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Category Archives: Advertising

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What is the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council Dealing with in 2016?

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Regulatory

There aren’t a lot of rules on the Internet. The World Wide Web is a wild west environment where the standard rules regarding sales tax, privacy, and decorum don’t apply. All of which makes it seem like a strange place for self-regulation. And yet, that’s the mission of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, the industry body that regulates advertising not only on traditional media such as print, TV, and radio, but also online.

Given how quickly advertising has expanded on Internet sites and social media, that’s not just a tricky job—it’s a very big one. This year, the Commissioner of the Federal Trade Association delivered a keynote at a summit hosted by one of ASRC’s constituent organizations (the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation … Continue Reading

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

Digital Media and Trust

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Privacy

When it comes to trust and digital media, it’s an understatement to suggest that it cuts both ways. It’s more accurate to state that it slices and dices as many ways as a kitchen appliance from an infomercial.

On one hand, it appears to be easier than ever to assess trustworthiness across the digital landscape. We can vet product recommendations from Amazon, pull factoids from Wikipedia, and even gage credibility based on search engine rankings.

But on the other hand, what we see on digital media already reflects some prior manipulation or steering of products, or information. Or we may be seeing products and services that can’t even be sold. For example last year, Google banned 14,000 advertisers for hawking … Continue Reading

The Whirlpool Effect: Emotional Ads Boost Sales

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Social Media

Buying is an emotional act. Science bears this out. Functional MRI scans, in fact, show that people often rely on emotions rather than information when evaluating brands. Other studies have found that the emotions triggered by an ad influence a potential customer’s intent to buy far more than the actual content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials.

A perfect case study for this is Whirlpool’s “Every day, care” campaign. In addition to being a solid example of the power of visual storytelling, the campaign’s television ads focus on the small, everyday acts of kindness that often go unnoticed, but have remarkable impact. The spots evoke strong emotions, and maybe even a few sniffly tears. Whirlpool has also … Continue Reading

New York Cracks Down on Advertising’s Bad Apples

Posted in Advertising, Direct Marketing, Legislation, Marketing

“Advertising and marketing cannot be used as a tool to confuse and endanger New York consumers.” – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, April 2015

When you think about police work in the city of New York, you’re likely to think about officers patrolling the streets – not the billboards above it.  The fact is, however, that just as the city works to prevent violent crime, it also devotes law enforcement resources to ensuring that advertising and marketing in the city is not deceptive or otherwise in violation of the law.

The quote above, direct from the New York Attorney General, is proof of just how high that commitment reaches.  It comes from an announcement this spring of lawsuits the … Continue Reading

Women’s Active Wear Market Grows Inside Out

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

Two decades ago, Jerry Seinfeld famously said to best friend and self-proclaimed schlep George Costanza: “You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.’”

But fashion designers didn’t give up. Fast forward to 2015, and active wear —whether for activity or leisure— has been reinvented. Active wear is no longer an afterthought. It’s much more than a stitch niche; in fact, it’s become one of the fastest growing fashion segments. According to market research company NDP Group, active wear drove an eight percent increase in women’s apparel from 2013 to 2014.

One of the … Continue Reading

It’s in the Bag: The Shopper Marketing Evolution

Posted in Advertising, Direct Marketing, Marketing

Once upon a time, newspaper circulars and static-filled messages broadcast over store speaker systems represented the cutting edge of shopper marketing. You had to think and decide for yourself what to buy and where to buy it. Those days are long gone.

Today shopper marketing happens in real time, across multiple marketing channels, and it’s always lurking around the corner. Shoppers are in the crosshairs whether they’re being hit by a retargeting banner ad after leaving an e-commerce site or pinged by a geo-located push notification on their mobile phone as they walk by a favorite shop with a clearance sale happening.

The heartbeat of today’s shopper marketing is what is called “programmatic advertising.” At a high-level, this tactic involves … Continue Reading

The Martin Agency Reveals the Model for Consistent Creative Work

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

In the advertising world, perhaps not even “Mad Men” is as consistently entertaining as The Martin Agency. Known for steady and creative execution of Fortune 500 accounts, Martin helped bring GEICO out of the stone age (or into it, rather) with its caveman campaigns, and re-energized Walmart’s image with a clean and modern approach.

