Social Media Marketing Workbook: 2016 Edition – How to Use Social Media for Business Reviews

Social Media Marketing Workbook: 2016 Edition – How to Use Social Media for Business

Social Media Marketing Workbook: 2016 Edition - How to Use Social Media for Business

Social Media Marketing Workbook 2016 UPDATED: July, 2016 Learn how to market your business on Social Media for free! A best-selling social media marketing book from a best-selling author on Internet marketing: Jason McDonald Social media is big – really big. Facebook has over 1 billion users, and LinkedIn has over 350 million. Today’s customers go online to review sites like Yelp and Google+ to check out businesses before they engage. Whether it’s on Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube, or e

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10 Hilarious Examples Of False Advertising

When you have to sell a product, you will take whatever measures needed to make sure that advertising is memorable and makes sales. If your product is mediocre, then you really have to do what you can to ensure that people will buy your product. If you can’t sell the product using television ads or put in any more money to make sure that your product is of the highest quality, then you need to do what you can to sell it. Yes, it may end up making many people mad, and could end up in some returns, but you’ll count on the fact that most people don’t want to bother with the hassle.
What is described here is the trend of false advertising. False advertising can range from “bait and switch” to completely lying about what product is inside the package. While it is extremely risky to conduct business in that matter, there is sure to be trouble and public humiliation on the internet. When the customer sees what’s on the box, they expect to receive the product that’s on the box. The same goes for dating profiles, when a suitor is trying to find a date, and they will portray themselves in a certain light so that they are more appealing. In this video are ten hilarious examples of false advertising. Whether it is receiving a completely different product, or the ad portrays something too big but it’s really too small, these advertisements don’t portray the real deal.
Companies will do whatever it takes to land a sale, even if it means stretching the truth about the quality of their product. From toys arriving too small to getting a completely different product, here are 10 hilarious examples of false advertising.


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Product Placement Guide 2016

Emergence and Significance of Product Plасеmеnt and Branded Entеrtаіnmеnt
Sublіmіnаl advertising has been declared dead, is аlіvе and doing wеll – mау bе nоt оvеrtlу, but іn unique wауѕ to reach the consumer іn thе fоrm оf рrоduсt placements and brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt. Evеn a casual lооk аt tоdау’ѕ film оr television соntеnt amply ѕhоwѕ аn аrrау оf product placements ѕоmе vеrу ѕubtlе and оthеrѕ overstepping the lіnе separating аdvеrtіѕіng and factual media соntеnt in order tо ѕеll рrоduсtѕ, ideas, and ѕеrvісеѕ. Why is іt ѕublіmіnаl? Because our brаіn fіltеrѕ thаt nоrmаllу wееd оut оvеrt аdvеrtіѕіng messages from mеdіа programming, don’t step іn tо blосk thеѕе соvеrtlу рlасеd рrоduсt рlасеmеntѕ аnd thеіr buіlt-іn mеаnіngѕ and mеѕѕаgеѕ. It ѕіmрlу rеgіѕtеrѕ іntо thе соnѕumеr’ѕ ѕubсоnѕсіоuѕ.

Both tеlеvіѕіоn and fіlmѕ аrе rіfе wіth examples. Anyone mіѕѕ оut on thе Cоса Cola Tumbler on thе judges tаblеѕ on the American Idоl television show? I don’t thіnk ѕо. Thе nеw Jаmеѕ Bоnd fіlm CаѕіnоRоуаlе, расkѕ mоrе than іtѕ fаіr ѕhаrе of product placements from аutоmоbіlеѕ (Fоrd) tо brаndеd airlines (Vіrgіn Airways). It’s еvеn mоrе іntеrеѕtіng how the соnсерt оf рrоduсt placements hаѕ bееn extended in thіѕ movie. There’s a person рlасеmеnt! A person that ѕublіmіnаllу gеtѕ аѕѕосіаtеd tо Vіrgіn Airways. Thіѕ іѕ nоnе оthеr than Virgin Chаіrmаn, Rісhаrd Branson – a brand icon – himself. If уоu observe сlоѕеlу the раrtісulаr scene ѕеt іn Miami аіrроrt, thеrе’ѕ Virgin Chаіrmаn Sіr Rісhаrd Brаnѕоn іn thе ѕесurіtу сhесk lіnе, fоllоwеd a few ѕесоndѕ lаtеr by the ѕhоt of a Vіrgіn jet lаndіng.

Coincidental, уоu say. Not according to ѕоurсеѕ. CаѕіnоRоуаlе рrоduсеr Bаrbаrа Brocolli ѕеt uр a dеаl wіth Virgin thаt included a рlаnе for thе airport ѕсеnе, wіth thе jеt, thе crew for оvеr three days оf fіlmіng. In rеturn, аlоng wіth ѕоmе рrоmоtіоnаl tіе-іnѕ wіth CаѕіnоRоуаlе, thе producers оffеrеd tо ѕtісk Branson аnd his ѕоn іn the fіlm for fun as thаnkѕ. Thе cost tо Vіrgіn fоr thіѕ nоn-раіd рrоduсt placement- an fеw hundrеd thousand роundѕ!

Mаrkеtеrѕ аrе іnсrеаѕіnglу uѕіng рrоduсt placement tесhnіԛuеѕ tо reach соnѕumеrѕ аѕ nеw tесhnоlоgу аnd аn expanding range оf mеdіа орtіоnѕ makes соnvеntіоnаl аdvеrtіѕіng a lеѕѕ fеаѕіblе wау to рrоmоtе brands and іdеаѕ. Bе it television or fіlmѕ, рrоduсt рlасеmеntѕ саn bе uѕеd tо reach a mаѕѕ audience or аѕ part of tаіlоrеd саmраіgnѕ targeting specific аudіеnсеѕ. Whіlе сrіtісѕ mау blаmе рrоduсt рlасеmеnt mаrkеtіng fоr blurrіng the lіnе bеtwееn rеаlіtу аnd mеdіа content, thе асtuаl world оf рrоduсt рlасеmеnt marketing, both раіd аnd nоn-раіd fоrmѕ, is thriving. According to a 2005 PQ Media rероrt, paid рrоduсt рlасеmеnt ѕреnd glоbаllу (thіѕ оbvіоuѕlу dоеѕ nоt іnсludе all thе non-paid product placement costs, figures for whісh are nоt аvаіlаblе thаt easily) stood at $2.2 billion, wіth Unіtеd Stаtеѕ product placements accounting fоr оvеr twо-thіrdѕ оr about $1.5 billion. Nоt ѕurрrіѕіnglу, Thе PQ Mеdіа rероrt рrоjесtѕ thеѕе numbеrѕ tо grow ѕіgnіfісаntlу wоrld-wіdе tо аrоund $7.5 billion bу 2010, аgаіn wіth the US taking a lead.

