The following video was sent to me by one of my blog readers. As he/she suggests. it's the perfect holiday card.

"I cried when I watched this because I really dont care much for the whole sentimental "Christmas" thing but this clip made me appreciate the bravado of the young kids who fight for our safety as a country and how grateful we should be to them during the season. It's like the perfect holiday card. I hope you enjoy."


We don't always meet them. In a rush to get to the finish line we often lose what is most important .... creativity.

Watch this neat video from KreativMagazin, the leading Hungarian magazine about advertising, commumnication and media related topics, and be inspired ....


It's been 10 years and we have not yet come close to realizing the hope for change that the internet was supposed to provide markets and brands around the globe.

Have we been overly hyped? Are we searching for something that simply does not exist and likely never will?

The rant that follows was borrowed, with thanks, from Bob Hoffman of Hoffman Lewis fame. I urge you to read it and bookmark a link to his blog....

I've been in the ad business a long time. But I've never experienced a more bewildering period than we have been through in the past 10 years.We thought we knew what this decade was going to look like.

We thought we knew the script. Just about everything we thought we knew has turned out to be wrong. We thought that interactivity would make advertising far more engaging. We thought that traditional advertising was dead. We thought that TiVo was going to cripple TV. We thought the PC and the television were going to converge. None of this has happened.

Interactivity has not made advertising more engaging. In fact, interactivity is mostly a rumor. Display ads have a click-through rate that is less than 1 in a thousand. While consumers have shown substantial interest in using the web to search for things they've already decided they're interested in, they have shown almost no interest in interacting with the ads we produce.

In other words, the web has proven to be far more effective at fulfilling demand than at creating it.Anyone who still thinks traditional advertising is dead probably didn't watch a football game this weekend. I don't think I have ever seen more commercial messages squeezed into 3 1/2 hours.

TiVo's impact on television viewing and consumer behavior has been a weighty topic inside the marketing beltway but has been a non-event to consumers. While about 40% of Americans now have some sort of DVR, those who own one only watch recorded material about 5% of the time. What's more, owning a DVR has not changed their purchasing behavior one whit.We are essentially no closer to the convergence of TV and the PC than we were ten years ago. We keep hearing that it's right around the corner, but we never seem to get to the corner.

The latest stats I've seen say that over 98% of video is still viewed on a television.The advertising landscape has been riddled with inconsistencies and cross-currents. Print advertising has certainly suffered. But television advertising has been booming. In 2008, as TV ad sales dropped significantly, it looked like the pundits were correct and that advertisers had lost confidence in traditional advertising. But now with TV ad sales growing and viewership at its highest point ever, it looks like the pundits were wrong and 2008 was about the recession.

Online advertising has been hit and miss. Search has certainly been effective, but display ads -- despite impressive sales growth -- have had a very discouraging record of effectiveness.Social media has been a huge worldwide phenomenon, but social media marketing still has to prove it's a sales builder and a brand builder.

With 60% of people who "friend" or "like" a brand saying that their primary motivation is to get something for nothing, it is hard to take seriously the argument that people are engaged in social media because they want to have "conversations" with brands. And we're still waiting for the first major consumer-facing, non-web-native brand to be built primarily by online advertising.

You would think that the gulf between our expectations and the facts would give us pause. But no such thing has happened. Our delusional belief that we understand what is going on has not been weakened at all. If anything it has strengthened. We are just as certain in our prognostications, just as arrogant in our pronouncements, just as sneaky in our data.
We tell our clients half the truth half the time.I am dismayed every week by how much of what is now accepted wisdom in the ad business is nothing but legend. I am disheartened by how little familiarity people in advertising have with the particulars. I am dumbfounded by how tolerant most clients are of false goals and how little appetite they have for the facts.

Perhaps the most confusing part of the past 10 years is not how far reality has veered from expectations, but how reluctant our industry is to validate its assumptions.


