Valve v. In-Game Ads – It’s a Bluff

If you’re a gamer, you’ve read about Valve vs. Subway, Engage, et al. and ads in Counter-Strike.  Is Valve really upset?  It’s all a bluff.

How did CS originate in the first place?  Through consumer mods that were so popular, they commercialized it.  Hmmm, sounds like the story of Red Hat and Linux.  With all the talk about violating the EULA via commercialization – of course it’s OK, as long as Valve gets a piece of the action.

It’s part of a trend that Forrester calls "Consumer-Focused Innovation" where "consumers play an active role in process redesign, product development strategies, and new channel development."  Outside of software and CPG, you see this in automotive as well.  Aftermarket mods are being pulled forward and offered as options on new cars.

It would be great to see what happens with in-game WOM advertising – I’d hate to be on the wrong end of that transaction.

Airport security programs need to understand the customer

A couple of weeks ago, I was down in Orlando for the WOMMA conference.  Great event, met lots of interesting people.

Near my gate, I noticed a kiosk designed a lot like Amex Blue.  It was setup for Clear, a service that intends to expedite travelers through airport security.  It’s only operating in Orlando, but expanding to IND and SJC soon.  According to the Globe, Boston’s Logan Airport will implement a similar program this summer.

So here’s the deal – you pay $79.95/year and submit biometric and other info to the TSA so they can monitor you.  Currently in MCO, there isn’t a separate Clear line, so you wait with everyone else, in addition to the iris and fingerprint scans.  Clear only exempts you from "additional" security screening.

I think it’s a cool idea, but right now there aren’t any tangible benefits for the costs.  Sounds like Logan’s thinking in the right direction by putting together "premium" benefit packages – but they better be enough to overcome privacy concerns as well.  Partner with the airlines to expedite check-in.  Give me a guarantee of less than 10 minutes to clear security, even at 7 am on Monday morning.  Unless Clear offers real value, it’s going bankrupt.

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KITT – Michael needs help…now.

When I first got this from an old Penn Six guy, I thought this video was a JibJab something or other.  First I laughed.    Then I realized it was for real.  Surreal to be exact.

The thing about David Hasselhoff is – well, Baywatch may be cheesy but remember the theme song?  The brother can wail!  But what’s with the random tusken raider and fish in the mouth?


How I learned to love the blog

Just for the record, I want to close the loop on the topic that shoved me into the blogosphere back in 2003.

One Monday morning, I go into work and there’s a buzz – people are definitely freaking out about something but don’t want to tell anyone.  By the end of the day, I hear about this "fake PUMA ad" and the executive board decides that they want to sue anyone who’s got the ad posted on their site.  You can read about the full story here; it was picked up by the likes of Gawker, AdLand, AdRants and Salon.

The vitriolic comments were pretty surprising, given how little first-hand information people had.  The extent to which my comments to Felix Salmon were twisted and miscontstruedmisconstrued was also impressive.  [By the way, it’s interesting to look at those old links and see how many blogs are now defunct.]

What really happened – a small Eastern European agency affiliated with Saatchi & Saatchi created the ads on spec, trying to win business with a PUMA subsidiary.  They got nothing and emailed the ads to friends; from that point it snowballed.  As you can guess, when the PUMA powers-that-be decided to get all corporate on the blogosphere, the whole thing exploded.  Poor Pete M.’s (PUMA GC in the US) email inbox exploded with junk after that, with his name being on the cease and desist.  No "Brazilian Maxim", no evil master plan (they’re real but we’ll say they’re fake), but online store sales were up like CRAZY for a couple of weeks.  Too bad we didn’t even have the shoes in the ads in stock!

So a lesson for PR/Marketing types that need to deal with this type of issue – the best thing to do is deny and let it die.  But the beat goes on.  Remember the flap about David Arquette and Courteney Cox Arquette’s baby’s christening pics?

UPDATE:  Pretty interesting.  Adland, a blog that decided to continue running these PUMA ads despite PUMA’s request to have them removed, has taken a quite different course on some spec ads posted recently.  No explanation why, besides that the client asked for them to be removed – same as the PUMA situation.  Moreover, they have actually edited the text of comments (!) – thankfully they are located in Denmark, as in the U.S. this action would turn them into owners of all edited comments and the potential trademark infringments therein.

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Hello and welcome!  It’s most likely that you’ve stumbled across this blog by accident and I don’t blame you.

So here’s what’s behind the name.  I grew up in Atlanta and back in the day, Koreans in the ATL were few and far between.  It was a long time before I ever met another Korean "Peter" let alone another "Peter Kim."  However, as Koreans are often Christians as well, combining the Apostle with the Smith of the Land of the Morning Calm was inevitable.  Second-generation Korean-Americans have a hard enough time finding their identity and realizing that your name is shared by thousands doesn’t help.

In any case, I’ve worked those adolescent issues out – fast forward to Philadelphia, McNeil Building computer lab on Locust Walk, Fall 1994.  After learning to surf the web using lynx, I discovered Mosaic and then Netscape 1.0.  I created my home page and it came up as one of six results in Yahoo! ("some crazy catalog out of Stanford – that’ll never make money").  Now when you search on "Peter Kim" in google, 27.8 million results return.

So here’s my return to the web in this era of social computing.  If you want to know more, check out my LinkedIn or Facebook profiles or Forrester bio and research, where I’m an analyst focused on Marketing (capital M) (I left Forrester on July 18, 2008).  I’ll capture my personal thoughts here, as we intend to launch a work blog soon.  If you know me from work, you might find this interesting as another side to me, but I really intend this to be a way to reconnect with friends around the globe rather than an extension of my work as an analyst.  Although sometimes those two worlds are just inseparable, right?

I guess sometimes work imitates life and life imitates work.