October 22, 2017

Digital Domain: Apps Help Find Online Workers Quickly

These services have a drawback, however: the work is not done in real time. Workers pick up the tasks that interest them and for which they are qualified, but as independent contractors they work on their own schedules.

Computer science researchers have been trying to build systems that summon online workers on demand and produce immediate results. Much initial work has focused on completing tasks for people with disabilities, because that is where the need is great. For example, a blind person may need to identify the contents of a can from a kitchen cupboard right now, not later. A deaf college student may want to follow the give-and-take of a seminar discussion as it unfolds in the classroom, and not wait to read a transcript the next day.

VizWiz, a free iPhone app developed by Jeffrey P. Bigham of the University of Rochester and colleagues in its Human Computer Interaction program, gives real-time help to blind users.

VizWiz users take a photograph as best as they can — it may take several tries before the desired object is properly framed — and then record one question about it (“What is on the label of the can?”). Besides needing help identifying food labels, they may want to know the denomination of paper currency, say, or whether a baby’s head shows signs of a rash.

In the app’s first version, the picture and the recorded question were sent to several contractors at Mechanical Turk, to be answered for a tiny fee paid by the Rochester researchers. (More than one person can answer the same question, to ensure accuracy.) The current version offers additional options, like free “friendsourcing” of the question to the user’s Facebook friends, Twitter followers or a particular e-mail correspondent. Professor Bigham says that so far, the service has answered about 60,000 questions from 6,000 users.

FOR a typical Mechanical Turk request, it may take a few minutes, hours or days before a worker picks up the request. VizWiz helps blind users achieve real-time help by going into action as soon they alert the service that they’re preparing to take a picture. While the photograph is being shot, VizWiz posts the assignment on Mechanical Turk. If workers come online to help, but the picture isn’t yet ready, the software keeps them busy identifying archived photos. That way, they are at the ready when the real photo appears.

The crowd turns out to be a superior source of aid, compared with one’s social network, in the opinion of recently surveyed VizWiz users. As one respondent said, “When I need something identified like a can or TV dinner I am going to use it now, not whenever my friends get around to telling me what it is. :)”

Another smartphone app developed at Rochester, called Scribe, helps the deaf and hearing-impaired. With the app, users send an audio stream to many workers who provide real-time transcription. No single unskilled worker could transcribe all of the words in a live stream — only highly trained transcribers with special equipment can do that. But the software makes it possible to achieve the same results by coordinating a group of six or seven amateurs.

The software feeds the stream to each member of the crowd, but parts of it are, in effect, assigned to different people by slowing down short passages, making them easier to transcribe. Each worker transcribes the highlighted portion, and then the Scribe software stitches together the various pieces.

Computer scientists at M.I.T. have developed a “retainer model” for Turkers who need to be recruited before requests come in. Instead of keeping workers in a holding pattern with make-work, their software pays workers to remain on standby until a real request arrives on their screen.

As the researchers hone their technology and techniques, real-time help may expand to other uses. For example, an online crowd could help edit an e-mail draft, supply feedback about changes to a Web site, or do bilingual interpretation — all without delay. And researchers are now experimenting with a live video feed in VizWiz in place of individual photos.

As in most every other part of life, so it is in gaining the help of the crowd: no form of gratification beats instant.

Randall Stross is an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University. E-mail: stross@nytimes.com.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/technology/apps-help-find-online-workers-quickly.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Clues Emerge About Twitter’s Music Feature

Twitter is an online service where millions of people go to chat. Now the company behind it is hoping that it will also be where they go to find new music.

Twitter is introducing a music feature that is expected to use the listening habits of users’ friends and contacts to recommend music for them to listen to, giving its more than 200 million users more to send tweets about and another reason to stay logged in. But exactly what form the music service will take is unclear.

On Friday, Twitter set up a page on the Web that was blank except for the company’s silhouetted bird logo, “#music” and a sign-in tab that, when clicked, asked users to give a trending music application access to their account. The wording of the page changed slightly throughout the day, but it described an application that could scan users’ Twitter feeds, update their profiles and even post tweets, suggesting an ability to alert users about the music their friends were listening to.

