Accessible and searchable should be part of profitable.

At what lengths will an agency go to spend a clients hard earned money. If you are Crispin Porter + Bogusky, to Greenland, Thailand and other far away places to make a spot called “Whopper Virgins.” The concept is brilliant- do the ultimate blind taste test, find people who’ve never eaten a hamburger, and may not even know the difference between McDonalds and Burger King.

So far so good. But then after a very expensive shoot, and a brilliant, entertaining short documentary, you fail to let the world find the site online as discussed in Ad Age:

…Whopper Virgins, its latest endeavor, may be the best yet… if you can find it.

The Whopper Virgins experience begins with a TV commercial with a brief teaser that directs you to WhopperVirgins.com. … it’s running heavily during weekend football games. Go to the site and you’re treated to a video of Burger King running a Whopper vs. Big Mac taste test with people in Romania, Thailand and Greenland who have never eaten a hamburger before. It’s poignant and amusing, if you can tolerate the implicit ethnocentrism.

What if you don’t remember the exact Web address and Google it? You still better remember the domain name. While whopperVirgins.com ranks first in Google for “whopper virgins,” it’s invisible when you omit the plural.

There are three areas of neglect here:

* The domain: WhopperVirgin.com is a parked domain filled with ads for Burger King store listings, Virgin Mobile gifts, Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Islands vacations and Virgin Mary checks.

* Search engine optimization: The microsite doesn’t appear on the first three pages of Google results for “whopper virgin” searches.

* Paid search: While reviewing Google’s listings over several days, there hasn’t been a search ad running on “whopper virgin” queries.

This is a major missed opportunity. Google Trends shows that recently, the volume of searches for the singular and plural versions have been nearly equal. “Whopper virgin” searchers must either go to an intermediary site or refine their search. Why can’t consumers ‘have it their way’ and get to Burger King’s site even if they’re off by a letter? This multimillion-dollar branding campaign could have covered all its bases with a $10,000 search marketing investment. As it stands now, Burger King risks frustrating consumers instead of serving up one whopper of a video.

Burger King’s Whopper of a Virginal Search Slip-up – Advertising Age – DigitalNext.

We’ve been preaching the same thing, ever since Crispin did the expensive “Manthem” spot. In fact, most ad agency sites are just as oblivious to both search and accessibility. Both of which should be critical to any client and their budget.

Before you approve a large web budget, you should first, try to google your agency. Go to www.google.com and type in: site:youragencyurl.tld like site:thenextwave.biz

If they don’t have more total results than we do, start wondering (especially if there are more than 2 commas in your budget). We’re happy to evaluate digital strategy for any one who is about to spend a gazillion dollars on an online based campaign like Whopper Virgins.

In case you want to see it- try it right here, instead of going to the site that does nothing for search.
http://www.whoppervirgins.com/

update- 2017- here’s the video from the flash site

Guerrilla ads for a guerrilla political campaign: how to wow on the cheap.

I’m not going to go Sun Tzu on you, but a guiding principle in warfare is to attack where your enemy is weakest. In judo, you try to make your weakness your strength. Political advertising may be one of the areas where this is toughest- since incumbency and large campaign chests are considered prime indicators of product value. Shrewd political contributors don’t give to longshots, they bet their dollars on who they think can win. It’s the nature of the game, and a very hard marketing battle.

Think of it as launching a challenger brand, with no money, no time, and a very absolute deadline to dominate the market (election day). Can you imagine Procter and Gamble launching a new detergent and having to have 51% of the market make a purchase in two months?

Here is our first shot at launching a local political activist into a National Congressional race. Please note, not only did the candidate star in the ad, he wrote it himself (unlike his competition) because of course, the candidate is the same person writing this post.

it is also available as a downloadable iPod version here: http://esrati.com/?p=490

One of the keys of viral marketing and leveraging your low budget campaign is getting others to talk about it- the “word of mouth” factor. You can’t count on this happening automatically. This is where your established network of customers can make or break you. First, you have to actively tell them that the campaign is out there. Digitally- this means sending e-mails, posting appropriate comments in appropriate places, and reaching out to people who think as you do. It used to be marketing to the influencer or early adopter- now, it’s to your social network either formal (Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace) or informal as I did. Here is what creative genius Ernie Schenck said about the spot:

Ernie Schenck Calls This Advertising?
Seriously, people, show me a spot in this already tired political year that comes close to this simple little gem from Dayton ad guy, David Esrati, and I will eat my moustache. Attention, candidates: A little imagination, a little self-deprectation and a little ability to lighten up can go a long way. The man ought to get elected on the spot alone. Nice work, Esrati.

