Come On Down to South Park and…find Sponsored Content?

Who would have thought that “Sponsored Advertising” and ” South Park” could have been listed in the same sentence? Certainly not seriously, anyway.

Matt Stone & Trey Parker, creators, writers and voices of the 16 year-old Comedy Centre cartoon program are known for breaking boundaries, poking fun of popular, politics, the media and essentially anything of current public relevance. They have their own set of rules they follow, and usually it doesn’t involve heavy marketing.

Yet, in last weeks special, the eighth episode of season nineteen proved that the two creators’ genius writing with multi-layered references took a new approach to deal with current issues and subjects.

This episode, titled “Sponsored Content” continued to deal with what the 21st Century public deems ‘politically correct’ and what is unacceptable in todays society. Using humour to tell an ongoing story (a new tactic for the shows creators most recently introduced in the previous season) the characters unravel a deeper connection to Online Advertising.

The episode made some interesting points based on how online news stories compare from the age of newspapers to online content. To experience the hilarity, check out the video below. (Coarse language after 1:15).

It’s always interesting to absorb media with forms that are both comedic and intellectually informative. South Park has been doing it for years, while sometimes crossing certain boundaries for some, but the underlaying story being told is essentially what most of us are thinking or can relate to you in some way. After all, isn’t that what advertisements are supposed to do for us?

Content Marketing: Podcasting

This week in my IMC program there was an overarching theme for some of the more recent ways to market content: Podcasts. Using this form of new media as a tool to reach audiences in a more direct and consumer-controlled outlet, podcasts have become a favourite system for patrons to consume content.

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Podcasts are one of the new forms of recorded audio for fans to consume content on topics they enjoy, hearing reviews from trusted sources, and enjoying conversations between celebrities, musicians, politicians and other individuals. The conversations had between select individuals can be revealing, compelling, thrilling and even terrifying in some circumstances. Podcasts, like recorded music content, can play host to multiple types of genres, appealing to all kinds of listeners.

The amazing idea behind recording podcasts is that creators can expose content on a platform without rules; content without boundaries to speak freely. Some examples of a few of the podcasts that I follow are Marc Maron WTF Podcast, The Pointless Podcast with Kevin Pereira, The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, The Monday Morning Podcast with Bill Burr and countless others. Most of the content I am drawn towards involves some take on humour, sprinkled with real talk from individuals with similar lives and stories to be shared. It’s this sort of content that interests me due to its relate-ability.

Within this 21st Century multi-media audience, we’re able to obtain content in many unique ways. Podcasts seem to be a convenient form of absorbing information during commutes, cooking or simple daily tasks. Due to the large spectrum of genres available to listeners, Podcasts are the trending place to enjoy unique content and entertainment, and I will continue to be supporter and regular listener for podcasts, and all their humour and insight offered.

Controller Toggled Advertisements

Microsoft. Sony. Nintendo.

What do these three companies have to do with one another?

Answer: Gaming!

Gaming has become one of the most profitable areas of entertainment, alongside theatre going experiences and public amusement parks. Xbox (a product division of Microsoft) had a 27 percent sales increase (up from 51 percent year-to-year sales increase) in 2015 so far. The Playstation 4 (a product of Sony’s) has a total lifetime sales value of 25.3 million, as reported in July of this year. As for Nintendo, their sales may not be as high as in previous years, but its company can last for another 50 years, reports say, without any profitable income. It was difficult for Nintendo’s WiiU console (competing alongside Xbox One and PS4), but with the launch of both its competitors models, the hype for the WiiU rose.

The hype that is generated around gaming and new gaming consoles is directly related to how well these new consoles depict features through gameplay, reactions, and early user reviews. Most importantly is how well the reception for new games to be released are received by fans and gamers. In order to gain proper exposure, and attract the right target audiences, game developers must create the most enticing game trailers. One of Xbox One’s exclusives series, Halo, released the following trailer for their newest addition.

