked for an injunction and damages. But the request for an injunction now appears to be moot. The companies stopped using the word “livemercial” in any promotions connected with the project after they learned of the lawsuit. The contest itself is currently dubbed the “Make Your Own Dockers Commercial Contest,” and not, as alleged when the complaint was filed, the ” ‘Dockers’ Livemercial Contest.”

J. Brian Hittinger, a lawyer for Livemercial, said the company would be willing to resolve the case outside of court. “It’s possible the matter will be settled,” he said. “Livemercial’s not trying to be difficult, but they are trying to protect their trademark.”

Who’s doing video right?

July 2, 2008

iMedia Connection

By Bradley Werner

A number of brands are producing original online video, but not all the content is hitting the mark. See why Suave and Sprint get it, and why Bank of America does not.

At my recent high school reunion I reconnected with an old friend. She mentioned that she works at a creative agency, which opened the floodgates for me to launch into a wild monologue about why relevant online content is a dynamic vehicle for exposing an engaged audience to a brand. I used those exact words too.

When I finished, she hugged me, told me she had a huge crush on me in high school, and insisted we do lunch sometime (though she ran away before we could nail down any specific dates). My hard sell was obviously ineffective and inappropriately placed.

So what does this have to do with the ads-before-every-video, buy-me-now-click-here-and-click-hard business of online advertising?

What Bank of America is doing — wrong
First, let me say that I am a BoA customer and have never been wronged by them. I harbor no ill will towards any of their officers, employees or ATMs.

BoA recently launched a series of online videos called “MoBanking” starring writer, comedian, and satirist, Mo Rocca. The series features Rocca “dumping a load of banking knowledge on your internets” by conducting man-on-the-street interviews around New York and casually working new products from BoA’s banking portfolio into the conversation.

As usual, Mr. Rocca brought home the hilarity, and the candid responses of the interviewees were funny in their awkwardness. The production quality was high too. So why isn’t this a great piece of internet content?

First, it’s a matter of fit between the content and the BoA brand. Banking just isn’t much fun, and the BoA brand isn’t all that tongue-in-cheek. Rocca’s witty, pseudo-conservative persona may fit the BoA brand if it had a cocktail in its hand, but humor about checking your balance? Does that even fit into an existing genre of comedy? What type of person is compelled to virally shoot around video about credit alerts?

Second, it’s a matter of intent. In many of the videos Mr. Rocca tees up the audience so they know the focus of the piece is to give them information about a banking product. In other videos, the reference to banking is latent (“So, how do you feel when something you need isn’t there?”) and the punch line to Mo’s questions is a title card alluding to a BoA product (“Overdraft Protection”). This approach makes the whole series a sales pitch, which may not make it ineffective, but does tend to inhibit how people embrace the show.

What Suave and Sprint are doing — right
When Suave and Sprint wanted to target mothers, they co-produced a web series for them called “In the Motherhood.” The show stars the very talented Jenny McCarthy, Chelsea Handler and Leah Remini: each episode’s script is inspired by true stories submitted by mothers.

The episodes all start with a five-second bumper for the show that features the two brands’ logos and mentions that they conceived the program.

Besides that, there is no obvious intent to tell you that Suave and Sprint are the sponsors or to sell you on their products.

Jenny McCarthy’s character doesn’t constantly talk on or about her cell phone. Chelsea Handler doesn’t only see Leah Remini’s character when they’re getting shampooed and conditioned. Story lines don’t culminate with a moral like “Mothers who communicate more clearly, and have a natural looking shine, are the best mothers.”

It’s a soft sell based on association. The show is really entertaining, the production quality and talent is obvious, and by making it available to the audience for free, the brands benefit from the halo effect of good programming.

What’s more, on the show’s MSN homepage, both brands have special sections where users can learn more about their latest promotions…but the brands in no way take over the experience or try to take the focus away from the content their audience wants.

What are you doing?
When it comes to producing branded content, advertisers can definitely benefit from giving their target markets entertaining and relevant content. They just need to remember that the canvas they’re working with is much longer than 30 seconds and that the attention level is intrinsically higher. This makes a hard sell much less appealing.

If the brand tries to force itself where it doesn’t belong and Trojan horse its way in front of a user by pretending to be content, or if it doesn’t fit with the tone of content, users will pick up on that, and ultimately, they may be turned off by the brand, even if they once had a huge crush on it.

PC Encroaches on TV’s Screen Time Dominance among Digital Video Users

June 13, 2008

While TV remains the preeminent channel for watching video content, the PC is slowly encroaching on TV’s territory by capturing an increasing amount of screen time among those who download or stream video online, according to research from Ipsos MediaCT, MarketingCharts writes.

