Thursday, February 15, 2007

epharm5: Top 5 Notable Stories in January 2007

epharm5: Top 5 Notable Stories in January 2007
Editor's Picks

Source: ePharm5(tm)

As we start the New Year we will continue to see e-health trends and technology shape the pharmaceutical industry. Here is a sampling of notable ePharm5 stories from January chosen on the basis of reader interest and editor perspective.

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1. iVillage Total Health provides deep content for pharma sponsors
Sponsorship opportunities and customized solutions for pharma companies are part of iVillage Total Health, a new online health destination from iVillage Properties. The portal will offer health information from iVillage sites, as well as NBC Universal and GE Healthcare. Sponsorships for pharma companies go beyond display ads and can include developing custom sites, videos, and micro sites, Steven Haimowitz, MD, of iVillage Total Health, tells ePharm5. 

2. Free site offers pharma place to showcase rebates, coupons 
A new Web site called aims improve pharma's brand reach and medication adherence by matching patients with prescription savings offers, like rebates and free trials. Billed as an industry first, pharmas can include their prescription offers on the site, allowing consumers to find savings at the moment they are looking for them. 
3. Eons creator offers senior-relevant search, arthritis most-searched disease
Marketers who have been targeting the 50-plus age group on the site Eons now have another option by the same maker: Eons created, billed as the first age-relevant search engine just for seniors. Pharma marketers may want to take special note, since arthritis was the most-searched disease among the over-50 crowd.

4. Doc networking site gives insight into top-of-mind issues
Recently, a physician wrote on her blog that although she has started to discuss the new HPV vaccine with her young female patients, she has encountered insurance coverage barriers. That's one of the insights to the day-to-day physician concerns that pharma can find on Healtheva, a social networking site for healthcare professionals. 
5. IMS Health enhancement deepens prescribing data available
IMS Health has enhanced its prescription data offerings with a new tool that it says creates more powerful and vital market measurements regarding effectiveness of pharmaceutical products. According to IMS, the Next-Generation Prescription Service provides more accurate and timely product-level insights on all pharmaceutical products. 

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Multitasking Consumers: Distracted or Connected?

Multitasking Consumers: Distracted or Connected?


Researchers estimate that 25-30% of total media time is spent multitasking, and the more media a person consumes, the more likely they will consume several channels at once. Why should marketers care? Because multitasking has a profound impact on consumers' ability to absorb and remember ad messages.

Attention: Marketers, Advertising Agencies, Content Providers, Broadcasters, Telecoms, Cable and Satellite Providers, Online and Offline Retailers, Large Corporations and SMEs.

The Multitasking Consumers report explores how the 24-hour-day morphed into something much longer – and that means marketers are facing more complex communications challenges.

According to a 2006 study by Yahoo! and OMD, US consumers now live a 43-hour day filled with more than 16 hours of interaction with media and technology. MTV, meanwhile, in a 2005 study, says the "normal" day lasts 32 hours, with 6.5 hours devoted to various media.

However, as more media floods into consumers' lives, they are finding ways to make room for them. Multitasking is a necessity. As a result, for marketers, "breaking through" to consumers is more difficult than ever.

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Ortho-McNeil-funded study: Better questions lead to better doc visits

Ortho-McNeil-funded study: Better questions lead to better doc visits
Courtesy of ePharm5(TM)
Researching and reporting pharma business and marketing innovation
(c) 2006, HCPro, Inc.

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There is a real need for physicians to learn to ask the right questions when caring for migraine patients, according to an Ortho-McNeil Neurologics-funded study. The new results are from phase two of the study, which tested the effectiveness of new communication techniques after phase one showed the need for improved communication. In the latest phase, clinicians asked more open-ended questions. The study found that 55% of office visits contained open-ended questions about how migraines affect patients' daily activities during and between attacks, and as a result, 75% of patients shared their personal experiences. Following the visit, 94% of patients said they learned valuable information because of the increased dialogue, and 89% said they learned information that they would not have learned otherwise. 

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Google Adds CPC Pricing To 'Site Targeting'

Google Adds CPC Pricing To 'Site Targeting'
by Shankar Gupta, Thursday, Feb 15, 2007 6:00 AM ET
STARTING NEXT MONTH, GOOGLE PLANS to allow marketers who currently buy display ads on a cost-per-thousand impression basis via the "site targeting" program to start purchasing cost-per-click ads as well.

The site targeting program allows marketers to select which sites within Google's network will display their ads. Google said it's expanding to include cost-per-click ads in an attempt to provide more flexibility. "CPC bidding has often been requested by advertisers who would like to utilize site targeting, but are not comfortable bidding on a CPM basis," Google announced this week on the AdWords blog.

The company also put out a call on its blog for marketers who wish to participate in a test of the new feature.

The move is expected to make site targeting more useful to advertisers who have aim for both branding and direct response with their campaigns, said David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning for 360i. "Even brand marketers often have direct marketing and traffic goals, and they'll want to use CPC pricing for those campaigns," he said.

