2D Codes

Can your mobile phone read these codes…all new phones in the USA will by next year. In Japan more than 80% of cell phone users access these codes daily.

The desire of today’s society, particularly among the younger, more tech-savvy parts of the population. To instantly gain information about a person, place or thing has been termed “infolust” by Trendwatching.com.
The fact that “Google me” has entered the English language is just one example of the way in which social networking and marketing is being affected by the web. The inclusion of 2D symbols as a shortcut to this information — whether it’s information about a product or person — is just the next step in this evolution.
Currently, scanning 2D symbols on ads or items can link the user to a website for more information, to receive a special offer or discount coupon. However, the trend toward the use of 2D symbols and cell phones goes beyond mere information.
There are currently pilots and limited implementations that allow consumers to purchase event tickets over their cell phones (scan a symbol to go to the web site, make a purchase, get a 2D symbol — ticket — to display for admission).

The vision is that 2D symbols will be used to help consumers order a taxi, sign up for a text alert service, enter a competition, and more.

This code will take my phone to my xanga blog!
bigjer QR

Search Shoot Out: Bing Versus Google

Talk about an iron grip on search. To research this blog comparing Google’s venerable search engine with Microsoft’s upstart Bing, I Googled “Bing versus Google.” It didn’t even occur to me to Bing the search.
Microsoft recently unveiled a fresh and attractive search alternative to Google. It’s just going to be difficult to change my own habit. I us Ask quite a lot but now to add a third mode of search good luck Microsoft.

Google’s is the search box affixed near the top of the Web browsers I use now. And way more often than not, Google delivers the thorough search results I’m seeking and does so with speed.

But give Microsoft props. Bing, launched about a month ago, is really impressive, in another league compared with the Live Search engine it replaces.

Bing bests Google on aesthetics. The Google home page is clean and sparse with the familiar Google Search button and links at the top for images, video, maps, news, shopping, Gmail and more.

Bing’s home page adds pizazz, with a stunning travel-oriented photo posted daily. Mouse over the images for factoids about the pics. From the home page, you can click on images, videos, shopping, news, maps and travel.

We all want fast, comprehensive and relevant results, a Google strength. Microsoft more than holds it own here, especially in the areas Bing is initially concentrating on — travel, health, finding local businesses and shopping. There’s even a cash-back program on certain items you buy through Bing.

Type “New York Mets,” and the team’s most recent scores and upcoming schedule are shown at the top of the results. Google displays the score of the last game and lets you know when the next game will be played.

Type a company name in Bing, and its customer-service phone number appears near the top. Bravo. Such numbers are hard to uncover through Google.

Throughout the Bing experience, you can access snippets of information that may satisfy what you’re looking for without leading you elsewhere. If you move the cursor to the right of a Bing search result, a summary window opens with excerpts lifted from the underlying site. You can quickly determine whether to navigate to the full site.

When you hover over a video thumbnail with the cursor, it starts playing, though I hit an occasional snag. You don’t have to click “play” or go to the video source (YouTube, Hulu, etc.). Clicking a thumbnail lets you watch in a larger window, often without leaving Bing. Hover over an image, and it jumps out in a somewhat larger window.

Another plus: the “quick tabs” that appear down the left side of the results pane to help you refine a search. Enter “Charleston, S.C.,” and you can categorize results by hotels, restaurants, real estate, weather, etc.

On Google, you must scroll to the bottom of a page to see “related searches,” though you can also summon a side panel, by tapping “show options.”

Bing is also dabbling in real-time search. For example, if you search for an influential person and add Twitter to the search, such as “Al Gore Twitter,” you’ll get a list of their recent tweets.

Marketers love Gen Yers.

They’ve got roughly $200 billion in disposable income, and they aren’t afraid to spend it on clothes, designer sneakers, alcohol, fast food, cellphones and video games. I’m familiar with the lackadaisical spending habits of Gen Yers, because I am the father of three of them, and until last fall, I watched them splurge on things such as a Wii and an iPhone.

Now thanks to this recession they are changed.

They eat more meals at home and actually pay attention to the price of groceries. They are buying and using more household products, from dishwasher soap to stain remover.

