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Category Archives: Digital

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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

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

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

Trustworthy Accountability Group Addresses Critical Challenges Facing Digital Advertising

Posted in Digital, Privacy, Trust, Trust and Advertising

Just over a year ago, three of the leading advertising trade organizations – IAB, ANA, and 4A’s – formed the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) to address several critical challenges affecting digital advertising, including fraud, piracy, malware, and lack of transparency. These issues not only cost the U.S. digital advertising ecosystem an estimated $8.2 billion annually, but also erode consumer confidence in advertisers generally – and the brands they represent.

TAG has grown exponentially since its inception, attracting cross-industry participation and support from the world’s largest advertisers, agencies, publishers, and ad-tech companies. Its board of directors includes executives from Facebook, Google, IPG Mediabrands, JCPenney, McDonald’s, Mondelez, Motorola, NBCUniversal, Omnicom, P&G, Publicis, Unilever, and WPP.

All of TAG’s programs drive collective accountability … 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

How Compelling Content Helps Shape Online Reputation

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Technology, Trust

You’re only as good as your first page of Google search results. That’s the reality of today’s business environment. Keeping a company’s online reputation as pristine as possible is a baseline for any sophisticated marketing strategy.

Need proof? The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2015 found that Internet search engines are now the most trusted source of news and general information. When surveyed, 72% of online users said they trusted search engine results, a statistic that’s up 8% from 2014. Put another way, nearly three quarters of potential customers searching a company’s name will likely trust what Google returns on that first page. Glowing results will drive sales. Negative results will not.

One of the best ways to control what shows … 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

If You’re Just Hearing About Multiplatform Publishing, It May Already Be Too Late

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Media

Have you heard of Digital Darwinism?

You can probably wager a guess at what it means. As it relates to multiplatform publishing, it holds that the brands that can’t adapt will not survive this content revolution. More specifically, brands that don’t seek to reach customers everywhere, and in real time, will be left in their competitors’ digital dust.

TV, print, radio, social, mobile, outdoor – the list goes on. Multi-channel marketing is not new. But the strategy of building and embracing an ecosystem of channels targeting a number of devices is becoming more of a “must” than a “should.” Sure, part of it depends on your industry. Media companies such as ESPN and Vice Media are leaps and bounds above … 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

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

Part 2: FTC Updates its Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Endorsement Guides

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Social Media

As I mentioned last week, I will be continuing to discuss the FTC’s updated answers to its FAQs. This week, Advertising, Marketing & Promotions Partner Allison Fitzpatrick and I will focus on influencers and ambassadors, celebrity endorsements, and social media and promotions. Stay tuned for our last post in the series on online reviews, employee endorsements, monitoring.


Influencers and Ambassadors

In response to whether the Guides applied to influencers and ambassadors who are hired to promote a product or business on social media outside of their work hours, the FTC cautioned that these influencers and ambassadors have a financial connection to the company that hired them, and that relationship exists whether or not they are being paid for a … Continue Reading

A David in the Land of Agency Goliaths

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

Sometimes it seems like the advertising industry is nothing but a land of Goliath’s – Goliath’s that are bent on marrying or eating one another.

David Angelo launched the David&Goliath agency in 1999, he and his agency have had enormous success by “thinking like David,” being nimble, resourceful, creative and brave – and fiercely independent. I’d also add “slyly funny” to that list of descriptors. David&Goliath’s Super Bowl spot for the Kia Sorento poked fun at over-the-top Super Bowl ads by having former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan dodge owls and a moose on a snowy mountain road. AdWeek’s Tim Nudd listed it among his five favorite ads of Super Bowl XLIX. David&Goliath’s spot for last year’s Super Bowl – … Continue Reading

Dos Equis is Bucking Beer Trends by Going Mobile

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Mobile

These are challenging times for major beer makers. Beer sales in the United States have fallen by about 4% since 2008, with the biggest declines being experienced by some of the largest brands. Bud, Miller High Life and Miller Lite have lost a quarter of their sales volume. Some might chalk this up to the encroachment of craft brewers, but while sales of craft beers have grown by roughly 80%, they still represent only 7.6% of beer sales nationwide. A recent article in Forbes suggests that the real reason for the decline in major brand beers sales is that the Baby Boomers who drink them are drinking less as they age, and millennials, partly because the major beer brands have … Continue Reading

A Look at the European Advertising Landscape

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

Even if (or maybe because) your last exposure to European advertising was a heavy metal cough drop commercial from Finland, you may be wondering how things are going over there across the pond. In general, I think the answer is, “Things could be better, but they were a lot worse.”

