Thursday, December 02, 2010

Freakiest TV Commercial of 2010?

Thanks to our friends at for calling this one to my attention. A man with a baby's head. Or is it a baby with a man's body? Either way, it's disconcerting. This point of this Argentine spot for the PS3 was that gamers should retain their childlike wonder as they grow older—or as the tagline says, "Live in a state of play." Thus, we see our heroic but confused man-baby progressing through life in a literally regressive state, playing with his shaving cream and a female co-worker's earring, giggling at remote-control car locks—but unable to hold back the tears when confronted with a barking dog. He's an emotional wreck, which actually doesn't seem like a very fun way to live. Still, the commercial does have its charms, with the expert special effects endowing the overgrown baby with a freaky quality that's endearing as well.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fox News Rides Red Tide to Ratings Win

Fox News kicked ass in the ratings on Election Day, easily beating the other cable news nets, even beating the broadcast networks. The network averaged 6.96 million viewers in prime time. CNN finished a distant second in the 8 p.m.-11 p.m. time slot, averaging 2.42 million viewers. Pulling up the rear was MSNBC with 1.95 million viewers and 669,000 adults 25-54. Read the Mediaweek article here.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Pandora Adding 100,000 New Mobile Users Every Day.

If I was in the radio business I'd be scared shitless. If I was selling CDs, I'd be losing sleep at night. Pandora is a wonderful service. It's a wonderful FREE service. is reporting that Pandora CEO Tim Westergren told a press conference last week that the company is currently activating 100,000 new users every day on mobile devices. Now Pandora is pushing ahead, looking to work with auto manufacturers to make the service available in the dashboards of new vehicles. Is it the end of the world as we know it? There will always be a place for local radio, but with Pandora's formula of targeting listeners with the music that they want to hear, radio's slice of the pizza may shrink.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Three out of Four Americans use Web and TV Simultaneously

According to an article in today's MEDIAWEEK, if you never surf the Web while watching TV, you are distinctly in the minority.

That’s according to new study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Yahoo, which found that three out of four Americans use the Web and TV simultaneously, and half do so every day.

Indeed, multitasking is no longer the domain of the fantasy football-playing males; it is now commonplace among most demographics the study found—in fact more women (77 percent) claim to do so than men (73 percent). The average multitasker spends over 2.5 hours per week using the Web and TV at the same time, and the total time spent multitasking has surged by 19 percent over the past year, says Nielsen.

On behalf of Yahoo, Nielsen surveyed 3,417 individuals in total, including 490 folks who are part of the company’s ‘Convergence Panel.’ Among the convergence-inclined, for 54 percent of them, the Web draws more of their attention than TV does while multitasking. Contrastly, 30 percent of respondents claim to be able to focus on both media equally, while 16 percent said their gaze is typically more fixated on TV.

Interestingly, even as so many TV networks encourage fans to log onto their Web sites to further immerse themselves in specific shows’ online content, most Web/TV multitaskers are surfing for completely unrelated material (like checking email or Facebook). According to the survey, just 7 of respondents say their report online consumption is frequently related to the TV show or ad they are watching while multitasking.

However, there is good news for networks that put big money into original programming, like high priced scripted comedies and dramas. Frequent multitaskers tend to both watch TV and surf the Web during news and sports programming, not their favorite crime procedural.

Per Nielsen, close to 25 percent of sports viewers also log onto the Web at the same time in a given week. Comparably, just 14 percent of drama viewers do so, and only 7 percent of comedy viewers claim to go online while watching TV.

Monday, June 07, 2010

This Blew My Mind!

Besides the fact that this guy makes better use of the white board than the guy on the UPS TV commercial, the concepts introduced here really made me think. Check it out, what do YOU think?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Fox Sells 80% of Super Bowl Avails in Upfront, CW Wraps

MEDIAWEEK: Although it’ll be a good three months before the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings kick off the 2010-11 National Football League season, Fox has already sold a significant chunk of its most valuable pigskin inventory.

According to a number of industry sources, the broadcaster has moved a whopping 80 percent of the available spots during its Super Bowl XLV broadcast.

While exact pricing figures were unavailable, Fox is believed to have commanded rates above and beyond CBS’ year-ago rate of $2.5 million to $2.8 million per 30-second spot.

The bulk of the Super Bowl deals were hashed out over the last few weeks, as Jon Nesvig, president of sales for Fox Broadcasting, responded to a flurry of interest from automotive clients. On May 17, prior to Fox’s New York upfront presentation, Nesvig told reporters that he had secured a few preliminary agreements to get clients in the big game.

“It’s a good predictor of prime time,” Nesvig said, anticipating a strong upfront marketplace.

Last year, CBS sold around 39 minutes of Super Bowl air time, for a total haul of $213 million.

Various industry sources estimated that Fox was able to command CPM hikes between 8.5 and 9 percent over last year’s pricing, an improvement that contributed to an overall volume increase of about 20 percent. All told, Fox is believed to have brought in anywhere from $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion in prime-time commitments, in what will go on the books as the second most-lucrative upfront in the network’s 24-year history.

All told, Fox moved roughly 80 percent of its available inventory, in line with historical sell-through numbers. (Hampered by the recession, last year’s bazaar was an anomaly; per analyst estimates, Fox sold closer to 70 percent of its airtime during the 2009-10 upfront.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Traffic on Newspaper Websites WAY Up.

According to today's issue of MediaWeek, newspapers may be struggling with their printed editions, but they are making significant progress increasing web traffic to their online platforms. I must confess, I'm doing virtually ALL of my newspaper reading on my iPad and laptop. I still subscribe to a couple of newspapers, but it seems like all I do with the newspapers is pick them up off my driveway and put them into the recycling bin. The New York Times web products are incredible, customizable, and well executed. Their iPod and iPhone apps are wonderful. Even The Connecticut Post, our local daily here in Bridgeport CT, is putting out a surprisingly good product. It's no wonder that web traffic is up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Short History of the iPod in a Single Graphic

In the late ’90s and early aughts, MP3 players were known, well, as MP3 players. However, when Apple launched the iPod on October 21, 2001, it was such a huge success that it only took a couple of years for most people to simply start using the name “iPod” when they referred to an MP3 player.

Apple sold 125,000 iPods by the end of 2001; it sold a flabbergasting 225 million by 2010. Coupled with the music management/online music store one-two punch that was iTunes, the iPod turned out to be one of the most successful gadgets of all time.

In the amazing infographic below, you can see the rise of the iPod and iTunes (and how they’ve affected our lives) over the last nine years. It’s true: The rest of the MP3 market never stood a chance.

Thanks to Ricky Linn for this amazing infographic, and to Mashable for the info.

The iPod Revolution

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Estimate: 800,000 U.S. Households Abandoned Their TVs For The Web

Are you, a cord-cutter or a couch potato? Make no mistake: The big cable, satellite, and telco carriers are still sitting pretty with more than 100 million TV subscribers. Nevertheless, a new report claims that more and more viewers are "cutting the cord" in favor of watching their favorite shows via over-the-air antennas (remember those?), Netflix, Hulu, or other Web-base options. What about you? Let us know. more...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Q1 Cable New Ratings Are In. CNN Tanks, Fox News Continues to Grow.

Q1 cable news ratings are in. CNN's Anderson Cooper down 42%. CNN's Morning Joe down 29%. CNN's Larry King down 43% (losing 771,000 viewers.) CNN's Campbell Brown show has it's worst quarter ever. At the same time, Fox News had it's biggest year in '09, and it continues to add viewers. Greta Van Susteren up 25%. Bill O'Reilly up 28% (reaching 3.65 million viewers.) Glenn Beck up 50%.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Digital Ad Revenue to Rocket for Local TV, Radio

The growth of digital advertising revenue for local TV and radio will outpace overall ad spending for those media between 2009 and 2014 according to a BIA/Kelsey forecast released Tuesday (March 9).

