Sunday, February 13, 2011

SXSW: Be there because you're square!

I had a contact in the mobile app dev business ask me yesterday, February 1, what my thoughts were on his company attending South by Southwest (SXSW). 
SXSW, if you're not familiar with it, started in 1987 as a music conference. A place for bands from all over the world could come, play, share and connect in hopes of being discovered as the next big thing. Remember, back in 1987, you had to have a record contract to make it. I grew up in Michigan and first read about SXSW in Rolling Stone sitting in my college apartment in 1992. It sounded almost mythical to travel to Austin to see all these great up-and-coming bands. I dreamt about the energy and hoped to one day attend. SXSW demographics have evolved over the last 24 years to include a film festival and interactive component

For instance, did you know that there is a group called the Wadali Brothers? They are the Sufi giants, Ustad Puranchand Wadali and Ustad Pyarelal Wadali.  In the article published by Riyaaz Qawwali, they share information about the Wadali brothers, their music career, their success story, and famous awards in Bollywood.

"I finally got to attend SXSW for the first time in 2006 while working for Rackspace."

Even then, the vibe was very innovative, but I don't think anyone realized how fast technology was going to change over the next 5 years. I mean, was I even texting back then? If I was, it was on a Motorola RAZR. Yikes! In the interactive space, SXSW has become a must-attend event. It's become the place where apps are launched, and apps fail.

Remember last year's battle between Gowalla and Foursquare to see who was going to garner a greater share of the location-based app pie? It's where everyone tweets all week complaining about AT&T's lack of coverage in the Convention Center - it'll be fun to see Verizon maybe take some of the heat this year. ;) Thought leaders and some of the most creative people in the world bring a wealth of knowledge and insight over the course of 10 days. It's definitely not to be missed if you're an early adopter, an innovator, or just curious to see what the next big trends are going to be. SXSW® Interactive features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders, the incredible new SXSW Trade Show, and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new digital works, video games, and innovative ideas the international community has to offer. 

 Join us for the most energetic, inspiring, and creative event of the year, taking place March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. @jduman Reference SXSW YouTube Adobe Events South x Southwest Interactive

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Commercial Coverage XLV

Pre-game: It's not even kick off and the first thing that has surprised me were ads from Groupon – with Cuba Gooding, Jr. as spokesman – and LivingSocial. A category I wasn't expecting to see on the Super Bowl, yet.

National Anthem: Way to go Christina Aguilera. Next time, learn the words. Kthnx. And seriously, Jerry World? You have the most spectacular stadium in quite possibly the world, but you have just a miniscule flag hanging from the ceiling? Disappointing.

1st Commercial Break: BudLight, Doritos, Audi. BudLight's take on home improvement shows was weak at best. Doritos was kind of cute, but maybe because White Dog is a total Dorito addict. Neither seemed Super Bowl-worthy. Audi wins. Large scale production, sexy car, and they even got Kenny G for the ad.

2nd Commercial Break: Doritos, Chevy Cruze, PepsiMax."mmm cheese" totally grossed me out! Chevy at the retirement home? Lame. PepsiMax was cheeky, but I was more surprised as the buzz around town had been that Pepsi was not spending any money on Super Bowl and had funneled those dollars towards social media presence. The buzz was wrong.

3rd Commercial Break: BudLight, Chevy Silverado, The Fast and The Furious 5, FOX promotion. Product placement ad. Silly, not awesome. Tommy got stuck in a well by Chevy Silverado totally tickled my funny bone. I had no idea that Vin Diesel still had a career. Welcome back, Vin.

Packers TD. 7-0.

4th Commercial Break: PepsiMax, Doritos, Hyundai, FOX promotion, NFL Draft promo. The The Doritos "reincarnation" ad was clever. PepsiMax ad was insignificant as was Hyundai. I know it's still the first quarter, but this was a disappointing break.

5th Commercial Break: Cowboys & Aliens, Kia, FOX promotion. Lots of special effects during that break. Cowboys & Aliens looks interesting enough I'll IMDB it to learn more. The Kia ad was impressive, for Kia. However, I think the special effects outdid the actual message.

Packers TD 14-0.

6th Commercial Break: Lipton Brisk with Eminem. Haven't I seen that one before? Still anxiously awaiting the 2:00 Chrysler/Em ad that's coming up later in the game...

End of 1st Quarter

7th Commercial Break: Bridgestone, Chevy Volt, Go Daddy, FOX promotion, Mazda3. The Bridgestone ad was funny, but had nothing to do with tires. Chevy Volt was fun, but not earth shattering. Go Daddy, I'm still wondering what you were thinking by signing Jillian Michaels as your most recent "face". This Joan Rivers ad wasn't all that. Mazda3 was an old ad from their current campaign.

Steelers FG. 14-3.

