Yearly Archives: 2013

Art vs. Commerce

There is a new film – Wonderland – that features commercial directors talking about the difference between true creativity/art and commercial work. Bottom line from the film is that they find commercial work to be anything but artistic.

I have worked with a number of directors on commercials. Many of them went on to do feature films. Others were doing feature films when I started to work with them. From my experience, the best of these directors treat commercial film the same way they would treat an artistic film. The ones who didn’t did boring, lifeless commercial work. The ones who treated it as a piece of them and gave the endeavor their artistic soul always made better work.

Is a commercial work purely creative? NO, of course not. Many times in Wonderland they talk about the restrictions that clients and agency people put on the work. They talk about the money behind the work and how that affects it. Basically, they talk about how they can’t do whatever they want and how that differs greatly from artistic work where they decide what the subject and tone of the work is.

Having read both Coppola’s biography and numerous stories about Orson Wells and other film directors – I can tell you that projects with complete creative control do not always come out better than those where studios dictate a number of the decisions. Directors such as Woody Allen and Spielberg tend to have more control than other directors – and their films do feel more like art than some other films. But I am not convinced that having less control – they won’t make great work. They are great directors. They made great work when they had less control … they just didn’t like it as much. It is harder. It is frustrating. But if they didn’t make great work in the first place with studio collaboration, they would have never had the control the have now. So what comes first – the chicken or the egg?

It is easy to say that when it’s someone else’s idea, there is no art in it. Art comes from the heart and experience. It’s something that garners emotion from the viewer. Commercial work is not that different. … Commercial work comes from a brand heart. The experience is that of the brand and the creatives, while the emotion is felt by the consumer. And make no mistake – creating an emotional tie to a piece of work is extremely important for a brand. Without the emotion, there is no relationship with the brand. And that is basically what a brand is – the relationship with the consumer.

There is a reason why creative directors hire film directors to work on their commercial endeavors. They want art infused into their commercial piece. This is no easy task. The voice of the brand and the client are always repeating rules and strategies even in the most creative creative directors. There is no way around it. But when you add that voice of the artist to the project, you get a voice more concerned with the emotion than the voices in their heads. The best film directors will fight with the creative director to make that art. And the best creative directors will let go of some things and fight for others that he/she knows are necessary for the communication. In the end, the project will become a commerce/art collaboration.

Sometimes the balance goes more toward commerce and sometimes more toward art. Sometimes, the emotion that comes from the art transfers to the brand and sometimes the brand overshadows the emotion created by the art. The best of these collaborations gives you both a brand communication and emotion.

If you look at the two ads below, you will see both art and commerce in them. “Stiff Upper Lip” is as close to some modern art as you will ever get in a television ad. It is mysterious, weird, and definitely pulls different emotions from the viewer like any modern art piece. There are those who don’t understand it, those who love it and many who hate it … but they can’t stop looking at it. And I would say the commercial is art until the commerce ending. I would say the same for the POM Wonderful spot. If you turned off the sound and cut off the product at the end, it’s a very artful piece of film. The composition, beauty, interest and emotion are all there with a product at the end or not.

Also, the digital landscape has opened up the creative avenues tenfold. Think about it. … Now there are brand films where artists are asked to interpret the brand. They are given more freedom because the cost of such films is less and a certain freedom is expected on the Web that isn’t expected as much on television. And, of course, Web films need an authenticity to be shared – and that authenticity means more art than commerce.

Then there is the whole definition of what art is in the first place and how it came to be. Art from the beginning was not always meant to be art. As a form of expression, it has changed with the times. And often, great art was commissioned from great artists. How is getting a portrait of yourself painted different from having a commercial done for your brand? There are obviously rules for both subjects. The artist can’t paint a portrait of someone else when you paid for a portrait of YOU … although a portrait from Picasso might look like someone else – depending on your perspective. The beginnings of art come from telling a story, almost a journal, of early man’s adventures during hunting season 30,000 years ago. These early paintings on caves could well have been advertisements. “Check out Mogu. … He is best at finding meat. He has big weapons. He has a cool cave. Wild animals and women fall at his feet.” Painted by Gred. Gred lives outside Mogu’s cave on a rock. But he paints a mean story about Mogu.

