angry consumer calls ad agency president

It’s not masochism, but for some reason I like to read the consumer complaints that come through the business of one of the clients that I work on. Man’s capacity for unbridled emotion over trivialities fascinates me.

So I was even more fascinated today when I found that the President of the Official Agency of Biz had been called by a consumer who was angry about the performance of one of the products made by one of our clients. This was not about the advertising. They were upset about product efficacy. Our ads do not make efficacy claims. This guy was just pissed that the product sucked.

He did like the ads though, based on what I heard about the conversation he had with our president, which might explain why he thought to call the ad agency. Or something.

It’s like being unhappy with the quality of your local parish priest’s sermon and showing your displeasure by punching Jesus in the face.

Misdirect ire. And hilarity ensued.

monday miscellania

Not If It’s During Dinner
When Nature Calls, Will You Answer? – headline, Make The Logo Bigger, Nov. 20

They Must Be Shorter Geniuses
More Geniuses Per Square Foot on Upper West Site – headline, Ad Broad, Nov. 20

Chooses Glasses Over Contacts
GE Refocuses Vision – headline, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 20

Bottom Stories Of The Day
Is The Great Twitter Scare Waning? – headline, Ad Contrarian, Nov. 20

Razorfish Creates Word of Mouth/Social Media, Fills with Mystery Person – headline, Agency Spy, Nov. 20

Verizon Exiles iPhone to Island of Misfit Toys for the Holidays – headline, Garfield’s Ad Review, Nov. 20

I Want Twitter Peek to Die – headline, Yaybia!, Nov. 20

advertising insight into an america without a soul

It seems like every time I am in a briefing where a planner tells the team that we have to be careful not to underestimate the consumer, I go back to my desk and happen upon an article like this. And then I laugh to myself. Because it is impossible to underestimate the consumer.

Let’s break this down:

“It’s true. You can get paid to drive your own car – whether to work, to church, to your kids’ soccer games or any of your other normal destinations.”

All you have to do is send $24.99 and we will send you the brochure and DVD that tell you how! So call now.

“You won’t get rich doing this mind you, but in these recessionary times, taking in an extra $300 to $900 a month can definitely come in handy for a lot of folks.”

All from the comfort of your own car! So call now.

Continue reading

tuesday miscellania

This Is The Change We’ve Been Waiting For
Change Starts With Your Underwear. And Office Nudity. – headline, Adrants, Nov. 10

Learned Lesson From Earlier Porcupine-Embracing Debacle
Japan Embraces Fast-Fashion Shops – headline, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 10

Bottom Stories Of The Day
Discovery Channel Still Loves The World A Lot – headline, Adfreak, Nov. 10
The Case Against Twitter Lists – headline, Agency Spy, Nov. 10
Balloons To Light Up Your Night – headline, Brand Flakes For Breakfast, Nov. 10
Strong Starts For George Lopez, Wanda Sykes Shows – headline, Media Decoder, Nov. 10

laying off the pretty ae

Talk about awkward.

Of all of the complications of an intra-office romance, the last one that I expected was this. I should have known better. This was not just any intra-office romance, this was an ad agency intra-office romance. Layoffs are a way of life at ad agencies, especially when the economy falters as ours has. I should have known better.

The relationship, which was already strained, did not recover. The emotional hardship of being laid off is difficult enough, but to be dating and have to see and talk to a person still employed at the agency that laid you off (and to have your social life centered there, as so many ad people’s is)…well, that can get to be a lot. For anyone.

And it did.

Although the worst part was the senior partner walking up to me to apologize profusely for not telling me first, being more sensitive, etc.

What was I supposed to say?

So I just let it happen and wished that the whole situation would go away. And not just because the relationship was on the rocks, but because the relationship should never have been a concern of the senior partner to begin with.

It was a bad situation. And with that, I learned my lesson: no more intra-office relationships, no matter how pretty the AE.

keep social media human

How To Create Advocates For Your Business

People who use social media to connect to brands need real friends. As in, people friends.

