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Grammy Award Winning Band Touring the US with Tons of Downtime? There's an App for that'?¦

I know I'm not alone in thinking the iPad is for the most part, pretty pointless. Is it an e-reader, a gaming device or an iPod for old people with bad eyesight? I'm head over heels in love with everything my iPhone and iPod Touch have to offer, and one of the things I adore the most is their portability. My purse is literally overflowing at all times, and I can't imagine adding a 1.5 pound 9.56'? x 7.47'? x .5'? device to the mix. When I need a bigger screen or yearn for a keyboard, I turn to my MacBook Pro. However, when Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn told NME Magazine last month that his band was poised to release the first album ever recorded on an iPad, I was intrigued. 'I've made it on an iPad ' I hope I'll be making the first record on an iPad,'? he said. 'I fell in love with my iPad as soon as I got it, so I've made a completely different kind of record.'? I'm not familiar with the countless music production applications out there, or their capabilities, but I can't help but wonder if 'completely different'? will translate to 'awful sound quality.'? I'm skeptical, but my Bose headphones and I are ready to be proven wrong. The Gorillaz album, titled 'The Fall'?, will be released as a free download for fan club members on Christmas day, and is expected to be distributed through traditional music channels in 2011. Fans are excited to hear new music from the band, whose last album was released in March 2010, and typically average 4-5 years between projects. Now, I'm sure there are millions of bands in basements across America who are ready to dispute the fact that the Gorillaz album will be the first produced on an iPad, but it will likely be the first to get any global attention. The idea that the iPad can be used for creation, not just consumption, excites me. If the device  helps busy musicians that might not be fortunate enough to have a mobile recording studio on their tour bus deliver new content to their fans, then I'm all for it. Music has played a huge role in Apple's TV advertising, and has offered several artists (including the Gorillaz in 2005) a career boost over the years.  Despite a recent Microsoft endorsement deal by the Gorillaz, Albarn is hyping the iPad and its capabilities, and Apple would be smart to take advantage. I'm predicting a 2011 iPad commercial that features a new Gorillaz song from their album created on an actual iPad. I mean, seriously, does it get any better than that? Sources: http://nme.com, http://gorillaz.com, http://www.twitter.com/gorillazband

Richard Branson ' Please be my dad.

Richard Branson is not just a luxurious head of hair - he is also an entrepreneurial genius. I mean, he wasn't knighted for nothing. Wildly successful with his many branches of the Virgin Group, Branson continues to make groundbreaking forays in to whichever field he chooses. I look to him for advice and inspiration, and although I'm not planning on launching my own airline anytime soon, this silver fox is a fountain of advice on how to keep customers happy and coming back for more. In a recent article on LiveMint Richard Branson wrote about 'Why Customer Service Matters,'? and he recalls a time when a Virgin America plane was stranded on a runway for hours because of bad weather. In response to the problem, which was not at all the fault of Virgin America, their CEO David Cush called many of the stranded passengers personally, offering apologies and vouchers for new flights. What the what?!? Aside from the obvious 'doesn't a CEO have other things to do than call a bunch of price-chasing upstate New Yorkers?'? it also begs the question, 'why don't I do more stuff like that?'? Granted, my booming e-bay marketplace does not call for this level of outreach; however, many companies seem to have lost focus on what is important to consumers. While some companies thrive based on pricing strategy alone, many small customer-focused businesses succeed without putting an ROI percentage on customer care. As a member of AMP's PR team I immediately began thinking about social online media, and how keeping a watchful eye on consumers' likes and dislikes can affect a company. Boloco, a 'Boston Local Company'? specializing in lunchtime wraps, has been known to lower the music volume in specific restaurant locations in response to Tweets. Apple handed out water to people standing in the heat to buy a new iPhone4 in Boston in July 2010 as a response to the social media buzz. So what am I doing for my customers? Or, what am I encouraging my clients to do for their customers? While it's easy to follow Facebook 'likers'? and tweet hashtags to observe consumer interests, it's also important to follow up. Aside from giving better service and creating a more targeted product, it makes consumers feel valued and inspires brand loyalty. Now if Richard Branson would finally answer my letters and adopt me I could do even more good for the world'?¦

Wanna FaceTime? Why I love my iPhone 4!

