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.


Interesting read

Reviewed as "The main body of the book draws out all of the most cherished literary devices in writing and reexamines them for use in the short form. Dom urges writers to spend more time distilling the essence of meaning and emotion from their thoughts. Select tweets are used as examples, showing wonderful invocations of irony, sarcasm, suspense, awe, and humor. The mechanics of poetry are even explored in detail, with suggestions on how they can be applied to the short form." here

Facebook credits - the social network is trying for an economy of its own

If you're a non-gamer like me you will probably not have heard about FB credits, a form of in-network payment which lets you purchase virtual goods for the FB games and apps you like to interact with.
It seems that this system has been on for a while but it is so slim in spreading out that FB have recently had to consider a whole "promotional" program to get the ball rolling.

As I understand, in a nutshell, the way the credits worked was were much similar to what you would get if you signed up for Second Life about 4 years ago. At that time any new account used to get free land and some Linden Dollars to stimulate purchase of virtual goods. In very much the same fashion, if you're a FB user with a lot of games to play you could purchase FB credits with your credit card and then use them to get game add-ons or perks like cheats or extra energy or stuff like that. So, actually, FB was a financial intermediary between the app/game developers and yourself. [more on what you can use credits for here]

However, it seems that the credit craze has not caught on because recently FB announced some promotional stuff coming users' way in the line of credits. They will be giving out credits to get people used to using them and also allowing people to gain credits by simple on-network actions so without actually using credit card money to pay for the credits [read more here].

It seems to me like the next logical step: FB might have imagined that users will jump at the opportunity to buy gaming goods but in reality they may have overestimated the traction FB games have had so far. Compared to SL or WOW, FB games are still baby games and, at least until Mafia Wars and Farmville showed up, had little potential of getting people wild and digging deep in their pockets for money. The FB profile also, in Romania at least, is not hard core gamers but rather socializing freaks.
so, I personally cannot wait to see how this new credit initiative is going to work. I would have added credits for making profile crazier looking and boosting your social status on the network. somehow it feels that's that FB is about in Romania.

Digital industry - chilly days

Last Friday a couple of the people running digital agencies met with a UK planner to discuss the options of putting together a sort of knowledge camp for digital. It was like back in the old days with planners' meetings only this time it was supposed to be focused on digital.

It was funny to watch how, being the young pups that we are, we looked at this as both a threat and and opportunity. An opportunity because it would give us a chance to go after new business maybe in the portfolios of other agencies present, and a threat because it would mean sharing knowledge which we think is proprietary and makes us hold on to our clients. Overall the meeting was sad and inconsequential because we were all heads of agencies and all we cared about were procedural issues and "industry" problems as opposed to being really concerned with the systemic lack of know-how that the industry suffers from.

I cannot blame us however. In times of affluence, everyone is focusing on expanding knowledge, on finding out better and smarter ways to create and innovate. In dire straights, we focus on survival, and, being the bureaucratic people that we are, for us survival comes from making rules. Other people, in times of need, become inventive and get smart. With Romanians it seems that in times of need we start imposing regulations [just look at what the government is doing].
i'm not saying this is a bad thing. I personally do not have a solution at this time, but that meeting just felt sad. Because nobody was there to talk about how we can become smarter as an industry. everyone was out to protect his slice of the pie....
I hate this effing financial crisis :(


Romania's publishers decide to set display standards

I am not entirely sure what this means, but some of the top publishing conglomerates online in Romania have put out a three points standard system for display on their websites. This means that they will start "evaluating" the display they accept on their websites. It will serve to increase the quality of display they get, and thus, enhance results for clients and agencies alike.

From what I understand the consesnus is that publishers will refuse CPC payment when the campaign is clearly brand awareness or brand building driven. CPT payment will be enforced in this case. I also understand that the publishers will evaluate display submitted and decide whether it qualifies for CPC, CPA, CPL or CPT. Plus, ads will get run of network or run of category treatment exclusively in order to ensure targeting more clearly and better results for the client.

