Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"That's the new color children"

So now everybody is falling all over each other to get on Pinterest, and bloggers are writing about your "Pinterest strategy" and asking if it's the new Facebook.

You may remember that 3-4 months ago, they were asking if Google + is the new Facebook.

Did you ever see "The Wiz"? I'm thinking specifically of the "Emerald City Sequence". YouTube won't let me embed it, but here's a handy-dandy link so you can watch it.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Aaaaaand we're back. Did you notice how (at 2:25) while everybody is loving Green, The Wiz (Richard Pryor) announces that "I thought it over, and Green is dead. 'Til I change my mind, the color's red."

And oh, do we all love Red. But wait, at 4:36, he comes back on the horn. "Last week when y'all were wearing pink, already for me Red was old. The ultimate yellow brick is Gold! (That's the new color children.)"

And that's pretty much what it looks like to me as we run from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter, to Google + to Pinterest and all around the rest of the Lesser Sites and back again.

Green. Red. Gold. And On and On.

Look, just because a newspaper, magazine, radio station, web site or television network exists doesn't mean you absolutely, positively have to be in it or on it, does it? Of course not.

By the same token, just because another digital genius (and I don't mean that with any sarcasm) comes up with another whiz-bang medium for oversharing doesn't mean you have to automatically be there.

And yet, we all know people who feel the need to immediately get their this-page, that-page and the-other-page up and running and maintained with daily updates. And much of it is of the "here's our daily special" or "it's nice weather so come and see us soon!" or "here's what we did this morning" variety.

I think that in many, many cases, it's because it seems like a "free" way to reach customers, guests or clients. Actually, unless you don't value your time at all, it's not free. There is a cost associated with creating and properly maintaining all of those social media outlets. And you have to wonder - or at least I wonder - whether or not there is a measurable return - in as in $$$ - as a result of it.

I'm not going to discount the value of social media, obviously. I Tweet once a day with what I hope is a value statement for those who follow us. Something they can use. Those Nasuti & Hinkle Tweets are linked to my LinkedIn page and Karen's as well, and I put stuff up on our company Facebook page when I think it's appropriate. And I try to blog 2- times a week.

I just think that it's a it silly to turn yourself inside-out making sure you are all over whatever Latest Thing there is.

What you need to turn yourself inside-out over is making sure you're using the Best Thing there is to reach your target. Maybe it's Pinterest.

And maybe it's not.

I like Queen. And Freddie Mercury.

And I like Bohemian Rhapsody too.

But I think this is trying to hard to be . . . something.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is cool

In Spanish, English and Korean even . . .

Friday, February 17, 2012

Give them a reason and they'll find you

Here's an idea. Don't put your phone number in your advertising.

Or in your television spot. Don't have your VO read the number three times in your radio spots either.

And while you're at it, don't bother with your web address. Or a Facebook icon. Or Twitter, Pinterest or anything else.

Why would I suggest such a thing?

Start here - Everything in an advertisement of any sort devalues everything else in it.

So, for every second, pixel or square quarter-inch you spend telling people how to get in touch with you is a second, pixel or square quarter-inch you're not focusing on telling them why the hell they should.

I mean, if your creative really presents a strong, compelling case (and it damn sure oughta), do you really need to bolt on "For more information . . . "?

And in this day and age, do we really have to tell people to follow us on Facebook or Twitter in our ads? Really? You think so? I kind of feel like anybody computer-literate enough to want to follow us on Twitter of Facebook or go to our website is computer literate enough to know how to find us with a click or keystroke or two. Understand, I think web site, Twitter and Facebook links on the web make sense, because they streamline the process. I just am not sure they are necessary anywhere else.

Certainly anybody who can spell "Google" can find anything. And direct click-throughability is surely right around the television corner.

Do people usually rip out print ads so they can keep the contact information or make a note of the phone number or web address? Or whip out their smartphone to scan your QR code while they are reading a newspaper or magazine? Do they pull the car over to the side of the road so they can record the phone number you read to them three times? Will they put down the remote long enough to jot down your web address?

Reality is, probably not. And even for those who do, they won't have to if your message is strong enough, creative enough and memorable enough. They will remember you.

And if they remember you, finding you is like falling off a log. Seriously.

So maybe think less about telling people how to get in reach you with you and more about giving them a reason to want to.

Or at least about making sure your advertising is strong enough that you could get by without any of the call-to-action stuff.

