Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5 reasons why Diesel's 'be stupid' works

As part of its 'Be Stupid' idea for their spring/summer range, Diesel have launched a campaign featuring a 'be stupid' manifesto vid, interactive things to play with and a catalogue/music video, titled 'a hundred lovers'.

The highlight of the campaign, created by Anomaly, is the interactive catalogue featuring fans of the brand as models sourced through an online recruitment campaign and a song 'a hundred lovers' by Josep on the agency'sown record label.

Here's five reasons why I think this works pretty well..

An ownable brand idea.
It’s a bold statement - "Be Stupid" – but they take it beyond simply a ‘message’ into the realms of a manifesto, a call to arms even. ‘Stupid’ meaning to innovate, do the things smart people are afraid of. Which the elements of the 'campaign' (for want of a better word) do.

The oldest trick in the book (done well)
Creatively it’s classic, take two things that don’t immediately go together and create something new. This is a cornerstone of innovation, and formula 1+1=3 thinking (ie the whole being greater than the sum of it’s parts).
Catalogues are not exciting in themselves no matter how well designed, music videos are what they are. But a catalogue that IS music video, with the interactivity thrown in, is something interesting.

Yer oblique cultural references

Speaking of 1+1=3, the interactive ‘stupid’ word tool thing is conceptually straight out of Burroughs and Gysin’s 1960/70’s book The Third Mind, created using the ‘cut-up’ technique (later popularised by Bowie et al) ‘Cut-ups’ involve taking unrelated bits of text, literally cutting them up, and then rearranging the words to form new narratives. Nice one.

Connecting with fans.
By recognising that fans and their audience are far better messengers than paid for media, they make them the stars. Online auditions were held to find the stars of the video.
The idea will spread because it’s about ‘them’ (and Diesel, it’s a partnership).
This is the biggie.

More than just advertising.
Finding a musician from the audience, give them a platform, creating a record ‘label’, making the tune available for sale on iTunes. This will get downloaded and shared. The point is not to sell music, the point is to leverage another way in which brand ideas spread through networks.

Any more for any more?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

making a movement

Richard Dawkins first coined the word "meme" in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. 'Meme' describes an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.

Most proto-memes go nowhere and are quickly forgotten, or not noticed at all. However, some memes find a tipping point of sorts - and spread - increasing in momentum as they go.

These ideas are often described as the ones that 'go critical'. 

Some memes needs to mutate to persevere, others can propagate by 'hitch-hiking' on the back of other ideas.

Pondering this I recall a story from Bernie Rhodes.

Around the same time that Dawkins was finalising 'The Selfish Gene', Rhodes was managing The Clash and meme-building in cahoots with Malcolm Mclaren (Sex Pistols) and Jake Riviera (the unsung 3rd man of the original UK punk scene, and manager of The Damned).

Between the three of them they realised that to create a movement - the 'meme' of punk rock - initial 'social proof' needed to be visible.

One band could not do it on their own, but 3 bands could hitch-hike with each other...

Do the arithmetic.

3 bands (Pistols, Clash, Damned) each with four members.
Say each band member has five 'friends', thats 60 people minimum.

So a triple header gig in a small strip joint in Soho has an instant crowd of 60 or so like-minded bods, so to any waif or stray that has wandered in off the street it immediately looks like 'something' is happening.

As more people decide to join in it's not a risk, if they 'get it' no reason not to join in now, and the codes, language, style is all there for them. And punk 'goes critical'.

As Pete Townsend noted (he was one such bystander who witnessed the early punk gigs, as a regular after-hours drinker in Soho's less salubrious spots).

'This is actually happening'.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

hey ho let's (not) go

The brand that alledgedly coined the term 'sneakers' (the rubber soles faciltating 'sneaking' around) has launched a new campaign, called 'The Original Sneaker', based on reminding 'the kids' that Keds were the first, authentic sneaker.

Converse and possibly PF flyers (the favourite round these parts) may dispute that, the NYTimes covers that angle in this article.

To be fair Keds have been de riguer with certain trendy elements around London for the last few years, anyway

Keds attempt to bring the brand's history to life in a history section of their website that pulls together clips, stories and ads from bygone days up to the present.

With one notable and glaring exception, and perhaps their most most well known and loved patrons.

Messrs Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone.

Beaten to the punch in that respect by Converse Chuck Taylor, and Vans, neither of which were worn by the 'brothers' until much later in the story.

HT brandchannel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

abandoned cars

When the Dubai economy hit the skids there were tales of luxury motors abandoned at the airport as many of the people who had made a fast buck in the good times baled out when the squeeze happened, leaving behind anything that couldn't fit in the hold.

Fast forward to this clever bit of 'ambient' for Dubai Metro, the commuter train network:

'...a driverless, fully automated metro network in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai, launched in September 2009.

