Category Archives: Politics

Audi & Tecate: Debate Night In America

debates

As you may have heard, the future of the free world is at stake tonight in the first of this season’s head-to-head Presidential debates. Back in the Fall of 2014, when many thought this election would likely be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, I thought the debates would be big, even ”Super Bowl” big. After all, this was projected to be an election between yet another Bush and yet another Clinton. Little did I know, it would be Trump and Clinton and the hype for this first debate would be more akin to the Super Bowl and the World Cup combined!

Expectations are running high for an entertaining and decisive evening. Indeed, the viewership is expected to be 100 million or more. Given the size of the anticipated audience, this debate has become one of the largest TV and advertising (to a lesser degree) events of the year. Unlike the Super Bowl, however, you can’t really watch the debates for the halftime show or just the commercials. The debates are commercial free but the pre- and post-game network TV slots are going for $250k and up.

Here are two notable spots, you’ll see tonight, that perfectly tie-in to the moment:

Audi

Tecate

Considering the debates are about 90 minutes, there will be many words spoken tonight by the candidates. But these :30 spots from Audi and Tecate, when all is said and done, may actually convey more to swing viewers/voters.

Happy viewing!

Post by Jim Jinks & Darcy Mauke

The Sales & Marketing Lessons of Clinton-Trump 2016

trump

By all accounts, this has been the strangest Presidential election season ever; the competent but distrusted former First Lady (not to mention U.S. Senator and Secretary of State) versus the blunt, narcissistic, racist and misogynist TV personality/real estate developer with outlandish ideas and a serious lack of policy knowledge. Oh, by the way, they happen to be the two most unpopular candidates ever to run for President – by a wide margin! What are the odds?

Given that there’s a lot of marketing that goes into politics and campaigning, it has always been a little odd to me that political campaigning is somewhat walled off from the rest of the advertising/marketing industry. Aside from the relatively famous Tuesday Team – including Hal Riney, Phil Dusenberry, Jerry Della Famina and others- I can’t say I recall big name ad agency people crossing over to work on Presidential elections. The Tuesday Team, by the way, is heralded primarily for doing Reagan’s ”It’s Morning in America,” one of the most famous Presidential campaign spots ever -see it here.

Fast forwarding a bit to 2016, here are recent spots from Team Hillary and Team Trump:

Hillary -Who We Are

The message is basically together we’ll go far. If we are divided we are less successful and less safe. The images are mostly of the faces of voters that form Hillary’s coalition – minorities and women.

Trump-America Soaring

The message from Trump is that he will bring back manufacturing jobs. The return of these jobs – particularly in the steel industry- will ”make America great again.” Like Hillary, the imagery is of the base -white, working class men.

The irony is that both of these spots are speaking to the fears and aspirations of the working and middle-class. In other words, this election is basically between two similar but sort of different brands -Coke versus Pepsi or Home Depot versus Lowes or Costco versus Sams Club. As many as 20% of voters are still undecided in this election. This high percentage, after over a year of campaigning, speaks to how, through the lens of the voter, these two candidates are not all that different. In short, the working and middle-class are not entirely convinced which horse may ultimately pull them across the finish line. Trump is a master showman and promoter. His skills may well win him the Presidency.

Given Trump’s lack of experience in politics and lack of policy knowledge, and that his target audience is not all that different (at least in terms of class) from Hillary’s, Trump’s success points to a few solid sales and marketing lessons to be learned:

  1. Customers value competence and they want to know your product or service is trustworthy but they don’t want to be preached to or patronized. Believe it or not, competence has been getting equated with ”more of the same” and ”part of the system” in this election. Know your stuff but respect your buyers intelligence. In Hillary’s case, many often feel like she’s condescending (although this probably says more about the voter than Hillary.)
  2. Unfortunately, style does often beat substance. If you don’t have confidence and a belief in yourself, your customer will not have confidence and belief in what your selling. Trump often makes statements that are complete nonsense but he says them confidently and doesn’t back down. I’m not suggesting one be dishonest but confidence is important.
  3. Somehow, at all costs, try to make a connection. People want to do business with people they like. Trump is a billionaire who got his start with a million dollar loan from his father. He’s hardly a self-made man and he literally lives the ”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Yet, working-class guys that have led very hard lives feel like Trump speaks their language. Trump has described himself as the working-class billionaire. He’s made the connection and they’re buying.

 

What do you think about these lessons? If you have others, please share.

