Interesting one this. I do have the one question though, Samsung where are you hoping to get your new customers from?
Would they be the same ones you're taking the piss out of here?
Interesting one this. I do have the one question though, Samsung where are you hoping to get your new customers from?
Would they be the same ones you're taking the piss out of here?
Maybe this is a lazy post, bugger that, there's no maybe about it. Truth is I'm posting this so I know where to find it
1st principle of transmedia : drillability vs spreadability. It's a deep vertical engagement, rather than horizontal
Seldom do you see such a perfect example of how agencies are getting it wrong. What this. It's an impressive piece of sponsored entertainment. Care has gone into the ad, it's been crafted well; nicely written, faithfully shot and KS hasn't jus dialled it in. So full marks.
I don't know about the strategy so much, I'm guessing Acer aren't cool and need some cred if people are to buy them, if it's meant to be doing anything else, then that went way over my head.
So far, so okay.
But what is the ad really for, as viewed by the public? Dynamite Cupcakes
Dynamite Cupcakes of course. Just look at the end frame.
After all those sqillions they've spent getting noticed, what do they do? Click through to DynamiteCupcakes.com to find out.
What a wasted opportunity. What a complete misunderstanding of how we consume media today. What a wasted commercial.
And what makes it sadder on a personal level is that it was made by Mother, an agency that really should know better.
And all for the cost of the on set catering, even with KS was supplying the cakes.
Create a product that is so desireable that it has already been discussed online in such depth that there is no need to do anything other than simply announce it's arrived.
Then again, it could just be a lazy, uncreative poster.
Every now and them I'm ashamed to be an ad agency creative.
Mostly it's as a result of looking at a bunch of self-important twats getting drunk and snorting coke at an awards night - but occassionaly it's because of the work.
Here's one such an example. And it highlights perfectly the problem aging adlands less talented creatives have. YOU CAN NO LONGER SIMPLY GO OFF AND COPY SOMETHING YOU'VE SEEN ELSEWHERE AND CLAIM IT FOR A CLIENT.
And never, ever, ever,EVER copy something so badly as to sanitise it to such a degree that a global panel of P&Gs finest would all nod their approval at the level of banality you have achieved,
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
Is it just me, or are ITV apologising for their ad breaks?
I'd have thought you could have said an awful lot more about this series that this. Maybe they think the audience for this don't know the benefits of a dvd.
Either way it's lazy. Probably second only to a Sainsburys ad for purple potatoes I saw recently that said something along the lines of 'They won't eat their greens. Why not try them with our purples'. If that utter rubbish came from AMV, they should be doubly ashamed of themselves.
You're in for a treat. A smartly written, brilliantly acted ads. Why oh why can't we Brits do work like this?
But wait, what do we have here? The same ad edited by a fucking moron.
And the rest of the campaign is nowhere near as good either.
And then today I got to see this. Okay it's patchy, in part, very funny, but then loses it's way at the end,but hey-ho, let's give credit where credits due.
Anyway I'm really hoping that this is from them as they try and get a Downfall Rant style consumer campaign going. If that is the case then this is probably the best work they've done in years. A really smart approach to consumer generated content. And idea for the Ikea brand
Does anyone know if that is the case, I'd love to know the truth. Although long may it continue
Thanks to Tony Snow for the nod.
That's Gabi, Gabi Gregg who has just won the chance to be MTVs first Tweeter Jockey or - TJ if you roll with the street.
Gregg won Follow Me, a months-long competition on MTV, not unlike popidol but for tweeters, her prize, a 100k a year job as the company's social media voice. So far an average, if solid pr ideas I'm sure you'll agree. And that may well be MTV's intention.
But, as someone who has been championing the use of twitter for brands beyond the banalities of a PR junior hysterics and OMG txts. I'm hoping they will see the potential of what they have. The TV coverage will have helped develop solid backstories for both character and narrative from which to engage and encourage participation and with their events and tv channels the opportunity to create more depth is there too.
So, one to watch, assuming she can write with insight and wit of course - she starts next week and you can follow her here.
While the pay off is perhaps obvious. The bumper -the line after the joke that's there to get the big laugh - works really well. Nice performances too.
Then there's this one. I thought this worth commenting on for the quality of the writing and the fact that they've made the assumption that the viewer will get what's going on without any heavy explanation - we're made to discover at the same time as the guy at the bar does. (That said, the strapline so doesn't work.)
Over at the If This Is A Blog Then What's Christmas? Blog, Ben Kay has written a piece on why you should not bother writing dialogue for TV commercials. Do go and read the whole thing here
Now I should say that I don't know Ben, never, to my knowledge, even met him, but I read his blog and enjoy much of what is there. I also have a suspicion that he's a little bit of a weasel and that this post is really meant to provoke a reaction rather than share a passionately held belief - all of which is perfectly fine with me, I've been known to do it myself.
But I passionately disagree with the premise behind the post that says; writing good dialogue is hard, you certainly shouldn't give it ago, copywriter. In fact you're probably so shit at it that you should leave it to chance/the actor (the actor! Christ, they're the last people you should leave anything to)/director, in fact anyone else in the room as all of them can write dialogue better than you.
Apparently it is also a waste of time as it locks your idea down too much allowing clients to concentrate on the specifics and pick your dialogue apart which it is implied will get your idea thrown out altogether
Although he does make the valid point that not reading out dialogue when presenting a script helps get the idea across without the whole thing getting "all choppy and losing the flow." Which is very true if you're not one of those creatives who can't put performance into their presentation.
He also claims that writing dialogue prevents 'the magic happening' as it leaves no room for 'accidents to happen'. Well, they're not mutually exclusive.
