So What’s Next?

I’ve learned a lot this semester on media conversion, the history of media and the current state of digital media. But I’ll be honest- the future of digital media is both foreign and slightly scary to me. I am ashamed to admit this, but I didn’t even fully understand what a drone was until earlier this year.  I thought both the 2pac and Michael Jackson Holograms were shameless marketing (and tacky at that), and the movie “Her” with an artificially intelligent robot that starts to “learn” feelings seemed downright ridiculous to me.

Is the future of digital media holograms of dead artists and pizza delivered by drone? I hope not. My hope is that the future involves us being able to interact better with our world. Much like conversion, but even better. Instead of there being an “Internet of Things”, it would be the digitization of more of life’s conveniences. But how would that work? I think Microsoft has a great concept of “the future” from their 2013 concept video portraying what 2020 could look like. Do I believe this vision is just 5 years away? No. But then again, we are so close to the Jetson’s self driving car and Google Glass’ virtual reality, perhaps we are closer to this vision than I think. Imagine if instead of carrying credit cards, licenses, bills- we just had one card that we could add information to. Imagine if that card was more like an ipad screen than a card? (Or we could just get microchips under our skin that allowed us to continually add to them, but that could get tricky with upgrades). And what if utilizing that same card you could make phone calls, read books and watch TV? What if you truly could track your child’s every move while seeing what they are seeing live? Wouldn’t that make everyone feel more secure? Or might it cause abuse of the system?

The future looks bright, but it also looks scary. I am sure at the onset of aviation, some one out there wondered “What if some one used a plane to knock down a building?” Well. Unfortunately, we now all know it could happen. But for 100 years in aviation history, it wasn’t an issue.  Abuse of the system, negligence and misconduct are often the risks we take for innovation. The fact is that the more unsavory minds will Always find a way to misallocate otherwise wonderful technological developments. And so with the future of multimedia, my hope is that the government learns how to control it better than they have thus far.  Because cyber crimes and child pornography are just two of hundreds of new issues we have now that conversion has become mass. I invite you to watch the video below and speculate on which areas we might be closest to.


The Perfect Guy…but not so perfect Product Placement

This weekend, I had the rare free moment (or shall I say stolen moment) to do a matinee with some friends. We were eager to see the movie, “The Perfect Guy”, which features a couple of our favorite leading men.

I’ve always been fairly observant of things such as product placement in the seemingly off topic and innocuous fillers prior to the movie. Of course, there are the obvious commercials as well. Still, every now and then a product placement within the actual film is too obvious to ignore.
As I feel I have become a much better media critic, I found myself noticing the not so obvious placements, and wow- there were a lot! So without further ado, here is the list of things I noticed. I will rate them as Obvious, Extremely Obvious and Almost Seamless. The goal for any good advertiser is Almost Seamless placement. This means that the product is seen and remembered but doesn’t at all feel like an ad. That’s not easy to accomplish, but hey- that’s the job, right?
  1. The movie opens over a skyline of some imaginary city- I’m guessing Los Angeles, and what do we see? A CBRE building (Also a former client of mine, so hard to miss). KPMG’s building is also featured but less prominently. I’d say if it weren’t for the fact that I have worked with both brands in a professional capacity, I would never have noticed. Almost Seamless
  2. The main female character, Leah, drives a Cadillac XTS Sedan that is featured VERY prominently throughout the movie. They flash that Cadillac grill every chance they can get. Which makes this product placement Extremely Obvious.
  3. The character starts to receive stalking phone calls from her ex. We constantly see a close up of her phone. It is a Sony Experia Z3. I’m going to say this one is Almost Seamless, but it may be because I had to look up the type of phone it was.
  4. At a bar, Leah orders a martini. She name checks and asks for a “Belvedere Martini”. I’d say that was pretty good marketing. Unless you are a heavy vodka drinker like me (I’m not going to NOT notice a reference to a vodka Brand), you would only vaguely realize they used a specific brand. But knowledge of vodka probably covers 85% of adults in New York city, making this one fairly Obvious.
  5. The Crazy Character drives an amazing, beautiful, gorgeous 1968 Dodge Charger Muscle Car. If you have ever seen the Stephen King movie “Sometimes They Come Back”, the villain drives a 1955 Chevrolet One-Fifty. The car was like it’s own character- a key feature and extention of the villain’s character. The “Perfect Guy” emulates this model by making the Charger an accomplice in the thrilling antics of Leah’s crazy ex. As a consumer (and car junkie, clearly), I had to look online to see what one would cost. Well done Dodge. Getting me to think about your muscle cars (no matter how old) is half the battle. Maybe I’ll reconsider thinking that the new Chargers are for drug dealers and twenty year old boys. This one was Almost Seamless.
  6. The crazy guy also has a Sony Laptop. As a matter of fact, all of the laptops in the movie are Sony. Not sure if most people pay attention to the laptops on programs they watch but the tech geek in me does. I’m guessing it was a Vaio (in laptops, does Sony make anything else?). Keep in mind, this is a Sony Picture. I’m sure every ounce of technology in that film was Sony. Making it even more Extremely Obvious product placement.
I can imagine there were TONS more, but those were the ones I caught. It’s a bit weird how media classes taint your movie going experience. Good work professor! *side eye*

How do our “Things” translate to data?

