- VS -

 

 
   
(OR 300 Reasons Why It Needs to CHANGE)
   
   
"Exhibit I " / (Ad Age) Advertising Blues...More Headlines 2007 (Stories #116 - #130)
     
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YouTube gives Consumers the power to make or Break a Brand ; ON ADVERTISING

Jan 15, 2007 - Independent-London / Author(s): Claire Beale

 

There are people out there who think that truth in advertising is as much of an oxymoron as an honest politician. Really. Ad execs don't come bottom in the honourable profession stakes for nothing; used-car salesmen and estate agents are generally considered more believable.

 

Beauty brand Dove has built an entire market out of exploiting this view. Its "Real Women" campaign has tried to unpick the (lazy) conventions of the beauty ad industry and put the truth back into advertising. It's been a very successful strategy and has won marketing and advertising awards the world over.

 

You've almost certainly seen some of the ads (they're so different that they really stand out: fat women in their undies and proud of it). But there was a US viral released last year which sums up the approach. It shows how a rather ordinary-looking woman undergoes a total (computer-enhanced) transformation in the name of advertising. For anyone who has ever felt even vaguely inadequate when faced with perfect people in glossy ads, the Dove film Evolution on YouTube is required viewing.

 

Anyway, now Dove is going further and throwing its brand name into the thick of the user-generated advertising debate. It's a hot topic amongst marketers generally. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in this column about how the internet was helping democratise advertising: ads are no longer the preserve of the advertising agency and punters are having a go themselves, making films about brands and posting them on sites like YouTube. Incidentally, someone's made a brilliant spoof of Dove's Evolution, called Anti- Dove Parody, showing a beautiful man guzzling beer and burgers until he becomes a hideous slob.

 

That's user-generated advertising for you.

Some advertisers feel deeply uncomfortable about all of this. Coca-Cola went excruciatingly corporate when its customers started posting films showing bottles of Diet Coke exploding under the influence of a packet of Mentos mints: "Coca-Cola is for drinking, not playing with" summed up Coke's response.

 

No such po-faced behaviour from Dove, though. Dove "wants you to create its next great television ad" for its cream-oil range; and proclaims ,"it's easier to create your own ad than you think," (which raises some interesting questions about how much Dove pays its ad agency Ogilvy for its work). Dove will then screen the best user-generated entry in an ad-break during the Oscars.

 

This is a really smart strategy: not only does it give Dove credentials amongst the YouTube generation, but it also creates a high-profile, PR-laden and extremely cost-effective ad campaign. And the entries will no doubt throw up some interesting consumer insights, too.

 

This is modern marketing in the digital age and allows Dove to play the user-generated game with all the kudos that brings without ceding control. Where it all leaves the ad agency creative department, though, is another thing altogether.

 

TALKING ABOUT truth in advertising, if you're cynical enough to believe this is a deeply cynical industry, check out a couple of films on YouTube. One old, one new, this is ad-land at its most cynical, superficial and hilarious. The first, Truth in Advertising, is a few years old now, and particularly North American. It's about the making of an ad, from briefing to the director's cut, and everyone in it talks, well... the truth.

 

So the marketing director says: "I like making decisions on multi- million dollar campaigns by basing it on what my peabrained, disinterested wife thinks about it"; the creative team admits, "we're two untalented hacks riding on the success of a campaign we lucked into four years ago".

 

This film takes dialogue that has run through the heads of a million ad execs around the world, and speaks it. It's made by the Canadian commercials production company Avion Films, so you have to think they know what they're talking about.

 

Now there's a new film out by a British team on a similar theme. This one's called Truth in Ad Sales and the viral has spent the last week going through adland like a batch of dodgy oysters.

 

It's a shameless, paler rip-off of the original, set this time in adland's media world, and it employs the same tell-the-truth device (media buyer to pa: "I'm going to tell you I DJ at the weekends, when really I queue up outside Chinawhite begging to be let in, before I get a night bus home to my mum's for a quick wank and a Horlicks."). Again, the film has been made by a team of people who work in the industry, and it's in this week's top 10 comedy films on YouTube. This time the client is a nappy-rash cream, Kiddi Care, and the hapless media agency comes up with a strategy that sees Kiddi Care sponsor an extreme sports show.

 

The strapline is genius: "Feel the rush, cure the rash."

 

Both these films enshrine universal truths about people in the business. And they're not a bad introduction to adland's worst practices and what your colleagues really think of you.

 

REGULAR READERS will remember last week's story of the Asda review: a creative pitch called by the supermarket giant's new marketing director Rick Bendel, who joined the company from its ad agency Publicis last autumn.

