Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics, The Social Media Games starts Today. Where to look online.

These Olympics,will be the Social Media and online games, if ever there was one, because Social Media has exploded since the last games in 2008. 

Facebook alone has gone from 100 million users to 900 million. Tweeting had really only started too, Pinterest didn't exist and Mashable was a proper blog, back then.

Already Twitter has claimed its first victim and they don't even start until today.

Greek triple jumper, Voula Papachristou, (above) has been exited from The Olympic Games.....because of a tweet.

She tweeted "With so many Africans in Greece…at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food!!!” yep, hilarious. But she wasn't notified before or after, the committee just issued a press release and that was that. If your life revolved around training and preparation for the games, it's a pretty big deal to be banned.

It also had the knock-on affect of her fellow team members being told that they were not to use Social Media except to talk about the games, not themselves.

But if you're looking out online for the games, here's some places that you might like to start with.

The IOC Olympic Athletes Hub ( is a good place to start. Good search features, great updates and an easy list of tweeters to follow.

Broadcaster NBC has its own Olympic Channel ( which looks really good including live streaming. So you'll see lots of video here but the real focus is on the USA team obviously. 

I actually liked Yahoo's version - very Social and seems to have lots of stuff going on ( plus a nice piece on Beach volleyball, "its popularity explained". Which somehow they've managed to make a story out of rather than just posting a pic.

The Storify site is a little more upbrow and less Social, but possibly quite cool ( Lots of video so it makes it worth a browse but not at the same content level as say NBC or the IOC Hub.

Sports Illustrated, the real insider here, is terrific ( but will lack the events coverage. Still, if you want the inside track, go here. Nice pics too....

The Telegraph, probably the greatest newspaper on the planet, has really good local insights because the games are in its home town ( Also has a nice blog and twitter feed so this is where I'll be going for sure.

Facebook have a hub of course ( but frankly, I find it boring. Still if you're on Facebook no harm in liking it I suppose. But it just looks a bit dull and far.

And the ESPN site, not to be forgotten ( is pretty good as you'd expect offering lots of interactivity.

Mashable also have suggestions regarding the top 25 competitors you should follow on Twitter (

And an interesting one from left of centre is Zoomph ( with geolocation. Actually it's pretty smart.

Athletics was never my thing but it's clear these games are going to offer brands lots of opportunities online. Social Media will be really ramping it up and perhaps bring in a new audience whom previously, mightn't have been bothered.

As they say at the start of most Agency creative meetings and it's not funny anymore - Let the games begin.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Apple's worth is 539 billion, with 117 billion cash, new financials show 20% growth. But shares fall 6% and Media are on their case. Why?

Apple have just posted their financials.
And everyone is on their case - like they hate to see you doing well.

They used to say the Irish hated two things. Success and Failure.
But the disease seems to be spreading globally. Virally.

The company is doing fine but below expectations....particularly because of a slide in Iphone sales after 5 years on the market....but being well replaced by a surge in 2 year old Ipad sales and as the Ipod starts to move well down the food chain.

Apple TV has also gained (and very quietly) 4 million sales which sure surprised me.

Iphone still accounts for the bulk of revenue at 16 bilion usd (46% of total income) although well below its previous quarter and is still in a battle with Samsung both in the courts and in the shops. Clearly Samsung is winning on the street probably due to lower price points for pretty good phones (which Apple claim, they copied). Or possibly, people are holding off to buy the new Iphone later this year.

Following behind is Ipad with sales of 26 milion units and 9 billion revenue. The Mac portable is at 3.6 billion with Itunes and the App store at 2.1 billion. The poor Ipod is only now at a mere 1.1 billion. So you see the typical brand lifecycle as older products move aside to allow for new ones - which is the clear point, that you have to keep innovating.

Apple TV sold 1.3 million devices in the last quarter alone which points to a reason for Apple to further their interest in this market with a fully fledged push late in 2012. Just wait until they start marketing it properly! And of course, this is Samsung's space too.

This is the most valuable company on the planet and still growing with a value of 539 billion. Rumours of the new "Mini Ipad" will further bolster sales when it is launched, as well as, the new Mac Retina Pro.

