Home Broadband 2010, a Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on August 18, 2010 under Research | Be the First to Comment

By Aaron Smith.

After several consecutive years of modest but consistent growth, broadband adoption slowed dramatically in 2010. Two-thirds of American adults (66%) currently use a high-speed Internet connection at home, a figure that is not statistically different from what The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found at a similar point in 2009, when 63% of Americans were broadband adopters.

The lack of growth in broadband adoption at the national level was mirrored across a range of demographic groups, with African-Americans being a major exception. Broadband adoption by African-Americans now stands at 56%, up from 46% at a similar point in 2009. That works out to a 22% year-over-year growth rate, well above the national average and by far the highest growth rate of any major demographic group.

Read more about Home Broadband 2010, a Pew Study, here.

Some New Work for Fortress Technologies.

Posted by truecreek on July 7, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

Some Concepts to Combat Distractive Driving.

Posted by truecreek on April 26, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

We recently commissioned several of our very talented writers to concept some headlines for a organization that has dedicated itself to combating distracted driving.  Here are just a few.  If you have a favorite, please comment and let us know.

FCC: Broadband Adoption and Use in America.

Posted by truecreek on April 8, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

So, if these stats are correct, one could assume that  as much as 17% of the population that has not adopted broadband would do so if they understood the nuts and bolts of how it works?

By Susannah Fox

A new report released today by John B. Horrigan, formerly of Pew Internet and now at the Federal Communications Commission, finds that 78% of adults in the U.S. are Internet users and 65% of adults have home broadband access.

Adults who do not have broadband at home fall into four categories:

Digitally Distant: 10% of the general population. Median age is 63. Half say that the Internet is not relevant to their lives or they lack the digital literacy to adopt broadband.

Digital Hopefuls: 8% of the general population. Low-income, heavily Hispanic and African American. Likely to say they want to go online, but lack the resources.

Digitally Uncomfortable: 7% of the general population. Likely to own a computer, but lack skills and interest in taking advantage of all the Internet has to offer.

Near Converts: 10% of the general population. Median age is 45. Cost is the biggest barrier to having broadband at home.

Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.

Posted by truecreek on March 1, 2010 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

Interesting Pew Study.

by Kristen Purcell, Lee Rainie, Amy Mitchell, Tom Rosenstiel, Kenny Olmstead.

The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get their daily news, according to a new survey conducted jointly by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The Internet is now the third most-popular news platform, behind local and national television news and ahead of national print newspapers, local print newspapers and radio. Getting news online fits into a broad pattern of news consumption by Americans; six in ten (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day.

The internet and mobile technologies are at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. In today’s new multi-platform media environment, news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory:

* Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.

* Personalized: 28% of Internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.

* Participatory: 37% of Internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

In addition, people use their social networks and social networking technology to filter, assess, and react to news. And they use traditional email and other tools to swap stories and comment on them. Among those who get news online, 75% get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52% share links to news with others via those means.

Despite all of this online activity, the typical online news consumer routinely uses just a handful of news sites and does not have a particular favorite. And overall, Americans have mixed feelings about this “new” news environment. Over half (55%) say it is easier to keep up with news and information today than it was five years ago, but 70% feel the amount of news and information available from different sources is overwhelming.

Take a look at the study and download it here.

The Power of Saying ‘We Blew It’.

Posted by truecreek on February 24, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Patrick Lencioni.

New ads for Domino’s Pizza display unusual corporate vulnerability—and the surprising effectiveness of talking straight.

I recently saw a television commercial that made quite an impression on me, and I have a hunch that it might go down as one of the most effective advertisements of all time, assuming the company behind it is sincere. I’m talking about Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) and the recent ad in which the company concedes the shortcomings of its product and explains what has been done to improve it.

The spot opens with customers describing Domino’s pizza using words like ketchup and cardboard. Then, Domino’s President J. Patrick Doyle matter-of-factly explains the importance of acknowledging how customers see his pizza. Finally he outlines the company’s response: 40% more herbs in its sauce, better cheese, a special glaze on the crust. I have a hard time remembering the names of the U.S. Supreme Court justices and even what I had for breakfast. But I can remember all those details from the Domino’s ad, and that says a lot about its impact.