 

Bendel was the man responsible - to a greater or lesser extent, depending on who you believe - for Asda's advertising at Publicis. His decision to review seemed like a kick at his own advertising strategy.

 

Anyway, last week Bendel sealed the drama by snatching the entire [pound]44 million account from his old agency, which had held the business for 17 years. The winner is Fallon, Campaign's Agency of the Year, and apparently Fallon has come up with a stunning new strategy for Asda (expect the death of the arse-slapping "Asda- price" routine).

 

You can't fault Bendel's choice of agency. Fallon is on a high - this is the agency responsible for the Sony Bravia ads that have swept creative awards and caught people's imagination. But the power- play is fascinating.

 

As you might expect, Publicis insiders reckon it's Bendel's fault that Asda's ads have ranged from forgettable to excruciating, and he's now under pressure to deliver something stunning. If he had decided to stick with Publicis and turn the strategy around, the question would be why Publicis never managed to deliver great work while he was there. What is also true, though, is that Bendel knows where Publicis's weak points are and what the agency is capable of, or not.

 

By appointing Fallon, Bendel is making a clean break of it and, as I said, Fallon is a trophy agency right now. But Fallon could do worse than have a quiet word with their Publicis Groupe cousins, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. BBH had the Asda business in the 1980s and it nearly broke the agency: retail clients are notoriously difficult to handle and often culturally opposed to the ethos of a great creative agency.

 

If Fallon can deliver what Bendel's after and still retain its hot-shop credentials, then this could be a persuasive early bid for the Agency of the Year accolade once again.

 

Claire Beale is editor of 'Campaign'

 

BEALE'S BEST IN SHOW: NHS ANTI-SMOKING CAMPAIGN

 

New year's resolutions are a time-honoured tradition. Giving them up within a fortnight is another. This ad from Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy hopes to persuade people to give up smoking by underlining the strength of nicotine's physical hold over its addicts. Giant fish hooks snare unsuspecting smokers and lure them to the nearest packet of fags.

 

It's a powerful image, though not as gruesome as some anti- smoking campaigns. It lacks the impact of ads featuring real-life cancer victims or the ones that show how nicotine clogs arteries.

 

Apparently, the average smoker feeds their habit with about 5,000 cigarettes a year, a phenomenal amount and a fact that, I suspect, most smokers are in denial about. Although this ad might not be as gruesome as its predecessors, for anyone whose new year's resolution is wavering, it's a strong reminder of the physical as well as psychological battle you need to wage against the addiction.

 

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Fed-up Agencies Quit Punching the Clock / Following in Crispin's Footsteps, Shops Charge for Ideas Instead of Time

By Lisa Sanders and Alice Z. Cuneo / Published: January 22, 2007

 

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Crispin Porter & Bogusky's bold deal with Haggar, struck last year, in which the agency took an equity stake as part of its compensation, stood out as a rare exception from the sad status quo of agencies selling ideas as if they were pork bellies to be traded by the ton. "We're in the intellectual-property business," Crispin's Jeff Hicks said at the time. "We don't sell time."

Rob Siltanen, chairman-chief creative officer, Siltanen & Partners, owns the rights to the wee wisecracker Baby Bob.

 

Agencies have long rued compensation arrangements that see them sized up by the number of man-hours they commit to solving a marketer's problems rather than by the success of their solutions. And, as consumer-empowering technologies such as DVRs put a premium on agencies' ability to produce engaging content, they've created an increasing number of entertainment properties, but they very rarely get to own them. Now, finally, that is starting to change, and others are adopting a Crispin approach, according to experts involved in crafting agency-advertiser compensation contracts.

 

Innovation reaches critical mass

"The discussion is beginning to shift from 'What does it cost to generate work and services a client wants?' to 'What is the value of the services and materials the agency is creating for the client?"' said Ronald Urbach, partner, Davis & Gilbert. "Innovation is reaching a critical mass."

 

Like Crispin, Anomaly, the New York-based boutique started by ex-TBWA executive Carl Johnson, eschews time sheets and instead gets paid for a variety of activities. "We price ourselves on the subjective theory of value," said partner Jason Deland. "That allows us to structure more varied, entrepreneurial compensation agreements." With client Virgin America, for instance, Anomaly is helping design an in-flight entertainment system that will contain content and be commerce-enabled. The company will get a percentage of the revenue from the system's sales.

