August 28, 2007

Hoardings on the Move

This post isn't about anything innovative - its on common sense. Lately I have been catching a number of mobile hoardings and unfortunately never really 'caught' them. Its ultimately difficult to look sideways while driving. Let me explain...

The advertising is only on the 2 side panels. There is no communication on the front and back panels. Aren't we losing out on potential ad viewers by cutting out these 2 angles of viewing (from the front and from behind). Imagine driving a car - Would you really look sideways to understand whats written on a mobile hoarding or would you much rather catch it on the back panel when you are driving behind it?

Ideally, once a medium has been invested in - one should get maximum return from it . There should be significant branding on both the front and back of these mobile hoardings. Its just a question of wanting to use the medium for more effective advertising. I am sure there are other advertisers who have done this and I have just been unlucky to see those who haven't.


Google Monetizes YouTube - Not User Generated Content

Google paid YouTube over a billion dollars and has revealed how it plans on monetizing the site. An Adage article states that instead of running across the site's consumer-generated content, Google's in-video ads will run on 3,000 professional content partners and 70 independent partner channels. Google's new YouTube ad formats will be graphic overlays that cover the bottom 20% of the screen and go away if not clicked after 10 seconds (a method pioneered by Videoegg)

Ads on professional content partners is not a model which monetizes the core concept of User Generated Content. It could well have been achieved without acquiring YouTube in the first place, and by just uploading good professional content (with ads) on YouTube pages. Obviously there are constraints to monetizing YouTube, otherwise Google wouldn't have a chosen such a fundamentally deviant method.

Constraints to Monetizing YouTube

  • User Generated Content is that its difficult to verify all uploaded content and advertisers would hate for ads to appear in "inappropriate" or copyrighted content.
  • What about ads in the same page as the content? We are all familiar with adsense right? Well the problem is that the tags used to define these videos are diverse and is meant to drive traffic towards the video from every possible source. Automatically adsense based on tags and content becomes that much more non targeted.

What should the Monetization Model be for YouTube? (How I wish I were paid for thinking about this stuff)

Well one of the models that can be followed to use UGC to generate money goes like this...

User uploads Video in a specific category with specific keywords/tags => Video hits it big => Reaches a threshold viewership, rating and is shared amongst viewers in a defined period of time => Achieves a threshold rating => Reviewed by the YouTube team for content and keyword authenticity =>

Advertisers bid on keywords/categories and provide ad content to be placed in a format specified by YouTube => Advertisers choose number of videos they would like ad placed on and whether they would like 1 video a day/week etc => They can also define threshold viewership, rating etc => Highest bidders get the best videos to advertise on => Once the number of videos for highest bidder is exhausted, second highest bidder gets ads in the next most popular videos and so on => Ad is auto inserted as graphic overlays that cover bottom 20% of the screen for first 5 seconds and last 5 seconds of the video, followed by a full screen still for 1 second

Since only a limited number of videos will cross threshold viewership - monitoring and reviewing these videos is much simpler and solves some of the constraints we were discussing earlier. What remains a question is how will viewership be affected with ads on erstwhile free content?


August 25, 2007

Make Money on Overnight Deliveries!!

Just checked out this ad by Endless at Steve's blog.

Its not easy to make people migrate from Amazon to a relatively new portal Endless, which is exactly what the ad achieved in Steve's case at least. They could so easily have gone the usual line of we are better / faster / cheaper / simpler etc.

The route they eventually used for the ad was a very genuine need in the online ecommerce space - Overnight Delivery! Not only did they promise overnight delivery, they also paid you for you it! (Now how cool is that!!)

An awesome clutter breaking technique, which provides incremental value where the customer least expects it (someone finally put the concept of customer delight to use), and hence induces trial.

Why its truly awesome is that the same offer could have been on the merchandise saying "$5 off on any merchandise you buy from us" but that would amount to getting a discount. Everyone is used to and bored by these offers. Getting money, rather than dishing it out for a service like Overnight Delivery is an interesting one I must say...


