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200 Brands With the Largest Ad Budgets

Would you have guessed that Chevy spends more than Ford or Toyota? Or that Macy’s spends more than Target? Other rankings that surprised me: Arm & Hammer spends more than Gatorade, Kia spends more than Volkswagen, and Ashley Furniture spends more than Ikea.

Check out this great infographic that ranks the top 200 brands by the size of their 2009 and 2010 ad budgets.

Top Auto Ad Spenders

The top two in each category (first, second):

Auto: Chevy, Ford
Retail: Walmart, Macy’s
Apparel: Skechers, Nike
Telecom: AT&T, Verizon
Restaurants: McDonald’s, Subway
Food and Beverage: Coke, Campbell
Beer: Budweiser, Miller
Cleaning Products: Tide, Clorox
Financial Services: American Express, Chase
Beauty and Personal Care: L’Oreal Paris, Olay
Insurance: Geico, Progressive
Consumer Electronics: Microsoft, Apple
Media: DirecTV, Dish Network
Drugs: Lipitor, Cialis

Federated Media’s CM Summit 2011: ChasNote Round Up

My favorite stats, quotes and comments from this year’s Conversational Marketing Summit.

Starcom Mediavest Group CEO Laura Desmond talked of the migration of ad dollars from analog to digital media. Two years ago her clients spent 85% of their budgets on traditional outlets, 15% digital. Now digital’s share of investment is twice that.

Digital makes us realize brand and DR aren't distinct silos

She also wants to pull the plug on market mix modeling. As audiences began to spend more time with digital media at the expense of traditional, analog content, the modeling tools overlooked the change, which slowed the migration of ad dollars to digital. On winning the Microsoft business: Our companies shared a strategic view that Microsoft must pivot from being a “marketer of ads to a marketer of experiences.”

American Express VP for Business Apps Management Robert Ciccone shared research showing that 44% of small businesses are using social media to acquire new customers. Given how many SMBs depend on local customers, I was surprised that only 2% say they’re using Foursquare.

Tumblr founder David Karp shared his company’s very impressive numbers. Last year the site did 250 million pageviews, now they’re doing that many each day. The marketer case studies didn’t knock my socks off — they’ve got some work to do here.

Tumblr audience traffic stats

Founder and CEO of GetJar Ilja Laurs says the app industry will be as large as the entire music industry in 3 years.

App industry will be as large as music industry in 3 years

Twitter CRO Adam Bain announced that Twitter will launch its self-service ad-buying platform this year. They’re hoping that will grow their roster of advertisers from the 600 they have today to Facebook or Google levels. Sounds like brands are ready and willing:

CMOs ask How Twitter not Why Twitter

Blackberry’s had a rough patch in recent years, but VP Brian Wallace shared impressive numbers on their social media performance: They have 15 million fans in Facebook, who are collectively connected to 400 million of Facebook’s 600 million members.

Yahoo’s Chief Product Officer Blake Irving demo’d Livestand. It’s a new model in which publishers need to think like digital marketers, he said.

Some other quotes I enjoyed:

Color CEO

Shlain on digital shabat on Obama

Only losers will pay for sex or advertising

The Advertising Battles of SXSW 2011

As TechCrunch put it: At SXSX, Advertising Was This Year’s Twitter.

Since the explosion of Twitter’s popularity (traced back to its status as it-girl of SXSW 2008) and, on a smaller scale, Foursquare’s debut there in 2009, South by Southwest Interactive is where aspiring next-big-things hope to find their mojo. So it’s hardly a surprise that marketers of every stripe mobilized the big guns for SXSW 2011. It’s sort of sad, though, to see the event transition from a showcase for applications to a showcase for promotional stunts about applications.

Meanwhile, who won?

Citing data from Ad Age and People Browsr, Mashable gave the crown to itself. What a brilliant idea. Next year I’m totally giving top awards to ChasNote!

Apple pop up store at SXSW 2011

TechCrunch gave best-in-show to Apple and its pop-up store selling the iPad 2. “At one point, I stopped by the store just in time to hear an employee telling those in line that unfortunately, they only had one model left in stock: the white, 64 GB, WiFi version. Almost no one got out of line. I think the employee could have said that all remaining models had broken screens and the reaction would have been the same.”

