Thursday, December 23, 2010

be good for goodness sake

So here it is, Merry Christmas.
As this is the last post before the holiday, I'll just say thanks to everyone who's read, commented, tweeted etc, and to everyone who's provoked and inspired this blog throughout the year.

Also special best wishes to longtime plannersphere and London blogging stalwart, Mark Hancock aka HolyCow, the unfortunate victim of mindless violence in London this week.
We wish him a quick recovery.

re: the last week of responsibility

Chestnuts roasting on an open barbie (I've gone native) enduring symbol of Christmas.
Roasted memes being another old chestnut that often rears it's head at this time of year.

Following a starter from Rob Campbell I was tagged by Petar Vujosevic aka Niko Herzeg, to answer the following questions on the year just passed.

1/ Best single thing [personal &/or professional] you did/achieved in 2010.

Easy. Finally summoning up the gumption to get out of the UK and try something else, somewhere else.

2/ Most shameful thing [personal &/or professional] you did/achieved in 2010.
That's probably not for me to answer. I'm of the view that you can get way with most things if you approach and execute with the utmost conviction and belief.
Having said that I've never set out to be intentionally flakey, sometimes it ends up there but them's the breaks of being intentionally disruptive, of which I'm guilty as charged.

3/ Ad industry scandal or scoundrel of the year.
Not sure if it's scandal or even scoundrel but the Digital Death World Aids stunt that spectacularly, and altogether predictably, flopped was of particular note.
The world's top celebrity tweeters sacrificed their digital cared if they came back.

4/ Your overall rating for 2010 out of 10. [1 = shit / 10 = showoff]

5/ What do you think will be the most overhyped advertising related subject of 2011?
Social shopping/Groupon et al. If it's not overhyped already.

Dr Coleman

ice cream for crow

A belated memorial post for the Captain, who went to the great floppy boot stomp in the sky last week.

Ice Cream For Crow is probably not his finest moment but for some reason it's the one that's had most plays according to my itunes, so there we go.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

born to be mild

I'm quoting Charlie's latest post on Harley Davidson almost in it's entirety.
What he has encapsulated in one brief paragraph is the eternal brand dilemma, made all the more real and resonant in light of the whole Wikileaks/Assange kerfuffle of recent weeks, and in this instance pertaining to the silence/inability of the, on the surface at least, archetypal 'outlaw' archetype brand, Harley Davidson, to walk it's talk in any shape or form.

'Quite possibly the quintessential freedom-brand has nothing to say about freedom of the press, freedom of the individual, freedom of the State to pursue an individual facing fishy rape charges and so we're left wondering if the whole Brand image is an illusion that lives in an abstract and hermetically sealed world that bears no relation to the one ordinary people live in. Ordinary, as in people who don't wear shiny leathers, have long hair and sit on the fence usually reserved for...moped owners?'

We've discussed brand image vs purpose in these pages many times.
There was a window for Harley to make it absolutely clear about what they stood for in regards to freedom and/or rebellion, but they missed it.

As Tony Soprano famously noted 'Indecision is worse than the wrong decision'.

Case in point.

trend hunter 2011 report

Never Get Out of the Boat and Trend Hunter are giving you a free copy of Trend Hunter's Top 20 Trend Report. The report highlights 20 selected trends, pulled from their database of more than 1,000.

Rockstar Self-Expressionism, Democratic Selling, Brand Reversion
and many more.
You need never be stuck for some power-point discombobulation to confuse/bludgeon clients into opening their wallets, for another whole year.

Trend Hunter source from over 40,000 hunters, worldwide and have over 92,000 crowdsourced articles for your perusal.

The free top 20 report can be had over here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

word lens

If you've ever been stuck, wandering aimlessly and cluelessly around in a foreign airport or train station looking for the toilet or gate 27 then this is the app for you.

Word Lens translates printed words from one language to another using your iphone's camera, in real time.

HT to Teresa V via twitter.

control your own data?

For a long time now the mantra in certain quarters has been 'everyone is making money off c*nsumer data, except the c*nsumer'.

Allow is attempting to address by acting as a kind of permission broker, protecting customers data, making it scarce, and ergo increasing it's value to the customer his/herself.

Allow users will, in effect, be able trade their data for relevent marketing (Allow will also operate on a profit-share basis with it's users on sale of data) and they will also work on customers behalf to remove their data from UK mass databases they never opted-in to.

One scenario, in simple terms.
If i'm in the market for a new car, Allow would present my data to potential vendors inviting their pitches for a pre-defined period, say a month, then it would be withdrawn again once I've bought something.

Whether this can really scale enough, only time will tell but it's another indicator of the shift towards people taking more control of their data and ultimately benefiting from the use of their data. And that's not going away any time soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

tophatful of hollow

Dynamite critique/insight from Jon Savage on The Smiths 'The Queen is Dead' in the Guardian, joining the dots between the dark days of the post-miners strike, mid-Thatcher 1986 of it's release and the student protests of recent weeks.