Having wasted too many hours at script-read-throughs where a film script has been rewritten tens if not hundreds of times over a 6-12 months, period I can assure you that is far from the case. Likewise, being in a writers room where people are pulling apart and building your lovingly crafted ideas and dialogue - surround yourself with the right people and your work can only get better. But to assume they'll do the hard work for you will just get you sack (as well it should). It also brings me to his last reason as to why you shouldn't bother, it's a waste of time - WTF. I shall say nothing more on this than that's plain fucking lazy.
The truth as I see it is, done well, where it has been crafted with skill, with a ear for rhythm, region, age and an understanding of character and personality It will enhance your script, any script, perhaps especially when it's for a 30 second commercial.
End of rant.
Well almost, I just have to comment on this last quote:
By the way, none of the above applies to radio ads which need to be buttoned the fuck down before you go in. You can still have wiggle room, but very few actors/VOs like to be told to make shit up on the spot.
So there you have it, I care about my TV reel, but fuck radio, it's full of talentless fucks anyway. Which, going by the shameful state of most radio ads is a view shared by most of the industry.
I host a workshop from time to time called There are only 7 ideas in Advertising. It pretty much claims what it says, that there are only seven ideas in advertising, in much the same way there are only 7 stories and 3 jokes and only 4 real flavours for crisps
During it I claim that creatives would do well to focus on crafting executions along one or more of these 7 structures rather than keep aimlessly wandering around in a creative fog coming up with random executions that appear.
And that if you do, it's amazing how quickly you'll get to a solution. Yet so many creatives are reluctant to accept that there is an easier way to do their job. Instead choosing to believe that what they do is mythical and requires much struggling and sweating and waiting for divine intervention from the gods of inspiration or some such bollocks.
An example then.
One of the 7 ideas is The Spokesman, where this archetype addresses the audience to explain/demonstrate the product. At it's dullest/least creative it results in a classic 2C in a K execution, but crafted and developed you could end up with something as sublime as the Al and Monkey campaign for ITV digital, or everyone's current favourite du jour, Old Spice.
I also point to You've been framed. as an example of an old, often lame idea being turned on it's head.
For the first, whatever years of its existence it YBF was utter shite. Some of the worst TV there was, it probably hit rock bottom when some lardy ex-soap actress hosted it. But over the last few years it;s became funny. Really funny
What changed? Not the content, it still shows the same trashy, lame family video footage, but now Harry Hill comments on them. And so, instead of a bunch of lame puns and word play and limp jokes we get genuinely funny commentary. And that is all it took.
So, worry less about what your idea is and worry more about how to show it at it's best.
I pinched this from a blog I frequent. It needs little in the way of explanation. It just shows what's expected from content makers these days, be it films, tv programmes or ads. Today, if you've been lucky enough to engage people they will expect more from you and whatever they find the can and will share with their friends.
So disappoint them at your peril
Regular readers of the blog will know that I'm a big fan of transmedia storytelling as one of the ways forward for brands to engage more with their audience. So of course I was going to like the idea that Coronation Street actors will be appearing on Jeremy Kyle tomorrow. I think it's inspired. Congrats to whoever came up with the idea.
I've been thinking a lot lately about creativity, and what it really means in advertising. It was prompted by a conversation with a top ECD at one those agencies every creative wants to work at.
We were talking about the Stieg Larsson books and he said he had no intention of reading them as they're now so popular. But later went on about how brilliant he thought White Ribbon and Tank Fish were. Now as good as they are, I suspect what appealed was as much down to their obscurity as their originality.
And then I read this in the Independent this morning.
Why is it an industry that needs by definition to be as popularist as possible tends to shun what the public love? This wasn't the case 50, 30, even 20 years ago. (And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the public know what's good creatively, just that they do know what they like and for adland that's a good place to start.)
Well, here's my theory.
Unlike the creatives of yesteryear most creatives don't know what they're doing.
Let me explain.
Back in the day, creatives knew what they were doing. They were salesmen, who sold. They were writers who wrote. They were artists who art directed. Today's creatives stumble into advertising very confused about themselves, they can't sell, they can't write and they can't art direct.
And the industry must share some of the blame, Are you aware that not one adland course in the UK teaches craft? Do you know of any agency that spends time teaching writing skills, or how to create characters, or build a narrative flow, or the principles behind art directing a page, or even the craft of film making - camera angles, or why a film score works or doesn't work, or the principles behind editing? And before you say surely these are the responsibilities of the professionals they hire, well it's creatives who select them, so without even a basic understanding of their crafts what criteria are they using? Invariably, what will my peers think of me working with him?
The end result, insecurity and ignorance reign and so they seek out the obscure and the hardly seen as a way of looking like they know what they're doing. And of course appearing cool.
Regular readers will know that I've been a bit slack posting of late. If I'm honest the reason is two-fold. A shit end to the year and frankly a less than enthusiastic reaction to the industry. I just got very bored with everything, the same people saying the same things and very little work that was worth commenting on.
So when something did happened that I felt strong enough about to comment on and pass an opinion - the people power activites to spoil the X Factor (first with Jedwood and then with RATM) I felt too apathetic to do anything.
It was around this time that I also stopped reading other blog.
The beginning of the year hasn't really improved my mood of what is out there and the general state of the industry. It's all so dull, dull, dull right now.
It is my intention to get back into posting frequently, I just needed a little rest.
I'm no hater of traditional advertising, I don't believe it's going to disappear (in the short term), in fact I enjoy a good commercial as much as the next consumer. My main gripe is that there's just not that much out there worth applauding - but that's always been the case and not something restricted to advertising either. We're all well aware of the 90%-10% rule.
I just wanted to get that out of the way as I'm about to lay into an agency that I've always had a lot of regard for, even if they aren't the force they once were. There are people in this agency that I have nothing but the highest regard for and one individual in particular who has had a massive impact on my formative years both professional and personally.
