Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Corporation

captain_renault The mega-marketing platform known as the National Football League is taking some heat for its employment (Captain Renault is shocked!) of violent people.

The NFL’s hypocrisy, meanwhile, is a mere grain of sand compared to that of its sponsors. To wit:

“The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish.”

Thank you, sugar-water pusher!

“We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code.”

That’s Budweiser talking.

“As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable.”

Yes, make-up is all about empowerment and equality.

“McDonald’s is a family brand.”

The only howler bigger than these shameless lies about corporate values is the suggestion that any of these capitalist behemoths might ever refrain from availing themselves of the NFL’s services as an eyeballs-and-eardrums rancher.

Share Button

More Good Marketing News

tv-piranha-image Per Ad Age:

Some in the media business worried that the troubles at Nickelodeon were a warning sign that today’s digitally wired children would never grow into traditional television watchers.

“There were a lot of people who legitimately believed that it was over for kids’ television — Nick in particular and TV more broadly,” said Brian Wieser, a media analyst with Pivotal Research. “But no good evidence suggests that there was a meaningful decline in total kids’ consumption of television.”

Despite the concerns, children today are watching more television on a traditional television set than they did five years ago. Children ages 2 to 11 now spend an average of 111 hours, 47 minutes a month watching traditional television, according to Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report for the first quarter of 2014.

That is up from the average of 108 hours, 45 minutes a month children in that age group spent watching traditional television in 2009.

This advance, of course, comes on top of the even faster rise of tablets, etc.

Share Button

FCC Surpasses Orwell

orwell-truth Zerobama promised his suckers constituents net neutrality. They are getting the exact usual. Per The Wall Street Journal:

The Federal Communications Commission advanced new Internet rules that would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down websites, but allow them to strike deals with content companies for preferential treatment.

So, those who own the roads can’t slow somebody down, but can sell access to faster routes? Only in America, folks, does such blatant DoubleThink get reported straight out, without the slightest snicker or blush.

Of course, how do Comcast and its soon-to-be-acquired “rivals” own the road? Graft, pure and plain.

And check out the ultimate Obamian trick the FCC is now using to finish sealing the deal:

The broadband providers have signaled that they can live with Mr. Wheeler’s approach as drafted.

Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn joined Mr. Wheeler in voting to advance the notice of proposed rule-making, which will now be open to public comment for 60 days, followed by another 60 days for replies.

Observers expect unprecedented engagement during the comment period, but it remains to be seen how much the final proposal shifts from what Mr. Wheeler has already proposed. Mr. Wheeler’s proposal assumes a strong FCC would aggressively police deals between providers and content companies.

Yes, it certainly does remain to be seen. Any wagers?

Meanwhile, here’s what the WSJ says about the Democratic Party:

Democrats are largely in favor of net neutrality but still divided on the best approach, with a few favoring reclassification and others still on the fence. Mr. Wheeler’s approach also has found favor with some Democrats who worry reclassification would kill investment in broadband deployment.

Translation? Five words: “The Democrats oppose net neutrality.”

Share Button

A Needle from the Haystack

Guess what. There is one actual journalist working in the United States! Who’d have thunk it?

Logically and probably necessarily, he is based in the epicenter of imperial decline, Detroit, Michigan.

In any event, check it out, and compare this with what passes for reporting in every other outlet, where brains, real questions, and major non-elite topics are banned:

Share Button

How Irrelevance Serves Monopoly

In the United States, our overclass has used its ownership of politics to prevent serious regulation of communications infrastructure, to say nothing of public ownership. As a natural result, we get the highest prices and worst services in the supposedly developed world.

Of course, a small part of the gargantuan cash geysers the overclass reaps from such a sweetheart set-up is used in marketing the overpriced, inferior products underlying its profit ranches.

Having no rational product differences or genuine technological breakthroughs to describe, such marketing is always mere empty manipulation.

Consider this perhaps familiar example:

How, one might wonder, could such unfunny and ham-handed irrelevancies be profitable to AT&T? What’s the business rationale? Is AT&T stoned?

