Does Mobile Shopping Help Or Hurt Physical Store Sales? Yes


Mobile shopping was supposed to be lethal to brick-and-mortar retailing. But according to two new studies, it’s helping physical stores at least as much as it’s hurting. “Out on the streets, more people [who own smartphones] are going into stores and staying there longer while those who purchase online tend to favor online-only stores, based on two new studies,” mCommerceDaily reported October 13.

After tracking smartphones in and near stores and measuring data on tens of millions of US shopping sessions, retail analytics firm Euclid found that smartphone ownership correlates with more, not less, in-store shopping. Since last year, shopping time increased 18 percent, for example, from 22 to 26 minutes. More smartphone owners who pass by stores stop in – a total of 9 percent of sidewalk traffic. Fewer shoppers are walking out right after they walk in; the number of shoppers who left within five minutes of entering a store dropped by 2 percent. And nearly one in eight shoppers (12 percent) returned to a store within a 30-day period (hopefully, not to return the merchandise).

A Survey Monkey online survey of 1,000 smartphone owners, for Contact Solutions, had more good news for brick-and-mortar retailers: When smartphone owners have a choice between buying the same item online or in a store, a majority – 61 percent, to be specific – get in their cars and go to the store.

There was some bad news for physical retailers, too. Of all the smartphone owners who buy online (and that’s a lot), more than half (52 percent) do more than half of their buying with online-only retailers.

Ironically, mobile shopping apps may be doing more to hurt mobile sales than physical sales. That’s because they can come with certain shopping difficulties and frustrations that can arise when struggling to buy something on a mobile app; 39 percent of consumers surveyed reported “disappointment” over their inability to get help over a mobile app. Most of those disappointments lead to lost mobile sales – not only present sales but future ones. When struggling with a mobile app, a majority of shoppers – 51 percent – just close it and forget the shopping cart. A plurality – 40 percent – try to get help by going to the seller’s website on their desktops or laptops. One in five – 20 percent – stop using the app entirely. Slightly less than one-eighth – 12 percent – forget the app and go to the brick-and-mortar store, which is fine if you’re not an online-only merchant and have stores everywhere (otherwise, somewhat less than ideal). Only 8 percent of consumers shopping on their smartphones will use those phones to call customer service.

With the holiday shopping season about to start, as retailers put the last touches on getting their advertising, their promotions, their merchandise mix and their mobile apps in place, invest some time in testing those apps on real consumers, to make sure that they can use them as easily as your IT folks can. It would be a shame to put so much into making a sale, only to blow it at the last moment with a screen touch.


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Why Clinton’s Television Advertising Is As Ineffectual As Trump’s

The consumer research is in, and it shows that the Clinton and Trump campaigns’ television advertising is achieving the same results – none. The reasons are very different though, and each has an important lesson for regular (i.e., non-political) advertisers.clinton-vs-trump

The Trump campaign’s television advertising is so ineffective for a very simple reason: They’ve run next to none of it. From September 16 through Election Day, according toAdvertising Age‘s analysis of Kantar Media spending figures, the official Trump campaign will be investing all of $548,656 in television air time. Before that, they spent$4.3 million, for a grand total of $4.85 million. As a result, their commercials are, to all intents and purposes, invisible. This is because viewers need to be exposed to a commercial several times before they even even realizing that it’s there. The first time a new commercial runs, viewer reaction is, “Did I just see something new?” Second time, it’s, “Oh, that’s what I saw.” It’s only after the third exposure that viewers may start seeing and hearing the content – and that’s if the advertiser’s lucky. Read more →

What Happens When Everyone Follows “best Practices”


Quick, which furniture store is having a this-week-only sale with no payments for six months? Which tire store is selling four tires for the price of three? Which personal injury attorney will fight for you against insurance companies?

All of them. And that’s why you can’t tell them apart.

“Best Practices” = same practices

That’s because all of them are following the advertising “Best Practices” for their product categories. Best Practices are officially defined as “the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.”

In short, conventional wisdom.

The problem with Best Practices is the key phrase, “repeatable procedures.” Because the same procuedures are repeatable, everybody and his brother repeats them. In advertising, that repetition, regardless of brand, leads to sameness – and sameness is the enemy of effectiveness and results.