The agency in question is WCRS. They've done some okay work for Weetabix lately. (I particularly rate the use of music here). But then they go and do this - a website whose only purpose is to show a commercial -an online-themed commercial admittedly but just a sodding commercial none the less.
The only explanation can be that they thought it was too funny/clever to bin.
It's about as traditional or as arrogant thinking as you're likely to experience.
You can just see the agency scene as creative stereotypes rush around congratulating one another on their great TV script (and to be fair, it's an okay idea), as the creative director tells them it's not gonna work on TV, as some bright spark suggests, lets stick it on the net (with all the implications that implies).
What we're effectively seeing is some astonishingly old-fashioned thinking that people really do want to see ads, and will happily seek them out, even when the only 'reward' is the entertainment within. And some some good old-fashioned arrogance that those very same people will be so impressed that they won't be able to send it to friends ana make it go viral.
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
This has to be one of the most outdated pieces of work I have seen in recent years. And all that's really been communicated is that everyone attached to it has no interest in what is happening around them.
Isn't this what business should really be about? I love this guy. I love his values? I love his passion?
I think this film does a wonderful job explaining the rewards of travel. Beautiful in lots of way, by mainly for it's heart.
I wrote some poetry recently. Never done it before It happened because I was reading something on the subject where they defined poetry as, making the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar. I don't know if that is true or even a good definition of poetry, but I liked it and I thought I'd give it a go.
Of course I've no intention of subjecting you to it up here, that wasn't the point. But I did discover something useful.
Usually when I have to write something, the number of words aren't too important and so I can ramble on a bit, even when I write to a short(ish) word count. Stuff like this.
Poetry is something different in that each and every word counts. And counts massively. You really have to think about it's value, you really have to search for the exact words. It's fucking tough. It's not like polishing a draft or rewriting something to make it flow better, poetry only works when you give each and every word complete consideration.
And so I'm going to write some more, not because I want to be a poet, not because I'm any good, not even because I enjoy it, but because I think I will be a better writer for it, I think I will respect words more.
I really do recommend you give it a go
On Sunday night The Southbank Show (don't bother clicking on the link if you want to see the programme, they don't have it up, yet. Or maybe never, I have no way of telling and itv aren't saying).
Anyway, it was about Pixar and John Lasseter and what a wonderfully smart man he seems to be.
"I'm the thickest person here now, as we always make a point of employing people smarter than us." Okay, something we've not heard all before and certainly not true but you got a real sense that he believes that you employ people for their thinking and not someone who can regurgitate your own thinking for you.
He also spent some time explaining about how, when he saw the computer generated animation film Tron, he was blown away by it. Not the film, but the fact that he could see the opportunity the technology offered. But the film flopped and the industry said people didn't want to see computer animation, when really they didn't want to see a shit film. So, when Toy Story came along and it went massive, the industry line was that people didn't want to see hand drawn animation and that the future was in computers.
Which is, of course, also bollocks. And he said as much. He couldn't understand why the debate wasn all about technology and not stories and engaging with the audience.
And so when he took over creative control of Disney he commissioned a new hand drawn film and got some of the old school Disney artists back to run it. I think I should rephrase that, He reemployed a bunch of guys who had been put out to pasture, because they had the right skill sets and he appreciates that the craft.
The parallels to our industry are obvious and so I won't insult your intelligence spelling it out.
Oh and he also said, quality is the best business plan. And I'm going to be saying that a lot from now on.
Had the immense pleasure of spending 2 hours in the company of Rory Sutherland last night. Something I would heartily recommend to anyone if they find themselves offered the opportunity.
He has to be one of the nicest and most interesting men in adland
Sorry if this sounds a little gushing, but it's so nice when you meet nice people.
I've been listening to a fair bit of Russell T Davies lately. (I was going to make some witty remark about not being as melodic as Booker T, but then I cringed). It wasn't planned and if truth be known, I'm not much of fan of what he's done to Dr Who, but when it comes to writing he has a refreshing take that is more contemporary than most of his peers. He's also blindingly passionate about writing and drama and reality TV which I've written commented about on this blog
In the last interview I heard (R4 arts and culture programme) he had some really interesting things to say about structure. While being a long term advocate of a beginning, a middle and an end he accepts that there is a new breed of writer appearing that has been as influenced by video games as they have by film. And that these writers have a more episodic attitude to narrative. Examples of this are both, the last of the Star Wars films and the latest Harry Potter. Both of which were lambasted for their lack of plot - by traditional critics, naturally/
So are we seeing a new form of storytelling developing?
My personal view is no and oh yes, probably.
A film without a plot is never going to be a rewarding experience, the linear nature of film and time is perfectly suited to traditional storytelling, but that is not to say that it couldn't and won't evolve over time to include additional tools (personal screens, handheld devices, web-linked widget ), for an audience member to dig deeper as and when they want to, making it a more personal form of storytelling, one unique to the viewer via their personal choices.
It's also really just another way of explaining transmedia storytelling. And highlights it's growing importance for comms.
It's not often that a company takes a decision that could change the way the organisation works and it's even less likely to happen in public, so I applaud Best Buy's launch of Twelpforce. Essentially this new service uses Twitter to enable Customers to interact directly with their 1,000 strong work force to get answers.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to them for being bold. Bold is good. All too often we see companies being conservative in their approach and making incremental change.
As their CMO, Barry Judge in his blog says:
“Twelpforce is obviously an experiment. A very public one. And with this publicity comes a certain amount of risk. In my view, it is a risk well worth taking for many reasons”……he goes on to say “I also know we will make mistakes. Heck, I have made many mistakes in my own use of social media. But, I also know we will learn from them and be a smarter company about how to better serve customers going forward.”