Digital Ad Revenue to Rocket for Local TV, Radio

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Questions For NBC, The Network That Prevents You From Watching The Olympics

After a mega-hyped buildup by the media, and a lifetime of preparation by the athlete, NBC has effectively blocked us from seeing Lindsey Vonn compete live at 2:00 today. Just another illustration of how NBC has hijacked the 2010 Winter Olympics from US viewers. NBC - the Olympics is not a "special presentation of NBC", it is an international sporting event that is news. Wake up, you can't build a wall around news coverage. Henry Blodget nails this story here:

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Saints 'Super' Win Unseats M*A*S*H

-By Marc Berman , MediaWeek

Sunday’s matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints broke the record books, outperforming the prior high set by the series finale of sitcom M*A*S*H in February 1983. Super Bowl XLIV averaged a mammoth 106.48 million viewers, according to the preliminary national results from Nielsen Media Research, building by 8 percent from the year-ago Pittsburgh/Arizona matchup (98.73 million on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009).

Here are the five most-watched Super Bowl telecasts historically:

Super Bowl XLIV (CBS, Feb. 7, 2010), New Orleans/Indianapolis: 106.48 million
Super Bowl XLIII (NBC, Feb. 1, 2009), Arizona/Pittsburgh: 98.73 million
Super Bowl XLII (Fox, Feb. 3, 2008): NY Giants/New England: 97.45 million
Super Bowl XXXX (NBC, Jan. 28, 1996): Dallas Pittsburgh: 94.08 million
Super Bowl XLI (CBS, Feb. 4, 2007): Chicago/Indianapolis: 93.18 million

The series-premiere/preview of nonscripted lead-out Undercover Boss clearly benefited, with 38.61 million viewers from 10:13-11:13 p.m.

Comparably, that was the largest audience for any new series following The Super Bowl since the advent of people meters in 1987, the largest debut of any reality series ever and the most-watched new series premiere overall on television since ABC’s The Dolly Show on Sept. 27, 1987.

The debut of Undercover Boss also scored the largest audience for an entertainment program this season, and the third-largest post Super Bowl audience behind NBC’s Friends on Jan. 28, 1996 and CBS’ Survivor: The Australian Outback on Jan. 28, 2001.

To watch all of the Super Bowl ads, go to AdweekMedia's Super Bowl site.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Billboards Now Interactive, Will Get to 'Minority Report' Levels of Cleverness

Interesting article from Fast Company about the coming interactivity of digital billboards. Paper and paste are gone, long live pixels!

Friday, December 04, 2009

BAM's 2009 Holiday Party

Thanks to all of the clients, staff, friends, colleagues, and neighbors that attended our Holiday Party last night. We shared some holiday cheer, and enjoyed each other's company and conversation (and some good wine and hors d'oeuvres).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Art & Copy

I recently heard about a movie called "Art & Copy", a film that is described as "a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration." I found the official website and decided to follow it on Facebook, which is how I found out that the film was being screened in nearby Westport CT. I attended the screening the other night, and I'm here to tell you that if you're in the ad biz, particularly if you're on the agency side of the biz, you just have to see this film. Check out the trailer, and hit up the website for info on screenings near you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thanks Lee

Visionary behind Apple's '1984' advertisement steps down

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 01:50 PM EST

Lee Clow, creator of numerous legendary Apple ads including the iconic "1984" TV spot, has resigned from his position as chief creative officer at TBWA/Media Arts Lab.

For decades, the lab has handled TBWA's client Apple, bringing cultural cornerstones ranging from the "1984" ad that heralded the debut of the Macintosh computer to the more recent "Get a Mac" ads featuring actors John Hodgman as a PC and Justin Long as the Mac. According to AdAge, Clow, a personal friend of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, has stepped down from his position at age 66.

"Media Arts Lab was founded in 2006 to serve Apple, as well as embody Mr. Clow's vision of a new type of ad agency that makes culture, rather than just commercials," the report said.

TBWA was also behind Apple's "Think Different" campaign and the silhouette iPod advertisements, both made while the organization was under the helm of Clow. He has worked in advertising for more than 40 years, though his best known work has been with the Mac maker. Other memorable campaigns, according to AdAge, include the Energizer Bunny and the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

Lee Clow
Lee Clow, photo via AdAge

Clow will be replaced by Duncan Milner, who has worked on Apple ads and been with TBWA since 1990. Milner has also done campaigns for Nissan, Levi's and Pedigree.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Mac, which launched with the original Macintosh 128K on Jan. 24, 1984. It was the first mainstream computer with a mouse pointer, windowed desktop, icons and folders priced at a level that was more affordable than previous offerings, like the Lisa. The first Mac cost $2,495, while the Lisa cost four times higher.

The introduction of the Macintosh was declared with the Ridley Scott-directed "1984" advertisement, which aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVII on Jan. 22, 1984. The 60-second TV spot was made for a budget of $900,000 and is considered to be a masterpiece in advertising.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Dozen Years... Happy Birthday BAM.

September 11th marked our 12th birthday. I'm sure that's not what you think of when September 11th is mentioned. It's certainly not what I think of. It's a day to reflect, not a day to celebrate anything at all.

But later, usually after a few days pass, my thoughts turn to how fortunate I am (and to celebrating.)

I can't help but think about how far Bob Abbate Marketing has come in our first dozen years. I'm so grateful for the people we've come to know along the way. From those first couple of clients who gave us a shot in the early days, to the terrific clients around the country that we are now so fortunate to be working with. Without you there would be no us.

It's not just our clients that have fueled our growth. Our talented staff and our strategic partners have been integral to our success. Your unique ability to think both creatively and strategically gives us a competitive edge. Jeanne, Julie, Christina, Dick, Eric, Tom, Jeff, Sam, and all that came before you, your dedication and creative spark is amazing and will always be appreciated.

Next, a big thank you to our media partners and suppliers. You are our secret weapon. Your assistance, creativity, and proven ability to think beyond CPM, AQH, dollars and clicks will always be welcomed here. You are the greatest reps in the business because you share in our belief that our mutual success is achieved only when we work together in the best interest of our clients.

I'm fortunate to be able to wake up every morning and go to work at a job where I love what I do, I love those I work with, and I love the clients we work for.

The next dozen years begins this morning. Let's celebrate!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Report: Consumers Substituting Online TV for Cable

Pew Research Center repots that a growing number of recession-conscious Americans claim they are using the Web as a cable TV substitute.

Report: Consumers Substituting Online TV for Cable

Shared via AddThis

Monday, July 13, 2009

Advertising Age: What Your Favorite Social Network Says About You

YORK, Pa. ( — Do you Twitter? Then you are more interested in sex than the average Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn user. Like LinkedIn? You’re more likely to watch soap operas. Favor MySpace? You’re probably not into exercise.
Social networking
Photo: AP

Which social network you favor says a lot about you — and you might be surprised just what it says. A new study by Anderson Analytics is helping identify users’ likely interests, buying habits, media consumption and more for marketers. The survey studied the demographics and psychographics of both social networkers and non-users and found that “there are definite data-driven segments in the social-networking-site market, both for non-users and users,” said Tom Anderson, founder and managing partner.

Today 110 million Americans, or 60% of the online population, use social networks, and that number is fairly conservative, because instead of counting unique users or everyone who has an account, as many estimates do, the Anderson study counted only people who have used a social network at least once in the past month.

Users tend to spend a lot of time on social networks. The average social networker goes to social sites five days a week and checks in about four times a day for a total of an hour each day. A super-connected 9% stay logged in all day and are “constantly checking out what’s new.”

