1
May

What is Broadcast Media?

Cutting to the chase: Broadcast media is radio and television. Even amidst the pop culture dominance of the internet, broadcast media still commands the largest share of the advertising pie nationwide. Put the audio and visual media to work for you as your company earns larger market share, stronger branding, and increased sales. If you are looking for cost-efficient lead generation, you need to be looking at radio and television advertising.

Not only are radio and television the main media for advertising today, they are continually developing new ways to reach their audience. The SyFy cable network launched a show (“Defiance”) that combines interactions on a video game with the plot of a series show. Radio stations are supplementing on-air campaigns with digital media to provide on-air and on-screen promotions to those who stream the station through their computer.

Multiple studies have shown that combining radio and television can help advertisers reach audiences not achievable with only one medium or the other.

What Is Broadcast Media?

  • Broadcast television
  • Cable television
  • On-demand television
  • TV/web integration
  • Local, network, and national radio
  • On-air endorsements
  • Long-form programming
  • Multi-language programming

The Power of Radio

Radio reaches more Americans than any other advertising media. As an example, let’s look at Los Angeles, CA. It is the #1 radio revenue market in the world and generates more than $1 billion dollars in sales each year. In that market alone, more than 9 million people listen to radio each week. People are loyal to radio and love listening to their favorite DJ or talk show host. The shows become part of their routines as they drive to and from work or run errands or take kids to school. There is probably at least one conversation in your office every day that starts with, “I heard on the radio this morning…” The reason? More adults in L.A. listen to radio in a week than will visit Google+ in a month!

Radio offers a unique method to achieve Top-Of-Mind-Awareness (TOMA). As people listen to radio advertising and don’t rely on visual cues they would get from TV or a website, your ad is playing in a “theater of the mind”. For example, the phrase “a soft pillow” could conjure an image of a white silk pillowcase on a down pillow for one person whereas another person could be thinking of the cute yellow pillow they had as a child. That openness for interpretation means the quality of your copywriting is vital to success. You have an opportunity to connect with a listener through their own experiences, ideas, and dreams.

The Power of Television

We just mentioned a unique power of radio to achieve TOMA. Television advertising -another part of broadcast media- is the most powerful medium currently available to put your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. The combination of audio and visual messages allows for a dual delivery of your marketing message.

Television Advertising Choices

There is a huge range of choices when it comes demographic targeting with television advertising. The most basic is network vs. cable. Attach your brand to the prestige and authority of companies such as ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox. Take advantage of the huge variety of cable networks that enable you to selectively target viewers based on income, hobbies, ethnicity, favorite sports, gender, sexual orientation, education level, or any combination you may need.

Much has been said about the impact of TiVO/DVR devices and people skipping commercials. Multiple studies have shown that advertising on TV continues to be one of the most effective marketing methods available. Only about 50% of DVR-owning households actually skip commercials. And many of those that skip have been shown to retain what they see in fast-forward or -most importantly- see something that catches their attention and will go back to watch the full ad.

The newest addition to television advertising success is the multi-screen viewer. Millions of Americans watch TV while also surfing the internet on their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. These potential customers can see your add on television and surf immediately over to your website to learn more about your company or product. Conversely, a potential customer can share reactions on Facebook or Twitter to their favorite shows and see your mobile or other online ad appear. A great example of this was the recent airing of “Sharknado” on the SyFy cable network. This B-level movie on a low tier network generated more than 300,000 live Tweets while it was airing.

How Do Radio and TV Help My Company?

  • Credibility via popular media
  • Branding to a loyal audience
  • Association with customer’s favorite show/actor/DJ/host
  • Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA)
  • Unique demographic targeting
  • Multi-screen engagement

Contact Us Today

15
Mar

How to Measure Advertising Results

It should be said first and upfront: you can measure advertising results from every media. Traditional, digital, subliminal, online, offline, experiential, indoor, outdoor, audio, video…all of them.