And another thing about that "For more information . . . " business. Why the hell else would anybody want to call you if not for more information? So why even say it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And today's "gratuitous nudtity" prize goes to . . .

. . . TBWA, Istanbul, Turkey! Come on down kids, and take a bow!

Ok, a couple of things here: I know I'm am old fart who probably Doesn't Get It Anymore, and we all know I'm an idiot. But will someone please explain these to me?

I mean, I'm a healthy, red-blooded American Boy and I like naked women as much as the next guy, but I can't imagine what naked people have to do with vintage clothing. And I kind of usually maybe sorta most of the time or all of the time think the creative ought to be, you know, relevant to the message.

What am I missing?

Larry Hinkle, you out there? You're a smart guy. What's the point of this?

Found on I Believe In Advertising.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Contract? Project? Gee, I don't know . . .

Recently, we ran into the "We have a contract with another agency, but I'm not thrilled with them and maybe we'll be able to make other plans when the contract runs out next year" thing in response to a new-business approach.


This comes up a bit, and I'm not suggesting that it's anything other than exactly what it sounds like - someone committed to a relationship. But the number of people who tell you are locked into a long-term contract with an agency they'd like to replace is kind of surprising.

So let's talk a bit about contracts versus projects, shall we? There are positives and negatives for both client and agency to each.

Contracts - The Agency
Certainly from an agency point of view, a long-term contract can be a good thing. Having someone drop by every afternoon with a sack full of twenties would be a good thing too, but that's neither here nor there. Thing is, predictable income is nice.

A termination clause usually guarantees you some income for some period of time while you look for a replacement client if you get fired, too. And if you're working with a retainer, unsolicited thinking and ideas you may generate for the client don't feel like spec work.

Then again, if you're working with a retainer, the volume of work in a given month can exceed your compensation. Not only that it's been my experience that clients get antsy when a month shows up the other way around.

And if you're under contract with a client, you have to be mindful of this relationship as you hunt for new business. Which means you might miss out on an opportunity to trade up.

Contracts - The Client

A contract can be a good thing for a client too. For one thing, there's cost efficiency. Anything you buy in bulk is less expensive than something you buy a-la-cart.

And there is a certain assurance that your agency isn't actively courting or working for your competition if they're under contract to you. (And, of course, having an agency under contract is a ready-made way to turn away agency overtures. Sort of like "we gave at the office".)

On the downside, there's the chance that you'll fall out of love with your agency but you're stuck with them. Maybe a key player that drew you to them has moved on and you find yourself working with Somebody Else.

Of course, there is almost always a termination clause, so if you really hate your agency you can get out of it,. But you'll pay them for a while to either Do Nothing or to Do Something With an Attitude because they just got fired.

Projects - The Agency
And agency can make more money on a project-by-project basis. That cost-efficiency thing works both ways.

And an agency working project-by-project can talk to anybody they want for new business. Free agents.

But a project basis can be a pain in the neck for an agency too. For all intents and purposes, you have to sell yourself over and over to the same client, and you can find yourself without a client any day. So you're continually proving yourself.

Projects - The Client
Working on a project-by-project basis can be good for a client. For one thing, you're not obligated to anything beyond the current project. No termination clauses or anything like that.

And there's that whole thing about your agency having to constantly prove itself. Now, let me say here that most of the people and agencies I know are going to do their best work whether they're on a retainer or not. But maybe you're not working with anybody I know.

On the downside, a project-by-project arrangement can be more expensive. As I said earlier, cost efficiency works both ways.

Clearly I have not provided a single answer here. Or give anybody clear direction as to Which Way To Jump. What works for some clients and agencies might not work as well for those same agencies with other clients.

But I have to say that I think project-by-project is a pretty good way to go. I personally don't see anything wrong with expecting yourself to be sure and bring your "A" game every day.

It can keep you on the edge, but The Edge is often a good thing.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Social media explained

A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page.

He got it from a friend who no doubt got it from a friend who no doubt got it from a friend who no doubt got it from a friend who no doubt got it from a friend . . .

which explains Facebook.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This is a bullshit commercial - even as an extended version

Forget for a moment that the dog losing weight so he can chase a car has jack to do with the car. WTF did they feel like they had to introduce the Star Wars thing for? Just to show what hipsters they are with the whole "Star Wars bar scene" reference?

I mean sure it's funny, and as a dog lover, I always like to watch dogs run, but a commenter on YouTube had it right, I think:

">Make random commercial about dog losing weight

>Pretend it has anything to do with the product you're selling

>List 0 reasons to buy your product"