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.


Bye bye Bill

The Bill Gates saga ends today ... Hopefully Apple world domination will begin now...


Youtube is moving ahead

Company release says

"Long Form Content
You now will be able to upload and monetize videos in your account that are longer than 10 minutes. This feature is exclusively for partners. Independent Film makers that partner with us will now be able to upload their feature films on our site. Please note that for long form content, the maximum file size is 1GB."

and also spotted this video with info tags [someone can clarify is this is youtube app or uploader app?]

CGC vs the real deal

I am sure there is much to discuss about this chart but please compare youtube streams to hulu streams....


About electoral campaigns

Some people at Cotidianul asked me what I thought about the latest electoral campaign and I gave them some answers together with Serban Alexandrescu, Raluca Feher, Bogdan Naumovici and Felix Tataru. Also some politicians replied and you can find all the answers here.


Learning about brands

I have always felt there are so many aspects to brand building that planning simply does not cover because we work in advertising agencies which just do advertising. That is why I was happy to join with the cool people at Grapefruit to put together a training module on brand building.

Dialoguri despre brand is a full day tutorial run by myself and Stefan Liute which covers a lot about branding, marketing comms, employer brand, brand online and effectively works as an intensive training for brand management. It is targeted mainly at brand managers or marcomms specialists and involves a lot of case studies and exercises.

Full details here and the first session is on the 27th so I will keep you posted on how it went.

For a good Sunday

I am not a big fan of the Alphabeats but this one just feels right today

Romanian trends / realities

This weekend we drove around a lot so I got to notice some interesting "cultural

1. Road/highway-side picnicking - lots of people pull up by the side of the road wherever there is a small clearing and have a barbecue there. And before you say, yeah yeah, these are the classical Romanian grill-makers [notice i said picnic] I will tell you they were 20-ish, driving SUVs and drinking Red Bull. Weirdly enough, I think we might be witnessing a mainstreaming/high ending of the much berated grills.

2. Healthy advertising - the buildings where I live are plastered with pictures of fruit and veg. ALL ADS feature a reference to healthy food including the totem from a nearby McD which has been redecorated with pictures of veggies. In stark contrast to this ...

3. Midnight snacking - vendors at my local Shaorma place tell me they have seen a rise in young women, coming back from clubs and stopping over for a quick sandwich. In the US they would do this at the IHop (international house of pancakes) and yes, I do talk to the Shaorma guys.

4. Minimalist suburbia - you want to live in a house not a flat so you decide to get loans you have to pay for the rest of your life and make one. Trouble is there is not much money left for anything else like nice furniture or a garden so you live on mattresses and leave your walls unpainted until he gets that raise.

5. Mall-apathy - you drive to the mall, struggle to find a parking spot only to lounge around and not really visit any shop or buy anything.

hmmmm, this only says to me that young people have no clue their parents are running out of money and the parents-to-be have finally sensed the bitter smell of incoming hard times [as Serban nicely said it in his presentation here]

Thought of the weekend

Life outside the office is sooooooooooo effing complicated I think I might just stick to being a workoholic [overwhelmed by weekend full of LIFE related happenings]


Personal note

Today has been the most exciting day of this entire year.
Found out my grandad will be alright after surgery and got gifted book vouchers worth a fortune by a happy client so I literally pillaged Carturesti, leaving with five bags of books (Dragos and Bogdan your promised ones await :-)).
Plus I made my bid for a lovely baby pup Beagle which, if I get lucky, will be mine shortly.
All in all, today feels like a birthday...yayayyyy


Small fun stuff

Someone I don't know has come up with a new nickname for me: Blogdana :-)
I somehow find that flattering


Serban Alexandrescu's IF08 presentation

Viewable above, can be downloaded from here and deserves serious consideration which shall be paid to it subsequently [i.e when life stops happening :)]


Ben Stiller's how to make a viral

I love this video of Stiller making a VIRAL. Watch and learn :-)

[as an aside, if ever made to choose between Bale and RDJ I think I would go for Bale. But it took a whole weekend of thinking to get to this conclusion...]
Also, this video was made for the 2008 MTV Movie Awards.

