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bandwidth provided by Recursive Squirrel Interactive. Transcription services provided by TranscribeMe.com. Visit them on the web at TranscribeMe.com/BeanCast for up to 25% off. That's TranscribeMe.com. Episode 488. Bagallsy. [music] For Monday, March 19th, 2018 it's time for this week's edition of The BeanCast, a weekly discussion about the news and issues facing marketers today. I'm your host, Bob Knorpp. [music] Thanks for joining us. The Global Creative Chief is the iconic role that defines an agency's place in the pantheon of advertising greatness, but after JWT eliminated the role, we're left questioning whether any of us need the position anymore either. So do we? Tonight we'll discuss. Also, TV's direct brand problem, whether location is really as important as we thought, dealing with a divided consumer confidence, plus this week's Ad Fail Five. That's the lineup. Let's meet tonight's panel. Thanks for joining us for this week's Beancast. I'm Bob Knorpp, and with me on the panel for this evening we start with your friend and mine, founder of the Idea Integration Company, Mr. Saul Colt. Hey, Saul.
Hey, Bob. How are you?
I'm doing great. Now also joining us, we have professional coach and public relations powerhouse, from Hammerman PR, Ms. Rachel Hammerman. Hi, Rachel.
Hey, Bob. Thank you again for having me on. It's a pleasure to be here, as always.
My pleasure. Now next up, we're pleased to finally, finally get back on the program after years, years of not having him on the program, and I don't know why we didn't. The creative editor at Adweek, Mr. Tim Nudd. Hi, Tim.
Hey, Bob. Thanks for having me back on.
I've wanted to for a long time. I don't know why this didn't work out before [laughter]. And finally, it's a pleasure to welcome back one of the partners at brand consultancy Prophet, Mr. Mat Zucker. Hi, Mat.
Hey, Bob. Thanks for having me back.
I love having you on the program. Now, we got a lot to cover. And the first topic that came up was a real powerhouse. I mean, this is something that surprised a lot of people. JWT made a bold move this past week. They announced the elimination of the Global Chief Creative Officer role. Essentially, their position as a company is that they're trying to foster more of a collaborative, creative environment across their network of offices, which leads me with a whole lot of questions about how this is going to work. But Mat, the biggest question this inspires for the industry at large is, is there still a need for a singular leader to set the creative vision for large agencies? Is there a place for a Global Chief Creative Officer anymore? What's your take on this situation at JWT and on the business as a whole?
Yeah. I guess I'll answer this as somebody who's made it all the way to Chief Creative Officer of a huge agency office but never to Global CCO. So my answer is kind of, yes and no. I mean, there are times when I think you need a Global CCO. There might be a deliberate shift in the business, maybe a merger with another agency, times when you need a change agent for the culture. And a Global CCO can really amazingly, uniquely play that role. And 10 years ago our work was really small [inaudible] but fairly uncompelling so [Kimain?] came in with Miles Young to shake it up and he set an agenda. And this agenda was pretty clear. It was like, "Beat BBDO at Con within five years." And we did it within three. So all the creative directors around the world really needed that global CCO to set that agenda, to demand something new, to be accountable to someone other than their office and their lead accounts. So there it worked. Perhaps JWT needed a global CCO and now they don't. Maybe they can't afford it. I mean, it's not chunk change and probably no direct revenue. The thing about creative councils and other committees is that I really don't think those are the answer. They can be good as a center of excellence, for sure. But in my experience, they're terrible at managing anything, much less themselves. There's egos, turfs. There's the nuances of one market that don't translate to another. So I don't really see it as a collaborative managing crew. In a creative council that's isolated without media strategy seems kind of old school anyway. As if ideas only come within creative departments which we know they don't.
And that's kind of my take on it from the 10,000 foot-view looking at what JWT is doing and looking at the business as a whole, does the vision for the agency need to stem from the creative department? Couldn't it come from the CEO who is establishing an agenda for the entire company and that's where you're taking direction?
Yeah. That's where I was going to, yeah, is that I think that during times of change may be a global CCO should embody the vision but more day in and day out, in this grown-up world of cross-media or cross silos and need for real business impact, I think the global agency's CCO does have to embody the creative vision and the business vision, not just delegate it. And the truth is that the global CCO is so great at business, then maybe she or he should be the CCO. I mean, Publicis just did it with Nick. Nick Law from R/GA, right. He's global CCO and president at Publicis Communications. So you can do it. It can go both directions.
So I agree with the combining the president and global CCO because unless your company is known for something, known for a certain type of creative, a singular voice for creative doesn't make a lot of sense anymore. When you think of Crispin, Porter, and Bogusky in the early days when they were doing mini-work and they were doing Burger King-- excuse me, excuse me. You knew that that was the agency you went to when you wanted really edgy, experimental work. And then when they sort of turned your company around, you left and went to someone like a JWT, similar to Volkswagen and stuff like that. But there was that singular thought-process that, "We're going to do this type of work. This is the place you go for X." But when you think of a JWT, when you think of the giant conglomerates like that, they're not known for a singular thing. They're not doing a singular type of experimental work or this or that. So to think that one person gets to actually dictate what that creative looks like seems a little out-dated. And when you say that this person came and shook things up and he said, "We're going to be a [inaudible] in five years," well, that's not even a creative decision. That's just like, "Hey, put a gun to your head or you're all fired," sort of thing. So that's more of an operational CEO/president sort of thing. I think that you need a singular voice for every account. A singular vision for every group but not for a global company. It doesn't make sense anymore.
I'm not so sure I agree with the fact that a shop shouldn't have some kind of--
But it's not up for negotiation Bob. It doesn't matter.
