Hashtag OMG I need to manage my time or my profile will slip slide away, Hashtag virtually critical.

I have to quit work and leave my embryonic freelance career. I just saw that my LinkedIn profile views are down 60% this week. Hashtag, not a thought leader.

 

Selfie 2d229b_b925d9057fdc4d1e8e9feba82dfd30a0

I am hysterical. I can’t even look at my Facebook likes. Likes are probably down. I have not sent an emoticon, wished a stranger a happy birthday, taken a picture of food asked for a hug or asked friends to copy and paste the new and heinous Facebook privacy policies.  God, some of you send hugs. Please.

Forget YouTube, YouTube Red, Vimeo, Vimeo Pro. No uploads as of late and haven’t looked.  I fear that there will be a view-drop there too.

As for Twitter, I have not had the bandwidth to do Twitter lately. Followers are dropping. It’s my fault, as I have shown no character(s) for too long.

There’s been no Reddit; Blogger or Word Press and views are probably in the digital gutter.  What about my numbers on Digg – Ooops?

Instagram, the hearts have probably slowed to a trickle and   Pinterest, I haven’t pinned anything recently. I haven’t added to the “world’s catalog of ideas,” Oh, my boards.

Oh, Captain my captain I’m standing on a burning deck, my digital space is dreck.

Moreover, Tumblr has been contacting me, and I haven’t responded I cannot look.

Maybe I’ll blog and go all “Add this.”

____________AOL, (that space before AOL is there for you to make mean jokes) I do not remember my AOL name I have not AOL’ed in 10 years, that’s going to hurt.

My Flickr is foul, and I am sure Friendster is not happy with me.

Admission, I don’t get MySpace, but I have it. Isn’t that where the Millenials went to hide from geriatrics on Facebook? I think they went there. I’m going to look for one. Hashtag, I’m millennial-centric.

Organic reach I have no organic reach I need organic reach. Do I Meme or Infographic or do I go native? Save me “Big Data.”

I can’t work; I mean who will know that I work when I haven’t watered my digital garden enough to get “views and the like, so what’s the point?

I haven’t paid attention to Google +, and Google communities, I can’t figure it out but no one else can either, that probably gets me views and a thumbs up just for my admission.

Stumble Upon? Four Square? Moreover, then there’s Vine, or is there? Probably no views lately. Okay, what’s Hive?

I do not know anything About Me, Opportunity or Angel List do they have views or likes I need likes and views? I’m having a digital breakdown. Hashtag Zoloft.

What if my growing lack of views and lead to unfriending and unfollowing. I may be tossed into a virtual digital gutter. Do not leave me virtual, digital trophies. (Emoticon) I have separation anxiety.  Hashtag neurosis.

To save myself virtually and get more follows, views, likes, and digital love I will have to be fast. First the creation of a list of action items, then the drill down to look for a way that I can embrace sustainability and meet stakeholder expectations. It will have to be out of the box thinking. I have to take a real look behind the kimono, and I can resonate again. Hashtag trending.

I will be digitally diligent and work my forty “properties with new material and post like a fiend it will help over the course of time.

I will create vertical versions of all my new “digital video” on Facebook then link them to YouTube and post on Vimeo which will double my material. A good friend, on the subject of vertical, said I should just blog on telling people to hold their phones differently. I think that may be too complicated to explain.

I think the bleeding is stopping, send a thumbs up. I may have to go back to work one day. OMG, Hashtag, Influencer.

The Apocalypse is Near: Hope You Can Live in a Fast-Paced Environment

Advertising has been a barometer on the state of the world as it borrows from culture, trends, and events. After studying some of this year’s work in our last column, it’s decided that the apocalypse is close. Part two of 2016.

Note:
If there is a 2017, “generating the big idea in a fast-paced environment” will be a skill to nurture as most people need slow-paced environments and they tend to generate small ideas. They may be able to compete by becoming team players and brand stewards while providing thought leadership and perspective for adoption after taking a deep dive.

Trending: Occupational Trends in 2016
“Digital advertising, also called Internet advertising (“Internet marketing”) is when businesses leverage Internet technologies to deliver promotional advertisements to consumers.”

Plain old advertising
“Advertising is defined as “the activity or profession of producing advertisements for the commercial products or services of businesses targeted to consumers.”

If the world continues advertising, professionals must adapt to the digital space or face a career apocalypse. Digital advertising is tough to understand as opposed to traditional advertising.

