Ries is wrong…again.

I have a lot of respect for Ad Age.  Their reporters are smart, their data is valuable, and their features are interesting.  Ad Age is an important and influential voice in our industry – and I just can’t understand why they still have Al Ries writing columns.  Yes, I still read them – to get a perspective on how traditional marketing can’t deal with the changes taking place today.

In early 2006, something struck me as odd when Ries declared that Guatemala should rename itself in order to increase tourism.  That idea is about as good as starting a war to lower oil prices.

The second was a blatant mistake that BMW had changed its taglineWrong.

More recently, Ries tells Ad Age readers why the iPhone will fail.  I think generating $250 million in a weekend of sales is pretty much a success.

Now, Ries says that Playboy’s move to digital is a bad idea, comparing it to failed product line extensions.  Wrong.  The world has changed.  According to Pew, 47% of all U.S. adults have broadband at home, up from 30% in 2005.  Moreover, this shift has been underway at the company for years and the company turned a profit in FY 2006.  A quick look at the PLA 10-K shows that while revenue from the publishing business has declined for the past 3 years, while revenue from online subscriptions and e-commerce have grown 30%.

I guess the worst thing you can be is in the middle – it’s refreshing to hear a voice that’s consistently wrong.

[Matt, how long does that contract run?  Have you all lined up someone more in touch, like Seth Godin?]