Often, I find myself actually interested in the topics we discuss during class. Yes- this is equally surprising to me as it is to you. I was never an “engaged” student. I pretty much went to school because it was a check box in the manual of “How to be successful in Life” that my parents and others had drilled into me. Finish high school, check. Don’t go to jail, check. Don’t eat too much cholesterol or sugar, ehhh semi check. Go to college, check. Finish college, done. Get a decent paying job…well better late than never & Check! Nothing in the manual said anything about being Interested in college. That wasn’t a requirement. So it’s always equal parts shocking and amazing when we discuss things that are interesting AND Actually have relevance to real life. Welcome to Grad school. Who knew?

But I digress. The first time the concept of “The internet of things” was brought up, it sounded more like a catchy tag line than an actual “Thing”. Turns out- it is a “Thing”. It’s pretty much everything in our lives that has an IP address. And that happens to be more things than you think. In my house the list is quite large. My TV, PS4, Xbox, Cell phones, Amazon Echo, Apple TV, Kindle, Ipad, Scale, Treadmill and even my dog’s collar have IP addresses. Yes- they all send data to the internet. And all of these “things” are sending data to the internet that is about ME. Whether it’s my BMI, my dog’s activity level and coordinates, what I read last, which movie I watched or who I last communicated with. Google alone has pretty much an entire diary of my life. I’ll never forget the first time I was looking at my Google cards and there was one that told me where I had parked. I never asked for this! But Google knows things. And Google uses what it knows to market to help me. Between Amazon and Google, they could put together an entire  profile of who I am, what I look like, what I like to do, where I spend my time and the list goes on.  Because I am some one who has a lot of “Things” connected to the internet, so they are able to collect an enormous amount of data about me.

As some one that not only hated statistics in college but barely made it out of 7th AND 11th grade math, it is a bit of dichotomy that I find data so interesting. Today I got a random notification on my cell phone telling me that I needed to leave at 9:45am to get to Clinton street in Hackensack, NJ by 10:30am. Google noticed that every 2 weeks I show up at this address at about 10:30am. It’s for my UNDOCUMENTED hair appointment. Well played. Instead of being offended, upset or at least feel slightly violated by Amazon and Google’s ability to “know” what I’m doing next, I am intrigued and delighted. The amount of data mining that these systems can do automatically is amazing to me. They collect every piece of data provided by my “things”, look for patterns and pop out suggestions based on predictive intelligence. This is an invaluable toolset in the business world. I wish I had their computer!

I use data in just about every aspect of the decisions I make at work. My role at work is often not to “Do” anything. Being the executioner and the decision maker clouds the judgement of a leadership position. My core competency is using information to make informed, smart and financially sound/revenue promoting decisions. I pour over everything from Google analytics to internal behavioral data to industry statistics in order to come to conclusions. Every decision and conversation I make at work starts with numbers. One from last month: “85% of enterprise organizations spend at least 8% of their revenue on their eCommerce experience. We spend less than 1%. Do not complain about how much it costs :)” But my favorite data driven conversation starter/ender is the Infographic. Infographics are perfect for having executive conversations. Nobody is overly interested in reading the results of a survey. Pop it into a picture and suddenly people are thinking. The video we watched on the making of infographics gave me pause. Again, my mathematically challenged mind kicked in and thought “Wait these pretty pictures aren’t created by Magic??? That doesn’t sound fun.” But I won’t lie, I thank the Analytics gods for the people with the aptitude to create such glorious representations of the Stuff I need to know about. I wonder what types of internal infographics the good folks at Google and Amazon use during their executive presentations about people like you and me?

P.S….all this random conjecture came from me being a nerd and finding this awesome article here

Smoke and Mirrors

The readings we have had about the power of social media in public relations and how PR professionals manipulate our perceptions about products, brands and people utilizing Facebook and Twitter have been very interesting. One thing I’ve learned about Social Media from a personal standpoint is that many people are perpetrating faux “insta-Lives” people.

There’s a young woman in the projects swatting roaches that has 30k followers because of the right filters and selfie backgrounds on Instagram.  A man that lives with his mother can pose next to a stranger’s Bentley and get a lot of attention/followers.

I actually know a guy that is unemployed, owes probably about $10,000 in back child support (so he can’t drive in NY without getting arrested) is couch surfing at his mother’s house AND has a felony…but is on Instagram posing with bottles of $300 bottles of Champagne and Alicia Keys. He actually spoke to me about the importance of his “Brand” and his followers.  I couldn’t even fully articulate a negative response- he has a decent following on social media (about 1,000 followers). It just goes to show you, if you dress it up enough, people will follow ANYTHING.

This really made me think. : If the average joe in the Acorn Projects can change your perception and make you a believer, imagine what these huge corporations are able to do with our minds. Food for thought. It’s actually pretty scary.