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Growth Key: The category of online trading has no shortage of flash and swagger. But in the end, the proof is in the platform. This campaign has some fun with the category cliches and then draws the audience to the TradeStation Tour where they get a fuller understanding of why this platform is the most robust in the category.

[swf src=”” width=300 height=250]Mega Trader Platform Banner Ad[/swf]

[swf src=”” width=300 height=250]Super Trader Proo 5000 Banner Ad[/swf]

Double Cross Vodka

To create some buzz for Double Cross Vodka, we turned their point-of-purchase into invitations to join Project Double Cross, a grass roots effort to turn the tables on life’s daily annoyances.

About Proove Accountable Media

Proove(sm) powers brand-driven growth with accountable media planning and buying. Led by digital media pioneer Adam Lutz, who has successfully deployed hundreds of millions of media dollars for top advertisers, we seek tangible business results in everything we recommend. Key performance metrics are focused on engagement of the right audiences in most cost-effective ways. The latest technology and offerings provide our clients the most efficient and strategic media plans and buys. And we are first in line to learn about the latest innovations, technology and data to help drive our clients business, driving the standard of proof into pioneering territory such as social, mobile, owned and earned media.
Learn more about Proove Accountable Media:

Something to Proove: 3 minutes with Adam Lutz, Managing Director, Proove

Q: Let’s start with the name. Proove.
A. Proove is our twist on prove, which is a value we live by. It is a hard word for some people to commit to…I mean it is quite a word to live up to. That’s why I like it. It says everything we are: accountable, actionable and measurable. And we’re willing to prove it, not just say it. We live and die by our performance, and we’re willing to commit, right there in the name — in the very first thing you learn about us — to standing behind our work. And the extra “O”, that’s because it’s not all science. There’s some magic required too. Some art.

Q: Accountable, actionable, measurable. Can you tell me more about how you do that?
A: What got me excited and challenged about Proove is how we can not only provide service but also drive differentiation. Here is an example: our reporting that we deliver to our clients is robust, but we’ve taken it a step further. We look at factors outside of paid media that could potentially impact media performance, which typically leads to unique insights into our clients business. It’s about the story behind the numbers, the real story. We believe in numbers but we want to go beyond the numbers and offer actionable analysis.

Q: The media landscape is changing so fast. There’s the rise of social, the ever-changing world of SEO, new media outlets, shifting demographics, the rise of mobile and other connected devices and on and on. In the face of all this and more, how should a marketing executive view the planning process?
A: The planning process doesn’t change, but the consideration set when evaluating media channels certainly does. A key piece to staying on top of the landscape is to be aligned with the latest technological and targeting advancements that are being introduced. I don’t want to tell a client that he or she should be doing social, SEO, mobile, etc., just based on content — that was what happened 1-2 years ago and agencies are still making these broad recommendations. I want to tell the client that he or she should have media presence across mobile, social, etc., aligned with relevant content & with “X” level of targeting across these tactics. The cutting edge targeting advancements is what is exciting and what to pay attention to. The planning process will stay the same as the landscape evolves, but targeting is what is truly evolving. We develop a matrix of channels, targets and understand how they work together in an integrated fashion. It’s not just the channel that changes but the messaging needs to be aligned both for that channel, for the target and for the way the channel fits into the target’s life.

Q: You spent many years working at some of the world’s biggest agencies. Why did you start Proove with DIGO Brands, a mid-size firm?
A: Large agencies have their own model, which works for certain clients. I am excited about being at a mid-size agency because we are able to respond to our client’s needs with more nimbleness, flexibility and speed. In my first few months here, I’ve witnessed many examples of creative work, problem solving and innovation happen much faster than the large agencies. I’ve seen things that take literally 6 months at a big agency happen here in a matter of a couple of weeks. At a firm of this size, we’re able to bring our best minds to the table and to think proactively about the client’s business, not just their media. It’s a completely different mind-set and level of customer service.

Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: There is a popular advertising phrase that goes: “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; The trouble is, I don’t know which half”. Proove is about putting that cliche to rest. We are here to eliminate the waste and being able to show the client exactly what happened. We’re not offering guess work. We’re offering to Proove it.

DIGO Brands Google and Goldman Sachs

How the relatively new phenomenon I’ve called “Cultural Whistle Blowing” is rocking giants and creating opportunities for virtuous midsized companies – Cheetahs – to take share!
Today we read two telling and purposely public resignation letters. The first is from a high level executive at Google, the second from a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs

Sorry Google:

Why I left Google. Ok, I relent. Everyone wants to know why I left and answering individually isn’t scaling so here it is, laid out in its long form. Read a little (I get to the punch line in the 3rd paragraph) or read it all. But a warning in advance: there is no drama here, no tell-all, no former colleagues bashed and nothing more than you couldn’t already surmise from what’s happening in the press these days surrounding Google and its attitudes toward user privacy and software developers. This is simply a more personal telling.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Google. During my time there I became fairly passionate about the company. I keynoted four Google Developer Day events, two Google Test Automation Conferences and was a prolific contributor to the Google testing blog. Recruiters often asked me to help sell high priority candidates on the company. No one had to ask me twice to promote Google and no one was more surprised than me when I could no longer do so. In fact, my last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus. Read more here.

Sorry Goldman Sachs:

“TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief. Read the rest here.

Bias Toward Action.

Capture, delegate and execute action steps. I’m told that Harvey Weinstein has two assistants that follow him around and catpure every single action step from every meeting and conversation.

Then they go down those lists and check off actions until they are all competed. Every day.

Harvey has acheived some miraculous things. A lot of miraculous things. In fact the list of things he’s produced on the Internet Movies Database includes 239 titles! And there’s a lot of good stuff here. In fact, you’ve got to see it…so here it goes…Read more.

Don’t be better. Be different.

We try to be good children. We have a report card of As and Bs and one C, and we focus on how to turn the C into a higher grade.

What’s wrong with us? Well, perhaps it starts with a question, What’s wrong with us. A better question is what’s different about us? And who can that matter and how?

The stone cold marketing fact is that it works much better to be different than better.

Would you rather be The Ground Round or Hooters, assuming business success were criteria. Let’s face it, there are a lot of restaurants offering greasy fries, dark decor and lots of undercooked beef.

But how many mammary-themed restaurant chains are there?

Different is memorable. Different is less expensive. Different is much more effective.

The Ground Round went into bankruptcy in 2006, and the surviving franchisee’s took over from the dead center. But they didn’t try to do it different, they just tried to be better. A 2006 trade journal article lauds their initial success in building locations from 60 to over 80. Today, they stand at about 30 locations. Their commercials promise good tasting food and point out that the atmosphere is “never boring.” But the boring commercials undermine the claim. Meanwhile, Hooters is fast becoming a global legend with nearly a thousand locations. Are they any better? Prosperity has allowed them to execute better, yes. But, they only gained that prosperity by being different. And of course, not merely different, but different in a way that uniquely appeals to a target audience worth winning.

The money we waste in notable and foolhardy attempts to be better is appalling. First offer a definably different experience. Then get better at being different.

That’s what people want. And that’s what pays.

JetBlue has kept me sitting on a tarmac for a total of 12 hours on just 2 flights. Yet, they still get a fair percentage of my business. I like the different attitude- which has admittedly acquired a bit of a dark side- I like the different (leather) seats, the direct TV, and the egalitarian atmosphere of one class passenger from the front to the back of the plane.

JetBlue isn’t better at everything. But they are still wonderfully different.

But how long will that last? Recently, I upgraded within a JetBlue flight to seats with a bit more legroom. The seats around me were empty, but when people with cheaper seats tried to move up, the crew hectored them to go back to their seats. I got to enjoy listening to them talk about idiots like me who would pay for such a thing.

I fear JetBlue is bleeding away at their difference with a thousand small cuts. Turn back JetBlue, before it’s too late. This is a message of love from a true brand advocate.