For YouTube Advertisers Swimming In Stats, Finally Some Clarity & Direction!

"YouTube is looking to clear up some of the metrics mess for advertisers by focusing its attention on three data points: Unique reach, watch time and audibility," says Garett Sloan in AD AGE (March 20, 2017).

"These are the core things marketers really need to focus on," said Debbie Weinstein, global managing director for YouTube and video solutions. "We are trying to help them understand what really matters."

On Monday, March 20 2017, YouTube announced it would update its reporting with these metrics during Europe's Advertising Week. The emphasis of their new numbers would be chiefly on 3 distinct aspects of digital advertising:

1. Unique reach, as in the number of individuals who saw an ad;

2. Watch time, which shows how many seconds are spent with an ad in total and on average; and

3. Audibility, or how often it plays with sound.

"Sound has become an important sticking point for brands that are dealing with mobile consumption, which often occurs with sound off depending on the platform.

YouTube says that 60% of its videos are viewed on mobile devices and 95% are audible. YouTube also says that the mobile experience helps lead to a 93% viewability rate for video ads.

The new metrics in the YouTube reporting had been available to brands that use third parties and other measurement techniques, but now they come standard in the analytics dashboard."

The Multicultural Problem With Agencies (Dec 03, 2016)

It has been said before...and echoed by most practitioners of multicultural marketing in US & Canada. But the all important question: Has anything changed? merits an honest response: 'Not by much'. Now in a newly published article (Dec 02, 2016) in an advertising & marketing journal, Jarett Cobbs takes on the agencies for their lack of diversity. While that may be true, what is equally a fact is that brands/clients (who Cobbs absolves of all blame) have a major say in the matter and cannot wash their hands clean off this responsibility. MarCom professionals in Canada will vouch for this every-day reality that we come across so often - of clients/brands seeking to be assured that their all-white (or South Asian or Chinese) run & staffed AOR has AT LEAST ONE suitable stereotype representing their potential market for IT TO WORK! Cobbs addresses this issue below. Please read on.

".........This is how it has gone for a long time: Brands marketed to diverse groups of consumers seeking to section them off by race and ethnicity. An approach that was once seen as a revolutionary method in the marketing world evolved to become something else: at best it was pandering. At worst, it was divisive and disrespectful.

A constant refrain: "The problem is always with the brands." I hear this all the time: how the brands involved are stodgy, antiquated, unwilling to flex or diversify or try something new. But what if in repeating this common mantra we are instead perpetuating an old myth? Pinning blame to the brands is a notion that agencies proliferate, when in fact there is a stunning lack of diversity at the agencies themselves.

More often than not, an agency's diversity entails obligatory figures and strategies -- a simple checking off of boxes that could never truly diversify an agency. Among some of the most frequently used methods among agencies in a scramble to demonstrate their diversity and cultural dexterity: making "requisite" hires to fill a quota. Agencies have been known to hire "consultants," or "cultural aficionados" to weigh in on creative initiatives and provide narrow feedback on multicultural matters. These methods are shortcuts that lead to nowhere. Quite simply, they are Band-Aids over the wound of homogeny.

As a result, agencies remain somewhat of a good ol' boys club while the rest of culture -- including the brands that invoke their prowess—are pushing forward at full steam in multidimensional and diverse ways. True agency opportunities for anyone who is not a white man are few and far between, while many high power, high profile brands have taken a progressive approach without much fanfare or back-patting. Such is the case with Apple and their head of Global Consumer Marketing, Ghana-born Bozoma Saint John—who started in the agency world before jumping ship to the brands that were open to giving her a bigger opportunity. After holding posts at PepsiCo and Beats Music, Saint John seized a place of power within the crown jewel of the tech industry -- becoming one of the first black women to ever appear onstage at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Here's the good news: If agencies are committed to rectifying this issue and elevating the infrastructures to better reflect the brands they represent and society as a whole, there is no shortage of talent. There is a boundless treasure trove of diverse men and women with a fresh take on the world and an unassailable work ethic who just need a foot in the door. There are young people all over the country who are marketing to consumers more effectively than an agency or brand could ever hope to do. Social media has shown consumers of color have connected more authentically and loyally to content than to the so-called superstars of the agency world.

This talented incoming class of marketers need a shot. They need to know there is a spot for them. If we commit to making room for them by crafting a new model -- an alt-agency, if you will -- we will sail effortlessly into a new era of advertising imbued with rich sentiment, colorful creativity, and original thought.