Well, first of all, I think it's hysterical that out of the three names that Crispin, Porter, Bogusky, the one you got wrong was Bogusky and you got [Bogallsy?] [laughter]. I don't think I've ever [crosstalk]--
Every time I think of them I just think of the nine-inch plate diet. It doesn't track back to the greater work he did [laughter]. Anyways. He's selling bikes now, from what I understand.
Yeah. Well, I mean, he's involved in a lot of things. But getting back to this, I mean, I think that while I agree you don't need a singular person who's in charge of the creative vision, I think it's important for an agency to set some kind of standard for every kind of creative that they do, whether or not it's the same. I mean, obviously, every account has a different need, a different objective, and a different creative execution. So it's not going to look the same, but the approach, the way that you deal with creative needs to be a very cohesive methodology that is maintained for every single account. I think that's the secret sauce of what makes one agency better than another. You look at what Crispin Porter + Bogusky did. They had that factory approach. And then you look at some other agencies that are more of a collaborative approach, and then you see other agencies that are more about the creative vision of one person. I'm thinking specifically the involvement at Droga5 of David Droga. I mean, it's just like--
Like the CPB and Droga5, they're not really global networks that are right [there?]. I mean, I think when you have a global network, it's harder to have a single person kind of actually, really, truly shape the creative vision across the entire network. I mean, maybe if you have a [inaudible] or a John Hunt, or somebody who's almost like a visionary figure, or maybe if you're an agency where the creativity really is the power like at Wieden+Kennedy, I think the global CCOs there, Susan and Colleen, I think they do make a material difference in the work every day. But an agency like JWT, not really. I like Matt Eastwood a lot, but I think a lot of what Matt was doing was figurehead stuff. Giving the talks, doing the panels, going to the judging, kind of being the face, the creative face. And maybe it's nice for an agency like that to have a creative kind of in that [inaudible] to have a similar title as the CEO and the COO, but I think it's rare that there's a global network where the top creative person really is making a difference.
That point itself may be at the heart of why JWT made this decision. Maybe it's not whether or not a creative chief needs to be installed at the global level. Maybe it's just that they had no use for it because the person they had in the role was not defining the role in a way that was useful to them. And I'm not meaning to cast dispersions at the man. It's just like I don't know him. I don't know what he was doing. I have no idea what his involvement was. But that may be part of the problem, that the role is not as tightly defined at some agencies as it needs to be, and at agencies where it is tightly defined, you find that the global creative chief is very useful. And again, we've already mentioned Nick, Nick Law. He's been on the program before. At R/GA, he was involved in just about everything, as far as setting the creative vision for what was a growing global network, and it seems like it added some kind of impact, didn't it?
Yeah. And [Tammer Ingram?] came out and said it in the [inaudible]. She said we're increasingly relying on the people who are closest to making and creating the work. I mean, obviously, Matt was not doing that. Matt is a really great guy, a really smart guy, a really creative guy, but he wasn't making the work. He wasn't guiding the work, really, I don't think, from what we can tell. And so, yeah. I mean, what is the value of someone who's nominally in charge of your creative but not doing the creative? I mean, I think at a global network, particularly one that's gone through what JWT's gone through in the last few years, I think [Tammer?] is the focus now. She wants to be the focus and she should be the in the post [inaudible] era.
[crosstalk] still to actually see a senior person get thrown out because their role is redundant, and not because they were inappropriate [laughter]?
Exactly. It's a change.
Matt, you were going to say something, I think?
It's the Creative Council thing that I think is just kind of a silly answer. So what they're going to do is they're going to say they have this group of people-- and we have Creative Councils at almost every agency, and I've been at a lot of those meetings and stuff like that too. And they're not going to be able to manage it. They will be a Center of Excellence, which is great. But she'll have to pick up the ball in terms of the creative vision maybe with them. But there's going to have to be some kind of-- some kind of voice or some kind of person in charge for the creatives to look up to, and for setting the standard for where things are going. It can't just be left to a group that gets together three times a year, and spends a lot of money, and drinks a lot of beer.
And maybe that's, maybe that's the answer. Maybe the fact is that she needs to take more control of the situation, and wants to take control of the situation. And that brings us back to the point that I was making earlier. I mean possibly the C-- Chief Creative Officer role is redundant when the CEO of a company should be setting the vision of that company. Whether they're creative or not is not important. It's a matter of what the business realities are, and that's what set the vision of how creative is going to be executed, and how we're going to manage the creative work flow, and how we're going to manage budgets, and how we're going to manage profitability. Because ultimately as a business, I think we've got a lot of immaturity built into this business model that needs to be flushed out, that needs to be brought into alignment. And maybe having a business-oriented person at the helm of the creative could be a potentially good thing for us going forward. Now again we're talking hypothetically with JWT, but what about from the bigger perspective of other agencies? Is that a reality that we could potentially embrace? Or is that something that is never going to be embraced, because the culture of advertising is so much based on the creative vision of creative individuals, and we basically trade in ideas not in business realities often. So any takes on that, guys?
Well JWT, the global CCO job was vacant from 2009 to when Matt took it over in 2014. So I think it's cyclical sometimes with these agencies. It's certainly not a necessary job. But it's ingrained, and a lot of these agencies wouldn't think about getting rid of them, and I think slow-moving as they are, I think agencies to some degree value having a creative [base?], whether that's the person-- and I do think that creativity is at the core, the power of these agencies. And so to have someone not trained, or not recognized as a creative-- they're the CEO, but having them also be in charge of the creative vision on paper, and the one disseminating that vision, I think would be difficult for some networks to swallow.
