3D Printing, or Additive Manufacturing, is on the leading edge of a massive revolution in manufacturing and distribution on a global scale.  The "cloud" that follows will provide a continuous update on news and events surrounding this disruptive technology.


We are sitting on the brink of a new and huge industrial revolution that has been slowly gaining momentum over the last 25 years.
Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing, has crept along as the technology that drives it moved from a primitive stage to a more sophisticated base.
The potential applications to manufacturing, medicine, media, hobbyists and yes marketing are mind-bending.
The use of 3D printing takes virtual designs from computer aided design and transforms them into thin, virtual, horizontal cross-sections and then creates successive layers until the model is complete. It is a process where the virtual model and the physical model are almost identical.
Think like The Jetson’s.  The 1962 animated sit-com family popped a couple of buttons on what looked like today’s microwave oven and presto! the item they ordered appeared.  The reality of that futuristic animation has come to roost on our doorstep.
A personal 3D Printer can be had today for as little as $400 in kit form. More professional models start at about $1600.  Even Amazon sells them!
Today’s 3D printers have “printed” guitars, model planes with a 6 foot wingspan, human organs for clinical trials and are currently producing parts for jet fighters.  Limited only by our imagination, as these printers become more sophisticated and as common as a TV set in our home, you can bet that distribution and delivery channels will go through enormous upheaval.
Be prepared.  Everything in manufacturing will change as we know it today.
While the impact on marketing has yet to be determined, imagine the distribution of sampling through this new channel.
 That new toy for your child is only a few buttons away. Order the Computer Animated Design (CAD) specs for that toy online, download it to your 3D Printer and wait a few minutes.  Need a replacement part for a broken taillight on a classic 1957 Chevy?  Print it!
Investments in 3D Printing companies today will become the equivalent of Microsoft, Apple, IBM, etc. when they emerged as new businesses.
In 1439 the Gutenberg Press laid the basis for today’s knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.  The 3D Printer is the disrupter that will revolutionize global economies through access to a world of product needs.  This will especially be the case for third world countries representing huge growth markets.
If you would like to explore the potential for 3D Printing as it relates to our marketing landscape, feel free to reach out to me at


I can't recall the last time I caught a Starbucks commercial but am not surprised I missed this one as it aired in the UK earlier in the year.  It's worth one minute of your time.  Thanks to Jack Dorsey for bringing it to my attention via Twitter @Jack.


I could not resist the opportunity to copy and paste this post from Bob Hoffman's Ad Contrartian blog.

Facebook has decided that it no longer wants to be in the business of selling clicks. Instead it wants to be in the business of selling reach and frequency, just like the grown-ups.

Of course, this is a cruel joke because reach and frequency mean nothing if the ads are invisible, which they are on Facebook.

This bar chart (to actual scale) does a pretty good job of explaining why they'd rather sell reach and frequency than clicks.

(C) 2012, The Ad Contrarian

For every 10,000 ads they deliver, Facebook gets 5 clicks. What would you want to sell?


One of the remarkable things about technology is the accelerated rate of change that impacts the devices we communicate with. 
For those that remember what a mimeograph machine is and how quickly it was replaced by a variety of ensuing devices leading up to laser and 3D printers, I hope the following journey will provide a nostalgic respite from the ever-so-fast moving world we live in.
Mimeograph replaced by laser and 3D printers
Rotary phone replaced by the iPhone
Typewriter replaced by Microsoft Word
Transistor pocket radio replaced by the iPod
Car phones replaced by hands free bluetooth smartphones
Telephone operator replaced by Siri
Wang Word Processor replaced by laptops
Monroe calculator replaced by solar calculators
Telegram replaced by ... STOP! Available thru American Telegram! 


Many pieces make up the whole.

There is much buzz concerning Microsoft's intentions when it announced that IE10 would default to a Do Not Track option for advertising.  What that would do to its ad business (and that of advertiser's ability to target ads) is a concern for many marketers.

Who benefits from such a move? 

