engaging, gaming, innovating, internet, praising

Shaking up YouTube: Brilliantly creative use of YouTube courtesy of Wii

click the above picture or here to see some brilliantly creative use of YouTube for Wii's 'WarioLand Shake It' game.  very smart breaking of the conventions of the YouTube infrastructure to bring to life the nature of the game…

in fact it says much about just how used we've come to the left-hand-screen-surrounded-by-other-clickables format that when it starts to fall apart it is really rather unnerving.  and the fact that you can still click on the components of the page once it's been destroyed is just genius.

lovely lovely stuff.  thanks to Daryl at Vizeum for the heads up.

advertising, branding, praising

In praise of… the old-fashioned tease campaign currently proffering a little mystery to our post-information age

there's nothing Mediation likes more than a decent tease campaign, and this one has certainly been splashing itself around London's transport network at the moment.  tube card panels, cross-track 48s and station dominations have all been showing images of Obama outside No. 10, golden footballs, overweight kids and what I think is a pic of the magnets from the new large Hadron Collider at CERN.

the tease (then reveal) model is as old as the hills; use the medium of outdoor to tease the public with non-branded images that provoke questions as to what they are, and why they're there…  and of course which brand they're for!

it's an approach that's increasingly rare these days.  partly I guess due to the requirement for more demonstrable returns on investment (essentially with this strategy you're paying for the space twice), but it's also a model that has somewhat been reversed in recent times…

its Fallon's fault.  ever since the set of their San Fransisco Balls effort was captured and posted before the ad was released, it's become somewhat fashionable to do the opposite of the tease model.  now several brands advertise the making of the ad… on-set photos of the recent M&S summer ad for example made the national press.

I guess that why I like this campaign.  not only is it demonstrating confidence with it's investment, but in a post-information hyper-transparent age it proffers a little mystery to a sometimes all-too-knowing media landscape.


29.9.08 supplemental:

the campaign is for The Times.  sales and marketing director of Times Media Katie Vanneck as quoted in an article on Brand Republic:
"The Times is the only national daily without a dogma — the paper does
not tell you what to think but encourages the reader to question and to

"We wanted to reflect this ethos of 'show and not
tell' in our brand campaign which is why we have gone for strong,
simple images that set you questioning and thinking.

"We want readers to think again about our times and to think again about The Times"

…mission – I suggest – accomplished.  thanks to Eva for the comment on the post and the heads up…

content creating, designing, engaging, experiencing, gaming, social networking, user-generating

What brands can learn from Superstruct’s invitation to fix the future

you are officially invited to create and explore the world in 2019. but be warned, it's not going to be pretty.  the Institute For The Future has developed Superstruct, an ARG that aims – with a massive number of players' help – to chronicle the dark future they predict for us, then help them fix it.

"With Superstruct IFTF introduces a revolutionary new forecasting tool:
Massively Multiplayer Forecasting Games (MMFGs). MMFGs are
collaborative, open source simulations of a possible future. Each MMFG
focuses on a unique set of “future parameters,” which we cull from
IFTF’s forecast research. These parameters define a future scenario: a
specific combination of transformative events, technologies,
discoveries and social phenomenon that are likely to develop in the
next 10 to 25 years. We then open up the future to the public, so that
players can document their personal reactions to the scenario."

its a fascinating concept.  taking the ARG to the next level and using Surowiecki's Wisdom of Crowds to capture and identify our most likely (and most successful) responses to multiple 21st Century threats.  you can join the simulation and watch videos outlining the 'superthreats' we face on the Superstruct website.

brands could learn a lot from this endeavour.  at it's most basic, the IFTF – thru Superstruct – is encouraging a community of people to engage with an idea.  that isn't a million miles from what most advertisers want people to do – only they generally use advertising to convey the idea.  and are then a bit vague about how people can get involved; other than buy stuff of course.