Google started the site targeting program in June 2005, in an attempt to broaden its appeal to brand marketers.

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J&J film takes drug ads into new territory

J&J film takes drug ads into new territory

Last Updated: 2007-02-14 9:00:27 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Julie Steenhuysen - Exclusive

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson, one of America's major drug companies, will soon introduce a new genre of advertising in the form of a documentary film about inflammatory diseases but some health experts say the film may blur the lines between patient education and self-interest.

J&J's big screen effort, due to debut in New York later this month, comes as critics sharpen their complaints about direct-to-consumer TV ads that play down possible side effects of drugs and drive up healthcare costs.

The 60-minute film, dubbed Innerstate, illustrates the lives of three adults dealing with psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease -- all of whom ultimately find relief through advanced and costly biologic drugs like Johnson & Johnson's Remicade.

Michael Parks, spokesman for J&J's Centocor unit (which makes Remicade) and executive producer of the film, defended the effort.

"This is definitely not a 60-minute infomercial. The intent is really to educate patients in a meaningful way," said Parks, who acknowledges growing skepticism about drug advertising.

He said traditional direct-to-consumer advertising does not provide enough time to cover complex diseases like Crohn's disease, a chronic bowel inflammation that can be debilitating. The film allows patients to discuss the process they went through before making the decision to use advanced therapies.

"Every single patient talks about the exploration -- how they tried other things that didn't work," he said. Parks said the film reflects J&J's move away from brand-specific TV advertising, noting that no drugs are mentioned by name in the film.

While the film has the backing of patient support groups, the idea of a documentary produced by a drug company leaves some doctors wary.

"This is a whole new dimension in direct-to-consumer advertising," said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a Harvard researcher and author of Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks and Costs of Prescription Drugs.

"What makes me edgy about it is if it is going to be a commercial, you should know it's a commercial. I'm very troubled by the blurring of the lines between advertising and patient education," Avorn said.

Parks interviewed 40 patients before selecting the three portrayed in the film. He then turned the project over to producer/director Chris Valentino, who incorporated interviews with the patients, their doctors and families.

The movie will roll out in a about a dozen U.S. markets, including Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago. Schedules for the free screenings at regular movie theaters will be listed on the Web site, , and be followed by a health fair in the theaters featuring local experts on the diseases discussed in the film.

Marc Freed, an Illinois pediatrician who has seen patients with all three disorders, said J&J may do some good in boosting awareness of the conditions, but he expressed caution. "They do have an interest in this," he said.

From an advertising perspective, the movie approach is a cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience, said branding expert Alan Siegel of Siegel & Gale in New York.

"It's fairly intelligent, but I don't think it's a documentary," Siegel said. "I'm all for anything that educates people, but if you are going to do a documentary, do a real one. Give someone some money and... don't have any say about what's in it," he said.

J&J's movie push comes at a time of increasing competition in the market for therapies like Remicade, which is part of a group of drugs that suppress tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a protein that plays a key role in inflammation. The drug costs from $18,000 to $21,000 a year.

Other drugs in the class include Amgen Inc.'s Enbrel and Abbott Laboratories Inc.'s Humira. All carry warnings about the possibility of malignancies or serious infections.

"These are very good drugs and used correctly, they can make a big impact," Harvard's Avorn said. "But I'm old fashioned enough to think whether or not to use a drug like Remicade ought to be the decision of the doctor and not because a patient saw a movie."

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CSI: NY launches HIV storyline tonight, and we launch their Forum to discuss it!

CSI: NY launches HIV storyline tonight, and we launch their Forum to discuss it!


We've got some pretty cool news. Starting tonight, the hit CBS television series, CSI: NY, will be starting an HIV-related storyline involving one of its lead characters (Stella Bonasera, played by Melina Kanakaredes). This was prompted by CBS’s collaboration with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign – a pretty remarkable media campaign which seeks to reduce ignorance and stigma around HIV/AIDS.

Well, when the producers and writers of CSI: NY and the folks at Kaiser decided they needed an online forum where folks could discuss this HIV-related storyline, they asked us to help out. So tonight, when the first episode involving “Stella’s Story” airs at 10pm Eastern Time, we’ll be launching a special forum for viewers of the series so that they can discuss the storyline.

This special forum won't launch until later today, but you can read more about it in this thread in our Community Forums.

If you haven't already, we'd like to invite you to join this "community" where you can get help, help others, learn, and share. Just bookmark the following link, and check the forums as often as you can:

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Veoh Launches 'Next-Gen' Online Video Platform

Veoh Launches 'Next-Gen' Online Video Platform

Veoh Networks has launched a platform it claims is "the most comprehensive platform for internet video," providing viewers with DVD-quality content and giving video publishers the ability to syndicate their videos to other platforms, World Screen reports.

"Veoh's mission is to bring the next generation of television to people wherever they are - office, living room, or on the go," Veoh CEO Dmitry Shapiro is quoted as saying.

