Spiderman: Turn Off the [Tech]

28 Dec

What do Spiderman: Turn off the Dark and the Apple Newton have in common?

I’m sure the new broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark will be pretty spectacular… uh, if it ever gets off the ground.  The show ‘is expected to involve more flying and special effects than any Broadway show in history [38], with actors and dancers swinging over the heads of audience members.’  (from NYTBut are these 38 stunts too ambitious?  Are they really necessary to wow the audience?

The show has been plagued by money woes, technical issues, and injuries; ‘production shut down for months in 2009 after the original set of producers could not raise the money to capitalize the show, which at the time was estimated to cost around $40 million’- now up to $65 million, making it the most expensive show in Broadway history. (from NYT) Technical delays and multiple injuries have pushed back the start date of the show nearly a year after its originally scheduled February 2010 date.

Ok, so a few problems, but if it’s stunning and new and will be great, that makes up for all the problems, right?  Ehhh… enter another worry, the reviews haven’t been great either.

Richard Lawson wrote for the Gawker:

“I’m inspired to write this because people keep getting hurt trying to make this thing work, and people keep buying tickets and then, when they are upset about the embarrassingly low quality of the show, they are being told in bitchy theater tones “It’s previews, give them time.” Well, I’m sorry, but they’ve had time. And they still can’t get their shit together. People are injuring themselves, tech is a mess, and while they struggle to figure all that out, they’re trotting out a dying turkey of a book and score and hoping that’ll suffice. They shouldn’t be charging money for tickets at this point. This thing is baaaad, guys. Really, really bad. And before you say it, this is not me trashing some ambitious can-do theater folks simply for their ambition. These are people spending tens of millions of dollars — you could do ten good, expensive shows with the money they’re spending — to create a commercial product that’s so cynical it seems to operate under the assumption that a good story is unnecessary so long as there’s neat-o flying. ” (full review here)

And Jeremy Gerard of Bloomberg News wrote:

“It wasn’t Gotterdammerung, but it was a thrill not unlike riding the Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island: An hour of anticipation for about 90 seconds of exhilaration. At least we didn’t have to stand in line. The many longueurs were significantly offset by two key elements — the visual design that includes George Tsypin’s inventive, perspective-skewing sets and Donald Holder’s fantastically variegated lighting, and the ferociously athletic choreography of Daniel Ezralow… [w]hat the team, which includes Glen Berger, co-author with Taymor of the book, has put together so far is hardly the worst show of all time. It is, however, an unfocused hodge-podge of story-telling, myth-making and spectacle that comes up short in every department.” (full review here)

Ouch.  Not exactly the type of reviews you want to hear after spending 9 years on development and $65 million dollars.  Which brings me to ask a truly audacious question: Is it really worth it?  Is the technicality of the show, costing so much money and causing so many injuries, detracting from the story (hmm…the 2nd act is reportedly not even finished) or even what the audience wants?  Not to step on creative toes- because I think the ambition and ideas are wonderful- but I think the technical elements of this show are ahead of current consumer demands.

Could Spiderman have pushed the ‘wow factor’ without pushing it this far- what would 25 stunts have done for the audience? Or even one or two really awe inspiring flying moments over the audience-  Spiderman would still have been the ‘first’ to bring this feature to Broadway!  Would more attention to the overall show-  the storyline , music, costumes, set, and technicality- have made for a better effort to ‘wow’ the audience?  Does the audience really care about the extra technicality- or do they care about the overall show?  I’ll all for pushing the envelope with ‘crazy’ and ‘new’ ideas- ask the big bossman in DC, who gets at least one ‘I was just thinking… or I had this really weird thought…’ email/phone call from me a week.  But I’m also all about trying to really understand what these ideas will do for our consumers- and how we can implement them giving current and emerging assets. I’m not saying that every idea I pitch to the big bossman is feasible- trust me, most are insane- but I’m not sure if the team behind Spiderman ever went through the  ‘we think this is a great idea, now how do we implement it to best serve our consumers’ gut check.  An idea can’t be truly great if it doesn’t meet consumer demand- and I think in Spiderman’s case, the technical elements have outpaced consumer demand, making a very ambitious, almost great, idea fall flat.

So how does Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark relate to the Apple Newton?  The Newton is another example of a very ambitious technology that wasn’t exactly an astounding success.  The Newton was  introduced in 1993 and was among the first PDAs, ‘[b]ut [d]espite its groundbreaking design, touchscreen with handwriting recognition, and internal modem add-on, the Newton’s $700 price tag and notoriously buggy software led to years of slow sales …Steve Jobs eventually axed the project after returning in 1997.’ (from Time, full article here)

Hmm, sound similar to Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark? Groundbreaking, pricey, and buggy.  But even though the technology wasn’t quite up to snuff at the time of its launch, and ahead of its time in terms of consumer demand, it did pave the way for oh, you know, those little devices called iPad/iPhone?  Apple smartly revisited the failed PDA- I’m assuming after lots of research about what consumers really wanted from a PDA and reintroduced an improved PDA along with the birth of the Internet- and bam! a success. (and since we all know what assumptions make out of you and me, please correct me if I’m wrong)  Consumer demand and technology were more equally matched, unlike when the Newton was first introduced, when consumer demand and the new technology weren’t quite in sync with each other.

I think we need to apply this filter to our thinking- with so many innovative, groundbreaking, and creative new technologies bursting onto the scene, it would be a shame if they were to fall flat because we haven’t done our research (oh gosh, that awful word again!) and ensured that consumer demand and need actually meets these great innovations in technology.  Because these technologies can be great- evidenced by Apple’s eventual success with PDAs- but only when consumers are ready for the advancements in technology.  Being ‘geeked’ by technology is certainly great for creativity and innovation, but on the revenue side, not so much.  Tech enthusiasts can’t just push these new technologies through the market, consumers need to be able to realize the full benefits of the new technology for a true success.

What are other examples of technological innovations that have been/are currently on the market but are perhaps not completely ready for consumer demand?  My thoughts immediately turn to 3D TV… what are your thoughts?


Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

Merry Christmas!

‘I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need, I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree… make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas is [for all your Christmas wishes to come true]!’



Can you do the Cann Cann?

21 Dec

If you can’t read through the blur, the important part of this .png is:

Contest #2: From now through December 31, send a tweet with the hashtag #mccann2011 and describe what you think the most important trend in advertising will be in 2011.  The author of the most insightful #mccann2011 tweet will win lunch with Mark Fallows, McCann NY’s Director of Creative Technology, and Alessandra Lariu, McCann NY’s Digital Group Creative Director.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, (or lets be honest, the opportunity for a free lunch) I thought I’d put my thinking cap on and try to win this bad boy.