The first artists lived by a set of rules as to how they painted subjects. When they broke those rules, then the needle of art moved. And along the timeline, more rules were broken and art moved again. This is very close to the commercial world, where the rules are continually broken and changing – especially with the advent of a digital landscape that continues to evolve commerce and art as well.

This excerpt says it all. …

“… the lessons of Egyptian art had not simply been discarded and thrown overboard. Greek artists still tried to make their figures as clear in outline as possible, and to include as much of their knowledge of the human body as would go into the picture without doing violence to its appearance. They still loved firm outlines and balanced design. They were far from trying to copy any casual glimpse of nature as they saw it. The old formula, the type of human form as it had developed in all these centuries, was still their starting point. Only they no longer considered it sacred in every detail.” – E.H. Gombrich, The Story of Art

That is what a great director does for a piece of commerce. They don’t regard a brand’s rules as sacred in every detail. They are still working from the strategy. They are still trying to get across the right message for the brand. … But the things you hold onto as sacred about your brand … are not in the mind of that director. If he’s good, he’ll try and get you to break some sacred cow that sits in your mind, grazing away at the grey matter. Once that happens – anything is possible. …


Mission accomplished — and forever remembered

It took but only a moment for me to firmly decide in Group Therapy that winter morning, after falling in love with everything the Foundation is and stands for (R&R romanced me hard that day),  that I would be headed to Nicaragua this summer, to assist on Project El Crucero. It would cost some money and some PTO, but all of that could be sorted out later. I realized that this was the opportunity I had been itching for, and I had to take it. In a few short months, I’d bust out of the confines of my comfort zone and do what I could to improve the quality of life for another, even if only in a small way.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 5.01.13 PMMy wildest expectations were surpassed this past June when a group of R&R employees and Friends of Tonner made the trip down to El Crucero, Nicaragua. For most of us, it was our first mission trip. We arrived to Managua hours after the sun had gone down, sweaty and tired, but ready. Our emotions ran the gamut: excited, nervous, anxious. But then, after 40 long minutes of curves and bumps and sweating on the ride up the mountain to El Crucero, we pulled up to the clinic on that first Sunday, and everything was peaceful, and right. Our hearts had led us to this point, and would lead us through it.

Our days were filled with small construction projects on the clinic itself, painting, making and sharing any kind of lunch we could with the food we had, kicking the soccer ball around, arts and crafts, and for the teens in the group (and Roy), leading many, many rounds of “Down By The Banks.”

IMG_7215On the off day we had from the clinic, we found ourselves really missing the kids. The lake was beautiful, the market was a blast (ask someone else on the trip if shopping with me is recommended or not), and the rest and relaxation was probably necessary. But it wasn’t the same as having one of the kids run and leap into your arms when you piled out of the van upon arriving at the clinic. Or the look in the eyes of the boy you gave a new pair of shoes. Or the mother who was in tears because all of her children were fed for a day.

They say 80% of communication is unspoken. None of us are fluent in Spanish, or even close, but conversation never ceased. We filled the holes in our dialogue with hugs, and smiles and laughs. I’ll say these were some of the most instantaneous, meaningful connections I’ve ever made.

Nica 210On the last day, we were able to leave everything we brought: the clothes we wore, the shoes off our feet. I experienced the single most touching moment of my life after giving my tennis shoes to a young teen boy who owned but only a single pair of shoes. They were black dress shoes, with the sole flapping as he walked. After I said, “para usted” to him and handed him the shoes, the look of gratitude on his face, the way he looked me directly in the eyes and said, “Thank you” in English, made me instantly tear up. I will never be eloquent enough to put into words the impact of that moment on me, and the others, as we gave our belongings away. If that were the only moment of the whole trip, it would have been worth it.

We pulled away from the clinic for the last time on Friday afternoon, with some of the kids chasing our van down the dirt drive. We had just held a BBQ for the families of the town, and said our long goodbyes. At dinner that night we reflected on the week as a whole, unanimously agreeing that it was life-changing. One thing is for certain, we’ll all be back next year.

We welcome and encourage you to consider this as part of your personal journey as well.


