16 posts categorized "Branded Entertainment"

eyeballs eyeballs and more eyeballs

Art.clinton.carville.giIn the 1992 race for the White House, James Carville, Bill Clinton's campaign strategist, proclaimed famously the plan to unseat an incumbent president. "It's the economy, stupid". 

He identified THE critical concern of the electorate. All other issues be damned. If Carville were to evaluate the war of marketing relevancy in the digital age, I believe he'd say "It's the eyeballs, stupid".

I mentioned yesterday, Tom Dunlap, EP at RSA, was kind enough to ask if I'd be interested in speaking on an informal panel hosted by the Association of National Advertiser (ANA). The panel was chaired by two production consultants and included Tom, myself and Jason Harris the President of Mekanism. The topic was clients going direct to production companies for creative and executional services. 

The meeting was an intimate gathering of brand executives with the emphasis on procurement. These are the people who make sure the clients are getting the biggest bang for their buck. As you can imagine a very popular topic these days.

The panel took place in a small room. There was a series of tables shaped in a horseshoe. In the middle of this formation were three chairs. Those were for reserved for Tom, Jason and yours truly. On first impression it felt like an inquisition but as the conversation began it became apparent it wasn't a grilling but rather an exchange.

The first topic raised was about the role of the advertising agency followed up by what did we offer that was different, better, and cheaper. As I mentioned yesterday, all three of us were relatively aligned in the view that the traditional broadcast commercial model involving clients, agencies and vendors still works. It needs modification but it's effective. The most disgruntled of the clients questioned not so much the agency contribution but the monetary value of their service. This was for them to determine not us. We were here to solely represent our companies and our competitors as another marketing partner they can call upon outside of traditional agencies.  Eventually we addressed the major problem of the day, the ongoing quest to reach the ever allusive consumer and maximize brand marketing dollars. This is reason to go direct.

In short, the three of us on the panel were consistent in the core reason to work directly through a company like Mekanism, RSA or Dandelion. Projects that call for communicating across multiple platforms are better suited to small nimble organization that can concept, design, strategize, produce, edit and seed without layers of internal approval. No turf battles. Most importantly we hold ourselves accountable to attract audiences through entertaining content. 

The clients seemed to be grasping this concept. As the conversation turned toward the per project direct to client model, it became apparent their were some concerns, notably the cultural shift. Whatever issues they have with agencies, it's one stop shopping. Clients don't have to source out people to perform specific functions. This is more work for the brands and more responsibility. The agencies are no longer the keeper of the brand. They are. They are responsible to interact and connect to the consumer in a genuine way. This can't be achieved soley through buying time on "Grey's Anatomy" and the NFL. Paid media is a valuable in supporting the genuine connection but it's in the digital space where the relationship is made and maintained. This is where the new models are filling the void.

At the end of the panel, a client turned to us and said, "Would you be willing to base your fee structure on results?"

My answer was it depends on how we determine success. If it's to move more product, that I can't do. Too many factors that I have no control over. If it's to get consumers to be engaged interactively with your brand, that's something i'd consider. We'd need creative control to deliver quality entertainment. Most importantly, we'd need control the seeding and marketing. Give me that ability and i'll take the bet everyday of the week. 

As everyone is racing toward the same finish line, monetizing digital content, we must provide the one thing the client values the most...eyeballs. It may be agencies or production companies or some hybrid. Whoever does this effectively and consistently will rule the day. 

everything is broken

F7F-3_Fire-C99The most overused term in the industry today is "the model is broken".

Big agencies can no longer get the job done. The model is broken. Production companies margins are going down while their liability goes up. The model is broken. Advertisers are ineffective at reaching consumers. The model is broken.

It's become a catchall phrase for everything that is systemically wrong. What's great about it is you can use it without providing any solution and everyone nods their head approvingly.

Last week I was graciously invited by Tom Dunlap, an EP at RSA, to participate in a panel discussion hosted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). The topic focused on clients working direct to production companies versus working through their agencies. I'll talk about the details of that exchange in a very near future post. 

The panel discussion opened with the problematic relationship between clients and agencies. No one wanted to bash on agencies so we stuck to using impersonal terms like, you guess it, the "model is broken". The clients asked us what we thought was wrong with the commercial process. My answer was...not much excluding payment and contractual terms. That was met with a few uncomfortable chuckles.

