communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.


Losing my common sense

I was hanging out with a friend in a coffee shop and went to the toilet only to be confronted by ad featuring a local female bosomy celeb promoting the latest Mitsubishi model. I came back annoyed - she was stupid, classless and had nothing to do with the brand. I made a comment to that effect. My friend smiled and only said this "I do not understand why they would put an ad featuring a bosomy woman in the ladies' loo"... I am losing my common sense.


iPod scare

A tip if this ever happens to you: this morning my iPod just froze in mid song. No backlight, the song details were showing and it had the locked icon on. I could not unlock it, reset it using Select + Play as I normally do, nor would it connect to my Mac or any computer for that matter. What eventually worked and I found this on MacTalk is pressing the Select and Menu buttons at the same time after plugging it in.
.. just in case you want to commit suicide like I did when I saw it freeze like that :-)

Yei, now I'm happier.


Rules of engagement online

Tonight I was talking to a friend who manages a number of websites with original content. He recently switched from being a mere aggregator to producing his own content and since then he is faced with some rather interesting issues.
It seems that while the well known ethics of journalism and public relations may work offline, this is not always the case online. Content he produces based on publicly available information is often the target of complaint by the companies mentioned who seem to believe that you can bully a website into changing info.
I think this would never happen to a newspaper, for one because once it's printed it's sort of final and you can't really do much [unless you're a psycho and you go out and buy the full print]. Also because, in the eye of the 'Internet illiterates', websites or blogs are not "serious" forms of content production UNLESS (and this is where it gets interesting) they carry content that was produced for offline and then republished online (like a newspaper's website for instance).
So basically original content online stands lower in the scale of trustworthiness or importance, or so it seems from what my friend tells me. This may explain why serious PR targeted online is lacking in Romania and also why we cannot seem to get some decent online projects off the ground in advertising.

Blinterviews :-)

Remember I said I'd talk to people who have stuff to talk about? Well after Zoso, here goes another :-)

Dragos Manac is a guy who puts together simple things to satisfy the selfish drives of people online.
This is pretty much the philosophy behind some cool projects like Unfortunately I started off my conversation with Dragos on the wrong foot because I also listed among his achievements and apparently that is not his, but simply the same platform so, my bad.
I met up with Dragos Manac for two reasons, one that I envy his clear and consequential style of writing and the way in which he makes sense and has a point every time he writes, and two because he seems to understand how people operate online. So I was trying to figure out if he has some “data” about the online consumer and what drives him.
This is a write-up of our conversation [which included Diana]

A user of his own medicine?
The first thing that was striking about Dragos is that, supposedly, he does not like to shop at all. So when he does, does he do it online or offline [him being the man behind at least one cool online buying idea]? He says he does some of his shopping online but he much rather prefers shopping in the real world when he has to. He is not an online addict and thinks that not everyone will turn to online buying.
Getting the basics right
We spent a lot of time talking about how and why people choose to behave the way they do online and what online businesses could do to make the decision easier and faster. Dragos is a firm believer in simplicity and common sense and especially in getting the basics of anything you do right. He says there is little to no point in trying to offer complicated and eye catching interfaces when you are unable to control stocks or deliver when promised. He told me that it is hard to make linear predictions about the growth of online commerce in Romania in the years to come because it was not the online part that was holding up the business but rather the offline: the fact that sometime there’s no way to deliver something because the streets are not practicable.
Common sense
I was hoping Dragos had some magic recipe to what drives people online, or else a huge data basis of his customers and of Romanians online, which he uses to create complicated profiles on which he later bases all his business decisions. Dragos does no profiling of targets in general, and while he has some data on the users of he was unwilling to share, basically because he thinks it won’t yield any major breakthrough conclusion. He does not dismiss profiling and agrees that Tesco is an interesting case study on how customer information can be analyzed to lead to new business ideas but he believes that it lies mainly in common sense and identifying a basic problem for which to provide a solution. When he created the problem was simple, people had too many things to choose from and they were never sure if they had chosen the right thing or the right price. So, presto, simple solution: one product – no choice, best price – no worries.
When asked about communication online Dragos makes a disgusted face. He is annoyed by the noise on the net and often feels attacked by the multitude of messages, which mean nothing to him. He thinks that advertisers have failed to grasp one aspect of Internet: it is a democratic space where people like and want to be selfish, where you can do whatever you want and everyone who has a clue tries their best to give you an easy way to do anything. So the way to seduce a selfish consumer coming to find the easiest solution to a problem is not to talk about what a great brand you are. It was cool to see Dragos talk in praise of branded utility without knowing it. He thinks that brands should stop talking about themselves and start providing service for the consumer online.
Choice and simplicity
Interestingly Dragos believes that choice is a source of frustration for people. So he relies on the simple principle of making it easy for consumers. He also thinks that making something with more features only makes it more annoying to the consumer who thinks that he should get something more high tech but immediately feels frustrated because he paid for features he does not use. He gives me the example of a shop that sells 20000 different printers. The consumer, he says, will not have the time or patience to go through all of them so he will get annoyed and end up buying one that he will immediately feel frustrated with because he will feel there must have been a better one. I mentioned the iPod as another example of a product that scores high on the simplicity and choice spots. It solves one need in a simple and intuitive way and makes choice easy. Dragos seems to agree

