"I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle that it's eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour is warm and humid. When it's this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, I'm wondering what its going to be like in the afternoon".
Of all the 20th century literature written on the quest for personal truth and enlightenment, few would expect that one of the greatest would begin by taking the reader from zero to sixty, literally by the second sentence. Perhaps that is why Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is so powerful and in essence, true. Great literature is an ironic thing. It's hard to describe, yet we all know it when we read it.
Marketing Vox Audience - Partial List
Madison Avenue Journal Audience - Partial List
No doubt MadAve Journal readers are well up to speed on the recent Harvard University Biological Sciences Research which illuminates the behavior of Eastern Redback Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) and Juvenile Eastern Red-Spotted Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) found in abundance in Hemlock and Hardwoods.
Like virtually everyone else on MadAve, we believe that the study's learnings has great relevance to our business, specifically as it relates to the use of statistics in all aspects of advertising.
Here's why: we all know that Salamanders and Newts change the nature of their color to adapt to the environment they are in. We also know that service-side marketing vendors change the nature of their research to adapt it to the audience and environment they are in.
Salamanders and Newts do so for self-preservation purposes. So do researchers. However, while this is a natural deceptive mechanism to protect amphibians from predators in the jungle, those Madison Avenue agencies and publishers that change the nature and color of their marketing research act as predators on their own clients!
Question 1: At dinner, what's the best "dish" to order with an angry client?
Introducing the results from the "How well do you know Madison Avenue? poll! As many of you know, earlier this year, we surveyed top industry professionals for their views on the level of bravery and courage it takes to compete on MadAve. A total of 149 respondants shared their insights with us, in this historical 1st annual field research online-based study. This is what we learned!
Question 2: At an awards dinner, what creative theme often gets the "Best of Show"?
Question 3: At the pitch, which positioning has a better chance of winning the account?
Question 4: What makes a brand a leader?
Question 5: What keeps media execs up at night?
Question 7: At the commercial shoot, what's more important to the producer?
Question 8: When entertaining your client, should you discuss?
Objective analysis leads us to believe it clearly helps understand the commitment Madison Avenue has in maintaining its reputation for both flexibility and adherence to timeless principles. Our interpretation indicates the industry's most notable characteristics will continue well into the 21st century. Further learnings are provided below the survey results.
To all those who participated in the development of this valuable industry benchmark, we thank you. Let's have lunch!
Click on link below for additional learnings.
Surely you know the Film, "American Beauty". One of the key lines voiced by Lester Burnham - our favorite trade magazine reporter - played by Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey, reflects that "My life is like a commercial." Who can't relate to his experience at least once or twice in your Madison Avenue career?
However, the line that kills us and depicts Madison Avenue even more is voiced by Ricky, the kid next door, "Never underestimate the power of denial."
Besides possessing great lines, the film does an excellent job at communicating how preconceived notions about people and things can lead to risky business. We see this very much like the state of behavioral marketing in the 2000-o’s. In our opinion agencies or clients, or media companies who continue for one reason or another to use yesterday's data base methodologies - giving it the confidence to make brand media recommendations - should have their heads examined.
Living Well "Was" The Best Revenge
As evidenced by the Katrina tragedy as well as the The US House of Representatives voting for permanent repeal of the estate tax, the two edges of our economic bell curve clearly have one thing in common, they both need more money. Though how about the middle?
Well, as evidenced by yesterday's cash buyout of Skype by eBay, the bulk of the American public clearly deserves a break today as well. Years ago, The New Yorker Magazine published a cartoon of a mother reassuring her daughter with the caption, "Honey, don't worry. When Daddy says we're broke, that doesn't mean we're poor."
Historians and The Federal Reserve Board will ultimately determine if our culture is spending good money after bad, or just the opposite. Though the good news is that today it's no longer embarrassing to be called cheap. It's in fashion, a sign of intelligence and like it or not, a sign of necessity.
In fact, this trend-next attitude is not skewed to any particular age group. Everyone can now be fashionable. We are all part of Generation-B. Introducing The "Broke-ies". If you haven't registered for your own eBay account, or Skype phone service, you're simply not cool.
By Christina Kerley
We're getting trendy. Trends are frequently at the center of conversations with friends, family, clients, colleagues, strangers and last but not least, the press. Understandably, trends and fads merit much discussion - and many dollars - as they affect perceptions, preferences and purchasing decisions. Yet, for all that trends affect our daily lives, there are some - with that special something - that never go out of style.
Ever wonder who picks the family values-based programming that enters into almost every US TV household on a daily and nightly basis? If you could pick'em, do you think you would do a better job? No, really... we're serious.
There are a few reasons America has the current mix of programming options to choose from. Believe it or not, there's a freudian element to the process that dominates the business. In essence, the TV programs the networks decide to produce are based on the mental health, key subconsious drivers and whimsical fantasies of national network TV buyers. Let us explain.
