Category Archives: media

President 2.Obama

We all knew that this administration was going to be technologically more advanced than previous terms when Barrack Obama won the 2008 election to become the 44th President of the United States of America.

Not only did the Democrats stunningly over achieve with online donations, enabling them to out spend the Republicans out of the water, we also got the first presidential candidate to embrace social media.

His campaign team used @BarrackObama, as well as facebook, youtube and myspace to reach an audience of potential voters and doners that traditionally could have been ignored by past campaigns. Obama has also become the first President to use email and amazingly kept his blackberry, although will be restricted in its use to a small group of select Whitehouse staffers.

By using social media, email marketing and clever media buys Obama was able to enthuse and mobilize the youth vote that proved incredibly important on November 5th.

Finally it seems, we have a web 2.0 international leader: President 2.Obama.

President Obama and his team will be using technology in an unprecedented way to reach out to the nation and beyond.

As Kevin Merrit, CEO of Blist shows in this excellent Washington Post/Tech Crunch post, the presidency has listed communication, transparency and participation as being their watchwords for their first term and as such are utilizing every channel possible to get their messages accross to the people.

So from his first Weekly Address as President on Youtube (see above), to the setting up of recovery.gov, and the first ever Presidential blog on whitehouse.gov, the US presidency has fully embraced the idea that you can no longer rely on tv and radio to reach your voters. They realise the importance of transparency in an age where anyone can look at public records, google a politicians past claims and promises or just vent on what they hate about a government with the click of a mouse.

So, if you’re not already why not join President Obama’s other 144,000 twitter followers, or the 4,422,962 registered supporters on Facebook.

Can Obama revolutionise the Whitehouse as we know it? Yes he can! (Sorry, couldn’t help it…)

UPDATE: If you want to read a great post on how exactly Obama should be using Twitter, check out Mashable for some great analysis and an extensive list of politicians who use Twitter and how they use it. I would definitely agree that whilst it’s great that Obama is on Twitter and that the Whitehouse uses it, just twittering about policy announcements is not going to get them far. They need to start turning the personal on before they turn the followers off. Remember we are a fickle bunch!!

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Mainstream media sources embrace Twitter and Facebook

Not only is Twitter truly a global phenomenon, it has, along with Facebook, transcended the barriers of on and offline by becoming a major source for “serious” news stories from traditional news sources, such as The Times and the Guardian.

Mumbai

No one can doubt the power Twitter had in the crisis in Mumbai last year with live updates from those on the ground not bound by the compromises made by press and tv (see Garza if you want an example). Journalists were able to use these live updates to give a sense of what was happening when it was too dangerous to be on the ground.

A further example was reported in the Times last year, when software engineer Mike Wilson tweeted his experiences immediately after running out of a burning plane crash in Denver.


Brand (left) and Ross

Brand (left) and Ross

@wossy

On a more superficial level, @wossy, Jonathan Ross’s twitter feed, has been regularly quoted in newspaper articles about the Sachs-gate scandal with Russell Brand that broke at the tail end of 2008.

With more and more celebraties using Twitter as a way of updating fans and commenting on gossip, the news media is able to get unfiltered (to an extent) insights into their thinking.

Facebook too is now embraced by mainstream media (in what must amount to a certain extent to a cynical way of engaging with an audience bigger than any they can expect) and utilized in traditional or semi-traditional coverage. The most recent case in point was the CNN Inauguration coverage with a constant stream of facebook updates by its side through out its intirety.

I’m sure that this is a trend that is not likely to slow down, especially as it is more and more difficult to attract mass audiences like the ones Twitter and Facebook now reach. More improtantly, it will be interesting to see if the relatively recent acceptance of Twitter by the mainstream media has a knock-on effect in encouraging more people to become Tweeple.

Microsoft and Ebay make the recession seem a whole lot more real

You know you’re in trouble when two of the biggest companies in digital media and technology, Ebay and Microsoft announce job cuts and profit losses in the same week.

As reported by New Media Age,  the seemingly untouchable giant of computing, and the darling of the internet commerce industry both showed us exactly how hard this recession is hitting.

Microsoft announced today that they are to cut 5% of their entire workforce over the next 18 months due to instability and a slow down in tech spend. Although only 60 look to be going in the UK, in worldwide terms it will be around 5,000 employees. This came on the back of Ebay announcing that for the first time since launching in 1995 quarterly revenues were to drop year on year.

Now to me, at least for a company like Microsoft, this makes sense. With a recession as deep as this one looks to be, technology buys were always going to suffer over the short to medium term. Even so, when such a huge name that has seemingly been immune to the vagueries of the world economy get’s hit this hard you know things are looking grim.

And Ebay’s losses make this situation look a whole lot worse. You would have thought that this would be a perfect time for Ebay to build even further on it’s position with people feeling the pinch and needing to offload a few unwanted presents. But I guess it doesn’t matter how many people have second hand Fender’s to sell and Vivienne Westwood skirts to flog if the buyers just don’t have the cash.

