Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Every Agency Needs An Innovation Lab

Safe adventure, investment marketing, risk marketing, measureable innovation. Call it what you will but the more I talk to agencies and clients the more I am convinced that to survive, the first/only rule we reallly need to adhere to is McKinsey's 80/20.

Spend 80% on stuff you know works and 20% on measurable innovation.

As the environment continues to be challenging clients are stripping back budgets and expecting those budgets to work hard. They and their agencies are shying away from doing anything that can't be very closely related to sales or is out of the ordinary. No real issue there but this will over time deliver diminishing returns, sacked clients and bored agencies.

To survive we all need to try new things and develop new ways of reaching our audiences. But it needs to be measurable. If the ideas work they are rolled in to the 80% if not we learn and move on. Rather than try and sell those in on an adhoc basis, fighting for budgets in the weeds, we need to all buy into this at a high level.

It keeps work interesting but most importantly keeps us moving, keeps us evolving...and we get to do stuff like this...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Global Web index Lite

Use the tool embedded below to find out social media stats. Nifty little tool.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Digital Agency Death Knell

So farewell AGENCY.COM, to be broken and absorbed in TBWA and others. As digital ceases to be seen as a channel and becomes a specialism within other disciplines, traditional digital agencies will continue to creak at the sides and break under the weight of trying to do everything digital. They will rapidly have to focus on what it is they actually do. The digital agency roster will die, at least in its current form, and client will pick discipline specific digital agencies. The chart below is 3 years old. Social Media and Mobile agencies take note...

I spent 3 happy years at AGENCY.COM building out their digital advertising unit in the UK and developing some groundbreaking work on BA, oneworld and Heineken. They also had the foresight to allow us to create AgencyRepublic a JV between them and ClaydonHeeleyJonesMason of which I was one of the founding 4.

Interestingly AgencyRepublic is another digital agency fallen on tough times. 5 times winner of best digital agency in the UK it has just lost it's flagship O2 account to.....you guessed it a traditional agency with an integrated digital offering, VCCP.

Likewise the more traditional offline agencies will have to rapidly adapt to accomodate this influx of highly creative and very non traditional people and approach. Digital will have to be part of everyone's role and they will quickly have to staff up (and down) to get the right mix of people and fundamentally change how they approach pretty much every part of their business.


Friday, July 02, 2010

re write the future nike spoof

Nike might have won the wc2010 marketing war but I still hate the ad and love the parody above.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

See Through Walls With Wimbledon iPhone App

Live streaming video from centre court, web cam of the taxi cue and augmented reality overlays telling you where the toilets are and how big the queue for the strawberries is. 2010's IBM SEER pushes tech limits.

Caveat: I worked on the original version of this last year.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is The New Nike Ad Rubbish?

A friend just sent me this saying it was the best ad of the year. My perspective: it talks about the consequences of activities on the pitch almost over what is happening on the pitch. I don't care if Wayne ends up in a caravan or some random russian ends ends watching Cirque du Soliel in a tittty bar, I care about the game.

Whilst it taps into the current trend of all powerful football; red top papers, wags and gossip columns it adds weight to the notion that football is a sell out.

I don't really like it.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My $73,000 Bar Tab

From Ogilvy Brasil. Another example of scaling an experiential campaign as predicted in the 10 trends of 2008 (good to see many of them still stand up)


Thursday, April 01, 2010

TigerTxt - Self Destructing Text Messages

Safe Text allows users to send texts which then self-destruct, leaving no trace. Wired celebrates its first birthday in the UK with a new mobile campaign created by Ogilvy. The texts, which are Wired-branded, are destroyed shortly after being opened, never to be seen again.

Safe Text will work on any mobile phone which can connect to the internet, it is hosted on a mobile internet site accessible by texting ‘Wired’ to 83118. Once registered, users will be able to send up to 10 Safe Texts per day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Roles Brands Can Play In Entertainment

A brilliantly simple definition of the role that brands can play in entertainment.

The words in bold are Louis Vuitton's bigideaL(TM)

Much better than my version. the difference between planners & creatives....


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Engaging Doesn't Mean Interactive

In current marketing nomenclature there is a real focus on 'engagement'. I am all for being engaging but many people seem to misinterpret the notion of interactivity for engagement. given a brief for engagement they jump to digital and interactivity immediately.

Having the audience upload a story, personalise a dancing character or play a game is interactive, it just might not be engaging.

Likewise watching a piece of broadcast video content can be massively engaging without being interactive in any way.

Like the above, or a book.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Does Legal Marketing Suck

I spend a lot of my day banging my head against a brick wall trying to convince people that digital/social/mobile/entertainment is a valid part of the marketing mix. Not only as a delivery channel but a fundamental part of strategic thinking. Thankfully the majority of people have hearts in the right place and it is only a matter of time before they come round.

But spare a thought for those who work in professional services marketing. I recently came across an article announcing Ash CS' move to law firm BLP as Head Of Marketing.

