- VS -


(OR 300 Reasons Why It Needs to CHANGE)
"Exhibit I " / (Ad Age) Advertising Blues...More Headlines 2007 (Stories #112 - #115)
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Allen Iverson's Move and Understanding Brand You / How Reputation is All You Have in Business / #1

Allen Iverson has been traded from my hometown Sixers basketball team to the Denver Nuggets. If you're a hoops fan, it's a  Marc Brownstein big deal. But when a colleague of mine asked me what I thought of Iverson leaving town after almost 11 years in Philadelphia, I responded like a true marketer: AI was a global brand, and that was good for the awareness of the Sixers team. That will not be replaced by whomever they get in exchange for Iverson. Yeah, despite the fact that our team isn't winning too many games these days, wherever Allen Iverson went -- from Philly to China -- he was mobbed by fans and press alike. What is that worth to the Sixers organization?


Come to think of it, we're all brands. Walking, talking brands, with reputations that go with them. We spend our lives creating distinctive personalities for products and services. Yet, how often do we stop and consider how we're managing the brand in the mirror? An athlete like Iverson can cheat on his wife or hang around with the wrong crowd, or not show up for practice, and that may actually enhance his "authentic" reputation. The rest of us who are not world-class athletes, however, have to have a better plan.


If your reputation matters to you, and it should because it's all you've got in business, here are a few things that you might want to consider to grow Brand You:


Be consistent. In your interactions with peers, clients and senior management.

Stay true to your values. If that includes integrity and candor, then live it. If it's living a lie, then stay true to that, because you are what you are.  

Be strategic in your decision-making.  

Communicate often. When you don't, words are put in your mouth. Ask any PR guru.

Be yourself. Because you are being judged every day by every one you come into contact with. Authenticity stands out. So don't try to be something you're not.
Fortunately, you don't need a big budget to build Brand You. Or focus groups. Or a written plan. Though you might consider a few well-placed tattoos and a good jump shot to help separate you from the pack.


Posted by Marc Brownstein on 12.20.06 @ 08:31 AM | 6 comments


Leaping Into the Non-Paid Advertising Ring / Why Small Agencies Must Embrace Non-Traditional Media / #2


There's a proverb in the Bible that says that there is nothing new under the sun. That's something to remember when you think you've struck upon a completely original idea. To be fresh today depends not just upon the idea but how it's delivered. For example, non-paid media is an opportunity that small agencies should be well versed in by now. Like it or not, communicating outside traditional media is no longer a guerilla tactic. The past two years our agency has had a revolutionary change in the way we approach this opportunity. I don't feel we're ahead of the curve, but we're trying. We have no choice but to be ahead if we want to compete on national level.


Any agency that is not clearly comfortable utilizing non-traditional media is going to pay a stiff penalty in the near future. That's the dark prediction. The silver lined one is that we small agencies that do utilize it are going to do better work and be more competitive for clients who feel that this expertise is only found at larger agencies.


We just completed a major brand campaign launch for Taos Ski Valley. It was initially launched with only a mysterious website with a countdown clock: ThePurification.org. Technically this site was an ARG (alternative reality game) designed to give clues that would reveal who was sponsoring the site. Dozens of guerilla tactics were used in key U.S. cities to seed visitation to the site and the results were quick. Though the site was up for only six weeks it generated a half dozen blogs by people determined to solve the mystery. It became the first listing on Google within two weeks of its launch and was in the top 60,000 visited worldwide with hundreds of thousands of hits. The site is now a listing on Wikipedia. It is a part of an experience, not an ad.



The effort was to communicate a sincere message of Taos' brand. We wanted people to respond to the emotion of our message, not who was the source of the message. This message was true to the skiing experience that is unique to Taos. It is a mantra for those who are loyal to what Taos stands for in spite of the masses embracing the Disneyfication of ski resorts. Obviously non-paid media was the perfect place to deliver this message first. Traditional advertising began at the apex of this non-paid media effort.


It's too soon to evaluate the results of this campaign but one thing is certain: It was an invigorating effort for the client. Seeing their passion voiced in this way has their entire company filled with pride and renewed enthusiasm. Using this genre we were able to voice something sincere about Taos that paid media couldn't do. I believe that's one of the biggest opportunities non-paid media ideas offer.


Agencies that aren't looking into non-paid media opportunities for their clients are limiting the bang for their buck. It is a proven opportunity for small agencies to move the needle farther for a client with limited budgets. I'm sure many small agencies are taking advantage of the new world of communication with programs of their own, but I also know that we can perceive this as virgin territory. I know of some of our peer agencies that are well versed in this area and I'm sure there are others. I'd love to hear from you.


Posted by Bart Cleveland on 12.13.06 @ 07:26 AM | 10 comments


Clear Channel Eyes One-Second Radio Spots /'Blinks' Format Explores New Radio Ad Strategies / #3

By Willow Duttge / Published: June 12, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Clear Channel is discussing the idea of one-second radio spots with marketers and media buyers. Blinks are one-second commercials.



The real value of the Blinks, as they are being called, may be in the publicity they can generate. After all, you're already reading an article about them, and the short spots are only in the concept stage.


The radio giant, however, says it didn't think up Blinks as a promotional stunt. "It really is to find new uses of radio for advertisers who are continually asking us to demonstrate that our medium can successfully extend brands, can successfully reach the consumer with touchpoints that are new and surprising" said Jim Cook, senior VP-creative for Clear Channel Radio.