I’m willing to bet that Domino’s will sell a lot more pizzas in the months ahead. And the reason I believe that has less to do with the new ingredients than with Domino’s willingness to cross a line that most companies—and for that matter, most leaders—won’t even approach. Domino’s chose to make itself vulnerable.

Vulnerability isn’t a word that shows up on lists of ingredients for business success. Here’s why it should: Without the willingness and ability to be vulnerable, we simply can’t build deep and lasting relationships in business and, come to think of it, life.

Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness; it’s actually a sign of strength. People who are genuinely open and transparent prove that they have the confidence and self-esteem to allow others to see them as they really are, warts and all. There’s something undeniably magnetic about people who can do that.

When it comes to the workplace, vulnerability is critical in the building of teams. When teammates feel free to admit their mistakes, ask for help, and acknowledge their own weaknesses, they reduce divisive politics and build a bond of trust more valuable than almost any strategic advantage. Another great venue for vulnerability is the one I work in, the world of service. When consultants and advisers are willing to ask dumb questions, tell the unvarnished truth, or broach the painful, elephant-in-the-room topic, they engender loyalty and trust with clients.

More about The Power of Saying ‘We Blew It’ here.

Internet, Broadband and Cell Phone Statistics. A Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on January 26, 2010 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

These statistics are holding steady.

By Lee Rainie:

In a national survey between November 30 and December 27, 2009, we find:

74% of American adults (ages 18 and older) use the Internet, a slight drop from our survey in April 2009, which did not include Spanish interviews. At that time we found that 79% of English speaking adults use the Internet.

60% of American adults use broadband connections at home, a drop that is within the margin of error from 63% in April 2009.

55% of American adults connect to the Internet wirelessly, either through a WiFi or WiMax connection via their laptops or through their handheld device like a smart phone. This figure did not change in a statistically significant way during 2009.

These data come from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The most recent survey was conducted from November 30 to December 27, 2009, using landline and cell phones and including interviews in Spanish. Some 2,258 adults were interviewed and the overall sample has a margin of error of ± 2 percentage points.

Download the entire Internet, broadband and cell phone statistics survey here.

Boys vs. Girls on Cellphones.

Posted by truecreek on under Opinions. Everyone has them., Research | Be the First to Comment

Very interesting research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   It’s a hot topic of discussion here at True Creek, for sure. The premise was also the theme for a recent episode of ‘Modern Family’ on ABC.

By Margaret Shapiro

We’ve heard about the gender divide in knowledge and use of technology. It seems the gap may start with the simplest of technologies — cellphones — and at a fairly young age — middle school.

For a study published in December in the journal New Media and Society, University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Shelia Cotten asked nearly 1,000 middle school students to rate the different ways they used their cellphones.

The results showed boys much more than girls used their phones to play games, share photos and videos, listen to music and send e-mails. Girls tended to use their phones primarily for talking and or text messaging.

To the researchers’ surprise, the boys used the phones for talking and texting just as much as the girls — in other words, they didn’t use the “complicated features” instead of socializing, but in addition to it. “We would’ve expected that girls would use cellphones for talking and texting because females are socialized to communicate more with others than males,” said Cotten in an online video presentation of her research, “but there were no differences.”

“By these study results, we aren’t saying that parents should buy phones with fewer features for girls,” she said. “But it does point out how much more needs to be done to teach girls” about technology. “Females traditionally have perceived themselves as less skilled in terms of technology, especially with regard to computers.”

Cotten said that 60 to 70 percent of middle school kids report owning a cellphone.

More about Boys vs. Girls on Cellphones here.

Are Naming Rights Deals A Good Buy?

Posted by truecreek on January 20, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Darren Rovell

Every time a company buys naming rights to a stadium, their executives get challenged. Is this really a good deal? Why does it seem like companies who have put their name on stadiums face greater economic trouble than those who pass on the idea?

