AdAge: Rance Crain

Advertising Age - Rance Crain
Advertising Age - Rance Crain

Can Advertisers Really Tell Their Agencies How to Make Money?

Let bygones be bygones seemed to be the theme of this year's 4A's conference in Los Angeles.

Both agencies and clients signaled that their appetite for confronting one another was much diminished, and execs were also relativity subdued when it came to blaming the big digital players for their transgressions.

In fact, much of the conference could be viewed through the prism of digital advertising brought to you

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Bad Ref Call Hurts Credibility of All Sports Brands

When I was sports editor of the Daily Northwestern in 1959 our football team was riding high. After winning our first six games, Northwestern was ranked No. 2 in the country, and we were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Unfortunately, we lost the last three games and our coach, Ara Parseghian, soon after left for Notre Dame. The team descended into Mediocreville for many years.

What happened was not a travesty. We just ran out of gas. But this year's NCAA Tournament, where Northwestern appeared for the first time ever, was nothing less than highway robbery that should not go unpunished. It should, at the very least, have long-term implications for the good of sports.

Northwestern got into the playoffs by beating Michigan against all odds. After a Michigan basket to tie the score with 1.7 seconds left, Nathan Taphorn threw the inbound pass the length of the court to Dererk Pardon, who hit a layup for the win, 67-65. The Wildcats lost their last game to Purdue by four points, but they were still good enough to make the last seed in the NCAA playoffs. They finished with an overall 24-12 record, their best performance ever.

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'Take It or Leave Its' or 'So Whats' Would Help Internet Brands

Do you think there's any correlation between a less-than-robust economy and marketers' increased reliance on digital commerce and advertising?

The 21st century hasn't been very cooperative so far. David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, says the current time period is "looking much nastier and bumpier" than the 20th century.

"Rising ethnic nationalism, falling faith in democracy, a dissolving world order." And, I would add, the 21st century marks the rise and absolute domination of the internet.

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Dealer Disconnect Undermines Auto Ads

What's worse? Advertising that doesn't get seen, or advertising that does get seen but portrays the wrong message?

"The days of giving digital a pass" on viewability and fraud "are over," proclaimed Marc Pritchard, P&G's chief brand officer. "It's time to grow up. It's time for action."

After his speech, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America put up six billboards near P&G headquarters in Cincinnati with the challenging words, "Hey Marc, this ad is real."

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How Fake News Could Make Advertising More Believable

Will advertisers take the opportunity to become more believable in this latest era of fake news and "alternative facts," or will they blow the chance by continuing to hook up with any website that they can buy dirt cheap?

Fake news, of course, is not a new phenomenon. It was called "disinformation" during the world wars and "freak journalism" when powerfu newspaper publishers turned up the heat to promote war with Spain.

Stanley Walker, city editor of the old New York Herald Tribune, noted in his 1934 book, "City Editor," that one of the oldest laws of the Fourth Estate was the one forbidding fake news.

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The Demise of the Department Store Experience

Department stores can't compete against internet shopping because they are bland and predictable. Unexpected and quirky is a better formula.

The economic model for national department stores doesn't work anymore. What's the fun of going to stores that are just the same as all the others in the chain?

Consumers can and do jump from one shopping siteincluding websites for department storesto another, hitting the refresh button as they go. Doesn't that beat the prospect of trekking to a local chain store whose floor plan you know by heart?

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