And finally a new order (or is it an old one in disguise) is taking shape. The death of J Walter Thomson.

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At no point in my 33 year long career could I have expected to be writing a post about JWT being no more.  (In fact in the early days I didn’t know what a post was.)

In fact in the early days there was no internet to even write a post on.

But today Wire and Plastic Products announced that after a tumultuous year, including the merger of Y&R and VML, with Y&R taking second fiddle in the naming stakes (VMLY&R), JWT is to merge with Wunderman and be called…just Wunderman.  What’s more, this article in today’s Drum also talks of the rise of creative and media agencies joining forces.

What we are actually talking about here is the re-emergence of the ‘Full Service Agency” that typified the landscape upon my entry in 1985.

The fracturing of our industry following the rise of the ‘media independents’ caused major financial ramifications and a loss of credibility for either camp, certainly a loss of income.

But now data (media ) and ‘media independents’ are once again forming a properly integrated alliance.

I’m not one of those Ad Contarians that bemoans the death of the idea, although I still cherish it, but good targeting and good creativity was what worked back in the day and will necessarily work again.

I suppose it’s progress.

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Why I’ve joined the Nods team as Vice Chair.

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I was a guest at the inaugural Nods Awards last year and was impressed by its enthusiastic rejection of the usual awards puffery.

  • No suits ( I wore my daughter’s purple hat, inexplicably)
  • No drawn out sit-down dinner with expensive wine. (In fact it was a selection of market stalls selling street food in a really cool venue in the Barras called BAAD)
  • No two hour ceremony with so many awards you couldn’t even begin to work out who had won what.  (It was by contrast a little rushed and in need of sharing the work visually more – but it was all done and dusted in half an hour – the criticism was noted and a balance will be struck this year).
  • No overblown entry fees or ticket prices
  • And, most importantly for me, no profit motive – the proceeds went to the STV Children’s Appeal. But this year, and hopefully for the long term, proceeds will go to NABS (Scotland) well that’s an obvious choice is it not given that NABS is the creative (Communications) industry’s representative charity

This all made the event refreshing, more so when the judges are revealed as global giants, the Chair is a Global Giant herself (MT Rainey) and the organisers are Lux Events and CRAK Marketing, two small businesses wanting to put something back.

Many in our industry have bemoaned media owners using Awards as money-spinning bun fights and whilst I don’t wholly subscribe to that point of view there is no doubt this represents a refreshing change.

So year two now approaches, this time the awards ceremony will swap to Edinburgh and the ethos will be identical, although all of the people and organisations categories have been opened up for FREE entry.  This makes sense as people feel awkward paying to enter themselves for an award.  Instead it will be a Nod of recognition to those that deserve it.

Also we have introduced a craft category – a chance for photographers, illustrators, animators, musicians, film makers to enter for themselves – or for makers in agencies to have a bit of a spotlight shone on them.

I hope the industry will support the awards like they did last year.  It’s a shop window for the winners both to clients and to prospective staff and the awards themselves are keenly priced.

You can find out more here.

But, please note, the deadline for entries is 23rd November.  So get your skates on.

 

 

 

 

 

Think Hard writes Gold award winning DBA: Design Effectiveness awards paper

I was delighted when Front Page won a gold for their work on Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Cruising For Excellence e-learning campaign.  It’s a massive project that we’ve been entering the length and breadth of the country winning Four Marketing Excellence Awards, two Herald Digital awards, a Dadi award and now the piece de resistance; Gold for digital in the DBA’s.  (In fact we’ve won 18 awards in total so far).

These really are a highly regarded awards scheme because they prove that design which is often very hard to qualify in terms of effectiveness can really return its investment.

Winning DBA gold

This brings the total of winning effectiveness awards papers that I’ve written to 35 for 21 different clients over the last 23 years.  It’s a service I provide so if you think you need a paper written for your top case study get in touch.

A really interesting point of view from luddite land

Thanks to a friend of mine for sending me this article.  It’s an interesting comparison of “new” and “old” media and their respective effectiveness.  The trouble is it’s written by a man with a very large chip on his shoulder.