'Contrary to the babblings of the commentariat, pop music can have enormous emotional and social power. It can reflect and engage deep psychic and national archetypes. To deny that is to wilfully ignore a wealth of possibility and, indeed, a form of communication shared by thousands, if not millions – a form of communication that enables the voice of youth to be heard.'

benchmark frictionless ROI

If ever there was a time to reinvent end-to-end paradigms and expedite proactive web convergence, it's now.

Enter Buzzword Bingo HD - a free iPad game - that delivers exactly those magnetic synergies.

Get it here. Apparently the phone version is on the radar, and in the pipeline.

HT Stan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the boss

Darkness on the Edge of Town eventually came out in '78 - 3 years after Born To Run, Bruce's big breakthrough album. In today's climate that would be nigh on commercial suicide, even in the 70's it was verging on madness.

But as Doddsy points out in this post, the other day, the Boss' ambition was big enough and correct enough to tough it out against the forces for mediocrity that were attempting to mis-manage and go for the quick buck, and focus on doing great work that was true to what he believed in.

'I didn't want to be rich.
I didn't want to be famous.
I just wanted to be great.'

Not a bad marketing philosophy when you think about it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

real horrorshow

According to the blurb this cinema spot for BMW motorcycles '..turns spectators into astonished fans'

Er...I don't think so.

Although goodness knows what neurological lacerations are inflicted by the flash photography projection that BURNS THE BMW LOGO ONTO YOUR EYES, however.

Like no sinny ever viddied before. Hopefully no-one was bound up in a straitjacket and their gulliver strapped to a headrest, droogies.

The quoting of Confucious is a bit rich:

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

How this actually involves anyone is not clear.

It's not even a Durango '95.

Real horrorshow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

bring on the dancing horses

If only 'twere so simple. Old marketing tactics dressed up with the social tools of the web and hey presto - the siver bullet, the best of both worlds.

Short-termist tacky promotions via Facebook and Twitter - not unlike those furniture stores in constant 'sale' mode - courting any old eyeballs, are almost like the new pop-up ads, a ubiquitous numbers game with shiny objects to boost fan numbers, followers and anyone who is up for a freebie/discount.

The real value in interactions with customers is using every touchpoint as opportunity to build and sustain loyalty, not just bribery, manipulation or making a quick hit sale.

So bring on the social media gimmicks - the dancing horses -but are they headless and all alone?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

re: the future of advertising

I should have know better, heeded Bill Vaughan, and avoided getting embroiled in the whole future of advertising debate/debacle...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

2011 trends briefing

Trendwatching is probably one of the better of the cultural commentator type sites.
Here's their pick of the trends we should have our eye on in the coming 12 months.

I've unfortunately had to apply a filter to this list due to their over-zealous use of the 'c' word.

In 2011, expect companies to monitor c*nsumers' public moods and act upon them with random acts of may never be the same

Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced c*nsumers? Oh, and that's just one side effect of rapid global urbanization...

Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: in 2011 pricing will never be the same...

In 2011, expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to c*nsumers in emerging markets

In 2011, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world', that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity...

As good health is now as important to some c*nsumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of c*nsumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments...

Expect even more c*nsumers to become curators: broadcasting, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, and experiences to both their friends and wider audiences...

In 2011, brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale...

With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY...

When it comes to 'green consumption' in 2011, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way...

2011 could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream c*nsumer consciousness as big brands and governments put their weight behind this cultural shift...

full briefing at

Monday, December 06, 2010


This looks quite interesting.

It seems like Tubify searches YouTube and LastFM to create playlists based on which music and music videos others in your area are listening to in semi real-time.

The time-machine feature is particularly quite cute, jump back to '67 or almost any point between then and now for the Billboard US top 100 from that date.

Who remembers the Bay City Rollers actually cracking the US top 20?

With sign in via Facebook or Google getting started is super easy.

Now say goodbye to your afternoon...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

how to get ahead in social media marketing in one simple step

I'm sure you've been there, sat in some 'what is social media?' presentation and the 'expert' starts with; either the one that goes 'if facebook was a country, blah blah...'
or 'hands up who's on [insert your social tool of choice here].

That's enough now, please.

My heart sinks when faced with 124 slides of examples of this or that social media campaign (90% of which are usually trad gimmickery in shiny object clothing, anyway).

For some reason it seems to be the media agencies that are particulary adept at this...

The time has come to start start setting examples rather than looking at examples*.

And, I'm compelled to say, this talk of the 'future of advertising' is another cop out.
By talking about the future that just gives the lazy and risk averse another reason to not start yet.

I'm more interested in the right now of advertising, we're not on the cusp of anything we're smack bang in the middle.

Let's not see what happens, let's make stuff happen.

*Thanks to Umair Haque who's off the cuff remark I'm adopting as a mantra.


There's been a few stabs interactive video over the last few years but other than the YouTube annotations thing (functionally great but aesthetically a bit meh), there's not much that has really cut the mustard.

I stumbled across wireWAX via Neil Perkin, and on initial investigation it looks more interesting.

