another week another PHDcast and this week is the hoo hah edition (you’ll see) …
we talk all about binge viewing on TV, from Lost to Game of Thrones; how are programme makers creating (and distributing) content so that we’re encouraged (tricked?) to watch incessantly? how are viewing habits changing and what are the opportunities for brands to monetise the behaviour?
we also talk about how brands welcomed baby Prince George to the world. from Oreos and Starbucks to P&G and the Sun (or Son) … how did brands capitalise on the cultural hoo hah (I know) that was the birth of the third in line to the throne?
all that plus Nestle use electroencepholographs to prove that taking a break is good for you (I know), and new research from MI9 …
here’s Nic channeling Demi Moore, specifically in Ghost … obvs. have a good weekend everyone …
so I took some time last night to walk a few yards up Kent St to hear not one but two Tim’s in conversation at one of The Domain’s regular ‘on the couch’ sessions. Tim Addington didn’t hold back in an interviewing with Tim Burrowes that covered the origins of Mumbrella to its existence without Burrowes, taking in trolling, #skyfail and Adnews swiping on the way.
I wanted to ask Tim (B) about one of Mediation’s more recurring themes of late – journalism, news and print media; and more specifically the dangers of continuing to think of them as one and the same thing, especially as shifts in ad media revenues put pressure on the existing business model.
I made the point to Tim that journalism was important (to society), and asked how he thought we could and should protect journalism as news organisation revenues continue to come under threat?
his answer, typically to the point, was that some journalism will go. fact. and that over time – decades not years – the industry will realign and settle as new models emerge. he identified three for starters … (1) the vertical interest model (2) the conversation model and (3) the philanthropy model.
his points, that (one) journalism will survive because new models will emerge and (2) that new models will emerge, got me thinking this morning whilst talking to a senior media executive, as we discussed innovation in businesses esp. with regard to digital. the observation was that business models have to evolve, but it occurred to me that this didn’t have to be at an industry level – what would a business look like with completely different, distinct and differentiated business models working under the same roof, or P&L, or holding company?
perhaps the key question in surviving the ride of change wrought by digitisation isn’t ‘what is your business model? … but what is your business models?
I’ve tried to think of examples close to home and further afield of businesses and companies that deliberately cultivate different businesses models under the same roof. there are examples of companies that take a business model into new categories (Virgin obviously), and examples of parallel business models in different categories (Jetstar and Aldi). you also get examples of very different revenue streams under one roof – media agencies are a great example. but there aren’t a whole load of decent examples (that I can think of) where fundamentally different and potentially opposing models co-exist under the same roof.
it may be that once the most successful business model emerges, a company is crazy not to divert all resources in that direction – but perhaps that’s the trap? perhaps success is in not being single minded? perhaps tolerating lower margins and revenues on one floor this year means being ready to maximizing the potential of new revenues when the world turns in your direction next year?
many media organisations are already doing this by necessity … but how difficult would it be to make it a choice. if you’re lucky enough to have margins that allow you to experiment, why on earth wouldn’t you go as far as you possibly could when doing so?
Tim is right – different models will emerge. winning tomorrow shouldn’t be like a gamble at the races, where you hope your business has done enough of the right research (and a tad of luck) to back the winning horse (model). instead don’t play the game of trying to pick the winning horse, have a stake in every one.
you couldn’t lose right?
featured image lol created here, where you can also vote for it. obvs.
lots of rambling this week, for no apparent reason other than it was rather later on a Friday afternoon than usual when we finally got ourselves into Parker to record the cast. Stew had to jump halfway through, which was fine as Peter jumped in not too long before he went. also on the PHDcast this week is Lauren talking IAB and online measurement and regular Nic.
this week we’re talking about GPY&R’s success at the IAB Awards with their mobile medic campaign, and discuss the relative success of media versus creative agencies in this and other awards.
we also cover Adnews’ story on Group M’s big boss Dominic Procter, who argued last week that online’s data trail isn’t good enough to beat broadcast yet. we discuss the relative merits of online versus / and broadcast and valuing things because they are measurable.
in the wake of Thom Yorke’s pulling off of the Spotify platform because of the relative low subscription fee’s that make their way back to emerging artists, we discuss the music platform’s obligations and opportunities from a media and marketing perspective.
