Skip to main content

I met my "frenemy"

WPP's Martin Sorrell uses a great expression to describe companies with whom we both compete and collaborate -- the "frenemy."

I met one today.  Spot Runner.

Spot Runner can create TV commercials for a fraction of the cost of a large agency and then geo-target the commercial to the right audience in the right location.  Their customers tend to be small local and regional businesses that cannot afford TV using traditional means, or orphaned brands within large consumer product companies.  The entire transaction is done through Spot Runner's website.  (Yes, we're in an era where the client/agency relationship can be described as a transaction.)

The collaborative opportunities within the frenemy relationship are using Spot Runner to support local dealers and franchisees with one-off tactical promotions, or perhaps for test marketing ideas before investing in a large-scale campaign.  

Will Spot Runner put advertising agencies out of business?  Thankfully just the really awful ones.  Not to be overly Darwinian, but the herd could be thinned a bit


Anonymous said…
SpotRunner is crap. They've got oodles and oodles of VC money to keep them afloat without earning a profit whatsoever. I would be curious to hear from the actual businesses who use SpotRunner TV ads. I think their testimonial are far and few between. Not many businesses profit from TV commercials -- at least not like it used to be in the pre-internet and pre-cable TV era. But there are a lot of businesses owners who will like to boost their ego by running a TV campaign and therefore there will be a supply of "first-timers" to try it out.

Not even SpotRunner can monetize how much incremental income a business has generated from a TV Ad campaign. The fact is that it is nearly impossible to track the sales that come from TV-only campaigns.

And besides, SpotRunner probably earns a small mark-up for reselling a TV station's ad time. If this is around 4%, they're only earning roughly $100 on a $2500 ad campaign. They'll need *a lot* of $2500 ad campaigns running simultaneously across many cable TV markets to earn enough Franklins to just cover their fixed expenses. I don't think it's going to fly. If/when it fails and SpotRunner misses the profitability that the VC investors are hoping it will earn, they will just liquidate and Google can snap them up cheap!
Anonymous said…
I think Spotrunner's out of the running. Lay offs, rumors of bad morale, executives leaving and generally higher commissions for air time may be holding them back. I don't think the disingenuous hype from bloggers that are also investors can keep a pump and dump ship afloat in this economy. Not everyone is going to drink the Spotrunner/WPP kool-aid when dollars are scarce. Cheap TV Spots does a much better production and does not charge additional commissions for air time. Against increasing awareness of this fact, Spotrunner cannot compete against CheapTVSpots or any other legitimate NY or L.A. agency.

Popular posts from this blog

What makes a premium brand premium?

I was thinking the other day about the DNA of premium brands . One thing is certain -- it's a relative idea. For example, Hyatt is not a premium brand if you're used to staying at a W or a Ritz Carlton. But if your vacations to date have been holed up in a Holiday Inn, then by all means a stay in a Hyatt is a premium experience. Another thing is certain -- a brand is considered premium only when we believe it is worth the price. And that's where we can dig deeper. Why are we willing to pay more for a product when there are others that provide the same service or function at a lesser price? I have spent a good part of my marketing career developing strategies and ideas for a wide range of  premium brands, including American Express, Sony, Callaway Golf, Hilton, Jaguar, Land Rover – even the Toyota Prius.  Through these experiences I have come to believe that a premium brand is built upon specific tangible and intangible attributes that give it a sense wort

Super game. Dull ads

As a passionate Giants fan it is safe to say that I had a good time yesterday. But as an advertising professional I felt a bit underwhelmed by the caliber of the advertising . Many were entertaining. But few possessed that intangible Super Bowl-ness...big, pop-cultural, fun. Even fewer seemed to have anything relevant to say about the brand, such as the Planters "uni-brow" spot. I loved the Bridgestone "screaming animals" spot, but it would have been a much better spot for the Saab featured in the spot than the tires the car rode upon. As for Bud, good spots, but I've seen the dog and horse thing before. Tide's talking stain was funny, but did it have Super Bowl-ness? My fav? The Coke "balloon float" spot. It was classic Coke (for Coke Classic). Big. Entertaining. Unexpected twist. Utterly charming. And Charlie Brown finally won something. Coke is about smiles. And that spot was just that. The Audi spot that I wrote about last week liv

Will this be your first recession rodeo?

In a previous article I referenced Mark Twain’s quote, “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”    If true, then this is a poem about marketing in a recession by reflecting on lessons which I will attempt to freshen... Ok, no more poetry. I recently revisited the WikiBranding articles I wrote during the 2008-2009 meltdown that spotlighted best practices from a range of marketers.   It struck me that  those of us who guided businesses through The Great Recession can  share  lessons we learned with managers for whom this downturn might be their first.  (Bob Barrie, Stuart D’Rozario and I had just co-founded BD’M; learning how to navigate the recession was not a choice!)     Who decides if we’re in a recession?     Spoiler alert:  the consumer decides.   News stories about the economy lead us believe we’re in a recession – the “R-word” is having its moment.     Economists might say otherwise, based on their often used definition of a recession, i.e., two consecutive quarters