Notes: Chapter 9
1. See Harrison, Steve, Changing the World is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man, pages 58 and 63. Do you think this is not a big deal? It’s huge: it means that you’re not trying to impose your point of view, but that you’re open to inputs from your readers; it means that you’re fooling around, and you know it. Compare this with what Unilever is doing on Social (supposedly social) Media: they create, or at least used to create, when “distribution” was free, at least 360 posts every day on Facebook for their various brands. Creativity and social sharing? Really? It seems much more like the Military-industrial complex at work to me.
2. Robert Gutnam, trained as a Sociologist, focused his work on the field of Architecture.
3. It is very rare for people in Advertising to indulge in talking about the nature and the limits of the business: not just the technicalities (the hows) but also the reasons why. Ogilvy and Bernbach, for example, were much more interested in just creating good advertising. Apart from Howard Luck Gossage, two notable exceptions are George Lois, a very prolific writer and the author of the wonderful What’s the Big Idea?, and Jerry Della Femina, who expressed his dissatisfaction with people in the higher hierarchies in Ad Agencies: “They never talk about advertising. That’s a funny thing. These cats talk about advertising only at creative review board meetings”. Della Femina, Jerry, From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor, page 105.
4. Another thing that is likely to breed a certain amount of disrespect for advertising among its practitioners is the triviality that constitutes most of big advertising – a multibillion dollar hammer hitting a thirty-nine cent thumbtack. Gossage, Howard Luck, Advertising and the Facts of Life, in The Book of Gossage, page 16.
5. Gossage never employed more than a dozen people at his San Francisco-based Agency.
6. See Harrison, Steve, Changing the World is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man, page 38, for how Gossage quit his largest account, Paul Masson Wines, and pages 41-42 for how he told Volkswagen they did not need his services because the Beetle was so good the car would sell itself. The account went to DDB, and the rest is history. For more on the Think Small campaign, see Imseng, Dominik, Think Small. The story of the World’s Greatest Ad.
7. Social Media gets 4 times the coverage of SEO in Techcrunch, and 58 times the coverage in Mashable. But how important is it as a referral source for E-Commerce? 2% of visits to E-Commerce sites are thanks to Social Media, vs. 34%, or 17 times as much, for SEO. So, Can We Please Stop Hyping Social as the Marketing Messiah? In Australia, according to Professor Mark Ritson, Social Media gets 5% of the investment, but 48% of the coverage in the business press. At the very least, the world is not changing as much or as fast as they’re telling you it is.
8. While it may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, “there is some evidence that the fish don’t hold still as well as they used to and they are developing armor plate”. Gossage, Howard Luck, The Book of Gossage, page 29.
9. Online, you have reach: much more reach with Google Display Network or Yahoo! or Facebook than with almost any Tv show save the Super Bowl. And you have targeting. What you don’t have is people willing to put up with your ads. In 2014, no fewer than 41% of people under the age of 30 are using AdBlock to block out ads.
10. Take French conglomerate Publicis: after deluding itself with the idea of merging “as equals” with the much larger Omnicom and then toying around with the idea of a deal with retargeting company Criteo, in January, 2015, Publicis acquired Boston-based Sapient. Time will tell if this was a good idea or not, but the press release is pretty clear about the goal of the deal: to have more than 50% of the total revenues coming from the digital space.
11. Apple currently runs an in-house affiliate programme which is a very different beast: not banner ads to promote their iconic hardware products which indeed need very little extra promotion, but a set of tools which include text links, widgets, banners and product feeds that help their affiliates sell Long Tail products such as Apps, Books and Music.
12. Other companies continue with banner ads, truth be told. The most successful example I know of, at least in Italy, is ING Direct. But even though they are a bank and not an online dating company, ING Direct is itself a Start-up: worldwide, they had only 300,000 customers in 1999, and reached 23 million in 2010. They have long been the largest advertiser on the Web in Italy and have used online banner ads very well to close the sale. However, my feeling is that they have built a brand because of their good service (no surprise here) and in spite of their banner ads, rather than thanks to having annoyed millions of people countless times with them.
13. I think this is an interesting question, given that in December, 2014, Google reported that 56% of the ads served on its network could never had been seen! But it’s probably another question you’re not supposed to ask.