Category: creative thinking

Being topical or even shareable is not the same as being relevant

(DISCLAIMER: It has been brought to my attention that the rant below sounds like I hate social media or digital media. That’s definitely not true, but I do hate bad advertising and poorly thought out communications strategies driven by buzz words which the examples below represent. Also this behaviour is not limited to digital media – “topical” ads in newspapers and posters are often equally irrelevant to the brands being advertised, but they are less hyped and celebrated by the industry)

 

I’ve been watching with dismay over the past couple of years as brand after brand decides that they “need” a social media strategy because it is the latest thing, without any real understanding of what it should achieve for their brand. They hire a specialist social media agency (rather than an integrated media agency that can give them a less biased view), they buy a bunch of twitter followers (mostly robots or people in click farms in Bangladesh) and then churn out an hourly stream of inane twittering usually involving pictures or short videos of cute animals doing cute stuff.

It doesn’t matter  which category they are in, or what audience their product is for, brands keep following the same trite route to irrelevance. By no means the worst offender, but typical of the behaviour I am talking about is National Express
national express

Their utter irrelevance is so absolute that the “Condescending Corporate Brand Page” has created an album called “National Express Animal Sanctuary – Because public transport has EVERYTHING to do with animals and days of the week”

national express2

This is particularly lazy irrelevance, but I guess if you are going to spout worthless communications into the ether, you don’t want to expend too much effort on it.

Some brands put a bit more work in, but rarely make their brand or product even vaguely relevant to the topic at hand.

Some brands try to at least comment on things that are topical, but rarely do they say anything interesting
pizza express fail

sony pancake

Even when brands try to add something to the topic that hasn’t been said a million times by everybody else, they still spectacularly fail to make their product or brand relevant to the conversation

gareth baleinnocent clocks

I’ve been trying to work out why previously competent and sensible marketeers on otherwise well marketed brands and products, should fail so horribly when it comes to their social media communications. And the conclusion that I’ve come to is that the people responsible for social media campaigns are not targeted against anything that looks like an actual business or brand objective. They have launched into a specific channel led idea without having a clue what it is they are trying to achieve. In doing this they then set KPIs which simply measure one social media campaign against another without any understanding of how that will improve their business.

When social media specialists discuss what this type of activity could possibly be achieving, they tend to mention one objective: top of mind awareness. They think that to stay top of mind they just need to be constantly producing content so that they are visible to their consumers all the time.

What they fail to realise is that “top of mind awareness” is a short hand for “first mention when asked “can you name a soft drink/travel company/mobile phone”” or whatever the category might be. It is a proxy measure for how likely people are to think of your brand WHEN THEY ARE ACTIVELY IN THE MARKET FOR YOUR BRAND, not just randomly across the course of the day. If your brand is visible to consumers across the whole day, but is never connected to a product or brand benefit in people’s minds then it will never get to be top of mind when it actually matters. In fact it’s lack of relevance will mean that when you do have something relevant to say, consumers ignore you because they know not to expect anything of substance from you.

Essentially, what this comes down to is that being relevant is not about what you say or even when you say it, but is about what you ARE and what you DO.

This does not mean however that real time social media marketing cannot work, in fact I believe it can be a very powerful tool when used appropriately within the context of a strategically integrated campaign. What makes those campaigns stand out however is that they never lose sight of the purpose and role of the brand and product in consumer’s lives.

I have found one brand that seems to be doing a relatively decent job of this. (I’m sure there are more, but I do have a life you know!) And NO, it isn’t Oreos (although this years decision to completely retire from the Superbowl social media “Brandter” (My new most hated word) was inspired)

I first came across this brand’s real time efforts with this beautifully constructed ad that was attached to the back of a bike at Wimbledon the day after the longest ever tennis match.
Kit Kat Wimbledon

The simplicity and elegance of this solution is possible because everyone can instantly see why Kit Kat is relevant to this story. They have no connection to tennis or wimbledon, or really sport at all, but they have single mindedly stood for the benefit of taking a break for as long as I can remember and so this communication needs no explanation at all. In terms of top of mind awareness, this one could actually work the next time I’m in the mood for a chocolately snack break.

And KitKat, for the most part, have managed to stick to this in all of their social and real time communications. At the very least their brand and product is featured heavily in any of their facebook and twitter posts and where possible they choose their topics based on the relevance of the “Have a break” line. They aren’t perfect, but they are definitely giving it good go.

