Monday, July 16, 2007

Ad news and stuff I looked at today

+ Every day I plan on making a more extensive post of some sort, I never do. So here's what I was looking at today in between meetings and work stuff.

gency profits overtake traditional for first time.

Plaid starts their Brand Tour around the USA today.

Networks leave condom ad approval to local stations.
Comcast, the cable provider for both Pittsburgh and Seattle, would not allow Trojan to purchase local ads for Adult Swim, the nighttime programming on the Cartoon Network, in either market, deeming it inappropriate for children who might stay tuned at night. Adult Swim did accept national advertising, however, so the ads will appear in those same slots in Seattle and Pittsburgh.

Although Comcast did agree to sell spots to Trojan in both cities for other cable networks, including MTV and Comedy Central, Mr. Daniels said the company might abandon Pittsburgh as a test market because of the rebuffs.

Still, the best publicity for Trojan may be what it is getting free. The ad’s rejection by CBS and Fox was discussed on many blogs, with the Huffington Post, for example, chiding the networks in four posts. The commercial has been viewed nearly 100,000 times on YouTube, while has drawn more than 400,000 unique visitors since June 18.

On “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox, Bill O’Reilly argued the ad was inappropriate to show on television — after he broadcast the ad nearly in its entirety. Stephen Colbert also did a segment about the campaign on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.

Esquire logo thrown into the Los Angeles River and makes news in the New York Times. Not really sure why.

What's plaguing viral marketing?
Australian-born sociology professor at Columbia University named Duncan Watts argument is that even if influentials are several times as influential as a normal person, they have little impact beyond their own immediate neighborhood -- not good when you're trying to create a cascade through a large network of people, as most big brands do. In those cases, he argues, it's best to skip the idea of targeting that treasured select group of plugged-in folks and instead think about that group's polar opposite: a large number of easily influenced people. He calls this big-seed marketing.

An irony of our age is that, though everyone acknowledges consumers are in control, marketers still believe they're running the show, right down to trying to plan for virality as any creative told to "just go make a viral video" will lament. Virality is an outcome, not a channel to be planned. In Mr. Watts' chaotic conception of the world, you might as well try to plan for a terrorist attack or some other random event.

"We cannot predict what is going to happen," he said. "Things happen randomly. You want strategies that don't depend on being right, but do depend on being able to measure things very well. You throw things out there, with as low cost as you can manage and with as great a diversity as you can stand and then you see what gets taken up."

This thinking, if you buy it, has dramatic implications for a marketing business most believe is entering a post-mass world. Media is fragmenting and consumers are more skeptical and harder to reach, leaving viral and word-of-mouth as the most attractive cost-efficient alternative to paid advertising. A way to slip into culture without paying millions for media, it transfers the work of distribution to consumers themselves, which is not only efficient in terms of cost but it also grants viral content or ideas more credibility since it came from a friend. In short, advertising is expensive and hard-to-believe; viral is cheap and credible. It is the un-mass.
And in April, a trio of researchers published some findings on an online retailer's recommendation network in paper in the journal "Transactions on the Web." They found that there are limits to how long recommendation chains last and just how influential those most influential nodes are -- "over a few of their friends and not everyone they know" -- and concluded that "viral marketing was found to be in general not as epidemic as one might have hoped."

Oxynation is a microsite for Oxy targeting teens. I'm not so thrilled about the tagline, "Way Better". Yes it's in teen-speak, but tagline 101 would tell you that if you can say it about any product, it ain't so peachy.

Peter Druckerism: "The customer never buys what you think you sell. And you don't know it. That's why it's so difficult to differentiate yourself." (via the hidden persuader)

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