There’s no such thing as a banner campaign

(As published by Digiday August 13th, 2012)

We refer to campaigns so often in advertising that it’s easy to forget that presidential elections and, before that, war owned the term. It ties together, usage-wise. War, politics, advertising. A campaign is about beating someone. It is waged. Right there you know it’s special.

We don’t [...]

8th graders know why brand money isn’t online; surely website publishers can figure it out

Every March I teach five 30-minute classes to 8th graders during career day for the Fresh Air Fund in NYC.  I always start the same way:  tell me about your favorite ads.  Hands shoot up.  This year:

“Geico!” (sexy grandpa)  “Doritos!”  (finger licking good)  “Sun Drop!” (drop it like it’s hot).

Then I ask what [...]

Publishers dug the banner hole. Time to dig themselves out.

Photo Credit:

About a thousand of us watched a digital ad presentation recently, giant screen looming behind the speaker featuring that day’s Yahoo! home page.  “Who was the advertiser on that page?” the speaker asked as the slide faded a minute later.  Dead silence.  Nobody had noticed.

Whose fault is that?

I’ve heard [...]

Not dead yet: too early to give up on an ad-supported web content model

(CW Network announces they’ll double their online ad load)

At the OMMA Global conference in San Francisco last week I saw a panel debate the “free vs paid” content model for big media.  The platform gave voice to a growing chorus singing the death of an ad-supported online content model.

But the conclusion [...]

Newspapers and publishers should exit the distribution business

Before digital, newspapers were in two businesses:  content creation (news) and distribution (paper).

Maybe now would be a good time to consider exiting the distribution business.

This would have been impossible to imagine in print.  But in digital, it’s pretty simple.

The current model is something like this:  write a bunch of stories, put them on [...]

The New York Times vs Penguin Books in digital: looks like youth wins round one.

Considering two very different responses to the opportunities digital presents publishers, the disruption in our midst may reshuffle the power, popularity and, possibly, the very presence, of some of our most cherished media brands and institutions.

Imagine your partner has fallen deeply in love with two or three of your most prominent, defining traits.  [...]

The iPad won’t save publishers, or anyone else


Like Benjamin Franklin practically said:  Apple helps people who help themselves.  (They crush people who don’t, by the way.)

All the talk of iPad-as-savior reminds me of those commercials promising weight loss without proper diet and exercise.  It’s a fantasy.

The iPad isn’t a pill publishers can take and, presto, become attractive.  It’s going to [...]