Tag Archives: interactive media

Interactive Web Sites and Hip Hop

Screwing around on StumbleUpon today, I came across this site.

An interactive site detailing the bio of German super DJ Tomekk and his record label F-Records, this site leads you through an interwoven story about Tomekk’s career, and the growth of the label.

I spent a good 30 minutes just playing around with this site, primarily because of the infectious beats and the presence of KRS-One. If you like hip hop and/or interactive marketing, I highly suggest you check it out.

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The Simpsons Go Interactive

If you’re like most people my age (in your late 20s or early 30s), you grew up watching The Simpsons. The longest running cartoon in history, the Simpsons first aired in 1989 (’87 if you count the shorts from the Tracey Ullman Show). 22 years later, it’s still going strong.

And while I consider myself a big fan of the show, I can’t help but feel that on yesterday’s season finale they jumped the shark. The plot, which was fairly weak for a Simpsons season finale, revolved around a romance between ancillary characters Ned Flanders (the annoying neighbor) and Edna Krabappel (Bart’s teacher).

To give you some back story in case you live under a rock and have never seen the show, Flanders is a uber-religious conservative, whereas Edna has a rather checkered romantic past with lots of partners. You may have expected hilarity to ensue from this unlikely pairing – it didn’t.

But that brings me to my point – at the end of the show, Ned was having doubts about continuing to date such an experienced woman and was debating whether he should continue their relationship. And here The Simpsons producers did something rather unusual: they left this decision up to the fans.

By logging onto thesimpsons.com, fans of the show can vote on whether the couple should stay together.

While I like the idea of including the viewers in show decisions, from an established show like The Simpsons, it seems like a desperate ploy for attention. This is particularly true when you consider how irrelevant these characters are to the show in general. Sure, Ned’s Christian morals play a good foil to Homer’s buffoonery, and Mrs. Krabappel is a nice antagonist to Bart’s antics, but they’re simply just not very interesting characters on their own.

And while I understand the desire to leave the fans wanting more by leaving questions unanswered on the season finale (sort of like their “who shot JR?” take-off “who shot Mr. Burns?”), as a longtime Simpsons fan, I can honestly say, I don’t care. I don’t care whether Nedna stays together.

Bringing the audience into plot decisions is an innovative approach to television, but interactivity for its own sake seems like a waste to me. But then, what do I know? I’m just a guy.

Interactive Marketing Salaries on the Rise

I stumbled across this article on Clickz showing the average salary for people working in interactive marketing. With salary levels for this job on the rise, it clearly demonstrates the growing importance of interactive marketing.

According to the survey conducted by Crandall Associates, the average salary starts around $63,000 and tops out at $155,000, with demonstrated growth from 2010 to 2011.

Of course this makes me wonder what their survey size was and where these people are located (on the coasts, etc?). Personally, I know I’m not making this much and I don’t think many of my friends in this part of the country are either. Are you?

The Death of Cable TV

I hate my cable company. They provide mediocre service and arbitrarily raise their rates without warning. I sometimes lose reception for absolutely no reason whatsoever, and they have an uncanny knack for dropping my favorite channels, sometimes without offering any replacement. Quite honestly, it’s a terrible company.

I’ve considered dropping them for some time now, but have hesitated, primarily because I like my morning SportsCenter, and hate waiting to watch shows when they finally show up online (okay, it’s not a long wait, but what do you expect? I’m from the “me” generation. I demand instant gratification). But while in the course of my daily Web surfing, I came across this article on CNN.

The gist of the article is how an ever-increasing number of people are saying “sayonara” to traditional cable and relying solely on the World Wide Web for their media and entertainment.

Here’s a how-to article on the same topic.

FEARLESS PREDICTION: In 20 years  the traditional cable company will no longer exist. All television (except live events, obviously) will be on-demand. We’ll no longer be chained to our televisions, DVRs or Tivos. Instead of worrying that we forgot to tape The Office on Thursday night, we’ll simply plop down on Tuesday afternoon and watch the latest episode whenever it suits us.

These are truly interesting times we live in, as we inch ever closer to total integration between our electronic devices. Already we can link our iPods to our Playstations, which we play while connected to the Internet on our Hi-Def televisions. It’s truly remarkable that all of these devices can interact with one another, and it’s only going to become even more widespread.

And when the death knell of the cable companies finally sounds, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves. Of course by that time, they’ll probably be providing us with crappy internet service (if they’re not already).

Television goes interactive

While visiting my parents last weekend when I saw something I had never seen before: an interactive television advertisement. I was watching something unmemorable (maybe the 19th playing in-a-row of “A Christmas Story”), when during a commercial break a notice from DirecTV appeared in the middle of the screen telling me to press “Enter” on the remote. Assuming this was something to do with the programming guide or perhaps software, I complied, only to be greeted with an interactive advertisement.

While I can’t remember the product (cut me some slack, I was in a food coma), I did notice several options, including playing a singalong of the jingle, printing out a coupon for the product (if I had to guess I’d say some sort of dishwashing liquid?), or finding retailers near my location.  While the ad was ineffective because I can’t remember the product, overall I was struck by this type of advertising. Television becoming interactive and finally breaking the fourth wall is truly a remarkable thing.

Last month the Wall Street Journal ran an article on just this topic, stating

Marketers are eager to bolster the performance of TV ads. In a 2008 study of big advertisers, more than 60% said TV advertising had become less effective over the past two years. Consumers are unhappy with the large amount of ad clutter that appears during commercial breaks, leading to the explosion of devices that allow viewers to circumvent TV ads altogether.

Advertisers believe that the longer they can keep viewers engaged with an ad, the more likely they are to buy. So companies such as Unilever PLC, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods Inc. are increasingly turning to technologies that add interactive capabilities—games, coupons and informational videos—to their TV pitches.

Chrysler is getting in the game too, running a campaign consisting of four of these “Dynamic Ad Units” (DAUs), as DirecTV is calling them. Apparently advertisers have finally realized that in this age of DVR and Tivo that fewer and fewer consumers are willing to wade through the endless barrage of sales material that they face every time they turn on their television. Studies have shown that shows are getting shorter as networks cram more and more advertising into time slots. If that wasn’t enough, they’re now even working product placements into the shows, as evidenced by KFC’s overt placement in shows like “Gary Unmarried” and “Oprah”.

Most American adults completely ignore most advertisements, either by fast forwarding a pre-recorded show, or else simply tuning them out. By providing consumers with a reason to pay attention, these interactive ads are combating buyer malaise. Additionally, this is interesting as it continues to blur the line between television and the Web.

And now a fearless prediction:

As the line between television and online media becomes blurred, television will become a completely interactive experience, perhaps even down to the plots of shows.

In the meantime, enjoy the experience, we are on the cusp of another technological revolution, and right now we can only guess how it will turn out.