April 30, 2010

Anyone Have The Daypart?

Thoughts Of The Week
Thanks to David Burn of AdPulp for my two favorite quotes of the week. (He didn't write 'em, he reported 'em)
"Decision makers in every business, from entrepreneurs to local business owners to executives at enterprise organization are learning to appreciate the prospectus of social media and its promise to materialize a brighter, more interactive and customer-focused future. Very few however, create the change necessary to support the establishment of new media programming and perhaps more significantly, do not endorse or lead the humanization of the company and its culture."
"If you check into work, then you leave work, you check into a bank and then you check into a store, that's a behavior that, in aggregate, we might use to transform the way we market to you in the offline world," Mr. Bough said. "We might see dayparts that are more likely for you to check out of some place and go to the store, and we might do advertising during that specific daypart in that specific place." 
Roger that.

By the way, I forgot my watch. Do you happen to have the daypart?

From The Grumpy Brit
"The dullards are gradually correcting the eccentricity out of us all." Read the whole thing here.

Report On Yesterday's Poll
Bloggers were the big winners in yesterday's Battle Of The B.S. Artists. As of closing time last night...
  • 61% of our readers thought that brand babblers and digi-drivelers were equally full of shit
  • 23% thought digi-drivelers were worse
  • 10% thought brand babblers were worse
  • 6% thought bloggers were worse
The Honourable Company of Bloggers thanks you.

So He's The Social Media Guy
If you're looking for a good reason to stick a knife in your head, this video* ought to do it. And -- just a thought -- if you're going to present yourself as a social media expert, you really ought to have more than 18 fans on your Facebook page.

*Thanks to Richard Scull for this

Complimentary adult beverage...
...for the first person who can find me in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review.

April 29, 2010

Battle Of The B.S. Artists

Okay Ad Contras, I have a question for you. Who's more full of it -- traditional advertising brand babblers, or new age digi-drivelers?

It's up to you to decide!

To prime the pump, I'm going to give you one example of each. First, a real sample of traditional ad baloney and then a real sample of new age web-blather.

Here's some nice traditional brand babble
"Brand Footprint utilizes sales, brand health and market data as the backbone, while the axis (sic) are based on the priorities for your brand. We aim to set business, social, brand and product performance benchmarks that are critical to the holistic performance of your brand."
And here's some lovely digi-drivel
"Once social objects are introduced into the wild, businesses are then challenged to ensure that these objects are supported by representatives who will spur conversations and reactions as well as implementing Social Media Optimization (SMO) techniques to ensure their "findability" when consumers are searching for relevant information.
Okay, are you finished gagging? Good. Now get to work.

Which type of bullshit drives you farther up the wall? Remember, you're not voting for these specific examples, you're voting for a genre. We'll report the findings shortly.

Note To Subscribers:
Earlier this week I changed the RSS feed from a short version to a complete version. For technical reasons I have had to return to the short version. C'mon, it's one more click. You can use the exercise.

April 28, 2010

Zealots, Maniacs, and Hustlers

I am frequently accused of being anti web marketing. I'm getting tired of responding to these accusations all the time, so I've decided that every few months I'm just going to re-publish this post from July 2009.

Here at The Ad Contrarian global headquarters, we've developed a reputation for being anti-digital media and pro-traditional media.

We are neither.

We have no personal interest in, or allegiance to, any medium. We're in favor of whatever works.

Our only purpose is to fight bullshit, hyperbole and words without meaning. We are against zealots, maniacs and hustlers of any stripe.

Yes, we are vociferous in denouncing people who tell us that
We would be equally vociferous in our denunciations if traditional media hustlers were saying that
  • digital marketing is dead
  • the web is dead
  • there is a new species of consumer who no longer share information about products
  • tv has “changed everything"
As a matter of fact, you will find that we have been just as voluble in our disdain for the "brand babbler" wing of traditional advertising as we are for cult members of The Divine Church of The Internet.

There are many smart, reasonable people working in digital media who do not make preposterous assertions; who do not think that social media is the answer to every question; who do not speak in dreadful, impenetrable jargon.

We respect and appreciate these people.