 

Missed opportunities

One of the sorrier catalysts, from the perspective of older general-market agencies, is a long list of missed revenue opportunities. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, which developed the "Got Milk?" campaign in 1993, reaped no extra benefits from the millions of dollars in licensing fees and royalties generated after the campaign's launch. McCann Erickson created the concept for client Staples' plastic Easy Button, a $4.99 gadget that's sold more than 1 million units since its launch in January 2005, but received no financial reward beyond its original fees.

 

"We certainly hope the agency will develop alternative revenue sources for our clients," said Harold Sogard, partner and general manager at Goodby. However, he said, when creative produced for a marketer goes beyond its original intention of selling a product or service, new language in some of the agency's contracts calls for "some sort of royalty" to be paid.

 

Rob Siltanen, chairman-chief creative officer, Siltanen & Partners, is well-known as the inventor of Baby Bob, a talking baby with the mouth of a wisecracking old man, for client Freeinternet.com. When the dot-com went out of business, Mr. Siltanen exchanged rights to the character for the money owed the agency. He then took Baby Bob to CBS, which used the character for a short time; later, Quizno's used Baby Bob to hawk its sandwiches. Mr. Siltanen won't reveal how much he's made by hanging onto character rights but said, "It's been very lucrative."

 

Content creation

Agencies' moves into content creation -- such as Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York's co-production last year of an MTV special that's set to become a TV show -- is another factor for rethinking traditional labor-based compensation models. Agencies might share syndication revenue or retain rights to creative content. When Crispin created a video game for Burger King, it was paid a fee in addition to what it is paid to create advertising, one executive said, although the agency does not receive a percentage of sales. A Crispin spokeswoman declined to comment.

 

Even agencies that remain focused on old-media advertising are benefiting from the move away from cost-plus or labor-based agreements.

 

Brad Brinegar, chairman-CEO of McKinney, Raleigh, N.C., is a big believer that agencies should be paid for the value they create and has been developing new compensation forms for several years. With one client, in addition to a base fee, McKinney took 50,000 stock options in the company.

 

"They were growing sales and profits regularly; our assumption is that we could increase their price-to-earnings ratio," he said. With another, McKinney aligned its financial objectives with those of the client's chief marketing officer so the agency's bonus was "based on the same criteria as his," Mr. Brinegar said.

 

Long-running ads

Consider the value to a client of a campaign that's run over a decade, such as MasterCard's "Priceless," created by McCann. "We're pushing more and more" for contract provisions that entitle agencies to additional payment if creative is used beyond a certain amount of time, said Rick Kurnit, attorney, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

 

Another area under discussion: If an account leaves an agency but the campaign created by the shop continues, should the agency continue to be paid? "Perhaps the work can be used in one geographic territory, such as the U.S., but if it goes global, a new agreement is necessary," said Mr. Urbach, who advocates approaching client-agency compensation agreements like prenuptial agreements: "Instead of deciding it later, decide it now."

 

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TBWA Drops Out of Sprint Creative Review / Agency Was Telecom's Incumbent for Consumer Advertising

By Brooke Capps and Alice Z. Cuneo / Published: January 22, 2007

 

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, said it has dropped out of the Sprint creative advertising account review.

Sprint's other incumbent, Publicis & Hal Riney, is still in the review.

 

Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, Sprint's longtime agency for general advertising and the incumbent on the marketer's business-to-business account, has said it will participate in the pitch. TBWA handled Sprint's consumer advertising.

 

Sprint executives did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment by deadline.

 

'Strategic decision'

In a statement released today, TBWA said, "This was a strategic decision made with a clear understanding of Sprint's challenged business situation, and how we can best help them going forward. We remain very committed to Sprint as a partner for the remaining aspects of service including retail and the marketing services assignments we have through Tequila."

 

The No. 3 telecom company, which spends $1.6 billion in marketing, cited a need for "fresh thinking" when it called the account into review earlier this month.

 

Meetings with yet undetermined agencies are taking place this week.

 

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BELLWETHER SET FAIR FOR 2007 UK ADVERTISING GROWTH

 

The Q4 2006 Bellwether Report, the quarterly survey of marketing spend, published by the UK's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and researched by NTC Economics, reveals a stabilisation of marketing budgets.

 

Contrasting with the sharp downgrades seen earlier in the year this reflects improving business conditions. In fact, budget setting across the whole marketing spectrum will be the most buoyant in seven years for 2007-08.

 

Total marketing budgets were revised down in Q4, but only very marginally. However, the internet saw by far the strongest upward revision, with the sharpest gain since the first quarter of 2000. Although traditional media still holds the lion's share of marketing spend, the internet is now estimated to account for 5% of all marketing budgets.