Social networkers’ feelings about brands online in general are more positive than the researchers thought they would be. Some 52% of social networkers had friended or become a fan of at least one brand. When asked if seeing a brand on a social network makes them feel positive or negative about that brand, an almost-equal 17% said positive and 19% said negative. The other 64% were neutral or didn’t care. When asked if they would like more communications from brands, 45% were neutral, while 20% said yes and 35% said no.

Anderson conducted the study online in June with 5,000 demographically representative respondents, and then went in-depth with 1,250 of them. With the help of Mr. Anderson and his team, Ad Age dug into the reams of stats to create the mini profiles below.

Social-network users overall
Social networkers get a bad rap for using social media to pump up their egos and reputations with “fake” friends. But the truth is, in general, they’re not super-aggressive about building networks. Almost half (45%) said they will link only to family and friends, and another 18% will link only to people they’ve met in person. That means almost two-thirds associate only with people they know offline. The fake-frienders are still out perpetuating the myth, though — 10% of those surveyed said they will connect with anyone who’s willing to connect with them.

And another myth blown: Most users are not wasting company time. Only 15% said they go on social networks at work.

Their top three interests are music, movies and hanging out with friends, and they use social media most to stay in touch with friends, family and classmates. Not surprisingly, they do more online than non-users of social media, from watching videos to reading blogs to making purchases. They are four times more vocal than non-users when it comes to commenting on discussion boards, posting blog entries and uploading videos.

Anderson’s research breaks down general social-media users into four categories: business users, fun seekers, social-media mavens and late followers. Of those, social-media mavens are the key group, not only because of their high incomes and decision-making power at companies but also because their large social-media footprints can make them brand allies and evangelists, Mr. Anderson said. Fun seekers are also an important group because they are the up-and-coming mavens as they transition from students to employees.

Non-users of social networks
Contrary to what some might think, people who spurn social media aren’t tech haters. In fact, they spend as much time as social-media fans surfing the web. But they say they don’t use social media for three basic reasons: They don’t have the time, they don’t think it’s secure or they think it’s stupid. While the first two groups — which Anderson labels “time-starved” and “concerned” — may be swayed to join eventually, don’t hold out much hope for the last group: 94% said they will never use social media.

About 22% of time-starved people said they’ll be using social media within three months, and another 27% said they probably will within a year — when they get the time that is; they’re more interested than all others in pursuits such as exercise, entertaining, music and movies.

The concerned non-users are an older demographic (one-third are retired) who don’t use social networks because they’re worried about their privacy. However, they do recognize value in social media and may join as they become more comfortable with it.

Non-users in general don’t shop online as much as social networkers, but they are much more likely to visit online retailers Amazon and eBay. They also named IAC’s IWon and HGTV as favored web destinations.

There are 77 million Facebook users, according to the study, and Facebook users were almost completely average in their level of interest in most areas when compared with users of Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. Out of 45 categories, only national news, sports, exercise, travel, and home and garden skewed even slightly higher than average, and then by only one or two percentage points.

“Facebook is average because it has the most users. When stat testing, anything near the average is less likely to be significant,” Mr. Anderson said. “They are also capturing a wider range of users for various reasons, from high-school and college fun, leisure user to business and parents and grandparents.”

They are more likely to be married (40%), white (80%) and retired (6%) than users of the other social networks. They have the second-highest average income, at $61,000, and an average of 121 connections.

Facebook users skew a bit older and are more likely to be late adopters of social media. But they are also extremely loyal to the site — 75% claim Facebook is their favorite site, and another 59% say they have increased their use of the site in the past six months.

This is the super-user group. Twitterers are more interested than the others in many subjects but skew particularly high in all news categories, restaurants, sports, politics, personal finance and religion. They also especially like pop culture, with music, movies, TV and reading, ranking higher than average. And their buying habits mirror that. They’re more likely to buy books, movies, shoes and cosmetics online than the other groups.

Twitterers are also entrepreneurial. They are more likely than others to use the service to promote their blogs or businesses. How do they keep going? Coffee, apparently. Some 31% buy coffee online, far above the average 21% of other social networkers.

They’re more likely to be employed part-time (16% vs. 11% average), have an average income of $58,000, and average 28 followers and 32 other Twitterers they’re following. They’re not particularly attached to the site, though — 43% said they could live without Twitter.

They are the young, the fun and the fleeing. While MySpace users skew younger, they also said they’d used the site much less in the past six months.

The 67 million who are still there are into having a good time. They’re more likely to have joined MySpace for fun and more likely to be interested in entertaining friends, humor and comedy, and video games. They’re less into exercise than any other social group but seek out parenting information more than any other.

The content MySpace users put up is most often about specific hobbies, or pictures of family and friends. Their average income is the lowest, at $44,000, and they have an average of 131 connections. They’re more likely to be black (9%) or Hispanic (7%) than users of the other social sites. They are also more likely to be single (60%) and students (23%).

LinkedIn users
It’s probably no surprise these guys are all about business. We say guys because LinkedIn has the only user group with more males than females (57% to 43%). They have the highest average income, at $89,000, and are more likely to have joined the site for business or work, citing keeping in touch with business networks, job searching, business development and recruiting as top reasons.

Their interests reflect that as well. They like all kinds of news, employment information, sports and politics. They also more likely to be into the gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis.

Excluding video-game systems, they own more electronic gadgets than the other social networkers, including digital cameras, high-definition TVs, DVRs and Blu-ray players.

How do they unwind? Here were two surprises among the things they’re more interested in than the others: gambling and soap operas. Some 12% seek gambling information online (vs. an average of 7%), while 10% go online for soap-opera content (vs. an average of 5%).

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Consistent branding for social media marketing

Interesting piece from that identifies five steps in creating a consistent brand in social media.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Congrats to WRKI's Ethan Carey

In an era where radio station ownership is traded like stock shares, it's amazing, make that unheard of that a radio DJ could remain on the air at the same station for 30 years. Ethan Carey of Brookfield/Danbury CT-based WRKI has done just that. Ethan has been on the air at I-95 for 30 years. He's been holding down the morning show for a gazillion years, and could probably get elected mayor of Danbury CT if he wanted to run! He's that well known there. I was fortunate to have worked with Ethan earlier in my career, and he's one of a kind. Hey Ethan - congratulations!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Red Wolf Broadcasting Purchases Hartford Radio Station

Congratulations to John Fuller, owner of Red Wolf Broadcasting on his purchase of WURH-FM from Clear Channel. It's good to see this station in the hands of a local Connecticut broadcaster. Fuller has even purchased the rights to the station's old WMRQ call letters. The station is streaming at, although with a 50,000 watt signal you can hear it virtually all over Connecticut. John visited us here at BAM yesterday and shared some of his plans for the station with me. Keep on rockin' John!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Consumer confidence posts biggest jump since 2003

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence soared in May to its highest level in eight months as severe strains in the labor market showed some signs of easing, though Americans' mood remained depressed by historical standards.

KEY POINTS: * The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes jumped to 54.9 in May from a revised 40.8 in April, the biggest one-month jump since April 2003. * The consensus forecast was for the index to rise to 42. Fewer Americans said jobs were "hard to get," the survey found, with that measure slipping to 44.7 percent from 46.6 percent. Those saying jobs were plentiful climbed to a still meager 5.7 percent, but that was still higher than March's 4.9 percent. * "Consumers are considerably less pessimistic than they were earlier this year," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Ad-ology Study: Reduced Advertising During Recession Negatively Impacts Consumer Perception

WESTERVILLE, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 48% of U.S. adults believe that a lack of advertising by a retail store, bank or auto dealership during a recession indicates the business must be struggling. Likewise, a vast majority perceives businesses that continue to advertise as being competitive or committed to doing business. more...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Consumer Sentiment Trending Up in May

Despite the rising unemployment rate, tempering pump prices and the 8K+ DJIA appear to be bolstering consumer sentiment in May…nearly one in three (31.2%) consumers is confident/very confident in chances for a strong economy over the next six months, rising five points from April (26.0%), nearly 12 points from a year ago (19.5%) and the highest reading since January ’08 (33.5%). See this month's full Executive Briefing here

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I DARE You to Watch This Without Smiling!

