"Technology is a glittering lure, but there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash. If they have a sentimental bond with the product. My first job I was in-house at a fur company. This old pro copy writer. A Greek named Teddy. And Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is "new." It creates an itch. You simply put your product in there as a kind of calamine lotion. But he also talked about a deeper bond to a product. Nostalgia. It's delicate but potent." - Don Draper
For the past dozen years or so, I've been working on all things digital because it is incredible. It is the future, and those of us to be lucky enough to have realized that fact get to shape it a bit. The internet is, for all intents and purposes, changing almost every aspect of our lives. I'm fascinated by it. I'm obsessed by it. I'm overwhelmed by it.
But I love television.
Yes, I love TV. Always have and always will. There is something wonderful about sitting back, disengaging, and becoming a true couch potato every once in a while. Being entertained is a privilege, isn't it? Sure, I love cool, interactive and fundigitally integrated entertainment. But sometimes, it is just fun to let go and drift off into TV-land.
Amongst other things over the past year, I've watched Lost, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (gone, but not forgotten), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Battlestar Galactica, and a ton of Fox News (the best comedy on television).
Matthew Weiner's Mad Men is fantastic. Don Draper's character is legendary, and the show is only a year old.
The attention to detail is incredible, and the characters are all iconic. The show has sparked interest and debate across the ad industry and beyond. Thanks to Weiner's deft touch, honed by his work on The Sopranos and his own, ahem, interesting childhood and current situation vis-a-vis his family, we're privy to a show that feels so genuine and honest you can't help but identify with what happens on screen.
Fred Wilson may not know much about mobile phones, but his opinion about mobile phones matters.
Actually, Fred is a New York VC, and as far as I know he's only made one small investment into a mobile business. So, why should Nokia, Sony Ericsson and other mobile brands care about Fred Wilson's holidays?
Because Fred is an “A-list” blogger, and lots of people read what Fred writes … about everything. Fred has 125K daily subscribers to his blog’s feed and thousands of people visit and read A VC every day.
I'll have qik, twitter, flickr, tumblr, and a host of other services tightly integrated with the phone and I want to post directly from the phone. I am sure I can get all of this to work pretty well.
But the thing I want some advice on is what's the best way to deal with the carrier on the phone. I am currently thinking that I'll keep my blackberry for email and phone calls and get a good roaming plan from t-mobile and keep using my phone number while I am in Europe.
He got a ton of traffic and 49 comments from people all giving him advice and information.
A few weeks later and now about to leave for his trip to Europe, Fred has begun to blog about his first thoughts with his new N95. The good, the bad, the ugly …
It's not the greatest phone, but it's one hell of a camera. My blackberry could not have taken such a crisp picture and my Canon SD750 wouldn't have done much better. I also shot some video and it was equally good. But honestly, I suspect I'll mostly use the N95 as a camera (still and video) and not much else.
If I were doing marketing for Nokia, I’d be offering Fred some free help setting things up. Maybe even a free SIM card during his trip. I’d certainly be paying close attention to what he’s doing. At the very least, I'd be joining in the conversation on Fred's blog.
What should competitors like Sony Ericsson, LG, and Apple do? Given how impressed Fred is with the N95’s camera, is it unreasonable to think that a Cybershot would not impress him? Where are the other "Fred Wilsons" (sorry Fred), and what are people doing to capture their interest in an open and transparent way?
Kinda reminds me of those old EF Hutton ads from the 1980s … "When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen" ... except this time ‘round it is the people doing the talking and the brands who should be listening.
George Carlin, the Grammy-Award winning standup comedian and actor who was hailed for his irreverent social commentary, poignant observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and groundbreaking routines like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” died in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday, according to his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He was 71. Left, Mr. Carlin at the Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y. in 2005.
Plazes is the second “mobile social network” in Europe to be acquired in as many months - Danish startup ZYB was acquired by Vodafone in May for €31.5 million. Arrington has the details.
The combination of vertical networks (theme/topic based, like LinkedIn, LastFM and co) along with mobile-based services is a very strong proposition.
