Monthly Archives: November 2008

just use the other ad

Good points made in this Ad Report Card article from Slate about what’s killing the effectiveness of online video ads.

Just like “in the good old days” when all businesses threw up a website that was nothing more than a virtual version of a brochure, we’re seeing advertisers use old-school models of creative and scheduling to do video on the web. Instead of developing creative that’s made exclusively for the web, broadcast creative is retooled to work online. Or worse yet, web only content is developed using the ideas that work for broadcast.

As with the writer of the article, using these types of web video ads may be hurting those advertisers rather than helping them.

Even though it’s a new format, it’s the same problem that marketers have always created. People tend to believe the creative tack that works well in one medium will work in the others. Back when I was in radio, salespeople would sometimes hand me a client’s newspaper ad and tell me to produce a radio spot from it. Lots of small businesses lift the audio track off their TV spots to run as radio commercials. It doesn’t work. Each form of media (especially online) needs special consideration to play to that medium’s strengths and work on that unique audience.

expecting this call

Concerning this MediaShift post:

Hi! I’m calling from your local newspaper. As you may know, over the past few years our industry completely missed the boat on how to succeed online. As a matter of fact, we’re still arguing with each other on how to compete and win online. The reason I’m calling is that we’d like for you to put your trust in us to handle your online marketing strategy!

I will agree with the post’s point (and have said before) that the concept of “mass media” on the web does not work and that old-media can’t seem to get that idea out of their heads.

The big problem I have with the idea is the concept of a media property operating as as any sort of marketing or ad agency. I’ve witnessed the fast crash/burn of a media property that tried to start an ad agency. And I’ve seen several media salespeople who “help handle” all the advertising for a small biz client.

In case it’s not obvious to you (and apparently with the number of small buisnesses who do it, it’s not), media properties and salespeople are a bit biased to have your money spent with them. It’s not the best idea to trust all of your ad/marketing dollars with someone who has ad space to sell.

doesnt work at 10 2 or 4

So on the surface, it looks like a publicity win-win-win-etc when the Dr. Pepper folks good naturedly agree to pay up on an outrageous bet that they made with the public. That is until the public tries to collect and their website is inaccessible because of the slam in traffic (which they should have anticipated).

CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT: Or maybe they purposely held back on shoring up the website so they wouldn’t have to payout all of their “23 flavas”

In either case, it turns a great publicity opportunity and chance to build the brand into an example of an online branding disaster. Forget the MotrinMoms. It”s time for the Dr. Pepper Pain.

UPDATE: (thanks to Doug – see comments) They’re trying to limit brand damage. Dr. Pepper has extended the offer until 6pm Monday


So over the past two years gas prices rose about $2/gallon from what they were. Supply and demand? That can’t be causing it. The oil companies were sticking it to us. Let’s start a chain email to not buy gas on a certain day. That will show them. If gas prices change that dramatically in only two years, the outrage in the streets showed that something must be horribly wrong.

Meanwhile, gas prices have fallen back down the same $2/gallon in only about two months. Where’s the congressional inquiry this time?

In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote. We were told this meant the country was divided. Last week, Obama won 52.6%. We’re being told this means the country is united.

Prior to big news the next day, the main news story on Sept 10, 2001 (and for many weeks before) was about an FBI intern who might have been murdered by a US congressman. Can you remember either of their names?

In the end, marketing is nothing more than telling a story to people who want to hear it. And even though they are not viewed as marketers, the media and government are some of the best marketers on the planet. While your marketing budget struggles to achieve proper reach and frequency, those who have constituencies or who own printing presses, transmitters, and online attention have a constant captive audience who don’t filter information the way they might from other sources.

An unfortunate side effect of the 24 hour news cycle is that there’s a lot of filler. And sometimes the filler becomes important just because there’s nothing else to take the place. All the really smart people I know keep their mouths shut 99% of the time. When they do speak, what they say carries some weight and you know it’s important. When you used to read a single newspaper and watch one of three nightly newscasts, the important stuff was distilled out for you. People are still consuming it that way, even though it’s no longer produced that way.

And throughout history, politicians and governments have steered the masses. Everyone knows this. But other than a few who are well-informed, everyone usually goes along with the propaganda.

Here’s the marketing lesson for you: People are irrational and will ignore facts, common sense, and their own memories if you can manipulate their worldview.

But how to manipulate that worldview? Tell them a story they want to believe.

I think this coffee is better because of how the company selects the beans. Every one knows that this computer OS is better than the other one because of the kinds of people who use it. Everyone is wearing these jeans. This car is superior because of how the company produces it.

With all the facts and common sense, we’d see that many current consumer decisions would be different. But marketing is not about the facts. It’s about the perception. And perception is reality.

brewed stupidity

This happened today:
–Well established local media organization wants to shoot video of the Starbucks coffee for votes promotion (which btw could be illegal)
–The barista-in-charge won’t allow interviews or footage to be shot in the store.
–Free coverage and promotional value to a large captive audience goes out the window

If you’re trying to embrace viral marketing, you can’t be scared of cameras and people who are wanting to spread your message.

And beyond viral issues, you just need to teach common sense to local employees so you don’t miss out on opportunities like this. Corporate won’t always be there to dictate. Employees should know how to handle unique situations.

While I understand they may be trying to limit their legal snfau, shutting down coverage isn’t going to help. This is a news story today (albeit a minor fluff one), SBUX should have issued talking points and done a heads-up to local stores about media relations.

In fact, organizations should make sure each and every person in your organization is familiar with the current marketing plan and know how to handle media interviews. (or in today’s world, anybody who comes in with a camera.)