The New York Times article on the NYU "Word Cloud" campaign
Every cloud, so they say, has a silver lining. These days, clouds are also lined with words, and a campaign from New York University seeks to take advantage of that.
The campaign, now under way, is for the N.Y.U. School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The ads are centered on word clouds, which express in visual form the contents of Web sites.
The campaign, by Seiter & Miller Advertising in New York, creates fanciful clouds of words and phrases that are meant to bring to life the subjects of the courses that N.Y.U. offers adults seeking continuing education. Images of more than 800 word clouds are being produced for the campaign, the agency and school say.
Appropriately enough, the campaign, with a budget estimated at $3 million, has a significant presence in online media along with more traditional outlets like direct mail, transit posters and print advertisements. There are numerous ads in rich media formats with streaming video.
View the rest of this article here.
Newsweek' Defines Fight For Print-Based Brands
Welcome back from your summer vacation, advertising people. Here's a quick little quiz to see how up-to-date you are on the state of things.
Which of these items had a price tag of about a dollar during the summer of 2010?
A) A Whopper Jr. B) A song on iTunes C) A can of Coke (12 oz.) D) Newsweek E) All of the above
Very good -- you guessed E. And, I'll bet you knew that you can enjoy that burger and soft drink while grooving to your single fave tune, all without being saddled with the $50 million or so in debt that comes with snagging Newsweek.
View the rest of this article here.
Launch Social Networking Site for Members
Salt Lake City, Utah - The Advertising & Marketing International Network (AMIN) will hold its first Social Media Summit at Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City January 24-26. AMIN members are 44 independently owned advertising agencies from around the globe.
Throughout the two-day summit, 14 member agencies will present current case studies featuring social media successes with new product launches; share tips on reaching bloggers, repurposing content, and growing online fan bases; and discuss effective analysis and tracking strategies.
In addition, the association will unveil its new social networking site designed to encourage easy, efficient collaboration among the membership (www.aminworldwide.com).
"Given tough economic times that have limited the potential for face-to-face meetings, more and more collaboration is being done online in today's business world. The new AMIN Web site reflects this growing trend, and it is going to be an invaluable tool for our membership," said Bill Coontz, president of AMIN Worldwide.
Using a platform similar to Facebook and other popular social media sites, the AMIN Web site was designed and developed by Biggs|Gilmore, an AMIN member agency based in Kalamazoo, Mich. The site provides AMIN members with a place to share resources, discuss issues, and connect on common advertising and agency topics, Coontz said.
AMIN Worldwide is a global alliance of independently owned advertising agencies growing through collaboration. Formed in 1932 AMIN works to help its members learn how to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of advertising through trusted member-to-member communication, consumer data, conferences, and a collaborative Web site.
Context Crisis: Why Agencies Need Media Directors Most
Recession, Digital Focus Killing Off Generalists We Still Need
by Bob Rose
Both our experts would be correct ... some of the time. But who's looking at the big picture? Who's looking at the condition of the whole house?
In media management it's the experienced, talented media director who sees the big picture, has an arsenal of resources to draw from, and the strength of personality to organize, mobilize and energize disparate platform gurus to create layered programs that really work. Here's the problem: The media director is a dying breed.
All I have to do is look at my inbox. It's full of resumes of senior-level people -- field generals in some of the most important advertising campaigns -- who were caught between the big boss and the younger, cheaper planners. And from the pace and volume of e-mail, it looks like the battle of attrition is still raging.
Most of the talk and media coverage on the Great Recession has been about people like this losing jobs -- people who may not get back into the advertising or media business in any meaningful way. The deeper tragedy for our business is what leaves with them: relationships with and between media, experience that's attained not taught, and mentoring that makes people and agencies smarter over time.
The recession, coupled with job specialization (and a host of other factors), is draining generalist talent -- and the best, most thoughtful and most expensive talent is being sacrificed fast. That leaves a younger generation of specialty-focused, online-centric advertising people who lack the broader education to appreciate the context across media -- which is what's required to integrate all of today's powerful media.