Audio mnemonics

The Blinks could be used in a number of ways. Clear Channel's Creative Services Group crafted a demonstration spot using the McDonald's jingle, minus the "I'm lovin' it" language, and placed it between one hip-hop song and another. The group also created a Blink for BMW's Mini Cooper with a horn honking and man's voice saying "Mini," and placed it before miniaturized news reports. (Neither marketer has a deal with Clear Channel for Blinks.) Other audio mnemonics that could use Blinks are the Intel chime and the NBC bells.


Jim Gaither, director-broadcast at Richards Group, has been in conversation with Clear Channel about three-second spots. "It's not building a brand; it's refreshing a brand," he said, adding: "You can't use a one-second campaign for something that generally has not been advertised before."


Frequency needed

You also need frequency, because if you just hear a sound and nothing else, the message is going to have to be driven into the consumer, Mr. Gaither said. It's also best suited to a marketer's core customer, because those are the people for whom the Blink will have the most impact, he said. Mr. Gaither said he doesn't think he has a marketer at the moment that perfectly fits the bill.


But would marketers want to be so brief? Andrew Goldstein, instructor of a broadcast-media-writing course at the Miami Ad School and a copywriter at Zimmerman Advertising, isn't convinced national advertisers would want a sound effect thrown into the programming. "You're not going to know it's connected to the brand, and it's going to lose its value," he said.


Lauren Russo, managing director-local radio at Horizon Media, said, "I can't see any advertiser, any agency paying for a spot that's one second." If Clear Channel came to her to buy the ads, she wouldn't be interested. "If they want to throw it in at no charge, I don't think we would say no," she said, but, "I just don't see how you can communicate anything in that little time period."


Clear Channel said it hasn't decided on pricing and package information, but Mr. Gaither estimates that the time may be sold at a 200% to 300% increase on what one-thirtieth of a 30-second spot might cost.


Hard to verify

And when it comes to verifying that the spot ran, there could be a problem. TNS Media Intelligence can track broadcast spots that are five-seconds or more in length, with the possibility of tracking three-second spots with some development, said Richard Radzik, VP-broadcast verification services at TNS Media Intelligence.


In the late 1990s, Cramer-Krasselt, a Chicago-based independent ad agency, did a one-second TV spot for Master Lock in which a padlock is shot with a bullet in front of a bull's-eye. The image of a high-powered rifle shooting through a Master Lock padlock had been on the Super Bowl for many years and was an icon before the one-second spot aired.


The media buy was small, as most major networks weren't equipped to handle a one-second ad, but the PR and publicity were worth millions of dollars, said John Melamed, exec VP at Cramer-Krasselt.


The big PR boon, however, may be for Clear Channel. "This is a way for Clear Channel to get more news," Mr. Gaither said. "I don't think you're going to see any kind of mass exodus from traditional 30- and 60-second radio advertising to people doing one-second spots. You're going to get a dozen people that it makes a lot of sense for ... and we'll call it a day, and Clear Channel will be the ones that were out there doing it first." top


Understanding Marketing Psychology and the Halo Effect / What Apple's iPod and Motorola's Razr Can Teach Us / #4

By Al Ries  / Published: April 17, 2006


Marketing and psychology are closely related. If psychology is the "systematic study of human behavior," then marketing is the "systematic study of human behavior in the marketplace."

After broad marketing campaigns heavily focused on a single produt -- the iPod -- Apple's overall fiscal 2005 sales were up 68%, profits were up 384%, and the company stock had jumped 177%.


The halo effect

Good-looking people, for example, tend to be perceived as more intelligent, more successful and more popular. That's the halo effect in psychology.


The halo effect also works in marketing. What's behind the phenomenal success of Apple Computer? In a word, the iPod.


In fiscal 2005, Apple Computer sales were up 68% over the previous year. Profits were up 384%. And the stock was up 177%. And Apple's net profit margin increased from 3.3% to 9.6%, an astonishing jump.


The good news from Apple Computer wasn't just the success of the iPod. As a matter of fact, in fiscal 2005, the iPod and iTunes together accounted for only 39% of Apple's sales. The other 61% of Apple (computers, software and services) also did well.


Apple's computer and related businesses were up 27% in fiscal 2005 over the previous year. And, according to industry reports, Apple increased its share of the personal computer market from 3% to 4%. That's the halo effect in marketing.


73.9% market share

During the year, Apple bombarded the public with TV advertising, print ads and billboards touting its iPod. Very effectively, too. Apple share of the digital music market is 73.9%. The iPod brand is so dominant that almost nobody knows which brand is in second place. (For the record, it's iRiver with a miniscule 4.8% share.)


What about the marketing support for Apple's line of personal computers? The company can't have spent very much. I can't remember seeing a Macintosh advertisement during the year, can you?


Which is exactly the point. Apple put the bulk of its marketing budget behind the iPod creating a halo effect that helped the entire Apple product line.


Motorola has done something similar by putting its emphasis on its Razr line of cellphones. In the third quarter of last year, for example, Motorola shipped 38.7 million cellphones. Revenues for the quarter were up 26%.


But only 6.5 million, or 17% of those cellphones, were Razr phones. Obviously the Razr became a halo for the rest of the line.


Go with your best horse

Focusing your marketing message on a single word or concept has been our mantra for years. But taking this idea one step further can also produce dramatic results. To cut through the clutter in today's overcommunicated society, place your marketing dollars on your best horse. Then let that product or service serve as a halo effect for the rest of the line.


