Exclusive: Chronicling ‘Super Zero’

Ayzenberg creative lead and seasoned commercial director Mitch Cohen is running a Kickstarter to get his first feature film off the ground.  The goal is to raise enough money to produce a proof of concept for Super Zero, a zombie apocalypse movie.  That is a, um, well-established genre, but there are several noteworthy aspects to this project. First off, Cohen has agreed to document his experience with running the Kickstarter campaign on [a]list daily.

Mitch Cohen, writer and director of ‘Super Zero’

“Making a film is really freakin’ hard. Making a good film is even harder,” says Cohen’s Kickstarter page.

Win or lose — and we’re pulling for him to win of course – Cohen has agreed to share the up, down and dirty of his go at crowd funding through a series of articles.

The Super Zero storyline also has a couple of twists in its treatment of the zombie genre. The world is already in disarray with massive water shortages before the zombies come. When scientists attempt to transport and test a water sample found on Mars, they unleash a zombie infection.

As for the protagonist, he’s not the conventional film hero.  The lead character, Josh Hershberg, is a loner gamer who also happens to be terminally ill with brain cancer. That makes him immune to the flesh chomping zombies.  The character and plot give the film a Seth Rogen comedy vibe. Hershberg literally looks like a cross between Rogen’s Superbad stars Michael Cera and Jonah Hill.

Last but not least, and we quote Cohen, “There’s a friggin’ clown in this movie.”

Cohen has built the core of his above the line production team. He’s writing and helming, and he’s brought on board Shane Spiegel from CollegeHumor as producer and Idan Menin as cinematographer.  Menin studied his craft under a couple of venerable Hollywood cinematographers, Close Encounters of the Third Kind’s Vilmos Zsigmond and True Blood’s Amy Vincent.

Stay tuned for Cohen’s first piece next week.

Three Paid Social Marketing Tools Give Greater Visibility

It’s not news that social media has become a big part of marketing in a world where Facebook and Twitter are now woven into the social fabric. While using these sites for free to market is a vital part of getting a product out to followers and likers, many companies are missing out on the opportunities offered by paid marketing through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There are three different paid resources on these sites that can be useful.

Facebook promoted posts are one of these ways to get a company to get more noticed. For a fee, companies can make posts they make appear higher up and more frequently on follower’s news feeds. When someone puts a post up, one of the options that comes up is “promote.” Promoters are given the option to promote to people who like the page or to their friends as well, and can pay different amounts to reach different amounts of people.

Another one of these tools is promoted tweets on Twitter. Promoted tweets work similarly to promoted posts on facebook where users pay to have their posts viewed by more people. Twitter allows users to promote to specific demographics. Another benefit of using Twitter for paid advertising is that users don’t have to pay unless the tweet gets retweets, likes or clicks. In addition, Twitters new analytic tools allow users to see how each tweet is performing, so you can change your campaigns on the fly.

The last paid social marketing scheme that can move a company forward is LinkedIn ads. Similar to Twitter, promoters only have to pay for clicks on the ads, and not to send the ads out. LinkedIn’s ads consist of 75 characters, a headline, an image, and the company’s name. Promoters can specify which users to market to based on a number of criteria. The best ads for any campaign involve showing off what makes your company unique, including deals, and action words like try, download and sign up.

With these tools, and traditional social marketing campaigns even more people are reached, and companies can reach new highs in visibility.

Source: Mashable

Media Metrix Lets Companies See Their Multi-Platform Reach

Comscore’s new audience measurement tool called Media Metrix Multi-Platform debuted earlier this year, allowing users to measure the reach of their properties across the multiple devices. In April of this year, 14 million people in the U.S. only used mobile devices to access the Internet, so the importance of gauging reach across mobile and standard computing devices is incredibly important.

As the Internet becomes an increasingly multi-platform experience, knowing the reach of a service across multiple devices and exactly how much reach a service has on each of these devices is of great importance in shaping advertising campaigns. This new tool will allow companies to know more easily which devices their services are used on, and thus how they should shape their campaigns to be marketed on these devices.

Game marketing is increasingly conducted across multiple platforms, and we can expect to see web campaigns increasingly accessed from mobile devices. Knowing where and how a campaign is appearing is vital to understanding how to improve the campaign. Game marketers need to keep informed on the effectiveness of all platforms as the options are constantly changing.

Source: Comscore

Nintendo To Offer Free-To-Play Game

According to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, the recently announced free-to-play game from Nintendo, Steel Diver, will be fair and balanced to both free players and players who purchase services. Iwata stated that he doesn’t want the game to require people to invest large amounts of money in order to be competitive. In the interest of maintaining good relationships with customers, Nintendo wants it to be easy to get into the game without paying anything as well as avoiding the perceived need to spend thousands of dollars.

