- Is Pinterest being ruined by words?
- Best and worst of Super Bowl 46 commercials
- Recommended resolutions for advertising types
- Anatomy of an advertising emergency
- Why I work in healthcare (ok, I'll say it: pharma) marketing
- Holy brand, president man
- Remember when I used to write this blog called Advergirl?
- No normal in our fractured culture
- A shared new years resolution for women in advertising?
- 7 ways we use social now: #3 Have babies
Remember when all the numbered lists (_top 10, three reasons_) started to make blogs tiresome? When ubiquitous @s made Twitter overwhelming to scroll? When getting friended by your boss first made Facebook awkward (long before your grandma logged on)? Those little fault lines were true moments of user design. Examples of what happens when we the people change how we use the tools of social. These growing pains shape the next generation of what that destination will be and who will stay to use it (while others wander away). Pinterest is at its first fault line. Its early adopters were cooks, designers and fashionistas. They posted beautiful garments, quirky finds, mouth-watering creations. These were people who loved the look of a thing. Who embraced the idea that a picture alone could inspire. Then came the pet lovers, the crafters, the nest feathers. Each building a personal NotCot -their own curated collections of delightful things. The third wave has brought words. Lots of them. successories. A few are long, winding infographics. Some are recycled quotes from long-lost artists. But, far too many are didactic little blurbs, randomly assigned a font and punctuated with bangers or single-word affirmations (truth, yes, amen, or simply a :). A few recently popular examples repinned in my stream:
Super fact from our friends at Eli LIlly: You could bring a revolutionary new drug to market for the price of 371 Super Bowl ads. (Presumably you could cure yellow toenails, too) Not quite 371 ads tonight, but there definitely seemed to be more advertising than atheletics in this game. Here's the run down: THE BEST: Honda Come on, what 80s survivor did not love every moment of this _Ferris Bueller_ knock off?? And so much the better that the grown-up Broderick starred. (Extra delight for that giant panda bear at the end). I'm pretty sure I heard the BF giggle at this one... HYUNDAI I'm a big fan of Hyundai's entire sponsorship of this game. From the kick off plugs that thanked the 45,000 employees in the U.S. (that's right- that funny sounding company is peopled by Americans) to this high-energy spot. I know, I know, _that_ theme song, right? But if there's one night you can guarantee the world is ready for a little Rocky it's tonight. I'm pretty sure you could actually get away with Queen in one of these pricey pods. BEST BUY In the months after we lost Steve Jobs, America could use a little innovation inspiration. From the range of addictive experiences these guys have created to the fun interaction with the flight attendants, this spot was as watchable as an eposide of Modern Family. (One note, though, women: we really have to start inventing more stuff. It's ridiculous how many middle-aged white dudes were in that ad) CHRYSLER Lump-in-the-throat worthy storytelling from one of the greatest chroniclers of the human experience making movies today: Clint Eastwood. Damn, that was good. And, extra props for the strategic buy (message matches placement). Hear the roar of this engine. _Our second half is about to begin ..._ TOYOTA Massages, ice cream, baby time machines ... who wouldn't love this reinvented world?? I'm not sure it makes me want a Camry, but it did make me laugh out loud. BUDWEISER This spot would have won #1 ranking, but as I post this, the video is still marked as "private" on both Bud's site and YouTube. Still, a sound track that features Flo Rida's #3-peaking single "Good Feeling" and The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary" all whilst spanning time and culture throughout its history ... well, it deserves a mention (if not a functioning video link) The worst: Kia You know when you see an ad and immediately think you know everything there is to know about the ad team that created it? Yeah, that's this one ... OLD NAVY Sometimes imitation is the funniest kind of advertising. Other times ... well, it's like those dull, tone-deaf years of SNL. Just sad and kind of embarrasing for everyone. This creepy cowboys looks like he stained his Dockers and he's way more sad than funny.PEPSI This is really just a vote for the worst mashup of the night: Aretha Franklin's signature number (sung by that X Factor chic) + the set from a horrible night at Medieval Times + some seemingly random nods to Occupy = Ad Fail (or populism as schritzophrenic as John Edward's) I'm guessing some of you are objecting to this review on footwear alone ... if there's one girl who