A client, and really smart guy, Charles Halton posted on his Awilum site:

it’s the funniest political ad I have ever seen. If politics were more like this it would make election season actually fun!

Another client, who happens to be a member of the Democratic Underground site posted it here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=385×82652
which quickly became the highest click through on YouTube- even though the numbers are very low for what it has to do. (more…)

When it comes to search, great ads can't help.

Google doesn’t spend a lot on advertising, that’s what their competition does. Guess what? It doesn’t matter how much you spend if you are Yahoo, Microsoft or Ask.com, Google will continue to win.

But, kudos to Crispin Porter + Bogusky, they were able to bump Ask.com from a nobody to a better known nobody with their campaign (“Experience Instant Getification” and “The Algorithm”) more than any of the other also rans, up a whole one-tenth of a percentage point.

Guess Who Gained Search Share – Advertising Age – Digital
…scrappy little Ask was dropping millions on a high-profile, Crispin-designed ad campaign and telling everyone it had the best algorithm. So guess which company gained the most share in search this year. Yes, it was Google.

According to ComScore, Google’s share in January was 52.6%, and by October, the most recent month with available data, that number had climbed to 58.5%. Others peg its share as even bigger: Hitwise has it at 65.1% in November, up from 64.1% in January.

In the meantime, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL all lost share, and Ask was the only gainer, up one-tenth of a percentage point. (It’s not very likely, but things still could turn around in November and December, as those returns aren’t in yet.)

“Google has really become the verb of search,” said James Lamberti, senior VP at ComScore. “It’s a combination of viral and branding power.”

Pepsi vs. Coke
“If you did the equivalent of the Pepsi Challenge and had a blind taste test of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft results, I don’t think people would find Yahoo’s results are necessarily bad,” said Ellen Siminoff, CEO of Efficient Frontier, a search-marketing-technology company. “But it comes down to branding. Google has done a heck of a job continuing to build its brand.”

Absolute search numbers tell a different story. According to ComScore, only one search engine, AOL, declined in terms of total queries. Yahoo gained 5%, Google gained 37%, Microsoft sites gained 15% and Ask gained 24%.

So should marketers be worried? As the search category — estimated at $8 billion in 2007 by Forrester — becomes an increasingly important part of a marketing plan, the seeming consumer consolidation with one player arguably gives Google more control over the search experience.

“Marketers sure would like for someone to give Google a run for its money,” Ms. Siminoff said. “There’s lots of emotional support behind Microsoft and Yahoo.” But, she said, “marketers aren’t spending on Google because Google’s a nice guy but because Google works for them.”

It’s worth noting that the share gains didn’t manifest themselves only in consumer search-engine use. They carried over into ad spending. Efficient Frontier, which has $400 million under its management, said more than 73% of that went to Google in October of this year, up from 62% two years ago.

Looking for innovation
Google is not a monopoly — yet — but luckily for paid-search marketers, even if it were, price inflation is less likely thanks to Google’s market-driven, auction-based pricing.

“Marketers just want to see the innovation,” Mr. Lamberti said. “That’s why there’s buzz around Ask.”…

So even though Google spends less, their brand delivers more. Sounds like serious marketing judo doesn’t it. Here is the lesson to learn, and it applies to all those who want to effectively use Google to drive business to their site: in a land of similar products the only differentiation that you can control as marketer is the user experience – and that is what you should focus your marketing efforts on.

It’s why Apple is the only personal computing company that stands apart from the crowd; why no other online retailer has the customer base of Amazon and why Google is the winner in search. The focus is on the customer experience as much as the actual product. Google could have delivered banner ads- but at the expense of slowing the delivery of results. Amazon could have advertised, but instead chose to spend that money on free shipping. No matter what Crispin Porter + Bogusky does for ask.com, the problem is that search now depends on critical mass and massive investment on technology to refine results- and no one can catch up with Google.

