Nasdaq Brings Wall Street to Madison Avenue
Did you just hear that whoosh sound? It was the collective heavy sigh of media sellers, who’ve worked for many years to maintain an opaque, personal-interaction-based buy-sell system. The internet industry evolved past it with trading desks and online exchanges. Several players attempted to evolve “traditional,” (aka “broadcast”) media with exchanges and online buying systems. Years ago, Enron established a broadcast media trading group, before it went belly up. About ten years ago, a group of national marketers, led by P&G, hired eBay to build an online exchange system for the TV upfront market. My humble opinion then was that an industry collaborative, owned by both buy and sell side would need to be established – something like Nasdaq and I presented that vision to P&G with a Nasdaq engineer. My argument was that the friction wasn’t a technology problem, rather a business problem. Well, looks like my prediction was about a decade, plus or minus a few years, too early, as read this week when Nasdaq itself promised to bring Wall Street to Madison Avenue. What’s the biggest game changer? The promise to allow re-trading, including futures. Read more here. 
Big Box = Big Changes
Couple interesting developments in the struggling big-box retail space. This week JC Penney announced it’s launching a “Home Services” offering, to compete with Home Depot, Amazon and Sears. JC Penney is testing six programs in 100 stores, including heating and cooling systems and bathroom remodeling. Assuming they can satisfy the consumer experience in an industry notorious for shortage of skilled workers, it’s a brilliant maneuver to decrease dependence on clothing sales. Speaking of clothing, Canadian retailer EM Hudson is in talks to buy Neiman Marcus, which would put NM under the same umbrella as Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Very, very tough environment for clothing retail, especially department stores. “I look at this just as moving the deck chairs around on the proverbial Titanic,” says Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School. With all this in mind, marketers might want to read eMarketer’s report on what consumers want from their brick and mortar stores. Hint: It has a lot to do with mobile.
Smart Trucker Jacket
Levis and Google are ready to launch the first smart-cloth project, a “trucker” jacket with technology linking commands to an Android mobile device. I have so many questions about this product. Like, can you wash it? And what irony-skilled marketing research team decided to leverage new-gen technology into an apparel named after an industry at risk of obliteration from self-driving cars? And, finally, how smart is the promo-video hipster, wearing a trucker jacket while pedaling a bike to work, if he doesn’t even wear a helmet. Let’s hope the jacket can automate a call to 911 and the head trauma center. Check it out here.

Pandora Launches New Service 

Pandora news this week. Pandora is launching its on-demand, Premium song choice service, to compete with Apple and Spotify, charging $9.99 monthly. So is it no coincidence that this week Pandora also released the results of Neuroscience research that says advertising adjacent to a consumer’s custom music selection offers more recall than almost anything? According to Neuro-Insights, the firm Pandora engaged, ads in Pandora’s customized environment were 49% more memorable than recall “norms”  for a terrestrial radio spot; 36% more memorable than recall “norms” for a TV spot and 29% more memorable than recall “norms” for a mobile video ad. Is it that music is emotionally sticky? Or is measuring recall as a percentage above “norm” making a small number look really big? We’ll investigate.

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