Television Commercials Aren’t Dead. They’ve Just Gone New Places. Amazing New Places…

Remember this spot for Cheerios? It first aired this past month and due solely to its casting of an interracial couple, incensed a disturbing number of bigot trolls, whose inflammatory comments forced General Mills to shut down comments on their YouTube page (but, admirably, not back down and pull the spot–way to be, General…).

It’s nothing more than a TV commercial. The same kind we’ve been watching for decades. The same kind certain pundits have deemed dead in today’s interactive age.

Television is far from dead. The numbers prove we watch more of it than ever. And as this spot demonstrates, no other medium has the breadth of reach or emotional impact of moving pictures and sound. No, while television may be many things, it is certainly not dead.

That said, television has definitely been transformed, mostly by the participatory web. A tiny but vocal smattering of racists attacked this sweet, simple story, using the coward’s cloak of online anonymity even as millions of people reacted normally, with emotions running the gamut from delight to benign neglect.

But those prejudicial attacks spurred another small but vocal group—Michael David Murphy and Alyson West from Atlanta, Georgia–who decided it was time to answer that ugliness with a showcase for love and family. They created a Tumblr  called “We Are The 15 Percent”: a reference to the 2008 census which noted that interracial couples make up 14.9% of all marriages in the United States. Michael and Alyson’s blog invites interracial couples and families to send in their photos as a counterpoint to this sort of idiotic bile. In just a few short weeks, they already have over 2500 submissions. And with national coverage from outlets like MSNBC, those numbers should continue to swell.

The photos are beautiful. The movement is affirming. The reach of television empowered by Web 2.0 is a marvelous thing to behold.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

You Can Waste A Ton of Time In Sixty Seconds…

On Monday, MSNBC’s Technolog posted the graphic below which outlines exactly what happens out there on that World Wide Web every blessed minute of the day…on average of course.  Even a casual perusal can be kind of mind blowing: Google answers nearly 700,000 search queries, which is roughly the same number of status updates posted on Facebook each minute.  Over 168 million emails are sent, 20,000 new posts go up on Tumblr and over 13,000 hours of music stream over Pandora.  And beyond the limits of minutes, over 110 new pictures posted to Flickr every second!

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

Of course, things really get crazy when you convert these minutes to full days.  Or god forbid, actual years.  Do the math on YouTube video uploads: if there are over twenty-five hours of video added every minute, that means there are over 1,500 hours each hour and a whopping 36,000 hours every day, which equates to well over four years worth of video. Every day.  Good luck keeping up with that.

Thanks to the ease of content generation, the explosion of social sharing and the basic premise of Web 2.0, content isn’t just King, it’s exponentially ubiquitous.  Or some other expression that means really, really freaking massive.

Damn internet, you scary big!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Twitter, Google, FOX & MSNBC Killed Payola

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79Yesterday, Twitter released their year-end ranking of top trends, with an overall ranking plus separate lists for News Events, People, Movies, Sports, Technology, Television, World Cup and Hashtags.  From a pop culture/sociology perspective, it all makes for rather interesting perusal.

However, as a number of news sources point out, in the movies ranking, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” ranks as #3.  And yet, this Michael Cera film was far from a box office sensation, earning a total of $31.5 million despite a production budget of $60 million.  In other words, it  bombed.

Yet there it sits at #3.  Why?  Because “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, much like Twitter’s #4 ranking “Despicable Me” was a ‘promoted’ trend.  The studio invested in Twitter as a media partner, leveraging the microblogging sites word of mouth audience reach, much like the #1 top trending Television show, the MTV Video Music Awards.

Much like the competitor’s outcry this past weekend over Google’s purported favoritism in what is positioned as their organic search results, this kind of blatant advertiser influence further pushes any attempt at editorial neutrality further and further into irrelevancy.  In a world where we pick our news organizations based on their clearly expressed editorial viewpoints, this kind of incremental subjectivity doesn’t come as any scandalous surprise but still, it strips another veneer of at least attempted objectivity from our culture.

And slaps it on a Top Ten list.  Apparently in a culture war, shame dies first…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79