In this week's edition of Extreme Tech Makeover, Hewlett Packard will spend $40 million overhauling its image. Helping them do that is rapper Dr. Dre, who will appear in one of the new ad spots.
"Most people think we are just a printer company," says Michael Mendenhall, HP's chief marketing officer. "Awareness of what we do has not kept pace with [our] expansion."
That expansion includes scooping up companies like Electronic Data Systems and 3Com, and to help push the message that HP is a multi-talented company, the $40 million "Let's Do Amazing" ad campaign will feature several different celebrities. In the one starring Dr. Dre, the rapper talks about how HP rebuilt his PC to make his music sound better. Ad spots like this will help give the company what it lacks, which is "a real differentiation in personality and distinction."
Look for the commercials during high-traffic broadcasts, including the NCAA March Madness championship and series finales of shows like "24."
Get ready to kiss your privacy goodbye. Those horrifying billboards from Minority Report that know everything about you are one step closer to reality. Japan’s NEC has created the Next Generation Digital Signage Solution, a system that tailors ads based on who is looking at it.
This new system isn’t going so far as scanning your iris to look you up in a huge advertising database like in the movie, but it is guessing what you might like based on age and gender. The billboards will be able to determine gender and age to within 10 years by snapping a photo. Some are already crying foul, claiming the signs would be an invasion of privacy. NEC claims the ads would be anonymous and the digital imaging system would delete the images of people used to build the ads.
Do you think this is an acceptable system? It could mean you’d see ads that are more relevant to you, but does anyone really care about that? If this scares you, then start putting together a disguise now. NEC says several companies are interested in the signs, and they might make it stateside in late 2010.
Perhaps looking to run with the big dogs (think Google, Apple), Opera announced it has acquired AdMarvel, a privately held Norwegian Web browser company who makes a product suite aimed at managing how ads are shuttled over to mobile phones.
"In our fast-growing industry, mobile advertising represents an interesting long-term revenue opportunity. Every month, nearly 50 million people access the Web using Opera on their mobile phones and together with AdMarvel, we think we can play an important role in the evolution of mobile advertising," said Lars Boilesen, Chief Executive Officer, Opera Software.
The deal is worth at least $8 million, which is how much Opera will pay AdMarvel in cash, plus up to an additional $15 million more should AdMarvel meet specific financial targets in the next 2 years.
Opera plans to have AdMarvel continue to operate as a separate company, but will also work to integrate AdMarvel's products with Opera Mini for operator offerings.
Microsoft’s new Bing search engine has made huge strides this year. Its market share is now somewhere north of 10%, and still increasing. Most of this increase is coming at the direct expense of Yahoo. In fact, some new projections indicate that Bing could pass Yahoo by the end of 2010.
This increase in Bing’s market share didn’t just happen. Microsoft is spending a lot of money to get a piece of that sweet search pie. In addition to advertising, the Redmond giant has bought up toolbar deals and is basically paying companies to foist Bing on their users. Verizon recently pushed out an update to Blackberry users that made Bing their default search engine.
Yahoo is in the odd position of being pretty cozy with their would-be usurper. Yahoo sells the ads on Bing, and uses the Bing engine on their site. Still, Yahoo makes most of their money on their own ads. If their search market share continues to decline, 2010 could be a tough year for Yahoo.
A little less than three weeks ago, technology and services outsourcing firm Accenture took a took a mulligan on Tiger Woods and pulled its sponsorship of the adulterous golfer. Now AT&T, along with at least two other companies, are doing the same, Bloomberg.com reports.
"We are ending our sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods and wish him well," Michael Coe, a spokesman for the biggest U.S. phone company, said in an email.
Investors in Woods' sponsors are said to have lost as much as $12 billion since reports of the scandal broke, according to researchers at the University of California at Davis. But unlike Accenture, which built its marketing around Woods before ending its six-year relationship, AT&T had only been planting its logo on Woods' golf bag since last February, as well as had sponsored his annual Tiger Jam benefit concerts.
Tiger Woods isn't hurting for sponsors, but one he'll have to do without is Accenture, a technology services and outsourcing firm. The IT company is the first of Tiger Woods' sponsors to drop him ever since his personal life became one of the biggest topics in sports.
"For the past six years, Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising. However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising. Accenture said that it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family," Accenture wrote in a statement posted on its website.
The company added that it will "immediately transition to a new advertising campaign," one which will launch later in 2010 and without Tiger Woods.
Verizon fired the first shot in its media war against AT&T, but many were left wondering how and when the competition would ever respond. Playing to its strengths the AT&T marketing department is finally bringing its guns to bare on Verizon, and speed will be the battleground on which they shall wage their bloody campaign.
Its a gutsy move for AT&T to pit their network against Verizon on national TV, but its bound to work better than chest thumping, lawsuits, and irate fist pumping I'm willing to bet.
The AT&T's ad features actor Luke Wilson trying to download a copy of himself over both networks, and much to my shock and amazement, the company that paid for the ad won the contest. AT&T might edge out ahead of Verizon in raw speed tests, but I think we would all rather see some of this ad money go into a few more cell towers wouldn't we? Arguably that would do an even better job of putting the kibosh on those pesky Verizon ads.
We were looking forward to seeing how the comedic minds behind Family Guy would tie in a Windows 7 advertising campaign to a live variety show which, among other things, would have the Family Guy cast pitching the new OS. But that all came to a screeching halt when Microsoft decided to pull out of the deal because of concerns over the content.
But while Microsoft wants nothing to do with "Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," the Redmond outfit apparently has cut a deal for independent ad spots with the Family Guy cartoon characters, some of which you may have already spotted on television.
If not, you can check out the full assortment of videos here. Once you do, hit the jump and share your impression. Was it what you expected?
Google has decided to dip its toe in the stream of anonymized user data coming from TiVo. By subscribing to the TiVo data, Google hopes to make ads more useful to both advertisers and viewers. Google’s angle for selling TV ads is that they will only charge for the ads that are actually watched. So, if most people skip an ad, the channel makes almost nothing on it.
Online it’s easy to track impressions via clicks, but having the same scheme on TV upsets the people running the networks. Google already has a similar deal with Dish Network, and this deal just extends their statistical powers. Eventually, the data Google wields will make it painfully clear to advertisers how few ads people actually watch. This has the potential to erode the financial foundation of many television networks.
Neilson data has long been the guiding force behind the value of ads, and the networks are
understandably concerned about possible changes. Google contends this arrangement will simply lower the barrier to entry for TV ads. Will TV networks go along with the plan?
Murdoch has long made it known that he deserves compensation for the content he provides online, and is actively pursuing ways to generate revenue more directly than advertising. The Wall Street Journal, for example, requires paid subscription for full access (although there are ways around this). However, the online market hasn’t been kind to those who put up such barriers. Apparently Murdoch believes that a leader is needed to make the first bold move, after which others will follow. “We will lead. There is a pent up need for this,” said Miller. There is also a pent up need for News Corp. to get its hands on a bit of the advertising revenue Google’s search engines generate, and which News Corp doesn’t share in.
Miller was dismissive of Google’s importance, at least for the News Corp.: “The traffic which comes in from Google brings a consumer who more often than not read one article and then leaves the site. That is the least valuable of traffic to us… the economic impact is not as great as you might think. You can survive without it.”
Google’s response was as expected: “Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don't.”
Whether News Corp can survive without Google is a question only pulling the plug will answer. It remains to be seen if News Corp. will follow through on their threat.