The platform was beta-tested last year, allowing video publishers to upload videos once to Veoh and automatically syndicate them to video-sharing sites such as YouTube, Google Video and MySpace. Veoh has now added syndication to Facebook, the publishers' own blogs, RSS feeds, iPods and Windows Media players.

Publishers can monitor their audiences across the major video websites from their Veoh account. To monetize their videos, publishers can choose advertising, paid content or a combination, and have the option to sell ads themselves or have Veoh sell it.
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OpenAd Aims to Do to Advertising What iTunes Did to Music

OpenAd Aims to Do to Advertising What iTunes Did to Music
Ideas flow on OpenAd

OpenAd, a new "virtual" ad agency hopes to create the agency of the future by linking a pool of 7,000 creatives from around the world with potential clients, reports the International Herald Tribune.

The creatives don't actually work directly for OpenAd. Instead, the agency (which has roots in Slovenia) acts as an internet broker, forging deals with clients in the hopes of bringing the world of Web 2.0 to the advertising business.

OpenAd works by inviting marketers to post creative briefs, outlining potential assignments on its website, for which marketers are charged $3,000 to $100,000, depending on the scale of the resulting ad campaign. OpenAd then collects 22.5 percent as a commission.

Several OpenAd members, including, an Internet travel site, and OntracGlobal, a London-based provider of technology consulting services, have used the site to generate ideas for ads.

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Pheedo Using RSS to Update Rich Media Ads

Pheedo Using RSS to Update Rich Media Ads

Moving beyond the use of RSS to update just text ads, Pheedo will now use RSS to push new information to video and audio ads it serves, reports ClickZ.

The rich media ads will be fed by Pheedo's FeedPowered Ad system and present viewers with a variety of options as to what to do with the ad. They will be able to not only click it, as they would a typical ad, but also email it, bookmark it for later viewing, or submit it to social news or tagging sites like Digg or

This functionality is designed to increase exposure to the ad, even among those who aren't currently intending to purchase. Advertisers will be able to view metrics on who has done what with the ads.

The RSS delivery allows for advertisers to refresh their ads with new content, including links to YouTube videos, dynamically and often throughout the day.
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CBS' cross-sell platform goes live for radio, Web, outdoor, TV

CBS' cross-sell platform goes live for radio, Web, outdoor, TV 
Courtesy of ePharm5(TM)
Researching and reporting pharma business and marketing innovation
(c) 2006, HCPro, Inc.

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CBS RIOT, a new cross-sell platform combining the network's radio, Internet, outdoor, and TV offerings, delivers both national and local reach, goes live today. Dodge Ram will be the first to use customized spots on local television and radio stations in more than 100 markets to drive viewers and listeners to a co-branded Web site on CBS, where they can play an interactive game. Over the course of one month, CBS estimates that the combined media will create 400 million new impressions on CBS After the successful results recorded from integrated campaigns that ran on the SuperBowl (ePharm5, ePharm5, 2/7/07)), this new platform could stir increased results for a pharma multi-channel campaign. The unbranded cross-channel marketing campaign created by King Pharmaceuticals and the American Heart Association (ePharm5, 2/5/07), which aired during the Super Bowl, increased its market share of traffic 1,727% on game day, reports Hitwise. 

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Brickfish Unveils New Digital Engagement Advertising Platform   

Brickfish Unveils New Digital Engagement Advertising Platform     

Engagement Platform That Connects Advertisers and Consumers Through the World of User Generated Content Advertising Writers/Business Editors

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 8, 2007--

Today, Brickfish, the first Digital Engagement Company, announced the debut of its consumer web site The site works in conjunction with the Company's viral propagation technology and real-time analytics systems to form its Digital Engagement Platform. This platform is used to connect advertisers and consumers through the world of User Generated Content (UGC).
Brickfish rewards consumers who engage with brands by creating, reviewing, voting on, and viewing branded content on the web. Now advertisers can form digital communities based on 100% brand-specific content for their brands. This approach forms a positive feedback loop in which advertisers work with consumers rather than just advertising "at them." Brickfish campaigns can support multiple types of content, such as video, image, audio, and blogs.

Brickfish opened its site to beta users in August 2006 and launched its production site,, in January 2007. The site is already frequented by hundreds of thousands of consumers from the U.S. and countries around the world. The company has successfully launched over 30 online campaigns showcasing thousands of pieces of brand-specific UGC for well-known companies in the music, fashion, and lifestyles industries.

"Creating the Brickfish platform is our first step toward redefining how advertisers collaborate with consumers on the Internet," said Shahi Ghanem, CEO, of Brickfish. "The digital era has created a new tension between consumers and brands. Companies are bombarding online users with display-based ads such as banners, pop-ups, interstitials, and the like. This approach of profiting from ads placed in or on a user's personal content is both bothersome to consumers and increasingly ineffective for advertisers. At Brickfish, we're solving this problem by creating an environment with zero view-based ads and then enabling consumers to work with advertisers to create branded content campaigns that build a positive relationship and a deep level of brand engagement. Consumers only engage with the brands they choose and get recognized and rewarded for doing so."

