Google v. Yahoo! v. Microsoft v. now AT&T?

July 16, 2008 - Leave a Response

Is this getting a bit ridiculous? Maybe, but to all us advertising ‘techys’ out there this is a form of cyber war that is about to get even more bloody.

So in Google’s attempt to take over the sweet world, which I am so far, in favor of because they do amazing things; this internet giant is getting ready to take-over a portion of Yahoo’s advertising space. Who knows, maybe if Google can get his hands on Yahoo the next victim might just be MSN? This is where Microsoft enters into the picture to try to take Yahoo away from Google before they can sign the contract.

As you might know, AT&T is Yahoo!’s partner as an internet service provider, etc. In the Congressional hearings including Google and Yahoo!, AT&T testified that they are against the contract because it would ultimately limit competition and keep prices at a higher minimum. Ultimately, it would limit Yahoo’s ability to evole and innovate.

I am still neutral as to what the Google and Yahoo partnership could do to rates, but I am very skeptical about AT&T’s sudden voice in the matter.

 AT&T, along with other phone companies, want to move away from Internet Neutrality (see previous post). How can they possibly work out a deal for Google and Yahoo when one’s adspace is a part of the other? Especially when Google is continuoulsy one of the top websites each year along with YouTube and MySpace. This is all just speculation with a little dash of Mel Gibson/ Julia Roberts in Conspiracy Theory.

All in all, it’s up to the wolves.


Exactly What We’re Talking About

July 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

Is Advertising Still Attractive to College Graduates?

Staying Close to Campus Can Keep Industry Brand Alive and Well

Marc Brownstein Marc Brownstein

I was in a meeting of agency executives recently, when one of the CEOs said, “I worry that working in an advertising/public relations agency isn’t appealing to young people anymore.” Several of the other CEOs quickly agreed that young talent is going elsewhere for careers. I found that consensus alarming, as our industry has long been considered sexy by the (naive) youth entering the business. I say “naive” because agency life always appears more glamorous than it really is.

If the executives are correct, imagine what recruiting talent will be like.

My perspective, however, differs from theirs. It’s been my experience that 18- to 22-year-olds really do still have a passion for this business. In fact, I’ve been inundated with requests from friends, clients, friends-of-friends and old acquaintances (who remembered what I do for a living) for internships, job-shadowing and job interviews. I even have people reaching out to me on LinkedIn and Pulse, seeking entry-level employment or just an internship. And my teenage daughter tells me that her friends spend “hours on the Brownstein Group website.” Hours? I didn’t think that was possible!

But you get the point. Despite what some markets are experiencing, there is still demand for jobs as digital designers, public-relations account executives, copywriters and brand planners.

The disparity between what those CEOs are experiencing and what I am may be a reflection of the markets in which our agencies operate. Our shop is in Philly and Seattle, and those cities are still managing to grow in this slow economy. So agencies remain attractive as career options. Philly, specifically, never took off in the dot-com boom, and therefore, never laid off a generation of young people when the digital dam broke. In some markets, like New York and San Francisco, many young people who received pink slips never returned to our industry.

In addition here are three things we do consistently to connect with college students:

  • Speak on campus. We make it a point to visit colleges several times a year to speak on a variety of topics. It’s our way of giving back, while recruiting. Each year, I teach an MBA and undergraduate class at Wharton. Our creative director recently gave the keynote commencement speech at Rowan University, which has an excellent marketing program. And I accompanied one of our younger account executives back to her alma mater, St. Joseph’s University, for a talk to a marketing class.
  • Host an open house. It’s tough to interview every worthy entry-level job applicant, so twice a year we host an open house for all those who send us resumes. Our managers lead the event with an interactive presentation of our agency, followed by a Q&A. Students and recent grads love it.
  • Connect to a career-placement office. We establish close relationships with colleges that have strong marketing curriculums, so that we stay top-of-mind with career counselors, professors and students alike.

If we all make an effort to remain appealing as an industry brand to the next generation of agency talent, then I see no reason why we all can’t be inundated with entry-level resumes.





<!– <I just graduated from the University of Texas at Austin where I and three other graduates spent an entire semester researching the industry.

One of the most important things we can ask from the real world, advertising industry is to help educational institutions determine how to make graduates think smarter than the industry people currently running the show. All though there is a lot that needs to be learned, retained and passed on; one of the worst things we can do to cause a linear progression of the advertising profession is have graduates think near exactly along the same lines as the present.

Jennifer Hallabough –Jennifer Hallabough, Chicago, IL

<!– <Good post. I would add a fourth (and in my opinion most important) way to stay in touch with prospective employees – social networking. Having a robust agency presence on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, etc. shows the agency understands the lingua franca of this demographic, and indicates that students don’t have to give up their social networking life once they get a job in advertising.

We work exclusively with agencies to increase their digital marketing prowess and profits, and while most of our time is spent helping agencies figure out how to monetize interactive tactics, using those same tactics for recruiting is extremely important too.

