Hooray, It's a Pokemon Go Tweetstorm about Marketing!

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After I penned my Ad Age column about Pokemon Go, I decided to try my hand at a Pokemon tweetstorm. 

I couldn't figure out how to embed the whole thing (please give me any pointers if you know how). However, I did have drafts of the tweets saved before, and I only had minor edits, mostly for character length. 

 

  1. #PokemonGO marketing #tweetstorm coming. Watch this space… (1/15)
  2. So many marketers are clamoring for how to tap into #PokemonGO. This is a good and bad thing. (2/15)
  3. The good thing is that marketers are trying to pay attention to the next big thing. Yay marketers. (3/15)
  4. The bad thing is that this comes from a sore spot: so much of what marketers are doing isn’t working. (4/15)
  5. After penning a piece explaining #PokemonGO to marketers (http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/a-marketer-s-guide-pokemon/304888/ ), some wondered why there weren’t more marketing opportunities  (5/15)
  6. Yes, marketers with physical stores can promote if their place is near a Pokestop or virtual gym. Will people buy there? TBD. (6/15)
  7. The biggest challenge for marketers: marketers need #PokemonGO more than #PokemonGO needs marketers. (7/15)
  8. Unlike Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram etc etc etc #PokemonGO has a B2C revenue stream of in-app virtual good purchases. (8/15)
  9. Think #PokemonGO cares about selling data? Its developer, Niantic, came from Google, which invests in GO and has all that data already. (9/15)
  10. Marketers itching to do promoted Pokestops and all that miss the point. Nintendo, Pokemon and Niantic don’t need you. Sorry. (10/15)
  11. #PokemonGO has more in common with Netflix that way: sucks up huge amount of time, has a B2C revenue stream. (11/15)
  12. Unlike Netflix though, #PokemonGO is on the first screen. Gamers’ attention will be 110% on that app. TVs are often background noise. (12/15)
  13. So, marketers, keep on wishing for that Poke-manna and Poke-magic-bullets. #PokemonGO is a place where consumers can escape you. (13/15)
  14. Oh and BTW, so many of these consumers will pay to be there. It’s a place for them to let loose, and connect with friends. (14/15)
  15. Connecting with brands is not a priority for… anyone. Truth hurts. Time to find other ways to reach people and stay relevant.  (15/15)


The Marketing Paradoxes of Pokemon GO

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Instead of just reposting the Ad Age article that I ran this week at the outset of the Pokemon Go craze, I'm sharing a substantially different version below. After several rounds of edits, my Ad Age piece, "A Marketer's Guide to Pokemon Go," is about 50% shorter. That probably makes it a better read, so I recommend you read it there, and share it there, and comment there about how it's one of the 50 best marketing-themed stories about Pokemon Go that you've read today.

The column below is much more personal. Those asides and anecdotes weren't quite as essential for the final piece, but since you're here, you get the director's cut. This also includes five key observations, rather than the four in the Ad Age post. And this is under a new title for good measure - especially as Timo from Instagram was kindly tweeting about how he thought the headline was clickbait for an article that headed down a different path. The fault of the Ad Age headline is really mine too. I started banging it out and didn't quite know where it would go, so I left the working title. As has happened before, I'll spend quite awhile editing the articles and totally neglect to revisit the headline, which sometimes is completely irrelevant by the end of it.

Anyway, that's the long-form story behind a longer-form story. So (sorry), here you GO.

The Marketing Paradoxes of Pokemon GO

Feeling Krabby? Have another Meowth to feed? At the very least, you know not to say “bless you” when you hear someone say “Pikachu,” right? This lingo is vital for any marketer trying to keep up with the latest global mobile obsession, Pokémon GO.

This game is the latest incarnation of the 1990s entertainment craze that included Game Boy games, trading cards, manga, and cartoons. GO was just released this month for Android and iOS, much to the delight of 20-somethings who were in elementary school at the peak of Pokémon popularity in the late 1990s. It even offers some nostalgia cachet to elderly Gen X’ers like myself, as I was the one counselor in my camp who memorized the names of all of the original 151 collectible characters. And yes, we should all feel old knowing that there are adults who get nostalgic for the late 1990s.