Named as the 2009 Agency of the Year by Adweek, The Martin Agency may be headquartered south of the Mason-Dixon Line in Richmond, Virginia, but it’s not considered a Madison Avenue outlier or scrappy underdog in terms of its work or talent. (The agency has offices in New York and London, too.) It’s a top-flight outfit that’s fueled its success with strong leadership and even a … Continue Reading

Disruption in Marketing & Advertising: Engaging & Influencing Customers Online

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Mobile

As mentioned, at BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. I now will share with you the final installment of the series…

How do brands engage consumers in ways directly relevant to the target audience?  The answer may be Shopper Marketing – more appropriately dubbed as “Omnichannel Marketing.”  These marketing tactics are about engaging and influencing customers on their path to purchase.  They are about driving consumer engagement using content, technology, data and insights, together with promotions, branded campaigns and social interaction.  It’s about delivering the right products, in the right environment, in ways that are relevant and effective today.

Shopper marketing is heavily dependent on information and data.  How do marketers … Continue Reading

Disruption in Marketing & Advertising: Trust in Digital Media

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Media

As mentioned, at BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. Today I will share with you the second installment of this three-part series…

One of the biggest issues facing advertisers, marketers and agencies today is the concept of “Trust.”  Not “Trust” in the context that advertising lawyers usually consider – the truth and falsity of advertising claims.  Rather, the issue is “Trust” as it relates to digital media.  And this issue relates to brands as well as media buying agencies.  Digital media is an integral part of all marketing and promotion today, and marketers and their agencies are part of that process and have responsibility for it – and may even have … Continue Reading

Disruption in Marketing & Advertising: Staying on Top of the Evolving Legal Landscape

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

This week, leading lawyers, regulators and marketers attended the 37th Annual Brand Activation Association (BAA) Marketing Law Conference in Chicago. At BAA I gave a presentation on how disruption is permeating advertising, media, and marketing today. Over the next few days, I will share with you three video clips from my presentation. Let’s dive into the first one…

The lines between advertising agencies, digital agencies and even product development shops are blurring.  We are seeing the rise of “brand activation agencies” that use shopper technologies, experiential marketing and targeted promotions to create products and foster consumer engagements.  Just like the four innovators in the video, marketers and agencies are becoming agents of disruption.  These companies are changing the way we … Continue Reading

Thoughts on Trust in Advertising …

Posted in Advertising, Trust

Once again, Advertising Week has come and gone. And once again, I was thrilled to be part a special event for our industry. It’s not often that you can get famous statistician Nate Silver, Olympian Lolo Jones, and musician Bootsy Collins under a single tent, but they were all there at Ad Week along with the biggest executive names adding to a vigorous exchange of ideas about the future of advertising.

I had the pleasure of kicking off the “Trust Forum” presented by OpenX.  As the program materials noted, “Advertising and trust have always had a challenging and somewhat tortured relationship.” It’s a statement that feels more true now than ever before as advertising is becoming more deeply … Continue Reading

How Dan’s Papers Have Helped Shape “The Hamptons” Brand

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time in the 1970s when residents of the Hamptons felt that the area could use some publicity.  Enter Dan Rattiner, founder of Dan’s Papers, a weekly lifestyle publication covering the Hamptons with a whimsical voice that isn’t afraid to have a little fun.  Miffed that the Hamptons, the setting of the novel Jaws, had been replaced in the movie by Martha’s Vineyard, Dan put an attention-grabbing hoax on the front page of one of his weekly papers, the East Hampton Summer Sun.  He ran an open letter from the Chief of Police, urging donations to a “raw meat drive” that would help satisfy a shark that was currently eating … Continue Reading

Part 3: FTC Updates Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Endorsement Guides

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Promotions

As you know, over the past few weeks, Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner Allison Fitzpatrick and I have been discussing the FTC’s updated answers to its FAQs. The following topics will conclude this series: online reviews, employee endorsements, and monitoring.

Online Reviews: According to the FTC, a retail website that includes customer reviews of the products and encourages honest reviews of its products, regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative, should disclose which reviews were made in connection to free products. Knowing that reviewers received the product they reviewed for free would likely affect the weight the audience gave to the reviews, even if the retailer did not intend for that to happen. In addition, reviewers could fear … Continue Reading