Links – 23rd December 2008

Part 2 of the link update for December, and my final post of 2008 (barring unforeseen events).

Media channels

Scott Karp at publishing 2.0 channels Seth Godin with his call to arms for the print industry. The market and the internet don’t care if you make money, and the industry needs to adapt if it is to survive.

Futurescape have shared three of their excellent reports on web series, while the Observer looks at the successes of several of them. Check out my twelve shows to check out here

Grant McCracken wonders why TV revenues are holding while viewing declines. I haven’t seen the data he is quoting, but in the UK overall viewing is actually pretty robust (it is just fragmenting). I would also argue that TV is better suited to adapt to the new media landscape than radio or press, though I’m sure people from those respective industries would vehemently disagree.

The New York Times’ 8th annual Year in Ideas (some better than others)

A 25 point manifesto for the music industry

Music Ally has a load of predictions for digital music in 2009

Marketing and business

Apathy Sketchbook has accumulated a magnificently comprehensive list of all the terrible PR formulae masked as science. Harks back to my Bad Research post.

With ROI discussions threatening to jump the shark (if they haven’t already), everyone should read Lewis Green’s reminder of what ROI actually is, and how it differs from value.

Seth Godin asks when you create a new product or brand, are you making a new market or taking from an old one?

I’ve already linked to Gareth Kay’s excellent slideshare presentation, but this summary contains some great comments on the problems of planning.

Tom Peters has 27 practical ideas to transform your organisation

The Ad Freak awards for 2008.

Le’Nise Brothers has some great advice on digital media planning

The Advertising Lab has published 19 tips for in-game advertising

Brand Strategy has 9 tips for businesses in 2009

A MetaFilter thread on products where it is better to spend more on quality – can this advice still be adhered to in the current climate?

In a nice piece of bricks and mortar experiential marketing, P&G opened a store for its coupons on Black Friday.

Miscellaneous

The Big Picture is one of THE great web innovations by traditional media, and their year in pictures is a must

Foreign Policy again publish the ten stories you would have probably missed over the past year – which is shocking, given the importance of them

Malcolm Gladwell uses quarterbacks and teachers to ask why we hire people when we don’t know if they will succeed

12 fascinating and mysterious criminal cases does exactly what it says on the tin – includes Abe Lincoln and Lizzie Borden among others

The life of Carl Ponzi – after whom Ponzi Schemes (a form of pyramid selling) take their name

Hitotoki brings together literary tales of visits to specific parts of London.

Particular commendation goes to The market and the internet don’t care if you make money, Year in Ideas, terrible PR formulae masked as science, what ROI actually is, The Big Picture and ten stories you would have probably missed over the past year

That is me well and truly spent for the year. It’s been a blast. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and I’ll be back in 2009.

sk

Links – 22nd December 2008

This post is part 1 of 2, and they will effectively be my only link updates for December. A shame considering I kept the updates fairly consistent beforehand, but December isn’t the easiest month to keep on top of things – particularly with ATP and illness.

Anyway…

Social media

  • I’ve been using Twitter a lot more recently – I think the main reason is the use of Tweetdeck, which has useful filter features within a great interface. This has allowed me to distinguish signal from noise to a greater degree – something that concerns me with social media. Two posts on the subject resonated with me – Inquisitr’s “Is Social Media Becoming A Social Mess” and The Tumbling Cod’s “I’m Pretty Sure Tumblr Makes You Stupid
  • Most people reading will be familiar with the furore over Chris Brogan’s sponsored post. For those unaware, Jeremiah Owyang has a comprehensive overview of the situation. I think Chris Brogan defended his position well (for the record, I have no problem with it so long as it is disclosed. If it happens more frequently than I’d like, like others I would unsubscribe) while Dirk Singer wrote the best opinion piece on the matter that I read.
  • E-Consultancy looks at social media’s metric problems. A while back, I wondered how best to measure the online sphere in general. I don’t envisage a universal answer being forthcoming anytime soon.
  • JP Rangaswami has a thought-provoking post on the nature of asymmetric networks and conversations within the social media sphere, while James Governor also gives his thoughts on the asymmetric follow
  • Paul Carr has a typically humorous post on his experiences at LeWeb, and the fallout from the less than perfect proceedings
  • Bubble Comment is  a new tool that lets you overlay video comments onto websites. I’m not sure whether this constitutes fair use, so it may not be around for all that long in its current form, but worth a look.

