Steve Job's Speech in Stanford Ceremony

This is an amazing speech by Steve Jobs in Stanford University's graduation ceremony!


The intersection of VIDEO, 3D and Interactive

Thanks to OF for this neat example of web tv and here is another example of 3D enviornments online. The future of the web and web design is likely to be at the intersection of VIDEO, 3D and video. Now are we thinking enough about what this means?

Planner as Politician

I reckon as well as looking for curiosity, intuition, creativity and all those things you look for in a young planner you need someone who can be a statesman/woman too.The more you go up you enter into boardroom level selling where the real selling happens as well as managing the in-evitable complex iceberg agendas floating about. Nevertheless, integrity and truth continue to be the ultimate planner weapons.


Parkour is soo Un-Cool

Lots of 'officially' cool brands try and copy and paste the latest cool thing in some culture or sub-culture and dress it up with their me too brands. A quick glance at a leading Parkour outfit (will remain nameless it is un-fair) in the UK revealed no less than 25 projects for BRANDS in the form of ads and events since January 2006. I swear, if I see another dumb ass sports shoes brand doing a Parkour ad again I will run away barefoot in disgust. The point is not to slap your logo on a bit of subculture but to borrow the ethos and the values of that subculture and create your own interpretation of it otherwise those who know anything about Parkour in the UK would have seen the same crew in 25 different ads this year how un-cool is that...


Show and Tell

Every agency I'ever worked in had some form of show and tell. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't need to do show and tells because everybody is involved somehow and already knows what is going on? For example if every person had to contribute an interpretation of or a thought on an idea that each account is working on...ah I can dream on.


The eleventh P

Tom at i-WISDOM posted the web paradigms below and pointed out that I could be missing two more P's: passion and porn. Agree on both of-course and actually when I do this presentation I do mention porn as the surprise surprise bit. Tom also had this great link to a video from Clo Willaerts about how porn technologies and models are in-fact the the pre-cursors to tomorrow's innovations.


Web (P)aradigms...


Inspired by John's entry here about the Guardian's weekend piece on Web 2.0 innovators. Looking at the spectrum of innovators some of them are INSIDERS so close to the technology that they can see opportunities that no one outside the coal face could spot. A fair few are computer programmers who became entrepreneurs and some like Joshua Schachter are OUTSIDERS he built Deli.icio.us because as he put it: 'I built it because I wanted it, not because I thought it was a business or whatever'. Now this leads me to an interesting debate I had with a friend recently. To do innovation you need to be able to harness the impossible to spot insights deep into the 'thing' you are working on but you also need to have the genius of a complete outsider who spots a big whole - a painful need - in a market and do something about it. Now I wonder how many 3M's What if's, GE's HP's are staffed by a magic mix between INSIDERS and OUTSIDERS?



Ladies and gentlemen we now have an award for the top British user generated content...well will soon have champion consumers as well as creative geniuses but the question in my head is how will professional creatives justify their existence when there is ample and often better ideas made by consumers? I realise of-course that the good UGC stuff tends to be one hit wonders but sooner or later somebody is going to work out how to do it properly, here's a random selection of UGC stuff making the rounds not quite sure yet whether I've seen something that is actually amazing... Followfinger Itsyourshowtv Joga iCoke Coke Google Mentos Jones Firefox Doritos PS Freedom Flux Trouble iFilm Yourkindatv Pepsi Underground Summerbingo


Your help please

I've been asked to speak in a conference about Leveraging content to access younger audiences and early adopters on digital platforms. Any thoughts on what you think the do's and don't are welcome...and any reflections or examples on/for my 5 starters below are extremely welcome: 1. Create a culture around the brand not just a campaign or a message. 2. Give them an experience and don't chase exposure for expoure's sake, do not say. 3. Give them something that they can participate in - not treating them like a passive audience. 4. Be authentic not didactic. 5. Allow them to carry your idea forward - their way.

Life in Second Life: The Holiday Video

Trash Talk Tells it as it is HERE: Click on watch film on the left.


10. Random thoughts on Second Life

1. A place for 'forward thinking, innovative ad agencies' to show us how forward thinking & innovative ad agencies they are. (Dad in school disco) 2. Chatted to David Reuters from Reuters in SL a great deal of interest about their venture at least they have an interesting idea - the intersection between virtual and real news. 3. A place for Americans to come and make money and for others they come to find out about the rest of the world. 4. You can watch a stripper and run a spreadsheet on the same desktop neither sheet is worth getting underneath. 5. Brands are trying to exploit it while its users are trying to enjoy it. 6. There is nothing really new in Second Life pretty much everything in it is already in Real Life ... its just the way you do it is different. 7. People in Second Life have really weird alter egos (flaming wings anyone?) wonder what they look like in real life (bloke with a beard from bexley heath?). 8. SL is clunky techy geeky but when it becomes more like real life that's when it will really be an interesting proposition for example VOIP will enable you to have multiple voice conversations live. Ultimately Second Life - I humbly predict - is on a trajectory to become as close to real life as possible...but 9. Second Life is a metaphor for fantasy and that has always been with us not just now. So will it loose its fantasy? 10. It's all about people people. Technology may give us new ways to connect and make clans but it is still about people and always was always will be.


Clients of the future will look like this...

The top ten marketing innovators in Ag Age's report showed some interesting characters. Trever Edwards the VP Global Brand Management for Nike who was born in London and pretty much worked in every major city had this to say about Nike innovation:
We think a lot about the need to bring something new to the marketplace, but we don't think about it as just being new; we think about: How is this better than the last thing we brought to the marketplace?
According to Edwards it's not innovation for innovation's sake. A father of two three year old twins Edwards is inspired by how his children always see the world with a fresh pair of eyes. Another interesting US marketer is Paolo Timoni CEO Piagio US. He had a great lovely brand and cool product but the Americans didn't want it I mean its small to start with and didn't know where to park it right? Wrong. He started a campaign about
"Vespanomics" concept, which the company defines as "the ecological, economic and personal satisfaction one achieves after buying a Vespa scooter."
This is interesting but what's more interesting is what Mr. Timoni did when Bush announced a drive against American's 'addiction to oil' Timoni wrote an open letter in The New York Times, addressed to all U.S. mayors, encouraging them to find a place for scooters in their cities. The letter received an overwhelmingly positive response, not only from pro-scooter bloggers but from the mayors, who invited the company to present at a conference of mayors in May. Now could this idea have come from an ad agency who is only interested in selling 30second ads ... I doubt it but damn it gets mayors in every city consider giving your product government approved distribution not to mention putting your product on the public agenda. And of-course the latest campaign moved from "Vespanomics" to "Vespatition" to call for facilities for two-wheel vehicles. The client of the future is an opportunist, propagandist as well as innovator.


