UK adspend growth reliant on digital investment - Brand Republic UK adspend will grow by 4.1% this year and 3.9% in 2008, with digital investment almost entirely responsible for the growth, according to a forecast by media agency Carat, while a separate forecast by Universal McCann points to a poor outlook in the US market ...
The Apple buzz machine is in full swing as the much-anticipated launch of the iPhone approaches. The initial reviews are extremely positive, and the word of mouth and positive opinions out there in the blogosphere doesn't hurt either.
As always, I like to check out what David Pogue, Walt Mossberg and the folks at Engadget have to say.
As it turns out, much of the hype and some of the criticisms are justified. The iPhone is revolutionary; it’s flawed. It’s substance; it’s style. It does things no phone has ever done before; it lacks features found even on the most basic phones.
We have been testing the iPhone for two weeks, in multiple usage scenarios, in cities across the country. Our verdict is that, despite some flaws and feature omissions, the iPhone is, on balance, a beautiful and breakthrough handheld computer. Its software, especially, sets a new bar for the smart-phone industry, and its clever finger-touch interface, which dispenses with a stylus and most buttons, works well, though it sometimes adds steps to common functions.
The iPhone's most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism. After five days of use, Walt -- who did most of the testing for this review -- was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years. This was partly because of smart software that corrects typing errors on the fly.
ScribeMedia » Ad Agency of the Future Hmmm ... Agencies of the future or dinosaurs? You decide. "Digital agency execs explain how their unique business models are custom-built to react quickly to current and future challenges."
This Ain’t No Disco A very worthy Contagious Magazine pick of the week: "A site dedicated to taking you within the walls of some of the greatest thought factories in the world. Ever walked past an agency and wondered what lies beyond that impressive facade? Well wonder no longer you little nosy parkers ..."
Rocketsurgeon's Music 2.0 Directory If Mashable was subjective, this is exhaustive. "The Music 2.0 Directory is a comprehensive listing of all the companies and tools that are participating in the new music revolution.
:: PORTAL DA PROPAGANDA :: The second most-awarded agency in Cann, little known outside Brazil, is Sao Paulo shop Africa Propaganda, owned and run by Brazilian adman Nizan Guanaes and his advertising holding company Grupo Ypy.
It should come as no surprise that the dinosaurs/traditional agencies are having a lot of trouble. The main reason is that most of them can't admit what Elwyn Gladstone, the new-brand marketing director at Grant in New York, said to the NYTimes.
The category is so crowded, we really wanted to do something that would set us apart from all the other vodkas. Most importantly, we think our target consumer, 25 to 35 years old, is on the Web much more than on TV or in print.
It's nice to read about people who get it and are trying to affect change within their (oft well-established) businesses. Kudos as well to Dead As We Know It and Special Ops Media for helping Elwyn deliver something, er, special.
Here are a few quick summaries of the sites/campaigns mentioned in the article:
Reyka vodka William Grant & Sons Agency: Dead As We Know It http://www.reykavodka.com My rating: 8/10 Quick comments: Outstanding. Fun. Memorable. Stars local singer Hafdis Huld. She's very sweet, but also a bit mischievous. Media plan targeted on hip/edgy sites. Example banner here. Online-only launch is generating buzz. Chivas Pernod Ricard Agency: TBA Global Events and MSN http://thisisthelife.msn.com/ My rating: 0/10 Quick comments: Feels fake. The product of TV-based creative being repurposed for the web. It looks ok. It is nice and slick. Just like Madison Avenue. And what’s the deal with doing Chivas on MSN, anyway? Media planning gets a zero de conduit. Seagram’s Gin and Juice Pernod Ricard Agency: Brand Architecture International/TBWA http://whatdoyoubringtotheparty.com My rating: 3/10 Quick comments: Nice idea. Crap execution. Likely conversation: “Hey, I heard photo galleries and Flickr are cool with the kids. We should get one of those, too.”
Bud.tv and Bud Bucks Anheuser-Busch Agency: DDB for Bud.TV Does Bud Bucks Suck? and Is A-B Canning Bud.TV? George’s rating: File under: Never had a chance ... “CEO August Busch IV today said the No. 1 brewer expects its pioneering online television network to "fade" during the second half of the year.The latest in a string of online misfires …”
Crispin Porter's honor was based on obtaining the highest score for its entries in the Cyber Lions competition, where it picked up one Gold Lion, one Silver Lion, and two Bronze Lions.
