Archive for the ‘Sports & Entertainment’ Category

With Teasers, Live-Action Spots, Web Films, Pepsi Partnership, Can Microsoft Top Franchise’s Past Success?

NEW YORK ( — Three-hundred-million dollars in first-week sales, two Cannes Grand Prix and “advertising” that took the form of a traveling museum exhibit. That’s what Microsoft’s Xbox got for its last marketing blowout for the “Halo” video-game franchise. With the latest installment out in September, how in the extraterrestrial world is it going to beat that?

After teaser shots, the marketing for “Halo: Reach,” the fourth release in the franchise, will ramp up this week. It will be the biggest game campaign from Microsoft in the marketer’s history, said Michael Stout, global product manager for Xbox. There will also be a robot.

More than 34 million 'Halo' games have been sold since 2001.
More than 34 million ‘Halo’ games have been sold since 2001.

Xbox is launching a website today through which users can manipulate a real-life robot in an undisclosed San Francisco warehouse to build a monument out of lasers for this game’s protagonist Noble Team.

Independent digital agency AKQA handled the interactive component, while Interpublic Group of Cos.’ AgencyTwoFifteen handled strategy and video. Both agencies were involved with the previous “Halo 3” campaign, which swept 2008 ad awards shows, including two top prizes at the Cannes Adverting Festival. (get the rest of the story)


Shared links have a longer shelf life on Facebook than Twitter, and Buzzfeed sends more traffic through re-shares than direct clicks. That’s two of the things my agency learned when we launched a stealth social-media experiment through a site we created called Jerzify Yourself.

Jerzify Yourself was created in January of this year, a week after the season one finale of the popular MTV show “Jersey Shore” that attracted an audience of 4.8 million. The site, written in a few days in Flash, allows users to upload their headshot onto a stylized body and morph themselves into a Jersey Shore “Guido” or “Guidette.” Or as New York’s Village Voice put it: “The gist is Snooki-grade simple: upload a medium-size jpg, scale the image to fit, choose your spray-tan shade, pick your pose — and holy Freckles McGee, you’re magically recast as a human meatball.”

Why did we do this? To evaluate the power of social media and spreadable content. As an experiment, Jerzify Yourself was highly successful in adding the much needed texture to our knowledge of how content gets passed along online. One obvious caveat here is that the observations below are based on a single experiment, so please treat them as such and not as some kind of immutable laws. That said, we hope our findings will add a new angle to the collective thinking behind online content dissemination.

Here are five social-media learnings that grabbed our attention:

1. The Invisible Impact. If you find yourself measuring the value of referral sources for your campaign, consider their total impact via re-shares in addition to the direct traffic they send your way. Counting only the direct clicks from any site is likely to underestimate the site’s total value; five out of six sites on our top referrers list sent almost as much traffic through re-shares as through direct clicks. It would make for an interesting follow-up experiment to see if this difference holds up for paid campaigns as well as for “organic” content. If it does, and this difference is measured, it would have important implications on how we plan media buys.

2. If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Half-dead. Dr. Henry Jenkins once made this now-famous remark about the destiny of content in the age of social media: “If It Doesn’t Spread, It’s Dead.” Having looked at the data, we can now say with a degree of confidence that you’ll still get viewers if your link gets picked up by major online publications, but content that’s designed to be spreadable can nearly double the referred traffic through re-shares. (get the other three here)

Brands, publishers reap  rewards as mobile traffic
Adidas, one of the official sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, has turned to mobile advertising

The biggest brands in the world are taking advantage of the huge surge in mobile traffic driven by soccer fanatics seeking coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Across all digital platforms—online, mobile, social media, fantasy, games and digital audio—ESPN is dedicating a full month of 24/7 news, analysis, commentary and interactivity around the world’s biggest sporting event. ESPN sold out its entire mobile inventory before the first World Cup match had even been played, with brands such as Anheuser-Busch, adidas, Sony, EA, Cisco, Hyundai and AT&T targeting soccer fans across ESPN’s mobile Web site, applications, SMS alerts and mobile television.

“You can’t overstate how big of an event the World Cup is on a global basis, and ESPN set this as a priority last June—it’s been a real focus of the company along with mobile,” said John Zehr, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at ESPN, Bristol, CT.

(get the rest of the story)

As nearly every person on the planet knows, the World Cup kicks off tomorrow. Given that the world of online video has a tendency to reflect our global society’s collective consciousness, it is no surprise that there has already been plenty pre-game excitement across the web’s video destinations.

Here at Visible Measures, we have been tracking the constellation of brand-driven online video ads related to the world’s largest sporting event. Some have already landed on Ad Age’s Top 10 Viral Video Ads Chart, while others have comparatively fallen flat. To give you a preview of some of the top ads you might see over the next month, we took a look at five of the most-viewed online video ads associated with the World Cup thus far.