Here's what they say:
'wireWAX is the world's first and only user-tagging tool. Unlike simple 'hotspots', wireWAX follows (or tracks) the person or object throughout the scene and creates a fluid and natural user experience for both adding tags and interacting with them. Anyone with an account and access to a video may add, edit and delete tags.'


wireWAX allows the adding of images, applications, geo specific data and video within video giving the potential for super-rich cross/deep media and all manner of rabbit-holes.

Have a play with the demo video above.

With some commentators predicting that current growth rates indicate that upwards of 80% of the content on the internet will be video based within the next couple of years wireWAX is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

enough with the consumers thing

It's an old topic but worth saying again once in a while.
Can we please stop with the whole 'consumers' bit.

It's people.

Maybe customers, fans, onlookers even, but enough with the consumers thing.

There's no need.

I just clicked on an article from Umarketing on the launch of ZigTech trainers in the UK.

I was fully expecting fuel for future spleen venting at the inevitable gimmicky awareness-fixated lame stuntness of the 'interactive' Pussycat Doll billboard gubbins masquerading as 'digital' cool.

Unexpectedly, I found my venom diverted by the total inanity of the basic intro statement.

'The cameras enabled consumers to talk to Scherzinger through sophisticated production.'

Do you get the same mental vision as me; hoards of one-dimensional zombie-like pac-man munching drooling mutants?

Even factoring in the presence of a virtual Nicole Scherzinger, it's still all wrong.

Why do we continually have to label people as consumers whenever they are being described in anything resembling a vaguely marketing context.


divergent thinking and value creation

One of my favourite and most repeated nuggets borrowed from Sir Ken Robinson is his description of creativity.

Creativity being the process of having original ideas that
have value.

An essential component for creativity being divergent thinking - the ability to think in a non-linear fashion, laterally and be able to see multiple possible answers to a problem.

Sir Ken points to an example where 98% kindergarten kids scored at genius levels when given divergent thinking tests, however the same bunch several years later given the same test and genius levels were down to 15%.

This dip is, of course, following prolonged exposure to 'education', the nub of sir ken's view being that our current education system - based on an archaic industrial revolution production line model - is fundamentally broken.

My thanks to Roy Leighton, who pointed me at this fantastic RSAanimate film that illustrates Sir Ken's RSA lecture Changing Education Paradigms.

Roy was making the connection between this and the work of Japanese philosopher and education theorist Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), about whom I wrote a snippet about last year.

Makiguchi identified the 'central purpose of education as the creation of value', formed around a belief in the unlimited potential and creativity of every student.

He also famously noted; 'Humans cannot create matter: what we can create, however, is value and value only. When we praise persons for their 'strength of character', we are really acknowledging their superior ability to create value.'

create culture

This is an hour or so long but the Converse/Anomaly bit in the first half is the most interesting.

Most notable is Paul Graham from Anomaly's observation.

'If you create culture you don't have to pay to interrupt it'.

A bold claim, culture is complex and multi-layered, but without doubt the Converse/Anomaly strategy of creating actual value first and foremost certainly situates the brand within culture and provides cultural artefacts.

Another way of saying; If you decide to be the thing that people are interested in, then YOU [brand] are targeted by THEM [fans/customers].

And, in an unprecedented second Doddsy quotation in 48 hrs;

'Think of your product/service as the customer's target and your marketing as a way of perfecting their aim.'

brand facebook pages [ghost towns pt2]

'No more fiendish punishment could be devised, were such a thing physically possible, than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all the members thereof.

If no-one turned around when we entered, answered when we spoke, or minded what we did, but if every person we met cut us dead, and acted as if we were non-existent thgings, a kind of rage and impotent despair would before long well up in us, from which the cruellest bodily torture would be a relief'

William James
, The Principles of Psychology (Boston 1890)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

gimmix! part 3

We all surely agree that brand experience is the sum total of all interactions, those interactions can take place on many platforms and channels.

Doddsy last week berated an unnamed Creative Director for declaring Twitter to be a great customer service tool.

Instead he suggests that '..[twitter] can be a great customer mood monitor, it can be a great way to field customer complaints, but that's not what we should understand as customer service.'

'Customer service is what happens throughout your contact with the customer. If you do it right, you shouldn't need to have a Twitter presence because your customers will be happy.'

I noticed this prophecy manifesting itself perfectly for poor old Quantas, quite reasonably criticised by Chris Lake of Econsultancy for putting the cart before the horse.

Service enquiries submitted to the Quantas website are met with an auto response which offers only to 'endeavor to respond within 25 business days'. From a no-reply email account, to boot.

That's endeavor to respond. So it might not even happen.

That's fairly shabby by anyone's standards but it's further compounded when we discover this.

The lag (the aforementioned cart) in responding to actual customers, and solving actual customer problems in anything approaching real-time, appears to be hampered by the Twitter department being so busy cooking up gimmicky twitter promotions to reward non-customers with free trips to the Ashes cricket match.

Within 48hrs of a hashtag - #getashestotheashes - appearing around a twitter user with no cricket affinity called @theashes, who claimed annoyance at cricket related tweets aimed in their direction, Quantas PR had booked them up with free flights to Oz from New York.