What will your next phone look like?

The video that follows, courtesy of Microsoft Office, draws back the technology curtain to provide a peek into the not-to-distant future.

The technology to do this exists today. The minds that will put all the pieces in place are just around the corner.

It all starts with your phone . Amazing.


A reprint from SAI Business Insider on Steve's final words ....WOW

The New York Times ran Steve Jobs' sister's eulogy this morning.

It's a beautiful recollection of the 27 years Mona Simpson knew her biological brother, and it paints Jobs as an endless romantic, a creative genius, and a loving person.

Simpson ends the eulogy by recalling Jobs' final moments.

"Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times," she says.

"Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.

"Steve’s final words were:



A creative video shot with an older iPhone.


With thanks and credits to Bob Hoffman at Hoffman Lewis, what follows is his take on how Steve Jobs and Apple approached the ad world.....

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Advertising

I pompously call myself The Ad Contrarian, but Steve Jobs was a true ad contrarian.

He knew what his company stood for and didn't care what you thought. He assiduously avoided every false turn in the "marketing fad of the month" playbook. Reportedly, the only research he ever did was to ask himself whether he liked something or not.

In his own way, he taught us everything we need to know about advertising. The only problem is, most of us are too blind or too stupid to learn. The thing about magicians is, you see it with your own eyes and you still don't know they did it.

Here's what I learned from watching Steve.

•The best way to build a brand is to sell a product. Apple rarely did "branding" advertising or "line" advertising. An Apple ad is about the features and benefits of one specific product. Not about "you the consumer." Not about how the brand intersects with your life. Not about how the brand saves the world.

•Creativity is simplicity. Apple ads always look like Apple ads. They are simple. They are direct. A white background, a product right smack in the middle of the page, and a line or two of copy. They rarely changed this formula. Once in a while they'd have a person along with the product, but no idiotic "lifestyle" crap and no art school visual puns.

•Trend-jumping is no substitute for principles. From what I can tell, Apple still doesn't have an official Twitter feed or Facebook page. They don't jump from one gimmick to another. They are not desperate to hop on every fad that comes along. They are the most successful technology company in the world, yet they understand that communication is best done human-to-human. They do a great job of utilizing the web for all their "below-the-line" materials. But they lean heavily on traditional channels for advertising. They have built the most powerful social network in the world without doing an ounce of social media.

•Be who you are. Apple's public personality -- its advertising voice -- has never changed from day one. When Microsoft was winning, it never tried to be the second best Microsoft.
Steve Jobs was the best adman of his generation. Those who want to learn would do well to study what he did.

To read Bob's blog and get a link to a bibliography of stuff that has appeared on his blog about Jobs and Apple advertising over the past few years, click here.


The recent news of a meeting of the minds between Donovan Data Systems and Mediabank have more than just a few companies scratching their heads. Where this proposed announcement leaves Harris, Strata, MediaX and others will initially be determined by the antitrust scrutiny of the US government regulatory agencies. Antitrust filings are sure to follow.


Is this an exit strategy for Michael Donovan? Is this Mediabank's attempt to scale their business? A defense against Google? Or is the proposed marriage a means to a more profitable monopoly?

It very likely holds true that all of the above played a role in the annoucement. It certainly is not about merging technologies. The platforms are unique. DDS carries legacy software that is potentially decades old while Mediabank has been quilting its own newer brand.

And while Google looms in the background there is not a chance in hell that they will accomplish in traditional media what DDS has.

In an ideal world, this merger might create something new and refreshing across all media functions. In our world, we will likely be harping on the same issue into the next decade or two.



It comes as no surprise that printed newspaper and magazine circulation continues to drop as electronic delivery moves in to take up some of the slack. My daily commuting observations over the past two months, however, reveals a slower shift than I might have otherwise thought.

