Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Power to the Sheeple!

This post was inspired by a few events over the last couple of weeks and will cover context, expectations and the innate fear of not fitting in and what this could mean for marketing messages.

It started in the Tate Modern two weeks ago when I was meeting a friend and was running late. She was already on the 2nd floor by the time I got there and although I was doing my best 'Dad run' (Ref: Peter Kay) across the main concourse, when it came to the escalators I suddenly realised where I was and couldn't bring myself to bolt or even walk up them. I'm sure we've all had that feeling before, however it reminded me of a video I saw about a month ago...

Candid Camera proves the Sheeple Theory correct.

You can often see this happen in real life when you get in the lift on the tube and you are unsure which side the doors are going to open. The regular commuters will always know and if you're not observant enough to see the 'Exit' sign you are tempted to follow them and most of the time you do. It was this sense of unease which is clearly shown in the video, that got me thinking.

I've blogged before about what I consider to be primordial feelings that are so engrained you can't avoid them, especially if you are not expecting the situation that makes you feel said emotion.

So I was wondering how this emotion could be used to make people respond to marketing messages. There is of course a fine line to tread between illustrating the benefits of a product in a clever way and psychological manipulation and this could in no way be the basis for a long term campaign, but on a tactical/stunt level this could be very effective.

Which products could you do it with? A select few I think, but initial thoughts point towards fashion and art brands. Fashion brands like Diesel could really play on the whole non-conformity theme and position themselves as an alternative to norm.

The actual execution would have to be guerilla in its execution because word would spread fast so I'm thinking some sort of mobile group that targeted people when they were in their routine. Commuting would be a key area, the supermarket (maybe a whole bunch of people could start wearing baskets on their heads?!!), the gym, the cinema (everyone sits facing the wall?!) You get the idea.

Not sure it would ever get signed off, but it would certainly create some buzz.

Go go gadget camera!!

Why they had to call it an 'I-Ball' I have no idea, but I love the idea, especially as it can be fired out of a grenande launcher!

Monday, 10 November 2008

I'm no plumber, but seriously...

...what the hell does this mean?!!

Found in RDF's office loo if anyone needs their 'fused spur' fix!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

New and improved!

The statement makes no sense at all because if something is new then it can't be improved, however I've seen some examples recently where advertising has used current advertising and re-invented it making altogether better and arguably more effective.

The piece that piqued my interest and the basis for this post was what the Independent did in response to The Times' campaign late last month which they called 'Ahead of The Times'.

I love this idea of guerrilla marketing. I think it's so effective because it works on the back of someone else’s effort (i.e. £3m Times' marketing budget) but delivers something wholly original through the art of reinvention. Whilst this idea doesn't work for a longer-term campaign, if you have planners with good reactions, media buyers with good relationships and open-minded clients you can be on to a winner with this formula. Examples from the past that I think are brilliant:

Examples from the past that I think are brilliant:

Pot Noodle:


and my favourite of all time, Tango:

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Take on me - what it really means

I love this. It's simple, a bit puerile but overall very funny.

I realise the last couple of posts have been a bit flimsy but this one has sparked an idea for a post about the art of re-invention and whether or not 'sweded' versions of ads can be more effective than the original.

Will post tomorrow, promise.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Career change?

Anyone fancy applying for this job?!

When it comes to copy, the devil is in the detail...

Monday, 29 September 2008

Every penny counts...

I've been meaning to put this post up for a a while and every time I see a shiny new penny in my loose change I berate myself for not getting my arse in gear. So here it is, a little piece on a fantastic piece of design that will be seen by see by millions upon millions of people everyday, will outlive it's creator and even has the royal seal of approval!

What I'm talking about are the new set of coins that have been created by desingner Matt Dent and have begun to be minted this year.

I first heard about the whole project at Interesting this year when Matt did a 5 minute talk on how he had entered the 'New Reverses' competition back in 2005 and then how his ideas came to fruition. More details on the processes here.

As with all things I'm a massive fan of simplicity. I feel that if something needs justification (especially in communications) then it's already failed. This design however is perfectly simple it requires no explanation.

