Direct-response advertising is a straightforward proposition. If a placement does not produce sales, cut it and move the money elsewhere. It is very black and white. Meanwhile, brand advertising is filled with shades of gray. The majority of brand advertisers don't directly sell products on Web sites. They cannot directly monetize their Web traffic. CPGs struggle with Web advertising exactly because it is so measurable. Without a specific goal, brand managers thrash about for direction. They ask, What do you measure when there is nothing to measure?
The newspaper business has enough problems, coming out (maybe) from a five-year long decline which has roughly halved the medium's ad revenues over that period -- and which even saw online ad revenues decline over the last two years. After all this, what fresh indignities could the media market possibly deal out? Here's a good one.
It all began with snow still on the ground, in a small gallery tucked in amongst the behemoths of Chelsea in Manhattan. Artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida arrived to conduct a class at Edward Winkleman Gallery. In what is ostensibly a throwback to the Salons of Paris, the gallery has been converted into a think tank, a marketplace, a sideshow and a gathering of artists, critics, collectors and ingénues.
When you build a company, blood, sweat and tears are invested into building brand equity. You work to protect your brand from competitors and predators, and yet on the game of chance on the roulette table that is online advertising, you compromise that value every time you place an advertising campaign.
A few sobering statistics: Newspaper ad sales dropped more than 28 percent for the first quarter of 2009, according to the Newspaper Association of America; more than 40,000 newspaper jobs were lost in 2009, figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal; and weekday newspaper sales fell by 10.62 percent from April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009, while Sunday circulation dropped 7.49 percent for the same period, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reports. While there are no statistics available on this, we can only assume that newspaper delivery boys and girls across the country have lost their routes.
In 2009, you couldn't tell if the market for display advertising was coming back or finally falling off a cliff. Revenue numbers were all over the map. When some CPM stats early in the year indicated declining CPMs, and the largest display seller, Yahoo, reported a revenue drop, several pundits warned that the notoriously low click-through rates and infinite supply finally had caught up with a "broken" display economy.
We learned quite a lot about Hulk Hogan while working on this issue. Everyone probably already knows the Hulkster played the wrestler Thunderlips in Rocky III, but did you know he was big in Japan and wrestled there for years? Fans there call him "Ichiban." He once had a restaurant called Pastamania in the Mall of America, and was the original choice of pitchman for The George Foreman Grill but turned it down to sell a blender. And last but not least, The American Mustache Institute tells us they believe "Hogan's lower nose garment is the largest naturally grown, farm-raised …