Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Gannett to tag properties everywhere

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

How big is Gannett? We’ll apparently get a demonstration beginning next week when it launches its first corporate branding campaign and puts its new logo all over its 81 community newspapers, 23 TV stations and more than 100 digital properties, according to USA Today, the publisher’s flagship, which will also display the logo.

New Gannett logo debuts Monday

The new Gannett logo debuts Monday.

“The goal is to communicate that the company — long identified as the nation’s largest newspaper publisher and a major owner of TV stations — has evolved into a forward-looking digital power,” USA Today says.

All of the company’s properties are to begin more prominently identifying themselves as part of Gannett via the new logo. The publisher will also run ads with the new tagline, “It’s all within reach,” on national cable news channels and in digital, print and social media.

Among Gannett’s digital properties is Captivate, which programs TV-like screens in nearly 9,000 elevators and lobbies, the newspaper says.

Charlotte Observer reverses e-mail request

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Charlotte Observer Editor Rick Thames said Monday the paper would shelve its request for local residents’ e-mail addresses. “While we did not view these invitations as a ‘commercial use’ of the e-mail lists, we respect the concerns of those who did,” he wrote on his Inside Story blog.

People registered with the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County website received  an e-mail last week explaining that the newspaper had requested the e-mail list and that, because of the state’s open records law, the local government had to provide the names. The request came from the newspaper’s director of strategic products and audience development.

Media critics, this blog included, complained about the move, suggesting that the ability to gather public information for profit is not the point of the state’s hard-won open records laws.

Thames said Monday the paper wanted the addresses “to invite citizens’ input on news coverage” and that they have other ways to do that.

So, is there where we all call them weenies now for backing down?

Elsewhere, Charlotte/Mecklenburg County notified its subscribers that it will seek legislation that would allow it to deny requests for e-mail databases and instead allow only public inspection of this information. Wake and Yadkin counties already have such exemptions.

E-mail info request for ‘better journalism’

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Update: Scott Hepburn, a Charlotte-based PR consultant, social media strategist, trainer and public speaker, explains in his Media Emerging blog why the Charlotte Observer’s grab of private citizens’ e-mail addresses is wrong.


Charlotte Observer Editor Rick Thames is defending the newspaper’s collection of what WFAE FM says is more than 20,000 e-mail addresses from Charlotte-Mecklenburg County.

“I’m using them to build better journalism,”  Thames told the radio station. “I think it’s good for the community, but I don’t see it as (benefiting the paper) anymore than it is for people in real estate to have records of home sales. Do you?”

People registered with the city/county website got an e-mail this week explaining that the newspaper had requested the e-mail list and that, because of the state’s open records law, the local government had to provide the names. The request came from the newspaper’s director of strategic products and audience development.

Thames says they want to ask people “if they would like to occasionally advise us on how we’re reporting and what they would like to know more from their government and more about their community.”

Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett calls the request “a blatant misuse of the ‘right-to-know’ laws by a for-profit company that is looking to expand its readership.”

(We were clued in to WFAE’s work on this by @McClatchyWatch.)

Observer taps city’s e-mail to develop ‘audience’

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Folks registered online with the City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County got the e-mail below today, notifying them that The Charlotte Observer wants to know who they are. We’re not so sure the work to expand North Carolina’s open records laws was meant to benefit “Strategic Products and Audience Development” at the Observer.

From: []
Sent: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 10:31 PM
Subject: City of Charlotte Email Subscriber Notice

This is a courtesy notification that The Charlotte Observer has requested the City’s email subscriber list.

The City must provide this information under the North Carolina Public Records law.  Please direct any questions or concerns to the Charlotte Observer c/o Steve Gunn, Director of Strategic Products and Audience Development at or 704-358-5077 or 600 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC, 28202.

Retailers like Facebook for marketing

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Facebook is where it’s at for retailers with a promotional message to get out, and such “owned media” is poised to edge out paid advertising.

Out of 100 U.S. retailers surveyed by Media Logic between July and September, 15 had more than 1 million “likers” and even more top 1 million today, including JC Penny, Target and Kohl’s, which has 3 million, according to a summary of the report. In 2009, only Victoria’s Secret and its PINK division could claim more than 1 million Facebook fans.

“It is not hyperbole to say that Facebook may be to this century what TV was to the last,” Ronald Ladouceur, EVP and executive creative director of Media Logic, said. “In 2010, owned media came of age, and is now set to rival paid media for primacy.”

A win for newspapers in Kansas City

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Bottom Line Communications, which follows media and marketing issue in the Kansas City area, says a local supermarket chain that left the Kansas City Star for direct mail marketing is taking its advertising back to the newspaper.

The chain, Hen House, has 29 stores in the area.

The KC Star is a McClatchy newspaper, and we saw this first at McClatchy Watch.

Forbes to present paid content like journalism

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Forbes is purposely not just blurring, but erasing the line between the magazine’s editorial and paid content with new blogs that will be owned by advertisers but published under the Forbes banner.

