Digital: Facebook as Social Glue, Digital Creative, Conde’s Ads, Digital v Traditional Agencies

Today was extremely important for the Internet. Facebook announced that its “Like” button is going to appear on publisher sites all over the Internet. These buttons will populate a user’s profile in Facebook linking back to the originating site while also providing Facebook with even more immensely valuable, realtime data about its consumers. Here’s an Ad Age story covering the announcement (which includes my perspective) and below is my deeper analysis of the announcement and what it means for marketers, publishers and agencies.

What makes a great online display ad? Ashley Ringrose, co-founder of Soap Creative and curator of Bannerblog, has a few ideas. Among them: A truly interactive ad must have an interactive idea. That, and it should be useful, not annoying, to consumers.
Conde Nast’s digital arm is treading firmly on guarded agency turf by offering creative services to advertisers — even for ads that don’t run in Conde Nast properties, Advertising Age has learned. The glossy publisher’s in-house creative services group known as CND Studios is now accepting client assignments to craft ad campaigns regardless of placement. It is a significant shift for the company, which in the past has only done creative work for advertisers buying space on one of its publications, whether in print or online.

Battles between agencies leading to failure
The “battle” between digital and traditional agencies is contributing to the failure of many advertising campaigns, Kristi VandenBosch, ceo of Publicis & Hal Riney, has said. VandenBosch was speaking at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco, covered in more detail by Geoffrey Precourt, Warc’s US editor, here. She suggested that rather than providing a coordinated service for their clients, traditional and interactive agencies frequently ended up in conflict with one another. “Traditional and digital agencies are caught up with who gets to lead, but neither has earned the right,” said VandenBosch. “[Often] it is not a battle for leadership or control, but for who gets the credit.” The main cause of this situation is that traditional agencies generally emphasise “objects”, whereas their counterparts that primarily focus on new media tend to think in terms of “systems”.

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Beverage: Glen Rossie Rossi, Fucking Hell Beer, Coca Colla

“Glen Rossie has a tremendous whisky heritage and as we approach its 200th anniversary in 2014 we want to turn it into a global brand,” said David Birchall, chief executive of The Brand Cellar. Rossi signed up to become the face of the brand earlier this year, with Birchall claiming the rock legend can improve Glen Rossie’s success in overseas markets: “As ‘front man’ for the Glen Rossie brand, we believe he can help us reinvigorate sales not just in the UK but, as someone who has sold 118m records worldwide, overseas too.”

German Execs Win Rights to Best Beer Name Ever
An Upper Austrian village called Fucking, is the inspiration for a new beer called Fucking Hell. Yes, the common English term for surprise and/or frustration is now a brand name thanks to a German firm which has been granted permission by the European Union’s Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office to brew beer and produce clothing under the name.

A certain US soft drinks giant may disagree, but Bolivia has come up with a fizzy beverage it says is the real thing: Coca Colla. The drink, made from the coca leaf and named after the indigenous Colla people from Bolivia’s highlands, went on sale this week across the South American country. It is black, sweet and comes in a bottle with a red label – but similarities to Coca-Cola end there. One is a symbol of US-led globalisation and corporate might; the other could be considered a socialist-tinged affront to western imperialism. The first batch of 12,000 bottles, priced about $1.50 (96p) for half a litre, were distributed in the capital, La Paz, as well as Santa Cruz and Cochabamba. The familiar-sounding name and packaging may rile the Atlanta-based soft drinks manufacturer, but Coca Colla could also cause groans in Washington.
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Roadside Americana, Metropolitan Etiquette

For 30 years John Margolies has been documenting the diners, drive-ins and motor lodges that remain along our highways as box stores and strip malls slowly erase the quirk and character of consumerism. His book Roadside America collects nearly 400 photographs of this vanishing vision of over-the-top architecture, automotive freedom and the American dream.
The Metropolitan Etiquette Authority
Artist Jason Shelowitz has created a series of subtle posters that explain common courtesy to New York City subway riders. Using the format of MTA announcement signs, Shelowitz’s “Metropolitan Etiquette Authority” posters spell out the finer points of not being a rude public transportation passenger.
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Marketing: SoBe Ditches Creative Agency, Nissan Goes Experiential