but if a brand really wanted to break the mold.  if a marketing team really wanted to explore and communicate something in which they believed by creating a platform thru which a community of people could genuinely engage with the idea, the brand and each other… they could.  think how much more powerful M&S's Plan A campaign would have been if they had engaged with a massive community of people to explore ways to make sure we didn't have to resort to plan b.  think how much more traction you could get by using media to communicate the project and report its progress.

the risks are huge.  you have to be radically transparent; but most brands have to be radically transparent already.  if you get it wrong no one will care; but if you get it wrong now people can filter your messages out.  you have to be hyper-creative; but creativity has never been more important.  you have to rely on people pro-actively and constructively contributing to the platform; but people demonstrate time and time again that this is something they're increasingly comfortable doing.

and if the risks are huge, the rewards are greater.  get it right and you not only engage an audience in something your brand stands for, but your brand may even make a bit of a difference…  as well as creating affinity and customer value – and therefore revenues – on the way…

content creating, experiencing, innovating

How Diesel brought together art, fashion, performance and media by taking Holograms to the next level

at a time when its not always enough for brands to engage us with their ideas or imagery, it's no surprise we're seeing a host of alternatives to 'broadcast adverts' being explored.  everything from events and experiences to content and applications are being developed to communicate with us on our – rather than brands' – terms.

in this context, where it has become the convention to be unconventional, an arms race inevitably develops: no one does events as well as Nike, or experiences as well as O2 etc.  brands can be at best nervous and at worst avoid completely exploring such territory.

not Diesel.  the above video is of their Spring/Summer 08 catwalk show in June at the Pitti Immagine Uomo fair in Florence.  the brand brought brought together Barcelona animation studio Dvein (GGI visual effects and 3D animations) and Danish multi-media production agency Vizoo (technology) for the show, neither of whom had previously worked
on anything like this before.

the result is spectacular – a ground-breaking event, experience and subsequently content all rolled into one.  as the CR blog post puts it "a perfect blend of cutting edge digital art and performance."

many brands would have stopped there, but Diesel took the crucial next step of maximising their investment by telling people about it.  there's a marketing rule of thumb that for every pound you spend investing in an asset you should spent between one and three pounds telling people about it.  of course as user-distribution (YouTube etc) develops these economies change, but Diesel still found time to make and deploy the little effort below.

by encouraging people to visit diesel.com to experience the holograms as they happened, the brand blended old and new world media (almost) as seamlessly as they blended live models and holographic sea creatures.

content creating, user-generating

How Orwell reminds us that blogging is just a new way of doing an old thing

we talk a lot about new behaviours and emergent trends in our industry.  so much so that we sometimes tend to forget the distinction between the behaviour and the motivation behind it.

take blogging.  the number of blogs in existence is debated in the tens of millions.  we think of it as an emergent behaviour.  it's not.  it is merely a new way of fulfilling a fundamental human need.  to communicate to the world.  we're reminded of this by the Orwell Prize who are – in a wonderfully 2.0 way of delivering pre-digital content – publishing George Orwell's diaries as a real time blog seventy years after they were written.

in the welcome to the blog, Peter Davison writes:

"In a curious way, reading what Orwell jotted down so informally as
events occurred, domestically and internationally, seventy years ago
will be far more intriguing for readers than when they are faced with
slabs of print.  Next year I hope very much that it will be possible to
mark the weeks running up to the outbreak of the Second World War … as an appropriate reminder of the awful events of what will then be seventy years ago."

whilst the need to capture and share our interpretations of the world is as old as culture, a digital world does offer significant advantages…

firstly, in a pre-digital age blogs (or diaries) would be unlikely to be published.  now we all publish by default, we're all broadcasters now (as Clay Shirky observed at the MGEITF this year "we're now in a world of publish then filter – all the filters are after the fact").  secondly, because everything we publish is tagged, the outputs of our collective interpretations begin to self-organise.  a blog isn't an isolated entry but instead an integrated part of a global conversation.

but these relatively new plus-ins to the conventional diary aside, the blog is just a new way of doing we very old thing.  every generation thinks that they invent something for the first time.  not so. 
what each generation does is develop the new technology that allows them to
fulfill fundamental human needs in new ways