What’s Up With WhatsApp’s Anti-Texting Ad Campaign?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and poking around CNN’s website, when I came across this piece by Rishi Iyengar.

Why WhatsApp wants to convince Americans to stop sending text messages

(CNN Business) – Since the start of this year, a series of advertisements have appeared on television screens and billboards across the United States, with ominous warnings to texters.

“I think I left the car unlocked, can you check?” reads a text message displayed on one of the billboards. The consequence, outlined next to the text bubble: “If your personal texts aren’t end-to-end encrypted, it’s not private.”

In a TV commercial, a mailman hands already-opened letters and packages to outraged recipients, before telling them that “every text you send is just as open as your letters.”

Those warnings are courtesy of WhatsApp, the mobile messaging service acquired by Facebookin 2014. While WhatsApp has grown into a formidable force since then, used by more than a quarter of the world’s population, the platform’s reach in its home market remains comparatively small.

So, whaddaya think, Doc – can people really be detexed from a longstanding addiction?

– WhatsAppening?

Dear WhatsAppening,

Here’s the thing.

According to the CNN piece, WhatsApp has fewer than 63 million users in the United States (versus 324 million Facebook users and 123 million Instagram users).

For those of you keeping score at home, “India alone has nearly 500 million WhatsApp users according to eMarketer, which is more than a third of its population and over half its internet user base,” per CNN.

Even more anemic than WhatsApp’s user numbers, however, are the messaging service’s revenue figures, according to Business of Apps.

Five and a half billion dollars is lunch money compared to Facebook’s 2021 revenue of $117 billion and Instagram’s $24 billion.

Thus, a series of TV spots like this one..

All this comes at a time when Facebook looks to be fading, as Tom Jarvis wrote last month at The Drum Network: “Recent news that Facebook’s user growth has slumped for the first time in 18 years has wiped 20% off parent company Meta’s share price (a drop in value of $175bn).”

Instagram’s numbers are also in freefall.

So now the empire of Mark (Data) Suckerberg looks to the Great Whats Hope to bail it out, as the CNN Business piece noted.

While apps such as Facebook and Instagram are already widely used in the United States and don’t have much room to grow, the potential for WhatsApp is much larger. The messaging app cost Facebook $19 billion almost a decade ago but generates little revenue. Meta is now trying to change that.

Boosting WhatsApp in the United States could have positive ripple effects on its other platforms and create new monetization opportunities in a lucrative market. But to get there, WhatsApp must fight an uphill battle to change how Americans text and, perhaps, how they view WhatsApp’s parent company.

No doubt that’s just what WhatsApp hopes its ad campaign will deliver.

Shouldn’t Mark Zuckerberg Just Set His Super Bowl Ad Money on Fire?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

It’s well known that Meta (a.k.a. Facebook/a.k.a. Instagram) is getting its ads kicked by TikTok and even Snapchat nowadays. So what is Mark (Data) Suckerberg doing about it?

Running a Super Bowl ad.

As Todd Wasserman reports at MediaPost, Meta’s big game ad will follow a fourth-quarter earnings report that included the company’s first-ever quarterly decline in daily active users.

Meta’s Super Bowl teaser, via Anomaly, features a shot of a virtual hangout called Questy’s. Questy’s looks a little worn, as the ad shows the restaurant at night, when it’s empty and dark (except for a flickering neon sign).

The ad is a direct reference to the Oculus Quest 2 headset, which Meta released last fall. Questy’s is actually a virtual hangout in Oculus that is a portal to games and other activities.

The music in the ad is a callback to TV themes of the 1980s that advance a good-timey virtual reality experience and a sign that Meta wants to leave behind the Internet and social media and instead usher users into a virtual world.

Empty restaurant? TV theme music of the 1980s? That’s what Zuck brings in the wake of last week’s knee-buckling 26% plunge in Meta’s share price, which vaporized $237 billion in market value?

Is this just wish-casting, Doc? Or what?

– MetAverse

Dear MetAverse,

For starters, here’s the teaser ad in question.

A 60-second version of the ad is scheduled to run in the first quarter of the Super Bowl at a cost of roughly $13 million, which is, of course, lunch money to Zuckerberg.

Problem is, he’s getting his lunch eaten by TikTok, as the Wall Street Journal’s Salvador Rodriguez reported yesterday.

Meta Faces Uphill Battle Against TikTok

Amid a dismal earnings report, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. on Wednesday highlighted its short-video product Reels as a bright spot and perhaps its best bet to kick-start flagging growth.

The challenge is that in the increasingly important fight for video dominance, Meta faces a heavyweight rival that is only getting stronger.

While Meta executives said Reels is now the company’s fastest-growing content format, ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok is growing even faster. It was the most-downloaded app of 2021, and overtook Meta’s Instagram in popularity among coveted young users.

That makes a switch to Reels and away from TikTok a tough sell for a lot of advertisers and creators.

Especially when you consider these numbers in the WSJ piece: “In 2021, TikTok reached 63% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 weekly, up from 50% a year prior, according to a November survey by Forrester. Instagram, meanwhile, declined from 61% in 2020 to 57% in 2021. Other industry data shows similar trends.”

