Monday, December 20, 2010

Deck from McDonald's 12/24 Presentation

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Most Creative Agency Website. Period.

Thoughts and resources:
  • I love this because it reminds us to think outside of the normal parameters that we are confined to in advertising. Why do things in the same manner as those before us? Our preconceived notions and assumptions of what is acceptable often limit our imaginations. It's not that the clip is so different, its that they leveraged a third party (in YouTube) to deliver a message that in EVERY other case was conveyed through a .com.
  • To play devil's advocate: While this was an extremely creative application, did it do it's job? What is the goal for an agencies web presence? Sure, it’s a lot of fun, but all it does is set itself up as different, not necessarily effective or strategic or experienced.
  • Making of

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Google to acquire Groupon?

Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that is localized to more than 150 markets in North America and 100 markets in Europe, Asia and South America. The company offers one "Groupon" per day in each of the markets it serves. The Groupon works as an assurance contract using ThePoint's platform: if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all; if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. This reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupons as quality discounts as well as sales promotions tools. Groupon has seen enourmous growth this year, and was a recent hot topic after being featured as one of Oprah's favorite things (Although, I cant imagine Oprah has used a coupon of any kind since the Reagan Era..). Their rather simple, yet brilliant business model, combined with Groupon's choke-hold on the online localized retail market, has made them a target for all of the major major players in the tech game including Yahoo and Google.

After Marissa Mayer, One of Google's first 20 employee's and most recently the head of Google Search, was put in charge of location and local services, it was widely believed that Google was going to be making a move into the location-based social networking space (think Foursquare or Facebook Places - click for me info). The question everyone asked -Why move one of the most powerful players at Google to head up an emerging, small, and recently reorganized area of the tech giant? After news came out in the last few weeks ago that Google offered CEO Andrew Mason close to $6 Billion to acquire Groupon, the Mayer move seemed to make more sense. "A $5+ billion purchase - even for Google - is not something to be taken lightly, and it would make perfect sense to put Mayer - who is still only 35 years old - in charge of what many believe to be the next big thing." With 700 million global monthly unique users, Google can achieve a wider distribution of the 40,000 merchants that Groupon has lined up that are waiting to get thier deals listed. Will Groupon accept what would be the third richest acquisition in history? For now, the world will have to wait and see.

Late last week, Groupon rejected Google takeover bid, and Bloomberg is claiming they know why. The social deal leader is betting it can keep increasing its valuation after walking away from a deep-pocketed suitor. As the story of Yahoo demonstrates, it's a strategy fraught with risk, but - as Facebook shows -great potential, too.

Thoughts and resources:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mobile Market Share Update

Research in Motion (Blackberry) and Apple continue to trade body blows in the smartphone market, according to Comscore's latest Global Smartphone report. RIM(Blackberry) accounts for 37.3% of the U.S. smartphone market with the iPhone in second with a 24.3% share. Google's Android platform gained by 6.5% percentage points to over a flat Apple to reach a 21.4% share. ComScore notes that the rising smartphone market is lifting all boats and boosting mobile content usage across all platforms.

Top Smartphone Platforms 3 Month Avg. Ending Sep. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+

Share (%) of Smartphone Subs
June -10 Sept. 10 Point Change
Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A

RIM 40.1% 37.3% 2.8
Apple 24.3% 24.3% 0.0
Google 14.9% 21.4% 6.5
Microsoft 12.8% 10.0% 2.8
Palm 4.7% 4.2% -0.5
Source: comScore MobiLens

-Cynthia Turner

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Projection Mapping Becoming More Mainstream

"3D projection mapping has recently emerged as one of the coolest forms of advertising, with big companies like Nokia, Samsung, and BMW projecting beautiful 3D video displays on buildings around the world and sharing their campaigns on the web."

3D projection mapping, according to Wikipedia, is "any method of mapping three-dimensional points to a two-mentionable plane." Using this technique, video artists are able to match videos to buildings that they are projecting on and create cool 3D effects, making it look as though buildings are crumbling, changing their shape and more. It is really amazing. Check out the following clip as an example of phenomenal things that can be done using this technique."

