“agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear”

The Emperor’s New Clothes – Advertising and Web Design Agencies are walking around naked convinced they are fully clothed in the finest of attire. Why?

This – “PepsiCo’s Brad Jakeman Suggests Shops Have Not Kept Pace With Change

emperor's new clothes
Emperor’s New Clothes – somebody should tell them.

“My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it,” he added. “What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I’m going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it — 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds. You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.”

and

“The agency model that I grew up with largely has not changed today,” he said, noting that he has been in the ad industry for 25 years. “Yet agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear … they are looking at clients being way more promiscuous with their agencies than they ever have.”

and

“We are still talking about the 30-second TV spot. Seriously?”

Here is the thing. EVERYONE KNOWS HE IS RIGHT! Now, given the incredible pain we went through transforming a web agency fully into a cutting edge open source software company, I fully realize the reasons behind the resistance. I’ve lost employees who went to agencies that I fully know will fail.

Maybe I was too early on converting Schipul – The Web Marketing Company into Tendenci Software. But the decision, the direction, the move itself? The tectonic shift in media? The virtual and global workforce coming together every day through online tools? No, I’m not wrong about that.

If you are married to the classic ad-agency model, or even web-design company model, my only advice is to chase down the third world companies and clients. Why? Because you now have a very real first-world problem; your business model will fail and your owners know it. #firstWorldProblemsCanBeABitch

This isn’t to say the solution we are going after with Tendenci is the perfect approach. I don’t think anybody knows what will work in the future.

However we DO know what won’t work. Looking at the old agency model, it’s a game of dead-man-walking. If you work there, get your money, save your money, and train like crazy because education is a lifelong journey and it is your responsibility to be ready for “the next.” It’s frustrating as I don’t know the “next” any more than anyone else.

I’ve failed a lot in the last two years. I have a PhD in failure at this point. I say this even as the company is turning around and back in the black and growing again. (Thank you to all of our new clients! Thank you to everyone who believed in us and stuck by us. We are going to have you SOOOO prepared for the “next” it’ll be incredible.)

What I did know is that I had to get my clients and my employees off the Titanic. Ironically many didn’t understand and instead left for variations I call “Titanic 2.0”. Still, I do believe our formers will be fine because they are lifelong learners. I just hope they are getting ready now. The game is changed and nobody, nobody, knows all of the new rules yet.

Maybe that is the bigger issue? If you invent a sport like soccer, you start by setting the objectives. The objective is to make a goal. Then you choose the size of the field. The size of the goal. The number of players.

Then the subtleties – rules like “offsides” – to keep the game exciting.

You don’t try to make the game identical to some other game because the public (remember the consumer? the ones with the money?) will be bored. And won’t watch. You must evolve. Evolve or die. It’s that simple. And it hurts like hell. Yet….

Make no mistake – the first decision when you invent a new sport is “what is the objective” and everything else is derived from that. If your company hasn’t figured out that the agency model is broken, then they definitely aren’t working on the subtleties. And as usual, the devil is in the details.

Has Open Source Tendenci and our team been through a lot? Yes. But it would be malpractice if we were still selling fluffy social media consulting retainers with timer based twitter posts in 2015.

Seriously, you are still selling “Social Media Consulting”? Seriously?

PR is strategy – everything else is a vehicle to execute on that strategy. There is absolutely no differentiation in being able to operate hootsuite because you can be replaced by a 16 year old. Clients aren’t stupid – they WILL figure this out.

Yes, I know people still make money selling fluffy “I can operate facebook for you”, but, just how long are clients going to be stupid enough to pay for that?  Why would you pay for that when the next generation is doing hard-deletes?

As quoted above: “agency CEOs are sitting there watching retainers disappear”

It’s hard to follow a leader. Harder to follow one that is ahead of the curve. I’m probably wrong. But I’m not. Titanic 2.0 will sink just as surely as Titanic 1.0 did. And the CEOs and clients will push the weak aside and take the lifeboats. And then, well, where will you be?

sunset

#myTwoCents #ImUsuallyWrongSoYouShouldIngoreMe

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.

