Flak Attack

If it’s in the news, the Flak attacks!

Posts Tagged ‘Advertising

It’s official: PR makes advertising its Bee-yatch

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Advertising Age recently published its findings and waxed melancholy about the state of advertising in the second half of 2009.

To summarize, take this as a warning-slash-really-bad-pep-rally for the industry:

It’s not getting a lot better, but at least it’s not getting any worse. And it probably won’t ever get back to where it once was.

Communications

I think it makes sense now. Don't you?

What’s this say to clients and other company’s creative types who us flacks want to love so, so much (call me)?

Find different ways to get in front of your target audiences. You know, do something you’re not currently doing to change the profits from going lower than the president’s approval ratings. (Hey, just sayin’.)

Does Ad Age have any recommendations? Glad you asked:

We found that there are pockets of strength: online and PR, for example.

So, why the change? Typically, it was make a logo and sand blast that on any embankment, billboard and mode of public transportation within a 5000-mile radius of your corporate office.

Well, that swooshing sound of all your cash going down the toilet has something to do with it. Couple that with the lack of interest in print products for anything outside of lining bird cages and creating cozy comforters for the homeless and you have an answer.

People have to look for not necessarily inventive ways to reach their target base, but definitely optional ways to sustain that catchy new mark.

Without a skilled PR campaign attached to a brand that directs folk to a billboard, or the very reason behind said advertisement, what good does it do the company? How long will it last? And where can find an ROI with a two-week blitz for a poster seen in your local parking garage?

Sure, some sleuth reporter will bump into the ad and write a story, but without a high-performance Web site or a strategic PR campaign, that story will have the longevity of “Jon & Kate: the Divorced Years” or new Coke (woof!)

“We are seeing a paradigm shift in our industry taking place as agencies grapple with how to deal with the new realities and manage costs to revenues. The industry is in for a fundamental, enduring reset over the next 10 years,” said Jim Heekin, chairman-CEO, Grey Group.

I like that – “new realities”. You know, billboards and print are still tangible but there’s this Internet thingy that’s really catching on.

I once heard in “Advertising 101” (not sure if that’s the real name):

Advertising is what you pay for, while public relations is what you pray for.

Anyone in the corporate arena wanna come with me to church this Sunday? I’ll drive.

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Women talk more… and now it pays off

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BlogHer at WorkFor years, statistics have shown women talk more than men. No big surprise, but now it seems to be working.

Thanks to Kara at All Things Digital,the women’s blogging network, BlogHer, just received a lovely $7 million in Series C funding (whatever that is, but it’s a nice big, floppy check they can’t take to a bank).

“This is a true grassroots effort that shows the growing influence of women in social media,” said [BlogHer CEO Lisa] Stone. “We want to focus on taking advantage of that growth and momentum with this new funding.”

$7 million can create quite a whirlwind of momentum. And if you think women talk three times as much now, just watch them chatter a monsoon now.

The Web site for Woman Power is cleaning up more than a good portion of cash. The 30-employed-person haven is now attracting the eyes of 14 million women globally per month.

It has attracted Hollywood sponsorship, notable brands and nationally regaled conferences. And now, they have gone completely social on Twitter with more than 9,000 followers.

That said, there was one troubling quote:

While it is not yet profitable, Stone added, BlogHer is ahead of its internal financial projections, and “I hope next year I can raise a glass of champagne to meeting that goal.”

A salty million-dollar underwriting and still not profitable?! What? There’s not a sale or something to push that over in the black?

Well, whatever the case, speak on women of the world. The buzz is paying off.

Written by theflak

August 5, 2009 at 9:00 am

New publishing efforts are all Greek to me

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Magazines are vanishing from the public almost as fast as Jon & Kate’s relevance. And to keep the printing presses as hot as the aforementioned couple’s divorce proceedings, publishers are looking under their pillows for that one wadded-up idea hiding in the pillows.

The Meredith Corporation, home of many magazines routinely seen in my mailbox (Hi baby), has found one such idea that dates back to antiquity. No, really. Like Ancient Greece.

New cheesy pick-up line: "Whew. Look at those Gammas."

New cheesy pick-up line: "Whew. Look at those Gammas."

Recently, the world was introduced to a new kind of radioactive woman – the Gamma Women, who are influential and well-connected women who love to network.

More than 55 million of them evidently read their gaggle of magazines, so why not create a report about the third letter in the Greek alphabet?

Thanks to this story from PR Newser, we have a quote from Nancy Weber, Meredith’s CMO:

Since we released the Gamma report last year, we’ve received an overwhelming response from marketers and advertisers. The current economic environment has caused brands to reevaluate where they spend their marketing and advertising dollars and seek opportunities that reach highly engaged consumers at great scale.”

So, Gamma women buy wisely, as opposed to Alpha males who just walk into a local Border’s and duke it out or pee all over the magazine rack to mark their territory. You learn something new every day.

