From AdAge's Crystal Ball 2.0 piece (great article and good thought starter) - http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=125735
Tom Martin of Positive Disruption says "With the cost of production and distribution of digital content rapidly approaching zero, including distribution to the television platform, the opportunity to create branded micro-content that consumers will invite into their lives becomes a financial reality with a huge ROI upside; it's advertising that people want to watch. This should be the single biggest trend to catch fire in 2008. "
There's a lot said right now about creating 'engaging content' ... problem is many in the industry feel that is either a competition or a rehash of the same content we can already get on tv/radio/print.
What is really needed are applications that first and foremost consider the user and enhance their experience. And it doesn't have to be something whiz-bang technically - it can be something nice and simple and most importantly, useable.
I was in a Google presentation the other day and they stated, quite clearly, that the user is central to everything they do. It's almost like a 'create first, nail it, then monetise' mentality. Whilst this makes total sense, it was the first time I had seen a publisher/supplier pitch that actually explained this. More often than not the speil for a new content area starts with something like 'We identified we were missing a key segment of cashed up 24 year old women who lived at home so we created a site that will appeal to them. It's all about UGC and other analogies as a business we don't understand but do you have any client dollars to 'partner' with us on.'
The assumption you can create something for a reason that is more about exploting an audience than serving it and said audience will just embrace it is ambitious to say the least ... but hey, this is the Australian media industry.
The best ideas and the most successful ones will come out of trying to provide value to some. That's why I love this - http://mapmyfitnessnavigator.ninemsn.com.au
Disclaimer: This was done out of the MindShare Interaction office in Sydney, I am an employee at MindShare Interaction in Melbourne.
The functionality isn't anything not previously available - but it delivers it in a really smart, simple way for you to use. And even better it encourages multiple use. It embraces community (users can share maps, share stories/advice in forums), offers practical information (distance, time ran) and doesn't feel the need to smash you over the head with branding.
I think this demonstrates a fresh approach to analysing a brief. The idea of creating an area to align your brand yourself if one doesn't exist is a fantastic one.
I realise this isn't new, but testament to the strength of the concept is I am still using it well into 08, entering new maps to be conquered.
What is also cool is this app has very logical extensions across the mobile device, Facebook/myspace and blogs. Lets hope come May 1 this campaign is recognised at the IAB Awards.