Saturday, May 01, 2010

Why Blog?

Why do I write and post everyday?

Is it for the big bucks?

No. At least not directly.

Can you make money writing a blog? Probably.

But my motivation is different.

In a world filled with advertising and marketing salespeople, I knew that I've been a bit different.

Often in the first meeting with a client, they notice this difference. My approach is to help them with their overall marketing of their business, and maybe sell them some advertising.

Advertising will not fix a bad business, so I want businesses to be successful so when they do advertising and bring in new customers, they can handle them properly.

For me, blogging is a reflection of what I do in real life, and that is give away help and information.

So on this site, the Collective Wisdom blog, I post 3 to 4 stories a day, 7 days a week. Most weeks there are 27 articles. I also write two other blogs that are updated on a regular schedule.

This is possible because I can schedule ahead, during non-business hours and I enjoy this more than watching "Dancing with the Stars", "Survivor" and a host of other TV Shows!

My results include being invited to host seminars, write marketing columns, speak at college campuses, and the like.

You can find them at the bottom of this page:

Seth Godin wrote more on this subject:

Quid pro quo (santa math)

Walk up to the falafel stand and hand the guy $3. He hands you a falafel, no onions.

This for that.

Something for something.

The time between surrendering the money and getting the sandwich is tiny. You gave him something, you got something. It's simple.

Now, stretch it out a bit. You order dinner in a restaurant. They treat you nicely, the room is beautiful, you enjoy the evening, then you pay the bill. This, pause, pause, pause, that.

Go to law school. Pay a lot of money. Spend a lot of time. Be taught a bunch of things you don't particularly want to know, things you probably don't need. Get a degree with a modicum of scarcity. Pay for a bar review course. Pass the bar. Then you get a job that pays a lot of money.

This, then a multi-year pause, then, in return, that for the next forty years. We call it return on investment.

Online, though, I'm not sure the math is so obvious. You don't write a blog to get gigs. You don't help people out in a forum to build a freelance business. Sure, that might happen, but that's not why you do it. If you are busy calculating quid pro quo, that means your heart isn't in it, and the math won't work out anyway.

Online, the something, the quid, the this, doesn't cost cash. It takes heart and energy and caring, which are scarce but renewable resources. As a result, many people are able to spend them without seeking anything external in return. Even better, the act of generosity, of giving without expectation, makes it easier to do art, to create work that matters on its own.

I think it's more like Santa math. Santa flies around the world, giving stuff away, and for what? He earns gratitude, trust and friendship, that's what. Sure, one day he might decide to license his image or try to sell you something. But right here, right now, gratitude, trust and friendship are plenty. Especially if you enjoy doing what you're doing. Quid, no quo.

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Got the Guts?

To stick it out?

From the Wizard Chronicles:

Taking Risks: You Can’t Pull The Trigger Halfway

By Wizard of Ads Partner Michele Miller

Everyone talks about taking risks.

But how many are willing to take a risk and follow it through to its inevitable end?

How many, as my partner Roy would say, are willing to “pull the trigger and ride the bullet?”

Not many, from what I’ve experienced.

I’ve worked with small business owners who won’t trust their own instinct. The easy way out is to ask for advice from anyone who will listen (usually numbering in the dozens), then plead confusion. The result? Inaction at worst; mediocrity at best.

I’ve encountered small business owners (with marketing budgets that could afford to take a risk or two) who agree pull the trigger, and then freak out with doubts. They either try to do an about-face, or start brainstorming ideas in order to dilute the risk.

“Maybe we should only take on part of this project.”

“Let’s not do the entire promotion this time.”

“Let’s not give away such a big prize.”

“Let’s start small.”

“Let’s start slow.”

Have this happen a few times, and you end up with a company full of employees with tragically low morale and extremely high turnover. More often than not, the company itself does not survive in the long run.

At some point in your career – and in your life – you’re going to need to pull the trigger.

But before you do, remember this: you can’t pull the trigger halfway. Once that sucker leaves the barrel, it’s going somewhere. Momentum can be your friend or your foe.

When thinking about risk, always ask yourself the Two Most Important Questions every business owner needs to know.

1. Do we have the skill?

Do we have the resources—money, time, energy, personnel – to make this happen? If we don’t, are we willing to devote more resources or do more work to make it happen? Is it the most appropriate step for us right now?

2. Do we have the will?

If we decide to try it, do we have the endurance to go the long haul and see this through to its end? If things don’t work out as we’d hoped, do we have the guts and flexibility to adjust to the situation, or will we cave in?

Then, decide: can you not only pull the trigger, but ride it for all its worth? Because that’s what it’s going to take to survive this next era of small business ownership and have the firepower to pull away from the pack.