Politics and marketing make strange bedfellows

If you talk to any good creative they will tell you politics and good marketing don’t go together. They will tell you that there are too many formulas for political advertising … and that it is tough to be really creative. I have seen both sides. Some really creative political work; lots of formula work; and some really bad work (especially in the last election). And in my career, I have done all three. In the new movie NO, a desperate situation leads to creative marketing with almost a Pepsi-like political campaign. When Chile is faced with the daunting task of ousting its longtime leader, the powers that be decide they have to take risks. So, they do. And, surprise, it works. By taking risks, I mean treating the candidate or party like an agency would treat an actual brand. It doesn’t happen very often. Political marketing people think they are building a brand but, for the most part, they are just using formulas, like putting him or her with the family, showing them with the right peeps and reacting to what the other candidate or party does. And, of course, counting the lies. That is pretty much a proven route to at least a reasonably close campaign.

Obama did it right in his first election by creating the CHANGE brand. His platform was as intriguing as he was. The second time around, his brand was basically, I AM NOT ROMNEY. Which worked also because he was on the right side and he had very sophisticated polling methods. Sometimes that’s all you need. Well, that and a talking horse. You really can’t go wrong with a wealthy talking horse ad.

Ad So what about when brands pick sides? We just did a piece for our client (the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) that played off of the NSA controversy. The ad is featured here and did pretty well, garnering more than 10 times its cost in earned media. That is media earned from the publicity – not from paying to have something placed in media. Afterward, I listened to an interview with Stuart Elliott from The New York Times where he intimated that as long as it’s a one-time thing and Las Vegas doesn’t pick sides … it’s cute and fun. I may be putting words in his mouth, but he seemed to be saying that brands like Vegas can have fun with current events but not become an active part in them – at least a brand like Vegas.

At R&R, we pride ourselves on Building and Protecting the brands we work for. And there are no other agencies in the country that have a marketing arm and a political arm that are both successful in what they do to the level we are. But even around here, it’s an interesting argument. Can a brand pick a side on a public issue and ride with it … or is politics too serious and a brand like Vegas too fun? Will some of that serious issue taint the brand or will the issue turn and the brand suffer? Or are big issues just to negative and a brand like Vegas too positive? It usually makes for a really long meeting.

It’s a tough one. The truth of the Vegas brand is Adult Freedom. That is what led to What happens here, stays here® and most of what happens with the brand. That puts Vegas clearly on the side of privacy and all the freedoms that allows. Vegas is a place where you can do and be what you can’t at home – and no one will judge you. Seems pretty clear that Vegas is on the side against the NSA, whether it’s done in a fun way or a more serious way. Of course, the NSA has its own WHHSH aspects. I recently read a piece where a man tries to get a record of the information the NSA has on him through the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT. The NSA responded by telling him that they can’t send him that information because they can’t reveal that they have it. That would be a risk to national security. Vegas is kind of the same way … if you tell on one person, everyone is in danger.

Comedians don’t stop until it’s not funny anymore. I use The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as a measure of what still has play and what doesn’t. But you could really use any late night talk show. Or you could just do a Google search, watch the chatter on Twitter. There are a million ways to see if something is still a story. Later this month, the head of the NSA is speaking here … so really the story is just building and building. So there is still play in the NSA.

whathapOne of the tweets I continue to see on Twitter is “What happens in Vegas, stays in an NSA database.” This is being passed around continually. It might actually be gaining momentum as a tweet meme. And some would argue a tweet like that is dangerous to the LVCVA brand. Whether you like it or not, social media erodes What happens here, stays here. That’s why we came up with the #knowthecode campaign in the first place. With so much being shared online, the whole WHHSH claim seems suspect. Las Vegas has to protect that … R&R has to protect that. But is there a cost to going too far in the real world versus the marketing world? Or is there any difference anymore? Has the social media world brought the two so close together that there are fewer lines between them? And is there a danger of a brand looking like it is taking itself too seriously

This isn’t really new. We have done this sort of thing before. When Biden said something he shouldn’t have, we commented. When Obama said something detrimental about Vegas, we shot back. We defended Prince Harry. But we didn’t go too far. We stayed in the brand’s voice and made it a short blast and not a continued effort. And we aren’t the only people doing it. A lingerie brand played off the NSA thing with a message to Snowden … again, pretty much a one-time shot. And a number of brands are defending the LGBT issues in this country … Oreo has done a fantastic job of this.

And in Brazil, protesters are picking and choosing brands to use against the government by their slogans. “Come to the street,” a Fiat slogan used to celebrate the Confederations Cup soccer championship, and “The Giant woke up,” a slogan for Johnnie Walker in Brazil, have both been seen on signs and on Twitter.