The Morning Rush
Look around. In a relatively packed car the majority occupied with either paper or electronics are reading printed material. Force of habit moves us to pick up the morning paper and revert to the 90s way of catching up on the news. Evidence of freebees, in the form of AM New York or Metro NY, are everywhere and account for a good number of readers. But they ARE reading more than “e-doing”.

The Afternoon Rush
The story changes. In almost a complete reversal, electronic gadgets are the order of the day with the minority reading printed matter in the form of books or magazines (rarely newspapers). Chances are that one gets caught up with the news during the day as the freebees are distributed only in the morning.

Demographic Chasms
Would it surprise you to know that the young adult is rarely buried in a book or newspaper? Watch as young execs are tethered to Angry Birds and plugged in to iPod tunes (often together) acting as if shaken by a seizure.
A more “seasoned” group is still browsing a magazine or reading a book …. But there are far fewer of them doing so.

So What?
If you can take targeted advantage of these dynamics it would suggest the use of morning freebees for the older crowd while focusing on a working e-platform for young adults. It would be wise to remember that underground e-connections do not yet exist.


Steve Jobs .... The crazy SOB that changed the world and the way we live.


Human gait could soon power portable electronics.

A new energy-harvesting technology that could capture the energy of human motion to power portable electronics has been developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The “reverse electrowetting” technology promises to reduce our dependence on batteries. It converts mechanical energy to electrical energy using a microfluidic device consisting of thousands of liquid micro-droplets interacting with a novel nano-structured substrate.

This technology could capture energy produced by humans during walking that is normally lost as heat and convert it into up to 20 watts of electrical power that can be used to power mobile electronic devices, the researchers said. Unlike a traditional battery, the energy harvester never needs to be recharged, since the new energy is constantly generated during the normal walking process.

The energy generated by the harvester can be used to power a broad range of devices, from smartphones and laptops to radios, GPS units, night-vision goggles, and flashlights.

Shoe power (credit: Krupenkin, T. & Taylor, J. A.)


The Fund for American Studies recently surveyed people to see if they would give up the internet for $1MM. Make that $10MM and vote below. Then take a few minutes to watch the video.


Manufacturers of 3D TV sets are about to suffer a loss. As the hype of 3D moved from the movie screen into the home, its potential was poorly judged and ill timed. This blog has commented on the looming disaster since inception only to fall on deaf ears .... or in this case blinded marketers. The 3D lemmings are approaching the cliff and will undoubtedly go over.

It was a novelty. A fad. They come and go as did the 3D craze in the 1950s. History will repeat itself .... this time in spades.

What follows is a partial lift from an article by TV focusing on 10 (just 10?) reasons why 3D TV will not make it. For a full read, follow this link.

1. 3D TV Interrupts Your Viewing Experience
You can't watch 3D TV for more than a minute without finding your eye focusing on individual elements of the screen rather than the picture as a whole. For example, if you're watching a 3D presentation of a college football game, you find yourself watching the player whose display best showcases the 3D effect. It's natural; you know you're watching 3D so your mind and eye tend to focus exclusively on the strongest 3D elements of the picture.

That makes for an interesting minute or two, but it's not why people watch television. They want to take in the entire picture; to be absorbed by it; to let it take over their entire thinking process so they can relax and lose themselves in what they are watching. 3D doesn't allow for that; it constantly interrupts you to check out some 3D effect. After awhile, you almost forget what's happening on the field or in a movie. If you're a Chicago Cubs fan, that could be a plus. But for most viewers, it's a strong negative.

2. It Makes You Sick
Doctors have estimated that up to 20 percent of the population will get headaches, dizziness or even nausea while watching 3D.

Steven Nusinowitz, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, tells CNN that 3D glasses have a polarized filter that separate two images, thereby enabling the 3D effect. However, the doctor adds that the separation occurs so quickly that your brain may have difficulty accepting it.

"The movie is telling you 'Hey, I'm moving around in this scene,' but your vestibular system is telling you, 'I'm not moving anywhere,' and that disconnect will make you feel sick, for some people," Nusinowitz said.