Editor: Hire Michele Miller to speak at your next conference.

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Selling Naked

from Jill Konrath:

Sales Classics: Why You Must Go Into Sales Calls Totally, Stark-Raving Naked

Posted: 28 Apr 2010 03:40 PM PDT

Earlier today I got an email from a seller who'd just read my article on naked selling. He shared with me how he does it - which I thought was a great idea too.

Then it hit me. Most of you haven't read it yet. So I'm bringing it back. Enjoy!


My daughter went to a small college in Northern Iowa that's famous for two two things: an excellent music program and ... (drum roll) ... Coed Naked Soccer. Every year some students manage to sneak a game in despite the administration's warning of dire consequences if they're caught.

What does that have to do with sales?

This past week, I talked with two sellers who are having extraordinary success right now. Their business is skyrocketing. Pricing is virtually a non-issue.

And all this happened once they started going into sales calls totally, stark-raving naked.

At least that's how they felt when they stopped bringing their brochures into meetings with prospective buyers. Armed with only a notebook and pen, they had nothing to hide behind.

They couldn't direct the prospect's attention to the marketing collateral. They couldn't point out hot new features. They couldn't show the exciting new technologies. They couldn't display their incredible portfolio of work.

Instead, they sat there naked - totally vulnerable - with their prospect staring at them. Waiting. Watching.

Without the brochure, they were forced to focus on the prospect's business. They asked questions about how it was going. They explored the challenges and the issues the prospect was concerned about. They discussed the prospect's goals, ideas and expectations.

And, because they were naked, with no brochures to fall back on even if they wanted to, they ended up having totally client-focused conversations.

The prospects loved it. They felt valued and understood. They felt like the reps cared and were concerned. They asked for the rep's advice and even wanted specific recommendations.

Despite this final temptation to pull out a brochure, these reps suggested a second meeting as the next step. They got it - and shortly thereafter ended up with bigger contracts than even they could have imagined at the beginning.

If you're one of those salespeople who relies heavily on your marketing collateral or samples, try shedding them for awhile.

Go naked into your sales calls. Have a discussion - not a pitch. It won't be long before you too start seeing the difference it makes!

P.S. Here's Fred Barker's suggestion. He's the guy that wrote me earlier today:

Having great disdain for going into a meeting completely naked, I now take my note pad plus a company pen and extra pad for the person with whom I'm meeting. My prospects use the notepad to take notes, which keeps our company name and logo in front of them.

Sounds like a great idea to me!

Contact Info

  • Phone: 651.429.1922
    Twitter: @jillkonrath

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Karl Greenberg
ISC is letting all NASCAR automakers -- Toyota, Chrysler, GM and Ford -- market together at 8 of its 12 race venues. Automakers will share a "manufacturer's row" on the midway near entrance gates, with each getting an approximately 20,000-square-foot area to show its vehicles next to the others, auto-show style. They'll also have marketing opportunities at tracks. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Target, which made big news back in January when it announced that it would completely eliminate farm-raised salmon, "shot to the top of the rankings because it is admitting it has a problem, and that there is a connection between how we sell food and the health of our oceans," says Greenpeace's Casson Trenor. "It's clear that it is changing internal policies and standards on many things, and I expect to see more interesting things out of Target, soon." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The series of three, 15-second TV spots, all falling under a "Delicious Pours" theme, will be aired in "heavy rotation" during sports programming on ESPN, TBS and TNT, according to Diageo. Lime Bite, a silver, spiced, lime-flavored rum, will also have digital presence on Yahoo Sports, as a sponsor of its NBA playoffs programming. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Themed "Return the love," the national effort includes partnerships with Grammy Award-winning recording artist Wyclef Jean, and "Queen of Latin Pop" Paulina Rubio. With Western Union as the sponsor, the musicians will give special performances and appearances at the Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards and a concert honoring military moms. ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
"Sony hasn't had a strong marketing plan for years," John Biggs, editor-in-chief of the gadget blog, tells Marketing Daily. "They make amazing stuff and just push it out the door. ... Sony has an amazing but massive product line, and it's clear this isn't a priority. Priced at $199, the Dash is a flat-panel device that uses a wireless connection to display information from the Internet, from streaming movies to traffic reports to social networking updates. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
The launch television spot features Lalo Schifrin, a composer, conductor and pianist who has created themes for numerous TV shows, including "Starsky and Hutch" and "Mission Impossible." The latter actually provides the premise for the commercial, which takes the form of a flash-back to 1966, showing Schifrin composing at a piano, evolving the score in his mind (complete with orchestra), and emerging -- after a break to sip Lipton Yellow Label -- with the classic "Mission Impossible" theme. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
"Kizashi is a surprisingly good product for a key segment of the market, but they just need to get the word out and that's tough because they aren't spending on advertising," says an analyst, who adds that the gas pitch has a chance since "the group that they have appealed to in the past has been budget conscious and it may be an incentive to those folks suffering from the recession. I think incentives like free gas may be a meaningful perk." ...Read the whole story >>

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Digital Demos

from Mediapost:

Digital Potpouri
The new national survey from Arbitron and Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2010, provides a selection of metric insights into the use and users of social networking, online radio, MP3 players, Wi-Fi, Broadband, mobile phones, and television.

