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.


Can't keep up with Internet

I cannot keep up with the amount of posts that my feed reader gathers every day. The simple realization is that if I tried to read all the blogs that I have in my reader I would spend 10 hs straight doing just that, which would leave me literally no time for work or social life (of which, incidentally, I have much less than I'd like). But I have also found that I tend to read loads of stories which basically say the same thing, only with nuances (f.i: lots of posts about Chrome, not a lot with more info or POV)

So I have come up with this wish: can someone please make an app that is called "keep me up". This is one button in the reader which scans the new posts and marks the ones that have similar topics. It also activates a window where "doubled" posts [ those with a subject dealt with in several blogs] are listed and you have the option to read the most recent and revert to older ones IF YOU WANT TO. Essentially this app would mark recurring stories, list the most recent (option: comprehensive) and delete or temporarily hide the rest from the reader list.

If such a button exists, please let me know.

Twitter break-down

When virtual technology meets real materials :-)

On politics

I spent a good part of the weekend sleeping, with news TV stations running in the background, which means that I got to "sleep-watch" a CNN TV show featuring no less than 7 former Secretaries of State, the first presidential debate, Jon Stewart's take on the presidential debates and financial crises, our own social democrats' launching the candidates for elections, the counter-party by the liberal democrats in Cluj and subsequent discussions on the topic.

I know now why I cannot take myself seriously when I vote. I usually try to boost my morale by saying that "indifference" is worse than anything and not using your voice is a crime. Truth of the matter is that, having spent a weekend listening to a lot, and not hearing ANYTHING, makes me wonder how we can still hope something decent will come out of this political class that we have to vote for because there is no option.

Facts of the Romanian political launches: everyone spoke about winning elections, no one spoke about fixing some problems, everyone accused the others of messing up and praised themselves for doing the little that was done, former adversaries brown-nosed each other forced by win-motivated alliances, people who, a year ago, were indicted for fraud were named future presidents, people who cannot read were main candidates and people whose wives shamelessly flaunt 30k bags named as country-saviors.

Facts of Romanian media: live commentaries remained fixated on the lackluster performances and rubbish that was being spoken without any recourse to common sense. it may have helped to point out the few simple facts noted above.

No decency. No common sense.

The only simple moment of decency I found, not here, was in a commentary which pointed out that Obama called McCain to ask whether or not they should have a joint position visavis the financial collapse of the US. Somewhere inside that man, something decent moved for a second. I saw no movement on this side of the world this weekend. Next weekend I will drive to my grandad's where the TV does not work.

The Onion TV

I have known the Onion for a long time, having discovered it, I admit, via their smart personals page (BTW, people looking to set up a dating site for people who are NOT brainless teenagers, you might want to check out the Onion Personals). Now, via Fallon, I see they are putting together this great Onion News Network with excellently produced TV shows

a taste :-)

Domino's Scientists Test Limits Of What Humans Will Eat

Things that made my LOL today

My friend Andreea's hysterical laughter at my own tale of a date with a man who liked to wear speedos
this website
this website (sorry, a bit rude)
this website

(all thanks to this website, okay apart from my friend Andreea)


Facebook offline?

Would you throw an offline party to promote Facebook?

Embarrassment trumps media efficiency

A while back I asked the readers of this blog if they would recommend placing ads on OTV to their customers. Not necessarily overwhelmingly, but with a clear majority, they said "no".
OTV, as a mentioned previously, is Romania's trashy crazy/alien TV station which broadcasts mainly from one studio and focuses on "uncovering" dramas, like murders and rapes. However uncanny for a mainstream mind, OTV attracts a huge following, ranking at number five, if a recall correctly, in the GENERAL RANKING of TV stations in Romania.

Now, this made me wonder why my readers, and brands alike, would choose to ignore a station with such obvious reach. The reasons, I believe, are several ranging from rational ones:
- practically, OTV appeals to an audicence believed to have very small incomes
- it is very hard to get ad space because they sell it themselves and nobody wants to bother with direct negotiations
- the ad breaks are random and unmarked
- the shows themselves are random and rating is unclearly and unevenly spread
to irrational ones like "those people are crazy".

Truth of the matter is, however, that there is one reason only that is correct: embarrassment. Marketers and ad people alike feel ashamed to be associated with something they believe deviant. This is very much like Romania (as a friend was remarking to me a while back) to become fixated on what's mainstream and ignore whatever subcultures may appear [everyone will have been appalled by now by the Cosmote commercial featuring a caricature of the EMO movement].
What we are missing is touching a lot of people because we are too priss to be smart enough. Smart enought to find a way to make OTV work for the brands [needless to remind everyone the positive buzz Cap got with these]

My little something

Boing Boing is the God because they let you come across crazy things like this artist who dresses up My Little Pony toys in Hollywood inspired attire.

