The current degree of hysteria relating to L’Affair Assange has not left the digital ad industry untouched.

Team Assange (a paltry six individuals) managed to escape shut down by government hackers and has, with the help of supporters, disabled major sites including Mastercard, VISA and PayPal (and now, potentially, Amazon) as payback. Sarah Palin’s site along with Joe Lieberman’s have also been disabled.

“Don’t mess with Wikileaks” is the message they are sending, suggesting the Internet would need to be shut in order to censor Wikileaks.

The cascading impact of these maneuvers and subterfuge to the ad community will manifest in forms concerning privacy, fed policy and e-commerce disruptions. It may also slow web media investments by marketers.

Let our readers know what you think ...


The car makers are back in the "pink" registering huge profits, launching IPOs and making loan paybacks in the billions. Along with rising oil prices, expected to hit the $100 mark next year, the temptation for these linked industries to stay the course with fossil fuel engines can easily hamper EV (Electric Vehicle) initiatives in the US.

Impetus is coming from GE with a pending purchase of 25,000 EVs by 2015. Twelve thousand will be the GM Volt, a $41,000 electric/gasoline hybrid. Nissan's Leaf will debut this year at a $33,000 price point.

As we gingerly step into the EV market, we should take a lesson from the UK. London is quickly becoming the electric driving capital of Europe, building 1300 public charging points over the next two years.

Agencies not making plans now to deal with this coming wave will be in a weak position to secure strong market share.

Cary, NC McDonald's

Learn about the industry and begin to set strategies NOW!

In the coming year, we will be launching an aggregation site,, on all things EV. Stay tuned.


As a managing director for Morgan Stanley, Mary Meeker is the firm's global lead for the technology research unit. In 1995, she co-authored an industry report "The Internet Report" which would become a landmark during the internet boom era.

In her most recent presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, "Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask & Answer" , you can find the chart that follows. It represents share of online display units along with corresponding CPM rates.

Click on the graph to enlarge

The report should be unnerving for the likes of Social Networks and especially Facebook. At the same Summit, Mark Zuckerberg brushed off advertising as "it's not necessarily about advertising".


It certainly isn't about advertising when faced with a dismal display rate. It also illustrates how weak the site is when it comes to ROI. With the exception of a few mega-efforts by major marketers (supported by even larger TV budgets), Facebook falls flat on its own face.

And it is becoming a potential detriment to sustaining business models supported by advertising.


If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

As dumb as this philosophical question is WMG (Warner Music Group) steps up to accept the Uber Dumb Ass Award for disabling the audio portion of a video featuring John Cage's 4'33" composition.

John Cage (1912-1992) was an American composer and a leading figure of the post war avant-garde. His best known composition 4'33" (four minutes, thirty three seconds) is performed without a sigle note being played.


Known as one of the most controversial musical works of the 20th century, WMG, in the name of copyright protection, has decided to silence the silence!!

The video posted by Adam Lore follows. You are the music.

More commentary can be found at this link.


How quickly technology revolutionizes an industry only to be outdone by itself. Hatsumi Miku is the newest J-pop star to arrive via Japan.

The catch is that Hatsumi doesn't exist in human form but is a holographic avatar created by Crypton Media.

Hatsumi has been playing concerts to sell out crowds utilizing a singing Vocaloid synthesizer by Yamaha to mimic voice. Rave reviews and huge crowds cannot get enough.

The music world has changed once again. Watch the video(s) that follow and imagine the return of Elvis, Michael Jackson or any past or present persona as a lifelike avatar. There is no end in sight. Watch the crazed throngs waving their glow sticks in harmony.

The clarity of the hologram is remarkable for a first event and promises to only get better and better, delivered or created through a variety of channels.

Agencies and marketers take note ... it's a bandwagon you should be jumping on .


That I have been questioning Facebook's efforts to manage the privacy of their users comes as no surprise to my readers. Facebook's survival is inexorably tied to the data it collects on users to "make the user experience more meaningful". In turn it collects targeting fees from its advertisers.

Facebook can't help itself. It is addicted to data collection, often sidestepping and overrunning privacy constraints.

In July, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook hit a milestone with 500 million active users. Frankly, I don't believe the self reported numbers.

At the end of 2009, Facebook reported 350 active million users. The time-line looks like this ....