Drum roll please'?¦.I got the iPhone 4! This is only going to be relevant if you read my previous post on Oct 26th where I was debating between my next major purchase: the iPhone 4 or the Droid X. Less than a week after that blog post, I met someone who had the iPhone 4. I fell hard for its sleek, sexy look and the quality of the HD videos. I felt like my little 3G was inferior and was also completely fed up with having to constantly charge it for it to last through one day. The next day I went to the Apple store in Shadyside, Pittsburgh, PA with a determined look in my eyes. When I walked in I said to the nearest employee, so tell me why this phone is better than the 3G. She didn't know I had just written a blog about why it was better. The Apple store employee was as bubbly as ever and sweetly, but a bit unconvincingly, showed me how to do a video'she filmed me talking about why I was fed up with my 3G. We watched it together and I must say I was very impressed with the quality (sound and picture) of this video. I asked her to explain FaceTime, which she did. She showed me the functionality of being able to listen to Pandora while reading e-mail, using google maps, etc. This is key in my life! The Pandora application on my iPhone may be one of the best things to happen to me. Besides maybe the Facebook application. Did I just admit that? Although, she was unconvincing, I had my mind made up the moment I walked into the door. I have used FaceTime a few times and find the interaction to be very intimate and very real'sometimes a little too real. It is pretty incredible how close you can feel to someone even when they are hundreds of miles away. The downfall with FaceTime? As vain as this may sound, unless you hold it a high angle you are capturing a not-so-attractive, double chin shot. You all know what I am talking about. In turn, you end up holding the phone up fairly high and your arm gets tired. Funny thing is that FaceTime has now become a verb in my life. Hey, you wanna FaceTime? Just add it to all the other technological verbs which have been added to our vocabulary. Did he friend request you? Did you e-mail him? What are you tweeting about? Have you checked in yet? Did he DM you? We are in a poking war. The videos have been my favorite addition. I live quite far from my 5 month-old niece and 3 year-old nephew and I have up close videos of them interacting and talking. Anytime I want I can just watch them to feel closer to them! Also, I haven't tried it out yet but supposedly anyone with a newer Mac laptop or desktop can also download FaceTime and I can talk with them on their computer from my iPhone. I have also being able to continue my most recent addiction--words with friends (free). It is basically scrabble which you can play with anyone who has the application on their iPhone. You play real time with friends but there is no pressure to make the next move. You play on your own time. It keeps me sane on my commute to and from work every day. Other pluses for the iPhone 4: the Nike + is built in. I just need to put the sensor in my shoe, calibrate my walk and run and it records all my workouts including time, distance, calories burned, etc (while jamming out to my Daft Punk station on Pandora). Also, there is a way to view all your emails from various accounts at once, which is a pretty cool addition. Work and personal e-mail all in one thread? Some people have issues with that--but I appreciate it. To each their own. So I am sure you are wondering about the big question: service? My service is better with the iPhone 4 than the 3G. It does randomly drop calls but that is because the service in my apartment isn't fantastic. To be completely honest, my roommate, as you know, has the Droid and sometimes she doesn't get my calls or my text messages'lost in Verizon cyber space? That isn't cool. I stand by my decision for the iPhone 4. I spoke with a friend who just got the Droid X. So far she loves it but said 'they could have made it a bit more direct/user-friendly when it comes to personalizing contacts and doing simple tasks.'? Which phone do you have? And what do you have to say about it? Do you want one? Are you getting one for someone as a gift this Holiday? Until we meet again'?¦