Another clue to the service is Twitter’s acquisition of We Are Hunted, which recommends new music based on social media conversation. After weeks of rumors, Twitter announced on Thursday that it had bought the company.

Shavone Charles, a spokeswoman for Twitter, declined to answer questions about the new service. Instead, she directed reporters to an announcement by We Are Hunted that it was shutting down its own site, though it would “continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team.”

Recommendations based on social media interactions have become common throughout digital media for things like restaurants and shopping. Many online music services offer these features as well. Spotify, for example, can broadcast its users’ playlists through Facebook. Twitter’s advantage, in addition to its size, may lie in the devotion of its customers.

“Music is one of the most tweeted topics,” said Ted Cohen, a former label executive who is now a consultant to digital music companies. “Discovery is critical to the growth of music, and the new gatekeeper is recommendations from trusted sources.”

Technology sites (and Twitter) were full of speculation on Friday about what the service would offer and how it would be opened and marketed. AllThingsD, a technology news site, reported late Thursday that the Twitter service might be introduced this weekend, in time for the beginning of the Coachella music festival in the Southern California desert.

But Paul Tollett, the president of Goldenvoice, the company behind Coachella, said in an e-mail on Friday that Twitter had nothing official planned with the festival.

AllThingsD also reported that the service would at first be open only to “influencers” like celebrities, and for a time on Friday, Twitter’s music page said it was “invite only.”

One of those apparent influencers was Ryan Seacrest, the “American Idol” host, who sent a pair of tweets late Thursday describing the service. It “shows what artists are trending,” he wrote, and “also has up and coming artists.”

He added: “Playing with @twitter’s new music app (yes it’s real!).”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/business/media/clues-emerge-about-twitters-music-feature.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Jenna Bush Hager Is Happy Reporting for ‘Today’

As the cameras rolled, Ms. Hager fired off emotional questions about his violent childhood and his adoptive family. When the filming ended, Ms. Hager leaned across the couch and gave Mr. TerKeurst a high five.

“You’re answering too perfectly,” Ms. Hager said. “That was awesome.”

Ms. Hager, the daughter and granddaughter of former presidents who once stuck out her tongue at members of the news media and whose name used to be the punch line for late-night television show jokes about her underage-drinking citations, has officially become a member of the press.

Ms. Hager has emerged as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise difficult year for “Today,” on which she has often commented on the soft side of politics and been able to burnish her own family’s reputation. Unlike other correspondents, she is frequently invited to the show’s couch, where she shows off her sometimes offbeat sensibility. (She recently confessed on air that she dreamed that her unborn child was a cat.)

And she has expanded into print and social media. She wrote a young adult novel, “Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope,” and in November she became an editor at large at Southern Living magazine, sharing holiday decorating tips. “People really respond to her because she is so real and she is so approachable,” said Lindsay Bierman, Southern Living’s editor.

Ms. Hager runs a blog called The Novo Project that links to her Southern Living posts. She is a regular presence on Twitter, posting snapshots of her cat; assuring her mother, Laura Bush, that she is not skiing while pregnant; and talking about the fatherhood fears of her husband, Henry, who works for a private equity firm. (Comments she has made on “Today” indicate that she’s in her ninth month.)

“If you had asked me in college, was I going to do the job I’m doing now, I would say, ‘Absolutely not,’ ” Ms. Hager acknowledged as she sat on the deck of the TerKeurst home on a warm early spring afternoon, nibbling on a lunch of Mexican food. “Because I’ve been interviewed so much and because I was the subject, I think I have a sensitivity.”

(Mr. TerKeurst, who noted that Ms. Hager invited him to feel a kick from her baby, said: “I knew who George Bush was, but I didn’t know who Jenna Bush was. She’s more down to earth than I thought she would be.”)

While fame may have given Ms. Hager that sensitivity, it has also given her a huge leg up in starting at the top of the ranks of daytime television. While Ms. Hager’s original arrangement with “Today” mirrors those of other political daughters turned TV contributors, like Chelsea Clinton (on NBC) and Meghan McCain (on MSNBC), she has so far appeared more often than the others, producing several segments a month.

