Madison Ave Insights

Absolut Transformation: How Agencies Are Transforming to Serve a New Generation of Clients

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

Earlier this year, I had a revealing conversation with three transformers. I’m not talking about characters from a summer blockbuster, but instead senior marketing executives from three iconic brands: Absolut, GE, and Google

The subject of our discussion was the ways in which advertising agencies need to transform to serve a new generation of clients. (A subject they know well, since they are driving that transformation.) Today, we get to hear more from: Afdhel Aziz, Global Brand Director for Absolut.

Absolut, always a marketing pioneer, has created something innovative with the latest project that Afdhel is leading, Absolut Labs. Described as a “marketing innovation lab,” Absolut Labs put the brand at the heart of the nightlife scene, facilitating connections among … Continue Reading

iHeartMedia Gets in Tune with Targeted Advertising

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

When listeners turn on the radio these days—terrestrial, digital, or satellite—they can tune in to precisely the content they want to hear: country music, sports talk, alt rock, or whatever their tastes call for. What if radio worked the same way for advertisers? That is, what if brands could serve their messages to precisely the audiences they wanted to reach? Punk rockers, workout warriors, or commuters with a taste for political talk. Through advances in technology and data collection, we’re starting to find out.

The nation’s biggest radio and streaming services have been busy building out technology that allows advertisers to target audiences based on their musical tastes. Few pieces of data give advertisers greater insight into a consumer than … Continue Reading

FTC to Hold Disclosure Effectiveness Workshop

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last month announced the agenda for its workshop “Putting Disclosures to the Test,” (Workshop) planned to take place on September 15 in Washington, DC.  The Workshop will focus on testing and evaluation of disclosures in both digital and traditional media.

Last summer, we noted that disclosures, especially for endorsements and testimonials,  were coming onto the FTC’s radar and would likely see heightened enforcement. Since then, the FTC has increased its scrutiny of advertising and privacy practices where it believes marketers are not adequately disclosing key details to consumers.  For example, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in July settled the FTC’s charges that it instructed paid social media influencers of the video game … Continue Reading

Trust as Currency in the Digital Age

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Mobile, Privacy

I had the great pleasure of moderating a panel at AdWeek Europe on the issue of trust earlier this year. The session was titled “Trust: Digital’s New Currency,” and there was broad agreement on the panel—which included among others the CEO of Clear Channel UK, the European Editor of Newsweek, and Phil Stokes, partner, Entertainment & Media Industry, PwC EMEA—that in today’s environment, trust is a valuable currency indeed.

It always has been. Before consumers act on an advertising or marketing message, after all, they need to trust it. In the digital age, however, it seems that consumer trust is under threat from more sources than ever before. If consumers aren’t knowledgeable and wary of digital scams, they can soon … Continue Reading

When to Take an Agency Global?

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

Today’s agencies are expanding more quickly and aggressively into new jurisdictions than ever before. That isn’t a project to take lightly.

Advances in technology and the globalization of business have facilitated the process of international expansion to some extent, but the fact is that great regional differences remain: in business cultures, regulatory environments, and more.

All of which makes the question of when to pull the trigger on taking an agency abroad a difficult one—challenging enough, in fact, to make an executive wish they had a crystal ball.

How I See It Business is global today, and for many firms it is imperative to serve clients from many global locations. But expanding for expansion’s sake alone is not a path… Continue Reading

Trust is the New Advertising Disruptor

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Privacy, Technology, Trust, Trust and Advertising

Developing — and keeping — trust has never been more important for advertisers. With consumers being bombarded by a dizzying variety of messages and choices, trustworthiness has emerged as an important differentiator between brands.

In other words, as Richard Eyre, CBE, chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) would put it, trust is now a key disruptor for advertising. At the 2014 IAB Engage conference, Eyre told advertisers that trust is their most important tool for relating to customers. The main job for today’s brands and agencies, he said, is to secure trust — and hold onto it.

As for what kinds of advertising consumers trust, online seems to be winning out over more traditional formats, though … Continue Reading

Advertising Claim Substantiation: 5 out of 5 Readers Will Love this Article

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

20,679 physicians say Lucky Strike [cigarettes] are less irritating. It’s hard to imagine that a claim from a 1930s Lucky Strike ad survived today’s regulatory and class-action environment. Someone would take a shot at the ad: a competitor brand, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), or consumers.

But maybe we haven’t evolved all that much. Here is another number: advertising claim substantiation fails nearly three out of four times. This one is true. Looking at 68 consumer perception surveys deployed by brands and their challengers from 2006 to 2011, 71% were deemed unreliable by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which offers alternative dispute resolution for advertisers.

The FTC advertising standard, which dates back to … Continue Reading

Trust in Advertising: The Buyer’s Perspective

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Technology

Digital media has opened up exciting new worlds for the advertising industry. It has given advertisers the ability to reach audiences in new places, on new devices, in more engaging ways, and in more targeted fashion than ever before. No doubt about it: these are all good things.

But the advent of digital media has also given the industry a whole new set of concerns about trust. This is a topic I’ve been talking about a lot lately, and for good reason. The advertising industry simply isn’t viable without trust. To begin with, consumers must be able to trust the content of advertisements they read, see, and hear. This is the “trust” issue that advertising lawyers like myself have traditionally … Continue Reading

Lessons Learned & Practical Advice: Many Challenges and Big Changes for the NAD

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Regulatory

As mentioned in my last post, over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you a few articles I co-authored that were included in our Lessons Learned/Practical Advice publication. (To read the full publication, click here.)   Each article suggests steps that marketers and agencies may take to decrease risks and help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

This week I will share my article on the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (the NAD) that I co-authored with Davis & Gilbert Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner, Aaron Taylor.


2015 was another eventful year for the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (the NAD). Fifty-six competitor challenges were … Continue Reading

Lessons Learned & Practical Tips: Green Marketing Still Needs Support

Posted in Advertising, Environmental, Marketing

The marketing communications industry experienced a number of important changes in 2015. In the third edition of our Lessons Learned/Practical Advice publication, lawyers from Davis & Gilbert explore the key regulatory developments, statutory changes, and court decisions in numerous areas such as children’s advertising, entertainment, social media, trademark, and data security. To read the full publication, click here.  In addition, each article suggests steps that marketers and agencies may take to decrease risks and help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you a few articles I co-authored. I am kicking off this series with my article on green marketing that I co-authored with Davis & Gilbert Advertising, Marketing … Continue Reading