Friday, October 31, 2008

Stop press

Is it christmas? Look at this goodness- you can make a personalised muppet and order it.

Go on, make me one!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GroupM: Media Market Will Suffer For 3 Years

Adweek: The media marketplace could be mired in a recessionary climate for the next three years, according to Rino Scanzoni, GroupM chief investment officer. He insists that the current downturn will last significantly longer than the dip experienced in 2001. "It will be a very slow process."

Scanzoni, speaking on a International Radio and Television Society panel, said that next year overall media spending could be down 2% to 3% percent -- or flat at best.

But all is not lost. He also cited two positives: Commodity prices are dropping, which eases the pressure on corporate profits, and the downturn should spark innovation as buyers, sellers and clients try to be more effective and efficient.

Pull the other one Rino
You can't blame the economic crisis for all the crap that's going on. We're in a massive state of flux, we have been for the past 8 years. People are continually adapting to new technologies and finding out ways to integrate them into their lives effectively. Unfortunately this has come at the expense of TV viewership taking a hit, magazines not being as luxurious leisure time as it once was and radio being an obsolete thing of the past.

Isn't it convenient that the economic crisis to rival the depression has come right now. Now we can expect media providers to say once the crisis is over, expect media habits to return back to normal. Not gonna happen Rino. Now is the time to use those small budgets with greater efficacy, and find those channels which your consumers respond to. I can tell you, it isn't going to be a tv buy and forget about the impact of the superbowl. All yesteryear. Time to innovate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Retailers Get Social with Facebook

eMarketer: Nearly 60 of the top 100 online retailers have Facebook pages, and more retailers are there than on other social media sites. But just because it's a casual environment doesn't mean it should be taken lightly.

Just make sure your content isn't, how do you say, shit.
Yes, there is a surge of marketers putting their crap on social networks, yet they fail to realise the tone of the medium.
Reminds me of this little post. My old mates at Carat tried to create a group on the FB for berocca. In my opinion, a complete bomb (although now we're up to 1000 members). Facebook isn't another portal for your pack shot and marketing spiel. FB is a leisure activity and any marketing conducted on the FB should be conducted in such a manner.
Compare the berocca to my good friend, the Pillsbury doughboy. He knows how to work that yeast. The whole thing is probably consumer generated, but the fun in "If the Pillsbury Doughboy had a Facebook profile, I'd poke him 24/7" has 14,000 members and works a bloody treat.

If you're thinking about planting your info on a social network, save it. You've got a rich medium, with people willing to participate. Answer to that instead.

Maybe that put his poo in the ice cream...

Bud Can't Stop 'Whassup' Guys From Selling Obama

The Wall Street Journal: Odds are you've already seen it: The "Whassup!" guys are back, this time in a viral video for Barack Obama. All the original actors have returned for the 2-minute video, but this time things have gotten bad. One is fighting in Iraq, another has lost his money and his health insurance, and another is trapped in a hurricane. So what's up? Change, in the form of Barack Obama. True, true.

But the video is causing a ripple in industry circles, because Budweiser -- which clearly has no interest in backing a presidential candidate -- is powerless to stop it. In a departure from normal industry practice, neither Anheuser Busch nor its ad firm, Omnicom's DDB Chicago, own the Whassup slogan or concept. Instead, the brewer paid Charles Stone III, who created and starred in the ads, roughly $37,000 to license the idea for five years. That deal expired three years ago.

"If you don't own the idea, you don't have any control," says Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates. "It's like driving the car from the back seat." The video so far has more than 2 million views on YouTube"

The conditions are perfectly right for a rehash
This is a beautiful thing, but only because the planets have realigned to allow whassup re-entry into the adsphere.
It’s got a lot going for it:
  • Obama is sexy. His campaign is sexy, his ideas are sexy, he has signed up the celeb elite to side with him and all sexy leftist media are on Obama's side. Anything Obama appears to be and is a winner these days.
  • Reminiscent of a previously successful TV campaign. "Remember Whens" by default are rich with nostalgia and emotional impact. You think back to the glory days of when the ad aired, people get all fuzzy and warm inside and they really just like to reminisce.
  • Come at a perfectly topical time of american economic and social crisis. The shit is hitting the fan harder than it has in the last couple of years. As long as an american slams any health, war or economic issue coupled with the implication of 'change', US citizens will resonate with it. Personally I found the ad a little bit too long and boring (the guy after all isn't a CD, he is just some ponce with an idea).
So it all works, but only because there is a lot going for it. These douches will now get signed up for something else because no one failed to realise that without all these perfect conditions it would never have worked. They'll be scratching their heads next time thinking why their next phat idea hasn't worked after they failed to put it in the right time right place adapter.

It's true, the gelato's poo

SMH: Sample of gelato at Sydney hotel found to contain faeces.

And this dear friend, is why it's good to be back home.
I get off my plane and confronted with news stories that a family at a respectable(ish) dining establishment were served ice cream laced with poo.
I heard the woman poo eater say "As the ice cream reached room temperature in my mouth, the stench was unbearable".
Yuk yuk yuk. Who says that about eating poo?! It kind of brings it to life. No thanks.