Crispin's Gold Lion was won for its Volkswagen "____ Like a Rabbit" campaign, in which users filled in the blank in the display ad, with different result car actions then displayed on the screen. It received the Silver Lion for Slim Jim meat sticks' "Snapalope" banner, which invited users to click on a string to try to catch an elusive moving creature, the "snapalope." The agency pointed out that the banner drove 60% of the traffic at shaa.com, home of the Slim Jims-sponsored Snapalope Hunting Association of America. Both Bronze Lions also went to Volkswagen campaigns.
"We wanted to find the Titanium Lion winner before the Titanium jury finds it," Tom Eslinger, the jury president and Saatchi & Saatchi, Auckland's worldwide creative director, interactive and emerging media, said.
Photo credit: Diesel
Farfar (a great agency in Stockholm that I worked with on the Red Bull Big Air event a few years ago) won the Grand Prix in the web site and interactive campaigns sub-sector for "Heidies 15MB of fame" for Diesel. R/GA New York's work on Nike+ won the Grands Prix for online advertising.
The analysts/investors call revealed quite a bit (or did it?) as Semel framed it as "a personal decision as much as a personnel decision." How typically slick of him. Hollywood to the end. Well, at least he was consistent. Here's a link to PaidContent's full audio of the conference call (21 MB, 47 minutes).
This is long overdue, and many people like Rafat have speculated that this would happen especially since Brad Garlinghouse's Peanut Butter manifesto fanned the flames. In that post I wrote, "My guess is that given Yahoo!'s current situation, CEO Terry Semel and SVP Brad Garlinghouse cannot coexist at the company."
Over on the WSJ, Kara Swisher speculates about who may/may not be next. I wonder if the peanut butter man will survive?
As the call went on, Staci Kramer at PaidContent highlights this portion of Sue Decker's remarks:
Now for the drum roll -- she’s undoing a large chunk of the re-org, removing the management layer that she just moved up from, collapsing audience and advertising into her role as president. (I only wish I could see Dan Rosensweig’s face now.) She is suspending the months-long search for an audience head and will not put anyone bwteeen her and the advertising. She calls this an “integrated operating team
Reason #876,975,120 why I love the internet. Because I don't have to watch an entire TV series or show to see the few lovely TV moments, like this one from "Britain's got Talent" ... Check out Paul, a Carphone Warehouse employee in Cardiff:
Fake Nissan Ad What the internet generation can do to your nice creative ideas.
Little-known agency Shackleton won the Cannes Grand Prix in the Direct awards with an even lesser-known viral ad called "Lopetegui Deposit" created for Banco Gallego.
The great news is that an integrated campaign took home a Grand Prix for Direct in Cannes. The sad part is that, at least for me, the digital content simply does not rate.
Perhaps the (digital) work is great, but I can't find it.
In fact, other than this screenshot, I coudn't find a link to the supposedly 'viral' web site and rest of the work ... anywhere. Tried Google, Yahoo and Ask, amongst others. Plenty of links to the announcement of the award, but I can't find a link to the site anywhere.
Not exactly viral, now is it?
Search Google for the agency's name and you get nothing, either. There's a theme here, if you haven't noticed.
If you dig deep enough and finally find their site (which is here), it isn't working. Don't know what the problem is, but this is pretty bad form.
"We had three equally worthy winners of the Grand Prix," said Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK and the Direct Lions jury president. In the end, Shackleton's won "on the degree of difficulty involved", despite not being the most beautifully crafted.
Banco Gallego's Grand Prix work took advantage of footage of Barcelona goalkeeper-turned-sports presenter Lopetegui fainting on Spanish TV which was spread virally and downloaded a reported 700,000 times. Shackleton reworked the film to show the reason for his collapse: he had seen a board displaying the bank's new interest rate. That film was then seeded virally to market a new product named after the ex-footballer and offering that interest rate.
MediaCanada provides some additional info: The creative had the soccer star fainting because of the bank's new 10% financial product, the Lopetegui Deposit. The campaign included video of the faint, a continued spot, Internet, mail, radio, print and events, and garnered a ton of free press.
The iTunes Festival is a series of free concerts at the ICA in London. Top line-up (Mika, Amy Winehouse, Athlete, and Groove Armada, just to name a few) at a very posh location. Sign up now before it is too late.