Thoughts on Cannes

Cannes are a bit like what the car industry does in their motor shows. Full of concept cars, beautiful and shiny stuff that no one in the street would buy or ever be able to buy and somehow not many people see re-incarnations of these glimmering toys post a motor show. Cannes tend to be the industry's pat on the back by its own hands (no audience awards, critic's awards or anything that may make it the credible zenith of achievement in our business). Yet we love to see the winners out of spite or inspiration depends on who you are. I went through the winners and finalists this morning and for what's worth here is what struck me as interesting random thoughts: 1. Animation is back. don't know if this has been started by Honda GRRR... 2. Serialisation / soap opera style ads e.g. Love Story from Thailand. These were interesting because that type of campaign gets to watch the different bits of the story not just a single ad. The narrative becomes what keeps you looking forward to the next episode. You wouldn't have to fight too hard for attention when you already have an audience that is interested in the next twist in the story. Stella, VW, Smooth 3. Ads that mock ads. I thought these were really interesting Beer AU and Smooth Thailand. There is some honesty about the punter in the street's perceptions of advertising and brands poking fun at the whole thing WITH the audience instead of AT them. 4. There was an ad from Renault that I really liked about crash tests not only because it subverted the conventions of crash test advertising but of food category advertising as well in one creating 'depth' to the engagement. 5. Craft? Somehow it felt like the winners were rewarded for the craft and the new 'tricks & techniques' that were introduced in the production of the ads not the brilliance of the idea. See for your self here.


I wish I had the mind of a teenager.

Compund Security Systems have developing an alarm that can only be heard by young people under the age of 20. Capitalising on a medical phenomena where we stop hearing sounds at a certain frequency (18 to 20kHz) after the age of 20. The intended use was to push the kids out of malls and places where they may be a nuisance (a worthy cause of-course I mean kids should be treated like insects right?) So here we go the kids record the alarms turn it into ringtones to pass on to their friends so that when they call each other in class the teacher can't hear them. Brilliant. More here.


Doing the (RED) thing.

I am a cynic. I don't believe in silly ideas like every little helps ... but every time I make a call from my new Motorala RED mobile phone my phone company Orange makes a 5% donation of the cost of the call to Africans desperate for help. It makes me feel better about my 'middleclass guilt' but beyond that I also feel that at least it is something that I can participate in everyday. To do something is better than doing nothing. As well as a cynic I am also a hater, I hate indifference. Indifference is the biggest enemy that civilised societies ever had. RED allows a cynic like me to stop being indifferent. Do the RED thing even if you don't see the results immediately people will see you doing it. A colleague of mine after seeing my RED mobile decided to change his Amex from Gold to RED. As I said to do something is better than to do nothing. And if one does the RED thing maybe others will see you doing it and it might just catch on. The greatest irony would be if RED catches on like a virus and spreads across companies and consumers a bit like AIDS … but without the 's' beating a virus at its own game. One more thing, I really couldn't give a toss about Motorola as a brand felt nothing thought nothing about it, if anything my natural default choice would have been a Nokia N series - you know the one that your creatives are carrying. But somehow I feel different towards this brand now on a level that its silly ads would never get me to feel. Here is to the power of doing not saying.


Mother Earth.

John Grant requested some thoughts for The Ecologist magazine. I think we should all contribute. It is mother earth and she is in trouble and maybe, just maybe, we can do something about it. You wouldn't just walk away if you saw an old lady who fell over on the street and needs help to get up or would you? If you'd like to contibute ideas go to John's site.

Economy of Presence

Nothing is more useful than water, but it will purchase scarce anything: scarce anything can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce value in use: but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it. - Adam Smith the Wealth of Nations 1776.
Core to what Adam Smith's idea was the simple formula Scarcity = Value. We value what we have the least of. If you are wealthy you may covet time, if you are hungry you want bread, if you are isolated you covet belonging. Humans seem to want what they don't have. Whether they need it or not that's another discussion. William J. Mitchell of MIT talks about the Economy of Presence. He proposes that society today in the face of a multitude of hi tech ways of communicating it values face to face interaction far more than other ways of interaction. For example most e-mails appear to be about setting up face to face meetings, we pay more for the opportunity to hear a speaker in a conference than read their book. My personal experience of this is a recent breakfast I had with a luminary planner friend with multiple books that I know inside out but the value of the one hour conversation somehow added a significant depth to his books. Face to face 'presence' definitely has huge value far and above pretty much any other form of communication. This has wider and bigger implications. Belonging. Is the first on the list, with a society that is increasingly individual in mindset and isolated in reality opportunities to meet and connect face to face are very pertinent to a wide variety of products and services. For example; the web cam as a standard in the new Macs, YouTube, SkypeVideo, Nike Run London. Secondly. Economy of Presence has implications for how meeting places of all kinds take a new meaning. Anything that allows, encourages, adds value to face to face interaction should be fundamental to the design and architecture of the space. The Apple Store genius bar, lectures, Wagamama sharing tables, Starbucks, Selfridges food hall etc. Thirdly, from another angle a psychologist friend of mine recently argued that there is a lost art of telling stories. We are so dependent on visual and written media that we forgot the great art of telling a story and oratory skills.


Make if infectious

True Viral Marketing

Trust No One

So we have YouTube, WEB 2.0 and all that which is great for finding stuff out and finding the truth but as this example shows under the veil of information and sharing comes the opportunity to pull the wool over people's eyes. It's ok if you laugh at it / with it but what it does is it makes it very difficult overall to trust anyone online. I wonder how many people on WEB 2.0 have spoof detectors on all the time? What might appear as a harmless video blog about a lonely young girl can turn out to be Blair Witch style promo for an upcoming teen film. Now if you think that "Lonelygirl15" is really locked up in her bedroom by her strict parents and can't have fun then think again. Sucker -:) - full story in Brand Republic (she is 20 year old film graduate not a lonely 15 year old in need of friends.


No's 1, 2 & 3 ...

No. 1: Owns the category codes No. 2: Wannabe number one No. 3: 'd Better be funny No. 4: A passer-by in this category No. 5: Cheap shit No. 6: Pretends to be in the category but really isn't

You've heard it here first

In my entry on Porn below I suggested that Public Pornographic Performances may be just one of the things that we may see influenced by the substantial number of porn junkies online etc. The London Paper has published research with YouGov outlining some interesting stats about sex in the city: 17% of males had sex in the office, 36% of males and 34% of females have been unfaithful to their partners and an astonishing 36% of males apparently had sex in public (only 25% of females admitted to that-:) naturally the story was about a couple in their late twenties having full on sex in full on public view. Only about 36% may admit to such behaviour but I wonder if underneath this: - sex is no longer a private act and closer to a performance act, - sexual performance is somehow become part of the typical bragging rights; big cars, big job, big knob culture Nothing is new here really, it has always been like that I guess -:)


Paris Hilton has been interfered with again -:)

Hundreds of copies of Paris Hilton's debut (and only, possibly, given its reception) album have been tampered with and left in independent record stores and branches of HMV and Virgin across the UK by 'guerrilla artist' Banksy. A spokewoman for the artist has confirmed that he has replaced Hilton's CD with one featuring his own remixes with titles like 'Why Am I Famous', 'What Have I Done' and 'What Am I For?', which is all rather amusing to a needless celebrity heiress deplorer such as myself. Banksy also doctored pictures on the CD sleeve to make Hilton appear topless, and with a dog's head, but he left the original barcode on the 500 doctored albums so that customers could buy them without realising that anything was awry. A spokesman for HMV said that the chain had found seven CDs in their Brighton outlets, and confirmed that no customers had thus far complained, or returned a CD. He continued: "It's not the type of behaviour you'd want to see happening very often. I guess you can give an individual such as Banksy a little bit of leeway for his own particular brand of artistic engagement. Often people might have a view on something but feel they can't always express it, but it's down to the likes of Banksy to say often what people think about things. And it might be that there will be some people who agree with his views on the Paris Hilton album." A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said that staff were looking for the CDs, but that they are proving hard to find, adding: "I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt." Pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharl/sets/72157594266743665/ That's why I love Banksy. Beat this fad-lads.