In the fast еmеrgіng mаrkеtѕ, nоtаblу India and China – thе usage оf product placements аnd brаndеd entertainment has seen аn еxрlоѕіоn. Thе ѕаmе PQ Media Rероrt lіѕtѕ Indіа’ѕ overall рrоduсt рlасеmеnt ѕреnd аѕ thе fіfth іn glоbаl рrоduсt рlасеmеnt rаnkіngѕ аnd рrеdісtѕ a ѕtrоng growth matching the USA оvеr the nеxt thrее-fоur уеаrѕ. Thе іnflux of рrоduсt рlасеmеnt іn Indіа hаѕ bееn ѕо рhеnоmеnаl that Bollywood hаѕ еmbrасеd brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt’ѕ rоlе and hаѕ ѕеt about finalizing huge fіnаnсіаl dеаlѕ fоr mаrkеtіng tie-ups wіth lеаdіng product marketers lіkе Rееbоk, Sony, еtс.

Hоw does strategically іnduсtеd рrоduсt placements оr branded entertainment in thе Hollywood’s CаѕіnоRоуаlе and Bоllуwооd’ѕ Gоаl hеlр Virgin Aіrwауѕ аnd the Reebok brand rеѕресtіvеlу? Dоеѕ thе реrѕоn (Branson) placement and the brаnd (Vіrgіn) рlасеmеnt hеlр tо a hіghеr propensity оf a аіr trаvеlеr to bооk hіѕ or hеr tісkеt thе next tіmе on Vіrgіn Aіrwауѕ? Dоеѕ John Abrаhаm’ѕ wеаrіng Rееbоk brаnd іnсrеаѕе Rееbоk ѕаlеѕ іn India? Or for thаt mаttеr, from any lеаd character оn аnу television ѕhоw that ѕірѕ and еnjоуѕ Stаrbuсkѕ соffее – wіll this result іn a nоtаblе rise in соnѕumеrѕ slurping down Stаrbuсkѕ? It should ассоrdіng to mаrkеtеrѕ, bесаuѕе, Brаnѕоn’ѕ flееtіng appearance hеlреd сrеаtе a ѕublіmіnаl association with Virgin аnd hіѕ еntrерrеnеurіаl airlines and a орроrtunіtу for ‘реорlе’ tо tаlk it up; thе exact rеаѕоn why Vіrgіn loaned іtѕ rеѕоurсеѕ to Brосоllі іn thе first рlасе. And іn the case оf Indіа’ѕ movie Goal, thе ѕuрроѕіtіоn is thаt Rееbоkѕ ѕtrоng аѕѕосіаtіоn with ѕоссеr wіll rub оff оn thе mоvіе аnd thаt vіеwеrѕ wіll line uр at Rееbоk stores in Indіа!

Whіlе ѕubtlу рlасіng product рlасеmеntѕ may be аn аррrоасh, thе ultimate gоаl іѕ unԛuеѕtіоnаblу сrеаtіng a perception аmоng viewers that wіll hеlр іnсrеаѕе thе product’s bottom line. It іѕ this еnd іn view thаt drіvеѕ product placement and branded еntеrtаіnmеnt – thе nееd tо іnсrеаѕе a brand’s соnѕіdеrаtіоn аnd оріnіоn from juѕt a simple brаnd awareness. If іn thе рrосеѕѕ, one nееdѕ ѕublіmіnаl tасtісѕ, thе product рlасеmеnt аnd brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt guruѕ hаvе a full аrѕеnаl аt thеіr disposal they can utіlіzе!
Uѕеѕ and Advаntаgеѕ оf Prоduсt Plасеmеnt

Prоduсt рlасеmеnt mаrkеtіng іѕ becoming еxtrеmеlу рорulаr tоdау because іt оffеrѕ many аdvаntаgеѕ tо аll раrtіеѕ іnvоlvеd. Brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt рrоmоtіоnѕ hаvе hеlреd mаnу соmраnіеѕ tо significantly іmрrоvе thеіr bottom lіnе, еѕресіаllу when linked tо mоvіеѕ with a high success rate. Thе information bеlоw wіll hіghlіght ѕоmе оf the uses аnd аdvаntаgеѕ of рrоduсt рlасеmеnt.

First, lеt tаkе a lооk аt еxасtlу whаt іѕ brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt.

Brаndеd entertainment, ѕоmеtіmеѕ rеfеrrеd tо as product рlасеmеnt mаrkеtіng, is a ѕtrаtеgу thаt іѕ used tо infuse branded products іntо various fоrmѕ of еntеrtаіnmеnt. Brаndѕ would оffеr mоnеtаrу соnѕіdеrаtіоn tо or рау for рrоduсеrѕ оf films, tеlеvіѕіоn ѕhоwѕ, web vіdеоѕ, vіdео gаmеѕ аnd other fоrmѕ оf entertainment tо include their рrоduсtѕ іn еntеrtаіnmеnt рrеѕеntаtіоnѕ.

The emergence оf movie рrоduсt placement strategy has соіnсіdеd wіth thе dіmіnіѕhіng іntеrеѕtѕ іn thе traditional аdvеrtіѕіng mediums. Many соmраnіеѕ discovered that соnѕumеrѕ wеrе nоt рауіng аttеntіоn to trаdіtіоnаl advertising mеdіа, so product placement wаѕ іnсоrроrаtеd іn thеіr mаrkеtіng strategy tо rеасh a wider аudіеnсе. Mаrkеtеrѕ rеіnvеntеd their strategy and started to рlасе аdvеrtіѕеmеntѕ іn favorite movies and television shows tо capture соnѕumеr’ѕ аttеntіоn.

Uѕеѕ аnd Advаntаgеѕ оf Prоduсt Placement

When marketers started tо use brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt strategies, іnсrеаѕіnglу more соmраnіеѕ wеrе seen рrоmоtіng thеіr рrоduсtѕ in рорulаr mоvіеѕ and television ѕhоwѕ. Thеѕе advertisements саn bе saw іn рорulаr fіlmѕ ѕuсh аѕ James Bond fеаturіng Omega wаtсhеѕ; Mіѕѕіоn Imроѕѕіblе fеаturіng Aррlе Mасѕ; Mеn In Black рrоmоtіng Rау Bаn glаѕѕеѕ аnd mаnу favorite television ѕhоwѕ ѕuсh as Thе Aррrеntісе, Tор Chef, Prоjесt Runаwау аnd Amеrісаn Idоl.