Throughout July, over 60 of the world’s best bands and artists — including Amy Winehouse, Travis, Groove Armada, Stereophonics, Beverley Knight and Crowded House — will grace the legendary stage of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the heart of London. But this is not just another festival. Tickets for these intimate gigs cannot be bought. Instead, you will have the chance to win one of 350 tickets to see your idols perform live. And if you can’t be there in person, every gig will be digitally captured and made available on iTunes for your listening pleasure.
Personally, I've got my fingers crossed for Athlete.
Disclosure: Sony Ericsson is a client. That said, I wouldn't blog about 'em if I didn't think this was cool kit ...
This Sony Ericsson press release regarding the launch of their 5 megapixel Cyber-shot phones has created some good initial buzz out there in the blogosphere. Here are links to a few of the more popular sites/blogs:
Dare plots sale to Cossette - Brand Republic Dare, one of the largest remaining creative independents in UK digital marketing, has been the subject of various bids from interested suitors, including Publicis, in recent months.
This is a fun little page on Flickr if you're interested in usage trends. The graph below is for cameraphones, but the page has stats for several categories.
These graphs show the number of Flickr members who have uploaded at least one photo with a particular camera on a given day over the last year.
The graphs are "normalized", which is a fancy way of saying that they automatically correct for the fact that more people join Flickr each day: the graph moving up or down indicates a change in the camera's popularity relative to all other cameras used by Flickr members.
The graphs are only accurate to the extent that we can automatically detect the camera used to take the photo (about 2/3rds of the time). That is not usually possible with cameraphone photos and cameraphones are therefore under-represented.
I'm sick of the Y! Mail beta - it is waaay to slow and very buggy - and I won't pay for a Plus account when GMail does it all for free.
Better + Free = Me.
I've been using Yahoo Mail for a long time and was one of the first to start using their Beta mail service. Even when I got a GMail invite from Evan Williams, I didn't make the big switch and give up using the Yahoo service altogether.
But now, I'm sick of it.
The beta has not improved - neither the snail-like performance nor the quality/number of services - and the standard version of Yahoo Mail is just plain bad. So dated, it isn't funny.
Getting out of a mail service that you've been using is not that easy. It is surprising to me, actually, that Google hasn't developed a super easy-to-use one-click way to import everything from Yahoo (or any other mail service, for that matter) into GMail. I guess they're too busy integrating street-level photographs into their search service. Glam often wins out over practical.
This is a bit of a rant, I know, but what gives? They've got a gazillion of the world's best technologists and are constantly criticized for their lack success in non-search related product development. GMail is clearly a superior product, but legacy email is a well-known prohibiting factor when it comes to migration from one service to another.
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
In the meanwhile, here are links to some smart folks who built some clever apps that work, albeit in a somewhat DIY fashion.
Is Your Company a Cezanne or a Picasso? :: FastCompany As the final speaker at the HSM World Innovation Forum yesterday, Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer, author, and Fast Company profilee, gave an interesting talk on two types of creativity, inspired by a book by David Galenson on Cezanne and Picasso.
File under: If it makes you say "WTF?" you'll probably click and visit the site.
As my colleague Ben said, it just goes to show how happy Orange are to use an essentially non-musical ideas (a bull in a field) to activate their musical property (sponsoring Glastonbury), as long as it's fun.
So, I go to Shell to talk about biz with my friend Ants, and all I can think about is how lucky he is to have such a killer view from his 21st floor window. The new space is sa-weet. Snapped this with my new CrackBerry 8300. Not bad quality for a 2.0 mp cameraphone.
Et tu, Business Week - Valleywag Business Week's newly skeptical take on Second Life shouldn't be taken that seriously. This most mindlessly trend-following of business magazines put the bizarre virtual world's first "real estate mogul" on its front cover a year ago.
Major Relaunch For Ask: Ask3D The home page and all results pages have been significantly overhauled and a ton of new features and resources have been added.
Amp'd Mobile Runs Out of Juice The Mobile virtual network operating business, in which mobile phone service operators sell content subscription packages by licensing spectrum from a big mobile network like Verizon, is a tough business. First came the demise of Mobile ESPN ...
Here's the new spot directed by Martin Scorsese for the American Express Members Project, a new campaign which promises to fund one member-generated idea of up to $5 million.
I think it is a pretty good idea, given all the other social media/consumer generated crap out there. Compared to the abysmal flop of Wal-Mart's Hub and the Tahoe Apprentice, for example, you have to be an AmEx cardholder to participate in the Members Project.