"We built a backend system that creates a level playing field, rewarding all consumers regardless of skill. Our technologies enable instantaneous feedback on the enthusiasm surrounding every piece of branded content and the overall performance of the campaigns. This creates an entirely new type of dialogue between brands and consumers that is collaborative and completely transparent. Thousands of pieces of branded, user generated content have already been created on Brickfish in just a few weeks. In addition, we've seen this same branded content voluntarily propagated to multiple media posting websites and social networks," said Nichole Goodyear, Co-founder and Vice President of Technology.

"Brickfish offered us a unique promotional tool for the release of Senses Fail's Still Searching album," said Sean-Michael Dore, New Media Director for Vagrant Records. "Any time you can challenge fans to fully engage in a promotion, such as the poster design contest we ran, you can be assured that the people you want to connect to are being reached ... you can see the result with each active participant."

About Brickfish:

Brickfish is the first Digital Engagement Company to provide a comprehensive platform that connects advertisers and consumers through the world of User Generated Content. The Brickfish platform enables consumers to engage with advertisers by creating User Generated Campaigns for their brands. This approach creates digital communities comprised of brand evangelists and 100% brand-specific content, forming a positive feedback loop between advertisers and consumers. Consumers are recognized and rewarded for participating in Brickfish campaigns as they create, review, vote on, and propagate content across the internet. Brickfish also provides advertisers and content creators with comprehensive propagation and reporting tools. The company is located in San Diego, CA.

For more information, please visit

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Jeep, Marvel Partner for Online Comic Book Campaign

Jeep, Marvel Partner for Online Comic Book Campaign

Jeep and Marvel Comics have partnered for a campaign that asks customers to write their own comic book starring a Jeep Patriot.

Consumers can visit to suggest their own storyline as the online cartoon drama develops, writes Brandweek (via MediaBuyerPlanner). Those whose storylines are used will get credit as co-authors in a 28-page book to be published this spring.

The Patriot is aimed at young professionals in their twenties to early forties with a household income of $65,000 or more. Marvel's core demographic is men in their twenties.

The first five pages of the comic were online Thursday of last week; readers can give input on pages to follow.

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Chinese New Year's Webcast To Include Social Features

Chinese New Year's Webcast To Include Social Features

by Erik Sass, Tuesday, Feb 13, 2007 6:00 AM ET


VIEWERS WHO WATCH THE CHINESE New Year's gala online on Feb. 17 will be able to chat with friends and strangers about the proceedings, post comments on blogs, and rate performances in a "social TV" setting at two Web sites, and  


"The social aspect is intended to create a social network and drive community around the channels and sub-channels," said a MediaZone spokesperson. The event is available as MediaZone pay-per-view for $19.90.


In addition to text, banner, and streaming video ads on the MediaZone site, online viewers will be exposed to traditional TV ads that appear as part of the CCTV broadcast. MediaZone announced in January that it struck a deal with CCTV, China's state-run broadcaster, to rebroadcast content from two channels, CCTV 4 and CCTV 9.


This year's show is said to have attracted a record-breaking $62.5 million in TV advertising. Each year the gala, produced by China Central Television in Beijing, attracts about 700 million viewers around the world with a mix of music, choreographed dances including the traditional Lion Dance, stunts and acrobatic displays. China's top political figures and celebrities are sometimes in the audience (last year Jiang Zemin watched the show from the leadership balcony at Tiananmen square).


The Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) is the most important celebration in Chinese culture, when families are supposed to come together for an elaborate dinner banquet. Given financial and geographic obstacles, however, the social functions provided with MediaZone's streaming broadcast may be an acceptable second-best for emigrants willing to pay the pay-per-view fee.




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Monday, February 12, 2007

Video Focus: A Leading Role: Be the Content

Video Focus: A Leading Role: Be the Content

by Greg Verdino, February 2007 issue  (OMMA)


It’s time for marketers to move beyond pre-roll inserts


There’s an old advertising joke that goes like this: “The answer is a 30-second spot. Now, what’s the question?”  It pokes fun at the fact that the television spot has become the automatic “correct answer” for brands looking to deliver a message to the masses.


Times have changed. It’s no longer so clear that interrupting viewers as they watch TV is the best way to engage a marketplace. I’m not suggesting that television advertising is dead, but we are headed down a slippery slope. And at the bottom of that slope, we find the Internet. We are in the midst of a video revolution, yet advertisers still cling to the 30-second spot, in the form of pre-roll ads.


In fact, if online marketing has its version of that advertising joke, it probably goes something like this: “What’s the right length for a pre-roll ad? You’re asking the wrong question.” Instead of debating the right length for an ad unit that isn’t right for the medium, the industry should focus its efforts on finding new ways of engaging consumers through the power of sight, sound, and motion. We need innovative marketing approaches that are custom-made for the online on-demand world. If you’re asking, “Then what’s the right way for marketers to leverage online video?” the correct answer is, “Distributed brand content.”