Post by Jim Jinks

Top Podcasts for a Better You

Head Phones

I have been one of those people, at times, that has been indifferent to the emergence of the digital age. I mean, I still read actual books…sometimes I even buy hardcover versions! I know. I know. What a Luddite, right?

But let’s be honest, unless you’re a big gamer, the internet has been -until the past few years- awash in advertising and A LOT of one-dimensional content that can be take it or leave it (there are many exceptions, of course.) In fact, among the most heavily visited sites on the old WWW have been newspaper sites -which is great, don’t get me wrong. But newspaper sites are hardly what all the fuss and promise of the internet has been about, until recently. As many of you likely already know, the latest generation of the internet (are we at 3.0 yet?) is about text, messaging and social media apps and accessing video and audio content. It’s the audio content (a.k.a. podcasts) that we’ll talk a bit more about here today.

Starting in 2015, especially with the popularity of Serial (from the makers of This American Life on NPR), podcasts have really begun to emerge. National Public Radio, the New York Times, Slate, ESPN and several other media outlets have really started to focus on podcast content, not to mention a myriad of other smaller players. After all, the production of podcasts doesn’t necessarily require much of an investment beyond a microphone, a server for storing the files and the time involved. As a media salesperson or an agency staffer, why should you care about podcasts?

Podcast audiences, generally speaking, are still relatively small so selling ad space in them or looking at them as a cornerstone of a media plan is a ways off..in terms of really being a part of the marketing conversation. But as a media seller or an agency staffer, the real value of podcasts to us is more basic – inspiration and education.

At the risk of sounding a little new age, listening to podcasts (like reading books or watching films) can help you be a better you. The exploration of ideas and hearing different perspectives on things that are happening in our world, will only help you -as a media seller- to make connections with others and -as an agency staffer- to be able to think of old problems in new ways. If you haven’t started to take some time for podcasts, the time is now. At the very least, if you’re still something of a Luddite like me, starting now you can still claim to be an early-adopter (even if it’s just barely the case.)

If you’re unsure of where to get started with podcasts, here are five from the worlds of journalism, business, culture, politics and entertainment to consider:

RadioLab

TED Radio Hour

The MOTH

SLATE Political Gabfest

WTF with Marc Maron

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

Winning In Local Elections: Three Steps to More ”Political” Sales for Local Print Sellers

2016

This Presidential election season is proving to be one of the most contentious (not to mention utterly bizarre) since perhaps the 1960s. But even in 2016, newspapers continue to be very important and an influential media channel. In the past week, for example, the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle have made headlines by endorsing Hillary Clinton very early in the general election campaign. They both cited their primary reason as the ”danger” that Trump poses to our country. But while Hillary and Trump get most of the big media attention, as an ad salesperson for a local daily or weekly community paper there are plenty of sales opportunities in races for state and/or local municipal positions and issue campaigns.

As a media buyer by training and as someone active in local politics, here’s my advice to local print ad sellers who want to be rock stars in selling to local political campaigns:

  1. Make Sure They Know You – Contact the local town or county committee chairperson in your area -often these folks may know reporters or editorial personnel at your paper but they’re not likely to know you. Call them -email will likely get ignored- and ask them about the upcoming elections. Committee chairpersons will likely know, and have the direct contact info, for the campaign managers and other key people involved in any and all local races. Elections at the local level are not big ”organizations.” Other than the candidate, there are usually only one to two other people in the inner circle.
  2. Know Your Value To The Campaign – While there are billions being spent on national and statewide elections –see AdAge– campaigns at the local level (even races for the state assembly) are usually on a shoestring. There’s also generally limits to how much a candidate can contribute to their own campaign and at the local level this amount can be very low. Among the largest line items in a local campaign’s budget are for campaign signage, events and direct mail. You have an opportunity to grab some of the direct mail budget but you have to show how you can reach households at a very cost-effective and competitive price point. Also, be sure the powers that be in the campaign know that your newspaper can do the graphic design and ad production work at little to no cost. Don’t let the campaign think they can’t ”do print” simply because they don’t have the ad design expertise.
  3. Run a Special Local Election Supplement – Voters look to newspapers for guidance and information. In reading your pages, voters are actively thinking about the election and the issues that matter. If a campaign has an ad there, it’s not unlike having an AdWords text ad show up in search results on Google. A campaign ad in a local paper is an ideal placement but campaigns sometimes need to be sold on this reality – especially if the candidate is new politics and campaigns. One way to really entice a campaign to advertise in your paper is to run a special election supplement. My local weekly paper sends all the candidates the same set of questions and they use the responses as the main content for a local election supplement that runs the week before the election. Once you have one campaign advertiser….others will follow, believe me. The last thing a political campaign wants to have happen is to be absent when the opposition is present.