So what did you think of the London Paper and Lite?

Well they've both gone for the colour Purple - says it all really There's little to compare. I saw the ads for the London Paper which use purple and my first reaction was this is the new Metro ... ah but no it isn't. Talk about me too advertising / design and I am a planner never mind the poor punter in the street The format is lite it is another addition to bitesize dumb down culture to give to those dizzy commuters who need a bit of light relief after a hectic day at The Office. Both papers appear to be going for the same need / want / whim The editorial was very similar in style highly indistinguishable from each other tone of voice etc not to mention they both went with the same lead story that of the crocodile hunter...as a consumer this simply means I can pick any of those two without any conscious effort to be loyal or pick one because I like it is a bit like asking someone do you want chips or chips ... Lite is claiming a FIRST with the London Paper a split second behind ... talk about first mover advantage and fast follower advantage. Interestingly though there are some consumer generated content in Lite with columns like Citizen Reporters naturally reported by you and me. I think there could be something interesting in this if it is pushed further for example imagine an evening paper half written by consumers that day in all fields the city broker dishing the dirt on his boss, the estate agent commenting on the hottest neighborhood in his property watch and you get a different Londoner to do it everyday then it truly puts Londoners in London's first evening Paper. The London Paper appears to have better listings or at least better layout. Naturally I only gave both papers about 1 minute each yesterday which is probably more than the punters in the street who simply refused the distribution method of can I shove this BIG leaflet in your hand sir....and then you walk another ten meters for another one dressed in purple trying to shove another BIG leaflet in your hand and you ask yourself why?


The Pursuit of Perfection

I finally got to work on a fashion brand. I always wanted to work on one because they are genuinely fascinating. Here are few of the things that struck me about advertising for fashion brands compared to other brands: Real & fanatical attention to detail. They spent hours debating every single detail in a shot right down to counting the time it takes to walk down the red carpet at a film premier in a designer garment. Their attention to detail is something to be commended and aspired to. The brand ‘attitude’ turns brand onions into pear shaped meaningless drivel. They are so in-tune with what their brand is about that the need for a formal articulation is almost the equivalent of someone writing their own name on a post it note to remember who they are. They are masters of the image creation industries. As well as the detail the brand personality and attitude is extremely well honed in the delivery or execution, they know more about spinning the stories behind their designs and works that literally transcends any tangible quality for the fabric or the design. With so much effort that goes into the pursuit of perfection it’s not surprising that when given the luxuries of life so many dispose of the necessities without hesitation.


5 Reasons why there is so much rubbish advertising around

1. Because the consumer is not an idiot but the creative is 2. Because the client is the ultimate creative director 3. Because the agency didn't have the balls to take the client somewhere they haven't been before 4. Because everybody in the room gave it a 'nod' of recognition (they have seen it before, therefore the horrible proclamation 'it is a bit like what x did for y...' 5. Because no one got scared of loosing their job by coming up with it, selling it or making it

What if it isn't about a BIG IDEA?

Just read an article in Champagne about how the agency of the future will be about coming up with the big idea not the 30 second ad. Somehow having the idea of the BIG IDEA drummed into everybody's head has become a form of mass hypnosis for fad-land. What if the brand can have many small ideas? Even better, lots of small ideas that are so perfectly executed in a medium that they cannot possibly live anywhere else e.g. subservient chicken? What if it isn't about who runs the campaign or becomes the architect for it but a rather a dedicated partner who looks after the short / long term health of a brand (e.g. Nike & W&K)? What if the Campaign changes it's name from campaign to Brand Territory? I think our obsession with creating campaigns that may have a big executional idea in it is all well and good but what we seem less obsessed about is the brand territory long term? There is a difference between brand positioning / territory and the expression of that in a form of communication idea. What if brand consultancies start telling fad land what the positioning should be because fad land has been obsessed about creating ads instead of genuinely caring about the brand positioning (they don't make money from that you see) e.g. BBH & Wolf Olins and the case of Sony Ericsson. What if the agency of the future didn't make its money out of creating 'executions'ads / sites etc. but made its money for nurturing, developing brand territories not big campaign ideas over time? I think that this will never really happen because brand owners (marketing directors etc) have an average tenure of 18 months. They don't necessarily care that much about long term brand territories perhaps they just want to make a couple of famous campaigns perhaps in the 18 months then move on. Then another marketing director comes in and wants to stamp his or her mark and there you go the search for another BIG IDEA begins...


Marcus you are a genius.

To understand this read the entry below and visit Marcus here

The Loss of Fantasy

I saw this post card in Foyle's over the weekend. Somehow it triggered a thought of disappointment that is probably directly correlated to a sense of loss of fantasy. I felt depressed, where has the beauty gone, where have the dreams gone, where is the zealous aspiration for creating something that is attractive, what is wrong with a bit of aspiration and glamour into let's face it a life that often resembels a wet bank holiday. Got me thinking of fashion advertising and how it is a million miles away from such a post card. Sometimes a bit of fantasy wouldn't hurt.


Insecurity v Information v Identity your honour...

Another supper club accuasation. A judge (as in courts etc) entered into a heated discussion with me on how advertising works. In his 'judgment' advertising trades on people's insecurities. Promising to fill emotional voids just as an obese person eats to fill an emotional hole. OK so here I am trying to be Marketing 2.0 etc talking about how advertising fulfils a function in economics that of information & inspiration I gave the example of the 'Delete' (http://www.steinbrener-dempf.com/) campaign done by a couple of Belgian artists where they installed blank yellow sheets over the signs of stores in a Brussels high street as protest over the influence of advertising and contamination of their beautiful buildings. Two days later somebody graffitied the yellow sheets with the following statement: 'but I need consumer information'. I think people confuse advertising with consumerism or at least quick to judge it as it is the most visible bit of the consumerist / capitalist system. He took my point but still insisted that it trades on peoples emotions to which I replied yes it does however in the absence of Religion, National Identity, Beliefs, Strong stable systems of allegiance such as a political party for example people use brands that evoke a sense of belonging and identity in fact the better ones always do e.g. Apple's rebel computing for creative people simply pulls a culture that identifies with such an ethos way beyond the manufactured images that aim to attract people with lines such as '...because you are worth it'. I also pointed out that just like everything in life there will be good and bad examples of everything you can't blame anti-ageing cream ads for all the brilliant work done by companies like Apple, IKEA etc. He admitted that that he likes Apple and actually listens to Shubert on his iPOD at wich point I said well the day you are prepared not to buy brands is the day you can judge advertising sir. I was saved by the arrival of the pudding ...


