Archive for the ‘television’ Category

Disruption powa!

June 14, 2007

France is a very conservative country as far as music is concerned. There are plenty of amazing and innovative artists but there’s no much room for them in the narrow french media landscape.

I watched yesterday evening the finale of “La nouvelle star”, the french version of American Idol. Here’s the winner

The other candidates of the show were very classical (Barbara Streisand and Elton John clones). I was very pleased to see this alien, tattood with the name of  Marcel Duchamp, win a mainstream song contest. Beyond the fact that he was my favourite candidate, I was glad to see that disruption works. I hope that marketers will take good note of that.


The green match

May 29, 2007

There is a very interesting debate/discussion going on between David and Jeroen. There is a worldwide action on the msn platforms called live earth about the global warming. The climax of this action will happen on the 7th of July with a gigantic concert in 7 different cities all over the world. Belgium, like every ‘msn countries’ developed a number of pages for this occasion. Like on almost every msn page there is a showcase advertising space. David noticed an inappropriate ad (an anticontextual ad, I should say) and writes:

Is this really a green match….?
I fully follow MSN’s commitment to “green” (and the Live Earth initiative) but like the environmental crisis needs all of us to change small behaviors, I think that small contradictions like this should also be under the eco-friendly ads radar

Jeroen, manager of, reacted in the comments of David’s blog (I just present some samples of his reaction but you should read the full story)

We are not experts on the businesses of our advertisers, so it would be really hard for us to judge which companies and products should be banned or penalised. For example, did you know that the paper industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world? I happen to know this because I have been in print publishing, but lots of people wouldn’t have guessed. (…) The point is, we cannot be the judge of who is ‘fit’ to be on a green special or even MSN, because we’re not experts. (….) Apart from that I feel that the negative approach doesn’t work. NOT having an ad by someone on a page will never raise any awareness

Besides, Jeroen posted (in dutch) about this debate on his own blog and on the website molblog and asks several questions:

Can you show your citizenship by refusing some advertisers? Would it be efficient? How can you determine which advertiser is acceptable and which isn’t? Will the people notice your engagement by NOT seing the advertiser on your website? How would the advertiser react if he’s not allow to spend money on your network?

It’s a very interesting debate and I don’t have a definitive answer the the questions above. I don’t think this debate would happen around TV despite the fact that ad placement on TV can sometimes be quiet anticontextual…. and quiet non-ethical.

About advertising and ethics, also read: (Ethic)ette by Gavin Heaton.

I might be the next Miss Belgium

May 15, 2007


I watched TV yesterday (yes, I know, it’s SO 20th century). A TV commercial explained me that I might be the next Miss Belgium and that I really should apply right now. A few minutes after, right after the 8 o’clock news, another commercial presented a solution to my mobility problem: A stairlift! Even if I can’t dunk, I play basketball. I’m a 37 year old male, reasonably healthy (still have to quit smoking) with a pretty traditional lifestyle.

Despite a very precise socio-demographic targeting opportunity and while behavioral targeting solutions are finetuned by our industry major players, we still see that kind of absurd media plans. In the case of Miss Belgium, it’s free advertising space (the broadcaster is organizer of the event) but what had the planner of the stairlift in mind?

Anyway, wish me luck for the Miss Belgium competition.

No compassion, no mercy

April 29, 2007

Listen to the lyrics of the song in this commercial.

The funny thing is that the little tagline in french at the end means “New Jeep Compass. 4×4 reasons to love the city” (Thanks Chrys for correcting me)

Besides this one, what could be the less appropriate song for a car commercial? After a little browsing on lyrics sites, my first proposals are Car Jamming (Clash), Wheels of confusion (black sabbath) and The new pollution (Beck). Any other ideas?

Thanks for answering

April 28, 2007

Here’s a recap of my answers to the 8 questions of the Digital Marketing FAQ. 

How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?

Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?

Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?

How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?

How intrusive should I be? (expandable formats, videos with sound on by default)

What does interaction rate (only available for rich media formats) tell me about the impact of my campaign?

Does the long tail change anything to the way I should communicate with my target group?

Why on earth do people use sites like second life?

You can also find excellent answers to those questions on Transmission Marketing and Minor issues. Besides Mark and Steven, I need to thank a lot of people who contributed to the answers and the diffusion of the questions: Joe Jaffe, Kris Hoet, Ann Handley, CK, Michel Vuijlsteke, Marc Collier, Marc Bresseel and (in advance) Matt Dickman.