All we want to do is get our readers to understand:
  • the risks and rewards of all media investments
  • the difference between facts and “buzz”
  • that success stories (both digital and traditional) tend to find their way into print but failures get buried
  • that the “narrative” that has arisen about social media marketing is largely anecdotal and substantially fact-free.
We try not to be advocates of anything other than common sense. We try not to be enemies of anything other than bullshit.

Note To Subscribers:
Yesterday I changed my RSS feed from a short version to a complete version. For technical reasons I have had to return to the short version. C'mon. It's one more click. You can use the exercise.

April 27, 2010

Bean Counter B*st*rds

My friends, I'm afraid our colleagues don't respect us much anymore.

Sure, they give us fancy titles (Chief Marketing Officer, Worldwide Creative Director) but they don't really seem to take our titles very seriously. (Why can't they respect our titles? Don't they realize we're only going to have them for 18 months? What's the harm?)

Lately, they've been asking to "see the stuff" before it goes out. They say they'll "get back to us" on how the meeting went. They'll "have to see" if they have the money to fund our recommendations...

It didn't used to be this way. They used to pay close attention to what we said. They didn't dare give each other eye-rolls when we talked. Bean-counter bastards!

But that was back in the bad old days when we were nothing more than glorified salesmen. (The problem is, we were too damn good at selling  and they wanted to keep us doing it!)

Then we all agreed that selling wasn't what we were about. Selling is a crass, unpleasant thing that educated, artistically focused, technologically savvy people shouldn't have to bother with (we're better than that, dammit!)

So we re-invented ourselves. We're not like those greasy old Madison Avenue hucksters -- always looking for the silliest little differences among products to make a big fuss over...

We see things differently. We build communities. We build brands. We create engagement through the art of cultural conversations. We're not like those smarmy strivers always trying to foist something on consumers who couldn't talk back!

Things are different now. We attend international conferences and sometimes we're even on panels!

We have a vision of a new, brighter day for marketing. Where consumers are fully engaged. In this new digitally-enabled world we'll have a relationship with our customers. There'll be no need for "selling" or "advertising."

I don't understand why our colleagues can't see this. Why they're always going on about whether some idea will "sell anything."

Haven't we gotten beyond that?

April 26, 2010

An Open Letter To Email Marketers

Dear Email Marketer,

I realize that it's not very expensive for you to send me email solicitations. Nonetheless, it is a waste of time and energy for you, and a source of irritation to me.

Since we are both busy people, and since neither of us is profiting from this effort, I thought I'd send you a list of things that I am not interested in. So here we go -- you may feel free to discontinue sending me emails about:
1. Inexpensive designer watches. Or inexpensive designer anything, for that matter.
2. Immersing myself in luxury in your hotel.
3. Any conference that is about digital marketing, social media, or has a keynote speaker named Colin. 
4. Any webinar about anything at all. I don't really like the word webinar, so even if the email isn't about a webinar, please don't send me any emails that contain the word webinar.
5. Lists of any kind -- including, but not limited to, CMOs, advertising prospects, or opinion leaders.
6. Buying more frequent flier miles.
7. Enlarging my penis.
8. CRM software solutions
9. Retrieving money that was left to me by a long-lost relative.
10. Inflatable advertising.
11. A Marketer's Guide To... anything.
12. Meeting a lovely, but lonely, Russian girl.
Also, I cannot read either the Cyrillic alphabet or Chinese, so you can discontinue those emails, too.

I hope this helps you decide what to send me and what to stick in your ear.

April 23, 2010

Friday Follies

Fair Weather Fans
Starbucks has five times as many Facebook and Twitter fans as Dunkin' Donuts. What does it mean? Apparently not much. Dunkin' fans are 35% more likely to recommend the brand.*

Earthquakes Caused By Hotties
From Tuesday's New York Times
A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes. “Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes,” the cleric, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Mr. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday Prayer leader.
One can only imagine the depth of the ignorance.

