Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

We write ads…!

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Thanks, Philippe!

Think different. Not Apple.

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Message to the iPhone “crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the trouble-makers”.

Quote to remember

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Corporate logos are blemishes on cultural artifacts.
- Groundhog Day

taking this shamelessly from Doc’s quote du jour. Too good to miss.

Metrics schmetrics

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Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker has been caught in an embarrassingly basic math mistake… Meeker’s estimate of the impact of YouTube’s new “overlay” ads? She says they could boost Google’s gross revenues by $4.8 billion next year. But her math, Blodget discovered, was off by a factor of a thousand. The error apparently stemmed from forgetting the meaning of CPM, or “cost per thousand,” a commonly used term in advertising rate cards.

Perhaps she subconsciously rebelled against the idea of counting eyeballs by thousands. Or maybe not.

New estimates via Henry Blodget.

Yesterday: $720 million. ($720 thousand using same assumptions and correct math)

Today: $75 – $189 million (using new assumptions).

The backstory: Mary Meeker’s YouTube Math

Well, anyone can make a mistake. These days such mistakes are less likely to serve as a foundation for the entire industry governed by a herd instinct. Provided that they put information online and accessible to everyone.

The real question is how to measure how annoyed YouTube fans get at the ads.

Get a new business model

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The sense of entitlement of payment for your efforts is palpable here. Danny Carlton has blocked Firefox users from accessing his site in protest of a popular browser extension that blocks text and display ads.

Accessing the content while blocking the ads therefore would be no less than stealing. Millions of hard working people are being robbed of their time and effort by this type of software.

Nobody owes Mr Carlton for his time and effort. The fact that he has or wants a deal with advertisers to pimp his readers’ attention is not exactly a fair arrangement either. Welcome to the world where users can and take control. And about time. Companies and advertisers have abused everyone’s attention for decades assuming that their ‘content’ is a fair exchange for idiotic ‘messages’ spewing from every medium available. In the world where you can get much more than content (interaction, conversation, relationships, self-expression), that kind of devil’s bargain has a snowball-in-hell’s chance of survival.

There is a different bargain to be struck and it is one directly with your readers. They are your audience but also your distributors as they can pass your ideas and creations along. Distribution off-line is one of the most expensive things, so the deal is pretty good. That is why Carlton’s attitude is nonsensical as he is cutting himself off from those who can make him more visible online, and bring him more readers. It is the old grab’em & lock’em in attitude that looks stone-age and unviable online.

It is worth noting that Carlton complains that he can’t block only those Firefox users that have the extension installed, so he’s blocking all Firefox users since it’s “the only alternative.”

The real problem is Adblock Plus’s unwillingness to allow individual site owners the freedom to block people using their plug-in.

This is a misplaced need to control people, namely his readers and visitors to his site. He seems to consider the ability to do that his birthright. This is the same attitude that’s burying the media industry.

Online you’d better control what you can, not what you wish you could. Controlling others has always been a delusion, controlling your identity and your own expression is where it is at. Otherwise… :


Marketing joins advertising in circling the drain

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Thanks to Seth Godin for spelling out one of the many reason why…

The idea that people would seek out marketing, ads and content the same way they sought out books is radical.

Go ahead and make what you want, as long as you stand behind it and
don’t bother me. If you want to sell magnetic bracelets or put risque
pictures on your website, it’s your responsibility, your choice.

Junk turns into spam when you show up at my doorstep, when your noise intercepts my quiet.

The result of Google and the prevalence of search means that people
are far more forgiving of things that need to be sought out, and less
patient than ever with selfish marketers that insist on showing up in
your face.

Amen to that. Permission marketing has never made much sense to me anyway…

Dystopian advertising

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It’s so oddly dystopian – these poor schlubs who must only get 20
minutes for lunch, so they eat at this giant cafeteria and they don’t
talk to anyone, just get whirled around in this dizzying haze of lunch
choices until they come out the other end and swipe their Visa card,
wolf down their food and get back to work.

In years to come children will hear about ads (the same way we are hearing about horse drawn carriages and chamber pots) and say: You were forced to watch these short promotional movies in the middle of something you chose to watch to sell you something?! Why would you let them interrupt you?! They will find it as absurd as most people find the proposition that Advertising as we know it will die out – advertising may survive in some shape and form, although I wouldn’t hold my breath. I have blogged about this distinction before.