This is the Holy Grail of mobile social networking, and one of the main reasons for taking the networks off the desktop/laptop environment in the first place. Imagine walking into a meeting, classroom, party, bar, subway station, airplane, etc. and seeing profile information about other people in the area, depending on privacy settings. Picture, name, dating status, resume information, etc. The information that is available would be relevant to the setting - quick LinkedIn type information for a business meeting v. Facebook dating status for a bar.
Knowing when your friends are around, and having the ability to meet new people who share your interests (even if it’s just that you are both single), will drive massive usage of networks. But, as with many new services, a chicken and egg problem looms. Until everyone is using this, there is no real reason for anyone to use it. Meetro, an instant messaging service that finds friends based on location, has struggled to gain users over the last couple of years for this reason.
Technical barriers aren’t an issue - cell phone tower triangulation and bluetooth solve a lot of the problems of locating users and transmitting information between phones. What’s harder is just plain getting a critical mass of users.
Random moment: While channel surfing, I saw the Brazilian band CSS on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross". They played this track to close the show. Damn good, and it has been stuck in my head all weekend. Their new album "Donkey" out later in July, and previews are here.
A true exodus is taking place at Yahoo. A combined result of a dramatic reorganization and the decision by several other key employees to leave of their own accord has seen the company lose several top members of their team.
The departure is not limited to senior directors and executive management, though they make up the bulk of those making headlines, as is often the case. Included in the Exodus are key technologists, researchers, and founding members of several of companies recently aquired by Yahoo! such as delicious and Flickr.
Kara Swisher writes, "Top managers, most of whom had little input in the reorg, which was run by Decker and top HR execs, are reeling from the changes being presented with what most say is little consultation."
“I am not sure right now, with all this drama and all this tension from Microsoft’s failed takeover and the rest of it, why we have to do this,” said another exec. “This feels crazy.”
The list is way too long to go through everyone, but here are some recent highlights:
Brad Garlinghouse: Communications & Communities at Yahoo and controls huge properties like Mail (260 million users), Messenger (100 million users), Groups (110 million users), Flickr (47 million users) and Zimbra. Foe more on Brad, see The Peanut Butter Manifesto.
Qi Lu: EVP engineering for Search and Advertising Technology Group
It’s only been a few hours since we posted the ex-Yahoo Exec tracking spreadsheet, but it’s already seriously outdated. Three more execs will be leaving, say sources close to the company: EVP Qi Lu, SVP Brad Garlinghouse and SVP Vish Makhijani.
As an aside, Jeremy Zawodny, Yahoo’s technology evangelist who announced his departure last week, has announced he’ll be joining Craigslist next month.
He said that the recent news coming out of Yahoo! pressed his decision to leave now. Joshua also said that the decision was made today, and that he has no future plans but will instead join the “gloriously unemployed.”
The development of the new version of delicious seems to have almost stalled within Yahoo, and Joshua cited recent frustrations with the process as playing a part in his resignation. We said a few weeks ago that Joshua’s time at the company may be running out, and we had all been waiting a long time for the new release of delicious.
No tech executive draws more bile and disdain than Ash Patel. So why is Yahoo president Sue Decker promoting him to fill the place of several departing executives? Let me keep it short and sweet: Decker is a charmless Wall Street type who's bad at managing people. Patel's main skill, one that has kept him at place in Yahoo for 12 years, is managing up. His second talent: making excuses for the fact that he's rarely seen on campus before 10:30. No one who's serious at Yahoo has any respect for Patel, and no one who's sensible cares to report to him. Decker's plan is succeeding in one regard: All the departures Patel's promotion is sparking will surely reduce costs.
This is a great post from a while back ... Basically shows that anyone/everyone associated with Brad is basically leaving or being eliminated from Yahoo. Like a similar post on TechCrunch (Tracking Former Yahoo Execs - Where Are They Now?), this is a true classic.
To make sense of this, it helps to visit http://www.maietv.com to see the 4 films that were produced by iris Singapore during the recent EFFIE Awards.
From: Richard Bleasdale Sent: 20 June 2008 To: All Staff Worldwide Subject: We've got the industry talking
We’ve got the industry talking in Singapore this month. Not only have we won our first award but we also managed to sneak an undercover film crew into the Singapore EFFIE awards to get the low-down on some burning industry issues.