There's clearly something broken when a basic customer service cannot even be guaranteed within a sensible timescale yet a opportunist twitter stunt can be turned around in 48 hours.

A classic, and all too common, case of the clamour for shiny objects leading only to social media confusion.

Add to that; the left hand not knowing what the right hand is tweeting, and it bears the hallmarks of a hapless brand, desperate to play, but not getting the basic things right first.

Must do better.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

any guitar and any bass drum...

A nice little movie 'We All Want to Be Young'; the output of studies conducted by BOX1824, a Brazilian research company specialising in behavioural science and general trendspotting, around Gen Y, Millenials, Global Youth or whatever the latest catch-all term is.

Thanks to Gavin for finding, and as he rightly points out 'expect to see this coming to a presentation deck near you soon'...

muji christmas

What happened when the intern at MUJI got sent down to IKEA for the tealights...

Also in full screen glory at

HT to the Hidden Persuader.

Friday, November 26, 2010

talent + innovation = dynamite *MUST SEE

This is just about the most amazing thing I've seen on You Tube in recent times.
This fella has built his own percussive pipe organ thing and knocks out a few mean tunes using what looks like kitchen utensils.

The internet was made for stuff like this.


Thanks to @trevoryoung for today's twitter nugget.

'Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.'
- George Bernard Shaw


Rockmelt, they describe themselves as 'the browser re-imagined'.

I've signed up for the beta to see for myself.
You can too. Go to and connect with your Facebook id.


People + Passion + stories.

Bringing people together, giving them something to do to create their own value.

Top marks to Footlocker.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

lindsay lohan is marc ecko’s AR muse

Here's fashion designer Marc Ecko talking about making his Fall 2010 launch and AR experience, featuring Lindsay Lohan - as the designers digital 'muse'.

Fans can storyform and save their own video by manipulating the virtual Lindsay through various chapters using the web application.

Ecko is reputedly be influenced by legendary American illustrator Robert McGinnis, who's film poster credits include Barbarella, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and umpteen iconic James Bond posters.

The AR bit was made by Boffswana, right here in Melbourne.

i am playr

I'm tickled by the prospect of I AM PLAYR.

'Mixing first person perspective gameplay, interactive video and storytelling through different media to create a rich gaming experience'

Where social gaming, deep media, storytelling/forming/dwelling and community collide.

With muddy boots.

I'm not mentioning the 't' word, Marcus has already told me off for that.

The full story over here.
Thanks to contagious.

fake it 'til you make it 2

A nice slice of wisdom from The Wire as the Eastside and Westside clash on the the basketball court.

Eastside 'coach' Prop Joe is called out by Avon Barksdale for his choice of attire.

Avon: 'How come you wearin' that suit? Its 85 fucking degrees outside and you tryin' to be like Pat Riley.'

Joe: 'Look the part, be the part motherf*cker'

Avon: 'You walking around with a fake fucking clipboard, you can't even read a playbook. Be for real... ya bunch o' bitches!'

There's fake it 'til you make it, and just plain fake it.

Cheers Petar for the nudge.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

gang of four: free EP download

3 tracks to download, completely legal, from Gang of Four.

A new version of Glass (from '79 debut album Entertainment!), Sleeper (totally new non album track) and I Party All the Time from the forthcoming set Content.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

if mandela had tweeted

Here's Jonathan MacDonald giving a dynamite talk at TEDx Youth in Manchester tackling the conundrum around the impact of social technologies on social change.

Jonathan asks: 'Is it the tools in our hands or what's in our hearts?'

Genius, Conviction, Imagination, Passion, Persistence, Compassion and Bravery being the seven key attributes he identifies as being in the hearts of people who have changed the world in some way.

He reminds us that Facebook is not among that list.

We now have the tools to propagate what's in our hearts faster and further than at any time in human history.

What are we going to spread?


'Carefully watch your thoughts for they will become your words.
Manage and watch your words for they will become your actions.
Consider and judge your actions for they will become your habits.
Acknowledge and watch your habits for they will become your values.
Understand and embrace your values for they will become your destiny.'

I'm sure @herdmeister won't mind being quoted in the same context as Mahatma Gandhi, and he summarises thus:

'Brand is something you get.
It's the scoreboard, not the game'.

Monday, November 22, 2010

mott the hoople syndrome

Older readers may remember the mighty Mott. Emerging in the late 60's with a power r'n'b style and later morphing into bovver glamsters under the mentorage of one David Bowie esquire, Mott faded somewhat around '73/'74 in an unfortunate tangle of cliche and gratuitous self-reflexivity.

This gave it's name to, a condition known as Mott The Hoople Syndrome.

The syndrome described the point when the subject of Mott's oeuvre became simply that of being in Mott The Hoople.

Sadly this also equates to the bulk of what we see in the postmodern advertising space.
Brands talking about themselves, and to themselves.

Like the Bette Midler character in Beaches.

'That's enough about me...let's talk about you.
What do YOU think about me?'

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It works in practice but does it work in theory?
Or is it the other way round?