Migraine Causes Chinese Accent
British media reported this week that a woman's migraine lead her to have a Chinese accent.
A British woman has suddenly started speaking with a Chinese accent after suffering a severe migraine, she said in comments quoted by British media Tuesday.
Sarah Colwill believes she has Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS) which has caused her distinctive West Country drawl to be replaced with a Chinese twang, even though she has never even visited the country.
When Geniuses Converse
Deborah Solomon interviewing Jane Fonda in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine:
Solomon: What do you do to help your memory?
Fonda: I think a lot.
The Power Of Web Brand-Building Confirmed
In a post on April 6th about The Failure of Web Advertising, I  challenged web marketing maniacs to come up with 10 serious consumer-facing, non-web brands that have been built primarily through web advertising. So far the closest thing anyone has been able to come with is this amazing brand: Lady Gaga.

I rest my case.

*Thanks to Tim Woessner for this.

April 21, 2010

Who's Nielsen Trying To Fool?

Like most of you, I would like some reliable data about social media that I can take to my clients and say, "Look, social media isn't all hype. Here's some data to show that it really works."

Yesterday I finally thought I had some.

I received an email from Nielsen informing me that they were "releasing the results of an important new study."

The report is called "Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression" and purports to quantify for us the value of "paid" and "earned" media advertising on Facebook.

Unfortunately, from what I can tell, the report is complete bullshit.

You have to remember that I'm not a researcher and I hope some of my readers who are researchers will look at this study and tell me if my qualms about it are correct or not.

You can find the study by going here and following the instructions.

The first thing that caught my eye was this sentence in the email:
"Through our joint partnership with Facebook we are committed to helping marketers fully leverage social media to build their brands."
Right away a red flag went up. Honest researchers aren't "committed" to anything other than reporting the truth. Researchers with agendas and commitments aren't doing research, they're doing advocacy.

It just kept getting worse. In the report itself, they state...
"We have now conducted six months of research consisting of... more than 125 individual Facebook advertising campaigns from 70 brand advertisers..."
The implication is that this study is the result of all that research. Otherwise, why mention it?

It's not until four pages later that we learn...
"For the purposes of this case study, we examined the impact of Facebook advertising on 14 campaigns...Campaigns selected were representative of more successful campaigns ..."

In other words, of the "more than 125 individual Facebook advertising campaigns" they have studied, they only picked 14 of the top performers for this "case study" (and notice how it has mutated from an "important new study" to a "case study" so they have a loophole to crawl through when this baloney hits the fan.)

So, let's recap. You take only the top 11% of the campaigns, you ignore all the failures and all the mediocrities, you analyze only these top performers and you present the results as if they prove something?
"This study demonstrates that advertising in the social context works for brands and works well."
This isn't research. This is a new business pitch.

For a more mathematically oriented interpretation of the Nielsen/Facebook study, I recommend this from Ben Kunz at Thought Gadgets.

April 20, 2010

The Next iPhone

According to Gizmodo someone left a working model of the next generation iPhone in a bar in Redwood City.

Here it is.

For a much better look at it, and more info, go here.

I pity the poor fool who left it. Steve will not be happy.

Update: This is a bigger story than I thought. Check this from NYTimes.

Leo Burnett: Spinning In His Grave
Do not miss this post from The Grumpy Brit yesterday.

April 19, 2010

Special Pleading For The Web

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets started on the proof.” John Kenneth Galbraith*
Humans are funny. We are very reluctant to change our minds.

When facts don't match our beliefs we rarely change our beliefs. Instead, we re-arrange the facts.

We have all decided that the web is an awesome advertising tool. It has become an article of faith. We have conferences about it every week. We lecture our clients about it at every opportunity.

And yet, there is growing evidence that the web has thus far been a pretty weak advertising medium. Click rates on banner ads are an abysmal 2 per thousand; 99% of all video is still watched on an old-fashioned television; social media is all the rage, but where's the beef?

I recently challenged readers to come up with 10 major non-web brands that have been built primarily through web advertising. No one has yet come up with even one.

So how do we reconcile our faith in web advertising with the facts on the ground? We do exactly what Galbraith said we would do. We look for a way around the facts.

When faced with the reality of the weakness of web advertising, we retreat to one of two arguments.

Argument #1: "We just don't understand how to use the web properly yet..."

This argument has been made for over ten years. We're always just about to understand how to use the web as an effective advertising medium; we're always just now developing the technology to use the web more efficiently. The answer is always in sight but just out of reach. As I am (overly) fond of saying, web advertising is like communism. It's always going to be great someday. It's just never very good right now.

