Advertising Week 2014: Technology Rules

9/28/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

The ad world is revving up for Advertising Week 2014. The official promotion and media coverage, in the week before, focuses relentlessly on the tech / digital issues.  One does (at least a little) wonder if anybody is going to pay attention to "content." All those new digital channels have to distribute something, after all. We look forward to discussions about what will be the effective content for the new varieties of digital media.  (After all, just because you CAN deliver content, doesn't mean it sells anything.)

The Wall Street Journal (posting Sunday afternoon, Sept 28) foresees Advertising Week 2014 to provide a vision for how digital media will increasingly dominate the ad spend: "Digital Media to Take Center Stage at Advertising Week." The Journal expects the news (and the chatter) to focus on the technology of distribution rather than the power of brand: "Talk at the swanky cocktail parties is likely to revolve around things that didn't even exist a decade ago, from BuzzFeed and Instagram to programmatic ad buying and marketing cloud. The chatter over canapes will entail an alphabet soup of new marketing jargon such as DSP, SSP, DMP and RTB. . . . It is a far cry from the first Advertising Week, 11 years ago, when much of the talk among ad executives was whether the prize for fan-favorite ad icon would go to Tony the Tiger or the M&M characters."

The New York Times (also posting on Sunday afternoon, Sept 28) sees Advertising Week 2014 to offer a referendum on the future of television: "Advertising Week 2014: Exploring the Future of Television.".  The Times' perspective is consistent with the WSJ, but provides a view of the continuum from the recent past to the uncertain future -- as consumers evolve in their screen-behaviors -- away from TV (some of the time, for some consumers): "A debate that is likely to generate heat, if not light, is whether rapid, large increases in digital ad spending by marketers,prompted by shifts in how viewers watch video, mean a concomitant decline in spending for commercial time on traditional television." . . . According to the 2014 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, the use of digital media is growing strongly among affluent Americans but not at the expense of traditional media like television. 'Digital media is supplementing, not supplanting,' Stephen Kraus, chief insights officers for the Audience Measurement Group of Ipsos MediaCT said."

The following is an excerpt from the Advertising Week / Stillwell Partners media release issued September 23:

"Extended thought leadership content tracks dig deep into industry hot buttons including: Programmatic, Mobile, Data, Video, Innovation, Local, Health, Fitness & Wearables, Retail Innovation, Sports, Native Ads, Cross-Screen and Social Influence. The Advertising Week Experience (AWE) also returns featuring nearly 100 start-ups that represent the front lines of technological innovation, which is re-shaping the industry, in real time.

"Additional highlights:
  • Grand Central Terminal hosts the Opening Gala, in partnership with Amazon Media Group
  • The Wall Street Journal launches Disruption, a new evening event
  • Fortune stages a special edition of Brainstorm TECH
  • Randall Rothenberg leads IAB's annual MIXX Conference
  • CMOs and CEOs take center stage throughout The Week along with a "State of the Industry" series featuring more than a dozen major trade associations
  • The Pandora Battle of the Ad Bands returns to the Highline Ballroom
  • Rovio's Angry Birds Transformers Party, returns to Arena
"New and returning corporate and media partners for Advertising Week 2014 include: AARP, Acxiom, Adara, Adobe, Amazon Media Group, Amobee, AOL, AT&T AdWorks, BuzzFeed, Centaur, Exponential, Facebook, Fast Company, Fortune, Getty Images, Google, Keek, LinkedIn, Marketo, Mashable, Mediaocean, Microsoft, Millennial Media, MLB Advanced Media, NBCUniversal, NCC Media, New York Market Radio, The New York Times, Nielsen, OpenX, Pandora, Precision Marketing Insights from Verizon, Purch, PwC, RadiumOne, Rovio, Rubicon Project, Tasting Table, The Wall Street Journal, The Weather Channel, true[X], Turn, Quiver, Univision, USA Today, WebMD, Yahoo, yp, and many more."

Other developments to watch for:

"Will Facebook Announce New Atlas Advertising Platform at Advertising Week 2014?"

The Yellow Pages will "take over" Grand Central Terminal.

The Drum will try to shock you.  (Anybody out there still shock-able?)

PR research coming of age

9/21/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

September 15 - 19, 2014 was the observance of the first global public relations Measurement Week. The initiative was led by the London-based AMEC (International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), the U.S.-based Institute for Public Relations, a number of the leading research services providers  (BurrellesLuce, Cision, Gorkana, Kantar, PRIME, and Vocus), and a handful of the global PR agencies, and it was the culmination of nearly a decade of the efforts of the public relations industry to grapple with the demands for better analytics in media and marketing services.

The PR industry -- like advertising and the news and entertainment media -- has faced enormous challenges to its business model in the face of the impact of digital technologies. Yet PR had always stood apart -- or trailed behind? -- other marketing and media sectors in demonstrating its impact. The PR profession often justified its contributions with vague concepts such as "buzz," "impressions," "advertising value equivalency," and "reputation." As inadequate as the standard metrics had been for advertising and media, PR offered nothing comparable for consistency.

The challenge from large corporations' procurement departments for an industry standards for marketing communications services return on investment (ROI) metrics, especially after the 2008 recession, coalesced with inklings about the potential to link communications acts to transactions, transparently, with new digital media.

