Digital killed the Radio/TV/Print Star?

For those of you under 30 years old, this headline might not make sense. To catch you up, I have copied the Wikipedia post on “Video Killed the Radio Star” – the song which is the inspiration for this blog. “”Video Killed the Radio Star” is a song by the British synthpop/New Wave group The Buggles, released as their debut single on 7 September 1979, on Island Records from their debut album The Age of Plastic.[1] It celebrates the golden days of radio, describing a singer whose career is cut short bytelevision. The song topped the music chart in several countries and has been covered by many recording artists. It was the first music video shown on MTV in the U.S. at 12:01am on August 1, 1981. The song was number 40 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80’s.[2]” It turns out that it didn’t quite kill radio but it sure did change the landscape of music consumption. And this week, P&G announced that it would cut 1,600 jobs as they plan to “Bank on Digital for Long-Term Savings”. So, will digital kill video/TV, if not everywhere then at P&G?

P&G’s CEO, Bob McDonald has been under a great deal of pressure from analysts to justify their ad spend which has increased P&G’s by a staggering 24 percent over the two years through October 2011, even though sales rose only 6 percent in the same period. BusinessInsider said, “P&G’s staggering ad budget has become a bit of an issue among analysts. On the call, McDonald and his crew were asked about ad costs three different times. McDonald eventually said:

As we’ve said historically, the 9% to 11% range [for advertising as a percentage of sales] has been what we have spent. Actually, I believe that over time, we will see the increase in the cost of advertising moderate. There are just so many different media available today and we’re quickly moving more and more of our businesses into digital. And in that space, there are lots of different avenues available.

In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient. One example is our Old Spice campaign, where we had 1.8 billion free impressions and there are many other examples I can cite from all over the world. So while there may be pressure on advertising, particularly in the United States, for example, during the year of a presidential election, there are mitigating factors like the plethora of media available.”

As a result, “P&G said it would lay off 1,600 staffers, including marketers, as part of a cost-cutting exercise. More interestingly, CEO Robert McDonald finally seems to have woken up to the fact that he cannot keep increasing P&G’s ad budget forever, regardless of what happens to its sales. He told Wall Street analysts that he would have to “moderate” his ad budget because Facebook and Google can be “more efficient” than the traditional media that usually eats the lion’s share of P&G’s ad budget.” according to BusinessInsider.com. This is big news for analysts (and given that this announcement occurred just days before the much anticipated Facebook IPO, I would guess that the Facebook team is cheering.), yes, but what about the media world? It is no secret that a lion’s share of P&G’s ad spending is placed in traditional mediums like TV and print with a hefty share also going to digital but this latest news hints at a much larger strategic focus on the digital world for P&G. Most marketing experts would agree that this has been a long time coming and is the right thing to do. Still, the message, usage, and integration of digital is at least, if not more important than the simple switching of money into the medium. Articles cite the success of the Old Spice campaign but unfortunately for P&G this campaign format is not the norm. Perhaps this will spur on the progression in all corners and in all of their many brands. There is no question that this mega corporation has led the way into interesting digital marketing in the past but this latest move, in my opinion, seems to signal a true mindset change, and a wise one at that if done with an eye toward integration with other media. Digital media on its face is good but is not by default intrinsically better than any other form of communication – it is what is said, how it is used, and who in turn choses to engage with it that matters most.
So, to get back to our song inspired headline; no, I don’t think digital will kill the TV/Print star, but much like MTV’s first video did to music, I do believe that this announcement reinforces what most of us already know – the landscape of marketing and media is ever changing and the greater emphasis on one medium does not mean death for another. In fact, if done well, all mediums become better and evolve to be more holistic.

Are you a Dragon?

January 23, 2012 marks the Chinese New Year which this year is symbolized by the Dragon. According to infoplease.com, “Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate.” I happen to be a Dog.Pause for the jokes…ok, we all can’t be Dragon’s but this year we can act like one. I believe that the dragon is the patron Chinese animal of all great marketers as the charactersitics are spot on. To be even more precise, I found a break down of the KIND of Dragon’s born during the Years of the Dragon. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon as was 1952.

THE WATER DRAGON 1952 AND 2012

Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.

Interesting indeed. So let’s take a look at some of the best innovations from 1952.

In 1952, Edward Teller and his team build the hydrogen bomb. Perhaps not the most peaceful invention but one who’s science led to greater things. Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver were issuers of the first patent for the bar code. I think all marketers can agree that this changed the face of retail. Very little has changed with the respect to the bar code until very recently with the advent of QR Codes and the like.

Lest we be to serious, I think we can all agree that to get through our day, most of us indulge in a diet soft drink or two or three or four. Well, the year of the Water Dragon ushered in the first sale of the diet soft drink which was dubbed the “No-Cal Beverage”. It was a gingerale that was sold by Kirsch. 2011 saw  DIET Coke surpass Pepsi for the first time so it is safe to say the “No-Cal” beverage has had an impact on business.

