Sunday, November 26, 2006
Originally posted Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Ad Age (6-16-03) reports on a recent survey of big advertisers. One key finding is that on 43% of the clients think it is "very important" that "a single agency offer fully integrated services." This presents a problem for big agencies which have spent the last couple of decades acquiring a variety of firms in order to become a "one-stop shop" for big clients. Those agencies paid a premium to develop capabilities that most of their clients do not see as valuable.
"One stop shopping" is a convenience, and convenient channels are valuable only when the underlying good or service is unimportant or similar across outlets. Coke is Coke, so it makes sense to buy it where you shop for groceries or gas instead of making another stop. Has anyone every chosen a college solely because the campus was closer to the airport? "Gee, Oberlin is a great school, but Ohio State is much easier to get to. Guess I'll go there instead."
As one survey respondent said, "I go to a specialist; I don't go to the same doctor for everything."
For key business services, convenience is not a big concern. Marketers after all have people on staff whose job is to manage the programs and vendors. One mega-agency or three small one, it is not really big deal in the scheme of things. It is also not a differentiator that can be used in decision-making either. "Hey, Mr. Senior Vice President of Marketing, I think we should select WPP because I'm kind of sick of juggling three different agencies for this project." Saying that out loud would be a CLM-- "career limiting move."
Clients worry that the one-stop shops end up having second-rate services. While media buying might be first-class, the creative could be ho-hum, or the direct marketing unsophisticated. It is worth a little aggravation to get all the parts right for a marketing campaign.
I suspect that one of the key reasons agencies prefer integration is that they do not want to play with their competitors. While understandable, this concern is the agency's problem, not the clients. As such, clients will be unsympathetic.
These findings offer hope to smaller agencies who focus on a single niche (interactive services, say, or cutting-edge creative). If they are willing to play well with others, they still have a shot at working for large clients.
If they really wanted to set themselves apart, they could embrace the disaggregated approach and show that they are eager to work with competitors. If they developed tools and a methodology to provide integrated campaigns even when they did not control all aspects of the marketing, they could get clients attention.
Blogs, it seems to me, should be an integral part of that effort. They are superior to email or meetings for keeping a whole team up to speed and for thrashing out differences.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Sadly, some local cops are willing to help her. From an outstanding column by Lauren Ritchie:
Marion officials jump on Grace's bandwagon
Having Nancy Grace come to town is bad enough.
The CNN Headline News host last week put on two fast-moving, error-laced, psycho-babble shows that consisted of repetitive speculation on what happened to Trenton Duckett, the 2-year-old missing from his Leesburg home since late August.
But to have law enforcement wallow in Grace's theatrical caldron of gossip is just plain bizarre. It is unprofessional. It cheapens the life -- and perhaps the death -- of a child whose destiny seems to be as a victim.
Originally posted on Friday, November 26, 2004
Like tasteless cotton candy
Some TV news stories are pointless but appear like clockwork. Reporter on a beach as a hurricane approaches, reporter standing outside a polling place on election day, reporter at a mall on Black Friday. It fills air time but the beach is the worst place to track the hurricane, 20 minutes at one polling place tells you nothing about turnout, and crowded malls on Black Friday is not evidence that spending is up for the Christmas season.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Joe Katzman is puzzled by the Gates nomination.
Rev. Donald Sensing wonders if there is any "organizing principal" to the Bush administration. David Foster offers one in the comments.
I've tackled facets of the question here:
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Dr. William L. Anderson has an interesting article that applies economic theory to prosecutorial misconduct.
Why the Duke Hoax ContinuesSee also.
Part III: Courts of the State – and the State of Justice
David Horowitz has a long review of Bettina Aptheker's memoirs. (Aptheker is the daughter of Herbert Aptheker, a historian and long-time leader in the Communist Party USA).
The daughter followed iun her father's footsteps and was deeply involved in the radical causes of the 60s and 70s.
The striking thing about her history is the ease with which Communists moved into the academy and advanced each other's careers.