What if we do go too far? I guess there is always the danger of going so far that we are all arrested and put in a very dark cell where no one will ever find us. It would be hard to put the whole city of Vegas in such a cell, but certain R&R folk could disappear and no one would be the wiser. I am always looking over my shoulder. Then there is the danger of Vegas seeming un-American. What is more American than total self-gratification for a weekend? Nothing. I know this from personal experience as an American who does a lot of selfing. And there is the risk of losing U.S. government conventions and meetings that are held here. Nah … politicians enjoy selfing way too much.

I would love your opinion on this. Are brands separate from the issues of the people? Is there a responsibility to become part of the conversation? Is it dangerous for a brand to speak too loudly on an issue even if it fits the truth of that brand? Let me know … I am listening.

This message was brought to you by THE COMMITTEE FOR A FREE LAS VEGAS.

Contemplating my 59th birthday at the Electric Daisy Carnival

If you know what the Electric Daisy Carnival is, skip this paragraph.  I’m going to use it to bring those unaware of all things EDC up to speed. I’ll meet you in a hundred words or so.  For those who don’t know, the Electric Daisy Carnival is, as far as I know, the largest gathering of electronic dance music (EDM) fans and artists in the country, probably the world.  For three consecutive nights in June, 115,000 people gather in the infield of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to dance, jump up and down, wander around and listen to more than 200 acts spread out over seven stages.  There are also a bunch of carnival rides, art installations and hundreds of actors roaming the grounds wearing incredible costumes, many of them riding on amazing contraptions.

edctopLast weekend, I was there for two of EDC’s three nights.  At this point, it’s appropriate to mention that I am 58 years old, which undoubtedly begs the question: What am I doing out there in the infield of a race track in the middle of the night with 115,000 people – most of whom are one-third to one-half my age – listening to the likes of Nicky Romero, Fake Blood, Dirty South, Destructo, Avicii, John Digweed and Tiesto?

Valid question.  There are a couple of reasons.  First, I am actually a fan of EDM.  Not every genre (and there are many genres.  If you don’t believe me, just search “EDM genres”), but I like a lot of it.  I listen to BPM and Electric Area on Sirius and my oldest son has actually been a DJ (mostly house music) for the last 12 years or so. I certainly don’t qualify as an expert, but I’m not a neophyte.

EDCI also enjoy new and distinctive experiences.  When something as big, overblown and bombastic as EDC is occurring literally 40 minutes from my front door, I’m going out of pure curiosity if for no other reason. In truth, curiosity is what brought me to my first EDC for one night in 2012.  I had so much fun, I returned this year for two.

So, what’s it like?  Big, overblown and bombastic.  What struck me the most was the sheer size and scale of it.  Most don’t realize how big the infield of a mile-and-a-half racetrack is – and EDC fills it.  Look at it this way.  The main stage, called Kinetic Field, was expanded this year to a capacity of 80,000.  One stage.  There are six others. Plus the carnival rides.  Plus the art installations.  Plus 115,000 people.  It’s big.  And in the course of a night, as you move from stage to stage, you do a lot of walking, mostly on concrete and dirt, and not a lot of sitting down.  Throw in dancing and jumping up and down, and it can be physically taxing.

imagexBut the fun never stops.  At EDC the music and the activity are constant. The stages are divided, for the most part, by genre: dubstep, drum & bass and other heavier stuff at the BassPod; clubby, danceable house and techno in the Circuit Grounds; harder, more aggressive techno (the kind that drills a hole in your chest) at BassCon; slower, more minimal and rhythmic stuff in the Neon Garden; a little bit of everything at the Cosmic Meadows; and the big guys – the Tiestos, Sander Van Doorns and Calvin Harrises – playing for crowds of 50,000 or more at Kinetic Field.  If you don’t like what you’re hearing at any given stage, there are six others going at the same time, all night long.  Off you go.

Yet still you might say, as many have, “You’re 58. Aren’t you just a bit… past that?”

