Opening Hour

Posted in Trends with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by mentalorange

Word travels fast these Twitter-days … we know.  But for the first time, studios are wondering if this access to instant feedback means that the half-life of hugely hyped movies with less than stellar execution (or the potential to offend tweet-happy viewers) may be drastically reduced. 

That’s the speculation around Bruno, which saw a dramatic 40% decline at the box office between Friday and Saturday from $14.4 million to $8 million, and declined further on Sunday.  Early numbers on Friday led execs to project a $50 million weekend … but Universal was quickly dealt a reality check when the movie finished around $30 million instead.  

Who knows?  A shortened shelf life of heavily marketed titles might force studios to concentrate a little harder on quality instead. 

Sources: Time and Mashable

Customer Service Tale Goes Country

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by mentalorange

This is why big companies should not piss off customers with storytelling (and singing) skills.  And if they do, they should respond quickly!     

Relatable airline woes tale + catchy tune + Canadians wearing sombreros = 600,000+ hits in 2 days. 

Taylor Guitars seizes the opportunity and responds by telling guitar owners useful tips about traveling … meanwhile, where is United’s response?


Source: MSNBC

Breathing Life (and Death) into Shark Week

Posted in Strategy with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by mentalorange

image2Huge kudos to Discovery for successfully freaking people out with their FrenziedWaters campaign.  The mystery (as in non-Discovery branded) site uses creepy Blair Witch style video to recreate a shark attack at Asbury Park in 1916.

But much more eerily, the “My Story” link (using Facebook Connect) surprisingly recreates an attack in which you (yes YOU) die.  As in … it automatically pulls in photos from your Facebook account, superimposes your name into the news headlines, and even offers up quotes about how great you were from your friends.  

Awesomely creepy … and very well done.

I especially like that intrigued (if scared) viewers aren’t left totally hanging (at least if they are fans of the channel on Facebook), because Discovery’s recent updates offer more teasingly suspenseful info about the Asbury Park attack via a flickr account.  While the updates could use a little more info to make the story clear, overall it’s still a solid effort in creating suspense around year 22 (22!) of Shark Week.

The Privacy Play

Posted in Insights with tags , , , , , , on July 4, 2009 by mentalorange

I recently caught myself while halfway through the process of creating a “how well do you know me” quiz on Facebook.  Caught up in the allure of the self indulgent vanity of it all, I suddenly realized I was giving away critical information as I followed the seemingly harmless prompts to create multiple choice questions like “what town was I born in” or “who was my first boyfriend?”  


I am supposed to be on top of this stuff and yet I was SUPER close to giving away secret credit card security information in the guise of a harmless quiz. 

As I watch others get caught up in the quiz frenzy, I think about the new traps that even usually savvy consumers will fall prey to regarding privacy as they are seduced into revealing information in the name of gameplay.  As the Internet becomes increasingly fun and social media all about play, consumers will need to relearn and retrain themselves … (especially as Facebook changes its default privacy settings to become even more open).  We all know we’re not supposed to email credit card numbers to anyone or make purchases on unverified sites or let our boss see those binge drinking photos, but most of us aren’t yet thinking about the more subtle (though seemingly obvious) dangers of tweeting that we’ll be out of town for a week or seeing how well our friends know us.  

Maybe it’s just better if they don’t. 

As people wake up and think harder about privacy in the context of play, marketers will need to do that much more to ensure consumers that personal information stays safe … especially where fun and games are involved.

Rotting in Prison!

Posted in Trends with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by mentalorange

pubenemiesBank Raids – Universal Pictures’ new game promoting Public Enemies.  The game takes a clue from Spymaster’s recent success on Twitter … and after a few minutes (logging in using Facebook Connect) I am at least temporarily addicted to improving my skills as a 1930’s Chicago gangster.

It would be better if it more directly involved friends in the play (aside from just bragging about your successes failures via Facebook/Twitter – in my case, huge failure) but is definitely a step in the right direction.

You are What You Do (I Think).

Posted in Insights with tags , , , , on June 11, 2009 by mentalorange

I wish I could sew.  Or build a shelf.  Or fix a shoe.  

Okay, I probably could if I looked up the instructions and tried.  

But the point is … skills like these seem like they might be increasingly valuable or at least more personally gratifying these days.

At least when you make something, it’s yours.  You can hang it up, put it on a mantle, and say YOU MADE THAT.

But in a world where we are all connected and constantly sharing, THINKING of something original is really not so valuable.  I mean … no one can really know if you thought of something on your own anymore … and does it even matter?  People steal ideas and words from each other all the time.  Isn’t that the whole point of the Internet?  

But now more than ever, we’ve all been seduced into creating and sharing so many of our thoughts (because of course not doing so somehow means we aren’t doing a good job of “personal branding”) that we can’t even keep track of what we’ve told people … or what we thought of ourselves!  We can steal a stranger’s witty one-liner from Twitter and use it as our own.  You might be interviewing someone for a job and think said person is brilliant because (wow!) they are answering the question just as you yourself would … only to realize, oh wait – that’s because they found your exact thoughts on the subject by digging up your supposedly anonymous blog.

But does this matter?   

As traditional media business models (particularly in publishing/journalism) break down and new ones crop up, there is likely to be a more direct link between thinkers (writers) and revenue than ever before.  Example: True/Slant attempts to solve the problem of smart/former journalists failing at making enough revenue on their own by giving these “knowledge experts” a share in the ad revenue they bring in as a result of their writing/popularity.

So in a way, I think it does matter.  There will be more opportunities for hungry, good-at-personal-branding individuals to make money.  That is not a bad thing.  But there might also be more reasons for smart (not as good or interested in personal branding) people to think twice before telling others what they think.  

But who knows.  What motivates “thought leaders” to think and tell people all of their good ideas in the first place?  Maybe they are just doing it for the general good and they don’t care about getting credit?  Maybe imitation really is flattery?  Maybe they don’t mind if the rewards (both material and non) go to those who are better at re-packaging/self-promoting?

Or maybe they will take up knitting.

No Budget = the New Low Budget

Posted in Trends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by mentalorange

We’ve already seen how the Internet can bring people together to create some pretty amazing things for very little money.  But what about for free?  

This past week, 30-year old Marc Price debuted his $70 zombie movie at Cannes and is now negotiating with Japanese and American distributors interested in the film.  Dude went on MySpace and Facebook soliciting volunteer zombies and make-up artists, and offered them nothing more than tea and coffee.  Apparently it worked. 

Perhaps the economy doldrums mean there are enough jobless and job prospect-less people out there who just want to be part of something interesting, hopeful, and un-dead.   

[Okay, I fully realize that the $70 might be an exaggeration and without seeing this guy’s receipts, might just be fodder for an attractive headline … but even if the guy actually spent a few hundred, or even a couple thousand bucks … it’s still pretty much the same.]

Either way, not really a bad time for anyone with broadband and an idea.