Monthly Archives: June 2015

Next to Now: Cannes Lions Edition

The news in advertising this week is all about the Cannes Lions. 


Alas, there were no ads created for book publishers among the winners. Mostly it’s cars and sports, with a smattering of empowerment.  That said, there was a lot of love for an ad for a bookbook™, which was pretty clever even if it was for an Ikea catalog rather than, you know, a book.


In other advertising news that might mean something more to book publishers . . .


When we talk about advertising to the parenting demo, it’s getting to be time to include men in the conversation. 


Rocketfuel made an infographic that shows what creative elements have led to the best performance. Spoiler alert: it’s an animated red ad featuring a man;  the CTA is “Learn more,” and the logo’s positioned in the lower left.


Remember when QR codes were going to be a thing in consumer advertising? It turns out they still have a role to play in China, and for one blogger, that’s heartening:

“I have to confess: I’ve been rooting for the QR code all along. Partially, I think, because of its aesthetic inelegance, and partially because it seems fleeting. Like an AOL CD or a pianist at a silent film, the QR code is an awkward stopgap solution that can only exist at a particular moment of transition”

(via @BenedictEvans)


The Only Dead Fish email reminds us that Ben Evans updated his “Mobile Is Eating the World” podcast and deck in May. Its insights are must-reading for everybody in the tech business, and yes, that includes book publishing and advertising. As his final slide suggests, “tech is outgrowing the tech industry.”

Even though QR codes are not so popular anymore, you still might want to keep up the payments on the url though—just in case a porn site wants to grab the audience from your ketchup campaign, for example.

(via Quartz)


Facebook author tags are a thing.

(via Business Insider)


Verso Advertising is not at the beach in Cannes for the Lions. But as the photo at the head of this post will attest, we're feeling pretty good about the sprinklers a short walk west on 17th street.

Next to Now: Video Ads Take Their Place at the Front of the Stage

As video options expand far beyond YouTube, Spotify joins the fray with new video options. Where does this leave advertisers?:

“In a world where video ad inventory is at a premium, premium content to place against it is just as valuable. So if you’re the one creating the content that viewers want to see, then you’re definitely in the catbird seat, as companies like Spotify and others expand their scope into the video space. That means that Spotify will need a strong video advertising offer, particularly in the mobile space, as creators will only stay on board for as long as they’ are seeing the ROI.”

Paul Ford’s highly entertaining, informative, and looooooong piece on coding might come in handy before your next meeting with that new marketing start-up.

SnapChat takes the stage in Cannes with some advice: shoot your video vertically.

Facebook makes sure their engineers are keenly aware of user experience in different countries and communities and with different devices and connection speeds: It’s important for everyone in the advertising industry to think through the user’s experience.

Related: Last week’s link to Guardian piece calling out the Cannes advertising juries on giving awards to agencies that are more successfully marketing their wares to other people in advertising than they are to the people who might actually buy the product on offer.

Nieman Labs is one of many business news outlets to report on the ad blocking capabilities of the iOS9 release, and the dangers of ad blocking for content providers—not to mention the advertisers who love their audiences, which, obviously, includes us:

“A blow for mobile advertising: The next version of Safari will let users block ads on iPhones and iPads”

Another study about the effectiveness of TV, this one from CBS:

“In cross-platform campaigns, TV soundly trumps digital in both spending and reach.”

Photo of the stage at the 2015 Tony Awards (c) Sarah Moses
English labs Teddy, left, and Winston, right, relax with their owner, Assemblyman Steve Otis, during Animal Advocacy Day on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, at the Legislative Office Building in Albany, N.Y. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union)

Next to Now: Dog Days Edition

A conversation about native advertising with the VP for Marketing Solutions for CondeNast:

“For brands to compete in the digital space, they have to be as interesting as or more interesting than everything else out there. Brands are committing more to try and create higher-quality, interesting content. Even if it’s marked “sponsored content” so that the reader knows what it is, that doesn’t limit the level of engagement. If it’s great content, it transcends the label.”


Who are advertising agencies *really* advertising to? Great Tom Goodwin piece in the Guardian on the kinds of campaigns that win awards:

“I’ve never met anyone who has seen a vending machine reward them for laughing, I’ve never walked through a door marked ugly, got a Coke from a drone, or been offered a crisp packet with my face on. I’ve never had a friend share their personalised film, I’ve not seen outdoor ads that are also street furniture or had an ATM give me a funny receipt. I’ve not received a magazine with a near field communication thing and I’ve not had a virtual reality experience outside advertising conferences. I’ve not once seen a member of the public 3D print anything. The one thing that binds together the more than 200 Cannes winners I’ve seen, is that they are ads only advertising people have a good chance of seeing. I’m not sure that’s what the industry should be about.”

