You can keep your Margaritas and your executive Irish stouts…

… as well as your pointless yet entertaining TV commercials. Lion Nathan, brewers of the finest beer money can buy has just announced plans to turn away from big expensive TV commercials.

One of the more telling quotes in the article came from Lion’s group marketing director, who said:

… Lion was shifting focus away from big-budget beer commercials into developing consumers relationship with brands.

Call me naive, but isn’t that what all those expensive TVC’s were supposed to be doing? Like what about this little number?

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=OgsnNJEuUvE]

Not sure about drinking Lion Red, but it sure makes me want to stay the hell away from Michael Hurst when he’s had a few.

It’s great to see that many big advertisers are now starting to take their agencies to task on the cost-benefit of TV production*. If we look at beer in particular, some of the best interactive campaigns I’ve seen recently have come from Milwaukee’s Best Light, who continue to push the boundaries of technology and taste with really effective, targeted measures that relate to specific groups of customers. Compare this with the cost and ROI of the old TVC ‘shotgun’ approach, and these guys are laughing all the way to the bank.

Good on you, Lion. Damn, it’s 10am Monday and I now have an overpowering thirst for a Steinlager. Doesn’t normally kick in till 1pm.

*With the notable exception of Ferrit. Particularly ironic, given that that company is essentially in the business of selling online advertising.

A telling juxtaposition

Two articles posted side-by-side at Drudge this morning:

GOOGLE earnings surge 92%

NY TIMES Profits Plunge 39%

Other interesting revelations this morning include James Packer’s deal to sell 50% of PBL, freeing up approx $9 billion for investing in casino interests throughout Asia, and Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of 7.5% of rival Fairfax. Together these say a lot about the old media barons’ perceptions of future profitability, and the need to diversify while their capital is still worth something.

Personally I think Packer’s right on the money. Owning a casino would have to be the coolest, most lucrative gig there is. Apart from being a license to print money, you’d probably also be able to hit the front of the ‘$1.99 All U Can Eat Lobster’ buffet any time you want, no charge. Sweeeeeet!

One thing you’d have to watch out for though (apart from these geezers) – if you wind up buying a Picasso for a smidge over $US 48 million, and then some years later stitch up a deal to sell it for close to $US 140 million, make sure you don’t slip and put your elbow through it right before the cash is due to change hands.

Universal sues video-sharing websites

Mark Cuban was right on the money. And so it begins…

Universal Music has commenced legal proceedings against video-sharing sites Grouper.com and Bolt.com, claiming copyright infringement.

In separate lawsuits, Universal alleged that Grouper and Bolt had built up traffic by encouraging users to share music videos from its artists without their permission.

Universal had previously reached a settlement with YouTube, who agreed to pay a small licensing fee and revenue share on advertising. Am wondering if Universal’s lawyers are kicking themselves on that one, now that YouTube’s pocket’s have gotten that much deeper.

This really was to be expected, but I can’t see how there can possibly be a solution, or at least the kind of solution Universal seems to be looking for. The Internet was created to circumvent control of and guarantee access to information. This whole participatory era / Web 2.0 thing has brought us to the point that anyone with access to a computer can contribute (for good or bad) something.

Short of setting up a Big Brother-style system of manually vetting each and every file published (ask the lads at Google Video how onerous that is), the only alternative I can see is to establish some kind of mandatory revenue-sharing agreement with content owners who can convince a judge they’re being ripped off.

Oh… ok now I get it.

Ps. While looking for that 1984 clip, I found this little gem. Ridley Scott cashing in on his post-Blade Runner notoriety and reaping $1.5m for the Macintosh launch commercial – played just once, during Superbowl XVIII.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=IFtuNPTBZ2k]

The 80’s were so awesome.

Speaking of TV ads…

… this is awesome. I doubt it was a good investment on Sony’s part (gotta sell a lot of tellies to buy umpteen-thousand gallons of paint), but they sure get my vote for entertainment value.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=alf5JsvxlJU]

It’s been a long day and I really don’t feel like once again venting my frustration at how advertisers continue to get ripped off by their ad agencies, conned into pouring money into TV campaigns with no discernible ROI. What I will say is this: If you feel like doing something different. Something innovative. Something that will strike a chord with your customers and help you to make a MEASURABLE impact on your bottom line…

we’d love to hear from you.

Google buys YouTube

This is going to come as a surprise to very few people. Google has confirmed a deal to buy YouTube for $US 1.65b in stock (Google shares being better than money these days).

Since the news broke, Google’s share price has jumped 2% to (a lot), by my calculations netting YouTube shareholders an additional $US 33m. That’s nice I suppose. Put ’em in the pile with the rest in case there’s any mattresses that need stuffing.

Speculation aside, this must have been in the pipeline for a long time as several new content / advertising deals accompanied the announcement. Stay tuned for some seriously cool developments.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=QCVxQ_3Ejkg]

Things that make you go hmmmmm

For those of you who haven’t been there before, DrudgeReport.com is arguably the best news site on the net. Sure you can get the same stories elsewhere (in fact, all he really does is post links to news stories on other sites), but Matt Drudge has a real knack for selecting the 20 or so most interesting / important stories of the day.

Although already well-known at the time, Drudge gained infamy by being the first to break the Monica Lewinsky scandal. His popularity / power has now grown to the extent that I read an interesting book review in the Washington Post this week where the authors had theorised that he was the main reason John Kerry currently spends his days lecturing college kids on the evil Republican conspiracy, instead of sleeping on the couch in the oval office.

While Kerry’s foibles have been well-documented, Harris and Halperin propose that the man most responsible for the Massachusetts senator’s defeat was not the candidate but rather Matt Drudge — founder of the widely read Drudge Report.

The site itself could kindly be described as ‘aesthetically limited’, but proof to the old notion that content really is king can be found in the numbers:

VISITS TO DRUDGE 10/06/06

015,371,219 IN PAST 24 HOURS
341,922,033 IN PAST 31 DAYS
3,542,326,255 IN PAST YEAR

’nuff said.

Anyhoo, in relation to the title of this post (and with due apologies to Arsenio Hall), I wanted to share a selection of headlines from DrudgeReport today that certainly had me going hmmmm . I’ve left out the links because (a) I want you go check out DrudgeReport for yourselves, and (b) IMHO the articles themselves aren’t nearly as entertaining as their headlines.

LAWMAKER SAYS TEACHERS SHOULD BE ARMED…
MAN APOLOGIZES FOR COURTROOM FECES EPISODE…
ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN POT MAY HELP PRESERVE BRAIN FUNCTION…

For a minute I could have sworn I was reading The Onion.

Movember Madness!

OK so i know it’s only the beginning of October, but I missed this last year and most of you did too.

The premise is pretty simple – start out clean shaven at the start of Movember, and grow the best facial furniture you can over the next 30 days. Throw in some sponsors, prizes and a worthy cause (The Prostate Cancer Foundation), and you’ve got an excellent reason to sleep though those precious 5 minutes otherwise spent at the basin.

This year I’m throwing out an added challenge – run your own Mo’ Blog. One photo a day is all it takes, and I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do and how well it’ll be received by friends, colleagues, and millions of people you’ve never heard of. It’s only for 30 days – what’s the worst that could happen?

Check out www.movember.org.nz for more information. Let me know if you’d like a hand setting up the blog.

Merv Hughes - patron saint of moustache wearers

Merv Hughes: patron saint of moustache wearers