Google/YouTube grab billions of eyeballs in August

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According to recent August 2009 data from the comScore Video Metrix service, Google sites (including YouTube) garnered over 10 billion video views in the month of August alone. No other brands came close. Google has the majority of video views considering that overall numbers totaled 25 billion video views, according to the data. That’s a lot of traffic! Microsoft came in at a distant second with only 546 million views for the month with Viacom digital and Hulu coming in just behind in third and fourth place. It’s evident that Google/YouTube has deep penetration when it comes to online videos when you consider that they attracted 121.4 million unique viewers for August. Whenever you see numbers like that, you can expect to see advertisers and marketers flocking toward a medium that can capture that much traffic and keep growing. You can bet that video will be huge in the next year. Keep an eye out for more blog videos, how-to videos, branded content, viral videos, interactive videos, television shows, independent videos and all kinds of advertising to go with it. Let the proliferation begin.

Zen and the art of digital house painting.

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I’ve seen a lot of shuffling of the decks at agencies over the last decade as many of them have attempted to transform the way they do business in the age of social media, search engine marketing, viral videos and all the rest that the digital age has bestowed upon us. If you’re a traditional ad agency, you either “get it” or you slowly fade into the background. One agency that proves time and time again that it “gets it” is Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Named Interactive Agency of the Year at the One Show in 2009, GSP has gotten quite a bit of attention both online and off with their latest opus. I came across the story in a post titled,  “Goodby Implores Ad executives to Embrace Change“. The post describes how  co-founder Jeff Goodby used the painting of his house as a platform to illustrate how his agency approaches communication in the age of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

I once had the good  fortune of being invited up to the shop in San Francisco just after graduating from a Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. What inspired me on that visit years ago was how the two founders, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, approached the day-to-day operations of the agency;  both were extremely passionate about the craft and creativity involved in their business and both approached advertising as if it were the greatest form of art in the world.  I remember having a half-hour conversation with Mr. Silverstein on the virtues of well-crafted typography in the hallway as he was passing by!

I digress. So it was no surprise to me when I came across the link in the above mentioned story for PoemHouse.org which demonstrated how Jeff Goodby used huge letters in exquisite type on the side of a Victorian house to get his message across.  When you visit the site you are welcomed with the following message,

“Could a house be a book? Would words be different if they were five feet high and printed on an emotional symbol of domesticity?

Is this idea a violation? And if so, is it a violation of the house or the words?

The home on Oak Avenue in St. Helena, California, is one of the most charming late Victorian houses in the Napa Valley. Built by a German family in 1892, it was at its birth a tribute to the optimism and elegance of what might be the most fertile time in English and American literary history – the era of Tennyson, Woolf, Eliot, Stevenson, London, and Bierce (the last three lived for a while in the Napa).

Here, in the summer of 2009, Oakland visual and media artist Jeff Goodby has covered the Oak Avenue house with a series of enigmatic words, set in a typeface designed in the 1760s by John Baskerville. The effect is a combination of Harry Potter and Andy Warhol and has challenged the meaning of home and book alike.’

The site was developed only after Mr. Goodby posted photos of his house idea on Facebook where it created a considerable amount of buzz.  Then all hell broke loose. Word spread like wildfire across the digital landscape. Word spread across the real world landscape too, and eventually got people off their butts and into the sunlight to rubberneck the house for themselves. Talk about driving traffic!  It’s a fine lesson on harnessing the power of the Interwebs with a simple, beautifully-crafted message. They make it look easy.

You got your digital in my print.

