Friday, 2 January 2009

Ad Bye

“…Consumers weren’t trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody. So it just seems a bit arrogant. … We hijack their own conversations, their own thoughts and feelings, and try to monetize it.” – Ted McConnell, General Manager-Interactive Marketing and Innovation at Procter & Gamble Co.

Color me surprised that conventional wisdom suggested anything differently.

The services we’re currently using to talk to each other are one small moment from Bell’s experiments with the liquid transmitter.

Its as if when Bell declared, “Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you”, Watson was initially preceded by someone wearing fake mustache and promoting Doc Johnson’s Olde Tyme Elixir.

Just a wacky idea to start with.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Notes from Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 Talk at Macalester

Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 presentation on Monday night felt like the opposite of the Blind Men and the Elephant. He’s just one of the many people from different angles, proclaiming that Advertising is dying and it’ll kill media as we know it.

“That horrible crashing sound you hear is a gravy train derailing.” – Jeff Jarvis

While Garfield gave a number of statistics; P&G and GM dramatically cutting back TV ad buys, etc, my favorite example is:

“[Six Flags] wanted to give away 45,000 tickets for opening day to drive traffic. So we got a brief to do whatever: ads, microsite, whatever. But our interactive creative director just went off and posted it on Craigslist. Five hours later, 45,000 tickets were spoken for” – Jan Leth, Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy Interactive N. America, per Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0

This elicits a number of interesting questions:

  • How does Ogilvy bill for it?
  • Will Six Flags return to Ogilvy the next time around, or just do it themselves?
  • Is this solution more or less measurable than a new website, ad, etc?

The thing is, I doubt direct marketers are having this conversation. Remember, Amazon determined their customers find more value in really cheap shipping than in really expensive TV spots.

Bob Garfield’s 4 Reasons Advertising is Dead:

  1. People don’t like ads.
  2. People crave information.

    We are seeking out commercial information all the time…” – Dave Winer

    “Brands are a proxy for information…” – Chris Anderson

    “… the will be usurped when ‘real’ information is available at a mouseclick – Bob Garfield”

  3. People consumers are in control.
    People choose when and how they engage with advertising.
  4. Diversion of ad budgets

From the Q&A

“Radio broadcasters need to stop thinking of themselves as radio broadcasters and start thinking of themselves as cultural hubs for their communities. Otherwise, they are doomed to a slow but certain death” – Bob Garfield

When asked about the future of in-depth, reflective journalism when advertising ends, Bob joked:

“I have no skills, that’s why I’m in journalism to begin with…I’m hoping for the best, but I’m expecting to starve”

I’m more optimistic than Bob. I predict the removal of advertising will encourage depth and reflectiveness. There will be less pressure to publish for the sake of page views, stories will evolve and grow especially with a more active readership participating.

Lastly, I take issue with the large number of times Garfield used the word ‘consumer’. If mass-marketing in mass-media to a mass-audience is replaced by conversational marketing to small groups and individuals – then there are no consumers. Just people.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Podcast is the Ad

This is the most straight-forward, up-front reason why independent podcasters have had a difficult time becoming ad-supported.

“Most periodical publications, whether they are print, audio or television, are essentially ad delivery mechanisms. Because of this, big media publishers don’t start by coming up with ideas for new magazines, radio or television shows – they start by identifying attractive groups of advertisers that need a way to connect with audiences.”

Emphasis mine.

Last year I pitched a podcast project that was all about making money and being ad-supported. While the project’s on hold for a bit, I started with talking with the people whose support I wanted.

Well, actually it was Step 2.

Step 1? A conversation about innovative ad modules within a podcast.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Say When

When was the last time you – yes, you, specifically – thought, “I sure would enjoy [insert favorite publication] more if they inserted more advertisements.”

Thought so.

A friendly reminder that readers, viewers, fans, etc aren’t the people pushing and demanding advertisements.

“‘Deal with it’ doesn’t mean ‘Make better advertising’ or ‘Target your advertising more effectively’ or ‘Turn your users into marketers’ (which is Facebook’s latest idea). All that is just just more grasp.” – Doc Searls


“He knowingly took multiple ads for a movie that he he hasnt seen, but believes to be vile. What does that say about Mr OReilly?” – Mark Cuban

For Cuban to know O’Reilly dislikes the movie, O’Reilly would have had to mention it (not an ad?), Cuban buys some ad time to see how much (relevance?). Think O’Reilly’s fans would miss this conversation if it went away completely?

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Podcast Advertising Not Working for Me

1. The (second) battery in my 3G iPod is dying and I want to buy a replacement. A while back, an iPod battery replacement company was running ads at Dave Slusher’s Evil Genius Chronicles. But that’s all I remember.

At the time the ads were running, I didn’t need an iPod battery. Now I do and can’t find the name of the vendor by searching Dave’s site. Am I going to arbitrarily re-listen to the archive of clambakes just for that one bit of info? No, I’ll probaby buy from whoever’s selling them on Amazon.

Extend this to dynamic-insertion technologies (not that Dave uses them) and even if I found the epsisode, and re-listened, the same ad may or may not be there. Unhelpful.