Well, to me, it seems like a great initiative for an industry which has managed to bury display almost completely through the very work of some of its agency heads who, avowedly, despise display and consider it a menial form or promotion BUT... :D some questions do remain:

- it's pretty hard to evaluate display creative anyway, banners are small, they move fast etc. Who will be the ultimate decision maker in what gets CPC or CPT treatment? Can we get some basic guidelines, you guys :D (like simple one liners "always say click here, never use flashing arrows or always use flashing arrows)

- does this mean that publishers will become involved in telling agencies what works or not? will this be done transparently? or, like agencies sometimes get with ad serving companies, where the creative is simply rejected without explanations.
If this is not the case, I expect to see an incremental ballooning in revenue for in-house publisher agencies - which caught some wings last year but eventually almost died out.

- if run of category is mandatory what prevents publishers from spawning a host of "category-friendly" mini websites which then will attract top dollar without the actual traffic numbers solely on the basis of affinity?

I think this idea by the publishers gives agencies a great opportunity to go to the clients and make some points about the use and misuse of display. I also think that we will finally see campaigns that will HAVE to be made with at least some guidelines covered (like, for Pete's sake, have a landing page that requires some form of response and then track it!) and that maybe we will stop trying to bury what has so far been the largest source of revenue for publishers. In the meantime however it would be nice if I could get some answers to the above.


Am scris un editorial pe Digital IQ Ads [this post will only appear in Romanian but I will continue to post in English too]

pe care il gasiti aici si la care cativa oameni au pus comentarii. editorialul relua o idee, pe care o mai discutasem cu colegii de agentie, despre impresia eronata a unor clienti - sau chiar a unor colegi din industrie - referitor la cat de usor sau nu este sa faci Internet. I-am spus "complexul Facebook" pentru ca mi se pare ca Facebook a facut cel mai mare serviciu si in acelasi timp si cel mai mare deserviciu marketingului online in Romania. Serviciu, ptr ca nimeni nu poate sa ignore avantul acestei platforme si toata lumea a fost nevoita sa isi faca un cont, asa ca, vrand nevrand toata lumea a inceput sa foloseasca apps, sa invete sa scrie niste statusuri, sa inteleaga cum si cat de repede merge o stire pe net, ce este interesant etc. Deserviciu, pentru ca nivelul de "user friendliness" pe care il vad ei la FB este transferat automat si proiectelor pe care vor sa le dezvolte pe net fara niciun moment pierdut sa se gandeasca la cat timp le-a luat celor de la FB sa dezvolte platforma, cate erori si buguri au fost rezvoltate, cate probleme de scalabilitate surmontate etc.

oricum, problema e mare si eu am scris putin si mai degraba histrionic despre asta pe Digital IQ Ads. Insa, ce mi-ar placea - si am spus-o si in comentariile de la editorial - ar fi ca oamenii sa sugereze solutii. Si ar fi si mai misto daca nu am arde-o cu fraze sforaitoare si absurde ca "e nevoie de educatie in piata" "ne lipsesc profesionistii". Evident ca astea sunt cauzele problemei, lipsa de educatie si de profesionisti, dar nu poti raspunde unei intrebari despre solutii cu cauze. Asta se cam numeste "a bate inutil din gura" si, din pacate, televiziunile romanesti sunt populate numai cu oameni care stiu sa faca asta si numai asta.

deci, daca cineva are vreo idee practica de propus, ar fi misto sa o scrie undeva. eu ma gandisem la un videocast unde sa explicam the basics intr-un limbaj simplu. cred ca s-ar distribui usor si repede.

alte idei?

Si, da, m-am hotarat ca o sa scriu alternativ in romana si engleza. Practic sunt subiecte despre care cred ca trebuie sa stie si oameni din afara dar sunt unele legate exclusiv de Romania.