For decades, advertisers have been filling the cracks between pieces of someone else’s content, but with DVRs and the promise of a million channels delivered over broadband, it has never been easier for consumers to skip over those cracks and jump directly to the content. To succeed, we need to stop standing between them and their content and actually be the content they want to see. When it comes to video, advertisers and agencies need to focus their energies on producing content that has sufficient appeal to attract, engage, and retain the consumers with whom they hope to build lasting relationships.


With some exceptions, consumers do not want to watch content about your brand. But consumers will watch original programming that supports your brand, if it entertains. This may be innovation, but we can look to the past for inspiration. When Procter & Gamble created soap operas, they weren’t shows about soap. They were entertainment vehicles that appealed to a large audience of household-shopping decision makers and sold a lot of product.


Some progressive marketers have already experimented with Web content creation — Brawny, Audi, and BMW come to mind. To get Web video right, more of our energy needs to be focused here. But the creation of brand content takes us only partway down the path. Marketers can’t simply present their video on their own sites. The Web is becoming less destination-oriented and more about broad, open source distribution.


Smart marketers will syndicate their brand content, putting their videos on the sites where the audience already is. Ford seems to understand this. Its “Bold Moves” video blog segments run not only on the vlog itself but have also been distributed on third-party broadband sites.


In the world of networked media, though, distribution is not limited to carefully orchestrated syndication deals. Consumer-to-consumer sharing of brand video assets turns our audience into our partners in brand storytelling.


One of the biggest online video successes was the short video “Evolution” for Dove. The two-minute clip garnered more than 2 million (unpaid) views, not at the Dove brand site but through video-sharing portals such as YouTube, fueled by chatter on thousands of independent blogs. The campaign succeeded almost entirely on the strength of social distribution.


So in the end, “Would you rather invest your money in creating traditional advertising that consumers skip, or invest that same money in producing and distributing engaging content that they will actually want to see?” What’s your answer?


Greg Verdino is vice president/director of emerging channels at Digitas. ( For more on Greg’s perspectives on new media and marketing, visit his blog at


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Buzz Focus: Get Those 15 Minutes of Fame in 2007

Buzz Focus: Get Those 15 Minutes of Fame in 2007

by Tina Wells, February 2007 issue (OMMA)   


Eight hot macro and mini trends for your consideration


Is it already February? Well, nothing starts a year off like a few predictions for hot new trends in the online mediaverse! While we saw many innovative ideas take off in 2006 — virtual communities, social networks, and other new media platforms — this year I think we’ll see the launch of even more offbeat ideas, and I’ve noticed that they’re already spawning unique behavioral trends. Here’s my list of the top four macro and mini trends:




Today’s youths truly believe that they will be famous for at least 15 minutes! With sites such as MySpace and YouTube, user-generated content is opening up opportunities left and right. And of course there’s still reality TV to help with the fame game. But it’s not just teens entering the spotlight. Fisher Price recently launched a toy called the Star Station that allows the user to perform karaoke as it is broadcast on the TV! Now three-year-olds across the country can become their own stage mothers. How will this shape their generation?




Technology will again reign supreme in 2007. From computers to cell phones to gaming machines, youths will be fascinated with all things hi-tech. With innovative products for tweens such as the Nintendo DS, with its text-messaging capabilities, technology is getting more manageable for the younger set. Systems such as the Wii will make gaming as a family activity even stronger in ’07.




It was one of my favorites in 2006, and creating exclusive products for the masses is only getting bigger in 2007. The iPod is a good example. Massclusivity is popping up everywhere. You can already customize your TV viewing, music listening and clothing items, and 2007 will see the birth of even simpler massclusive products.




While weekly entertainment magazines may be selling millions on the newsstands, they have led to the creation of this last trend, celeb-zero. Young consumers used to aspire to be like their favorite celebrities. But with these weeklies and Web sites such as, not to mention countless blogs reporting on every celeb dirty deed, the famous have lost their effectiveness with the youth audience. Couple this trend with Warholism and you quickly get the picture: Why would I want to fawn over you as a pill-popping, no-underwear-wearing, dumb celeb when I can launch my own blog/YouTube show and garner fans myself?


Marketers will have to rethink the celebrity endorsement strategy: As consumers lose faith in former icons, stars are unable to remain aspirational.


Along with these macrotrends, there are, of course, a few minitrends to be followed in 2007:


>Social Networking 2.0


More niche networks will appear and thrive with targeted groups.


>Retail Experience


Youthful shoppers will be apt to spend more time in the malls this year. Retailers such as Hollister are burning up the youth market, and with the relaunch of Macy’s, malls will once again become a popular destination.


>Girls Gaming More


 It’s becoming cooler and more fashionable for girls to play video games. Nintendo DS even comes in a cute pink color for girls. Online sites such as Yahoo feature female-friendly games.


>Books Are Important


Even though periodical readership is declining, I think that young people will become interested in reading books again this year. All it takes is the launch of one interesting series to ignite the reading flame. There will be a piqued interest in history — of music, fashion, even the U.S.


Written by: Tina Wells is CEO, Buzz Marketing Group. (


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Markets Focus: The Lost Generation?