Other than that, we had some weird pink Russian soup and found out that Dragos has developed a full proof system for hiring proficient maids and that his aunt is a champion ping-pong player.

Thanks Dragos for taking the time and Diana for adding to the conversation.


No, I don't think TV cuts it anymore

I got a comment a while back about the efficiency of TV over youtube and somehow that touched a chord. Mainly because we all know how GRPs and TRPs get computed, with no regard to the qualitative aspect. That means that really no one can say if the audience was paying attention, if they were in the room, etc etc, it's all based on averages and probabilities and all that.
And while i do not argue the efficiency of TV, I doubt it's effectiveness for the simple reason that it mindlessly feeds stuff into our brains and we most often do not react to that stuff. I think that TV does not cut it anymore because it does not offer two things:
- help and
- choice
Help in the sense that few campaigns actually provide the information that people seek leaving them with preconceived ideas and unanswered question
Choice in the sense that it does not ask people if they want to see and ad but simply push the ad like a hypodermic needle. And we all know where that theory went :-)
So, basically I would rather talk to less people who are aware of what I am saying than to a lot who are blind and deaf to my message. In the end it evens out :-)

The hypermarket "trap"

Talking about hypermarkets and choice I was handed the best insight in the category: the reason hypermarkets and supermarkets in Romania have a registered the highest growth in retail (over 20%) is simple: we hate interacting with the shop assistants from our corner shops. :-) Because they have names like Gina, Irina or Mariana, always have something better to do than pay attention to you, never remember who was next in line, always remember that you owe them 0.0000001 cents from last time, sometimes forget to load up all your groceries even though you paid for all, give you bad candy for change...

Hypermarkets are better, you can change your mind about something you wanted to buy and the tellers are quick, quiet and wear matching outfits :-) Quote Izzard "true story!"

Thanks Dragos

Why we don't get online

Zoso sends me this link on why advertisers don't get the online phenomenon. This follows a week in which me and my team went through hell to push some online projects and they got shot down sometimes by our own people...

Yeah, man, I know what you mean and I am seriously thinking of moving to the Congo

For a sleepy Sunday

I'm walking after you ....


Selfish Internet

Internet success is pretty much driven by selfishness and common sense and how to use common sense to satisfy selfishness.

This is just a taste of the kinds of things Dragos Manac says about Internet and communication. We had a great talk which I will write up and post asap. Not tonight though because I am bushed ...


Just read that a planner from a London agency has died of OLD AGE. OMG, they have had planning long enough for this to happen?


Great writing

Movie of the evening Cohen Brothers' "No country for old men"
Just a sample:

"- Lewelyn, where are you going?
- I'm fixin' to do something dumber than hell, but Ima doin' it anyway. If I don't come back tell mother I love her.
- Lewelyn, your mother's dead.
- [pause] Then, I'll tell her myself."


