Marketing Maestros

Innovation Day at Walmart

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Feb 6, 2013 12:00am ET

I made my first-ever trip to Bentonville, Arkansas this past week where Walmart hosted ANA Innovation Day.  Here are some highlights from the day:

Finally, here are a few memorable lines heard during the day:


ANA Members Want Brand-Specific Commercial Ratings

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 30, 2013 12:00am ET

Last week, ANA hosted the Commercial Ratings Summit.  Our purpose was to discuss solutions that could help facilitate the availability of brand-specific commercial ratings for television. The meeting was attended by 92 individuals representing client-side marketers, agencies, media (network, cable, and syndication), solution providers, industry trade associations, and other interested parties.

ANA members and other industry experts have identified numerous benefits for brand-specific commercial ratings.

Better Knowledge / Increased Accountability

Better Creative Decisions

Brand-specific commercial ratings would be a resource to help make better creative decisions via:

As one ANA member said, “It will be helpful to understand if our creative is incurring lower ratings than the average for that program.  If our creative is causing channel changing we want to know.  If networks want to keep audiences through the commercial break, understanding which creative keeps and which doesn’t keep is valuable for them too.  Makes us all want to strive for better experience for the consumer and have the data to understand it.”

Better Media Decisions

Brand-specific commercial ratings would also help make better media decisions:

Branded Entertainment

As one summit attendee noted, “brand-specific commercial ratings can identify leverage opportunities,” to those who decide to use them.

ANA members have unequivocally spoken, demanding brand-specific commercial ratings. ANA will continue to advocate on this issue and to keep our members and the overall industry informed of progress as well as roadblocks.




Facial Recognition – A Better Solution for Television Ratings?

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 18, 2013 12:00am ET

We all watch television.  Now some televisions have the capability to watch us back.  Google the term “Facial Recognition” and you’ll see that there are 5.4 million search results!  A facial recognition system is a computer application for automatically identifying or verifying a person from a digital image or a video frame from a video source.

Companies including LG, Samsung, Toshiba, and Hisense (China’s leading TV manufacturer), have televisions with facial recognition technology.  A built-in camera recognizes the face(s) of the individual(s) in the room and then personalizes the experience to each recognized family member, switching to different preferences and home screens based on which member of a family sits down to watch.  If you have visitors over, those faces could be logged as well.

Which brings me to television ratings.  Clearly, both buyers and sellers want the most accurate ratings information possible.  That is undeniable – the more accurate, the better.  The current People Meter requires a viewer to “punch in” to a device hooked up to their television when watching TV and then “punch out” when leaving the room (even for a bathroom or refrigerator break).  Nielsen introduced the People Meter nationally in 1987, and while that was revolutionary at the time (especially compared to manual diaries), a lot has change in those sixteen years.

Facial recognition has interesting applications for television audience measurement to give a more accurate count of viewers in front of the TV, while not relying on the compliance of viewers to punch in or punch out.  There are privacy concerns, of course.  But facial recognition is an idea worth exploring for television ratings.  I’ve heard that there is some work already being done here, and encourage the sharing and acceleration of that work.


Consumer Electronics Show Observations

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:00am ET

I just attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. 150,000 attendees. 20,000 new products launched. Wow! Here are some observations:

Your Agency: Partner or Vendor?

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 4, 2013 12:00am ET

Before joining ANA, I enjoyed a nice run working at major advertising agencies. I was fortunate to have (mostly) great clients who truly valued their agency relationships and treated us as a partner.  Those clients included Kraft, Canon, SmithKline, Sara Lee, and Wrangler.  I’ve always hated the word “vendor” as a vendor sells hot dogs at the ball park.  

But times have changed.  Clients long ago unbundled media and more recently did the same for production (called decoupling).  Media has fragmented dramatically and as a result marketers have many more specialty agencies.  So it’s more difficult than ever before for any individual agency to be a marketer’s primary outside resource and true partner.  But not impossible.

In our 2012 survey, Evolution of the CMO and Marketing Team, over one-third of all respondents described their primary ad agency as a “vendor” or “supplier.”  Yikes – their primary agency!

More encouragingly however, marketers were asked an open-ended question: “What do you think the ‘agency of the future’ looks like?”  Being a strategic partner/thought leader (not vendor/supplier) was the top reply by far, noted by almost 30% of respondents.  That’s pretty staggering considering this was an open ended question.

From my agency days, I always felt that clients who treated us as partners got much better work (especially in the long term) than those who had a vendor mentality.  And certainly, being a partner is more motivating for an agency than being a vendor.

Food for thought for marketers as the marketer dictates the tenor of their agency relationships.