In 1974, after the publication of her book, Aptheker had joined a major migration of radical activists from the streets of protest to the faculties of American universities. She signed up for a masters program at San Jose State in “speech-communication,” one of the fields leftists were busily re-defining to accommodate their political agendas. Because other leftists had preceded her, the department offered her a job as well, “a position as a ‘graduate teaching associate,’ a title they invented for me since there were no provisions for teaching assistantships at the universities.” While some university officials viewed her arrest record and non-scholarly career skeptically and opposed her appointment, others were “enthusiastic about my arrival,” and with the help of the Communist Party’s civil liberties lawyer they prevailed. She received her masters in June 1976 and began teaching a course on the “History of Black Women,” which was jointly offered by two of the politicized departments radicals had recently created, Women’s Studies and Afro-American Studies.[SNIP]
To pursue a university career she would need a Ph.D. credential, so she enrolled in the “History of Consciousness” graduate program, which had been created by the historian Page Smith, as he told an interviewer, in order “to prove the Ph.D. was a fraud.” Aptheker’s political alter ego, Angela Davis, was already a professor on the faculty and, as if, to validate Smith’s hypothesis, the department awarded the cocaine-addicted felon and Black Panther leader, Huey Newton, a doctorate for a self-serving political tract titled, “War Against the Panthers: Repression in America.” In Aptheker’s own description, the “History of Consciousness” major was “an interdisciplinary program with an emphasis in twentieth century radical and Marxist philosophies.”
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Assessing presidential legacies is risky. They evolve over time as events unfold long after the actors leave the stage. Ronald Reagan’s legacy was in doubt when he left office in January of 1989. The collapse of of the Soviet Union and then the performance of the military in Gulf War I ratified his most controversial foreign policies and turned a former actor into a visionary statesman.
Often legacies hinge on decisions that have little to do with the matters that leaders are most remembered for. Lincoln is the Great Emancipatorthe man who ended slavery after a terrible war. Yet he is remembered as such only because he found Grant in 1863. With Grant he got Sherman. Grant was the strategic genius who won the war, but Sherman was the general who took Atlanta in 1864 and secured Lincoln’s re-election.
It is quite possible that without Sherman’s victories Lincoln would have lost to McClellan. We (in the North) might remember Lincoln as the divisive, ineffective bumpkin whose ineptitude and meddling wasted hundreds of thousands of lives in an ill-considered war that ruined all chances of a political settlement.
The Bush-Rumsfeld years hinge on two similar failures. First, they could never define the strategic-military key to the situation in Iraq. They never found the equivalent of Vicksburg and Atlanta: those battles that made victory inevitable. Second, Bush never found his Sherman or Grant: the generals who could win those decisive battles.
Those two tasksdefining the key to victory and finding the men to win it-- are crucial but they are also inter-related and messy. Roosevelt found Marshall and it was with Marshall’s advice that he forged the grand strategy for World War II. Lincoln shuffled through a half dozen generals before he found Grant. Churchill appointed and relieved more than that before he found the right men and had them in the right place.
Bush has been notably quiescent on that score. He stuck with Rumsfeld and Rice and treated his military commanders as though they were interchangeable functionaries.
That, too, may be a result of his MBA training. Harvard case studies are big on analysis and decision. They ratify the conventional wisdom and promote a safe uniformity of opinion. What they do not do is capture the importance of the singular individual. A good pre-HAPW MBA will select Bradley over Patton every time; Grant and Sherman will never make the cut if a Burnside or McClellan is available.
More evidence of the nature and form of Bush's loyalty.
I really thought Michael Steele would be a great RNC chair.
Remember, it was Martinez's office that completely changed the terms of debate during the Terri Schiavo case. The best spin he could come up with was that the memo was "unauthorized" meaning he, Martinez, was inept in staffing and running his small Senate staff. This is the guy who is supposed to rebuild a defeated party?
Monday, November 13, 2006
Many Steelers fans hate Kordell Stewart. I find that odd since he had a winning record and got us to a couple of AFC Championship games. Hating Neil O’Donnell I understand, but the hostility directed at Kordell puzzles me.
