moda vivendi

I'm just talking to myself. We do that sometimes, me and myself.

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“White” Space

AMC, the evil geniuses behind “Mad Men” have a new ad-oriented show: “The Pitch.”  While I haven’t seen it, I have a general understanding that it’s like every other competition show out there, only this one is centered in AdLand.  Really, do we need another singing competition show?  According to AdAge, tonight’s broadcast will feature the “White Space” spot created by and broadcast for Muse Communications, a multicultural marketing agency.

Ken Wheaton posted the commercial in this week’s The Big Tent column on  He describes “White Space” as:

[O]ne of the most succinct skewerings of the ad industry’s lack of diversity. Stripped of ass-covering, double-speak and overly PR-ed language typically used when the industry talks diversity, it gets right to the point.

The ad, spoken by an African American woman, has viewers thinking about the lack of diversity..everywhere. She notes the lack of any minority in television shows and, further, that people and agencies behind those shows and commercials are void of diversity as well.  And not just “ethnic” diversity, Muse Communications Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Jo Muse points out.

I strongly believe that women agency executives will be critical to improving industry diversity. Currently, women account for 65-70% of all talent in the business. With more female leadership, they will shape the new face of advertising.

“They say it’s because they can’t find us,” the woman in the ad says.  Well, we’re right here.  Women who want to work.  Unfortunately, this industry has the mindset that men are the power players.  Look at “Mad Men.”  Granted it’s from an era that had a hard time accepting women in the workforce in general, but not much has changed in the 60s, though smoking in office builds is now prohibited and drinking on the clock is frowned upon.  But women are not a minority in the industry.  We’re just silenced and in the background, it seems.

I can’t speak for every woman in the advertising industry, but it’s a tough nut to crack.  There are some of us, however, that are willing to take that challenge and see just how far we can propel ourselves, our careers, and advertising as a whole.  If you’d just give us a chance.


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Social TV-edia

The lines between virtual and reality are constantly being blurred.  It seems as if the only thing separating these two entities is a finely-erased line.  Every TV show has a badge in some corner of the screen with the proper “hashtag” to use while “live tweeting” about the show.  Just last night, the Food Network prompted the use of the tag “#Star” while @altonbrown (and the other team leaders whom I don’t follow..sorry Giada and Bobby..) updated followers throughout the premier with his (hilarious) insights on the episode.  Don’t get me wrong, I joined right in and showed my #TeamAlton spirit.

But it does give me pause for concern.  My (knock on wood) future career relies on people seeing an advertisement and talking about it.  There are just so many ways to talk about something.  If the joint use of social and traditional media is any indication, consumers want to talk about everything; this open discourse is important to consumers.  It’s evolved from using a phone with a real cord to call your friends after the episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” to confirm your allegiance to Spike to picking up a smartphone to broadcast your displeasure over the “American Idol” vote to, literally, the world.

How does someone monitor all of these conversations?  And how do you respond to them?  They say that one negative review ensures that 10 people will hear about it and choose not to buy whatever it is that you’re selling.  But with social media and the rabid dissemination of all sorts of messages, that number is more likely to be some exponential integer.  In an article on the AdAge website, “CW’s ‘Twitter Party,’ or the Upfront’s Hinging on Social,” CW’s VP of integrated sales and marketing, Alison Tarrant reflects:

CW was careful not to bombard fans with irrelevant or aggressively promotional content […] You have to be very thoughtful and strategic about whether it makes sense for brands to play in social media. If users feel they can’t get anything of value, they will ignore the promotion or, worse, discuss their annoyance with friends and followers.

What does this mean for social media, and larger, traditional media?  Well, using social media to connect and extend the reach of traditional media will provide a closer connection to the brand, or so thinks Lisa Gurry, senior director at Bing.

So it seems that we’re stuck with the hashtag in the corner of the screen during any given episode that’s broadcast.  If this allows consumers to speak to exactly what they want, and takes some guess-work out of the advertising process, well then I’m up for the challenge.

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To be frank…

To be perfectly honest, I’m a fan of big words.  If this makes me a snob, well, that’s okay with me.  There’s nothing wrong with using words that few others recognize; it confuses them and that’s fun.  So here’s the post for the day.  Really, I’ve just been lacking a solid topic starter lately.

dis·in·gen·u·ous adj\ˌdis-in-ˈjen-yə-wəs, -yü-əs-\

: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating
As a client said to me today, “People think I’m being funny, but really I’m just being mean with a smile.”  That there is disingenuous, folks.  Just remember, use your word power for good rather than evil!