Differentiation trumps familiarity

For decades, global advertising agency Young & Rubicam’s Brand Asset Valuator database has been tracking the rise and fall of 40,000 brands among 500,000 consumers in over 40 countries. They’ve identified four main characteristics of a brand:

  1. Knowledge – how well consumers feel they know the brand
  2. Relevance – how relevant they think the brand is to them
  3. Esteem – how well they think of the brand
  4. Differentiation – how unique they think the brand is.

They then correlate these characteristics with consumer attitudes towards the brand, ranging from Fatigue and Indifference to Curiosity and Irresistibility.

As you go through brand after brand, one conclusion becomes inescapable: With rare exceptions, Differentiation correlates amazingly strongly to Irresistibility. How different a brand appears to consumers is more important than how much they know about it.

That’s counterintuitive, but not that surprising when you think about it.

Much too much information

Every American – man, woman and child – is exposed to some 1,800 sales messages a day. Assuming 16 waking hours, that’s one sales message every 32 seconds, on the average. In addition to all those sales messages, there’s a tsunami of information overload – information that needs to be severely edited. This editing, according to Thomas Washington, writing in the Washington Post

…[is] about proficiency in tossing stuff out. By necessity, we spend more time quickly scanning manuals, king-size novels, the blogosphere and poems in the New Yorker than we do scrutinizing their contents for deeper meaning.”

Practicing what’s best beats Best Practices

So if you want to make your brand irresistible to its target audience, you must first make it different. You need to abandon the same Best Practices that the furniture and tire stores and everyone else in your category all so slavishly follow and create your own message – one that’s different not only in how it looks and sounds but, even more important, in what it says about your product or service and what that difference means to consumers.

Do it well, and your brand will be so successful, it’ll become the basis of a new Best Practice.


Why White Pages Brand Names Don’t Work In Today’s Yellow Pages World


Where do you go when you know who you’re looking for but not where to find them? The (usually online) White Pages directory. Where do you go when you know what you’re looking for but not who sells it? The Yellow Pages.

Or maybe you just go to Google, which works like both, but more like the Yellow Pages.

The problem is, too many businesses have White Pages names, meaning that customers who don’t know them by name won’t find them.

That was then

This way of naming businesses goes back to the late 19th Century, when telephone directories were first invented. Back then, business founders named their companies or products after themselves (Ford, Oldsmobile, Chrysler, Macy’s, Procter & Gamble, Miller Beer) or where they were located (Chesterfield cigarettes, made in Chesterfield County, VA; Pontiac and Plymouth, both suburbs of Detroit). Not only was there no Internet then, but the world in general was smaller, and folks were more likely to know who was who. Later on, in the 20th Century, many companies had corporate names reflecting what the company did as a whole (like General Foods) but product names that didn’t describe the products (like Oreo or Tide). Still later in the last century, there was a trend to giving businesses meaningless, made-up names, like Altria. All of those work fine, so long as you have millions of dollars to spend on advertising to promote your name each year and lots of years to keep doing it until it sinks into the public’s consciousness.

Unfortunately, small businesses don’t.

This creates a Catch-22, especially for new, small businesses: Customers who don’t know your name can’t find you in White Pages directories (or name searches) because they don’t know your name.

This is now

Consumers are out there looking for what you sell, and your brand name has to make it easy for them to find it (and you) – by fitting the way they search. And this means putting your product or service category into your brand name.

If you already incorporated your business with a White Pages name, changing it to a Yellow Pages name is usually quick and easy by registering a DBA (doing business as) name with your city or county government. Here in Henrico County, VA, for example, it takes about five minutes and $13.

Or, for a big ten bucks a year, you can register a new URL that includes what you sell and point it to your main domain. A client of ours in the custom home building business named their domain after the initials of their corporate entity – – and wondered why they had no search engine visibility. When we built them a new website, we gave it the URL, and the client went instantly to the top three rankings for “custom homes” and “home builder” Google searches. Not bad for ten bucks. And lots better than $300-400 a month for SEO services. According to 2008-9 Webvisible and Nielsen research, 50 percent of consumers first look for stores and other vendors with search engines. Another 24 percent first turn to the paper Yellow Pages. Almost three out of four consumers – 72 percent, to be specific – use search engines more than they did three years ago, and 23 percent use the paper Yellow Pages less. Those numbers actually understate the case, because fully 82 percent of consumers find products and services with search engines.

That’s why it’s important to make what it is you sell an integral part of your brand name. Someone here in Richmond who wants a new home built would never know to look for, say, gce-llc on a search engine. But if they’re searching for custom homes and customhomesva pops up, they’ll find it.