Like other political offspring, Ms. Hager has been able to use her media job to recast the image of her immediate and extended family.

Her “Ganny,” Barbara Bush, is presented as a mother who lost a daughter, Robin, to illness at the age of 3. Her “Gampy,” George H. W. Bush, is a prolific letter writer who sent love notes to his wife. Her father, George W. Bush, is her cat sitter, an impatiently expectant grandfather and a baby nursery decorator. (He’s contributed a portrait of her cat that he painted.) Her Southern Living reports present her mother as the consummate entertaining expert, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a football fan.

Matt Lauer, the “Today” host, interviewed her on election night about the pressures political families face. In December she produced a special about holidays at the White House.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/arts/television/jenna-bush-hager-is-happy-reporting-for-today.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

TBS Extends Conan O’Brien’s Contract Into 2015

One place where late-night programming is facing no tension or instability is the cable channel TBS, which announced Monday that it had extended the contract of its signature star, Conan O’Brien, until November 2015.

The news comes, perhaps fittingly, as Mr. O’Brien is set to produce a week of shows from Atlanta, which is the home base of TBS.

While his old network, NBC, is in the midst of the latest late-night upheaval, trying to smooth a transition from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon at “The Tonight Show,” TBS is promoting Mr. O’Brien’s success with young viewers. The network notes that his audience has the youngest median age in late-night television, 39.7 for this television season. By contrast, Mr. Leno’s is 58.1 and Mr. Fallon’s is 53.3.

TBS also emphasized Mr. O’Brien’s reach on the Internet, claiming that his show leads late-night entertainment in online activity and engagement, with 8.3 million followers on Twitter and two million on Facebook.

Over all, Mr. O’Brien’s show attracts a little more than 900,000 viewers and averages just under 600,000 viewers in the 18-to-49-year-old category, which defines much of the success in late night.

TBS said that Mr. O’Brien’s real strength lay in the lower segment of that age group, those between 18 and 34, where he has more viewers than Mr. Fallon. (In fairness, his show also starts 90 minutes earlier than Mr. Fallon’s.)

Because TBS has yet to have a real star in prime time — virtually all its success is based on reruns of sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory” — Mr. O’Brien has become the standout individual face of the network. So it is all the more important for TBS to lock Mr. O’Brien in for another two-plus years.

That also means he would not be on the market when other late-night changes might take place at any other network (CBS for example), though whether Mr. O’Brien would ever seek to return to the more cutthroat world of late-night network television is certainly open to question.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/business/media/tbs-extends-conan-obriens-contract-into-2015.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Advertising: Ads That Speak the Language of Social Media

The language of social media — “fans,” “friend request,” “like,” “social network” and, yes, “status update” — is increasingly appearing in advertising, whether or not those ads are running in social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Such ads are also increasingly being aimed at mainstream consumers, not just the younger consumers who were the early adopters of social media.

The appropriation of the trappings of social media for marketing purposes is an example of a tactic known as borrowed interest, by which brands seek to associate themselves with elements of popular culture that are pervasive enough to be familiar to the proverbial everybody. Social media’s new starring role in product pitches signals that agencies and advertisers believe they are sufficiently prevalent to refer to without producing puzzled reactions.

“We were using social media in our ads because it’s so understandable,” said Bridgett Judd, group director for strategic innovation at the Los Angeles office of Saatchi Saatchi, part of the Publicis Groupe, describing a campaign for the Toyota Venza crossover. The campaign was centered on “the redefinition of ‘social’ and socializing” by parents and their adult offspring and how “there are two ways to look at a social life.”

A print ad in the campaign carried this headline: “My mom hasn’t accepted my friend request yet. What could she possibly be doing?” The answer: driving in her Venza to meet friends — the nonvirtual kind — for a day riding bicycles.