EDC2I hope not.  First, let me say that the promoters of the event have done an amazing job.  Considering they are literally creating a throbbing, dancing city of 115,000 people crammed into one place for 10 hours a night, EDC runs like clockwork.  The sound and the lights at every stage are impeccable. The DJs start and finish on schedule. There are friendly, non-aggressive staff people everywhere to help with everything.  The police are cool. The medical personnel are professional and efficient.  And there are more Porta-Johns than I’ve seen at any event in my life. Not an insignificant detail. They’ve even addressed some of the parking and traffic issues that plagued them in previous years. There is nothing about it that isn’t professional and well managed.

imageWhich leaves the crowd.  I’ve been in crowds this large many times.  Led Zeppelin shows, rock festivals, NASCAR races, Superbowls, The Bay-to-Breakers. Never had any real problems. But I can say that the EDC crowd is the mellowest, friendliest, least aggressive group of 100,000 I’ve ever been a part of.  They smile, they laugh, they dance, and they take care of – and look out for- one another.  In two nights, I never saw a single person having harsh words with another, let alone a fight or any other nastiness.  Can’t say the same for many of the football games or rock shows I’ve attended (I once witnessed a fist fight between a guy and a girl at a System of a Down show at the Hard Rock. The girl beat the crap out of him. Female System of a Down fans are tough.).

The memorable thing about attending EDC was that many of them seemed genuinely amused by my presence.  I’m not saying I was the only person my age out there, but there weren’t many.  Still, I must have been asked more than a hundred times if I was having fun.  People smiled, offered me ice for the back of my neck (I declined), complimented my Daft Punk t-shirt and gave me a bunch of good old-fashioned high-fives.  It was as if I was some kind of old-guy mascot who had joined their tribe for the weekend. I felt absolutely no negativity. They were glad I was there to experience their music and they really wanted me to have a good time.  It was gratifying, in a neon bracelet, furry boots kind of way.

Of course, I did make some concessions to age.  The event lasts until 5:30 each morning.  I never got near that.  Bailed at midnight on Friday and 2:30 am on Saturday.  22-year-olds can go three days without sleep.  Not me.  But I did have a great time and have every intention of returning next year for EDC 2014.  I’ll be a few months from my 60th birthday then.  Maybe I’ll celebrate by going all three nights. Assuming I can find a way to get enough sleep.

Why Brands Should Start Swinging with Vine

Currently, 87% of U.S. marketers are using video as means of content marketing. And in the next five years, mobile video is expected to present 66% of global mobile data traffic, so it’s only natural to expand our platforms to include mobile.

So, what is Vine?

Vine is a mobile app from Twitter that allows you to create GIF-like looping videos with audio – similar to Instagram – but with video. By setting limitations of six seconds of footage and character limit of 140, Vine inspires creativity in clearly communicating a message in an ephemeral video. Since its launch in January, Vine has been topping this list of free iPhone apps in the app store.

Here’s a great post from Mashable on how to use Vine to create and share videos.

How is Vine being used now?

Both brands and celebrities have been using Vine as a platform for engagement. Recording artist Jason Derulo used Vine to promote his new single, “The Other Side,” encouraging fans to create Vines using clips of the song (provided on his site) and upload them using the hashtag #TheOtherSide. The best clips will then be loaded into a special fan video for the song.

Last month, Vine launched trending hashtags, making exploration of content even easier. Trending hashtags display to users the Vines that are rising the fastest in popularity, not just the most popular overall.

How should you use Vine?

Before you begin Vining for your brand, a clear objective for your video is key. Here are 3 important things to remember:

1)     Have only ONE message to get across. Attempting to employ multiple messages will make the video choppy, messy, and confusing to the viewer.

2)     Make sure your description is clearly stated in one concise sentence, covering what you hope viewers will get from your vine.

3)     Keep it simple and most importantly, have fun!

From a brand perspective, Vine is a great app for visual storytelling that adds value to the brand. If executed correctly, a brand’s Vine will contain the simple core message in a visual manner that will result in high consumption. Here is a great example from Gap:

What shoes do you plan to wear with The 1969 Skimmer? #gap #denimevolved

There are many ways for brands to use Vine, such as:

–          Engage followers in conversation

–          Feature brand supporters/ambassadors

–          Promote work for a client

–          Excite followers about a new product

–          Educate

–          Amuse

–          Tell the brand’s story

–          Advertise or host a contest

How can you measure Vine activity?

Concerned about analytics? Rest assured, there are already companies out there tracking stats for Vines. Simply Measured offers free Vine analytics (for Twitter accounts with up to 10,000 followers) that tracks the popularity of your Vine account.