should respect Elton John in those heels, it's this one. But, still ... great shoes can't solve everything. AUDI Vampires. Probably enough said right there. That's a lot of money to be spending on a declining pop culture artifact ... but then again, it is Audi. So, perhaps cleverly on brand after all. Doritos: Putting an obnoxious, taunting preteen on television is as discordant, annoying and generally inhumane as using police sirens in radio ads or beep-beep-beeping alarms clocks, well, anywhere. SPECIAL MENTIONS AND BEST-OF AWARDS: Here's a little love for a few of the niche favorites: BEST MASHUP: Chevy + Twinkies + Barry Manilow + Biblical Frogs. That's some truck commercial for Silverado. BEST MASHUP (RUNNER UP): Great dog + Biggest-Loser-style makeover story + Star Wars + VW. I'm thinking George Lucas might have just gone ahead and bought VW at some point. MOST IMPROVED: Can you believe how fantastic the Coke bears look these days? I think they were line drawings when they first scooted on screen. BEST CHANNELING OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL EXPERIENCE: _Ew, seriously, gross._ But this Geico spot was pretty cool. SEXIEST: Sorry guys, not that Victoria Secret model come Teleflora sleeze. I'm blushing for Beckham. Nicely done, H&M BEST PET: Certainly the toughest category. This used to be the night of those Budweiser ponies, but this year it's all man's best friend(s). My fave? The moonwalking french bull dog pimping Sketchers. BIZARRE THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND AND WON'T EVEN TYPE ABOUT ANY MORE: * GoDaddy spots * eTrade talking babies ANOTHER REASON TO FEAR FIAT WILL NEVER REALLY COME BACK: Yeah, just watch it. THE BF'S FAVORITE (he did put up with my typing all through the second half): That guy loves a single Seinfeld reference. Imagine how happy he was with, like, seventeen + a Soup Nazi cameo and squirrel wings?? Yeah, easy win with this one ... (P.S. strong preference for the non-alien version)
2012 planning may have wrapped up four or five months ago, but 2011 actually still persists ... hanging on, in fact, for four more lazy end-of-year days. What will next year really bring to the friendly confines of agency life? What will you promise yourself to make it even better? A few friendly suggestions (from the girl with an opinion about everything): FOR BETTER WORK: * Don't stay too long: Even the best people can't keep doing the same thing forever. We get clouded by what we've done before, what rejections we've heard, and what roadblocks we've hit. Keep changing it up - new account, new role, new hobby, new gig. * Wander around: Get out of the hotel rooms, conference rooms, observation rooms more. Wander around the mall, the medical center, every city you find yourself in. Make time to check out the world. * Read more: Refresh your RSS feed, find a new periodical (One Story, HBR, BigThink), follow your customers' blogs, generally consume more fodder and inspiration (mental fiber). Share the best stuff. * Take a break from all the metaphors: Yeah, I know it's like riding a bike, but people are only nodding at that because (1) you are and (2) they know what riding a bike is (not necessarily how it applies to creating a chemical compound) * Invite strange people to lunch: Maybe strange is the wrong word. How about: different. Have great conversations about everything and nothing that lead you to think about things in new ways. * Design a better expense reporting system (ok, that one's just for me, but if you're up for it...) FOR BETTER LIFE: * Cancel fewer plans: Treating every RSVP as a maybe is the epidemic of our generation. Make the plans you want to make, keep them. Turn all others down gracefully. * Write: Not just in PPT. * Meet normal people: Yesterday, a colleague asked me to recommend a mom roughly our age for a panel. The only catch: She had to be outside the industry. I came up with ... ONE, and she's married to an ad guy. (Do you know normal? Hardest Advergirl quiz ever) * Get inspired: Beat back the cynicism of office life with a little real life inspiration. Go to the theater, see more live music, buy art. (Spending an hour on Pinterest does not count) * Read your Rob Brezny horoscope: It's 60 seconds/week that are like reading a Hunter S Thompson, being back in college and thinking about your life as a Blitzen Trapper song. Seriously, sign up. FOR GOOD INTENTIONS THAT WILL BE LEFT BEHIND BY JANUARY 6 (AT THE LATEST): * Don't eat the random junk food and cold pizza that people leave in the office kitchen (that's their garbage - not your lunch) * Do your timesheets daily * Show up to meetings on time * Give a little email amnesty (borrow from VW and resist the urge to email before 8 and after 6) * Don't work at least one day every week: No email on your phone, no PowerPoint over breakfast, no highlighting the RFP in front of the TV. Just don't work.