It appears that  Microsoft, if it indeed is exiting the ad business, as might also be reflected in its shrinking business staff, is looking to ultimately move users away from Google Chrome, and its tracking default, to a "friendlier" Do Not Track platform.

But let's look under the covers.

What would Microsoft do with its ad business?  The recent announcement by Yahoo's Marissa Mayer to rethink the use of cash from its Alibaba deal (about $7 Billion) leads me to assume a bigger deal is at hand. 

Reverse engineering the merger between Yahoo and Bing, Yahoo could use the cash to buy out the Microsoft ad business, bolstering display and, more importantly Search.  Given Marissa's oversight of Search while at Google, it's not a far fetched scenario.

What do you think?


Social Media fans watch and take note.  How the 2012 Olympics will use social media to increase ratings.  Be very, very worried.

Serious or a spoof?
In either case, still very worrisome.


The CTR topic has been debated for at least ten years.  For a while CTRs were an accepted standard for the measurement of success … primarily for banner/display ads and often spilling over borders into paid search.

When it comes to performance measurement, however, the devil is in the details.  There is nothing wrong with CTRs as a success metric … particularly in the paid search landscape.

Following years of declining returns, the average CTR of 3% in the 1990s fell to 0.1%-0.3% by 2011. This decline can be attributed in part to abuse (click-fraud), sub-standard measurement practices by ad servers and conditioned rejection of annoying ad platforms….banner blindness.

Enter the digerati with flailing arms to explain away this horrendous cliff dive.  CTRs don’t count anymore!

Really?  An easy trap to fall into!

Admittedly, click to conversion as a sales measure is a terrific metric.  But it’s the first click that gets the customer to the front door.  Ad copy, placement and targeting contribute to the value of the customer at the front door…. all critical to the end result (the sale). But at that point factors not necessarily under the control of the impression delivery mechanism come into critical play.

Welcome to my abused home.
As the customer crosses over the transom from SEM to SEO it becomes the responsibility of the site owner to close the sale.  If the site isn’t optimized to close a sale is that the fault of the SEM platform that delivered the customer?  We often confuse, and more often combine, SEM and SEO performance to spoil the value of CTRs as a metric.  While these disciplines can work together they can also work against each other, one tearing down the other.

One obvious solution is to keep them separate. Laser focus on delivering better customers or closing the sale.  Attempting to do both under the guise of a 360 degree solution has taken down more than a couple of SEM/SEO providers over the years.


A recent internal staff memo from the food editor at should outrage management at the popular women's destination site.
Here's the damning excerpt from the memo ...

"We have a LOT of sponsorships going live across all channels and sites from now until basically forever, but the big ones for food are coming in June and July. The bad news is, our click-through rates are not as great as our impressions (which is not your fault). But we can help everyone out a bit if we get in the habit of clicking on any ads you see alongside your articles, on the site, in your section, ANYWHERE. Our advertisers are the reason we all have paychecks each month so it’s important that they’re happy. Literally all you have to do is click on the ad – you don’t have to stay on their site for a certain amount of time and don’t have to buy a thing. Just click! Click 100 times if you want to!"



On June 12 2012, a veteran of the media buying world, Norman King (86), passed away.  Norman was the father of the first independent media buying service, having founded U.S. Media some 42 years ago.

Norman King upset the agency apple cart, dragging away media buying and upending the traditional agency commission structure forever.

On April 15, 1970, at the annual Television meeting of the Association of National Advertisers, Norman told what it was going to be like from that day on.  A 1992 tribute to Norman by Erwin Ephron, a legend in his own right, can be found here, a link to "Ephron on Media", where the story of Norman's meeting with the ANA is told.

Norman leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Barbara, son Laurence, grandchildren Allison, Daniel and Nicholas, and The Friars Club where he was a fixture for as long as they can remember.

You did good, Norman.


One hundred eight years ago on June 15, 1904, the General Slocum caught fire and sank in New York's East River.

At the time of the accident she was on a chartered run carrying members of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (German Americans from Little Germany in Manhattan) to a church picnic.