The Internet

  • Merlin Mann responds to the productivity/advice blog genre that has eaten itself. His contention is that it is wrong for people to look for quick tips and lifehacks – the best way to improve is to follow a cohesive and comprehensive plan. We should concentrate on doing, rather than living vicariously.
  • Cory Doctorow puts forward a persuasive argument for not extending the copyright privileges of recording artists

Research and data

  • The latest Trend Blend map is available. Download it along with previous editions here
  • Dataopedia is a brilliant, free resource pulling together all the publicly available stats for different websites.

A pretty huge list. So, for those that don’t have a lot of spare time over the Xmas period I would particularly recommend Jeremiah on the Izea brouhaha, JP on asymmetric networks,  Hugh on why social objects are the future of marketing, Guardian’s top 100 websites and the latest trend blend map

sk

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See Sir Ken Robinson speak

For those that live in or near London, I sincerely recommend signing up for the talk Sir Ken Robinson is giving at the Royal Society on the 5th February.

It is a free event and forms part of the excellent RSA Thursday series of lectures and seminars. Sir Ken will be sharing thinking from his new book – The Element – the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.

I have signed up and recommend you doing so by going here.

For those unable to make it, instead I suggest you either watch or re-watch his classic TED Talk from 2006 – Do Schools Kill Creativity? Follow the link to download audio or video and participate in the discussion, or watch the embedded Youtube video below.

The 20 minute speech justifiable won a standing ovation (not bad when you are sharing a stage with a former Vice President and the man that invented the Internet).

Some of the points he makes in his talk include

  • “It is education that is meant to take us into this future that we cannot grasp”
  • “Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”
  • “Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go”
  • “If you are not prepared to be wrong then you will never come up with anything original”
  • “The whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance”

He is both hilarious and insightful when he talks about creativity and intelligence (diverse, dynamic and distinct), and he ends with an inspirational anecdote on the nature of success.

You will be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend twenty minutes online than watch the video, and I’m confident that the upcoming talk will prove to be just as worthwhile.

sk

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Why advertise around online video?

I was recently asked to summarise the reasons to advertise around online video. I came up with four broad factors:

1. User Experience

  • Users are actively choosing to watch a clip
  • Adverts generally can’t be fast-forwarded
  • Ads can be interactive
  • Ad breaks are shorter than TV and so spots have a greater chance of standing out
  • Online is a “lean forward” medium with viewers closer to the screen and in a more attentive state

2. The ways in which it can be bought

  • A specific number of impressions can be bought and capped
  • The variety of metrics it can be bought by (though this will vary by site)
  • It can be bought alongside display and other forms of advertising to maximise exposure

3. The way it complements TV

  • Audiences with TV and online are strongly positively correlated
  • TV and Online work together
  • Advertising within catch-up increases reach
  • Advertising within clips increases frequency and engagement among a show’s biggest advocates (and fans of shows tend to be more positive to the ads)

4. Effectiveness

What do people think? Any suggestions to add to this?

sk

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/warmnfuzzy/

Koyaanisqatsi and different perspectives

Last night I finally got around to watching Koyaanisqatsi, Godfrey Reggio’s classic collaboration with the master of the recursive composition, Philip Glass. It is the first part of a trilogy, with Powaqqatsi and Naqoyqatsi succeeding.

Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian word that means (in one translation) “Life Out of Balance”. The central message of the film is fairly simplistic – nature is wondrous and man is destructive – but even the depictions of destruction display a certain beauty and nobility.

What makes it such a classic (and a film I would wholeheartedly recommend) is the cumulative effect that the time-lapse, slow motion and recursive/minimalist soundtrack have on the senses. One can become hypnotised by things we didn’t realise existed. Some of the iconic shots sound simplistic (and stock footage is heavily used) but the excellence is in the execution (as Bret Hart used to say)

  • Cloud movement sped up to resemble waves
  • An atomic bomb exploding in slow motion
  • Video still-life portraits
  • The moon passing behind a skyscraper
  • Nighttime traffic sped up to resemble waves of electricity
  • Flaming debris from the Atlas Rocket circling in the sky

The techniques utilised have been transferred to the world of advertising to great effect. Three examples from music, video games and consumer goods are:

GTA: IV

Ray of Light by Madonna

Dove’s Onslaught


Watching the film has re-iterated a very simple instruction that I try to follow, but invariably don’t.

Look around.

Rather than walk around London with my head down and earphones in, look up. Stop from time to time. Observe. That way I will see something I have never previously noticed.

New observations lead to new ideas. These don’t have to be revolutionary. They do need to display understanding and insight. That requires attention.

One section (movement?) of Koyaanisqatsi focuses on the everyday urban life. Yet it finds beauty through a whole new perspective.

Yesterday, Dave Trott wrote about radical common sense – creative but simple ideas.

Dirt is Gooddespite a backlash – is often held up as a good example of a straightforward yet revolutionary insight.

