Guilty Pleasures

I admit I do spend an inordinate amount of time scouting marketing experts’ posts on LinkedIn and the rest for new ideas, and these peoples’ opinions on old ideas. If I’m being paid for my opinion on something I like to think it’s important to stay as current as I can be (how else am I going to find things to rant about on here?). But as well as that I have to admit to enjoying seeing old thoughts resurrected, polished up and presented as the latest shiny thing.

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Something New – Introducing Crater Lake & Company

In 7 years of weekly posts I’ve never promoted anything in which I’m involved. Until now. This week three colleagues and I are pleased to announce the birth of a new business, a collective that pulls together market research, data analytics, media planning and measurement and creative strategy, and from the mass of data, insights and thinking delivers a cohesive story, a single clear narrative. We are Crater Lake & Co.

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Pay (For) Attention

Forgive me but today I’m going to start by reverting to examples from my past life in agencies. Remember paying a premium to be on a right-hand page within a magazine? Or to be first in break in the first break in the heavily promoted new TV drama? Or to be the last ad shown before the movie starts in the cinema?

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Media – Far Too Important …

When I worked in the US, the agency media director responsible for the McDonald’s business had a framed quote from the CMO on his office wall. It read: “Media is far too important to be left to media people.”

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Balance

We are living in a binary world. Black or white. Left or right. Hero or zero. Win or resign. We always used to decry the very idea of grey (our ex-PM, John Major was ridiculed for being ‘grey’) but right now the middle, the more tolerant, the compromise are all looking more and more appealing.

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Search and Reapply

I grew up on the Procter and Gamble account. If there’s one thing P&G do better than almost anyone is to follow their own advice based on their own experiences. They used to call this ‘Search and Reapply’.

Unilever had a similar mantra, ‘Steal with Pride’.

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Whither Cross-Media Measurement?

Fifteen months ago, in early November 2019, ISBA’s Director General, Phil Smith stood on the asi stage in Prague in front of the world’s top audience measurement practitioners and announced Project Origin, the advertiser trade body’s major cross-media measurement initiative.

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The Magician and the Wand

Last week’s Cog Blog post commented on the coincidental juxtaposing of the creative agency Mother’s entry into the media agency world, with Wavemaker’s launching of a super-optimiser capable of analysing masses of planning options very quickly.

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Ads or Algorithms

This week, while the rest of the industry was in post-Superbowl creative ad fever Wavemaker, the GroupM media agency announced a breakthrough. They’ve used artificial intelligence (big tick) to build a tool (called Maximise, obviously) that can analyse gazillions of media plan options in a nanosecond (I may have got those numbers wrong).

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Ethics and Objectivity

Disclosure: BJ&A has done work for the7stars, the agency mentioned below

It’s time to talk about the E word: Ethics.

The notion of ethics within media agency operations has been in the news this week with the release that GroupM has created a tool, called The Data Ethics Compass. This with some feedback (as ‘Campaign’ calls it) from Unilever.

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Reasons to be Cheerful

Heaven knows there’s plenty to be miserable about right now. Just as well The Cog Blog never gets into the really serious stuff, in favour of fussing around parochial ad business issues. But here we are, with revenues down, adspend dropping, job losses, businesses collapsing and so on.

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Lessons from Philips

Last week ‘Campaign’ reported that the Philips media business is up for review. The account has been largely held by Carat – they’ve held it for (I would estimate) 25 years, a good run by anyone’s standards, which may well continue. The news struck a chord – I led the international element on the team that pitched the business.

It was an important pitch – and not just because of the money. Carat had  other large international accounts, of course but Philips was one of, if not the first multi-geography client won from scratch (we didn’t have the business anywhere) by what was then a new management team.

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Off We Go..

Well, here we are again, a new year, full of hope, aspirations, and ambitions – even if a quick look outside as we emerge from our duvets seems to confirm that things are still horrible, a pandemic is still raging, democracy is still under threat, and the old issues of 2020 have not mysteriously disappeared.

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A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away there lived a widow and her young son. The widow had always been kind to her son, as long as he did what he was told, but woe betide if he stepped out of line! ‘You can always be replaced’ she said to him; ‘There are plenty of boys out there who would love to come and look after me in return for a warm house and regular meals.’

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So, Farewell Then 2020

Well, that was, shall we say an interesting year. Quite aside from such cataclysmic episodes as a pandemic, Brexit negotiations, elections, and what has sadly become the usual quota of intolerance and violence we had a few little moments of our own in the quiet backwater that is advertising and media.

What will we take away?

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Marketing Meet Finance

Remember when the trades were full of thought leaders enlightening the rest of us? In the media world these were usually smart people from agencies, or media owners.

Advertisers rarely featured – indeed back then there was almost a paranoia around anything that could be described as sharing secrets outside the organisation.

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Seesaw Thinking

It’s a mystery why it is that sensible, smart people so often see things in absolutes: black or white, right or wrong, win or lose, media or creative. Surely the concept that teamwork is generally a good idea is not that hard to grasp?

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Funding Audience Measurement

For the last seven and a half years the Cog Blog has provided a weekly platform for me to rant on about this or that pet hate, to vent on what I see as industry wrongs and injustices, to amplify others’ good ideas, and to comment on the latest tit and tattle. To be honest, most of this really doesn’t make a great deal of difference in the overall scheme of things – but the subject of this week’s post does.

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Getting Attention at the asi

Disclaimer – I helped the asi team with last week’s annual conference

Last week’s asi conference, the annual get together of the video and audio audience measurement community broke new ground, and not just because it was a virtual as opposed to a physical gathering. It featured a session devoted to the concept of attention; it was the best ‘attended’ event asi has run; it attracted an audience from a number of disciplines beyond pure audience measurement; and it generated a wider, and a more lively debate than usual (and most asi’s in my experience are good at debate).

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Straws, Scraps and Intuition

One of my favourite quotes from the great Jeremy Bullmore goes as follows: “People build brands the way birds build nests. Through the straws and scraps they chance upon.” It’s a wonderful summation of how it’s people who build brands – and why all channels, all the straws and scraps have to work together, to fit together to build the whole.

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