 

 

“60-something years to transform to a more optimistic state of mind”

Kenan Branan
Kenan Branan
Kenan Branan

I was drilled for surviving nuclear apocalypse as a “duck-and-cover” teenager, believing that the world might end before I reached adulthood. But I suspect my personal perspective was the biggest factor: I didn’t like the world the way it was and wanted to “figure out” how I could make it better. I was hurting and scared. Survival instinct pure and simple!

It’s taken me 60-something years to transform to a more optimistic state of mind, actually a passionate state of mind. Maybe through the wisdom of my varied experiences and learning, I have not only figured out what a better world can be, but more significantly, through the media of the Web, I have discovered “signs” of a large community of likeminded people. For the first time in my life, I can justify hope and faith in the future of humanity.

- Kenan Doyle Branam (source)

and

“In retrospect, I have always had the temperment of an artist, looking at the world with curiosity and sensitivity—sometimes, so much that the beauty of nature overwhelms me.

Like Pecos Bill, I was raised by a pack of dogs. I thought I was one… until they started to chase, kill, and eat squirrels. I guess I will always be a pacifist. I still love running in the woods.”

- Kenan Doyle Branam

Stüssy with “Strip for Likes” – does sex sell at least “likes”?

Stussy Strip for Likes Model Advertisement
Stussy Strip for Likes Model Advertisement
Stussy Strips Model for Likes on Facebook

Via this tweet by Florian Schleicher aka @_whoelse on twitter, I learned about the “Stüssy-Amsterdam strip for likes” campaign. Called the “Model Strips for Likes” by AdRants, it just goes to show that the point of advertising is frequently not advertising at all, but to cause a stir to sell more product. To garner attention for your brand to sell more.

If you are Coca-Cola then when you advertise it is probably advertising to keep your name out there. As Ries and Ries would say, an established brand defends their market position with advertising but builds it with PR. If you are a brand on a budget then it really isn’t advertising; it’s PR. It’s not social media; it’s PR. A stunt using social media as a vehicle, a tactic, as part of a larger PR strategy.

And OK, maybe this article won’t will improve your sex life (as published in PR Strategist). And yet it got read and maybe somebody got laid and the content really does help your business. #guilty

The bad news is it takes 10 years to build a brand and you better have some great PR to get there. And then you better have a budget to defend that position with advertising or an even more amazing PR team to keep your name out there. I know from firsthand experience. In Houston the brand Schipul is quite well known after 14 years. We are “THE Web Marketing Company” and yes I stole that from Chomsky. But when I say our name in San Francisco, while the techies and creatives (sometimes) know the “Schipul Brand“, the businesses and normal people do not. On the West Coast and in Silicon Valley they call us Tendencii for the software we wrote that powers so many non-profits.

Cool. I’m fine with that. I embrace the (brand) position in the mind of the consumer. Call us whatever you wish. Let us focus in and pound on that brand message until our own brand manager is sick of hearing it. Then, and only then, is it remotely possible that the audience vaguely heard it.

Feel free to disagree with the values espoused by Stüssy, that a facebook-like is like losing a hand at strip-poker (sidenote: if I was one of the people in the photos on wikipedia for strip poker, I’d tell every one of my GrandKids just to show how “cool” I was back in the day. Every. Single. Family. Reunion. “Hey, did you know I’m in on Wikipedia under Strip Poker?” Actually, that sounds kind of creepy. Never mind. But I bet the people in the photos do. #heh).

But you can’t say the sensationalism doesn’t work. Here I am blogging about some random fashion brand I never heard of that makes puffy clothes. Really? I can’t even type that kind of “U” – I had to copy and paste it so it had the funny marks “ü“ above it.

And as consumers clearly we can’t say we are offended about “sex sells” when one of the most watched shows every year is the Victoria Secret fashion show. Turn up the volume and the dialog is very pro-women and supportive (I can say that because my wife said it so I’m just repeating what she said. Cool Rach? The “a-the woman-said-it-first-defense” for those keeping score.)

As far as getting a model to strip, well, it doesn’t take much to get Google to give you every fanciful photoshopped whatever whatever. There has to be some further “esprit de corps” among the Stussy fans to achieve this “goal” – no matter how pointless it is. As Stussy’s model levels-down her clothing the fans level-up (as in WOW? When the fans are one google search away from Kate Moss? Can they not afford $300 for a collectible (?!?) copy of Madonna’s book on Amazon? Or at least use the google?)

