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    Saturday, December 30, 2006

    2006: The Year in Review



    I guess as the year winds down its an obligatory time for reflection upon the past year's events. The Lifefilter has turned from a side hobby to a fairly sustainable blog with over 10k unique visitors this year. Thats quite an increase from last year. The site has finally got some much-needed organization with tags, and the photos continue to get positive feedback. Visitors from 100+ countries have consisently visited and linked to the site to make it a staple in technorati's top half million blogs. That may not sound like much but for the infrequency of posts on here, its quite a feat.

    The most popular page by far was Smirnoff Ad Not. I had asserted the ad was a failure upon its launch on strictly Youtube without even a working website. I still support those comments but the amount of traffic coming through this site looking for the ad could show that it did generate awareness. Did that translate into sales? Time will tell, but the article still is generating traffic.

    Another popular item that generated quite a bit of traffic wasNike's One Time Only Project. This mashed past and present shoes was a first for nike. As always the company continues to show brands how to innovate and evolve. Love my Jordans.

    Personally i have had a major career change that has done wonders re-energizing me as well as furthering my development in strategy work. None of this could have been without the support of my family and friends. Meghan your unwavering support and endless love have been the incredible balance i always searched for in my life.

    I myself want to thank you and every reader for visiting the Lifefilter. Its success will only continue to grow further with your support. Look for enhanced features as well as other avenues of the Lifefilter brand to pop up. Thank you, happy new year and the best of luck to all in their 2007 endeavors.


    Go Here

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    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Google Gets its Patent Search On



    Have a good idea? Thinking about taking it all the way to the bank? Well before you sign your life-savings away for that new whatchamacallit take a look through Google's update on the US patent and trademark office. The update adds a graphic interface to the chaotic data from the USPTO(US patent and trademark office) and makes it a much better experience to seek out inventions. Check out patents such as the Wright Brothers Airplane to the first Transformer.
    IDEA!
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    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Americans are Media Whores



    I think its just natural for planners to get excited when massive amounts of information come into play, especially the census. The census? Yes!! In its "Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007" released on Friday, the agency also noted that Americans drink about a gallon of soda a week, along with a half gallon each of milk, bottled water, coffee and beer. Um is your child drinking half a gallon of coffee and beer a week? Maybe that explains the hyperactivity followed by vomit and the eventual passing out? Im actually thinking of going and buying this monster report, as it sounds like a truly insightful look into our lives here in the states. The information in the abstract is collected via Census Bureau surveys and from data collected by other government agencies, industry and trade groups and private organizations. Lets dig deeper shall we?

    EYE OPENER: Americans will spend nearly 10 hours a day watching television, surfing the Internet, reading books, newspapers and magazines and listening to music this year, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Friday.
    -Good god. Nearly half our days are spent consuming endless waves of information. How much is truly sticky? How much truly changes our behavior? How much is intentional and how much is forced upon us? It would be great to see a breakout by category.

    SAD REALITY: All of which may help explain another figure in the pages of the 1,300-page book of tables and statistics: About two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including one-third of whom are obese.
    -While im sure its not just from media use(lack of exercise anyone), this is just terrible. Go outside and play in the woods kids!

    BOOB TUBE:Industry groups provided the information on media usage. They projected Americans will spend an average of nearly 4 1/2 hours daily in front of the television in 2006, or 1,555 hours in all.
    -Again, who has time to spend 4.5 hours in front a tv? This would imply people spend the majority of their free time sitting passively consuming filtered media. Why are ratings so low? It would be great to see this compared to internet usage, and the growth rates over the past 10 years. My guess would be some drops in tv watching despite greater penetration than ever, and more affordable sets. Also an age breakdown please!

    NEVER NOT ABSORBING: Americans will spend another 2 1/2 hours listening to radio and a half hour listening to recorded music. The rest of the nearly 10 hours is spent reading newspapers, looking at the Internet, playing video games and reading other media.
    -Seems our free time is culling info out of every nook out there. What happened to reading a book? Or are library habits just underreported?

    EXTRA, EXTRA: Projections indicate per capita time spent with the Internet will exceed time spent reading newspapers for the first time this year. Americans spend about a half an hour per day on each activity.
    -We knew this would happen, but not quite so soon. Its not the death of the papers but clearly an implication that news sources must change their media consumption.

    Stay tuned for more insights from this and now everyone knows what i really want for christmas. (besides Jordan 4 Retro Mars Blackmons)
    TVGuide

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    Absent but not Lost



    You may have noticed the last 2 weeks on the Lifefilter have been extremely sparse. Thats for several reasons
    1. My current gargantuan project is coming to a closing phase on monday
    2. The holidays...
    3. Did i mention my project was finishing?

    Stay tuned to see business picking back up next week. Until then hang tight, the finish is in site!

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    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Innovation + Advertising: Intersections?



