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Sernovitz Takes Charge At WOMMA

Andy Sernovitz has been named CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and aims to bring organization to the burgeoning word of mouth and viral marketing segments. He describes one facet of the organization as, "a reasonably organized industry effort can stamp out potential problems."

Another association, the Viral & Buzz Marketing Association which focuses on "bottom-up", consumer-driven, peer-to-peer marketing, recently published a manifesto to define viral marketing.

As the viral and word of mouth segments endeavor to define themselves, Sernovitz hopes these efforts will stamp out privacy and disclosure issues so the segment does not experience the fate of email which has been brought to it's knees by spam.

by Steve Hall    Oct-28-04    

Brands: Converse Or Die

Today's teens want to lead, not follow; do whatever they want, whenever they want; actively involve themselves in consumerism and expect to live forever. These and other wants where discussed at the second annual What Teens Want: Marketing to Teens Using Music, Movies and the Media held in Beverly Hills Tuesday. The upshot of the conferences seemed to be that marketers can n o longer "control" teens. While they take an active role in consumerism, they refuse to be talked down to and hered into a single direction. They demand control and are getting it. Teens do not understand a world once controlled by big media telling them what, when, where they will consume content.

In iMediaConnection, Rebecca Weeks tells marketers they must change their ways writing, "effective marketing requires brands to demonstrate authenticity (voice brand opinions and stories and do not stray from it), be bold (make a statement that offers them something new), connect consistently (responses to messages in all media should be consistent or you'll lose their interest and trust), build relationships over time and learn to speak in the teen's own idiom."

While that may not sound revolutionary in theory, it is revolutionary in practice as many marketers are not creating a "consistent connection" with teens by allowing a conversation nor are they providing the two way street to enable that connection. Brands are still guarded and controlled as if above reproach. Apart from providing capability to enable conversation, marketers are fearful of allowing the kind of conversation that might turn negative. In the long run, however, negative commentary is really a positive for a brand because, if heeded, it results in a better product. Teens want to be heard and they won't "do business" with a marketer who won't converse with them.

by Steve Hall    Oct-28-04    

Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie Prance NYC Streets Prepping For SL3

With matching yippie dogs adorned with frilly pink coats, Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie were seen in New York City today filming for their upcoming FOX show The Simple Life 3.

This time around, the pair will be in familiar territory visiting majot East Coast cities to work as interns for both Wall Street firms and as teachers assistants in classrooms. Missing, unfortunately, will be any hint of bovine-Hilton interaction.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

Kahlua Launches $10 Million Television Campaign

Allied Domecq Spirits has launched a new ad campaign for its Kahlua brand aimed at convincing consumers the brown stuff will make the daily grind less ordinary and easier to take. Aside from the fact that any alcoholic beverage will accomplish that, Publicis Worldwide has created a television spot showing everyday women provocatively walking with a leashed alligator; floating on an oversized lily pad; and admiring a pet tiger cub as if Kahlua instantly transforms one to exotic places.

The spot culminates with a woman enjoying an splash of Kahlua.

Ten $10 million television campaign will launch in November on national cable and local network affiliates.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

Apple Extends U2 Relationship With Custom iPod

Following the launch of an Apple iPod commercial featuring U2 and its new single, Vertigo, the Mac maker has launched a special edition iPod with a jet black front, red Click Wheel and the autographs of U2 band members etched onto the back. In natural co-promotion fashion, the iPod comes with a U2 poster and a $50 iTunes Music Store coupon to be used towards the purchase of "The Complete U2."

UPDATE: Great Ashlee Simpson iPod spoof.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

AMC Promotes 'FilmFakers With Microsite

With a Heavy microsite, AMC is promoting its new reality series, FilmFakers, in which unsuspecting aspiring actors are led to believe they've just landed their big break in a horror film only to find out it's completely fake.

The site promotes the series with a behind the scenes look at the creation of the cheesy horror flick. The series premieres Wednesday October 27 at 10PM.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

Website Promotes Do It Yourself Democracy

As if we need another, Do-it-yourself Democracy has just launched a website as a last-ditch effort to get people to vote before the election next week. The tag, "ItÂ’s your voice or theirs." is conveyed through the compelling flash intro and downloadable posters. The site, produced by advertising agency, McKinney (Durham, NC), includes links to help people become more-informed voters, discussion boards for voicing opinions, a link to a vote predictor that shows the current electoral vote count, and posters.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

CMO Position Gaining Ground

A recent study by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers pointed to a disconnect between marketing and corporate management.

While 75 percent of respondents said marketing is far more important today that it was five years ago, while less than half agreed marketing is an issue that keeps CEO's up at night. Seventy percent said their marketing structure is undergoing restructure and the number of Fortune 1000 companies that have a CMO has risen to 47 percent. That lags far behind established positions of CE) (98 percent), CFO (91 percent), CIO (80 percent) and Chief HR Officer (83 percent).

Writing on his weblog, ANA CEO says the CMO is an integral and necessary position for companies to successfully navigate the increasingly confusing marketing waters.

by Steve Hall    Oct-27-04    

Ponderance And Procrastination Hinders Agency Weblog Adoption

As we've mentioned before, ad agencies can get a lot of mileage out of publishing a weblog. In this New York Times article, Nate Ives takes a look at the ad agency weblog landscape and queries insiders on the benefits agencies can gain from producing a weblog.

Most importantly, weblogs grant agencies a streaming voice to the advertising community providing prospects a better grasp on both the tangibles and the intangibles of an agency and its culture. While flashy and creative, current agency websites are woefully inept at providing any sense of insight for the prospect. Agencies are always blathering on about thought leadership and expert opinion yet are loathe to share that with the industry for fear of leaking their "proprietary process." Deutsch COO offered perfect commentary on why, unfortunately, many agencies will never publish a weblog. "Blogs are in fashion, and it is easy to hop on the bandwagon and say that every company should have one. The questions any smart marketer should be asking are, 'Does this provide a platform to connect with their most relevant audiences and how will this address business objectives?' " "That's not to say we would never enter blogland," she continued, "but there is a fine line between being timely, topical and keeping current while making sure that we are doing what's best for our business long term."

We'll excuse her for using the term "blogland" and for sounding like a press release by suggesting Nike's "Just Do It" tagline is a perfect response to that mouthful. Don't sit back and pontificate and perpetuate analysis paralysis. Put your voice into the marketplace now and win new business by doing so. New business presentations are extremely costly and have a low ratio of success. An agency published weblog is analogous to gathering new business prospects in a room everyday to impart agency knowledge that will help that prospect gain trust, insight and confidence in an agency. While it's unlikely an agency will ever win a piece of business directly from a blog post but it moves the client/prospect relationship to much firmer ground when the opportunity to stand in front of that prospect presents itself.

by Steve Hall    Oct-26-04    

Stern and Powell Have On-Air BitchFight

On Tuesday morning, Howard Stern called in to San Francisco's KGO AM 810 while FCC Chairman Michael Powell was being interviewed and engaged in a bit of verbal warfare.

Stern told Powell he is ruining free speech and that the only reason he has the job is because of his famous father, Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell disagreed stating he was appointed during the Clinton administration when his father did not hold his current position. The two continued their exchange for ten minutes.

by Steve Hall    Oct-26-04    

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