I really don’t know. But clearly there is more to the situation than the fountain pen where the pin-up bikini disappears when you turn it upside down. It is the participatory, I click and things change, aspect that seems to be at work here. Fan this page until she’s too sexy for her shirt. (zOMG, they updated the “too sexy” video too. Who knew?)

No, I really don’t get it. And no, I am not going to “like” Stüssy‘s page in the vain hope that another skinny model will reveal herself. Absolutely no shortage of that.

Regarding Victoria Secret and The Limited Brands, Russell James does a great job of engaging photographers and models through facebook with his behind the scenes and insights into photography on his Facebook page and on twitter as NomadRJ. And as a photographer I don’t find those offensive.

GoDaddy is the classic example of sex-to-sell controversy. And they do it year after year. At this point my bet is they just call the SuperBowl Ad Committee and say “Do we really have to submit 5 ridiculously over-the-top advertisements for you to reject publicly or can we just issue the press release and give you the real ad?” I do wish we saw more of Danica Patrick in the winners circle than dancing with the Pussycat Dolls though.

Then there was the Danish (fake) Mother looking for her one night stand. To sell tourism. Ya, bet that went over GREAT in the homeland. And now we have Stüssy with “Strip for Likes” Is this progress? I think not.

The funny part is as I type this Stussy only has about 3k followers. You’d think for the flak they will take for this that they might be up farther. On the other hand, the clothing looks kind of stuffy and I’m from Texas and have no need for it. #meh

In conclusion, my position remains, as a society we need more breasts, and a lot less violence, especially against women. But I am not about to suggest that my clients mount a strip-for-likes campaign. I don’t think it will work, and it’s stupid. So there is that.

(Via Florian Schleicher aka @_whoelse on the Twitter (me too!)

Chron Post: The Personal Brand Era Cometh

The Personal Brand Era Cometh

In August of 2007 Tom Peters wrote in an article titled The Brand Called You in FastCompany magazine:

It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

Wikipedia defines Personal Branding as: “the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands.” A personal brand is how others perceive you. It may or may not reflect who you really are.

I find the evolution of Personal Branding similar to the evolution of advertising, initiated by Ogilvy, written about in a series of articles on the subject of positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout, and then distilled in the book Positioning. Advertising shifted from “product feature advertising” to “positioning” in which a product needed to occupy a position in the mind of the consumer to break through the clutter.

To put it another way, your personal brand is a managed account that has a very real effect on your earning potential, your legacy and your future employment.

So while I agree with Peters that The Brand Called You is important, I’d like to extend that thought and propose that in fact we are entering The Personal Brand Era. And it is an era that will be disruptive to the business status quo.  Yet, if managed correctly, the Personal Brand Era can be profitable for both individuals and the companies for which they work. The success of your personal brand and the success of associated corporate brands are additive; they are not a threat to each other.

finish reading The Personal Brand Era Cometh on the Chron

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?

AdAge PR for Only In Houston Promoting Houston Creative Agencies

Adagehoustonwehaveaproblem
Only in Houston
, an initiative from the Houston Advertising Federation (both are Tendenci clients), got some great coverage in AdAge today.  This effort is being driven by Lou Congelio of STANandLOU Advertising in Houston.

———from AdAge———-

Houston: We Have A Problem
A creative exodus has walloped the city; now a local ad consortium says it has the solution

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the U.S., with the Census Bureau pegging its population at slightly over 2 million.  But it’s the 18th largest ad market, much to the dismay of local marketing executives, who say companies looking for advertising and production support view Houston as little more than an afterthought – a quaint suburban hamlet in the shadow of creative metropolises like Miami or Portland, Ore.

Even though it headquarters more Fortune 500 companies than any city except New York, few of those tapped local agencies as their primary ad partner.  That’s caused an exodus of agencies – and talent.

"We’ve taken a major hit," Lou Congelio…

Hopefully the article will be posted in full on the OiH or AdAge sites soon!   

Bisley Advertisements – Remixing Elements of Icons

Bisley01Via: adjab.com

"The ads are for Bisley, a company that makes storage units for offices. As you can see, each image (a barcode, a map of the Underground, etc) have all been broken down into their individual parts and neatly stacked together. The text reads, "Perfectly Organized.""