From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music," comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. This amazing version of “Stand by Me” brought a smile to my face, and I hope it will do the same for you.

Watch it from beginning to end—you won't regret it. This cover of Stand By Me was recorded by completely unknown artists in a street
virtual studio all around the world!

It all started with a base track—vocals and guitar—recorded on the streets of Santa Monica, California, by a street musician named Roger Ridley. The base track was then taken to New Orleans, Louisiana, where Grandpa Elliott—a blind singer from the French Quarter—added vocals and harmonica while listening to Ridley's base track on headphones. In the same city, Washboard Chaz's added metal percussions.

From there, it just gets better and better: The producers took the resulting mix all through Europe, Africa, and South America, adding new tracks with multiple instruments and vocals, which were assembled into this final final version -- all done with a simple laptop and some microphones. Amazing!

Use the Email Post link to share this with friends.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Warren Berger (NPR): Radio Offers Attractive Space For Ads

Thanks to one of my radio friends (surprise) for sending this to me...

All Things Considered, April 28, 2009 · Radio offers advertisers the last captive audience.

Click HERE

Radio ads are cheap to produce and buying airtime is inexpensive, too. You can blanket the airwaves with a slogan or jingle in a way you can't with TV.

Warren Berger's forthcoming book is Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Car Wars

First an LA Audi put up theirs, then a BMW dealer responded. Well done, BMW!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Kudos (or Bottoms Up) to CBS

Enter most TV or radio contests and you'll be in the running to win a pair of concert ticket. But win the prize in the new CBS contest and it just might save your life.

CBS Television is currently in the middle of the craziest contest ever to grace a TV screen. When I first heard about the CBS Cars Colonoscopy Sweepstakes, I though it was a goof. After all, the promo features Alan Kalter of Letterman show fame. But it's real, and it's brilliant.

The lucky winner of this contest will receive an all expense paid colonoscopy performed by Dr. Paul Miskovitz, a respected NY gastroenterologist. The winner also gets 3 nights of luxury accommodations in the Loews Regency Hotel where, according to the contest website, the winner "can prepare for the colonoscopy in luxury and dignity."

Kudos to CBS for their lighthearted approach to this serious healthcare topic. Take a look at the contest website.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Where Did The Primetime Broadcast Audience Go?

Ask Not Where the Broadcast Audience Went, It Went To Cable

We’ve seen that primetime broadcast network viewership has been on the decline since the early 80’s. But we’ve also seen that primetime TV viewing by household has been relatively flat from the early 90’s. Where did the primetime network audience go?

It went, and continues to go, to cable.

The chart, table and text below have now been updated with the final numbers from the 2007-8 season. Note that the percentage of US TV HHs (rating) viewing during prime-time has risen slowly over time, but the broadcast networks share of viewing has continued to drop for the entire period.

As the prime-time broadcast network audience began declining in the early 1980’s, it shifted to cable networks, and by an ever increasing amount, basic/ad supported cable networks.

Some interesting trends jump out.

Over the past 20+ years, Independent Stations have joined up and become Network Affiliates. Note the ever growing list of networks below. I am looking for good data on the number of Independent stations vs. Network Affiliates over time, but conventional wisdom is that their numbers have shrunk substantially. That’s why I colored both of those series blue. I think they should be considered part of the same viewership trend. Taken together, those two groups have gone from a rating of 54.5 to 27.9, a decline of 49%.

At the same time, Public broadcast primetime viewing has fallen from a HH rating of 2.6 to 1.4, a similar percentage decline of about 54%.

Although I was mostly coherent in the mid-80’s, it was quite a surprise that in 1984-85 audiences were watching more Premium/Pay Cable than Ad/Basic cable.

What is undeniable is that the growth of Ad Supported/Basic cable viewing was not followed by a similar growth in premium/pay cable viewing. Premium/Pay cable has seen its share fall modestly during the period. It’s hard to compare the Premium/Pay Cable numbers before 1999 with those after 1999 because of the definition change (noted below) though.

In fact, today more people watch “other” cable (shopping, music, etc) cable than watch premium/pay cable.


Friday, December 05, 2008

A Grinchy Recipe on How to Worsen Economic Woes.

Please click the posting title above to hear the actual audio...

"Early to bed. Early to rise. Work like a dog and Advertise"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Friday and Thanksgiving Weekend Sales

Much has been said about the economy's impact on retail sales this weekend. Lots of doom and gloom. But there is one thing, one category, one item that I believe will turn what might have been a decline in consumer spending into a net gain. 

For the past year, TV viewers have been bombarded by a focused media campaign telling them that the digital TV revolution is coming on February 17, 2009. The networks and local broadcasters have been airing commercials that say "on February 17th 2009 TV as we know it will fade to black". 

Most people don't understand what this change will mean to them, and virtually everyone is confused. No wonder we're confused, the government is behind this campaign . There are millions of people that think that their current TVs will no longer work after February 17th. 
So, here's what will make the difference in Black Friday sales this year... TV sales will push retail sales numbers over the top, exceeding last year's numbers. 

I was in Costo yesterday and I couldn't believe the number of people with 2 or 3 TVs in their carts! I wandered through the TV aisles and listened to the buzz. An amazing number of shoppers were under the impression that unless they replaced all the TVs in the house, that they wouldn't be able to watch TV. 

Maybe it's confusion. Maybe they are looking for the right gift to put under the tree. Maybe they're just looking for an excuse to buy that great new plasma set they've been eyeing for months. But one thing is for sure, they're spending thousands of dollars on high-tech, and that will make the difference in retail sales this weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11, 7 years later...

I started my day as I do every September 11th, at Connecticut's September 11th memorial. It is located in Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. It is an understated memorial on the shore of Long Island Sound. There is a large granite memorial that commemorates all the people that were lost, and there are 2 rows of smaller stones that contain the names of every Connecticut resident that was lost that day. People gathered there on September 11, 2001 because it has a clear view of lower Manhattan. Today was particularly emotional. There was no organized memorial planned, that was 2 nights ago with the Governor and other dignitaries. As I sat there this morning, I noticed more people than ever before coming up to pay their respects and remember. A mom with her 2 young daughters brought flowers, photos, and letters for their daddy, a guy on a bicycle rode up, took off his helmet, walked over to the memorial and immediately started bawling his eyes out. One guy was there when I arrived, and was still there when I left. He'll be there all day. And yet another guy showed up and quietly read a letter to his loved one. Other individuals and groups came and went, but everyone cried. And that's good. It was heartening to see that so many people still take the time to remember. I will never forget.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Much Ado About Nothing" CT Free Shakespeare in Bridgeport

The Bard hits Bridgeport! Check out this 70's version of this Shakespeare classic.

Connecticut Free Shakespeare
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo
Bridgeport, CT

Frid. - Sun., July 18 - 20
Wed. - Sun., July 23 - 27
Wed., July 30 - Sat., August - 2

Main stage show begins at 8:00 p.m.

