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Archives: December 2008

Reading List: Stat-Spotting


Joel Best is the author of Stat-Spotting, which maybe a must read for all planners in the business.

Life moves pretty fast and the data we generate in this hyper-connected age moves even faster. That’s especially true in the field of advertising where you have Faith Popcorn, Iconoculure, Open Mind, and a myriad of other shops churning out stats. Most people are well aware that numbers can be shaky stuff in this age of “professional” consumer groupers and an internet age that encourages a game of whisper down the gigabyte.

So, um… what about all these numbers? How do you better interpret the numbers on which you are going to base a multi-million dollar campaign? How do you tell whether the statistic in that Washington Post article is fact or fiction? Does a young person commit suicide every thirteen minutes in the United States? Is methamphetamine our number one drug problem today? Best’s book takes these numbers to task. “All too often, even the most respected publications present numbers that are miscalculated, misinterpreted, hyped, or simply misleading.”

It’s a nice fast read. If you can’t be bothered to purchase the book, Best sat for an interesting interview this morning with WNYC’s Leonard Lopate. Listen to it here.

More: How To Get Your Very Own Advertising Book Deal

Canned or Cannes?


We will not be going to Cannes this year. It’s a sad reality that we’ve come to grips with &#151 oh and we’re in a wedding, so it wasn’t really possible anyway. Nonetheless some of you will make the trip and blow a bunch of cash on lavish hotels, caviar, champagne, hookers and blow &#151 only to sleep through the awards ceremony. Just be sure to wipe the nose candy off your lower nostril before staggering in.

In these tough times, we wonder whether the American ad community will make its usual debauched appearance at the festival. Let’s be blunt for a moment and list a few agencies that should not be there. We’re basing this list off Jim Edwards‘ (of B|Net) comprehensive list of agencies worst hit by layoffs.

1. Campbell Ewald
2. BBDO Detroit
3. Enfatico (lack of work > lack of money)

Sure, there’s others and sure, these shops will still (probably) be at the show. But, as with holiday parties, shops that have dropped any more than five percent of staff should probably stay away from dropping mad money at Cannes. Though, winning an award or two would definitely help an ailing shop. Dilemma!

Who’s up for SXSW? We’d rather give our hard earned money back to the hippies down there in Austin (we love y’all!) than the folks in Francie pants. Isolationism, ho!

More:SXSW, Advertising And A Shit Show

Ad Agency Creativity: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”


Plato did say that, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” That’s also the common belief of the advertising industry. It’s why upstart agencies often steal that big account from the behemoths and was also echoed in the papers of Ad Age way back in 1932:

“More than one advertising executive has publicly acknowledged his debt to the Depression, admitting that it was not until the pressure of necessity exerted itself that he really found out how to get 100 cents’ worth of value from the expenditure of every advertising dollar.”

Once again, agencies are dealing with smaller budgets, greater demand to improve the bottom line and hopefully, a surge in creativity. It’s 1929 all over again. As Bradley Johnson, Advertising Age director of data analytics, told USA Today there is a silver, sliver of a lining. “The Depression ‘was a horrific time, yet consumers still consumed, advertisers still advertised and commerce went on.’”

Does this mean that advertising will quit the irreverent prose a la the Seinfeld/Gates ads and make campaigns that are more aligned with more basic ideas of advertising such as Rosser Reeves’ Unique Selling Principles? As a refresher course, those principles include the ideas that:

- Each ad must make a proposition: “Buy this product and you get these benefits”.

- The proposition must be unique: something that your competitors do not, cannot or will not offer.

- The proposition must sell: it must be something prospects really want; it pulls them over to your product.

Does it all go back to basics when the bottom falls out and consumers are looking for value on the dollar? If you ask Sean Puffy Combs he’d say no,, but it’ll be interesting to see if the message changes to more utilitarian slogans as we begrudgingly head into a very rough 2009.

More: The Dark Battle To Stay In The Black: Publicis Vs. WPP

Hulu Makes Gains On MySpace


Nielsen is reporting that YouTube is still the number one video site. Number two? MySpace. Who is number three and moving rapidly up the ladder? Want to take a guess? That’s right. Hulu. MySpace clocked 244 million streams to 20 million unique visitors in November, which is the same as their October numbers. Hulu brought home 221 million streams to about 7.5 million unique visitors last month, an increase from 206 million videos. The site is serving more videos to less people, but still… that’s impressive.

I wonder what the time spent on each site is, especially for MySpace versus YouTube. Naturally, you would guess that Hulu is logging more face time with consumers considering their content is episodic or full feature length videos.

