An article in this Sunday's
NY Times focused attention on Disney's secretive research facility in Austin. The research is tracking eye movements as ads of varying size are positioned on mock sites.

Purpose of the studies, whose findings are to be released in a report, promise advertisers a better return on ad investments by setting new rule standards for creative ad units.

The new wizardry combines eye contact with heart rate monitors, temperature reading and facial expressions.

As this facility and others across the country spend millions attempting to decipher a code on cognitive resonance (as intellectual activity intensified by the act of research itself), it is highly likely that findings will be less than optimal.

If successful, the results will be creative automation. Google, looking to automate the entire advertising process has yet to achieve that lofty and mind-deadening goal.... turning advertising away from the creative process, pushing it to a science, driven by algorithms.

An interesting exercise? Yes. A replacement for the creative mind? No

Meet your new Creative Director


Peter Pan's Captain Hook would not have minded the demise of the croc.

It was just couple of years ago when I first spotted what appeared to be a colorful orthopedic shoe on a couple of teens on the street of NYC. It was the beginning of a phenomenon in the shoe industry .... the comfortable, lightweight, indestructible Croc.

You either loved the funky shoe or hated it with a passion. And as the craze caught the county by storm, selling over 100 million pairs and generating a profit of $162 million in 2007, the company expanded rapidly.

Fast forward to 2008 ... a bad economy, over-expansion, an indestructible product that does not need to be replaced any time soon, and cheap knock-offs from China caused the firm to lose a whopping $185 million. It's stock plummeted 74 percent, it has a surplus of shoes it cannot readily sell. The Wall Street crocs are beginning to circle.

There are several stories here. One is the overeager expansion, similar to Krispy Kreme and to some degree Starbucks. The other is the development of a product that, unlike the auto industry, did not have obsolescence built into it....a double whammy for a company that actually cared. The company went so far to design, in conjunction with the American Podiatric Medical Association, Crocs available only by prescription.

Crocs' survival is questionable given its debt. A refocus on niche markets, however, may save the company and even cause it to prosper.

As for me and my Crocs ... I wouldn't give them up ... not even the orange ones!


Twitter. What is it and what can it become?

The speed at which the communications business is accelerating has us all playing catch up. New platforms and applications developed around them have us all scrambling to understand the new landscape to stay on top of what's "cool".

The iPhone is perhaps the best example of a communications device built on an open platform that has generated an industry onto itself, blossoming with tens of thousands of apps and billions of downloads.

Then there's Twitter. The great disruptor. An invention of our time that will likely join the ranks of failed inventions.


As a communications channel, Twitter is a one trick pony. Handily, it can broadcast a simple message to a closed loop of followers. In doing so several applications can track the noise or "buzz" on any subject and quickly update the masses on what's "hot".... that is of course if you care to stay glued to a computer screen or mobile app all day long.

A few days ago, TechCrunch released notes on internal documents it somehow secured from Twitter. The documents revealed the musings of a group so heavily invested in the bloated success of the platform that it could provide comic fodder for Saturday Night Live.

For the moment Twitter is a fun toy ... soon, I'm afraid, to be cast aside like many of the others. Follow this link to a test on failed inventions for a bit of comic relief.


For many, many years the newspaper industry got it right. They were making tons of money, much of it coming from a cash cow called classifieds. The Internet came along and with it a chance to post a classified ad at no charge .... free. It was the loss leader to attract the currency of the web ... traffic and eyeballs.

As the newspapers held ground for paid placements, the cash cow began to go dry.

Today, the drama is focusing on content. What exactly is content? And what exactly are readers willing to pay for?

When the New York Times decided to provide their content to web readers for free, they let the toothpaste out of the tube. What will it take to get the toothpaste back in?

My commentary in today's Media Life Magazine sets the stage for a discussion that has already begun to heat up in the press.

Your comments and thoughts are encouraged.


