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January 20, 20112 Comments

on: content creation

Content used to be a passive consumption experience, when it's well done, its the beginning of a conversation.  When you have the right conversation you can renegotiate the relationship between art, media, advertising and people.

on: content creation via @jpenabickley

October 1, 2007No Comments

ON: Amazon’s First Swipe at iTunes

Picture_1

If you're into Digital Rights Manegment-free (DRM Free) music, you have a reason to get pretty excited today. As speculated by engadget, Amazon
has launched the public beta of its new digital music portal called
Amazon MP3, which will feature two million songs from 180,000 artists
and 20,000 labels, all without the painful and annoying restrictions of
DRM. The reality is that this should make your music more portable. Again!

The press release claims that the site, will include EMI and
Universal tracks as well as will make separate songs available
for $.89 or $.99, and boasts that all of the "top 100" tracks will be
priced at the former, lower amount. Albums will range in cost from
$5.99 to $9.99, with the best selling albums coming in at $8.99. Of
course, since there's no DRM, users are free to throw the 256Kbps MP3s
on any player they like, as well as burn CDs, copy to MiniDisc, and for those of you you who want it old-school you can
dump your tunes to 8-track.

ON: Amazon’s First Swipe at iTunes via @jpenabickley

December 7, 2006No Comments

ON:Meeting Oprah’s Product-Placement Gatekeeper

Harriet Seitler Is Where Creative Meets Business at Harpo Productions

Picture_1_16
Why you need to know her
: A brand doesn't get on "The Oprah
Winfrey Show" unless it gets by Ms. Seitler first. Having started at
Harpo in creative services, Ms. Seitler is where creative meets
business at Oprah Winfrey's production company. She has helped build
Oprah.com and has been involved in some of the show's biggest
brand-placement efforts, including a giveaway of 276 fully loaded
Pontiac G6s in 2005. Along with Ellen Rakieten, Ms. Seitler, an 11-year
vet of Harpo Productions, is taking charge of Harpo's latest
initiative, the launch of a development group to aggressively pursue TV
shows and other programming beyond "Oprah," which just entered its 21st
syndicated season.

Credentials: Ms. Seitler served as VP-marketing and creative
services at ESPN for two years before joining Harpo. Earlier in her
career, she worked for 12 years at MTV, eventually climbing the ranks
to senior VP-marketing and promotions.

Describe how you work with brands. "We are not primarily in the
sales business. When we go out to work with sponsors, it's to
accomplish a creative end. We aren't just inviting all pitches. We have
built a number of really good relationships, and many of them were
built online first. Where there are opportunities and a brand wants to
do something exceptional, and we've already built a great relationship
with [the brand], we might bring [it] into the show for this wonderful
experience. Those are the people we work most closely with because
those are the relationships we have."

How big is your sales staff? "We have four sales people for Oprah.com and a small sales support team."

That's a pretty small staff. How does that work? "The sales
people in place are well-rounded enough and can think creatively enough
in terms of the bigger opportunities. We hope to be small and smart and
have an impactful voice. The partner opportunities that have bubbled up
within the 'Oprah' show environment are fairly unique and pretty
special. We feel like the partners we work with are really special
people because they go with the flow and help us make our show better."

How do you want to be approached? "I think we have good
relationships with many of the brands that are out there that share our
values, and I think we would want to be approached on a values basis.
It's a question of shared philosophy and shared values and shared
creative vision."

What are some of the brand integrations you are most proud of?
"The high-school essay contest around the novel "Night," by Eli Wiesel,
sponsored by AT&T. We were going to go way above and beyond the
show budget by doing a field shoot at Auschwitz with Wiesel and flying
all 50 contest winners to the show to participate and give them a
scholarship. Each winner received a $10,000 scholarship, with $5,000
coming from AT&T and Oprah matching with $5,000. AT&T was very
generous in helping to support the program, and it was an elegant
execution. ... The feedback from [the marketer] is that among many of
their 26,000 employees, this was the most proud moment they had working
at AT&T."

Explain how Harpo works with brands across its multiple platforms, from the magazine to online to the show.
"We tend to work in an organic way with people. There are advertisers
and brands who value what Oprah is about. They will pursue
participating with the Oprah brand in lots of the different platforms.
Sooner or later, those roads come together where one enhances the
other. There aren't a series of templates. We approach each
relationship personally."

What are some of the challenges of working with marketers that want to be embedded into entertainment content?
"We're really straightforward about it, and the lucky thing for us is
that we are not primarily in the sales business. We are very much about
finding the right kind of fit with brands who share our vision and our
voice and are willing to take the leap of faith. The biggest challenge
is to find partners who trust themselves and trust us well enough to
close their eyes and jump. We don't tend to look at opportunities from
a media value point of view."