The year of the Water Dragon also saw Mr. Potato Head patented. An invention that has stood the test of time and technology and remains a favorite amongst children everywhere. The developers and marketers of this product certainly understood a great deal about human nature and the simple joy of changing expressions and attitudes on an unattractive potato that somehow was both a release and source of joy.

Looking back at these inventions, you can see the Water Dragon at work. The bar code, the diet soft drink and Mr. Potato Head could be described as something more than just interesting inventions but rather thoughtful marketing insights that led to mega industries that have lasted when most inventions have gone by the wayside. In fact, these inventions of 60 years ago have not really changed in that time span. Sure soft drinks use other synthetic sweetners than in 1952 but essentially they are sugar-free, colored, caffeinated (thank God) water. The bar code and Mr. Potato Head are pretty much the same too. How many other inventions of 50+ years ago have remained nearly the same? Very few I would guess. So the calming effect that the water has on the dragon seems to work in that it does require a “step back” for greater insight which tends to have a lasting effect. As for the hydrogen bomb, all I can guess is that it was an invention that was developed in a hangover from the previous years more aggressive dragon. Still. there is no arguing that it has stood the test of time.

5 BEST GADGETS OF 2011 – AND A WISH LIST FOR MORE:)

It is that time of year again – the “Best of” list time of year, that is. I have read a few and have now made my own list and because it is almost Christmas, I thought I might ask Santa to maybe rush forward some inventions that might be on the way.

Item 1: Microsoft Kinect for XBOX 360:
Yeah, yeah, I know this came out last holiday season but its full impact was not known to me until 2011. This fantastic invention has allowed me to spend some quality time with my kids on games that I actually enjoy. Call me old or whatever, but I CANNOT get into Modern Warfare 3. I CAN however dig dancing with my kids and even doing it for points – I am competitive overall and do NOT believe in just letting my kids win! More than that – it has added a little extra cardio to my life. Good for the family AND the heart.

Item 2: The Bed Bug Detector:
I travel, every single week and the bed bug outbreak last year really skeeved me out. So this little invention caught my eye. Here is a link to a site that demo’s this nifty device.http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2011-05/2011-invention-awards-sniffing-out-bedbugs It is marketed as emulating a dog’s nose. This is the perfect device for any loved one in your home that travels a lot lest they bring those bad bugs back home with them. Another perk is that it can sniff out mice, roaches, spiders and other creepy crawly’s!

Item 3: Twitter Based Hedge Funds:
I found this on the Time Inc list of the best inventions of the year and had to agree.http://techland.time.com/2011/11/17/five-cool-inventions-from-times-new-50-best-inventions-issue/#twitter-based-hedge-funds The article stated that “apparently, the new way to do it is to pay attention to Twitter. A paper from the Universities of Indiana and Manchester called “Twitter Mood Predicts The Stock Market” seems to suggest that the overall mood of the social network is a surprisingly good indicator of where the market will go soon afterwards.”

http://timenerdworld.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/twittermoneywhale586.jpg?w=580

A mood ring for the stock market…now that is something I can get into!

Item 4: iPad 2
The thinner, lighter version with the front and back camera was a big enough leap forward to make a believer out of me. The competition has been good news for the marketplace but bad news from some competitors (like the HP Touchpad). However, Kindle has upped its game, in large part because of the progress made by Apple. The Fire is really slick. It is no iPad, but it’s nice.

Item 5: Siri
My favorite invention of 2011. Voice activation has been so blase with so much potential and while Siri still has her flaws, she is pretty awesome. She is practical but she is fun too. Who hasn’t asked he what she thought of you or what she was wearing? It is as much fun to get her to really help you as it is to see how the Apple programmers managed to think of a response to literally any nonsensical question you could conjure up.

Now for my Santa Wish List:
This is a great article (http://listverse.com/2011/08/27/top-10-futuristic-inventions-we-should-have-now/) for 10 gadgets that we SHOULD have but my favorites are:

1. Teleportation:
http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/teleportation_0129.jpg?w=550&h=308


Where is Scotty with his di-lithium crystals when we need him? Imagine how truly global we could be if we could teleport ourselves? And think of the time saved in security lines!!

2. Food Particalizer:
http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/star-trek-food-synthesizer.jpg?w=550&h=412
Remember the part in Willy Wonka where the kids particalizes himself and floats over everyone only to re-appear on the other side of the room (albeit in miniature form)? Imagine doing that with food? Maybe the holiday season of food gorging has affected me but I’d love to teleport some of the finer foods in NY to my home from time to time…I’d even pay for the long distance delivery…instant gratification:)

3. Anti-Gravity Machine:
http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/browndisc.jpg?w=550&h=404
Along with my food issues comes this…if I had an anti-gravity machine, I wouldn’t be so depressed when I looked down at the number on the scale:)

Happiest of holidays to all!

