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Archives: March 2008

If You’re Going To Talk The Talk W+K…

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W+K hired Jason Clement as their director of search. Seems like Jason might have his work cut out for him beginning with the agency’s own website. Tribble, the blog devoted to advertising agencies and their SEM/SEO capabilities (or lack there of) has taken a closer look at the Wieden website. Ah, the digital era is just to fabulous, no?

“The site fails to rank for it’s industry terms such as Advertising Agency or Ad Agency . It appears that W+K is spamming as well, with misspellings to boot.”

Get a look at their source code and read further analysis here.

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Plan This

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The call for entries is out for the 2008 4A’s Jay Chiat Planning Awards. The awards celebrate the contribution of planners, which is (if you didn’t know) a very tough gig. Hard to get into and hard to be good at. The competition is open to all from digital to strategy shops. All you need to enter is:

1. A completed entry form

2. Written Case Study

3. Three CDs, each containing a set of creative materials. Each Creative CD/DVD
must contain a single copy of the Written Case Study in PDF or Word format.

Only submissions where the media has run at some point since January 2006 may enter and they really need to have run. No faking the funk, yeah?

Don’t Believe In Global Warming? The Martin Agency Is Here To Help.

Al Gore has unveiled his new $300m advertising blitz in an attempt to force a stronger debate on climate change during the U.S. presidential elections. If you recall, Gore selected The Martin Agency who beat out Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Young & Rubicam and Crispin Porter + Bogusky for the account.

The Nobel laureate appeared on 60 Minutes to roll out the effort also announced that he will be donating a share of his personal fortune to the campaign and his Nobel prize money.

“We all share the exact same interest in doing the right thing on this,” he told CBS. “Are we destined to destroy this place that we call home, planet earth? I can’t believe that that’s our destiny. It is not our destiny. But we have to awaken to the moral duty that we have to do the right thing and get out of this silly political game-playing about it. This is about survival.”

For more on his 60 minutes appearance, go here or just watch the video. The first television advertisements, which are to begin airing on broadcast networks as well as cable starting on Wednesday, will pair up the most unlikely partners in the movement to address global warming. One spot features the Reverend Al Sharpton sharing a sofa with Pat Robertson in a bid to make global warming a non-partisan issue.

Part Six: Social Media And The Ad Biz

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Advertising world – meet danah boyd, a PhD candidate at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley) and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She got her Master’s at MIT’s Media Lab. Her current research focuses on how people negotiate a presentation of self to unknown audiences in mediated contexts. In particular, her dissertation examines how American teenagers socialize in networked publics like MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga and YouTube. In the past, she studied blogging, social network sites, tagging, and other forms of social media. She’s an expert. If you haven’t checked our her paper on Facebook and MySpace users, read it here.

As part of AS’ series on social media, we asked the very in demand Danah two questions regarding SNS, considering that advertising agencies are on it like white on rice. Hopefully, it’ll offer you a little insight on how to best approach these networks.

“What do you think are the biggest mistakes that brands make when attempting to connect with users of social networking sites specifically?”

“Social network sites are “a place for friends.” Most users, especially youth, have no interest in being contacted by brands. That said, there is great value to having a brand identity there so that when users want to look you up, they can. The only way to be truly relevant in the context of SNS is to provide something that they want. This is why movie promotions like X-Men and Transformers worked – both included access to new features. It’s also why promotions can drive more traffic than generic profiles. But, frankly, most brands don’t belong on most social network sites as anything other than a digital representation for look-up and potential identity-driven friending. I honestly think it’s foolish that so many marketing gurus are encouraging brands to jump in and friend folks – that’s more likely to make enemies (and fill your network with spammers) than do any good unless you are a brand that is completely relevant to the population in a sociable context. I think that most brands make mistakes because they don’t understand the social dynamics. Think of MySpace/Facebook as a public hangout space. When is it socially acceptable to go up to a group of friends hanging out at a pub or having a picnic in the park? If you treat it that way, the boundaries are much more logical. If you have something relevant to add to the conversation, you might be asked to pull up a seat/join the mat. If not, you will be seen as sketchy and annoying. You are always welcome in the backdrop, but don’t expect to be included just because you’re there. And be careful.. there’s a fine line between being an active participant on an SNS and being seen as a spammer. You’re often better off being a legitimate participant (a.k.a. buying ads) than trying to coldcall folks.”


