Sunday, November 26, 2006

User Generated Ad Agencies

Building on this post about user generated communications I have just discovered a report from Forrester; Should Your Brand Use Online Video? Advertisers Must Think Like Content Providers To Engage Video Viewers, October 3, 2006. It cites examples of a 19 year contest winner developing an ad for sony style and New Line's Snakes On A Plane marketing where consumers created spoof trailers. It belives that groups of brand advocates will band together to form quasi/grass roots ad agencies. Creating the advertising for the brands they love with direction and reward from clients.

A thought: how long before P&G ask their Tremor crew, already creating buzz around products and sharing insight, to actually create their advertising...

Monday, November 13, 2006

User Generated Communications, Not Just Content

Many advertising and communications agencies happily talk about harnessing user generated content as if users will be pliantly go along with agencies suggestions and brands desires. Consumers have proved time and time again that they will push back on this approach and go their own way. The C doesn't stand for Content, it stands for Communications and actually agencies are ultimately cultivating their replacements.

Take Coke's recent Mentos experience. "Two total unknowns hijacked the Coke brand and gave it back to them in better shape. Coke was stunned, but they saw the light." After ignoring Grobe and Voltz, then trying it themselves (via their agency and yes, it bombed) Coke finally went back
to Grobe and Voltz to create a new promotion. Nothing to do with their agency.

Is this the new model, getting rid of the middle man and putting not only the brand but the brand communications back into the hands of those that always really owned it - the people.

The consumer isn't a moron; she is your daughter

Famously David Ogilvy said "The consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife." Today this might be better expressed "The consumer isn't a moron; she is your daughter."

At the Society of Editors conference last week John Naughton savaged newspaper coverage of today's youth. What he said is just as relevant for the marketing communications industry. Here's an abridged version of what he said...

Well, they are indeed the future. And they're already here. So what do we know about them? Quite a lot, as it happens.

Today's 21-year-olds were born in 1985. The internet was two years old in January that year, and Nintendo launched 'Super Mario Brothers', the first blockbuster game. When they were going to primary school in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee was busy inventing the world wide web. The first SMS message was sent in 1992, when these kids were seven. Amazon and eBay launched in 1995. Hotmail was launched in 1996, when they were heading towards secondary school.

Around that time, pay-as-you-go mobile phone tariffs arrived, enabling teenagers to have phones, and the first instant messaging services appeared. Google launched in 1998, just as they were becoming teenagers. Napster and launched in 1999 when they were doing GCSEs. Wikipedia and the iPod appeared in 2001. Early social networking services appeared in 2002 when they were doing A-levels. Skype launched in 2003, as they were heading for university, and YouTube launched in 2005, as they were heading toward graduation.

These kids have been socially conditioned in a universe that runs parallel to the one inhabited by most folks in the media business. They've been playing computer games of mind-blowing complexity forever. They're resourceful, knowledgeable and natural users of computer and communications technology. They're Digital Natives - accustomed to creating content of their own - and publishing it.

They buy music from the iTunes store - but continue to download tracks illicitly as well. They use BitTorrent to get US editions of Lost. They think 'Google' is a synonym for 'research' and regard it as quite normal to maintain and read blogs (55 million as of last night), use Skype to talk to their mates and upload photos to Flickr. Some even write entries on Wikipedia. And they know how to use iMovie or Adobe Premiere to edit videos and upload them to YouTube.

Now look round the average British newsroom. How many hacks have a Flickr account or a MySpace profile? How many sub-editors have ever uploaded a video to YouTube? How many editors have used BitTorrent? (How many know what BitTorrent is?)

And while some of our teenagers' interests coincide with ours, many do not. Here, for example, are the top blog tags on Technorati last night: Bush, careers, college, comedy, Congress, death, Democrats, elections, Flickr, gay, Halloween, Iraq, Microsoft, money, Republicans, Saddam, Ted Haggard, vote, war, breaking-news, tagshare, YouTube. Some you'll recognise. But you won't see much about many of these in the papers.

These are the future, my friends. They're here and living among us. They're not very interested in us, and I'm not sure I blame them. The best we can hope for is that one day they may keep us as pets.