Don’t Spend More To Make Your Advertising Less Effective


There are times when doing too much can be as harmful to your bottom line as spending, and doing, too little.

Audience size isn’t everything

In buying media, for example, the temptation is to go for as large an audience as you can. It’s only logical. Logical, yes, but not necessarily right.

Let’s say you own a small downtown restaurant. Do you really think that your radio buy, reaching listeners a hundred miles away, is going to get people to drive two hundred miles, round trip, to your door?

The principle applies to dayparts as well as media. If that restaurant of yours does mostly lunch or, even worse, dinner business, does a morning drive time buy really make sense? Sure, it’ll reach the most listeners, but hours away from their next meal.

Radio is great for reaching people while they’re driving or, in many cases while they’re at work, but you can reach them with a less expensive time of day.

The newspaper equivalent of drive time is the Sunday edition, which historically draws more readers than any other day – sometimes more than other days combined. But paying more to reach more people on Sunday may just help you reach them too late.

A large Chevrolet dealer, whose biggest sales day was Sunday, used to pay the higher cost of buying space in Sunday editions. What happened, though, that was by the time people got up late on Sundays, browsed through the paper over leisurely brunches, got dressed and went car shopping, at least half the day was gone. When the dealership switched to Friday and Saturday advertising (giving people more time to see the ads and to shop throughout the weekend), it increased sales and cut media costs.

Ad size isn’t everything

Speaking of newspapers, while full pages are the most expensive advertising units, they aren’t the most noticed. What’s obviously a full page of advertising is all too easy for readers to flip past. A page-dominant unit – say, a vertical 3/8 page – dominates the page while attracting more attention to your message. This is for two reasons: First, the surrounding editorial content gives readers a reason to go to the page your ad is on. And second, the gray look of all the newspaper type surrounding a well-designed ad works like a matte in a picture frame, making the ad really pop.

Another newspaper investment to avoid is space in a special advertising section, where you pay extra to have your ad buried among all your competitors’, all bundled up in one easy-to-discard-unread supplement. If the supplement’s timing is right for your business, better to buy run-of-paper space in the same issue.

Newspapers tell you that you can boost readership of your ad by running it in color, because it will stand out from all the black-and-white ads next to it. That’s true as far as it goes. But what they don’t tell you is that when the production department gets hold of the color ads, they gang them all up together to save on printing costs. The result is that your ad gets lost among all the other color ads, and you’ve paid a premium for the dubious privilege.

Ranking isn’t everything

In buying a sponsored link (aka pay-per-click) online campaign, it’s natural to want the highest possible ranking (which, of course, costs extra). It’s natural but wrong. Go into your Google Adsense calculator, look at the traffic estimates, and surprise! Rankings four through seven bring in more traffic than rankings one through three – and at lower cost.

Results are everything

There’s nothing wrong, and a lot right,  with wanting to spend more on advertising to get more sales. But before you do, look carefully at how you’re going to spend it. Put your money into things that really do increase sales (e.g., more frequency), and you’ll get the higher ROI you’re looking for.

Research Reveals Why You’re Going To Believe This Post

washington-cherry tree


This post may not be true.

Actually, it is. But even if it weren’t, you’d be more likely to believe it. That’s because it has something some others don’t — a picture.

Advertising professionals have long known that a picture makes an ad stand out and attract more readership than an all-type ad. They’ve also known that pictures can go beyond being illustrative to becoming a vital part of the communication.

Sometimes they do this by appearing to contradict the headline, as in the classic Volkswagen ad that showed a picture of an apparently perfect VW Beetle over the headline “Lemon.” (The body copy explained that inspectors had uncovered a minor blemish which VW fixed before sending the car out into the marketplace.)

And sometimes they do it by communicating an important piece of information more powerfully than the headline can.

But even the ad pros didn’t know that, according to experiment results from New Zealand and Canada, the mere presence of a photograph, regardless of subject matter, can make ads more believable.

Research confirms some old cliches

You’d have to be deaf, blind or illiterate not to have heard, seen or read the old adages that “seeing is believing” or that “one picture is worth a thousand words.”

Now, scientific research proves them.

When Victoria University (of Wellington, New Zealand) researchers “wanted to examine how the kinds of photos people see every day…might produce ‘truthiness,’” said lead investigator Eryn J. Newman, “We were really surprised by what we found.”

What they found was that people believe claims – any claims – are true when a picture – any picture – appears beside them.