Funny though…

I’d be interested in your views.

Digital Dream World

It’s a world in which consumers want to have relationships with brands and conversations with marketers. It exists mainly in your dreams.

Oct 19, 2010

-By Bob Hoffman

Welcome to a new world.

It’s a world in which people are eager to interact with ads. It’s a world in which consumers want to have relationships with brands and conversations with marketers. It’s a world that is causing a revolution in advertising and marketing.

Unfortunately, it’s a world that exists largely in our dreams.

Let’s start with a little background. Have you noticed that what was once called “interactive advertising” is now referred to as “display advertising?” The term interactive advertising has been quietly bundled off to its room and told to be quiet.

Advertising interactivity was the first of our pleasant little digital dreams. In this dream, people would be more engaged and interact with our ads, making the ads far more effective. The logic went like this: “Um . . . people like to interact with the medium, so, um, ya know, they’ll like to, ya know, interact with the ads, too.” The only problem is, people don’t want to interact with ads. Bastards.

Click-through rates are now hovering around one-tenth of 1 percent. That means 99.9 percent of the time people aren’t even engaged enough to move a finger. Naive clients, however, bought the fantasy of advertising interactivity lock, stock and pixel.

Slowly and quietly “interactivity” as a rationale for online display advertising was retired before it became too much of an embarrassment. These days, the sales pitch for online advertising sounds remarkably like the sales pitch for traditional print advertising.

But don’t worry. We have a new dream world. It’s a world in which consumers want to have relationships with brands and socialize with marketers online, and have conversations with us. It’s being fueled by the sensational rise in popularity of social media. However, I’m afraid this dream will turn out to be every bit as misguided as the last one.

When social media experts start talking, I get the same feeling I get when listening to political debates. My eyes glaze over, my jargon detector jumps into the red zone and I get an urge to dive through plate glass.

Pitches for social media marketing almost always start with a recitation of startling facts about social media — how Facebook has more members than there are grains of sand in the universe, how the average American spends over 28 hours per day with social media. You’ve heard the pitch.

What they don’t seem to understand is that there’s a difference between social media and social media marketing. The fact that social media has experienced phenomenal popularity is not prima facie evidence of the magical powers of social media marketing.

The new logic goes like this: “Um . . . people like to interact with each other so, um, ya know, they’ll like to, ya know, interact with us, too.”

From what I can tell, there are two things consumers are enthusiastic about when it comes to online social behavior: Connecting with each other and getting something for nothing from us.

I can’t prove it, but I’ll bet you $10 that the primary reason people become “friends” or “followers” of brands on Facebook and Twitter is not to have a conversation with the marketer, but to get a discount, a special offer, a deal, or some other form of insider information or advantage. It’s the same reason they join a frequent flier plan. They don’t want a relationship with a baggage handler; they want a free flight to Hawaii.

Yes, I know there are examples of brands that have been successful with “conversational” social media strategies. We always hear about them. We never hear about the thousands of failures.

Yes, I also know there are people who are unaccountably fond of a particular brand of mayonnaise and want to have a conversation with the marketer about it. But let’s be honest here. These people are weird. Most days, your sensible consumer doesn’t have the time, patience, or inclination to have a conversation with her husband. Why in the world would she want to have a conversation with us?

Having a social media marketing strategy is a good thing. But if your strategy is contingent on the idea that consumers want to have a conversation with you, create a relationship with your company and engage with your brand, you may be living in a dream world.

If you want to avoid the digital dream world, build your strategy on a foundation of reality. Give people an interesting way to connect with each other, and then give them something for nothing.

It’s not all that complicated. But just like the last time around, the lesson the ad industry is resolutely committed to not learning is that in the digital world people are passionate about interacting with each other. Not ads. Not brands. Not you. Not me.

Bob Hoffman is CEO of Hoffman/Lewis. He can be reached at bobhoffman@hoffmanlewis.com.

Theatre and arts marketing at its best

The Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh (where I am a board director) is getting better and better at its social marketing and use of e-marketing.  Here’s a great trailer for its latest production; The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh, author of In Bruges that opens tonight for three weeks.