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why the long tail doesn’t have to wag the advertising dog

English translation: A misconstructed pun?

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11:49 Sep 20, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Marketing - Advertising / Public Relations / Interactive Ad
English term or phrase: why the long tail doesn’t have to wag the advertising dog
Creating For The Long Tail
So fine. Interactive advertising now includes everything from behaviorally-targeted banner ads to video search, flash-enabled email, social networking sites, blogs, podcasts, mobile marketing, in-game spots, mash-ups, wikis and widgets. We get it. Lots of niche-targeting and across-the-board accountability. But can any one Advertiser /Agency afford to develop, implement and track a creative strategy that spans the breadth of Interactive, and traditional media channels as well? Well… What if the cost of developing and producing contextually-relevant ads for a plethora of Interactive tactics cost just about the same as cutting your 30-second TV spot down to a :15? Or what if you provided consumers with a detailed brand brief and put a measure of content creation and dissemination into their hands, saving distribution dollars? Come hear our experts explain ****why the long tail doesn’t have to wag the advertising dog**** after all!


Could someone reword and/or explain the sentence between **** for me?

Million thanks in advance!
Michel A.
Local time: 05:12
English translation:A misconstructed pun?
Explanation:
It seems to me that the writer of the copy just couldn't refrain from catching a pun opportunity. "Long tail sales" and "long tail advertising" mean selling and advertising for selling of more products in smaller volumes/quantities. "Long tail" approach is rapidly gaining momentum in, for example, sales and advertising of intellectual products, such as music and books.

To my eye, the pun itself, however nice and funny, is defeating its own purpose again. What the author seems to be aiming at is "long tail is more or less free from the traditional rules and practices of the 'big clumsy advertising dog'". However, the particular way of punning the well-known saying (explained by Tony), makes the meaning reversed.
Selected response from:

Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 05:12
Grading comment
Thanks to everybody
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +1See explanation below...
Tony M
3A misconstructed pun?Alexander Demyanov
3"it is a sad and long tail" ...
Vito Smolej


  

Answers


9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
"it is a sad and long tail" ...


Explanation:
to quote Alice ... The long tail - the way I understand it - "now includes everything from behaviorally-targeted banner ads to video search, flash-enabled email, social networking sites, blogs, podcasts, mobile marketing, in-game spots, mash-ups, wikis and widgets" ... The experts will of course tell one needs to throw it all away and ... Every minute a sucker is born.
regards

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 11:12
Native speaker of: Native in SlovenianSlovenian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Alexander Demyanov: I believe "long tail" has a different meaning here: sales (and advertising for sale of) more products in smaller quantities.
21 mins
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
See explanation below...


Explanation:
I assume you're familiar with the usual expression "the tail wagging the dog" — in other words, the element that is supposed to be in charge being in fact dictated to by the element that is subsidiary.

Without knowing precisely the context of your entire document, I assume in this case the 'long tail' is probably referring to the production and distribution chain for advertising, and the 'advertising dog' means the poor old company who just wants to advertise their products!

If I get the drift right, this company is tryng to say to its customers (potential advertisers): "Instead of letting yourselves be bullied and told what you can and can't do by the people in the industry, how'd you like it if you could take charge of all this yourself?" — but it all depends on the various perspectives involved.

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Note added at 15 mins (2007-09-20 12:04:36 GMT)
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Yes, Viktor has of course got it right: the 'long tail' in fact refers to the very extensive chain / network of advertising possibilities now in existence...

Tony M
France
Local time: 11:12
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  kmtext
8 mins
  -> Thanks, KMT!

neutral  Alexander Demyanov: You're of course right in your explanation of the popular expression. However, I don't think your understanding of the intended meaning of the joke is correct. Also,"long tail", at least in the US, has a different meaning from what Vito and you suggest.
22 mins
  -> Thanks, Alex, for your obseravtions; I must admit, I didn't realize this WAS US, Asker clearly forgot to tell us that!
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25 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
A misconstructed pun?


Explanation:
It seems to me that the writer of the copy just couldn't refrain from catching a pun opportunity. "Long tail sales" and "long tail advertising" mean selling and advertising for selling of more products in smaller volumes/quantities. "Long tail" approach is rapidly gaining momentum in, for example, sales and advertising of intellectual products, such as music and books.

To my eye, the pun itself, however nice and funny, is defeating its own purpose again. What the author seems to be aiming at is "long tail is more or less free from the traditional rules and practices of the 'big clumsy advertising dog'". However, the particular way of punning the well-known saying (explained by Tony), makes the meaning reversed.

Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 05:12
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 7
Grading comment
Thanks to everybody

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Tony M: Well, not being familiar with that particular expression, I am hardly qualified to 'agree' — but I can certainly see a lot of logic in what you're saying!
21 mins
  -> Thanks, Tony. There was a large article on the "long tail" trend in the New Yorker about half a year ago. Also, you can just Google "long tail sales".

neutral  Alfredo Tutino: the author seems to say that they are proposing a scheme for reaping the benefits of long tail sales without radically changing ingrained advertising habit - the usual eat your cake and have it
1 hr
  -> You may be right on that. Thanks for your comment.//On 2nd thought, I don't see a way you're right on this: re-read the preceing context. They ARE talking about doing things very differently.

neutral  Ken Cox: with Alfredo -- that's also the way I understand it: you can address the long tail without having to shift course radically (or perhaps more to the point, without abandoning the notion that advertising is what drives sales). IMO it's a successful pun.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ken. You may be right, although this is not how I read it.//On 2nd thought, maybe you should re-read the preceding context, Ken. I don't see how it can read your way.

neutral  Deborah Workman: Yes, I agree with your take on the "long tail". I agree with Alfredo and Ken about the "wagging the dog", so that the pun is not misconstructed.
12 hrs
  -> Thanks, Deborah!
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