Ad spending is a kind of economic indicator. When a business, or a sector, or an entire economy heads south, ad spending is one of the first things to get cut. The European Union (EU) has been slower out of the Great Recession than the United States and ad spending didn’t return to growth until 2013, and even then it only grew by only 2.3% in 2014, according to a … Continue Reading

Advertising Week – Lights, Camera, and Action

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

It’s hard to overstate what a “thing” Advertising Week has become. Since it was launched in 2004 by the late Ken Kaess, then chairman of the 4As, Matt Scheckner, and a team that included Burtch Drake, Ron Berger, and Mike Donahue, the conference of advertisers and advertising professionals now comprises more than two hundred and fifty events and more than one hundred and ninety seminars and workshops over four days. This year’s attendance is expected to exceed 90,000 people.

And talk about spanning generations, last year, in addition to a parade and Advertising Week reps opening the trading day on the floor of the NASDAQ, the conference featured presentations as diverse as Sabrina Calouri, ‎Vice President of Digital & Social … Continue Reading

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the CEO & CCO at StrawberryFrog

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Direct Marketing, Marketing

For the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, 360i, and R/GA.

For my final post, I turn to StrawberryFrog – a New York City Advertising Agency – to get their thoughts. Drum roll, please…

In my final post regarding the “State of the Creative,” I sat down with StrawberryFrog to discuss the state of the creative today with the agency’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Goodson and Chief Creative Officer, Kevin McKeon.


QIn this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives? AScott: Well, there are new possibilities for creatives today compared to when I founded StrawberryFrog in… Continue Reading

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at R/GA

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing


So far in the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, and 360i. This week we continue to examine what it means to be a creative in today’s world…



I sat down with Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer at R/GA, to discuss the state of the creative today.


QIn this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives? AThe biggest change has been the growing complexity of media and the opportunities that this affords. QWhat does it mean to be a creative today? AIn our industry creative was once primarily about telling stories. Now that the media… Continue Reading

State of the Creative Series: Interview with the Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing, Media

As mentioned last week, we got to wondering, what does it mean to be a creative in today’s world? How many “legs” does an idea have to have when advertisers and marketers are targeting various demographics, each using multiple media devices and social media platforms? And does having all that data mean you or anyone else knows how to use it?

We posed these questions to Chief Creative Officers at some of the world’s leading ad agencies and will be posting their responses here over the next few weeks. Together, they should give us an interesting take on the state of advertising creative today.



I sat down with Josh Rose the Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick to … Continue Reading

Likeable Applies the Lessons of Social Media to Branding

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Media, Social Media

Marketers promote, entertain, celebrate, and explain. In other words, they talk. But Dave Kerpen, cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and founder and CEO of its sibling company, Likeable Local, believes that a different skill is needed in a media landscape increasingly driven by social media – listening.  And by listening, Kerpen means more than just using social media channels to respond to consumer questions and complaints.  He sees listening via social media as a means to tell stories and engender authentic conversations with and among consumers and to promote conversations that strengthen and reward brand loyalty.

In a lot of ways, it’s the next step in the evolution of branding. Branding started with the idea that companies and products … Continue Reading

Kroger Gets Its Fuel from Customer Rewards

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

Kroger has always been an innovator. It was the first store to combine meats and groceries under one roof, and the first grocery store to have its own bakery. Kroger pioneered the use of optical scanners in the checkout aisles and was one of the first grocery chains to open superstores, a move that has helped it weather competition from big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco. That drive to innovate has helped make Kroger the nation’s largest grocery chain and the second largest retailer in the country after Walmart.

But, what has really driven Kroger’s recent success is its commitment to the customer experience, and particularly how well it has applied its customer loyalty program. Kroger launched its … Continue Reading