As GO debuted at the top of app download rankings, it faced its share of snafus, largely as a victim of its own success. Its servers were constantly down. When accessing the game, it took forever to load. It constantly asked users to keep logging in again. It wouldn’t remember preferences in users’ settings. I tried turning the music and sound off, only to discover (more than once in the first 24 hours of using it) that it would start blaring its theme song when I tried discreetly playing it while on some conference calls. Its battery usage is horrendous; in a 24-hour period the weekend after GO launched, it consumed 71% of my battery – even as I tried to use it in the so-called battery saver mode.

GO’s users tend to be going crazy over it though. There’s a reason why the screen users see as the app loads advises them to “stay aware of their surroundings” lest a giant sea dragon eats them. A bigger risk is oncoming traffic, as my Millennial nephew discovered repeatedly. For this demographic that uses “adult” as a verb to describe how they try to act like grown-ups once they have already reached adulthood, playing Pokémon GO may be the first non-ironic activity they’ve done in years.

For marketers, the rekindled craze may be easy to ignore or dismiss. Many people who have been “adulting” for too long will be baffled by the game mechanics, which involve physically walking around to collect virtual goods, train virtual monsters, and battle others. Yet with GO lifting Nintendo’s stock price 9% the day it debuted, its game mechanics are going to have an outsize influence on mobile experiences. Here are some of the more striking attributes of the game and why they will be a source of inspiration:

1) Great ideas are often ahead of their time. Niantic, a startup created within Google in 2010, developed GO with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. Both of the latter two companies invested in Niantic along with Google once Google spun out Niantic in 2015. Niantic’s initial games, Field Trip and Ingress, were well reviewed but hardly caught on outside of early technology adopters. GO builds upon the earlier games, so this is more of an extension than reinvention. This kind of resurgence is all too common. SmarterChild was a popular chat bot on AOL Instant Messenger, and Keebler launched its RecipieBuddie in 2002, but for about 10 years, bot development lay dormant until Facebook, Slack, Kik, and others reignited interest and delivered scalable value. Virtual reality had an even longer hibernation. A Google Trends search for the term “podcast” shows a steady decline starting in 2006 and then a 2015 resurgence that remains healthy. Snapchat’s filters and Snapchat’s geofilters and Snapcodes helped revive augmented reality and QR codes, respectively.

Granted, bad ideas are ahead of their time too; Donald Trump mused about running for president in 1988 and then campaigned for a few months during the 2000 election season.

2) People only complain if they don’t like you. It’s strange to hear how people turn negatives into positives. As frustrating as the server outages are, people brag about how much progress they are making despite being unable to log in much of the time. Some shared screen shots of the battery drain. It’s reminiscent of the early days of Twitter when the Fail Whale became part of the service’s charm and a sign of its popularity. Snapchat’s user experience, which remains a constant source of frustration for Gen X’ers and Boomers, only served to make its younger users prouder of how intuitive it was for them.

3) Not all features need to be available everywhere. In Pokemon GO, when exploring the map, if you try to interact with most of the visible locations, a message pops up saying that the spot is too far away. Even in densely populated Manhattan, most residents or commuters will have to walk a few blocks to access a “gym” where the virtual monsters battle for supremacy. On one hand, this sounds ludicrous, as it restricts the app’s functionality. On the other hand, this makes users put in more effort. Most religions, cults, and gangs realize that more restrictions foster more devotion. For any mobile experience that you develop, imagine if some features only worked at specific locations, or during certain times of day, or during variable situations such as if it’s raining or a local sports team is winning. Those can all be triggers that make people remember the brand more during certain places, times, or situations.

