WPPoogle, the Death of 'Life' and Four A's Wrestling

My 2007 Predictions, With a Bit of Attitude

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You've finished playing pin-the-tail on next year's budget, and the media agencies have published their annual guesses-sorry, forecasts. It must be time for me to weigh in with a few predictions.
Time to gaze into the coming year.
Time to gaze into the coming year.

Flippant punditry
Those of you with a tendency to blame the advertising for those fries you just bought your kids, please note: Stocks can go down as well as up, coffee is sometimes hot and the following are speculative, flippant and eschew the "Well, I expect the Super Bowl to have some ads in it" approach of more conservative marketing and media punditry.

Attraction economy: Whether Saatchi boss Kevin Roberts' nomenclature for the new marketing world catches on or not, you can bet your mortgage that '07 will be full of even more pronouncements of the death of push marketing. The marketing manager's job today is to create something consumers will go find, not to go find consumers.

Bud.tv and other disintermedia owners: Because smart marketers have already cottoned on to this attraction-economy thing, lots of them will try to become media owners in their own right, just like A-B with its soon-to-launch Bud.tv. Of course, by the time Bud.tv is rolled out, it will have been so watered down, out of fear of those folks who blame teen drinking on advertising, that it'll be weaker than the beer. That won't stop others from trying the same thing. Come on, Nike, just do it.

Google TV: While we're on that subject, surely there's no way Google gets to the end of '07 without unveiling plans for YouTube on TV. (Why would you do that given convergence is almost upon us? Because the marketing world still buys media in silos, and the TV silo still contains way more cash than the others.)

WPPoogle: While Havas, Aegis, Publicis and Interpublic spend next year working out which bits to merge with which other bits, one of the holding companies will sell a big stake to Google, which will put everything that company's agencies have ever created online and optimize it for search. Sort of like that plan to digitize the Harvard and Oxford libraries, but with more nakedly commercial intent.

Virtual no logo movement
Second Life: So many companies will be marketing in the virtual world that by the end of '07, someone will send Ad Age a press release to notify us of their decision to remain a real-world operation only -- and we'll write about it. Also, there'll be a virtual No Logo movement by the virtual people of Second Life to kick out virtual brands. "It was a sort of utopia, but now it's all branded," a former Second Lifer will say before returning to his first life.

The other second Life: Surely, surely it's time to call time on Time Inc.'s Life. Also on my deathwatch: Jane, Stuff and any other mag with four or five letters in its name. Readymade has nine letters, and as advertisers work out how to interact with its audience, it will become the hottest mag on the market. Unless you count Every Day with Rachael Ray, of course, which has lots of letters and even more readers.

Adieu Burtch Drake
Oh, yes, Burtch Drake: After making some headway on the embarrassment that is the industry's lack of diversity and bequeathing the questionably valuable Advertising Week to his successor, Burtch will bow out. Me, I'm making "Cindy Gallup for prexy" buttons, but the committee will probably ask Campbell-Ewald's Tony Hopp to arm-wrestle Euro's Ron Berger for the post. After all, continuity is what's important here; it's not like the business is in a state of flux or anything.

Ratings debacle: Will advertisers finally get a rating that tells them how many people watched the ad they paid millions to run? No, stupid, of course not. At least not in time for the upfront. Someone, probably Starcom and a couple of its clients, will threaten to pull budgets and manage to do its upfront trading on a commercial-ratings basis, but on the whole the market will be a mess of different metrics and even more opaque than usual.
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