Why it's good to be in digital this year

three reasons:
1. any creative that gets done this year will have a digital component if only for two simple reasons: a) www recorded the fastest growth and marketing managers will want to get on that boat b) www remains cheaper
2. most international brands will try to cut regional expenses by making creative hubs and sharing creative work which means that some regions will only get access to dubbing other people's creative, but so far the movement of localizing websites has not caught on completely, simply because sometimes it's cheaper to make one locally
3. every agency is trying to become digital either by integrating digital in all its operations or by working more closely with its digital siblings. digital work results from that more than ATL work

so, if you're in digital, you're the lucky ones.
the same works for direct, or e-direct and mobile :D



precisely my experience with it

via zoso


Why procurement has no business handling pitches

Of course this is a post written under the influence of some major "pissed-off"ness because we lost a major pitch for which we worked really hard and naturally you cannot but be a sore loser. But more than that this is a realization of almost 8 months of in-crisis pitching - not just for us but for our ATL sister agency and also some half dozen other agencies we are friendly with, where we have seen the following repeat itself enough to become a pattern.
1. most in-crisis pitches are run by procurement teams [secretly meaning 'we're only interested in the money']
2. most in-crisis pitches have EXACTLY the same format: request for credentials, request for offer made of CVs and creative plus money. lots of useless paperwork, because participating agencies project the ideal team onto all RFOs and have a standard credential they send to everyone.]
3. no face-to-face unless you get picked to be among the few going to stage final
4. no debrief unless you really ask for it and then whatever gets discussed then gets emailed to everyone for fairness reasons
5. one hour for presentation
6. humongous brief with 70% of the qualification criteria going to.... financial :D. Basically testing to see if you're willing to do shitloads of work for no money.

But what gets to me most, aside from the heartlessness of this process is that final letter, where they tell you that you did not qualify. Thanks for playing but you suck, and we will not even take the time to tell you why. You may have prepared a 300 page presentation for us, which you printed in 4 copies because the RFO asked you to - yeah, we print layouts of online banners ... figure that!, but you do not deserve more than the standard letter of 'thanks but no thanks' because we were too busy to really understand why we picked someone else.

And while I understand the power-position in which everyone in procurement is these days, what with the crisis and everyone willing to do almost anything to get a budget, I think that somewhere in the brand management team someone should realize that this is not the way to handle what is, by all accounts, the relationship with your most important partner: the ad agency. Even when you DO NOT pick them, the point is not to treat them like they're nobody. Because sometimes the winning one happens to be crap, and maybe you want to drop them and move on to the runner-up. And if the runner up think you're basically heartless bastards, you're down to another RFO process. And this is not "not nice", but, in terms procurement can understand, it's NOT EFFICIENT.

LATER UPDATE: I did call the company asking for more info. I got an email asking for my phone number. So at least they were decent, and tried but I still do not know why we lost.
In general, however, I notice from the comments that, what with the crisis and all, the majority view - 2 out of 3 comments :P - is that the factor called 'serendipity' no longer plays a part in agency-client relationships. Weirdly enough, I used to think the same until I realized that the clients where we did find the same wavelength tend to be the ones for which we work most efficiently, most enthusiastically and where we get the best results. I think agencies like W+K and, locally, Headvertising have made this kind of "human" treatment of partners a landmark of their business style and it's worked (don't you just envy posts like these? :D)
BUT, having been bludgeoned over my stupid head by the true business people of this real world, with words like "standards, professionalism, process, transparency, streamlining, capitalism, money" I assume I am just a silly silly girl to think that writing to extra lines in the 10 reject letters is not a big deal and will take my silly silly ideas and put them to sleep for tonight :D

LATER LATER EDIT: Got a call from marketing person - not procurement, who was nice enough to explain why we lost but said they would never put in on record. Feels good to know we are good enough but not good enough at politics :D

LATER LATER LATER EDIT: funnily enough got an official email from the procurement person saying basically that "our creative approach" sucked salty balls of chocolate although we were cheap enough :D. So, there you have it: marketing says we are creative enough, procurement says we are cheap enough, yet we lost :D. it must be we're ugly or something