Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Nintendo targets your mom

Remember Tupperware? Your pantry probably overflowed with it fifteen years ago thanks to the climax of the Tupperware party—a direct marketing getup masquerading as a social event where women (and a few men?) gathered to buy brightly colored crap. Since then, companies selling other brightly colored crap (notably makeup, lingerie and sex toys) have lifted the idea and enjoyed similar results.

Now, Nintendo of America Inc. is attempting to generate precious word-of-mouth for its new Wii console by emulating the Tupperware party to—you guessed it—sell even more brightly colored crap. Part of Nintendo’s current marketing strategy is to expand its client base to include unlikely gamers… like the alpha mom. She knows how to work a digital camera, use the Internet and even send text messages, so watch out—chances are your mom’s one.

The party plan effort was started by a buzz-making trio of LA alpha moms who invited 35 other LA alpha moms to the always classy Chateau Marmont to experience the Wii firsthand. Nintendo has since expanded its party planning crusade to Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami, San Francisco, some place in Kansas, and right here in Austin.

I know what you’re thinking: Intuitively, this target is all wrong—isn’t it? Most normal moms are inherently anti-gaming, even alpha moms—nagging their kids to give the console (and their eyes) a rest. It just doesn’t make sense for Nintendo to target them; that is, until you realize who’s making the purchase decisions. Who got me a Wii for Christmas? The tag said “Santa Clause”, but I’m almost positive it was my mom—and she hates that I play video games. Absurd? Maybe. But if Nintendo can convince the very people that hate video games (but buy them anyway) to love video games, then logically, they’re going to love buying more video games and Nintendo’s profit margin will increase by a million-billion percent. It sounds like nonsense, but apparently it’s working.

One alpha mom who attended a Wii party said, “Most people were like, ‘I don't play games,’ [but by, like, the end of the night], everybody was playing it. People were working up a sweat.” Only in, like, America do we work up a sweat playing video games and have parties to buy brightly colored crap we don’t need.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Interview with David Baldwin

This is going to be my last post for 2006. Anybody else feel free to post. Happy Holidays everyone! -Dwen

David Baldwin is one of the nicest and most down-to-earth advertising guys I've talked to. Even though he has a very busy schedule, he responded right away to my inquiries (refer to prior sentence). If you haven't heard of the groundbreaking Audi Art of the H3ist work, I recommend checking it out; David's agency created that. He moonlights as the part-time lead guitarist of the award-winning agency band "Pants!" and is the full-time Executive Creative Director of McKinney.

A Kelly Award-Winning copywriter, David honed his skills at Deutsch, Riney, Cole & Weber and Leonard Monahan before taking over the reins at McKinney. He’s clear on their job: “In business, the company with the biggest ideas wins. Period. It’s bigger than just doing advertising.” David is President of the One Club and on the board of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Creative Circus. David’s a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.


How did you get in to advertising?

I’ve been a musician for most of my life and have existed in creative circles. At the same time, my mother was the media department at a small agency in El Paso, TX, where I grew up. So I guess I kind of grew up around advertising. I was certainly aware of it as a career. As a musician I was always very honest with myself about what that life would entail and I made an agreement with myself to have a back-up plan and to stop trying to make a living at music if it didn’t look like it would work out by the time I was 21. I decided advertising would be that back-up plan and enrolled at UT because I knew about the advertising program. I figured it would be a great living to be able to have a job in a creative endeavor. I finally got into the creative program and really enjoyed it and did okay at it.



Do you miss Austin? Do you miss Texas? Did you ever see yourself working In N. Carolina?

I love Austin. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world. I never saw myself living in NC but I have to say, it’s pretty wonderful. I had always admired McKinney during my career and it was a big personal achievement to be able to be the CD here.


How did UT prepare you for a career in advertising?

The creative program at the time was great because the professor was this eccentric guy named Leonard Ruben. He treated class like a job. If you were late, he locked the door. If you didn’t have an assignment ready on time, he’d literally fire you and ask you to leave. More than anyone else he impressed on me that this is a business and you have to show up.


Did you find that cutting your long hair is analogous to Samson cutting his hair?

I cut my hair because I saw myself in an agency video and thought I looked like an aging white woman. You know how you see old guys with long silver hair who really look kind of ridiculous? I always said I wouldn’t be that guy.

What's it like being the lead guitarist of the award-winning pants! (McKinney + Silver's in-house band)? I heard you play "Frampton-like vibrations on the vo-coder." Do you find that having hobbies helps the creative process?

It’s funny how life works out because I’ve managed to combine two of my passions at McKinney, advertising and music. We’re having a blast with pants! (that is the correct spelling by the way, pants! lower case ‘p’ and an exclamation point) and we have a new CD coming out this May. It was great to get to play at the Rock and Roll Hall of fame and get our picture to hang there for the year. Go figure.





Jr. Creatives


What are the most common mistakes you observed Jr. Creatives make?

First of all, I have to say that if I came into my office as I was as a jr, I’d probably kick myself out of my own office. I was clueless in so many ways. So you make allowances that kids won’t have all the answers. But there are a few general things to think about.

-Have an understanding of the industry. Who’s doing what work? Who do you admire? What are the great agencies right now? Where do you really want to work? I’m always amazed when I interview someone and they can’t answer very basic questions or have no notion of what’s going on in the business

-Thinking in ideas rather than ads. A lot of kids come in with books that have clever headlines rather than real brand ideas based on human truths. A good test of whether you have an idea or not is whether you can talk about your idea without ever having to reference the ad.


What're your favorite books/magazines?

I read all the time, so I guess I’ll just talk about industry books.

-I was recently turned on to a magazine called Contagious. It’s great.
-The One Show
-CA
-The book of Gossage. – A book about Howard Gossage that is a must read for anyone studying or practicing the business. It’s choc full of brilliance.
-Hey, Whipple. Squeeze this. By Luke Sullivan is one of the best how to books written about the business. It’s terrific.
-Wired magazine.
-Archive


What separates jr. creatives in the hiring process?

It’s hard to quantify but you can tell pretty fast whether someone gets it or not. It’s more important than the actual portfolio. I sometimes meet people with nice books but you can tell their hearts not really in it or they’re not burning from within. You really need a lot of passion to succeed in this business.

You must have presented hundreds of thousands of ideas to clients already. How did you learn how to present and sell your agency's ideas?

Every day is a new learning experience. There’s no science to it.

I guess here are a few things to think about.

First of all, you have to be honest that we all sell all day long. When you want to see a movie that your friends don’t you’re selling. When you have a band you want your friends to listen to, you’re selling.