 

Highlights of the Q4 2006 report include:

Despite the improved performance in the second half of the year, 2006 is likely to have seen the weakest growth in marketing communications since 2002.

In Q4, 17% of companies reported increased total marketing budgets while 18% reported a decrease, so only a marginal net decline.

 

Although traditional advertising continued to lose share of total marketing spend the overall reduction was slight. 18% of companies reported a downward revision but 15% reported an increase.

 

Internet marketing budgets out performed all other sectors in Q4, with a net balance of 31.5% of companies reporting an increase across all business sectors.

 

Direct marketing was the only main category of marketing (i.e. excluding the internet) to see a rise in budgets in Q4, with a net balance of 4.1% of companies reporting an increase. Upward budget revisions were linked to new campaigns to meet business expansion as well as a shift in strategy towards direct marketing.

 

By sector, increases to budgets were most widely reported in IT and computing, travel, entertainment, and the financial services. Budget cuts were most widely reported in FMCG, industrial and utilities and the autos sector.

 

Non-traditional marketing, including the internet and sponsorship is so far showing the strongest growth in future spend, followed closely by direct marketing and traditional advertising.

 

Comments IPA president David Pattison: "Business conditions are continuing to improve with 2007 set to be a positive one for all sectors, with indications that there will be strong growth in future spend for both main media and non-traditional marketing."

 

WPP Group ceo Sir Martin Sorrell adds: "The UK, although recently our weakest market internationally, is stabilising and growing again. Q4 was stronger and budgets for 2007 are promising. Again direct, interactive and internet are the star functional sectors."

 

Aegis Group ceo Robert Lerwill says: "Digital excitement shows no sign of abating, with ever more clients catching on. The growth continues to come on all fronts: from those who went digital early and like the results, as well as from the later developers, who don't want to miss out a minute longer."

 

For full details of the report go to www.ipa.co.uk

 

Data sourced from IPA; additional conent by WARC staff, 16 January 2007

 

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The 12 Tenets of Social Media Marketing (and Why You Need to Learn Them)

by B.L. Ochman  / January 23, 2007

 

Marketing is a hard job. It fails almost as often as actors looking for their big break.

 

The delicate relationship between management and marketing is a dance roughly akin to that between fox and hen, but with far less goodwill. To management, you're only as good as your last campaign.

 

So let's look at "The 12 Tenets of Social Media Marketing" to see how you can up your success rate.

 

I. The public is the Lord thy God

Ultimately, you can succeed only if your communications produce results, which shall be known as return on investment, by reaching the greater public. This can be achieved only if your product doesn't suck and your communications are not only clear but also interesting.

 

Verily, if you can become a useful source of information, your message may be heeded, or at least looked at ever so briefly.

 

II. Thou shalt covet all media

Today media is a collective term for the producers of content for mass and, yea, also for niche consumption. Thou must niche or be niched. Thy niches may include surly teenagers in fly-over states, as well as disgruntled consumers. To communicate with them successfully you must approach them from the right perspective.

 

Thou shalt not piss them off by ignoring or patronizing them, for if thou do they shalt bite you on the ass.

If you pitch big-time media, you need to have big-time story ideas. However, despair not because these days everyone with a Web site, newsletter, blog, e-zine, mail list or forum is a journalist.

 

III. Ignore not peer-to-peer media

Become familiar with, and participate in, forums, mail lists, and discussion groups that pertain to your segment. Provide information of value and your reputation will grow. Thou wilt not be sorry that thou hast done this extra work.

 

Electronic media, of all kinds, is virgin territory for the intrepid marketer. Useth video, podcasts, and blog advertising to communicate.

 

IV. Thou shalt think globally and speak in tongues

Many perceive that a global marketing strategy is only suitable for giants such as Proctor & Gamble and Microsoft, which have big budgets to spend and big brands to promote. But the advent of the Internet is the final stage in a process of globalization that gives firms of all sizes the opportunity to sell their products and services to the many countries of the world.

 

Only market to countries where thy sales items—product, idea or event—affect their country and will be of particular interest to their readers. Bother to hire a qualified translator rather than relying on machine translations that can make you looketh like the village idiot.

 

Be careful to make your communication with simple words, avoiding idioms and complex sentence structures.

 

V. Thy communications must pass the "who cares?" test

Abandon ye all communications that are long-winded, formulaic, boring as hell, and laden with superlatives and marketing babble.

 

Write down your concept in one sentence. Then ask yourself, and answer honestly, "So what?" If it still sounds like a good idea, proceed to rewrite it, over and over, until it has not one extra word.