Rebates Have Become the Single Biggest Issue in Today’s Media Industry

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 21, 2012 12:00am ET

ANA has drawn a lot of attention to the issue of media rebates and incentives, begun with the release of our white paper “Media Rebates/Incentives Require Full Transparency.”Articles in the trade press followed, including the front cover of Advertising Age on September 19.  And consultants have been weighing in too.  One such consultant is Morten Pedersen, chairman of glue2020.  Morten was a guest speaker at an ANA committee meeting last week and his presentation was focused on rebates.  He said, “Rebates have become the single biggest issue in today’s media industry.”  Pretty strong words!  These rebates, according to Morten, can take various forms – cash, free space, commissions/fees for projects, and more.

So put a copy of the ANA white paper in your holiday stocking to be aware of this issue and suggested action steps.  Happy Holidays! 


CALM Act Now in Effect for Commercials

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 17, 2012 12:00am ET

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules implementing the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act). The act responds to years of consumer complaints that the volume on some commercial advertising was much louder than that of programming and requires broadcasters to ensure that the sound level of commercials is the same as programming.  It went into effect December 13, 2012.

In the past there obviously have been some advertisers (and their agencies) who, either inadvertently or intentionally increased the audio volume of their commercials. The CALM Act now prevents that.

The main enforcement burden of the act lies with broadcast and cable stations as well as multichannel video program distributors (known as MVPDs and examples include Comcast and Verizon FiOS) and requires them to adopt industry technology that ensures commercials aren’t louder than regular programming.

It is expected that most stations/distributors will require that commercial materials be delivered meeting specifications adhering to the acceptable sound levels. At least one major network has stated that they will not be adjusting commercial sound levels and reserves the right to reject any commercial material that does not meet the requirements.

ANA’s sister trade associations, the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and AICE (Association of Independent Creative Editors, which represents editorial and post-production houses) are well aware of the CALM Act and will inform and remind their respective clients of the act, when necessary. The majority of advertisers simply need to be aware of the CALM Act and no action is required. Marketers who produce/finish commercials in-house need to know the detailed requirements for compliance and have updated materials specs from all stations in their media buy.

Key Takeaway: Marketers need to be aware of the CALM Act and the fact that the sound level of commercials be the same as programming (not louder!).



Top 10 Marketing Takeaways from 2012

By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist
Posted: Dec 13, 2012 12:00am ET

The ANA’s Marketing Knowledge Center added over 1,200 pieces of content to its library this year! Five hundred of those insights are Snapshots, which are executive summaries of presentations given at ANA events. If you didn’t have time to read all 500, here are my top ten favorite marketing takeaways from 2012:

  1. To woo Millennials, don’t underestimate the power of free pizza. – Macy’s
  2. Dare to do something different and create some “mayhem” when your brand is in a comfortable place. – Allstate
  3. Make the world a better place. Work as hard as you can on your brands, and don’t screw it up! – MasterCard
  4. For apps, instead of “If you build it they will come,” we believe it’s “If they use it, it’s never done.” – WellPoint
  5. Grow bigger ears. – Johnson & Johnson
  6. Likes are nice but sales are better. – The Dallas Morning News
  7. CMO = Chief Mathematics Officer – ANA Brand Committee
  8. Stop thinking “mobile phone” and start thinking “untethered technology.” – Forrester
  9. Your audience are not targets. They are real people. – Unilever
  10. It’s not the size of the budget that matters. It’s the size of the idea. – Coca-Cola



Creativity at B-School

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 10, 2012 12:00am ET

It’s inspiring to hear that the MBA students at New York University now have an elective available on creativity.  The class, simply titled, “Creativity” is taught by Professor Kim Corfman.

I went to NYU for business school and taught there as well.  I remember the finance, accounting, and statistics classes.  I loved the marketing and advertising classes (I taught Advertising Management).  But a creativity course was never offered “back in the day.”

Success in business relies on the right balance between right and left brain thinking and it’s terrific that NYU has a portfolio of courses that provides that balance.  A full description of the Creativity class is below.

NYU Creativity Course Description

Successful business people approach their problems creatively and happy people live their lives as works of art. In this course we explore the many dimensions of creativity that are important in business and in our own lives. Creativity isn’t a mystical quality with which only a special few are endowed. Practical methods to become more flexible, imaginative, and productive thinkers can be learned by anyone, nurtured in others, and harnessed to create new products, uses, designs, theories, strategies, structures, and other solutions of all kinds. We will define creativity, review the science, and develop our own creative skill set by learning about, experiencing, and experimenting with a wide variety of approaches.




Creativity is King

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 6, 2012 12:00am ET

The ANA Creativity Conference took place in New York City on December 5 and this provides insights and highlights. 

Thanks to Ogilvy – an agency that provides a strong balance between creative excellence and effectiveness – for presenting the event.




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About This Blog

Written by our in-house citizen journalists, this varied blog draws on insights from the client-side marketing community, examines game-changing campaigns and industry research, provides actionable takeaways from ANA events, and more.