There has been a lot of talk about TV viewership declining in the last few years to people who come home and go on the internet all evening rather than watch the big 3 networks or cable on their couch. This isn’t a big deal for us consumers because we are just doing what we want, and chatting online with friends or blogging is better time spent than being a zombie in front of the TV. The thing is, the networks are really worried that they might loose those advertisers who pay up to 350K (on big events like the Oscars) per 30 second spot for TV commercials if they can’t prove that as many people are watching. They might have to sell an oscar commerical spot for a discounted 300K instead, and that is revenue loss.
Revenue Loss Bad! Revenue Gain Good! Grumbles the cave man CEO.
They are trying to prove that people watch their shows online and go to their web sites and all kinds of stuff, but the truth is that we are in an age where consumers determine what we want to do for entertainment, the networks do not. And even more than that, the advertisers do not. We will ignore millions of dollars of ad placement for a Friday night new movie in theaters, in favor of going online for a WoW match which did $0 in advertising. This pisses big companies off. They no longer have a reliable model for getting people to see, recognize, remember, buy and prefer their product anymore. Any shakeup in their billion dollar system that may make their quarterly return to shareholders less than anticipated will get people fired, will get people promoted and get more money spent. So, as someone who realizes that media planning is more fragmented than ever before and that demographics of each of your emerging properties changes monthly, I realize that there is a huge opportunity here to reformulate things more efficiently and make advertising a lot more relevant. But that probably won’t happen. We will probably still see ads plastered on non-relevant things, at un-relevant times and continue to forget them immediatley.
I always love new stuff. (I can’t always afford to be buying new stuff, but that is beside the point.) And I can’t decide if it’s the discovery type kid in me or the marketer in me that goes “oooohhhh neat!” when I discover new cool stuff that I like. (and there is plenty that is new that I don’t like too.) Springwise is a newsletter that gives me updates to everything their spring spotters network finds. Some weeks its a hit and others its a miss with the newsletter but this week there were a few hits:
New women’s targeted drink from Heineken: Charli. It is a cider, which I liked a lot before I could stand beer, and its in a lot more girly of a bottle. (or unisex)
And a new company called Halfshare that offers fractional ownership of second homes to share the investment risk and the reward.
I was reading an article today that cites that 80% of people know what a blog is and of that 80%, 50% (40% of the total) of them read them regularly. This was a survey of 1,000 people by Marketing Daily. It suprises me because a lot of what the web has produced as “the next big thing” over the past 5 years hasn’t lasted long. Remember Plaxo? Podcasting? RSS? Bloglines? PubSub? Furl? All these things had big buzz and we were sure that they would change our lives like Flickr did. They all still exist today in some form, some are very utilitarian like RSS which is still very important, but it didn’t change things like we thought. Blogging has changed what we read on the internet. It has allowed ordinary people to publish their views and information and compete in a relativley flat world with huge media companies. Never has this happened before. I think that newspapers and traditional media outlets are still utimatley more valuable as news sources though, because they have the staff to research, travel and report firsthand on news. All of us bloggers have an even playing field in the publishing side, but not the reporting yet. That is still something best done by the original reporters who become the source for news.
A friend of mine is changing careers and is interested in fufilling her dreams of being a writer. She has been attending a writers circle group every week that gives her feedback on her work and she really likes it. I am not as talented as she is, but even someone like me has interest in improving my writing and getting new ideas and feedback. These groups are great for networking as well. There are online versions of these round table writing groups too. The writer’s circle at http://www.mywriterscircle.com/ has been going since 2005 and has thousands of members online. I am going to take a look and see if there is anything on the bulletin board that is a help to me too.
I was on LOL Cats, I can has cheezburger today. (chekin out my katz) And saw a little shiny widget showing how many people were on the site at that moment. It was like 1,700. Crazy, no wonder the download time is so slow! Well it is from a site new site that has a fun interactive tracker that shows this information for free. How companies can get the server space and bandwith to offer these little analytics packages is unknown to me. (why do analytics companies charge so much? soon we will all be analytics experts) So if you go to http://whos.amung.us and add your site, choose your colors and paste into the sidebar of your site or blog you can see how many people are there at any one moment. Kool huh? Next they will be offering website builds and hosting for free too. (sarcasm)
The center for media research never dissapoints. They send over yummy morsels of data daily and the delectable tidbit yesterday was about back to college school shopping. Apparently “students and their parents will spend a combined average of $956.93 on back-to-college merchandise, up from last year’s $880.52, for a total of $47.3 billion gearing up for college“.