“Like most things we do in our business, it started from a strategic place,” said John Carney, executive vice president and managing director for account operations at the Buntin Group in Nashville. Buntin ran a campaign last year centered on social media for the Chinet line of paper plates sold by Huhtamaki North America.

“We were studying a lot of secondary research and looking at our own lives,” Mr. Carney said, and decided that “the widespread adoption of technology and social media” could be grist for the ads, which called Chinet “the official plate of logging on to something truly social.”

The campaign resonated well enough, said Paul Huckins, vice president for the retail division at Huhtamaki North America in De Soto, Kan., that it is being expanded to embrace all Chinet products with ads, scheduled to begin in May, carrying the theme “You’re invited.”

Other examples of the trend include these:

¶ Ads for Snickers Peanut Butter Squared candy, sold by Mars, that depict the word “like” and a thumbs-up symbol evocative of Facebook above a competitor’s product; the word “love” and a heart hover above the Snickers candy. “If you like peanut butter and chocolate,” the ads assert, “you’ll love peanut butter and Snickers.”

¶ Ads for the cosmetics retailer Sephora, addressed to “a busy networker,” that promote BB (beauty balm) creams as “your new must-have status update: They prime, hydrate, treat, protect and perfect.”

¶ Ads for Chock full o’Nuts coffee, sold by Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, that carry the words “social network” above a black-and-white photograph of a kaffeeklatsch during the “Mad Men” era.

¶ Ads for Martha White baking mixes, sold by J.M. Smucker, carrying headlines that include “Finally, something worthy of a status update” and “Double your ‘friend’ list in just 15 minutes.”

In many instances, ads that take social media tacks try to make statements about socializing online versus socializing in real life. For instance, a print ad for the Silverado half-ton pickup sold by the Chevrolet division of General Motors shows a man seated in the truck bed with his dog. “Not every friend is on Facebook,” the headline declares.

An ad for Bud Light Platinum, from the Anheuser-Busch division of Anheuser-Busch InBev, proclaims that it is the beer for “your real life social network.”

And, in a television version of the Toyota Venza print ad, a young woman bemoans how, although she was “really aggressive with my parents about joining Facebook,” they have only 19 friends to her 687. The commercial contrasts her sitting indoors, looking at puppy pictures on her laptop, with her parents’ meeting their nonvirtual friends to spend a day outdoors.

“I don’t think we were mocking social media,” said Ms. Judd of Saatchi Saatchi. “We were saying the Venza takes you places and brings you closer to other people, kind of the way social media do.”

Likewise, Mr. Huckins at Huhtamaki said he did not want to “take a shot at social media” in the Chinet ads, which carry headlines like “Here’s another way of instant messaging friends — invite them over.”

Rather, he said, the intent was to “re-emphasize that real human connections are made one-on-one, face to face,” at gatherings in the real world that may include Chinet products.

It is important, said Patrick Short, a partner and creative director at the Charlotte, N.C., office of Eric Mower Associates, that consumers do not perceive ads about social media as “railing on digital.”

That is why, he said, he is careful to “strike a balance” when producing a campaign for the Domtar Corporation, carrying the theme “Paper because,” which includes an ad with the headline “Paper because all this social media might be making us less social.”

“If I attacked digital, social, I’d be a hypocrite,” Mr. Short said. “It’s a balance between pixels and paper. Hanging a kid’s drawing on a refrigerator may be better than trying to pin the iPad to the fridge.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/business/media/ads-that-speak-the-language-of-social-media.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Greek Yogurt Touts Appeal of the ‘Real’ Thing

Chobani, the Greek yogurt brand that has enjoyed explosive growth, is opening wide its corporate wallet to rapidly expand a marketing initiative that began last month during the ABC broadcast of the Academy Awards.

The initiative, which carries the theme “Go real,” is expanding into realms that include print and digital advertisements; the brand’s Web site, chobani.com; and social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Chobani will spend about $30 million in the next eight to 10 weeks on the initiative, said Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani who is the company’s president and chief executive. One goal of the initiative is to promote Chobani as a “simple, pure food,” he added, and demonstrate that it is possible for a food maker to “leave food alone” and “keep it simple, keep it real.”