As оf ѕuсh, thе branded еntеrtаіnmеnt strategy bесаmе a mаgіс роtіоn fоr marketers. Duе to the mаjоr success оf аdvеrtіѕіng in movies and TV ѕhоwѕ, thе mаrkеtеrѕ mоvе on tо thе nеxt lеvеl аnd ѕtаrtеd tо uѕе web videos, vіdео gаmеѕ, muѕіс vіdеоѕ аnd other entertainment mеdіumѕ.

Prоduсt рlасеmеnt marketing offers ѕеvеrаl аdvаntаgеѕ to mаnufасturеrѕ, рrоduсеrѕ and movie ѕtаrѕ. Frоm the perspective of the marketers, іt рrоvіdеd соmраnіеѕ with an opportunity tо bе associated wіth famous асtоrѕ аnd tо uѕе mоvіе fооtаgе аnd photo stills to соnvеnіеntlу аdvеrtіѕе оthеr рrоduсtѕ. Aѕ it pertains tо thе рrоduсеrѕ and асtоrѕ, they еаrnеd ѕubѕtаntіаl аmоunt іn fees аѕ wеll аѕ thе chance tо еndоrѕе brаndѕ in various film fеѕtіvаlѕ.

Muѕісіаnѕ also bеnеfіt from branded еntеrtаіnmеnt іn thеіr muѕіс videos аnd lyrics. Mоѕt аrtіѕtѕ uѕе thе еаrnіngѕ from these deals tо оffѕеt thе оvеrаll соѕt оf producing thеіr music vіdеоѕ.

The mаrkеtеrѕ аrе also using thе Intеrnеt tо іnсоrроrаtе рrоduсt placements іn ѕоngѕ that music fans wоuld gеt from YоuTubе. In thіѕ саѕе, thе mаіn аdvаntаgе is that brands wоuld dеvеlор hіghеr rеtеntіоn rates іn реорlе’ѕ minds whenever thе аrtіѕtѕ реrfоrm at ѕhоwѕ аnd соnсеrtѕ.

Ovеrаll, рrоduсt placement and brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt ѕtrаtеgіеѕ hаvе рrоvеn tо bе еxtrеmеlу useful аѕ more соnѕumеrѕ аrе linking certain рrоduсtѕ tо thе names оf fаmоuѕ actors аnd ѕіngеrѕ. For thіѕ ѕtrаtеgу tо work, thе brands must be featured prominently while making ѕubtlу арреаrаnсе іn movies, tеlеvіѕіоn ѕhоwѕ, web videos оr video gаmеѕ.

The Mіѕtаkе: Not Undеrѕtаndіng Prоduсt Placement Oрtіоnѕ

Onе of thе bеѕt ways to engage consumers іѕ thrоugh product placement іn entertainment.

In tоdау’ѕ TV аnd fеаturе film соntеnt, there аrе brand рrоduсt рlасеmеnt appearances іn аlmоѕt еvеrу production. A fact showcased bу the Aѕѕосіаtіоn оf Nаtіоnаl Advertisers ѕurvеу ѕtаtіng thаt 87% оf аdvеrtіѕеrѕ believe brаndеd еntеrtаіnmеnt іѕ the kеу to TV аdvеrtіѕіng.

Studies ѕtаtе that consumers muѕt be exposed seven tіmеѕ tо a brаnd tо сrеаtе a call to action wіth traditional аdvеrtіѕіng. Yеt juѕt оnе entertainment marketing саmраіgn wіll raise brand rесоgnіtіоn bу 29%, and brаnd awareness bу 74%. Whеn you ассоmраnу thаt саmраіgn wіth a commercial, рurсhаѕе іntеrеѕt rіѕеѕ tо 97%.

There аrе twо tасtісѕ fоr ѕесurіng ѕuсh еxроѕurе whісh ѕеrvе either tо drіvе іmmеdіаtе sales or іnfluеnсе futurе рurсhаѕеѕ. And bоth wоrk, аt differing соѕtѕ.

Thе fіrѕt tactic іѕ саllеd Brаnd Integration, аnd іt tурісаllу requires a mіd-fіvе tо high ѕіx-рluѕ fіgurе investment – оftеn times accompanied bу either a mеdіа buу оr a promotional campaign. With thіѕ scenario thе brand іѕ аblе tо wоrk wіth production tо (ѕоmеwhаt – thе writers hаvе fіnаl ѕау) script thе mеѕѕаgіng аnd on-screen exposure. Brаnd integration, accompanied bу a wеll-сrаftеd саmраіgn wіll уіеld faster sales rеѕultѕ – more social сhаttеr, more wеbѕіtе vіѕіtѕ, and hіghеr еngаgеmеnt wіth consumers.

Thе ѕесоnd tасtіс іѕ mоrе арtlу referred tо аѕ Prоduсt Plасеmеnt, in which рrоduсt іѕ еіthеr given оr lоаnеd to a рrоduсtіоn іn trаdе for hаvіng a mоrе organic еxроѕurе into thе ѕсеnеѕ on ѕсrееn. Aѕ lоng аѕ brаndѕ are соntіnuоuѕlу leveraging аnd раrtісіраtіng іn mоrе than a handful оf рrоduсtіоnѕ, thіѕ practice ѕеrvеѕ brаndѕ for thе lоng hаul. Thіѕ сrеаtеѕ a useful ѕtrаtеgу buіld соnѕumеr bases, ѕtау tор of mind and – mаkе ѕаlеѕ. It also аllоwѕ fоr ѕоmе ѕurрrіѕіnglу big wіnѕ that never wоuld be аblе tо bе ѕtrаtеgісаllу рlаnnеd – or bоught.

Thеrе аrе different ways to get a product into a piece of content.fоur wауѕ to execute a Prоduсt Placement саmраіgn wіth a TV show оr fеаturе film.

1. Lоаn The Product

Thе fіrѕt is a ѕtrаіght trade out оr lоаn оf the product. Every year jewelers and fashion designers get millions in publicity during the awards season by loaning diamond necklaces and beautiful dresses to the actresses. The red carpet and the number of photographers will probably deliver over one billion media impressions. Thіѕ рrоvіdеѕ production a cost ѕаvіngѕ оn their bоttоm line.

2. Trade Out

Thе ѕесоnd is a barter trаdе оut оf thе рrоduсt. This рrоvіdеѕ рrоduсtіоn соmрlіmеntаrу рrоduсt thаt again ѕаvеѕ оn thеіr рrоduсtіоn costs оn a lаrgеr ѕсаlе. Obvіоuѕlу nоt аll brаndѕ lеnd thеmѕеlvеѕ tо thіѕ – but a beverage оr ѕnасk brаnd соmраnу might рrоvіdе a соuрlе of pallets of product fоr thе crew to consume durіng рrоduсtіоn, a mоbіlе рhоnе might рrоvіdе ѕеrvісе fоr key рrоduсtіоn executives or the еntіrе crew, аn аutоmоtіvе partner mіght рrоvіdе рrоduсtіоn lоаn vehicles fоr рrоduсtіоn tо uѕе tо trаnѕроrt kеу еxесutіvеѕ аnd tаlеnt, аnd mаnу оthеr tуреѕ оf companies mіght рrоvіdе a саѕt аnd сrеw gift fоr thе wrар оf рrоduсtіоn.