And, what do you envision is the evolution of social networking sites?

“Mobile. If the carriers wold stop getting in the way.”

Did you hear that? Mobile. Start working on it now. Unlocking is rampant. Carriers will eventually, (I’d argue sooner rather than later), be forced to set their users a bit more free. In any case, you should be practicing with say, Sprint’s new GPS network and Verizon’s Loopt. As Ice Cube says, “You can do it, put your ass into it.” Seriously.

WhoIs: Christine Fruechte And Colle+McVoy

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In February, we mentioned that Christine Fruechte had ascended to the top spot of agency, Colle+McVoy. At the time, we couldn’t find a lot of folks who has either worked at the agency or knew some background on Christine. Now, we have some info. First, the agency just got dropped from a review for creative/media duties for the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, which has an estimated ad spend of $10-12 million. The shop also helped sandwich shop Ebert & Gerbert’s celebrate their 20th by blowing out their candles via a cannon from 180 feet away, so you know, they’re busy.

Now for Christine.Her father is a psychic entertainer and she’s been on stage with the Amazing Kreskin and Doug Henning.She’s a native of St. Paul and attended the University of Minnesota. Hey, she’s a home town gal, though she once worked at an agency in Honolulu. Christine was studying art when she stumbled into an course on advertising. Like many who have come before her, she took up the advertising torch and ran with it. She has son named… Kermit. Right, and a son with a less comical name, Jack. She’s giver spending time on the boards of Free Arts Minnesota and Cultural Jambalaya and as an active member of the Young President’s Organization.

Her advice? “The best way to predict the future is to create it. Believe in yourself and be a person of action and integrity.”

That’s some good advice people.

Goodby On Riney

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Jeff Goodby has put fingers to keypad and penned an obit for the departed Hal Riney for AdAge.

“Riney loved characters, individuals, people who thought for themselves. I’m not so sure he loved mankind all that much in the larger sense. He was famously grumpy and irascible. But to get inside his friendship was to be in one of the most predictable places imaginable. He was able to capture optimism about this country that bordered on sentimental. In this place were all too many dogs and pickup trucks and distant harmonicas on the wind. It was an unrealistically nostalgic portrait, but I’m convinced that Hal believed this optimistic readiness was still inside each of us somewhere, even today. It was something that, as an American, you wanted to believe in so badly it ached.”

It’s really quite lovely.

“Someone asked me yesterday how Rich and I feel about having him gone, and I thought of John McEnroe saying that when Björn Borg retired from tennis, the game wasn’t fun anymore. Not that we’re John McEnroe; we’re more like Ray Spencer, the third man on my high-school tennis team who could surprise you now and then. But Riney was certainly the Borg of his time, whacking those hard topspin things at you mercilessly. Just try coming to the net.

I miss it already. And it’ll only get worse.”

A Lesson In Ethics: From A Miami Advertising Agency

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“Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell/
About one small agency you don’t know so well/
It started way back in history/
With a writer, a client, and Miami – see/”

Client for an Australian bank is meeting with a creative team at a small-ish Miami agency. Client says to Jewish writer:

“If you want inspiration on how to persuade people, you should read Hitler’s Mein Kampf — His words inspired millions!”

Jewish writer walks out of room. The agency doesn’t say anything to client, but later takes the writer off of the account. Now, I’m sure that writer didn’t want to be on the account anyway, but I’m wondering… do you think the agency should of resigned the client, said something? The floor is open for your comments.

Checking In With Nina Disesa

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On a whim, we decided to check in on our best friend Nina DiSea, Chairman and chief creative officer McCann-Erickson. You remember her, right? She’s the one who thinks that anonymous bloggers and those who post comments on them should all be shoved into hell. Nina is also the author of a book called “Seducing The Boys Club” that comes with an associated spiritless blog where, that’s right! Anonymous comments like the ones on her post about Hillary Clinton (above) are piling up. Nope, nothing to do with blog, but it did make me chuckle.

