In barbaric and prehistoric times, before primitive man invented religion and prayed to gods for intercessions, man was isolated and alone, facing an uncertain and terrifying world that worked by its own logic.  Would the sun rise every day?  Would winter fade and spring follow in its stead?  Would there be fish to catch, prey to hunt, rain for water and crops, bountiful harvests, cures for disease, pregnancy and babies, victory in war?  Would the tribe flourish?  Tribes were like advertisers today, looking for certainties and prosperity in a hostile world.  By Michael Farmer

A recent article on the Harvard Business Review site attempts to answer the question, what makes a brand successful in the digital age? The answer is that they focus on users not buyers. Sorry, I am not buying that.  by Nigel Hollis

Recent industry surveys suggest that more than half of marketers are considering switching advertising agencies. In the perfect world, a marketing team and its agency (or agencies) provide mutual value in a long, healthy, fruitful relationship. By Marcos M. Sanchez - Managing Partner - Princeton10, LLP

The year 2018 is barely underway and, already, digital trust initiatives have captured headlines. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said his platform will de-prioritize third-party publisher content to keep users focused on more “meaningful” posts from family and friends. Google has led off the new year by blocking websites that mask their country of origin from showing up on Google News. And the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect every organization around the world that handles personal data for EU residents. The regulations will also, no doubt, inform data protection laws and corporate trust-building strategies elsewhere.  By Bhaskar ChakravortiAjay BhallaRavi Shankar Chaturvedi

MAGNA in partnership with Univision Communications Inc (UCI), announced the full results of its “Marketing to the Hispanic Mindset” study that proves, among other key findings, that contextual targeting in digital video ads can double purchase intent among Hispanics.

Mindshare North America released new research that explores the five different types of luxury consumers today, and the key trends that will drive luxury brands forward in the marketplace.

Have you ever wondered where your customers drink their coffee? If you haven't, perhaps you should. After all, if I say Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, you will immediately get a vision in your head about their customers: what they look like, what's important to them, what their values are, and perhaps even their overall belief system. That's because both brands have done a masterful job of defining exactly who their products are for. One could argue that they aren't competitors at all and that the only thing they have in common is that they sell coffee, stuff to go with it, and a place to buy it.  By Ed Faruolo, Founder of VitaLincs and ANA Faculty

At the annual IAB Leadership Meeting today, Unilever CMO spoke of the company’s commitment to “responsible” platforms, content and infrastructure, and also conveyed that it will support partners such as Facebook and Google as they invest in improving their platforms. Commentary was somewhat contrary to prior press reports which indicated that Unilever may take a harder line on digital media, much as CPG peer Procter & Gamble did at the same event last year.  By Brian Wieser - Senior Research Analyst – Advertising / Pivotal Research Group

The most disruptive challenge to conventional media-based, brand-building advertising happened during the earliest days of Internet advertising, when agencies and brand marketers failed to define emerging digital platforms like the Internet -- and ultimately, mobile -- as a branding medium.  by Joe Mandese

Have you been part of an agency pitch lately? If so, you will have seen a very different pitch than you would have seen five or 10 years ago. Of course that’s normal, given all the change that is happening in our industry.  Agency RFPs now include lengthy requirements for data, insights, marketing technology and other digital components. These are not “fluff” requests like “increase likes” or “drive search results.”  by Maarten Albarda

One more birth means one more person. Therefore, that births would be one of the primary drivers of U.S. population growth seems to be a deceptively simple conclusion. However, why, how, and where births contribute to the U.S. population growth varies from state to state.

Companies will spend more than $1 trillion globally on marketing in 2017, by one estimate. This puts chief marketing officers stewarding their brands squarely in the crosshairs of CEOs, CFOs and corporate boards, who want to know where all this money is going and what they’re getting in return—“brands be damned.”  To respond to these pressures, CMOs have turned to marketing mix optimization (MMO), an analytical approach to figuring out which elements of the marketing mix—media, creative and so on—are working more and less effectively, and then spending more on the winners and less on the losers.  By Cesar Brea, Laura Beaudin, Andreas Dullweber and Brian Dennehy

New insights that marketers can use to inspire people to change their behavior are critical to driving brand growth. And what better way to learn how best to put those insights into action than using the power of improvisation? In this post Tim Kibbey and Patty Bloomfield of Kantar Millward Brown, Firefly Practice, explain how it works.  by Nigel Hollis

Brands don’t want to associate with content that makes them look bad in any way.  Last year’s brand safety controversies stirred fears that advertisers would back away from platforms like Facebook and YouTube, but spending has continued to surge.

Over the past ten years, I have witnessed the disappearance of powerful brands and with it the diminishing of a level of enchantment that once fed our “can do, anything is possible” American view of the world.  This is the first report in a five-part series exploring the impact on people and our culture of powerful brand vanishment and why, more than ever, we need these cultural artifacts back among us.  By Jane Cavalier