HBO Stymies YouTube

29580918 LA Times reports that shortly after the De La Hoya - Mayweather fight several videos of the match showed up on YouTube.  The footage was quickly pulled, accompanied by a note stating that the video was "no longer available due to a copyright claim by Home Box Office Inc."

Copyright issues aside, what caught my attention was the following ...

"Interest, however, seemed to be somewhat tepid. Although the YouTube video that seemed to have been culled from a foreign feed drew several thousand hits, the relatively high-quality reproduction of HBO's broadcast drew, at best, a few hundred hits per round.

In contrast, a video clip purporting to be from the fight — which showed a scantily clad woman dancing to rap music with explicit language — drew nearly 200,000 hits."

The fight was, by most accounts, terribly boring [unfortunately I was one of the millions who spent $55 on the PPV].  Perhaps word of the less-than-exciting action has already spread?  Perhaps people simply prefer scantily clad women and rap music to boxing?  Who knows ...

Overhyped Will Ferrell Video

I’m going to say something that, based on what I’ve seen in the blogosphere, is not going to be popular:  The Will Ferrell “Landlord” video is not THAT funny. It’s funny, but I bet Ferrell himself would be surprised at being held up as a comic genius for this piece when his body of work includes Celebrity Jeopardy, Old School, The “Dear Lord Baby Jesus” scene in Talladega Nights [see clip below], etc.

I have a few theories [not mutually exclusive] on why it has caught on like wildfire:

  1. We are experiencing a serious comedy drought. What do I base this on?  Cut-rate "college humor" comics [name withheld as it violates my policy of slamming people who have not personally wronged me]; SNL [since Ferrell left]; Chappell’s leave-of-absence; etc. The public is thirsty for anything even remotely amusing.
  2. Being Will Ferrell matters.  This guy has a track-record of success, and our default assumption is that anything he does will be funny.  If this video were made by "Cut-Rate College Humor Comic" would it even come close in terms of popularity?
  3. The vast majority of original content on sites like Youtube just isn’t great unless you are seeking something very specific [e.g. kitesurfing in San Fran].  Some of it is good.  But not yet great.
  4. The mainstream media needs to attach a known personality to the user-generated-content story. Ferrell is just the guy [even though he's not your average "user"].

I think what we should celebrate is not the actual content, but rather the intent.  Ferrell has put himself out there like few celebs are willing to, and for that I applaud him!  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy "The Landlord," I'm just pretty sure his best is yet to come.

The Landord:


Scene From Talladega Nights:


To DVR or not to DVR


Since I've my wife had my our son my television consumption has gone way down.  I rarely, if ever, get to watch a show in real time.  I DVR Heroes, 24, The Office and The Sopranos.  Anything else I watch is totally serendipitous.  But for some reason I'm very optimistic that Henry will be asleep by 8pm tonight, allowing me to watch either 24 or Heroes live.  So what to do?  I was leaning towards 24 until I turned on my computer this morning and signed in to My Yahoo.  Throughout the entire day I've been greeted with a banner counting down the time until tonight's Heroes episode.  And it worked -- I've decided to watch it and DVR 24.  Who cares?  Well I'm guessing that the advertisers who paid for spots during Heroes probably care quite a bit.

Sopranos Remix

Big round of applause to Paul Gulyas for putting together this 7 minute refresher on the entire life of The Sopranos.  I'm sure a lot of these videos were made 5-10 years ago, it's just that there was no way to distribute them.  It's a great example of passionate fans marketing to their peer groups.  I wouldn't be surprised [but have no knowledge on] if HBO actually provided the raw footage for these kinds of mash-ups.  If they're not, they should.  Call it viral, word-of-mouth, whatever ...

Now someone needs to do one for 24!

Bands & Brands

Someone sent me this article from The Hollywood Reporter which talks about how developing bands are increasingly turning to alternative promotional vehicles to get their music heard above the din.  I'm pretty surprised that this article needs to be written in 2007 [note: I'm not commenting on the quality of the writing, but rather that the subject matter is still considered newsworthy].

On what do I base my surprise?  The excerpt below is from a business plan I wrote in 2003.  And certainly there must have been others thinking this way well before that.  So my question is, how has the evolution of thinking on this topic only progressed a minuscule amount in a 4 year period???

In my words from 2003 ...

The right brand associated with the right up-and-coming band can be an incredibly powerful promotional vehicle for both parties. Now is the time to take advantage of opportunities in the music industry.

Up-and-coming artists are attractive because they are ...

... Authentic – Popularity hasn’t peaked, and consumers want to be a part of the “discovery” process

... Affordable – Less $ than a superstar act.

... Available – They need your support


The equation is simple ...

[declining record sales from established acts] + [increased clutter] = [shrinking support for developing bands]


[brands with a renewed interest in leveraging music to reach their consumers]


Culture of Cruelty

'Culture of Cruelty' is a term that I had never heard before watching Meet the Press this past weekend.  The context of the discussion is the recent events surrounding Don Imus.  But I think the discussion has much broader implications.  I applaud Tim Russert for putting together a stunning panel [especially considering Russert's close ties to Imus and his show]; and bravo to the guests for engaging in an intelligent, civilized and insightful discussion on the topic.  The clip below is just a few minutes long, but I encourage you to seek out the entire segment.  I think this entire episode will reverberate throughout the marketing community for a long time to come.  Very thoughtful.


Geico Caveman

Caveman_1_2A lot of attention paid to Duncan Watts' piece in NY Times Sunday Magazine [Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage?].  Rightfully so as it's an interesting read.  But I was struck by an article in the same magazine by Rob Walker [Pop-Culture Evolution] which talks about ABC developing a sitcom based on Geico's Neanderthal pitch-men.

What struck me most was this statement referring to the tremendous online conversation the Geico campaign has spawned:

"... it makes you wonder about the routine claims that nobody pays attention to advertising anymore. In fact, what the caveman ads really reveal is just how potent a form advertising can be ..."

As Mark Twain once said, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."  And to some extent I feel that way about certain advertising vehicles.  So I'm not surprised that the cavemen have generated online [and offline discussions]. But I would have added a key word to Walker's statement [take your choice from those in red bold]:

"... it makes you wonder about the routine claims that nobody pays attention to advertising anymore.  In fact, what the caveman ads really reveal is just how potent a form GOOD/SMART/UNEXPECTED/CLEVER advertising can be ..."

Gordon Ramsay

070402_r16061_p233_2 Entertaining read in The New Yorker about chef Gordon Ramsay.  Article can be found here.  Ramsay is the perfect ying to the saccharine yang of the current Food Network stars [Giada, Ray, Emeril, etc.].  A ruthlessly shrewd and savvy marketer -- Ramsay could school MBA students on the finer points of strategy, positioning and branding.  But he would be nothing without his talent in the kitchen. 

Image is surely important but true talent is the root of success [editor's note:  To draw a parallel to the music business ... there's a reason why Justin Timberlake, Pink and Avril Lavigne have found sustained success while many of their contemporaries have faded into obscurity].