Markets Focus: The Lost Generation?

by Larry Dobrow, February 2007 issue



Marketers are overlooking a vast Audience


For years, online marketers have dismissed men over age 65 with the following reasoning: Senior men don’t do anything but e-mail. Despite sharp spikes in online usage among this age group, marketers don’t seem to be taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in the segment.


Perhaps then, they should meet somebody like Jim Hannah, a 72-year-old retiree. Bright and engaging, he freely quotes Chaucer and Robert Frost. Hannah spends plenty of time in the photography forum, cheerfully dispensing advice. Or maybe they should chat with Don Deitch, a 75-year-old entrepreneur who, after failing in his quest to locate a realistic Wall Street board game, created his own. He works on the Web several hours a day, coordinating with manufacturing and distribution partners via


No, neither Hannah nor Deitch is your typical 65-and-older Internet user. And no, neither profile is likely to set the hearts of online marketers aflutter, especially given their crush on 18- to 34-year-olds. But plenty of older guys like them are on the Internet for comparable periods of time each week, with comparable levels of technological agility. They’ve got disposable cash and the time to engage with marketing content. So where’s the disconnect?


Asked why marketers aren’t taking into account the greater number of 65-plus men online, Ben Yurchak, director of strategy and analytics for interactive shop Refinery, shrugs, “Beats me.” Adds Linda Natansohn, vice president of strategic development for Eons: “Seniors are the fastest-growing group [online] and there are plenty more to come with the aging of the population. But to most marketers advertising on the Web, older people are invisible.”


According to Vertis Communications’ Customer Focus survey, 62 percent of 65-and-older men had Internet access in 2006, up from 53 percent in 2003. And one out of four of them reported having been online in the past week. “Their numbers are increasing steadily where the rest of the population has leveled off or even started going down,” notes Scott Marden, director of marketing research at Vertis.


That said, only 14 percent of 65-plus men feel “somewhat” or “very” comfortable using a credit card to shop on the Internet, compared with 35 percent of the U.S. population as a whole. Twenty percent of all consumers turn first to the Web when they prepare themselves to make a buying decision; only 9 percent of 65-plus men do the same. “They are still very influenced by the circular in the newspaper and by TV,” Marden acknowledges.


But that’s not a reason for marketers to back away. Even if they’re not swayed by the current user data, marketers must remember that the best is yet to come. According to a Pew Research Center survey from early 2006, 35.5 million Web users are between 50 and 64 years old. Assuming that a sizable chunk of these users are already familiar with the workings of the Web through their jobs, the number of 65-plus males online will swell in the years ahead.


To get in their good graces, marketers need to ditch all preconceptions about the vitality of the 65-and-up audience. Deitch asks that anybody targeting him present “a good deal or a solid idea.” E-mail pitches are more likely to annoy than tantalize him. “My wife and I generally gloss over anything that doesn’t look familiar. So much of what pops into my inbox has no relevance.”


Hannah, on the other hand, wants no part of anything marketers are selling online. He has installed layers of ad blockers and promises that any e-mail he hasn’t specifically solicited will go straight into his virtual garbage can. “I’m a hard case,” he says with a laugh. “My preferences are so highly specific that I doubt a marketer could begin to formulate an approach for me.”


Which makes search the ideal option for Hannah and his ad-hostile ilk. “It’s amazingly powerful,” he says. Deitch also lauds search over other tactics “There’s no limit to what you can do.”


While the pundits agree, they call attention to a range of related issues. Mary Furlong, president and CEO of Mary Furlong & Associates, a baby boomer-centric firm, believes online marketing will soon become the venue of choice for older men. “A lot of the dissonances of aging aren’t fun,” explains Furlong, who founded SeniorNet and ThirdAge Media. “Nobody wants to talk about a prostate condition at lunch. Online, men feel they can go to ask questions and speak with other people in the same boat. Every pharmaceutical marketing rep should be all over this.”


In some cases, marketers shouldn’t confine their efforts to the 65-plus man. Especially for health-related products, marketers might consider targeting the people around him. “If you’re trying to get somebody on Lipitor, talk to his wife or his children,” Refinery’s Yurchak suggests. “One approach for a product like that, is, ‘Here’s what you can do to help somebody you love do something about a particular condition.’ Nobody’s really trying that right now.”


Eons’ Natansohn mentions tools that have proven popular among visitors to her site, and wonders why so few activities have been crafted for this audience. “Our book club is on its second book and a group of people are trying to organize a cruise together,” she notes. “Whoever says [older men and women] aren’t ready to be engaged with a range of tools and activities probably hasn’t spoken directly with them.”


Yurchak agrees, adding that longer pitches resonate with this audience, if for no other reason than they have the time to peruse them thoroughly. “The slicker the pitch, the less impact it will have,” he says.


There’s no shortage of gaffes made by clumsy marketers clinging to outdated perceptions about 65-plus men. On the creative/tactical front, Yurchak warns against overusing rich media and Flash technologies. “Older people generally find them difficult to use,” he says. “Older men are three or four years behind in terms of what they’re comfortable with,” he explains.