What I learnt from Porn Recently

Planners are the sorts of people who are prepared to go where no one else wants to, does or dares. For example one quick way to find out what intimacy means to people go surfing for porn. Given that 96% of men online surf for porn and 63% of women do too, it would be silly not to find out what our audiences are into -:) 'Dogging'. Is a relatively new phenomenon where swingers engage in sex with perfect strangers in secluded car parks. Naturally this is not what everybody does but it highlights that somehow wired to our mentality the sense of 'illicit pleasure'. Nothing new here but dogging is just one expression of such a principal. Glue successfully exploited the idea of 'dogging' for Pot Noodle a couple of years ago in the Pot Noodle web: a series of spoof porn sites promising guilty pleasures with clips of people engaging in dogging-like back-of-the-seat Pot Noodle snacking in secluded car parks. 'Reality Porn'. Nobody is going to believe me when I say this but long before the advent of reality t.v. reality porn was pushing the boundaries of voyeurism online. Just as bands get rated, reviewed and promoted and discovered online in My Space, amateur porn sites have done all of that ahead of everyone exploding people's fascination with the 'girl next door' fantasy. What I found fantastically curious is outside of the 'produced' porn sites the amateur sites had abundant number of women who are perfectly attractive and quite happy to engage their insecurities by displaying all and actively soliciting votes in order to post more pictures. No different from big brother really but with full on sex. OK so what might be the next 'public' thing we see that comes out of what is happening in porn online: Public Pornographic Performance. I came across porn sites dedicated to frat parties in colleges in the states where young men and women compete to show how good they are at sex for an audience of fellow students. It seems that the idea of 'achievement' and public displays of such achievement is transforming the dirty act of porn into an opportunity to show off just one more of the things you may be able to do (puts vodka chess into perspective). Strip Dancing classes in various gyms in London are a mild version of turning sex into sport where skill, technique and audience support has transformed a traditionally private act into a public display of sexual prowess. Now I wonder which brands might play in this area? Well guess what... beer brands in the states are head over heals trying to sponsor such college parties and spring break trips. Internet Gratification. In a recent survey by One Plus One it was found that 72% of users of pornographic chat rooms online were married or had a long term partner. Another survey by Yahoo showed that 26% of women respondents had sex with someone they met on the internet. Now no one is saying the answer for sexual marital problems is to go online but it taps into a bigger thought of an 'alternative life' where we are able to escape mundane realities for exciting online fantasies (the girlfriend without the five year plan as a Coke Zero ad says). Now who does sexual fantasy-like holidays for jaded couples that are not cheesey Hedonism II? Or if you are not prude which clubs open up opportunities for gratification that are out of this world? Or if you are into gaming what else can you hide or functionality can you add to live multi-player games? Group Sex Anyone? Belonging is naturally a big thing for humans, and nothing gets to show a sense of belonging than group sex. With divorce rates at 2 in 3 in the UK the idea of monogamy somehow feels nostalgic. 76% of men want it and astonishingly 57% of women endorse the idea of group sex. As unimaginative a line as you can get but Lynx's SPRAY MORE GET MORE ads are nothing but a reflection of something that is on a substantial number of men and women's minds. It's just one of those things that you can't talk about it but what else can you do? Porn Tech. If anything pornographers actually are quite good innovators of online technologies. If I am not mistaken the notorious pop-up ad was first spotted on porn sites before any advertisers knew how to use them, phone dialers were a pre-cursor to instant chat and SKYPE, 'the play with me' game that DARE did for Lynx was actually an already existing game that some pornographer did, virtual reality sex tools sensors and gloves were shown at porn exhibitions in the states already, hot linking, peer to peer sites, video sites innovations such as GUBA are just full of porn. OK ok I am going to stop talking about porn now this is sooo rude.

Planners should be FEARLESS above all else.

Lots of things are said about what planners are, should do and be. Walking up the street it struck me that the difference between planners and everyone else in the agency in the way they apply a core part of their discipline, namely insight. It is about being absolutely fearless. Here is what I mean: Planners are champions of the TRUTH not just the consumers. - in a client meeting where everyone is scared of the client and the account girl playing more the role of a P.A. than a business manager (instead of an account manager) the planner is the one who should have the intellectual courage to stand up to the client, debate the belief in the idea and the evidence for it, something that no one else in the room does or can do. - planners should take inspiration from journalists who go out to war zones genuinely seeking to report the truth of what's going on (unless you are CBS reporter) I often felt jealous and ashamed when comparing how far I go as a planner to get underneath a compelling insight or truth in comparison to journalists. - planners should take inspiration from Star Trek, I recently replied to a question in a supper club about what I do for a living with the answer 'I boldly go where no one in my business dares to go'. And as Bill Bernbach once said: "The future belongs to the brave"


Ideas that are carried forward by culture live more.

Snakes on a Comic Davis wrote in his blog once the seven things he learnt while at W+K one of them was this: 'Ideas that influence culture sell more'. For example: 'Chuck your Chintz' IKEA, 'Think Different' Apple etc. This is a fantastic principal but somehow felt like it's not quite right. Maybe I don't like the word influence so here is my take on the same principal: 'Ideas that are carried forward by culture live more'. A recent example: Snakes on a Plane. Snakes on a Plane is a new film starring Samuel L. Jackson and as the title suggests it is about Snakes on a Plane. Here is what the film makers did in order to make this an idea carried forward by culture: - They asked film buffs online what to call it and the reply was Snakes on a Plane - The movie wasn't shown to media in advance a typical thing in film marketing (they had to see it at the premier like everyone else) - However they only released 'audio trailers' of Samuel L. Jackson saying 'there are snakes on the motherfuckn' plane' - It is arguably the first Wikipedia-ised movie created by the users themselves. - Producers scanned fan sites for what should go in it and agreed to such gems as Samuel L. Jackson to say: 'I've had it with these motherfucking' snakes'on this motherfuckin' plane'doubtlessly going to go down in Hollywood as one of the finest lines ever written -:) And another one where the captain predicts the fate of a plane with snakes on: 'Go down quicker'n a Thai hooker'. - There is of-course endless blogs, spoofs, sites, films, virals etc that were created by fans around similar or same idea for example: - Snacks on a Plan - lamenting the decline of airline food - Steaks on a Train - about a steak on a Parisian train - Blanks on a Blank - a film making competition around the same theme The film topped the US box office in its openning weekend there is no doubt in my mind that allowing culture to carry the idea forward allows it sell more and live more an aspiration for all brands not just cool entertainment brands.

Good & Bad Agencies

A thought on good and bad agencies. Bad agencies tend to think their mission in life is to be big and rake in the cash fleecing the clients and the consumers they are talking to in the process. They will do whatever they can in order to do so. They tend to behave in a laddish manner where it is all about how big their revenue, profit etc. Good agencies love the work.

Command & Control

It occurred to me that the difference between bad marketers and good ones is that the first genuinely think that it is a scientific prodecess whereby if they tick enough of the right boxes add the right chemicals apply the right formula you will have an explosive effect on consumers. This is rubbish because the good marketers that I've worked with tend not to repeat the 'formula' that was pre-developed by common marketing sense but genuinely fight such temptation and force themselves to discover what's missing from the culture and allow good accidents to happen. In fact those that take the bigger risks by going 'out there' intellectually and creatively are the ones that come up with ideas that seem well, less formulaic.