The Zoo’s Picnic Grove opens at 6:30 p.m. for people to enjoy picnic dinners brought from home, or purchased from the Zoo’s concession stands. People are also welcome to bring blankets and lawn chairs. The Zoo itself will not be open for touring during the evening.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Accidental Mayor

The Accidental Mayor
Documentary filmmaker Larry Locke explores urban idealism and self-destruction through Bridgeport mayor John Fabrizi. Monday, June 9 at 7PM at the Barnum Museum, 820 Main St., Bridgeport. $30 (to benefit the Barnum Museum and City Lights Gallery), (203) 311-1104,
check out the trailer on YouTube:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bijou Square Key to Downtown Revival

There was something in the air here at Bijou Square at the grand opening party at Two Boots this past Wednesday. Something you could feel. It was a sense of amazement that hundreds of people were together eating and drinking and listening to live music on Fairfield Avenue in downtown Bridgeport. For me, it was a sense of pride that all this was happening in the same building that BAM moved to just 6 short months ago. I looked around the room as the first band started playing, I could see that others shared my sense of pride... and amazement. Others that work downtown, members of the media, city employees... we would walk past each other and say "unbelievable", "it's really happening", "this is simply amazing". 

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New boots, TWO of 'em!

Bridgeport got a new pair of boots this month, Two Boots!

Huh? Allow me to explain. The long-awaited Two Boots of Bridgeport fired up the pizza ovens and opened to rave reviews. Located right here at 277 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport, coincidentally 4 floors below BAM's new office, Two Boots is the latest in what is turning into Bridgeport's exciting new dining, drinking and entertainment scene.

The BAM staff had a chance to sample the fare at Two Boots during 2 pre-opening events. The menu features some of the most creative pizza concoctions I've ever experienced. Try the Newman, an Italian-inspired white pie with sopressata and sweet sausage. Like it hot? Then order the Bayou Beast (my favorite) - a crispy thin crust pizza with BBQ shrimp, crawfish, andouille, zippy jalapenos, and mozzarella. It goes great with a cold IPA or a Stella.

Other specialty pizzas feature great names like Mel Cooley, The Dude, Earth Mother, and the favorite of all of us in the ad biz, the Larry Tate. Non-pizza entrees include some terrific salads, yummy Po' Boys, and a fun kid's menu. There's a great lunch special for just $6.95.

Two Boots has a funky Cajun vibe, with New Orleans Mardi Gras beads covering the walls. Head honcho and fellow Bridgeport pioneer Phil Hartman promises that the stage in the back room will soon host some great live entertainment. We're looking forward to it! Welcome to the neighborhood Phil!

NOTE - the way it's been going lately, if you're trying to reach us any time around lunch time, your best bet is to check downstairs at Two Boots. You're almost guaranteed to find at least a couple of us there. You see, once they start cranking out the pizzas for lunch, that wonderful aroma starts working it's way up the stairway and into our office, calling us like bees to honey. Considering that our old office was located just above a dumpster, this is heaven!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BAM is Bullish on Bridgeport

If you've been reading my blog, you must know by now that I'm up on Bridgeport. I've always enjoyed this city, and over the last few years I found myself here more often for dining, entertainment, etc. Finally, we packed up BAM this past summer and moved down the 25/8 connector from Trumbull to our cool new home here on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. We now look forward to taking a lunch break and walking around the downtown area. There's so much to discover... restaurants, galleries, museums, and lots of interesting people. We can walk to the ferry, the train station, and to the Arena to catch a Sound Tigers game! So this blog will continue to feature some newsbits on what's new, hot and happening in the Park City.

This piece ran in the Connecticut Post this week. I'l glad that we'll finally have people living in the Citytrust Tower, as well as in the great new projects under development downtown (including the condos that are a part of our new home, the Bijou Square project).

Connecticut Post Online

BRIDGEPORT — Hey, you late-night downtown revelers, you folks who drive along Main Street with the volume up — take it down a notch: There are people trying to sleep here.
After years of planning and building, and four months of delays, tenants of the redeveloped Citytrust property on the corner of Bank and Main streets started taking possession of their keys Friday.
Some planned to spend the night.
It was late Thursday when the city issued a temporary certificate of occupancy for the 117-apartment building, removing the last barrier to residency. This was a large project for the city and "the folks in charge of the approval process were very, very careful," said Eric Anderson, of developer Urban Green Builders.
So far, about 83 of the units are leased. And while there's been no formal announcement, Citibank has signs up on the windows of a ground floor site, announcing plans for an office.
Anderson said Friday he hopes to announce soon plans for a grocery store; he's in talks with a couple he won't identify, other than to say they've run a grocery store with a restaurant function in New York for more than 20 years.
"They could not have a better reputation," he said.
He and Anthony Ancona, the owner of Fat Cat Joe and Fat Cat Pie — the coffee shop and pizza restaurant slated for the former bank location on the ground floor — are already planning to open a "beergarden" atop the former Arcade Mall building, which is also under redevelopment.
Ancona didn't have a specific opening day for the Fat Cat restaurant. However, he said, now that the residential portion is ready for occupancy, he expects the construction workers can concentrate on the restaurant site.
"We learned a lot from this experience, and the next building we do we're going to be a lot better at it," said Nancy Hadley, director of Bridgeport's Office of Planning and Economic Development.
Hadley's interest in the project goes well beyond the official; she moved some of her furniture into a two-bedroom, corner unit back in May but had to wait until Friday to actually spend the night. The Bank Street leasing office was busy Friday afternoon, as a stream of tenants came in to pick up keys.
"Being from New York, we want to be around things, life," said Fitzroy Daley. He and his wife, Kumiko, spent the past year in another unit, and plan to eventually move into the new apartments under development at 144 Golden Hill St.
He works in Shelton and Kumiko commutes into New York.
"Actually, all of our stuff's over there," Fitzroy Daley said, explaining the one-bedroom units in that location have tubs; only the two-bedroom units in Citytrust have tubs.
Tom Canfarotta, a teacher at the Bridge Academy, is also making Citytrust his temporary home. He's purchased a condominium in the 881 Lofts project on Lafayette Boulevard and needed a place to stay until it opens.
"They're saying February," he said.
"This is so much fun," Hadley said Friday as she lugged a mirror and box from her City Hall Annex office, across Broad Street, down Bank Street and then through the parking garage to the John Street entrance for the freight elevator.
The contractors are still replacing the parts on the main residential elevators, so everyone's using the freight elevator.
According to Hadley, the need to come up with a system for that elevator was one reason for the delay. The elevator will be staffed all day and night, and the telephone system wasn't enough. So until the main elevators are on line, residents use an intercom hookup on each floor to call the attendant.
For Hadley and other tenants in the eight-story "Liberty" building (named for the former tenant, Liberty Bank), this means a trek through the adjacent 11-story Citytrust tower.
On Friday, she passes the open door of Manuel Aranda, who's waiting for the cable guy.
Aranda spent the past 10 years commuting from Brooklyn to Stamford and his father's Aranda Carpentry Corp. Since his father drove, Aranda said, he didn't really mind the travel. But they recently moved the company to Bridgeport and his father announced his upcoming retirement. That made the decision for Aranda, who on Friday was dealing with a gas leak in the stove of the one-bedroom apartment he'll share with his wife, Vanessa.
But the bed was made, clothes were hanging in the closets and he already knew where the dresser, bench, television and desk were going to go.
They picked this building because "It's beautiful the view, and my wife loved it."
Hadley based her apartment choice on the view.
For $1,300 a month, she has two bedrooms, "closets galore" and views of the Pequonnock and Steel Point development sites, as well as the Barnum Museum.
She plans to use that view to entice other developers.
"The issue in Bridgeport is you've really got to get up to see it."
Her view pales in comparison to what can be seen from the penthouse unit at the top of the Liberty building.
That's where Anthony and Suzanne Ancona were Friday, cleaning their new apartment, which is really two units turned into one. Anthony Ancona, when asked about the rent, would only say he's a good negotiator, and that the deal was a bit complex, since they're involved with the commercial projects, too.
"We're dedicated and we're not going anywhere," Suzanne Ancona said. "It's totally exciting. We've always tried to live where we work Why don't you want to do that?"
Their apartment comes with a wraparound patio, with the aforementioned views, on which Anthony Ancona said they plan to create a home for bees, whose honey they will sell in the restaurant. The pair own the Fat Cat restaurant in Norwalk, as well as two wine and liquor stores.
"I love Bridgeport," Anthony Ancona said, pointing to the sites and the proximity to the bus and train stations. He's already discovered a $1.50 bus ride will deliver him to the doorstep of the Norwalk restaurant. "This is a real city."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Righteous Excitement in Bridgeport

