On Tuesday, October 18 at 9AM, I'll be moderating a panel at BlogOn in New York. The panel is called "Can Advertising Be Social." On this panel, the panelists, who include Organic CEO Mark Kingdon, Unilever Brand Development Director David Rubin, Jaffe LLC Founder Joe Jaffe and I hope to discuss the relationship between social media and advertising - the ways in which people have entered what has now become a two-way conversation rather than the former one-way, marketer to consumer bullhorn approach.
It should be an interesting and, hopefully, informative discussion. There's blogs, chat rooms, forums, IM, Wikis, podcasting, social networks and innumerable other methods with which consumers can achieve a voice as powerful and widespread as marketers.
As examples of this newfound consumer voice, there's Jeff Jarvis who, following a bad experience with a Dell computer, took on Dell publicly forcing Dell to respond. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a response. There's George Masters, a teacher who created a professional looking iPod commercial which raced around the globe. Smartly, Apple took a hands off approach. There's Converse who asked people to submit films about Chuck Taylors. There's Mercedes who encouraged people to send in photos of themselves with their Mercedes which were ultimately featured in the company's ad campaign. The examples go on. People have become socially active with their brand experiences, good and bad, and the level of activity is forcing marketers to join the conversation and, forever, putting aside old methods of controlling it.
Indeed, marketing is in for the ride of its life.
U.K. Channel 4's IdeasFactory, along with viral email collector Bore Me, digital agency DS.Emotion and viral promoter Hot Cherry have announced "Germ," a viral email contest which seeks viral ideas that "get the whole world talking." Oddly, according to contest rules, only U.K. agencies, apparently, are able to get the world talking as U.K.-based agencies are the only agencies welcome to enter the contest. Though, it seems, the "general public" is allowed enter as well. However, it's not clear whether that refers to worldwide general public or U.K.-based general public.
Close-minded contest or not, the winning agency, in an even odder, oxymoronic move is promised by contest organizers to have it's work seen the world over via seeding by Bore Me. In a not so oxymoronic but clandestine promotional move, all of the companies hosting the contest have, surprise, a stake in viral advertising and, with the contest putting them into contact with top viral marketers, the hole thing is basically a new business endeavor for the organizers. Nifty.
Sanders Consulting, a company that trains agencies on winning new business, is hosting a series of seminars beginning October 31 in Los Angeles. Other seminars will be held November 2 in Chicago, November 4 in New York and November 13-14 in Miami.Having personally been through this seminar a few years ago, we can vouch for its quality and effectiveness. Sanders Consulting aims to better an agency's chances of reeling in new business and that's a good thing. After all, without a steady stream of new business, the fickle nature of agency-hopping clients will shutter an agency faster than Paris Hilton can break off an engagement.
Asked to host a Magazine Publisher's Association event last week last Advertising Week, comedian Jon Stewart crapped all over the magazine industry telling the audience magazines aren't as relevant as television and that the medium sits at the children's table. Reportedly, one could see Graydon Carter's head swell with rage. Asking the question we all want to know, Stewart asked Men's Health magazine editor Dave Zinczenko, "Why is your magazine so gay?" Yes, why?
In an OMMA keynote, CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer said the webcast of "Everybody Loves Raymond" was an experiment to determine how many people watch the show online and what traffic is driven back to the Viacom site. The webcast carried no ads but in the future, Kramer said shows could carry ads which advertisers would pay additionally for and an option to view ad-free shows for a fee might be offered as well.
As promised, David Ogilvy made an appearance at AdBumb's OMMA party last night telling the audience "successful advertising in the future is about entertainment and value" and then breaking into a John Travolta-ish Stayin' Alive jig which party goers immediately began to copy.
The results are in and consumers have spoken. Columbian Coffee's Juan Valdez and Geico's gecko named to the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame. Winning slogans were "When you care enough to send the very best" from Hallmark and "Imagination at Work" from General Electric. Life goes on.
In a keynote at MediaPost's Forecast event, MediaPost reports Starcom MediaVest CEO Jack Klues told attendees "People will change; their desires and demands will change. Their options will change. Channels will change. Clients will change. Our model will change." And on how the industry should position itself to clients, Klues said, "stop counting obsolete things, and gain a better understanding of context. We have to compete and get paid on the power of our people and ideas, not on bargain-basement prices that prohibit us from delivering our promises." If anyone can master these changing waters, it's Jack Klues and Starcom.
In a rousing discussion at MediaPosts's Forecast conference, Ephron, Papazian & Ephron partner Erwin Ephron and Viacom Cable Networks VP Betsy Frank took opposite sides regarding the future of advertising. Ephron told attendees, "clutter, inattention, commercial avoidance in the old media, and a manic fascination with the new media ignores the most fundamental change in our business...Advertising doesn't work as well anymore." Frank says that all a bunch of hooey and "absolutely nothing will change" and "cable was supposed to kill broadcast TV, the remote control was going to kill advertising, and the Internet and video games would be the end of TV. So far, they've been adopted, they all co-exist, and people are consuming more of everything." Advertising panels are so much fun, aren't they?
Never underestimate the power of a person with digital camera and a Flickr account. Yaniv Yaakubovich, who lives in Israel, traveled to New York for this week's Advertising Week and has, so far, snapped 105 images of the week's activities. There's sure to be more from Yaakubovich and others during the week.
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