advertising, data planning, debating, marketing, opinionating

The Un-Negotiated Contract: How the model changed, and why the fight for access to data and information has never mattered more

this post first appeared on Mumbrella

At some point in the last decade a long-established contract between people, media and brands fundamentally changed. What is gradually and incrementally replacing it is an un-negotiated contract – in which information is the new currency, insights and utility are the new value, and the fight for the control of data -whether you realise it or not – is one in which you are already engaged.

The nature of the contract we’re currently negotiating will have huge implications for consumers, brands, media businesses and governments. Whether its the strategies employed by brands, the deals made in market, or the data that’s shared with our governments – how this emerging contract nets out will affect us all, and is already shaping the industry around us.

The broadcast interruption model that emerged in the 1950s was a ruthlessly effective and potent means of value exchange. Everyone involved (which was everyone) won. It was ruthlessly simple – brands gave broadcast media dollars which paid for content that people viewed, and which brands interrupted to get people’s attention.

mediation_broadcast_interruption_model

The model was so awesome that it even accommodated channel-neutrality – it worked as well for print and radio as it did for TV, but at some point in the last decade this ruthlessly simple and effective model started to break down. Fragmentation of channels led to fragmented viewing and audiences – necessitating more investment by brands to reach the same number of people. Set-top and on-demand technologies allowed viewers to skip brand messages (although the evidence is that this was largely off-set by higher viewing in PVR households), the internet changed, well, everything … and a new generation of media businesses and brands emerged that weren’t dependent on the broadcast interruption model – or more specifically the currency that drove it.

Because what sat at the heart of that model and the old established contract – its currency – was the ad. Adverts were what media organisations sold, what brands placed and what viewers watched. They were the centre of the contract’s gravity – so much so that the very concept of advertising became synonymous and interchangeable with its most predominant vehicle … the advert.

What has tacitly emerged over the last decade has been a fundamental reworking of the relationships between the various participants in the deal – to the extent that I now think we’re working with something that looks more like this:

mediation_unnegotiated_contract

The emergence of new media businesses built on data – rather than broadcast ad interruption – is one of the key drivers of this new as yet un-negotiated contract. Google, Facebook, Twitter are of course the obvious examples but so too are companies like Amazon and Ebay – they revenue-generate based on the data they accumulate, and the insight this subsequently generates for advertisers. Ads are still of course part of the equation but they are no longer the point of the model … rather information is.

Better information allows and enables brands to have better contacts and connections with people … something Will Collin discussed on Mumbrella back in October in a brilliant piece that made the case for a focus on reciprocity in how brands engage people – I’ve called it utility above but the point is the same. It’s about how data and information fuel better brand ideas – ideas that are not only increasingly necessary in our fragmented cluttered world, but which are also proven to generate disproportionate ROI versus optimisation of the channel plan.

So far so nice theory, but so what? Well, what this affords us is a framework to understand the various terms of engagement being played on in what will probably be come to be understood as the data wars. Early skirmishes and alliances in an emerging contract based not on ads, but on information.

New models are emerging between brands, media owners and agencies based on information and data rather than just ads media spend. For example this case of how Twitter data is delivering new targeting capabilities.

Ads are, of course, still in play but data and information is what the new contract is predicated upon. Expand ‘media’ in the above model to include (media) agencies and you understand why the positionings around Audience Management Platforms and audience data are so vital to those involved – its about who controls the insight (and therefore the revenues).

It’s also why brands are (1) increasingly asking why they shouldn’t retain full control and analysis of their own data and (2) why some brands are looking to cut media out all together and go direct to customers (existing or potential) based on the data and information they own. Nike have used this strategy with Fuel, whilst brands like Burberry use a hugely disproportionate amount of their own media to reach people direct. Its also why media businesses now ruthlessly collect and protect first party data, and why the sharing of that data with frememies to match the demand-scale generated by agency groups makes media owners so nervous.

But its between people and the media where the contract is perhaps most vociferously being negotiated. Between Google and the European Courts with legislation that allows people to force Google to delete their data (or at least the links to their information); Facebook’s privacy settings tidy-up was part of this negotiation, as is any site’s publication of it’s cookie and targeting policy.