    There seems to be quite a bit of discussion these days on the lack of advertising's synchronicity with innovation. As Gareth just pointed out, there is a lag in research innovation behind communications, and technology adaptation itself. My big question is why the advertising continues to get hung up on being innovative? Clearly different sectors have different goals (awards vs sales), but in my mind good advertising is sticky, and conversational, and hopefully activity inducing. Pardon my cynicism but was when was the last innovative tv spot? Communications will never be as innovative as the products or the new ways we use products, but why the lag in the understanding of this? Research can be even further behind in terms of innovation, but really isn't too bad at measuring and there are some exciting things on the horizon. I think the problem tends to be the lake we are all fishing in. Neilsen data is still plugging along, but often terrible at missing segments (see 18-34 yr males who don't watch tv, or keep remotely normal hours). It still isn't defined enough in measuring behaviors and the communication input during those behaviors. Microsoft has filed a patent for "DVR-based targeted advertising." Quite interesting, since the majority of DVR users watch shows after the air date, and the commercials set for that time(often time-sensitive) aren't reaching their demo. Microsoft is planning on establishing an "advertisement data store," from which an "advertisement manager" detects when an ad is supposed to be shown and fills that spot with a current, up-to-date spot so you witness fresh plugs during old shows. This seems to be the 'Google' way for ads on webpages, based on search inquiries, keywords and more. Certainly this won't answer the million dollar question but it would be nice to see the attach rate of ads and respective growth in a more pristine environment. This sounds like a data bonanza that could really help agencies (not just you MS) tap into their consumer more effectively. Does anyone else know of any innovative applications emerging on the research front?
    DVR

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    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Realtime Sticky Notes & SMS tags: The Future of Social Networking


    Social networks are an idea that can't be confined to one platform, specifically the internet. Its merely the conduit. The future of these networks is making better use of the real time connections and using future technologies to connect people. That future is here. In an idea not so different to what i pitched for MTVtres, is the new phone based social network, Socialight. It allows you to create, share, and discover virtual Sticky Notes placed at specific locations using your mobile phone or the web. You can create Stickies for anyone (your friends, or just for yourself). Stickies can contain text and photos, and soon it sounds like you can add sound clips and video. See a product you like at a store. Send it to your friends so when they show up they can find it. See a hot waitress at a restaurant? Post it and send all your buddies there. Socialight can notify you on your mobile phone any time you're near a Sticky. As your phone buzzes, it will display the Sticky, and you can check out some background on the person who set it. From there, you can instantly respond, leave your own Sticky, or just move on. Socialight's goal is to "let people share their experiences and ideas from the real world in a new way that we think makes a lot of sense, and for people to discover new ways to connect around place." Fantastic idea and really the future of social networks here. The cell phone is truly becoming the conduit Piers suggested.

    Ed. note: Emerge has an interview with Socialight's founder
    Dan Melinger


    Socialight
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    Kuler Your Presentation


    Snagged this one from the ever eagled-eyed Russell. Kuler is a color exploration and palette application that gives you premade solutions for your presentations. I myself love this as i often find myself being stuck with simliar color palettes/ideas for presentations. While its designed for Creative Suite, its a great inspiration source for other programs as well. Fantastic tool for all you powerpoint peeps!

    kool
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    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Sticky ideas: Entertaining or Interesting?


    Usual friday craziness here, but after reading this post over and over, i can't help but throw my 2 cents in. Influx is talking about the power of interestingness or as i like to call stickiness. What makes something truly impactful? Does awareness translate into interesting or does it need to illicit an emotional response? Jeffre from the Open Intelligence Agency (part of Russell's band of merry thinkers) has a great distinction about the difference between interest and entertainment. This is rightly pointed out as the fine line of advertising and advertising brillance that wins awards. Influx is right on to point out that "It's often a series of things that work together, it demands a truly unique idea that you have never seen before that provokes a reaction in the form of a series of questions." Next it brings up a great list of all the proper questions one should ask when testing a concept piece. (listen up all you jr. planners)

    How clever, how did they do that?

    I want to see it again

    I want to see that again

    What are they going to do next?

    I want to hang out with that brand

    I like they way they are talking

    I like them

    They are like me

    I should tell x about this

    Influx has another great point that to break it down to the level that formulaic simplicity is key.

    I.E. Star Wars is really (Good vs. Evil, Guy wins girl, Odyssey all wrapped in one + special effects)

    True, but it doesnt necessarily have to be all of these points. But i think simplicity is actually more important, because for something to be emotionally connecting, they only need 1 touchpoint. The key here is "Brands can be interesting if they do great TV spots, but they can be really interesting if they find an idea that they can do something more and use media to make it happen." Absolute astute truth! A big idea can live on multiple platforms because its bigger than the platform itself. Influx goes on to say they can't really think of any brands that live here, but i think this is the perfect application of Pier's branded utility over at psfk. These are brands that are useful in many facets of life. We are compelled to buy them, think about them, refer them to others bc/ they have multiple applications. People like to share, and brands that share (flickr) captivate us and coax us into grouping ourselves in commmunities. Communities can be built on the stickiness of something (ebay) solidfying a simple idea that reaches many, in many different ways. Ive rambled a bit, and while sharing and branded utilities are just two ways that command our attention. Could be something here. Brands that we can rely on for many aspects of life (apple, amazon are coming to mind). More on this later....

    Interesting
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