Advertising loses in a mudslide

Media observer Bob Garfield on what we learned about advertising from the recent campaigns:

“Nothing that comes out of the mouth of a brand or any other institution has remotely the influence of what comes from the mouths of 7 billion bystanders freely trading opinions online.”

“What matters is what the public has to say about you — based on who the public believes you really are. … If people don’t like you, they are no longer eager to do business with you. And in a socially mediated world, not to mention a world of enforced transparency wherein your every move is searchable on Google in perpetuity, you can no longer advertise your way into their wallets, much less their hearts.”

“We are now and forevermore in the Relationship Era. What the GOP proved, and what all marketers must at long last internalize, is that you can’t advertise yourself out of a bad relationship.”

Mr. Garfield’s full post »

Selling MINI’s without a store

This is a great example of innovative thinking. Not just “out of the box”… they shredded the box and flushed the pieces.

Opening a new MINI store in Paris was too expensive, so the agency figured that the only thing you really need to sell a MINI is the car itself. Complete with a salesman, brochures and opening hours, the stores could be taken for a ride. Ten MINIs were transformed into stores all over Paris, and the places they were parked was branded as a MINI location.

The End of Demographics

In small market radio we were thrilled to have research that told us how many men listened to our station compared to how many women. And, of course, the demos: 12+, 18-24, 35-54… I think I missed one but that’s not the point. From 8 or 10 “diaries” in a county we were supposed to extrapolate useful information for out programmers and advertisers. Uh huh.

This article illustrates how much things are changing.

“The rise of mass-produced consumer goods also brought the rise of mass-market advertising. In the 1950s and 1960s, the goal of television was to aggregate the most possible eyeballs for advertisers. In order to convince consumers that an advertising message was relevant to them, consumers had to buy the idea that they were just like everyone else. The year that someone was born will not tell you how likely he is to buy your product.”


“Threads of advertising-sponsored content”

“Advertising is becoming content, not message. Or, more specifically, the message is knit into the content.  Under that scenario there is no 30-second spot per se, there are simply threads of advertising-sponsored content.

Creating “content that people choose to watch (and share)” (and listen to) is the job of every company that calls itself “media.”  This goes to the heart of radio’s revenue model because it is clearly out of step with the direction of clients and their agencies.

This is why the structure of so much of radio is outdated.  We have sellers who move spots and programmers who mix music. What we need amongst these are content creators who match consumers with clients in the presence of our brands by bringing compelling ideas to life.” — Mark Ramsey Media

Direct Mail Spam

It bothers me –more than it should– that I can filter out most email spam but not the spam that hits my USPS mail box.

The envelope above contained a not-very-interesting offer from a local car dealer (Capitol Chrysler Jeep Dodge). I’m guessing the dealer knew it wasn’t very interesting because he designed the envelope to look like something official from the state DMV. He knew that if the recipient knew is was fr0m a car dealer, she would just toss it.

So, if the dealer is this dishonest in his marketing, why should I expect him to be any more trust-worthy in selling me a car?


“How to make trillions of dollars”

David Cain is (Raptitude) helping me (and many others) “get better at being human.” In this post he explains how television has been used by “very-high-level marketers” to create a nation of people who typically:

  • work almost all the time
  • absorb several hours of advertising every night, in their own homes
  • are tired and unhealthy and vaguely dissatisfied with their lives
  • respond to boredom, dissatisfaction, or anxiety only by buying and consuming things
  • have disposable income but can’t find a more fulfilling line of work without losing their health insurance
  • create health problems for themselves, which can be treated with drugs they can “ask their doctor about”
  • own far more items than they use, and believe they don’t have enough
  • are easily distracted from the unhealthy state of their lives and their culture by breaking news and celebrity gossip
  • perpetually convince themselves it is not the right time to make major lifestyle changes
  • happily buy stuff that breaks within a year, and which nobody knows how to fix
  • have learned, through the media’s culture of blame-mongering, that the key to solving public and private issues is to find the right people to hate

Wow. Sound like anyone you know?

I’m trying to stop watching the evening network news. A tough habit to break. It’s been part of my life since… well, since the beginning of network news. Thanks to DVR technology I can skip all the adds to which Mr. Cain refers.

My friend (and one of the 5 smartest guys I know) Henry has eliminated “news” completely. Or so he says. I’m not sure how one does that. But if anyone can, it’s Henry. He makes a compelling case that knowing the news adds nothing to his life. He’s very well (selectively?) informed, so…

The excerpts above don’t tell you much about “how to make trillions of dollars” so I encourage you to read the full post if that’s something you’d like to do.


    The Blipverts [60 sec video] from Max Headroom’s world (“20 minutes into the future”) grows more real every day:

    “Today, the advertisement and entertainment industries are attacking the very foundations of our capacity for experience, drawing us into the vast and confusing media jungle. They are trying to rob us of as much of our scarce resource (attention) as possible, and they are doing so in ever more persistent and intelligent ways. Of course, they are increasingly making use of the new insights into the human mind offered by cognitive and brain science to achieve their goals (“neuromarketing” is one of the ugly new buzzwords). We can see the probable result in the epidemic of attention-deficit disorder in children and young adults, in midlife burnout, in rising levels of anxiety in large parts of the population.

    New medial environments may create a new form of waking consciousness that resembles weakly subjective states — a mixture of dreaming, dementia, intoxication, and infantilization.”

    From The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzenger.

    As I think and read more about attention and mindfulness, I have a growing appreciation for this precious (and scarce) state of consciousness.


    Time travel companion wanted

    The following listing recently appeared on the Springfield, MO Craigslist:

    “I have a functioning time machine (i know it sounds unbelievable, but I assure you it works) that I need a 2nd person to operate with me. I’m looking for someone who is adventurous and reliable. Preferable a male; or a female that can do heavy lifting. I am leaving on January 20, 2011 , in the morning and plan to return February 3,2011. I am going to June 1983 to handle some business.

    If you are serious about time travel and are reliable, then please contact me. You do not have to pay anything, but you would have to provide someone to watch my cat for the time we are gone. The only qualifications needed are that you are reliable and that the circumference of your head is no more than 64cm.

    We will be leaving from Springfield,Mo. Let me know if you want to go with me.”

    My friend David Brazeal responded:

    I stumbled upon your advertisement on Craigslist on the afternoon of January 20, 2011 — too late to join you on your excursion into the past.

    Fortunately, having dabbled in time manipulation myself in the late 1830s, I was able to travel to January 17th, one day after you posted your listing, from which time I am responding.

    I am both reliable and adventurous, and well-acquainted with 1983, having spent that summer as an intern in the State Department’s Office of Botswanan Affairs. In addition, I have an elderly aunt who loves cats.

    Regarding your qualification that my head be less than 64cm in diameter, I assure you that, although my head is slightly too large for a standard time travel headpiece, I have crafted an adapter from a 1960s Oster beauty-salon hair dryer and the innards of a PlayStation 3 controller.

    Please let me know as soon as possible whether you still require a companion for your trip. If you have filled the position, I need to return to January 20 to take some brownies out of the oven.

    One more thing…

    David is leaving our company (after 17 years) in a month or so, to strike out on his own (uh, should I rephrase that? Fuck it). The post above is just one more example of what I mean when I describe someone as “too funny for their job.”