100 million : August 26, 2008
150 million : Jan 7, 2009 (134 days)
200 million : April 8, 2009 (91 days)
250 million : July 15, 2009 (98 days)
300 million : September 15, 2009 (62 days)
350 million : December 1, 2009 (77 days)
500 million : July 2010 (242 days)

It appears that Facebook added 150 active million users or roughly 42% of its 12/1/2009 base in just eight months. Really? Who's auditing the numbers?

Consider the following reported numbers...

In the second quarter of 2009 there were 444 million broadband users globally. Factoring global broadband usage increases and mobile access, Facebook would need to include almost every global broadband connection as an active user. Really?

Seventy percent (70%) of Facebook's active users are outside the United States.

There are approximately 250 million people over the age of twelve in the US. A user needs to be thirteen to register on Facebook. Facebook claims sixty percent of the US population (150 million) over the age of twelve that are active registered users. Really? Please define "active".

User growth should be petering out as will revenue. Self reported annual revenue of $800 million suggests Facebook earns an unimpressive one dollar and sixty cents ($1.60) per user.

How much hype and Kool-aid will we continue to swallow?


From the staff at
Hoffman Lewis .... Bravo.

Credits: Creative Director: Miles Turpin Art Director: James Cabral Writers: Desmond Tutu, Oliver Albrecht Editor: Nic Bucci Producer: Jay Cortez V/O: Hugh Masekela Music: Ranga


It is estimated that four billion dollars will have been spent on mid-term elections culminating in what may be a dramatic shift of power on Tuesday, November 2nd.

This unprecedented sum of money has been focused on television, accounting for about 70% of invested dollars while the balance was directed to radio, direct mail and print.

Online? About 2%.

The web does not seem to resonate with politicians seeking to swing voters. Personally, I cannot recall even one display ad or e-mail coming my way from the media channel that touts accountable and targeted ads like no other. Given the intensity of television advertising, the poor showing for the web escapes us.

Frankly, I am thankful. Sick of the promises, lies, and extreme negative positions, I am looking forward to the quiet of November 3..... and happy that I was spared the onslaught on the web.

Nonetheless, get out there and VOTE!


Backroom operations are battling it out. The stakes are high.

Agencies seeking out software systems for the management of an enterprise wide management suite are pitting Donovan Data Systems (DDS) to defend against Mediabank as smaller contenders including Strata and Harris sit it out in the bleachers. All the while, entrepreneurial entries in the form of MediaX begin nipping at all their heels.

Starcom’s move from Donovan to Mediabank likely cost them a small fortune and a major migraine, sparking rumors of a return to Donovan, while driving part of its account to nimble entrepreneurs ala MediaX.

IPG’s Mediabrands is on the fence and about to fall one way or the other as Mediabank pushes for a move to unseat Donovan. Mediabank toppled Donovan when it won the DraftFCB account, jamming its foot in the Mediabrands door.

But eating Donovan’s lunch will not be an easy feat as it represents the majority share of agency business, driving close to $200 million in revenue.

Donovan’s Achilles Heel: It’s the system of choice that everyone loves to hate and a dinosaur that cannot easily innovate.

Mediabank’s underbelly exposes hubris that allows them to believe they have sufficient resources to manage a large win.

Among the underdogs, Harris seems not to have been invited to the party while Strata was simply glossed over.

And …. An honorary mention to the new entries that seem to “get it” and are willing to match their resources to agency visions.

An upset may be close at hand, before year’s end.


That I have been casting a watchful eye on the ever expanding Facebook tentacles, often cautioning users on privacy issues, is no secret. The exponential, albeit unaudited, growth of its user base closing in on one half billion and the questionable collection and use of the data it collects from its users continues to pop up like a bad penny.

This week's gaff, exposing tens of millions of its users' personal identity to advertisers, should be a wake up call for Facebook to finally clean up their act.

But it won't.

If we were to trace the "gaffs" back to revenue produced for Facebook, the picture could morph from Pollyanna to the greed of big business. No doubt the overzealous digerati would come up with blinded observations and poorly manufactured statistics, never losing site of self centered and self serving arguments .... drinking the Koolaid they mixed themselves.

The Internet provides us with a treasure trove of new and exciting options for entertainment, information and productivity platforms to enhance the world around our personal space. However social networks, moving in the direction of Facebook with total abandon and disregard for the sake of "advertising" revenue may, in the end, do more harm than good for the future of the Internet.

