Friday, October 26, 2007


It’s now Thursday so its taken me nearly a week to get it together to report on MediaCampBucks last weekend. Around 60 bods gatherered to debate Second Life, podcasting, creative commons, the future of tv and general geekery with an educational bent.

I hosted a discussion on interactive tv advertising, au naturellement. So often viewed as the poor relation of new media, I think I helped open a few eyes - to it’s possibilities as a word-of-mouth platform, conversation and permission asset tool - judging by some of the feedback I got afterwards.

Of course it was not long before the conversation turned to the possibility of ‘TV as an open content platform’. bringing more diverse programming to your tv ,with the majority not coming from the traditional broadcasters (spelling doom cable and satellite providers and paydirt for technology and telco IPTV?).

Like BT Vision (ahem).

To be fair I’m not convinced that TV is going to be dead anytime soon. What we are seeing is an increased number of options/screens where we choose to watch TV, that’s online, timeshifted regular tv, mobile devices, Xbox etc - although anyone who’s tried to use the BBCi player or Joost etc will know that’s its far from the finished article, so there’s lots of fun ahead.

The existing Cable and satellite providers have a head start as they already provide the infrastructure to get the tv and broadband into the home. Lets forget about the Long tail for a second, at the end of the day viewers will take the road that’s easiest. TV is a mass medium, for most of us dicking about with umpteen stbs and streaming in from here and there is just too much hassle for the 2 hours of tv a day we want.

If they can figure out how to get the following to the viewers, the cable and satellite providers will be laughing:

1- the content we want, when we want it (ie on demand)
2- the ability to time shift the schedule (for all) – live events, 24hr news etc
3- the ability to Search and pull content from wherever it is?
4- the ability to share and recommend?

That would do for me. Who’s going to pay? If it’s a top notch service, I will pay a subscription and advertisers will pay to get their messages into the correct living rooms based on some sort of behavioural tracking or something. And it’s all interactive.

It’s channel brands that have the most to worry about, in a time shifted, on demand environment who cares who’s bringing you ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’. Is it Paramount or Channel4? Not bothered, just get me it.

Enough about tv, and like the fella once said, I never make predictions, particularly about the future.

Highlight of the day for me, and a few others I think, was Sam Ismail’s presentation on how he and fellow adlad, Anton, took liberties with Saatchi & Saatchi with a couple audacious attention grabbing scams.

I wont go into the detail, The the stories are here and here.

Suffice to say they got themselves noticed by not being afraid to ruffle the feathers of the establishment.

Sam’s presentation was themed around job hunting for grads looking to break into advertising but ended up being about using new media as a personal branding tool. He summed up by saying the ultimate goal was; when his cv landed on the desk of the hiring person in the ad agency – they would already know who he was. Word.

I don’t think he’s going to have too many problems getting hired when the time comes.

Finally, thanks to organiser and Second Life guru, Chris Hambly for pulling the day together, and some linkage for Jason Jarrett, ‘veteran’ of podcasting and the man with the golden tonsils. I often listen to his abuddhistpodcast on my way home on the train. To be fair I have no idea what he’s on about half the time but he has a fantastic calming talking voice – It was nice to meet at last. Likewise Twitter buddy and Social media guru, Lloyd Davis.

Some new connections too, Brett Porter from the musicians collaborative thingy oomix and Melinda Seckington aka miss geeky , who is reporting on various similar days across Europe.

Another interesting guy who I never got a chance to catch up with properly was Microsoft tech blogger , Steve Lamb. Maybe he’ll see this.

Thats it, I need to get off to the creative geeks meet up tonight in Soho.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ok now i'm really confused

Thanks to talent imitates genius steals for alerting me to this one.

Jerry Seinfeld, of legendary Seinfeld fame, has a new movie coming out that he conceptualised, co-wrote and stars in. It's about a bee. It's called Bee Movie [like B movie - see what he did there?]

He has also created a number of behind the scenes comic vignettes in a neat spin on the trailer, which are being aired on NBC. According to TIME:

Though the shorts are designed to promote the film on the Internet, NBC acquired the rights to air them during commercial breaks in an effort to encourage viewers to watch the neighboring advertisements.

So, there are now content breaks in the ad breaks to get you to watch the ads, but the content is itself a commercial message, except the broadcaster paid the advertiser to run them.

Post quoted in full, heres the link to see the clip.

the car as digital distribution channel/device?

Stumbled on this article. from the brandsbandsfans site.
Nokia and Apple both moving in on the auto industry as another digital distribution channel and Nissan leading the way with experimentation.

“Everything is digital, so we had to find a way to reconnect to this generation,” says Mixim creator Francois Bancon. Nissan’s latest concept car, Mixim, models itself on a gamer’s experience of driving, complete with an xbox-styled steering wheel. The Nissan Pino offers buyers drag and drop pimping of the car’s interior. Choice is the new driver here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

more rabbit than sainsbury's

Here's my tuppenceworth on the Sony rabbits.
I've only done 3 rabbits in the pic (red, green and blue), this saves time because all tv pictures are made up of those 3 colours anyway ;)

You can't argue it's not a pretty decent execution and full marks to the animators, art directors and cinematoraphy etc. The main debate Ive been reading about is around wether the idea was ripped off, but I'm not really bothered about that.

