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It must have been a bit tough-going last week in the offices of Google:

Wowsa. Not a fun week at all.

Or was it?

After all, the  “world’s most valuable brand” moniker belonged to Google for four years before Apple took it on — and being the reigning #1 for four years is no small feat —  particularly considering the hyper-competitive crowd Google runs with.

With the Microsoft deal, it seems that what’s got the attention of the folks in Redmond is not just what Apple has done with the iPhone, but that Google’s Android now outsells all other mobile operating systems — combined.
Oh, and investors hate, hate, hate the deal.

As for Facebook’s attempt at mud-slinging, since both companies are under fire from privacy campaigners for the amount of personal data they collect and retain online, it’s hardly surprising that there’d be a bit of dirty fighting when one considers the stakes in this battle of the behemoths for user traffic and ad dollars.

Finally, regarding the DOJ settlement — well, it’s just plain ugly and it’s probably best to just admit that and move on.

All that said, there was particular reason for the captains of search to smile last week.  And, plenty of reason for Netflix to be nervous.

On Monday,  YouTube head, Salar Kamangar,  posted on the YouTube blog “Welcome to the future of video. Please stay a while” thereby making it official that YouTube has entered the iVOD business (interactive video on demand) with YouTube Movies.

According to YouTube, we’re already “spending 15 minutes a day on YouTube and spending five hours a day watching TV.” Launching with over 6000 titles including full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, they’re clearly making a move to change that equation.

And a smart move it is.

With an average of 137M people making 1.4M visits per month (U.S.), YouTube is already a beast. Adding full-length feature films available for rent on demand, on any device and any operating system makes them unstoppable.

Entertainment wherever, whenever and however we want it  —  isn’t that what the world wide web is for?


As the U.S. Census Bureau releases data from the 2010 census, there have been a number of surprising stories (to me, anyway) that have made headlines:

  • Detroit’s 25% population loss to 713,777 (the lowest count since 1910),
  • New York City’s paltry population gain of  2.1% to 8,175,133 — a number hotly contested by city politicians
  • Hispanics now outnumber African-Americans for the first time in most U.S. metropolitan areas

But, it’s the changing face of the country’s children (increasingly Hispanic and Asian) that should have every one of us in marketing and advertising paying attention: Minority is mainstream.

Diversity is in.

Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Asian and Hispanic adults and children surged while that of Whites and Blacks shrank.

Aside from the obvious political ramifications of state’s gaining (Texas) or losing (New York) seats in Congress, the changing face of the nation will require evermore diligence on the part of marketers to understand an increasingly heterogeneous audience and tailor every message accordingly.

Exciting times, indeed. Mass marketing is dead. Long live target marketing.

Check out the USA Today interactive graphic to see what the new census data tell us county by county, across the U.S.

Photo: wallyg on Flickr

We tweeted last week about our unhappiness with the much-anticipated announcement from the New York Times that, beginning March 28, they will charge a subscription fee for digital content.

With all due respect to the agency Twitter team, I am glad to see that the “paywall” is finally going up.

As much as we marketers love the word “free”, it doesn’t require too much calculus to realize that no business can give away its product on a consistent basis and continue as a going concern.

Yes, the free website (NYTimes.com) is “the most visited newspaper site in the world” which has helped the paper see it’s online advertising revenue go “from being a drop in the bucket to more than a quarter of The New York Times Company’s overall advertising revenue,” according to an article about the paywall decision by Jeremy Peters.

But, just as the web changed news consumption by creating a user expectation that content should be free — and ad supported — the next generation of technology is changing the game, yet again.

Witness the birth of  The Daily, which MarketWatch.com founder Larry Kramer describes in a recent blog post as “the first news source from a mainstream media company (News Corp) designed purely for the iPad,” which, prior to launch, “was going to change the game.”

While The Daily’s detractors may suggest that it hasn’t changed the game, it certainly shakes things up a bit: it makes liberal use of video, both in stories and in ads, and instead of just ordinary photos, there are plenty of 360-degree panoramic shots that you can swipe around. Personally, I think it’s a bit light in the content department, but it does demonstrate that there is tremendous potential for publishers to create a new way to experience news.

Which is why I think we should all expect to pay for the sort of curated content the Times produces.  From here on out, it’s not jut the content quality that matters, but also how it’s delivered.

As Patricio Robles writes at eConsultancy:

“Newspapers are hurting, and the Times is no exception. The business models of the past aren’t the business models of the future. While it’s still unclear which business models will win out, it seems likely that they’ll have to include some form of paid content.

By launching a paid offering, the New York Times is at the very least trying to step into the future instead of burying its head in the sand and believing that the status quo is sustainable. This is a very important step for the newspaper.”

For about 40% of the cost of a home delivery subscription, the price/value equation for me more than works. Although there is no public disclosure of the number of digital subscriptions the Times hopes to generate, “company executives have said privately that the goal for the first year is 300,000.”

As a die-hard devotee of the newspaper of record, who’d like to see its fine journalistic tradition continue in ANY platform, I certainly hope they succeed.

