The ratings company Nielsen–the company you can blame for bad stunt-casting and stupid plot devices during sweeps week–is going to start rolling in data from online viewings of commercials this fall, which means networks will start using online viewing stats to help sell ads this time next year. What this means: if a network uses the new Nielsen rating system, “shows seen online will have to have the same group of commercials that run on TV,” reports AdAge. [More]
“Vision Media Television,” after getting exposed in a NY Times story as a ripoff production company, has changed its name to “GreatAmericaHD” and is back to its same tricks. The way it works is they call up non-profit organizations with an alluring pitch: a chance to be featured in a nationally-broadcast PBS show anchored by established broadcaster. In this case, Hugh Downs. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll have to front upwards of $20,000 in production costs, and the “program” they shoot will never see the light of day. [More]
Aziz Ansari wants everyone to know that the sheets he bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond were not of the quality he’d been promised. [More]
Corey, who is trying to help his Brooklyn parents improve their TV setup, feels his folks were baited and switched by Verizon, displaying a cheap deal on its site that went away after he entered his parents’ address. [More]
Over at Ditchwalk today, Mark Barrett points out that sex in mainstream advertising is a tell. There are two things it immediately communicates: that the product is “indistinguishable from its competition,” and that it is generic. You don’t have to stop appreciating libido-stirring images the next time a sexy ad airs (not that you probably could, anyway). But if you keep Barrett’s advice in mind, you may start noticing that some companies are telling you more about their product than they probably mean to. [More]
This past summer, Time Warner Cable introduced a new DVR service to subscribers. The New York Observer noted at the time that some of the changes–namely the “Start Over” feature that lets you watch something from the beginning even if you just switched to it–were nice. At least one customer, however, doesn’t agree. In fact, now that he’s given the revamped service a 4-month trial run, he’s ready to list the problems with it, some of which sound suspiciously anti-consumer. [More]
We’ve posted before about how to break your cable habit without giving up on TV altogether–it’s possible, but can’t happen without some work on your end. This week, the New York Times’ Nick Bilton explained how he and his wife have combined their existing devices with a few new ones to create a content stream that enables them to watch what they want without cable. [More]
Time just published its “Top 10 Any Category We Can Think Of” issue, and buried in there is a group of 10 great ads from the past year. Well, maybe not “great”–I would rather shove Norplant in my eyes than watch Evian’s rollerskating babies spot, but some of the other ones are pretty good. There’s also some great music in the list, including “Rapper’s Delight,” a Radiohead track, Bach, and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. [More]
As the Comcast/NBC mergepocalypse draws near, we wanted to remind readers of the ways that this is going to harm consumers (beyond the obvious things like 30 Rock being promised to come on between 6 and 10 pm and actually airing at 11:30). Join us for a sad look into the future. [More]
Lee’s TiVo saga is enough to scare you off from gift cards and lifetime service subscriptions from the company. It’s a long, not easily summarized tale, but as things stand now, Lee is without service, stuck with an unwarranted $97.64 charge and has a gift card that won’t work. [More]
A sneaky DirecTV marketer has bought up toll-free numbers that end in “DISH.” When DISH Network customers call up, the operators make it sound like they’re from Dish and offering them a free service upgrade, but in reality, they’re switching the service and slamming the Dish Network customer into a DirecTV service contract.
Marketers had a message for the housewives of the 1950s: they weren’t doing a good enough job at home. Their husbands had to resort to going elsewhere for it. Why, even the girls at the office could do it much better.
Here’s an idea: When your top rivals are renting dirt-cheap DVDs from ubiquitous kiosks, or streaming thousands of films as a free bonus to customers who rent mail-order rmovies, what do you do? If you’re Blockbuster, you start a trial run of kiosks that will allow consumers to rent DRM-protected videos on SD cards, and play them back using a proprietary box that will do nothing else. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em.
Oh no! Brooke Shields used to have stringy, stick-figure eyelashes! I figured this out after watching Consumer Reports’ video dissection of a new commercial for Latisse, the glaucoma medication that has been rebranded as an expensive, temporary eyelash enhancer with side effects.
This HSN presenter remembered to use his wrist strap when playing with a Wiimote, so good for him! Unfortunately, it turns out you also have to make sure any attachments are firmly attached.