The percentage of video consumed on a TV among video downloaders and streamers (some 52 percent of Americans age 12+ who have ever done so) declined from 75 percent in February 2007 to 70 percent in February 2008 – a small but significant drop in overall “share of screen time” among digital video users.

At the same time, the percentage of video consumed on a PC among digital video users increased from 11 percent to 19 percent during the same period, according to findings of Ipsos MediaCT’s MOTION – its quarterly tracking study investigating digital video usage and behaviors in the US.

In addition, the percentage of total screen time captured by movie theaters also declined significantly in the past year.

“Streaming video online has become an activity many Americans aren’t just experimenting with, but enjoy on a regular basis. Today, about half of all internet users aged 12 and up have streamed a video file online in the past 30 days,” said Director of Ipsos MediaCT Adam Wright

“While the number of device options are growing for consumers to access and watch their favorite video content, what isn’t necessarily changing is the location where we enjoy this video content – our homes,” Wright said.

Rise in PC’s Share Across Age, Gender Groups

The phenomenon of watching more video content on a PC is relatively consistent by age group and gender.

Teens age 12-17 are the only age group watching a significantly larger percentage of their video content on portable devices. Not surprisingly, then, teens also experienced the largest drop in the share of screen time they devote to the TV.

New video playback devices, such as the Apple TV and Roku’s Netflix Player, are coming onto the market specifically trying to bridge the gap between traditional viewing habits and the growing demand for more convenient access and management of digital video content, Ipsos said.

“We really see these share gains in nontraditional video channels as not simply an isolated, generation-driven market effect, but rather a large macro-trend in the way consumers want their video content delivered that those in the entertainment industry should increasingly be paying attention to as we look forward to the rest of 2008 and beyond,” Wright concluded.

About the study: Data were sourced from the Q1 ’08 Deep Dive wave of fieldwork as part of Ipsos MediaCT’s MOTION study, which was conducted online among a representative US sample of internet users age 12 years and older in February 2008. Premieres Video Channel

May 31, 2008

Media Post Publications


by Mark Walsh, Monday, May 12, 2008 7:00 AM ET


mobyVenturing into video, online music service has launched a new channel spotlighting popular and emerging bands and artists and other original programming. Presents kicks off with interviews with Moby, rising alternative singer Santogold and indie rock band Spoon. The new video channel on the social music site will also include concert footage from’s own promotional events.

“Music discovery is key to the experience, so our video interviews are all about what drives these artists’ creativity and what music means to them,” said Martin Stiksel, co-founder, in a statement.

Music video outlets abound on the Web from AOL Sessions and Yahoo Music to music channels on social sites such as MySpace and YouTube that skew toward indie acts and user-submitted content. Competing social music service imeem also offers an array of pop culture content from music videos to comedy clips and animated shorts.

A recent post on the blog ReadWriteWeb noted that seven of the top 10 YouTube videos to date are music videos, including those by Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance and Shakira.

U.K.-based aims to cut through the clutter with original video that its members won’t find elsewhere around the Web.

Acquired by CBS last May for $280 million, also will distribute video content through the CBS Audience Network of media partners. Earlier this week, CBS announced that would power AOL Radio in Europe. Presents is planning to broadcast additional sessions with music acts in the coming months. The videos are offered ad-free at launch, but as the new channel adds more interviews and original content it will be with an eye toward monetization, according to a CBS spokesperson.

After promoting concerts across the U.K. since late 2007 for new bands and artists including Hot Chip, Afrikan Boy, and George Pringle, is planning more events across Europe and the U.S. this year.

Retailers Consider Alternative Online Tactics to Supplement Email Marketing, Paid Search

May 2, 2008

Marketing VOX

Online retailers are increasingly open to placing ads on social media platforms, reports Advertising Age.

This conclusion was drawn from a report from Forrester Research, which shows that while e-mail marketing and paid search continue to be the primary platforms for online retailer advertising, alternative ones are likely to dominate in the near future.

According to Forrester, 65 percent of retailers will look into placing ads on social networks in 2008. That comes despite a general lack of hard evidence that social network advertising can actually convert users into buyers.

Another medium generating interest from retailers is online video, 67 percent saying they’ll be making that a priority this year. Flickr just launched its online :90 video service, which may prove helpful to creative retail mavens.

Widgets, RSS and other social technologies have generated notice as well, though the number of retail marketers prioritizing those platforms is lower.

Retailers also demonstrated a desire to move away from free shipping, an incentive used to bait users, in favor of a loyalty program. (Even Starbucks has launched one.) But Forrester cautions marketers that this economic climate may not be the best for abandoning proven strategies in favor of newfangled volatile ones.

10 Billion Online Videos Viewed in February – Up 66% in One Year

May 2, 2008

Marketing VOX

US internet users viewed more than 10 billion online videos in February – up 3 percent from January (despite February’s being two days shorter) and a 66 percent gain from February 2007, according to data from the comScore Video Metrix service, MarketingCharts writes.