The best advice anyone ever gave me is to never present from opinion because as a human your first inclination is to disagree with someone selling you something. So, you know, never say, “We have an idea that’s really great….” Instead, present from the facts and let your audience make up their own mind.

Here’s a great example. (this example is from the person who gave me this advice and it’s a helpful illustration.) Say Mike is a real jerk. If you’re talking to a friend you might say, “You know, Mike is a real ass.” The person you’re talking to will listen to this and unless they have had a first hand experience with Mike they’ll immediately look to whether they should debate you or not. It’s just human nature.

Whereas if you say, ‘Did you hear what Mike did? He told those kids that they were stupid and then he sat in that old Ladies chair. He also got caught lying to his wife.” The person you’re talking to will likely say or think something like, “Wow, Mike’s a jerk.”

So when you’re presenting an idea to someone, what’s the desired response you’d like from your audience and what are the facts around your proposition that will lead to them to draw their own conclusion.


You've worked for Della Femina, Travisano & Partners, Hal Riney & Partners, Cole & Weber, Deutsch, Leonard/Monahan ranging from Rhode Island all the way to Oregon. Which cities did you like working in the most? and why?

That’s kind of like trying to pick your favorite Beatles song. I’ve loved every city I’ve lived in for very different reasons.

You've had a very successful career. What are some of the highs and lows of it?

The biggest highs are getting to work around and know all the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. I have so many friends around the country and the world because of this business. The lows are not meeting up to expectations that I’ve set for myself.


Advertising in general


Can you talk about how advertising has changed from the beginning of your career to now?

I got into the business the same year as the fax machine. Things were different. No computers, no avids, no internet. It’s hare to believe. The landscape has changed mightily but the thing that has stayed the same is that it’s still all about having a great idea.


What's it like being the President of the One Club Board of Directors? What does that entail?

Being president of the One Club is a tremendous honor. The work their asses off. I help define policy and the make up of the board and the broader direction of the club. But the real hard work is done by Mary Warlick, Kevin Swanepoel, and the rest of the staff.

It seems like a lot of CDs are CWs. Why do you think this is?
I’ve heard that before, but I’m not sure if that’s true.


McKinney+SIlver


As the ECD, you've led McKinney+Silver on a resurgence from the "bottoms of the mid-to-late '90s." What does it take for an agency to get hot and stay hot?

McKinney has been a real ride for me. I joined in 1998 and two years later we were named Southeast agency of the year by Adweek. We were on a real roll. But then the CEO of the company at the time died in a car accident and that was a tough time. It seemed like my partners and my job were to hold the place together. But we’ve kind of come roaring back now. There’s always room for improvement and always a new challenge. I guess the real issue is that none of us are satisfied at all that we’ve done our best work yet or that we’ve accomplished what we’re capable of. That’s certainly what drives me.


McKinney+Silver has really put N. Carolina on the advertising map with Audi and Sony (former clients now). In the advertising world, what is N. Carolina like compared to the Londons, Berlins, Paris', Shanghais, Tokyos, Singapores, Brazils of the world?

To be fair, Chick McKinney put NC on the map. I’ve only tried to continue the reputation. The first account the agency won in 1969 was for Mastercard account, then called MasterCharge. The pitch was a bunch of NY agencies and us. The real mission of this agency has always been to be a national agency located in a great place to live. We’ve never had local or regional aspirations.

What is "Carolina creativity"?

I have no idea. We have people here from all over the world. I’ve always taken pride in our not having a specific style to our advertising. It has always been about communicating the brand in an authentic way. Because every brand is different the work should be different. I’ve never wanted people to know it was our work just by looking at it. I’m always perplexed when I see work that makes an agency famous rather than the brand being communicated.


Personal


Who were your advertising mentors? It's of utmost importance to have a good mentor right?

I don’t know if I’ve ever really had a mentor. I suppose it would have been great to have someone really take me under their wing, but it never really happened. The best advice I ever got was to be responsible for yourself.

Is it hard going from Copywriter to Executive Creative Director? What new challenges/responsibilities does being an ECD entail?

You have to realize that you have a new job. Your job is to create culture and possibility rather than to ‘write.’ I’ve always called it a transference of joy. You have to take joy from seeing someone else create a great idea and then either help make it better or get out of the way if you can’t.

Of all the work you've done, what are your personal favorites? What are your personal favorite McKinney+Silver works?

I love all of my children. Even the ugly ones. I guess the real point is to learn from the things you did wrong.

As a member of the Board of Directors for The Creative Circus, what else can a portfolio program do to help prepare students?

The thing I keep telling schools and students is to start teaching interactive as an equal discipline to all other media. As long as ideas are at the center it shouldn’t matter what form they take. I’m still amazed that I mostly see print books from students. It doesn’t reflect what’s going on.

What was the best advice given to you?

Work really hard. That’s all there is.

Critique please: Circle Lending




"Copy reads: "Circle Lending mediates family loans by setting up legal paperwork, interest rates and repayment schedules, so there is no conflict." Three art directors worked on this one. Our goal was to say "family" and "fighting" in one quick visual. To learn more about Circle Lending, visit circlelending.com."

Written and art directed by Matt Crump, Amanda McGlothlin, and Iva Zugic.
Instructed by Matt McCutchin

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Critique please: Dirty Girl Sugar Scrub




"It's an exfoliating scrub targeted to young women 16-25. the campaign plays off the deadly sins, whose by-product (blood, chocolate stains, dirt) can always be exfoliated by the scrub. this campaign is planned to be complemented with a trivia website, where girls can be quizzed for the type of girl they are, and what kind of "girly sins" they have committed. the art direction is influenced by the works of artist Mark Ryden."

Art Director: Amr Assaid
Copywriter: Monica Corona
Instructor: Maria Rivera.
December 2006.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Remember those prof. evaluation surveys?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bake a Digital Gingerbread Man!




Carat Fusion has created a site where you can create a digital gingerbread man and send it to a friend. They will donate $1 to Save the Children for every person who creates a gingerbread man. I've included an example here of quite possibly the scariest gingerbread woman ever. Enjoy and happy baking!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pretty cool CGC



Someone has too much time on their hands. From Mack's Adverb.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Critique please: Go-Ped electric scooter

Editor's note: After many attempts, we are finally introducing a new section on The Ranch where current Texas Creative portfolio students submit their work for the public to critique. To find out more about the Texas Creative curriculum click here. When leaving a comment, it's okay to be anonymous. Just please state if you're an Art Director or Copywriter. Thanks.

