How To Win At Awards

I’ve been judging the annual Mediatel Media Research Awards. Well done to all who entered, taking on what is a major commitment. In the exact opposite of a spoiler I can assure you that this post contains zero details of shortlists, winners, losers or anything else relating to the judges’ decisions.

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Stopping Hate Versus Editorial Freedom

A UK campaign group called Stop Funding Hate has called on major advertisers to boycott certain newspapers, notably ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘The Daily Express’ and ‘The Sun’. This mirrors the actions of a similar group in the US called Sleeping Giants who have been particularly focussed on Breitbart.

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Describing Toast to a Martian

Everyone’s an expert in two things, their own job and advertising. Everyone has a point of view and at a time when we all have a social media presence it’s easy to confuse that with being an expert.

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Conference Time

Later this week I will be doing my annual chairing stint at the asi conference in Nice. This will as usual see the cream of the audience measurement world (yes I know, and me) gather to discuss a topic which in recent years has moved from the media back office to (if not centre stage) then certainly closer to the spotlight.

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Caring About the Work

In the old full-service days, people never used to go into ‘media’. They went into advertising and specialised in media. Or they went into sales, and specialised in selling ad space or time.

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Agency Management – Echoes of the Past

Disclosure – I have done work in the past for the7stars, mentioned here

Last week’s Cog Blog noted that out of the six major holding companies, the UK heads of three of them (Havas, Starcom, Carat) along with the EMEA President of OMD have all announced their departures.

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Changes, Changes

This post was going to be all about the new ‘Campaign’. But it would be remiss of me not to log that this was the week in which four out of the six holding company media operations lost a senior UK-based member of their management.

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Transparency Bites Aegis

Disclosure – I worked at Aegis from 1994 – 2000

‘Transparency’ as a topic isn’t going to go away, despite the holding companies (in particular) doing the corporate equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears and dancing around going la-la-la.

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Uber and Fetch

You can’t turn your back on this industry for a second at the moment in case you miss a new launch/innovation/news/scandal. The Cog Blog was on a short break last week – which naturally meant that several of the above snuck up on me whilst I wasn’t paying attention.

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Agency Options

The last Cog Blog commented on the advance of the management consultancies into the territory traditionally occupied by media agencies, and asked what the agencies can do about this threat to their futures. This post considers the agencies’ options.

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Advance of the Management Consultancies

Last week’s Cog Blog discussed Accenture’s development of the next generation of product placement. This post explores more broadly how the management consultancies are extending their marketing services offering, thus challenging existing agencies.

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Enter Accenture With Mousetrap

It seems product placement is about to get sexy. Someone will without doubt invent a new phrase for it. I’m off to trademark VPI, or Virtual Product Integration.  Read more

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Agency Reboot

Michael Farmer, strategy consultant to several agencies and author of ‘Madison Avenue Manslaughter’ wrote an interesting piece on MediaVillage.com the other week in which he pointed out that even though the ANA has been (correctly) criticising agency practices for the last couple of years the agency’s own association, the 4A’s has hardly been robust in putting up any kind of counter argument.

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Facebook Struggles On

Procter and Gamble has been at the forefront of calling out agencies and digital platforms for their lack of transparency – contractual and financial in the case of the agencies, measurement-wise in the case of the major platforms.

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Au Revoir ‘Campaign’

I’ve always had a Marmite relationship with ‘Campaign’, whose final edition in its weekly format appeared last Thursday.

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Ducking and Diving

All of our careers are punctuated by what at the time seem like minor incidents but which we look back on as being representative of some larger principle.

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All That’s Right; All That’s Wrong

Last week saw an interesting piece by Mindshare’s Global CEO, Nick Emery published in ‘Campaign’, and widely circulated on social media. In case you missed it, here it is.

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The Networks’ Challenge

When I was a mere Coglet, working for an international agency was an ambition. Network ad agencies had the largest, most important clients with whom they had built relationships going back many years. There was the opportunity to learn from the best in the business, whilst experiencing how advertising worked elsewhere.

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Holiday Break

Hello – there is no Cog Blog this week as I’m on a short break. Back next week. I’m sure you’ll muddle through…!

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Rethinking Audience Research

It seems that everything these days has to be interpreted as black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. There’s no room any more for good old grey. This is not healthy; extreme positions mean there’s little room for discussion or constructive debate.