Woah! $956.93??? Who spends almost a thousand dollars on back to college or school? (unless you are buying a computer, of which you needed before school so it isn’t really a back to school item) This is in addition to tuition, room, books and board? Apparently I can never afford to have kids.
Back to College Products Purchase Plans
% of Respondents
Expected Expenditure 2007
School supplies (notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks)
Clothing and accessories (except shoes)
Electronics and computer related
Dorm or apartment furnishings
Source: NRF, August 2007
They list ipods, digital cameras and cell phones as tops on the list, but most of those things you should already have and aren’t really a back to school item. Boy am I glad I went to college in an era when no one had their own computer and you had to go to the lab to type your papers. Life was cheaper then. The most I got when I went off to college was some extra long college dorm bedding, a shower caddy, a few towels and a desk chair. If you wanted to use the phone each dorm had a land line you had to share with your roomate. I didn’t even have a TV, luckilly my roomates always did. I was impressed by cable. Today kids aren’t impressed unless you have 500 friends in your network. Boy how times have changed since 1995. Is it any wonder that I work in an industry and in a job that didn’t exist then?
I have a cold already! It isn’t even fall yet and I had the headache, sore throat, post nasal drip snot thing going on all week last week and this week I am coughing up a lung. I knew I was low on sleep and not really eating the best foods latley because I was low on cash, and sure enough there was a cold virus out there waiting for me on the train. Well maybe not the train. It is more likley the office. I have heard 5 other people coughing and clearing their throats this morning here, so its likley that I am not the only one with this latest greatest cold virus.
This particular strain started with 2 days of headaches which I didn’t think were illness at all. I thought they were from my dust allergy. Then it subsided a bit for a few days and then the throat started getting sore. Ewww. Next my coughing started because I had all this post nasal drip snot going on. I take allergy medications so my nose hasn’t been runny, but no one else here is blowing their nose either, so maybe this germ doesn’t have that symptom. I hope after my 7-10 days fighting this virus I have a better immunity this winter. I had 6 colds last year and it sucked hard. I was sick the majority of the time from October to March. I would have 2 weeks sick and then one week well and then 2 weeks sick again. It was an awful 2006-2007.
I am looking to be better prepared this year and avoid the colds more than catch them in 2007-2008. As far as curing the cold, no one has anything that really helps. Despite all the claims in the world, Claritin-D stops your nose from running, but the virus still needs it’s 7-10 days to be fought. Here are some ways I found in my searhc that should help prevent colds though. That seems to be the best thing I can find, or just never leave your house so you don’t get exposed to anything. It is said that these tips can reduce your colds from 8 a year to 3 per year. I certainly hope they help!
Here are five proven ways to reduce exposure to germs (cold viruses):
Switch day care: Using a day care where there are six or fewer children dramatically reduces germ contact.
Wash hands: Children and adults should wash hands at key moments — after nose-wiping, after diapering or toileting, before eating, and before preparing food.
Use instant hand sanitizers: A little dab will kill 99.99% of germs without any water or towels. The products use alcohol to destroy germs. They are an antiseptic, not an antibiotic, so resistance can’t develop.
Disinfect: Clean commonly touched surfaces (sink handles, sleeping mats) with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
Use paper towels instead of shared cloth towels.
Here are seven ways to support the immune system:
Avoid unnecessary antibiotics: The more people use antibiotics, the more likely they are to get sick with longer, more stubborn infections caused by more resistant organisms in the future.
Breastfeed: Breast milk is known to protect against respiratory tract infections, even years after breastfeeding is done. Kids who don’t breastfeed average five times more ear infections.
Avoid second-hand smoke: Keep as far away from it as possible! It is responsible for many health problems, including millions of colds.
Get enough sleep: Late bedtimes and poor sleep leave people vulnerable.
Drink water: Your body needs fluids for the immune system to function properly.
Eat yogurt: The beneficial bacteria in some active yogurt cultures help prevent colds.
Take zinc: Children and adults who are zinc-deficient get more infections and stay sick longer.
The blogging tips I was writing about from a Google talk have been really interesting. The second one I thought was a good thing was that he recommended using word press. I am glad I use them because they were smart building a lot of good usability and SEO features into the software. I also know that there are SEO plugins that help tag and gather meta data even further but that is only for self hosted blogs where you can upload those plugins yourself. My experiments with chicagoweekendfun.com have taught me a lot about SEO already. Blogging is a lot more difficult than sitting down to write every day. It takes some strategy and a lot of technical knowledge too.