Fluffy Advertising

There is nothing wrong with loving your job and injecting a sense of pride in what you do. I mean you have to. To justify your choice of career and why you are advertising a cigarette brand for example. Recently I noticed a strange phenomenon. Some of the best people I worked with and know in advertising with a history of making revolutionary ads had one thing in common, they actually hate advertising. Or at least hate to make ads that look like ads. Some even actively try not to make ads anymore because they feel that they are making the equivalent of a fizzy can of Coke instead of a LAB cocktail. If I was to segment the people who work in ad land I would say the majority want to make ads and nothing else that, sadly this is the height of their ambition while there is a small niche minority who are in advertising because they are interested in communicating with and influencing culture with ideas. The ones who think they are in advertising will never learn that this is exactly what they will ever do for the foreseeable future - just that - advertising. While those who are in the business of communicating to people and influencing culture the method is genuinely as important as the idea and hence gets equal amounts of innovation. The thing that annoys the hell out of me these days are ad lads pretending to be doing all sorts of ideas (e.g. digital) when they don't mean it want to or believe that they can. If advertising is what you are good at then why don't you just become the best at that don't bloody pretend you can do something else when you don't actually give a toss.


The Brand Innovation Manifesto

A new John Grant book. Ahead of its time? John's latest book is useless. Useless if you work in a big ad agency the size of the Titanic, turn corners as fast as a tortoise and still think your job is to take briefs from clients. This book is ahead of most people in the ad industry. The implications of the forward thinking in the first half of the book on shifts in the way we should think about brands and culture is not for every body. If anything the book leaves you thinking how backward ad land is. But then again this is John Grant who co-founded an innovative and ahead-of-its-time agency - St. Lukes - at the age of 28. While needless to say brands need to innovate everything about them from their product to their vision, to the process and management there are big barriers. Sadly, as John says in the final paragraph: 'The very notion of a "creative department" suggests that the other 95% of people working in marketing are not supposed to be creative!'. This book is compelling reading and should inspire you to get over real life constraints. The biggest challenge is as it has always been that you are not making ads your are evolving and developing ideas. John has an interesting thought about this. 'Brands as clusters of strategic cultural ideas' is the central thought of the book. John having the brain that he does (about the size of Jupiter) takes on the concept of brand communication as a structured approach (onions, pyramids ads and matching luggage below the line executions) and turns that into an 'Anti-Structure' - he proposes the brand molecule as such a structure. It is a fundamental shift almost backwards into how innovative ideas are really developed through being opportunistic and entrepreneurial in your approach and not confined to rigid structures for thinking and planning. He then extends the chemical analogy into a periodic table detailing typologies of pretty much all the brand ideas from different categories around. This is one of the great things about this book, I've already used it in a brainstorm to stimulate a client out of the conventions of his category by trying ideas from other categories. And it works. The best thing about John's book is that it takes you out of the 'we have a brief for a 30 second ad now what's the idea?' mode and forces you to think on a much bigger picture how your brand influences culture through its ideas and innovation not through trite communications. You can apply the thinking not just read it which makes this not a book but a valuable tool for stimulation.


The Future of The Agency

What would the agency of the future look like? I tried to answer this question with a friend of mine based on our own un-common sense, looking down the road from us, up the road from us and outside the country. This, is what we concluded.


Advertising & Entertainment

I got interviewed by Corentin a few weeks ago, he published the text here.


Nick's Chinese Warning

Nick Barham has given a talk in the US AAAA Planning thing and shared some of his insights from his Chinese experience compared to here: "In Britain, it feels like things are winding up. In China, it's as if things are just getting started" - Nick Barham mmm why do I feel I am in the wrong country?

Is this getting too close?

According to imity if you are walking down the street and you pass someone who is a fellow subscriber your phone will tell you. Basically turning your mobile into a GPS for your friends and other like minded individuals. It takes social networking online into wirless. Interesting.


Services like this is why I love the power of the internet...

Masses of music online and offline. How do you find out what you want / like? Here is a cool example of how somebody worked out how to solve the 'Paradox of Choice' ... check this out: Pandora

The most talked about brand in broadcasting...

"The brand values are incredibly clear. Everybody knows what Channel 4 stands for. It is about innovation and causing trouble. It is about being mischievous and challenging". Andy Duncan - CEO - C4.

Well not everyone can be C4 but maybe everyone should be challenging something...just a thought.

Simple But Rich

aresh in the Guardian liked this ad for its simple but rich execution. He argued that in advertising we've been obsessed with keeping things simple particularly when doing a global campaign - often impoverished of intimate insights. Keeping things simple often means keeping them stupid. As this new ad from W+K shows, instead of finding a real world 'generic global insight' you create your own world and make it exceptionally rich. Add another dimension to that hackneyed idea of simplicity - RICHNESS. It is interesting that Naresh's view echoes Russell's where he advocates that many small ideas are better, than just one big (and often meaningless) one. Interesting. Whenever I spoke to real artists about their work they always talk about the composition - 'the art is in the composition' - they say. I hardly ever heard any artist, filmmaker or musician talk about THE BIG IDEA. Maybe in advertising we are actually obsessed with Big Ideas because often it means Big Budgets - we should really be thinking of adding creative richness not bigness. If you make it simple AND rich success will follow and with that the big budgets stupid.



Seeded on 20 sites only at an astronomical marketing cost of ... 0. Picked up by major t.v. networks and reached 30 million on t.v. alone. Online views 87 million. If you live in the US and you never heard of Marc Ecko before, now you do. The site is of-course full of articles on the Americans' right to express themselves (the first amendment apparently)and graffiti as an art form for expressing yourself. As a fan of Banksy and Shrigley I think it is great that something as simple as a spray can and a lo fi viral can create so much talkability it does so because it starts a fight, fights get audiences. Would this has been as provocative if it wasn't Marc Ecko who did it? I don't think to the same level but provocative and buzzworthy absolutely.

I think we a have a lot to learn from fashion brands

Chosen by Selfridges as their creative partner for the new season, Marmalade magazine have created and installed two exciting window displays. A team of ten embroiderers worked for seven days and used over 100 metres of fabric to create the displays that combine interactivity and robotics with embroidery. It is interesting how fashion brands and brands that have their own creative directors they have a very unique perspective on how they advertise and as this interesting example shows 'who' does their advertising for them, they probably don't think of it as advertising ... think Benetton & Toscani, Diesel and Renzo, and most recent fantastic example from Marc Ecko here stillfree.com.

Admiring Adidas




Generation I is an article that I wrote some time ago about a mindset in culture that of individualism. Generation I can be briefly summarised as Innovative, Inspired, Informed, Intelligent, Independent, Impulsive and very very I-solated. Some of the evidence: 50%+ of UK pop put personal fulfillment as #1 wish compared to 25% in 1985, 1 in 2 people research online before making a purchase and perfectly healthy people don't give up their seats to old people on the tube. Consider how brands communicate to this generation ... no surprises here: Where do you want to go today? - Microsoft Because I am worth it? - L'Oreal Whatever you want, just yell. - Yellow Pages Be all you can be - Various armies Everything we do is driven by you - Ford Hear what you like, when you like - Rex Records Visa - It is everywhere you want to be Your fragrance, your rules - Hugo Boss You can - Canon Make yourself heard - Ericsson I want my MTV Be the CEO of your life - Compaq and my personal favourite Screw yourself - IKEA Norway Clearly a well trodden strategy by most brands sucking up to the individualism of generation I but consider this: We are less happy than we've ever been in the west, we have the highest depression rates in the world and a recent study highlighted by Corentin showed that number of people the US without ANY friends has DOUBLED in the last 20 years. BELONGING. Maslow as well as a whole load of others (psychologists, neuroscientists, sciologists etc) confirmed that the things that actually make us happy are friends, family, partners and relationships. Which brands can you think of that provide, promise or work on this cultural, connection and funamentaly human social level? Here is a clue.



