Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Adverganza in the US came up with an interesting point yesterday. Why don't we sell ourselves as an industry more?

The ONS had to point out the disproportionate contribution us advertising and marketing bods made to the UK economy. We, as an industry, lead the world in terms of adapting to the changing face of media and advertising.

At the same time, our government seems to lead the world in making up new things were not allowed to advertise and new times that we're not allowed to do it in. Advertising pays for people (and children) to experience culture and information that they would have to otherwise pay for. At it's best it is a force for equality and change - letting people know about things which they would otherwise be unaware.

We always have special things to point to, but I think there are a couple we should be proud of:
Organic food - scientific crap but still a source of greenery unequalled so far
Ending animal testing - protesters get so far but once the body shop got going everyone else followed
Jamie's School Dinners - a TV ad campaign \ PR stunt ended up making the government change policy
Drink Driving - another case for advertising proving able to change people's opinions
M&S - advertising gave people a reason to revisit the shop, saving a british institution

Obviously we're not perfect at all points, but we have shown that we can act responsibly - the ASA is a good case study. In the end we are all rational actors and have huge amounts at stake to ensure that our brands and our agencies have long term futures. We are not about to put all that at risk for the sake of short term gain.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the fruits of imagination: Online research under fire

This article tells us about how internet research is not to be trusted.

The methodologies involved in all forms of marketing research always make me a little bit worried - there's very little hard measurement.

You might run back to the client with a graph showing a 20% uplift in purchase propensity. This sometimes can mean that after seeing your ad three more people out of twenty ticked the 'very likely to' box rather than the 'quite likely to'.

What does that actually mean?!

Marketing research numbers have always been more than slightly dodgy and a similar problem exists throughout the research community - we will only ever get a certain type of person to respond to the research. We need to be careful that we don't end up tailoring all our ad output to the tiny part of the population who will respond to the questionnaire.

What could be interesting is if focus groups also picked up cookie ids from DART \ Atlas. This might then allow us to do focus groups with the knowledge of what ads they've been exposed to on the internet.

Not sure how easy it would be to get hold of this data, but it would definitely be interesting.

Overall I think the way people see a brand shouldn't be reduced to numbers that can be compared with other brands. Brand recall and unprompted awareness are silly metrics to be using.

I think the way people see different companies and brands varies depending on the kind of relationship. For example, Zara and BP are completely different and the idea that any metric could be shared between them is a little bit hopeful.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Street

Just an amusing photo I found showing my street on Sunday. The beautifully placed stain is nothing to do with me!
Parkhurst road isn't too bad at all once you see past the prison at the end of the road. There are a couple of decent pubs in the area and it's not too far from anywhere. It's relatively rare that there is any dried vomit at all. To be fair, I think I saw more dried vomit in Cambridge than I ever have since. We'll see what Bethnal Green is like later on in the year!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jellyfish Magazine R.I.P.

Really gutted that Jellyfish has been stopped. Although I can't remotely blame the people making the decision for deciding that the investment had grown too risky, I do feel that this is an idea that will work.

The difficulties involved in trying to make this sort of site work were eventually insurmountable. We'll all be looking on with eager eyes at what Monkey Magazine report on their ABCe number this month - the 'word on the street' is that the site is going to have seen a significant drop.

As is always the case with websites, they don't spread easily - I feel that if we'd put this website in front of enough people, it would have taken off like wildfire. It's the first project I've been involved in that hasn't been a success and although I feel I made a positive contribution overall, I suspect it will always be a frustrating experience. I think I put a lot into this project, a good weekend or two of my time was poured into this project.

One day I think I'd like to give the publishing \ media owner side a go. Although they continually take pretty large risks, there is a heady atmosphere involved in working for these organisations. The sheer amount of belief and determination of the staff on Jellyfish will stay with me for a long term.

I hope I get the chance to be involved in another project like this - I only got involved at the halfway point. I think we could have been slightly more useful from the beginning.

For those that read it, I hope it will be remembered fondly. For those that didn't, I hope you feel that you missed out.

Myspace is getting desparate

Logged onto Myspace for the first time in a while just now and saw this interstitial. Hope it's going to go OK - Courtney's just about to leave to see what she can do for these guys. I think they're starting to realise they need to up their game slightly.
I'm surprised that Myspace still don't seem to have taken the time to make customising people's profiles easier. You'd have thought that this could be a winner over facebook, if the customisation was straightforward (and nice looking!).
We'll see how they manage. July's numbers should be out soon and I suspect we'll see facebook really starting to eat into them in the UK.

Stuck for an Idea?

Cunning little viral from the states.

Just a spinning idea wheel, but I think it's been well put together. Definitely going to give this a play next time I have to make up a strategy!

(Found through Agencyspy)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Google subsidises MySpace

As part of being a company that's listed on the stock exchange, Google has to report to its investors on the potential risks to the company. In their most recent filing, they provide the usual detail on the financial risks involved in running their search engines.
Obviously there are potential problems around killer competitors emerging or people turning completely away from Google branding. The most interesting paragraph, surprisingly, is the following:
Payments to certain of our Google Network members have exceeded the related fees we receive from our advertisers.

We are obligated under certain agreements to make non-cancelable guaranteed minimum revenue share payments to Google Network members based on their achieving defined performance terms, such as number of search queries or advertisements displayed. In these agreements, we promise to make these minimum payments to the Google Network member for a pre-negotiated period of time. At June 30, 2007, our aggregate outstanding non-cancelable guaranteed minimum revenue share commitments totaled $1.66 billion through 2011 compared to $1.17 billion at December 31, 2006. It is difficult to forecast with certainty the fees that we will earn under agreements with guarantees, and sometimes the fees we earn fall short of the guaranteed minimum payment amounts.
In August last year, Google were celebrating a deal with MySpace that provided $900m worth of advertising to them. They've also signed major deals with eBay, AOL and some other large sites globally.

In their enthusiasm for getting these exclusive deals, it does look like they've overpaid. It definitely implies that they were working to some assumptions that must have been extremely wrong. Signing deals for over $1 billion that don't make you money looks a little silly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Brain as a sex organ

Interesting theory that the brain evolved as a sex organ. Although the methodology in the experiment doesn't look very robust, it does come up with some good results.

I like the fact that women aren't willing to risk anything to be heroic and I particularly like the way charity is portrayed.

I'll have to get working on a bit more conspicuous spending...