Only one thought from the married section of the cheap seats: whatever you do Meredith Corp., please – for the love of God – don’t use the Gamma in its lowercase form.

Originally, this formation of the symbol was used in engineering mechanics and refers to specific weight.

I don’t know about most women, but the ladies in my life wouldn’t be that crazy about having their weight published across the country in the interest of a quick buck. Just sayin’.

Written by theflak

July 26, 2009 at 8:00 am

Warren Buffett and his nail for the newspapers’ coffin

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Warren Buffett – he’s one of the most beloved philanthropists and investors, one of the richest dudes on the planet and a guy who knows a thing or two about newspapers.

The only place in America where the paper is still read

The only place in America where the paper is still read

Much to the latter, Buffett was quoted at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting discussing the recent plight of dwindling newspaper circulations and the fact America doesn’t fancy itself as a reading nation any longer.

“For most newspapers in the United states, [his company that dabbles in publications] would not buy them at any price,” he said in response to a question about whether he would consider investing in newspapers. “They have the possibility of going to just unending losses.

Talk about kicking the crap out of an industry while it’s down. Publishing magnates everywhere collectively inhaled and choked on their stogies when this quote went transcontinental.

So, how so, O’ Sage of Omaha? Well, to paraphrase Buffett’s street savvy, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

As long as newspapers were essential to readers, they were essential to advertisers. But news is available in many other venues, such as the Internet, which means a dramatic drop in advertising revenue.

So, is this pandemic Google’s fault? Nah. It’s ours. Folk enjoy anything that can chucked into a microwave and bought at a drive-thru. Our quest of diversify our calendars has been the driving force to plunder newspapers everywhere.

We enjoy the Cliff’s Notes versions found online rather than sifting through countless headlines and ads to find just exactly where was the last place Brangelina or TomKat was seen in public.

Why look for the story when we can hunt for the Google images and copy that in our Facebook page? Who knows.

Written by theflak

May 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

Newspapers only wish they could print cash too

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So, eh, breaking news? Newspapers are closing their printing presses everywhere.

It’s not they are running out of ink or stories, just money. And so, publishers have been hurling their heads into their desks trying to figure a way out of this Internet mess.

Online NewsThen, without fail, faster than a speeding IRS agent, more powerful than a local blog and able to leap tall requests with a single check… here comes the U.S. Government, thanks to HuffPo.

Yeah, yeah. Get your barf bags ready and let’s say those two magical words together, “Bail. Out.”

Hosted by Sen. John Kerry, some of this country’s most influential publishers caucused on Capitol Hill with shades, a cane and a dirty coffee mug in-hand awaiting a hand out.

Among the blinder, publishing magnates were  James Moroney from the beleaguered Dallas Morning News, who claimed a “quasi property right” over facts that were being used for “commercial gain,” not by readers but by “someone else.”

Yeah, that’s called public information once it’s online, so I’m fairly sure that “someone else” would be every person who regretfully isn’t interested in buying a paper to see the advertisinguh, read the stories first-hand.

Why Kerry? Among the near-dearly-departed who be his beloved Boston Globe. So his impartial and unbiased interest in saving that paper is about as transparent as Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan being interested in the goings on of the automotive industry.

Ah, politics.

Now, Kerry and the gaggle of civil servants who gathered are looking into a proposal to steer around labeling it as a bailout – allowing papers become non-profit entities.

I wonder which of those former-writers-gone-publishers was responsible for that ironic twist. Hrm.

BailOutBelo.com? I got dibs.

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Death... on crutches. That's about it for publishing these days.

Death... on crutches. That's about it for publishing these days.

Things are grim for publishers these days. Newspapers aren’t doing so well these days. Reporters are getting buyouts. Journalists are looking elsewhere for jobs. And subscriptions and advertisements blow. Bad.

As a matter of fact, media magnate and Dallas-based, A.H. Belo (parent of our Morning News and WFAA), just made $10 million in job cuts with no ceiling in sight.

It’s sad because some of those reporters “considering” career changes aren’t just colleagues, they are friends. Many of them leave without a fight because there is no one in the ring… except now, thanks to this story from PR Week.

In Minneapolis, spurned employees from the regaled Star Tribune are speaking out with the development of SaveTheStrib.com.

The paper recently filed Chapter 11, won’t make a dime this year and its circulation of 300,000 is probably bloated beyond I-just-ate-all-the-Thanksgiving-leftovers status.

As noted from the Web-based platform, “Help us build a compelling case for potential new ownership that Minnesotans believe, as we do, the Star Tribune is a vital part of our civic life.”

I applaud this effort and hope the Morning Newsers can do something similar, but one problem: There hasn’t been a viable post on the “Strib” in more than a week as of this post.

Kinda’ hard to be compelling when your writers aren’t compelled enough to roll over and turn on a laptop from bed on a daily basis. I’m just saying.