Monday, January 28, 2008

17 shows that changed TV

Before TV gets interactive, let's honor the shows that changed the medium and inherently, the message. TIME has a complete list of 100 if you're curious, but these are the most influential ones to note in cultural (and media) history:

I Love Lucy, 1951-57
The Ernie Kovacs Show, 1952-56
The Super Bowl (and the ads), 1967-present
Sesame Street, 1969-present
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 1970-1977
M*A*S*H, 1972-1983
An American Family, 1973
Hill Street Blues, 1981-87
MTV, 1981-92 era
The Cosby Show, 1984-92
The Simpsons, 1989-present
Twin Peaks, 1990-91
Beavis and Butt-head, 1993-97
The Sopranos, 1999-2007
Survivor, 2000-present
24, 2001-present
Lost, 2004-present

And thanks to another media revolution, we can happily relive these shows with DVDs from Netflix. Side note: Is Netflix the next Bandaid, Starbucks, Coca-Cola? I just used it as a catch-all for renting DVDs and chose it over Blockbuster for more cultural appeal and timeliness. But truth be told, I've never used Netflix. Hmmm, interesting to note. Happy Monday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A wake-up call

There's talk of a recession. This may not be surprising considering the increasing price of gasoline and what's been called the worst housing slump in 40 years. In a year when a union decides if Middle America will get its Grammy Award and Generation Y can't handle the weight it's been given, I'm not too surprised either.

What will this mean for businesses? What will this mean for consumers? What will this mean for the industry who needs to connect the two? Planners, our job will not be easy this year. Consumer confidence is decreasing daily. Brands need to prepare themselves for going out of the store, into people's lives and talking to them there, listening to them there, empathizing with them in a neutral zone.

Russell Davies talks a bit about World War II and how the recession that followed had an impact on the magazine industry here. It sounds like it was a time of innovation (that doesn't sound too bad): magazines took leaps and bounds when the "pressure from advertising" no longer hindered their creativity. A recession is a wake-up call: hello, be more innovative, expand your minds, evolve.

The Writer's Strike has been a big wake-up call to the networks and shows that haven't innovated with the community in mind. When David & John returned to their shows, they realized what it was like to be without their community. The community is more necessary now than it ever was. There is power in numbers. Why haven't the media figured this out?

David Gross has some good news:
"With each passing day, an increasing number of transactions in the global marketplace do not involve the United States. We're still a powerful engine. But the world's economy now has a set of auxiliary motors.
All of which means that American companies, entrepreneurs, middle managers, and MBA students need to become more global—or perhaps change the definition of what global means."

Change the definition of what 'community' means: it's not just the people and their houses at the end of a cul-de-sac. Community means the people, places and things that keep you functioning and living at your prime. Media neutral planning is getting a bigger play nowadays because these planners get that it's not a one-way street anymore. Keeping the media alive will not keep your business alive. Media neutral planning addresses the mindset of a community. Being available for this community and being functional for its purpose will solidify long-term success in these wary times of significance and turmoil.

It's a one-for-all attitude that's inspired this change.

Web 2.0 Plain Jane

When I get online these days it's a click, click, click activity. There's not really much thinking involved, it's more of an instant gratification game: If I click on Myspace will there be new messages, comments to check out; if I click on Gmail, will there be emails from friends or just newsletters; if I click on Popsugar, will there be some juicy celebrity photos that will feed my curiosity. By the time I'm done clicking through all my sites, I'm worn out. Sometimes, I'm left emotionally void (i.e. I have not be instantly gratified). I hate this feeling. As I'm sure most of you do.

It's this ridiculous, repetitive fetish that has left me a thoughtless, Web 2.0 Plain Jane. Damnit. A little less then a year ago, I was like Dora, The Explorer: ripe with ideas and optimistic energy. The Internet was my playground, there wasn't a website I wouldn't have gladly spent an hour on just to figure it out. I was hungry for it all, curious about how it worked, and determined to find the connections.

The blog became my door to the world where I'd wanted to be. It was a resource, a network, a playground, a scrapbook, a journal, and a resume. A blog is a wondrous thing. And so I am dis-heartened that I've neglected its value for the past several months. The click click click mantra has taken me to my blog and then away to another site just as fast: no thought involved, just action > like a habit. Gross.

And so I'm breaking that habit, right here right now. I'm stopping here at JPIA for a little blog-TLC. My inspiration came from the blogosphere: a post at Innovation Feeder read When was the last time you did something for the first time? (thank you Jen) While it may not be my first time to blog, it is a first for me to draw attention to the Internet rut of sorts I've fallen into. I don't want to be a Web. 2.0 Plain Jane. I probably don't have the energy or time to be Dora, The Explorer, but who I can be is a Junior Planner. I'm pretty good at that...just lost site of it for a while.

Thanks for listening. As always, plan on. :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

What Not to Wear

I'm giving a plug for my friend Addie who will be traveling to New York this weekend to continue filming WNTW.
She has a great perspective on how image can/should be communicated and cared about. As a copywriter at The Statesman, her colleagues are supporting her transition.

