I’m back on the grid, and have returned with a little video diary from my first few weeks in Sydney

hey there.  so I've been quiet for a few weeks but I'm back on the grid and up and running in glorious Sydney.  the little video above gives an idea of what I've been up to.  having a blast mainly.  I've also been getting ready to start my new job at PHD Australia tomorrow.  looking forward to it and to negotiating the future of media and brand communications in a different market…

what's clear is that whilst a great deal is different – be it TV trading or the subtleties of a people's expectations and behaviours in a different society and culture – much remains the same.  the Australian media market is facing similar challenges to those being tackled by media industries elsewhere.  digitisation, in-control and on-demand people (we've banned the word 'consumers' remember), and the migration of advertising dollars online are impacting media infrastructures here as they are elsewhere.  I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I also hope you like the new-look blog.  muich remains the same but I've added a central column which now largely houses news, comment and debate from elsewhere – from the latest media news headlines to recent posts from some of my favourite blogs.  I always love to get feedback so any thoughts are very welcome.

thanks for reading, its good to be back.

Chris x

blogging, Down-Underness

Due South: why Mediation is going offline for a while as I head down under

Roo_beach me only not… sourced
so I'm going to be a bit quiet for the next few weeks.  the reason being that after an amazing ten years in London I'm heading due south for a few winters (summers), as I move to PHD Australia.  I'll be off the grid for a few weeks, during which I'll mainly be taking advantage of the early Australian summer, doing a fair bit of surfing and getting to know my new home.

in the meantime I available on email or via facebook.  catch ya – literally – on the flipside…

sharing, thinking

A Tale of Two Matts: Plagiarism, Transparency and Outsourcing in the ideas economy

The Big Steal image from The Big Steal – totally unrelated but cool pic sourced here

there was a bit of a flurry of emails last week when infomaginationer and planner Matt Sadler noticed a think piece on the IPA website by Matt Harris, Data and CRM partner at Rapier which bore a remarkable resemblance to his President's Prize-winning essay, also about data.

without going thru the full story, here are the essential basics…  last Tuesday Matt S notices the similarity between Matt H's article in the IPA newsletter.  Matt S emails Matt H outlining the similarity and asking for an explanation.  on Wednesday Matt H replies to Matt S claiming to know nothing about his essay.

but by end of play on Wednesday all was resolved.  Matt H realised that he'd been the victim of some lazy freelancers and apologised to Matt S, the article was removed from the IPA site, and Matt S had forgiven everyone and suggested that Matt H and he may even collaborate on an article sometime.  as Matt S put it, "forgiveness rocks!"

forgiveness may well rock but there's an incredibly worrying thread to this whole tale.  one, an established, articulate and informed agency partner's response to being asked to write a think piece was to outsource it.  two, some freelance writers who had been asked to write said think piece responded by copying, thought for thought, the work of someone else.

what I am not in any way seeking to do is antagonise a situation that has been resolved by the parties involved (full credit to them).  what I am going to do is ask some serious questions that this unfortunate incident raises…  because the fact is that we all of us use ideas and inspiration from other people within and beyond the industry all the time…  if we didn't, ideas wouldn't spread and new, better ways of approaching what we do wouldn't get momentum and consensus.

indeed there's more than a little been written of late about the benefit of setting ideas free, of letting the crowd build on them and improve them, and on how all of us are better by remixing each others thoughts for mutual benefit.

but we do two things…  (1) we source them and (2) we add to them from our own experience before presenting them to a client or to each other.  neither of which was done in this case.  I worry that there's a sense that we feel if we didn't originate an idea then we can't use it.  which is madness.  at an IPA event only a few weeks ago Rory Sutherland instigated a project on Behavioural Economics and suggested that we all of us as an industry co-operated to understand it, use it and monetise it collectively as best as possible.

in the idea-led economy in which we all live and work we need each others' ideas.  we just need to be brave about using them, honest about the source of them, and demonstrate our expertise by using and adding to them in relevant and appropriate ways.  if there's anything to be learned from our Tale of two Matts it is this.  and if there's anything to be gained its everyone realising that being transparent about building on other people's ideas makes us more not less credible thinkers.

advertising, creating, internet, praising

How to watch a music gig in an online banner: how Boondoggle and Axion brought utility to the ad space

Nick Dickson pointed me in the direction of this lovely little video which tells the story of how Boondoggle brought music to the web for their client Axion.  whilst I'll let the video speak for itself, its worth considering for a moment the elegance of the creative solution…

I've talked often and at at times at length on a theme of "we media and advertising people got this amazing thing to play with called the internet but we screwed it royally by applying 20th Century broadcast thinking to what was a two-way engagement platform, etc"  …what the above bit of creative thinking shows is a beautifully crafted way of doing what we should be doing…  bringing utility to the web

as I type this I'm listening to some tunes courtesy of the joy that is Spotify, an ad by Diesel has just done a similar thing – I caught a snippet about how they've created a branded radio station on the platform to showcase new music.  thats utility too.  and its a brilliant thing.

Clever mac banner ad from Amit Gupta on Vimeo.

source: Amit Gupta

all this reminded me of the Windows Apple banner wars from a while back, and whilst the efforts of Apple were an attempt to creatively use the space that is the banner / sky, its still an ad.

the gig in a banner concept goes a simple but crucial step further…  by being there on users' not advertisers' terms, its adding value to my time on the internet – not distracting me from it.  it deserves every one of the five Cannes Golden Lions it picked up.