Dallas AMA Presentation on Web Marketing and SEO

Dallas In Dallas TX for a presentation for the Dallas Chapter of the American Marketing Association.  As a member of the AMA it is always an honor to present to the AMA!

AMA Web Marketing Made Simple – Maximizing Your Online ROI
Ed Schipul, Schipul – The Web Marketing Company

Fri 10-Feb-06 7:30 AM to Fri 10-Feb-06 9:30 AM

On the flip side, the main AMA site has unfortunately implemented an interstitial (read cheesy landing page a.la.flash.intro type page) http://www.marketingpower.com/welcome-interstitial.php

Why would the AMA have a splash landing page on the primary URL?  This is proven to reduce the conversion rate.  The wonders never cease.  Hopefully they will get back to marketing fundamentals and measure the response rates.

Update: AMA Dallas has multiple sites – this is the "real" version: http://www.dfwmarketing.org/ which has real content!

New but related marketing topic.  Whenever I travel, which is more frequently than I would like, I try to catch up on business podcasts.  For Immediate Release (On Podcast #110!) is a required podcast for me as well as The Advertising Show (TAS is a client as well, but I listened first – great stuff!)

GM Advertisements in Newlywed Section of the Houston Chronicle

General Motors "fun and games" with fake wedding listings in the Houston Chronicle today.  A bit early for April Fool’s and at first the announcements seem real and the ad placement very out of place.  But a quick reading of the text for the engaged couples reveals snarky text with a very ad copywriter sense of humor.

Gmadvertorialchroniclewedannounce1 Gmadvertorialchroniclewedannounce2

Gmadvertorialchroniclewedannounce3The copy starts:

The Chevy family is proud to announce the marriage of Fuel Efficiency and Power.  The ceremony took place in the Vortec V8 engine, where the couple first met.  They will be making their home in the all new 2007 Chevy Tahoe.  It is a first marriage for both.

Both the bride and groom are graduates of the full-size SUV class with Fuel Efficiency receiving honrs for getting EPA est. 22 MPG Highway.  Power’s achievements include 320 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. <more – check images>

The above ad was at first, before catching the fact that everything was faked, surprising.  What remains funny is that in the same issue of the Chronicle there is an editorial from the Sierra Club (the Sierra Club???) advocating bailing out the big three automakers subject to fuel efficiency improvements.  Go figure.  First power marries fuel efficiency, although the latter can’t get it up past 22, and now the Sierra Club wants to marry GM.

Behavioral Insider on gameVertising

GrandtheftautoThis weeks "Behavioral Insider" has an interesting interview on in-game advertising from a behavioral perspective.  The post by Kate Kayte interviews Ilya Vedrashko from MIT

Some excerpts:

BI: Do you have ideas for behavioral targeting that you’re not seeing
implemented?

Vedrashko: One thing I don’t see anybody looking at is
so-called "cluster visits." I’m sure somebody has built this out, but I haven’t
seen a discussion [about this] yet. When you go online each morning, how many
Web sites do you visit consistently? It’s probably no more than a dozen. So, for
me it would probably be CNN, The Drudge Report, the news sites I visit every
day. The way to serve advertising would be to look at these clusters and serve
advertising on Drudge Report, after [I] visit CNN, that would enhance the
experience that [I] got from CNN’s advertising. So, for example, if CNN serves
an ad for a car, then The Drudge Report would know [I’ve] already seen this ad
and they would serve the ad for the same car but with a different twist, knowing
my prior behavior.

followed up by this which, in my humble opinion, plays into the Gimore Gang’s obsession with attention.

BI: How do you foresee companies enabling that, without
having, say, those two Web sites–The Drudge Report and CNN–within the same ad
network?

Vedrashko: Every Webmaster already has all the
information necessary to make some sort of decision. The problem is this
information is not being shared across the board. So, The Drudge Report knows
its own statistics but it doesn’t know CNN’s.

BI: But what’s the incentive for Drudge Report to share
their information? Most of these sites are really proprietary and they don’t
want to share their information with anybody, and that’s definitely something
that behavioral targeting technology companies have been up against.

