Sometimes, You Need to Say No

Public relations professionals often are looked at as guides to the media. Clients want to know how they can get news coverage. Do you ever use the opportunity to tell them they won’t?

When tasked with media relations, you often will go to great lengths to get that client’s news placed anywhere, so you can show them how valuable you are. Sometimes, you’re even willing to cash-in a little professional collateral with a reporter you’ve befriended over the years, landing at least a brief mention in a column.

Sometimes, You Need to Say No |

Abbott Labs Eyes Mindshare

Pharma giant is in final negotiations to hire WPP media shop

(Steve McClellan) Abbott Labs is in final negotiations to hire WPP Group’s Mindshare to handle media planning and buying duties after a review, according to sources.

The incumbent, Publicis Group’s Starcom MediaVest Group, defended.

The client spent slightly more than $205 million in domestic measured media through the first nine months of 2009, according to Nielsen. Continue reading

Hulu, Warner Music Ink Deal

(Billboard) Warner Music Group has become the second major label to strike a content licensing deal with online video hub Hulu. The agreement brings music videos, concert performances, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage to artist-branded pages within the Hulu site.

The first implementation of this deal is a Muse-branded page on the Hulu site, which currently features a Saturday Night Live appeearance, several performances captured during a tour stop in Wembley Stadium, along with some interviews and deep-catalog videos. Next up are Jason Mraz and Paramore, with additional artists coming online in the new year. Continue reading

Top Digital Trends for 2010

The drive for content at scale ranks among the developments set to make waves

(ADWEEK) As a rough 2009 draws to a close, the digital marketing world is looking ahead to 2010, hoping to deliver stronger growth in the sector, which is one of the few bright spots in the media world. What lies ahead? We identified 10 trends that are sure to make waves in 2010.

1. Content at Scale.

In remaking AOL, CEO Tim Armstrong has gone back to the future by betting on content. But Armstrong doesn’t believe content is king in the old way. In the new world, the race is on to use data and automation to produce content that people (and advertisers) want at as low a price as possible. That’s led to the rise of so-called content mills like Demand Media and Associated Content. AOL is betting its future on the area. The question for 2010 is whether this automation and data-driven approach will lead to a flowering of useful information or more detritus clogging search results with low-grade, ad-heavy Web pages. Continue reading

2010: The Year of Augmented Reality

Mobile AR will have the greatest impact in the AR field over the next 5-10 years

(ADWEEK) Just about everybody in the augmented reality (AR) community will agree on one thing: mobile AR will have the greatest impact in the AR field over the next 5-10 years.

The focal point and anchor for any advertising and marketing campaign will likely be mobile-based applications that leverage more integrated and advanced AR initiatives. These applications will be able to interact with and bring to life any print-based AR, give double meaning and information to brand advertisements on billboards (akin to Roddy Piper’s glasses in John Carpenter’s They Live) and transform location-based advertising into something out of Minority Report. Continue reading

4 Shops Pitch Baskin-Robbins

Ice cream chain was the last client of iconic agency Cliff Freeman and Partners

(ADWEEK) Four agencies have emerged as contenders for creative chores on Baskin-Robbins’ ad account.

Pitching the business are MDC’s Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners, all in New York, and 22Squared, an independent agency in Atlanta.

Pile + Co., the Boston-based consultancy overseeing the process, confirmed that list of contenders today.

Canton, Mass.-based Baskin spent $14 million in domestic measured media last year, and about $12 million through the first two-thirds of 2008, per Nielsen.

The ice cream chain was the last client handled by Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York. That iconic agency closed its doors in late October.

In May, CFP rolled out a major campaign that played up the chain’s long-standing major point of differentiation: it’s selection of flavors. An initial ad showed kids bombarding a white ice cream truck with colorful explosions. The tagline was: “Don’t be so vanilla.” The effort also included an iPhone app that helped consumers locate Baskin scoop shops.

Google Sidewiki: If You Have a Web Site Read This

A new tool from Google just made controlling your brand online a little bit more challenging. Released on September 23,1 this toolbar-based plug-in allows you to add your own notes to any Web page – yours – mine – and anyone elses. In other words, “every page on your site now comes with a publicly accessible discussion board that cannot be moderated.”