Commuters were encouraged to leave their cars at home and take the train with a series of messages written on abandoned cars around Dubai: “I haven’t left Dubai, I just love taking the Metro”, “Metro 1, Car 0″, “Wash me if you want, I’m still taking the Metro”, “Stop writing on me, I’m taking the Metro”.'

The campaign, by Saatchi & Saatchi, Dubai, won the Grand Prix for Outdoor at the Dubai Lynx Awards 2010, though I can't help thinking that there could have been more participative juice squeezed out of this idea, incentivising real punters to join in.

Monday, March 22, 2010

age of conversation 3

Coming in mid-April is volume 3 of Age of Conversation, this year's edition is subtitled 'It's time to get busy'.

I managed to get it together to provide a chapter for this years edition, I'll preview that closer to release time.

I 'm proud to be between the same covers as the esteemed group of contributers listed below, and thanks to Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton who put in the hard work in making it happen, again.

Adam Joseph-Priyanka Sachar-Mark Earls-Cory Coley-Christakos-Stefan Erschwendner-Paul Hebert-Jeff De Cagna-Thomas Clifford-Phil Gerbyshak-Jon Burg-Toby Bloomberg-Shambhu Neil Vineberg-Joseph Jaffe-Uwe Hook-Steve Roesler-Michael E. Rubin-anibal casso-Steve Woodruff-Steve Sponder-Becky Carroll-Tim Tyler-Chris Wilson-Beth Harte-Tinu Abayomi-Paul-Dan Schawbel-Carol Bodensteiner-Trey Pennington-David Weinfeld-Dan Sitter-Vanessa DiMauro-Ed Brenegar-David Zinger-Brett T. Macfarlane-Efrain Mendicuti-Deb Brown-Brian Reich-Gaurav Mishra-Dennis Deery-C.B. Whittemore-Gordon Whitehead-Heather Rast-Cam Beck-Hajj E. Flemings-Joan Endicott-Cathryn Hrudicka-Jeroen Verkroost-Karen D. Swim-Christopher Morris-Joe Pulizzi-Leah Otto-Corentin Monot-Karalee Evans-Leigh Durst-David Berkowitz-Kevin Jessop-Lesley Lambert-Duane Brown-Peter Korchnak-Mark Price-Dustin Jacobsen-Piet Wulleman-Mike Maddaloni-Ernie Mosteller-Scott Townsend-Nick Burcher-Frank Stiefler-Steve Olenski-John Rosen-Tim Jackson-Suzanne Hull-Len Kendall-Amber Naslund-Wayne Buckhanan-Mark McGuinness-Caroline Melberg-Andy Drish-Oleksandr Skorokhod-Claire Grinton-Angela Maiers-Paul Williams-Gary Cohen-Armando Alves-Gautam Ramdurai-B.J. Smith-Tamera Kremer-Eaon Pritchard-Brendan Tripp-Adelino de Almeida-Jacob Morgan-Casey Hibbard-Andy Hunter-Julian Cole-Debra Helwig-Anjali Ramachandran-Jye Smith-Drew McLellan-Craig Wilson-Karin Hermans-Emily Reed-David Petherick-Katie Harris-Gavin Heaton-Dennis Price-Mark Levy-George Jenkins-Doug Mitchell-Mark W. Schaefer-Helge Tenno-Douglas Hanna-Marshall Sponder-James Stevens-Ian Lurie-Ryan Hanser Jenny Meade -Jeff Larche-Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher-David Svet-Jessica Hagy-Simon Payn-Joanne Austin-Olsen-Mark Avnet-Stanley Johnson-Marilyn Pratt-Mark Hancock Steve Kellogg-Michelle Beckham-Corbin-Michelle Chmielewski-Amy Mengel-Veronique Rabuteau-Peter Komendowski-Andrea Vascellari-Timothy L Johnson-Phil Osborne-Beth Wampler-Amy Jussel-Rick Liebling-Eric Brody-Arun Rajagopal-Dr Letitia Wright-Hugh de Winton-David Koopmans-Aki Spicer-Jeff Wallace-Don Frederiksen-Charles Sipe-Katie McIntyre-James G Lindberg Sandra Renshaw-David Reich-Lynae Johnson-Jasmin Tragas-Deborah Chaddock Brown-Mike O'Toole-Jeanne Dininni-Iqbal Mohammed-Morriss M. Partee-Katie Chatfield-Jeff Cutler-Pete Jones-Riku Vassinen-Jeff Garrison-Kevin Dugan-Tiphereth Gloria-Mike Sansone-Lori Magno-Valerie Simon-Nettie Hartsock-Mark Goren-Peter Salvitti

Friday, March 19, 2010

dm piece of the century: the cardboard record player

Very cool bit of direct mail from Canadian recording studios and sound designers GGRP and their agency GREY, who mailed this 100% cardboard record player and record to prospects and customers. It's exactly that - a fully functioning record player made from cardboard, and a record.

