Dude, Where’s My Data! Video Speed Trap Lurks for Users of New iPad…and Marketers Using More Video!

Dude, Where's My Data

Interesting article in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled “Video Speed Trap Lurks in New iPad” about how users of the new iPad are discovering beneath the beautiful  new HD retina screen and streaming lots of crisp HD video to their iPads on the blazing fast 4G  AT&T and Verizon networks lurks a nasty little surprise…running through 3 to 5 gigabytes of data…a month’s worth…in just a couple of days! Maybe the article should have been titled “The Money Pit Lurking in Your iPad” because for every 1 gigabyte of data you go over your plan, you’ll be coughing up an extra $10.

I have had two personal experiences with this issue. And, my data choking encounters don’t just involve the wireless 4G network or the new iPad. Just this week, the issue raised its ugly head dealing with overages in my internet cable data plan. Let my sad tales be a warning to you all…

Et tu, iPad?

My first experience with THE MAN coming down on my happy-go-lucky, all-you-care-to-stream 4G wireless data buffet occurred this December while my wife and I had a little weekend get a way in Las Vegas.. Upon checking into the hotel, I was eager to fire up the new AT&T 4G wireless hotspot I’d purchased to replace my old, slow and one-device only wireless laptop modem.

The hotspot fired on, I connected my MacBook Pro, my iPhone, my wife’s first-generation iPad and my iPad 2 and everything worked great – until it didn’t. My wife asked if she should download a couple of TV shows and movies on iTunes to enjoy on the flight home. “Sure,” I said. “Why not?”.

Here’s why not…a couple of seemingly innocent media purchases wiped out my entire data plan for the month. I discovered this after she had departed for home and I, having stayed behind in the hotel to work on client projects, received a dreaded “suspension of service because of exceeding your monthly data limits” notice from AT&T…right before I had to lead a client web meeting, of course. After arguing with AT&T in disbelief that I could have used an entire month’s worth of data…5 GB’s…in just two days…they agreed to give me a 2 GB “grace” credit. But, they sternly scolded me, “You did use this much data and you have been warned”.

Hello, my name is Scott and I’m a Data Hog

My second experience in bumping up against today’s increasingly short data ceiling occurred just this week when I received a notice from my cable company that my internet data usage was nearing my 250GB per month limit. “250 GB’s” I yelled throughout my house, “who in the world is using this much data?!?” Turns out, it was all of us.

Maybe it’s because I insist on living on the bleeding edge of the consumer electronics technology revolution. I have to have the coolest, newest, shiniest objects. We have two AppleTV’s, two Roku players (love ‘em), two Playstation 3′s, two XBoxes, two iPads, three iMacs, four iPhones….my granddaughter has an iPod Touch, which she uses at our house a lot, my other granddaughter has an iPad and we’re all constantly streaming NetFlix; having FaceTime chats with Gram and Gramps and my grandkids; my son is always on World of Warcraft; my daughter is on Pandora all the time and downloading iTunes purchases…and you know what?

All this streaming and downloading and playing adds up to over 250 GB of data every month. It’s clear to me, our data consumption habits are quickly outstripping the abilities of our networks to keep up and surpassing the ability of our wallets to afford it. Something has got to give.

Don’t Mock Me Marketer…You’re Next!

Now, what does all this mean for marketers? Having just finished reading over a couple of industry reports on digital marketing trends…an excellent one from the Altimeter Group on Content Marketing and another from eMarketer on Top Digital Trends 2012…marketers are just now starting to deliver lots of video content. As online video use by marketers continues to explode and mobile consumption of that video by consumers continues on its frantic pace, is this situation going to present barriers for marketers trying to reach their audiences? You bet!

The implications are this: our attention is limited, our data is limited, our wallets are limited. If you want me to pay attention to your content, it better be pretty darn good. It better be able to stand up with the stuff I’m willing to pay for and download…then pay for again with overages on my data plan. But, once a data hog, always a data hog. There is no going back to the days of measly megabytes. I want my monthly terabyte plan and I want it now!