The Multicultural Problem: Agencies Are to Blame, Not Brands

By Jarrett Cobbs. Published on December 02, 2016. 

‘South Asian moms are the worst kind of liars!’

No, I didn’t say that. Nor do I subscribe to that view (no self-respecting South Asian would). But if a piece of specially ‘ethnicized’ communication from a telecommunication company in Canada is to be believed, South Asian moms have a strong, almost pathological, proclivity to lie to their offspring. At the drop of a hat…too. Now nobody is claiming that some individuals don’t lie, ethnicity, race, color no bar. Some practitioners of creative thought may even argue that IF it adds to the flavor of communication – brings out humour etc. – a human aberration such as an individual lying shamelessly, could be an interesting a/v tool. Is that the case here? Nopes! No laughs. Not even a tickle. Just one Indian mother lying repeatedly to her college son on trivial issues. After her 3rd sequential attempt at it, it seems she just can’t stop (pity her family). And so committed is the scripter to bring out this South Asian affinity for lying, that s/he makes the mom commit an absolute social hara kiri: she ends up lying to her son that his father had cooked his favorite dish for him (flashback shows it was actually a takeaway). Since when is a typical South Asian father known to cook for his children? And even if some Indian dad in some part of the world may be doing it occasionally, it’s not a cultural given. Couldn’t the scripter have thought of some other instance of projecting his product use?


All in all, if this communication was designed to resonate with the intended market (that’s the only way to justify the moneys spent on its production, which btw are quite slick), then this concept designer has a lot to answer for. Interestingly, I had the occasion to watch the ‘mainstream’ ad of this same advertiser and…well nothing seemed amiss. The 'mainstream' family depicted comes through as typical, with a slightly atypical little daughter who knows enough about mobile telephony to be able to change her mom’s relationship status on her social media page. Quiet smile! With no harm done and no sensibilities offended. Why then was this special treatment reserved for poor South Asians?


Smart move, once again, by Pepsi (and here’s one smart lady, Indra Nooyi). Round nth in the eons-old battle between Coke & Pepsi gets set, with Pepsi firing the first salvo – the launch of Pepsi’s CALEB’S Cola. What’s different is the category Pepsi has chosen to position this new cola product in. The slot is distinctly ‘premium’ and the context, no doubt, is to capitalize on the emerging consumer consciousness towards things natural (read healthy). Hence CALEB’S COLA contains natural cane sugar (not processed, mind you), cola nuts from Africa, natural spices and citrus – all warm & fuzzy ingredients one would expect to find in a dish/beverage concocted by your favourite aunt, right in her kitchen. What irony, one would say. This is the exact same positioning Coca Cola had been launched on in the late 1900s. And this launch is not the only thing Coke have to worry about. Plans seem to be afoot at Pepsi to, as Nooyi puts it, ‘drinkify all snacks and snackify all drinks’. Now that seems to be a whole lot of ‘fy-ing’ Pepsi is planning to do. Especially when one considers the lines are buzzing between Pepsi & Muller (their dairy point man) these days. Yogurt drinks, the good old milk shakes…there’s so much to look forward to. All things considered, Coke have their battle cut out for them. And the small soda players, opportunists & interlopers - especially those trying to pack the shelves at Wholefoods & Planet Organic etc. - BEWARE! That ground rumbling you hear under your feet, is Pepsi’s battle machine on the move.


Loved it! And if you are a multicultural marketer, you would too. Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School, in a wonderfully articulated article in HBR, makes a strident case for companies and marketers dreaming of global conquests to take into account Geo & Socio-Cultural (+) sensibilities when  stepping out of their traditional ‘value’ zones. And it resonates beautifully on a local communication level too (case of reading it your way:)). New thinking? Not for us. Be it taking your wares overseas or selling it right here at home, the principle doesn’t change. “Contextual Intelligence”, Khanna’s all encompassing term for our more focused ‘Culturally Customized & Integrated Communication’, is a welcome affirmation of the spirit of understanding your marketing canvas and how to make that knowledge work for you. Get more of this enlightening read on


Revenue trumps goodwill! So is Facebook really at fault for looking at making an extra buck – or should we say an extra MILLION bucks per advertiser – on their soon-to-be-launched video-advertising option? After all, no brand stays ‘up there’ for ever if it doesn’t have something new to offer its users. Plus – for Facebook there was always the additional pressure of meeting ‘advertiser’ expectations (remember GM walked out an year back for lack of better advertising real estate on the platform?). But now GM is back and everything seems to be hunky dory between the 2. But what does this new ‘elitist’ price tag for video advertising say about FB’s fabled ‘social’ reach – especially amongst potential advertisers? A whole lot, if critics are to be believed. Some would say the mirage of a classless, global society that FB was credited with creating, seems to be developing a few chinks. While some others would opine it’s a case of sour grapes. But let’s face it – for the lucky few who can afford to spend a million dollars and gain access to the mammoth FB ‘customer’ base, this must be the best thing since the invention of megaphone.