Depressingly familiar advertising complaints follow “Matrix”-style VW Golf ad…

As much an excuse to have a cool advert on my blog as anything else, I thought I’d record my two peneth on the latest VW Golf TV commercial by DDB London.

Even though (for me) owning a Golf went out of fashion with drinking Diamon White in the local park and mustering up the courage to buy a packet of cigarettes, I’ve sat up and paid attention to the slick production of the new Golf ad featuring a German car designer fighting it out with clones of himself in a factory, with all the kung fu mayhem that that entails.

As ever, people with too little to do and to much time on their hands (105 and counting) are insisting that the advert should be shown after the 9pm watershed in the UK.

The problem, as they see it, is that the advert glorifies violence and I guess feel that their kids will soon be fighting it out with windscreen wipers and petrol caps.

I have several problems with this kind of attempt at censorship. Firstly, this advert shows what is obviously fantasy violence and really no more violent than any given episode of Doctor Who or most popular video games.

Secondly banning this advert from tv before the watershed will do nothing because it takes about two seconds for anyone, young children included, to find on any video sharing site, not to mention on every one of the newspaper websites – see Monday’s Guardian – that will be reporting on (and giving a huge amount of publicity to) this new VW Golf advertising campaign.

On top of all this, in a new economic age where advertising revenues are going down the drain and magazine and tv ad rates are falling through the floor, do we want to let these over sensitive busy bodies reduce their earning potential any further?

Well, without any further to do, here’s the ad in all it’s ass-kicking glory:

And whilst I’m on the TV advert tip, here’s my favourite advert of the year so far…80’s revival and beautiful blondes to boot 🙂

Video doesn’t play well in Mexico

After trying to watch a 5 minute video last night over a period of half an hour, I realised that online video in Mexico is broken and is still the pipedream that Simon Burgess of proMotion says is now over in the US and Canada.

My experience of trying to access online video living here in Mexico City is this: this morning I watched Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2 minute take on owning your own .tv domain. No problems.

I know however that this afternoon it simply will not load, or every 20 seconds I’ll have to wait another 5 minutes waiting for it to buffer.

In a country were online advertising grew 97% in the last year, where online marketing is exploding, how can this be? Why is there such a lack of bandwidth allowing a good experience of online video?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because there is no competition whatsoever here. Mexico is a country ruled by Carlos Slim and his Grupo Carso empire.

Carlos Slim - The Emperor battling against the Rebel internet users

Carlos Slim

For this reason, no one can go out there and provide better bandwidth at a better price because his company Telmex basically has a monopoly over providing internet access.

If Mexico is to really develop it’s online media industry then it must be supported by the likes of Telmex and Cablevision with better bandwidth provision and cheaper internet access.

Only then will the Mexican internet audience (not to mention the expats living here like me) get the most out of their online use, and only then will advertiser see the benefit of online video.

Chilly in Chile

The ad-less Lago Budi, Chile

The ad-less Lago Budi, Chile

Hey loyal reader(s),

Whilst in Chile I’ve been privelidged to witness something that very few people get to see in their lifetime.

Nothing.

Well, when I say nothing, I mean space. A freedom to think. A freedom to make a decision about something, decide whether it’s for you before being bombarded by 500 more advertising messages that are in no way more targetted than the spam email you receive from Mr Nwankwo from Nigeria who heard that you’d be able to help out with a pesky $500 million he needs to hide from the new regime…

And I don’t just mean the time that I’ve spent on the shore of Lago Budi in Chile’s Lake District with the indigenous Mapuche people. I’m talking about Santiago, Chile’s vibrant and incredibly modern capital city. A rich, thriving place full of consumers looking for new products and gadgets to spend their money on. And yet, unlike Mexico City, that giant of North America with over 22 million people, there is not billboard after billboard plastered to the skyline (and every spare space imaginable). You do not see advertising plastered in every square inch (centimetre if you’re that way inclined) trying to grab you attention.

And it’s refreshing. It’s relaxing. It let’s you breath for two seconds without having to consider the benefits of Sedal’s new curl relaxing shampoo, without wondering about the unsticking ability of Mr Muscle’s oven cleaner or being forced to imagine Coke’s great new flavour.

It’s not even like I’m anti-advertising. I like advertising; I’d go as far as to say I love it. I’ve been in advertising all my working life and it excites me to see new ways of reaching an audience, new creative that pushes the boundaries. But if I have to see another advert for something that absolutely in now way has anything whatsoever to do with me or with anyone like me I’ll scream and scream and scream.

Forcing people to see untargetted advertising these days is like force-feeding fillet mignon to die hard vegetarians. It doesn’t matter how amazing the product is; at most you’ll end up converting a percentage of a percentage to your cause, if that. There are so many options available – Google adwords, contextual advertising – why do brands persist on spending millions on TV, magazines and billboards? Here’s to the UK where in 2008 online advertising (and to an extent targeted advertising) is finally surpassing TV for the first time ever.