Future of Advertising Post on JWT Blog

This piece was just published on the JWT Blog.  It is unfair to say Google has pulled creativity out of the busienss because their Art, Copy, Code program and Project Re:Brief are both excellent examples of adding creativity to the industry.  That said, ad words?  Much harder to defend in terms of creativity.


Is This the Future of Online Advertising?

July 18, 2013 • by  

There are three platforms that dominate the time people spend online and their names are no surprise – Google, Facebook and Twitter. They have become the backbone of the digital experience and smart brands go where their audience is – so is this the future of advertising?

Dry. That is the best word to describe the experience users have when they see the ads above. These ads are all structured and template-driven. Yes, there is space for a great headline and brands can do something with their thumbnails, but there are no big full-bleed images, no snippets of killer video, no clever interactive overlays.

The “ads” have this form because all three companies have shifted their focus to content distribution and lightweight publishing.

Unfortunately this means the ad unit is a tiny chunk of content with about as much heart pounding, emotion-inducing impact as a postage stamp.

– See more at: http://www.jwt.com/blog/dotjwt/is-this-the-future-of-online-advertising/#sthash.x7EJMph8.dpuf

Can the web build brands?

This is a great debate that Brian Morrissey has picked up for the last story on the DigiDay Brands email or perhaps I shouid say “anchor position.”

I remember trying to launch Priceline in the UK in 1999 — we bought every banner you could, make great ads and no one knew what Priceline was when we were done.  Now that was 1999, but the same problem happens today.  Jerry Neuman makes an interesting case — direct mail has also chased brand building budgets and even though you can produce a stunning card, it hasn’t succeeded.

Of course to me the question really is moot — as TVs become more connected and video search extends to the living room TV will be more like the web with all of the ad auctions, targeting and remessaging that we see online.

The question is what wil the ads look like then?

As I like to say, when we realized we could do direct mail, we didn’t put a poster in the post.  And when direct mail shifted to email, the formats all changed again. 

So what will become of the 30 second spot when the TVs are all connected?

What If Online Doesn’t Work For Branding?

April 16, 2012 – 8:00 am 

On The EcosystemJerry Neumann is a partner in Neu Venture Capital, a New York City-based seed-stage investor group with investments in 33Across, Metamarkets, PerformLine, The Trade Desk, Optim.al, Media Armor, and Yieldbot among others.

Jokes all start with one of a few stock set-ups. “A man walked into a bar.” But the punchlines are all different. VC pitches are the opposite: the set-ups are all different, but the punchlines are all the same.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “We enable the half of advertising that is not yet online: brand advertising!” Been hearing that one for more than ten years now. It permeates the hopes and dreams of every adtech entrepreneur and investor. And still no one has cracked the code.

My friend Tim Hanlon got together with Tim Chang a few weeks ago on AdExchanger to offer some reasons why this might be. Worth your time, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • No standards or consistent measures of “success” other than outdated or inadequate metrics like CPM and CTR;
  • Limited real-time intelligence;
  • Unsuitable display ad formats; and
  • Lack of creativity in formats.

The prize is huge. As Tim and Tim point out, two-thirds of advertising spending is brand advertising, but online only one quarter is. In fact, if brand advertising dollars moved online in the same proportion that sales advertising has, it would almost exactly close the famous gap between time spent online and ad dollars spent online. The $50 billion gap that Mary Meeker mentions is exactly equal to the missing brand spend.

I understand the urgent desire to figure out online brand advertising. If we did, we’d more than double the online advertising market. Online pubs would rejoice, online marketing pros would have more excuses to go out drinking with prospective clients, my portfolio value would quintuple overnight. Good things all. And I appreciate the optimism that Tim and Tim have, their willingness to keep suggesting solutions. But I think it’s the triumph of hope over experience. Each of the proposed solutions has been tried, and tried and tried. And still we believe that this time it’s different, that this year an online branding play will work. Online video maybe, or Facebook, or Pinterest. Every new company is touted as the one that will make branding work online.

But what if we try all these things, like we’ve tried everything before, and they don’t work? What if we eliminate all the possibilities and what remains is… nothing? I’m going to be branded a heretic for saying this, but what if online just doesn’t work for branding?

How measurement can change advertising…

The big question is this a creative director’s worst nightmare?

Direct Marketing creatives have long been forced to consider results alongside aesthetics and concept in creating ads.  Either people respond or they don’t and it is usually anywhere between 3 days (for email) and 3 weeks (for direct mail) before you find out.