As a result, they are more receptive to advertising in those product categories. But what surprises me is how few marketers outside of clothes, shoe, food-and-beverage and entertainment marketers actually pursue that age group.

I wonder why. Consumers settle into brand choices in their 20s, according to one report, and those preferences don’t change much into their 30s and beyond. And get this: Brand loyalty increases with age, 37% of 18 to 29 year-olds buy one favorite brand of mayonnaise, for instance, vs. 55% of those 30-plus.

Just recently, Kraft Foods launched a campaign for its Miracle Whip spread that does the unthinkable and looks beyond moms as the target. The goal was to simply remind young consumers about Miracle Whip, a sandwich spread and dressing they most likely grew up with but may have abandoned after childhood.
Along with a traditional media campaign and Facebook and Twitter pages, Kraft created Zingr, a software application that allows users to “zing,” or comment on, content on the web. The tool is actually useful and savvy in how it taps into the way Gen Y consumes information. Zingr makes it easy for Gen Yers to share what they love to share the most: cool content and their opinions. Plus, Miracle Whip scores points for not overwhelming users with blatant product branding.

In a few years that generation will be the moms and dads of the world, the major household buyers. Within the next decade, they’ll be generating $2.77 trillion dollars per year. It’s essential for brands to grab them now and reach out in ways they find meaningful.

Philips Web TVC Wins Grand Prix at Cannes

A sign of the changing times: Tribal DDB persuaded Philips to launch an international movie theater-proportioned TV set brand with a digitally focused campaign that embodied the cinematic experience the Philips Cinema 21:9 is selling.
Cinema 21x9 Ambilight-218-85

The film jury at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival agreed that’s the way forward by awarding their commercial the Film Grand Prix, which has traditionally gone to the world’s best commercial.

Check it out on the link “Carousel” it as amazing.

“Film for many years was the pinnacle of a business that has changed,” said Richard Bullock, a film juror and executive creative director of 180 Amsterdam. “An idea is no longer manifested in a single TV ad. We’re a bigger and more eclectic mix. Film is now one of the tools.”

Interactive work is changing, and is no longer just about considering something a success because it spreads virally around the world.

“It’s not just about the cat that can play the piano,” Mr. Bullock said.

David Lubars, film jury president and chairman-chief creative officer of BBDO North America, described the Grand Prix-winning “Carousel” as a “magnet.” Shot in one long cinematic take that ends, or begins again, with the opening shot of a cop with a gun, “Carousel” pans a frozen moment in an attempted armored-car heist gone wrong. It’s a brilliant film by itself, and becomes a film-within-a-film by rolling over the cursor at certain points to see how the film was made or to see a demo of the Philips Cinema 21:9 TV, he said.

“It’s only going to get bigger,” Paul Gunning, CEO of DDB Worldwide, said after the film press conference. “We’ll take the idea and make sure it extends into all the platforms. We’re looking at the best ways we can take something consumers have clearly latched onto and make it more portable.”

Gary Raucher, head of integrated marketing communications and VP of Philips consumer lifestyle, said “Carousel” was viewed online 500,000 times in the first two-and-a-half weeks, and has had more than 1 million visitors to Philips.com since its April launch, although many more have watched it on YouTube and other video sites.

Social-media tools are fostering customer service.

More Twitter uses are outlined here as well but I am still wondering how the investors are ever going to get back their money though. There seems to be no business model for this great service.

For direct sales Dell says it has sold more than $2 million worth of PCs through its @DellOutlet account (over 710,000 followers) on Twitter since 2007.

For up-to-the-minute service details Twitter can function like a real-time search for airlines and others. For example, JetBlue (@jetBlue; over 730,000 followers) assiduously answers traveler queries about flight times, delays and weather updates. “It’s like an early-warning system,” says spokesman Morgan Johnston.

Twitter can deliver customer feedback that leads to enhanced services. Starbucks is using a blend of social media via Twitter (@Starbucks; over 230,000 followers), Facebook (3.2 million fans) and its own social-networking site (MyStarbucksIdea.com) for product ideas and feedback. Splash sticks, the company’s new plastic plugs for sip holes, were created in part through feedback.
Through social-media forums on Facebook and Yahoo, PepsiCo asked customers to visit its DEWmocracy website and vote on one of three choices for a new Mountain Dew flavor. More than 350,000 voted last year.
Online communities to exchange comments. Facebook and MySpace, through their respective services, offer massive bulletin boards for consumers to weigh in on major brands.

