Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You Don't Reckon They're Cousins?

Two years ago I put a slide into my client “grounding sessions” titled “Rethink and Refocus.”

I call it a Change Wave – a foundation-changer that is rocking boardrooms, operational models and marketing dynamics. 

It causes businesses and brand teams to step back and question conventional models, innovate and create new ones.

There are some who call it a born-again experience. 

Those who do, often live in the shackles of the past and might voice the desire to embrace change, but in reality, unearth what they term as the “tried and true,” dust it off and believe that the past can be resurrected.

Most mornings now I read the Wall Street Journal

I give the newspaper a lot of credit.   

They have moved through their “grounding session” and now deliver a richer, more business dynamic news platform that is accessbile in print, online and on-air.

In this morning’s Media & Marketing section there is a story about AOL.

Before I tell you about the WSJ story, let me share a sidelight personal perspective of AOL.

More than 10 years ago, I had a first-hand experience of AOL in its acquisition of my past employer Time-Warner.

AOL acquired Time-Warner because it believed that it could transform the conventional media through the acquisition of a print and broadcast giant.  

It was only weeks after the announcement that a group of AOL techies took over CNN Headline News and unveiled a new look for the struggling news net.

I received a phone call at 5:30am that morning from a colleague who said “you’ve got to see what the (insert term here) those tech-freaks did to Headline News.”

What I saw was a junked-up website airing on the television set.

After nine more months of watching AOL attempt to “re-birth” the networks, I escaped and got out.

Today’s story about AOL is titled, “AOL Pushes To Grab TV Ad Dollars.”

On the surface, its really not a bad idea nor far-fetched venture. 

There is another article in the WSJ today about the Today Show’s winning streak ending.   

NBC and ABC are now battling it out for whatever food falls on the floor after being gobbled up by the cable nets and interactive media.

What AOL is doing is summed up in this quote from the article…

“AOL has teamed up with Nielsen to offer TV-like audience guarantees to marketers based on gross rating points.”

Gross Rating Points are… well gross. 

These are not even Target Rating Points.

Leave it to Beaver.   

Get the tech geeks married up with the historic ad media reps who for years have built their sales models around the story that the more reach and frequency, the more effective the advertising.

The more consumers you bang the message into their headset, the more the Zombies will rush out to buy the brand.

Forget the dialogue exchange and relationship dynamics of the market today. 

Forget the ability for rivals like Google and Facebook to micro-target.

Shoot… go embrace the way those aging television reps have been selling their media now for years…

“Rethink and Refocus” causes businesses and brand teams to step back and question conventional models, innovate and create new ones.

Then there are those corporate hi-rise marketing teams that get a thrill each time they look in the mirror and cannot even begin to embrace the Change Wave.

By the way, found out more details over the weekend about Arby’s teaming up with Crsipin Porter after Burger King kissed the agency … and the brand foundation… good bye. 

You don’t reckon that AOL and Burger King are being run by cousins do you?