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Op-Ed: What The Hell Is Sustained Social Marketing?

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Advertising In A Recession: The Art Of A Sustained Social Marketing Campaign”
By Managing Director Brian Marr, along with creative directors/co-founders Ian Cohen and Cal McAllister – all of The Wexley School For Girls

So, how can you be considered a serious marketing company without creating a new catch phrase? You can’t, so here it is Mr. or Mrs. High-level thinker: “Sustained social marketing” – it’s a phrase we developed at Wexley School for Girls to describe our approach to answering today’s marketing and advertising demands. Actually we generally don’t sit around creating marketing phrases for ourselves, but we couldn’t help ourselves this time. Based on the explosion of social media and the line disappearing between what people used to call “above the line” and “below the line,” we’ve had to continually adapt to what integration means.

When we discuss sustained social marketing with our clients, we’re talking about a combination of highly integrated traditional and new media tactics over a sustained amount of time. It involves a foundation of social engagement with your online core, independent of advertising campaigns. Waves of traditional media, PR, viral, interactive and grassroot/guerrilla efforts are fully integrated, architected together and rolled out over a predetermined period.

It’s not rocket science. Or maybe it is, but in today’s economic climate, it’s even more important to make certain any investments are working together to achieve maximum return. With all the social marketing opportunities, it’s easy to get diluted. Though we never make mistakes ourselves, we have witnessed some and wanted to share some of the lessons that can be learned:

Lesson #1: Just doing a viral video as a less expensive and unexpected way to reach your customers was something that used to work. That was way back in the 2000′s when they were novel and people weren’t putting out the quantity we see on video sharing sites today. Now, what’s it up to, 60,000 new videos a day? Give us a break. You’re tossing a needle into a haystack. Viral still works, but it must be supported with an integrated campaign to be successful. That is, unless you’re extremely lucky.

Lesson #2: Social media engagement can’t be treated like a traditional campaign; it’s one of the fundamentals of marketing. If you’re a marketer, this means building social media into your day-to-day marketing strategy and potentially hiring someone, or a team, dedicated to running it. That’s where the “sustained” comes from. A media buy used to do it with repetition. The landscape has changed.

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Big Omaha Is Coming

More than likely, you won’t be going to Cannes this year, so why not make a play for Omaha?

This year on May 7th and May 8th, think about heading out to Omaha for the BIG Omaha Conference, which has a mission to “not only think, but act on what is possible here in the heart of the Midwest.” Isn’t everything possible in the Midwest? No matter. The speakers list includes: Gary Vaynerchuk, wine expert; Jason Fried, President and Founder of 36Signals; Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress; Adriana Gascoigne, director of corporate communications for Hi5, et al.

Get in on the action for $199. Register here.

More: Can Planners Be The New Creatives?

The Ad Club Reunion Cometh

The Ad Club today has announced it will be holding its first ever “‘Agency Reunion’, bringing together agency executives from multiple generations, companies, career paths and markets.”

The event is to be held on June 22 at the TDBankNorth Garden in Boston. Guests will list every agency they ever worked out and be connected to long lost pals. Here’s a chance to see that account executive you crushed out on from your very first ad gig. But seriously, this is a networking event on crack.

“In this economy, networking is more crucial than ever,” said Kathy Kiely, President of The Ad Club. Ain’t that the truth – employed or not?

Tickets are $200 if you can afford it, $140 if you kind of can’t. Get all the details here.

More: New Agency Alert: The Haz Agency!

Advertising Globalization: Don’t Mess With Mao, Hitler’s Probably Okay

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There seems to be more and more ads that are offending not their original country of display, but some other far flung nation. It’s like people forget that the internet is a global tool. Even if you have a very nationalistic surfing pattern, consider that the rest of the world is running around cyberspace at full international tilt.

