The Allure of Cinema Advertising.

Posted by truecreek on January 29, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

My clients know this very well by now.  I love cinema advertising and think it is a great place for them to advertise.  There are over 125 new movies scheduled for release between now and the end of  2010.  Movies from directors like Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Oliver Stone, Jon Favreau, Ridley Scott, M. Night Shyamalan, Tony Scott, The Coen brothers and you guessed it:  Sly Stallone.

Then, you have Marmaduke. Releases 6/4, starring Jeremy Piven, Ron Perlman and Amanda Seyfried.

Internet, Broadband and Cell Phone Statistics. A Pew Study.

Posted by truecreek on January 26, 2010 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

These statistics are holding steady.

By Lee Rainie:

In a national survey between November 30 and December 27, 2009, we find:

74% of American adults (ages 18 and older) use the Internet, a slight drop from our survey in April 2009, which did not include Spanish interviews. At that time we found that 79% of English speaking adults use the Internet.

60% of American adults use broadband connections at home, a drop that is within the margin of error from 63% in April 2009.

55% of American adults connect to the Internet wirelessly, either through a WiFi or WiMax connection via their laptops or through their handheld device like a smart phone. This figure did not change in a statistically significant way during 2009.

These data come from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The most recent survey was conducted from November 30 to December 27, 2009, using landline and cell phones and including interviews in Spanish. Some 2,258 adults were interviewed and the overall sample has a margin of error of ± 2 percentage points.

Download the entire Internet, broadband and cell phone statistics survey here.

Boys vs. Girls on Cellphones.

Posted by truecreek on under Opinions. Everyone has them., Research | Be the First to Comment

Very interesting research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.   It’s a hot topic of discussion here at True Creek, for sure. The premise was also the theme for a recent episode of ‘Modern Family’ on ABC.

By Margaret Shapiro

We’ve heard about the gender divide in knowledge and use of technology. It seems the gap may start with the simplest of technologies — cellphones — and at a fairly young age — middle school.

For a study published in December in the journal New Media and Society, University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Shelia Cotten asked nearly 1,000 middle school students to rate the different ways they used their cellphones.

The results showed boys much more than girls used their phones to play games, share photos and videos, listen to music and send e-mails. Girls tended to use their phones primarily for talking and or text messaging.

To the researchers’ surprise, the boys used the phones for talking and texting just as much as the girls — in other words, they didn’t use the “complicated features” instead of socializing, but in addition to it. “We would’ve expected that girls would use cellphones for talking and texting because females are socialized to communicate more with others than males,” said Cotten in an online video presentation of her research, “but there were no differences.”

“By these study results, we aren’t saying that parents should buy phones with fewer features for girls,” she said. “But it does point out how much more needs to be done to teach girls” about technology. “Females traditionally have perceived themselves as less skilled in terms of technology, especially with regard to computers.”

Cotten said that 60 to 70 percent of middle school kids report owning a cellphone.

More about Boys vs. Girls on Cellphones here.

Court Ruling Invites a Boom in Political Ads.

Posted by truecreek on January 25, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

By Brian Stelter

Among those closely watching the Supreme Court ruling last week that loosened restrictions on corporate campaign spending were local television stations, which now hope for a windfall.

Media of all kinds may benefit from the decision, which promises to let more political advertising money be poured into the system. Most of that money finds its way to television, and in particular, local stations in battleground states.

“It’s a big opportunity” for stations, said Steve Lanzano, the president of the Television Bureau of Advertising.

Under the Supreme Court decision, corporations and unions will be free to spend money on attack ads in ways that were previously banned. “This takes an already bulked-up, well-funded election and puts it on steroids,” said Evan Tracey, the chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, a division of TNS Media Intelligence.

In the supply-and-demand marketplace of advertising, “it’s going to drive up rates” for local stations, he said. “There’s going to be a lot of people fighting over the same inventory.”

In part for that reason, he expects more money will flow to radio and local cable operators.

Election advertising is especially critical this year, given the beating that local stations have taken in the downturn. Exacerbating the economic pressures, the lack of political ad dollars last year meant that many stations experienced 30 percent declines in ad revenue, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising.

More about Court Ruling Invites a Boom in Political Ads here.

Clear Channel Says, Company Is Logical Choice for Howard Stern.

Posted by truecreek on under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Olga Kharif

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — Clear Channel Communications Inc., the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, said it may be interested in signing shock jock Howard Stern, whose five-year contract at Sirius XM Radio Inc. expires at the end of 2010.

The company’s interest hinges on whether Stern would be willing to work “within the limitations” of free over-the-air radio, said John Hogan, chief executive officer of the radio division of San Antonio-based Clear Channel.