Simply, Facebook cannot seem to come up with a business model that does not deal with the discreet (and seemingly illegal) distribution of, or access to, personal data. The conversations and arguments center around "a better Internet experience", serving ads and content that
THEY THINK .... make that THEY KNOW.... you want to see.

Give me a break!

It's about time we put the cards on the table and re-think the social network models before the house of cards collapses on itself.
Let's begin the challenge by removing "advertising" from the equation.

And to those individuals that "don't care about their personal data being collected" ... please keep those empty arguments to yourselves .... you just don't get it.


As Facebook grows to a reported 500 million users globally, its privacy policies and the management of information their users post is coming under more intense scrutiny. On the heels of the movie release, Social Network, Facebook announced new tools for its users to manage that information across personal groups of people they "trust".

But things may not be what they seem.

What follows are excerpts from Facebook's commentary ... what they are saying, followed by our interpretation of what they may be thinking.

"We use your information to make your experience better"
Interpretation: We want to know what you've been up to so that we can direct more relevant ads and search results .... so that we can sell you stuff.

"When a group member posts to a group, everyone in that group will receive a notification about that post"
Interpretation: But what your friends do with it we can't control. It's your problem.

"The whole experience is organized around spaces of the people you care most about"
Interpretation: We want to confuse you to the point of exasperation and give up control of your information.

"You can quickly download everything you ever posted on Facebook"
Interpretation: Because we don't want to be responsible for your garbage.
Most comments post on the Huffington Post review were overwhelmingly negative which leads one to assume that there are many more users abandoning the social network than meets the eye.


At the tail end of 2008, IPG's media management unit, Mediabrands, inked a multi-year deal with Donovan Data Systems (DDS). While it is unclear how much of the IPG spending flows through DDS (IPG agencies place upwards of $25 billion in media annually) it is nonetheless the lion's share.

DDS's competitor, Mediabank, quietly shored up its digital offering and in six short months following the DDS/Mediabrands deal Mediabank signed DraftFCB for digital services. A small but key foothold at IPG.

It was a whoops! for DDS as they struggled to keep the business.

After several starts and stops in 2009, Mediabank hired former Yahoo! and Right Media exec Bill Wise as CEO this past June 2010. It proved to be a wise move as Bill's vision and ability to chart and navigate digital waters was on spot for Mediabank.

Significant strides and development of their offerings over the last eight months, folding in Audience On Demand services in DSP fashion, places Mediabank at the nexus of what is coming next.

And .... it may have panned out as rumors have surfaced concerning a move by Mediabrands to DDS's rival Mediabank. In light of DDS's reluctance to move nimbly into the digital landscape it would not, however, come as a surprise and a severe blow to DDS.

If the Mediabank/DDS contract is up at the end of this year, we may just see a new face at Mediabrands.


With revenues approaching $500 million and having been in business just under two years its valuation is estimated to be $1 billion.

Groupon is a phenomenon that needs to slow down fast.

An article in this week’s BrandWeek covers two years of marketing efforts for the company that shuns traditional methods and relies on viral impact and PR efforts to push the envelope.

But can this business sustain itself in a fickle world of web “loyalists”? There is no doubt that Groupon is a success today. What it will become tomorrow is anyone’s guess …. if it survives.

I took the plunge about a year ago and purchased several restaurant chits that gave me an average 30% savings at three establishments (the restaurants pony up as much as 75% to the customer and Groupon). One chit introduced me to a new Chinese sandwich shop I would have tried again but, it went out of business. One was mediocre and a third was below sub-par.

Since the chits were good for several months I decided to wait a few months to avoid crowds. And I wanted to ask if they would “do it again”. No, no and NO!

Apparently it was good business for Groupon but not nearly a first base hit for the restaurants that need repeat, full-paying customers. Groupon is the leaking bucket that will eventually run out of water as it tries to refill itself with compelling offers.

Dismissing my preferences only for restaurants, I have since been deluged with offers for nail salons, spas and women’s apparel. According to Groupon’s SVP, marketing, Aaron Cooper …”When you deeply understand your customer and product, you’re going to be better …. no need to hire traditional marketers ….you’re going to be better”.

Pride before a fall …. hubris. I recently unsubscribed from the service and am a happy, “spam” free camper.


As much as and as quickly as media options change they stay pretty much the same. And as the force-winds of technology push us forward we quickly adapt.

Or do we?

