Thursday, August 21, 2008

the new consumer

doesn't consume material goods: new jeans, the latest razor, new Nikes, Mr. JoeBob's insurance policy that can get the best discount around, or even the dinner for only $9.99 at TGIF's. The new consumer consumes content: podcasts, blogs, flickr photo albums, social media conversations, text messages, YouTube videos.

Content is what we all need to be producing now. Ripe from the AP Conference, content is the new creativity. What does our audience want to consume in terms of content? In this Internet and connectivity driven world, content is "the goods." What can you produce that people will want to share? What can you produce that people will want to add to, mess with, and get their fingers in?

And that's just it, and also maybe why many companies haven't gotten on the content bandwagon, is because content can also be created by consumers, so we're all competing in the same pool. AHHHH, no control, says the stodgy, traditional company, let's just talk to them (not with).

Everyone is creating content. It will be the brands and products and companies that facilitate the creation and sharing of content that will be rewarded with loyalty, love, and customers. CUSTOMERS of content. CREATORS of content. Maybe we'll finally replace the age-old consumers with talking to the creators. That sounds nice. :)

I just read an article, i can't remember the source, that said in this post-broadcast age, retail will reign. Well just think about it: a retail environment is filled with content! A retail environment provides a context to enjoy the content within, which is even better and more conducive to retention. So what can we call customers of content? Think about it. Plan for it. It's here, the age of content.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I heard a radio commercial today that went something like this:

Call now to get a free laptop! At BlueHippo we won't look at your credit score, no questions asked. Call now XXX-XXX-XXXX, and we'll give you a free flatscreen today. No credit checks, no questions. Have you been wanting a laptop? Get one today! And if you call right now we'll give you a flatscreen tv AND a printer. Call now.

Um...ok. I LOL because this is a)too much free stuff in one offer b)to free to be real c)very scam-worthy and d)down right ridiculous.

I can't believe this ad passed through all the checkoff points. This is DUMB, BAD advertising. I really hope people don't give this company the satisfaction of a call or a customer. Advertising like this should write you off the planet in terms of being socially acceptable. Boo.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yo Momma

Postcardsfromyomomma is kind of like Postsecret for moms but in a reverse way: readers submit emails from their mothers, thus displaying secrets of moms.

Great insight for any mother/daughter brand.

Here's one post titled "My husband lives like a pauper"

Did I tell you that I called the producer at Millionaire to re-schedule my air date? I told them I relocated to Reno and that I couldn’t make the July date. They said,”No problem…we’ll call you and send a letter after we look at the schedule”. I really think I can do well on that show. If I make some big bucks I will NOT give it to my husband. I will split it up between you and your sister. My husband doesn’t need money. He’s got his squirreled away and lives like a pauper so I’ll dispense any award money where it will be put to good use.

Monday, August 11, 2008

oh data

Part of me wants to launch into a fictitious rant about Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, a childhood favorite in the late 80s, early 90s, but I'll save us both the nostalgic embarrassment.

If you haven't seen it yet at Contagious, read this now: Ways of Seeing, The art of data by digital ninjas Faris Yakob and Noah Brier. These two smart guys put data visualization into inspirational laymen's terms. What exactly is data visualization? Words are simply visual representations of information - pictures of sounds. I thought this was beautiful when I read it. An inspiring way to think about what they refer to as the art of eroding the gap between how something looks and what it means.

Basically, they give it to us straight: we are a generation drowning in data. Here, Here! Oy Oy! How many of you are currently struggling with balancing your professional network with your social one; aggregating newsfeeds but never finding the time to read them all; trying to figure out how to Twitter but...can't; wishing you could email everyone back at once but know that mass emails aren't the personalization you know people deserve these days. AHHHH, what are we supposed to do? The Internet has made us all stir-crazy, psycho-paths who need the latest "fix" of information and we can't focus until we get it, and even then, focusing (and being productive) is difficult.

The problem identified by Faris & Noah is that data, like many things, is worthless without the tools to interpret it. Ok, now I've got to get on my soapbox: Attention agencies without planning departments, planners ARE your tools to decipher the data, the information, the culture, the research, etc. :)

Down now. Check out some of these super cool sites to get your data visualization fix now:

and there are more here at Mashable. Enjoy!

Definition of smart?

I have a homework project to answer the question: what is your definition of smart? The task paper says "throughout life we have all used the word smart to describe a multitude of people, places, things, and ideas. In the world of advertising, this word followed by a brand name or campaign title has become the epitome of success for agencies and brands across the globe, yet it remains largely undefined."

When I think of smart, these brands come to mind: Google, Nike, Macintosh, and Barack Obama (Starbucks would be on this list, but I feel the brand's situation is sort of hush-hush these days, do we really want to talk about how bad it's doing? :( ). These four brands represent simplistic function, authentic intentions, forward-thinking activism, consistent personalities, and are both a mirror to society and change-makers. I think this is my definition of smart, now that I laid it out.

Does smart have value? To answer this, I ask you is brand loyalty worth something? And your answer should be damn right, I want cheezy poofs!