My favorite:

My little Darth Vader

My little alien

My little Princess Leia

Weeks to come

I will be here
marketing 24/7

Twitter dating

The life-span of a twitter crush: "you reply to a casual remark from the person you're interested in. He/she checks out your profile an alternately can reply back or ignore you or thank you for your comment. In the first two cases you have a chance still, the "thank you" is a definite "no". You post a second reply and make it flirty. If cases 1 and 2 have occurred then you get a shout back and then intense @xxx and @xxx ensues. This goes on for about a week before the first meeting happens. Then a pause [evaluating after the meet] and then one of two things happens, either conversation continues with less frequency, in which case you know the meet did not go well but ended without sex, or no conversation happens anymore in which case two things, again, may have occurred: the meet went very well and now you're on "phone call" basis with the person or the meeting ended in bad sex and you're embarrassed to talk."

This is a shortened version of a 'Twitter dating guide' intro a friend is putting together after intense observation of Twitter patterns among a closed community (say people in marketing and advertising) :-)

A piece of work I am sure we can all cherish :-D



Blogging in danger

Romania has lot of bloggers, a few good ones and a handful of bloggers who piss a lot of people off.

One of them recently pissed off a huge media conglomerate by making a silly - although distasteful - joke, which the media conglomerate itself aired thus creating a huge media scandal. The immediate result of this is that the media group is now on a focused rampage against blogging of all sorts, pushing almost all staff to speak out against blogging. I have seen this in several shows, read it in some editorials.

I am concerned for one reason: the power of mass media far outstrips that of the blogosphere and it is a losing battle. From this confrontation, the few will come out branded as criminals, losers and anti-social dangers. But the few include more than that handful of bloggers who piss everyone off. The few include people who may add substantially to knowledge and thought produced locally.

I think someone, maybe within the media conglomerate, should allow the blogosphere to redeem itself by giving it the chance to respond. Somehow, this strikes me as very similar to branding Romania: we have some good stuff but those who speak about us insist on pointing out the orphans and gypsies. So, how do we go about giving the rest a chance?

My first block in Facebook

I have finally found a use for Facebook. Normally, I dutifully ignore all requests and reply to some messages but tonight I took extreme pleasure in blocking a certain young politician, former Justice Ministry, who tried to add me.
This, I felt, was relevant because the act of blocking was a political response. It made me able to place a political choice.
It also made me think of how important it is for public people to understand how to use social media. Simply building a profile and then randomly adding people - or worse asking your agency to do it - will only annoy people.
Instead think about building content, use Facebook tools to analyse your audience's profiles, build knowledge instead of building data bases for SPAM.


RoBloggers Survey

I took some time to fill that in today and was happy to find that "planning" as a, well, profession was featured among the categories. :-)

This weekend


Orange gone bad

I twitted briefly about Orange's new corporate campaign, I am, which is now being run in full blast on Romanian TV and plastered all over Romanian OOH. And I was preparing this post for a while because, briefly: I HATE IT. There is no magic, no fun, no immediate connection. The communication is bland, indiscriminate, boring. The commercials are like corporate presentation movies, featuring expressionless and uninteresting people. The OOH are stupid, uninsightful, lost in the noise. I HATE IT.

This was the emotional part of the post. Now to explain why the hate and the whining: Orange Romania is the one brand that has managed to open our eyes onto a different type of communication since their faithful encounter with W+K London. I had previously not seen consistency and creativity at work for such a long time. Romanian advertising is a lot about bouts of indiscriminate creative, never coherent, because we grow executions not brand platforms. But Orange was different: they made platforms seamlessly, and proved that creativity was possible with slinkies, string, paper, paints, scissors and socks.

And I assume it all stemmed from this

because it says a lot. It says freedom, it says community, it says friends, it says breaking free. It also says telecom: it speaks about restrictions, groups, communication. And it does all of this with 1 fish in a bowl. It's good.

This one

says nothing using all the people in the world.


New power map

The beer industry in Romania has always been competitive in the core lager segment (premiums come with well set strategies and it's mostly a battle of HORECA deals). Core lagers grow locally, with locally produced ads and local deals and until recently Bergenbier was the clear winner. Now, the map is shifting. Bergenbier has lost its year long National Football team sponsorship to indirect rival Ursus (in Prosport, thanks Orlando) and remains with a poorly justified Men's Day initiative as sole platform. Timisoreana, last years' surprising newcomer, remains linked to Cupa Romaniei, while Golden Brau has managed a sidedoor entry into National League I through a GSPTV sponsorship. Skol remains a niche player.
In addition to all of this, ad agencies for all these brands have been reshuffled and overturned: Leo works on Bergenbier without its main creatives and strategists, GMP has taken over Timisoreana from Lowe but made no true creative progress, McCann is still figuring out Golden Brau, Tempo (??) is doing the same for Skol. In this combination, Publicis seems to be the only one pushing forward with Ursus.