The other huge players in this part of the negotiation are the telcos (and I include Apple in this bracket) – whose efforts to win the Triple Play wars were awesomely captured by Nic Christensen here last month. This is important for two reasons … first, the Telcos are emerging as some of the biggest accumulators of data – that makes them significant players in the emerging contract and secondly, like the big Bay Area media companies, the data they accumulate can be appropriated by government agencies without our explicit consent.

The fact is that it has been the emergence of this new model, and the concentration of such vast quantities of people’s data into new media businesses and telecoms companies, that has fueled US, UK and other government agencies desire and demand to acquire that data as part of their ambition to ‘master the internet’.

And yet despite all of this the contract remains un-negotiated.

The conversations and debates required to do so are fragmented and diverse, but there are huge implications for brands, agencies and media businesses depending on just how that negotiation pans-out. Who own’s people’s data? Who gets to sell or target and re-target based on that data? How aggressively should and could brands pursue collection of their own customer data? Should it be made more explicit that someone’s data is being captured for advertising or targeting purposes?

To be absolutely clear, it is my opinion that this new contract is an eminently good thing. It is the emergent data and information-based value model that has given all of us access to search, social media, online marketplaces, and a world of information, education and entertainment.

What the contract promises is awesome – but to deliver, it must first be negotiated.

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advertising, branding, storytelling

What’s your Story?: a tale of two narratives, and a big lesson in the power of narrative via Jamie Oliver and Thank You Group

ah the power of the story.

take the above. a video from Thank You – an organisation that, on discovering that 900 million people didn’t have access to safe drinking water, came up with a bold idea to create a bottled water company that would exist for the sole purpose of funding safe water projects in developing nations.

that was 2008. and now, having diversified into muesli and body care products, an organisation faced with the job of communicating that change to new and potential customers. the solution … not the best video ever made, but a genuinely authentic, honest and transparent one. real people in a real situation with a little novelty, script and editing thrown in.

it comes only a week after B&T reported that struggling Aussie vegetable farmers were ‘pleading’ with Jamie Oliver to intervene on their behalf and encourage Woolies to refund the marketing levy they were being charged to fund his ad campaign for the supermarket.

where do you start? no really … the dominance of the supermarket oligopoly? the David and Goliath struggle of growers and distributors? the relevance of the UK-based Oliver (who is awesome and who has done genuinely amazing things for healthy eating efforts) in all of this? the scale of paid versus the engagement and authenticity of earned media?

well I guess like any good story you start at the beginning …

once upon at time there was the story. we told stories that saved our ancestors from being trampled by wildebeest or running off of a cliff. then our stories took on moral and ethical dimensions, they passed on information and knowledge and created archetypes to which we still relate.

… our stories became assimilated by nation states and groups of individuals to describe and define identity. they communicated our struggles and challenges and victories and journeys, on every media, in every society and community on the planet. language was our first technology, and communication – of our hopes, fears and ideas – has become a defining factor of the human condition.

and so we arrive at two very different brand and marketing stories, the dissection and evaluation of which is less important than the lesson their juxtaposition invites: stories are ancient, powerful, emotional and transformative things,

… make sure you’re part of a good one.

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advertising, storytelling

Of BBQs, Basting and Bears: Lessons in the power of multi-channel storytelling from this year’s crop of festive campaigns

this week on the Addington Bugle-sponsored PHDcast we talk the future of retail and Christmas ads. obviously. it being five weeks(ish) out from the big day thoughts turn to Santa’s sack, goodwill amongst people, and GRPs – after all who wouldn’t want a healthy carryover of adstock into the week before Christmas.

and so it came to pass that this was the week that Aussie retailers launched the slings and arrows of their Chrimbo adverts. first up we have Coles and Woolies going head to head with Curtis Stone basting food porn in the red corner, and in the green corner newcomer Jamie Oliver throwing a BBQ for Aussies in London (a deliberate choice of location we’re sure).

meanwhile the department stores give us the art of giving from Myer and, well, I’m not sure what from David Jones (B&T go with ‘a DJ’s branded Christmas cracker exploding to reveal a colourful array of gifts’, which is good enough for me).

of course the daddy of Christmas ads is John Lewis, who (as you’ll already know as the YouTube video is past 6.1m views already) this year unleashed a Lily Allen soundtracked Disney-inspired tale of the Bear who gets woken by a Hare for Christmas.

its amazing. of course. but where John Lewis genuinely stands out is not the creative solution, but the media infrastructure build around their story. the Lily Allen soundtrack (which has the chance of keeping a reality-TV winner off the Chrimbo #1 spot), the interactive eBook narrated by Lauren Laverne, the digital Christmas card maker, and of course activation of the ideas in stores … all add up to a genuinely integrated effort to deploy a story into the pre-Christmas season rather than just an ad.

its a valuable and timely lesson in the power of story; told elegantly, across multiple platforms, both broadcast and demanded, which stretches from awareness and salience all the way through to retail engagement – and all without a hero product shot in sight.