The project is for Go-Ped electric scooter. the idea is to encourage people to kill/give up the automotive beast for something that is more environmentally friendly.

Art Director: Amr Assaid
Copywriter: Rodrigo Mendez
Instructor: Maria Rivera.
Produced December 2006.




Saturday, December 09, 2006

French cartoon ads vs. American cartoon ads



Agency: Marcel, France

It seems like advertising in France involves a different style of animation than American animated ads use. Just think of all those pharmaceutical ads with cartoon characters for foot fungus. There's also the Raid ads with the cartoon cockroaches. However, not all American cartoon advertising is lost. DDB Chicago, with UT alum Keith Tutera being the copywriter, made a memorable christmas commercial for Office Max. TBWA\Paris used a similar style of animation to Marcel for their Prevent Aids TV work.



Agency: TBWA\Paris



Agency: DDB Chicago

Thursday, December 07, 2006

legit John McCain ad?

I wonder if anyone else has seen this ad on CNNSi.com. I wish I had clicked on it to find out the ad's legitimacy but, like other web surfers, I simply ignored the basic flashing text scheme and scrolled down to read the article.

I think one beauty of web advertising, compared to other mediums, is that companies can actually track to see if users are clicking on it and other statistics used to process that information. On the other hand, there's no 100% accurate way to see if that person who clicked it is actually reading and experiencing the company's website. They could just have opened up another browser window or browser tab and forgotten about it. And let's not get started about click fraud shall we?

Ads: HappyDent and WWV




from adfreak

Anybody know who made these ads?

Edit:

For HappyDent
Production House : Ram Madhvani's Equinox

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hyundai Santa Fe



Product : Hyundai Santa Fe
Title : Life Shapes
Agency : The Richards Group
# Creatives : Steve Levit (Creative Director)
# Mike Bales (Copywriter)
# Tim Tone (Art Director)
# Mike Duckworth (Copywriter)
# Terence Reynolds (Art Director)
# Phillip Lopez (Agency Producer)
# Allison Collinsworth (Agency Producer)
# Director(s) : Jörn Threlfall
Prod. Co. : Outsider
Country : United States of America
Other Credits : Editorial: Chrome/Santa Monica
Editor: Hal Honigsberg
Telecine: Rushes/LA
Colorist: Gino Panaro Post/Effects: Moving Pixels/Santa Monica
Music: Primal Scream

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2007

From MSNBC and Entrepreneur.com

By Kim T. Gordon
Entrepreneur.com

10 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2007


Throughout 2006, I've been watching and interpreting the marketing stats and studies that impact small businesses to give you tips on staying one step ahead. Now, with 2007 fast approaching, let's look at a roundup of the hottest trends, from changes taking place among consumer audiences through what to watch for in traditional and online marketing. Here's the info you need on the most important trends and how to make the most of them to increase sales and grow your business in the New Year.

Consumer Trends

1. College Grads

If you're searching for the most effective way to reach this desirable prospect group, move your marketing dollars into online media. The internet is now the primary source of media and entertainment among college grads, whose top planned purchases upon graduation are professional clothing, travel/airline tickets, health insurance and furniture according to the “Y2M: eGrad College Graduate Survey”. Nearly 80 percent of respondents are online purchasers, making them ideal candidates for your online campaign.

Editor's comments: Just look at facebook.com!

2. Affluent Working Women

The big news is that this group is increasing in size, and the best way to reach them may be online. According to The Media Audit, affluent working women with family incomes of $75,000 or more are growing in number, and 94.3 percent access the internet during an average month. About half are now considered heavy users of the internet, while heavy use of radio, television, newspapers and direct mail has all declined within this group. To increase sales from this expanding audience, alter your media spending to place greater emphasis online.

3. Asian Population Growth

The southern region of the U.S. boasts the fastest Asian population growth rate (31 percent), followed by the Midwest (24 percent), the Northeast (23 percent) and the West (19 percent), according to an analysis of Census Bureau data in the “American Community Survey” by Kang & Lee Advertising. Asians represent a prospect group with higher than average household incomes and education levels. Can you offer a product or service that will appeal to this growing market?

I somewhat disagree with this subtopic. As an Asian-American, I don't feel that products or services must be specifically targeted towards us. The reason for this is that the Asian-American culture is very very complex because it combines traditional Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other cultures with the globally unique American culture. I don't think there is a product or service that can accurately appeal to this hybrid culture. If there is, I would love to see it.

4. Word-Of-Mouth

Want to build buzz? Lucid Marketing's study, "U.S. Adults: Word of Mouth Communications," found that women were more likely than men to share a positive experience with a business or recommend an enjoyable product; full-time employees made substantially more daily contacts than those not in the workforce; and people with household earnings of more than $100,000 were more likely to make recommendations than those earning less. So buzz marketers should direct efforts to these three "chatty" groups.

Trends in Traditional Media

5. Yellow Pages

According to a study from the Kelsey group, marketers targeting younger demographics should transition away from print. Only 28 percent of teens said they would turn to print Yellow Pages first to find a local business, product, or service, while 47 percent said their first choice would be search engines. And just 44 percent of respondents between the ages and 18 and 34 favored print Yellow Pages.

6. Simultaneous Media Usage

There's no longer such a thing as a captive media audience--consumers are frequently participating in more than one form of media at any one time. Seventy percent of web users, for instance, watch TV occasionally to regularly while online, according to BIGresearch’s “Simultaneous Media Survey.” It also found that nearly 65 percent watch TV while they read, and 51 percent of radio listeners read the newspaper while listening. The rise in multitasking among consumers mandates an integrated media approach and an increased emphasis on advertising within the most relevant and engaging content.

7. Newspapers

This past year, many of the websites of major newspapers have become the number-one portals in their geographic markets and are drawing a larger, younger and more affluent readership. The audience that reads a newspaper’s website but not its print version accounts for 2 to 15 percent of the Integrated Newspaper Audience, according to Scarborough Research, and that represents hundreds of thousands of readers for many newspapers in larger markets. They’re successfully attracting 18-to-34-year-olds to their sites, and the online readers are more upscale, which can make them a more desirable audience. If you're an advertiser in the "print" newspaper, you can negotiate for a combo rate to run online as well to reach these additional readers. And if advertising in the print newspaper is too expensive for your business, you may find more affordable rates online by drilling down past the main pages to place ads on content-rich, but less frequently visited web pages.

Hot Online Trends

8. Web Conferencing

As business travel becomes increasingly challenging due to increased security, advance check-in times and transportation delays, online workshops and meetings that require no travel are coming to the forefront. It’s more desirable than ever to demo your new product to a group or make a sales presentation without anyone ever leaving home. Participants can watch your presentation on their computer monitors and hear you live on their computer speakers or by phone. In fact, I'm now transitioning to this technology to deliver webinars, and you can, too.

