Tag Archives: media

Media: The Sum of Its Parts or Something Else?

Reductionism says that a complex system is nothing but the sum of all of its parts and understanding those parts can tell us everything about the complex system that they belong to. This idea was supported Thales of Miletus, the first known philosopher of the western civilization circa 580 BC.

Shortly thereafter, in 2010, the ‘Galaxy of Media Choices’ (a term coined by The Boston Consulting Group) presents us with a complex system of communication with a series of moving parts.  There are some 70+ media choices, or parts if you will, including traditional (television, radio, outdoor, POS and print) and the Internet (digital,  mobile, geo-location, video, QR codes, SMS, social networking platforms etc.) – no need to list everything here.

The advent of Internet and digital technology in combination with the amount of time we spend on media is what makes the media system so fascinating and correspondingly difficult to grasp. Why? Because, like space, it is seemingly infinite.

How do the parts help us understand our complex media system?

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

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Meet @Spam – Social Media Persona

This is @spam. Lots of followers, a ‘personal branding’ advocate and someone who is famous, at least, by some measure. You know, the type that likes to dispense advice, get your attention and loves to tell you about themselves in the most menial of ways.

Unlike the commercial “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen”…this is where is all ends, perhaps.

@spam. All about the ‘me’ in social media.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Advertising in The Cloud: The Known Unknowns

Anti-Ageing Cream Might Work Better Here

The company advertising here markets some form of youth hormone treatment. Google rotates a series of unrelated ads through this post. I doubt that anyone has a clue on the advertiser’s end where the ad ended up. I could be wrong but placing this message alongside some dried out million-year old pin-headed skull overstates the case a bit.  

This could have been your brand and it may be on some websites unbeknown to you. Key question is – do you know where your brand is out in the cloud and who is paying attention to it? This also begs the question regarding accoutability in advertising in the cloud and what you, your company and your agency have put in place to know how your adspend is playing out.  

Oh, for the days of the Tupperware party.  

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM  

Toyota’s Troubles: Real-Time Memory Loss

There is a lot of media hype of late concerning the series of recalls that Toyota has undertaken. While some of the numbers may be staggering, recalls are quite routine. One site, http://www.autorecalls.us/ enables you to search any make or model, from Porche and Bentley to that paragon of quality, Mercedes-Benz. The NHTSA has a database of defects and recalls http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/.

Here are some notable recalls that other manufacturers have undertaken in the past 6 years, according to Reuters via Yahoo Finance:

2004 – GM recalled nearly 4 million pickups because of corroding tailgate cables.

April 2005 – GM said it was recalling more than 2 million vehicles to fix a variety of potential safety defects, most of them on cars and trucks sold in the U.S. GM said the largest of the safety actions included 1.5 million full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles from the 2003 to 2005 model years with second-row seat belts that may be difficult to properly position across passengers’ hips.

Oct. 2005 – Toyota recalled about 1.41 million cars globally, including the Corolla and 15 other models, due to trouble with their headlight switching systems.

Dec. 2007 – Chrysler LLC said it would recall 575,417 vehicles as long-term wear on the gear shift assembly could cause them to shift out of park without the key in the ignition. The recall involved 2001 to 2002 model-year Dodge Dakota pickup trucks, Durango sports utility vehicles and Ram van models and 2002 model-year Ram pickup trucks.

Aug. 2008 – GM announced a recall of 857,735 vehicles equipped with a heated windshield wiper fluid system for a potential short-circuit problem, according to federal safety regulators.

Sept. 2009 – Toyota said it would recall approximately 3.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because of floor mats that could have come loose and force down the accelerator. The problem was suspected in crashes that have killed five people.

Oct. 2009 – Ford completed a series of recalls affecting 14 million vehicles due to faulty cruise control deactivation switch. The latest recall involved some 4.5 million vehicles. The action effectively closed out a 10-year saga over the switches made by Texas Instruments that led to more than a half-dozen recalls, the automaker said.

While Toyota might not have done the best job of handling recalls in a textbook public relations fashion, they nonetheless are getting on with the job of remediating the issues.