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advertising, branding, commenting, content creating, marketing, planning

From ZERO to Hero: its Joseph Jaffe versus the world as he shares his theory on surviving the Mediocalypse

“In a perfect world, the optimal paid media would be zero”

and there you have it. in sixteen short syllables Joseph Jaffe yesterday laid the gauntlet to, well, everyone.

in a Mumbrella Hangout with Tim and Nick, Jaffe took aim and didn’t hesitate in pulling the trigger as he took on the concept of paid media, it’s media agency proponents, media owner benefactors and client conspirators – all of whom are collectively woefully unprepared for the coming mediocalypse (that last word is totes all mine fyi).

Jaffe’s alternative vision is ZERO – a word that serves the dual purpose of being, in Jaffe’s opinion, the target investment a brand should make in paid media … and also an acronym for the elements that make up Jaffe’s counter theory … Zealots, Entrepreneurship, Retention and Owned assets (not media).

to say all this is brand new territory would be a stretch, but to say that it’s rarely been delivered with such zeal is not. Jaffe gleefully takes on Sorrell (“self-serving”), media owners (“complacency and mediocrity are not causes to be able to keep your job. being also to achieve … objectives and demonstrate proven value-add and utility and return on investment is a cause to keep your job”) and clients (“morons”). by the time Clive Burcham of The Conscience Organisation joins the conversation the platform is well and truly burning and we may as well all just run for the hills.

it’s easy to line up against Jaffe’s argument and theory: Ehrenberg Bass’ analysis would tackle the importance of Zealots, Entrepreneurship doesn’t offer the guarantee of exposure, success and ultimately growth that shareholders demand of businesses; on ‘Retention is the new Acquisition’ you can pick your counter-play, and there’s no client worth their salt that hasn’t developed and deployed an Owned asset strategy and plan. but here’s the thing … Jaffe is right.

the 30 second-shaped solution is to predominant. the ad venture is coming to an end. agencies and clients aren’t co-conspiring to create sufficient entrepreneurship and innovation. media is commoditised, and media thinking is undervalued. clients customers have become more important than their consumers, and despite billions of dollars of effort the scarcest commodity in the world remains human attention.

run for the hills indeed.

but despite Jaffe’s verging into hubris, he offers some wonderfully salient and sensible advice. his assertion that “the vision of ZERO is to move from being a tenant to a landlord” is a nicely articulated vision for how brands should increasingly approach their media planning; the idea of a “customer-employee ecosystem empowered by technology” makes total sense; that we should be advising our clients on how to redress the balance of their direct to indirect (media) investment is absolutely right; and to ask “why are we paying for attention, when we should be paying attention” is good enough to put on the t-shirt (should that be your inclination).

whatever side of the debate you’re on, you can’t deny that our negotiation of media’s future is the better for having Jaffe’s voice in the chorus. there will be heroes and outlaws aplenty in the coming mediocalypse, which one Jaffe turns out to be will be decided first by your perspective, and then by history.

PS if you want to skip to a couple of highlights in the above video jump to 13:17 to hear Tim deploy Nick to search for someone who has tattooed toilet paper onto themselves with the immortal words “Nick, to the Google …” or 13:44 to see’s Tim‘s earnest nodding and eyebrow raise at the news of Charmin’s acquisition of website ‘sit or squat’

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advertising, broadcasting, marketing, mediating, opinionating, television

The Myopia of the 2020 Vision: Why we need a whole load more rational when we debate the merits of Television

Think TV, a marketing initiative of Free TV Australia (the body representing all of Australia’s free-to-air metropolitan and regional commercial television broadcasters), have released the latest in their 2020 Vision series. the episode – the first of series three – see’s industry heavy-weights including Jeff Goodby (Goodby, Silverstein and Partners) and Sir John Hegarty (BBH) discuss (in Think TV’s words) “the importance of broadcasting powerful, mass reaching, messages that connect with audiences”.