An ad for a Digital Creative Director contains 912 enlightening words. A similar ad for a position titled just Creative Director came in at 508 words. Both were posted online. The  “Creative Director” post will probably not be viewed as it’s a digital post and beyond the reach of most people.

Sidebar: An ad for an Academic Cardiothoracic/Transplant Surgeon came in at 141 words.

Note: If you are lucky enough to hide your lack of “digitalness” and speak to a job poster (digital), it could go like this:

Them: “You don’t seem to be involved in the digital space.”

Turn the interview around with a digital interview saver like this: 

You: “I’m totally invested. I just bought Queen’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 on vinyl for just $32.39 at Barnes and Noble. I hear they brought in Bub Asman and Alan Robert Murray (Academy Award winners best sound editing 2015, American Sniper) during the remaster to recreate, digitally, pops and hisses, which had been digitally removed from the original tracks. I’m curating it now; you know analog to digital and back to analog is the new digital.

Them: “You curate. Wow.”

You: “Totally. I’d like to curate this: Let’s bring back the photographs of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans and colorize those depressing  black-and-white Depression photos. Then we “Photoshop” Flo into them and create hysterical Flo memes for Progressive and boom, the Depression, hah, progressively becomes funnier.”

Them: “LOL, I was thinking that.”

You: “I totally love LOL.”

In 2016 copywriters were replaced by content strategists.

Copywriting
“Copywriting is written content based on a strategy and conveyed through various media and helps boost the client’s business objectives and raise awareness among customer’s or end user’s needs. Copy is content primarily used for the purpose of advertising or marketing. This type of written material is often used to persuade a person or group as well as to raise brand awareness.”

Content Creation
“The core function of the content creator’s job is developing a content strategy based on a company’s or client’s business objectives and raise awareness among customer’s or end user’s needs. Creative professionals in this role oversee content requirements and create content strategy deliverables across a project lifecycle.”

Content creation is very complicated. If you want to eat in 2017 and beyond then know the difference. We’ve included tips from an article written and published in 2014 on becoming a great content creator. Content creation is difficult for laypeople to understand.

From “7 Things That Really Great Content Creators Do” 

“Anyone can report on a topic, but it takes a seasoned content creator to actually reach people with their writing.” (Author’s note: This refers to creating content, not just writing regular old words.)

“In order to become a really great content creator, you must have a strong understanding of not only the subject matter itself but also the internal and external factors that help it take shape.”

1. “They Understand Their Audience” (Author’s Note: Writers understand their audience’s neurosis.)
2. “They Talk About More Than Themselves” (Author’s Note: Writers can’t do that)
3. “They Make Smarter Decisions” (Author’s Note: Writers decided to become writers…not a smart decision,)
4. “They Repurpose” (Author’s Note: Writers borrow.)
5. “They Update” (Author’s Note: Writers are too neurotic to look back.)
6. “Great content creators know how to keep their writing fresh.” (Author’s Note: Yes, like this refreshing article.)
7. “They Write Consistently” (Author’s Note: Why? We don’t understand this one.)

In 2016 art directors have been replaced by digital designers.

“Digital designers develop an agency’s digital design capability by creating inventive concepts that exceed client expectations and ensure the proper messaging and image is conveyed to consumers.”

“Art directors ensure that their clients’ desired message and image is conveyed to consumers. Art directors are responsible for the overall visual aspects of an advertising or media campaign.”

These jobs are close, but as you can see, an art director creates work that does not exceed client expectations and they create “noninventive” concepts. So, if you’re an art director, you’ll need more training in expectation exceeding and inventive concept creating.

Stuff We’ve Seen in ’16
Facebook announced that Facebook Attends Cannes Lions 

Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook Live to post video of his food (live and not static) at the many dinners he and the Facebook staffers attended.

An Advertising Announcement that Gave Some Hope: Yay for Google 
“In May Google announced that all payday loans and high-interest loan ads would now be banned. Later that month, Google also announced that ads from third-party tech support services would no longer be allowed because of ‘serious quality issues.’”

Miller Lite Redux
With nothing refreshing to say about Miller Lite’s beer, Miller Lite pulled out work from the past when the work and the beer were refreshing. And, not to be outdone by any direct mail messenger, Miller Lite also created work about their original bottles being back for a limited time only.

Our Chromosomes Have Been Hacked: Some Promos for Magazine Covers in 2016
Is it Trump or is it the Russians or is it Trump and the Russians?