(via Dark Matter. In fact all the links in Dark Matter email #047 are so good, it’s worth checking them out )


Ads on Amazon shipping boxes. Seems like a good idea to us:

“People used to go to their mailbox and [brands] could write to them,” said Allen Adamson, North American chairman at brand consulting firm Landor. “Now you can’t reach them at the mailboxes unless they get a package of something they’ve ordered digitally. [Shipping boxes] end up in customers’ hands. It’s mail that customers look for and want and it’s unused space, so it’s a really smart move by Amazon to capitalize on a powerful media touch point.”


TV is still the most effective advertising medium, says Adweek (quoting a study paid for by people Turner Broadcasting):

“MarketShare’s analysis found that TV advertising effectiveness has remained steady during that time period and outperforms digital and offline channels at driving key performance metrics like sales and new accounts.”

Related: “Boom: Netflix is now bigger than Yahoo”:

“A torch was passed today, as Netflix’s stock market value surpassed Yahoo’s in intraday trading.”



For all you trying to make an honest living as a social media manager (which is beginning to feel like everyone, in one way or another). Here’s a little infographic on the decline in organic reach on Facebook, and what you can do about it (other than, you know, buying ads).

Speaking of Dog Days, June 3 was New York State Animal Advocacy Day. Photo above (c) Cindy Schulz/Times Union.  

Next to Now: Keep Your Eyes on Instagram and Pinterest

While last week’s BEA got everyone in publishing talking about the feast of great new books coming out—including new novels from Jonathan Franzen, Garth Risk Hallberg, and Ottessa Moshfegh—the advertising and tech worlds kept their eyes on developments with Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s a sampling of some of the press for anyone too busy recovering from BEA to keep up with it all.

Instagram opens up its ad platform:

Business Insider gets into the increased ability to target: 

“On Tuesday, the photo sharing service, which Facebook bought in 2012 for $1 billion, announced that by this winter, it will begin to use more data from your Facebook profile to target you with more relevant ads.”

The New York Times writes about the revenue generating potential of this move:

“Collectively, the expanded advertising options signal that Facebook is becoming serious about making money from Instagram, which has a younger audience than the main Facebook social network, whose core users are middle-age mothers.”

 ClickZ goes a little deeper into the targeting options this move is opening up:

“Instagram is also enhancing its targeting beyond demographics like age, location and gender. By working with Facebook to reach users based on interests, as well as consumer data that businesses already have, the photo-sharing platform plans to help advertisers tailor their messages so users see ads based on the things they care about.”

As a bonus, here’s a little infographic about optimal Instagram posting strategy.


Pinterest adds a buy button.

The New York Times reports on this:

“Pinterest does not plan to make money off e-commerce the traditional way, by taking a cut of retailers’ transactions. Instead, the company said, it would make money selling promoted-pins advertisements to retailers, who can then insert buyable pins into those ads.”

 ClickZ has a question:

“Pinterest has unveiled transactional pins. Will its ‘Buy Button’ work better than Twitter’s and Facebook’s version?”

TechCrunch quotes the Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann on the need for a better mobile transaction experience (a need Pinterest is trying to address with transactional pins):

“Right now since everyone uses their phone, but it’s still a pain to buy things. There are fiddly menus, you have to squint to see the images.”

Business Insider on the mobile first approach to this development:

“Pinterest found that 85% of people who use Pinterest were doing it from their phones. So, the team made the buying experiences as mobile-friendly as possible. Buy buttons will roll out on iPhones and iPads by the end of the month, with the desktop experience and other phone operating systems, like Android or Windows, coming soon after.”

A few interesting articles from the week that have nothing to do with Pinterest or Instagram:

“Emails are definitely the new old blogs.” A round table on the past, present and future of the email newsletter.

Several paid and free content distribution channels worth knowing about.

Local search goes mobile, desktop search drops:

“eMarketer expects mobile to overtake desktop for US search ad dollars this year . . . At the same time, there will be 156.4MM mobile phone search users in the US, representing 49% of the population.”

A great piece on art, advertising, and design intelligence in posters from Hyperallergic.