Well it has been quite the week for corporations in my little part of the online sphere. Earlier this week my good friend Will has his car towed by an Albuquerque towing company of meth addicts because he accidentally parked on the wrong side of a McDonalds and “McDonalds Parking Enforcement” officers had his car towed away. Parking enforcement officers… yeah really.
(BTW, this is the same lot I’ve parked in many times to eat at a different restaurant – come tow me, bitches.)
But more importantly, this has been one of the weeks where Apple has crossed over the line of corporate paranoia and let their cyberpunkish “Corporate Overlord” mentality show through. And from a PR standpoint Apple’s not looking too great.
Jesus Buddha Christ, Apple. Really? Let’s break this down:
- A tech blog gets a hold of your super secret next generation iPhone that was lost at a bar,
- And then returns it to you after reviewing it
- (Which happened after you denied the prototype’s existence),
- Then you send your super secret “Apple Force” to the journalist’s house demanding to look around
- (Which he says “hell no” to. Makes sense.)
- And then you have the reporter’s house busted into by the cops and multiple computers, et al “taken for examination.”
Let’s see, did I miss anything? Nope, didn’t think so. I’m just surprised that Apple didn’t hire a private group of mercenaries to bust this poor guy’s door down.
Wow Apple, you have really opened yourself up to ridicule at the least, and a potential lawsuit on the more serious end. (and if the EFF and other technology or media non-profits don’t sign on to object to this kind of treatment of a journalist, then y’all just need to pass your 501c3 cards forward because y’all are dismissed.)
But in true Apple form, Steve Jobs has penned a letter about… Apple’s problem with Adobe’s Flash?? It’s like Steve-O really thinks that by ignoring the problem, or dictating the terms of engagement, he can control all of the coverage he gets. And right on cue, noted tech journalist (and Steve Jobs apologist) Walt Mossberg will pen a column decrying Flash (and asking why the hell Team “Apple Force” didn’t tase the entire Gizmodo staff over and over).
So this is a PR and tech blog. What advice would I give Apple if they asked?
Well, this being Apple, they never would because in their minds “The Jobs” can’t do anything wrong. That said, I’d tell them to cut this crap out.
- Drop any charges,
- Get the police to turn over all equipment taken from Jason Chen’s house,
- Replace any broken or damaged equipment on Apple’s dime,
- Pray that Apple doesn’t get sued,
- And one more thing, stop acting like jerks.
I guess Steve-O really hasn’t learned anything about tact (or new media) from the Think Secret lawsuit. Jon Stewart is right, chill the hell out Apple.
(And before Apple Evangelists start typing a response about how I’m some Apple hater, this post, much like this video in years past, was completely created on a Mac.)
Greeting again from sunny (during the day, it’s 1 a.m. as I write this) Disney World. It’ll be a few days later when y’all read this, but I’m getting the thought down now before I forget them and will have them up and running back when I get to ABQ and have reliable wireless again.
(Can you believe that after paying a bucket of cash, Disney still charges for Internet access? They have a good thing going here and know not to kill it.)
While the above paragraph sounded like some random ramblings, it makes the point I wanted to make in today’s piece. This idea of putting a message up when you want to, and allowing people to see it in their own time frame. And the medium I want to talk about today is the idea of advertising in video games.
Video game advertising? Really? Are people going to want to see this?
“Want?” Probably not. But advertising is already more and more prevalent in the video game world. It probably started with the Madden NFL franchise (as many things in the video game world do) promoting various products with the “announcers” in the game (all real NFL Network and NBC talent). The “Old Spice Red Zone Report” when either team is within the 20-yard line (known in football as the “Red Zone,” which is also an Old Spice brand of deodorant I believe), or “this game is brought to you by EA Sports” mentioned at various times throughout the game, or the recreation of advertising actually located in each team’s stadium.
If football’s not your thing, the new “Need For Speed” allows for billboard advertising by companies or organizations that you can target to selected times and places. One organization that took advantage of this to a great benefit was Barack Obama for President. They were able to target ads for gamers in selected battleground states. Even if they did not notice the ads right away, or at all, they were still in the background adding to the subliminal message to vote for (or have more positive feelings for) President Obama.
As games and platforms continue to advance, you can expect to see game companies allow for advertising in their games. Think about it, you could place an ad for your organization on a bulletin board read by players in the upcoming Fable 3 game, or on a TV screen in the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. And of course in any game which XBOX Live players can download (or even on the online games page itself). Some platforms might even work out deals for players on their platform to get cheaper games if there is advertising allowed in the game, or might charge more to allow players to get “premium games” free of advertising.
It’s all up to you or your organization to think of new and creative ways to tap into this growing market. How would you like to present a consistent message to your audience in this medium? Would you even try to present more than a few seconds of a message? Would this be a great way to target a message to a potential audience in a selected location? – Probably, because you can selected which parts of the country these messages would go to, and they would be available to an audience that might TIVO ads away, if they even watch TV on a TV set, but can later get the message from their video game, still reading the message, only in their own time frame. (I would think that this would be a great way for a university to reach potential students.)
Then of course there are some opportunities for video game makers to offer games for a little higher price if they come with a “No Advertising” guarantee.
I was thinking about this post while giving a presentation in class this evening. We had an open ended assignment where each person presented on a topic related to the mass media. Being interested in online communications, I focused on Web communications by mass media outlets. That got me thinking about bloggers (which I wrapped up the presentation with) and how people in my profession should look at content creation vs. pitching to bloggers.
A lot of PR peeps are looking at how to pitch bloggers and other A-list social media mavens instead of working towards creating their own content.This is fine, but it’s as if the mindset of PR people around the globe continues to be:
“I’m in PR. I’m used to pitching people, sending stuff out. I must pitch the “media.” I’m not going to create my own content. I don’t shoot video, and sound like I gargled with rusty razor blades.”
Trust me I know where you’re coming from. I don’t have that creamy radio voice either and am more “Body by Buddha” than “Body by Jake.” Ya know what, that doesn’t matter. It’s all about authenticity. It’s about your company becoming the media outlet, instead of waiting for reporting from the media which may never come. It’s about PR person as civic journalist (or corporate journalist) than traditional “pitch man.”
(This also matters to you and your personal brand. You are your own Hollywood director. But wunder-dude Chris Brogan has a lot of great articles on this. I may give my own humble take later (but read Chris first))
Your company should become part of the conversation, not just treat bloggers/podcasters/et al as one more media outlet to just pitch to. Remember, it’s called “YOU”Tube for a reason. Use it to create your online brand, then your company will piggyback on the “you” brand (if you identify yourself as working for that company). Then other bloggers might get interested in your product/organization.
And your first efforts don’t have to be Hollywood-esque. Just get some practice time in with your camera and some software. Here’s a little footage of me practicing around with my Flip Video Camera and the Sony Imagination Studio software. There’s also more relevant footage (PR wise) that I shot for work located here.
Just to reinforce my love of technology, and that i’m not averse to Apple, Inc. I bumped into this story while on Twitter. A high school kid had emailed Steve Jobs (and just how in the heck did he get THAT email address, I’ve gotta ask) and asked if he could get the college educational discount for the latest copy of Final Cut Studio. MInd you, not a free copy, just for the $600 or so discount (still willing to pay $700 for it).
Well, this email got forwarded to Richard Townhill, the director of Pro Video Product Marketing for Apple, who emailed the kid back and asked for his address to send him a free copy of the software. How cool is that! Apple, Inc gave this kid an early Christmas, and created another evangelist to boot. Not too bad!