CBS pumped about more subdued upfront!

moonves.jpgHold on to your hats, it’s time for the upfronts!

Or maybe it’s “hold your horses” instead. We forgot for a moment that this year the annual advertising bonanza is supposed to be a bit more subdued.

Still, CBS chief executive Les Moonves sounded fairly pumped up about the presentation on May 14, telling analysts that he felt “truly excited about this year’s show because it clearly showcases the way we are refining our media assets and updating our programming to match the needs of today’s market.”

Advertising prices, he said during CBS’s earnings conference call, have been up in the double digits in the scatter market, leading him to forecast a “healthy upfront selling season.”

But before negotiations get into full swing, there is the issue of the upfront presentations themselves. What will they look like after the screenwriters’ strike cut short the development season and prompted the industry to rethink (sort of) how it does business?

Moonves said that many of the network’s new 2008-09 shows were made as presentations rather than pilots. Presentations, he said, could be shot in five or six days rather than 10 or 12 for pilots, cost 50 percent less, and contain only what would be the key scenes of the storyline.

Making the grade on Madison Avenue

students.jpgWho’s making the grade in advertising? We found out today, with the release of Adweek’s annual agency report cards.

Although Adweek admits the ratings aren’t a “perfect science,” they do take some hard numbers into account, including revenue gain, revenue per employee, and billing-to-revenue ratio. Trickier is grading the creative side. Adweek says it judges the work based on creativity, originality, positioning and strategy.

Enough about methodology. Let’s rip open those envelopes.

Top agency grades went to Publicis USA (A-) and Saatchi & Saatchi (A-)

Worst agency grades went to Doner (D) and Campbell Mithun (D), followed by slightly better ones at GSD&M Idea City (D+) and Lowe (D+).

AOL’s Platform-A gets a face

platform-a-small.jpgYou’re nothing without a logo. And AOL’s Platform-A online ad sales division finally gets one.

From AOL’s Corporate site:

AOL today revealed the logo for its Platform-A advertising division. Lynda Clarizio, President of Platform-A, said that the new logo “effectively communicates our distinct competitive advantage of scale and reach. And its bold and simple design fits with our mission of providing advertisers and publishers with effective, impactful and easy-to-use solutions to their digital advertising needs.”

Complementary brand identities for companies owned by Platform-A will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Yahoo’s Google test works! Now what?

yahoo.jpg“It’s a success! Now what?”

Yahoo may be ready to turn over its Web search advertising to Google following a successful test using Google’s service to deliver ads alongside its Web search results. But that’s only the beginning of what could be a swirl of deals. Or Not.

The way PaidContent sees it , if this alternative stands, and then, say, AOL merges with Yahoo, then the Google-Yahoo arrangement may have to pass anti-trust muster. And regulators are likely to give a thumbs up, TechCruch says, adding this rosy tidbit:

Everyone, even Yahoo, realizes that a Google search deal is a slow but certain death for the company.

Speed is the new big — and other ad talk

iaa-logo.JPGThe International Advertising Association (IAA) is holding its World Congress in Washington D.C. this week, when hundreds of advertising and media executives descend on the nation’s capital to talk about social communities, marketing regulation, return on investment, and, of course, the economy.

Here’s what ad industry types are saying:

“Advertising and the economy seem to go hand in hand. Really, the fact that the economy is weakening is going to have an impact on the industry in the short term.” Bob Liodice, President, Association of National Advertisers

“An actors’ strike would be incredibly devastating, particularly to the television business. The industry paid a large price for the last work stoppage. I don’t think either the (local) economy or the business would be able survive something like that.” Jeff Zucker, Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal

Ad spending outlook: some Good, mostly Bad, may be Ugly

DollarsThe good news on ad spending ain’t so good. According to ZenithOptimedia, spending on advertising in North America and Western Europe is expected to grow by 3.8 percent this year. But that is lower than an earlier forecast of 4.4 percent, as the credit crunch saps confidence.

This comes after Carat, the media network owned by UK group Aegis, earlier this month cut its own forecast for growth in global ad spending in 2008 to 6 percent from 6.2 percent.

An even more grim reality: Ad agencies are prepping for a recession.

The silver lining is online, of course, but it may not last. Zenith sees U.S. online ad spending growing 23.4 percent this year to $47.5 billion, an upgrade from the 19 percent forecast in December, amid the continued shift from traditional media to interactive. But it downgraded its 2009 forecast for online to 15.8 percent growth.

“Forget her, check out that digital billboard!”

octoberfest.jpgMore than just the cute guy or girl catches your eye at the bar these days.

Nearly 80 percent of people surveyed in a recent study recalled at least one of four advertisements running on digital billboard screens at bars where they were partying. That’s not a bad number considering the audience surveyed by Arbitron and Zoom Media & Marketing — 500 people aged 21 to 34.  That’s a demographic that advertisers love.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that Zoom Media is an advertising company with a big digital presence in bars and nightclubs. Still, the survey suggest that digital billboards really are getting eyeballs.

Another finding from the survey: “Consumers who were exposed to the advertising were much more likely to consider certain brands as category leaders. For example, when asked what they thought the top new video games were, twice as many people were likely to answer Assassin’s Creed — which was one of the commercials used in the survey — compared to those not exposed to the ad.”