It's a riddle. And we keep searching for the answer that is just under our very nose.

A recent blog post by Bob Hoffman, CEO of Hoffman Lewis in San Francisco and St. Louis, uncovers Top Ten Double-Secret Unknown Facts About Advertising. The list follows in its entirety .... with thanks to Bob for his investigative and inquiring mind.

An do drop by his insightful blog, The Ad Contrarian.

Top 10 Double-Secret Unknown Facts About Advertising
1) 99.9% of people who are served an online display ad do not click on it.

2) TV viewership is now at its highest point ever.

3) 96% of all retail activity is done in a store. 4% is done on line.

4) DVR owners watch live TV 95% of the time. 5% of the time they watch recorded material.

5) 99% percent of all video viewing is done on a television. 1% is done on line.

6) The difference in purchasing behavior between people who use DVRs to skip ads and those who don’t: None.

7) Since the 1990s, click-through rates for banner ads have dropped 97.5%.

8) Since the introduction of TiVo, real time TV viewing has increased over 20%.

9) Baby boomers dominate 94% of all consumer packaged goods categories. 5% of advertising is aimed at them.

10) TV viewers are no more likely to leave the room during a commercial break than they are before or after the break.
If you would like to print a nice, clean copy of this list and pin it up on your boss's wall, you can find it here.

Here are my sources:
1. DoubleClick, Benchmark Report, 2009
2. Nielsen Three Screen Report, Q1 2010
3. U.S. Department of Commerce, Q2 2010; Nielsen Three Screen Report, Q1 2010
4. Duke University, Do DVRs Influence Sales?
5. Nielsen Three Screen Report, Q1 2010
6. Duke University, Do DVRs Influence Sales?
7. Li, Hairong; Leckenby, John D. (2004). "Internet Advertising Formats and Effectiveness". Center for Interactive Advertising. And DoubleClick, Benchmark Report, 2009
8. NielsenWire, Nov. 10, 2009
9. Marketing Daily, July 22, 2010
10. Council for Research Excellence, May 10, 2010


First it was the pickle. Now it's the tomato. It was subtle, but timely.

Since 1876, the Heinz Ketchup bottle pictured a pickle on their label. In 2009 the pickle was dropped and replaced by a vine tomato. Makes sense, right? After all, Heinz is the largest user of tomatoes in the world and there is no hint of pickles in their ketchup.

Ketchup lovers all over were disturbed by this move .... from an iconic label to an average, inconsistent marketing gimmick!

But now Heinz crossed the line. Catchy phrases on the labels like "Can't Help Broccoli" and, OMG!, an in-your-face call to action to fan them on Facebook!

This cannot be happening! But it is.

From Hefty Trash Bags to Ticonderoga Pencils, marketers are driven to find "friends" on Facebook.

When was the last time you were passionate about trash bags or pencils and who are these so called marketers that have no clue? In many cases, Facebook can be leveraged to the benefit of some brands. In many many more cases it is a huge waste of time, effort and money.

"You like tomatoes and I like tomatoes .... let's call the whole thing off."


In keeping with a the tradition to keep holiday posts a bit more personal, I wanted to highlight a non-profit organization you may have heard about.... Story Corps.

Their mission is to provide Americans with an outlet to record and preserve life's precious moments in story fashion. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.

The video that follows is just one of thousands in their archives that I encourage you to visit. Click the enlarge button for the full effect. And if, by chance, it moves you, click on the sidebar link to make a donation.

Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, came to StoryCorps to recount their twenty-seven-year romance. As they remember their life together from their first date to Danny’s final days with terminal cancer, these remarkable Brooklynites personify the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen.”

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

“By listening closely to one another, we can help illuminate the true character of this nation reminding us all just how precious each day can be and how truly great it is to be alive."

Dave Isay,
Founder, StoryCorps

Happy Labor Day .....


I found Tom Cunniff on the OT List, a group of industry professionals that have been working in advertising for a while ... ergo "Old Timers" or OT. But don't let the name fool you ... these pros are on the bleeding edge of new media channels and have the unique power to bring both "old" media and new media together.

Tom is VP Digital Director at Combe Inc and has an infrequent blog here.

In a recent letter to the OT group, Tom shared with us a "typical" dinner date with his wife. The evening follows .....

My wife and I have been going to the same sushi place in our NYC
neighborhood for years.