Back in the early 1890's The Astor Family was the wealthiest family in New York City. They loved to network and enjoy society. When they planned a gala event, they made a list to invite the most well-connected, wealthy and interesting people. The Astor's liked to throw parties at their fashionable 5th Avenue home. Over time, they found that the ideal number of people to invite was around 400 or so.
It was an enviable list to be on and ultimately became referred to as "The Astor 400." The Astors considered themselves at the top of New York society though they were by no means exclusionary. Legend has it that the guest list was cut off at 400 not because there were no others worth inviting. It was due to the fact that Mrs. Astor could not squeeze any more people into their luxurious Grand Ballroom!
Years later, American media tycoon Malcolm Forbes revived the idea of creating another enviable list, The Forbes 400. Its publication set off an explosive trend that continues today in virtually every aspect of business and culture. Who can name a business, celebrity or political category that does not list and rank their most celebrated and most successful power-players? Mr. Forbes had keen insight when he created the Forbes 400. In retrospect, it may have been the first modern-day example of "behavioral segmentation".... Why are lists so popular?
1. The Forbes 400 is a practical tool in business. It acts as an informal TRW or D&B for Wall Street, based on the sophistication of methodology used;
2. Lists spark our imagination and help us strive to realize "The American Dream" on both a business and personal level. Andy Warhol loved making lists. Rumor has it that his lists were so long that in order to give each person a chance to luxuriate in the limelight, each could only have 15 minutes!
3. Bottom-line, they're fun. They satisfy our curiosity and act as a celebrity score-card if you will in B2B, B2C and C2C!
The Madison Avenue Journal borrowed some of these factors with in our first annual "Madison Avenue Register." However, unlike the others, The Register is not capped, simply because it can't. Based on our current projections, we expect it to exponentially grow!
Capping the list of players who will lead us into the future would be an impossible task, since our business is dependent on a constant enrichment of ideas and energy. We also felt it would be simpler to alphabetize the list since the business is far from possessing a static pecking order. It's still anyone's game :--)
Some may believe that our methodology is still in beta. We're not about to argue. Please forgive us if we missed you or anyone you know who should be on this list. We estimate we only got 40-50% of the people who should be listed. Next year we promise to do better. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or to provide names of those overlooked.
The 2005 Register skews towards Madison Avenue-based agencies, publishers, tech companies, writers, industry association memberships and conference/road show evangelists; essentially the work horses of our industry. It lists our best practitioners and communicators simply and personally. We believe Astor, Malcolm and Warhol all would have agreed; that's where great ideas always begin.
>BACKGROUND: Ironically, the ad industry, which crafts the blizzard of messages that shape this diverse nation's image of itself, has long been criticized for its own lack of diversity. That racially charged issue has been hovering in the background of the business since the 1970s, when New York City's Commission on Human Rights first went public and forced three of that era's largest agencies to agree to do something about it. But decades later, according to New York City Council Civil-Rights Committee chairman Larry Seabrook, the racial balance within advertising agencies has not only NOT gotten better, it's gotten worse. ( See this week's "Ad Industry's Minority-Hiring Practices Called a New York City 'Embarrassment'" -- http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=48142 ). The initial wave of comments that have come into the Ad Age poll since Monday clearly show a sharp divergence of feelings within the advertising ranks. One voter wrote, "If white women are still struggling to break through the glass ceiling -- especially in creative departments -- I can only imagine how it feels to be a racial minority in this white, alpha-male-driven industry." A second countered, "Advertising is very special because people are hired on their talent, not race, not gender, and not looks... Besides, should minority agencies be forced to hire more white people?"
Clearly, the advertising industry and its trade organizations have made some earnest efforts to address this complex issue over the years, but do YOU think they have done enough and, more importantly, as an insider, can you suggest practical measures that might help mitigate this continuing problem?
> THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Are there too few minorities in the New York advertising industry?
> VOTE & COMMENT for possible publication in next week's print edition
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Ad Buzz continuously provides a truly outstanding MadAve media resource, whether you're a beginner, intermediate or expert "Guru". The word "Guru" is too often used as a term for aged folks who've spent more time with a calculator or excel spreadsheet than with their family, so by definition, if a Media Guru was so smart, how come they are a Media Guru?
Expressed (oddly) another way, what is the sound of one media impression?
But seriously, there are at least 5 different ways of defining Guru: which are not media related. AdBuzz actually deserves the title, if one assumes that a Media Guru has so much media knowledge that they are worthy of MadAve respect. Then so be it.
The term steal is used not because of its definition, but rather because AdBuzz does such a great job providing most everything media departments do (ignoring real life and real time media planning of course), that its being made available free to "the street" or to the classroom is so astounding that one might feel the need to download it quick, before its authors realize they have a virtual hole in their pocket.