I agree. I agree with that. I think even acknowledging that creativity is the core of a business, and then embodying that in the face-- in a person-- as a global CCO can be valuable. It can be an inspirational role. It can be a spokeperson role, more of a figure-head role. It could be more management process oriented role, ensuring that excellence and putting that creative vision out there. And it really-- I guess what I'm saying, as an inspiration I do like the [inaudible] kind of idea and I think there's value in that, but it does take the right person for the right network of companies.
And that's an excellent point, I mean, that you guys are making about the figurehead, the titular role of the Chief Creative Officer. Is the agency hampered in its new business efforts? Is it hampered in its ability to shine in the light of public relations and the light of the press if it's lacking some kind of figurehead, some kind of face that represents the agency's creative output? I mean, Matt, what's your take on that? I mean, are--
A lot of the big networks have more than one famous face. There's no shortage of big-name talent at the big networks, so [I don't know that?] they need a singular face like [Dave at?] Ogilvy or anything like that, but even the partnership between Miles, who was CEO of Ogilvy, and Khai, who was Chief Creative Officer, they were a really good partnership. They were the twin peaks, what they said between effectiveness and creativity, and they both represented both. So it's also that working relationship that can be quite beautiful and really set the stage for everyone around them and they kind of led it together. So you don't have to talk about these roles also in isolation. You could talk about different kinds of partnerships that are interesting.
Let me ask you a hypothetical question [inaudible] take this out of JWT completely and talk about other agencies. Is this something that is uniquely tied to the realities of JWT or is this something that you see other agencies being able to embrace and doing a good job with because, I mean-- and here's my take to put in perspective why I'm asking this question. JWT is known for being extremely account-led and the reputation is that the account people there hold all the power and they wield tremendous [fiefdoms?] on every account in which they lead. So it makes sense from a standpoint of business realities to give them more rein and more control over each account, rather than being interrupted or interfered with by some kind of Chief Creative Officer who is potentially threatening that power base. And again, I'm not speaking from personal experience. Just rumor here. But outside of that paradigm, is there any reason to get rid of the Chief Creative Officer other than they're expensive and they're not really doing the work?
Well, some are. I mean, for the ones that are, they're making a huge impact. I mean, look at the turnaround [inaudible] has done with [Rob Riley?], and he's active in the work. So I think you're measured by did you win a lot of big, global business and did you win a lot of awards? And when you don't, it looks like you're not as effective, and when you do, it looks like it's a great idea, but you see it across all the networks and it is cyclical, like [inaudible] said. It does change.
And we keep coming back to that same thought. If it's not creating value directly for the agency, the role is redundant. Is that what we're all kind of agreeing on, that the Chief Creative Officer is a role that's important if it's bringing in accounts and if it's establishing an identity, getting the PR that you need, and winning awards? If you're not doing those things then it's kind of a superfluous role and you don't really need it? Is that kind of where we're ending up on this one? I mean, Rachel, what's your thoughts?
Yeah. I mean, I think it's like you said, Bob. Originally, it's in the definition of the role as it relates to the company and the companies for whom the role exists to serve. So if there is a need for being that figurehead, inspirational, visionary, creative embodiment of the core mission for that agency and that network of companies, then do they hire the right person who can live that and is the role, the job description, written in such ways as to uplift the creative process instead of hinder it? And it's just unique to each agency and each network of companies, but I could see that there is value in that and I can see it going the opposite way, as in this case, where it was redundant or hindering the work. So I can see it both ways.
I would say, though, that I think that the figurehead-type role is less valuable than the global creative person who's actually involved, heavily involved, actually guiding the work. Matt mentioned [Rob Riley?]. I would also, again, go back to Wieden+Kennedy. These are healthy global creative networks. And if you're a healthy global creative network, you're not going to be getting rid of those people at the top on the creative side, and I think that's an interesting distinction.
Well, this has been a fascinating conversation, but I want to move on to the next topic. When you think of direct brand in television, most of us would immediately think of direct response, but as direct brands evolve in the digital age and begin looking for ways to scale, they're looking for a different set of services from television, services that television is still woefully bad at providing. So, Tim, television is good at selling to media buyers specific slots for specific used cases, but are they getting any closer toward providing the real-time data directly to the brands that can feed their backend CRM engines and be as valuable as they possibly can be? I mean, what's holding TV back at this point?
Well, I mean, they are getting closer, right. I think they're still aways away. We've heard a little bit about this over at Adweek. Not a heck of a lot in terms of these direct brands because I don't think it's a question that TVs really gotten around to addressing yet, like how the Dollar Shave Clubs of the world and the [inaudible] could be using TV better. But I do think you see TV making some strides with audience targeted ads and database approaches, but are actually going beyond, like the traditional sort of age-gender demos. At last year's upfronts, you saw all the big media companies that have data offerings like NBC, Turner, Fox, Viacom. They all saw pretty big increases in their database deals. You also have OpenAP, which is the joint venture of Turner, Fox, and Viacom also created less than a year ago, trying to sort of create an audience targeting platform standard. So I think TV is getting better at this, but it's still a fraction of the bias being made. Real data is not really being applied to vast majority of TV bias beyond like the Nielsen Systems. But when it comes to direct brands I mentioned like Dollar Shave Club, these are brands that they've shown a willingness to bend to TV's existing strengths, I think, and they will wait for TV to get better. Dollar Shave Club ran a Super Bowl commercial a year or two ago, so they're happy to make very untargeted media's decisions and use TV for branding, which is what TV is good at, and they seem quite happy with the results. So I think the reason is that there's really still no better way to reach mass audiences, and these brands, they will have to use television to scale. And I think at first, for now, they'll do it on TV's terms and wait for TV to evolve.