1. Cosmopolitan: “Sexy Hair.”
2. Bazaar: “What’s Sexy Now.”
3. Cosmopolitan: (saying sod off, Bazaar) “Sex Moves That Change Lives.”
4. Marie Claire: (Says nuts to Cosmo and Bazaar) “The Sex Toy That Broke The Internet.”
5. Women’s Health: “8 Guys Fess Up To Whether They’ve Been Naughty or Nice This Year….in Bed”

1. Esquire: “William Faulkner’s Hot Toddy Recipe”
2. Men’s Fitness: “Lose Your Gut”
3. Men’s Journal: “Be A Better Husband”
4. Men’s Health: “5 Heart Saving Foods”
5. Men’s Journal: “The Golden Age Of Beer”

Insight: As far as we can see, men now only sleep in bed.

Ads on a Desert Island 2016
Some twits of England make even our inner-directed advertising workers look good with their Ads on a Desert Island. If you have electricity, TV, etc. why look at ads when you can watch The Americans or Narcos or House of Cards, etc. without ads?

In 2016 we discovered there would be a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (not a potato in a bowl a football game).

A recent post/promo on the site for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl had this ESPN counter: 4 days 11 hours 5 minutes. (Author’s Note: Now that’s content, strategized and curated perfectly.)

We also found:

A Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (we think they serve chicken and they also serve “Zalads.”)
A Foster Farms Bowl (chicken, don’t know about “Zalads”)
A Quicklane Bowl (oil?)
A Russel Athletic Bowl (sports apparel) where the representative teams, West Virginia University and Miami, wear Nike.

The ad spending on the 41 College football bowl games will be over $1 billio. Some teams have records above .500.

In 2016 we heard this radio ad where a guy says:

“Hiring employees is the worst part of my job.” Now, instead of carefully vetting resumes and getting to know capabilities, you can let an algorithm do it for you. If you’re trusted to hire for your company, do it right.

If the world continues, maybe the survivors will circle back. We’ll have to de-integrate and begin talking to each other about ideas and perhaps not use ridiculous “business speak.”

Content was curated digitally in the writing of this piece.

EXPLAINED: Infographics, Memes, Native Advertising, and Content Marketing

Christopher Scheiner was a geometer, physicist, and astronomer who lived between 1575 and 1650. One of his gifts to man was his depiction of the rotation of the sun, via illustrations and text, in the book Rosa Ursina sive Sol. However, Scheiner’s contribution was far greater, according to Forbes and Drew Hendricks (October 10, 2013). Scheiner came up with the first infographic:

“Illustrations that combine both information and graphics to convey information, visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly date back to the 1600s, when an infographic depicting the rotation of the sun appeared in the book Rosa Ursina sive Sol.” Now, infographics are rapidly spread across the Internet.

Scheiner should have waited a few years and used a meme (think Alfred E. Neuman, 19th century, and Kilroy, 20th century). Memes are (unlike infographics) “a humorous element of a culture or system of behavior and information passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means via an image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Memes can be turned into ads and can expand your media.

Fiat’s T 500c (GIF) Endless Fun ended up in the USA and on TV, OMG. It may have been impossible to create this miracle with an infographic, as the two forms of communication are so different. Infographics have graphics as opposed to images, are not humorous, and probably can’t be made into ads.

It seems that the meme is more elastic, even though it may not have graphics and may not, as infographics do, “improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.”

BUT.

According to Ad Freak, infographics are good with Millennials. This is very important because we need to reach this valuable demographic. All we really know about this powerful group of people is that most of them live in their mom’s basement and spend a lot of time editing memes. The proper use of infographics will be key to the futures of Mountain Dew, Aeropostale, Kraft, Kellogg’s, LG, Hershey, and more.

Anyway, in the articleInfographic: What Millennials Want From Native Ad Content: U.K. survey finds 57% are OK with sponsored articles” we find that infographics are OK’d by Millenials and are part of native advertising, which in turn is: “a type of advertising, usually online but feasibly elsewhere, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears.” Or, “Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

These definitions clear things up as to why infographics and native advertising are so important together as key pieces in the understanding and employment of native advertising and content marketing. This article could be bad for memes and TV — sorry Fiat. The article goes on to say that: “With more marketers putting their eggs in the native advertising basket, it’s always good to hear that the tactic (infographics) might actually be working.” Christopher Scheiner strikes from the grave.

Joe Pulizzi says (August 26, 2015 from the Content Marketing Institute: “When you see the phrase “native advertising,” what do you think? Do you think of content marketing? We find that too many marketers and agency executives erroneously use content marketing and native advertising interchangeably. When that happens, our industry takes a step backward, as native advertising is simply one way marketers can distribute content.” 

