Tag Archives: New Media

14 Things Everyone Needs From Government

Originally posted May 29, 2011

In The May 16, 2011 issue of The New Yorker (an especially fine issue even by that iconic publication’s standards), a Pakistani storekeeper doing business in the neighborhood where Osama had been hiding, says he doesn’t care about that particular struggle, or any other fight going on in the world. He doesn’t want weapons, he says, he wants “light, water, health and education”.

Most people everywhere would echo those words. A huge percentage of the history of the world being written every day, and a huge percent of the money spent each year, is tied up in competitions and power struggles going on over our heads. The people with power are shaping the lives we must live, and we appear to have zero control over that reality.

We the People

We live in a democracy, we like to think the world’s best, and certainly the world’s first in modern times (thinking of Athens in the Golden Age as USA-like in a very few respects). We vote – those who still feel it makes a difference or that we would be cowards not to try to make a positive difference. But that’s just it: more than half of us have given up voting, mostly because we are sure that there is nothing we can do that makes any difference whatsoever.

Robert A. Heinlein once mentioned a scale plotting the strength of an individual’s will (and so the probability of that individual’s survival) where the lowest point is named apathy. Giving up, believing that one has zero control, is the very definition of apathy.

Each of us has the potential to move the world. I have seen a little bit of this first hand, in a small microcosm of the Earth called the advertising business. I set out to change it and have already made some markups on it.

Moving an industry takes vast effort every day and is worth it. I recommend it to everyone. Just figure out what would make it better and cautiously make tentative suggestions for a few decades and see what happens.

If one person can change an industry, then with a little bit of gung ho cooperation among a bunch of people, it should be possible to change the world.

And now we’ve got the Internet. When I first started thinking about what were called “online services” in the late 60s, the word “democracy” just kept popping up in my head all the time. I saw webcams becoming a part of a new type of social television – something which I am sure will happen at some point in the sequencing of media revolutions still to come.

I hoped to be one of those bringing together positive thinking, socially aware advertisers as sponsors with similarly aware networks to create a new screen programming, totally interactive and melding Town Hall with Delphi techniques, to actually influence the thinking of politicians, and to provide a platform for bringing forth inventions and ideas from the entire citizenry to public attention at large.

I reasoned to myself that even just based on the people and ideas I knew were available, the programming would be entertaining and super informative and would garner a huge rating. People like Norman Cousins, Eric Sevareid, Walter Cronkite and Jimmy Carter, to name just a few, gave positive feedback to some of these ideas, and kept me charged to continue another step in the journey. And then another. I continue to this day, and hope you will join me in the co-creation of democracy social screen programming.

Taking a step back, there is another matter, another toolset we will need along the way. Taking some share of screen audience each day to play a game of running the world, and actually having impact, that’s one thing. But will it go far enough? What are the root causes of the ills we’re trying to cure?

They come back to the need for evolution of the minds of the people at the top. Those who are having the biggest effect on history. They are still getting into wars like the petty kings and dukes of yesteryear. They have not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually evolved far enough to rise above the emotions within that cause them to get us into wars.

So whatever kind of Television/Internet (I have been calling it “screen” to cover all screen media – yes, even cinema) we create, no matter how many great ideas we bring to light, the people who control our lives will only move inches and not miles per year as a result, unless we can get into their heads and make the necessary adjustments. And before we can say this justifiably, we have to get into our own heads and make sure of our own motivations.

If we act out of pride and self-aggrandizement, we are right there with them. Only by taking the long view and the big view – that we are grateful to the Universe for having us, and we want to give back in that spirit by taking care of as much of the world as we can nurture – only by being ourselves nobly motivated can we help make the shift at the top.

This is what I call psychotechnology. It is the subject of my books and videos, which are designed to get the reader/viewer to objectively look inside and consider certain adjustments to get into a higher, more effective state of consciousness.

With psychotechnology and new media we can change the world for the better. It will not be easy nor quick. But it would be cowardly and apathetic to shy away from the task. Let’s do it together.

Impressed by the words of the Pakistani shopkeeper, I made a straw man list of 14 things we should expect from our government. I started where he started and added the rest by stream of consciousness. What you see below is how it came out, not in any systematic order yet.

Of course safety (protection) is on the list, and people who know me know of my great respect for our military. I am not against defense when I write about the need to wind down on wars. I have given many workshops to the military over the years and have met great-hearted and super intelligent people there. People who glom onto psychotechnology without a moment’s hesitation.

I didn’t put protection on the top of the list because, if we do our job right, within a century the world will be run by highly evolved human beings and the need for protection will gradually move down the list. So it came out near the bottom because I was thinking of the future ideal state – the one our children’s children’s children will inherit. Alas it cannot be removed from the top of the list yet – a sad statement about the leadership of the world in general.

That is not a blanket statement about all of the world’s leaders. I think we have some of the smartest – yet they need to look inside to better resolve their emotions into more Solomon-like action reflecting true wisdom.

The following list, being a pro forma, contains items some of which really fall into the bucket of another item on the list – “A Good Economy” would give us many of the others. But for the people who have not, it is worth spelling out even if duplicative.

The list in itself is something we can refine over the next hundred years. Meanwhile let’s get to work on building the screen superhighway through which democracy will flow healing ideas into the minds of those at the control switches.


