media brands

News Team, Assemble: Yahoo Anchors Ad Aspirations to Katie Couric and Staff

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 25, 2013 05:03 PM

It’s a bold move for Marissa Mayer—and a big bet on video—as the Yahoo CEO confirmed today that TV news mainstay Katie Couric will be joining Yahoo as its "global news anchor." 

“I’ve always respected Katie for her thoughtful, charismatic approach to journalism,” Mayer wrote on Tumblr. “From pivotal coverage of natural disasters and historic elections to the Royal Wedding and the Olympic Games, groundbreaking interviews with heads of state and leading tastemakers, her experience is unmatched. Katie is dynamic, savvy and has a way of connecting with viewers that I really admire.”

It’s no secret that things for Katie on her eponymous ABC talk fest have not panned out as either had hoped, but the former co-anchor of NBC's Today show and first female anchor of the CBS Evening News brings the perfect complement of skills, awareness and style to the search giant as consumers continue to migrate to the Internet for TV-style reporting and programming.

Couric will tape features for the Yahoo homepage, but will continue to host her syndicated daytime talk show, Katie. Couric joins a carefully procured team of journalists that have come together over the last several months, including Editor-in-Chief Megan Liberman, former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, and designated political analyst Matt Bai.Continue reading...

brand aspiration

Goldie Blox Builds Dream Scenario with Viral Video, Shot At Super Bowl

Posted by Dale Buss on November 22, 2013 06:12 PM

The founder of Goldie Blox may be writing a dream script for a startup, one that already includes an idea with traction, a madly viral video, and high-profile nod in the New York Times—and an effort that could very well culminate in a Super Bowl commercial on February 2.

One of the videos that Goldie Blox has posted on its YouTube channel since its inception two years ago has gotten skyrocketing views, over 7 million so far, according to It shows young girls in stereotypical pink princess outfits suddenly breaking out of character to grab a tool kit, goggles and hard hats, constructing things with Goldie Blox building-block toys.

"Girls to build the spaceship / Girls to code the new app / Girls to grow up knowing / They can engineer that," the video hums, adapting an old Beastie Boys song. "It's OK to be a princess," Goldie Blox Founder and CEO Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University mechanical-engineering graduate, told the New York Times. "We just think girls can build their own castles too."Continue reading...

traveling brands

Air New Zealand Takes Passengers on an Epic Journey to Middle-Earth

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 22, 2013 05:31 PM

If Bilbo Baggins needed to ever take flight in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, he would have to be strapped to the side of a dragon or fell beast. Little did he know that he could have just bought himself a ticket on Air New Zealand.

The second film of the three-part Hobbit series, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will premiere on Dec. 2 and Air New Zealand is working overtime to make sure its picturesque homebase benefits from the epic film. While six fans wil get to attend the movie premiere and two others will go on a special "Middle Earth Experience," everyone else will have to settle for the airline's awesome promotional video, “Just Another Day in Middle Earth."

The video features Air New Zealand employees who show a certain side of themselves by the video’s end. The tagline? “Middle-earth is closer than you think.”Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Aereo Finds New Enemies in NFL, MLB as Web-TV Fight Continues

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 01:49 PM

Add the NFL and MLB to the list of TV-related brands that are threatening to jump ship if upstart web-TV service Aereo infiltrates broadcasting any further. 

The pair filed a "Friend of the Court" brief last week, AllThingsD reports, making known that if the court rules in favor of Aereo, both organizations will remove their product from free, broadcast TV and move it to cable. That means no Super Bowl or World Series unless you pay for a cable package. 

The brief was filed in the ongoing case in which the Supreme Court is trying to determine whether Aereo's services, which are backed by IAC's Barry Diller, are legal. CBS, ABC, Fox and other major networks have spoken out against the service, which allows consumers to stream live TV to their computers and mobile devices by capturing TV signals via small antennas for a miniscule monthly fee—one that doesn't benefit broadcast networks.Continue reading...

corporate citizenship

Toyota Emphasizes Safety, Responsibility in New Driving Campaign for Teens

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 18, 2013 07:52 PM

Toyota has launched a new campaign to bring attention to teen drivers' most dangerous year on the road—their first. 

TeenDrive365 emphasizes the importance of parents talking to their teens about the "dangers from distracted driving," Marjorie Schussel, corporate marketing director for Toyota, told Advertising Age. "We as parents need to be models for our children." Schussel cited a national study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that found that parents "are the No. 1 influence" on what kind of driver their teens will be.

According to the National Safety Council, a teen driver's risk of a crash is three times greater than that of a more-experienced driver; drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to crash as those using hands-free devices; and more teens die in car crashes than from homicides and suicides combined.Continue reading...

viral buzz

Van Damme Stands Tall—and Wide—In Slick Stunt on Viral Volvo Video

Posted by Dale Buss on November 18, 2013 06:49 PM

The Muscles from Brussels has gotten plenty a movie workout with his martial-arts legerdemain. But seldom has Jean-Claude Van Damme had so many people see one of his physical feats of flexibility and strength so quickly as in the new ad for Volvo Truck's steering technology. At least 27 million people and rising have seen Volvo's new online-only ad in less than a week.

In the spot, Van Damme straddles the space between two Volvo trucks moving side by side and backward only by resting his feet on a side mirror of each truck. The stunt is meant to demonstrate the equilibrium and precision and reliability of the brand's new dynamic-steering system, as Van Damme "stands," all spread out, for what seems like interminable seconds in the video.

Yes, Van Damme ultimately was secured from a grisly accident by thin safety wires that aren't visible in the video. Van Damme’s feet aren’t lashed to the mirrors, video director Andreas Nilsson told the Wall Street Journal, "but we had him rigged so that if he would fall off he wouldn’t die obviously. We didn’t want to be responsible for killing the Muscles from Brussels.”Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Comcast Raises Netflix, Amazon with Plan to Sell Movies for Streaming Through Set-Top Box

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 15, 2013 11:47 AM

Cord cutters have made the last 12 months the worst ever for cable-TV subscriber retention, the Los Angeles Times reports. Perhaps that’s part of the reason that one of America’s largest cable operators is getting in on the streaming-video movement. After all, DVD sales have been falling while sales of streaming films and television programs increased 45 percent in the third quarter.

Comcast “plans to start selling movies for download and streaming through the cable operator's set-top boxes and its Xfinity TV website,” Reuters reports. By year’s end, Comcast's 20 million subscribers will be able to purchase movies and content that they can watch on their TV, computer, or mobile device. This differs from Comcast’s current on-demand offerings, which only allow viewers to "rent" a selection to watch during a set time window.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

The New Netflix Looks Like TV, Works Like TV, and Hopes to Take Over TV

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 13, 2013 05:16 PM

Netflix has finally fixed its fragmentation problem by implementing a new interface for its TV-based service that better melds Netflix's vast library with intuitive viewer preferences.

"In [the old] Netflix experience, we give you all this stuff," said Chris Jaffe, VP product innovation, according to The Verge. "But the question we don’t answer for you is 'Why should you watch this title?'" 

So Netflix now markets content much like television, rather than lining up an indiscriminate batch of on screen choices. The company has made visual and search changes since 2011, but this recent round of changes is described by The Verge as “like parking your TV on a glossy, high-end station that’s programmed just for you.”Continue reading...

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