Social Networking

The percentage of Americans age 12 and older who have a profile on one or more social networking Web sites has reached 48% of the population in 2010, double the level from two years ago.

The new study reveals that consumer use of social networking sites is not just a youth phenomenon. Personal profile pages are maintained by:

  • 78% of teens
  • 77% of 18 to 24s
  • 65% of 25 to 34s
  • 51% 35 to 44s

The study also shows that 30% of Americans age 12 and older, who have a profile on at least one social networking Web site, use those sites "several times a day" compared with only 18% one year ago.

Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc "The use of social networking sites has expanded beyond younger consumers, with substantial numbers of Americans over the age of 35 now using social media,"

Key Findings about Radio and Digital Platforms:

MP3 Players

Nearly one in four Americans has listened to audio from an iPod or other MP3 player connected to a car stereo: Although consumers often have to deal with myriad adapters and other barriers to in-car listening, 54% of iPod/MP3 player owners have listened to their device in their car; this equates to 24% of all persons age 12 and older having listened to an iPodTM, iPhoneTM or other MP3 player while connected to a car stereo.


Three in ten 12 to 24s are "very interested" in online radio in the car and on mobile devices: Among those age 12 to 24, 30% are "very interested" in listening to online radio in-car, while 28% are "very interested" in listening to online radio on mobile devices.

Consumers say radio station Web sites are improved but TV and print sites are leading the local battle: Nearly half of people age 12 and older give credit to radio for improvements in their Web sites. 48% say that radio station Web sites have gotten more interesting compared to 17% believing them to be worse or less interesting. However, monthly visitation to radio station Web sites (16%) among persons 12+ lags visitation to local TV and local newspaper Web sites.

Main Reason Listeners Choose Internet Radio


% of Respondents

To control or choose the music being played


More music variety


Fewer commercials


To listen to audio you cannot get elsewhere


To get a clearer signal than over-the-air radio


Less DJ chatter


Because it's new


Source: Arbitron and Edison Research, April 2010

"Americans continue to hold radio in high regard, with nearly eight in ten saying they plan to listen to as much AM/FM radio in the future as they do now - despite advances of technology" said Arbitron's Bill Rose.


For the first time, more Americans say the Internet is "most essential" to their lives when given a choice along with television, radio, and newspapers;

  • 42% chose the Internet as "most essential"
  • 37% select television
  • 14% choose radio
  • 5% said newspapers

While television still leads among those over the age of 45, Internet dominates among younger persons age 12 to 44.

% of Respondents Who Have Listened to Online Radio/Watched Online Video in Past Week (Base: Total Population 12+)


Online Radio

Online Video

























Source: Arbitron/EdisonResearch, April 2010


62% of homes with Internet access have wireless network set-ups in their homes, more easily enabling the consumption of digital media in any room of their home.


45% of mobile phone owners age 12 and older text multiple times a day. Other segments texting several times a day:

  • 75% of teens
  • 76% of persons age 18 to 24
  • 63% of 25 to 34s
  • 42% of 35 to 44s
  • 37% of 45 to 54s


Growth of residential broadband has leveled off, with 84% of homes with Internet access having broadband connections. The slower growth of residential broadband is associated with little year over year change in weekly usage of online radio (17%) and online video (29%). The study suggests that expanded use of use of mobile devices and in-car Internet may spark the next wave of growth.

More information may be found with Arbitron here, and for access to the PDF file with charts and graphs, please visit here.

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5 Cold Call Mistakes in 1 Phone Call

Art Sobczak presents today's lesson:

This Week's Tip:
A Case Study of a Dumb Cold Call


Hard to believe a salesperson could make so many
mistakes in a short period of time, using so few words.

But it happened. I'll explain in detail.

I overheard Steve, my marketing guy, who also answers the
phone in my office, talking to the caller:

"Well, that would be Art. I'll transfer you."

He put the call on hold and said to me, "Some guy
wants to talk to someone about Internet marketing.
He's being pretty evasive though. Might want to turn
your recorder on for this one."

Sounded like it might be good material for this

"Hi, this is Art."