Under the guise of MAIE TV we interviewed some of Southeast Asia’s top advertising heavyweights to hear what they had to say and we got more than we had hoped for.
Take a look at http://www.maietv.com to see the 4 films and what everyone’s talking about...
Brilliant job by Dan, Kelly and the rest of the team here in Singapore.
Regional CEO, Asia Pacific iris Worldwide 19 China Street, 02-02 Singapore 049561
The perpetual comic and self-described writer, inventor, visionary, futurist and genius gave one of my favourite presentations at this year's Under The Influence.
It was about "a picture and a short line."
It may seem silly and trite and funny at first, but give it time and he delivers some incredibly poignant insights about digital and the way we interpret the world these days.
David started his career aged 15, writing for cult video games magazines. He definitely knew his stuff as in 1995 he clinched that much-coveted title, UK Doom Champion! Since then he’s written for over thirty magazines and newspapers in the UK and the US including Wired, The Guardian, Tank, and The Independent. In 2000, he was editor and writer of seethru.co.uk, one of the first websites to feature something called a 'blog'. His first book, The Internet Now In Handy Book Form is now available. You see, wasting your youth playing video games can pay off.
Chris was the featured speaker this morning, and he came in to talk to us about the importance of focusing on growing new opportunities from existing client business, as opposed to concentrating on pitching new opportunities.
As an aside, I must admit that I found the topic a pretty bold choice for the AAR to make, given that they’re in the business of facilitating new business pitches. Serious hat tip for that.
So, what is new business? Sure, pitching for clients is part of newbiz, but Chris made it clear that growing new opportunities from existing client relationships makes good business sense and should be treated with the same level of rigueur and zeal as a proper pitch. Might not be as flashy, but it makes better business sense over the long term.
Chris opened with a nice nod to the people in the room, “It is difficult to talk about the future to the future”, and thankfully he was keen to make his talk a “no PowerPoint moment”. Here’s a summary of his talk:
Why is it more profitable to grow new from existing business?
Management required to run it often exists within the current team
Can add more junior people to handle the new deliverables in stead of having to add an entire new team
Avoids “start-up” costs associated with a new client relationship
It can be lower risk, due to increased understanding of the client relationship from the outset
Creates stronger agency credentials as a result
On that last point, Chris asked the group to choose between telling a prospective client that over the last year A) your agency had presence in 60% of the world capitals, B) you have a 60% conversion rate on new business opportunities or C) 60% of your existing clients have given you new assignments. Given the widespread nods in the room, it was pretty clear that ‘C’ was the clear winner.
Chris went on to tell the group that digital agencies should focus on growing “new from existing” because it helps move from working on projects to building client relationships. I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially he said it helps digital agencies move up the ladder … People working at digital agencies are angry and/or frustrated because they’re not sitting at the “top table”.
I think that anyone who has worked in digital (agency or client side) has certainly experienced this. Chris chalked it up to the fact that most of the time, the larger BDAs control the budgets.
So basically, money talks, right? Not necessarily. Chris was quick to point out that whilst “they have the budget, you have the knowledge. You are at the frontline of the revolution.”
Amen to that.
Focus, leadership and perspective are the three acaracteristics of successful new business organizations, according to Chris.
Focus: Which are the best prospects? Be realistic about what you are good at and focus on that. Here at iris, we generally ask the question, “What’s your Pokémon skill”?
Leadership: The right environment will create success, and that must start at the top. This includes looking at how pay and bonuses are structured to foster organic new business development. I definitely agree with the idea that people should be incentivized and rewarded (and not just with cash) to see organic growth on par with new business. Think: celebrations, kudos, compensation and such.
Here’s a quick test: If you’re at an agency, ask yourself what happened the last time you won a decent size piece of business from a new client. Now ask yourself what happened when the same type of business came in from an existing client. If the agency response was not the same, ask yourself why and what should be done about it.
Perspective: Building relationships does not mean just more money. Chris encouraged us to get out into the frontlines, as he put it.
