Every once in a while I come across a firm in our industry whose performance stands out against of sea of mediocrity.

Semerad is the company but you won’t find them at You will need to go to the dot tv domain ( to uncover this production and creative gem.

Johnnie Semerad, Creative Director, is the unassuming and modest founder of the company. A visual effects “maverick”, he has won just about every creative award on the planet. A visit to their offices houses a glass cabinet with dozens of glittering CLIOs, Golden Lions and Emmys.

The layout of the company, on the fifth floor of a building, in the disappearing wholesale market and flower district, is in and of itself a lesson on space management, encouraging late-night shifts (and a sleep-over if necessary).

But it’s the work in the area of 3D animation, visual effects and motion graphics that makes this place stand apart. If you go to the site, check out the Dairy Queen “Inhale” ad created by GREY with the help of Semerad. Or just view it below. It’s one of my “favs”.

Only one nit-pick … Johnnie: for those of us that require reading glasses, please bump up the font on your text!


As most of the digital world turns its attention to AdTech this week, another world steeped in a more traditional analog arena duels with broadcast and cable networks in what is known as “the upfront” market (which gets its name from the agreements reached before the start of the fall TV season).

Upwards of one hundred vendors set up their tents to exhibit at this agora where thousands of marketers and agency buyers pack themselves in to begin the negotiation dance as the industry sees as much as nine billion dollars begin changing hands.

This year will be very different from all others. Broadcast and cable executives are standing firm while buyers see blood and will wait out the market rush before swooping in. The upfront market will likely last into August, placing extraordinary pressure on broadcasters to book their inventory.

The game has become more complex as tools to measure and read back-end analytics, while cross managing both broadband video services as well as integrated online/offline reporting, creep into the strategy to move CPMs up or down.

Hovering over Twitter snippets I find there is little if any mention of the upfront marketplace. Are we, the digerati, so caught up in the tech world to the degree that the analog world is literally ignored? Have we created a digital island and become myopic to the world that still makes up more than 85% of the communications stream? Are we leaving something behind as we race to understand the dynamics that make up what promises to be our future?

Granted, the digital market is the fastest growing medium. To ignore it or play it down would not be wise. But, are we spending an inordinate amount of time on that which makes up just 15% of the total marketing spend?

The technology scale has tipped too far to the digital world. If we focused less than half of our efforts to catch up with tomorrow’s coolest app and utilize technology to increase our broadcast experience with ITV or even, perish the thought, saving our daily papers, we might see a friendlier convergence of all media streams.


Think bar codes are nothing more than a scanning system for purchasing and inventory control? Think again as the ubiquitous bar code evolves into a consumer friendly QR (Quick Read) code. Originally created in Japan, this two dimensional code is common in the country where consumers can use their mobile phones to download product or service information.

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.

The QR Code that follows was generated by and provides a link to My Open Kimono. The site will generate your code at no cost.

A more creative approach is taken by SET Japan, incorporating brand designs into the code (the code at the top of this page was created for Louis Vuitton). Check the site and click on the QR Code link for examples of truly creative work.


UPDATE 4/20/09; 12:30pm: YouTube views rocket past 33.6 million since Saturday, 4/11. Profile of Susan Boyle HERE.

West Lothian, an obscure village in Scotland, a rather dowdy forty seven year old, Susan Boyle, decided to try and make her dream come true on Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent.

The audience laughed and snickered when she said she wanted to be as successful as Elaine Paige, the First Lady of British Musical Theater. Singing I Dream a Dream from Les Miserables, Susan proved you can never, ever tell a book by its cover. Hope springs eternal.

Enough said. Take a seven minute break and watch the video. It just might bring tears to your eyes.

Click HERE for the video link


A Reprint from Monday's ...

What's urgently needed is a system to track attribution

By Paul Benjou
, Apr 13, 2009

At the mention of Google, marketer's eyes brighten, and it's no wonder.

It's not just that Google spreads across the internet like a giant octopus. It's what the mega search engine delivers in sales of every conceivable product from dishwashers to diapers to 200-year-old antique clocks. It is the great marketing machine of these times.

There's just one flaw in that perception. It's a huge one.

Google may be the point of transaction, the last step before the consumer completes an online purchase, but in fact that purchase was preceded by perhaps dozens of ad messages, perhaps hundreds, that served to persuade the consumer to make that decision.

Google gets the credit for the sale. Google profits handsomely from the paid search ads that appeared on the page with the link that led to the purchase.

But the web sites that served those ads that led up to the sale are entirely left out. They get little if any credit for the sale and none of the revenue from that last click.

It's not an equitable system. Indeed, debate now rages in media circles as to how to improve the system so that all parties that played a role in that purchase are recognized and rewarded for their contribution.

Some are arguing for a system that creates a history of ad impressions leading up to a purchase and then rewards each contributor with a share of revenue Google now receives for that last click.

While it would indeed be fairer, such a shared payment system would be highly impractical to set up. We'll colonize Mars first.

Atlas and DoubleClick have taken steps to better track impressions leading up to transactions, and these are good starts, but far more work needs to be done. It's going to take the support of the internet's major players to fund the research needed to come up with the technology that will enable tracking and proper credit to all players up through the transaction process.

That effort ought to be led by such industry groups as the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and it ought to begin now.

Think of the benefits with such a system in place. Marketers would learn which ads really worked in driving sales, as well as when and where. Greater accountability has always been the promise of the internet.

This would deliver on that promise.
And of course, it would make the internet all that more attractive to that many more marketers.

Media agencies would win by being able to better plan and buy for their clients.

It would lead to a more equitable distribution of rewards by advertisers up the media food chain, without the necessity of a shared payment structure.

