Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

There She Is, Miss America?

Okay. I just so happened to come across the Miss America pageant on Country Music Television—yes, I flipped my way up to channel 146. But what's important is not how I got there, rather why I stayed. To get my learn on. No, this is not some subscribe to Playboy for the articles nonsense; I'm serious. I was hit by the stun gun of smarts. (It wore off.)

It started with Chris Matthews asked Miss Mississippi to compare her state's Katrina response to the national government's. No fair, Christopher. Not so fast! M-squared (Miss Mississippi) was on it like Clinton on Rice. Figuring that must have been an exceptional difficult one, I watched Miss Texas await her question. Drumroll. What we should be doing differently in Darfur? Are you serious? A little hesitation and then bam, I swear I heard her drop the Janjaweed on those judges. It continued to the next round: How can women overcome the current gender salary gap? What gives you confidence in America? Etc.

This picture is deceptive:

But it's what I pictured. It's what I would have thought I was getting into had I actually recorded Miss America and watched it from my DVR. I was confusing it with the Donald Trump-owned Miss USA pageant. Here's how Wikipedia breaks it down: Miss America's about Role Models while Miss USA's about Models. All that watching Tiara Girls didn't help me recall the distinction at crunch-time. Though that must be why they got Mario Lopez to host. It's all starting to make sense now. Hope it helps you as well.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Inbox of Immaturity

Hollister. Let's dive right in.

Advertising :: The benefit of local advertising: It's just like a Mini-Mall and True immaturity for Durex microsite: The name is the best part is the site nameThe Pants Whisperer and Diesel's site "takeover": By The Heidis

Action-based Marketing :: This cause-related effort: Tattooy that booty and A co-created story: Add to the greatest Story

Sports :: The next Vince Carter: Check out the Windmill and Hot Bears Fans

Celebrity Gossip :: J. Timberlake's new woman: From the yacht to Sundance

Thursday, January 25, 2007

State of the Blogosphere: Bloggers' Code of Ethics

Even the wild west soon needed law+order. has created a model Bloggers' Code of Ethics, by modifying the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for the Weblog world. These are just guidelines -- in the end it is up to individual bloggers to choose their own best practices.

Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate -- and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it's in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:
• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog's mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers' conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

AKI COMMENT: Is it wrong for a blogger to "borrow" funny images off of Google Image Search to post as companion commentary? Oh, the moral choices. And really, do these "ethics" have to apply to advertisers? We get a pass, don't we?

via CyberJournalist

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I called Mark out in the comments and he responds with a post

That he knows is guaranteed to get me going. Liberalism. Post-modernism. Weak identities. That's all I read, Fukuyama might be brilliant but he needs to write in bigger type.

Anyway, what the argument below does is to make it seem that unless we all have a common motto we're marching towards, there is chaos and anarchy. It's exactly this kind of Republican. Homogenized. Imperialistic. thinking that I'd expect from the other side.

In any stable system, the necessary ingredients are diversity of form and diversity of function. The stability of the system is enhanced by these things not weakened by these things. Furthermore, the typical cause of systems becoming unstable and chaotic is the reduction in diversity. This is why in order for the world to keep spinning: clear cutting, drilling for oil in Alaska and other favorite pastimes of the right wing create far more damage than accepting that people are different and moving on.

p.s. Aki, don't even think of trying to tidy this one up with a Death of Advertising tag. No midnight editing on this one, thanks.

Trend: Identity Crises

Came across the essay (linked above) by Francis Fukayama.

Many believe we have entered the "postmodern" period. As we struggle to figure out just what the hell that means, one clearly related question seems very timely: What holds us together? Nationalism, ethnicity, religion, generational constructs, geography, tradition and any number of other structures have provided the glue that holds a culture together. Arguably, many of these constructs are disappearing. Now what? Can brands play a role in helping to shape new cultural identities (I am being serious here)? Do they already? If not, what defines us? Fukayama ends with this:

"Postmodern elites, particularly those in Europe, feel that they have evolved beyond identities defined by religion and nation and have arrived at a superior place. But aside from their celebration of endless diversity and tolerance, postmodern people find it difficult to agree on the substance of the good life to which they aspire in common."

The warning is that we may not have the luxury of waiting around to figure this out. Others may do it for us.

Analyse This: The Words of the Union

I'm a sucker for tools like this. The NY Times has a cool little state of the union word comparison tool to show visually the frequency and placement within the speech of Bush's carefully(?) chosen words over the years.