What I missed was that the New York Times reviewed her book. That might be because Nina has yet to comment on the Times’ gentle scrutiny. Let us fill you in, yeah? Nina’s book was reviewed along side another title, “What Men Don’t Tell Women About Business” by Christopher V. Flett . From the Times:

“Ms. DiSesa, the chairwoman of McCann Erickson New York, the ad agency, urges women to make up their own rules and to use tactics like flirting to woo colleagues and conquer rivals.”

“-Christopher V. Flett, a Canadian-born entrepreneur, urges women to forgo flirting and take a much more straightforward approach.”

Okay, so wait for it:

“The two principal tactics advocated by Ms. DiSesa are seduction and manipulation. After bundling them together in a glib Madison Avenue abbreviation, she declares that, “All the men in our lives — the ones we work with or live with, admire or desire, and love or hate — are easier to control if we master the Art of S.& M.” Why would men fall for such tactics? “First of all, they love seduction,” she writes. “And second, they are oblivious to manipulation.”

Gloria Steinman? Ariel Levy? Where you at? The author, Harry Hurt III, sums it up best:

“Frankly, I found the ways in which Mr. Flett and Ms. DiSesa invoked persistent sexual stereotypes to be rather depressing. To my mind, the most illuminating comments in either book come from James Patterson, a former advertising mogul who now writes best-selling mystery fiction. Ms. DiSesa reports that Mr. Patterson urged her to think of life as a game in which we juggle five balls labeled Work, Family, Health, Friends and Integrity.”

It’s not easy being a woman in the business world, for sure. The down talking (christ!). The obvious chest staring -”Duuude. My eyes are up here.” The verbal dismissals and double entrendres. Sheesh… it ain’t easy and I thank every woman who has come down this road before me. Including Nina. It’s a rough highway, but does that mean women need to coo and sigh, gently prode and pull like a Southern debutante from 1942?

One of Nina’s guidelines for women is: “Screw the rules. Make up your own.” That should have been her book title and its entire contents. Girlfriend got sidetracked. Give me Shelly Lazarus any day, okay?

Truth in Hazelnuts.

nutella.jpgOn March 20th, CandyIndustry.com reported that Ferrero, the makers of the greatest thing ever to come in a jar (sorry, Vaseline), would have to change a TV spot they made.

The British Advertising Standards Authority didn’t have a problem with the creative, so much as the messaging. They believed the spot to break TV advertising standards code rules, calling it both misleading and inaccurate.

According to Ferrero, Nutella is a “part of a balanced breakfast.”

The British ASA says the smooth, creamy orgasm-in-a-plastic-canister is too full of fat and sugar to be even remotely healthy-ish.

The ASA was quoted:

…We considered that the ad misleadingly implied the spread made a more significant nutritional contribution to a balanced breakfast than was the case…

Back to the voiceover studio. Would it be so bad to just say, “part of this delicious breakfast” or “part of this breakfast that maybe you should only have on weekends”?

My advice to Ferrero: don’t try to make it sound healthier. If you suddenly tell people it’s balanced/healthy/etc, they might think you’ve changed the product… The only balance people are interested in is your ratio of chocolate to hazelnuts.

Red Bull Gives You… uh… Cola?

service_13911.jpgWhen will BRANDS learn to embrace the true perception of their BRANDS?

BevNET reported on March 24th that Red Bull will be launching a brand extension… Cola. Natural Cola. With only 32 mg of caffeine, it will focus on flavor and not on buzz.

This doesn’t seem like a natural extension of the brand… granted, they sell beverages in the same cooler as Coke and Pepsi, but people have always reached for them out of function… not because they wanted to feel like they were drinking a Smarties-flavored soda.

A better brand extension might have been, I dunno… caffeine pills. Caffeine patches. Caffeine gum. A machine that looks like a fan, but has little gloves on it to smack you on the face over and over to keep you awake.

Trying to compete with Coke and Pepsi will probably lead to failure… The best thing a brand with such a strong identity can do with its money is run with its public persona – no matter how ugly. Embrace it, poke fun at yourself, and above all, DON’T try to be something you’re not.

Sorry, Red Bull… but we fail to see the possibility of ordering a nice, tall Red Bull Cola at Applebee’s in the next few years. You might just go the way of Crystal Pepsi.

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