Iverson's Move and Understanding Brand You / How Reputation is All
You Have in Business
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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."
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."
Marketing Psychology and the Halo Effect / What Apple's iPod and
Motorola's Razr Can Teach Us
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
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
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,
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."
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
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'
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,
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.
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.
"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
Made in France for the continent's Canal+ movie channel, this
'March of the Emperors' is an absurdly funny takeoff on the era's
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
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
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
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.
Puts $200 Million Media Account in Play / Drug Giant Opens Review
of U.S. Consumer-Care Work
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
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.
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.
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.)
Websites Outdraw Those of Major Media Players
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
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.
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.
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
Both marketers also draw traffic from their e-mail relationship
programs and other online promotions through such programs as ePrize.net.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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....
By Daniel Sage / President of MobileAdMarketing.com (300,000 Mobile
Ad Spaces Available in 300 Markets in 48 States)
Facts and Stats on Mobile Outdoor Advertising...
- Some 150 Million
Americans Commute Every Business Day.
- The Average
American Travels 15,000 Milers Per Year.
- Outdoor Media
Reaches 96% Percent of US Consumers.
- The Average
Truckside AD Reach is about 50,000 per day.
- The Average
CPM Rate for Truckside Ads is around $1.50!
to the American Trucking Association - The Average Delivery
Truck Makes 16 Mil. Impressions a Year.