Everybody on the wait-staff knows us by name. When we sit down, we chat
and catch up a bit on each others' lives. Then the waiter asks if we
want the usual, which we usually do.

We love this. It's personal. It's about making us feel comfortable and
well-served. It's about a business relationship between us and that

But imagine how we'd feel if we knew that as we talked, our waiter was
recording everything we said and did and then contacting every
business in our neighborhood to tell them about our behavior.

"Here's what Tom ate, what new Barbara tried, and what they both
spilled on their clothes. I overheard them saying they're going to
Paris for 9 days. Barbara said she's exhausted. Tom said he needs to
get back to the gym -- and I could see he has sure packed on some
pounds lately! -- but that didn't stop him from ordering dessert. They
had a pretty heated discussion about some business thing Tom wants to

Now imagine us being pitched by every liquor store in our neighborhood
to try other sakes. By every dry cleaner for a discount on soy sauce
stain removal. By every car service for a trip to the airport, and by
every French restaurant. By every deli trying to sell Red Bull or
coffee to my exhausted wife. By every gym in the neighborhood AND
every bakery in the neighborhood about my weight gain. And by every
local marriage counselor, on top of all that.

It's completely impersonal. It's about telling strangers our
vulnerabilities. It's clearly much more about the restaurant serving
itself instead of serving us.

Can business educate me to feel good about that?

Can business educate me that my wife and I have never really had any
privacy in the first place, and that all of these are a natural
by-product of going anywhere in public and having a quiet

Can business educate me to believe that business won't someday
redefine "public" to include the lobby of our apartment building, the
garbage that has been collected outside of it, and anything that can
be seen in the "public" areas of our apartment by a UPS delivery guy?

Here's the best defense I can muster.


Dear Public,

You have no reason to worry. In your heart, you know you can trust all
of our institutions -- especially big business like Enron, Bear
Stearns and BP -- to do the right thing. Just look at their track
record and you will be instantly reassured.

And besides, everything they do is completely transparent: it's
disclosed in multiple 900 page privacy policies strewn across multiple
websites written in multiple dialects of impenetrable legalese.

How wonderful it is to have this issue settled. Here, have a cookie!


Late last year a couple of chicks got together and decided to break away from the mother hen. As they matured into adulthood, they recognized their health needs were different from the older hens. And so they set off to establish a community of chicks that had common health questions.... was the result.

Born from one of the WebMd ribs, ChickRx is a new start-up focusing on everyday health issues, but not intended to offer up serious medical advice (see your doctor for that).

The founders, two twenty-something "chicks" felt a need for a health website targeting their demographic. Founders Stacey Borden and Meghan Muntean (both 26) describe ChickRx as Daily Candy-meets-WebMd.

No traffic stats yet for this newly launched site but we would like your opinion.

Is there a real need for another health site catering to twenty-somethings? Visit the site here and let us know below.


The warning signals are out and they do not bode well for 3D TV or 3D film makers.

Having already invested billions, electronics manufacturers, production companies and Hollywood are bracing for a win or lose jackpot.

But what’s at the end of the rainbow may very likely turn out to be fools gold.

A report by the Financial Times yesterday pointed to a nervous set at Hollywood as many of the 3D releases simply flopped. The hype of Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans did not spill over to releases like Cats and Dogs which was panned by critics.

Overlooking the constraints of consumer spending in an economic downturn, 3D movie releases demand a 50% premium over 2D ticket prices. What are they thinking?

Short term vision has blurred reality as greed set in. 3D is a dimension looking for an audience that exists for the short term ….. until the novelty wears off.

And while Hollywood sits on the edge of their theater seat, companies the likes of LG, Sony and Samsung dove into the third dimension with huge investments in hardware.

Gizmodo reports that the sale of 3D TV units in Japan are not up to par. One year into marketing the units, prices are down by 20% and sales are not nearly predictive of a viable market. Yet the manufacturers are blindly predicting "millions of sets" will be sold in the coming year.

Say it often enough and you might come to believe it's true!

IDo believe in 3D, I DO believe in 3D, I DO believe in 3D ......


Running late for a meeting in Connecticut, I pulled up to a drive through window at McDonald's and ordered an Egg McMuffin and a cup of coffee. Nothing extraordinary about it except for a declaration printed on the bag ....
"Great Breakfast Taste. We make sure of it. Every single egg we use throughout the year is individually inspected - all 3 billion of them."
Now that's quite a statement that got me to thinking. How long does it take to inspect an egg? And how many people does it take to do so?

