Why Social TV is Perfect for Live Sports

14 May

Social TV for Sports

Social media is increasingly being integrated into more and more mediums. The second screen phenomenon has emerged. Many people now watch television while engaging on another device e.g. laptop, phone, tablet. Social platforms such as Get Glue allow users to “check-in” to programs they are watching and encourage conversation in real time. While many marketers focus on episodic content live sports is also being heavily affected by the social landscape.

As a transplanted sports fan social media often is the only way I can discuss my favorite sports teams with my friends. Live tweeting an Indiana vs. Michigan basketball game during winter break was actually the first time I used twitter with any sort of real interest. Seeing a run of “WATFORD FTW!!!” tweets made me feel slightly closer to Bloomington, Indiana than a restaurant with one TV in Milwaukee.

And I’m not the only one who sees those updates. Big events happen in sports on a nightly basis. That’s what makes it so great. When someone in my online social network says, “Phillip Humber is about to throw a perfect game” or “Paul Pierce is going off!” It puts that event on my radar.

Networks and advertisers are trying to find ways to involve social media into sports such as what WWE did. As more of these types of ideas pop up we’ll certainly continue to see social become a bigger part of the sports landscape.

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Will Someone Please Disrupt the Television Industry

2 May

Evolution in TelevisionWhen Netflix had their big PR snafu and I thought the online streaming/DVD service might be cooked. I among others believed that a better, more advantageous competitor could come and steal their lunch money.  And then something unexpected happened…Netflix reneged  everything and went back to the way it was for the most part.  Not only was there no competitor waiting in the wings (Hulu had already been around) people clamored for the reuniting of Netflix.  Maybe we’re not really ready for the next evolution in television?

Everyone consumes television in slightly different ways. Some people like to record their favorite shows and watch them on their own time. Some people have appointment viewing and need to watch it live. Others stick to on demand, only watching what they want when they want without preconceived notions. Right now there are several options to specific needs.

Cable Subscription

This is the most stoic option. You get a plethora of channels for one flat monthly service fee. You can watch all the television your little heart can handle for that price. However, there are also a-la-carte options. You can increase your channel package size, add DVR and watch programs outside of their designated air times, use on demand for spur of the moment or out of season programming, add premium channels, and purchase movies. Each item comes with an upcharge that can make your bill look like the U.S. Census.

Online Subscription Services

There are a couple out there, but Netflix and Hulu Plus have this market pretty well cornered. With a nominal fee you essentially have an expanded on demand service at your fingertips. Movies and shows can be summoned from nearly anywhere provided you have a screen of some sort and an internet connection. If you want to watch a sporting event you’ll most likely have to tack on the individual sports service (e.g. MLB.tv) and hope you’re team isn’t subject to black-out rules. You’re also locked into whatever programming that service has rights deals to.

Pay As You Go Services

By this I mean your virtual stores, your Amazons and iTunes of the world. The pros and cons are pretty clear here. You get full freedom to decide your entertainment landscape (sans sports), but the more you add the more the cost balloons.

So what is the perfect service?

The answer is, at least in my opinion, that it doesn’t exist. My utopian television experience is a mix of all three. I would like the option to pick and choose my channels a-la-carte, have each show’s content available on demand after debut, then buy outlying programs on an individual basis. That way my experience is personalized and everything is in one place. It may be a looooooooong while before anything like ever happens, but a boy can dream can’t he?

Unfortunately, the powers that be don’t understand that a whole sale change like this will essentially eliminate piracy as we know it. I’d rather pay a fair price for legal (and safe!) media than pirate any day. Until then I’ll be crossing my fingers that the U.S. doesn’t follow suit with the U.K. and ban the Pirate Bay!