On / No substance

For a couple of days I am haunted by the realization that nothing I have been doing since the year started has any substance. I have virtually no time to stop and think,to rethink even less and to understand almost at all. This means several things: I write meaningless posts, badly researched, badly argumented and poorly worded (of course the latter I do a lot); I rely on first ideas for briefs, I take no time to do briefings properly and I simply rush through explanations. I spend a lot of time writing down things I have to do, I don't even try to prioritize anymore and I don't sleep at night because I go past my usual bedtime writing e-mails and forcing some extra pages in. I rush through feeds and whine on my blog. I force myself to plan stuff for my personal life and rush decisions because I know it is now or never because of all the above. I twitt (which I despise) because I fool myself this keeps me in the game.

But right now I have no solution.

LATER EDIT: another symptom, you try to maximize time by doing two things at once, bathing and watching the latest conference videos :-) I wonder if the Mac is waterproof


Customer experience

We often forget how important it is. But according to this presentation it can mean the difference between growing your business or shrinking it.

Love this pic especially via

Whoa, talk about UGC

This little movie has 31 MILLION views on youtube. More than any commercial we've probably ever made in Romania. And it looks like it cost, hmmm, maybe 10 dollars...
whoa ...


For those learning to sleep more

good night

Lamer than the original

Frivolous stuff for tonight but I cannot help myself. I saw this Nicorette poster displayed hugely on a Bucharest building. It uses the well known Marlboro convention of the cowboy to push the anti-smoking gum.

Now, is it just me, or have they screwed up royally? I mean, compared to their lame, clean shaved, white starched shirt wearing cowboy who rides his well trained, well groomed horse on a plains, the Marlboro cowboy is 1000 times hotter, sexier, manlier, everything. So, pretty much what they're saying is "be a nerd pretending to be a cowboy and chew Nicorette"...
I don't smoke but I'll take the Marlboro cowboy any day.

Also, if ever you will start missing those tobacco ads, this is a good resources for vintage and modern ones alike.

Thought of the evening

Ikea should charge for product usage or rejoice that they have found the most profitable form of co-marketing: all Romanian commercial shot after the opening of their store feature Ikea furniture on the set (famously BCR, Danone Activia, Tnuva) :-)
Which also means that Ikea has been branded the aspirational home furniture for Romania's pretend middle class.



Read an interesting article between the difference between writing and copywriting here

Country branding :-(

I usually try to connect everything I write here with communications and marketing because I want this to be a professional blog rather than a personal one. But sometimes things strike me, and they pretty much have nothing to do with marketing per se.
So forgive me if this is a bit stretched: I have just seen a video shot by a Hungarian TV crew somewhere in Romania. It features the reporter being mugged, shamelessly and wildly, by a family of gypsies. The images are like nothing I have seen before: this man is effectively being ripped apart by those people. They come back with the money asking him to be rewarded for bringing it back just as someone rips the mp3 player or phone from round his neck. I think you can see the full video here under Video News (Jurnalisti unguri jefuiti la o filmare in Harghita)

When something like this happens, any efforts the marketing community may have made to pull this country out of the brand-gutter it's in turn pointless. There is nothing more pressingly contrary to our desire to be seen as an up-and-coming new nation, with a lot of potential, than the images in this video. And this will doubtlessly be circulating online from now on.

country branding needs, like any other form of branding, to start with the product.


Cultural attraction

Romanian is a Latin based language and we are supposed to be francophiles. Interestingly enough, however, when Carrefour first opened all taxi operators used to call it "carefour' [kerfur] and now they also call Auchan - [ocean]. I think it comes from 98% content everywhere being in English rather than any other language.

