Masala Digital

Marketing Masala in the Digital Age

Awesome? Scary? or Simply Brilliant? :)

The weekend has been pretty interesting. I saw rebounds regarding Google and its shenanigans all across social networks and the Internet in general, and then woke up this morning to read more in print. Led to some light thinking on the matter, and I tried breaking these thoughts into three distinct and debatable trends that I have noticed about the BigO.

One champion for your business

On Saturday, Steve Rubel interviewed Jeff Jarvis’ about his new book, What Would Google Do? In the book, Jarvis breaks down Google’s practices into 12 distinct rules and then applies them to aging industries like media and advertising. Denuo/Publicis’s Rishad Tobaccowala points out how Google served an entirely new population of advertisers who didn’t have agencies and that enabled it to set new rules. Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy). Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.

One number in your life

I picked up today’s newspaper and there’s Google again with its mega plans to unify the masses. Launched on March 5th, Google Voice is all set to revolutionize telephones.It unifies your phone numbers, transcribes your voice mail, blocks telemarketers and elevates text messages to first-class communication citizens. And that’s just the warm-up. Google Voice began life in 2005 as something called GrandCentral. It was, in its own way, revolutionary. More on it here.

One fellow to help you out on the web

If search wiki wasn’t enough, Google now has made available the “preferred site” option to all its users. The service allows users to overweight certain web sites in the search engine result pages. Once you sign up, Google recommends pages from your history that you tend to visit when searching. You have the option to make these sites (or any other) a preferred destination.

Without even getting into the whole business/ SEO/ SEM discussion, I can only hope that you can turn it off – Half the fun about search is the fact that you can find the “unexpected” and stuff you haven’t seen before. I mean what is “search”, if you know what you’re gonna get?

One person who knows you better than you yourself!

So you worried just about how your search data was painting a DNA of who you are? Google  released 11 software applications for mobile phones that spell a fundamental change in our lives. Among the applications were functions such as text messaging, web browsing, a diary, Orkut – the company’s social networking offering – and Latitude, a GPS-based service that tracks you wherever you go. Innocent enough, perhaps. But combined they would allow Google to know what you are doing all of the time. A truly Orwellian development that has been described by privacy campaigners as “a catastrophic corruption of consent”.

Far-fetched? Not at all. The mobile phone industry has for years seen the potential for a rich market to develop in location-based services if only it could get its customers to agree. Google, on the other hand, has decided to take advantage of that market and it has sought to do so by appearing to be helpful. The rationale is simple – offer a service for free and the customer will not notice that they have given a company the right to know where they are at any time.

So now – considering the above, what do you think?

  1. Google is well on its way to create the “Empire
  2. Google is doing what all enterprises should do – consistently better their offering
  3. Google is retrograding the whole “Internet” story it fed on by killing basics like “free spirit”, “openness”, “surprises”, “sense of wonder” et al

Shake off that click, willya?

Its painful to see just how some myopic online marketers in India have shortchanged the medium.

In India, its been an uphill, albeit fun journey to convince traditional marketers to realize the online potential. Why even debate the fact that its simpler for most marketing managers to go along with traditional – considering they grew up with it and hey, they are assessed internally for stuff they do for a billion Indians…not the extra 0.3 above that eh? Hmm. Sobering thought.

Now instead of building the online story, the charisma, the wow and really, capitalizing on its niche value as the preferred medium of the “classes” – the early onliners tried making a quick buck and rep by exploiting the ultimate clincher – performance – a bit early in the game. All because, no marketer was paying attention to their incessant whine otherwise, and maybe they weren’t too good any other which way.

So, the whole “only a person clicks” was misconstrued into this magical sounding “direct” and “personal” story and sold in the name of “CPL” – effectively screwing up not just the user experience that was now inundated with ads, but also leading to malpractices like click frauds that cheated the brands.

All this done to a medium that is truly personal, and in a space where humans actually spend time with themselves.

