Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am SO back!

Ok, so I know I have at least ONE follower still (*insert thank you to husband here*), I thought I'd take a moment and dust off my blog and take it for a spin. I've had a LOT going on and want to get you up to speed so I can get back into my blogging groove and talk about all the neat things I see going on.

So first, some personal business. A lot of people are really surprised when they hear I'm not at Cheil anymore. I left back in November, my choice mostly was due to my husband arriving from France after a long and tedious fiance visa process. Though our courtship allowed us to travel to many romantic European destinations, I wanted to take some personal time to spend with him help him get situated here in NY. Plus I had only 3 months to plan and have our wedding, which was really small, but really nice.

So, fast forward 3 months later, I'm a happy newlywed now known as Ann Marie Almariei (pronounced AL-MAR-YEY). I'll be having fun changing all my RL papers, not to mention my domain names. So this blog will be folded in with my new web presence once I get everything redesigned.

In my time off, I've been glued to my RSS feeds and doing lots of meet-ups and conferences (the ones I can afford anyway!). I'll be at the 140 Characters Conference in April soaking up some twitter inspiration. I've been seeing some great stuff out there (some you'll find if you follow me on twitter, facebook or delicious). I promise now that I'm blogging again to share a lot more. I have some new ideas about things I want to talk about and do. So I promise there are a few good posts coming soon.

I've also begun looking for new opportunities. The interview process so far has been pretty exceptional. Not because I have the job offers piling in (yet!) but rather because I'm learning a lot just from visiting different people and places and talking about the needs their companies have. Having spent about 5 years at each of the last 3 jobs I've had, I haven't been able to see how many agencies out there work. What I'm most happy to see is it seems the industry is thriving, at least in the digital space. Especially smaller agencies where they can't keep up with the workloads because of all the new business they have coming in. So, enough about that for now. If you know a place you think I should contact, definitely let me know.

Enough waxing poetic (for now), next post will be worth coming back for, I promise.

_ Mrs Almariei \o/

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Business of Ideas and Conversations

For my August Director's presentation, I decided to discuss how brands are effected by bloggers. I talked about Dell, Comcast, T-Mobile and Delta as examples. It was a great crash course for me to write. I also liked working with Issuu. Here's my presentation:

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cheil Worldwide Interactive Experts

The past year has totally changed how I work and think as an interactive marketer. Most everything I know is really no longer valid. As a Creative Director, I'm supposed to be the one who knows it all, has all the answers, and big ideas, right? And of course I do! *snickers* But its hard to keep up. My netvibes page is my homepage. It's up on my screen 24/7. It displays all my data in real time: twitter, facebook, RSS feeds, email, flickr, and so on. It's endless stimilus. There's not enough time in the day to read and see everything I want to absorb.

So I got this brainiac of an idea from a collegue of mine, Mark Kronenberg, who heads up our planning group at Cheil Worldwide in New Jersey. He asked why I'm not delegating the tasks of becoming experts to my team. Hmmmmm. Interesting. *rubs chin*

So. Here it is. The experts group @ Cheil Interactive.

The assignment: Pick an area within the current online landscape, start a blog,, or other form of RSS to track your research and insights.

The outcome: A group of already talented art directors, designers, writers and animators who really know their sh*t. Instead of me being the almighty know-it-all, I now have a team with specialized areas of expertise that I can reach out to for ideas, knowledge and inspiration.

We're into our third month of the project now, and it's really taking shape nicely. I set up a public netvibes page so all their RSS feeds can be aggregated into one place.

The work we're doing really reflects the insights and learning of this group. By the end of the year, I'm pretty confident we'll have best practices in each area that will really strengthen our interactive offering.

Chris M: Sharing Communities
Matt B: Advergaming and Virtual Worlds
Brian G: Social Networks
Johanna R: User Generated Content and Video
Bernell C: Online Media Trends
Nat C: Web 2.0
Jeff B: Blogging
Kay G: Podcasting
Soo B: Integration

The company is jazzed about it too. Other departments want to get involved and start their own, so I'll be adding their feeds as well as time goes on.

hmmmm, now I've got 10 more RSS feeds to read. =)
Watch us here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CES 2008: TV, meet the internet.

In looking at the big hits at CES this year, especially in the HDTV category, several trends stand out: Wireless was big, Super-Slim LCDs, OLED. There’s one trend that stood out to me in a big way. A lot of manufacturers are offering up content solutions and aggregators for the TV. Apple TV was an early entry into this category – but it really never took off. It’ll be interesting to see if consumers adopt this. My computer has taken over my TV viewing almost entirely. I think part of it is just that I spend more time on the computer than I do watching TV. But for someone who’s an Xbox live subscriber, I can definitely see the benefit of having your friends list active while watching TV. Here are some of the featured products debuted at CES.


Sharp AQUOS Net lets you download widgets to your TV and has a customizable interface as well as a web browser that connects via Ethernet cable.