4) Think of “Social” and not “social.” The lowercase “s” signifies the tactical elements of social media that are usually top of mind. Pokemon GO’s initial version fails at such functionality. You can’t see which of your friends are playing, share screen shots to social networks, or trade virtual monsters with others. While a lot of these features may well appear over time, right now what’s more important is the capital “S.” This kind of “Social” refers to how the app has become a conversation piece. Message boards and private groups are springing up. People are sharing screen shots and fan art. Those kinds of conversations are far more important for a brand to understand than how many people are using the hashtag it plugs at the end of a TV spot.

5) Mobile is the glue between online and offline. Pardon the banality. Yet GO takes this to a new extreme. Somehow, Pokemon became one of the best exercise apps ever. Parents of 20-somethings keep mentioning that their kids are going for walks just to hatch virtual eggs and catch more critters. Some of those virtual eggs require walking 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to find out what’s inside, and players are going through that trouble. I experienced this as well. After walking home two miles from Central Park wheeling my toddler napping in her stroller, I continued walking until she woke up so I could hatch eggs and find one of the game’s gyms. As a result, my Pokémon have spent more time at the gym in the past week than I have the past few years. All the while, detours like mine are going to reroute people to various local businesses, so any store owners should see if they have prime virtual real estate, as Jason Evangelho notes in Forbes. In the unlikely event that this app’s popularity endures for years, it could drive up property values in cities where Millennials want to live inside virtual gym zones.

This all sounds like a typical Marc Andreessen tweet where he exposes contradictions. “’Mobile games are anti-social!’ ‘Mobile games are the new water cooler!’” “’Mobile apps make us lazier!’ ‘Mobile apps make us healthier!’” “’Location-based games and augmented reality are dead!’ ‘Location-based games and AR are back!’” Meanwhile, the country with the highest concentration of senior citizens continues influencing global youth culture.

GO is one of those apps that one must experience to fully appreciate. Before you do, buy an extra battery pack for your phone. Soon, you’ll be spending so much effort running out to the virtual gym that you can cancel your membership to the real one.


A Sniff Test for the Internet of Things

Camera Uploads

originally published in Ad Age

A Sniff Test for the Internet of Things

My air freshener is connected to the internet. Now I know what the internet of things smells like: floral notes covering up overpriced hardware and overcomplicated software that provide a marginal benefit.

When the Febreze Home internet-connected plug-in air freshener arrived in the mail this month, I opened the box and beheld yet another questionable impulse buy. I ordered it during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January just after Procter & Gamble announced it. If this was a typical Kickstarter project, it would have arrived in time for the 2017 holiday season after several competitive products already hit the market. P&G actually stuck to its promised ship date, which is the most remarkable aspect of this product’s debut.

This harbinger of the connected home offers a whiff of what’s ahead for marketers, manufacturers, and consumers. Here is how Febreze Home holds up on some key attributes.

Pay for the privilege: The hardware, with one pack of scented oil, sells for $49. Comparable dispensers that aren’t internet enabled sell for $5-$10. That’s a minimum of a 500-percent markup for adding internet connectivity. These kinds of markups are common with other household products such as light bulbs, though the discrepancy should diminish somewhat over time.

So much for a plug-in: Remember how Glade (a rival brand from SC Johnson) used to have the jingle that went, “Plug it in, plug it in”? That is not the case with connected devices. The new theme song should go something like, “Plug it in, plug it in. And then go through a 50-step process that we will now explain to you in painstaking detail, and you will still have to call that 15-year-old kid who hooks up your TV and shows you how to add people on Snapchat.”

The entire setup process felt absurd. First, I needed to find and download the Febreze Connect app on my iPhone – for my air freshener. Next, I had to connect to a custom WiFi network, requiring me to look up my home network’s password – for my air freshener. Then, I had to wait for a firmware update (really) – for my air freshener. Finally, to differentiate multiple devices should I ever buy a case of them, I had to come up with a name – for my air freshener (mine goes by the name Feberky). The user experience will need to improve, especially for lower-cost devices, so that they are truly plug-and-play.

