Friday, January 30, 2009

Killer apps, adult content and Guinness. Happy Friday!



You know you've arrived when...


you inspire a murder. This nutjob in the UK killed his ex wife when she changed her fb profile status back to single. I was going to try to make some gag about Facebook being a killer app, but it would be misplaced. I only bring this to your attention to illustrate the no-longer-latent power of social networking.


You know you've arrived when...

you get more traffic than... sssh... pornography sites. I don't know if this makes social network sites into non-adult sites, but Robin Goad at Hitwise has the penetration figures. I've downloaded the money shot for those afraid to 'click' on his 'post'. ('Sorry.')
You know you've arrived when...


a loong day with a dozen speeches from movers and shakers in the world of social media apps pulls in two hundred interested peeps from Dublin's adland. The facts that it was free, they threw lunch in and there was a pint of plain to be got for no euros may or may not have had salience.
I won't list all the people who spoke at the Guinness Storehouse. You can see them here at host Net Imperatives' overview.

This wasn't deep end stuff, more like a gentle overview of what's going on elsewhere. Here's the list that matters, imho, and if you weren't on this one, you should really be wondering why.


I'm just saying is all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Announcing the Web 2.0 Roadshow for Adland.


Corporate/Social applications of Web 2.0 for clients in Irish advertising agencies.

This is the new roadshow we're putting together for Irish agencies that have limited or no involvement with internet conversations for their roster of clients. Snappy title, right? Somehow Corporate Sapps doesn't seem right either. Anyway, this is a heads up for what we'll be doing moving forward. It's also an invitation to demand a free pint from me if I EVER use the phrases heads up or moving forward in this blog again. Utter arse clutter.

So, to redress the balance of technophobia (it ain't technics, baby) and the chasm of understanding between having a Facebook profile and using similar for your clients, the Web 2.0 Roadshow for Adland is being compiled, nay, composed (for it will be a beautiful thing) and will be doing the rounds from March. It'll be swift, enlightening and a lot less painful than trepanning.

This is NOT for those who are already well familiar with the web's social apps and are exploiting them for clients. It's pretty much for those who think that the web begins and ends with rollover banner ads which look awful like the press ad they just did. It's an introductory course to the pros and cons of corporate engagement on platforms such as
Readers of this blog are to varying degrees already in the 2.0 wave. Many of those in the agencies you work with aren't. Spread the word! The Web 2.0 Roadshow for Adland is a pretty informal beast, but it has great relevance for Account execs, managers, directors, planners, media and creatives. Not so much for the agency cat, but for everyone else it's essential like avoiding David McSavage's 'new' 'show' on RTE is essential. It makes housecalls too, so disruption is minimal.

More to follow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's adlinks

Tesco handles the truth in advertising. Very thank you, Monsieur l'Assistant teu le Manageur du Brande.

Onside Sponsorship's John Trainor does the hard sell in the Business Post
. Naming rights for Lansdowne Road are still available. My suggestion: similar to the way the late, lamented Point completely disappeared into The O2, how about bye bye Lansdowne, hello The GAA? Just saying.

Jonathan Woss does it. Stephen Fwy does it. What's with celebs, fake celebs and Twitter?

Resmesshion: Cybercom are expanding and need a Head of Search Marketing and a Paid Search Executive (the unpaid one quit nyuk nyuk). Say what now? Oh yes, these are the kinds of job descriptions that modern ad agencies use now.

Shameless objectivisation of naked bodies works both ways for Powerade. Thank you Mother. Click yourselves silly, ladies.

Shameless objectivisation of writhing body works both ways for Agent Provocateur. Stand up and be counted, gents.

Bruddah can ya spare a dime? The Indo group needs a quick hundred mill...

WTF does 'disintermediated' mean? Clue: it's not good, it's happening to you and Martin Sorrell won't feel its pinch half as much as you will.

Ulrika-ka-ka wins, but not too many care any more, it seems. Shame when quality like this is ignored.

Advertising is good for kids! Yay! It's official, or at least it is for the UK's Advertising Association!