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Contrary to the phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960’s, the medium is no longer the message. Take print for example, the once holy grail of advertisers is once again becoming a vehicle to deliver advertising to the masses but not in the form of ink. According to The Gaurdian,  Entertainment Weekly magazine is about to debut two video-in-print advertisements in the September issue of the publication for subscribers in the Los Angeles and New York areas. These auto-play videos will come in the form of tiny cell screens that will display short clips when the magazine is open to that page; similar to greeting cards that play a tune when you open them. Advertisers CBS and Pepsi will promote various products in the micro-video ads and are hoping to target their messages to people who enjoy getting their entertainment information from print. But are they going too far? Clearly the novelty of the medium can be a good thing and to be honest, I can’t wait to get my issue in the mail. But the message in these videos had better be pretty entertaining for readers like me not to get annoyed that advertisers snuck in a video in their favorite magazine. Recently I had the pleasure of going to AMC theaters to watch “Inglorious Basterds” and was not shocked to see television commercials being played before the movie previews. The first one was for Starburst and I have to admit, it was entertaining and funny, so I gave them a hearty thumbs up. The next two were pretty lame, which led me to direct my displeasure at both AMC and the advertisers. I say if you’re going to shove advertisements in front of unsuspecting faces, you’d better at least give your audience something more than a sales pitch. But I suspect that television commercials running before movie trailers will become the norm unless people start to complain about them, or ignore them. In regard to the micro-videos, Clickz says this may be a moment in history akin to the old VW lemon ad that supposedly marked a change in how advertising agencies got their message across to the masses. According to Clickz,  “We can start sprinkling interactive experiences all over the place.” I say, please don’t! We already have enough “sprinkling” of advertising out there. In fact, so much so sometimes I even step in it. Outdoor media companies like Clearchannel and CBS have a networks of digital billboards all over Los Angeles. Drivers and pedestrians rubberneck to see the scrolling ads that flash full color messages even in the light of day. Digital billboards are not new, but they are novel. Now, you can expect to see a proliferation of next-generation media coming at a (fill in the blank) near you. Will this mark a new era of in-your-face advertising? Or will it be accepted as the norm as advertisers continue to find innovative ways to get advertising messages in front of you? I believe it will depend not on the vehicles (billboards, in-print videos, etc.) but on how entertaining or interesting the ads are and if viewers get some kind of value out of them. Will advertisers give viewers something to ignore, or will they offer up something of interest? If advertisers want to continue their conquest of innovative media, I would suggest they focus on the latter.

Video marketing. Not so different than article marketing.

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Article marketing involves writing informative articles that engage and inform your target audience, then distributing them out to the world over multiple media outlets including both print and online publishing. Online publishing alone offers a whole slew of article directories. Some of the top article directories are ezinearticles, Buzzle, and The Phantom Writers, but there are literally hundreds more. Getting your articles out to as many media outlets as possible means the chances of your articles being read are more likely and the chances of track backs to your site are also more likely.

So what do you do when you want to distribute a video? Well, there’s YouTube of course. But to get the most bang for your buck, you have lots of other options at your disposal. If you want to enhance Search Engine Optimization for your site or blog, consider more than just Youtube. Below is a list of video to use the next time you want to distribute your next videos online.

1. Blip.tv
In a recent blog post I discuss how blip.tv offers distribution across multiple channels, including TiVo. You’ll find a lot of indie-type entertainment and videos on this site and they like videos that come in a series bundle. So if you have a one-off, this may not be the best route to go.

2. Flikr
Everyone knows Flickr is a great way to share your photos with the people that matter to you. But did you know that you can do the same with videos? For more on Flckr, take the Flickr tour .

3. Hulu

I have posted about Hulu before. Hulu is well-known for professionally filmed content or content that already has a following. However, Hulu also caters to the little guy by offering widgets and player embeds. For more on  different Hulu distribution options, click here.

4. Photobucket
Photobucket is similar to Flickr. You can share both videos and photos here. What I like about Photobucket is you can search videos by most popular, newest, most viewed and most commented. The “Most popular right now” functionality keeps me coming back for more.

5. Trueveo
Truveo is one of the largest video search distribution networks, reaching roughly over 40 million unique visitors a month. If your video is already on the Internet, you can submit it via an RSS feed. If your video isn’t already on the Internet, you can upload it via AOL Video. Either way, Trueveo is one monster of a video portal.
6. Viddler
Viddler is both for the novice and for the savvy video marketer. Viddler offers powerful integration if you want to brand your video with your company voice. For example, you can add your logo to their player, change the player’s color to fit your company’s color scheme, and even have the player link back to your website when it’s embedded somewhere else on the web. You can also “time tag”    your videos with comments from other viewers.