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The Next Revolution in Online Advertising: Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” Uses Transmedia

28 Mar

Transmedia Used to Promote Ridley Scott’s New Film “Prometheus”

20th Century Fox released a video to help promote Ridley Scott’s new film Prometheus.  It wasn’t a trailer. It wasn’t one of those awful ‘watch people watch the screening in night vision’ videos.  It wasn’t even a behind the scenes clip.  It was Peter Weyland, founder of Weyland industries speaking at the TED conference in the year 2023.  He delivers an inspiring speech in which he relates the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from the Greek Gods and gave it to humans.


In this 3 minute and 9 second speech there is no mention of Prometheus the film.   At the end of the clip we are provided a web address for WeylandIndustries.com.  This, my friends is Transmedia and I hope it catches on like…well, like fire.

What is Transmedia?

Transmedia is a way of telling a story through multiple platforms using digital technologies.   Transmedia builds on the ideas of Technological Convergance.  Basically the idea is that all the mediums that had been traditionally separate (television, radio, print, etc.) are becoming one medium or consumable by one piece of technology.

A great example of this is a smart phone.  At first a cell phone’s primary use was to take and receive phone calls.  Now cell  phones can do that in addition to take video, photo, compose email, transmit documents, surf the web, play music and on and on and on.   Transmedia acts in the same way.  Instead of a film being just film (or a book adaptation) living in its own environment, it becomes a video game, or a website, or an album.

In the case of Prometheus, a traditional commercial is transformed into a piece of content that supplements the story of the film.

Why is Transmedia Effective?

Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox aren’t the only ones aware of transmedia, Coca Cola and many others are getting into the mix as well (check out Coke’s Content 2020 videos).  What makes transmedia so effective is its emphasis on story and branding versus selling and corporation.  The groundswell has been moving businesses in this direction for some time now and the evolution of social media is being realized.

Businesses are just now starting to catch on to tools such as; blogs, twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram, etc. which changing the way companies communicate their brand.

We are moving away further and further away from traditional media that shouts as loud as it can so that the most people can hear it.  We are moving towards most intimate conversations that speak to highly targeted groups.   Transmedia will spark the conversation while social media outlets and the like facilitate it.

Facebook Expands Advertising No Small Announcement

5 Mar

Facebook Logo

What is the Future of Facebook?

At an event that included a performance by Alicia Keys (doesn’t she have something better to do?), Facebook announced a few big changes to the way it’s going to handle advertising. These days hearing that Facebook is changing comes with more indifferent sighs and grunts from its users. What they might not be thinking about is that these decisions might be critical decisions about the future of their favorite website.

Since Facebook has allowed advertising and with their IPO on the imminent horizon there should be no shockers when it comes to advertising on Facebook. Next time you’re on Facebook check out the terms and services. You’ll come to the sobering realization that Facebook owns your ass and there’s nothing you do can do about it.

Even with Facebook arguably at the peak of its membership performance the next hurdle will be how can they grow through monetization? This is a tricky thing to navigate. If you appeal too much to the advertisers at the expense of the user experience you’ll fail. Lean too favorably to the members and you’ll fall equally hard.

We’re in a very interesting and exciting age of new mediums right now. In my opinion the internet is finally realizing its full potential in so far as our ability to connect and consume information. While the capability is there no one knows what the hell they’re doing yet. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Spotify etc. are venturing into unknown business territory. The rules are being made up as we go along.

What this all makes me wonder is where will all of this be in the next ten years, twenty years, fifty years? Will Google and Facebook be the GE and P&G of the next century? That’s hard to imagine at this point. The announcement about Facebook’s new advertising policy and looming IPO might be very small news to most of its users, but how they handle the coming months and years might determine the course of the social media medium as we know it.

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Four Seasons Gives A New Meaning To Digital Luxury

17 Jan

When you purchase a Lexus you expect the car to run better than a Toyota.  What makes it a luxury item are the extras; leather interior, seat warmers, people that will make you a cappuccino and drop you off when your car is being serviced.  We demand these things when we pay a little extra, but what about our digital experience?

The Four Seasons has decided to do a digital marketing overhaul and other luxury brands should take note.  Brands like Four Seasons have been building up their trademark for decades.  Businesses like them fear that if they open themselves to the groundswell that they’ll lose some of the equity they’ve built up.

