A brief history of ad blocking shows it’s not a new problem

The history of ad blocking is a virtual time machine of America’s inventors and their entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s lineage may date back as far as 1928, inspired by two American cousins named Edward M. Knabish and Edwin J. Shoemaker, who partnered in a small furniture business located in Monroe, Michigan. They constructed a reclining, upholstered chair perfectly engineered to support the human body in a prone but sitting position. They described their new invention as “nature’s way of relaxing” and held a contest to give it a name. When coupled with a television, the “La-Z-Boy” recliner became a staple in American living rooms and getting up to change the channel during commercials became unlikely while nestled inside in the chair’s cozy, cocoon-like comfort.

Enter American inventor Robert Adler who was experimenting with a process that would enable remote control of a television using radio waves. His remote device, the “Space Command” used aluminum rods that vibrated when struck by tiny hammers, producing high-frequency tones that would be received by the television set, instructing it to change channels. The device was perfected in the 1960’s as Adler’s remote control was modified to allow ultrasonic signals to communicate complex commands to TV sets, enabling the operator of the remote to block ads by changing the channel during a commercial break – without leaving the comfort of their reclining chair.

But television, you are not alone. In the 1930’s Motorola’s AM radios were appearing in many vehicles.

The invention of the “transistor” lowered costs and made car radios so affordable, they were installed on 50m new cars by 1963.Deadly accidents skyrocketed over time as drivers would take their eyes off the road to change the radio station (perhaps to avoid commercials).

By the 1970s, mechanical preset buttons (likely inspired by Xerox’s early user interface machines) allowed drivers to not only change the radio station while safely watching the road, but it also gave listeners a quick solution to skipping ads. Today, if you’re not using commercial-free satellite radio, then you’re likely punching through presets when the ads come on.

It was in 1999 when the first Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s) arrived in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. TiVo and it’s chief rival ReplayTV not only changed how we watch television, but also the ease at which we skip ads. DirectTV eventually acquired ReplayTV while TiVo continued to evolve and thrive, even today. Viewers quickly learned that they could record a show and tune in to the live broadcast 15 minutes late, and by fast-forwarding through the commercials they would catch-up to the live broadcast by the end of the show, reducing a 30-minute sitcom to a lean 22 minutes. Appointment television made famous with NBC’s “Must See TV” Thursday nights gave way to viewers recording everything and zipping right through the ads. Lawsuits by Fox and others followed as advertisers and networks challenged the “consumer’s right” to record shows and skip commercials. Legal means of preventing ad blockers were failing in court and new attempts to block advertisers were hitting the market fast and furious.

In 2004, the legal attempts to prevent the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry failed and millions of Americans were empowered to block telemarketing calls by simply registering their phone number on the “Do Not Call” website.

Mozilla – creators of the Firefox Web browser – later introduced its Do Not Track feature that blocked advertisers from profiling a user’s identity and browser history. Today’s browsers all offer standard features enabling users to surf the web in secret, or employ ad blockers – popular with about 16% of US Internet users according to a new report from Adobe/PageFair – that completely free mobile and desktop browsers from banner ads – literally eliminating them from view by preventing the browser from loading the ad.

In 2012, Satellite television provider Dish Network released its new Auto Hop DVR feature that would automatically skip commercials on programs recorded using its PrimeTime Anytime service. Third-party applications created by DVRMST Toolbox, ComSkip, and ShowAnalyzer use technology to locate commercial segments in a broadcast and save the time code as data, later utilized to identify and remove blocks of commercials from recorded video files.

These applications were compatible with DVR’s manufactured by Windows Media Player among others. And recently, TiVo reappears back on the ad blocking market with its new Bolt DVR that tags the start and end of commercials so that viewers can skip over them with the push of a single, convenient button.

In conclusion, history shows us that ad blocking innovation and consumer’s demand for it is nothing new. Panic over recent methods of digital ad blocking must be put in proper historical context and the consumer’s long-held desire to skip ads must be acknowledged. Despite this, we also understand that advertising provides a valuable service in shaping and informing consumer behavior, accelerating our economy, and enabling wide consumption of low-cost or free products – such as apps or music – where costs are deferred with advertisements. Even consumers would likely agree with these benefits or they can often opt to pay for content so they realize the benefit of what advertising subsidizes.

The key for the digital advertising industry remains the same: to challenge ourselves to serve better and more relevant ads to audiences and be mindful of their frustrations with ad clutter and its negative impact on the brands we serve.