9. Online Research

Whether you sell exclusively online or primarily through a brick-and-mortar site, online search will have a profound impact on your sales in 2007. When asked how often they researched products online before buying them in person or in a store, 87 percent of nearly 7,500 respondents to a BIGresearch “Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey” said they did so occasionally to regularly. And a comScore research study showed that 63 percent of searchers completed a purchase in offline retail stores following their search activity. So no matter whether you sell online, off-line or both, you need a great website with deep, persuasive content that keeps your prospects and customers shopping on your site or sends them to your store.

10. Local Search

Want to know where to invest your online marketing dollars in 2007? Aim for higher rankings in the top search engines. Sixty-two percent of searchers click on a link within the first page of results, according to a report from iProspect and Jupiter Research. To win higher rankings in natural search results, you can optimize your site by sprinkling the keyword phrases your best prospects will be searching for throughout all the pages of your site, in your page descriptions and in metatags. You should also secure links to your site from other high-ranking websites. But to guarantee you'll turn up in the top search results, invest in a paid search campaign. Local search campaigns are often the most affordable and will bring traffic from your immediate market area in the New Year.

Kim T. Gordon is the "Marketing" coach at Entrepreneur.com and a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Over the past 26 years, she's helped millions of small-business owners increase their success through her company, National Marketing Federation Inc. Her latest book,Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars, is now available.

Copyright © 2006 Entrepreneur.com, Inc. © 2006 MSNBC.com

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Save Denver water






Sukle has done some work for the conservation of Denver public water. Their strategy seems to be spread across every medium available including youtube. Because of this all encompassing, and expensive, strategy, the Denver water organization must have a large advertising budget or everything was pro-bono.

from Houtlust.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Be wary of what you hear

Court TV is paying for a Big brother-like marketing initiative where customers in bookstores are targeted with prerecorded voices. It's called audio spotlighting and the thirty second voice is triggered when someone walks in front of a sensor.

Until now, this technology has been used in prestigious musuems around the world for educational purposes.

Patrick West of Zoom Media, who designed the system, has this to say, "What's great about this is I can hear the message perfectly clear ... the person sitting there reading their book or having coffee, it doesn't interfere with them whatsoever."

Excuse me Mr. West, but I would think that hearing advertising messages beamed at my ears while I browse Barnes & Noble is interference.

thanks to David Roth for the link

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Make and produce your own commercial for $349


Spot Runner is a LA-based company that sells do-it-yourself commercial toolkits ranging from $349 to $499. It's helped small businesses such as Findley's meat market in Atlanta (or Hotlanta as the Rappers say) generate more business according to CNNMoney. Now, every small business owner can ditch their local ad agency. The future of advertising is clients make their own commercials!

The commercials cost Findley's $349 and $499 and the shop spent about $2,100 in March and $1,100 in May to air the spots on ESPN, Food TV, Fox News Channel and Fox Sports.

"We found out that it was very affordable and they help you work with a small budget," said Findley's owner Dolores Barr.

And right away "we saw a noticeable increase in first-time walk in traffic" that translated into a "35 percent sales increase," Barr said.

"Spot Runner is very interesting," said Greg Sterling, an industry analyst. "They're doing something unique right now, which is offering traditional TV advertising to the small business market."


Business Week also asks, "Is Spot Runner Revolutionary?"

But wait a second, does this sound too good to be true? If you scroll down to the last comment on another Businessweek article about Spot Runner you'll find an interesting and very pricey catch.

One of my concerns about this is about the creativity of it all. Is Spot Runner allowing a free-reign on ideas (with them being the Kingpin)? After all, advertising is an idea business.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Ad Stopped Me In My Tracks.



And today, I literally STEPPED ON AN AD.

GEICO is also taking it to the streets of Austin by scattering flyers. While students at UT are chasing an IKEA living room they are running over ads, ads that I noticed, but does anyone else?

In an age of new media why are companies still using less innovative tactics? Hasn’t it been decided that flyers and direct mail are not effective, especially for companies as established as GEICO car insurance? Consumers remember the commercials, less can be more.

Just as there is an innate desire to belong there is also an innate desire to throw flyers on the ground. Should I even mention the environmental concerns? Probably not.

Will it continue in spite of smarter, emerging tactics or will we soon read about “Death of the Flyer?”

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today a Living Room Stopped Traffic


Today I literally CHASED AN AD.
Ikea is announcing its presence in the Austin area by taking it to the streets. Maybe you seen it, maybe you've heard about it, or maybe you too have even run after it.

"Why can't a living room stop traffic" reads the truck. Sure its innovative, or maybe, it WAS innovative, but more importantly it was the factor of belonging that made me chase moving ad. Only after a friend stated, "Oh...you haven't seen it?", did I jump up and run after the ad.

So is that one of the secret ingredients to a successful ad - feeding off the innate human desire of wanting to belong: to a group, to a community, to a cause?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A radical new way of media buying?

Philips Inc., the Dutch consumer electronics giant, has had very revolutionary media buys in the past year or so. Their model reflects their brand message of "sense and simplicity." What they do is buy up all the ad space in magazines or on a TV show thus allowing the consumer to have a more pure ad-free consumer experience. In the past, they bought up four magazines thus eliminating the "annoying subscription cards."

Their newest media buy is buying up all the ad space in the upcoming Texas vs. Oklahoma State game on TBS thus allowing viewers a more pure game experience of watching the Longhorns dominate the Cowboys. They would give the ad space back to TBS for more game related coverage and analysis.

Philips has done more "simple" media buys in the past but apparently they were not as successful or didn't gain as much attention. My question to you readers is does this media buying model a true extension of their "sense and simplicity" brand message? Do consumers even care that they see less commercials and print ads because of Philips "generosity?"

Like what Brad says in his post, could this be a way that media is the new creative?

update
They're taking over the internet! First, the NYTimes exclusive paid content, now ESPN.com insider content.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Agency Models.

Advertising is not what it used to be. Media is changing, seemingly by the second and the consumer is evolving and becoming more complicated. Ads are popping up everywhere, and sometimes we might not even be able to recognize them as ads at all. With the culture of the world developing in so many new directions, traditional advertising agencies are faced with a decision: how does one evolve an agency to fit the future of the industry?