Either way there's undeniably a few cute notions in this incidental media theme from Dentsu London labelled Making Future Magic.

At the end of the day their earnestness is admirable but I can't help but be slightly terrified of a near-future where every surface is a media channel to push messaging.

Just 'cos we can do something doesn't mean we should.

Basically I'm thinking this just equates to more noise and sometimes the best thing brands can do is just shut the f*ck up for a bit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

more post digital

As the digital-post-digital debate continues I'll point you to this sagely nugget from Russell Davies' blog this week.

'The only way to be a Post-Digital business is to be a thoroughly, deeply, massively digital one. To be digital in culture not just in capabilities. To know how to iterate in public, to do experiments not research, to recognise that it's quicker and better to code something than it is to describe it in meetings. You need to be part of the wider digital culture, to have good sharing habits, to give credit where it's due, and at the very least to know how to do ellipses in Processing.'

Monday, November 15, 2010

less is more

I was recently temporarily seduced by a NokiaN97 handset, with it's myriad of features, sliding keyboard, built-in sat-nav and all the rest.

In the end it went back, it was just too clunky, too complicated and the fact that they had thrown the kitchen sink at it made it ultimately unusable and a time-suck to do even the simplest of tasks.

In the quest for the iphone killer Nokia and many others bow to conventional wisdom that in order to beat the competition you need to cram more 'value', more stuff, more features into your thing.

Jimmy in this office just showed me his John's Phone as the antithesis of that.

They understand that for some people a phone is just that. A phone.
It makes and receives calls. End of story.

No text messaging.
No camera.
No apps.
One ringtone.

Here's their line.

'John’s Phone is the world’s simplest cell phone: you call, you hang up, and that’s it.'

John's phone does contain a simple address book, it's a deliciously analogue paper notepad and mini-pen, it's one nod to personalisation comes in it's 5 colour choices.
Snow (white), business (black), tree (brown), grass(green) and sweet (pink).

Sits alongside the Flip camera in the Less is More file - subset the product IS the marketing - and testament that doing one thing great is always preferable to doing lots of things with mediocrity.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Sharpies were a unique street subculture in Australian cities from the late 60's to early 70's. Essentially the bridge between skinheads and the bootboy faction of glam (a la Slade), the Oz twist of what we called Suedeheads in the UK.

This film is one of the great documents of the time, shot at Melbourne Showground circa 1974 by Sharpie Greg Macainsh.

Looking at this early pic of AC/DC from around '74 by Philip Morris - himself a touch sharp, he just picked up his camera aged 15 and began to capture the 60's rock'n'roll scene he loved - you just know that a couple of years earlier they were the people in this movie.


Friday, November 05, 2010


I'll be doing a turn as guest talking head at Junior, the Melbourne networking event for young ad creatives, photographers, writers etc on Tuesday 9th November.

It's at the Workers Club up in Fitzroy from 7pm.

All the deets at lifeatthebottom.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


This terrified goldfish was sent in to the office in a plastic bag as an attention grabbing stunt by some so-called 'creative' type along with their resume.

Presumably they thought that this bit of wackiness somehow reflected their creativity.

All it reflected was utter stupidity, cruelty and total disregard for the life of a poor creature.


gimmix! part 2

The marketers dilemma when faced with that plethora of shiny objects and whoopee cushions with which to shout and fart into the void.

"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop.

This is the night, what it does to you.

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."

Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) - On The Road 1951

a small belief can mean you'll never walk alone

Just to re-iterate a point that's been made in these pages many times.
There is a massive difference between a brand standing for something and simply making a vacuous mission statement or concocting some convoluted commercial proposition.

Dynamic engineering for the modern world or some other generic bollocks is NOT standing for something.

It might look nice in some brand onion but means diddly squat to people.
And it's people who you need to connect with.

Standing for something means putting a stake in the ground, drawing a line in the sand or putting up the flag and saying 'this is what we believe is right and this is how we make a difference in the world, today'.

Saying and doing something that actually matters.

Making a commitment.

Doing this saves time and money because you don't have to think and debate and argue the toss about what to do every time and it immediately connects you with others who share that worldview.

A small belief can mean you never walk alone.

I keep coming back to the five questions posed by Tom Peters in Re-Imagine.


This is where it starts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

godzilla '56 part 2 #transmedia rock'n'roll mystery

Regular readers will recall that I posted one side of the great lost Godzilla '56 45rpm 'Freeze Frame Baby' back in February.

The B-side '(1-2-3) Come on Baby (Let's Go)'- note use of double brackets - still remains lost unfortunately, however some promo photographs from the same period - circa '88 - did surface this week.

This rare pic features the (almost) full and definitive line-up.

From left to right:
Surfboy Carter - Fuzz Guitar
Smeg - Space Drums
Neil Rocker - Vox
DJ Elvis - Twangy Guitar

Not pictured is Producer and unofficial 5th member Cowman BassRobot, who is currently busy relaunching Bellboy Records.

music management in the new digital world

Finding and launching a new band today on the internet couldn't be easier.
Just follow the simple steps outlined in this clip by Peter Malkin.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I got 99 problems but #transmedia storytelling aint one

Jay-Z and Bing have collaborated to turn the corporate rapper's book launch into a nice bit of transmedia gameification, under the guidance of Droga5 New York.