Ad blocking is not the end of our industry. It’s simply an evolution point.

(Written by David Reeve/ EIM Marketing for Silverlight Digital and published by Econsultancy on January 13, 2016)

My Tips on Executive Photos from American Express Open

Having a proper executive photo for any occasion is really easy to do – especially on a tight budget. I spoke with American Express Open to offer these tips on how to get it done right:

If you can’t afford to take hundreds of shots for every possible photo scenario you might encounter, take at least three different photos, suggests David Reeve, owner of marketing firm EIM Marketing and Public Relations. Reeve also volunteers for Pablove Shutterbugs, a company that teaches children with cancer how to express themselves through photography.

“One vertical shot, one horizontal shot and one candid shot should do it,” Reeve says. “With these three, you’ll be ready for any request you get from a journalist, Web designer or brochure designer trying to fill a specific-sized space.” 

Read More

Charity Events Featuring Everest Avalanche Survivor Raised $9,300 For Nepal in the Wake of Earthquake Devastation

Orange County, California—(October 13, 2015) – David Reeve, producer of three recent events benefiting Nepal, announced today that a total of $9,300 was raised in support of two nonprofits, Nepali Youth Foundation and Empower Nepali Girls, featuring the photographs of mountaineer and recent avalanche survivor, Kuntal Joisher.

In April 2015, an earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing more than 18 people and injuring over 70. The earthquake caused mass devastation in Nepal as well where over nine and a half thousand people died, tens of thousands were seriously injured, and the destruction caused more than half a million out of their homes and into temporary living situations. In response to the devastation from the earthquake, avalanche survivor and photographer, Kuntal Joisher, collaborated with marketing consultant and producer, David Reeve to host the three charity events.

On September 17, Joisher spoke in front of a capacity crowd at REI in Tustin, CA where he told his story of survival in the worst avalanche to hit Nepal since 1943. Joisher then shared his dramatic viral video of the terrifying experience that has received 23 million views on YouTube.

A second event was held at the Kopeikin Gallery located in the Heart of the Culver City Arts District on September 20. This exhibit displayed photos from Josher’s collection, “Nepal Himalaya: Journey Through the Kingdom of Snow and Ice”.

The second gallery exhibition, which was featured here in the Orange County Register, was held at the California Center for Digital Arts in Brea, CA on September 24. Tempo Urban Kitchen provided vegan food as Joisher is currently attempting to be the first vegan to summit Mount Everest. Joisher showed his video of the avalanche at this event as well.

Event sponsors include CallFire, Colony Logic, Matchcraft, Kopeikin Gallery, REI, California Center for Digital Arts, AOSA Image, Updopt, Mother’s Market, Sprouts, Bob Killen Art, and Tempo Urban Kitchen.

Immuno Gum in ADWEEK

Thrilled to have my client IMMUNO GUM and Chicklabs featured in today’s Adfreak column in ADWEEK MAGAZINE.

College’s Hottest Guy and Hottest Girl Give Out Free Kisses in Ad Stunt for Gum  – Yeah, it’s a little awkward

By Gabriel Beltrone, Adweek
College students know that chewing gum is for making out. But Immuno Gum, a new product, also claims to include immune-system-boosting ingredients like zinc, vitamin C and echinacea. To promote the brand, business incubator Chicklabs and students from Chapman University’s film school created this video of a pair of college students—the “hottest” at the school, according to the ad’s makers—handing out free samples, and then free kisses, to dozens of their peers on campus.

It’s an awkward and slightly gross premise that will make germaphobes squirm. The result, though, is ultimately pretty innocent, consisting mainly gawky pecks, and blushing, and laughter, and cheering, and the general lack of comfort that’s bound to accompany spit-swapping for the sake of business.

Read the whole review and watch the video here.

Questions to ask of any logo design

A good logo is not just pleasant to look at. It’s a functional tool in your marketing toolbox and a key piece of your visual identity.

I designed this logo sign for a client and I just can’t say it enough: when you design a logo – don’t fall in love with it on paper or your computer screen. It’s important to visualize where the logo will go. Can you shrink it to fit on a business card and still read it? Can you enlarge it to hang it on the side of a building? Can it grow and evolve over time? Can it be silk screened onto a t-shirt without losing detail? Is it unique enough to be trademarked?

These are good questions to ask of any logo.

