Friday, April 21, 2017

Programmatic: Garbage in, garbage out.

If you are under 50 you may not have heard that saying before.  But it was a common phrase in the early 80's when computers were first used to select print media.  After we would do a computer run, we would adjust the results by hand to incorporate data that the computer didn't.  At that time it meant adding Southern Living and Sunset to our media plans to compensate for the fact that shelter books under delivered in the south and west.  Had we not made those changes, our plans would have been garbage.

Fast forward 35 years and we seem to have forgotten that lesson. 

In 2016, 51% of digital display advertising was bought by computers.  Growth of 31% is estimated for 2017.  And programmatic buying is spreading to tv, radio, and digital out-of-home. (Elkin, 2016)

But what happens without the human touch?  You end up on the Sleeping Giants boycott list because you are advertising on Breitbart.  Surprise!  Consumers may have not noticed your display ad before, but they are now, and not in a good way.

Similarly, I remember when advertisers were reluctant to go on YouTube because of the exploding Mentos videos.  And yet they are now advertising on racist content and terrorist sites. 

At what point did cheap tonnage come back into fashion?  Given the 80/20 rule, i.e., 20% of buyers account for 80% of sales, it doesn't make sense. 

So I was not surprised when JPMorgan Chase & Company admitted after pulling their ads from YouTube last month and reducing their presence from 400,000 websites to 5,000 that their impressions didn't change.  More importantly I would bet that more targeted reach will increase their effectiveness.  Is it any wonder that they are now planning to reduce the number to 1,000 "human-checked" channels?  (Noto, 2017)

Maybe it's time for you to get human again too.

Elkin, T. (2016, November 28)  Programmatic To Grow 31% In 2017, Ahead Of All Other Channels.  retrieved April 21, 2017, from,

Noto, A. (2017, March 30)  Chase pulls YouTube ads, sees little change in impressions.  Retrieved April 21. 2017, from

Friday, April 14, 2017

Going to Home Depot with John and Zach was an eye opener.

I'm addicted to Tiny House shows.  As someone local put it - tiny - ha, you should see New York City apartments. 

So, I am always on the hunt for new ideas.  And, I would kill to have a carpenter as talented and creative as Zack Giffin.  Tables that are stored in the ceiling, trundle beds, grilling stations, he does it all.  So you can imagine my surprise when he and John headed off to Home Depot in the middle of a show.

And then I found out that Home Depot does semi-custom cabinetry.  I didn't know that.  More importantly I am intrigued.  And since I am thinking about updating some cabinets in my apartment the timing couldn't be better.

So even if it felt a bit Truman Show, I would vote this the best product placement I have seen so far.  Kudos to DIY and Home Depot.  Who knows?  I may actually buy something!  Unless of course Zack has some time to spare...

Friday, April 7, 2017

L.L.Bean wrapped my NY Times today.

They also sent me a catalog this week.  Unfortunately for them, when I found out last fall that my money was being used to make illegal campaign contributions to Donald Trump I was incensed.  So much so that I returned $400 in merchandise with a note telling them that after years of being a steady customer I would never buy anything from them ever again.

Did they think I was kidding?  Do they think this will change the way that I feel?  It won't.

I wonder where they distributed the wrap.  Was it just my neighborhood on the Upper East Side?  Or was it all of Manhattan?  Or the entire city?  My guess is that they have lots of former customers in the city.  My question is why they would waste any resources on them at this point.  I certainly wouldn't.  You can't change the way that people feel.

But with flat sales the past two years, after five years of growth, they certainly need to do something. (AP, 2017).  Might I suggest a campaign in red states?

Associated Press. (2017, March 18)  L.L. Bean Weathers Boycott, OKs bonuses.  Retrieved April 7, 2017, from

Friday, March 31, 2017

Will you drink Vita Coco because Chrissy Teigen does?

After years of grassroots marketing - handing out samples on the street and at music festivals, Vita Coco is taking their marketing to a new level with television.

Chrissy has touted their brand before.  Last summer she did a series of Snapchat videos for the brand.  You can check them out here...

I couldn't find any data about the effect that effort had on sales, but given that Kylie Jenner's posts for pomegranates that fall led to a 689% increase in sales in the U.K., one would imagine that the campaign was effective.  (Blake, 2016)

Also, why would they use Chrissy in a television campaign if she wasn't?  Interestingly, it appears that the brand is up for sale, which is another reason why they may be trying to raise their profile at this time. (Kaplan, 2017)

You can check out the commercial here...

So, what do you think?  Do celebrities influence your buying patterns?  How much?  Which ones?  And, why?

Blake, I.  (2016, October 18)  The Kylie effect!  Retrieved December 1, 2016, from

Kaplan, J. (2017, February 14)  Vita Coco to Near $1 Billion  in Sales as Potential Buyers Circle.  Retrieved March 31, 2017, from

Klara, R. (2017, March 29)  Chrissy Teigen Plays a Coconut 'Plant Manager' In This Nutty New Vita Coco Spot.  Retrieved March 31, 2017, from

Friday, March 24, 2017

Has a website video ever persuaded you to buy something?

E-commerce is booming.  In fact, eMarketer expects sales will top $27 trillion in 2020. (2016)

Studies show that "explainer" videos increase purchasing by a whopping 180%.  If you keep the length to one minute, 77% will stay engaged.  Increase it to more than two and only 47% will watch them completely. (Yonata, 2017)

Is this consistent with your experience?  Do you watch explainer videos?  All the way through?  Even if they are long?  And do you then buy something?  Is your behavior any different on mobile?

(2016, August 22) Worldwide Retail Ecommerce Sales Will Reach $1.915 Trillion This Year.  Retrieved March 24, 2017, from

Yonata, J. (2017, March 23) Whey E-Commerce Visitors Are 180% More Likely to Buy After Watching an Explainer Video.  Retrieved march 24, 2017, from