its a curious beast. but then communications about communications are always the most interesting of creatures … on the surface this is a straight-forward and very well produced piece of content which talks-up the role and power of TV. but take a closer look and a rather all-too defensive agenda emerges:

some highlights:

TV is till 60% of what we buy because it absolutely is the best place to be able to tell stories and connect people with your brand” … “we try to use video and television as a way to understand our customer … television is the only place you can do that” Kevin Mayer (Volkswagen of America Inc)

“the use of television is fundamental in telling a brand story and engaging with the audience in an intriguing and interesting way” Sir John Hegarty

“the great thing about TV … is that it allows you to go around the rational objections to a product … you have to find another emotional road to take people along so that they don’t think about the rational stuff anymore” Jeff Goodby

“if you’ve got the funding to do an ad, [TV is] still the one place you can get the biggest change in perception and appeal for your brand” Kevin Mayer

“there are two things brands have to do; they have to persuade and then they have to promote. digital technology has been brilliant at promotion, but if you’re not out there persuading, you’re not growing your brand … now, you can only do that with broadcast, because you don’t ultimately know where your audience is going to come from” Sir John Hegarty

“advertising expenditure globally is about $500bn a year. about $200bn of that goes on television. now, end of argument, alright?” Sir John Hegarty

“most of the money my clients spend is still on TV. I know that its very popular to think otherwise and go, you know, ‘what’s going on out there, there must be new things that we should be spending money on’ … and we end up spending on TV, just because it turns out to be the way to start something, the way to keep something going, the way to chance people’s minds” Jeff Goodby

“actually the internet kind of operates as an afterthought of the best TV commercials … people run to the internet to talk about them” Jeff Goodby

“as television evolves and becomes more targeted, I think you’re going to see an influx of dollars back into television because now you’re going to have efficiency and you’re going to have scale, and that’s where I think television is going to really see its second coming” Kevin Mayer

“we’re emotional creatures, and television is an emotional medium … it’s the most powerful selling tool advertisers have ever had at their disposal, and that ain’t changing – not for the foreseeable future” Sir John Hegarty

to say that some of those statements are subjective in the extreme is perhaps a bit of an understatement, and you could argue that’s fine if the piece was presenting itself as the subjective opinions of very respected industry professionals … but its not; Think TV’s description of the piece is “forward-thinking industry professionals reveal how television is rising to meet new marketing challenges with great success” (source) … which I actually think gets us into rather dangerous territory … because the success is pretty much ‘people saw my ad’, or ‘we emotionally engaged people’ or ‘lot’s of people spend lots of money on TV so it must work, alright’ …

now it’s easy to say that it’s “just a piece of video” or conversely that “these are the opinions of respected, and very successful, advertising men”, but don’t forget for a second this is just one grenade in an ongoing battle for communications revenues. this is about where brands invest marketing dollars – budgets that are increasingly under scrutiny by the companies that invest that money. and we’re not talking about spare change … the video’s own stats point out that $200bn is spent on TV – I think we’re going to have to do a little better to justify that than because television is “an emotional medium”.

it perhaps is no co-incidence that we receive this gem in the same week that online ad revenues overtook those for free-to-air TV. according to a report by the PwC for the AIB, (available to subscribers here), for the first six months of 2013 our industry in Australia invested $1,883m in online versus $1,805m investment in FTA TV.

the size of your spend isn’t of course everything. but it does count for a lot.

I like television. as a planner I value the role television can play in a plan. it delivers reach, often cost-effectively, and it delivers that scale quickly. and whilst, unlike Kevin Mayer, I probably wouldn’t describe the future of television as a “second coming”, I am excited by the opportunities that critical mass in connected TVs will bring.

but there’s a dangerous myopia in this 2020 Vision. statements like “digital technology has been brilliant at promotion, but if you’re not out there persuading, you’re not growing your brand” (Hegarty) or “the internet kind of operates as an afterthought” Goodby, do far less for TV’s case than embracing and exploring – say – the possibilities presented by digital storytelling and how they will be possible, with scale, in 2020 would have achieved.

a very wise man once told be to never let my strategy show. so when a video selling the benefits of TV says that “the great thing about TV … is that it allows you to go around the rational objections to a product … so that they don’t think about the rational stuff anymore” … I wonder whether we don’t need a whole load more rational as we mediate this ongoing debate.