In certain circumstances I can't help being a contrarian. This was one of them. There are two sides to every story. Arguably against my own self interest, I defended the current agency process as it relates to broadcast. I readily admit I have used the term "broken model". No need to go into the archives. I've come to realize that some things don't work well but many things do.

Good clients and good agencies still make good commercials. Talented directors and well managed companies still control the bulk of the finances and the top creative. Competition and technology has lowered the cost of production. The dysfunction of competing agendas keeps everyone honest. In other words, clients are getting greater value in their productions based on good old fashioned market economy and have more affordable creative options than ever before. Agencies and vendors have to work harder for their piece and need run their business more effectively to maintain acceptable margins.

So, what is broken? 

The problem exists in the decline of paid media versus the rise of earned media. Paid media is no longer ubiquitous. Ad agencies built their business models, their corporate cultures and honed their expertise on piggy backing on top of popular content be it programming or popular periodicals. The changing viewing habits and media consumption of the consumer has greatly lessened this power. Therein lies the vulnerability of the model. 

The paid media model has a bloated infrastructure that no longer can be supported by the revenue it generates or the audience it commands. Economic darwinism is already changing this but my guess is the process will remain the same only with fewer hands in the pie. It still works, it just needs to streamlined to realize more efficiencies. 

The core issue facing the clients and threatening the relevancy of the agencies is how to address earned media. We don't have control of it. It isn't an exact science. It's continually evolving. And, the current business model can't be gerry-rigged to adapt to it.  

As I sat in the meeting I began to think, it's not that the current model (Paid Media) is broken as much as the new model (Earned Media) is still being invented. 

More on this tomorrow.

the reality of perception

A few weeks ago we received interest in Dandelion for a branded content project. Our sales rep had been chasing this lead down for some time. The agency producer briefed us on the project and sent a preliminary deck. We shared our initial thoughts on how to tackle this project. Excitedly we set up a conference call. It was a great opportunity and a potential case study.

Preparing for our discussion with the agency, I spoke to several companies we wanted to align ourselves with. They had expertise in specific areas that surpassed our own. They were game developers, web designers and strategic audience builders. All parties were excited to collaborate with us.

The day before the conference call the producer cancelled it. They've decided to talk to only two companies, neither being Dandelion. One of those companies was a prohibitive favorite. He was very apologetic and explained the reasons we were being dropped from the bid pool. I greatly appreciated his candor and his respectfulness for not wasting our time.

Unwillingly to let this go, I asked if he'd just allow me to write a proposal. I would make it very brief, no more than 3 pages. I was convinced if his team read our approach we could regain the opportunity to compete. Being a friend, the produced agreed to share my pitch while stressing it was a long shot. 

In the next 48 hours I feverishly wrote up the proposal. I played up our strengths hoping to expose the weakness of the favored competition. We had superior directing talent and producing skills but weaker digital capabilities. I was confident the alliances we were forming would offset this shortcoming. I emailed off the proposal convinced I would change the tide. 

"So, what do you think?"

"They aren't buying it."

"Really? Wow...why?"

"This project is about digital capabilities. The companies we are liking have everything in house. Web design. Seeding and marketing. Also, their deck was very impressive."

"I hear you but it all begins with storytelling. I don't care how great your digital capabilities are, if you aren't entertaining people than they aren't going to interact with the content. Make the story great first and then figure out the best platforms to tell it. And, I could argue we have a team of better digital people. They are hand picked for this particular project."

"I understand but we like the one stop shopping solution. You proposed bringing all these partners in. We could just call those companies ourselves."

"Based on that logic why do you hire me to do spots? My crews aren't staff. I rent my camera gear. I don't have in-house casting. We don't own a film lab. You can call all those places yourself?"

"Good point...the funny thing is the perception is that you somehow own that process...and they really did made an amazing deck."

I learned a lot about branded content from from this conversation. Agencies like big decks. That's not really what learned but I've been dying to use that line for months. 

We continue to adjust our content model based on conversations such as the ones above. I've learned there is no tried and true formula. Some agencies tell us it's all talent driven. Others will say it's all about the digital capabilities. Most take it on a project to project basis. In the perpetual beta world of non-traditional advertising I believe it's about presenting services, ideas and expertise superior to their own. It may be a great gimmick, audience building, or a turn key solution. Probably all of the above. 

As various platforms and models are being continually tested, there is one universal truth, its all about attracting the eyeballs. This is where the value lies. The key is developing a business model that has perceived proprietary and unique value accompanied with delivering an audience capabilities. The only way to achieve this is for people on all sides to give the feedback necessary to improve. Listen and share. 

I'm discovering more everyday if I ask the right questions and dare to fail, I can learn almost as much for not getting a job as I can from actually producing it. I still prefer winning. 

the gift that can keep giving

I've been watching with great interest a series of online brand marketing initiatives. Some of those projects I saw in the concept phase. Others I just heard about. And, one I was involved with. I was mostly curious to see if they were able to build a significant audience. Very few were able to. I could create a laundry lists of reasons why starting with they weren't entertaining and ending with no one wants to voluntarily watch films about brands. Even if they were able to build an audience of devout followers, then what?

Maggie Fox, Founder and CEO of Social Media Group, wrote an interesting post about this topic a few months back. I kept thinking about her post as I mined the field for branded content. When creating online content, brands shy away from featuring content on their corporate website, rightfully so. Have you ever visited a company sites for entertainment use? Instead they launch a microsite with some clever name related URL. These sites are where their branded content lives until they run out of content. In her post, Maggie describes how she has been preaching to her clients to stop building these microsites and start building channels. 

So to go back and answer my own question, what happens if a brand is able to successfully garner a large online audience of followers to their microsite? From what I can tell, they use up every ounce of the content they have and then shut down the site. In other words, spend a lot of time and effort building an audience only to let them go. It's like a hunter creating an elaborate trap to capture wild animals for his meal. Having lured a massive number of prey into the pen, the hunter opens the gate releasing them back into the wild then wondering why he's gone hungry.

Like a TV station, the web gives brands an opportunity to broadcast their message and more importantly their image. In other words, Maggie's advice to her client's is to stop thinking like marketers and start thinking like broadcasters. Create content of value. Design a strategy to bring them to your destination. Once they're there keep them there by consistently providing meaningful programming.

Although I agree with this theory completely, there are two major problems. One, creating quality brand sponsored entertainment is hard. And, two it's expensive to maintain. 

To overcome these obstacles you need to address a deep cultural divide. Brands must start to understand that their product isn't of interest but their image is. If I tell you I'm Mac user that drives a Prius, wears Levi's and drinks Miller High Life, you form a certain image. Brands can be an extension of our own identities. They promote a lifestyle. A brand channel can support that without pushing product freeing themselves to create entertaining content. In terms of funding, the cost of meaningful interaction is far less than the cost of mass media. It's a matter of taking the risk of this investment. 

I think were still a while away from some brand committing to a channel and doing it successfully. It's analogous to cable TV in it's infancy. It was cheaper and easier to run syndicated programming than develop quality original shows. Eventually the only way to grow was to create their own content reflective of their channel's following. 

As Maggie said, "attention is an expensive gift - think about how you can recycle it."  

that's entertainment


I spent a lot of time this week talking, thinking and writing about social media. At my day job, I've also been pondering social media as it relates to ad commerce. If we believe the stats of the Youtube clip I posted on Wednesday that 96% of Generation Y is involved in social media. That, social media has overtaken porn in net popularity. That, social media is the greatest force since the industrial revolution, then why the hell can't we better monetize this revolution for brands? Maybe I'm just impatient but this is how I'm seeing it.

Every brand/agency is concepting, pitching or producing some form of internet, digital, viral, branded, 360 or whatever moniker du jour you'd like to give it. They are doing so with very few successes. Success being defined as genuine sustainable interaction with a consumer base of desirable size. 

In the last 10 months I have read through dozens of decks by some very talented advertising people. I'm always impressed with the amount of thought and energy placed into these concepts. Most are well designed, some have clever ideas and all are generally underfunded. I keep asking myself why isn't it more effective? Where are we going wrong? We can't just blame the money or the client.

I believe we need to start asking ourselves two questions before formulating a digital strategy or thinking about creative - how are we going to get people to our site and once we do, why are they going to stay there? Recently I've asked these questions at meetings and on conference calls. I usually get the same answers. 

  • The commercials/banners are going to drive traffic
  • We're going to start a Facebook page, Twitter feed and some other social media applications
  • PR is going to reach out to the blog community

Let me get this right. The TV commercials are driving traffic by placing a URL on an end tag. The idea being the target audience is going to stop their viewing experience to get up, go to their computer, type in the URL and interact with some corporate content. Who has ever done that? 

Banner ads. Ever click on one intentionally or even notice them? Enough said. 