August 21, 2007

Can brands take you for a "Ride"

In India and probably the world over, branding opportunities have been exploited on trains & buses. Opportunities with taxis have been largely sidelined. I am not talking about printing "Wong's Restaurant - Great Chinese Food" on the door, but looking at branding opportunities inside the taxi.

Taxis lend themselves to Point of Sales merchandise, sales material and sales itself. I have been extremely bored (and hungry) on many a journey undertaken. These moments can be used by brands to communicate significantly more than what is possible on a hoarding or other outdoor media. Costs are relatively cheap as your only spend is on brochure material - which will be carried along only by interested consumers. Some fixed fee has to be paid to the taxi operator

Why : People have nothing better to do on journeys apart from read or eat. Its extra income for the taxi and there is no other avenue to get the consumer to read as much about your high involvement/knowledge intensive product. Many consumers will in fact like to catch up on the latest in investment options.

What to sell : Its ideal for sales material on real estate projects, insurance, investment options, New mutual fund launch, IPOs, Magazines etc. The consumer is well defined as a corporate traveler and likely to be on the lookout for such info.

You might just be able to extend it to sales of FMCG products like Chocolates / Gum / Snacks by using the available space on the dashboard near the windshield to stock limited merchandise

Which taxis : Those used by Corporate travelers. Taxi operators who have tie ups with large companies

How many brands : Very limited space implies very few brands can be stocked - so hop on immediately

Operationally : Sell it to the taxi operator who distributes it amongst his taxis. He is also responsible to train drivers on creating awareness amongst Corporate travelers.

Brand PR : Good for the first guys who jump on

Brand Awareness/Knowledge : Builds not just brand awareness, but also brand relevance and preference

Is Sales Significant : Yes, since its high value and low effort. Also all those who read are favorably impacted.

Just make sure the driver does not push for sales, as that would become frustrating. The driver should just inform the consumer of brochures and magazines available. Can the driver slowly be upgraded into a role of a consultant on the various investment options available?


August 17, 2007

Low Cost Airlines can get Cheaper!!

Oh god!! I was planning on publishing this post on this "great idea" that I had - unfortunately I got a proposal this morning about the exact same idea. Well, I still claim that the original idea was uninspired.

Anyway getting on to the idea itself - I always wondered why low cost airlines in India don't leverage branding opportunities available to the max. There is a captive audience sitting in the plane with absolutely nothing to do. Low cost airlines don't even have in flight entertainment to distract their flying guests.

And when you aren't doing anything, you normally don't mind staring at the face of a pretty model right? Or even learning why the Honda City is better than the Toyota Corolla. Low cost Airlines should sell space to advertisers and the really obvious locations are

1) The food trays (when its closed and when its open) - Should be the most expensive place to advertise
2) Luggage compartment branding - Next most expensive
3) Window shutter - 3rd most expensive

Unfortunately not really a low cost option for advertisers - but if used well by low cost airlines, it could result in incremental revenue which could then be used to lower fares even further. There should be more revenue streams for low cost airlines. Let them know about it and we can probably travel around the world for free!!

To read more about this concept and how it has been used on American airlines click here


August 16, 2007

Brand Name Promotion - Cool "Stunts"

Just checked out some cool promotion gimmicks at entrepreneur. "Sign Spinners" as they are called, involve using acrobats and balancing artists to twirl sign boards around their fingers. These stunt men are typically located on high traffic junctions and twirl signboards around their fingers. It is a display of great skill.

Reports have it that it has had some serious car stopping effects, and is bound to generate tremendous buzz value for the first brands to attempt it. Its very low cost and involves getting permissions (from the government - All the best!!) at some key vantage points but no major additional expenses.

Of course the message being communicated should be minimalistic and I see only a brand name communication as possible. It automatically has a great fit with website traffic generation & communication of discount offers. Theme message communication looks difficult. There should be more ways to use this medium - Maybe two spinners, also doing a juggling act...