Wall Street didn't like the numbers forcing CEO Tim Cook to explain the Europe as a market was "flat" and notably Germany, France, Greece and Italy. Although UK sales were up 13%. Greater China posted a nearly 50% growth and growing at an "incredible rate" according to Cook!

But the headlines are, such as just posted on Ireland's national broadcaster today, RTE, that "Apple results miss target, first time since 2003, shares fall 6%".


Overall, the company's revenue is up 20%, although lower than expected but what a performance.

It has 117 billion usd in cash reserves and the App store ploughs on as well as 150 million Icloud users.

This is a company that deserves its status.

A company that understands brands and the need to keep on developing products as older ones reach the end of their lifecycle. Apple TV will be the next big thing, make no doubt about it.

They just seem to get everything right and I would think, with that amount of cash reserves, it's hard to see what Apple cannot do. 

A quality brand, a quality company.
Incredible in fact.

Everyone wants to tell you how badly everyone else is doing.
And when they do, share price falls.
In the case of Apple, the headlines are beyond ridiculous. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Iphone sales are sliding so here's their answer - Apple Iphone 4S new campaign. John Malkovich, Martin Scorsese and Samuel Jackson just out. Big stars, Good Ads?

Apple Iphone sales are flagging. Having sold 26 million in the last quarter, it's down from 35 million in the previous one. Although compensated by growth in the Ipad (from 11m up to 17m - a killer growth) it's not good. How do you get it going again? Advertising.

Apple's new campaign for the Iphone 4S has roped in celebrities to bring them style and character. Focusing in on "Siri" which is the 'personal assistant' on the phone, the first in the series featured John Malkovich. It's their one 'point of difference' that gives iphone a competitive edge.

Using movie stars, gives the brand street cred. It ups the game but the celebs they've chosen helps to position Iphone away from low cost into quality coolness.

The newest, just released, features Martin Scorsese.

The angle of the commercials is that you can change a busy day on the fly but importantly, it's showing you an easy way to use different applications. 

Voice is the easiest way to input data and is the holy grail to replace keyboards. Typing in data, when you think of it, is the oldest way to do it and voice will soon replace typing. PC's will become voice-driven exactly as touchscreen has changed them. So you won't write your emails, you'll speak them in. 

Samuel Jackson gets in on the act too.


I don't know what the cost of these is, but it was a fortune. And I don't think they've made good use of these stars creatively - after all, think what you could do with Marty Scorsese. But in essence, having celebrities like these will do wonders for endorsing the brand when compared with Samsung the market leader

They are quintessentially American stars, but international too so the campaign can go global. Big names for a big brand. And already they've created parodies on youtube.

Still, an interesting approach.

Have to say the greatest commercial probably of all time was not as most would say, Apple '1984', but this one, "the crazy ones" from 1997, called "Think Different". Done by Chiat Day, it came out as Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, but ultimately saved by a 150 million usd investment, by microsoft of all people. Jobs had just returned to the company.

The voice over eventually ended up as Richard Dreyfuss but on this original, which never aired because it was a "demo" and the end frame here has been edited as a tribute to Jobs. See do you recognise who the voice is?

Indeed. Steve Jobs himself.

Apple have been at the forefront of Advertising.
This campaign, well, just isn't that.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Ad Agencies + PR Companies starting to create their own Media Channels? An opportunity if ever there was one.


Smashing Video isn't it? The story of 'Keep Calm and Carry on' done in an interesting way. But in effect it's an Ad for 'Barter Books' who found the poster and with 2 million views, done as content, what an Ad it is.

As brands, and their Ad Agencies, pile into Social Media advertising, they're looking for good content. Good video, good stories, good places where people interact and share content. Sites that deliver on that, get the Ads because they have the eyeballs. Instead of looking for it, they can create it.

It's that old adage that "content is king" - although in today's media, perhaps more appropriately, "context is king" because what you say to a Facebook user should be different to what you say on Twitter or what you Blog and so on. It's the context that matters too.

Access to that content has never been easier and freer, because opening a Twitter account for example, or a blog, is free as long as you maintain it. In fact we all generate our own content in some ways, our own media. This Blog is content (bizarrely perhaps, but it is). Making Media has never been easier.

YouTube is a classic example of that. User Generated Content (UGC).