So after the last few days I've witnessed some great headlines, the offering of the head chef to submit a poo sample and people across Australia admit to eating poo laced ice cream at other fine establishments. Now an official body is involved and will be testing the gelato sample to see if it's animal, human, male or female excrement.

Is anyone twittering this as it unfolds?

I'd love to see this as a short movie format of this tale. Look out Tropfest.

mmm, looks like a good flavour of poo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Broadcast Ad Model Is Broken. Now What? Networks Race to Create Their Own Methods for Measuring Audiences-- Virtually all parties involved agree the current broadcast advertising model is broken, or at the very least inadequate. What they don't yet agree on is the solution, leading to mass confusion as networks scramble to create their own measurements in a race to develop a standard for counting those precious eyeballs.

It's broken dood. Move on!
I remember someone once mentioned the 'turning heads' metre and then there was the engagement metric. You can't measure this crap. Sales, you can measure, and that's always a pretty good indicator.

Online downloads however- this is a different story. I am of the opinion that 10% of your online download audience would equate to the real engaged TV viewer audience. This means they watch every ad, don't believe in toilet breaks, and the battery in their remote control is flat. Not completely accurate but better than a turning heads metre.

What really grinds my gears even further, is this Australian palaver that's going on right now. Been happening for a few months. All these ad kids are getting together and claiming that an FTV (as opposed to cable) buy is so important to their media plan. Real propaganda and rubbish. Two of the biggest ad spenders are at the helm and trying to get other Australian marketers to relinquish unjustified proportions of their marketing budgets to a TV spend that is inefficient. I can just imagine how this panned out- the TV networks asked the AANA to 'save' the networks with a "free tv club", instead of getting their shite together and creating new solutions. So what they've done is lose ad spots in prime time in order to show these ads and their budgets have taken a further cut. What they're forgetting is their premium advantage- it costs nothing for users to watch their channels.
Bottom line, the campaign just has 'crap' written all over it, combined with a stench of licentiousness.

Click here to see the ridiculous TVCs

Brand America, Meanwhile, Faces Its Own Transition

The Economist, The New York Times, Wikipedia, Sourcewatch: Times' op-ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof wrote last week that an Obama victory "could change global perceptions of the United States, redefining the American 'brand' to be less about Guantánamo and more about equality."

Few observers dispute that Brand America is not as highly regarded in other countries as it has been in the past. The debate is more likely to be about how much that matters to our national interests. Kristof argues that, if Obama wins, we may have an opportunity to "rebuild American political capital in the way that the Marshall Plan did in the 1950s ... ."

The Economist is hosting a debate Sunday afternoon in New York on the subject. Advertising great Keith "You Deserve A Break Today" Rinehard, chairman emeritus of DDB Needham Worldwide, will join three other luminaries in chewing over whether Brand America can be "salvaged" and eventually "be as great as it once was."

The undersecretary position is currently held by James K. Glassman , a libertarian columnist and author. In testimony before Congress after he was nominated, Glassman brought up discussions in the press about the nature of the job before him. "People speculated on what I would do to burnish America's image, to increase our popularity ratings -- as if the United States were a brand of soft drink or an entrant in "American Idol" seeking global votes," he said. Rather, said Glassman, "public diplomacy's role is to help achieve the national interest by "informing, engaging, and influencing people around the world."

Welcome back Kotter.
Sorry for my lack of voice during my transition, but in all honesty there was really nothing exciting to write about. Not until this.

I think the time when America was a global leader in everything, has dissipated. I remember Australia would cry at losses in the America's Cup, or people would go to the US and come back with the coolest LA Gear you ever did see.
And then one one gave a crap. In fact, America became that popular kid in the school yard who was so used to their "look at me"mentality that just got boring.

If Obama does win, that's great for a new era of political execution. But the problems at home need to be corrected first before the States moves on to global public perception. With the internet being a strong tool in finding out the real truth, there isn't going to be a solid way for America to cloak the unhappiness amongst citizens. Don't forget that if locals find out the government is more interested in public perception, it won't bode well either. The people's voices will be loud and clear, going straight to those who google any evidence of disappointment.

Global perception does not appear to be at the top of the agenda with all the other stuff going on. It won't be too effective either when other Western countries just don't give a damn.

In the meantime, stick to hot-shit graffiti.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Verizon Plan To Charge Text Message Fee Irks Marketers

by Mark Walsh: Verizon Wireless on Friday seemed to step back from a controversial plan to charge companies a 3-cent fee for text messages it delivers to its subscribers. RCR Wireless News first reported Thursday that Verizon would impose the new charge for every message handled on its network starting Nov. 1. But with mobile marketers expressing alarm about the potential impact of the proposed fee, the No. 2 wireless carrier appeared to soften its position on the matter.

And did you ask consumers about how they felt regarding this matter?
My presumption would be a big fat NO. Because who is going to get lumped with that 3 cent sum? The users of course.
What is with the vicious cycle we're living in right now? Companies and money makers have these blinders on, looking at short term benefits without realising the impacts and effects into the future. I'm actually shocked with their inability to appreciate their consumer.