There's a curious phenomenon that happens in advertising agencies ... Despite our annual planning sessions and relatively-long project lead times, every other month or so, we have a genuine Advertising Emergency. An all-hands-on-deck, everyone-cancel-their-plans, someone-place-a-takeout-order humdinger of a crisis. No matter the cause, each emergency plays out nearly the same way:
Almost two years ago now, I left the world of retail agencies to join up with a specialist: one of the leading healthcare marketing organizations in the world. It was a good opportunity to refocus on digital and innovation, but, I'll admit: I was pretty nervous about it. I had the same question almost every job candidate I talk to now asks: _What's it like to work for pharma _(often asked with a grimace)? If there's an industry out there with a black hat, it's this one. Pick your complaint: cost, claims, commercials that warn of anal leakage. (ew) Working inside this industry, though - it's a completely different story. And, the gap, I think is what regulations can do to communications. Here's what I like about it: I'VE NEVER BEEN CLOSER TO MY CUSTOMER: Close your eyes and think of a patient. Chances are that word brings to mind someone in a hospital gown shuffling down a hospital hallway. The truth is that most "patients" are people out living their lives who happen to also have a chornic or acute disease to deal with. Getting that context that keeps real people at the center of what we do requires a lot of listening. I've read blog posts to packed conference rooms like a preacher at a pulpit. Watched patient advocates paint (literally) pictures of what the experience is really like. LIstened to survivors talk about how being diagnosed changed how they and their families live their lives... it is incredibly powerful stuff that will completely change perspectives and create better, more advocacy-minded work. OR MORE CHALLENGED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE A BIG IDEA WORK: If you've ever worked in a highly-regulated industry (finance, military, health), you know the easiest answer is _no_. The hurdles are high. The rewards in the distance (and the reprecussions close in). Getting a big new idea through the system can seem daunting, if not impossible. Creating the business case, the compelling experience, the can't-miss storytelling around a new technology, a new tool, a new market is harder here than it is anywhere (and it's that much more rewarding when it pays off for the people we ultimately serve). ALL IN AN INDUSTRY THAT REALLY IS CHANGING PEOPLE'S LIVES 90% of new treatments and drugs are created by private industry (plus/minus depending on whose numbers you look at - either way, _most_). Those new treatments extend and improve life: In the last two decades of the 20th century, new medicines accounted for 40% of the increase in life expectancy in more than 50 countries (Columbia University economist Frank Lichtenberg). In other words, for every year that life expectancy has increased, five months can be attributed to the availability of new medicines. Believe it or not, marketing plays a significant role is making these new drugs available. Physicians are busier now than ever - longer days, more patients, more paperwork. The time they spend in the exam room is down to an average of 7 minutes/person. The treatments they rely on tend to be the ones they learned in residency. Bringing innovation to the practice, well, that's what we do here. Is it perfect? No way. No business is. But I'll take this over selling you a holiday ham most any day.
Along with Pottery Barn, LL Bean, Uncommon Goods and the other deluge of holiday catalog mail in my box yesterday, I found this: It's the 2012 Obama catalog - where you can get everything from Obama wine glasses to necklaces to dog bowls to this weird t-shirt that makes it look like the president is coming out of your pants. Hysterical. Not even Bono has this kind of brand. The boom of candidate affinity - from something expressed through free yard signs and buttons to a virtual revenue-driving mall of political gear - is an interesting mashup of the consumer trend of wearing brands (Old Navy, AE, Coach) and the acrimonous political encampments being built between blue and red. Mostly, though, it's just funny that you can buy an Obama cutting board in the year he's arguably on the chopping block :)