There is another goal, according to Mr. Ulukaya: to compare Chobani with the increasing number of Greek yogurt brands that are being introduced as Americans take to the product.

“A lot of people are coming into the category,” he said, “and we want consumers to understand what real Greek yogurt is” – i.e., Chobani.

By using the word “real” as a synonym for Chobani, the ads can go after the other Greek yogurts – as well as regular, non-Greek yogurts — without seeming too negative or like a political attack ad. Take, for instance, this headline: “Real is crafted, authentic and simple. Just like yogurt should be.”

Other examples include ads with headlines like these: “Real gives regular yogurts protein envy,” “Real is more filling, less filler” and “Real makes simple ingredients taste simply indulgent.”

In social media, consumers are invited to use a hashtag for posts on Twitter, #tastereal, and “share your first taste of real” with friends and family.

The social media aspects of the campaign are being handled by Big Spaceship, an agency in Brooklyn. Boathouse, an agency in Boston, recently became the creative agency for Chobani, replacing the New York office of Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe.

“Chobani is not a company that talks at the customer,” said John Connors, chief executive at Boathouse. “It’s a conversation.”

The conversation includes letters, posts in social media, e-mails, photographs and other such communication from customers, Mr. Connors said, adding that the “Go real” theme was inspired by those messages. To reinforce the theme, he said, actual Chobani customers are appearing in the ads.

When Mr. Ulukaya discussed the casting, he declared the ads feature “real people, all of them.”

“Real horses and real dogs,” he added, laughing.

Chobani is by far the No. 1 brand in the Greek yogurt subset of the yogurt market, with more than twice the market share of the No. 2 brand, Dannon Greek yogurt.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/greek-yogurt-touts-appeal-of-the-real-thing/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Bits Blog: Marissa Mayer Puts Her Stamp on Yahoo.com

8:39 a.m. | Updated On Wednesday, Yahoo introduced a fresh new home page with Marissa Mayer’s stamp all over it.

Yahoo’s home page has long been a sort of sad reflection of the company. A jazzed-up Craigslist of sorts, the site was often cluttered with low-quality ads and irrelevant content and in no way reflected the fact that Yahoo is one of the most visited sites on the Web. With more than 700 million monthly visitors, Yahoo is still a leading source of information for sports, finance and entertainment.

Ms. Mayer took the reins as Yahoo’s chief executive last July. Before that she was a long-time executive at Google, where she was widely credited with the simple look of the Google search page. Now she seeks to apply that same, clean aesthetic to one of the most chaotic sites on the Web.

In an interview Tuesday, Ms. Mayer said she wanted to make Yahoo’s site “fresh and dynamic and add an element of surprise and serendipity.”

Gone are the low-quality ads. She has added an infinite, Twitter-like news feed and a stream of content recommended by users’ Facebook friends. Instead of trying to jam every Yahoo feature onto the site, the new design gives special prominence to Yahoo’s most popular Web properties: Yahoo’s e-mail and news service, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, its movie listing site and OMG, its popular entertainment site.

Users can now easily share content they see on the home page via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook with one click. They also have limited ability to customize the site to their liking. They can turn off home page features like horoscopes, stock quotes and sports stats. Ms. Mayer pointed out that the more items users switch on and off, the smarter the Yahoo algorithm gets and the more relevant content Yahoo will serve up.

Yahoo’s redesigned home page is the third major aesthetic improvement Ms. Mayer has introduced since joining the company. In December, she redesigned Yahoo’s e-mail service and its once-popular photo-sharing service Flickr.

In the interview, Ms. Mayer said these would be the “first of many releases” and she would turn her focus to a dozen or more Yahoo products. Her next priority for the home page, she said, will be adding content sources. In December, Yahoo signed three deals, with CBS Television, NBC Sports and ABC News. In each case, the media companies will work with Yahoo to promote each other’s content and produce original video content for the Web.

“We’re introducing a new way to welcome people to Yahoo,” Ms. Mayer said.