Weekend shorts

Bunch of personal stuff avalanching right now so very little time to write although a lot of stuff to write about. Some shorts:

- for all those who attended IF 2008 and would like Dom o'Brien's presentation you can download it here
- more work from Glue London in case you liked the case studies here, here and here
- if all goes well the brand management training I was telling you about should happen on the 27th of June at the WTC Bucharest
- Ed Cotton's presentation available soon from Manafu
- in case you are lacking some good ideas you might want to check out the Idea Forum blog where entries for the "What IF?" competition have been posted. Some of them are interesting

Also what caught my eye this week:
- MediaDirection loses an important person [most rumors in the industry say creating GMP Media might be the next project for Varabiescu :-)]
- Brand Motion is the second attempt to externalize planning on the Romanian market (Tempo Advertising's newly launched brand management company has planning among its chief offerings]
- AdMarket study creates yet another little storm in the advertising industry with smaller agencies feeling left out

Thought of the week: the ad industry seems to be about anything other than making good advertising


Live at IF 2

Martin Cserba

Has the consumer completely changed? Not really, tools and platforms have.
Advertising has changed from unilinear to moderation of conversations between consumers [isn’t it funny that everyone seems to know about these things but nobody knows how to implement them]
The most powerful headline “I’ll have what she’s having”
[the power of consumer recoms, and consumer opinions]
The individual consumer is not a fixed profile [we need to look at different motivations for different product groups]

[Whoops, name drop, dibs to Faris: he said transmedia ☺]

ipersonic: likeminded people on your planet

Key factors for evolution:
- attention (from ad skipping to ad producing and ad sharing)
- creativity (from high cost to citizen marketing)
- measurement (from impression based to impact based)
- advertising inventories (from few players and control to millions of platforms)

Employer brand

Myself and the great people at Grapefruit will be conducting some brand management trainings and one is focused on employer branding.
As a preview I did an interview on this with BusinessEdu here

Live from Idea Forum

Ed Cotton:
Everything is 2.0 - the audience's collective intelligence is better than his, everything he says will be out of date tomorrow
Network is everything - and corporations cannot find their way into the network. New media is used to display humanity for corporations who have learned the 2.0 way. - no bank would have come up with an idea like this
nudo - adopt an olive tree and get your own olive oil
threadless - tshirts

Cool map of TV viewing habits in a household: some guy mapped the way himself, his cat and his daughter moved while watching TV, not a lot of sitting in front of the TV.

this company has the highest view rates on youtube with a fraction of, say, Philips' budget

Marketing is more about storytelling [CPB's creatives say 'bring me a press release, not a brief. how will your idea get talked about?']

How to be 2.0?
- be great (hate something, change something
e.g. method cleaning products
- invest in consumers not in advertising [return to the craftsman?]
- be useful
- be entertaining
- be bigger than your product or service - stand for something
- find your humanity
[Barclay's changed signage - Money in/ Money out, pens with slogans like "Borrowed from my bank", Dove's evolution supported by actual activities, Haagen Dasz - save the bees, Apple and its ad agency asked a fan to do their ads because he'd done great independent work]
- be in the new channels, get ideas from the outside [P&G, Dell]
Obama is a 2.0 politician [and apparently it works too :-)]

HR for advertising from the movies

This weekend I stumbled upon a crappy movie starring Jeniffer Aniston and set inside a large NY ad agency. Crap movie, crap cast, crap plot but what stayed was this speech by the managing partner of the agency [delivered to an enraged Aniston who had been overlooked for a promotion]

"Look at the Account Director. He's just bought a Mercedes that he pays installments on. I'm pretty sure he will show up for work tomorrow. Take the Senior Copywriter, she's just put down her first installment on a house. And the Senior Media person. She's just got married, bought a house and a Mercedes. I can count on all these people to stick around. But you, you have no house, no Mercedes, no husband. How can I let you forge a strong relationship with my clients when you can get up and go anytime you want. You're free of ties so you're a liability."



