Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Short Takes: 4.30.08

Here are some interesting XM and online marketing news items and links for your perusal:
  • CNN T-Shirts: Barbarian Group launched CNN Shirt, a fun and smart extension of the CNN Web site. Make your own shirt by selecting from the headlines on CNN, and your shirt will include the headline plus the date and time the headline was posted. I like the concept; it's a great way of attracting an atypical demographic to a news site, involving visitors in a unique way, and creating an additional revenue stream for CNN. Of course, I'd like the site a bit more if it worked properly. Twice this afternoon (and with two different browsers) I clicked "Add Shirt" for two fun headlines--"Terrorists: 'Why we want to kill you'" and "Teen too young for 'come hither' pose?"--and neither time would the site add the shirt to my shopping cart. Cool ideas and slick design are great, but they're not worth much if the execution falls short.

  • P&G Lets Consumers Weigh In on Marketing: Ad Age features a fascinating article about how P&G is letting consumers "Act as media planners." Following Starbucks' efforts to involve consumers in ideation, P&G has created two toll-free numbers that consumers may use to weigh in on specific media buys. The first line permits consumers to share their feelings about P&G sponsoring "hip-hop programs on MTV and BET laced with profanity, liberal doses of the 'N word,' and scenes (that) degrade and objectify women." The second line asks callers to support or criticize the story line on "As the World Turns," from P&G Productions, which featured fairly passionate kisses between daytime TV's only gay couple. This program leverages Web 2.0 ideas of transparency and involvement, but uses a phone number. Shall we call it Phone 2.0?

  • Minipreneurship Filmmaking: On the E:TB blog, you've seen several mentions of the way music artists are tapping into social networking to raise money for recording projects, but this is the first time I've seen that model applied to filmmaking. Artemis Eternal is a planned science fiction short that is involving film fans around the world in the financing and production of the movie. The interactive site tracks the lifecycle of the production, providing an idea of what's been accomplished and what is next. You may donate as little as $1, but $100 will get your name in the credits and on the site as a "wingman." The video below taps into the energy of social media and minipreneurship to describe the project.

  • Tracking the Blogosphere: Last week, I shared some tools for tracking and graphing mentions on Twitter and Facebook. Here's another graphing tool, Trendpedia, which permits you to compare the mentions of various terms across the blogosphere. The chart at left shows a comparison of "Stan Getz," "Miles Davis," and "Hannah Montana." (Bloggers must be a jazzy bunch--until Miley posed for Annie Leibovitz, it's remarkable to note how closely Miles and Hanna tracked!) The site's interactive graphs permit users to click on the graph and see a listing of the mentions for a given date and search term.

  • Beatboxing T-Shirts: Included in Creativity Weekly's Top Five this week was this quirky microsite: UT Loop. The site declares that "A T-shirt is more than a T-shirt. It's an expression of who you are." It then makes the point by allowing site visitors to make their own simple musical sequences by selecting from a worldwide mix of hipsters wearing T-shirts. The microsite is fun, features a clean design, makes excellent use of interactivity and video, is focused on the audience, and makes clever and subtle statements about the brand and its customers. Plus, UT doesn't miss the opportunity to leverage consumers' desire to share by providing a widget tool for including custom mixes on other sites. My simple loop is shown below for your enjoyment.

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