A Life Sentence for Drunken Driving

Drunken driving is a problem among young people in Malaysia, who seem to think nothing bad will ever happen to them. How to get through to them? A car that had been wrecked in a drunken-driving accident was converted it into what looked like a wheelchair, as a warning to drivers. For a more in-depth look at this Idea of the Week and other case studies, visit Ad Age and CMDglobal's Inspiration site.

Former Joost CEO Gets New Gig as VC

joostFormer Joost CEO Mike Volpi already has a new gig lined up. He’ll be a venture partner at Index Ventures, which was part of the group that pumped $45 million into the little web TV startup that could (but didn’t).

Joost announced last week that it was changing focus from offering premium content in order to become (yet another) white-label video provider. As part of that strategic shift, Volpi stepped down as CEO but remains chairman of the company. Volpi has a long history with Index as he invested $10 million in the firm’s first fund while he was an exec at Cisco. According to the press announcement, Volpi will be “based in the London office as part of the venture team where he will lead early stage investments in the Internet, telecom/networking and media sectors and contribute to the firm’s later stage growth fund.”

Kara Swisher at All Things D has an interview with Volpi about the latest move, where he offers up a few more details about Joost. On the company’s failure to be a premium content player, he said, “At the end of the day, the consumer offering we had was not working, a lot because we did not have enough access to content we needed to build traffic.” Volpi justified Joost’s move into the highly competitive world of white-label video by saying, “It is better to be competing in a sector that has profitable rivals than one that does not.” He said Joost had discussions with possible acquirers, but those didn’t pan out because of price issues. “Not everyone wanted to pay a lot to own Joost, but a lot of people wanted to rent it,” he said.

Hopefully, Volpi will be able to take the failure of Joost in stride and pass on his experience of what not to do as a startup to the companies Index invests in.

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ABC Content Now on Hulu

If I was the Count from Sesame Street I would say something like, “Three! Three of the four major broadcast networks now have their content on Hulu!” (with accent, of course). ABC, which had long been a Hulu holdout, refusing to run its full-length content anywhere but on its own web site, kicked off its Hulu presence today with episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

Grey’s is the only ABC content currently up on Hulu, and there isn’t even a whole lot of it up right now. There are just five episodes from the last season, and no clips (the show doesn’t even have clips up at YouTube, where ABC/Disney has a short-form content deal). According to a Hulu press release, over the next two weeks, more ABC shows will appear on the site including: I Survived a Japanese Game Show, The Superstars, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Scrubs.

In April, Disney became an equal partner in Hulu, joining fellow broadcasters FOX and NBC in the endeavor. As part of that deal, Hulu will get exclusive access to full-length programming from ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel, as well as popular library TV shows and films.

With ABC now up and running on Hulu, only CBS remains as the lone broadcaster not playing along. That’s one! One major broadcaster left!

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Beyond my.barackobama.com: Panel Discussion at Personal Democracy Forum 09


While attending the Personal Democracy Forum, I listened to a panel discussion that included Todd Zeigler of The Bivings Group, Heather Lauer of the Pickens Plan, Roz Lemieux of Fission Strategy, and moderator/Washington Post, Jose Antonio Vargas.

The focus of the panel was how social networks and the social web are changing politics.

During initial introductions Lauer shared that the Pickens Plan concept came together last minute. There was an initial meeting last June, and in a few days a campaign was launched. She stressed that when it came to the Pickens Plan social network, a lot of control was given up. Providing this openness for its members has resulted in great success.

“Members of the Pickens Plan are the ambassadors and leaders who will go for war for you,” added Zeigler. He also shared that turning the online activity to offline action is the Holy Grail for the online community. It was interesting to learn that email is still considered the killer app.

Roz Lemieux stated that for many organizations, social networks are still an uphill battle. And for those invested, they would be wise to see the social web as a gift economy. Give more than you take and you will see great results.

Jose Vargus asked the panel to expand on the risks of social networks.

Zeigler stated that organizations continue to have an ongoing fear of being painted unfavorable based on comments made on the various socnets they manage. “I hope we are beyond that point. If you are going to launch a network, you’ve got to have a plan.”

Lemieux felt that a legitimate fear is that an organization may not have the staff to manage or respond at the level that is demanded by the social web.

“The benefits far outweigh the fear. By opening up the community, members are more invested and self moderate,” shared Lauer.

An audience member asked an interesting question on the importance of mobile outreach and its effectiveness.

Roz Lemieux shared that her experience with text messaging may have been too early too soon. On a previous outreach attempt, her audience wasn’t quite ready for mobile organization. She did add this was before mobile technology matured to where it is at now.

Jose Vargus did state for Obama, text messaging was successful, however, it’s still a medium that hasn’t been looked at as well as it should.

“Texting is a more viable solution. Getting people to make a phone call via email is less than 1% success rate. Very difficult to do,” added Lemieux.

Vargus made and important point that developing economies that do not have broadband or computers, will do everything to keep their cell phones charged or communicate via text.

You can catch video highlights of the panel discussion here and here.

Tracking the Giants of Viral Video: New Data Insights

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Online video is no longer just a sideshow for marketers. Brands such as T-Mobile, Samsung and Cadbury have recently scored viral-video hits racking up 10 million or more views. Meanwhile, the science of tracking online-video audiences has made great strides in the past 18 months. In this 10-minute "About Digital" report, Ad Age Digital Editor Abbey Klaassen explores some of the latest viral-video trends and insights emerging from that data.

What Magazine Cover Lines Have Caught Your Attention?

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The halfway point in 2009 is also the halfway point to Advertising Age's annual Book of Tens, in which we turn over an issue to lists of everything from ads our critic loved to the top media feuds of the year. This year we hope to add a new category: the 10 most intriguing, funniest, scariest, most compelling or most surprising magazine cover lines of the year. And we're going to need your help.

Macy’s halved newspaper ad spend since ’05

Macy’s has cut in half the amount of money it spends on newspaper advertising since 2005, depriving the struggling industry of some $616 million in sorely needed revenues.The drastic plunge has hit particularly hard the metro papers that used to rely on sumptuous and highly profitable schedules from the likes of Famous-Barr, Filene’s, Foley’s, Hecht’s, Kaufmann’s, May, and Marshall Field &