Not an easy idea to sell in the boardroom. "What? You want to spend most of the marketing budget on a product that accounts for only 39% of our sales?" (It's even worse than that. Presumably Apple Computer's 2005 marketing budget was prepared in 2004 when iPod and iTunes accounted for only 19% of sales.)


One of the best examples of the halo effect is Sirius Satellite Radio and Howard Stern. Sirius has 120 channels, but they promote only the shock jock. Results have been phenomenal. The day they announced the hiring of Stern in 2004, Sirius had just 660,000 subscribers. Today they have 3.3 million.


Stern is not for everybody. Probably half of the new Sirius subscribers will never listen to his channel. But the focus on Stern has generated enormous PR and created a halo over the entire satellite radio system. (Much like the effect "The Sopranos" has had on HBO.)


Halo effect in marketing history

The halo effect has a long history in marketing. In 1930, Michael Cullen created the first supermarket chain which he called "King Kullen." His breakthrough idea was his method of pricing. He decided to price 300 items at cost. Another 300 items barely above cost. And the remaining 600 or so items at very healthy margins.


Guess which items he chose to advertise? The ones he sold at cost. What you advertise and what you make money on can be two different things. Virtually every principle of psychology has an application in marketing. Take "imprinting," for example.


The first brand in a new category will imprint itself in human minds as the original, the authentic, the real thing. Kleenex in tissue. Hertz in rent-a-cars. Heinz in ketchup. Starbucks in coffee shops.


The study of marketing begins with the study of psychology.

Al Ries is the author or co-author of 11 books on marketing, including his latest, The Origin of Brands. He and his daughter Laura run the Atlanta-based marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries. Their website: www.ries.com.


Study: Only One in Four Teens Can Name Broadcast Networks

TV Viewing Fourth Most-Popular Activity, Behind Web, Friends, Movies / #5

By Abbey Klaassen Published: May 15, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For the week of the broadcast network upfront presentations, Bolt Media hopes this stat delivers a bullet to TV: Only one in four 12- to 34-year-olds can name all four major broadcast networks: ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.

Teens may not be able to name the big four, but they know MTV, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central.


The finding comes via an online poll conducted by Bolt Media, a 10-year-old Web site that six weeks ago relaunched itself as a place for users to upload videos and photos. About 400 members responded to the questions, including one that asked how respondents spent their free time.


The top networks

The most popular activity? That would be surfing the Internet, which 84% said they did during their idle periods. Hanging out with friends came in second at 76%, watching movies third at 71% and TV viewing fourth at 69%. The five most-watched TV networks were Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, MTV and Cartoon Network.


"There's a massive movement going on in people under 30 and how they spend their media time," said Bolt President Lou Kerner, who once upon a time was a cable analyst on Wall Street before leaving to run TV.com and then Bolt. "Our audience spends lots of time on net, creating their own media."


He shrugs off the idea that the poll, because it was based on Bolt members who tend to be heavy online users, wasn't of value. He charges the results are representative of teens who go on sites like Bolt or YouTube -- exactly the kinds of rabid media consumers sophisticated marketers are interested in reaching.


"We're finally at an inflection point where advertisers are tired of spending more and more and getting less and less, particularly as it relates to youth," he said. "You're going to see a much broader embracement of the Internet as a distribution mechanism to get their shows out there."


Viral marketing

He criticized NBC's decision to pull the "Saturday Night Live" "Lazy Sunday" clip off of YouTube and praised Fox for its viral marketing of "Family Guy," which went on to be a cash cow in DVD sales. Mr. Kerner's advice to the networks as they look to build buzz for the new fall season?


"Take your clips and put them out there on these different sites. Let the kids take the codes and put them into their social media profiles so they can show their friends and their friends can collect that as well," he said. "That viral marketing is best possible thing they can do to drive more people to the broadcast channel or their own dot-com site."



Michael Moore Documentary Rattles Health-Care Giants / Trade Groups on the Defensive; Pharma Companies Allege Bias / #6

By Rich Thomaselli  / Published: August 21, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The health-care industry is worried sick over "Sicko."

Pharmaceutical companies have told their employees not to talk to documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, whose next project, 'Sicko,' looks at health care in the U.S.


Few details have emerged about the 2007 documentary from Michael Moore, the filmmaker who ripped apart Detroit automakers with "Roger and Me" and now has his sights set on the $1.5 trillion pharmaceutical and health-care industry. But it's still enough to mobilize health-care trade groups who are trying to discredit the film.


No balance from Moore

"A review of America's health-care system should be balanced, thoughtful and well-researched to pin down what works and what needs to be improved," said Ken Johnson, senior VP for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. "You won't get that from Michael Moore."


Added a spokesman for one of the top 10 pharma companies: "We expect it will be one-sided and biased, just like his other documentaries."


Several other pharmaceutical makers did not return calls for comment. But Pfizer, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline all advised their employees last year not to speak to Mr. Moore when he began his research for "Sicko." It is not known whether any HMOs or drug companies will appear in the film.


"We were approached, but declined," said a spokeswoman for a second top-10 drugmaker. "Frankly, as much as we felt like we wanted to get our message across, in the end we didn't want to subject ourselves to the editing process."


Academy Award winner

Mr. Moore, the Academy Award-winning director of "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" -- the latter the biggest-grossing documentary in movie history -- recently told Variety that the drug companies have been on to him for some time.


