28 October 2007

ADLAND by Mark Tungate

I should've spent a bit more time researching the person I was to meet in Paris during "The Tour"- but being frazzled and preparing for it all ...

The gentleman was Mark Tungate - and somehow or other I'd 'won' a copy of his book ADLAND. And I wanted it. I'm a sucker for any sort of history of advertising (as attendees of my presentations know, for I make them suffer through my own skewed, polemical version of it).

He was ready to send a copy - but I proposed a counteroffer: let's meet in Paris and exchange books.

I got the better deal.

Mark Tungate, I find out after our brief rendezvous at Bayard Presse, after returning home and reading his book, after jumping on the web and scurrying around, after emailing a few friends in France and England, is a heavyweight in the ad world. He's written a bunch of books, loads of articles for advertising and general interest magazines, has a TV talk show. He puts together the text for an 'everybody in the industry has to pour over it every year' annual overview of European advertising.

When we met, I had just finished a presentation, was tired, dizzy from adrenaline de-rush, and fumbling around. My more-significant-than-I-am other was with us and, I could tell, became more and more annoyed that I wasn't paying attention. She's smarter than I.

ADLAND: A Global History of Advertising is a worthy successor to my favorite history of advertising tome, The Mirror Makers by Stephen Fox. And, as the title says, it's not U.S. myopic.

What did I know already while reading ADLAND? Most of the U.S. stuff, maybe a little less than half of the U.K. stuff, a smidgeon about France, a dollop about Italy (actually more, since I worked on an Italian brand for a few years and had done some research), zip about Japan (except that Dentsu has a big building and they love to fly over American movie stars and pay them an absurd amount of money to hold up bottles of whatever - although according to Mark that silliness has run its course), zip about Spain, a little about Brazil and South America. I knew a lot but also learned a lot about the 1990s creative revolution in Amsterdam.

Then there is the obvious: Mark Tungate is an accomplished writer - so here's a business/history book wonderfully conceived and composed and fun to read. How often do you find that to be true?

Likewise no surprise to me: ADLAND has been selected as a classroom resource by The Advertising Educational Foundation. Which means that that Tungate has joined the advertising book-writing immortals such as Lawrence, Dusenberry, Fallon, Roberts, Nyren …..

??? Who??? What the **** is he doing on that list?

The company keeps getting better.

Update: Listen to Mark's interview on The Advertising Show (scroll to the sound files)

24 October 2007

Outsmart the MBA Clones

While digitally thumbing through my publisher's latest interactive catalogue, I chuckled at the title of an upcoming release:
Outsmart the MBA Clones
Why is so much of today's marketing, strategy, and branding alike? … Most marketers, brand managers, and competitive strategists are MBA graduates who think and operate in a typical manner--you might call them MBA Clones. This book will show you the tools and rules to outsmart your competitors' predicable MBA-Clone marketing …
My brother is the marketing manager for a pretty good-sized irrigation company, and is always telling me horror stories about MBAs marching in (just like on the cover) and mucking up everything.

I haven't read Outsmart the MBA Clones - but reviews of a few other books may be coming:

One tome is a real treat.

Another may be reviewed because I'm on 'the list' of a few PR/Publicity firms. I usually say "No", but for this one I said "Maybe" - meaning they can send it, if I like it I'll review it, and if I don't I'll ignore it.

20 October 2007

Baby boomers contemplate a variety of work options

Here's a piece by James E. Challenger:
Retirement Can Wait - Baby Boomers contemplate a variety of work options

According to a recent survey, eight in ten baby boomers plan to continue working in their retirement years. That's about 76 million fifty-something workers with no intention of quitting anytime soon ... Baby boomers are likely to be extremely adept at industry switching because of their diverse backgrounds and the fact that they are better educated than previous generations. The first step will be getting over the anxiety associated with change. After that, the opportunities for further career development are endless.
Not quite endless. Here's an email from someone who ...

Let's just say that if I mentioned the campaigns he worked on in the 1970s and 1980s, you'd be very impressed:
I know you are onto something regarding the Baby Boomer business … I wonder if there is a way for existing ad agencies to embrace this potential …There are a lot of other boomers who a) see age discrimination and/or b) wonder why the largest advertisers or agencies are not "getting it" ...

I have submitted my resume to the top 100 ad agencies and have received not a word. The people I know basically tell me that the agencies are looking only for young people. - Former Art Director, Grey Advertising
So what's the alternative? Here's another (expurgated) email:
Hi Chuck.
I'll try to keep this as short as possible ... Like you, I'm a copywriter/creative director/baby boomer.

I started my career at Doyle Dane Bernbach (when Bill Bernbach was still there), and have worked at Chiat/Day, BBDO, Ogilvy, FCB, and Dentsu. (During a phone chat a few days later, he mentioned that at his last job he was 'let go' when he turned fifty.) I was talking about it with my friend/art director/business partner, and found myself thinking that it would be interesting to start an "agency" that exclusively targeted baby boomers … At any rate, we recently got our first account … and I'm excitedly thinking we're on to something. Your company and book certainly help confirm that.
Sounds good to me. Of course, he has no other options.

And what about all those big agencies telling their clients that they are prepared to target the 50+ demographic? Should the advertisers believe them? And if they do - should the agencies, when creating campaigns, trust their guts?