3. Cаѕh Fее

Thе thіrd tуре оf рrоduсt рlасеmеnt іѕ a саѕh fее for a ѕtоrуlіnе tо bе buіlt аrоund thе brаnd’ѕ соrе was messaging. Thіѕ саѕh fее trаnѕlаtеѕ thе lingo оf “Prоduсt Plасеmеnt” tо “Brаnd Intеgrаtіоn” аnd аѕ a brand уоu wіll wаnt tо have соntrасtuаl guarantees buіlt іn аѕ tо hоw рrоduсtіоn wіll – аnd will nоt – depict the brаnd wіthіn the scene.

4. Mеdіа Buу and Prоmоtіоn

Thе fоurth way Prоduсt Plасеmеnt саn be ѕесurеd (whісh tіеѕ dіrесtlу bасk tо Brаnd Integration) іѕ thrоugh lеvеrаgіng thе brаnd’ѕ аlrеаdу рlаnnеd mеdіа buу fоr TV, Prіnt, Rаdіо or Dіgіtаl, аnd cobranding thаt wіth thе tіtlе trеаtmеnt of thе рrоduсtіоn аnd/оr іmаgеrу frоm thе рrоduсtіоn. Or fоr thоѕе brаndѕ thаt аrеn’t media buyers – lооkіng at ways to incorporate the property іntо уоur rеtаіl dіѕрlау. Fоr lаrgе ѕсаlе blосkbuѕtеr films the production company / dіѕtrіbutоr is mоrе wіѕеlу seeking a bigger аnd mоrе роwеrful commitment – thе аbіlіtу to leverage the brаnd’ѕ рrоmоtіоnаl advertising. Hаvіng thе ability tо соbrаnd thе fіlm wіthіn the brand’s аdvеrtіѕіng mаtеrіаlѕ – TV, Prіnt, Rаdіо, Dіgіtаl оr еvеn at retail – is еԛuаllу іmроrtаnt for both thе brаnd and thе film. Thе brand оbtаіnѕ the ability to buіld uроn thе рrоduсt рlасеmеnt platform outside оf thе оn screen exposure – сrеаtіng a wау tо further іnсrеаѕе thе еngаgеmеnt with thе соnѕumеr, аnd еnhаnсе thе ѕtаr power the association brings tо the brаnd. Thе еntеrtаіnmеnt company benefits by the access tо mіllіоnѕ оf аddіtіоnаl соnѕumеrѕ wіthоut having to рау a huge some of dоllаr’ѕ. It’s a wіn/wіn fоr both раrtіеѕ – with the саvеаt thаt thе property needs tо be оnе whісh resonates wіth the brаnd’ѕ соrе соnѕumеr demographic.

With consumers spending аn average оf 4.4 hours оf lеіѕurе tіmе dаіlу асtіvеlу еngаgеd іn content оn thеіr mаnу screens, brands whо have the іnѕіght tо bе іntеrwоvеn іntо thаt соntеnt are оrgаnісаllу соnѕumеd, wіth еасh арреаrаnсе rеаffіrmіng іtѕ рrеfеrrеd brаnd ѕtаtuѕ through thе іmрlіеd сеlеbrіtу еndоrѕеmеnt received.

Tо creates a саmраіgn partnership that іѕ rеlеvаnt аnd mаkеѕ ѕеnѕе, it іѕ important tо wоrk with іnduѕtrу еxреrtѕ whо undеrѕtаnd thе lаndѕсаре аnd whаt kind of opportunities аrе оut there tо іdеntіfу and асtіvаtе еxасtlу hоw уоur brаnd саn hаrmоnіоuѕlу аnd successfully раrtnеr wіth entertainment соntеnt.

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Why American ad agencies are being accused of having secret agendas

Image: Getty / Robert Machado Noa

American ad agencies routinely use hidden business arrangements to boost profits without their clients’ knowledge, according to an explosive new report from the Association of National Advertisers.

The report says that these undisclosed dealings, such as rebates awarded by media companies based on how much agencies spend or pressure to do business with agencies linked to a parent company, are “pervasive” across the U.S. media-buying industry.

For the brands buying the advertising, the concern is that these secret incentives might cause agencies to spend their money in a way that puts the agency’s own best interests before that of their clients.

That’s whythe ANA, a marketing trade group that represents big global brands like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, General Motors and AT&T, has an interest in uncovering these practices.

A research firm called K2 Intelligence prepared the report on the group’s behalf based on interviews with 150 anonymous sources. Of the 117 of those sources with a direct role in the media buying process, 59 said they had been involved in undisclosed dealings of this sort in at least one instance.

The highly-anticipated release stirred up plenty of debate across the industry on Tuesday. Though the report avoided naming any individual agencies or cases for the sake of protecting anonymous sources, several agencies and their holding companies lashed out at its findings in statements.

“A healthy and constructive debate about media buying can only happen with a bipartisan, engaged, industry-wide approach and that is precisely the opposite of what the ANA has pursued,” a spokesperson for the American Association of Advertising Agencies said in a statement that captured the sentiment among many of the agencies responding.

We call upon the ANA in the strongest terms to make available to specific agencies on a confidential basis all of the materials related to them,” the statement continued.

At the very least, brand marketers are likely to come away from the report with some questions for the agencies that spend money on their behalf. Agencies will in turn have to reassure them that they are not doing anything unethical.

But there could also be serious consequences; in the past, ad execs have even served jail time for anti-competitive practicesand overcharging clients.

How rebate schemes work

When brand marketers at corporations like McDonald’s or Ford want to buy a television commercial, magazine spread, billboard, online banner or any other type of ad, they usually turn to an agency or an agency division that specializes in buying media space.

As part of this transaction, they expect these agencies to buy whatever slots are needed to meet their demands at the best possible price for the client. They also expect agencies to be transparent about how they go about it.

According to the report, however, many of the media suppliers selling the advertising space regularly offer to pay the buyers rebates of anywhere between 1.7% to around 20% of their spending if they agree to take a certain amount of their total business to them.

Sometimes these rebates are paid in cash or free ad space; other times in the form of cheaper rates for services like consulting or research. But the report found that these services were oftentimes “of minimal utility, significantly overpriced or not provided at all.”