With that out of the way, I want to briefly explain why I am personally authoring this blog post. Arkside Marketing was born partially out of frustration. Through my experiences in all three sides of the marketing industry, it became apparent that many people in this business are limited. Some by choice, some by employment (restrictive companies or bosses), and some by ignorance. I do not mean any of those as an insult. Just facts. Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of your advertising is critical. Marketers have inaccurate or partial views of how to craft a message, what media(s) may work best, or how to properly quantify results. That last item is what we will address here. Being able to track or source results is so vital to effective marketing that it is a core element of Rule #1 at Arkside, and we only have 2 Rules. Additionally, it is foolish and arrogant to believe that marketers of the past simply threw their money against a wall in radio or television and did not accurately measure the revenue generated. Let’s look at some of these shortcomings and how they can be addressed.

Can You Source Sales from Marketing?

Yes.

The answer is that simple without any qualifiers. I will boldly go further by stating that any professional marketer who claims you can’t measure advertising results either doesn’t know how or is lying. The former can be fixed. The latter is an operational danger to your company. Important information can be gleaned throughout the marketing and sales process and this has always been the case. Today’s technology has exponentially increased those capabilities. They are more accurate and educational.

To fully measure the ROI of your marketing investment you need to implement tools which empower you and remove hurdles that restrict you.

How to Measure Advertising Results

This list is by no means complete, but these are some of the most accurate and engaging methods by which you can calculate your marketing ROI and obtain data to optimize future campaigns.

Old School ROI Methods

Unique Phone Numbers – Arguably one of the most effective and well-known ROI measurement tools in the business. Simply give each media outlet its own phone number. If you get a call on a particular number you know what ad generated it. You can do the same with each creative in an A/B test as well. Make sure you calculate call volume against the cost of each individual ad. You also want to track the sales quantity and profit margin of each call to determine the value of leads from the individual media. WARNING: Do not do this across online directory listings or social media. Ad campaigns are okay, but your phone number must be consistent on all of your online profiles.

Coupons – “Bring in this ad to receive…”. Not much easier than this. It can teach you a lot about your audience if you gather the right data. Where did they come from? What else did they buy? How long were they in the store? Male or female? Etc. But beware of misinterpreting your data. A coupon can have high or low redemption rates for a variety of reasons: offer value, time sensitivity, geographic distance, competitive offers, bad timing (alcohol coupons after election day are good, steak dinners the first Friday of Lent are not so good).

Limited Time Offers – A cousin to the coupon, but with an added hook. Give customers an incentive to help you suddenly sellout. “Come in before this Saturday  to save 50%!”. Limited time offers are usually asking people to adjust their schedules so make sure you are providing sufficient enough incentive (a.k.a. savings) to do so. Keep in mind that these can be done in-store or online. Don’t feel limited on how or where to send people.

Codes/Words – If Jane wants her free tote bag, she needs to say “Happy Strawberry Day” at checkout. Keep an audio (if legal to record in your state/country) or written log and count how many bags were given out. Staff training on this is critical. They need to understand the value of the campaign and should not be handing out bags without the code. Again, this can be applied online as well: Enter the code at checkout or upon arrival to reveal a unique coupon.

Referral Bonus – This particular tracking method encourages both new sales and existing customer loyalty. It incentivizes your customers to refer their friends and family. If your product or service price can absorb a small dent, a referral bonus empowers your customers to become “brandvocates” and your most effective sales force. Remember – word of mouth is your best form of advertising. Referral bonuses are great because the referrer is usually very diligent about making sure the referral gives them proper credit. This greatly enhances your trackability.

Ask For a Specific Person – This one requires delicate deployment. If you have more than one person, the best way to use this is to advertise a product or service that only one of your staff is able to represent. For example, if Sally is the only person in the company who knows about the new Widget3000, launch an ad campaign that says “ask for Sally, our Widget3000 expert!”. Not doing so may still bring Widget3000 customers but you know those that ask for Sally saw or heard a particular campaign or media. It also achieves the goal of inspiring the customer because they are working with an expert that can answer their questions. Finally, it can expedite the sales process which enables greater quantities sold per day, higher total commissions (which makes Sally happy), and is more likely to result in a positive review from the customer.

Loss Leader Pricing – The most well known examples may be car dealers. You’ve all seen low priced vehicles with the famous “one at this price” disclaimer. The concept is straightforward: drastically discount one unit with the goal of attracting attention and opportunities to switch the customer to a regular-priced unit or higher-priced item. This is very effective for tracking purposes as you can monitor how many calls, emails, in-store requests, or social posts you receive for the offer. It works well across traditional and digital media.