Questioning convenience: There are supposedly some benefits to having an air freshener that is connected to the internet. Febreze Home’s website says you can “customize settings for each room with more devices.” I live in a cramped Manhattan apartment, and it would cost $300 to place these air fresheners all over my home. The device detects the temperature and humidity in the room, and also includes light sensors to double as a night light. For those with a Nest thermostat, the dispenser can learn when rooms need more freshness. Scent levels can be controlled from the mobile app.

How many people are so obsessed with their air fresheners that any of this will matter? In time, as more products connect to the internet, people will expect passive utility rather than a need for active management. If devices can run in the background, communicate with each other, and only require attention at critical moments, then they won’t be as much of a hassle. Expecting consumers to download a new app and continue to use it isn’t realistic when moving beyond the earliest adopters.

Partner or perish: My bank, Capital One, flagged that I had been charged twice for the order. I didn’t know which order they were referencing until I called the company, Gamechanger Products, and they told me they manufactured the Febreze device. They’re so closely involved that they even registered the febrezehome.com domain in December 2015. While it’s unclear how much of Febreze Home was outsourced to Gamechanger or developed together with them, P&G isn’t handling all of this in-house. Given that the domain was registered a month before the product’s launch, I suspect that this all came together very quickly, with minimal risk. That’s one way to get faster buy-in for an experiment.

I had a client once who described a pilot program we did together as a failure, and he said the f-word with the biggest cheek-stretching grin I’ve ever seen. We both understood everything that could possibly go wrong, and everything did in fact go wrong. But he was excited to get something in the market, learn from it, and try again. P&G seems ready to fail fast here and, in the words of shampoo bottles, “lather, rise, and repeat.”

What’s next? Someone, somewhere at P&G is probably trying to figure out which other brands’ products will connect to the internet. Dawn? Gillette? Charmin? Pampers? It all sounds crazy now, but give it time. How long before a $0.25 diaper automatically tracks a baby’s output and flags caretakers when something seems amiss?

There are limits, of course. Few companies will have the resolve to launch and iterate these products until they become viable for the mass market. Kudos to P&G for getting this in market, adhering to their schedule, and offering a whiff of the future. The current odor doesn’t smell right, but it will be replaced soon enough.


A Few Thoughts on Paid, Owned, and Earned Media

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In CMO.com, Matthew Schwartz just published a story on paid, owned, and earned media. I shared a few thoughts:

“One of the big reasons for the confusion with PEO is you often have one component in ascendance and another decreasing,” said David Berkowitz, who was most recently CMO of MRY, part of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG). “Right now ‘PEO’ is more like uppercase ‘P,’ lowercase ‘e,’ and lowercase ‘o.” [PEO is] increasingly driven by the media model, whereas when PEO started it was driven by the creative. Earned and owned media are still important, but right now paid is in the driver’s seat.”

Marketers should keep their eyes peeled on Facebook’s other digital properties to gauge how long it takes for the social media giant to shift to a paid-media model altogether, Berkowitz told CMO.com.

“You can almost use Facebook as a ‘PEO Index,’” he added. “Facebook News Feed skews almost entirely toward paid, with some earned and little owned. Instagram is moving in that direction. WhatsApp is still open-ended as it has the least brand integration. Facebook Messenger now is all about owned and earned with no paid media, and Oculus is all owned as well, with little earned and no paid.”

I do think an index would be interesting here, perhaps as a kind of barometer. It's like the Big Mac index showing economic trends by reporting the price of a Big Mac in different countries. Facebook is McDonald's in that scenario, and whatever they do is consistently mirrored by others (though occasionally others lead, as in Kik leading the messaging bot market but Facebook scaling it and shaping much of the future of it).

 


How to Make a Bad Impression

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This post originally ran in Ad Age. The image above is the rate card from QQTube.

How to Make a Bad Impression

When it comes to digital marketing, you always get a second chance to make an impression. Impressions are cheap, and way too many buyers and sellers still rely on them as currency.

