Different Universes

I despair sometimes, I really do. Two unrelated topics this week seem to indicate that the ad industry exists in a separate parallel universe to the rest of humanity, and that our influence over what happens in real life is slim to nil.

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Advertisers and a Levy

There was no Cog Blog last week as I was attending some of the annual asi audience measurement spectacular and trying (to coin a phrase) to make sense of it all. For me, the most significant moment came not from research agencies, nor consultants, nor adtech suppliers but from advertisers.

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Planning – The Moral Dimension

Mediatel Newsline has been carrying some excellent editorial pieces recently around the topic of media strategy. The latest, from Nick Manning is here; all credit to Mediatel for giving over the space to this debate. It is quite a contrast to the old ‘Agency X in trading dispute with Broadcaster Y’ that passed as the hot debating topic of the day within the media world and which featured so regularly in ‘Campaign’.

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A Better House

A million years ago (last Tuesday) I got a job at the ad agency Davidson Pearce as a media research executive. I had had jobs before (as an ad agency messenger, a research assistant at Southern TV and as a market research junior at a client) but the media research role for me turned out to be a bit of a breakthrough.

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Outputs and Outcomes

Last week’s rant was all about not learning lessons, and referenced the mighty Bob Hoffman, the AdContrarian who made this very point in an interview as part of the Crater Lake and Mediatel ‘Making Sense Of It All’ series.

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Learning Lessons

Why is it that we are so bad at learning from the mistakes and successes of the past? It’s something that bugs me and, I suspect, anyone who’s been around for any length of time.

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Money, Power and Influence in Measurement

Today’s post finds inspiration in ‘The Sound of Music’, and Morecambe and Wise.

‘Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start’, as Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers had it.

In the very beginning, media space was in such short supply you took what you could get. But as restrictions eased, new media forms emerged and the media business grew, those responsible for spending advertising money needed some indication of who was doing the watching and the reading.

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Success in Media Agencies

Re-reading old Cog Blogs I’m struck by how often I criticise agencies. To be fair, the behaviour of many of the largest over the years has not made that particularly hard to do, but it’s no bad thing to balance shouting with an offer of pragmatic advice.

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Respect

A week or so ago a rarity appeared in my LinkedIn feed. A (beautifully written) piece from an ex-media agency strategist called Anthony Swede outlining his worries and concerns about the media agency business. In case it’s passed you by you can read it here.

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Measuring Everything That Communicates

Last week’s Cog Blog post made the point that everything a brand or company puts out there is in effect an ad. Everything communicates; everything a brand says, for good or ill contributes to what we think of that brand. Which leads to the inevitable question: which communication channels work best, which do the business good (or harm), which need to be invested in and which avoided at all costs?

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Everything Communicates

It’s a truism that everything a brand or company puts out there is in effect an ad. To quote William Randolph Hearst (as opposed to his alter ego, Citizen Kane): “News is something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising.”

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In Context

In recent weeks I have had some small insight into what it must be like to be a world-renowned epidemiologist, seeing your field diminished to ignorant tweets and online comments from those with a fraction of a fraction of my decades’ worth of knowledge and expertise. The reason? Suddenly it seems that everyone is an expert in media placement.

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An Industry Not At Ease

The more I look around, the more I read our trades, the more research I see the more I come to the conclusion that the ad business is not an industry at ease with itself. Doing strange things. Making decisions based solely on media metrics. Ignoring the biggest issues.

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No Cannes Do

We are a tone-deaf business sometimes. Consider the following unrelated facts. One, advertising is not trusted or liked by most consumers. Two, we are facing an unprecedented upheaval in the media available to advertisers, who owns these media, and how they’re used. Three, the debate on how to assess the value of the different media choices, singly and in combination is a live one. Four, the main industry protagonists have just spent a large chunk of change entering for and ‘attending’ the annual Cannes festival.

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Campaigning

Back in the olden days when people actually went to meetings, a common client refrain when the planners unveiled their thinking and the creatives the executions was: ‘Yes, but is it campaign-able?’

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GBNewbies

This week has seen the launch of the UK’s latest TV channel, GBNews, the brainchild of ex-News International executive Andrew Neil, funded for the most part by overseas entities.

GBNews has been dubbed our very own version of Fox News in terms of that channel’s political leanings. Whether it is or not isn’t the point of this post; the Cog Blog tries to steer clear of political comment.

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90% Right; 100% Wrong

Levels of attention, what that notion means in relation to ads, and how we should go about measuring it is having a bit of a moment. Hopefully it will be a moment that lasts years as this is clearly an important issue and raises matters of principle in how we go about the business of placing and evaluating advertising.

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Dentsu on Attention

There was a time when Carat was head and shoulders above every other media agency. Even their competitors said so. There were two main reasons for this: first, they were the biggest, and by a street the most entrepreneurial, as the original network was created by purchasing the leading media independent in each European market. And secondly they spent more on research and tools than anyone else.

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Time to Grow Up

Ever since early man emerged from his cave, invented fire and wondered aloud how he was going to spread the word of his wondrous invention to others, those responsible for doing the word-spreading have considered themselves hard done-by.

Agencies feel advertisers underpay them. They feel that their true worth is under-valued. They feel misunderstood, under-appreciated. They always have, they probably always will.

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Big Picture

We’ve all seen the chart, witnessed the presentation, heard the wails. Why do TV’s detractors always show an old-fashioned small screen encased in a wooden cabinet? What about the new technologically advanced 50” flat screen, hooked up to the home’s wifi that does everything, including making the tea in the morning (if only..)?

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