Why this truancy ad sucks and what I think would be better

Media, particularly that which is meant to attract the indifference of youth, has to be more informed by the end user.

Riding the El in Philadelphia, I see this truancy ad with Bill Cosby pretty often.

Maybe I’m just cynical, but this seems so clearly to be an ad that completely ignores its audience. This ad’s message of getting kids to go to school was made by adults, for adults or by high-achieving kids, for high-achieving kids.

I’m not sure I believe that any kid who is at risk for skipping school would look at this ad and be moved to change his or her ways.

It’s a picture of an aged Bill Cosby and a pack of clean cut students, suggesting going to school ‘made me a winner.’ I don’t believe it’s compelling: nameless kids and an older celebrity. I don’t think there is anyone there who, without context, would inspire other students to follow this suggested path.

What would be compelling, I believe, is making clear the looming risks of not graduating high school.

Continue reading Why this truancy ad sucks and what I think would be better

How to draft a media kit: lessons from Technically Philly

Almost two years ago, we at Technically Philly first launched our media kit.

We followed it up with advertising packages, which I think are more important once your product is a recognized brand in a community, but a media kit is important still.

After fielding a few questions of late from those interested in what is necessary to get started, I thought I’d answer here.

First, don’t forget: a media kit is meant to quickly, effectively inform and attract interested buyers into a media property, particularly one they may not know well.

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Introducing a new revamped @NEastPhilly: neighborhood news looks good


For more than eight months, NEast Philly, the online hub for Northeast Philadelphia news I introduced back in May, grew to a small, but targeted, 6,000 monthly page views, housed on a free template from WordPress.com.

Finally we have broken free. Yesterday we launched the brand new redesign of our neighborhood news site for the future.

No longer just a forwarding domain, NEastPhilly.com now aims to be the Web portal for content creation, aggregation and dissemination of news, views, information and events happening in Northeast Philadelphia, a middle-class, still print-reliant community. We hope to recapture our traffic numbers from the old site quickly and move far beyond them.

If you’re interested in the geography or another online news startup find a voice, audience and value, grab the RSS feed here.

What’s more, it’ll also be another experiment in establishing a small, self-supporting local news product. Unlike the Technically Philly product I co-founded that is a swing at a high-end, double niche, NEast is a decidedly more modest proposal.

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What if advertising wasn't in a recession, but dying?

downward-trendIt would create a permanent fissure in the media world.

The question of whether plummeting advertising numbers are representative more of a broader trend than just the economy was the focus of an interesting post from James Fallows of the Atlantic, as I found from Philadelphia Inquirer online editor Chris Krewson.

The real problem is, advertising is dying. It’s just pulling down newspapers along the way. Next up: TV, radio, and Google.

This is why I was warning anyone who would listen that traditional media’s schadenfreude when the internet bubble popped in 2001 was probably misplaced. Because the reason it popped was one finally had the metrics to show Advertising Doesn’t Work. Google has forestalled the inevitable by doing the Net equivalent of the “tiny little ads” schtick of a decade or two back, but I think they see the writing on the wall, which is why they keep trying so desperately to find something, anything, other than search that’ll make money…. [Source]

Continue reading What if advertising wasn't in a recession, but dying?