Happy Monday, Adbabies. No snoozie after lunch.

(If it seems as though I plundered Brand Republic's website a lot, that is an outrageous lie and how dare you? Through the non-evil and almighty power of Google Analytics I know where you are having coffee right now. Shut up.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

PR gets jiggy with bloggers

(Pic thanks to Sidesalad)


Last Wednesday Edelman PR hosted the inaugural Collision Course, giving PR people a chance to engage face to face with some prominent bloggers and discuss the areas where they (could) overlap.

You can read a summary of proceedings and a discussion kickoff in the comments here at Alexia Golez's blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Riot. It's the only way to get noticed.

If you're not out there working on the edge, start seeing someone who is. TBWA did, and they're now in a sexy 3-way on the digital account for Adidas. Adweek says
In the review, Adidas had a choice between established shops and this new entity called Riot. Riot's July pitch demonstrated just how it would operate. The group produced work the week before, the idea to "enact it live" -- be it ad units, pieces of content, film, blogs or applications. Riot picked up the account, with revenue estimated at $15 million. The shop now has about 30 staffers culled from Critical Mass, 180 and TBWA, and plans to add 20 more.






The new set-up needs a Social Media Director. Wooo! If you have the smarts for it, send your CV to David Armano at Critical Mass. Go on, it'll be a riot. He says

The position requires re-location in Amsterdam, which I have to say is a pretty cool town. Interested? Send me a note at davida(at)criticalmass.com. I am helping to screen and we are only considering highly qualified candidates. Please include resume and samples.

And/or please pass this on to someone who you think is the right fit. This is a great and rare opportunity to evolve marketing/communications as we know it.

I'd love to have balls enough to even think I could submit my resumé. I calculate I'd need about seven. But then who'd cut out the press ads and put them in the vouchers book every Thursday afternoon, hah? Who?

Exactly.

But you go ahead.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh just exuberate will ya!

Big up to T Mobile for the love of the common people!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monday's adlinks

Fascinating insights into the behaviour of the top business brass in IAPI's new Business Media Study as reported in the Business Post. Lots of juicy, but these two caught my eye.
'Business people don’t seem to like online advertising, with 53 per cent saying they were unlikely to notice it'.
That's possibly because, as
Moray MacLennan, CEO of M&C Saatchi Worldwide, says 'users are logging in for communication rather than commerce.'

Also, 62 per cent said they were unlikely to take note of a mobile phone ad. They haven't been exposed to this, then.





How about this to juice up your creativity. No idea who did this, but it is rather excellent. Does Mister Collins agree? From the Chip Shop Awards.

OMG! On the buses was never this funny.

Brendan O'Broin's A to Z of brands and performance in the last year.
From Marketing Magazine.

Group Chairman of BBH on the future for agencies. Hmmm.

But digital will flourish. Wayy!


'With Design Innovations, Digital Platforms and Culture-Busting Ideas, These Shops Were Tops'

America's top ten agencies for '08.

Happy Monday, people of marketing.

Client choices and new economic reality

Massive potential. In need of some modernisation. (pic tx flame girl)

Ad agencies are sitting on an immense storehouse of acquired marketing knowledge. It represents a massive opportunity, yet with somewhat cruel irony it's a giant effing albatross about your neck at the same time. And this storehouse albatross creature has, erm, come to a fork in my no-longer-sustainable metaphor.

So whaddya do? Take the more familiar route? Does your agency lean back into the complacent arms of its upper management, who just got down with the autorespond function on their email last week? Pump the ATL for a few euro more, even though you know it'll be a few less this year?

Or do you listen to the annoying tweet of the Head of Digital or the Integration Dept or the Web Guy or whatever you mirthfully call the person who's been doing nothing but surfing the web and attending pointless 'networking' programmes (and possibly goat sacrifices in a back room in Buswell's for all you know)?

  • Here's my guess on your inclinations: the digital dweebs have been banging on about it for three years now, and apart from a few banner ads which frankly your studio could've - and probably did - put together, they've not really done anything to impress you or your clients.