I also pick up the theme of collaboration following the panel discussion at B&T’s Innovation Afternoon at the start of the week. ramble away people, ramble away …
the always amazing media update from James, Sisse and the gang brought with it this week a couple of treats which kinda got me thinking … the first is an effort, above, from Virgin Atlantic who transformed a Manhattanpark bench into a Virgin flying experience, complete with champagne, food and real life movies.
the other was an effort, below, from Molson, who built fridges full of beer that could only be unlocked by someone with a Canadian passport, much to the delight and joy of the crowds that had gathered for the unlocking.
these both share a fair bit of DNA. they both are great experiential efforts designed not really to be experiential – but rather content; content designed to be enjoyed, shared and of course land a comms message in the process. and they both rely on the participation of innocent strangers – collateral vantage if you will – to bring realness and credibility to the situation. they’re pretty much givens, but there’s something else they both have in common … something deeper and I think more significant.
but this week our own Mimi, not one to miss a sweet treat, dropped us a note that the Magnum Pleasure store will be opening in Sydney. hurrah. this is off the back of Cadbury’s Joyville effort locally …
so what’s going on? well I think we’re seeing a definite increase in the amount of random acts of kindness from brands. we’re witnessing nothing short of a surge in desire and investment into spreading a little love and happiness. the evidence of the brand-inspired Joy is all around. like love, and so the feeling grows. sorry.
now you could argue that this isn’t really anything new; that the last few years (if not decades) are riven with examples of marketing sharing a little love and happiness … be it Coke’s vending machines (or even back to teach the world to sing) or the playful inventiveness of Skittles or T-Mobile from Liverpool Street to Heathrow or insert-your-example-here … you could argue that brands have always been in the business of creating Joy. however I think this is distinct for two reasons:
one, these acts aren’t surprising and delighting the passive massive through broadcast, but rather the more tangible and meaningful individuals on the street. these acts are very deliberately public – that strikes me as significant; the acts are witnessed, at that witness makes them realer, more credible, more meaningful and more potent. and I think this is important.
the other reason is that I think it says something about the state we’re in … I read ages ago (and I honestly can’t remember where) that popular culture generates content opposite to the prevailing mood of the times. Sorkin created Bartlett when America needed him, then post-Obama positivism was countered by darker, less sure-footed heroes like Nicholas Brody. I’m wondering if the same can be said for marketing?
from the collapse of states to environmental insecurity, via PRISM, to economic uncertainty and the realignment from west to eastern dominance … we’re in pretty shaky times – you could say that winter is coming.
perhaps our collective unleashing of marketing Joy is the brand equivalent of the contemporary prevalence of the superhero: shear joy, positive unabashed certainty at a time when our world no longer gives us these for granted.
I’ll leave you with one last little bit of joy … a video from Google celebrating how we have and continue to build the web together. it’s a genuine joy … so, well, … enjoy.
it’s PHD Generations this week as our interns join myself, PHD Chief Exec Mark Coad and podcast regular Stew Gurney. between us we discuss the intern program, our young guns’ perceptions of PHD, agency culture, the current and future state of the media agency, media versus creative and how you solve a problem like Gen Y …
also props to the PHD interns who kicked ass in their presentation back to PHD and OMD over at Pyrmont towers. nice work team, nice work.
so a very good friend of mine would spend his time as a child working out which TV shows should go before and after which other shows. he essentially played scheduling. he was therefore somewhat destined to grow up to be a media planner (he is now the head of planning at a creative agency, but my point stands).
media planners get to play the most awesome game of scheduling in the world … we get to play with who see’s what, where, when, and in which context they see it – and that’s just for starters.
at first it was planned interruption, but now – depending on your situation and or point of view – we plan content / engagement / context / connections … the point is that we have to decide with no small amount of consideration how we plan media and content … and weirdly that is something that TV schedulers are only getting their heads around.
