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Archive for April, 2008

From Jaffe Juice, caught via Joseph’s copious Twittering:

We’re all too familiar with the ultimate contradiction in the 30-second spot game – as every year goes by, we seem to be paying more for less. It makes no sense that as viewers continue to fragment to cable, favor video production over consumption or just switch to alternatives from DVD viewing to gaming, somehow marketers are conned into continuing to invest in the cluttered swill of wastage that is continually suffocating the last bit of life in the dying field of creativity.

According to Mediaweek, viewers aged 18-49 for network syndicated spots, viewership has gone DOWN by an average of 12% and some as much as 21% over last year. That equates to about 3 million viewers on average. But Media Agencies are still trying to use scare tactics on advertisers, boasting the fact that ad spots that are not locked in already will cost 30-40% more over last year.

Hat tip: Lori-Laurent Smith

…but wait, there’s less!

I opened up my USA Today in my hotel room and looked at the latest Prime Time Nielsen ratings. Last week American Idol, the network’s top rated program pulled in 24.7 and 23.2 million viewers for its Tuesday and Wednesday showings respectively.

And here’s the kicker: there’s another box which breaks down viewers 18-49 (didn’t it used to be 24-39? I’m sure these numbers would be worse) and has the same AI numbers at 11.9 and 11.3 million respectively.

In other words, 52% of American Idol viewers are 50 and older??? I’m obviously assuming that a significant chunk of this viewership is 17 and younger…but I’m curious, to what extent do Nielsen numbers cover 17 and under? Irrespective, is it even possible that such a large percentage of viewers of the most watched program are outside of the (inflated) “coveted” demographic?

Read the whole post here.

Media agencies: You might want to rethink your gameplan. That singing you’re hearing off in the distance, that’s the fat lady singing your lullaby.

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Brains on Fire‘s Justine Foo (PhD) on the sustainability of value props, innovation, and the courage of looking beyond conventional ROI:

Maybe it’s the idealist in me, but I’m hoping sustainability isn’t just a trend. I’m hoping this is the beginning of a paradigm shift toward more sustainable business practices in general. Not just with respect to the use of renewable vs. non-renewable resources for manufacturing. But also with respect to the kinds of consumer goods we innovate, and how we communicate about products and services to people. I long to see sustainability as a price of entry for doing business, and yes marketing. Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually kept, for example, 80% of the mail you get instead of throwing it straight in the trash?

We spend billions of dollars on communications that are short-lived and sadly waste paper, vinyl, and other things. We know that mass advertising isn’t having the impact it used to, and that we need to look to other venues like word of mouth. But even then we’re still thinking short term; creating buzz, not lasting energy and enduring excitement.

(…)

You’ll think I’m crazy. But I’m hoping that oil prices stay high. That the “crisis” mainstream advertisers are in doesn’t subside. That consumers continue to grow their demand for pesticide-free, natural, organic. Even that food prices rise. It’s instabilities like these that drive REAL change. Why? Because they create the motivation for finding a better way to do things. They force us to innovate and not relax back into the status quo.

Marketing, like manufacturing, stands at the doorstep of a great opportunity. An opportunity to revolutionize how we think about growth, measure return, and exist in relation to the communities that support us. Will we invest in developing better, smarter, more efficient ways to excite people about our products? Or will we continue to play the numbers game and bask in a false sense of security we feel when we’re promised a reach of thousands and millions of people, even when our strategic objectives have moved beyond raising awareness.

It will take courage to look beyond conventional ROI. It will take dedication and creativity to see new ways to measure return. It will also take companies demanding sustainability from their marketing departments and partners. And the recognition that it emerges from passion and excitement, not impressions.

Source post.

If you think that the gas prices comment is harsh, well… yeah. It is. But when we’re too set in our ways to make necessary changes on our own, the universe has a funny way of using the foot-in-ass technique to get us to move. It may not be pleasant, but that’s just how it is. Deal with it.

The same is true about business. Way too many companies are still in denial mode: “We’ve been doing it this way for 50 years and it’s worked fine!” (Yet their business is going down the drain and they can’t figure out why.) Wake up and smell what’s cooking. Numbers don’t lie. Customers don’t lie. Your bottom-line and market share don’t lie. Winners win and losers lose: What is true of athletes, nations, products and even species is also true of marketing campaigns and businesses.

Reality is often too harsh to bear. True leaders accept reality and deal with it. Far too many business executives, however, are not leaders. For them, competition, price pressures and innovation are the cosmic kicks to the rump that force them to cast their “business as usual” mentalities aside and get back in the game, sometimes much too late, when at all

Leaders and the companies they head will survive. Posers will not. I say let natural selection, market forces and user/customer communities sort them out.

Great post, Justine.

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Not a lot of time to blog tonight, but tomorrow should be a little less of a time crunch. Hanging out at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Antonio, just a short walk from the famous Riverwalk. So far so good.
Oh, and I led my team to a very acceptable bronze medal in the Varnex/Cowboy Olympics this evening. (I even set a quick-draw record – which, for a non-Texan, isn’t too shabby.)
The kid’s still got it!

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Heading west to Varnex today.
There will be copious blogging.
End of transmission.

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“I realize the conversations I’m having today are going to turn into business in about two years. The problem is convincing everyone else.”

- Tim Coote from a Twitter post.

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While we’re all going about our daily business – driving to work, shopping at Target or Whole Foods or Starbucks, watching John Adams on HBO, and doing whatever it is we do, tens of thousands of men and women are serving overseas in areas that aren’t exactly… um… safe. F360’s Roby (photo above) is still one of them – although he should be heading home pretty soon. (Keeping our fingers crossed.)

Just to bring home Roby’s current lifestyle, here are some of his combat photographer images from Afghanistan (while his unit trains the locals to kick the Taliban in the teeth without US help):


Good stuff.

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