We're seeing the effects of this already. For example, I think the shock the print medium is experiencing financially is more the result of online-centric advertising people steering spending away from newspapers and magazines than it is the true decline in that medium's efficacy. (The decline in ad spending in print is a much worse challenge than maintaining audience levels for the medium.) Today's media people are at the core of this de-valuation of print because it is a bias of their training to think digitally; it is not a reflection of an objective evaluation of the print medium's value. The same imbalance is applying in other media sectors.
This is a defining time for media. Mastering the interrelationships between a mind-blowing number of new communications platforms means real, sustainable advantage for a brand; the more options we have, the more essential it is to see the whole picture and put the right pieces together in the right way. And we need generalists to answer it.
Fixing the problem How do we keep these people in the business? That's the most important question of 2010.
We start by taking a stand: Experienced generalists are a priority. It is possible to save them even when the CFO hands down a draconian number for the media department to eliminate.
To do that, we have to change our management math. Cheap doesn't mean efficient. Effectiveness is the real efficiency. Two or three junior specialists -- people trained to evaluate and execute a portion of a media plan -- do not equal one senior-level generalist, as much as you want them to. They can actually cost far more. It takes them time to figure out things generalists have ingrained. Then you have to fill in their gaps, cover for what they don't know how to do yet, and ease the discomfort inexperience triggers in a client.
So take the generalists out of the command post and put them on the front lines again. You're never too senior to do the real job of planning. And the deeper you get in the mix, the more seamlessly your experience -- real-world context you can't get in training -- transmits to the next generation.
Do 'teach' and 'advertising' belong in the same sentence?
In today's Advertising Age, Livingston Miller harpoons the idea of advertising as a worthwhile college major, and questions whether advertising is even teachable. Miller claims the best people he's worked with have come from diverse and unpredictable backgrounds - "misfits" - he calls them, and sites his agency's most recent hire, a digital creative director, who studied quantum mechanics. For more click here.
Economic demands plus new-media expectations have created pressure for clients and direct agencies to find new ways to work together. The client-agency relationship is undergoing a sea change. The economic meltdown, combined with the precipitous rise of all things digital, is significantly altering the expectations and demands companies make of their agencies. "So much has changed, but I think the economy just brings into stark relief trends that already were under way," said June Blocklin, a partner with Gilbert & Co., a marketing management, merger and recruiting company. "New technologies have been massively disruptive to the media marketplace, and the rise of search marketing is a good example," she said. "But the agency world is nowhere near where they should be here. Search is often the first thing the agencies outsource." Blocklin said the big advertising holding companies dominate in every functional marketing discipline except digital, "where the money is going to the independents at the rate of two to one." For more click here.
SMA's "Impact" on Advertising Recognized with Top Honor
We use the term "award-winning" often in describing the wonderful products for which our clients are known - Smith & Wollensky's Award-winning Wine List, Kyocera's Award-winning Reliability. Now a bit of that luster has rubbed off on us.
Seiter & Miller took top honors in the Business Marketing Association of New Jersey's 2009 Impact Awards, for our campaign introducing the new TASKalfa Color MFP Series from Kyocera. These animated TV spots and clever print ads bring the dual concept of reliability and productivity to life in the form of an industrious little wheel of colorful paper - a charming fellow whose sole mission is getting your job done right, the first time, every time.
We are proud to be recognized for what we feel is some of our most inspired creative. Award-winning indeed.
In Search Of True Value
Newspapers are folding faster than Superman at the laundromat. Television commercials are being gobbled up by DVRs quicker than Joe Biden can eat his words. Radio ratings are lower than Rush Limbaugh on Election Day. If Facebook users were a country, it would be bigger than the United Kingdom, yet marketers invest in it as if it were Iceland.
Put them all together and one conclusion that many marketing people draw is patently false: Marketing communications are somehow less effective than they used to be. Great marketing communications programs continue to be the best way to build and nurture enduring brands. What is true: Finding the optimal communications mix requires more strategic focus and elbow grease than ever.
Part of what makes the task of today's communications planner so difficult is separating true media value from hype. The business is subject to as many irrational swings of perception as any industry.
Trouble With Bubbles
Take something of value, add hyperactive press coverage targeted to a population fearful of not being on the front wave of a trend, and you have the makings of a good old-fashioned "bubble." In early 2000, many will recall, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan famously described the dramatic stock market escalation as "irrational exuberance." There was a bandwagon effect for stocks that hyped demand way beyond a sensible financial value standpoint. First the market shot up in value, and then, without warning, it just blew up.