“While the incoming tide of consumer control and wave after wave of media fragmentation have left many large broadcast-dependent ad agencies looking slothful, defensive and ill-suited to marketer’s needs, a new generation of shops proves change can be opportunity” (Bloom). What Jonah Bloom discusses in his article is what is considered to be a movement contrasting the industry “sloths,” which are unofficially they “JWT’s” and “Grey’s” of the world. This movement is led by smaller agencies such as Amalgamated, Anomaly, Mother, Nitro, StrawberryFrog, Kaplan Thaler Group and TAXI. Each of these “hot start-ups” have sprung up and have held off from defining themselves with what Bloom refers to as a “meaningless brand statement.” In addition, these agencies have a small number of employees and are creatively driven, but they manage massive accounts that range from Coke, Miller and McDonald’s to Unilever, Verizon and Masterfoods (Bloom). The following is a spot done by TAXI for Viagra. TAXI is small, innovative and fresh, but are they a model to adopt for the future?




Any ideas on what the agency of the future looks like? Small and creative? Brand-centric? I have a few that I'll look at coming up, but I want to know what you think.

Here is the link to the Bloom Article: http://adage.com/article?article_id=45259

Friday, October 27, 2006

We are that Kid

We are that kid: the fat kid never picked for kickball; the kid with glasses and braces always pegged first in dodge ball; the one snubbed from the weekend parties because Mom still drives us on Friday nights.

But occasionally, and with some unknown brush with luck, those that normally ostracize us, invite us in. We are able to sneak in a joke or two that makes them laugh and for a brief moment we are their friend. We are invited into their homes, introduced to other friends, and deemed the popular kid at the party.

Ads that are not ads seem to be the current method for breaking out of the hated kid association. BBH’s “Tea Partay” and Taxi’s “Busted” lives through E-WOM. Along with masses of people, I’ve emailed out the links and logged on to YouTube to share the humor with friends. Not once has someone interrupted their laughter with a, “Wait a minute, was that an ad?”



So how do we learn that, how do we teach that, or did the advertising stars simply align for a short moment in time (similar to that of a Disney movie) and the results are a humorous spot, that’s not really a spot.

Enters - Chaos 2006: New Agendas in Advertising
We want to be liked, we want to be the popular kid, so we’re gonna talk about it. In a nutshell, some really important people leading the industry, some highly regarded members of The University of Texas faculty, and some advertising students are having a get together of sorts, some people call it a conference.

November 17th & 18th, you should come and maybe you’ll learn the secret to being the popular kid.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is Media the New Creative?

In a recent article I read, the author said that "media is no longer a stepchild of creative. In fact, media is almost part of the creative function." The article goes on to discuss the fact that media people are now having to try and tackle this evolving market and come up with new ways for placement. The medium is just as important to the idea as this fragmented media world explodes.

But which came first, the chicken or the egg?

A lot of people think that media is, in fact, the new creative. I disagree. I think media is becoming creative, and I think it is as important as creative, but it is not going to replace creative. It can't.

At R/GA, there was a guy who flew a plasma screen in a balloon over Central Park and people could text messages to a number and have the message appear on the screen. That kicks ass.

But the creative people still play a vital role in creating floating balloon messages. A media person might think of a cool place to put a message, but what is the message going to be? That is where they work together. Not to say that creatives can't invent new media and others can't come up with creative messages. Scott Goodson says that "the borders are coming down on ideas." I believe this whole heartedly, and that means that ideas will be coming from everywhere. That is why agencies must continue to evolve in order to succeed (I'll probably make a post about this later on).

How the message is displayed is more important now than ever before, and inventing new ways to display it is the trend. But that doesn't mean that the idea is any less important.

Media may be newly creative, but it is not the new creative.

More to come on this subject November 17-18 in Austin, TX at the Conference. Come hear what the rockstars of the industry have to say about it.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

New Agendas in Advertising.

This is the the first of many posts regarding the conference that will be held in Austin, TX this coming November 17 and 18, sponsored by The University of Texas and GSD&M. What is this conference all about? Well, that's an interesting question. We've been discussing and building this conference for months now, and we have some insanely awesome speakers, amazing venues and an incredible agenda. What I myself havent done often enough, though, is take a step back and try and think about what this conference is really about.

To me, we are talking about the future, which is really yesterday. Advertising has so many new faces it's hard to recognize it anymore. That funny video on YouTube you saw the other day from an email forward might have been created by an agency looking to promote a product without making an ad. Gotcha!

Many people talk about advertising boiling down to a simple human truth, sparking emotion in the consumer. Well, the consumer is smarter, and he can do things on his own. So can she. So how do we reach them? We need to think of new ways to evolve these emerging media (a new medium for communication was just invented. And another one. And another one, etc) so that we can reach the consumers and make them feel as if they are a part of a something. Nobody wants to watch an ad, but do people mind experiencing one?

So we have new media, and smarter consumers. Another emerging trend in the industry is advertising education. How do we teach future industry people the industry? How do we teach ourselves? With things evolving daily, it has become impossible to figure out what to teach and how to teach it. Things I learned yesterday may be dated already. Still, we are working hard to evolve our learning and doing a good job of it, I think. Case in point: this conference.

It will be educational and inspirational. We will have men like Keith Reinhard, Bob Garfield and Joseph Jaffe talking about this, along with new, emerging industry stars. You don't want to miss it.

P.S. more new media was just invented.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ads: Dove Real Beauty

Here's a very thought-provoking and amazing Dove TV spot from Ogilvy Toronto and Reginald Pike.

I first saw this on adrants where the following questions are raised.

"Is this [photoshopping people into models for ads and magazines] wrong? Are we devaluing the appreciation of human beings by turning them into beautiful but freakishly unreal versions of themselves? Do we as an industry owe it to society to stop perpetuating the myth of beauty and its seeming importance over every other human attribute? The answers are unclear and likely answerable only in a fashion similar to that of abortion: individually and with respect to a person's individual situation. We, of course, are not, by far, the only industry that does this. Fashion and Hollywood play their part as well..."

Upon hearing that I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising, people sometimes bring up materialism, societal values, and ethics with me (by the way, it seems like very few people have heard of the adcouncil). I've heard varying viewpoints about whether advertising is powerful enough to impact society. On one hand, I've heard a professor say it isn't powerful enough; On the other hand, I've read about advertising agencies whose sole purpose is to mess with society, to change the status quo if you will.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ads: Nissan 4x4



Credit: TBWA/Paris

Also, on ihaveanidea, there's an interview with the Erik Vervoegen, the ECD of TBWA Paris. He has some very interesting answers. It seems like the French advertising culture is very different than the good old U S of A.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Chaos 2006 Future of Advertising Conference at UT-Austin



You Must Go.