Now this level of measurement is coming to advertising.  Whether it is social media reaction, % of watches versus fast forwards on DVRs, or clicks on tablets, our industry will be measured.  And it will change the creative we produce because we have been hired as professional marketing consultants to get results, not as professional designers to deliver creative.  The more we add science to our craft to match the magic of a great idea, the better we’ll all be.

Does the collective subconscious of 90 people make a better judge than 1 Gerry Moira?

♻ Retweet

Gerry Moira Chairman & Director of Creativity, Euro RSCG says that this is a great ad:

Award Winning Freelander Ad

Award Winning Freelander Ad.

He awarded it best ad of the month in The Anna’s saying “Against a long term car park of ads with shiny metal boxes, this ad employs a confident and differentiated use of illustration…”
But does it sell? We wanted to find out if it was effective in communicating key messages of ‘0% APR Typical*’ and ‘Why get a car when you can get a Land Rover?’
We tested it with 30 appropriate people recruited via in street intercepts to avoid any bias from a self-selecting sample who had opted in to be part of a market research panel. We tracked where their eyes looked and recorded their subconscious emotional reactions using facial coding whilst they looked at an appropriate publication that included the Freelander ad.

The heatmap shows what 30 readers looked at:

Eye Tracking Results From 30 Viewers

Eye Tracking Results From 30 Viewers.

And the final ad that a scientific analysis of “engagement” shows…
Final ad based on measurement

Media Automation – All media will be served

One of my favourite topics is the increasing complexity of media planning and how it is moving towards a search model where it literally is no longer planned in campaigns.  Basically the sophistication of what ad is served where gets so complicated it can only be managed by a computer. 

Automated Media-Buying Platforms Gaining Traction by Mark Walsh, Yesterday, 3:12 PM


As agencies increasingly turn to automated systems to buy media and manage online ad campaigns, more money is flowing to startups that provide that technology. In that vein, digital media-buying platforms MediaMath and Traffiq both announced new venture capital funding Monday.

New York-based MediaMath secured $12.5 million in venture capital and debt financing, with the $10 million venture investment led by Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and including QED Investors and European Founders Fund. The $2.5 million in debt financing came from Silicon Valley Bank.

Started in 2007, MediaMath says it serves billions of ads per month through its platform on behalf of 20 agencies, including the major holding companies.

Online ad marketplace Traffiq, meanwhile, has raised $10 million in a second-round venture financing led by Grotech Ventures and Greenhill SAVP and including prior investor Court Square Ventures. In connection with the investment, Grotech general partner Steve Fredrick and Greenhill managing director Brian Hirsch have joined the New York-based company’s board of directors.

Last month, New York-based Traffiq announced partnering with Havas Digital to automate online media planning and buying in the agency’s New York, Boston and Chicago offices. Both companies’ systems are designed to help streamline the notoriously outdated process for online media planning and buying that includes faxes and paper notes. The startups are also competing with established players such as Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank in pushing to develop state-of-the-art media-buying systems.

Future of Marketing

There were a couple of stories recently that remind me why we all have to understand Search.

Search Marketing is Marketing 2.0 on steroids.  It is not just the auction process or sponsored links or automated bid management, it is all of it and the fact that there are no campaigns but instead ongoing optimisation.  And it is constantly changing as engineers re-work their algorithms to make their search platforms work better and decrease search spam.

When you consider  the new concept of Link Intent and the fact that these marketing platforms will sit under our “TV” video viewing and you understand we all have some work to do.

Get ready madison avenue, soon, very soon, all media will be served!

Everyone recognises the positioning of a headline is critical.  What happens when the pages you’ve created, your bid strategy and the actual behaviour of searchers impacts whether your ad is shown at all?  Welcome to Link Intent.

Authority, temporal factors, anchor text anomalies, document ranking and relevance, excessive reciprocals, TrustRank and harmonic rank, page segmentation and humans all come into play when search engines determine relevance.

Confused?  Check out this article: Understand How Search Engines Consider Link Intent
or if you are  real glutton for punishment:  Detecting Nepotistic Links by Language Model Disagreement


GoogleLogo.jpgMOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google, the online search giant, has formed a partnership with a technology company that will allow marketers buying cable airtime via its television advertising platform to tailor spots for specific audiences.

