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Why 'Advanced' TV Ads Haven't Spawned a Marketing Utopia
April 17, 2012

That I live in a city (New York) where 54 percent of residents are car-free means chances are good that I don't own a vehicle. The odds increase with my address in Manhattan, a borough where by some counts about 75 percent go without wheels ...  So it's a safe bet that all the auto ads dominating commercial pods I see nightly aren't safe bets at all. Despite being nowhere near a sales funnel that might eventually deposit me behind the wheel, I am besieged by car and car-related pitches.

Attention: The Online Ad Industry Is Now Officially Regulating Itself
August 31, 2011

Today is the day that online advertisers formally implement a code of conduct. The industry hopes it will persuade Congress to leave them alone—and convince internet users there is nothing inherently creepy about their business. Will it work? The code, created and promoted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, strikes the right tone by emphasizing education, transparency and consumer empowerment. It requires members to allow consumers to dictate how their data is collected and to be vigilant about ensuring that the data they collect remains safe and anonymous.

In Your Face Advertising
November 1, 2010

Ads are everywhere I look—on cars, jet plane fuselages, garbage trucks, golf carts, kids' report cards, over urinals, on billboards, gas pumps, cellphones, sports uniforms, skywriting, and of course, on radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

The Web Site That May Change History
April 3, 2007

It is high season for politicians scrambling for dollars. The Hillary Clinton juggernaut continues apace with a record $26 million in the till in the first quarter of 2007—over three times what any other candidate has ever raised at this point. Meanwhile, America is looking at the strangest election in history. By the end of January 2008, two states will have held their nominating caucuses for president and vice president (Iowa and Nevada) and two more states—New Hampshire and South Carolina—will have held their primaries. On Feb. 5, 2008, an estimated 21 additional states will hold primary elections including such behemoths as California, New

Trashing Brands and Other Stuff
January 23, 2007

The idea that Bostonians would wake up one morning and find out that the Ritz-Carlton Boston was suddenly the Taj Boston is astonishing. Built in 1927, the Ritz-Carlton was to Boston what the Plaza was to New York; the Palmer House was to Chicago; and the Adams Mark was (and is) to San Francisco—a home away from home that offered unmatched elegance, service and ambiance. I’ll take it one step further: perpetual perfection. The motto of the Ritz-Carlton staff: “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” A second Ritz-Carlton exists in Boston. But if you Google “The Ritz-Carlton Boston,” the following is

Creating Virtual Ladies With Stubby Pencils
September 14, 2006

That Bookspan—the amalgam of the old Book-of-the-Month and Literary Guild—was cited and fined for treating customers badly is a shame. It’s true that the negative option book club is—without question—the most complex of direct marketing business models. It operates under a crushing schedule of 15 mailing cycles a year. Ten to 15 different kinds of communications between the member and the club could be in the mail at any given time: packages of books, returned books, announcements of new books, rejection (do-not-ship) slips, bills, statements, dunning efforts, payments, bonus book orders and bonus books shipped. All of these transactions are date sensitive. If a rejection

Editor’s Notebook: World War Web
August 9, 2006

A largely quiet battle over the future of the Internet has been playing out on Capitol Hill and, appropriately enough, on the Web for much of this year. Recently, the House struck down proposals for what one side of the fight calls “Net neutrality,” or the premise that the companies that provide Internet access should not be able to create tiered pricing or any other type of preferential treatment. As of press time, leading Senators Ron Wyden, Olympia Snowe and others were standing tough to block a telecommunications bill that does not include Net neutrality protections. While this sounds like a straightforward argument—why should

Three 800-pound Guerillas
August 8, 2006

If the Iraq War is considered a business model, it is unraveling—just like General Motors (and Ford and DaimlerChrysler). A number of knowledgeable experts have declared our Iraq incursion not to be winnable. It does not take a language scholar to read between the lines of General Abizaid’s and General Pace’s testimony to see that the Pentagon is beginning to agree. That’s because no one has a clue about how to deal with three 800-pound guerrillas. The three 800-pound guerillas are al Qaeda plus Sunni and Shi’a murderers that are turning Baghdad into a scene reminiscent of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” on the altar wall of the

July 18, 2006

Readers Respond to “The Decline and Fall of AOL,” published July 13, 2006. I want to share a couple of items to the history of AOL’s success. Jan Brandt left Field Publications as Advertising Director just at the time that Primedia, then K-III Communications, bought Field and included it with the Direct Marketing Group, of which Newbridge Communications (formerly Macmillan Book Clubs) was the anchor. Gryphon Editions was a division of Newbridge. I think the Field acquisition occurred in 1991. I also think Jan went to AOL directly from Field. Newfield, as it was renamed, slowly began to deteriorate. In 1993 K-III’s senior management,