Generally speaking, local campaigns really begin in earnest after Labor Day. So forget about Hillary and Trump, now is the time to begin laying the groundwork for garnering a slice of the billions and billions spent in political campaigns in 2016. Good luck!

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

Fact Checking ”Truthiness”

Trump PinochioStephen Colbert famously coined the term ”truthiness” to describe the way politicians often say things that are at best only half-true. Working in advertising, where we are held to a relatively high standard pertaining to ”truth” (not to mention subject to laws and official government oversight), the nature of advertising in politics -with its loose relationship to facts- has always been particularly frustrating to me, both as a voter and professional marketer. As a society, why do we demand more from our commercial advertisers than our politicians?

It’s a big question and I will not be attempting to answer it here. One thing is for sure, ”truth” isn’t exactly easy to define. Often it’s the case that our truth is simply what we choose to believe. But, of course, we can’t simply let politicians entirely off the hook.

Hillary 2016

While there isn’t an Federal Trade Commission (FTC) looking over the shoulder of political campaigns and consultants, in recent years there has emerged a strong vein of fact checking (even an industry, really) including newspaper and non-profit organizations. The next time you’re curious about the facts behind statements and/or advertising from one of the major candidates, these are the four most widely noted fact checkers:

Factcheck.org

Politifact.com

Sunlightfoundation.com

Poynter.org

 

Post by Jim Jinks

 

All Advertising is Local

There’s an oft used phrase in Washington – ”all politics is local.” Congressman Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democratic Speaker of the House from Massachusetts, wrote a book titled All Politics is Local so he is perhaps most closely associated with the phrase. In short, no matter what is happening in the world, a smart politician pays attention to the ”parochial” interests of his/her constituents.

Neighborhood pic

In some ways, despite the overwhelming attention paid (in the media and in the advertising industry) to the spending of large national chains and global brands, much of advertising is local as well. But we need to think a little differently about what we mean by ”local.” Very few advertisers are necessarily well served by trying to reach everyone (not that it’s possible.) Effective ad campaigns require that we can reach certain households and certain people within a household. Advertising is not quite local, in the Tip O’Neill sense of the word, advertising is really more like hyper-local or at the individual level.

So why am I banging on about this? Why does it matter?

It matters because understanding the root of effective ad campaigns -especially now- should change our perception, somewhat, of the way the ”demise of print” is so often reported.

In print news recently, Politico reported that Macy’s would be cutting their ROP national advertising by 50% and last week Mediapost reported that the Newspaper Association of America announced they would roll up National Newspaper Network (NNN), their national ad sales arm.

http://www.politico.com/media/story/2016/06/the-macys-factor-004590

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/278133/newspaper-national-network-folds.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline&utm_campaign=93824

Juxtapose these print industry reports with a recent article in the Atlantic about the state of journalism in the Facebook era. The Atlantic article noted that Pew Research looked at the digital traffic of the top 50 highest circulation newspapers in the U.S. Pew found that in just the past year, over half the papers had seen mobile and tablet traffic explode past desktop traffic. In other words, news consumption isn’t declining – it’s simply migrating to devices that are more personal (e.g. at the hyper-local or individual level.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/06/facebook-ate-the-universe-bye-universe/486944/

It is true that many large metro dailies are struggling to hang onto national advertisers and this struggle is likely to continue. However, newspaper organizations are well positioned to capitalize on the hyper-local/individual-level needs of most advertisers, especially when we better define ”most advertisers.” In the U.S. the number of corporate/national advertisers is dwarfed by the number and amount spent by small/local market advertisers.

Facebook and Google have thrived because they offer cost-effective tools that ”small” local market businesses love. Facebook and Google are response-based and allow advertisers to reach relatively well-defined groups of potential customers. Local advertisers, unsurprisingly, have flocked to this low risk way to target the ”right” people in their communities.  Indeed, the Atlantic article reported that 85% of all online ad spend goes to Facebook and Google….rather than the flashier ROS display buys on high traffic sites.

Community weeklies and mid- and small-dailies have the advantage of the content distribution channels of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat and others) while offering advertisers a print and digital footprint that largely overlaps well with the defined local markets of many small advertisers. For the great majority of these advertisers, their menu of local marketing options beyond Facebook, Google AdWords, direct mail and the local newspaper platform includes advertising media that are decidedly less geographically targeted, response-based and cost-effective. For a variety of reasons (ad production costs, reach, waste etc.) Broadcast TV, cable TV, radio, outdoor -and even in some cases the large metro daily- are not ideal for many local market advertisers.