And that in and of itself is at the heart of what I think is the problem. I mean, waiting for TV to evolve, it's this cultural thing about television that looks at anybody who's requesting data and immediately puts them into the bucket of this is direct response. And, Matt, I mean, direct response, there's nothing wrong with it. It's a effective. It's part of the mix of what's available to these brands to use. But these brands are so much more sophisticated than just the direct response. I mean, they're looking for understandings of how to move markets across channels. They're looking at dashboards that are generating all kinds of insights on a consistent basis about how, when you're doing something via a digital channel, how it's affecting your TV channel and how vice versa, and ad is driving sales through your email program. And TV doesn't think like that. They haven't had to think about that. So what's going to shift the culture so that television starts thinking like that?
i think some of it is in-- because brands like Dollar Shave Club, and I love UNTUCKit, the shirts that are designed to be untucked, they just started advertising on TV. And like a lot of them, they do TV second. They do other things first to get their foothold, and when they want to scale, they go on TV. I think, Bob, they are looking for some of what you described, some of the benefits of what direct response can do, but they're not necessarily looking for just that. They just want to scale and spend their money very, very carefully, because they're really high burn rate, and they need the numbers, they need the response now. I think it's also they want to spend their money carefully. And TV has got to learn how to do that. And TV, I think, is getting better at that by going after audiences more specifically. But I don't know if they're going for the whole hog like you said. I don't think they're expectations are that high. A lot of these brands aren't that sophisticated. They're kind of new at doing this. And TV is more of a curiosity than they're proven. They built their business without TV. Now they want to scale it with TV.
Is part of the problem just the fact that these brands are looking for buys that are specifically targeted to specific needs at specific times, whereas television is more about selling broadly in big buckets during upfronts. I mean, to have that kind of attention to detail is just not built into the DNA of a television buy. And I'm wondering, Tim, does that affect television's ability to grow and to embrace these direct brands. And what's going to take-- what's going to move the needle in terms of their ability to change what they're doing and what they're selling, or should they? I mean, what's your take?
Well, I think TV is doing just fine the way it is. But I think they want to be able to offer more data. They look at digital, and of course, they want to have the chance to offer some of that detail to any brand, particularly the ones that need it like the ones that have learned how to do it on digital. But you're right. It's not in the DNA. So it's about changing your DNA. And that happens really, really slowly. I think, as the TV landscape changes, the ecosystem also changes. But will these direct brands hasten that change? I don't know. I wouldn't hold my breath or expect it overnight. I think it's moving really, really slowly. I don't think this is something that is going to happen this year or next year.
I'm going to play devil's advocate for a minute. And I'm not saying I completely believe what I'm about to say, but I'm going to throw it out there anyways. Is anyone even asking TV to do this? Obviously, from the large advertisers, they would love more data, and they've been promised more data. But I don't see that many-- there isn't the TV data grounds while the way there is with FinTech. Why aren't people diving into this opportunity because it should be a cash cow? The first one that solves data on television is going to be the winner. And there should be 25 people competing, all these start-ups competing to do this. I wonder if it's even necessary if people think of online is where you get all your information, your data, your filling up your CRMs and you're retargeting all this. And TV is just it's still, it's mass, it's broad, it's tell a story, it's awareness, and it's less about engagement because people know that if you're sitting on a couch, you see a TV commercial, you're still going to go to your phone to either research or buy, or do that next step. So the rule of television is still awareness to purchase. And chances are they're going to purchase in front of the TV screen rather than they're going to do it from a digital platform where they will get all the data information.
And we also have to pay attention to the fact that-- and I think there's a really good point saw. We always have to pay attention to the fact that television has no impetus, no reason to empower these brands to be effective on other channels which is essentially what the data will eventually provide these brands with the ability to be effective on all their channels across the board which it doesn't necessarily serve TV's best interest. So there's absolutely no reason for them to do it. And what they are doing, in terms of their data infrastructure and their approaches, is they're trying to do things on their own using proprietary systems rather than trying to adopt some kind of universal standard that ever television network can adopt and can play with. So while your point is well given, that you know whoever comes up with the solution first could make billions of dollars, could be rich overnight, the chances of TV adopting some kind of universal standard are slim to none. They want to take that and control that data, they don't want other people to have access to it or to provide-- or to be beholden to some system that they don't control. And again, that goes back to the cultural thing, they don't want to have the opportunity to give these brands what these brands really need. So the brands are just using them at the face value, I mean, the simplest form of advertising, "We're going to do brand advertising, we need to scale, we need to get attention, so we're going to do television now, we're going to do it based on television's rules." I want to go to Rachel on this next one, I mean, Rachel, what do you think the timeline is in terms of the ability of television to continue to hold out and to be just what they are in the marketing mix, to be just simply the mass-awareness channel that doesn't need to do much more than some simple addressability and offer a few direct spots?