“With AQUOS Net, Sharp is opening up a world of display possibilities for consumers,” said Bob Scaglione, senior vice president and group manager, Product and Marketing Group, Sharp Electronics Corporation. “AQUOS Net provides the ultimate in convenience, and we intend to allow users access to important information like stock quotes, the local weather and even the ability to receive instant advice and help to maintain the optimal picture on their television - all without ever having to leave the TV.”

The current selection of web-based content for the widgets seems pretty limited at the moment, and it does add a cost of $200 to the TV.

Sony Bravia Internet Video Link will allow users to access Yahoo and AOL content via Ethernet using a set top box that attaches thru the TV’s HDMI link. Users can browse the Internet using their TV remotes enabled by an icon based custom user interface.

Image by Gizmodo.

Samsung debuted the world’s first MS Windows Media Center television at CES along with Samsung’s DMA (Digital Media Adaptor), which works similarly to Sony’s Internet Video Link by attaching the TV to an Ethernet connection. Samsung’s device also functions as a Microsoft Media Center extender.

"People want to bring digital entertainment from the PC to a big-screen HDTV, and with the addition of popular consumer companies such as Samsung to the growing list of Extender partners, Windows Media Center makes that possible for an even wider audience," said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Connected Television Division at Microsoft. "Such growing industry support validates Microsoft's approach of using Extender for Windows Media Center technology to deliver the ultimate connected entertainment experience."

Samsung has also announced a partnership with USA Today to offer news, local weather, and other information from the newspaper’s site. This feature will be available on Samsung Series 6 or Series 7 LCD and Plasma HDTV. The content is accessible thru an RSS button on the TVs remote which actives a customized interface for browsing. I’m not sure if Sharp’s AQUOS Net has this feature as well, but the Samsung will also allow you to continue to watch your live TV programming while browsing the content.

Panasonic’s entry into the category is also an Ethernet connected TV. They’ve partnered with Google to serve up videos via YouTube and photos via their Picasa property. It sounds like it will operate similarly to the way the iPhone does.

Image by Wired.

I think it’s a sign of the times seeing the breadth of internet enabled TVs coming onto the market, but I still feel like the mass audience wont adopt this medium until you can fully browse the internet seamlessly rather than be limited to certain content providers. I want ALL the content on my terms. I’m not likely to buy a Panasonic because I want the YouTube content. MAYBE I’d buy a Samsung because its MS Media Room enabled, but hey, I may be slightly biased.


Those who feel the way I do about wanting it all may end up moving in this direction. There are quite a few options introduced at CES that go more the route of Apple TV with PC to TV players that allow you to take content from your PC and stream to your television. Check out SlingCatcher from Sling Media, D-Link’s PC-on-TV Player and Tivo Desktop 2.5 which allows Tivo Series 2 owners to not only save content from their Tivo to PC, but vice versa.

Microsoft Media Room is going to be a big player in this category. It connects your TV to other devices so you can stream content (music, photos, movies and games) from your PC to your television. It will also be available thru Xbox live, which means you can chat with your Xbox buddies while watching TV. It also has a guide that lets you search through live or upcoming TV programming, in addition to your personal music and photos.

Will people buy it?

Survey says yes. According to a survey by iSuppli, Consumers want to bridge the PC to Internet gap:

Nearly two-thirds of consumers want their televisions to link to the Internet, a sentiment that will help propel rapid sales growth for network-enabled consumer electronics devices in the coming years, according to iSuppli Corp.

“The awareness and demand for media home networking is growing rapidly among consumers,” said Steve Rago, principal analyst, networking/optical communications for iSuppli. “According to iSuppli’s first-quarter 2007 consumer-demand survey, 61 percent of respondents ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they wanted the ability to network the Internet to their televisions. Male respondents were even more favorable, with a 71 percent ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ response.”

According to Cnet “Sharp and Samsung are banking on three factors. One, that people do want to get Internet information through their TVs despite past history. Two, that turning on a TV to get weather or headlines is more attractive than booting up your PC. And three, that they don't want to pay for the service or own another box.”

Check out these articles for more info:
So What the $*@% Is Aquos Net?
Sharp Aquos Net: Widget TV
CES: Sony Introduces Internet TV System
CNET: Samsung streams video and music to your HDTV

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A new era? Really?

I got this email this morning from Audi. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Audi. They've done some great advertising over the years, and I'm an Audi person (I totally love my car). Anyway, back to the email. It's a teaser. For their superbowl spot.

The email reads:

02.03.08 The Dawn of a new era.

Soon, a bold challenge to the tired old myths of luxury will be hitting millions of TV screens across the land.

A new viewpoint. A new way of thinking. A new era.

On February 3rd, you will be sent an exclusive preview of the Audi Super Bowl commercial. You will have a chance to witness the moment that will set the nation talking.

The countdown has started. Don't miss the moment of truth. Audi. Truth in Engineering.

Their website also has a countdown on it. I'm a little disappointed in Audi for sending me an email about the launch of a tv spot *yawn*. And lucky me, I'll get a preview because I'm on their email list. If anyone sees any other advertising related to this, please pass it on - I'm curious now. Stay tuned for news about this 'new era'.

ps. I really hate email