Social Media: Adversaries, Ambassadors

Us vs them is one of the oldest, and most powerful marketing ideas. Apple is a quintessential example: from their beginnings they’ve portrayed themselves as the small guy against the big powerful bully. In 1983 it was IBM and more recently its been Microsoft. The company turns customers into evangelists who are more than happy to spread the word about the good fight, but how exactly does it work?


Starbucks Gets Its Business Brewing Again With Social Media ambassadors
Starbucks posted its first U.S. same-store sales gain in two years for the last quarter during a time when the company relied on digital and social-media promotions instead of what had become an annual TV blitz. The chain partnered with Pandora to sponsor holiday playlists, staged a Facebook sing-a-long and leveraged its partnership with Project RED to drive traffic to a dedicated microsite — and its stores, offering a free CD with a $15 purchase.

Photo Credit: Ivan Marquez

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eReaders: Apple’s iSlate v Hearst’s Skiff

Apple’s tablet will not only act as an e-reader for books, magazines and newspapers, but will play video, games and surf the web underscoring Apple chief executive Steve Jobs’ ambition to carve out a new market. The launch of the tablet is said to have been Jobs’ main focus since he returned to work after a six month medical break. Last month it was reported that Apple had been talking to book publishers about putting their content on an e-book platform.

Skiff Gives E-Reader Market Viable Ad Strategy
Another e-reader device – this time from a major magazine publisher – will hit the market sometime this year. Hearst previewed its new Skiff Reader at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show along with the announcement that Sprint is providing 3G connectivity for the e-reader and will sell it at Sprint retail outlets and Sprint.com.

Possibly Related:

Analysis: Could a tablet replace your notebook? (macworld.com)
Gorgeous iSlate design guess: reed-thin, button-free (dvice.com)
CES: When did the Tablet become the Slate? (timesonline.typepad.com)
Apple snubs Intel for tablet chips (venturebeat.com)
Microsoft’s Ballmer May Announce Tablet PC Tonight (microsoft-watch.com)
The e-Reader story of CES 2010 (engadget.com)
Skiff Reader to hit CES (ubergizmo.com)
Skiff and Sprint to Preview Skiff Reader at CES (shoppingblog.com)
Hearst-Backed Skiff Challenges Kindle With E-Book Ads, Videos (businessweek.com)
CES2010: Hearst’s Skiff Reader makes play for newspapers, magazines (seattlepi.com)
Skiff takes e-readers to new territory: flexible screens (dvice.com)
Report: Apple tablet coming in January (msnbc.msn.com)
Speculation has Apple tablet arriving in January (thestar.com)

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Viral: Longevity, Awards

# This kind of viral activity is only possible when there is repeat viewing. That means there’s something about these videos that make people want to watch again and again.
# They have a sense whimsy. “All of these are ‘feel good’ spots that are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously,”. They provide an escape.
# They all contain the bit of “how’d they do that?” and “is it real?” that many successful viral videos seem to employ.
# And finally, he notes, “Most of these have a deep musical connection, which definitely contributes positive associations. Just look at Apple’s iPod ads for this.”


Virals Recognized With Their Own Festival.
No longer relegated to living on YouTube, virals have become mainstream and need their due. So goes the thinking behind the second annual Viral Film Festival. The brainchild of French buzz agency Vanksen, the competition seeks to recognize the impact that virals have had in pop culture by giving them a home. The awards will cover the most outrageous clips in eight different categories, including user-generated, music and non-profit.

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iTunes for Print, Hulu for Magazines

Traditional publishers — concerned that Apple‘s anticipated tablet computer could affect their business the way the iPod disempowered music publishers — are discussing possible strategies, including an industry-wide digital storefront where tablet users could buy digital issues or subscriptions without going through iTunes or the App Store.
digital magazine
As print publishers struggle to transition to the digital age (and essentially, survive), Time Inc. is shopping around an idea: a Hulu for magazines joint venture. The core of the plan is to create an iTunes-like digital storefront where content can be bundled into subscriptions and delivered to customers on multiple devices. According to All Things Digital, the plan is being well-received, with Hearst and Conde Nast reportedly expected to sign on to the venture.
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Time’s “Hulu for Magazines” Idea Is So, So Doomed [Magazines] (gizmodo.com)
Desperate Mag Publishers Consider A Solution To Revenue Woes: Create A Giant Ad Net (paidcontent.org)
Time Inc. Vaunts ‘Hulu for Magazines’ (marketingvox.com)
Print Publishers May Create a “Hulu for Magazines” (mashable.com)
Publishers Eyeing Apple Tablet (ubergizmo.com)
Time Inc. wants a Kindle-alike (crunchgear.com)
The Hulu Complex: Mag Industry Looking At Its Own JV, Headed by Time Inc (paidcontent.org)