Jason Baer –Jason Baer, Flagstaff, AZ

In with the Old

July 14, 2008 - Leave a Response

In this week’s Adage, two readers responses were published concerning age and advertisers. Basically, it has become the trend to focus on the younger target audiences, say 18 to 24, and EVERYONE has been doing this. Agencies are finding it harder to convince their clients of who their target really is.

1) It is more than common knowledge that the older generation, the baby boomers and the older portion of Generation X, will make up the largest portion of the United State’s population as well as wealth. See

In my experience, myself and five other college grads put together an advertising campaign for a small U.S. airline company. The amenities of the plane and the smaller locations it flew to screamed for an older target. Most of their destinations…limited when comparing it to Southwest airlines and even American Airlines, were not your typical Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago-O’Hare destinations. Think cities around there that are popular but smaller in population. Extensive research showed where availability in the target for airlines lies. However, the president’s first question to us is why did we move their target of 18-24?

2) The reader, Jack Parnell, points out that clients often focus on this younger target then wonder later where their audience went?

For metrics and investment purposes, the target age does have to be set in stone but it should not be set in stone forever. Possibly, clients should think of their target focus system as an accordian: Always focus on a core but expand your focus by some percentage as the core grows.

3) Obviously, your target will grow up.

Obviously, luxury products are not really targeting this younger audience but I bet they see them coming at least (See BMW films; controversially-See beer manufacturers). Think carbon foot prints but for advertising, brand awareness and brand image.

The individuals in your target focus will come and go, but make sure you shouldn’t be going with them.

See jumping off a cliff because everyone else is doing it  (joking)!





See the 80/20 rule.

Internet Neutrality: Department Neutrality

May 2, 2008 - Leave a Response

Internet Neutrality is a huge global issue that is being fought by media companies and users around the world. Whether it is a grassroots effort or an advertiser effort, such as eBay, it can effect everyone if we are not careful and watchful.

“Network or “Net” Neutrality by

“Net Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination.

Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It protects the consumer’s right to use any equipment, content, application or service on a non-discriminatory basis without interference from the network provider. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.”

1) Keeping the communications lines neutral and open

2) No discrimination, where the providers of the channels of communication do not speed up or slow down the web content based on the destination, ownership or source.

3) Neutrality drives economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online.

You might be wondering why I am repeating the definition above, and no it is not because I am up late studying for my last exam. It is because I thought of a connection earlier between applying the concept and ideals of net neutrality to working within departments in an agency

What if departments…

1) Keeping the communications lines neutral and open

2) No discrimination of ideas about anything from any part, where the providers of the channels (the upper level management and executives) of communication do not speed up or slow down the content generation based on the destination, ownership or source. This one seems kind of impossible considering deadlines, I believe the number one issue impeding the perfect collaboration between departments to make truly genuine integrated ideas is Time.

3) Neutrality drives strategy innovation, democratic participation, and free speech between client teams in every specialty.


By Jennifer Hallabough

Image Source:

Doug Ross:

Reflection on an advertising education

May 1, 2008 - Leave a Response

This Friday will officially be my last day of class as an undergraduate student (well hopefully, unless something goes terribly wrong). I have spent a lot of time thinking about the time I have invested the last four years in school. I want to take a few minutes to examine my education, and the fruits of my degree.

Being an advertising major has opened many doors for me. I have had the opportunity to do marketing and advertising campaigns for both large and small clients. Between Adidas, Kelloggs, Pioneer Bank and Zinger Hardware I have been able to take academic advertising/marketing theories, and turn them into practical application and campaigns. I have seen what it means to work with a client, to work within both defined guidelines and vague recommendations. Professors have given me to freedom to explore the industry and express my thoughts and understanding on ideas like connections planning.

The most important thing that my education has done is taught me how to think as both a marketer and as a professional. The University of Texas Advertising department challenges students to think outside of the box. If a student has a good idea, a professor pushes them to find the great idea. Detailed tests, tight deadlines and a balance of extremely vague yet extremely defined restrictions create an environment that requires students to be at their best at all times. My freshman year I was angry at the TA who took 10 points off my project for not initialing my memo correctly. It was then I realized that I would have to fight not only to do well, but to be the best I could.

So I believe that a good advertising education is more than the clients you work with and the campaigns you execute. It is the caliber of work expected, and the environment that the professors create by pushing and challenging their students. What do you think?

Digital: A jumpstart for connections on the web

April 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

Others that know me and consider me the “techy girl”; more on a bronze/silver level than a gold. I can and do understand a lot of “webspeak” when it comes to working on the back-end of a website, know many interesting nooks and crannies on the web, and really I know how to find almost anything about anything.

This passion for the internet and all things in it has come from a basic understanding of how advertising on the web works from a metrics standpoint and a strategy standpoint. Once I understood that you can optimize on a media plan during a campaign, I was hooked.

