Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Francine Explains the What's and Wherefores of Nanotech

Francine Hardaway posted a clear, concise, intro to nanotechnology as a business opportunity. She covers the basic questions: what? what for? why? and why now?

Mickeleh's Take: Francine explains it so well, even an English major can understand it. Even an English major who stumbled into marketing.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Apple TV Claims First Victim: HP Drops Digital Entertainment Center

[sheepish grin] This is the same point I made in an earlier post. I just like this headline better.

Mickeleh's Take:There's no direct connection between the Apple TV launch and HP dropping DEC. Both choices are informed by the same read of the market. It's actually a tribute to HP's new marketing savvy. They're getting smarter about what consumers will and won't find attractive.

Disclosure: I've worked with Michael Witlin Associates on some HP marketing projects.

New Blow to Vista? HP Drops Their Media Center Line

Is this the biggest blow to Vista since Chris Pirillo's breakup last month? HP is dropping its version of Media Center rather than migrate it to the new OS. The HP Digital Entertainment Center was the slickest package for making a PC fit into the living room.

CE Pro has the news, including this full-throated make-nice statement from product manager Doug Robert: "It doesn't mean Media Center isn't going to be successful. It's just that we're discontinuing development." (Translation: "It's not you; it's me.")

Mickeleh's Take: This is not so much a slam at Vista as a recognition that asking people to pay the price of a full PC to sit next to the TV is hookah-vision marketing. A Mac Mini, maybe, but not an $1800 to $3000 behemoth. What you want near the TV is a client device such as Apple TV, Xbox, SlingCatcher, or the Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA8000. (memo to Netgear: hire a naming consultant.)

HP, meanwhile, is pursuing a new vision for getting digital media from the PC to the TV: but first you have to buy an HP MediaSmart TV...

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Apple TV: Scoble Likes It!

Robert Scoble was an early skeptic about Apple TV. He not only bought my argument (that it would be an easy way to get his own video podcasts on the big TV), he bought the product and now says it rocks.

Mickeleh's Take: Told ya.

(More on Apple TV this weekend when I set mine up. It stings to be such a technoloy laggard.)

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Other Mickeleh's Takes on Apple TV:

Pixel-Punchy Scobel's Rant about Apple TV
The Big Gotcha of Apple TV: It Might Not Work on Your TV
Apple, Pioneer of Accessible Solutions, Neglects Closed Captions in Apple TV

Thursday, March 22, 2007

ABC Mulls Pop-up Ads for TV to Trick DVR Owners Into Watching

Newest nefarious scheme to make us watch advertising:

Newest brilliant idea to defeat the rude habit of DVR viewers who skip your commercial: Where today's practice separates shows from spots with a discrete dip to black, ABC tells advertisers their spots may actually start playing on a screen inside the show (on that TV in the corner, perhaps, or someone's cell phone) and then pop-up to the viewer's full screen.

Looks like we may be moving from product placement to commercial placement as TV gets more like life. Ads will be everywhere.

Thanks to Cory Bergman at Lost Remote for spotting this.

Mickeleh's Take: The current practice of writing to a suspenseful cliff-hanger at each act break actually increases the viewer's motivation to skip the ads and get back to the story. Will writers and producers take to the new practice and work commercial placement into their stories? If ABC can charge a premium for an in-story placement and shares revenues with the shows, you bet they will. Can't wait for Aaron Sorkin to build a preachy episode around this on Studio 60.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Props to Arianna for Outing the Author of Hillary 1984 Mashup

Arianna Huffington and the HuffPo staff did some digging and found out who made the Hilary 1984 mashup. He's Phil de Vellis and he tells all on HuffPo.

Is this How You Dress for Congress? If the Globe is Really Warming You Do.

The Styles, They Are a Changin'.

Above: In 1920, this is how folks dressed to line up to get into a Ebbets Field and watch a game: Suits, ties, hats. (Well, it was the World Series.)

Below: Today, this is how Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Consensus Center in Denmark, dressed to testify before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works: a short-sleeved polo shirt. What's that all about?

Mickeleh's Take
: The contrast between suits to a ballgame and polo shirts to Congress might communicate more than just a radically changed fashion sense. Lomborg's message is that Gore, though well-intentioned, is exaggerating the dangers of global warming. But doesn't that 1920's World Series crowd looks like they got dressed on a much cooler planet than ours? Lomborg desses like someone on a rapidly warming globe. Visuals trump verbals every time.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why Did the Hillary Video Take Off? Drudge!