2. Limelight Networks has been a long-time supporter of ITConversations (or whatever they call themselves today). Yesterday, I received an unqualified, unwanted, and frankly spam message from Khoi Nguyen, Limelight’s Biz Dev Manager, it included phrases like:

“My main objective is to gain a better understanding of how you are currently delivering your content out to your end-users while discovering a solution that will help to improve delivery while reducing your cost.”

“So your users are happy and they will marvel at the speed of your media. Your videos will start in ‘real time’ so it is truly a media grade experience.”

I’m not the right person for this message, and if I was, I don’t want to be talked to like that. In fact, after reading Nugeyn’s message, if I have bandwidth issues, I’m more likely to call up Swarmcast than Limelight.

Dave says it’s iPodJuice and the last clambake they sponsored was Mar 6, 2006 – 17 months ago.

There’s a interesting marketing strategy conversation in there. Feel free to explore it in the comments. Thanks.

Just placed the order for the new battery from ipodjuice.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The Need for Nichér Yellow Pages

Inspired by a pre-MinneBar conversation, I’ve been thinking more about websites and advertising.

Back when I was a kid on family trips – whether to the grandparents or elsewhere – one of the first things I would do at our destination is pull out the Yellow Pages.

After comparing its size against the thin leaflet back home, I’d page through and find the nearest bike, record, or skate shops. In hopes of having one cross our path in our forthcoming travels. Some of the places I found would just have a listing, others purchased a larger presence.

Google is the new Yellow Pages. Has been for a while. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best Yellow Pages – just that it’s good enough for most everything.

This is where a domain-specific directory (aka “vertical search”) comes in. Something so small, so niche, that it completely misses Goo’s radar.

Say, a directory of places that serve Juicy Lucy’s.

Now three questions:

  1. Can use of this directory be tied to more hamburger sales?
  2. How does the directory publisher get compensated to maintain the directory?
  3. What isn’t an ad in this directory?

Friday, 13 April 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007 1:33:51 PM

I re-listened to the proceedings from February’s Public Media conference yesterday. The first time around I missed the ‘origins of objectivity’ bit (not taking a positioning makes it easier to attract the widest range of advertisers). Seems consistent both in light of this week’s Imus drama and in why the difficulty in advertising on blogs.

“Imus’ customers (also called advertisers) are no longer willing to pay to hear him say what he did and the customers for Rap music are willing to pay to hear it.” – Phil Windley

Makes me think Imus’ employers looking for a reason to can him.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

This Song is a Commerical

“This Song is a Commercial” by Wonderlick

“The future is ad-supported music. Not that the idea is new idea but it is reality.” – NVTS, Evolving Trends

The future is music as ad and the future is already here. Recorded music is an ad for the live performance (always has been). Recorded music is an ad for a musicians expertise – a marketing tool to get ever more interesting projects, gigs, whatchamacallits. Same as blogging and podcasting and book writing.

Aside from that, if advertisers aren’t excited about supporting podcasts and video blogs, I can’t see them excited about supporting individual tracks.

Elsewhere: 23 April 2007

“The trick to making money in these spaces isn’t to saddle the content with some annoyance no one wants — but to make it more valuable in a way that people are willing to pay.” – Mike, Techdirt

Friday, 23 March 2007

Rocketboom’s Andrew Baron: Advertising Doesn’t Work

“The point I was making is that we are not happy with advertising right now.” – Andrew Baron

If anyone was going to figure advertising-on-serial-media out, I was sure Andrew would. Not that I think it makes sense or is even a good idea.

From my post on the Ze Frank / RocketBoom geek fight last October:

“…there are many other ways to make a living than advertising. Sure, none of them are fashionable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”

That said, I think the RocketBoom team has already figured out how to make money with their daily video blog. The same way I make money from this blog and the First Crack Podcast:

“…the video blog has become kind of a loss leader and a promotional device for the real money.” – Frank Barnako

Now, I’m not doing work for Nokia or John Edwards, but, on a blog, the author is the advertisement still stands. 😉


“What I do know is [Earthlink] had a lot of opportunity to inform me, and by going with that vague and horrible spot they did, they pissed away their money on warm fuzzies instead of telling me something I could act on.” – Dave Slusher

Maybe that’s the real reason advertisers aren’t excited about podcasting.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Ad Standards for Newspapers?

“Several wondered if the ad met the Star Tribune’s standards for acceptable advertising or if it was a mistake.” – Kate Parry, Star Tribune’s ombudsman

Here’s our panel’s reaction to the issue:

  • Snarky Garrick: “Until readers directly provide the Strib with enough revenue that advertising isn’t needed, their complaints should go in the recycling bin with the paper itself.”
  • Intrigued Garrick: “I doubt either answer will satisfy those that asked.”
  • Media Mogul Garrick: “Send me the names and contact info of the people with complaints, I have a few other brands I’d like to expose them to.”


“What confuses people is that ABC News logo screaming “official journalism!” – Chuck Olsen

Nope. Didn’t confuse me.

Of all the parties involved, the only person I might sometimes expect hard-question-asking “official journalism” from is…not Amanda Congdon, not ABC News, and not DuPont…but Chuck Olsen himself.

Advertising on the other hand is a completely different topic. I expect it from everyone I’ve listed above and I prefer Chuck’s.