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Thank you folks: Being polite is a good thing for a brand.

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So a recent set of ad placements thanking the American public for a loan is causing a little bit of an uproar, at least in some cirlces.  I’m not sure that the response in the video below on the Chrysler and GM‘s ad placement is warranted.  I would like to get just a little more facts on the ad placement than I have, without it, I can only use deduction, reason and logic.

So to put it in context, one of the largest spends in the advertising industry is by the automakers, so it may not be that bad of an idea to help prop up that industry or live up to your contractual obligation.  I suspect Chrysler and GM may of had a contractual commitment which required some placement of an ad, so to view this as incremental spending could be tough.  So the question for the brand managers and marketing folks was more than likely, something like: “So we can place another ad on 0% financing, the latest GPS features or thank folks – what should we do?”

Without the facts around the placement, it’s hard to draw any real conclusions.  Missing from the Fox “Outrage” piece was someone confirming this wasn’t already paid for or a resource confirming the $200,000 spend for a full page in USA Today. Without that type of validation, this Fox news report doesn’t have the necessary diligence to justify some of the assertions. Sensationalism may be what they wanted at Fox, rather than news on this piece.

So here is the video which provides an overview of the ad spend and general information for your review:

In an Effort to be fair and balanced, a couple of questions based on the video:

  1. So was it $200,000 per ad or $250,000 per ad? If it is 200K, then how do you get to half a million?
  2. Who are the 10 autoworkers whose jobs would be saved via avoiding a $400K spend since they make only $40,000 fully loaded?
  3. Why would you take out an ad in Detroit thanking america, since the Detroit papers aren’t all that national?  Shouldn’t the Detroit ad be something like “WE DID IT!!!! Your cousin gets to keep his job for now”?
  4. What marketing executive would think it is reasonable to spend an incremental amount on a thank you ad in this highly charged economic environment?
  5. From a proportional impact perspective, do you think YouTube would really have reached the right taxpayers?

PLEASE NOTE: I have no validation that the spend was already under contract, but I have no reason to think otherwise, as I don’t think any reasonable business types would spend so much money with media outlets and NOT have a contract with negotiated non-standard/discounted rates based on annual commitments and monthly placement requirements.

Been thinking all summer long on the value of creativity & access

Thanks to an post I read at TUAW, I got to thinking a little bit about “the product” music artists bring to market and how new models of distribution, access to the market and the ability to engage the community has changed things. Wayne Sutton‘s post on 7 Reasons why Twitter is good for the music industry was another post which got me to thinking about this too.  What is the value of a creative product if no one knows about it?  What is the value of a product when it is freely available?  When does a creative product transition from free to fee?  I guess these questions could be post/series in and of themselves, but each requires acknowledge.

With so many unknowns surrounding these question, many organizations and artists are erroring on access to their product as they engage the marketplace, rather than taking a protectionistic approach online.  So why is it that some labels and artists aren’t on iTunes?  I suspect it is just math.

I was expecting on my research to find a different set of folks not in the iTunes catalog then the last time I looks and this is not really the case.   The list of folks is fairly long who aren’t in the iTunes catalogue, but talks continue with various holdouts, so maybe the landscape will change. Ultimately, it’s just a business decision to participate or not.  For some access is more important than transactions, but I’m sure everyone would like to get paid if they could.

<insert transitional concept – oops don’t have one>

Kid Rock is still a holdout for iTunes, I only know this since I had to buy the CD to get it on my iPod, which is also another reason for this post.  The retailer, Kid Rock and his label got 10X with my CD purchase which I suspects generates more revenue than a $.99 download.  It’s appears that music has all the 4P’s of the marketing mix – product, placement, promotion and price.

I understand — ultimately Kid Rock has a product and he doesn’t want to sell his product for $.99 – understood. I’m not sure how the PxQ formula is working for him, but I would think it impacts cash flow which is pretty important in this economic climate.  It took me like 4 months to buy the CD and  I would have bought the single on iTunes months ago.

Curious thought — I wonder if this economic climate makes the holdout list a good deal shorter 18 months from now?  A significant 1 time royalty payment and slices of $.99 downloads just might help generate the needed cash for some folks to make it out the other side of this market.