While this has been an issue for decades, marketers can’t stop their impression addiction. This is partly because impressions (and equivalent metrics, such as video views) are a unifying metric across disparate tactics such as display advertising, video advertising, content marketing, influencer marketing, and public relations. Meanwhile, branded content tends to get little distribution without paid media amplification. The easiest way to promote content is to buy impressions, so reach becomes a goal in and of itself.

This racket needs to stop. Impressions mean absolutely nothing. Here are a few of the more salient reasons why:

  • There’s a reason why reach and frequency are the chocolate and peanut butter of traditional media: frequency provides at least a hint of context as to whether an audience is overexposed or underexposed to a message. And yet it’s all too common to see pitches and reports stating something like, “Kevin has a million Twitter followers,” “Josie got 10,000 views on her Instagram post,” or “This native ad was viewed 10 million times.” Often, there is no further context beyond some version of the impression count. Frequency isn’t perfect, but it’s a start, and online, there is no standard as to what that context should be.
  • Fraud is rampant. Imperva Incapsula reported that 29% of all online traffic in 2015 came from malicious bots, while Distil Networks puts the figure at 19%.
  • Bad bots are getting smarter. Wired’s May 2015 issue describes how Trump supporters (if not the campaign itself) are using bots to influence the election. Wired writes, “We’ve caught bots disseminating lies, attacking people, and poisoning conversations.” Impersonating real-looking voters is harder than impersonating anonymous web visitors.
  • Fraud can take subtle forms. For instance, consider a Twitter user who is a real person and wants to come off as a more popular influencer, perhaps to attract sponsorships. Such a user can run bots that constantly follow others, and then unfollow anyone who doesn’t reciprocate. All this user cares about is boosting impressions. Here, the action may be banal, but the intent isn’t, and marketers who aren’t careful can wind up paying a lot of money to reach people who only influence Twitter bots but not human beings.
  • All kinds of impressions can be bought. For evidence, below is a case study on how cheap and easy it is to inflate an impression report.

Consider the YouTube video “[Zombie Highway 2] A pretty good ride.” It was published in November 2014, and as of May 13, it had tallied all of four views. All four were probably from the content creator checking out his own YouTube account (I can assume this because it’s my account). Several days later, it had more than 10,000 views, and within a couple weeks, the view count will likely top 100,000. The total cost of all this activity was $60, purchased from QQTube which calls itself “the largest supplier of YouTube views in the industry.” They add, “We make it easy to simply go viral.”

It’s easy to “simply go viral” when all you care about are impressions. Anything can be made to look like it went viral. What’s telling is that having tested QQTube on other pointless videos from personal accounts (I’ve never used this for any client work), these views never deliver any meaningful results. They don’t even generate likes or shares, so those need to be bought separately. Want to cover your tracks? Buy some dislikes, which cost the same as likes at $9.60 per 1,000.

On average, each viewer watched less than five percent of my video. Russia, Argentina, Vietnam, and Indonesia are top viewer sources. I can’t imagine many marketers are targeting Russians, Argentinians, and Indonesians at the same exact time with the same piece of content, so most marketers would be displeased with such a result. Some others may prefer blissful ignorance and enjoy their inflated report.

There is one simple way to pop this impression bubble: demand better. Demand context. Demand accountability. Demand to know how some impression number could possibly address any of your goals. Demand that greater efforts are made at delivering successful results than the efforts fraudulent bot operators wage at undermining your efforts. Demand more by asking “who” and “how” and “why.” Demand another option. Impressions alone aren’t worth anything,


OMMA Marketing Tech: How to Make That Pitch Stand Out

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Last week, I had the pleasure of joining a ridiculously sharp group talking about evaluating marketing technologies. MediaPost covers the highlights (ignore that they call it OMMA Programmatic instead of OMMA Marketing Tech); I've included some excerpts below. Thanks Jess Joines for moderating a stellar session.

Excerpts: 

“Vetting the Vendors” at OMMA Programmatic on Wednesday addressed these issues with a panel led by Jessica Joines, co-founder & partner at Industry Index, a firm that ranks marketing technology vendors in the digital advertising ecosystem.