No. 5: Puma: Love=Football | 535,000 views

Puma’s “Love Equals Football” campaign is a celebration of the sport in Africa, set to the tune of Gnarl Barkley’s “Going On.” The most-viewed spot for the campaign cuts between scenes of kids playing street soccer and the joy and insanity leading up to the big event. Fans paint themselves in preparation of a game, a young man dribbles a ball through a crowded market, and children play in a makeshift field inside an abandoned pool. For fans of the games, standout moments include a young boy’s slack-jawed expression at an older player’s in-stride rainbow kick, as well as the reckless post-game celebration of dozens of fans inside, outside, and on top of a moving truck. Suffice to say, “Love Equals Football” is a feel-good campaign for the game of soccer. It has so far racked up over half a million views since its launch in March.

(get the other four videos)

CHICAGO ( — Addressing investors earlier this month, Nike VP-Brand and Category Management Trevor Edwards declared that the marketer’s TV creative for June’s World Cup was “among the best we’ve ever done,” no small statement from a company renowned as a master of the form.

Now we get to see if he was right.

Nike began making the Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam spot available today. The three-minute epic, dubbed “Write the Future,” was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu (“21 Grams,” “Babel”) and stars soccer luminaries such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Landon Donovan and Ronaldinho, and also features cameos from the likes of Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer and Homer Simpson.

The spot chronicles how individual moments in World Cup play can ripple globally. And, of course, it does that without actually mentioning the World Cup, as Nike — despite its numerous team and player sponsorships — is not an official sponsor of the tournament. (Rival Adidas is.)

Fans can sign up to view the ad at Nike’s soccer Facebook and web pages later today, but you can see it here now.

Is Mr. Edwards right?

You tell us. (check out the video here)

The 2010 World Cup FIFA event is still a month away but Social Media marketing strategies involving Facebook and Twitter are already popular. Strategies that include the use of Facebook sites to connect fans on global and regional levels and Twitter accounts to provide updates on the preliminary news and action. Not even the 2010 Winter Olympics received this kind of global Social Media attention a month before the opening ceremony.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for three key reasons. Football (a.k.a “Soccer” in North America) is the number one participatory sport in approximately 75% of the world. The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event on the face of the earth. And this will be the first World Cup since the explosive growth of Social Media marketing. So with this knowledge we ventured the Internet to locate the most popular and relevant 2010 World Cup sites on Facebook and Twitter. From a Social Media marketing case study perspective as well a pure fan point of view.


The World Cup is scheduled to kick off on June 11, 2010 but fans are already flocking to Facebook to participate in festivities and get daily updates about this global “social” event in advance of the 32 team competition. After researching a multitude of regional, national and global Facebook accounts we found one that encompasses the best of all of them:

We based this choice on the following observations:

A wall containing real time global RSS News Feeds – Outbound links to news articles, videos and intriguing stories – Over 30,000 Fans and growing daily without the benefit of direct marketing.

(get the rest of the story)

Red Raider head football coach Tommy Tuberville talked to reporters after Monday’s spring practice about how social networking Web sites have been changing the landscape of college football.

“It’s changed the face of what everybody does,” he said. “There’s a lot of information out there.
One thing we want to make our players understand is that everybody reads what they put on, because they read what everyone else puts on it. Of course we’ve got to take control of it, but I think it’s great.

“It’s the thing of the future for all of us. It really helps us in recruiting and I bet you’ll see some changes in terms of recruiting with Facebook .”

(check out the rest of the story)

NEW YORK ( — Magazines and newspapers aren’t the only media eying big benefits upon the iPad’s arrival: TV is poised to use the device in new ways, including creating interactive, social apps designed to be used while watching live programming.

MTV Networks, for example, is developing a “co-browsing app meant to be used while watching live TV,” said one executive familiar with MTV’s iPad plans. “This means the iPad could be the appendage that makes interactive TV a reality.”

Kristin Frank, general manager of MTV and VH1 Digital, said MTV is focusing on two approaches to its apps, whether for mobile or the iPad: co-viewing apps that capture the social-media chatter around TV and awards shows and apps for video on the go. IPad apps for “Beavis and Butt-Head,” “MTV News” and “VH1 To Go” are all due in April, she said. (check out the rest of the story)

NEW YORK ( — The World Cup may not be a big deal for most U.S. sports fans, but for the barely developed science of cross-platform media measurement, it could turn into the biggest event ever.

ESPN said the ultimate goal of the World Cup research is to create  a system to measure cross-media audiences year-round by 2012.

ESPN said the ultimate goal of the World Cup research is to create a system to measure cross-media audiences year-round by 2012.

In one of the most ambitious efforts yet to measure all media consumption and some of the attendant impact from a single sporting event, ESPN has assembled four research companies and the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative for an exhaustive look at the FIFA World Cup South Africa in June.

NBC recently commissioned its own ambitious look at TV, internet and mobile viewership of the recent Winter Olympics, but the ESPN XP initiative at least rivals that effort and includes a number of research firsts. It will, for example, commission the first commercial use of Nielsen’s electronic mobile panel, which passively collects mobile media usage such as video stops and starts. (check out the rest of the story)

A lesson to all Olympic alternates out there: Leave your cell phone on when it’s time for your race.

German speedskater Patrick Beckert missed out on a chance to compete in the Olympics because his cell phone was turned off prior to the start of Wednesday’s 1,000m competition. Officials were trying to contact the 19-year old, who was the fourth alternate in the race. (see the rest)