Smaller mistakes can doom a company with this audience as well. “Never, ever call them seniors,” says Furlong. Adds Yurchak, “Don’t use milestone events as part of your creative. Some people don’t want to admit they’ve aged and the milestone events remind them.” Natansohn warns, “Don’t try to be relevant through nostalgia. There are more important things in their present-day lives.”


As for the best places to reach older men, marketers shouldn’t get too adventurous with their media buys. Financial sites, especially The Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance, resonate with this audience, as do news, weather, and travel sites.


Larry Dobrow ( is a Contributing Writer. 



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Behind the Numbers: Marketers Look to Emerging Media

Behind the Numbers: Marketers Look to Emerging Media

by Jeff Ramminger, February 2007 issue

Blogs, podcasts, wikis, and online video are key sources of unfiltered data

The last time you looked for insight about a product or service, how did you go about finding that information? Traditionally, business-to-business technology buyers looked at their favorite magazine, perused a Web site, or talked to their colleagues. Media buyers and advertisers would then make decisions on where to invest based on data that showed where the highest concentration of buyers could be found. The rising popularity of emerging media is turning this traditional scenario on its ear.

Blogs, podcasts, wikis, and online video were once resources relied upon by relatively few early adopter B2B types. No more. Acceptance is rapidly growing and the emerging media trend is creating a situation where consumers drive the marketers. Emerging media provide an opportunity for marketers to receive unsolicited, unfiltered insight on how a product or service is perceived, increase the reach of marketing content, and provide a new way to break through the clutter to gain exposure to customers in a meaningful way. KnowledgeStorm and Universal McCann examined the impact of emerging media on B2B technology buyers through “The Emerging Media Series,” a string of studies developed from more than 13,000 responses to surveys in ’06.

A key consideration in the validity of emerging media’s influence is whether it’s perceived as affecting the decision-making process. The studies found that to be the case. Online video had the greatest impact, with 57 percent of respondents saying it influenced purchasing decisions. Blogs and wikis were also highly rated, coming in at 53 percent and 52 percent respectively. In the podcast study, 27 percent of respondents said podcasts influenced their purchasing decisions. B2B podcasts are expected to increase as more are produced and become available. This is likely to raise the number of buyers frequenting this medium.

In addition to the ability of a medium to shape opinions and preference, another consideration is the frequency of exposure to the medium. Emerging media rated well in this respect, too. Unlike traditional media, the “blogosphere” and universe of podcast, wiki, and online video content is dynamic and in a constant state of change. Again, online video leads, with 63 percent of respondents viewing video at least once a week. More than half (51 percent) of respondents visited blogs at least once a week, 50 percent visited wikis at least once a week, and 13 percent of respondents claimed to listen to podcasts “frequently.”

Not only do you want your targets to get your message, but you want them to spread the word. The survey found that 70 percent of respondents pass along wikis and 76 percent share content from online videos. Part of this can be attributed to the value and credibility assigned to emerging media content. Ninety-six percent of respondents “gave value” to online video and wiki content. Blogs were rated “equally or more credible” than traditional media by 57 percent of survey respondents.

The bottom line is that emerging media is gaining ground in terms of capturing attention and establishing credibility with buyers. They provide additional options for buyers to gather information and give marketers a highly targeted means to gain visibility, and ideally, preference with customers and prospects.


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Visa Business Breakthrough


Business Breakthrough, a joint venture between Visa and MSN, chose five businesses from across the nation, each with a problem in a specific area (finance, technology, marketing, organization, and teambuilding). MSN/Visa then matched an expert with each business. Linda Pinson, owner of Out of Your Mind...and Into the Marketplace™, was selected as the financial expert.

Linda Pinson, along with key MSN and Visa people, was flown to Indianapolis where she worked with the owners of her assigned business, The Baker's Edge, to identify areas of financial concern and define solutions to these concerns. MSN and Visa then awarded The Baker's Edge with products and services to help implement the strategies that Linda Pinson recommended.

Videotapes of Linda Pinson's visit with The Baker's Edge are available for viewing on the Business Breakthrough website. Once at the Business Breakthrough website, move your mouse over the blue menu near the bottom of the page, then select "Finance" or "The Baker's Edge" to view the videos.


(created by AKQA)



Cross-Media Case Study: Dear Visa

by Christine Champagne, February 2007 issue

How Visa used video case studies to give free-of-charge advice to small-business owners

Like many small-business owners, Matt Griffin, president and CEO of Baker’s Edge, excelled in most aspects of running his company, but struggled in one key area — bookkeeping. In fact, Griffin says, finances were a “train wreck” at his Indianapolis-based company that sells baking pans designed to distribute heat evenly. That is, until he won a consultation with a financial expert, courtesy of Visa.