The panelists said it’s impossible to look at every email they receive in which vendors seek meetings. David Berkowitz, principal of Serial Marketer, his own consultancy and former CMO at MRY, said he’s spent a decade trying to create best practices around the issue. He keeps an “Idiots Tab” in Gmail for bad vendor pitches [note: this is not exclusively for bad pitches]. Some pitches are a “total waste of time,” Berkowitz said. Vendors need to know that “no” means “no.” Emails that are too long won’t be read. And those addressed to the right person at the beginning but conclude with a different name, will be pitched...

Berkowitz said he asks himself, “How likely am I to learn something during the meeting? That’s the question. It doesn’t matter whether the company is large or small. If they help me see something in a different way, it’s a meeting I’ll take.”...

Berkowitz added that so many companies claim to do everything, while they’re not particularly good at anything. Plus, many vendors don’t make good use of content marketing to market themselves. This type of marketing helps him learn new things.

 

 

 


Welcome to the Future Home of Serial Marketer

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In November 2005, ten and a half years ago, I launched the MarketersStudio.com blog.

The name was inspired by Inside the Actors Studio. The original idea was to build on the interviews I published at eMarketer from 2001-2004. I probably should have done a lot more of that.

Now, some change is coming. I will still keep up writing and blogging, but as I've started to do some consulting during this break from my agency tenure, I needed a new title. And with the new title, I needed a new brand. 

That brand is Serial Marketer. Since every good brand needs a good origin story to go with it, its birthday is today, May 16. Serial Marketer shares the same birthday as William Seward, Liberace, Henry Fonda, Tori Spelling, and Meg DeAngelis (the last one is a YouTube star; I have to throw a bone to Gen Z'ers who might not be so up to speed on Civil War cabinet members or 90210 cast members). 

As I mulled over what it means to have a brand I can own, I realized that the blog should be part and parcel of it. So, in the weeks (months?) ahead, you will see lots of cosmetic changes. I am hoping there aren't any technical changes that surface on your end, but I will keep you posted here. In the meantime, www.serialmarketer.net redirects to this blog's homepage. I'm still working on securing the .com (pointers are welcome for this parked domain).

I will be out and about during Internet Week New York this week, including at M1 Summit, OMMA Marketing Tech, and Flashtalking's Art & Science Sessions. The latter two events mark the first time I am formally using the Serial Marketer name (Flashtalking gets the distinction by a few hours). Let me know if you'll be there, as it'll be fun to catch up. [One update: The Beancast podcast by Bob Knorpp, whose latest episode debuted as I wrote this, is actually the first time I'm officially using the name. Thanks, Bob.]

There's someone I need to thank for the name. Aaron Strout, president of WCG, was kind enough to write about me in the series for HubSpot's Inbound 2015 where speakers introduced fellow speakers. His headline was, "David Berkowitz: Serial Marketer (Not Killer)." It stuck with me. I used it in my Twitter bio for awhile. I wasn't going to use it for anything more than that, but as I pondered a lot of other names, this one resonated. It felt ownable. It felt, in short, like a brand.

As for why it's so ownable, well, it may have hit you over the head as soon as you saw it. It may have come to you a minute later. Or maybe you won't get it without Googling it (which is refreshing, as far as I'm concerned). My online dating handle when I met my wife was "GoogleThis." So Google this, and all shall be revealed.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.

David Berkowitz
Principal
Serial Marketer


A Hint of a New Title for OMMA Marketing Tech

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Those who have a keen eye for spotting title changes may notice something a little different in my bio line, so let's all get that out in the open. Yes, I am ditching the use of "former agency CMO" so I can focus on what's ahead, not in the past. Serial Marketer is the name I'm using for my proprietorship, and I'll have a lot more to say about how that came about shortly. Consider OMMA Marketing Tech as a soft launch May 18. 

