Five Tips For Marketers Eyeing Olympic Athlete Endorsements

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Questionable? Brilliant?

This Olympics-focused editorial series is written by Ronald Urbach, Chairman of law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP and the co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at the firm.

Much of what we hear as we read the reports of the Olympics is: how many medals? It appears that the media is compelled to quantify success, sort of like an Olympic box score. Is the US leading in the total medal count? Is the US leading in gold medals? How many medals does China have? Will Great Britain, the host country, finally begin to rack up the medals? As I write this article, the US is leading in total overall medals, though not in gold. Great Britain is coming on strong - now in third, and Andy Murray beat Roger Federer for the coveted gold in men's tennis.

But to advertisers and agencies, the medal count pales next to the critical question - who will be the breakout advertising spokesperson of the 2012 Olympics? Will anyone rise to the level of a true advertising superstar?

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 8-12    
Topic: Brands, Celebrity, Opinion, Policy, Sponsorship



Shuttlecocks + Controversy = Happy Advertisers

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This Olympics-focused editorial series is written by Ronald Urbach, Chairman of law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP and the co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at the firm.

I don't know about you, but the last time I played badminton was when I was on summer vacation with my kids. We bought the kit at the local hardware store, set it up on the grass and started playing. As we played, not only did we have fun, we got better. This stimulated me to learn a little more about the game: the little birdie thing that we were hitting was called a shuttlecock, and the game itself had been started by bored British military officers in 18th century India.

What does my summer vacation game have to do with the Olympics, advertisers, and agencies? Well, thanks to the South Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese Olympic badminton teams, I now know that badminton is an Olympic sport and has been since 1992. Eight Olympic badminton players from these countries threw their games - in other words, they intentionally tried to lose. Was this a Black Sox Scandal? No. No one was bribed and no one was betting on the matches hoping to personally profit from their actions. What happened was they wanted to lose so that they would face an easier opponent in the later rounds of the competition. Call it strategic losing. Go to YouTube and watch one of the matches - the entire stadium audience recognized what was happening and boos rained down on the athletes. It was bizarre.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 6-12    
Topic: Opinion



The Importance (And Relevance) of Official Olympic Sponsorship

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This Olympics-focused editorial series is written by Ronald Urbach, Chairman of law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP and the co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at the firm.

How many of you have seen this phrase in advertising on the Olympics broadcast: Official Sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee? We have all seen these words before. But take a moment and think about them. What do these words really mean? Who cares what they mean?

Consider the word - "Official." The key authorizing party behind the Olympics has decided that some companies will be in the club and the rest will not. To get in the club, a company has to enter in to a formal sponsorship agreement and pay a substantial fee; and in turn, it gets the right to call itself an Official Sponsor.

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by Steve Hall    Aug- 2-12    
Topic: Opinion



Advertising Lessons Learned From the Olympics Opening Ceremony

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This Olympics-focused editorial series is written by Ronald Urbach, Chairman of law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP and the co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Practice Group at the firm.

It has begun, the Olympics. Even the name sounds grand. For the athletes, it reflects years of overwhelming personal effort and training focused on a singular goal - to win gold. For each country, it's time to fly the flag and show pride. For London, it's the moment where they can show off to the world. For the agencies, advertisers, marketers, media, and the people and businesses that live and work in the ad ecosystem, they see the Olympics from their own unique vantage point.

But for me - a lawyer and head of the preeminent law firm in the advertising industry, and someone who has been living and breathing advertising and marketing his entire professional career, I see things through a very different prism. Over the next two weeks, I am going to give you my thoughts on what I am calling, the Olympics of Advertising.

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by Steve Hall    Jul-31-12    
Topic: Opinion



Apple Shoots Self in Foot With New Windows-Like Campaign

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So everyone is piling on TBWA for two its most recent Apple commercials in which a Dell Dude-like character comes to the rescue of people in the midst of various computing nightmares. The piling on is well warranted for one simple reason; Apple products are supposed to be so easy to use that you rarely have to call in an Apple Genius for help.

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by Steve Hall    Jul-29-12    
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Campaigns, Opinion



Why Storybranding Trumps Traditional Advertising

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This guest article is written by Jim Signorelli is CEO of StoryLab Marketing.

"Hey There, I'm Terrific!"

How could anyone expect to sell anything this way? Telling someone you're terrific is so, well...crass, obnoxious, Neanderthal, anything but effective. Right?