By empowering their workforce to interact with Customers this will being the Customer inside the organisation and help create a Customer centric culture and blurs the lines between Customer Service and marketing. As Barry says “No longer is customer service a department but something that all of us can do”.
Is Barry Judge brilliant or what?
Thanks to Ben Shaw for the nudge.
One of my many theories, I have one on pretty much everything by the way, is that we in comms who write comedy as a means to sell consumers stuff need to look at the wider, broader spectrum offered by comedians and not jut look at ads for guidance. Obvious one that I know, so why the hell doesn't the average creative bother then? I blogged about it here.
I also believe that there are 3 stages in the life of a brand's brilliant voice. 1) The creation of something original, thus creating stand out 2) The copying by many, thus making it trite and ubiquitous 3) A strong reaction against it, which is normally the opposite to it, and is implimented by an equally talented company, but not necessarily in the same sector.
So, if we take the the once brilliant and much copied (badly) Innocent drinks, where life is good in whimsical, middle England's very own Nappy valley. When it came out it was inspired, it connected in a way that most brands didn't (and don't) and success followed. (phase1)
Then came the many imitators. (phase2)
So what of phase 3? Well I'm coming to that. If my theory is right then we could soon see a brand soon that deliberately provokes it's audience/consumers with it's anger and bad-temperedness. It's already happened in the wider spectrum of comedy where to offend is the material de jour, (So with two theories combining I had to post, right?)
I even wrote a blog to experiment along these lines - until I forgot my password which was then sent to an email address that I no longer have access to and so haven't been able to contiue with, which really, really pissed me off, I can tell you. Anyway I digress.
Only time will tell.
I was listening to the Radio 4's Front Row programme the other day, Russel T Davies was on talking about drama. For him the new drama is reality shows. He even went further and said that the piece of drama that had impressed him most recently was the Susan Boyle saga.
He went on to say that he wasn't just talking about her coming on stage and belting out her song but the way in which her story was played out afterwards keeping her in the public's mind for weeks. He had real admiration for the people behind it.
For me, the most impressive drama has been the Katie/Jordan V Peter split. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of them or their desperate desire to live their lives in the public eye, but I do think that like Paris Hilton, they have shown those of us in the comms industry much in the way of how campaigns can be structure and played out in the future.
And I'm chuffed to bits that Russel T Davies thinks along similar lines.
I’ve been working up this theory on writing for blogs to support a presentation and possibly create a new revenue stream for us. So I thought I'd share my thinking with you guys see if anyone wants to contribute.
It’s about blogging - I'll share my thoughts on tweets later - and how brands should approach it in a more focused way
Right now brand blogging in the UK is in its infancy and because it’s cheap and quick and readership numbers are currently relatively small for most brand blogs, it gets treated with more contempt than this years BB contestants.
However, a quick glance across the pond will tell you that that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact a well-written, focused blog that serves and articulates a purpose, one that rewards readership can and does deliver a meaningful relationship that can be incredibly valuable to the brand.
But, this will not happen if you treat it as a freebie bolted-on to the main campaign because, well it’s cheap, trendy and so now, and that’s the kind of brand we are, so why not do it? Plus there’s a box here I have to tick, right next to the iphone app and the facebook widget. And, anyway, isn’t that what interns are for?
So the outcome is something that resembles a personal diary packed with minor milestones such as –
The sun is shining today, so why not go out and buy one of our new limited edition range of choc-ices. There are 3 to choose from lemon and lime, mango and multi-berry. Hurry and do let us know which one is your favourite. Yummy.
All written by someone who loves to replace full stops with :-) and can’t wait until a computer allows them to dot i’s with smiley faces.
The alternative to this, of course, is the dullard who thinks people love to read instruction manuals about products.
In short then, the kind of thing that no sane person can tolerate. And so a self-fulfilling prophecy that blogs aren’t important or effective.
And so, the next campaign gets the same blog treatment.
Now consider an alternative approach. Consider one where a blog is given a real purpose or positioning in a campaign, with a real benefit to consumers and is skilfully constructed and written by someone who understands narrative structure and the power of the written word.
What would that look like?
Well, I think a blog closely resembles two modern day narratives. Those of a reality TV show, like say, The Apprentice and that of a sitcom or soap.
How so, you say?
Well, a reality TV series is built around a script that is flexible enough to incorporate the unpredictable, the reality element, it doesn’t dictate the outcome but does add structure and order where there possibly isn’t any.
Characters are selected based on their personality traits and assigned a potential role in the series (the fool, the bitch, the quiet one who will flourish etc).
These roles are then clearly defined in the early stages and reaffirmed in subsequent episodes. So the dimwit character is edited to confirm his dimwittedness, the nasty bitch has only her bitchy acts included in the final edit and so on. Now established these characters can play their role in a pre-determined - albeit loosely plotted - script that has been drawn up from the beginning.
A manipulation of reality, but a reality none the less.
Having become familiar with the characters we the audience can sit back and enjoy the drama unfold, safe in the knowledge of who is who and how they will react in certain situations.
Not too dissimilar to characters in a sitcom or soap.
In this genre the characters have clearly defined personality traits that don’t change. It’s one of the few genres where this happens. Normally in a film or other drama, the lead character goes on a journey, a character-arc that changes him/her in some way forever. The workaholic at the beginning of the film discovers the importance of community and/or family. The idealist gets dealt a blow by fate preventing him from escaping his past and leaving him resigned to accept his lot etc.
But not so in the world of Soaps and Sitcoms. The reason they don’t change is because familiarity is what makes a soap a Soap, a sitcom a Sitcom. Dell Boy has to always chase the dream of being a millionaire, it’s that that determines the comedy. He can never become one nor can he change and discover less materialistic goals.