"Doug? Did you say Doug?"

What a great first impression this guy was making. (I
almost laughed out loud, being reminded of the movie
"Multiplicity," where Michael Keaton WAS Doug, but
the mutant clone kept calling him "Steve.")

"No, this is Art."

"Oh, uh, yeah, hi Art. I'm _____ with (I didn't write down
or remember the company name.) I just wanted to touch
base to see how your Internet marketing was going."

"It is going just fantastic."

"Oh, good. Tell me what you're doing there."

"Look, I'm busy (isn't everyone?) and not interested."

End of call.

Wow. Let's examine how this guy never had a chance.

Mistake 1: Not Getting a Name
He didn't even get my name, therefore the comical
"Doug" scenario, which blew him out of the water three
seconds into the call.

He could have simply started out by initially
identifying himself and his company to Steve, and then
asking, "I hope you can help me... what is the name
of the person there who is responsible for your
Internet marketing."

Mistake 2: Being Evasive.
Do some salespeople not realize that the person who
answers the phone for decision makers actually TALKS
to the decision maker before transferring the call?

Based only on what Steve told me before I
picked up the phone, I for the most part knew that
this caller had zero chance of success--except for
the basis for an article like this one.

Callers must be prepared to work with the personnel
who are closest to our buyers, gain their trust, and
discuss value where appropriate.

What do assistants, screeners, office managers and
others say about you?

Mistake 3: Not Getting Smart Call Intelligence or
Doing Homework

Again, because of Mistakes 2 and 3, he didn't ask any
questions of Steve. Hmm, let's see, call me crazy,
but it seems that if you're selling some type of Internet
marketing, it would make sense that if you visited someone's
website, and found out what type of Internet marketing
they do now, then you would be much better prepared to
put together a nice opening, and ask intelligent questions.

So, after asking for the decision maker's name, it's quite
simple to say, "Great, so I can be sure that what I'm calling
about has value for the boss, I'd like to ask a couple of
questions. Please tell me ..."

Mistake 4: Horrible Opening Statement
To review,

"Oh, uh, yeah, hi Art. I'm _____ with ______.
I just wanted to touch base to see how your Internet
marketing was going."

Come on now, read this again, and think about how
absurd that question is. What in the world does he
expect people to say?

"Oh, my Internet marketing isn't going well at all. I'm
glad you called. I bet you can help me."


There are two purposes for the opening:

- put them in a positive, receptive, frame of mind,
by mentioning an item of interest ... a possible
result or benefit you might be able to deliver, and,

- move to the questioning phase of the call. BUT, the
first objective must be established.

Mistake 5: Asking Questions When They Don't See
A Reason to Answer

Again, as part of Mistake 4, if we don't put them in
a positive frame of mind, but then jump into questions,
they don't have a good reason to answer, therefore the
call goes down in flames.

So short of a call, but yet so many opportunities to
screw up. And this guy hit most of them. Sadly, I see
this all of the time.

Worse, he probably believes that prospecting for him
is "just a numbers game." Make so many calls, and you're
that much closer to getting a yes. Actually, he's that much
closer to getting another no, and he's getting really good at
making bad calls.

If you place prospecting calls, analyze each of these mistakes
to be sure they're not part of your calls, and practice the right
methods, the Smart Calling way instead.

And by the way, these are just some of the call-killing mistakes
made on dumb cold calls that I cover in my new book,
"Smart Calling-Elminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling."
Of course, we cover, in-depth, what TO DO instead.

We're still offering over $450 worth of free bonuses to purchasers. See
complete information, including a video of more opening mistakes at

Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and Read:

by Tanya Irwin
"This creative quiz concept is allowing us to better ensure that our guests are happy with their hotel choice, driving repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth," says Valérie Allichon-Genest. In addition, Exclusive Hotels is featured in the site's "Book It" section. Visitors can book their accommodations directly online, where they are offered special discounts, a gift with a four-night booking and a free download of a walking tour. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
According to Beam, this is the first time a spirits brand and major record label have partnered to distribute new music from an "A-list" artist via a nontraditional retail channel on this scale. Per the musician's policy, relatively little of Kid Rock's music is made available, even for purchase, via iTunes or other online download channels. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Besides running a month-long late night TV and national cable campaign and a presence on and, the automaker also ran an "Iron Man"-themed TV spot in cinemas in the month leading up to the release. Audi also sponsored the re-launch of that will include a digital comic book featuring Audi's R8 Spyder convertible. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
While the recession may have taught many women the delicate art of trading down, brand loyalty is alive and kicking in the beauty aisle. A new report from market researcher Mintel finds that Baby Boomer women are especially devoted. And their brand loyalty intensifies as they age. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The tour, backed by T-Mobile USA, multi-year exclusive auto partner Kia Motors and Sprite, starts in Phoenix on May 1 at the "Cinco De Mayo Phoenix Festival" and then goes to Denver, Los Angeles, Cleveland, New York, Philly, Minneapolis and Dallas. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of parents of school-age children, and 55% of Americans in general, describe the nutritional quality of local school food as "poor" or "only fair" -- and most want pizza, burgers and chicken nuggets pulled from school menus or limited to once per week. ...Read the whole story >>
by Fern Siegel
To help kids understand advertising, the Federal Trade Commission is launching an ad literacy campaign at the game site Geared to 8-to-12-year-olds, the Admongo curriculum helps teachers and parents "ad-ucate" kids to become informed consumers. ...Read the whole story >>

