Media X: Search Malfunction

Wandering through the mall monstrosity attached to the Renaissance Hotel in which the OMMA Global Hollywood conference was held, I saw a group of tweens gleefully kicking one of those ground-based ads that change when you step on them. I asked the kids to look up for a second--and without peeking--tell me what the ad they were beating to death was about. Not one had a clue.

That pretty much sums up my takeaway from two deep dives into the Digital Frontier this month. (The other was the 4As conference in Florida.) I missed the Ad Age "digital summit" in New York. And I just got an email about yet another one from Min.

If I were in media or marketing, I'd start a digital summit business.

Anyway, I had two weeks of media industry antics to get up to speed on, so I fired up the laptop and surfed the cyber-waves for something new to write about. And you know what I discovered? Yogi Berra once noted: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." But when American media and marketing come to a fork in the road, they impale themselves on the fork.



Ergo, a digital drifter is confronted with a frothing tide of listless commercial communications and tepid entertainment options (not including the digital summits, of course).

I read a story on the Los Angeles Times site about how summer house rentals in Malibu are going as high as $150,000 a month. This was played up as prominently--more prominently when local TV got its hands on the story--as the announcement that the death toll for U.S. soldiers in Iraq has reached 4,000.

Another milestone in the unmaking of an informed populace.

Bank of America moved its media to Starcom two years after launching an all-Omnicom marcom team, saying reliance on only one holding company had hamstrung its efforts. Who could have seen that coming? Everybody but BofA, I imagine.

Mitsubishi launched a creative search, and three-year incumbent BBDO said it would not defend. The fact that Mitsubishi loses marketing executives faster than Hillary Clinton changes campaign strategies probably had something to do with the review.

Two more triumphs for agency scapegoating.

Speaking of nasty clients, the Ad Age site reports that Chrysler's Deborah Wahl Meyer is recruiting 2,000 consumers to tell the alleged automaker what to do. Here's a hint: Make cars that don't break down after 35,000 miles.

And so much more: Twitter looks poised to replace social networks as the next thing the industry will get hysterical about. Alex Bogusky wrote a column for Adweek congratulating himself for living in Boulder. A deaf actress, Marlee Matlin, is the frontrunner on "Dancing With the Stars."

Online, nobody can hear you scream.

But I found relief in the news that a Vanderbilt University study found aggression to be as rewarding as sex, food and drugs. So I'm going to reward myself by posting anonymous blogs about creative executives on Nina DiSesa's Web site and going back to the Renaissance Hotel to find those tweens--and beat the living hell out of them.

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