I also like it because it takes it's inspiration from days of yore. I remember studying heraldry at school aged 11 and it was fascinating. All the different rules you have to follow and what each symbol represents and the importance of the different colours available. The Royal Shield of Arms is obviously a much bigger crest and one we see a lot of...

The first to get a this design are 1p coins and I'm yet to see any more at the moment but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

One thing that Matt says on his blog that really resonates is:

'I could imagine the coins being played with, looked at and enjoyed in a way which was foreign to coinage, and could imagine their appeal for kids messing with them in school as much as for folks in a pub'

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lost in translation

This morning we had a new shower installed in the office (which is an epic event in itself as I could write a whole piece about shower rage) but I couldn't help but laugh when I read the safety instructions which appealed to my puerile side...

It read like condom instructions that had been translated from Chinese to English via Babel Fish and reminded me of those signs you often get emailed such as this...

More can be found here.

Monday, 8 September 2008

What's in the mystery box...?

Image courtesy

On Saturday I went to pick up a parcel from Post Office HQ and whilst standing in the enormous queue and watching people come out with parcels/packages/not enough ID I got thinking. Receiving a parcel taps into a very raw human emotion that I don't think anyone can avoid and is so powerful it takes you through a whole range of emotions before plonking you back where you started, but hopefully slightly changed for the better.

What I'm talking about is the power of anticipation. That encompassing feeling when you get delivered a parcel which you weren't expecting and you have no idea what's in it. It brings back all those very early memories of trying to sit patiently before opening your presents at Christmas or knowing that your new bike is being picked up by Dad on his way home from work and will be there when you get in from school (not sure why I was doing longer hours than Dad, but it was a memory that stuck).

More recently I think it's still possible to re-create this feeling, but I think we all suffer that pessimism that is so rife in London where everything is not quite good enough. Nobody seems to get stupidly excited like you did as a kid, even for the briefest of moments when you suddenly remember you've got the night of nights planned and the day off the next day. Suddenly everything can go to hell and you are fully consumed in your own world, untouchable and indestructible.

I used to feel this a lot about the most stupid of stuff like knowing I was having steak for dinner that night and having a giggle on the way to work. The Americans seem to have it right and whilst they can sometimes sound insincere they certainly know how how to get excited by things. Ok, this exuberance might jar with a lot of us but it’s also strangely infectious if you’re a part of it rather than from it.

I believe there are four main stages to finding out 'what's in the mystery box'.

1) expectation/surprise - both as powerful as each other, although the former can lead to a much greater anti-climax.

2) reveal-ation - not a word I know, but it's the moment when you open the box/rip off the wrapping paper/undress the girl and what you've been waiting for (for however long) is revealed.

3) the hug and roll – i.e. does the feeling last? Is it the gift that keeps on giving? Does it matter?

4) the love in – does the surprise excite you so much that you can’t help but brag to your friends about it? I know the first thing I did on my bike was cycle it straight next door and refuse to give my mate Rich a go until tea time.

I hope that you’ve already drawn upon your own experiences of opening the mystery box to understand my viewpoint on this but what I also hope is that there is the understanding that this emotion is currently a bit lacking in both the way we interact with brands and their communications with us as well as the way we connect with one another.

There are exceptions of course, just look at the hysteria around the iPhone, and I hope there is a way that brand communications can be developed to make people feel the same way they did aged five, sat under the Christmas tree.

In this day of mass communication and greater consumer understanding this is an increasingly tough remit and I think the answer will come through technology and continued re-invention. Even if what’s in the mystery box is fantastic and the person you’re giving it to knows what’s inside, it’s the barrier of the box that must be utilised to it’s fullest. Timing and scant details lead to the best type of intrigue, just look at Cloverfield. Talking of which JJ Abrams, makes a fantastic TED speech on this very topic. It's all about getting your potential recipients talking about the box in their own language, making up their own theories about what's inside.