I recently read the transcript from a Google Guy’s talk about SEO for blogs and it proved that although I do marketing (advertising) for a living, I din’t necessarily know a lot about SEO. One of the best takeaways from the talk was the idea of do you want to be notced by Google’s search engine and get bog? or do you want to do something cool and get noticed for it and then get noticed by Google’s search engine?
I would have thought it was to do something good for the search engines and then people will find you. Apparently it is the reverse. They are looking for things that people already like and read and that is what the algorithm factors for ranking sites are based on. Who knew? Well I guess I should find some more time to write some better posts then too.
I live in Chicago and it has been raining for the better part of the last 3 weeks. And the big storms that came through Chicago on Thursday took out the power of about 300,000 people in the area. I have many friends without power right now, and they say it will definitley be a week to fix most of it.
What is even worse than loosing power is loosing part of your home to flooding damage. I have heard about friends and neighbors who had just redone their basement with 30K worth of work and then it flooded and they lost it all. The insurance only covered 5K. That sucks. One way you can protect your basement is with a good sum pump and a backup sum pump with a generator in case your power goes out.
If you have done that then the last step is the B-Dry system especially if you have a french drain system. It is a patented sealing process with plastic polymers that has been used in thousands of homes to keep water out of your basement. With all these steps hopefully your basement will be protected no matter where you live.
Last year I had access to the preview DVDs that upfront media buyers get when they lock in their millions of dollars of ad buying in June for the fall season that started in September. I watched a lot of the shows and posted about them. Most I was not a fan of. Most of the new shows that started last fall were cancelled either immediatley or within a few months. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip only lasted till the end of the season because of the contract they had with Aaron Sorokin and a devoted high income audience. It has been canceled now too. I firmly believe that these expensive development projects for fall premier season son’t work about 85% of the time. Yet, the mid season replacements and oddball reality and game shows that they just launch mid year work about 75% of the time.
That success rate would lead me to run a network not on flagsips but on fun oddball stuff that appeals to the mainstream and is cheap to develop and promote. I am sure that 85% of the shows you see being advertised on TV, busses, billboards, Radio and the Internet will be gone by November. Its sad mostly for the actors, since many of them have to take this leap5 or 6 times before they get a series that sticks. And we all know what kind of a pyramid it is to climb if you are trying to make a living as an actor. I wish for their sake more of this was solid anc concrete. Like if a series is developed, it is committed to running all the way through. Rather than being yanked and more episodes of the singing bee are inserted there instead.
I was curious when Netflix said they had DVDs you could rent with these same pilot episodes on them that the big time media buyers get. Well I saw the first one the other day for Californication. with David Duchovny. We all loved him in the 90′s with the X-Files. So many of us were into him then. Somehow he has survived on doing voice overs for dog food comercials and a few odd movies inbetween. (his wife tea leoni works more than he does, although he does have kids that he is probably happy to spend time with rather than working all the time)
Californication isn’t really clear what it is about or what kind of show it wants to be. I was suprised that it seemed to just be a show about sex that this one guy was having. Do they think that many people are still in lust with a character from the 90′s that we would just tune into Showtime to watch him have sex like 7 times with toppless women in the pilot episode? Does this happen every week? Why would I watch a character I neither admire or identify with? Plainly I thought the show sucked. I almost couldn’t watch the entire thing. David Duchovny plays such an unlikable guy you don’t want to watch him. He is a self centered self loathing writer that just picks up any woman he wants and has sex with them. All the while his divorced/seperated ex shows up from time to time to scold him about how he isn’t a good man or father. This isn’t the guy you keep hanging on to, this is the guy you walk away from and never speak to again if it’s reality. And of course he has all this carefree fantastic sex without stds, without cervical cancer, and without any regrets. I’d call it womanizing, but the women are just as frivoulous about it regardless of the danger and enjoy showing off their boobs the whole time. I did learn though a lot about other women’s boobs that I didn’t need to know.
So in summary, watch Californication if you want to watch a soft porn show with gratouitous sex and a completley unlikable character. I expect this series to last longer than most because it is on cable, but maybe till December at best. Weeds is about 100 times better.
