so I’m loving the marketing for Anchorman 2 which is seeing Ron Burgundy comment from his newsdesk on current events. Pete (hey Pete) sent around the above, in which Ron comments on the Melbourne Cup, part of the #bestdayever earlier this week … I also caught Ron taking over the Telstra-sponsored ‘please switch off your phone’ message on a trip to see Thor 2 (which was Thorsome) on Sunday.
it’s a great example of something I touched on several times both on this blog but in a ton of client conversations over the last few years … product-out communications.
the working paradigm for the broadcast age was that marketing worked as communications that were pushed out to consumers to make them aware of a product or service (and subsequently drive interest, desire and ultimately action). comms were a signpost to the product. a wealth of research, theory, evidence and smarts has evolved that paradigm to where we are today …
Ron’s message isn’t a broadcast-out signpost to increase awareness of the movie. instead Burgundy’s commentary is a great example of a product-out approach … of the product extending itself out to create value or utility (in this case entertainment). the fact that content exists for Aussie cinemas and the Melbourne Cup suggests that it’s a localised content strategy that could well be playing out in every major country in which the movie is being released. which is very smart.
all in all a great lesson in Paid being used as Owned media which (judging by the media and sharing pick-up) has generated a very respectable amount of Earned media on the way … nice work Paramount on a very elegant execution of a strategy which should pay dividends … after all, as Ron would say, “they’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time.”
about two minutes into the above video Angela Ahrendts, the outgoing CEO of Burberry, delivers a marketing masterclass:
“we needed to keep the story authentic. we needed to keep it pure. we knew we were going to target different audiences. we knew that the mediums would be different. we knew it would be so much more global than maybe things has been in the past, but the story had to be the same. so we said everything we’re gonna do is target this Millennial customer, and if we do that we’re going to have to speak in their language, and their language was rapidly becoming digital. so we studied this customer and then adjusted each of our strategies in order to be relevant and authentic to this audience that we were catering to. because I think everything you do going forward, you can’t do anything the traditional way. it has to be so visual, and we hit on this word ‘energy’ early on and said we want everything we do to have energy.”
it’s a very elegantly conceived and expressed set of convictions: things Burberry knew, clarity of audience targeting, the implications of engaging that audience on their own terms, and a set of beliefs that challenge convention and set a strategic behavioural direction for the brand. ask yourself how many of the brands you do or have worked on have that clarity of focus?
I wrote about the joys of Burberry’s marketing back in July. I described my admiration for their flip of the online / physical retail approach, the digital-first strategy and the pleasure in watching kisses fly across the world; and I described the prolific investment of time and energy into content.
what’s so interesting and awesome about this content strategy however, is the extent to which it’s spread into Burberry’s corporate culture … they have an entire section on their YouTube channel devoted to corporate videos. from financial results to exec travelogues, taking in a discussion of the group’s acquisition of its stores and related assets in China on the way. the video content is an authentic, consistent voice not of the brand, but of the business.
there is much to admire. this is a business with the story it wants to tell and conversation it wants to have firmly in its own hands. it’s not solely dependent on it’s relationship with reporters and journalists to share its news, agenda, and take on the world. the story as they see it is there for anyone to watch, not hidden in a column in the financial section or the ‘recent press releases’ page of the corporate website.
but more than any of this its a glorious demonstration of the business behaving in comms the same way as would the brand. this is important. and its rare. I can think of only a few businesses that try and succeed in doing so. mine certainly doesn’t … although I’d rather like it to. because more than anything else it’s a phenomenally effective way for a company to communicate to the constituency who are hopefully its most ardent advocates – it’s own employees.
of course there is an obvious danger; the assertion that such a ‘brand-corporate’ strategy is nothing more than a smart and elegant attempt to over-control the message. that a business journalist can’t question a YouTube video. that a shareholder can’t challenge a per-recorded statement. or that style will mask substance. to which there is only one simple response … just behave on brand: in the knowledge that consistency, transparency and authenticity will out.
and you don’t get more transparent than a YouTube video of Burberry’s Chairman Sir John Peace talking with an outgoing and incoming CEO about the news that Ahrendts will step down as Chief Executive Officer by mid-2014, with Bailey (on whom I have a purely marketing crush) assuming the role of Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer.
of course its well-packaged, and of course its practiced and of course well-finished.