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Stop Blaming Gramps..

For the Loud TV.

I work in the radio business, and we use audio processing to, shall I say, "Juice" the volume of our commercials. Many stations do the same with the music so loud commercials on the radio don't really exist.

However, in TV land, if they only apply the processing to the ads and not the shows, you get this:

(From Mediapost)

Are You Listening When It's Loud?
According to the findings of an Adweek Media/Harris Poll of 2,194 U.S. adults,86% of Americans say that compared to the TV shows themselves, television commercials seem louder. 57% say the commercials seem much louder. Just 12% say the shows and commercials are at the same level, and only 1% say the volume of the commercials is softer than the shows.

93% of those who say the ads are louder say it bothers them, with 62% saying it bothers them a lot. 31% say the fact that the commercials seem louder bothers them a little, while only 7% say it does not bother them.

There is an age difference when it comes to how loud the commercials seem:

  • 92% of those 45 and older say the commercials seem louder
  • 83% of those 35-44 say this
  • 79% of 18-34 year think they are louder
  • 70% of adults 55 and older say the volume of the commercials is much louder than the televisions shows themselves

Perception of Ad Volume Compared to The Show (Base: All U.S. adults)








Louder (net)






Much louder






Somewhat louder






The same level






Softer (net)






Somewhat softer






Much softer






Source: Harris Interactive, April 2010 (% Roundied; * indicates less than 0.5%)

There is also a difference in age over how bothersome this volume change is. Seven in ten adults 55 and older, and two-thirds of those 45-54 say the fact the commercials seem louder bothers them a lot. Just under half of those 18-34 say this bothers them a lot, while 40% say it bothers them a little.

Consumer Attitude of Bothersome Quotient (% of Respondents Who Feel Commercials Seem Louder)











Bother (net)








Bothers me a lot








Bothers me a little








Does not bother me at all








Source: Harris Interactive, April 2010 (% Roundied; * indicates less than 0.5%)

Women are more likely to say the change bothers them a lot, while men, on the other hand, are more likely to say the changed volume bothers them a little, or does not bother them at all.

The report concludes that, since commercials are intended to sell products, when they become something that actually bothers consumers, advertisers need to consider looking to softer, more subtle ways to get their messages across.

Of note, says the report, in December 2009 the House of Representatives voted to pass the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act, which will regulate the volume of commercials. The bill is currently being reviewed by a Senate committee.

For more information, please visit HarrisInteractive here.

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New Ad Campaigns

Here's Amy's weekly Update:

Cheese. Salt. Beer. How to play spin the bottle in 2010. Let's launch!

Bright Falls is one creepy place. Xbox 360 created Bright Falls, a six-part online series as a prequel to the May 18 launch of the game "Alan Wake." If you think the trailer, shown here, gave off a disturbing vibe, wait until you watch the episodes. The first two launched this week on; the next four will be released weekly, leading up to launch of the game about a man whose wife goes missing -- in a town where scary things happen at night. The first episode introduces viewers to a reporter tasked with interviewing someone in Bright Falls. He encounters strange people at the local diner, and then hits a deer... during Deer Fest, no less. In the second episode, he reunites with a woman, most likely an ex-girlfriend. She abruptly leaves after receiving a text. Our reporter then interviews Dr. Hartman. Once he looks at a painting above the doctor, visions of dead animals, the diner's waitress, a hairy, caged person and a sugar cube dance in his head, making for interesting interview notes. agencytwofifteen wrote and created the campaign.

Apple launched its latest trio of iPhone ads, and a female voiceover remains... for one ad. In "Dog Lover," a woman uses her iPhone to share photos of her shelter dog, find dog parks and watch the dog's antics via Webcam. See it here. A "Family Man" describes how each member of his family uses his iPhone and how lost they'd be without it. The family would be lost without an iPhone? Apple, egotistical much? Watch it here. A "Back Packer" traveled through Spain, researching hostels, emailing pictures and relying on an app as his personal translator. Not a wise idea. Watch it here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.