Stewart haters like to point to the upset loss to the Patriots in the 2001 AFC Championship game. Slash threw three interceptions as New England won 24-17. That game essentially ended Stewart’s career in Pittsburgh. Early in the next season the glorious Tommy Maddox era dawned for the Black and Gold.
That’s the history but the history is more fiction than fact. There are many reasons why the Steelers lost to the Patriots and most of them were out of #10’s control.
10. Mike Tomczak. The Steelers back up QB was nothing like Stewart. The offensive playbook could never fully leverage Slash’s skills because the plays had to be run by Tomczak as well as Stewart. We had a Ferrari in the garage but kept low octane fuel in the pumps because our other car was a Sentra.
(After O’Donnell took the money and ran to the Jets, Randall Cunningham was available for a song. Just imagine what the late 90s could have looked like for Pittsburgh if both their QBs had been fast and mobile.)
9. No continuity at offensive coordinator. The AFCC game is seen as proof that Stewart would never fulfill his potential. If so, some of the blame has to go to the Steelers organization. The offensive coordinator’s office had a revolving door during the Stewart era. That’s tough on a young, raw QB. The problem was aggravated because until 2001, the Steelers did not have a quarterback coach.
8. No continuity at receiver. Again, if Stewart looked less than polished in 2001, part of the reason is that there was constant turnover in his receiving corps. His top targets had a way of leaving in free agency (Thigpen, Johnson) to be replaced by highly drafted rookies (Blackwell, Edwards, Buress). Even worse, the coaches kept demoting Hines Ward to get those top picks on the field. Slash never had the chance to find his go-to guy. Manning, Young, Aikman Unitas; Harrison, Rice, Irvin, Berry. QB’s do best when they are part of a deadly tandem.
Even Tom Brady admitted that the loss of Deion Branch knocked him off his stride this season. That’s coming from a guy with three rings.
7. Special teams futility. The Steelers fell behind the Patriots because they gave up two TDs on special teams. This is a recurring theme in the Cowher-era. His special teams put his QBs in a hole in big games.
6. Game plan? Who needs a game plan? For the AFCC loss to really count against Stewart, it would have to be exceptional. Sadly, many different Steelers quarterbacks have lost AFCC games. Maybe this is less a reflection on the guys under center and has more to do with a stubborn coach who can’t prepare and can’t make adjustments against quality opponents.
I think the point I made after the loss in the 2004 AFCCG still stands:
Cowher blamed the QB for the interceptions that led to the loss. I'm not buying it. To paraphrase Goldfinger: One big game lost to interceptions; that's poor play at QB. Two big games lost that way is a bad break. Five big games lost on interceptions by three different QBs-that's play-calling and coaching.5. The interceptions. Yeah, he threw three interceptions. Two of them were in the last three minutes with his team trailing. Take away the disaster on special teams and he ends the game with just one pick and a trip to the Superbowl.
4. One-dimensional players. The late-Cowher formula on offense relied on very specialized players. The running back ran between the tackles. The fullback and tight end blocked for the running back. None of them figured into the passing game. Against good teams, the offense was predictable and easy to stop. The quarterback never had the element of surprise because personnel and formation tipped-off the defense.
3. Drew Freaking Bledsoe. Tom Brady was injured with two minutes left in the first half and the score 7-3. Bledsoe drove the Patriots 40 yards in one minute to take a 14-3 lead. Kordell Stewart was not on the field when Bledsoe made the defense look like chumps.
2. Troy Brown, the best big game player of his era. Sometimes you lose because the other team has better players. The Patriots had Troy Brown. He returned a punt for a TD. He recovered a blocked field goal and then lateraled which resulted in another TD off a return. He caught 8 passes for 121 yards. On the only touchdown drive by the Patriots offense, he caught a 28 yard pass when the Pats faced 3rd down on their 32 with two minutes left in the half.
It wasn’t a fluke game for Brown. He caught big passes on the winning drives in the Super Bowl against St. Louis and Carolina.
