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.
On Monday night at Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas there were no less than five parties. And one had a live chicken running around but we'll get to that in a minute. While there were many parties the only one worth attending (we hear) was the one we were at (naturally). Epic advertising had an epic party (267 pictures of hotness) in the Hugh Hefner Suite at the Palms which went well into the early morning hours.
The two story suite itself is stunning with a rotating bed, private bathrooms (in which an amazingly beautiful lady requested we shoot her sitting on a toilet), hot tubs, glass elevator, outdoor deck and a pool which hangs 50 stories above Vegas. It was stunning.
But that's not what was epic about the party. Not only were there great people there to connect with, the hotness quotient was off the charts. Granted a fairly high percentage of that hotness was of the hired/imported variety, it didn't detract at all from the business end of the party.
There were playboy bunnies, models, dancers and people who just happened to fall into the beautiful category. While some found the "imported hotness" odd and disconcerting, everyone of these non ad industry people we spoke with were wonderful, fun people out to have a good time just like the rest of us.
On Sunday night at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas the Palms was where all the party action was. DoublePlay, AdKnowledge, Karaktr and NeverBlue all had parties. As did Copeac, Under the Stars, and Ads4Dough in other locations.
Of all the parties, the NeverBlue/Sin City party with ppc.bz and Nickycakes was the craziest. But if you're not into the loud, drunken party scene you would have much preferred the Under the Stars party. It was held in the Rio in a meeting room with food, Wii, darts, karaoke and, yes, a bounce house. We ate the pizza and left after a bit to cover all the other parties.
The first night of Affiliate Summit is always an enjoyable one primarily for two reasons. It's the first time you get to re-connect with industry mates you haven't seen in a while and you don't have to get up early the following day because the conference doesn't start until noon.
This year Shawn Collins and Missy Ward, founders of Affiliate Summit, opened registration early at 4PM to those that arrived Saturday could get the whole badge pick up thing out of the way. There will be over 4,000 attendees this year. We took advantage of early registration and scored our badge at 4:05PM. We ran into the wonderful Amy Rodriguez from Affiliate Summit who, along with Shawn and Missy, made our conference visit possible.
After a much-needed nap and registration were out of the way, it was time to visit the iBar in the lobby of the Rio. There, we hung with the buy.at team, Missy Ward and Michelle and Loren Feldman of 1938media fame. Thesis creator Chris Pearson was there as well.
Then it was off to dinner at Buzio's with Michelle and Loren. For most of dinner, we talked about the pros and cons of foursquare. So much so, the two of them, who had been holding out, decided to sign up. Then the fun began. We all engaged in a bit of foursquare fuckery for the fun of it. What, you ask is foursquare fuckery?
- If for no other reason than to stave off boredom, check out Monoclops and turn yourself into a morphlicious monoclop.
- The deadline for entering the D&AD Awards in Wednesday, January 2010. If you're inclined, you can view the call for entry ads here.
- For the second time in the history of the broadcast, Super Bowl ad pricing has dropped. Last year, spots went for $ 3 million. This year, they are going for $2.5 - $2.8 million.
- Mullen-supported The Next Great Generation is a GenY-focused blog which covers crowdsourcing, explores the GenY demo and aims to educate brands and marketers about the segment's thinking and lifestyle.
- The Art Director's Club is looking for entries for its 89th Annual Awards. get them in by January 22.
- How were Legos...uh LEGO bricks...invented? by some strange looking dude with a mustache after he realized people can't fly. And it's all about community. And there's a video. And there's a Twitter profile to follow. And there's an iPhone app!
- Hmm. Branding people with AIDS? Or just making them aware of it?
- When making a billboard buy for alcoholism, it's best not to place the board near a board that promotes an alcoholic beverage.
- Ladies. Need to plan the perfect girls weekend? Expedia has the building blocks you need.
- Once again, Doritos is doing the consumer-generated Super Bowl commercial thing. Six finalists have been selected and their work can be viewed here.
- The Savannah College of Art and Design hosts the 2010 SCADDY Awards Friday, January 22, 6pm at the Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St. The SCADDY Awards honor excellence in advertising and the related fields created by SCAD students.
After a two month submission period, the judges have finally handed down the list of "winners" of the First Annual Tracy Awards, an awards show created to honor the worst of the worst in advertising. Yup. Just what we love. Brands like Snickers and Microsoft were among the finalists, winning such awards as "Best high-profile fall from grace" (Snickers); "Best reckless waste of expensive talent" (Oreo) and "Best use of cross-promotion to single handedly destroy comedy forever" (Microsoft) for their various campaigns.
- And now that fashion brands are involved, we've relabeled the flashmob FlashWalk.
- Want to be Phamous in Vegas? Oops, that's another casino's thing. Anyway, Mandalay Bay has launched the Untamed Adventure Contest. Facebook. Untamed moments. Compromising positions. Pictures. Prizes.
- Dear PR people: Don't lie. You don't want to "gauge my interest." You want me to give you press. There's no need for code words.
- Please Hire Us. Crispin Porter + Bogusky interns beg for jobs. Complete with retro flashing logo.
- If you somehow missed it during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, here's the :90 Michael Bay-directed commercial for your viewing pleasure.
For four days beginning last Thursday afternoon, 60 or so "social media types" boarded the Carnival Destiny and set sail for Cozumel Mexico. The journey was dubbed SocialFresh Cruise and it's goal was to bring together people and ideas. The cruise was organized by Social Fresh, an organization founded by Jason Keath that puts on conferences for marketers involved in advertising, PR, SEO, PR, brand development and, of course, social media. It's also the "conference that comes to you" in the sense most of its conferences take place in smaller markets such as Charlotte, Nashville and Tampa.
Handling the actual cruise details was CruiseDeals.
While there was much sun and fun (it was a cruise after all), for two of the three full days aboard the ship, we attended about eight hours (four each day) of session given by Chris Brogan and many others on topics ranging from personal branding to SEO and everything in-between.
You can debate the merits of booth babes at conferences but that's like debating the merits of smart people versus un-smart people. The world is full of both of them. Sometimes you get the good ones and sometimes you get the bad ones. Thankfully, I got the good booth babes today at ad:tech New York.
Listen to Victoria and Chris talk about their company, BIscience, and their role in representing the company at ad:tech. They actually know what they're talking about. And they actually work for the company. Two things rarely present in a "booth babe."