How the GOP used Twitter to stretch election laws

Republicans utilized social media not to fund-raise, but to coordinate secret polls.  This helped focus on areas where they could make a difference with precious time and resources.  This skirted the law, and went well above the murky world of campaign finance laws.

“The groups behind the operation had a sense of humor about what they were doing. One Twitter account was named after Bruno Gianelli, a fictional character in The West Wing who pressed his colleagues to use ethically questionable “soft money” to fund campaigns.”

A typical tweet read: “CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52–>49/476-10s.” The source said posts like that — which would look like gibberish to most people — represented polling data for various House races.


Why it’s Hot:

Social media can be a cost saving tool for political parties, as well as a way to cut down on overhead.  By using anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterm elections, political groups can avoid legal repercussions about campaign finance laws that prohibit coordination.

“It’s a line that has not been defined. This is really on the cutting edge,” said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization focused on campaign finance issues. “It might not be legal. It’s a cutting edge practice that, to my knowledge, the Federal Election Commission has never before addressed to explicitly determine its legality or permissibility.”

“At least two outside groups and a Republican campaign committee had access to the information posted to the accounts, according to the source. They include American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove; American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the campaign arm for the House GOP.”

Lastly, within minutes of the election ending they were deleted (Nov 3rd).  This is a large contributing factor in how social media helped give the Republicans their largest majority in the House since World War II and control of the Senate.

Truly an interesting use of social media.

Alliance Data Systems/Epsilion acquires Conversant


What we used to know as Value Click, has now merged with Conversant, encompassing Grey Stripe, Dotomi, Mediaplex and Comission Junction . This monster of a data partner and ad network, now covers affiliate marketing (Comission Junction), Mobile (Grey Stripe), SET (Video facial recognition targeting), Personalized Data Behavior (Dotomi), ad serving back end/reporting (Media Plex), and the pixel that has well over 80%+ of the internet tracked with geo, BT, RT and CT (Valueclick +Conversant).  The important part to note is the trend of acquisitions, as seen in Google, Yahoo and the other big digital partners, but also how ad networks are servicing agencies and brands as a one stop shop with data and all types of channel variation buying opportunities.



Why this is hot?

This can simplify buys, provide better targeting by having fewer partners learn our audience better and therefore drive a higher ROI, and stretch our media dollars even further.


  • “The combination of the complementary assets of the two companies will create scale in virtually all of the attractive growth channels
  • Conversant’s technology stack brings a “leveragable” product to Epsilon’s full service offering
  • The acquisition expands Alliance Data’s Omni-Channel distribution capabilities
  • Conversant has a strong presence in Epsilon’s largest verticals (Data!)
  • Conversant’s product set is complementary with Alliance Data’s other segments, LoyaltyOne and Private Label”


Instagram Video Ads are here to stay


The average consumption of video has increased, think about your own personal use of Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr and other personal digital outlets.  After 6 months of testing Instagram is now cementing video ads into it’s business model.

Instagram’s Video Ads Are Finally Live

This a delicate space, Instagram and other partners have to make sure they do not disturb the user flow.  When UX is effected, comments give rise to a negative image for the brand. However, brands like Banana Republic, Lancome, Activision and other large brand truly believe that as brands they are taking advantage of a being first to market regardless of the risk.

Why It’s Hot?

Our target audiences are becoming increasingly more mobile focused, but not mobile banners or text, they love using video.  If we continue to focus on what works now, we will miss out on what works next and the real margins and ROI.  Brands that are lagging with without video, or Instagram or a branded social media outlet for their video will be left behind.  Let us continue to push the envelope and bring technology backed by performance and creative solutions.

Digital, TV buying and PRG/RTB

We know this is happening in digital, but as buyer we should be aware of all channels and the trends.  Especially with OOH/activation spill over, TV buying has become inherently digital in terms of execution, reporting and even sometimes buying & planning.  Omnicom was able to harness PRG/RTB for its TV buying for its clients and stretch the dollar, while also finding their integral engaged audience for their clients messaging.  This has allowed for a great earnings call as seen by their CEO own analysis of this trend.  “Mr. Wren said 1.5% of total organic growth stemmed from the company’s programmatic buying business, which is included in the holding company’s media operations, and cautioned analysts to expect programmatic buying to be less than 2% of Omnicom’s revenue this year.”