In four experiments conducted in New Zealand and in Canada, they showed people a series of printed statements. Some were true. Some, like, “The liquid metal inside a thermometer is magnesium,” weren’t. Some appeared with pictures (chosen to shed no light whatever on the truth or falsity of the claim), and some didn’t. They then asked the people, statement by statement, whether it was true or false.

And whenever a picture appeared with a claim, more people said it was true.

That’s why GM’s misleading ad got pulled

Apparently, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority was more aware of the fact that people believe what they see than large advertiser Vauxhall Ampera (AKA Chevrolet Volt), whose commercial they banned from the airwaves for being misleading.

The spot’s video showed closeups of an electric charging cord, headlights coming on, a closeup of a big “Battery Power” dashboard gauge, a power line pylon in the background, and a super claiming a 360-mile range.

Running on the battery only, that range is more like 50.

The order banning the commercial read, in part:

We considered that throughout the ad the emphasis was on the fact that the car was being driven electrically, and that most viewers would not understand that the car was in some circumstances being powered by electricity generated with a petrol engine.

That emphasis came from what viewers saw, not from what they heard or read.

Cheap credibility

Even if you’re a small, local advertiser, you can easily afford to buy some credibility.

Just Google “stock photo,” and you’ll find tons of photo libraries. Many offer royalty-free photos, meaning once you buy one, you can use it forever. Some are free. Many more are cheap (around $30 for a large, hi-res file). Google shows about 1,390,000,000 results, so you’ll have plenty of sources to choose from.

If you have an advertising agency and they’re not doing this for you, then find one that will.

Then, make sure your ads are not only believable, but also honest.

Avoid The “and Then What?” Effect


Puzzled male shrugging wearing lab coat

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, televisions were black-and-white, and telephone deregulation was a gleam in Ronald Reagan’s eye, there was this ad that Western Electric, the monopoly Bell System’s manufacturing division, ran in major magazines. It showed a photo of a small electric fan wired to a phone, over the headline, “This fan tells a deaf person the phone is ringing.” The body copy explained that the fan was wired to the phone’s ringing mechanism, so that when a call came in, it activated the fan, and the resulting breeze told a deaf person that someone was calling.

So picture this: Deaf person in the room, phone call comes in, fan activates, blows a breeze, deaf person feels it, picks up the phone and says, “Hello.”

And then what?

Telephones then, websites now

Unfortunately, that seems to be the guiding principle of too many business’ websites.

They pay thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of dollars for search engine optimization, and hundreds, maybe thousands more, for sponsored links, pay-per-click and social media to drive traffic to their sites.

That’s like the fan and the breeze.

Then, when people get to the site, they find something like this (and this is a direct quote, from a local B2B landing page, with only the name omitted to protect the guilty):

“[Company Name] is a business solutions provider focused on assisting decision makers and senior management with transforming data into actionable information so they can more effectively utilize and leverage their information assets…We provide the oversight and measurement tools that provide visibility into data quality and integrity, true project priorities and associated costs.” That’s the “And then what?”

Are people your audience? Or just search engines?

So after all the cost to drive traffic to the site:

  • What happens when it gets there?
  • Does anyone know what products or services these guys sell?
  • Is there any sense that there’s any kind of benefit for the visitor?
  • Does anyone care?
  • Will anybody still be awake after plowing through all that obscure, self-centered, highfalutin’ language?

If you can’t hold people with your landing page, they’re not going to stick around for the rest of the site.

Too many websites seem to suffer from a sort of Field of Dreams syndrome: If you build it, they will come, and stay, and buy. A look at the site’s analytics quickly shows that they won’t. The number of pages on a site that people go to is usually small. The amount of time they stay on any page is measured in seconds – and very few seconds, at that. This tells you that either the site’s drawing a disproportionate number of speed readers or that nobody’s the least bit interested.

Content isn’t king. Customers are.

Throughout the past century, the advertising industry developed many ways to capture and maintain people’s attention, talk to their wants and needs, persuade as well as just describe, and motivate response. Because too many people developing websites are technicians rather than marketing communicators – people who either ignore or never bothered to learn this knowledge – hang times on non-catalog sites are almost nonexistent.

So in creating your website’s content, divert a fraction of your attention from search engines to customers. What are the problems they’re grappling with that your business can help solve? How do you solve them? Why should they do business with you? What’s in it for them? Are you talking about them or about yourself? Can you say whatever you’re saying interestingly enough to hold their attention for more than a second or two – and persuasively enough to take the sales process to the next step?