"They're so hip [to me] that whenever we have a family" with a health-care nightmare "they get free health care," Mr. Moore said during panel discussions last month at his second annual Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan. "There has been a 100% success rate of the people we're filming of getting whatever they need from the HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, whatever."


On his website, Mr. Moore offered a snapshot of what the documentary entails. "Back in February, I asked if people would send me letters describing their experiences with our health-care system, and I received over 19,000 of them," he wrote. "To read about the misery people are put through on a daily basis by our profit-based system was both moving and revolting. We've spent the better part of this year shooting our next movie, 'Sicko.' As we've done with our other films, we don't discuss them while we are making them. If people ask, we tell them 'Sicko' is a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."


Film in flux

Mr. Moore didn't return calls for comment. But on his site he said that, like his other films, what he starts with is not necessarily what he ends with. "That, I can say with certainty, is happening now as we shoot 'Sicko,'" he wrote. "I don't think the country needs a movie that tells you that HMOs and the pharmaceutical companies suck. Everybody knows that. I'd like to show you some things you don't know. So stay tuned for where this movie has led me. I think you might enjoy it."

10 Most Watched Videos / Year's No. 1 Spot: Dodge's 'Pixie' / #7

Published: December 17, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- During 2006, these were the most viewed videos on Advertising Age's website.


Dodge's "Pixie," BBDO Detroit

Ad Age ad critic Bob Garfield's April column, which portrayed this spot -- about a pixie or fairy -- as a homophobic slur masquerading as a Dodge Caliber commercial, generated an enormous amount of debate that went on for months. 


MTV Europe Foundation's "Streaker," JWT/London

Although it initially appears to be a peek at the antics of a female streaker at a soccer match, this spot actually takes viewers behind the scenes of a very ugly issue: forced prostitution. What starts with scenes of leering and cheering male soccer fans ends with somber text that asks, 'Still cheering?' and notes that thousands of women and girls would be trafficked into Germany during the World Cup and forced into prostitution. 


Guinness' "Noitulove, " Abbott Meade Vickers BDO, London

Winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, this spot would have been better titled 'Devolution.' The mesmerizing visuals morph three beer drinkers back through all of evolution from contemporary humanity to land-crawling fish with appearances along the way by some other very interesting creatures. 


 Tag's "Teen Strip Poker, "Arnold, Boston

Tag, the P&G line of deodorant sprays that come in phallic black canisters and are hawked to teenage males with sex-heavy commercials, took us into the basement on this one. The teen sex spot depicts a strip poker game suddenly interrupted by an angry father. 


 Patron Tequila's "Perfect," The Richards Group, Dallas

The scene opens on a bedroom floor, with the camera panning over a wild scatter of rapidly shed clothing, a one-third-empty bottle of Patron Tequila and a bed where a naked couple lay tangled in purple silk sheets. Curiously, the code of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. prohibits this in ads: 'graphic or gratuitous nudity; overt sexual activity; promiscuity; or sexually lewd or indecent images or languages.' 


Secret Deodorant's "I Told," Procter & Gamble

Designed to entice consumers to spill their personal secrets on camera, this ad campaign for P&G's Secret deodorant drives viewers to the ShareYourSecret.com website where they can enter their own secrets into a public online database. In this spot from the series, one young woman admits to her sister that she told their parents about the sister's first sex encounter. 


Decathlon Sports' "Throw in Air," Fuse, Boston

There are some products that just don't need any sort of fancy ad creative beyond a quick visual demonstration. This ten-second ad for a two-second tent is classic in this regard. Once you've seen it, what else is there to say? 


Canal+ Movie Channel's "March of the Emperors," BETC Euro RSCG/Paris

Made in France for the continent's Canal+ movie channel, this 'March of the Emperors' is an absurdly funny takeoff on the era's penguin-centric movies. 



Allstate's "Girls Day Out," Leo Burnett, Chicago

Here's a tale of how three Nascar groupies became so engrossed in their sex fantasies involving star driver Kasey Kahne that they trigger an accident that ends up destroying his car. Directed by Tom Routson of Tool of North America, the spot is an ode to lust as well as the magic of special effects, the latter which was provided by Chicago's Sol Designfx shop. 



Gov. Schwarzenegger Campaign's "Skies," Strategic Perception, Hollywood

Backwards. It's a simple trick of video editing but one that took on potent meaning when applied to major political campaigns such as that between California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Democratic opponent, State Treasurer Phil Angelides. The Governator's ads struck first -- showing Angelides moving in reverse on everything he did. Angelides then retorted with an ad showing Schwarzenegger going backwards on his motorcycle. 



10 Most Played Ad Age Podcasts

Year's No. 1 Program: How 'Gut Instinct' Advertising Decisions Hurt Marketers / #8


Published: December 17, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- During 2006, these were the most played podcasts across Advertising Age's website and its two iTunes podcast download sites ("Ad Age Audio" and "Ad Age Video" ).


How 'Gut Instinct' Advertising Decisions Hurt Marketers / An Interview with 'What Sticks' Co-author Greg Stuart

The practice of basing advertising-campaign decisions on gut instinct rather than scientific research is responsible for the massive waste of marketers' money, according to Greg Stuart. In this 10-minute interview, the then-CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau reviewed the findings of the five-year research project detailed in "What Sticks," the new book he co-authored with market researcher Rex Briggs. 