Mapping during 600 years anniversary of the astrological tower clock situated at Old Town Square in center of Prague:

thoughts and resources:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Astronaut Checks In to Foursquare From Outerspace

Today, Expedition 25 Commander Douglas H. Wheelcock became the first human to ever use a location-based service from space. Doug checked in using Foursquare from the International Space Station and unlocked the new NASA Explorer Badge, and is on his way to obtaining the most elusive mayorship on Foursqaure.

In the near future, explorers on earth who visit space-related places can also unlock the badge while learning about NASA history and the space program. Get started by following the NASA Foursquare page.

NASA Explorer Badge:

Social Media Maven Gary Vaynerchuk's Advice For Scaredy Cat Corporations

"On Wednesday night Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk stopped by Fast Company headquarters for a panel discussion about online influence. In this clip he explains how he moved more bottles than uber-wine critic Robert Parker, how he took the NHL from 500 Twitter followers to 500,000, and how caring more than your competitors is the most effective weapon in building influence on the internet"

A few of his statements really stuck with me, most notably "You always hear that content is king(in regards to social media). If content is King, then Context is about to become God."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How McDonald's Uses Twitter

"Rick Wion, Director of Social Media for McDonald's Corp, discusses why the company uses Twitter, how it staffs it and how it deals with the legal hoops. The following clip was filmed durring the National Restaurant Association's Marketing Executives fall gathering Oct. 14 in Scottsdale, Ariz."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Microsoft Bing 'Friends' Facebook

In a news conference today at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft Bing and Facebook announced that they will be partnering to provide Bing with a search experience where your Facebook network helps inform your every query.

"Lets say your searching for Toyota Prius. Not only will you get the standard news and product links, there'll be a module near the top of your search that includes any Prius activity among your Facebook friends - articles they've liked, comments they've made, etc."

Expect huge privacy concerns with this new innovation..

Monday, October 11, 2010

Search Share Shakeup

Google continues to dominate search traffic with 72% of all U.S. searches, but Microsoft Bing is making serious headway. According to the latest research from Experian Hitwise that tracks September Internet traffic, searches powered by Bing account for 23% of searches, with Yahoo commanding 14% of searches.

-Cynthia Turner

Monday, September 13, 2010

Google's new "Instant Search" may have major effects for advertisers

Meet the new Google search. Typing out the full search query and hitting "enter" are things of the past. While it may not sound like a very exciting change, Google Instant is actually the largest change to the search giant in over a decade, and with it may come major changes for search engine marketers. On the new Google Instant, "search results and suggestions continually update as Google attempts to predict queries from the very first character entered in the search box. This is a major change in search technology and Google predicts this will save users more than 350 million hours a year, or two to five seconds per search, on average."

Now that you have the basics- CLICK HERE to jump over to Google, and complete a basic search before you read on.

So... did you stop to look at the screen, take a sip of your coffee, or sneeze while you were typing? My guess is you did, and if your brief pause was 3 seconds or longer, each of the paid listings on the top and right hand side of the page were considered, by Google's standards, impressions to the advertisers serving those ads.

Why this is bad: Increase in impressions = lower click through rate = negative impact on historical calculation of quality score = increase in the associated cost-per-click = higher costs without a higher return.
  • In essence, there will be more total searches compiled. Many of our clients will have to pay more to compete in the search space, especially when bidding on more higher traffic keywords.
With Google Instant only a week or two old, we are forced to anticipate the impact of the engine's change and adjust our strategy accordingly. Stronger calls to action and page titles will be extremely important as there will be a much shorter time for searchers to view and interact with the results page.

Thought and resources:
  • Putting paid search aside- Is the increase in brand exposure a good thing, even if for a second while the query is being typed?
  • With this release, don't be surprised if Google AdWords give us an "average exposure time" metric.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Checking In with Facebook Places

Facebook Positions Itself for Future Growth

In recent months, Facebook has moved to position itself as more than just a way for its users to interact with other people and brands, but now also as a venue for users to interact with and discuss places and activities.