Kit Kat superbowl

I also really liked this effort from Jaffa Cakes, who made a strong play for relevance by leveraging their originality and authenticity credentials when a new pound coin was announced by the Royal mint

Jaffa

 

So that’s it basically. If you have a bunch of twitter followers and your social media manager thinks he has something funny to say about Easter; unless you are selling chocolate or are a church, you are NOT relevant. Tie him up or break his fingers but don’t let him post anything next week!!

UPDATE – I’ve been on holiday throughout England’s dismal World Cup campaign, but have arrived back in time for Wimbledon – The perfect opportunity for yet more brands to celebrate their irrelevance – the first example is below from PG Tips

 

PGTips Wimbledon

4 Old Fashioned Rules of Advertising in Action

A while ago I read this excellent article by Martin Weigel in which he debunks a lot of the received wisdom that passes as “facts” in our lovely industry and instead highlights 4 fundamental rules of advertising that every campaign should fulfill before it does ANYTHING else.

Simply stated, these rules are:

1) Be Interesting
2) Be Memorable
3) Scale it
4) Sustain it

I even made a sign to stick on our wall to remind ourselves of this and help apply it to my personal discipline of media planning

Old fashioned rules of advertising

Now a lot of people have commented that these rules are way too simplistic for the new “digital first” world and that it needs to be all about “social content strategies” and “building brand love” and “owning” a “territory”. Now those things may or may not be important, but the fact is, if you achieve all those things at the expense of the 4 rules above then you have simply created a digital white elephant. You’ve spent loads of money creating something that no-one is buying, but you can’t get rid of because someone has formed an emotional attachment and so you spend even more money on its upkeep and getting people to come and see it in order to justify the original cost.

When you lay out the 4 rules like that it seems so bloody obvious, but I keep seeing campaigns proposed which forget to do ANY of them.

Often, the ideas are only “Interesting” to people who work in advertising, they are instantly forgettable and even the people who work on them forget what they made. They rely too often on some mythical “viral” effect and the idea is merely a tactical gimmick that has no longevity at all.

With that in mind, I absolutely LOVED this new campaign from a CARWASH company of all things!

This is the first execution:

In its own right, this surreal humour is brilliant. It instantly sparks your interest with the line “There’s something I should tell you” and then makes sure it is memorable with a series of mental and visual images that you aren’t going to forget in a hurry – Bacon Underwear anybody?. Then the simple line of “It feels good to come clean” and the fact that the whole thing is shot in a carwash means you can’t fail to take out the basic understanding that the advertiser needs you to understand if this is going to affect their business in any way.

It’s simple and near perfect.

What they don’t worry about is “Owning” a particular USP or anything – Obviously every single car wash could use the line “It is good to come clean” and nothing in the advert differentiates the basic proposition from its competitors – but it does make it memorable and distinctive and that is the most important thing.

If it was just the one execution, it would be a good campaign, however what makes it great is the follow-up executions which simply feature increasingly bizarre confessions from the same couple. What I particularly like is that each advert starts exactly the same way, but then has a series of alternative endings. That means that if you enjoyed the ad the first time, you are rewarded for continuing to watch multiple times when it comes on TV and hopefully you will keep watching just in case there is a new execution rather than thinking “I’ve seen this, so I can ignore it”. That’s a brilliantly simple device to sustain an audience’s interest.

What is also interesting is that as a local advertiser, Hughes Carwash has no real interest in getting global viral Youtube views (and so far it hasn’t – only 6000 or so on each video) but it can simply buy local TV spots to generate the scale that it needs. TV spot advertising is still the most effective and efficient way of getting lots of relevant people to watch your AV advertising. Again this keeps getting forgotten in a world of viral “hits” that accumulate about the equivalent of 1 primetime TV spot in views.

The (apparently) incredibly low production budget means that this advertiser has been able to create an almost endless supply of interesting and memorable TV ads that will hopefully drive their business forward in the city of Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).

There are many, many much bigger brands with much bigger budgets that could learn a great deal from these guys.