So here goes- my prediction for the most important trend in advertising in 2011:

Increased personalization, made possible by continued innovations in research- which are enabled by advances in technology.

The need for increased personalization:

TV/web/mobile/magazine/newspaper/iPad/email/billboard/subway steps/bus wrap/taxi video screen/coffee cup holder/umbrella/pen… if you’re scratching your head and saying, geez, she left out xyz advertising surface, then I’ve effectively made my point.  We’re barraged by hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisements every single day- and as the number of consumer touchpoints (read: advertising space opportunities) continue to increase, so does the clutter.   The increasing number of consumer touchpoints (and the resulting clutter) is making it, in turn, increasingly harder for advertisers to reach and connect with their target consumers.

And it seems as if in an effort to cut through the clutter, advertisers are only barraging consumers with more and more advertisements, creating more clutter and dare I say- losing sight of what consumers really want?  If consumers are constantly bombarded with [an increasing number of] advertisements, how do advertisers convince consumers to buy their products over their competitors’ products?

Enter the need for personalization (and for some critical thinking), stemming from this very simple question:  Why do consumers really buy a product? From a very basic/macro level  perspective, I think consumers buy products based on need or want, which are personal and emotional decisions. But how exactly does need or want manifest in a purchase decision?

Let’s think through an example: I need a pair of pants.  Why? Society (and law) dictate that covering your bottom half is the appropriate thing to do while in public places.   But then this need of a pair of pants could be questioned- why not need a dress or a skirt?  Because pants will keep me warmer during the winter.  Ok need covered, moving on to want– I want to fulfill my law abiding covering my bottom-half needs by buying a pair of jeans.  Why jeans over slacks/leggings/sweatpants?  Because jeans are more comfortable.  Or because they are more flattering.  Or because they are less expensive than other options.  Or because I can wear them at work and at play.  Or because, because, because… once again I hope you’re scratching your head and saying, geez, she hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of why a consumer would buy a pair of pants.  But once again, that’s the point— consumers buy products for a variety of personal and emotional reasons.  And advertising is about trying to figure out those personal, emotional reasons- and we’re not all a size 2 with a great derriere.  So advertising needs to think smarter and more personal, rather than thinking larger.

I think 2010 saw a breakthrough in general advertiser thinking- from thinking the larger the reach the greater the return, to thinking of smarter ways to reach the people who are most likely to buy their products.  I think this shift was greatly enabled by advances and innovations in research, (oh no, the awful word!) made possible by advances and innovations in technology.   In 2011, I think advertisers will increasingly embrace these changes in research and harness the power of technology to create more personalized advertisements for their target consumers.

Advances/Innovations in research and technology that have been enabling/and are going to continue to enable personalization in 2011:

1.  Social media– 2010 was a big year for social media.  According to eMarketer, 73% of companies with 100+ employees used social media in their marketing mix in 2010.   I think this percentage will increase to (at least) the high 80s in 2011, as advertisers realize the benefits of social media.  Short list of benefits: social media is relatively inexpensive for an advertiser and enables a 2 way conversation with consumers.  (see my full list here)  This 2 way conversation creates the opportunity for advertisers to interact with consumers in real time and to talk directly with consumers.  Read: allows for advertisers to get personal.  Ironic, isn’t it– this innovation in technology mimics a really ‘old’ form of advertising- the door-to-door salesman- that allowed for personalized pitches to consumers.

But consumers have changed the way in which they learn about products, and advertisers need to adapt the ways in which they reach out to and connect with consumers.   And this innovation in technology (that creates the opportunity for greater personalization) creates the opportunity for innovations in research. Social media creates a real time sounding board for advertisers- what do consumers really like about a product? Or really hate about a product?  What are they saying about competitors?  Advertisers can use this research (yes research- it’s data from a large, randomized sample, isn’t it?) to tweak their campaigns in other media- have consumers taken to facebook/twitter/myspace/blogs to say they love how your jeans really flatter their rear end?  And do traditional focus groups/web surveys substantiate this claim? (I think it’s best to use multiple sources for a more well-rounded understanding- so while I think social media is an innovation in research, I don’t think we need to discount any other forms of research either)  And does your current TV ad/print ad/radio ad, etc. advertise to consumers this rear-end enhancing benefit?  Whether the answer is yes or no, advertisers can use this research and tweak (not replace!) existing or future advertisements that take these findings into consideration.

Quick recap: Advances in technology (social media) enables advertisers to have a direct, real time conversation with their consumers (personalization).  This advance in technology also creates the opportunity for innovation in research methods- an unsourced, self populating focus group.

2. Hyper targeting- While hyper targeting isn’t new, technology is enabling new ways for advertisers to reach super niche audiences.  Hyper targeting allows advertisers to personalize their messages since the focus is on a much smaller audience.  And (eek!) like it or not, research and data collection are a large part of hyper targeting- using data to better direct your messages to a relevant audience.  And data collection through innovations in technology are affecting how advertisers can more effectively hyper target their audience.  For example, in television advertising, companies like TRA are ‘match[ing] household television ad exposures with the actual purchases of the products being advertised in that same household’ (via TRA) so advertisers can reach a more targeted audience.  How’s that for helping advertisers eliminate waste/reach viewers more likely to purchase their products– made possible by the innovation in research methods- connecting purchases to TV viewership.  And companies like Invidi are rolling out targeted TV ads by cross-referencing US census data and set top box data (Invidi).  Similar to how social media is redefining what ‘direct’ communication is, companies like Invidi are redefining the uses of US Census data- hey, that’s using the innovations in technology to advance research methods!

And on the Internet, data collection through tracking (think even as simple as Google Analytics) can give advertisers a better idea of what their consumer looks like- for example, what are other websites do their visitors go to- giving advertisers the opportunity to target consumers on these sites as well.  Or companies like Colligent, who aggregate data across social media networks to give advertisers a better idea of their consumers-  for example, fans of Levi jeans are most likely to be men ages 25-44, like to read ESPN, and spend the most time watching Border Wars. (read more about Colligent here)

Quick recap: Innovations in research, fueled by advances in technology, are giving advertisers a better idea of who their target consumer is- and not just who their customer is on the web or TV, but across multiple platforms.  These innovations in research and advances in technology are moving the idea of hyper targeting forward and allows for increased personalization.

3. Neuromarketing- ‘research [that] removes subjectivity and ambiguity by going right to measuring observable brain behavior. Respondent attention level, emotional engagement and memory storage are common metrics’ (from fastcompany).   Advances in technology have made neuromarketing possible- for example, Innerscope Research uses a chest strap to capture the biometric measurements, which neuroscientists then analyze to form an overall engagement score. (more about Innerscope here).  Neuromarketing gives advertisers data that shows what creative elements made viewers engage/disengage with the ad.  Advertisers can then take this data to create an advertisement that will better connect with their consumers on an emotional, personal level.  And if advertisers have defined a targeted, niche audience, they can use this data to create personalized messages that resonate on an emotional level- hmm, didn’t we talk about earlier how advertising and purchase decisions are really emotional decisions?

