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.
Scott Donaton, the editor of Advertising Age just wrote an article gushing over what a visionary leader David Verklin is.
Will someone other than David Verklin please stand up?
I mean, really, is there a single other human being who has been as much of a leader, visionary, a force for change and a voice of optimism industries over the last 15 years? The answer is no, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s remarkable, as a statement on VerklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talents and as shameful commentary on the leadership vacuum.
So, being a student of leadership and branding both, I wanted to check out Mr. Verklin’s company to see how a visionary’s company presents the brand online. While I have no doubt Mr. Verklin is indeed an amazing visionary leader, I also have no doubt that he has NOT held his people accountable for baseline branding on the web. Why do I say this? Because I can’t find the site in google BY NAME, which to most of us is a completely fair measure of half-hearted-capabilities.
Specifically I wanted to find the Carat America site. I googled it as "Carat America". By brand name no less.
I get a portfolio listing but not one on their site or even a listing for their company.
Then I tried "Carat Verklin"
I get a media week listing but not the company site. Ironically the article is about eyes shifting to media dollars.
After numerous searches and finding the Carat Group site (not Americas but the main group – I realize that) I ran a keyword density analyzer on the site trying to figure out how it was possible that they did not come up at all. First, they have a redirect on the home page which gave even the density analyzer an error. Then I tried the redirected subpage and got this:
keyword count density score
carat 1 25.00 1
enter 1 25.00 3
global 1 25.00 3
site 1 25.00 3
That is the complete report. All of it.
BY clicking "services" I got a long URL which at least had some content.
Note that it does not say the word advertising at all and only says "media" once on the page. Television, brand and interactive are also missing. Who wrote this stuff?
I am glad Mr. Verklin is getting some nice press. But the arrogance of big media assuming everyone will find them, that people will jump through hoops to track them down, smacks of cluetrain type big business arrogance and nothing less than brand foolishness.
Ad Agencies need to hold their people accountable for online branding results, and that includes making sure your site is found in the search engines. To hire creative people who count on you, and to ignore the media landscape, to ignore online branding and then lay everyone off and say "hey, I guess there was a slow down" like so many agencies do, is irresponsible. It is bad for the brand, and definitely bad for the people. It is arrogance and arrogance doesn’t play.
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
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. Football grows if FÃºtbol 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
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!
FÃºtbol 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 FÃºtbol 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.
Dallas game – Oakland is winning. Ford Commercial comes on.
da…da-dat…da-dat…da-dat (cosmic music)
Masses of people walking towards the same destination carrying thousands of auto parts. Parts of an SUV to be assembled. Like zombies they crush towards the middle to add their part.
"If you could build your own SUV … blah blah … you’d build the 2006 Explorer. The best Explorer ever."
They walk like zombies. Am I the only one who jumps to ask if those zombies are the ones who died in the less than "best" Ford Explorers that kept flipping over a few years back? I recognize the need for buzz, but I can’t be alone in this mind connection. And at this moment I am more likely to purchase anything other than a Ford Explorer.