B12 Solipsism

Spreading confusion over the internet since 1994

Mrs O Has No Regrets

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Interesting write-up of the Mrs. O blog

Michelle Obama-at Blackbird

ON the blog Mrs. O, fans of Michelle Obama’s style can view photos of the outfit she wore on a recent date with the president-elect and find out where to buy the same purple designer coat.

The advertising agency behind the blog, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, does not work for Mrs. Obama or for the fashion designers the site features. In fact, mrs-o.org is not for a client at all. It is an entirely new business created by the Zag division of Bartle Bogle, which the agency started to invent new brands.

Mrs. O and Zag are part of a business model transformation in the advertising industry. Agencies are parlaying their expertise in marketing the brands of other companies into creating and marketing their own.

Zag got into the fashion blogging business in September, after Mary Tomer, a 27-year-old account planner at Bartle Bogle in New York, hatched the idea for the blog. She noticed Mrs. Obama’s style during the Democratic convention, yet could not find information on what she wore.

She decided to create a Web site, which she described as “a central resource for tracking her style and providing as much designer information and commentary as possible.”

Instead of writing the blog in her spare time after work, like most bloggers with day jobs, she approached her employers to see if they would bankroll her new hobby. They readily agreed.

“Mary was very sure about what she wanted, and when you read about the best brands, they are unrelenting,” Mr. Jenkins said. “That’s what I preached to my clients for the last 10 years, and now we have the chance to do that ourselves.”[Click to read more Advertising – Ad Agencies Create and Market Their Own Brands – NYTimes.com]

and this is how my photo ended up there:

Ms. Tomer and the site’s other writers find pictures of Mrs. Obama in newspapers or on the photo Web site Flickr and get permission from the photographers to post the photos free. They research her outfits by calling designers, searching on sites like Style.com and, when stumped, turning to the blog’s readers.

At first, Bartle Bogle thought of the site as an experiment in new media. Quickly, though, “there was a realization that there was a bigger idea here that was a very viable business opportunity,” Ms. Tomer said.

Ms. Tomer was very polite, professional, and of course I was pleased to be affiliated, even tangentially, with her website. I hope she’s able to parlay Mrs. O into a great success, for at least eight years…

Written by Seth Anderson

December 31st, 2008 at 10:12 am

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