Heineken has created another great ad in Holland, once again masculinizing something more female-oriented: reality TV. Last year's ad, seen here, featured a man's version of the ideal walk-in closet. This year's begins with a group of women readying to watch "Top Models Singing on Ice," a mash-up of shows like "X Factor" and "Holland's Next Top Model." Their significant others hang in the background, drinking beer. That is, until "Men With Talent" appears. The show features a man juggling glasses of beer, a choir of men making music with Heineken bottles and my personal favorite, a man on roller skates opening Heineken bottles at breakneck pace. The ad closes with the four boyfriends screaming and yelling at the TV while their girlfriends linger in the background. Tables turned. See it here. A teaser ad aired on all Dutch television channels last week touting the faux series, "Men with Talent." Brilliant. TBWA/Neboko created the ad.

Parmalat Canada has created a monster. A "Cheese Monster." Children must save a city from a Godzilla-sized piece of string cheese that's wreaking havoc. Each kid takes his position and pulls away layers and layers of cheese until their friend "cheesy" is revealed. The spot ends with a kid peeling at his Black Diamond Cheestring in a backyard where a cardboard city has been erected. "The stringable cheese snack that nourishes your kids... and their creativity," closes the ad, seen here. BBDO Toronto created the ad and OMD handled the media buy.

This is the funniest lottery ad I've seen in ages. The spot for the Oregon Lottery takes on a '70s theme, beginning with a foot chase between a sweaty, out-of-shape man in a wife-beater and a mobster. The mobster reunites with his cronies, leaving our star outnumbered. So we think. The unlikely fighter puts up his hands and slaps and punches (lamely, I might add) the trio unconscious. Viewers then see a man watching this movie in a theatre. As he eats his popcorn, we realize, it's the guy from the movie. "What If" asks the ad, as the credits roll, revealing that the moviegoer holds every role responsible for the movie, "Hello, Vengeance." Following the credits is an Oregon Lottery Powerball ticket. See it here, created by Borders Perrin Norrander.

"Salty," the ever-adorable saltshaker that also doubles as spokesman for low-sodium Knorr Sidekicks, is back and looking for action. Pepper is frequently used in one household during breakfast. "Salty" hopes to change that by having a mask made so he'll resemble pepper. It only succeeds in having him look like he's wearing an S&M mask. "Salty" then tries to rob a jewelry store. No luck. See the ad here, created by DDB Canada, Toronto.

YMCA launched a TV campaign to take back community. A child's voice reminds viewers that "we play games but not sports. We eat fast and together less... We listen to our headphones but not to each other. What's happened to community? It's time to take it back." Each factoid is illustrated with simple colored cardboard paper cutouts. See the ad here, created by TBWA/Vancouver.

People and cars are invisible, unless they drive the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander. "Stand Out," running in Canada and select U.S. markets, consists of TV, print and online elements. "Invisible" features a person skateboarding, a police officer pulling someone over, and people conversing in a coffee shop. Each person and vehicle is invisible, save for shoes, glasses and accessories. Then a young couple hops into their Outlander and immediately morphs from invisible to visible. That certainly makes them stand out. See it here. Print ads, shown here and here, highlight navigational features found in the Outlander. BBDO Toronto and Proximity Canada created the campaign.

Random iPhone App of the week: Coca-Cola launched an updated version of its "Spin the Bottle" app -- because glass bottles are hard to come by these days. The new version of the free app lets users "Spin with Friends" via Facebook or pictures on their camera roll. Users can choose whether players Kiss, Hug, Tickle or High-five one another and post winning results to players' Facebook walls. Sapient Interactive, now known as SapientNitro, created the app, available at the App Store.

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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Don't Be a Fast Freddy

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Closing Too Quickly

It's always rewarding to close a sale and immediately have the new client sign the documents to secure the sale. No matter how many years in the business, this always feels good. We all have stories about new customers who have "fallen into our lap" and bought quickly. For some reason, we can't seem to forget the great rush that occurs from these new clients. I'm here to say that as good as the rush might be when we allow a sale to occur too quickly, we wind up leaving money on the table.

When beginning to talk with a new customer, the salesperson and the customer invariably have the intent of doing so with a specific product in mind. It may be any number of products you sell. The initial interest expressed by the customer always guides the discussion. Once the discussion turns to a specific product, the customer's focus becomes even more closed to any other products. The real danger comes when the customer agrees to buy. At that moment, the customer feels the process is over, and their mind moves to something else, usually something totally unrelated to your business or products.