 Axe's Sex Sell Scores a Major Marketing Coup / Jack Neff Discusses the $2.4 Billion Deodorant Category

The $2.4 billion-a-year deodorant market is one of the country's most competitive package goods arenas. Ad Age reporter Jack Neff offers listeners an insider's view on the methods used by Unilever's AXE product line to bulldoze its way to the head of the male deodorant category in just four years. 


Advertising Age Was Wrong About Kevin Roberts / An Interview with Ad Age Editor Jonah Bloom

In a 2005 article about Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts that echoed widespread sentiment, Advertising Age suggested the flamboyant executive was promoting his new book "Lovemarks" instead of focusing on the real business of his agency. But now, that same book has just played a pivotal role in Saatchi's win of the $430 million JC Penney ad account. In this audio interview about the behind-the-scenes intrigue of that account move, Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom concedes that Mr. Roberts may have showed us all a thing or two. 


Opinion Fatigue: Inside The National Market-Research Crisis / An Interview with 'Ad Age' Reporter Jack Neff

So many U.S. residents refuse to participate in marketing-research surveys that it has become increasingly difficult to get reasonably reliable consumer data -- a problem of potentially catastropic implications for the big marketers who spend tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for such research each year. "This is a problem of stunning scope," explains reporter Jack Neff. 


U.S. Automakers: Too Many Brands, Too Little Courage / Interview with Co-Author of New Book 'Branding Iron'

The U.S. domestic auto industry is collapsing because Detroit executives have too many brands and not enough personal courage to change their companies' ineffective marketing practices, according to a new book by Charles Hughes, former CEO of Mazda North America, and William Jeanes, former editor of Car and Driver magazine. Mr. Jeans, who is also a former senior VP on the Ford account at JWT in Detroit, provides highlights from the book, "Branding Iron." 


 How Special K Became Kellogg's Best-Selling Product / Simple Breakfast Cereal Becomes Comprehensive Diet Plan

It's no small feat that Special K has become the best-selling brand of Kellogg, a $10 billion-a-year company that markets more than 180 products. Ad Age reporter Stephanie Thompson explores how Special K has evolved from a simple breakfast cereal to a megabrand dieting program that competes with Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. 


Is Nascar Marketing Running Out of Gas? / Race Circuit's TV Ratings and Track Attendance Decline

After years of ever higher TV ratings and ever larger track crowds, Nascar, the country's second richest sports advertising venue, is suffering a decline in both audiences. Ad Age sports advertising reporter Rich Thomaselli takes closer look at what is happeing and what it all means. 


Inside LeBron James' Marketing Summit in Akron, Ohio / Report From Sports Marketing Writer Rich Thomaselli

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star and emerging marketing endorsement heavy LeBron James convened an unusual 'marketing summit' for himself in Akron, Ohio, last week. Attending along with reps from Coca-Cola, Nike, Microsoft, Bubblicious and other interested corporations was Ad Age sports marketing reporter Rich Thomaselli. Listen to Thomaselli's inside descriptions of the two-day event at which James unveiled a strategy to transform himself into a global marketing icon in time for the 2008 Olympics in China. 


Supersizing the Cheeseburger Business / A Curious Marketing Story in a Time of National Obesity Angst / #9

Despite a raging national controvery over the obesity epidemic, the fast food industry continues to expand its offerings of gigantic new kinds of cheeseburgers. Ad Age food industry reporter Kate MacArthur notes that while nutritionists are appalled by the new trend, sales in this so-called 'brawny burger' product category are increasing much faster than sales of normal-sized burger fare. 


Marketing Implications of New Census-Bureau Consumer Data / Interview with American Demographics Editor Bradley Johnson

The impact of accelerating immigration on California has become so great that 42% of that state's residents speak a language other than English at home, according to the latest Census Bureau study. American Demographics Editor Bradley Johnson explains some of the latest findings from the Bureau's annual American Community Survey. 



Bayer Puts $200 Million Media Account in Play / Drug Giant Opens Review of U.S. Consumer-Care Work / #10

By Lisa Sanders  / Published: December 04, 2006


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bayer is about to become a big headache for at least one media-agency chief.

Currently, Initiative of New York handles media buying and OMD of Chicago handles media planning for Bayer's U.S. consumer-care division.


Huge shakeup

Just a week after Advertising Age revealed that Johnson & Johnson plans to launch a huge global media shakeup after its purchase of Pfizer's over-the-counter drug brands, word comes that Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of German giant Bayer AG, also is going to review its media-planning and -buying arrangements for its U.S. consumer-care division.


With strong, advertising-friendly brands such as Alka-Seltzer, Bayer Aspirin, Aleve and One-A-Day vitamins, neither of the incumbents, OMD and Initiative, will want to lose the Bayer account. But, of course, one agency chief's pain will be another's gain -- to the tune of at least $180 million in billings.


Consultant Jane Twyon

Executives familiar with the situation said Bayer has retained consultant Jane Twyon of Jane Twyon Inc., New York, to run the review. According to TNS Media Intelligence, spending on the division's larger brands topped $200 million in 2005. For the first nine months of 2006, spending on nine of Bayer's well-known consumer brands was $143 million.


Currently, Bayer Consumer Care splits media-buying and -planning duties: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative, New York, handles the former, and Omnicom Group's OMD, Chicago, is responsible for the latter. Spokeswomen for each company declined to comment. Initiative is expected to participate in the review, said knowledgeable executives; OMD's plans are unclear.