Programmatic Ad Tech Dominates Omnicom Earnings Call


Media post October 2013 via Magna*

Why it’s Hot

Display is not dead, it has changed and in many ways into a dynamically activatable and sociable medium.  Consumers are more willing to digest this medium with the right targeting and timing, while simultaneously allowing agencies to benefit on the margins and models’ of RTB/PRG.  IPG and Omnicom have competed for decades, and we will continue to rise above and prove that we too have strong earnings, and better educated clients.  IPG and MRM//McCann will continue to push the limits and embrace new tech to bolster creativity, improve performance and integrate to a new level of success.


Become the change you seek

The mobile and display space is changing as we speak.  We all know it, we all talk about it, but are we doing anything about it?  Are we challenging our clients, are we pushing the envelopes?  Or are we simply regurgitating Media plans that have previously set the standard?  How will we set the new standard today, not this month?

Let’s see why any of these 7 big trends are Hot.


Why is this Hot?

-Programmatic will be a $20 billion by 2016 (yes in less than one planning calendar)       -> So why do we not have our own trading desk yet?  Yes there is substantial cost, and infrastructure needed, but let’s take a shot at it next calendar year for MRM//McCann.

The reality is that RTB & Programmatic (PRG) comes in many forms, and likely we are buying on this type of media already without even knowing it.  “This includes exchanges where ads are bought and sold in real time like stocks (DSP’s) and direct buying where advertisers reserve inventory like the old days, only with better technology for targeted delivery and measurement.”

The industry is at an inflection point, and even mobile RTB/PRG will rise to $8.36 billion, which will go above desktop for the first time.  Desktops are declining world wide by 3.9%, while mobile is rising 69.2%.  Lastly, and more importantly the most underused part of RTB/PRG, Video, will rise 40% to $3.84 billion by 2016.  So, let us not monitor or discuss, let’s execute and pitch these platforms and new mediums to help grow our business with existing and new clients.

Meaningful Connections in Social Meida (Nissan)- via Media Week


In a day and age in the digital world where some brands are throwing ad dollars at the wall and hoping for something to stick, Nissan is being discerning.  They are actually engaging strategy in their social and digital media capabilities, a practice many agencies leave out of their scope of work and leave in the hands of digital teams, which leave social to only be the executor’s, and not strategists. Nicola Kemp of Media Week UK comments that “sport and social media are such obvious partners that it is all too easy to declare the future of sports sponsorship will be played out primarily within the realms of 140 characters.”  This is the type of social and digital strategy that is built in a planning period and not when only executing.  In regards to Nissan, they are focusing their digital media efforts on large sponsorship’s (similar to an old OOH campaign from the 90’s, but layered with deeper analysis and data from today’s digital transparency.), less venues, larger audiences with targeting and live touch points with memorable experiences for consumers OOH & digitally.

Why It’s Hot

Large auto clients, as well as many other publicly traded companies (such as our clients) are shifting their trend of spending media budgets within agencies towards live events with highly targeted audiences.  Years ago this was the same spend that was utilized at large scale and investment with substantial OOH sponsorship’s, however it lacked the targeting.

In the end, you only buy a car every 5-6 years (1-3 years for most single males 25-34 and 3-6 years for single females 25-34- Comscore March 2014*), so by the time you have reached the consumer they have already had ample time to make up their mind and cemented their own opinion.  To prevent being left out Nissan hopes to be part of the long term conversation and have meaningful social and digital campaigns with targeted live events.  “You need to be part of what people enjoy and you have to be meaningful.”  Nissan will attempt this with live events surrounding sports such as their World Cup campaign’s this past year that focused on their Hispanic audience (hyper targeted demo and geo and behavioral).

The Goal is: Less, bigger and live

Siri, the battle for her voice & tech


The voice we have all come to love and adore with our useless, yet relevant questions may be changing hands quietly in the background.  Voice recognition and language interpretation is the key to Siri’s success on Apple devices compared to other devices such as Samsung.  Nuance, the company which developed the technology and has worked on Siri is gearing up to be sold.  Apple is liquid enough to buy, but it will take a significant chunk, as Nuance’s market cap is $4.8 billion.  The slight hick-up is that Nuance would come with significant other work, such as a large health care and imaging department.  This would increase Apple’s operation expense and be considered a distraction by the Board, since Apple currently has no intention of entering that type of market in healthcare.

Is Apple about to lose Siri to Samsung?

Why It’s Hot

If Samsung would acquire Nuance, it would be beyond embarrassing for Apple and would only fuel the fire of Samsung antagonizing Apple.  Apple would lose part of their brand identity with the lack of Siri’s voice capability, and would be forced to grab Kasisto, a SRI developed voice assistant that is poised to be better than Siri one day, as it integrates into individual apps/media.  The consequences of all this on user experience? It means for digital media that Kasisto/Siri will one day fuel online purchases and increase the interaction of corporations with consumers.