Community Pages

The first addition we have seen is Community Pages, and Facebook is calling them “the best collection of shared knowledge on a topic”. Think Wikipedia, minus the user editing capabilities. Facebook populates the walls of these pages by pulling posts from other user’s profiles that contain the particular term that the Community Page is based on. We can help them collect other information to add to our client's Community Page by submitting website URL's and Wikipedia page links (if applicable). Facebook is also currently inviting users to apply to add content to these pages later on. From what I have read, Facebook intends to eventually allow users to upload their photos to the page. At this point, though, it seems like Communities have a long way to go before they feel anything like an actual community.

Facebook Places:

Much like Foursquare, a Facebook Places page shows FB users a map of where the Place is located, a list of friends who are currently checked in at the Place (if any), and a Friend Activity stream of other friends who have visited the Place in the past. By claiming your FB Place, you can manage your Place’s address, contact information, business hours, profile picture, admins and other settings. Right now, Facebook Place pages exists completely independent of the Facebook Fan page that we’re using to engage and connect with our business’s followers.

I am getting word that we will be able to merge Fan Page listings with Facebook Place pages at a later date. There’s quite a hefty claiming process to set the stage for the eventual merger, but once it’s done, the new Place Page as your business’s identity on Facebook. You will eventually have one page that users can interact with and check in at.

Thoughts and resources:

  • One of the issues I can see Community Pages facing in the future is when a product/brand/place/interest does not have a unique name. Facebook may populate the community page with recents posts pertaining to another topic of the same name.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Loyalty 2.0

Over the course of the last few months, my rants on the subject of social media have become something of a norm on the blog. Much of my enthusiasm is invoked by what I see as unlimited potential for brands to benefit from these emerging platforms. As an advertiser, I believe we have the most opportunity to reach consumers through location-based social networks (LBS) like Foursquare, Gowalla, and the newly released Facebook Places.

Initially, I wasn’t sure that platforms like 4sq would ever be utilized outside of metropolitan cities. As LBS have evolved, it has become evident that I was way off with my initial evaluation. I was looking at these applications as a consumer, when I should have been looking for the opportunities in location-based services as an advertiser.

Having joined 4sq early in its early stages, the infrastructure was not yet in place outside of cities like New York or San Francisco. Each of these LBS platforms are rendered useless unless they are adopted by the masses. The sub shop around the corner.. The bookstore a block over.. Until a user creates each of them as a venue in the LBS platform, we don’t have the ability to check-in there.

Initially it was just a game. A fun way to see where my friends were, and what bars/restaurants were “trending” with the most active users currently checked in. Then, in an instance, everything changed.

One day I was checking in to a burger joint when a notification in the platform jumped out at me, “Local Special Nearby” -My light bulb moment. Remember the days when you would need 9 whole punches on a frequent buyer card to receive your 10th sub free at your local sub shop? The ability to leverage location based social networks will take loyalty programs to new heights. If Facebook socialized the internet, Foursquare will socialize loyalty.

A few of the creative ways retailers have leveraged location-based social networks:

  • Miss Shirley's in Baltimore has seen a 427% increase in the number of check-in's at the restaurant since they have offered to let their Foursquare "mayor" jump to the head of the line.
  • A Princeton, New Jersey mall offers a free, close up parking spot to the Foursquare mayor:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Sucks About Foursquare Today

While I am generally quick to label Foursquare and other location-based social networks as the future, I thought I would let the folks over at Jess3 play devil's advocate. I don't completely agree with their view, but they bring up some great points about a passive check-in model that cannot be ignored:
View more presentations from JESS3.

Thoughts and resources:
  • Jess3 is "a creative interactive agency that specializes in data visualization". Click here to visit their website.
  • Follow Jess3 on Twitter:

Friday, August 6, 2010

The State of the Internet:

JESS3 / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

-Thanks Matt E.

