July 21, 2016

Marketing Morons Never Sleep

In the time-honored tradition of client disloyalty, duplicity, and ingratitude, Chick-Fil-A has fired its agency of 22 years, The Richards Group.

The Richards Group was responsible for a long-running and highly effective campaign that featured rebellious cows exhorting us to "Eat Mor Chikin."

Here's what Chick-Fil-A's new-ish (a year and a half) brand babbling CMO had to say,
"The cows are an integral part of the brand. They're our mascot, if you will. But they aren't the brand. The brand is bigger than that..."
To give you an idea of what this clueless goober has in mind for Chick-Fil-A, here's the witless trash from a brilliant "Cows-plus" marketing strategy (no, I'm not kidding) that he had some other agency do for Chick-Fil-A recently.

As usual, CMO's, in their arrogant egocentrism, have to screw with everything they didn't create.

Chick-Fil-A started as a tiny regional brand and is now the 8th largest restaurant chain in the U.S.

Despite having half the number of stores and being closed on Sundays, Chick-Fil-A outsells KFC by 50%. Its sales-per-store outperform industry leader McDonald's. It is by far the largest chicken chain in the country. Its sales have grown six-fold since 2000.

And it has done it with an advertising budget that is a fraction of KFC and McDonald's.

The account has gone to McCann in NYC. And what is McCann going to do with the "Eat Mor Chikin" campaign? According the president of McCann they have a "mission to bring that line to life."

No, Richards brought that line to life. Your mission is to keep from fucking it to death.

July 18, 2016

Tons Of Data And Not An Ounce Of Sense

One of the great advantages of online advertising is that it generates lots of very valuable data. This data helps us make excellent media and marketing decisions. Or so I'm told.

But I'm afraid I may be suffering from that ailment called "cognitive dissonance" because from what I can see we have lots of data about online advertising and we're making astoundingly dumb decisions.

Let me give you an example.

Google tells us that here in the U.S. the average click rate for an online banner ad is about .07%. That means for every 10,000 ads we run we get 7 clicks. This is beyond alarming.

But we also know that about half of those clicks are accidental. So that gets us down to 3.5 real clicks per 10,000 ads served.

Then we have to account for fraud. Now nobody knows how much click fraud there is, but there is responsible research that estimates it as high as 90%. I'm frankly skeptical that it's that high, but I think most knowledgeable people agree that it's probably no less than 35%. So let's go with that more conservative number.

Now we're down to an effective click rate of about .02%.

Since all the amazing data we have at our fingertips has allowed us to target only highly worthwhile consumers, we can assume that those 2 people we have induced to click with our "precisely targeted" compelling message are really valuable to us.

But wait a second...

We also know that 85% of clicks are generated by 8% of the population. The probability of inducing a click is not so much related to the preciseness of our targeting or the relevance of our message, it is related to the likelihood of having reached a click maniac.

So it's unlikely that the two measly legitimate clicks we're getting are even prospects.

Am I crazy? Because it seems to me that every bit of precious data we have about display advertising tells us that it's a complete and utter joke. And yet every year we increase our spending by double digits.

As far as I can tell, we have tons of data and not an ounce of fucking sense.

July 11, 2016

Revenge Of The Philistines

"The snottiness of believing that creativity just resides in the creative department of traditional agencies, that media people can't be creative, or data people can't be or people who do healthcare or promotion or CRM can't be creative – it's a nonsense and it's insulting to the people who are in those areas." -- Martin Sorrell in WARC
There is no one who has ever made more money from the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

There is no one who has ever had more influence on the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

And there is no one who has ever done more damage to the advertising business than Martin Sorrell.

Martin Sorrell is to advertising what McDonald's is to food. He demonstrates no appreciation for the art, quality or grace of it. His only interest is in making it lay more golden egg mcmuffins.

You can see his subtle duplicity in the quote above. He pretends that because we call a certain department the "creative department" that we are disdainful or unappreciative of contributions from others. This is utter bulllshit.

In the advertising business the word creative has two meanings.

First, is its usual meaning -- imaginative.

Second, is the meaning that is specific to advertising, as in "the creative department." This means the department that makes the ads.

Sorrell pretends he doesn't know this. He pretends he doesn't know that in ad language "creative department" means the department that makes the ads. It does not mean the only place where creativity resides.

He pretends that in the ad business the people in the creative department think they have a monopoly on creative thinking. Pure trash.

Every endeavor can be improved by creative thinking. Creativity is a way of thinking, not a department.

As a teenager I looked for ways to be more creative in the way I placed plastic bags over mens' suits in my dad's dry cleaning store. And, believe me, the dry cleaning store did not have a creative department. 

But this does not mean that there is not a special meaning for the word "creativity "that is specific to the communication arts. This is the kind of creativity that makes music and art and literature and, yes, sometimes even advertising extraordinary and delightful.

Sure, the guy who printed the tickets to Hamlet, or sold the popcorn, or counted the proceeds may have found creative ways to do so. But he didn't write the fucking play.

To believe that doing a practical job in a creative manner, and creating something brilliantly unique from scratch are the same thing because they happen to share the word "creative" is the willful dissembling of someone with an axe to grind.

Creativity is a word that Sorrell and his ilk are trying very hard to dilute into meaninglessness. It doesn't fit into a world where the new gods of data and metrics are ascendant.

Before the accountants and their new gods can take their throne, the old god of "creativity" must first be pulverized and sprinkled lightly over everyone. 

This is just the crude posturing of an overfed philistine who has no respect for the talented people that are fleeing the industry he is single-handedly ruining.