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, SparkStop.com, 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!