Mediatel Video interview on Ad Fraud

Advertisers should be asking the tougher questions of everyone on their plan and seek out value and not just lower prices. An interesting couple of panels at Mediatel event showed that there is still too much fixation on the wrong topics and mainly those related to agency business models and not the wider marketplace.

Naked Wines – A master class in CRM and customer relations


Have you heard of Naked Wines? Do you like wine? Then you should check it out In our industry we talk a lot about customer engagement and CRM / social media usage and often talk about AMEX or Starbucks as the benchmark. There is one company that in my experience has blown them all away, I mean really stand out and that is Naked Wines.

Basically Naked Wines invests in new wine makers, start ups of the wine industry and you are encouraged to invest, the investment is small scale, could be £20 a month for example. This money is then ploughed back into the start ups via your purchases. As you purchase you receive 33% cash back to spend again. There is then an amazing site that allows you to rate and share and see what others are drinking, liking etc. When you do buy some wine, it comes with a personalised message from the wine maker on the label which is a nice touch.

As with Amazon they keep track of what you like and don’t like and make suggestions for you etc for future purchases. This is all good but it is not all of this that has taken me, it has been the amazing contact strategy.

After a few standard emails from them telling me what money I have in the account I then receive an email entitled ‘FW That thing I was telling you about’ you open it up to find Naked Wines have forwarded an email from a winemaker offering a chance to Angel investors to buy a one off. Naked Wine email starts with ‘this is what I love about my job’. It is all a fantastic tone, it draws you in.

As it happens I did not take this offer and a little while later I receive an email entitled ‘Have I offended you?’ This is the text:

Dear Marco

I am baffled.

Every month I tell you about the free bottle of wine that you have earned..and every month you ignore it. It is not a trick, it is your reward for being a loyal investor.

If you are too busy to faff about mixing a case to get your free bottle then I have a solution. (goes on to explain solution)

If there is some other problem then please tell me by hitting reply.

This is an engaging, refreshing and actually quite to the point as an opening approach and had me already more engaged in something I was partially committed to. They continue with a number of contact emails and most are ignored, not out of dissatisfaction, more time, busy life etc and I think that is where I genuinely respect this company – they worked that out!

Every so often though after a period of time, they come back to grab your attention, I liked ‘warning do not open before Christmas’ when you open there is a selection of wines with the warning that they may attract unwelcome relatives. As you read further it continues to push the message – avoid this offer – all the way through, it’s nice, a change of pace from the usual CRM messaging.

To my amazement I then actually got a call from someone to have a chat with me about my wine preferences and what I would be interested in the future, a website that calls you? As it happens I did not have time and so…

Along came the next hook email – ‘I am feeling VERY guilty…’ the opening line is brilliant ‘We’ve got your money AND your wine. That is not good! We owe you £80 of wine and I am losing sleep over it’ then comes the genius and ties back to what I said earlier, they know I have not got loads of time for deliberation so they make it easy.

‘I’ve tried to call you several times, but you are a very hard person to get hold of, so I have a no nonsense proposal for you’ They go on ‘Give me one chance to put a selection of wines together and if you like them you have had some great wine and I get a clean conscience. If not a full refund.’ What did I need to do to get this arranged? Hit reply and say YES! That’s it. There is the beauty of it. Let us do the work and just say yes, show us some faith. I did. On the delivery confirmation email they then propose another way I could work with them that gets me the best wines and with the least hassle until I decide to invest more time in it.

Underpinning this amazing contact strategy is an awesome service. Order before 3pm for next day delivery, follow up emails, great website full of information and social engagement and more. Why have I felt like writing about this company, well because so much time is spent writing off email strategies instead focusing on social media etc etc. I don’t think it is true, it is just not done well. Naked Wines is the best experience I have had with a business bar none and should be a benchmark for all. And at the end of it all as I reviewed the emails they sent me I saw that I had bought a fair amount of wine and I would say 90% of that has come from the email nudges!

Well done Naked Wines and every one else take a good look and learn something.

Hard work being a technology company at the moment

I would not want to be in this space at the moment. It is fiercely competitive and every man and his dog has a new angle on targeting, tracking, bidding and the like. Digital has always been like that, a constant stream of questions from clients, planners and other agencies along the line of – ‘you heard of x company, apparently amazing, can you have a look at it for me?’ Being on the inside of a technology company must feel like that at the moment, especially big ones like Google and Microsoft.

The energy at the moment is focused on biddable media whether that be ad exchanges, search of Facebook API and therefore companies have come along like Marin and Kenshoo to challenge the elite. They are new and shiny and fast and they produce product roadmaps about 6 months ahead of the slightly larger more sluggish rivals.