Likewise, Phil Mitchell of Albert Square is doomed to forever be the violent petty criminal he is. So, whatever situation he finds himself in he must act accordingly – not for him the enlightenment of learning the power of arbitration and peaceful compromise.
The reason both of these genres follow this path is because of why they are viewed and their relationship with the viewer.
They rely on repeat and frequent viewing, so they need to be consistent - people enjoy and need this familiarity, it allows them to build connections and feel a sense of loyalty to the characters.
And these character can’t be too complex and instead need to follow a simple human desire or personality trait because these genres also need to stand alone as pieces of entertainment and drama in their own right, so that infrequent or new views can easily grasp what is going on and quickly decide for themselves whether this is something for them.
What does all this sound like from a user experience, well to me, blogs.
So, before establishing a blog, define it’s role, define the narrative arc - what’s it’s purpose, what is it offering, what’s the story (know the beginning, middle and end). Establish who the characters are (people or product points) and what their role in the story is.
Oh and finally, give it to a writer. Someone that wants to write and who understands these things (which is why we have been quietly recruiting screenwriters, gag writers, comedy writers, journalists and novelists to write treatments and plot narratives for clients blogs).
Then you might have a blog that will attract considerable loyal readership who will engage and return to it time and time again and share their experience of it with others – much like a good Soap or Sitcom
If this does or doesn’t make sense, or you want to challenge it some more, or you fancy joining the writers’ database, feel free to get in touch.
And now, just for fun and as way of a thank you for getting to the end, a completely unrelated video clip, other than featuring Alan Sugar, I present Cassetteboys best
You can just see it now. Everything from computers, phones, games manufactures, insurance, even a COI excerise more campaign, all joining the race to use this first.
The photographer is Christophe Beauregard. His aim is to explore the ways in which technology has shaped our body language “to the point of creating new codes, new signs.” By removing the physical gadget from his photos he leaves just the interaction.
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.
I've been aware for a while now, about this trend appearing. The Americans have a name for it,of sorts, Madison and Vine, it's the combination of advertising and entertainment. And the rightly awarded and previously commented on here back in January, The Queensland Best Job in the World campaign is the latest example.
This Thursday at 9pm the BBC are showing an hour long programme covering the final round of the competition, when an English lad called Ben is selected from the final 16.
Currently, I haven't been able to find out much behind the production company behind it, but if this wasn't conceived and made by, or at the very least pitched to production companies by CumminsNitro then it bloody well should have been.
Either way, a smart conclusion to a smart campaign.
With TV desperate for content this is definitely a trend that is going to go from strength to strength and yet another example of the return to a pre50's ad/comms model.
We all know the twitter/habitat screw up by now. But if you don't here's it in a nutshell
Yesterday, Habitat apologised for its promotional messages on Twitter, which also tried to ride on the back of interest in the launch of the latest Apple iPhone.
Irrelevant hashtags featured in the messages included '#mousavi', referring to an Iranian presidential candidate, and '#iphone'.
The promotion was designed to sign people up to its database with the chance to win a £1,000 gift card.
According to a Sky News Habitat's communications team said they had not authorised the messages, but they have confirmed they were not hacked.
"The hashtags were uploaded without Habitat's authorisation by an overenthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions. He is no longer associated with Habitat," a spokesman said.
Twitter users accused Habitat of spamming and its mistake was heavily retweeted on the micro blogging service. It was being touted as a case study example of what marketers should not do on Twitter.
The offending tweets have since been removed and Habitat promised to "do better for the Twitter community".
Okay, it was a very stupid thing to do by any standards but I don't believe it was the work of "an over enthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions", I would have thought the intern is exactly the sort of person who would understand Twitter. So are they pointing the finger at the innocent?
An even if I'm wrong, I still have a problem, if it were a particularly stupid intern, until clients and agencies in this country start to give social media opportunities the respect they deserve then they will continue to make fools of themselves in the
Once a regular in lads mags the glamour model known as Jordan, long ago re-branded herself as Katie Price and transformed herself into a mini-industry selling her own particular brand of celebrity to young girls. And in doing so has gone from strength to strength.
The latest chapter sees her having martial problems with her partner Peter. So far so what? But what’s really happening is a transmedia story and ARG played out via very traditional media.
The story is launched on ITV2, with a new series of their fly on the wall documentary, Katie and Peter Stateside. After a couple of episodes we start to see them row and bicker more than usual. Nothing too serious, nothing too nasty – just a lot more than we’re use to seeing them do. Tensions flare and make up abound.
This is then picked up and discuss endlessly in the celeb mags -
Grazia, Hello, OK, etc. Each boasts of an exclusive, many seem to contradict one another. But this isn’t important - it gives the public something to talk about and discuss, everyone has an opinion feed to them, so conversations can be had.
And they are. Social media is a buzz.
Peter Andre twitters, Katie Price twitters. The papers report their comments to a wider audience.
New information feeds the debate.
One paper coves the story where she accuses him of having an affair. Another reports he denies it. And it’s her that, she can’t be trusted when she’s drunk.
Two days later, a new character appears.
The Sun ran a front page a showing Katie Price drunk in the company of a new man. 2 days in a row they cover this development, reader are asked if they know him? (The public are now contributors to the story.)
Later that week The News of the World expose him and run an exclusive interview with the ’mystery man”. We can breath again – he’s married and an old horse-riding friend.
And on it goes into the next week
Finally what we all thought was going to happen happens - they announce they are separating. He goes off to Cyprus, she to the Caribbean. He talks about his sense of desperation at it going this far on the front page of The Sun.
Photo ops abound as both parades themselves in skimpy swimwear.