Maybe one more reason why I write this blog in English. Rather than French that is :-P

In honor of my music sidebar

I will also say that Channel 4 is the best source of latest cool stuff to listen to. Just go to their singles review page and you'll stumble across loads of goodies.
I particularly liked how they said that Soulja Boy: Crank That is "not actually music" so it did not get rated :-)


We did not show up for coffee and I understand some of you did go. My fault completely but I am horrendously down with the flu and could not move except to go to very important client meeting where we got sacked :-)

Please forgive me and enjoy this as a treat


Bravia balls inspire politicians

See any resemblance between the Bravia commercial and this pic? Well, you should not. The pic is of a political gesture in Italy when the same man who dyed the Trevi fountain red, released half a mil balls down the famed Spanish Steps to stress the Italian "malaise"

McDonalds and reinvention

Having a cold is not always the best time for in-depth ruminations but I was watching a report on this on CNN and it got me thinking about McDonalds.
The story now is that McDonalds is thinking about adding a touch of Starbucks savoirfaire by bringing baristas to their fast foods to serve espresso coffee. The commotion also started when a Consumer Study revealed that McD's brewed coffee tasted better than any other. While arguable, the story does contain the seeds of a bigger question: how did McD join the Starbucks category? Weren't they supposed to be playing in different leagues?

Starbucks supporters are quick to point out that there is no way McD can compete with the upholstered purple armchairs Starbucks sports and that this is truly a non-problem. I would point out two things:
1. In the late 1990s when the fat craze got going, McDonalds counteracted by introducing a varied range of salads and fruit based deserts. In Europe alone, McDonalds reinvented itself as the breakfast and lunch-on-the-go destination of the young exec living on the fast lane with breakfast bagels and zesty salads [yes, true, the salad sauces did have more calories than three buergers but hey... it's about perception, right?]
2. when they realized that it was not enough to serve salads and coffee in plastic environments presided over by a clown, McDonalds started redesigning its spaces to look more like an adult coffeshop. In 2006 they introduced the "Forever Young' concept (scroll down for info) and started building even high fashion restaurants.

Now they are reconsidering their strategy once more and going after the huge income of Starbucks. I find McDonald's and excellent example for the power of reinvention without losses. It has not lost any of its old appeal or old customer base, but it manages to attract new customers from previously untargeted groups unlike Starbuck's who seems to be unable to expand a formerly successful concept.
And in Romania, if it picks up early on the international direction it may virtually block Starbucks development (especially since those who own the Starbucks franchise have already started off on the wrong foot by placing their shops in Malls).


Best thing for a cold

Hot tomato soup. From a can :-)

Thought of the afternoon

I have a cold and I have so much to read and do but I just want to lie in bed and moan. Plus, I have been sleeping on the couch for too many nights in a row already...


Questions you want to ask

In this mini blog series I am trying to put together (started out with Zoso) I will be talking to a research specialist (Adina from Synovate) and a wonderful Internet entrepreneur (me and Diana are huge fans of his writing, Dragos Manac).
If there are any questions you want to ask either of them, post them as comments here by tomorrow evening.

Planner meeting

I remembered that I used to have some fun doing the planner meetings a while back and I was thinking that maybe we could do that again. Only maybe this time we might make them more like grown-ups and call them coffee evenings and talk about lots more stuff than just planning, like comms, design, digital, etc etc. I have no idea if anyone is up to this kind of stuff anymore, but just thought I'd give it a try.

If you want to join, meet us Thursday at Amsterdam (whehehehei, it's open again) round 19.


Simpsons say print media is dying

Check it for yourself here via Iain
Ha ha..

Design a bookcover

I doubt any designers read this blog but if you wanna design a book cover for an interesting book and subject check here

The cult of new

I find novelty interesting. First because it sells without any other involvement. Second, because it means progress. Thirdly, because it makes life interesting. There is one field thought in which novelty, continuous, makes little sense to me: branding.
I have been watching the evolution of one category in particular in this respect: dailies in Romania. We have a few and all of them have changes hands lately and also most of them have changed face and strategy.