 

Trick or Treat: Learning from the Ghostbusters Gang

I love Halloween. Something about the decorations, old horror movies on TV, make-believe, and candy all coupled in my favorite season of the year make it fun. And in keeping with that theme, I wanted to write a blog post that wrapped in some fun while maybe offering some good advice. So as I was reading my Twitter feed on one of my flights this week, I stumbled upon this graphic:

Check it out here.

I like the sentiment in here but would offer my own take on a couple of them. Let’s take them in order.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Cross the Streams: I love this one. It could have said “1+1=3″ or “Teamwork Works” but I like the Ghostbuster spin.

2. Keep Your Ghosts Contained: I agree with the headline but not with their advice. I do not think you should contain the issues that bother you most. I think you should face your fears and deal with them. If you have ghosts that make you afraid of making a move or coloring outside of the lines then see a shrink but don’t stop pushing. Mediocrity kills the spirit.

3. Go With Your Gut: Amen. You have likely read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell but even if you haven’t there is much to be said for instincts. I say this with a grain of salt however because it can also get you in trouble, particularly if you think that an impulse is the same thing as an instinct. It is important to know the difference.

4. Get Approval From Your Higher Ups: Nope. I am all about “Ask Forgiveness Not Permission”. It may not be the best advice and certainly I have run into trouble for employing this but I have also had success with it. I do think that there are many cases where time is an issue and if combined with the last point, can lead you to amazing things.

5. Negative Attitudes Create a River of Slime: So true. I would add “Passive Aggressive People Suck” to that list as well. People, particularly in the digital age, have to rise above and try to work toward the good, keep personal issues outside of the office, and find the joy in being a part of a winning team.

6. Don’t Shy Away From Asking Tough Questions: Agreed. So often what I see inside my clients offices is a fear of saying something that might sound stupid or be contrary to what their boss thinks. What I also see is that most heads of businesses WANT this dialogue and NEED this dialogue. Remember that you were hired because someone thought you knew what you were doing. Prove that by questioning issues, in a constructive way.

7. Mind Over Marshmallow Matter: Again, I agree with what they say here but I would add that this is all about having a positive attitude. Too often, living inside of company limits for too long can limit what you feel is possible and therefore limits your imagination about what could be. Use your optimism, positive attitude and can-do spirit to never get stuck in the corporate sludge.

8. Be A Cheerleader for Your Employees: ‘Nuff said. If you are not hiring people smarter than you to work for you then think about why that is. If you are not doing everything in your power to highlight your teams success at every turn, ask yourself why not. I don’t know everything but I do know that the more I was able to raise my team up, give accolades and brag about them, the better I did as well. Leadership doesn’t mean hogging the spotlight – it means creating great teams that shine bright.

Happy Halloween!

What were they thinking? Fiat and JLo?

I am an avid football fan and have to admit that I get excited to see what the marketers will put up during that first week of the NFL games – they are usually pretty good. Also, you may know that I was once the head of marketing communications at Chrysler (then DaimlerChrysler) so I have a soft spot for those guys. But as I was watching the games this past weekend and heard Jennifer Lopez (JLo) start singing, only to pop out the top of a Fiat 500 I was really puzzled. I knew I was not alone when I received a text message almost instantly, from my husband (I was traveling) who was asking the same thing – “What was that?”

Let’s start with the facts. Fiat, the new Italian owner of Chrysler, has recently launched the Fiat 500: A sub-compact and admittedly pretty cute car.  There were many concerns about Fiat’s re-entry into the US market given its former failed attempts (Remember that Fiat once stood for “Fix It Again Tony”). But so far, it seems to have generated some positive appeal amongst those I speak to despite the paltry 14,000 followers on Twitter (@fiatusa). Their initial ad showed a couple driving into a drive-in which was filmed in black and white except for the Fiat.

It had a nice mix of nastalgia and modernity even if you saw the car for only a short time. It has had a decent viral push as well.

And then, last weekend, the JLo ad…ugh…

My initial thought was “Why would they use JLo and completely overshadow their own brand value when they seem to be off to such a promising start?” I mean she is not Italian, so no connection there. Yes, she is launching her branded everything..clothes line, perfume, TV shows, etc. and is certainly a fashion icon, which might fit with Fiat’s positioning but she completely overwhelms the brand, especially in this spot. I have been checking out the online reviews. They are mixed. CarConnection says that Chrysler is on a roll because they have gotten such big names to appear in their ads. My take, when you resort to celebrities, babies, and puppies, you are usually in trouble. Then, Jalopnik reported that the comments from Monday Night Football’s game was running about 2:1 against the ad. Brand tension is a good thing, not everyone can love you, but you certainly want the ratio to be in your favor.