I will come back soon with a wrap up and a powerpoint summarizing all the great contributions of those top marketeers.

My bitch eats soja

April 25, 2007

There was a very interesting discussion yesterday on CKs blog about cursing and incorrect vocabulary in hip hop. This inspired me a post about values carried by advertising.

I saw yesterday the TV spot below (the advertiser is Sojasun) on a major french network. It’s one (and not the worst) in a disgusting serie.

I really hate this commercial and don’t want this product in my fridge no matter what is taste. In another spot for the same brand, a father punishes his son, who hasn’t done anything wrong, just to steal his desert. This kind of communication disturbs me big time. Don’t get me wrong, I earn my salary thanks to advertising, I like disruptive communication and I’m not a politically correctness advocate but I don’t get why some values are used so much in advertising: greed, envy, jealousy, competition, revenge, humiliation, lack of citizenship, egoism, and other basic instincts. Twix (or was it rolo?) used the same mechanisms for their “too good to share” campaign.

I understand that advertising is based on archetypes and often transgression and that a 30 seconds format requires very simple messages but come on, there must be other ways.

To conclude on that point and counterbalance the anti-values, here’s a quote of the Dalai Lama : “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

Dell Hell strikes back

April 16, 2007

I was invited for a presentation today at Zenith Optimedia Belgium. I tried hard but it was impossible to launch my Dell laptop… I had nothing but a blue screen and no print-out of the presentation I was intending to make. Some kind of poltergeist probably cause since I’m back at the office, my PC is working properly.

I presented anyway… and explained to the planners the story and the outcome so far of the digital marketing FAQ.  I focused on the first 4 questions:

  • How far should I go in the dialogue with the users? Can I accept controversy on my website? What moderation level is acceptable?
  • Is online advertising making sense without a decent website?
  • Are there examples of 2.0 initiatives made by traditional brands that went totally out of hand?
  • How can impressions be compared to television GRPs?
  • For the fourth question, I’m happy that Steven was the first to shoot since it’s not my favourite question.

    GRP versus impressions: Both of these metrics express the advertising weight. GRPs could be used for online campaigns but the comparison is made difficult by:

    – A different relation with time: there are no time schedules in online

    – The fact that online is bought with a share of volume (SOV): Most campaigns are planned with a SOV between 15 and 30%

    – Different ways to measure audience

    – The variety of internet formats

    But the question of GRP versus impressions aims to compare the impact of online advertising and the impact of TV advertising. If you compare what’s comparable, it seems that a TV spot works better online but what about the other formats? and what’s the point to compare impressions and GRPs?

    What the advertisers and the agencies really want to know is how to make an impactful online campaign… and that’s the Achilles’ heel of the online advertising: there is no clear set of rules. Carat proposed a “Morgenzstern beta” (measuring the power of advertising per media) for online but it’s only based on a 2001 campaign, Doubleclick made some great research on best practice to maximize impact. Both show very positive results. Unfortunatly, none of those are regarded as market norms.

    Even if there is plenty of data advocating the power of online advertising, the web doesn’t comply with norms very well by nature and because of its youth.

    There’s a lot to say about those issues… Have a look a “the devil & online advertising” that proposes a great summary about our (online media owners) lack of maturity.

    But internet is the media of permanent and (almost) real time optimization. It allows the advertiser to draw conclusions out of each action and develop a tailor made best practice and I believe that’s a major argumentation to advocate our beloved medium.

    The revolution will be no re-run, brothers

    April 9, 2007

    I’m going dark for a few days. Even if I don’t connect, I’ll work on the remaining 5 questions of the FAQ.

    Untill my next post, remember that:

    The revolution will put you in the driver seat
    The revolution will not be televised

    (The revolution will be online)

    Don’t let me be misunderstood

    April 8, 2007

    I had the honour to be speaker at the youth online workshop (It was a last minute replacement of my boss).

    Last friday, there was an extended summary of the workshop in a Belgian marketing magazine called PUB News.

    I started my presentation by telling that today’s young generation was born after the democratization of the internet and that they were living in an infinite media landscape. Internet changed the fact that content and information were scarce resources and that this huge offering was changing the way children are expecting to acces content. Even if children under 13 years of age keep prefering television, the way they watch it is highly influenced by the web. This behaviour is influencing the way television is currently evolving (and will continue to evolve). I also spoke about internet usage data, gaming and made a focus on messenger using a study we (Microsoft) made with MTV.