TV makers even warn consumers in their 3D TV manuals that they could get sick while watching 3D; they advise that you should take off the glasses every 15 minutes or so.

How many consumer products have ever been successful with the masses if their makers had to tell you they might make you sick?

3. Millions of People Just Bought New TVs
Because of the federally mandated Digital TV transition in 2009, millions of Americans bought a new TV to ensure they could continue watching when their local stations switched from analog to digital. Even in good times, people tend not to buy a new TV every few years or so; they buy one with the intention of keeping it for years.

And we're now in an economic morass; will people sacrifice the rent money for a 3D TV? When they probably have a TV in their living rooms that's not even three years old?

4. People Hate the 3D Glasses
Just about every objective consumer study has found that people hate wearing those 3D goggles while watching 3D TV. It's an uncomfortable experience, particularly if you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses with different prescriptions for each eye. The 3D apologists say that 3D sans the glasses is in the works, but most analysts say it will take years before the technology is ready

5. 3D TV Is Not HDTV
The 3D apologists like to say that High-Definition TV had a slow ramp-up to success. Well, that's true. But people didn't buy HDTVs in the early days because the sets were cost-prohibitive, with some medium-sized ones costing up to $10,000.

In contrast, the cost of a 3D TVs is just slightly more than a comparably-sized 2D HDTV. People aren't buying them because they cost too much; they aren't buying them because they don't want them.

In addition, when someone saw a HDTV in person, he wanted it, at least eventually when the price came down. The picture added to your viewing enjoyment because it made you feel like you're were there; the picture was that realistic. But 3D is the antithesis of realism; it's a tech trick designed to jolt a response from the viewer. But the response doesn't last long and it's ultimately unsatisfying. Unlike HDTV, watching 3D TV is not relaxing; it's jarring.

As for the "No Glasses Required" sets due to launch .... don't buy the hype. A small 20" set will run you back about $2800 and you will need to "learn" how to watch TV.

No thanks.


The post that follows is clipped from my favorite wordsmith and blogger, Bob Hoffman at Hoffman Lewis. Great work Bob!
Anyone In Advertising Still Interested In Facts?

Here at The Ad Contrarian World Headquarters, our commitment to our readers is so
intense that we actually pore through media research studies to provide you with the most up-to-date, relevant, information available.

Sometimes we even do it with our clothes on (I don't know what that means, but it seemed funny.)

I have just finished reading Nielsen's "Cross-Platform Report" for the 1st quarter of 2011 and, let me tell you, it was no Great Gatsby.

Besides suffering from Melted Brain Syndrome, I am sitting here in shock and awe. I am amazed at two things.

First, I am amazed at the resilience of television.

Second, I'm amazed at how the media world continues to ignore this story.

Over the past decade, if there is one story that is absolutely astounding, unexpected, and in complete disjunction with the opinion of experts, it is the incredible resilience of television.

Yes, web usage has grown. Yes, social media is an interesting and important social phenomenon. Yes, DVR's have become commonplace. But with all the new media and all the new technology no one expected TV viewership to behave as it has.

And yet, the trade media and media research companies continue to ignore this story, and instead report on the sexier, trendier new media stories.

As I have commented before, traditional TV viewing is at its highest point ever in history. People are watching, on average, over 35 1/2 hours a week. How much more stupid TV can these nitwits watch? Five hours a day isn't enough?

And it's continuing to grow! Over the last year, TV viewership grew another 22 minutes a month, on average.

Meanwhile, with all the hysteria about TiVo, and YouTube, and mobile, no other video medium even comes close to live TV. Here are the numbers:

The average person in America watches 38.7 total hours of video a week

•92% of that is real-time television
•6% is time-shifted television (TiVo, etc)
•1.5% is online video
•Less that 1/2 of 1% is mobile video
(And, by the way, the average person spends 6 times as much time on television as he does on line.)