Argument #2: "The web is different. It's not about selling. It's about _____"

This is a common, and very tedious, argument. It is rooted in the assertion that the old idea of advertising is obsolete -- that advertising is no longer about selling or persuasion. Nobody makes this argument for any form of advertising other than the web. Nobody claims that radio advertising isn't about persuasion or selling. Nobody claims that newspaper ads aren't about persuasion or selling. But when it comes to the web, there is a different set of criteria.

If you listen to the discussion of my post The Failure of Web Advertising on the BeanCast, or read the comments from that post, you will hear these two arguments invoked in various ways.

Why does web advertising need special pleading? Why don't we apply the same standards to it that we do to other forms of advertising?

Simple. We are reluctant to change our minds.

Long ago we decided that the web would be great for advertising. Now we have to reverse engineer a rationale for that belief.

The web is massively popular and we are all spending more and more time with it. Web advertising ought to be highly effective. It ought to be a great advertising medium. But thus far it hasn't been.

Since we have too much invested in our belief to change our minds, our only recourse -- as Galbraith predicted -- is to resort to special pleading.

*Thanks to Vic at Sell!Sell! for reminding me of this quote.

April 16, 2010

No Personal Brand. No Lifestyle.

I'm tired of having a lifestyle.

Can't I just have a life?

And do I really need a personal brand?

Can't I just be a person?

If anyone out there is looking for a lifestyle or a personal brand, you can have mine. Just tell me where to send it.

April 15, 2010

Gravity And The Internet

Driving through Berkeley, it's not unusual to see a beat-up old VW bus with a bumper sticker that says "Think Globally, Act Locally."

Unfortunately, if there's one thing we humans are not good at, it's thinking globally. We have a tendency to think very locally.  I see it every July in San Francisco -- people from New Jersey, dressed in t-shirts and shorts, freezing their asses off because they think it's summer, like at home.

A wonderful example occurred after Richard Nixon won a 49 state landslide victory in 1972. Pauline Kael, film critic for The New Yorker, famously said, "How can that be? I don't know a single person who voted for Nixon."

Alan Wolk calls it "NASCAR blindness." It's our inclination to think that things everywhere are like they are where we are.

Gravity is like that. It is everywhere. Consequently, we think of gravity as a powerful force that keeps us glued to the ground and brings down huge airplanes. Actually, science tells us that gravity is a very weak force. In fact, it is the weakest fundamental force we know of in the universe.

To prove this to yourself, go to a children's toy shop and buy one of those little 50-cent horseshoe magnets. Then put a paper clip on the ground. Place the magnet near the paper clip. You now have two competing forces -- the electro-magnetic force of the little magnet versus the gravitational force of the entire Earth. The magnet wins. The electro-magnetic force is actually 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times stronger than gravity.

But because gravity is all around us, we think of it as a strong force.

The same is true of the internet. Most advertising and marketing people have come to believe that because the internet has become pervasive in our lives, it must be a strong advertising force. So far it has not been

As I asserted in The Failure Of The Web, last week, the internet has so far proven to be quite a weak advertising force. In its 12 years or so as a mainstream medium, I can think of no major non-native web brand that has been built primarily through internet advertising.

April 14, 2010

Does Marketing Make You Stupid?

It's amazing how quickly otherwise intelligent people become knuckleheads when exposed to marketing.

I am often invited by clients to attend confabs about sales and marketing. Over the years I have met many staff members of these client organizations. Some have been in sales, some in operations, some in finance, some in manufacturing.

As many corporations will do, sometimes these clients will move people out of one area and into another. A smart sales person who is moved to manufacturing remains smart. A smart finance person who is moved to operations remains smart. But take someone out of any other department and put her in marketing, and she immediately becomes a cliche-babbling moron.

Suddenly, someone who used to have intelligent things to say is overcome by the compulsion to spout nothing but jargon.

Instead of talking about getting further information, she now talks about "deep dives."

Instead of dates, she now has "time frames."

All of a sudden her vocabulary is limited to "low-hanging fruit" and "messaging" and "transparency" and "hand-raisers" and, of course, "conversations."

What's going on here? Does marketing make you stupid? Can't you speak like a human being anymore?