UberCab Rickshaw

My favorite was UberCab. The campaign was omnipresent and dynamic, literally. They rented a handful of bicycle rickshaws that were shuttling SXSW’ers all over town. What sealed the deal for the ChasNote judges was that Uber also launched a version of its iPhone app for Austin. The Uber rickshaws weren’t just ad billboards, they were vehicles that would cart you to your next party with one thumb-tap on the Uber app. A promotion that showed, rather than told, the value of the brand.

UberCab app for Austin

I’ll give Amex the silver medal for launching its partnership with Foursquare at SXSW. They even got a flyer to the check-in desk at the Siberian outpost where I stayed, Aloft at The Domain!

Amex and Foursquare

The rest fell short for me. The Extranormal critters were cute, the FedEx food truck was very Austin-esque, and the GroupMe Grill apparently had great grilled cheeses. But I missed the connection to brands they represented.

Promotions from SXSW 2011

That circle of light on the side of the building? Some guy with a mobile projector was beaming commercials onto walls near busy intersections. In one of them a pig butchered and ate itself. Not sure who was behind that. The Salt Lick BBQ?

Amex OPEN Forum Is First to Deploy FM's Conversationalist Ad Unit

Conversationalist unit for Amex

I spotted this at my former colleague James Gross’s blog.

“Here is what we call a Conversationalist unit, that runs between a post and comments. The unit is made to drive a call to action as a user finishes reading an article and is off to share, comment or engage in the next or related publisher’s work.

“This ad grabs the latest posts from the American Express OPEN Forum along with the corresponding hero images (on the left). On the right you have the most popular stories over the last 24 hours you can scroll through.”

He closes his post with the evolution of a marketer (I’m picturing that bumper sticker with the monkey -> cave man -> upright man -> soccer player).

Brands have customers -> Lucky brands have fans -> Really lucky brands build an audience.

Amex Adds Financial Management Content to Its Blog

This week Amercian Express’s OPEN Forum blog launches a new section on Financial Management, with editorial contributions from Paul Kedrosky and the writers at Wisebread, The Simple Dollar, Recession Wire and others.

Amex Financial Mgmt Section

Display Advertising v. Graphical Ads

In last week’s coverage of changes at FM — including the departure of 7 staffers, mostly from the back office team that traffics banner campaigns — some news outlets covered the story as FM pulling back from “display advertising,” and, by implication, pulling back from traditional brand-advertising activities in favor of something else (what we call conversational marketing) which must not be, um, brand advertising.

It got me thinking about the phrase “display advertising,” and how it’s annoyed me that it’s lost so much meaning as it made its way from print to online. (I mis-used it myself in an interview with PaidContent, and didn’t put enough emphasis, apparently, on the subset of graphical ads to which I was referring, the “dumb” ones.)

In print, display advertising generally refers to the full-page ads that run in the main editorial sections of a magazine, as opposed to the smaller, often text-heavy classified ads at the back of the book. Advertisers would pay a premium rate for display ads, but not merely because they could use colors and pictures in the ads. They paid a premium because display ads did more than drive calls to the phone banks; the adjacency to the editorial content and the association with the publication’s brand helped advertisers *create* demand among readers who didn’t yet know they wanted or needed something. If that demand already existed, of course, the reader would have flipped to the back of the book, or picked up the yellow pages, to find a phone number. Some publications — the yellow pages, for example — offered classified advertisers the option to add colors and pictures, but that didn’t turn classified advertising into brand advertising. The yellow pages didn’t convince any of us to buy a new car while the old one still got us to work; those beautiful display ads and TV commercials did.

Online, however, the industry watchers call anything with colors, animation or graphics “display advertising.” The fact is, most online graphical ads are intended to do one thing: Drive clicks to retail opportunities. Contextual targeting engines, like Google’s AdSense algorithm or the technologies developed by various ad networks, are a fabulous evolution — perhaps you could say revolution — of the classified advertising model. Instead of organizing phone numbers and offers alphabetically or by category, the contextual targeting engines take an educated guess about your wants and needs based on the content you’re reading and push the classifieds to you. And that’s a wonderful thing. (Except when these “push classifieds” engines accidentally create embarrassing moments for their clients.)

