News in the Ads #8

Digesting the good, the bad and the ugly of advertising, I give to you my 8th round-up of the top 5 stories this causing rumbles and ripples in Adland this past week.

1) Google Plus opens to everyone
Google has opened up its Google Plus social network to everyone after testing it with a limited audience for 12 weeks, where membership was only available by invitation.

-> I was always a little dubious of an online social network that was exclusive, so I am glad to see Google+ open its doors, even if this marks an efforts to compete with social network giant Facebook. Google also made other changes including adding a search capability that lets users sift through posts, while also updating their video “hangout” feature. I am willing to bet that these improvements were picked up on in a potentially nervy Facebook conference in San Francisco a few days later.

2) Alcohol brands agree regulative social media common standards
The European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD) and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) have collaborated to create a common set of principles for alcohol brands using social media.

-> Alcohol regulators in Europe and America have joined forces to implement a set of guidelines for alcohol brands wanting to use social networks, blogs, mobile apps and user-generated content. These new regulations that will be in place on 30th September, include consistent age-checking across social media and the removal of inappropriate content. Changes, which I salute, but also question given the different cultural attitude towards alcohol in the two continents.

3) Big changes at the BBC’s online site
As of 21st September a beta version of the BBC’s homepage is online, organised around a “visual-first” design and carousel. While not specifically created for touchscreen devices, the design undoubtedly owes much to the new ways in which users access content online and interact with tablet devices.

-> The beeb’s website has undergone a major overhaul as the site has focused on time and location-based content, which means that visitors will receive news and weather information relevant to where they live. The redesign also has adopted a “showing less of more” approach as the carousel makes use of colour coding to denote categories, allows easy navigation of data, and incorporates various ‘filters’ and ‘drawers’ which enable users to personalise the site with their individual interests.

4) Apple Stock soars to a new all-time high
Even without Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple is showing that it can still reach new heights. On 19th September, while the rest of the market declined, shares in Apple hit a new all-time high in intraday trading, climbing to $413.23 before closing at $411.63 (also a record closing price).

-> The miraculous growth of Apple continues, and that is even before the release of the iphone 5 with the rumours of its release attributed partially to Apple’s all-time high stock price. Other explanations is that the market could have been reacting to positive reports on Apple’s successful back-to-school Mac promotion and reports that Apple is working on an HDTV. Invest now!

5) Micro regions decision could triple ITV local ad rates
Local advertisers could see the cost of advertising on ITV1 triple after the Office of Fair Trading waved through the broadcaster’s planned changes to its micro regions.

-> The decision of ITV to reduce the number of micro advertising regions it sells on ITV1- by merging areas like Meridian Kent and Sussex in the South, and Tyne Tees Bilsdale and Pontop in the North East; has been allowed by OFT. This is disappointing news for regional advertisers as from January 2013, prices might increase to three times what they now pay now. This could lead to ITV ad breaks being monopolised by large multinational companies, which is not good news for smaller companies looking to increase their publicity.

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