As a service to all of you who are under the thumb of web maniacs, here is a simple chart I've created that you can click on and print out and stick up their...well, on their desks, anyway.


This is 1956 photo of an IBM hard drive.

The drive weighed about a ton and could store about 5 megabytes of data. By comparison it would take 1000 of these monsters to store what a thumb drive can store today.
An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).

The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.

The implications include the merger of biological and non biological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.

And advertising fits into this picture, how?

With thanks to Business Insider for the photo and Ray Kurzweil's Accelerating Intelligence.


Think you're safe? Think again.

APTs refer to a group of well-funded, highly capable hackers pursing a specific agenda. It can be to bring down a site, hack government intelligence, steal personal banking information or disable infrastructures of whole countries.

The threats are real. Secure your information.

The most significant hacks in the first few months of 2011 affected millions of individuals resulting in millions of dollars in losses. They include . . . .

Epsilon (the largest breach of personal e-mail data), RSA (hacked security keys to highly sensitive governemt intelligence), SONY (70 million playstation account compromised), Google (government e-mail accounts hacked), Michaels ( PIN pads hacked and credit cards compromised), CITI (200,000 accounts stolen, credit cards reissued), IMF (sophisticated attack over several months to gain access to government information as "political dynamite).

And in 2010 "Payback Attacks" alone numbered 33 . . . .
  1. ACS:Law 10/03/2010
  2. RIAA 10/29/2010
  3. Motion Picture Association of America
  4. Aiplex Software
  5. Davenport Lyons
  6. TMG Image Over Networks
  7. Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)
  8. DG Legal
  9. Gallant Macmillan 10/12/2010
  10. Ministry of Sound 10/03/2010
  11. Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE) 10/06/2010
  12. Ministerio de Cultura 10/06/2010
  13. promusicae 10/06/2010
  14. Federation of the Italian Music Industry (FIMI) 10/09/2010
  15. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) 10/09/2010
  16. 10/09/2010
  17. United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office 10/16/2010
  18. Associação do Comércio Audiovisual de Portugal 10/18/2010
  19. Gene Simmons 10/19/2010
  20. Satel Film 10/22/2010
  21. Hustler 10/22/2010
  22. FACT 10/24/2010 10:00 PM GMT
  23. 10/26/2010
  24. United States Copyright Office 11/03/2010 15:00 GMT
  25. Irish National Federation Against Copyright Theft 11/06/2010
  26. International Federation of the Phonographic Industry 11/26/10
  27. Warner Bros. 12/1/10 6:00 PM GMT
  28. PostFinance 12/6/10
  29. Aklagarmyndigheten 12/7/10
  30. EveryDNS 12/7/10
  31. Joseph Lieberman 12/8/10
  32. MasterCard 12/8/10 10:30 AM GMT
  33. Borgstrom and Bostrom 12/8/10


Just over a year ago I commented on the folly of 3D as a viable business. That post can be read here.

Fast forward to today's Business Insider article "3D Movies Are A Bust".
The outcome was so very obvious but Hollywood and TV set manufacturers hopped on the bandwagon, spending billions to rush to market with the new technology. They stand to lose their investments.

The single biggest advantage for 3D remains in gaming on small mobile tablets and PCs, shifting away from Hollywood and 3D sets.

3D .... So-o-o yesterday.


Beyond belief. That someone actually spent time and money developing a desktop application that allows anyone and everyone with the app to search your trash bin for files you thought you might want to share is unbelieveable.

Justin Blinder, a Brooklyn self proclaimed programmer, creative technologist and hacker would like you to sign up for a "Dumpster Drive". Here's an explanation of the product and a video that follows.