In their words:

We've done similar things for competitive reviews and industry speech analysis over the years... only without the speedy flash interface. Anyone know who provided the Flash app for this? Would be an interesting tool to have, but it looks like they did it in-house.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bankrupt!: CyberBegging

ABC News 20/20 showcases a burgeoning trend of "CyberBegging", wherein broke scrubs appeal to the masses online for some dough to pay off shopping debts, mortgages, even new boobs. One lady claims to have clocked as much as $13K with the strategy. Dustin "Screech" Diamond is profiled, too.

Critics find the idea to be shameful, yet it would seem that increasing numbers of youth and desperate debtors are rather shameless about it and find CyberBegging to be a "creative" and viable option for debt management.

File your own e-beg here and here and here.

Get Your Learn On: Neuromarketing

A recent Time magazine article takes a look at the research neuroscientists are conducting regarding the brain's decision-making process, and what the potential implications may be for Big Biz. Advances in brain imaging- which allow scientists to watch the brain's reactions to external stimuli such as purchasing decisions- are shaping up to have true value for marketers.

Studies seeking to understand the human decision making process is nothing new, but the article does highlight some of the more interesting research. In one study, scientists placed volunteers into a MRI machine and presented them with pictures of about 80 products, and their associated prices. The testing showed that the brain actually evaluates purchasing decisions based on the anticipated pain or pleasure that the decision will cause. When subjects saw prices that they felt were too high or otherwise unagreeable, the area of the brain associated with pain was activated. Similarly, agreeable prices lit up the pleasure sensors.

While all of this is mostly academic in its current form, the findings of the study do reveal the critical importance of solid branding in this ultra-cluttered landscape that we live in. The brain analyzes and makes decisions in such a short time, that key shortcuts such as brand recognition and favorability help it to quickly pare down data and make decisions as efficiently as possible, to make room for the next decision that needs to be made.

I'll be interested to see, as this research begins to move toward application and away from academics, how (if) the corporate world will react. Makes me think of a survey I came across recently, conducted by the brand strategy firm Prophet, which asked a wide swath of senior-level marketers about their companies reaction to new/innovative marketing strategies. 37% of marketers admit that new marketing approaches in their company are only adopted when they have been proven to be successful in the market. Hmm...

Monday, January 22, 2007

People-to-People Lending Redux

We did a feature back in March 2006 about The first year results are in - suggesting that's revenues for 2006 were in the range of $300,000 - based upon a 1 per cent origination fee charged on almost $30 million of loans originated.

Obviously, they'll need to grow that revenue number by a couple of orders of magnitude for this person-to-person lending business to be considered economically viable.

via PaymentsNews

User-Created: NY Time's The Last Word

With the death of humor columnist Art Buchwald, The New York Times has launched a new series of obituary chats titled "The Last Word," an interesting new form of oral history.

"People's lives make the best stories. At the NY Times we've had a long tradition of interviewing some of the world's most interesting people about their lives for their own orbitituaries. We're continuing that tradition in a new way now. We've asked people how they want to be remembered and recorded their thoughts. We're giving them, and you, the last world."

"Hi, I'm Art Buchwald and I just died," the late columnist says on the video, from an interview last summer.

"It took a while to get started and this is the first person we have interviewed who has died," reporter Tim Weiner told E&P. "It is the guy talking about his life in a way that television would never take the time to do, but that holds to our standards."

At least 10 other such interviews have been completed and edited, and the paper plans to conduct about three or four each month. "

via Smart Mobs and CyberJournalist

Politics 2.0: Pew Internet Study Data: Election 2006

Pew Internet & American Life Project updated results on their ongoing study of effects of internet on Elections 2006.

Twice as many Americans used the internet as their primary source of news about the 2006 campaign compared with the most recent mid-term election in 2002.

Some 15% of all American adults say the internet was the place where they got most of their campaign news during the election, up from 7% in the mid-term election of 2002.

Now obviously TV+Newspaper still reigns...but note the considerable declines over time. Magazines are holding on by the thinnest of threads!

A post-election survey shows that the 2006 race also produced a notable class of online political activists. Some 23% of those who used the internet for political purposes – the people Pew calls campaign internet users – actually created or forwarded online original political commentary or politically-related videos.

Also worth noting is the rise of influence from non-traditional news sources, namely "comedy satire" venues such as Daily Show and the Onion (Don't hate! Deal with it!) which we've noted before here and here.