Dunkin’ Donuts actively manages a fan page on Facebook with more than 825,000 fans. It used the page extensively to complement advertising and e-mail to inform customers on a new line of healthy foods and an iced coffee day event in April.

Harley-Davidson’s corporate profiles on MySpace (36,000 friends) and Facebook (175,000 fans) let it solicit comments from fiercely loyal customers. Harley also uses Twitter (@harleydavidson; 4,000 followers) and produces videos of its motorcycles on YouTube.

“If you’re trying to hide from your customers, don’t use Twitter.”

When a Stanley Cup broadcast suddenly went black in late April, many Comcast subscribers simply scooted to Twitter to find out why.

It was there, not on a phone system with multiple options, they discovered that a lightning storm in Atlanta had caused a power outage during the Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins hockey playoff game, and that the transmission would be restored soon.

“I did a search on Twitter as soon as the game went off the air,” says Dave Decker, 31, a Web developer in Pittsburgh who regularly tweets while watching sporting events. “The mystery was resolved in minutes. Before Twitter, it would have been a nightmare trying to find out what happened on the phone.”
Comcast’s deft use of Twitter underscores what is becoming a staple in modern-day customer service. Increasingly, corporate giants such as Comcast, PepsiCo, JetBlue Airways, Whole Foods Market and others are beefing up direct communications with customers through social-media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The popular communications technology has helped companies quickly and inexpensively respond to customer complaints, answer questions and tailor products and services. It has supplemented current customer services, easing the load on call centers and expensive mailers that most consumers abhor.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and online software services such as LiveOps, Salesforce.com and RightNow Technologies are all are being used to improve customer service, retain users and gain a competitive advantage.

“If you’re trying to hide from your customers, don’t use Twitter,” says Demian Sellfors, CEO of Media Temple, a Web-hosting service. “We want to know what our customers think, both good and bad. That’s a good thing.”

Scariest scenario for Google? iPhone Apps.

Apple’s iPhone and other smart phones are generally good for the big guys at Google: And of course anything that get more people using the internet from their phones and using the most dominant search engine is going to one day make Google make their mark in mobile advertising…that is, as long as it’s not cutting down on the amount of time they use the web and Google on their computers.)

But Apple’s iPhone App Store is not as good for Google. While Google has a tiny business displaying in-app ads, the rest of the movement toward mobile apps and app stores is currently bad for Google. Why?

Time spent in apps is competing with and replacing time spent on the mobile web.

There are some Google display ads in iPhone apps, but no direct line to Google Search or search ads, where Google stands to make the most money. (The good news is that Google doesn’t make much money yet from the mobile web, so this isn’t immediately disruptive.)

Time spent in apps is competing with and replacing time spent on the real web.

This is probably the scariest scenario for Google. If I am sitting on my couch playing iPhone games or reading an article in Instapaper Pro instead of goofing around on the web on my laptop that is potentially real lost revenue for Google.
Similarly, even if I’m using my iPhone’s web browser, using the mobile web and Google search, Google is probably not monetizing those searches nearly as well as they do on the computer.

Users are learning to go to an app to find the information they need as opposed to going to Google or the web.

For example, if I want a restaurant review, I don’t go to Google to type in the name of the restaurant. I go to the Yelp app. Or Urbanspoon. Or whatever. Either way, no Google there.
The App Store search engine built into every iPhone is becoming a very important search engine.
One billion apps downloaded means hundreds of millions or billions of searches conducted. Google doesn’t power it or sell ads there.

The upshot for now is that mobile advertising, especially in iPhone apps, is still too small to matter to Google. Instead, even a small improvement to Google’s main search advertising business would be more lucrative to the company than spending that effort on iPhone ads.

But eventually, it’s possible that the mobile web and mobile apps will be important enough for a significant amount of Google’s attention. At which point they’ll either have to roll out an awesome ad model the way they did for web searches or buy one of the leading mobile advertising companies.

And yes, Google does publish some iPhone apps of its own. But on the iPhone, the most important Google-powered apps Maps and YouTube are built by Apple, and don’t include any ads today.