Category Archives: Advertising

Will humility save The London Evening Standard?

The Guardian reports on the launch of  LES’s rebirth strategy. Will it work? I hope so. I love the fact that they have decided to be humble about it. I’m sure taking into account the decline the newspaper industry LES couldn’t afford to be arrogant with its re-launch, but this is a great example of a conventional institution showing that they genuinely care about the opinions of its audience.

granted touch

negative complacent


Whether it all comes off I think is entirely down to the ongoing editorial policy, but as I pointed out in a comment on my blog yesterday, listening to conversations, both external and internal (within your community) is a great way to ensure your content is relevant and continues to be so. Be guided by what conversations are taking place outside of your bubble, but also look at what is underneath your nose.

When we look at things like,, and (sorry!) Dell Ideastorm, these companies are tackling customer negativity head-on, solving problems in public and making the necessary changes in public too – customers can see that their complaints and problems are being dealt with.

Very few businesses are doing this, so it is exciting to see such a traditional company be very noble, nay humble.

Humility is a crucial aspect of this “new web” and one of (in my opinion anyway) Obama’s greatest qualities. He can openly acknowledge errors yet lose none of his authority.

“True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.”

I think we’d all do well to remember that! Humility is not a sign of weakness, quite the opposite in fact.


Audio still has it

Ferrari website
Steve dug this one out the other day and I was so impressed with the execution of the site, I just had to say something about it – especially as video seems to be the flavour “du jour”.

The Ferrari GT is the next new kid on the block and rather than do the usual visual preview, Ferrari have launched an audio-only website with a countdown timer on it, and the only thing that gives you any kind of teaser is a series of 4 incredibly emotive audio clips.

Congruity is what I am talking abut here and audio clips can achieve this much more than any visual stimulai because they set the imagination racing without visual restrictions and few people can argue how powerful that can be.

Congruity is the ability for people to mentally bridge gaps between words/sounds and images in order to understand a concept. Take, for example a Powerpoint presentation. A good presentation has a limited number of images that don’t on their own, make sense. The congruity comes when people listen to your words and see the images, put the two together and GET the concept you are talking about.

I’m not going to spoil the excitement so go here, click on the audio clips and close your eyes….listen to rumble of the starter motor as you start her up, the screaming V8 as she flies past you…

In-game ads – a sustainable business model?

So EA are to launch their first free online game with integrated ads.

But is this a sustainable business model? With games that make it big now costing several tens of millions (normally dollars), can a game contain so many ads and the advertiser achieve so much appropriate gamer engagement as to create value for each other?

TV learned very quickly that there is only so much you can cram into a small 1m 30sec ad break. As a result, there is only a finite level of revenue you can generate from any one show. Whilst technology (TiVo et al.) was a big driver for show sponsorship, this again shows that conventional ad revenue alone is not enough.

So how can games provide sufficient APPROPRIATE ad opportunities so as to ensure it does not a) interfere with the game itself and b) provide value to the advertiser?

I can totally see how product placement could work. Cans of drink and foodstuffs would be visible within domestic environments. Billboard ads would be nothing more than digitised versions of their printed big brothers when outside, but how many billboards exist in space? How can a fee-paying model be carried across so many different scenarios?

Is the target market for WW2 shoot-‘em up Brothers in Arms likely to appreciate an in-game ad for deodorant? Don’t think so.

What about Halo? What earthly brands would fit into that environment…come with me on a journey…

Over the speaker: "Master Chief…this is a warning message brought to you in association with Ford Motors – Driving you to Halo and back. You are surrounded by aliens, why not use your Rentokill rocket launcher which kills so much more than weeds".


Marine: Master Chief, Sgt. Honda Civic has been hit in the shoulder. We have tried using standard military issue bandages to heal the wound but nothing beats the soothing effects of Elastoplast with its new thermal strip to keep injuries warm.

Master Chief: Soldiers, be brave, be men…be. Try the new fragrance by Tom Ford – Be Man.

Marine 2: But Master Chief, working in such difficult conditions does not call for an avantgarde, masculine, yet sensitive fragrance. You need Axe for men. Apparently it keeps you cool under all sorts of pressure.

OK, so this is just a bit of fun, but if nothing else, it makes one wonder how it is going to be possible to transfer over this ad-based model to all games.

This has got to be a niche market unless someone can shed some light on it for me?

Facebook’s missing ads – a user-based solution?

I think I am going to create a new category called "missing a trick", I seem to be posting a lot of stuff there are the moment, but I am not sure if I will be quite so up my arse in 2008 as I was in 2007 ;-)

The problem

I have noticed on Facebook that despite creating social ads (depending on which side of the fence you sit), they do not seem to have adjusted their left-hand banner sizes to suit. See the picture below:

As a marketer, I look at the left-hand banner and think "professional, looks fairly good, fits the allocated space and has a fairly visible call-to-action".

I look on the right-hand side (of the above image) and ok, the "Sony Vaio for £23.45" is a dodgy-looking offer but it looks like a cheap, classified ad. There is a significant amount of white space that makes me think the advertiser is not capable of creating a professional-looking ad on the left – so why should I buy from them?

Social ads only allow for a 110px x 80px ad so does that mean that as Facebook users we end up paying more than the big brands for less ad space?

OK, you may rightly argue that the ad is centred vertically to the banner, but how shoddy does THAT look?

The solution

I see it being two-fold:

a) Provide a two-tier social ad system.

The current social ads remain as-is. Small, functional and low-budget.

The second-tier allows social ad users the opportunity to play with the "big-boys" and create a full-sized banner.

b) Allow social ads to integrate with other social ads.

Say I am promoting a sun-tan salon. Using the social ad system, why could I not share costs with another ASSOCIATED social advertiser who say, sells swimwear, moisturiser, holidays or whatever else is associated with sun-tan salons!

The keyword ad system already allows this kind of search so why not apply it to finding business partners too?

To avoid the inevitable "I paid, they got the click" argument, the partner who did not get the click receives a small % of commission from the partner who did.

Let’s say the partners split the cost of the 10p per click 50/50. The clicked-on partner pays the non-clicked partner .05p per click received (based on a recommended amount relative to the value paid of the click).

Because the clicked-on ad has a higher chance of earning sales revenue from their own website, the fee paid to the non-clicked partner is minimal compared to what they could receive in terms of sales or email sign-up etc.

OK, so it may be a mad-cap scheme full of holes and the current ad system is already pants, so why ad complexity that is simply not up to the job anyway, but more than anything – this allows the community to connect with itself to make money for itself using Facebook.