Brunch Forum: MTV VMAs & Native Advertising, Condé Nast, Storytelling, Digital Ad Blockers, The Escape Pod, Apple iOS & More

by James Thompson

Enjoy what’s left of your morning with AdForum’s daily round-up of the latest news, trends, and notable work in the advertising industry.

Ad Agencies Reconsider the Spec Pitch Game and Costs of Creating Free Work

“When Mike Wolfsohn and his two partners left Southern California agency Ignited in 2010 to form High Wide & Handsome, they vowed not to participate in competitive pitches requiring contenders to foot the bill for speculative creative work. Such exercises ‘demean the profession,’ said Wolfsohn, who decries the process as ‘a reality show to impress some panel of judges. Pitches rarely resemble what a working relationship would be like between agency and client.’” Visit Adweek for the full story. 

Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus and the Art of Self Promotion

Native advertising comes in all forms, especially at MTV’s Video Music Awards, where egos and art collide in bombastic spasms of self promotion cloaked in the drama of personal feuds, smarmy introspection, and contrived controversies. Not surprisingly, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West, and host Miley Cyrus did their best to monopolize the spotlight. After accepting an award for Best Hip Hop Video, Nicki Minaj called out Miley Cyrus, interjecting “this bitch who had a lot to say about me last week in the press,” guaranteeing both of them coveted headlines. Miley deflected the attack as best she could, and continued her ramshackle sex-gasm of gyrations in flamboyant tear-away costumes. To top it all off, a stoned Kanye West sort of apologized for his selfish behavior in previous VMA’s – a soliloquy that included a convoluted excuse for his antics – before declaring his candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. All in all, another spectacular VMAs, which remained true to its outlandish reputation and served its purpose to promote the industry’s many talents and people who make a living off of them. Read the full list of winners and losers over at MTV

TV Networks Rattled by Ad Blockers That Erase Commercials Online

Today’s consumers of news and entertainment consider commercials invasive and obtrusive, and they will do just about anything to prevent commercials from invading their eye space and wasting their time. Life just become more difficult for TV networks that need advertising to survive, as ad blockers can completely erase pre-roll and in-show commercials featured on, and Read the full story at Ad Age

Condé Nast Accepts the Reality of Digital Advertising, Agrees to Negotiate

“In a nod to the brutal price competition on the Web, the company has also broken with its longstanding tradition of not negotiating rates. The move to show flexibility on rates is also, unsurprisingly, a move that draws cheers from buyers, although it can also be seen as more depressing evidence of the vast commoditization force digital is for all publishers. ‘Condé Nast is off the rate card,’ said Barry Lowenthal, president of The Media Kitchen. ‘They’re willing to negotiate. I was having lunch with a Condé Nast publisher, and one of the first things he said was, ‘If price is an issue, we can talk about that.’ You never would have talked about that in the past.’” Read more at DigiDay

Job of the Day: Account Executive, Activation, at Grey in New York City

Grey New York is seeking a strategic and detail-oriented account person to be a part of their fully integrated marketing initiatives that include experiential, partnership and promotional programs The person in this role will support an Account Supervisor on all of their clients’ projects, from strategic development through creative concepting and production of all activation elements of campaigns. This person will work on up to four (4) integrated accounts and must have the ability to manage simultaneous projects, work on and be a leader within multi-disciplinary teams and ensure flawless production of activation platforms. Each client team is supported by at least 1 junior staff members as well (e.g. Assistance Account Executive and/or Intern). For more information visit Grey

More Digital Advertising News: New Apple iOS Blocks Ads on Mobile Devices, Miffing Publishers and Google

“Apple Inc.’s move to make it easier to block ads on iPhones and iPads is troubling publishers and heightening tensions with its Silicon Valley neighbors. The next version of Apple’s mobile-operating system, due out as early as next month, will let users install apps that prevent ads from appearing in its Safari browser.” Visit the Wall Street Journal for more.

Why Crowd-sourced Storytelling Is the Future of Advertising

“How do you define storytelling in the digital age? Must it involve social media, technological integration and 4K? Surely not — however, it doesn't hurt. Storytelling at its finest, whether through visual imagery, music or the written word, should evoke a visceral reaction in its audience. There's something to be said about inviting that audience to participate in a story, and, with technology on our side, the options for how to do so are infinite.” Full article at Mashable

Agency of the Week

The Escape Pod: In 2007, advertising industry veterans Norm Bilow and Vinny Warren founded The Escape Pod, a full-service agency, to help clients navigate the unprecedented upheaval in the media and technology landscape. Our guiding principle is "bringing fresh ideas that move business" which has helped clients like Toys"R"Us, Can-Am Spyder, and Mondelez benefit from our unique storytelling abilities. We like to build ideas off previously unrecognized or ignored consumer insights about a brand. Creating advertising that is strategically sound, creatively exceptional, and makes optimal use of any media.

Because it is Monday and you’re missing the cold beers you enjoyed this weekend, check out this Warsteiner ad below that celebrates German beer and 60 years of the Lufthansa.

(Bloody Mary photo courtesy of Anthony. Thank you! It looks delicious!) 

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