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New Challenges from the Lowballers...and What to Do About 'Em

When I was a photographers' rep, I encountered lowballing all the time. Clients would say, "This guy came in at under half what you want." Sometimes we'd lose projects to these lowballers (when money was the deciding factor), sometimes not (when creative was). Now that I'm a consultant, I still hear from agencies that say that they often get bids from photographers (and other creative professionals) that are incredibly low and/or that include all rights. While we all want to think that a freelance creative professional is chosen more often than not for his/her abilities, often the reality is that a client can find good creative for an incredibly low price...thanks to lowballers who are ruining the industry.

So, just what is lowballing and why is it really bad for all of us?

Many people define lowballing as the act of charging less than your competition. That's not an accurate definition. Lowballing is charging less than the fair market price. The difference between those two definitions is enormous.

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Advertising: the booziest industry by far

Advertising really is the alcoholic industry according to a survey from the Centre For Economic and Business Research which shows how much each British industry spends on alcohol per employee the Telegraph reports. Advertising firms shell out £ 248 per employee and year! That buys quite a few Bishops Fingers, or 47 bottles of Chardonnay.

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Vodka or mineral water? Why not both?

Russian vodka makers confuse punters with concealed vodka commercials - Pravda: Что россиянам не показывай, все равно водку видят.

In the aftermath of strict new Russian advertising laws (a full ban on advertising any alcoholic drinks stronger than 15%) the Vodka makers are getting creative. The trick pioneered by cigarette brands is being employed as mineral water, chocolates and even magazines are actually ads for Vodka brands.
Flagman chocolates carries the same name as Flagman Vodka, and people perceive the commercials for the chocolate to be commercials for the vodka according to a poll conducted by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service. As a result of that poll the Anti-Monpoly service told the channel NTV to stop airing the ads. Waltz Boston vodka makes ads for mineral water in bottles that look a lot like their vodka bottles, and may be next in line, as fifteen percent of people polled thought they actually were ads for the Vodka, not the water. The anti-monopoly service are considering "a special decision regarding inappropriate commercial advertising of strong alcohol drinks."

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New Testament as ad-insert in the Gazette

A different kind of ad-buy, the New York Times reports Scripture Sent With News, as the International Bible Society paid to insert a copy of the New Testament in last Sunday's issue of The Colorado Springs Gazette.

Bob Burdick, publisher of The Gazette, said that the paper regularly took advertising from religious and political groups, and that most readers understood that such advertisements did not amount to an endorsement of their ideas.

"We're not in the business of stifling ideas," Mr. Burdick said. "I don't think papers have to back away from ideas because they're religious ideas, just as they shouldn't back away from ideas because they're political ideas."

The paper received 195 positive messages about the insert and 69 negative ones and 5 people canceled subscriptions, a muted reaction compared with the response when a comic strip is pulled, Mr. Burdick noted.

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"Nice hair mate, you must be a ..."

According with Ananova "your job determines a person's hairstyle". They say: "Brylcreem found that Mullets were a popular hairstyle for those whose professions mean they are not seen by the public much; including long distance lorry drivers, taxi drivers and even DJs". I could swear that mullets were the "thing" to be worn by skaters and the sort of people who hang around in Hoxton Sq. (designers, trend setters and ad. creative people ehehe).

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Tricks of the trade

So according with Time Magazine these are some of the "Marketing 2004 hot spots": Cool Co-Branding (H&M Lagerfeld, Fred Perry Comme Des Garçons, BMW iPod ... the list never ends really); Color-Blind Casting (it's always politically correct); Guerrilla Tactics (buzz buzz alert .. I'm being pitched).

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CNN Money - Banned ads 2004

CNN Money did the right thing(tm) and asked permission to use an image from Adland article Christina Aguilera is naughty in Skechers ad campaign

 

Battle of the Brews

The NYPost says "the beer war between Miller Lite and Bud is getting ugly. Getting? It has been for most of 2004. (See Catfight between Miller and AB, Miller and Bud are at it again, and Taste and Flavor vs. Freshness.) So what's this latest hub-bub all about? Apparently Miller Lite's latest spots. They show actors as former Bud Light fans talking thorough a bullhorn at an AB building- claiming that they liked the Miller taste better. AB filed a complaint with the 4 major networks. Both CBS and NBC have pulled the Miller Lite ads, "saying the spots were unfair to Bud Light. NBC said that commercial "unfairly disparaged Anheuser-Busch by claiming that the Bud delivery man was 'hiding something.'"

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