Curious, I created an experiment. I set out to see how people would actually react to someone saying "Hey there! I am terrific!", not in written words, but in a real face-to-face interaction. So, taking life into my own hands, I stood out on a street corner to see how passersby might react.

After a startled stare and/or a quizzical "huh?," I either received a polite "no thanks" or a profane description of what I should do with or to myself. Consequently, I gave up on this experiment early on so I don't have anything that would come even close to a projectable sample. But I'm going to take a leap of faith and hypothesize that the chances of someone responding with "okay, I'm buying whatever terrificness you're selling," are slim to none.

So why would I do such a thing? What's to figure out? Nobody talks this way. So what's the big deal?

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by Steve Hall    Jul-13-12    
Topic: Opinion



Multifarious Marketing: A New Spin on Targeting

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This guest article is written by Dave McMullen, Partner and CEO at redpepper.

It wasn't that long ago when we were taught the key to successful marketing was focus. Sending a clear message to a well-defined target audience was the only way to build a brand. Today's marketers know that this is no longer the only way, nor even the best way. In fact, many marketers are facing an increasingly complex landscape of consumers, media platforms, and service providers that can cause them to spend more time trying to save their job than creating effective marketing.

Multifarious marketing is multiple groups working toward multiple goals on multiple platforms and reaching multiple audiences with one core message. Below are a few notes on navigating the new world of "multi".

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by Steve Hall    Jul- 3-12    
Topic: Opinion



Five Places to Look For Your Brand's Story

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This guest article is written by Jim Signorelli, CEO of StoryLab Marketing in Chicago and author of StoryBranding: Creating Standout Brands Through The Power Of Story.

Finding your authentic brand's story is not a luxury for the touchy-feely. Given our overloaded channels of communication and the general lack of trust (and boredom) with advertising messages, finding your brand's true emotional core and expressing it through your brand's story is a must.

But first, you must know what you're looking for.

If you ask any storywriter, "what are you trying to say through your story?" chances are you will get some expression of their worldview or values. If you ask the same question of a marketer, you might get something that resembles a unique selling proposition or what is now commonly referred to as an elevator speech. Brand stories are something very different than elevator speeches, and far more powerful.

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by Steve Hall    Jul- 2-12    
Topic: Brands, Opinion



How the Geeks Will Inherit Cannes Lions

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Advertising Age just published a round up of last week's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and took a look at five of the hottest topics discussed. There was controversy surrounding the judging of the Media Lions. There was the acknowledgement of technology's increasingly important role in advertising. There was the growing debate over the relevance of effectiveness in judging work. There was the shifting viewpoint among giants P&G and Unilever over the importance of copy testing. And there was a bit of hang wringing over the increase in the number of clients (as compared to agencies) attending the festival and whether or not Cannes will transform itself from a festival of creativity into a global marketing event.

And it is this last point that, in our mind, is worth further exploration. It appears Cannes is undergoing the same seismic shift our U.S.-based SXSW has experienced over the last few years. Just as Cannes was once a small conclave of agency types, SXSW was once a small conclave of early adopter widget heads. Now, both events have, rightly so in our opinion, expanded to include other elements of their respective domains.

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by Steve Hall    Jun-25-12    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



The Line Between Advertising And Editorial is Gone. Is That A Good Thing?

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It's funny how quickly things change. When Adrants launched in 2001 and then became a business in 2003, things were still pretty traditional. Banners ruled. DSP stood for digital signal processing (not demand-side publishing). RTB was something Wall Street did. There was no social media. There was no social business. There was no content marketing. And there were certainly no brands producing their own content. Because God forbid the line between advertising and editorial be crossed.

See PayPerPost. We trashed them and CEO Ted Murphy. But times change and what was once unacceptable is now, mostly the norm. We're good friends with Ted Murphy now and, like many other publications, now sell "content sponsorship" deals all the time. Even Adrants, which always prided itself on cutting through the bullshit and keeping the ad industry honest now straddles the line.

Today, that line that used to exist between advertising and editorial is becoming ever more difficult to see. It's not as if "pure" editorial was never before influenced by marketers intent on insuring their message play out in as many places as possible. It's just that the "vetting" that used to exist between marketer and consumer has mostly disappeared.

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by Steve Hall    May-22-12    
Topic: Opinion










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