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Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

TVadHallelujah for the web! A vicarious e-pository for all indulgences, virtues, vices and voracity known to humankind – plus a host of new concepts yet to be proven, one way or the other.  Which latter category includes London-headquartered MediaEquals [ME hereon], a recently launched online ad-trading exchange.

Many wannabes have strived and failed to follow in the footsteps of eBay … but ME could be set to buck that trend. Maybe. Given clement weather and a following wind.

If so, it’ll be an adland first. At the ritzy, multinational and multimedia end of the market, that is.

A galaxy of European adland’s stellaratti have loaned – or hired – their names to the venture. It even boasts two chairman: executive (Martin Banbury) and non-executive (jet-setting, company-collecting adman John Farrell). In the corporate cosmos even Unilever hasn’t managed this Janus-like boardroom feat!

Among the other non-exec stars are serial media company director Richard Eyre; quondam CFO of Ikea Hannu Ryopponen; and City of London money manipulator Ian McLennan.

Advising the board on matters IT is cyber whizz Andrew Walmsley, named by Ernst & Young as London Media Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006.Handshake

Rah-rahs ME’s website: “ME is the media marketplace for all advertising media. Our technology enhances relationships and sales opportunities through smarter communication, enabling media owners and media agencies to focus less time on haggling and administrating and more time on delivering better media solutions.

“Our vision is to deliver a better way to trade for everyone through end-to-end integration with internal systems between buyers and sellers.”

Among the former are Initiative London and Starcom UK Group; while the latter include CBS Outdoor and BBC Magazines.

Advertising Age attaches a certain significance to the venture, describing it on July 27 as “a system that media sellers and buyers can agree to for the most coveted ad space [which hitherto] has proven nearly impossible to create”.

HurdlesME certainly doesn’t lack competition, as AdAge points out: “Google‘s AdWords, Yahoo‘s RightMedia, and Microsoft’s adECN have all managed to capture previously untapped business at the lower end of the ad market, making it easy for local and smaller advertisers to buy targeted ads online.”

So will the upmarket upstart click with adland’s great and good? Probably, MoonWink thinks. ‘Yep,  big, Big, BIG by 2012.’  Howzabout you, cherished reader?

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Coco Chanel

Parisienne fashion legend Coco Chanel (left), an instinctive marketer if ever there was one, held that “Youth is something very new: twenty years ago no one mentioned it.”

A statement that also summarizes adland’s infatuation with current flavour of the minute, the infant phenomenon Twitter.

Under the mistaken impression that it’s a marketing equivalent to E=MC2 [Engage=Moronic Chatter?], the marketing trade press is in a state of recurring orgasm over the phenomenon, headlining unsubstantiated claims by the likes of Dell that Twitter has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half.

Most trad agencies don’t understand how or if it delivers; whilst their digital brethren, in a similar state of unknowingness, vigorously milk Twitter for all it’s worth.

Which according to no less an authority than The Harris Poll is … not a lot!

In a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll study of 2,025 US adults and 1,015 advertisers from agencies/corporations involved in the advertising decision-making process, Harris found that:

  • Just under half of advertisers (45%) say that Twitter is something is in its infancy and its use will grow exponentially over the next few years, while one in five (21%) believe Twitter will not move into the mainstream and is something mostly young people and the media will use.
  • Just under one in five advertisers (17%) believe Twitter is already over the hill and it’s time to find the next best thing; while 17% of advertisers say they don’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion on it.ThumbsDown2

Just 8% say Twitter is very effective for promoting products and ideas while half (50%) say it is somewhat effective.  One-third (34%) of advertisers say it is not that effective and 8% believe it is not at all effective for promoting products and ideas.

Among consumers, 8% say it is very effective for promoting ideas and products and 42% believe it is just somewhat effective.

To read the full report summary, click here.

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London2012On 6 July 2005, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2012 Olympic Games to the city of London following a vituperative contest between the two finalists – Paris and London. The latter’s victory  was received with stage-managed euphoria by a hobbledehoy rent-a-crowd assembled in the latter city’s Trafalgar Square.

This statistically representative cast of hundreds, seemingly hand-picked by central casting via a socio-economic, gender and ethnic database, ecstatically emoted euphoria to a battery of TV cameras. But MoonWink has a sneaking suspicion that their ‘high-school musical’ rah-rahing was fanned by folding money.