Vedrashko: Maybe the pricing model changes, and
advertisers realize they don’t have to pay for meaningless, wasted impressions;
they really want to pay for targeted impressions. That would put pressure on the
publishers to start cooperating.

The full post for MediaPost is here. (soul sucking reg required)

brandchannel: The Search Is Over: Google Wins in 2005

Brandchannel_global_brand_surveybrandchannel just released their 2005 Readers Choice Award Results for top brands.  It is a must read for those in advertising and public relations.  The top 10 global brands are (visit the site for the full list and geographic break downs – link above and below)

For the public relations professional these results are huge.  Note that Google does virtually no advertising, nor does Skype, Starbucks or Firefox. 

In fact while I don’t have the exact numbers, it looks to me like 40% of the top readers choice global brands are primarily built on word-of-mouth marketing and public relations.  Wow!

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Skype
  4. Starbucks
  5. Ikea
  6. Nokia
  7. Yahoo!
  8. Firefox
  9. eBay
  10. Sony

<rant> Now if brandchannel would JUST GET AN RSS FEED I’d be happy!  Aarrrgh.</rant>

Houston Interactive Marketing Group Kickoff Event

HimaeventHouston has launched the Houston Interactive Marketing Group.  The organization has been primarily coordinated by Steve Latham of Spur Digital.  The HiMA kickoff event is coming up this Thursday the 26th and we will have several people attending from our team.

<snip from the site>Please join us for our New Year Kick-Off event, January 26, from 7:30 to 9:30 am at the Houston Technology Center. Geoffrey Ramsey, founder and CEO of eMarketer will be the keynote speaker.</snip>

The following are the founding members of the Houston Interactive Marketing Association (HiMA). BMC Software Fogarty Klein Monroe Gulf Publishing Halliburton Houston Chronicle Houston Technology Center Human Kind Inc.

Idea Integration InfoVine Interactive Lopez Negrete Money Management International One Real World PennWell Publishing Pierpont Communications Questia Media, Inc. Schipul – The Web Marketing Company Sam Houston Area Council Six Foot Studios Spur Digital Texas Children’s Hospital Zephyr Salvo Studios

This is a corporate customer service problem – AT&T can’t back it up

Dr. Evil: "Austin… I am your father."
Austin: Really?
Dr Evil: No, I can’t back that up.
                           
… from Austin Powers Trilogy

Which relates to a perfectly executed but factually incorrect advertising campaign by AT&T:

Attsuckshttp://www.horsepigcow.com/2006/01/wtf-or-att-can-kiss-my-rss.html

photo courtesy of Brian at Weblogs Work

I’m not even going to START with my this gets my blood boiling…okay…maybe I’ll start.

#1 – I blogged about AT&T lame-o campaign a little while back
and one of their lackey advertising dorks left a nasty comment on my
blog. Something about how a Web 2.0 blogger shouldn’t be commenting on
his brilliant advertising campaign. Ha! First of all, if they knew
their asses from the blogosphere, they would know that my background is in advertising and marketing and that their campaign sux rss.

… (more)

Working with numerous advertising agencies I can feel the agency pain.  No doubt they (AT&7) sent the A-list to the creative kick-off.  They, the ad agency, were assured that indeed AT&T had street cred with the bloggers. 

Unfortunately AT&7 is a legacy monopoly with no clue how to treat a consumer (apparently at least – I no longer user their services!).  Posting those billboards made me comment on them in Houston while driving.  I didn’t post it, but many others did and unfortunately for AT&T one of them was Tara Rogue.  Hee hee. 

Assume every customer is king and your brand will have no problems.  Bloggers are like the CIA – they are silent and will enforce what they believe in.

Images for advertising for mapping services

TargettargetmapFrom BoingBoing, a Target store has painted a giant red target logo on their roof for the mapping service satellites to display when they take overheads. 

To a bomber of course this looks like a giant target, but that is a different conversation.  I am sure Target’s pay rates are such that the employees don’t mind literally having a target painted over their heads.

We proposed previously a similar geographical advertising concept for the A9 block-by-block photo mapping service.

City Slogans Redux

BrooklynisanewplanetI posted previously on my objections to several Houston branding campaigns.  And as a member of the Houston Advertising Federation and the American Marketing Association I have the right to be wrong but also to complain comment.