No other player in the Super Bowl era had Brown’s versatility. Returner, receiver, defensive backhe could make big plays in all phases of the game. More importantly, he did make big plays in big games.
1. The Bus broke down. The whole point of the Cowher offense was to push people around and beat teams into submission with Jerome Bettis. But #36 was injured and inactive for the five games prior to the AFC title game. He managed only 8 yards on 9 attempts against the Patriots and the Steelers were held to 58 yards rushing.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
First, a little anecdote. Along with a host of other bloggers, I was on a conference call with Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia on Wednesday. I usually don’t write anything about these conference calls because they’re reliably dull as dishwater. But this one actually had an interesting moment. Kingston let on how a bunch of Republican members of the House have grown pretty tired carrying water for the administration, and suggested that the water-carrying days are over. (I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure the other bloggers on the call can verify the rough sentiment.)
The cracks in the relationships that the Bush administration has with just about everybody are beginning to show. As the administration enters its lame duck phase, it’s going to be pretty short on friends.
I wrote this back in May:
Bush's loyalty has been to "his people"-White House staffers, cabinet officers, etc. He shows very little loyalty, sympathy, or understanding for the broader coalition he leads-Republicans, conservatives, the military. He too often treats them as pawns whose only role is to obey the decisions he has made. He was willing to embarrass Senate Republicans by nominating Miers to the Supreme Court, he is willing undercut the Republican House on immigration, he panders on gas prices and was wobbly on the rights of gun owners. He is a wartime president who passes out Medals of Freedom to Muhammad Ali and neocon polemicists.
In sum, I see more reasons for pessimism than Lifson. The last couple of years of any administration are difficult. The habits of mind that GWB formed at HBS might make his especially difficult.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Michelle Malkin has an interview with a genuine American hero: one of the men who flew with Jimmy Doolittle on his raid on Tokyo in 1942. His thoughts on our current situation:
"We're at war. We ought to get on a war footing and get the job done."If Red American is disenchanted with Bush (and i think it is) it is not because they disagree that we are at war. Rather, they wonder why he refused to go to a real war footing and are impatient because they suspect that he and his administration does not know how to get the job done.
It was not a choice between cut and run versus winning. It was a choice between cut and run versus stay and hope. That is, a choice between losing fast or losing slow.
I knew Bush and the Republicans were in trouble back in the spring. I was helping out at an American Legion barbeque in the reddest of Red America. Their disgust with the handling of the war was palpable. This was not a group of kumbayah singing pacifists. But they were sick of reading about fighting for the same town over and over again.
Yes, they thought it sounded like Vietnam and they were willing to use the Q-word.
With the mid-terms out of the way, we can see how GWB stacks up as a party leader compared to other post-war presidents. Despite the doom and gloom from Tuesday, it turns out that he has been exceedingly average.
Take his re-election victory in 2004. His 50.8% puts him in the middle of the pack.
Same thing for his effecton his party's standing in Congress. Republicans have lost under Bush, but his is not the worst performance by a two term presidency.
This measures the change in seats between those held at the time of the president's first election race and those held after the second mid-term. As noted here, the numbers are skewed by the Democratic reliance on the Jim Crow South between 1945 and 1970.
If Bush's performance has not been the worst among recent presidents, neither has it been stellar.
OTOH, i am still surprised at how bad Clinton's performance was. Why do Dems love the guy so much?
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Now it is Republicans turn to learn this lesson.
I think that Mark Tapscott gets the big lesson right in this post:
the essential framing of the GOP congressional campaign would be left to Rove. Rove's strategy was built on the tried-and-true GOP Establishment axiom that "conservatives have no place to go," and therefore the biggest challenge was getting them to turnout on election day in sufficient numbers to overcome the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media.The rewards for loyalty:
It was essential for the Rove strategy to create the appearance of sufficient progress on key issues in order to "get the GOP base stirred up." But the "progress" was little more than smoke and mirrors and everybody in Washington knew it, as did millions of conservative voters who had heard the same broken record over and over again in the past.