For the last few weeks, Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino have been in town shooting scenes for a new crime drama called "Righteous Kill". In this film, scheduled to be released next year, two veteran New York City detectives hunt a vigilante who may be one of their own. The Righteous Kill cast is layered with stars... Donnie Wahlberg, 50 Cent, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, and Martin Scorsese, to mention a few. The film's Bridgeport locations include interior scenes at Joseph's Steakhouse and other spots right here on Fairfield Avenue, across the street from BAM's new office, as well as other locations around town, including a transformation of the Mechanics and Farmers Bank building into "Club 404 of Harlem" (above). I couldn't resist having some Photoshop fun with the "Bob and Bob" photo:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How People Sense Media

The use—and limitations—of eyeballs and ears

Erwin Ephron

The following ray of sunlight is from a copy- testing company (name delicately withheld): "There is an open battle for the eyes and ears of consumers... and a silent battle for their hearts and minds."

I think they got it right the first time. Checking eyes and ears can make our media dollars smarter. Hearts and minds I leave to Beth Israel.

Clark Gable had big ears when small ones would have done. He learned his movie roles by listening while he slept. The often overlooked point is that eyes can close, but ears cannot. Which brings us to the subject: our different media senses—how they work and how well we measure them.

The Media Senses

Media exposure is defined by our senses, not by research. The key media senses are seeing (TV, print, Internet, out-of-home) and hearing (radio, TV, Internet). Print also has an underrated touch dimension, which allows us to skim the pages.

When the Advertising Research Foundation was a frisky five years younger, it constructed a model for measuring media. The critical behavior for TV audience is eyes on the screen. This is worth some thought.

Seeing is a voluntary or conscious sense. We turn or point the head to see things (some frogs don't have to). And we close our eyes not to see things and to sleep (some fish can't do that either).

Hearing is involuntary in that we may not be listening, but we cannot shut our ears.

A Peeping TV

The words "viewing," "seeing" and "watching" all have slightly different shadings, but that's smoke. When the words are used in TV research, they should mean seeing, or eyes are on the screen.

The people meter is coy. It claims to report watching, but it doesn't measure seeing, although the technology is available. The short explanation is people think having a peeping TV in the bedroom taking pictures is an invasion of privacy.

To report TV exposure, the people meter asks respondents to push a button when they start and stop watching TV. Watching is a vague term. They don't push the button when they turn their head, or close their eyes or multitask or leave the room briefly. In those cases they are continuously recorded as watching, even though they do not see the screen.

This minor malfeasance—widespread during commercial breaks—significantly inflates commercial minute audience. It makes advertisers pay for viewers who do not see the screen.

Radio's Value Is Hearing

Just as an ideal TV currency measures seeing, an ideal radio currency measures hearing. The difference, is hearing is involuntary (or unconscious).

A noisy neighbor is annoying because we cannot close our ears. When sound is present, we may not focus on it, but we are aware of it. All of us can hear without listening.

The radio portable people meter is a passive system that measures hearing. When respondents carry a PPM, they hear any carrier signal the PPM records since the PPM registers a radio exposure only when it is audible to the human ear.

That is the key sensory and measurement difference between TV and radio. Even when listeners are not listening, they still hear radio. But when viewers are not viewing, they do not see television. Why is this important?

The Basement of the Brain

Brand awareness is the hard currency of advertising, but a second kind of awareness has bubbled up from the basement of the brain. It's the kind that Gable used when he learned his lines while sleeping.

Neuroscience shows the brain processes things unconsciously as well as consciously. Advertisers see value in this unconscious, or "low-involvement" processing of advertising. They find it helps consumers remember brands and can influence their brand decisions.

Hearing, as distinct from listening, is a good example of low-involvement processing.

The Surround of Sound

What does this mean to radio advertisers? In addition to conscious awareness (listening), radio is the poster child for low-involvement awareness (hearing). This combination gives radio the most complete attentiveness package of any medium.

Listeners when not listening still hear radio. But when viewers don't see television, viewers don't see television.

Is that why we call both audience?

Erwin Ephron is a partner of Ephron, Papazian & Ephron, a leading consultancy to advertisers and the media industry. He can be reached at or at

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Welcoming Jeanne Back to BAM

It is my pleasure to welcome Jeanne Rolston-Csejka to BAM as our Senior Art Director.

This is a homecoming for Jeanne. She originally joined BAM as a graphic designer in 2002. Her outstanding design ability allowed her to advance into the role of Art Director. Now, after spending some time working on national brands at a large agency, she's back and better than ever!

This is an exciting time here at BAM. We're getting settled in our new office here in Bridgeport, we're fortunate enough to be working with some terrific new clients, and now Jeanne is here to be a partner in our growth and success.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sarah's Destination: Dublin

Sarah Churchill has been accepted into a graduate art program at the University of Dublin, and will be moving to Ireland in a few weeks. This is an amazing opportunity for her, and I congratulate Sarah on her acceptance into this internationally renowned program.

Sarah came to Bob Abbate Marketing as an advertising assistant in 2004, and quickly advanced to the position of Graphic Designer. She was promoted to Art Director last year, and has been instrumental in the creation of many of our most successful campaigns.

Sarah's last day at BAM is this Friday. I wish Sarah much success and happiness as she follows her dream.

You can send your best wishes to her at

I'll miss you Sarah.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Trendy Block Takes Shape in Bridgeport

BA: BAM has a new home! As of July 1st we're ensconced in our new digs in downtown Bridgeport. Some say we're crazy, we say we're right where we want to be. We love this city, the vibe, the beauty, the energy. Here's an article from The Connecticut Post about our building.