Revisiting an old theme – media sustainability

A couple of years ago I wrote a bit of a manifesto on why we as advertising professionals should be looking to enhance the media we use to communicate our brands offerings rather than just exploiting the eyeballs we find there – I think it is still relevant and so wanted to share it again in slightly cut down form


This image formed the spark for the philosophy and manifesto that I’m about to deliver so here goes:

Here’s what I believe:

1) Human attention is a valuable natural resource, allowing us to learn about the world around us, adapt our behaviour for optimal utility of that world and to evolve our attitudes for maximum enjoyment of the world

2) Human attention is NOT an infinite resource, there is only so much new information we can take in at any time and only so many things that we can be persuaded to care about

3) All marketing and communications require that we capture that human attention

4) Human attention naturally concentrates and clusters around certain content and media because of the value it contributes to their lives, NOT because of the amount of advertising they find there

5) Just like any natural resource, over-exploitation of the human attention to media will inevitably lead to the dilution and eventual destruction of that attention and make it impossible for us to harness it any way, positive or negative.

(Yeah I love that pic!)

6) It should therefore be the responsibility of advertisers to not just exploit a medium for the audience that it attracts, but to invest in that medium with sustainable communications to ensure that it continues to deliver value to consumers and in turn provide a continuing resource for brands to communicate to those audiences.

Some advertisers might claim that they already do this – by paying to advertise in a medium they say they are investing in the quality of content that medium can provide. And maybe that used to be true. Maybe some consumers do watch advertising in the knowledge that they are entering into a contract with the media channel to “pay” for the content they choose to watch by also watching content that they would rather not. However I think we are deluding ourselves if we think this is true of most advertising messages.

As advertisers we “buy” an audience that media owners “sell” to us. Because of that we think we have a right to put pretty much anything we can get away with in front of that audience and we approach every consumer contact with the question “what can my brand get out of this?”.

A perfect example of this is the recent news story that Ford had “secured” a corporate page on Google+. What I found remarkable about this was that a) Ford had ignored Google’s request for advertisers to back off until they had worked out how to showcase corporate accounts and b) No-one seems to have a clue what Ford are doing there and what they hope to get out of it. All that they seem interested in is the fact that there are 10 million+ people already signed up and that it is currently unexploited so they get to be first. No-one knows how people are using Google+, what it is all about and what they can get out of it, but Ford are happy to steam in and plant their corporate size 9 footprints over everything.

This shouldn’t be surprising. As soon as an emerging technology develops into something that looks a bit like a “medium” then every client I have wants to know “How should I be using it?” There is an assumption that if there is an audience then we should be exploiting it. The same happened with Twitter and I can’t even think about doing a campaign without being asked “what will my facebook page look like”.

I also look at the dead and dying media brands that have failed to keep up with the ever increasing demands of advertisers and investors and so have been abandoned by the wayside. Internet brands such as Myspace that has effectively been ditched – at a loss of half a billion dollars – because no-one could work out how to make it work for advertisers.

I start to feel an element of responsibility for this. If every new medium is disected and assessed solely based on it’s ability to generate advertising income then potentially viable media products and businesses that could have had another business model are simply allowed to fade away.

Now maybe this isn’t a problem whilst there is a steady flow of sacrificial lambs for us to exploit, plunder and destroy, and maybe it is fine when consumers don’t have a choice whether or not we target them, but I believe the days of being able to exploit media with impunity are numbered. Consumers have more and more tools that enable them to choose whether to engage with advertisers or not and the longer we abuse their good will and force interruption to their media consumption with unwelcome messages, the quicker they will learn how to switch us off. Indeed there is legislation coming which will force consumers to make that choice (see anti-cookie European legislation)

So here’s where I start my campaign for sustainable communication (I got here eventually!).

I believe that the most successful advertisers in the next 20 years will be those that understand that we have a duty to respect the contract between advertisers and consumers and deliver true value in our communications.

We need to ensure that we are investing in successful media, not just by buying media space, but by delivering content and messages that in and of themselves increase the value that consumers take out of that media space. Rather than saying “what’s the next big thing” all the time, we should be saying “how do we make the current big thing work better for consumers” so that we don’t have to start all over again when we have bullied them out of the media that they used to love.

For my part, whenever I am asked to consider a new media opportunity, I am going to endeavour to start with the question “How can I make that media better for the consumers who are consuming it” rather than “How can I make a quick buck here”. And let me be clear – another generic TV ad with animated animals or a beautiful woman selling perfume does not make my experience of that medium better. Most ads that your average advertiser likes are frankly wallpaper for your average consumer.