HT to the daily what

banned from the pubs

A funny ad for Carlton Draught, Australian beer from the Fosters stable. One of seven variants as part of the long running 'Made from Beer' campaign the ads have been deemed too risky for TV, principally for the multiple inferences to the man-bits (goolies, weenis etc), and were pulled by the client themselves shortly before they were due to air.

Following months of wrangling between agency, Melbourne's Clemenger BBDO, and client, Fosters have agreed to release the ads on the web.

Quote from Fosters:

'The internet is a sharper instrument than television, which hits a broad range of consumers...I believe our target market will go looking for Carlton Draught material online'

The Fosters spokesperson has described what many believe is the very near future of how advertising of this nature seen and distributed.

Consumers actively seeking out and spreading branded content, because they want to.

Although Carlton is one of Australias most popular beers, most likely drunk by many people who will now never see this content.

Fans who do seek out the ads are encouraged to rate the ad - and presumably persuade Fosters and agency to relent and place them on TV - via the website

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

we'll be calling him old fireballs after tonight

Fair play to Russian teenager Andrey Ternovskiy who apparently invented tool de jour ChatRoulette after digging round the web looking for something that allowed random video chatting with strangers. When he couldn't find one he decided to make it himself.

He also has a nice stock of self-depreciating one-liners, as demonstrated in an interview in the NYTimes last week.

NYT: What do you think about all the press?
AT: Actually I haven’t read a single article. I don’t want to read them. I see a wall of text and I just look at the picture and click next...

NYT: So you have been meeting with investors?
AT: Well, for now, they are more interested in me, than I am in them.

Something tells me this kid is a teeny bit more switched on than he would have us believe, however.

People and tools, who knows where they will take it...
Like this piano man freestyling and improvising with whoever turns up.

Monday, March 15, 2010

ten commandments

Amusing and relevant pres by this guy Sean Boyle, Global planning director from JWT outlining his ten stop/start commandments to reboot the advertising industry.

A couple of key nuggets right from the off:

'The people who 'get it' who have vision, talent and intelligence are belittled, bullied and compromised by people who have no vision, no talent and who don't get it'.


' The ad business today takes 8 months to do one thing, we need to do 8 things in one month'.

All ten commandments are:

Start Telling The Truth
Stop The Politics
Start Having Fun Again
Stop Overthinking Things
Start Doing Something
Stop The Incessant Research
Start Doing Good
Stop Banging On About Digital
Start Ups Again Please
Stop Using Animals In Commercials

Finders fee to Mr John Dodds.

Friday, March 12, 2010

customer service #235

I don't usually pimp work in this space but this project we've developed for Direct line car insurance is something worth posting.

No one really talks about the claims process in the insurance industry and building trust in the sector is key.

The building blocks to achieving this are involving customers, better recognition of what they value and being more transparent.

Instead of burying the process in text based FAQ's at the back of the website where no-one will ever see them we created 4 videos which take the customer through the journey of a claims process, from what happens when they first call to register their claim, right through to the approved repair centre assessing the damage and getting them back on the road.

The 4 videos live on the Direct Line website and on Direct line's YouTube channel, so are open for commentary.

This is just the first step in an ongoing program we are working with the client on in order to:
1 - Improve claims experience by defining expectations
2 - Humanise a “faceless” process: build empathy, reassurance

A small step in our mission to try and create value in the new, non-linear customer buying journey.

All videos were shot in the Manchester call centre and repair centre and are presented by real staff.

Jaffe neatly sums up where we were coming from in this nugget from The Customer Service Manifesto.

Customer service is a front office strategic imperative that belongs at the same table as strategic planning, marketing communications, branding and advertising.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

meaning #165

According to lore, the architect Sir Christopher Wren was visiting the site of St Pauls Cathedral to review work in progress and stopped to chat with three building workers performing the same task.

'What are you doing?' Sir Chris asks the workers.

First guy says 'I'm laying bricks'.

The second builder replies ' I'm just earning my wages'.

The third fella comes back with ' I'm helping to build a great cathedral'.

Three guys doing the same job, but only one of them is changing the world.

a herd of purple cows

CowParade is a public art event that has been held in over 50 cities around the world including Paris, Tokyo, London and New York, and this year I was lucky enough to see many of the pieces in Margaret River WA.

Life size cow sculptures are painted and decorated by artists and set on display in various spaces, sponsored by businesses.

Margaret River is of course famous as centre of the wine producing region in South West Australia and many of the cows appear in the grounds of the winerys and other businesses in the area.

Public art considerations often include site specificity, community involvement and collaboration and somehow it's more inclusive and accessable in it's nature than it's gallery based cousin.

I bought a few bottles of wine too, funnily enough.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

economic and social achievements of workers

It was a public holiday here in Western Australia last Monday, Labour Day.

Labour Day is an annual holiday - celebrated in most countries of the world - that emerged out of the trade union movement, celebrating the economic and social achievements of workers.

One economic achievement being the ability of cafes and bars all across the WA region to add up to 15% public holiday tax onto the bill, and get away with it.