Or is marketing an occupation that is so shallow and so obsessed with trendiness that you can't feel comfortable unless you think and sound just like everyone else?

For A Discussion Of...
...my post The Failure of Web Advertising, listen to this week's BeanCast.

April 12, 2010

How To Criticize The Ad Contrarian

Criticizing a cranky loudmouth is an iffy proposition on a good day. But on an afternoon when my clients are all whiny, and my back is acting up, and I'm running late for opening day at the ballpark, it's just not a good idea.

So I was a little miffed on Friday when I read a blog piece called Debunking The Ad Contrarian.

It was written by a guy named Ilya Vedrashko who describes himself as an "Emerging Media Strategist" (when do you think he'll emerge and become a bona fide media strategist?)

He actually seems to have two blogs, one called Ad Lab and the other called Future Lab. Apparently he can't fit all his test tubes into one lab.

His piece was meant to be a vivid exposé of my foolishness in writing a post last week called The Failure Of Web Advertising. In case you haven't read the brilliant piece in question, my thesis was that although the web has become a pervasive force in our lives, web advertising has not been instrumental in producing non-web-based major brands.  I have a hard time coming up with even one major non-native brand that has been created primarily through web advertising.

For a decrepit old dinosaur like myself, I thought this was a pretty damn impressive piece of thinking.

Mr. Vedrashko, who seems a nice enough young man, set about to "debunk" my thesis.

Because I love all my readers -- even those foolish enough to disagree with me -- here are some tips for Mr. V for a better try next time.

1. Don't use preposterous research.

In an effort to prove the effectiveness of display ads, Mr. V uses a study out of ComScore (a company that seems to have a vested interest in promoting web advertising) that purports to indicate that online display advertising resulted in a 9% sales increase in 12 weeks.

This baloney doesn't even pass the giggle test. If the study has any validity, the advertisers must have been offering outrageous, unsustainable incentives or offers.

Companies like Proctor and Gamble and McDonald's and Coke and Pepsi and Budweiser spend hundreds of millions on every form of marketing imaginable every year in the hope of scratching out 2 to 5% annual sales increases. And we're supposed to believe that if you buy some banner ads, in 12 weeks you'll have 9% sales increases? Does anyone in his right mind believe this nonsense?

Here's a tip from an old-timer, V.  Never trust research from an interested party. 

2. Also, don't quote pointless research.

Mr. V also says,
"Here's a different study published by Yahoo! Research together with, again, ComScore in 2007: "Consumers exposed to display advertising spent an average of $6 in the store for every $1 they spent online."
Yeah, so? What's the point? Is this good or bad? What's the norm? Since online spending constitutes just 6% of total retail commerce, one would assume that normally consumers would spend 16 times more in the store than on line (do the math.) 

3. Try to be logical

Mr. V says,
"I also can't think of...any non-native..."serious" brand  that tried going the online-only route...
Let me explain this slowly. There are a lot of singers you've never heard of. You know why? Because they never made it. The reason you can't think of any serious brands that tried the "online-only" route is that no one has ever made it that way. Lots have tried it, but none has made it. Get it? And, just as an aside, that is exactly my point!

4. Try not to make yourself look too, um, clueless.

In probably the most gulp-inducing quote in the whole piece, Mr V says,
"... (I also can't think of )... many "serious" brands launched in the past 15 years created by any means"
WHAT? The "internet age" is probably one of the most fertile eras of entrepreneurship in history, and he can't think of any successful brands emerging during this era? Apparently he has never heard of Blackberry, or Verizon, or Quizno's, or Palm, or Viagra, or T-Mobile, or Claritin, or Comcast, or TiVo...or...don't make me go on, you can use Google just as well as I can...

Now, let's give him some credit.

He concedes the main point of my argument, which is that web advertising has been unsuccessful at building any non-native major brands. Anyone who concedes my major point can't be too annoying.

And there was one other thing he was right about. I was a little imprecise (okay, lazy) with my numbers. I asserted that the internet was "about 15 years" old as a mainstream medium. It's probably closer to 12 years.

If we define "mainstream" as 30% household penetration, the best numbers I can find show that the web reached 30% penetration in about 1999, which would mean we're in our 12th year.