Maybe it’s the opposite.  The Four Seasons will add user-generated reviews, Twitter wine tastings, and the “Have Family Will Travel” blog.  Suddenly they’ve opened a conversation with their customers that other competitors don’t have right now.  That way the Four Seasons can not only fix any internal customer service issues they have, but also figure out how their consumers might compare them to other hotels to help Four Seasons stay ahead of the curve.

My favorite initiative has to be the wine tastings.  It was started two years ago and 14 of the 86 Four Seasons’ hotels participated last year.  You can either go to a wine tasting at participating Four Seasons or you can hop on Twitter and partake from the comfort of your own home.  This way people can feel connected to the brand without actually physically being there.  They’ve found something that their market values, wine tastings, and figured out a way to integrate themselves into that activity.  And they can do all of this from their website.  Genius!

I hope that other luxury brands can take note and overhaul their own digital landscape, because like the product they sell it’s as much about the experience as it is anything else.

-Josh P. Greenberg
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Is Kim Kardashian A “Real” Business Woman?

27 Dec

As I was driving to Einstein Bagels to pick up a delicious locks on bagel sandwich I turned the radio on.  “In Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West was ending leading to a bump before the commercial break.  That’s when the host dropped this on me.  Kim Kardashian is going to be paid $600,000 to host  New Year’s at club TAO in Las Vegas.

Are you kidding me?!  That’s more than six of the top ten highest paid public speakers in the world from 2010.  This pay check is slightly under what Tony Blair took home in appearances that ENTIRE YEAR.  This got me thinking.  Is Kim Kardashian a successful business woman or is she a famous personality who hasn’t sabotaged her image yet?

Let’s take a look at some of the facts.  She co-owns a clothing store named D-A-S-H with her sisters Khloe and Kourtney, which has three locations.  She’s had several other endeavors with her sisters including a jewelry line for Virgins, Saints, and Angels, a clothing line for QVC called K-Dash, and the Kardashian Kollection for Sears done by the whole family.  She’s also done several other fashion related works throughout the years of lesser scale.

How much impact has she had in the success of her business ventures?  Without raw numbers of course it’s hard for me to pass judgment.  I can say that I don’t believe that the bulk of what she does would be successful without the power that her name brand carries.  That could be said for a lot of people who have turned television fame into personal brands, namely Martha Stewart.  Does that matter when measuring success as a business person?  She’s a one woman marketing campaign.  This is what allows for places like TAO to spend an obscene amount of money to more or less have her show up.

Depending on where you look Kim earns about $6mil a year.  Does that make her a businesswoman?  By comparison the top earner for 2009 was former President and CEO of Yahoo! Karl Bartz at $47.2mil (Martha Stewart clocked in at $9.7mil).  Better yet does the amount of money that Kim generates make her a successful businesswoman by default?

Part of what makes Kim Kardashian so polarizing is how she earns her money in relation to the perception of how hard she had to work for it.  Maybe the bigger question is what is a business person?

-Josh P. Greenberg
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Holiday Shopping Music Needs A Makeover

15 Dec

There are certain things that signify that it’s the holiday season.  People begin to bring evergreen trees inside their homes so that they can decorate them with glass orbs and strings of lights.  Restaurants and bars switch their menus from light refreshing limes and lemons to more wholesome flavors like pumpkin and spice.  Sweaters become a regular occurrence and a warm hug to shield us from biting winds (ugly or not).   Family members long forgotten begin to ask about get together plans.

Then there is of course…..holiday music.

Like most things that surround the holiday season people have a love/hate relationship with the jingles and jams that populate businesses in December.  Some see it as just another signal of a joyful time of year.  For others it’s a reminder of all the drudgery that comes with shopping.

Every year it’s the same songs over and over and over and over again.  About.com lists Nat “King” Cole’s “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) as the most preferred holiday song.  That song debuted in 1946!  For some more perspective Justin Bieber wasn’t born when any of the songs on the top 25 list came out.

