YouTube Still Growing as a Marketing Tool

Yet another reason for traditional TV outlets to worry about their relevance: YouTube.com, the hot new outlet for people to post and share homemade videos, has caught the attention of big-name marketers.
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Nike, Warner Bros., MTV2 and Dimension Films are among the firms seeding the site with commercial clips. Now, along with consumer-made videos of newborn babies, weddings and teens pulling pranks, is a short of soccer star Ronaldinho in his new Nike sneakers.

Part of YouTube’s lure is its ease of use. Consumers and advertisers can upload clips quickly.
The site, which is like a virtual photo album that hosts millions of short videos, is simple to search.

As broadband penetration grows, and consumer appetite for on-demand entertainment swells, video-sharing sites such as YouTube are taking off.

That buzz has piqued the interest of major marketers, ad agencies and media buying firms.
“From a brand standpoint, it’s become another way to reach consumers,” says Barry Lowenthal, president of ad buying company Media Kitchen.

In a world teeming with cynical consumers and ad-skipping devices such as TiVo, YouTube’s edge is that its users actively seek out content. When word-of-mouth built about Nike’s gritty Ronaldinho clip, consumers e-mailed the video to friends and embedded it in their profiles on social networking sites. It has been viewed more than 3 million times.

The price for Nike? Not much. The sneaker maker shot a digital video, then uploaded it for free.
As YouTube’s must-see status swells, some firms want more formal arrangements. E Networks and YouTube struck a deal for the site to feature various E program clips.

Deep Focus, a marketing firm representing studios such as The Weinstein Co., and MTV2 have both worked with YouTube on promotional opportunities.

Weinstein ran a trailer for Scary Movie 4 from its Dimension Films division. “Within 24 hours, we had 250,000 views of the trailer,” says Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer. “Within a week, we had a million.”
Deep Focus also placed the worldwide premiere trailer for Clerks II, which Weinstein released with MGM. It was viewed 150,000 times in the first two days, says Schafer.

YouTube won’t disclose financial or other details, but in most cases, those companies get preferential treatment, such as plugs on its home page.

Clips that run as part of more formal agreements are usually marked with the logo of the firm that placed them to let viewers know they are promotional.

Other firms aren’t officially working with YouTube but are uploading videos on their own. To hype Superman Returns, Warner Bros. posted video blogs from the movie’s director.

“It’s fantastic from a consumer research standpoint,” says Lowenthal. “You can type in a search for ‘shopping’ and then see (videos) of people showing their shopping habits. It’s almost like a global focus group — all for free.”
As it grows, YouTube’s challenge is to turn the rising tide of advertiser interest into dollars.

The company expects to reap ad revenue but is cautious. To remain relevant, it needs to serve paying advertisers without looking like a sellout to its millions of average users.
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“We want to be sensitive on how we deal with that,” says CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley. “Because we really are a community, we want to build things for our users and not alienate them.”

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Marketing Music with Games

Metaliica and Guitar Hero make a powerful marketing team.
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In the three years since Guitar Hero stole the video game stage, fast-fingered consumers have bought more than 22 million units. Now, Activision and developer Neversoft are looking to kick the franchise up a notch with Guitar Hero: Metallica, launched this spring 2009.

Designed to challenge hard-core players, the game “is a lot harder, especially on drums. Well, it’s a lot harder all around, to tell the truth,” says lead designer Alan Flores. “Most of the songs have a higher level of difficulty, certainly at the end of the game when you are playing the old-school Metallica stuff where you play really, really fast and there’s lot of double bass (drum) playing, fast guitar playing and crazy leads.

The time is right for a Metallica game.

The band is back atop the heavy metal world. Its latest album, Death Magnetic, has gone platinum after premiering at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart — its fifth consecutive album to do so.

It also received four Grammy nominations,best rock album, best recording package, rock instrumental (Suicide and Redemption) and best metal performance (My Apocalypse) and the band is a 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee.