featured image is a still from the above video of Volkswagen’s Darth Vader spot in Super Bowl XLV

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advertising, campaigning, integrating, voting

Calling to Action: What Australian Political Parties can learn from Marmite

so in this week’s PHDcast we’re talking Aussie election, which kicked off (officially) this week with a deluge of media and collateral, including these two efforts from the two leading parties, Labor offer us a New Way:

whilst the Liberals are offering us a New Hope:

there will no doubt be other places and spaces where the ads themselves get debated and dissected, and aside from the observation that naming an election slogan after Star Wars Episode IV is just plain awesome, we’ll leave all that to one side for the moment.

there is one difference between the two ads though that I think is important. it’s a really subtle but I think significant difference in the dying moments of each. quite simply one has an embedded call to action and one doesn’t.

help_kevin

Labor’s video has not just a specific call to action in the copy, but an embedded ‘click to volunteer’ button in the video.

in the podcast, Stew (who anchored magnificently) asked me for the advice I would give the comms teams in the election, I commented that at the moment there isn’t one communications strategy, there are several (broadcast, social etc).

the big opportunity it seems to me is to join the dots … and identify very specific roles for comms, with all roads leading to getting people to act … if people act early, cognitive dissonance will kick in and people will act to maintain consistency with their perceived beliefs when they get into the booth.

that the Labor ad gets that its not just an ad may seem to be a simple and indeed obvious distinction, but its a simple and obvious distinction that its Liberal counterpart – nor a great many commercial brands for that matter – grasp. which brings us of course to Marmite, who this week unleashed this awesome little gem:

the predictable and ridiculous backlash has fortunately been met with a truckload of praise for the ad … but the sheer entertainment value that the ad provides aside, the communication is a gold-standard example of two really important aspects.

one, it doesn’t take too much pondering to work out that there is a very specific business issue being tackled here. the team have clearly done their homework and gone beyond ‘consideration’ or ‘like-ability’ to identify a specific issue that they’ve gone on to tackle head on.

two – and this is where I’m making the tenuous link to Australian politics (because its my blog so I can) – there’s a clear and integrated call to action strategy. the video ends with a clear call to action that is an integrated and consistent extension of the creative construct of the ad:

marmite_cta

this then takes you through to an owned-media platform from where you can interact to your heart’s content:

marmite_cta_2

there’s one last aspect for both of these that I think bears repeating, and that’s the importance of cognitive dissonance – the first fundamental assumption of which is that “we all recognize, at some level, when we are acting in a way that is inconsistent with our beliefs / attitudes / opinions. In effect, there is a built in alarm that goes off when we notice such an inconsistency, whether we like it or not. For example, if you have a belief that it is wrong to cheat, yet you find yourself cheating on a test, you will notice and be affected by this inconsistency.” (source)

the really smart opportunity is that by getting people to act within a communications content (for a brand or a political party), you potentially establish and crystallise such a belief / attitude / opinion. when people subsequently come to a supermarket shelf or a polling booth they will – according to the theory – be more inclined to behave in a way that is consistent with said belief.

in short … a integrated, powerful and engaging call to action, far from being the tick-box exercise at the end of the ad, can be the linchpin of the whole communications operation. given the choice, you’ve got to love that.

featured image via Herald Sun

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advertising, broadcasting, television

One Screens to Rule them All: why broadcast TV’s comeback is overplayed and how brand content needs to evolve. fast.

two seemingly contradicting reports landed this week which paint very different pictures of the state of play in the evolving world of screen usage and content watching. they both came via Stew … thanks Stew!

first up, the BBC reports the suggestion by Ofcom (the UK’s Communications regulator) that living room TV is “making a comeback”. if a 3% increase in the number of adults who watch their main TV set once a week (91% up from 88% in 2002) represents a comeback, then yes … its a comeback. well done, nice work, props etc.

also this week Omnicom’s (or Publicis Omnicom Groupe’s I suppose) Media Pulse reported a study by GFK which “suggests that millions are moving to the Internet and free over-the-air (OTA) reception … about six percent of U.S. households have completely dropped cable and satellite TV in favor of streaming-only—a trend that’s been named ‘cutting the cord'” (Source).

a new golden age of broadcast, or a digital multi-screen take-over?

both, obvs.