 

VI. Thou shalt learn to create artful blog and forum comments

Yes, yes, yes, despite SEC requirements, bosses, shareholders and lawyers, thou shalt participate in the social media sphere. Write thy comments in a human, and not a godly voice.

 

Maketh thy comments in one-paragraph, in language appropriate to the publication, and explaineth what thou art saying clearly.

 

Dispense with excessive exaggeration. Provideth contact details in your signature.

 

VII. Thou shalt not talk shit

No one in any social medium will tolerate bluff or bluster. They dislike anyone who takes forever to make a point. They particularly don't like flacks or interviewees who try to make simple concepts unnecessarily complex by burdening them with excessive technical jargon or MBA-speak.

 

Clearly and transparently communicate facts and insight pertaining to your company, its strategy, and its products… and therefore appeareth intelligent.

 

VIII. Thou shalt not make someone else speak for thee

Write thy own comments, blog posts, articles, and emails. Flog not. Do not think that nobody will know. Never, never let a lawyer write anything, for all they talk is useless double-speak.

 

IX. Thou shalt not refuse to comment when thy company is under fire

Diggeth a hole and place within it thy head only if thou carest not that thy brand image will turn to doo-doo. "No comment" is a fine phrase for royalty, criminals, and celebrities, but not so great for corporations that have a responsibility to shareholders, clients, and consumers.

 

Unfortunately, in difficult situations it may be impossible for representatives to tell the media the whole truth. Try to be honest about which subjects thou wilt be able to talk frankly about, and which you may find difficult to comment upon.

 

In accordance with the sixth tenet, it's better to give a concise response that is straight to the point than one that is evasive, lengthy, and obviously spun.

 

X. Concern thyself with thy overall marketing strategy

Thy overall marketing strategy is an arduous process that requires constant vigilance. To be successful thou must practice true multi-channel marketing in which you synergize your advertising, PR, Internet and sponsorship efforts to project a unified image and allow personality to shine through the corporate shield.

 

XI. Give they brand to the consumer

They will take very good care of it, for they will give it back to you in better shape than when they got it. Fear not that thy consumer shall have input in your brand. But heed closely thy clueless ad agency so it does not chargeth thee a hefty fee when in fact the consumer creates thy ads.

 

XII. Remember: thou must keep holy the Internet.

The Internet has changed the nature of marketing irrevocably in two distinct regards. It has changed the way companies communicate with the public and the media. Thy public often is thy media as well. Screw them not.

 

B.L. Ochman is a social media marketing strategist for S&P 500 companies, including McGraw Hill, IBM, Cendant, and American Greetings. She publishes What's Next Blog and Ethics Crisis, where readers can confess their worst ethics transgressions and others can rate them on a scale of one to ten. She also blogs for MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.

 

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Marketing on MySpace / by Stephan Spencer  / January 2, 2007

 

With tens of millions of users (but probably not the purported 100 million), MySpace.com is a force to be reckoned with. Especially when you consider that MySpace apparently drives more traffic to online retailers than MSN Search, according to some recent Hitwise data.

 

But MySpace is hard for many of us adults to get our heads around. It just doesn't seem logical: How does it hold the interest of so many young people with short attention spans, despite the fact that the design/usability is so atrocious, the Web page creation platform is so frustratingly restrictive, and it's chock full of so many profiles that are obviously fake, spam, duplicated, or abandoned?

 

"Um, it's about looking cool, fitting in, and hanging out, Duh!" one might imagine a teen MySpace user answering.

 

Then where do us adults feature in this? Besides offering a tempting place for stalkers and voyeurs to hang out and follow the daily lives of the teenagers who haven't made their profiles private (can you say "Creepy!"?), MySpace is host to concerned parents trying to keep tabs on their kids, college students, obsessed sports fans, and realtors. In other words, the Average Joe or Jane. MySpace is a real slice of humanity.

 

Of course within the MySpace ecosystem exist marketers. But most are clueless. One would expect sophisticated MySpace presences from big brand marketers. However, that is usually not the case. And generally those that are present, like Blockbuster UK, 7Eleven, and Meijer, lack key ingredients for MySpace success—like an impressive number of "Friends."

 

What is probably horrifying to these brand marketers is that employees and customers think nothing of developing a MySpace presence on behalf of the company—one that may not be very flattering. Consider, for example, these unofficial MySpace pages for Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target. Undoubtedly, this leads to customer confusion, because it can be difficult to ascertain the author of a MySpace profile. And such unauthorized pages can tarnish the company's reputation, depending on their content.

