The Spirit Makes the Master

As we head into the heart of Bowl Season, this Slate article from Mike DeBonis points out a few of the interesting, but mostly mundane collegiate TV commercials that will air during the games. He also brings out why colleges present these institutional commericals the way they do….(Institutional commercials…sounds facinating)

The standard mise-en-scene of the institutional spot will be familiar to any dedicated college-sports watcher: campus greenery, one-on-one pedagogy, chemistry labs, black gowns and mortarboards, and laughing/hugging students of
as many colors as possible. Those are just the ingredients, though….

TV advertising concepts developed by a college committee. Doesn’t get any better.

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Intel REBRANDS

Yesterday, Intel revealed would dump the logo they have had since 1968. This in addition to changing their corporate slogan from “intel inside” to “leap ahead”.

Wow…

My perception of them is automatically changing.

Let’s just hope they don’t mess with their audio logo. It’s the most valuable corporate asset they have.

UPDATE:: The above is a quick sarcastic rant (what I do best). For a really good treshing out of this idea, check out this post from AdRants.

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Ain’t Gonna Be Banner Ads

A caveat before I begin this post – He who looks into the crystal ball…eats glass.

An updated forecast from JMP Securities says that online media will account for more than $1 of every $10 spent for advertising by 2010.

Mmmm…seems like you should go ahead and put together an online media buy for 2006-2010. Be ahead of the curve! But, I think you’d be wrong.

We’re used to looking at past indicators to gauge future perfomance. For example, take TV…
The smart company in the late 1940’s and early 50’s would have sunk all their ad money into TV as it was starting to explode. The problem is that with the exceptions of color, cable, and DVR…the basic TV model is still pretty much the same as it was in the 50’s…shows, advertising, primetime, etc. The advertising media buy that worked in 1958 still worked in 1988.

Now look at the Internet…Does today’s web look like the one in 2000?…or the one in 1995? While we’re moving (have moved) into Web2.0, I will venture to say that Web3.0 will come even faster.

The point is that you can no longer look at what has worked in the past for advertising and expect it to work in the future. But, that’s always been somewhat of a given.

Here’s the new truth for marketing. You can no longer look at what’s just starting to work now and expect it to work in the future. Largely, because “the future” is changing much faster than it used to.

In today’s marketing world, long term predictions are now useless.

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The Best of 2005

NOTICE: All the links in this post go to the old blogspot location. If you’d like to read these posts, please browse the best of 2005 tag. Thanks.
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The end of the year is approaching and it’s time for the obligatory look back.

2005 has been a very good year for me. It ranks right up there with 1975, 1986, and 1998 as one of my top “life changing years” for many different reasons both personally and professionally. I want to thank you…my “15 people“…for helping to make this such as great year.

I probably won’t be posting during Christmas…so as a holdover and as a part of the look back…please re-visit what I consider my “top posts of 2005” for the Shotgun Marketing Blog.

Sales Methods – A post that deals with media salespeople. It emphasizes one of my core philosophies – “You should never let someone sell you advertising; you should buy it. There’s a difference.”

ChangeThis Announcement – I was amazed how the publication of my marketing manifesto on ChangeThis really spread like wildfire.

Marketing by Committee – This post is quoted all over the blogosphere. It’s really common sense that you should not plan your business strategy the same way you plan the office Christmas party.

All Hat — No Cattle – A great Oprah example. I now use this example in many of my marketing keynotes and seminars.

Medieval Venture Capitalists – Don’t dismiss Web2.0 because of the weaknesses of Web1.0.

The Fallacy of Municipal Branding – It seems I blogged all year about the craze of “re-branding” cities and states. This is one of the first (and best) posts about it.

Guest Blogger for Fast Company – I was honored to have “guest blogged” for Fast Company magazine during their “FC Now BlogJam 2005”

Andy Williams vs. Sir Mixalot – A funny post about back-to-school time and selling to the buyer not the user.