According to the official Jay-Z website:

'Every single page of JAY-Z’s book will be released to the public before the book is in stores, with pages physically placed in locations related to their specific content. The immersive journey will take players from the projects in the Brooklyn neighborhood where JAY-Z grew up and the London streets where he found inspiration, to the building of his empire in Manhattan and beyond. Fans physically in those locations and those playing online with Bing will be offered never-before-experienced insights into JAY-Z’s highly personal process. In addition to high profile media placements around the world, DECODED‘S three hundred pages will be appearing in places and on objects that have never before been used as advertising. From pools and pool tables to bronze plaques and high-fashion clothing racks; a variety of unexpected surfaces will become the canvas for JAY-Z’s art.'

Point to

Immersive, extractable, spreadable, drillable, playable, virtual, real-world, connecting with fans. You have to say it's got the lot.

Note: Jay-Z fans will have to be arsed to install Silverlight and use Bing, of course.

HT to Tommy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

focus on the quality of your storytelling

Couple of good nuggets from Tom Peters for you.
All conveyed in a punchy 1min 55secs, almost like a classic Buzzcocks 45rpm of business juice...

The story is more powerful than the brand.
The best story wins.
Focus on the quality of your storytelling.

HT and finders fee to wethinkthis.

walk your talk

I almost gave full marks to Subaru for this very funny, if somewhat arch, 'launch' of the 2011 Mediocrity Sedan.
'Finally, a car that feels like every other sedan on the road'.

Including the ubiquitous customisation/personalisation tool...
'Do you like glove compartments? And cup holders? Customize your 2011 Mediocrity with this handy tool. You select the options and we’ll price it out for you in “real time.”

The community (ghost town) feature...
'Join fellow Mediocrity fans and friends on all your favorite social networking sites. If you’ve got nothing exciting to say, we’d love to hear it.


Follow the click through to the ‘real’ Subaru site - the supposed antithesis - and the experience can only be described as.......a bit mediocre.

Just like any other Sedan microsite, in fact.

The danger when pointing the finger is that there are three of your fingers pointing back at you.

Better be sure you can walk your talk.

Close, but no cigar I’m afraid

Friday, October 15, 2010

building an online character

Following yesterdays post, it's worth looking at this case study from Marcus around how he created and executed the Jack character. Something needs to work small if it's going to work big, Jack nails and scales.Building an Online Character

Thursday, October 14, 2010

auf wiedersehen #transmedia pet

The word 'transmedia' sounds science-fiction in itself. Immediate associations with The Matrix and suchlike, understandable in as much as the term was coined in the Henry Jenkins book Convergence Culture with the aforementioned franchise as a key example.

It's taken me a while to fully get my head around this (I'm still working on it) from a marketing/advertising perspective, particularly on how it could play out for less cool or sexy early adopter type of brands.

What on earth does transmedia storytelling look like for dogfood?

But, suppose I was, say, a workwear brand looking for a way to connect with customers and fans, and had bitten the bullet of branded 'content' being something that would deliver relevance, context and branding?

Also suppose, if you can, that the much-loved UK comedy/drama series 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet' had never been written, and was invented by said workwear brand as a piece of branded content and story 'spark'?

The workwear products are integral to the content, obviously, and feature throughout in classic product placement/branded content style.

A very simple example of the principles of transmedia storytelling in practical application, easily achievable in an unlikely category might look something like this.

A weekly video podcast episode distributed via itunes, and a dedicated YouTube channel, while also embedded in the story hub website and on the Facebook fan page.

This distribution strategy giving the opportunity for the 'audience' to subscribe, watch, comment and share on a basic level of (mostly) passive consumption through thechannel of their choice.

It's still a bit one-dimensional and linear though...

There's a nugget in the 37 Signals book 'ReWork' around 'by-products'.
The notion being that 'when you make something, you also make something else'.
Once that penny dropped I started to get it much more.

By-products and subplots introduces the idea of 'drillability' to compliment the spreadability.
The story contains multiple characters and subtexts. Each of these take the story off in other directions, which can be followed by niche factions within a fan group.
And, of course, multiple possible entry points for newcomers.

For example, individual twitter streams for each character, photo albums, playlists.
Spin-off narratives and everything else.

The myriad of social technologies, through which the author-directed story plays out, also invites interaction and participation from the audience, of course.

According to the 1-9-90 law of participation in engaged communities around 1% will then create their own content based on the original story 'spark'.

In the case of 'Where are the Joneses' the Ford sponsored online sit-com from a few years ago, the 'audience' actually edited the script, locations and story threads, and appeared as extras in the episodes.

Each different delivery channel can then communicate a different story element or thread, each of these threads can make perfect sense on their own or can be pieced together by the 'audience'.

As much or as little as suits them.

Coming back to 'by-products', all this content and participation then creates the disruptive possibility that the more conventional advertising and marketing materials (tv ads, direct mail etc) can be by-products of the participatory experience itself, and therefore further rabbit-holes for entry, already loaded with context.