And because you can never have enough Family Guy in your life and there always appears to be a clip you can refer to I leave you with this. (good throughout but 2min 40sec is where it gets relevant)...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

If you're ever bored at work...

Spend 5 minutes on this site.

It'll put everything in perspective and probably make you laugh. My favourite today:

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Wish you were here redux...

About a year ago I talked about an idea I had for an out of office widget for Facebook that would see your friends receive a message in an OOO style if they got in touch via a message or wrote on your wall.

Although we soon worked out that the original concept was a little bit technically ambitious I've managed to convince the client to sign off a pared down version that I think will work just as well.

There will be less in the way of OOO but more 'I'm off on holiday soon, this is where I'm going and looking how frickin hot the weather is going to be!!' This widget will sit on users profile pages (although annoyingly new Facebook has just hidden all apps in the 'Boxes' section of profiles) and whenever anyone visits your page they will see how long until your holiday as well as what the weather is like over there. Friends will then get the chance to use the widget themselves and put it on their pages/blogs/websites etc etc.

We're using Gigya as a platform to build this so that we can put it across as many platforms as possible and the whole process has been fairly straight forward, although we did have a few issues trying to integrate various feeds which update the weather and destinations etc.

There are a couple of font tweaks still required and I'll update accordinlgy but take a look for yourselves and let me know what you think!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The new Nike ad?

Saw this whilst killing some time on Kontraband this morning and thought it would make an awesome sports brand ad...

Now whilst I don't wholly agree with using viral ideas as inspiration, if creatives continue to use these raw, user generated platform for ideas generation then they should at least 'fess up and incorporate the original people in the making of the ad, instead of bastardising the orginal and making it look shit. i.e.

Instead of using Kristopher Storm to design (and get paid for) the new Carphone Warehouse ad:

and you guys who ripped off Flight of the Conchords for Coors Light, stop it, stop it right now, and come up with something original you lazy bastards.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

At the next tree, turn left, collect the fruit...

Image courtesy.

I was reading an article on Thursday night about how games are being specifically made to coincide with the proliferation of GPS on mobiles. Basically the premise is that by using your GPS enabled mobile you can go to any open space (park, beach, disused airfield) download a specific GPS game (classics such as pacman) and then by using the built in technology you (your phone) turns into pacman and you have to run around the place trying to collect the fruit whilst avoiding the ghosts and dog poo.

It's such a simple idea, but it blew me away. What a fantastic way of getting kids to play outdoors whilst still being tethered to their beloved iPhones. From an advertising perspective there are certainly opportunities for brands to get on the back of this. I can just imagine someone like Innocent coming up with a game at one of their Fetes that involved collecting ingredients for a smoothie whilst avoiding nasty sweeteners and preservatives!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Send in the clouds...

make your own at

Monday, 4 August 2008

Silence is golden...

I was in the pub with a friend yesterday and the Grand Prix happened to be on, and whilst watching the ads (with the sound muted) in between Hamilton getting a flat and Massa's engine blowing up, something dawned on me. Some ads just DO NOT work without audio commentary.

The ad break was so short my re-call was fairly minimal but it got me thinking. Car ads work without a v/o although they often need a commentator to highlight the points of difference that may be on offer however some ads (interestingly the more conceptual ones) don't need anything audio for the message to be understood.

Examples of ads that work:

And those that don't:

I think when ads are tested they should be played without any audio to see if audiences still get it. Something tells me some of the time they wont...

P.S. If you have a bit of a fetish for TV Ads visit this site.

Monday, 28 July 2008

A is for Apple

Last week we had the guys from Work come over and take us through their 'Fission Training' which is something they've designed for our agency as a guide to conducting successful brain storming sessions.

We practiced various techniques which all worked very well and got people thinking of some awesome ideas for what were fairly mundane topics at times.

One technique that resonated was the 'Random Whack' technique which involved using pre-school style flash cards with pictures of a dog or egg etc and using this as a starting point for an idea. It was so effective! I think that maybe people could come up with ideas based on the card and hide behind it and blame the picture for what they might consider a crap idea.