Are your client's using Google AdWords? Chances are that you are also running those ads on mobile devices and the iPhone with not-so-pretty results.

It appears that the user experience for the iPhone delivered ads by Goggle is not properly configured for the device. At a $.20 Cost Per Click advertisers would be spending their marketing dollars to irritate the customer.

Many agencies and marketers are not aware of the problem. But their is a solution. "Simply" opt out of the user experience for AdWords delivered to the iPhone.

Google does not make it easy. But the good folks at Silicon Alley Insider put together a quick step-by-step guide for opting out of the negative iPhone experience.

Click here for the opt out guide.


The gaming industry has experienced a business boom in spite of the economic recession. According to Nielsen, the number of hours that gamers are playing has hit an "all time high." In addition, used game sales have increased to "record-breaking totals," while video game rentals have increased exponentially.

The top selling video games command prices ranging from $34.99 to $59.99 … not an easy pill to swallow during a recession. It is also the reason for the explosive popularity of used video games with retailers like Wal-Mart looking to step into the lucrative secondary market.

While gamers are playing more and paying less, possibly as an escape from the real world recession blues, the industry has witnessed a softening of the market with a 6 percent downturn in sales during the first half of 2009.

The all time top seller as of this week with 135 weeks on the charts is Nintendo’s Wii Sports selling over 23.6 million copies to date.

The increase in the use of the smart phone for gaming is also on a positive upswing with initial game sales in the 8 million plus unit range with multi-player capabilities.

Are your marketing efforts addressing gaming as part of your social marketing mix?

Click on the chart to enlarge it


If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch and are a Twitter user, get yourself over to TweetMic. It’s an application that allows you to record a tweet with no limits on recording time. The app effectively eliminates the frustrating 140 character limit on a Twitter posting.

The app works flawlessly with a high quality recording and playback.
A list of features from their home page follows:

• Incredibly simple and intuitive interface
• Quickly record audio and publish to Twitter

• Review your recordings before publishing

• Easily overwrite old recordings by hitting "record" again

• Create unique and engaging Tweetcasts in no time

• Ultra high recording sound quality

• Unlimited recording time

• Uses your existing Twitter account, no additional signup

• Navigate and listen to your published audio tweets
• Your tweets stay live unless you delete them
• Easy management of your audio tweets at


With no intentions to rain on your parade this holiday weekend (yes, we’ve all had enough rain, thank you) today’s post offers up a moment of Zen before the start of the holiday.

The group you’ll see and hear in the video that follows is Perpetuum Jazzile, from Slovenia, performing an amazing rendition of Toto’s Africa. Thunderstorm simulation effects were inspired by Kearsney Choir (South Africa).

Turn up your volume to HIGH, close your eyes and for the first two minutes, listen…. then go back to see how this was accomplished.

Happy (Dry) Fourth!


“Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.’

This quote by University of Chicago economist, Gary Becker and U.S. Appeals Court Judge, Richard Posner, has set the stage for a an argument that will likely never see a positive outcome in any courtroom in America.

The issue is not the ownership of content manufactured by journalists and recast across thousands of sites on the web. The issue is about the inability of newspapers to grasp the new ideology that has permeated the web and penetrated its users into the belief that “free” is the new “paid subscription”, even for the likes of journalistic powerhouses like the New York Times.

The evidence is in and the jury is out … how odd, however, that circulation among the printed media that is distributed as “free” or “comp” is either discounted or not counted at all and considered to be readership “not engaged” enough to be counted. Yet we jump at the chance of counting any free traffic on a site as evidence of its worth.

Metrics have changed …. evolved to accommodate a new communications pipeline that we have not as yet come to fully understand. or manage. Nor are we holding it to the standards we hold high in traditional media.

The real battleground for print media is the agency, where education is the weapon. The trade associations that make up the “old” media have not done a good job of convincing the digitally focused marketers that as the old media dissipates so will the digital counterparts as content generation dries up, becoming less important for the sake of “fast media”.