 

Before you leap in to MySpace as a marketer, you'd best understand it. Because if you don't, the MySpace community can turn on you the moment you make your first misstep. Just like bloggers can. (Note: many MySpace users are bloggers too. MySpace supports blogging within its platform.) The cardinal rule in MySpace is the same one as in the blogosphere: Keep it real.

 

Still, despite the hazards, MySpace offers a lot promise as a venue for marketers to hawk their wares. MySpace allows you to interject yourself into existing networks of trust-based relationships and to bond with your visitors in ways not possible elsewhere on the Web. And you can interact with huge numbers of adults, not just teenagers. Surprisingly, more than half of MySpace visitors are age 35 or older, and more than two-thirds are age 25 or older, according to comScore Media Metrix.

 

Do you have what it takes to crack MySpace? The most unlikely of marketers seem to have it—bars, bands, and quirky dot-coms. One of my favorite examples of MySpace marketing is Project Red. Not only is Project Red a world-changing organization on a mission to defeat AIDS in Africa, its MySpace profile is attractive and engaging.

 

Other noteworthy examples come from Apple Computer, the Brooklyn Museum, Drumz Clothing, the Orlando Magic, the movie studio that produced Superman Returns, the comedy character Borat, and the musical artist "Weird Al" Yankovic.

 

A couple of these I've been tracking for several months, watching the size of their networks expand. First, consider Apple Computer. Its various flavors of iPod Nano have a place on MySpace, e.g. Pink Nano, which is enjoying a meteoric rise in Friend status. I started tracking Pink Nano on October 15, when it had 1,500 MySpace friends. A week later, on October 22, it had climbed to 7,449 friends. On October 27, it was up to 37,070 friends. Now, on December 3, as I write this article, it has reached 55,776. Not a bad marketing job, Apple!

 

Now consider the "comeback king" of musical parody—"Weird Al" Yankovic. He's using social media quite successfully to help breathe new life into his 27-year-long music career—thanks, in no small part, to YouTube and MySpace. Yankovic told Reuters/Billboard in a recent interview that he had accumulated 155,000 MySpace friends since he joined the site in July—all of which he had personally added. He stated, "I used to be a little pickier. Now I just kind of click as fast as I can." (I can only imagine the Repetitive Stress Injury from that much clicking!) Here's the kicker: a week after this article came out, he was already up to 219,033 friends! Another seven days later, and Weird Al had gained another 24,000 MySpace friends (up to 243,221). Now, on December 3, it's at 325,614!

 

One small company that has enjoyed a degree of success in terms of traffic and sales through MySpace is the online jewelry retailer Pugster. Its mascot, a pug dog named Pinky, is the subject of the MySpace profile—a clever move, as it puts a disarming "face" to the company. The firm built up its MySpace page to a very respectable 8,053 friends. In a recent interview with me, Michael Boldin from its online marketing team revealed some secrets of their success:

 

It's easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer numbers on MySpace—and important to try to focus on marketing to the "right" group for your product or service — otherwise you'll be spending a LOT of time on people who will never be interested in you.

 

But, on the other hand, when starting off, you need to get Friends. It's kind of a bragging right on MySpace. If you have too few friends, it'll be tough to get the good ones—the ones who will end up buying from you. So, before you go after those, get a few hundred "bad" friends—bands are the easiest. They'll give you a respectable number on your Friends list, and will leave comments on your page—giving a little realism boost to your profile—making the addition of friends of the "good" type that much easier.

 

Where else could we find a place to actually build relationships with people—who may or may not have heard of us before. We spend time daily emailing people, and guess what, they email back. It becomes the ultimate soft-sell tool.

 

Have patience. Without a huge brand presence, don't expect to turn profits. The only investment is your time. As long as you regularly give people something interesting—blogs, music, and other tidbits that AREN'T related to your business—then you'll develop enough trust for them to be interested in what you DO sell.

 

Keep it personal—talk with the people as if you'd email a new friend. Say "Hi," get to know them, and they'll want to get to know you. If you try to sell, sell, sell, you'll have a hard time earning respect on MySpace.

 

As far as layouts, there are a few "schools of thought"—one says make it fancy and high end, but the other, and seemingly more successful one, says simplicity is best. Since people are browsing through so many profiles with the same layout, they look for certain features in certain places. If you move too many things around, you'll frustrate your visitors and they'll leave. Make it intuitive and easy, just like a good e-commerce site.

 

If there's anything a "seasoned" MySpace user hates it is a slow page. The MySpace site has loads of slow loaders. You may get friends with a lot of stuff on your page, but they won't actually spend the time to interact with you.