Wow, that's a great question, and this is-- I think it's a really interesting topic altogether, Bob. It's kind of a question-- how did the original Neilson ratings and the system that we-- the rules that television currently plays by, the data that they currently do share. That everyone plays by that rule and the businesses were built up around those rules, how did those come into play and when? I don't know the answer to that, but it just makes me wonder is this just a business question, truly. When the ad dollars-- when the revenues start to go down and they're forced to make some kind of change, or when the marketers are demanding this at such a clammer that it is a business cost-- it's a cost-benefit analysis of, "Oh, we need something." And then will each network develop that something on their own, or will it be a universal thing? I mean, it's also a question, to me, of the way that the streaming services are hoarding their data. They're not playing by TV's rules either right now in terms of giving people-- even in playing by TVs game even though it's-- whether you call it TV or not if you're watching something on a screen. I just think it's a really interesting-- there's a lot of really interesting questions around this right now and I don't know the answer, but--
It's funny you bring up Neilson because I think Neilson is the whole reason that most of the networks don't want to have some kind of standard. They felt trapped by the Neilson ratings for decades and decades and now suddenly they have the opportunity to reinvent the wheel and they're taking it. They're playing nice with Neilson because Neilson still controls a lot of the revenue that they get. It's just like those ratings that come in still matter enough to advertisers that they have to play nice with Neilson. But if they could get rid of Neilson tomorrow, Tim, they would get rid of Neilson, wouldn't they?
Oh, yeah, well, certainly. I mean, I think-- the other issue here is there's such a complex market that's part part of the reason why you don't have standards and then also you need certain types of set top boxes to have addressable television. And then you need enough mass people using those boxes while, at the same time, people are cord cutting it. And the entire ecosystem is in such a state of transition of flux that I think it's hard to sort of nail down like, "This is where we're going with data on television." I think that's why every up-fronts you see a new model being rolled out. I think there's a new one this year. It's something that I think-- what's the company called? Data + Math. I don't know if you guys have heard of this, but it's another new thing that AMC is signed on. A+E, Discovery, Fox News. I think it's a way to sort of using data to show how your TV ads are impacting actual product sales. This is a promise that this new model is offering. So that's a new thing on top of everything else we've seen over the last five years in the sort of rush toward data and TV. And, again, like you said Bob, I think TV is already excellent at doing a certain thing. So is there impetus to do something else super well? I'm not sure if the dollars that are there for the taking really justify that.
Well, we're going to see that move happen. We've been talking about it for a long, long time, but I don't think it's anywhere near happening [laughter]. So let's just have to continue to wait for it. We're going to move on, and I want to talk next about location. Interesting thought I stumbled across this week. Is where a person is physically located really important if their nose is in a mobile device? Location is hyped as an essential component in marketing optimization. We talk about it everywhere. We've been talking about it since the smartphones first came on the scene. But, Rachel, is the real hook simply a mobile story and not about location considering the fact that somebody who's on a phone may not be dealing with the environment that's immediately around them anyway.
I mean, first of all, Bob, thank you for asking me this question. I totally love it [laughter]. So philosophical. Yes, I believe location is important, but where are we located at any given point? Are we located where our minds are? Are we located where our bodies are? Are we located where our heart is? Are we our things? Every location, everything can dissolve under analysis. I mean, if you even just try to pinpoint the location of your nose, is it your nostrils? Is it your nose bridge? Where does your nose start? Where does it end? I won't even get in to trying to identify the true location of yourself, but I do invite you to try sometime [laughter], but it's hard. So pinpointing location, right, as this relates to marketers. The question is how do we define location? I'm a fan of Jon Kabat's. The creator of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction whose first book, I believe, was called Wherever You Go, There You Are. And so the question for marketers is, is this about knowing what's on your mind or where your body is? Can marketers ever really know what's on our minds, and is our mind the true location? Can marketers really the best they can get just know where your body is at that time? And so location-based advertising, I mean, it's kind of like the invasion of body snatchers. If our minds are somewhere else but our bodies are there, can they get us the right ad at that time, snatch our attention away, and push us towards wherever they want us to go? But the mobile device was not the invention of really of time and space travel, our ability to be in two places at once. Most of the time, our minds are in the past or in the future. We're rarely right where we are. So how can a marketer relate to a customer's mind, body, and heart at the same time. Can they communicate in a way that's useful, and generous, and truthful, and right on time? And so I think physical location is important, but the only interruption I'd really be OK with is, "Be here now," to quote Rahm Dass, great spiritual leader. But I think interruptions, do they ever make sense? Or is it--
And that's my point-- yeah, I mean that's the core of my point here, Rachel, I mean I think that when we identify that someone is in a specific place, and we serve them up the exact right information that they're searching for, is that really location marketing, or is that really just addressing intent in a much more targeted fashion? So if I'm looking for a pizza shop, and I happen to be near a pizza shop, my search is expressing my intent, and you're delivering up the location information that's relevant and contextual to where I am at that moment. That makes perfect sense. But to interrupt me because I'm near your pizza shop, in giving me a coupon, makes zero sense. Because I am not on my mobile device at that exact moment looking for pizza. I have no context, no relevance to what's going on other than my location information. And that makes the entire experience just the worst form of advertising. And you're--
Taking that one step further, Bob, if you're not serving up a coupon for a perishable food item, like a coffee or a pizza, people's behavior right now-- doesn't matter if they're standing in front of the Gap, or whichever store you want to go at, they still are going to go to their phone, order it, because going two blocks to go pick something up in person has become an unnecessary event becasue of mobile. So and also for the most part what you're looking for may not be right in front of you, when you talk about exactly what you need at that moment. So chances are-- I forget the term, what is it called when you go into a big box store and then end up buying it on Amazon?
Oh showrooming. Showrooming.
Showrooming, or whatever. That's pretty much the routine of a lot of people. So even if you're-- like I said, unless it's a food time. You send somebody a coupon for a pair of jeans or something, chances are they're still going to go online and look for the best deal and have it just sent to their house, because it's not something they need right in that moment to quench their thirst, take away their hunger, or make them better-looking.
