December 26, 2011

The Year In Contrariana

Every year about this time the editorial board of The Ad Contrarian gets together for its annual year-end analysis. This consists of large plates of pasta, several pitchers of martinis, and an afternoon of irresponsible betting on bowl games.

Sometimes we even talk about the blog.

2011 was an interesting year here at Ad Contrarian world headquarters. Here are the highlights, as chosen by the editorial board.
  • One of the websites that measures these things had us listed as one of the world's top 50 advertising and marketing blogs (there are apparently 100 million of 'em and 99% are devoted to search engine optimization, datametrics, or some other bloodless chatter.) 
  • We passed our one millionth reader. 
  • According to the finance committee, I still haven't made my first nickel from this goddam thing. 
My Top 10 New Years Resolutions appeared on January 3rd. The first of which was... "I will not slow-dance with Eliot Spitzer." I'm proud to say that I have stuck scrupulously to this resolution. One of my personal favorite posts of the year entitled The Legend Of Marketing Man appeared on Jan. 17th.
    In February the ad blogosphere, as always, was dominated by the Super Bowl. We had 4 different posts about Super Bowl advertising. The bottom line was this: "...The game kept getting better and the spots kept getting worse." In a post called Slow Company, we had fun ridiculing the most laughable idea of the month which appeared in Fast Company and claimed that iAds (remember those?) could double the impact of Super Bowl advertising. "...Apple's iAds appear to be twice as effective as a TV spot." Yeah, right. 

    March was Pepsi-bashing month here at TAC. Our most oft-quoted post of the year, called Social Media's Massive Failure, appeared on March 21. It was about Pepsi's disastrous "Refresh Project." It received over 100 reader comments, drove social media maniacs up the wall, and became something of a viral hit with dozens of marketing blogs referencing it.

    We started April with a wonderful line from a social media expert, "We're less likely to be successful if we try to create something where people already aren't." It appeared on April Fools Day but, unfortunately, wasn't a joke. On the 26th we had a piece on how our chattering marketing geniuses were Rewriting History.

    In May, we focused on one of our favorite topics: brand babble. First we posted Brand Babble Battles Back then later in the month Now Branding Saves the World. 

    The best post from June was called How Apple Does It and was about the strategies behind Apple's marketing success and how "... It would be hard to draw-up a set of behaviors that more thoroughly repudiate contemporary marketing dogma."

    In July we celebrated our 4th anniversary of writing this thing. I can remember the day it started. I was in Arizona, it was about 250 degrees outside, and I was sitting in my hotel room with nothing to do. I decided to start a blog.

    In August, we published the most widely-read piece that has ever appeared on this blog. It was called Advertising And The Future Of Apple. The premise was that, with Steve Jobs having stepped down, advertising might be a bellwether for how Apple would face the future without his creative genius. The piece was picked up by The Wall Street Journal, CNN and others.

    The dismal record of display advertising was the subject of a piece in September entitled Clicking Toward Oblivion. Referencing the tremendous growth of display advertising despite the shockingly low click-through rates, the piece concluded that"...if we can just get the click-through rate down to zero, we'll all be rich!" 

    October featured a post called Bulletin: Ad Campaigns Are Now Dead, Too. It was a commentary on a piece in Ad Age by some social media dimwit who claimed there was no longer any need for campaign ideas. The post concluded that... "Social media madness has reached the point where the best idea is no idea."

    One of the most popular posts of the year ran at the end of November and was called My Overnight Social Media Success. It was about the launch of my second book 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising. The storyline: "I have built a social media brand. I know what it takes. I know how useless most social media bullshit is and how hard the people work who do it right."

    We ended the year in December with a guest post from God called The Ten Amendments. It was a satirical piece about religion. I was reluctant to post it because I was afraid it would draw a lot of nasty comments. Happily, it didn't. 

    Our editorial board wishes you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. See you next year. 

    By The Way...
    Let's face it. You're not going to do any work this week. You might as well read a good book. And if you can't find a good one, you might as well read this.

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