Can low involvement brands create entertainment like cool fashion & tech brands?

Did a presentation to a bunch of friends on brand entertainment and the question was ah but only cool brands can do stuff like you are showing us for example technology and fashion but what about brands that are just low involvement by definition. So my answer was: I think any brand can make entertainment as long as it finds cultural truths that are relevant. Consumers then don't buy a product benefit but a share of the story that the brand created through the entertainment - a cultrual benefit proposition if you like. Ah and guess who made the above example ... yep it is them again Fallon US the ones who did the BMW films.



Speaking of ICON Creation

CP has created a campaign that invited people to go into research groups about 'what fast means to you' and sent them DM afterwards with a customised 'fast' which drove them online where you could customise a VW and of-course the t.v. followed with looking after your 'fast' executions. Apparantly sales were 80% above expected. I love the fact that VW has won a direct Lions award for this. Isn't it interesting that an ad agency won a dm award? Or is it an ad agency -:)?


The is a great example of how timing as well as iconography can make an already brilliant advert even more brilliant. The poster appeared on the M4 on the morning of England v Sweden in the world cup as well as Sven's announcement that Rooney will be in the starting line up. This one ad made it to the front cover of no less than 4 national UK dailies. Well done w+k more here.


Courage is the vital ingredient

"I am glad we had the courage to say yes – with VW we’ve created something that didn’t previously exist anywhere in the world” - Kirsten Brochner Owner and operator of Park hotel that was transformed into Hotel FOX - the VW hotel in Copenhagen. It is throughly annoying and navel gazing of ad folk to keep talking about nothing except how wonderful and creative we think we are. I think we should shift the conversation to how brave we are. Withought courage and a series of people client, partners, planners, creatives making brave decisions along the way original creative won't happen. If we are so creative how come the world is full of shit boring ads. VW & the owners of the Hotel Fox property took a big leap of faith, 300 million impressions later did their courage pay? Definately. I think it was Bernbach who once said: 'The future belongs to the brave'. Amen.


Stuck on the tube today. Trying to breathe inside the the equivalent of a human straw. The driver apologetically announced that we have to 'de-train' - London underground jargon for emptying a train of its hot and sweaty passengers onto rat infested tracks and walking for half a mile till the station. Morning rush hour and people are hot and nervous. Is it another bomb attack is it something equally sinister? No, just bits fell off the train ahead causing our train to get stuck for two hours. The bonding started promptly with people in the dark heat of the carriage cracking jokes and it became almost a funathon. The best jokers collected mini team mates and pretty soon everyone was laughing creating an ironic atmosphere. It was a brilliant example of how humour certainly binds, diffuses and makes people stick together even if they are stuck inside a human straw.



Ok so I am on the tube wondering how come everyone on the carriage is listening to music with white earphones. Because it is simple, beautiful, it works and it's apple. Then I lift my eyes and I see this ad. For the first time in months I go online to check the URL of a site that I saw advertised - a mean feat for a busy bloke like me. And what did I get? A site that is totally, dedicated to take the p*** out of iPODS and the people who use them. Then of-course it turns out to be Scan Disk's apparently superior media player which is the alternative. Now this is interesting because: For David to beat Goliath Scan Disk (no-body) v Apple (Big buddy) Scan Disk had to be subversive and aim for the jugular. In fact if you were Scan Disk it's your only chance to create any dent in the consumer's mind. A good example of a challenger brand challenging not only the leader but a beloved leader. Apple however is unlikely to suffer that much from this subversive behavior few geeks, nerds and misfits may respond to Scan Disk's strategy but unlikely that there will be many of them to begin with. As in the case of any society, the moment you get a beloved leader there will always be a subversive element that think they can do better but the funny thing is even if they do succeed they end up in exactly the same position watch this fantastic film by some 18 year old Austrian kid who worked it all out beautifuly mindistortion.net (click movies then war).


I hate laggards.

Went into a biz dev meeting today and came out thinking that whenever you have a great innovative idea make sure you don't waste it on a client that waits for his competitors to do it first then follow them. There is no point inviting someone to drive a Porche when they are still learning to ride a horse.


Mobile media's golden triangle

MS's Origami

OK remember the entry below on MS origami project well here is the leaked video curtsey of YOU Tube, as well here is yet another mobile thing from MS. It seems that MS are trying really hard to do a cross between PSP, a Tablet PC and an iPOD Video. Steady on now MS, stand for one thing or fall for everything, it seems that trying to come up with mobile computing that is a cross between a Swiss Army knife and a SUCK.UK beer opener is perhaps not very wise. The irony is the comments on YOU Tube basically say they like the idea but they want APPLE to do it. Now that's loyalty for ya.


Ad Age's Big Question...

Will advertisers widely embrace having consumers create ads for thier brands? Yes, but it depends on: 1. Enough consumers who are doing it out of passion for their brands e.g. Converse Gallery not out of some monetary incentive. 2. Not for everyone, some advertisers / brands will look plain stupid if they did it. e.g. some soap brand 3. Professionally & strategically produced ads exploit decades of expertise in creating, aspiration, fantasy, image and fine tuning emotive imagery & detail in ads. Consumers just don't have that expertise e.g. how many consumers can make an ad like the one Nick Gordon did for Levis recently in the UK? 4. Just because now they have the 'tools' consumers also need the 'skills' to use them, often consumer made ads are lo-fi and better as virals, I am yet to see anything with the 'polish' of a Playstation ad or an Audi ad. However, The one thing that this emerging trend really offer is the credibility that comes from something produced by 'passionate fans' for their brands - I can see myself doing it for Apple but not for Colgate (although I use both daily) and even then it may lack the polish of the iconic ads that TBWA do for Apple. I think, as a strategist, the question for me is NOT whether it is going to be widely accepted but rather what are the best ways and how do we exploit & harness consumer's ability and potential willingness to co-create ads for their favourite brands? Here are a couple of quick takes: a. Use CGC (consumer generated content) as a 'credibility' exercise in a PR way not in an ad way. The whole point is that they are not creating ads, they are creating film out of love for their brands. b. Use CGC in a viral, fan-based means of communication first, this is something that has to start and spread through the fan heartlands before being broadcast. c. Use CGC as pre-cursor to major campaigns perhaps to deliver anticipation through alternative channels e.g. online d. Use CGC more as entertainment rather than advertising, maybe a 'reality' or 'documentary' genre product if you are going to put it on t.v. e. Use CGC as a destination for audiences to flock to rather than broadcast it at them. Finally, it sounds to me that the industry in general has this fantasy that there is a magic solution to its problems. They grab hold of whatever trend that is passing whether it is internet, CGC or PR and build whole sand castles around it. STOP, and think what is your brand ambition and what is the commercial problem first and only then you can go and look for an innovative way to solve the problem but don't just take whatever the industry thinks is innovative and try and shoe horn that into your problem. Just like people, brands are individual. Some are more individual than others.

