Facebook Email. The chatter and cheddar.


    There’s been lots of online chatter about the expected announcement today of Facebook email — and how it might kill Gmail. It won’t.  There are a lots of Gmail fanboys. It will, however, hurt new accounts and current usage among Millennials, teens, and tweens. But the really big news is that Facebook email will be a crazy money maker.

    Online Advertising

    It is reported that 1 in 4 ads displayed on the web are Facebook ads — with 1.28 trillion banners ads viewed in the 3rd quarter of 2010 alone. Dude!  That more than TV, radio, and OOH combined (please don’t fact check, I just made that up). That is a lot of impressions.  If Facebook’s email — through which users will have personal email accounts  ( — takes off, I smell another trillion…give or take.  That’s some cheddar.

    Debate all you will about the integration of web applications into the Facebook email product (Microsoft, Google Docs, Mobile, Enterprise, etc.) and its revenue implications, this puppy is going to be an advertising breakthrough.  Privacy will be a major issue of course. Think about it, if I send an email to a friend about a camping trip (That camping trip joke never dies, thanks Jed) and the recipient gets an REI ad, it’s going to be an issue.  But that’s a story for next month. There will be lots of chatter and lots of cheddar coming off of this announcement. Whoo. Peace!

    McAfee Advertising, Way Asleep.


    So is the brand pronounced Mac-a-fee or Mih-Caffee.  (Hoe-gaarden or Who-Garden?) One of a brand’s first challenges is to make sure the name is pronounced correctly.  McAfee is a killer PC protection software product, which, if I’m not mistaken. is #1 or 2 in the marketplace.  It was purchased earlier this year by Intel.   I’m a 3-license custy and couldn’t be happier.

    But, as an ad rat (a gym rat for ads) I can’t help but see that McAfee needs a marketing boost.  There is an ad in the newspaper today showing the McAfee logo as a superman emblem on a man’s chest. The pithy headline reads SAFE NEVER SLEEPS. A line they give a TM.   Not sure if it qualifies as copy but in small text beneath the line reads (I’ll save you the caps) “Smarter security. Every device, every network, everywhere.”

    Classic “we’re here” advertising.   Is it any wonder digital advertising is cutting into traditional ad budgets?  This is some lazy stuff.  I’m not sure I can even type anymore I’m so disappointed. There is no claim here. And no proof.  Only colors, type and photography.  Why does the McAfee marketing dept. bother to get out of bed in the morning?  Are you kidding me?  What’s the idea?

    How to build a brand.


    bosch ad

    Bosch is a brand I’m familiar with on a couple of levels. First I know the name, so that means I’ve seen it on product, in retail and probably advertising.  Second, I have brand associations, but across a couple of types of products: brakes come to mind, automotive products, some speakers.  So it seems Bosch is some sort of conglomerate… like GE. Also they feel European.

    But about 2 or 3 years ago, Bosch started advertising in my the newspaper, The New York Times. I don’t recall seeing Bosch on TV, in radio or online, just the Times.  And they have kept up the media pressure. With drumbeats. The ads are all focused on kitchen appliances. I wasn’t aware they were in that business. And the appliances are beautiful.  No skimping on the photography costs here. I cannot recite a headline or copy points, though these ads are burned into my memory. Product as hero, at its best. Here’s what I know and feel thanks to the advertising: the product design is spectacular, the engineering way above average (that’s what good industrial design will earn you) and the appliances quiet and efficient. Most important, they are now in my consideration set where once they weren’t.

    I am not a fan of awards ads and today Bosch ran one about customer satisfaction with their dishwashers.  It was a prudent choice to wait so long to do an awards ad.

    The seer in me says, Bosch is gaining in market share and the blocking and tackling they are doing – beyond excellent product design – is the cause. Old school. Peace in the New Year.


    Facebook Advertising and Creativity.


    Facebook had a big marketing day in NYC yesterday at the American Museum of Natural History.  They shared how they’re going to garner big excitement in the advertising world by creating new opportunities for marketers and their agents who advertise on Fotch-book. Advertiser pages will have special functionality, new ad positions will open up, mobile ads will be more something and, of course, data and ad tailoring will improve and be revolutionary.

    This is Facebook’s post IPO.

    The problem with all these announcements is two-fold.  People don’t like ads, because most of them are poorly constructed, and people don’t like those who profit excessively from anything.  Jeremy Lim anybody?

    So if Facebook and marketers are going to make this work, the ads (20-30 words though they may be) are going to need to be better. On a NYT cover story today, it was mentioned that 250 millisecond load time is competitive advantage for a website. That being said, do you think a crappy ad in your load or stream is going to be welcome?  And if the universe of unique daily ads goes from 500,000 to 10 million, are those ads likely to be good, creative and engaging?  Creativity will be at a premium. This is going to be a wild ride. Peace.

    When is an object an ad?


    I was running near Southards Pond the other day and saw up in a tree a nice pine board birdhouse. A friend of mine makes birdhouses using his table saw and untrimmed logs. Logs with bark still on them.  They are amazing.  The word rustic comes to mind. I got him on Etsy and he moved some merch. The houses are so unique you want to stop running or walking and get a closer look.

    Rather than print out a color picture, laminate it and attach put peel-off telephone numbers, and post it on the trail in a pseudo guerilla marketing effort – a ham handed one, at that – why not put a house up at eye level with a subtle URL burned in it. Small, like a painter’s signature. Make it feel more like art than commerce. I don’t need to do an A/B test to find out which approach would work better. Ham-handed would sell some houses quickly and be removed from the trail. The artful approach would reach “Posters” or influencers (as opposed to Pasters or “the led”) and he would have a longer-term showing and be celebrated by all.