To avoid a situation like this, the salesperson needs to ask the necessary exploratory questions early to determine the customer's other needs. By asking exploratory questions early, you are able to assess which additional products may interest the customer. If you wait to ask these types of questions until after the initial sale is complete, you will always be behind. This is the whole principle of not closing too quickly. You need and want enough time to explore and determine all of the customer's needs.

Source: Sales consultant Mark Hunter (

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

We can get used to almost anything.

10 years ago I switched from regular to diet drinks.

The past couple of years I stopped using salt, only pepper of my food needs some extra flavor.

Now the food folks are following my example. You're Welcome.

by Karlene Lukovitz
Last week's release of an Institute of Medicine report supporting creation of Food and Drug Administration sodium regulations for packaged and restaurant foods, phased in over an unspecified timetable, added urgency to companies' efforts to avoid such regulation by accelerating voluntary efforts and the public profile of such efforts. ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
Temporary retail locations offer consumers the insider-y thrill of a sample sale and whiff of an unexpected bargain -- like a flea market or yard sale, from a single retail brand. We asked Christina Norsig, a pop-up pioneer and CEO of PopUpInsider, a portal that connects brands to the right real estate, to explain the attraction. ...Read the whole story >>
Packaged Goods
by Aaron Baar
The Tone VideoBox operates like a "modern-day online version of the juke box," says Richard Shore, chief operating officer of RedLever, the branded content company that developed the technology and partnership. Through the tool, which operates like an expandable banner ad, consumers can see videos from top artists, as well as other content such as behind-the-scenes footage and artist interviews. ...Read the whole story >>
by Nina Lentini
The quarterly program will tap the expertise of former chief marketing officers from major corporations. The ex-CMOs will work with the Integrated Sales Marketing team to "leverage NBCU's portfolio of assets to create customized, innovative, insights-driven programs tailored to meet clients' business objectives." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Nolan joined Sara Lee in 2005 as a corporate SVP and CEO for its now $2.1-billion foodservice division, where he helped drive revenue and margin growth by introducing sales, marketing, supply chain and consolidating strategies. Nolan's three decades of food industry experience also include executive positions at PepsiAmericas, Inc. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
Children's nutrition will be at the forefront of the partnership through several initiatives, including a "My Healthy Habits" video contest that will award a family with a three-night vacation package to Great Wolf Lodge. In addition, L'il Critters will be promoted through Wolf Tracks, Lodge Life Guides, sampling, social media and electronic communications. ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Wendy Davis
Credit card giant Visa has become the latest company to change its procedures in response to a Senate investigation into whether consumers were being duped into signing up for paid membership programs. The financial company said Tuesday that it will now require consumers to re-enter their credit card numbers online before processing payment. ...Read the whole story >>

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Here Comes The Bride...

This story strikes almost too close to home.

My wife and I have 5 kids from our previous marriages.

So far we've gone through two weddings of those kids. But in the next 18 months, there will be three more!

Take a look at this story from Mediapost:

Wedding Season: It's Not Just About the Couple
Spring is here and for Gen Y, that means wedding season. If they are not getting married this year, you can bet at least one, if not more, of their friends are. As most of us can attest, weddings can be an all-consuming experience that becomes the sole focus of the bride, groom, family and friends -- from the second the engagement ring hits the finger to the moment the bride walks down the aisle. With $72 billion spent on weddings annually in the U.S., the wedding industry is big business and it goes far beyond the couple.

So, what does this mean for brands? Think beyond the bride and event day. Wedding season is a boon to marketers, with a highly engaged audience that is very vocal about expressing their opinions and recommendations. There are 23 million bridesmaids and groomsmen each year and each of them now plays a bigger role than ever in this life-changing moment.

Research shows that Gen Y favors a more do-it-yourself approach to weddings than generations past. They do a lot more of the research and planning and, with the help of the Internet, they are not limited to bricks-and-mortar stores and bridal magazines. In addition, with social media, the couple's circle of influence goes far beyond their friends and family. They are now sharing ideas, blogging, getting feedback and planning with people they have never met before and may never. This is a key period of time to capture this broader audience and turn them into lifelong loyalists and evangelists for your brand.

Take, for instance, the wedding planning process. As soon as the question is popped, the planning begins. During this period, women invest heavily in services, products and clothing that will help them look their best. This is a good time for beauty, personal care, skin care, hair care and fitness brands to reach out. This is great time to for high-end beauty brands to offer gifts for wedding party makeovers at the counter, which can easily be promoted and go viral in online beauty communities. This creates an opportunity to get a large number of women testing your products -- and we all know product trial achieves great ROI.

