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The New Face of Product Placement

The New Face of Product Placement

Arguably one of Google+’s standout features, Hangouts have been used by marketers and brands in a variety of ways. From live-streaming fashion shows to personalized interviews with CEOs, the video-chat feature has become a valuable tool to engage readers and attract new followers. Now after 2 years of experimentation, Google is helping publishers monetize their efforts through a mix of social advertising, content marketing and traditional ad-buy.

On Monday, Glamour magazine launched a month-long series of Hangouts featuring publication staff, online personalities, and products. Between April 10 and May 8 Glamour will roll out nine Hangouts that will include a total of eight advertising partners whose products will be placed in central spots encouraging users to interact with the brands. For example, a L’Oréal sponsored hangout with Glamour stylist Annabel Tollman will teach viewers how to wear ombré using L’Oréal products. Other sponsors include Unilever, L’Oréal, Pantene and SlimFast.

Bill Wackermann, vice president and publishing director at Condé Nast (who manages the sales, brand strategy and marketing for Glamour), told Mashable “[the collaboration is] a way to put advertisers’ products in front of Glamour‘s 1.5 million Google+ followers in a format that’s both compelling (in an editorial sense) and makes those products part of a story”.

The Hangout series includes content that ranges from beauty how-tos and shopping inspiration to live music and insider tips. The Hangouts will be uploaded to Glamour’s YouTube channel, as well as the advertisers’ websites and social media outlets. Some of the Hangouts are live, enabling readers to log on and participate using the hashtag #GLAMOURHangouts, while others will be pre-recorded, allowing readers to watch and comment via Google+.

“A lot of our advertisers were asking for custom content-things they could use across their websites and socially,” says Jenny Bowman, executive creative services director for the publisher. “This is part of their commitment to running in the May issue. We produce the Hangouts, bring in talent and film it-it’s something that we’re doing as added value.”

Here in the PHA Digital Team, we are excited to see the results – for both Glamour and the participating advertiser partners – if successful it could be a great case study that will surely be replicated by others.

Social Media: Google + gets the thumbs up from Barack Obama

Google claims that their new social network Google+, is still looking as healthy as ever and is gaining thousands of new subscribers every day, but the media is rife with rumours about the specifics of the figures.

If you listen to the LA Times, close inspection of the analytics shows a steady decline in the numbers with peaks and troughs that reflect the companies frequent press conferences on new features. According to the LA Times, there was a significant rise in traffic when business pages were announced, but it’s more difficult to prove that those people have come back since. To confuse matters, those claims were recently countered by Hitwise, who announced that there was no evidence that Google+ was retaining users.

Basically – no one knows, and Google are throwing everything at their PR to make sure that we are all under the impression that this is the next big thing in the social media world, and this week, they got their biggest celebrity endorsement yet when their latest user, a certain Mr Barack Obama who is no stranger to unstable approval ratings, signed up.

The account was launched without any pomp and ceremony last Wednesday morning and is being run by his campaign committee ahead of the re-elections. The first post from the campaign reflected Obama’s laid-back, friendly campaign social media style, which many credit for his 2008 victory.

“Welcome to the Obama 2012 Google+ page. We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign.” So far, the reaction has not been overwhelming.

So will Google+ be celebrating their new arrival, or will this thrust them into the limelight before they are ready? If the Obama campaign team don’t figure out a way to make the medium work for them, presumably with all the help and support Google can offer, then it will be a pretty damning judgement on the network as a useful tool going forward.

So is this savvy social networking on Obama’s part, or a desperate a social media campaign too far? What do you think?

 

Cover image courtesy of US Embassy, Jakarta, flickr.com