New School ROI Methods

For most “new school” or digital tracking methods, you will have multiple added data points to make future decision making more informed. You can receive demographic, geographic, experience, and perhaps even psychographic data in addition to raw response and engagement rates. Make sure you have detailed tracking tools installed on your site such as Google Analytics. You can’t know too much and knowing too little costs you money.

Unique URL and/or Landing Page – These two tactics are related and can even be the same thing. A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is just a website address. Could be as easy as “www.ArksideMarketing.com” or something longer such as “www.arksidemarketing.com/why-fox-should-not-have-apologized-for-x-men-billboard/”. For online campaigns, sending traffic to a unique location is very effective at funneling traffic, tracking response rates, controling what information is seen, and beginning to source your new lead.

UTM Codes -As strange as it sounds, UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” because it was invented by a company called Urchin Web Analytics. They were bought by Google in 2005. They created a way to attach information to a URL. If you saw that you were receiving traffic from “mail.yahoo.com” to your website, you would know people were clicking a link in from their Yahoo! email account. But with UTM codes, you could see traffic from “mail.yahoo.com?utm_source=campaignA&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=widget3000discount”. Each part of that code tells you an additional piece of information as well as enabling you to launch multiple campaigns simultaneously, do A/B testing, and separate identical campaigns that may have launched at different times. UTM codes can be extremely lengthy but they have no impact on the user’s experience. It only provides you data.

Form Submission – Another multifaceted tracking tool. You can already count how many forms are submitted via your website. But have you gone deeper on their value? Form submissions not only give you raw response rates, they can also tell you the value of the path to the form. Some website visitors may go from your home page, through a couple product pages, over to your portfolio or testimonials, abandon a shopping cart or two, and then finally request more information via a form. Others may go from a custom landing page straight to a form submission. Both paths generated a lead, but if you analyze the flow path more deeply, you may discover that people going straight to a landing page are submitting forms at a lower rate than those who “wander” around your site. Those who wander may feel more comfort or trust with your brand and are therefore more likely to contact you. Perhaps the landing page isn’t providing enough information and your page menu doesn’t allow them to go elsewhere on the site. The point is getting a form submission isn’t nearly enough data for future decision-making. It is a starting point for your analysis.

Click Through Rate – We’ve referenced the value of knowing what and how certain things prompt a response. Tracking a click through rate (CTR) helps you understand the final effect of a user experience. Monitor what pages, forms, ads, and media are generating higher engagement. But make sure you are tracking ALL clicks: ad click, call-to-action item click, form submission, menu clicks, internal links, etc. You need to understand what your customers are looking for on your website, social media, videos and, most importantly, why they are looking for it. Tracking each available CTR can help you understand that.

ROI Methods Effective in Old and New School Media

Contests – There are so many different ways to run contests that I can’t list them all here. Basic guidelines are as follows:

  1. Make sure your entire contest is legal: methods of entry, prize(s) given, winner selection, winner notification, legal disclaimers, etc.
  2. Offer a prize that will entice your audience to enter. Just because you want to promote it doesn’t mean your audience will care enough to enter a contest for it. Think about it from their perspective.
  3. Promote it through all relevant media channels and encourage staff to do the same.
  4. Use the winner (and presentation event, if you have one) as another promotional marketing tool
  5. For results measurement, track all relevant engagements including number of entries, website traffic, in-store entries, calls, sales opportunities, sales (quantity, margin, and secondary purchases), and media impressions.

Spot Time Alignment – This method allows you to sync your digital and non-digital media. If you have a TV or radio spot airing at 10:02am, track your website traffic, social engagement, calls, and in-store visits immediately after the spot. People tend to be curious about something after hearing about it. This data can be a critical element when doing your ROI calculation and making decisions about future marketing investment. Two media may generate similar sales volume, but knowing which produces a more research oriented customer can help you refine your sales process and capture the higher hanging fruit.

