HBO Do Not Mess With Your Success!

Do not even consider making Sopranos "more available". Keep it limited. Keep us always wanting more. Be smart. Look what happened to Who Want to be a Millionaire when they moved from an irregular run to a 3-4 times a week run.

I'm glad someone there is thinking straight:

Cable Conquered, What's Next for 'The Sopranos'?

"Maybe you just leave well enough alone," he said. "Enjoy the reception," he added, while sharing the sentiments of Carmela Soprano in the first episode this season: "Everything comes to an end."


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02    

Could This Possibly Be? Good News?

I sure hope so. And the fact that the increased spending will be allocated more towards direct and online is good too. OK, let the brand versus direct arguments begin!

Marketing Budgets To Grow Next Year

With the increased spending will come a change in the kinds of advertising the companies do, with a stronger emphasis on direct marketing and online marketing. When asked what kinds of marketing programs they will enact next year, 67% of the respondents said direct mail and 61% said e-marketing. "We're moving away from broad-based programs in favor of campaigns that target a more focused set of potential customers," 57% of the survey participants say. Only 11% say they will focus on broad based awareness programs.


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02    

Very Sleazy Product Placement Strategies

In today's Real Media Riffs by John Gaffney, he relays yet another incredibly sleazy attempt by marketers to trick viewers with this advertorial strategy. In my opinion, it is the pop up of television. The lowest possible form of marketing communication. It's one ting to have celebrity endorsement. It is entirely another thing to have it done under the guise of editorial/news. Yes, we are going to have all sorts of new forms of advertising because the consumer will have more and more power to skip/tune out "scheduled" 30 second spots via Tivo or whatever other technology is on the horizon.

As marketers, we will have to quickly adapt to this increasing shift in power between the marketer and the consumer. But please, let's not go down this horrible road of marketing trickery just because we can. Have some scruples! Does anyone know what that word means anymore?

Monday, October 7, 2002 Not Effexive: This celebrity-disguised-as-pharmaceutical-endorser trend has gone off the hook. First, Lauren Bacall hawks arthritis drugs on the Today show. Rob Lowe�s on the box for some other drug on CNN. And I saw this tactic take its ugliest turn on Friday night. First of all, let me say I am not a fan of Access Hollywood, ET or Extra. I thought after Sept. 11 viewers would re-evaluate the trivial nature of their content. They didn�t. Anyway, in an unguarded moment Friday, I�m watching Extra with the wife, and on comes an interview with Delta Burke and husband Gerald MacRaney. What has Delta been doing lately? Turns out she�s been depressed. Real stuff. Hiding under the bed depressed. Depression is no joke and I don�t mean to make light of it. But what happened next was laughable. A weeping Delta, we find out, is the chairperson of Go On And Live (GOAL). GOAL just happens to be sponsored by Wyeth who makes Effexor. Effexor (cut to logo on screen shot) was the anti-depressant that �with therapy� helped Delta get well. Cut to a weepy Delta Burke urging viewers to get help if they�re depressed. �Go live your life,� she says. This is the kind of surreptitious garbage that will degrade the integrity of TV content in the mainstream American consciousness. Yes, I know Extra ain�t exactly 60 Minutes, but I�ll bet a few million people think it�s a lot more relevant to their lives If you�re going to interview Delta Burke, interview her because she�s making some kind of creative endeavor, not because Wyeth thinks it�s a great idea. Someday, just maybe, the American consumer will see through these tactics. In the right hands, sponsor integration can be entertaining. In the wrong hands, it�s going to anger the consumer.


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02    

Blocking Spam

Placing the power of controlling spam into the users hand is the heart of this Clickz article by Paul Soltoff. He supports placing complete control of spam into the users hands. While this approach individualizes what is and isn't spam, I think it requires a lot of work on the part of the user. Even if you create a giant list of what you determine to be spam, there will still be more.

Rick Bruner wrote about a company called Cloudmark the other day. Cloudmarks' approach creates a database of spam based upon users of Cloudmark. If a user deems something spam, it is entered into the "spamnet" database and determined to be spam for all. But, there is a drawback. One man's spam is another man's great deal on a mortgage.

There is no perfect solution yet but at least now, there are choices.

Email Power to the People, Part 1

The solution I propose puts the power to block/filter email into the hands of consumers. Right now, that power lies with Webmasters, IT managers, spam cops, ISPs, and so forth, each of whom -- albeit with the best of intentions -- has developed independent sets of arbitrary rules on what constitutes spam. That sounds like well-intentioned censorship to me. Think of it this way: I may want to receive home mortgage email offers by the truckload because I happen to be in the market for a mortgage. You may not. Whether the offer screams "free" or "hot" or "click now" is irrelevant.


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02    

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The Pop Up of Today's Business Meetings

So now we are just getting used to cell phones ringing in church and at the start of symphonies. But what about that wonderful little device called Blackberry? It's a great tool. Stay in touch with your corporate email no matter where you are.

As reported in this article, you have one third of every person in every meeting not paying attention to the speaker but hunched over thumbing their blackberry. It's like a pop up slapped in the face of the person running the meeting. We've just lost all form of manners these days. Is connectivity really THAT important? I think it has more to do with SELF importance. The world is not going to end if you can't check your email during a 45 minute meeting. You are really not that important.

Does this have anything to do with advertising? Not really. It just bothers me.

The BlackBerry, a popular wireless e-mail device, is boosting efficiency - and creating a big distraction

Attend almost any business meeting these days, many executives gripe, and at least one-third of the people are staring into their laps, reading the screens of their BlackBerries, and zapping out responses with their thumbs on the tiny keyboard.


by Steve Hall    Oct- 7-02