“We clearly have both the willingness and the financial wherewithal to consider high-profile talent,” Hogan said in an e-mailed statement. “We would be the most logical company for him to optimize his exposure and financial return.”

Sirius XM, which averted bankruptcy last year after John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. bought a 40 percent stake in exchange for $530 million in loans, may not be able to afford to renew the radio talk-show host’s existing contract, worth $500 million, said Tuna Amobi, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s.

Hogan’s remarks represent one of the first public expressions of interest after Stern, 56, said on air yesterday that he’s fielding calls from companies that want to hire him.

“Even if (a new contract) were half of what it was before, it would still be a major financial burden for Sirius,” Amobi said. “It’s a totally different game.”

Google Has Played the China Situation Brilliantly.

Posted by truecreek on January 22, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

Great article by Henry Blodget.

A few years ago, when Google announced its decision to agree to censor its China site, it was savaged for selling out.

The company had violated its own “don’t be evil” motto, critics yelled, and it was tacitly supporting the Chinese government’s outrageous censorship policy.

The critics were wrong.

Google made the right decision to build a business in China a few years ago. And it’s making the right decision now, by threatening to pull out of the country if China doesn’t relax its censorship demands.

Google’s decision to make a big public threat now, when it controls 15% to 20% of China’s search market and is known to most Chinese internet users, will put far more pressure on the Chinese government to relax its policies than a boycott of the country five years ago would have.

Google matters in China now. The announcement that Google was threatening to pull out spawned public support for the company in China. It got Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into the act. It forced the Chinese government to respond with a statement. It has grabbed the attention of investors, as well as the hundreds of other companies that do business in China and are forced to play by Chinese rules. It will focus more public attention on the reality of China’s censorship policies than any boycott ever could have.

In short, by playing ball with China until it had some real leverage, Google has a much better chance of actually forcing the government to change.

More about Google Has Played the China Situation Brilliantly here.

Are Naming Rights Deals A Good Buy?

Posted by truecreek on January 20, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Darren Rovell

Every time a company buys naming rights to a stadium, their executives get challenged. Is this really a good deal? Why does it seem like companies who have put their name on stadiums face greater economic trouble than those who pass on the idea?

I think the latter might be more perception than reality –- that the percentage of companies that sign naming rights deals and then file for bankruptcy are somehow much greater than those that don’t sign deals and don’t file for bankruptcy.

Answering whether naming rights deals are good deals depend on two things: price and activation.

In order to sell these rights, teams show companies what the “impression value” of the stadium is. That is, how many times will the company’s name be mentioned in the media.

The numbers being shown to these companies  — ranging from millions of impressions to hundreds of millions of impressions a year –- are real. But there’s a big difference between having a 30-second ad and having your company’s name mentioned 30 times. I’m just throwing it out there, but I think that tens of thousands of impressions can equal what one 30-second ad can do as far as driving business to a company.

We just had on Wes Thompson, CEO of Sun Life Financial, whose company reportedly paid an average of $4 million over five years to put its name on the stadium where the Miami Dolphins play.

Because this is the seventh name change the stadium has had, the impression value has already been severely compromised. Simply put, fewer people are willing to call it by its official name because they’ve been put through the ringer. So Sun Life’s first job is to find out exactly how much it has been devalued — even with the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl coming up.

But the next job is to convince fans why they should have their insurance through Sun Life. That is the essential leap that makes naming rights worth it or not.

Thompson mentioned that this was an opportunity to increase brand awareness and that the stadium was a great destination, but Thompson didn’t mention exactly what Sun Life was going to do with the rights.

Perhaps Thompson needs some time, but that’s not a great start. Because it’s an insurance product, it requires more of an effort than say a beer brand like Land Shark, which previously had the name to the stadium.

Is Sun Life going to offer some sort of deal where the longer you had Dolphins season tickets, the lower they are willing to go on your insurance as compared to the product offered by their competition?

We know Sun Life employees will be in their luxury box entertaining corporations, but how many Sun Life employees will be walking throughout the stadium talking to fans?

Perhaps I didn’t pry enough on specifics, but I’m skeptical of what Sun Life is going to do because I’ve found that most naming rights deals are ego buys with very little activation. Most naming rights deals aren’t worth it because the company itself doesn’t make it worth it.

Because of this deal, I now know the name Sun Life Financial. That’s the first step. Getting me to actually put my money with the product or service the company offers is the second step. And, at least for me, it’s a step that not a single company that has ever landed naming rights has ever accomplished.

In Cap Flap, Miller Lite Told to Change Beer Ads.

Posted by truecreek on under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment


It’s a flap over a cap.

An ad industry watchdog wants MillerCoors to modify its claims about flagship Miller Lite because it hasn’t made changes as the ads imply.

It’s a basic marketing tactic to tout a product attribute, especially if it’s new, to increase shoppers’ interest.