Ethnography and anthropology are increasingly being used in research to great effect. Just seeing how people live and operate can make a huge difference. Grant McCracken and Jan Chipchase both produce fascinating essays and insights in their respective fields, to give just two examples.

Whether it is swimming in data or sitting in the village of Nyamikamba (as Stuart did recently), there is always a new observation to be found.

We just have to look for it.

sk

Slideshare links – 14th December 2008

Winter sickness creates lethargy. Thankfully I’m not this sick – I think it is more a case of being a self-inflicted result of this and this.

Anyway, as it is easier than trawling through a few weeks of delicious links, here are 5 Slideshare presentations on marketing that I have recently read and enjoyed. All are variations on a theme – marketing should be useful and valuable.

NB: If you are viewing in an RSS reader, then you may have to clickthrough to see the embedded slides

The Seven Misconceptions of Youth Marketing by Paul MacGregor of the Three Billion Project.

“Don’t think about advertising. Think about entertainment”

Go the Slideshare page

Goodness and Happiness – Why Generosity is the Future of Marketing Strategy by Neil Perkin of IPC

To use the old Google mantra, don’t be evil. And to paraphrase Hugh Macleod; marketing should be useful, not a punch to the face.

Go the Slideshare page

Planning Needs Some Planning by Gareth Kay of Modernista!

“The future of advertising isn’t messaging. It’s in ideas that solve business problems in a culturally positive way”

Go the Slideshare page

Strategy: Beyond Advertising by Adrian Ho of Zeus Jones

Zeus Jones are proponents of marketing as a service. This presentation looks at the failures that may be necessary to reap success

Go the Slideshare page – as I don’t think this format of presentation works in WordPress

Reconsidering the Advertising Industry by Alain Thys of Futurelab

An overview of the Futurelab Agency report, looking at challenges, remedies and future models for the advertising agency.

Go the Slideshare page

As a bonus link, Peter Kim has accumulated predictions for social media in 2009, constituting the thoughts of 15 leading voices in the sphere. Check out a summary or download the full report here.

My Slideshare links are found at the bottom right of this blog. Alternatively, you can visit my profile and subscribe to my favourites.

SIDENOTE: One aspect of my behaviour that is positively correlated with my lethargy is Twitter usage. Go figure.

sk

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Keeping up with catch-up

I don’t own a DTR (it is a heritage from working with Digital UK in the past that I persist with that name, even though most people I speak to use PVR) or DVD Recorder, and my VCR only works when the TV is turned on (it is a combo). I also happen to spend more evenings out than I do at home.

In the past, this made watching TV series difficult. Particularly with the trend towards series narratives rather than standalone episodes (am I correct in thinking that X Files was a major influence on this move?). There would be little point even attempting to watch a series.

I would end up waiting for the DVD. With a show such as Spooks, that was risky. The DVD would come out a fortnight before the new series started on TV. I would be in a race to finish the DVD before the new promo shows were published. “Who’s that person”? “Where has that character gone?”. Very frustrating.

However, that was in the past. I now have online video to catch up.

This means that, for the first time ever, I was able to keep up to date with Spooks. Indeed, I was even home last Monday night and so got to watch the final episode on TV.

And I can also look forward to watching Demons next year without worrying about whether I am home when it is broadcast.

Demons is a new drama series, and this highlights two other benefit of catch-up. Series stacking and wait-and-see.

My prior reliance on DVDs has influenced my viewing behaviour. Particularly with cliffhanger shows such as 24 or Lost, I have to watch several episodes at once.

SIDENOTE: This may be the reason why I didn’t think Series 2 and 3 of Lost were as bad as other people say. Watching 4 or 5 episodes at once dulls the effects of the odd terrible episode.

And given that I am out quite a lot, I have limited time to watch TV shows and am wary in investing in a show that turns out to be terrible.

Catch up gives me time to measure up a show through listening to reactions of critics and views. The iPlayer has enabled full series stacking for some shows (including Spooks) and the 30 day window on ITV.com and 4oD means that I can wait until 4 episodes in to decide if a show is worth watching.

I lose the “watercooler” chat the following day (for the interim period), and some spoilers may be revealed, but this is a trade-off I’m happy to make for some types of programme. Liveblogging and office banter may make Event TV shows like X Factor even more interesting, and to some extent these shows are “VOD proof”. But other shows benefit from their exposure to catch up.

For me, using VOD to catch up on a drama or comedy either that week or that series has actually led to me watching more TV. I may not be the most representative viewer out there, but this isn’t something that should be overlooked.

sk

Image credit: Me (I rent – the curtains aren’t my choice)

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