Now, more than ever, there is a science to advertising: deliver answers instead of ads, experiences instead of excess,  and results instead of rhetoric. Everything can be tracked and measured either by clicks or by sales, so when looking at an ad agency to deliver customers via search, think twice about the creativity and look for the science behind the campaign. You’ve already found one agency that understands how to make this work or you wouldn’t be reading this.

We dare you to find another.

Dayton Business Journal charges $50 a month- for what the Dayton Daily News does free

P.T. Barnum famously said “there’s a sucker born every day” and that’s what the Dayton Business Journal must think when they sent out this e-mail solicitation:

Showcase your business on the Dayton Business Journal Business Directory for only $50 a month. We can immediately profile you in front of a local audience looking for your services.
Click here to start. Enter promo code DAY for discounted rate.
Try it for 3 months and cancel anytime afterwards if you wish.
If you have any questions at all please contact us at 800.617.9715 ext. 3.
Michael Powers
Sales Manager
DirectoryM
www.directorym.com

When you follow their link they tell you the following:

DirectoryM – Local Online Advertising
Subscription Listing – Single Region

Drive qualified traffic, buyer ready leads, and powerful brand affiliations through our partner network

  • Drive qualified traffic, buyer ready leads, and powerful brand affiliations through our partner network
  • You choose the category and the region and your listing will be featured on all of our partner sites
  • You will have a full color logo, 750 word profile, and 5 links to drive traffic
  • Three month minimum, cancel anytime thereafter

The Dayton Daily News is offering a free directory at Dayton B2B. There is no reason to pay for listings when you can generate your own traffic easily by understanding how customers search for your business.

Building a directory of all your peers and competition can have as much, or greater impact than any search engine optimization strategy. We’ve done that on our “Agencies that aren’t The Next Wave” page. You can also build a site that does well in search, with lots of pertinent, relevant and helpful content (much like the content on this site). So, before you decide to spend $50 a month on some directory listing (including phone books online or the Yellow Pages) consider spending $139 on our websitetology seminar which will show you how to make your site search centric for your customers.

Dayton Business Journal Book of Lists only has 12 Dayton Ad Agencies

Cover of the Dayton Business Journal Book of Lists 2007Claimed to be a “comprehensive directory of leading companies and organizations in the Dayton area” it only has 12 ad agencies listed.

Of course, they also have a party you can attend for being included- at $50 a head.

Dayton Business Journal:
Book of Lists Gala

When: Thursday, January 24, 2008 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Where: Schuster Performing Arts Center, 138 N. Main St., Dayton, Oh 45402

Let’s see, we have 124 ad agencies, marketing consultants and design firms listed on our Agencies that aren’t The Next Wave page, and then a good number of Columbus and Cincinnati ad agencies as well.

So if you are looking for a “comprehensive list of leading ad agencies in the Dayton Area- you’ve come to the right place. Not only is our list more complete and up-to-date, it has interactive links to the agencies so you can take a peek at the competition.

The Web 2.0 marketer: where every page is a home page

We teach a seminar called Websitetology to try to educate clients on web 2.0. We also teach a fair number of other ad agencies (even the local competition) because, well, that’s the kind of people we are.

One of the things we stress is that if you aren’t on the first page of Google you don’t exist, and that content drives traffic. Build valuable content and they will come.

Unfortunately, it’s falling on mostly dead ears. Even huge advertisers like Apple, Burger King and BMW don’t seem to understand how to port their marketing to the web properly. It’s not about how your site looks, especially your “home page”- it’s about the content on every page: every page is home for someone- about something.

So- it was good to see new media bigwigs Avenue A/Razorfish do a study to confirm what we already knew- excerpts from the Ad Age article follow- with a short primer on what we know works on the web:

Do Home Pages Have a Place in Web 2.0’s Future? – Advertising Age – Digital
Avenue A/Razorfish: Brands’ Main Sites Decline in Importance as Consumers’ Reliance on Search Grows
By Abbey Klaassen Published: October 01, 2007

Garrick Schmitt was sitting in a meeting, listening to a client talk about the need to make its website “Web 2.0-compliant,” complete with tag clouds and profile pages. “Tag clouds?” thought Mr. Schmitt, VP-user experience at Avenue A/Razorfish. “Really?”…

The request seemed curious to him — do that many people really use tag clouds that a brand marketer’s website needed to incorporate them? Surprisingly, he couldn’t find the answer to that question. So he decided to find out. (more…)