Is it hard for some brands to measure the impact of integration deals on the show? "We say our measure comes from intangibles. It is hard to quantify and to measure the value of what we do."

What are some of the best brand-integration deals you've worked on for the 'Oprah' show?
"We love our relationship with Dove and with Target. Target has done
everything from being an annual sponsor to working with us as partners
on the Oscars to helping us provide goods for our homes we built in
Houston. We work with them on many levels and we love working with
them. And with Dove, Oprah is very aligned with what they are doing. We
had the Dove girls on a few times, and we will do more with the new
campaign that is coming out."

Where do the integration ideas come from? "Almost 100% of the
ideas come from us. It's not to say we are not influenced by ideas. But
we are in the business of doing 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.' When there is
a need to go out in the marketplace and to have someone enhance the
show, we will. That's not to say we aren't open to ideas. It's just not
what our creative process is."

How has brand integration on the show changed since you came on board in 1995?
"I think we have a bigger view of it, doing it more carefully and with
greater creative scope and elegance rather than doing it on a
producer-by-producer one-off plug basis. Today there are fewer deals
but bigger partnerships that have more of an impact."

How do you think it will evolve over the next 10 years or so? "I
think that our hope is to have reached a level of finesse and
effectiveness and elegance so that it continues to have a premium value
and a premium impact. Our intention is not to grow this thing in terms
of volume but to continue to be able to partner with people in exciting
and elegant ways so they therefore work for our partners. To the degree
that multiple platforms continue to have an impact on media and
consumers, we have to have a presence in many different kinds of
platforms, and hopefully we will be able to create value for our
partners in many different kinds of platforms. We are primarily a TV
company, but the world is not just a television world."

Who has the final word on what makes it onto the show? "It's is
absolutely the senior creative team of the show -- and I work very
closely with the executive producers of the show, and ultimately it's
Oprah. Nothing of that scope is going to happen on the 'Oprah' show
unless she is comfortable."

How do you price the value of integration deals? "We have a
sense of what the marketplace is for being included in TV shows. We
think being included in any way on the 'Oprah' show has extraordinary
value. A lot of times we look at what are the needs of the show and
what are the premium values we can provide for an integration presence
for a product. We are not really in it as a profit center; we are in it
to fulfill a creative goal."

How do you define branded entertainment? "We do entertainment
and to the degree we can make it better and bigger by having a brand
participate, that's what's in it for us. It's entertainment first."

What's on your TiVo? "I watch the 'Oprah' show every night. I
love Jon Stewart, 'Grey's Anatomy,' and my daughter loves 'Project
Runway,' which we watch together all the time."

What's on your iPod? "Heavy jazz."

What do you do in your downtime? "I hang with family, my two children and husband."

ON:Meeting Oprah’s Product-Placement Gatekeeper via @jpenabickley

December 7, 2006No Comments

ON:Meeting Oprah’s Product-Placement Gatekeeper

Harriet Seitler Is Where Creative Meets Business at Harpo Productions

Picture_1_16
Why you need to know her
: A brand doesn't get on "The Oprah
Winfrey Show" unless it gets by Ms. Seitler first. Having started at
Harpo in creative services, Ms. Seitler is where creative meets
business at Oprah Winfrey's production company. She has helped build
Oprah.com and has been involved in some of the show's biggest
brand-placement efforts, including a giveaway of 276 fully loaded
Pontiac G6s in 2005. Along with Ellen Rakieten, Ms. Seitler, an 11-year
vet of Harpo Productions, is taking charge of Harpo's latest
initiative, the launch of a development group to aggressively pursue TV
shows and other programming beyond "Oprah," which just entered its 21st
syndicated season.

Credentials: Ms. Seitler served as VP-marketing and creative
services at ESPN for two years before joining Harpo. Earlier in her
career, she worked for 12 years at MTV, eventually climbing the ranks
to senior VP-marketing and promotions.

Describe how you work with brands. "We are not primarily in the
sales business. When we go out to work with sponsors, it's to
accomplish a creative end. We aren't just inviting all pitches. We have
built a number of really good relationships, and many of them were
built online first. Where there are opportunities and a brand wants to
do something exceptional, and we've already built a great relationship
with [the brand], we might bring [it] into the show for this wonderful
experience. Those are the people we work most closely with because
those are the relationships we have."

How big is your sales staff? "We have four sales people for Oprah.com and a small sales support team."

