How Adtech Helped To Radicalize The US
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
This piece appeared in Campaign Magazine UK one week after the riot at the Capitol in Washington DC There is nothing ambiguous about the role the marketing and advertising industry has played in the radicalisation of US politics and the horrifying events of recent days. There is a clear line connecting adtech and radicalisation.  While it has been widely reported and acknowledged that social media has played a significant role in the schism in US society, there is a deeper, more nuanced truth behind the deterioration of our politics.  The wedge that has been driven into the fabric ..read more
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The Inescapable Logic of Ad Fraud
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
The recent alarming revelations of Russian hacking of 250 US Government agencies, which went undetected by our most sophisticated cybersecurity defenses including the military’s Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security must lead us in the marketing business to reevaluate our thinking about ad fraud. The scope of online ad fraud has been argued about for years by computer scientists, software engineers, cybersecurity analysts, advertising media specialists, and independent researchers. On one side we have advertising and marketing trade organizations ..read more
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Part 2: Is Creative Advertising Really More Effective?
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
Last week I wrote a post that posed the question, "Is Creative Advertising Really More Effective?"  As someone who has been a lifelong advocate for the power of creativity in advertising, I admitted that while I believe the answer is a resounding "yes," I don't know of any rigorous studies that could prove it to a scrupulously scientific skeptic. The post elicited a healthy conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn. Here is a recap of some of the comments, and my reaction to them. - Several people pointed me to studies that they believe prove the case. The ironic thing is that these are studie ..read more
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Is "Creative" Advertising Really More Effective?
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
As long as I've been in the advertising business there has been a very large question smoldering under the surface of my skin: Does advertising that we deem to be more creative actually produce better business results, or is that just a fond wish that "creatives" and our supporters have invented to justify treating advertising as an art, and not just a blunt instrument? As a former copywriter and creative director I am a strong believer in the power of creativity in advertising. In fact, every neuron in my tiny little brain is committed to this belief.  But there is another part of my bra ..read more
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No App For Gratitude
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
 Today I am repeating my annual Thanksgiving post which I have run for many years. And, yes, that crack about Trump was there years before anyone could have imagined... Thanksgiving is my kind of holiday. It doesn't require gods or miracles or tragedies or victories or angels or kings or winners or losers or flags or gifts.  All you need is some pumpkin pie, a big-ass flat screen, and a comfortable sofa to drool on. Oh, and a little gratitude. 
Gratitude, by the way, is a commodity in very short supply. Regrettably, we seem to have mountains of expectation but not much in the way ..read more
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The Luxury Of Strategy
The Ad Contrarian
by
3y ago
Loudmouth ad weasels like me are always going off on the need for advertisers to abandon their addiction to short term-ism and focus their attention on the long term imperative of building their brands.  There is plenty of evidence (including that of Field and Binet) that in the long run marketers are better served if their ad budgets are more weighted toward brand-building advertising and less weighted toward short-term promotional advertising. The problem with this is that for a great many marketers surviving this week is a more compelling prospect than the promise of a magnificent bran ..read more
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The Mystery Of Modern Media
The Ad Contrarian
by
4y ago
There was a time, not that long ago, when advertisers could reach just about everyone pretty easily. All it took was a lot of money and a simple media buy on a handful of TV, radio, and print outlets. Back then, harnessing the power of mass media was not a guarantee of success, but it was almost always a key component. It helped create enormous brands like McDonald's, Coke, Pepsi, Nike, Apple, Ford, Chevy, AT&T, Tide, Crest, Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, Toyota, Tylenol, Kleenex, Budweiser... OK, I'll stop. Things are a lot more complicated these days. Media has fractionalized into mu ..read more
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Carnival Of Hypocrisy
The Ad Contrarian
by
4y ago
"By 2017, American companies had put at least $2.6 trillion into offshore tax shelters...Nike had $12.2 billion.... The company estimates that if its $12.2 billion was repatriated to the U.S., it would owe $4.1 billion in U.S. taxes... Designating its profits this way allows the company to avoid paying even a dime of U.S. income taxes on these profits..." - The Oregonian. More about this in a minute. The horrible murder of George Floyd was treated by the marketing industry this week as an opportunity to express sincere desire for change. Sadly, it also exposed our talent for hypocrisy. Whil ..read more
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Puzzles and Mysteries
The Ad Contrarian
by
4y ago
I was rummaging through old blog posts and came upon this one from almost 13 years ago. Since no one read my blog 13 years ago, and I liked this post, I thought I'd re-post it. An article by Malcolm Gladwell in The New Yorker leads me to believe that advertising people can learn something from spies about solving business problems. Gladwell tells us about a national security expert, Gregory Treverton, who distinguished between two kinds of problems: puzzles and mysteries. His distinctions have great value for us. Puzzles, he wrote, are problems for which there is not enough information. An ..read more
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A Seriously Imperfect Species
The Ad Contrarian
by
4y ago
I wrote this a few days ago but didn't post it because I felt uncomfortable about posting non-positive things during this unpleasant period.  However, after reading the great Mark Ritson's column today, and seeing that he isn't afraid to be level-headed, I decided to stand with him. We are a seriously imperfect species, we humans. For those who think the corona virus experience will "change everything," I have some dispiriting thoughts. It won't. Circumstances change but human nature doesn't. Did the Bubonic Plague make our species more kind, gentle and selfless? Did the Spanish Flu? Did Wo ..read more
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