"When we throw out physical trash, we know, at least on a subconscious level, that it often has the potential to be repurposed. Someone might rescue an abandoned book from a dumpster, or fall in love with the musical tastes of another through a discarded CD they find on the sidewalk. However, the drag-drop-delete process of deleting data from our computers prevents them from ever reaching others. Dumpster Drive makes your trash social within the context of your desktop, allowing you to dumpster dive through the discarded files of others."

Mac users can download the Dumpster Drive here.

I double dare you! Sorry PCs ...not yet available.


Obfuscate: To darken, To make obscure. To be evasive, unclear or confusing. To make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand.

Guilty: Facebook, Twitter and Google.

A recent investigation by the Wall Street journal into the use of "LIKE" buttons and widgets placed on thousands of major sites, signaled yet another serious breach of ethics that will surely have the privacy police up in arms.

It appears these buttons capture a user's visit to the site and feeds it back to the originator. The kicker is that you need not click on the button. Your visit is automatically logged by the likes of Facebook.

Their explanations obfuscate. Do we really believe when they tell us they don't use the data? If so, why are the visits tracked in the first place.

Their real response should be .... We know you're too stupid to understand what we do and we don't want to tell you why we're doing it but we're going to do it anyway.


Read the story here.


An interesting and telling infograph (below) on the perils of sitting too long at your desk.

Where do you fit in?Sitting is Killing You
With thanks to the folks at


While Facebook may extol the virtues of its privacy policies they will not hesitate to release personal information to law enforcement authorities if pressed to do so.

What kind of information are they willing to give up?

  • All your contact information including your phone number,residential address and e-mail address.

  • Status updates and posts.

  • Everything you ever shared or liked.

  • All your notes.

  • All your friends.

  • Groups you belong to.

  • Events.

  • Your photos and all your videos.

  • All messages sent and received.

  • Where and when you logged in.

  • Your user number.

  • The date you joined.


Not if you're an upstanding citizen. But there are elements that deal with law enforcement that can, if willing, misuse this information. Consider, for example, the millions of homeowners who are defaulting on their underwater mortgages. The extent of the information provided seems a "bit" overboard and is potentially damaging on a financial and emotional level.

Best advice: Remember 1984. Watch your "Wall".


Patch, a hyper local division of AOL just announced a course correction that will attempt to hire 8000 unpaid local blog contributors by May 4th. HA!

Patch is quilt work of 800 sites dedicated to local community news. But the cost of paying each of the 800 editors and staff is a losing proposition for AOL.

Arianna Huffington to the rescue! Replicate the HuffPost model! No need to pay for content when they can offer writers what?.....Nothing!

This is a train wreck waiting to happen and yet another example of the folly that has become AOL.

This parting shot from Mediabistro's Fishbowl LA ...

"In other words, if you have any ethical qualms about demanding free content from your writers, better get over them now–or the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the door hitting your ass on the way out."


A couple of weeks ago one of my favorite bloggers, Bob Hoffman, CEO at Hoffman Lewis, posted on the issue of privacy and the security of our personal information.

His post follows in its entirety..

Here Comes The Government

Back in December I wrote a piece for Adweek called Big Brother Has Arrived, and He's Us. In the article I talked about the dangers of tracking on the internet.

"There’s no reasonable way that this is a good development for a free society. There is no realistic vision of the future in which this will not lead to appalling mischief.
It’s time for us to say no. It’s time to put aside our petty self-interest, take a step back and see where this is leading. We need to stop tracking people and their behavior now."
Of course, this will never occur. There is way too much money being made on digital advertising for anyone to act responsibly.

So inevitably what happens in circumstances like this is that the heavy hand of government steps in to regulate. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that...
"...legislation (that) would call on the California attorney general to force affected businesses to provide users a way to avoid having their personal information and online activity tracked..." was being introduced into the state legislature.
According to the 4A's...
"...the Judiciary Committee of the California State Senate has tentatively scheduled a hearing on April 26 to consider a new proposal... which seeks to become the country’s first do-not-track consumer privacy law."
There is an outrageous amount of personal data being collected. It is too accessible, and anyone who takes promises of internet privacy and security seriously is an idiot.