Download the full monty here

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Single Life: 51% of Women Now Live Without a Spouse

A recent NY Times article found that 51% of American women say they are living without a spouse, probably for the first time in history.

(Sorry for the tiny graphic, click on it for the full-size view)

"In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000."

Due in part to high divorce rates- in 2005, married couples became a minority of all American households- the stat isn't all that surprising. Interesting to note though, many respondents seemed to have a different view on marriage altogether, seeing it as something that "locked them down".

"A gentleman asked me to marry him and I said no. I told him, ‘I’m just beginning to fly again, I’m just beginning to be me. Don’t take that away.’”

Liberated? Bitter? Jaded? Experts say that its likely the first.

"For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage,” Dr. Frey said. “Younger women understand this better, and are preparing to live longer parts of their lives alone or with nonmarried partners. For many older boomer and senior women, the institution of marriage did not hold the promise they might have hoped for, growing up in an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ era."

"Carol Crenshaw, 57, of Roswell, Ga., was divorced in 2005 after 33 years and says she is in no hurry to marry again. “I’m in a place in my life where I’m comfortable,” said Ms. Crenshaw, who has two grown sons. “I can do what I want, when I want, with whom I want. I was a wife and a mother. I don’t feel like I need to do that again.”

The desire for independence and the notion of living free that were prevalent in the survey reflect a greater cultural trend of personal freedom and socializing in ways defined by us, and what is most suitable to our individual lives. I'd be interested to see the results of a follow-up survey with these same respondents, say in 5 years, and whether or not their mindstates have remained the same. I'm not saying the thoughts/opinions expressed aren't genuine, but I'm just curious to see if some are simply reactions to recent events (divorce, separation, etc), and which may change in the future.

Don't want to repost the whole article, by I recommend checking it out for further stats and insights into the trend.

Politics 2.0: ABC News "Your State of the Union"

More Web 2.0 State of the Union, this time from ABC News' "Be Seen, Be Heard" initiative.

Your chance to address the nation-- send ABC News a video of what you'd say if you were giving the State of the Union-- including what you think is the top challenge facing the country today.

Comments should be no longer than 45 seconds total. You may get a chance to be a part of network coverage the night of the President's speech, Tuesday January 23rd.

You can upload your video below or send your cell phone video to or go here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Simplexity: Colbert Explains the Cingular/ATT/Bell South Merger

Cingular is now back to ATT, again. Hell if I know, either. But Colbert got it mapped out for you here.

via Consumerist and Comedy Central

*I'll post more on "Simplexity" soon.

Mass Interactive: Let VA Fly

Virgin America is trying to become the nation's newest low cost air carrier (complete with touch screen displays, vod, satellite tv, broadband Internet and then some), but has been denied by the Department of Transportation.

Virgin makes a convincing case in a viral video and a public appeal to sign their petition and help in lobbying support on their behalf.

AKI COMMENT: Now I recently got this exact same appeal directly from United and NWA thru my frequent flyer emailer...but Virgin is doing a far better job of enlisting my passionate evangelism with this video that speaks directly to me and actually sells a better case for why I should sign their petition to bolster their business - they show me what I get out of giving a damn! This is a pimped out plane, and I never knew they got down like this. But now I know, and dammit, I wanna fly VA, too! NWA and United never gave me much incentive to care about signing their DOT petition, not even a extra mile point for my time and attention (though they used my frequent miles account as the venue to pitch me to help their business), they gave me no detail as to MY END BENEFIT for helping them add another hub somewhere. Good job going that xtra step in VALUE, Virgin.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Most Contagious 2006

Interesting viral summary (downloadable pdf here) for 2006 from the peeps at Contagious Magazine.

via Room 116/AdCenter VCU

"Don't Panic": Doomsday Clock Advances

'Doomsday Clock' closes in on midnight

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists decided to move the minute hand of its "Doomsday Clock" forward two minutes, from seven minutes to midnight to five minutes to midnight.

In a press conference held simultaneously in London and New York City, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking recalled the founding of the periodical by scientists who contributed to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Hans Bethe.

"As we stand on the brink of a second nuclear age," Hawking said, "scientists have a special responsibility once again to inform society of the peril humanity faces."

In making the decision to advance the minute hand, the magazine's board called the current situation, the "most perilous since Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Kennette Bennedict, executive director of the Bulletin said the doomsday clock, unveiled in 1945 and first changed in 1947 has come to symbolize trends in the world's vulnerability to catastrophe.