    The journalist made a great summary but I realized through the article that at some point of my presentation, when I was talking about the way children are consuming content, the journalist assumed I was talking only about TV (you know, the piece of furniture you have in your living room). I may not have been clear enough about that… I once heard the chief creative officer of FremantleMedia New Platforms (the excellent Gary Carter, also President of FremantleMedia creative networks) telling that Fremantle’s job was not to produce content for TV but to feed screens, no matter that the screens were TV screens, computer screens or mobile devices screens.

    But for many marketing and media professionals, device independant content is still science fiction. I should work again on that part of my evangelisation speech.

    It’s the end of the media world as we know it…

    April 5, 2007

    So, the media world based on scarcity of information is about to collapse. Advertisers and their agencies will have to cope with a chaotic transition period with a highly fragmented web audience and a lack of qualitative inventory. The theory of Bob Garfield is 2 years old but seems still futuristic. The time spent watching TV per household doesn’t decrease yet in Europe and in the US and while where a talking about chaos and perfect storm, Marc Cuban recently writes “As it turns out, based on data for January of 2007, the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    I suppose that eventually, broadcast TV audiences will erode and we can’t ignore that the web audience is fragmented. But when I look at the top tens in several european countries, I see so much similarities that I conclude that if you want to stay a strong player you need to (if you have the means):

    – Force the user to use your services: it’s the case of ISPs proposing their portal sites as default page or Microsoft pushing services through IE. Even if the surfers become more and more internet savvy, all those sites keep very high net ratings and reaches

    – If you’re offline media-orginated, play on complementarity between on and offline on content offering and find synergies in communication

    – Seek for catalyzation (each extra user brings extra content… thus extra value) knowing that web 2.0 still offers something like a first (succesful)  mover advantage: It will be very tough to make a succes out of a me-too of WL messenger, youtube, dailymotion, wikipedia and probably Twitter without a major differentiator.

    – Become a global role model (easy to say, very hard to do): sites who managed to give (even if it’s a long time ago) a structuration of the internet browsing (yahoo! was the first and google the second) and took through that a very strong place still appear in almost every top tens

    This makes me believe that, if the internet audience is unstable, it’s mainly on the right side of the long tail that the lack of stability occurs.

    EDIT: also read “TV is dead, long live the TV” on wired

    Chaos 2.0 survival guide

    April 4, 2007


    For the first time in media history, information is not scarce anymore. Authors like Bob Garfield predict a collapse of today’s mass Media model leading to an exodus from TV to internet. Is it going too fast? Garfield believes that the internet isn’t ready yet to absorb the advertising budgets fleeing from broadcasters.

    The writer and awarded creative director Tim Brunelle talked about this on his brand new blog  and started what could be the base of a Chaos 2.0 survival guide. I invite you to read (and maybe react to): solution # oneParticipate and solution # twoDevelop an UGC practice.

    By the way, seen from Belgium, the problem of the lack of qualitative inventory is still a wishfull dream. Our sell through rates still have a significant growth margin. *sigh*

    My most embarrassing moment

    March 20, 2007

    Steven Bochco, writer and producer of NYPD Blue is looking for a new breed of storytellers. He teamed up with the video sharing website metacafe, the first user-generated video sites that pay people for their content (5 $ per 1000 views), to produce “Steven Bochco’s cafe confidential”, a serie of short tell all videos without sets, scripts, editing or special effects. The best videos are eligible for price money.

    The concept isn’t very new. The innovation is more in Hollywood’s interest for that kind of User Generated Content (the first contributions were scouted by Bochco’s team). It’s also a sign that The role of a TV producer is more and more to send content to (any kind of) screens and not any more only for broadcasting formats.

    A few themes are proposed: my weird family, my craziest day at work, my wildest drinking moment, my worst date or my most embarrassing moment.

    I believe I could win an embarrassing moment contest. I once threw up on the bride’s sister during a wedding.

    TV shake up

    March 19, 2007

    I just received an invitation mail to preview joost and I installed the client on my computer. Bad luck, the servers couldn’t retrieve the first 3 clips I requested. It’s maybe due to the office firewall. Anyway, the interface is nice, simple and user friendly and all the content of Joost is on demand.

    The content offering is still very limited but the recent announcement of a deal with Viacom could change that dramatically.


    With decent content and hopefully local deals (and a little help from the growing penetration of TVs with HDMI entries), Joost (and also babelgum) could hurt the local IDTV players who tend to provide old fashioned broadcasting “enriched” with pathetic on demand catalogs.

    The future is PC-centric.