I would like to wish all of my readers and their families a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2008.  And a forgiving one, too, since too many candy canes pulled me off track from posting my weekly Favorites. Yes, that’s right, I blame the candy. I’ll get back on track next week. 

In the meantime, here are some pieces that ran from mid December ’07 to early January ’08.  Enjoy.

Steve and Barry’s Uses Celebs to Drive In-Store Traffic
The 265-store retail chain rarely advertises, but gets plenty of fresh exposure from partnering with celebrities who get their own exclusive line of clothing.

Study:  Googling Oneself is More Popular
While self-Googling is becoming increasingly popular, about 60% of Internet surfers say they aren’t worried about the quantity or quality of information available about themselves online.  Readers of this blog know otherwise.

How Silicon Valley and Washington Say “I’m Sorry
Do we have a leadership vacuum?  I say we do.  And how many times can we buy into “I’d rather apologize later than ask permission first” before we start asking questions?  How much of this is marketing spin and how much is real?

Bhutto News Draws YouTube Crowds To TV Coverage
Not everything is a “tipping point,” but there is something real happening across demographic segments when one clip (on YouTube!) draws 185,000 views within 24 hours of the assassination.  Many clips drew between 40,000 and 80,000 views.

Walk 100 Yards North, Turn Right, Enter Store
ShopLocal is just one company pioneering product locating and comparison via mobile devices. Shoppers get search results that provide product, pricing, retailer information and GPS-driven directions to the store of their choice.

Marketer Discontent Set Records In 2007

This is a tough one.  There’s so much change in the marketplace that marketers are more prone than ever to shop their accounts from agency to agency.  Aside from the obvious pain on all sides, there’s no way to interpret this phenomenon broadly.  Bad creative, weak client direction, pressured CEOs, lack of reporting and measurement skills… there are a lot of reasons for this wrenching trend.

Big Fish, Little Fish—Choose Your Pond
Here is an interesting piece of research on executive pay.  It looks at a number of elements including the ratio of average employee to executive pay and how the size and structure of an organization impacts compensation.

The Short Life of the Chief Marketing Officer
This blog would be remiss if it did not provide a link to the most recently quoted article focused on the plight of the CMO.  This piece does not cover a lot of new ground, but I do give it credit for circling around what I’ve always said is the heart of the matter:  that is, fuzzy, mismatched expectations between the CEO, the organization, its stakeholders and the CMO him/herself.

 If I had to explain what I mean in one (two?) sentences, I would say that some equate marketing and, by extension, the role of the CMO, to “branding” and advertising.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, many understand the CMO to be a senior business person first, with a core expertise in the entire marketing mix:  one that should be at the CEO’s senior management table when matters concerning the customer are discussed.

If I sound like I have a bias, I do:  I am in the latter camp, not the former.  I do not mean to say, however, that either one is “right.”  Any point along this spectrum can be perfectly fine if it is mutually-agreed and adhered to by the CEO, the board, the organization and the CMO in question.  In good times, and bad.  And there lies the rub.

The New Corporate Intranet, Web 2.0 Style

Serena Software, a vendor of enterprise change management software, is replacing its existing intranet with Facebook on the front-end, attached to a CMS on the back-end.  The implications of this are pretty interesting.  I just hope that Serena eliminates Facebook’s “Change status” function, lest the company get a lot of “In meeting”  “On phone” “In meeting” “On phone” “On phone in bathroom…”

Tiffany Goes Into Business With Swatch
Swatch is setting up a company that will use Tiffany branding and designs to sell watches that will be made and distributed through its global distribution network.  Hopefully, this is a genius move that reflects the melding of mass affluent and luxury purchasing trends around the world.

Newspapers Still Wield Some Influencing Power – Online
Newspapers are still powerful, or are at least still read by those who are:  Mediamark Research reports that readers of newspaper sites are 52% more likely to be categorized as “influencers” than non-newspaper Web site readers.  Good info, for those planning media budgets for ’08 who may think that newspapers are on their way out.

Nielsen Releases 10 Most Popular Lists of 2007
GoViral Ranks Top 5 Viral Advertisements of 2007

I guess I’d vote for the RayBan spot (3.2M YouTube views since May) but ONLY because the Blendtec ad (2.7M views since July) to me is, well, royalty and should be on a list all its own…

I Really Hope My Brain Does NOT Always Work Like Google
As has been previously reported in this blog, Google tends to report popularity.  NB: If what’s popular is also truthful, I’m all for it.

Companies Should Keep and Forward Old Phone Numbers
This is a great tip that seems so simple, but we all know that companies do not always follow this advice.  If a customer pulls out a dusty old catalog and is ready to order a Christmas gift, be sure she can find you.