Monday, December 31, 2007

Three Cool 2007 Happenings!

Today is the very last day of 2007.

All the newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations have reported the highlights of the year.

Most of it political, the rest of it Hollywood. Global Warming and Al Gore straddle both topics.

Not that our Blog tries to compete with the media mass, but here are three things that took place in 2007 that I think were pretty hot…

The iPhone.

I bought one shortly after they premiered this past June. In just six short months, I am just as co-dependent with it as I am the MacBook Pro I am punching keys on right now.

This past weekend, I woke up in the middle of the night and could not find my iPhone. I had a panic attack and finally found it downstairs on the coffee table. After that I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I often wonder if I am typical of most Apple users.

We bought a mobile PC for an account guy here at our company that then was let go a week later after we hired him. I tried to use the PC, but just couldn’t deal with all the things that PCs do that Macs were designed to avoid.

(It’s now for sale… $1,000 and it is yours. Hardly used and loaded with the newest version of Windows)

In business, we terms it Brand Loyalty…maybe I’ll be more honest in 2008 and call it Brand Co-dependency.

Whatever we call it, the effects of the iPhone and other “wannabe” devices will drive more change in 2008 than iPods have done in the last five years.

Pre-Fab Housing

In 2007, Cottage Living Magazine partnered with the New Orleans Preservation Resource Center to build a modular “shotgun” style home that was showcased as the 2007 Cottage Living Idea House.

Note the word “modular.”

It’s bye-bye Levitt & Sons and get ready to say hello to the likes of Empryrean International, WeberHaus, weeHouses, EcoContempo, Clever Homes, Hive Modular and kitHaus in 2008.

The homes span the spectrum of style from classic bungalow to traditional to cabin to contemporary. But they are all constructed under a roof in modular sections that are shipped on site and assembled in less than 30 days.

They are not only better built and more cost-affordable, but they can be personally customized and are less intrusive to the landscape and environment. is a link search site to places like Inhabit and FabPreFab that showcase current listings, developers and floor plans.

Go check the sites out.

The “state” of the real estate market and the new workforce surge of Millennium generation college candidates (one-out-of-every 3 new hires in 2007) set the stage for a new delivery of housing.

Not only is “sub-division” out of the limelight… in 2008, watch as it posts on the list of the politically incorrect terms that are banned from the airways!


I now watch YouTube every night before I go to bed.

It is just as much a part of my broadcast viewership as Fox News, TruTV, HGTV and The History Channel.

Friends that I had dinner with last night asked if I had gone to see a movie they saw over the weekend.

I laughed and said “no”…YouTube videos have magnified my ADHD with the 10-minute maximum length of anything I can now sit in front of and digest.

YouTube is also broadcast viewership that is produced by the people. The number of videos launched on YouTube is staggering.

The writers’ strike has a lot to do with just how in the world they will be able to track what is airing when and where in the future once it hits the YouTube and .com airways.

Its also one where the 60,000+ new videos that post every day on YouTube makes many writers question just how long they might be needed!

2007 was a benchmark year for YouTube – it was no longer this website way out there. It was the hosting site for presidential debates.


2008 promises to be like getting onto the newest wild ride at Disneyland.

The pace of change is accelerating beyond anything we have ever seen in history.

It’s what we thrive on here at BrandVenture.

Come… Let’s journey!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The $6 Million+ Webcast!

It’s a marriage of 2007 and 2008.

This last year, we highlighted a trend we termed “Our” – the growing surge of online communities and connections.

For 2008, we highlight a trend we term “The Persona of Politics” – the relationships of personality and platform and how politics influence brands.

One of the headlines in this morning’s Atlanta Journal Constitution (“AJC”) is “Ron Paul’s Followers Aim To Stun The Pundits.” The article showcases that “no matter the evidence…Paul’s legion of supporters believe loudly that their man will win the GOP nomination in 2008.”

The article notes two key points:
• The bulk of the Ron Paul supporters are Millenniums in their late teens through mid-20’s
• Ron Paul raised more than $6 million dollars in a one-day event staged on the Internet

Why are these two points important?

