The big kahunas at Saatchi & Saatchi have decided to go on the legal warpath following the exodus of Vice Chairman Creative Director Mike Burns along with 16 others and their subsequent hire by Interpublic. The group worked on the General Mills account while at Saatchi.
In a statement, Saatchi said, "Saatchi & Saatchi has today commenced a lawsuit against Michael Burns in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York. The lawsuit seeks damages and other relief against Mr. Burns. Upon advice of counsel, we will have no further comment."
It's unclear what sort of damages Saatchi expects to recoup. So far, General Mills is still on the agency's client roster. Granted, the account is a bit understaffed right now but with 17 fewer people to pay, it sure seems like Saatchi is temporarily ahead of the game, at least financially.
Because of the pervasiveness of the Internet, the use of chat rooms, IM, forums, email and weblogs, the level of "consumer conversation" has risen dramatically. The beauty of this, for marketers, is that it's all digitized, right there on servers across the globe, to be examined and analyzed for future product development and marketing. Research firm BuzzMetrics has taken advantage of these vast resources and made a business out of culling data and analyzing it for marketers. It's most recent report takes a look at artificial sweeteners.
If something doesn't change soon, it seems all food is going to come out of a machine and contain nothing but hard to categorize, unpronounceable. man-made ingredients. It's already happening, and has been for some time now, with artificial sweeteners. A recent study by BuzzMetrics indicates people are wising up to all this fakery and marketers may need to take note. According to BuzzMetrics, 45 percent of all artificial-sweetener discussions among over 200,000 monitored trend-setting consumers in online health and nutrition forums were negative in the fourth quarter of 2004. Specifically, 14 percent of discussions recommended using natural sweeteners instead; 13 percent warned of side effects; 11 percent advocated for limited intake; and seven percent complained of unpleasant taste.
Conversely, 42 percent of artificial-sweetener discussions were in favor of them in some way. Specifically, 19 percent discussed regular usage; 17 percent advocated their use in cooking; and six percent recommended them over natural sweeteners.
This is just a tiny snapshot of the "conversations" that are out there for companies to look at when they consider the development of a product or the marketing of an existing product. It's not an easy task but there's never before been a time when so much information has been available about people preferences, opinions and habits.
A lengthy article in today's USA Today discusses Google's AdSense program, an automated advertising system that matches advertiser's text ads with website content, and how it is making money for publisher with little effort by publisher. Some publishers are content to bring in $300-$500 per month.
Chris Pirillo, publisher of gadget site Lockernome and former TechTV host, says he makes $10,000 per month. We can say from experience, as a small publisher, it's the easiest, most painless way to make money.
Tara Reid can't seem to keep her boobs out of the press. First, they're protruding ponderously following a dramatic breast enlargement. Second, the boob job is displayed for all to see as the strap of her dress falls off at a press conference revealing one of her now mammoth, yet freakish looking breasts. And third, that event spawned a reference in an ad for the luxury high rise Sky Las Vegas. Copy in the ad reads, "Dear Tara Reid. Come let it all hang out."
Unsurprisingly, she has filed a lawsuit. Perhaps a bit of advice is needed here: Tara, if you're gonna increase the size of your breasts three to four cup sizes, people are gonna notice. I know it doesn't make sense. After all, they are just bags of flesh. Well, in your case, saline or something. But anyway, people like to look at big breasts and talk about them. And take pictures of them. Sure, you didn't know you bared your boob for all to see while looking like a mindless bimbo and I suppose we can forgive you for that. Afterall, fake boobs don't move much, do they? How could you have known one of them had fallen out? Tara, If you didn't want all the attention, you shouldn't have strapped on fake fun bags. Oh wait. I'm sorry. You do want the attention! After all, your acting isn't getting you any.
BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland has published the firm's second blog readership study. The results align closely with last years. Highlights include:
- 75% are over 30
- 75% are men
- 43% have HHI over $90K
- Most, 14%, are employed in education
- 71% have signed a petition
- 66% have contacted a politician
- 50% (highest of any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion
It's an actively involved, upscale, intelligent audience. Readers of blogs also read Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, The New Yorker, National Geographic, The Nation and The Wall Street journal. Clearly, not the People magazine audience. The entire study results are here
Former copywriter and creative director Rich Siegel has written a book, Tuesdays with Mantu: My Adventures with a Nigerian Con Artist, recounting his 7 week "experience" with a Nigerian email scam operation. It's a mix of fiction and non-fiction with the "experience" part being fiction and the scam background and scam emails being the non-fiction part. We haven't read it but it does sound interesting.
Oddly, it has Hollywood movie written all over it in our opinion.
Writing on the WeatherBug weblog, Chief Privacy Officer Dan O'Connell discusses the varying definitions of adware, spyware and ad supported software and calls for clearer definitions. O'Connell points out the terms are thrown about almost interchangeably which, he claims, can be hurtful to legitimate companies.
Hoping to clarify the confusion, O'Connell writes, "A year ago, I said in a Comment to the FTC, 'An important distinction should be drawn, however, between Adware ("any software that serves or facilitates advertising.") and 'advertising-supported software.' Unlike Adware, whose sole functionality is to display advertisements, advertising-supported software presents a core value proposition and functionality that is of benefit to the consumer, and separate and apart from its ability to serve advertisements. The CDT, in its Comment of March 4, 2004, highlighted the Eudora email application as a 'successful and user-friendly example of ad-supported software.' Advertising support is a legitimate revenue model that allows software developers a means to offer beneficial software at little or no cost to consumers. Other examples of successful ad-supported software products include AOL Instant Messenger, eFax, The Weather Channels Desktop Weather, and WeatherBug."
It's clear that concise definitions are needed. It's also clear the definitions will continue to be twisted to the benefit of the less than reputable companies doing business in this area. But the effort must be made in spite of continued abuse by scumware purveyors.
Harkening back to the glory days of document management, Remote Approach has launched a new service that enables companies to track and manage Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents through multiple distribution channels.
The online service allows users to easily tag their PDF documents so that when distributed, perhaps as part of a viral campaign, the PDF automatically interacts with a reporting system. The company says this allows companies to see whether their documents are being read, not just downloaded, and if they are being forwarded and distributed through channels like email and peer to peer.
"A lot of clients don't measure their full audience, relying only on their web site statistics," said John Bielby, President of Remote Approach. "Using this service will allow them to realize how widespread their PDF documents are being distributed. From a dollars and sense perspective, it's particularly important to companies trying to establish return on investment metrics for their online distribution channels."
Using a graphical reporting interface, Remote Approach clients can view and analyze reports in real time. Several pre-built reports provide access to high level analysis and functionality to export raw logs into the reporting or analysis tool of a company's choice.
Event planning company WhizSpark, located in Massachusetts is launching a series of social networking events for those in the advertising, entertainment and media industries. Called, appropriately, the Entertainment, Advertising and Media Industry Mixer, the events bring together entertainers, advertisers, radio station personalities, ad agency people, photographers, designers and brand managers for business networking. Out of these networking events, WhizSpark hopes to initiate collaboration on existing and new projects among industry practioners. The next event is March 29.