Product/Service Profit Margin – I have already referenced it multiple times in other tracking methods, but it deserves its own explanation. It is vital to understand how a particular marketing lead impacts your profitability. Selling 100 more Widget3000s is great, but if your radio leads are more likely to also buy accessories or your Facebook leads are more likely to be hagglers, that data should factor into your future decision making. Fox Business viewers may be more profitable than HGTV viewers. You won’t know this unless you match each customer to their lead process. It can mean the difference between thousands or millions of dollars in revenue.

Collecting Customer Data

We have covered a huge variety of ways to track every media in existence. There is no advertising you can’t track with the right approach and execution. All of that tracking relies on collecting customer data. Digital media are great at providing basic demographic and geographic data, but you have the ability to go deeper. Consider the difference between these three questions:

  1. How have you heard about us?
  2. What brought you in today?
  3. Why did you decide to purchase today?

Each question gives you a unique and valuable piece of data. All three help you better understand who your customer is, how your brand is recognized and perceived, and where your sales strengths (and potential weaknesses) are. Here are a variety of ways you can gather customer data at multiple points throughout your marketing and sales cycles:

  • Online surveys
  • In-store surveys (not very reliable, but can be part of the process)
  • At point of purchase (“Can I get your zip code, please?”)
  • Loyalty program enrollment
  • Focus group
  • Beacon tracking
  • New customer/client enrollment form
  • Website traffic tracking (Google Analytics)

Make sure you are honest with your customers and potential customers about what you’re collecting and what you’ll do with it. Privacy policies are required by law in most places so make sure you are compliant.

You Can, You Should, and You Must

Moving forward, don’t ever let someone tell you that something can’t be tracked. In the 2,500+ words above, I have show you how to do so across every possible media. I have also shown you how to collect additional data to enhance the total value of your marketing and improve your sales. And I will leave you with one final point:

YOU MUST DO ALL OF THIS.

The successful companies of the future will be disruptive. They will know more about their customers than ever before because their customers know more about them than ever before. Knowledge is power. Understanding their emotions and decision-making process is what can separate success from failure. Your competitors can be smart or you can. But someone will go out of business and it will be the company that knows the least.

Don’t believe me? Think about how much Amazon knows.

12
Jul

Why Fox Should Not Have Apologized for X-Men Billboard

Twentieth Century Fox apologized last month for an “X-Men: Apocalypse billboard because it shows Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Mystique, being choked by Apocalypse (a male character). The outrage over the X-Men billboard began when actress Rose McGowan posted her disappointment on social media after seeing the billboard in Los Angeles. After the public flogging, Fox issued this statement:

In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women.

The offended people and 20th Century Fox are both missing the point. When analyzed from a marketing perspective, both groups are making a mistake.

Is the X-Men Billboard Offensive?

Of course. Everything is offensive to someone. The legendary “Got Milk?” ad about the assassination of Alexander Hamilton may have offended people. Budweiser’s Clydesdale ads offend people against the use of animals in advertising. Does that mean they were bad or mean-spirited? No. Marketing is a combination of art and science. It should be understood that “you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” (John Lydgate, adapted by President Abraham Lincoln). The important issue is whether or not the offense or the size of the offended party merits attention in your marketing.

In this case, the size of the offended group and their voice were extremely small until Rose McGowan used social media. After that, the size of the offended group remained small but they had a larger megaphone to broadcast their grievance. They became a very vocal minority. It can be said with some certainly that most people understood that the latest installment in the X-Men movie franchise had violence in it. Why was this violence so offensive?

Offensive in Advertising But Not on Screen

It is worth noting that the image depicted on the billboard is taken from the movie itself. It is an actual scene in which Apocalypse battles Mystique. But only the advertising was vilified. Why is the on-screen “violence against women” not decried yet the advertising depicting the violence is maligned? According to Ms. McGowan and followers of her cause, they didn’t feel it was right to have the image “forced” upon them (especially their children).

Some facts need to be added for the sake of marketing analysis and public perception:

  1. Both of these characters are fictional.
  2. Mystique (the female character) is the hero.
  3. Mystique (the female character) is the leader of the protagonists.
  4. Stan Lee, like many comic storytellers, created their characters for the empowerment of the oppressed such as women, homosexuals, and racial minorities.

It seems counterproductive to criticize a billboard for violence against women when that movie has a strong, female lead character who defeats all the men that stand against her.

