50+ surfers ride the new wave

In many a pitch, many a presentation, I've stood up and said "Online is bound to grow in our region (as in the Middle East) because more than 50% of our population is under 25. The youth naturally take up new media, new technology and new trends". Well folks, I was half wrong. Because, the latest numbers coming out, at least in the UK, show that online growth is being fuelled by the 50+.

Online audiences in the UK have grown by 5% over the past year, fuelled by increasing take-up by the over 50s, according to new research. The report shows: Almost two million more Britons are online than last year. Figures have swelled from 36.9 million in May 2009 to 38.8 million in May 2010, research by UKOM reveals. Those aged 50+ now account for 31% of total people online.

Men over 50 were responsible for most of this growth, accounting for 722,000 and 38% of new internet users followed by women who accounted for 284,000 and 15% of new users.

Health, video and community are the leading interest areas, and we find that quite natural. Alex Burmaster, analyst at UKOM/Nielsen, said: "The fact that one in four Britons who use the Internet today are 50- to 64-years-old proves it is no longer the sole preserve of the young and technical literati.

This really is a game changer as far as our online strategy goes in several genres. Take travel for instance. Here's a generation that probably has disposable time and money to go around the world and see the 200 places on their bucket list. Here's a generation that's ripe for online pharmacies. For insurance. Cards. Banking. Buying new cars. Upgrading. And, of course, for technology, hardware and software. Do Co Mo in Japan have figured this out quickly (Japan has the world's oldest population, I'm told). So, Do Co Mo are enabling (for free), photo sharing technology for the elderly via their photoframes. But that's another story, another post.

Split at IPG. No, not what you think.

Interpublic Group has launched a new creative technology unit called Split.

The venture is tasked with developing global partnerships with agencies and marketers and creating proprietary products.

While Split is an independent IPG revenue center, it is aligned with McCann Worldgroup.

Worldgroup CIO Greg Smith founded and heads Split, and has been working with McCann Erickson chief creative officer Joyce King Thomas in testing the concept at the agency's New York headquarters.

With about 30 employees, Split has brought in over $1 million in revenue from various projects and is currently working on new apps that will launch by month's end, as well as a social media platform that debuts this quarter, the company said.

A recent Split initiative was the mid-November launch, via Twitter, of the first Nikon Online Film Festival, a user-generated content contest inviting aspiring filmmakers to upload 140-second videos with the chance to win prizes of $25,000 and $100,000. Nikon spokesperson Ashton Kutcher, with 3.9 million Twitter followers, kicked off the contest by posting a link to his submission, a short film documenting a day spent in Africa. Split and McCann N.Y. created the concept and all campaign elements: social-media launch, a Web site, online outreach, TV and print.

"Creative technology, the pairing of content and code, clearly is an area with huge potential, including the ability to own 'reach,'" Smith said in a statement. "Split is a new model. It is a business within a business -- handling digital creative and production, and importantly also developing and leveraging our own software products that can be licensed to marketers or consumers."

Added King Thomas: "Split not only has given us sophisticated technological support, but has been a huge creative asset to us -- contributing to ideation, participating in new-business opportunities [and] producing some of our most innovative digital work over the past year."

Split will continue to work with McCann as well as other Worldgroup companies and IPG entities. In addition to its New York base, Split hubs are being formed in other markets.

courtesy AdWeek

Service, Social Media and Banking

To date, I've never used my blog for a rant. But since I speak and have a position on social media, because I preach the gospel of the power of the word of mouse, and I have a genuine beef, here goes...

A couple of banks here in the UAE have really worked hard on the social front. They've appointed social media agencies, they're responsive, they seem to have a good finger on the pulse of their customers and their target market. But what happens when their core social face – their real people, the customer service folks, their front desk people, their tellers fail them? What and how can they avoid the social repercussion?

My wife is at the moment a pretty irate customer at a local socially aware bank. They've pretty much mismanaged her hard earned and saved funds with them, not reporting fund changes, not bothering to tail the market movements, resulting in her losing a fair amount of green. Of course, there's always valid excuses, of course, Greece went down, of course, of course, of course...

But when she calls her so called Relationship Manager and asks to speak to a supervisor, and there's absolutely no call back, no 'how may we help?', no 'is something bothering you' callback, there's a natural response – which is negative. No one cares? Perhaps they do. Perhaps they're all really busy. And perhaps, they are all so busy that they didn't have time to follow the market and adjust her investments?

And thus, this pushes me to blog, to tell tales about the lack of responsiveness, the sheer absence of customer service. That's what pushes me to tweet, as I did: #Rakbank #fail

Nike breaks viral record

Nike isn't an official World Cup sponsor, but its three-minute "Write the Future" video broke the record for the biggest audience in the first week of a campaign with 7.8 million views. That record, incidentally, was by another Nike ad: the somber and strange "Earl and Tiger" ad, which debuted earlier this year with 6.3 million views in its first week.

Popularity of Nike's 'Write the Future' spot around the globe.
Nike's World Cup ad started a cast of international soccer stars including Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery and Christiano Ronald. (Mr. Rooney is shown a future living in a trailer if he fails to catch Mr. Ribery steaming toward England's goal.) As the chart from Visible Measures shows, the video truly has international appeal.
Interestingly, Pepsi also is not an official World Cup sponsor, but its "Oh Africa" has spent seven weeks on the Viral Chart.

YouTube is the platform that makes video powerful for viral ads like Nike's, so fitting on the week of its 5th birthday, YouTube landed its own ad on the chart, "YouTube Turns Five." Seven of the entrants this week are chart veterans, including Toyota, Old Spice, Evian, Gillette and Microsoft.

No. 10 is another newcomer, Canada's Fortnight Lingerie, with an example of an ad you probably wouldn't see on TV. It's almost not-safe-for-work content is excused somewhat by a public service in the form of a refresher course on CPR.


Courtesy of Ad Age