Does smart depend solely on its audience? I would say no. A smart brand, to me, is a brand whose smartness stands independently of its said actions which have an intended audience. A smart brand is holistically smart: smart intentions, smart mission, smart moves, thereby summoning a smart audience. :)

And there we have it. My opinion on what smart means in the world of branding.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

my problem with advertising

is I'm not consuming; "bogged" down with 40+ hours of work and trying to balance my health/fitness/social goals in around work, I haven't blocked off "time to be a consumer," which is completely necessary to be at the top of my advertising game. I am out of touch with how people are shopping these days. It's the little nuances when they're in the store or talking with a store employee that capture a brand's "experience" and to which we are drawing people's attention with advertising.

Don't forget to be a consumer yourself.
Buy stuff now.

Tom Carroll or TBWA Worldwide had this to say at the 4As Planning Conference this year "There is no substitute for being out in the marketplace. Get back out there and talk to people. The good data is not in your office and it's not online."

Monday, August 4, 2008

getting things done

I'm not sure how many of you have heard of David Allen's book Getting Things Done, but my podmate turned me on to GTD (i swear he gave me a link but I can't find it right now, stay tuned)...and the book looms in my mind as if it were the Holy Grail. Lately (per my previous post), I've been struggling with procrastination; it's a bitch. What the F*** do you do? And can you even put your finger on why you're procrastinating OR what procrastination exactly means? I think Type A personalities struggle with "whatever procrastination is" moreso than Type Bs. This link takes you to a Wikipedia page clearly written by a Type B persona (Type As aren't complete tightwads!) which illustrates the Type A personality traits that I struggle most with: multi-tasking takes an ineffective turn where focusing becomes random instant-gratification seeking; time-conscientiousness becomes debilitating to creativity; and stress hinders any sense of productivity. Ugh.

So back to GTD: I checked out the book on Amazon, and I'm posting highlights from a comment I feel is the most motivating (and perhaps directional, in fact negating the purchase of the book altogether). Here they are:

This book is for all those who are overwhelmed with too many things to do, too little time to do them, and a general sense of unease that something important is being missed. (THAT'S ME!)

Every task, promise, or assignment has a place and a time. Rapid progress occurs when you take large, unformed tasks, and break them down and organize them into smaller, sequential steps for exactly what to do and when.

The essence of the process is that you write down a note about everything when you take on a new responsibility, make a new commitment, or have a useful thought. All of this ends up in some kind of "in" box. You then go through your "in" box and decide what needs to be done next for each item. For simple issues, this includes identifying the action you should take first and when to take it. For tougher issues, you schedule an appropriate time to work the problem in more detail.

For the tougher problems, you start with identifying your purpose and principles so you know why you care how it all turns out. Then you imagine the potential good outcomes that you would like. Following that, you brainstorm with others the best way to get those outcomes. Then you organize the best pathway. (WHO DOESN'T LIKE BRAINSTORMS?)

The critical part is the discipline because that is what focuses your attention where it will do the most good. Many people allow a lot of time to pass without taking any useful steps because they cannot imagine what to do next. If you simplify the questions and make them into familiar ones, everyone soon finds powerful alternatives drawn from a lifetime of experiences and memories. Keep things broad, abstract, and vague, and peoples' eyes glaze over while they struggle for a place to begin. (I THINK THIS PARTICULARLY APPLIES TO PLANNING: WE'VE GOT TO BE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND WE NEED TO ARTICULATE AND SIMPLIFY)

THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM THE COMMENTER: "By helping [other people] gain relaxed control of their activities, you will also be able to enjoy the benefits of their increased effectiveness in supporting your own efforts.May you always get the tools you need, understand what to do next, and move swiftly through timely actions!" SOUNDS NICE. :)

"Seeing things differently"

The above spot is a Cannes 2008 Bronze Award winner. yay!

On "subject," it's probably something I need to make a goal to achieve: see things differently. The humdrum of the largest independent agency has made me a machine part, and now I need a bit of oil. I'm still turning over, doing my part, but I'm not shiny anymore. I miss being shiny.

Problem to be solved: Feeling confined, limited, and uninspired within an "agency structure."

Who are we talking to: My-Myspacing, instant gratification seeking and therefore procrastinating, project-based, timesheet filling, seemingly pressed for time-Self.

What do they think now: I can't find the time to think beyond problem-solution tasks, or rather, maybe I'm not thinking anymore because I rely on "the system" to help me come up with the solution because isn't that what a system exists for? I find it hard to be myself in "the system." (is this generational or is it like this with all forms of artistic expression?)

What would we like them to think: You can incorporate the same passion for planning and idea-generating discipline that you had a year ago into the day-to-day and project-world you live in now.

What insight will help us get there: creative passion does not run well on business time or in a typical business environment.

  • How can I dilute the sense of "being run by the clock?"
  • What more can I add to my environment to inspire random creativity?
  • I need to build in idea-generating activities & made them feel like playtime in a work-world.
I have a long ways to go as a planner, still a lot to learn, and a lot of ideas to have and act upon. I need to re-visit why I am where I am and make sure I'm still drinking my own koolaid so that I remain true to the brand I've established and the brand I want to become known for. I wrote this in May 2007 after evaluating my time at the Miami Ad School: It gave me the tools to change a tired, traditional WILL DO industry into a provocatively, creative WANT TO one. Of course, a revolution is easier to do with people but...if it's just me right now, ok. Be bold.

Plan on.