tech in the spotlight

Google+ Looks to Build Consumer Base with Helpouts

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2013 07:37 PM

Everybody needs a helping hand at one time or another, and Google is hoping to extend its own. 

One of its latest ventures, Google Helpout, allows Google+ users to find one-on-one help via Google Hangout thanks to more than 1,000 specialists that have been vetted by Google. The service, which ranges from free to up to $1 per minute, gives Google a 20 percent cut of the Helpout fees. 

The program’s first ad features a lonely Santa who needs sewing and baking help as he prepares for his responsibilities without Mrs. Claus or any elves aiding him.Continue reading...

social commerce

Best Buy Engages with Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers Via Google Hangout

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 18, 2013 11:52 AM

In the race for last-minute holiday retails sales, Best Buy took the social route, teaming up with Google to host a Google+ hangout Tuesday night. The effort came just one week after the retailer launched its +Post Ads.  

The Hangout, which included tech gurus from YouTube, and Best Buy manager Dan Duvalian—the guy in the blue employee shirt in the company's commercial—offered a menu of products that correlated with the ongoing conversation. Users that RSVP'd for the Hangout were able to comment and ask the panel questions via the #UltimateShowroom hashtag. 

"It’s a fun, new and creative way for us to interact with our customers," said Best Buy spokeswoman Carly Morris. "We know tech products are on so many wish lists this year, and by working with Google, we get to literally 'hang out' with our customers to talk about these products and give advice on what tech gifts to give this year."Continue reading...

web watch

Corporate Websites: Dead or Alive?

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 9, 2013 04:03 PM

“The corporate website is dead and 'press release PR' is on its way out,” proclaimed Coca-Cola last month, as they unleashed their story-driven new website, Coca-Cola Unbottled, that mirrors “a modern election campaign…Every day you have a choice of what to read and what to drink. Every day is election day, and our team will be here - working hard to get your vote.”

As content once again surfaces as king in the battle for audience and ad dollars in the digital cornucopia of Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Flipboard, brands are jockeying for position and advantage with increased social across the Internet landscape – and corporate websites are the new calling card.

Story + search + syndication is the latest Holy Grail as brands strive to deliver currency, entertainment and connection and the best websites are evolving to ersatz publishing models more akin to The New York Times, USA Today or the Huffington Post than traditional push, PR engines. Continue reading...

digital moves

Flickr Takes a Step Back to Offer Users a More Tangible Photo Experience

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2013 02:52 PM

Flickr, a pioneer in photo sharing, is taking a step backwards from its digital-only existence and introducing physical Flickr photo books, which consumers can create on the site. 

Acquired by Yahoo in 2005, the service languished as competition to be the repository of users’ online photos heated up with Facebook, Google+ and Dropbox entering the fray. “Flickr was once awesome,... now we want it to be awesome again," Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said after assuming the role last year. 

Earlier this year, Mayer instituted a visual overhaul of the site, and now the addition of photo books will allow Flickr, which reaches 89 million people that have contributed over 8 billion photos, to better compete with multi-faceted platforms like Shutterfly. “We’re working hard to make Flickr great again,” Flickr VP Tom Hughes assured.Continue reading...


NESCAFE Refreshes Dolce Gusto Brand With "Live With Gusto" Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 11, 2013 11:26 AM

Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, NESCAFÉ has something to crow about indeed as it’s the most popular coffee brand in the world, with more than 4,500 cups consumed every second.

The Nestle-owned brand has "regained momentum" this year and in Europe is outperforming the market, according to CEO Paul Bulcke, commenting on on sales over the last nine months. It's now turning to NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto with a refreshed visual identity and new tagline, “Live With Gusto,” to celebrate its line of single-serve coffee machines now sold in more than 60 countries.

The multimillion-dollar campaign includes print and online ads, an infomercial with new ambassador, Mario Lopez, a website refresh, and social media engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus, all showcasing "#DolceGusto" as a lifestyle choice.Continue reading...

media brands

Fusion Woos Millennial Latinos Through Their First Language: Social Media

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 4, 2013 11:02 AM

Spanish-language media giant Univision and Disney/ABC Television launched their joint venture, Fusion, last week—an English language cable channel that targets Millennial Latinos. 

Univision has traditionally eschewed English-language programming, but as demographics shift from an aging population of foreign-born, Spanish-dominant Hispanics to US-born Latinos that have grown up speaking English, traditional Spanish programming fails to resonate, especially with younger viewers. That group, which watches over 26 hours of linear TV weekly and is very active on social media is Fusion's bread and butter. 

"We are winking at Hispanic, it is not overtly Hispanic," Catherine Sullivan, SVP of ad sales for ABC News, told Ad Age. "If you are not Hispanic, you won't feel like the network isn't for me."

It’s a crowded field already, with El Rey launching soon, Mun2, which was acquired by Telemundo in 2001, and Nuvo TV. And marketers that have struck out trying to target younger age groups through traditional Spanish-language networks are salivating at the new opportunities that Fusion and others are creating. "The millennial Latino is not being served by telenovelas, soccer—this isn't relevant to most millennials," Nuvo TV CEO Michael Schwimmer said.Continue reading...

social media

Twitter Pumps Up In-Stream Media for More Engaging Feed, Ad Dollars

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 30, 2013 08:02 PM

Prepping for its IPO, and staying abreast of competitors Facebook and Google+, Twitter debuted a new feed chock-full of media with click-less previews of photos and video, broadening the appeal of the microblogger—especially for advertisers.

It’s the biggest change to Twitter since its 2011 overhaul. Tweets still show up chronologically, most recent first, but those containing photos or Vine videos will be automatically previewed.

“Starting today, timelines on Twitter will be more visual and more engaging: previews of Twitter photos and videos from Vine will be front and center in tweets,” blogged Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP product. “To see more of the photo or play the video, just tap.”

If this change goes over well with users, automatic previews of other links including articles, web pages or images and videos from outside sites (Google’s YouTube) could follow soon.Continue reading...

social media watch

Google+ Ups Its Image Game to Entice More Users

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 30, 2013 11:31 AM

After two years of a less-than-impressive existence, Google is shining some much needed light on Google+, announcing 18 new features including updates to Hangouts and new tools for photo-buffs. Most impressive though, was the fact that the site now claims over 540 million active users who upload 1.5 billion photos per week. 

It’s the search giant’s latest move to compete with and differentiate its social network from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and others. 

"We want to be more than just a lightweight sharing service. We want to be the archive of your life," said Bradley Horowitz, Google+ VP Product Management.

To that end, Video Hangouts now include SMS so users can share via text, supports animated GIFs, and offers a one-click geo-location feature that adds a user's location to a message using Google Maps. Video Hangouts now appear in full-screen HD and a new suite of creative tools lets users change and focus the view while chatting in black and white, or use "Spotlight" to make the speaker the primary focus.Continue reading...

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