Quick recap:  Are you starting to notice a trend?  Once again, advances in technology have enabled innovations in research, which in turn, is helping advertisers personalize their messages for their target audience.

So there you have it- my prediction for the most important trend in advertising in 2011- Increased personalization: made possible by continued innovations in research, enabled by advances in technology.  Of course, social media, hyper targeting and neuroscience aren’t the only examples of how personalization will occur, but I think they are three great examples!

If you’re reading this and aren’t affiliated with McCann, that’s ok- like I said, I never turn down the opportunity for a free lunch- or for that matter, the chance for a great, creative discussion! 🙂


Can I Get Yo’ Number?

13 Dec

Before you get too excited, I’m talking more along the lines of your heart rate, respiration, eye movements, motions, and sweat levels.

And why exactly am I so interested in your bodily functions?  Don’t worry, it’s all in the name of market research and moving the idea of exactly what ‘market research’ is and it’s role in the advertising industry forward.  And it’s also in response to Faris Yakob‘s recent blog post, ‘All Market Research is Wrong.’ In his post, Faris writes,

“In essence, the foundation of market research is that, by asking lots of people questions, or asking a smaller group of people more in depth questions, we can gather dependable insights into why they buy what they buy, and whether or not they will buy something in the future, perhaps after having seen some advertising.  I don’t believe this is true.For two, very simple reasons.

1. We don’t know why we do what we do.

We make these [and most] decisions at a subconscious level, which means, by definition, the operations of the decision process are inaccessible to our conscious minds. That doesn’t mean people won’t answer though.They will happily answer, erroneously, in a way that seems to make sense, as their minds create explanatory fictions to explain their own behavior to themselves, or the interviewer.

2. The gulf between claimed attitudes [and intentions] and actual behavior is vast.

Asking people if they intend to buy something is analogous to asking them if they intend to go to the gym – the results may not correspond well with future behavior.Focus groups are particularly fraught: they create utterly artificial data as a response to utterly artificial situations and social dynamics. ”

What scares me about this post is the absoluteness of it:  ‘All.Market.Research.Is.Wrong.’  While I don’t disagree that Faris makes some valid points, I do think he’s missing the bigger picture.  I agree with him on this point- market research alone shouldn’t be the only thing used to make a decision.

And this is what I disagree with- the idea that market research is wrong.  Call it misguided/directional, but don’t call it wrong.  And don’t think it’s not your responsibility, even if you’re job isn’t as a ‘market researcher.’  We’re all working towards the same end goal- to reach consumers and get them to buy our products- so if the product is a failure, we’re all wrong.  The market research alone wasn’t wrong- there were other components in the process.  It’s time we stopped thinking of market research as such a formalized function- everyone has the right to ask ‘why’ or ‘how’ or ‘who’, even if they are a financial analyst, copywriter, advertising exec, or researcher.  It’s time we start thinking outside of our work function silos and more collaboratively- since the our final product (the advertisement/tv show, etc) is only as great of all of it’s parts.  It’s scary to think that Faris is willing to discount ‘all’ market research rather than see it as a piece of the puzzle.

I say this as a researcher for a cable network– I know research is, at its best, a supporting function.  Yes, it’s not always 100% accurate (but guess what, nothing in life is 100%) and it’s often misconstrued (by even the most well meaning sales person).  But I also know that research is a great guiding tool- a gut check if you will.  And market research doesn’t have to be so formalized- curious people are always doing some sort of ‘research’- ‘why’ is the most basic research question there is!  I think Faris makes a good point when he says ‘we don’t know why we do what we do.’  True, but isn’t it human nature to always want to try to find out about the world around us?  Just think of little kids- why is the sky blue? why are we having pasta tonight? why why why?  We start asking this ‘why’ early on in life and never stop– the only difference is, at work sometimes I think we forget about keeping an open mind and asking ‘why’ about everything and only ‘why’ about our specific job function.  If we could start to think and question outside of our work silos– for example, researchers trying to think more creatively, creatives trying to think about ROI, etc… couldn’t we all help the end goal? (c’mon people, it’s a collaborative effort!)

We’ll never know the answers to everything, but the more we can keep asking why and think as a collaborative team (rather than as a ‘researcher’ or as a ‘creative’ or as a ‘salesperson’) the closer we’ll come to delivering products/advertising to consumers that really hit home.  And the more we’ll innovate in everything we do.

Which brings me back to my original question- ‘Can I get your number?’ Faris, perhaps this innovation in market research will excite you– and hopefully get you to change your post from ‘All Market Research is Wrong’ to ‘All Market Research is Directional/Supportive/Part of the Process’!  And hopefully it will also help show that when different job functions collaborate, the results can be astounding.

So if we don’t know why we do things, and it’s really subconscious, why don’t we turn to the subconscious to help tell us why we do things?  Let’s combine neuroscience and research in focus groups to get a better understanding of people.  Innerscope Research (along with a handful of other companies) are moving market research from the conscious to the subconscious- by measuring your body’s emotional response to advertisements through the autonomic nervous system.  Innerscope’s approach reads almost identically to Faris’ objective with market research: ‘Emotion comes before thought, feelings or actions.   Because these initial emotions are processed below the conscious level, traditional advertising research, which relies on conscious self report, in unable to effectively measure them.’ (taken from Innerscope website.)

Similar to a traditional focus group, subjects watch advertisements/tv programs, but instead of answering questions from a moderator, Innerscope analyzes subjects’ reactions via a fancy belt, which measures:

1. Respiration- analyzes breathing patterns and identifies key reactive responses such as laughter, boredom, and tension.

2. Motion- measures the degree and direction of motion to indicate subject’s reaction

3.  Heart rate- analyzes ECG data to calculate patterns and changes in heart rate, which measures general mood states like fear and relief.

4. Galvanic Skin Response- measures the electrical resistance of the skin to determine microscopic changes in sweat levels, which quantifies emotional arousal and excitement.

5.  Eye Tracking- Unobtrusive, infrared cameras identify where subjects are looking- time locked to the subject’s other measurements, eye tracking shows exactly where the subject was looking during any response/time period.

