30 January 2008

Can a Sandwich Be Slandered?

I got a kick out of this piece in The New York Times:

Can a Sandwich Be Slandered?

It bleeds into the previous post and comments made by my friend in The Netherlands, Martijn de Haas.

The idea of letting consumers be creative isn't a new one. Remember jingle writing? (Actually it still goes on.) The problem is this: with jingle writing the agency always had control over what was released. Now anybody can produce a pseudo-commercial and upload it to YouTube.

While I wish I had the technical ability thirty or forty years ago to put together a 'demo reel' like young folks do today (and it's great that they have this opportunity), it looks like Quiznos is getting into a bit of a legal tangle. I predict that before long companies will understand that they should retain control over their creative, marketing, and PR messages - and not just because it's smarter - but because of lawsuits like the Quizno's/Subway one in progress. Soon agencies and clients will be asking (or demanding) that YouTube delete fake spots before any lawsuits emerge.

Every so often some creative kid will rise to the top with a great idea for a spot. But 99% of the stuff uploaded is junk - and potentially harmful to the brand or product.

And … it's a fad. Not YouTube or making videos - but producing faux commercials. The amateur video makers will get bored - and the viewers will certainly get bored.

From coverage of The Idea Conference by Ad Age:
"We've got to stop thinking that consumer-generated content is an idea," he (David Jones, Euro RSCG Worldwide) said. "It isn't. It is a phenomenon."

25 January 2008

What's the Word?

Nigel Hollis, Chief Global Analyst for Millward Brown, does a good job bringing us up-to-date on the current status of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. Download the PDF: What's the Word?

I've talked about this subject ad nauseam - in my book, in my presentations (attendees usually have to suffer through at least fifteen minutes worth), and in this blog over the last few years:

Advertising/Marketing Article of The Month

The Brouhaha Over WOMM

The Brouhaha Over WOMM Returns

What's Plaguing Viral Marketing

If you read the Millward Brown report and some of the above posts, it's pretty obvious that Mr. Hollis and Yours Truly are on the same page more often than not. Transparency and a light touch from PR is the best approach in most cases - especially when targeting Baby Boomers:

The report says:

A 2007 survey conducted by Millward Brown in the United States and the United Kingdom suggested that relatively few people use informal sources of online information (message boards, blogs, etc.) to guide their purchase decisions; the majority of shoppers turn to friends, neighbors and colleagues for advice.

We can hypothesize that the power of online word of mouth is diminished by both the receiver’s lack of knowledge about who is providing advice, and the provider’s lack of knowledge about who is receiving it.
For Baby Boomers: Make that a fraction of a fraction on the web, double whatever percentage makes up "the majority", and assume anything received has not simply "diminished" - but gone up in a puff of ether.

And I love this one:

Read The Brouhaha Over WOMM Returns.

I've discussed the Dove Pro Age Campaigns - and the commercial that was banned in the U.S. I've never mentioned The Onslaught or Evolution - great spots. Great Public Relations spots.

Check out Nigel Hollis' Blog.

20 January 2008

It's JerryTime!

I get lots of emails from people with dreadfully dreary products and ideas - and emails from people with good-to-exciting products/ideas for Baby Boomers.

With the latter, if we can work something out I take them on as clients. Or simply do some consulting. Or point them in other directions. Sometimes I even give free advice. (That's a lie. I give free advice much too often.)

I don't know what to do with what's below. Jerry emailed me and ... these animations and stories are brilliant. But I'm not a Hollywood agent. If you know what to do with It's JerryTime! - do it.

Don't watch the first one first because he's honoring the Writers' Strike. Go back to it (it's great, but not a typical episode):


In 2007 they won a Broadband Emmy.

15 January 2008

Predictions for 2007: How'd I do?

NostraChuckus had mixed results - like all great soothsayers. Here's the post from a year ago:

Predictions for 2007

But I'll spin it so it seems as if I have magical powers. That's what prognosticators do anyway.
One: Media will take seriously the need for relevant content that will appeal to people over forty-five. It's the end for boring, generic magazines and nothing sites.
Did I get that one wrong. They've been popping up like mushrooms. I can't keep track of them - and neither can Dick Stroud or Matt Thornhill.

My new prediction: They'll be gone by next year. Or the year after that. Or one of these years …
Two: Get Ready for lots more Brain Games.
I got that one right. And I only played one brain game in all of 2006 and still got it right! I did and still do a fair amount of this, however. On my bike for the most part (walking and sex rounding out the top three). All probably as good if not better for your fossilizing noggin. Or are they fossilizing?
Three: The Death of Flogs
It's a slow death. But folks are catching on. In April I'm booked to do a webinar for IMMN. I may do it on word-of-mouth marketing and Baby Boomers. That'll cause plenty of trouble.

My prediction for 2008: I'll lose my power of prognostication because I didn't play enough brain games.

10 January 2008

Diversity = Productivity

I’m reading this piece in the New York Times about advertising to Baby Boomers, and just like everywhere else it's simply the same old, same old. (How many times have I said that lately?) And I just can’t get up the energy to blog it.

Yes, it’s a nice article - with an enjoyable surprise for me: a fascinating and challenging one-day colleague, Dr. Joseph Coughlin, is quoted. If you ever get a chance to see his presentation, it's mind-boggling.

Other than that … Yours Truly and others have said the same things over and over and over for years.

Then a few days later there’s an article/interview in the NYT that really is about marketing and advertising to Baby Boomers – but it sure doesn’t say so:

In Professor’s Model, Diversity = Productivity
... Scott E. Page, a professor of complex systems, political science and economics at the University of Michigan, is a fresh voice... Rather than ponder moral questions like, “Why can’t we all get along?” Dr. Page asks practical ones like, “How can we all be more productive together?” The answer, he suggests, is in messy, creative organizations and environments with individuals from vastly different backgrounds and life experiences.

Yes, I’ve covered the same ground in my book, this blog, during my presentations. And so have others, including Rance Crain of Advertising Age. It’s nothing strikingly new. However, the gist of the article is truly what is needed today in the advertising industry.

Irony: The article with answers to how advertising can reach Baby Boomers doesn’t mention advertising or Baby Boomers, while the article that doesn't really have much to say on the subject is all about subject.

04 January 2008

Marks & Spencer Redux

While I rail about the cheesy pandering and cheapening of 60s music in commercials, I don't think it's always ineffective and off-putting. Sometimes it works.

I already blogged about the age-neutral marketing philosophy of Marks & Spencer - but the other day I stumbled upon a few other spots from the campaign - and love them. Music from all generations, all time periods:

I've yet to see a campaign as fun, tongue-in-cheek, classy, and age-neutral on our side of the pond. Just stuff that doesn't quite make the grade.

01 January 2008

10 Ways Marketers Should Grow Up in 2008

Here's a great way to start off the New Year: Todd Harff's 10 Ways Marketers Should Grow Up in 2008.

Wise pieces of advice. If you follow some, most, or all of them you'll do just fine this year.

Number eight is my favorite:

8. Resolve to reflect diversity. National Institute on Aging projections tell us that that in 2003, our 65+ population was 83% white. However, by 2030, our older population will be more diverse. 11% will be Hispanic, 10% will be black and 5% will be Asian.

And, with Boomers, diversity is far more than skin deep. The economics and experiences of this enormous group, spanning 18 years, have varied widely. Reflect this increasing diversity in your marketing.
Zip through Todd's Online PowerPoint.