January, 2007

January 31, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Wii News Channel Offers AP Stories and Photos

Need a time-out from your Nintendo Wii and hours of Madden NFL ’07? Catch up on current events through the Wii News Channel. According to this story, the news channel was created through a partnership between Nintendo and the Associated Press.

January 30, 2007 | Ron Lee: The Year of Unconventional Outreach

How can marketers reach reluctant consumers in this time of media clutter and marketing noise? They should give up their traditional notions of “command and control” and go with uncontrolled “Unconventional Outreach,” according to The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) President/CEO Bob Liodice.

January 30, 2007 | Greg Ness: Don’t Let High Involvement Products Be Hamstrung By A Not-Ready-For-Primetime Website

imageThe Web is becoming the prime brand touchpoint for most high involvement products, and an inferior website can seriously cripple your chance for success (or your dealers’/distributors’ chances) right out of the gate.

If your company sells high involvement products or services, you will need a capable, differentiating website that helps customers or prospects make big purchasing decisions in your favor. Recent research by Yahoo and OMD shows the product purchase behavior for high involvement products often exhibits a pattern called the long and winding path. This path represents consumers hungry for information, and when buyers are in this mode, marketers stand the best chance to convert prospects to purchasers. The research goes on to point out the Web is the ideal place to intersect with people on this long and winding path.

January 28, 2007 | Greg Ness: Food and Fuel: A Growing Interdependence

imageAccording to a recent UPI-Zogby poll, over two-thirds of adults in the U.S. say they are paying too much for gas. This is surprising considering the poll was taken a few weeks ago when gas prices were relatively low. It also seems astonishing in light of what others pay for gas around the world (see CNN story on global gas prices).

January 27, 2007 | Greg Ness: One Billion Phones

imageWhile Apple’s recent announcement of the iPhone has dominated the mobile market headlines lately, there is more significant news: one billion mobile phones were shipped in 2006. Anyone wondering about advertising’s future, simply has to put two and two together.

January 26, 2007 | Greg Ness: Automakers Taking A New Road To Success

imageCar manufacturers are slashing their print budgets and opting instead for more online marketing and advertising. A recent Advertising Age story reports that Detroit automakers recently pulled $100 million in advertising from Time Inc., and that is one of the main reasons for a recent layoff announcement at that company.

January 26, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Conquering Video Search: The Race is On

It’s easy to build a case that video will continue to transform the online world, but a significant obstacle remains: an effective, comprehensive video search engine. Today’s Washington Post details the various efforts to champion this rich but technically-challenging opportunity.

January 25, 2007 | Greg Ness: The Bad News: The Online TV Audience Is Still Relatively Small. The Good News…

image...the good news is they are young, rich, educated, and ready to spend money. Whoa! If you’re a marketer, that isn’t a bad place to start. There is more here from Nielsen Media Research including:

• People who watch TV shows online tend to have Web access 24/7…work, home, vacation, commuting (via mobile connections);
• Many in this group are online over 20 hours per week;
• Over 17% of broadband TV viewers have annual household incomes of $100,000 or more.

January 25, 2007 | Greg Ness: New AT&T White Paper: How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot

imageAt the risk of belaboring a point I made Monday (The Death of A Brand), why does AT&T want to eliminate their Cingular brand when you see news like this that points to the following facts:
1) Cingular is the nation’s largest wireless carrier;
2) They picked up 2.4 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2006 (up 33% over last year);
3) Cingular appears to be kicking Sprint’s and Verizon’s butt in the process.

January 24, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Newspaper Blogs Generate Traffic

If your local newspaper editors and reporters aren’t blogging yet, a new report suggests they should begin soon. Newspaper blogs are rapidly building a following among the top 10 online newspapers, according to a Nielsen//NetRatings press release.

January 23, 2007 | Greg Ness: It’s All Uphill From Here

Yesterday you presumably survived Blue Monday, mathematically the most depressing day of the year. At least that’s what Dr. Cliff Arnall at the University of Cardiff in Wales purports in this story at MSNBC. According to Arnall’s formula — and it is precisely that — yesterday was the day when post-holiday debt, disagreeable winter weather, and broken New Year’s resolutions all culminated in a nadir for the human spirit. But if yesterday was the low point, that should mean it’s all uphill from this point on.