That's an excellent way to control things without being overbearing.
People will be less likely to submit content that "crosses the line" as they must self-identify prior to contributing. This is very different to the Chevy Apprentice campaign, where activists were able to hijack the concept without much effort and while remaining anonymous. (For more on the Chevy Apprentice, visit Ben and Jackie's blog.)
Plus, The Members Project will give away cash for a good cause, and that's an excellent incentive for people to participate rather than pommel the project. Oh, the alliteration ...
Here's the article by Fern Siegel over on the Media Post.
I've seen several of the new M&S campaign posters around London, but this one of what's-her-name holding a conch shell next to her, uh, waist really makes me wonder if the photographer/agency didn't intentionally create this rather peculiar and potentially sexual juxtaposition of imagery.
My buddy Matt is convinced that no self-respecting marketing manager at M&S would ever allow an image like this to be published if he/she saw it this way.
Going into this session, I know that Hugh will shake things up. Many of the people here know nothing about him, and I think his ability to "walk the talk" will surprise more than a few. Always good to have him in the room ... or at the bar. ;-)
Wine 2.0 Hugh MacLeod: GapingVoid How a small South African wine company shook up an industry with a web 2.0 approach.
There is no big FMCG brand for wine. It is a fragmented business. There is no Microsoft of wine. Even Gallo only has a 2% share. Everywhere is the same: France, California, NZ, Chile. Global ubiquity. Wine Spectator: No mention, no business.
Seminal moment for Hugh was when he read the Cluetrain. It demonstrated how the internet actually works. (Have you read the Cluetrain? If so, when was the last time you re-read it?)
Hugh talks about wine, but his point is much bigger: We live in an increasingly global economy with little to differentiate.
Welcome to NOBODY CARES population 6.5 billion
Quote du jour: Smarter conversations equals better products, it's so fucking obvious.
Key insight from Lego: Not what Lego does, it is what the child does.
So, how does this translate to wine? Wine drives connections. It drives conversations. It is a social phenomenon.
If you wanna have a cool product, you gotta do cool shit.
Complicity: What is in it for people?
Stormhoek as a social object vs the production paradigm: It isn't just about the wine.
Talks about Geek Dinners. People laugh when he mentions that people spontaneously organised geek dinners across the country.
Vallywag calls them the unofficial wine of Silicon Valley: Stormhoek is 7000 miles away from Silicon Valley. Napa Valley is around the corner.
Change the world or go home: Viral poster inside of Microsoft. So, we created a drinks party, social object thing.
Internal disruption is very powerful. So, it is important to understand what it is you want to disrupt before you start doing it.
"Can companies do this for products that suck?" asks one person from the room. Hugh: Let's be straight: It is a 5 quid bottle. So, this ain't really Chateau Lafitte, if ya know what I mean.
Live blogging PSFK London: Can Planners Really Be the New Creatives?
Contagious Magazine's Jessica Greenwood is brilliant and always has a good angle on things. Certainly a good choice to moderate this panel.
That said, I must admit to finding this session incredibly dry and boring. More semantics. Not really much to say, really. Without getting too personal, let's just say that 2 of the 4 people on the panel were pretty dry. At 3pm in the afternoon, the crowd probably needed a wake-up rather than a sleeper.
Can Planners Really Be the New Creatives? Chair: Jessica Greenwood (Contagious Magazine) Panel: Harry Fowler (MajorPlayers), Flo Heiss (Dare), Liz (Profero), Amelia Torode (VCCP) Do planners really have the skills, experience and intuition to apply creativity in their work?
I really have nothing else to say about this panel ...
I've seen Ian speak before, and I've been looking forward to this for a while. His blog, crackunit, is pretty cool.
Ten Reasons Why Digital is Better than Advertising Iain Tait (Poke) Some chap from a digital agency tries to argue that an industry based around a bunch of geeks playing with joined-together computers is somehow more interesting than advertising.
Not about digital supremacy, it is about pride. (He uses a Black Panthers photo and a Pride parade photo to illustrate his point.)
File under: New school follows old ... After Jeremy's talk from Penguin, this was an excellent follow-up. Like Jeremy, Dan is very passionate and obviously knows what he is talking about. He's brought a ton of examples with him and gave a very entertaining presentation. Unlike Jeremy, he is not bound by an old-school brand and business model, and it shows in his ideas and thinking.
