Looking back at 2013: A scroll down the memory lane of tweets

The New Year: a time to reflect? Yes! In the spirit of the year-end family newsletter, I decided to take a scroll down memory lane via my Twitter account. Let’s take a look back at a year’s worth of tweets, retweets and mentions from 2013.

Every January, the ad world is buzzing with speculation over who will show what during the Super Bowl. Last year, I managed to avoid watching the game altogether via USA Today’s Ad Meter. Is it worth $4 million per Super Bowl ad spot when most of the buzz comes pre-show? And, if so, does that mean advertisers are essentially paying for earned media? Ad analysis posts before the game even airs, proving football is irrelevant to Mad Men. What is relevant is FOX’s fear of having to air ad as make-goods if weather shuts the game down.

February, I found myself in Key West at the Public Affairs Council National Grassroots Conference, where I presented my take on what was ahead in 2013 for digital and social. Last year, I predicted that connected devices and smart use of data will soon take grassroots targeting to a new level. (Reach for the carton of milk and immediately get a tweet from the Milk Council? It’s not far away from reality.) I will unleash this year’s predictions at the first Get Smart DC seminar here in DC on January 31.

Incidentally, I must say that Adfero stole the show at the conference with our branded charging station and lounge. Doing what you say you do well is the best marketing. As the conference moves to Miami this February, I hope to see many familiar and new faces at #GRC14.

March can be remembered by a trip to New York City for the PRWeek awards where Adfero was named a finalist in the 2013 Boutique PR Agency category. Our train ride, captured by this Vine clip, took us first to a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of Google HQ, which spans one city block in lower Manhattan. Google engineers sped down the corridors between massage therapist appointments (to relieve neck strain) and snack stations (never more than 100 yards from food is the mantra) on hipster scooters. The dining hall celebrity chef line led us to a pile of (free) meatballs as high as the Google Glass-wearing eye could see.

In April, I presented a Get Smart DC seminar on Facebook Advertising 101. The takeaways, captured in the tweets below, included the need to monitor constantly and to understand the context within which your ad is viewed. Don’t forget that the main competition for your ad is not the other ads, but the News Feed itself. Ask yourself: is your ad more interesting than your friend’s baby photos?

May is when I first previewed a new augmented reality ad product at the POLITICO media upfront. Using the mobile app, Aurasma, print readers could scan an ad and watch a video version of the printed page come to life. A well done execution by the American Association of Railroads provided a wonderful example of how this technology should work. Alas, this type of interaction has not yet taken off inside the beltway. My guess is that the production budget limitations of many advocacy campaigns created a roadblock. At least for now, policy makers and Hill staffers will have to wait to watch the train “jump” the rails and off the page.

I don’t just love when I am right. I love when I am especially right. In June, book publishers started revealing their sob story under forced testimony – that Apple strong-armed them into charging higher prices in the iBook Store while agreeing to go back to Amazon to demand the same more profitable pay structure. This new “agency model” as it is called in the book world undermined Amazon’s loss-leader strategy on e-books – the strategy that made the Kindle so popular. I made the same proclamation in a 2011 opinion piece, “Why Steve Jobs doesn’t want you to read.” As I wrote more than two years ago, “Amazon had smartly placed the coy phrase, ‘This price was set by the publisher,’ underneath any Kindle price set by the same publishers that forced them to renegotiate after Jobs-induced Apple agreements.” In 2013, the Justice Department finally catches on.

Moving to July: too little, too late: Foursquare announced that it was finally allowing location-based ad targeting. A forehead slapper, indeed, as it seemed obvious when the check-in tool launched in 2009 that this was the key to monetization. Well, turning a profit isn’t for everyone.

Also in July, I helped judge the WWPR’s Emerging Leaders Awards, which selects female professionals who are making their mark early in the public relations industry. Reading through the volume of entries, I was amazed and proud of what my younger peers had accomplished. Some had launched their own businesses; others had risen to stardom in male-dominated environments such as the NFL. I am encouraged for what the future holds.

Sharing 19 versions of anything can only have one effect: viewers will not remember any of them.That is why Yahoo!’s logo stunt last August, during which it revealed eighteen runner-up logos before the final dramatic reveal made little sense from a branding perspective. Then the equally puzzling statement from CEO Marisa Mayer who exclaimed, “Our last move was to tilt the exclamation point by 9 degrees, just to add a bit of whimsy.” Huh?

September marked my ten year anniversary of living and working in DC. I reminisce here in “10 Things I Love About DC.”

It’s funny how if something is not happening in your backyard, it garners less of your attention. I am sure if the battle over retransmission fees between Time Warner Cable and CBS had affected DC-area television sets this past September, more policy makers would be paying attention to the issue, which is based in outdated regulatory policy and is only starting to get nuclear. 3 million cable subscribers in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas, among others, lost access to CBS programing in this corporate game of chicken. TWC claims to have lost hundreds of thousands of customers due to the month-long blackout right at the beginning of the fall television season. The question – what is the value of programming and how should it be bundled for sale? – is the philosophical underpinning to retransmission debates that has a far-reaching impact on all of us in advertising. Will cable go to a la carte pricing? Will networks be able to continue to charge such high rates for prime time? Can forced bundles such as ABC/ESPN/Disney continue in this competitive market? This is an issue worth paying attention to for the foreseeable future.

In October, the city obsessed over the government shutdown. Idle times as the Panda Cam went dark and the photo of a toddler, staring longingly through the locked gates of the zoo, went viral. I tried to break the monotony…

November tweets show my maize and blue pride. Although this year, #MGoBlue was more like #MGoFAIL, showing that the tweet is not more powerful than the (negative) rushing yard.

Don’t take yourself too seriously! My favorite tweet of December was a link to this sarcastic, self-effacing Santa brand book. If you find yourself going around in circles trying to distill your brand into a sentence, then into a word, then into a Pantone color, it is okay to laugh.

Well, that’s a wrap for 2013! Follow me @SueZoldak to see what 2014 will bring.