You know who else gets MySpace? Site owners like this one who provide layouts, backgrounds, funny photos etc. to the MySpace community. Those folks are sitting back, sipping pina coladas and watching the moolah from Google AdSense roll in.

 

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Marketing to Generation X and Y

by Michael Fleischner / January 23, 2007

 

If you're trying to market to adults who were born between 1965 and 1994, then you need to understand the best method for reaching generation X and generation Y.

 

Who is a part of Generation X? Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1976 and make up about 17% of the U.S. population. As a whole, this group is both independent and skeptical, existing in the shadow of Baby Boomers. As they move into their 30s and 40s, Gen Xers are establishing themselves as consumers who are starting families and buying homes.

 

Who is a part of Generation Y? Individuals born between 1977 and 1994 are considered Gen Yers and make up about 25% of the U.S. population. This group is generally idealistic, optimistic, and patriotic. Gen Yers consume media in extremely fragmented ways, representing the next big wave in our demographic makeup.

 

Gen Xers and Gen Yers have a number of things in common. Both groups grew up with recessions, single-parent households, cable TV, the Internet and other personal technology. Consequently, these groups consume media differently from earlier generations. Communicating with them through traditional marketing channels can be difficult. So, how can you reach these groups, communicate your message, and get them to take action?

 

The answer is more traditional than you think. In combination with online marketing, direct mail is one of the most powerful ways to market to both Gen X and Y.

 

According to a recent study conducted by InnoMedia, NuStats, and Vertis, 87% of Gen Y and 86% of Gen X bring in the mail the day it's delivered; and 73% of Gen Y and 68% of Gen X retail direct-mail readers have used coupons received in the mail; Gen X and Y consumers rate 75% of the mail they receive as valuable.

 

To reach Gen X and Y with direct mail, you should keep in mind some basic marketing practices. Keep in mind that your direct mail efforts can be supplemented with online marketing in the form of targeted site advertising and keyword buys, or perhaps you can give these consumers a reason to visit you online via email (contests, sweepstakes, discounts, etc.).

 

Direct mail is most effective when you understand your audience, time your campaign appropriately, provide a compelling offer, and develop a relevant message:

 

Audience. Knowing your audience is essential for the success of any direct marketing campaign. Having information about Gen Xers or Yers in general terms is a place start, but you need to dig deeper and develop a fuller understanding of the segment. You should know their motivations, there greatest pains, their latent needs—and what products or solutions they use. Once you've gotten to know your audience, other marketing criteria can fall into place.

 

Timing. Communicating your message at the right time can make all the difference in your marketing results. Selling tax software immediately after April 15th won't produce the results you're looking for. You need to have an understanding of your audience's timeline and when they are in the market to buy your product or service. Be sure to give them enough time to respond to your offer, but don't leave it open ended.

 

Offer. Many consumers need a reason to buy, especially Gen Xers, who are normally skeptical. Your offer should provide some benefit to the buyer as well as provide some level of comfort in moving forward with a purchase. This can be in the form of a satisfaction guarantee or something similar. One great technique is to place your offer on the outside of the envelope that contains your marketing materials. This can help to differentiate your mail and get your envelope opened by prospects.

 

Message. Your message needs to resonate with prospective buyers. Do you understand their needs? Have you communicated benefits as well as features? Are you solving a problem for them? Have you provided a simple, yet compelling message? Many direct marketers talk about the "long" letter versus the "short" letter. Studies validate the use of both. As long as your message resonates with buyers, it doesn't matter how long it is. But be sure to test your messages on an ongoing basis.

If you're marketing to either Generation X or Y, or both, use direct mail in your marketing mix. Individuals in these groups respond to direct mail. Keep in mind, however, that a direct marketing piece should be supplemented with other forms of marketing—Internet marketing, search engine optimization, advertising, etc.

 

Direct mail is your key to success with Generations X and Y when used as the main vehicle of your marketing campaign.

 

Michael Fleischner is VP of marketing for an education planning and finance company in central New Jersey and the founder of MarketingScoop.com (www.marketingscoop.com). He has more than 12 years of marketing experience and blogs at marketing-expert.blogspot.com.

 

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Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers (Part 2 of 2)

by Lisa Johnson and Cheri Hanson / September 19, 2006

 

In Part 1 we discussed how some of the most recent cultural touch points—groups riding the underground buzz on YouTube; MySpace selling music from indie bands; and the "skinny jeans" fashion trend—show a new market code at work. The young, tech-savvy members of the Connected Generation are rewriting the rules and changing how everyone will do business.

