The Last Post – 14 Random Thoughts for 2014

The first Cog Blog appeared on 2nd July 2013; which means our 6-month birthday is January 2nd 2014.  As I won’t be posting then I thought I would share some of those things that have caught my eye this year as a novice blogger. You’re welcome; consider this a (rather cheap) early Christmas present.

  1. Sponsored tweets generally mysteriously appear 3rd on my inbox. Maybe it’s like choosing wine: not top (too expensive?); not second (too cheap?) but third. They can’t fool me; I report the lot as spam and block them. I also block the Twitter Ad account and report it as spam. I wondered if by doing so I would rip the time space continuum but so far so good.
  2. Sponsoring the ‘report and block’ facility on Twitter would be a good way of reaching the discerning consumer. Twitter is missing a trick here I feel.
  3. Facebook’s ad algorithms seem to get no better. I’m still offered a selection of things, none of which I could possibly need or want (although the thoroughbred gelding was tempting).
  4. LinkedIn endorsements are if anything even more annoying (if being complimented can ever be annoying) than Facebook ads. And equally useless.
  5. The fact that so many UK retailers now run John Lewis-style long-form, emotionally-driven TV Christmas ads makes them all less impactful. Meantime John Lewis itself appears to have turned into Disney.
  6. The Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s pronouncement of the death of commercial TV, on May 1st 2013 was a perfect manifestation of the inward-looking, self-obsessed nature of so much of the online media world. Plus he was wrong. Obviously.
  7. Also wrong were those people who kept on relating the time consumers spend with a medium with the amount of ad dollars spent on it. If this relationship were true, outdoor would be the largest advertising medium on the planet. I’m just amazed that analysts and commentators don’t pay more attention to those who know what they’re talking about.
  8. The AdContrarian ( is a brilliant blog. I want to be Bob Hoffman when I grow up.
  9. The topic that has generated the most heat (and the largest audience on the Cog Blog page) is the future of market research ( Fearlessly, I plough on despite the threats to my cohorts.
  10. If you want to maximise the audience to your blog, include a celebrity in the title. Or the words ‘Royal Baby’; or (strange though it may seem) ensure the words ‘Market Research’ and ‘Future’ appear somewhere.
  11. According to Google Analytics Kenneth Williams no longer counts as a celebrity. Although Jack Myers, who reposts the Cog Blog in the USA says this was his favourite of my posts (
  12. The coveted Cog Blog award for the best of the media agency tweeters goes to Paul Frampton (@paul_framp) of Havas. Most of the others just shamelessly promote their agencies which is just not very interesting for the rest of us. Or (we suspect) for those working in the agencies doing the self-promoting.
  13. Using social media forms to praise your staff is naff beyond words. Why not write them a personal note. Or send chocolates. Or money. Any of these will work better, I promise you.
  14. If a media form is lagging, try renaming it. ‘Contextual messaging’…not interesting. ‘Native advertising’, now you’re talking.

I hope you’ve enjoyed at least some of the last six months’ posts. Thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to comment, email, like, retweet or republish. It’s great to receive feedback – even the negative stuff!

The Cog Blog will be back mid-January. Meantime here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Christmas and a most successful New Year.

  1. Realy like point 14…

  2. I’m with you on No.8.
    No 15. should be “Brian is a star”.

  3. Great blog, Brian. One of the best – true insights and original thinking (vs. echo chamber). Thanks for writing.

    Also, RE #7. I totally agree with you. The famous Mary Meeker Time Spent slide has wasted billions of investor money. If it were true, nobody would spend any money on postal mail. How much time is spent on reading mail? How much commerce does it generate? Compare that to mobile.

    Comparing marketing channels only by time spent is a road to failure. It’s definitely a factor, but suitability to commerce and marketing messages has to be considered.

  4. Always enjoy your blogs. Even (especially?) when I disagree wth you. Happy holidays!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *