Thursday, February 24, 2011

keynote day round-up #circusfest part 2

So after an action packed first session where would it go from here?

Enter Marvin Chow from Google.
The bulk of his hour was rather predictably a creds/pitch for Google Chrome.

Why did Google make Chrome?
According to their research people didn't recognize the difference between browser and search engine, and despite the rapid changes in the type of content being delivered down the pipe, browsers were essentially unchanged in 10 years.
You had to feel for him when all his technology went tits-up in mid pitch (laptop not plugged in, Chrome crashed)

He did have a few good soundbites.
- Ideas can come from anywhere - check.
- Focus on the problem you are trying to solve - check.
- Iterate, test, fail, launch fast, repeat - check.
- Get to market fast then iterate on the fly and react fast - check.

Next up Erik Vervroegen.
The worlds most awarded Creative Director, currently at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco.

Another creds pitch, really.

While his examples were all beautifully crafted ads, after the early sessions forward looking focus this really seemed like a step back in time.

In almost total opposite extreme, was token social media brat, Josh Spear.

An opening half hour consisting of Cat videos, LOLcats, Rick-rolling and the economy of virtual facebook goods and Farmville was not a great start.

I started to come around when he dropped a Henry Jenkins-ism on why we share.
The old holy trinity of Bond + identity + status.

Always goes down well.

He pulled it together in the end with the thought around 'what if' everyone who is mobilised and motivated to share pointless, if amusing, shite online could be mobilised to share stuff with value and meaning.

Wikileaks is just the same as 4chan but with purpose? - agreed.

Next up, Charles Wigley, Chairman of BBH Asia, but a planner by trade.
His pres, titled Anti-wind tunnel marketing summised that much of the insdustry talk differentiation but produce sameness.

In the trifecta of True + Relevant + Different - he argued that as an industry are we only doing relevant - hence the sameness.

Question number one should be 'Is it different?'.

He also had some good soundbites..

Brand leadership rather than followship - [me - yep, like it]
Look for brand, product, category as well as 'c*nsumer' insights - [me - for sure]
Take ownership of a point of view - [me - most important]
Look at the customers - there's leaders, followers and the rest. Focus on the leaders.

By this part of the day there were some tired eyes and ears, so it was probably the ideal time to wheel out the indefatigable, Rob Campbell.

I've already forgiven him for dissing a bit of our work in almost his first sentence.
If he bothers to look a bit deeper he'll realise this was both rash and WRONG ;)

In between pimping of WK, the nuggets were sprayed round the room scattergun style, all of them repeatworthy.
Here's the one's I managed to collect

- Our job is to attract people to brands
- Not everything about digital is positive
- Make products not just communication
- You can't solve business problems if you just do ads
- Dream bigger than campaigns
- Create culture not category
- Focus on prize not the medium
- Be culturally provocative
- Collaborate
- Take responsiblity for stuff
- It's not just about awareness
- Be brilliant
- Aim for the highest common denominator.
- People know what they want they just don't know how to say sometimes.
- Create fate not ads.

That was it for me. I missed most of Jose Cabaco of Nike who finished the day.

The key takeaways for me were around this notion of the middle way that seems to be emerging.
New media is not replacing old media, they are all transforming.
There's a place for all types of media in the advertising future, as long as each does what it does best.
By media I mean film, pictures, words.

On the question of ROI, it was a commercial creativity conference after all, I'll leave it to Agnello Dias, from Taproot to explain.

Did The Times of India sell more newspapers because they took a stand for something that mattered?

Maybe, maybe not.


Doing what they did gave them the credibility to ensure they always would be the first invited into the room when something of importance needed reporting.

That's worth something.

keynote day round-up #circusfest part 1

Billed as the Festival of Commercial Creativity, Circus kicked off yesterday in Sydney, day one of a 3 day extravaganza culminating in the AWARD Awards on Friday evening.

There's a fair amount to cover so I'll cut to the chase.
Firstly, the lack of Australian voices (ie none) on keynote day was surprising.
I wonder if that was accident or design?

First up was Jeffrey Cole, from the Centre of Digital Future USC.
Jeffrey described how the lack of behavior tracking in the early days of TV has left big holes in our understanding of how big that disruption was.
His work with USC began around 1998 (correct?) to ensure the same mistake wouldn't happened when the next big communication revolution that came along, the internet, and to spot those trends and transformations early.
Jeffrey's research confirms the likely end of landline phones, newspapers and the current model of pay cable/satellite tv in the very near future, when internet penetration in any territory gets above 30% newspaper circulation declines.

And readers that die do not get replaced.
[Note: I remember the same conundrum may years ago when I worked on the Football Pools...]

Nothing new there but he had some other interesting observations around the things youth think then rethink as they get a bit older.

- They think they are not affected by brands and advertising (but try giving a kid a generic mp3 player vs Apple)
- They think unknown peers are trustworthy.
- They think email is for old people (vs Twitter FB SMS etc).
- They think UGC is better than professionaly produced content.
- They think they will stick with communities (but what ever happened to Friendster?)
- They think there is no more privacy so we should get over it.