First… The Millenniums are coming and coming on strong!

The article cites Jessica Aday, an 24 year old Millennium who spent the better part of this past holiday weekend holding up a sign along one of the major roadways coming into Atlanta. She also wore a T-Shirt that said “This Redhead is Voting for Ron Paul.”

She finds Ron Paul to be “a good man, very honest and humble.”

Justin Stout, also age 24, joined up with Jessica and other Paul supporters. He may have captured it best: “We know we have to do this because the media doesn’t seem to be giving us attention.”

Second… The Internet is where they gather.

it is no longer “birds of a feather, flock together”, but “birds of a feather, LinkedIn together.” (“LinkedIn” is both noun and verb!)

As the article notes, Ron Paul’s campaign is being fueled by “the more than 65,000 videos supporters have uploaded to YouTube and the more than 50,000 “friends” Paul has on Facebook.”

65,000+ videos!

That is a bigger political video voice than all of the other GOP candidates combined!

One of the Ron Paul videos posted on YouTube titled “Stop Dreaming” posts 1,105,044 viewers. That is more viewers than any other GOP posting.

As of this morning 12/26/07, Ron Paul is posting 55,728 Facebook friends and no other Republican can even come close:
• Mitt Romney posts 22,346
• Mike Huckabee posts 20,197
• Fred Thompson posts 17,556
• John McCain posts 15,091
• Rudy Giuliani doesn’t even have a page on Facebook!

Hillary claims 54,440 and she’s been in the news much longer.

The Millenniums do not place much trust in the conventional governmental policies nor business practices of the past. They feel “disenfranchised” from the political, brand marketing and media channels of the present. They believe strongly that to succeed today, they have to take action on their own.

This isn’t just how they feel about the political candidates. Its how they feel about many of the brands that claim to be icons of the American marketplace.

Where is your marketing and brand in their mindset?

When was the last time you hit YouTube?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Desire For Truth!

The clock is ticking down to midnight January 1, 2008.

Yes, the New Years Eve Ball will drop over Time Square. Yes, the fireworks will go off in the neighborhoods. And yes, the corks will pop and the Champagne will flow.

But the best will take place on the TV set…and it won’t be the countdown 10…9…8…7…

The BIG event?

At midnight on 01.01.2008 Court TV will give way to the new TruTV.

Yes…the highly educated metro class will still cling to their CNN and Headline News. And suburban America will still watch Fox and CNBC.

But the bedrock of America that spans coast-to-coast will be tuning in instead to watch TruTV… where the truth is captured in video and the viewer can freely make judgment without the newscaster’s biased perspective.

Main Street USA is taking back its right and ownership of the truth.

The Internet is driving it. YouTube has cultivated it. Blogs like this are by-products of it. And most MBA marketers and news journalists don’t really get it.

The 2007 Yankelovich Monitor reports that nearly half of adults believe that the news media focuses more on extreme viewpoints and opinions versus those held by most Americans…and the belief increased by 5 percentage points in just the last year!

A higher percentage of adults are now capturing “breaking news” on the Internet than the TV…

And nearly half of guys age 16+ would rather have the news presented to them in pictures than in text!

And it doesn’t matter if its paper towels, fast food burgers, the latest automotive make and model or the politician campaigning for political office…the Heartland of America is taking back control.

TruTV is rising to the call… wonder where the ball will drop next?

Monday, December 10, 2007

See Dick. See Jane. Click. Click.

It was comprised of boxes, circles, squares, arrows and stars. Even two eyes and a smile.

It looked a lot like a male version of the full-time maid that lived with the Jetsons.

The class assignment?

Duplicate it on the computer sitting in front of you. No specific how to’s or instructions. Just do it.

And do it they did.

Within about 10 minutes, there were custom versions that were pretty damn close to the one up on the screen in the front of the class.

Last week I directed a film shoot for a Podcast video that will be airing soon on You Tube. We were filming the head of the school board in a town with a population of about 6,000 people located at the very southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains.

We were in a computer lab with about two-dozen first graders at one of the elementary schools. This was their computer class that they went to several times a week.