 

In our new book, Mind Your X's and Y's, we outline 10 cravings that are driving this renegade new generation of consumers. Part one explored the first five cravings: for extreme personalization, adventure, loose social networks, brilliant design, and smart editors. Before we move on to the last five, there are two critical principles to understand about the Connected Generation.

 

Reconstructing the Market

When a band goes from dancing on treadmills in a low-budget video clip to performing for the MTV Video Music Awards in a matter of weeks, you know there's a change in the air. Clearly, underground trends and finds have always filtered their way from the fringes into the mainstream—especially if you're talking fashion or music. What's different today is that the Connected Generation is completely sidestepping the mainstream. Thanks to tightly knit peer networks and online technology, indie bands, for example, don't need to sign record deals. They can build a fan base on MySpace, pack their local shows, and post pay-per-download digital files. No middleman, no loss of control.

 

The new marketplace favors connected brands with three essential components—community, content, and commerce. Think about MySpace again. This popular networking portal has content (teens and young adults posting their profiles, uploading photos, writing blogs, and sharing messages), community (a dedicated group of users who visit multiple times each day and conduct vast portions of their lives online), and now, with its music sales, commerce. The brand is unstoppable.

 

Breakaway Brands

To crack this new market code and understand the 10 cravings, we studied hundreds of brands that are experiencing runaway success. From Toyota's Scion to Jones Soda to Wikipedia and beyond, these are the products, services, and organizations that are attracting an unprecedented degree of buzz and customer loyalty.

 

We found that the most successful brands not only complete the three-part business model—community, content, and commerce—but also have implemented a "pull" philosophy in their sales and marketing efforts.

 

The "go big, go loud, go often" approach just doesn't cut it with the Connected Generation, which is all but immune to traditional advertising. If the technology to block out unwanted marketing messages does not already exist (such as TiVo and podcasts), they will create it. But, they will pull in anything that is fun or interesting and adds value to their busy lives.

 

The Connected Generation desires peer-like relationships with the brands they love. Treat them with respect, satisfy their cravings, and they will respond with unmatched enthusiasm and spread the word faster and farther than ever before.

 

Here are the last five cravings that drive this powerful new consumer group:

 

6. Keep it underground: The rejection of push advertising and the rising influence of peer-to-peer networks

The Connected Generation has grown up feeling saturated with advertising and marketing. They are suspicious of ordinary "push" campaigns and gravitate toward integrated, contextual offerings from trusted friends and members of their networks.

 

A select group of people discovers something new, from shoes to bands to politics to neighborhoods, and translates it to satisfy a much wider audience. This is the way of the underground.

 

7. Build it together: Connected citizens explore their creative power and influence change

There are currently one billion people connected online around the world. With so many people conducting large portions of their lives online, we've only just begun to tap into the power of Web-based networks.

 

The Connected Generation is becoming intoxicated by its growing ability to spark change—both as consumer groups and as end users. This awareness is spurring mass creativity and launching a power shift away from companies and into the hands of consumers.

 

8. Bring it to life: Everyday activities are orchestrated to deliver a dramatic sense of theater

From beverages to designer fashions to dinnertime solutions, brand theater is popping up in virtually every industry as savvy companies deliver compelling and entertaining new experiences.

 

Brand theater allows companies of all kinds to create emotional connections with their customers. It takes typical experiences a few steps forward by engaging the senses, the imagination, and the spirit, and transforms routine experiences into riveting entertainment.

 

9. Go inward: Spiritual hunger and modern media find common ground

Increasingly, the meaningful life is defined as the spiritual life, and spirituality has become a dominant value among today's consumers. Companies and media channels are introducing new products, services, and forums to support this spiritually hungry generation. The Connected Generation has embraced modern media and blurred the lines between secular and sacred, finding spirituality in all aspects of their lives.

 

10. Give back: Redefining volunteerism and the meaning of contribution

There's a new spirit of volunteerism in the air, led by a young Connected Generation that has new ideas about how to give back. Today's volunteers want to give their time and talent instead of simply writing a check. Modern volunteer associations combine fresh structures with fun people and a chance to make direct, meaningful connections with the community. These new giving models are igniting a generation and making their volunteer efforts convenient, high impact, and more emotionally satisfying.

 

Lisa Johnson and Cheri Hanson are cofounders of the Reach Group (www.reachgroupconsulting.com), a boutique consultancy that provides fresh insights and clear thinking about the Connected Generation. With three divisions—ReachWomen, Reach X and Y, and Content Strategy—the Reach Group provide tools for engaging the modern marketplace.

 

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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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The 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!
  • According to the American Trucking Association - The Average Delivery Truck Makes 16 Mil. Impressions a Year.