Video is certainly the shiny new online marketing object for marketers and one doesn’t fault them for that. But, video is a bandwidth super pig. And, when you understand that search is still primarily text based, maybe it starts to make a little more sense to focus on creating less data-intensive content.

It will be interesting to see if some big marketers can adapt to these challenges and wean themselves off the video super star into producing more creative forms of text-based content. In the end, that’s really what it comes down to…how good are your consumer insights and how creative can you deliver the answers, information and inspiration your audience is looking for.

What do you think about the data limitations facing marketers?

Do you have a data choking horror story to tell? Talk to us!


Aim Increases Facebook Fans, Social Conversation and Experience Engagement for NRG, Reliant Energy and eVgo

NRG Exhibit Consumer Electronics Show 2012 DeLorean electric vehicle

When NRG unveiled its eye-popping energy exhibit at the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show January 10th, visitors got their first taste on an experience stretching seamlessly into cyberspace and across the state of Texas during 2012.

The exhibit was packed with energy-themed eye candy like the new prototype DeLorean electric vehicle; an electric vehicle charging station; a human-powered “hamster” wheel and specially equipped mountain bikes where visitors generated energy to benefit charities; solar panels, intelligent thermostats and; The Smarter Home on Wheels, a giant, rolling demonstration of today’s top energy-efficient home appliances, home automation and personal energy management solutions.

Custom-designed digital experiences and social media tie-ins enabled CES visitors along with those online to contribute to charities tied to the exhibit’s theme of “The power to change life. The energy to make it happen” as well making possible an entry into a sweepstakes to drive the one-of-a-kind DeLorean electric vehicle.

“CES is the perfect place for NRG to demonstrate how consumers can use smart energy products and services, solar energy and electric vehicles to build a more sustainable energy lifestyle,” said Karen Jones, Chief Marketing Officer of NRG. “Working with our subject matter experts and internal creative teams, AIM has helped us to create a truly unique exhibit.”

“Our goal was to create an immersive experience that would appeal to different customers and be able to live beyond the 4-day trade show,” said Jeff Symon, Chief Creative Officer of AIM, the marketing firm and brand experience agency that created it. “We wanted to not only create an engaging brand experience for those visitors at CES but also be able to amplify NRG’s brands across multiple platforms and multiple audiences.  Through the ability to repurpose the physical assets we created as well as through the social media sphere we were able to maximize NRG’s overall investment.”

The experience is designed to reach a range of potential customers, first as a B-to-B exhibit at CES, and later as a B-to-C event when the core of the exhibit, the rolling Smarter Home on Wheels, travels to fairs, events, schools and retail store locations in Texas as part of Reliant Energy’s, “Your Smarter Home Tour 2012″.

The Smarter Home on Wheels, which includes solar panels and smart energy solutions that demonstrate how home network technologies can work together to put consumers in control, giving them the power to make more informed decisions about their energy usage.

The NRG Power Playground Backyard, including the Human NRG Wheel, allowed visitors and people linked in through social media at the Facebook pages of either NRG Energy, Reliant Energy, Evgo Network or DeLorean Motor Company to use their personal energy to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit that provides free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans.

The prototype of the first electric-powered DeLorean, plugged into NRG’s eVgo home charging station. The DeLorean’s appearance streamed live during CES. Both on-site and as part of the online experience, participants could enter the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes for their chance to win a weekend in Houston to tour the Reliant Energy SmartHouse, visit the DeLorean factory and take the car out for a spin.

On-site, a photographer captured visitors as they got their picture taken in front of the DeLorean. They received a unique code to pick-up their pictures online and share them through the Reliant Energy Facebook page after the event.