AGENDA


DAY 1 - Friday, November 17

Welcome: Neal M. Burns, University of Texas at Austin, Conference Chair

"It's all about the story. It always was."
Introduction: Mark Yudof, Chancellor, The University of Texas System
Keynote: Keith Reinhard, CEO Emeritus, DDB World Wide and President, Business for Diplomatic Action

If, as research continues to show, customers are leaving newspapers, TV sets and magazines behind and turning instead to handheld mobile devices for the latest news, football scores, weather info, viewing of favorite shows and access to bookmarked blogs and webcasts - advertisers are probably not too far behind. Keith Reinhard brings a lifetime of experience including campaigns that defined eras and the vision needed for creating a world-wide creative service organization. His guidance for agencies of the 21st century builds upon his past - know your client's business and understand their customers.

DAY 2 -Saturday, November 18

New Media: What is New, What is Not
Allen Rosenshine, Chairman, BBDO Worldwide, New York
Panel Presentation 1

Getting The Big Idea Right. Fast!


The demands of current practice - from dealing with competitive tactical moves to the need to find comfort with media neutral decisions - call for faster ways to get to ideas and solutions, prioritize them, build consensus and set a strategy. Equally important is the addition and acceptance of qualitative information collected in new ways by agencies, advertisers and the academic community. Presentations and discussion by leaders in the field will describe new methods.

Panel Moderator:
J.W. Pennebaker, University of Texas at Austin
Presentation:
Roy Spence and Joseph Jaffe, GSD&M, Austin
Discussion:
Oscar Jamhouri, Integration-IMC, Nicosia and Singapore
Jonathan Carson, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, NYC



Lunch Presentation
"Education During a Time of Revolution"
Introduction: Roy Spence, Founding Partner, GSD&M, Austin
Keynote: Bob Garfield, Columnist, Advertising Age/Co-Host NPR's On the Media

Advertising education and practice were developed during times of long-term stability, where the lessons of yesterday had some applicability to today and tomorrow. The lessons of the past � and even current best practices � may not contain the answers we need now. And even if its not a full blown revolution, things are changing awfully fast. What will clients� expect? How will agencies respond? And what do we teach during this time of change? Bob continues the voyage initiated by his column and radio show and the threats to and concerns about sustaining the practice of advertising in this new cultural and technological milieu.


Panel Presentation 2

"Consumer Content and Ad Agency and Client Response"


Word-of-mouth (whose power we always knew) and then E-WOM began to clearly reduce the value of print and electronic media. Search engines gave way to personal websites that morphed to message boards, blogs and podcasts - overlaid by rss technology and a number of technical issues poorly understood by anyone over 40. Add to that a complex discussion of digital displays and the decline of up-front buys and newspaper ad inches. Consumers have redefined relevance - some think they have taken over and will soon give up; others think the change is here to stay - and apart from contests asking them to give us their best ad - most of us seem bereft. The differences between the last century and this time are profound and have spawned new and successful agency models. It's time to talk.

Panel Moderator:
Erik Hauser, Founder and President, Swivel Media, San Francisco
Panel Participants:
Cynthia Currence, American Cancer Society, Atlanta
Steve Hardwick, President and Managing Partner, Strawberry Frog
Joel Greenberg, GSD&M, Austin
Karl Spangenberg, ATT, New York
Todd "Turbo"Watson, IBM


Panel Presentation 3

Media Meltdown - Metrics, Models, and Margins

These, and other "M" terms will be reviewed along with a full list of the issues that are on the table.

It's about the ratings, the up front buys, and all the other changes facing media executives on both sides of the negotiating table. Presenting new achievements and challenges in the complex media environment that has developed is the theme of this panel. Several of those changing the face of media planning compose this exciting new group of advertising thinkers.

Panel Moderator:
Terry Daugherty, University of Texas at Austin
Panel Participants:
Frank Mulhern, Northwestern University, Evanston
Oscar Jamhouri, Integration-IMC, Nicosia and Singapore
Kate Niederhoffer, Nielsen Buzzmetrics, NYC
Maury Giles, GSD&M, Austin
Gary Stein, Ammo Marketing, San Francisco


Panel Presentation 4

The Tales We Tell. The Songs We Sing


The industry dictates creativity as king. And now a growing concern on effectiveness and ROI. Is it still about stories . . . Stories that are compelling and relevant? We need to understand the current culture that promotes consumer-generated content as well as brand building. How? Educators and industry experts will bring forth a lively discussion on the subject of teaching creativity, strategy and building plots.

Panel Moderator:
Nick Law, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, N.A., R/GA, New York
Panel Participants:
Sergio Alcocer, Latin Works, Austin
Sean Thompson, University of Texas at Austin
Mick McCabe, Leo Burnett, Chicago
Anne Benvenuto, R/GA
Jae Goodman, San Francisco
Tom Gabriel, Gabriel De Groot, Minneapolis



Panel Presentation 5

The Advertising Industry and Advertising Education: Bridging The Chasm


Why do these two parts of the equation seem so wide apart in terms of substantial involvement and significant financial support? Compared to traditional business and professional practice disciplines - law, medicine, engineering, physics - advertising departments throughout the country rarely receive the support from their industry colleagues needed for growth and well targeted instruction. The number of advertising and PR professorships established by industry can be counted on one hand and the efforts of Universities to bring industry experts to their campus for a semester of interaction and improved understanding are rare - if occurring at all. This large panel of educators and industry leaders explores why - candidly and without finger-pointing. Promise.

Panel Moderator:
Keith Reinhard, DDB World Wide, NYC
Panel Participants:
Stan Richards, TRG, Dallas
Janet Bustin, TracyLocke, Dallas
Steve Hardwick, Strawberry Frog, NYC
Tom Gabriel, Gabriel, de Grood, Bendt, Minneapolis
Manny Flores, Latin Works, Austin
Joseph Plummer, ARF / Columbia University, NYC
Roy Spence, GSD&M, Austin
McGhee Williams Osse. Burrell, Chicago

Andy Roddick vs. Pong


This is pretty cool and fun.
Credit: Ogilvy & Mather NY

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dieste Harmel & Partners

Dieste Harmel & Partners took a Gold, a Silver and a Bronze today at the New York Festival, taking home the most medals of any US Hispanic shop. The awards were for their work for Budweiser and for ED Bosques Clinic, a treatment center for eating disorders in Mexico.

TV commercials can be downloaded here from Mack's Adverb blog.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's that time of the "every two years"


Here are some interesting sites/campaigns to check out

Sean Thompson showed us Payattention.org in our Art Director's seminar.