Whether or not the crowd’s euphoria was bought for a mess of pottage, few doubted the sincerity of the rapturous lip-smacking that greeted the news of London’s victory within the boardrooms of Britain’s corporate conglomerates.

Nor the joy of the planet’s financial ferrets as they consulted the spreadsheets on their laptops. While elsewhere on the multinational globe the champagne flowed in celebration of another quadrennial killing.

Few if any of MoonWink’s readers are naïve enough to believe that the modern Olympics are primarily about sporting endeavour. Or the privilege of competing. No place for those among the Excel numbers!

But it was not always thus.

The Baron

The Baron

In the late 19th century a starry-eyed romantic, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was inspired by his notion of ancient Greek sporting ideals to resuscitate the Olympic Games which had slumped into cryogenic suspension around AD 500.

Although the Baron’s ideals were somewhat out of kilter with the blood-stained reality of that pre-Christian Hellenic era, honour rather than lucre was the primary driving force of those original sporting contests between the city-states of the Grecian empire.

The contestants, although frequently at each other’s throats, declared a month-long military truce during the Games’ tenure. And although the winners were feted in the glory of victory, their sole reward was the honour of competing.

Something of a contrast with today’s miasmic mix of moolah and marathons. De Coubertin must be spinning in his grave!

Berlin 1936

Bursting the bubble

In 1896 the Baron launched in Athens the first modern Olympic Games and glory remained the event’s main driving force until Nazi politics intervened in the Berlin Olympics of 1936 – the last Olympiad before the horrors of World War II were unleashed.

Twelve years later the first post-WW2 Games were held in an austerity-ridden, bomb-ravaged, London. Although successful, they marked the beginning of the slow but inexorable corruption of de Coubertin’s dream.

Fast forward to 2009 where selflessness and idealism are not conspicuous among the Olympian community. Even less so within the event’s organisational and sponsorship camps. The name of the twenty-first century game is moolah, lucre, gelt … all currencies, cheques and credit cards accepted!DollarBlindfold

Moreover the most bitterly fought contests are unlikely to be held on the running track or in the swimming pools. They will instead take place  between official sponsors and the Barbarians at the Gate – ambush marketers – warns a report by Coventry University’s Centre for the International Business of Sport.

Citing the CIBS, the Financial Times observes: “Corporations are going to great lengths to undermine their rivals’ sponsorships, with every aspect of the 2010 football World Cup and the 2012 Olympics coming under attack.”

The newspaper quotes CIBS’ Nick Burton: “Ambushers are becoming ever more savvy as they seek to ensure that official partners and sponsors don’t have things their own way.”

He claims there have been nearly 400 ambush marketing cases since the technique first emerged at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Such heinous acts include the smuggling of rival products  into venues and corporations and ads carrying brand endorsements by sports stars not contracted to official event partners.

A billion eyeballs!

When Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke the 100-metre world record at last year’s Beijing Olympics, his first act was to remove  his Puma-branded running shoes and thrust them into the lens of TV cameras – an act that positively peeved official Olympic partner Adidas!

There are countless other instances of brands that have saved their shareholders a few million bucks by ducking Olympic sponsorship fees and ‘ambushing’ the Games’ official partners. Among the usurpers are such respected names as Kodak, Fujifilm, Nike, Pepsi and Qantas.

According to the Coventry researchers, consumers are more likely to recognise and recall “ambusher” brands if they are led to believe that they are official sponsors. But it remains to be seen if the bushwhacking brigade is as successful this time around.

Britain’s New Labour government – never averse to lending a sympathetic ear to its party donors – passed legislation in 2006 giving the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games [LOCOG] legal powers to stop ambush marketing prior to and during the London event.

CIBS director Simon Chadwick claims that during the run-up to this years moolahfest, spectators will be subjected to ambush marketing checks at sports venues.

Says he: “The checks will raise a number of significant issues for fans, notably what they carry, what they consume, where they consume this and how they react when event officials ask them to leave items outside the entrance to an event.”

