Category Archives: Media & Entertainment

Advergame Success

Burger King GamePaul Hyman wrote an interesting article for The Hollywood Reporter about advergames. The focus of the article was about Burger King’s latest advergaming hit in which they released a handful of full-blown Xbox & Xbox 360 games and sold them in their restaurants bundled with their meals. While I was traveling in Budapest, Paul was able to reach me and we talked about the recent success of BK’s platinum selling games (sold over 3MM+ units).

Towards the end of the article, I appear and give a few quotes. I believe my strongest quote is:

“One in a million advergames gets the kind of publicity that the Burger King games got,” he explains. “I liken the BK games to indie movies. How many of them are ever seen outside artsy theaters? The Burger King games became the ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ of the advergame world.”

I really like the analogy to My Big Fat Greek Wedding as it’s important. For every couple of dozen advergames released, you have a successful one that actually gets played more than just once. Advergames are really dependent on their distribution and how the brand promotes them. Many brands create a game and just stick it on their website. That’s not enough for 99.99% of the brands out there. You need to promote and advertise them. Why make the game if you’re not going to get word out?

That’s why I love in-game advertising. While in-game advertising is not advergaming, there are less factors to worry about. The games that we are dealing with are larger titles (Battlefield 2142, CounterStrike, Test Drive Unlimited, Dance, Jam, Bots!!, etc) that already have distribution and an audience. Why worry about creating that?

I wrote about this quite a bit in a previous post. Check it out here.

Steve Jobs Made A Bold Statement

Steve Jobs took the bull by its horns and made a bold statement through Apple.com today (you can see the full version here).

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

It’s about time! Lets see what the big 4 labels say….

Virtual World Advertising – Google?

Google LogoGoogle’s getting smart…er. Not only have they nearly tripled their 4Q earnings, they are starting to add Local Business Advertisements into Google Earth as well, as, Google Maps. I received an email from them earlier today announcing this as I’m a customer of their AdWords product:

Advertise on Google Earth
If you’ve created Local Business Ads in your AdWords accounts, they’ll now appear on Google Earth in addition to Google Maps. Advertising a hotel in Lake Louise? A neighborhood cafe in Paris? Google Earth users across the globe can zoom in on your business. Don’t forget to add a customized icon to make your ad stand out.
» Learn More about Local Business Ads

I like this move by Google. Think of a visual Yellow Pages. Many people (including me) like to see things visually and this will help local advertisers such as pizza restaurants or a neighborhood cafe showcase themselves in the virtual world. I would love to know usage statistics of Google Maps and Google Earth to see how large an announcement this really is.

Apple Reports First Quarter Results

Apple shipped 1,606,000 Macintosh® computers and 21,066,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 28 percent growth in Macs and 50 percent growth in iPods over the year-ago quarter. Impressive! Even more impressive, look at the financials:

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2007 first quarter ended December 30, 2006. The Company posted record revenue of $7.1 billion and record net quarterly profit of $1.0 billion, or $1.14 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $5.7 billion and net quarterly profit of $565 million, or $.65 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 31.2 percent, up from 27.2 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 42 percent of the quarter’s revenue. (taken from the official press release)

Not bad. I like the growth that Apple is experiencing. Dropping the “Computers” from their name allows them to continue this high growth trajectory by branching into other areas (as long as they execute well). There is no doubt the iPhone is going to sell due to aesthetics, however, many folks are arguing the “openness” of the iPhone and that it mirrors the early closed eco-system Apple computers. There is a great blog posting by Charlie O’Donnell (Oddcast) that talks about open technologies and how they actually do not really matter… be sure to check it out over here.
Will it continue?

Apple Inc., no longer Apple Computer

Apple Inc.This will probably get drowned out in all the coverage about Apple (which includes the launch of their beautiful iPhone which I’ll blog about when every other blog stops gallivanting about it) but I think Apple dropping “Computer” from their name is monumental, even more so than their latest phone.

Apple does not want to be known as a computer company any longer. Yes, they create amazing and beautiful computers, but they also have a huge product lineup and extensions that go away from the typical MacBook Pro. iTunes has had 2 billion songs downloaded, iPhone is now here (the voicemail feature sounds phenomenal), and iLife is changing the way people use their computer.
I’m excited at the prospects of Apple Inc.’s future and I look forward to seeing them grab more market share of the industry and give Microsoft, Google, and others a run for their money.

Also, there is something very interesting to note…. Steve Jobs is NOT wearing black. Wow. It’s a new day for Apple.