this thought was prompted by a piece by Mark Lawson writing in The Guardian about two recent revelations by Shane Allen, BBC controller of comedy commissioning, to the UK’s Broadcasting Press Guild. one, that Ben Elton’s heavily-panned series The Wright Stuff will not be recommissioned and, much more interestingly, that Peter Kay’s new series will premiere on the BBC’s iPlayer – a platform originally conceived as a catch-up service.
why the online platform play? in the article Lawson observes that “Kay admits he was nervous, fearful of heavy backlash had the BBC unveiled his new show with extended hype” … this is Peter Kay we’re taking about, the creator of the sublime Phoenix Nights, running scared. of social media.
the problem is that social media, especially Twitter, gives such immediate and public feedback that opinions can move and upscale with such speed that public-opinion has moved against a show before the first episode has even aired. but shows sometimes need breathing space to develop (I give you Blackadder as exhibit A) but now there’s just no time.
PHD talked about this in Fluid, one of the books what we wrote. a local example is what happened with the Shire (I knew you were wondering about the pic) … in the crucible of Twitter it was judged and hung out to dry before it had even begun.
now I’m not defending The Shire, but as Lawson observes:
“The question of how best to launch – or, as executives like to say, “get away” – a TV show has become a huge debate now that there are so many ways of watching. It’s the reason drama executives lurch nervously between stripping (running a series on consecutive nights, such as next week’s Run on Channel 4) and playing episodes once a week, such as ITV’s Broadchurch.” (source)
the point is that, all of a sudden, TV schedulers face the same problems, challenges and opportunities that media planners have enjoyed for decades: choosing platform, designing context, sowing seeds or landing large, on-demand or broadcast big, all together or spaced out, OTS calculations, reach builds … the art of programme scheduling is about to be transformed.
welcome to our world TV execs, you’re in for a treat.
so I’ve just returned from The Guardian Australia’s launch drinks, but before I call it a night I thought tonight’s happy event made it timely to throw some thoughts down about yesterdays shock report in Adnews that “The Caxtons’ famed jamboree to an exotic location will not happen this year. But the awards will. And next year the junket could be back.” … furthermore “Tasmania has been mooted.”
well phew. heaven forbid that in the midst of the biggest systemic shift in print advertising in several generations we miss the chance to junket it up somewhere exotic.
I should declare an interest; I was honoured and privileged to be asked to speak at last year’s Caxtons – on Hamilton Island, above – so last year I very much enjoyed the benefit of giving a presentation in Adnews’ mourned-for sunny climes.
I have to be honest though; I didn’t wholly enjoy my presentation. and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why.
the truth is that I wasn’t at my best … it wasn’t the most focused of talks, and that’s my bad. but I think it was also a lot to do with the room; a mix of mainly newspaper staffers, ad agency people, journalists and some flotsam and jetsam like me. you see sometimes when you present the room is with you, and if you’re like me that makes you better. but sometimes the room isn’t with you, and that makes some people stronger, but if you’re like me it makes nagging doubt creep in … perhaps I’m wrong? perhaps I’m a crazy person for even suggesting this!? and when your presentation to a bunch of creatives pivots around your (my) belief that “the worst thing that ever happened to advertising is adverts” you can see how that would affect your (my) performance.
I’ve gotten pretty good at reading rooms, and I think the reality is that whilst I wasn’t, by my full admission, at my best … a lot of people in the room just didn’t want to absorb the message: that the time had come to change.
my audience, perhaps quite rightly, wanted to get on with what the Caxtons are there to do: celebrate creativity in newspaper advertising. who the freak was I to turn up and rain on such a brilliantly orchestrated parade? people’s hearts and souls and time and effort had gone in to organising that celebration. people much better than me had created ingenious and awesome presentations to delight and entertain and stimulate.
the words of Maya Angelou echoed in my head that night and many nights since: “People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, But people will never forget how you made them feel” (source) … and I think that is why I failed that day on Hamilton Island – when the words and actions were long gone, I had made that room feel no better about the situation I believe press advertising is in. I hadn’t followed-though my dark night to deliver a dawn. I’d attempted, but it hadn’t landed.