I think the latter might be more perception than reality –- that the percentage of companies that sign naming rights deals and then file for bankruptcy are somehow much greater than those that don’t sign deals and don’t file for bankruptcy.

Answering whether naming rights deals are good deals depend on two things: price and activation.

In order to sell these rights, teams show companies what the “impression value” of the stadium is. That is, how many times will the company’s name be mentioned in the media.

The numbers being shown to these companies  — ranging from millions of impressions to hundreds of millions of impressions a year –- are real. But there’s a big difference between having a 30-second ad and having your company’s name mentioned 30 times. I’m just throwing it out there, but I think that tens of thousands of impressions can equal what one 30-second ad can do as far as driving business to a company.

We just had on Wes Thompson, CEO of Sun Life Financial, whose company reportedly paid an average of $4 million over five years to put its name on the stadium where the Miami Dolphins play.

Because this is the seventh name change the stadium has had, the impression value has already been severely compromised. Simply put, fewer people are willing to call it by its official name because they’ve been put through the ringer. So Sun Life’s first job is to find out exactly how much it has been devalued — even with the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl coming up.

But the next job is to convince fans why they should have their insurance through Sun Life. That is the essential leap that makes naming rights worth it or not.

Thompson mentioned that this was an opportunity to increase brand awareness and that the stadium was a great destination, but Thompson didn’t mention exactly what Sun Life was going to do with the rights.

Perhaps Thompson needs some time, but that’s not a great start. Because it’s an insurance product, it requires more of an effort than say a beer brand like Land Shark, which previously had the name to the stadium.

Is Sun Life going to offer some sort of deal where the longer you had Dolphins season tickets, the lower they are willing to go on your insurance as compared to the product offered by their competition?

We know Sun Life employees will be in their luxury box entertaining corporations, but how many Sun Life employees will be walking throughout the stadium talking to fans?

Perhaps I didn’t pry enough on specifics, but I’m skeptical of what Sun Life is going to do because I’ve found that most naming rights deals are ego buys with very little activation. Most naming rights deals aren’t worth it because the company itself doesn’t make it worth it.

Because of this deal, I now know the name Sun Life Financial. That’s the first step. Getting me to actually put my money with the product or service the company offers is the second step. And, at least for me, it’s a step that not a single company that has ever landed naming rights has ever accomplished.

Cinema Surpassed DVD Sales in 2009.

Posted by truecreek on January 11, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Sarah McBride.

Last year was the first since 2002 that U.S. consumers spent more money buying movie tickets than buying movies to watch at home, underscoring the changing economics of Hollywood.

According to new data from Adams Media Research, Americans spent $9.87 billion at the box office in 2009, 10% more than in 2008, according to a report Adams plans to release Tuesday.  At the same time, sales in the U.S. of feature films on DVD, long a cornerstone of movie studios’ business models, plunged 13% to $8.73 billion, including Blu-ray high-definition discs.  (Other companies that track box-office receipts include Canada in their North American figures, adding about 7% to the total and pushing the year’s gross above $10 billion.)

The figures indicate that studios will likely have to continue looking for ways to survive in a marketplace where they can’t count on hefty home-entertainment revenue to offset giant production costs. Those costs often more than eat up the studios’ half of the box-office receipts, which are split with theaters.

The ongoing decline in home-entertainment revenue has already fundamentally altered the way studios do business, forcing them to place big financial bets on hoped-for mass-market blockbusters at the expense of features that cost less to make but that also have smaller earnings potential.

Hit titles such as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and “Up” were among those that lured large numbers of Americans to the cinema last year.

“Consumers are still in love with movies,” said Tom Adams, president of Adams Media.  “In this environment, however, they’re seeking the biggest bang for their bucks.”

For studios, which count on income from home entertainment to underwrite growing production costs, the trend represents a giant headache.  In the early 2000s, studios began counting on the cash bonanza generated by consumers’ building up libraries of DVDs.  Now, they will have to alter budgets to reflect the shrinking DVD income stream.