Here's the math with the assumption that an egg can be inspected in one second.

To inspect three billion eggs in one year would take three billion seconds. A quick search at WolframAlpha converts that number to a bit over 95 years. Assume the average worker puts in 250 days a year, it would take 138.7 man years to inspect that many eggs.

Does McDonald's really employ almost 139 "egg inspectors"? I put a call into their corporate office. Their response follows.

"All of the fresh Grade A eggs used for the Egg McMuffin sandwiches are inspected at the farm. Eggs are washed with warm water before being inspected both visually and electronically for any cracks and flaws. Checked eggs are then packed for shipment to the McDonald’s restaurants. So yes, every single egg is inspected before it makes the Egg McMuffin grade!"

So the promise that every egg is individually inspected is stretching the truth. And your average consumer would assume that the eggs are inspected by hand before they hit the griddle.

Can we please get back to Harry McCann's search for "Truth Well Told'?


Once the focal point of social networking and a former stepchild of Time Warner, AOL may be writing its final chapter as a viable business. Spun off buy Time Warner in the fourth quarter of last year and declaring it's IPO status the same day, AOL (NYSE) is facing a tenuous future.

The chart that follows illustrates its revenue declines over the past few years. As subscribers leave (who needs a middleman to connect with the net?), ad dollars are sure to decline as well.

Click on the chart to enlarge.

What went wrong?

Is Time Warner to blame? Since its merger with the company in 2001, a decline of the value of the company was set in motion. Controversy concerning operations, billing disputes, account cancellation "scams" and subsequent investigations did not help its cause.

AOL was becoming a company in search of a purpose.

AOL is a matured company in a failed marriage that has not been able to keep pace with the shifting dynamics of a digital landscape. Its management is likely to blame, taking their eyes off the real prize ..... people.

Building a huge following with little regard for the followers (are you listening Facebook?) is a perfect recipe for failure.

It was fun while it lasted ....

AOL's stock graph since its IPO follows ....

Click image to enlarge


A major CPG company, Unilever, is launching a promotion for its OMO detergent brand in Brazil that utilizes GPS tracking to follow a consumer into their home(s).

Creepy? Outrageous?

The PR effort, mounted by its agency, Bullet, will plant GPS tracking devices in fifty two- pound boxes of the detergent and scatter distribution throughout Brazil (representing about 50 million homes).

When a box is pulled form the shelf, activation of the device will occur and the agency will track and “visit” the consumer at home within “a few hours or days” to let them know they won a pocket video camera and a day of fun at a Unilever event.

Invasion of privacy?

If a consumer refuses to answer the door for the “visit” (Brazil’s crime rate is quite high), the team will activate the device to buzz, alerting the consumer to the promotion.

Not OMO, but OMG!

Is this not like putting a “bullet” to your head? Where’s the thinking that cooked up this law suit waiting to happen?

While on the surface the promotion may sound like "fun in the suds", it has so many risks attached to it that they outweigh any positive return.


It should come as no surprise to my readers that I am not a fan of 3DTV. I've posted several times on the lemming nature of the movement and the costs to the consumer. From the TV itself to the glasses. What surprises me, however, is the blind surge and investments by the set manufacturers to jump on board a ship I don't believe will easily stay afloat.

Entelligence is a column by technology strategist and author Michael Gartenberg, a man whose desire for a delicious cup of coffee and a quality New York bagel is dwarfed only by his passion for tech. Michael is a partner at Altimeter Group. His weblog can be found at

His post below confirms my own perception of 3DTV.

"It's generally a bad idea to extrapolate larger consumer behavior from personal experience and say "if I like it, surely everyone else will as well." It's a mistake that happens all the time, but there's is one case where I will use my personal behavior to at least start the foundation for analysis -- when I don't want a new gadget or technology. Granted, sometimes I'm just not the target audience, but even then I'm usually able to remove myself from the process and say it might not be for me but others will love this. In the case of 3D TV, however, I think my lack of interest doesn't bode well for the market.

I'm surprised by figures, forecasts, predictions and prophecies all showing a rosy outlook for 3D TV beginning as early as this year, because I've seen most of the 3D offerings available and I have no plans to buy -- not now and not anytime soon. I should be a part of the core demographic for 3D: I like TV, movies and video games. I'm am early adopter. I have reasonable disposable income. I'm not afraid of betting on the wrong standard. And yet, I'm not buying. Here's why.