Let me know if you'll be there, or if you'll be around for other Internet Week events then in New York. I'll also be attending M1 Summit and speaking at Flashtalking's Art and Science Sessions

As for OMMA Marketing Tech, I was scouting Internet Week events to attend and saw what OMMA was doing (part of a few MediaPost is holding that week). Then I saw the panel on vetting vendors - something I've done a bit of over the years. And then I saw the inimitable Jessica Joines was moderating it, so I had to put my hat in the ring, and they were kind enough to say yes. Hope to see you there. Details of the panel are here:

Panel: Vetting The Vendors: It’s A Process

The cold calls are relentless. The acronyms are filling the next generation Lumascape. How do marketers put a process in place that keeps the dog wagging the tail rather than vice versa? How do you evaluate partners, ask them the right questions, build a stack of blocks that can be moved (or removed) as strategy, not technology, requires? And how can all of this be done internally without clogging appointment books with pitch meetings and stifling the very productivity all of this aims to accelerate? We end OMMA Marketing Technology with some guidance on first next steps.

 


You're Right, NY Times - A Lot of Sexism IS Subtle

 

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The New York Times ran an important story on gender bias in the ad industry. The timing was interesting for me. I was sharing an UberPool with someone en route to iMedia's Agency Summit yesterday, and the topic came up with the other passenger. She's an aspiring fashion designer who was in town for a few months from Chicago, and when I brought up my industry, she referenced "Mad Men." I noted how some issues like sexism persist, even if it is usually more subtle. As the topic has gained currency in recent months, I have heard some astounding stories of implicit and explicit sexism, and it can be demoralizing to hear what a persistent issue this is for female executives of all experience levels.

Yet the Times inadvertently highlights what's wrong. Consider the passage below - the lede no less:

As a so-called bathroom break girl at the advertising agency BBDO in 1985, Susan Credle took over for receptionists when they left their desks. When she learned how to type quickly and accurately, she was promoted to secretary. In the decades since, she has become one of the most accomplished women in the industry, holding top executive positions at some of the most esteemed creative agencies. She has been behind numerous memorable campaigns, including the humanlike M&M’s characters and Allstate’s Mayhem ads.

What's wrong with this?

My issue is this phrase: "one of the most accomplished women in the industry."

Ms. Credle has an outstanding resume, a career that should be the envy of any. Why is she "one of the most accomplished women" and not "most accomplished people"?

And would the Times ever say "one of the most accomplished men" in such a context? 

I am guilty of this at times myself. I have a daughter, and sometimes I catch myself remarking that she's "such a good girl" - which she is - but what I really want to acknowledge is that she is "such a good person." That's the higher praise.

I'd hope our paper of record would be a little more vigilant about this though.

Especially in an article about gender discrimination. 

 


See you at iMedia's Agency Summit?

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I'm here at iMedia's Agency Summit in Lost Pines, TX on a panel (details below) about the nature of the agency and client relationships. It's only slightly ironic, as this is the first time in more than ten years that I'm not actually with an agency, and it's probably the only time (anytime soon) I will use "former" as my official title (more on that soon).

If you happen to be out here in Texas, let me know. If not and you want to catch up, let me know as well. I'm even testing out Calendly, so you can be one of the guinea pigs in using that to schedule something with me. Panel details:

Keynote: CMO Power Panel: The Modern Agency

This powerhouse panel led by John Durham, CEO/Managing Partner, Catalyst SF, will run the gamut of pressing industry topics: What is an agency? Has the idea of a digital agency finally died and, if so, what has replaced it? How is the client relationship evolving and how does that affect all agency departments – from creative to tech? In addition to these questions, the panelists will explore the evolving competition among agencies, the talent that’s most in demand, and the role of the smaller agency within the larger advertising model. 

David Berkowitz, Former Chief Marketing Officer, MRY
Dave Knox, Chief Marketing Officer, Rockfish Interactive
Shade Vaughn, Chief Marketing Officer, SapientNitro
Alicia Hatch, Chief Marketing Officer, Deloitte
Moderated By: John Durham, CEO / Managing Partner, Catalyst S+F