So, are the cards being redealt? Is this the return of Ursus, the crown beer of Romania? Is Bergenbier at a loss and where is Timisoreana really going?

Rainy September Monday night

This is a great Romanian song about exactly what is happening right now outside my window: a cold rainy September Monday night

Logos going extinct?

Troubled American financial world may also mark the end of some history-making identities, specifically Merrill Lynch's bull, Lehman Brothers' family-sounding name, Bear Stearns' stern and elegant type and even AIG's full blue backgrounds.

While LB and AIG may not be case studies worth mentioning, Merrill Lynch is one of my favorites and one of the most daring and clever identities I have ever seen in banking. It would be a pity if Bank of America was dropping it...


When advertising turns into content

A while back, one famous CD in Romania starred in a commercial for ...umm, something, which became quite famous as it was mixing rather niftily some Star Wars references with good old Romanian knee-slapping humor. Now, someone in Romania's own 24/7 movie channel PROTV, who I bet has no clue of the important decision he / she has made, has decided to take the character of that commercial and make it into a regular appearance on TV.
Currently it is only as an intro to Seinfeld but if this keeps on going I see it turning into a full fledged series of its own.

Have only managed to see the one below, and apart from the blatant brand cameo by Ruby Tuesday - I wonder how much they paid - I have rather enjoyed it.
As I said, I look fwd to seeing it turned into a real series rather than this billboard-in type thingie, but until then, it counts as advertising's first foray into content :-)


Always say yes

I am going to like this movie

News and questions

As I said, I have split my blogging time into this one, which will continue to be about planning and strategy in general [and will try to make it more relevant to people from outside Romania], AND this one, which is my digital and web thingie.

As you can see I have decided to give Wordpress a chance, although it is making my log-in habits go haywire. The header photo is a Wordle of this blog which, I thought, was a nice way to connect the two. The WP blog will be written in Romanian but if there is anything truly interesting I will make duplicates and post them in English here.
Yes, my blogging habits are complicated :-)

Now, onto questions: who's going to Thievery Corporation and what sector should I buy my tickets in?
Who has signed up for APG elections as announced here?



Back to school gear

In the new age of technology, back to school is not what it used to be. Today, if you're a student and getting ready to come back on campus you need to read these two (1 and 2) articles to find out what you need :-)
thanks CrunchGear



If you're Romanian and subscribe to some sort of business newsletter you will have found, today, that McCann's PR machine is working because my face is plastered all over. The news is that I have been made Managing Director of McCann's digital arm, MRM. And it is true.

Zoso broke the news and he was right as always. I have also said some things in the news and they're stupid mostly because that's how I feel right now with everything avalanching down on me.

So some things that are going to change are: I will be moving my digital posts to a new blog, which I will hold in Romanian and will keep only my planning blog in English. I will also be writing on the company blog for a bit so expect this one to slow down. This blog will remain, as always, divested from corporate interests so no bickering about digital rivalries here, no grand plans for MRM discussed, no strategy outlined.

People who I have promised to organize a meeting to, I will keep my promise shortly. And I will also post links to all of the above soon. I just thought I should make a note of it here as well.

... here goes nothing .... :-)



Great article in the NYT (obviously via Noah who seems to be the source of every interesting thing online lately)

"Lulz” is how trolls keep score. A corruption of “LOL” or “laugh out loud,” “lulz” means the joy of disrupting another’s emotional equilibrium."

also my way of drawing attention to the upper right corner of this blog which contains my delicious stream: probably more interesting than this blog overall :-)

Realitatea Catavencu business & media

Interesting decision this week from local media group, Realitatea Catavencu, which has decided to add to its business publishing department, a business consultancy arm. Some commentators have noted that this is pretty much like trying to merge business with its main watchdog, which is the press, thus creating a mongrel with somewhat doubtful ethics.

What I find particularly interesting is that Realitatea Catavencu has chosen to divest its online arm from its offline publishing department, and NOT attach a business consultancy to this one. After having announced something resembling an online investment fund - f5 - Realitatea makes a weird move by breaking off its online content from its offline content sources and by not putting consultancy in the job description of its online arm although this is where they may have gained some credibility.

Simply put: having managed a [content] business online - and being "enablers of online entrepreneurship" as mentioned in the f5 press release - RC have enough street cred to convince other businesses they could provide consulting services, especially since there's few online business consultants in Romania. So why not do it?

On the other hand, to go from writing about business in newspapers to teaching people how to do business is credible only if you want to ...well, start a newspaper, I guess.

I am a strong believer in convergence but I think it should be done where there is potential for growth not simply clutter.