Thursday, April 10, 2008

More on 'Adweek': no layoffs, not a lotta traffic

So, you probably heard by now that Nielsen Business Media laid off a bunch yesterday—around 50 people, though the company isn't confirming the specifics. I was more or less out of pocket yesterday and not up to my usual spelunking to find out more. Here's what I've heard, none of which Nielsen would confirm—there were no editorial layoffs at Adweek and Mediaweek, at least one at Brandweek and the Web editor's job at Editor & Publisher. (That was reported yesterday by Mediabistro's Fishbowl NY.) In addition, no open positions will be filled with one exception: the Adweek editor's post, which Alison Fahey is expected to vacate soon for a publisher/editorial director's role at Adweek magazine.

Given the news out of my former employer yesterday, it seemed a good time to see how the relaunch—which was unveiled on Feb. 4—has been going, so I checked in with and Alexa to see what traffic they were reporting. What I found was troubling. The flat-to-down results are below, with Ad Age used as a comparison (granted that brand's mission is larger than Adweek's is, but the graphs look a little naked alone).

Here's what has to stay on traffic over the last year:

And from Alexa over the last three months:

Whatever source you use, you'd expect to see a bump there, wouldn't you? Through a spokesperson, Sabrina Crow, who heads the marketing and media books, said, "For us in terms of the success of the launch, we were up in revenue and up in online subscriptions ... those are the metrics that count for us."

More musings on Pereira and O'Dell

Realize I missed yesterday's catch du jour in not posting about the new agency being set up by ex-AKQA execs P.J. Pereira and Andrew O'Dell that will serve both the digital and non-digital needs of clients. For the life of me, can't figure out why this concept is worth $30 million, even if, as the duo told The Wall Street Journal yesterday, the fact that most agencies have a bias toward one type of media vs. another is true. I mean, that's definitely true, but $30 million? Media-agnostic as the new agency hopes to be, getting so much seed money is very Silicon Valley. Tell me if this is a dumb idea, but I think a better start-up concept would've been to do this within a big holding company with lots of ready access to pissed off clients who need better solutions. Having a reliable stream of client connections seems like it's worth more than plain old money. Only problem there is—depending on one's idea of an end game—that eventually cashing out when you're an independent can be a much more lucrative move. It sure worked for Donny Deutsch.

Who will be the first Olympics sponsor to pull out?

Even though the Dalai Lama has come out in favor of Beijing's hosting of the Olympic Games, it still seems inevitable that some corporate sponsor will drop out of its Olympics deal soon. In the last few weeks, the Beijing Olympics brand has become a tainted symbol of a country that gets capitalism, but has a limited notion of human rights. The first Olympics sponsor that does this may not, in reality, be doing it for the right reasons—its biggest fear may be that its image, too, is being tainted—but someone is going to back out. It won't be an easy decision, as most marketers see China as their last, great commercial frontier but, in being viewed as a hero in other parts of the world, who knows what the bottom line benefits could be? (OK, folks. If I'm wrong about this, I'll call myself on it later.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Soliciting ideas for OMMA social media conference

Hi gang. Today I'm using the blog as an idea generator to help me put together the OMMA Social conference, which I'm chairing in June. (In case you don't know, OMMA is part of the Mediapost empire and stands for Online Media, Marketing and Advertising.) It will be a one-day affair aimed at being the most up-to-the-nanosecond event centered around social media so, although I can't run the conference agenda like a democracy, I still want to gather as many ideas as possible as to who would be mind-blowing keynotes and what would be good, meaty panel topics. No PR pitches please. If you've got something you're really hot to hear about in social media, email me at—would prefer your ideas travel privately rather than being put in comments below. Thanks.

When green cancels out green

Kinda ironic that in order to give me a reusable Target bag, Vanity Fair had to polybag the current "green" issue.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Allen Rosenshine explains it all

Long-time BBDO chief Allen Rosenshine is one of those people always worth listening to for his ability to float above the down-and-dirty technical aspects of the business and focus on the big picture. Thus, it's worth stopping by this video interview with him at Rance Crain plays the interviewer, and he posits the theory that the reason General Motors recently said it would put about a third of its budget into online media was to save money. Not that GM doesn't need to save money, but I think a more accurate way to describe it is that the ROI of digital potentially makes it a better way to spend money.

White Gold is prolific

Whole bunch of new White Gold video has been posted in the last day or so. Mr. Gold, if you're not familiar, is the centerpiece of Goodby, Silverstein + Partners' new "Got Milk" campaign and is a fictitious heavy metal artist (oxymoron watch?) who owes his fictitious success to drinking. A video for the new song "Tame the Tiger" is above. You can also see five :30s here.

Latent trend: menopausal sexpots

For the second time in less than 24 hours, I've been confronted with a commercial that portrays the randy tendencies of menopausal women, for two different products no less. (Can't remember the first one. Think it started with a "V".) Now, I'm not saying that sex drive and menopause are mutually exclusive (not old enough to be in that demo yet), but what's a little odd about these commercials is that they tend to overplay the sex angle, as though once released from the possibility of getting pregnant, that's all gals think about. The second one, for a product called Estroven, takes place in a magical place called "MenopauseLand" and can be seen at this YouTube link. Side note: Why would BrandBuzz put this video on YouTube and not make the html embeddable? Educated guess: someone at the client is not getting this viral thing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Adverganza's Monday morning picks, 04.07.08

Wherein I scan the Monday morning headlines so you don't have to:

From Advertising Age:

—Story about how Mark Penn screwed up Hillary Clinton's campaign. Little did Ad Age know.
The difficulties of buying African-American media.
—Good luck trying to market Miller Genuine Draft.
—Company called Lotame tries a new angle on social media monetization.
Nielsen's got competitors—lots of 'em.
—Obligatory MySpace enters music industry story.
Carat's suffering digital transition growing pains.
Digital talent coming from elsewhere.
—How old-fashioned—Sears campaign focuses on branding.
—Bob Garfield finds too much Vietnam in McCain presidential spot.

From Adweek:

—Closed Web chats are the new focus groups.
—Former VW CMO Kerri Martin opens company to help clients get good work out of their agencies. Whips not included.
Close-up on Mark Figliulo, the man who would be Gerry Graf (sorry, I meant creative director of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York).
—Microsoft be damned! Yahoo continues to promote its new uber-ad platform.
Coke's social media Alter Ego.
—Barbarian's Benjamin Palmer on the weirdness of global branding.
—Bob Greenberg on the parallels between TV and the ailing music biz.
—If you haven't heard it already, Michael Barrett is leaving Fox Interactive Media.
—Barbara Lippert notes that Christie Brinkley's face hasn't changed much in 25 years. Depressing.

From Brandweek:

—Procter & Gamble and Dell work at measuring branding in the Web.
—Kraft pouring $100 million into cream cheese-filled bagels. Wish they'd work on the quality of the bagels first, but I'm picky.
Q&A with David Peacock, vp/advertising at Anheuser-Busch.
Teen brand preferences haven't changed very much.

From Mediapost:

—Procter & Gamble running contest for Crest WhiteStrips in which consumers enter their smiling photos. The Mona Lisa ain't invited.
AMC pegs upfront audience guarantees to behavioral targeting.
—Wanna watch TV online? Check out

From The New York Times:

—Yahoo rejects Microsoft's bid again. Here's Yahoo's statement.
—Amazon feels pressure to go digital.
—BMW devotes half of its budget for the 1-Series to online media.
Multiplex employees promote "Prom Night."

From The Wall Street Journal:

Nielsen plans to buy IAG Research.