The new Adevarul, the new Click, the new Cotidianul, the new Gandul etc etc --> these are largely the headline of any recent dailies campaign.
Case in point: Gandul and Adevarul (first one leftist, second one new liberal) have changed strategy several times and with that their layout and slogans too almost twice in a year. Gandul started off with a layout done by Grapefruit, then they changed to something done internally, then the MediaPro people kicked in a changes that too. Adevarul changed face twice under the old ownership and twice under the new. All of these within less than 2 years.
All of these changes, instead of being performed under the radar were heralded in advertising and PR.
[Pretty much the same happened with Transavia, a local poultry producer, who changed face and slogan almost within a year.]

One underlying cause of this is the rivalry between various design or branding companies who have no reservations to wreck their competitor's work under the claim "it was wrong, we need to make it better".
But it is really one other thing that concerns me: the fact that personal pride and desire to leave a mark far outweigh the care and concern for the brand as an institution (if I may). David Aaker mentions change of marketing management as the second most important danger to coherent brand strategy. In brand design, I believe there are two important rules:
- mend silently
- let change be felt rather than cried out

This plays out in the way in which you engage your staff with the brand internally. If they don't buy it, then the new marketing manager will have no problem messing with it. If they do, a system of checks and balances is set up which prevents individuals from displacing the brand. Brand engagement is something few people know how to implement in Romania. That is why, for 18 years now we have failed to build any significant new brands and are slowly wrecking the old ones.

LATER EDIT: the senior editor of Gandul has just resigned because the management is unhappy with his strategy - let's see how this affects an already changed over and over again Gandul.

old Gandul

new Gandul

Adevarul version ??


Radu, if you're out there e-mail us and tell us you're okay. Some people are getting worried.

Popular availability for content

I had a pedestrian weekend with loads of family engagements and some fun on the side and two things stuck out.

One, I was speaking to a friend about interesting things we might be wanting to explore and I brought up gaming and game creators. I find games the coolest form of popular content, while not the easiest to make. I think that maybe game creators are the Balzacs of this generation and I was wondering if anyone in Romania would be interested in hearing about this. My friend told me no, it was too early. And yet, we have half the entire urban young population having at least had a brush with World of Warcraft, the Sims or other such games. Why not go to the next level and start interesting them with similar stuff which is done locally?

Two, I might have given myself the answer to the above while attending a local stand-up comedy show. I have never been to stand-up abroad and I may be mistaken in assuming this never happens there, but there were a bit too many people in that room unwilling to "play the game". This is what I mean: when you read literature or watch a movie or a theater play, something called suspension of disbelief should kick in. Fiction or entertainment for that matter is not fun if you question its actuality. You HAVE, for the sake of your own fun, to effectively pause and believe whatever they tell you - suspend your disbelief for the duration of the game.
In the stand-up I saw last night people chose to not do that: they chose to react to what the speakers were saying and insult them. Instead of running with the imagination and having a bit of fun they preferred to question and spoil it for everyone.

So, maybe our inability to perform a suspension of disbelief is what prevents us from enjoying stand-up, writing local games and for that matter making ads that go beyond mom telling daughter that she uses this or that detergent.


Online ready

is important and means that when you prepare a piece of communication you cannot simply launch it out there and hope it will disseminate itself and mold itself on any media available. I am not particularly crazy about this content created for Jawbone but check out the endframe.

It's blog, Facebook, download, e-mail, link, digg ready. This means that your consumer will not have to google it for download, youtube it for embedding and all that. Presto, you've made someone's life easier and that, my friend, is being online ready.

Tyranny of the consumer

My work is a constant source of questions.
Today I was wondering how much we should be asking our consumers to solve for us. We ask them to rate our products, to decide on packaging, an communication, to evaluate our brand, to create content for us. Today, I heard that consumers can also be asked what product they would like the company to produce. Surely that should be a question the company must know in advance..
Or not?
I mean I understand the concept of crowd sourcing but truly if the consumer knows all and we only do what he tells us, what are being paid for? are we not slaves to a tyrant who's sometimes less informed than us? do we not suck ass? :-)
This deserves more thought.