This leads us to believe that there is no way content can be spread by content marketing. Please be advised that when you “natively advertise,” don’t use the term content marketing, because content marketing is vastly different than native advertising, as proven by its definition: “Content marketing is the business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Native advertising does not want profitable customer action, it needs content to distribute one way, so just create your content and be quiet.

In any event, content marketing and native advertising have made sure that most traditional forms of advertising have no content. What this means to advertisers and agencies is that you can only provide content when you participate in content marketing or make content for native advertising.

Here’s the loophole. We suggest recasting all of your creative executions as infographics or memes. If you create memes, you can repurpose them (Fiat). If you construct infographics, you probably can’t create ads, but you may still be able to participate in native advertising. So, in one form or the other, you can now create content that is different and may have more uses.

When you are creating your content to turn into other content, think about the content you create before you create it and its impact on your demographic. Account people and creatives think about media directors, who can now probably use memes and infographics. From the Millennial “gaming” and mooching off his/her mom to the boomer at Denny’s ranting about everything and taking food pictures for Facebook to the Gen Xers who are probably home watching Clerks, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, and The Breakfast Club, we can reach our demo where he/she lives (literally). Use this power well.

Although all of this makes our business more elastic and thoughtful, be careful not to call native advertising content marketing when it’s native advertising and not content marketing, as you could lose a client. Thanks, Christopher Scheiner.

Christopher Scheiner made a good infographic. It was a good idea. The research that was done for this overbearingly obtuse ode to “content” saw not a word about a good idea. So hope it’s not another 360 years or so ’til we get another. The good news is that HBO is making the slideshare of this article into a series

It Takes a Village. I Repeat, It Takes a Village… | Beyond Madison Avenue

Source: It Takes a Village. I Repeat, It Takes a Village… | Beyond Madison Avenue

deja-vu-experience1-e1407773003305

Operation: Present
Holiday Time 2015, BBDO (Atlanta and New York offices) produced a 60-second holiday ad for AT&T calling on viewers to be “present” during the holidays.

A family is prepping for the holidays. The family includes a teen girl. They pick lights for a tree, there’s ice-skating with the family, and they have all kinds of American family fun. But what gives? Our adolescent is, OMG, preoccupied with her cell phone, much to the dismay and disappointment of her dad. Well, that’s a nasty bit of unexpected business coming from a teen. Double OMG! Fun time was represented in a montage of compelling shots. The non-participation of the teen illustrated that all teenagers should drown in their own blood.

Enough of that, and hold on! OMG! Let’s go back to AT&T (2015). The young girl is not an uncaring morose teen who makes you feel depressed at the thought of breeding; she’s a superhero kid. She gives her dad her phone (nicely wrapped) so she can be more present for the holiday. The commercial is called “Present.”

It’s déjà vu all over again.

After watching this commercial, we were transported to “Hey, I’ve Been There Before” Land. Beforeland starred an uncaring, miserable, holiday-avoiding morose boy who was preoccupied with his cell phone during family fun holiday time. Fun time was represented in a montage of compelling shots. The non-participation of the teen illustrated that all teenagers should drown in their own blood.

Enough of that, and hold on! OMG! Let’s go back to Apple iPhone (2013). The boy’s not an uncaring, morose teen that makes you feel depressed at the thought of breeding; he’s a superhero kid. He has made his family a film of their holiday adventures, all shot and then cut beautifully on an Apple iPhone! He was just misunderstood and was actually present the whole time. OMG! The commercial is called “Misunderstood.”

And OMG! The déjà vu went away as one ad was about a phone and the other was about a phone but it was brought to you by a service provider. That takes care of that.

Everyone Needs Credit in Advertising
Now that that’s over, let’s look at what kind of person power it took for BBDO to make AT&T’s holiday ad (the only ad they ran through the holiday season).

Let’s see. You have to have the client. It is unknown in this world how many on the client side were involved, so let’s be conservative with: 3.

