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Marilois on Media 6-30-17
When Chatbots Marry Video
This week a shout out to Teads, the outstream video company. Outstream video sits within premium editorial content. This week Tommy Hilfiger launched a new Teads ad unit that marries an artificial intelligence chatbot with video. Gorgeous Millennials model jeans and brightly colored apparel against a dance-worthy soundtrack. And superimposed is a box, saying "Chat to Us." Browsers who engage with the chatbot (TMY.GRL) are directed to check out garments the bot deems appropriate for the browser, based on a series of questions. The products are then made easily purchased on Tommy.com. Check out the ad unit here.
Wedding Bells for Sprint and Charter-Comcast
Sprint is in exclusive talks with Charter Communications and Comcast on a potential wireless partnership. Which would be a bit of a bummer for T-Mobile US, which had been in talks with Sprint for a merger. Wall Street analysts seems to believe the synergistic cost savings from a Sprint/T-Mobile deal are much greater than Sprint's options with Charter/Comcast. But I wonder if they may be missing the point, which is - no surprise to my regular readers - all about content. Take, for example, AT&T's union with DirecTV. Wireless service is highly commoditized, with a monthly churn rate right around 2%. The digital generation can't get enough short-form content on mobile devices. Offering customers custom content or content discounts, via bundled service, is a great way to keep accounts sticky.
Snapchat New Feature - Friend or Foe
Snapchat released a new feature this week, allowing users to continuously track friends' whereabouts. It's called "Snap Map" and the introductory video is here. Unlike Facebook's check-in feature, where the user makes the decision to announce arrival at a particular location, Snapchat is constantly monitoring and broadcasting users' locations. A user is tracked on a map as long as the app is open, which is all the time for most users. And unless the user enables the "Ghost" feature. Considering Snapchat's fan base of teens, who aren't always so cautious in choosing social media friends, it's no wonder the feature has some parents on edge. Even my teens complained about the "creep" factor. Of course, that didn't stop them from using it, because it's only creepy when you're the one being tracked. It's fun tracking friends.
Speaking of Creep Factor
We're back to Google this week, who announced it will no longer scan user Gmails to sell targeted ads. Of course Techcrunch says Google already knows a lot about users and probably doesn't need to scan the emails for audience targeting. So while one might argue the change is a "win" for all those privacy-invasion protesters, it won't stop you from being ad-targeted. And speaking of creep factor, Google is apparently using some sort of really sophisticated AI to automate suggested Gmail responses. Which I find alternately creepy and incredibly convenient. What some call "creepy" others call "personalization."
Marilois Snowman is managing director + founder of Mediastruction, a media design shop.