Friday, 31 August 2007

For the love of gmail

I remember when gmail launched a few years ago and people were begging those in the loop for a gmail invite. 3 years on most of us in IT land have a few gmail addresses and despite the occasional spam that gets though the filter its an amazingly good service. So it comes as no suprise that when the folks at google asked people to make a short clip involving the gmail envelope image for the purpose of creating a mashup video they sure came out of the woodwork to help. You can check out the video below (its kinda cool):-

After watching it I found myself wondering why google has so many people so prepared to get involved despite the fact there is no prize or any real recognition for their efforts and I think its actually pretty simple.

Google offer free products (for the most part) and they really do come across as the type of company that will make something cool, give it away and ask for nothing in return. Many of the Web 2.0 companies have cottoned on to this now and it seems to be working. Advertising revenue follows the most visited sites and google realised eirly on that free services are undoubtedly the best way to make this happen. So google keeps giving and users keep loving them for it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Telstra's Handle on Truth in Advertising

Telstra, Telstra, Telstra. Can nothing go right for Telstra? Today a report in The Age, that Telstra pulled a series of advertisements about its Next G mobile telephone network after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns regarding the validity of particular statements. The statements in question – “Everywhere you need it" and "Get the coverage you need" were of particular interest to the ACCC.

When the ACCC head, Graeme Samuel, says "when the whole of Australia is not covered and coverage is not always available where consumers need it" – it comes across not only as a critic of Telstra’s advertising, its a damning critic of Telstra’s services and products.

No matter what you are selling, a product, service or yourself - you have to be careful in what you promise that you can deliver. Nothing is worse than a “let down”, and nothing destroys integrity and authenticity like false claims and incorrect brand positioning.

On the whole “truth in advertising” topic just a couple of random points:

1. Your Consumers can handle the truth. In fact we crave it and when we don't get we are disappointed.

2. Consumers are great at taking the piss out of you brand - and in the process redefines your brands image...FOR THE WORSE! Check out these good examples from valley of the geeks

3. The Heart Foundation Tick of approval. A friend of mine worked one of the campaigns for the Heart Foundation Tick. The original copy for the ad was "the Heart Foundation Tick - the label that can't be bought". After some due diligence, the lawyers worked out that they couldn't say this, because companies do have to purchase the right to have the tick displayed on their products packaging, even though the food also has to meet other nutritional requirements. That is the label can be bought, and in fact, is bought. So they had to revise to the new tagline: “the tick that can't just be bought". I thought this is good anecdote that highlights sometimes how fickle all this truth in advertising can be. I am sure Telstra will live and learn…well at least live!

Has Adwords already ruined Youtube overlay advertising?

There was once a time in Youtube's life where industry luminaries questioned how a startup that burnt millions each month in bandwidth costs could be financially viable. This was before Google jumped in with their $1.65bil life raft and set the company on the its current path of world domination. The questions went away after this happened and since then very few have given much thought to the problem but undoubtedly it was consistently appearing on agendas in the Googleplex boardroom meetings. Last week google announced they will be offering overlay ads on Youtube videos and more than a few in the advertising world started to wonder if this could be the next Adwords, the next great revolution in online advertising.

There is no doubt that Youtube gets a lot of traffic. This time last year Youtube were serving up 100mil videos each day but taking a closer look at the figures, overlay ads may not be the great white hope they would like it to be. In fact Adwords may just be the reason this never takes off.

The new system charges advertisers $20 per 1000 views and Youtube say they are likely to get between 2.5% and 5% click though on the overlay ad. In the old world of pre-Adwords advertising that would have been fine but thanks to Googles pay-per-click system of advertising advertisers have become accustom to only paying for what they can measure. They like it this way. They can now finally justify their marketing spend.

Of course the 95% of viewers that don't click though are still registering an impression and from a branding point of view that might be all well and good. The problem is advertisers are being asked to go back to the old model of "pay for something you don't see a tangible result from" and this will undoubtedly be a tough pill to swallow.

If you had spent the last few years only paying a spruker per person that enters your store then all of a sudden they said "but I deserve to be paid for the people that will come back another time" would you do it?