Wednesday, July 28, 2010

what the papers say

A few articles this week in the australian press and ad industry media around my favourite subject.


The first out of the traps were The Age.
The Age is a broadsheet paper, one of the big two - the other being The Australian (I did an interview for them which they never published, I can't for the life of me figure out why they thought the announcement of the Aussie general election was somehow more newsworthy).

There was also a brief piece in B&T, a clearing house for all marketing, advertising, PR and media.

Ad News also ran the story.

The favourite is the piece from CampaignBrief. Arguably the most popular ad industry mag/blog, it also benefits from the quaint habit of it's readers to comment anonymously.
Proper old school.

I've still not heard from mumbrella or

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

product of the week #342

So you're standing in the 7-Eleven, a bit peckish and fancy a biscuit.

But what to choose?

Do I want a KitKat? Or Oreos?

But wait. I can have a KitKat/Oreo mash-up.

In terms of 'experience' it's about 70% KitKat, 30% Oreo, with the Oreo part heavy on the cream rather than cookie.

Another example of the 'truly special' relationship between the UK and USA.
More so than the conspicuously phoney Obama/Cameron love-in, anyway.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Thanks to #electionWIRE from Youthscape - and this commoncraft style clip, I'm starting to get my head around the Australian election.

HT Gavin.


I'm liking the look of Flipboard. It's an ipad application that creates a 'magazine' containing all the content people are sharing from your various social streams, plus other content curated by flipboard, in a nice 'analogue' style mag format.

They say:

'Flipboard is the worldʼs first social magazine. Inspired by the beauty and ease of print media, Flipboardʼs mission is to fundamentally improve how people discover, view and share content across their social networks.'

I just need an ipad now.

look back in anger

Seneca argued that anger did not spring from 'uncontrollable eruption of passions' but from reasoning. When things don't happen the way we expect or have rationally formed ideas about what should normally be the case, thats when we get angry.

So our propensity for anger can be tempered by altering our ideas about expected outcomes.

There are two principle catalysts for word-of-mouth, which Seth kindly reminded us of the other day. The second is commonly forgotten.

'Word of mouth is generated by surprise and delight (or anger)'.

I'll remember this the next time I am trying to get resolution from some automated telephone robot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


There's school of thought that goes something along the lines of; in conventional advertising material the 'message' (implicit or explicit) and the look and feel are the more important elements versus functionality; whereas, broadly speaking, in a piece of interactive media ie a website or application how-it-works is ultimately the overiding consideration rather than how it looks and speaks.

I've loosely cribbed that statement from a post by my good friend Alan Wolk, though I can't now find that particular article on his blog, the Toadstool, but suffice to say there are plenty more nuggets in there for your perusal.

I would add to this the notion of findabilty as being another consideration that is oft overlooked.

The most well designed and crafted website with the most rigourous user experience planning and the greatest resources and utility matters little if it it cannot be found.

This week I've been coming back to the subject of distributed content as opposed to the campaign microsite (or facebook fan page, for that matter) in some of the discussions we've been having.

It's no longer the case where advertisers can confidently talk about the reach of a campaign or communication. We still hear talk of 'driving' attention to a particular site or thing.

Due to the fragmentation of media (and attention) it's now more difficult to reach an 'audience', in fact one of my favourite nuggets (i can't remember where I heard it) goes along the lines of 'your competition for attention on the internet is EVERYTHING ELSE on the internet'.

This is not just about SEO or search , it's about discovery or serendipity, if you like.

Of course, as we know, around 60% of the touchpoints I'm likely to encounter on a buying journey are non-brand driven, word of mouth, independent reviews etc but
at the very least brands need be there when their customers are reaching out to them for information, wherever that may be.

Three things to consider:

1. Choosing the right places to be, where the the most valuable connections are likely to be made. It may be that Facebook is not necessarily this place, shock! horror!
I'm a fan of Steve Rubel's 'embassy' thinking. Particularly for non-sexy brands.

2. Being interesting, useful and valuable once you are found. What do the people who have found you care about? How can you be of service?

3. And when that connection is made, make sure that all roads lead to Rome.

pic hat-tip to Found magazine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

i scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream

In an interesting development - and more fuel to the 'email-is-broken' lobby - ice cream giants Ben and Jerry's announced to their UK database this week that all email marketing would cease and all customer communications would henceforth take place on the various social platforms, principally Facebook and Twitter.