(from Innerscope, here)  Measuring these reactions gives advertisers/programmers a measure of engagement- and at the exact moments when subjects were engaged/disengaged.  (See a successful campaign here)

Still think all market research is wrong, Faris?  This type of market research takes into account your concerns with the gap between what we ‘think’ we do and what we actually do (and I’m guessing this is also a concern of many people).  But these smart neuroscientists have moved the idea of market research forward and have allowed for a closer look into the ‘whys’ of consumer behavior.  With Innerscope’s approach, we’re about to know more precisely when and what caused viewers to engage/disengage- true, it’s never going to be 100% perfect, but we’re getting closer.   Taking Innerscope research and combining it with the creative process (oh hey, collaboration for the same end goal!) we can learn more about basic emotional responses and how we can better tailor creative to elicit the emotional responses we want— what type music did viewers positively respond to? Is it better to be direct at the front of the ad or have an element of shock value? How important is imagery? What about the same imagery with different music?

And the questions and (directional, not right or wrong) learnings continue…

Let’s stop thinking ‘market research’ and start with just asking ‘why’- all of us- not just the ‘researchers.’  And let’s start thinking of the entire advertising process as more of a  collaborative effort.

So, if I haven’t entirely overstepped my boundaries, the question is still open- Can I get your number?  Let’s chat and start innovating and moving the ad industry forward.


7 Dec

: a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. (thanks Twitter about us page!)

I have a bit of an odd relationship with technology.  On one hand, I’m quite the laggard.  Oh I’m geeked out by the latest and greatest, but I’ll never own the newest and greatest gadget (my current computer is going on it’s 5th year).  And on the other hand, I’m completely fascinated by technology, and couldn’t be a bigger tech-evangelist WHEN it comes to seeing how the intersection of the traditional/’old school’ and technology helps to move various industries forward.  (Recent examples I’m just blown away by: Art more readily available to everyone via the iPad, professors using twitter in classroom discussion to enhance the learning experience, and Animal Planet’s charity drive with donations directly linked to program viewership).  I guess you could say I’m not going to be impressed by technology just for technology’s sake– it’s gotta be cool and beneficial for me to be really interested.

Think of technology as cool vs. beneficial as a traditional cost/benefit analysis (remember, I’m a total research nerd).  And technology for technology’s sake just isn’t cut it in a cost/benefit analysis.   Sure, I’d love a new computer or iPad (or just a new powercord at this point), but I can’t justify the purchase.  Why?  The expense far outweighs the practical benefits.  The functions I need a computer for- Excel, Powerpoint, Internet Browsing- can all be done relatively well on my old clunker.  I just don’t need a better one.  Besides looking great and perhaps not catching on fire (true story, my current computer has caught on fire and is somehow still fully functional), the cost would far outweigh the practical benefits for me at this point in my life.  A new computer wouldn’t move me forward in any way other than ‘cool’ factor.  Of course, if I decide to become, say, a graphic designer, the cost/benefit ratio will change and I will need more functionality.  That shiny new computer and new technology capabilities changes from just being ‘cool’ to ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial’— the technology jackpot in my opinion.

So what technology is topping my list as ‘cool’ and ‘beneficial?’  TWITTER.  And in the larger scheme of things, SOCIAL MEDIA.

Why I think Twitter is ‘cool:’

1.  It’s Easy and Convenient. Say something in 140 characters? Done in the blink of an eye.  Create lists so I can follow all the headlines I want in one place? Done in an instant.  Want to tweet from your computer? Your phone? Your iPad? Shoot, you could even tweet from the bathroom! Twitter is just so easy to use, it’s hard not to be impressed.

2.  It’s Free. Yep, in the world of overpriced gadgets and gizmos, Twitter is 100% free.  Even if you don’t own a computer or a cell phone, there’s always a public library/work computer to use.  I have access to all this great information for absolutely nothing.

3.  It Allows for Tremendous Access and for Network Expansion. On what other platform can I communicate directly and as easily with a top marketing exec or with someone from a different country? And for free? And in real time? And here’s the shocker– the response rate is great and Twitter actually allows for a true two-way real time conversation.  There’s no way that I would meet even half of the people I follow in mere months if I was trying to track them down in person or by phone, email, etc.  And going back to the ease point– it’s easy for someone to shoot off a quick 140 character response.  It’s harder to find an extra 15 min in the day to talk to someone.

So there’s the ‘cool’ factor recapped.  But how can this ‘coolness’ benefit the advertising industry (personally I think Twitter has huge potential for almost every industry, but just for modeling purposes lets stick to advertising)?  Let’s wrap all the ‘coolness‘ factors together–Twitter is easy, convenient, free, and a ‘networking’ tool… hmm networking you say?

Why I think Twitter/social media can be beneficial to the advertising industry:

Networking is the key to why I think Twitter/social media is beneficial to the advertising industry.  Twitter’s networking capability is an example of how the intersection of the traditional (networking, ie people connecting with people) with technology (Internet) can move the advertising industry forward.  We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly busier/faster/more cluttered, which in turn is making it harder and harder for advertisers to really connect with consumers– and for consumers to feel like a part of the conversation.  But Twitter is a ‘cool‘ and ‘beneficial‘ technology that provides advertisers with an easy, convenient, and real time network to (re)connect with consumers–

–So why are advertisers so resistant to including Twitter and social media as a viable and valuable advertising tool?  Isn’t the idea of advertising to engage and connect with consumers?  Here’s a great platform that gives advertisers the opportunity to have a one-on-one, two way conversation with their consumers, coupled with the fact that Twitter is easy to use, convenient, and free.  And the ironic part of it all? Twitter (and modeled to social media) broken down to the basics, taken from the about us section of Twitter: a real-time information network that connects you (whether it be on the advertiser end or the consumer end) to [information/people/the world around you]. That’s actually a really old, traditional concept- people connecting with other people.  So really, the joke’s on the advertiser if they continue to resist the change- since Twitter and social media is just the intersection of the traditional with technology.  The benefits of Twitter/social media far outweigh the costs- why not??

Your thoughts- what else can advertisers do with the intersection of the traditional with technology?  What other technologies are ”cool’ and ‘beneficial’ that could move the advertising industry forward?

Update: This nerd just can’t get enough– an example of an advertiser that GETS IT: Gatorade –> ‘The company recently created the Gatorade Mission Control Center inside of its Chicago headquarters, a room that sits in the middle of the marketing department and could best be thought of as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.’ (from mashable, full article here)

Art (E)valuation

5 Dec

I’m an art lover, and two articles from my perusing of the NY Times this past week made me really think about the meaning of the true ‘value’ of art (or evaluating the value of art):

From the NY Times article ‘Big Sales and Blue-Chip Sales at Art Basel Miami:’

“‘The art market is back!’ was the chorus this week among most of the major dealers at the fair…”

Read the full article here.