Follow-up on post below

I have recently heard about the first blogger wedding from here. I find it intriguing and was wondering how much blogging changes relationships for those involved...
question of the evening...

Dating via online

There are different opinions on whether an active online life gets you more or less dates and shags. Someone once told me that his blog was a babe magnet, because dating a top blogger is, among online chicks, almost like dating a rock star.

Personally, I have not experienced much blog traction in that direction. If you feel the same, and you are a boy, BBH has the solution for you on Lynx's new website here, whose motto seems to be stop surfing the net like a loser and start hitting on babes.

You should definitely check it out, it's funny and at least it gives you some tips on how to escape the ubiquitous and oh-so-annoying "you've got lovely eyes", "excuse me, do you have the time?", "have we met before", "oy, darling, wanna see my flat tonight?"

For those who sleep too much


Planning news

Eerie things are happening in the world of planning. Or at least eerie rumors circulate.
Paul Coleman's blog is down or has been password protected for a week now, John Griffiths is supposed to have become a minister, Richard Huntington has joined Saatchi (okay, maybe that's not eerie in the UK, but for me it is)...
What the hell? ...

Niche is wrong (??)

I had a meeting with a very important man yesterday. He is the one who built Romania's first and, to date, the largest media empire. His company owns TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, production companies, you name it.

I was there to sell a positioning for one of his products. Mid introduction he stopped me saying "this is great but you are thinking about this the wrong way. I don't want you to focus the target of my magazine through a positioning that will wedge it into a niche. Your job is to make money, how will you do that if you virtually reduce your available target through a differentiating positioning. I do not want you to avoid targeting our competition's consumers. I want you to make a positioning that will target our consumers, their's and everyone else's. I want you to sell more not be different from everyone else. Be different but be FOR everyone"

I said "Sir, this is impossible. Targeting means segmenting, going for specific needs to be satisfied."

To which he replied "No. Needs need to be realized before they are satisfied. Your positioning needs to make everyone realize this is what they were needing."

And somehow this made sense.


For those who have no sleep

Jose Gonzalez

Zero 7

Convergence of content

The idea of content converging from off to online is not as remote as you might think to our fair land of Romania. The taking of offline content and reshaping it for online happens quite often with TV stations (protv, tvr1) who have had the luck to have onboard some decent online people.

It happens also with newspapers, with more success for Gazeta Sporturilor, a sports newspaper which has learned that it is not enough to place your offline articles online but treats its www version as a separate product.

What I have found interesting recently, especially while browsing Republik, a youth magazine, is the complementariness of offline and online in some cases. I found myself unable to read the magazine without having to log on every two or three pages to look for stuff online. There were literally tens of instances where the story in the magazine was incomplete without an online reference or where they simply told you, find this out by logging on to ...

I think that it is an interesting play upon the divide offline/online where offline content is trying to act like digital text by "linking" to online content. And by doing that it is also, slowly, adopting some of the other characteristics of hypertext meaning that it does not link only to itself (or its correspondent mother URL) but to other sources, virtually creating a universe of connected sources which provide a complete picture.

What you might be lacking is the speed of links but ultimately the result is the same. You merge your online and offline experiences to get the full story. And what is more exciting about this is that we are growing a generation which does not mind doing it because they have learned to piece things together. So, pretty much transmedia rulz :-)

Doing 1.0 well before moving on

Futurelab points me to this wonderful article about the dangers of tech fads. This author uncovers some of the hidden problems inherent in our desire to always get with the latest craze and also exposes the fact that, truly, we are unable to use Internet to its top potential.

I don't agree with a lot of what he says but you cannot help noticing that he has a point when he refers to irrelevant paraphernalia which get in the way of the apps usability - much like some brand generated sites which use a lot of shiny gadgets to mask the utter lack of content or relevance of the site itself.

