• Metrics Focus: Math Men
    "I shall be both dog and pony." - Roger Sterling, Mad Men The liquid lunches have long since dried out. The ties are rarely worn, even for the client meetings. At least we have Mad Men, the industry's official nostalgia show. It shows the life of an ad agency at its glamorous rise, at the height of the realization of the power of advertising to shape and alter social reality. It is fascinating to catch the glimpses of a bygone era that foreshadow the way industry would take shape. It is also striking to see how far things have ...
  • Logging In: Apple's Cloudburst
    Ten years ago, all of my computer applications were paid for, licensed and resided on the hard drive of my desktop. Microsoft and Adobe were the kings of my computer. Sometimes shareware would get a megabyte or two. But with the emergence of broadband, cloud computing, AJAX and JavaScript, I've found myself doing more and more of my everyday tasks in browsers and through various open-source applications. If so inclined, I could do graphic design with Gimp, manage email with Gmail, or even do 3-D design with Google SketchUp. While Office and other heavy-duty desktop programs still rule the corporate ...
  • Web U: On the Job Training
    Recently I interviewed fresh-off-the-farm college graduates for assistant media planning jobs. I was struck by their earnestness. Too many years ago I sat on their side of the table. In retrospect, I was totally ill-prepared for the vagaries of agency life. Perhaps I can help these newbies survive advertising in the 21st century.
  • The Dot-Com Bubble Boomerang
    For some, the second time around is twice as nice. Let me tell you a story. It was a decade ago that the dot-com bubble shattered. To many, those 10 years feel like a lifetime ago - and now a fresh generation of post-bubble entrepreneurs with little use for the bad old days has taken over the digital marketing industry.
  • Industry Watch: Get Your Kicks
    Sneaker marketing has always been about making outrageous claims. From PF Flyers' 1950s promise that its "posture foundation" technology will make you "run faster, jump higher," to the image of an outer-space-bound Michael Jordan that had young boys everywhere chanting "Be like Mike," brands have gone to ridiculous lengths to establish themselves as the shoe that could make anyone a professional athlete (or just look like one).
  • Market Focus: Marrying for Money
    Weddings are beautiful, a dream come true, a day that comes around once in a lifetime - for marketers looking to make money. The honeymoon is a more expensive trip than probably either the bride or groom has ever taken, there are whole new sets of everything to be bought - in other words, a married couple has never been more open to a marketer's message.
  • Is Facebook Bad for Business?
    For a business that is all about building community and that has grown on its ability to facilitate communication between ever-larger numbers of people, Facebook continues to do a pretty poor job of communicating, itself. Apart from consistently over-claiming for its brave new commercial initiatives before proving that users will even accept them, much of the negative response Facebook generates every time it changes something or introduces a new protocol could be nullified if it actually behaved like a company that cared about its communications and the loyalty of its users.
  • Cross-Media Case Study: Better Late Than Never
    Let's be frank: The advertising we see for tampons, pads and liners is embarrassingly bad. Those queer commercials with women dancing about in white when they have their periods (and who does that?) are cringe inducing, and even the ad people who churn out this work are rightfully ashamed of it. In fact, this reporter tried to do a story on the sad state of fem-care advertising (as it is known) more than 10 years ago, and not one advertising agency creative responsible for the silly imagery and lame euphemisms would consent to an interview. Meanwhile, it was impossible to ...
  • Buying the Night Sky
    Michael Paolucci is no stranger to making money on the Web: He founded Web marketing darling 24/7 Real Media and in 2007 sold it to WPP for a reported $649 million. While sailing in eastern Maine, he had the a-ha moment for his next Web marketing play: taking the natural human passion for the night sky and turning it into mainstream Web entertainment. And so SLOOH was born.
  • Creative Roundtable: Flash and Bash
    Given the amazing graphics we see in today's video games (particularly amazing to a writer who was dazzled by Pong back in the day), you'd think that video game publishers would have some of the coolest sites on the Internet. But they don't.
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