Digital media has come a long way. Today it represents fifteen to twenty percent of all advertising dollars and will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate, but still outpacing traditional media growth.

As traditional or “analog” media converges with digital media, we will see the need for agencies and marketers to take a hard look at their media investment strategies. Actual measures of performance and accountability will rein where AC Nielsen program ratings and pass-along readership were the hard currency for “projected” delivery.

But in order to best take advantage of both worlds, it will be necessary to sink the digital island. Why?

I recently attended a meeting at a digital agency where digital strategies flowed like the Euphrates. Following two hours of digital discourse I could not contain myself any longer.

Yes, the digital world is growing. It’s sexy and it’s bold and new and promises a rosy future. But …. eighty to eighty-five percent of the world’s media is NOT digital. If you want to make an impact in that world, you need to reach out and understand the analog space. Today it drives your business…. digital does not drive theirs.

There has long been a disconnect between these two worlds. If both are to grow, they need to collide and become one. This makes it difficult for agencies steeped in tradition to accommodate change. Staffing resources that can play in both worlds are limited. And the vision to make it one world is not easily articulated.

My mission is to sink that digital island and bring its people back to the mainland.


As GPS devices move into the mainstream and prices drop, look for marketers to secure positions with “soft” advertising.

GPS devices can integrate with points-of-interest (POIs) that make driving from point A to B a more pleasurable experience. The key to successfully integrating locations for service-oriented stops (Dunkin Donuts, Preferred Gas Stations, Fast Food Eateries, Banks, Hospitals, etc.) is for the user to request or “opt-in” for location downloads to the device. This direct personalization can be a boon to marketers.

Today, roughly twenty percent of online users own a GPS device …. And that number is exploding with shipment revenues tripling over the last twelve months. The market is expected to generate $5.4 billion by 2008 and is expanding to hiking, walking, biking and more.

The next phase is for the technology to be embedded into more common devices …. the cell phone or PDA, driving traffic to retail outlets.

While GPS devices are positioned to enhance the consumer experience, B to B applications have also taken off.

Partnerships developed today between advertisers and service providers are sure to reap benefits in the not-to-distant future.

"You're travelling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound ... That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone


In the mid-sixties it was the Beatles that drove teens wild. What are the most popular raves for teens today? It’s not MySpace and it’s not YouTube or even Google.

According to a recent Nielsen Report (June 2007) US teen’s online preferences are moving away from instant messaging and towards sites offering social networking tools, music lyrics and photo sharing.
The lesser known sites are unique in that the teen composition of their audience is three times that of the larger social networking sites – although their penetration of the audience is much smaller.

Sites ranking in the top ten include: Takes the number one slot as a community driven one stop resource website for Myspace, Xanga, Blogger, Livejournal, MoveableType, Wordpress and more, where you can find Myspace layouts, Xanga layouts, avatars and icons. Reflecting the favored music taste of online teens, this database of punk and punk-derived song lyrics is the number six most popular site among teens right now. Posting song lyrics on profiles and as comments is a common activity among social networking teens. The number five most popular site among teens is actually a blog operated by a single 16-year-old girl. Seen as the authority on MySpace page customization, WhateverLife offers all the codes, tools, layouts, links and detailed step-by-step tutorials for users to personalize their profile pages.

While these sites are all the rage with teens-in-the-know today, be forewarned that the audience is fickle and can make or break a site overnight. But for the moment, they are the sites that readily resonate with the teen audience. Because these sites reach a relatively small number of teens, they are the perfect testing ground for creative concepts in a highly focused environment.

If your objective is to reach a broad number of teens, then a best bet is Although lower on the composition measure, it reaches about twenty-five percent of the audience on a monthly basis with staying power.


Every so often a programming concept comes along that develops as a perfect fit for a number of sponsors. In this case, the BBC is producing a documentary on “A Year With The Queen”. The documentary camera follows preparations for the Queen's 80th birthday and a visit to the United States. Cameramen had unprecedented access to the royals for a year.

Unlike its U.S. counterpart (PBS), the BBC is not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services. This keeps them independent of commercial interests and ensures that they can be run instead to serve the general public interest. The BBC is financed instead by a TV license paid by households. This guarantees that a wide range of high-quality programs can be made available, unrestricted, to everyone.

PBS, in the United States, is supported by funding outside the traditional advertising realm. It accepts sponsorships and identification breaks for those marketers wishing to communicate “on a higher plane”.

Brands and products like Chuck E. Cheese's, Intel, McDonald's, and Lipton Noodle Soup have taken advantage of the new guidelines to create livelier sponsorship segments with traditional trappings, including jingles and corporate slogans. Did I say “a higher plane”?

Nonetheless, without some sort of commercial adaptation, PBS would likely not survive in the U.S. The import of syndicated BBC programming reduces the need for original PBS programming, reducing the need for funding.

And who better to sponsor “A Year With The Queen” when it arrives on our shores than Hallmark, Seagram’s Crown Royal, Crown Publishing or ….. Dairy Queen?


If you’re over 40, chances are good that you’ve had first-hand experience with the game of BINGO. It’s no secret that the centuries old game that started in Italy in 1530 (it was called BEANO then) has entrenched itself in the US market and that it has had a resurgence online.

Today, an estimated 1.6 billion people play the game at bingo halls across the country annually. To put things in perspective, that staggering attendance number is almost more than the amount of people who attended movie theaters and bowling alleys, combined. Add to that, the number of visits to the online version of the game and the statistics become mind-numbing.

So why aren’t smart marketers leveraging this craze to gain access to countless numbers of consumers? Many believe that the age group that plays the game is 65 plus. Not so online. The average age of a player is 41 and 70 percent of them are female …. Many are moms.

Half of the online players are addicted and play every day! That kind of loyal market is gold for any marketer.

Here are the online age stats from one study:

  • 18-24-14%
  • 25-34-16%
  • 35-49-25%
  • 50-54-15%
  • 55-64-7%
  • 65+3%

Online Bingo is decidedly a younger person’s game. Sponsorships of Bingo games, chat rooms and communities is an under-utilized outlet that can be easily dominated by a first-to-market advertiser.