That's a pretty small staff. How does that work? "The sales
people in place are well-rounded enough and can think creatively enough
in terms of the bigger opportunities. We hope to be small and smart and
have an impactful voice. The partner opportunities that have bubbled up
within the 'Oprah' show environment are fairly unique and pretty
special. We feel like the partners we work with are really special
people because they go with the flow and help us make our show better."

How do you want to be approached? "I think we have good
relationships with many of the brands that are out there that share our
values, and I think we would want to be approached on a values basis.
It's a question of shared philosophy and shared values and shared
creative vision."

What are some of the brand integrations you are most proud of?
"The high-school essay contest around the novel "Night," by Eli Wiesel,
sponsored by AT&T. We were going to go way above and beyond the
show budget by doing a field shoot at Auschwitz with Wiesel and flying
all 50 contest winners to the show to participate and give them a
scholarship. Each winner received a $10,000 scholarship, with $5,000
coming from AT&T and Oprah matching with $5,000. AT&T was very
generous in helping to support the program, and it was an elegant
execution. ... The feedback from [the marketer] is that among many of
their 26,000 employees, this was the most proud moment they had working
at AT&T."

Explain how Harpo works with brands across its multiple platforms, from the magazine to online to the show.
"We tend to work in an organic way with people. There are advertisers
and brands who value what Oprah is about. They will pursue
participating with the Oprah brand in lots of the different platforms.
Sooner or later, those roads come together where one enhances the
other. There aren't a series of templates. We approach each
relationship personally."

What are some of the challenges of working with marketers that want to be embedded into entertainment content?
"We're really straightforward about it, and the lucky thing for us is
that we are not primarily in the sales business. We are very much about
finding the right kind of fit with brands who share our vision and our
voice and are willing to take the leap of faith. The biggest challenge
is to find partners who trust themselves and trust us well enough to
close their eyes and jump. We don't tend to look at opportunities from
a media value point of view."

Is it hard for some brands to measure the impact of integration deals on the show? "We say our measure comes from intangibles. It is hard to quantify and to measure the value of what we do."

What are some of the best brand-integration deals you've worked on for the 'Oprah' show?
"We love our relationship with Dove and with Target. Target has done
everything from being an annual sponsor to working with us as partners
on the Oscars to helping us provide goods for our homes we built in
Houston. We work with them on many levels and we love working with
them. And with Dove, Oprah is very aligned with what they are doing. We
had the Dove girls on a few times, and we will do more with the new
campaign that is coming out."

Where do the integration ideas come from? "Almost 100% of the
ideas come from us. It's not to say we are not influenced by ideas. But
we are in the business of doing 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.' When there is
a need to go out in the marketplace and to have someone enhance the
show, we will. That's not to say we aren't open to ideas. It's just not
what our creative process is."

How has brand integration on the show changed since you came on board in 1995?
"I think we have a bigger view of it, doing it more carefully and with
greater creative scope and elegance rather than doing it on a
producer-by-producer one-off plug basis. Today there are fewer deals
but bigger partnerships that have more of an impact."

How do you think it will evolve over the next 10 years or so? "I
think that our hope is to have reached a level of finesse and
effectiveness and elegance so that it continues to have a premium value
and a premium impact. Our intention is not to grow this thing in terms
of volume but to continue to be able to partner with people in exciting
and elegant ways so they therefore work for our partners. To the degree
that multiple platforms continue to have an impact on media and
consumers, we have to have a presence in many different kinds of
platforms, and hopefully we will be able to create value for our
partners in many different kinds of platforms. We are primarily a TV
company, but the world is not just a television world."

Who has the final word on what makes it onto the show? "It's is
absolutely the senior creative team of the show -- and I work very
closely with the executive producers of the show, and ultimately it's
Oprah. Nothing of that scope is going to happen on the 'Oprah' show
unless she is comfortable."

How do you price the value of integration deals? "We have a
sense of what the marketplace is for being included in TV shows. We
think being included in any way on the 'Oprah' show has extraordinary
value. A lot of times we look at what are the needs of the show and
what are the premium values we can provide for an integration presence
for a product. We are not really in it as a profit center; we are in it
to fulfill a creative goal."

How do you define branded entertainment? "We do entertainment
and to the degree we can make it better and bigger by having a brand
participate, that's what's in it for us. It's entertainment first."

What's on your TiVo? "I watch the 'Oprah' show every night. I
love Jon Stewart, 'Grey's Anatomy,' and my daughter loves 'Project
Runway,' which we watch together all the time."

What's on your iPod? "Heavy jazz."

What do you do in your downtime? "I hang with family, my two children and husband."

ON:Meeting Oprah’s Product-Placement Gatekeeper via @jpenabickley

October 18, 2006No Comments

Is Your Brand Safe?