In addition to Halo 5, Xbox One teased many other of their hits with this trailer, which was intended to generate hype for Halo and other console favourites.

In addition to videos being shown to hundreds of thousands of viewers, gaming developers and software companies like the big three discussed here use their platforms to entice current users to purchase new, upcoming and exciting games by displaying their ads within home console screens.

It’s quite clear that using mixtures of live action as well as real game play is the most useful tool at grabbing the attention of gamers. To shine light on the excitement created from gaming trailers, a fellow student in my IMC program decided to create a parody of the excitement and hype around gaming trailers. Our trailer, in particular, pokes fun at celebrity appearances in live action game trailers, or even seeing a celebrity “out of character” playing an upcoming game.

Enjoy our take on game play trailers below.

After thinking about how game development companies are attracting users by producing different kind of game-type trailers, we’re left developing our own internal hype for what these advertisements can evolve to for future releases on home entertainment systems.

Uprising: New Age of Music

Kickstarter. Indiegogo. GoFundMe. Crowdrise.

These are all platforms we have become more familiar with. Over the past 4 years we’ve witnessed hundreds of companies, artists, and sometimes even false users of the sites to misuse its original idea: to help support, share, and connect communities and people from all over the world in order to unite over one goal.

Most recently, we’ve seen musicians and artists connect with fans over subscription based services, and just like the crowdfunding site ‘Indiegogo’, perks are being offered to those who subscribe. Also, like most new platforms, users are always equally split down the middle. People either love it and are excited of the prospect to connect further with their influences, while other people feel that these artists are asking for too much and the return is not worth the money.

About a year ago I blogged about one of my favourite bands, Protest The Hero, after achieving their goal of $125,00 on a Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for their newest album. Now, in 2015, PTH has partnered with Bandcamp to release a subscription based service. This new service allows members who sign up to receive a new recorded song once a month, as well as to get access to instrumental sheet music, lyrics, photos, and even 6 part video documentary within the second of two tiers offered to fans.

On a personal level, I loved this idea. Marketing a service, and art form, to dedicated fans such as myself; the fans who actually appreciate, care and support the decisions the influential artists are making in light of their caring fans. On the other hand, I can also understand the skepticism of other listeners and followers of new and innovative ideas. People fear new, unexplored areas. They want others to take the risk, make reviews, and spend money before they spend their own cash on new products or services.

The most interesting piece with this new area of exploration is the steps the band is taking to connect with their fans on a very intimate level. This what the hardcore fans love and always want more.

What I’m most excited for is what to look for when other areas of the music industry begin adapting innovative ways of connecting with their fans. Whats more, is that artists are also beginning to take control of their content in order to share it how they see fit.

I only hope that I have the privilege of being apart of the changes taking place in the music industry and that I can share my thoughts and views on these subjects, as well.

For now, I’ll continue letting the record spin while keeping my eye open for updates on subscription based services.

Extra Emotional

Ad Vertere.

This is a Latin word which means “to turn toward”. In english it is translated to “advertisement” or simply “advertise”. Looking to its latin definition makes how we, as a society, understand and interrupt advertising in unique ways. Marketing teams work to create advertisements that are specifically geared towards gender, age, culture, family roles, ect. or in other words, they create enticing ads we can “turn toward” and relate to.

In more recent examples companies have created ads with stories, more emotional themes that viewers can relate to. This first example, from Extra Gum, displays heartwarming themes, which tell stories. In one ad we learn the story of a young couple, whom we follow through early times when they first begin dating, through college years, distance apart, owning their first home, starting a family.

The second ad shows the close relationship between a young daughter and her father, and how their relationship grows and matures. What both these ads produce in such genius ways are these individuals’ connections to Extra Gum. Both ads display scenes of characters connecting over sharing a stick of Extra Gum.

At the end of each ad, time rewinds to each time the relationship was brought closer together through sharing a piece of the brands’ gum. Of course, life isn’t truly as simple as making connections over sharing simples things such as a stick of gum, but the ads do suggest this connection, implementing an idea of needing Extra Gum in order to establish relationships with loved ones.