According to Edmund’s Inside Line, “Fiat’s deal with Lopez is just the latest in a long string of partnerships between automakers and artists. Lotus recently enlisted rapper Swizz Beatz to help it sharpen its image. Chrysler also used rapper Eminem to great advantage earlier this year during his appearance in its Super Bowl commercial. That commercial has now been viewed nearly 13 million times on YouTube.” Ahhh…they think that if they get stars for Fiat it will have the same affect as the Eminem ad had on Chrysler. But here is why that isn’t going to work.

First, Eminem was chosen to support an entire brand, the Chrysler brand, that had nowhere to go but up. Chrysler, prior to this years Super Bowl, had arisen from the bankruptcy ashes anew and with promise but was still floundering in terms of where and how to position its namesake brand, Chrysler. The tagline of “Imported from Detroit” is in my opinion genius, and Eminem was a fantastic way to get the emotional point across that transcended a vehicle alone. The continued use of superstars, athletes and fashion icons in its follow up campaign has been merely ok as the concept remains strong but the vehicles are taking more and more of a backseat to the stories of the celebrities themselves. But the fact that they remain true to success stories from Detroit at least makes the campaign continue to have meaning and for the positioning itself to create a unique space for Chrysler – somewhere between gritty steelworker and humble star.

Secondly, Jennifer Lopez is launching her own series of brands. She likely will have more or as much media as Fiat will and it will be all about her. That makes the 500 a prop. And unlike the Chrysler brand that was struggling for an identity, Fiat seems to have foregone creating one and instead is simply trying to borrow one, but not well and not nearly as authentically.

This is the conundrum that success can breed but I think that Fiat should have known better. The formula that seems to be working for the Chrysler brand is not necessarily a formula that works for any brand, any time, any where. The Fiat brand has to be careful not to come across as too superficial and has to worry that in this very early, very fragile time in its re-emergence into the US that it does not minimize its own value in favor of another.

Re-thinking your CV/Resume

As a marketer, you can’t help but watch the latest happenings in Washington and think about the marketing implications of this debt war and the high unemployment numbers. The job numbers may actually result in a huge opportunity for some. That opportunity is the fundamental changing of the traditional job resume or CV (curriculum vitae). If you have been in the job market for any time period and have both tried to be creative with your active word choice (developed, designed, delivered, created, generated) for that tired resume or if you have been on the hiring side reviewing these lackluster documents, you know as well as I do that the time for the CV/resume overhaul has come!

In the marketing industry in particular, I for one am tired by the only variety on the page being font choice or links. WE are the creative class afterall!! Still, how many of us second guess ourselves because of the kind of company we are submitting the CV to? If it is a financial services, pharmaceutical, automotive or government entity, creativity may actually be seen as a negative, right? But if we are truly to present our best selves, our true selves, is it really necessary to conform in a way that makes us part of the “sea of sameness” or can we take a chance and show what we can really do?

It is not a trivial question. This past week, the USA Today had a front page headline touting that half of the non-farm payroll gains in the past two years have been created in the state of Texas. Wow! Texas, as we know is a fairly conservative state yet also touts some of the most progressive start-ups in our industry located in its trendy capitol city of Austin. So, do we adjust our resume for the times? The state? The industry? How many versions do we need?

Then, consider the effort that people put into their own websites, or social sites. Many of them include everything from their CV as well as published articles and even some personal anecdotes. How can a 2-dimensional piece of paper capture all of that and serve all of the constituencies and nuances of the business itself while separating us from the pack without ostracizing us at the same time?

I don’t know for sure but as someone who sees their fair share of CV’s and has created dozens of my own versions, I was intrigued by this article. “7 Ingenious Resumes That Will Make You Rethink Your CV” http://on.mash.to/iW20b0.  If you click on this link, you will see several CV’s that are really thoughtful but some, in my opinion, have some serious flaws. Here are a couple from that blog and my assessment on how they can work to help or hinder the marketer on their job quest.

1. This was called the “Multi-Dimensional” Resume


I give this big points for creativity but for most company’s, at least traditional corporations, this may make Meghan seem a bit A.D.D. I think that the idea here is great but the 3-D attempt can make this seem almost confusing. For an agency or creative company, it may be spot on. For any other company, it may feel like work to figure out or a ruse to hide the fact that there is precious little substance. Too much creativity can bring the skeptic out in some.

2. This was one was touted as Design Being Matched with Style


This to me felt like a reverse evolution of the one prior. It is in black and white and while it has a similar feel to the first, it is more orderly, with greater detail and is easy to follow. I also like the QR code attached offering the reader a chance to “interact”. I think that you could submit this to most companies for most mid-level and below positions in marketing and make a statement, in a good way. But any executive level position will require much more than is included here. I do think that it is distinctive enough to also stand out in the agency and creative company world.