I have recently asked a brand manager if he was not bothered that the average time spent on his site by a consumer was 45 seconds and that visits peaked during promotions and then dropped to almost 0. He said no, because the website was simply a tool to support his yearly promotion. But it was his only website :-(

I also think more and more that there is a point in what this guy says, namely: "The number of companies that chase the same advertising dollars as their only business model is a sure sign that we're at the peak of Bubble 2.0. It would be much more sustainable if companies aimed to create services that users valued enough to pay for." This is branded utility as first coined by the guys at Anomaly, I think, and it should be the way of the future, after all if we have clutter on TV what would prevent us from creating clutter on websites (I wonder if we will see some Internet regulatory body limiting the number of web banners on a page :-)

Anyway, read it cos it's food for thought

Product development misunderstood

Quote my younger planner colleague: "This client of ours has an uncanny talent for developing less performant products later than any of its competition. What am I expected to do?"

which only goes to show how capitalism is understood in Romania where it is still possible to come out with a useless product and still market it shamelessly

kindof connected to what i was writing below


Personal monopolies

The trouble with a monopoly is (among other of course) that it refuses consumer input as a source of improvement. You cannot change its ways because you have no other option. It's their way or nothing for you.

I have noticed however that we have a tendency to impose our own personal monopolies for reasons which pertain mainly to ill-targeted comfort.

For instance, I buy most of my small groceries from a neighborhood shop: the shop assistants often "forget" to put some of my groceries in the bag, to give me the receipt thus effectively overcharging me quite often and usually are unwilling to take any complaint I may have about the broken egg in the carton or the sour milk. Because they have discovered my weakness: i have made their shop into a personal monopoly, i come back even thought i don't have to because I have mentally convinced myself that i have no other option.

How many times do we do that? How many times do we refuse to take a stand because it's more comfortable to do so? How many times did we go back to the same bank although they failed to explain some missing funds or the "new" interest rate?

The thing is that the more personal monopolies we establish the less checks brands have. And leave a brand unchecked and it will do some nasty things to you, because, as a good friend was telling me, they are not here to make sense, they are here to make money. And money is just figures :-)


How many ads a day?

Everyone is always wondering how many ads we are exposed to in a regular day. No definite reply yet although the Americans seem to have more of a clue.
I have done a brief calculation (I added up the average no. of ads in an hour times the 3-4 hs I watch TV, the sites I visit in a day leveraged against number of revisits, the radio ads I listen to during the drive back, the number of billboards I pass by and the print ads; I have not included ads on bags, food stuffs nor posters in windows which would probably have doubled the amount) and I estimate I brush against approx 700.

How about you?
pic via

Google analytics

WOW! I have not checked my google analytics in a while and today i had a look.

This is the map of visits for my blog in the past weeks. There's people from all over and mostly from the States (98% increase in US visits :-) and also lots of people from the UK and Germany. I have no idea if it's a google search thingie but it's just a WOW feeling there... Thanks you guys, whoever you are :-) for reading.

comms terminology

:-) I have often noticed that we seem to get bungled down in terminology so much so that sometimes what I think is a worthy job description is the spawn of Satan for my friends.

One of the biggest confusion points in comms is the tag line/ headline/ slogan / campaign slogan question. a brief article on the tag line vs slogan issue here (simple and to the point)
- headline: first sentence in the copy of a print ad (the main text, the interest builder, the one in BOLD letter if you will :-)
- campaign slogan: not really a term per se usually describes the most powerful headline in a multi headline campaign
- multi headline campaign - integrated campaign where the campaign message is rendered in differently worded phrases with ultimately the same meaning

LATER UPDATE: Andrei points me to this article on the difference between typeface and font. FYI


Question of the evening

Should we be considering saturation marketing in Romania? Context here

Music for tonight

the kooks (a good friend from London points out that it's pronounced kewks :-)

The simple truth on ghosts

You know how sometimes you KNOW something and then someone comes along and says it out loud in such a simple way that there is complete and beautiful clarity.