Why advertise when you can talk here? Why hurry when we can build relationships? For once we have the opportunity to truly realize terms like CRM, Loyalty, Preference and desires like love. Let’s not screw it up any further, shall we?

And to the CPL media planners – hell, they are shaking the Wii now..go measure that! 😀

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  • Filed under: Web
  • Delhi can stop waiting for its buses now..

    Here’s the latest from our deal ol’ Delhi Transport Corporation, or more correctly, the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd.:

    After going the digital way with on-board GPS, the DIMTS fellows have now gone a step further by creating an Online Bus Information System that will help Delhi citizens plan their bus journeys, effectively cutting the wait-time at bus-stops to a minimal.

    Citizens can now track buses on Delhi roads in real time though DIMTS’ “Online Bus Information System”. Both AC and Non-AC buses plying on selected BRT routes and all the AC buses on different routes in Delhi can be tracked using this system. Rest assured, it won’t be long before the system is extended to ALL the routes & buses!

    ETA Display Click here to View the Estimated Time of Arrival of Buses on the Bus Stops

    virtualdisplaymap Click here to View Route-wise Expected Time of Arrival of Buses on Delhi Map (Google Map Integration!)

    OneView Click here to View the location of Buses on GIS Map of Delhi (Roll-over mouse on each stop. Green pointers are buses (incl registration numbers for ID)

    This is awesome stuff..and an example for others!

    More info can be found on the DIMTS website!

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  • Filed under: Web
  • 30% of Leisure time being spent Online: TNS

    via audiencematters

    A TNS global survey entitled Digital
    World, Digital Life, probing online behaviours and perspectives shows
    that, on average, people across the 16 countries surveyed are spending
    close to a third (30%) of their leisure time online.

    It appears we like our 30% digital time regardless of how much free
    time we have.

    Digital World, Digital Life found that respondents with
    up to 2 hours leisure time each week day, spent the same proportion of
    their leisure time online as respondents who had between 7 and 8 hours
    of leisure time on a week day.  This means there is no direct link
    between the amount of leisure time we have and how much of it we spend
    online.

    What are the top 5 activities that people undertake while online?
    TNS asked people to identify a range of activities in the month before
    they took the survey.

    A total of 81% had used a search engine to find
    information; 76% had looked up the news; 74% had used online banking;
    65% had looked up the weather; and 63% had researched a product or
    service before buying it. These activities are all inherently very
    practical.

    The highest ranking classic leisure activity – “watching a
    video clip” – only came in at number 8, with half (51%) saying they had
    done this in the past month. Another leisure activity – “listening to
    an audio clip” – came in at number 10 (44%).

    Arno Hummerston, Managing Director, TNS Global Interactive, said:
    “If our leisure time is so precious, then why do we on average spend
    almost a third of it using the internet? We believe it is because we
    are making more efficient use of our valuable time, specifically by
    using the internet – thereby allowing us to fit more into our lives.
    Being online helps people fulfil certain tasks and activities quickly
    and efficiently. By spending productive time online, we are actually
    making more time for leisure. With more social and entertainment
    activities available online, it is also easy to understand why our
    lives are becoming more digital.”

    Who and where are the most avid onliners in the world? Younger
    people under 25, as might be expected, are seriously engaged with
    online life. The under 25s surveyed in the report say they spend well
    over a third (36%) of their time online. On average, Chinese
    respondents under 25 spend half (50%) of their leisure time online.

    If the world is to take its lead from Japan and Korea – countries
    that are seen as being innovative and pioneering in the online world –
    then we can expect to spend even more time online. In those countries,
    respondents say they currently spend on average around two-fifths of
    their leisure time online.

    There are particular groups of people that are more avid users of
    the internet than others. For example, across the 16 countries
    surveyed:

    students spend 39% of their time online.

    US Housewives spend 38% of
    their leisure time online while in the UK, this was even more pronounced
    with almost half (47%) of housewives spending their leisure
    time online.This might be explained by the rapid expansion of online
    food shopping, particularly in the UK where online shopping expenditure
    in general now tops £1 billion per month (Source: Mintel 2008).