Are you pro or against working with ad networks?
Why?

If you, either through an internal department or an agency, work with ad networks, are you happy with the placements your ads get through ad networks?
Why or why not?

What is your biggest fear about relying on ad networks for the placement of your ads?
How have you tackled this?

Should mid sized & smaller publishers (the interactive ad long tail) be made to categorize their content in an open market place?

If so who should regulate and publicize publisher compliance?

If there were such a service would you pay for membership that helped protect brands through categorization and fine based penalties for non compliance?

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Is Your Brand Safe? via @jpenabickley

October 18, 2006No Comments

The Online Ad Game

There are so many aspects to the online advertising space that confuse marketers and agencies who act as the client advocate in the interactive space. After conducting a number of industry interviews with ad agencies and advertisers I have found that there is market confusion around ad networks and the safety of your brand.

Over the next few posts I thought I would address some high level issues and recruit your feedback and ideas in this forum to begin an open dialog with the best of our industry in order to develop a strategy and possibly an organization that will begin to guide the interactive ad industry in a positive direction that will inevitably lead to larger online ad spending from advertisers for 2007.

Ad Networks
Historically, an organization charged with the representation of advertising space for a group of Web sites for the purpose of maximizing revenue and minimizing administrative costs through aggregation. The role of an Internet advertising network is to transact, serve, track and report the distribution of creative from advertisers to publishers using an efficient, interactive marketplace.

Today they have become sophisticated operations designed to allow advertisers to place their advertising materials in front of selected individuals.  The typical selling proposition of a network is that these individuals are good prospects for the particular product or service on offer. But ad networks differ in several ways, including:

  1. How the your audience or individuals are selected or targeted
  2. The range of publishers' sites on which the advertisements may appear

A network can also be categorized according to the nature of the financial arrangement between the advertiser, the network and the publisher.

  1. The True Network= bases on revenue sharing agreements across a wide range of sites
  2. Arbitrage network = buys unused, unwanted remnant inventory at bargain prices in hopes of repackaging and reselling it profitably
  3. The Broker network = simply manages the transactions and adds little value for advertisers.

The beauty of the Ad Network, dependant on type, business emphasis, organization and approach, is that most networks offer a range of options, including demographic, geographic and dayparting. Many allow advertisers to mix and match various types of selectivity, creating a near infinite range of possibilities for finding specific categories of prospects and serving them targeted messages.

So why do Ad Networks have such a bad rap with advertisers and agencies alike?

One answer could be….
While ad networks offer increased reach ad networks also offer less control for brand advertisers. Marketers placing impressions on an ad network will be challenged to keep tabs on where their advertising appears. Marketers are justly vigilant about protecting their brand -- especially online, where they must inevitably give up a degree of control -- but ad networks can be particularly frustrating.

  1. Who do you hold responsible when you brand shows up on inappropriate content?
  2. How can you hold the agency, ad networks or publishers accountable?
  3. Is your Brand truly Safe without some sort of industry standard categorization of content?

Sound off...

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The Online Ad Game via @jpenabickley

October 5, 2006No Comments

ON: 56% of Active Gamers Are Online, 64% Are Women

Among the roughly 117 million "Active Gamers" in the U.S. in 2006, more
than half (56 percent) play games online, and 64 percent of all online
gamers are women, according to Nielsen Entertainment's third annual Active Gamer Benchmark Study, released
Thursday. Moreover, though teenagers still constitute the largest
percentage (40 percent) of active gamers, more than 15 million of those
gamers (almost 8 percent) are now 45 years old or older.

Although women make up nearly two-thirds of all online gamers, men
outnumber women in the overall videogame universe by more than two to
one. And although older females make up the largest percentage of
casual gamers, active gamer teens and young adults comprise a
considerable portion of this market, with more than half playing casual
games an hour or more a week.

The social elements of videogames are becoming an increasingly
important part of the gaming experience, with those in the active
gamers category spending more than five hours a week playing games
socially. Some 64 percent of active gamers play on PC-based systems,
which offer users connected experiences through massively multiplayer
online games (MMOG) that other platforms cannot yet match. Personal
computers also are the platform of choice for players of casual games,
especially among women.

TOLD YOU SO...

ON: 56% of Active Gamers Are Online, 64% Are Women via @jpenabickley

October 5, 2006No Comments

ON: Google’s Mashup Dance

Google Gadgets
now allows anyone to add them to any page, not just your Google
personalized homepage. Here's a sample; try it out for yourself and get
the code for your blog, MySpace page, or whatever site you have. More
info at TechCrunch.  See below.

ON: Google’s Mashup Dance via @jpenabickley

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