John Gapper

The travails of old media businesses are well-known but I’m starting to feel sympathy for advertisers and media buyers.

That sentiment was brought on by looking (in old media fashion) at the front of the print section of the New York Times today. The lead article is about Madison Avenue’s scepticism on whether Facebook is a good advertising medium and underneath that is a piece on Dish Network’s new ad-skipping digital video recorder.

Facebook’s advertisers have been struggling with whether display ads on the social network will produce results, with General Motors pulling its $10m Facebook ad budget ahead of the intial public offering.

Meanwhile, Dish has upset US television networks in the “upfront” season where they show off their next season wares to advertisers but producing a box that automatically skips all the commercials between network shows. Read more

Andrew Hill

Last Thursday I was, briefly, head of communications for a large Canadian widget maker, coping with a wave of Twitter-borne rumours about the arrest of its chief executive.

Andrew Hill

“Secretive hedge fund manager” is one of those adjectival pairings to rank with “flamboyant impresario” and “introverted computer programmer” as a journalistic cliché. So when I read the headline “Hedge funds lobby SEC over secrecy rule” in Monday’s FT, I naturally assumed the hedgies wanted the US regulator to erect even higher walls around them. Not so.

Colleague Sam Jones points out that at least part of the myth of secretive hedge funds is constructed on the regulatory legacy of rule 502(c) of Regulation D. This “arcane piece of Depression-era legislation… defines how the modern hedge fund industry operates”, outlawing general advertising and solicitation by funds but also making them paranoid about talking to any “unqualified outsiders”. The Managed Funds Association, the funds’ US lobby group, has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking its elimination. Read more

Andrew Hill

When advertisers put pressure on news organisations, it’s often a sign press freedom is threatened. From South Africa to Hong Kong, public opinion puts companies or governments that use their commercial clout to protest against editorial policy on the side of the bad guys.

It’s symptomatic of the sorry state of UK news media that in the widening scandal over phone-hacking, the reverse is true. Read more

John Gapper

I’m afraid I don’t believe Alex Bogusky.

Mr Bogusky, arguably the biggest creative name in advertising, has just resigned from MDC Partners, the parent group of Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, the Miami-based agency, saying he has had it with the business.

His Twitter profile now reads:

I worked in advertising for 20+ years. That was fun. Still enjoy culture jamming.

I count his departure as akin to Tom Ford’s resignation from the Gucci Group in 2004 after it was taken over by Pinault-Printemps-Redoute – a case of a world-renowned creative executive departing from the company that he had come to personify. Read more

John Gapper

Opinions vary on whether the new Nike advertisement featuring Tiger Woods is tasteless exploitation of his dead father, Earl Woods, or a masterstroke of counter-intuitive marketing.

Personally, I think the television ad, made by Nike’s long-time agency Wieden + Kennedy, it is a clever piece of emotional brand rebuilding.

The ad, which you can view above, has been produced to coincide with the Masters golf tournament and Woods’ carefully orchestrated return to professional golf following his public humiliation as a result of having affairs with women.

It should thus be taken alongside Woods’ penitent press conference earlier this week in which he said he had been in therapy and was trying to become a better person, and the highly critical comments of Billy Payne, chairman of the Augusta National club where the Masters is played. Read more

John Gapper

My Thursday column in the FT is on the travails of newspapers.

John Gapper

Accenture has dropped Tiger Woods, along with the posters that I discussed earlierRead more

John Gapper

My FT column this week is on the advertising industry: Read more

John Gapper

We are so used to the notion that the US lags behind the rest of the world in mobile phone use that it is a shock to be told it is no longer true.

I am in San Francisco at the leadership conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (now formally re-branded as the 4As) and have been hearing some interesting statistics. Read more

John Gapper

On my travels, I neglected to post the review I wrote for the FT on Monday of Kenneth Roman’s The King of Madison Avenue, a biography of the late David Ogilvy:

In 1989, having dismissed Martin Sorrell as “this gnome” and vilified him in the Financial Times, David Ogilvy took up Mr Sorrell’s offer to absorb Ogilvy & Mather into WPP and make Ogilvy non-executive chairman. Read more

John Gapper

Bromley illustration 

If you feel like a shock, try finding out how many online advertising companies are tracking you every time you use the internet. Read more

John Gapper

Bernard Arnault presumably knows a thing or two about what sells Louis Vuitton bags, or he would not feature so prominently on the Forbes list.

Still, I was struck by seeing the well-worn face of Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist, in an advertisement in a glossy magazine for Louis Vuitton. You can see the photo hereRead more

John Gapper

The other day, I described my scepticism about advertising networks on the internet and whether technology would replace the traditional interaction between ad sales forces and media buyers.

John Hagel, whose thoughts on business are always worth reading, has chimed in on the topic with a long post. He states the problem facing advertisers intriguingly: Read more

John Gapper

Esther Dyson, who knows a thing or two about media and technology (as well as being the board member of 23 and Me who helped me with my genetic sample in Davos last month) wrote an op-ed piece in the Journal yesterday on the internet-based future of advertising.

It caught my attention because of who wrote it and because it was pegged to the Microsoft bid for Yahoo, as was my column on the same topic last week. I found it especially engaging because she agreed with me on one point but then branched out into something else entirely.

 Read more