This follows on to another point that came out of the meeting which was that you should always try and include people in the brainstorm who have nothing to lose i.e. members of your finance team or reception, people who don't necessarily give a toss about what you think of their idea!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Brief 2008 - have we started something??

So after what felt like months, Brief 2008 finally happened last Thursday at the Design Council. I really wasn't sure what to expect and was having all sorts of day dreams about the night, most of which ended in disaster so was pleasantly surprised when everyone who said they would turn up did, and no-one got too pissed and made a fool out themselves (although I think Ant was giving it a good go!).

We ended up with 8 teams (The Young Guns (aka Spandex!), The Naked Mashups, Rapier, DLKW, The Latecomers (Banner), The Randoms (mashup of VCCP, Iris, Omnicom etc), Loft Digital and Magic-ish (creative pair from BBH and Hyperhappen).

The judges were invaluable and threw in some excellent curve balls in the form of reducing the time by half, 10 minutes in, and asking some nasty questions from time to time which kept all the contestants on their toes.

The brief itself for Time Bank, threw up some really interesting questions including a tough target audience (young apathetic youths) and the responses were broad reaching and surprisingly insightful given the time available.

There could only be one winner however and this accolade was given to The Young Guns who gave an excellent presentation which was full of energy and certainly pushed the brief!

Overall feedback has been excellent and although it wasn't really on the cards, there will definitely be another Brief before the year is out. There are many lessons learnt from this one but the overall energy and competitiveness is not something you see all that often and I'm keen to replicate it so watch this space!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Band of the week - Vampire Weekend

for all you trendy festival groupies I'm sure you've been humming along to these guys for months but my sidekick Anisha introduced me to them last week and I'm slightly addicted as a result!

Just found out tickets are going on sale this Friday, right in the middle of our company AGM, typical.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Ni hao!

So Wednesday night is Mandarin night. A full three hours of trying to master a language that has approximately 60,000 characters (or so they think, nobody actually knows!) due in part to the fact there are four different tones which can make the same word mean VERY different things!!

I'm in the middle of a 10 week course which should result in me having a vague idea of basic greetings, asking directions and ordering dim sum. (as you can probably tell I have no ideas of grandeur when it comes to my skills!)

This week we learnt how to introduce ourselves, say where we're from and ask after one another's well being.

Jokes aside it really is such good fun! Ming (our teacher) is a hard task master as she literally doesn't stop for the full three hours but she likes a good laugh (yes that is a picture of her laughing and not showing off her fillings!)

The other guy is David. He's an accountant and has real trouble saying the number 4 which phonetically sounds like the first part of the word 'sew'er.

More updates to follow and if there's anybody working for W+K Shanghai (or the like, those are the only guys who I can think of with an office out there) who are looking for an energetic digital planner, here I am!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Return to the sandpit

Yesterday I happened to cycle past the first flat I ever lived in when I moved to London, suffice to say I hadn't been back nearly two years and I was suddenly gripped with that feeling that you get when you go back to your old school. In many ways it's indescribable but I think you know what I mean when I say I felt slightly apprehensive mixed with excitement as well as a sense that I shouldn't be there. It was odd and whilst I looked up at the windows and balcony all the memories of the parties and fun times flooded back and I felt immensely warm whilst chuckling to myself. People walking past must have thought I was slightly unhinged as I looked longingly at a block of flats grinning away.

One thing that I did think however was how great it would be if you could tap into this feeling through some sort of communication? Now obviously the biggest stumbling block would be that everyone's feelings are acutely personal (old schools, houses/flats, ex's etc) so whatever was being said and whichever medium was used would have to combine ambiguity with specifics. Ambiguity, to avoid wastage of ideas on un-receptive audiences and specifics, which tap into the key feelings that are generated in these situations.

Immediately I'm thinking that this might be something that is user generated at its core and maybe facilitated through the brand, for example Orange could offer users the facilities to put together a slide show of their memories of school which would include photos of old teachers and perhaps classrooms and playgrounds. From this I could see other people from the same class/school chipping in and giving their opinions and versions of the school/events etc. This is quite a large scale example and I imagine it would be for primary and secondary schools however that's not to say it wouldn't work on a really small scale personal level. i.e. destinations of childhood holidays, the first place you met, maybe track down your first car?!!!

