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December 21, 2006No Comments

ON: Starbucks


When reading through the Starbuck Gossip blog what you find is that if read enough and you’ll notice that consumers wonder about things we’d never think that they’d wonder about. Like all consumer generated content, many of the comments are more telling than the initial posting.

ON: Starbucks via @jpenabickley

October 18, 2006No Comments

Is Your Brand Safe?

Are you pro or against working with ad networks?

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.


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

October 3, 2006No Comments

ON:The Black Dahlia


Entertainment properties are quickly showing a move towards in video ads and a user interface that makes you, the consumer, a part of the movie magic.  I cannot comment on the movie.  but the ads and microsite exude creative hotness and an awesome experience.  Visit the http://webapp1.latimes.com/theblackdahlia/ to jump in to the storyline.

This campaign, launched by Universal and the Los Angeles Times, marks
the first integrated print, online and out-of-home campaign using
actual news stories -- pulled from the Los Angeles Times archives --
about the notorious and still unsolved "Black Dahlia" murder that
stunned Los Angeles in 1947.

Traffic was initially driven to the minisite by Los Angeles Times,
Chicago Tribune and Newsday ad inserts. Ads have also been place on the
latimes.com website driving audiences to the minisite.

ON:The Black Dahlia via @jpenabickley

October 3, 2006No Comments

ON: Converging Channels

I've been reading Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins. It's
brilliant - lots of great ideas and required reading for anyone who works to drive consumers to a brand.

One form of convergence he covers is something I have been evangalizing for years -
the flow of content across multiple media platforms. The  book dedicates a chapter to
The Matrix films as a cross channel narrative.  The story that unfolded across different
platforms.  Rather than there being a film narrative that has spin offs, key
elements of The Matrix story are in the video game, the animations, the
comic books. He argues
that few consumers will be able to dedicate the time required to get
the whole
picture, which is why cross channel or "transmedia" storytelling drives the formation of
communities - communities that share information – and triggers word of
mouth.   I know this to be true as I had a hand in shaping this creative thinking.

That said, i have used the same strategy in some of my most sucessful brand efforts for Jim Beam Brands.  See one of my most sucessful marketing case studies - Knob Creek for an example of this.


Since there are so many elements to the story, every member of the community is
likely to have something to share, some social currency to trade, so communities
form and information is passed around the network.

The model that has held the industry's collective imagination for the last few
years has been media neutral planning. In essence, this is the belief that we
should develop a single organising thought that iterates itself across any
touchpoint.  See another explantion of this in my cross media plans / experiences was the great chase.

Want the formula?  read the book.

ON: Converging Channels via @jpenabickley

September 12, 2006No Comments

ON: The Art of the Unlaunch

Product development cycles are long and iterative, so much so that it presents some significant PR challenges.  As I have embarked on the development of products dircted at the agency market, I am looking to build in open source innovation and industry buzz to my process.

A recent articilce in Media Gurilla caught my eye. 
Not sure if this is the right method, but the post was definatley worth a read.  Read post at: http://mmanuel.typepad.com/media_guerrilla/

ON: The Art of the Unlaunch via @jpenabickley



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