Facebook and Twitter. Always sounds progressive but how are you going to get friends and followers? Go with the "Field of Dreams" mantra? Sign up and they will come. 

Bloggers. They love promoting ad sites to their hard earned audience unless, of course, they get paid. And now thanks to the FTC they are legally bound to disclose compensation. I guess they would do it without payment, if it was good. 

Despite my sarcasm, I believe a successful integrated campaign needs all of the above to build audiences. It just needs to be strategically planned to work across all mediums. And, I still haven't answered my own questions. How to mobilize a community and keep them? 

It starts with agencies thinking less like admen and more like programmers. The social contract of TV viewing is based on providing entertainment then breaking for a paid message from the sponsor. In paid media, brands don't have to build followings, they just pay for the privilege of piggy back on top of someone elses. With the exception of pre-roll, this can't be done in earned media.

When creating branded content you have to ask yourself would I pass this onto a friend? Would I spend my valued time watching this? There are many enticements to draw in an audience (free stuff, discounts, competitive games, etc) but keeping them is all about entertainment. It can't be brand focused but rather brand sponsored. 

In the year end issue of SHOOT magazine, they named Goodby Silverstein agency of the year. Rich Silverstein said, and i paraphrase, "We are no longer an ad agency. As matter of fact, we believe no one should be. We need to become entertainment companies." This resonated with me. 

Agencies and production companies theoretically should be the ones to unlock the code of communal and meaningful digital interaction with consumers (actually they should be called viewers). To do so we need to start holding ourselves accountable to building audiences, keeping them connected and providing content of value. We are the natural leaders in advertising innovation. However, just because we're the rightful heirs doesn't mean we'll inherit the future. They're are countless others aggressively pursuing the crown. 

ben & barry's

30nbc.190 Barry_diller(1)  Last week, while waiting for a meeting a to start, I was reading the NY Times online. They posted the headline that Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment, had resigned to partner with media legend Barry Diller to form a new venture. A content company yet to be named or outlined in detail.

The NYT article was pretty vague. It primarily addressed Silverman's two year controversial and unsuccessful reign at NBC. I wanted details of the venture especially since Silverman was quoted as describing it as "Warner Bros meets BBDO". I switched over to the LA Times. They gave more details albeit not much more. Fortunately enough to satisfy my curiosity. It said:

"The details of the Diller-Silverman venture are vague, but at its core the plan is to get advertisers and producers together for the creation of what the industry calls "integrated" or "branded" entertainment, in which a product (brand) becomes part of the show in a seamless fashion that does not leave viewers thinking they are watching a commercial."

I thought, "holy shit", their forming Dandelion only with more money and better contacts. Okay, so they aren't exactly competitors but it is a very strong indication of where the industry is heading. I know Silverman was on his way out but who would think that a Chairman of NBC Entertainment would step down to produce web content. I'll be anxiously watching when, and if, this new venture comes to fruition.

When two industry leaders, who have built their reputations and fortunes via broadcast TV, are going to advertisers saying the traditional media model is no longer effective then it elevates the entire branded content space. Not that the space needs to be legitimized but it does still needs to be demystified. Or at the very least be accepted.

Agencies and Networks are trying to unlock the code while trying to maintain profitability and relevance. Advertisers are still scared and baffled by branded entertainment. They are more likely to sign  a 20 million media buy than a 2 million dollar brand content piece even if proven it will reach a large and interactive audience. There are many misconceptions and fear of the unknown from all sides.

Hopefully a venture of this magnitude will create the momentum and investment this space needs.

travels with kirt in the motor city

Picture 1

TourMI01    As reported I flew in on Sunday night to Detroit. I heard you could buy up large swaths of real estate and the entire automotive industry for whatever cash you had in your wallet. Actually, I went there to make a presentation to an ad agency about the virtues of non-traditional media. In other words, to pitch them the Dandelion business model.

Dandelion is a new venture formed by Epoch Films and Kirt Gunn & Associates. We launched this company in January of this year. By the way, possibly the worst time in modern history to launch a new company. We remain undeterred and are stronger for it.

The model behind Dandelion is simple. We tell brand narratives using non-traditional advertising. This includes everything from webisodes and video games to docu-series and ARG's. It is based on the idea of reciprocity. The brand provides something of value (i.e. entertainment) and in return the customer values the brand (i.e. supports their product). I have written about this often.

