Digital Advertising Inspirationally Projected Into 2011

With the New Year just round the corner, the world is abuzz with prophecies of every color, size and breed - but not all predictions are created equal; some are plain old common sense, which commodity, by the way, is notoriously uncommon. Take, for instance, the 6 Predictions for Digital Advertising in 2011 by Jesse Thomas; quite a few of them come across as a matter of putting two and two together - once you have read them.

Heck, let us not be too unkind to ourselves and too grudging in giving credit where it is due; all things inspirational seem obvious once revealed, but impossible before.

Questions Fundamental to Strategy, Execution

"Business leaders can't develop and execute effective strategy without first gathering the right information, says Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons. In his new book, Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution, Simons explains how managers can identify holes in their planning processes and make smart choices. Here's an excerpt outlining the seven questions every manager should ask."

Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution — HBS Working Knowledge

'Ugly and Different', Google Logo Works

"There are however many examples of what can arguably be called ugly design that have done very well in creating a strong visual brand.

The example that comes to mind is the Google wordmark. The same typeface, rainbow color scheme, drop shadow and beveled look applied to any other entity would never make it as logo of the day on the sites we frequent. Aesthetically, I find the wordmark horrible with its inclusion of many elements I would hesitate to put into any logo, let alone all of them into one. But wow, does it ever work."

Ugly and Bland Can Win the Race – idApostle: An Identity Love Affair / Logo Designer, Ottawa, Canada.

AdFreak: FDA unveils 36 warning labels for cigarettes

"The Food and Drug Administration today unveiled 36 proposed designs for new warning labels on cigarette packs, required under a new law that gives the FDA power to regulate tobacco products for the first time. The agency wants feedback, and will pick nine labels next June to use on packages beginning next October. There are a few gross ones, though frankly the imagery could be worse (and is worse in other countries). My favorite is probably the one above, which appears to be based on the scene in Poltergeist when Craig T. Nelson stands transfixed next to the gaping jaws of hell. See all 36 images here. What do you think of them? And will they have any effect on smokers? Via The Awl."

AdFreak: FDA unveils 36 warning labels for cigarettes:

Information is Meant to be Shared, Not Hoarded

"There are still people within organizations that limit access to information and, presumably, they believe that such limiting affords them a measure of power. That game is sadly common in companies that motivate through fear. In my view, such places will be short-lived; the power and influence of social media will destroy them."

Thank you to Barry Lowenthal, the president of The Media Kitchen, for this insightful piece: Hoarding Disorder.

Cannes Lions Launch Creative Effectiveness Category In 2011

"Creative Effectiveness Lions will honour creativity which has shown a measurable and proven impact on a client’s business - creativity that effects consumer behaviour, brand equity, sales, and where identifiable, profit."

Cannes Lions Launch Creative Effectiveness Category In 2011 | Ads of the World

My Brand New Facebook Presence

Sifting through information for relevant bits can be a chore these days. To make things easier for my friends, I have created a Facebook page for this blog; and to go with it, a new Twitter ID.

The benefit I expect to immediately flow from this new approach is that my blog posts will not appear in your Facebook or Twitter feed by default; of course, you can opt in by going to the page and clicking the 'Like' button, or by following the dedicated twitter ID (@admanahmer).

Does this make things easier or messier? Please do let me know.

The State of the (Adveritising) Affairs of the State

Here's a comment Business Recorded carried on the Pakistani government advertising. No too wide of the mark, I would say.

Activists Spoof, Shadow Chevron Campaign

The NYT's Media Decoder blog calls them pranksters - but is this just a prank? See for yourself at the website environment activists have created to shadow the Chevron campaign "We agree".

The body copy of the shadow campaign goes: "For decades, oil companies like ours have worked in disadvantaged areas, influencing policy in order to do there what we can't do at home. It's time this changed. People in Ecuador, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico, Richmond, and elsewhere have a right to a clean and healthy environment too."

Caveat: Thanks to the proliferation of ICT, groups once operating in the margins now have the power to successfully torpedo mainstream communication efforts.

Harking Back to the Great Ogilvy

Here’s a pick-me-up that goes out to all you pen pushers out there: The world-famous aphorisms from the great Ogilvy, organized into an article aiming to capture the essence of his advice to copywriters. Thank you, Nathan Hangen, for this brilliant piece: David Ogilvy’s 7 Tips for Writing Copy That Sells.

Don't You Love Contests? Here Are Two for Presentation Pros

Don't you love contests? Apart from the prizes and giveaways, the participation itself can be rewarding. Here are two contests most advertising professionals should be eligible to participate in: World's Best Presentation Contest 2010, and Presentation Horror Story Contest. Good luck to any minded to take part.

Was GAP Logo Switch (& Aboutface) a PR Gimmick?

