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.