March 30, 2008

Advertising on Webkinz ????

According to the highly respected Campaign For “A commercial Free CHildhood, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting children with outside advertising.

The site is already commercial – in order to subscribe to it, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently this wasn’t enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) Ganz is now selling their young users to advertisers. According to the “CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL FREE CHILDHOOD Ganz didn’t bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. These are serious allegations that Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.





On Tuesday Google will launch a parent’s resource for kids’ safety online which is called Family Safety Guide . Its reported that Google with the media-awareness group Common Sense Media to produce an online video called “A common sense approach to Internet safety.” You will be able to find it on the guide page, on YouTube, and throughout the video-on-demand services provided by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox (which are partners of Common Sense.) This new action by Google is on top of Google’s “safe search,”which filters out inappropriate material for kids from its list of search results; and the Google directory lists kid-safe sites. Google is stepping up to the plate and matching what it’s rivals Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft have done. The educational video is also a big gesture. Watch Google on Tuesday when it is rumored they will post a blog about the site

March 29, 2008


campaign-for-a-cemmercial-free-cvhildhood.jpgAs a marketer with a long track record I find marketing to children is questionable to say the least. To keep up with the debate and keep myself balanced in my marketing and advertising practice I rely on the” Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood”. The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is the result of an innovative conference which was held in 1999 at Howard University. The conference brought together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of activists, academics, educators and health care providers concerned about the corporate influences on children. One year later, a number of conference attendees gathered in New York City to protest the Golden Marble Awards, the af1.jpgadvertising industry’s celebration of marketing to children. No surprise with ads like this being placed in the market A year later the
Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood was born as a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration.

Essential Reading

March 27, 2008

Hijacking Childrens Space

hockey2.jpegCryptic as that may sound I am referring to a report in the New York times about a new venture,, which is creating a social networking site for youth sports which is expected to start in mid-April. It is aspiring to be like Facebook for youth athletes, parents and coaches — a vast audience. The value proposition or soft sell of is that young athletes will be able to set up a profile, post pictures, communicate with friends and share videos of games. Of course the coaches and parents are included. Coaches will able to communicate with their players and parents and parents will be able to get practice schedules, coordinate car pools and find out which equipment to purchase.

Youth sports are huge. It involves parents a huge audience and the 52 million children who participated in organized children’s sports leagues. (National Council of Youth Sports.) It’s a massive audience into which to project brands and products- but is it right?

Remember that Madison Avenue has for eons used professional sports teams as a way to promote and market brands products and services. What followed was the push to sell brands and services to the college level and then high schools with Takkle, a social-networking site for high school athletes which are partially owned by Sports Illustrated.

Now with the “WePlay” model , Madison Avenue and advertisers will have the chance to present brands and products to even younger and younger audiences.

An that is not the end of it. Potentially as Rick Heitzmann, managing director at Pequot Ventures, the venture arm of Pequot Capital Management has been reported to say “There’s no reason to believe that the organizing principles that are applied here ( to sports can’t be applied elsewhere, such as to religious organizations,”

Everything is going commercial Play and Prey. Is that a good thing???????

My vote is no.

Managing Risk for Children – a British view


March 26, 2008

How a marketing guy bought the hype on bio fuels

Filed under: Environment,Lifestyle,Social Justice — Tony @ 11:56 am
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corn.jpgMarch 24 The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned about the risks posed by agro fuel production What a shock when today Bloomberg reported that Robert Watson, the U.K.’s chief environment scientist is calling for a delay in policies to increase the use of the biofuels pending tests into the sustainability of the alternative fuels.

It seems with all my experience in marketing I had bought the hype. I started to change my mind on biofuels when I read articles about global basic food price rises and saw the price rises it in my supermarket. What finally changed my mind was the recent debates in the UN Assembly debate on Climate Change in New York. There the debate about  biofuel food vs. fuel was framed starkly as   “people literally will starve to death in parts of the world, it always happens when food prices go up.

He is right.

Even Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic the the man who has a great deal to lose since he is so vested in the idea of biofuels (see links below) now says he regrets investing in ethanol for financial and environmental reasons. Time to go Hydrogen?

See Below:

All of that criticism comes just weeks after a Science magazine study says biofuels can be twice as harmful as gasoline .


March 24, 2008

Less Private Space-Is it good?