Vapour Wear & Hot Steam

'Vapourwear' - is a technique often used by technology companies where they release pre-launch teasers or signals and quite often conflicting information to create, mystery, myth, attention and yep you guessed it 'buzz'. In some cases vapourwear is used to force the competition to play a card that they are not ready to play yet. The origamiproject from Microsoft is the latest example of teasers. They've set up a site where the new product / technology is asking you to guess what it is. With a simple count down clock. My guess is its a wireless type product of some description. But the question is can Microsoft do what Apple does with this marketing tactic, looking at this probably not.


AXE Creates a reality t.v. show on MTV

AXE in the US created the Game Killers reality t.v. show which is screened on MTV. As a brand AXE gives the male the 'edge in the mating game' and this case it is all about keeping your Kool in the face of competition very on brand. After experimenting with few online takes on the content area e.g. Ravenstoke the full t.v. show was inevitable. If people are not watching the ads how can you put your brand infront of them? 1. Slow Motion offers a la KFC see below 2. Sponsor what they are watching 3. Digitally superimpose your brand in what they are watching see below 4. Create original programming that they would watch in its entirety and even follow as in GK above All quite simple really.

KFC Makes Ad Skippers Watch in Slo Mo...

KFC in the states made an ad that has a hidden message that you can only see if you play it slo mo on your tivo, by watching it you get a free voucher for a sandwich mmm more here.

Nike goes Authentic for the World Cup.

Nike has always been about Authentic Sport. No games, just sport was the end line from the film What women want where Mel Gibson played an ad exec trying to woo hiis colleague. So it is not about playing games and it is about playing sport Nike's take on the world cup is interesting. It takes Eric Cantona and gets him to hijack a boring television studio in order to interrupt the transmission of boring football programmes to tell us that we need to play well, play beautiful. I love how the same ingredients exist but are given a modern day twist: a bunch of top athletes, added to a 'pledge' a 'cause' and added to a something 'authentic' the beautiful game and the nice twist in this campaign is the 'interruption in transmission' idea and challenging of the status quo of 'sponsored' 'manufactured' and 'mechanical' approach to the world of sport media. The irony is, it is cool but nevertheless very much Nike.


Digital Product Placement

The above is a shot from a t.v. series in the US. The Bass beer bottle has been digitally inserted on the table in the shot by a new breed of agency called PVI. It is a digital virtual bottle added after the entire episode has been shot. Case for digital product placement: It is a way of getting your brand inserted into the right fit t.v., game and programing to gain awareness & association. It is also a way for a brand to be seen inside the entertainment instead of in the ads outside that people skip using TiVOs - in other words reach the full rating. Research or evidence that such techniques work is thin on the ground. Case Against: the content makers e.g. t.v. producers say that this affects the integrity of their product. The audience feels they've been 'had' if they discover that it was a 'superimposed' or over the top placement of brand in the content of what they want to watch. Admittedly it is an interesting technique for gaining some awareness for a brand and potentially some associations if the fit is right and the 'superimposed' effect is not noticed. But the actual consumer impact is likely to be no more than basic awarness and maybe some affinity borrowed from the entertainment value of the show. However, there is always the option of Brands actually making original programming instead of shoving their logos digitally into somebody else's entertainment content. Now, are there skills, capability or aptitude within client organisations or agencies to actually make original content that people would actively want to watch despite being made by a brand? Also who gets the credit in the end; the pope or Michelangelo for the Sistine Ceiling?


Death of The Dog Ear Guide Book?

So, loads of people have iPods and pretty much everyone has a mobile and some have two. Carrying a digital device with you opens up and can potentially change the structure of distribution in some markets. Take the dog-ear tourist guide. Although not mainstream, the following are some interesting examples of what the alternative can be: Sound Walk allows you to pick a theme of interest in the city you are visiting for example picking Hip Hop I found a podcast from a Hip Hop legend taking you through the Hip Hop hood. Talking Street uses famous local celebrities to guide you through 'their' town. Virgin naturally was the first to use city podcasts in UK with its carefully selected sights and experiences. Other travel companies have cought on to the idea such as Thompson however, in some case it turns into an advert in your ear without the authority or the credibility of someone who knows what they are talking about. History Unwired goes a step further, you get to choose one of the ancient characters that used to live in the place you are visiting and give you different guidance dependent on exactly where you are standing by using location aware technologies. Your mobile will give you the low down depending on where you are at that point in time and in history too ...


Money before Love and Man Before Woman

Wordcount is an award winning site (and sister to 10x10) that ranks the most frequently used words in the English Language. The idea is beautiful executed in this 'information speaks for itself' design. Playing around with the words it threw some interesting but predictable results, The word 'money' is ranked 227 while the word 'love' is ranked '384'. Similarly, the word 'man' was ranked 142 while the word 'woman' ranked 393. It doesn't say very much apart from in English usage today money appears to be written about a lot more than love and man a lot more than woman. No surprises there then, but the idea of aggregating our contemporary common language is indeed interesting if it is applied to the entire internet for example.


BMW's latest content idea

BMW has just launched it's latest content idea. It is a series of audio books that you can download here. Really simple thought but makes perfect sense for the brand. You are driving, you may not want to listen to music but would love something a little more interesting, the answer listen to an audio book. Naturally the story does involve a car a BMW. I quite like the fact BMW has stopped pretending. It's new campaign line is 'It's only a car' and similarly it is giving people a useful entertaining short audio story but you get it from their site (and of-course you can check out the featured model while you are at it). I wonder how many people do check out the featured car on the site ...


Even block buster ads don't work?

Ok, interesting pixel pong going on here. Everybody in the ad industry applauds Honda's un-deniable achievements in the attention deficit disorder world of t.v. advertising. Naresh Ramchandani writes in the Guradian: 'The Honda ads seemed to say that big advertising wasn't dead. They seemed to say that you didn't have to engage in the fiddly new world of media partnerships and programme sponsorships because you could scrap all that nonsense and make an old-fashioned blockbuster commercial and it would still cut through the way it used to. By being merely good, not great, the Honda Choir ad makes that strategy look very risky again.' article here. The w+k blogger replies that: 'We believe that the non-traditional use of media, such as inserting DVDs with the ads on into national press, circulating ads virally, using TV to drive people to web content and making films available to download online, has been key to the success of our work for Honda. They simply don't have the budget to outshout their competition via an 'old-fashioned blockbuster' TV campaign. We have to create content that's good enough for people to want to seek it out. Over 800,000 downloads of 'Choir' from Honda's website (see earlier 'Heavy Traffic' post) suggests that this is working.' full response here. I reckon Naresh is right for thinking that old industry idealists loved its blockbuster triumph but from what w+k is saying there is more to it than just making a blockbuster t.v. ad they created an 'asset' which they 'sweated' in other media which is fair game.


