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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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