Friday, May 29, 2009

Cassetteboy vs The Bloody Apprentice

Seriously, just about pissed myself laughing at this. Total genius by cassetteboy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

5 step structure for your presentation

Structuring presentations for maximum impact - there's plenty of theories out there - the Guy Kawasaki 10,20,30 rule is popular.

I like this one (it seems to work) for short high impact presentations, which I learned recently from an ex-film director who came in to give us a few pointers.

It's a five step plan (satisfies the first rule of blog club too - lists are good!).

It's grounded on this methodology: A.R.M.E.D.

get the party started...
A - Get their attention – big intro can do this (think: Bond movies - big action scene piques your interest before the narrative unveils, Jaws is another good one) or perhaps a controversial statement, whatever it is; make it a big bold one.

next up...
R - Make it relevant – follow up section should describe specifically why the intro piece matters to your audience.

then cut to the chase..
M - Your central message - (should contain IQ rational + EQ emotional triggers)

back it up...
E - Give an example – how have eg: competitors done this? Or how have we done this successfully for another client?

then to round up...
D - What we want them to do? (Always leave them with an action step – ie follow up with the cheque(!), or: let's all go for a beer next tuesday sorta thing)

What do you reckon?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

any excuse

A popular parlour game amongst my fellow countrymen (Scots) - when England are involved in the World Cup - is to try and predict how many seconds into the TV commentary go by before someone mentions 1966 (usually less than a minute).

I'll have to eat my own dogfood and confess that every time Manchester United (and Sir Alex) are involved in a European final it is only a matter of a few nano-seconds before my mind wanders back to that night of May 11th 1983 in Gothenburg, and the scene of Fergie's greatest European triumph as Aberdeen destroyed Real Madrid to lift the European Cup-Winners Cup.

Good luck tonight United.

note: is it tempting fate to display this pic of Fergie with Mark McGhee, bearing in mind the managers office at AFC is currently vacant?...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

influence vs popularity part 2

In 1967 the biggest selling (ie most popular) album of the year was More of the Monkees.

Extremely popular, but ultimately throwaway tat.

Also released in 1967 was The Velvet Underground's first album 'The Velvet Underground and Nico'.

The mighty Velvets never troubled the top 100 album chart with this, or any of their subsequent albums, but nigh on every one of the brave 10,000 or so souls who made that step and purchased went on to form their own bands or become painters, gimp gear clad whip dancers or artists of some description.

The 'influence' of the Velvets can be felt as it permeated right through much of the important non-mainstream white music from 1967 to this day. I don't need to list them here.

But the point is that the true measure of 'influence' is what happens next. How the idea propagates through networks. How people adopt an idea to go and do something with it.

But we can only identify this with hindsight.

In 1967 nobody knew that the Velvets were going to be influential. They were one of many New York groups that emerged as an antithesis to West Coast hippiedom. Their influence was only apparent later on.

...note: As a young art student in 1984 my Velvets album was a permanent 'under arm' fixture - as signal and, of course, as a 'social object'...

Influence can only measured by what people do as a result of exposure to said influence.
And it's usually only visible after-the-fact.

Case closed

influence vs popularity part 1

Without wishing to add to the never-ending noise about social network 'influence' ranking - as calculated by how many 'friends', connections one has and how many other users read and republish material - there needs to be a distinction between true influence and simply popularity.

Many self-annointed 'influencers' main point of influence seems to be the endless postings of tactics for gaining more followers on twitter. Whether the is any real value in amassing huge networks is moot. If this empire building does not propagate the spread of any purposeful idea then it's pretty meaningless.

The stamped of brands on to Twitter hoping to get celebrities to re-tweet (in the interests of 'influence') is really no different from any other bullshit celebrity endorsement in any other broadcast media (except it is 'free media' of course).

Having said that, here's a good, simple twitter influence idea from @Penguinbooks.
Penguin followers were encoraged to tweet 140char book summaries using the #shortpenguin tag and direct their tweets @penguinbooks.

Penguin then retweet the reviews to the whole network.