In the coming weeks magazines and red top papers continued with the drama with new twists; She talks about the mistakes she’d made and perhaps she’s to blame. He talks about how she was the only one for him.
New plots are introduced – The children - The fight for custody. Peter’s love for Harvey, the son that isn’t his. The one he wants to adopt etc.
The divorce - Speculation is rife, how much would he walk away with? Will he honour the pre-nup? More new characters are introduced - who is going to represent whom?
The Broadsheets enter the fray, often via columnists, giving their own unique highbrow take and opinions - a relationship born in the public eye dies in the public eye, it’s inevitable, she’s a working mum, etc.
It’s covered on discussed on daytime TV, appears in TV News and mentioned repeatedly on topical shows, Daytime TV etc.
No one can escape. Saturation has been achieved. And the story still continues with two different production companies filming the two parties as they go through their divorce.
To date, if you google “Katie and Peter divorce” you get 906,000 links, 47,300 forum threads, 151 separate videos uploaded.
Google Katie and Peter and you get 14, 600, 000 links!
By building complexity into a range of communications and using different channels to put across different ideas you create a much larger and more engaging brand world, one that people can commit and delve into depending on their own personal involvement and passion for the brand.
For me its about building a world of referents and images, held together by a value system and a narrative and communicating it in ways that understand that both the content is fluid and that channels are no longer easily delineated.
I also believe consumers can now handle more than a single core idea. In fact, in an age where consumers increasingly control the media they consume we can no longer simply interrupt them, instead we have to offer them more than a core idea well told.
If they are to reach out to brands, we have to be delivering value and a rich content experience is valuable.
So the transmedia model builds a larger world of ideas and delivers different parts of that world in different channels. Some channels are better at some things than others.
And that is what Katie and Peter are living proof of.
In our house it's compulsory viewing as we wallow in the realisation that the advertising industry really hasn't changed that much in 50 years.
'Look - there's Mark.' 'You know who he is, that's John!' We scream at the screen as the cast reveal themselves as current day contemporaries.
And every now and then you hear something so sharp and observant it's almost painful to hear.
Last night we were presented with a killer line, by Dan Draper, 'I sell products. I don't sell advertising.'
How many ad creatives can honestly, hand on heart, say the same?
It's so blindly obvious that it's taken me three years to see it, but some of the most successful brands today have actually been embracing transmedia storytelling for sometime. What's been lacking has been the cohesive strategic overview that allows for a stronger relationship between all the separate elements oh and of course, that sodding desire agencies have for media hierarchy.
If you're not over familiar with the term, the mightily impressive Henry Jenkins who came up with it, describes it thus,
I urge you to click on the link. It will be how brands/campaigns will be created and judged in the future.
Oh and the rather nice cityscape is by a fab illustrator called Borja Bonaque.
This is a smart product/app tie up. Well, it's not is it. I should have been. Could have been if it were done a year ago, but coming late to the party and offering an identical app to that already exists isn't smart at all. It's the opposite. It's stupid. And annoying and, well rude.
Come the party by all means but don't hide your vodka under the sofa and snog someone's lady friend. Dance, chat, entertain and be an active guest
Maybe it'll be the best the spirit level app. It's currently no 15 in the download top20, with iHandy Level no.1. So maybe it's not that good either.
Still they're tried.
This is just one of those lovingly executed ideas that is so going to have it's heart ripped out and end up in an ad. My money is on mobile communications, or maybe a broadband offering, but don't be surprised if you see a car logo or the COI dangling from the end of it.
I think I hate PizzaHut for listening to whoever suggested this was a good idea. And if you can't be bothered to click on, this, then let me tell you that PizzaHut have placed an ad offering an internship, or, as they so wittily like to refer to it -and how you'll laugh at this, so you will -, a twinternship. Because they want some pimply, debt-ridden college kid to twitter for them this summer. Hence internship + twitter = twinternship
And they would like you to believe it's a real job too, with real responsibilities that include:
Now there's two ways you can interpretate this.
1. Pizza Hut don't understand any of this yoofy social media life stylie stuff and don't know anyone who does either and so would like to get someone who is young enough and cheap enough to do some dabbling in it for them.
2. Pizza Hut couldn't really give a shit about this yoofy social media life stylie stuff and don't know anyone who does either and
so would like to get someone who is young enough and cheap enough to do some dabbling in it for them.
I guess in someways this is a pointless/useless post. (It's amazing what spending a week in the company of a 6 year old will do to your brain. - it being Easter hols here in London and all).
Anyway, the picture is of a wii and google's street view mashup. The deal is, you go jogging on the wii via a road route shown through street view. The best of both worlds.
The pointlessness being that it's only available in Japan - and I have no idea where I found this out. Sorry.
But what I will say, is that I get as excited about stuff like this as I use to get about the latest Cunningham ad.
I should come clean here, Scamp annoys the hell out of me. Our views are poles apart as far as how we see creatives, the role of advertising and the future of both. But so what? We're all entitled to our own views and we should never shy away from expressing them - after all, having an opinion and expressing it is a massive part of what being a creative is about.
Plus we should always be prepared to have our views challenged.
So when he put up the slides from a talk he gave on what being a creative is, I wasn't surprised to find myself shaking my head and tutting by slide 3, waving my fist by slide 8 and shouting obscenties and banging the table by slide 21.
What I was surprised at were the comments, the majority of which shared my opinion. Maybe creatives are finally growing up. I do hope so.
I love that I live in a country that allows people to protest, in fact I wish people did it more often.
Less keen on the fact that I live in a country where 24 news coverage means repeating the same hysterical nonsense over and over again - yes, I'm talking to you Sky and BBC - maybe now's the time to be more honest, it's not so much 24 news coverage as, news updates every three hours then repeated for two, 24 hours a day.
