AdWeek's marketing and media innovations 08

Adweek magazine have announced their pick of the top media and marketing innovations for the last year.
Some of my favourites (not necessarily in any order):

SnapTell

Consumers take a snap of a participating ad from their cell phone and send pxt to SnapTell. The company's image recognition software detects the campaign and sends information, prizes, offers etc to the customer. It's a way of making static, legacy media interactive. I am not sure how the image detection actually works (maybe they use a mechanical Turk system?), but I can easily see plenty of interesting applications. Also a nice way for static media owners to add value to advertisers.

Oh, Snap! Magazine Ads Get Interactive
With the print ad business in freefall, a few publishers aim to make their ad pages a more engaging, truly interactive experience, taking advantage of the exploding popularity of Web-enabled mobile devices. Technology from Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile marketing company SnapTell enables brands to send messages to readers who shoot photos of magazine ads with their mobile phones. Rodale's Men's Health, Wenner Media's Rolling Stone and Disney's ESPN The Magazine are some of the titles to have adopted the technology this year


SnapTell site


Clutter Killer

Fox launched a TV series - Fringe - in prime time with fewer ads and charged advertisers a premium for the privelege. I'm picking that this is a trend that will continue (out of necessity), media that control the flow of bad ads will attract a happier, more receptive audience.

This season, Fox confronted head-on the issue of commercial clutter, the growing number of ads and promos stuffed into shows by the networks. Recent studies have shown clutter averages, including all network and local ads and promos, surpass 15 minutes per hour -- making TV shows, for a growing legion of viewers, impossible to watch without the aid of a commercial-skipping DVR. This fall, Fox debuted its new drama Fringe with roughly half the usual network commercial and promo load. Each episode boasts some 50 minutes of program time, versus the typical 44 minutes. Fewer breaks and shorter pods have led to less fast-forwarding and greater engagement with ad spots, according to third-party research. Season to date, Fringe is the top-rated new drama among adults 18-49, and it likely will see a spike in ratings come January, when American Idol becomes its lead-in. The quid pro quo: Advertisers pay a premium for that less-crowded environment. In February, Fox will debut a second series, drama Dollhouse, with a similarly reduced load of ads and promos. To what extent the model would work elsewhere in prime time is unclear: As network executives point out, advertisers tend to define clutter as everybody else's commercials.


StarDoll


Here's a site that gets me thinking how the basic concept could be applied in other realms. How about a service that lets you try on this season's fashions from participating retailers. Create a secure account. Upload your measurements and a picture of your face and the site generates a customised avatar for you. Try on the garments and accessories. Like what you see - click to buy. Retailers could offer a measurement service instore matching your body type to size. Online you rate the look, over time the site develops a profile of your tastes and can make recommendations, like a personal shopper. Vanessa from Glassons - this one's for you.

Call it theintersection of kids, fashion, celebrity and the Web. While virtual worlds like Gaia, Zwinky and There.com have built a sizable following and landed big-name advertisers, Stardoll was a real standout in 2008. The two-year-old Swedish site has built a virtual playground for tween girls (with 22 million members and counting in 200 countries). Users can play dress-up using avatars of their own creation or virtual (and fully licensed) versions of celebrities like Hillary Duff and David Cook; fashions come via partner brands including DKNY and Vivienne Tam. Recently, Stardoll inked a pact with Italian designer Alberta Ferretti to open a virtual boutique in StarPlaza, the site's shopping galleria. As part of the deal, teen celeb Zelda Williams (daughter of comedian Robin) appeared as a virtual brand ambassador, modeling Ferretti's designs. In October, Stardoll announced a deal with Hachette Filipacchi Media's Elle to launch a virtual fashion magazine. While more static social-networking sites continue to search for a workable business model, virtual worlds like Stardoll are taking online playtime to a whole other level.

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