Being a lightning rod for all things Boomer and Advertising, I'm forever amazed at the backwardness of the advertising industry. Will it ever catch up with the rest of the business world? Who knows.

13 October 2007

Chuck Nyren Advertising to Baby Boomers 2007 European Tour Presentation Video

Taped during The 2007 Brent Green/Carol Orsborn/Chuck Nyren European Tour sponsored by Bayard Presse (PLUS Magazines) and Roularta Media:

Special Thanks to Brent Green

12 October 2007

CNBC, Hampton, Jerry and Me

I did a talking-head gig on CNBC the other day. It was about using Sixties nostalgia - especially music - in commercials. If you've read my book or monitor this blog or especially if you've seen my song 'n dance - I've covered this subject ad nauseam. I'm not sure if I'm sicker of hearing Sixties music in commercials, or sicker of hearing myself talk about it.

Hampton Pearson was the host/reporter. He's actually a fun fellow, very down to earth behind that biz persona. We had a wonderful chat on the phone - and again the next day in the studio.

It was a good segment - however, when it aired I noticed that, through the magic of editing, some of my comments were taken a bit out of context. But what's new. Although I said what I said, I didn't really say it about what the report said I said it about.

It actually made me feel very important - like some Democratic presidential candidate being quoted in a segment on Fox News. Or like being inserted into some gag on The Daily Show.

The biggest surprise for me was when Hampton (on the phone, the day before) said, "We'll have you and one other guest in this segment." Then we talked a bit about what I was going to say - and before we hung up, and just out of mild curiosity, I asked who the other guest would be. "Jerry Della Femina," he said.

I gagged. Chuck and Jerry. Pretty funny. This fellow is a hero of mine. He's a legend. He wrote one of my favorite books about advertising. What the **** am I doing on the same show as this guy?

I play loud blues electric guitar. So put me on a show with Eric Clapton. I have bunches to say about blues guitar playing - and if Eric wants to slip in a few words, let him.

I just checked the CNBC web site and don't see the segment. I'll check again in a few days and if it's available I'll link to it - even though I didn't quite say what I said.

I'm not sure if Mr. Della Femina said what he said. You'll have to ask him. But being the selfless sort, I'm happy for him that he had the chance to be on a television news segment with me, and got to say whatever he may or may not have said.

11 October 2007

Friends In The Netherlands

In The Netherlands I made many new friends, and finally met up with a handful of folks I'd been in contact with for some time.

Among other things, Arjan in't Veld heads up InTheField Marketing en communicatie and runs the Mokka Marketing Blog. One of his clients is PLUS Magazine. Arjan has been helping with the redesign and implementation of their web site - adding interactive sections like this one.

View the site through Babble Fish to get an idea of what's being done (although don't completely trust the quirky translation).

The Mature Market Interview with Arjan in't Veld.

Martijn de Haas and Michel van den Bosch own the marketing firm Active Development:
Active Development is a consultancy/participating company in the marketing and communication to the 50+ market. We advise and/or participate in efforts of companies in entering the market and effectively reaching the 50+ consumers. This could be in thinking up new marketing strategies, new communication, online activities, and product development. We have a growing database of 50+ consumers who are providing us information in all these activities and who are actively taking part in our panels.

We have developed a small local fair called "the fair for people who enjoy life", or short in Dutch "de Levensgenietersbeurs": www.levensgenietersbeurs.nl

This a fair that is held in relatively big cities in Holland and holds about 30 exhibits. The textual marketing is ageless but the target is attracting the 50+ consumer who has money to spend on luxury articles. From our experience and backed-up by psychological research we found that as people get older they tend to value local socials networks more and more. They want to build close relationships with local entrepreneurs who give them optimal service and a feeling of being a 'friend' rather than a customer.
Here is Active Development - and their Fair - stuffed in the Babble Fish meat grinder.

We can learn a lot from the Dutch about how to market to the 50+ demo. In some areas they're way ahead of us.

02 October 2007

The European Speaking Tour (maybe Part I)

I'm finally back from the European Speaking/Consulting Tour sponsored by Bayard Presse, PLUS Magazines, and Roularta Media Group.

I guess you don't need a play-by-play. It was a success, Carol Orsborn and Brent Green were a notch above top-notch, our hosts treated us like Royalty everywhere we went, and my more-significant-than-I-am other had the time of her life as tourist and part-time nanny for the three prima donnas.

Carol is blogging about it all, so keep up with her musings. I'm sure Brent will also have a bunch to say when he returns and has some time.

I'll skip the travelogue, and only mention business stuff. The two most impressive things for me in Europe:
1) These incredibly dedicated, talented, hard-working, creative people I met, socialized, and worked with from all the companies, all the PLUS Magazines (along with Vi Over 60 and Notre Temps). I'm still reeling from being around such energy and artistry.

2) The 50+ Fair in Utrecht, Netherlands. Impossible to describe. Attendance over five days was just shy of 100,000. Almost 600 exhibits/booths. Seriously - I can't describe it. It was like everything I've been talking about for the last five years physically washing over and overwhelming me. The web site also doesn't do it justice. It can't. You had to be there.
A few bloggers have commented (but you may have a tough time reading their posts) - and the feedback from the attendees has been positive and enlightening. I still haven't answered all of them - and they keep piling into my inbox.