Alternative Reality Games Dan Hon (Mind Candy) How to serve brand experiences with an injection of adrenalin and fun. Mind Candy is an interactive entertainment company that specialises in puzzles and Alternate Reality Games (ARGs). Our work includes everything from traditional Sudoku-style puzzles to pioneering cross-media projects in the rapidly expanding field of ARGs.
Interactive experiences. Mentions a slew of examples ... The Lost experience. Heros 360. Treasure hunts. MS Vista's Vanishing Point. The Public City Sentinel. Cognivia.
Nice comparison w/ Orson Wells' War of the Worlds ... Put stuff out there that could be true. Looks sufficiently coherent. Consistent. Then, play with it.
Best moment: Immersion breeds passion. Narrative builds ties. It's the experience, stupid.
People who play become evangelists. They become engaged with the story. They become very passionate.
Example: Perplex City
Our audiences are very hooked into web 2.0. They've made Google mash-ups inside games we've built. They've written a 60,000-word book in 3 weeks. Three player editors. 25 contributing authors.
40% UK, 40% US, remainder in English-speaking countries. 50:50 male/female, skewing female. Average age is 26.
How can alternative reality games (arg's, for you hipsters out there) work?
1. Showcasting: Product placement on crack. Brands and products are written into stories. Works well for consumer electronics.
2. Interaction breeds loyalty: An experience that stays with people for a long time.
3. Your story on our platform
4: Foot and click traffic: Flashmobs to local stores for clues in the narrative.
Question: How to end?
Question: How to get people involved once the game has started? We know there is an inverted pyramid in terms of usage. We know this is an issue. Bringing people up to speed tv-style via recaps is being explored.
All-in-all, some very good examples of next-generation storytelling.
How to Build Innovation into a Brand Jeremy Ettinghausen (Penguin) Penguin brand marketing - past, present and future. The challenge of reinventing a traditional brand for a digital age.
We tried really hard to be cool, and as everyone knows, there's nothing worse than trying to be cool. Isn't zingy enough. Our challenge is multifold: product, marketing, audience ... 2005 gave us a good opportunity for us - the 70th anniversary of the Penguin brand ... Box sets of the top 70 books.
And so it continued ...
Got to admit, it must really hard to be a book marketer presenting at a trends conference full of hipster planners and creative types. Books? Massive old-school rep.
If the Cluetrain taught us anything, it is that markets are conversations. Where, then, does the book/publishing fit in?
Jeremy on initiatives:
Penguin podscasts. Remix competitions. Blogs. 2005 was a very big year for us. Marketer of the year award in 2005. Management saw the benefit of taking risks. We blog regularly. We've been in Second Life for 2 years. We rarely buy outdoor advertising next to the Hammersmith flyover anymore.
Obviously very passionate, it was great to have Jeremy here.
I’m here at the PSFK conference in London. Arrived a bit late (missed the early sessions) but the room is packed and the conversation is flowing.
How Digital Media Screwed the Media Business Journalist Mike Butcher talks about how media owners are on a race for survival against technology companies that put the power to publish in the hands of the ‘audience’.
Mike Butcher’s talk was good. He’s always got great examples and insight into the changing landscape that digital is forcing on the traditional media business, and today was no exception.
Turning Trends Into Insights Chair: Steven Overman (Lowe Worldwide / Jack Morton) Panel: Beeker Northam (Bloom), Simon Sinek (Sinek Partners), Faris Yakob (Naked) Once you've found good ideas and great trends, what do you do with them?
Chair: Steven Overman started by looking at some definitions. Yawn. Trend is observation. What is significant? What do we know of the meaning? Then, he started looking for “actionable things” …
Don’t you hate it when semantics get in the way of good debate? A relatively short (30 minute) discussion and the first 10/15 minutes is lost in conversation about definitions. Duh.
Simon Sinek was the standout for me: Companies must understand who they are. They must have a clear sense of their purpose cause and belief. He used a good dinner party analogy, which I’ll probably steal and use myself. Thanks Simon.
A lot of hand-raising: Being creative vs a creative. Being strategic vs a strategist.
The three agree that “inspiration” is one of the most powerful things that people can bring to the table.
Perfect pitch book: Confronting the client with an unfortunate truth about the brand. Mentions an anecdote about a nasty cartoon dealing with Porsche. Recommendation out of this is to use humour to take the sting out of the truth.
Belief: Starting with a belief. Finding people who believe the same thing. Turning that into culture. Trends must resonate within that culture.