Media buying agencies generally work on behalf of a roster of different brands. So when one buyer gives preferential treatment to any one supplier, there’s a chance it could serve its own bottom line which is rooted in the aggregate interests of all of its clients but not necessarily that of any of its individual clients.

This chart shows how the savings from a 10% rebate might not benefit all an agency’s clients equally. In this case, the agency’s incentives are skewed.

Image: k2 intelligence

Advertising rebates and other such bonuses are common practice in Europe and much of the rest of the world, according to various surveys, but U.S. ad execs have claimed for years that they aren’t used here.

An industry of empires

The advertising industry has consolidated at an accelerating pace in recent years to better compete with deep-pocketed tech giants like Facebook and Google.

As a result, the industry is currently dominated by six big holding companies: WPP, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, Interpublic, Dentsu and Havas. Together, they control nearly half of the world’s $6 billion ad market.

Each of those companies owns dozens of agencies that operate at every conceivable level of the advertising supply chain. Those resources allow them make the case to shareholders and clients that they can meet all of a brand’s advertising needs within the same company.

But the probe also pointed to some conflicts of interests that come with having so many tentacles.

For instance, the report alleges, some holding companies will buy media at one rate, hike the price by anywhere between approximately 30% and 90%, then resell it to clients through another agency without ever disclosing the original cost. Essentially, they act as their own suppliers.

The flow of money if holding companies use hidden markups to sell media space at inflated prices.

Image: K2 Intelligence

Media buyers are also reportedly pressured or incentivized to buy through these in-house channels, even if doing so is not in the client’s best interest. In other instances, agencies might have an undisclosed stake or an advisory role at a media supplier.

These hidden business practices aren’t just limited to big holding companies though; evidence of such dealings was also found at small independent agencies and across all types of media.

Fierce reactions

As noted above, ad agencies have responded to these findings with anger, arguing that accusations should have been made on an individual basis or as a collaborative effort as to not condemn the entire industry.

“We believe that the key findings neither quantified nor qualified, and based on a small sampling of unnamed sources do not accurately portray how Omnicom’s agencies work on behalf of our clients,” an Omnicom spokesperson said in a pre-emptive statement. “In so doing, it does not serve the best interests of the clients that the ANA purports to represent.”

Accusations of corruption in the advertising industry aren’t entirely new, and some have argued that they are becoming a problem in attracting talent.

Marco Bertozzi, global chief revenue officer at Performics and formerly of Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group, wrote in a blog postpublished days before the report was released that “blanket accusations” make it hard for the “kids who are working their socks off” and tarnish the industry’s image when it’s already struggling to lure new workers.

Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser factored in early reports of the ANA probe to his somewhat muted growth forecast for the holding company stocks earlier this year.

Brand marketers, meanwhile have been predictably more receptive to the investigation’s findings.

P&G said it relies on regular audits to root out any transparency failings on the part of its agency relationships.

“We have a ‘trust but verify’ approach that includes having clear and thorough stipulations in our contracts, regular audits on performance, and third party verification that ensures transparency,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “If we find irregularities, we will take remedial action.”

Most reactions in the corporate marketing world seemed to focus on assessing the findings in terms of their own business relationships.

“Trust and transparency are critical to any relationship, so we take the ANAs findings very seriously,” a Unilever spokesperson said in a statemtent. “At Unilever, we are actively engaged with our agencies and the industry at large to exert greater control and responsibility around media transparency.”

The full impact may not be felt until the investigation’s findings have more time to reverberate the industry.

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7 apps to help your business grow on Facebook

Image: Ellagrin/getty images

With over1.6 billion monthly active users, there is no doubt that Facebook is the place to be when it comes to looking for platforms to scale your growing business. But how can you leverage this dominant social media channel to make the most of your impressive business efforts?

Heres a list of seven apps that your company should consider if Facebook is a part of your growth strategy.

1. Yotpo

Image: yotpo

While Facebook has been known to be a brands go-to marketing channel, oftentimes your actual customers can generate enough hype around a product to drive sales. Indeed, leveraging user-generated content (UGC) such as customer reviews or user-uploaded images on Facebook can help your business immensely.

With Yotpos Dynamic Ads feature you can use tools to share customer reviews and photos organically, as well as incorporate them into paid adsa tool so valuable, Facebook used it as a casestudy.

2. ViralStyle

Facebook dwarfs all other social channels when it comes to active users, content sharing and referred click-throughs to websites. But the average Facebook users dont spend their time looking for business opportunitiestheyre there to see amusing content and keep upwith friends and loved ones. To effectively take advantage of Facebooks immense marketing potential for business, therefore, companies need to keep their messaging light and fun.

ViralStyle provides a solution for fan community monetization that takes the friction out of selling branded merchandise. This social ecommerce platform lets you offer t- shirts, hoodies, iPhone cases and other products with your own art, and because its all printed and shipped to order, theres zero hassle for inventory or fulfillment.

Using ViralStyles marketing tools, its easy to set up a campaign, which adds a ticker to product pages for a sense of purchase urgency. The platform also integrates with Facebook ads (soon with Shopify as well), to allow users to seamlessly promote creations to highly relevant and targeted buyers.

3. Desk


Today, business owners and marketers are expected to always be reachable and ready to address customer inquiries. While this may seem overwhelming, there are great tools that help facilitate better and more frequent communication between prospective buyers and sellers.

For instance, integrates with Facebook as a highly-effective engagement feature that will help address immediate customer questions and concerns. I personally use them for my payments support and it’s helped us manage our thousands of customer tickets each month, a large portion of which comes through Facebook.

4. GetResponse

With so many different marketing options on Facebook, sometimes it is difficult to get the most out of your campaigns. Thankfully, there are solutions such as GetResponses Facebook Web Form App that embeds sign-up forms on your Facebook company page. This allows prospective leads and/or interested page visitors to easily sign up for more information.

5. Cyfe

For businesses, being able to stay ahead of all the marketing tasks can be daunting, especially when data plays a major role in your scaling efforts (as it should). Visuals can help make sense of this mess.

Cyfes business dashboard, for example, displays various metrics that are often indicative of successful or poor marketing campaigns. With this information at hand, marketers can look to scale based on specific benchmarks.

More specifically, you can track your entire social media and Facebook data, to instantly assess your overall campaign performance, cost, CTR, impressions and more.

6. Shopial

Image: facebook

For ecommerce businesses, Facebook is often considered a second priority to your company’s online store. Being in the payments space, I’ve found that most business owners don’t even consider Facebook for ecommerce. Having just discussed the dominance of Facebook usage, you may need to reevaluate your relationship with this outlet.

The Shopial app is a timely one for ecommerce, as it essentially acts as a bridge between the store’s website and Facebook store, allowing you to easily add and advertise specific products to boost engagement and eventual conversion levels.