The Book Proposal – We’re still working on it.

Blogs are not Mainstream – I received some flack on this one…but the idea behind the post is rock solid.

The Pirate Post – People loved this one. Communication is important in marketing…arrrgh.

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Marketing Lessons from PBS

One of my core philosophies that I try to carry over in all my speaking, writing, and consulting is the idea of “non-establishment marketing”. There are too many agencies and gurus who enjoy using buzzwords and wasting money rather than actually marketing. In my “non-establishment” mindset, I try to make marketing simplistic so that anybody who doesn’t know what branding, cume, CPM, or even ROI means…can understand marketing principles.

But I’m a marketer…so I sometimes get caught up in the marketing lingo and “stuff everybody knows” as well. So I was fascinated by a report called “The Persuaders” on Frontline last night on PBS. The program took on the world of advertising/marketing from a truly 3rd person point of view. It was interesting to see the world of marketing dissected by an independent source who didn’t have pre-conceived notions about marketing. You can watch the entire program or read the transcript on the PBS site.

My favorite portion of the program was when a market researcher was asking a subject what emotions he felt while eating white bread. Here’s the interview transcript I copied from PBS….

INTERVIEWER: I’m going to read you some different emotions. I’ve got a whole list of them here. For each one of them, I just want you to tell me yes or no as to whether you think you feel that emotion when you’re eating white bread, OK? The first one is accepting. Do you feel accepting when you’re eating white bread?

INTERVIEWEE: Yeah, I would say yes.

INTERVIEWER: Affectionate?

INTERVIEWEE: No.

INTERVIEWER: Lonely?

INTERVIEWEE: No.

INTERVIEWER: Disappointed?

INTERVIEWEE: No.

INTERVIEWER: Afraid?

INTERVIEWEE: No.

INTERVIEWER: Trusting?

INTERVIEWEE: No, I don’t think that would be an issue.

INTERVIEWER: Would you feel uncertain?

INTERVIEWEE: Yeah, a little uncertain. I’ve got one question. Can I ask a question?The question was, “When you eat bread, do you feel lonely?” Have you found people that say, yes, they feel lonely when they’re eating bread?

INTERVIEWER: Not a lot on this one.

The look on the Interviewee’s face during the interview is priceless. He looks at the Interviewer as if to say…”I can’t believe you’re asking me such stupid questions”. This one example shows how truly absurd most marketing is.

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Graphic Artist Burger Flippers

There are some amazing graphic designers / graphic artists working in the marketing world today. Thier work creates the bridge that pulls the market in and allows delivery of the message.

And then there are some Graphic Burger Flippers.

Huh?

My personal definition of a “burger flipper” is someone who just knows how to do the job they’ve been assigned to do. They can turn on the grill and have enough manual dexterity to hold the spatula. They see that the end result of their job is that they have to flip the burger or drop the fries. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that someone on the other side of the counter has paid for and will consume this food. The end of the journey is getting the burger in the wrapper.

Compare this to the master chef…or the maternal southern lady who owns the best restaurant in town. The dining expereince of the customer is their final goal. They want the person they’re cooking for to have a delightful meal. The end of the journey is a satisfied customer.

There are “burger flippers” in every industry….and in every job. You’ve met them. Clock in….clock out…where’s my check.

Lately, for some reason, I’ve been running across alot of “burger flippers” in the graphic arts arena. I’ll get proofs from a YellowPage publisher or a printing company that would fail any basic graphic layout class. Fundamental items like kerning and basic spell check are blatantly wrong and should have caught before they were sent for me to proof.

The reason for this is a burger flipping graphic artist in a cubicle farm somwhere. My client has paid either hundreds or thousands of dollars for space in a publication or a Yellow Pages. And yet, their ad is only one item in a “”generic template–jam-in-the-info–where’s-the-next-one”” mindset of a burger flipper graphic designer who is doing 50 ads today. He knows how to make Quark/Pagemaker (the grill) work, but he has no idea (or doesn’t care) about how marketing works.