But it’s more than aesthetics. Ms. Mayer is betting that the renewed focus on Yahoo’s products will turn around the company’s ailing display ad revenue. Yahoo, once the biggest seller of display ads in the United States, went from a leading 15.5 percent share of all digital ad revenues in the United States in 2009, to an 8.4 percent share last year, even as total digital ad spending grew, according to eMarketer. Meanwhile, its competitor, Google, increased its share to 41 percent.

Last month, she told analysts, “More personalized content and increased product innovation will be key to getting us back to the path for display revenue growth.”

Article source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/marissa-mayer-puts-her-stamp-on-yahoo-com/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Advertising: Nascar Drivers Speak Up to Attract Next Generation of Fans

But all that was halted — and even reversed — by a brutal one-two punch from the recession and changing demographic trends. The economic recovery, sluggish as it has been, is helping Nascar on the financial front. But there remains a crucial issue: attracting the next generation of fans, adding to the existing loyal base — primarily older, rural white men — people who are younger, urban and multicultural.

Nascar has been working since 2009 on plans to stimulate long-term growth, which involved studies, focus groups and a change in advertising agencies. The longtime incumbent, the Jump Company in St. Louis, was replaced in July by a Madison Avenue giant, Ogilvy Mather Worldwide, known for sophisticated work for blue-chip brands like American Express, Dove and I.B.M.

“I don’t think people saw that coming,” Kim Brink, managing director for brand, consumer and series marketing at Nascar, said of the choice.

Nascar is not as far afield for Ogilvy Mather as it might have seemed, said John Seifert, chairman and chief executive at Ogilvy Mather North America, because it is “an iconic brand, bigger than a sport,” as well as “a client who wants to transform itself and not be irrelevant in the future.”

Since the selection, Ms. Brink said, the agency’s flagship New York office has been developing “a new brand direction and a new creative platform” for Nascar, which are to include commercials in Spanish and more emphasis on Nascar’s online offerings like nascar.com and the 2013 edition of Fantasy Nascar.

The initiative is to be formally introduced on Sunday during coverage of the Daytona 500 on Fox. Nascar drivers are to contact fans and followers this week in social media like Facebook and Twitter to alert them the effort is coming.

Creating the ads “was unbelievable fun,” Mr. Seifert said. “We did everything short of bringing a Nascar in, which we plan to do in a week or two.”

That feeling comes through in the initial elements like television commercials presenting drivers in larger-than-life poses. They deliver brief, emotional comments directly to the camera, often finishing one another’s sentences.

For instance, in a spot called “Rivals,” Brad Keselowski says, “In order to finish first …” The thought is completed by Clint Bowyer, who declares, “ … somebody’s got to finish second.” Kasey Kahne chimes in, “I hate second.”

The spot finishes with Jimmie Johnson saying, “Love your rivals …” and Mr. Keselowski concluding, “ … ’cause you need someone to beat.”

In a commercial called “We Are,” the drivers offer pithy phrases that are meant to pique interest in their personalities. “We are mad scientists,” says Kevin Harvick, who is followed by Austin Dillon asserting, “We’re outlaws turned heroes”; Matt Kenseth saying, “We’re part athlete”; Ty Dillon declaring, “Part astronaut”; and Carl Edwards stating, “And all show-off.”

The commercial ends with Juan Pablo Montoya describing Nascar as “the loudest party on earth.” Mr. Harvick says, “We live on the corner …” and Mr. Edwards completes the thought with “ … of Mayhem and Main.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets the last word: “Where anything can happen. And usually does.”

A version of “We Are” in Spanish features Mr. Montoya, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Some comments they make echo those made by the drivers in the English-language version. And some remarks are original to their spot, as when Mr. Montoya calls Nascar drivers “gladiators on asphalt” and says, “And although we are from different nations, we all share the same flag” — i.e., a racing flag.

There are, all told, 43 drivers appearing in the first stages of the campaign. They are the stars, said Terry Finley, senior partner and group creative director at Ogilvy Mather New York, because “the way into the sport is the driver.”