    The Digital World, Digital Life survey also underlined that mobile
    handsets are frequently used to connect to the internet.

    Worldwide, 1
    in 10 respondents surveyed say they connect to the internet once a day
    via mobile handsets. But Asia’s adoption trends imply significant
    growth prospects. Among the Japanese and Chinese respondents to the
    survey, for example, over a quarter of people access the internet over
    mobile connections at this once-a-day frequency.

    Digital or Die!

    Original article here: http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3630966

    Digital or Die

    By Rebecca Lieb, The ClickZ Network, Sep 26, 2008

    One of the most crammed, standing-room-only sessions at MIXX this week featured the media directors of top agencies, including Digitas, Mediaedge:cia, Neo@Ogilvy, and MindShare. As they talked targeting and how they were spending millions of media dollars for their respective rosters of blue-chip clients, online media trainer extraordinaire Leslie Laredo leaned over to whisper in my ear, “Not a single person on this panel is over 30.”

    Whether her observation is literally true is moot. The point is these senior agency executives are young, much younger than their typical counterparts on the traditional media side of the table.

    Why? Are old dogs so adverse to learning new tricks? Because certainly at MIXX, as well as at OMMA last week, bemoaning the digital talent gap was a cry that emerged early and often.

    It’s not just old-timers on the traditional agency side of the equation who are stubbornly resisting the shift to digital. It’s an issue across the media landscape. Their reluctance was perhaps somewhat understandable in the go-go ’90s and in the sober, austere, bleak era around 2002.

    But now?

    Still, I’m seeing traditional publishers cut back on digital endeavors (and digital staff) in a desperate and futile effort to sustain their flagging, dead-tree legacy brands. I’m seeing digital executives going to senior management with requests for back-end tools, such as content management systems and social media software, only to learn their corporate overlords have no idea what all that stuff is, much less what it’s actually used for or how it can benefit the business.

    And I’m seeing some of those print publications flatline. Friends who have been print journalists for decades are panicking in the face of cutbacks, early retirement, consolidation, and plain old extinction.

    But they’re not learning digital skills. A critic friend stays up nights over the fact his paper is due to shutter at month’s end. When I inquired about his online skills, he replied that even the most fundamental elements of a story, such as hyperlinks, were determined and executed by the online editor. He doesn’t know how to do any of that stuff.

    An entrepreneur behind an online publishing startup, meanwhile, recently posed a hypothetical question: “If you could hire a top journalist with 20 years’ traditional experience or someone fresh out of J-school who knew the Web cold, which person would you hire?”

    No contest. Hands down, I’d make the kid an offer.

    New media is becoming old hat. It’s a fact of life. OMMA and MIXX were packed, refreshingly, with new faces. I’m speaking next week at MIMA in Minneapolis, another sold-out interactive marketing event. Newfound interest in and support for digital advertising is heartening, yet there’s still an astonishing degree of pushback across the media industries.

    Across all industries and sectors, in fact. Veteran Web consultant and publisher Larry Chase related a story this week about rescuing a neighbor’s virus-infected hard drive (they’d let their virus protection software subscription expire). The relieved and chastised owner piped up that while they didn’t know much about virus protection, they had just learned how to create an e-mail attachment.

    Clinging to Luddism and deliberate blindness in the face of the digital revolution (no understatement there!) may have been cute 10 years ago. Today, it’s inexcusable.

    Those glib and somewhat arrogant aphorisms, such as “everything that can be digital will be,” have come to pass. In a climate buffeted by a tumultuous economy and tenuous job security, the advertising and media industries really have reached the point of go-digital-or-die.

    The question, of course, is how do you change attitudes? How can media professionals be made to understand and convinced to embrace digital media and Web literacy, e-mail accounts, and the occasional Amazon order? It’s disheartening to watch friends and colleagues lose jobs — as well as their future prospects — before they wake up to this no-longer-new reality.

    So what’s the answer? Some sort of digital Peace Corps? Community college courses? Should companies undertake in-house training initiatives?

