2 ways to limit tracking on yourself

Turn off ad tracking in IOS 6, or at least limit it, via the new setting (via lifehacker)

8. Limit Ad Tracking
Everyone’s trying to track you on the web, and your phone is no different. If you’d rather advertisers not track your activity and serve up targeted ads, iOS 6 lets you turn off tracking with a simple switch. Just head to Settings > General > About > Advertising and flip the switch to On. It may take a little while for you to stop seeing targeted ads, but soon enough your activity should be much more private.

Install this Chrome extension to remove the javascript tracking links in google. Note that Chrome has made it much harder to install extensions so you have to:
1a) Click “ok” to download after clicking the extension download link.
1) Click the wrench in the upper right corner
2) Click on settings in the drop down
3) Click on extensions on the left hand side
4) Drag the extension you downloaded onto the page
5) Click yes to install

ZDNet – “MS to advertisers: Drop dead” – a bit of an exaggeration but a point well made

OK, ZDNet’s contributor  uses a sensational headline to make his point with a back-handed compliment to Microsoft, but it is still a point worth making for the Advertising Industry. Namely that behavioral advertising faces a moment of truth; opt-in or opt-out.

And there is an irony in Microsoft being the good guy for once advocating for more privacy. One has to wonder if this would be the case if Google wasn’t handing them Bing’s head on a platter in search and advertising domination. And yet here we are with IE 10 locking things down by default for the humble user regarding tracking adverts.

I for one vote for opt-in. For example, in a discussion with a colleague earlier today, behavioral ads on FB are wrong (as in they deliver stupid ads) unless you tell it what you want. That should not be license to display dating-ads to users with profiles clearly marked “married” until we mark them “offensive” over and over and over. (For the record, that doesn’t work. You have to tell FB what you DO like to make offensive ads drop off.) I find this strategy akin to the gray-blocky-face on Flickr that is designed to get you to upload a real photo. It works, but it’s kinda annoying.

But back to the point. ZDNet’s post is sensationalizing a point that in my opinion is a good thing. Specifically that “the next version of (Microsoft’s) web browser,  Internet Explorer 10, will ship with its “Do Not Track“ feature turned on by default.”

The Author goes on to say:

“In practice, all behavioral advertising has managed to do is annoy the hell out of me”¦on a personal level. It is a much deeper level of rejection than seeing a billboard I disagree with on the highway, because I know there’s an attempt being made that’s failing. But I don’t have the time or energy to swat all of these new digital mosquitos. As a gatekeeper to the web, Microsoft is taking a step to do that for me “” and all the average web-using people who have no idea what’s going on and couldn’t tell you the name of the current U.S. vice president, much less what a cookie is.”

The good news is that he concludes:

“…sometimes I just want an ice-cold can of Coca-Cola, and it has nothing to do with how old I am or where I live or who I work for. (But maybe, just maybe, how deathly hot outside it is right now.)

Good behavioral advertising can accomplish that. But too often, it hasn’t.”

Emphasis added by me.

To my friends in the advertising industry, an industry that is very close to my heart having been on the board of the local Houston Advertising Federation in the past, that it’s gonna be OK. We don’t have to be creepy to succeed. We just have to be creative. And yes, perhaps, fix our business models a bit to match the new nirvana.



smartwater does some smart advertising

On using celebrities to endorse your product. From The End of Advertising as We Know It by Sergio Zyman

“Think back to when you were in high school. If you weren’t already one of the “cool“ people, chances are you wanted to be. And if you couldn’t actually be one of them, you could at least be like them. That meant dressing like them, driving the cars they drove, listening to the music they listened to, seeing the movies they saw. Of course, there was nothing inherently cool about these clothes, cars, music, or movies themselves. What made those otherwise generic assets attractive was the association between them and the people you wanted to be like. The “cool“ qualities of the people””in your mind, anyway””rubbed off on the products and services, and it was as if using them would make you cool, too.“

From Chapter 4 pg. 101

Keep reading after the video for more on celebrity endorsements and how to maximize value for your brand:

To Take Advantage of the celebrity’s “equity”:
This is really the only reason to hire a celebrity Sure, having an instantly recognizable big name say great things about your product can help grab the attention of people who might have ignored you otherwise. But what you’re really paying for when you hire a celebrity is associative imagery, to have the image and values that consumers associate with the celebrity transfer to your brand.“

From pg. 102

(via @aimeewoodall of the black sheep agency.)