Current nuclear worries touched on by the speakers included the ambitions of North Korea and Iran, the nuclear rivalry between Pakistan and India, new initiatives to expand nuclear power plants around the world and the lack of progress toward realizing the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The board also added climate change to their list of doomsday concerns, because "it could cause irremediable harm to the habitat humanity needs for survival."

via LA Monitor

Kleenex: It's Time to Let It Out

Caught a new ad for Kleenex the other night that focuses on people "letting it all out"-- have a good cry, whether they be tears of joy, sadness, relief, etc. The spot leads viewers to the Kleenex branded website with the line "It's time to let it out". Check out a spot from the campaign here.

The spot caught my attention because I can't remember an ad for facial tissue that sought to spotlight the reason people reach for that Kleenex in the first place. The ads we see for Puffs and Brand X talk about the content of Aloe, softness, absorption, etc, rather than seeking out the emotional context of the brand/product and showcasing it in a "real" person-to-person setting. I think its a great approach for Kleenex and a good attempt to take some category whitespace in a commoditized product environment. The campaign goes beyond TV spots and appears to be a dedicated approach for the company to committ to the idea, with branded website, blog, and invitations for consumer participation all surrounding the campaign.

While a campaign for Kleenex may not be the most exciting or sexy creative out there, it was impressive to me to see some fresh ideas and new life in a category that often speaks about the same things, using the same approach, and trying to get consumers to think the same thing-- that their tissues are the softest and safest for you and yours. To me, getting at the root emotions and feelings that create a need for Kleenex in the first place is a great angle in and fresh use of emotional appeal.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Go Rent Idiocracy

Looking back on 2006, I consider myself lucky in at least one respect, and that is that I lived in the same town as Mike Judge when his latest film Idiocracy was released last summer. Austin, TX was one of only six cities in the United States in which the film was shown. But the DVD is finally out and I can’t recommend it enough.

It’s well documented that Idiocracy is a film Fox didn’t want Judge, the creator of Office Space and Beavis and Butthead, to release. It didn’t even get a web site. It seems that corporate and stoner culture is in-bounds for parody (and profit). Apparently, our larger culture is not. Why?

In Idiocracy, Judge extrapolates our media, politics and collective apathy 400 years into the future. His premise is that it’s all junk food. His conclusion is that a steady diet of products and media marketed to the lowest common denominator yields a populace of weak, soft, stupid consumers/Neanderthals.

I’ll leave the full review to others (read Slate's), but suffice it to say that the movie is hilarious, strange and a little cheap-looking. But there’s more to it than that.

I don’t think Fox balked at distribution simply because a dozen brands are skewered in a number of delightful ways. For example, the Fuddruckers identity finally gets the overhaul undoubtedly suggested by countless potty-mouthed adolescents. And after seeing the movie, walking into Starbucks makes me feel...dirty. And much shame.

While this comedy has an ostensibly happy ending, it leaves the aftertaste of a serious downer. Driving home through the Austin landscape overtaken by suburban sprawl, the innocuous stream of billboards, signs and bumperstickers didn’t quite seem so unobjectionable. I went home, turned on CNN, watched a reporter say nothing for two minutes and shut it off. Idiocracy haunts you not because of what the future might be, but because of what it already is.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Politics 2.0: Rizzleweb - Rate Your Senator

Consider it the HotorNot of politics.

RiZZLEweb is an online political community, where members can rate our leaders. The interface ain't too pretty...but the idea is on point like Wize and other Hive Mind collaborations sprouting up.

Politics 2.0: First Congressional Appearance in Second Life

No, Katie Couric didn't report this one. [Eh - a pity that a multi-million dollar paycheck can't net us anything more interesting from Couric beyond retreading that dead 1950's formula. But I digress.]

Rocketboom's Joanne Colan conducted the first congressional appearance in Second Life last week with her interview of California Congressman George Miller.

(Note to SL makeup and wardrobe stylist: homie's highwater pants is a bit too tight in the rear! Nice hair, though. Believe me, girl, I know how much time it must have taken you to get that hairdo done right in 2L. Mmn, hmn. Ahem, but again, I digress.)

The event was fairly well attended (only one guy sleeping).