Chris ended his talk with six tips for how to successfully integrate organic business development into agencies:
The matrix: His first tip explained the different challenges facing the business when pitching new from new or existing, both in terms of clients and services. It was a nice compact matrix providing strong insight, and I encourage you to contact him to discuss it.
Start now: Kick-off organic business growth as soon as possible. Don't wait and think you can put it forward later so as to concentrate on the things they know you for. If you do that, your clients may not ever take the time to notice.
Engagement: Are you only reading Russell Davies last column (or blog), what Scamp had to say, or the latest post on crackunit? If so, think again. Read about your clients. Study up on what concerns them. Get smart. Think about the Political, Environmental, Customer, Social, Technical, Economical and Legislative factors that are impacting their businesses.
Make it part of daily life: Don't dust off the client development plan every six months just to say you looked at it. Treat those tools like more than a theoretical objects. Make use of them.
Team building: Get people together from across the agency together with the client. Encourage "reciprocity" in terms of organic business development between your teams.
Client agency audits: Be certain about the state of your client relationships. Take the time to find out.
On that last point, I mentioned that iris has implemented a very successful client audit programme called iris All Ears. One of the things that has made it a success is the fact that it is incredibly transparent and done in conjunction with an independent third party. That makes the good things more fun to celebrate and the hard stuff easier to swallow.
Business Week investigates what the iPhone’s impact is going to be on rival high-end phone makers like RIM, Palm, Nokia, etc. I’ll save you the read - the answer is summed up (in this) image.
It’s true, Apple only sold 6 million iPhones in its first year, out of a billion or so handsets sold worldwide. But remember that they are currently available in only a couple of countries. And in the U.S., they’ve grabbed a 25+% share of the smart phone market. And that was with a slow, no-GPS, expensive device (here’s our side-by-side comparison of the iPhone v. the RIM Blackberry 8820 from a year ago).
Imagine the havoc they will wreak with the twice-as-fast, half-as-expensive, GPS-enabled, Exchange-supported 3G iPhone that they’ll unleash on 22 countries this year.
In short, it must be really unpleasant to be in this business and not be Apple right now.
It didn't take Apple (AAPL) long to make its mark on the mobile-phone industry. In the first year after the introduction of the iPhone, Apple grabbed handset share from rivals including Research In Motion (RIMM), while AT&T (T), the only authorized U.S. provider of iPhone service, used the device to lure customers from Alltel and T-Mobile USA. Imagine the ripple effect of a cheaper, faster, more feature-packed version of the iPhone.
Not only has Apple whacked as much as $200 from the iPhone price and made it capable of working on a faster wireless network, but the company is also adding a wide range of software features that may make it more appealing to consumers and business users alike. The new iPhone is due in July.
To cope, wireless service providers are likely to increase their own mobile handset subsidies, boost marketing budgets, and reduce prices on some services, analysts and industry insiders say—all likely to mean slimmer margins. Rivalry from Apple adds to the pressure on an industry already grappling with increased government regulation and competition from new players, including Google (GOOG), that threaten to loosen service providers' control of the market.
How long will the pain last? Hard to tell. It can take years for a blockbuster phone to peak. Motorola's legendary Razr series of phones was introduced in 2004, but didn't reach a crescendo until the first quarter of 2007, when it accounted for 12% of all U.S. cell-phone sales, according to NPD.
Nor will it be easy to determine how well these competing smartphones and iPhone look-alikes will stack up, analysts say. "The thing is, it won't be the iPhone," says Neil Strother, an analyst with JupiterResearch. "You are not comparing apples to apples."
They do not want people quoting their stories, despite the fact that such activity very clearly falls within the fair use exception to copyright law. They claim that the activity is an infringement.
A.P. vice president Jim Kennedy says they will issue guidelines telling bloggers what is acceptable and what isn’t, over and above what the law says is acceptable. They will “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.”
Those that disregard the guidelines risk being sued by the A.P., despite the fact that such use may fall under the concept of fair use.
So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.
Michael, I'm with ya 100% and I encourage everyone to do the same.
Ban 'em ... Stop using the Associated Press until they wise up.
An alternative is what Jeff's suggests:
So let’s fire back. I urge bloggers everywhere to go to the AP and reproduce a story at length in solidarity with Cadenhead and Drudge Retort.