There is also amusement to be taken by the "Atlanta: Every day is an opening day" decision in Atlanta, particularly when you have a power house combination like the Ries’ offering Atlanta alternatives (although Hotlanta does sound silly to me).

Now, not to be outdone (via adjab) the New York Daily News brings us this:

1 boro tag? Fuhgeddaboudit!

<snip> "Brooklyn is too broad and diverse for one slogan," said Markowitz spokeswoman Jocelyn Aframe.

"It became apparent that one slogan wouldn’t be able to express all that Brooklyn has to offer."

Instead, the Brooklyn Tourism Partnership will use several slogans – which range from the classy ("Brooklyn: Bridge to the World") to the wacky ("Brooklyn: The Tenth Planet") and possibly risque ("Do It In Brooklyn") – for specific advertising campaigns.

At least they have a sense of humility acknowledging that sex in Brooklyn is so different we can officially declare it a new planet. Wow.  I mean, just wow.  HotBrooklyn maybe? 

Good Call: Great use of PR Opportunity crossed with Advertising for Christmas

MillerchristmasWe have all received the link to the over-the-top-Christmas-sound-and-lights-display.  Some guy went nuts with his house, but the impressive part is the sound track.  He didn’t just build another airport on the cul-de-sac, but rather computerized the Christmas display and coordinated it with music.  That is the old news.

Miller made a deal with him apparently to film the house in a commercial.  This is smart.  It won’t make us associate Miller with Christmas (who can beat Budweiser’s traditional Clydesdales drawn carriage?) but perhaps Miller becomes the Tom Hanks of Christmas.

Via AdRants

Kodak – “keep me, protect me, share me, and I will live forever.”

KodakkeepmeBrilliant advertising by Kodak.  Great Creative.  Crappy Search Engine Optimization.  That’s why you are reading this post.  One more reason you should not confuse the work with the work product.

Let’s start with the awesome Kodak advertising creative.  Stay with me, I’ll explain why it is awesome… So I just saw a Kodak commercial that was brand-worthy, and what I recall from one viewing (no tivo yet, sorry) is:

the pictures are saying "keep me, protect me, share me, and I will live forever."

Kodak

Brilliant brand strategy.  That is worth repeating "keep me, protect me, share me, and I will live Kodakhomepage forever".  That is the brilliant branding part.  They are NOT talking about how Kodak is different – we wouldn’t buy it anyway.  Kodak was in denial for how long?  Now they are over it, and thank heaven they are promoting the category as opposed to a particular product.  That is branding.  I am hooked.  I want someone to think about pictures of my family in that context.  "keep me – protect me – share me – and I will live forever" – just awesome stuff.

To harp on the divergence concept (I always do that with the current book I am reading, sorry) they are focused on accepting the new branch of the tree and growing.  Now, if the ad agency (who is it?  will we know before next year’s Addys?) would please PLEASE post the text of the advertisement on the Kodak.com web site so your google search query would go there instead of here….. 

To my comment about not confusing your work with your work product, what I am referring to is the desire of creatives to write ABOUT their ads in the same tone as the advertisement itself.  This is stupid.  To describe great advertising creative with the same funny text AS the creative, which always excludes the keywords, is stupid.  The kodak advertisement I am describing never mentions digital camera.  Great creative.  Crappy Search Engine Optimization.  That is a problem if you are trying to sell cameras online.  Yes keep the creative, but also post it to your site with a realistic description in freakin’ English that lists the product and brand names.

Free tip – run this keyword density analyzer on your advertising copy.  It will help.

Social Software Advertising Power

For the advertising professional wondering if Social Software has advertising power.

Hawthorne Heights is touring the country in a plush bus. The quintet’s debut album, The Silence in Black and White, has sold more than 500,000 copies since its release last year, and the group has appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live and been on MTV’s TRL. The five young men from Dayton, Ohio, are living the rock-and-roll dream – but they took a highly unconventional path to get there. The band achieved its popularity without any real radio or TV airplay, a feat unheard-of a few years ago. They aren’t signed to a major label, and they don’t want to be. They don’t need industrial-strength marketing campaigns or heavy rotation.

What they have is MySpace, a community Web site that converts electronic word of mouth into the hottest marketing strategy since the advent of MTV.