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Word of Mouth Advertising Now Measured by Simmons

Simmons Market Research Bureau announced today the release of the Tipping Point Segments, which identify each Simmons respondent by his or her influence on word-of-mouth advertising.

Inspired by the concepts outlined in Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling book, The Tipping Point, Simmons has identified four segments of the U.S. population that are primarily responsible for the spread of word-of-mouth advertising. These four groups of individuals can be profiled based upon their media usage, brand consumption, spending habits, leisure activities, demographics, psychographics and opinions, in order to gauge which media vehicles and messaging advertisers can use to target them for the maximum effect.

Simmons added questions to its Spring 2003 study to enable classification of respondents based upon their proclivity to influence the spread of information and trends. The four segments Simmons has identified - Connectors, Mavens, Salesmen and Innovators - are distinct small groups that work together to ultimately stimulate word-of-mouth influence. Simmons has established a powerful and accessible link between word-of-mouth and traditional mass media advertising. For example, clients can now examine the Tipping Point segments based upon their television viewing behavior using Simmons' television BehaviorGraphics(tm). These Tipping Point targets can be tracked on a daily basis via the BehaviorGraphics(tm) link to Nielsen Television Ratings. Examining the Tipping Point segments within the context of BehaviorGraphics(tm) enables clients to identify which television programs afford the most successful multi-modal advertising opportunities.

Finally, the big boys are going to measure what has been happening for years. The power of word of mouth is far under rated and today is more powerful than ever with the proliferation of the Internet, mobile phones, video phones and weblogs. It's no wonder why movie studios put all their eggs in the opening weekend basket. If the movie sucks, everyone will know about it two minutes after it starts. Measuring how this happens and how it can be affected by advertising will become a key element in a company's marketing programs.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 4-03    

Homeless Person Advertises the Truth

Honesty in Advertising

Acknowledging the often assumed, rightly or wrongly, reason a homeless person asks for money, this gentleman decided to advertise the truth.

Interestingly, it looks like he is on a cell phone. I guess everyone really does have a cell phone now.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 3-03    

KFC Looking for Great Creative

In Search of Great Creative

With its marketing director leaving and two agencies battling for the account, KFC is apparently not getting what it wants creatively and has turned to the public for salvation. KFC is offering a $10,000 prize to the person who submits the best television commercial. The winner will also see their spot aired in prime time on October 2.

Entrants are asked to submit commercials that promote KFC's "Bigger Better Popcorn Chicken." Submissions must be made by September 23. Details are available on KFC's website.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 3-03    

Ford Launches 'Evil Twin' Movie Spoof For SportKa

Ford's Evil Twin SportsKa Spoofs Mothman Prophecies

In a viral spoof modeled after the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, Ford U.K. has launched a campaign called 'Evil Twin' to promote its new SportKa. In the spoof, the car, apparently tinged with evil, has been sighted playing evil tricks on innocent victims such as whacking a bird with its hood as the bird attempted to land.

An entire website, mirrored after a movie site, has been put up including a back story saying police have spoken with Ford "in an effort to understand how such a successful, popular car could be so deranged." On the site are downloads including screen savers, wallpaper and posters. Users are led to the site either from the Ford website or from a viral video.

Unlike some viral spoofs, this one is done in a way that does not hide Ford as the company behind the car. It's moderately amusing and more so if you have actually seen the Mothman Prophecies movie.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 3-03    

NBC Vivendi Deal to Further Blur line Between Advertising and Content

The pending deal between General Electric's NBC and Vivendi Universal could bring together an intriguing combination of assets leading to further product placement opportunities and a further blurring of the line between commercial commerce and content.

The rise of TiVo and the proliferation of cable channels has fragmented viewership forcing marketers to turn to alternative means of reaching consumers. The method dejour is product placement or branded shows such as Pepsi Smash.

The downside to all of this, and we already see it on radio courtesy of Clear Channel, is the blanding of programming choices. As companies consolidate, originality seems to become an afterthought.

There were once three major networks. There will now be three major corporations handling thousands of media outlets. Some call this progress. Others wonder.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 3-03    

New York Times Magazine Names New Editor

According to gossip mistress, Elizabeth Spiers of Gawker, the New York Times Magazine has named Gerry Marzorati editor. Marzorati had been the magazine's editorial director under Adam Moss who has moved on to become assistant managing editor for features, The New York Times.

Read the press release here.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 2-03    

Ball Bounces Alone in New Converse Spot

It's About the Ball

Among the commercials in this week's Ad Age TV Spots of the Week, is a spot for Converse, created by Modernista in Boston, that leaves out celebrity in favor of the highlighting the ball. Very clever. There's also a strange spot from Dairy Queen that tries to pass off an old dude as one of three cute triplets, a spot for Verizon's new photo-phone in which a kid uses the feature to trick his parents into thinking he is not having a party while they are gone on vacation, a spot for Compass Bank poking fun at throwing money away, and a spot promoting the iPod equipped Volkswagen Beetle.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 2-03    

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