The House GOP has been remarkably loyal to GWB. Contrast that with the way the House Republicans treated Bush '41 over the tax increases in 1990. I wonder if this passivity has anything to do with the loss of Tom Delay?
UPDATE: Irish Pennants note that Iraq was not the over-riding issue:
Though I think Iraq was the dominant issue -- a big dog in itself which colored voter perceptions of every other thing -- the exit polls indicated that more voters (42 percent as opposed to 40 percent) said they were most concerned about corruption. This is a wound the Republicans in Congress inflicted upon themselves.On corruption, he blames Delay first and foremost.
I disagree. For one thing, some of the worst corruption took place in the states (especially Ohio and Illinois.) Oddly enough, the GOP has been wrecked in those two states by "moderate" "pragmatists" who were also morally deficient. (When your prime focus is to compromise and get along with everyone, you end up going along with the wrong kind of people.)
Second, the GOP refused to fight back against the "culture of corruption" charges with their most effective weapons. They hoped the issue would go away instead of bringing up Alcee Hastings and William Jefferson.
One last note. I was on the receiving end of the GOP GOTV efforts. I must have received ten calls in the 72 hours before the elections as well as half a dozen emails. But while i was inundated with admonitions to vote, I never heard a compelling "reason why". Maybe they figured that i was part of the base and that the big matter was to get me to the polls. OTOH, they forfeited the chance to really energize the base and use them as secondary transmitters of their message.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Perfect description for 2-6 Steelers ... SorryI'm not a big fan of most statistical "analysis" when in comes to the NFL. It's too static and ignores the dialectical nature of the competition. It often also ignores the importance of time and the overall game situation. It reminds me of the post-war analysis of the Fall of France in 1940. It did not matter that the Allies had more and better tanks and fighter planes. The crucial fact was that the Germans had local superiorities at the crucial place and time.
By the same token, though, the Steelers have earned every bit of 2-6 this season. They keep making the same mistakes week after week, the ones Cowher promises to correct but never does. If there's any injustice, it's that the Cleveland Browns blew a second-half lead against San Diego yesterday. The Steelers deserve to be in last place by themselves.
The Steelers had another bad special-teams game. It wasn't just Holmes' fumble on a kickoff return early in the game that set up the Broncos' second touchdown or Smith's personal foul on a Broncos' punt return. Kicker Jeff Reed missed a 40-yard field goal that would have cut Denver's lead to 14-10. Don't blame special-teams coach Kevin Spencer for the ineptitude. The special teams are Cowher's baby. He has done nothing to rectify their season-long problems.
"I don't know what to tell you. I really don't," Cowher said of the Steelers' woes. "I'm at a loss for words."
In the Steelers case, it would be wrong to treat all of yesterday's turnovers as equal. The last Roethlisberger pick and the Ward fumble came in desperation time.
All season long the critical mistakes are those early (esp. special team) errors that put the Steelers in a big hole. Am i the only person in Steeler Nation who wonders why we can't correct them?
One other echo of 1940. Eventually, the French high command fell into a calm, hopeless acceptance of the disaster. Hopeless acceptance. Sound like any head coach we know?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The most recent Steelers Digest ran an interview with Safety Ryan Clark. This Q&A is worrisome.
Q: What are some of the differences between the Steelers and the Redskins?I’m not sure a family-friendly practice schedule is the right tonic for this team. They were 0-4 in pre-season and are 2-5 in games that count. Most of those losses were due to horrible, sloppy mistakes--fumbles, interceptions, dropped passes, and stupid penalties.
A: I would definitely say the practice schedule. It’s a lot more player-friendly here. Coach Cowher definitely takes care of us and lets us get some time at home with the family.
Maybe that’s what is lacking this year. The team (coaches and players) are relying on their will to win on Sunday while ignoring the need to prepare Monday through Saturday.
"It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference."
(Bobby Knight, Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi)
Police trainers have a saying that fits in here:
"You won't rise to the occasion - you'll default to your level of training."