And, from ‘Nazis’ ‘Degenerate Art’ Resurfaces in Berlin:’

‘The past still thrusts itself back into the headlines here… [n]ow it has reappeared as art… the 11 sculptures [found] proved to be survivors of Hitler’s campaign against what the Nazis notoriously called “degenerate art.” Several works, records showed, were seized from German museums in the 1930s, paraded in the fateful “Degenerate Art” show, and in a couple of cases also exploited for a 1941 Nazi film, an anti-Semitic comedy lambasting modern art.’

Read the full article here.

First thoughts: Where exactly did the art market go? Did all the artists stop creating?  Did all the art lovers disappear? And ‘Degenerate’ Art?  How can these pieces’ worth be culturally marked as ‘degenerate?’  And their ‘value’ now?

I think the juxtaposition of these two articles and the idea of an ‘up art market’ and labeling art as ‘degenerate’ shows the complexity of assigning ‘value’ to a work of art.  In the first article, ‘value’ is defined in an economic sense- the price the piece can command equates to the piece’s value, and in the second article, a collective societal opinion determined the ‘value’ of the art.

What makes the art market an unusual beast compared to other markets (and glaringly evident in these two articles) is that the ‘value’ of art can be defined in many ways.  Unlike a commodities market, where the value of a good is dictated purely by economic law, the ‘value’ of a work of art is much more complex; there is no pure economic value and ‘value’ can change with changing societal attitudes (once was once labeled as ‘degenerate’ is now recognized as an important reminder of history).

The one constant in the ‘value’ of art, then, is the personal value individuals place on a work of art.  While the art market may have been ‘down’ in recent years, art lovers didn’t stop loving art.  And while the second article states that the prevailing societal value of modern art in Hitler’s Germany was ‘degenerate,’ the article also goes on to say that the works are rumored to have survived because of Erhard Oewerdieck, a Jewish man who hid the art from the Nazis- clearly Oewerdieck personally valued the works of art.

So my personal opinion when it comes to the valuation of art:  there is no one absolute, true ‘value’ of art.  Value is a moving target, and ‘value’ changes based on personal opinion.  It may sound cliché, but there’s no better way to simply and succinctly describe my thoughts on valuing art: ‘Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.’

A peak into my budding art collection and my two most ‘valuable’ pieces.  And if we were defining ‘value’ in either economic or the prevailing collective societal opinion, these pieces would be worth pennies.

'Allie's Deer' artist: Susie Cowie

Yes, you read that correctly.  The title of the piece is ‘Allie’s Deer.’  I acquired the piece through a school assignment- my senior year of college I was lucky enough to take a class about the intersection of business and art.  A generous donor to Wake Forest funded the class, giving the class the opportunity to visit the behind the scenes art world of New York- private tours of MoMA and Agnes Gund’s private apartment, visits to artist studios… an art lover’s dream.  While we were in NY, we were all given $100- our final project was to find a piece of art we loved but not to spend more than the $100. The point? Find something you personally love, not something the market or society says you have to love.   I searched for days, but didn’t find anything that really struck me as ‘special,’ until on one of the last days of the trip I took a visit to the Rockefeller Anthropologie.  This Anthropologie has a small ‘art gallery,’ and the artist they were featuring was Susie Cowie.  Here’s what I saw in the Anthropologie art gallery:

Susie Cowie, Anthropologie

I just knew I had to have a piece of the collection.  But sadly, the lowest price tag was $500 and way over budget.  Determined, I took matters into my own idealistic little hands.  I immediately googled Susie Cowie, found her website, and sent her a heart wrenching email about loving her work but not being able to afford it, and would she consider doing a small piece for a mere $100?  To my surprise and delight, the London based artist responded within days agreeing to make a small piece for me.  She even went so far as to learn a little about me so she could personalize the piece!  A few weeks and my first money transfer later, I had my $100 piece for my final class project and the 1st piece in my very own art collection.  While the economic market dictates that this piece is only worth $100, it’s value to me is summed up as determination, love, cooperation, and idealism.  And my first artwork.

My second most valuable piece in my small collection:

'Above the Dirt Road- Costa Rica' by shehitpause studios

I found this piece in the Union Square Christmas market last year (December 2009).  It’s a beautiful, unique piece- a polaroid picture transferred to watercolor paper.  But priced at a few hundred dollars and my budget already stretched thin from the holiday season, I could only admire the piece from a distance.  The artist was in the booth, so of course I had to comment on how much I loved it, and that although I couldn’t afford to buy it now, where else would he be showing his work in the coming year? (along with being an idealistic individual, I’m also one of the most stubbornly determined individuals you’ll ever meet- when I set my mind to something, watch out world)  Armed with the artist’s web address, twitter handler, and my plan to put a little money aside each month until I could buy it, I knew I would find a way to bring the piece into my collection.   To my surprise, the following February I received an award at work (ahem, an award for excellent research work :)), and with it came a small bonus.  I knew immediately what I would spend the bulk of my award on- ‘Above the Dirt Road- Costa Rica.’ The piece is now proudly hanging in my bedroom, and my award notice is even more proudly taped to the back of the frame.  Why is this piece valuable to me?  It represents hard work, perserverance, and the unexpected joys life has to offer.  Economic value? Little to zero.  Personal value? Huge.

One day I may own a piece of work that is economically/culturally ‘valuable.’  In fact, one of my long term goals for my collection is to own a copy of Ormand Gigli’s Girls in the Window, a piece you may recognize from this blog’s header or if you follow me on twitter (@NYC_Allie) . The work starts at $10,000, so it will be quite some time before it makes it’s way into my collection- but when it does, it won’t be because it’s economically or culturally valuable, it will be because I am in love with it!

What’s the value of your favorite piece of art? And bigger question– what’s the value of anything creative?  For example, advertising- should ads be judged on their economic value (ie did we see a larger jump in sales after this ad vs. this ad) or on their creative value?

Let’s get digital, digital

1 Dec

(Best read to the tune of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’)

The One Community recently named the 10 winners of ‘The Best of the Digital Decade: Digital Advertising that Defined an Era, 2000-2010′ and I am in AWE of the campaigns.  Let me repeat, in jaw dropping, let me wipe my chin off the floor, did they really just do that…AWE.

The winners:

1. SUBSERVIENT CHICKEN, 2004, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky

2. THE HIRE (aka BMW Films), 2001-2, for BMW, by Fallon Worldwide

3.  NIKE PLUS, 2006, for Nike, by R/GA

4. UNIQLOCK, 2007, for Uniqlo, by Projector

5. WHOPPER SACRIFICE, 2009, for Burger King, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky

6. CHALKBOT, 2009, for the Livestrong Foundation and Nike, by Wieden & Kennedy

7. DREAM KITCHENS, 2005, for Ikea, by Forsman & Bodenfors

8. ECO DRIVE, 2008, for Fiat, by AKQA

9. HBO VOYEUR, 2007, for HBO, by two agencies, the BBDO New York division of the Omnicon Group and Big Spaceship

10. DOVE EVOLUTION, 2006, for the Dove brand, by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

(videos and descriptions of the top 10 here)

If those 10 campaigns don’t impress you, I’m not quite sure what will.  The campaigns ooze creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and pizazz (excuse me if my breathless adoration of these campaigns affects my writing skills and use of adjectives).  And most importantly, these campaigns make me EXCITED.  Yes it’s nerdy but true, but they make me EXCITED about what great advertising can be (and that’s all advertising, not just digital advertising!) and EXCITED about what’s to come as technology and ideas continue to develop.  And hey, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll just have a bright, shiny idea to add to the conversation!