Carpe diem.

The ubiquity of that phrase in our culture (especially since it was uttered by Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society) has rendered it nearly meaningless.

But early this week, all of us at Wilson were reminded of just how apt a guide it is to living a life that is full — and full of meaning.

On Monday, we were concerned when our proofreader and office manager, Daniel, didn’t show up as expected at the start of the day. By early afternoon, with his whereabouts unknown, and still no word from him, we tried to reach his family to check in on him and hoped that the word back would be that he was OK.

He was not.

Tuesday morning, we learned that he had died.

I can’t speak for everyone here, but I have operated all week on a sort of auto-pilot — my way of steeling myself through the shock and grief of so suddenly losing an employee — a colleague — a friend.

Daniel did many things for the hard-working team at Wilson. As our proofreader, he punctuated (and re-punctuated) our copy and he challenged us on syntax and grammar — the way a solid proofreader should.

As our office manager, he kept us supplied with everything necessary to keep the agency running with nary a bump or a hassle. And he never once complained.

As our colleague and friend, he was always there for anyone who needed help — whether that meant lifting a box or providing a listening ear — and always with a smile and desire to do whatever he possibly could.

But, most of all, he cared. He cared deeply about us and about our agency. In return, we cared deeply about him — right back.

He is very sorely missed.  Sorely missed, indeed.

At the age of 48, Daniel Morrison left this world much too soon. But, his legacy will live on in the many traditions, quirks and idiosyncrasies of a workplace that thrives on them.

To honor Daniel, nothing could be more apt than for us to throw ourselves completely in and — in return — get the most out of the many hours we all spend together.

For Daniel, we will seize the day.

A few weeks ago, Christopher Steiner at Forbes.com wrote an amusing and somewhat thought-provoking piece about the business world’s unfortunate and seemingly unending reliance on jargon in communications.

Steiner quotes Karen Friedman, author of  Shut Up and Say Something: Business Communication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners when attempting to explain why jargon is so persistent and prevalent: “People use jargon because they want to sound smart and credible when in fact they sound profoundly dim-witted and typically can’t be understood, which defeats the purpose of speaking in the first place.”


Well, I suppose we could all take a breather and think a bit about what we’re really trying to say before we lapse into jargon-speak, even though it does seem to be the lingua franca of business.

Brevity being the soul of wit (at least as far as Shakespeare’s concerned), I’ve pulled my favorites from the Forbes list (there are 26 in total, all of which can be found here) and added a couple of my own to create the following list. I’d love to know which phrase you find most annoying:


We’re reading and watching and listening to lots of discussion about the coming creative revolution — fomented by the ascent of the digital domain.

In an article published last November in Fast Company, entitled The Future of Advertising, Danielle Sacks writes about the “mayhem on Madison Avenue” brought on by the rapid pace of change in the advertising business model — the same sort of change that has already turned the television networks and music and publishing worlds upside down.

Illustrations by Tavis Coburn

The bottom line: “Digital dimes won’t replace analog dollars.” We’re witnessing a sea-change in the way the business of advertising is conducted and all of us — marketers, advertisers, clients, agencies — will be profoundly affected. And, in the destruction of the old ways comes new opportunity — the coming creative revolution.

The article’s case study on Mullen is particularly illustrative of how the entire industry is changing:

“The agency recently caught the industry off guard after being awarded the business of two extremely progressive social-media clients, Zappos and JetBlue. Says Marty St. George, JetBlue’s SVP of marketing and commercial strategy: “I don’t think any of us expected Mullen to win. But we all noticed through its pitch process that you couldn’t tell who the creative people were from the media people or the planning people. They all finished each other’s sentences, regardless of what we were talking about.”

For anyone contemplating how to navigate all this chaos, I highly recommend you take time to read the article — it’s well worth the investment.

Santa was very good to all of us at Wilson RMS last Christmas.
Everyone got an iPad!

Besides the sheer joy of the moment, what’s been very fun to witness is the way the devices are being seamlessly integrated into our everyday work. We’re using them in meetings, while walking down the hall and while eating breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And because not one of us seems comfortable with the idea of ever being disconnected –we’re watching, reading, playing and blogging while in transit to and from work.

Since we all have an iPad, we’re able to share what we’re doing with them. And so, we’ve created the first of what I hope to be many videos to share that with you:
7 Apps We Love Now

After all, the power isn’t in the technology. It’s in the people who use it.

If you’re interested in owning any of what we shared, here’s the app list:
Dragon Dictation
Elmo’s Monster Maker
Go Skywatch Planetarium
uTalk Italian



  • None
  • Chris Cushing: Nice list. Although the most annoying for me is the new corporate catch phrase "bandwidth." Ooh, Makes me shrug everytime I hear it in a meeting.
  • Maile: Sweet write, great site layout, continue the great work
  • Nate: I have DISH Network and a Sling adapter connected to my receiver and I was surprised to see how many devices that this work on with DISH. I know Comca