In brief: Shaq in Bubble Wrap, topless bus model backlash, Apple TV ad tech

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In other news: Google admits self-driving car accidents ... Mobile campaigns spank desktop for sales ... Marketing in rural India ... Tim Armstrong's long bet on ad tech ... Rob Lowe mocks online ads.

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Google admits self-driving car accidents. (Marketing) Google has admitted that its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents on US roads, but stressed that the incidents were not the fault of the technology. It said all the accidents were minor, with "light damage" and "no injuries." The news follows an AP report that claimed Google had notified California of three collisions since September involving its self-driving cars.

Shaq's tumble offers Bubble Wrap branding bounty. (PRWeek) When Coyne PR saw former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal’s on-air fall last week, the firm quickly connected the dots for its client Bubble Wrap by sending the basketball legend enough of the product to protect his entire body. The seven-foot-one-inch former athlete, now serving as a TV analyst, took a tumble on the set of TNT’s "Inside the NBA" last Wednesday.  The Internet exploded with jokes, and O’Neal himself went along with it, tweeting that he’d pay $500 to whoever made the best meme of his fall. Coyne overnighted two massive bales of Bubble Wrap to the set in Atlanta, along with a letter to O’Neal telling him to stay safe. O’Neal put on the Bubble Wrap during the show Sunday night, causing frenzy on social media again.

"Ride me all day" slogan, topless models get Welsh bus company in Dutch. (Marketing) A Cardiff-based bus company became the center of a Twitter sexism storm when it ran a series of ads on the back of its buses featuring apparently topless models holding placards displaying the line "ride me all day for £3."  New Adventure Travel was promoting a new route, which for the sake of gender equality also included an image of a topless man and the "ride me" slogan. But Twitter users took to the social network to express their disgust, with frequent uses of the #EverydaySexism hashtag. Even Welsh singer Charlotte Church joined the outcry, posting on Twitter that "THIS IS ABHORRENT" and calling on New Adventure Travel to remove the ads, which it has since done.

Study: Mobile campaigns drive twice the sales of desktop. (Direct Marketing News) A benchmarking report from ad platform 4Info claims to pry open the lid on mobile's effect on retail sales. It found that mobile campaigns drive more than double the sales that desktop campaigns do. Mobile executions produced about $30 in sales per 1,000 impressions versus only $13 for desktop, with average return on ad spend for mobile hitting 257%. The study focused on 83 mobile campaigns in seven CPG categories over their entire durations, with the average being 11 weeks.

Marketing to rural India. (Campaign India) "Rural is not a large homogenous mass of popular presumptions; one size doesn’t fit all," said Gurpreet Wasi, principal consultant with IMRB, speaking at the Rural Marketing Association of India’s (RMAI) 2015 conclave on the theme "Navigating Future." The two-day event kicked off on May 8 in New Delhi. She offered some pointers for marketers to tap into rural markets, among which was the need to focus on community as a pivot for rural consumers. Wasi advocated financial inclusion, which would give them power to spend more, and a bottom-up process of building a village to build market share.

Around the web:

Apple TV ad technology may boost network revenue. ( Its rumored OTT service will likely feature dynamic ad insertion technology based on viewing data that provides upside for media and entertainment companies that partner with Apple, speculates Pacific Crest Securities in a research report.

Tim Armstrong's long bet on ad tech. (Quartz) About a decade ago, as the head of ad sales at Google, Armstrong was obsessed with applying Google’s success at selling search advertising to offline media. He helped convince the company to try to sell ads in magazines, on radio, and on television. Armstrong’s plans at Google didn’t work out. Google’s TV, radio, and print initiatives all fizzled, and Armstrong eventually decamped in 2009 to become AOL CEO. Today’s $4.4 billion deal to sell AOL to Verizon is another powerful signal of how Internet companies are invading the core revenue lines of traditional media, like the ones Armstrong unsuccessfully pursued while at Google. 

Presidential candidates crave your e-mail. (New York Times) Presidential campaigns are rolling out online ads early, not because they think that this format of advertising will get your vote, but because that’s how their campaign staff intends to get your email address. It’s an important phase of the digital campaign because once they have your address, campaigns hope to tap you again and again for money and time.

Rob Lowe mocks web advertising. ( At its upfront event Monday, Fox enlisted Lowe to mock the online ad world and extol the virtues of television. In a video shown to prospective marketers and ad buyers, Lowe poked fun at low online viewability standards. As an example, Mr. Lowe narrated a clip where only a portion of the screen was in view. "I don’t know about you, but I have no idea what the hell I just saw," he said.


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