Teams in Doubleclick now are constantly being asked about what can be integrated into their systems like DART search, it’s a fair question because the market is moving so quickly the agencies are having to adapt rapidly and therefore they need their suppliers to do the same. Deep integrations that are hard to move is not a good enough reason to stay with a supplier. It’s not however as simple as doing the usual Google bashing or Atlas bashing, I have some sympathy for them. When they change one thing it has to deliver against all their other systems and make sure that nothing falls over. With great volumes and large customer bases comes a big responsibility to not mess up. Some start up with 5 clients can afford to mess about a bit and change things as it pleases with little or no impact, Google can’t do that.

I would like to see what happened if an agency said to one of these new companies – OK I will move all our spend to you, we want 24.7 customer service, technical support, migration in weeks, nothing to go wrong, we want to check all your contracts and privacy set ups and all the rest. Simply, they would not cope. So on that basis I think we have to understand that there are many pretenders to the crown but they could not all make it and its easy to bash the big boys.

Nevertheless it must be hard work right now and I don’t envy them. Sometimes things just do not work, today we saw the end of Google Wave. Of course we did, it was a nightmare. A small part of me does think though that those resources could be redirected into services that meet the real needs of customers rather than so many experiments. How is Buzz doing?

Outside of that particular field there are so many companies selling data, targeting and tracking. They all want a piece of our client’s websites, they all want a test, it is a minefield out there and sorting the wheat from the chaf for agency digital planners is extremely hard and often hard for the companies to differentiate themselves. I have not seen so many new companies selling their wares since 2000, they wont all make it and as agencies we need to somehow back the right horses..

ebay robbed charges they dont make clear

Marco Bertozzi:05:05:10

I have just received an email in my inbox proclaiming free listing this weekend on ebay!! What a deal, that will save you about £1. What they dont tell you is that they will charge you up to 10% of the final value of your sale, no wonder they want to give you free listings.

I would very much like to see the inner workings of ebay, the day the board sat around and said ‘ I know, lets change terms and conditions, noone will read them, and charge a percentage of final value. How much do you think? umm what about 10%? Sounds good to me. Done’ This is crazy business and I am sure has made them millions but it leaves a sour taste when you have been a regular user of the site, it also makes me feel that it again lets down the web in the eyes of the consumer. Its all too easy to just hide things in sections on a site or send a random email noone reads and anyone who knows ebay knows its a nightmare to find anything to do with customer service. The web needs to clean up in this regard, if you walked into a shop and got lumped with new charges you would just walk out, with ebay, the first you know about it is when you get your end of month bill. In my case that was £33 for one sale.

In the old days you paid lets say £3 for a listing and thats with all the bells and whistles. Now you pay for the listing, lets say £3, again a little extravagant. You then get a bill for about another £30 on a £300 quid item! On top of that you pay by Paypal and they take their cut, before you know it you just lost about 12-14% of your sale. It is a joke. For that reason, I shall never sell on ebay again, its all going to charity.

The Superbowl still captivates a nation, a UK perspective..and the TV ads

Marco Bertozzi:14.02.2010
Having been in the US for the first time whilst Superbowl was on, I was struck by what an immense event it is. On the night there were 100 million viewers in the US! Those numbers are mind boggling and even more impressive that they were the highest viewing figures for the game ever.

Who says TV is dead? So how does the Superbowl weekend play out? I always had a simplistic view of the advertising around the event. I imagined a few great Ads in the centre break and then some discussion over how much each Ad cost and whether or not was it any good. I was completely wrong, on all the channels in the run up to the game there was almost as much discussion about the Ads as the game itself. In fact studies showed that watching the Ads was the best bit for many viewers. As an example the web was white hot with rumours about the Google Ad, with many even tweeting that hell must has frozen over for them to take a break in Superbowl.

Once in the game my idea of a ‘centre break’ was naive there were about five plus centre breaks each crammed with ads, some of which were good others less so. What struck me was the lack of an epic. There was no Honda Cog full length or a Tango Classic, just attempts at funny ads. I was sat in a bar when the favorite Dorito Ad came on (the one with the electrocuting dog collar) and the place erupted with laughter, success for Dorito on that one!

Here is a selection of the best:

Post game and on into the next days everyone talked about the ads, amazing coverage, they polled them, they critiqued them, ranked them, it was prime time news. The Internet viral effect was and still is massive, the more people talk about them, the more people go and search online, this is TV and online working together brilliantly. You can see why advertisers go for this, the exposure is enormous, there is simply nothing like this in the UK.

On balance I think it is slightly over the top but you do get dragged into the occasion, it’s also the biggest test of the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity, woe betide anyone who made a dog of an Ad because that fact was repeated over and over again, would be great to see the sales of an advertiser who produced a bad Ad for Superbowl.