All Change Please, All Change

You don’t need a smart-arse blogger to tell you that these are uniquely difficult times, nor that some things won’t ever be the same again. All of us have examples to hand – from our attitudes towards home working, to how we feel about walking into shops or eating in restaurants right through to the likelihood of ever again paying for anything with cash.

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How Facebook and Friends Derailed Advertising

It’s been a busy few weeks at Facebook, what with the ad boycott, hastily arranged meetings with agencies, bullish statements from Mark Zuckerberg (‘who needs advertisers, and in any case they’ll be back soon enough’), and remarks from the company and its supporters that there’s really nothing to see as here at Facebook we were in any event cleaning out the Augean stables. No one believed them.

In the midst of all this a ‘Campaign’ piece by Daniel Gilbert ‘In Defence of Facebook’ appeared.

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The Trials of Facebook

It’s a bit of a business this blogging lark. You write a piece on Facebook and the various companies who have decided in one shape or form to pull funds from the platform, only for Mark Zuckerberg to change the rules thus rendering out-of-date most of what I’d written. If you see him, have a word with him for me would you? Thanks.

Anyway, on with the show.

The competition to be number one in the spreader-of-hate-and-discrimination stakes is intense. Twitter seemed to have it pretty well sewn up going into the final stages but a late run by Facebook, combined with a sudden outbreak of responsibility over content at Twitter has seen the lead change.

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Future Agency: Future Tools

The last few Cog Blog posts have wandered around what the agency of the future might look like post-pandemic, and the degree to which this coming recession will likely reshape the industry, as opposed to simply making it smaller. But what about the tools it will need to work?

The hub and spoke model, with the media agency at the centre acting as strategic lead on all forms of communication is easy to type, and very hard to do.

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Agency Models: Questions and Suggestions

Last week’s Cog Blog post, on what the agency of the post-pandemic future might look like generated some interesting feedback. This week’s post tries to provide some suggestions (answers would be presumptive) to the points raised, based purely on my own experience. I’ve grouped these around four of the most popular topic areas. Read more

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The Agency of the Future

You don’t need to be a genius to notice that things have been a little different in the world of work over the last few months, nor a futurologist to predict that at least some of these changes to the way we all live our lives will stick.

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In or Out?

I’ve been meaning to write about in-housing for weeks – but then the ISBA / PwC report and its implications happened and well … you know how it goes. Mind you, the ISBA work has implications for how clients handle their media activities, what if anything they do themselves and what they outsource to their agencies, so here we are at last even if by a rather circuitous route.

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Trust Me…

Disclosure – BJ&A has done work for Kantar Media, mentioned in this post

Last week’s Cog Blog outlined the findings from the ISBA / PwC report into the transparency of the programmatic supply chain, indicating that a large chunk of the average advertiser’s online budget doesn’t arrive at the intended destinations.

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Online Ads and the Black Hole

Last week’s Cog Blog commented on the recently released report from ISBA and PwC on where online ad money goes. The reaction has been, shall we say, extensive.

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Where Are All The Agency Experts?

Last week’s Cog Blog was all about how it seems that far and away the majority of agencies seem to have a blind spot when it comes to following their own advice about marketing during a recession. Most are regrettably silent when it comes to promoting their own values and client offerings.

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Agency Lessons from Recessions

As I’ve commented before here, there are plenty of opinions, articles and webinars on how marketers should go about weathering the coming economic recession. Many of these come from agencies, trade bodies, media owners, academics and marketing consultants; most peddle the line that the smartest plan is to keep spending at a time when the competition slows or stops, thus raising share-of-voice.

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Time To Do Things You Think You Could Not Do Before

If nothing else, the time we’re saving on commuting, and unproductive meetings allows us to explore what smart people have to say that could be relevant to the current situation. Time to show-off by dusting down those pretentious quotes!

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Agencies Post COVID-19

It may seem premature, given that like many I am locked inside with only multiple Zoom calls for company, but one day life will start to return to something approaching normality. What will agencies, and agency life look like then?

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Advertising in a Crisis – Be Wary of Lessons from Past Recessions

It is no surprise that our industry’s commentators, researchers and (naturally) bloggers are all focusing on what happens to marketing and advertising during a recession. These include the excellent Mark Ritson, whose column in ‘Marketing Week’ references data right back to the 1920s.

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So How Is It For You Media Chaps?

Time to rewrite the old rule: never believe your own publicity should surely become never believe your own Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / LinkedIn feed. We are in danger of running around in ever decreasing circles, screaming at the same people, recycling the same news, the same rumours, the same lies.

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That Cicero Knew a Thing or Two

Faced with an unprecedented worldwide health emergency, how lucky we are to have access to literally millions of ‘experts’ just a click away. It was only a matter of time before the ‘100 Lessons Marketing Can Learn from the Coronavirus’ articles started to appear, and sure enough it’s now hard to avoid this or that marketing commentator pontificating on one or other aspect of this awful situation.

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Pay Attention!

If you have been (paying attention that is..), you’ll be aware of a group called The Attention Council which met last week in London. Some of the more interesting things about this group is the variety and quality of its founders, the variation in the work they’re doing, and where they’re based. Not so long ago, measuring attention was a rather niche, not to say lonely activity. Not so today.

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There is Hope

I’ve always been something of an optimist. Even though last week’s Cog Blog post was full of doom and gloom (although you have to admit there were some great ads) I like to think that lessons have been learned and that the ad business is, finally, coming to terms with the world as it is today.

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Where We’ve Gone Wrong: An Illustrated History

Advertising has never been a particularly admired profession. Indeed, some would say it isn’t a profession at all. We’re not doctors or teachers, we’re not even lawyers or accountants. We don’t make or do anything of any great practical use to humanity. We help people sell stuff.

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Media Matter; Audiences Matter More

We are supposed to be good at words. We are after all in the communications business, although if you’ve had the misfortune to read a typical agency pitch document or sit through yet another conference paper on neuroscience and the media you may wonder.

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