SXSW Kicks Off With Impromptu Parties and Foursquare Insanity


Did you know if you check in (on Foursquare, that is) to two hotels in one night you earn the Hookup badge? Well, yes you do. Even if you didn't actually hook up. And that's what's so representative of Foursquare's stupidity.

Now, don't get us wrong. We love Foursquare. We're obsessed with it. We check in everywhere we go. It's a game. It's fun. And at SXSW it helps you find out where the people are and where the action's at. So no complaint's from that front. But when you can add your own venues, such as "Missy Ward's Cleavage" (this is true), and have it stay in the system for weeks, it goes beyond being funny. And you really have to wonder about those people with thousands of points. If you do the math, they'd have to traverse the country and check into hundreds of places each week to attain their position in the rankings. You just have to wonder.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-12-10    
Topic: Industry Events

Rishad Tobaccawala Wants Builders, Not Spreadsheets


In his address during Monday's AAAA's Transformation Conference, Publicis Groupe's Rishad Tobaccowala told attendees the advertising industry needs builders, people with the audacity to "remake industries." He also gave a slap to industry bigwigs when he said, "You came in with dreams, and now you stand with spreadsheets."

He's right. The industry has become a collection of holding companies which function as bean counters. Free thinking and big ideas have disappears. And in their place, the almighty dollar without regard for how that dollar is earned.

Take risks, people. Bring back the big idea. We are a creative industry. We need to be creative. Yes, we all need to make money. But not at the expense of big ideas and great creativity.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 3-10    
Topic: Industry Events

Red Dress Covers, Virgin Cures, Denny's Apologizes, Tokyo Glows


- Sexy red dress and YouTube on a horse. Short dress and "more coverage" in the same ad an oxymoron?

- There are a lot of "issues" with flying but Virgin Atlantic thinks it has the answer with its Upper Class service.

- Denny's has apologized for its potato famine ad. There's even a facebook outcry over the ad.

- How not to pitch media. ("I'll honor the fucking embargo")

- Are you an agency in Chicago? Then why aren't you taking part in the Chicago portfolio School's Real Life Ad Contest?

- TokyoGlow is a short film created by Citizen Jones and Industry Films for Los Angeles shoe designer The Generic Man.

- Cathay Pacific wants you to meet the team.

- Here's a couple of commercial from Boston-based MMB for Subway. Bollywood and Egypt. Brand New School produced.

- DC's Gymkhana Two won a One Show Entertainment Award in the Online Branded Entertainment category for its viral videos.

by Steve Hall    Mar- 1-10    
Topic: Commercials, Industry Events, Policy

Skittles Faced, Ad Week Opens, Wine-Loving Moms Get FB Love


- Using its Facebook fan page with a membership of 3.7 million, Skittles' "Valentine the Rainbow" lets users create a digital valentine for an unsuspecting, hand-picked meter maid, one of the most hated professions in the country and one that deserves some sweet lovin'.

- Registration for Advertising Week 2010 has opened.

- Yea, yea, yea, That Belgian advertising agency strike.

- Check out The Incredibly Boring Web Content Challenge from Captains of Industry. Enter your submission for the most mind numbing product descriptions.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-11-10    
Topic: Agencies, Industry Events, Social

Even Tampa Has Social Media Conferences


On Monday, SocialFresh held a conference in Tampa at the Doubletree Hotel. There were about 250 attendees or the day-long event. The usual social media-related topics were covered but, more importantly, we all gathered to watch the Super Bowl together Sunday night before the conference began.

Once the conference did begin, keynote speaker Maggie Fox from Social Media Group touched on how her company handles social media and uttered an all-important notion we've said over and over again here: Viral is a thing that happens. Not a strategy. Indeed. While you can certainly plan and make every conceivable effort to enable something to go viral, until it goes viral, it ain't viral.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-10-10    
Topic: Industry Events, Social

Best Super Bowl Voiceovers, Nivea Donates, Brand Barfs


- Check out Whose Voice is That? It's all about celebrity voiceovers and they've just posted a Super Bowl commercial roundup that looks at ten classic Super Bowl spots making great use of the narrator and/or voiceover.

- "The Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue," an exhibit that celebrates the contributions made to American business and to popular culture by the real stars of Madison Avenue, is coming to San Francisco for its first public showing outside of New York City at the Academy of Art University's 79 Gallery on New Montgomery Street February 24, 2010 for a one-week showing.

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by Steve Hall    Feb- 5-10    
Topic: Cause, Industry Events, Social, Super Bowl 2010

Social Media Gets Fresh


No one needs to go to another social media conference, right? Wrong. You have to this particular one because I'll be there. And while I'm not as witty or acerbic (OK, harsh) as George Parker, I do have my issues with social media. It's viable for some things and not so much for others.

The conference is called SocialFresh and it takes place February 5 (yes, that's the day after Super Bowl) in Tampa, FL. Did you hear that? Tampa. As in Florida. As in warm. As in not snowing.

And if you use the code ADRANT4, you will get $125 off the $315 price.

Check out all the conference details here.

by Steve Hall    Jan-26-10    
Topic: Industry Events

Help Us Crap on Lame Social Media Campaigns


The famed SUXORZ panel is happening Feb. 3 in New York as part of Social Media Week. It's been a hit at SXSW two years running and now it's making a stop in the middle of advertising's mecca. Well, OK, what used to be advertising's mecca but still.

Join Ian Schafer, Steve Hall, BL Ochman, Caroline McCarthy and moderator Henry Copeland as they review and skewer your nominees for the worst social media campaigns of '09. As always, the audience will have the final say, voting for the SUXORZ losers.

There's an open bar to lubricate our deliberations.

There are a few half-off tickets available to longtime Facebook SUXORZ members, so pogo over to and enter offer code SUX55 ... and if you can't make it, be sure to submit your nominees to the SUXORZ Facebook wall.

by Steve Hall    Jan-26-10    
Topic: Industry Events, Social

Chip Shop Awards Takes Piss Out of Advertising


In line with our less than pleasant mood today comes the 2010 Chip Shop Awards, an event that takes the piss out of how seriously the advertising industry takes itself.

The show is described thusly by show head Dave Trott who says, "I know it wouldn't work for so many reasons in the real world. But this isn't the real world. This is ads you wish had run, but didn't. Ads that prick the bubble of pomposity that surrounds and encapsulates advertising. Ads that take the piss. And, nowadays more than ever, we badly need someone to take the piss."

by Steve Hall    Jan-26-10    
Topic: Industry Events

You Really Should Learn About Affiliate Marketing


Did you know there were over 4,000 attendees at Affiliate Summit West held at the Rio in Las Vegas earlier this week? This conference which addresses what was once a tiny segment of the marketing world has exploded and grown into a business model every brand should be aware of.

If you're a brand you advertise your products, right? Of course you do. That's a no-brainer. You hand a boatload of money over to an ad agency, they make pretty pictures for you and you hand another boatload over to media outlets to run those pretty pictures. Sound familiar? Of course it does. That's becasue everyone else does it and they've been doing it since marketing was invented.


But what if you could get people to market your products for you? That's the gist of affiliate marketing. You set up a program and develop tools which affiliates can use to help sell your products. Very similar to Amazon book ads on a website, affiliate marketing is a revenue share model. If a product is sold through the efforts of an affiliate, that affiliate gets a cut of the sale and so does the brand.

That's the simple explanation. But, like anything, it gets more involved and expansive when you grow it to a level when millions of dollars are being made through this form of marketing. And that's why there's an entire conference devoted to it.

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by Steve Hall    Jan-21-10    
Topic: Industry Events

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