daily Insight

(Affordably) Pretty Little Liars

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Do you love Pretty Little Liars as much as we do? Maybe it’s the drama, the mystery, the intrigue, but maybe – just maybe – its love of character fashions. With New York Fashion Week in full swing, we can’t help but notice how much thought PLL costume designer Mandi Lane brings to the show — crafting individual styles so recognizable, you can tell a characters’ identity even from back shots. PLL fashions are attainable, too, incorporating a mix of affordable brands like Forever21, Wet Seal, and Rebecca Minkoff, and high end brands like Free People and Rachel Roy. If  Sex and the City and Gossip Girl put fashion on the map, then maybe Pretty Little Liars will keep it there with looks that teens, tweens, and adults can aspire towards.

Name that content!

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Some things never change – Converse All-Stars, the height of the Empire State Building, and TV being the center of the entertainment universe. Oh, wait.

Over the last few, fast years, we’ve had our traditional language go fogey on us. Our notion of a “store” or of “radio” has changed with the digital times. Then, it was TV’s turn.

Change began in the spring of 2009 with gentle drizzles: A teen told us she never watched TV, and then proceeded to describe, in detail, every episode of “That 70s Show” and “Gossip Girl.” Clearly she watched TV content, but not on the traditional set top box. At all.

Within a year, streaming had swelled to a downpour. For teens and young adults, streaming to ones’ laptop became the day-to-day norm, and watching on an actual TV was more and more reserved for family time or social events. Next came mobile streaming, and with that, not coincidentally, we stopped being shocked to see a 10-year-old receive an iPhone for his birthday. Finally, in 2011, we saw cable TV increasingly going the way of the land line. Families were cancelling their subscriptions. Recent college grads didn’t even bother with it.

We have yet to come up with a consumer-friendly word for “content originally produced for TV but screened all over the place.” Perhaps it’s too late to create one, now that there is also plenty of “content originally produced for all over the place.”

So what does this mean for us, the esteemed community of media professionals? We see two near-term calls to action:

1.      Create more programming that keeps the anytime, any screen mentality in mind.

This programming would not have to fit exact time limitations, and instead could cater to different occasions and need states throughout the day, like: “I need 2-minutes of thought-provoking high art to get that annoying Katy Perry song out of my head,” or, “I need a 98-minute distraction while I wait in line at The Shake Shack.”

 2.      Name the new thing that is content for the new era.

While “content originally produced for all over the place” is a relatively accurate turn of phrase, it rolls off the tongue like a brick. We may do well to think of it this way: “I produce ________.” Come on, creative cronies, help us out here!

Paranormal Blast from the Past

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Suit up your proton pack cuz’ the Ghostbusters are back in town!

The third installment of the franchise will begin filming next summer,but here at the Insight office (where the original firehouse is conveniently 2blocks away!), we’re killing time and encasing ghosts with the new Ghostbusterapp, “Paranormal Blast.” Through augmented reality, the app lets users become Ghostbusters in their own communities. Since Ghostbuster glory days in the mid-80s, the franchise has connected fans of all ages. Today, through new media and the haunting sense of nostalgia, the brand is again making hearts gush green with ectoplasmic goo. We think it’s a love that’s both super and natural.ghostbusters

Screen Capture

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The days of getting a smack on the wrist when you didn’t give something your full attention are long gone! Second screening, third screening, quadra-screening (we can keep on counting!) is a behavior that’s more evident in our media lifestyles than ever before. So, what does this mean for brands and advertisers? Some experts hypothesize that multi-screening deepens our emotional investment with content, while others claim it has a negative effect on advertising (if you’ve ever played Angry Birds during a commercial break, you know what we mean!). But still, if multi-screening is your goal as a brand, it’s not always so easy to attain. Sitcom formats, for example, have less translatable content than say, reality TV. As brands and advertisers try to crack the multi-screen nut, our team will continue to have our eye on this fascinating multi-tasking phenomenon.