I just tried it out for the first time and it’s simple to use. Basically, once you’ve added the plug-in, you go to a webpage and click on the Sidewiki icon; a sidebar will pop up alongside the webpage and you’ll see all the comments people have made. This means, every webpage is now social. So, even if you’ve been resisting the social marketing revolution, you’re in it now anyway. The question is – is that good or bad? Well, you’ll have to decide for yourself… Continue reading

Color 101: What does Your Online Color Scheme Say to Customers?

What’s Next?
This topic “Color 101” comes from Philip A. Provins.

Color 101: What does Your Online Color Scheme Say to Customers?

Not sure? You’ve been designing web pages with blue because it’s your favorite color? Hmm, you might want to rethink your tactics. Why? “The Internet is the ultimate visual and psychological medium.”1 The content you write is, of course, a major component, as is the design itself. What about color? It’s often what people notice first. Color conveys meaning and mood. It’s important to know your market well enough to ensure that “the psychological message you are trying to get across with the rest of your site design” is Fcomplemented and enhanced by the appropriate color scheme.”1 If you’re still tempted to keep using blue because it’s your favorite color check out this statistic – according to psychologists “color impression can account for up to 60% of the acceptance or rejection of a product or service.”2 Wow. Continue reading

7 Tips to Maintain Your Website Reputation

In order to succeed and combat the competitive online world, you need to maintain a good reputation online. A good reputation does not only require a good website design but a lot more to build confidence, to grow sales and ultimately leads to better revenues and higher profitability.

In today’s Internet buzz nasty rumors, wrong opinions and incorrect news spread rapidly and if not taken timely action to handle the news properly, you may face a serious threat to your online business and credibility.

Here are some simple measures you can take to maintain your website’s reputation:

1. Respond to customers

Being open and responsive to customers is an important part of creating a positive impression and managing your website’s reputation. If someone asks you a question, answer it there or through e-mail. Be quick in addressing your customer issues before the word spreads.

2. Answer the negative comments humbly

Be real, not everyone is satisfied with your work and services. If these people are among the ones spreading negative comments about you for whatever reason like delayed service or unfriendly attitude, answer them instantly to terminate the issue right there!

Be very polite when putting your point of view in front of such people and you’ll sure succeed in saving your reputation. Answering negative remarks modestly can be a great way of turning a bad situation into positive one. Continue reading

AltaVista Irrelevant? Not to Other Search Engines

(PC WORLD) A long time ago, in the mid-to-late 1990s, AltaVista was a major search engine, but with the rise of Google its popularity slid, eventually becoming irrelevant to most users.

Back then, I never missed “Seinfeld” or “Friends” and was a faithful AltaVista user, but had long ago forgotten about it, assuming at some point it had completely faded into the background and disappeared. Then, the other day, curious about how major search engines resolve queries related to Internet search, I was surprised to see AltaVista showing up prominently in results.

Sure enough, AltaVista lives on at its old URL. It turns out that Yahoo owns it. I don’t know why anyone would use it. The user interface is horrid. The features are limited. It looks like a forgotten, abandoned site.

Wondering what type of traffic it draws, I checked with Hitwise, which tracks search engine usage, and was told that AltaVista commands a minuscule 0.09 percent of U.S. searches, according to the latest Hitwise’s latest figures for the week ending Dec. 12. Continue reading

Yelp walks from $550 million Google deal

(Examiner) Late last week news leaked that Google was in the advanced stage of negotiating a deal with local business review site Yelp for a sum rumored to be in the $550 million range. Today TechCrunch reported Yelp has walked away from the negotiations. While there is widespread speculation as to why Yelp decided to stay independent (including rumors of competing deals from Apple or Microsoft/Yahoo!) one thing is clear – it’s not the end of the story. There was a lot more to this deal than just acquiring Yelp’s traffic (9 million monthly unique visitors according to Comscore) and passionate community.

