Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

Amazon’s Physical Stores May Be Causing Hype, but the Digital Payoff Could Be the Real Story

May 25, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A few hours after vacationer Sariah Lutkin landed in New York City on Wednesday from Cologne, Germany, she saw a sign about the new Amazon store in Gotham's Columbus Circle area. There's no such storefront for the ecommerce giant in Europe, so Lutkin, an customer, decided to check out the mall-based location that opened...

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Jeff Bezos Gives $1 Million to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

May 24, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press got a significant boost as it held its annual Freedom of the Press Awards last night, in the form of a $1 million donation from Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos that was announced at the dinner. This is the biggest personal donation in the...

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Daily Download: Five Stories You Need to Read Today

Daily Download: Five Stories You Need to Read Today

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April 10, 2017  |  Blog  |  No Comments

News travels fast in the digital world - here’s five stories you need to read about the future of storytelling. Mashable reviews the new Youtube TV streaming service that launched on Wednesday - and says it’s exactly what streaming should be in the digital age. Read more here. Amazon’s Alexa is adding some new location-based features that allow Alexa to tailor her recommendations to a person’s location. Fortune Magazine outlines them here. AdWeek gathered eight eye-catching digital marketing stats ranging from digital engagement around Pepsi and current monthly users of Pokemon Go. What do entrepreneurs do to make their second startup a success? Read

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Amazon Echo Upgrades Alexa So She Can Understand Your Pets, Just in Time for April Fools’ Day

March 31, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For this year's April Fools' Day, Amazon is introducing a version of its Echo speaker for the dogs, cats and gerbils that might be jealous that their owner is spending too much time talking with somebody named Alexa. In a YouTube video, Petlexa--as it's called--riffs on the AI voice assistant that's become increasingly ubiquitous in...

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As a Producer, Bryan Cranston Knew the Best Way to Save His Pilot Sneaky Pete Was to Act In It Himself

January 12, 2017  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When his iconic TV series Breaking Bad went off the air in 2013, Bryan Cranston wasn't looking to dive back into another series role. But in May 2015, when CBS passed on Sneaky Pete, the drama pilot he had co-created, co-written and executive produced, Cranston knew there was one surefire way to help the show find a second life: hire himself as an actor on the show. His instinct paid off: Amazon (and its viewers) loved the retooled pilot— significantly improved by the addition of a riveting scene with Cranston in the closing moments—and gave the show a series order. The full season, one of this year's most anticipated shows, debuts on the streaming service Friday, with Cranston appearing in all 10 episodes (he also directs an episode). Sneaky Pete stars Giovanni Ribisi as Marius, a con man who has just been released after three years in prison, where his cell mate, Pete, talked incessantly about his idyllic childhood. On the run from Cranston's Vince, Marius decides to assume Pete's identity and hide out with his family (including Margo Martindale as his grandmother), who run a struggling bail bonds business, and haven't seen Pete in 20 years. The tension escalates after Vince tracks down Marius, and threatens to remove one of his brother's fingers each week until Marius repays his debt. Cranston told Adweek that Sneaky Pete refers to his family nickname growing up. "I was raised in a lower income household, with a fractured family: I didn't have a father in my life when I was 11 to when I was an adult, and my mother become an alcoholic," he said. "What happens is you start to self-parent, and you're making mistake after mistake and just weaving your way through, looking for shortcuts," Cranston said. "So my family was even calling me Sneaky Pete: a guy who was looking for shortcuts. A guy who was circumventing responsibility and striving for mediocrity. That's fine when you're in that condition, but at some point, something has to break." It did for Cranston in his early 20s, when he embarked on a two-year motorcycle trip and realized he wanted to be an actor. When he accepted his fourth and final acting Emmy for Breaking Bad in 2014, Cranston dedicated his award to "all the Sneaky Petes out there." The day after the Emmys, Cranston received a congratulatory phone call from Sony Pictures Television co-president Zack Van Amburg: "He says, 'I think there's a series there: Sneaky Pete.' I said, 'What's the series?" And he goes, 'I don't know! But I do know this'—and he left me with this little nugget—'What happens if you didn't mature and change when you were 20 years old