  1. We need Light
  2. Water (clean, please, including oceans)
  3. Health
  4. Education
  5. Clean Air
  6. A Good Economy
  7. Jobs
  8. Fair Pay
  9. Fair Costs of Living
  10. Safety (protection)
  11. Facilitation of Individual Development (I would put this one on top)
  12. Freedom
  13. Democracy (sharing of control)
  14. Equality

Best to all,


Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.

Agencies to Become a Major Factor in Television Production Again

"Rx for Agencies [excerpt]

Create programming designed as the optimal environment for the specific client. Agencies should bring programming to their clients which utilizes the new more efficient production technologies. These will include… programs with fully integrated cast presenter commercials and product placement, and subtler forms. This again is an integration function and one which exploits the agency's core competencies placed halfway between the world of the advertiser and the world of the talent."

The Marketing Pulse, Sept. 30, 1993

When I was writing the Marketing Pulse back then, I distinguished in my own mind the difference between articles in which I would exhort, vs. articles in which I would predict. This was an exhortation article. I knew that all the agencies weren't going to immediately jump on this complex idea just because I tossed it out there.

This was not a new idea even then. Agencies had produced virtually all of the first television shows. That phenomenon mostly went away except for P&G soap operas, LBS (P&G/Grey's syndication company); and until Bill Cameron left, JWT and Needham were doing great Specials.

It's coming back. As reported by Jack Myers, at NATPE recently, Sir Martin Sorrell said, "Legacy media owners are very challenged. New media companies are hungry. We intend to be at the forefront of this new opportunity… [media owners] will need to understand what clients want and how they are going about achieving their individual goals." GroupM Entertainment evidently intends to compete in the creation of video content via that special edge of knowing the client advertiser's needs better than any TV production company or distribution outlet. This speaks to the "optimal environment" idea as in the first paragraph above. Peter Tortorici who heads GroupM Entertainment had been president of two broadcast networks and helped bring such shows to television as Cosby, “Third Rock From The Sun”, “Murphy Brown”, “Touched By An Angel” and many more. More recently he served as Executive Producer of “We Are The World 25 For Haiti” with Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, and Oscar winner Paul Haggis.

How will optimal environment be determined? I suspect it will turn into a race between alternative tech/research teams to pretest program content in advance so as to be able to better predict the size and composition of the audience, and to tweak the program to get higher involvement from its audiences that rubs off as a subtle form of gratitude to the sponsor.

Speaking at the 4As annual conference on March 8, 2011, WPP client Unilever’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Keith Weed emphasized the importance of content, underscoring the importance of agencies becoming more heavily involved in the creation of video content. Obviously nowadays the words “video content” mean more than just big screen television, instead also including Internet and Mobile, and probably increasingly, in-store.

Publicis at SMG level, has four pillars for communications planning: Community, Conversation, Currency and Content.  And content is definitely a core part of the Publicis paid, owned, earned media focus – creation of original, brand-owned content being "owned" – applicable across all media forms. Liquid Thread which used to be called ConnectiveTissue is comprised of producers and is headed by Brian Terkelsen. Under Brian’s direction the unit has already created over 200 television programs for its over 100 client brands, totaling over 8000 minutes of original content, including award-winning programs such as CoverGirl’s involvement in America’s Top Model, the M&M Characters’ roles in Entertainment Tonight. And numerous new programs created for clients such as “New You” with P&G Beauty Brands and “South Beach Diet” for Kraft.

Omnicom unit OMD, to quote Joe Mandese, "has created a new division that utilizes a strategic planning approach to develop custom media and content that fits into its clients' communications and branding goals." And he might have included ROI. Calculating that will include the advertiser's backend in the after windows, if any is negotiated, presumably varying on case by case basis according to the current zeitgeist. The new unit, called the Content Collective (good name for the business), will be producing for all screens, judging from the Flipboard deal on the New Media side, and on the TV side, the Pepsi Refresh campaign, which could be considered a form of program content because of its unique cause angle.

Although Interpublic’s Magna Global Entertainment stopped operation in September, that was done so that each IPG agency can brand its programs, not due to any slowdown in program content creation. One of MGE’s biggest ongoing program efforts was its longtime made-for-TNT movie series "Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation." Recent films included "The Ron Clark Story" with Matthew Perry and "A Perfect Day" with Rob Lowe.

Emotional gratitude toward a brand, whether conscious or subconscious, brought about by content sole sponsorship (does not work as well or at all for more than one brand at a time), pays off in dollars and cents, and produces high scores in well-grounded exposed/unexposed persuasion tests. As I mentioned in a footnote to my prior blogpost, results of 28 studies proving this were published in my paper with Stu Gray and Gerry Despain in the December 2006 Journal of Advertising Research. On average, gratitude sponsorship on the Internet has 7X the persuasion effect of the ARS benchmark for 30 second TV commercials. Norm Hecht proved the same thing in TV in 5 studies for CBS, finding that gratitude-producing sole sponsor TV Specials produce 3-5X the persuasion score of the average TV commercial.

Gratitude sponsorship on TV today is a rara avis. I predict that this decade will see great growth for this form. Agencies will start out producing all sorts of content, some that generates gratitude and some which doesn't. The invisible hand of the marketplace will kill off the programming that doesn't.

Best to all,