Using the same parameters, tv reached 30% penetration in 1952. If this guy doesn't think tv was instrumental in building scores, if not hundreds, of brands between 1952 and 1963 there's one more thing he needs to do...

5. Watch a few episodes of MadMen.

Mr. Thin Skin....
There was no reason for me to be so snippy in this post. V actually said some nice things about the TAC blog. What set me off was the "Perez Hilton" comment. Yes, we try to be entertaining and provocative,  but there is one thing we do not do here -- industry gossip. Never have, never will.

And One Afterthought...
Plenty of successful non-native brands were also built by print media and radio in their formative years. I'm not saying the web can't, I'm just saying it hasn't.

April 08, 2010

Just The Facts

Just The Facts
Social media maniacs are very long on assertions and very short on facts. For a nice, reasonable, non-hysterical (not my style at all) look at some of the facts undermining the preposterous claims of many social media zealots, here's a link to a piece called Social Media: How Much Is Too Much? from Stoltz Marketing Group, in Boise, Idaho.

A year and a half ago we said...
..."They have relinquished their unique reason for being. ...I haven't seen any other work from this campaign, but if it's like this thing, these people are in trouble."
We were talking about Volvo. We wrote 2 pieces called Smelly Volvo Families and Account Planners Gone Wild about Volvo advertising.

Now the stupidity of these people is coming home to roost. According to The Wall Street Journal, Ford, which owns Volvo, is trying to unload this money-losing albatross to a Chinese company called Geely.

Engagement Leads To Sales. Not. 
Here's one that the social media crowd will ignore. According to Media Post's Online Media Daily, a study by a company called Psychster indicates that the form of social media advertising that is most engaging is also least effective in generating sales.
"Now that social networks devour about a fifth of Web users' time, you might be wondering which ad formats are most effective on Facebook and its rivals...Well, among the seven most common formats, sponsored content ads -- in which consumers viewed a page that was "brought to you by" a leading brand -- were the most engaging, yet produced the least purchase intent, according to a new study conducted by research firm Psychster..."

April 06, 2010

The Failure Of Web Advertising

We're about 15 years into the internet revolution as a mainstream phenomenon and by any measure internet advertising has to be deemed a major failure.

While the web itself has been a massive success (influencing virtually every aspect of our lives) advertising on the web is mostly a bad joke.

Fifteen years into its mainstream life, television had created scores of powerful consumer-facing brands.

The only truly powerful brands I can think of that web advertising has created are native web brands like Google, Yahoo, Amazon and Facebook. It's as if the only brands television was good at creating were CBS, NBC and ABC.

After 15 years, can anyone name even ten serious non-native consumer-facing brands that have been created primarily by web advertising? Is there a brand of coffee, butter, beer, bread, chicken, gasoline, soda, peanut butter, dog food, milk, tires, potato chips, life insurance, lawn mowers...don't make me go on, you get the point...that has been built primarily by web advertising?

Display advertising is a joke. Remember just a few years ago when they were selling us banner ads on the promise that "interactivity" would make these ads so much more efficient than traditional ads? Then they started measuring them and found that fewer than 2 people in a thousand were clicking. Oops.

Now they're making the same lame "branding" argument for online display ads they made against traditional print ads.

Online video advertising is another joke. 99% of all video is currently watched on a tv, not a computer.

Social media is a rumor. Everybody is hyperventilating about it, but nobody has any idea of how you even measure success. Here are three links (one,  two, and three) to self-congratulatory videos of social media "experts" that run a total of almost 30 minutes.

In that 30 minutes I can't recall the word "sales" being mentioned even once. They're all about false goals: getting followers; creating "engagement"; creating "communities"; "re-organizing around the customer" and, of course, the ever-popular "blowing up silos." If you can get through this festival of smugness without contemplating suicide, you're a better man/woman/child/pet than I am.

These people are living in a different world.

I don't know about you, but if I walked into a meeting with one of my clients and told them that the purpose of the millions they're spending on advertising is to create "communities," they'd laugh me out of the room. They want sales and they want them now.

It is true that there's data to support the effectiveness of two types of online advertising: search and email. But is that it? Is that all the web is going to be? A medium of tactics? A Yellow Pages replacement and cheaper DM? How many powerful brands have been built by search and email? The answer: Zero.