Believe it or not, you can do all this and maintain your keyword densities, too.

Reverse the order

So when you (re)build your website, reverse the usual process.

Start off by defining your audience, analyzing their wants and needs, and figuring out how your products and services satisfy them.

Next, say it simply and persuasively – not to show what a wonderfully erudite, polysyllabic vocabulary you can marshal to impress the yokels by writing like a PhD candidate, but to create an empathetic link with your potential customers.

Then, and only then, is the time to see what tweaks you have to make to optimize the site for search engines and drive traffic.

It’s a way of thinking that works not only for B2C sites, but even for B2B sites. Because the net results will be infinitely better than, “And then what?”


Saying Everything In Your Ad Equals Saying Nothing



Each ad you run gives you one shot at your target audience, so it makes sense to use all the ammunition you can, right?


True, there’s a lot you want prospective customers to know about your business, but putting it all into one data dump of an ad will hurt far more than it helps. People aren’t sitting around waiting for your ad so they can study it and take copious notes. It’s only one of some 1,800 sales messages they’ll be bombarded with today.

In any given publication, the most noticed ad gets ignored by 54% of the readership. Of those who notice it (i.e., see the headline, visual and logo), only 10% – 4.6% of the total audience – will read even some of your body copy.

Your business has many good things going for it, most of which potential customers couldn’t care less about. (One local company that builds closet shelves loves to harp on being family owned. Is that why consumers buy closet shelves?) Similarly, consumers have many wants and needs, only some of which your product or service can fulfill. You need to determine where the two overlap, so you can say what you have that solves their problem.

You need to do it on their terms, so the ad talks about them and their needs, instead of being an extended “About Us.” You need to boil that message down to its single most important essential and make that the basis of your headline, where it will have the best chance of being noticed.

The rest of your ad should support your main premise – single-mindedly and briefly; nothing repels the eye like an ad wall to wall with type. You’ll waste far less ammo – and be far more likely to hit the target.

Does Donald Trump Need A New Logo?

real logo


Of all the better-known, officially declared Republican candidates (Sorry, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore don’t count.), the one who needs the most help in a general election against Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump. According to the most recent Real Clear Politics polling data averages for nine leading Republicans, he comes in ninth – and by a long way. While Rand Paul averages a mere 3.8 percentage points behind Clinton – with Mike Huckabee (-5 percent), Jeb Bush (-5.6), fellow Floridian Marco Rubio (-6.8), Ted Cruz (-8), Chris Christie (-9.7), and Scott Walker (-9.8) all within single digits of her, Trump lags by almost 20 percent (-19.6 percent, to be more exact). That’s almost twice as bad as the 10.7 percent gap between Clinton and Ben Carson, the next-lowest Republican contender. So now here come those wild and crazy graphic designers at ,riding to the rescue. In a July 8 email, LogoMyWay’s Joe Daley advises that in the wake of their Hillary Clinton logo design contest, they’ve held a Donald Trump logo contest, that 120 entries are competing for the $200 first prize, and that voting for the winner is now open.

While Donald Trump may have lots of problems as a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office and the leadership of the free world, his logo probably isn’t one of them. As you’ll see from the slide show, it’s not at all bad. It’s clean. Its colors contrast. His name pops. It even contains a four-word slogan summing up his main platform point – Make America great again! [original punctuation] As you’ll also see from the slide show and from the contest link, the contest entries don’t really improve on that. For example, the one entry that makes his surname the focal point sets the letters closer together (eliminating the negative space that helps the name stand out so much better in the real logo, cluttering it up by adding “FOR PRESIDENT”and “2016” (as if no one knew what the election’s for or when it’s taking place), and giving the “P” Trump’s, uh, unique combforward hair sryle.

Which brings us to another point about all those logos: too many of them are all about the hairstyle. This may result from the designers’ failings in imagination or from the candidate’s failure to make it clear he stands for anything other than himself. Of those that don’t focus on the hair, mpost focus on the catchphrase from the contrived cable reality series Trump starred in – You’re fired! Given what America’s gone through the past six-and-a-half years, that would be great if Trump were running against Obama. But unfortunately for Trump and fortunately for the nation, he can’t, thanks to the 22nd Amendment.

There are a few clever uses of Trump’s initials, some logos featuring standard patriotic symbolism, and one that would be more visually fitting for the election of 1896 than 2016’s.