'Plop-plop, fizz-fizz'

This fall, Bayer reintroduced its famous "Plop-plop, fizz-fizz" campaign for Alka-Seltzer, but with a twist: It is asking musicians to submit their take on the old jingle. Submissions must be between 30 seconds and two minutes in length and include the lyrics "Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, oh what a relief it is." Four finalists will be chosen by Jan. 2, and America will vote for a winner over the internet. The victor will receive $10,000 and the new version will be broadcast during the Super Bowl pregame show. (Matthew Creamer contributed to this report.)


Marketers' Websites Outdraw Those of Major Media Players / #11

P&G and Unilever Attract 9 Million Unique Visitors Monthly / By Jack Neff  / Published: December 04, 2006


CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Believe it or not, those boring corporate websites are pulling in more eyeballs -- and more influencers -- than the flashy prime time TV shows, print magazines Corporate and brand websites -- once derided as "brochureware" in a digital marketing world that quickly moved to sexier applications -- are getting a rehabilitation of sorts as their traffic numbers vie with those of many consumer sites in the web's long tail.


The combined monthly traffic of unique visitors to the P&G and Unilever websites is more than 9 million, according to ComScore Media Metrix.


Brand websites

Such package-goods marketers as Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever don't sell many products directly online. Their low-cost, low-involvement brands tend not to generate much search. Yet the websites of P&G and Unilever now reach nearly 6 million and 3 million unique visitors, respectively, in the U.S. each month, according to ComScore Media Metrix.


Larger audiences

While P&G sites captured only 3.3% of ComScore's U.S. web audience in October, that's more than double its industry-leading 1.3% share of U.S. ad spending last year and nine times its share of online ad spending, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The monthly web audiences for P&G and Unilever brands now easily swamp the audiences of many magazines and cable and syndicated TV shows where they advertise.


But more important than the volume may be who the visitors are.

Recent research by VNU's Nielsen BuzzMetrics using Nielsen's Homescan consumer panel showed 33% of creators of consumer-generated media (in the form of video or blogs) also provide e-mail feedback to companies or brands via their websites, and 13% participate in brand or company blogs. Their engagement with corporate and brand sites is well above the norm for the general population.


"Visitors to [corporate and brand] websites have a much higher propensity to recommend products," said Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer of Nielsen Buzzmetrics, whose research shows more than 40% of people who give a brand e-mail feedback are likely to recommend it to others.


Highest in consumer acceptance

Of all options for influencing the online influencers, brand websites rank highest both in consumer acceptance and marketer control, he said. But most brands still don't fully capitalize on their websites, he added, by offering video, blogs or other elements of online communities.

More traditional mass marketers are coming to understand how profitable their web visitors are, said Norm LeHoullier, who recently retired as managing director of WPP Group's G2 Interactive. He said a study by McKinsey & Co. for one package-goods brand G2 handled showed that while its website reached only 800,000 consumers annually, they were generating $40 in profit on average, compared with $5 for consumers reached by traditional media.

Much of the traffic to the big package-goods marketers' sites appears to be coming the way originally envisioned in the online advertising model: as a response to online display advertising. Search-heavy Google accounts for a relatively small amount of traffic to the P&G and Unilever sites compared with display-ad-heavy Yahoo, the leading source of traffic for both marketers, according to ComScore.


Both marketers also draw traffic from their e-mail relationship programs and other online promotions through such programs as ePrize.net.

Monthly spikes

Data from Alexa.com shows significant monthly spikes in traffic to P&G's top websites in the weeks e-mails go out. Through Yahoo, P&G also offers RSS feeds to promotional offers on PG.com and its related Everyday Solutions site.

Such programs help PG.com draw about half its traffic from outside the traditional "corporate-site stakeholders," such as investors, job seekers and news media, a spokesman said in an e-mail.

Several studies ComScore has conducted for individual package-goods clients have shown "the internet can be used as a brand-building medium, not just a direct-response medium," said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. But he believes the growing reach of online video is what ultimately will attract more dollars from package-goods players online and, in turn, more people to their sites.


Case in point: Unilever's "Dove Evolution" viral video has generated more than 3 million views online since it launched in October -- and helped spur a 34% overall increase in visitors to Unilever websites.


Ad Age Agency of the Year: The Consumer / John Doe Edges Out Jeff Goodby / #12
By Matthew Creamer / Published: January 08, 2007


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Stop me if you've heard this one before. A pair of Maine theater geeks decide to film an experiment in which a certain mint is dropped into a bottle of a certain  
Lawyer Stephen Voltz and juggler Fritz Grobe created the year's most important piece of commercial content. Their viral video, 'Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment,' drew millions of viewers, boosted product sales and demonstrated how consumer-generated content is influencing marketing strategy as never before.
No-calorie soft drink, unleashing a foamy geyser. Flavoring this bit of schoolyard-chemistry lore with Vegas showmanship, they produce a cola version of the Bellagio fountain and put the clip on the web, where it goes viral.


15% sales spike
Really viral. So viral, in fact, that millions watch it, hundreds of media outlets cover it and the mint in question enjoys a 15% spike in sales. The corporate giant behind the soda, likely against every fiber in its brand-controlling being, is forced to react to it.


That the most important piece of commercial content of 2006 was created by a juggler named Fritz Grobe and lawyer Stephen Voltz, and distributed on a website called Revver, is a sign of our times. Compressed into "The Diet Coke & Mentos Experiment" sensation is the key question that gnaws -- or should be gnawing -- at just about anybody who wants to sell their product to consumers in the 21st century: Should I try to get my consumers to do something like this?