New iPhone

First leaked pics via CrunchGear


Ed Cotton

IQads publishes an interesting interview with Ed Cotton who will be speaking at Idea Forum. For all those interested here's the English version

IQads: What's the latest trend in strategic planning in US these days?
EC: Agencies are trying hard to redefine and re-frame their planning function due to changes in the marketing environment. They are grappling with the role of interactive and how Planning needs to function. In addition, there's also the challenge of integrating Media and Account Planning. Overall, there's a lot to think about.

IQads: What's the strategic idea for "ZIG, ZAG, ZUG", the Mini Clubman launch campaign?
The MINI Clubman is a unique car. It's design takes the iconic elements of MINI and twists and subverts them to create an entirely new entity. Our strategy was based around the idea of uniqueness and difference, that all MINI's are unique, but this one pushes the concept to the edge. The tag line we use is "The Other MINI".

IQads: What was the most impressive use of media in the "Zig, Zag, Zug" campaign?
We did a unique deal with the New Yorker magazine to have a triple page fold out on the front cover of the travel issue. This meant we could show on consequetive pages, the executions, Zig, Zag and Zug.

IQads: Why did You choose the webisodes solution for the 2007 Mini Cooper viral campaign, "Hammer and Coop"?
EC: We saw the emergence of online video as an affordable solution for our client. We didn't have a sufficient budget to launch the new MINI on television so we did it online. The webisodes also allowed us to generate more content that could highlight all the new features of the new car, this is something that could never be achieved in a conventional 30 second spot.

IQads: What was the seeding strategy for "Hammer and Coop"?
We custom created lists of people who we thought would be interested in the content; from the obvious MINI fan groups to the more obscure lovers of 70s car action shows. In addition, we also allowed MySpace users to place the webisodes on their home pages. This had a significant impact on traffic.

IQads: My Starbucks Idea vs. which one do you think is more promising for a valuable and useful conversation about the brand?
I think they are both good and important. Brands using Twitter appears to be a good solution that can allows them to react to conversations. If they see something going wrong or issues for concern they can sweep in and make a contribution to change or add to conversation. MyStarbucks is a little different, it's more of a proactive outreach campaign to solicit powerful ideas from their customers. Overall, both are good and important, but they serve different needs.

IQads: Could any type of corporation take the risc of allowing their employees to tweet (officially), like Zappos did?
I think its potentially dangerous for large corporations. To let everyone loose on Twitter would be madness. I think Zappos is a pretty small company and it's therefore easier to control. There's an inbuilt ethos of customer service that helps and probably some kind of self-policing. Large corporations need to be careful who they allow on and this should be driven by the marketing and PR folks.

IQads: Would You briefly describe a campaign using social media that impressed You this year?
The most interesting campaign in the past year, please note that I changed the question, is the Gorilla from Cadbury, created by Fallon in London. Obviously, it cleaned up at the awards shows this year and has been the fashionable choice. However, I think it's an important landmark in the development on television advertising because it understand that entertainment and participation are key drivers for breakthrough. Great ideas are always about the fusing of two independent thoughts to create something new. The drumming Gorilla and the Phil Collins track was just the right mix of strangeness to get people to pay attention. In addition, the agency cleverly seeded different music versions of the film and encouraged consumers to do their own. The campaign seemed to create it's own momentum with a huge level of media interest and coverage in the UK. The important thing here is that this took a lot of effort on behalf of agency creative and planners to convince the client to take such a huge gamble. This ad went through extensive research before it aired. Millward Brown told the client that the ad worked, but they couldn't explain why!! Of course, the most important thing are results and apparently this advertising helped Cadbury grow its business in the UK.