Why this is good...
Penguin facilitates discovery - the rest of the network see the short versions and maybe decide to investigate further - and connectivity through sharing - the potential for members of Penguin's network, ie accidental influencers, to connect with each other based on interest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

hungry like the wolf

Google are playing ball with Wolfram 'semantic' search thingy anyway...
Good spy by Scott in the office.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I heard somewhere that here's only two questions about usability.
1. Did you get what you wanted?
2. If 'no' why not?

This weekend we went shopping down to Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth.
This usually fills me with dread as any potential enjoyment is tempered by the two hours spent driving at 5mph round the multi story car park before we even get to the shops.

No more...

Some bright spark has made the car parking experience much more satisfying with the adittion of two simple usability measures.

fig. 1
On entering the facility a green or red light (X means full) at the side of each lane indicates how many (if any) spaces are available in said lane.
Thus heading off at the pass any pointless manouvering up and down lanes and the inevitable rage resulting from lurkers who fill up the lane waiting for spaces to become available.

fig. 2
Red (filled) or green (vacant) lights above each space indicate which spaces are free in the particular lane.
See a green light at the end? fill yer boots.

Simple bit of user friendly service positive.
Happy parkers = tills ringing in Baby gap et al.

Friday, May 15, 2009

VW YouTube mosaic

Google describes YouTube Mosaic as 'a visually impressive eye-catcher which improves the session length and exposure time of the brand channel's visitors. Therefore it makes Youtube a more attractive social media platform for brand advertisers.'

This new format has premiered on the VW branded channel to present the videos which were sent in by users for the German 'Volkswagen Movie Star Contest'.

The mosaic picture shows a red VW Golf which is build out of 400 videos (interpretations of classic moves - I've spotted Braveheart, When Harry met Sally and Terminator) that were uploaded by fans, and in which a VW car plays a leading or supporting part.

Nice bit of tech and ,of course, the now obligatory #connect with fans.

Special thanks to Michael Gross, for finder services and translating the German.

view from the trenches...

Splendid new in-office vista behind my desk courtesy of our Head of Art @trainhitsboy.
Shirt by Duffer, hair - model's own.

On the actual desk, books - model's own (apart from Chomsky, one day I'll give it back Sam...), Swearbox (au naturellement), daily reminder on why we are doing this courtesy of Gaping Void (I can't afford a print so photocopy will have to do), daily reminder of why I exist (pics of MrsP and my wee boy - blurred to protect the innocent). Emergency packet of Kool-aid also present.

I've shown you mine, now you show me yours...
David, Neil, Katy, Stan, Jamie?

If you can be arsed joining in, tag it 'view from the trenches'.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

10,000 hours to rock and roll

To reach the top of your game spend 10,000 hours honing your skills, according to Malcolm Gladwell.

The Dolls have done that (and some) - that's why they are, despite their bus pass qualifications, the kick-arsest most rock'n'rollest gang in town.

Careerist popsters take note.

Hey Jon Howard - you and me know it!

service positive

Remind me to quote spiritual rationalist, philosopher, musician, thoelogian and all round good egg, Albert Schweitzer, the next time i hear things like:
How do we exploit social media?
How do we leverage that community?
How do we target influencers?
Where is the ROI in utility and service?

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

mike arauz's 5 rules for digital agencies

A new business model for digital agencies? We've been loving this article 'A new business model for digital agencies' by Mike Arauz from Undercurrent New York (seems he is a colleague of our other current fave rave, Bud Caddell).

Mike has encapsulated nicely some of the same things we have been talking about round Geronimo towers for a wee while to avoid the pitfalls of what David Armano described as 'The Wheel of Marketing Misfortune' and principally the dangers of 'death by big idea' and stuff like 'flashturbation'.

Here's his 5 point plan summarised:

Rule 1: If it can't be done quickly and cheaply, it's not an option. should be able to launch up to 20 small digital experiences each week.