Even if they haven't worked out exactly how to make that happen, many of the leading marketers have already answered a resounding yes. At the last meeting of the Association of National Advertisers, the most important marketing confab of the year, the speakers at the podium kept changing, but their words remained the same -- one after another, the marketing world leaders took to the stage and declared that it's time to give up control and accept that consumers now control their brands.


Consumer control
Of course, in some ways, they always have. A brand has only ever been as good as consumers' experience of it. The difference today is that consumers have lots of ways of communicating those experiences, and trust each other's views above marketers' overt sales pitches. Consequently, they're influencing marketing strategy as never before.


Then, to come back to our cola fountain, there's the content-producing part of the story. Not only do everyday people make the videos that earned that oh-so-coveted water-cooler buzz, they also reign supreme as distributors of content of all kinds. YouTube's explosion glopped a big new pile of distractions into an already cluttered communications world, which means that if you want anybody to see your ad -- sorry, content -- you better hope people are frenetically e-mailing links to it.


OK, so the consumer doesn't have a profit-and-loss account or an office, which have always previously been deemed prerequisites for an Advertising Age Agency of the Year, but a portfolio of consumer-generated commercial content from last year would easily trump any single agency's offering and, for a relatively nascent force in the commercial-content arena, consumers won a lot of new business in '06, too.


Marketers' embrace consumer content
MasterCard's priceless.com is open to all. While it offers the caveat "Priceless Picks are not necessarily endorsed by MasterCard," the credit-card brand's website is loaded with consumer video. BMW found a 1998 video of a pair of exultant children unwrapping a Nintendo on Christmas morning and then paid to use it in a new spot. General Motors' Chevy Tahoe off-roaded into the consumer-content arena and, to its shock, found that some people aren't so crazy about the gas-guzzling SUV. Wal-Mart's attempt at a social network, a disaster known as The Hub, was quickly shuttered. And when Anheuser-Busch launches Bud.tv this year, the online media channel will prominently feature video made by its Bud drinkers.


And then wait until Feb. 4, when the Super Bowl, long a showcase for ad agencies' finest productions, will be invaded by the unwashed masses. Frito-Lay's Doritos has solicited 30-second ads from consumers and is going to run the best one during the game. This kind of gimmick, a twist on the old win-a-chance-to-star-in-a-commercial game, doesn't mean the Super Bowl will be any more a zenith of creativity than it was when BBDO and DDB were churning out 70 spots apiece for it. But it does offer a tidy way to close out, once and for all, that chapter of marketing history where agencies were the center of things.


For years, countless big marketing thinkers have repeatedly made the case that the consumer is in control. The evidence: First there was media fragmentation, with the explosion of cable TV and the birth of the internet. Then came TiVo, followed by the rise of the blog.


Consumer tools
For an agency denizen, each of these dots on the new-media timeline marked innovations that either drew eyeballs away from his TV commercials or dulled the effectiveness of the spot's sales pitch. A more interactive media environment gave consumers the tools to be better informed and less susceptible to the one-way communication model, which happens to be the cornerstone of growth for the 30-second spot and, with it, the ad agency.


When asked about this changing environment, your average big-shot creative director articulates a mission built on the creation of something along the lines of "compelling content," the kind of stuff that people actively seek out in contrast to the spots hurled at them during breaks on "CSI: Miami."


That phrase "compelling content" represents a lot of things, including sticky websites that are fun to tool around on; informative, no-bullshit blogs that inform consumers rather than snow them; and plain old funny or moving video snippets that people are eager to pass on to their friends.


The problem for a big-shot creative director in 2006 was that the most compelling content wasn't made by highly paid ad-agency teams and aired on TV. Nobody did it better than amateurs working with digital video cameras and Macs, and uploading onto YouTube -- just going to show you don't need a big medium or production budget to create catchy work.


'Brilliant' YouTube content
"There's no reason you can't expect good stuff from regular people," says Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. "The best stuff you see on YouTube is really brilliant."


From an agency perspective, there are exactly three ways to look at the rise of consumer control. The first view is like something out of the Book of Revelation -- all conquest, war, famine and death. Happily, the ad industry, thanks to countless foretellings of the death of the 30-second spot and pretty much every other Madison Avenue institution, by now has gotten used to apocalyptic visions of its future, so this will mean minimal leaps out of windows.


The second way of looking at this is to pretty much reject the notion that there's any fundamental change at all. This is perhaps best espoused by Euro RSCG New York Executive Creative Director Jeff Kling, who responds thusly to the suggestion that consumers could one day unseat agencies at the right hand of marketers: "I think the idea that this represents a threat to ad agencies is patently absurd and drummed up to have something interesting to discuss. I don't know anyone who fears for his job. Companies have always wanted to gain control over what's said about them. It used to be letters to the editor; now it's consumer-generated content. Advertising has the same role it's always had, and managing and leveraging all that content that's out there is classic creative direction."


We arrive rather dialectically at the third way: an acknowledgment that there are lessons to be learned but those lessons don't necessarily herald the end of the ad agency as we know it.


Agencies losing control
What it does mean, however, is that big agencies -- great companies that once cast long shadows over corporate America -- are losing more of their control within a marketing process that for decades they have dominated. They're already being squeezed by procurement departments and jostled by media companies and nibbled at by a host of other kinds of agencies that grew in importance as TV ceased to be the only game in town.