Most of the algorythms, they have to guess on something, and GPS was the earliest API. So most things are IP-driven, where you are, and that's the first guess that a lot of marketers are using. So I don't think they're wrong to do it, but until they have another tell, right, for the typing tool that they can guess, I think location's going to still drive a lot of it, because it's the easiest first guess before they can get to your attention span, or your health, or what you want.
I guess the big--
Right, they're guessing, they're guessing if it's relevant.
Yeah, and that's the question, Matt, I mean if we're just guessing, should we be guessing? Shouldn't we be waiting for more information and deliver a more relevant, targetted, contextual message as opposed to just guessing, interrupting, and pissing the consumer off with more noise and more advertising, which is the whole problem with programmatic ads to begin with. Okay, I just went off on my soap box and nobody responded [laughter]. So Matt, really, any thoughts?
I think people-- I think it's going that way anyway. I mean there's increased-- for every ad blocking someone installs, there's someone else inventing a new way to help you in your car find Dunkin Donuts nearby. So I think it's going to happen in moderation. I mean what we see in Alexa is they're not advertising heavily, right? They're really controlling it to not annoy you. That a lot of marketing is kind of taking a step back, and letting you interact rather than forcing it on you. So I think you do see the wave receding a little bit. But there's still going to be some guessing, and I think that's okay. Because things have to get smarter. And there's nothing really wrong with location, I don't think people are-- it's that bad, and we're getting more control. So I think it is getting more sensitive, but maybe I'm naive.
Well I mean for me, I look at it as I agree with you, I think location information is super important to the marketing mix. It's just the way that we're using location information that I call into question, and that this article has inspired me to think a little bit more deeply about. I mean Tim, is there anything about location that bothers you in terms of the marketing mix? And is-- could we be doing it better? Is there a better way that we could immediately be doing it better? Or is the 100-pound stone rolling downhill just a little too much for us to hold back at this point?
[laughter] I mean location is seemingly so useful, right? I mean if you are wandering around New York City, as so many people do, there's so many marketers nearby that could-- maybe, Bob, you're not hungry for a pizza, but if you are hungry, and a pizza is offered to you maybe you would have a pizza. Right? So it's not totally shooting in the dark. A lot of people are hungry [laughter]. So if you get that ad, then maybe you'll actually go there. But I can't say I see too many location-based ads that actually drive me to a purchase. But I think maybe it will evolve potentially if marketers can get that second insight into someone's real-time behavior. But I think location's important. I think it's not optimized, but it could be. It's definitely going to be a parameter that will continue to be essential, I think, going forward.
And what that's really arguing for is that-- I mean, I think what we're talking about is the location of your mind is more important than the location of your body. But neither one or the other is sufficient. If you could have an indication of both, then maybe you could serve something that would be most useful.
This question, Bob, did actually remind me of the new Motorola campaign. I don't know if you guys have seen this. It was a really fun thing that Ogilvy did where they put mannequins around New York City looking at phones [laughter] and they looked like people.
And they're just literally standing there and they filmed-- it's called the Phone Life Balance because the whole thing is about-- as a lot of cellphone marketers are doing is, "Don't be on your cell phone as much." But it's funny to watch these folks, they're lifelike people looking at their phones and people walking by them and-- you've got to check it out. It's funny.
That I have to see. Definitely have to see. Well, we only have a few minutes here for our last topic so I'm going to move on. The data on consumer confidence is in and it's definitely odd. Overall, consumers are incredibly confident that the economy is thriving and that it will continue to thrive. So consumer confidence is up. But when asked whether their own economic outlook is good, consumers are a lot more skeptical and unwilling to part with their money because they're not so sure they're going to be doing well within a few months. Which leads to an interesting marketing challenge, Saul. How do you market to a person who is outwardly bullish but inwardly bearish? What's your take on the situation of a divided consumer confidence?
So it really all depends on what your product is. If we're speaking generally, I'd say you need to internalize everything so people feel they need whatever you're selling to keep up with their friends but will also make them bigger, stronger, better. If your product plays into starting your own business or preserving your current one, you sell dreams or fear, that kind of thing. But realistically, when people are divided on that stuff, you have to pick one or the other. Are you playing on fear or are you selling a dream? Look at these guys on Instagram selling courses on growth and funnels. And when in truth, they've never held a marketing role anywhere. They're basically just selling the old Tom Vu dream of independence and wealth. So you do the same thing. If people are afraid of losing their jobs, you sell them independence and wealth. If they think everything's going great, you sell them security. I know this isn't as interesting as Rachel talking about metaphysical and where your heart is and stuff.
No. But ultimately, I think it is. What you're saying makes a lot of sense and it is a powerful statement on how to market to people. It's just like it's never about how they feel about the economy as a whole, it's always about who they are as a person. So no matter what the outlook is for the economy as whole, it really matters more what the consumer is feeling. And that's where the focus needs to be. So given that reality, let me ask you this. Let me ask the panel this. Is consumer confidence really actually very down right now? And what does that mean for the long-term outlook for a lot of brands trying to market? I mean, Matt, what's your take on that? I mean, is consumer confidence actually in a bad place right now because of this estimation of how to address marketing to individuals who feel outwardly good but inwardly bad?
We haven't seen a down as much as more careful and cautious. We do a lot of work in healthcare and financial services. And we just see people definitely being more deliberate about their choices and a little bit slower on the uptake. But that doesn't mean they're down. That just means that they are more careful. They're a little more nervous. People aren't sure what's going to happen every day. They're living longer, but not healthier. So I don't think it's a down as much as it's more careful. So they're researching more heavily. They know more. They're watching more webinars. Their behavior's changing but that doesn't mean they're down.