So how do you plan on using Vine for your clients?

UK Television Marketplace

Recently the LVCVA launched their new ad campaign in the UK, telling Brits to leave their stiff upper lip at home and come to Las Vegas. Here’s the video

As part of the plan, the LVCVA was able to enter back into the TV marketplace after 5+ years.  Through the planning process, we learned that the UK TV marketplace has some nuances to keep in mind when planning/buying. 

Some major differences:

  • The UK has a dominant state broadcaster, the BBC.  It draws large viewership, but they do not allow any advertising.
  • It is not unusual for some high-profile programs to deliver ratings in the 20+ range!
  • TV is reconcilable – if a program over-delivers in rating, advertiser pays the difference

              If The X Factor is forecasted to deliver 29 TVRs (same as TRPs in the US), and it delivers 36 TVRs, advertiser owes the network.
              If Coronation Street is forecasted to deliver 15 TVRs, but only delivers 12, network owes the advertiser 3 ratings

Some similarities:

  • There are both “Terrestrial” and “Multichannel” buying options:

          Terrestrial – similar to the major broadcasters in the US (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC), their major broadcasters are ITV1, Channel 4, Five and ITV Breakfast

           ITV Breakfast is similar to the morning show daypart in the US (Today Show, GMA, etc.) but for whatever reason, the government thought there was going to be corruption when they started selling this, so it is its own separate entity.

            Multichannel – the equivalent of cable TV.  Like the US, there are a multitude of channels to pick from and many fall under larger saleshouses. 

            For instance, Sky Media owns Sky 1, FX, E!, Comedy Central, Style, Vh1, etc.

  • Like the US, share has been shifting from terrestrial to multichannel
  • TV generally skews female, old and lower income; however buying on certain multichannel networks allows for more refined targeting
  • Networks are motivated primarily by share-of-revenue, volume is less important

Unique Utilizations of Print

Print is one of the oldest forms of marketing, but it still has many useful aspects that keep it a valuable source of advertisement.

Print is often overshadowed by high-tech forms of media, such as broadcast and the Internet.  These outlets are constrained by the availability of computers and televisions, which in some parts of the world may be limited. In areas where broadcasting or digital media is unavailable, print becomes valuable in marketing.

Print also allows marketers to relay more information than broadcasting. For example, Gatorade utilizes plans to uzilize print in the 2nd Qtr to market its G Series line which features pre-workout and recovery drinks.  With more products in its G Series line, a television spot  limits Gatorade from explaining each product in the line and its importance to athletes.  Gatorade plans to use print ads for the 2nd Qtr which allows for more space to convey all the information they want to provide. Gatorade plans to reach more athletes by distributing the ads in locker rooms, at summer camps, and in sideline programs.

Print ads are good for brands who want to display more information to a targeted audience. For example, a prescription ad on television must fill its short allotted spot with legal disclaimers and only brief highlights of its product.  However, with print, the company can list much more information about a drug as well as distribute it to specific print outlets so it reaches its targeted population. For example, a heart medication could be placed in Men’s Health and educate its potential users.

Print is also a valuable medium for controversial ads that might oppose a bigger market. While an ad may be pulled instantly from broadcast, a print ad is much harder to regulate. For instance, UK’s SodaStream television spot was banned for “denigrating the soft drinks industry.” To get their message out, they resorted to print ads in major UK newspapers, which allowed them to convey the message that television wouldn’t allow.  In the UK advertising regulatory system, print ads take much longer to ban since complaints must be made to the Advertising Standards and the entire decision process goes through after the campaign is complete.  SodaStream’s print ad campaign was effective against the soft-drink industry and even pointed out Clearcast’s role in favoring bigger marketers.  Print’s slower regulation and censorship process allows for print media to be more effective for controversial topics, allowing for campaigns to make a stronger impact.

Print media will continue to have a prominent role in advertising globally as it overcomes the limitations faced by other forms of media.

Millet Pezzi, Crystal Krummel, Sean Good contributed to this article.

Did 2012 live up the political hype? Yes!

As we are currently in the first political window of 2013 in Las Vegas and dealing with make-goods and LUR’s (lowest unit rate)….let’s review 2012.  We were all warned going into 2012 that it was going to be a strong year politically, with record breaking spend, etc.  Did it live up to the hype?