Korea is Wired

I have been in Seoul, Korea quite a bit these past few years working with Korea Telecom, LG and SK.
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Seoul has a metropolitan area population of more than 22 million people and is the second most populated metro area in the world and second to none in terms of modern technology.

Seoul is home to some of the biggest telecommunications and technology companies in the world, including SK Telecom, KT Corporation, Samsung and LG. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest cell phone or miniature wifi gadget, Seoul should be your first stop.

When it comes to broadband penetration, South Korea is the world leader with an 83 percent penetration rate. This is in part due to the full-blown broadband revolution that has been taking place in Seoul for the past 8 years.

Seoul is full of Internet cafés, wireless hotspots and gaming areas (called “pc baangs”) making it the ideal city to use the Internet on the go. In most areas, a pc baang can be found on every corner. How’s that for service?

Koreans have a fascination with PC gaming unlike any other country in the world. In South Korea, there are multiple television channels dedicated solely to broadcasting the day’s video game events. Talented video game players are treated like celebrities similar to famous basketball players in the United States.

At the center of all of the gaming is Seoul, which has played an important part in expanding Internet usage throughout all of South Korea.

Internet access in Seoul is extremely cheap, averaging around $20 per month for a 10Mpbs connection — that’s more than 4 times as fast and half the price of the average broadband connection in the United States.

Some areas of Seoul boast commercial Internet speeds of more than 100Mbps for merely $30 per month. With speeds that fast it would only take you 5 minutes to download a two-hour high definition movie.

Seoul’s current expansion plans include a $439 million project to add wireless Internet access to the subway trains. “The plan would be to create a wifi network, and then charge roughly $20 per month for access.”

With such a huge broadband presence and a dedication to offering cheap, fast Internet solutions, Seoul is the definition of wired.

Love Guru

Activate will stream the Guru from Paramount’s new film to 3G phones in Japan before the movie in launched here. The Guru will give advice on Love via video on the 70 million 3G enabled phones…I will post it when it is built.

visit http://www.thegurupitka.com to be enlightened

Whale in Destin, Florida!

My home is usually Destin, Florida even though I am working most of the year in Tokyo. Destin, Florida is a great place to unwind after dealing with 20 million plus each day in Tokyo and a city that REALLY never sleeps.
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My friend Nick just sent me these shots…very unusual to see a whale there…sharks yes but whales…
The complete story is in my local newspaper, the Destin Log.
http://www.thedestinlog.com/news/whale_4782___article.html/crowd_destin.html
Video, a bit long waiting for the whale to surface!

“Majestic” Launch from EA

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When video games are two-a-penny and your category hasn’t been invented yet, how do you launch a new, multimedia, conspiracy-based game to jaded teens and “twenty-some-things”?

EA took a three-pronged approach, involving influencers, experiential marketing and PR.

Taking cues from the best spy thrillers, key influencers within the 18-24 game-playing target were clandestinely invited to join the Majestic Alliance, and to recruit a friend.

Meanwhile, in four core cities—LA, San Francisco, DC and New York—street teams seeded intriguing clues to the game, from 35mm slides marked ‘Top Secret’ scattered on the street, in bars, coffee houses and bookstores.

Scrawling “Everything You Know Is a Lie’ in lipstick on washroom mirrors.

Tagging cars, meters, gas pumps and traffic signs with magnets touting intriguing messages from the game. The effort spread to the streets to garner mass awareness and PR. EA deployed teams of hundreds of “secret agents” strategically placed at commuter arteries holding signs that questioned fact and fiction and handing out a new CD release from a fictitious band called ‘Conspiracy’ which contained a message within the song asking consumers to go online and learn more.

Finally, flatbed trucks ambled down major city streets towing charred cars spray-painted with apocalyptic taglines from the game. All of the outreach efforts included a subtle call to action via a trackable URL, majesticthegame.com.

The results?

More than 12 million consumers touched. Site registration increased 50% in targeted markets. Local and national TV and press coverage provided more than one million publicity impressions.

Highest ROI of all marketing vehicles employed by EA for this project. Watch the video in my video file…sorry could not load it here .