Anyhow, you’re more than welcome to view them all and vote for your favorite here (and you don’t have to join to vote). The one thing you can’t vote for  is”none of the above.”

Pr Agency Gets $156mm Reward For Failed $1.37mm Obamacare Video Promotion

richard simmons

Way back in in the 1950s, Dr. Jonas Salk’s personal motto was, “The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” Six decades later, Covered California, the state Obamacare exchange, put a new spin on it: The reward for work poorly done at exorbitantly inflated cost is the opportunity to do more work for over 100 times as much money. As reported July 1, “A publicity firm that produced a costly webcast for California Obamacare featuring a gyrating Richard Simmons” – a four-minute-twenty-three-second video costing $1.37 million – “was retained, along with another company, for three more years at a cost of $156 million. One legislator demands an audit.” According to Covered California Director Peter Lee, the Tell a Friend – Get Covered video was supposed to do two things: First, save media costs by running only on free social media, such as YouTube. And second, it was supposed to resonate with healthy Millennials – who, as you might recall, have little need for health care services at their age but whose premiums are vital for subsidizing the care of older, richer Americans. The video was just loaded with “content that resonates among Millennials and that can be spread by Millennials to their friends and loved ones,” Lee said. “Millennials are not only our key audience, they also are our ambassadors in spreading the word about Covered California.”

And who’s more resonant with Millennials than the star of the video…Richard Simmons?

Specifically, with Richard Simmons “wearing red tights and a black sequined tank top…joined by a contortionist for a dance competition. Part of Simmons’ routine involved “writhing on the ground and peeking through his split legs” while “a DJ played dance music and the program’s hostess sang, ‘Get covered, hashtag, Uh huh,’ and ‘This is beautiful … I feel inspired to tell my friends to sign up online. That was beautiful, Richard!'”

So it’s no wonder that Ted Gaines, vice chairman of the State Senate Standing Committee on Insurance, is calling for an audit, to determine just what California got for 1.37 million of its citizens’ tax dollars and why the state is throwing more than 100 times as much good money – 114 times as much, to be specific – after bad. “Ogilvy [Public Relations, the agency that produced the Simmons video] made some major mistakes in their advanced outreach, specifically with the use of Richard Simmons. The video bombed; I wasn’t able to get satisfactory answers as to what they accomplished with this,” he stated. “Why are they being rewarded with a renewed contract when they wasted taxpayer money?” he asked.

One thing California’s $1.37 million wasn’t buying was media exposure. Posting a video on YouTube is free. Another thing it wasn’t buying was celebrity talent; the C-list celebrities – including Simmons, Olivia Wilde, Tatyana Ali, Fran Drescher, contortionist Nathan Barnatt, and hostess Hannah Hart, star of the ever-popular YouTube series “My Drunk Kitchen” – donated their talents, such as they are – for free. You’ll see from the video itself that the $1.37 million bought next to nothing in the way of production values. As PJ Media’s Stephen Green blogs, “The studio cost little, the kind of place you rent in Los Angeles to shoot a Cornballer informercial. The studio audience is made up of people who show up for these things to “get on TV!” and also maybe for juice. The production crew? Bare bones. The writing credits, should there actually be any, couldn’t have cost enough to cover the deductible on an ♡bamaCare!!! Silver plan.”

Even worse, it bought next to nothing in the way of viewership. “[I]n over a year there isn’t a version of it on YouTube with even 25,000 views,” Green notes. Using an industry measure of media efficiency, cost per thousand (CPM), a $1.37 million video reaching 25,000 viewers has a $54,800 CPM, which is three to four orders of magnitude higher than media averages. According to 2010 Morgan Stanley research, broadcast television has the highest media cost, averaging $28 CPM. Print media – magazines and newspapers – are next with CPM averaging $16, followed by radio ($10 CPM), Out Of Home ($5 CPM), and Internet ($3 CPM). A $54,800 CPM not only isn’t in the same ballpark; it’s not even on the same planet.

The Richard Simmons fiasco and Covered California’s current $78 million revenue shortfall notwithstanding, the government agency awarded Ogilvy Public Relations and Campbell Ewald a three-year, $156 million contract to “creat[e] a media campaign to entice new enrolees, specifically minorities.” Hey, given all they accomplished with just a measly $1.37 million, you can imagine what they’ll do with 114 times as much dough to play with.