14 August 2008

Don't Forget The Zwischen Kids und Senioren

I have no idea what I say in this article—but whatever it is, no doubt it's very profound and important:
Don't forget them! Zwischen Kids und Senioren gibt es noch eine Zielgruppe

Was sie für Werbetreibende außerdem so attraktiv macht, ist ihre unerwartete Flexibilität. "Zugegeben, ich habe eine Lieblingszahnpasta, aber sonst bin ich allem Neuen gegenüber aufgeschlossen", versichert Chuck Nyren, Autor von "Advertising to Baby Boomer", und fragt verwundert: "Wie kommen Werbeprofis bloß darauf, dass unser Geschmack bereits festgefahren ist?"
And as with Oprah - anytime I can help boost the careers of stragglers and wannabes like Susan and Julianne (and Paul) by simply having their names associated with mine - it's fine with me. I'm the beneficent type.

10 August 2008

Forgotten Consumers

jm A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Jennifer Mann of The Kansas City Star for an article about advertising and marketing to Baby Boomers.  It ran, and I linked to it in the left column of this blog under In The Media.

Now the piece has gone wide in many of the McClatchy Newspapers, including The Monterey County Herald, The Olympian (Washington), and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Here's the piece in The Bismarck Tribune:

bismark There are almost 100 million consumers in the United States who are age 50-plus. They control more than $8 trillion in assets, more than 70 percent of the disposable dollars in the United States. Yet they barely get passing notice from American advertisers.

09 August 2008

Creating A Monster

HST_thumb1Recently I put together a PowerPoint with narration for a Henry Stewart Talks series on Marketing to the Older Consumer. Dick Stroud is the ringleader. There are a handful of other folks from the U.K. and around the world contributing.

bk It was fun – but Dick and Henry (Is there a 'Henry'?) may have created a monster. 

I’d never recorded narration with PowerPoint. That may surprise people who know me, since I can be quite the blabbermouth when prodded.  I casually clicked the start button and without thinking about it thought I'd be creating one big wav file somewhere.  I just kept prattling and clicking without stopping. "One-Take Nyren” is my nick.

caHeadset But while playing it back the sound went in and out between slides. I thought my mic was malfunctioning. 

pilot-reading-directions Then I did something smart – which sounds impressive, but it’s not. Most people ‘do something smart’ by doing something smart before doing something – like reading the directions. I usually wait until I’m completely lost or something royally screws up before I bother with something silly like directions. That’s how smart I am.

PowerPoint handles narration by embedding individual sound files on each slide. This was why my voice was cut off between slides. 

And it's advisable to wait a second or so between slides – stop talking, wait, click, wait, talk. That’s so the wav file can finish up on a slide, and another can kick in for the next slide.

I had to rehearse a few times to get used to it all.

What's good about it: If you mess up the narration you can go back and re-record over that slide only - without losing the sound files on the other slides.  It also makes it easy to rearrange, add, or delete slides. 

What's bad about it: There's no way you can get on a roll.  What you're really creating are separate scenarios for each slide.  I imagine that, with practice, you'll be able to simulate a seamless  song an' dance. 

hlThe monster created: I had so much fun that I want to do more. And more.  Short ones. And publish them here.  

So sometime soon you might just find a few PPPPs (PowerPoint Presentation Podcasts) on these pages.  Dick Stroud, as usual, is way ahead of me.

06 August 2008

Mad Men

mm People are always asking me what I think of Mad Men. That’s because for the last three or four years I’ve included a section in my presentations about the history of advertising creatives, and a big chunk of it focuses on the era Mad Men inhabits.

Now everybody thinks I do it because of Mad Men.

Someone left a comment on an Ad Age article that sums up my take on the show.  It went something like this:

“Mad Men is as much about the advertising industry as The Godfather was about the mafia.”

Great movies, The Godfather I & II. Classic tragedy, genius movie making. And I enjoy Mad Men.

jh However, as a rule I’m not a big soap opera fan – and Mad Men is primetime soap. My guess is that only about a fifth or sixth or less of screen time has anything to do with the wonderful world of advertising. Mostly it’s steamy bubbles. 

And that's fine. Probably better. It's sumptuously produced dark froth, brilliantly performed.  At times it morphs into classic tragedy and very good theatre.  Just as often it sinks into cliché silliness. 

Partly to ride the crest of the show’s success and partly to defend the industry, The One Club (along with The New York Public Library) is sponsoring an exhibition titled The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue and their Impact on American Culture. AdRants’ Angela Natividad was there for the opening and has a fascinating take on it all

admen While it wouldn’t make good soap – Leo Burnett, Rosser Reeves, David Ogilvy, Shirley Polykoff, Bernice Fitz-Gibbons, Mary Wells Lawrence, Bill Bernbach, George Lois, and others were infinitely more interesting than the stereotypical characters on Mad Men. A series inspired by the lives and work of these real life ad folks would entertain me a lot more. Drama?  Sure. Comedy? Oh, yes.     

However, Mad Men doesn't pretend to be about the greats of 1950s/60s advertising – but about  the others who worked in the industry.  Your normal neurotic types.  They also represent a dying breed. If the series plays out with any nod to reality, they'll be picked off one by one.     

ct So enjoy Mad Men. Sterling and Cooper are good godfathers. Dan Draper is a good Michael Corleone. Pete makes a good Fredo. Betty is the perfect Kay.

And those creative team hit men do scare the bejesus out of me.

04 August 2008

Obsessive Branding Disorder

I linked to a piece in The Huffington Post awhile back because it was about one of my favorite subjects:

What's a Little Marketing Between Friends?
By Lucas Conley

... When marketers mingle among consumers, the results are often more artifice than advertising. Posing as consumers and littering the Internet with bogus comments and reviews, today's unscrupulous marketers champion their wares via fake blogs ("flogs"), artificial grass-roots campaigns ("astroturf"), and surreptitious product placements in every corner of new media.

Then a few months ago I heard about a soon-to-be-released book by Mr. Conley:

Obsessive Branding Disorder

obdThe world is more branded than ever before: Americans encounter anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 ads a day. Increasingly, brands vie for our attention from insidious angles that target our emotional responses (scent, taste, sound, and touch).

That's another subject I've written and talked about. In my book there's a chapter titled The Branding Circus. It's the one that unnerves ad and marketing folks the most. So you can imagine what they'll think of a book thoroughly researched (and thoroughly entertaining) that's all about branding and how dumb it's become.

LC Lucas Conley takes on even another subject I've discussed now and then: product placement (aka Madison & Vine). Here are a couple of blog comments from 2005 where I yack about all three subjects. (Scroll for the second one.)

So ... Mr. Conley of Fast Company is fast becoming a fast hero of mine.

Obsessive Branding Disorder is required reading. Even more impressive: it's fun reading. A business book with twists and turns, shocks and surprises? Trust me, they're there.

Also, keep an eye on the author's blog.

No doubt Obsessive Branding Disorder will get the "Nyren Bump" courtesy of this post. The book will skyrocket on the bestseller lists. However, less astute media and marketing analysts will likely attribute this sharp rise in sales to Mr. Conley's appearance on The Colbert Report tonight. Pure hogwash. It'll all be thanks to me.

Full Obfuscation: Did the author send me a free copy of his book? I'm not telling.
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