Taking some deep breaths and calming down, I made a few observations about why I thought these campaigns were just brilliant:

1.  It’s not about ‘talking to’  consumers, it’s about talking ‘with’ consumers.  And it’s about giving the consumer more control than the advertiser. The campaigns engage consumers as if the consumer and advertiser were in a two-way, mutual, and friendly conversation.  The campaigns invite the consumer to build their own personal experience with the campaign, making the campaign engaging and relevant.

(ie, viewers tell the subservient chicken exactly what to do, those affected by cancer/supportive of the livestrong community are the ones controlling the tweets of the chalkbot, viewers control their sensory experiences with the HBO Voyeur campaign and IKEA kitchens…)

2.  It’s OK to take risks and break boundaries.  Controversy and backlash can be a good thing and can create buzz.  And it’s about being transparent so consumers can trust your brand. The campaigns made a splash because they were different- whether it be mainly to creativity that broke through the clutter, or honesty that made consumers do a doubletake, or backlash from a campaign that actually gained more impressions than the campaign itself.

(ie, Dove, a beauty products company exposing the industry’s way to create glamorous beauty photo shoots, Fiat widget allowing drivers to see exactly how their driving affects the environment, expanding the mission of the livestrong community/cancer awareness with personal sentiments on the world stage, IKEA giving consumers a 360 view of what their kitchens could look like, Burger King using Facebook for the opposite of Facebook’s purpose– by deleting friends for a Whopper…)

3.  It’s not about completely new technology/invention, it’s more about re purposing existing technology. The campaigns and the teams behind the campaigns were able to see the world through a different lens and incorporate existing technology/concepts with new technology to create the ‘wow’ factor in the campaigns.  Consumers need to be able to relate to the campaign, and if everything is new, that may be hard to get that connection.  Most of the campaigns didn’t reinvent the wheel, just took apart the wheel and re purposed it to better reach their consumers.   You have to understand where technology is now and what consumers want now in order to be able to create the successful ‘next best thing.’

(ie, Winning creative combos: Running+Music+network= Nike Plus; Chalk+Robot+network= Chalkbot; Friends+Fast Food+Facebook=Whopper Sacrifice; Music+Storyboard+network=HBO Voyeur; Chicken Suit+Fearless individual+webcam/network= Subservient Chicken)

4.  It’s about ideas being (seemingly) absolutely ridiculous… but actually not at all. All of the campaigns were probably laughed at when first introduced and dismissed as ludicrious, impossible, or insane.  But then some pushy creatives/teams got the head honchos to pay attention, and THEN.IT.WORKED.  Tradition was thrown to the wind and the companies allowed their ad campaigns to step out on a limb.  (probably with a little good market research first 🙂 )  You can’t be afraid to fail, you just have to take a deep breath and move forward.

(ie, Scenario One: ‘You want me to advertise Burger King by having some guy dress up in a chicken costume? How exactly does a chicken looking like a fool relate to selling Burger King?’ Scenario Two: ‘But I don’t understand- a robot that’s connected to a network? And how exactly do you plan to just go out there and write on roads- surely there’s a law against that.’ And Scenario Three: ‘We’re a beauty company.  Our products make people beautiful, and you want to expose what really happens at photo shoots… and that by using our products chances are you aren’t really going to look like that?’)

Innovation, engagement, a little bit of foolishness, and lots of creativity and determination- not a bad way to approach an ad campaign! (Or for that matter, life!) These are the type of campaigns that are moving the industry forward- and why a campaign like Subservient Chicken is still in the top 10 of the decade list even though it burst onto the scene in 2004.  The digital sphere is far more developed now (hello social media?) than it was in 2004, but advertisers still haven’t fully embraced the idea– it’s time to get digital! (digital)

Inspired by the ads and my learnings, I challenged myself to take the principles and think of the next great (digital) ad campaign.  And drumroll, please…

A campaign to raise money for public arts education.

The concept:

– Student art displayed and on sale in ‘galleries.’ Only these galleries aren’t in a museum or office building or school, they’re on the streets.  And the ‘galleries’ are white ‘canvases’ (actually screens) strategically placed around various cities, digitally showcasing students’ work.  The bottom of each screen reads like a typical PSA: ‘Donate to public arts education.  Buy this piece of artwork by texting xxx-xxx-xxxx and you’re helping ensure our children are getting a quality arts education.’ (ahem, not a copywriter but you get the point) The message is accompanied by a price tag for the art (nominal) and a phone number- the viewer just has to text the number to purchase the art (similar to texting campaigns for relief funds, billed right to your next cell phone bill.  And the artwork would be shipped to the address on the cell phone bill)

– The digital aspect: Students would create art in their classrooms and upload their work (through scanners, etc) to a central website.  The website would then digitally transmit the images to the various screens around the country, rotating them out once bought.

– Challenges: To work the program would probably have to be coupled with a major art event– free museum night in NY, a major art auction at Sothebys/Christies, outside of a huge art fair (Armory Show, Basel, etc)… and may only work in major cities with major arts outlets.  ‘Canvases’ would need to have some sort of electrical outlet since they are screens connected to a network, and there would have to be a traditional PR campaign so students would know to submit artwork.

Lots of challenges, but it’s- innovative, engaging, creative and a little foolish so it might just work!

Maybe my favorite deeplocal (creators of Chalkbot) can help me figure it out!

Get Wild.

29 Nov

The Nat Geo promo for the ‘Wild Justice’ series premiere on Sunday, November 28 at 9p urges viewers to ‘pledge’ to watch the premiere on DVR and instead watch football live— watch by clicking link below:


One man in the promo sums up the idea to premiere ‘Wild Justice’ during Sunday night football (and from the viewers’ point of view- to actually point out that these men are going to be watching football, not trying out a new series on Nat Geo) quite well: ‘ Terrible idea.’

Or is it?

My initial reaction to the promo: Whoa Whoa Whoa, Hold Up.  You don’t want me to watch the show live?  You want me to DVR it and watch it later?  Really? If you know I’m going to be watching football during the premiere, why premiere Wild Justice during football? Why not wait until a Tuesday or Wednesday night when there isn’t any football on TV?  Hmm… really Nat Geo?

