The bow's untied. The password protection has been removed. Today, Gawker media launches another gossip blog, this time, focusing on Silicon Valley. Called Valley Wag and described as a tech gossip rag for Silicon Valley tech types who are too busy changing the world to have time for "sex, greed and Hypocrisy" but who Gawker knows needs, like everyone else, some good dirt. The blog is written by West Coast newcomber Nick Douglas who, because of his newness, won't be burdened with having to be polite to anyone unlucky enough to find themselves maligned on the pages of Valley Wag.
As the publisher for the online presence of the South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet and the expectant parent What to Expect among others, Waterfront Media helps self-help experts and their publishers publish their content online and aggregates self-help content for advertisers interested in reaching self-help seekers, a $10 billion market according to Marketdata Enterprises. While some doubt the whole notion of self-help, for marketers and and publishers in this space, Waterfront Media has created a self-help marketplace that appears to make it a whole lot easier for marketer and publisher to connect with the self-help seeker.
Waterfront launched in early 2003 and has 700,000 subscribers to its various sites along with site management/distribution deals with publishers Rodale, Harper Collins, Meredith and Hyperion among others. Waterfront Media's revenue model is shifting from 25/75 ad/paid subscription to 50/50 ad/paid subscription and advertisers from P&G, Kraft, Diet Coke and Equal have jumped on board.
Coinciding with the launch of China CEO Tom Doctroff's book, Billions: Selling the the New Chinese Consumer, JWT China issued a press release with the headline, "Understanding and Embracing China's Different Worldview Is Main Theme of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer, by JWT's Tom Doctoroff," which offers 12 facts about the "Confucian Consumer." While the release may seem like yet another harmless attempt by a marketing entity to neatly lump together the traits of billions of people and slap a cute title on it, some who watch the country's culture closer have taken issue with the oversimplification and incorrectness of the 12 facts.
The main complaint is the trotting out of Confucius to "frame the market for American business people" writes the China Herald weblog that doing so "creates the illusion that there is one driving force in the Chinese market you can use as a beacon in an often chaotic situation." In an article on Danwei written by Jeremy Goldkorn who works in the Chinese ad biz, he offers a a point by point analysis of the release and ends with "bullshitting is part of the game in the advertising industry." While we have no idea who's right and who's wrong on this whole Confucian Consumer thing nor are we equipped to make judgement, we do know Goldkorn's statement is as true as the Earth is round.
Not that we didn't all know this already but here, thanks to Gawker's ever transparent editorial staff, is proof positive, albeit embarrassingly for Hyperion who forgot to turn off "track changes" prior to sending its release, all press release quotes are fabricated and that no human being actually utters the wording we read every day in news articles pulled from releases.
Oh, good God, not another daily email newsletter about marketing and advertising. Yes, BrandWeek has joined the fray of daily ad news pushers, upping its frequency from weekly to daily. We're not sure the industry is ready for yet another Inbox-clogging newsletter. Nothing against BrandWeek but they just might be unlucky recipient of the great "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" industry-wide email unsubscribe movement of 2006.
There's just way too much duplicate news out there. We know. We subscribe to every advertising-related newsletter there is drinking in each and every publisher's take on the day's news. We don't do it because we like killer frequency in our daily news consumption strategy. We do it for you, loyal readers, so you don't have to suffer the indignity of having to read 13 versions of the same story from 13 different sources 13 different times each day. There's only so much news any given industry can genetrate and there's only so many different twists to the same story that can be applied.
That's just so not the way to thrust readers into a Slate story about what gifts not to give. Or, maybe it is. After all, doing that to a puppy isn't exactly a nice gift to give now is it? Especially when your kid is watching. Courtesy Gawker.
Writing a chapter (pdf) for Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin's book Pick Me, U.K. creative Brian Millar blames Bill Bernbach's Volkswagen campaign for forty years of advertising sameness. Perhaps that it a bit of a stretch but his piece does contain some good commentary on how insights can lead to great creative. He must have read Phil Dusenberry's Then We Set His Hair on Fire.
After months of rumors and hinting, we've learned AdBumb is being sold and sister sites 92.5 and New Media Reports are being folded. Publisher Pace Media is, on January 6, 2006, launching Adotas, a blog formatted site which will be staffed by writers from the three publications. After spotting an initial design of the site Spunker's Ben Popken writes, "Pace sales guy Ron Cummings the Second told me that if I act now, I can get 400k impressions for only $20,000, a $47,500 value. Furthermore, he said 'Since we are both located in New York let me know what kind of food you like and I can meet you for a lunch meeting.' Ron, my favorite food is green spam and eggs." Ouch. Here's a screenshot if the site has moved.
Following a MediaPost Real Media Riff's column that roasted Ad Age for an editorial cover wrap attached to 1,000 copies of the magazine distributed at ad:tech in early November, Ad Age's Rance Crain, today, offers up a mea culpa and apologizes for what MediaPost deemed a serious ad/edit line crosser. Apparently unbeknownst to the magazine's management, including Crain and Editor Scott Donaton, a last minute deal was struck between someone at Ad Age and a company called SpecificMEDIA to adhere a front page cover wrap that appeared to look like news content and distribute it at ad:tech. Crain writes David Klein, publishing and editorial director of the Ad Age Group, sent an email to the magazine's staff stating, among other things, the publications credibility had been damaged by the wrap. Crain also makes no excuses for misjudgment.
In a nod to an American Business Media "Editorial Integrity: Under Assault?" panel Crain moderated last week, he noted readers have increased protection from "overzealous advertisers" by blogs and other journalists who will call out moves such as this cover wrap debacle. It's encouraging that Ad Age chose to publicly deal with this issues as it could very easily have simply swept it under the rug and moved on. Welcome to the conversation, Ad Age.
Of course, the edit has been fixed now, but some rogue Yahoo edit-bot saw fit to remove Vice President Cheney's first name from a Gawker Media Wonkette post that appeared on Yahoo as part of a recent content deal because Yahoo thought Wonkette was talking about another sort of Dick. We wonder if Yahoo, knowing Gawker Media's propensity to tell it like it is, slapped a filter on the deal so as to circumvent any nasty words finding their way onto its precious pages. Well, just like contextual advertising gone haywire during natural disasters, it appears bots can't handle dick the way humans can.