With the realization that not understanding interactive advertising would mean “job obsoleteness” in the future, later came the epiphany that not knowing offline would accrue the same result. Hence agencies recently rolling back in their “interactive” departments into offline/online sitting in adjacent cubicles: MindShare Reveals Major Re-structuring.

In relevance to this blog about gaps in the industry and connections planning, the question of investigation is how, and if so why is connections planning alive on the web?

Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: HR Director in mid-size full service shop

April 25, 2008 - Leave a Response

This is another interview from my trip to Chicago. This HR director was extremely helpful, and told us about what it’s really like to manage the infamous Millennials.

On Millennials in the workplace and the generation gap…

  • First, it’s important to know each Millennial is an individual and there are exceptions to generational trends. But the HR director challenges Millennials (new hires) to:
  • Not presuppose more than they really know.
  • Respect authority in the workplace; don’t think your judgment is the only one that counts.
  • Know that skills and knowledge of the industry are not a substitute for years of actual experience.
  • Be humble. In the past, interns were lucky to be in the office and willing to help on anything. Now they are too self-assured and act as if the agency is privileged to have them.
  • Pay attention to cues in the office that suggest certain expectations or protocol. Just because the culture is laid-back and open, doesn’t mean the employees don’t obey certain unwritten rules. For example, when an office door is closed, it means the person is requesting privacy, and should not be bothered unless the matter is urgent.

In an effort to meet Millennials’ need for more feedback, this agency has implemented a more frequent performance review schedule (every 3 months). Read the rest of this entry »

Integration is Key

April 23, 2008 - Leave a Response

Highly integrated products are my favorite types of branded utility. The more your product can work with and complement other products, the higher the satisfaction level of your consumer. In order to develop a more highly integrated product, you must establish two things

1) A collaborative model within your agency or company. Today is the universal launch of Facebook chat, a perfect example of deeper integration within an already established utility. Facebook provides many of the functions that other websites provide, while aggregating them all under one brand. Sharing pictures, chatting and messaging are all executed in one portal. Then the features of each utility are integrated within each other. If someone goes offline while you are chatting with them, you can send them a message. Engineers from each team must work together to make this possible.

2) Don’t let your strategy and marketing be confined to the walls of your building (or maybe intranet in this day and age). A willingness to think outside of your product and your company is key in developing branded utility. I think the business world calls this… partnerships. I referenced the Nike+ and iTunes example in my last branded utility post, but it is a stellar example of thinking out side of your walls. On the surface the two companies are very different. They began with identifying the core values and needs of their consumer. Then found a way to collaboratively become a relevant part of their target’s routine

I think it could be fun to brainstorm potential future branded utility partnerships. What do you think? Also, check out Noah Brier’s post on branded utility. There are awesome ideas in here!

I know what connections is…what now?

April 16, 2008 - One Response

My last post talked about my understanding of connections planning. From there you might ask how it can be applicable to an agency, especially a big agency. I recognize that I do not have experience in agency management, but I do have a perspective from the bottom of the totem pole. I have also had the opportunity to interact with and meet people who are founded the connections planning initiative in their agencies. I have pinpointed 3 practical things that contribute to successful collaborative strategy.

1. Be selective in who you hire. It is important to hire the best talent, but some times talent goes hand and hand with pride. Pride can deteriorate a collaborative mindset. I would be on the look out for people with humble intelligence. As difficult as it may be, it will contribute to a connections attitude. When interviewing try asking interviewees how they function in team, or even a basic question like how an ad agency works. It will give you insight into how they see the agency model and how the disciplines function together.

2. Encourage departments to work together that don’t already have an established relationship. Even if it is just a simple project that doesn’t directly deal with a campaign, it will still put a face to the work. Also, if they are coordinating schedules, they will be able to identify with the daily routines of each department.

3. Give employees in all departments, time to do personal research, even if it is only one hour a week. As ad agencies we are a big part of American culture. Therefore, we need the opportunity to stay in tune with the culture we are influencing. The research should be relevant like exploring technology and trends, but it will also give the members of your team a break from the fast-paced deadline driven world they work in.  You should also encourage them to share what they have learned, further facilitating interaction and team work.

As always, let me know what you think! I love feedback.

Interview: Doug Wyatt, Strategic Digital Media Specialist at Mediacom (Chicago)

April 15, 2008 - Leave a Response



Doug is a TexasMedia Ex from the University of Texas working as a Strategic Digital Media Specialist at MediaCom in Chicago, IL. His job involves educating clients about digital media and consulting with the agency’s digital media planners about campaign strategy and integration.

I interviewed Doug during a trip to Chicago this Spring. Here’s what he had to say:

On collaboration…

  • In the digital world, nothing happens without media planners and creatives constantly collaborating.
  • Trust and loyalty are the keys to agencies education their clients on the importance and workings of digital media.
  • A lot of agencies still believe that media agencies are just buying and planning the vehicles for creative. Clients tend to have more respect for media-only agencies than creative boutiques do, and are starting to demand that digital creative bend to the media executions, instead of the other way around.

Read the rest of this entry »