A Modest Proposal for Brand Colocation Fees

coke-a-colaIt is a common mantra in marketing that our brands live in the mind of the consumer. A recent television commercial for a major software brand quotes the Chief Marketing Officer of a major beverage brand saying

“Our brands are owned by the consumers who love them.”

Or as the Social Customer blog quotes:

You Don’t Own Your Brand – Your Customer Does
– Christopher F. Carfi, CEO of Cerado

Perhaps the first people to observe this are Ries and Trout in the book Positioning. That brands occupy a small space, a niche, a “creneau” as the French say, in your mind. The brands are in your brain and you can’t remove them. We can not remove Coke-a-ColaTM, MicrosoftTM, DisneyTM, GoogleTM, ExxonTM, SonyTM, NFLTM, The Super BowlTM, The Olympic GamesTM, etcTM, etcTM, etcTM from our minds even if we wanted to!

And brands, mine included, invest heavily to achieve this. To place our brand in your brain we use PR tactics and advertising. And to defend our brands against infringement or dilution. Now that we own a creneau in your brain we do not want someone else to come along and mess it up! That is OUR corner of YOUR brain. Don’t touch it.

You can NOT have a Super BowlTM party. That is a trademarked brand, albeit a government authorized monopoly functioning at the pleasure of the people represented. But that is another post.

If Chuck-E-CheeseTM starts offering Mickey MouseTM themed parties without paying Disney for use, they get sued.

That is a hypothetical of course but the point is that if one brand tries to access that portion of your brain encoded by another brand in your brain, then we have a legal battle of the brands. Fighting. Over a space. In your brain.

Disney and the NFL are fighting over a space in YOUR brain.

coke-a-cola-cupAnd who is paying YOU for the lease of the space in your brain? Who gave the Super Bowl brand-colocation rights in your brain? And if not, can you reasonably avoid the barrage of branding messages out there designed to write on that spot in your brain? Of course not.

So why aren’t you being paid a brand colocation fee, rent if you will, by brands that are occupying your brain? You are watching tennis with your kids in the room on TV and the GEICOTM advertisements places a freakin lizard and money with googely-eyes into your head. What’s in it for you?

Not much. You are just the real estate where brands live. And you get nothing for it.

Brand Colocation Fees: a Modest Brand Proposal

You should charge brands a fee to live in our brains. Lets think about it:

If the dude was sleeping on your couch for a day and then left, you call that a “favor for a friend” or a “minor inconvenience.” But if the dude MOVED INTO your house and stayed in that same spot in your house day after day, sooner or later you’d give him a bill for rent, right? So how is this different?

In fact the unwelcome-boarder analogy can be extended. Say that another vagrant shows up. The two proceed to fight over YOUR sofa in YOUR living room. Then if you mention either of them by name they SUE YOU! Yet aren’t THEY the interlopers? Have THEY not taken residence in YOUR living room? Aren’t they quite literally fighting over your sofa, disrupting you, in your house? Why do you put up with this?

Well I tell ya, in Texas, we don’t. No sir. We all have guns and drive pickup trucks and by golly we’ll chase them out screaming like Yosemite SamTM shooting at them as you run so far awaySM. By golly. Or we’ll charge them a fair rent. Either works. You gotta be flexible in a recession, right? So anyway.

The only reasonable conclusion is that a Brand-Colocation-Fee must be charged for the brand to “co-locate” in our brain.   A Brand-Colocation Fee (BCF) is the only fair solution to reconcile the years of free rent accumulated by these interlopers, these free riders, residing in and fighting over the sofas and man-chairs in our minds. Even that extra comfy chair your Dad always took when he got home from work. The brands want to sit in that chair too! It is only reasonable that brands must purchase the brain’s equivalent of the very fair and equitable NFL Personal Seat License (PSL).

And like a PSL is not a seat, just the rights to buy a seat, so too a BCF doesn’t guarantee a space in your brain, just the branding rights to that corner of your brain. If I have no need for a number-one-or-number-two creneau for aircraft engines, then you can ignore the brands anyway.

Hey, it’s YOUR BRAIN, right? RIGHT?