Add-on note: August 05th, 2014 - FB has hit 1.2+ billion users (that's the entire population of India) and is currently testing the consumer retailing waters with a 'buy' button on some selected ads. (btw Twitter is doing the same thing).


Most often I ride with the advertising purists who rue the demise of ‘well-built, all-bases-covered’ TVCs from the small screen. And with good reason. But I also happen to think it’s too soon to begin wailing. One does get to see a really good piece – however infrequent that occurrence may be. One of the recent good ones – definitely TRIVAGO. The hotel/holiday booking site that promises virtually the same goodies as the giants – Priceline and Expedia – yet presents its value proposition in a uniquely interesting and simple fashion. So what’s the difference? Answer: Model casting! It’s brilliant! Funny how a single character – quirky, atypical & awkward at first glance – can make all the difference between the same-old-same-old and “Hey, this is different!!’ So though Priceline and Expedia may be the hottest sites in Europe (34,000 unique visitors a day for Priceline in March 2013) – it’s TRIVAGO with its naughty ‘winking’ man that guarantees repeat eyeballs every time, all the time. Never fails to make me cackle. If you have watched this one, would love to know what you think?


This could be a classic case of 'unintended consequences'! I am referring to the current series of Rogers wireless TVCs that have been airing for the last few months.

The script/concept when presented to the sharp Rogers Mktg Team must have been interesting enough. There's this clean-cut 'happy customer' - representing Rogers - who gets the best cell phone deals in the market. Juxtaposed against this, is this 'other' - 'unhappy customer' - representing, who else but, all the other mobile phone services. One can almost imagine the presenter stating gleefully to a rapt Rogers team: "....and this concept ladies & gentlemen is all about showing what all those unfortunate souls who choose to go with the 'other' mobile services in the market are missing....!!" Clapping all round the table. Sold!

Honestly, it does sound okay till the story narration stage. What happened between then, the casting, the various storyboard tweaks and the final edits - is another thing altogether.

Here’s what we, as viewers, see in the final piece: Less of the ‘nice’ Rogers man….much more of the 'other' guy (time it if you must and let me know please). In fact the latter is so much in ones’ vision that one begins to feel a sense of affinity for him. To top that off, he seems to be getting the blunt end of the stick everywhere he goes. Kicked, brushed-off, turned-away, humiliated, bruised….this poor guy stumbles along. And this makes us want to sympathise with him! Not make fun of him. And by the end of the umpteen 30-seconders that hit us day-in and day-out, we are sincerely feeling bad for him. And what about the nice Rogers guy? Which guy? Was that the intended viewer reaction Rogers were looking for? Don’t think so.

CES 2014

Exhilaration, anticipation, envy, desire, .....a myriad of feelings at a single event - the CES 2014. Especially for those who desire an instant feeling of exhilaration and Whichever sector of the industry One does tend to feel like a kid in a candy shop at events like the CES 2014 in Vegas was a great experience.


If to ‘create’ is to ‘innovate’, the South Asian (Indian) ad industry has hit the ball miles out of the park this time. The World’s first ever THREE & A HALF MINUTES TV Commercial will soon be showing on television screens across India. All of three and a half minutes!!?? you ask. Only possible in India, I would say. Why? Well, this may appear too long to ad people in the rest of the world, but in India where the staple is the 3-and-a-half hour long Bollywood movie, this is well within range – as long as it’s watchable. And by all accounts, the creators of this mammoth TVC have taken serious note of that objective. The game of cricket is at the heart of this piece and it’s releasing on April 26th, 2013 – when the IPL (Indian Premier League) matches will be played in India. The theme revolves around a jail break while the entire country is busy watching a cricket tournament….so wonderfully topical, right? And who would bank-roll such a project – TATA, the giant Indian conglomerate, of course! Well, if this is a harbinger of things to come, we could soon be doing ‘longer’ TVCs here in Canada as well….If only we could find a few ‘pioneering’ clients like the TATAs of India right here at home. Interested parties may kindly contact us at SPAN….:)