Ann Iverson, Lou Congelio and Aaron Long conversation on OiH creative

Schipuliversoncongeliolong Ann Iverson, formerly of BBDO and now with Creating Selling Opportunities was at our offices today with Lou Congelio and Aaron Long to discuss branding for the Only in Houston initiative of the Houston Advertising Federation.  The branding PPT describes branding and creative goals as well as an upcoming opportunity for a web design or creative firm to submit creative for OiH (besides Schipul – we do enough already) that needs to:

Marry outstanding search engine capability with creativity that sizzles with ingenuity, sparkles with wit, grabs with emotion, and sells with heart…

That bullet seems to capture the spirit.  More information as it comes available probably posted directly to OiH at www.onlyinhouston.com/en/articles/search.asp   

Also, if you haven’t picked up the Houston issue of Create magazine yet, it is at Barnes and Nobles now.  Aaron Long, our Creative Director, has a review of numerous web designs from Houston firms.  Also note Joe Fournet’s article on OiH.

So what DO they do? Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories for crime and advertising

From the HBJ article "Brain biz eyes ads" (what a bad headline!) a company called Brain Fingerprinting Laboratories (what a bad name) is shifting from criminal brain fingerprinting to advertising.  See excerpt below:

Brain biz eyes ads
Heidi Dietrich, Staff Writer
—-<snip>—–
By hooking humans up to machines that measure cerebral activity, the company believes it can determine whether specific information is stored in a person’s memory.

Now, Brain Fingerprinting believes it’s found the ideal first business application: advertising.

The company just completed a study with global marketing firm Millward Brown indicating that its brain imaging machine tracks the same reaction in ad viewers as survey questions asking viewers for their feedback. Armed with this data that helps validate its technology, Brain Fingerprinting now says it plans to spin out an advertising company within six months. The company projects a spin-off staff of more than 100 people within a year and a half, and it believes revenue from ad firms ultimately can exceed $250 million.

"Advertisers want to know if someone has paid attention to an ad and can recall it," said Larry Farwell, Brain Fingerprinting chairman and chief scientist. "They want to know: Do our ads make an impact?"

I am not sure hooking me up to a machine with a bunch of electrodes tapes to my head will yield reliable marketing data, but it sure looks like a great CYA for the next superbowl commercial.  We even tested this ad by measuring brain waves!  Hopefully the study subjects won’t wear tinfoil hats.

Alchemy ““ Sports branding is not a zero sum game.

Alchemy ““ Sports branding is not a zero sum game.  Football grows if Fútbol grows.

The NFL is one of those companies that make me go “what the hell are they thinking?“  At least every time I attempt to watch Monday Night Football.  The reason is simple; there are more commercials than football.

“Right now the NFL looks invincible. Everything about pro football keeps soaring: popularity, ratings, gate receipts, licensing. The reason is product quality — NFL games are fabulous. But could the NFL take a basketball-style tumble? Sure.“ ““ Gregg Easterbrook
http://www.nfl.com/news/story/8841434

I remember years ago swearing never to watch a major league baseball game again after one of the 932 different strikes.  America, me definitely included, finds a prim Dona millionaire vs. prim Dona millionaire dispute reprehensible.  The phrase “just shut up“ comes to mind.

So the NFL pitches Monday Night Football to television stations through an auction.  Bidders.  Winners.  Winners saddled with a bill they can’t cover.  Ridiculous commercial content 95% of the time.  And now ESPN is going to step in and save the day, and increase shareholder value by advertising even more on our cell phones.  Really?  Oh freakin’ please!

Fútbol on the other hand is known for NO commercial interruptions.   Discrete logos are shown at the bottom of the screen, and on the field, during play.  But there are no bustiere beer commercials during play.  The clock counts up, not down; as if tension is not the point.  The “stoppage play“ mocks the time clock with a variable hanging out there the entire time.

The NFL is hosting football games in the home of Fútbol games, Mexico City, because they want to recapture some of the alchemy they specifically killed.  Like a 60 year old wearing a too-short-skirt they yearn for days gone by.  And of course they SHOULD do this.  But it is nothing more than chemotherapy on a limb in an alternate country; it does not address the root cause.

From a social software perspective the NFL has successfully created a monopoly (commons) through legislation.  They have not found auctions successful in solving the problem of the commons.  From a socio-political perspective, neither has anyone else.  The real problem is deeper than that, obviously, and requires a more complex systemic solution.  We get that.  The details are challenging.

Pay Per Call Model – maybe for small businesses in some situations

I was linked an article on pay per call pricing model for web sites.  This means the web site works to generate leads and only charges if it results in a phone call to the client company. 

At a technical level this means that the pay-per-call provider does not want the prospect to call the company directly, but rather through a tracking telephone number so they can fairly measure the number of calls generated.  This will work.  It will result in calls.  But it seems a short sighted overall strategy because;

1) It omits the value of branding. The company is paying for the leads alone, nothing more.
2) Contacts will continue to call the tracking number in the future reporting false positive matches on inbound calls. 
3) You are going to market as someone else’s brand, so not only are you not getting the branding value but you are also paying to build someone else brand!
4) If you end your contract that pay-per-call company can, and will, redirect the campaign to a competitor.  Given the importance of tenure on the Internet this could be a real problem effectively locking you into the pp-call program.

All of that said, yes there are times when this model will work for some businesses.  But it is definitely not as Earth shattering as Pay-per-click advertising has been with the low cost of entry, performance based pricing and free branding side affects.