Monthly Archives: February 2013

Creativity in Advertising vs. Data

For over 30 years now I’ve been hearing what seems to be a never-ending debate between “suits” of the research orientation and creatives about how advertising should be done. Creatives always complain that research has a tendency to kill great advertising. Research people point to case after case of bad creative that would never have run if people listened to what the research was telling them. The latest input comes from Adam Kleinberg at Ad Age. Here’s the link:

So, where are we today? Is “big data” going to be the savior that many claim? Will good creative go the way of the Dodo? I’ve seen this play out so many times that I find myself with a foot in each camp. But when push comes to shove, and you have to make a decision, I think you have to trust your gut. It’s a little like the other big question in business, the ongoing conflict between marketing and finance. I once wrote a biography about a self-made multimillionaire who told me his motto was “No guts, no glory.” Finance tends to be risk-averse (like research) while marketing wants to take risks (like creatives). He’d built seven successful companies by taking risks more often than playing it safe.

“Google Glass” Is it app-tastic?

So today’s Adweek online had a piece on Google Glass, including a short video that’s well worth watching ( and here’s the thing: Glass is not fully autonomous–it’s a wireless add-on to your smart phone. It relies on your GPS chip and processor and navigation to do what it does. And, of course, you have to wear it, like a pair of glasses. Read the article, check out the video and tell me: Do you think this will really be the next big ad medium?

From Blair Witch to Hunger Games–Social Media Power!

From Blair Witch to Hunger Games–Social Media Power!

This article describes the remarkable success of social media in creating blockbuster hit movies. Some, like “The Dark Knight” or “Hunger Games,” were expected to do well. Others, like “Blair Witch Project” and “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” not so much. Read and enjoy!

Which Audience Is Worth More?

Media Buyer & Planner Today noted that last night’s TV ratings showed these results for the two top shows in the 10 PM time slot:

ABC — Scandal — 2.8 for 18-49 demo, 8.0 million total viewers

CBS — Elementary — 2.2 for 18-49 demo, 10.9 million total viewers

So, which audience is worth more to advertisers?

Copyright Cruelty!

Digital Music News alerted subscribers like me to the latest incredibly harsh penalties being pursued for recording industry copyright violations. Here’s the article:

The Obama Administration Says a $222,000 Fine for File-Swapping 24 Songs Is ‘Appropriate…
This is no accident: after all, the Obama Administration is littered with ex-Recording Industry Association of America lawyers.  But the question is whether the US Government is ‘doing it wrong’ by raiding pirate compounds in New Zealand, bullying programmers into suicide, and doling out heavy-handed advice like this.

In an opinion just delivered to the Supreme Court, the Administration has urged the Justices to uphold a $222,000 judgment against Jammie Thomas for uploading 24 songs.  That is, by simply rejecting to hear the case entirely.  The case dates back to 2007, around the time when Kazaa was the file-sharing app du jour.

Thomas’ lawyers want the Supreme Court to judge on whether the fine is unfairly excessive and therefore unconstitutional.  But this is not an issue of constitutionality, according to the Administration, but rather an issue of the sanctity of copyright and the incentives it creates. “In particular, the exclusive rights conferred by a copyright are intended to motivate the creative activity of authors… by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired,” the document asserts.  “That public interest cannot be realized if the inherent difficulty of proving actual damages leaves the copyright holder without an effective remedy for infringement or precludes an effective means of deterring further  copyright violations.”

Indeed, copyright needs to stand for something.  But… $222,000 for 24 songs, which would have given major record labels about $16.80 ($24 x iTunes’ $0.70 royalty) if Thomas had paid?  Absolutely “appropriate” according to the recommendation, especially since a jury actually fined Thomas $1.5 million at one point (this is a case that has gone through three full trials.)

There’s also the issue of whether Thomas, a single mom with limited computer literacy, should be sent to the gallows of near-certain personal bankruptcy.  Thomas is no Bambi, but then again, there are far worse copyright criminals on the high seas.  “Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s copyright infringement was willful in the extreme,” the major labels, as represented by the RIAA, blasted in a statement.  “Three separate juries have concluded that her blatant and unapologetic violation of Respondents’ rights warranted a substantial award under the Copyright Act’s statutory damages provision.”

In my opinion, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act should be scrapped. It runs counter to the original intent of copyright and patent law, which was to foster innovation, not suppress it.

Media and Psychology in the TV Ad Biz

So, according to Advertising Age, ABC is going to run a pilot of a possible new TV show about a dad and daughter team who run an ad agency together. The star is Robin Williams! The tentative title is “The Crazy Ones,” and if that doesn’t describe RW to a tee, I don’t know what does. Here’s the link to the Ad Age story:

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