UPDATE: Google Getting Visual Boost

Update: From my May 5th post on the leading minds in the field of data visualization (

Less than 6 months after leaving IBM's visual communications lab to create Flowing Media inc, Mark Wattenberg and Fernanda B Viegas announced this week that they were snatched up by Google to lead a new visualization group within the search giant. I am extremely excited to follow their progress with the "playgrounds of data" Google has collected.

Look for the visualization duo to impact Google in ways we could have never imagined. I personally, am keeping my fingers crossed for a Google Analytics upgrade!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Game-Changer: A Real-Time Social Media News Magazine

"Check out Flipboard, an elegant new iPad app that aggregates content that your Facebook and Twitter friends are reading and linking to. Adding something to the stream is easy with one click "like" buttons. The app also recommends content from various prominent sites and genres on the web. The Palo Alto start-up also announced that it has acquired web intelligence company Ellerdale to help improve its recommendation engine. Ellerdale indexes data from the social web to the tune of 70 million messages/day to determine relevancy."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Google aquires Metaweb to Improve Search

Over the course of the last few years, search engines have been moving to provide users with more relevant results by adopting third party data. This week, Google aquired "semantic web and real world database company Metaweb, a move the company says will help them improve search and make the web richer and more meaningful for everyone."

See below for an interesting clip that breaks down how Metaweb will change the way you search:

Thoughts and resources:
  • Another third party may be entering the search space - Foursquare in talks with major search engines:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Digital Couponing- Key to Starbucks Online Success

Starbucks has surpassed 10 million fans on Facebook, notes Mediapost - passing Coke as the most popular corporate brand on the social network. The coffee chain has added scores of followers by launching promotions such as coupons for free pastries that can be redeemed at local stores.

-Cynthia Turner

Friday, July 9, 2010

BP Damage Control Team Buying Search Terms

BP has purchased sponsored listings at the top of Google, Yahoo and MSFT Bing search results. Search for the terms "Oil Spill", "Oil Cleanup" or "Oil Leak" and you should find BP's oil disaster response website serving in the top position.

This is not uncommon. Many companies buy search terms in an attempt to control a message. What this means is that people searching for information about the spill have a good chance of seeing BP's site at the top of their search results. This practice is often considered unethical. Should we allow BP to control the message in the case of the biggest environmental disaster in US history? BP's ad:

BP Response
Learn About BP's Progress On The
Gulf Of Mexico Responce Effort.

And who is in the second position, you ask?

BP Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit
Did you Suffer Damages From The
Gulf Oil Spill? Call 1-800-544-9922

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MUST SEE: A Race Across the Internet

Google Chrome strikes again with this incredibly creative, interactive viral video/trivia game/Rube Goldberg machine/Google service showcase.. Honestly, there aren't enough slashes or adjectives for me to really describe it. You must experience this for yourself:
Thoughts and resources:
  • As with any type of advertising, i suppose, we are trained to wear blinders. When I came across A Race Across the Internet, my eyes lit up. Chrome's ad is so brilliant because is engages by allowing users to participate in the storyline, while at the same time spurring our competitive human nature to help deliver the brands message.
  • This ad was created by BBH:
  • I have a prize for the first person that's beats my time of 2:21 on their first try! Email me with a screen shot! UPDATE: Congrats to Betsy King in the Cleveland office, killing it with a time of 1:46!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Google poised to take on Facebook

Rumors are swirling this week about the potential of Google releasing a Facebook competitor. Sources say Google's "Mobile Me" will utilize (micro-blogging, twitter-like Google service)Google Buzz, but still strive for a first class, full social networking platform. As it stands, Google will have an uphill battle, trailing Facebook by 400 million + users. The questions remains, what will Google Me offer to bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap? I have a few ideas..
  1. More privacy options, first and foremost.
  2. The ability to integrate and leverage a myriad of Google's other platforms. Platforms that a Facebook wouldn't have access to: Google Search at the core to enable the transition and sharing of information. Buzz, combined with Google Maps/Latitude to offer location-based services on the go. Google Me could leverage Google Talk and Google Voice to offer a skype-like communication tool. Me could tap into Google owned Picassa or YouTube to seamlessly upload media to the social network.
  3. An open app platform modeled after Google's Android
Another Facebook- yeah.. wont work. Google has the infrastructure in place to offer some really interesting features that other social networks can not. They will need to differentiate themselves, and get it right the first time for users to adopt Google Me.