More about how Cinema Surpassed DVD Sales in 2009 here.

Comcast Atlanta Journal Constitution Campaign.

Posted by truecreek on January 5, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

I love headlines. We just completed a campaign for Comcast touting their new 50/10 Internet product.  The campaign is to run in the Atlanta Journal Constitution for 11 consecutive weeks, starting next week.

You have to appreciate just how impactful these ads will be with their big and bold copy running across the bottom of the page. Simple and clean look, with essentially nothing but a great headline to drag you in.

To me, a print ad should entice and entertain, not educate. There will be more than enough time to do that later after I call you or hit your  site.

Check ’em out.

4/C Fortress Technologies Print

Posted by truecreek on January 4, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

The start of a new campaign for Fortress Technologies.  Nice, clean look mated with a very strong visual. Definitely a bit more earthy in tone than what has been the norm, but I think it works well.   Many other great headlines to work with in the future.

Panera: an America’s Hottest Brands Case Study.

Posted by truecreek on December 14, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Emily Bryson York, AdAge

Not everyone wants a value meal. And not everyone is unemployed. These insights informed an impressive year at Panera Bread Co., in which the chain outperformed much of the fast-casual category. To do so, the chain focused on quality, innovation and marketing.

“A bunch of folks have been cutting quality to cut price to go after the marginal customer,” said Exec VP-Chief Operating Officer Rick Vanzura, who added that Panera donates about $100 million in bread each year. “We said a better strategy that addresses a bigger group of people is providing better value.”

More about Panera: an America’s Hottest Brands Case Study here.


Comcast Business to Business Holiday DM.

Posted by truecreek on December 4, 2009 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

“Keep on Truckin'” was a one-page comic by Robert Crumb, published in the first issue of Zap Comix in 1968. We thought we’d have a little fun with it.


What Black Friday Shoppers Spent on – And Where.

Posted by truecreek on November 30, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

By Bertha Coombs, CNBC

Retailers drew more shoppers to open their wallets this Black Friday weekend, but the steep discounts they used to get them in the door meant that on average, shoppers spent less.

What Black Friday ShoppersThe National Federation of Retailers says 195 million people shopped at stores and online over the weekend, up 13.3 percent from last year. Total spending was flat at $41.2 billion, but on average consumers spent 8.5 percent less, roughly $343 per person compared to $372 a year ago.

Department stores emerged the shopping destination of choice for nearly half of all shoppers polled in the NRF’s Black Friday survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Discount stores came in second garnering a 43.2 percent share, and outlets picking up 7.8 percent of shoppers. Just over one in four surveys shopped at electronics stores (29 percent) or online (28.5 percent).

Two years into the deepest recession in a generation, consumers may be showing signs of what some have termed frugal fatigue, says the NRF’s Ellen Davis. “Retailers have to come away from this weekend encouraged,” she says, “that shoppers were willing to spend on some discretionary items.”

Capital Growth Partners president Craig Johnson says the consumer was back in force over Black Friday weekend. In a note to clients, he wrote, ‘These are not simply browsers, but buyers, with checkout lines of 30 or longer in some mall teen specialty stores, and checkout lines exceeding 350 in several Big Box stores.”

Just over half shoppers bought clothing, according to the survey, helping to boost department store sales. About forty percent bought books, DVDs and video games.   Those numbers were about the same as last year.

Price wars on popular toys at Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us saw more shoppers buying toys as gifts. About a third of shoppers said they spent money on toys, a 12.9 percent increase from last year.

According to the survey, more shoppers bought sporting and leisure items this year — 12.6 percent, up a point from last year. Personal care and beauty items saw a bigger increase — 22.4 percent up from 19.0 percent — along with gift cards — 21.2 percent vs. 18.7 percent a year ago.

Did those early door busters in the wee hours of the morning pay off? Nearly one-third of shoppers (31.2 percent) were at the stores by 5 a.m. according to the NRF survey, that’s up from 23.3 percent last year. The majority of those early shoppers were men or younger shoppers.

