OK, so maybe digital agencies *are* able to lead …

I have penned (rather, copied and pasted) a few lines on this topic before … now I notice yet another article about whether Digital shops are ready to take lead agency /AoR positions for clients. This time AdWeek‘s Brian Morrissey chips in, saying that “Web Shops Go From Underdogs to Top Dogs”.

“While digital shops have fared better than their traditional counterparts in recent years, a hot-button question points to their still-debated status: Can these agencies move beyond their primary role of tech jockeys to become leaders of brand strategy? R/GA has attacked this question head on by winning lead agency assignments from Ameriprise Financial as its lead shop. Such assignments are still the exception to the rule. Yet the general expectation is that the number of these jobs will increase, particularly as digital initiatives become core not only as marketing channels, but as internal drivers of innovation.”

Well, a couple of things…

1. Does it make sense these days to differentiate digital and traditional shops (except by heritage)?

2. The brain drain from formerly-traditional agencies to formerly-internet-advertising agencies means that most of the smart money/ people are moving to the “digital” side. I think this thought-leadership migration will only continue.

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Tiger Woods vs Sponsorship

Accenture ends Tiger Woods sponsorship deal
The giant management consultancy firm Accenture has ended its sponsorship of Tiger Woods, saying the golfer is “no longer the right representative”. Woods has been engulfed in a media storm since a disturbance outside his house two weeks ago. He has since admitted being unfaithful to his wife.


Tiger Woods sponsors AT&T, Gillette limit tarnished golfer’s role in campaigns amid sex scandal
Tiger Woods is facing an ugly split after a long and happy relationship – with his sponsors. Corporate giants AT&T and Gillette distanced themselves Saturday from the world’s best-known golfer/philanderer, raising questions about Woods’ multimillion-dollar advertising appeal. Gillette announced it will cut back on Woods’ marketing role as the golfer focuses on his home life.

The Tiger Woods tumult continues as Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer is now apparently cooling its relationship with the beleagured golfer. According to reports, Tag Heuer nixed their line of ads featuring Woods sporting their “Link” watch line. Adding insult to injury, the brand has not only removed in-store ads featuring Woods from stores Down Under but it’s canceled plans for the golfer to help design a line of upscale titanium “Professional Golf” watches.
Tiger Woods has lost his spot as the face of consultancy Accenture and has been at least temporarily pulled from Gillette ads following the golfer’s tabloid turn. Nike, PepsiCo and AT&T have indicated they would wait for Woods resumes his golf career before considering their association with the star. For Accenture, the situation points to the perils of adopting a marketing strategy so bound up with the fortunes of a single celebrity spokesman.
Here’s a look at how Tiger Woods’ top current sponsors are reacting to the golfer’s indefinite break from the sport, a move his spokesmen said he made so he can fix his marriage:

Tag Heuer stands by Tiger Woods (guardian.co.uk)

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Beyond Facebook: Seppukoo, Architizer

Seppukoo.com is a social website which “liberates the digital body” by deactivating one’s Facebook profile and shaping a social experience out of it. It is meant to reflect seppuku, an ancient practice in Japan in which a samurai warrior kills himself to restore their honor. It was created by ”Linking the Invisible“, a group of European media artists (Guy McMusker, Clemente Pestelli and Gionatan Quintini), who explore the invisible relationships between the “infosphere, neural synapsis, and real life.”
One such digital pioneer is brand-new social networking site Architizer, which is being promoted as a “Facebook for Architects” and will allow “architects, architecture curators, clients, critics and fans, to interact”. The site, which is free to use, allows members to link their personal, firm, and project profiles where they can display a new building, share photos of interesting projects, and have their work pinpointed on a global interactive map.
Possibly related:
Seppukoo ” About (healthmgmtrx.blogspot.com)
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Ad Recession: Probably over. Pricecutters beware…

ZenithOptimedia is predicting global ad markets will increase 0.9% in 2010 to almost $448bn (£274bn) and expects ad expenditure to show steady improvement over the next three years, with growth of nearly 5% by 2012. The global spending prediction is the Publicis agency’s first upward revision in 18 months and comes after the worst ad decline in modern times. Zenith also predicts ad spend to fall 10.2% in 2009 to nearly $444bn.
US online advertising spending is set to drop this year for the first time since 2002. eMarketer estimates online ad spending will be down 4.6% this year. However, the slowly recovering economy, combined with basic structural changes in how marketers and the public use media, will lead to Internet ad spending growth in early 2010.
“It’s been denied, but I would rebut the denial,” Sorrell said, calling the practice “extremely dangerous in my view. It’s particularly dangerous if we see media price inflation.”
Possibly related:
Zenith Forecast: In ’09, Only Online Grows
(paidcontent.org)
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Crowdsourcing: Coke, Financial Review

Expedition 206 is a global program that has a presence on many social media marketing platforms. Coke used crowdsourcing to enable all of their consumers to vote on which team will travel the world for a year in search of what makes people happy. It’s a program that will be completely socially enabled. The team will blog, shoot video, conduct interviews and participate in events. Voting concluded and the three-person team of “Happiness Ambassadors” was announced online on November 16. The trip begins in January 2010.
To build buzz for next year’s ad campaign, The Australian Financial Review recently used a competition to crowdsource ad copy from readers. Dubbed Write Our Next Ad, the brief was for a short, sharp, clever ad that would resonate with the audience and promote the benefits of regular readership, while reflecting the brand’s focus on leadership, strength and inspiration.
Nicola Davies shares her thoughts on the matter …
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Airlines: Hello Kitty, Goodbye Mr X

Taiwan’s EVA Airways has gone the extra mile by designing two Hello Kitty brand Airbus A330-200 air crafts for domestic flights. Some of the goodies passengers can be treated to include Sanrio sponsored Hello Kitty themed food, bath products, and even a Hello Kitty boarding pass (which will certainly raise some eyebrows at the boarding gate).
A blogger apparently trying to help American Airlines inadvertantly gets an AA UX employee fired.
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New Rules: Apple, Luxury

If thinking about altering a wildly successful business sounds a bit contrary to you, in “We Should All Get It Wrong Like Apple,” Jonathan Weber points out that Apple does none of the things that pundits always say you should do to succeed in the Internet economy. No blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, free samples, asking for feedback or engaging with the customer base for the sages from Cupertino. Why, they even do a heck of a lot of advertising in the dead-tree mediums, as well as broadcast TV and billboards. What lessons are to be learned? 1. It’s all about good product. 2. Brand marketing still matters. 3. Real-time engagement with customers is not a required course of action.
Instead of the marketing status quo, Bastien we has proposed the “anti-laws of marketing”: 18 axioms that include: raise your prices to increase demand; advertising does not aim at selling; and – most importantly – do not pander to consumers’ wishes.
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Labels: Airbrushing, Social Responsibility

Academics call on ASA to mark airbrushed ads
Academics are to lobby the Advertising Standards Authority to introduce notices on ads that feature airbrushed models, backing a call recently made by the Liberal Democrats. A letter from academics Dr Helga Dittmar of the University of Sussex and Dr Emma Halliwell of the University of the West of England is being sent to the Advertising Standards Authority. It warns of the negative impact that airbrushed images can have on the self-esteem of young people, especially when it makes models look super-thin.

Labels Reveal Companies Social Responsibility
Nutrition labels already give consumers a quick summary of what their food contains. Hoping to bring the same transparency to the companies behind the products, Project Label creates “social nutrition” labels to track manufacturers’ social and environmental responsibility.