Because only with actual people friends can a person have a conversation, and conversation is truly the most civilizing of inter-personal interactions.

In lieu of being able to change the current social dynamic in this country and connect all of those souls who have friended brands on Facebook, set brand logos as their IM icon or whose Tweets are like a corporate news RSS feed, I will bemoan it. There are people out there like that. But they are weird. And other people know that they are weird. Which makes them less trustworthy.

Think about it for a second (…thinking…). Who do you go to for an opinion when you are thinking about making a purchase in a category you are unfamiliar with? Family likely. A knowledgeable friend. Third-part expert sources.

You’re not checking Facebook to see if a brand you are considering has a lot of friends. Twitter neither.

Frankly, as much as traditional advertising cannot save a bad product, neither can social media or influencer outreach or brand advocate conversion efforts.

Because you can’t hide on the internet, and a bad product will kill you every time.

That is not to say that people who have had a good experience with your company, product, etc can’t help you – obviously they can. But they are reacting to a positive experience with the product, service, company, etc and therefore the primary way to create advocates is not to invest heavily in social media but to invest heavily in developing an effective and user-friendly product, service, company, etc.

That is not to say that outreach in social and other channels aren’t great ways to amplify what people who love you are saying. They are.

It’s just that you don’t have to do anything beyond create the product, service or company that people love. The rest takes care of itself, social media strategy or not.

Social media is just conversation in binary code. And like regular conversation among regular people, people don’t want a brand to help them along or get in the way. They will talk about it if it makes sense. But they will get annoyed if they find that a brand is trying to orchestrate the whole thing.

People don’t want to get sold, and certainly not under the disingenuous guise of ‘conversation.’

So let it happen naturally. The way to create advocates for your brand is to create an fucking awesome product or experience because, since you can’t hide on the internet, if you have nothing to hide that people will find out about it.

thursday miscellania

Great Moments In Marketing Strategy
Boulder Sushi Chain Targets Oft-Hungry Demo – headline, BNet, Nov. 5

Winner Will Be Decided By Rock, Paper, Scissors
“Social Media” vs “I Don’t Know”: It’s A Tie – headline, Ad Contrarian, Nov. 5

Bottom Stories of the Day
Cows Aren’t Just For Tipping Anymore – headline, AdPulp, Nov. 5
You Can Call Me Fred If You Want – headline, Make The Logo Bigger, Nov. 5
Rude Stork Shows Up At Worst Possible Moments – headline, Denver Egoist, Nov. 5

life in an ad agency

I have been having a recurring dream. First, some context. Recently, I moved from a boutique-ish independent agency that still had its founders actively involved in the day-to-day business and setting of the culture to a mid-size agency owned by one of the holding companies whose founder had retired fully within the past few years and doesn’t really know what it is, besides being a mid-sized agency owned by one of the holding companies.

At both agencies, the creative product could be characterized as good to occasionally spectacular, the compensation is roughly comparable, and each has a foosball table.

But my last agency was truly human.

As such, my recurring dream is that I have gone back to my old agency because, dammit, it was a better place to work.

In the end, I wouldn’t go back for a host of location and familial reasons (and the realization, in my dream, that I chose work over those obligations is awfully haunting), but I really wish I could.

Separated from the vision of the founder and creaking under the weight of holding company bean-counting, an agency loses its soul.

wednesday miscellania

Not Exactly Prospecting For Gold
Agency Wants to Get Drunk With Prospects – headline, Adrants, Nov. 3

Weezer and Snuggie Warm Up To Each Other – headline, Adfreak, Nov. 3

And Why Weren’t They Prosecuted?
Did Ad Agency TBWA/Chiat/Day Kill – headline, Tribble Agency, Nov. 4

Bottom Stories of the Day
Silos Suck – headline, AdPulp, Nov. 4
Reader’s Digest Closes Rick Warren Magazine – headline, Media Decoder, Nov. 4
Bob Jeffries Cries Over Losing Kellogg’s – headline, Tribble Agency, Nov. 4