Category Archives: media strategy

As I and many other bloggers and Tweeters have found out to our embarassment and horror, the social internet is a cruel mistress. Good stuff gets noticed and passed on, dull stuff sits there. It is an absolute meritocracy, and all the sponsored tweets in the world don’t change that fact.


That’s also what makes the social net a fabulous algorithm for media planning.


Buried in an Ad Age piece about Chipotle’s much-awarded “Back to the Farm” spot is a somewhat subversive—and totally brilliant– perspective on buying traditional media in a social-media world. Chipotle’s CMO, Mark Crumpacker, had this to say about why Chipotle, never a big TV spender, took the plunge with this ad:


“It’s pretty easy to figure out whether something’s popular before you go and buy media around it,” said Mr. Crumpacker. “It wasn’t as easy before without social media … the plan is to put them out there and see how well they do.”


In other words, instead of trying to figure out how many eyeballs you can afford to expose to your ad, and copy-testing the ad itself to see if anyone will remember it, just put the sucker on YouTube. No guesswork, no waste. If it’s good enough to be shared, it’s good enough to be aired.


Let @Mikey try it.

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I heard you the first time.

In the first commercial break after start of play in last night’s Giants-Vikings game, a new commercial from Chrysler was shown in 3 of the 6 slots.

Is that the “no matter how long your piss break is, you’re gonna see this spot” media strategy? Kind of like a roadblock buy, but a urethra-block instead?

Jesus, people, do your homework: viewers don’t leave a game until the 4th quarter or unless it’s a blowout. They’ll see your spot! And if you have that much money to burn on the buy, do all the agency creatives, producers, gaffers, grips and post houses a favor: shoot a 2nd spot.

Make yourself scarce.

Seeing these new Starbucks ads everywhere confirmed my feeling that whatever elan this brand once had, it has lost. In fact, the sheer ubiquity of the campaign added to the problem. I mean, here’s an ad that basically sells scarcity—we use only 3% of the world’s beans—and then they plaster the message everywhere!

Part of what used to make Starbucks cool was that they didn’t advertise. Yes, they did the occasional (and sweet) holiday effort, but they didn’t spend a lot, the ads didn’t sell very hard, and it all felt artisanal and small-bore…exactly what you want from makers of $3.00 cups of coffee. Dropping $100 million on an ad campaign says “We’re the Micky D of coffee” no matter what the headline is.

In a spectacularly misguided effort at social-network relevancy, Starbucks CEO Howard Shutlz laid out his thinking for the company’s “partners” (read: hourly employees) in this YouTube video:

If you’ve built your brand through advertising (as, for instance, Folgers did in coffee), then there are good reasons to keep advertising. If you built your brand as “the third place”—essentially, an experience rather than a bunch of product claims—then advertising ought to be a waste of money at best.