Bishop Talbot

Bishop Talbot

Ordains the official Olympic Creed, first voiced by  Bishop Ethelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Games: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part; just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

It’s uncertain if His Reverence’s final exhortation applies to ambush marketers!

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P&GThe latest offering by the World Advertising Research Center’s offbeat columnist Tummler delivers a short, sharp kick to the butt of the Emperor of Adland, Procter & Gamble, and its court jester Leo Burnett.

Tummler’s theme is that of of honesty in advertising, citing as an exemplar McCann-Erickson’s traditional battle-cry Truth Well Told. Opines the columnist [an aficionado of purple prose]: “There’s no more glorious banner under which the serried ranks of adland should proudly march. Even in this ephemeral age of digital dilettantes, truth remains the bedrock of all effective advertising.”

Tummler argues that advertising’s most fundamental claim to credibility is that an ad should openly and prominently admit to being what it is – a paid for sales pitch. Says he: “It should not, repeat not, skulk as a strategically sited product pack in a TV sitcom or reality show.”

In example he cites Zack16, an “unsavory specimen of “an ad masquerading as a blog by a troubled 16-year-old male high-school student. Tummler condemns it as “a steely-clever propaganda vehicle that promotes an unidentified menstrual protection brand”.

This scenario, he complains, “was perpetrated by consenting adults gainfully employed within a highly respected ad agency. And they did so at the behest of the planet’s largest advertiser.

“Not that you’d know the perpetrators’ identity from a visit to the site. There’s not  a single nod to the guys and [presumably] gals at Procter & Gamble who footed the bill for this soiled curio; nor to its creators at Leo Burnett.

“No company or brand is mentioned or pictorially depicted, save for a single clickable word, ‘Tampax’, concealed  amid forty-eight separate multi-font tags grouped under the heading ‘Tag Cloud’.

“Authorial anonymity reigns across the site. And neither you, reader, nor Tummler – let  alone the impressionable kids exposed to this meretricious trash – would be any the wiser as to the blog’s provenance, were it not for some assiduous digging by Advertising Age’s terrier-like editor at large, the admirable Jack Neff, who unmasked the corporate culprits.

Zack16

... a brilliant psychological mishmash?

“The stealth viral video campaign features Zack, a fictional 16-year-old boychik who awakes one morning to find his “guy parts” gone and replaced with “girl parts”. This transgenderization prompts Zack to confide to his impressionable blog audience the difficulty of peeing sans vanished appendage, plus some understandable agonizing as to how he might cope with the sensual expectations of Chelsea, his pulchritudinous [female] high school date.

There’s much more along similarly stomach-churning lines … but the masochists among you can follow the storyline for yourselves.”

The columnist fingers  Zack16 as “a brilliant psychological mishmash that remorselessly exploits teens’ Fahrenheit 451 libidos, their obsession with bodily functions and – overriding all else – their fear of differing from their peers.” Notes Tummler sourly: “Burnett’s copywriters and art directors understand their target market’s mindset only too well.”

Of especial offence is “the tawdry subterfuge of a hidden sales pitch … a  commercial  masquerading as … what? Entertainment? Education? Social psychology?

Implanting the boot between the buttocks of the offending duo, Tummler concludes: “Some might opt for another term. Brainwashing.”

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Google Goofs. Good!

GoogleUnangelicSo Google has retreated from trafficking in radio and press ads, according to last Friday’s WARC News. The walk-on-water non-evildoer admitted it had shut down its radio and print ad systems simply because “they didn’t work well enough.

Commented ceo Eric Schmidt, an alumnus of Xerox’s famed Palo Alto Research Center and Wall Street’s appointee as Google’s commissar: “We measure our businesses very, very carefully … and this did not prove achievable for either of these mediums compared with online”. Curiously, he didn’t add: “Our business plan got ram-raided by greed.”

Googlistas and their camp followers will greet the news with mixed feelings. This retreat from attempting to wrest greenbacks from trad media doesn’t prove that Sergey and Larry’s piggy-bank has feet of clay. But the growth and the greed has got to stop somewhere – not only because of natural law – but because absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, compadres, join this decrepit scrivener in hailing a long overdue reversal of gourmand Google’s fortunes. We wish Eric, Sergey, Larry and their acolytes continuing fair winds – but not media monopoly.

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