    What are you doing? Because friends can no longer allow friends to remain digitally illiterate. Or is the media and advertising landscape going to have to undergo a Wall Street meltdown before people start to change?

    Smells like lunch!

    Check out this KFC Press Release about a really innovative marketing campaign!

    In a marketing first, KFC is highlighting the launch of its $2.99 Deals by placing the mouth-watering aroma of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the halls and offices of corporate America.

    Forget television integrations or corporate naming rights, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s first-ever “scent-focused” pilot program teamed KFC with corporate mail rooms nationwide. Along with carrying inter-office mail, overnight packages and bills, mail carts in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas delivered the aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken during pre-lunch mail drops.

    Through the pilot program, KFC worked with an online company, a business-to-business consulting firm and a non-profit, to include a $2.99 Deal – a plated meal including KFC’s world famous chicken, a side item and a biscuit – on the actual mail carts that pass the offices of hungry workers.

    “There is truly no better brand ambassador worldwide than the signature aroma of freshly prepared Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said James O’Reilly, chief marketing officer for KFC. “And we couldn’t think of a better way to showcase the value of our new $2.99 Deal than to inject the mouth-watering scent of Kentucky Fried Chicken into the corridors of corporate America.”

    To bring the sweet-smelling promotion to life, KFC collaborated with Chemistry.com in Dallas; the Trade Association & Society Consultants of Washington, D.C.; and the Chicago offices of the Salvation Army.

     

    More Smelladvertising:

     

    image

    VIA (the washing powder) ran a poster campaign in Stockholm and Malmö which..er..actually smells!

    Push the little spout at the bottom of the poster and you’ll sniff a sample on how the washing powder smells. Or how clean clothes smell after being washed with Via.

    HOT!

    So, smell some fried chicken, and if it gets too much, there is always the refreshing detergent smell to wash it off! Anyone for coffee beans?

    More examples? Look at how newspapers are using smelladvertising to regain lost commercial revenues…here

    The IE8 concerns around the Chrome fever…

    In the midst of the Chrome Launch, Adage has this interesting viewpoint on Internet advertising and the implications that new browsers bring on to the table…

