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A&E Goes Back to Basics

After bad programming decisions and loss of top management, A&E is returning to the basics that made it popular in the first place, quality documentaries and a re-invigorated Biography series.

MediaWeek: A&E Goes Back to Basics
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by Steve Hall    Jan-13-03    




Welcome to the New Adrants

So here it is. Must be at least version three by now. It was time to get rid of those groovy psychedelic colors and give some more organization to the page. There is still some tweaking to be done but I welcome your comments.

I could not have done it without the help of Ralf Zeigermann who designed the logo as well as gave color advice. Thanks, Ralf.

Drop me an email and let me know what you think of the new look.
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by Steve Hall    Jan-13-03    




Steve Case to Step Down as Chairman of AOL Time Warner

According to an article on WSJ Online, Steve Case is stepping down as Chairman of AOL Time Warner. He will vacate the post in May.

In a statement, Case said he would resign because "some shareholders continue to focus their disappointment with the company's post-merger performance on me personally."

Chicago Sun Times: AOL Time Warner chairman to resign in May
Reuters: Case Resigns as AOL Time Warner Chairman

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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




Pre-Mature Marketing

I'm sure you have all heard of Channel One and also that Coke and Pepsi place soda machines in schools. Have you also heard that McDonalds' stages mock job interviews in school just so they can display their logo to the unbranded youth?

In the article, "Unbranding Our Schools", author Alissa Quart tells the story of Tristan Kading who, when in highschool, got suspended because he accused McDonald's of stealth branding and lying about it's products. Also in the article is the story of students in Readfield Maine who have created a play that pokes fun at our ridiculously commercial society.

What was shocking to me, even being in the business, is how much marketing is taking place in middle and highschool. Marketers have placed logos on the roofs of schools, placed plaques in the hallways, offered field trips to marketers locations that include coupon promotions, and the soda companies have the well known "pouring contracts" that actually pay schools more if students drink more of the fattening crap.

When is too much marketing too much? For God's sake, let children grow up in peace. Their minds will be screwed with soon enough. Give them them time to develop themselves as an individual rather then forcing them to define themselves based on what soft drink they consume!


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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




The Death of Niche Marketing

There is a great article in today's Boston Globe Ideas section about the shift from targeted demographic market segmentation to one that in more post-racial, "United Nations" style and more all-inclusive in its approach. It's along the lines of the bi-racial, melting pot society that America has become.

There seems to be a shift away from marketers developing separate strategies and separate creative executions for each individual demographic group. Many marketers are creating commercials where the ethnic make up is indeterminate allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks with their own ethnic projections.

According to the 2000 Census, 6.8 million Americans belong to two at least two racial groups. With 43% of this group under the age of 18 and other studies pointing towards the increase in inter-racial marriage, the racial blurring on America is truly happening.

As Warren Beatty put it in the movie, Bulworth, "If we all fucked each other, we'd eventually end up the same color". Whether a country where all people are the same color is better off then a country that is multi-color is open for debate but that is what is happening demographically.

Marketers have realized this and are experimenting with an "anti-niche" approach to marketing. Is this the sure fire way to go? You decide. Read the article as it offers viewpoints on both the niche and anti-niche approach. It's thought provoking.
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by Steve Hall    Jan-12-03    




Ad Review Craziness: Nextel Launches Review - AOL Fires Gotham and Launches Review

AOL announced today they are dumping Gotham as their agency and will launch a review. Why? Suprise, surprise, AOL just hired a new EVP of marketing. If that's not the surest sign of a pending review, I don't know what is.

Unlike the Nextel review, Gotham was not invited to participate in the pitch. Just as well. Like I said below, the incumbent is rarely the victor. But you know what? The timing couldn't be better on this one, Mullen. Screw Nextel, go for the AOL account.

[via AdWeek]
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by Steve Hall    Jan-10-03    




It's Official: Nextel Launches Ad Review

In typical advertising fashion, Nextel has launched an agency search just as incumbent Mullen's new campaign is kicking off. Seems as though the timing could have been better. Why is it that whenever a client wants to reconsider their marketing direction, the easy answer is a review? Why don't Nextel and Mullen work together and jointly evaluate recent marketing programs as they relate to current market conditions. That would seem to be a logical first step. If the two had a good working relationship, this could easily happen.

Interestingly, Nextel is saying that all is well with Mullen. So why is Nextel having this review?. Why have a review if the relationship and the business are fine? This whole thing is so obvious. Client's have a reviews because they are not happy with their current agency. All this talk from Nextel about things being fine with Mullen is just cover. Obviously, Nextel is not happy.

Mullen will, of course, participate. Too much is at stake. However, unlike politics, the incumbent rarely, if ever wins. It's always an uphill battle.

Having said all that, I hope Mullen wins. Just to prove the whole thing was a waste of time, effort, and money.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-10-03    




Bloomberg Personal Finance to Shut Down

The February issue will be the last.

Ad Age: BLOOMBERG PUBLICATION TO SHUT DOWN
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by Steve Hall    Jan-10-03    




MSN Interactive Marketing Best Practices

My blogging partner on MarketingFix, Rick Bruner, will be a speaker during the upcoming MSN IM Best Practices Tour. Check the story on his site for details and city dates. I'm going when it hits Boston.

Executive SummaryRick to Speak in 10 Cities for MSN 'I-Marketing Best Practices' Executive Briefing Tour
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by Steve Hall    Jan-10-03    




No Doubt and Dixie Chics Join Shania for Superbowl

Following last years somber 911 related superbowl half time show, this years show is shaping up up to be the typical naked belly fest that is it's tradition.

Gwen Stefani and the Chics will join pop country star, Shania Twain for the show.

Bono was certainly enjoyable and performed a truly emotional show last year that was so right for the time. This year we get back to our usual navel gazing activities with an all girl review.

That's America for you.

Entertainment Weekly: Entertainment Weekly's EW.com | EW.com News: No Doubt and Dixie Chicks join Super Bowl roster

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by Steve Hall    Jan-10-03    




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