This week the concern over children’s mobile phone addiction went past parents asking kids to put the phone down for dinner, straight to the board room. Activist Apple investors Jana Partners, along with California teacher pension investor CalSTRS asked a probing question: What impact is smartphone addiction having on youth? And is it, ultimately, a threat to smartphone makers? It’s an interesting question especially considering Jana hasn’t forayed into social activism. But then Selena Gomez admitted to therapy for depression, caused by Instagram addiction, primarily used on her mobile device. After three months in rehab to deal with panic attacks and depression, she simply deleted the app from her phone. And several former Facebook execs have opted out of social media, citing emotional fallout. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” said former Facebook president Sean Parker. It’s a really heavy issue for marketers, who are consumers with kids of their own. But who rely on apps to introduce advertising. Kudos to the Apple team for raising the question, publicly, no less, and committing to create more robust parental controls. Thought leadership, social responsibility, unique parental-control feature – sounds like a smart marketing strategy.
Other Media Health Impacts
Speaking of media and its health impact, Life Time gym has banned cable news from its TVs. Local news is OK, but buh-bye to CNN, Fox and MSNBC. “The news can be upsetting and stressful,” said one gym member, “Having that on 12 different televisions while you’re trying to run on the treadmill is not the most conducive.”
Media-Buying Software with Comcast Rebrand
Strata is a legacy software platform media buyers use to create and manage campaigns. It imports Nielsen ratings data and allows media buyers to spreadsheet media campaigns, managing flight dates, ratings, cost, etc. It is also used to send and receive orders between media buyers and sellers, post ratings and reconcile invoices. Its core competency is with broadcast media. A few years ago Comcast purchased Strata. Now Comcast is rebranding Strata to “Freewheel,” a brand Comcast has used to sell digital solutions. Software-user-interface, please meet data intelligence and targeting. I’d like to think this is a precursor to new options in addressable TV. Will be interesting to follow.
Algorithms’ Impact on Brand
Yes, yes and yes! What if marketers’ reliance on algorithms to reach the right people at the right place at the right time actually ends up selling exactly the same thing to the same people in the same way, with no differentiation. And that becomes a race to the bottom. In this opinion piece in The Drum, author Dan Plant makes a really good case for why algorithmic-led digital advertising may actually hurt brand recall and affinity. Like snowflakes, the digital display ad is only good for the moment it is served, and then afterwards brand recall melts away. You get the point, but read here for some solid evidence.