Furthermore, the same level of outrage was lacking from Ms. McGowan and her fans when Mystique was killing military personnel in previous films or when she was beating up men at all. A double-standard in objecting to violence seems inappropriate.

X-Men Billboard Apology Mistake

Fox’s mistake came not in the billboard, but in their apology for the X-Men billboard and removing it from the campaign. As marketers, we fully appreciate the pressure on major corporations to walk many fine lines to please customers. In this case, we would not have advised Fox to apologize or remove the billboards. It is our opinion that they should have stood behind their campaign, the strong female lead character, and the film’s PG-13 rating which deems it appropriate for most of the world’s population to watch.

For parents, the billboard is an opportunity to have a positive discussion with their kids. They can explain Mystique, her strength, her redemption, he leadership, and her triumph over evil. Tell them Apocalypse is an evil character who thinks it is okay to use power over people instead of helping them.

The X-Men, like the Fantastic Four, and many other comic book characters are about good defeating evil, equality among all, and justice reigning supreme.

Fox could have told that story instead of apologizing for it.

19
Apr

Al Jazeera America: A Marketing Failure

“One on-air personality said management’s view was ‘if we build it, they will come.’ They didn’t.”

As we routinely tell our clients, the days of “if you build it, they will come” ended after Field of Dreams.

The notable and relatively new entrant to the American news mediascape, Al Jazeera America, is scheduled to shut down by April 30, 2016. While there are heaping reasons for this abrupt termination, the vast majority involve marketing failures. From a doomed name and laughable Al Gore connection to a poor understanding of the market and public management failures – all roads pointed to a disastrous conclusion.

The Beginnings of Al Jazeera America

Al Gore became a joke after surrendering the 2000 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush. His one-note-Johnny routine about climate change while owning a massive energy-swallowing home, sexual harassment of a masseuse, and separating from his wife, led to a steep decline of his stature in politics and environmentalism. He also was a partial owner of Current TV, a low-level cable television network in the United States. It was the sale of this network that not only allowed the foothold for Al Jazeera America, but helped to further erode Al Gore’s reputation. He was harshly criticized for selling an American media company to terrorists.

Strangely, no one cared about Current TV before it’s sale to Al Jazeera – with one notable moment of exception. Two of its journalists were arrested after crossing the North Korean border in 2009. Their investigative reporting skills did not include map reading. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (the former boss of their current boss) secured their release. Thus ended the newsworthiness of Current TV until it was sold. At it’s height, the network reached a paltry 31,000 viewers per day. Total. To Gore’s credit, he was able to sell the network with almost no audience to the Qatari government for $500,000,000. (That’s $16,129 per viewer!)

Within the first two months of Al Jazeera America, it shed nearly two-thirds of that audience and reached a pathetic 13,000 people per day. Total.

Even MSNBC was over 120,000 per day.

You Can’t Be “Al Jazeera” in America

For reasons that continue to elude employees, observers, and the American public, Al Jazeera’s management never seemed to fully understand the poison pill presented by their name. Given the public hesitation to anything Arab or Muslim after September 11th, it should have been easy to grasp the need for a more acceptable brand name. Presenting an Arab news network with an Arab name and a terrible reputation in the United States seemed puzzling. Unfairly, most Americans only associated Al Jazeera with their occasional broadcasts of propaganda from Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. But perception was reality and perception began on day one.

This brand crisis was only magnified by their Arabic logo. America is a melting pot and has learned to listen to foreign names all the time. There are Arab construction companies, racing teams, and many other Arab-named entities in the U.S. But to actually use a logo written in Arabic was a visual reminder that Al Jazeera America had nothing to do with America. It is difficult to convince anyone you’re American if everything about you is not.

Their brand was an American disaster visually and audibly.

Al Jazeera and Cable Distributors

The conundrum of bad branding was strangely mitigated by a limited audience. It is hard to make a terrible first impression if you aren’t allowed to make the first impression. Just days before Al Jazeera America was set to go on air, AT&T U-verse dropped the channel. This followed prior decisions by Comcast and Time Warner Cable not to air the station at all. Their possible audience size now dropped precipitously below 100 million homes.