The Long and Winding Road'?¦ That Leads to Brand Loyalty

Today might be the worst day for an artist to release an album, unless you are The Beatles.  40 years after the group split and 10 years after the launch of iTunes, The Beatles are now available for digital download. Apple teased the launch on 11/15 with their announcement that 'Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget.'  Speculation around the announcement ranged from chatter about a cloud-based subscription service to Ellen DeGeneres' latest tweet: 'Apple says iTunes is making a big announcement tomorrow. If it's a baby, I hope they name it Ellen.'? While I'm excited to purchase a new digital version of Yellow Submarine, my favorite Beatles songs are already on my iPod. Or in the words of @adamisacson 'Today, Apple is announcing to the world that millions of baby boomers still don't know how to rip mp3 files from their record collections.'? I was looking forward to the 11/16 release of my favorite American Idol, Lee Dewyze's new album ' but 12 hours after it should have been available on iTunes, it is still not there. Lee has been patiently thanking fans today via Twitter for their support while iTunes figures out why his album isn't available yet'?¦ In a recent tweet he is reminding fans that his album is available right now on other online sites. And yet here I am still waiting for iTunes to figure out their Beatlemania before I jump ship and purchase elsewhere. I'm mostly waiting for the ease of iTunes & iPod syncing, but apparently I'm more loyal to Apple than I ever realized. I don't own an Apple computer, or even an iPhone although I do have more than one iPod, love a good Justin Long commercial and I'll be the first in line for a Verizon iPhone if it ever happens. As a marketer I know brand loyalty is important, but today I have seen firsthand how impactful it can be. If I remember today for anything, it might be for realizing the true effect of brand loyalty. Oh and for Lee's new album, which as of 12:05 PM is now available on iTunes. Congratulations @LeeDewyze! PS.  Does this mean Garth Brooks is coming to iTunes next? That will be the day that my iPod will never forget.

This Week's Buzz within the Digital Space

June 14th-18th Apple and Google are at it again. Apple has publicized an addendum to their licensing agreement which bans any ad provider that is affiliated with a mobile hardware or operating system company (most notably, Google's recently acquired Admob) from gathering user data on their platform. Data collection is such a vital component of digital advertising; without it, we are unable to evolve our marketing strategy to adopt to and serve consumer preferences. Although Apple now seems to have an unfair advertising advantage, can we really blame them for not wanting to facilitate and benefit their competitor? This interaction epitomizes the companies' differing strategies: closed versus open. Interest in 3-D technology continues to heighten. From 3-D World Cup coverage to 3-D gaming, digital headlines this past week were swarming with mention of 3-D innovation. Unfortunately, this technology appears to have a fatal flaw. Thinking back to the basics of product diffusion, will our desire to adopt outweigh the complexity of integrating 3-D tech into our lifestyle? Does 3-D offer a significant relative advantage to good ol' fashion 2-D? The possibility for consumer rejection is high'but the potential for adoption could have huge implications for the future of advertising. Three brave advertisers (Sony, Gillette, and Disney-Pixar) are attempting to target these early adopters'while paying a 30-40% premium for a 3-D spot. ESPN's 3-D channel premiered the first ads which were designed specifically for live 3-D programming on June 11th. Their experiment with 3-D ads is just the beginning. The television networks, the cable providers, the hardware producers, the ad producers, and the consumers must all be on board in order for this technology to take off. Consumers love iPad advertisements. The average user's interaction time with an iPad ad is 30 seconds and click-through rates have run between .9% and 1.5% (6x the traditional web benchmark for click-to-expand ads). Currently, we can only speak for the early adopters who are enamored with the device's functionality: including the interactive ads it serves them. But as publishers begin to experiment with the iPad and discover new methods to engage their user (see: Time's already evolving iPad application), mainstream participation could be in sight. Despite this success, similar to what was discovered during the early days of the Internet, an improved method for measuring participation must be established: click-through rates are no longer relevant. A new tool from comScore, for example, tracks what happens after a customer views an ad (do they do a product search? do they visit a B&M store?) by cross-referencing their metrics with offline data. If we continue to measure ad success based soley on CTRs, what will happen when the iPad becomes mainstream? CTRs will seem to deflate while that might not be a true indicator of a decrease in engagement.