Then, of course, you need:

  • (BBDO) Your Chief Creative Officer: He/she can make sure there are plenty of people to blame who are not him/her if something goes wrong.
    • 1
  • Chief Creative Officer New York: If the Chief Creative Officer expires, he/she is there to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t take over.
    • 1
  • Executive Creative Director: Bosses everyone around except the people he/she can’t boss around.
    • 1
  • SR. Creative Director: He/she is very important as he/she has “senior” in his title.
    • 1
  • Executive Creative Director: Because there are no Creative Directors anymore.
    • 1
  • SR. Creative Director: This one was listed below the Executive Creative Director – on the way out. Upon leaving, he/she will announce the establishment of his/her new “shop” along with the Sr. Creative Director below.
    • 1
  • SR. Creative Director: (Look up at the previous listing).
    • 1
  • Associate Creative Director: The teenagers of the Creative Department; they have titles and not much power
    • 1
  • Associate Creative Director: Plotting against the ACD above.
    • 1
  • Director of Integrated Production: You need someone to integrate so there will be integration.
    • 1
  • Group Executive Producer: Very important, as he/she has “group” and “executive” in his/her title, so he/she can always explain away the poor behavior of others.
    • 1
  • Executive Producer: Could be boss of Group Executive Producer or not.
    • 1
  • Music Producer: Someone other than composers and musicians must produce the music.
    • 1
  • SR. Group Account Director: Again, all groups need to be directed by seniors.
    • 1
  • Account Director: Have no clue, but there were:
    • 3
  • Production Company
    • 5 (conservative) not including the director
  • Director (Oops, Directors): They sell a vision to the agency. On the shoot, the agency does what it wants.
    • 2
  • Director of Photography: Most people listen to him, as they are afraid of the matte box on the camera(s) and all the rigs, dollies, jibs, cranes and…and and and.
    • 1
  • Executive Producer(s): People who ask for money for overages from the agency and don’t get it.
    • 3
  • Head of Production: Someone who is usually sane.
    • 1
  • Editor: Someone who sells his/her vision to the directors before the directors are removed from the process by the agency.
    • 4 (editor, plus 3 staff — conservative as to staff)
  • Audio Engineer: Usually someone who is left alone, as no one can do audio. All take it for granted that anyone with “engineer” in the title must be good.
    • 1
  • Colorist: Not the hair kind, the film/video kind. Important as they set the color of the material that is shot. Usually left alone except by Art Directors – oops, no Art Directors or Copywriters listed here.
    • 1
  • Music Company: One really good composer and staff who usually manage not to laugh when the hundred people in the suite ask for different things but universally ask for something different in a manner such as: “Can you do it cerebrally like the “Beatles” but give it a “Killers” sound but make it not as angst-ridden as Coldplay or Passenger and maybe a touch of Nas like the cool stuff in Illmatic?” They will also ask the v/o talent to put a smile in his/her voice.
    • 5 (conservative)
  • Conform: No one knows what he or she does, so they are left alone.
    • 1

Add them up, and you should come up with 44 people (at minimum) who took an already tepid and previously produced concept (holiday home, family, apparent mega-disturbed teenager — surprise, they are nice) and executed it not that well. The 44 people who made the commercial have prominent credits listing their names. If you called any one of these people in their offices you would probably never get through unless you were a client or potential client. No one cares about that, but where are the ideas?

Operation Neptune Spear
In the early morning of May 1, 2011 (U.S. time) 25 (nameless) United States Navy SEALS, in two Black Hawk helicopters, flew into Abbottabad, Pakistan from Afghanistan and killed Osama Bin Laden. The operation took 40 minutes. Most Americans can tell you what a SEAL is and what a SEAL does, and most have a fairly good idea of how that mission was realized. Can anyone out there reconstruct how old ideas keep getting realized? The best answer gets tickets to the new movie Point Break.

We know a SEAL. His home number is listed. We called him. He picked up.

 

 

Such A Nice Deal | Beyond Madison Avenue

Such A Nice Deal | Beyond Madison Avenue.

Most people don’t realize that we, the people who create advertising, do so for the people who don’t create advertising. Most people who don’t create advertising are probably nice, so we in the business have taken our jobs with a sworn duty to inform the masses about where they can buy the best stuff for the best price. Most of advertising is really about the deal and where to get the best one. It’s not all image.


On the day an agency staffer is hired, he/she is sworn in in The Secret Swear-In Room. Most people don’t know this, as The Secret Swear-In Room is a secret. Anyway, once the swearing-in is done and the new advertising workers start their official careers, they have the awesome power to give the public the best information possible in the most creative way.

We have taken the time to walk you through some of our favorite communications to the masses that need “cable.”

We went to each site based on a short online ad (with offer) that directed us to the site and the offer.