[Note: Perhaps there's some social media experts well out of their teens (20's/30's/40's...) who still think this way?]

Over time he reports that these views are reappraised and some abandoned
Some stick forever.

- They do exercise total control over their media
- They don't see news coming from a newspaper
- They will never wear a watch
- They watch TV in places other than the living room
- They take gaming very seriously
- Mobile WILL SOON BE everything (smartphones are already outselling PC, tablets will soon follow)
- They are demanding real vs perceived empowerment

[Note: This is the convergence idea, in principle. New media doesn't simply replace old media, but transforms it]

All good stuff.

Next up was Agnello Dias the ex JWT Mumbai CD now running his own operation Taproot.

This was the highlight of the day for me.
I had honestly never heard of the work he did with The Times of India newspaper.
But hearing him tell the story of how a last minute pre-holiday brief for a minor press ad literally DEVELOPED into a mass movement for social change, that's still rolling was AWE INSPIRING.

If I'm going to be picky then there were one or two layers of cheese on top that could have been left off, but overall it was dynamite.
Won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 08 to boot.

Talk about stand for something your customers care about, this is it personified.

Jess Greenwood from Contagious was great as always.
Lots of examples that back up the convergence/crossmedia notion and the idea of continuous momentum, getting outside of the 'campaign' mindset.

Ina nutshell her pitch was:
Broadcast + internet + location + realworld = bingo
And think about projects not campaigns.

Exaples included Mini Getaway from Sweden (see below) plus Levi’s Braddock workshops, a great example of purpose-driven marketing.

All looking good up to the first coffee break of the day.
But what would follow?..

More in part 2, including a geezer from Google, Rob Campbell and some other stuff.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bumpy johnson

'This is the problem. This is what's wrong with [America]. It's gotten so big, you just can't find your way. The grocery store on the corner is now a supermarket. The candy store is a MacDonald's. And this place, a super fucking discount store. Where's the pride of ownership? Where's the personal service?'

Bumpy Johnson, from American Gangster 2007

Monday, February 21, 2011

the customers are revolting : part 2 junior edition

...and as if by magic, this video nasty from PHD appeared on Charlie's blog, this morning, and is duly reproduced here.

I also offered that these 'children' would be far better off engaged in sensible teen pursuits, such as smashing windows and sniffing glue, than participating in this waffle.

They missed out the part about us wearing clothes made of bacofoil.

the customers are revolting

That's right. They stink.

For some time there's been the question around what the value of a facebook 'like' is for a brand.
Some would argue the case for zero, it takes pretty much zero effort or commitment for a person to click 'like'.

Tell that to the revolting customer though.

The notion in VRM circles around 'everyone is making money off consumer data except the consumer' may be coming up to bite sooner than you think.

And it's not just a theory rattling round academic corridors.

Take this comment from a brand 'fan' page.

'Your Fan page really sucks! you giving nothing & no reason why l will or others will want to click the [BRAND X] like button, just like any relationship eg. man meets girl, he would offer her may be a invitation for a free meal at a restaurant, in Your case [BRAND X] you should offer something like for eg. a % discount on your [PRODUCT A] or [PRODUCT B] that you cant get else where other than clicking your like button it dont have to be a big discount it just needs to be something to give reason for me and others to want to build any type of relationship with you..'

Marry that to this tweet nugget:
"Facebook is rapidly becoming the new Second Life for brands, a wasteland of shattered hopes and dreams"

But who killed Bambi?
Who made these revolting customers?

With facebook promotions and giveaways, bribery and coertion.
marketing took the view that we could buy fans and buy loyalty.

But it was never sustainable, and now, inconveniently, the revolting customers are demanding it.

The question now is; what is a 'like' worth to THEM.

That's right. They stink.
And now so does Facebook, as any kind of viable marketing opportunity.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

picking a fight: the NAB breakup

Know which side of the bed you are lying on.
Decide what you are FOR and AGAINST.
Stand for something your customers care about.
Find out who's IN and who's OUT.
Have a philosophy first, strategy second.
Have a mission not a proposition
Use each piece of media to do what it does best.
Make media slippy not sticky.
Be informal, entertaining but still serious.
Create situations.
Pick a fight with someone.

NAB have done all of the above as they call out the other Aussie Banks
with a multi-platform, cross media onslaught.

While not a social media campaign per se - in fact in terms of media executions it could be described as traditional - it's disruptive, provocative nature was designed to be a highly social experience.

Especially on Twitter, where we were number 1 and 2 trending topics simultaneously, for @nab and #breakup.

If somethings interesting it will get talked about. End of story.

Sample tweet..
@nab its childish, its immature, and I LOVE IT. this is why i bank with NAB #breakup

Like channeling Malcolm almost...

