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Marketing Maestros

Smooth Asset Workflows, Bigfoot, and UFOs

By Harold S. Geller, Senior Vice President, Cross Industry Workflow, 4A’s and Managing Director, Ad-ID
Posted: Dec 1, 2011 12:00am ET

{Bigfoot wants to know:  "People have been trying to identify me for decades.  How tough can it be to accurately identify commercial spots and programs?"}

We all have a nagging feeling all three could exist.  Many would like to believe they could be real.  All we need is some proof.  Hard evidence.  Something that could tangibly demonstrate that their existence is at least possible

Today, about 70-85% of cable network commercials are digitally delivered.  Most of the internal workflows are only partially automated, and therefore are subject to human error.  Most still require conversion and significant amounts of human intervention.

I was recently part of a distinguished panel of experts at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Annual Conference in Hollywood that explored the topic of File-based workflows.  This is the process of moving digital files, ads and long form content (movies, episodic and sports content) through stages of production to airplay with integration to business systems. 

What does that mean?  Limited human intervention, removal of tape and manual steps, as well as the reduced duplication of effort, are key components.  With the reduced duplication of effort, its two main characteristics -extra cost and increased errors- are diminished as well. 

Traditional methods are no longer adequate for distribution of media assets.  Content is consumed via the internet, over the top, mobile, digital out of home, the list goes on ad nauseam.

Where do we start?  We start at the moment of creation, the beginning of asset creation, with consistent asset identification and description, whether for commercial advertising or program content.  The descriptive information then accompanies the medium through the media assets life cycle, to the consumer.  However, at this juncture this industry standard needs to be completely implemented.  We are at a historic juncture in this area, the engineering, production and advertising, and research communities, are focused on solving these issues of file based workflows.

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) - Track-Able Asset Cross-platform Identification (TAXI)

CIMM members include television content providers, media agencies and advertisers with a goal to promote innovation in audience measurement for television and cross-platform media in partnership with such valued institutions as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

In May 2011, as part of its Cross-Platform Measurement Initiative, the CIMM released the results of a Feasibility Study called "Track-Able Asset Cross-Platform Identification" (TAXI).

For the study, Ernst & Young was hired to interview different constituencies in the Media and Entertainment industry, focusing on six key attributes: Simple, Interoperable, Inextricably Bound, Extensible, Open and Global, and Cost Effective.  Ultimately the focus was to determine if it's feasible to adopt standardized guaranteed unique digital asset coding that links to descriptive information.  This standardization would allow systems to track assets throughout the media ecosystem, a unique file-based workflow.  Both Ad-ID and the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) possess attributes of TAXI, whereas Ad-ID identifies Ads and EIDR identifies Long Form Content.

Findings from the study show that it is both feasible and desirable by all facets contributing to the lifecycle of the media asset.  Furthermore, the industry is unequivocally ready for a common open standard approach to asset identification. 

The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA)

Ad-ID and the AMWA have efforts underway that enable, accelerate, and support File-based advertising workflows.  The AMWA "Commercial Delivery File Format" (AS-12) , also known as the "Digital Commercial Slate" which will begin trials in early 2012, aims to insure that the same identifier should travel down through the entire commercial's lifespan, thus reducing rekeying, improving workflow, and establishing a firm foundation for reporting and analytics across all platforms.

Association of National Advertisers Marketers' Constitution

The Marketers' Constitution states: "The marketing supply chain must become more efficient and productive".  In order to achieve this everything must become digital. 

Ad-ID is the industry standard for coding and digital assets and implementing file-based workflows across the entire marketing supply chain-from commercial production through distribution and airplay.  Marketing efficiency enables us to shorten the supply chain, reduce waste and improve productivity.  Fully embraced by the marketing industry, Ad-ID improves the accuracy of reporting and evaluation of advertising assets, affording process improvements and cost savings for all involved.

