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Word of Mouth Marketing Needs Clear Definition

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Moderated by Edelman Catalyst Group Strategic Consultant Justin Zwiren, this session is the first of two AD:TECH session focused on word of mouth and viral marketing. The panel included VBMA Co-Founder and DMC CEO Justin Kirby, P & G Tremor CEO Steve Knox, New Media Strategies Founder and CEO Pete Snyder and BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter.

Zwiren began the session discussing how companies can listen to consumers to avert disaster through monitoring chats are reading weblogs. Much of the session centered on transparency - how much should be disclosed to the consumers in a word of mouth or viral marketing campaign. BzzAgent's Balter said no cash should exchange hands when a word of mouth network is created by a marketer and it's better to wait for consumers to join rather than actively recruit. DMC's Kiry question whether transparency, if intended, is even possible. Recent attempts by Mazda, which created a fake blog to promote a new vehicles was not branded in any way by Mazda but was "found out" by consumers in less than two days causing Mazda to eat crow and pull the site. Yet, BzzAgent's Balter pleaded expressly to marketers in the room to be transparent in their viral efforts or the medium would be killed.

Terms such as "talkability" and "Spreadability" have become vernacular for methods of measurement now being explored by viral and buzz marketers. Moderator Zwiren posited “conversation rating points” emerging as a comparable measure to gross/target rating points. While forms of measurement begin to emerge, DMC's Kirby lended some common "conversation" measurement saying, "we're not going to measure every cocktail party conversion - most people are there to get drunk or get laid."

Following the panel conversation, an audience member asked how viral marketers are insuring children are not being blindly taken advantage of with some of these efforts. While not addressing detail, both BzzAgent's Balter and Tremor's Knox stated emphatically when teens are involved, parents are approached as well and explained how their children are involved in these efforts.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 8-04    




Proactive Brand Management of 'Grave Importance'

Continuing AD:TECH coverage, this session, Proactive Branding Showcase, was moderated by Maven Networks SVP Susan Bratton. On the panel were GSD&M Strategy Director Dave Evans, Nikon VP of Marketing Jerry Grossman and DiamlerChrysler Director of Interactive Communications Bonita Stewart.

Bratton began by describing proactive branding as a "subject of grave importance and interest." Bratton introduced the panelists who each gave a short presentation of the work they've done to proactively "brand" their brands. GSD&M's Evans began by explaining how his agency approaches branding work for its clients describing the agency's "purposed-based branding" as achieving "sustainable results for brands that have a genuine purpose." He then ran through a litany of clients and the work his agency has done but revealed little details.

When the first of the two marketers, DiamlerChrysler' Stewart spoke, much more meat was provided. Stewart gave an overview of the introductory campaign for the Chrysler 300 that involved a multi-media branding effort coupled with several direct marketing and web efforts.

A primary goal of the branding effort was to shed the “old” Chrysler image and part of this was achieved with a teaser campaign that showed the vehicle but not the manufacturers nameplate leaving consumers to guess. The direct marketing component involved asking consumers for their names (via the web) in exchange for Chrysler revealing the name of the vehicle. Noted as a positive, 58 percent, when asked to guess the car's manufacturer named other manufacturers including Bentley and Mercedes - a crowd Chrysler was hoping to appeal to.

Next was Nikon's Grossman who began with a not so necessary branding 101 explanation, but then moved on to embrace an aspect of branding most copywriters are loathe to admit - no one reads body copy. Grossman then proceeded to explain how Nikon used various media to provide more and more detailed information as consumers required it. Lastly, Grossman explained how the company developed a photo school which was promoted as a means to both educate and to bring consumers physically into contact with Nikon products.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 8-04    




AD:TECH Kicks Off

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Contrary to Sunday night where virtual cobwebs were hanging in the AD:TECH exhibit area of the Hilton, this morning the hotel was abuzz with thousands of attendess registering, meeting, greeting, and checking out exhibitors booths, which, miraculously are in a dramitically different state than they were last night. In the registration area, there were two characters dressed up like Microsoft butterflies asking for business cards and offering attendees a chance to win a Rio. DoubeClick provided the closest thing to a "booth babe" this year with a beach, complete with a woman sunning herself while reading a book and being fanned by a male "servant."