"It can be difficult to tell, but from a PR point of view you could certainly get worse coverage than having all the mainstream media report on how much people loved your brand and didn't want it to change. Any PR team would take that story over other types of negative coverage any day. So will we see more brands conveniently 'forget' about their brand equity in order to get their current customers to start caring more about the brand for a day or two?"

The GAP Logo Poll: Is Ignoring Brand Equity A New Marketing Trend?

Smell Like A Monster: Sesame Street's Grover is Also on a Horse!

See how Sesame Street taps - and multiplies - the power of the "I'm on a horse" meme unleashed by the Old Spice viral campaign starring Isaiah Mustapha: Smell Like A Monster: 'Sesame Street' Spoofs The Old Spice Guy (VIDEO): "

There Is No Sky!

The flight of fancy - to the orbit! Thank you AoTW, for sharing this ISS print ad from the past:
Lego: Taj Mahal | Ads of the World:

Using Creativity to Fight Islamophobia

One agency's stab at a creative approach to debunk the Islamic identity of terrorism.
"Want to be a terrorist? The opposition to the Muslim community center and mosque being considered in downtown Manhattan is based on a purely visceral reaction that condemns an entire religion for the horrible acts on Sept. 11."
Adweek has the story: Open Dialog: Addressing Perceptions of Islam.

Minimalism in Web Design: A Guide

"It’s easy to see how a minimal web design can be misconstrued as something that requires less effort or time to create. After all, conveying the feeling of simplicity and a primary focus is really the purpose of a minimal design.

"However, saying that it requires less work couldn’t be further from the truth. Minimal web designs are strategically stripped of excess features and gimmicks in order to deliver a clear and concise message to the target audience." Here it is: Minimalism in Web Design: A Guide

Lara Croft's New Mission: Flood Relief Pakistan

The Desi Demographic in the U.S. Market

This Time article heralds a new Marketing trend brewing in the U.S.: Targeting the Desi demographic. "South Asian marketing is still in its infancy, but early adopters like General Motors, Citibank and GlaxoSmithKline are advertising in ethnic newspapers, buying airtime on satellite channels, sponsoring cultural festivals, underwriting minority scholarships and even creating new products, like MTV Desi."

The article at the Time website: Chasing Desi Dollars - TIME

To NUML MBA - Marketing Class (2008-10): Thank You!

This post is dedicated to the NUML MBA - Marketing Class (2008-10), with whom I had occasion to briefly interact on the morning of August 17, 2010. Thank you all, guys - you made my day - especially those of you who asked questions. In particular, I am indebted to Shakeela and her group for making it happen; and to Prof. Muhammad Haroon Khan, without whose support it would not have been possible.

Here are a few links to more information on some of the points we discussed - should be particularly on interest to the five pupils who said they intended to seek careers in Advertising:
1. On Islamic Branding, how Olpers have been focusing on their 'Islamic' credentials to compete with Nestlé in Pakistan, and Nike's comeback since the mess-up with Muslim consumers: "Olpers, a Pakistani milk brand introduced in 2006, has been seeking to compete with Nestlé. Its television commercials for Ramadan in 2008 and 2009..." Advertisers Seek to Speak to Muslim Consumers -
2. On false claims in advertising: "Coca-Cola is being sued by a non-profit public interest group, on the grounds that the company's vitaminwater products make unwarranted health claims. ... [L]awyers for Coca-Cola are defending the lawsuit by asserting that "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." John Robbins: The Dark Side of Vitaminwater
3. Ogilvy  Noor: “the world’s first bespoke Islamic branding practice.” Their website is here.

Ogilvy Noor's Case for Islamic Branding

"The Muslim consumer market, at 1.8bn people, is undeniably the next important (and largely untapped) global opportunity. The halal market alone is worth a staggering US$2.1 trillion a year and is growing at US$500bn a year due to the growth of the global Muslim population." There website has more: Why Islamic Branding | Ogilvy Noor

The State of Brand Pakistan

The site Nation Branding has only one mention of Pakistan - and see how it is: "In a recent survey by the East West Communications, Israel was ranked 185 out of 200 nations in terms of positive perception, sandwiched between Iran and Pakistan."
Nation Branding » Brand Israel should integrate conflict and adversity, says advisor

Cheerful News from Mobilink Pakistan

"According to the results published by OTH, Mobilink subscriber base increased by 10.5% as compared to same period last year closing at 32.2 million at the end of H1 2010. Mobilink closed the first half of 2010 with revenues of PKR 47.5 billion showing a YoY increase of 11.4% and there was a YoY increase of 24.8% in its EBITDA in rupee terms. Moreover, the company’s EBITDA margin has increased to 39.6% versus 35.5% over the same period last year." Read the whole story here: Mobilink posts strong growth; revenues - Local News -

To be successful in advertising...

"To be successful in advertising you must be very curious. Ask not only ' Why? ' but specially ' Why not? '. That's right - another gem from John Hegarty (John_Hegarty) on Twitter. Meanwhile, anybody seen my blog yet? :)