  • Here's my gut feeling: quite a few boards in quite a few agencies are stuffed with people who have no intention of immersing themselves in new media. Ever. They're either indifferent or scared shitless by the gradient of the curve. Either way, their inner voice's advice is to ride it out and stick with what they know until carriage clock time. And they just might get away with it too. But you pesky kids won't.

  • And here's my unasked-for advice: listen to the digi dweeb, for they will inherit the client.


You
are behind the curve, your clients know more about it than you do, and they're not going to pay for the indulgences of the old school any more. They cannot afford to. But to your immense advantage, you have this massive storehouse of traditional marketing knowledge which, if correctly applied in new Ireland, is still highly relevant. A woman I have great respect for, someone steeped all her professional life in the digital world, casually observed last week that the web doesn't change personalities one bit. It models our behaviour were her exact words. We remain us. And we are still local consumers. We aren't suddenly robots because we have a Bebo or facebook account. If you cannot take that knowledge you have and use it to communicate with your clients' customers, in a few new media that really aren't that hard to understand if you have the will, then you are going to lose your clients one by one, and your agency will join the next wave of stubborn fossils in waiting.

It is already happening. It happened to me last year. Redundancy was like a too-proud man's trip to Specsavers. I came out blinking and humbled, but I could see. Strangely, the thing that I could see most clearly was this fucking weird storehouse albatross creature that had a name that ended with Advertising Agency. And I'm very pleased that it happened. I have never felt more optimistic for the future, and I'll be using every little bit of analogue knowledge kept in my personal marketing storehouse. This week I have the opportunity to work on what are known less and less among clients as new social media platforms. Two of these clients will be working out the most effective and efficient ways to add blogs to their websites and a third will be allocating more spend to email marketing. And I will be lepping to help like a man who's just had powdered jalapeño peppers sprinkled on his piles.

Corporate bloggers such as these recently merged US banks know that blogging represents an excellent way to build and foster closer customer relations, with a very palatable cost relativity. It has long-term brand implications and possibilities and will be treated by knowing marketing pros not as a panacea but, quite correctly, as just one more tool in the box. For the company who's email marketing, they already know about the return on investment it delivers. Marketing Profs says that 'a 2008 Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study found that email's ROI in 2008 was $45.06 for every dollar spent on it.' Them's 2008 figures, and bear in mind that the Americans were in recession before us.

I'm not dissing ATL. It's still vital. But you already know that clients are rushing to tie off that gusher right now. Budgets are downer than a James Blunt house party. They will return, but for now accountability is a whole lot more important. In the meantime, position yourself to make the biggest bang for your client's buck. And stay focussed on positivity, because while the glass may be half full, it's not full enough yet. That one's stolen from the Economist, below, slide 51.

Say it with me now: I am not afraid I am not afraid I am not afraid. New media do work, and they will work for your clients too. If you're hung up on creativity you don't need to worry. Creativity hasn't changed, just the crayons. But they need to be picked up first. Pick up the crayons.

View SlideShare presentation (tags: branding recession)
Thanks to Paul Dervan for finding this one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New marketing: Facebook, fast food and faster times


You know all about BK's mega-success for the Whopper on facebook, right? The Johnny Depps of adland, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, demonstrate in a textbook case how one can develop a social media application for a client ('one' means Dublin ad agencies too, btw) that cuts straight through the bullshit, gets tons of recall, brand association and all that other guff, and sells a few burgers too.

Not a banner ad, not a viral, but an application that makes for genuine, thought-provoking cut-through. Don't know nuthin' about making up applications? Me neither, but I know people who do. Crispin Porter in this instance worked with Refresh Partners from Toronto. But you don't have to go that far. You could try any major Irish town first.

This is the new creativity, and we need to think this way. Factually (and not unimportantly), it also represents an economic reality for lower spending clients.