Bit of a stream of consciousness and lacking in details but I think if it worked this would create a very neat network that would be fed from all sorts of different sources and could allow for people to share their early experiences using modern technology as a facilitator.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Where the party's at!

Just read about this quite cool technology that the guys over at City Sense have come up with. With the proliferation of GPS on mobile, tools like this were always going to be developed.

Although we're fairly habitual in our drinking habits (especially on a Friday after work) I think knowing where the hotspots are or aren't (depending on what sort of night you're looking for) could really help you to shake up where you normally hang out. Currently it's only on Blackberries so the current hotspots in London would probably be Bishops Gate and Holborn, but things should improve after the 11th of July...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A little less consternation, a little more traction

I attended Interesting 2008 on Saturday and had a great time. There were talks ranging from how horses can get scared by the most mundane of things (crisp packets) to a quite beautiful demonstration of a Technics Zoetrope. There's already been plenty of coverage of this so I thought I'd just comment on the aspects I found most 'interesting'.

In order of appearance. Firstly there was Collyn Ahart Chipperfield who declared the 'death of nostalgia' and that 'authenticity was soon to die'. She supported these statements with examples of fashion trends and the innocence of children. The one thing that really hit home was (and is the theme of much of this piece) is that we should stop writing narratives about who we are and more about who we want to become. This idea resonated somewhat.

To help concretise my notions of understanding what you could become we were given a talk by Steve Hardy about what it means to be a 'Creative Generalist'. Again lots of resonation going on here, and his examples made me realise that getting massively over excited about various subjects but coming away with only a superficial understanding is actually not such a bad thing. Long live the Jack of all trades!

Jenny spoke about Churchill which I thought was a brave topic to talk about as it's easy to use examples that many people are familiar with, however whilst alluding to his satirical wit (drunk/ugly, drinking poisoned coffee etc) she told us about some other slightly less well known attributes of the great man. She ended it beautifully by saying that courage was defined by Churchill as not only having the courage to stand up and talk but also being able to sit down and listen. It reminded me of a piece Ant wrote which I often think about in meetings and interviews.

James put together some beautiful animation using his Technics Zoetrope. I love the way he used something so simple to recreate a classic form of animation with such fantastic results. Maybe nostalgia isn't dead after all Collyn?

Less serious pieces came from Anna and James who spoke about funny words and booze respectively and at one point I found myself playing a Guardian Branded recorder on stage with 29 others!

Spent most of the day chatting to Clive who's a freelance brand planner over from the states doing some work. We had some good chats especially when we got down the pub.

So in summary, I 2008 was a fun day. Met some interesting people and it helped me to develop and rationlise some personal preconceptions. Bring on 'Brief 2008!!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Paint the dunks red...

Image courtesy

Nike are offering their customers the chance to get a unique pair of hi-tops designed based on the two most striking colours from a photo which they can text in to a special short code. Not sure I'm convinced, I mean how crazy are colours going to be for you to want them sprayed all over your shoes. Before I did any research into this concept I thought it was going to be something like what Anya Hindmarch does (don't ask me how I know about this) where you could scan a picture of your ex on the toe and go and score some hardcore goals in a muddy field, but alas it isn't. It's a good start though none the less.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Welcome Czech Tourism!!

Saw this on South Bank on Saturday. Not sure how welcome 'Czech Tourism' will feel when they read this, although the language is so colloquial they might just see the international sign for love and feel touched that the British had decorated the table for their arrival!

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Surfer in your Pocket

I had a chat with a nice man called Rik from Pocket Surfer yesterday who told me about the new version of their product, The Pocket Surfer 2. Basically it's a mini lap top that has no other functionality other than to surf the web, hence the name.