It is advertisements such as this that create the deepest impact on consumers as it develops a very stronger connection with potential buyers, alluring individuals to purchase a product, and it also strengthens the relationship with current buyers of a product or service.

Nowadays, marketing teams need to create ads like these in order for consumers to pay attention. If an ad fails to capture the consumers’ attention, than it is company money wasted.

Seeing emotions within advertising themes seems to be working, and thus we will likely see more and more ads take this approach.

*Ring, Ring* It’s Breakfast Time

Well, it’s here; the opportunity everyone has been waiting for. Please remain calm.

Praise the breakfast god, because waffles, eggs and bacon has been introduced to Taco Bell!

Taco Bell Breakfast

Sarcasm aside, though, Taco Bell has come up with an interesting new way to market the launch of the menu products.

The way in which the fast food restaurant is targeting consumers is inventive, while somewhat intrusive and, for lack of a better word, clingy. I mention this new tactic in a peculiar way because Taco Bell has decided to send 1000 “lucky” a Breakfast Phone. What’s a Breakfast Phone you ask? Glad you asked.

Taco Bell has taken it upon themselves to create an exclusive consumer incentive by mailing out these phones to give the chosen individuals first-hand notifications of the release date(s) of when the new A.M. menu will be introduced. It seems that these phones (Samsung T404G devices) are being used as a test market objective to see how the public reacts to such a drastic, and extensive, addition to the variety of processed foods offered to an already unhealthy menu.

I discuss a lot of “innovation” during my marketing blog posts, but apart from the odd advertising techniques Taco Bell seems to be using, this is by far my favourite. I believe it to be an extremely effective form of product positioning to introduce new means of advertising products and services; people pay attention to unique, and sometimes obscure, controversial ads.

It’ll be interesting to see how this advertising campaign plays out, and how effective the public catches onto this new fast food product line.

Spritz Wants To Teach You How To Read

Spritz Logo

Reading With Spritz. What does this phrase mean for the future of literature and how the next younger generation might learn to read by a different means than a more traditional way of the past.

The average person reads roughly 250 words per minute. This might sound like a larger number than can actually be achieved by reading often. Although, with the technological advances that Spritz’s lightening-fast app production has been working on for the past three years we may be able to read up 600 words per minute.

Wow. This seems virtually impossible. Unless you own a Samsung smartphone with the Spritz application downloaded to your phone.As Spritz is currently only offering the downloadable content on Samsung cellular devices, it’s not apparent if the app will become available on other smartphones in the near future.

About Spritz

Not to worry, though. With the fast growing app becoming a worldwide trending topic, it’s likely to expand to iPhone and Android smartphones. What this means for the future of technology, and even more, the future of learning is that a huge milestone is about to hit.

Or so we hope.

The technology behind Spritz is revolutionary. With literacy enthusiasts claiming that the ever increasing process of technology is ruining the way the younger generation learns how to read and write, Spritz is helping to prove this theory wrong. It is the intention of Spritz to create a better, faster way for people to read.

I have tried taking the theory to the test myself, and the results were frighteningly unbelievable. Within minutes after training my eyes to read faster and faster I was noticing an alarmingly increased rate to the words per minute my brain was able retain.

Most recently Spritz has been featured at the latest Samsung expo that was displaying the new Samsung S5 and Gear2, in which the Spritz app was displayed on the new Samsung tech. Further to this press, Spritz has mostly been an exclusive word-of-mouth and shared information between social media platforms. With the millions of users between numerous platforms, the Spritz website, where the test to train your eye can be completed, has been passed around rapidly in just under a week.

The future of technology is always interesting to watch as it is always growing and changing, and with the new introduction of Spritz, the way in which future generations interpret literature in amazing ways.

Here is a further account into the true technology of Spritz and how to increase your level of reading:  http://www.spritzinc.com/the-science/