its no secret that screens are proliferating, Australia is at the vanguard of the changes. an Australian Multi-Screen Report from earlier this year from Oztam, Regional Tam and Nielsen indicated that 27% of Aussie homes now have each of the four screens (TV, PC, tablet and mobile phone), up from 16% last year. Smart phone uptake is up 13% YOY to 61%, tablet penetration doubled 2012-2013 to 31% and PVR penetration now sits above 50%.

despite all that though, the same report calculated that time spent with screens are still massively weighted towards TV. the average Aussie watches 92 hours and 29 mins of TV per month, versus 8 hours and 53 mins on the other three devices. TV’s comeback is perhaps overplayed because there’s nothing to come back from … time spent with TV, despite pretty much a decade of PVRability, has remained pretty much consistent.

so what gives? … lots of TV viewing, lots of increase in penetration of new devices, and a whole lot of multitasking and multi-screening. the real limiting factor in the entire equation is nothing to do with screens or even what’s on them … its human attention. it was Kevin Kelly who observed in Wired magazine that “the only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention” (source) … it doesn’t take a huge leap to come to the conclusion that the real victim of screen and content abundance will be not brands per se, but those that rely solely on the broadcast interruption advertising model.

more of that on the PHDcast this week, but what all of this points to is the need for connection planning (on screens and beyond) to be done upstream in any brand planning work. integrated content solutions have to quickly become the modus operandi for how we develop communications. broadcast interruption will remain part of that integrated solution for a long time yet to come, but it can no longer be the totality of the solution.

which is why we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future.

I’ll leave you to ponder that, and the thought that, far from living room TV making a comeback, its advertising that needs to make the comeback. in the evolving world of screens, only one screen rules them all – whichever one you happen to be watching at any given time. there’s a clear and present opportunity to bridge attention deficit with a new generation of integrated, connected, device-specific content. it’s time for us all to step up to the plate.

featured image via Fast Company

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advertising, campaigning, commenting, creating, debating, planning

Create and Debate: Lessons for brands, courtesy of Dikkenberg and Rusbridger, on communicating credibly, conspicuously and contagiously

I had a rather delightful serendipitous few minutes yesterday when I watched consecutively two videos on YouTube. it occurred to me that between them they rather elegantly describe the formula for communicating your position or point of view in the world right now.

the first was the above video of a speech given by Who&Why Media‘s founder Simon Dikkenberg at the 20th anniversary of Mission Australia’s CYI. Simon (who is awesome) captured more elegantly than I would the point and power of unleasing a creative instinct:

“By becoming conscious of our stories and our ability to shape then, we learn that we can edit and redefine the great changes that impact our lives … what’s exciting is that we now live in era in which the tools to record and share our stories are cheap and easily accessible (most of us carry them on the phones in our pockets) … we all have our own battles and wars but it is the stories we tell ourselves about them that determine the positive or negative impact they have on our lives …”

Simon Dikkenberg (from the above video)

I next watched this video from The Guardian of Editor Alan Rusbridger describing the newspaper’s ‘Open Journalism’ philosophy.

it’s simple, straightforward, and elegant … yet it describes profound changes to how a newspaper goes about doing what it does. changes that by Rusbridger’s own admission are a “big barrier for journalists to get over”.

“Open journalism is about allowing a response … saying to readers ‘we want to hear from you’ … if you can have more than one view you get a better account … once you accept that then you’re into just the questions of the mechanics … we should be able to respond to them too … its being responsive to what comes into the building …
Its no good shoving a newspaper on the web, you have to be part of the web … as a result I think our journalism is much more approachable, much more diverse, much more comprehensive, much more challenge-able (which is a good thing), and just generally better.”

Alan Rusbridger (from the above video)

that second paragraph is of particular relevance and significance to comms planning – swap ‘journalism’ for brand and you get the following advice: ‘its no good shoving a brand on the web, you have to be part of the web … as a result I think [your] brand is much more approachable, much more diverse, much more comprehensive, much more challenge-able … and just generally better’.

