Millions of Ad Dollars are Riding on the Supreme Court Decision

Actually, it’s not millions but billions of dollars that are riding on the Supreme Courts’ ruling on the Affordable Care Act. According to Brian Wieser, Senior Analyst at Pivotal Research, he said $2.5 billion dollars in marketing and ad spending is riding on the Supreme Court upholding the current law.


English: United States Supreme Court building ...
English: United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., USA. Front facade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If the Affordable Care Act is upheld then millions of Americans who do not have health insurance right now, will be required to get it by 2014 or pay a fine. This means that the health insurance companies will be competing against each other to get these new customers. We will obviously see a lot more health insurance TV commercials as well as Online advertising, direct mail, billboards, radio commercials and much more. While the mandate in the law is controversial, it could be great news for a lot of businesses and industries. Marketing, PR and ad agencies will be working hard building awareness and attracting new customers for their health insurance clients. TV and radio stations will earn a lot of money from ad dollars from the insurance companies. Online health care sites will benefit from increased traffic from people looking for the best and most affordable health care plans resulting in the sites raising their advertising rates for the health insurance companies. And of course, last but not least, the health insurance industry looks to benefit from having millions of new customers.


So what if the individual mandate is struck down, what will happen? Basically it will  be “business as usual” for health insurance companies and their respective marketing, PR and ad agencies. They will continue as a primarily B2B business focusing on getting businesses to pick their health insurance plans for their employees over their competitors. There will still be some focus on individuals and families seeking private health insurance but most of their money will be spent building awareness and attracting businesses of all sizes.


As an advertising creative, I would love to see and work on health insurance B2C marketing and advertising. I think the increased competition and the potential for millions of new customers would push health insurance companies to be very creative in how they attract new customers. But as an American, I realize that this decision has many more implications than just marketing and ad spending. The decision on Thursday will obviously affect us all in one way or another. But as with any big news, there will usually be a direct tie to potential marketing and advertising, which is good news for our industry.


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Comcast Punishes DVR Ad Skippers with…Ads

According to FierceCable, Comcast recently filed a patent for technology that would show targeted ads to viewers who skip commercials while watching shows recorded on their DVRs. While this won’t make viewers very happy, it could make Comcast very happy with a new advertising revenue stream.


While it isn’t known when this new technology may take effect, it appears that Comcast is ready to implement it based on the patent. Currently people watching recorded shows on their DVRs can easily skip the TV ads by pressing a button. For many this is a huge plus to watching shows on their DVR as opposed to watching live since they don’t have to watch all of the commercials. But with the new technology that Comcast has filed a patent for, the days of skipping commercials is coming soon for Comcast customers.


According to the patent, Comcast will show an ad on the screen when someone pushes a button to skip the recorded commercials. Comcast is basically creating another advertising revenue stream that they will be able to sell to advertisers. The irony is that they could be selling ad space to the advertisers who the viewers are skipping over in the first place.  I foresee a lot of backlash if Comcast follows through with this technology.  Many companies like Facebook and YouTube are looking for ways to minimize the advertising and make it less obvious and more natural through sponsored videos and posts. But Comcast seems to think that punishing viewers who skip ads with more ads will somehow be OK and acceptable by its customers. It’s also interesting to note that one of their competitors, Dish introduced Auto Hop, which will eliminate the ads from the major networks’ primetime shows that customers have recorded on their DVR.  So rather than having to push skip on the remote to skip over the commercials, the DVR will remove them completely.


I think it will be interesting to see how this develops over the next couple months as I suspect once people learn more about Comcast’s new technology, they’ll start complaining. While I understand cable and satellite companies need to make money from advertising, I think there are smarter and less obtrusive ways to deliver ads than what it seems Comcast is planning to do.

“Never stop learning.”

Call it “maturity”, call it “smarts” or perhaps call it “fear”. Whatever it is, I am not the same person I was when I was in school. In school, I just wanted to get by. I wanted to put just enough effort into my work to pass. I wasn’t eager to learn, I wasn’t excited about finding the answer, I never challenged myself. But something changed and I think this change happens in many of us. Many call it “maturity”, but I think it has more to do with the fear of not knowing. The world around us is constantly changing and I want to keep up. When it comes to the Internet, blogging and social media; changes happen daily if not hourly and I love that fact. I am constantly honing my skills and gaining new knowledge about this exciting new world of communications. It’s not just about learning how to make your blog more SEO friendly or the proper etiquette of Twitter; it’s about learning strategy and using those skills in determining the best way to approach blogging, the Internet and social media for each individual business. If I don’t know something about blogging and social media, then I want to learn it. I Call me a “sponge”.

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what I have learned, what makes me different, what makes me tick? First and foremost, I am a creative. The most rewarding part of the blog posts, advertising, Tweets, pictures and other creative work I create are the responses from my viewers. I believe emotion is one of the most powerful tools in marketing and communications. When you can make your blog reader smile, laugh, cry, smirk, feel content, feel passionate and/or get mad from reading your post; then you’ve accomplished a great and powerful thing. You’ve connected with your reader on a whole new level. You’ve moved from being a stranger or just another brand to becoming a friend, someone they can trust, someone they listen to and that listens to them. All content is not the same. The Wikipedia is facts with no emotion. While I visit the Wikipedia for information, I don’t call them a friend or think of the Wikipedia as a person. In fact, I don’t really think of the Wikipedia as a business either. It’s more like a cold, dark computer server holding tons of information which is very similar to the dusty, bland brown-jacketed, heavy encyclopedias that are permeating with the smell of mildew at the local library. Emotion is the key to excellent content and trying to achieve that in every creative piece I work on is what drives me. In the end, learning can be fun and what you can do with it can be exciting and truly rewarding. I just wish I knew that when I was in school.

