Monday, August 31, 2009

Email protocol

Email is a necessity of business today. And even though it has been around for more than ten years, we still commit some email faux pas. Here are the top 5 email faux pas.
1.Sending an email angry. Always wait at least an hour before punching the send button and think about the repercussions.

2.Remember that emails don't have inflection. Think about the wording of your email. Will it come off sounding harsh? Sarcasm doesn't always read well.

3.Be absolutely sure your recipient list is the intended person or persons. When you type Bob into the recipient address your email program will likely pull up the first Bob in the address book, not the Bob you intended to send that extremely poor taste joke to.

4.Keep your virus protection up to date. You thought the kid who brought lice to school in grade two was unpopular; just try sending a virus out to 10 of your favourite people.

5.Less is more. If you send out dozens of emails a day, and they aren't essential communication, people will start to ignore or deprioritize your emails. This could result in disaster when the one essential email is missed.

Oh ...and the bonus tip.
6.Always save important emails. You never know when you'll be drawn into a game of he said she said.

Here is a great article on executive email protocol. Enjoy!
Executive communications

Friday, August 28, 2009

Creative Excellence Fridays - Top Virals - and Nostalgic Launches

Happy Friday.
First off.. The latest in the battle of the cities.
Labatt Breweries of Canada has erected a new Bud Light billboard that responds to a now infamous Coors Light execution in Western Canada that mocked Torontonians for their chilly demeanor.

The new billboard by Grip sits at the corner of John and Adelaide in downtown Toronto and uses a similar layout to the Coors ad. It reads, “Torontonians aren’t cold. Not in August, anyway.”

Now on to the fun stuff.

The Fall Television season is launching next month, but not with the fanfare it once did. There was a time when a network would air a half hour show just to talk about the new shows coming out. The whole business model was built around the September shows launch. Today the wind has been taken out of the tires of that model by staggered launches. Networks begin new shows at will. We still have repeats during the summer of our favourite shows, but that is tempered with new shows launched in June, or a jogging of the lineup like CBS has done on their highly successful Monday nights.

If you're a fan of nostalgia, this was how the 1970 launch promo looked on ABC.

And in Canada - This is how the CBC network ID looked 40 years ago.

Back to the future - let's finish off this week with something current - The EYEBROW DANCE is still consistently in the top ten most surfed virals.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cannibalizing your brand is not necessarily a bad thing

When you sense there are ways to innovate and change your product, some companies are reluctant to do so because they feel it will splinter their share and brand. However, your competition may just launch your new brand for you, and take that share for themselves.

BMW is planning quite a 50th birthday party. Click here for party details

Ad news

WPP profits way down.
Using words such as "severe" and "surprise" to describe the recession's impact on its business, WPP, the world's largest advertising conglomerate, said today that its profit was down 47% for the second quarter. And WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell said it will be a while before marketing executives begin to spend and take chances the way they did just a few years back.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You Tube to latch on to hot viral videos

Google Site Will Attempt to Place Ads on Fast-Rising Videos. YouTube is looking to turn those out of no-where hit viral videos from cash drain into advertising gold.

The video-sharing site, under pressure from parent Google to start turning a profit, today began placing ads on the kind of one-off viral hits -- mostly uploaded by the amateurs that made the site famous -- that, until now, haven't had advertising.

An example here Wedding viral

Lighter Side
This link is going around right now. Microsoft altered an ad that was slated to go into Poland. They photoshopped one of the characters out and replaced him with another, neglecting to replace the mans' hands which were obviously still black.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fox News Mouths Scare away Advertisers

Opinionated Fox talk mouths have made advertisers nervous.
Walmart Stores, Berkshire Hathaway's Geico and Men's Wearhouse have already said they've taken steps to ensure their ads will no longer appear during Fox News' "Glenn Beck" show. Procter & Gamble and S.C. Johnson recently said they had never intended to advertise on the show and ads were placed there by mistake. Now Clorox Co. has said it is taking its ad dollars out of all politically oriented talk programs.


Corby Distilleries has launched a new website for its Polar Ice vodka label that incorporates Twitter and Facebook to offer “fun seekers” a unique and relevant brand experience.

Corbys Social Media site

Monday, August 24, 2009

Top Ten shows last week

Inglourious Basterds dominated the North American box office in its' first weekend with 37 million at the gate. It is no Pulp Fiction, but a definite not to miss.

On the tube here is what people in Canada are watching on the major networks as of 8am this morning.