Smooth asset workflows are not only useful, but are necessary when working in today's evolving media market.  The good news is that a toolkit already exists, with new tools on the horizon, to help out in making these workflows as efficient as possible.  In the words of Bigfoot's pal from another Galaxy, "With my superior intellect, it's obvious that the key to moving these 'smooth asset workflows' from the realm of myth to reality is the use of basic tools such as Ad-ID, EIDR, and AMWA "Commercial Delivery File Format".

A Year-End Deal for You on that Car!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 21, 2011 12:00am ET

On November 17 holiday decorations went up in the lobby of ANA's office building - a Christmas tree, a bunch of wreaths, and the Hanukkah menorah. 

And just a few days prior to that, I noticed the beginning of what's sure to be a barrage of television advertising from the automotive industry for year-end deals.  From the "Winter Event" to the "Holiday Event" and even the "December to Remember Sales Event."   It's only November and it feels like we're rushing the season.

In 2010 I counted eighteen (18) different automotive brands with year-end deals.  That's pretty much everybody! 

All this activity makes me wonder if such year-end sales can truly be effective.  Many of the ads seem to "bleed-into" one another with little or no differentiation from competitors.  Test - who runs the Winter Event and who has the Holiday Event? 

As we get deeper into the season, virtually every commercial pod is likely to have at least one automotive commercial and in many cases there will be multiple auto ads in the same pod.  In one instance during my viewing last year, there were four consecutive auto commercials.  Also, in a number of cases, the exact same commercial ran twice during a pod.  A lot of money will be spent in the process.

Of course, there will be some winners.   But this makes me think of the line, "zig while the others zag."  It seems like just about every automotive manufacturer is zagging.  Who will truly stand out by zigging?

 

‘Tis the Season

By Susan Burke
Posted: Nov 17, 2011 12:00am ET

According to eMarketer, overall holiday spending in 2011 is set to drop compared to last year as a result of the down U.S. economy and the increasing costs of gas and food. However, online spending will increase during the holidays when compared to 2010 with eMarketer forecasting over $46 billion in projected sales. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas has historically been a peak shopping season for retailers and consumers, but has some of the yearly holiday shopping madness started to grate on consumers' nerves, inspiring them to shop online?

Additionally, although some major retailers have announced plans to open their stores at midnight on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to give consumers a chance to get an early start on their holiday shopping, Nordstrom is taking a different approach and striking a chord with consumers.

What do you think? Does Nordstrom's stance make it a more attractive place to shop for a certain type of consumer? Will other retailers soon follow?

Agency Trading Desks: Basics Marketers Need to Know & Questions to Ask

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 2, 2011 12:00am ET

ANA has just released a white paper titled, "Agency Trading Desks: Basics Marketers Need to Know & Questions to Ask." Its purpose is to help educate ANA members on agency trading desks-what they are, what they do, potential benefits, questions to ask, and more.  The full white paper is available to ANA members here - www.ana.net/agencytradingdesks - and covers issues including the benefits and criticisms of agency trading desks.

Most importantly, the paper advises marketers to be educated on how their company's money is being spent.  Every holding company (and independent) does things a little bit differently, so if working with a trading desk, ANA members need to understand their agency's model and make sure they are comfortable with it. The following questions and action steps are important.

ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 31, 2011 12:00am ET

ANA and 4A's recently released a new guidance paper titled, "ANA / 4A's Guidelines for Agency Search." The guidance outlines steps that can help marketers and agencies go through an effective search and selection process that can help both parties create a better working relationship. This has become an increasingly important topic as the business and marketing landscape becomes more diverse and fragmented, there has been a proliferation of new agencies with the growth of emerging digital and mobile media, and there has been an expanded desire for specialty expertise/new perspectives to comple­ment (or replace) existing agencies of record.

Before deciding to conduct a search, marketers should seriously evaluate whether or not a search is required. Agency searches can be expensive, time consuming, highly disruptive, and can drain company resources. Sometimes issues can be addressed with the existing client/agency relationship via a remediation process, a "last chance" warning given to the agency (as the agency may not even be aware of all the issues) or by simply switching the team at the agency.