The jig, will at some point, be up. As users realise they're paying for part of the advertising message, they will unsubscribe and/or be massively pissed with Verizon. Isn't one of the great benefits of advertising the ability to subsidise the cost for users and in turn allow those users to keep returning in the long run?

The main point that I've been reiterating for weeks, is that if you don't gear your brand/product/service towards the consumer, you will be fcucked. i.e. if you forget your consumer, your real bread and butter, they'll forget you. All that stuff about transparency, louder user groups and a more open public forum all comes back to the user and the individual. Remember them and you'll be right.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rethinking Atlantic City’s Ban on Casino Smoking

The New York Times: Some of the only winners of the deepening financial crisis may be smokers in Atlantic City’s casinos.

Prodded by Donald Trump, the city may postpone a smoking ban set to take effect in casinos on Oct. 15, The Associated Press reported. Casino revenues this year are already down 5.2 percent (a pdf), with slots down 6.8 percent, and owners say that adding a smoking ban now could deal a body blow to struggling casinos.

“The smoking ban will have a huge, negative impact on Atlantic City — beyond any competition, beyond anything,” Trump told reporters at a recent ribbon-cutting, according to The Press of Atlantic City. “All we can do is to ask the council to reconsider.”

Move over 'Chelm', there's a new dumb town in town
Excuse me? This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. The subtext is "Let's get more money in the short term by killing you all in the long term and then once you're all dead, we'll realise our consumer base is gone and we won't be able to make any more money." This is pretty much exactly the same reason we're in this financial problem in the first place- make huge returns in the short term, but up shit creek, definitely no paddle, in long term.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of genius we are faced with every day. There's a problem involving cash flow, the chips are quite figuratively and literally down, so some obscure rationale is picked for the reason behind the problem. In this case, it doesn't look like there is any research to reflect that a smoking ban causes a downturn. In fact, New Yorkers were concerned about a drop in tourism when they banned smoking in restaurants and bars, and today we see it has actually had no effect.

Marketing world comparables include:
  • Creating/joining a social network or any other apparent hot thing, because it's the flavour of the month and we need to be where the cool kids are. Of course there is no thought or rationale behind the voice or objective of the brand...
  • An online publisher explaining a sponsorship deal as "a banner takeover"
  • Having a wet dream over the new iPhone
  • Listening to marketing Hoopla- you're in marketing for pete's sake!
In closing, gamblers are gamblers are gamblers. And don't we think it's better for them to have only one problem than help them perpetuate 2?!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bring back the muppets

The Scotsman: Since Walt Disney bought Piggy, Kermit and crew in 2004, executives have struggled to figure out how to put them to work. Efforts in 2005 to rejuvenate the furry creatures created by Jim Henson sputtered as the Muppets g
ot lobbed between corporate divisions, and a new television series – a parody of America's Next Top Model called America's Next Muppet – died in planning.

The muppets are dying to be mashed-up-esized!
The muppets are bloody great. They were a staple of the 70s and 80s with great jokes that went over kids' heads, but hit the sweet spot with adults.
Disney has started to get on the right track by infusing muppets with popular cool brands- Jonas Brothers, Urban outfitters et al, creating the mix of retro+cool that I often refer to as a winner formula. People love to see their nostalgia of old reworked and reformed into modern day chic/entertainment. It also works with stuff that has low production value but high commitment to content.
But hey, it isn't hard with the right brands, or someone who knows what they're doing.

Muppets, such gold. I love how you can recognise who does what voices...

Friday, October 3, 2008

oooh, more coolness on the flickr search apps

First we had the Flickr related tag browser
Then we had compfight
Tag Galaxy came to the party
Retrievr added an added dimension by drawing in what you're looking for.
Piclens gave us Flickr in 3D
and who could forget FlickrStorm or Flickr River?

But now, I bring you the flickr finder by colour! Excellent for those obscure coloured presentations!
Care of Dan Calladine via James Ganio

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Take a Holistic Approach to Your Messaging

Marketers Don't Think Like Consumers Do: Al Ries on Marketing
Holism is the concept that the whole has a reality independent and greater than the sum of its parts. Marketing people should pay more attention to this concept.

WTF Al Ries? Can you hear what you're saying?
This article is ridiculous. Mr Ries calls for holistic marketing- considering the consumer blah di blah blah. But hey, Mr Ries, the consumer isn't an idiot, they know how to choose an option that suits them best. PLUS, they aren't a group of people made up of one preference only. Each individual responds to different tastes and preferences.

Of course diversifying weakens the original product, but at least it opens up more options and personal loyalty from customers. Imagine if there was no non fat milk to the full fat option? It wouldn't be very nice for the fat free wannabees. Even the 2%-fat-content in milk opens up opportunity to the people who are after a bit more flavour. There isn't anything wrong with that. How is that not holistic?

Al, you've taken the wrong approach and slammed diversity as something unneccesary, even silly. It's not a case of I was dumb before and now that my brand of choice has a new option I'm even dumber, it's opening up the floor to more choice.

And the piece de resistance -at the bottom of the article it says "Al and his daughter and partner Laura Ries host a weekly video report at Ries Report."
That's a bit sick Al. Don't you think it should be more holistic and say business partner?