And so it goes.

As I was writing, this piece popped up in my reader from Edelman's Steve Rubel.

'To stand out today it’s critical that businesses create content. Activating your cadre of internal subject matter experts is the surest path to visibility. According to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer, the public is increasingly relying on subject matter experts as trusted authorities...The reality is, however, that organizations need to do more than just unleash their subject matter experts en masse. They need to activate them in multiple channels at once and equip them in how to create a compelling narrative'

Finally, props to the fantastic Scott Walker who's been helping with my intermediate transmedia indoctrination...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


A new word for the lexicon; scenius, reputedly coined by Brian Eno and quoted in the conversation (of which below is an excerpt) between Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson in Wired, as they discussed their respective new books.

Johnson: Also, there’s a related myth—that innovation comes primarily from the profit motive, from the competitive pressures of a market society. If you look at history, innovation doesn’t come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.

Kelly: The musician Brian Eno invented a wonderful word to describe this phenomenon: scenius. We normally think of innovators as independent geniuses, but Eno’s point is that innovation comes from social scenes,from passionate and connected groups of people.

via boing boing and @anjali28

your number one research question

There are one or two fundamental, and oft overlooked questions to ask before even thinking about 'how to engage' or 'leveraging social media' or how to 'exploit' whatever new shiny object is saveur du mois.

My thanks go to @shwmackisack for kindly pointing this out in the diagram below.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

one louder

Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?

Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 nuggets for a post-digital web 'strategy'

Conveying five ideas in five minutes is one of those good little excercises in getting on-point in your communications.

I have to do one of those presentations in the next couple of days.

Here's my working 5 nuggets for a web 'strategy'.

Nit-picking and heckling welcome.

Trying to appeal to everyone means it will appeal to no-one.
KNOW which side of the bed you are lying on.
Decide what we are FOR and AGAINST.
Getting messages out is easy, getting people to care is the hard bit.
Without a polarising opinion, you can’t find who’s in and who’s out.

‘How do we build a community around the brand?’
Wrong question.
But we can find existing communities that are aligned with the brand’s worldview and help them get to where they want to go.
If an existing community exists that supports the brand, who have formed and operate under their own steam, this is pure gold. This should be encouraged, empowered and loved.
Not shut down (seriously, this happens)

Every piece of content online has ‘viral’ potential built in.
If it is interesting, of course.
To lock interesting content behind walled gardens or convoluted sign-in procedures is missing the point.
An idea can’t catch on or attract new customers if it doesn’t spread.
This is what the web was built to do.
If it doesn’t spread it’s dead.

So, when is the best time to advertise?
When you have something interesting to talk about.
Product features and benefits are not that interesting.
Stories about how you are making a difference to the world, however, are.

Over 70% of the stuff on the internet was created by people.
Not by brands or even publishers.
No one is sitting around waiting to spectate on your stuff, they are busy making their own.
Remember what Confucious says:
‘ Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I might remember, but INVOLVE ME and I’ll understand’
Give the people a platform to do things together to create their own value.

Monday, September 27, 2010

appointment to tweet part 2

I'd not seen a twitter hashtag used on a tv ad before, so the AFL final on Saturday (which is effectively Australia's Super Bowl) seemed like a good place to experiment with appointment to tweet theory and see if it sparked anything.

We had a 3 minute edit of the Carlton Draught 'Slo mo' spot taking over a complete ad break and re-edited the end frame to include the tag #carltondraught.

While it's nigh on impossible to say whether it was a success or not (and how would that be measured anyway?) there was indeed a brief flurry of tweets during and after the spot, many of which were tweets remarking on the inclusion of the hashtag itself, and certainly enough for us to claim 'trending' status for those 180 seconds.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

blogger 'outreach' (yawn)

Probably the last thing the world needs is another 'how to pitch bloggers' article, however, for some reason unknown I appear to have found my way onto some list or other and have become the recipient of a stream of requests to blog about stuff.

I'm potentially happy to oblige, however here's the obligatory check list of things to know if you want me to write something about your thing here.

The same rules apply for any other individual or community that you want to promote with.

1. Do I know you?
If the recipient doesn't know you from Adam then they are unlikely to pay much attention to your pitch initially.
There should ideally be some relationship, before you ask any community or individual to talk about your thing.
- Actually read the blogs, tweets, forum or whatever.
- Find out what their interests are.
- Contribute in their space (leave comments, retweet etc.)
Simply, wading in with your pitch, out of the blue, well, it’s not big and it’s not clever.

*For the reference of potential pitchers out there, and to save you a bit of time, my principal interests are: how old punk stuff relates to modern marketing practices, old punk stuff in general, new thinking on the convergence of media, technology and culture and that, and general nuggets from philosophy and mysticism.