The goal is to draw “a new line in the sand, if you will,” he added, and counter stereotypes about drivers as “dumb rednecks.” To underscore that, one commercial, titled “Chess,” compares the strategies of drivers to moves by chess players.

Another goal is to infuse the campaign with “authenticity,” Mr. Finley said, through touches like interspersing archival film amid moments from contemporary races and including in “Rivals” a pair of famous long-ago competitors, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough.

Also to that end, the drivers were encouraged to deviate from the commercials’ scripts and “ad-lib a little,” said Dan Langlitz, account director at Ogilvy Mather New York, because “that’s when you get true color from them.”

Including the Spanish-language aspects of the initiative, Nascar is expected to spend more this year than in previous years on marketing in traditional, digital and social media. Nascar also receives free commercial time during the races covered by its broadcast and cable partners like Fox, Fox Deportes, ESPN, Speed and TNT.

According to the Kantar Media unit of WPP, Nascar spent $24.3 million to advertise in major media during the first nine months of last year, compared with $16.1 million in the same period of 2011. The full-year total for 2011 was $24.1 million, Kantar Media reported; ad spending totaled $22.9 million in 2010 and $40.6 million in 2009.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/business/media/nascar-drivers-speak-up-to-attract-next-generation-of-fans.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: After Cameo, Poland Spring Uncaps a Response

The phenomenon of brands reacting in real time in social media is fascinating to watch as it changes in real time.

At the moment, it seems there is growing expectation that if a product is involved in a moment in the public eye, it ought to react immediately in social media like Facebook or Twitter. But not just any reaction: it seems that the response needs to be self-deprecating and not too self-absorbed, striking a balance between silly and pompous and, above all, deemed to be timely.

When Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, reached for a bottle of Poland Spring water on Tuesday night during the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address,  social media exploded with mentions of the brand.

Many of those exclamations were humorous, but they soon took an incredulous tone when it became apparent that Poland Spring was not commenting in social media on its surprise role in the Rubio response.

In fact, an examination of the Poland Spring Twitter feed indicates that there has not been a post since July 2010.

Poland Spring — which is sold by the Nestle Waters North America division of Nestle — finally offered a comment in social media on Wednesday morning, with a post on its Facebook page.  The post was accompanied by a photograph of a bottle of Poland Spring in front of the kind of mirror a star would use in his or her dressing room.

“Reflecting on our cameo,” the post read. “What a night!”

By early Wednesday afternoon, the post had drawn more than 300 “likes” and 120 “shares.” There were also comments, which ranged from lighthearted (“Congratulations on your prime-time photobomb! Stay thirsty my friends …”) to critical (“The reflection is wrong. Who put this image together?”).

Poland Spring also provided a statement to CNBC, which CNBC shared on its Twitter feed:  “We’re glad Poland Spring was close at hand for Sen. Rubio last night at his moment of need for refreshment.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/after-cameo-poland-spring-uncaps-a-response/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Replaying Super Bowl Ads’ Effectiveness

Given that Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for advertising as well as for football, Madison Avenue waits each year after the game with bated breath for the results of the myriad analyses, polls and surveys of consumer responses to the commercials.

What follows is a roundup of some of the information and data released on Monday and Tuesday, after the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVII.

AddThis: AddThis, a data company, tracks what is called brand lift, the difference between online conversations about sponsors on Super Bowl Sunday and the online conversations about them on six previous Sundays.

The sponsor that enjoyed the largest brand lift, up 634 percent, was Anheuser-Busch, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, which was the exclusive beer sponsor of the game with six commercials. GoDaddy, with two commercials in the game, followed closely behind, with a brand lift of 626 percent.

The sponsor with the lowest brand lift was the Chrysler Group, according to AddThis, with a decline of 35 percent. That may be attributed to the fact that the company ran two commercials for its Jeep and Ram brands but none for the Chrysler brand.

Anheuser-Busch: One of the six commercials Anheuser-Busch ran was a warmly sentimental spot about a Clydesdale and its trainer. When the company offered an online preview of the commercial last week, it asked for suggestions in social media like Facebook and Twitter for a name for a foal that appears in the spot.