Over the past few weeks, I've been working on this big pitch with good people from all over the agency. It's the kind of opportunity that warrants some serious planning sessions and big, dramatic staging. In other words: It's the best kind. As we were talking about who would be on the team, this old blog came up in conversations a few times ... people read it before I started working here, they'd heard it mentioned from this colleague or that, basically they consider Advergirl to have been just a little internet famous. That got me thinking about writing again. Or, writing here again. When I joined GSW, I put all my blogging energy into starting up some agency blogs. Three of them, actually: WhatsYourDigitaliQ.com, BrandLiberators.com, and BeShareworthy.com Ok, so that last one did totally fall off. But the other two are doing pretty well. BrandLiberators has 30 contributors from all over the organization - executives and newbies, nurses and coders. And, WYDiQ was named one of Facebook’s top 50 healthcare blogs (whatever that means). And, even better news? They don't need me any more. The two surviving blogs each have their own editors, writers and readers ... so, I'm off to the next thing. Or, back to it, I guess. It turns out I miss writing here - trading emails with readers, cracking bad jokes, sharing my favorite things. I miss that connection. So, my long-abandonned readers, I hope you're still out there ... I feel like typing with you again. (Oh, and I think I'm going to do some more advertising resume makeovers - so, if you've got a bum CV, send it my way)
We live in a culture of many cultures. We're so broken up by endless media choices, closed social networks and virtually limitless options in music, food, entertainment and assorted stuff that what is uber popular in your group is likely virutally unnoticed by others. It's created a real challenge for advertisers because it demands a wholly new kind of thinking - one that shifts from looking for normal to identifying significant. There's no middle in a culture of many culture - no bland demographic data that represents our audience. Instead, we need to look for interesting niches, micro audiences as likely to be united around an interest as an age group To do that, we have to give up the belief that, say, all moms are like you are as a mom or all college students experience what you did in college or - most importantly - that advertisers like us are anything, anywhere, at all close to normal. What about you? HOW "NORMAL" ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE REST OF AMERICA? Grab a pencil and take this short quiz to see how good of a pulse you have on some of the most interesting, influential niches in American culture. Answers and scoring after the jump. * Late last year, this became the fastest selling electronics device ever. * This favorite game app has over 88 million active monthly users, making it the most popular ever launched from a social network. * A special episode of what show about a teenage girl and her friends was the highest-rated (non-football) cable telecast of 2010? * How many pieces of content does the average Facebook user create each month? * What percent of Twitter users are African American? * One of the biggest gaming subcultures is built around this fantasy game that has been an institution for 23 years and has sold nearly 100 million copies. * Over 1300 of these have been built over the last few decades, each featuring huge stages, rock bands, jumbotron screens, and consistent weekly audiences of several thousand. * The most popular prime time television show last year had ____% the viewers the Cosby Show did in its heyday. (Bonus point if you can name the show). * This _New York Times_ bestseller and nationally syndicated radio host (in 64 markets) is one of America’s favorite sources of relationship advice with titles like _Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man_, which sold 2.5 million copies. * This fifth-ranking television network often beats out the CW for fourth place, thanks to its more consistent programming line and enthusiastic audience. Answers: * Kinect for Xbox * Cityville * iCarly * 90 * 25 * Final Fantasty * Mega churches * 50%, _Two and a half men_ * Steve Harvey * Univision How'd you do? 10+ POINTS: Ok, I was wrong. There are some people who can speak for all of us. Clearly your combination of crystal ball gazing, media consuming and general curiousity about your fellow (wo)man has made you a clear-headed advocate for segment marketing. (And, I'd like to hire you) (IF you didn't use Google to answer the questions) 7 -9 POINTS: Congratulations, you're looking pretty broadly at the influencers and experiences that are shaping our fragmented world. Now the challenge is putting it to work - can you find meaningful ways to engage these signficant - and wildly different - audience segments that may not be at all like you? 4 - 6 POINTS: Decent showing. There's a ton going on out there and you have your eye on a lot of it. To learn even more, talk to different kinds of people. The next time you're spending the day at a family/church/work/friend event, interview the people there who seem most unlike you. Find out where they spend their time, what absolutely captivates them, and where their frustrations are. 3 OR FEWER: Yeah, right? This stuff is hard - people are weirder than you think. In really delightful ways. Get to know more of them. Start by adding one new media channel to your mix - a source of news or ideas or entertainment that might help you get to know an intriguing new niche.