Thoughts and resources:
  • As an advertiser, I am extremely excited about the targeting possibilities. Google has perfected the search engine marketing model through AdWords- I cant wait to see what granular levels of targeting Google offers us through Google Me.
  • TechCrunch thinks that Google needs to clone Facebook to be successful. This article also brings up some valid points about how Google shouldn't try to tie the service to other Google products for the wrong reasons:

Monday, June 28, 2010

The World's Most Interesting Intern

I am not saying I have anything against our interns here at Stern.. BUT, Cisco Systems social media intern, Greg Justice, is gaining some serious viral buzz and setting a new bar for interns across the country.

"What are some of Greg's qualifications? Well, he's an impressive 6'7" tall, he planned an event with the president of Russia, he raps pretty well for a networking geek and he rocks an ergonomic desk chair. There's a lot more, too, but it's more fun in rap form, so check out the video."

Thoughts and resources:
  • Cisco has been "pimping" out their creative intern through every social media avenue possible. We saw them strive for "geek-chic" with indie superstar Ellen Page in recent ads. Greg is the next in line to attempt to make the somewhat dry, dorky brand cool again. I say why not, the kid's got some talent!
  • Follow Cisco Systems intern, Greg Justice on Twitter:
  • Greg's Cisco blog:

Monday, June 21, 2010

MUST SEE: An Encounter with Greatness

Earlier this week, I was sent a link to Louis Vuitton's incredibly creative promotional website for the 2010 World Cup. I love everything about this campaign- from the full screen HD layout of the site and visitor interaction, to the social media integration and even the artistic page transitions. Ogilvy Interactive absolutely nailed it with this one.

Thoughts and resources:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Foursquare Backlash

Location-based social network Foursquare has learned that certain locations illicit harsh responses. The Chinese government has blocked access to the service across the country after users began utilizing Foursquare to "check in" to Tiananmen Square and leave "sensitive comments" on the TS page for others to see, reports China-based Techblog86. Anyone who did manage to sneak in before the ban automatically received the "Swarm" and "Player Please" badges.

The Latest From Apple's Mobile Ad Platform

The much anticipated iAd platform is ready to roll out on July 1 on iPhone 3Gs or better and second or third generation iPod Touch models running on the new iOS 4 platform. Apple has already lined up $60 million in commitments from leading brands including AT&T, Best Buy, Target, Turner Broadcasting, Nissan, Unilever and Disney. With its new multitasking capabilities, iAd apps will allow users to engage with an ad within individual apps while watching videos or playing games and built-in ecommerce functionality will enable direct purchases of merchandise.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Overnight Stardom in The Digital Age

This week I came across a very interesting case study from AdAge on how the digital age can make someone a superstar overnight. Greyson Chance posted his clip on YouTube three weeks ago and already has 18,000,000 video views. From average 12 year old kid one month ago, Grayson is now larger than the Jonas Brothers and Lady Gaga.

Let’s take a quick step back. Stories like Greyson’s are so fascinating because they weren't possible a decade ago. This week, YouTube hit its 5th birthday. From a single one-minute long video posted 5 years ago, there is now enough content on the site to watch for 1500 years straight.**

When the Internet (and the rise of AOL in particular) was gaining steam in the mid 90’s, experts proclaimed that the information age had arrived. With the growth of micro-blogging and social media, the new ways we share information in real-time, and how the digital space has evolved over the last year or two, I would argue that only now are we reaching the true potential of the information era. A few years from now, Greyson’s story may not be such an anomaly after all.

Thoughts and resources:

  • With the increasingly diminishing privacy barriers, I wonder if we will see a social media/online privacy backlash in the very near future.
  • The first ever clip posted on YouTube, titled “Me at the zoo”
  • **Business daily May 20, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Epic New Nike World Cup Ad

Thoughts and resources:

  • Look for this ad to gain some serious viral steam in the coming months leading up to the Wold cup.
  • Business Insider article on Nike's viral ad - This Amazing Video is Why TV is Bigger Than The Internet:

Friday, May 14, 2010

How much is a Facebook page worth to a brand?