Believe me, I'd love to see online advertising succeed. I'd love to have another forceful tool to help my clients succeed. But, like I've said before, online advertising is like communism. It's always going to be great some day, it's just never very good right now.

Impressionable advertisers are continuing to be sold more and more web advertising. But unless something changes pretty soon, marketers with brains and the ability to see beyond the hype and the baloney are going to start to catch on.

(For a follow-up to this piece, see this.)

April 05, 2010

An Apology To Everyone For Everything

My last post was called "I Ain't Apologizin' For Nothin.'" Just to prove that this is a fair and balanced blog, today I'm going to apologize to everyone for everything.

In this day and age, it's more important than ever to be proactive. So I want to take this opportunity to apologize, in advance, to everyone for everything.

I now understand that as a Blogger, I have unique responsibilities. Although I haven't done anything, I know the things I haven't done were wrong. I take full responsibility for my actions.

There are rumors swirling around and I want to dispel them. None of the things I haven't done were anyone's fault but my own -- not Sandra Bullock, or the Pope, or Rahm Emanuel. Just me.

Next, I want to apologize to my family. I realize that my actions could have hurt and embarrassed you even more than my dancing, and I want you to know that there is nothing more important to me than you guys -- not even my awesome new media room, or my career, or my money, or my wine cellar, or my reality show which I am developing for E!, or those twins in Vegas with the amazing...but I digress.

Oh, and did I mention my awesome new media room?

I also want to apologize to my fans. You have made me very wealthy and famous and, honestly, pretty damn exciting to follow on Twitter. I hope I haven't lost your respect or admiration. I hope you will look into your heart and see that I am just a man -- granted, a very hot man, but a man nonetheless  --  and will forgive me this one transgression (I mean, it's just one if you consider categories of transgressions, which I think is the only fair way.)

As for my sponsors, I'm sorry I wasn't able to live up to the high standards which you have come to expect from me. On the other hand, I did a little math the other night and it turns out that this blog has netted me about $200 mil of your money which I have parked in a sweet little project in the Caymans. By the way, I want John S. to know that even though your "corporation" has dumped me, I will not be saying a word about "midget wrestling," if you get my drift. Not this year, anyway.

Soon I will be entering rehab. Fortunately, I took the advanced placement exam and tested out of the first 5 steps. So with only 7 steps to go, I'm thinking this rehab thing should be pretty much a snap.

Finally, I want to say something to all the men out there. I know that you guys get together and you chuckle and snicker and think how cool it must be to have an ad blog and be like me -- how cool it must be to have more money than you can imagine and any woman you want. Well, let me tell you something...

Dude, you have no fucking idea...

April 01, 2010

I Ain't Apologizin' For Nothin'

In honor of April Fool's Day... just once I'd like to turn on a press conference and hear this:

I'm not apologizing to anyone for anything.

You don't like what I do? Tough shit.

I'm not apologizing to my fans. I didn't murder anyone. I didn't steal anything. I didn't commit any crimes. I screwed a few willing women. So what? No animals were injured. The majority of men and women do exactly what I did. FDR did. JFK did. Clinton did. I'm not molesting little boys like our "spiritual leaders." I didn't ruin any lives like the sleaze bags on Wall Street. I didn't sit back and scratch my ass while our financial system went down the toilet like the incompetent morons in Washington.

To my male fans -- if you were in my shoes you be screwing 5 times more women than I did. And if you deny it you're a liar. 

To my female fans -- I'm accepting applications.
I'm not apologizing to my sponsors. I've seen you guys after hours at your golf tournaments. I've seen you in Las Vegas at your "conferences." Don't try and pull your holier-than-thou bullshit on me. You paid me millions to put a happy face on your crappy corporation. As soon as I had some trouble you ran away like frightened school girls. Fuck you.

I'm not apologizing to the press -- you sleaze-mongering horde of jackals. Look at the crap you put out every day. And you have the nerve to criticize me?

Here's the thing. As long as I don't break any laws, my private life is none of your damn business. I'll do what I want, when I want. And if you don't like it, you can kiss my ass.

Ah, what a refreshing thing it would be...