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What Marketers Can Learn From America’s Election Shock

November 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If my Facebook newsfeed is any indication, the world of advertising is currently filled with hand-wringing, astonishment and in some cases, all-out despair. There are tears and complete shock that we seem to have gotten it all wrong. Liz Ross The results of the presidential election were shocking to many, especially with election forecasters putting Hillary Clinton's chance of winning at anywhere from 70 percent to as high as 99 percent. How they got it so wrong is a cautionary tale not just for pollsters, but for marketers as well. The absolute No. 1 takeaway we should have tattooed on our collective forehead is that data, and the subsequent algorithms we use to parse that data, do not understand human emotion, especially the most intense forms—love, hate, anger, joy and loneliness. Emotions, which define who we are as humans, do not fit on an election forecaster's data chart just as they cannot be summarized through an evaluation of our Amazon purchases or our online surfing behavior. Our digital selves only represent a piece (a small but growing piece) of who we are. While the digital footprint of those of us in cities is growing exponentially, we must not project our own behavior and patterns on those in other parts of the country. My running joke is that people on the West Coast all believe the U.S. will soon have its toilet paper delivered by drone and people on the East Coast believe that everyone buys their toilet paper one roll at a time. Neither of these things is true, of course, and the reality is that most of the people in the middle of the country live different lives than those on the coasts. So if we want to know something or claim to know something about a person or a community, we sure as hell better be tuned in to their humanity and not just their statistics. We are in advertising, one of the most amazing industries in the world—an industry of creative thinkers, eccentrics and people who challenge the status quo. We are also an industry filled with optimists, and no time in history have we needed optimism more than we do today. So let's be the optimists we are, and use this moment of national tension as a learning opportunity. Here are four ideas for how marketers can do things differently as a result of what we learned from the election: • Stop using the word "consumer." It is a pejorative term, indicating that there are mindless people waiting in the world for messages and information from brands. No one in the world simply consumes; they are complex humans who make choices every single day. Regarding them as actual people will make our marketing better

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How the Election Hurt Ecommerce and 6 Other Interesting Digital Marketing Stats

November 18, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With the presidential election behind us and the holidays ahead, there's been an interesting mix of digital marketing stats this week. Check out seven that caught our eye: 1. Voting at the expense of shopping HookLogic, part of Criteo, found that an election can hurt online retailers. Its cross-client study discovered that ecommerce dropped 5 percent year-over-year (YOY) the day before the election, fell 16 percent YOY the day of and plummeted 23 percent YOY the day after . 2. Black Friday shoppers are usually married Experian Marketing Services worked with SpotRight to study consumers mentioning #BlackFriday on Twitter. The analysis found that Black Friday shoppers are 53 percent women, 60 percent between the ages of 26-50, and 73 percent are married

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How This Agency Built Its Own App Using Amazon Echo

November 14, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Last October, New York-based digital agency Rain worked with Campbell's to find a new way to push out the CPG giant's library of recipes, creating one of the first branded "skills" for Amazon's voice-controlled Echo device, which helped consumers find dinner recipes on demand. While the agency expected a bit of a PR boost from the Campbell's work, voice and the so-called Internet of Things has actually become a big growth area for Rain over the past year, as more agencies look for ways to tap into emerging devices for brands. Shortly after creating the Campbell's skill, Rain became one of a handful of Amazon's go-to developers tasked with building "skills"—voice apps that let consumers ask questions to Amazon's AI platform named Alexa. Rain even opened up a small satellite office—albeit with one employee—in Seattle to be closer to Amazon's headquarters. "From an agency level, Amazon helps make some connections with clients," said Greg Hedges, director of strategy at Rain. "People will reach out to Amazon sometimes and then we'll get them to the right people." In the past year, Rain has signed 1-800-Flowers, P&G's Tide, Yahoo Fantasy Football and Liberty Mutual-owned Safeco as clients, helping to build branded skills that dole out information and entertainment to consumers. For Safeco, the agency built a glossary of insurance terms so that consumers can ask Alexa questions like, "What is umbrella insurance?" or "What does liability mean?" For 1-800-Flowers, users can automatically place flower orders to their friends or family members.