In this case, MillerCoors started advertising flagship Miller Lite’s “Taste Protector” caps and lids last summer. But MillerCoors acknowledges the tops don’t use new technology so its ads can’t imply they do, the National Advertising Division Council of Better Business Bureaus said Wednesday.

The industry body, known as NAD, looked into the matter after beer-making rival Anheuser-Busch Inc. complained. Many of its inquiries start with complaints by rivals.

MillerCoors has been saying the new golden tops and lids on Miller Lite, which has been in a sales slump, have a special seal that “locks out air and locks in that Great Pilsner Taste.”

NAD said in its nonbinding decision that MillerCoors should stop referring to a “special seal” and not imply the product has changed.

“While advertisers can change marketing strategies to promote the different features of their product, they must do so truthfully to avoid any potential overstatement or consumer confusion,” the board said.

In highlighting aspects of their products, companies can’t mislead, said Doug Stayman, associate dean of MBA programs at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on them to come out with something new and different,” he said. “And there’s a fine line. But this seems to be over it.”

MillerCoors said it will take the ruling into consideration for future advertisements. It was pleased NAD agreed it could use “Taste Protector” statements but disagreed with objections to the word “special” — although it’s been removed from packaging.

More about In Cap Flap, Miller Lite Told to Change Beer Ads here.

How Marketable Is Tim Tebow?

Posted by truecreek on January 19, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

This post is all about the Gator in me.  My hope is that Tim Tebow goes high in the NFL draft and makes all of the pundits look stupid.

He has the potential to turn the Jacksonville franchise around, should they draft him.

By Darren Rovell

University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow reportedly will be appearing in a pro-life TV commercial with his mother on Super Bowl Sunday. That along with the talk of how far Tebow might fall in the NFL Draft got us thinking: Just how marketable is Tim Tebow right now?

We called our friends at the Davie-Brown Index to compare Tim Tebow’s endorsement attributes to current NFL quarterbacks.

According to the DBI, Tebow is:

* More known than Aaron Rodgers (Packers).
* More appealing than Brett Favre (Vikings), Tony Romo (Cowboys) and Tom Brady (Patriots).
* More of a trendsetter than Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Eli Manning (Giants) and Drew Brees (Saints)

Because of his remarkable college career, it looks like Tebow should expect to cash in on plenty of deals for Florida-based companies, with more deals coming if by chance he gets picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Customers Your Company Doesn’t Want.

Posted by truecreek on January 13, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

Aiming to please too many different types of customers can be a fatal flaw. Focus on your core audience and don’t waste money on the rest.

By Steve McKee

Do a quick exercise: Take a minute and jot down three types of customers your company doesn’t want. Oh, and this is important: You can’t choose people like shoplifters or “sale-hoppers”—the kind of customers that no business wants.

If you’re like most business leaders, identifying customers you don’t want isn’t easy, especially in times like these. But it can be helpful to consider which of your customers are least important, if for no other reason than to help you focus on the most important ones.

We’re all familiar with the old saying, “you can’t be all things to all people.” Yet in business, too often that’s what we end up trying to be. General Motors is a prime example (and look where it got them). There was a time when each GM nameplate was narrowly targeted toward a certain demographic, leaving other company brands to serve their own slice of customers. But over the past several decades, as each GM brand expanded its lineup to serve as many different customers as possible—sports cars for the sporty, minivans for young families, trucks for working people—they ended up stepping on each other’s toes.

Consider one of those famous brands now slated for the scrap heap: Pontiac. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, Pontiac was defined by drool-inducing muscle cars such as the GTO, Firebird, and TransAm. The Pontiac brand meant power, styling and cool. Its appeal wasn’t for everyone, but it was powerful for some. Since that time, however, Pontiac has introduced a host of new models like the Trans Sport (a minivan), Sunfire (a compact car), Aztek (an SUV crossover), and Vibe (a hatchback). It’s unclear who, exactly, Pontiac has not been trying to serve, which is another way of saying it’s been aiming to please too many masters. And soon Pontiac will be gone, as will several other once-proud brands in the GM stable.

It could be that Wal-Mart (WMT) will learn from the GM example. The company has been attracting a lot more upscale customers of late, for obvious reasons. In the first quarter of 2009, 17% of Wal-Mart’s retail visits were from new customers, and they spent 40% more in the store than the average shopper. Will the company accept their business? You bet—branding is about whose business you’ll seek, not whose you’ll take. But if Wal-Mart begins catering more to those customers’ needs at the expense of its core target of “people who live paycheck to paycheck,” it will be making a mistake.

More about Customers Your Company Doesn’t Want here.

ESPN Tops Beta Research Survey.