  • 3 min read
  • June 22, 2010

This Week's Buzz within the Digital Space

June 14th-18th Apple and Google are at it again. Apple has publicized an addendum to their licensing agreement which bans any ad provider that is affiliated with a mobile hardware or operating system company (most notably, Google's recently acquired Admob) from gathering user data on their platform. Data collection is such a vital component of digital advertising; without it, we are unable to evolve our marketing strategy to adopt to and serve consumer preferences. Although Apple now seems to have an unfair advertising advantage, can we really blame them for not wanting to facilitate and benefit their competitor? This interaction epitomizes the companies' differing strategies: closed versus open. Interest in 3-D technology continues to heighten. From 3-D World Cup coverage to 3-D gaming, digital headlines this past week were swarming with mention of 3-D innovation. Unfortunately, this technology appears to have a fatal flaw. Thinking back to the basics of product diffusion, will our desire to adopt outweigh the complexity of integrating 3-D tech into our lifestyle? Does 3-D offer a significant relative advantage to good ol' fashion 2-D? The possibility for consumer rejection is high'but the potential for adoption could have huge implications for the future of advertising. Three brave advertisers (Sony, Gillette, and Disney-Pixar) are attempting to target these early adopters'while paying a 30-40% premium for a 3-D spot. ESPN's 3-D channel premiered the first ads which were designed specifically for live 3-D programming on June 11th. Their experiment with 3-D ads is just the beginning. The television networks, the cable providers, the hardware producers, the ad producers, and the consumers must all be on board in order for this technology to take off. Consumers love iPad advertisements. The average user's interaction time with an iPad ad is 30 seconds and click-through rates have run between .9% and 1.5% (6x the traditional web benchmark for click-to-expand ads). Currently, we can only speak for the early adopters who are enamored with the device's functionality: including the interactive ads it serves them. But as publishers begin to experiment with the iPad and discover new methods to engage their user (see: Time's already evolving iPad application), mainstream participation could be in sight. Despite this success, similar to what was discovered during the early days of the Internet, an improved method for measuring participation must be established: click-through rates are no longer relevant. A new tool from comScore, for example, tracks what happens after a customer views an ad (do they do a product search? do they visit a B&M store?) by cross-referencing their metrics with offline data. If we continue to measure ad success based soley on CTRs, what will happen when the iPad becomes mainstream? CTRs will seem to deflate while that might not be a true indicator of a decrease in engagement.

This Week's Buzz within the Digital Space (May 17-23)

 Undoubtedly, the buzz this week radiated from Google's third annual I/O (or 'Innovation in the Open'?) Conference. Techies indulged themselves on a two day binge of Google innovations. Here are a few highlights: The company (finally) unveiled Google TV. They reminded us that, despite industry-wide focus on the Internet and mobile communications, television is still king. Four billion users spend an average of five hours a day watching TV, while advertisers spend $70M annually trying to advertise to them. Several companies ' Sony, Intel, Adobe, and others'have collaborated with Google to build this technology which searches and delivers content seamlessly from both your tv and the Web. This 'smart tv'? seems intuitive, natural; why continue watching television on our laptop screens if we don't have to? As consumers, I believe making the jump to a 'lean-forward'?, engaging technology in our living-room won't be easy (but you'll have your chance to become an early-adopter Fall 2010). As advertisers though, it's hard not to be hopeful that Google TV catches on. There's an opportunity here to make traditional television content interactive. The new Android OS 2.2, Froyo, was revealed. Reasons why this improvement matters: it's super fast (Google claims its 5x faster than their previous OS version, making it the fastest mobile browser available), it has 'over the air'? capabilities (which allows you to download apps without syncing), and it also supports Flash. And Google didn't forget to remind it's audience of the impressive growth this product has seen - in fact, they're now activating 100,000 Androids a day! Google continues to differentiate itself from Apple. It goes without saying that Google TV is a direct response to Apple's, not-yet-so-successful, Apple TV. And the implementation of Flash into both of these new platforms positions Google in a much different, more-adapting light then their Adobe-cursing competitors. One of the keynote speakers made the competitive spirit obvious: 'If you believe in openness and choice, welcome to Android'?. Google helps Pac-Man turn 30. To celebrate our favorite pellet eating persona's 30th anniversary, Google transformed it's logo into an online version of the popular arcade game. Paralyzing productivity nationwide, the game was so popular that Google has decided to offer it forever. Check it out at www.google.com/pacman on your lunch break.

