Archive for the ‘Ad Business’ Category

Bad Pitch Night School (During the Day - Tomorrow)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

You may not know that in addition to being the author of everyone’s favorite book, I am also a veteran public relations professional. I have co-authored my other blog (I’m not cheating on you — promise), the Bad Pitch Blog with fellow PR man Kevin Dugan since 2006.

Therein, we analyze, embarrass, and otherwise eviscerate bad public relations in all of its wretched forms. Bad pitches meet their maker on the pages of Bad Pitch. We are one of the most popular marketing blogs on the Web.

Kevin
Kevin

Tomorrow — Wednesday, July 29, at 1:00 PM Eastern — we are hosting a very special, one-time-only tele-seminar (you know, like a conference call, only bigger): Bad Pitch Night School (During the Day). We’d like you to attend.

Not a PR pro? So what? Most aren’t. You’ll get a ton of valuable information regarding how to make the perfect phone call, how to write the perfect email, and how to otherwise influence people when you need coverage or attention of some kind. There is something included for everyone who pitches, even if you call it something else. Plus, we are very funny. (Seriously.) As a bonus, everyone who attends gets a free e-book copy of Full Frontal PR.

More details and registration info at http://crappyPR.com. Read the details. Sign up. See you tomorrow!

As always, twitter @laermer.

Look at you, TV, all Grown Up

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Five years ago, it was a shock that the television phenomenon The Sopranos won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama. It was the first time since 1977 that a program that did not air on one of the “Big Three or Four” took the prize. (Trivia buffs: The 1977 award went to PBS import Upstairs, Downstairs.) It was the first time ever that a cable channel took the prize. Hell, it was one of the first times one was even nominated.

That year the nods went to HBO’s The Sopranos, 24 (FOX), CSI (CBS), Joan of Arcadia (CBS; does anyone remember?), and NBC

How To Lose Friends and Misinfluence Vampires

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Gawker has been a pretty cool site for quite a number of years. As far as gossip rags go, it actually does maintain some level of credibility. The writing is crisp and witty, the commentary is spot on. It’s a fun and informative read. It’s delicious and sneaky and vicious. Vicarious fun.

Over the past several years, Gawker Media has extended the brand by creating blogs covering sports, cars, video games, fashion, gadgets, personal productivity, and others. Gawker has built quite a remarkable stable of reliable content.

Then, the powers-that-be in the advertising department almost ruined the whole thing.

Apparently, HBO broadcasts a television show about vampires. True Blood is entering its second season. The HBO people favor something they think is viral marketing for the show. Before season one, they introduced a beverage

Everybody Wants to be Everything Sometimes (apologies, Dean Martin)

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Many corporations believe the downward trajectory in consumer spending means they better become something they are not–and quickly. Instead of sticking to their knitting, selling what they are known for, many have inexplicably started trying to be a mercantile of all things.

Is this a sign that sellers are simply trying to be better corporate citizens by providing more solutions to the consumers? No, no no. It is, though, a clear indication that recessionary panic has bamboozled some of the powers-that-be into believing that expanding their businesses beyond what they are known for is actually good business. Example:

Best Buy is the only big-box consumer electronics retailer left standing, except PC Richard but that’s only east coast. (Circuit City is back as an online store, but has no plans to reemerge as a brick and mortar business.) Best Buy is a good place to pick up consumer gear, especially television sets and digital photography equipment. Bought something at Best Buy lately? As you are checking out, the cashier will inevitably attempt to sell you — ready — magazine subscriptions. Yes, magazine subscriptions.

You go to Best Buy to get a deal on headphones, not to be sold Entertainment Weekly or Car & Driver. Is the company really so desperate for sales that it risks pissing off all of its consumers by trying to upsell them on monthly rags AFTER they’ve already gone through the sales spiel on the floor? Sure, magazines are somewhat high-margin products, but is it really worth changing your brand identity to sell a few? Not when it leaves a bad taste in your consumers’ mouthes.

Another strange strategic example: Subway, the sandwich hawker. This chain has a reputation for making decent sandwiches. (They must be good, considering the franchise flourishes in the City of New York, which as you know is the deli capital of the world.) You roll in, get your footlong turkey on wheat for $5, it comes to you in that specially-shaped sandwich bag, and BOOM! back in the office.