Trendy block takes shape in Bridgeport
Connecticut Post Online
Article Last Updated:07/07/2007 12:23:40 AM EDT
BRIDGEPORT — The Bijou Theater ballroom is no longer a welcoming place for the swoops, twirls and dips of formal dancing, but its new occupants consider it a perfect place to design buildings.
"It's all about the pickup conversations," not the planned meetings said Paul Antinozzi — whose father, Daniel, started architectural firm Antinozzi Associates 51 years ago — when discussing good design practices.
To that end, the firm's $700,000 investment in the conversion of the two-story, 11,700-square-foot space on the theater's second and third floors included few walls taller than 42 inches. What was once the dance floor houses open workspace delineated by waist-high walls, over which designers and other employees can talk, instead of the barriers of cubicle walls. Even the few offices at the front of the building, overlooking Fairfield Avenue, will have glass walls facing into the space; a conference room at the back of the room will also have an interior glass wall.
The firm's 30 employees have moved from the Stratford office, but some construction work is still going on.
The question, Antinozzi said Tuesday, was whether to go for a "funky industrial" look, renovating the 99-year-old ballroom, which hadn't been occupied since 1950, into a completely white space. Instead they compromised, using warm colors Antinozzi said creates a friendly work environment and round rather than square forms to turn the exposed ductwork into a design feature. They kept most of the original wood floors in the main office area and three grand chandeliers with amber hanging lights, which descend from the exposed steel trusses of the 36-foot ceiling.
The third-floor balcony once offered stadium-style seating, ascending from a mid-thigh-high, cast-iron balustrade to the wall. The balcony is suspended by rods attached to beams in the ceiling and its base, said George Perham, an Antinozzi principal and vice president.
Antinozzi Associates, which had funding help from a city block grant loan, brought that floor up about 2 feet to a uniform height, and added a waist-high metal rail with thin wires that doesn't block the view from either above or below. They colored the balustrade — now another design feature — amber, to match the chandelier lights.
According to Perham, the air conditioning system adds a bit of white noise and the volume of the space helps keep the noise level down overall. They've even built a "white room," so when the company's interior designers need to pick a color they're not influenced by undertones in paint or carpet.
This type of detail is a product of the nearly four years the move has been in the works.
Developer Philip Kuchma, whose Kuchma Corp. owns the site, called Antinozzi about taking the space when he first began the Bijou Theater project. Plans call for a movie theater and in June Kuchma received planning and zoning approval for a $25 million, five-story residential and retail building for the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Lafayette Circle. This building — designed by Antinozzi Associates — will be next to the theater building's second restaurant, Two Boots Roadhouse, which Kuchma expects to open before August.
Antinozzi and Perham, whose firm has done a lot of work in Bridgeport, were already considering moving here. They looked at the old Boy's Club and CitiTrust buildings, Perham said, but "None of them were quite as artistic as this one."
"We're a little bit of pioneers," Antinozzi said. "That's what architecture's supposed to be."
"Bridgeport needs to show people that there are prominent companies and prominent organizations that want to be here," Kuchma said. "We have to push away that whole notion that Bridgeport attracts second best."
Antinozzi Associates aren't alone in the Bijou Theater building.
Cafe Roma has been up and running since December 2005 and, even though business slowed a bit during all the recent construction, "It was for a good cause," co-owner Massimo Tabacco said. Business, which includes new customers from Antinozzi Associates, is already improving, he added.
Tabacco said he and partner Pino Pace are also starting to see foot traffic along Fairfield Avenue, and customers are coming in at night just for dinner.
"We have faith in Phil [Kuchma]. We think he's really the force that's dragging [this along]," Tabacco said. Kuchma is waiting on one last lease signature before declaring the Bijou Theater project full. That lease is with a New York-based filmmaker, but Kuchma said last week he couldn't offer any more details until the deal is done.
This filmmaker is in addition to Larry Locke Productions, whose principal is filming a documentary about Bridgeport Mayor John M. Fabrizi; CardinalPointe Film Funding, another New York company that is opening a Bridgeport office; BAM, which stands for Bob Abbate Marketing; Two Boots Roadhouse; and online marketing company Big Ideas Productions LLC.
"We're trying to create a little bit of a film center here," said Kuchma, who added he deliberately went after other tenants with a creative bent.
"People who by being in a space help to bring a space to life."
"We're just in the process of moving right now," Big Ideas founder Vincent Descoust said Friday. The 10-year-old company originated in the Bridgeport Innovation Center, but Descoust, who has three employees, said, "I needed to move in order to grow the company."
He's leased about 700 square feet on the fourth floor, at the back of the Bijou Theater, which meets his requirements for something "less conventional," that is still a good place to bring clients.
"There's a great potential in downtown Bridgeport," Descoust said, comparing it to the renaissance of South Norwalk.
Tabacco, too, sees comparisons to "SoNo," at least where it was 10 years ago. "It's not just a project anymore. It's starting to be reality."
Kuchma isn't the only person to see potential in this block of Fairfield Avenue.
For seven years, Joseph Sangut's JS General Contracting LLC has worked on the four buildings Lafayette Square Associates owns in that area — 300, 350 and 360 Fairfield Ave. (including the parking garage) and 1 Lafayette Circle.
Now, Sangut hopes to open Lafayette Coffee Cafe & Gallery in the ground floor of the parking garage across from the theater in five to six weeks.
"Tenants love him. People love him," his drive and desire for perfection, said Christopher Werba, property manager of the four buildings, when asked why the owners encouraged Sangut to open a coffee shop.
The original idea goes back about seven years, to when Joesph's Steakhouse came into a spot on Fairfield Avenue that had included a deli. Werba said the owners of Lafayette Square Associates — Sheldon Goldstein and Edward Silverman — thought the parking garage and existing buildings would create enough business to make a coffee shop with a deli a success.
As for the new development at the Bijou Theater, Werba said, "That's just the cream" on top.
Sangut, who admits to tearing down the walls in the nearly 3,000-square-foot space three times before finding a configuration he likes, plans to sell coffee, high-end pastries, hot and cold sandwiches and beer and wine. In addition to a salad bar, he's building a private room just for meetings and he'll be able to roll out the windows looking out onto Fairfield Avenue, to create an open dining space.
Sangut said he hasn't yet decided on the interior decor, but isn't worried about locking in a palette.
"Whatever it takes — paint it once, twice or five times."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Conventional ads get conventional results. Are you sure that's what you want?

Roy Williams offers his opinion on why most ads are duds:

I’ve said many times, “Most ads aren’t written to persuade, they’re written not to offend.”

This goes back to chapter one, “Nine Secret Words” in my first book, The Wizard of Ads. Do you remember the nine secret words? “The Risk of Insult is the Price of Clarity.”

Clarity. Ah, there we have it.

Rare is the ad that makes its point clearly.

The customers who cost you money are the ones you never see; the ones who don’t come in because your ads never got their attention.

I was writing an ad this week and decided to insert a word flag. I chose a phrase of declarative rebuttal; “And to that, we say, ‘Piffle and Pooh.’”

Obviously, ‘Piffle and Pooh’ is just a whimsical way of saying “Poppycock.”

My client was worried that people might be offended, so he asked me to change it to something else. I hung up the phone and yelled at the walls. If you’re curious what I said, just walk into my office. I’m pretty sure it’s still echoing in there.

Would you like to know the 4 Biggest Mistakes made by advertisers?

Mistake 1: Demanding “Polished and Professional” Ads
If you insist that your ads “sound right,” you force them to be predictable.
Predictable ads do not surprise Broca’s Area of the brain. They do not open the door to conscious awareness. They fail to gain the attention of your prospective customer. This is bad.

Mistake 2: Informing without Persuading
Study journalism and you’ll create ads that present information without:
(A.) substantiating their claims,
“Lowest prices guaranteed!” (Or what, you apologize?)
(B.) explaining the benefit to the customer.
“We use the Synchro-static method!” (Which means…?)
“It’s Truck Month at Ramsey Ford!” (Come to the party, bring my truck?)

Mistake 3: Entertaining without Persuading
Study creative writing and you’ll draft ads that deliver entertainment without:
(A.) delivering a clear message.
“Yo Quiero Taco Bell” (Dogs like our food, you will, too?)
(B.) causing the customer to imagine themselves taking the desired action.
“Yo Quiero Taco Bell” (I should buy a taco for my Chihuahua?)

The best ads cause customers to see themselves taking the action you desire. These ads deliver:
INVOLVEMENT: Watch a dancing silhouette ad for the iPod and mirror neurons in your brain will cause part of you to dance, as well. This is good advertising.
CLARITY: The white earphone cords leading into the ears of the dancing silhouette make it clear that the white iPod is a personal music machine.

Mistake 4: Decorating without Persuading
Graphic artists will often create a visual style and call it “branding.” This is fine if your product is fashion, a fragrance, an attitude or a lifestyle, but God help you if you sell a service or a product that’s meant to perform.

“Do you like the ad?” asks the graphic artist.

“Yes, it’s perfect,” replies the client, “the colors create the right mood and the images feel exactly right. I think it represents us well.”

Sorry, but your banker disagrees.

Hey, I’ve got an idea; why don’t you and Artsy go home and redecorate the living room at your house? Me? I’ll stay here and ruffle some feathers and sell some stuff. I hope you don’t mind.

But you probably will. Because you worry needlessly when people don't like your ads.

Ninety-eight point nine percent of all the customers who hate your ads will still come to your store and buy from you when they need what you sell. These customers don’t cost you money; they just complain to the cashier as they’re handing over their cash.