Iwata also said that the game would be a new iteration of Steel Diver, one of the launch titles for the 3DS in which players navigated a submarine in a 2D plane. As to the details of this new Steel Diver game, there isn’t much. The game will have a four- player competitive multiplayer mode, and it won’t be a remake of the original 3DS game that was released. If this game is successful though, we might be able to see more franchises from Nintendo’s vast library make the jump to free to play as well.

Source: IGN

Xbox Live Offers Free Games Twice A Month

As the close of this console cycle nears rapidly, Microsoft has made changes to Xbox Live in a bid to compete with Sony’s PlayStation Plus service. Microsoft is giving away free games every month on Xbox Live, starting with Fable III. Until June 30, Fable III will be available to all Xbox Live Gold members, and on July 1 Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3 will become available. Two free games will then become available every month afterwards on the 1st and 16th of every month.

Sony’s PlayStation Plus program offers similar incentive with their “Instant Game Library” program, but this new offer from Microsoft offers something Sony doesn’t. In order to play games received on PlayStation Plus, you must remain a PS+ member; if you ever unsubscribe any games received become unplayable. Under Microsoft’s new program, any games downloaded for free are yours to keep forever.

Source: Gamespot

How To Use Twitter’s Free Analytical Tool

Over this past weekend SHIFT Communications executive Christopher S. Penn discovered that Twitter has a free analytical tool buried within its advertising menu. The service was announced previously, but users may not have noticed as it isn’t the easiest to spot. The tool is well fleshed out with many features that marketers are currently purchasing through third-party providers.

Within the platform’s tool, users can see a more in-depth look at their follower count while also tracking how well certain tweets are performing.  Its interface is divided into two sections: Timeline Activity and Followers. The Timeline Activity shows four to six weeks worth of data, including follow and unfollow stats as well as Tweet statistics like Favorites, Retweets, Replies, and click-throughs.

Users can quickly sort the most engaging Tweets by “good” (top two out of three) and “best” (top 15 percent). The Followers section includes demographic information on users’ followers such as gender, location, and interests. The last section includes a brief overview of a user’s entire Twitter history.

Most of the data can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet for your records.

“What’s annoying is that the CSV download contains none of the follow/unfollow data,” wrote Penn in his review of the service. “You only get Favorites, Retweets, and Replies, making the use of third party tools like link shorteners still mandatory.”

To locate the tool, mouse over to the Ads homepage (notice no sign of any analytical functionality). Then direct to Analytics and find Timeline Activity.

Skylanders Named Overall Best Licensed Program Of The Year

Skylanders grabbed the top honors in the International Licensing Excellence Awards from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA).

“It was a tough competition this year, as there were so many wonderful licensed properties and programs from all around the world to choose from – and our members rose to the challenge with a list of deserving honorees,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “The 2013 Award winners delivered outstanding entertainment value to consumers on a global scale, while helping to lead licensing industry growth for the second consecutive year.”

LIMA’s International Licensing Excellence Awards honor the best, most successful licensed properties, products and campaigns in five distinct categories: Art or Design; Character or Toy Brand; Corporate Brand; Film, Television, Celebrity or Entertainment; and Sports. In addition, awards are presented for the Best Licensed Promotion of the Year, Best Retailer of the Year and Overall Best Licensed Program of the Year.

Last year, Rovio’s Angry Birds took the top award, so this marks the second year in a row a game property is honored as the top license program. Skylanders has generated more than $1 billion in revenue for Activision, and is set to have another strong showing this year with Skylanders Swap Force headed to stores this fall.

GameStick Android Console Delayed To August

GameStick, an Android based home gaming console has reportedly had its July release date moved back to August to address some concerns. The concerns being addressed were mostly involved with the UI of the system. Developers wanted to get more feedback from users to they could refine it before being released.

The device will be a USB sizes stick that will plug directly into the HDMI slot on any TV, then act as an Android based gaming console. This is the second delay to the system’s release that has been announced, but the release is still only a couple of months away even with this new delay put into place. Hopefully this time will be well spent into making this new experiment in Android gaming a success.

The console will retail for only $79, and with the vast array of free or inexpensive Android games it poses a potential threat to the current generation of consoles. Of course, the GameStick will still need good distribution in retail stores to really be competitive, and a marketing campaign wouldn’t hurt, either. We also have yet to see if the current generation of consoles will reduce prices; a Wii or an Xbox 360 at $99 would be formidable competition.

Source: TechCrunch

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Trailer Raises Questions

The E3 trailer for 2K Marin’s The Bureau: XCOM Declassified reveals as many questions as it does answers. That’s the point, after all, in a game where you both solve the mysteries of the universe and hide them from the public in any way possible. The game will be released this August, and maybe then we will truly understand what lies beyond.