Google Increases Share of Videos Viewed

Google Sites once again ranked as the top US video property, with nearly 3.6 billion videos viewed (35.4 percent of all viewed videos), up 1.1 percentage points from the previous month:


  • Google’s accounted for 96 percent of all videos viewed at Google Sites.
  • Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 586 million videos (5.8 percent), followed by Yahoo Sites with 293 million (2.9 percent) and Microsoft Sites with 293 million (2.9 percent).

Audience Data (Unique Viewers)

Nearly 135 million US internet users spent an average of 204 minutes per person viewing online video in February:


  • Google Sites attracted the most viewers (81.8 million), who spent an average of 109 minutes per person watching video in February.
  • Fox Interactive attracted the second most viewers (55.7 million), followed by Yahoo Sites (37.1 million) and Microsoft Sites (27.1 million).
  • attracted the tenth-largest viewing audience, and its viewers exhibited heavy engagement, averaging 51 minutes of online viewing per person.

Other notable findings from February 2008:

  • 72.8 percent of the total US internet audience viewed online video.
  • 80.4 million viewers watched 3.42 billion videos on (42.6 videos per viewer).
  • 50.2 million viewers watched 539 million videos on (10.7 videos per viewer).
  • The average online video duration was 2.7 minutes.
  • The average online video viewer consumed 75 videos.

Reach your audience through integration

May 2, 2008

iMedia Connection

The future of online video is good storytelling, and the key to engaging viewers is to craft a promotion that is part of that story, not an interruption to it.

Like the umlaut, David Hasselhoff and things with the suffix “-wurst,” I too have a strong following in Germany. In the last few weeks, several German graduate students, desperate to finish their theses, have contacted me for my opinion on the future of video in online advertising. To each of these students, I replied with my standard, canned answer: “Gute Geschichten führen zu Erfolg” (good stories lead to success).

The future of video on the net is all about good storytelling.

Today’s online video zeppelins
In-banner video has been around for a while and is all about attracting attention. People, like the tyrannosaurus in “Jurassic Park,” notice things that move, and nothing moves like video. The great thing about in-banner video is that once you grab a user’s attention, you can then lead them down the path to interact with a near-limitless number of features.

This two-way communication between advertiser and audience is very powerful, but unfortunately, the goal isn’t tracking — it’s performance, and many agree that clickthrough rates and interaction rates have been down across the board.

Conversely, in-stream ads are all about interruption. Certainly there is a lot to be said for interruption as a tool for getting attention, but in a world of mass distribution and limited exclusivity, when watching a show on one site becomes annoying because of ad interruption, users will migrate to other outlets to watch the content they want.

What’s going to be uber-popular
Advertisers are already beginning to adopt the idea that their brands can latch on to good storytelling. Video content, unlike in-banner and in-stream advertising, is a whole different football (soccer) game, where the strategy employed is to become part of the experience, rather than to interrupt it.

One recent example of this can be seen in Improv Everywhere’s latest mission, “Best Game Ever.” Improv Everywhere is famous for pulling large-scale improvised stunts in public places such as Grand Central Terminal, Home Depot and a Ben Fold’s concert and then broadcasting their stunts on the web.

In their latest mission, the troupe turned a neighborhood Little League game into a big-league event by bringing in an army of fanatical fans for both teams. All of the “fans” were equipped with signs, banners and extensive knowledge of the pint-sized players’ league averages and nicknames. They led aggressive cheers, handed out game programs and several wore face and body paint. To complete the prank, Improv Everywhere partnered with NBC Sports.

NBC Sports integrated itself into the story by providing a jumbotron in the outfield featuring live commentary from legendary sportscaster Jim Gray. They also held a post-game press conference and even organized a cameo appearance by the Goodyear blimp.

For NBC Sports and Goodyear, this meant getting lean-forward exposure in front of more than half a million people who choose to watch Improv Everywhere’s content on either or several of the major video portals.

It also meant coverage in tons of sports, baseball and comedy blogs as well as press mentions in offline publications like the Los Angeles Times.

Furthermore, by being part of the story, NBC’s brand was exposed to a willing and engaged audience for close to four minutes. With research showing that product placement in TV content boosts brand awareness by 20 percent, and knowing that most internet ads are only between five and 30 seconds, this massive exposure surely bodes well for the future of brand-relevant online video content.

Video is still the most powerful and emotive tool in an internet advertiser’s arsenal, and its applications are finally evolving to fit the medium. In an on-demand world, promotions that compliment a user’s content selection, either through extreme targeting or by aligning with the story arch, represent a new and enticing way to impact the audience. For those brands that continue to rely strictly on interruption, well…auf Wiedersehen.