(me - lofty goal - but keep 'em 'on-point' and it's do-able)

Rule 2: Make a lot of pots.
'A ceramics professor comes in on the first day of class and divides the students into two sections. He tells one half of the class that their final grade will be based exclusively on the volume of their production; the more they make, the better their grade. The professor tells the other half of the class that they will be graded more traditionally, based solely on the quality of their best piece. At the end of the semester, the professor discovered that the students who were focused on making as many pots as possible also ended up creating the best pots, much better than the pots made by the students who spent all semester trying to create that one perfect pot.

(me - yep, i'll have that)

Rule 3: Sell ideas, not things.
When this agency pitches clients, you don't pitch one big idea, you pitch the first 10 small ideas...These ideas will each be designed to spread your message, attract the attention of your desired audience, build relationships, and compel action, if applicable
(me - wahey! - totally)

Rule 4: Everything launches, the client gets to buy the hits.
No one can predict which idea is going to become and internet sensation. And not every potential hit will get approved by the client's legal or PR department. These concerns don't matter because you're going to launch every good idea you come up with...If they don't want it, the agency can either take it for themselves or kill it.

(me - straight out of 'screw it let's do it' - spot on)

Rule 5: Phase 2 - Everything is iterative.
Work on all of these select projects using an agile process, making small changes as you go. There's no finish line, there's just one improvement after another.

(me - your mantra should be 'test and learn, test and learn, test and learn...')

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

connect with fans revisited #3

When Public Enemy launched on a unsuspecting UK raver generation with 'Fight the Power' at the height of the (3rd?) Summer of Love in 1989, for many white kids outside of the bigger cities (certainly us in the north of Scotland) it was the first 'black' music we felt a direct first hand connection with.

Prior to that moment 'black' music, for me anyway, was kinda a 2nd hand experience.
Reggae via the Clash, Tamla via the Beatles, Ska via the Specials etc.

With PE there was no white equivalent.

A great ironic comedy moment in the Neil Innes Beatles 'spoof' movie 'All You Need is Cash' (featuring the Rutles) happens when the documentary reporter visits the deep south to interview delta blues legend 'Blind' Lemon Pie.
The 'blues' is described as 'black music - played mainly by whites'.

Here's a great sound bite from PE's Chuck D, talking about the fan-driven online music project Sellaband in this morning's Metro.

Sellaband allows fans to invest and connect directly with bands/artists they want to support.
'With as little as $10.00 you can support an artist and help them on their way to the recording studio. By buying a ‘Part’ for $10.00 you become a ‘Believer’ in an artist and if they make it to the studio, this first Part will make sure you receive a Limited Edition of the album you helped create.'

Shit name but great initiative.

As Kevin Kelly says in 1000 fans 'They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version.'
Chuck calls these fans 'believers'.

That led me to this excerpt from Hugh MacLeod's 'Hughtrain'....

'It's no longer just enough for people to believe that your product does what it says on the label. They want to believe in you and what you do. And they'll go elsewhere if they don't.
It's not enough for the customer to love your product. They have to love your process as well.'

Connecting with fans = believers.

Friday, May 08, 2009

marketing: helping people buy?

According to Greg Verdino's blog (from a few weeks back but I'm playing catch up in google reader...) an unconfirmed source claims ' an early usage of the word, 'marketing' referred to a service that one person performed for another person'

So an offer to 'market for you' would mean exactly that. Go to the market and get your stuff for you. Or in todays terms 'I'm nipping out to the shops. Do you want anything?'

So marketing wasn't about helping a company sell. It was about helping people buy.

Greg explains:
'If you were particularly enterprising lad or lady you might have even found a way to earn your livelihood by marketing for others. Run out to the marketplace, pick up a few things for a few people, earn a pocketful of pence and -- voila -- you, my good sir, were a marketer.'

The way the web allows people to create and share content, thoughts, feelings and product/service reviews with friends and peers has resulted in a growing importance of word of mouth/mouse in the buying process, and its only going to get more important, as we all become 'marketers'.

To quote Seth:
'The future belongs to brands who can establish a foundation and process where fans can market to each other and ignite consumer networks.'

Figuring out how to reward this attention - from the customers who 'market' for you - then becomes a nice problem to have.

