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



True Identity of Cornelius Trunchpole Revealed

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Last night at Galapagos Art Space in New York, the long-awaited debut of the Cornelius Trunchpole documentary, Art & Corny, premiered. For over two years, Cornelius Trunchpole, famous ad man from the sixties, has been promising a comeback. And if the documentary is to be believed, the man has, indeed returned.

In the documentary, produced by contagiousLA, industry luminaries such as Lee Clow, Jeff Goodby, Steve Hayden, Gerry Graf, Barbara Lippert, Michael Wolf, J. Walter Thompson II and, yes, George Parker discuss the effect Trunchpole had on them.

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by Steve Hall    May-10-12    
Topic: Opinion, Video



Do Agencies Need to Create Their Own Brands to Survive?

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This guest article is written by redpepper founder Dave McMullen.

Most ad agencies live and die by a single metric. Some measure everything about it and all around it. Others ignore it and just hope they get it. It's the fuel that drives the modern advertising business.

It's the billable hour.

In order to grow profitably, agencies need to hire more people and bill them out at a minimum of 65-75 percent of their day. Unfortunately selling, assigning, and working by the hour and for the hour is not very motivating. And this can cause problems in an agency's culture by killing the inspiration needed to find creative solutions to problems.

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by Steve Hall    Apr-23-12    
Topic: Agencies, Opinion



Did New Belgium Copy the Work Beer Campaign?

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Sadly, in the ad business, copycatting is all to prevalent. Sometimes it's unintentional. Sometimes it's just chance. Sometimes it's an agency "repurposing" old work for a new client. Sometimes it's the client asking a new agency to "repurpose" the work of another agency.

Whatever the case may be, it's always a sticky situation. We'd like to believe maliciousness is never in play. We can't really ever be sure though.

The latest case of copycatting comes from Work Labs, a company that prides itself for creating brands designed for the everyday worker. One of these products was Work Beer, a microbrew brand that was developed in 1999 and brewed for a short time by Main Street Beer Company. In 2005, Work Labs developed an ad campaign for the microbrew.

Yesterday, Work Labs Founder Cabell Harris contacted us (after it had been called to our attention by another source) to tell us his 2005 campaign for Work Beer looked strikingly similar to a 2012 New Belgium campaign for Shift Beer. You can see each campaign side by side here.

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by Steve Hall    Apr-20-12    
Topic: Campaigns, Opinion



TidyCat Apologizes For Comparing Town to Used Cat Litter

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This guest post was written by Kevin Dugan, a full-time marketer, a long-time blogger and a proud Cincinnatian.

Some of you have probably seen TidyCats #lifestinks campaign. It's online with a campaign site encouraging consumers to Tweet about why life stinks and with videos designed to go, uh, feral perhaps. It's offline too with TV spots, out of home ads - even a mobile tour.

It's all designed to make sure we understand that TidyCats covers up the smell of used cat litter. Who knew?

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by Steve Hall    Apr-10-12    
Topic: Opinion, Social



Four Reasons Not to Buy A Scion iQ

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There are so many things wrong on so many levels with this new Scion iQ campaign. But first, the gist of the campaign. To tout the fact that despite the iQ's small size four adults can still fit in the vehicle, four commercials feature four groups of people in the car eating donuts and drinking milk while the vehicle does...ahem...donuts in a donut shops' parking lot.

So what's wrong with the strategy? Aside from the fact, it's fun to watch people get tossed around a car while trying to eat, is it really smart for the brand to associate itself with what's being communicated in the ads - unsafe driving? Yea, yea, yea. We all know...don't try this at home. But you know, sadly, there are just enough idiots in this world who will see this, try it, crash and then try to sue Scion for their idiocy.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 5-12    
Topic: Brands, Campaigns, Creative Commentary, Opinion



Is Social Media A Bubble And SXSW A Fad?

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This SXSW coverage is brought to you by Red Square Agency. The agency that also brought you startling birds with a brass horn.

When you peruse the SXSW panel listing prior to making your way to the annual nerd-fest in Austin each year and you come across a panel entitled Social Media is a Bubble and SXSW is a Fad, interest is piqued. The panel aimed to explore if, in fact, social media is a bubble about to burst and whether or not SXSW has simply jumped the shark and become too large.

The panel, which was moderated by Attention Founder and CEO Curtis Hougland, kicked of with what, for a second, seemed like the introduction of some kind of new killer app that would ensure that your social media activity would always rise to the top. A few seconds in, it was clear the app was a joke but, because of the app's "boom! there it is" approach to popularity was an integral component, it did get everyone to shout "boom" before they asked a question. Which, of course, was funny. But even funnier was one woman who came to the session late and had no idea why she had to say "boom" before she asked the question.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-11-12    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



Marketers Overshadowed Geeks Last Year at SXSW But Should Marry Them This Year

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This SXSW coverage is brought to you by Red Square Agency. The agency that also brought you speling.

ClickZ has an interesting piece on B2B brands an SXSW. As we wrote last year, SXSW has overwhelmingly been taken over by marketers leaving the geeks to grumble about their presence. Hey, things change. Go with it. There's really nothing else you can do.

Of the presence of B2B brands at SXSW, Eloqua's Jesse Noyes told ClickZ, "Some people tend to think of 'South By' as more of a consumer-facing event where the next big thing like Twitter gets launched. But you have a lot of B2B brands setting up booths next to B2Cs. You'll go to a panel and see the head of marketing for Adobe sitting next to Pepsi on stage. That's what makes it great."

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 7-12    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



LeadsCon Storms Las Vegas. And Why You Need to Leave Your Comfort Zone

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Have you noticed an absence of content here on Adrants? Well it's because yours truly is in Las Vegas for LeadsCon. Taking pictures. Getting interviewed. Doing interviews. And generally getting lost in everything Vegas has to offer. Apologies. But a guy needs a break once in a while, right?

So LeadsCon. It's a conference about lead generation. And it's grown to 2,600 attendees. This year's conference seems to be twice as big as last year's. Held at the Mirage, the exhibit hall was bustling, the session rooms were packed. And the hallways were filled with people networking and doing business.

With the downfall (that's what it is after all) of traditional advertising (and we include traditional online advertising in the statement), the ad industry is begging for new ways to connect with consumers. If you've been asleep for a bit you might not have noticed the meteoric rise of social media, affiliate marketing, content marketing and, yes, lead generation.

For the snarky ones among us, social media is just digitized word of mouth, content marketing is just custom publishing, affiliate marketing is just a form of multilevel marketing and lead generation is just good old cold calling on steroids.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-28-12    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



Where is the Accountability in Online Video Advertising?

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This guest article is written by by Brian Mandelbaum, founder of Clearstream

Many major advertisers feel they have more options for video advertising on cable than they do on the Internet. Why is that? In an era of virtually limitless online choices, major commercial cyber-buys typically stay in the "safe zone" of ABC, NBC, CBS and Hulu, with perhaps a few other well-known sites sprinkled in.

It's time that the accountability and transparency of traditional broadcast buys find their equivalent in the online world. It's not impossible; despite its reputation as a murky, unregulated medium, the web has made great strides in rating standards for display advertising. Online venues need a similar organizing element--a commonly held, trusted framework for media decision-making.

The reason, of course, is that online video buys don't exist in a vacuum. As with broadcast networks, programming surrounds each video in the form of adjacent site content. That material may or may not complement the advertiser's content. It may be irrelevant, unsuitable or even objectionable.

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by Steve Hall    Feb-13-12    
Topic: Opinion, Video








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