The contest was sponsored by Visa as part of its Business Breakthrough campaign. And Griffin’s consultation with financial expert Linda Pinson was turned into a video case study that can be seen on Visa’s msn-hosted microsite Business Breakthrough, Presented by Visa (

Griffin’s is actually one of five two-part video case studies featured on the site, which was launched in October 2006. In the first part of each case study, viewers are introduced to the small business, with an expert coming in to identify an efficiency deficit in one of five areas: finance, marketing, team building, organization, or technology. The second part of the video case study finds the expert offering solutions and helping the small-business owner implement them.

Part of a larger Business Breakthrough campaign that over the past year has included print, radio, and TV elements, the online effort furthers Visa’s objective “to show how the Visa business credit card helps small-business owners become more efficient,” says Jon Raj, vice president of online advertising and emerging media platforms, Visa USA.

Visa defines the small-business segment as firms with less than $25 million in annual sales and fewer than 100 employees. However, the Business Breakthrough site is specifically targeted to small businesses with only one to five employees. According to Visa, roughly three-quarters of the 23 million small businesses operating in the U.S. are one-person ventures.

Business 101

A “live” host, who appears on various animated backgrounds, serves as an emcee of sorts on the Business Breakthrough microsite, introducing each of the video case studies, which are the focal point of this straightforward, uncluttered site. “It was very important for us to keep this focused on the business lessons,” Raj says, noting, “We are talking about efficiency, so we wanted to make sure this site didn’t become a hodgepodge of small-business information.”

Those interested in more details on the Visa business credit card can click on a link that will take them to Visa’s small-business site. Small-business owners who would like to be the subjects of future video case studies can follow a link to enter an ongoing Business Breakthrough contest.

Why were video case studies the primary means chosen to communicate with visitors? Laura Schuler, account director at Visa’s online agency AKQA, explains: “We wanted to create a place that was going to give information in a way that was really going to be meaningful and helpful and interesting to the target, and what we have found in talking with small-business owners over the years is that no matter what industry they are in, they’re always looking to find out ways other people are solving the same kinds of problems they have.”

Case in point: Griffin, who says he gets all of his business-related information and guidance from the Web, has taken the time to watch not only his own but the other Business Breakthrough video case studies. He was inspired by one to rethink how Baker’s Edge packages its product. “We’re working on new box art now as a result,” Griffin reports.

While Griffin had inside knowledge of the site, other small-business owners are driven to it through an exclusively online media plan. The plan makes use of  banner ads, video ads, and pre-roll promoting the site and the ongoing contest on portals including MSN, AOL, and Yahoo; the sites of business magazines such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Smart Money, BusinessWeek, and Crain’s New York Business; and more consumer-oriented sites such as, where small-business owners buy supplies. Word of mouth is also a driver, as visitors to the Business Breakthrough site are encouraged to e-mail links to their favorite video case studies to associates.

Search is not a part of the online media effort (AKQA does not handle search for Visa), yet organically Business Breakthrough does come up either on the top or high up on search engines such as Yahoo and Google.

Having msn host Business Breakthrough has undoubtedly been beneficial in terms of traffic flow — the site was on target to snare 2 million visitors by the end of last year. “If we were to have just created this site on our own, it could have been a terrific site, but to get so much traffic to it without a media partner probably would have been very expensive and very challenging,” Raj says.

Ask Visa

So how does Visa’s Business Breakthrough site rate compared to the Web initiatives of competitors such as American Express and PayPal? According to Sonal Gandhi, small- and medium-sized business analyst with JupiterResearch, the dispensing of advice is quite common among financial-services companies attempting to reach small-business owners. For example, Intuit offers guidance on how to start a business via a microsite (

But Visa’s delivery stands out from the pack. “I think what Visa is doing with Business Breakthrough is interesting because it is advice [delivered through] video. That can be engaging because they are taking a real-life example, and they’re walking you through it,” Gandhi says.

The use of video is particularly effective given Visa’s target of small-business owners with only one to five employees, she adds. “Not only do they watch video more than consumers and bigger small businesses, they are also more eager to participate in contests and such,” Gandhi points out.

In fact, according to recent JupiterResearch statistics, 30 percent of smaller small-business owners have viewed video online as compared with 22 percent of consumers and 19 percent of owners of businesses employing 6 to 100 employees. To drive traffic to its site, Visa might have done well to incorporate more offline efforts into its media plan. “Content like this is most beneficial when you can drive a lot of traffic to the site, because not everybody participates. Testing advertising on TV and in magazines may not be a bad idea,” Gandhi advises.

Smart Move

Meanwhile, Matt Griffin’s experience with Business Breakthrough is ongoing. “It wasn’t a one-time only deal,” Griffin says of his consultation with Linda Pinson. “We’re still working with Linda.”

Among the most valuable recommendations she has made thus far was urging Griffin to not only sell his Baker’s Edge baking pans wholesale to small boutiques but to get a merchant account and sell his products directly to the public to capture more of the revenue.

Griffin was hesitant to take the leap, but Pinson talked him through the process and helped him set it up. “As a result, we’ll probably be in the black this year,” Griffin boasts. “We may actually pay off all of our business loans as a result of that one step.”





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