Facebook users were asked to delete ten 'friends' from their list in return for a free Whopper. Enough of them did, in the US market alone, to make it extremely worthwhile. Yum yum for Burger King. Facebook has had to redefine the application somewhat, (or shut it down, pretty much) so successful has it been, citing privacy issues (and presumably slightly concerned by the fact that 250,000 'friends' have been axed by other good 'friends'). The Arches must be looking slightly yellow over just how much cyberprint this one has amassed.

Poke away, if you want to lose an eye, but there's more to it, as I've said before. Facebook is encouraging corporates more and more in the direction of maximising their presence, in lots of ways. Posts like How Major Retailers Can Improve the Effectiveness of Their Facebook Pages say it clearly, and To Fuck with the Lower Case recession.

But life in these straitened times is not without its encouragement, dear readers. I know of at least one revered Dublin agency this week that is benefitting from an in-house training course on the many uses of facebook. I hope they use their newfound knowledge to benefit their clients and the Dublin ad scene by extension. I'm just saying.

And connectedly, the LA Times is just saying that what they now make from online ad revenue is enough to pay for the costs of online, ALL the editorial and what's that other thing? Oh yes, the printing of the old version.

Train a' runnin, down that digi track, train a' runnin, she ain't turnin' back etc. At which point I am thrown from the boxcar. Laters.

A Guardian repost via Cybercom.

_____________________________
Congratulations btw to Language and KDNINE, who are stepping up with their recent joint win of the Halifax account. As reported by Siobhán O'Connell in the IT.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Are Irish media buyers trusting strangers yet?

Universal McCann EMEA put this together. We get to page 38 before there's any mention of what any of it means for clients, and then it's sketchy.

Up to that point, it's a walkthrough of why new media matter at all. If you think it's basic however, you shouldn't. What's more basic is that fact that of the 29 markets analysed, Ireland wasn't included. Lack of savvy? Lack of broadband? Lack of give a shit?

Answers. Postcard. United.

I'd advise seeing this full screen. Thanks to Sean Howard for originally posting this on CrapHammer.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Top Dublin sound engineer and social media adopter needs your votes!


Anyone who has ever used Reelgood's fine facilities for TV and radio production on Baggot Street will doubtless be familiar with the talented fingers of John Williams. He duets with them Pro Tools like Sonny and Beyonce Knowles doing an almost-naked moonlit tango on Dollymount Strand's silver mists. However what you may not know about our John is that he is one of the world's earliest adopters of pretty much every social media platform yet invented. Nokia Game? He invented it. Facebook? He put the face in it.

And now he's on the cusp of becoming a Twitter legend. Twitter is in essence micro-blogging on the go. You're always on within your network of followers and you use your mobile (or computher) to 'tweet' regular updates to each other, all of 140 characters or less. 'By accepting messages from sms, web, mobile web, instant message, or from third party API projects, Twitter makes it easy for folks to stay connected,' say Twitter themselves, and they should know because the latest figures show that this type of networking has just gone Graiguenamanagh. 752% growth in 2008. One million new users in Dec alone.

And Reelgood's John Williams (or mcawilliams to his online frenz) is one of the most popular.

But he needs your vote to bring him the legitimacy of an award to say it is so, and we know all about that do we not, my Adfriends?

Even if you don't plan to Tweet, and you think Twitter is a bunch of top-drawer tomfoolery for timewasters, at least you'll understand the concept of it when next a prospective client says 'Here, can you explain what's all this Twit thing about?' And you'll be able to explain it and the prospective client will to themselves quietly go 'Fuck, s/he knows this kinda thing! S/He is good! I'm moving my DairyGlo Shampoo account over there tomorrow morning!'

Head over to the Shorty Awards and give John a vote in the Personal category. He's already a finalist, he's doing the Irish (micro)blogging community proud and he's going to that New York for the awards on Feb 11. Also too, the DairyGlo Shampoo account could well depend on it.

You can thank me later with a sweet, single-sided DairyGlo Shampoo radio ad brief. Or any other radio brief.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Monday Adlinks

Adweek's US Agency of the Year Crispin Porter + Bogusky.Worth noting that their more successful stuff (Gates/Seinfeld, Angry Whopper, VW Babymaker) all feature heavily interactive web content.