Friday, November 03, 2006
A couple of weeks ago Tuesday Morning Quarterback had this interesting tidbit:
A year ago at the Hall of Fame reception in Canton, Ohio I found myself sitting between Bill Walsh and Don Shula. I posed this question: In a day when the Bears line up five-wide and Texas Tech passes 60 times a game, are there any fundamental innovations that have not been tried? Walsh supposed someone might try using trick formations for an entire game. Shula twinkled his eyes and said: "Someday there will be a coach who doesn't punt."Given the Steelers's problems with punt returns, i wonder about the flipside of this. What if a team did not return punts?
What is gained?
1. No more fumbles on punt returns. Your most sure-handed player is back there calling for a fair catch.
2. More blocked kicks. Since there is no need to set up a return, you can have an effective, relentless rush.
The averages and conventional wisdom says that teams which do this will lose about eight yeards per punt. But that may no be so. Currently, punters still get the kick away on most low or bobbled snaps. In the face of a determined, full-out rush, many or most of those slight miscues will become game-changing blocks or sacks.
Which is better: eight possessions starting on the 30 or seven possessions that start on the 20 PLUS one that begins at the opponents 20?
In addition, it is quite possible that this strategy will force punters to adjust by kicking quicker while sacrificing distance.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Pro Football OutsidersAs a commenter notes, no soap opera would be complete without the Evil Twin. It is Evil Ben who is throwing all those picks. The real Big Ben is being held somewhere by a Patriots's fan or maybe Archie Manning.
Roethlisberger’s life the last four months is worthy of a bad soap opera. In June, he got in a major motorcycle accident. He recovered amazingly, but just before the start of the regular season he had to undergo an appendectomy. After struggling early, he finally started playing well only to suffer a concussion.
But when did the switch happen? Maybe in the two weeks before the Superbowl. (Come to think of it, Holmgren would make a pretty good criminal mastermind in a soap opera). Except, the plan did not work. It was no match for the Bettis destiny ride.
So maybe the "injuries" are just ploys to explain Evil Ben's performance and to keep Charlie Batch on the bench.
Of course, if this is a soap, the Steelers's season can still be saved. Seems to me that the plot should go something like this......
Twenty minutes before kickoff against the the Broncos, a large bus drives into the end zone at Heinz Field. When #36 opens the door, out steps the real Big Ben suited up and ready to play. 100,000 eyes zoom onto the the other #7 standing on the Steelers sideline. Panicking, he tries to run out of the stadium. Before he can reach the tunnel he is slammed to the ground by a figure in street clothes (Jack Lambert don't need no stinking pads to tackle a quaterback.) Joe Greene rips the mask off the imposter and reveals......
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
How will this help improve our intelligence organizations?
Pelosi's Unintelligent Choice
If Democrats win control of the House next week, Nancy Pelosi's first test as speaker will arrive long before the 110th Congress convenes. Her choice to head the House intelligence committee -- unlike other House committees, this one is left entirely up to the party leadership -- will speak volumes about whether a Speaker Pelosi will be able to resist a return to paint-by-numbers Democratic Party interest-group politics as usual.
Pelosi is in a box of her own devising. The panel's ranking Democrat is her fellow Californian Jane Harman -- smart and hardworking but also abrasive, ambitious and, in Pelosi's estimation, insufficiently partisan on the committee. So Pelosi, once the intelligence panel's ranking Democrat herself, has made clear that she doesn't intend to name Harman to the chairmanship.
The wrong decision, in my view, but one that's magnified by the unfortunate fact that next in line is Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings. In 1989, after being acquitted in a criminal trial, Hastings was stripped of his position as a federal judge -- impeached by the House in which he now serves and convicted by the Senate -- for conspiring to extort a $150,000 bribe in a case before him, repeatedly lying about it under oath and manufacturing evidence at his trial.
Amy Poehler is wonderful even in sub-par sketches, and her recent Nancy Grace imitation captured that anchor’s condescending monstrousness perfectly.
Commentary: Who needs Halloween? TV is scary enough
We savor the madness of Nancy Grace. (What's scarier than that?)