Creating Content… The Traditional or Non Traditional Way

While taking some time off of working in the office at IGA Worldwide, I was fortunate to spend some time with my girlfriends’ nieces. This past Friday evening after they spent the day at the theatre, we decided to have a Muppet Movie and Floam night. I had no idea what I was about to get into…

Over the past year, I have signed significant contracts with advertisers, raised over $17 million in venture funding, spoke across the world at marketing events, advised multiple startups on advertising and fundraising strategy, hosted a darrenCamp, and posted over 220 lengthy articles to this blog amongst many other things… but nothing this past year challenged my creativity as much as this past Friday night. For 1 hour, I was taken completely out of my comfort zone of entrepreneurship and marketing and was playing on a level playing field with two girls with a combined age of less than half my age. I had to think on my toes more than ever and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity.
Floam Small
It was amazing. I had received a box of Floam Critters for the holidays and we the three of us sat around the table (see the picture) and decided what we wanted to create. The older girl took the lead and decided to construct something and went straight at it… but the younger one need some guidance and totally relied on me to help create. I had no experience prior to this but for that moment, I was about to become the expert.

45 minutes later, we had 3 new creatures to add to the animal kingdom, names for them, and other pertinent life info. The animals we created were totally fictional and in a traditional (<1995) or non-traditional (>1996) way, it was absolutely amazing content that we created. The creativity that these girls possessed was remarkable and within 10 minutes, these creatures had real lives… this content really had legs (no pun intended).

According to Dictionary.com, content can be described as: something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts: a poetic form adequate to a poetic content. Since I’ve been wrapped up in reading about all the content creators on YouTube, MySpace, and any other content harvesting website/service, I neglectfully forget that in its’ rawest form, content is created offline. Who still creates content offline? Well, apparently there is a whole world that does… and these girls are the tip of the iceberg. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the web world but we must also keep in mind that the entire world doesn’t exist online all the time… at least, not yet.

A major winner that I’ll predict in the online/offline world is Webkinz. I can’t take the credit for finding this, as the girls have pointed me in the right direction, but this company flat-out gets it. Check it out for yourself, they essentially have created a safe (as safe as possible) virtual world for kids but also sell the dolls that you create in stores around the USA. Content that can be touched online and offline is going to be a very hot area in 2007….

3 of Us

Top Posts of 2005/6 On DarrenHerman.com

Web 2.0 PictureI went back through all the posts on this blog and wanted to share the posts that are in my opinion, the most important “thought-chunks.” Let me know your thoughts… feel free to share them as well.

  • First Post – Welcome
    • Why I like: I’m nostalgic… it’s my first post ever, so give me a beak. One of the best Muppet Movie quotes.
  • Media Consumption 18-34 Year Olds
    • Why I like: A fantastic posting that looks at my demographic and talks about how media is fragmenting….
  • The Decline of Prime Time
    • Why I like: A look at how time shifting is killing the television industry. Media fragmentation also is causing television to take new formats…
  • It’s All About Me
    • Why I like: It’s a look at ME-dia. There is a ME in media and I predicted it before Time nominated us at the Person of the Year.
  • Deeper Peak into Avatars
    • Why I like: Avatars are a hot topic within the web today. I believe that they will help bring the web a face…. And this is certainly a post that begins that conversation.
  • The Power of the Music Experience
    • Why I like it: I absolutely love the music industry and put a lot of thought into this posting. It got quite a bit of traction around the record labels and is a must read of any posts on the blog.
  • Fertile Soil for VCs
    • Why I like: NYC is an amazing scene for entrepreneurs and this post talks about why…. And no, we’re not Silicon Valley…
  • Startups: Focusing
    • Why I like it: Many of us are involved in startups but with all these opportunities out there, it’s hard to focus, especially thru all the clutter. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS. Read.

Enjoy!

The Next Bill Gates Isn't in America

Zogby LogoIn the most recent report from 463 Communications and Zogby International, Americans say the next Bill Gates is currently studying math in Beijing.  The report is located here however I’ve summarized a few different areas of it:

  1. Kids are more Internet savvy than Congressmen:Â Who knew that 83% of kids are? Â Republicans (85%) and Democrats (86%) agreed with each other.
  2. One third of all Americans believe that the Internet is a greater invention than the printing press (sorry Johannes Gutenberg!).
  3. While we all think that the Internet is a highly impact invention, 78% of respondents said that if a car wouldn’t start or you lost your keys, would rank higher than not being able to check email.
  4. 66% of Americans believe that the Internet will be everywhere and there will be no place in the world within reason that would be without Internet.
  5. 67% of Americans agreed that new camera and Internet technologies are turning us into a nation of voyeurs and paparazzi.
  6. 67% of Americans said they’d rather watch the evening news coverage compared to citizen video reports.

The nationwide telephone survey of 1,203 adults was conducted 12/5/06 through 12/8/2006 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Second Life Galaxy

Greg Verdino made his debut today over at MarketingProfs.com and he wrote a very thorough article about brand integration into Second Life. I do not want to spoil the article but will write up a few quotes below, but here is the link to the article.

The best—maybe the only—way to understand the metaverse, is to join as a resident before you join as a marketer.Â

Second Life residents are in control. Instead of spending your marketing dollars to bring them products to buy, think about how you can spend those same dollars to bring them value and earn their attention.Â

Hope these teasers got you interested – Greg and I are on the same page with much of this… feel free to comment!