    Latest Microsoft Browser Fuels Fear

    IE8 Gives Web Surfers More Power to Block Ads and Cookies

    By Beth Snyder Bulik
    Published: August 28, 2008

    YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) — Microsoft’s newest bro

    wser is still only in beta, but it already has the advertising world in a tizzy. Its “InPrivate” set of features on Internet Explorer 8 out this week has publishers, marketers and industry advocates worried that it could block their ability to distribute, track and even monetize what the Interactive Advertising Bureau values as a $21.2 billion-plus internet-ad industry.
    But Microsoft Internet Explorer general manager Dean Hachamovitch advises to remain calm. “The point isn’t to block content or ads. The point is to put users in control of what they’re sharing,” he said, adding he has read and heard many misconceptions about what InPrivate can and cannot do.
    Stealth surfing
    For instance, the InPrivate Browsing feature — already slang-termed “porn mode” — only allows a user to hide single browsing session activities from “over the shoulder” viewers such as family members. It does not block ads from being served to the user or from advertisers counting views or clicks.
    It works, and got its nickname, by letting users surf porn sites (or any other content, for that matter) without caching any content such as a list of URLs visited, cookies or other data. That could mean no cookies on your computer — as well as no cookies for future use by marketers or publishers, although only during selected InPrivate sessions.
    However, it is the InPrivate Blocking feature that seems potentially more worrisome for advertisers. InPrivate Blocking acts to inform users about sites that consistently track and collect browsing histories. In fact, when a user opts into an InPrivate session, it will automatically block third-party content if it detects that the third party has “seen” the user more than 10 times. So, for instance, if the third party is advertising.com and it is serving ads across 10 sites a user has visited during an InPrivate session, it will begin to block advertising.com tracking codes and possibly content on the 11th website.
    Cause for concern
    Mike Zaneis, VP-public policy for the Internet Advertising Bureau, said while he is encouraged that InPrivate is never a default option on Internet Explorer — meaning that users have to manually opt in each time — he still has concerns.
    “With IE’s market share, will so many people activate that so that it could affect the revenue side of the industry?” he asked. “Any content from anywhere that appears as third parties, whether advertising or stock tickers or news feeds, all appear as third parties, and in theory their content could be blocked.
    “And if you’re blocking all third parties, you’re also going to block all analytic companies,” he said. “You’d be blocking the companies that do the auditing of ad delivery.” He’s particularly concerned about the potential disruption to the entire accounting system of internet advertising.
    Mr. Hachamovitch concedes that IE 8 has no way of knowing if the content is an ad, a stock tracker or a newspaper column. It can only tell if it is third-party content. So that does mean that any content, say, ads, analytics and more, can be blocked. However, he repeated that the user must select InPrivate every time. And users can create “allow” and “block” lists, so-called whitelists and blacklists, to always allow content from trusted sources. Consumers can also subscribe to lists of acceptable content created by others.
    Microsoft itself has tips for publishers and advertisers on how to get third-party content and ads seen. Publishers, for instance, can serve the ads directly from their site (making them first-party content) or they can make third-party content look like first-party content, he said.
    Letting consumers decide
    Ultimately, the point of InPrivate is not to block anything, but instead to give consumers control of the online information they chose to share, or not, Mr. Hachamovitch said. “In a world of well-informed consumers who expect choice, we all need to be thoughtful about how we conduct business,” he said. “To me, this really starts the conversation. IE8 Beta 2 starts us thinking about the expectations people should have about what they share and how.”
    Of course, Microsoft is hardly anti-advertising, and in fact, depends on ad-servicing revenue from its own sites like MSN. In May 2007 it purchased for $5.9 billion aQuantive’s three businesses — Atlas, DrivePM and Avenue A — as a means to build out a massive ad platform, and it had pursued Yahoo in a bid to gain more display-ad leverage. Microsoft, moreover, is a longstanding member of the IAB.
    “From the Microsoft perspective,” said a spokeswoman, “we’re right there with the rest of the crowd in that we think there is a lot of benefit in targeted ads. We just believe consumers have the right to know it’s happening and to opt in.”
    JupiterResearch analyst Emily Riley said the industry upheaval may be moot soon enough anyway, as ad targeting has come under serious scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission. She said she believes the many different industry factions will come up with — by force or free will — guidelines and standards that are acceptable to consumers and regulators.
    “In the short term, though, I can understand how it could be scary for advertisers, because ad targeting is so valuable,” she said.

    Intel today launched its ambitious “Connected Indians” movement at The Taj Palace, New Delhi.

    connected indians

    Check out www.connectedindians.com!

    The Connected Indians movement aims to be the catalyst for delivering the power of the Internet into the hands of a billion Indians. Intel states that its success will hinge on spirited public and private participation.

    Over the next few months, Intel will mobilize people, resources & infrastructure to facilitate Internet adoption across India.

    Over time, this collaboration will help build partnerships between people, Industries and stakeholders via a complete and connected ecosystem to accelerate the growth of Internet and its benefits to the society.

    The Connected Indian web site is an innovation in itself wherein users can click on an interactive map to locate their co-ordinates, and then post their voice for an Internet-enabled India. Not only that, they can utilize the in-built feature to invite more of their friends and peers from their web contact lists to add in more numbers.

    There is also an India Speaks section that highlights different areas where Internet is making a huge difference in the way people, processes, industries & services in India are progressing with the power of the Internet.

    Intel is following up this movement on-ground with specially-designed “Net Yatras” wherein it will showcase Internet’s benefits to Indians using interactive tools & techniques.

    This is one movement that has been designed with a specific cause in mind and Intel promises that for every 10,000 Connected Indians who register, the movement will donate a PC to selected government schools in rural areas.

    Now that’s what we call a spirited initiative!