3. This one was dubbed “Video Killed the Resume Star?”


This was described as a video where the reader/watcher could interact with the video and click on words on the screen to learn more. There were sections on “About Me”, Portfolio, Skills Page, Timeline and Contact Info. I give this high marks assuming the company is reviewing online resumes versus printing them out in some big HR file. This is an opportunity to tell the story yourself, in a quasi-interview format. The upside, is that if you have a strong personality and are telegenic, this may get you in the door. The downside is if the person viewing either doesn’t watch the whole thing, can’t find the bit of information they are looking for without several minutes of dialogue, or if they feel that they no longer need the interview because of the format. Chemistry is key in choosing a job so you don’t want to forego that! Still, it is a nice combination that works well in traditional as well as creative settings. I would send a hard copy of a CV along with the link, just in case.

4. Wear Your Resume


‘Nuff said:)

Bottom line, I think that there is definitely room for a CV/resume make-over in the world, particularly for marketers. Still, the whole world is not quite where many of us are in terms of our understanding of the social marketing sphere, nor in the Twitter-esque shorthand of communication. My advice is to spice things up, be visually appealing, but know your audience. Details are important so don’t think creativity is a substitute. And, in general, don’t go overboard unless you have a lifeboat waiting in the water for you in the form of a back-up job:)

TECHNOLOGY (IN)DEPENDENCE DAY

As we head out to buy the fireworks, brats and beer this holiday weekend, we undoubtedly will think fondly on 4th of July celebrations of our past. Remember running around the backyard through those oscillating sprinklers? How about cooling off with those red, white and blue rocket ship popsicles? Remember camping out with no possibility of contact with people back in civilization unless you were willing to driving to the local mom and pop convenience store that boasted the only payphone in town?

As I was thinking about this I stumbled upon an article that was written in June 1982. This 29-year old article spoke about predictions for life in 1998…13 years ago. It made me smile to read this and it made me think about what I was doing the summer of 1982. I was 12 that summer and if I had read this I would have been excited and a little worried, all at the same time. 1982 was the year E.T. and Blade Runner was released after all.

Because the article written in the New York Times in 1982 is so fascinating, I cut and paste it here, which makes the blog long, I know. Below that are a few of my predictions, some obvious, some maybe more outlandish for life 29 years from now, in 1940.

http://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/14/us/study-says-technology-could-transform-society.html

STUDY SAYS TECHNOLOGY COULD TRANSFORM SOCIETY

By ROBERT REINHOLD, Special to the New York Times

Published: June 14, 1982

WASHINGTON, June 13— A report commissioned by the National Science Foundation and made public today speculates that by the end of this century electronic information technology will have transformed American home, business, manufacturing, school, family and political life.

The report suggests that one-way and two-way home information systems, called teletext and videotex, will penetrate deeply into daily life, with an effect on society as profound as those of the automobile and commercial television earlier in this century.

It conjured a vision, at once appealing and threatening, of a style of life defined and controlled by videotex terminals throughout the house.

As a consequence, the report envisioned this kind of American home by the year 1998: ”Family life is not limited to meals, weekend outings, and once a-year vacations. Instead of being the glue that holds things together so that family members can do all those other things they’re expected to do – like work, school, and community gatherings -the family is the unit that does those other things, and the home is the place where they get done. Like the term ‘cottage industry,’ this view might seem to reflect a previous era when family trades were passed down from generation to generation, and children apprenticed to their parents. In the ‘electronic cottage,’ however, one electronic ‘tool kit’ can support many information production trades.”

Privacy Issues Seen Posed

The report warned that the new technology would raise difficult issues of privacy and control that will have to be addressed soon to ”maximize its benefits and minimize its threats to society.”

The study was made by the Institute for the Future, a Menlo Park, Calif., agency under contract to the National Science Foundation. It was an attempt at the risky business of ”technology assessment,” peering into the future of an electronic world.

The study focused on the emerging videotex industry, formed by the marriage of two older technologies, communications and computing. It estimated that 40 percent of American households will have two-way videotex service by the end of the century. By comparison, it took television 16 years to penetrate 90 percent of households from the time commercial service was begun.

Opportunities for Abuse

The ”key driving force” controlling the speed of videotex penetration, the report said, is the extent to which advertisers can be persuaded to use it, reducing the cost of the service to subscribers.

But for all the potential benefits the new technology may bring, the report said, there will be unpleasant ”trade offs” in ”control.”

”Videotex systems create opportunities for individuals to exercise much greater choice over the information available to them,” the researchers wrote. ”Individuals may be able to use videotex systems to create their own newspapers, design their own curricula, compile their own consumer guides.