Piaras Kelly's directory of marketing blog communicators is here. If you know of any others who should be included let him know.

‘‘Obviously for some products, it’s already all about digital.” Ed McDonald of AAI in the Business Post. Don't get too excited just yet. It's a very small bite at the end of the article.

US President-elect gives Blackberry a freebie endorsement that money can't buy. Well, nothing short of $25 million anyway. Report from the NY Times.

Whiskey galore! Jameson gives the Dublin International Film Festival three more years of easy breathing, with a cool mill for this year's budget. Catherine O'Mahony in the Business Post again.

Digital agency with an eye on the present: Brando's got a brand new blog.

Facebook overtakes MySpace for the first time ever in December, now accounts for 4% of all online minutes spent in the US. It's time to seriously consider the implications of fb for your agency's brands.

Google changes its favicon. Found at Under Consideration. I'm almost too excited to type at this point.

Teencamp Ireland isn't camp at all. Young techies/bloggers age 13+ inaugurate their own selves. By teens, for teens, happening Jan 17th in Curved St. Temple Bar. If you know anyone wanting to break the scene, they can register here.

Happy Monday, Adland. Go mine the motherlode.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Creative copycats, plotless planners and why it's alright to be hearing little voices



It's not where you take things from. It's where you take them to.

Jean-Luc Godard
I stole that from the St Luke's blog. They borrowed it from Jim Jarmusch. He swiped it from some Frenchie.

The point is, nobody's doing anything original. And that's fine. Creatives go through the motions of creating but essentially, as Derren Brown smugly tells us, we're totally programmed to absorb and reapply. Creative Review, Lürzer's Archive, Shots... we all know the score. Good creatives aren't even embarrassed about that.

Planners meanwhile are getting all Robert Downey in the nineties, buzzing about, motivating creatives, intuiting from clients, brainstorming, round-tabling and, above all, understanding consumers. By Jesus we'll wring a brand-contextualising dimension out of this muchness of brain brilliance yet. Just you wait, Overarching Concept, we'll get you! And your little dog too-

And now it appears that planning is becoming a part of how agencies work on each client project. Here's Diane Tangney, Cawley Nea's head of strategic planning, in September 08's Marketing Magazine: "The role of planning in an agency is to stimulate conversation, provoke thought, inspire ideas and drive their development."

Aha! My thoughts but exactly! Except for one little detail: I suspect that Diane means intra-agency, and I'd be meaning with them pesky consumers. If planning is so intrinsic to the deal now, hadn't someone better tell the people who buy the stuff?

The pool for creative 'theft' is much deeper and wider now, and it behoves advertising to jump the fuck right in at the digital end. If we don't, we're going to drown. Probably in O'Briens or Smyths. Ffs Planners, shine a light willya.

If there's a tiny voice in the back of your head right now asking 'What the fuck is going on with all this new fucking shit will someone please the fuck fucking tell me?' then I'd heartily encourage you to take the three minutes that the following 91 slides require. If you must shortcut, everything you need to know is on slide 53.

(Courtesy of Paul Isakson.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Watch out Adland, PR's getting its act together

The smartest sets from Irish blogging and PR are mingling this Jan 21st at Edelman's 37 Stephen's Green offices. It's going to be a veritable Venn diagram of explosive possibilities, where the scales may well fall from the eyes of those unable just yet to see the possibilities that the new, vibrant and breaking media offer to the more traditional communications avenues.

But enough of the hideously mixed metaphoria. I know we're supposed as advertisers to sneer at the bold and the beautiful Mini-driving class, but PR's beginning to get it, at least more than old adland is. They're cottoning on to the new platforms, and how they relate, inter-relate, cross-pollinate and reach hitherto switched-off audiences.

Well this is your official invite to crash the party. You can sit quietly at the back or you can jump up, pretend to be in PR and evangelise about the merits of putting Roberta Rowat in another bikini on Grafton Street in 5º of searing February heat. But you should at the very least learn something useful about social networking.