We found that if you go to comcast.com you can get two things: TV and fast Internet. It’s just $79.99. That seemed very reasonable. But, being frugal, we searched for more ads that led to other sites. At comcastconnect.com/doubleplay, they offer something called the Double Play (that’s two things) and it starts at only $79.99. You get a free gift card. Being true American bargain hunters, we hunted for another offer. We found, intuitively, comcastoffers.com and got a great offer. They offered the Double Play at $89.99 with no gift card. It’s a great offer…if you’re stupid. Well, we ran from that site. We didn’t really run. Saying we ran is poetic license. Actually, there is no “we.” I made that up. I was the one who didn’t run.

Now that that’s straight, I went to http://www.comcastauthorizedoffers.com. I figured that if it was Comcast authorized, it would present the best offer. It was. I saw a great hook in the online ad for a Double Play at ‎$59.99. Wow. So I went to the page and there it was: the Double Play starting at $79.99 with no gift card. That was okay, as everyone knows that $79.99 is the new $59.99. Even with that reasoning, I decided to continue to look at new ads and new sites. I found comcast.com/cable-internet-packages.html. It was really good, as the starter Double Play was only $79.99. I couldn’t really see the deal, as the “Starter” was obscured by the ad for Triple Play, which is only $79.99 a month. The Triple Play ad had the Goldbergs on it. I found this ad compelling, so I called Comcast.

Me: Hello.

Manny: Hello, and how can I help you today?

Me: I saw a Triple Play offer of $79.99 and a Double Play offer of $79.99.

Manny: Yes, the Triple Play; now, that’s an offer.

Me: I see that. I only want the Double Play. I’m not ambitious enough for a Triple Play.

Manny: Good. I’ll start the paperwork.

Me: It’s the same price. I don’t want the phone.

Manny: Yes, right. If you take the phone, it’s cheaper.

Me: I don’t want the phone. I’m scared of radiation.

Manny: That’s a cell phone.

Me: Thanks, Manny. I still don’t want the phone.

Manny: Okay. That’s $79.99 for the Double Play.

Me: Why?

Manny: Because you’re not taking the Triple Play. You get free phone service.

Me: Why is the Triple Play less than the Double Play?

Manny: Because you get a phone.

Me: Oh. Since you explained it that way, I’ll take the Triple Play.

Manny: Great move, sir.

Me: Thanks, Manny. Hold the phone, then discount it because I didn’t take the phone.

Manny: We can’t do that.

Me: Why?

Manny: You can’t just hold the phone. It wouldn’t be the Triple Play without the phone.

I went to http://www.comcast.com/corporate/shop/productoverview.html, where the Triple Play is $79, a savings of 99 cents. I was close. comcast.com/locations/in-my-area gave me an option on a drop-down of all the Double Play offers. All the Double Play offers are $79.99. There is one Double Play offer. It has its own drop-down. On that page, they let you know that the Triple Play starts at $79.99.
 
It all made sense, but I decided to follow another ad,http://www.comcast.com/corporate/learn/digitalcable/digitalcable.html, and learned that the digital starter program is $49.99 for cable and Internet (two things) and, yes, the Triple Play is  $79.99. There is no Double Play. Thwarted, I moved to comcast.com/customerdeals, but I had to sign into my account, which I didn’t have. So I called the 800 number and they advised me to sign up for a plan and then upgrade. They offered me the Double Play, which has no phone, for $79.99 as a starter and then told me I could upgrade to the Triple Play for $79.99. That has a phone, and a gift card. They also told me that if I got Blast with the Triple Play it would be $91. I asked them about Blast. They told me it was good.
 
Finally, I was getting somewhere. Then I went to xfinityauthorizedoffers.com. Xfinity is the name Comcast uses to sound futuristic, but they still use Comcast so as not to scare off too many Baby Boomers, who wouldn’t know how to hook up their VHS recorders to something called Xfinity. I didn’t get too far and moved on to an ad that led me tobundleplans.com/double-bundles, which opened with the Comcast Triple Play at only $99. Finally, I followed an ad that led me to comcastdoubleplay/newest/comcastlimitedtimeoffers. I opened the page. It came up with the Xfinity starter XF Triple Play for $99.

I want cable, but I got tired. I went to Netflix through an ad that said “Rent Movies from Netflix (Free Trial).” I went there and got really confused. It took five minutes. I got a free trial. The ad said it’s $11.99 a month. So far, it’s cost me $11.99 a month. I’m still confused by that ad.

NOTE: If you noticed that all the sites were Comcast sites with different names, I will offer you a Double Play at $79 a month. No gift card.