    A rustic product needs a rustic approach. Redefine how and where you put your product sale and message. Pick your spots and your tactics carefully. Kirshenbaum and Bond once did ads for Snapple where they put stickers on fresh mangos in the grocery store that read “Also available in Snapple.” Peace.


    Brand in Name Only


    Brands are more than names.  But don’t tell that to Bethpage Federal Credit Union.  Federal credit unions have an advantage over banks.  They are not-for- profit. As not-for-profits, people who bank there are members  — the rewards of membership being better service and better rates.  Were more people to know this, they would sign up in droves, but not-for-profits don’t do a great deal of advertising – to keep costs down for members.

    Bethpage has done some good things over the years but creating a brand strategy is not one of them. I look at the body of work and the only things that stick out are spokespeople Beth and Page. They smile a lot, are helpful and sort of goofy, but play absolutely no part in the brand strategy other than their names.  Is the TV work showing Beth and Page a campaign? You tell me.

    Here’s the point.  Just as I suggest to people with social media programs they need a motivation for their social persona, spokespeople need a strategic reason for being. They need to be motivated toward a brand goal. Beth and Page are very nice people I’m sure – but right now if consumers were asked to talk about them all they would say are their names. This is the oldest mistake in the book. And frankly it’s childish. It’s like advertising done by an app. Sorry for my snark, but come on…Peace.


    Purple ads.


    langone edit

    Growing up in the ad business and knowing how hard it is to do well, I often harp on poorly conceived advertising. Especially that of the print variety.  This adverting is done by a good mid-sized agency in New York City, but either the planner or the creative director doesn’t care because week in and week out the execution – the whole campaign, in fact – is just sad. The hospital likes the ads I’ve heard, so at the agency the only one digging this work must be the CFO.

    A great litmus for an ad is the idea.  The idea as played back a day after it has been seen.  This ad is “one of those purple hospital ads.”  “The ones with the one word headline.”

    I read this ad stem to stern as I have many of the others in the campaign and still haven’t a clue as to the strategy. Or what the brand stands for.

    If you spend enough money, people will see your ads. It you buy the right media people will see your ads. If you don’t have an idea, people will see your ads. They just won’t be able to form an opinion about you – other than you have enough money to advertise. You have a name. And in this case, you like the unique color purple. Peace!

    PS. I’m sure the women and men at NYU Langone are terrific and save lots of lives. I applaud you, but it’s time to find a brand and brand idea.  



    New Cadillac Spots


    I wrote Friday about the new Cadillac campaign, sight seen. My qualm was actually with the quote by Publicis’ CEO who intimated image, not car sales, was the point of the work.  I get image. It’s an important got-to-have, but it’s not the primary reason for advertising. Image and an on-brand strategy message are imperatives. Not, however, at the cost of selling.

    The Cadillac ad I watched last night on the Oscars was lovely. Of the time. Its heart was in the right place. The product manager/client made the agency show, at least, some old Cadillac cars. But how hard would it have been to show a new model at the end of the spot? Even grayed out a bit? As mentioned Friday, Cadillac’s challenge the past couple of years has been inelegant car designs. Not showing the new model car almost makes me feel, it’s still a challenge.

    Then Cadillac ran another ad introducing the Escala. (Watch the second commercial on YouTube link above.) It’s product first. Product forward. And the car design is huge. Exhilarating.  These two execution could have ben combined a la the “Imported From Detroit” spot from years ago. That would have been some ad craft.



    New Car Smell?


    Joel Ewanich landed at GM with guns blazing.  GM’s new marketing head left a similar job at Nissan without having been there long enough to find the coffee machine. And his first act at General Motors was to replace Campbell-Ewald and Publicis with Goodby Silversten and Partners as Chevrolet’s agency of record.

    Many of the snarks are saying “Why not hold a review?” and “He never even met with the old agencies” but the reality is Mr. Ewanich knows Goodby from their time together on Hyundai, be wanted Goodby, and he is in a hurry.  If he wants Goodby, why pretend to put the business up for review and waste everbody’s time and money?  Whether this decision turns out to change the market share for Chevrolet is still to be played out but I’ll give Mr. Ewanich credit for strong leadership. He didn’t vacillate publically or do the politically correct thing — he made a decision and is getting to work.

    Goodby is a great shop. It knows consumers.  Gareth Kay was the planning leader at Modernista when Hummer was humming.  I don’t know Mr. Ewanich from Adam and though the Hyundai advertising may not have been crazy memorable, it absolutely delivered solid marketing ideas and results.  This move makes sense to me. But as fast as it was done, it can be undone. We learned that already.  Peace!

    Papa John’s. Better ingredients, better ads.


    It’s time to retire John Schnatter from the Papa John’s advertising.  The founder of Papa John’s, the number 3 national pizza chain in America, has long been the focal point of its advertising.  The only other constant has been the line “better ingredients, better pizza”  Not a bad strategy but an unrequited strategy if you ask me.

    Better ingredients do make a better pizza, when properly cooked and assembled — with meticulous attention to cooking detail. But all we get is Papa John talking to the director behind the camera on a football field somewhere with a forced smile and a few red tomatoes flopping around the screen.  The dude is a great business man, but has an almost Mark Cuban-like need for air time.

    Please sir, go to Italy and cut a deal on some mountain grown olive oil or hand milled flour and get us better ingredients. Better ingredients, better story, better pizza. Peace!