Here are the top 10 English television programs in Canada, with viewer numbers, for the week of Aug. 10-16 according to BBM Nielsen Media Research:

1 C.S.I. (CTV, Thursday)–1,306,000

2 Law and Order: CI (CTV, Monday)–1,282,000

3 Big Brother 11 (Global, Tuesday)–1,135,000

4 Big Brother 11 (Global, Thursday)–1,107,000

5 CTV Evening News (CTV, Monday-Friday)–1,053,000

6 So You Think You Can Dance Canada (CTV, Tuesday-Wednesday)–1,032,000

7 C.S.I. New York (CTV, Wednesday)–1,018,000

8 Big Brother 11 (Global, Sunday)–1,014,000

9 The Listener (CTV, Thursday)–894,000

10 NCIS (Global, Tuesday)–856,000

Sony battling with Kindle for Electronic Reader dominance

Friday, August 21, 2009

Creative Excellence Fridays - The Beer of Argentina

We see beer commercials as creative triumphs all the time in North America. But, just like in film genres, directors are influenced by international films.

Quilmes is a popular and established beer in Argentina with a large body of commercials behind its' success.
Love the first spot. It pokes fun at beer commercials in general.


There are no subtitles on this one, but it speaks a universal language. We call it Existential Beer.

And finally, with General Motors launching their new face and image, it's fun to go back 40 years to a time when GM was still riding on top. Their advertising was prominently placed in shows at the time. This may make you feel like you're watching an episode of Madmen.

That's it for this week. Next week, the networks start to promote their new fall shows. We'll take a nostalgic look at years gone by, and how things have changed. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Madmania continues

Ratings were up 1/3 from last year on the season premiere of Madmen on Sunday night. It was up 71% in 18-49. What was hot on the tube last week here Madmen

And a Display ad that's not a banner ad? New software start up from Palo Alto is destined to be bought out as their technology is catching on in the ad community.
The Story here Cooliris

Tomorrow - another trip to the past we Creative Excellence Friday's salutes Fall premieres and Argentina beer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Social media could boost marketer influence

A majority of marketing executives say they exert greater influence on business decisions than they did three years ago, according to a national study from The Creative Group.

Here's some interesting synergy thinking from Cathy Collier, president of Zig's affiliate X.

Why Your Agency Should Embrace Connection Planning
Growing Discipline Can Help Clients Do More With Less

From an AdAge article by Cathy Collier

Ask around and you'll find that most marketers believe there is something fundamentally wrong with their media and advertising today. They will complain they are not getting truly media-neutral solutions that are grounded in consumer insights and are ownable by their brands.

At the same time, marketers often don't know where they -- or their agencies -- are going wrong. They understand the consumer and the media landscape is rapidly changing, but are stumped as to how to take this into account in their planning process.

To get to the root of the problem, we need to examine the current process.

Despite all the talk about integration, media and creative work typically still develop from different briefs. The result is either that creatives end up filling in the boxes media has recommended, or media execs feel like they are being dictated by the medium. This process is broken.

Media briefs identify a target, which is analyzed and explored demographically and psychographically to create a rich profile of the consumer. But the trouble begins when the target is then reduced back to a media-buying target of "adults 18-49." This media definition of the audience, coupled with media commission compensation, results in media recommendations that are, well, media.

Based on this process, there is little chance a client will end up with anything but traditional advertising. When was the last time you saw a media company recommending a solution that had no paid media?

In order for communications to evolve and become truly consumer-focused, we need to break three conventions fundamental to how advertising is developed: linear development of the media and creative process; the traditional media box; and the notion that communications equals advertising.

Connection planning, which we practice at the agency I lead, X, is an emerging approach in the North American ad market. Each project begins with smart media planning, insightful strategic planning and daring creative idea generation to then come together and connect at those moments of influence that will have the most impact on consumers.

The key differences are:

* The way we look at the market opportunity and define the target at project initiation.
* The insights we capture about the target that leads to the "connection idea."
* How the connection idea leads us to new and nontraditional connection points where the target and the idea intersect to create the greatest impact.

The beginning of the planning process is critical. Connection planning is a marketing process, not a media-planning process. Many media briefs start with the problem and target already defined. But we cannot achieve new breakthroughs if we start with the old media-process model. If we start from media advertising briefs, we get media advertising solutions. In order to best serve our clients, we need to look at communications as ideas and activities that can change behavior, influence attitudes, perceptions and inspire new thinking.

This necessitates an approach not confined only to advertising. Innovation is only possible when we start with a new definition of the opportunity and audience, and explore new territory to exploit that opportunity.

In connection planning, the idea is the media.

The default media toolbox doesn't reflect reality -- the world has changed. Consumers today are editors, not simply viewers. In an increasingly crowded world, ideas are your competitive advantage. They make the difference. That is what is missing from the "surround the consumer" or "360 approach"; it assumes points matter more than an integrated idea connecting the right point with the right idea. The 360 approach typically ends up with multiple small, disparate tactics that look like a stew and create little impact.

A parallel to the connection-planning philosophy and approach is how account services evolved with the introduction of account planning in the late 1980s. Briefs, strategies and research were already being done by account services and research people. But the account planner was a different role with a specific and specialized skill set -- one that combined strategy, research and creative insights.

Now most agencies have planners. Clients were getting briefs before account planning came along, but the development of the discipline made them better. By developing a new approach with an enhanced skill set, it changed the way the business operated, and most agree that it drove more innovation in communications.