Obviously, these kinds of bubbles are an underlying cause of current economic mess. The momentum of buzz distorted reality: housing, oil prices and the financial markets all swing more on hype than on rational value.
The advertising business is particularly susceptible to Bubbles. That's why social network sites are the talk of the town, yet no one has really cracked the code in making them a consistent marketing force.
Their hype is way out in front of their current utility to marketers. Sorry to all you digital yackers: Facebook, Twitter, Digg and the others are just not, at the moment, a marketing home run. Google was a game changer because it brought great utility to both end-users and marketers. Social networks are great for end users, while marketers scratch their heads on the outside looking in.
Bubbles in buyer perceptions have been the hallmark of the television upfront buying season for decades. That's why network television rate increases have nearly always outpaced general inflation going back to Ed Sullivan. This year's marketplace has come to earth a little, in the same way that the air was let out of the online display ads balloon. (Let's see if the bubble swings negatively for network television, such that the momentum of negative perception weighs down its value beyond what is logical.)
Another bubble that is currently inflating past rational thinking is the idea that print is dying.
Print is certainly in a state of retrenchment, but the best brands will outlive your grandchildren. These brands, like The New York Times, Time magazine, The New Yorker and hundreds more, will endure on screens -- and paper. Why? Like Google, they offer great end-user benefit and great marketer utility. Brands of the printed word will always command credibility, relevance and a value that end users will pay for. Smart advertisers will follow engaged audiences as they always have.
This is not to say that the business of print doesn't have issues (sorry). Publishers are scrambling to figure out how to monetize their products more effectively online, but the depth of their problems is made particularly daunting in the current environment where stalwart ad categories, like automotive, financial and pharmaceutical, have pared back to nearly nil. These advertiser categories, and new ones, will come back (gradually) and a new natural level of print products will be buoyed to a balanced level of supply, demand and profitability.
Recessions are rough on the advertising business -- good media venues will suffer in this especially nasty downturn. But rough times do provide a valuable opportunity to thin the herd of weaker media.
In the long run, the media survivors are by nature more interesting and more useful platforms for their audiences, and so will be better partners for our marketing communications. We're in a media re-set, and when it settles, the properties, the audiences and we marketers will all be better off.
Click here to read the article online.
The sun shone on Seiter & Miller and our European visitors, even if was yet another rainy June weekend here in New York City.
From June 18-20, 2009, Seiter & Miller played host to the annual gathering of the United Advertising Network, a coalition of international advertising and communications companies. Representatives from England, Germany, Austria, France and Belgium gathered in New York City for three days, sharing their thoughts and observations on the state of the industry. Speakers included Chris Poe, Managing Director of Marketing for BlackRock on the topic "Is Your Communications Cycle in Sync with the News Cycle?"; Eric Einhorn, Chief Strategy Officer at McCann Worldwide on "Getting the Global/Local Balance Right"; and "Freedom within a Framework: The Art of Global Branding" from Carol Parish, Senior Consultant, BrandTaxi.
Lest the proceedings become too serious, our foreign guests were also introduced to a few classic American pastimes: baseball, barbecue, and riding the 7 train (ok, that last one was more of a New York thing).
For pictures of the event, visit our Facebook page
Agencies are always looking for new ways to make use of social networking. On Thursday May 28th Seiter & Miller followed their head of production, Grace Jao, as she entered Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to deliver her first child. Followed via Twitter, that is.
Scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. C-section, Grace updated her co-workers back at the office with Tweets, as she waited, and waited, and waited some more for emergency traffic to quiet down before she could be seen. Clearly, this was no rush job.
We're delighted to report that she was finally wheeled in at about 4:00 p.m. and produced what, to us, looks like a perfect little resize of Grace herself. Jack Po-en Rafferty, weighing in just shy of seven pounds.
You can follow Seiter & Miller at http://twitter.com/SeiterMiller. Though we can't promise quite the same level of personal drama every time, we do hope to prompt some interesting discussions.
Here is a transcript of the Tweets from Grace and young Jack's big day.
Cast of Characters:
Nbprint: Grace Jao, the mother-to-be
All others: Seiter & Miller staff