Posted by truecreek on under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

By Anthony Crupi

ESPN is once again atop the advertising world’s wish list, as a new Beta Research report suggests that nearly half of media buyers and clients surveyed will dedicate more dollars to the sports net in 2010.

According to the results of the latest Beta study, 45 percent of industry pros said they would increase their ad spend with ESPN over the next 12 months. Discovery Channel came in a close second, as 40 percent of respondents indicated they planned to invest more dollars on that network.

Those results reversed the findings of last year’s Beta survey, which had Discovery edging ESPN by a slight margin (45 percent to 44 percent).

Other nets that should enjoy a lift in ad sales revenue this year are: TNT, which was given the thumbs up by 36 percent of those quizzed by Beta; TBS (36 percent); Food Network (35 percent); top-rated USA Network (34 percent); ESPN2 (33 percent), HGTV (32 percent), Comedy Central (31 percent) and Bravo (29 percent).

More about ESPN Tops Beta Research Survey here.

Cinema Surpassed DVD Sales in 2009.

Posted by truecreek on January 11, 2010 under Opinions. Everyone has them. | Be the First to Comment

By Sarah McBride.

Last year was the first since 2002 that U.S. consumers spent more money buying movie tickets than buying movies to watch at home, underscoring the changing economics of Hollywood.

According to new data from Adams Media Research, Americans spent $9.87 billion at the box office in 2009, 10% more than in 2008, according to a report Adams plans to release Tuesday.  At the same time, sales in the U.S. of feature films on DVD, long a cornerstone of movie studios’ business models, plunged 13% to $8.73 billion, including Blu-ray high-definition discs.  (Other companies that track box-office receipts include Canada in their North American figures, adding about 7% to the total and pushing the year’s gross above $10 billion.)

The figures indicate that studios will likely have to continue looking for ways to survive in a marketplace where they can’t count on hefty home-entertainment revenue to offset giant production costs. Those costs often more than eat up the studios’ half of the box-office receipts, which are split with theaters.

The ongoing decline in home-entertainment revenue has already fundamentally altered the way studios do business, forcing them to place big financial bets on hoped-for mass-market blockbusters at the expense of features that cost less to make but that also have smaller earnings potential.

Hit titles such as “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” and “Up” were among those that lured large numbers of Americans to the cinema last year.

“Consumers are still in love with movies,” said Tom Adams, president of Adams Media.  “In this environment, however, they’re seeking the biggest bang for their bucks.”

For studios, which count on income from home entertainment to underwrite growing production costs, the trend represents a giant headache.  In the early 2000s, studios began counting on the cash bonanza generated by consumers’ building up libraries of DVDs.  Now, they will have to alter budgets to reflect the shrinking DVD income stream.

More about how Cinema Surpassed DVD Sales in 2009 here.

Extraordinary Portrait of a Charismatic Young Man.

Posted by truecreek on January 8, 2010 under More Dam News | Be the First to Comment

You just have to appreciate great B&W photographic essays. Alfred Wertheimer was offered the opportunity of a lifetime and he definitely made the most of it.  Today, using B&W imagery in your print advertising is often an outstanding way to separate your message from the crowd.

By Chris Murray

In 1956, a twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley was at the beginning of his remarkable and unparalleled career. Photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer was asked by Presley’s new label, RCA Victor, to photograph the rising star for a one-day assignment that quickly developed into an odyssey. With unimpeded access to the young performer, Wertheimer was able to capture the unguarded and everyday moments in Elvis’ life during March and July of that year, the pivotal year that made Elvis’ career—taking him from virtual obscurity to the verge of international stardom and his crowning as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Wertheimer’s unobtrusive photographs of Elvis in performance, with his fans, in the recording studio, and at home with his family present a unique look at one of the world’s most famous cultural figures. These images represent the first and the last unguarded look at Elvis, and are an extraordinary portrait of a charismatic young man who would go on to become a legend.

Much more about Elvis 1956 here.

Comcast Atlanta Journal Constitution Campaign.

Posted by truecreek on January 5, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

I love headlines. We just completed a campaign for Comcast touting their new 50/10 Internet product.  The campaign is to run in the Atlanta Journal Constitution for 11 consecutive weeks, starting next week.

You have to appreciate just how impactful these ads will be with their big and bold copy running across the bottom of the page. Simple and clean look, with essentially nothing but a great headline to drag you in.

To me, a print ad should entice and entertain, not educate. There will be more than enough time to do that later after I call you or hit your  site.

Check ’em out.

4/C Fortress Technologies Print

Posted by truecreek on January 4, 2010 under The Work | Be the First to Comment

The start of a new campaign for Fortress Technologies.  Nice, clean look mated with a very strong visual. Definitely a bit more earthy in tone than what has been the norm, but I think it works well.   Many other great headlines to work with in the future.