At this point I feel that businesses have adopted the notion that they need to play holiday music simply because everyone else is so they just keep playing “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” by Bruce Springsteen.  Come on people!  I’m challenging the music industry to produce something that isn’t recycled junk which sounds exactly like the original except with higher quality recording.  Do I really have to give respect to Bieber for making something contemporary sounding and more than bearable?!

I think a more refreshing playlist of holiday songs will not only make my ears feel better, but will also make me a much happier shopper. How do you feel about the holiday music you hear when you’re shopping? Do you have any favorite holiday songs?

-Josh P Greenberg
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How Video Can Make Your Social Media Campaign Shine

3 Nov

Irish agency Simply Zesty posted a list of “9 Impressive Social Media Campaigns Using Video” recently. They all are certainly impressive as they go well beyond just sending out a tweet or posting an article on Facebook. That being said there was a pair of videos from that list that really stuck out to me.


The Canadian tourist board wanted to use social media to promote Canada as a holiday destination for their friends to the south. They could have paid for promoted tweets or started a vacation album on Flickr. You wouldn’t show up on any lists for being impressive if you did that though. Their idea was to install giant interactive murals in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These murals featured streaming tweets and photos from tourists currently in Canada. To take it even a step further people could walk up to them and move the streams or click to enlarge items.

What I love about this campaign isn’t just the interactivity. I’m always a fan of that. I also love the concept of taking the online offline or vice versa. It’s that sort of thinking that took this idea to the next level. Separately, they’re not unique. The online aspect is basically just a search stream, while the offline component would be just another digital poster. Together, and with a little wow factor, they create a buzz worthy campaign.  While the video isn’t the main focus it’s a great complimentary piece.  Even in a high traffic area once the murals are taken down the exposure is over.  Creating a video about the campaign creates great lasting power and earned the Canadian tourist board an extra 50k eyeballs through YouTube alone.


Does anyone remember those choose your own ending books? I used to love it when they did that with Goosebumps books. I used to always choose the path that would surely kill me so I could cover every possible scenario. New Zealand based pizza parlor Hell Pizza decided to take that choose your own ending style of storytelling and make an interactive Youtube video with it. With the introduction of annotations on Youtube you can watch a video then select what you want to see next given the options. The Hell Pizza film “Deliver Me To Hell” is about a delivery driver who needs to ship his pie without being eaten by zombies!

If you’ve got twenty minutes or so this could be the most entertaining use of them. Once again, props for interactivity. By focusing on building an immersive story (even if it’s pretty silly) you can go beyond brand awareness and affect behavior in the short term. You bond with the characters on your journey to deliver a Hell pizza. It’s funny, engaging, quirky, and highly contagious (see what I did there). If they opened a Hell Pizza near me I’d be first in line. Good marketing shouldn’t go without praise! As of today “Deliver Me To Hell” part 1 has over 5 million views on YouTube.

Make sure to check out the rest of the top 9 here and don’t be afraid to send your own favorite social media or interactive campaigns to Rated JPG.

-Josh P Greenberg
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adiZero Rose 2 Campaign Lets You Run With A Bull

27 Oct

Typically, I tune out celebrity athlete endorsements. In advertising they’re a dime a dozen. You’ve got Troy Aikman and Hulk Hogan telling me to rent TV’s for the “Big Game.” There’s Steve Young and seemingly half the ESPN Sunday football crew trying to get me to go Van Heusen. Dick’s has a ‘who’s hot in their sport this millisecond’ campaign, which is actually pretty entertaining. What none of them do is go beyond the thirty seconds or so they have to vie for our attention.

That’s why I love the adiZero Rose 2 campaign from Adidas. Before I get into anything yes, I am a Bulls fan from Chicago. What I like about this campaign goes beyond nationalism though. Adidas and agency Sid Lee recognize Derrick Rose as a unique personality in sports. According to adidas-group.com “it is the most diverse and all-encompassing glimpse into the brand ever.”

