I know, it's hardly vindication, but at least I'm not a lone voice. Still fine article none the less
Article on the need for a social media director
I know I should probably give my views on this rather than just post a link, but right now I'm swamped and possibly drowning under work. Still I wanted to share this article on reality TV and what it means to today's society from The Observer.
You can read it all here. Enjoy
Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don't follow it. - Geoff Dyer
Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand. - Anne Enright
It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction. - Jonathan Franzen
Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. - Neil Gaiman
Style is the art of getting yourself out of the way, not putting yourself in it. - David Hare
By the same token remember how much time people spend watching TV. If you're writing a novel with a contemporary setting there need to be long passages where nothing happens save for TV watching: "Later, George watched Grand Designs while eating HobNobs. Later still he watched the shopping channel for a while . - Will Self
Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.- Jeanette Winterson
There was an article in The Guardian at the weekend, featuring Paul Fieg sharing his wisdom on comedy writing. It was pretty lightweight if I'm honest but there was still one or two gems of wisdom which would benefit any copywriter about to tackle his/her next script
"If you're trying to make a great comedy, most of your time and effort should go into casting. Find the right actors and let them do their thing."
Once again, I'm reminded of a particualr bug bear of mine. The lack of time and effort that contemporay ad agencies spend on the craft side of what they do. And yet, this is for me is where the effort needs to be applied especially now, especially the written word.
I get down from my soap box now, before this becomes a full on rant
You can read the full article here.
There's a brilliant post on the equally brilliant Creative Review blog today all about plagiarism in advertising and how youtube has made it possible for "original inspiration" to be so easily found.
What makes it very contemporary is the complete lack of responsibility that most agencies or creatives take for their actions.
For the record, I have no issue with stealing, but if you are shouldn't you be using it as a starting point for turning it into something original and not just create a more expensive copy. Something touched upon here, in the post Where does an idea come from?, in Dave Trott's blog.
But still I thought this was a great article over at The Guardian today about JJ Abrams much to be gleamed about popular culture. In particular this quote that I shall be using in forth coming meetings:
"People want to find magic," he says. "It's almost like a Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe thing. You want to find that secret. You want there to be some kind of portal between reality and fiction."
There's a great article in the New Yorker, about why marketing in a recession is important. well worth reading, but it can basically be summed up in this extract.
Worth the read, especially as it's not too long and packed with the sort of facts you can throw out to make yourself look extra smart.
Over at the fantastic TED site, there's a great video from Sir Ken Robinson who points out the many ways our schools are failing to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people.
"We are educating people out of their creativity,"
It's pretty long at 20mins, but well worth it.
Okay, so you work long hours, but does that mean you're working hard? Because, "long" and "hard" are now two different things. In the old days, we could measure how much grain someone harvested or how many pieces of steel he made. Hard work meant more work. But the past doesn't lead to the future. The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that's really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It's about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.
It's hard work to make difficult emotional decisions, such as quitting a job and setting out on your own. It's hard work to invent a new system, service, or process that's remarkable. It's hard work to tell your boss that he's being intellectually and emotionally lazy. It's easier to stand by and watch the company fade into oblivion. It's hard work to tell senior management to abandon something that it has been doing for a long time in favor of a new and apparently risky alternative. It's hard work to make good decisions with less than all of the data.
Today, working hard is about taking apparent risk. Not a crazy risk like betting the entire company on an untested product. No, an apparent risk: something that the competition (and your coworkers) believe is unsafe but that you realize is far more conservative than sticking with the status quo.
Richard Branson doesn't work more hours than you do. Neither does Steve Jobs or Alan Sugar or Julian Richer.
None of the people who are racking up amazing success stories and creating cool stuff are doing it just by working more hours than you are. And I hate to say it, but they're not smarter than you either. They're succeeding by doing hard work.
As the economy plods along, many of us are choosing to take the easy way out. We're going to work for a big company, letting him do the hard work while we work the long hours. We're going back to the future, to a definition of work that embraces the grindstone.
Hard work is about risk. It begins when you deal with the things that you'd rather not deal with: fear of failure, fear of standing out, fear of rejection. Hard work is about training yourself to leap over this barrier, tunnel under that barrier, drive through the other barrier. And, after you've done that, to do it again the next day.
The big insight: The riskier your (smart) coworker's hard work appears to be, the safer it really is. It's the people having difficult conversations, inventing remarkable products, and pushing the envelope (and, perhaps, still going home at 5 PM) who are building a recession-proof future for themselves.
Author Seth Godin.
I share it because it sums up perfectly what we're forever banging on about alot at Here Be Monsters, the constant need to be smart in what we do.
I've lifted this from an interview Creative Generalist did with Steve Callaghan, writer and producer of the Family Guy cartoon series. Here is how he describes the process of developing and writing a script.