”On the other hand, because of the complexity and sophistication of these systems, they create new dangers of manipulation or social engineering, either for political or economic gain. Similarly, at the same time that these systems will bring a greatly increased flow of information and services into the home, they will also carry a stream of information out of the home about the preferences and behavior of its occupants.”

Social Side Effects

The report stressed what it called ”transformative effects” of the new technology, the largely unintended and unanticipated social side effects. ”Television, for example, was developed to provide entertainment for mass audiences but the extent of its social and psychological side effects on children and adults was never planned for,” the report said. ”The mass-produced automobile has impacted on city design, allocation of recreation time, environmental policy, and the design of hospital emergency room facilities.”

Such effects, it added, were likely to become apparent in home and family life, in the consumer marketplace, in the business office and in politics.

Widespread penetration of the technology, it said, would mean, among other things, these developments:

– The home will double as a place of employment, with men and women conducting much of their work at the computer terminal. This will affect both the architecture and location of the home. It will also blur the distinction between places of residence and places of business, with uncertain effects on zoning, travel patterns and neighborhoods.

– Home-based shopping will permit consumers to control manufacturing directly, ordering exactly what they need for ”production on demand.”

– There will be a shift away from conventional workplace and school socialization. Friends, peer groups and alliances will be determined electronically, creating classes of people based on interests and skills rather than age and social class.

– A new profession of information ”brokers” and ”managers” will emerge, serving as ”gatekeepers,” monitoring politicians and corporations and selectively releasing information to interested parties.

– The ”extended family” might be recreated if the elderly can support themselves through electronic homework, making them more desirable to have around.

Political Power Shift

The blurring of lines between home and work, the report stated, will raise difficult issues, such as working hours. The new technology, it suggested, may force the development of a new kind of business leader. ”Managing the complicated communication in networks between office and home may require very different styles than current managers exhibit,” the report concluded.

The study also predicted a much greater diversity in the American political power structure. ”Videotex might mean the end of the two-party system, as networks of voters band together to support a variety of slates – maybe hundreds of them,” it said.

———————————————–

What is fascinating about reading this is the accuracy of the concern over privacy and the notion of how technology will subsume our previous notion of family and work life. Though the predictions had several ideas that are still not quite realized, like the two-party political system going away, the effort seems worthy of our attention in that the consequences, and unintended consequences, are always worth considering even if we only get it half right.

So, here are a few of my predictions for life in 2040.

The overriding theme for 2040 is Self Contained/Self Sufficient:

1. Landline phone goes the way of the typewriter. Ok, this might get a “duh” but still, the impact of this likely truth is pretty daunting.

2. Facebook-Phobia becomes the disease of the century…people have adverse physical reactions when confronted with interacting with a human face to face sans a screen in between them.

This prediction spawns from watching my 12-year old son speak to his “girlfriend” who lives several hours away. To watch them talk on Facetime, you’d think they were inseparable, the best of friends. But then, aforementioned girlfriend came to town. Once here, she was as shy towards my son as if they had just met. That screen of separation acts like a security blanket for many and the prospect of being in front of someone, in the flesh, with no way to shut down takes its toll on some of the younger generation.

3. RFID once touted as the breakthrough idea of the 2000’s morphs into NFC, Near Field Communications. RFID it turns out was a better identifier of product and proximity while NFC is more of a two-way interaction between the mobile applications, consumer, retailer and marketer.

NFC is here but its adoption is still slow. I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting it becomes the norm.

4. Communities will continue to be built not based on proximity but based on interests and industries. The free-for-all “Friending” of the early 2000’s, likened to the “Free Love” era of the 1970’s, will be replaced by thoughtful, purposeful grouping of like interests and intents. Also, the social platforms of these purpose driven communities will be the norm for every person.

Perhaps I am inspired by the intent of the recent launch of Google+ but in general, something has gotta give. I am optimistic that it will be a good thing.

5. Homes and buildings will be self-contained and self-reliant.

We are seeing this already in some of the “greener” towns in America but by 2040, I predict that most new homes, at least, will be almost totally energy self-sufficient.

6. Cars will be manufactured with materials like composites versus steel. The high-strength, low-cost materials will drive efficiency and safety gains in the industry. However, those materials will not become “low cost” for another decade at least.

There will no longer be audio offerings in the vehicle as people’s personal devices will simply “snap in” and provide the office, entertainment and vehicle diagnostics helping to personalize the experience and reduce the costs of audio equipment.

I could not go so far as to suggest we will live in the land of George Jetson but I do think the material development and technological integration will greatly change the auto landscape.

7. My last prediction is that the 4th of July will not change. We will still head out with our families with bug spray and blankets in tow to lay back and stare up at the sky and utter our primitive sounds…Oooh…Aaaah

Happy 4th of July!

Marketing: See a Puppet, Buy a Car.

OMG: What Marketers Want from us in their social media campaigns.

