Marketing Maestros

Transparency in Pricing

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 3, 2012 12:00am ET

The sign read for the parking garage read, "Weekend Special, $10.14, Plus Tax." That's just twelve bucks!

I was in NYC for a recent holiday weekend outing with my family - the tree at Rockefeller Center, St. Pat's, a little shopping. We drove into the garage, got out of the car, and the attendant said, "That will be $22." I referenced the sign that drew us into the garage and was told that since we had a van, there would be an "oversize vehicle surcharge." Yes, the van is taller than the average car and a bit longer than most - but a parking space is a parking space and the van filled that space, just as an average car would fill the space. So why was I charged this extra price?

Of course I was annoyed. And at another point in my life I would have argued vehemently and perhaps used some salty language. Instead, I pointed out how the sign was misleading and gently noted how I felt a bit ripped off. After all, I had to set a good example for my family. And I immediately decided that this experience gave me great material for a blog. I now have a negative feeling about this particular garage and will likely not park there again.

We're in an age of transparency in pricing. The internet and social networks allow consumers to easily compare prices - and crow about a deal and complain about a rip off. So I am amazed when I still see a pricing "catch." A personal pet peeve of mine is travel pricing - a fare will be advertised as $199 and then there will be small print that says, "Each way based on a round trip purchase." Consumers are not stupid and will figure that out. In this case, pricing should be clear and transparent and simply be $398 round trip.

Marketers can charge whatever they want but are strongly advised to be transparent with their pricing ... or risk the wrath of consumer backlash, across their extensive social networks, as a result.

The Integrated Marketing Czar

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 16, 2011 12:00am ET

An interesting finding from ANA's latest survey is that almost 30% of respondents report their companies have job titles specific to integrated marketing. This trend is accelerating as:


In a review of the ANA data base, below are just a few examples:

As reported in a previous blog, one big headline of this new research is that marketers rate the quality of their integrated marketing efforts higher now than in any of the three prior surveys on this issue. 42% rate their integrated marketing efforts as excellent or very good (versus 25% in 2008; 33% in 2006; and 21% in 2003). Perhaps the improvements have been driven by these dedicated integrated marketing positions.




By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 12:00am ET

When I told my friend about a school district in Colorado that sold ad space on its students' report cards she exclaimed, "That's OOC!"

For those of you unfamiliar with the latest slang, OOC is short for "out of control," which seems like a fitting description for some of today's bizarre OOH marketing locations.

It's hard to surprise us New Yorkers with crazy new places to put ads. We're used to advertisements on our buildings, cars, stairs, elevators, and even coffee cup wrappers. Chicagoans, it seems, are not as tolerant. There has been tremendous push-back by residents after the city of Chicago sold advertising space on the iconic Wabash Avenue Bridge. Bank of America paid $4,500 to the cash-strapped city to hang seven banners on the bridge for about a month. With the ads lamented as a "visual crime" and "commercial graffiti," companies need to be careful not to push the boundaries of out-of-home too far.

What's the craziest place you have seen an ad?

Want to learn more about OOH? Check out ANA's Insight Brief, "Out-of-Home Advertising: Reaching the Consumer Everywhere."

Integrated Marketing Quality Improving!

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

 For the fourth time in the past eight years ANA has surveyed our members on their integrated marketing practices and challenges.  One big headline of that research - marketers rate the quality of their integrated marketing efforts higher now than in any of the prior surveys.  42% rate their integrated marketing efforts as excellent or very good (versus 25% in 2008; 33% in 2006; and 21% in 2003).

Why the improvement?  On the one hand, there are even more media choices available now than ever before.  That can potentially complicate integrated marketing-more options to evaluate, execute, integrate, measure; more agencies; etc.  On the other hand, many of the newer media options available-including social media, mobile, and search-provide sharper targeting than more traditional media.  In addition, metrics continue to keep improving.



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!    


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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.