The September 2014 Measurement Week is a strong indication of how far the PR industry has come to meet these challenges in two dimensions: 1) providing the analytics that business demands at the same time as 2) creating consensus with the global PR industry around methods, terminology, and standards.

The third edition of the Dictionary for PR Measurement and Research, published by the Institute for Public Relations, and edited by Prof. Don Stacks at the University of Miami and Prof. Shannon Bowen at the University of South Carolina, is now widely accepted as the authority on PR research  terminology definitions.

AMEC has rallied consensus among corporations, research services providers, and PR agencies in a number of initiatives, most notably its campaign against "advertising value equivalency," first aggressively asserted in the 2010 Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles.

In the past three years, a coalition of communications associations has undertaken aggressive efforts to articulate standards and best practices for monitoring and analytics of both traditional and new digital media communications. The Coalition for PR Research Standards has the active participation and endorsement of the Council of Public Relations Firms, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Institute for Public Relations, AMEC, and the Public Relations Society of America.  Simultaneously, an overlapping group was formed, The Social Media Measurement Conclave, which has met and articulated new industry standards for social media measurement methodologies -- with the hearty endorsement from opinion-leading corporations such as Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Cisco, McDonalds, and Thompson Reuters.

Finally, The Institute of Public Relations has created a new PR Research Standards Center dedicated to sustaining industry consensus and providing content and initiatives to support PR education (both academic and professional) related to the newly articulated standards.

NFL -- a case study in the making for all brand watchers

9/14/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

American professional football has been untouchable -- by economic recessions, by sky-rocketing ticket costs, and by celebrity player periodic scandals.

But has the perfect storm of player traumatic head injuries and player inflicted criminal abuse finally hit the league? AdAge reports on September 13 that "The YouGov BrandIndex, which emasures daily brand consumer perception, found that the NFL's 'buzz' score fell from a yearlong high of 36 on Monday to -17 four days later, which marks the league's lowest score since June 2012 . . . . the NFL's score plummeted as it dealt with a constant drumbeat of negative headlines and scathing commentary . . . . Interestingly, the NFL fared worse among men, whose score was -27, than women, which came in at -8."

News report nationwide echoed the YouGov findings. sfgate writes, also on September 13, in a typical report: "Domestic violence rocks NFL image, threatens brand."  The Wall Street Journal also casts the conjunction of reports about player mis-behaviors as a corporate brand story: on September 12 the Journal reports: "Domestic Violence Incident Hurting NFL Brand." As evidence, the Journal cites social media: "About 29% of the comments during the opening week of the 2014-2015 football season were negative while only 8% were positive, according to Networked Insights. . . . It's a far cry from the year earlier period when 21% of the comments about the NFL were positive and 15% were negative."

Last week (September 9), Adweek focused on the women's market with "After Ray Rice, the NFL Needs to Go Big to Restore Brand with Women: It may be 'toast' if it doesn't, marketers say." 

Unsurprisingly, much of the media coverage calls for "new leadership" -- given what has been reported and what many suspect about the way that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff have handled the situation, it is a predictable crisis containment strategic step to fire the CEO (whether or not the decapitation of the leader means any deep structural or cultural change in the organization or not.) However, John Kass at the Chicago Tribune, offers an interesting recommendation which could have profound branding impact: appoint former Secretary of State (and well-known football fan) Condoleeza Rice as the next NFL Commissioner.

This is a brand story to watch.

CCNY ranked #1 for diversity in the USA northern region

9/14/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

U.S.News & World Report 2015 rankings of educational institutions has cited CCNY as the number one regional university in the North for racial and ethnic diversity.  According to the magazine, CCNY offers the most enriching learning experiences where "students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from a different ethnic group from their own."

Overall, CCNY is ranked #65 among 620 regional universities  in the North.

CVS -- a CPG retailer or a health company?

9/07/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Jonathan Salem Baskin, at, has blogged about "CVS' tobacco position is a great first step for the brand."  When we blogged last February about CVS's decision to stop selling tobacco products, it was not publicly known that CVS was making this product-SKU decision into a full-fledged brand repositioning for the company.

Now that the company has followed up its "no tobacco products" policy with a corporate name change ("CVS Health"), questions have to arise -- noted by Baskin -- about whether CVS is going to sell sodas and other foods and dietary supplements that are scrutinized and controversial.

It's tricky.  If CVS is becoming a "health" company, it's going to have to get serious about defining and acting on the "health" issue. If the company is not serious -- thoughtful and consistent -- the "health" positioning will quickly be perceived as a shallow farce. Execution will be ALL.  Will the new CVS brand walk the talk?

CCNY BIC welcomes the class of 2016

9/06/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

The City College of New York, Branding + Integrated Communications Master's Degree program has welcomed its second class of students.

Over thirty students from all over the United States and the globe have chosen to study with CCNY and the BIC program in the second class of this pioneering program in the study of the skills and issues facing the contemporary marketing communications sector.

Check back here for future news about the progress of impact of BIC students.

Are you sure that brand is dead?

9/06/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Anybody -- from now through the past three generations -- could get vertigo reviewing the ups and downs of Chrysler Corporation, Fiat, and Alpha Romeo in the USA market.

Check out this current perspective from brandchannel.

For those of us interested in the long-term asset-value of brands, the resurgence of both Chrysler and Fiat is a fascinating example of how Brand can live on, move forward, and transcend performance failures.

Of course, it doesn't always work.. Consider Saab.