But you can bet by time the knuckleheads in government are finished with this, the regulations they enact will be way more daunting than if the greedy bastards in the industry had just acted sensibly and responsibly in the first place.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

I could not have put it better than Bob.


When did it all begin?

In March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was issued a patent for his invention which ultimately transformed into the telephone. The device became ubiquitous and the world tethered to it.
Today, 135 years later, we cannot live without the communication device that has morphed from the umbilical cord that connected us with each other to a magical wireless wonder, the cell phone. We are inextricably connected.

If we were to be visited by alien creatures they would describe us as a race with appendages connected to our heads.

But our conversations back then, save for the occasional party line or government tap, were private. Marketers were not listening in so that they could call back or mail you a invitation to try a new soap product you may have been discussing;. Your conversations and you life was private.

No longer.

Cutting the cord, moving towards a wireless world, we are giving up our rights to privacy as intrusions become the order of the day. Bell himself considered his famous invention an intrusion ... and refused to have a telephone in his study.

How far can the eavesdropping go?

A cell phone "extraction device" in use by several law enforcement agencies can search for and copy information on your cell phone via a USB port or Bluetooth. These devices, at a cost of around $10,000, automatically perform forensic extraction of calls, photos, messages, calendars, to do lists, memos, videos and audio. All in about 40 seconds.

Are your civil liberties being violated? Follow this link to a recent press piece.


When AOL and The Huffington Post teamed up last month it sparked controversy that is now spilling over into the investment world.

AOL stock is being shorted by investors betting that the company will tank. Not far from its all time low of $18.51 on March 16th, it may only be a matter of time before it, like MySpace, begins to drift towards the Bermuda Triangle.
Further complicated by a class action suit instituted by one of Huffington Post's contributors, the complaint charges that none of the $315 million paid by AOL for the news and opinion website co-founded by Arianna Huffington and Kenneth Lerer was shared with the writers and other creators of the site’s content. The suit seeks class-action, or group, status.

The complaint claims that 9000 writers provided the site with free content worth as much as $105 million, which “should be returned” to the plaintiff and the class. Huffington Post derives revenue from advertising on the site.
Adding insult to injury, the majority of the contributors who supported Arianna's site as a more liberal platform are now taking a back seat to the more conservative AOL.

Did AOL not believe that a site whose content, driven by 9000 freelance, unpaid writers, would not create a backlash? It is so very obvious that AOL's CEO and largest shareholder, Tim Armstrong, is desperately rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship.

Watching and waiting.

Click on the chart to enlarge it

YouTube vs BoobTube

For the sake of clarity, I am posting a chart based on Nielsen estimates that reflects monthly viewing for video .. whether TV, Netflix or YouTube.

Simply stated, TV crushes YouTube.

Yet with all the hype concerning the coming of broadband video, as if it were the second coming of Christ, I see nothing in this chart that comes close to the power of good ol' television.

So why do we continue to get caught up in the gigabit flow of over-hyped, overzealous and hyper-exaggerated use of broadband video? Because it's human nature to want to be on the cutting edge of anything new and cool.

It is a young playground... and "the young are always ready to give those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience"..Oscar Wilde

Google announced it will spend $100 million to increse YouTube viewership. I would advise Google to take a close look at the chart again. If Google increased viewership by 300% would it make a difference?

The viewing landscape will eventually change .. but for the next decade I'll put my money on television as the most powerful marketing tool we have.

Click on the chart to enlarge it.


At first blush I believed the video clip from CBS’s Days of Our Lives to be a spoof for a Wanchai Ferry Chinese food product placement.

It is not.

Not a fan of daytime soaps, I was not aware of the solicitous intrusion into the daily lives of daytime soap followers. These product placements are becoming commonplace and frankly deserve no place in the realm of content. They are annoying, uncomfortable for the actors, provide no value to program content and are distracting.