Tim, any last thoughts on this one? I mean just any insights that you're finding from the marketplace or anything that you can share?
Well, what I thought was interesting about this is-- correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this equation usually the opposite? I thought generally people were more optimistic about their own future than they were about the country as a whole, kind of, generally speaking? So I find if that's been inverted-- I mean, the world is inverted, right [laughter], at the moment. So maybe I shouldn't be super surprised by that. But the challenge for marketers-- gosh, who knows? Market not to the person but to their friend or something if someone else is going to do the buying for you? I don't know.
This really does concern me, as well, Tim. I mean, what you're saying is incredibly troubling because you're right. It's usually that people have a much darker outlook about the world in general than they do about their personal outlook. And it's just like-- and now, suddenly, they're faced-- we're faced with this. I think this is a bad economic indicator. This is something that, no matter how good you feel about the economy, if you don't trust the economy on a personal level, the economy can't thrive. There's no way that the economy can thrive because it depends upon you being confident enough to buy stuff. And without that confidence, I'm actually thinking this is a terrible indicator that could potentially spell long-term problems for a lot of brands.
Yeah. I mean, absolutely. I wonder what's the next metric, then, that you look at as confidence-- I mean, if the economy really is showing strength, then maybe the polling is odd. Or maybe people are just feeling sort of generally terrible, which I wouldn't blame them for, either, but [laughter] yeah. That certainly could portend some doom for marketers. But I don't think we've seen that other shoe drop quite yet.
And let's hope that we don't see the other shoe drop. But with that, it's time for the AdFail5. But before we get to that segment of the show, I do want to take this quick opportunity to thank my guests again, and allow them to each do a shameless plug, starting with Saul Colt. You can find him at Theideaintegration.com. That's the home of The Idea Integration Company, his experiential marketing consultancy. So tell us, Saul, what's going on in your world? What would you like to promote?
So you can't spell shameless without shame [laughter]. Hey, Toronto. March 28th. I Make a Living. We have over 500 people who have RSVP'd saying they're coming to this. We have an amazing line-up. If you're not in Toronto, don't worry because April 25th, the first time you're hearing it, we're coming to New York City. There's nowhere to buy tickets yet or-- it's a free event. You don't have to buy tickets. But there's nowhere to get tickets yet. That will be next week once Toronto is almost done. But mark on your calendars. Consider this your save the date card. If you're in New York, we'd love you to come out. And this week on the podcast, I Make a Living. You can get the podcast that Bob and I co-host at freshbooks.com/podcast. We feature Billy Yost, the lead singer of the amazing band The Kickback, talking about how-- I forgot what he was talking about [laughter], but it was really smart. So please, check out the show. It's quite good. And for more information on me, go to theideaintegration.com or just search Saul Colt anywhere on the internet.
Fantastic. Next up, we have Rachel Hammerman. You can find her at hammermanpr.com. That's the home of her public relations consultancy where she's also doing coaching and all kinds of cool stuff. Rachel, what's going on in your world? What would you like to promote?
Well, thanks, Bob. First, thanks again for having me on tonight. And what's important to me is, actually, meditation. And so meditation fuels my business. It fuels my life. And so I always like to take the opportunity to offer, for anyone interested in meditation, the app that I love and use is called 10% Happier. It's meditation for fidgety skeptics, particularly excellent for type A New Yorkers. It's just a clear, simple approach to meditation with some of the best and most respected meditation teachers on the planet. It will change your mind. So if you're looking for some stress reduction or some spaciousness or perspective, it could be your secret weapon. So check it out.
Awesome. Awesome. Fantastic. And again, her website is hammermanpr.com. Next up, we have Tim Nudd. You can find him at a little site called Adweek, which is at adweek.com. Tell us, Tim, what's going on in your world? What would you like to promote?
Well, as always, I would love everybody to visit adweek.com as often as possible, particularly adweek.com/creativity, where we are weighing in on fun, awesome, interesting, innovative, creative new work all the time. And we're actually also organizing our first Adweek event around creativity. It's going to be called Adweek Elevate Creativity. It's happening June 14th, so a week before [inaudible]. And it would be awesome if we could get a lot of people out. We're going to have a couple different panels about topics involving creative work and the future of creativity. We're going to have a keynote from a global CMO about creativity. So it should be really fun.
I just have to say, too, while I have you on the program, that it's just like-- I have been so impressed with the level of reporting coming out of Adweek recently, over the last, actually, couple of years. It's just like there was this sudden shift and Adweek got really, really great. And I depend upon it for the show. I thank you very much for the articles. And thank you very much for being on the program tonight.
Wow. Well, thanks, Bob. That's amazing. Thank you very much.
And last but not least, we have Mat Zucker. You can find him at prophet.com, still one of my favorite URLs of all time. The fact that they got that is incredible. But tell us what's going on in your world, Mat. What would you like to promote?
I'd love to promote-- a lot of people know David Aaker, who's our co-chairman and who is kind of known as the father of modern branding. He's written a lot of books but he's got a brand new one out that just came out over the last two weeks called Signature Stories. And it's a different take on storytelling and how brands really need to find and elevate those signature stories. And it's usually plural. The ones that really can make a difference and really communicate what they're about much more than facts, much more than claims that are far more persuasive. So I encourage you to check it out. You can go to prophet.com and find a link to it or just find it on Amazon or pretty much anywhere.
Well, thank you very much. And as for me, for more information about me or the show, visit thebeancast.com. There, you can find a complete show archive. You can find out how to consult with me, and you can even find out how to advertise on the program. So check it all out at thebeancast.com. And don't forget, we also now have transcription services through our fabulous partner, transcribeme.com. They are now providing free transcription to the BeanCast, and I'm so excited to have them. And as a special offer to you, if you go to transcribeme.com/beancast, you can get 25% off on your next transcription service. So definitely check them out.