How to calculate the Brand-Colocation Fee

This of course brings us to three new challenges:

  1. How to calculate the appropriate BCF for a given brand and;
  2. how to collect the appropriate fees from a brand and;
  3. how to disburse the interlopers’ money to the brain-land-owners

First lets agree that the average consumer knows thousands of brands and has many many “positions” in her mind as a consumer. Each of these positions is unique and has one, maybe two brands, that occupy that space. Number one or number two.

Additionally brands are faced with a global marketplace and regional competitors. It is very confusing to track whose brain has recorded which brand. And so as not to be a burden to the brands, we humbly suggest that brand colocation fees should be modest on a per-person scale. But how do we manage this?

A Brand Colocation Fee Union (BCFU) to Manage BCF Collection and Disbursement

We need an efficient oversight committee to calculate and manage the collection of brand colocation fees. To take into account birth and death so Disney isn’t paying a BCF to a deceased account. Yet we, the brain holders, need equitable representation. We need in fact a Union to ensure our brain space is properly represented. But what do we call this Union? I propose a Brand Colocation Fee Union.

The Brand Colocation Fee Union, or BCFU for short, will manage the calculation and collection of brand colocation fees in a fair and equitable way for brands and the consumers alike.

Given this is a complex matter we further propose to put all of the Corrupt New York Bankers back to work creating brand lookup tables and more imaginary math to calculate a fair and equitable and defensible (and probably corrupt) set of rate tables.

The BCFU brand source tables should take into account factors including but not limited to:

  1. Some brands are welcome and I, as a consumer, will gladly waive the fee. Yes this means I am brain washed, but why else do open source advocates love the completely proprietary Apple brand? So sometimes the BCFU fee should be zero. We can sort the crazies using demographic data.
  2. Fees should be equitable and reasonable. Given the relatively low cost of many consumer products, say a Coke, an annual fee for even such a strong brand might only be one (1) US dollar per person per year (not consumer as even non-buyers carry the burden of the coke brand in their brain).
  3. Brands that insist on existing in our brains, but serve no purpose but to annoy, should be penalized! Just cause they bug us. Specifically brands should be penalized for advertising to the wrong demographic. Think “Head On” or “The Clapper” – two brands closely followed by Capital One, AFLAC and Geico for seriously-damn-annoying factor. These people should pay a reasonable person $10 per year.
  4. Political brands, as much as I hate to say it, should be exempt from BCFU fees when sending information for the service of their constituents. But should reasonably be charged a penalty for negative campaigning. After all, they are working to reposition a brand in your brain to a new position in YOUR BRAIN. Again, we leave this to the BCFU to calculate with their fancy economists.
  5. Crappy brands like Larry Flint or Girls Gone Wildthey owe me BIG. I want 1 million dollars per year for these stupid brands! But again, being a reasonable and represented person, I’ll defer to the wisdom of the unions when it comes to equitable brand taxation.

Next Steps in the Battle to Win Back Your Mind (or at least charge rent for the space)

To recap, given Brands exist in OUR BRAINS. we should charge a fair rent.

We propose to call that brand-rent a brand colocation fee (BCF). And, being American, we wish to outsource the hard part to a union called the Brand Colocation Fee Union (BCFU).

What are your thoughts? Which brands should pay the most? The least? Which politician or law firm can get this started for us? A brain-space space-race. Our new bureaucracy, the BCFU, surely wouldn’t let us down?

How does a young person get a job in advertising or PR in a recession?

Llama Llama LlamaI was one of three panelists for a talk with AAF-HIMA Houston a few weeks ago. My PPT slides are posted. Each presenter only had 10 minutes, which is a rough format, but it did force me to distill the content down. Two slides with recommendations for individuals and agencies to get through the recession are:

  1. What can I, the employee or job seeker, do?
    1. Build your personal brand
    2. Participate in social networks
    3. Stay close to billable work
    4. Be humble (arrogant people suck)
  2. What can my agency do?
    1. Relationships – build and maintain (hint – see social networks above)
    2. Recurring revenue – focus on recurring
    3. Retrain, retool and recruit (biggest weakness of the old slow agencies)
    4. Get rid of dead weight NOW
    5. Charge for creative (most hopefully already do this)

After that talk I received numerous emails from young people in the audience looking for employment. This is ok initiative, although it is noted that they all said “what do I do?” instead of “here is my plan, do you think this will work?”. The difference again being one of initiative, but I’ll leave that for another blog post. So some advice with candor.