Product placements have been around for quite some time but never to the extent driven by these examples. Understandably, they drive a strong revenue stream for the networks. In Latin America, product placements can account for up to 50% of the revenue produced by novellas.

What’s your take on these “placements”?

Follow this link for more examples.


Mountain View, CA (Reuters)

In a move that has the potential to rock and dislodge the underpinnings of the advertising community, Google announced a hostile takeover bid for holding company giant WPP.

With an enterprise value just shy of $11 billion Google is expected to pay up to a 60 percent premium for the firm raising the stock price to its 2000 high of $99 per share.

It is expected that Dr. Eric Schmidt, 56, recently sidelined as Google’s CEO will assume the CEO position at WPP as Sir Martin Sorrell, 66, who once described Google as a “frenemy”, takes the title of Executive Group Chairman.

Why would Google put its future at risk by assuming ownership of a major non-core business? Follow this link for a more in depth analysis:


A good friend of mine, JoAnn Valenti, passed along the video that follows. I wanted to share it with my readers as a glimpse into the possibilities the future holds for us.

The video was produced for Corning Glass by Doremus. Following six days of shooting late in 2010 it was first released at an investor meeting this past February.

It has since generated over 10 million views.
Enjoy the video, underscored with the international language of music.

Kudos to Doremus.

Creative Director: Michael Litchfield

Film Maker: Dave Mackie

Camera Lead: Norman Bonney

Executive Producer: Todd Lindo


The headline is a quote borrowed from Oscar Wilde. In the context of this blog post it reflects on the often misguided and mass movement of special interest and demographic groups to tilt the needle on the sanity scale towards hysteria.... and that's not good.

Let me explain.

As marketers we believe our job is to inform the consuming public about a product or a service and to make a sale. We are charged with listening to them in order to understand their needs and then fill those needs as best we can. If we are smart marketers, we seek to connect and stay connected. Again .... make the sale, and then another.

We would like to believe we accomplish this is spades. We do not. We are not even close.

To a large (very large) degree we somehow managed to shift away from filling a need, moving instead towards creating a need. Some might call these creations fads. Others grasp them and market the hell out of them only to eventually concede to the definition of fad or phase or meme.

As the fad becomes "popular" and is collectively followed by an enthusiastic population, driven by emotional excitement and often peer pressure, it eventually succumbs as a faded novelty.

Social interaction, now defined and monitored as social "media", is a trend that has been tracking time over centuries. The Agora was a marketplace that encouraged social interaction and in some manner is believed to exists today in the form of Myspace, Twitter, Facebook or China's RenRen.

It is not.

These channels, or open air markets, are simply fads that have not yet recognized the true dynamics of a social marketplace. MySpace failed. AOL is gasping. Twitter struggles to find a workable model and Facebook may soon be approaching a privacy tipping point that forces a reversal of growth.

The market channels that will survive the test of time, innovating as they move forward, are best defined by Apple, Microsoft and Google ... companies that create lasting trends ... not fads.

Let's not be marketers consumed by the emotionally young chatter that disguises itself as "the future". That market represents a disproportionately small segment of consumer spending today. And I promise you that their behavior and attitudes will change as they mature.




Can AOL be fixed or is it time for the company execs to fold the tent and go AWOL?

As an outside observer, internal memos and external "off the record" quips seem to position the company as one grasping at straws, exasperated by bad, very bad, ad sales and earnings.
Tim Armstrong, AOL's CEO, wants to turn the company around with a manifesto of "wants" that reads like a child's tantrum.

This link to SAI's Business Insider puts it all into perspective with a peek into the AOL Master Plan.

The most recent broadside follows with a chart that illustrates how bad display sales really are.

Click on the chart to enlarge it
Where AOL goes from here remains to be seen. It is hard to argue, however, that this once high flying media company will survive in its current form.