Technology and regulation also posed a problem. The still-successful Al Jazeera English is the English language version of Al Jazeera. It is popular on a global scale, especially it’s internet stream. But Al Jazeera was trying to build a TV network, not a stream. So they prohibited streaming to the US. That narrow-minded decision again limited their exposure and opportunities to drive traffic to their fledgling American network. The CEO, Al Anstey, admitted as much with this line from the email announcing the station’s closure: “The decision is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in an increasingly digital world, and because of the current global financial challenges.”

News Coverage Quality

Al Jazeera never succeeded but it was not due to a poorly produced product. They won every major journalism and media award possible including the Emmy, Peabody, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards. The hired top talent away from other TV news networks and other journalism media. Although occasionally accused of having a “Middle East bias” in their coverage, they were routinely recognized for being objective and presenting a unique voice in American media.

But no one will give you a chance to be objective in their home if they think it comes from the mouth of a terrorist.

Al Jazeera Management Failures

Every single one of the problems listed above could be fixed by a stable and competent management team. Al Jazeera America never found that team. They were in a constant state of management “desperation” as they made frequent changes and suffered internal drama. Every department saw departures as Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar applied constant pressure for success. Few were ever managing long enough to make a difference.

In some instances, these personnel shifts and a substantial wrongful termination lawsuit, once again brought forth the idea of an anti-American bias with preference given to Middle Eastern employees. Certainly not the desired picture when trying to appeal to an American audience.

Bad Marketing Dooms Al Jazeera America

The media landscape in America is extremely competitive. Ask MSNBC. To find success, even with a unique voice, is a challenge. But when your marketing -from your name to your HR policies- build and support a notion that you are the opposite of what you claim, you will ultimately fail. Competitors will relish in your misery and make sure your customers know. Partners will feel as though they are part of a lopsided relationship. And customers will choose an alternative.

Bad logo
Bad name
Weak exposure
Internal drama
Lacking support

All of this dooms what was otherwise a well-made product.

22
Feb

10 Worst Reasons to Advertise

Over the years we have heard some strange reasons/excuses for advertising. The initiative is usually based in good intentions and then gets lost somewhere along the way of “where should we advertise”.

Below are the top 10 (or bottom 10) worst reasons to choose (or not choose) a particular advertising strategy:

10 worst reasons to advertise
10. “The competition did it and they’re doing great.” – Did they do great because of the ad you saw? Is there another campaign you’re not aware of? The devil is in the details and you don’t know enough about your competition’s operations to attribute perceived success to one particular campaign. And finally, maybe they’re not doing as well as you think. Could be a house of cards.

9. “It’s my favorite station.” – Don’t assume you represent your target market. It can be hard for owners to view their companies objectively. Your favorite radio or TV station, or favorite celebrity, may not resonate well with your audience.

8. “It’s on my way to work.” – Which is more important: you seeing it or your potential customers seeing it? Focus on their way to work before your own.

7. “Those colors are really popular right now.” – That doesn’t mean they work with your brand, or speak to your audience, or match your message. Choose function over form. Stay true to your own style so your customers are not confused.

6. “I’ve never clicked/called/responded to one of those before.” – You haven’t but others probably have. You may not be a skydiver, but other people jump out of planes all the time. We hear this often about Google ads. Literally millions of their ads get clicked every day and generate sales. That’s why they did more than $60 BILLION in advertising sales last year. Someone clicked.

5. “It’s funny.” – If you’re goal is to be a stand-up comedian, than this is a good reason. If your goal is to sell more of your products or services, this may be a terrible reason. If your brand isn’t funny, don’t try to make people laugh with your marketing. Humor can be a great element if it fits the overall goal.

4. “I get a free trip.” – True, but unemployment is a permanent vacation. That’s what you’ll get if you waste money on ineffective advertising. Trip or no trip, invest in marketing that will achieve a measurable goal.

3. “It worked when I did it years ago.” – Marketing changes. Daily. Most importantly – the lives of your customers are changing. They have more media options, are spending more frugally, and are more informed (and empowered) than ever. Newspapers are no longer focusing on print. Facebook has more targeting capability now than they did a month ago. Billboards don’t need to be printed. Don’t rely on old success as a barometer for the future.