Facebook Got Their 1,000,000,000 User

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Did Facebook just sit in it, big time? The first and only advertisement from the social giant has people wondering if it has any legs to stand on. The ad has two focal messages: 1) Facebook connects people like anything else, so don’t hate, and 2) Facebook is as common sense and necessary as the chair. But, it seems like those abstract ideas never fully connect – and frankly, the analogy is so basic that we wonder if the usually forward-thinking Zuckerberg should consider carpentry as his next career move.




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If you’ve been watching this season’s NFL, you might have noticed more defense than usual. After some negotiation fumbles with the NFL Referee Association, the NFL’s regular referees were benched for replacement stand-ins. Some fans, players, and coaches are disgruntled at some questionable calls that they feel jeopardize the integrity of the game. Here at Insight, we got to thinking. Are shows (including football games) responsible for maintaining a certain level of programming? It’s something to consider, as the Las Vegas line continues to calibrate to this change.



Model Technology

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Never before has technology been so svelte, stylish, and designer – but, that’s because it’s being adorned by Diane Von Furstenberg’s models on the New York Fashion Week runway. Google Glass, the eyewear that lets you take pictures, send messages, and perform other functions via voice-activated commands, was the latest fashion to hit fashions’ main stage. But, does being seen as a fashion accessory diminish the technological value of Google Glass? Are the glasses even stylish to begin with? We’ll all have to wait to weigh our opinions tomorrow, when the “look” transcends into content, and the models’ Google Glass experience is posted on the DVF Google Plus page.


Samsung Draws the Line on Waiting in Line

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It seems that Romney and Obama aren’t the only mud slingers in the media arena these days. If you’re an iPhone user, you might have felt dissed when Samsung hurled a negative ad campaign towards Apple’s iPhone 5 consumers who waited in line for the latest, and questionably, the greatest technology. Does this kind of negative campaign breed action or apathy? As the world waits for the smart phone that can kill the iPhone, it seems that tech companies are trying everything (including slamming consumers!) to let their voices be heard. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57516072-37/samsung-slams-iphone-5-linegoers-in-new-attack-ad/


They shoot, but do they score?

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Imagine playing a game on your iPad or iPhone only to find out you’re actually playing a game within a game.

No, this isn’t the Inception app. It’s what happened when many Draw Something users saw their illustrations posted to an official NHL Pinterest board under the tag #DrawNHL.

Draw Something is the latest app craze for doodling wordsmiths. It’s a social networking game intended for multiple players where users guess the word their opponent illustrates – however crude their smudgy finger prints may be! The sports behemoth launched a hockey playoff awareness campaign by purchasing words related to their brand, like “puck,” “Zamboni,” and “slap shot.” By publicizing these images on Pinterest, the NHL unknowingly shone a light on Draw Something’s business model. And some users ended up feeling played.

This kind of marketing indicates a larger industry trend, one where advertisers aiming at Millennials prioritize buzz and awareness over banner clicks. This makes sense, given that Crowd Service reports that Millennials are less likely to click on ads than any other age group. In their survey, of those who chose not to click, 17% cited “don’t trust ads to be truthful” as their reason.

So did the NHL take its social media initiative too far? Is it wrong for Draw Something to sell their words to advertisers? Does this model invade the user experience, or merely influence it?

The new savviness of consumers has forced marketers to get creative. In Draw Something’s case, they are betting that the typical user is so immersed in popular culture references, they don’t realize they’re being served branded content. But could the plan backfire and lead to trust erosion? Certainly in our research we have heard comments like: “I’m not stupid. I hate it when companies don’t give me credit for being as smart as I am.”

Draw Something may already be experiencing negative repercussions. WebMediaBrands, a site that monitors Facebook usage and tracks Draw Something when users sign in via their Facebook account, states that between April and May, the active Draw Something user headcount fell from 14.3 million to 10.4 million.

Clearly, this is an innovative approach to marketing to the next generation of savvy app users, but the outcome is uncertain if the user experience is compromised.

Tell us what you think, and don’t worry; you won’t find your comments on a Pin board.

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