  • 3 min read
  • May 24, 2010

This Week's Buzz within the Digital Space (May 17-23)

 Undoubtedly, the buzz this week radiated from Google's third annual I/O (or 'Innovation in the Open'?) Conference. Techies indulged themselves on a two day binge of Google innovations. Here are a few highlights: The company (finally) unveiled Google TV. They reminded us that, despite industry-wide focus on the Internet and mobile communications, television is still king. Four billion users spend an average of five hours a day watching TV, while advertisers spend $70M annually trying to advertise to them. Several companies ' Sony, Intel, Adobe, and others'have collaborated with Google to build this technology which searches and delivers content seamlessly from both your tv and the Web. This 'smart tv'? seems intuitive, natural; why continue watching television on our laptop screens if we don't have to? As consumers, I believe making the jump to a 'lean-forward'?, engaging technology in our living-room won't be easy (but you'll have your chance to become an early-adopter Fall 2010). As advertisers though, it's hard not to be hopeful that Google TV catches on. There's an opportunity here to make traditional television content interactive. The new Android OS 2.2, Froyo, was revealed. Reasons why this improvement matters: it's super fast (Google claims its 5x faster than their previous OS version, making it the fastest mobile browser available), it has 'over the air'? capabilities (which allows you to download apps without syncing), and it also supports Flash. And Google didn't forget to remind it's audience of the impressive growth this product has seen - in fact, they're now activating 100,000 Androids a day! Google continues to differentiate itself from Apple. It goes without saying that Google TV is a direct response to Apple's, not-yet-so-successful, Apple TV. And the implementation of Flash into both of these new platforms positions Google in a much different, more-adapting light then their Adobe-cursing competitors. One of the keynote speakers made the competitive spirit obvious: 'If you believe in openness and choice, welcome to Android'?. Google helps Pac-Man turn 30. To celebrate our favorite pellet eating persona's 30th anniversary, Google transformed it's logo into an online version of the popular arcade game. Paralyzing productivity nationwide, the game was so popular that Google has decided to offer it forever. Check it out at www.google.com/pacman on your lunch break.

The Pulse - Tech Savvy Consumers

Every month we survey our Pulse Network, a network of over 10,000 milllennials. We had responses from over 100 students (high school and college) and here is what we learned this month. With smartphones becoming more prevalent and popular, we wanted to get a sense of how students feel about these new gadgets and what they thought were the biggest benefits of having one. While the majority of students know what a smartphone is, only 26% of the respondents own one. Students have limited budgets and during these harder economic times, not all parents can afford to go out and buy the latest and greatest technology. While only a few have smartphones, the features and applications that are offered with the smartphone are very appealing. The ability to check email and browse the internet are the biggest benefits to students. We asked all respondents the following question. What are some reasons you purchased a smartphone or want to purchase one? '?¢ 61% stated I can access my email and internet '?¢ 51% stated I can play music on it '?¢ 50% stated I can take pictures with it '?¢ 42% stated it's a mini-computer '?¢ 41% stated it has a touch screen '?¢ 41% stated I can view video clips '?¢ 38% stated it has a miniature keyboard '?¢ 12% stated I don't think there is anything really special with it That said, the feature they would use the most is the internet. Students want to get information instantaneously, so having the internet at their disposal has high appeal. What smartphone feature you would use the most? '?¢ 44% Internet '?¢ 23% Music '?¢ 17% Email '?¢ 8% Pictures '?¢ 1% Video In terms of brand choice, Apple is the top rated among students if they were to purchase a smartphone, followed by the BlackBerry.

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