It has been argued that Google
has exerted a mixed impact on the advertising, marketing and media industries, although the company was forced into a rare retreat earlier this year when it closed its radio and print ad services.

The internet pioneer has now agreed a tie-up with Visible World, which has developed a system enabling brand owners to “target viewers with real-time offers, products, and creative based on geography, programming, inventory levels, time of day, weather, and other business conditions.”

Such a result is achieved by drawing demographic and other information from cable set-top boxes, which can then be used to alter various aspects of communications, such as the script or promotional offers featured, as appropriate.

Among the other facilities the “intelliSpot” software provides is to allow advertisers to withdraw commercials that are found to be under-performing, and replace them with alternative executions.

Google will pay Visible World to use this service, which will be made available through its TV Ads portal, described by the Mountain View-based firm as a “flexible, all-digital system for buying more accountable and measurable TV advertising.”

Mike Steib, director of Google TV Ads, argued “audiences are more and more fragmented. One ad with one message for one audience is not the right thing for everyone.”

Lenovo, the IT company, has previously worked with Visible World to run 50 targeted ads containing bespoke offers and links to a campaign website, allowing the company to track results.

It originally bought the relevant cable inventory using Google TV Ads, and was said to have been one of a number of advertisers which encouraged Google to consider an alliance with Visible World.

CableVision, the cable provider, and DirectTV, the satellite broadcaster, are also both attempting to make inroads into behavioural advertising.

However, Craig Moffet, an analyst with Bernstein Research, recently wrote in a summary to investors that “addressable advertising on cable has been two years away from reality for, oh … about 10 years.”

YouTube, the video-sharing portal owned by Google, is also trialling a new service enabling its content partners to insert ads of their choosing into material they have uploaded to the site.

The FreeWheel ad-serving programme is also used by CBS and Warner Brothers, and effectively means YouTube is part of a broader, third-party ad network for the first time.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff, 29 July 2009

A Quick Review of Doritos iD3 Campaign

There is always a little trepidation when you are asked to review a piece of work — if the work is horrendous like a lot of it is, then you have to figure out how to tear it to shreds without completely pissing off an entire team, agency and client.

Doing a review of the Doritos iD3 campaign was easy — it is great work.  We all know how hard iit is to get really good interesting projects live and complex ones with a lot of moving parts deserve double credit.

I’m sure that on this one AMV BBDO did a little, Initials did a bunch and are getting the credit, and Rehab Studios have probably killed themselves.   In fact I would guess there is a team inside Rehab that have worked every week-end for 3 months and loved every minute of it.  I have the idea because we did the same for SE Bond and that is what it takes, regardless of budget.

Here are some more links about the campaign:
Rehab Studio’s Blog Post
Inside Facebook Comment
Digital Arts Article

My Review on Brand Republic

Promo Review – Doritos iD3 promotion

LONDON – “An amazing piece of work” is the view of joint managing director of iris Digital John Baker as he tests out Doritos’ ‘iD3’ campaign.

Promo Review - Doritos iD3 promotion

Every brand manager knows that media has fragmented, consumers are in control and that big headlines like “Try our new flavour! It is new and improved and extra spicy fresh!” get about as much attention as a double glazing salesman in the tropics.  The challenge is what to do.

Doritos new iD3 campaign is a great example of the Brand as Entertainer strategy.

It is an amazing piece of work and really goes well beyond the multi-level online game.  It has a promotion to drive uptake, a brand teaser campaign to build expectation, on pack code integration to drive trial, sophisticated integration of Facebook Connect to make registration easy and extend communication in social networks, a call out to bloggers that talk up the campaign, integration of retail and prize partners to help cover costs – and that is just looking at the surface!

Clearly the game is central to this promotion and it is clear that Doritos have put some real effort into it.  It uses branched video and 3D rendered game levels to keep people interested.  The puzzles are complex enough that it isn’t just a “skills-based question” promotion requirement, but a real effort to challenge the audience which assuming it is younger and familiar with gaming should work incredibly well.  For people that use Facebook Connect, personal content is brought into the game to make it more relevant, and achieve the techie cool factor.

What remains to be seen is if the campaign is central to the brand advertising that is always the heartland of FMCG launches.  Will the advertising drive people to the game?  Will the winners feature in the advertising? Will mass media be used to offer clues that are critical to success?  This is incredibly hard to achieve but if it happens it would put this campaign in the leagues of RBK’s Whodonit and Microsoft’s Vanishing Point. These campaigns were also fully integrated using DM packs for engaged participants and events to generate even more buzz.