Euro 2008 is upon us

I hate football but I must appreciate the commitment of Toyota in supporting the French team. I wonder if, given this video, Toyota risks some major damage if the French kick our butt

Thanks Mihnea


Paper books will not die

A very interesting article about book publishing here discussing ways in which print can be kept alive. The suggestion is very much what might work also for movies: simply place cheap electronic versions on Kindle or such devices and print hardbacks for the real fans who MUST have the paper version. I think it's smart

Go to Idea Forum

One of the better reasons outlined at Manafu



1] After a glowing review in Cotidianul both and [two photo sites featuring the Romanian equivalent of trailer trash and hoochie mamas] went down showing only Database Error messages.

2] Somebody had the guts to thrash Lovemarks (via Kit)

3] A really comprehensive blog on branding from Whisper

4] Google demoes its Android here (love the name :-))

5] Shyftr spells the death of "oh, I have so many people reading and commenting on my blog"

Movies I want to see 2

[go on, research this yourselves :) and no it's not porn]

[this stuck with me: "I'm so tired of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in"]

[the amount of top notch names in this one may suggest it's really bad ???]

Final thoughts on RoNewMedia

I ended up doing live blogging at RoNewMedia for no reason whatsoever other than not really knowing what to expect and what to take from the conference. The event was meant to act as an aggregator of opinions about the three most important segments of online in Romania right now: advertising, publishing and entrepreneurship. I left with three thoughts:

Increasing reach by smart content management (media integration)

I found it fascinating to listen to presentations speaking about integrated readership audits and how counting more eyeballs overall could benefit the separate entities in a publishing group. Indeed, with online stealing the spotlight from print and even TV, publishers need to find a way to increase audiences while not cannibalizing them and Melanie Shah's presentation offered some common sensical solutions to this.

Advertising models not glam but successful

For a long time now the performance of advertising in the online world has been questioned mainly because, in its available two forms - SE advertising and bannering [let's face it, these are the two forms] it somehow lacks the glam and attraction of offline advertising. What the conference made clear to me is that the solution is not in inventing more models but simply in putting common sense and marketing thinking behind online advertising [Patterson speech and Cox Publishing speech]

Offline, TV and print are the main forms of advertising [again, let's face it, most briefs still ask for only these as deliverables] and anything else usually gets dumped into the "non conventional" category. Online, non-conventional equals "special projects" and the reason we do not have a conventional term for these is that - as common sense will tell you - there can be no conventional solutions to different brands' problems. What is conventional is the format in which we choose to present our solutions and it will take a while before everyone understands that online [and offline i hope] format is as important as content [totally went off topic here]

SE advertising, although not glam, is important and needs to be refined and internalized by agencies. I think it will take a while before behavioral targeting sticks [i mean offline we've been talking about this for ages now and who really does it? really?] but if data mining is available online why not use it? As to banners vs special projects: if we apply ourselves to understand how consumers use online we will be able to know when banners work and when SP do.

Entrepreneurship online is a business

I always thought that being an online entrepreneur must be the coolest thing in the world because you work with something that is easily alterable, almost free and with no distribution barriers. Most RO entrepreneurs present stressed the need for business strategy, planning and HR management which made it sound like the effing GE or something. Having just seen the disastrophic consequences of lack of planning (sob) I can sympathize.

Yet, watching this video, makes me doubt that mere management of resources makes an online hit :-).... I still want to believe there's some magic there :-)

Another postcard

LATER UPDATE: cats2frogsters just informed me he is not the sender. Mystery remains...

A while back someone sent me a card with chairs on it and it was a great surprise to receive it as I am a huge fan of chairs in general. This week I received an identical card only with dogs on it probably following my general distress about accommodating the future planner dog. The (still) secret sender recommends that I get a golden retriever in an exquisitely orderly handwriting and in English. So, although I do appreciate the considerateness of the cards, I am having a bit of a mystery on my hands.
Judging by the fact that the card is from a French speaking country (French producer), it was mailed from Bucharest with a Romanian stamp and also by the obviousness of the fact that whoever sent it reads my blog, knows where I work and is adamant about putting the correct postal code in the address (plus the very telltale recommendation of a golden retriever) I think I might know who it is .... :-)
so, to all the cats and frogsters, thanks. I am probably going to go for a Beagle nonetheless ... :-)