Weekend Thought: Shit Stinks

Ya gotta sniff around...

116 subscribers! Wowza.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me articles to read. Lots of good stuff out there that you all are chewing down and spitting back up. I can’t wait to dig in.

Continue to send me articles or thoughts of your own, and I’d love to bring them to the forefront.

One recently from Dan DeMonte, who helped bring me back down to reality when it comes to the other side of agency / partner relationships. He reminded me that it sucks for us agency folk, but sucks for partners too - especially when 80% of meeting participants have their heads buried in laptops not paying attention, or people are forced to ditch their family and kids for a night out with some agency mouth-breathers. Please respect your media partners. I don’t do this nearly enough, I’ll try to be better.

Which brings us to today’s sponsor. Someone I’ve never met before. Sam Ward works for TeamSnap. I appreciated Sam’s moxy in giving me talking points in my LinkedIn comments for what I’m supposed to say here. To be honest, I didn’t look at them. But in looking at their website, it’s a youth sports app that lets brands connect with local teams, parents, and coaches. As someone who grew up playing Little League, I still remember the brands and companies that donned my uniforms and made us feel like big time players. Talk to Sam for more info - I think I was supposed to mention they have 25 million authenticated users and 20k sports organizations or something.

Some house-keeping - this will be the final newsletter this weekend, until it isn’t. I have a few more ideas planned for this week. But if you don’t hear from me ever again, it’s been fun.

To sponsor, $3.48, venmo @danny-weisman.

And as always, please refer your friends. They get content, you get stickers.

Thinkin time…WARNING: today is a little inside baseball…

Weekend Thought

Shit stinks. I read a lot of marketing news. I could do an entire newsletter just on my favorite writers and sites and sources.

And when I read, I sniff around. It’s hard not to. There’s a lot of bullshit being peddled out there. It’s not enough to just keep your eyes open, especially as you speed read and your ADD kicks in. You gotta smell a little.

So here is a laundry list of shit that has stunk over the last week. Shit that doesn’t smell right. And a few things that smelled - not terrible, but different.

Things that smelled like shit, or weird, or whatever recently….

Raising prices on your ad tierlike Peacock just did, going from $4.99 to $5.99. Hmm. To quote Natalia Lyonne in Poker Face, “bull shit.” The point of having an ad tier is to not raise prices, and have ad dollars propel the average revenue per user of these people to be similar, if not higher, than those on the paid tier. Raising prices of the ad tier defeats some of that logic.

On one hand, Peacock’s position might be well set up for a writers / actors strike. They have a ton of Bravo reality TV. They just got the Big Ten rights (which is now 20 or so teams it feels like). They have the NFL.

On the other hand, Peacock is set to lose $3 billion this year, or $125 per subscriber.

What are the odds that this is still a service before next year summer’s Olympics?

Raising prices, but short changing your productlike Spotify just did. I’ve been on the record that Spotify should raise prices even higher, given people’s aversions to streaming audio ads. But, as they’ve raised prices, they’ve also cut down their content investments.

I don’t think this will hurt Spotify as much as the streamers who are cutting back on content. But to quote a recent article from Puck, “in 2023, people are preconditioned to pay more for a service that they know will stay the same.” Well, this one might be getting worse. When this happens, watch out - challengers will come and the death spiral begins.

Combining services, but losing customerslike Max just did. They “beat” analyst expectations and lost “only” 1.6 million subscribers last quarter. A lot of this is because subscribers had both HBO Max and discovery+, and with discovery+ still around, people cut one and kept the other.

I get it. But the point of these services is to result in net positive gains, not net negative losses. And without fresh HBO content around the corner to fuel subscriber growth given the writers / actors strike, you’re looking at months of stagnant subscriber counts.

Moving sports and news to streaming RIGHT NOWlike Max wants to do. CEO David Zaslav said he wants to move sports and news to streaming soon to maximize the Max platform.

But…writers and actors are on strike. Sports and news (and reality) are primed to gobble up TV investment in the next year, and have the reach and infrastructure to satisfy more advertisers and higher CPM’s.

So it begs the question…why the eff would you do this right now? Something don’t smell right. Maybe this is a bargaining chip for the next NBA rights negotiation (they want to be seen as a linear and streaming home for the league), or a way to get people interested in the CNN brand. Who the heck knows.

Saying you don’t have a brand problem, when you most definitely have a brand problemlike AbInBev just did. AbInBev commissioned their own survey that said things are great. 80% of customers still view them favorably!

Then why are they still a laughingstock? Well, maybe because they’re using their own research, which, spoiler alert: wouldn’t have made the earnings report if it told a bad story.

Or, maybe it’s because they are not being honest even about their own research - 80% of people surveyed were positive or neutral about Bud Light. The or neutrals are the ones who say they’re fine on a survey, and then talk in public about how they would never drink Bud Light (think, 2016 Trump voters).

Never trust surveys commissioned by brands about themselves, just like you shouldn’t trust added value measurement studies commissioned by media partners. Spoiler alert: the campaign worked!

(I’ll dig into this more in a newsletter about something I talk a lot about called the numbers and the narrative…)

Believing people are more productive because of technologyproductivity was apparently up 4% in Q2, after modest gains or dips the last few quarters.

Some people will say this is a sign that AI is making our jobs easier. Others will say its a sign that the balance of hybrid work is picking up steam.

I say bullshit. It’s because less people are being forced to do more things at companies, and lay-offs have instilled the fear of god in workers.

Thinking YouTube is bad because they marketing media said soone of the leading fraud experts just published a LinkedIn post on how YouTube has been beneficial to building his business.

He shows you how he does it, and tells you what to avoid to avoid brand safety concerns.

So, there ya go - now you don’t have to feel bad running on YouTube - the best digital property to run video on in 2023 - and don’t have to give all of your money away to brand safety vendors who promise premium for the price of your entire budget. Just read this guy’s post. He knows what he’s talking about.

That was a lot. See you next week, or tomorrow, or whenever.