“The pitch is this: We’ll sell you a blog, and your content will live alongside that of Forbes’ journalists and bloggers,” Advertising Age explains. “This isn’t the ‘sponsored post’ of yore; rather, it is giving advocacy groups or corporations such as Ford or Pfizer the same voice and same distribution tools as Forbes staffers, not to mention the Forbes brand.”

The new “product,” as Ad Age calls it, is called AdVoice and is being guided by True/Slant CEO and former Forbes editor Lewis DVorkin, who is returning to Forbes as chief product officer of Forbes Media in the wake of the magazine’s purchase of the True/Slant blog.

“DVorkin has been pulling apart the website and magazine, merging staff and contributed content, and generally blowing apart how journalism, blogging, reader contributions and advertising fit together on the web, in the magazine and everywhere Forbes content is published” Ad Age says.

“‘For the last however many decades of traditional media, you’re a reader so your stuff can only go here,’ Mr. DVorkin said, starting to get animated. ‘You’re an advertiser so stuff can only go here. And our stuff? It goes right here. But there’s a flow of content that’s contextual. Anything can appear in any place as long as it’s contextual – that’s the web and we are bringing that sensibility to the magazine.'”

Forbes says it will be clear who (advertisers, Forbes journalists, whoever) is doing the talking on the various parts of its site.

AdVoice clients – there are none so far – will pay a flat fee, “which means that marketers producing the most appealing content will, theoretically, get more readers and a better deal on a cost-per-thousand-readers, or CPM, basis.”

Social Media: Resistance is Futile

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

A You Tube slide show with a slew of statistics shows us how social media have taken over our lives. The 4 1/2-minute video in the end is a plug for a book — “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business” by Erik Qualman — but not before it likely convinces the hardiest social media holdout to give in.

Social media have overtaken porn as the No. 1 “activity” on the Web, the video says. Facebook has higher weekly traffic than Google. “Social media isn’t a fad,” it concludes, “it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.”

Among the points made that pertain to advertising and traditional media, none of which are attributed in the video:

– 25 percent of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. 34 percent of bloggers post opinions about products and brands.

– 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 14 percent trust advertisements.

– Only 18 percent of traditional TV campaigns generate positive ROI. 90 percent of people skip ads via TiVo or DVRs (this was disputed just this week).

– 60 million Facebook updates are made daily. “We no longer search for the news, the news finds us. We will no longer search for products and services, they will find us via social media.”

Girl Scouts up to speed on marketing

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Girl Scouts and their annual cookie sales have gone viral, says the Contra Costa Times.

Scouts are hitting the Internet, using Facebook, e-mail and texting in addition to staging rallies and setting up phone banks to run their cookie sales “as a serious business.” The Girl Scouts of Northern California has eight pre-written text messages that Scouts are encouraged to send to drum up sales of Somoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and five other cookie varieties.

There are also business card templates, door hangers, marketing plans and e-mail invites that girls can download through their council’s Web site.

While the girls are not allowed to sell cookies via e-mail or over the Internet, they are allowed to use the Internet to tell people they are selling — a tough distinction for the younger girls to grasp … ,” the newspaper says.

The Girl Scouts of Northern California council encompasses the Bay Area and coastal counties up to the Oregon border. It has 50,000 scouts, 30,680 of whom sold cookies in 2009.

Hey, does this make it look like I give a damn?

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Bonobos, an e-commerce company that sells men’s pants, is embarking on a marketing campaign based on making men worry about how their rear ends look. Like women do, The New York Times says.

“It’s like a shame campaign,” Andy Dunn, the firm’s co-founder and chief executive, told the newspaper. Bonobos “pants’ distinguishing feature is that they eliminate the sagging bottom of ill-fitting trousers.”

The company will advertise on Web sites for women, including and, and in magazines like OK! “‘Let your man wear the pants this holiday,’ proclaims the ad copy in the internally produced campaign.”  An agency-produced ad in Men’s Journal shows a man in Bonobos pants from the waist down under the headline, “Here’s your chance to tell women, ‘Hey, my eyes are up here.’ ”

Bonobos also makes shirts, and is working on a dress shirt that does not bunch at the waist. The firm is “’crowdsourcing’ the design of the dress shirts using TweetSwell, a program for conducting surveys on Twitter, to figure out what people want.”

Bonobos, which had $1.6 million in revenue last year, only advertised on Facebook in 2007, its first year, The Times says. “Eventually, shoppers on the Bonobos Web site will have a personalized home page based on what they like and their size and body type. Bonobos is also planning marketing campaigns that will include surprising pants customers with a free dress shirt.”

Bonobos offers free shipping both ways and lifetime returns, and encourages people to buy and return several pairs of pants to find the right fit. Consultants are available by phone, e-mail and, soon, video chat to assess fit and give style advice, The Times says.

“Only about 10 percent of men can be classified as fashionistas, said Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst at NPD Group, though that is up from 3 percent two decades ago. ‘I can’t tell you how many times I stop a guy in a store and say something doesn’t fit right, and he says, “I don’t care,”‘ Cohen said. ‘So he’s got a big hill to climb.’”