Yelp has been successful at doing what Internet Yellow Pages(IYP’s), and the major search engines are still trying to achieve – combining an engaged community with selling local business advertising to make a profitable online business model. TechCrunch on Thursday reported “Yelp has whispered that 2009 revenues will be around $30 million and are expecting $50 million or so in 2010.”

The keys to Yelp’s success have been their ability to build a vibrant, engaged community that posts reviews of local businesses, creating content that generates traffic to their site and loyalty amongst users. Yelp combined that rich content and traffic with an advertising sales force (both telephone and feet-on-the-street) to take advantage of a market with no strong leader. While IYP’s were focusing on driving revenue through their local sales forces, Google and Yahoo! were building online advertising platforms and huge databases of content. As a little start-up, Yelp was nimble enough to do both and embrace the social media trend of creating online communities. Yelp also capitalized on the growth of smartphones and mobile search to increase traffic and the number of reviews. Continue reading

Microsoft Sued by Bing! (And We Don’t Mean Its Search Engine)

(ChannelWeb) Just as Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) worked out a compromise to its long-running conflict with the European Union, it now faces the prospect of legal action from a pair of small companies the software giant has allegedly wronged.

Last week Microsoft admitted that a Chinese contract developer, hired by MSN China to develop its Juku microblogging site, copied code from Plurk, a competing site. Although Microsoft has apologized for the fiasco, Plurk has hinted that it might take legal action.

Now comes word that a small design firm in St. Louis has filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming it owns trademark rights to the “Bing!” name Microsoft chose earlier this year for its overhauled search engine.

Last week Bing! Information Designs LLC filed the lawsuit against Microsoft in the 22nd Judicial Circuit of the Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis charging Microsoft with trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Bing! (the St. Louis one) maintains that it has been using the name since 2000. A story in The Seattle Times on Friday quoted the company’s attorney, Tony Simon, as saying that since Microsoft rebranded its search engine with the Bing! name earlier this year, clients of the St. Louis Bing! are confused and think the design firm is somehow affiliated with Microsoft.

The company is seeking “actual and punitive damages,” including having Microsoft pay for advertising to reverse the confusion the software vendor has created, according to a Dow Jones Newswire story. The suit does not specify a dollar amount for the alleged damages.

Microsoft spokespersons have said they don’t believe the suit has any merit. Continue reading

Facebook policy upsets millions

NEW DELHI (InfoTech): Millions of Netizens suddenly face the prospect of having key personal information and posts made accessible to everyone, un

less they consciously monitor their privacy settings.

Facebook, the world’s largest onlinesocial networking site, recently announced that in order to encourage members to share more information on the internet, it has upgraded its privacy settings, making several categories of information of its users visible by default to everyone.

Why this assumes significance is because Facebook allows its users to chose their level of privacy, by letting them restrict access to either friends, friends of friends or everyone. It’s a feature that has helped the site gain many users and is in line with its mantra of “control what you want to share.” Continue reading

American Apparel Grabs YouTube’s Long Tail

Retailer uses niche clips — including one that shows a skateboarding dog — for ad targeting

(ADWEEK) One of YouTube’s greatest challenges with advertisers has been the notion that it’s a repository for clips of dogs riding skateboards. But one marketer, at least, sees this as a plus.

American Apparel has been targeting ads to over 100 videos of pets, including a clip of a skateboarding canine, to promote its line of dog clothing. The Los Angeles-based brand chose the videos based on suggestions from employees.

“It would be hard to do an advertisement on the back page of LA Weekly or a fashion magazine for the dog T-shirt,” noted Ryan Holiday, a Web marketing executive at American Apparel.

YouTube hopes more advertisers will follow American Apparel’s lead.

The venue has little problem drumming up interest in its front-page and marquee placements, but it needs to entice advertisers deeper into the site to pair their brands with long-tail content. Knowing some companies are still uncomfortable with category-wide targeting — YouTube has a pets and animals channel, for example — the Google-owned property began offering specific video targeting earlier this month. The initiative lets advertisers build custom video lists from among the clips entered in YouTube’s partner program. Continue reading