Well, do you know that Subway now serves pizza? Seriously. You can order hand-held pizzas from the king of sandwiches. Why on Earth did the braintrust at Subway think this is a good idea? (And wait a minute: why is my favorite diner in suburban CT selling — tortillas?) There is literally no way your Subway Personal Pizza is going to measure up to the quality of your sandwiches, especially when the retail pizza business has been captured by the boys and girls of Pizza Hut and Domino.

Subway, stop it. You are dilluting a good thing. You make footlongs. If people want crummy pizza, they will go to a crummy pizza place! Yes, oh and besides being the deli sandwich capital of the world, New York is the crummy pizza capital of the world. For every good pizzeria, there are at least four baddies. All named Ray Something.)

The point is that if you are known for selling what it sells, be remembered in these putrid retail days for selling what you sell. That is, after all, what your consumers want. They come to you for your product, the one they once and still love(d). They don’t want you to imitate someone else’s. People don’t appreciate that. Just remember. Say it twice.

I’m at www.twitter.com/laermer a lot.

(TM) Nothing

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Since Congress passed the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C.

The Coming Newspaper Renaissance

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Despite the Chicken Little essence of the news lately, reports of the death of the newspaper industry have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the industry will see a stunning Renaissance. To understand what is happening now and what will be happening over the next few years, we need look objectively at history and current state of journalism.

Not long ago, newspapers were comprised of facts, and only facts. When Hearst and Pulitzer had their squabbles during the gilded age, so-called yellow journalism sold copies and became part of the news landscape. But it was still regarded as not quite reporting. In the middle of the 20th century, the big blue tube became a primary source of local news and when Americans finally took the on-ramp of the info superhighway, newspapers put content online without any thought as to the impact this would have on the print business, which had always been dependent on classified and local ads (and sometimes subscriptions).

At that time, news organizations moved from reporting facts to proffering opinions, and reporters have since become mostly another batch of celebrities. Since TV news came aboard, we

May 4 Rant: Bye, PR Weak (Indeed)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

[a special cross-linkage with my Bad Pitch Blog]

I

When You Speak, Audiences Teach You More

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Remember that “close talker” on Seinfeld? Well, me, I’m a “future talker,” the man who shows people how to see clearly into the not-so-distant future!

Close talker.

I do a lot of talking — publicly, privately and to myself. Normally, I give speeches about “Punk Marketing” and how to make yourself better at selling. But with the advent of my popular book that I

Hasn’t February Been Fun?

Monday, February 9th, 2009

It’s been pretty cold in this country, and we don’t even have George W. Bush around to blame for it, either.

The Super Bowl did a good job of brightening at least one depressing, frigid, winter Sunday. The game has been over for more than a week, but the ads are still fun to talk about.

Super Bowl stalwart Anheuser-Busch had already told or warned us its ads would be less funny in favor of something featuring Clydesdale horses in honor of its neo-American offering–namely Budweiser.

MMM... beer.

So a beer-pony is playing fetch with another. Anheuser’s ad guys told the Wall Street Journal the horses’ image “reinforces our brand values and…that we are not changing, and we are the same company.”

Gee how romantic. I have no idea how you can be both, but then again nothing says “Beer me again, Budweiser,” like watching a behemoth-horse play fetch.

I get that your beer is an icon and all, but once upon a time Schaefer was “the one beer to have” and it’s not having too much fun now. So my pro advice - I do run a PR firm, kids–for this newly Eurofied Anheuser is simple: Announce your beer will taste better. You’ll get more attention. These days a little honesty goes a long way; at least on this blog.

With that, I bring you The Bleak Economic Report: Surprisingly un-spared by effects of the recession is, tada!, The Porn Industry. It appears the only thing that has hurt PORN is the sexually transmitted disease that most Americans suffer from, better known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

DOES NOT COMPUTE

Recently adult entertainment moguls… er… porn guys Larry Flynt of “Hustler” fame and young prot

Good News Is Out: Bad

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Bad news is the new good news. Jump on the bandwagon.



Bad news is absolutely everywhere. It is unavoidable. The economy is in shambles, 50 million Americans are without health insurance, unemployment is on the rise in numbers that scare even me, and 43 out of 50 states are now operating on a budget deficit. Meanwhile, some enterprising projects have figured out how to keep their heads above water and even prosper in some cases despite experiencing these bleakest of times by making the (now official) recession seem almost cool.

Kind of.

A great example of the general mopiness of society today is found on television. Maury Povich, the veteran host whose syndicated

Buy the Book - 2011

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