63% of 625MM Internet Users Are Social Networking … And Social “Notworking” is Costing 1.5% of Productivity

The total estimated global active internet audience is now 625m and nearly two-thirds of these users have joined a social networking site, according to UM’s fourth ‘Power to the People’ social media study. The survey charts the growth of social media in the past 12 months. It says that almost 63% of active internet users (consumers who go online once a day or every other day) have now created a social networking profile of some kind, compared to 57% in UM’s previous Power to the People survey, published in March 2008.
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Companies that allow their workers to access to Facebook during business hours lose an average of 1.5% in total employee productivity, according to a study by Nucleus Research. Interviews with 237 randomly selected US office workers and a subsequent analysis (pdf) found that 77% report having a Facebook account and 61% of them access Facebook during work hours. Moreover, one in every 33 employees has built their entire Facebook profile during work time, and roughly the same number of respondents use Facebook only when they are at work.
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Target Gives New Life To Potboilers, WalMart Turns Up The Heat

Target, which has long built its reputation on its eye for good design, is further distinguishing itself as a purveyor of finer taste (by big box retailer standards, at least). The 1,700 location chain is using its ‘Bookmarked Club Pick‘ program to turn its loyal shoppers into rabid readers—and catapulting unwitting authors into significant sales territory at the same time. By positioning Target-exclusive editions in prominent shelving locations throughout stores, authors like Tatiana de Rosnay—whose initial dud Sarah’s Key went on to sell 145,000 copies through Bookmarked—are finding themselves with a second chance at a literary career.
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Walmart has launched an aggressive push to have marketers divert their consumer media and marketing budgets into the giant retailer’s growing ad budget and in-store marketing programs, using a simultaneous push to clear underperforming brands off its shelves as extra leverage.
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United Untied

Singer gets his revenge on United Airlines and soars to fame
United Breaks Guitars has become a YouTube sensation and provided Dave Carroll with the biggest hit of his career. The song – which chronicles his vain year-long attempt to win compensation from United – has had almost 4m hits on YouTube and fans have been clamouring for the song at gigs where his band, Sons of Maxwell, has performed.Once the video appeared and became a YouTube hit, United sat up and took notice. It offered to pay the cost of repairing his guitar and flight vouchers worth $1,200 (£700) but he told the airline to donate the sum to charity. “They definitely want this to go away,” he said.

A disgruntled United Airlines customer who has received massive media coverage by making a music video about baggage handlers breaking his guitar is about to release a second ditty, which covers how United stonewalled his complaint. Canadian professional musician Dave Carroll unleashed his attack on the airline in the format of humourous country song ‘United Breaks Guitars’ on YouTube on July 6.
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Alternative Currencies

No matter how complex and diverse our online communities are, and how sophisticated and evolved the new ways in which we interact with one another seem, buying and selling still remains at the fore of the online world. Though the basic act of commerce has not changed, many entrepreneurial minds have envisioned new ways to facilitate our transactions, and bring business beyond cash and coin.
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Gareth Kay Going To Goodby!

Goodby Hires Modernista!’s Kay for Digital
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has hired Gareth Kay as its new director of digital strategy. Kay is shifting to the San Francisco shop from Modernista!, where he was head of planning. He served at the Boston agency for six years after moving to the U.S. from London, where he worked at Lowe. Kay replaces Hashem Bajwa, who left Goodby in May to join TBWA as part of a clutch of “digital artists” brought in to supercharge its efforts in new media.”

Good luck Gareth!

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Recession Zeitgeist: Office Politics, Upcoming Talent Wars … Ad CEOs Think its over … the Economist Doesn’t

Recession Ups Backstabbing and Sucking Up
More than four in 10 US employees say they are encountering increased workplace backstabbing, “sucking up” and politicking as co-workers take desperate measures to stay employed amid widespread fears of layoffs during the recession, according to a study conducted by Professor Wayne Hochwarter out of Florida State University.