Over the next few weeks and months I will be adding examples of campaigns that are either examples of great sustainable communications or worrying examples of media exploitation.

Please feel free to send me any good examples of either.

As a starter for 10, please check out the mediaweek award shortlisted Panasonic Advertiser funded programme “How to take stunning pictures”. This was a piece of TV content on channel 5 that out-performed it’s alloted programming slot and was hugely popular with consumers and client alike. In addition Panasonic were able to clearly convey their commitment to helping the average photography enthusiasts get the most out of amateur photography. And it sold Panasonic Lumix cameras – lots of them.

Real Insight about Real Beauty

In my job, and when I train new recruits on the key skills required to do my job, I really try to focus on the power of a compelling human insight. All too often brands will focus on what it is they want to say and what it is they have to sell, but if marketing communications are going to be in any way successful they have to have a deep and real understanding of what their audience need to hear.

If I’m honest, those true insights are very rare, often they are just superficial observations masquerading as insight, or even worse, just a post rationalisation of the “brand truth”.

But when you find a campaign that has really harnessed a human insight it can blow you away, and a very recent campaign for Dove has just done that for me.

It is a well known saying that people who repeatedly buy into brands, aren’t buying what the brand does or even how it does it, but they actually are buying why they do what they do.

That’s why the Campaign for Real Beauty has been held up over the years as a brilliant example of how to generate a powerful emotional response to a brand and in doing so generate a powerful brand affinity (I’m loathe to say “loyalty” but this comes close)

Saying all that, the Campaign for Real Beauty sometimes managed to be a bit condescending and still got caught up in more traditional cosmetics industry habits. At the end of the day, every single one of the women in the original campaign was really beautiful, even if they weren’t Cover stars for Vogue.

AZJ0165N_1.tif

This latest evolution of the campaign is truly brilliant however and captures the human decency at the heart of the campaign and it does that because it is based on a real insight that is generated from a place of genuine empathy and sympathy.

The insight is simple – Most people are more aware of their own physical flaws and imperfections than they are of other peoples, so effectively people are less beautiful in their own eyes than they are in other people’s and that this is a potentially crippling perception. What is brilliant about this campaign is that they not only managed to convey that insight, but they managed to transform real women’s opinions of themselves.

Watch the documentary below and see more of the campaign here

I feel good about doing the job I do when I see stuff like this.

Defiance – A Transmedia opportunity that gives a new lease of life to in-game advertising

The in-game advertising industry has not had a happy few years. Back in 2002 when Massive Incorporated first brought us the ability to dynamically insert adverts into Xbox360 games the future looked bright and predictions at the time were that in-game advertising could reach over $1billion within a few years.

The future looked even rosier when Barack Obama’s campaign used In-game advertising to engage with the valuable youth audience. Pretty much every presentation by an “in-game” media owner used this example for the next 3 years to demonstrate the value of games in marketing.

But then it all went wrong. After Microsoft had paid “between approximately $200million and $400million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Incorporated) for Massive inc in 2006, they then shut the business down at the end of 2010. Add to that this year IGA and Double Fusion (other dynamic advertising offerings) shutting or severely cutting back their UK operations after Sony ended their contract with them and it felt like the market for dynamic in-game advertising was basically dead.

I’ve spent a while trying to figure out why this medium wasn’t successful and I think it comes down to one thing. Advertising revenues are a drop in the ocean for Games publishers compared to their main revenue direct from the £40 they get for selling each of the games. The last thing they felt they could do is risk the ire of their passionate fanbase by selling out to advertisers that might spoil the experience. Simply put the medium didn’t need advertising, so they priced themselves out of the market. On a cost per impact basis, dynamic in-game was some of the most expensive display advertising on any media.

However, that might be all about to change.

This week, Syfy channel announced they had started production on a new TV show “Defiance”. This is a show with a fascinating difference. It is being produced in conjunction with a new video game, also called “Defiance”. Now that might not seem like such big news – there are often videogame spin-offs of Movies and sometimes TV shows – and they are nearly always incredibly disappointing.

The difference here is that the game is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG – think “Call of Duty meets World of Warcraft”) and the narrative and universe will be intertwined with and mutuallyaffect that of the TV show. This means that the game will evolve dynamically as the story of the TV show progresses and vice versa.

The reason that this should work as a marketing vehicle for 3rd party brands is because this is being developed with brand partnerships in mind from the beginning.

