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Working at Agency.com's gotta suck. If it's not that Subway video, it's the agency's chronic employee bail out. It's kinda like summer interns. Just as soon as you've tricked them into thinking they'd actually see something in your sad, over-the-hill 30-something ass, summer's over and they're off to school again and you're left with nothing but a fantasy. And who can get any work done if your management team is playing musical chairs and your co-workers are changing like a client revises a layout?
The latest bit of Agency.com merry-go-round action comes courtesy of David Eastman, the agency's CEO who is leaving after less than a year on the job. That is so not a good indication of what's going on inside the fist-bumpers club. Whatever the reason behind the shuffles, this sort of stuff is not exactly a confidence builder for clients and prospects.
UPDATE: Well, who knows what the real story is. Commenters say he was fired and now we're told by Agency.com directly Eastman isn't actually leaving the agency but will take on a newly-created role of President-International beginning May 1. Agency.com Chairman Chan Suh will take on the role of CEO.
I (Angela) was really looking forward to attending ad:tech San Francisco 2007 panel entitled "The Online Female Consumer - Come Meet Them" Tuesday afternoon, featuring CEO Kate Everett-Thorp of Real Girls Media as moderator and Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson of eMarketer. Additional panelists were women pulled from various walks of life (well, except not), the youngest being thirty and the oldest in their mid-forties, with children of varying ages.
First impression: oh, we'll be hearing from Fembots. Kate and Debra seemed tight and mildly Stepford in appearance. I don't know what it was but the room took on a defensive and unfun Girl Power air that had nothing to do with trouncing around in platforms and going ziga-zig ahhh.
Over on Madison Avenue Journal, Levenson and Hill New Media and Marketing Strategist Paul McEnany has written an article that discusses the rise of social media and the increase in consumer control over media which, when combined, has had a tremendous effect of the pillar of traditional advertising. While highlighting ad:tech San Francisco sessions that cover aspects of this discussion, Paul urges us to stop thinking about what we do as advertising and he's right. Advertising is shouting a message at people. Clearly, the power of that model as quickly losing its luster.
With people's increased connectivity and control over what they consume, marketers are finding it very difficult to "herd" demographic groups together to advertise to as easily as they once could. It started with media fragmentation. Remember when we thought 100 cable channels was a lot? And it continued with the growth of the Internet and the most recent explosion of social media which has absolutely changed the advertising equation. It's far from the one way street it used to be.
It had to happen and who better to do it than Axe. We're sure you're familiar with Alex Tew's Million Dollar Homepage phenomenon that actually did make a million and with the thousands of other copycats that made nothing close. Now, Axe has done what it does best: find a way to work a scantily-clad babe into every piece of marketing they do with their own million dollar homepage-ish effort. While we think Smash My Viper did a similar thing better with their own collection of scantily-clad babes, this Axe effort has extended itself to answering machine foolery and a video in which a
Portuguese Brazilian model strips on webcam. This being YouTube, and not Dailymotion, she, of course, does not strip all the way down to nothing. No matter, the 15 year olds will love this one.
Pardon this commercial break. Here's the way we see it. Those who like to tout "people kill people, not guns" are idiotic morons. While they might think they're mildly correct in some twisted fashion, no one can argue the fact that if it were illegal for citizens to carry guns, gun-related deaths in America would plummet. Those who think the Constitution gives Americans the "right to bear arms" are imbeciles stuck in the 1700's. Yes, we needed guns then. No, we don't need them now. It's as simple as that.
The rest of the world thinks we Americans have our screws completely loose on this one and they are right. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Neither would ever have happened had there been stricter gun control laws in place. Fuck the NRA and all their bullshit. Fuck the idiots that let the ban on semi-automatic weapons lapse.
If you look at it honestly, advertising's sole purpose is to sell stuff. Forget all that crap about brand building because it's all the same thing. You build a brand so it connects with people so they are more inclined to buy from said brand. Advertising's purpose is not, despite what many would like to think, about winning rewards or creativity. Clio. Cannes. ADDY. One Show. Create. Webby. ADC. Andys. Irrelevant. You disagree and claim the winning of awards helps agencies win accounts? Fair enough but wrong.
What if we lived in a world where we knew exactly how well received our commercials were the second they aired? Well, if Nielsen and the rest of the industry can get their shit together, we may soon see that world. Commercial ratings have been much discussed over the last few years but scant progress has been made. Some half assed solutions have been put in place and even more half assed solutions have been suggested. Who wants half an ass when they cab have full on booty? Yea, we thought so.
We'd have to see it to render fair judgment and we missed its debut opting instead for Survivor and John Hughes Sixteen Candles which unintentionally sucked us in as fast as people are leaving Agency.com but last night, MTV debuted its mixed up programming block. The block merges programming with advertising and intertwined them in a heightened fashion purposefully aiming to blur the line between entertainment and commerce.
MTV describes it thusly, "Interweaving show content and the commercial experience, MTV's Thursday Night Block will present continuous engagement for the MTV audience - where shows will merge into one another, and programming content will play in commercial time - throughout a continuous 2-hour block."
Boston Legal has always been a particularly good show, even if it has become so by positively highlighting some characters while treating others as lame ass idiots. One has to feel for the plight of Mark Valley's Brad Chase on the series who's gone from formidable fixture of strength of bumbling buffoon spending no time in the courtroom and the entire last episode stuck in an air vent. And for Julie Bowen's Denise Bauer who's gone from ass-kicking, intern-belittling powerhouse to sappy second string softie. Even Rene Auberjonis has taken a back seat at crane Poole $ Schmidt.
Freelance Creative Gabe Chouinard is a consumer. Not just any consumer but a new consumer and he wants marketers to know this. As part of our random and completely irregular guest columnist series, Gabe authored a piece entitled "I Am the New Consumer" in which he summarizes many of the points we have made here over the years. Things are different. People are in control. Marketers and not. Things must change. Marketers must listen.
While change doesn't happen overnight nor should it, the tidal wave is approaching and every one of us ought to accept it and be prepared for that shift. In his article, Gabe mentions the pointlessly idiotic Flashturbation (our words) most marketers engage in when creating their facade on the web. Wouldn't it make more sense if the focus of a brand's external image actually included a free flowing, ever-changing conversation made up of people's comments and opinions of the brand and the company's reaction/response to those comments? That would certainly fair far batter than arriving at a site that's just a pretty picture and mindless marketing blather. Yes companies have blogs which help serve a conversational purpose but currently, they are off on their own and, for the most part, not an integral part of the company's face. That should change.
If you're interested in hearing some of the most twisted, blubber-filled blather explaining and defending PayPerPost, the service that pays bloggers to write positive posts for advertisers with questionable disclosure, you'll love this interview Jason Calacanis did with PayPerPost CEO Ted Murphy. To hear Murphy say he has no problem reading a blog that contains paid posts that aren't disclosed as such and try to attach some kind of logic to it is one of the saddest moments in marketing history. PayPerPost has been a laughable business model from its start and to hear Murphy try to justify it is just painful and offensive. It's an affront to what limited credibility marketing still has in the eyes of people. Lines are already blurred enough and Murphy, it seems, wants lines to disappear completely.