Remember when propaganda used to be straightforward? It came in the form of leaflets, flyers, treatises. It was aired on state-run television and broadcast on state-run radio. In its more insidious form, it came via "independent media" -- without the audience being aware of how much that media may have been controlled by shadowy authority figures lurking in the background. Those were the days. Today, thanks to the disintermediation of the media, propaganda happens online, peer to peer, by armies of trolls and bots crafted ever more exactingly to resemble real humans
They're called the "duopoly" of online advertising. Facebook and Google account for 75% of the U.S. digital ad spend - and almost all of its growth, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Facebook reported 45% growth in the last quarter and Google's parent company Alphabet posted earnings of $26 billion, 87% coming from advertising revenue. But are these behemoths about to be blindsided by a fierce competitor with a better ROI?
When I was in college, I took some journalism classes (that's kind of a requirement at Syracuse) and I was taught that journalists are responsible for the fair and accurate reporting of the news. Journalism was a noble profession. And the evening news anchors were able to separate their personal opinions from the facts of the day. These days we live in a world where journalists are unable to separate fact from opinion. As a matter of fact, our world discourages that separation, instead fostering the opportunity for journalists to become pundits and to embrace more sensational types of reporting. …
Adobe just released its Consumer Email Survey Report. And one line from it immediately jumped out at me: "We've seen a 28 percent decrease in consumers checking email messages from bed in the morning (though 26 percent still do it)." Good for you, you 28% who have a life. I, unfortunately, fall into the pathetic 26%.
Memory -- you may think it's something permanent, but in fact it's far more permeable than that. When you think of what happened yesterday, you have a picture. Ten years later, the memory changes. And so, on the 16-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centers, it's worth taking a moment to understand the changing nature of memory.
The Farmers Insurance's campaign tag line, perfectly delivered by Oscar-winning actor J. K. Simmons, is: "We know a thing or two, because we've seen a thing or two." I love this line, as it suggests Farmers policies constantly evolve because of its consumers' experiences. We all know a thing or two, and as we get older and gather more experience, we might even know a thing or three. One such area where I now know a thing or three is marketers' biggest reasons for wanting to change. And as the marketing world descends on Cologne, Germany for dmexco, I thought …
When I was growing up in the '60s in Botswana and South Africa, there was a bit of conventional wisdom among those who ventured into the vastness of the Kalahari Desert. It was: Leave the motor running. This was not to minimize the time to flee danger, but as a sort of protocol to inform animals that you were not sneaking up on them. Predators weaponize silence. You seem less like a predator if you broadcast your position. Advertisers have something important to learn from elephants. That is, if a silent enemy is the basis for your fear, the solution …
The phrase "Don't listen to what I say - watch what I do" is quickly becoming obsolete, because we're experiencing a radical shift in technology where what you say will directly influence what you do. It's the emerging space of voice-activated AI.
A few columns ago, I mentioned one of the aspects troubling me about technology: the shallowness of social media. I had mentioned at the time that there were other aspects that were equally troubling. Here's one: Technology is addictive, and it's addictive by design.
In July of 1993, the cartoonist Peter Steiner doodled a cartoon that he wasn't particularly proud of. He submitted it, along with a batch of others, to his bosses at The New Yorker. They liked it more than he did, and published it. It had a slow start, but it also had sticking power. Twenty years later, it was the most reproduced cartoon in New Yorker history. The premise is simple. A dog is sitting at a computer. "On the Internet," he says to the dog sitting next to him, "nobody knows you're a dog."