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The latest ad frontier

After product placement in movies and video games, science may soon put ads in our dreams, writes Deepak Mankar.

business Updated: Apr 10, 2006 11:22 IST

The Great Game! 'Tournament of Shadows', the Russians called it. Both terms, the first one coined by Arthur Conolly, an East India Company man, and later popularized by Rudyard 'Kim' Kipling, signify "the rivalry and strategic conflict between the British Empire and the Tsarist Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia", (for "the oil wells of power", presumably). wikipedia. How India was vivisected as a part of The Great Game is the theme of an absorbing account of the sub-continent's partition written by Narendra Singh Sarila ('The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition'). He is heir to the princely state of Sarila in central India, an erstwhile ADC to Lord Mountbatten, and a member of the Indian Foreign Service (1948-1985). Equally important, he is an excellent raconteur. What makes his account gripping is his research in the British and American archives where the top secret and recently unsealed government documents are kept. The Indian leaders of the Freedom Movement  - Gandhi, Nehru and the rest - come out as pygmies in front of their gargantuan adversaries - Churchill, Lord Linlithgow, Lord Wavell and Jinnah - totally out of their intellectual and strategic depths. Apparently, the Congress Party was outmaneuvered all the way by the British Raj. How utterly shame-making, as Evelyn Waugh would have put it. pavi (The 17 September 2005 post has a thought-provoking comment on the book.) 

Net adoption slows down. Dependence grows.

'The Face of the Web', the annual study by Ipsos Insight, shows a distinct slowdown in Internet adoption in the US. Regular Internet usage in the US and in Canada is now at 71 and 72 per cent respectively. Though adoption is expected to be stagnant, North America is still seen as a vital Internet economy. RSS feeds, blog authoring Wi-Fi connectivity and podcasts are the current driving forces globally. "Generally speaking, the world is growing in the amount of time they spend online and what they do online. … The story really is that digital music is driving and growing the digital lifestyle across all markets," said Ipsos Insight Senior Research Manager Adam Wright. As for usage, 89 out of 100 'wired' Japanese (13.9 hours online per week) as against 15 in 100 'wired' Indians (4.4 hours) used the Internet in November-December 2005. "In Europe they show a lot more signs of growth…," said Wright. The reason he cites is the incentives through service bundles in parts of Western Europe. ipsos

Blogging made easy. New 'widgets' on offer.

Bloggers using TypePad (Six Apart) and WordPress (Automattic) must be feeling top of the world. After all, they now have so many 'widgets' (companion applications or "a little piece of content or functionality provided by a third party") at their finger tip. For TypePadders, it's weather forecasts, job searches, music players, content from Weatherbug, e-commerce from CafePress, and search tools - 32 widgets in all. sixapart (See the Widget Directory for the full list.) WordPress bloggers too can now personalize their WordPress site without knowing HTML - and add links to services from Google Search and Flickr. wordpress. As one of the users eloquently put it: "Wordpress Widgets Plugin - Wordpress Blogging for Dummies?"

Pop goes online video. New OPA study findings.

According to a study released at the end of March 2006 by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) called 'From Early Adoption to Common Practice: A Primer on Online Video Viewing', video viewing online has "reached the point where it is a routine practice for many Internet users". The other noteworthy findings are: 
(1) "News Leads: While humour gets the buzz, news/current events is (sic) the most frequently viewed online video category." (2) "From Ads to Action: The vast majority of video viewers have seen video ads and many are being driven to take action." (3) "Specific Destinations Popular. Visiting specific Web sites is a very popular way to find online video; general surfing is nearly as common." The study's sample of 1,241 Internet users age 12 to 64 is said to be representative of the U.S. online population. magid 

Web 2.0 innovations. All mapped out.

For the cartographically minded, here's an innovative map. It shows us where and how the Web 2.0 innovation is physically distributed. For instance, the one closest to us is pageflakes in Bangladesh. "Using the lists of Web 2.0 applications from various sources (see listings) and a bit of elbow grease to locate addresses, the Innovation Map was born. The locations listed here have come either from a WHOIS lookup or the contact information from the web site itself. Locations are not guaranteed to be accurate." That's how the home page blurb describes the process of its creation with a note of caution.
fourio. More info in the 30 January 2006 blog post by Ryan Williams, a web developer and internet entrepreneur in Portland, Oregon, who writes on web development, business and entrepreneurship webthingsconsidered. Also check out techcrunch and web2.0central.

Slumberland. The latest ad frontier.

The newest frontier where no ads have gone before is about to be conquered. After product placement in movies and video games, science may soon do it in our dreams. Coca Cola, Speedo and Nike are three of the many mega-brands exploring 'in-sleep advertising'. The current spend on it in the US is $0.45 million. "One third of your life is spent sleeping. That is a wasted third, in our eyes," opines Ida Gottit, Chief Executive, American Marketing Association. "There are only 24 hours in the day according to most physicists," says Nevin Fester of In-Sleep, a leader in providing in-sleep marketing solutions. "We've been lobbying the stubborn bunch for years to increase this but all we got in 2006 was an extra second! So we thought, the average person sleeps 7 to 8 hours a day. Let's tap into that. To use a metaphor, let's utilize this computing resource while it is in screensaver mode." And: "… brain activity is simply electrical charges. We've been able to successfully translate an advertising message into an electrical charge," explains Professor Ivan Nydea, Chief Scientist, In-Sleep. All in-sleep subjects have a nanobot (a tiny robot about the size of a blood cell that "acts something like a wireless base-station, sending and receiving signals from other nanobots") into that part of the brain where dreams originate - the pons in the brainstem. Before going to bed, the subject puts "a small device in their ear, not dissimilar to a cochlear implant. … in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the implant is triggered (by the increase in delta waves) and a nanobot containing the appropriate advertising message is released into the spiral artery of the ear and down through to the cochlear canal. Once it reaches the blood brain barrier, it is programmed to wirelessly send an electrical signal (the advertisement) to the nanobot located in the pons. That nanobot receives the signal, sources the appropriate neuroreceptor and implants the ad." Shades of 'sleep teaching' (hypnopedia) in Brave New World, eh? emarketer.

That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.

Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at asiaondemand.com.  Website: http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him at dmankar@bom8.vsnl.net.in.