Tag Archives: ad age

Marketing, Consulting and Human Emotions

For you PR and marketing types,  read “Bud’s Big Blunder: Letting Consultants Steer The Brand in Advertising Age. about Budweiser’s failed “drinkability” campaign. The article explores Anheuser-Busch’s hiring of the consulting agency, Cambridge Group and what happens when a portfolio management group extends outward and creates problems with the creative aspect of marketing.

At the core of the piece is the  division between linear thinking and human emotion.

Actually, the best part of the article is the comment section.  There are 44 comments, many in-depth, from marketing and consulting professionals which hit on numerous aspects of consulting, the creative part of advertising, and methods.

It’s interesting to note, too, that most of the comments come from seasoned professionals, which translates into middle aged white men used to creating brands and massaging minds in 20th century  traditional  print and broadcast advertising.

Despite the mildly Jurassic framework, most of the ideas are still valid,  especially from those who hold forth that emotion sells.

This is a must-read for PR folks in any field.  Most of you have been in similar discussions range from boring and silly to maddening (as in “how can I, with gentle electronics, eliminate his vocal cords?”).

Anyway, it’s a great set of pitches, including offenses, defenses, accusations , and occasional chest-thumping.  There’s some humor, a lot of anger and  just about every business-related cliche ever invented.

Unfortunately for the “Drinkability” creators, almost everyone agreed that it was a bad campaign.

This is a discussion among the real Mad Men.  I sat through it imagining a chat room full of cyber smoke swirling in slow motion, Pandora piano music in the background accompanied by the clink of Second Life martini glasses.

Ideas and emotions = great drama every time.


Putting The Public Back in Public Relations: Part 2

I enter part two of the review of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations reminding you that I think the book  is  valuable.

Putting the Public neatly summarizes the demise of the traditional media and the rise of the social media and PR 2.0.

It’s  ironic that the authors understand and capture  well the new media and the need to communicate ideas  in a quick, concise, clear way that’s tailored to our particular audience, and it takes them 300 pages to do it.

-A 300-page novel is not outmoded.

-A 300 page book on social media is.  With more thought and a good editor it could have been at least 50 fewer pages.

-As soon as it’s published, any references to Robert Scoble’s posts, or Chris Anderson’s blacklist is not news.  In the PR 2.0 world, this stuff is ancient history.

Granted, the  book is both a guidebook and history. But 300 pages is still too long.

The authors repeat things over and over.  I’m sure they’re doing it to drive home their points.  But I, like others, am reading this book because I already read the leading blogs,  listen to podcasts (which is where I heard an interview with them, leading me to buy the book), engage in Twitter, read AdAge and Wired and and follow Scoble.

In the larger picture, these are niggling complaints.  The authors have done a service to a profession in profound evolution, providing a pioneering work that’s  a textbook for the future of PR.

As the authors point out, we’re in the time of a huge transition.  PR is in an era of telling stories and being a part of a community that we understand and contribute to.

With each chapter I found myself grabbing a pencil to mark passages where Brian and Deirdre offer up insight, truth and a clearer way into PR’s future.

Just as importantly, I’ve subscribed to their blogs and sites to keep up with the conversation that they initiated.

Some Favorite Sites, Part 1

I just discovered For Immediate Release on a Blog High Ed post.  I don’t remember whose post it was so I apologize.  FIR has been around for years and simply eluded me but it immediately became one of my favorite podcasts.  It’s hosted by Neville Hobson in England and Shel Holtz in California.  It’s intelligent, informative and full of news about marketing online, the latest developments in the technology and the emerging media.  It airs Mondays and Thursdays.

I also listen religiously to No Agenda, hosted by Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak.   Curry, a 1980s  MTV VeeJay turned entrepreneur was one of the pioneers in developing and promoting podcasting.   The two men are the odd couple of podcasting.  John is knowledgable, practical and a bit grumpy.  (In fact the contributing editor of PC  world  has another podcast called Cranky Geeks.)  Adam is a freewheeling guy whose sexual references and occasional R-rated language belies his extensive knowledge of the field and his entrepreneurial genius. (He’s the cofounder of Podshow, now mevio.)

Their niche is finding news that mainstream media ignores.  Their opinions, projections and conclusions are more often than not accurate and sometimes frightening.  They are refreshingly neither Republican or Democrat so the Obama adminsitration comes under the same scrutiny as the Republicans.  In a Democracy, we need this.

For fun I also listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, the smartest, wittiest show anywhere.  Hosted by Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell the band of regulars and guests are unabashedly liberal with minds and tongues are rapier sharp.  It’s the only show that almost every week makes me laugh out loud.

I also read Ad Age online which remains the bellwether in the now volatile advertising world.

I continue to read and promote Blog High Ed, not just because I’m a member of the BHE family but because it remains a forum for a diverse group of bloggers who not only care about higher ed marketing and websites but who are also some of the sharpest of the cutting edge folks in the field. Several have gone on to start their own businesses and are fast emerging leaders in the profession.

* * *

I’ve written in the past about words that are way overused.  I have come to absolutely cringe at  “literally.”  I think I’ve included it in my hated words list but I’m telling you, I hear this word every day by smart, educated people from FIR to Fresh Air.  What was once a good, upstanding, perfectly respectable word has become the Slumdog of the English language.  It has become mindless filler!  Or, as dictionary.com says, it now means “virtually” instead of it’s original meaning of “actually.”