January 22, 2007 | Ron Lee: Wanted: Growth Champion

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) President/CEO Bob Liodice predicts that the stature of Chief Marketing Officers will rise to be that of true C-suite players, so much so that they will now become known as “growth champions.” So what’s in a name?

January 22, 2007 | Greg Ness: Cingular: The Death Of A Brand

imageOver the next several months, AT&T is killing off its Cingular Wireless brand (NYT story here), eventually transforming it to simply “Wireless by AT&T.” Come on? Who on the executive team is highly compensated for making decisions like this? If anything it seems like it should be the other way around: Cingular replacing AT&T.

January 19, 2007 | Greg Ness: Color Of The Year: Chili Pepper Red

imageIt’s official: the 2007 Pantone color of the year is Chili Pepper Red. Here’s a description from the link:

“This engaging, resonant hue strikes a high note for fashion and personal expression as its boldness is appealingly eye-catching, sophisticated and enticing. In a time when personality is reflected in everything from a cell phone to a Web page on a social networking site, Chili Pepper connotes an outgoing, confident, design-savvy attitude. Whether expressing danger, celebration, love or passion, red will not be ignored…In 2007, there is an awareness of the melding of diverse cultural influences, and Chili Pepper is a reflection of exotic tastes both on the tongue and to the eye. Nothing reflects the spirit of adventure more than the color red.”

January 18, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Targets Older Searchers

A Pew Internet & American Life memo from last year predicted a “Silver Tsunami” in the next decade as aging Baby Boomers create a new wave of older Internet users., which launched last week, aims to become their primary search tool.

January 18, 2007 | Greg Ness: Apple To The 9th Power

imageThe fourth quarter of 2006 was good to Apple: $7 billion in sales, $1 billion in profits. That should give them something to iPhone home about. One thing that has always seemed amazing about Apple, even before iTunes and iPod, has been their ability to draw attention to the company in spite of only having about a five percent share of the computer market. Never underestimate the power of a cult brand, product innovation, an excellent pitchman in Steve Jobs, and great advertising.

And speaking of advertising, as we approach Super Bowl XLI, there’s a rumor there could be an ad in the game announcing that Apple Inc. and Apple Corporation (as in the Beatles) are getting together to make some music history and further solidify iTunes dominance. Apple has a great track record with Super Bowl announcements. The famous Apple 1984 TV ad has often been touted as the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time, and it is considered by others as the best TV commercial ever. Period.

January 17, 2007 | Greg Ness: If You’ve Had To Buy Books At A College Bookstore, You May Cheer When You Read This

From a consumer viewpoint, the Internet has a remarkable track record for changing the status quo regarding monopolies, oligopolies or business categories where there is a strong middleman component that adds to the final price of goods. There’s even a big word for it: disintermediation. According to this story at Business Week, disintermediation may be coming to a college bookstore near you.

January 16, 2007 | Ron Lee: So Long, Blank Spaces

How do you reach time-strapped customers? As reported in the Jan. 15 New York Times “Media and Advertising” section, marketers are finding ways to hit consumers at any and every turn, including ads stamped on eggs, placed on subway turnstiles, printed on the sides of take-out boxes, displayed in the trays used at airport security lines – heck, even slapped on the sides of motion sickness bags. And we’re just getting started.

January 16, 2007 | Mark Sjurseth: We’ve Got Jobs

A recent article puts the Midwest on the map with several of the top 15 hot spots for job seekers. The ranking is primarily based on lowest unemployment rates, but they have also included mean annual wage as well as the most prevalent local industries and occupations.

January 15, 2007 | Greg Ness: Want A Dream Trip To The Super Bowl, The Final Four, Masters, or Indy 500?

If an all-inclusive trip to a major sporting event is your fantasy, Esoteric Sports has your ticket. Combining the ulitimate in packaging, targeting and free enterprise, Esoteric Sports puts together trips for people who want to go to the big show…whatever the sport. I should also add whatever the price. As if visits to online sites such as StubHub or Ticket Liquidator haven’t convinced us, there is no such thing as “sold out” in America. Everything has its price.

January 13, 2007 | Ron Lee: Fill it up with gas and tunes!

If you’re tired of grimacing as you watch the gas pump ticker go turbo while you’re fueling up your car,  there’s hope. You could be whistling instead while you fill up your tank and top off your mobile playlist. This is all thanks to an Internet-ready WiFi capable gas pump, complete with downloadable tunes. Say it ain’t so!