'Tis true that everyone enjoys their own 15 minutes of fame here in America. Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bush: A dishonest brand

Spending our money, lying to the country, killing our people. What is the Bush brand thinking?
935 false statements will solidify its demise. No brand has made a return from such nonsense. Apparently:
The statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."
A+ for getting campaign results. F for casualties involved.
This brand is not favoring well with the marketplace. Expect stock to plummet; Oh wait, it already has.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

trends schmends

I think the following will be big topics in 2008:
  • waiting in line - I think we will see more movement in this "experience" part of retail and food service. Our lines are getting longer and Americans like to get in and get out, expect a tipping point soon. Whole Foods is leading the revolution.
  • serving sizes - In these days where servings sizes are pre-packaged (oh so handy and oh so wasteful), the obesity epidemic makes the 5 o'clock news, and Super Size Me is more a movie than an order, I expect serving sizes to get a closer look. You know those smaller cups at Starbucks? If you order a double espresso to go or a "short" drink, you know what I'm talking about; well, those are 8 oz. They look "small" when compared to a venti (20 oz) but 8 oz is really all you need.
  • mass market "natural" - Natural is a catchall term for "not fake, maybe less chemicals, close to organic, better for you." Every product that has an ingredient list even the company doesn't understand wants a piece of the 'organic' market. Using the term "natural" will be their Joker card for a while. See what I'm talking about here with Crest, and the fact that Chapstick thinks it needs to compete in this market is kind of funny.
  • more media neutrality - for those of us in the industry of ideas, this trend is definitely not to be missed. What's maybe more important is that you get your client to understand this first. Gone should be the days that tv, print and radio are part of the first creative conversation you have. While I agree you need to play the ballgame with everyone else, you also need to differentiate yourself and spend the bulk of your budget on getting through to your target consumers, granted you've got some planners on board to help you identify how to do that. :)
Plan on.

[image via Cultureby]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Starbucks: One year from now


A colleague and I made a friendly wager today: my $5 says Starbucks will be successful one year from now. Howard Schulz is returning to the helm because he sees the rapid growth plan is backfiring and dissipating the brand's worth. My coworker's $5 says Starbucks is sunk, soon to be outrun by the independents that sprinkle the marketplace worldwide.

A BusinessWeek article states what differentiates Starbucks, and what will ultimately test the competition as it tries to take first:

Schultz: Starbucks is the quintessential experience brand and that brand is brought to life by our people…we have no patent, no secret sauce whatsoever…. The only competitive advantage we have is the relationship we've built with our people and the relationship they have built with the customer.

McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts
may have their sights set on taking the top position within consumers' minds for "coffee," but my money's on Starbucks. They owned it first and they owned it well. Howard Schultz is no sissy when it comes to passionately being unique and rising above the challenge the marketplace puts forward.

Where do you place your bet?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

all the rage: Brand Utility

What is it? Why is everyone talking about it?
Brand values are in for a renaissance. The conversations needs to start with: how can we be more useful to our customers?
Charles says it well. Companies exist for a reason, they provide a product/service for customers. Marketing this product/service happens because of a promise made by a brand that exists solely because it consistently delivers on this promise. SO: if you don't serve the purpose you've set out to then how will you survive? You probably won't. That's where planners come in. We keep companies alive by continually finding relevance in customers' lives. Customers evolve and the companies/brands should be expected to do the same. Anyway.

Branded utility gets the most talked about in terms of the digital space because of 'applications' which are inherently useful. (Utility's third definition is the quality of being of practical use.) Bob Greenburg says it well here: "You have to understand applications and media; you have to have a tech capability in order to even think up some of these concepts." But you don't have to worry too much about going digital, the essence of what we're saying is: be meaningful, have a use, and stick to your purpose.

The Internet is an easy branded utility topic, because it was born from "tool blood." In this time-starved culture, we are not looking for useless activities nor do we want to purchase useless products. We still want our information: The Internet has created that demand, and it better damn well supply it.

But then the whole "make it an experience" comes into play. How can we make obtaining information an experience? And not the "college course" kind. This is where 'interactive' should raise its hand and wave it in our face until we notice. Adam (who I'm pretty sure is in digital strategy somewhere) says "Building a 'capture & release' utility for information is the way to reconnect a product/service to people and their need to experience things." Again, this does not HAVE to be digital. Just be wise when you create a message: does it contain something people want to hold onto for a bit? Do they want to share it? What WOM will it inspire? Capture & release can take many forms.

Think of the popularity of Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Meetup, Ebay, Craigslist, blogs, video phones, text messaging, digital, digital, digital, etc. Gathering information with these services is fun. Gee, what a crazy idea!

"From my perspective the internet is redefining our expectations for all consumer experience."

I'll quit now and leave you with Scott's idea of experiences continuums. Now planners get to work on creating one, simple starter: Where does the Internet lie?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Better Bag



I couldn't believe it either. What I really like about this bag is not that it makes me feel good about recycling, saving the Earth, re-using a functional item, or the cute color scheme and apple decoration; what I really like is that its message is information. The bag and brand (Whole Foods) is telling me what it is: "A Better Bag" and why it's good: "made from 80% post consumer waste." And it's informing everyone who happens to check my bag out. I am a walking advertisement.

Whole Foods has made it a point to push the envelope in terms of evolving everyday consumer recycling habits and awareness. The store has joined San Francisco and Portland, OR in banning the use of plastic bags.
"The reason for the change is preservation of natural resources ... Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags annually, 0.6 percent of which are recycled. It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill, according to the Environmental Protection Agency."
PSFK did a great piece last summer about a $200 re-usable bag with sustainable style. Can we call "sustainable" a fashion? I'm starting to think so and for 99cents, who can beat it? :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Iconolicious

"Iconoclasts explores the intersection where two great talents meet--and where creativity comes alive." ~ Robert Redford

Iconoclast
noun: someone who tries to destroy traditional ideas or institutions

7 similar words found on thesaurus.com:
  • Beatnik
  • Catalyst
  • Nonconformist
  • Opposition
  • Radical
  • Rebel
  • Renegade

http://www.iconoculture.com/ ~ a website devoted to ideas, insight and innovation when it comes to consumers


Icono

Un icono es una pequeña imagen, normalmente un símbolo, utilizado para representar gráficamente un programa, un fichero, o una función en la pantalla del ordenador, para facilitar su localización.