I’m not going to change anything by complaining.  I’ll wait for it to run its course, like “irony” did a few years ago.

That’s all for today.


Marketing in a Post Media World

While I spend my time and research on what’s happening with traditional media and how I can best market our college to our various audiences in the wake of media implosions, here are a few articles that give some insights into the near future of marketing and advertising.

In the April 2 issue of Advertising Age, Steve Rubel interviews Jeff Jarvis on his new book What Would Google Do? While Jarvis mainly talks about the role of ad agencies and PR agencies, the insights for all of us into the direction that marketing and advertising is taking is fascinating.

“Google sells performance instead of scarcity (a lesson the rest of media must learn in this post-scarcity economy),” Jarvis says. ” Because it rewards relevance, it encourages better, more effective advertising.”

While author Bob Garfield’s commentary piece is long, “Chaos Scenario” gives a great overview of the demise of traditional print and broadcast media, as well as the slight decline in value of such online monsters as Yahoo and Facebook.  There are a lot of good –and startling– insights into what’s happening and what’s about to happen.

Meanwhile, if you ever wondered if blogs would really replace newspapers, here may be the answer, or at least the direction.  The Huffington Post says it plans to hire a group of investigative journalists.  Thier first job will be to develop stories about the economy.  It’s not hard to envision thousands of laid off reporters virtually lining up for online journalism jobs that actually pay.  I found this report in Podcasting News.

Finally, Google is using Twitter to sell ads.  After you read that, you can visit writer David Berkowitz’s musings on why  Google should buy Twitter.  Both are in the April 4 issue of Ad Age.

NOTE:  I posted this Sunday, April 5.  On Monday’s  The Times Leader ran a story that CBS affiliate WYOU in Scranton, PA is scrapping its news department, laying of 14 reporters, production and promotion people.

Obama Named Ad Age Marketer of the Year

This one took me by surprise, though it shouldn’t have.  Yes, Barak Obama was voted Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year.  Before you hit the link to the article, try to guess what brands made the top five this year.

Oh, and make sure you read the comments, too.

Let me know what you think of the choices.

And finally, let me know what you think of the comment made by John Fine, marketing and media columnist for Business Week.

In the next post, I’ll share my experience with  a company whose products I love, but has no idea how to sell on the Net.

Blogs, Microsoft, Apple & Brands

I follow a lot of blogs outside the higher ed realm, searching for new ideas, different ways of approaching problems, and new trends.  Here are a few from Ad Age I thought BHE folks might be interested in.

10 Reasons Your Corporation Shouldn’t Blog is right on.  As usual, the responses are just as insightful.

Microsoft Vs Apple Fight Enters New Round is a fascinating look at how Microsoft is trying to change its image by ripping off  (or  riding on) Apple. The first “rounds,” by the way, were the Bill Gates/Seinfeld ads which went viral (as planned, I suspect).  While most professionals felt the ads failed, I thought the concept was genius.  Judging by responses, I’m in the minority.

Here’s the link to the article about the first ad.

Why genius?  The concept of Bill Gates satirizing himself, being a straight man to Seinfeld, takes guts but it also shows Gates with a nice comic (read “human”) touch.  Also, it was developed for the Web where it hit more viewers than any TV spot.
The second spot was even better and elicited this article, . . .an Ad About Nothing.

While the videos are clever, I’m most interested in the writer’s take on it, as well as the comments, revealing other pros’ thoughts, and more importantly, their feelings.  Professionals actually get worked up when talking about Microsoft and Apple!
One of the comments mirrors my own feeling that Apple is not selling computers and iPods.  Apple sells a lifestyle.
The articles/comments provide provocative insight into the competitive, uncertain world of today’s advertising and Apple’s success in creating a brand as a way of life.
Isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

Visionary Marketing, Ethics, Student Blogs. . .

Being on my back in a brace for possibly three months has been an interesting experience.  It can be solitary confinement or temporary liberation.  Like anything, the quality of your reality is a state of mind.  I’ve had a lot of time to research, read and realize that no matter how much time one has for the Web, it’s like going through stars in a galaxy only to find there are a million more galaxies.

You can get lost in space on the Web.

But in all my explorations I did stumble upon one of the best articles I’ve read on the Web, marketing and the direction things are taking.  It’s long but Bob Garfield is one of the visionaries in his field.  It’s worth your while to read. We’ll see if facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg takes his advice.  I wonder if any of us will take his advice?

And then there’s the post on the PR Junkie blog about Sara Palin’s writing style and what it reveals.  it begins “Call it amoral or disgusting, perhaps even illegal, but thanks to a group of hackers. . . .”  Both the post and the responses are thought-provoking and  should be of interest to PR folks and anyone dealing with the Web, communications and privacy issues.

Thanks to my news director who forwarded this to me, I see there are other pros in the field who occasionally use the term douche bag.  This editor found himself in the middle of a controversy.

Finally, Kyle has a good post on first year student blogs at Wofford. I’m wondering, Kyle, and others who have student blogs, if you could give an update on how you choose students, how much you monitor content (I’m all for letting them write what they want, within reason) and what the results are.  How do you measure the success or effectiveness of each blog? I’d like anyone who deals with student blogs to weigh in on this one.