I can think of little better advice I’ve ever heard being suggested for brands as they plan in an online, on-demand, fragmented and attention-light world.

perhaps what strikes me most is how the Dikkenberg Rusbridger formula of Create + Debate is so very rarely applied. brands of course create, but very rarely for the specific purpose of instigating debate. and of course brands debate, but often as a response to events or about their products as opposed to the communicates they create around a point of view.

yet when brands do embrace this simple formula, the results are often hugely successful – at the very least from a communications point of view. here are just a few of my favourites:

all these examples are awesome campaigns because they are credible, conspicuous and inherently contagious. and they are all those things, I think, because they followed the Dikkenberg Rusbridger formula: create the stories of your battles and debate with the plurality of views they engender.

the possibilities are staggering, as is the potential positive affect those stories could have on us all.

featured image via here and here

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advertising, content creating, planning, rewarding

Why Lost is the New Found: How Heineken and Jeep are inviting us to get lost in very different ways

Heineken’s Voyage Ad, currently playing on a cinema screen near you

so last night I enjoyed a cheeky Sunday night trip to the cinema with Connerty, Jez and Fingers to see Brad take on the zombie apocalypse – which you’ll be happy to hear he did magnificently. before the action started however the above effort for Heineken played out. its a great ad – if slightly indulgent (btw if you think the 60″ is indulgent check out the ‘exclusive version’).

all of which is all very well and indulgent, and good on Heineken for the effort … but at the end there’s a blink-and-you-miss-it call to action directing you to www.heineken.com/voyage alongside the copy ‘legendary travelers wanted’. so having literally been called to action and after a few seconds of digging today I tracked down – via said website – another website entirely … a branded YouTube channel in fact, called Heineken Dropped:

heineken_dropped_youtube

… a content-generating, exclusive-experiencing, PR-generating platform of a thing in which guys (the site is quite clear on this aspect) are ‘dropped’ in the middle of nowhere.

adventure, of course, ensues – as evidenced by the trailer for episode one

and then in one of those frequent ‘wait for a bus’ moments I was catching up with the awesome James’ Media in Brief document from Friday (Volume 2, Issue 18 to be precise), the video of the week in which was only this little effort for Jeep by Leo Burnett Buenos Aires:

so within 24 hours a beer and a car brand both inviting me, in two very different ways, to get lost. Heineken through a competition to experience an exclusive adventure in the middle of nowhere and Jeep through a GPS that takes me on my very own individual trip to, well, the middle of nowhere.

what’s interesting (to Mediation at least) is how one territory can be explored through two very different and contrasting media models. one exclusive, the other open to anyone (presumably with a GPS and a four wheel drive) … one fulfilled through content and the other through technology … one in which nowhere is idealised and the other in which nowhere is radically accessible … and one which operates at the head of Anderson’s Long Tail and the other which thrives in the tail.

in a post far back in the mists of time (July 2009 specifically) I described the need to think about audiences with a new lore of averages.

“when we describe target audiences we should be thinking of them as sitting along the above spectrum.  how do we plan on one hand for the very few but valuable super-attention givers from whom a lot of the effectiveness of the media investment will derive?  whilst on the other hand plan for the ‘mode’ individuals, the vast majority who will contribute the smallest amount of attention to what we have to say?”

what’s interesting is how these two platforms operate exclusively against each: Heineken creating content to be distributed to the passive massive along the tail, Jeep inviting individuals to experience nowhere for themselves. neither is, I suppose, more right than the other … but I can’t help but wonder what they have to learn from each other?

how could Heineken enable more participation in their Dropped platform, and how could Jeep amplify the individual experiences of finding nowhere to maximise reach of their investment? after that I suppose that there’s only one question … how would you prefer to get lost?

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advertising, marketing, planning

Coles 1, Woolies 0: an abject lesson in new versus traditional media thinking from Australia’s favourite oligopoly

option A: partner with a major TV network to secure access to the biggest pop group in the world and give customers the chance to win tickets to an exclusive extra show. communicate this through the competition’s own dedicated website, hashtag, and social media, supported by print, broadcast and PR.

option B: make a 90 second TV ad that talks about, well, I’m not sure exactly … but I think, the value of time?

it may be harsh to call this an abject lesson in new versus traditional media thinking, but this really is an abject lesson in new versus traditional media thinking. and just in case anyone is looking for a (far from exhaustive) checklist, here it is:

  • create new news (don’t assume people care)
  • integrated the channel approach (not single broadcast solution)
  • create exclusivity and scarcity
  • do don’t say
  • leverage a passion point
  • develop a plan and strategy for earned media
  • integrate into store
  • connect to product purchase

here are the boys again … just for fun.

featured image source: Coles via Mumbrella

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