I haven't watched much TED in a while. I blame it on inspiration overload. Too many exceptional people with exceptional aggravations pounding at pulpits.TEDWomen may bring me back, though - the talks I've seen so far are a lot more practical, filled with insight and action. My friend Jude actually sent me my first TEDWomen talk. It's Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg exploring why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions. You've seen these numbers - Of 190 Heads of State around the world, only 9 are women. In the corporate world only 15% of the top leadership positions are held by women. (Those numbers haven't moved since 2002.) There are more examples - all that either suggest that women drop out or don't have access. Sandberg didn't want to talk about the problem, though. Instead she focused on the practical ways to change it. What should we focus on as individuals? What messages do we share with the women who work with and for us? What do we tell our daughters? And, before I get to her advice. I want to talk about her "but": What do we tell our collegues and daughters in a world where there will be sacrifices they have to make for their successes that their brothers will not? One example of that sacrifice is reputation. The data clearly shows that SUCCESS AND LIKE-ABILITY ARE POSITIVITY CORRELATED FOR MEN AND NEGATIVELY CORRELATED FOR WOMEN. Sandbeg pointed to a case created Professor Frank Flynn at Columbia Business School known as The Heidi/Howard Roizen Study. Flynn had Heidi Roizen, a powerful entreprenuer and venture capitalist, speak to his organizational behavior class in previous semesters. She spoke about networking, her business successes and the challenges of being a woman in Silicon Valley. One semester, he distributed two versions of her bio to the class. Half got Heidi's real background and half got that same bio with one word changed: Heidi became Howard. Before the lecture, Flynn had students go online and rate their impressions of "Roizen" on several dimensions. The results showed that students were much harsher on Heidi than on Howard across the board. Although they thought she was just as competent and effective as Howard, they didn't like her, they wouldn't hire her, and they wouldn't want to work with her. They disliked Heidi's aggressive personality and rewarded Howard's entreprenuerial one. The more assertive they thought Heidi was, the more harshly they judged her (but the same was not true for those who rated Howard) (Jump to minute 7:27 if you want to hear Sandberg talk about this story) That's a powerful caveat. And surely one of the reasons women drop out. But if you don't - here is Sandberg's advice: practical steps for women to get ahead in the workplace (serious highlights of things I'm not doing well in my own career, by the way). It's followed by my own ideas about what we can do together to get rid of a little bit of that "but" (which is really what all new years resolutions are about anyway, right?) * SIT AT THE TABLE. DON'T SIT ON THE SIDELINES That means doing things that are really hard for women - like owning our successes (instead of sharing them with everyone who helped us along the way); negotiating for our salaries and promotions (50% of men negotiate for their first salary; 7% of women do - that's a cause of the salary gap right there); and driving our careers forward * MAKE YOUR PARTNER A REAL PARTNER Women with a significant other and children do 2x the housework and 3x the childcare as their partners. In households where partners evenly split the workload, divorce rates are lower and, um, sexual satisfaction is higher * DON'T LEAVE BEFORE YOU LEAVE If you're planning to take time off of your career to have a child, don't leave before you leave. Keep going full speed ahead until you get there. Too many women take their foot off the gas years in advance (while the men keep moving ahead) That all sounds great. Except the more of it women do, apparently the worse they're seen. So, here's my idea for our shared resolution (because if women support each other more, the rest will come): * CHECK YOUR GUT REACTIONS: When you think something negative or dismissive about a female colleague, take a minute to consider why. If the same statement were made or action taken by a male collegue, would you feel the same way? These gender issues are deep and cultural and tough to change - but we can be more aware of how they effect us as individuals. (Is she really being a bitch when he would just be assertive? Is she a snob where he would be considered a professional? Maybe. But, maybe not.) * RECOGNIZE SUCCESS FROM YOUR FEMALE COLLEAGUES OUT LOUD: Men naturally claim their accomplishments. The data shows that men tend to overestimate their performance while women underestimate theirs. Let's dial it up a little bit. Congratulate each other in open court. Mean it. And, don't shrug it off when the compliment is coming to you. * MAKE SOFT SKILLS PART OF YOUR CAREER AND NETWORK DEVELOPMENT: Dig up articles about negotiating for salary or running a presentation or sharing constructive criticism. Practice what you learn. And, pass it on to your colleagues and friends. * ASK FOR SOMETHING YOU WANT (AND HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO OFFER): Just doing good work often isn't enough. We need to get good at career planning and setting a path and asking for that next promotion. People aren't waiting anxiously to help you up the next step - they're looking to see if you'll take it. We're likely among the last generations to live in a world run so decisively by men. Wouldn't it be great if we enjoyed some of that equity and opportunity instead of simply being on the slightly wrong side of history. Wouldn't it be great if there was no "but" in wanting to succeed?
What would you guess is the average age someone first has an online presence? In North America, Australia and Europe it's 6 MONTHS. This probably isn't a surprise to the 30-somethings reading here. Our friends' and colleagues' blogs, profiles and Twitter feeds are clogged with icky anecdotes, cute photos and other artifcacts of parenting life. What may be a surprise is just how ubiqutous it is. We're not talking "mommy bloggers" here - we're talking parents. Almost all of them. By 2 years old, 80% of kids can be found online. Almost 1/4 of parents don't even wait for the birth day - they upload ultrasounds and other scans - creating an online life that predates the real world one. Baby photos are definitely the addiction point. 70% of moms post them to share with friends and family. But, some parents are a lot more planful about it. Just under 10% are actually creating email accounts for their babies. It's an interesting trend because it's about a lot more than just an online baby book. It's the start of a digital dossier - one created for another human. (Source: Internet Security company AVG, 2010) (Love to Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics for the find)