so why the confession? well, yesterday’s Adnews report that – essentially – the party was over, filled me with nothing but sheer optimism. because the party is over, and that’s what I so desperately tried but failed to say last year. but the party being over makes it all the more important that the celebration continues. because what I experienced on that island, that energy and passion and creativity shouldn’t be lost because of some crazy perception that the Caxtons is a junket … what I witnessed was much more than that. the Caxtons isn’t living the vida loca in some exotic location, its an idea … an idea shared by some staggeringly creative and passionate people.
the Caxtons, like print advertising, must reinvent itself … and that is a conference (in the truest sense of the word) that has never been more urgent nor necessary. this is the Caxtons’ opportunity to fight for its own future, I believe that it’s more than up to the task.
this week on the PHD cast I’m joined by Emma Glazier, Lauren Oldham and Peter Hunter to talk all things digital – up first is Qantas partnering with the Wallabies (and Bing) to create content for the Lions’ Tour against the Wallabies.
more content courtesy of Nissan and Mamma Mia, with the car manufacturer using regular contributors to the site to create content / advertorial / adverts for the site. perhaps not great viewed through the lens of branded content, but full marks for customising advertising for the site’s readers.
we also talk about author Goran Racic’s transmedia approach to marketing his new book Loud Evolution.
talking to Mashable, the author explained that:
“I write about video games and new technology all the time. And after covering that area for so long, I started to notice the unique way that different organizations — especially video games — distribute things,” he says. “A lot focus heavily on DLCs [downloadable content] and different expansions, so I thought, ‘Why couldn’t my book be like that?’ When you have something in digital form, you can really go in whichever direction you’d like … In this day and age, there’s so much more you can do to tell a story.”
if that wasn’t enough we talk about the response to Ten’s morning show’s (a recurring theme on the PHDcast) effort to get people to suggest a title for the show. kudos to Ten for carrying on regardless with a stiff upper lip and a smile in the face of the banter …
so I stumbled across the above video whilst I was researching a project at the start of the week. I’d heard about Burberry’s new Flagship Store on Regent St before, but hadn’t taken the time to explore what they’d built. in the above video the brand’s Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey explains what the store is about:
“Burberry Regent St is really a kind of merging of our Burberry.com site … and a physical experience. everything that we do on Burberry.com if reflected here in this space … its a place that you can come just to hang out, its a place that you can come to kind of explore and understand all of the different things that we do … Art of the Trench, bespoke, Burberry Beauty … come and visit us, and I look forward to hearing all of your comments”
Christopher Bailey, source – above video
it’s quite the achievement and investment. I’ve written on this blog before about a Regent St flagship when I described in a Feb 2009 post National Geographic’s store on the same street. I said at the time that:
“… the National Geographic Store is everything an interactive and engaging brand experience should be … an experience grounded not in the necessity to sell, but in the discovery and exploration of why that brand pertains to exist in the first place, and what that brand’s point of view on the world is; the concept and idea of that brand made manifest. everything, in short, that a retail space in the early 21st Century should be.”
Burberry’s store is in that tradition and more so. for starters, the idea of thinking web first and store second is easily said but rarely done. I don’t think its by accident that Bailey says that “everything we do on Burberry.com is reflected in this space”: not – note – the other way around. as Tom Uglow of Google said, “the future of digital is physical” (he said that here).
the second very future-facing aspect of Burberry’s approach is in many ways captured in the above video – and is reflected in the front and centre role that content plays in their strategy. if you’re in any doubt as to how ubiquitous Burberry’s content is, just check out this screen grab of their YouTube page:
from fashion shows to advertising campaigns, taking in music sets and events on the way, its a menagerie of content that not only explicitlycommunicates what Burberry stands for and is producing; but implicitly communicates the design cues and high quality production quality of the brand.
an additional interesting aspect of this strategy is the extent to which Burberry are inviting comments and opinions. they are encouraging participation – careholding – of their brand.
content isn’t limited to video, a collaboration with Google sees the brand encourage people to send a digital kiss to anyone else in the world. Bailey (again) explains:
it’s all there again; the call for interaction and involvement, and – as the below screenshot from the site shows – sumptuous quality of execution. it is really rather relaxing watching live kisses fly across the world, I can highly recommend it.