Syfy understands the need to make its content commercially attractive and the financial success of the show will come down to whether or not brands buy into it.

This has led to two key actions

1) Syfy are inviting brands to get involved with the TV show early in the production process.

2) The TV show is a science fiction drama, but set in the near future, so modern day brands can play a sensible role in the narrative.

What is really exciting is that this is a truly transmedia project where the layers of the narrative are built up not only between multiple media channels, but where people can engage in different ways with the plot and actually have an effect on how it evolves.

As a multiplayer game, there is also a very natural social element to the game which will ensure a huge amount of online buzz as new gameplay element get revealed in the context of the TV show.

This Project represents incredibly exciting opportunities for brands to build awareness, relevance and engagement with a highly social affluent young male audience – all in one vehicle. This could be the way that games finally find a financially viable way to incorporate paid for advertising without alienating their players.

I for one hope that it is.

Media or Creative first – are we really still having this debate?

When I started in the media industry 12 years ago, the talk at the time was about how media planning should come before creative thinking. It was common talk amongst all media agencies and it had a lot of resonance in a world where media opportunities were exploding with the mass take up of the internet, the proliferation of digital TV and the rise of digital radio (what happened there!?) The difficulty of wading through all the multitude of media options gave real momentum to the claim of the media strategy to be an integral part of the marketing strategy. Within a couple of years it was seen as pretty much conventional wisdom, although there was some reluctance on the part of other advertising services agencies, understandably. But it was pretty well accepted that the context of an advertising message could often be as important as the message itself.

So the article below from Antony Young, would be exactly the type of article I would expect to have been written 10-12 years ago. Except it wasn’t written at any point in the previous decade. It was written last week.

here is the article in full : Six Reasons Media Strategy Should Come Before Creative

I was really quite shocked to be reading something like this in a publication such as AdAge in today’s marketing environment.

Not only did I think that the value of “the medium” had already been well established in our industry, I also thought that we had grown up and moved well beyond any kind of debate which put media before creative or creative before media.

Surely there is general consensus in our industry that what is required is a collaboration between all the key disciplines to ensure that all elements of a marketing campaign work in an integrated and orchestrated way to deliver against marketing and business objectives.

Surely we have moved away from protectionist attitudes such as “my discipline is more important than your discipline” Putting it simply – placing an irrelevant message in perfectly targeted media environment will have no more success than placing a wonderfully crafted message in front of an audience who have no interest in the product. It’s daft to claim that the media is more important than the message, but equally the message shouldn’t ever be developed in isolation of the media options.

I believe (and I thought most of my peers also believed) that the creative approach and the media approach should stem from the same overall communications strategy and should feed and nuture each other in an ongoing, organic, iterative, real time process. Surely the concept of a linear process where you make an ad, you buy some media to distribute the ad and then walk away is something that our industry has walked away from long ago?

But maybe I’ve been deluding myself. If the article above is anything to go by the media industry hasn’t really gone anywhere in the past 12 years.

Giving the Finger to Rules of Thumb

I work in an industry where we seem to rely an awful lot on rules of thumb to make important and expensive decisions about how to spend marketing budgets. The next 1000 words are a bit of a rant about why I hate that, but also why it means I love my job! For those of you who don’t work in media or marketing this one might not be as fun as some of my other rants – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now rules of thumb are useful. They are useful so that you don’t have to start from scratch every time you look to make a budget decision. They are useful to spot something that is completely out of line with efficient and effective media principles. They are really useful when you are inevitably asked to pull together a recommendation by yesterday as they provide a shortcut to an answer which will probably be 70-80% correct (which is a damn sight better than if the client made it up themselves.)

Where they are really not useful, where they are in fact a hindrance, is when planners and marketers choose to abdicate their own intuitive sense and reasoning capabilities and instead use rules of thumb as planning LAW.

So some examples.

As a rule of thumb, IPA Datamine 2 (Marketing in an age of accountability) suggests that 3 media channels is the optimum number of channels to maximise the likelihood of delivering a positive business ROI for a campaign (This is also broadly supported in Datamine 3).