Much more entertaining and informative is getting the info from those on twitter, enjoying these people right now. At least the updates happen when something changes.
And not only that, but the type of updates also bring the event closer to home. Intimacy is in the detail, not in the broad strokes of a situation.
Some smart client/agency relationship will understand this and be working right now on what they could/should be doing to make the most of Glastonbury, FA Cup, Wimbledon F1, etc in the year of the twitter.
Back in the day. I got my second job at CDP, it was the mid-80s, when CDP was all upper case and still a great place for a creative to ply his trade. (No offense Dentsu, but even you must admit, cdp is not what it was.)
Anyway, an endless line of creatives would pass through on placement, stay two weeks, if they were lucky, a month, and then leave. During this time, nearly every one of them would work terrifically hard in their little office and never venture out to play pool or go upstairs to the bar for a drink, believing that hard work was their key to employment.
And so, I can hardly remember anyone who passed through at this time. Occasionally, very occasionally, someone would be employed and, other than a tiny little bit more money, nothing much would change, as they were fed a stream of briefs and told to crack them.
At the same time, account graduates would join but there introduction to the company was different. They would spend 2 wks in the creative dept, 2wks in production, 2wk planning, 2wks media buying. Only then they would start their job as an account manager.
And CDP wasn't any different to any other agency in that respect.
And today, nothing much has changed. I don't know of one agency that believes a creative would benefit from understanding the other jobs in the agency. Which leads to an arrogance from the creatives about whose work it is and who is working for who. And the idea that creatives aren't serious about business problems/solutions, so keep the real work away from them.
It is this legacy that is now giving the industry such big problems.
On the several occasions when I've run departments, I've always implemented a very simple philosophy. It you touch a piece of work then you must leave your finger print on it.
By that I meant, you had to be able to show how you improved anything you worked on, regardless of what department you worked in. Likewise, creatives would be responsible for improving briefs and working on presentations. And it made a massive difference in getting an agency to work together.
I pinched this from Brand Republic,
Coke briefly turns off landmark Piccadilly Circus ad in support of CO2 initiative
LONDON - Coca-Cola Great Britain (CCGB) is switching off its 'Coca-Cola' sign at London's Piccadilly Circus for only the third time since World War II to support WWF's Earth Hour.
WWF's Earth Hour takes place from 8.30 - 9.30pm on Saturday 28 March. WWF is asking one billion people across the world to switch off their lights for one hour in support of action against climate change.
As well as the switch off, CCGB has created an ad dedicated to Earth Hour which will run on the Piccadilly sign from 13 March. The advert runs for 36 seconds and opens with a multitude of bright lightbulbs floating in outer space. To reinforce the message Switch off for Earth Hour', the lightbulbs turn off one by one and the closest bulb then transforms into the Earth. A countdown timer to Earth Hour is also included.
It is estimated that 1.2 million people will see the Earth Hour ad whilst on display on the Piccadilly sign
Earth Hour will also be promoted on the ‘Coke Zone' website and an advert will also run in all football programmes at ‘Coca-Cola' Football League matches on the 28 March, providing 136,000 opportunities for people to see the ad.
Across all materials, people are encouraged to sign-up by either visiting or by texting EARTH to 84800.
Across all materials, people are encouraged to sign-up by either visiting or by texting EARTH to 84800.
Is this an example of a company helping to highlight an issue with it's own money and throwing its support behind a worthy cause? ? Or simply a cynical attempt, via a lame gesture, to jump on a bandwagon?
Okay, I think you know where I stand on this.
A message to you all at Coca Cola, the world has changed, you can't do something so lame and half-arsed and expect to be congratulated for it. If you were at all serious about making a real difference you would move away from illuminated signage altogether - after all what good does it really do? You're just burning money and resources. And before you even start on, it's a tourist attraction, it's part of the culture of this great city, may I respectfully remind you, so were hangings, but Marble Arch has survived pretty well without either.
I'm either not busy enough or I'm too self-obsessed, I'll leave it to you to decide which, as yesterday I had the idea that I would photograph everything I ate and drank. Here's the results:
2x toast with orange and mango marmalade, plus homemade smoothie (banana, aloe Vera juice, blue berries, raspberries, papaya and wheat-grass powder)
10.30 - 12.40
1x lemongrass tea, 2x green tea
Butternut squash mixed dahl with brown and wild rice
12.40 - 20:05
A handful of crisps in a meeting. I think they were salt and vinegar, but not 100% sure.
2x jasmine tea
10 x pieces of nigiri sushi
1pt sparkling mineral water and blueberry cordial
20.10 - 11.50
2x jasmine tea
1x packet of maltesers, which nowadays are really just tesers, mores a pity.
And there you have it all that I ate and drank on Tuesday 10th March.
When I started this I thought that it was going to be a bit of web-based navel gazing, but actually, now that it's on the page, I see that it's more interesting than that.
I've never thought of myself as being much of a tea drinker - but obviously I am. I'm horrified at what a typical middle-class diet I have and how revealing it is of me in many ways. I'm also amazed at how much I actually consume in a single day, way more that I thought.
I think I'm going to extend this further and do it for a whole week, don't worry I'm not going to stick it up here, I wouldn't do it to you, but if you're really sad or have stalker tendencies you'll find a whole weeks result in my Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread group on flickr.
I'd also go as far as to recommend you give it a go, it's much more interesting much more personal insight into your life than at first you might think.
When was the last time you saw a genuinely funny ad? Not an ad that was funny, but 30 seconds of something genuinely funny, as funny, say, as 30 seconds of Bill Bailey, Peter Kay, Seinfeld, or The Simpsons?
Can’t think of one? Me neither.
