Morning Coffee Jul 16 2012

Microsoft De-Branding

By Beecher Tuttle

Last week's marketing cuts at Microsoft were concentrated in two main areas: mobile advertising and, surprisingly, branded entertainment. A significant percentage of Microsoft's Global Creative Solutions team responsible for the company's branded entertainment business was reportedly let go.

Russ Axelrod, director of Microsoft's branded entertainment experiences team, was included in the cuts, according to Adweek. Those not affected by the layoffs will be transferred to a new division charged with promoting Windows 8, essentially eliminating Microsoft's branded entertainment push, at least on paper.

The move underscores the uncertainty surrounding branded entertainment, a polarizing form of advertising where companies cultivate their image by producing original, oftentimes funny programming that uses their name more as a backdrop to the content.

More companies have started investing heavily in branded entertainment, well showcased by the thousands of entries in the category at June's Cannes Lions festival.

Others have been less enthusiastic. Unlike other advertising mediums, branded entertainment isn't meant to increase sales conversions. A recent study from Matter found that just 15% of respondents felt more inclined to buy a promoted item after watching a branded entertainment piece.

Sales Buzz

Avinger Raises Capital (MedReps)

Catheter manufacturer Avinger has raised an additional $33 million in Series D funding, which it will look to invest in its world-wide sales and development initiatives.

Google Blushes (Business Insider)

Research firm YouGov revealed its top 10 most popular brands of the first half of 2012, and one might surprise you. Google, never known as the gatekeeper of user privacy, finished just inside the top 10 American brands, just behind its sister site YouTube.

McDonald's Monopoly (Yahoo)

As part of its exclusive sponsorship deal with the 2012 Summer Olympics, McDonald's will be the only one of more than 800 food retailers on the grounds allowed to sell french fries during the London Games.

Marketing Buzz

Marathon Viewing (WSJ)

TV binge viewing – when fans churn through full seasons of their favorite shows in a single sitting – is having a significant negative impact on advertisers, media companies and even content creators, who feel their product is being inhaled rather than enjoyed.

The Godzilla in the Room (WSJ)

Japanese advertising powerhouse Dentsu had to cash a pretty big check to acquire British media and marketing company Aegis – nearly $5 billion, a 50% premium to the company's Wednesday closing price – but there's no guarantee it can retain Aegis's most important chip: its employees.

Strike Out (Adweek)

Sports publishers should expect to see at least a dozen new resumes floating around their desks this week after Sports Illustrated concludes its announced layoffs. The timetable the magazine gave to its editorial employees to volunteer for severance expired last Thursday with only a handful agreeing to move on.

Buzz Around the Office

A Dog Day Afternoon (NY Daily News)

One of the wedding season's most extravagant ceremonies took place last week, when a Coton de Tuléar tied the knot with a one-time stray poodle named Chilly Pasternak. The cost of the dog wedding? A cool $250,000.

List of the Day: Job Application Tips

Whatever you do, don't apply for every single job that comes up at your company if you're looking to move.

1. You'll seem desperate and look like you lack judgment.

2. You'll annoy recruiting managers who will simply pass you over.

3. Apply for no more than two or three jobs.

(Source: MoneyWatch)

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