This is a useful rule. It tells me that if I spend a £20million budget exclusively on TV then I could probably improve my chances of success by diverting some of the budget into a different support medium. It also tells me that if my £10 million campaign has 8 different bought media channels on it then I should probably think about focusing or prioritising, ensuring that each of them is adding something new and valuable to the overall campaign. What it doesn’t mean is that a campaign which uses 5 different media is fundamentally wrong in all circumstances. From the graph we can obviously see that isn’t the case as over 50% of the case studies that used 5 media WERE successful, but it is just that the likelihood of success starts to decrease.

I was recently told that we shouldn’t add a “video marketing” strand to a TV campaign because we already were using press and radio in support of the TV campaign and so “online” would be an extra channel too far. This fundamentally misunderstood a) how the rule of thumb works and b) how people consume audio visual content in the 21st century. I’ve also been told variously that we shouldn’t include social media, PPC search and even SEO using the same rationale.

A number of things are to blame here

1) there is a mis-understanding by marketeers of the term “media channel” in the Datamine study. Media channels as defined in that context are traditional paid for advertising channels that allow you to broadcast a message to many people. Unfortunately “media channels” has been applied by the marketeers to anything that is managed for them by their Media Planning and Buying agency. In a world where the media agency remit is expanding far beyond the 5 traditional advertising media, this needs to change. Marketeers wouldn’t lump PR or sales promotions or CRM or any of the other core marketing functions into this “only 3 media” rule, so neither should they with social media or search

2) There is another form of siloing happening here as well – In this example, online video marketing is seen as a separate “channel” from television. However if all you are doing is ensuring that your TVC is discoverable in all places that people view AV content then it is clearly just an extension of “TV”. Unfortunately, fear of the unknown causes people to create false media segmentation and in doing so can miss out on a golden opportunity for cost effective amplification of their core advertising message.

The fundamental problem here is that people aren’t interrogating the rule. They aren’t asking “Why is 3 the optimum number” they are just accepting it as a shorcut and lazily using it as “the answer”. I’ve even heard of agencies where the mandate from the very top is “we do not use more than 3 media channels in any campaign” and they take great pride in their lazy inflexibility. I agree with the principle of “do fewer things, better” but to have such a coarse rule offends my natural tendency to question, explore and push the boundaries of what communications can do.

It isn’t just in broad planning that we see these “rules of thumb” being used badly.

I’ve recently heard them used to justify quite specific media implementation. The product was an NPD for an FMCG brand that a colleague of mine works on and specifically it had a brand spanking new innovation which needed a bit of explanation. The team rightly identified that part of the role for communications was to demonstrate this functionality and so they allocated a portion of the budget for “demonstration” media. Where this fell down was by using rules of thumb badly. The logic went something like this

1) Digital media is good at “demonstration” because it can be animated (TV wasn’t an option due to budget constraints),
2) Women spend a lot of time shopping

ergo: We should do digital 6-sheet posters in Malls – obviously

To have gone ahead with this would have been completely wrong for a number of reasons: 1)the 5 seconds of animation on the poster simply wouldn’t have been adequate for the message; 2) the attention of the average Mall shopper is being demanded constantly by hundreds of more interesting items – primarily the shop windows that they are gazing into – they aren’t going to spend any time watching a reel of posters in case something relevant pops up; 3)this audience is in “fun” shopping mode, they are thinking about buying the stuff that makes them feel sexy/cool/young etc – what they aren’t thinking about is what they are going to feed their kids that evening. I could go on.

The point is that the “rules of thumb” suggested that this was a relevant media, but intuitively it is really clear that it would be a inappropriate use of marketing money against those comms objectives. The problem is that some people had just stopped at the answer that the rule of thumb delivered, without really applying any understanding of why the rule of thumb existed and whether or not it truly applied to the human behaviour in question.

And this in turn brings me to my final conclusion – Why I love my job. Yes I hate the way that too many marketing services professionals use lazy rules of thumb to make their media decisions for them, but the nature of the media industry means that there will always be a place for people to question received wisdom as we work in an industry that is constantly evolving and changing. Since I started in media 12 years ago, the media opportunities are virtually unrecognisable in so many ways. As new media channels constantly come to the fore, any “rule of thumb” inevitably has to be re-evaluated and there will always be a place for people who understand not just the basic rules about what works in communications, but for people who always ask why it works so that they can intuitively understand whether the latest greatest media phenomenon is actually relevant or a big noisy red herring. No computer or “Black Box” planning tool is ever going to be able to do that, well not in my lifetime anyway!

Bring on the next 12 years.