How does a young person get a job in advertising or PR in a recession?

  1. Network – yes Dorothy when times are tough it really does matter who you know. But right now with social media and being active in arts and non-profits you have NO EXCUSE not to know the right people. So drop that excuse.
  2. Avoid obvious errors. One email I received had a typo in the subject line. See this previous post on an email I received from a brilliant job seeker once.
  3. Experience – get some. In a recession the negotiating power is to the employer and people ALWAYS learn through experience. So you almost always favor the experienced. How do you get experience?
    1. Internships – the most obvious
    2. Internships – design your own. Contact your church, present an outline of your “custom designed three week internship”. Odds are they will say no, but at least try. Get off your duff and try it.
    3. Arts and Non Profits – they always need free labor. Again, make it easy for them to say yes by doing the legwork.
    4. Charities – donate your time over the holidays, anything, just somehow focus on skills where you want employment.
  4. Seek referrals – many of our best employees come from referrals. So it doesn’t hurt to meet people who work where you want to work. Plus you might find out they are jerks and you don’t want to work there. Or it may reinforce a positive impression. But again, show some initiative.
  5. Do your homework – the fastest way out of an interview if you get one is to not have done your homework on the company you are applying with.
  6. Send your resume anyway – even with no job listings, you can submit. Ideally through a friend who works there and can vouch for you. There probably aren’t any openings, but why not try?
  7. Submit your resume to the right person – For example, at our firm I am usually NOT the right person. Find the RIGHT person and submit to them. If you know a principal at the agency do a “cc” if you want, but sending it to the right person is critical. Do your homework.
  8. Resubmit your resume – companies have to have an applicant
    tracking system or they won’t keep the resumes. (hint – few have ATS
    systems) HR lawyers tell companies not to retain unless they are
    retaining all resumes and are indeed looking at them. So most people
    will just delete the resumes after filling a position. Yes really. So
    don’t think once you are in “the database” at an agency you will be
    considered in the future. It just isn’t so.
  9. Lose the attitude – it worked in HS, maybe in your Greek, but a bit of deference is always required when working with clients. You can be humble and be a bad-ass. In fact most REAL bad-ass creatives I know are actually quite humble in person. They are SO good, they let their work speak for them. Find these people and learn from them.
  10. Don’t be too polished – it makes you look untrustworthy. If your facebook profile (you do have one right?) looks like Mr. Clean worked it over, well its pretty obvious you’re a poser, right? Just sayin’. I can watch paint dry if I am looking for excitement, so why work with you?
  11. Do NOT say “I’m not good at math” – duh, advertising definitely requires basic math. I’m not talking about diffy-q, but come on. If you can’t reconcile media buying you make yourself sound like a fool. This burns a lot of applicants IMHO.
  12. Build your personal brand – facebook? yes. Twitter? yes. Blogging, Flickr, myspace, delicious, etc definitely consider. For example at our company these are huge advantages, but maybe not at other companies. Again – do your research.
  13. You’ve got 7 Seconds to make a first impression – read it.
  14. Learn about bloggingKatie has a great “blogging for business” presentation on slideshare.
  15. Realize details, large and small, are the same – if you can’t remember to clean the coffee pot it is the same as saying “hey, I’ll fly to Tokyo and then oversleep past the big meeting”. Yes really, basic human psychology. So watch out for those simple questions because it is an experienced interviewer’s way of asking if you are careless.
  16. Know where you are going – If you don’t know where you want to be in two years, and you are a millenial, you are saying you are floating with the wind. Why on earth would you hire someone drifting, train them, only to hvae them then leave to fish off the coast of Alaska? I mean that person makes an awesome and interesting friend, but perhaps a less than ideal person to invest 20k training in. Right? Candor is good. Find out where you are going.
  17. Read books – life is too short to not learn from others who have gone before you. Be smart – read. Nuf said.
  18. Don’t look like a job hopper – I hear what Penelope says about job hopping. I also know squirrels can run on power lines. But like the Electric Company says YOU ARE NOT A SQUIRREL! On the flip side, she has some good news for young job searchers here.
  19. Buy people lunch or a beer – one of the joys of being a manager, or a ceo, is that you always get the tab. Offer to buy someone lunch and you invoke the law of reciprocation. Yes, spend the money.   (pet peeve – people you KNOW have savings who say “I don’t have any money” because we call this a “lie”. Sheesh. Say “not in my budget” instead.)