I can vaguely remember when I was in first grade. Our classroom lives seemed to evolve around Dick and Jane and Spot, Columbus and 1492 and multiplication tables. The most creative we got was doing papier-mâché pumpkins for Halloween.

It wasn’t until I was in the fourth grade that I even interacted with electronics and it involved learning the Morse Code to get a novice Ham radio license.

These first graders are just a small sampling of the leading edge of the ZOOM generation. They can do things with computers that seems to come naturally…things that Boomers and Xers are still figuring out how to do.

Last Christmas, I bought my 8 month old niece a computer designed just for babies. It featured shapes, colors, characters and sounds. Thea now knows words and can even create sentences and questions.

Generation ZOOM may not ever be as big as the Boomers or the Millenniums, but as their nickname implies, they are going to advance further and quicker with technology than we can even imagine!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Brids Of A Feather Flocking Together

The “see it, do it” dogma of the “good ole boy” marketers!

Banks have been doing it for years with FREE CHECKING. Healthcare with what we define as the “no-no” word – CARE. Insurance companies now are all rolling out with slapstick humor ads ala Geico.

But hey…banks, hospitals, insurance agencies…accountants, physicians and knock-on-door sales reps…we’re really not talking about the most creative headsets.

But Wal-Mart… now that’s another story.

Wal-Mart leads the retail pack as the largest overall ad spender. They also lead the pack with the most stores from “the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam!”

For many small towns in America, Wal-Mart has successfully moved the town squares to their aisles decked out with blue light specials.

Based on the mullah in their wallet, wouldn’t you reckon Wal-Mart might have enough bucks (and balls) to be innovative in addressing the maturity and saturation of their brand?

Turn back time a couple of years…

In early 2006, Wal-Mart teamed up with GSD&M to launch their new “Look Beyond The Basics” brand campaign.

Unfortunately, Wall Street and the press reacted quickly with how much the campaign resembled their competitor’s long-running “Come see the softer side of Sears” advertising.

Roy Spence, President of GSD&M noted that the two campaigns were “scarily similar,” but then went on to say that the agency did not try to copy Sears campaign. He went on to say that Wal-Mart’s new campaign was “authored by a copywriter in her 20s” …someone not even in high school when Sears ran the original campaign.

WOW… Isn’t that nice that GSD&M lets the new talent write the campaigns for the top account!

Wasn’t long after the media hype that Wal-Mart pulled the plug on GSD&M and got next in bed with Bernstein-Rein to launch their “new” brand campaign…“Save More, Smile More”

John Fleming, Wal-Mart’s CMO launched the campaign with the quote…“This campaign is very much in line with Wal-Mart’s strategy of becoming constantly more relevant to the broad range of customers who shop our stores.”

That wouldn’t be Target by any chance?

Doesn’t this remind you of the guy in your 7th grade class that kept looking over your shoulder while you were answering the test?

On January 7th earlier this year…the following quote posted on BLOGGING STOCKS… “These guys at Wal-Mart still aren't getting the message from either Main Street nor from Wall Street. The company needs to make a sacrifice and essentially start over with a new clean and fun image.”

So what did Wal-Mart do next?

They fired Bernstein-Reid and John Fleming. Then they hired Martin Agency who crafted their new tagline and campaign that is running right now on television sets nationwide.

The “new” tagline? …“Save money. Live better”

WOW…four words with punctuation in between!

In early 2001, Target launched “Expect More, Pay Less.” The campaign catapulted Target to being THE cool place to shop. Period.

In client presentations, I feature Target right up next to Apple and Starbucks as brands that take the risk to do things differently, to march to the beat of their own drummers.

Target works with some great agencies. But Target’s commitment to their brand and its culture is what drives their success.

Having big bucks doesn’t guarantee that you can generate market buzz and consumer bonds.

And the agencies like GSD&M, Bernstein-Reid and Martin Agency ought to go stand in the corner along with Wal-Mart and stare at the wall contemplating the outcome of their behaviors too.

Birds of a feather might flock together…but those who challenge convention with new ideas are the ones that travel on a higher plane!