An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died. The General Slocum disaster was the New York area's worst disaster in terms of loss of life until the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

For a more detailed account of the disaster you can go here (Wikipedia).

What You Should Know About Social Media

Stay away.  As the current barbs about Facebook’s IPO fly and as GroupOn takes a dive with its stock closing in on single digits, the Social Media helium craze is drifting further away from the accountable reality of advertising performance.

Tech stars Google and Apple haven’t escaped the hammering of late by the pundits that are blinded by the hope of social media or even mobile media.
They are all wrong.
The reality check that follows tracks the opening price for the above mentioned companies and the Dow Jones and NASDAQ averages.  It may not be a precise measure, but it points out the underlying value placed on these firms by analysts and the public at large.
Since the opening stock price on May 18th (the first trading day for Facebook) and the closing price on May 30th the result that follows sends a strong signal and a vote for value creation vs. value deterioration.
Apple: up 8.5%
Google: down 5.9%
Facebook: down 33.0%
GroupOn: down 11.1%
Dow Jones: down 1.9%
NASDAQ: up 0.8%

While the averages remain relatively unchanged, Google tries to keep pace while the pure play social media darlings are clobbered.  The clear winner in this “race” … Apple.


As we begin to assess the upfront TV market we are watchful of the new entries at the kiddie table .... online video networks.  Notwithstanding the embarrassment of a $30,000 Mustang give-away (AOL's grandstanding) we nee to keep things in perspective.

The video that follows was produced by none other than Bob Hoffman (Hoffman Lewis Advertising) and says it better than I can. 

Watch and learn. Sources credited here.


GroupOn backers Eric Lefkosky and Brad Keywell, with investments in a host of companies, most notable among them in our world, Media Ocean, have much to explain concerning the financial chess game at GroupOn.

What follows is a recent piece by Chris Nemey, at IT World, on GroupOn’s state of affairs which have since driven the stock price to a new low of $12.58 as of this writing.

As for Media Ocean, a merged entity between Donovan Data and Mediabank, I cannot help but wonder if whatever financial games going on at GroupOn could trickle down to the “Ocean” as Mediabank takes firm management hold.

“Just days after Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) had to make yet another revision to its finances, just days after the daily-deals site settled an $8.5 million combined lawsuit regarding illegal coupon expiration dates, just days after the Chicago firm was hit with a shareholder lawsuit accusing it of misleading investors, and just days after it was announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission was again investigating Groupon, the company's stock continues to attract buyers.

Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

Groupon's stock is now selling for less than half its IPO, and I'll tell you right now it's never going to climb above $30 again. The company continues to lose a ton of money, and it essentially has no internal controls.

But you'd think people jumping on board now would know better. Hey, new Groupon investors, I hear Bernie Madoff's starting a new investment business from prison. Get in on the bottom floor!

Maybe they think they're getting some kind of bargain because Groupon hit a new low of 14.01 early Thursday (shares were at 14.35 in the early afternoon). Well, if it's lows they're looking for, they should be more patient because more new ones are coming.

However, they'd be better off being smart than patient. Here's the thing, investors: Whether it's due to incompetence or something far worse, Groupon has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that it can't be trusted.

Investors aren't supposed to sink money into something they don't trust. That's what casinos are for.”

Disclosure: I am short GroupOn


It's not a game any more.

From an article last week in The Wall Street Journal ...

"Some of the most widely used apps on Facebook—the games, quizzes and sharing services that define the social-networking site and give it such appeal—are gathering volumes of personal information.

A Wall Street Journal examination of 100 of the most popular Facebook apps found that some seek the email addresses, current location and sexual preference, among other details, not only of app users but also of their Facebook friends. One Yahoo service powered by Facebook requests access to a person's religious and political leanings as a condition for using it.

The popular Skype service for making online phone calls seeks the Facebook photos and birthdays of its users and their friends......a user's friends aren't notified if information about them is used by a friend's app.

