Wednesday, December 19, 2007

User Generated Scarf

A great Christmas present from Ben, Toby & the boys at Moving Brands.

"Last Christmas we set up a screen made of fairy lights in the Moving Brands window.

We then invited people to send messages and drawings, via a simple web-interface, to be shown in sequence in the window. The window was captured by webcam and broadcast live to the internet.

We stored everything sent to the window in a gallery, and the full sequence has been used to create this scarf.

Co-created fashion."

Nice. More here.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Can Dell Save Marketing?

Lots of chat in the industry about Dell's recent decision to create an integrated marketing and communications agency in partnership with WPP in a deal valued at $4.5 billion in agency billings over the first three years.

The deal is a massive statement by Dell on the importance of coordinated, integrated marketing activities. It is one of the most important statements about marketing I've have seen in years.

Martin Sorrell seems to have done the first proper example of what only serious network players can and have to do to survive. On winning the Dell business he is jointly building an agency from scratch to service it.

Hopefully he will built it with a central brain who has no vested interest in channel, a single P&L and process. A couple of years late but everyone seems to be getting wise fast - pick a network or group chairman who is not doing the chat about integrated bespoke solutions. The key reason for client consolidation is the massive fragementation of media, channels, agencies and the effort to manage them and make it all consistent. Creatively, Dell were happy....


OgilvyOne UK: Campaign Direct Agency of the Year 2007

so the pain was all worth it...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rapp's Engauge - Engagements New Clothes?

Stan Rapp, the DM poster boy, has partnered with a private equity firm to build an agency; the stupidly named Engauge — spelled that way to underline its intent to provide marketers with tangible results from campaigns.

He is saying something I have long championed: “everyone is a direct marketer, or at least everyone is marketing directly”.

Once the whipping boys of the agency world, the skills and approach of direct marketers have are the ones that will win out. Everyone in the industry no matter what the discipline or task is increasingly taking a direct approach.

I have worked in many different styles of agencies and have always found the direct folk the more open to new ideas; often feeding off the scraps of traditional media they, out of necessity embraced retail, digital & mobile quicker and with more passion that many ivory tower traditional media folk.

Hats off to Stan for always looking to find a better way, I am half his age and appear to have half his energy. That said and as far as I can tell this seems more spin than substance. He has not done anything particularly revolutionary, merely said that direct principles will become increasingly important, data is therefore key and channels are consolidating with digital emerging as the lead. Oh and content is king.

This is something my 2 year old could have told him. And something many others have been banging on about for years. He has then bought a couple of traditional single discipline agencies and slammend them together.

Emperor's new clothes anyone?

The sad thing is that this is causing such a storm on a Madison Avenue watching revenue and people drain out of its traditional channels.

Oh and he probably should have bought "Engauge" on Google or put a site about falling at the first hurdle.

PS Yes I am grumpy. my house got broken into at the weekend and the fuckers nicked my audi. Sods law; the first night the kids slept all the way through and I spent it talking to the police.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

CPM Killed The UK Video Ad Star

Video will be the big online story next year in the UK and Europe. During April 2007 80 per cent of UK internet users over the age of 15 watched a video online and online video usage is outpacing the US. (Comscore)

Bigger pipes, cheaper production, a change in the way people use the internet and the fact clients still get to go on shoots but without the huge media expense, mean there is an appetite for online video ads. Oh, not to mention the fact they just plain old more effective that non video online ads or even video ads played on TV.

The one thing standing in the way? UK media owners. The average video CPM in the US is bugger all but in the UK and europe there seems to be a huge media premium.

According to Michael Shehan in The Buyer's Guide to video ads a US range is starting to emerge

Professional content on tier one sites (e.g., NBC): $20 to $75 CPM
Original content, smaller niche sites (e.g., LiveVideo's LiveBands): $10 to $50 CPM
Local video inventory (state or city): $10 to $40 CPM
Professional content distributed on syndication networks (e.g., Voxant's Newsroom): $10 to $25 CPM
User-generated content (e.g., MySpace): $1 to $20 CPM

This is expected to change in the coming year as demand from the big media houses forces it down. Any friendly media bods out there fancy quantifying the european market for me....

An aside; allegedly at a recent client meeting the budget was halved - TV got cut, online did not - and to add insult to injury the online guys took the film director who was lined up for the TV to shoot the site.

Disclaimer: I work at Ogilvy and on Kodak but sadly had no involvement with this project.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Shock Horror! Doing Digital Is Not Efficient

In a recent article on BrandRepublic entitled The real stories behind adland's facts and figures,
Claire Beale has a look at the Willott Kingston Smith Agency Performance report to uncover some of the hidden, interesting stories.

You might think all the action is if you believe everyone else's hot air, gross income was higher than any other sector but margins are still lower than for any other discipline:a disappointing 8.7 per cent.

Given the youth of the agencies, without all the lard carried by more traditional agencies, you'd expect digital shops to be leaner and meaner and more efficient.

Clearly the general lack of ingrained management expertise across the sector means that the businesses are not being run at their optimum to take advantage of the current (and surely finite) opportunities to steal a march on traditional agencies.

I guess it would be interesting to see the performance of digital outfits in established agencies with this great management experience - albeit in a radically different environment. My hunch is that they would be at least on a par and possibly even worse.

The point she misses is that digital is harder and more labour intensive to develop. Most traditional guys can produce creative assets in their sleep, I used to. Digital doesn't work like that.

Imagine the work involved in developing a new ad format or actually building a new shop concept. It is tough, requires more people and goes wrong more often. For all the multi discipline T-shaped people it will only increase.

On the flip side digital media is, in most instances, much more efficient than traditional at reaching, selling and managing relationship with audiences. Maybe we need to think about different remuneration models.


Making Money Out Of Smokin'

A nice idea from the Ogilvy CRUK team:

"When the smoking ban came into place in July Ogilvy collected as many newly unemployed ashtrays as pub landlords across London would donate.

They then asked renowned designer Anthony Stern to recycle them into flower vases.

If you would like to own one, either to sadly commemorate, or celebrate the advent of the great indoors you can now bid for one on ebay.

All proceeds from the sales of these unique items will be donated to Cancer Research UK. To be recycled into research into preventing, treating and curing cancer. "

Disclosure: I work for Ogilvy but was not involved in this project