The only challenge for the campaign — which probably has the brand planners hopping in circles — is the connection between the idea of “identity theft” that drives the game and a new lime and curry flavoured crisp which is the product.  The crisps do feature in the movies and the game but it is hard to demonstrate food product features and benefits in games.

All that said, there will be a lot of gamers out there fully entertained and talking up Doritos.  And assuming the crisps taste great, we can be sure they’ll tell their friends and the whole lot of them will all buy lots of Doritos.

Promo score:  8 out 10

Agency: Initials

Cognitive Surplus and Looking for the Mouse — Clay Shirkey

Just came across this speech from Clay Shirkey at the Web2.0Expo last year.  It is a great piece of thinking — entertaining, informative and thought provoking.  Makes you want to get back out on the speech circuit!

The premise is straightforward — we have a “congnitve surplus” since industrial revolution took hold and gave most of us 5 day work weeks and evenings off from farming or hunting and gathering.

At first on industralising and moving everyone to cities, society turned to gin.  It wasn’t until libraries, local government services and parks were established that people left gin behind.

As society was given free time, we turned to sitcoms.  I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island and Desparate Housewives have consumed our free time — to the tune of 200 billion hours a year in the US alone.  Or the equivalent of 2,000 full wikipedia projects.

Today the solution has finally been offered through the internet and the “tools of participation” that allow people to pretend they are elves in World of Warcraft or write about Pluto on Wikipedia or send around LOL Cats.

Society didn’t want to drink gin and gave up drinking themselves into submission.  People today are realising they don’t want to sit passively watching tv in a similar stuppor.  They want a mouse.  So if anyone asks “where do people find the time?”  Simply point at the the TV in the corner and ask how many hours their family has watched in the past month.

We are in for significant changes as this Internet thing takes hold.

Current New Agency Thinking in Advertising

It is funny how you consume media in the internet age. 

Some of us call it “information snacking,”  some call it “managing feeds.”  What is amazing is how we do still end up reading what we want to read and are able to keep up with significant stories or trends — even if they aren’t defined in a few media players editorial calendar as they were before.

I believe this is because the ease of publishing means strong ideas get enough coverage to still have a significant share of voice, regardless of the media fragmentation.

It is also because as humans we tend to build off of each other’s ideas.  A more cynical view would be to say we herd around themes. 

This WARC article does a great summary of the key themes I see frequently.

The changing art of persuasion in a downturn

There were a number of recurring themes throughout the day, but three were most prominent. First, the traditional “persuasion” model of advertising is broken. Second, the industry is becoming data rich but insight poor. Third, the structure and process of creating advertising has changed little since the days of Mad Men (while the customer, in the real world, has moved on dramatically).

Power of Good Production Values

Just watched an interesting presentation on augmented reality which must be the next big thing that we will all get to have lots of fun with in the next few years.  For those of you who don't know it, the poster child is the GE work recently launched.

GE Augmented Reality – Plug In To The Smart Grid Just as Microsoft Surface was the pre-launch of gesture computing the iphone made real, the first baby steps of Cop Space are becoming a reality. In the presentation, the guys from Inition showed an example of a car on a road where the reflection of the dotted lines were reflected on the car itself and speeded up and slowed down with the car, based on the users movement of the paper.  Nice stuff. Made me think of a scifi classic, of course.  In SnowCrash by Neal Stephenson the protagonist, Hiro, visits a very powerful man in the book's virtual reality called the Metaverse.  He is ushered into the office and to Mr. Ng's pleasure, Hiro recognises the statement he is making much like a wealthy collector would hope a visitor notices a Miro casually hanging in the corner.

"You working with Fisheye?" Ng says, lighting up a cigarette. The smoke swirls in the air ostentatiously. It takes as much computing power realistically to model the smoke coming out of Ng's mouth as it does to model the weather system of the entire planet.

Don't forget the impact of great production values.  People recognise and respect quality.  It makes an impression.

Earth Hour – Still Time to Take Part

A friend Robin Grant is working on this campaign with his company with his comapny We Are Social.

Can’t wait to hear how social media impacts this is an on / off-line event. 

Sort of like a high-profile, main-stream, quasi-flash mob.  The effect of doing something, even as minor as turning off your lights, somehow makes it all different.

We’ve already seen a host of e-mails go across the office network.

Great to be able to do a simple post like this one as well.