8th Break: Budweiser, Teleflora, Transformers III. Budweiser "Tiny Dancer" ad was funny, but not great. I wonder why Teleflora even wasted the money on Faith Hill for that ad? Transformers III is just the typical Hollywood big budget blockbuster special effects machine. Boring...

9th Break: BMW, Motorola Xoom Tablet, BMW Diesel. The first BMW ad was good at establishing that they're producing cars in America and was definitely more of a goodwill "buy us" message than anything else. The Motorola Xoom ad was extremely well done, but I fear will be too subtle for many to get. The visuals of the masses connected to their ear buds was a nice mock of the Apple culture (of which I'm fairly well embedded in). Well done, cool messaging, and Android is already the most popular mobile OS. BMW diesel was funny. Nice imagery to get Americans to rethink diesel technology.

10th Break: Coca-Cola, Thor, VW. The Chinese New Year imagery in the Coca-Cola ad threw me. It was big and the type of ad one expects from Coca-Cola, but it was too CGI for my taste. Thor didn't really stand out for me. The VW ad, I had previewed earlier in the week. As an 8-year VW owner (2000-2008), I can assure you my keyless entry fob never worked from further than 6 feet away from my vehicle, so unless they've updated their fob technology, this ad is fiction. It's still cute though and definitely speaks to my generation sharing one of the favorite movies of our childhood with the next generation.

11th Break: Snickers,, Super 8. It was really satisfying to see Roseanne flattened by that massive log, but I still like last year's version with Aretha Franklin. I'm happy to see that is keeping the continuity by continuing to use the chimps in their strategy, but this wasn't their best ad IMO. Super 8 looks interesting. Another one that I'll check out on IMDB and see if it's something I might be interested in seeing when it hits the theater.

Packers TD. 21-3.

12th Break: Chevy Cruze, Captain America, Castrol Edge, Carmax, FOX promotion. OnStar reading real-time Facebook status updates to you while you're driving seems obsessive even for me. Captain America looks interesting. Love the period hair and fashion. Castrol Edge doing a best play of the play-offs ad seems like a waste of money. Carmax's "I feel like a..." was cute and well done, but bordered on going on a little long.

Steelers TD. 21-10.

After the game ends all ads will be available on

(Fig. 1 Chart: Percent Lift in Shares from the Super Bowl - Comparing the day of and the day before the game.)

Half-time begins.

Break 13: FOX promotion. I love Katy Perry probably more than the average person my age, but "Firework" is getting *way* overplayed. Xperia Play, On the Border, AT&T Wireless, Reliant Energy, FOX promotion. Xperia Play ad was creepy, but effective. The stitches were overdone, but I'll remember it. On the Border didn't do anything special for the event. AT&T network ad of dad away on business reading a bedtime story to his son on his tablet was cute. Reliant Energy/Troy Aikman ads are weak and played out.

Break 14: FOX promotion, Sonic, FOX promotion, Salesforce/ Sonic used a canned ad. The Salesforce/Chatter ad seemed irrelevant in this forum. I've used both and I still didn't get what they were trying to convey.

Half-time show: Black Eyed Peas meet Tron: Legacy...hmm. There seems to be issues with the sound. Dallas is looking worse and worse. Between the weather fiasco and now something as basic as the sound isn't working? PR nightmare.

Break 15: Salesforce/, FOX promotion, Chase, Mazda3, AT&T Wireless, Chick-fil-a, FOX promotion, The Daily Tablet "newspaper". The second Salesforce/Chatter ad was even less coherent than the first. I hope they got those as added value from the Black Eyed Peas being the half-time show. Chase, taking a pic of a check to deposit it to my account rocks! If BofA keeps pissing me off, I may move to you. Mazda3 was the same ad from the 1st quarter. AT&T and Chick-fil-a were old ads. The Daily is a good idea. It's the only thing that's going to save news journalists as the printed paper continues to die a slow death.

Break 16: on Verizon, FOX promotion, SPEED promotion, FOX promotion. Nothing of note in this break.

Third quarter.

Break 17:, E*Trade, Best Buy, FOX promotions. was OK, not super. The E*Trade "baby" ads have never done anything for me, but Michael giggled, so I guess it was effective on some level. At least they've been consistent with their campaign. The Best Buy ad was interesting, but I would have rather gotten more information on their Buy Back program rather than most of the ad focusing on Ozzy and Beiber. I really hate when companies spend a bunch of money on a celebrity for the ad and then don't utilize them in a way that adds value to the brand and communication.

Steelers TD. 21-17.

Break 18: We're into 3rd Q. Things should start getting good! Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Mini Cooper, Pirates 4 doesn't really look any different than the first three. Cram it in the Boot cracked me up. Perfect amount of innuendo. was clever and memorable.

Break 19: Hyundai, Groupon, Coca-Cola. The Hyundai kaleidoscope ad was visually interesting. And I always love Jeff Bridges voiceovers on those. The dude abides! And then, Wow! Timothy Hutton as well for Groupon. Spend that $ that you didn't take from Google, boys! I'm interested to see if this becomes a game changer in the category. The Coca-Cola border patrol ad qualified for the Doner "Head, Heart & Funny Bone" award. So far, one of my faves.