In a similar vein, connection planning will ensure that we break conventions and focus on the consumer to lead us to relevant connection ideas. These ideas will power the way we go to market and necessitate innovative solutions.

The bottom line? Connection planning will help clients spend their money better. Most marketers now realize that they can't continue to do things the same way and still succeed. Connection planning maximizes communications budgets by creating the connections for marketers, rather than forcing them to buy what media is available for sale. And that's the kind of thing any client will be interested in, especially right now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Facebook deals with privacy issues in Canada

Following complaints it was mishandling private user information and possibly violating Canadian law, Facebook has sent the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) a proposal to smooth things over.

Want to know how to get more out of your ad agency or creative house? One expert says, it's all in the brief. Better briefs, that are more succinct and to the point deliver better communications right down the line.

Better Briefs

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Mad Future of Television

Madmen Mania continues with the debut of season three last night on AMC network in the United States and on CTV to follow in Canada.
The series has a multimillion dollar promotion campaign behind it including a Banana Republic contest to win a walk on part in an episode. Fashion and trends are also being influenced by the show Madmen

Is this a win win for the ad world? Yes, however there are many who are concerned about the legions of viewers, mostly the more tech savy ones however, who are usurping the network delivery mechanism and simply downloading the show at their convenience from Itunes, or for free through peer sharing sites. Producers are wondering how, not that far down the road, they'll be able to continue to secure the budgets and revenues from networks that will have a more difficult time convincing advertisers to buy into a shrinking audience.

It may take the cunning of Don Draper to figure out more innovative ways to continue keeping the revenue machines churning.

And to follow up on Friday's viral posting, an article from Ad Age on why Britain's virals seem to be so successful.

Britain Virals

Friday, August 14, 2009

Creative Excellence Fridays - Flash mobs

Happy Friday all. I hope you are having a great summer so far. I was vacationing in Manhattan last week and brought back lots and lots of visual inspiration.

Before we begin, a quick tip of the hat to google. If you've done any searches already today you may have noticed a funny icon on the google home page. In spite of the new alliance of Yahoo and Microsoft, it goes to show you the continued influence of Google and their ability to have millions celebrate the birthday of a man most of us, myself included, have never heard of; Hans Christian Orsted.

With technology converging the way it is, I picked up a copy of "And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture," by Harpers Magazine senior editor, Bill Wasik. In the book Bill talks about how in 2003, as an exercise he decided to try and create "flash mobs" just out of boredom. He decided in May 2003 to try to persuade large groups of people to suddenly and briefly assemble in public places -- such as the lobby of Manhattan's Grand Hyatt Hotel -- for no apparent reason. Amazingly, his experiment worked, thanks in no small part to the clever ways in which he seeded and targeted the anonymous e-mails announcing his various flash mobs to (mostly) young New Yorkers invested in the mechanics of "buzz" and New York "scenesterism." The flash mob quickly became a global media phenomenon -- and an enduring inspiration to marketers, who keep assembling faux flash mobs to attempt to cool-ify their products and services (e.g., see the viral-video sensation The T-Mobile Dance)
This commercial went around the web already.

If you type in "flash mob" into Youtube you'll see several dozen examples come up. Including this one.

Flash mobs are a unique way to tie in old fashion event buzz and new technology to create excitement around a product or service.
That's it for this week. Next week, more on branding in the new Millenium. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

There's No COD!

Greenpeace launches a brilliant billboard campaign to raise awareness for overfishing. The campaign catch phrase is, "There's Probably No COD"
The story here No Cod

An opensource rival to Apple?
Nokia has enlisted the services of Eurythmics founder Dave Stewart to help them build an open source digital universe that, they claim, will overtake Apple's dominance. In the words of Nokia EVP Toja Ojanperä, Nokia has had enough of "that fruit company from Cupertino." They have come out all guns o' blazing on the technological and marketing fronts.
Story here Nokia

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Durex battles the Trojan

It was great to be away for a week in Manhattan relaxing and watching how they market in the big apple. Interestingly enough, their transit advertising differs slightly fro Toronto. In Manhattan, one advertiser buys a complete car and dominates all the boards. It enables advertisers like Con Edison Electric to get many messages across to a captive audience.

In Ad Age this week:

Durex Wants to Steal Share Away From No. 1 Trojan by Carving Out Its Own Psychographic.
Great article here. Durex

GM confesses to being behind mysterious 230 website.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On vacation

Hello all. I'm on vacation until Wednesday morning. Hope you're enjoying your August so far. Speak with you then. Tim

Monday, August 3, 2009

CBS plays Name Your Own Price - Superbowl

In a sign of how the current economy is giving rise to different ad-sales methods, CBS is taking an "under the radar" approach to selling ad time for its broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV from Miami, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

Rather than going out to ad buyers and the press with an average price for a 30-second spot, the network's ad-sales staff has instead told buyers it's willing to create customized ad packages around the event, then work together to determine a value.