I think it was either Bob Dylan or Neil Young who nce said, something like,
'My only talent as a songwriter is the ability to open up a valve in my head to let the songs flow in from outside'. ie all the songs/ideas are out there floating about, someone just has to be a channel for them.

That's coming from a proper artist. As 'creatives' in advertising/marketing or whatever thats what we do. Hijack cultural phenomena and refashion into branded messaging etc. If we are being really clever we manage to make these communications (broadly)
a - relevant
b - authentic
c - useful
d - facilitate a dialogue

Unfortunately the rabbits thing does none of the above.
It's straight outta the old school of Pavlovian 'conditioned response' branding.
Instill an association between stimuli so that encountering one will bring the other to mind. That model is getting pretty tired now.
All that a 30: with budget of a small Hollywood movie tells me is that the product must be over-priced if they can afford to spend that much on spray and pray.

I'm not in the market for a new tv and no amount of shouting at me is going to change that. In fact, it's annoying me.
And even I were shopping, I'll get a recommendation from my geeky mate or go online and see what people who know about this stuff are saying.
That's where 'advertising' need to be too, in there - listening and contributing.

Old ad habits die hard though, a bit like trying to maintain a decent crack habit.
After one hit all you can think about is the next one. And , of course, the subsequent hits is never the same as the first so you need to up the dose each time.
Very expensive and not really sustainable (inevitably ending in death, but maybe that's too much drama)

I'm an interactive guy, what do you want me to say?

But heres something that anyone who's ever managed a team, done any teaching or been in a position where they are trying to influence behaviour will know. It's the first rule of engagement.

'Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I'll understand'
- Confucius

While we're on about dangerous narcotics, how much funnier would it have been if Nokia's music sponsorship participation programme thingy Rock Up and Play had featured Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse in some way?

note: can't believe i've managed to quote Chas'n'Dave and Ivan Pavlov in the same article.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Facebook group

Theres now a facebook group for this blog.
Feel free to join if you like and meet/share etc with other readers
and, of course, pimp your own stuff.
See you over there.

Close, but no cigar...

Spent a day at Ad:tech last week and had a stroll round the exhibition area. Chatted to a few of the stalls, mostly iptv/web tv people, stuff like that.
Many business cards exchanged as you would imagine. Anyway, now the follow up emails start to trickle in. Most get binned straight away as they are bog standard sales-ey type things. One caught my eye though.

Subject: Great to meet you at ad:tech last week.

Hmm, the personal touch. I'm liking it so far...

then doink!

The opening line is...

Dear Sir/Madam...


You nearly got me thinking this was a personal and relevant follow up.
You've got my business card and my email address but you can't take the extra 5 seconds to simply address me by name in the mail? So near yet so far.

I wish i could finish this post with the ultimate irony and tell you the guilty party was an email marketing firm, sadly it was not.

I'm not going to name and shame either.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Caetano Veloso

The music business is going through rapid changes as we all know.
In the past bands/artists would record an album then go on tour to promote it - sales would follow.

Of course now it's turned on its head and new records are more like the promo tools for the live experience - see the recent free Prince album ahead of his extended residency at the Millenium Dome (still can't get my head round calling it the O2) and just this week Radiohead's announcement that fans will be able to purchase their new album for whatever price they deem appropriate. Further musings on this and the trust economy by Mitch Joel over here.

With that in mind, delivering in the live setting is more important than ever. That makes it especially disappointing when things dont live up to expectations and artists lose sight of what their audience wants from them.

One of my colleagues, Esther Duran, is an afficionado of the bossa nova and a devotee of Caetano Veloso, one of the most important figures in contemporary Brazilian music. His works are considered masterpieces. Caetano says, "I make my records as a painter would paint his canvas".
He made a rare appearance in London, at the Barbican Arts Centre, the other night. Here is Esther's review.

"I really like Caetano Veloso and his seductive voice and guitar playing. I like him so much that I bought a ticket for his Barbican concert three months ago. Last night was the final night, the count down arrived to an end, Caetano’s performance at the Barbican was already with me!

Little did I know Caetano wasn’t playing the Bossa Nova and Samba that I knew him for, instead he was performing a crap rock and roll with pseudo-ska derivations…something very unusual for Caetano.

Is he in his middle age crisis? If so, he should have bought a Porsche convertible instead of wasting my money (40 pounds per ticket) and my time (2 hours of flashing lights and non-sense electric guitar)

Caetano please, come back to your senses and play the music that everyone knows you for. Leave the rock and roll and pseudo-ska for younger people and please, Caetano don’t be six years without releasing an album and reappear to the public with that pile of shit."

It stikes me that poor Caetano has messed up with a redundant mass marketing approach.
By compromising his sound to try and appeal to a wider mass audience he's only gone and pissed-off and alienated the audience he already had. Ergo trying to appeal to everyone and you end up appealing to no-one. Not only that, a fair chunk of the audience were newbies who had been coaxed along by their friends 'in-the-know' to witness 'the master'. Now he's also made his hardcore fans look like divvies into the bargain. Theres a lesson here.