A decision taken in response to feedback from their customers which indicated they didn't get much value from updates through the email channel.

Aside from the obvious move to communicating via channels that their customers pull in versus those that push, it's clearly a lot more economical for B&J, with dramatic reduction of costs (no email platform to pay for) and far more on-point (only those who want to hear from them will hear from them).

Add to this B&J have also made a foray into the tweeting-truck phenomenon, as popularised by Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles and Fojol Brothers of Washington, the B&J truck having just completed it's tour of duty giving away 50,000 ice creams in New York and set to move on to Boston shortly.

The B&J NYC Scooptruck tweeted it's locations aided by foursquare and also captured photos of happy ice cream beneficiaries which fed into their Flickr stream, tagged with the recipients twitter handle, of course, for extra spreadability measure (because it's all about me, natch).

For added flavour there's the B&J ipone app - Moo Vision - which opens up 3D Augmented Reality animations from the lid design using image recognition rather than a QR code.
A free prize outside rather than inside, if you like.

We watch with interest as again it's testament to the notion that increasingly digital marketing is about fanbase not database.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

a new job in a new town #update

The reason it's been quiet round this part of the blogosphere for the last couple of months can now be revealed.

This week I officially took up my new role as Director of Digital Innovation at Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne, Australia.

It had been on my mind to look for an opportunity outside of the uk for some time, so when the chance to work with, certainly the number one agency in Australia and arguably in the top five or six agencies in the world it was an offer I couldn't refuse.

If Manchester United come in for you, you don't say no, kinda thing.

Normal blog service should resume very shortly.


I removed this post shortly after it initially went up as there was supposed to be an article in the press, we were going to let that run first before I mentioned anything here. The article has not materialised though.

You can now add you're messages of encouragement and goodwill in the comments, as usual ;)

Friday, July 16, 2010

part-time punks #4 - getting krafty

As I assimilate into Melbourn-ian culture and Australian society in general I've been paying close attention to Aussie tv.

There's one particular tv spot that has captivated me recently, though for reasons I cannot comprehend.

The spot is for Easy Mac, an instant macaroni microwave thing (as popularised by our Canadian friends as 'Kraft dinner').

A 20ft giant kid breaks into a biscuit factory, then raids an bakers van - his hunger cannot be satisfied - until heading home, shrinking to normal size and tucking into some instant macaroni.

On first look it appears to be merely some fairly predictable albeit mildly amusing gubbins, but wait. Look again...and listen.

The soundtrack to the ad is none other than 'Part-time Punks' by the Television Personalities - proto-indie agit-punksters (and firm favourites in these here Boat headquarters) from circa '77.

What does this mean?
What evil trickery is this?

I can think of 3 possible reasons.

1. This is the cleverest piece of subliminal targeting in advertising history, aimed at hypnotising 40-something ex punk rockers.

2. The creatives who conceptualised the spot were so bored that they somehow sneaked it in with some astute post-rationalising to the client in order to keep themselves interested.

3. Someone involved was at sometime the bass player in the TVP's with a co-writing credit looking to sneak some royalties.

Unless you know different?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

flock's sake

If it seems like it's been quiet round these parts for a while it's because I've been up to something in the real world that's taken up a considerable chunk of time.

More on that in another post, later.

In the meantime I've also been reading up on some stuff, including Alain De Botton's 'The Consolations of Philosophy' from which the following nugget is an extract.

'It is not only the hostility of others that may prevent us from questioning the status quo. Our will to doubt can be just as powerfully sapped by an internal sense that societal conventions must have a sound basis, even if we are not sure what this may be, because they have been adhered to by a great many people for a long time.

It seems implausible that our [society*] could be gravely mistaken in it's beliefs and at the same time we could be alone in noticing the fact.

We stifle our doubts and follow the flock because we cannot conceive of ourselves as pioneers of hithrto unknown, difficult truths.'


Saturday, July 03, 2010

urban camouflage

Chapel Street here in Melbourne is a semi-trendy strip full of boutique fashion stores alongside high street fashion, restaurants, cafes and bars.

A bit like a five mile long Camden, except cleaner.

South East Water
are refurbishing all the water pipework along the street and have cleverly hidden the work going on and the holes in the ground with these rather cute bits of camouflage/signage, so as to blend in nicely with the feel of the street.