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This month, TimeWarner and AT&T agreed to a purchase. Business teamwork - puzzle piecesWe should all pay attention to this story because this is the canary in the coalmine; albeit two behemoth canaries. In an interview on CNN, the two CEOs said this is the “blurring of the lines on content consumption.”

The blurring lines are the lines leading into our homes and businesses with cable or satellite. According to a recent Google position paper, “Viewers are curating their own content streams, with no care for labels like “digital,” “broadcast,” “cable,” “smartphone” or “television.”

According to the media giants, there is a new level of cell coverage that will rival the signal received at home. AT&T plans to roll-out its 5G mobile network with speeds of 1 GB delivered wirelessly. That move alone will converge the worlds of distribution and content at a rapid rate.

So are we watching YouTube on TV or TV on YouTube? It sounds like it will not matter in the future: What we do know is that video content is becoming more and more valuable and more and more desirable.

Sometimes our industry gets a little too clever for our own good. In the search for clever headlines and concepts we sometimes deride others to be a bit funny or witty. Wells Fargo found itself in the witty quagmire this fall.wells-fargo-ads_20160906164234062_5876840_ver1-0_1280_720

In the past, this little writing philosophy prompted a giggle or laugh, but now, you can receive a firestorm for even the most innocent of efforts. The campaign was to promote teen financial education day. The ads featured cute kids working in STEM fields. So far so good.  The headlines said, “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today.” Or, “An actor yesterday. A botanist today.” The end of the ad featured a copy point saying, “Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.”

In the New York Times, Wells Fargo said the ads “were intended to celebrate all the aspirations of young people and fell short of that goal.” One of the tweets the Times published was from Donna Lynne Champlin (@DLChamplin), “2016’s highest paid actor at $64 million vs highest paid botanist at $165,049. @WellsFargo, u sure ur a bank? #math.”

“Clear is the new clever.” I’m not sure who originally said this, but it is extremely relevant in this social media world. Loud and literal beats understated elegance on the internet. So how to avoid this PR pothole? Remember that if you are picking on someone else to make your point, you will lose on social media. This ad was suggesting the sciences are better than the arts. Really, a need for the comparison? The better strategy is when you remove yourself from the internal issues and start thinking like the customer—spend a little more time thinking so that you can say, “I am not throwing away my shot.”

Thanksgiving Elegant Holiday Turkey Dinner

I am thankful you read this blog.Happy Thanksgiving wooden blocks against rustic wood with autumn leaves

Reaching teens seems to be a problem for everyone from parents to teachers. But if you really want to reach teens, try making a YouTube video.young woman with a video camera

More than 90% of all US teens said they use YouTube. And even 60 Minutes has done a story on YouTube and Vine social media stars. These stars have a much larger influence on purchase intent among teens that TV or movie stars.

The top sites are:

  1. YouTube (91%)
  2. Gmail (75%)
  3. Snapchat (66%)
  4. Instagram (65%)
  5. Facebook (61%)

So if you are trying to reach out to this audience with a mobile ad, teens and millennials say the elements that would make the “perfect” mobile ad are:

  • Can be saved and accessed later
  • Delivered by a trusted source with a safety seal of approval
  • Includes a coupon or offer sent to the user’s mobile wallet
  • Customized based on products they want to buy

This is according to research by Verve Mobile. Teens want to share, access and view ad content later. Even more than the content of the ad, it is the technology surrounding the ad that is most important to teens and millennials.

We are all trying to accelerate our digital transformation. Yet, when you have one foot in the traditional world and one in the digital world, you find you are about to be split in two. Businessman holds modern technology in hands

Traditional, brick and mortar financial institutions are struggling at various levels to define the digital user experience. Unfortunately, 100% digital institutions are “all-in” on digital and can easily develop digital products at a much faster pace.

A report by International Data Corporation (IDC) in the Financial Brand indicated that there are “islands of innovation,” but most are falling behind. Only 36% of financial institutions say they have “digital offerings executed on a project-by-project basis.” Also, 34% believe that digital transformation goals are “focused on near-term goals and products.” But few are working on long-term goals and development of a digital core.

The IDC says that those who are “leading the race to digital transformation have 3 characteristics:

  • A strong executive commitment, which leads to a collaborative culture
  • A focus on the “digital core,” including analytics and open, agile technologies
  • A willingness to partner with external providers

Developing a digital core—a digital strategy that leads the organization forward—is a strong recommendation for us all. Until digital becomes the core strategy, it will continue to be an ad hoc part of any strategic plan or implementation. So how do you future-proof your organization? Make a digital core.

A new campaign in Toronto has motorists angry. It’s a billboard that says, “Text and Drive.” And it is sponsored by the Watham Funeral Home.text-and-drive-large-hed-2016

Any offended driver who Googled the funeral home found a website that talked about how texting and driving was killing more people in Canada than drinking. So it wasn’t a billboard for a funeral home, it was a billboard for a public service announcement from the advertising agency John St. and the media company.

According to the campaign architects, people see and hear, “Don’t text and drive,” yet people keep doing it. So they differentiated the message and took people in a different direction.  Hopefully the message is delivered.