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many employers, you may soon be facing a “resume tsumani” when valued workers who have been with you through the recession start flooding the market with CVs as the economy improves. Planning for post-recession turnover may determine whether you’re among the talent winners or losers when the economy improves.
Global ad Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA reported significant declines in revenue and profit but indicated a bottom may be at hand in the global advertising downturn. “We don’t see a recovery, but we feel we’ve hit the troughs,” said John Wren, chief executive of Omnicom. He added that it will take a couple of quarters to cycle through the current downturn, and a couple more before growth comes. “We believe the worst is behind us,” said Publicis Chief Executive Maurice Lévy. “All figures should be less in decline in the third quarter than in the second quarter.”
The global slump has reached its trough. Asia’s economies are looking rosier, buoyed by a spectacular rebound in China, where output grew at an annualised rate of some 16% between April and June. Even in America and the euro area, GDP is likely to stop shrinking during the summer. Trade, having fallen precipitately, is levelling off (see article). And, as firms rebuild their stocks, global growth over the next few months could be surprisingly robust. That is a welcome prospect. But it is not the all-clear. For this “recovery” has fragile foundations
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Starbucks “Stealth” Stores, McCafe Halo…

Starbucks has ditched its branding on three trial stores and redesigned them to resemble independent local cafes. The trial, which is running in the coffee giant’s home city of Seattle, uses the address of the cafe in its branding. For example one is called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. In addition the products sold are also non-branded. Starbucks senior vice president Tim Pfeiffer said the new stores aimed to reflect the local community more than the chain’s regular stores currently did. One of the trial outlets will feature poetry readings and live music.
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Photo Credit: Bean Activist

Starbucks Credits McD’s, Cost Savings for Sales Improvement
Starbucks Coffee Co. appears to be coming out of freefall — thanks, in part, to marketing by McDonald’s. In a third-quarter-earnings call this afternoon, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz credited margin improvements, cost savings and attention brought to the category by its rival’s big-budget McCafe launch with helping to improve Starbucks’ same-store sales. The chain’s same-store sales fell 6% during its fiscal third quarter in the U.S., but that still bests the prior quarter, when same-store sales were down 8%.

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Innovative OoH: PNC’s Living Wall, Times Square Social, Coke Freestyle Fountain

PNC Bank Building Largest Green Living Wall in U.S.
Green roofs are a growing trend in the U.S., with buildings as diverse as the California Academy of Sciences, Minneapolis’ Target Center and the New York MetsCiti Field adopting roofs topped with dirt and living plants. But PNC Financial Services Group is taking the lead on green walls, with the largest Green Living Wall in North America scheduled to be constructed on the south side of the bank’s Pittsburgh headquarters.

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An idea that is often presented to clients by agencies but rarely happens. LocaModa connected Viacom’s iconic framed MTV screen in Times Square to the web, enabling user generated photos and text messages to be submitted (via phone or web), moderated in real time, and displayed for 5 minutes an hour (on the half hour). Users are notified by text or email when their messages are approved and have gone live.
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Coca-Cola’s 100-Flavor Interactive Freestyle Soda Fountain
Ever had one of those moments where all you wanted was a Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, but all the fountain could offer you was regular old diet? Coca-Cola is doing away with that problem by introducing a new beverage dispenser. Heralded as the “fountain of the future” by Coke PR flaks, the “Freestyle”–which was first unveiled under the code name “Jet” back in April–offers more than 100 flavor options. There are traditional sodas, flavored waters, carbonated or uncabonated beverages, energy drinks and so on. Even flavors not currently available in the United States.

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Social Media linked to Financial Success … but not every CEO needs to be a Social Media Star

Social Media Engagement Directly Linked to Financial Success
Starbucks is the world’s #1 most socially engaged brand and is reaping financial rewards as a result of its intense participation in social media, according to an analysis of the engagement levels of the top 100 global brands. The ENGAGEMENT db study claims to be the first to show a measurable correlation between higher levels of social engagement and superior financial performance.

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Laurel Papworth

Good point well made by Judy Shapiro: “Not every communications challenge is a nail to be whacked by the social-media hammer. Its cool but its not for everyone”
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Advertising “Will Change Forever”, Creativity Makes Still The Difference

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Advertising Will Change Forever
Digital, which will be about 12% of overall advertising spend in 2009, is likely to grow to about 21% in five years. Along the way overall advertising budgets won’t grow much.

The Wicked Sick Project – by the creative team at George Patterson Y&R. Does creativity make a difference? I guess. These guys bought a BMX on ebay and relisted it with some creativity and it sold for 5 times the purchase price.
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