Let’s remember, far more people get killed in the US every year by drunk drivers than by faultly automobiles. According to the NHTSA drunk driving deaths (11,773) accounted for 32% of the total amount of United States car accident deaths (37,261) in 2008. Prohibition is not likely to return in this millenium.

As we race about this new social world of real-time, let’s take the time to pause, get the facts together and put the real world into perspective.

Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Branding: Accenture & Tiger Woods Redux

This ad for Accenture featuring Tiger Woods re-appeared a month ago in a story about endorsements.  A few things came to mind.

As a golfer, I have often found myself facing a test similar to the one Tiger Woods is pictured facing here. In Tiger’s case, given the level at which he performs at the game of golf, this particular problem is usually solved. No need to mention what the likely outcome would have been in my case, other than picking up my ball and taking a penalty stroke.

The other idea that came to mind is that some challenges can be addressed using a number of options. In golf, much of the solution is based on calculated risk relative to reward. ‘Calculated’ is the operative since skill set and environmental factors play into the range of outcomes.

In the context of branding, what if you’re an advertiser that has heavily banked on a star, especially one that is the ultimate embodiment of what the brand stands for? Accenture is a company that is about High Performance. Delivered. It is a company with over 170,000 employees worldwide that provides professional services to some of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Accenture hires the best talent it can find. Tiger Woods is the best and the most talented of our age.  A perfect and risk-free fit in terms of co-branding Tiger Woods Inc. and Accenture.

In the broader context of advertising and marketing, for Accenture to contemplate the wisdom of having aligned with the Tiger Woods brand is irrelevant. In fact, it was a very astute decision, one that has enhanced the profile of Accenture globally.

The real issue is how those who are emotionally vested in these two brands will manage going forward. It’s a true test of character when we are faced with circumstances that test our ethics, morality and beliefs in ways that were previously unforseen.

As it turns out, Accenture has experience little material damage compared to Tiger Woods’ sponsors. Collectively, Nike, AT&T, Tag Heuer and the like have thus far suffered stock market capitalization losses in the order of $12B, excluding foregone sales. Accenture on the other hand, has been impacted by a massive opportunity cost, likely with little or no damage to business or reputation vis-a-vis its customers.

Both parties however are facing different futures, one that is clearly uncertain at this point by virtue of his absence from the world stage.  The other is ready to march on in the true, stoic spirit of the management consultancy, like Jack Nicklaus in a way.

“It’s what you do next” rings so very truly.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

 

 

Branding is a Beautiful Thing

Coffee Bar

Gas Bar

Whether it’s gasoline for your car or coffee for your stomach, it really is fascinating how branding can take ordinary commodities and transform them into deeply embedded symbols of North American culture. What’s most remarkable is how we can create extentions of those brands that command premium prices without really changing the product’s essense in a material way.

Take coffee for example. While you can walk into your neighborhood Starbucks and order from a menu of many dozens of coffees, you can also order something like a Venti Mocha Valencia for something around $4.30. This is equivalent to buying roughly two gallons of regular grade gasoline. The alternative of course, would be to drop into your local McDonald’s and McCafé your day for about $1.25. Not as fancy perhaps but dare you tell the difference in a blind taste test?

Speaking of which, there’s bottled water. Take a bottle of Poland Spring water. Nice packaging, looks clean and pure and takes you to pine forests likely somewhere near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. At about $2.00 a bottle it seems like a bargain when compared say, to Ty Nyant, direct from Wales. At only $4.50 per bottle, it has been described as “smooth but bland…and the bottle makes a nice vase.” Fact of the matter, at least here in Toronto, Canada, tap water is many times purer…and free! Yes, a true ‘freemium’ product indeed.

So here’s the wrap: With or without social media, televison, mobile apps, the Internet or whatever medium you can think of, there’s nothing like good branding. Good branding takes the most ordinary and pervasive commodities and transforms them into something that we ‘must have’. In fact, some of us like to be seen using the brand (I’ve heard that some people carry around their Starbucks cups like fashion accessory, which is fine by me). Isn’t it wonderful that we can take something as featureless as water and get people to generate massive gross margins for us. Next time you hear someone squawk about an increase in the price of gasoline, ask them ” …and just what kind of coffee do you drink?”