Turns out, as always, not in the least.

Per an Ad Age story titled “How Big Data Shapes AT&T’s Advertising Creative,” there’s rather rigorous method to the apparent superfluity:

It’s Not Complicated” may have been its name, but the insights that drove one of AT&T’s most successful ad campaigns ever were based on a massive three-year big-data project that was plenty complex.

The campaign featuring comedian Beck Bennett and little kids in a classroom was the product of a three-year project. It involved an analysis of 40 copy-test variables and tagging 370 AT&T and competitive wireless communications ads on everything from the type of humor used and how characters interact to type of storyline.

The BBDO-created campaign that resulted from the analysis generated an additional $50 million in sales in AT&T’s estimation, said Greg Pharo, director-market research and analysis for the telecom in a presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference in New York today.

Here’s how that happens, per Ad Age‘s report:

Mr. Pharo and AT&T Senior Data Scientist Damon Samuel, who made the switch from working on the telecom company’s marketing-mix analytics team to working on the project, delved into sometimes surprising details about what works and what doesn’t in their ads and those of rivals. Among the lessons:

-Ads with storylines are very effective

-Informative demonstrations boost ad performance

-Simple outperforms complicated

-Slice-of-life and transactional or promotional ads can both work

-Humor is effective at driving recall, brand favorability and likeability, but not all types of humor are equal

-Character interaction matters a lot

Of course, some of those lessons have guided TV advertising since Mrs. Olsen was pouring coffee for Procter & Gamble Co. and Folgers in the 1960s. But AT&T’s analysis has helped delve deeper into exactly how elements work, particularly humor.

The team, along with its market-research shop Added Value, painstakingly code commercials for such things as the type of humor. And they found, according to Mr. Pharo, that ads featuring humor deemed clever, sarcastic or snarky tend to outperform ads with silly humor (though Mr. Samuel noted that ads with darkly sarcastic humor tend to underperform).

While ads with storylines do better generally, those with complex storylines, too many scenes or vignettes and complicated visual montages “underperformed very significantly,” Mr. Samuel said. “Thirty seconds is just not enough time to share all the story elements and come to a resolution.”

Particularly effective are ads with informative presentations when a character explains the benefits and presentation of a product, Mr. Pharo said.

While people demonstrating product benefits works, just showing phones and benefits, or what Mr. Samuel termed “phone porn,” doesn’t. At best, such primitive product demos drive a shift in the mix of handset types sold without increasing total sales.

The rewards for AT&T are substantial, Mr. Pharo said, with the project showing that 25% of AT&T’s total sales are driven by media advertising and 10% from TV alone. Creative quality and tonality rather than media weight or placement account for a third of TV ads’ impact.

Such are the building blocks of our market-totalitarian culture.

Share Button

Micro-Cosmos

science-equals-money So, to much fanfare, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is remaking Carl Sagan’s astronomy-and-a-bit-of-science TV show. Is television any way to learn science? Did Sagan’s Cosmos really turn anybody on who wasn’t already turned on, or about to be turned on? Is, as the Babysitter-in-Chief would have it, a passion for truth and bold thinking about new problems and limits really part of our national character at this point? Is it even tolerated, let alone promoted, by anybody in power?

Whatever your answers to these questions may be, ponder the more elementary fact that Tyson’s show is commercial, while Sagan’s was public. Hence, you have to wonder how much Tyson truly embodies his mentor’s spirit. Before giving up on PBS (not that it is anything like truly public), Tyson might have gone back and pondered the fact that Sagan fought an extended legal battle to prevent Apple from using his name to sell its products.

In any event, thanks to its commercialization, the first institutional task of the new Cosmos is greenwashing. In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss some of the details of what things like “the Chrysler Brand” gain from such campaigns. We’ll also keep notes on how the sponsors impose limits on what makes it into Tyson’s scripts. Don’t expect much fearless talk about the main tasks of science at this point in human history.

Share Button