Advertising Resurgence Hits the Spot for TV Networks.

Posted by truecreek on under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Meg James

There’s finally some new life in old media.

After pummeling traditional media companies for nearly two years, the advertising recession is showing signs of a recovery. TV networks — including Fox, CBS and ABC and such leading cable channels as TNT, TBS, USA, Bravo and Fox News Channel — have benefited the most as advertisers have been snapping up available commercial spots and agreeing to pay significantly higher prices than they did just five months ago.

“In challenging times, people go back to what they know, and what they know best is television,” said David Levy, president of sales for Turner Entertainment, which includes TNT and TBS. “It is a little too early to declare victory, but the market is definitely improving.”

The welcome news is the result of stronger-than-expected demand for TV advertising in the “scatter” market, in which advertisers frequently have to pay premiums for scarce available commercial time. It also represents something of a win for the networks, which gambled this summer that demand would pick up later in the year and held back a larger percentage of their inventory than in previous years, hoping to capitalize on the improved economy.

Fourth-quarter commercial sales have been propelled by retail chains hoping to ignite their holiday sales; technology giants Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., which have new products to promote; cellphone carriers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, which are battling for customers; and even such financial firms as American Express, according to television executives and advertising buyers surveyed this week.

Such strong demand has made up for the weaker orders from other mainstay advertisers, including automakers, still reeling from weak sales, and Hollywood movie studios, which have fewer new movies to hype.

A fourth quarter described by one top network sales executive as “gangbusters” amazed even veterans who have lived through several economic cycles. Only five months ago, the industry was bracing for another dismal year as TV network sales teams were engaged in protracted negotiations with advertisers that were demanding that the networks roll back prices as much as 20%. Networks eventually agreed to trim rates about 5% to 8% to mollify advertisers and begin unloading their time.

But now, in some cases, advertisers have agreed to pay rates 10% to 35% higher than the prices established in June and July, when the networks sold the bulk of their time for the new TV season. In addition, advertisers that placed their orders in the summer are honoring their commitments. Network executives said that few advertisers have canceled their orders for commercial spots, in contrast with a year ago.

“We have all been surprised that the ad market has come back this soon,” said Gary Carr, executive director of national broadcast for the advertising firm TargetCast. The networks, he said, also face easier comparisons because last fall, with banks failing and the economy on the skids, companies were afraid to spend on advertising.

“A year ago, people thought the world was coming to an end, and the U.S. economy was falling apart,” Carr said. “But the world did not come to an end. Cars still have to be sold, and studios still need people to go see their movies. Advertisers have begun releasing the money that they have been holding onto all year.”

Even local TV stations — among the hardest hit by the slump in advertising spending — have received a lift, primarily fueled by stores that unleashed their holiday sales campaigns earlier in the season, according to television executives.

Not all media outlets have rebounded, however. Many small cable TV channels and Spanish-language television networks are still hurting, according to television executives. Newspapers, magazines and radio stations also continue to struggle.

“In many sectors, the news is still grim,” said Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research at TNS Media Intelligence, which tracks advertising spending. “And there is still a fairly large hole for these companies to dig out of before they get back to the levels they were a few years ago.”

Unexpectedly, online advertising also has taken it on the chin.

Many advertisers are no longer as eager to buy Internet display ads as they were two or three few years ago, when firms were steering millions of ad dollars to online sites.

“There is still a big push toward digital and online video, but the Internet display advertising market is challenged,” said Greg Kahn, senior vice president of strategic insights at advertising firm Optimedia. “There is so much clutter in the space, and advertisers have begun to question the effectiveness of those display ads.”

More here.

AT&T and Verizon Ads Duel on Airwaves and in Court.

Posted by truecreek on November 25, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

This is turning into quite the battle of the airwaves.  The mere fact that the court declined to order Verizon to pull the ads means more to come, and quickly.

By Peter Svensson

NEW YORK (AP) – What would the holidays be without bickering between siblings? AT&T and Verizon are swamping TV with ads attacking facets of each other’s wireless networks. While the ads stick fairly close to the truth, there’s a lot they don’t say.