An examination of the apps' activities also suggests that Facebook occasionally isn't enforcing its own rules on data privacy. "

With thanks to Bob Hoffman at Hoffman Lewis for pointing this out in his blog, The Ad Contrarian.


I just finished reading a report from Marketing Charts that was chock-a-block with percentage increases for paid mobile search. You can read the report here. But to save you the trouble, I counted 44 references to percentage changes ranging from a negative 26% to a whooping spending increase of 221% …. and not a single reference to a whole number.

I do remember from grade school that a 200% increase over the number one is still just 2.

In my opinion, Mobile Search and Social Search buzz amounts to nothing more than a pre-nascent grab at the cool straws that will keep marketing CMOs spending an inordinate amount of time and money on a less than zero-sum game….for now.

It is argued that those who use mobile search are not of the normal search variety. They are wanderers looking for a pizza shop or the nearest Starbucks. Or want the latest sports scores….that just might lead them to a sports bar.

Marketers pay attention: Paid Search dollars are most effectively placed to generate returns on a PC, laptop or mobile device (tablet) that will mimic the former. Cell phones are simply not there yet, unless, of course, you’re drinking their Koolaid.

Until the mobile industry provides a standard and user friendly delivery system, let’s take the lipstick off the mobile pig and stick to simple paid search.

PS….I resent the idea that a tablet (iPad) is called a mobile device. Mobile always referred to cell phones. A tablet is a wireless (not phone) device that is transportable with a more appealing internet interface. When these two devices converge to form a more complete user experience, call me.


My Open Kimono's blog post on 8/15/2010 warned about the 3D craze as a trending and short lived fad. That prediction is now becoming reality.

The article linked here details the downturn in feature 3D films, suggesting it was a fading fad as it was in the 1950s. Yes Virginia, history always repeats itself!

While the Guardian article focuses on films, it fails to extend the story to 3D TV. This is a huge warning sign for the set manufacturers the likes of SONY, Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Vizio, etc. that sunk billions into the 3D craze. It's so over.

Advice to the CEOs who signed off on the manufacturing folly .... cut your losses. The only potential for 3D remains with gamers.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Sit back and relax. The next three and one half minutes will mesmerize you.

The dreamlike fantasy should be high on the list for a Clio. Reluctant to tag this as a commercial, let's label it a film short. The film took 2 years to compose with the help of 50+ designers and professionals.


Client: Cartier

International Communication Director: Corinne Delattre

Agency: Marcel

Partner and Brands directors: Charles Georges-Picot, Benoît Candelle, Emilie De Saint-Martin et Benoît Jehan

Creative Directors: Sébastien Vacherot, Emmanuel Lalleve et Florent Imbert

Creative: Emmanuel Lalleve, Seyrane Boulekache

Director: Bruno Aveillan

Production: Quad

Music: Pierre Adenot

Panther tamer: Thierry Le Portier.


Neil Sedaka first recorded the song back in 1962. This hilarious spoof version by the group is a must see.
Enough said the video.


As we all wait for the iPad 3 (HD) to hit the streets in March, investors are watching as Apple stock (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to hit new high notes.
The price of Apple's stock closed near $536 today and will likely continue its upward swing as major investors take advantage of the frenzy and its momentum.
While the stock is pricey for the small investor it may be wise to take a position in the voice recognition technology that drives SIRI for the iPhone. Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN) is the company that drives that technology for Apple and a host of other companies. It's priced at about $27 a share and is a multi-billion dollar company in its own right.
Nuance is also rumored to be a potential acquisition target by Apple, IBM or Microsoft.
I tracked both Apple and Nuance stock for the last 5 years. The chart below reflects the almost parallel trajectory for both stocks, noting that Nuance (red) lags behind Apple movement by about a week.

Click to enlarge
Note: These are my own observations which may or may not be predictive of future stock prices. As a matter of record I maintain positions in both Apple and Nuance as of this writing.


