Technology is having a big influence on the Cannes Lions advertising festival this year – and not just because of the €220,000-a-week 132-foot yacht, which lead sponsor Microsoft has parked in the middle of the bay.
The lines between TV spots and viral web videos are officially blurred by the inclusion of creative from any screen – from cinema to mobile phone – in this year’s Film Lions. Creatives from the offline world are getting to grips with digital tools, even if their companies’ structures and business models haven’t quite caught up. Read more
Free internet speech has a price, the Supernova networking conference learnt today.
Comment and conversation on specific websites is being liberated by services that allow commenters to make their comments portable and aggregate them elsewhere. Read more
Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, the husband-and-wife team behind Flickr, the photo-sharing site that sparked the Web 2.0 craze when it was bought by Yahoo in 2005, have decided to leave the struggling internet group.
I caught up with Stewart by email as he was rushing to catch a plane, and he confirmed the rumours. Meanwhile, Valleywag seems to have obtained a copy of Butterfield’s resignation letter (it’s a classic of the genre, best read in the voice of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood). Read more
Storm clouds are gathering over the advertising industry. But, this being Cannes, media folk are happy to ignore the rain and instead concentrate on the accompanying sound and light show. The strong Euro and economic gloom has not prevented the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival – run by GMG and Apax-owned Emap – from attracting thousands of delegates and 28,000 entries from 85 countries. That’s up 5.8 per cent compared to last year.
With even more parties promised this year, the ad world isn’t going to let anyone rain on its parade by pondering whether the cash blown on festivities can ever be recouped by the deals done between the Carlton terrace and the notorious Gutter bar.
Lightning has already struck twice for BBDO, the New York agency, for its “Voyeur” campaign for US TV network HBO. This huge video projection against the side of a New York apartment block, appearing to reveal the kitchen-sink dramas within, scooped a second Grand Prix in the Outdoor category, hot on the heels of yesterday’s Promotions gong. The talk of the Lower East Side prompted a million visits to promotional site www.hbovoyeur.com and, in ad-speak, strengthened “super-fans’ engagement” with HBO. Read more
Mozilla, the scrappy open-source software company, hoped to set a one-day software download record on Tuesday with the launch of Firefox 3, the latest copy of its popular web browser. The company even went so far as to set up a special web page to promote its Guinness Book of World Records bid.
But Mozilla’s hoped-for PR coup turned into something of a debacle as thousands of eager downloaders rushed the site. The result was an internet equivalent of the Cleveland Indians’ infamous “10 cent beer night ” in 1974, in which an inebriated mob of baseball fans - lured by the promise of all-you-can-drink 10 cent beers – laid waste to portions of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Read more
More evidence to suggest that an internet advertising slowdown is taking hold in the US: figures from the IAB today point to overall growth of only 18 per cent in the first quarter of this year, a marked slowdown from 26 per cent in all of 2007 (and more than 30 per cent in each of the previous three years.)
Ever the optimists, the IAB and PwC, which puts the numbers together, expressed their habitual confidence in the secular shift of advertising online. Apparently this was “not so unexpected,” given the seasonally softer first quarter and “an overall economic slowdown.” Read more
John Riccitiello, Electronic Arts chief executive, seems more interested in playing his company’s new Spore game than closing a deal for rival Take-Two.
“I’ve created 10 creatures already,” he told the William Blair investors conference today. Read more
AMD and Nvidia unveiled next-generation graphics chips today, with both claiming their uses would reach well beyond the traditional gaming audience.
AMD aimed high and fell short with its Cinema 2.0 event. It claimed its technology was responsible for a defining moment in graphics when films would extend seamlessly into interactive gaming experiences and games and their characters would achieve true photo-realism. Read more
An alliance with Google might serve to deliver Yahoo from Microsoft’s clutches, at least for now, but is there a longer-term cost? There are at least three reasons why today’s deal could come back to haunt Jerry Yang.
Scale. If scale is essential for effective monetisation in the search business (the higher the volume of ads, the more efficient and liquid the market – the reason Microsoft gave for trying to buy Yahoo) then anything that increases Google’s scale even more – while reducing Yahoo’s – could tilt the balance still further in favour of the market leader. Read more
The FriendFeeding frenzy currently consuming the Valley seems more like excitement about the possibilities of a new and multi-faceted service than the usual hype about the “next big thing”.
While some have described a service with 300,000 visitors as a challenge to Twitter (1.8m) or Facebook (32m) or even Google (600m+), the overstatements do point to how FriendFeed can be different things to different people. Read more