I was shopping the other day at the State Street Macy’s store (formerly Marshall Fields) and saw all the Martha Stewart products that they are carrying now. I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the materials and the designs were just ok, and not as fabulous as you would expect from Martha Stewart, but I found out something interesting while talking to one of the sales people. They said that Martha Stewart was commissioned to do the Marshall Field’s Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room this year. She mentioned it because the Christmas department of Macy’s was being unpacked right now and they expected it to be open to the public by September. Then in November they have an official Walnut Room Christmas tree lighting ceremony the week before Thanksgiving in November and Martha Stewart is supposed to be the guest of honor and light the tree. I think she must be doing ornaments and tree decorating designs for all the Macy’s stores, but it is nice that Martha will fly all the way out here for the ceremony at Macy’s. I wasn’t to keen on her housewares, kitchen utensils or bedding linnens this time, but I am hopeful that she will do some vintage beautiful designs for the enormous Walnut Room tree.
Marshall Field’s Walnut Room has been a tradition for many families for years. Macy’s was nice and left it pretty much the same when they bought the store and you can still see the giant tree in the middle of the room. The Walnut Room is a nice restaurant (with wood paneled walls of course) in the middle of the department store. It is on the 7th floor, on the opposite side of the food court. There you can take a break from your shopping trip and have an elegant lunch or dinner in their dining room. They have a lot of favorites there that have been on the menu for years. For the Holidays and Christmas they take the tables out of the center under the 3 story cathedral celing and assemble a giant 3 story tree. Then a special designer like (Martha Stewart in 2007) is asked to decorate it with custom designed ornaments specially for Marshall Fields and now Macy’s. You can buy the special ornaments too to take home for your tree. The last ones done for Marshall Fields in 2005 were from Swarofski and I bought one because it was the last year we would see the tree as Marshall Fields. Last year was the first year the Walnut Room was open with Macy’s ownership and we went and it was nice. Wedgewood china was the designer of the tree last year in 2006. The entire tree sparkled with twinkling lights and had light baby blue and white ornaments on all the branches. The dining experience at the Walnut Room hasn’t changed much, it was still good. I recommend the pot pie and the Pointsettia drink. (champaigne and cranberry juice) The service is good and the prices are reasonable considering this is downtown Chicago on State Street.
I got a cat about a month ago and his favorite toy is these sparkle balls. They don’t have any catnip in them, but they are light weight and easy to carry in a cat’s fangy little teeth because they are plush. The problem has been that the ones you find at all the pet stores like petco and petsmart are only one inch wide and as your cat is playing they almost swallow it. (yes I have a big cat) So I saw them once in this two inch size and I have been hunting for them ever since. There is only one place on the internet that has them. PussyCatGalore.com and I wanted to share that since they are so hard to find. If your cat loves sparkle balls and you want to make sure they don’t get swallowed when you are not home, check out the 2 inch sparkle balls out at the Pussy Cat Galore site.
The center for media research had an interesting email with some data yesterday about how women spend their money on clothing and accessories and the 4 archetypes of women shoppers by demographics. I found this interesting both as a marketing tool and looking at myself. I would have thought I was in the most conservative category (content responsibles), but my need to try new things before others to be in the know drives me into the natural hybrids category. Grr… no wonder I am always worried about money, I am always buying things and spending it. Need to reel in my spending a bit.
They say“According to a new online survey of over 3,000 women, ages 18-49, by AMP Agency, how a woman approaches shopping does not change as she grows older, shifts from life stage to life stage, moves from region to region, has children, or moves income brackets. A woman’s approach to shopping is very much part of who she is: “it is part of her DNA.”
The Content Responsibles (Practical, Loyal, Efficient)
The Natural Hybrids (Confident, Balanced, Classic)
The Social Catalysts (Social, Smart, Trendy)
The Cultural Artists (Creative, Impulsive, Adventurous)
It was also interesting to look at how much these groups spend both per person and per total as a target market each year on buying things.
Social Catalysts: 24 Million / Spending $153 Billion – A Social Catalyst $6,035 Annually
Natural Hybrids: 23 Million / Spending $133 Billion – A Natural Hybrid $5,383 Annually
Content Responsibles: 13.5 Million / Spending $70 Billion – A Content Responsible $4,778 Annually
Cultural Artists: 7.5 Million / Spending $62 Billion – A Cultural Artist will spend an average of $7,672 annually
Total: 67,560,586 Million / Spending $ 417,747,533,559 Billion