But online banner ads still have a long way to go before they deliver to brand advertisers a messaging vehicle that’s as *native* to the online medium as display print ads were to the magazines in which they ran.

At FM we’re still very much in the banner-ad business. We just believe most banners aren’t living up to their potential. At the very least, they need to support the publications their customers love, not just rotate through a website’s ad inventory based on a bot’s logic. Ideally the banner ads are an opening to something bigger: A window into a brand’s broader online publishing strategy. Here’s how Dell and JCPenney are using ads to syndicate their content assets. If your customers use social networking platforms to have a conversation, figure out how you can join that conversation, like American Express is doing. If they love to connect with others by way of drawing, like certain BMW customers, let them color in your brand.

Whatever we do, let’s move beyond lame “graphical ads” that won’t create demand, no matter how well we target them.

Amex OPEN Forum “Best Social Media Effort,” Sez @TheBrandBuilder

Gabriel Rossi @TheBrandBuilder tells his 1200 followers that Amex’s OPEN Forum blog is “one of the best social media efforts I’ve ever seen.”


Amazing (and widespread) credibility for a website that started as an ad campaign.

American Express Adds Its Voice to OPEN Forum Blog

For most of the past year, the voices of the American Express OPEN Forum blog have come from outside business experts such as Guy Kawasaki, Anita Campbell, Techdirt and the professors at the Wharton School of Business. Recently, American Express found its own voice and added it to the conversation. Not the voice you’d expect — “Hey, check out the Gold Card!” — but a voice that sounds like a human being with some advice for small business owners.

Amex Finds Its Voice

Related: How American Express uses Twitter to reach new audiences.

Godin: Facebook, Twitter, Telephone Are for Talking, Not Marketing

I agree with Godin that traditional advertising doesn’t and won’t work in Facebook or Twitter. Operative word: traditional. But I don’t agree that Twitter and Facebook — just because they’re designed for connecting communities rather than distributing traditional media content — won’t devise native experiences that will work well for their communities and for brand marketers at the same time.

Brand marketing doesn’t need to operate like “traditional advertising.” For example, with its OPEN Forum blog, American Express is using marketing dollars to create a credible small business publication, replete with editorial contributions from the leading names in business advice. Based on repeat visitor rates and links from other sites that recommend it to their readers, the SMB community is finding value in the OPEN Forum blog even though its content is funded by ad dollars. And because the contributors to the site, such as Guy Kawasaki and Anita Campbell, are given license to create real, editorial content (they wouldn’t participate otherwise), they’re alerting their Twitter followers each time they post something new. They are not paid to post these stories to Twitter; they’re doing it because they always Twitter new stuff they publish, whether the content appears on their own sites or at someone else’s publication.

Guy K Tweets His Lastest OPEN Forum Post

I’d argue that American Express is using Twitter for brand marketing right now, and it’s working as well for Guy’s and Anita’s followers as it is for American Express.

Certain applications within Facebook, like Graffiti, have done the same: Developing ad-supported experiences that allow brands to enter the conversation without spoiling the conversation. Here are some exmples.

(Disclosure of sorts: Seth Godin is not officially affiliated with FM, unless you count our informal Seth Godin Fan Club. He is, however, a sometime contributor to the OPEN Forum site, the content of which FM manages.)

American Express Adds Economy Section to OPEN Forum Site

Amex OPEN Forum banner

Last week American Express announced the launch of the Economy section to its OPEN Forum site for small business owners.

“the Economy section of OPEN Forum features blog and news commentary, expert tips and advice for surviving the downturn, personal experiences from business owners across the country about how they are managing in times of the downturn and polls about what the state of the economy means for small business.”

Amex The Economy

Several leading authors (and FM partners) such as Guy Kawasaki, Anita Campbell, Mike Masnick, John Jantsch, Scott Belsky and the team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Knowlege@Wharton are contributing content.