Posts tagged ‘Google’

There was never much doubt that Viacom’s $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against YouTube would fail. Most legal and media observers predicted a result not unlike the one handed down today by a federal judge who granted summary judgment for the Google-owned video-sharing site. Basically the judge said copyright-protected clips uploaded by YouTube users are protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as long as YouTube takes down the clips when copyright-holders ask.

Even if it didn’t surprise, the ruling is still still sort of a symbolic moment that, if Viacom and other big content companies interpret it correctly, could lead them out of a Luddite frame of mind that has no room for a realistic understanding of how content is consumed and distributed today.

Here’s what needs to come next:

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The maturation of the digital news business hasn’t been kind to the Associated Press. In addition to fighting a pointless battle with Google over the distribution of AP articles in its news channel and taking potshots at aggregators, the iconic news association has been dumped by CNN, as the network pushes its own newswire offering. On top of those strategic missteps it’s obvious the world has passed by a service that, not long ago, was indispensable to journalism.

In 2010, it’s pretty clear that the real associated press is comprised of thousands of strong credible voices breaking news and doing sharp analysis on any topic you can name — not a vast network of expensive reporters churning generic content and a revenue model based on overcharging for the privilege of distributing that content. Finally, there’s a service out there that recognizes that fact and is set to help get those voices more eyeballs, especially those eyeballs that are still glued to the proverbial fish wrapper, all while reducing costs for newspaper publisher.

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Nike’s “Write the Future” ad reminded me of something the vivacious magazine publisher Felix Dennis said in the mid-nineties about the then ad-bloated issues of the revenue-producing beast InStyle magazine. He called it the last roar of the T-Rex before the dinosaurs became extinct.

I’m not saying that either magazines or video ads are going to die, partly because that’s simply not the case and partly because it’s the wrong argument to make. But with so few strong brand-building commercials to watch these days, it is easy to imagine that this expansive and expensive commercial from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam and director Alejandro Iñarritu is an endangered species. Name me one other ad of its quality since Google trotted out its simple, but beautiful little Parisian love story during the Super Bowl back in February?

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My dog walker has become the latest weapon in the escalating search engine marketing wars.

Since I first met Rodney Dorival, owner of Big Paws Little Claws, I’ve thought he could just be the next Cesar Milan. He’s amazing with dogs, erudite, unfailingly charming, drives an immaculate, celeb-ready ’68 Buick Skylark that he restored himself, and as you can see from the photo he looks like the linebacker who gets the brand endorsement work (the arms come in handy for keeping my skateboard-chewing Rottweiler under control.) So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Microsoft also saw his potential and recently decided to turn Rodney and his staff into a marketing channel, wandering the streets of New York in T-shirts emblazoned with the Bing logo and search box.

I’m pretty skeptical about ambient media. When I was working for Ad Age I was frequently bombarded by press releases from people who thought that their network of hubcap-cum-tea trays or toilet seats that double as frisbees, were the perfect branding medium, and I tend to think this stuff is just commercial clutter best avoided by brands. But for Bing, Rodney’s crew seems a smart choice.

Sean Carver, director of brand entertainment for Bing, explains why he did the deal: “Dog walkers make constant decisions about where to go, and get asked for directions and help all the time too. They’re also inherently expert on their local areas, and we wanted to stress that one of our strongest feature is the ability to find what you want locally. We’re trying to humanize search, to put the person in the middle.” And, as Rodney himself points out, “we’re walking billboards surrounded by dogs that people want to stop and pet, what could be better. I’ve always used Bing’s visual search to research my clients’ pets, so Microsoft seemed like a natural partner.”

PR maestro Keith Estabrook who represents Rodney (yes, my dog walker has a publicist, the same publicist as Lebron James!), connected him with Microsoft, and has helped them get some nice earned media on the back of the sponsorship with Rodney appearing in the New York Times and on CBS’ Early Show, sporting his Bing t-shirt. Bing is now planning to sponsor dog walkers in Chicago and San Francisco, and is also working on a map app that’ll help people find their local dog parks.

Of course there’s a bigger story behind this, in the shape of an escalating marketing battle between the search engines.

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