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 Most everything I know is really no longer valid.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

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I've been tagged

Well, I guess it was just a matter of time before chain letters worked their way into blogs. I get them thru email, text messages, IMs – I even get them in Second Life! Well, I’ve recently been tagged by the lovely Christina Greene as part of the the “8 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Me” meme. Normally I just hit the delete button on this kind of thing, but in a weird kind of way, I love that I was tagged by another blogger (especially Christina, who rocks). Makes me feel all warm-n-fuzzy… So, here goes nothin’:

The 8 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Me (and will probably wish you still DIDN’T know about me) are:

1. I bought a Samsung 46” LCD TV back in June. It’s still in the box in my hallway. There are 2 reasons for this – 1) I never use my TV. 2) It doesn’t fit in my wall unit, so I need to buy a new one and do a little redecorating. As you can probably tell, I’m not in a big rush to tackle this project.

2. I’ve been fired from only one job in my life, and it was from the GAP. They hated me there – my image was ‘too funky’ and not ‘crisp’ enough to work their floors or register. They did give me a great discount though. In the end, I KNOW I spent more there than I actually made.

3. I have a pretty large tattoo on my back, left hip. It’s 8” high, and 6” wide. I got it when I was 23, and designed it myself. It was inspired by a pair of marcasite earrings I had seen in a catalog – which my mom later ended up buying me as a gift for Christmas. Yes, it hurt and no, I don’t regret getting it since I never see it. This is the original drawing I did which was used by the tattoo artist as a guide. The artist who did it is Eric Rignall who owns 'Ink Stop Tattoo' on Ave. A and 13th street. He's very talented, and I've known him since before he started tattooing oranges. I think my 'friend of Ann Marie' discount is still good there, give him a call.

4. My very first apartment was on the second floor of a funeral parlor. Yes, it was a little creepy, but it was usually quiet! Plus, now I have lots of interesting stories to tell.

5. I can’t play most video games because of vertigo. I once played Wolfenstein ‘till I got sick. So, I don’t do gaming. And, no Second Life doesn’t count – plus it’s NOT a game!

6. I have a storage space full of toys I used to collect. Mostly action figures and play sets from Pixar/Disney films. A few of my favorite pieces include set of Jay and Silent Bob Limited Edition figures I had signed by Kevin Smith, and an original 12” talking Jack Skellington.

7. I was kidnapped when I was 4. I was camping, and I was running down a hill with a friend and fell and skinned my knee. She went back to get my mom, but never came back. A group of men drove up and saw me, and told me to hop in, and they would take me back to my campsite. Which I did (ok peeps, this is where I say ‘PLEASE make sure your kids know not to get into a car with strangers!’). As I directed them to my campsite, they drove right by it, ignoring me. So I started to yell and cry. Finally the man in the back seat said to the driver, ‘OK, [name of driver – which I can’t remember], lets bring her back, c’mon’. The driver turned around and delivered me to my mom. I remember the incident pretty vividly. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how lucky I am.

8. I’m totally addicted to the internet. But you probably already knew that =P. My boyfriend of 3 and a half years (who I met on the internet btw), John, is probably the only one who truly understands the extent of my addiction. He’s a saint for putting up with me. He’s the only man I know who’s competition is a 30” monitor. I think there’s a ‘size matters’ joke in there somewhere, but it might be best to leave that one alone.

And lastly, the 8 people who will curse me for tagging them (hey, feel free to ignore if you like, but I know I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that I have good blogger karma – unless you curse me that is):
1. John McClellan
2. Tommy Kane
3. Alycia de Mesa
4. Aliza Sherman aka Cybergrrl Oh
5. Howard Thomas
6. Johanna Rustia
7. Chris Mogen
8. Capo Freenote