ROTR Reads – Week of 12.18.17

Been toying with the idea of a weekly newsletter. Starting as a post first. Drawing inspiration here from Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Fridays.


Ads relevant to a viewer or feature people like them capture 3x the attention of the average ad.

TAKE: Stop making one ad and thinking it’ll work for everyone, everywhere.


HBR on the future of brick and mortar – if online retail is ‘time well saved’, then in-person must be ‘time well spent’ to be relevant.

TAKE: Experiences, experiences, experiences. That online can’t offer.


Daybreaker. Yes, those morning raves. Positive message with accepting people. All good vibes. 100% recommend.

TAKE: Transition to become a media company instead of events company and they could take off.



Mid-roll Facebook ads. So interruptive. Irrelevant to what I’m watching. Horrible experience.

TAKE: Think it impacts brand negatively. If I’m a media buyer, I’m avoiding at all costs.

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The Diderot Effect. This read tries to help you avoid it, which means it’s powerful. Worth knowing.

TAKE: Having a great singular product is a missed opportunity. Build a suite around it to offer.


Senna, the documentary about F1 driver Aytron Senna, by recommendation of Tim Ferriss.

TAKE: His stoic, even keel was remarkable. Smooth and attractive. He’s worth emulating.


Trying to learn more about 29-year-old White House Comms Director Hope Hicks.

TAKE: Being the White House media filter yet remaining a near ghost in the media is impressive.


Pre-roll ads are annoying. But the exclusivity, time-pressure, personalized and colorful nature of the below from Yoox are good. It’s probably pretty simple – got the UI and can drop in product photo / price that tailors to your audience (blazer for formal female, sweatshirt for casual guy, etc.).

Let’s apply this to another brand – say Ford and their US Marketing team. The mock objective is to sell more F-150s (because Chevy is outpacing sales) and to do so, you need to drive in-store test drives at dealerships nationwide. And test drives start with booking an appointment for a test drive. First, think about who likely buys F-150s – predominantly men. Second, let’s assume American pickup truck customers over-index as pro sports fans (safe assumption). Third, let’s push all our :15 pre-roll dollars to Facebook, where we can target based on geography and sports likes / content. We’ll pair that with where they stand in the consumer journey (i.e. basic searches, car feature comparisons, pricing, etc.) by leveraging Google search data. Fourth, in terms of the creative, we’ll split the screen throughout the :15 so one half plays the car porn, the other shows the countdown until the ‘Ultimate St. Louis Fan Experience’ deadline passes (for fans in St. Louis). The split would vary by city. Clicking on the pre-roll would bring you directly to a site to do a one-click appointment booking. Limited time / spots left to get this entry will create a sense of urgency (like Voox), while speaking directly to a targeted audience based on something we know they like (St. Louis sports) based on where they’re at in the consumer journey (shopping around).

Side Thought: The fact that Ford doesn’t have a dedicated landing page (or app experience) where you can book a test drive appointment in one click is baffling. Especially in a digital age. No brainer and it should sync with a uniform booking system that all dealerships adhere to.


Every week. Snapchat stays Top 5. Coinbase cools off. Games still dominate downloads.

TAKE: Snapchat can’t be that fucked as a business if they always beat Instagram in downloads.

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“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength” – Marcus Aurelius


My girlfriend helps run Text Rex (real-time restaurant recommendations via text) for the Infatuation (a super popular Millennial-focused food website). Text Rex is completely free. Basically, anyone can text in with a situation like the following: ‘I’ve got two friends in town who are super into dumplings. But they’re dumpling snobs which is a pain in the ass. We’re downtown and hoping to stay here. Any ideas on where to go that doesn’t require a 2hr wait or a communal table?’ That specific and a human responds on the other end (a human who knows everything about a city’s food scene). It’s free branding tool for them.


NIKE should do the same thing, except for their products and consumers’ interests. Looking at something online and wondering if it’s fit your high arch? Text in. In Minneapolis for the next 6hrs with time to kill before your flight and looking to sneak in a run? Text in for the best running paths in Minneapolis. And in a day in age in which Voice and Bots are rampant, the idea of having a human on the other end who speaks in the brand tone helps not only provide a premium service to consumers, but establishes humanity with the brand. This way, Nike isn’t just a retailer you buy from. It’s your go-to fitness partner for all things in life.