The widespread generalization of ”print” and ”advertisers” -in a great deal of the print and advertising industry reporting- pretty much walks up to the line of misrepresenting what is truly happening in these industries. Granted, advertising and small business at the hyper-local/individual level is tougher to generalize but it is where the bulk of all kinds of important transactions are actually happening at an ever increasing rate.

Post by Jim Jinks.

 

 

 

 

 

#OrlandoUnited

Candle Vigil

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando and LGBT communities throughout Florida and everywhere. May you find peace and healing in the coming weeks and months.

The tragic events of early Sunday morning have become an all too common occurrence in the United States; Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, San Bernardino and many, many others. The facts of the Orlando shooting will become more clear by the day but due to the work of many hardworking newspaper journalists in Florida, we already know (and did know within hours) a significant amount about the shooter. In particular, his alleged motivations and how he was a licensed security guard (and able to purchase firearms) despite being on the FBI terror watch list as recently as 2014. These are important facts as we try to learn from this tragedy. Newspaper journalists were undoubtedly the first on the story and they will likely be the ones that will do the most in-depth reporting of the impact of the tragedy on the City of Orlando and the LGBT community. It’s what they do.

As always, newspapers play an important role in shaping the public’s consciousness following a traumatic and horrific event (wish I could say unprecedented here.) Along these lines, the front pages of the New York Daily News and New York Post have become somewhat predictable…but this is a certain kind of ”journalism” that overtly plays to the prejudices of readers.

Daily News NY Post Orlando Shooting

It’s difficult to say what exactly is the ”correct” chord to strike in the wake of such an immense tragedy. We thought it best to show how Florida papers -those closest to the tragedy- responded to the Orlando shooting.

Even in Florida, a few newsrooms went the somewhat sensational route:

Florida Times Union June 13th FP

Palm Beach Post June 13th FP

NWFLA Daily News June 13th FP

Generally speaking, however, most of the headlines were more reflective of the basic facts and scale of the terror:

Sun Sentinel June 13th FP

Ft Myers NewsPress June 13th FP

The Tampa Bay Times and the Villages Daily News have two of the more unique and creative front page treatments:

Tampa Bay Times June 13th FP

The Villages Daily Sun June 13th FP

Perhaps most fitting, the Orlando Sentinel has what could easily be describe as the most moving headline and imagery. #OrlandoUnited

Orlando Sentinel June 13th FP

Post by Jim Jinks.

Generating Ad Revenue in Print

AdobeStock_61056169.jpeg

A recent article in The Guardian points to the challenges newspapers face attracting advertisers and maintaining ad revenue.  And yet millions of people are still picking up print editions.  Though the article comments specifically on the UK market, the same could be said of the industry here in the US.  But contrary to the sentiment the author suggests that “publishers must find new ways to convince advertisers that they have audiences worth targeting,” we would argue that publishers are tasked with finding alternative ways to monetize their product.  Convincing advertisers of the value of their readership is not enough.

While many have looked to selling digital advertising as their saving grace, there is another option.  A new revenue stream within the print property.  Per-inquiry advertising.  Yes, this involves publications taking on risk and shifting from their traditional model.  But if they are boasting engaged readership, shouldn’t they have confidence in their ability to drive response?

Advertisers are paying per response in other mediums, so is it really that unrealistic that they expect to be able to do the same in print?  They demand performance, measurability, and tracking.  Advertisers need to justify spending, after all.

Here are MediaBids, we believe in the power and value of newspapers.  Our President, Jedd Gould, has said “we at MediaBids feel very strongly that newspapers and magazines are a critical component to democracy in the United States…we really feel that without newspapers and magazines and the original content that they’re producing, we all would be worse off”.  When is this truer than in an election year?  Yet, we know the model is being threatened by economic pressures and changes in the advertising landscape.

Hundreds of publications have already adapted and teamed with MediaBids to run per inquiry ads.  While response varies widely depending on many factors such as advertising campaign and publication size, its undeniable these campaigns are driving calls and sales, thus delivering revenue to publications.  If you’d like to increase your advertising revenue and feature national advertisers in your publication, give us a call today at 860-379-9602 or learn more at https://www.mediabids.com/publication/print-advertising.jsp.