Well I rambled a bit. Many of those are clearly not recession or advertising agency specific. But that is what came to mind this afternoon on November 28th 2008. Good luck with your job search!

Best Advertising Slogan Ever Written

There is little if anything I could add to Nick Padmore’s obsessive linguistic analysis of the best copy shots and advertising slogans ever written. While I desperately want to tell you the results, to blog post the best ad slogan ever written, that would be wrong. So go read it:

Greatest Copy Shot Ever Written

…So what makes good copy good? Perhaps we can find out by considering what’s made the best of the best”¦the best.

In the year 2000, some of the stars of creative advertising during the 20th century nominated 115 best slogans, straplines, taglines, and headlines, all of which could broadly be … (READ)

AAF of Fort Smith Social Media Presentation Deck

Presentations slides from my American Advertising Federation of Fort Smith Arkansas presentation on Social Media are below. If you want to embed this in YOUR blog or web site go to the AAF presentation on slideshare.net and copy/paste the "embed" part on the right hand side.

A few links that I mentioned
www.technorati.com – search the blogosphere
www.lynda.com – great for training
www.slideshare.net – youtube for slides
www.schipul.com/en/sem/keywords/ – keyword density analyzer
www.marketleap.com – link popularity checker

The Tipping Point – Gladwell
Naked Conversations – Scoble, Israel

Audit Bureau for Newspapers Now Includes Online Readers

  investigation analysis publication 4 
  Originally uploaded by eschipul

The Audit Bureau of Circulations
now is going to include online numbers in newspaper "read" figures.
File this under "if the math doesn’t add up change the operators."

Bureau Makes It Official: Newspaper Circulation Statistics Group Will
Roll Online Readership into Circ Figures to Help Slumping Industry

The Audit Bureau of Circulations said this week that it would begin tallying online readership as well as print-edition circulation in a boost to an industry where advertising sales have suffered from a migration of readers to the Web.
The organization said it would release newspapers’ print, online and
combined readership figures. The numbers are a key factor in
negotiations on newspaper advertising rates between newspapers and
marketers, Reuters reports. (more on newspaper audit figures)

added. Note the focus on "newspaper advertising sales" as the driver.
If this is done realistically then it is a good thing. But
unfortunately with newspaper ad salespeople this is unlikely. As
Disraeli said "there are lies, damn lies, and statistics."

Specifically when it comes to advertising I have always found the
"readership as a big multiple of subscriptions" to be an insult to a
business man’s intelligence. You have 10 subscribers, and hey, they
leave it on the coffee table so 7 other people read it, so we charge an
advertiser as if that 1 subscription equated to 8 readers. Oh really?

Continue reading “Audit Bureau for Newspapers Now Includes Online Readers”

Friending is Not the New Ad, It is the New Advertising-Denial

I think this post on friending being the new advertisement misses the point. Friending is the new advertising-intrusion-followed-by-rejection-with-a-few-accepts. Think Telemarketing. When a brand says "You don’t know me but I want to be your friend", and they have not contributed in any meaningful way to my network, that is an intrusion.

Ahhhhh, the attack approach and get rejected method. Isn’t that what banner ads tried to do before we all installed pop-up blockers? Just asking..

SMS Text Shortcode Howto Roundup for Advertisers

Twitter is doing a great job of blasting down barriers between web and SMS texting. While at SXSW when the SMS stopped, I popped over to a web browser on the blackberry and kept going. But SMS was more convenient.

So if a you want their own short code, how do you get one? Well luckily this shortcode post on GigaOM answers that question.

10 Things to Know About Short Codes

Do you need one? If you want to market or promote something to mobile users, manage mobile communications to members of a group or organization, or get cell phone users to access your mobile application or service “” then, maybe. How much are you willing to spend and what kind do you need? Here’s 10 things to know about short codes, how to get them and what to avoid:

1). There are two kinds of short codes, shared and dedicated. (finish the shortcode article here)

Update: Note the comments regarding qtags – a Houston based Short Code Service! Thanks for the comments Allison!