I'm also taken by local and international Agencies generating their own Blogs (Simply Zesty, a Dublin PR/Social Media firm, recently bought by broadcaster UTV, have a terrific daily blog very well done). Dublin Agency Cawley Nea TBWA produced a show called "Round Room Rumble" which was more than a good start.

Mashable in fact, was a Blog started by Peter Cashmore in his Aberdeen bedroom, and sold recently to CNN for 200 million usd because it's actually media, content that people want to read.

Recently I noted an international Ad company called 'Radical Media' have started a YouTube channel which generates content and interest through interviews that are interesting and watchable. 

In effect they're generating content as Ads. Or if you like, they've started their own TV Station which their clients can get on board. How's that for 360 degree thinking.

Having an Ad Agency that knows how to make good content, is possibly more important than having an Ad Agency that knows how to make good ads. Content is rich and saleable. 

There is no reason in today's media landscape that ad Agencies are not perfectly placed to produce content which in turn, becomes Ads. They have the creative skills, the production capabilities and the financial muscle - never mind the clients media spend to support that content. An Ad does not have to be 30 seconds, it can be 5 minutes, IF it's good enough. And it can be better than a traditional Ad.

Ad Agencies and PR Companies can now own their own media by simply creating it. And give their clients something to advertise on.

The Simply Zesty Blog already takes Ads because they do it so well and because it's good content that people want to see.

An income stream for the Ad community who've suffered enough.
By taking notice of this digital space there's opportunity rather than rubbishing it.

Going away, it's not.
The lines for Media are being blurred.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Microsoft launches Office 2013 and announces it's first EVER loss. 492 million us dollar loss. CEO Steve Ballmer hangs on.

Microsoft really warrants a blog of its own, given that it's in the news so often now. And none of it good.

On Friday it has reported its first loss, ever
492 million usd of a loss versus a 5.87 billion profit a year ago.

Hot on the heels of the controversial acquisition of Yammer in June by Steve Ballmer which left everyone scratching their heads. 1.2 billion? You're kidding?

Then the controversy about Steve Ballmer work practices in a Vanity Fair article which caused rumours before it was published

And worse problems once it was

And the NBC divorce last week

All of this in less than 4 weeks and yet, CEO Steve Ballmer hangs on in there. Now comes the loss. 

Critically it's a watershed, because it's the first ever - but in reality, it's a loss because of an adjustment on the ridiculous 2007, 6.2 billion usd investment in an online business, aquantive, or so Microsoft would argue. However, if you make an awful investment of 6.2 billion usd, you have to adjust for it. In making the acquisition you took the risk that it would put profits at risk.

So there's no escaping it and the headlines will be Microsofts first loss.

Windows sales too in those figures, on further analysis, weakened with a 13% drop in Q4 ending in June although an accountancy policy change has also made the drop look worse. Even allowing for that adjustment, its sales are down.

Hopes more and more being pinned on the October release of Windows 8. Although everyone is forecasting a decline and a weakening in computer sales despite the fact that insiders are saying, it's a good version. With no one to buy, it won't matter in some ways.

This week Steve Ballmer also launched the latest version of Office (called 'Office 2013' surprisingly) which runs on around 90% of business pcs with a new focus on touchscreen and social interaction contributing more than half of microsoft's profits (or losses). So it's important and it was well received. 

The range of applications - Outlook, Excel, Word, PPT and one Note have been updated and integrated through the Skydrive (Microsofts cloud service) for instant updating. Skype is fully integrated too.

Definitely, the widely held view that this was a good launch and a step up. Weakening computer sales though, is outside of Microsoft's control and the deluge of bad publicity is gaining momentum. 

In particular, a loss, is a turning point for this money making machine. It's hard to think of anything else that could put more pressure on CEO Steve Ballmer. 

I'm actually amazed he's still standing this weekend and clearly, has a lot of friends from within, notably Gates who appointed him in the first place and at the time, surprisingly.

Microsoft is now a company in decline and as Steve Jobs said, it will remain so with Ballmer at the helm. It was the great Internet company, the great software company, the great browser supplier and great at a lot of things.

Apple's iphone does more business than the whole of Microsoft now.
It ain't what it was, anymore.

Hard to imagine that investors aren't beginning to think, it's time to get out.
Very few will be piling in.