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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Not been on for a bit, but haven't been uninspired. Russell Davies snet me through to a link from a US org called TED (Technology Entertainment Design). The mini highlights were pretty thought provoking. Particularly the Botswana Population Chimney - not sure I fully understand it but it seems to show that big holes the population will cause lots of strife.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

ads get brands noticed / brands get ads noticed

Read an interesting paper on the way people with PVRs consume ads. Basically it seems to show that whereas in the good old days ads built brands. Now those fast forwarding through the ad breaks will stop to see ads from brands they like. Les Binet refers to this as the Rosser Reeves effect.

It seems that ads with a great legacy of entertainment (think Stella) or those that have strong relevance to the individual get picked up. Those that have weak brands or are in low interest categories just get lost...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Paradox of Choice and Discipline

I read this article by an old ad man called Winston Fletcher in the Guardian on Saturday. He wrote about how we are all swamped with choice. You know it, its an old theme; 30,000 lines in the average supermarket, too much choice, leads to confusion, frustration and irritation.

On the other hand, we also see examples of brands telling us what to do, how to eat, where to live, what to wear, how to raise our children (think Supernanny) and even the rise of a new authoritarian style in advertising. I referred to curated consumption before. But yesterday I heard someone complaining that there were too many different people telling how to live her life and what to do and she couldn't keep up.

So here's the dilemma: Too much choice, which makes people seek Editors and Curators to tell them what to do. Too much being told what to do by the wide range of personal and public Editor-Curators... What does this imply?

1) Greater self-responsibility for taking onboard or rejecting choices, offers and ideas?
2) Total shut-down and ignoring of constant approaches and solicitations?
3) More reliance on an Uber-Lifestyle Editor brand?

Probably all of the above. But I'd be interested to see number 3.

Kimberley commented that there is an interesting question of the role government plays in choice and direction. In health, government wants to provide choice (eg over hospital referral), but at the same time it needs to play a role in directing public health (eg ban on smoking, 5 a day fruit and veg), without being labelled a nanny state.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Web Wormhole

There's a scene in Alice in Wonderland where she falls down a hole I think and discovers an unceasingly intricate alternative reality. That's how I feel after playing with this Blog, discovering Squidoos and G*d knows what else besides. If you want to create content online its SOOOOO easy, and then there's so much more you can do. If only I had the time to create content all day!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Don't Fight It, Feel It

I keep getting more and more impressed by just how much creation, mashing-up and remixing is going on at the moment. Particularly in the online space. There's this great video site where people upload their films to share, with lots of niche interest stuff and re-edited films leaving you unsure as to which was the original version or what its true meaning was...
It just seems to be growing exponentially.

There's a similar trend offline too, with PSP addicts rejigging their hardware to make it play older console games as well as doing loads of tasks that weren't originally planned. Apparently Sony don't like it. But that's ALL WRONG. The point is to encourage your communities to rejig your stuff making it more relevant and valuable to them. Don't fight it, Feel it!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Five Years 'Below The Line' and You Learnt WHAT!

Today marks my last day at WWAV Rapp Collins. Five and half years just drifted by. I lost some hair, I gained some weight. I learned some cool things, I forgot some important things about myself, went through joyous times of sheer professional happiness and experienced searing bitter resentment. Not quite as bad as this person though.

I've enjoyed learning about marketing, about brands and businesses, about profit and customers. And about Creativity. And about harnessing it for commercial reasons. I met some great people who taught me a lot. I also met some pretty silly people who taught me a lot about how people interact, and how groups of Humans work - think Chimpanzees in the jungle...

Its impossible for me to have gotten to today without having gone through the last five years. So here are five good things I'd like to remember and take-away from here:

1. Coaching is good. It's always worth going the extra mile to brief a younger / less experienced person. It encourages them to deliver super work. It inspires you with new ideas. It grows the whole.

2. Single-mindedness is next to Godliness. People often just aren't that interested in what companies want to tell them. The best you can hope for is to convey a very simple message that shows the man in the street what's in it for him. The best direct marketing is so simple and persuasive that it affects peoples' behaviour.

3. Surround yourself with bright and dynamic people who have a vision for change. It's great when there's someone you can learn from, be inspired by and react with. It sucks when there's no one to feel inspired by. Which leads me on to my next point.

4. Inspire yourself. You can't spend your whole life looking for a role model. Its time to be your own generator. Read widely, challenge yourself, never accept compromises that you know in your heart are wrong. It may only be marketing but its good to passionate nontheless.

5. Understand the mental model of the organisation you're in. What? I mean, understand that there is a way of thinking about how marketing works (or any other discipline for that matter). Then challenge the model. Is it right? Is that the latest model of how things work? Or is it out-moded dogma. Make up your own dogma. Then change it.

That's it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Viral may be cheap but it does not mean its good

I got sent the OK GO viral video today. Apparently it only cost them £13 for about 2.5 million downloads. Not bad for a huge distribution and living proof of the Long Tail economic theory. But frankly as a piece of viral marketing, rather boring.

And then there's this French one, which just seems to be an excuse to use the low cost of the medium to avoid having to keep the idea short.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


I love the way you can use the Internet to monitor what is going on in the world minute by minute. By what I like even more is when you can see what other people are searching on the web for. The ten by ten site is pretty fun way of seeing whats getting people going.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Viral Schmiral

So, here I am, about to join one of the most famous ad agencies in the UK, perhaps the world.

And already I find suprisingly little attention being paid to media that lie outside the client's comfort zone. I hope I'll be able to think a little more broadly about how we reach people. For starters, I got sent this cool site by Ildut Loarer - a good source of viral campaigns.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Less Choice and More Authority

I spent a lot of today pondering over people's desire for Curators / Editors (companies, people, websites, shops). These brands help people navigate the sea of choice that is out there. The thing is you see, people want less choice, not more. It's just that the choices they want to have are between a few good things, rather than lots of mediocre things. What would you rather have, 30 varieties of chocolate cookies or simply the best fresh cookies that taste just like Mom made them?

Allied to that I read today about brands that are taking a more authoritarian line. You know, rather than simply empowering you to confuse yourself, they actually tell you what to do. Think about the Supernanny or Queer Eye for the Straight guy. So the future is, less choice and more being told what to do... great.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Fill the Gaping Void

I quite like this blog by an angry chap. Very embittered and focused on the marketing world but good cartoons and sometimes thought inspiring.

Having said that on further reflection the following comes to mind; People tell me that in the bigger world that exists outside the blogsphere, hardly anyone is reading them, writing them or has heard of them. I don't deny its easier to publish material than it was when you had to programme your own website - Christ, even I've got one.

But it will be a long time yet til they really become the dominant mode of conversation. I mean what has more imapct Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine or what your friend told you over a beer? Big dose of reality check from the outside world please.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thoughts inspired by seeing a Play

We went to see a play last night, called Pillars of the Community by Ibsen. A well produced play but the interesting thing for me was how the themes of Truth, Corruption and Redemption are as true now as they were when a Norwegian playwright wrote about them in the 19th Century. Nothing really changes about Human nature does it?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Mind Atlas

I'd blogged before. Back in the summer of '05. But I didn't write it every day, nor put in my fave links... Have a look at it if you like

Friday, February 03, 2006

The first twigs

I wanted to collect some of the things I've been interested in lately, so here are a few of my top links at present;