Head over to Damien Mulley's site, state your interest and you'll be assured of a decent welcome. Like so many things about blogland, it's done on a gratis basis. There may even be biscuits. I dunno. You should come anyway.

(And then you'll be sucked into the cult of Blogolallia, have your pituitary gland removed for resale on the highly hush-hush pituitary gland resale market and then end up fit for nothing but running pyramid schemes involving aluminium foil in parish halls and community centres nationwide.)

Well it could happen.


Jan 21st, 6.17pm, 5th Floor, Huguenot Hse, St Stephen's Green.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mick's Garage and Facebook


I've been cagey about social network ads, and the only place I'd ever heard of micksgarage was facebook.

I've always thought it was a ridiculous fit. I mean come on, a grotty little garage, probably with a grimy Buffalo Bill Silence of the Lambs pit in the floor? On beautifully, geometrically clean, blue, Alaskan pine-scented facebook? Car-razy. Those people don't drive! They Twitter on the DART and hold cappucino carryouts from Barstucks while they read their Marian Keyeses and John Connollys on the 46A. They wear post-ironic tee-shirts and rollerblade into wifi-enabled lifts up to the sixth floor creative space, n'est pas?

Eh, well, no. N'est pas du tout du tout, Nuala. Unlike Bebo, over 75% of fb profiles in Ireland are over legal driver age, and there's now more than 400,000 of them, so I should shut up and do more research.

And like that, along comes Sorcha Corcoran, writing in Silicon Republic, to tell me that

at a time when things look shaky for tech start-ups, e-commerce retailer of car parts and accessories MicksGarage has managed to secure €560,000 in funding to drive expansion. The investment... will help micksgarage to accelerate its activities in the UK and expand operations in Ireland, said managing director Ciaran Crean.

Drive expansion! Accelerate activities! We're sucking diesel now, Sorcha, what?

That aside, the fact that micksgarage was named Best Retail Website at the (electric-on-the-eyeballs website alert!) eircom awards the year before last is a clue that they know more about social network advertising than I do. They have 80,000 visitors monthly, and they can't be all cybertyre kickers. And now in the UK too? They're doing something right. Naturally, they're savvy enough to have a blog too.

To summarise, I'll keep an opener mind now about ads on facebook ás seo amach. Now all I need is a way to work in this gag about a couple of greased-up guys in overalls handling their parts con gusto and I'm outta here. Vroom. Etc.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Creativity superheroes unleashed

Let's just park the atl brief for a moment and behold what happens when you're not stuck in retail shopperlite land. This is a real store in Brooklyn:


It sells this:

And these:


And has stuff like this:

Uh hunh.
But the reason for its existence is coolest of all. It's a front for an organisation that sprang up to teach creative writing and creativity to kids aged six to 18. The original building in San Francisco was in a commercial zone, and in order to teach the kids, they needed to at least pretend it was a shop. A 'real' shop. In the case of the San Francisco store they set up what was most needed in the area. A pirate supply store, of course. It's equally as cool as the Superhero store. There's one in LA too: the Echo Park Time Travel Mart provides most of your basic time travel supplies. I just love that Brooklyn, though. I have no idea what I'm going to do with my jar of sasquatch mucous, but by God I have it now for when the need arises.

The Brooklyn store (and all images above) is by Sam Potts Inc. Different designers, but the same story, with all three shops. Everybody did everything for nothing. For the kids, see?

Sheer, unadulterated love of design and having fun without a big fat book of unbreakable brand rules trumps the desire to make money.
Just breathe it in for a minute.

Now get back to making money.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Who is Ireland's largest advertising agency?

Have a guess. Is it McConnells? McCann Erickson? IIBBDO? QMP? DDFH&B? Pretty big hitters all, representing some heavyweight (what my old boss Frank Young in Wilson Hartnell used to lovingly call) Blue Chip clients. I guess the colour refers to Vegas more than the Embassy Grill.