First Brand Bashing Advergame

This looks like the first anti-brand advergame. From persuasive games. It was a question of time really. They are complainging about FeDex.

Where did the time go

Yet another execution on the theme of life, death and where did we waste our lives doing? This site takes a morbid approach/execution by telling you what you've wasted your life so far doing....after its clever calculations it invites you not to waste anymore time and get broadband from B.T. I somehow feel that this although clever in principle lacks humour, feels morbid and getting a broadband from BT is hardly a joyful experience for those who tried....

Beating Death

As a Howie T-Shirt once said: 'life is for a limited period only'. According to The Death Clock a helpful site which will help you calculate when you are going to die based on your age, health and attitude to life I am going to die in 2047. This got me thinking on the possible ways one may beat death (or at least cheat it a bit) here they are (naturally they are not all mine):

* Have children

* Be creative (Pretty much anyone working in the arts or advertising)

* acquire abstract knowledge (Plato's idea)

* Teach

* Rebel

* Leave a legacy

I am sure I am missing something ...


Word of Mouth Research Results

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association in the U.S. announced some of the results of its recent research. Apparently, people don't mind when they find out that a friend is engaged in giving them a commercial message instead of a friendly tip. However, the researcher also added that when people find out they expect the message to be special, new or otherwise significant because otherwise it seems too much effort on the part of a brand to tell you that there is a new flavour. As WOMMA tries to convince us that people don't mind WOM it seems to me that the same holy grail of marketing is still missing....relevance. Here is a thought, in recent research study for a car company people looked for information on the internet FIRST before asking any of their friends or family. Internet has replaced family and people are individual enough to find out and make up their mind even if their best mate tries to give them a 'commercial' tip. In my own research into word of mouth it was clear to me that any 'forced' or 'contrived' recommendations by paid 'agents' are not effective. A much better approach is to find those who are already positively endorsing your brand, reward and encourage them to give you word of mouth.


Nice Quote from Lars Von Trier

"I think very often people start with very good intentions, especially artists, and they they themselves become more and more important, so that the casue they have been working for slips into the background and sometimes they loose it completely, I think that's often the case" - Lars Von Trier


Death & Life. The 'Live Now' Trend

So death is a very real possibility in today's environment. People are naturally afraid. However, some brands have actually captured something positive out of this, whether they made the connection in the planning process or not I don't know but the resultant campaigns say a lot about our re-newd need to just LIVE NOW. Worrying about later is not that big a deal, Now is the most important. Seneca said it ages ago: 'We can't be happy because we are obsessed with the future and we forgot to live the now", he also said: 'Live each day as if it was a lifetime'. If you pass by St Martin's in Totenham court road try and catch a glimpse of their window gallery. One of their students made two road signs with the word 'death' on each. The arrows on the signs point to the left and to the right each and of-course he put them pointing away from each other in the two windows. So basically he is saying if you go left you die, if you go right you die too. Brilliant execution of the ultimate truth that ever was in this world we all die sooner later. Yeppee. In a book about thought experiments called the Pig That Wants to Be Eaten there is the famous problem of 'Quality of life' v 'Quantity of life'. Assume you could eliminate death completely and you could live for ever, would you do it? I know I wouldn't.

All change please. News now breaks online.

Blinx T.V. US is making its news archive available online. And Ten By Ten gives you the latest news in pictures (matrix 10x10) as they happen now. As news seems to move online and some 70%+ of London urbanaites regularly visit BBC.co.uk it seems to me that as far as news go the internet has an added advantage...immediacy. And it doesn't have to go through several rounds of confirmation and substantiation as the t.v. does. Remember 7/7? flicker had pictures captured on mobile from inside the blasts while the BBC was still fumbling about thinking it was a power surge. I remember at the time flickr had the first round of pictures no more than 5 minutes after the first blast.


Digital Outdoor

Latest innovation from ... yes you guessed it the lastminute team and Viacom outdoor has remotely controlled digital bus sides. Viacom said they are working on GPS enabled version where the specific ads can be shown depending on where the bus is. Superb. We are getting closer and closer into Minority Report style of advertising where outdoor speaks to an individual by name not to the random masses. Luckily we are not quite there yet, phew, just imagine outdoor ads calling you by name it would be worse than going through a street market in India where little children try to sell you little home made jewelry. In another execution C4 pushed its new documentary channel via bluetooth posters where you point click download and view. This is more like it as it is permission based rather than I will target you and shoot you approach of Minority Report.


Nice Quote from Niel French

“Talent is everything. Don't look at what people have done: Look at what they could do, given the chance.”


Apparantly 2006 is the year of the mobile. Google is first off the mark with a personalised mobile page says Reuters. Reuters also reports that Apple has registred 'Mobile Me' as a trademark. It looks like that this is going to spur a whole load of internet and equipment manufacturers taking both thier content and their devices for a walk about. Could it be that people may not go to websites that much anymore but the websites / content come to them instead? I have a Google side bar on my desktop. It is brings all things I am interested in as they happen right to my 'desk-step'. Content distribution will be the 'new thing' or the principal, but I have a feeling devices will battle it out for who makes the best mobile Swiss army knife. I just hope that the ad-industry doesn't fill consumerss pockets with stuff that is well ... meaningless shit.


advergaming 2.0

You can of-course put adverts inside computer and online games. The news is you can actually buy 'space' on billboards as and when you want to appear in the virtual billboards of online network games instead of hard coding the ads into the games. It is not just the billboards that you see on the side of the road in games like spliter cell but anything you can think of from the character's clothing to the coke machine. This is a bit like product placement in movies but in games. According to massive networks the company gamers actually like this stuff e.g. “I love the idea of having actual advertisements in a game instead of fake, made-up companies. I’ve always wondered why more games didn’t try to do this.” My hunch is gamers are not so much interested in the advertising itself but in making the game as realistic as possible...alas it is a lot of impressions on hard to reach 18-34 year olds. From a planning point of view massive says it can also evaluate and optimise campaigns 'live' - just in time during-testing.

I Hate Mediocracy



C4's Viral Awards

I would love to say I was impressed by the winners and the runners up in the C4 Viral awards but sadly most were ideas that I've seen before elsewhere in different guises for example the Bush Bashing interactive viral and the Camel film. I did enjoy a couple of the typical 'here is what everybody knows about it but no one has visiualised it yet' executions such as Camden's signage. Some of the more original ideas in the viral arena that I liked but never made it to the competition were the work done on Peperami Noodles and the viral launch of the the XBOX 360 both had thought and innovation to the extent that you wonder whether the marketing message stacked up to the creative. For example the XBOX 360 site had coded messages in Latin that you couldn't see with the naked eye - you had to zoom in to see them then translate into English. When the countdown secret site stopped the suspense it was merely a competition to win some prizes put up by XBOX hardly original on their part just imagine if the marketing message/prize was as innovative as the viral . Looking at the winners of the competition though the same ingredients for success in the viral executions remain unchanged: Sex, Humour, Controvesy and Firsts - not many surprises there as most just relied on the first two sex and humor. Would have loved to see more controversial stuff and a first or two. Overall I think it is great that there are now 'Viral Oscars' where digital creatives can showcase their work. Well done Channel Four.