If you have EVER wondered about ghosts (those ads the industry makes to get awards) and how the real world feels about them, have a look at this and this. It doesn't get simpler than that: a definition of what true advertising does, solve problems that clients place before you, and what ghosts are (great depiction of the evil, fake-ad-building rabbit :-)

My own brand of silliness

One serious, one crazy...that's the way this blog goes :-)

I just got this link from Dragos. I have my doubts too about Miffy on snowboards.


Something about what comes next

I have been thinking a lot about things that could be done and needed to be done and about what 2008 should be like. Everyone makes plans and I think I am particularly blessed because I am in a moment in my life where most of the coordinates are there for me to be able to do the best I can do, make the best I can make and hopefully make a difference.

One thing I know I want to do is take the advice of a person that is special to me and look closely at what exactly it is that we (including me) are doing to comms in Romania. I have changed the title of this blog to reflect that - I think that doing comms has been wedged into these little confined places where we are either planners for adverts, brand managers or marketing managers and somehow none of these have anything in common or any substance for that matter. You cannot do planning REALLY when your market is still groping about such basic stuff as positioning, differentiation, brand touchpoints, research etc.

I needed to include the idea of design after talking to Andrea (thanks!) because together we realized design is something that works just like, or better than strategy. Designing means making something be best suited for its purpose. Ultimately that's what we look for when we do "strategy" but somehow there are some many platforms for that word that it has lost meaning. Plus, when did someone really take you seriously when you answered "strategy" to the question "what do you do for a living?". So design seems to be describing perfectly what comms are lacking in Romania but without the pompous feel of "strategy".

Reading A Master Class in Brand Planning I realized why I had always felt that what planners were doing was a pale image to what we should have been doing: planning was originally marketing comms and that entitled planners to call themselves R&D people, researchers, marketers, advertisers, anything really because they were doing all that. Eventually some people became so specialized that their trade included only ad planning, or only brand planning etc etc

In Romania, we have, and I have said this before, artificially split the trades already even though we literally do not have the knowledge to do so. We have planners, and brand managers and marketing managers but none of them are academically or on site trained to be specifically that. If you get lucky you have some marketing comms background.

So, what I think I might be doing for a while is trying to get more stuff in here about marketing comms in Romania and how maybe to do them properly.

This means I will we touching on planning but also on anything else related to comms. And to be clear about this, comms to me is marketing communication which includes marketing, advertising, internal comm, brand comm, brand engagement, online (which needs to be included as a separate entity), innovation and involvement.

I think this is a big piece to chew on, but frankly I find it hard to go on about the virtues of planning alone when, truly, planning is in its infancy and we have some more basic stuff to look at before we go into the finer details of advert strategy.

I hope this works out for me, of course it does not mean I will refrain from posting my own brand of silliness :-)

... a new year begins!

Bucharest today

Just felt sooooo happy to wake up to this, I thought you might enjoy them as well. First real winter we've had here in ages

What SPAM can teach you

After carefully deleting all 200 spam messages in my Yahoo inbox (BTW Yahoo, for fuck's sake do something about your spam control!!), I have learned much.

1. The entire population of the internet is male (there is virtually no spam for women)
2. The entire male e-population suffers from chronic
a. premature ejaculation
b. small penis syndrome
c. loneliness
3. The cure for all the above always comes from someone whose grandmother was Spanish (all senders have a Spanish last name)
4. The cure for all the above is Viagra.
5. Anyone can sell Viagra for less than you get it in the shops.


Local talent

Will someone please hire this man to promote...anything!!!
It's the best genuine content I have seen lately in Ro. Via



H E L L Flaming O
2 zero zero 8 Exclamation mark

it's going to be rocking, i just know it. I have some resolutions and I want to make it a tag (of course if no one minds)

So, question is "what's your top 5 2008 resolutions?"

1. go to bed everyday feeling like i have done one thing right
2. give more attention to the people who matter and less to the things that do not
3. turn my blog (and my profession) from just planning to communication design (thanks you know who for all the advice)
4. figure out how to buy, accommodate and raise a dog
5. draw a huge mural on my bathroom wall

take it away Diana, Ben, Radu, Cristi and Nenorocitu