Cost: I'm fortunate that cost isn't the biggest inhibitor for me when I buy things, but I still do a cost/benefit analysis before I make a purchase. To really embrace 3D, I need a new TV, even though my current 1080p set is only a few years old and is wonderful. I'd need a new media player. I'd need glasses -- lots of them, as there can often be five or six people sitting around my set. I'd probably want a new digital camera to take 3D shots. And of course, I'd need some compelling 3D content from somewhere. That's already starting up to add into a significant cost proposition that takes it far out of impulse purchase territory.

Hassle: It's not just the cost to move to 3D. It's the hassle. Moving to HD was a breeze -- you just plugged in a new TV and were wowed by immediately available content. My upscaling DVD player made existing SD content look better than ever. By contrast, just viewing 3D content is a hassle due to the glasses. They're not cheap. They are gadgets in and of themselves, which means they require care and feeding, and everyone in the room needs a pair. Worse, I find 3D glasses very uncomfortable to wear for long periods over my regular glasses. The hassle alone of acquiring and viewing 3D content is enough to put me off.

Benefit: The cost and hassle of 3D could easily be justified and rationalized if there was a superb benefit on par with the move to HD. For me, 3D is cool but at best gratuitous. It doesn't change the visceral viewing experience for most of the content I've seen. I just don't see the value or wow factor that 3D brings to the table in its current format.

Someday technology will advance and 3D will be integrated into every screen. Standards will be deployed and the bulky and costly glasses will disappear. Content providers will figure out how to tell better stories with 3D that wouldn't have been possible before. And if that happens before I do my holiday shopping this year, I'll be on board. Given the low probability of that scenario, I'm going to pass for now. I expect many other consumers will as well."


As a departure from a more serious post, the video that follows points to frustrations consumers are exposed to in the face of advertising that "simply" provides useful product information.

In 1912, Harry McCann, along with four partners, launched H.K. McCann Co, introducing the still used credo "Truth Well Told". The slogan has been standing behind the overall creative work of the agency and holds its strategic integrity in check.

McCann truly follows the powerful credo, but tales well woven and jokes well made earn a berth here as well.

In just two years, the agency that became McCann Erickson will mark 100 years. That was the serious part and we will be wishing Nick Brien and what is now McCann Worldgroup well.

We can't wait for the party to begin .... but in the meantime enjoy the video and the laugh.


A US ad spending forecast update, released today by MagnaGlobal, paints a rosier picture than previously reported.

Barring a double dip recession MagnaGlobal is forecasting a 2.1 percent growth for the US ad economy for 2010 to $169.9 increase of 31% over the previously reported forecast. This does NOT include Olympic or political media investments in TV which would bring the growth in at a very decent 3.4 percent for 2010.

The annual run rate for growth through 2015 is expected to be 3.6 percent.

As the industry braces for a return to a somewhat normal environment it begs the question of readiness. Staff cutbacks over the past several years created a void of intellectual capital that agencies and marketers need to quickly address. As a bounce-back occurs will we have the manpower to effectively manage normal growth?

Not all is positive, however. A downturn in online classifieds is causing an overall reduction in the double digit growth rate for the online sector. Direct Media (yellow pages, paid search, lead generation, directories and direct mail) is signaling a slowdown in growth and a possible short term return to awareness-driven media channels.

You can register for a free download of the report here:


A technology news aggregator and message board site with 280 million page views per month needs your help.

Why? Because they don't have a business model that works and have been losing money. Reader's are simply not clicking on ads.

Here's the kicker....the site's owner, Conde' Nast, purchased it in 2006, and is offering little or no technical support or funding until the site shows promise. So the four engineers running the site (which has had a spate of technical problems lately) are
asking readers to donate or subscribe to the site in an effort to secure additional resources.

Many of the readers are too jaded and will not pay for a subscription. After all, Conde Nast is a giant publishing company that can easily fund it. But as a business unit with its own P&L, it seems CN will let it flounder and fail.

The bigger question, however, is the lack of reader interaction with the ads. Are surfers finally getting tired of display ads? Are they becoming oblivious to those leader boards and skyscrapers?

With 280 million page views you would think there is some merit in the sites ability to generate revenue.

You be the judge. Oh yeah...the site, if you can get to it, is