AT&T Inc. has been running ads with actor Luke Wilson checking off points in AT&T’s favor over Verizon Wireless. It’s the continuation of a spat that started a month ago, when Verizon started airing cheeky commercials that highlighted how its fast, third-generation (“3G”) network has wider coverage than AT&T’s 3G system.

Verizon’s ad used the slogan “There’s a map for that,” a play off Apple Inc.’s ads for the iPhone, which tout the diversity of third-party applications for the phone with the line “There’s an app for that.

AT&T sued Verizon Wireless over the “map” ads, not because the maps were incorrect, but because AT&T felt there was a danger that viewers could get the impression that AT&T had no coverage at all where it doesn’t have 3G. Last week, a judge declined to force Verizon to pull the ads.

AT&T and Verizon, two offspring of Ma Bell, are getting more aggressive in their marketing, though it’s not clear how much they are spending. Verizon and AT&T are both pulling away from their smaller rivals, so instead of competing with Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA, they’re increasingly focused on each other. Verizon Wireless has more subscribers than AT&T – 89 million versus 81.6 million. But AT&T added more wireless subscribers in the latest quarter – 2 million versus 1.2 million at Verizon, which is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.

Holiday Shoppers Say Some Retailers are Out of Line.

Posted by truecreek on November 24, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

From Consumer Reports:

Bell ringers, perfume sprayers and the steady drumbeat of holiday music may be annoying to some shoppers. But what really brings out their grinchier instincts are stores that fail to open all the checkout lanes and then use pushy retail tactics when shoppers finally make it to the cash register.

Customers don’t like being pressured to open store credit cards or being asked for personal information. And they really object to being hounded to buy extended warranties, according to a nationally representative survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

The survey was conducted as part of Consumer Reports’ annual “Dear Shopper” campaign that highlights holiday gotchas and shopping traps. This year Consumer Reports had an assist from its sister Web site, Consumerist, which collected a list of annoyances from its readers.

Back Off

When the list was taken to the public at large, those surveyed were in agreement. Here are the top gripes about retail practices:

* 72% Stores that don’t open all the checkout lanes;

* 68% Fake “sales”. If something is always 20% off, it’s not on sale;

* 67% Coupons that exclude almost everything in the store;

* 62% Being hounded with the extended warranty sales pitch;

* 58% Cashiers that ask for your phone number or other personal information;

* 56% In-store prices that do not match the same company’s on-line prices;

“Consumers have told us that they just want a hassle-free and convenient shopping experience,” said Jim Guest, president and CEO of Consumers Union. “We really hope this list of holiday annoyances is a wake-up call for the retail industry.”

When we asked shoppers about the number one non-retail practice that made them grumpy almost a third said the crowds (29%) followed by difficulty parking (28%), sales people spraying perfume (16%) and bell ringers outside stores (13%). Surprisingly, few folks are annoyed by that holiday music—only three percent said that was their top pet peeve. Fa-la-la-la-la indeed.

More here.

Fortress Technologies. A New Client for True Creek.

Posted by truecreek on November 19, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

We’re proud to announce the addition of a new client, Fortress Technologies. They design, develop and manufacture secure wireless networking products for a wide variety of government markets, civilian organizations and corporations.

Right now, on the media side, we’re working on the planning and placement for the first half of 2010, in conjunction with Timberlake Media Services in Chicago.

Creatively, we’re working on a new direction that will offer them the ability to communicate their message effectively, while standing out in a very crowded field.

We’re really looking forward to the opportunity and hope to be posting some great work in the coming weeks.


Americans Are Not as Isolated As Had Been Previously Reported. A Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on November 13, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

By Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions, Eun Ja Her, Lee Rainie

This report adds new insights to an ongoing debate about the extent of social isolation in America. A widely-reported 2006 study argued that since 1985 Americans have become more socially isolated, the size of their discussion networks has declined, and the diversity of those people with whom they discuss important matters has decreased.

iStock_000003906452SmallblueIn particular, the study found that Americans have fewer close ties to those from their neighborhoods and from voluntary associations. Sociologists Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin and Matthew Brashears suggest that new technologies, such as the Internet and mobile phone, may play a role in advancing this trend.

