• Is Pop Culture Fragmenting?
    I was told once that if you want to be great in advertising, you must be an expert in popular culture. It's where the masses are influenced by the vocal minority. If you can understand how people are influenced by other people, than you can understand what's at the core of advertising. After all, advertising is simply one group of people trying to influence the behaviors of another group of people.

    What I find interesting right now is that popular culture is fragmenting in the same way that the media landscape is. We all know about clutter and how ...

  • More Than Awareness
    Online branding has come a long way in the past decade or so. Some of us may recall the early days of online advertising when many advertisers followed Procter & Gamble's lead in proclaiming that they would pay for their ads based on how many clicks the ads received. I remember Dave Dowling at Media.com setting the precedent in the mid-1990s by putting P&G's budget behind the cost-per-click model. At the time, many of us thought that such an approach devalued the brand value of the medium and placed it firmly in the camp of direct response media.
  • The State of Online Measurement
    If you think the digital world represents a sliding landscape, it does. Part of the constant movement is measurement. Online tracking and analytics has been cooed at by most of us for over a decade now. We love to tell clients and prospects that we can track users from online advertising to search to e-mail and the like. We employ all sorts of third-party ad serving (3PAs), including filters, clicks, tracer tags et al. Our lunch hours, dinners, cocktail parties, boondoggles, seminars, and conferences are laden with talk of impressions, reach, frequency capping, click, and conversions.
  • Just How Far Does Google Intend to Go?
    I think about this from time to time, especially when people who do business with what has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room tell me how unpleasant their experiences are. Could Google be starting to tilt toward more difficult windmills?

    Google built its enormous business by enabling consumers to better search the Internet. Recently, there has been more disclosure about the company's larger ambition -- to search all of the world's information.

    Of course, this means information well beyond the Web, where the road gets dicier. Late last year, Google started recording TV programs airing near its ...

  • The Age of Egocasting
    About 20 years ago, I attended a benefit for the Bat-Dor Dance Company. The founder, Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild, was in a particularly jovial mood that evening. She was dressed impeccably and, as one could imagine, was wearing some exquisite jewelry. Of note, was her necklace, which was made up of pearls that started at about 7mm and graduated up to a 25mm monster in the middle. It was so extreme, it almost looked fake. I simply could not resist the malapert query, "... those aren't real, are they?" The Baroness gave me a wry smile and replied, "I'll never ...
  • Brand Democratization
    As the landscape changes and business moves to being based on consumer-generated content, one thing becomes more and more apparent: The consumer is in charge of your brand. I read an article recently from BusinessWeek and I heard them coin the term brand democratization. This is a very powerful term and one I think will stick.

    The idea of brand democratization is that the power of the people directs your brand. What the people say about your brand is what your brand will become. Simply put, perception is reality.

  • Using Independent Conversations as Brand Assets
    In the realm of highly-considered purchases, the expectation of a click-to-buy online advertising model can be quite unrealistic. While big-ticket items can sometimes be sold successfully online, such purchases usually require a combination of both compelling persuasion and consumer confidence to succeed. Things like travel packages, jewelry, and consumer electronics are usually not bought online without careful consideration.
  • Ad Skippers Need Not Apply
    Let's face it, it's an on-demand world we live in today. As media/advertising/marketing experts, we jump through hoops to cut through the clutter. In fact, the phrase makes us cringe.

    Let's do a quick poll: How many of you have a TiVo or digital video recorder (DVR)? How about an iPod? Or perhaps you have satellite radio? You must have customized your preferences on a Web site or two. Anyone?

  • SEM May Stratify, But Well-Executed Web Strategies Also Can Be an Equalizer
    Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico -- For the past 10 years or so, some friends and I have come here regularly - three quarters down the Baja peninsula in Mexico - for some of the best sport fishing in the world.

    On our last few trips, one outfitting company has handled all of our boat and guide charters, The Baja Big Fish Company. Over the years, we've become pretty familiar with its proprietor, a young woman named Pam Bolles, and her family. Just prior to this year's trip, I noticed that she had added more regular updates to her ...

  • Culture of Freedom
    There has been so much written about what should and should not be free on the Internet: Free speech, free music, free files, free games - you'll notice that the operating word here is free.

    The New York Times quoted Ross Anderson this week talking about his first foray into peer-to-peer (P2P), which according to Ross was inspired by a legal battle between the Church of Scientology and Penet, an Internet operation based in Finland that was known as an anonymous re-mailer. In that case, an Internet user was using the re-mailer to post church documents anonymously on online ...

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