The first comment from Hamish:

Why oh why are firms obsessed with marketing guff? Don't they understand that this is not what clients want? They want practical, good value, clear advice. Full stop. Not to know that their fees are being squandered on brainless PR initiatives only designed to fool the media.

Good to see that the majority of following comments give him a good and well deserved kicking, but scary that others point to a deep seated feeling that not only advertising, but all marketing is rubbish.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Social Media Effect

Slightly different from the Social Media Affect which I see at most conferences.

Such an innocent phrase isn't it: "Content Created".....

Ogilvy On Branded Utility

F*ck Advertising Lets Be Useful: interesting, educational, entertaining or make money....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gays Shouldn't Be Allowed To Play Football

Ogilvy's film spearheading the FA and Kick It Out's campaign to tackle homophobia in football. I work for Ogilvy who developed this great ad.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Instant Digital Ad Agency

Just follow the instructions:



Work: Business as Usual

Digital isn’t a discipline; it is a specialism within other disciplines. We believe that any agency can produce innovative marketing solutions that connect brands and their audiences using digital media and/or leveraging on people’s digital behaviour. Just as they currently do through offline channels.

Fundamentally it’s about finding ways to make advertising useful: be that informative, educational, functional or entertaining. The diet of work that traditional agencies ought to be associated with will not be large site design & build but smaller, campaign based marketing solutions.

Cool shit that drives (INSERT AGENCY APPROACH) and ultimately changes perception of the client’s brand.

Culture: Everyone is Digital

To change output, we need to change culture, behaviour and process. Everyone in the agency have to get onboard and feel like they participate in the digital change. This could be simply building digital metrics into teams business targets and incentivising clever use of new digital platforms/digital media. More importantly, we would set up ways to share ideas and thoughts inside the agency. Training will be a key part of educating the client and agency teams as would competitive and trend monitoring to keep them both inspired/afraid.

Delivery: Work the Network

Given the accelerating change in technology and digital channels we believe that a network of trusted, specialist suppliers alongside a small in house capability, working closely with existing account and creative teams is the optimum way to deliver digital. Building and actively managing ecosphere of companies with proven capabilities that is strategically and creatively overseen. We would quickly set up a list of approved suppliers and establish SLA’s.

People: A Thin Agency
As digital is everyone’s responsibility we would leverage the existing teams – planners, suits, creative – to manage clients, much of the process and drive the digital business in their own accounts. There are a couple of key internal appointments and a small team (freelance or fulltime) detailed below who would provide specialist skills.

· A senior suit - internal - to help navigate/circumvent process, client relationships, general agency culture etc...

· A team PA

· A Creative Technologist – is it possible/will it work/ a senior technologist, probably a technical director either freelance or currently working in a digital agency.

· A Senior Digital Project Manager – managing digital projects is far more complicated than any TV-production and have many more moving parts. There is also a perception that ’anything can be changed at anytime’, where a project manager has a key role in pushing back/keeping everybody in line throughout the development.

· Prototype Team - consisting of 3, 4 designers with decent action script skills and good understanding of cross-platforms interface design to build some of the lower level work

Plan: Phased Approach
Investigate client list to select the top five digital opportunities based on:

a. digital maturity,

b. agency-client relationship,

c. estimated speed of conversion,

d. propensity to invest in innovation/test activities,

d. activities in the client’s market space.

Develop strategies for the client business leveraging on existing employees knowledge. Collectively we would convert the market & business understanding into ’digital opportunities’ and ’digital briefs’. Some of these initiatives should be pro-active, others could be developed in conjunction with wider client briefs.

Engage current creative teams work on digital briefs but with the addition of the digital resources outlined above. In this phase we need to engage ’digital project managers/producers’ to anticipate implications and production of any ideas that come up and prepare for the ’production phase’.

Prototyping is also essential both as a ’sales tool’ to demonstrate the experience to clients and as a ’briefing tool’ to developers. This can either be done by an in-house team or be handled by selected design house. We don’t foresee that (AGENCY) would have any large in-house design/build capabilities, but would outsource all design and development to the partner with the most suitable skill set and ’flavour’.

Launching a project is only the beginning. Seeding, PR and reputation management needs to be well-orchestrated to ensure success.


Measurement and ongoing optimisation are keen to demonstrate success and prove the case for digital. We would connect the teams with the most appropriate suppliers as well as educate and consult with them to structure the appropriate criteria.

‘Education & Inspiration’

Training, trend and competitive monitoring will be ongoing. We have a number of tools we can deploy but ideally a junior planner or account person in each business group would be responsible for collating and distributing much of this.


Pretty early on we will need to develop the agency’s digital point of view, something that is uniquely yours. Everything we develop should ladder up to this as a thought. To promote this we should endeavour to get speaking, writing, judging and committee engagements as well as attending the most appropriate conferences and events.

Written last year.

Some of it still valid.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ogilvy On Social

OK it was me, not Ogilvy, talking about social at a being digital mashup event.

I cover our approach to digital, structure for social, a lenovo case study, some internal social programs and the one number you need in marketing. In just over 7 minutes. I never realised I said umm so much.