7. Yahoo! Video
Y! Video offers both professional entertainment alongside user-created content. The cool thing about this is you get to share the stage with Television shows, movie clips, news segments and more. Pretty cool.

Remember, distribution is key if you plan on implementing a Brandcasting campaign. More than one video outlet is a good idea if you really want to get the word out on your video.

Brandcasting. Growing your brand by seeding vast digital fields. (Part 7 of 7).

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Don’t expect people to come knocking down your door just because you have a website. The bottom line is you must have products and/or services people are interested in first and foremost. No duh, right? Let’s say you know there is a demand for what you’re offering and you are ready to attract traffic to your site. This is where Brandcasting comes in. Think of Brandcasting like casting a bag of seeds across a vast field (the Internet). Each seed that is cast will need to be nourished and watered in order to grow tall enough to have a presence. But once a presence is established, you will see many iterations of your brand sprouting up for any passerby to come across. The longer you nourish the seedling, the higher and more prominent it grows.

There are lots of ways to deploy intelligent brand marketing online. We’re just scratching the surface here. I haven’t even touched on press releases, banner ad campaigns, viral videos, ppc campaigns, newsletters, affiliate programs, email marketing and a whole slew of other tools a business or an individual can apply for effective Brandcasting.

The metaphor of scattering seeds and then nourishing them is an apt one. For example, lets say one such seed is intended to grow a branded blog for your company. Having the best blog or writing the best entries doesn’t mean diddlysquat unless someone is interested enough in what you’re offering. So it is really important that you nourish your blog with quality content and engaging information and “water” your blog daily, that is, add content to it daily.  Having a good mix of seeds is helpful too. Having a multi-level marketing strategy that employs the best combination of “seeds” may be the best way attract different niche audiences. So one set of seeds may be intended to grow the company blog variety, another seed is intended to create a presence via article marketing, another seed may be intended to give your brand a video presence, and so on. Ultimately, you want the right mix of seeds to catch the attention of the right mix of customers.

Whether you do it yourself, or hire a company like Brandsplat to deploy an intelligent online branding campaign, you have to choose a strategy and remember to manage your strategy as certain milestones are met. Brandcasting can boost your company’s visibility and over time can give your brand a lasting footprint on the Internet. Just remember that it takes time to build your presence online and don’t get frustrated if you don’t see results right away. Cast those seeds, water and feed them and watch them grow your brand into one that has a healthy presence on the web. Happy farming.

This concludes my 7 part series on Brandcasting. Keep visiting for more informative updates on the power of Brandcasting.

Baby, you make me feel like marketing.

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I just came across the freaky-deakiest viral video for Evian water. It’s a YouTube baby thriller that has garnered over 3 million views in a week. But this is no ordinary viral video shot on a mini cam in the basement of some kids house. It’s a slicker-than-slick special effects spot directed by Michael Gracey and Pete Commins of production company Partizan.  According to an Evian press release, the campaign is “Bursting with an infectious energy and love of life, the new ads portray lively, happy babies roller break-dancing to a remix of the hit Rapper’s Delight by hip-hop producer Dan the Automator, connecting consumers to their inner youth.” Wow, it sounds like they pilfered a creative brief to get that quote. The new campaign may be the future of viral video in that it costs big bucks,  has a multi-level marketing effort supporting it and a fresh new tagline. While Evian waxes on and on justifying the use of babies to exemplify youth, let’s be honest, everyone knows that using babies in a commercial is a kick-ass way to get a brand noticed. In fact, Super Bowl commercials are notoriously known as breeding grounds for baby entertainers. There are other things that work for branding as well: wrestling bikini babes, fat guys and monkeys are among the tried and true. But babies are a favorite around the world to be sure. Mix that up with professional content and excellent editing and you got yourself the potential to create the kind of buzz that reverberates all the way to the Himalayas.