Full Story: Young people don't like us. Who can blame them? The Observer


Power of Video Ads on the Web

As broadband becomes more prominent, video content — both marketing as well as user-generated — is beginning to proliferate. A Dynamic Logic Report based on 101 measured video ad campaigns, show that video ads perform well. On average generating an average increase in Online Ad Awareness of 18 percentage points — 10.1 points above the norm.

As any new format this response and impact will reduce over time as this becomes the norm and richer formats develop.

Second Life is not overhyped

Second Life is more important, longterm, than even the much hyped publicity suggests. That's because what it really could represent is an alternative vision for how to interact with information and communicate over the Internet.

Article on how SL is the future of the internet by David Kirkpatrick at Fortune.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blog's Eye View

Vignettes from Blog's Eye View presentation given by David Armano, a Creative Director. at the Digitas office in NY in October 2006. The full presentation was just over an hour and a half including Q+A, but this will give you a flavor of how it went.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Transmedia Planning My Arse

OK so what is the score with all the hype surrounding transmedia planning?

A guy called Faris and Ivan from Naked presented their thoughts, inspired by by some stuff in Henry Jenkins' new book Convergence Culture, at the APG Battle of Big Thinking in London. Details here. It has generated some debate and fervant condemnation of media nuetral or 360 planning.

The basic premise of transmedia planning is that rather than using different media channels to communicate the same idea, you can use each channel to communicate different things. Everything is still tied together by the same brand strategy or narrative, but each channel does what it does best, rather than bending to fit an idea that's not really built with any particular channel in mind. Each channel is strong and self-contained enough to live on its own, but can then be pulled together into a greater brand narrative. Encouraing social relationships to help forge connections, forming a brand community that shares and builds on each others' experiences with the brand. I've seen the advertising, you've been to an event, she's tried the product, he's had a good experience with an employee, and we all compare notes. The much touted best practise example of the the A3 H3IST is a great case study but surely required multiple channel exposure for full impact, rather than each channel living in its own right.

Err isn't that 360 planning: a brand idea at the centre delivered across multiple channels. Each plays an important and complimentary part but each also exists in its own right. And wow" stimulating thought and conversation from your collective brand audience. Doves' campaign for real beauty is a better example of this. See the poster, a site or the youtube posting and each makes sense in its own right.

Transmedia planning surley a case of the emperors new clothes? For all those social bandwagon jumpers surely a better name would be Media 2.0. The 360 model aint broke just they way people have been deploying it.

That said there is some interesting thoughts on designing executions on mulitple layers. Each different layer or detail could appeal to a different group of people, who could compare stories, and thus continually be getting new perspectives on the same thing. Posted here


Friday, November 03, 2006

Collaborative Flickr User Model

This Flick User Model Diagram created by a guy called Bryce Glass is very interesting. Even more interesting is the community collaboration happening on Flickr to refine it.

Amex Taps Into Bloggers For Open

Adweek reports that American Express has tapped two small business owners (who also blog) as part of a campaign which recently kicked off (full disclosure, American Express is a Ogilvy client—though I have no idea if we are involved in this effort).
From Adweek
: "The campaign, which is scheduled to start today and run into next year, promotes Open, the AmEx credit service geared to small businesses. Content revolves around a special section on the site, called BizBox, that features the musings of Grace Bonney, owner of a small design firm, and Andrew Kruse, who founded an alternative energy company. The duo will address the ups and downs they face running their companies. BizBox will also include a regular Q&A session with small-business experts, AmEx-produced video and contributions from readers."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Lost Art of Advertising Storytelling

At the OgilvyOne NY Verge Conference they launched OgilvyTransient: a go anywhere do anything team of brand editors, film makers, storytellers, planners and creative. Putting the story telling and content back into marketing comunications.

This is not a very revolutionary concept but over the past 50 odd years the art of story telling to engage with the audience seems to have fallen out of favour in advertising circles. Thankfully we are however being forced to shun shallow one hit, broadcast tactics in favour of entertaining or useful, episodic and collaborative converations.


Andy Warhol 2.0

Warhol said "Eveyone will be famous for 15 minutes". But in this connected, long tail, customer generated content, free distribution world it is more like: everyone will be famous for 15 people. it has been quoted many times and attributed to many people but is a craking quote.