Ford’s is using a puppet named Doug in its social online campaign (YouTube).

Watch the puppet. Like me. Buy the car. That is what some may think Ford wants us to do as a result of its latest social media campaign. And truth be told, that is just what the company is trying to do.

Ford recently introduced a social media campaign centered around an orange puppet named Doug to drive fresh interest in the Ford Focus. The idea behind the social online campaign is to create humorous, if not slightly misogynistic, short videos that feature Doug with Ford employees, one of whom is a woman, in various scenarios from a press release to a test drive. The videos are well done and do a good job of creating humor while actually teaching you something about the car itself.

This one is the “announcement” of Doug as a “spokesperson” for the Focus. You will get what I mean about the slightly off-color approach.

 

Here is another where Doug is getting a “walk-around” of the Focus and hitting on the female Ford employee.

Another featuring more of the same but this time around the interior of the car.

All in all, very entertaining, particularly for a young male, though I admit that it made me smile here and there, too.

But what is the point of this? In general, social media is a relatively new development. And even though many companies have allocated people and big money to social media efforts on channels such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter, many have yet to figure out how to make it pay off.

What should the payoff be? Sales, or at least leads, of people interested in buying a car in the near future. Today, the most common measure for companies are “hits” to the page, “likes” on Facebook, sharing of content with “friends”, or, in some rare cases, actually leading consumers to e-commerce pages where they can ask for the product and accept a contact from a dealer.

Other less tangible results include simple awareness of the brand, product or service as well as increased consideration. The latter is important because we know people are not constantly shopping for cars. Even so, car companies do not want us to forget them in between purchases. If they do not engage us even when we aren’t shopping, they risk being out of our mindset when we are.

Many companies, including Ford, tout success of social media efforts. In fact, the budget to launch the Fiesta was incredibly high relative to what most companies spend in the social media arena. It was very low, though, when compared with what TV time costs, which made it incredibly efficient.

Still, social media, while the latest and most talked about “thing to do” is also full of potential pitfalls.

Across town from Ford, Chrysler was also employing social media to build consumer engagement with its brand–and hopefully generate more sales, consideration, or even just conversation–when a now infamous mishap took place.

A member of their social media agency mistakenly posted a tweet on the Chrysler Twitter page, instead of his own Twitter account, that unfortunately included an obscenity. Specifically, it read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the motor-city, and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive.” In America, we find the use of the “f” word extremely shocking. But, in truth, the message did not degrade Chrysler, nor even the city of Detroit.

Social media is tricky in that it is not a traditional medium. It is also not for the brands that are faint of heart. Social media is gritty. It is real, unfiltered and sometimes it contains the “f” bomb. When a brand chooses to engage in this medium, they choose to play among the real people, and are therefore subject to the fact that “truisms”, intended or not, may from time to time, come out in their very colorful language.

Bob Garfield, in an article he wrote for Ad Age, said of the Chrysler tweet that, “(this is) the way social media is supposed to be, because the whole point of it is to discard archaic and abrasive concepts of messaging in favor of actual conversations. Not stilted conversations based on 140-character ads — because those branded tweets are just twam (spam+tweet=twam) — but actual exchanges among flesh-and-blood non-automatons.”

His point: maybe the f-bomb is okay, even when it is not done on purpose, as a way of letting the consumer know that your stuff isn’t all “twam” and marketing-speak.

As I mentioned, the social media agency, New Media Strategies, got the boot from Chrysler over the episode. I don’t agree with the decision. If you want to play in this social media “ecosystem,” then you have to be prepared for these events. I am not advocating a regular diet of offensive language or tasteless posts, of which we have too many already on the internet, but instead a system where the risks are appreciated and the potential benefits understood.

Had Chrysler taken a deep breath before their knee-jerk reaction, they may have seen that the offending tweet, in concert with their highly successful Eminem Chrysler ad from the Super Bowl, could have been leveraged to further their positioning. Instead, the company seemed to retreat from that cool, contemporary stance taken in the Super Bowl ad, and reverted back to corporate stiffness.

In the case of Ford, the company is bound to get a few nasty comments about its Doug videos, but I expect that it is prepared. In fact, if Ford is trying to reach a young male audience, which would seem obvious by the content, then the company may be willing to assume some risk, albeit a small one, that will come from angry tweets, posts, or mentions about this new Doug content.

Will Ford fire the agency or the campaign manager for such responses? Let’s hope not. Because if you want to play among the people, and that is exactly where social media plays, then you have to play by the rules of the people. Giving up control to your customer is not always a bad thing. You just have to be willing to do it.

How Chevy “Stole” Chrysler’s, VW’s Super Bowl Hype

Super Bowl Post Mortem Shows Who Really Won

The real winner of the 2011 Super Bowl ads will be decided by sales (YouTube).

