The network and cable news services feed on the visuals that attract and keep viewers glued to many a TV screen. That the majors are losing ground to the internet as a news source is no surprise. Add to that equation the possibility of a day or week without major news events on a global scale and you’ll have the networks scampering to rehash yesterday’s news.

What to do?

Hire Rioters-R-Us! Create chaos. Pinpoint a religious cause and put the PR machine to work!

A lighthearted view of this “tactic” can be found in George Simpson’s column today on Mediapost’s Media Daily. His satire plays well …. if it is satire indeed (?).

Follow this link to his commentary …. it's a riot.

Plagiarism is considered a high form of flattery.

A parody of the Geico commercial with Little Richard hit the YouTube site just about 5 days ago. It has already had upward of 11,000 views and going strong.

The parody replaces the actor opposite Richard with President Bush, in a take-off even the conservative FOX network aired.

Congratulations to The Martin Agency for a creative mix that raised the bar for Geico one again. Congratulations to Geico for recognizing the value inherent in a well executed, humorous campaign.

What follows is the original thirty-second spot and its parody, just below it.


As Nielsen braces to report ratings for commercial minutes as the new currency for unit pricing, it is also grappling with the definition of a commercial. The issue attempts to define the difference between a national commercial and a direct response (DR) commercial.

Wake up! There is no difference. A commercial is a commercial is a commercial. The message should play no part in the definition of what it is.

My guess is that DR or “call to action” commercials perform better than your standard fare. Revealing higher ratings for these units will either cause the networks to increase pricing for Direct Response ads or jolt creative directors to introduce response mechanisms into more standard fare.

Direct Response folks always know how well their ads work --- minutes after they air. National ratings aside, DR call centers redirect response rates to buyers who make program changes to accommodate poor performance. In the internet world it’s called “Optimization”.

It is ultimately unlikely that his shift in charting how almost $60 billion will be spent will have any impact in the real world. What Nielsen’s commercial minute ratings will NOT tell you is who is paying attention. That kind of feedback is and has been handily managed for years by Direct Response Rates.

The bottom line is sales ….. not ratings.


The controversy swirling around CBS’s Survivor series move to pit different races against each other has provided a feeding frenzy for the media and has major corporate sponsors pulling out of the series.

I may be missing a point here but aren’t the Olympics, pitting one nation against another, country against country, tantamount to the same thing? Isn’t China against the United States, in the truest sense, a race competition? Israel against Saudi Arabia? Mexico against India?

For centuries, wars have been fought based upon cultural and racial differences, fueled by greed. The Olympics provided a safe playground for all nations to show their colors and standing in friendly world competitions.

We watch these competitions day in and day out, disguised as wrestling matches, movies, sports competitions and, yes, news.

Isn’t CBS merely providing yet another friendly “playground” as an outlet for competitive games? Let’s not make more of this than has existed since the first geographic boundaries were drawn.

CBS has its agenda for the series – ratings. How it goes about managing the selection of participants and competitions will be a challenge in and of itself. But, the network is also providing an opportunity, for those who believe in their cultural heritage, to shine.

Those who profess horror at the thought of what they accept wrapped in a different package need to sit and think of the hypocrisy of it all.