Anyway, I'm not sure how the billings stack up. I could probably do a graph or something, look up the IAPI website. But I can't be arsed and it's after one in the morning. Ultimately you know it's going home to one of the many heads of Medusa, innit. Interpublic, Havas, WPP, Omnicom and Publicis have, between them, Irish advertising by the curlies.

Speaking of the IAPI website, I see that there are fifty eight member companies on the list. Impressive. Ireland's biggest media specialist is bound to be in there somewhere, right?

Anyway on an entirely unrelated topic, I read an interview in siliconerepublic.com with John Herlihy, Google's European Director of online sales and operations, and he has this to say in ironically a not-very-coded way to advertisers.

I believe many Irish companies are missing a trick, and there is a big opportunity for businesses to go out and capitalise on the shift of consumers to the online arena. Research shows people are becoming increasingly value-conscious as a result of the credit crunch, and are choosing to go online to both inform their purchasing decisions and to look for the best value available. If you don’t have an online presence, then you’re losing business.
I don't think that ad agencies should feel concerned by this. Akin to Spinal Tap's smaller stadia final tour, the audience is simply becoming more selective.

It's also probably entirely irrelevant, but that same Google just posted some juicy figures for the final three months of 2008. Read these while bearing in mind that in its biggest market, the US, Google has a healthy but not exactly knicker-bursting 35% of the search market. Here in vanishingcubland it's got about roughly in or around oh I dunno say 100% of that same market. So do the sums accordingly. Stats from the Beeb.
  • Net profits of $204.1m (€147m) in the three months to 31 December.
  • This compares to the $27.3m profits the company made a year earlier.
  • Total fourth quarter turnover jumped to $1.03bn from $512.2m.
I'm just saying. It's not really relevant anyway, cos Google's not an ad agency. They just find stuff for you and do a kinda fun themed logo every so often on their search page, right? If they were an ad agency they'd probably be more into Powerpoint and they'd definitely be members of IAPI. I just wonder how they make that pot of cash in this climate just from being friendly and not evil and über-helpful when we're searching for shit. But they're absolutely, definitively, categorically not an agency.

Meanwhile, I read today in the Business Post that we're facing tough times, but media executives are upbeat. So that's all pretty jolly. Ed McDonald, Chief executive of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland, says that
In tighter economic conditions, it is vital that businesses look on their marketing and advertising spend as an investment rather than as a cost. Sure, it’s a cost, but it is more importantly an investment as essential as any R&D investment or capital equipment purchase or property lease.
I'd agree with all that, Ed, but I'd sure hope for agencies' sakes that clients don't start looking at remarkably accountable alternatives to the tried and trusted agency setup.

Dermot Hanrahan meanwhile, a long-time mover in broadcast and online circles, is staking it less on trad media and more on what's been working well for him up to now.
‘‘Online is still the fastest growing medium and it will continue to grow strongly. It... has gone from being an optional extra to being the medium which will eventually matter most. Marketeers who don’t use it are becoming rare, and are usually confined to decision makers above a certain age. Growth forecast for 2009 range from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, despite recession.

‘‘The medium is the most accountable, measurable and increasingly innovative as we see the decline of old banner ads and the growth of newer, more engaging, video-led ad formats. Again, the lower cost of entry in online advertising positions it better than most for the year ahead.”

Interesting bit about the decline of banner ads. I wonder if he's punting virals as newer and more engaging?

Happy Monday, Adland Ireland.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The joy of job loss


"To an industry whose primary reason for being is crafting and disseminating messages, the idea that social media are better executed by clients themselves is a fundamental problem."
Adrian Ho, Dec 22 2008, Adweek


I lost my job as a copywriter in a reasonably high-profile above-the-line ad agency in July '08. There wasn't much point in feeling victimised. The entire agency went down, the plug being pulled by high-ranking WPP decision makers in London and New York. We were solvent, we'd recently had some business wins and with the right attitude things could've turned.

But when the recriminations were over, it was easy to see the hand of Darwin at work. We'd geared up for the digital age with woeful inadequacy. 'Geared up' suggests way too much dynamism on the company's part, in truth. We weren't even grasping the minimum as regards 'old' digital media opportunities, let alone the completely unexplored frontier of social media. Our clients were international and blue chip, we were parochial and chip van.