The PepsiCo brand SoBe is developing a marketing strategy with digital agency Firstborn, public-relations firm Weber Shandwick and promotional group TracyLocke. “We’re not tied to the old methods,” said a brand official, noting that no creative agencies were considered as SoBe looks to content rather than advertising.PepsiCo-owned brand had been working with Arnell Group to produce TV spots that ran during the 2009 Super Bowl and last spring, but while the ads generated “a ton of awareness,” the company said they didn’t deliver the engagement the brand was looking for. “The passionate fans weren’t saying the things we thought they should be saying,” said Angelique Krembs, director-marketing for SoBe. “Going forward we needed to get to engagement. That’s why we evolved our approach.”

Nissan shifts marketing budget to experiential projects
Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is shifting its communications strategy away from traditional advertising, towards a greater emphasis on experiential marketing. It follows the marque’s decision to become the official automotive partner of The O2, replacing BMW, and the announcement that it is to set up an interactive brand centre at the East London venue.

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Right Wing: Rove, Romney

Fox News contributor Karl Rove directed some unfriendly fire at the hosts of “Fox and Friends” this weekend when the show’s anchors decided to ask Rove to respond to protesters who disrupted the former top Bush adviser’s book tour.

Romney Struggles To Distance RomneyCare From ObamaCare: Was For it Before He Was Against It
Throughout the health care debate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has had to do a delicate political dance. The legislation that Congress ultimately passed and that President Obama signed into law closely mirrors the health care reform measure Massachusetts passed when Mitt Romney was governor in 2006. Thus, Romney has had to embrace his plan while at the same time, attacking Obama’s in an effort to appease the GOP and the conservative base, who adamantly oppose it. However, the similarities between the bills Romney and Obama signed into law coupled with the current staunch GOP opposition are proving to be difficult gaps to bridge for the former governor.

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Statistics: World Warms to USA, Lowest Tax in 60 Years but Teabaggers Don’t Get It

Views of the US around the world have improved sharply over the past year, a BBC World Service poll suggests. For the first time since the annual poll began in 2005, America’s influence in the world is now seen as more positive than negative. The improved scores for the US coincided with Barack Obama becoming president, a BBC correspondent notes. As in 2009, Germany is viewed most favourably while Iran and Pakistan are seen as the most negative influences.

Taxes at lowest level in 60 years… so why are Tea Partiers angry?
Almost all Tea Party activists have seen their federal income taxes drop over the past few decades, thus Tea Party anger focused on the federal government is misplaced. The financial sector bailouts are also poorly understood by most (not just Tea Partiers). The bailouts imposed stringent requirements on recipients of government funds. The funds were also conditioned upon payment to the government of warrants or senior equity or debt securities (designed to help recoup government losses).

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People: Steven Grasse

Steven Grasse Does His Own Thing, or at least that’s what Piers thinks. At the recent PSFK New York Conference, (self described) “maverick creator-entrepreneur” Steven Grasse closed out the day’s discussions with a spirited talk about his journey from “disgruntled ad man to revolutionary businessman”. He spoke candidly about his inspirations, trials and tribulations, and his passion for living a life driven by art, authenticity, and conscience.

I have been an admirer of Mr Grasse’s work for some time, since seeing him and his team (from Giro as it used to be called) present credentials to my then-client Virgin Mobile. I had been particularly impressed with their Camel Lounges and work with Sailor Jerry. I later learned he invented one of my favorite drinks (Hendricks Gin). Such is the esteem in which I hold Mr Grasse I can (almost) forgive his rather strange views on English people…

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