Adfreak also linked to Slate a site that offers critiques and dissection of political ads.

PBS has a cool site/project about the :30 candidate that gives more background on political ads of the past.

And just because there hasn't been enough Bush-bashing, Moveon.org hosted a political advertising contest called Bush in 30 seconds. The Top 150 ads are now on the website.

Monday, October 02, 2006

An easy and cheap way to target kids


I was browsing the Target website just now and I saw that they carry a board game called Adverteasing. My first thought was what a great way to sell to all ages of consumers!

I wonder if there was any current client placement by agencies in the game. BBDO could've paid for Cingular: raising the bar, CP+B could've paid for Burger King: Have it your way, or DDB could've paid for Budweiser: True.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Microsoft fights back

To take on the 79% market share ipod, Microsoft has released the Zune digital music and video player.

And to take on youtube, they've released Soapbox.

Once Microsoft gets involved in online ventures, does it take away some of the, forgive my use of the word, hipness associated with them? The joy of youtube, craigslist, myspace, facebook, and other internet funzones is that they're started by everyday joes who simply had a great idea and a passion for that idea. People like going to these sites because they're "innocent" and for the masses.

Now, that Fox Corp. has bought myspace and facebook and youtube are accepting ads, does it diminish the fun factor of these sites? Once a corporation gets involved, it usually takes away the fun-loving entreprenurial feel of the venture.

Perhaps it might be the same with agencies (who are usually part of corporations) creating myspace pages and blogs for their clients.

From adage.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jeff Goodby speaks


Over at Room 116, Bryan Chiao has posted a thought-provoking article that Jeff Goodby wrote about the attention that your work achieves or as Bob Scarpelli calls it talk value. Since I can't excerpt it because it's a .png, here it is.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Top Ten List for Jr. Creatives

photo by Sanford Myers/The Tennesean

On Mack Simpson's Adverb Blog (UT ad grad and CD at Dieste Harmel) there is a wonderful and most excellent post with free advice for the budding jr. creative graduate or current student.

Everybody should take these to heart.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My tagline

Stuart Elliot wrote an article in the NY Times about how, in this day and age, advertising messages are becoming more personalized.

Is this a passing trend or is it here to stay? Some taglines I recall off the top of my head are Budweiser- True, Hummer- Like no other, and Jeep- Only in a Jeep.

Excerpted below.

May 2, 2006
Advertising
Nowadays, It's All Yours, Mine or Ours
By STUART ELLIOTT

My, my, my.

Madison Avenue has become obsessed with using the word "my" — along with "your" and "our" — in advertising slogans, as well as in the names of brands, products and even a new television network.

The trend is inspired by a desire by marketers to demonstrate that they understand changing consumer needs by, literally, putting the customer first. They're doing so in everything from the new network, to be called My Network TV, to Web addresses like mycokerewards.com to campaign themes like "My life. My card," for American Express.

"Brands are becoming more personalized and customized because consumers want brands on their terms," said Allen Adamson, managing director at the New York office of Landor Associates, a corporate identity consulting company owned by the WPP Group.

"Having it your way applies increasingly to all brands," Mr. Adamson said, referring to the longtime campaign theme for Burger King, which has recently been revived. "It's only natural that advertisers try to flag that they are more about serving up your brand on your terms."

But the trend carries a big risk, Mr. Adamson warned.

"The demand for customization and personalization is a moving target," he said. "If you're unable to deliver, if what you offer is really no different from everybody else, the claims will do more damage than good."

...Mycoke.com, which started as cokemusic.com, was renamed a year ago after research showed that "what people loved to do most is take the site and make it their own, sharing music and film with their friends," said Katie Bayne, senior vice president for Coca-Cola brands in North America, who is based in Atlanta.

...To be sure, the current crop of possessives is not the first from marketers. The Burger King entry, "Have it your way," dates to 1974, and in the 1950's, commercials for Rheingold beer featured a chorus of drinkers who robustly sang a song that began, "My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer."

But none of the top 10 ad slogans of the 20th century, selected by the trade publication Advertising Age in 1999, use "my" or "our" or "your." Most are from the perspective of the marketer or brand like "We try harder," for Avis; "Good to the last drop," for Maxwell House coffee; and "When it rains it pours," for Morton salt.

A turning point may have come in 1996, when Yahoo introduced a personalization service called My Yahoo (my.yahoo.com). It has grown to about 55 million unique users each month, said Meagan Busath, a spokeswoman for Yahoo in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The name was chosen to "indicate to people it's a site they can create for themselves and can be personal to them," she added.

The "My life. My card" campaign from American Express, created by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, part of WPP, began in November 2004.

"American Express is all about relationships with consumers," said Joanna G. Lambert, a spokeswoman for American Express in New York. "The 'My life. My card' campaign showcases the connection with our customers."...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Clinton is on facebook

Is having politicians on a social networking site necessarily a good thing? I'm wondering how facebook will affect their goal of promoting political activism. Besides, a true and active voter would look at the the candidates voting records and do more in-depth research than surf a facebook profile...right?



Facebook the Vote!
by Ezra Callahan 1:28am Friday, Sep 1

Facebook wants you...to make your voice heard this November. In the past if you happened upon Hillary Clinton or Arnold Schwarzenegger on Facebook, you'd have good reason to question the authenticity of the profile. If you search for them today, you're going to see something different.

We've now got about 1,600 profiles for candidates running for House and Senate seats and state governorships this November. These profiles are controlled by the politicians, so they can show you a side of themselves that you'd never see in TV spots or even on live debates.

Add candidates and campaign issues you support by going to the Election tab on the Edit Profile page.
We wanted to do something to increase the political voice of the people on Facebook, a group that tends to be on the younger side of the electorate and which is often underrepresented in Washington and state capitals. By bringing politicians to Facebook, you can engage with candidates on your turf, in ways that are familiar and meaningful to you. Where better for politicians to meet you guys than on the "series of tubes" where you spend so much time?...

Ezra Callahan is the product manager for this project.

The Desperate Loner: Why isn't Guerrilla advertising used more?




There's an interesting interview over at Ad-land about the use of guerilla advertising (streetvertising, assvertising, etc). I found this excerpt about staying on strategy to be most insightful.

db: You know, that bit about using or inventing new channels is interesting, but sometimes it seems as if that is the only thing you do when you "do guerrilla". Nicorette did these really nice enamel signs in the London Underground ten odd years ago, where they were placed right underneath the non smoking signs. Nicorette's sign read: "it's times like these you need Nicorette" (or words to that effect). There, the new channel is perfect for the target group but sometimes you see new media invented just for invention's its sake. Could you name a "right" channel and a "wrong" channel, and how does that happen?