To be honest I found the experience a bit basic and un-rewarding. The screen was very grainy (although I was told the new version was improved - why show me an old version then?!) and for something that would be used by the occasional surfer who was looking for a bite sized online experience for a bit of entertainment for example, you can't even watch videos on it or listen to music!! The hook for the consumer is that for handing over £150 you get what is a quite cheaply made piece of kit and free internet for a year.

Their argument for why this is better than the iPhone for example is the amount of money we are charged for data. While I agree with this, I'd much rather pay a bit more cash every month which might work out as £10 a month (cheaper than £12.50 a month with Pocket surfer) and I get a phone and all the other cool functionality that the iPhone offers.

Ultimately I was being offered advertising opportunities and whilst their targeting is quite specific (location, direct competitor web sites etc) there are only 12,500 users which is far from convincing I'm afraid.

Bring on July 11th!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Inspiration Anyone?

The second instalment from the Microsoft crew. I enjoyed them both, I think they work well to personify all the mumbo-jumbo that us planners blog about all day. Lots more info on the website.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Band of the Week...

Heard Thomas Tantrum on Zane Lowe on Wednesday night and I think I'm a fan.

Weirdly, she's got a voice a bit like Kate Nash blended with Frida Ohrn from Oh Laura

Favourite track 'Shake It, Shake It'.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Don't mess with the best

Saw this ad for Coors Light last night and it made me angry!

come on kids, please try and come up with something original...

and if you've never heard of Flight of the Conchords you should be taken outside and beaten with a hose!

Monday, 2 June 2008

One Nation Under CCTV

Just read this article about 'The Get Out Clause' using some of Britain's '13 million CCTV' with particular reference to those in Manchester to film the video for their new single. They demanded the footage under the Freedom of Information Act and managed to put together what looks fairly polished and cost them relatively nothing. Song's not great, I think they're trying to be a new Embrace but with more hair and in the words of Not The Nine O'clock News...

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Genuine Article

The more I watch these, the more I'm convinced that this is another cracking idea to come out of Fallon.

I'll be really interested to see how they roll this out and whether or not the guys will be turning up in The Forum anytime soon?!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


Image courtesy

More to follow on this...

Ghost whisperer...

Image courtesy.

Was amazed when I read this, especially as the possibilities are infinite and somewhat scary. Imagine walking down the street and suddenly hearing a voice in your head inviting you to take advantage of this week's BOGOF in TESCO? Freaky. They'll never allow it but it could work really well for some guerrilla marketing although the equipment took 10 years to develop and is going to cost more than just getting 20 flunkies to spray clean all the pavements in the area instead.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Monday, 28 April 2008

The walls have ears!!

Saw this at the weekend and thought it was neat. Not sure if it's going to encourage people to drill holes in the exhausts of their WXR's and see if they can get it over a tonne but from the vantage point of the top of the bus I enjoyed watching it in action.

This appears to be a europe wide campaign

The Clik Clik

I saw these guys on Saturday night at The Bloomsbury Bowling lanes. I was really impressed. They're young, with some funky bass lines and great percussion (live and samples). It combines Jamie T with The Gorillaz (for the bass riffs). The girl's (Maya) vocals are a great foil to the lead singer's (Stefan) spoken ghetto vocals.

Anyway enough from me I think Stephen Merchant sums them up pretty well:

'The Clik Clik are Stefan Abingdon, Maya Yianni, Henry Bauckham and Dru Wakely– four teenagers whose infectious combination of classic British songwriting and their own smash and grab DIY production aesthetic has already got tongues wagging in the capital. They are the product of an exciting new, musically diverse Britain. Writing and producing everything, they make music that sound like all your favourite iTunes play lists rolled into one.'

Find out more here: The Clik Clik

Monday, 21 April 2008

Surely clients can see through this?

Image courtesy

I found this on the JWT site today (click on the Ford campaign from the scrolling menu) and I couldn't help but feel it was like the intro to some ridiculous reality TV programme.
‘It'll be disruptive and shocking to people, in a good way', claims one of the vox pops, and I’m thinking to myself, will it? really? I think the only thing that would be shocking was if a client was watching the so called ‘no holds barred’, ‘candid’ films and saw quite how much they were slagged off by the creative teams or maybe how little time is spent on the ideas.