    Know more about the movement here.

    Join the movement here.

    Join the Connected Indians Orkut Community here.

    Intel’s partners in this venture include google, HCL, Zenith, Edurite, MAIT, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Tata Indicom, Acer, Intex, Novatium, Wipro, Asus, CII, e-zone, lenovo, NIIT, Tata Communications, Croma, NASSCOM etc.

    It will be interesting to see the kind of products & services Intel will introduce to take this step further & forward. Here’s wishing Intel all the best for the initiative & hoping that more & more brands take such steps towards better propagation and acceptance of technology!

    The “Viral” Mystery

    Ever wondered how agencies & clients alike are completely nuts about the “viral” phenomenon? Agency cant produce enough and clients can’t ask enough – anyone with an iota of an online marketing budget never fails to mention “can we have a viral along with the banner campaign”?!

    What’s the deal here? How can you possibly “create” a viral? Aren’t virals supposed to be “ideas”, rather than brand communication? I thought a good communication “became” a viral basis its spread-quotient – and if its an eDM or a video, its just easier to spread around…

    Anyway, so there is Webchutney, the supposed “viral pioneers” as they love to call themselves…with this new Center Fresh viral

    While the overall concept is nice..crass, but funny nevertheless, the funniest part that definitely is viral-able is this:
    Viral URL!

    Notice the URL?! I mean just obvious do they want it to be? Or are dumb customers expected to appreciate the fact that there “exists a viral”…a sure sign of “creative brilliance” & “amazing campaign roll-out”!

    Ahem..don’t miss the “Kitne Aadmi the..” question in the Q&A session..going by their liberal use of the concept, it seems Webchutney must be paying a retainer to Mr. Sippy!

    Webchutney and Center Fresh aren’t the only ones…there are a million campaign landing pages that have URL stating the obvious…”www.xyz.com/campaign/microsite”-like URL’s are pretty common..

    I do hope that better sense will prevail sooner than later as far as such freaky phenomenons are concerned!

    Piclens

    What is Piclens? 

    It’s a free browser plug in from Cooliris, which provides astonishingly good image browsing facilities on the web. The best way to describe PicLens is that it’s a like the slideshow feature in Picasa or a similar photo viewing tool, but applied to web pages. Clever use of zooming, panning and 3D style presentation not only improves your ability to scan, but is also visually stunning. Piclens provides full screen immersive picture browsing of web sites that support Media RSS.

    How and where it works 

    To use PicLens, a user clicks a small translucent icon   that appears atop the image of   interest once the plugin is installed. The PicLens slideshow interface appears and the user can move from one photo to the next or press play and enjoy the show. A user can intuitively browse images within search results, photo albums, and Media RSS enabled websites.

    Support is currently provided for Flickr, Facebook, Friendster, Picasa Web Album and image search results from Google and Yahoo. Site owners can add support to any site with photos by including Media RSS support.

     

    What you can do on Piclens.

    3D Wall

    Transform your browser into a full-screen, 3D experience for online photos and videos

    3D Video Search

    Fly through 1000s of You Tube videos faster than you’ve ever imagined possible

     Discover

    MSNBC, ESPN, movie trailers…Get the latest news, photos, and video feeds

    Shop Amazon

    Browse products from Amazon in a new virtual window shopping environment

     

    Conclusion

    The full screen rendering does require a decent internet speed when displaying large photographs, but visually the results are stunning. This Firefox plugin is going to find a lot of fans very, very quickly

     

    Resources

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/06/26/full-screen-web-photo-browsing-with-piclens/

    www.greatapps.blogspot.com

    www.piclens.com

    About MD

    Masala Digital is not just about Digital Marketing - it's about marketing in the digital age. The defining lines of marketing that segregated ATL, BTL & Digital hardly hold any water in the age of integrated marketing that assimilates effective practices across all available mediums to create truly integrated ideas. Masala Digital is the platform for sharing, collaborating and participating to add wings to these thoughts. You too can contribute..check out the "Contact Us" page for more information.