Do you believe the public has to like an ad for the ad to be effective? You do?

To that I say “Piffle and Pooh.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jack Off! (or "CBS Doesn't Know Jack", "Jack Shits", etc...)

CBS-FM is back! Today at 1:01PM, CBS Radio dumped its struggling Jack format and returned 101.1FM to its original format - Oldies! Here's an article from the NY Post:



July 7, 2007 -- Hit the road, Jack!

CBS Radio will boot Jack-FM and bring back WCBS/101.1FM, the beloved oldies station that "Jack" replaced two years ago, sources said yesterday. The change could happen as early as Monday.

Millions of New Yorkers were heartbroken in June 2005 when CBS abruptly dropped CBS-FM and its lineup of legendary disc jockeys - including Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, Harry "The Morning Mayor" Harrison, and afternoon jock Bob Shannon - after 33 years as New York's oldies station.

The company replaced the station's music format with a new format known as "Jack," with no live disc jockeys or local flavor.

The news of a possible switch was first reported yesterday in the Radio Business Report, a trade publication, and then corroborated by several sources who requested anonymity.

It could not be determined how many, if any, of the station's original jocks would return. CBS officials would not confirm the format switch.

Cousin Brucie - now hosting an oldies show on Sirius Satellite Radio - was cagey when reached by phone and asked if he knew about a forthcoming switch.

"Should this happen," he said, "I would be very happy for the people of New York because it means that they won themselves a battle."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

RAEL: radio ads have emotional impact equal to TV ads

According to new research based on advanced physiological testing, radio ads have emotional impact on consumers that is equal to that of television ads. The Radio Ad Lab released the new study, Engagement, Emotions, and the Power of Radio, at the Interep Mid-Year Radio Symposium today in NYC. The study was designed to assess how well Radio ads generate emotional responses and engage with consumers, compared to television ads. The study used methods of measuring emotional responses that don't require verbal responses, but work at a deeper, pre-cognitive level: CERA (Continuous Emotional Response Analysis).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Two Great Local Newspaper Groups Are Now One

BAM has terrific relationships with our friends at both Hersam-Acorn Newspapers and Hometown Publications. I'm thrilled that they're joining forces. Here's yesterday's press release:

Jun 19, 2007
Hersam Acorn Newspapers to acquire 11 newspapers, printing plants
Hersam Acorn Newspapers LLC announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the New England publishing and printing assets of Journal Communications of Milwaukee, Wisc.

Hersam Acorn is the publisher of The Darien Times.

The acquisition consists of 11 community newspapers, five shoppers and two printing facilities (in Trumbull, Conn., and Bennington, Vt.). The Connecticut companies do business under the names Hometown Publications and Trumbull Printing.

“This acquisition gives Hersam Acorn Newspapers a wonderful platform from which to grow. We will now operate 19 newspapers in Connecticut, one of the finest printing operations in the country, as well as shoppers in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont,” said Martin V. Hersam, chief operating officer of Hersam Acorn Newspapers.

“Journal Communications has built impressive newspaper and shopper groups here. We look forward to building these businesses,” he said. Journal Communications is on the New York Stock Exchange, listed under JRN.

“Our Connecticut advertising and editorial reach now extends from Greenwich to New Haven with 180,000 readers every week,” said Thomas Nash, group publisher of Hersam Acorn Newspapers.

In 1908, the New Canaan Advertiser was founded by John E. Hersam, great-grandfather of Martin V. Hersam. In that same year, Karl S. Nash, Thomas Nash’s father, was born in Ridgefield. Nash founded Acorn Press in 1937. Hersam Acorn was formed in 1997 when Hersam Publishing of New Canaan and Acorn Press of Ridgefield merged.

Hersam Acorn is comprised of the Greenwich Post, The Darien Times, the New Canaan Advertiser, The Wilton Bulletin, The Ridgefield Press, The Redding Pilot, The Weston Forum and The Lewisboro (N.Y.) Ledger.

Trumbull Printing is a 58,000-square-foot printing facility that houses two Goss and two Tensor web press lines. Hersam Acorn is currently Trumbull’s largest customer.

“This is a fantastic printing facility and we’re looking forward to working with all the people who do such a great job for our newspapers now,” Hersam said.

Hometown Publications is comprised of the Easton Courier, Monroe Courier, Trumbull Times, Valley Gazette, Oxford Gazette, Stratford Star, Milford Mirror, Huntington Herald, Hamden Journal, Amity Observer, and Bridgeport News. Hometown also publishes two shoppers, Fairfield Today and Shelton Extra.

The acquisition also includes a publication in New York, the Country Shopper, based in Pound Ridge.

The shoppers in Vermont and Massachusetts are comprised of Tri State Pennysaver News, Vermont News Guide, Yankee Shopper and the Berkshire Penny Saver.

The deal is expected to close soon. Terms were not disclosed. DH Capital, LLC and CobbCorp, LLC served as Hersam Acorn’s exclusive financial advisers. Mark Thorsheim of New Canaan is a managing director of DH Capital.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Media Is Not the Message

More from The Wizard...

"I'm in the furniture business. Which media should I use?"

"I'd like to target people who are afraid of the dentist. Can you recommend a good mailing list company?"

"My uncle uses television ads to attract new customers and they work really well for him. Television ads have made him rich. What's your opinion of TV?"

"No one in my town listens to the radio anymore. Everyone has satellite or an iPod."

"I tried advertising. It doesn't work for my kind of business."

People say things like this and expect me to have an intelligent response. What usually happens is that I stand there, dull-eyed, with my mouth hanging open. These are not my favorite moments.

When my brain finally recovers and I tell them the truth they need to hear, they act as though I've sidestepped their question.

Here's the truth they needed to hear. Maybe you need to hear it, too:

Relevance is what determines whether an ad works or not.
Every media fails when it delivers a message no one cares about.

Have you ever run an ad that failed?
Let's pull aside the curtain and look backstage to see what really happened:

1. The ad was so predictable that few people even noticed it.
SOLUTION: Get a new ad writer or remove the handcuffs from the one you've got.

2. Prospective customers noticed the ad, received the message and understood it perfectly. They just didn't care.
SOLUTION: Dump the irrelevant subject matter. Discover what people actually care about and talk about that instead.

3. The ad's message would have been relevant, but it was unclear.
SOLUTION: Remind your writer that creativity often gets in the way of clarity. Remind your layout artist that the prettiest ad is rarely the most effective. You're running a business, not a magazine. Make sure the dynamic duo understands that their continued employment depends on creating ads that sell the product.

4. You committed to an ad campaign that was shorter than your product selling cycle. If people buy your product once a week, don't expect your ads to return a profit during the first week. If people buy once a month, don't expect to break even on your advertising during the first 30 days. If your product selling cycle is longer than 2 years, you can expect to lose money on your ads – even if they're good – the first 4 to 6 months. You'll start pulling ahead during the second six months. Your real growth won't happen until you begin reaching that same group of people for a second year.
SOLUTION: Commit to an ad campaign commensurate with your product selling cycle.

5. The listener failed to be engaged because the ad was written from a cultural perspective other than the customer's own. (This is why Anglo-conceived Hispanic campaigns usually fail. Translating language is easy. Transferring cultural perspective is nearly impossible.)
SOLUTION: Hire a different ad writer to create the second campaign. Make sure the writer is from the cultural background he or she is trying to reach.

Bottom Lines:
Ads that fail in one media would usually have failed in any other.
The media is not the message.
The message is the message.
And the message is what matters most.

To deliver a pointless message powerfully is the definition of hype.

To deliver a powerful message pointlessly is the result of weak creative.

To deliver a powerful message powerfully is the first step in making a fortune.

Now go do it. And good luck.