January 12, 2007 | Dean Froslie: Specialization Fades for Journalists and Public Relations Professionals

The reorganization at Gannett newspapers – where newsgathering efforts are becoming more audience-centric and delivered through the most appropriate medium – means current and future journalists must become less specialized, think visually more often, and increase their comfort with technology. Steve Outing, writing for Editor & Publisher (via Shel Holtz), even suggests that small newspapers should avoid hiring print-focused employees.

January 12, 2007 | Greg Ness: Outdoor Advertising Is On The Move: Literally

While some traditional media such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines have struggled for growth over the last several years, one age-old icon of the American advertising industry is seeing healthy increases: outdoor advertising. According to a recent Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) press release, outdoor advertising growth in 2006 should finish out the year up over 8 percent. That represents second place in advertising revenue increases for all categories and is exceeded only by the surge in Internet advertising.

Part of the healthy expansion of outdoor advertising is due to technology that has resulted in a big growth in digital billboards. These billboards electronically change the message every six or eight seconds. As stated by a New York Times article yesterday, digital billboards are expected to grow from 400 today to over 4000 by 2010.

January 11, 2007 | Dean Froslie: SEC Chairman Again Shows Social Media Awareness

The leader of the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to show thoughtful leadership in the areas of online communications, social media and Regulation FD. Speaking at a regulation summit in Washington, D.C., Christopher Cox said he reviews blogs to measure public opinion on various securities issues.

January 09, 2007 | Greg Ness: Congratulations. AdAge Just Named You Agency of The Year.

imageFollowing in the footsteps of Time magazine naming “You” person of the year, Advertising Age magazine has named “You,” the consumer, as agency of the year. From consumers putting video clips of Mentos and Diet Coke fountains online, to an amateur-produced commercial that will appear in this year’s SuperBowl (vote here), consumers are participating in a realm that, until recently, was ruled mostly by advertising agencies.

January 05, 2007 | Dean Froslie: News Coverage Index to Monitor U.S. Media Trends

It’s encouraging to watch traditional research organizations adapt to the changing media landscape. An online news coverage index will be launched next week as part of a new initiative to continually monitor and analyze American media. The Project for Excellence in Journalism says nearly 50 media outlets will be captured, analyzed and coded to capture coverage trends and differences among media types.

January 05, 2007 | Greg Ness: Buy On The Rumor; Sell On The News

Stories abounded in 2006 about the problems new media was causing old media. Apparently, investors didn’t get or care about the message, because last year was a great year for old media stocks (see Hollywood Reporter story). Disney was up 44%...Charter Communications up 148%...DirecTV Group up 76%...Comcast up 65%...News Corp up 35%...Time Warner up 26%. Many companies representing new media saw a loss or modest gains. Yahoo was down 35%...Google up 11%...Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio both down 47%.

However, before you start adjusting your portfolio, I would remind you of the old investing proverb: “Buy on the rumor; sell on the news.”

January 04, 2007 | Ron Lee: Avis Tries Harder with Wireless in Rental Cars

Ready to surf the internet from your car? A wireless, “connected car” is closer than you think. As reported in the New York Times, Avis Rent A Car System and Autonet will soon offer business travelers a “rolling WiFi” hotspot that delivers to its cars high-speed Internet connections for only $10.95/day.

January 03, 2007 | Greg Ness: Apple’s Overwhelming Christmas Success

imageIn spite of Microsoft’s launch of Zune, and a host of other less publicized imitators, Apple, and their iPod/iTunes empire, shows no signs of slowing down. According to Hitwise, visits to iTunes on Christmas Day were 413 percent ahead of the previous Christmas. Sales for their iTunes e-commerce site on Christmas Monday were 1222 percent ahead of the previous Monday. Guess what people got for Christmas?

Sales to Apple’s online store were up 110 percent Christmas Day 2006 over Christmas Day 2005. Hitwise reported that visits to the iTunes site “outnumbered visits to by 30 to 1.”

January 02, 2007 | Greg Ness: 2007: The Year of The Super-CMO

Marketing is a tough way to climb to the top rung of the corporate ladder. Several studies have confirmed (see Wharton story, free sign-up required) that through the 1970s, most CEOs came up through the marketing ranks. However, starting in the 1980s, the finance department started edging out marketing as the way to the top job(s) in corporations. Today that is even truer. Why?