The big game has been over for almost three weeks and many have already forgotten who the MVP of the game was. Most viewers probably can’t recall more than two or three of the ads. This stands in marked contrast to the Monday after, when there were tweets, articles, surveys and blogs declaring winners in all categories.

I was among them.
As a quick refresher, I gave the Chrysler ad for the 200 with Eminem high marks, along with the Volkswagen Darth Vader ad and the Audi ad that made fun of Mercedes. It is not a trivial thing to track the success of these ads. With a cash outlay of $100,00 per second, being able to justify these enormous media investments is paramount to a company and its chief marketing officer.

Regardless of the hype, the real winners are yet to be decided because the only true measure is a sale. Still, there are some measures that are strong indicators of success. One such measure is “consideration,” something that we as marketers watch closely. Consideration tells the number of people that have you on their short list to buy. It is usually measured as a year-over-year comparison, but any consideration measure tells you how you are faring relative to the competition.

USA Today reported that in terms of consideration, Chrysler was the big Super Bowl winner. Among single nameplates, Chevy’s Silverado 3500 scored a 143-percent increase in consideration while the Chevy brand saw a mere five percent rise. That gave Chevy sixth place in the automotive sector, behind Chrysler, Kia, Hyundai, Suzuki and Volkswagen. As I was reading through this list I was shocked to see Suzuki on it and surprised to see that Hyundai beat out Chevy.

The article went on to talk about GM marketing boss Joel Ewanick’s reaction to the public’s ho-hum response to the Chevy ads. Ewanik reportedly bought links for Chevy’s Super Bowl ads to appear first when people searched online for ads from other auto makers, including VW’s “Darth Vader ad.” Then, after seeing the hype surrounding the Chrysler Eminem spot, GM did the same thing, to insure that Googling “Imported from Detroit” would bring up a link to a Chevy ad. And guess what? It worked. GM received over 55 million views in just the first four days after the game. In fact, Joel Ewanick told USA Today, “I’m not sure we’d get all the views if it wasn’t for the fact that Volkswagon got all the views.”

While I give kudos to Ewanick for making lemonade, Chevy spent roughly $15 million ($3 million per 30-second spot) during the big game plus the production costs for each of those five spots. Even if these were made really economically, that’s at least $600,000 per spot — or another $3 million. Then there was the cost of the online ads, which sends the overall Super Bowl ad spend numbers completely through the roof. Getting a palatable result on a spend like that is going to require serious incremental sales.

Before we get to that, lets look at another measure of advertising success. Networked Insights, an online data tracking company, calculated the uplift in all online conversations for every ad during the Super Bowl. This is important because according to Nielsen, word-of-mouth, otherwise known as “buzz” drives over 70 percent of all purchase intent. In addition to this measurement, Networked Insights also measures the “Bang for the Buck” by taking the conversation uplift quantity and dividing it by the amount spent for the ad. So for Chrysler, that amount was $9 million (the reported spend for its two minute ad). On the buzz alone, they were tops, but when divided by the ad spend, that position dropped a few spaces. Instead, Teleflora, Skechers and, yes, Volkswagen took the top three spots. Where was Chevy? Nowhere to be found because it garnered little buzz and spent an astronomical amount of money.

You will recall that GM made a drastic ad agency move last year, ending Chevy’s decades-long relationship with Campbell Ewald. This was the agency that brought you, “Like A Rock” and “An American Revolution,” among others. The upheaval left a bad taste in the mouth of many but others were anxious to see what a new agency with a different mindset might do to help propel Chevy forward. What we have seen has not been bad, but the ads from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners just don’t seem all that different from what we saw from Campbell Ewald over the years. (Though I submit that “Runs Deep” is nowhere near as good as the best taglines that Campbell Ewald delivered.)

Now, consider the Super Bowl performance: Chevy’s ads were not among the best — or even the best of the auto ads. So GM had to go back and try to salvage the effort with a large spend in the digital world to lunch off of others who spent less and performed better. Kind of makes you wonder about the agency switch, doesn’t it?

There are about a thousand ways to measure success in advertising, but as I mentioned before, none of them really matter except for the ultimate prize: The sale. February’s sales numbers are in, and the industry as a whole was up 27 percent for the month. So how did the Super Bowl combatants fare? Well, Chevy was up 43 percent for the month, which would seem to validate its Super Bowl “strategy,” especially considering that Chrysler, despite its supposed advertising tour de force, was down 25 percent.

But other car companies had some big gains and managed to spend less. VW posted an 18 percent increase in monthly sales, while Suzuki saw a 19 percent improvement. Hyundai was up 28 percent and Kia trumped that, with a 36 percent increase in February. It will be interesting to see how March sales turn, but rest assured, by that time nobody will remember the Super Bowl ads, let alone the name Aaron Rodgers (except if you live in Green Bay).