Wednesday, November 30, 2011

it's advertising year zero (movin' on up)

Following yesterday evening's session at 474Labs, our internal agency learning and sharing group thingy - in which Mark Earls kindly beamed in from London at the unholy hour of 6.30am, to talk to us about some of the ideas from his new book 'I'll Have What She's Having' - there's probably only one song to play to wrap up the experience.

Before we get to that, I have to say that increasingly I'm leaning towards the feeling that we are in the midst of a year zero type situation in this advertising business.

Year zero inasmuch as the vast majority of the received wisdom and the-way-we-do-things-round-here needs to be erased, rewound and start again from scratch.

Here's what I'm talking about (and this is all covered in Mark's ouvre)

- How many of the decisions we make day-in day out are independent, rational (ie thought) choices versus those that are emotional, social and sensed?

- Is the real role of advertising about constructing messages to try and effect 'persuasion' on the individual or is it more about creating ideas and meaning that can be shared?

- In this context who exactly is 'the' consumer? Or even 'consumers' plural. We are people, and what interests us most is other people.

- Is changing behaviour about telling or getting 'consumers' to do what we want? Or is it more about demonstrating behaviours we want to encourage and creating situations or interventions which amplify those behaviours and involve people in positive activities that facilitate positive copying?

- Should brands and companies focus on creating meaning, with purpose, and serving the social needs of their customers, rather than targeting, impacting and penetrating and otherwise waging war on them?

- Are we, agencies, slaves to the big idea and big strategy when in fact:
the big idea is: there is no big idea

- Is lighting lots of small fires, making little bets and fanning the flames of the things that take actually a much better plan?

These are pretty disruptive ideas for this industry to handle.

This means stopping in it's tracks any briefing that contains anything that infers 'what we want the consumer to think'.

It's year zero. No antecedents. The end of all the past and the beginning of the future.

Massive thanks to the Herdmeister for his time and wisdom, cheers fella.

I was blind, but now I see...
You made a believer, outta me..

Monday, November 28, 2011

the long tail

Somehow it is quite refreshing to search for a song online and find it completely unavailable through fair means or foul.

Despite the Long Tail and the ubiquitous-ness of digital music there are a few tracks that are still hard to find in any format around the web.

One of those being this classic performance of 'Sweet Gingerbread Man' by Sammy Davis Jr.

One of the rare occasions when the 'cover' version is better than the original.

From what I can glean this tune appeared on Sammy's 1972 album 'A Portrait of...' and is currently unavailable in any format. I had to settle for this clip a kind soul had posted on YouTube.

Innovation being often born out of neccesity I have discovered that ripping the clip out of Youtube as mp4 allows one to burn the file to CD as audio using Toast, which meant I was able to add this to my happy monday morning compilation for the car journey to work this morning.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

social media marketing doesn't work

This is the phrase that will be echoing round many corporate marketing departments this morning in the semi-aftermath of the #qantasluxury debacle that unfolded on Twitter over the past 24 hours.

Of course that's only half the sentence.

Social media marketing doesn't work...WHEN YOU DO IT WRONG.

While some poor junior PR person or intern will be getting it in the neck, it's the top of the chain that need called into question for getting the absolute basics completely and spectacularly wrong with this twitter promotion.

It's not that they particularly need to keep quiet or hide from the many and varied cultural and industrial relations shitstorms they are in the middle of. I'm sure many would like explanation.

It is however a classic case of Mott The Hoople Syndrome and CC Bloom Fatigue in which the hapless Qantas have made the fundamental, delusional error of imagining that the conversation is exclusively about Qantas themselves, and not about helping solve the problems and generally taking an interest in the things their consumers care about.

This is what a service brand has to do.

'We have a virtual monopoly...they have to fly with us'

Thanks KT.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Charlie nails it today in his assessment of Benneton's UNHATE intervention.

'Pretty much every government and right wing paper absolutely hate this advertising.

They pretend they seek peace and reconciliation but it's alien to their psychology and so they hate us humans for laughing and having strong feelings about peace and love.

Beware those who don't hug, laugh or love art and even sometimes cry.'

Plays to the same criteria we've mentioned here before...

Know which side of the bed you are lying on.
Decide what you are FOR and AGAINST.
Stand for something your customers care about.
Something that matters.
Find out who's IN and who's OUT.
Have a philosophy first, strategy second.
Have a mission not simply a proposition.
Create situations.
Pick a fight.

And we're always up for a bit of d├ętournement, round here.

'Boredom is always counter-revolutionary'.

ray kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil was in town for the Creative Innovation Conference, I never made it along but was prodded to check his TED talk on the 'singularity' etc from 2005.

He's normally careful to predict far enough into the future to not be called out. There's a couple of tips here for 2010 that haven't quite made it but it's all entertaining and feasible none the less.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

all you need to know about innovation

A hobby of mine involves editing the word 'consumer' out of power point presentations and replacing that word with people, customers, constituents and suchlike.
This is one small way of practicing a small form of mindfulness (the foundation of innovation).

'Watch your thoughts for they will become your words'.

For those who may think this is petty and pedantic, consider this.

In the business of human communications to start off from the point of de-humanisation (consumer), mechanising, robotising from the get-go is not going to lead anywhere.

If the paradigm has moved from production or manufacturing to service then a company's product is now it's people and brand experience is manifested by person to person contact.

Therefore brand meaning comes from quality of interaction.

When did anyone last say to anyone 'I'm going out for a couple of drinks with some consumers' or 'I've got a few consumers coming over for dinner'..

Never. Nobody ever has. It's bullshit.

In a business context...

Habits - CULTURE
Values - PURPOSE
Destiny - BRAND

Brand being what you get. It's the outcome.

the kids are alright? #235

Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.

Thx @zeroinfluencer