2. Be genuinely authentic
The pitch needs to be sculpted to the individual or community as much as possible.
NEVER attempt to pass yourself off as another person or other such sock-puppetery (unbelievably this really happens..)
People’s bullshit detectors are finely tuned, especially online, they smell it a mile off…

3. First impressions count

Your granny was right when she told you ‘you only have one chance to make a first impression’.
If you get no reponse assume that your pitch was ignored, binned or maybe saved for later.
Following up repeatedly with 'did you see my email?' or even (and this happens too) getting angry 'cos there was no repost of your thing, is creepy, spammy and plain stupid. By this time you've blown your chance of getting written about, ever.

4. Stick around
Seeds, once planted, need watering and once they start to grow they need pruning*.
Be ready with more information or answers to potential questions.
Be available to your pitchees, and say thank-you if they do write or repost something.

Most blogger types are pushed for time (I work for a living doing something else, this blog is principally for my own amusement not a full-time job) and are probably being pitched by loads of others. The easier you make it for them to cover your stuff, the more response you'll potentially get. Likewise wham-bam-thankyou-ma'am is a two way street.

*Real plants need feeding with bullsh*t – that’s where this analogy falls over but roll with me, please

Thanks to Pete for genuinely authentic and for explaining the meaning of Verisimilitude to me, during the production of this note.

Friday, September 10, 2010

don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

There's now way I was ever going to not post this clip.
Dynamite from Google, demonstrating the new Google Instant predictive search feature, which they anticipate will both speed up the delivery and relevance of search results.

In other news, the likes of Steve Rubel, are predicting that Instant could mean the death of SEO.

'Google Instant means no one will see the same web anymore, making optimizing it virtually impossible. Real-time feedback will change and personalize people's search behaviors.'

Like in Jurassic Park, 'life will find a way' but between this, what Google is doing with Priority Inbox - now working on being able to filter which emails you want and which ones you do not want by looking at what you read/respond to and the ones you don’t open or respond to, thus seriously upping the ante on PERMISSION BASED COMMUNICATIONS, and rumours of an itunes rivalling music service launch later this year its all about Google at the moment.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

early failed experiments in behavioural targeting

Alexander the Great, at the time - 335BC - probably the most powerful man in the world was taken to meet the homeless bum anti-philosopher, Diogenes 'the Dog', who could often be found sprawled out on the steps to the Parthenon in Athens.

Standing above him, the great General enquired:

'Is there anything I can do for you?'

'There is', replied Diogenes , 'Stand out of my f*cking sun.'

Monday, September 06, 2010

some product

'Sex Pistols' is the latest in a series of unique frangrances from enfant terrible de parfum Etat Libre D'orange.

Following on from the Garbot and Dietrich inspired 'Jasmin et Cigarette', the what can only be described as spunky 'Secretions Magnifiques' (the label pic explains all) and the admittedly somewhat questionable 'Fat Electrician'

One hopes that this product performs better than other previous Pistols brand extensions that included 'Piss Lemonade', 'Vicious Burgers', 'Rotten Bars' and 'Fatty Jones Chocolates'.

Friday, September 03, 2010

the beat of new york


I found this very cool little movie created by German film production agency Stereoscreen. The movie was made from bits and pieces collected after shooting an ad for Mercedes in New York.

A bit like a what-we-did-on-our-holidays, and an excellent use of a day off in the Apple.

The drummer fella is also a bit of a star.

Gute arbeit.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

the scourge of inane drivel

Someone said to me the other day:
'If you think the web is noisy, just wait 'til it actually gets started...'
Alluding, of course, to the imminent web 3.0, 'internet of things' and all the rest of it.

Someone never told McDonalds - with their Angus Axiom pointless bollocks generator (spam your friends on twitter and facebook, natch) - that, even in it's 2.0 current incarnation, there is still quite enough banal, inane drivel out there in internet-land, thank you very much.

Make it stop, please.

never mind the proposition

Inspired by this presentation by @garethk, in which he notes that 'changing our behaviour changes how we think'.

In other words, whereas traditional advertising operates on a 'think then do' premise, in the post-advertising (mostly) digital space that notion is flipped.

It becomes 'DO then THINK'

In order to 'DO' we need to be inspired rather than targeted.

We'll be inspired by brands who align with things we care about in OUR world.

That's not the world of 'commercial proposition'.

I've also been obsessed with Dan Pink's book 'Drive' lately, in which he notes the 3 primary drivers or motivators of behaviour in the conceptual age.

- the desire to be in control of our own destiny
Mastery - a need to get better at whatever it is we do
Purpose - this is the biggie, the need to contribute to something bigger than ourselves.

So this graphic is a nod to Gareth and Dan, it makes a splash in presentations (for those over a certain age at least...)

For more on 'Purpose Ideas', and in particular it's context within the advertising/marketing space, I also recommend the Mark Earls Banana book.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the wilderness downtown

Well, this is just about the coolest thing on the interwebs just now.

It's an interactive, personalisable music video by Arcade Fire.

Utilising images from Google Street View, the video explodes over multiple Chrome browser windows, the personalisation occurs as you can feature the house you grew up in as part of the video, and send a postcard to your younger self with some advice from the older, wiser you.

Plays to rule #1 of viral club.
Connect with fans, first.
They share it because they are in it.

Go and play