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Election Lessons

For the benefit of non-UK readers, last week we had a General Election. The Cog Blog is a politics-free (and click-bait-free) zone. We have never stooped to the classic ‘5 things you can learn from..’ trick, but for once there are some interesting lessons to be learned from the way our main political parties conducted their campaigns.

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Mergers and Closures

GroupM has announced that they intend merging two of their four media agencies, MEC and Maxus into one as yet un-named entity in order to release the funds needed to invest in the digital agency Essence. This raises some interesting questions.

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A Matter of Fact: Giving a Damn

Today the IPA (the UK ad agency trade body) and ISBA (the UK advertiser body) unveiled a joint initiative to highlight the need for accountable, transparent media audience data specifically within online media forms.

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All Change in Agency Land

It wasn’t so very long ago that the industry’s trade press was full of articles berating the agency community for being resistant to change. The common thread being that in a world that is changing so fast the agencies were lagging behind.

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Why BARB is Right

It is rare for arcane audience measurement issues to take centre stage, but that is just what has happened in the UK as YouTube has had its attempts to join BARB, the joint industry service responsible for measuring TV audiences rejected.

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Supporting the News

The great thing about being an easy come easy go blogger is that you are in a position to do your best to argue a point without having the onerous burden of actually having to put into action whatever it is you’re discussing this week.

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Paying for Planning

Who should pay for communications planning? Why are advertisers apparently so set against the idea of paying network agencies for a service most know full well is an essential part of any campaign?

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Absence

I’m on holiday so no Cog Blog posts till the first week of May. I’m sure you’ll struggle through.

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The Challenge Ahead for Media Agencies: A Sick Goose

The network media agencies are full of contradictions. On the one hand, they have smart people who talk knowledgeably about the pressing issues of our time. On the other they make oh-so-secret deals designed to benefit themselves, over and above the needs of their clients. Read more

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Google On

The Google/YouTube problems concerning ad placements rumbles on. More ink (or should that be pixels?) has been consumed on this than on almost any other recent media story in a rush to apportion blame.

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Lessons from Google’s Woes

There’s really only been one media story this last week, and that’s the industry’s reaction to Google inadvertently placing ads alongside various deeply inappropriate YouTube videos.

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Shades of Grey

Writing a blog exposes you to all sorts of reactions – from complimentary through well-informed criticism and on to rude. Fortunately, by far the majority of people who respond to me aren’t rude; we may not agree but at least we can be civil about disagreeing.

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Industry Arrives at a Consensus on Online Advertising

It seems that the industry has at long last come together. We can all agree on one thing. There is a lot wrong with online advertising.

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Data Lessons from Politics

This week’s ‘Observer’ newspaper carried a lengthy piece on the work of Cambridge Analytica during both our EU Referendum campaign, and the US Election.

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On Trust

Trust is a pretty simple concept – either you trust someone or you don’t. If you do, then a handshake like the one that formed the only ever contract between Arnold Palmer and Mark McCormack could be all you need.

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The Media Agency Revolution

Sometimes revolutions sneak up on you; eras end and no-one even notices until one day you open their eyes and, well who knew? Read more

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A Period of Introspection?

Last week’s Cog Blog was enthusiastic in its praise for the speech given by P&G’s Marc Pritchard to the IAB leadership conference. We weren’t the only ones – Pritchard’s speech received rave reviews all over the world, with Mark Ritson calling it ‘the most important marketing speech in 20 years’. Read more

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Procter Leads

I grew up on the Procter and Gamble account.

For a media planning director in a newly appointed roster agency, P&G was scary. The established roster had some of the best media people in London, one of whom (John Perriss, then at Saatchi, soon to be the founder of Zenith) talked to me about what it was like to work on what he described as ‘the world’s best client’. Read more

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News Media: A Slither of Hope

It would be wonderfully ironic if Donald Trump, who seems to believe he’s in some sort of holy war against the established press, should prove to be the medium’s saviour. Read more

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Using Influence

Last week’s Cog Blog post expressed the hope that facts, and fact-based opinion would rebound in 2017. We need to banish the whole notion of fake news – a phrase that is already becoming the catch-all defence used by politicians to deflect questions they don’t wish to answer.

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Here We Go

Hello again and a belated Happy New Year! This is the season when we should all be full of hope for the future, so rather than making firm predictions (that can duly be proved wrong in time) this the first Cog Blog of 2017 will focus on hopes for the coming year. Read more

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