I am sure that in the future current adverts will offer great insight into various visions of the world that advertisers and their clients try to represent. God knows what social theories that will spawn! Take the Visa ad, it’s not too far from lunch rush-hour, only with silly music, more colours and OTT gestures. The reality is that lunch is a rushed affair because your time belongs to someone else. And that in my book is the opposite of utopia…

Brand-wank of olympic proportions

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Johnnie is in good form today commenting on the new logo for the 2012 Olympics:

Actually far from being innovative, this is brand-wank as usual,
these quotes bearing all the hallmarks of PR consultants and not the
sort of thing anyone believes for a nanosecond in the real world.

For the record, the logo reminds me of Fruit Salads, one of my
favourite sweets as a kid, but not much to do with sport and still less
all those other high ideals.

He has an alternative logo sent in by Tony Goodson.

Consumers want a divorce

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Alright, Microsoft is behind this but still… good stuff.

The Break Up
Uploaded by geertdesager

via Jaffa Juice

Get in off on your chest – the psycho-expander

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Trust advertisers to come up with a ‘genteel’ way of describing a product that may offend the prude but grab the gullible. Some things never change.



Or as Boing Boing puts it:

… "double your breathing capacity" as a
euphemism for "get giant knockers now!"

And there was me thinking that 1920s was all about flat-chested flappers…

Buzzword alert – commercial persuasion

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I am listening to a podcast on Instapundit about online (and offline) advertising. It is an interview with David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas. The line that made me jump and start typing this blog is:

I am in business of commercial persuasion not advertising

…as in delivering commercial persuasion in 30 seconds. Actually, he talks about 3 minutes ‘commercial persuasion brochures’ on your mobile. Grrr.

The assumption that we are interested in advertising and messages that these people feed us "across all platforms" is still alive and writhing. Targeting is discussed at length.

Patronising, clueless and commercially (and otherwise) unpersuasive…

The fog of advertising

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Rob Scoble on FOG – Fear of Google. I note his third point, about advertising:

Google is changing expectations of advertisers. One advertising agency
exec told me she’s seeing that more and more advertisers are only
willing to pay for “the last click” — she works for an airline, for
instance, who wants to see ROI reports on all ads now, so it’s getting
harder and harder to do creative advertising (which is where
advertising agencies add their value and get their fees) in exchange
for “boring” text ads. Online “pay per action” ads are training
advertisers that they should be able to track everything about
advertising and how well it’s working for them. Of course, as we were
talking about this on the bus we rolled by a Coca Cola umbrella. I
wonder how well THAT is converting!

As I have been saying to anyone willing to listen – advertising will stampede online (after the time it has taken to build the momentum). This is not evidence of online advertising working but evidence of eyeballs fleeing into space where they turn back into people – the internet. First, there was much rejoicing – we can measure the impact of ads, hurray! We can track all eyeballs and target them – note the military language. But the sword with which the advertisers have hoped to cut through the knot of ROI is double-edged. [/classical allusion]. Now they can see just how little attention people pay to online advertising. So here comes the second stage – the cost of advertising should decline at some point as companies using ads to reach ‘consumers’ will realise that a) they are not getting value for their money and b) there are much better ways to communicate with people out there.

Oh, and advertisers want to track everything about you on the Internet.
They want to know if you saw a blog about something, and a banner about
that, and other stuff about that — how does that all mix into your
purchasing behavior. They are looking to Google to give them more
answers. I heard more than one brand manager decry that he couldn’t see
anything about you other than you clicked on an ad on Google to find
his company’s stuff.

Why should brand managers know where and why I click? I have no connection with them. I might want to have one with people who work for the company, those who design and make their products, deliver their services…etc, if only they talked to the world directly.

Tracking is like spying, especially as all it seems to be is a prelude to targeting. And who wants to be a target? Marketers and advertisers are tracking eyeballs in spaces that are not their own and do so surreptitiously. They want to do this in places that have nothing to do with them, on their own terms, fitting the results into their own packaging. This is what I imagine Chris Locke means by slicing and dicing, counting the legs and dividing by four, bringing in the sheep.

True, I can track those who read my blog (although I rarely do), I monitor who links to it (so I can respond and occasionally find new blogs). Others can see what I read (my furls) and what I think. Note, it’s a two-way thing and everybody knows where they stand. But when it comes to advertisers, I need to sweep my computer now and then of tracking cookies and other adware. Different world, different manners.

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