The most visible aspect of the adiZero Rose 2 campaign is “The Bull” commercial where D Rose turns the tables on some matadors in Madrid. If you look closely you can see the Celtics, Heat, and Magic represented as well. This masterfully crafted spot directed by Romain Gavras has a shortened thirty second version and a sixty second version that is worth every second of your time. Also check out all the languages used in the comments section.

Derrick is well known for his philanthropic endeavors aimed at giving back to the community he grew up in. Adidas tapped into that with the Run with D Rose event and by sponsoring the Derrick Rose Renovation Project (along with Powerade, McDonald’s, Skullcandy, Wilson Sporting goods, and the Wasserman Foundation).

Adidas didn’t stop there by any stretch. The main Adidas Facebook page had clues that you could use to solve a puzzle allowing you to play with Derrick in a pick-up game. Then if you slide over to the dedicated basketball page you’ll find more exclusive content including a video where Rose reviews his shoe.

The Derrick Rose/Adidas hook up was a match made in heaven. In Derrick Rose you have a real, personable, and charming brand ambassador who genuinely cares about his community as well as his product. In Adidas/Sid Lee you have a company that’s willing to embrace new media and let their highly paid endorser speak. Cheers to Adidas and Sid Lee.

If you aren’t a Derrick Rose fan or a Bulls fan, does this campaign resonate with you?

Josh P Greenberg
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Sony’s “Michael” Video More Popular Than iPhone 4S

21 Oct

Sony’s Long Live Play marketing campaign and the viral short “Michael” by agency Deutsch tells a story about what would happen if some of their biggest fictional characters all came together for a drink, earning them top honors in this week’s Viral Video Chart on Adage. It edged out the iPhone 4S viral video by three million views.

The video starts out with what looks like a World War Two soldier dropping down from a parachute.  He reconvenes with another one of his troopers before pushing onwards.  The soldiers come upon a castle and enter to find a woman at a check in booth.  They pay a small fee then place their rifles among a bevy of other interesting weaponry.  We go through a wooden door with them into what looks like a bar and a big surprise.  To anyone that has played Playstation games you will immediately recognize that this particular bar is littered with famous characters from the console.  Each character describes some of the trials they’ve been through culminating in a celebration of the one hero they all warship, Michael, an everyman made to represent you the player.

Story telling in advertising is a difficult proposition when you sit down and think about it.  It’s the most effective way to engage your audience during an advertising campaign, but often the most difficult.  In fact, nearly the entire purpose of social media is to invite total strangers to share their own experiences and thoughts, effectively creating one large novel full of short stories.

For more traditional advertising telling a story is a monumental task.  Your first, and largest, obstacle is time.  Even if it’s a viral video the average person would tune out after a few minutes if they weren’t already captivated.  That means you have mere precious little seconds to get your audiences’ attention, hold it, and make them feel something.

Drake from "Drake's Uncharted" and Lightning from "Final Fantasy 13"

As a pretty casual video game player in relative terms this commercial got me extremely excited.  Anytime I get to see my favorite animated sprites come to life outside of their realms, the little geek inside of me bounces around like a Mexican jumping bean on a sugar rush.

The kind fellows at IGN even did a breakdown where they went through the video frame by frame to pull out all of the video game references.  Oh boy, are there plenty of them to go through.  I highly encourage you to check that out if it’s your thing.  Sony and Deutsch do a great job telling an intriguing story that connects to their audience on an emotional level.  I don’t know about the next guy, but it makes me want to pick up the sticks right now!

One thing that had the gamer community kind of irked was that they teased a trailer for this video a week or so before it was launched.  This had people guessing weather or not it was revealing new content or just an advertisement.  Of course it was the latter.

Sony clearly put a lot of effort into this video.  Is it something that resonates with consumers?  Or does the salesmanship at the end ruin the experience?

-Josh P Greenberg
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