Demand better from these people. You’re making the investment in advertising. For it to work, the ad must be put together well. The best thing to do is to circumnavigate the cubicle farm and hire a good graphics person that understands your entire marketing plan and not just the quick ad copy that was scribbled down by a salesperson who probably didn’t have any idea about what you needed…(see this post about the dangers of marketing salespeople)

If you are a burger flipper or better yet…if you employ burger flippers, start thinking about the end results for your customers. Or, at the very least, have a little pride in your work.

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Squidoo and You

I feel so much a part of the “in-crowd”. I got to be in the “private beta” for Seth Godin’s new project, Squidoo. Squidoo went to public beta yesterday…so now we can talk about it.

Squidoo (and the many copycats that will pop up) is one of the next steps in the Web 2.0 changeover. It’s a wonderful way for humans to organize the web through the use of “lenses”.

I only worked on one lens while the project was in closed beta…the topic in which I am the world’s foremost authority…me…
http://www.squidoo.com/chrishouchens

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Life After 30

First some background…Joseph Jaffe is a consultant and former advertising executive who has written a book called Life After the 30-Second Spot. In November, he issued a call to all marketing bloggers to review the book and to show the power of the blogosphere. Without even reading the book, I think this blog review promotion is fabulous and shows the shift from traditional models. In fact, I may steal the blog review for my book. In any case, I’ve read Jaffe’s book and as promised, here’s my review…

Life After the 30-Second Spot
Energize Your Brand With a Bold Mix of Alternatives to Traditional Advertising

The big idea behind Jaffe’s book is a good rant that traditional advertising models are dead/dying, especially the sacred cow of the 30-second television commercial. The death is due to several factors, including changing media and the change in the way people now accept information.

Jaffe sets up the book in sections. Part of the book is spent making a good case that the current model of advertising is broken, why it’s broken, and what that means in the long term. He then offers several “new marketing” solutions to fix these problems. There are sub-sections written by some top marketing practitioners as well…so you’re getting a variety of viewpoints which is refreshing for a book of this type.

I went into the book thinking it would be just another rehash of the old “death of advertising” lecture that everyone has heard over and over. But I was pleased to discover that Jaffe brings up new ideas and passionate arguments that I had not heard/considered before. There’s a lot of new info in the book. Overall, I would say that Jaffe’s book is an alternate view of the Seth Godin TV-Industrial complex example from the ad agency perspective.

I think the overall premise of the book is right on. I’ve been saying the “old ways” have been losing their effectiveness for a while. Consumers are changing. Communication models are changing. Marketing will have to change as well.

Another thing that I liked about the book was the chastising of corporations who don’t target their marketing. They just throw it out there and hope something works with someone somewhere somehow. It’s a great testimony to my idea of thinking small and narrowcasting.

I did find a few problems with the book. Jaffe’s zeal/passion for his ideas made the book a little hard to read. There were a few moments that he went off on a tangent and I had to re-read to get the idea.

However, I think the most glaring negative for the book is its audience focus. I had the haunting feeling while reading it that it was “too-niched”. Jaffe leans the book toward the advertising industry and not the entire business world. If you’re not an ad guy (or gal), you’ll have a hard time following it. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it is an Adweek book. Someone has to slap Madison Avenue to get their attention and Joseph Jaffe does it.

If you were having a discussion with David Ogilvy about changing the way we advertise, I think the book would be a perfect resource. But, if you want to convince some C-level suits who don’t know anything about marketing (and there are lots of them!), the book will help, but may not sink in.

But I do recommend this book. The problems/ideas Jaffe brings up will not go away. Marketing that worked in 1984 will not work in 2005. The way people respond to advertising is changing and business will have to change the way they market to consumers. This book is a good start to show the way we’ll have to change.

DISCLAIMER: Joesph Jaffe provided me a free copy of the book.