Sending and receiving media is in the midst of a revolution. Brands are at loss on how to effectively react to these changing patterns. Paid media is expensive and less effective. Earned Media is a mystery. At Dandelion, we help demystify it.  To market our model we are using a time tested method, spreading the gospel door to door. Yesterday we knocked on Doner in Westfield, Michigan.

Sheldon Cohen, the newly titled EVP Director of Integrated Production, asked me if we would present to various groups within the agency. Our partner and creator of the Dandelion model, Kirt Gunn, accompanied me on the trip. If you have not experience Kirt work a room you should. He has the unique ability to simplify the uncertain world of new media. Through the use of metaphors and relevant historical examples, he disarmingly relays what we do, why we do it and how we do it. Give him 15 minutes and you'll have a provocative new insight into branded content.

We had three meetings. The first with creative directors. The second with a combination of creatives and producers. And the third with the top account people and business strategists. The third was the most positive. Something you'd rarely hear from a someone pitching a creative model.

The account teams are the ones being held accountable for results. They are having a hard time getting them and need to find other solutions. Dandelion provides one. The creatives on the other hand are more skeptical. They view the Dandelion model as infringing upon their turf since we bring in collaborators from other mediums such writers from 30 Rock, The Onion and other major publications and TV shows. Our ideal model works best by combining these creative disciplines to concept with agency creatives. We know they understand the brand better than us but we understand the space better than them. Together we can innovate with the account people paving the way to a successful venture into the unknown.

After the meetings Kirt, Sheldon and myself sat down to discuss the marathon day of meetings. Doner has been a successful independent shop for decades. They are rooted in traditional media. Rob Strasberg, the new CCO, came from Crispin with the goal of modernizing the agency. Sheldon's directive is to find any means at his disposal to help Rob accomplish this task. It's an uphill cultural battle.

We discussed Doner being at the content starting line with 90% of the other agencies. Only a few have a head start. In finding a new way of looking to service their clients and seeking out creative partners, Doner has as much an opportunity as anyone else to crack the code. It just takes one brave client, one ballsy account guy, one inclusive creative director and one great idea. Sometimes it take someone from the outside to help you realize that.

As we drove on the highway from Westfield to the Detroit airport, we saw signs of the decimated auto industry. Rows of dilapidated buildings. Countless office spaces for lease. No traffic at rush hour. This is an area surrounded by the daily visual of an industry that believed a hundred year old business model never needed renovation. It took bankruptcy and the devastation of an entire regional economy to force it to do so. If that isn't motivation enough to innovate and try new models, I don't know what is.

Believe it or not, I hope to be back in Detroit soon.

content on the cheap

Back in the good old days ad agencies went to production companies to solely make TV commercials. It was a simple model. They concept a spot. They bid a few directors who have the right sensibility. We interpret and bid the concepts. And, if we are the choice, we produce it. When the agencies needed to make a film that was not for broadcast they were called industrials. There was a separate vendor pool that produced that work. It was done much cheaper often non-union and with less agency oversight. Then, the internet happened and the rules changed.

What has been increasingly happening over the last 5 years is the agencies concept non-broadcast films, not the good old industrial type, but something entirely different. It has many names. Long form. Content. Web films. Viral videos. I call them cheap commercials.

The agencies don't view them only as commercials but something more. They view them as much as programming as advertising. Short pseudo-programming for the web. They are no longer just ad creatives. They are in the entertainment business. It's kind of true in that to capture attention on the net the content needs to be captivating otherwise you can't build an audience. No matter how we define it, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck then it's an ad. It's paid for by a client looking to get some type of result related to their brand or product.

I'm in the commercial production business. The agencies are my clients. They ask me to make these films. It is advertising. I make advertising. I need to service my clients. If I don't service these jobs someone else will.  Herein lies the dilemma.

These projects have one fifth of the budget to deliver three times the amount of content.  To eke out any margin and succeed in delivering the number of films, the production process should be more indie film or cable episodic than TV commercial. But it's not. Everyone applies the old broadcast model despite the obvious differences. There is an opportunity on a few projects to get something for the reel or maybe build young talent or use it for the company portfolio to help diversify. The problem is that almost every production is some kind of investment, either financial or by cashing in favors. The truth is our union agreements prohibit us from producing under a certain cost per shoot day. When we produce under that cost it is in violation but for the moment every turns a blind eye because there is so little money.

