Adrants is Back. Does Anyone Care? #CannesLions

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So yesterday -- actually Sunday night -- some witty soul (and I use that phrase ever so graciously) decided it would be fun to hack Adrants on the eve of Cannes Lions making it impossible for us to share with you all the event's goodness. Well. we're back.

But does it really matter? Does anyone really care? When we have AdWeek's Tim Nudd and Gabriel Beltrone killing it in Cannes, an entire army of reporters from Ad Age, stellar tweets from Ogilvy, a One Question video series from Advertising Week, live coverage from Campaign and PR Week and the #canneslions Twitter hashtag which -- if you allowed yourself -- you could stare at 24/7...do we really need Adrants?

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by Steve Hall    Jun-18-13    
Topic: Industry Events, Opinion



Is Product Development the Holy Grail of Agency Survival?

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For the past several years or so, it's become fashionable for advertising agencies to dedicate a portion of their time to product development. Some do it for clients. Others do it all on their own. The poster child in this space is Nike FuelBand, a fitness product co-created with the brand's advertising agency RG/A. It was, and is, a runaway success.

Other agencies have dabbled with product creation. Crispin Porter + Bogusky developed a line of premium rum, Papa's Pilar. Deutsch LA, which has a program dedicated to entrepreneurial pursuits, created a floral delivery service, Bouqs, and an independent film entitled Between Us. Boston-based MMB launched a line of environmentally friendly children's clothing that donated proceeds to animal shelter charities. And Anomaly worked with outside consultant The Kind Group to create a line of skin-care products, Eos, currently being sold at Target.

All well and good - but why would an agency dedicate resources usually reserved for serving client business to product development?

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by Steve Hall    May-28-13    
Topic: Agencies, Opinion



Is Samsung's 'Evolutionary Husband' Ad Sexist?

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In an effort to tout Samsung's new Evolution Kit, some kind of device that makes your tired, old TV awesome and new, the brand has dipped its toe into the anti-objectification of women waters with Evolutionary Husband.

In the ad, a wife, tired of her slovenly husband's burping, farting, Neanderthal ways, plugs the Samsung Evolution Kit into his back and, poof, he instantly becomes...a stereotypically 1950's housewife who effortlessly cooks, cleans, babysits and generally serves his wife's every need...much like the stereotypical 1950's housewife did for her husband.

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by Steve Hall    May-22-13    
Topic: Opinion



HubSpot Lambastes P&G For Blaming Layoffs on Facebook

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Last Friday, the brilliantly insightful Corey Eridon of HubSpot castigated P&G for calling their "Facebook experiment" a failure and for the brand's complete misunderstanding of digital strategy.

In response to the assumption it's somehow Facebook's fault P&G fell on its face and had to lay off 6,250 employees, Eridon wrote, "Yes, it's Facebook's fault. It's not P&G's fault for failing to stay on top of digital trends like learning what EdgeRank is and how it works. It's not P&G's fault for relying on third-party assets to build their brand, instead of investing in assets they can control, like their own website and blog. It's not P&G's fault for failing to create remarkable content that -- and if you know how EdgeRank works you'd know this -- gets you more visibility on Facebook due to reader engagement. It's not P&G's fault for failing to realize no audience is guaranteed, paid or otherwise, and that audiences are actually earned on a daily basis. And it's certainly not P&G's fault for expecting a "new" platform like Facebook to work by slapping on the same old-school ad tactics they've been using (and, based on their rampant layoffs, not using well) for decades."

Whoo! It's like you can visualize Eridon in a cage match schooling an army of P&G mascots on how shit gets done in today's world of digital marketing.

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by Steve Hall    May-20-13    
Topic: Brands, Opinion



Why Agencies Love to Use Idiots in Their Advertising

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BBDO New York has created two new commercial for FedEx to tout the delivery service's new Delivery Manager which allows recipients to specify date, time and place for delivery. To get the idea across, the agency came up with two silly scenarios.

In one, a family decides to take a "staycation" instead of a vacation so it won't miss an important package. In another, a dentist performs work on his front porch to he doesn't miss a package that might have been delivered to his office.

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by Steve Hall    May-14-13    
Topic: Opinion



'It's Not About Big Data, It's About Big Ideas'

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While Big Data is the buzzword du jour and every agency and brand is trying to get a handle on it, there are still those who believe the big idea will always trump the "biggest" data.

Amusement Park's Jimmy Smith who is a Branded Entertainment Juror for the Clios is one such person. Recalling what Lee Clow told him about Steve Jobs, Smith argues one of the biggest and most successful brands in the world never much relied on research to develop its ad campaigns.

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by Steve Hall    May-13-13    
Topic: Opinion



Why Every Creative Director Should See 'The Great Gatsby' in 3D

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"Was all this made from your imagination?"

- A line among lines from The Great Gatsby

3D is dead.

I know, I know that's a big statement for a 3D director to make. What I mean to say is 3D as a movie gimmick is dead.

That's the impression I got walking away from an opening night showing of The Great Gatsby in 3D. Director Baz Luhrmann's re-imagination of Fitzgerald's well-known novel is out this weekend and it holds some really interesting secrets for creative directors. I won't get into a flat out review of the film itself, except to say it sparked a whole lot of discussion from urban theatregoers as they exited the multiplex.

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by Steve Hall    May-11-13    
Topic: Opinion



13 Reasons Why the Blog Post Is the New Ad Unit

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Writing on the HubSpot blog, I take a look at why the blog post is displacing typical online advertising. With recent interest in content creation, the rise of inbound marketing, and the latest trend, native advertising, the lowly blog post has, once again, risen to prominence in the eyes of marketers who now see it as a powerful method to connect with prospects and customers by delivering valuable, educational, and useful information.

And that is why the blog post is the new online ad unit. While clickthrough rates (CTR) are not the only metric by which you can measure a banner ad's performance, typical online banner ad units achieve a CTR of 0.10% according to MediaMind's Global Benchmarks Report, and that figure is on a downward spiral due to banner blindness, among other things. Couple that with "blind" network ad buys that prevent a marketer from knowing exactly where their ads appear and limited ad real estate on which to place messaging, and you've got an online advertising system that is very, very broken. But all is not lost! Here's why the blog post is so beneficial to marketers -- and why the typical ad unit just won't cut it any longer.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 3-13    
Topic: Opinion, Weblogs



AMC Does Something Stupid With 'Something More'

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Here's the thing. On TV and in movies, story matters. Story always matters. No matter how many special effects or hot women the producers decide to throw in, it's all crap unless there's a good story line.

So why AMC decided to drop its "Story Matters Here" tagline in favor of the meaningless, applicable-to-anything "Something More" escapes logic.

Oh sure, today's culture has the attention span of a gnat and change can't come quick enough. But when change comes, it should at least make sense and this does not.

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by Steve Hall    Apr- 1-13    
Topic: Opinion, Television



Native Advertising is Broken: Six Steps to Fix It

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Writing for HubSpot, I've explored what's wrong with current iterations of native advertising and what we can do to fix it. Native advertising, of course, all the rage these days. Companies like BuzzFeed and ShareThrough have based their business models on the notion that in-stream, organic-like content will save the day and finally allow everyone to retire those tired and underperforming banner ads to a nice tropical island far, far away.

In its current form, however, native advertising is destined to fail just like the banner ad failed. Why? Because most native advertising placements -- just like most banner ad placements -- are not structured with inbound marketing strategies that treat native advertising content creation as a starting point. Rather, the content is treated as the end point. In essence, most native advertising today is basically a branding play.

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by Steve Hall    Mar-29-13    
Topic: Online, Opinion










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