Now I'm not in the habit of slagging off other agencies, JWT have got a good reputation and I'm sure on an account like Ford they pull some very long days making sure they get it right, but seriously, putting together a trailer like this is just teeing yourself up for ridicule. If I was a client with any marketing sense who had a vague idea of the way media is headed (permission marketing, conversations with consumers, etc etc) I would demand this type of honesty from my agency from the outset. The fact they have to put something like this together just screams 'contrived' at me and I would be less inclined to get involved with an agency that feels it has to tout itself in this manner.

Ultimately, it is the work that counts and the results that work should achieve. I couldn't give a toss how what processes/discussions/shocking debates are involved in producing the work, I just want to make sure the people working on my brand understand the brief, maintain good honest communication and produce work that both stimulates and communicates with potential consumers. Don't give me all this dramatic 'Real World' style footage, it's only going to make me think you're all a little bit frayed around the edges or smacked up on Columbia’s finest.

Brand elocution: The Bloggersphere

I've been giving brand/consumer conversations(in particular blogging) a lot of thought recently and I wanted to share my thoughts on where I think we are now and what we should be doing moving forward in this part of the world of 'social' communication.

I've spoken quite a bit previously about how we should go about talking to potential customers and brand advocates using this media and I'm sure by now we've grasped the basics of 'Permission Marketing'.

Therefore I want to talk more specifically about striking up a conversation in the bloggersphere. I think there are three main approaches when attempting to access this arena which take the rules of social interaction to another level but still adhere to the basics.

Firstly there is the brand association route. This involves convincing an author/moderator to have specific content (normally in the form of an editorial plug or display ads) on their site. Quite often bloggers are unaware of the value their readers/commentators present to brands so this can often be a cost effective way of targeting a dedicated audience. I'm seeing more companies cropping up who are capitalising on this niche audience but the results are not concrete as yet so we will have to see. I think the companies that will offer the most to advertisers are those who bring brand awareness and buzz metrics as well as creative display solutions to the party.

The second approach is more of a PR exercise that involves offering established blogs exclusive content that you hope they will run with and advocate. This works best for brands who can offer readers exclusive insights into their products (Electronics, Films, Music etc) and in many ways is a good way of judging public opinion before something is launched. Be careful that it doesn't back fire though.

The third approach is creating something truly memorable that the bloggersphere can't help but talk about it. This doesn't necessarily have to be something main stream but give those who are interested enough information for them to try and fill in the gaps. It's intrigue and specualtion that will get you talk about more than you could ever hope for…

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

no more sneaky campaigns

no more cloak and dagger

It's all for you...

Artist David Horvitz has produced an inspirational page which gives you the chance to indirectly produce art (by sending David off on little missions) and owning the results!

It's great, I got myself a mail box and a secret!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Earth Hour

do your bit...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Regret the things you did rather than the things you didn't...

The night before last I went to an IPA talk consisting of a Q&A with Sir Martin Sorrell, Lord Tim Bell and Sir Frank Lowe. It was an inspirational talk and you could really see how different the three men are but at the same time how they would all be able to work together. (They represented the three key elements of media media agency, PR and creative).

I was really impressed by Tim Bell who was calculated in what he said but also hugely inspirational. He actually ended the talk by answering the question 'What advice would you give an inspiring ad bod?' with what sounded like a rehearsed speech due to its smoothness with the main thrust of it being,

'Don't regret anything, get yourself out there having a f*cking good time and then come back, give him a ring and he'd go for a beer with you to talk about it!'

I think it's about time I did that.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Social media buys itself a suit...

Found this post at Gavin's blog and it brought home how social media is changing. It's not a ground breaking evolution that businesses are using social media to promote their products and services, but it gives us an understanding of how you don't have to be promoting the next Apple creation, tickets to Bon Jovi or a degree from Phoenix University to use social media. Find me at LinkedIn here.

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