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Beyond the Biz

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In a recent edition of MediaPost's "Search Insider" e-newsletter, David Berkowitz, director of marketing for search engine marketing company icrossing, listed 10 predictions for 2005. No. 1 on the list: "Natural search will be sexier." Berkowitz isn't the only one talking about how hot the search engine market is. Meredith A.C. Roth, a search engine marketing industry observer, publicist and image consultant in New York, recently released a list of search engine marketing's Sexiest People Alive. On Roth's list, released in conjunction with last month's Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago, are the following dishes: professors John Battelle of U.C. Berkeley and Rebecca Lieb of N.Y.U.; Fathom Online's Chris Churchill; Jupiter Media's Gary Stein, Nate Elliott and Niki Scevak; Paul Gardi of Teoma/Ask Jeeves; Atlas DMT's Young-Bean Song; CBS Marketwatch's Bambi Francisco; Search Engine Watch's Danny Sullivan; Business.com's Todd Sims; Range Media's Cheryle Pingel and Misty Locke; Heather-Lloyd Martin of SuccessWorks; Jessie Chase Stricchiola of Alchemist Media; and Google's Sergey Brin. What does such an honor do for one's business-and personal-life? It mostly resulted in a lot of heckling, said Churchill, Fathom Online `s founder and CEO. "It even came up at Thanksgiving dinner," he said. "Everyone started making fun of me, saying, `You're so cool now that you've been named sexist man alive. So you can hog the turkey."' As for what's ahead: "I think I can retire now," Churchill said. "There's really no higher place to go than this. I definitely exceeded all my goals for 2004."

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR CREATIVE MEASURES. In an effort to get hired, advertising copywriter Marc Guttesman and creative/art director Tom Millar recently launched a Web site, video spot and direct mail campaign to showcase their skills. The Web site, at www.marcandtom.com, features a hilarious public service announcement-style spot depicting Guttesman and Millar failing at attempts to do work outside of the advertising world. The ad industry vets worked together at Bozell on the Lycos and Verizon Wireless accounts, as well as the National Fluid Milk Processors Education Program's Milk Mustache campaign, from 1997 until 2001, when they were laid off. "The ad industry took an incredible hit in 2001," Guttesman said. "So many people were forced out of the industry-people with 10, 15 years' experience." Hoping to save themselves from that fate, the pair teamed up with up-and-coming director Joe Leih and created the spot, which in one scene shows an actor playing Millar marking up a child's drawing, telling her it "isn't working." To publicize the spot, Guttesman and Millar sent DVDs to 20 New York ad agencies. The campaign has generated about 100 e-mails from people around the world, and to date, 10 overtures from agencies asking to meet with the pair. "The opportunities sound very promising," Guttesman said.

AS LONG AS YOU'RE ONLINE CHECKING out the handiwork of clever creatives with too much time on their hands, visit www.holifestigala.com. Pompano Beach, Fla.-based First Marketing celebrated the first annual "Holifestigala," a holiday that, by the agency's decree, falls on the fourth Tuesday of December. "The holiday unites all individuals behind spirited traditions and customs that ... create new ways to spread warmth and joy to others," according to the agency. Practicing "holifestigaliacs" partake in traditions such as dressing the chinchilla in festive clothing and carving the Crab Rangoon. If nothing else, the holifestigala.com Web site is worth a few laughs-particularly the animated game in which visitors can dress the chinchilla by clicking on brightly colored sweaters. Also, click on the link about how long Holifestigala lasts, where you'll see an animated chinchilla become belligerent and attack the finger that feeds it. Now that's holiday cheer! 

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