Oh No They Didn't! On the Media April 25, 2008 Eight of Ohio's top newspapers are sharing content in a cooperative effort called the Ohio News Organization, or OHNO. The arrangement will allow the papers to sidestep the AP. Could this system be a lifeline for struggling news organizations? Is it the end of the scoop as we know it? Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Susan Goldberg explains the papers' decision to collaborate.
Start-up agency Traffic just won the $155M Mitsubishi creative account, beating out Omnicom Group's DDB (LA) and two other non-network shops, Ignited and WongDoody, Los Angeles. The incumbent agency BBDO West, Los Angeles did not participate in the pitch.
Like Modernista (who won the $200M Cadillac account away from Leo Burnett who had it since 1936) and iris (who are clearly winning the world), this is another great example of how innovative, challenging, creative, independent agencies are competing (and beating) the BDAs: the Big Dumb Agencies as George Parker puts it.
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mitsubishi Motors America handed its $155 million U.S. creative account to a relative newcomer, Hollywood-based independent agency Traffic.
Less than a year old and largely unknown, Traffic is part-owned by The Cimarron Group, but still has car credentials: The shop is led by co-chairmen Robert Farina and Tom Cordner. The latter is a longtime auto advertising executive, serving on both the Lexus account at Team One, El Segundo, Calif., and the Ford account at JWT Detroit, where he was co-president of the agency.
"It's clear that the next trend in gaming is going to be bringing real objects into the virtual world; playing not against other gamers but people doing the real thing," said Andy Lurling, founder of iOpener Media.
The patented system his company is developing sucks in real-time GPS data from racing events and pumps it out to compatible games consoles and PCs.
The idea is that you could pit yourself against the top drivers in the world, as it happens, from the comfort of your living room.
"You can compete against the best of the best," he told BBC News.
At the core of iOpener's technology is an enhanced GPS system known as differential GPS (DGPS).
At the moment, iOpener is concentrating firmly on racing games, but believes that there is a huge market for the system in other sports.
"You can think of biking, rowing, skiing and snowboarding," said Mr Lurling.
"In the next three to five years, we believe that games will not be 'triple A' games unless they have our feature in," he said.
Mr Lurling was the 2006 Dutch regional winner of the European Satellite Navigation Competition (Galileo Masters) which aims to find novel uses for location data. The 2008 competition is now open to entries, until 31 July.
Counter-intuitive cleverness combining content and commerce.
We're always looking to creating stuff like this as part of delivering integrated campaigns. Can't go into it here due to a lot of work in progress, but there are some very interesting things you can do with this type of retail activity.
Although mobile content is something consumers can buy and download from virtually anywhere, Chinese start-up Duo Guo is banking on a different approach by selling such content through specialized kiosks in brick-and-mortar retail stores.
Launched last year and backed by US hedge fund Jana Partners, Duo Guo currently has about 25 stores in Shanghai.
Based in Shanghai, Duo Guo—a subsidiary of D Mobile Inc.—has developed partnerships with China's largest retailers and leading global media companies to bring games, ringtones, software and other mobile services to China's 500 million mobile phone users in a retail setting.
Each Duo Guo kiosk is staffed by a salesperson, who can help consumers as they browse for content. Once customers make their selections and pay, the content gets beamed to their phone via Bluetooth. In addition to its starting line-up of ringtones, wallpapers and games, Duo Guo recently began offering exclusive mobile content from emerging Chinese artists through its "artist of the month" program, and has launched into ticket sales as well.
Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Tesco are among the stores that have signed up to host Duo Guo kiosks in China, while the company also operates its own standalone stores in subway stops and Shanghai’s busy Zhong Shan Park area. Content at Duo Guo kiosks is updated every Friday to encourage frequent browsing.
How many companies can you name where people, organizations and journalists stake-out shipping centers and discuss rumours of what may or may not be in the boxes about to be sent out to the world?
If you’re Apple, it is commonplace.
The iPhone Stakeout: Part I Forbes A visit Wednesday evening to a West Coast distribution center of Apple contract manufacturer Quanta Computer shows a company hustling to get mysterious boxes of, well, something, on the move.