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The Gist of Social Media

The front porch, the fence, the coffee shop, the local bar, the water cooler.

These are all places where we go to converse with other people. To share stories, to tell jokes, to talk business, to make friends.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, Digg, Linkedin.

These are all places or site where we go to converse with other people. To share stories, to tell jokes, to share pictures, to talk business, to make friends. These sites are the Online coffee shop, the Online water cooler, the Online bar. This is what social media is.

French Opera House, New Orleans, 1871. "L...
French Opera House, New Orleans, 1871. “Loges Grillees”, latticed stalls which could be shut or opened for privacy or to socialize. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is social media.

Social media gives you a great opportunity to get out there Online and talk with (not talk to) thousands of people as a friend and fellow human being first and as a business, product and/or brand second.

People trust those they know. Those they like.

Tell jokes, reply to questions, share something funny that happened on the way to work; the more you converse, the more the people will get to know you and hopefully like you as a friend and as their future sheriff.

The other side of the coin.

People will talk bad about you, false accusations will be written about you. People will praise you. They’ll spread the love, they’ll spread the hate. People will talk about your competition. The key is to know about it as it happens and respond accordingly. The key is to listen. This is social monitoring.

Listen first, talk second.

Social monitoring is probably the most important part of any social marketing effort. The idea is to listen to what is being said about you and your competition and be able to take action. Whether it is a comment on a blog, a Twitter post, a remark on Facebook, a video, or a picture; you need to have the right listening tools to respond in an efficient and timely manner.

Get out there and talk.

That’s the gist of social media and social monitoring. It’s a big, complex world that changing every day, but the core, fundamental idea of it all is talking, conversing and listening. So get out there and talk with your fellow human as they get to know you, your company and/or your brand better.

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Reality TV, Social Media & the Big Crunch

The other day while driving to work, I was thinking about the “social media boom” and the popularity of reality TV shows like American Idol and Survivor and how it’s all related and how it’s nothing new in this world. Is this “history repeating itself” or “the big bang theory”? Will this be the “new bubble burst” or “the big crunch”? Since the dawn of time, man has conversed. We’ve talked with each other in the streets, in the market, at the coliseum before the lions killed the gladiators, in the coffee shops, and the front porches. Humans have always been social animals. We have always crowded into cities to live on top of each other. We, for the most part, have feared isolation and silence.

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...
Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But over the past century, something happened called “technology”. Technology in the form of automobiles allowed people to move further away from each other. Then radio and TV took the role of neighbors and friends as people stayed home listening and watching fictional shows, their eyes glued to light-emitting tubes of glorious wonderment. Technology, while not exactly a bad thing, has been very bad for the social side of human existence. We have slowly become more isolated from each other and with the dawn of the Internet in the 90’s, we became even more isolated. And then the Big Crunch came to an end. The Big Crunch is the idea that space eventually stops expanding and reverses and collapses, ultimately leading to another Big Bang. So if we think of technology as the beginning of the Big Crunch of socialization. Slowly over the pat century we have become even more isolated from each other and talked less to each other until that one fateful day we became so isolated from each other that we all blew up.

The Big Bang happened.

And it happened in the form of Reality TV and social media. Reality TV allowed us to become a part of other people’s lives. We rooted for reality TV stars, we voted for them and these reality TV stars became part of our household and part of our dinner table conversation. They started the ball rolling. But for the most part, TV is a one-way conversation which is why social media was created. Around the same time that Survivor started the Reality TV Big Bang (yes, there have been other Reality TV shows before then, but Survivor was the beginning of the now boom in Reality TV); Friendster started the Social Media Big Bang or boom. And then came Myspace, American Idol, Facebook, Top Chef, Twitter, Rock of Love, Housewives, Google+, Swamp People, Pinterest and about a hundred more reality shows and social media tools.

We are now in the first phases of the Big Bang of socialization. Every day, there are news ways to talk and converse with other people. We have gone beyond the idea of talking with neighbors, friends and family; we are now talking with complete strangers and people around the world. We can tell and share with the world anything and everything. Some of us are at the point where we are sharing too much (seriously, I don’t care if you just went to the grocery store to pick up milk). And one day, maybe soon, maybe hundreds even thousands of years later, we will slowly reverse back and experience a new Big Crunch of socialization. Whether it’s history repeating itself, the cyclical nature of the universe, the big bang/big crunch theory or some other theory or idea, it’s definitely an interesting point in time we are all facing and experiencing right now. Technology has been turned on its side and has now connected the world in one conversation.

Where do we go from here? What will cause the next Big Crunch? Will it be technology, war, disease, natural disasters or will it be Google going down for more than just three hours?

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