Short answer: Yes.  Additionally, both presidential campaigns spent heavily on advertising in Nevada and Colorado with Las Vegas and Denver media markets seeing the most presidential political advertising. According to the Washington Post and Kantar Media, Nevada as a whole saw $55 million in total TV political ad spend with Las Vegas (ranked #40 Nielsen TV market) accounting for $46 million. Colorado reached $73 million total TV ad dollars, with Denver (ranked #17) racking up $59 million of that take. See political TV advertising spend broken down by state and by candidate for the 2012 election with this interactive map!

The Wesleyan Media Project reports that in 2012, TV viewers were bombarded with more than 3 million ads related to the presidential and congressional elections.  Overall, there was a 33% increase in the number of ads and 81% increase in spend compared to the 2008 election.  While local news is always impacted heavily by political advertising and is the main focus, the Obama campaign also focused on talk and reality shows and niche cable networks more so than the Romney campaign. This explains why the Obama campaign was able to spend $4 million less in TV ad dollars in the Las Vegas market than his counterpart Romney, yet receive five thousand more total ads. This could very well have proved a critical strategy in Obama’s win of the crucial swing state of Nevada.

The TVB reports that local TV stations captured over 80% of total television spending in the political category during the 2012 season.  “Television stations total political revenue, in the face of increased competition, from new and social media, continues to boast a high growth rate: $1.5 billion in 2008, $2.1 billion in 2010 (+35%) and $2.9 billion in 2012 (+38%).”

Obama spent more on social campaigning than his counterpart by 10 to 1.  Obama spent a whopping 47 million dollars to target key constituents nationwide.

It was clear that the focus was much more important for the Obama campaign for driving voters to influence and create actions. Building this community proved vital as President Obama had more Facebook fans, more Twitter followers and more YouTube views than Romney.

So it appears that in the political TV and new/social media advertising game during the 2012 election, the Obama Campaign clearly had the smarter strategies. However both party lines continue to show the same trend with increasing their advertising spend each election year.

Pamela Payne and Cameron Partridge contributed to this article.


Not long ago, the LGBT community was referred to as the GLBT community.  And if a London-based advocacy group gets their way, it will soon be the GSD (Gender and Sexual Diversities) community.  The group believes that the term LGBT still excludes “a whole batch of people who didn’t feel able to go to mainstream counseling organizations and also wouldn’t be welcome at LGBT counseling organizations.”  This group could include asexual individuals, swingers and any other “non-traditional” sexual preference.

Read more here at Huffington Post.

Urging CNN to Increase their Diversity

While CNN has been criticized for its lack of diversity among its news anchors in the past by the NAACP, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists is now joining the cause. The NAHJ is challenging CNN to be more reflective of its viewing audience by diversifying its broadcast team since the current roster includes only one Latino. The NAHJ President does admit that, “Diversity is not an issue that is unique to CNN. It’s an issue that is the same for many media companies.” CNN President Jeff Zucker is now scheduled to appear at the NAHJ conference this weekend.

More available on Huffington Post and HispanicBusiness.

Contact, Content and the Consumer

According to a recent BtoB Magazine research study, in 2013, B2B marketers will likely spend on the channels they think are effective in getting content in front of prospects.  Of those surveyed by B2B Magazine, 93% said they would be updating their website as this was their highest source of information sharing.

The New YorkerBut no matter what, a flashy website will only work for so long.   And as cliché as it sounds, content is King.  And The New Yorker is continuing to build its empire.  Over the past several years, The New Yorker has launched numerous new Web channels and looks to continue the trend in the next couple of months with the launch of a Science and Technology channel as well as a Business channel.  The Science and Tech channel will expand the number of blog posts from writers such as Ken Auletta, Gary Marcus and Tim Wu.  While the Business hub will feature more infographics and video content and will feature the magazines most popular writers such as Malcolm Gladwell.

Another established brand looking to reinvigorate itself is NPR.  With the birth of digital radio, the organization is launching its first advertising campaign in four markets to push its digital radio assets this month in four markets: Dallas, Indianapolis, Orlando and San Diego.  The campaign will run for three months and include TV, billboards, transit, print and digital advertising and will be funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.  While it doesn’t rely on advertising for support, NPR understands the importance of maintaining relevancy to its current audience and the need to expand its digital offerings to complete with the number of digital radio formats now available.