A FREE Ad School

Free is the most powerful word in advertising. Knowing good advertising from bad advertising is the most important skill in advertising. Because we can’t expect all of our clients to go to some expensive ad school and learn what works and what doesn’t, we thought we’d provide a free education for them, and also for the budding young professionals who we hope to employ some day.

This is the introduction. We released the first three episodes all at once, so once you finish this one, on to the next at the tail of the video.

If you enjoy it, please subscribe to the youtube channel. And, consider leaving some comments or questions below.
We’d love to know if you want some other materials to go along with each episode.

Bloomberg buys Superbowl :60 other candidates should learn from it

The New York Times reports that Michael Bloomberg is buying a :60 in the Superbowl to attack Trump, spending north of $10M. Trump may buy a :30. For some reason, politicians seem to shy away from the Superbowl:

But the Super Bowl ad is a show of financial force rarely seen in presidential politics. Though some campaigns have made local advertising buys during past Super Bowls, a national buy has often been out of reach, given the expense. It is also usually viewed as wasteful to pay to reach a 50-state audience rather than buying ads in the swing states where campaigns would prefer to target their message.

Source: Bloomberg Takes On Trump With a $10 Million Super Bowl Ad – The New York Times

But, here’s the reality, there is no better ad buy any national candidate could make. Here’s why:

  • It’s early, and first movers advantage applies. This sends a “Go big or go home” message to the rest of the field.
  • It reaches like no other ad buy. It’s the only place an ad buy can guarantee not only an audience, but a discussion the day after.
  • Contrary to Google and Facebook’s claims of being able to reach everyone that matters, there are still people offline, and even if you are online, it’s impossible to hit everyone at once with the same message to start buzz.
  • Thanks to Youtube and social sharing, the conversation can continue a long-time after the running of the single ad. People still talk about Apple’s 1984 which only ran officially once, during the Superbowl.
  • Because he’s the only challenger buying a spot (as far as we know) he’ll own the political discussion after the game.
  • He’s missed the debate stage. This clearly puts him in the mix.
  • Smart tracking of visitors to his site after the spot, should give him a huge base to remarket to.

The real question is who is doing the creative and while attacking Trump for :60 the real goal is to move people to back Bloomberg. Since he’s the only candidate not asking for money, how does he measure the conversions he’s getting for his money? Most American’s don’t donate, most don’t volunteer to work on campaigns. For a big data guy, you’d expect something more than just eyeballs and shares.

The other campaigns will all spend $10M on media. They’ll make Alphabet and Facebook money. They will only target voters in swing states and have custom messaging and all kinds of other tactical goals. The reality is, Bloomberg will have set off an atomic bomb of a message, and the rest will forever be looking at the shadow caused by the blast.

Your thoughts? Please leave in comments.



Your interface is your product

NY Times app gets 1 star reviews after interface change

Change the interface, change your rating.

The New York Times is a very good newspaper and for a long time, it’s digital product was outstanding. Then someone had the brilliant idea to change the way millions of readers had to navigate the news. Gone was swipe between stories or sections. Immediately, the app started to get 1 star ratings.

Apple carved out their niche from Microsoft early on by offering a consistent, easy to use graphical user interface. Every application behaved the same way for most functions. Command S always meant “Save” Command P was “Print” and they had “Save As” for making a duplicate version- that you could rename- until some genius thought this wasn’t needed since they’d added versions. As someone who uses documents as templates a lot- “save as” was a lot easier than “duplicate” then “rename” and then “Move to” but, alas, someone had a better idea.

Voice command is the big new thing. Talking to machines to get them to do things is all the rage, so imagine my confusion when all of a sudden my Google “Smart device” stopped shutting off the music when I said “OK Google, Off” and started saying “I’m sorry, this device doesn’t have power management tools.”

There are lots of examples of companies trying to retrain customers that may prove fatal in the long run. Apple can’t seem to understand that the new iPhones may be the fastest ever, with the longest battery life and the best cameras but, apparently either price, size or maybe the missing big button at the bottom may be changes that customers aren’t ready to accept.

When you train your customer to do things a certain way, make sure you have a very good reason before you change things, and that your customer knows why.

If there is one thing about business in the day of the internet, your competitors and their alternatives are only a google search away. Think through interface changes as carefully as you change prices, distribution, packaging, suppliers and materials. Because your product may now be your interface.