The Hillary video was posted to YouTube on March 5. Talking Points Memo and Huffington Post linked to it the same day. They generated a little more than 23,000 views between them.

It didn't go hockey-stick until yesterday when it started airing on TV News. And who do the TV news desks follow like sheep? Greg Sargent on the TPM Horse's Mouth blog tells who. Matt Drudge posted it late Sunday evening. And that when the TV networks got interested.

Hillary Meets Orwell With Surprising Resonance

I completely misjudged the impact of this one.

My sister emailed me early yesterday to check out Vote Different, a slick mashup of Apple's 1984 commercial and Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign announcement.

In my years at Apple I'd seen more parodies and mashups of 1984 than I can remember. For Marketers, riffing on 1984 is about as common and trite as comedians riffing on The Wizard of Oz. So my first reaction was to dismiss it as yet another 1984 ripoff.

Oh, was I wr... wr... wr...

Over the last 24 hours, Vote Different has gone hockey-stick, with well over a million views. Last night Olbermann devoted an entire segment to it, running it continuously as cheap B-roll.

There's something about Hillary as a droning Big Sister that sticks. Whoever authored this piece gets the grammar of media, and the power of resonance. A fine example of Tony Schwartz's key insight: the most powerful communication is something that resonates with what you already know, feel, and believe. Even though Vote Different leeches the insight, design, and production investment that Apple made with Chiat/Day and Ridley Scott back in 1984, let's not forget that the original ad was leeching on the resonance of Orwell's novel and imagery.

Mickeleh's Take: The tagline of Vote Different promises that we'll see why 2008 won't be like 1984. Not so. In our new political and media world every year will be like 1984.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cleaning Tips for Black MacBook

I just de-smudged, and de-oiled the finish of my black MacBook. Looks good as new.

Playing Heloise for MacBook, Josh R. Holloway has the recipe--and the disclaimer (expanding on a hint on the InsanelyMac Forum).

Mickeleh's Take: Mickeleh offering cleaning tips? The world must be coming to an end.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Robert's Rules of Order: Scoble Nabs Three of Top Four Slots in Google Search for "Robert"

Search Google for "Robert" today and three of the top four results are for popular blogger Robert Scoble. Mysterously, an obscure actor who once played fictional taxi driver Travis Bickle and actual boxer Jake LaMotta manages to squeeze it into slot three.

Microsoft's lists the Wikipedia article on the name "Robert" first, and then moves on to a pantheon of iconic Roberts, such as composer Schumann...poets Burns, Frost and Service... actors DeNiro, Iler, Prosky, Duvall, Downey Jr., and Mitchum... comedian Schimmel, blues maestro Johnson... photographer Mapplethorpe, wine maker Mondavi, attorney general and senator Kennedy, authors Sabuda and Stevenson ... singer Palmer, pig farmer and serial killer Pickton... and Broadway's own Goulet. You'll go through pages of Roberts before running into geek blogger Scoble.

Guess which one Scoble thinks is a better search engine?

Mickeleh's Take: Will "will Google supplant Microsoft" supplant "Mac vs. Windows" as stronger link bait?

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dear NBC: Tone Down the Heroes Spoilers, Please

I share Jeremy Toeman's complaint about NBC airing too many spoilers in their promos for Heroes. It's not just the "next week on..." preview at the end of the episode—I know those are coming and I can duck them.
But, as Jeremy points out, NBC is peppering clips from Heroes throughout their schedule. You never know when they're going to hit. (Hey, NBC, don't force me to use the nifty 30-second skip button on my Moxi to blow past all your promos and ads. I know you don't want that. But what choice do you give me? Oh yeah, I can stop watching anything on NBC except Heroes.)

Mickeleh's Take: It's getting worse. The newest wrinkle is to run promos within the episode for something that will happen in the next act. Gimme a break here. Heroes is a hit is because of WOM, WOW, and WOB (word of mouth, web, and blog). It's built to hold an audience. Trust it. If it ain't in the writing, casting, & production, then pimping an explosion in Act IV, won't get me past Act I. If I need an explosion fix, I'll reach for the DVD of SCTV and watch Farm Film Report. They blowed up things real good.

BTW: Check out Jeremy's Unofficial Heroes Drinking Game. But not if you're driving. There have been some chugs in recent episodes.

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