Best free fonts on the web

Looking to use the EIM method to make a great impression? Consider your fonts. It’s an art form unto itself. The Lost Type Co-op, also know simply as Lost Type has some of the best looking free fonts on the web. They take donations and I encourage you to do that.  They also offer a beautiful book for $40 as collection of their fonts – classy, retro, clean. It’s all here. The logo for EIM Marketing uses Mission Script.

Here is what they say about themselves:

The Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind.

Founded by Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin, originally in a whirlwind 24 hour adventure to distribute a single typeface, Lost Type has blossomed into a full fledged foundry, distributing fonts from designers all over the world, with its unique model.

Users have the opportunity to pay whatever they like for a font, you can even type in ‘$0’ for a free download.

100% of funds from these sales go directly to the designers of the fonts, respectively.

Lost Type takes no cut of sales, and holds no funds.

Exergy Controls in today’s Orange County Register

Co-Founders of Exergy Myles Baker and Jim Haas are featured in this package.EIM client Exergy Controls is doing more than innovating new energy saving green-technology, in fact, they’re fighting crime, too. Exergy’s Dr. Myles Baker and Jim Haas are featured in today’s Orange County Register. They tell great story on how their lighting control switches were used to bust jewel thieves at California State University, Fullerton. Read the store here.

Choosing new brand elements

Selecting brand elements, such as your new logo and colors, can be a fun process. I always advise my clients that it requires the decision-makers to step out of their usual role within the organization and look back – objectively – at the company, perhaps seeing the company through the eyes of a customer.

This process can often take many weeks or months before a decision is reached. The brand elements that I offer are their first choices, but not last. A strong collaboration period may result in new designs, logos, colors before we can all decide on what’s best for the brand. At this early stage, I attempt to show a broad spectrum of designs, from conservative to crazy.

Important to note: the decision making process is not a contest or lottery, it’s a somewhat scientific evaluation of the options, with business objectives in mind. It’s not a popularity contest. The least popular logo may be most effective.


Effective brand elements are trademarkable devices that identify and differentiate your brand. The test of a good brand element is what a customer would know about your product or service or values if the element was all they knew.

According to Philip Kotler, great brand elements should be:

  • Memorable: How easily can it be recalled or recognized?
  • Meaningful: Is the element credible and suggestive of your business category? Does it suggest something about your customer? Does it have inherent meaning?
  • Likeable: Is it aesthetically pleasing? Is it verbally and visually likeable?
  • Transferable: Can the brand element be used to launch a new product line? Can it be reduced to the size of a business card, or enlarged to fit a building sign?
  • Adaptable: How adaptable and updatable is the design? Can the design evolve of over time?
  • Protectable: Is the element unique and capable of being protected with a trademark?

Did the ad work?

Does advertising work? Yes, but not always in the way the advertiser intends. A good advertisement is best when backed by a quality brand that can effectively provision the advertised product or service. In my opinion, a good ad can garner 1 of 3 potential responses:

“I don’t want or need this product and I will not buy it.” (Lack of Desire)
“I do want or need this product but I will not buy from the advertised vendor.” (Distrust of Brand)
“I want or need the product but I will buy from the advertised vendor.” (Effective ad + Brand)
In response #1, as marketers, one of our jobs is to create desire, which a good ad can do (without being deceptive, of course.) In response #2, it is the marketer’s responsibility to build a quality brand before we advertise it. In response #3, we have done our job by creating an effective brand that consumers want to shop with, then attracting customers with a quality ad.

Today, I had the privilege of doing some work for a new client, Sincerus Solutions. They have a good brand, good people, and offer a stellar level of customer service. For them, I believe the ad will be a solid #3.

I’m Speaking at Chapman University Tonight

I’ll be speaking on Public Relations at Chapman University. Here are the details:

Join Chapman PRSSA for our third speaker event of the Spring 2014 semester on Tuesday, April 4th, 2014 @ 7:00pm, featuring David Reeve, co-founder of Chicklabs, LLC.

David graduated from Chapman University with a degree in Film Production in 1995, and founded the Chapman Film Alumni Board in 1998. He spent ten years working with Ron Howard, DreamWorks, and Universal. He left the film industry in 2002 and returned to Orange County, married a Chapman alum, and now has a career in public relations and integrated media design. Last year, he started an incubator for female-led businesses along with a partner called Chicklabs, LLC – pairing entrepreneurs with seed capital.

The event takes place this Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 at 7:00pm in Marion Knott Studios, Room 132.

For more information about the event, and to RSVP, visit http:/jjshow.me/PRSSAevent3.