Specifically, they argue that the type of social ties supported by these technologies are relatively weak and geographically dispersed, not the strong, often locally-based ties that tend to be a part of peoples’ core discussion network.

They depicted the rise of Internet and mobile phones as one of the major trends that pulls people away from traditional social settings, neighborhoods, voluntary associations, and public spaces that have been associated with large and diverse core networks.

The survey results reported here were undertaken to explore issues that have not been probed directly in that study and other related research on social isolation: the role of the Internet and mobile phone in people’s core social networks.

This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the Internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – Internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.

More here.

Twitter and Status Updating, Fall 2009. A Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on November 12, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

Some 19% of Internet users now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others. This represents a significant increase over previous surveys in December 2008 and April 2009, when 11% of Internet users said they use a status-update service.

Twitter and Status Updating

Three groups of Internet users are mainly responsible for driving the growth of this activity: social network website users, those who connect to the Internet via mobile devices, and younger Internet users – those under age 44.

In addition, the more devices someone owns, the more likely they are to use Twitter or another service to update their status. Fully 39% of Internet users with four or more Internet-connected devices (such as a laptop, cell phone, game console, or Kindle) use Twitter, compared to 28% of Internet users with three devices, 19% of Internet users with two devices, and 10% of Internet users with one device.

The median age of a Twitter user is 31, which has remained stable over the past year. The median age for MySpace is now 26, down from 27 in May 2008, and the median age for LinkedIn is now 39, down from 40. Facebook, however, is graying a bit: the median age for this social network site is now 33, up from 26 in May 2008.

It will probably become more difficult to track status updating as an independent activity as social network updates feed into Twitter and vice versa. For now, it is clear that a “social segment” of Internet users is flocking to both social network sites and status update services. This segment is likely to grow as ever more Internet users adopt mobile devices as a primary means of going online.

More here.

A Big Drop in Ad Pages for Condé Nast.

Posted by truecreek on under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Ouch.  And Architectural Digest is one of my favs.

By Stephanie Clifford

Condé Nast’s ad-page numbers are in, and they explain why the company has had such a rough 2009.

Ad pages fell by 49.9 percent at Architectural Digest, part of an estimated total loss of 8,359 ad pages at Condé Nast monthlies in 2009.
Conde Nast

The company lost 8,359 ad pages at its monthly magazines, according to estimates it released Wednesday. That is a 31.6 percent drop from last year.

The worst hit were Architectural Digest, where ad pages fell 49.9 percent; W, where ad pages fell 46 percent; and Condé Nast Traveler, where pages fell 41.1 percent. Details and Wired both fell about 39 percent.

Some magazines showed improving numbers toward the end of the year. Traveler dropped only 5.4 percent from last year’s December issue, and Lucky 8.8 percent. Glamour actually rose 6.6 percent.

More here.

Google’s Holiday Gift: Free Airport Wi-Fi.

Posted by truecreek on November 10, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Stephen Shankland

Google said Tuesday it will subsidize free wireless network access in 47 airports from now until January 15–and indefinitely in the airports of Burbank, Calif., and Seattle.

Google Logo

The promotion, in cooperation with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, and Airport Marketing Income, is the latest effort to use free Wi-Fi to boost a brand. Among others: Yahoo is sponsoring Wi-Fi in Times Square in New York, and Google is sponsoring Internet access on Virgin America flights during the holidays.

Among the larger participating airports are those in Houston, Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, Nashville, San Diego, Baltimore, and St. Louis. A full list of the airports is at Google’s free holiday Wi-Fi site.

The move, though not cheap, is probably smart. Plenty of business travelers have a laptop and time to kill, and today’s consumers are increasingly likely to be equipped with laptops, iPod Touches, or other devices that can use wireless Internet access. Google is spending some money for an opportunity to give a lot of people the warm fuzzies when they encounter the Google brand.