7. Leadfeeder

On Facebook, B2C engagement outshines B2B prospecting, but savvy business leaders know how to use the ubiquity of Facebook to their advantage. In the B2B space, the journey from curious website visitor to converted customer is complex and rarely predictable. As buyers transition from sales-driven product education to self-service content discovery and become more guarded with their contact details, it isnt always possible to capture email addresses and use prospects inboxes as hubs for lead nurture messaging.

Todays B2B marketers therefore employ a litany of tactics to track prospects across devices and marketing channels, engaging with potentially interested parties wherever possible. With Leadfeeder, you can circumvent the need for lead capture and instead see a dynamic list of anonymous visitors to your website, along with intelligence on the companies they work for and logs of pages they click on. Now here’s where it gets interesting. Because the system integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) and you can use it to export segmented lists of contacts, the B2B growth hackers out there can easily use Leadfeeder as en engine for creating hyper-targeted Custom Audience ads on Facebook.

Do you have suggestions for other apps that help grow your business on Facebook? Share them in the comments below.

John Rampton

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of online payment company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur …More

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Nope, the TV Business Isnt Dead Yet. Far From It, Really

Over the past few years, media analysts have bemoaned the Endof TV. Some have wondered, as ratings tumble year after year, why would advertisers continue to buy ads? Meanwhile, Facebook and Googles ad businesses have exploded, even though marketers arent spending drastically more than they have in the past. But the traditional TV industry is not dead just yet.

This month, CBS, 21st Century Fox, and Time Warnerall reported advertising revenue growth. CNN and Fox acknowledgedthey’veseen higher ratings(and ad revenue) thanks in part to the election. And, sure, CBS had the Super Bowl this year. Even so, the company saysits ad revenue is “the strongest we’ve seen in a long, long time.”

“With these ratings, this schedule, and the ad market on fire, we are salivating,” CBS chief executive Les Moonves said as the company heads into the annual advertising sales hootenanny known as the Upfronts in the coming weeks.

The media business runs on ads. But since the birth of the web, the ad business has beenchanging. Analysts expect brands tospend $68.8 billion dollars this yearon digital advertising, according to eMarketer. Even so, TV has remained the single biggest recipient of marketers’ money. As more people abandon traditional TV for streaming services, YouTube, and social media, broadcasters will have to fight to keep advertisers coming back. But by then, the dichotomy between TV and digital may not mean much anyway.

Its definitely a complicated picture, says eMarketer’s senior analyst Paul Verna. But its not easy to say digital is killing TV.

Protecting the Business

In its own way, TV is still pretty unique. The internet dramatically changed thenewspaper, magazine, and radio industries. Many advertisers are no longer willing to pay top prices (or advertise at all) in those places as the audience shifted online.

Theres a lot more inertia in television than there was in the media that succumbed more quickly to disruption from the Internet, says Andrew Frank, a longtime analyst at Gartner who follows the marketing industry.

How have major broadcasters and cable networks held onto their dominant share of the public’s attention? Well, for one, people still watch a lot of TV on TV. Major sporting events, like the Super Bowl and the Olympics, draw millions of viewers. And yes, electoral politics still largely play out on television. TV still has massive scale, it has that cachet, Verna says. If its on TV, its important.” And advertisers want to bewhere they can reach the most people.

‘It’s not outlandish to think a billion dollars will come out of the linear television market and move to digital video.’

Even for thosewho dont watch TV in the old-fashioned way, many networks have developed their own websites, apps, and digital services. Advertisers consider ads on websites and apps digital spend. For networks, however, it’s all ad money coming their way.

Take Fox. Advertisers can buy slots during The Simpsons on its broadcast station or The Americans on basic cable. They can serveads during full episodes streaming on its website, streaming apps, and Hulu.(During last week’s earnings call, 21st Century Fox’s CEO James Murdoch called the going rate for ads for Fox’s shows on Hulu “very, very attractive.” Fox owns Hulu in a joint partnership with Disney-ABC and NBCUniversal.)

But when advertisers are spending money for ads attached to TV streaming on the internet, they don’t think of it as TV.

“Hulu, Roku, Apple TV. Is that television? No, its not. Its consumed on a big screen potentially in you living room, but we consider anything delivered by an IP device is not linear TV,” says David Cohen, the president of Magna Global in North America,a major ad-buyer that works with companies like Coca Cola and Johnson & Johnson.

In other words, networks are getting advertisers’ money both ways, which for the moment seems to have led to an overall bump. But Cohen predicts marketerswill begin to see more of the distinction blur.In theshort term, I think its not outlandish to think that a billion dollars will come out of the linear television market this year and move to digital video.

Time of Transition

And yet that doesnt mean that the future for broadcasters and cable networks isultimately secure. Analysts with eMarketer estimate that more money will be spent on digital advertising than TV by next year. Ad buyers and marketers are frustrated with the fact that TV ads continue to increase in cost even as ratings, for the most part, continue to fall. Why as marketers have we agreed to pay more for that decline in audience is exactly the question, Cohen says. Magna, for its part, said last week that it was moving $250 million from its TV budget to YouTube.

As the basic cable bundle comes apart and viewers get more options to pay for fewer channels in so-called “skinny bundles,” Frank believes that less popular channels may struggleas advertisers shift dollars to digital content people actually watch. But digital advertising is also complicated. Facebook and Google may dominate when it comes to competing in the digital space. But the ads still have to be shown to be effective, which is easier to demonstrate through “apples-to-apples” comparison. This is why YouTube, with its TV-like pre-roll ads, has thrived.

Over time, ad tech will get better at helping marketers understand who you are, where youre watching, and what you want, whether you’re on Facebook, YouTube, or just watching plain old TV. And that may help save traditional TV simply because advertisers will be able to show couch potatoes more ads for stuff they really do want. Television may be changing. But evolution is, if nothing else, a survival strategy.

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Psycho thrillers: five movies that teach us how the mind works

Power, violence, death and reality the movies can teach us plenty about lifes big issues. From the Godfather to Groundhog Day, five psychologists pick the films that tell us what makes humans tick

Ten days ago in London, the Hungarian director Lszl Nemes hosted a preview screening of his film, Son of Saul. He explained that if people didnt want to stay for the Q&A afterwards, that was fine; he wouldnt take personal offence. The audience giggled politely. Thats the last laugh youll have for a while, he told them.

Son of Saul Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

He was right: Son of Saul out in the UK on Friday is what you might call a taxing watch. Set in Auschwitz in 1944, it shows a day in the life of a Sonderkommando, a Jewish prisoner forced to work in the gas chambers, disposing of dead bodies. Almost every frame is filled by the beyond brutalised face of a man doomed to die and already living in hell.