So, to conclude: How many Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 do you think will be riveted to a TV screen for next Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast?

Yeah, us too.

Not to be repetitive, but memo to Zuck: You should have just set that $13 million on fire.

What’s Up with the ‘Appreciative New Yorkers’ Bloomberg Brownnose Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Say, that’s some magnificent ad on the back page of Saturday’s New York Times A-section, yeah?

In case you missed it:

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 1.47.36 PM

 

Is that a beautiful record of accomplishments for a man to leave behind or what, Doc?

– Mickey B

Dear Mickey B,

Yeah, whatever.

First thing – all those boldface l‘s in the ad above? They’re not there in the print version.

Not to mention the ad overall is the worst piece of typesetting this side of Shakers, Glendale.

Representative sample:

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 1.51.15 PM

 

Do we have a double-f problem here or what?

Regardless, let’s look at the content of the ad close-up.

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 1.48.27 PM

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 1.49.12 PM

 

Screen Shot 2013-12-21 at 1.49.59 PM

 

As for those Appreciative New Yorkers, here’s what you get at #appreciativenewyorkers on Twitter, and here’s what comes up on Facebook (i.e. nothing).

Of course, there’s always appreciativenewyorkers@gmail.com.

Which the Doc assumes consists of one Michael Bloomberg.

Until proven otherwise.

Yo.

What’s Up with the ‘Reform Government Surveillance’ Ad?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I don’t read the New York Times much (I’m a Washington Post kind of guy), but I happened upon Monday’s edition and here’s what I saw.

 

Picture 3

 

That’s some Murderers’ Row, eh? But don’t you think there’s a big name missing? I’m talking about a company that collects mountains of information the government could find useful in determining what people might do next, or what like-minded people already have done.

See where I’m headed here, Doc?

– Jeff B

Dear Jeff B,

The Doc feels your pain. We’ve never gotten over losing the Acting Surgeon General gig to Rear Admiral (RADM) Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H., who’s a total hack.

Still, we’re not really sure you fit into the picture painted by Monday’s, er, Washington Post.

Big tech companies lash out at government snooping

NSA Surveillance-Tech.JPEG-0bd40

WASHINGTON — Silicon Valley is escalating pressure on President Barack Obama to curb the U.S. government surveillance programs that vacuum personal information off the Internet and threaten the technology industry’s financial livelihood.

A coalition that includes Google, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft lashed out in an open letter printed Monday in major newspapers and a new website, http://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com .

Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and AOL Inc. joined Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the push for tighter controls over electronic espionage. The group is immersed in the lives of just about everyone who uses the Internet or a computing device.

Oh, wait – you’re also “immersed in the lives of just about everyone who uses the Internet or a computing device.”

But you’ve been marginalized like some Mom ‘n’ Pop-Up site.

Hah!

Anyway, the bottom line is this: The tech giants are urging the government to stop glomming onto the megadata they mine.

They want it all for themselves.

Yo.

What’s Up with Patagonia’s ‘Worn Wear’ Ad? (Blacklash Friday Edition)

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

I was reading the New York Times on (Black) Friday when I came across this full-page ad:

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 1.10.55 AM

 

That’s a real head scratcher, isn’t it, Doc? They’re saying we don’t want you to buy our clothes, we want you to . . . have bought our clothes.

Does that make any sense? What kind of business are these people in?

– L.L.B.

Dear L.L.B.,

Yeah, the Boston Globe ran the four-color version of the ad, where the jacket looks even funkier.

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 12.43.43 AM

 

So it was all about the Black Friday Worn Wear Party, which featured the documentary film Worn Wear (118,619 YouTube views).

 

 

Patagonia has launched The Common Threads Partnership (Reduce. Repair. Reuse. Recycle. Reimagine) that’s designed “to reduce excess consumption and give the planet’s vital systems a rest from pollution, resource depletion and greenhouse gases.” The website says over 60,000 people have taken The Pledge.

Kind of reminds the Doc of the Media Foundation’s annual rub-their-face-with-a-brick Buy Nothing Day, which is also tied to Black Friday. The  anti-consumerism group would try to run an ad like this in the ramp-up to Shopapolooza:

 

 

Uh-huh – what TV station in its right mind is going to sell time for that? Can’t you just see the conversation after the spot airs:

Retail guy: Are you out of your mind? I just spent $100,000 on your station telling people to shop like crazy the day after Thanksgiving, and then you turn around and tell them not to? What the hell!

Station guy: Oh, right.

Then again, as Peggy Noonan noted in her Wall Street Journal column this week, a sort of Blacklash Thursday movement has emerged.

There has been a nice backlash on the Internet, with petitions and Facebook posts. Some great retailers refused to be part of what this newspaper called Thanksgiving Madness. Nordstrom did not open on Thanksgiving, nor did T.J. Maxx or Dillard’s. P.C. Richard & Son took out full-page ads protesting. The CEO was quoted last week saying Thanksgiving is “a truly American holiday” and “asking people to be running out to shop, we feel is disrespectful.” Ace Hardware said, simply: “Some things are more important than money.”

P. C. Richard & Son ad:

Save-Thanksgiving-Page-740x900

Yo.