The unique social media tools enabled fans not present at CES to also participate through:

  • A fangate on the NRG Energy Facebook page and a double fangate on the Reliant Energy, Evgo Network and DeLorean Motor Company pages creating a unique synergy and seamless social media experience across multiple brands Facebook pages.
  • Live video streams from the event focusing on the DeLorean and Human NRG Wheel that include the ability for fans to view, comment and share.
  • A click for charity interface that enables online visitors to contribute to the overall donation just through their clicks and by sharing with their friends, as well as being able to monitor their impact with a real-time donation meter.
  • Online registration and sharing of the Drive Into the Future Sweepstakes.

“We wanted to amplify the NRG brands by getting a much bigger bang for the buck,” said Symon.  “Through close collaboration with our client, we were able to create an on-site experience packed with state-of-the-art energy touch points that could launch at CES and travel beyond to other events along with an integrated social media experience engaging online visitors and their friends.”

Facebook’s Timeline: How to Get It

Facebook Like Button

Earlier this week, we posted about Facebook’s changes and what it all might mean for marketers.  Mashable was kind enough to run an article on how you can implement Facebook’s timline right now. It’s a fairly easy to follow set of instructions but be aware that only other people who have done this will be able to see your changes for now. Once timeline goes out of public beta, it will be viewable by everyone.

Mashable added another article a day or two ago regarding how these changes might directly effect brand pages. We’ve already heard rumblings that Facebook is pushing down brand pages from fan’s news feeds, in preparation for coming back to brands with their hands out for MONEY!

This is a perfect example of why brands needs to focus on building an engaging brand experience on their own site and not put all their eggs in a specific social media service’s basket. If you buidl a storefront in Facebook what happens when Facebook changes their terms of service? It’s kind of like a New Jersey protection racket…”Gee, it would be a shame if you’re nice little store had a fire or somethin’, wouldn’t it. But, if you take advantage of our special policy, I can assure you nothin’ will happen.”

Social media is great, until it isn’t. For years, all brands could do was lease somebody elses media to reach an audience. Not anymore. A smart brand, who knows how to find out the information, education and inspiration needs of their customers can now cheaply create their own media channel and build an audience that they own.

Really, we think the safe bet is for brands to take the later course, viewing themselves as media companies, producing helpful, relevant, engaging and entertaining content that people are already searching for and building an audience they own on their own brand site. This site then functions as a distribution hub for the content to be scattered over then entire web. By all means, post it on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and YouTube and any other specific social site that makes sense for your audience. But, don’t for a minute think these social channels will continue to offer brands their services for free forever. It’s only a matter of time before they start flexing their media might and changing for audiece acces.

Google+ Quick Start Guide

Google+ Quick Start Guide for Brands

Brand Talk e-newsletter

We’ve combed through the best advice on how to get up and running with Google+ and are sharing it here in our Brand Talk e-newsletter Google+ edition.  Although business pages haven’t been launched yet and won’t be for a couple months, according to Google, now is a great time to start using Google+ for yourself. Let us know what you think.


Nestlé® New Product Launch

Learn more about our fully integrated marketing program that’s supporting a new product launch from Nestlé USA.  http://linkd.in/jGxLF8

Marketers embracing QR codes, for better or worse


KUMHO TIRE Begins Salute To high performers with AIM-Activated U.S. Soccer Team Sponsorship

This Saturday’s highly anticipated match between the U.S Men’s National Soccer team and Argentina at the New Meadowlands Stadium (ESPN2 and ESPN3.com) is not only a must see for soccer fans, it marks the kickoff of Kumho Tire’s U.S. expansion and salute to high performers, something that reflects the company’s core values and goals. www.DriveKumho.com/soccer

The AIM Agency is excited and proud to be working with Kumho Tires to help bring this sponsorship initiative to life. read more

Accelerate ROI with Experientially Activated Sponsorships & Social Media

Interesting PMA webinar on maximizing ROI with experiential marketing  http://bit.ly/dKKMQO

Street Marketing 2.0

While buzz is still a primary objective for brands, street efforts must now also convert consumers into customers. Check out what Street 2.0 looks like, how it’s being deployed—and what you need to know. http://bit.ly/icMU5e