"Traditional agencies have never had to think about distribution because they'd been told what media to color in," says Nick Law, North American chief creative officer at digital shop R/GA, New York. "Creatively, it's all been about creating punch lines. For years, there's been a guild mentality. Clients came because agencies created the magic behind the screen. The new environment has blown open the idea of being an expert, so you can be very good and working in a bedroom in Dundee, and the world can be seeing your work."


Or, as Ty Montague, chief creative officer and co-president of JWT's New York office, contends: "It's gonna keep professional idea-makers on their toes. There will be more of a collaboration and conversation."


Mr. Montague says the effects can already be seen within his own agency, mainly around things like speed-to-market and cost of the work it does. It's also allowed for more experimentation.


'Inexpensive rapid prototyping'
"We are forced to work faster and to try to spend less money, and that's a positive thing," he says. "It changes the way we validate certain kinds of ideas, and it allows for a lot of inexpensive rapid prototyping."


As evidence, he points to JWT's recent JetBlue campaign, which was based on customer feelings and insight about the brand.


And, of course, marketers are intensely interested. "They perk up when you talk about this stuff," says Mr. Montague.


Whether and how the state of "perking up" becomes something more is the next big question for consumer control. Events like the explosive growth and sale of YouTube, along with the popularity of Lonelygirl15 meant that 2006 was, as Time noted in its widely reviled choice of "You" as Person of the Year, the year of consumer creativity. Just about every barrier to playing in the wide world of media, from creation to distribution, dropped to the ground.


The question for 2007 will be whether marketers and agencies find ways to harness that consumer-bred creativity -- so unpolished and unaccountable -- and deploy it in the service of brands.


Consumer-generated faux pas
And that stands as a pretty open-ended question given how short some early attempts have fallen. For every Diet Coke-Mentos clip that's grown organically into a viral craze, there are several marketer-orchestrated Chevy Tahoe or Wal-Mart social networks, to pick just two consumer-generated content faux pas. And you can be sure there will be more gimmicky, awkward attempts to cash in. Just wait for the Super Bowl.


But, at least nominally, big marketers are starting to think in the right direction. Even Coca-Cola Co., after it initially sulked about the Grobe-Voltz experiment, decided to incorporate the videos, and other user-generated footage, into its website. Meanwhile, Mentos marketer Perfetti van Melle USA just went happily crowing about that $100 million of exposure it got for, uh, free.


Then there's Procter & Gamble Co. At the annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers last October, P&G CEO A.G. Lafley urged companies to "let go" of their brands. For those unfamiliar with P&G or marketing-conference protocol, this was the equivalent of a then-still-very-folky Bob Dylan plugging in an electric guitar at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. Others were already plugged in, but to have such a central figure make such a statement resonated deeply with the audience. The same could be said of Mr. Lafley showing an animated Pringles commercial made by a U.K. teen to an audience full of advertisers.


And you know what? The clip was pretty good.


How and Why We Picked the Consumer as Agency of the Year/ An Editor's Note on The Process / #13
By Jonah Bloom / Published: January 08, 2007


Most years, we meet just once to pick Agency of the Year. Reporters arrive with their shortlists, stacks of examples of the shops' work, details of their new-business wins and evidence of their thought leadership. We discuss, we vote. 
Ad Age editor Jonah Bloom explains why the consumer was selected as this year's Agency of the Year. | ALSO: Comment on this issue in the 'Your Opinion' box below.
When we met to pick the '06 winner, it looked as if it would be business as usual. We raised the idea of giving the honor to consumers, but that intriguing notion was drowned out by the usual arguments for a handful of shops -- Crispin, Goodby, TBWA, Saatchi. When a winner emerged in the form of DraftFCB, we were too busy constructing and deconstructing arguments for the agency to remember we'd considered a different approach.


DraftFCB had a compelling story. The mere existence of the newly merged agency was a bold move to try to marry the scale and creative chops of a famous ad shop with the data savvy of a fast-growing direct-marketing agency. What's more, the experiment had just yielded Wal-Mart's $580 million ad account, the most sought-after in review last year.


Wal-Mart debacle
But just days later, Ad Age uncovered Wal-Mart's firing of marketing chief Julie Roehm and its decision to reopen the review she'd overseen-sans DraftFCB. Cue Agency of the Year meeting No. 2.


We threw around more agency names but kept coming back to that idea of consumer as agency. The arguments piled up: Lonelygirl15; the Mentos/Coke experiments; TBWA London asking the public for ideas; recognition of the importance of consumer-to-consumer communication; marketers' oft-stated belief that the consumer is in control. Of course, consumers aren't agencies, but they have become arguably the most effective creators and distributors of commercial content. If we were ever going to do something different with our selection, this was the year to do it.


Of course, it didn't end there. The Sunday after that meeting, I got a call that went something like: "Time's done it; they picked you." Even I'm not cocky enough to think I'd seen off Kim Jong Il for this year's honors, so I let out a sigh and prepared for another meeting.


What do you think?
This time, however, we stuck to our guns. Time was picking consumer-generated content over world leaders, dictators with nuclear weapons and people who are trying to save our broken planet. We are picking it over some other content creators. We might end up looking derivative, but we felt we were right. And we still do. But we look forward to you, our consumers, telling us what you think.

More News to Come.... top


Compiled By Daniel Sage / President of MobileAdMarketing.com (300,000 Mobile Ad Spaces Available in 300 Markets in 48 States)


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