2. “Everyone will see it.” – And then what? Being seen doesn’t sell more. If you’re the commercial everyone saw and hated or the commercial everyone saw and forgot, being seen didn’t help. Prioritize results above fame.

1.  “It’s cheaper.” – In most cases, you get what you pay for.

21
Nov

Bill Cosby Is Making PR Mistakes

I decided to write this because the new storm surrounding legendary comedian and family icon Bill Cosby has stunned me. I watched The Cosby Show, Cosby, loved the book “Fatherhood”, and saw his standup comedy specials. When I started ProActiveDads in 2008, he was a role model for what we fought for when it came to dads in the media. Now, the accusations are coming in waves with woman after woman dating back 45 years. As all of this unfolds and I see Cosby’s reaction (or lack thereof), I continue to think that Bill Cosby is making PR mistakes.

Before this post continues, I want to make it clear that I am not second-guessing the PR people employed by Bill Cosby. From what I have seen and heard over the years, they are some of the most successful people in the business and have been for decades. But they are not the only people involved. A-list celebrities are surrounded by a variety of advisors including public relations specialists, lawyers, agents, studios, costars, friends, family, and many others. All of them have opinions. Most of them offer advice. Some are paid for their advice. That advice doesn’t always agree with another party or the celebrity. Ultimately, the celebrity needs to choose their own action.

Silence Anything But Golden

This is where I believe Bill Cosby is faltering. He is facing an expensive, damaging, and career-ending barrage of accusations. Could the lawyers really be the best helpers when they advise total silence? Every interview has been a “no comment”. Even when the AP tried to play “gotcha” with their recent interview release, he still said nothing.

I find myself more and more in the camp of spectators who believe that this many accusers can’t all be making this up. It is already public knowledge that Bill Cosby has cheated on his wife Camille. Also shocking is the fact that I haven’t seen or heard any reports of his Cosby Show cast members coming to his defense. Most of them were female. Where are they? Thus far, only Raven-Symone has said she was never a victim. But where are Lisa Bonet, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Sabrina Le Beauf…all of whom knew and worked with Bill Cosby when they were young? Where is his TV wife, Phylicia Rashad? To have so many accusers and so few supporters is surprising for a man so well respected. And each of them is now suffering financially because The Cosby Show reruns have been pulled from TV Land.

The women making accusations are not just unknowns who may be seeking a pay day. They are an assortment of women from all walks of life with a similar story: Cosby allegedly drugged (or tried to drug) them, then took advantage of them physically and/or sexually. Some have tried to sue him, others have come out now for the first time and say they aren’t seeking a dime.

Take PR Advice

Agents and PR experts are usually the ones advising clients to “get in front of the controversy”. Make strong denials, be bold, circle the wagons with friends and family, etc. Lawyers usually advise absolute silence because anything said can be used against their client in a trial. These accusations have been around for more than four decades and will not be going away any time soon. They seem to be the “nail in the coffin”, as Carla Ferrigno said, to his career.

Were Bill Cosby my client, I would certainly be advising more than “no comment”.

  • Speak to the media
    • Put your face out there to show a human side against so many accusations of inhuman acts
    • Don’t let the accusers control the story
    • Give the media new material
  • Work WITH the lawyers – but don’t allow them to be the only voice
  • Get your friends and family to defend you. Strongly. In public.
  • Highlight your history of charitable giving
  • Stop asking people to do things online, like recording laugh tracks and asking social media to “meme” you.

If he is guilty, he needs to admit it. Get counseling, stay with your wife, go to rehab, do jail time if necessary, and work to help victims. Take a page from Lance Armstrong – lying makes it worse. If he is innocent, he should proclaim it all day, every day. The truth shall set you free.

What Happens to Bill Cosby?

So many accusers.
So few defenders.
So much silence.

I don’t see any way for this to end well. Cosby’s career is destroyed. His wife and children (who many know about his true behavior) are forced to endure this. His former co-stars are forced to endure this.

He needs to speak. Now.

What do you think? Can his career be saved? Is he right to stay silent? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

This post reflects the opinions of Nathan Greenberg and may not represent the official position or opinions of Arkside Marketing, Inc., its employees, clients, vendors, or partners.

2
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