Twitter Shapes Advertising

Forbes has an article, Twitter Moms Sink Motrin Ad, covering the recent events in which general outrage among mothers on Twitter caused Johnson & Johnson to pull its advertising campaign about using Motrin to treat pains from carrying babies.

Twitter Bird Image from Twitter.comWould the backlash have gained such momentum so quickly without Twitter? The speed with which news and opinions travel is astonishing to marketers who are unfamiliar with the micro-blogging space. What are people saying about your brand on twitter? Try out search.twitter.com and subscribe to an RSS feed that updates whenever a new tweet matches your search query.

Keeping tabs on your brand on twitter and responding, especially when people have a complaint, is a great, inexpensive way to interact directly with your audience and manage their perception of you.

Stop Prop 8 Ads from being served in Adsense

Vote No on Prop 8 Image from HBC4511Several websites have reported unwanted advertising from Google Adsense from the “Yes On 8” campaign supporting the banning of gay marriage in CA.

Here is the quick fix to make sure this doesn’t happen on your site:

  1. Log into Adsense
  2. Click “AdSense Setup”, then “Competitive Ad Filter”
  3. In the appropriate text box, add “protectmarriage.com” to the list of disallowed domains.

That’s it. Your account should not serve any more ads from the “Yes On 8” campaign. There are however, other campaigns that could still place advertising on Prop 8. You can add more domains to the competitive ad filter in the same way. If you know of more pro Prop 8 domains using AdSense, lets us know in the comments.

Now go vote!

Musical Road

Ok, now this is cool. A road in Lancaster, CA has had grooves cut into it that cause car’s tires to play the William Tell Overture as they drive over it. CNET has the full story.

This is apparently part of a marketing campaign for the Honda Civic, and the road is tuned to play best for a Civic’s tires. The best part is that this isn’t even unique. There are other “singing roads” in Japan and South Korea. The one in Lancaster is being paved over due to complaints from neighbors. You would complain too if you had to listen, over and over, to a section of the William Tell Overture that sounded like this:

Encoding music into a road is a clever idea, despite the low fidelity. It certainly gets my attention. What other creative outlets for music have you seen?

Women on the Web: Who’s Leading Who?

Image by Mike Licht

Image by Mike Licht

Woman to Woman, Online, yesterday’s business section cover story, explores trends on websites targeted at women. The article notes the ways in which content and advertising have begun to run together, especially on blogs that feature fashion, decorating and style advice.

Companies are finally catching on that you can draw in potential shoppers by using interactive patterns that are native to the web: Viral videos, user-generated content, quizzes, memes and polling. But why do women gravitate toward all these blogs about clothes and apartments and boyfriends – and not to, say, women’s political blogs?

Lauren Zalaznick has an absolutely creepy answer:

“Time and time again, women are happy to see their relationship with their food, their clothes and their relationships externally manifested in entertainment and how-to content,” said Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal’s women and lifestyle entertainment networks, including iVillage.

Women are “happy?” A few dozen feminist bloggers would say no. . . The article misses out on something HUGE about women on the web: There is no information about how many women get their political news from blogs that don’t specifically target women. Just because women’s political news sites don’t find a large audience doesn’t mean women aren’t interested in political news (or science news, or business news). But what Yahoo “Shine” defines as “women’s news” might not match up with what women actually find to be relevant to their lives.

I took myself off of a prominent women’s news list because I felt the subjects of the articles were too narrow in scope. I happen to find many types of stories interesting: A story about advances in prostate cancer treatment might not have anything to do with “women’s” news – but I might find it interesting because I happen to like science.

Zalaznick also ignores the way that media influences and changes women’s expectations about their own lives. The media often leads or labels trends in how we consume products, and how we relate to each other, by incorporating them into entertainment (think of the rise of the phrase “he’s just not that into you”). Then, bloggers often parrot these trends right back to the media (say, on a your livejournal the day after a breakup).

On television, advertisers have about 20 seconds to sell a single product. On the web, companies can create immersion experiences that sell a full-blown lifestyle. Web advertising can occur 24 hours a day, and can be integrated with almost any web experience. It’s scary to think how often our expectations about relationships (with lovers, family members, friends) are influenced by a corporate conception of how we are supposed to live.