And my favourite bit of commentary so far, from Laurel Papworth:

'The challenge is, I don’t think even NAB understand how deep this campaign will go [me - yes, they do], it could change the face of marketing for some time to come. Viral ads, leaked tweets, developing story lines, we’ve seen before. But siding with the customer against their own industry was the smartest move they made. Let’s see what they do with it.'

See the rest of the stuff - piano players, helicopters, chalk drawings, spoof videos, public break-ups etc at the breakup.

For fact fans, Mumbrella did a decent roundup of the nuts and bolts.

Photo credits Nick Johnson and Aki Kimono via Monty Hamilton.

Monday, February 14, 2011

in praise of *suits (more on the future of advertising)

For the purposes of this musing, let’s just take it as read that everyone in the agency is a ‘suit*’ (we all talk to clients and represent the agency in some shape or form) to a greater or lesser degree.

As the future-of-advertising debate continues amid much huffing and puffing of hot air the odd flash of sensible thinking pops up here and there.

In Amelia Torode's recent article 'future of advertising" is utterly depressing' (don't be put off by the title, it's a reasonably positive assesment), she identifies 5 key pointers to a better way.

1. Smaller units
2. Madder people
3. People who don't know (or dare I say, care) about Snow Plough or Saatchi & Saatchi in the 80s
4. People who can find stories in numbers
5. People who don't work in the office

2 and 5 I could take or leave but 3 and 4 are the nuggets.
Also point 1 'smaller units' is probably open to misinterpretation.

One could summise that the traditional two person creative team is a small unit, however smaller units means bigger units in this case.
I'm a believer in the everything-happens-at-once method.
As in planning, data, technology, creative, production are all working from the get-go.

Each of the 5 points describes the attributes of people rather than of an organisation.
It matters not whether we talk about the ad agency/social media agency/digital agency.
All of the above, and other incarnations, are simply groups of people of various disciplines banded together to get things done in the realm of communications of one form or another (or many forms).

So, each of us ‘*suits’ has a some of the traits , as described in the 3 circles of the venn diagram below, which appeared to me in a dream the other night...

The sweet spot is right in the middle.
That intersection of creative (the ability to understand or make a creative idea, something of value) combined with the ability to understand why it matters (strategist) and then how it is made (geek).
The ‘geek’ part is loosely formed to include all aspects of production of a thing (be that film, code, origami whatever)

The other intersections are also good
a geek-strategist is valuable, they understand how and why.
the creative-geek knows what and how.
The creative-strategist has got the why and what down.
All good.

What’s not good is when people are one dimensional.
The one dimentional strategist gets lost in verbs.
A hermit geek gets lost in the mechanics, counting pixels or whatever.
The silo’d creative ends up sending biscuits into space or suchlike.

A place to start in disrupting ourselves may be to look at those intersections and see who lives there - and who lives in their own silo.

It's only interesting or useful when everything is connected to everything else.

What do you reckon?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

eTech magazine comes to the ipad #eTechApp

eTEch have been publishing an free online 'magazine' that rounds-up technology news, principally for the design engineer/tech community, for a wee while now, but have kicked up a gear with their, also free, ipad edition just released last week.

Makes much more sense to deliver this kind of content in a more interactive way, especially for non-geeky types like myself for whom getting my geek on is an occupational requirement yet not the thing I wake up in the morning champing at the bit about.

Get the app here, but for the content, at 200mb a pop it's a hefty download so 3Ging it is probably not advisable ;)

Good effort.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

the sum total of all interactions part 325 #metlink

In another case of syncronicity, I firstly read this short sharp post from Doddsy on Making Things Better...

'Making good stuff from scratch is really difficult.
Removing bad stuff is relatively simple.
The former is to be encouraged, the latter is compulsory.

Then shortly after, in an unrelated incident, the Metro breaks down in Melbourne leaving families with young kids stranded on Moorabin Station in 40 degrees with no staff on hand, no info, no replacement transport or taxis for more than an hour and no human beings to answer the phone on their 'service' line.

And here's what you get when you submit a customer service enquiry to their website.

'You will recieve a response within 7 business days, as each case IS CATEGORISED AND PRIORITISED'

Then this, 7 has turned into 10.


They can, however, produce a fancy-dan iphone app.

the great cut'n'paste swindle - thx @zeroinfluencer

'Banksy’s work now reportedly changes hands for millions.
But he puts up his street art for free. Have you ever wondered
what would happen if you got your hands on one of these?
Does it mean you’ve found a winning lottery ticket or just
scraped some worthless crap off a wall?

Going up against the Art Establishment, Critics, Auction Houses,
Gallery Owners and Authentication Boards in a quest for the
elusive meal ticket, two filmmakers unwittingly gatecrash the
murky and protective world of Banksy.

“HOW TO SELL A BANKSY” raises questions of ownership,
authentication and the true value of art itself. Through all the
chaos and incompetence comes a modern-day, true-story,
crime-theft, comedy-caper.'

I'm a sucker for a bit of detournement, or at least gratuitous mischief making.

Thanks to @zeroinfluencer for the tip, and the post title.