Bloke in the comments had a nice buddhist proverb to drop
'it is what we pay attention to that grows.'
- ie we should pay attention to customers first, because if they grow, we grow, our brand grows.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

gurus of new marketing #411 John Cage

Innovation nugget from 'avant-garde' composer, and pioneer of electronic music, John Cage.
Cage is probably most famous for his prepared piano pieces (ie its sound altered by placing objects inside the piano).

everybody smash up your seats...

This is the original shot taken by Pennie Smith of Paul Simenon, smashing his bass into the stage of New York's Palladium ballroom, that became the cover of The Clash 'London Calling' album (and certainly one of the most iconic images of the era)

Ray Lowry (Clash resident 'war artist' on tour) added the pink and green lettering in homage to the first Elvis RCA album and the linage was complete.
From Elvis via The Who (smashing instruments on stage) the dots were joined.

Marketing science bit:

By 1979 punk had become defined by the convention of angry 3 min songs played fast released on 7inch singles.

The Clash responded with a double LP (for the price of a single) mixing up jazz, reggae, rockabilly and soul. Not to mention a tasty line in Fedoras and 40's gangster chic.

An easier thing to do would have been to pander to the expectations of the audience and the record label and conform to the perceived idea of what punk was about.
By not doing that they defined the punk spirit even more.

And Sandinista was still to come...

Footnote: For some stupid reason I had it in my head that the shot came from one of the shows from legendary Bonds Casino residency, but that was '81, of course.
On a recent trip to NYC I made a pilgrimage to Bonds, just off of Times Square. It's still there but is now a pizza joint.

Thanks to Bud for the spy.

UPDATE: Just found The Clash YouTube channel.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

vid: real life twitter

Another twitter related post. Ups my twitternoise to signal ratio a bit so I promise this will be the last for a while.
Again found by Sam.

It don’t mean a thing if it don’t mean a thing. Part 1

Couple of things about advertising/marketing via digital ‘channels’.

This will be a series of posts, possibly 10 as it’s a good number (maybe less, maybe more, we’ll see how it goes).

For those of us immersed in digital based communications (apologies for catch-all term but I can’t think of anything better) it’s second nature to strategise for digital around terms like interaction, relevance, advocacy, permission and engagement.

For others digital simply means things like display advertising, microsites, SEM and pre/post roll ads (or if you are feeling a bit more adventurous chuck in ‘viral’ video).

Many digital agencies simply turn above the line creative into banners.
They are missing the big opportunity.
We are supposed to be the ones who live and breathe this stuff.

The truth is that their clients (advertisers) are looking for leadership from their agencies. Particularly in understanding how people are using digital media. Because it’s the users themselves who are responsible for much of the innovation we see online.

Lets be clear on one point.
Online advertising was invented to serve the needs of media owners and sellers in order to monetise their spaces.

We have a duty to our paying clients to do the right things for them to solve their business problems not to solve media owners business problems.

Friday, May 01, 2009

tweet tweet biiitch

Total genius by Andy Milonakis and Koool Kojak.
Trainspotter props to Sam.

no fun for swiftcover

Interested to read that the ASA have given the Metallic K.O. to Swiftcover's 'Get a life' car insurance ads featuring godfather of punk, Iggy Pop.

Whoever The Idiot was that said Blah Blah Blah to the clause in the insurers policies that stated driver cover was NOT available to drivers in the entertainment business was certainly a Naughty Little Doggie.

Swift cover have now been forced to Search and Destroy all the ad material. The creative director responsible has been told 'Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell'.

On the upside, Swiftcover have subsequently implemented some New Values which now allow the insuring of musicians. The Stooges in the product development department can now Soldier on and no-one is going to Beat 'Em Up.

You see what I did there? <= that's plenty - Editor's voice

too cool for school

Thanks to the IDM for their kind invitation to partake of their diploma in interactive marketing. The envelope arrived today.

I wonder what they think they are going to teach me about?

It certainly won't be much about the importance of:
- Value of data
- Knowledge of customer,
- Relevance of message
or Permission.