When a client thinks a new agency is required for performance-related issues, the client should conduct a self-examination, asking questions such as:

Clients must be honest with themselves as well as with their agencies (current agencies and potential new agencies, if it gets to that). Clients should be careful not to rationalize previous agency failures or put the entire fault on the other side. Ask honestly, "Is there something we could have done better/differently?"

Overall, the agency search process shouldn't necessarily be about ultimately "fixing" the problems, as they may not realistically be fixable. It should simply be about putting them on the table-internally and with agencies-to focus on finding an agency that may be able to work within those parameters.

The detailed guidelines are available on both the ANA (www.ana.net./agencyselection ) and 4A's (http://www.aaaa.org/) websites.

Baby Carrots, Eat’Em Like Junk Food

By Kerry Camisa, International Speedway Corporation
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

In case you missed it, Bryan Reese, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer for Bolthouse Farms, knocked it out of the park with his presentation of their recent campaign "Baby Carrots, Eat 'Em Like Junk Food".

Bolthouse Farms realized that they were no longer solely in the vegetable category, but more so competing with snack foods.  The snack food category was churning results with clever, creative, humorous and risky campaigns and because of this, baby carrots were losing market share. 

Bolthouse hired the media agency Crispin, Porter and Bogusky to lead the creative, media buying and placement of a fully integrated campaign including TV, out-of-home, in-store, digital and more in two test markets; Cincinnati and Syracuse.  They even recreated the packaging to look more like chip bags vs. veggie bags. 

The results were phenomenal with over 2M impressions and increased market share within the markets.  The clever and integrated campaign gave new meaning to snacking and not to shabby for a bunch of farmers!    

 

Please fix the escalator...

By David Poeschl, Kimberly-Clark
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist  recently traveled to China and observed in awe a beautiful convention center constructed in just eight months.  He then returned to Maryland to find a simple subway escalator under construction, closed for six months.

This example elevates a concern prevalent in culture today that the U.S. is behind.  Has America lost its ability to act collectively?

Globalization and the IT revolution have merged, bringing the world today from connected to hyper-connected.  Grinnell College, a small liberal arts school in Iowa, saw 9% of applicants last year from China, 45% of them with perfect SAT math scores.  Children in the U.S. today are no longer competing only with their classmates.

Globalization is much bigger than the threat of Japan in the '80's.  Japan's threat was to two industries - auto and electronics.  Globalization, led currently by China, represents a fundamental shift in everything we do.  

The global evolution toward hyper-connectivity is far from over.  The U.S. has incredible resources and can maintain a position of strength by focusing on the 3C's:  creativity, collaboration and communication.  Companies hiring today are seeking people capable of seeing the world differently, with innovation being more important than ever before.  The concept of "average" is officially over and will not return.

Friedman left the audience with three key take-aways:

  1. Think like an immigrant  (there is no spot waiting at university)
  2. Think like an artisan  (everything tailored)
  3. Think like the waitress at Perkins  (a personal experience where a waitress went above and beyond the expected service using what she could control within her environment)

"We are all immigrants in this new world."

  

Video Didn’t Kill the Radio Star After All….

By Jacqueline Touma, Microsoft Corporation, jacquiet@microsoft.com, Twitter @jacqueline008
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Spotify, the darling of the UK has finally entered the North American online music scene. They are welcomed by; iHeart Music, Pandora, independent radio and cast of others are all vying for this same space. So what do they add or bring?

Original audio content. Spotify, doesn't simply view as an online radio station. Spotify is about the socialization and sharing of music and audio content across platforms as a new way to listen to musichums Jon Mitchell. Millions of tracks, any time you like. Just search for it in Spotify, and then play it. Just help yourself to whatever you want, whenever you want it. For Jon, it's the way music should be - and he says many, many people agree.