Web sites that were found to have delivered ads that led to sales would be able to charge higher CPMs, taking a greater share of that total ad dollar. They would be rewarded, as they should be, for doing a better job of delivering the right ad message to the right reader in the right environment.

Google and other search engines would see their share diminish, though they would still be rewarded for that last click.

Also, and no less important, the system would work to the disadvantage of that growing sea of sites cluttering the internet space that bring no real value to advertisers.

And that could not happen too soon.


Crispin, Porter & Bogusky is on a stale roll with Burger King. The latest television spot featuring Sponge Bob Square Pants is causing a stir among moms. Rapper references to “booty is booty” and “I like square butts” are stretching the limits for many parents....some calling for a boycott.

A video of the commercial follows with our poll for its popularity among My Open Kimono readers. Please vote!

Oh … and in case you missed it, rectangles are not squares … nice lesson CPB.


It's ugly out there in ad and tech land, but there seems to be a faint light shimmering at the end of a long tunnel. The recession has so far forced Yahoo! and Microsoft to lay off thousands; Oracle, Intel, Cisco and others are adjusting to the recession as well. Even the eight hundred pound gorilla Google has pared away at least 200 jobs in sales/marketing and several thousand part-time contractor jobs.

Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that the number of tech-sector job cuts in the first quarter was 84,217--the biggest since the fourth quarter of 2002 when 133,511 jobs were slashed.

In addition to laying off workers, companies such as Yahoo! have instituted salary freezes and suspended contributions to 401(k) plans.

How long is the tunnel we need to travel through before we turn the corner? Tech job cuts aren't expected to be nearly as deep as they were during the dot-com bust. According to Challenger, nearly 1.2 million jobs were lost in 2001 and 2002. This compares with about 240,000 cuts total in 2008 and first-quarter 2009.

As for ad agencies, the peak of employment occurred in August 2000 with 207,400 employed (about four months before the dot-com bubble peaked). Job losses amounted to 43,200 or 21% of the workforce by January 2004 and didn’t bounce back until October 2007 when employment reached 188,600. The net loss, or adjustment, of 18,800 jobs during the period can, in part, be attributed to more efficient productivity, technology improvements and attrition offset partially by growth in the sector. One year later, October 2008, the industry posted employment levels of 182,400 …. a loss of 6,200 jobs (3.4%) for the twelve month period.

The good news: While the market is do doubt spiraling downward, it is NOT expected that the cuts will be as deep as they were when the bubble burst in 2000-01 and that a recovery will not be as protracted.


In the face of economic hardship and a drifting economy, many nonprofits are faced with hits to their budgets from both government cutbacks and a receding tide of private gifts and public donations.

As our government seeks to bail out private enterprise to the tune of trillions, those same bailed out mega-firms are, at the same time, cutting back spending in those areas that affect charities.

The deteriorating market and heightened concern over personal financial stability have caused charitable giving to decrease. According to Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy, in the second half of 2008, nonprofits have been in the worst fundraising climate for U.S. charities in more than a decade. Gifts of $1 million or more fell by 33% in the second half of 2008 and are expected to continue the downward spiral in 2009.

The not-for-profit sector must begin to rely on its own resources to develop cutback strategies of their own that will help keep them afloat. The Fieldstone Alliance has a history of providing consulting, publishing, training, and research and demonstration projects that help nonprofits, funders, networks, and communities achieve greater impact. This link provides a good foundation for the development of cut-back strategies.

The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) NonProfit Federation is also engaged with non profit groups through their annual nonprofit conference in Washington as well as workshops.

At one of the recent conferences, Tom Gaffny, then EVP at Epsilon, led a session titled “‘E’ Is for Engagement: 65 Organizations, A Case Study”

The gist of the session was that Gaffny made online contributions to 145 nonprofit organizations and then tracked their responses. His findings were fascinating, sometimes astounding. For example, 49 of those organizations never even acknowledged the gift!

Gaffny, now Principal of his own firm after 28 years with Epsilon, whittled down the best practices of the best e-efforts for nonprofits into these twelve tips:

Tom can be reached directly at 617-877-3015
  • Be relevant. Be local.
  • Highlight video on your Web site.
  • Engage constituents (quizzes, games, video, etc.).
  • Leverage techniques that work in the mail (matching gifts, headlines, Post-its, etc.).
  • Send information in bite-sized chunks.
  • Work at channel integration.
  • Personalize your organization.
  • Be visual.
  • Say thank you in different ways.
  • Ask “friends” to get the word out.
  • Be timely. Be there.
  • Highlight your partners.


In an unprecedented announcement sure to shock the ad industry down to its foundations, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt announced his intent, in a triumvirate move, to purchase Microsoft and Yahoo!, breaking apart and spinning off divisions of both companies. Operating divisions that compliment Google’s business will be integrated into the company, creating an advertising powerhouse that will eventually compete with the combined media efforts of the world’s largest holding companies, WPP, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis, Havas, and Aegis.

In a simultaneous but no less egregious attempt to gain a stranglehold on the business of media management, Google’s DoubleClick division announced the pending acquisition of Michael Donovan’s Donovan Data Systems, Media Ocean and its competitor MediaBank. The enterprise software companies combined manage in excess of seventy five percent of all media placements in the US.

In yet another dramatic move, the unstoppable powerhouse, Google is tightening its grasp of global media operations through the creation of a five hundred million dollar venture fund seeking to unseat global media players through major acquisitions or fast-track hobbling and development of smaller players in Europe and the Asia/Pacific regions.

These announcements are due to hit the major news wires on April Fools Day, 2009.
Again, announcements are to be released on April Fools Day.