Filed under: Lifestyle,Marketing — Tony @ 10:11 am
Tags: ,

The advertising giant Leo Burnett has posted a You Tube video titled “Future Trends in Advertising. No surprise but Ben Hourahine, Futures Editor at Leo Burnett in London sees a world even more cluttered with visual stimulus where there will be screens everywhere and ads are going to follow you around like a bad memory. So according to Leo Burnett, you can look forward to even more urban spam and a lot less time to appreciate things not pasted with a logo.

Seems to me Ben Hourahine vision and predictions are upon us already. I see a backlash and protest movement coming.

Send me an email

March 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama

Filed under: politics. — Tony @ 6:36 pm


The Democratic battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is a classic marketing “Ding Dong Battle ” I say marketing because thats exactly what it is happening right now. What we are witnessing is a crafted media battle and political strategy . Don’t miss the point at this stage in a long battle we the citizens are excluded. Right now the facts have been shoved into the background. I don’t think you will disagree!

Can you hear what Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama is saying above the medias chatter.? These are two bright people with huge ideas and once again the media and political process has been trivialized by the media and political process that we are addicted to.

Pray tell me. How can one reduce this classic Clinton and Obama battle to ” Here comes Barrack and here cames Hillary”. In the name of all the Gods (fill in your religion) what happened to declaring ideas.

Its sound bites folks.  Lets demand more. Lets demand debates that are not media orchestrated. Lets chose the moderator. Lets chose the questions. Let the panel of experts be elected online, by phone and  by the listeners. Lets see how democracy is supposed to work.

PS:  Hillary Clinton is home in New York. Barack Obamais also on holiday. R est up and come out swinging with ideas… We the citizens demand it

Freud PR and why you eat Bacon and Eggs

Filed under: Marketing — Tony @ 4:13 pm

eggs-and-bacon.jpgGo figure two Jewish guys changed Americas eating habits to bacon. Its true and its funny. Years ago in the mid 1930’s Americas consumption of bacon was slipping. It was a busy time and most happy workers just grabbed toast and coffee for breakfast.

So what do you do as a client in a declining market. Well you call a PR guy and you try and shift the publics perception of the brand. Edward Bernays did that in a big way and he rearranged the bacon world for his client the Beech- Nut Packing Company (Useful links: The Museum of Public Relations, Edward Bernays). What is truly fascinating is how Bernays used his Uncle Sigmund Freud’s ideas to help convince the public that bacon and eggs was the true all-American breakfast.

He took Freud’s complex ideas on people’s unconscious, psychological motivations and applied them to the new field of public relations.

Just click on image and listen to the story on National Public Radio of a “A Hearty Breakfast”. Its a fascinating talk. red-phonessml.jpg Edward Bernays

Tomorrow I will post how Bernays used Freud’s ideas and changed marketing and public relations for ever. And why your cholesterol is so high !!

You are Your Brand

Filed under: Marketing — Tony @ 10:22 am
Tags: ,

box1.jpgHow does one create a personal brand in the age of Google, Face Book and zillions of social networks?? The key to growing and building your personal brand is like any form of branding, is all about authenticity.

And here is where we need the most help. I am putting together a toolbox for developing your “Personal Brand”. In it will be links to some of the best tools on Personal Branding.

Here is one. Recordings of “A Brand You World – 2007 Global Telesummit”. You may find a full description of each teleseminar and speaker through the categories on this blog: Teleseminars for Careerists, Teleseminars for Entrepreneurs, and Teleseminars for Talent Managers.

Have Fun and please add links that you found useful.

March 21, 2008

Will Hillary Clinton lose ??

Filed under: Lifestyle,Marketing — Tony @ 4:01 pm
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Its very possibble thatHillary Clinton will lose. It seems unimaginable as she is instantly recognizable and has tons and tons of experience. But she is sliding. Imagine being her adviser. As any good brand strategist you would weight her brand equity against her performance.

What to do?. Do you bet the farm on her equity, hope for the best and plow in more money or do you change her path entirely and change her brand. You have nothing to lose Hillary your brand is not resonating. Seems to me Barack Obama has resonated with the public. Hillary take a few cues from him. Step out of it and redefine yourself. Remember what Cadillac did and how they changed their frumpy image?. They stepped out of the past and repositioned themselves and they won.
Unlike Seth Godin who in an article “Sunk costs, quitting and the value of your brand” said you should quit. I believe he got it wrong. Here is my advice. Hillary you have equity in spades. Use it well and grow it with change.

Go for it.

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