Content As Advertising; Advertising As Content On The iPhone

from the vampire-weekend dept

Matt writes in with a great example of how the concept that content is advertising and advertising is content is moving to the iPhone in the most recent iPhone app for NPR:
In this app, the mobile analytics and advertising company Medialets is serving up an ad for the new album, Contra, by the band Vampire Weekend. At first, the ad just peeks out at the bottom of the NPR app, but if you click to expand it, it quickly takes up the entire device. So why would you want to do this? Because it's a video for Vampire Weekend's new song "Cousins" -- and thanks to some of the iPhone's unique features, you can actually interact with the ad, shaking your iPhone to change how the video looks.
Seems like a perfect example of how both content is advertising and advertising is content. In this case, the "ad" is actually valuable content that people want to see. And yet, that content is also advertising the band and its new album, and doing so in a fun and compelling way. Of course, separately, I have to ask if the band is both paying for the ad and getting paid royalties for the ad? After all, this is clearly an advertisement for the band and its new album, but we're always told by the recording industry that any usage -- even those like radio that act as advertising -- need to be paid for with royalties.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    It didn't work out so well last time...

    I understand and agree with the point you are making, but it should be noted that this idea has not worked out so well in the past. Remember all those ads that required interactivity? "SHOOT 10 ALIENS TO WIN A NEW LAPTOP!!!" Those tried so hard to be their own forms of content, but they were far more annoying than beneficial.

    I would like to see more ads like the one you mentioned. If they stay out of my way until I choose to give them attention, I can tolerate them just fine. It's when they float over the article I am reading that I become upset.

     

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    mrharrysan (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Yeah, just waiting for the RIAA to send a takedown notice to the band, haha...

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: It didn't work out so well last time...

    "SHOOT 10 ALIENS TO WIN A NEW LAPTOP!!!"

    Yeah... but we knew that stupid thing was a scam long before the first click...

    I agree wholeheartedly. For other examples of this, PBS' channel on YouTube resembles the Advert/Content mashup. A mix a "full blown commercials" (almost 3 minutes, and somewhat entertaining) and actual programs.

     

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    lux (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Old idea in a new era?

    Is this concept really that new? Ever since I was a child I can remember getting free samples (provided by a hired employee/advertiser) at the grocery store. They are giving away content as a form of advertising.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Old idea in a new era?

    It's not new and it's never been away, but in Masnick land you can make dramatic stories out of nothing.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    MTV called and wants their copyright on "advertising as content" to be enforced. The device may be new, but the concept is as old as the hills.

     

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  7.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    Proctor & Gamble called and wants MTV to know it holds prior art.

     

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  8.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:08pm

    Re: It didn't work out so well last time...

    I understand and agree with the point you are making, but it should be noted that this idea has not worked out so well in the past. Remember all those ads that required interactivity? "SHOOT 10 ALIENS TO WIN A NEW LAPTOP!!!" Those tried so hard to be their own forms of content, but they were far more annoying than beneficial.

    Yeah, but that's entirely different. When we talk about content is advertising and advertising is content, we mean that the content has to be good and *desired* not intrusive and annoying.

    What you describe above is entirely different and not at all what we're discussing.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:10pm

    Re: Old idea in a new era?

    Is this concept really that new?

    No, not new at all. In fact, I've made the point that it has always been that way. But for some reason many people have trouble recognizing it. They don't realize that all advertising is also content and (more importantly) that all content is also advertising. I think it's that latter point that is the hardest for people to grasp.

    So what I highlight here isn't that it's a new idea, but to show examples of when that concept is displayed and done well.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: It didn't work out so well last time...

    off the subject but near to it...

    There was this bewitched for the modern age done recently called charmed. In the show they had music done by "xxxxx". Totally great music, the show was eye candy and no very memorable.

    A suggestion to HULU and the TV studios ... embed advertising int he videos you do online with get a free sample click here or order this ablum now.

     

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  11.  
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    Eric Litman, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    Thanks, Matt

    Hi all - I can safely say that the RIAA had no part in taking royalties for this ad.

    We had a blast creating it, the band and label loved it, and we helped propel them to the top of the Billboard charts.

    I hear the comments about novelty and whether or not the idea of engaging advertising is new but that's not really the goal. Movies are not new, and yet that didn't stop Avatar from being a smashing success. The intent for Vampire Weekend and every ad built on our platform is to create an ad experience that's effective for the brand and does everything it can to engender positive reactions from people. The better a job we as a technology platform that do of that, the better the return for everyone.

    Advertising is currently the most successful micropayments model online, where the currency we as consumers pay with is our time and attention. For an ad model to truly be successful there needs to be a quid pro quo value exchange where everyone feels they're getting something of equivalent or at least fair value. We're working hard to put the pieces in place so that mobile ads don't suck (or piss people off) and publishers/developers have a sustainable model for delivering free apps.

    Folks are talking about this ad and it's an extremely cool experience that aligns with both the brand and values of Vampire Weekend. And the engagement rates blow away anything being done in the online space. To us, the publishers and advertisers who use our platform, those kinds of things are far more important than novelty.

    Thanks Matt for writing about this, and thanks to everyone for the ongoing conversation.

    Eric Litman
    CEO, Medialets

     

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    BBT, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:02am

    I really wish you'd stop with this. Try "content can be advertising, advertising can be content". Much better.

     

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:20am

    Re: Thanks, Matt

    Movies are not new, and yet that didn't stop Avatar from being a smashing success.

    Eric, the issue most of us naysayers on Techdirt have is that Mike tries to make out like something incredibly new is going on, when in fact it is as best an evolution (based on technology) of what has gone on for all of mankind's time on the planet. Movies are just the visual embodiment of the caveman's stories around the fire. Your ads are a kewl use of technology, but effectively are just a spin on music videos adjusted to suit a new technology. Hats off to you for doing it, but it isn't some new paradigm, just the old ways brought up to today's technology.

     

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  14.  
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    brian benko, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:31am

    Smoke Signals

    I just want my telephone to work. I think mobile ads are "kewl" and Eric Litman's approach is "kewl" but I just want a reliable phone....

    How about an iPhone app that makes AT&T more reliable !!

    Or how about some advertising that gives me a free sandwich or a cool beverage or even a hot beverage, since it is bitter cold out here in NY....

    PS What is Visible Technologies going to do with 46 million dollars ? since they are monitoring blogs, maybe one of them can give me a call :) Holla back ninja

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    Re:

    I really wish you'd stop with this. Try "content can be advertising, advertising can be content". Much better.

    Why? I've yet to see a piece of advertising that isn't content, or a piece of content that isn't advertising. It may not be done *well* but that's a different story.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Thanks, Matt

    Eric, the issue most of us naysayers on Techdirt have is that Mike tries to make out like something incredibly new is going on, when in fact it is as best an evolution (based on technology) of what has gone on for all of mankind's time on the planet

    Ah, once again, TAM simply makes stuff up. I have never said that this is new. In fact, from the beginning I have said that this has always been the case, but that examples like this one help point out how to do it well.

    TAM, I am rather amused at your continued ability to be so wrong so often. It's a talent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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