Consider a recent German safe sex commercial for Doc Morris Pharmacies created by Grey Worldwide Frankfurt. The print ad shows Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong as a sperm cell alongside Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. Naturally, many Chinese were upset considering the official party line is that Mao was “30% wrong and 70% right.” He’s a hero. For future reference, you don’t mess with Mao. Other companies have been down this road with similar results. Peugeot Citroen had to apologize for using a cross eyed Mao in advert in Spain.

These days, it’s best to consider that your ad is going to seen by everyone. Make a check list even – does it matter if I offend all of Australia by making a joke of Hugh Jackman? Probably not. The billion plus consumers of China? Might want to think that one through.

More: Because You’re Girlfriend Bores Your Shitless

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Crispin Grins: Burger King To Spend, Spend, Spend

Burger King has said that it will be beefing up its ad budget in 2010. Look for a 20 to 25 percent increase from the restaurant to the national level. It’s Burger King FTW, kiddos.

The brand’s lead agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has recently been cranking out work featuring those oh-so Crispin pugilistic undertones. This, my friends, is their sweet spot and its looks like there’s going to be a lot more where that came from. Good for Crispin. We wonder if the agency had any hand in pointing out that during a recession it’s time to shine and take advantage of weakened competitors and lower media prices? That, and Burger King has seen a drop off in store visits causing a drip in their stock price. Yeah. That, too.

More: Time For The Waambulance: Steak n Shake Goes To Court With Ad Agency

And Now A Few Moments With The Unemployed… Part V

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Join us as we follow one man’s journey through the windblown plains of joblessness. Meet Todd Beeby, a recently laid off NYC-based writer/creative director.

Cue the classic ‘Loverboy’ tune, modified for the recession: “Most Everybody’s Working for the Weekend!” I’ve gotten some guff in the comment section of these blog entries about how I’m a hack, not talented enough to keep my job, that I have poor penmanship, and am too good-looking. I respectfully disagree. Still, some folks had valid points that perhaps I should take this opportunity to find a new profession or a more meaningful outlet for my energies.

But that is what’s so challenging about unemployment: you KNOW the time off is a good thing in that it gives you time to reflect – that maybe, just maybe, there’s something BETTER for you to be doing out there. But the prevailing thoughts (90%) revolve around paying the bills, especially in expensive cities like NYC; thus regaining “corporate tool” status becomes practical and necessary. But is that such an awful fate? As much as we might knock our jobs day-to-day, there’s still something about them that we enjoy (beyond the paychecks). For me, it was the camaraderie, unified sense of purpose, and free color copier. Does what we do (or did) have much meaning outside of our little world of advertising? Not really, but you have to admit, it can be a pretty amusing way to make a living. So how do those of us on parole get back inside the jail?

We all know that in these tough times, open job positions are scarce (unless you’re a Somali with solid piracy skills). How can you stand out in a growing crowd of job-hunters? With UNconventional job-hunting strategies, that’s what! After all, we work in a creative industry where goofiness, childish behavior and unprofessionalism are actually rewarded. So let’s put some of that creativity advertising is known for into finding a job! It’s a fact that all advertising is responsible, truthful, and never exaggerates a product’s efficacy. That said, using the products an agency sells to sell yourself can be a brilliant way to get noticed! Consider these bold, clutter-busting, in-your-face (yet TOTALLY unproven) self-promotional methods:

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David Beckham Takes His Shirt Off For Motorola [Video]

David Beckham is the latest face for Motorola. Mr. Posh Spice is also the rep for Adidas, Giorgio-Armani, Gillette, and Pepsi. Are we missing anyone? Who cares? Check out that bod. Too bad he’s got one of the weirdest voices we’ve ever heard.

It’s going to take a lot more than Beck’s butt to overshadow the way more juicy scandal going between former Chief Financial Officer Paul Liska and the cellphone maker. Add to this very public legal battle Motorola’s fourth quarter sales figures, which fell by half, and their posting of an operating loss of $595 million and well… ass just ain’t going to cut it.

