Can an ad succeed even if it doesn’t generate sales?

Twitter’s 140-character limit makes it hard to have a thoughtful discussion. Brevity is great, but not for everything.

I was having one of these discussions with Rob Frankel—@brandingexpert—about whether Burger King got any value out of its “Whopper Sacrifice” campaign. This wasn’t a disagreement, just an interesting conversation. Conducting the exchange over Twitter lacked something, though. Hence, this post.

The conversation-starter was Dave Fleet‘s live tweet from something called FacebookCamp, held February 24 in Toronto. Dave reported on a speaker who asserted that pushing the campaign’s message through mainstream media was more… Read More »

The relevance of relevance

The vast majority of the complaints about PR, marketing, and advertising boil down to a single communication failure: The message is not relevant to the recipient.

The late Ed Robertson, who ran employee communications at FedEx (reporting directly to CEO Fred Smith), developed a model for communication based on Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of human needs. According to Maslow’s model, primitive requirements must be met before people are able to pursue more sophisticated needs. The more abstract the need, the higher up the pyramid the need is situated, with self-actualization at the top. Physiological needs represent the first… Read More »

Is there a market for your message?

imageA few years back, James Carville told a group of communicators during a conference keynote that Bill Clinton’s victory in the 1992 presidential campaign rested largely on staying on message. The Democratic party strategist noted that candidate Clinton always returned the focus of conversations to the fact that “it’s the economy, stupid.”

In 2000, Democratic candidate Al Gore had no such focus, and few voters could tell you what the Gore campaign was all about. In 2008, on the other hand, Barack Obama embraced Carville’s approach; if you lived in the U.S. during the campaign, you had to be working hard at ignoring politics to not know… Read More »

Should Microsoft fight back?

Note: This post is about Microsoft’s marketing shortcomings, not whether a Mac is better than a PC. Please, please, please…no pro-Mac/anti-Windows screeds; they’re beside the point.

A discussion on a recent episode of “This Week in Tech” struck a chord with me; I’ve been wondering the same thing myself for some time. the TWiT guys didn’t couch it in these terms, but this sums it up:

Why is Microsoft letting Apple define Windows Vista?

Shel HoltzSince 2006, Apple has been inundating the airwaves with its Mac vs. PC ads. The ads themselves are amusing, but sometimes completely inaccurate. For example, I had to roll my eyes when I saw the… Read More »

Yes, Virginia, there is an audience

imageWhile working on a proposal for a consulting project, I’ve had an opportunity to give a lot of thought to some of the most dearly held notions of organizational communication in the era of social computing: There are no more audiences and there is no market for your message.

As with any popular belief, there are grains of truth to these, but by and large they don’t hold up to scrutiny.

Audiences have supposedly vanished because everybody now creates content. A lot of people promoting this notion point to Jay Rosen’s phrase, “The People Formerly Known as the Audience” when making their case. However, on this blog Rosen commented:

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Those Ohio University students must be good

According to a report from Online Media Daily, the student team from Ohio University has won the National Student Advertising Competition. I wrote recently about Emerson College’s proposal, which I thought was damn fine. As I noted in my post, victory by a competing team (there were 17) means there are a lot of millenials studying communications who intuitively understand the integration of new and old media.

The Online Media Daily article notes that the winning team “add(ed) tabs to the currently existing AOL buddy list. Each tab would link directly to a different Web site, representing the new facets they wanted to add to enhance… Read More »

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