"Well, as you might imagine, it is a highly collaborative endeavor. There are about 100 people or so who are in some way or another involved in putting together an episode. The process begins, of course, with the writing staff. My fellow writers and I will come up with a concept for an episode and discuss the general storyline that it would contain. The episode is then assigned to a particular writer who will write the first draft of the script. The whole writing staff then takes that first draft and, as a group, rewrites it -- improves jokes that might need some help, fixes any story issues, etc. -- before the show gets recorded by all of our voice actors. Once the audio has been recorded, then our animation team takes the baton, creating an animatic, which is a rough, pencil-sketch version of the show. Once we all screen the animatic, the writers take another pass at the script to address any remaining writing issues. A while later, the show comes back in color. We then do one more, smaller rewrite on the script before the finishing touches (music cues, sound effects, etc.) are added and then you've got yourself an episode of "Family Guy."
Now, compare that with how the typical creative team in the typical ad agency creates their script.
Account person and/or planner explain brief to creative team. They leave. Creative team spend anything from a day to a few weeks sweating it out. They present their ideas to the CD, who says yes, no, maybe, perhaps etc. What is very unlikely is that he will spend any time working with the team beyond this verbal input. Not through laziness, but because the script 'belongs' to the team. Work is then presented back to the account person-planner combo, who are allowed to comment on it, but only within the confines of their job title remit. God help them if they mis judge this and over step into the creatives' domaine. Conversations between planner and account person, account person and client, planner and creative director, planner and client all take place in a isolation to one another. As a result nothing much changes in the script until a director is selected. Now the creative team will listen and make changes, because a) the director is also a 'creative' and b) the team really want to be him.
I've been fortunate enought to have been a part of both processes and I know which one delivers the better work.
There's a fantastic post over at C Enrique Ortiz Mobility Blog all about one of 2007 hot trends, the intersection of mobility and social software: mobile social software, virtual communities, messaging and user-generated content. Well worth checking out.
There's a great article over on the Ad Age site about Martin Sorrell's, WPP Group's CEO, where he says
"Of the many challenges he handles running the world's second-largest advertising-and-marketing services company, the toughest, he said, is staying on top of technological changes. "What keeps me awake at night," he said, "is the thought that somewhere there are software engineers working in a garage, probably in Shanghai, who'll disrupt things as we know it."
WPP, like all companies involved in media and communications, is being buffeted by the continuing growth of the internet. Traditional media -- broadcast and cable TV, print, radio and outdoor -- will not be as profitable in the future as it has been in the past, he said. Digital media, already the fastest-growing sector of all media channels, will continue to take more share. Currently it comprises only 7% of global advertising spending; Mr. Sorrell believes that it should grow to 20%.
"We spend 20% of our time online, according to Google or Yahoo," Mr. Sorrell said, "so by logic, 20% of all dollars should be spent online."
In some countries, such as the U.K., online and search outlays already comprise 14% of total media spending, besting the U.S. and other developed countries.
The web, he said, has democratized access to information that was never before available publicly. "The power is in how you use the information, and analyze it," he said. But the result of widespread internet use is that structures of companies and media will have to change radically. "In our own business, for instance, there's advertising being made by consumers," appearing on sites such as YouTube and Heavy.com and our established agencies are not moving fast enough" to adapt to the change.
You can read the full article here.
According to some research done by the American Marketing Association it's adults over the age of 25 who love companies that ask for consumer generated content, while those under 25 are less than happy.
...compared to a company that uses only professional advertising, most adults feel that a company that uses customer-created advertising is more customer-friendly (68%), creative (56%), and innovative (55%).
Survey respondants between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely than those between the ages of 25 and 64 to say a company that uses customer-created advertising is less trustworthy (21% versus 10%, respectively), less socially-responsible (20% versus 10%, respectively) and less customer-friendly (13% versus 5%, respectively).
Seems to me to be going in the opposite direction to what we're currently being lead to believe.
So, are the yoof of today really that cynical about advertising, any advertising, even the stuff their peers have created? While those over 25 are suffering from trendy-dad syndrome and liking what they think kids like it?
I don't think so. I think those pesky youngsters just crave authenticity and freedom of expression for their work and yet constantly see brands pretending to offer this while in reality still trying to control the how, what, where and why. Reminds me of a certain brown, fizzy drink manufacturer's handling of the the whole Coke/Mentos phenomenon.
Another fine article in The Observer this weekend and for me one of the more persuaive for the simple reason that my mum can now understand what the hell I'm talking about when I say the cultural significance of TV is on the slide. The article itself deals with the fact that The Daily Mail have not bothered to replace their retiring TV critic.
This is a great article from John Naughton in yesterday's Observer which is well worth reading. I'm shamelessly repeating a chunk of it here, thanks to the communities dominate brands blog, for the simple reason it so needs to be read;
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 Blogger.com 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.
A Parallel Universe
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. (Remember the motto of YouTube: 'Broadcast yourself!')
Digital curated consumption
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.