More: Samsung Propel Spot Highlights Ozzy’s Inability to Speak

Lessons From The Memphis Ad Market

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One Memphis agency is taking the bull by the horns. Carpenter/Sullivan/Sossaman CS2, an agency based out of Memphis Tennessee, is actually expanding during the fiscal downturn. They’re attributing this success to the shop’s strategic plan implemented back in 2006 – diversification. Ah, yes. That’s the big lesson of the economic crisis – diversify your assets. Now, the agency has a healthy stream of revenue that allows them to operate from a more aggressive position.

“We didn’t have any large exposure to any one particular client or business,” managing principal Brian Sullivan recently told the Memphis Daily News. “All agencies are limited to one client per category or industry, so we didn’t have any real serious exposure in any one industry. They’ve all been hit differently.”

Meanwhile, another agency, Chandler Ehrlich has is closing its doors after 32 years. The agency pulled out all the stops to save the business from lay-offs to relocating to a smaller office. Previously, were paying rent on a posh 20,000 feet space they were hoping to grow into. They never did. The economy squeezed growth right out of the company. Chandler Ehrlich will be closed by the middle of this year.

Mark Henry who owns the Memphis shop Signature Advertising said: “When times are not so good, it takes two hands on the wheel and you have to pay attention to your profit and loss, your income, these ‘boring’ business things that aren’t creative and advertising-oriented. That’s the key to whoever’s going to survive and whoever’s going to prosper.”

True. True.

More: How Not to Manage Layoffs

Op-Ed: The Trolls Of Madison Avenue By Alan Wolk

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The Trolls Of Madison Avenue
By Alan Wolk

Advertising has never been a gentle business. But the growth of the social web has made this tendency towards vitriol and negativity quite visible. The resulting image is not a flattering one and creates an impression that advertising is a failing industry staffed by bitter has-beens and frightened overpaid frauds.

Which I don’t think is the least bit true, but that’s the impression being giving.

Whether it’s the sneering angry dismissal of any campaign that veers from the tried-and-true (e.g. Skittles, Whopper Sacrifice) or the anonymous vitriol spewed at not-very well-known co-workers (witness the fairly pointed personal attacks on David Armano, Noah Brier and Joseph Jaffe in this week’s Adweek alone) the creative ad community seems determined to showcase its worst side. Now to be clear, I’m not suggesting a love fest. Just that we talk about each other – and each other’s ideas – in a voice that doesn’t suggest the opposing party has just murdered one’s entire family in cold blood.

But why are ad people so angry? What is it about the culture that encourages a junior high school like atmosphere of intolerance and insults? It’s a culture that, as Brian Morrissey has pointed out, is completely alien to Silicon Valley, where experimentation is embraced and personal attacks kept to a bare minimum. And the answer to that question matters because if you’re a really talented, creative college graduate, why on earth would you even vaguely consider working in an industry filled with snippy small-minded haters?

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So why? Why continue to embrace behavior that makes the traditional ad industry look petty and small and irrelevant, exactly the sort of people a potential client would want to avoid at any cost?

I have my suspicions, many of which were echoed when I asked this question online yesterday in a markedly different forum. But as SuperSpy and I were discussing that conversation, we decided it would be interesting to throw it out to the anonyrati who comprise a majority of the Agency Spy audience and see what you all came up with.

So why all the nastiness? Where does it come from? Does it bother you? Or is it all so commonplace, you don’t even notice it anymore?

- Alan Wolk runs The Toad Stool consultancy and is a social media/ad blogger, as well as an Adweek writer.

More: See All Of This Week’s Op-Eds

Bayard’s New Digi-Shop Gets Some Wins

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Bayard Advertising has announced wins for its newly created interactive agency, 21st and Wonder. Since launching in July 2008, the digi-shop has picked up work from HBO, McDonalds, Starz, LucasFilm, Sony Music and Top Cow Productions.

Interesting that a newly launched shop is taking home some business during this fiscal nonsense. Congrats!

More: San Fran Agency News: Mergers and New Hires

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