The name chosen, the company said, after it received more than 60,000 comments and direct messages, was Hope.

Coca-Cola: The centerpiece of the Coca-Cola Company’s Super Bowl Sunday was a promotion on a Web site, cokechase.com, where consumers could vote to determine which of three groups of thirsty characters competing for a cold Coke in the desert would win the prize. (The winners: showgirls.)

The company said the total number of fan engagements with the campaign – on the special Web site and YouTube – exceeded 11 million, more than projected. And more than 86,000 mentions of the campaign were tracked in social media like Twitter.

The commercial that ran after the game ended on Sunday night, revealing the showgirls’ victory, will be repeated on Wednesday and Thursday on Fox during “American Idol,” which Coca-Cola sponsors. An additional commercial, featuring a character named Vincent who originally had only a small part in the campaign, is to be shown on cable channels this week, the company said.

Dachis Group: The Budweiser commercial about the Clydesdale finished first among the Super Bowl spots in so-called content virality, according to data from the Dachis Group, which specializes in social marketing. That spot generated 310,000 “likes” and shares in social media, the company said, about double the second-place finisher, the Bud Light brand also sold by Anheuser-Busch.

The game sponsor with the most positive conversations in social media, the Dachis Group said, was Pepsi-Cola, attributing that to the brand’s sponsorship of the halftime show. The game sponsor with the most negative conversations, the company said, was GoDaddy, attributing that to the first of the brand’s two commercials in the game, which featured a lengthy kiss between the supermodel Bar Refaeli and an actor, Jesse Heiman, portraying a nerd.

(GoDaddy said in a statement that it was pleased with the response to both its commercials because Monday was the “biggest sales day in company history” – “not just in relation to the Super Bowl” but the “biggest ever.”)

Kantar Media: The highest-rated commercial, according to data from the Kantar Media division of WPP, was not from a marketer but rather from CBS, the network that broadcast the game.

The commercial, promoting the CBS series “Person of Interest,” came at 10:31 p.m., at the two-minute warning at the end of the game. (That was also the case for the highest-rated commercial in the Kantar Media data for the Super Bowl last year.)

CBS ran 42 promotions during Super Bowl XLVII, Kantar Media reported; the network broadcasting the game always includes a hefty load of spots to promote its own shows.

The highest-rated commercial from a marketer, according to Kantar Media, was for Samsung Mobile, which ran just before the “Person of Interest” promotion, at 10:29 p.m.

Frank N. Magid Associates: The company teamed with React Labs on Sunday night for what it calls its Magid Advertising Performance research, asking consumers which commercials engaged them and generated buying intent.

The top commercial in the game, according to Magid, was the Budweiser spot, and the bottom commercial was one of two for Subway, which promoted a special “February” sandwich sale.

TiVo: The TiVo Research and Analytics division of TiVo, the digital video recorder company, said that a commercial for Taco Bell was the “most engaging” of the game, according to its data, compiled in 30,000 households with TiVo service.

The most engaging moment in the Super Bowl, however, was a play in the game (the final whistle) rather than a commercial, TiVo reported. In some previous years, a commercial turned out to be played back more in TiVo households being surveyed than any part of the game.

Visible Measures: According to the True Reach data from Visible Measures – gauging the performance of video clips released by Super Bowl sponsors as well as clips uploaded by consumers across the Web – the most-watched commercial of Super Bowl XLVII was a spot for the Toyota RAV4 featuring the comedian Kaley Cuoco as a modern-day genie with an attitude.

The Toyota RAV4 video had 16.3 million True Reach views as of Monday, Visible Measures reported, more than 4 million views ahead of No. 2, a commercial for the new Mercedes-Benz CLA that featured Willem Dafoe, Usher and Kate Upton.

The ranking of the top videos on the Visible Measures list may change, the company said, because about half the overall views for Super Bowl spots take place after the game. Last year, when there were more than 400 million total video views, more than 180 million took place through the Thursday after the game.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/replaying-super-bowl-ads-effectiveness/?partner=rss&emc=rss