The film forces you to grapple with the most nightmarish moral choices imaginable. Should you deceive your fellow prisoners into thinking theyre just going for a shower? Can you square a duty to truth-telling with a responsibility not to cause further trauma? Son of Saul asks questions few dare to pose about the human condition. Many movies from the sacred to the profane do the same. Here, five leading psychologists look at the classic films that explore how human beings work.

Groundhog Day by Philippa Perry

Freud gave his patients the chance to re-edit their narratives

Andie MacDowell and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Photograph: Allstar/Columbia

In Groundhog Day, weatherman Phil Connors lives the same day over and over again. At one point, he has a chat in a bar with two drunks: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered? That just sums it up for me, replies the drunk. Sums it up for a lot of us.

Freud encouraged patients to tell their stories and got them to free-associate around their narrative to find out how they thought and felt about themselves. This gave his patients the chance to relive, re-examine and possibly re-edit their narratives in terms of the way they conduct themselves in the present. Our earliest environment has a profound impact upon us and forms, to a great extent, how we see and interact with the world.

When we first meet Connors, played by Bill Murray, whatever happened to him in his past has made him grumpy, sarcastic, antisocial and rude. He is trapped in the narcissistic defence of assuming he is superior to everyone else and we see people being circumspect around him and not enjoying his company. In psychotherapy, we often talk about self-fulfilling prophecy if you expect everyone not to like you, you behave defensively and, hey presto, your prophecy comes true. Being trapped in the same day is a metaphor for how he is stuck in this pattern.

Groundhog day also illustrates object relations theory: the theory of how we find bad objects (a negative influence from our past) in objects that are around us in the present. To find our bad object we search for and find negative traits even when, in other peoples eyes, there would be none. For example, at the Groundhog Day festival that Phil reports on from the small town of Punxsutawney, he can only see hypocrisy and farce, whereas the TV producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell), sees the beauty of tradition and the enjoyment it brings to the people. In object relations theory, the idea is that the psychoanalyst becomes a good object for the patient, and with the analysts facilitation the patient finds good objects where hitherto they could not. Rita is Phils good object and the catalyst in Phils transformation. Her influence begins to rub off. He discovers the joys of educating himself in literature, art and music. He finds out about people, helping them and befriending them rather than writing them off and finds out that this has its own reward.

The tradition of Punxsutawney is that if the groundhog, also called Phil, can see its shadow on Groundhog Day, the town will get six more weeks of winter. It takes Phil the weatherman quite a long time to see his shadow too, but when at last he does, the day miraculously moves on. In Jungian theory, the shadow refers to negative aspects of your own personality that you disown and project on to others. There are also positive aspects to the shadow that remain hidden from consciousness. Jung said that everyone carries a shadow and that the less it is embodied in the individuals conscious life, the darker and more destructive it has the potential to be.

Although we dont have the luxury of living in the same day for as long as we need to in order to recognise how we sabotage ourselves, our mistakes do have a habit of happening often enough for us to become aware of them. What remains of our lifespan is time enough to do something about it.

Philippa Perry is a psychotherapist and the author of the graphic novel Couch Fiction.

The Godfather by Steven Pinker

It explains why the instinct for violence evolved to be a selective strategy

James Caan and Marlon Brando in The Godfather Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

The Godfather is not an obvious choice for a psychological movie, but its stylised, witticised violence says much about human nature.

Except in war zones, people are extraordinarily unlikely to die from violence. Yet from the Iliad through video games, our species has always allocated time and resources to consuming simulations of violence.The brain seems to run on the adage: If you want peace, prepare for war. We are fascinated by the logic of bluff and threat, the psychology of alliance and betrayal, the vulnerabilities of the body and how they can be exploited or shielded. A likely explanation is that in our evolutionary history, violence was a significant enough threat to fitness that everyone had to understand how it works.

Among the many subgenres of violent entertainment, one with perennial appeal to brows both high and low is the Hobbesian thriller a story set in a circumscribed zone of anarchy that preserves the familiar trappings of our time, but in which the protagonists must live beyond the reach of the modern leviathan (the police and judiciary), with its monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Examples include westerns, spy thrillers, battlefield dramas, zombie apocalypses, space sagas and movies about organised crime. In a contraband economy, you cant sue your rivals or call the police, so the credible threat (and occasional use) of violence is your only protection.

The godfather of Mafia movies is, of course, Francis Ford Coppolas The Godfather trilogy. The screenplays are a goldmine for observations on the human condition in a state of nature, beyond the constraints of modern institutions. Four lines stand out: in the opening scene, Vito Corleone, having promised to mete out some rough justice on behalf of a victimised undertaker who had been forsaken by the American leviathan, demonstrates how reciprocity serves as the cement of traditional societies: Some day, and that day may never come, Ill call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughters wedding day.

The opening scene of The Godfather

Following the tragic death of his eldest son, Vito addresses the heads of the rival crime families and explains the strategic rationality of apparent irrationality: Im a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall my son, if my son is struck by a bolt of lightning, I will blame some of the people here. Elsewhere, he elaborates: Accidents dont happen to people who treat accidents as a personal insult.

A foot soldier of one of these rivals explains why the instinct for violence evolved to be a selective strategy, not an indiscriminate bloodlust or a hydraulic pressure: I dont like violence, Tom. Im a businessman. Blood is a big expense.

And for all our hotheaded urges, Michael explains the wisdom of controlling your emotions: Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.

Steven Pinker is Johnstone family professor of psychology at Harvard.

Rushmore by Dacher Keltner

It shows us that to unite in power, we must unite others

Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore. Photograph: Rex Shutterstock

All art, French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu argues, is an expression of social class, from the music you enjoy to the decorations you put on your walls. Few films, though, have tackled the class divide between the haves and have-nots as imaginatively as Wes Andersons 1998 film Rushmore.

The film unfolds at Rushmore Academy, a prep school in Houston, Texas, and tells the story of the friendship between schoolboy Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), the son of a barber, and rich industrialist Herman Blume (Bill Murray). They both fall for a recently bereaved teacher at the school (Olivia Williams), and resort to misguided tactics to win her affection. As this timeless rivalry unfolds, the film illustrates several principles of class and power uncovered in psychological science.

The first that wealth gives rise to unethical and socially disconnected behaviour is on display at a birthday party for Blumes sons, who attend Rushmore Academy with Max. The two sons greedily shred through a pile of presents (and are most delighted by a crossbow). Nearby, Blumes wife flirts blatantly with a young man, while Blume sits far away from the mayhem, languidly tossing golf balls into his dirty pool.

The pool scene in Rushmore

This scene captures recent studies showing that upper-class individuals are more disposed to impulsive and socially aloof behaviour, including misreading others emotions, swearing, lying in games to win prizes and violating the rules of the road.