His mantra is around getting loads of more people, listening more, discovering channels and socializing with friends - the experience is both solitary and community driven.Whether it's iTunes, Windows Zune, CDs - whatever your mode of music be, Spotify can help you listen how you want on your phone, Windows or Mac device. No need for large hard drives as Spotify streams it live. Then text it, tweet and share it.

What about musicians themselves? Are they better off having music distributed this way? Jon and Micheal discussed that many independent and label signed musicians benefit from alternative music distribution and publishing, adding to raising audience awareness and their profits.

Check it out for yourself, sign up, tune in and share it. Let us know what you think.

Krispy Kreme Continues to Leverage the Social Web to Empower Consumers to Own and Keep the Brand Alive

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:00am ET

Although Krispy Kreme Doughnuts has just under 800 stores, in 21 countries, CMO Dwayne Chambers, states that the company is NOT in the business of increasing same store sales, or growing traffic, or average check numbers.  No, those are simply the results of executing flawlessly against their true objective: 

"to build positive meaningful relationships, first with our team, second with our guest and third with our community"

Even Mr. Chambers admitted at the start of his very engaging presentation that this objective and even its mission ("To touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme") sound a bit mushy, but based on his presentation, both the mission and the objective are the results of Mr. Chambers and his team being keenly aware that a brand in the hands of fanatical, loyal consumer-advocates is much more powerful and long lasting than anything that could be created. 

At its core, and, in my opinion, like most specialty ready-to-serve retail brands, Krispy Kreme started out as a word-of-mouth brand, and continues to leverage the social web to empower consumers to own and keep the brand alive. In the two years since the company launched its Facebook page, they've added 3.7 Million fans, and continue to add 3,000 to 4,000 fans each day. 

Even with the CMO humbly giving credit to the consumer for its growth story, there IS a quite a bit of marketing that the company and brand are facilitating, Things like the "HOT NOW" sign, the longstanding process of allowing everyone to see the cooking process (also known as Doughnut Theatre), and even the paper hats that are distributed to symbolizes fun.  Perhaps the biggest contribution that marketing has made is the decision to not mess with the original formula or process to make the product.  In a world demanding near constant innovation and change, having the stamina and courage to resist "improving" is perhaps one of the biggest decision that this team can make. It seems to be working! 

 

 

Weight Watchers: the skinny on transforming a brand during a recession

By Martha Young, FM Global
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

As a self-proclaimed "repeat offender" and brand advocate of the Weight Watchers program, I had a vested interest in Senior Vice President of Marketing's Cheryl Callan Friday afternoon presentation at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference in Phoenix.

As a "Lifetime" member of Weight Watchers, I've counted enough Points and Points Plus to make an accountant blush. It is through the lens of my 10-year relationship with the brand that I listened intently to Callan's business challenge: transforming the Weight Watcher's brand during a recession.

Callan, with the assistance of agency partner McCann WorldGroup's Nick Brien, outlined the brand evolution: telling the story of Weight Watchers through inspiration versus persuasion. Together, they carried us through the story of marketing weight loss--often seen as self-indulgent--during tough economic times. We saw the comparisons of Weight Watchers' previous campaign of telling consumers how to lose weight versus the current campaign allowing Weight Watchers members tell us their weight loss success stories.

Callan shared some frightening statistics:
1. The average woman tries 15 diets during her lifetime
2. 90% of dieters regain weight during their lifetime
3. On average, women spend 25 years of their lives on a diet

Callan and Brien, in their presentation, told the story of differentiating Weight Watchers from its competitors.  In launching its first innovation in 13 years, the Points Plus Program captures Weight Watchers not as a being a weight loss program, but rather a platform for talking about success. The end result: the incredible weight loss journey of singer Jennifer Hudson.

Ultimately, the success of Weight Watchers is in the facts--a 19 percent increase in enrollment during challenging economic times and in becoming a brand on a mission to inspire Americans to lose weight.

What are your thoughts on the Weight Watchers Points Plus campaign? Chime in with your comments below.


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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.