Some brands are already capitalizing on this. J.Crew, for example, recognizes this is a mainstream opportunity that touches everyone in its target audience. It has extended its line to include wedding and special event attire, which are frequently promoted on the covers of its catalogues. Post-wedding, the bride and groom start to settle down. Here they are laying their foundation, which typically comes with big purchases, such as houses or cars. This is the time for financial planning, automotive and real estate companies to target this group. Keep in mind, the goal is to reach not only the couple but those who influence their decisions, which is a much larger group online.

While it may be a bit more challenging to reach the broader audience beyond the wedding couple, it's undeniable that wedding season is no longer a niche marketing area. More and more publishers and content producers are including this extended audience in their standard coverage. Today, you can find wedding coverage on lifestyle content sites, entertainment and food sites, fitness sites and others.

Like everything these days, time and technology have changed the wedding industry and the impact it has on those around it. What used to be a more intimate event that people were invited to has now become more of an all-inclusive and all-consuming planning event for Gen Y -- which in turn, gives marketers a greater opportunity to think more broadly and capture dollars and mindshare.

Kristine Shine is VP of PopSugar Media (, a division of Sugar, Inc., which provides content and social media for Gen Y women. She is responsible for helping marketers forge a trusting relationship with Y Women through PopSugar's sites. Kristine posts insights about Gen Y and digital marketing at Follow her on Twitter @kristineshine. Reach her here.

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Keeping Up

1846 was a significant year in the United States.

James Polk was our 11th President.

And we were at war with Mexico.

Take a look here for details:

What else is important about 1846?

That's the year the Associated Press was formed.

If your business was that old, would you have trouble keeping up with the times?

If your business was formed 5 years ago, are you keeping up with the times?

Read this and then ask yourself "What do I need to update?"

Branding with "Style": The AP Rethinks "Web site"

Apr. 26, 2010

Andy Fuller
Written by:
Andy Fuller

If you happened to be around a newsroom or ad agency on the afternoon of April 16, you may have been surprises by a spontaneous, boisterous round of cheering and applause. The reason: The AP announced it was changing the accepted style of the term “Web site,” to “website.”

If you witnessed such a display and learned its cause, you probably asked yourself a couple questions: “Seriously, who gets that excited about this type of stuff?” and “Why should I care?”

The first question would take untold years of psychological evaluation to answer. The second question has a two-part answer: The style change has practical, day-to-day applications for every marketer, and also should prompt marketers to examine the brands they represent to keep from finding themselves in an unenviable position.

“today’s marketing landscape makes it difficult even for brands with a deep-rooted history to remain relevant”

The most obvious impact of the decision is its affect on day-to-day copywriting. If you’re writing something in AP Style, “website” is the correct form as of 3 AM ET on Saturday, April 17. (Yes, they set an exact time.) Frankly, it’s important information to have, as few marketing campaigns do not have some reference to a website or other online presence.

But the practical application of the decision is far less important than what it represents. The AP has been in existence since 1846 and is still considered the authority on matters of news writing. As a former journo myself, it is difficult for me to overstate the amount of equity the AP brand had in newsrooms across the country —especially the Stylebook.

However, today’s marketing landscape makes it difficult even for brands with a deep-rooted history to remain relevant, especially in an audience increasingly populated by Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers. As Villing and Company Account Executive Lesley Langfeldt pointed out in an earlier blog, these groups tend to mistrust institutions, or consider them irrelevant. That’s a major problem for a brand like the AP when it comes to its Stylebook.

My favorite example of this is the Facebook group, “Dear AP Stylebook, Could You Please Spell ‘Web Site’ Like a Normal Person?” Here we see not only evidence that a segment of the AP audience considers it irrelevant (at least in matters of proper web verbiage), but also the tools this audience uses to effect change. It used to be that only journalists and marketers wielded the tools to inform and compel an audience to action. Social media has flipped the tables. Now the audience has the tools to inform and compel to action journalists and marketers.

“the AP created a buzz because it finally caught up with the times”

The AP admitted as much in its tweet announcing the change: “Responding to reader input, we are changing Web site to website.” That’s not to say that this was purely a change driven by social media activity. “Reader input” could mean a variety of things, but it is clear social media was a part of the feedback they cite.

And credit is due to the AP for accepting this “reader input,” of course. But the jubilation shown by groups like “Dear AP Stylebook…” shows that the change was long overdue. It shows the AP created a buzz because it finally caught up with the times.

As marketers, we never want our brands to make news because they finally found a degree of relevance. That kind of back-handed publicity will erode credibility and damage positioning efforts immensely. In the current marketing climate, credibility and relevance is increasingly derived from your audience’s perception of your future, not your past.

More than ever, consumers have the power to change both the products and services they consume, and the way they’re marketed. It could lead to vast improvements in both.

And that would be reason for everyone to cheer.

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