It is a difficult situation. We need to meet the demands of our clients. But, by meeting the demand we develop high volume deliverables/low profit businesses. It requires the same or more effort than broadcast commercials while simultaneously undercutting our core profit center (commercials). Still, they aren't going away. These projects are more prevalent than ever due to the recession.

For the moment both agency and client understand the difference between web advertising and broadcast. One is seen on 48" plasma and the other on quicktimes. One has millions in paid media behind it. And one does not. This is the reason for the cost differential although unfortunately the process remains the same.

Maybe as convergence of TV and computers creep closer, technology may solve the very problem it created. Until then the goal is to find a way to serve both masters while maintaining workable margins. Yet one more code to crack in the ever changing media landscape.

liquid awesomeness

Gemini Picture 1 CTRLZ-d

There were many Twitter feeds last week linking to an article in Mediapost. It talked about the NBC Universal Digital division focusing on branded entertainment. In the article they announced a new show sponsored by Nestea in partnership with NBC called CTRL. It's based on short film that debuted at Sundance.

The premise of the CTRL is that it follows an ill-treated office worker who discovers that with the aid of Nestea and its "liquid awesomeness," he has the ability to manipulate reality. I can hardly wait. Sounds like a hit. I'm a believer in branded entertainment but a show built around the "liquid awesomeness" of Nestea seems like a lot of brand and very little entertainment. 

In the article they also mention the amazing success NBC had with another branded show called, "Gemini Division". They proudly incorporated five sponsors into the storyline, including Intel, Cisco, Microsoft, Acura, and UPS. I gotta see this. I Googled the title and went right to the website. Unfortunately it was so successful it is no longer available on NBC or Hulu.

As stated I'm a big believer in brand sponsored entertainment. I'm actually betting on it. For it to be successful, the brand must give the consumer something of value (i.e. an enjoyable viewing experience) and in return they create a relationship. Product placement is one thing but entire storylines revolving around a brand feels like one long extended commercial. Commercials work because they are short and transparent. And, work best when they are entertaining. TV shows work because they aren't commercials. And, work best when they are entertaining. This idea of NBC seems like the worst of both.

I'm no network exec but making a product the star of their own sitcom doesn't sound like a successful solution to branded entertainment. It sounds like a last ditch effort to keep the slowly disappearing advertiser interested in the network. Maybe NBC knows best. I'll withhold judgment until the premiere. It could be the awesomest show ever. 

listen to the youth

When I was growing up I wasn't a particularly good student. And I'm being kind. I was, however, really good at watching TV. Unlike today's youth, I was limited to only 3 networks and two local channels but there seemed to be no shortage of something to watch. I was non-discriminatory. Sports. Soap Operas. Sitcoms. Dramas. Old reruns. Loved it all. My mom told me if I didn't turn off that darn tube and start studying I'd never amount to anything. Lo and behold, I run a company that makes TV commercials.

My brother in law posted an excerpt last week from Peter Hirshberg's talk at the 2007 TED conference. It's a group of 14 year old girls talking about TV. It further illustrates what we already know. Kids not only prefer their computers to their TV's but, with the introduction of Hulu and other quality programming sites, they see little separation between the two.

TV is primarily ad supported i.e. brand subsidized. No one seems to have cracked the code yet on how to monetize net content on a large scale. There are many models and innovations but it appears as if brands and their agencies are slow to embrace or invest in them. If they don't do so soon, they are in danger of losing the ability to market effectively to an entire generation of consumers.

At Dandelion we were speaking to a major content provider about a possible project. The project involved an idea we developed that would be brand sponsored content. We wanted to partner with the content provider to use their platform. We explained a brand was already attached to fund the project. Although these were the type of deals they were seeking, they voiced concern. They expressed that in the past, brands and their agencies, often tried to apply a broadcast model to their service. In other words, they wanted to interrupt the audience experience rather than enhance it. This lack of flexibility or understanding was more of a deal breaker than the financial negotiation. Although the content provider was eager to reap the rewards of brand association, they were more aware that a short term monetary gain would result in the long term loss of their audience if it placed advertising ahead of the site experience.

After several conversations, we put them more at ease. They felt confident that we were an honest broker acting in collaboration with an agency and brand but with sensitivity to their audience. It's still an ongoing conversation but I hope our clients will remain opened minded and continue to embrace a new connection with their consumer. If not, maybe I'll just anonymously send them the link above.

In the meantime, I need to get my daughter off that darn computer. She needs to go study.


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