Have we gone too far to trust the house of cards in whose hands we place our private lives?
Yesterday I was given to understand that banks are now scanning Facebook pages to qualify you for a loan. If they sense your activities through postings, comments and photos are questionable as a loan risk, you just might not get that loan or a great rate.

It is now standard practice for HR departments to do the same when applying for a job.

Unfortunately, what happens online stays online … forever. Online actions have consequences that can haunt from cradle to grave and beyond. The need to connect and share with “friends” is often so intense that it’s easy (especially for younger generations) to lose sight of what can become devastating consequences.

Cyber bullying has become all too common thanks to the Internet flaming and spreading hurtful posts faster than they can be stopped. The trend needs to be arrested before more kids follow in the footsteps of those we already lost.

The social networks have a responsibility to protect their user base on many levels. It’s unfortunate that the business of collecting our data (most often in circumventing ways) completely overshadows the need to protect us. Week after week we read that Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Verizon and others have overstepped privacy concerns in an effort to track our online movements and locations.

It will not stop. Data of every size, shape and form has become the currency of choice for all online services. The stakes are too high. Witness the current explosion of Big Data and Cloud computing companies chased by VCs like it was during the pre-bubble days. VCs are tripping over themselves to share the spoils.

In 1984, Big Brother was too far off to be a concern. Today, what we read in 1984 was child’s play.


It is often said that we can all learn much from children. Their naivety and wonder of the world that surrounds them can be contagious if we allow it.

The video that follows speaks volumes to the impact brand marketing has on the innocent.

I believe you'll enjoy it and begin to think a bit differently about your own world.


If you could put 1,130 people in a room for one full year working on a project of your choice for 8 hours a day, what could you accomplish?

Those man hours represent the time spent on Angry Birds games each day. That's the equivalent of 200 million minutes each day playing Angry Birds. The number has been increasing by 8-10 percent each year.

What does this say about our global culture and the rise of the Internet? I cannot find logic in the explosive and frivolous waste of time that masks itself as "entertainment". Are we so far gone that we have lost sight of what's important and what passes as useful?

Granted, there are ways children and adults can learn through game playing when focused on real-world problems. I encourage the resources that push the educational gaming envelope forward ....but Angry Birds? I would be surprised and welcome data that refutes an estimate that less than 3 percent of game hours spent are of an educational nature.

Do the math. In one week it is estimated that globally 3 billion hours are spent playing video games. THREE BILLION!

Who's playing? 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls are playing games these days. And don't be surprised by the number of executives caught in the web.


The holidays have come and gone and new year resolutions are on the agenda of millions. My own began on Christmas day when I resolved to quit Facebook. Easier said than done.

Finding the option to delete an account is a formidable task in and of itself. Trawling through settings and management options I finally (simply) typed "Cancel A Facebook Account" into Google's search engine. Results pointed to a direct link for deletion. Several clicks later I was done .... Or was I?

Advisory: STOP! Do Not Pass Go, No U-Turns!

While a de-activated account cannot be accessed by the public at large, it takes 14 days to delete the account entirely. If, during the 14 day "waiting" period you interact with Facebook, the account is automatically reactivated. The simple act of checking to make sure your account was deleted withing the 14 day period will reactivate it. Sneaky? Ya think?!

On January 8th I will be (should be) faceless. In the short period since December 25th I haven't missed one message, one update, one friend request or photo opp. What was it's purpose anyway?

Because it's my business to know what's happening in the digital world, I felt obligated to be part of it. What I finally realized was that all my news feeds keep me up to date without the need to maintain a Facebook account. Want to reach me? Send me a text. E-mail me. Pick up a phone. Write me a note.

I don't want Facebook to be my communication tool. Frankly I find the lazy and evasive, jibber-jabber attitude towards privacy a bit too corporate ... good for Facebook; not good for you.

The jury is also still out on the value of Facebook as a marketing tool for your business. Rushing like so many lemmings to the edge and over, into an abyss of corporate waste, is epic. There have been no real success stories that carry over into sustainable and profitable marketing efforts.

You can e-mail me at