The congressman considers himself the proverbial "canary in the coalmine" with regard to future congressional involvement in 2L. Though he encourages increased collaboration and participation with 2L and other such media from his fellow congress members.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beckham is Soccer

That's right, I said it! The MLS is finally major. ("Yeah, major crap!," I hear the majority of this department saying.) You are all wrong. This league is being managed tremendously, and bending the rules for Beckham was a key move for its future. In case you didn't know:

Back in November 2006, the MLS changed its rules on salary caps. Each of the 13 teams could now add 1 player outside of the $2 million per team salary cap. (The league pays the first $400K of this player's contract.) It was already known as the "Beckham Rule" before he signed with the L.A. Galaxy for a reported $250 million dollars on Thursday.

Oh, but you did know. You may not all be soccer fans, but you knew. ("But that doesn't mean we'll watch!") Oh yes, you will. This is not another Freddy Ad-Who moment. Beckham is proven. This is not another NASL (North American Soccer League) brings in Beckenbauer moment. Beckham's not at his peak, but he's still got a few good years left. Plus, he should flourish in the American game/system. But this is not about his play on the field, long-term especially. Sure the L.A. Galaxy's already sold 1,000 extra season tickets since news came out, but they were one of the few profitable teams and he won't be on the field when Colombus plays Chicago. So why is this move so important?

Does this move give the U.S. and MLS international credibility? Absolutely not...yet. But it puts us in the spotlight domestically and internationally. Does it give young American boys (and girls - see Bend It Like Beckham) a role model? Absolutely. Soccer is still has the least barrier to play - all you need is a ball; it rewards smarts and creativity; and it's all about teamwork, so parents will still push their kids into the program. Now, with the promise of fame, they stay. It will encompass the perfect balance of individual and group recognition. Plus, great hairstyles not on year-delay.

We need a soccer-player celebrity...and not just every 4 years. He'll be adopted as our own—appearing on the red carpet(s) (with, don't forget, his ex-Spice Girl wifey) and Extra's of our nation. This entertainment value (I'm not the first to say he's a brand) should not be underestimated. We're talking about more Sportscenter highlights, more soccer jerseys as a fashion statement, more soccer as a means to an ends, more converts. He'll bring a needed boost to the MLS that gets the next Brian McBride, Tim Howard, Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Mathis, Bobby Convey, DaMarcus Beasley, and Clint Dempsey to stay!

It's not about how he plays the game. It's about his commitment to helping grown U.S. soccer. As he says, "I've played now for two of the biggest clubs in the world and played at the highest level for 15 years, and now I think that I need another challenge." His challenge, which he has and will continue to take on whole-heartedly, is developing this sport, so our country and this league can compete globally. He's already got his soccer academy at the Home Depot Center there.

Soccer better encompasses the global spirit of the American dream than any other sport out there. Thank you, Britain...for Beckham.

Note: Though the sport is oft-compared to a religion, this has been purposely avoided since BeckPosh have been spending a lot of time with TomKat recently. Furthermore, considering a change in the league's name has been left to later discussion after realizing first-go—U.S. Soccer League—would produce a less sexy acronym that may set us up for failure.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Politics 2.0: MyState of the Union

MySpace is at it again with "MyState of the Union", a video contest where entrants express their views on the state of America and where it should be headed.

The nominees will be selected by Former Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and political bloggers Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of DailyKos and Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online. MySpace users will vote for the winner, who will be announced on January 22nd - a day before the annual State of the Union address.

The prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC.

Hive Mind: Peugeot Concept Vote

I don't read french too well, but Peugeot invites you to place your votes on which of their concept cars of the future you'd actually buy.

Now obviously you haven't test driven these babies, so noone is actually holding you to your vote. But this is a clever approach to fast prototyping innovation and getting the customer a virtual seat at the boardroom table.

Rock the vote here

*I'm partial to this "N Joy" model myself.

via Church of the Customer

Monday, January 08, 2007

Long Bets: Accountable Predictions

Long Bets is an online record of “put your money where your mouth is” statements. It was founded by a group of futurists, including the likes of Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired Magazine. The minimum timeframe for an outlook is two years, and authors are identified by their true identities—so these guys must be pretty confident in their predictions. Another key stipulation is that predictions must be societally or scientifically significant.

Some examples:

  • By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).

  • By the year 2020, the tickets to space travel - at the least to Moon, will be available over the counter.

  • By 2025 at least 50% of all U.S. citizens residing within the United States will have some form of technology embedded in their bodies for the purpose of tracking and identification.