That won't ever happen to me again. I learned hugely valuable lessons in 2008, and I have every intention of applying them in 2009. Mistakes will be made, I have no doubt, but if they're made honestly and learnings can be taken, then they're not really mistakes in my book.

Through the perfect medium of social networking, I discovered this today from Adrian Ho. It's a rather telling statistic in itself as regards the benefits of social networking for clients, although it's slightly more chilling from an agency perspective. In essence, five of the top ten brands (as voted for by marketers) DO NOT USE ADVERTISING.

Thanks to Paul Dervan for posting the full slide show which can also be found here on Slideshare. Incidentally, if you want to put yourself through college for free, spend more time on Slideshare. It carries some of the most informative tutorials you will ever come across, given generously for free by people who know their stuff.

Speaking of Adrian Ho, here's another quote that appeared from him in an article just before Christmas in Adweek:
In a recent Sapient study of more than 200 CMOs, "90 percent said that it is becoming increasingly important that their agency uses 'pull interactions' such as social media and online communities rather than traditional 'push' campaigns. Sixty-three percent said that an agency's Web 2.0 and social media capabilities are 'important/very important' when it comes to agency selection."

Yet while a large number of agencies and clients are looking to social media as the future of the communications business, a growing number of highly respected marketers don't actually see a role for their agencies in social media.

Barry Judge, CMO of Best Buy, said: "I do feel very strongly that people who work for companies have to participate as themselves in social media. Social means people interacting with people. You can't outsource that. I am really clear on how we should be participating. I am not sure how agencies participate for clients." Words like this ought to set off massive alarm bells in the heads of everyone working in the agency business today.
Well. The bells rang for me six months back. Then we had a Grey fire sale, the bells were repossesssed and we were on our arses on the footpath.

By now of course everyone is talking about belts being tightened. Planned office moves are quietly being mothballed. Departing staff aren't being replaced. Clients are shelving spend that was earmarked last year for what's now suddenly extraneous stuff. There was a noticeable absence of agencies taking their staff off to Barcelona/Prague/Stockholm for the Christmas jolly. No, it was low-key affairs in the office or round the corner in the not-ostentatious chain restaurant.

Dublin is at the end of the chain in many respects. It's well documented how our economic woes are more aligned to America's than the rest of Europe. It should be equally obvious then, especially to the communications industry, that the relative merits of getting deeply involved in social networks on behalf of clients far outweigh any perceived (and ultra-idiotic) harm that agencies could be doing to their own dwindling constituency of fat-budget tv ads and all the rest. Very soon the choice will be removed for those who still have it. If this is what's happening in the big US cities, MDs and CEOs in Irish agencies would do well to resolve to junk complacency in 09.

Omnicom is preparing for massive layoffs, talking about 3,500+ of its 70,000 workers getting pink slips. BBDO Detroit already laid off 145 people in November. Their client Chrylser is even cutting the CMO’s job. Deborah Wahl Meyer, CMO and VP, will leave the company, effective immediately, and her position is permanently eliminated.

For JWT, their once vibrant Chicago office is now a shadow of its past. A few years ago: 800 people and well over $100 million in billings.

For WPP, consider 10% of all WPP’s revenues are from Ford. The 10% probably translates into a 5% cut.

RSCG is dealing with client defections at the agency's key London office. Euro RSCG accounts for 62% of the €1.5 billion ($2.16 billion) annual revenue of Havas. They will probably be merging many of their smaller offices.
Thanks to the savvy Idriss Mootee at Idea Couture for those particularly Dickensian tidings. But he's right. There's no point in suffering from ostrich arse. The axe is swinging time on tradvertising. Certain companies in Dublin are clued in to this. Most are not. A confluence of economic woes and new media opportunities makes this a most interesting time.

Me? I've had my bellyful of the pessimism of analogue adland. 2009 is the year when I teach this elephant some new dance steps. Now where's me ballet pumps?