Click here for more pictures including a pair of hotties registering. Hey, it'a a trade show.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 8-04    




Nike Gets Chinese Ad Translation Wrong

Tian, the ever vigil Chinese marketing monitor points to a Nike ad that was translated incorrectly. While translations are always a grey area, Tian says Nike intended headline, "Extinguish fire from the base" ended up reading, "Extinguish fire but with base." He points out a few other problems but it does not seem to be is bad as the classic Chevrolet Nova/Nogo translation.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 8-04    




Viral Agency Steals Ogilvy & Mather UK Domain Name

Viral advertising agency ASABAILEY has placed a well-aimed left hook on the chin of O&M, by scooping up http://www.ogilvymather.co.uk for £4.95.

Is this underhanded, cheap attack from the viral team, or is O&M and other agencies, fair game for a stunt such as this? What was the team trying to prove? If it was to make a big established ad agencies look outdated - it worked. ASABAILEY teases the agency even more with a little ad that reads, "If you understood the modern brand... ...you'd understand how to protect it."

The lesson is simple and clear, check your own URL and protects your brand on and offline, for the cost of a couple of domain names you could save your business a whole load of trouble.

UPDATE: Asa Bailey gets interviewed by PR WEEK about the stunt and about viral advertising.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 7-04    




The Eve of AD:TECH New York

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On the eve of New York's AD:TECH and with just a few hours to go, exhibitors were busy setting up for the storm of more than 5,000 expected attendees. At 6PM, boxes were strewn throughout the exhibit hall, booths appeared half built and piles of registration materials were quickly being organized. The work is cut out but if history's a guide, everything down to the last tchotchke will be in place.

Intermingled with all this activity were the New York Marathon runners, their support teams and their families, all most likely looking forward to a relaxing dinner after a grueling day.

Click here to see all the event set up pictures including PointRoll's FatBoy who appears to have been relegated to the corner, perhaps for bad behavior.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 7-04    




Reality TV Series to Monitor Death

London's Channel 4 is searching for volunteers to have their body viewed as it decomposes after death. The show, "Dust to Dust," will aid scientists in their quest to better understand the process of decomposition and aid forensic pathologist to better determine time of death in murder investigations. Thankfully the show won't be filmed in real time sparing viewers the nightly agony of waiting for a fingernail to drop off or an orfice to pustulate.

Apparently, the documentary will air when enough volunteers die and and the English countryside is ripe with the smell of death. We don't know if we want to but we'll thank Adrants reader Charley Brough anyway for "forcing" us to write about this.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 5-04    




Akademiks Clothing Gets Slapped For Giving Head on Bus

I'm Getting Brain

Hip-hip clothier Akademiks has raised the ire of New York's MTA for slipping sexually suggestive language into a transit campaign. In one ad, a hottie showing bootie is reading a book alongside the headline "Read Books, Get Brain" implying to the unsuspecting that reading makes you smart. Well, little do most know "get brain" means get head - the sexual kind. Needless to say, the MTA is angered by being hoodwinked with hip terminology and has vowed to take down the poster the New York Daily News reports.

The headline was no oversight. It was intentional as explained by Akademiks Ad Designer Anthony Harrison who said, "We knew this. It's coded language, city slang. Teens know what it means but the general public doesn't." It's now likely the term "get brain" will be retired for yet another inventive method of describing that particular means of relieving sexual tension.

The campaign also appears around the country in Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. At least until they read the Daily News article.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 5-04    




Newsday Caught Red Handed in Continuing Circulation Fraud

The Long Island Press surprised a Newsday employee as he was tossing undelivered Newsday ad circulars and papers dated for the following Sunday into a dumpster. As LIP photographers snapped away, the Newsday employee pleaded with the reporter, "C'mon guys, don't do this to me, please. I got kids. I got a mortgage to pay. I need to do this. This is my only source of income."

Uh huh.

In the midst of circulation scandals, Newsday appears to be continuing its practice of overprinting and dumping to maintain circulation base.

The Long Island Press also states Newsday appears to be creating phantom credit card numbers and putting non-subscribers with delinquent accounts back on the circulation.

We think there' a new rash of nasty calls from advertisers inundating the Newsday phone lines right about now.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 5-04    




Assvertising Gives Way to Buttvertising

In a knock off of assvertising, changes in football (soccer for those in the U.S.) regulations now allow coprporate logos on the backside of player's shorts.

by Steve Hall    Nov- 5-04    




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