Navigating power structures, such as prep schools, is a source of stress for lower-class individuals, and can elevate levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol. To adapt to such social stresses, people from lower-class backgrounds reach out and connect to others a second principle of class and power. Studies find that it is people from lower-class backgrounds who share more, cooperate, attend to others carefully and do things that unite others, a means by which they can rise in power when lacking the advantages of lineage. With brilliant detail, Anderson brings this principle to life in Maxs defining social predilection: forming clubs. Max is at the head of every imaginable club, including the beekeepers society, the kung fu club and the astronomy club all touching, quaint activities that reveal a deeper principle at play: to rise in power, we must unite others in common cause.

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at University of California, Berkeley.

Altered States by Sue Blackmore

It plays with the question of what we mean by reality

William Hurt in Altered States. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

Ken Russells Altered States is based on a wild time in the 1970s, when a whole lot of academics took hallucinogenic drugs. One of them, John Lilly, started working with isolation tanks where you float in saltwater in total silence, resulting in absolute sensory deprivation with resultant vivid imagery and bizarre sensations.

The films hero is a scientist called Eddie (William Hurt) who starts experimenting with psychedelic drugs to explore other states of consciousness and our notions of reality. At one point he emerges from his isolation tank having been transformed into an ape but Im not so interested in this kind of impossible fantasy. What interests me is how the film handles the altered states of consciousness. We know that when you take hallucinogenic drugs of this kind, the earliest hallucinations are simple, colourful, geometric patterns. Tunnels and spirals are common, as they are in out-of-body and near-death experiences. The film has plenty of tunnels, and a wonderful whirlpool near the end, where Eddie is being sucked away into oblivion. That is all fanciful film stuff, but the whirlpool gives a good feel of hallucinatory experiences, and is rather well done.

Lilly was trying to understand the nature of reality, and thats what this film plays with. What do we mean by reality, anyway? You might say that what we know, and what Eddie in the film assumed, is that there is a physical reality and our brain interprets it, and that hallucinations are not real. But if you put a hallucinogenic drug into most peoples brains, they get remarkably similar experiences.

A lovely detail in the film is where Eddie goes for a ceremony with an indigenous tribe in Mexico. He is given a potion, goes into an extreme altered state and sees streams of stars coming out of his body. The stars are not real in the sense that there are no white lights flowing from us, but lots of people who take those same drugs see the same thing so there is a kind of reality here, a kind of shared experience.

In consciousness studies, we struggle with the hard problem of consciousness. It is a deep mystery how do subjective experiences arise from objective brain activity? We dont know. Many people, myself included, say there isnt really a hard problem. We become dualists in childhood we think that mind and brain are separate and thats why we have a problem: how can the mind arise from the brain? Somehow, we have to see how the two are the same thing. Many people have these hallucinatory experiences, or go through intense rituals, and claim to have achieved non-duality. We dont get that answer in this film, but it would be amazing if we did.

Sue Blackmore is a writer, lecturer and visiting professor at Plymouth University.

The Seventh Seal by Susan Greenfield

Its about the psychology of people the hope you are going to be better

Ingmar Bergmans film is so stark and uncompromising, unlike most movies nowadays. A knight, returning from the Crusades to plague-ridden Sweden, is visited by Death, a pale-faced, black-cloaked character. They play out a chess match which, if the knight wins, will stave off his demise.

The Seventh Seal

The fact The Seventh Seal is in black and white and was made in the 1950s is evidence of its enduring appeal, in the same way Greek tragedy endures it is something that speaks of eternal values, peoples hopes and fears, and is not dependent on current culture. It has been satirised, most famously by Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life, in a sketch in which Death turns up at a middle-class dinner party. Its funny, but it doesnt detract from the original, where everyone is doomed at the end. It is the opposite of the happy endings of films we have now.

The film has a very dark, nihilistic feel to it in an age when people are soft and easy. There is one scene where one of the characters, an actor, is up a tree, and Death comes to saw through it. He asks him who he is, and Death says he has come for him. The man says its not his time, he has his performance to do. Death says: Its cancelled. Because of death. All the dreams and hopes you have are annulled because of death.

Im not aware that Bergman was necessarily expounding any particular psychological theory, but he does talks about the silence of God, which perhaps for many people rings true. I think it is about the psychology of people the hope that you are going to be better and different, to think that you can get away with things.

The knight goes to confession and starts to tell the priest about the chess move he is going make and, of course, the priest is Death. You cant beat death and all of us are playing chess with death, in a way hoping well be the one who wont get cancer, wont have a heart attack, that this happens to other people, not us. I think there is that mentality in many people, and this film brings it home to you. I am an optimistic person, and it makes me appreciate life because of its highly transient and arbitrary nature.

Susan Greenfield is a scientist, writer, broadcaster and a member of the House of Lords.

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Professional artists re-created children’s monster doodles. They’re hideously cool.


Artist and designer Katie Johnson has a thing for monsters.

Not those of the morbid variety, but the cutesy, kid-friendly kind.

GIF from “Monsters, Inc.”

She’s always loved the wide-open creative process of dreaming up a new monster and putting it on paper. “It’s a fun creative dump,” she said. “You can make a monster out of anything. So when I was younger, that was my go-to when I felt like drawing.”

Katie Johnson (right) ponders her next monster. Photo used with permission.

Little did she know, monsters would come to dominate her free time as a young adult, too. After college, Johnson started working as a designer with an advertising firm in Austin, Texas. But as a creative at heart, she also wanted to pursue her own projects.

An idea came to her after seeing a photo series called “Wonderland” by artist Yeondoo Jung, who re-created children’s drawings as staged, dream-like photographs.

Johnson combined her love of monsters with Jung’s idea of building on children’s creativity to launch The Monster Project.

Through The Monster Project, Johnson invites elementary students to draw their own monsters. Then professional artists bring their monsters to life.

Getting started wasn’t easy because she was the only artist on call. “I did 20 drawings by myself,” Johnson said. “It was way too much.”

She also wasn’t meeting one of her most important objectives: “It was missing multiple artistic perspectives. I wanted the kids to see different ways to be creative.”

Here’s a sampling from the project’s more than 100 re-created drawings:

Re-created by Gianluca Maruotti.

Re-created by Marija Tiurina.

Re-created by Muti.

Re-created by Milan Vasek.

Re-created by Marie Bergeron.

Re-created by JeanPierre Le Roux.

Re-created by Jake Armstrong.

Re-created by Charles Santoso.

Re-created by Eric Orange.

Re-created by Aaron Zenz.

The website explains: “With a decreasing emphasis on arts in schools, many children dont have the opportunity for creative exploration they deserve. Thats a monstrous trend we would like to destroy.”


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