And now, it's time for the Ad Fail Five, a rundown of the lowest moments in advertising, marketing, and public relations from the last week. And first up, Snap may want to tighten up its ad practices. Boy, this is the third week in a row with a Snap story. So may want to tighten up their ad practices before the stock completely tanks, because this time, it was Rihanna who erased hundreds of millions of dollars in value after she called out an ad on the network for an app-based game called Would You Rather? And I love this one. Oh my god. Rachel, I love this one, which asked, "Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?" How absolutely tone-deaf is this ad? And the fact that Snap managed to let it go through their review process is incredible to me [laughter].
Yeah. That is incredible. I think that what happened is that Snap itself is the one that got a slap on that one [laughter].
I think so.
Yeah. I think they read somewhere that in the Valley, domestic violence always is a good way to increase valuation [laughter].
I think probably. Now, next up, apparently that infamous email from a departing London ad agency staffer was simply a common practice at agencies across the UK. So Tim, departing male employees apparently always get swarmy and rank their female counterparts based on hotness. I'm not shocked so much as-- I guess I'm not shocked that this practice happens. I just didn't expect it to happen so much across an industry, and especially in the UK. It seems so surprising to me that this would be such a common practice.
Well, yeah. And in a year of gross revelations coming sort of fast and furious, this was among the more bizarre, I think. Patrick Coffee, our reporter over at Adweek, has been covering tons of these type stories, unfortunately. And so it's become almost all he writes about. And that's depressing in itself, but on the upside, at least this stuff is coming out now, and it's being dealt with. And the industry obviously has a lot to answer for.
Yeah. I just want to add that I read about, in Adweek, this seems like a good time to talk about Times Up Advertising, the new organization that a bunch of female leaders in the industry have put together to drive new policies and practices for more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership addressing just these types of issues. So at least thank you for your coverage in Adweek, and I'm hoping that things like this won't make the Ad Fail Five anymore because they won't be happening.
Not much hope of it not making the Ad Fail Five because ever since this has started, we've had a weekly encounter with at least one or two articles [laughter] dealing with this subject, so it's crazy. Next up, another day, another United PR disaster [laughter] between YouTube, Snap, and United Airlines, I think we can fill the Ad Fail Five for the rest of the year apparently, this time a flight attendant required a passenger to place her dog in the overhead bin, [where?] the dog died in flight [laughter]. I'm thinking United has just about done everything that they possibly can do to piss off consumers everywhere at this point [laughter].
So what happened to the dog is awful and tragic. But when I heard this story, as someone who's on a plane about every 10 days, I wanted to know how early that person boarded the plane to get any overhead compartment, nevermind in that space to put a dog [laughter].
Very, very good point. Now, on the day of the National School Walkout, there was a protest-- Okay. Let me start this over again. On the day of the National School Walkout that was to protest school shootings and easy access to semi and fully automatic weapons, the National Rifle Association [inaudible] decided it would be a good idea to tweet out a photo of an AR-15, the exact weapon used in the Parkland school massacre. I mean, I can understand you're against gun control. Okay? And your organization is out to promote gun rights. Fine. That's great. I don't necessarily agree with you, but that's okay. You have a constitutional right. But to tweet out the exact same weapon used in the massacre seems so incredibly callous and not designed to get any supporters.
I know. And aren't you just trying to picture someone going through a database or googling different AR-15s and trying to pick which one are they going to tweet out? And there's plenty of moments there to stop, but you keep finding the right image. And then you do it-- I just can't even imagine this and how this happens [laughter].
That is a misfire [laughter].
But the NRA is so [crosstalk]-- the NRA is usually so subtle, aren't they, in their marketing?
Yeah. They're never subtle. But this one was even out of the ballpark for them. And last but not least-- Sal, this one goes to you. I can't believe I missed this one. Back in February, Carl's Jr., in order to celebrate the opening of their first East Coast location in Manhattan, staged what is arguably one of the most painful Off-Broadway performances in history, featuring their iconic star character awkwardly flailing his arms to an insipid guitar ballad that goes on behind him [laughter]. This is the worst experiential marketing thing that I've seen forever. What was your take on this one?
Do you guys remember when Carl's Jr. was all about Paris Hilton eating triple burgers while washing fancy cars? And now, this just shows how far the pendulum has shifted because they've got this puffy star guy who's just basically doing like a Bar Mitzvah dance [laughter]. It was embarrassing. I don't even know where to start.
I shared this image around to a few creatives around the industry. And it was like-- I can't believe that it didn't make more of a splash when it came out because it was so incredibly terrible. And yet nobody was talking about it. So if you can check it out-- I'm going to put the link on the website. You have to check out this video. It's really, really great.
Did it look like cable-access television [laughter]?
It was really bad. Well, have something to add to this list or just want to discuss it? Comment online. Use the hashtag adfail5. Thats #, adfail, and the number five. Well, that does it for this week show. If you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, visit our website at Thebeancast.com and click on the subscribe link. If you're an iTunes listener, we've also provided a direct link to the iTunes music store or just search for the Beancast in the podcast directory of iTunes. And whichever podcast directory you use, when you subscribe, please leave us a review. Got a comment? Have a question? We'd love to hear from you. Just send your emails to Beancast@gmail.com. Opening theme was performed by Joe Sibol. Closing theme by CJACKS. Thanks for listening. I'm Bob Knorpp. We'll be back again next week. Hope you'll join us then. [music]