Social media-focused ad agency Virtue has launched a Social Page Evaluator designed to provide an assessment of a brand's Facebook Page value and the effectiveness of its social media efforts. Enter the URL of any Facebook page and the Evaluator will examine its fan count, post frequency and various fan interactions within the page and crunch the data to measure fan valuation and "engagement."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Explaining Search Engine Marketing to Your Great Grandfather

I recently had an interesting conversation with my 94 year old grandfather. He spent more half of the last century in the advertising industry and is ecstatic that I followed in his footsteps. But, in reality, he doesn't even own a computer, let alone understand how advertisers are utilizing the digital space to reach consumers. I attempted to explain, and he pretended to understand. One thing lead to another and we began to discuss how search engine marketing worked. I used storefronts on a New York City block to describe the process. Thought I would share this to mark a week when we brought two other Stern client's SEM efforts in-house.

I explained to my grandpa that search engine marketing takes place in an electronic marketplace and refers to the placement and location of retailers in a new age market. SEM seeks to increase the visibility of the butcher, tailor, pharmacy, etc.

The heaviest oncoming traffic runs in one direction passing a series of stores. The first store on the closest corner, a butcher, is naturally the first to come into view for those passing by and therefore gets not only the most attention, but also the most business. Because of the butcher’s excellent location, it will have the highest monthly rent. The tailor next door, and each subsequent store on the block will have slightly lower monthly rents due to the fact that they receive less exposure, and therefore less business.

Thoughts and Resources:

  • Figured I would completely lose him if I attempted to explain how the relevance of the website in relation to the searched term plays into the equation..
  • Google's face lift:
  • More information and a history of search:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Google Chrome Viral Campaign

With its newest release of Chrome, Google wanted to show us how fast it is rather than just tell us how fast it is. To do that, they made a Rube Goldberg-ian video showing how fast web pages load in Chrome. And yes, its awesome.

This extremely creative viral video has 1.5 million+ YouTube views in less than 7 days:

Thoughts and resources:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Data Visualization

“Data presentation can be beautiful, elegant and descriptive. There are a variety of conventional ways to visualize data – tables, histograms, pie charts and bar graphs are being used every day, in every project and on every possible occasion. However, to convey a message effectively, sometimes you need more than just a simple pie chart of your results. In fact, there are much better, profound, creative and absolutely fascinating ways to visualize data. Many of them might become ubiquitous in the next few years.”

Smashing Magazine put together a remarkable collection of visualization projects as well as related articles, resources and tools:

Thoughts and resources:

  • AdAge article on how data visualization is reinventing online storytelling:
  • Many Eyes is a free site where anyone can upload, visualize, and discuss data. It is an experiment created by the Visual Communication Lab. Create your own date visualization:
  • New York Times article on Many Eyes, Aug. 31, 2008:

All Roads lead to..

When researching data visualization for this week’s blog posts, all roads seemed to lead to the two co-founders of Flowing Media inc, Fernanda B. Viégas and Mark Wattenberg. To put it bluntly, these two are absolute geniuses and THE leading minds in this field.

Flowing Media Inc offers design, strategy and development services, with an emphasis on media and other consumer-facing industries:

Before forming Flowing Media in 2010, Fernanda and Mark’s collaborative website,, housed many of their projects.

Fernanda B. Viégas

Co- Creator of Flowing Media In, Fernanda B. Viégas is a research scientist and computational designer whose work focuses on the collaborative side of visualization exploring storytelling, collective sensemaking, and online identity.

Mark Wattenberg

Martin Wattenberg is a computer scientist and artist. He founded and managed IBM's Visual Communication Lab, exploring new forms of visualization and how they can enable better collaboration. Wattenberg is known for his visualization-based artwork, which has been exhibited in venues such as the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Museum of Modern Art.