Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can you become the local digital ad agency for local businesses?


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Conde Nast: Let Us Be Your Creative Agency

Publisher Makes Ads That Will Run on Facebook, YouTube, Other Non-Condé Properties

by Edmund Lee
Published: April 21, 2010

NEW YORK ( -- Conde Nast's digital arm is treading firmly on guarded agency turf by offering creative services to advertisers -- even for ads that don't run in Conde Nast properties, Advertising Age has learned.

The glossy publisher's in-house creative services group known as CND Studios is now accepting client assignments to craft ad campaigns regardless of placement. It is a significant shift for the company, which in the past has only done creative work for advertisers buying space on one of its publications, whether in print or online.

Kenneth Cole Style Guide

Kenneth Cole Style Guide

--> Conde's first client in this new venture, which only got under way in the last few weeks, is Kenneth Cole. The publisher created an online video series for the fashion brand that launched March 1 on the company's website, as well as on Facebook and YouTube. The campaign will continue to roll out new content on those sites through June.

"It was really a seamless project," said Robert Genovese, VP-marketing and media at Kenneth Cole Productions. "Based on this experience, we would definitely incorporate them into considerations for future projects."

Though such a deal represents a departure from Conde culture, it fits in with CEO Charles H. Townsend's digital ambitions, which has been at least a year long in the making. He re-formed the publishing titan's original online unit, CondeNet, into Conde Nast Digital over a year ago in an effort to consolidate the digital sales teams and bring in more revenue. "To get back to double-digit growth, we have to put our digital assets to work hard," Mr. Townsend told Advertising Age at the time. "I am hoping that the print business will recover to double-digit growth, but I am convinced that the digital business will grow exponentially."

To some, that kind of growth may be seen as a given outcome considering the fact that before the inception of Conde Nast Digital, online sales accounted for only 3% of the company's overall revenue. (There are no current revenue figures available.) But this latest move is a sign that the company is looking at every digital opportunity. In this case, they are seeking to gain from the fact that partnerships within the industry are continually changing, with new online agencies and shops forming almost weekly.

"In the digital world, there are these terms, 'co-opetition,' or 'frenemy,' so you're very used to working in a more transparent way," explained Drew Schutte, who was installed as chief revenue officer of Conde's new online group last year. "You're working with people who on another day might be your competition. So the way we saw it, it was an opportunity."

According to Mr. Schutte, who was previously the publisher for Wired and The New Yorker, the opportunity initially arose out of the group's many existing relationships. "We do a lot of creative services for our clients," he explained. "Last year we were doing over 30 custom programs per quarter, and now we're doing 50, and often people were asking us, 'I have this other thing I need you to do.' And we had to pass on it. So we thought, 'Why are we turning them away?'"

Though such an arrangement might result in a Conde-produced campaign running on a competitor website, Mr. Schutte said he wasn't concerned. "On our sales side we have done a ton to convince them why our programs will benefit them the most," he said, referring to their strategy that client work will seed potential future ad buys on a Conde web property. He further pointed out that some campaigns will inevitably be for a microsite or will only appear on the client's own website.

Aside from this evident upside, it further cements the company's reputation among marketers. "Conde Nast knows quality," Mr. Schutte said. "We know how to do things right and we understand their brands."

According to a Conde spokesperson, this group will only be executing online advertising vehicles and will not be advising on media buys. The in-house group that handles print campaigns remains separate from this endeavor.

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I was talking with a media property manager the other day and suggested he should use his expertise and resources to help create and manage digital campaigns for local businesses, even if the local business doesn't currently buy his online product! He looked at me like I was the stupidest person he'd ever met. Good to know the folks at Conde Nast lack the same brain cells.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Media Companies Pay Groupons a Compliment of Imitation

Two media companies in San Diego have decided to get into the deal-a-day business which Groupon has proven to be so successful. According to Local Onliner, The San Diego Union Tribune and the fledgling San Diego News Network are starting their own Groupon-style offerings where subscribers can find one good deal in the area each day. Deep in the story is this fascinating fact: “Roughly eighty percent of (The San Diego Union Tribune’s) advertising prospects have been approached by Groupon or other Deal-a -Day services.” Interesting how this concept is suddenly taking off — ten years after Daily Candy launched.

Related posts:

Lasso looking to bring real-time, social web to local ads
 Monday morning links
 IB introduces large new “hover ad” format

What I want to see if their sales model is similar to Groupons. Media companies like 12 month contract commitments, upfront payment, no real sharing of risk. Groupons deal is different. No upfront cash, no time commitment. Under most deals, Groupons just sends participating companies checks (minus commission) and customers.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff

Monday, April 5, 2010


At the Brite conference, I talked about mobile coming to be synonymous with local. Here are a few paragraphs I wrote on the topic for an essay in a German book about the future of the net:

The biggest battlefield is local and mobile (I combine them because soon, local will mean simply wherever you are now). That’s why Google is in the phone business and the mapping business and why it is working hard to let us search by speaking or even by taking pictures so we don’t have to type while walking or driving.

The winner in local will be the one that knows more about what’s around me right now. Using my smartphone’s GPS and maps—or using Google Googles to simply take a picture of, say, a club on the corner—I can ask the web what it knows about that place. Are any of my friends there now? (Foursquare or Gowalla or soon Facebook and Twitter and Google Buzz could tell me.) Do my friends like the place? (Facebook and Yelp have the answer.) Show me pictures and video from inside (that’s just geo-tagged content from Flickr and YouTube). Show me government data on the place (any health violations or arrests? Everyblock has that). What band is playing there tonight? Let me hear them. Let me buy their music. What’s on the menu? What’s the most popular dish? Give me coupons and bargains. OK, now I’ll tell my friends (on Twitter and Facebook) that I’m there and they’ll follow. This scenario—more than a newspaper story—will define local.

To do all this, Google—or the next Google—needs two things: First, it needs more data; it needs us to annotate the world with information (if Google can’t find this data elsewhere on the web, it will create the means for us to generate it). Second, Google needs to know more about us—it needs more signals such as location, usage history, and social networks—so it can make its services more relevant to us.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010 at 7:41 am and was tagged , , , , .

Want a peek into how local consumers will "shop" in the near future? This is a pretty good bet.

Posted via web from Randy's Stuff