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Matthew Weiner Heads to Amazon for His Next TV Move After Mad Men

October 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A year and a half after wrapping his iconic TV series Mad Men, the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, has finally picked his next TV project. The creator is leaving AMC for streaming, making a $70 million deal with Amazon and The Weinstein Co. for his new, modern-day series. While Amazon often allows its subscribers to vote on its pilots before deciding which ones to pick up to series, Weiner's show has received a straight-to-series order, as was the case with the streaming service's recent drama Goliath and Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes. According to Deadline , which first reported the news, Weiner's new series is a "contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide." Weiner will be creating, writing and executive producing the show, and directing several episodes. Since finishing Mad Men's seven-season run last May, Weiner has laid relatively low as he plotted his next move. He directed an episode of Orange Is the New Black's most recent season, and wrote a novel, Heather, the Totality, which is due out next fall. Weiner's choice of Amazon, which like Netflix releases an entire season's worth of shows at once, is somewhat surprising given that Weiner said last year that he'd prefer to have his shows released weekly. If he ever were to make a show for Netflix, he said shortly after Mad Men's finale , "I would try to convince them to let me just roll them out, so there was at least some shared experience. I love the waiting, I love the marination. I think when you watch the entire season of a show in a day, you will definitely dream about it, but it's not the same as walking around the whole week saying, 'God, Pete really pissed me off!'" There was no immediate word from Amazon about the release schedule for Weiner's new series.

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Jeff Bezos Isn’t Convinced That the Washington Post Can Survive on Payment Services

October 20, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief and owner of the Washington Post, isn't sure that services like paywalls and tiered subscriptions can work for publishers. During a wide-ranging panel at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit, Bezos talked about how he works with the Washington Post staff, as well as the tech giant's recent move into artificial intelligence and his thoughts on the presidential election. One of the most interesting nuggets in the conversation came out when Bezos talked about how the Washington Post plans to make money in the future. Despite running arguably the world's biggest ecommerce company, asking consumers to pay for content isn't a model that he's totally sold on. "These things can change, but I don't see evidence yet that consumers are amenable to those kinds of micro-payments," Bezos told a packed room. "In the early days of music subscription services, consumers were not amenable to music subscriptions—they didn't want that, they wanted to buy it a la carte. Habits and behaviors and patterns of consumers do change slowly over time—maybe one day they will pay." Bezos also said that he wants to move the Post from "making a relatively large amount of money per reader, having a relatively small number of readers—that was the traditional Post model for decades, [a] very successful model by the way," to, "a model where we make a very small amount of money per reader on a much, much larger number of readers." Whether Bezos' vision means reducing the paper's ad load or changing new ad formats isn't clear, but he said that he thinks it will include a mixture of both ads and subscriptions. Over the past year, the Washington Post has experimented with a number of new ad products that seemingly fit the bill for Bezos' mandate. In May, the paper rolled out ads that have faster load times, for example. And last month, it started rolling out a mobile website that promises to load pages in less than a second. In terms of his surprising move to get into the media business three years ago when he acquired the Washington Post, "I did zero due diligence," Bezos said. "I did not negotiate, I accepted the asking price. It couldn't have happened that way except for the person that I was dealing with was Don Graham, who I've known for 15 years and was the most honorable person." According to Bezos, Graham—the then-owner of the paper—laid out every single problem as well as every great quality when making the deal. "I've owned the paper for a couple of years now and if anything, the warts are not as bad as he made them out to be and the things that are great about the Post are stronger than he made them out to be," he said. He also compared the culture of the Post as, "swashbuckling, but they're like professional swashbucklers." That said, Bezos is purposely hands-off with the paper's team. "This is a highly professionalized activity [and] we have people who have decades of experience doing it. I try to help at a much higher level than, 'should we cover this story or that story.'" Artificial learning Bezos talked a bit about Echo's artificial intelligence technology that uses deep learning to learn more about users' speech patterns, music preferences and more. "The fact that it's always on, the fact that you can talk to it in an actual way removes a lot of barriers, a lot of friction—it's easier than taking your phone out of your pocket," Bezos said

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