Putting on my marketer’s cap: Hmm… really Nat Geo? Hmm… wait a second… umm… wow! You just made me do a double take!  I’ve never really heard a cable channel say to watch it’s show on DVR rather than live before, and now… you’ve piqued my curiosity.  You are very very sneaky Nat Geo- just when I’m thinking your promo/message makes zero sense, I’m realizing that I really want to watch your show now.  Man you’re good.

Kudos Nat Geo for taking a fresh approach with an unexpectedly clever message.  And while I’ll admit that it’s a somewhat risky move to tell your viewers to just DVR the show, I think Nat Geo has hit promotional gold with the ‘Wild Justice’ pledge spot.  Nat Geo speaks directly to the type of viewers it wants to reach (in brief, ‘manly men’) and does so in such an unconventional way that the message breaks through the clutter.

I also love this spot because it speaks to the changing way in which we view television (a favorite topic of mine- advertising deals needs to adapt to how people actually watch TV) .  Viewers watch a substantial amount of television during playback- and Nat Geo is smart enough to recognize and capitalize on this viewing pattern.  Nat Geo is realistic- most men aren’t going to forgo watching a football game to sample a new show (that they could possibly not like)– but just because they probably aren’t willing to switch from football to Wild Justice live doesn’t mean they aren’t interested at all in the show.  The promo does a great job of telling potential viewers why they would be interested in the show and how easy it is to set their DVR and sample the show on their own time.  Now this is a complete assumption on my part, but I’m guessing this strategy brought in more live viewers than if Nat Geo had gone a traditional route and brought in more DVR viewers as well– a fresh approach like this was bound to catch more than my eye.

And to add to the kudos for Nat Geo and it’s unexpected, fresh DVR approach, as long as viewers watch ‘Wild Justice; in 3 days, it’s all the same to the advertiser.  The current currency for advertisers is C3 impressions – live average commercial delivery+3 days of commercial playback.  So if Wild Justice earns an equal delivery for live delivery alone or live+3 delivery, it’s one and the same to the advertiser since  the Nat Geo has 3 days after the live airing to earn the guaranteed delivery.   (Unless of course the show wildly exceeds expectations and the advertiser gets unexpected ‘free’ impressions from the ‘over’ performance of the show- and in that case, research has failed to correctly estimate the show and left money on the table that could have been sold to another advertiser…)     With this spot, then, Nat Geo is playing hardball with the current advertising model by saying ‘ if we don’t get ’em live, we’ll get ’em for playback.’

The promo’s audacity is at first shocking- don’t watch your show live? Excuse me?- and then once you see the cleverness in the approach makes your smirk as if in on an inside joke- ok Nat Geo, I get it- you’re trying to outsmart everyone… and you may just have figured out a winning approach!

How do you spell love? B-u-t-t-e-r

27 Nov

When it comes to cooking and baking, I like to live by the motto, ‘more is always more.’

Forget the recipe- if you really love something (like I love vanilla) a little extra pinch or two isn’t going to ruin your recipe.  Now I wouldn’t go completely overboard on anything and everything, but I think a ‘liberal’ amount rather than a perfectly measured amount of that one ingredient you really love (an extra handful of chocolate chips, a dash more nutmeg or cinnamon, a splash more of vanilla…) will only make you love what you’re making that much more!

And let’s be honest, whoever said ‘less is more’ was a fool when it comes to to the good things in life- more is always more… which leads me to a confession.  I have another great love in baking/cooking– butter.  Blame it on my southern heritage and the south’s collective love of all things delicious and fattening, but I just love the taste of butter.  And gladly, I’m not alone in my butter love.  My entire family (even the dog- we once caught him eating an entire stick of butter we had left to soften on the counter) loves butter.  We’re generally pretty health conscious and don’t go slathering everything in sight with butter, but the holidays are a time to indulge.  So naturally, almost everything in our Thanksgiving feast includes- yep, you guessed it- heaping amounts of butter.

The three Walker children showcase our favorite butter-filled Thanksgiving recipes- enjoy!

Proud of my first turkey!

Roasted Turkey:

(recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa here)

– 1 13 lb. turkey

– salt, pepper, and thyme

– 1 onion, quartered

– 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

– 4 celery stalks, cut in half

– 1 stick of butter (Barefoot Contessa only called for 1/2 a stick… she doesn’t know what she’s missing!)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Find someone less squeamish than you to take the innards out of the turkey.  (still working up to that…)

2.  Give the turkey a nice bath- inside and out.  After he is clean, pat dry.

3.  Put the turkey in a large roasting pan.  We used a disposable pan for less cleanup- put a little water in the bottom of the pan and then cover with tinfoil.  This will help keep the turkey nice and moist.

4.  Salt and pepper the inside cavity of the turkey.  Throw in a little thyme as well.  I just used judgment here- the turkey certainly doesn’t need an entire bottle of salt, pepper, and thyme, but just a pinch isn’t going to do it, either.

5.  Stuff the cavity with the onion, garlic, and celery.

6.  Melt the butter, and brush the turkey with the butter.  Sprinkle on a bit more salt and pepper.  Here’s what I think made the turkey- when I had thourughly brushed the turkey all over with the butter, there was plenty still left, so I just poured the remainder all over the turkey– mmm mmm good.

7.  Place turkey in oven and bake at 350 for 3 hours and 15 min.  I brushed the turkey with the butter drippings (that collect in the bottom of the pan) every 20 minutes– and man was he golden brown, moist, and delicious when he was done!

Lawson, the #1 family biscuit maker

Now it may come as a surprise, but my baby brother is the best biscuit maker in the family.  He’s been known to wake up on Saturdays and make biscuits for his college roommates, and I think his biscuit making skills helped him to win the heart of his current girlfriend.  I mean, who wouldn’t want a good lookin’ boy who can cook?

Company Biscuits:

(recipe from Shem Creek)

– 1/2 cup sour cream

– 1 stick butter, softened

– 1 cup self-rising flour, sifted


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Combine, roll out and pat dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/2 inch thick.

3. Cut with small floured cutter (we like smaller biscuits and have found that using a jigger to cut the dough makes the perfect size)

4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Our eating suggestions: take two and butter ’em while they’re hot!

Elliott- very excited about her favorite peas

Even our vegetables have butter in them over the holidays.  Like I said, ‘more is more’- if you’re going to indulge, make sure you fully commit!

Curried Peas

(recipe from 100 Years of Florence Cooking)

–  3 cans green peas

– 1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed salted peanuts

– 1 stick butter

– 1 teaspoon curry powder (or more to taste)


1. Melt butter in saucepan

2.  Add curry, peas (liquid drained), and nuts.

3.  Stir gently and heat until thoroughly hot.  Enjoy!

So there you have it- butter, butter, and more butter.  And some pretty easy recipes to try, too! Happy Holidays!