And in the big picture, Google gets to show people what the world might be like if there were more high-speed wireless Internet access–something the company has been aggressively lobbying for in Washington, D.C. Many people are used to wireless networking in their homes, but it’s a different matter on the road.

There are downsides, though, too. Having been to dozens of conferences where the wireless Net access collapses as soon as the keynote speech begins, I’m acutely aware that providing large-scale wireless Internet access is technically demanding–and people get unhappy when a promised benefit evaporates. And public, anonymous places such as airports and urban population centers are great spots for hackers to launch main-in-the-middle attacks by offering “Free Wi-Fi,” so exercise caution when logging on to these networks.

With $100M Saturation Campaign, Droid Will Be Impossible to Avoid.

Posted by truecreek on November 9, 2009 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

The battle between AT&T and Verizon is going to make for some great advertising in the near future…

Marketing Casts Verizon Device as Antithesis of the Ubiquitous iPhone

By Rita Chang

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) — Verizon’s droid is pitching itself as the anti-iPhone, and nowhere is that more evident than in the look and feel of its campaign — a blanket push you won’t be able to escape.

The integrated campaign, the largest in Verizon history, will receive an estimated $100 million in support, most of it spent before the end of the year. Within it, the new phone is touted as the robotic do-it-all antidote to the Apple handset’s shortcomings.

The TV spots set to hit airwaves Monday night are about as far from the iPhone’s cheery spots as possible. Visually somber and testosterone-packed, they could be mistaken for ads for “The Terminator.” But, like the iPhone spots, they also demonstrate what the device can deliver, such as voice-activated turn-by-turn directions, fast web-browsing and video viewing. The tagline: “In a world of doesn’t, Droid does.”

More here.

New Insurance Policies Help Agencies Control Ad-Production Costs.

Posted by truecreek on under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Production insurance is a must.  Trust me.  Programs now cover travel delays, dangerous weather conditions for TV shoots.

By Rupal Parekh

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — A few years ago Dianne Richter, an ad agency veteran who’s clocked time in the broadcast departments of shops such as JWT, Y&R and Saatchi & Saatchi, found herself on a nightmare of a commercial shoot. While driving to location, police had blocked the production team’s route for several hours after a suicide jumper perched himself on a bridge.

With daylight fading and under a tight production schedule, the team scrambled to rent boats to ferry their rigs and crew across the river to the set. Quick thinking saved the commercial, but those last-minute changes came at a steep cost to the client.


The good news for advertisers is that broader protections are being offered under recent changes in the U.S. insurance market. New, broader insurance programs are becoming available to fill gaps and cover things such as travel delays, dangerous weather conditions and other unforeseen issues that can crop up unexpectedly and quickly skyrocket production costs.

Traditionally, U.S. insurance policies for TV commercial shoots have covered claims only for physical damage. If a house being used in a commercial shoot burns down, for example, or if camera equipment is stolen. Arranging insurance is a small — not to mention pretty unsexy — step in the lifespan of a TV spot, but in a tough economy that has squeezed marketers’ budgets, it can help prevent extra costs from being tacked on when least expected.

The new protections are the most significant change in TV production insurance in the American ad market in years, said A. LeConte Moore, managing director at Dewitt Stern, a century-old risk insurance brokerage that specializes in insurance for media, entertainment and ad industries.

According to ad industry executives, the average cost of a TV spot these days runs about $250,000. But depending upon the complexity of the job — the location of the shoot, music rights, celebrity actors — the costs can reach a high-end of between $1 million and $2 million.

Insurance premiums tend to cost about 2% of a shoot, and the broader coverages being made available by the likes of Entertainment Brokers International, part of OneBeacon Insurance, today aren’t all that higher. So if a production budget is $200,000, and carries a $3,400 insurance premium, for another $200 a production can manage a variety of surprise contingencies.

“It feels like insurance on steroids,” said Ms. Richter, who now works at New York-based independent Droga 5, handling production estimates and contracts for the agency.

Read more.