NBC/Fox owned Hulu has recently made some updates to their functionality. Users can now embed content across multiple platforms and soon, content will be accessible from anywhere in the world. Jason Kilar, the CEO of Hulu, recently told Mediapost that his focus is not on competing with iTunes for pay downloads, but providing instant access to content for consumers:

“I absolutely believe the streaming business is and will be a bigger business than content downloads. The main reason is that it’s instantaneous and people are spending more time being connected. The notion of downloading heavy files to a device that takes up a lot of space is something that had value several years ago when we were not connected all the time. So, the bigger opportunity for users is to focus on the streaming part of the business.”

Okay, so don’t expect to be paying $3.99 to own Iron Man anytime soon. The man has a plan and he’s sticking to it.

More: TNS Vs. Nielsen: We Ask The Questions To George Shababb


Morning Media Menu: December 30


Well, since most of you are still on vacation, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to inject a bit of new media into your lives. This morning, I had the pleasure of joining’s Steve Krakauer on his daily blog radio show, Morning Media Menu. Steve is an Editor at TVNewser, which is part of the mediabistro family. Take a listen via the player above.

We cover a few interesting points &#151 namely, a story in today’s NYT about how advertising dollars are still strong for network television (Personally, I think TV is going the way of the newspaper, but that’s just me). Check it out, and let us know what you think.

More:No ‘Recession Specials’ in TV Ad Space

Good News: Only 1.5 More Years of Decreased Ad Spending


AdAge is reporting today about the projected ad spending drop we’re currently wading in, and notes that we’re probably in the middle of a three year slump. Well how about that. Read about it here if somehow you missed that we’re in a downturn. Darn you, cyclical capitalist economy!

Ogilvy’s Recession Plan

Pepsi’s New Year’s Campaign is Unlevened

Submitted for your approval (or otherwise), here’s the newest Pepsi piece &#151 notice the up-played logo? How could you miss it, what with the genius use of the circle shape in various words containing the letter “o.” Rant below, please.

More:BBDO, Coke And Pepsi’s New 70s Era Groovy Logo

Warner Bros.’ Watchmen Revenue Doomed From the Start


The Wall Street Journal reported today that upcoming superhero flick, Watchmen is copyrighted by 20th Century Fox &#151 a fact that would under most circumstances not be newsworthy &#151 oh, except that Warner Bros. is the company that actually produced the thing. What’s this hiccup going to mean for WB’s profits?

Not sure if you know this, but in the movies, it’s all about how much money a movie can make. Much of the revenue movies make comes from post-theater distribution: DVDs, Netflix/Blockbuster rentals, et cetera. So when 20th Century Fox claimed it owned a copyright on Watchmen, a judge agreed, meaning WB will have to share some portion of its winnings.

We bet Fox is happy they decided to pass on the film a decade ago &#151 who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? For WB, it’s probably going to be an expensive bath since the project is based on one of the all-time best-selling graphic novels. How did Harvey Weinstein not get in on this?

Aforementioned judge will make a more detailed ruling in the nearish future about what portion of the take will go to Fox. Hollywood may be recession proof, but you know some legal aid just got his ass fired.

More:Ad Spend Going From TV To Movies? Is That Really The Best Plan?

Ad of the Day Goes to Chicago Based LeatherCreations


Oh Chicago, your ability to make light of all the crap that’s piled up this year will never cease to amaze us. Kudos today to Chicago’s LeatherCreations, which bought this ad and placed it in the Chicago Tribune &#151 right where loads of people could see it. In case you can’t see the image, the furniture store’s ad reads, “We sell more seats than the governor.” Hilarious!

Practically speaking, that means they have sold more than one seat; and even then it was only on layaway. Cue rim-shot.


More:JWT Chicago’s Rudderless Ship

One Tween’s Texting Habits Astound, Amaze, Provide Insight


Over the holiday we learned that our much-younger-second-cousin (she’s 14) has a bit of a texting problem. Her mother told us (over a plate of assorted homemade food-stuffs) that the lass had reached an astounding 28,000 texts per month (thousand, not hundred) at one point this summer. Let’s break that down.

Thirty days in a month, right? So that’s about a thousand text messages (sent and received, mind you &#151 not that it makes it any less amazing) per day. Divide, carry the two et cetera, and it’s about 933 “txts” every 24 hours, or about 39 messages an hour. Luckily, said relative is enrolled in an unlimited texting plan.

Another interesting point to note: the responsible tween rarely uses the phone for calling purposes. When her phone was taken away for as punishment for something (not the 28,000 texts &#151 is over-communicating a crime?), she became indignant over having to make phone calls via land line.

What’s the point of this anecdote? The astronomically high volume of text messages flitting between today’s youth cannot be ignored. Our cousin can’t be the only one using her phone so much, so go find a way to get ads in there. That one’s one the house.

More:Say Goodbye to Popups and Hello to Chat Invites