Fredrik: Yes, often you see that people mess it up just by throwing out some fun happening at a town square without thinking. The key word is relevance. Then you'll meet the target group where it is so incredibly spot on. If for example, you are going to create advertising in the toilet it's an advantage if the company and the message has something to do with shit. And all that. SMS advertising is something that I personally don't believe in much.
Advertising on the back of parking tickets isn't always good either, although right now were actually doing something where an extremely relevant message would fit nicely on a ticket. Those "home made" notes that are stuck everywhere and are difficult to remove aren't that much fun. I was never a big fan of "wild posters" either. What I do like are things like our "price tag" for hyresgästsföreningen, as it was distributed via the members magazine and they themselves put the tags up on their doors to engage other people in their building. There's been an inflation in post-it notes and I don't want to use that again no matter how relevant it might be.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

various

click on images to enlarge






from Adverbox , Houtlust , and another Houtlust post.

Monday, August 28, 2006

One Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Destruction

I'm not going to bring any politics into The Ranch so I'm just going to post this GSD&M created TV spot as a tribute. Although I did notice that the NY Times coverage of the White House's role in it was different in severity than other newspapers.

The singer, I believe, is New Orleans native Aaron Neville (sp?).

Advice: Use dancing bears in ads for success

click on image to enlarge.




Scott Johnson, the ECD of Tribal DDB Dallas, wrote a very pertinent and interesting article about modern day consumers and advertising in Adweek (02/27/06). I really like his style of writing; it's succinct and to the point.

I particularly liked this excerpt:

Technology has made concepts like accuracy and accountability almost quaint. Consumers understand this better than most advertising agencies.

from brand flakes for breakfast

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Be a hamster

I was watching Yahoo's The 9 web show, which counts down nine cool things on the web, and there's a crazy new toy called a Zorb. You put yourself in it and you can roll around like hamsters do in their toy balls. Another cool thing about Zorb is that the US headquarters are located in Austin.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Houdini Solution

There's a new book, to be released Aug. 31st, about creativity out by Ernie Schenck. Does his name sound familiar? It's because he's the guy who writes all those insightful articles in Communication Arts. Based on his credentials alone, I'm thinking this book will be exciting and helpful.

Because it's not out yet, here's the official book description on Amazon.com.

Book Description

Transform the shackles of conformity into the tools for generating amazing, unconventional results

Houdini performed his greatest tricks within the confines of a box. Now one of the advertising industry's brightest and most innovative stars shows you how to do likewise: to use the power of thinking inside the box to unleash the power of innate creativity.

Who hasn't been extremely creative when boxed into an exceedingly tight deadline or budget? The Houdini Solution introduces a radical theory of how to generate more focused and powerful ideas by accepting, and even thriving on, constraints instead of being controlled by them. Filled with inspiring anecdotes and intriguing exercises that will yield surprising results, this book will spur you on to unleash the full power of your creativity, work magic in the workplace, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Smirnoff Tea Partay



Agency: BBH NY

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mass Customization


I attended a seminar at my internship today on the concept of the "Return on Customer" . It was a lot of marketing speak, which I find fascinating, but probably would bore most creatives to tears. However, one example was brought up that piqued my interest.

The speaker, Martha Rogers , brought up a case study on Tesco (basically a UK version of Wal-mart). Apparently, Tesco manages a database of over 11 million customers and sends out 5 million versions of their quarterly newsletter. That means no more than 3 people receive the same newsletter. Dog owners get a newsletter with dog food coupons, families with children receive discounts off diapers, etc.

Now obviously, there were not 5 million different strategies and creative executions. However, as the industry trends towards mass customization, I'm wondering when the day will come that creatives are handed the task of generating dozens of entirely different ads to target different groups. We already do it for various ethnic groups, but what if we drilled down deeper and started segmenting our creative based on geography, purchasing behavior, etc. Will the creative suffer or will it only get better? Can you imagine being handed a creative brief that asks you to target Petco customers who own a hamster and visited the store X number of times in the past month? Media placement can already be achieved at that level: is it only a matter of time before creative catches up?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The new kinds of college kids have $$$

In today's Dallas Morning News, there's an article about how Stephen F. Austin University and The Univ. of Texas at Austin are now affiliated with retirement homes that are being built in Nacogodoches ("Nack" as the locals call it) and Lake Travis in Austin. This unique arrangement allows for retirees to feel "reenergized by the college culture" and to experience college culture through classes and student life.

For decades, marketers and advertisers have targeted the Generation X and now Generation Y crowd. The biggest problem with these audiences is that they don't really have disposable income due to lack of salary. However, these retirees do have a rather large amount of dough.

How much dough separates the twenty-year old college student from the seventy-five year old college student?

Try $300,000.00

(estimate includes student loans, 401K, and pensions)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Everyone knows sex sells...

or does it? New advertising campaigns for new york real estate and condo developers has gotten the attention of passerbys and critics alike asking whether lustful advertising is a smart strategy or just a lazy tactic that "lacks creativity and alienates viewers.”
it seems as of late, there have been more companies toying with the idea of including the sex factor in its advertising, disconnected or not, and some more traditional (well, expected) products, such as women's underwear, contemplating branding without the sex. do some products just work better with sex? is it time to test sexual taboo boundaries with our audience? or do some products have no business using sex to sell its products? in the article, deborah morris and linda kaplan thaler are both asked their opinions on the matter. . .

Monday, July 17, 2006

Which Came First: the Chicken or the Advertiser?


We're all familiar with the age-old industry debate: Does advertising influence society or does it merely reflect it?

If recent marketing efforts are any indicator, it would suggest the latter, as marketers try desperately (and somewhat unsuccessfully ) to latch on to consumer-generated trends. Goliath retailer Wal-mart has attempted to re-create it's own MySpace . Both Yahoo! and Mentos are launching their own consumer-generated media contests this week. In addition, marketers are showing a growing interest in 'casual games' .

Will these efforts be fruitful? Now that the consumer generated "create your own ad/video" phenomenon seems to have run it's course, it seems doubtful. Perhaps the question is not a matter of which came first but rather which serves a better purpose? Isn't advertising far more effective when it influences rather than imitates behavior?

Your thoughts/examples...?

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LEGAL STUFF: The views expressed on The Ranch are not officially representative of the The University of Texas at Austin. © 2008. All rights reserved. Founded by David Wen, with Silver Cuellar's help, on a lonely February 14, 2006 in Austin, TX for the benefit of all.