Long Bets works as a nice collector of opinions of a variety of motivated thinkers, and, while totally unscientific, it creates a nice pulse for this audience. Each of the predictions is up for agree-disagree voting, and if you want to up the ante, they can be bet upon ($200 minimum, but most are in the thousands).

Culture: Ghost Riding

The phenomenon of Ghost Riders (not to be confused with Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze) is not so "new", but CNN reported on it this weekend so I guess it's official!

For the uninitiated, Ghost Riding is the practice of jumping out of your 'whip' (translation: automobile), while in motion, and doing a little celebratory shimmy next to said moving car, and then jumping back in before calamity ensues. The key factor is the videotapping of the act and posting on our dearest friend YouTube.

Like so...

And so...

Of course...calamities do seem be ensuing...

Oh YouTube, we so love you!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Ad Agency Deathwatch: The CMOs Weigh In

According to a recent study of senior marketing executives by Evalueserve for Sapient, just over half of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) believe that traditional, large advertising agencies are ill-suited to meet online marketing needs. Similarly, 49% of survey respondents believe that traditional advertising firms have difficulty thinking beyond traditional print and TV media models, which no longer are effective ways of engaging consumers who now get their information and influence one another primarily through digital channels.

As a result, fewer than 10% of those polled seek to partner with large advertising agencies for their online marketing. Instead, the majority of senior marketing executives show a strong preference for blended firms - firms with roots in technology that can also offer creative and traditional print expertise. Even more (68%) prefer to work with multiple agencies, in order to derive the benefits of specialization.

Sapient's research, Electronic Media, Marketing and Advertising Buyer Value Study, surveyed more than 100 CMOs and senior marketers from the US and UK in a range of industries to understand the drivers behind their selection of marketing and advertising agencies.

Gaston Legorburu, Sapient Chief Creative Officer and head of the Experience Marketing practice at Sapient, said "Two of the greatest challenges companies are struggling with are how to measure the effectiveness of the marketing spend and how to operationalize their entire digital strategy. Most agencies and corporate teams are just not equipped to do either yet."

The study revealed that the six most important factors to a CMO when choosing a marketing partner are (in order of importance to aggregate respondents):

1. Quality of Creative Content
2. Innovation and Strategic Value
3. Price/Cost
4. Sophisticated Analytics and Measurement Systems
5. Proficiency in Emerging, Interactive or Digital Media
6. Traditional Print, Offline and Media Buying Services

via MediaPost/Center for Media Research

Ad Agency Deathwatch: The Future of Advertising and Agencies: A 10 Year Perspective

IPA recently published ‘The Future of Advertising and Agencies: A 10 Year Perspective’, which has looked at the future shape of the advertising industry. The IPA has worked with the Future Foundation, a global strategic consultancy and think tank, on this report.

The report indicates that by 2016 traditional advertising will shrink at the expense of consumer-influenced content and brand–influenced editorial so agencies will need to both innovate and evolve into new territory. New freedoms in the delivery of content, data and channels will provide new business opportunities whilst still maintaining the overriding focus on brand creation and development. Agencies will need to take on multiple roles such as:

-agency as media brand owner
-agency as joint venture partner
-agency as content collaborator
-agency as programme producer
-agency as network creator
-agency as data provider
-agency as data aggregator

If agencies don’t take these opportunities there will be tremendous implications in terms of their relationships with clients, their remuneration packages and their very existence.

60 page publication is available from the IPA for £300 for non-members and £150 for members. To order a copy click here

TrendMap 2007 (and beyond) and Future Exploration Network have collaborated to produce a map of major trends for 2007 and beyond, across ten segments: society & culture, government & politics, work & business, media & communications, science & technology, food & drink, medicine & well-being, financial services, retail & leisure, and transport & automotive.

Click here to get the full pdf.

The creators encourage you to add to it and collaborate.

via Radical Trust

Inbox of Immaturity: Happy 2007

Here's the College!-style 10-second countdown.

Short week, but here are some fresh links that take you back to the old-school:
Yes, BMX is Rad.
An old Sketch Pad skit, telling it like it is. (Gracias Aki.)
Too bad the holidays are over (Will protect the sender of this link.)
Jerky Boys cover prankers right here in MN. (Thanks Aaron.)
Romantic or lazy? Either way, it's expensive. (Sorry forgot where I saw this. Late night of catching up on blogs.)

Welcome to a new year of links, laughter, and love.