Blurring the Lines

24 Nov

Blurring the lines... TV alone seems static now (photo from FCC.gov)

Well done, FOX, well done.

From the article, “Fox to Use Hulu Inventory for Advertiser ‘Make-Goods'” in the November 23 issue of AdAge MediaWorks:

‘Fox has secured agreements with about a dozen advertisers to supply them with inventory from online-video site Hulu to make up for ratings shortfalls on its broadcast network, according to the News Corp. network’s top ad-sales executive. The move is the latest signal that marketers are growing more comfortable with the idea that consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’

(Read the entire article here)

Simply put, an impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer.  I couldn’t agree more with FOX’s strategy of all of its available assets to meet an advertiser’s guaranteed delivery– except maybe to make it a part of the initial sell rather than as an option in a make-good situation.  Just think for a minute– how do you consume media? How many of us just watch TV? Or just use the Internet? Or just use our phones?  Or ‘just use‘ one media vehicle for that matter?  I’m going to make a wild assumption here (and please correct me if I’m wrong)– not many of us ‘just useone thing anymore to consume media.  Now it’s more of a question of what we’re not using to consume media.  Our ever increasing connectivity to media across an ever increasing number of platforms gives advertisers so many more ways in which to reach us– it almost seems foolish for an advertiser not to have simultaneous campaigns running across multiple platforms.  Why not reach your audience in every way they consume media?

As the article in AdAge pointed out, ‘The move is the latest signal that marketers are growing more comfortable with the idea that consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’  Thinking outside of just TV and web, should advertisers start thinking of ‘media’ buys rather than TV/digital/VOD/mobile buys?  If media consumption isn’t occurring in isolated silos (TV only, web only, etc), media buying shouldn’t be occurring in isolated silos.  Shouldn’t a media buy mirror consumption habits and take advantage of all the assets a company has to offer?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in logistics/operations, but I’ve tried to think of a few benefits/obstacles/solutions for an advertiser to switch to a ‘media’ buy rather than siloed TV only/Web only, etc buys:

1.  If we were to buy TV and web together, that’s a lot more work for our creative teams since we’d have to create different ads. Not necessarily true- Nielsen data suggests that repurposed TV ads running on the web perform just as well or even better than original web ads, so there wouldn’t be a ‘need’ to create entirely new ads.  Nielsen data also suggests that an ad campaign running across TV and web simultaneously vs. TV only or web only (frequency held at a constant) actually sees an increase in engagement and purchase intent…. meaning the ads work together for the benefit of the advertiser.  Ah, synergy!

2.  What about mix?  How to factor in web/mobile/VOD impressions into the traditional mix seen in a TV only buy?  What about CPMs? Once again, I’m no expert, but you determine the mix an advertiser will receive (% of ads in prime, late, daytime, etc.) based on what it will take to get to the guaranteed impressions for the deal.  Here’s where research could come in handy- how many impressions does your website typically get in a 2 week period? A 4 week period? (repeat for other traditional flight times you use)  What about VOD/mobile or any other sellable assets your company has?  Based on research and historical estimates, planners could then build plans that have a mix across all platforms– say 60% TV mix (and within that, mix for dayparts), 20% online mix, 15% VOD mix, and 5% mobile.  We currently build estimates for TV impressions based on historical performance (thank research!), so why not extend the same philosophy to our other media platforms?  You’re not going to ‘just’ decide to give an advertiser a 20% web mix if you can’t deliver- just like you’re not going to promise an advertiser 1 million impressions if historical performance suggests you’ll deliver 500K.  But these other platforms do deliver impressions, and too often these impression are left on the table- why not monetize them?  And to further this point, and to point out the AdAge article again- ‘consumers who watch TV via the web are comparable to a more traditional TV audience.’  Bingo– an impression is an impression, whether it be on TV, web, phone, etc.   If you have the ad capability and they deliver impressions, why not take advantage?

Now to tackle the question of calculating a new CPM to encompass all the platforms for one integrated ‘media’ buy.  Once again, I’m no expert, but in my media math 101 book, CPM is simply ‘cost per thousand.’ So you have a thousand web, a thousand TV, and a thousand VOD viewers… and if it’s becoming clear (and will continue to do so with improved research), that audiences across platforms are more similar than not, can’t we apply the same math across all platforms? As in, this is the ‘x’ cost Advertiser ‘A’ to buy 1 million impressions across ‘Just Allie’ media (assuming I make it big and have more than just this little blog :))

3.  From the sales point of view- c’mon, there’s no incentive to sell web, mobile, or VOD.  Why would I focus on these smaller properties when I can get a lot more commission from my TV sell? Well, unlike now where the bigger deals (and bigger commissions) are for TV deals, new deals would just be ‘media’ deals.  A $1 million dollar deal across multiple platforms=$1 million dollar deal on just TV.  Last time I checked, $1 million dollar deal was a $1 million dollar deal (same as an impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer).

Now I know it’s not that simple, but I like to look at life from the most basic point of view and then think of (and try to squash) any obstacles.  Here’s my basic breakdown, summarized even further:

Media companies (big or small) have multiple platforms in which to reach viewers.  Research shows that these consumers are increasingly consuming media across multiple platforms, not just TV.  TV alone doesn’t deliver impressions- ads on web, VOD, mobile, etc. also deliver impressions.  An impression is an impression and a viewer is a viewer. (Since when did 1+1 not equal 2?) Leverage all assets and monetize all possible impressions, not just the TV impressions– good for the advertiser (as noted earlier, Nielsen suggests a simultaneous multi-platform campaign increases engagement and purchase intent) and good for the media company (nothing left on the table).  If research shows you can reach that same desired consumer (remember hyper-targeting) across all platforms, why would an advertiser not want to hit its target across all possible platforms?

What do you think?

UPDATE: Whitepaper from Nielsen/YuME: Share-shift Analysis, TV + Online Video: The Best of Both Worlds, February 2011

Excerpt: ‘Online video ad spending increased by 40%1 in 2010 as an increasing number of advertisers embraced the medium. Even with explosive growth and mass-market penetration, online video still represents only a small percentage of marketers’ overall media mix. Media planning across different media continues to be a challenge; but if video buying is planned holistically, independently of the screen on which it appears, the results are significant and compelling. YuMe set out to demonstrate that reallocating 5%, 10%, or 15% of a TV buy to online video can not only improve reach, effective reach, and frequency, but can also lower the overall campaign CPM. YuMe’s Online Video Share-shift Analysis proves that online video campaigns complement TV campaigns, and that the combined effect is more than the sum of its parts.’

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