When did you last see an ad so emotional, or so poignant, or so honest that it moved you to tears? Okay, I’ll settle for, a smallish lump in your throat, when was the last time you saw an ad that did that? Never, of course because they don’t exist either.
What about a commercial with the drama, tension, visual brilliance, narrative drive, dramatic structure, or precise characterisation to rival Citizen Kane, The Insider, Toy Story (take your pick, 1 or 2), A Clockwork Orange, The Sopranos, The Wire, or The West Wing?
So what about copy then? Have you ever read a piece of copy that was as insightful, as wise, as illuminating or as revealing of the human condition as something written by McEwan, Roth, Heller, Steinbeck, Orwell or Hemingway?
As for radio, I think it’s best we past over the shameful content that clutters up the airwaves in the name of advertising and not even bother insulting Radio4’s understanding of the medium, by mentioning them in the same breath. (Damn, I just did.)
“Stop being stupid!” one or two of you might now be shouting. “What good is making the comparison between 30 seconds of film and 90mintes? 500 words and a 400-page novel?
Well, consider these.
“Go ahead make my day.”
“You can’t handle the truth.”
“Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”
“How am I funny?”
“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
“You talkin’ to me?”
“I steal your milkshake.”
Each one a single line, delivered once, taking up seconds of the film and yet remembered forever.
Likewise, these scenes appear briefly and yet leave a lasting impression on the viewer.
And for those creatives who are screaming, “But that’s not our job! That’s not what we do!” I say bollocks. That’s exactly what you try and do. You just fail at it. Time and time again.
You write funny sketches and call them commercials, but they’re not funny. Not properly funny.
You raise contributions for worthy charities with heartrendingly painful stories of abuse, neglect, natural disasters but you tell them badly.
You deal with death, birth, love – every aspect of life and yet you fail to connect and move your audiences.
While those remaining creatives stamping your feet as you bellow, ‘It’s not us, it’s the client’s fault!’
Novelist have publishers, Comedy programmes have commissioning editors. Filmmakers have producers, financiers and studios. Comedians have a live audience – They all have clients, and yet.
Yes, it’s only
30seconds. Yes, it’s only a single page of copy. Yes, we have to sell
a product. Yes, the client can sometimes be stupid. You’re absolutely
right; they’re all legitimate obstacles. What they’re not is a
legitimate excuse for a lack of talent or plain laziness.
So why is this well-paid industry of hard working, passionate and smart people so…. so average?
I was once asked, ‘Am I in love with the idea of me being inside of art, or the art inside of me?’
Not much of an option, right? But I believe most, if not all ad creatives fall into the former.
They want to do something creative, they want to create something good, but they don’t really have the passion to create something great and so know they will starve. So they turn to the ad industry, the perfect home for the poor writer and the less courageous artist.
Because there’s a lower bar in town where they can become good, maybe even great ad creatives.
Am I being unnecessarily harsh?
I don’t think so. I’ve worked in some of the best creative departments in town and seldom did I find people who grafted at the craft aspect of their job.
They worked hard don’t get me wrong and they were passionate about doing ads, but they had very little interest in the real craft that underpins our work.
It normally extended no further than pouring over other ads, going to see the latest ‘hip’ film, visiting a gallery opening (only if free wine was promised) or just sitting with the art buyer/TV producer and asking to see who was the hottest photographer/director this month.
I can’t once remembering anyone studying their craft.
Take copy, most copywriters today have never written anything longer than a txt msg and have no interest in ridding themselves of this ignorance. Writing copy is viewed by and large as a punishment and a chore. No pleasure is gained from developing a well-crafted turn of phrase, the creation of an authentic voice or a well-thought out argument.
But for the novelist that is the job.
Take TV ad scripts, they are written once, twice, three times at most and nearly always begrudgingly by two people with no interest in character or structure or dialogue, beyond a belief that they’ll know when it’s right.
Now, look at how scripts are approached. Before they’re even written, characters are given extensive back-stories. Interestingly the only creative I know how did this was John Webster.
And screenplays aren’t just written; they’re rewritten - going through many drafts with numerous writers. Sometimes they’re then given to script doctors to polish, writers who will work to a tight brief - make it funnier, make character X more believable, add more suspense, tighten the structure etc.
And yes, too many cooks can spoil the broth, but only if there’s no one present able to control them. The bigger point is that these are writers who love the craft of writing.
The emergence in recent years in the quality of US TV has in part been created by writers surrounding themselves with better writers, playing to each other’s strengths and sharing ownership.
When was the last time, a creative director took work away from the team who created it and gave it to a better art director to design it?
And why not? Just because you are gifted with a rich imagination and are able to make fresh connections that then appear blindingly obvious to others when presented to them, it is no guarantee you can string a cohesive argument together, especially when you don’t really see it as an important part of your job.
Instead adland has created the notion, you create it, you own it, from start to finish. Maybe this made sense when writers saw agencies as a day job to finance the early drafts of their novel. Or when art directors saw advertising as a means to getting on a film set.
But today’s advertising creatives are exactly what they want to be - ad creatives. People with such a myopic view that they truly believe the worst crime in their world is copying another ad regardless of whether or not it was done 30 years ago on another Continent, yet think nothing of stealing wholesale from a photographer, film maker, artist they saw the other weekend.
I leave the last words to my personal favourite ad man, Howard Luck Gossage.
“How often so you have to read a book, a news story, or see a movie or play? If it’s interesting, once is not enough; if it is dull, once is plenty”
What a great way to measure our work, but no, instead we substitute the truly memorable for heavy repetition, making it impossible to avoid our work.
And we have invented a new standard where we caveat everything with, for an ad.
It’s funny, for an ad. It’s well written, for an ad. It’s hard hitting, for an ad.
For an ad is our universal get out clause for simply not being good enough. And we’re no longer fooling anyone.