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Tablets: Apple, Microsoft

The excitement in the tech world about Apple‘s rumored iTablet (iPad?) is getting close to fever pitch, culminating with an article in The New York Times today. But all the evidence suggests that the seeds of the iTablet were planted decades ago–so we’ve made a timeline for you. A real Apple junkie would connect the rumors of the upcoming device all the way back to a conceptual movie made in 1987, during the reign of John Sculley. Yet apart from the failed–if amazingly visionary–Apple Newton Message Pad, Apple’s activity has only kicked into overdrive fairly recently.
macbook tablet
Rumors abound regarding Microsoft‘s “Project Pink” Zune smartphone, but the device since disappeared from the news. It’s back again, matched with exciting rumors of an MS Tablet PC.
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Touchscreen: Mac Coffee Table, Razorfish

Mac Coffee Table : Apple has yet to introduce the long speculated MacBook Tablet, but ask any angry engineering or graphic art student,and they’ll tell you the release of one would change their life. Well, a few revolting geeks of Switzerland‘s Cosm!k’ Art Deco Team couldn’t wait any longer and decided to make their own. By fitting a flat screen and an Apple iBook G4 laptop into a coffee table, they’ve created a coffee table jukebox with synched visualizers. It can also play DVDs in the side, or you can pull out the wireless keyboard and mouse and use it as a (somewhat) normal computer. Okay, so it’s not quite the touch tablet, but who knew it was so much fun to watch movies on a coffee table?
mac coffee table
The new Razorfish Touch Framework software is designed to simplify the creation of touch-based advertising experiences that work on multiple Microsoft Windows-based platforms and surfaces including retail kiosks, window displays and mobile devices, said Jonathan Hull, director of Razorfish Emerging Experiences, the team that created it. Razorfish has been demonstrating applications of the Razorfish Touch Framework for more than a year, but only now is offering the software for licensing by its clients.
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Techno Deathmatch: iTablet vKindle, Pixi v iPhone

The hype around the iTablet is reaching a fever pitch with the Kindle increasingly looking like yet another example of Apple roadkill. If Apple can consume 32% of the profits in the mobile phone biz in less than three years, it should be no problem to swallow the nascent e-reader business in one quick bite. No sooner had Jeff Bezos graced the cover of Fast Company than the Kindle was pronounced dead by the digiterati (actually, it was “Kindle in Danger of Becoming E-books’ Betamax,” according to Brett Arends in the Wall Street Journal). With competition for e-readers heating up, will Jeff be able to defend his walled garden from rivals inside and outside the category that he built?
itablet

Palm Pixi v iPhone
Palm‘s Pre was heralded as a potential iPhone-killer well ahead of its launch, but in the end it didn’t quite deliver. Its performance was slightly ahead of the iPhone 3G, but lagged behind Apple’s revamped iPhone 3GS (aided in part by Apple’s enhanced iPhone firmware which works on all its smartphones). Then we heard rumors that Palm was working on another webOS phone, but it had possibly been delayed due to poor Pre sales. That phone was codenamed Eos and Pixie, and it’s turned out to be the new Palm Pixi–a candybar phone with much simpler design than the Pre. So much simpler, in fact, that it’s probably fairer to compare the Pixi’s performance to the older iPhone 3G–which is still on sale, and is Pixi’s closest competitor. Pixi’s less capable than the Pre, and priced more cheaply, and it makes even more sense.

Report: Steve Jobs concentrating on tablet (news.cnet.com)

Steve Jobs is Hard at Work on Apple Tablet (shoppingblog.com)

Analyst: iPhone secure against competitors, AT&T not so much (venturebeat.com)

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