Break 20: Stella Artois, Carmax, FOX promotion. Adrien Brody singing for Stella Artois? Again, another situation of a big name celeb wasted. The Carmax ad was funny, but it was incoherent. There was no explanation as to why the guy seemed to "time travel" to a full service gas station.

Break 21: Chrysler. The Chrysler/Eminem ad I'd been waiting for. I've never been a big Chrysler fan even though my dad did tons of work for them and I had other family that worked there as well. I'm a little disappointed to see this alignment, but this will probably end up as my favorite ad of the night. It felt good to see home portrayed in a positive light, the Fox Theatre looked amazing, I loved the background riff of "Lose Yourself", I just wish he'd gotten down with the gospel choir.

End of Q3

Break 22: NFL, Jack in the Box, AT&T Wireless, Reliant Energy, Local FOX promotion. The NFL ad was cute, but I would've enjoyed it more without the Photoshopped team memorabilia on everyone. The Jack in the Box ad was cute, but nothing super special. I'm proud of you AT&T Wireless. Thank you for getting an ad out there letting Verizon users know that they won't be able to talk and use data on their phones at the same time. I saw this ad during the pre-game coverage and as soon as I saw the phone ring, I had high hopes of where you were going. Well done! Reliant Energy repeat from half-time. I didn't like it more this time around.

Packers TD. 28-17.

Break 23: Rango,, BudLight, FOX promotion. Rango trailer ad that's been running for a few weeks now. ad where the cars have personalities and are reading reviews on each other. Cute, but a Cars (the toon movie) knock off. BudLight, haven't you done the dogs playing poker thing before?

Break 24: Hyundai, PepsiMax, Rio. The Sonata hybrid ad was cool. The guy with the headphones and the turntable walking down the street made me laugh. This PepsiMax ad was my favorite of the theirs so far. Loved the contrast of inner dialog between a man and woman on first date. Rio is another animated flick. How many of those are coming out soon? Oy!

Steelers TD. 28-25.

Break 25: Bridgestone, GoDaddy, VW, FOX promotion. The beaver that saved the guy was cute in the Bridgestone ad. I'm getting really tired of GoDaddy doing the "to be continued on our website" in all of their ads. Are teenage boys really buying that much hosting and domain names? If not, knock it off and grow up as a brand! "Black Betty" is one of my favorite songs, so the VW next gen Beetle ad engaged me immediately. I'm interested to see what the actual vehicle will look like.

Break 26: Mercedes Benz, FOX promotion, FOX promotion, NFL Draft promotion. Mercedes, Diddy in his robe looking for his car was the best you could do? That ad would have been effective without him. Brands, seriously, go with your gut and stop wasting money on celebrities that don't bring anything to the message! There was a FOX promotional spot for House during this break that was a rip-off of the old Coca-Cola Mean Joe Greene ad that was inappropriately funny. House tossed his cane at the kid, the kid wasn't expecting it and got clocked in the head.

Packers FG. 31-25.

Break 27: Chevy Camaro, Verizon/iPhone. The Camaro ad with two young male creatives talking through an ad concept. Silly, not Super Bowl-worthy. The Verizon/iPhone ad is deceiving IMO, but that's because I'm smarter than the average consumer when it comes to understanding wireless and data networks. I can't wait until they actually launch their version of the iPhone and there are worse issues than have been experienced by AT&T users.

Break 28: Chevy Cruze/Glee promotion, Limitless, Skechers Shape-ups, FOX promotion, FOX promotion, FOX promotion. The Chevy/Glee promo is a hype for the Glee telecast after the game. Limitless is a movie coming out later in the spring with Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper. The Skechers Shape-ups ad with Kim Kardashian was slightly engaging, however I doubt her gargantuan ass is a result of her wearing Shape-ups.

Game over. Pack wins. No huge stand out ads. I think the Super Bowl has jumped the shark as being the end all event for advertisers. It will be interesting to see if ad rates begin to fall in coming years.

Nielsen News, Sports, Super Bowl XLV Most Viewed Telecast in Broadcast History
Super Bowl XLV Draws Record Audience

Cricket's helps young customers go legit

Cricket's typical customer is young, loves music, and often doesn't have a PC, said Jeff Toig, Cricket's vice president of product marketing. Many existing Cricket customers download their music through illegal file-sharing systems on library or school computers so they can listen to it on portable devices, Toig said. Muve helps them go legit. – PCMAG.COM Cricket Wireless announced at the end of December 2010 - a new music service that offers unlimited music downloads, along with unlimited calling, texting, e-mail, and Web access for only $55 per month. The Muve service and Suede phone will be available this January. Cricket, the nation's seventh-largest wireless carrier, serves about 5 million people in 35 states.