“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’
morning PHDcast listeners. Nic was in the hot seat this week for the not-the-ooh laa la edition of the PHDcast. bien sur 😉 … awesome job Disco
much of the debate this week was in and around TV watching – how it’s changing and what the implications are, especially for brands. I wrote about some of the aspects of this in my post on Friday, but it’s worth dwelling on a point Stew makes at the twenty minute mark around people watching programmes not channels. I think that’s true but I also think its not quite as clean cut as that, and as the CBS / Time Warner stand-off enters it’s second day – leaving 3 million American’s without shows like Hawaii Five-0 (I know) – it’s clear that there is much more to come as the distribution wars heat up.
also on the cast we got round to talking about the Magnum Pop-Up Experience hitting Sydney. following the success of the store in other cities, the ground floor of Westfield in Sydney’s CBD has for the last three weeks been the latest place to get the pleasure pop-up. you get to design your own magnum … white, milk or dark chocolate plus plenty of toppings, all for a mere $7.
as I say on the cast, it’s a phenomenal example of a brand pulling the trick of landing marketing that gets people to pay for its own existence. andthe fact that people are queuing up for it is proof positive of the indulgence for which the brand is known.
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.
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:
… 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.
“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?
so I jumped to the cinema not too long ago with Dan (hey Dan) to see Gatsby (awesome but started to dread someone saying “let’s go to New York” as eight minutes of pointless car shots would follow … amazing soundtrack though) and caught the above trailer. its a great example of a perfect collaboration that produces relevant content, yet doesn’t fall into the trap of failure to amplify.
Australia’s tourism communications are consistently some of best the country produces. they have to be. in 2010/11 tourism represented 2.5% ($35bn) to the national economy (source), and getting a share of that is a serious business. the domestic competition is feisty enough, add to that cost-efficient South East Asian holiday options on our doorstep, and you get a situation where you need to stand out from the crowd.
that was the challenge to Sapient Nitro, the agency from whence previously emerged the ‘best job in the world’ idea back in 2009.
“The challenge to 20 of Australia’s most exciting filmmakers was to create quality content and authentic human stories that engage and create desire, and redefine what it means to be in ‘paradise’.”
Ralph Barnett, creative director SapientNitro
as collaborators go, GoPro are a perfect choice for the tech and attitude to showcase the region – they’re no strangers to content themselves, their website is a masterclass in how to use and integrate YouTube into a brand’s own site.
but the real smarts is in the amplification … playing a trailer for the project in cinemas may seem obvious in retrospect but never-the-less represents a smart marriage of audience targeting and the cinema environment and format; and with pop up screenings planned for the eastern seaboard, there’s plenty of amplification yet to come.
Encyclopedia Britannica and FHM to cease publication (images via Guardian and Mumbrella)
news reached mediation last week of two very different publications that are set to cease print publication. at first there may seen to be little in common between the 244 year-old Encyclopedia Britannica and FHM – but they are both, in their very different ways, equal victims of media natural selection.
if we have ever needed evidence of the extent of the change that is afoot in our industry, it comes in the form of the fates of these two very different titles, both of which are victims of the impact of the social web.
the fact is that wikinomics killed the print edition of EB. Wikipedia is the primary symptom, but the cause is a great deal deeper. EB print’s demise is a result of the fact that all of us are smarter than any of us, and now we have the tools to manifest that collective knowledge.
talking to The Guardian, president of Encyclopedia Britannica Inc Jorge Cauz counters that “We may not be as big as Wikipedia. but we have a scholarly voice, an editorial process, and fact-based, well-written articles … all of these things we believe are very, very important, and provide an alternative that we want to offer to as many people as possible”. like many businesses, EB are looking to fight ‘free’, and win.
the same of which can probably be said for the demise of FHM in Australia. much debate has been had on the Mumbrella thread, with everything from product quality to porn to blame. but the fact is that FHM face a very similar battle to EB – they’re fighting that fact that people are generating content, for free, that competes for the time and attention that men’s magazines used to enjoy from readers.
in the magazine sector’s case this is translating into very challenging times. the latest SMI figures (courtesy of Lucy) show that across all media, February ’12 was pretty much flat YOY (+0.7%). whilst key growth areas for Feb were Cinema – up an astonishing 83% YOY (YTD it’s up 32%) – and Digital, which is up 29%. by comparison Newspapers and Mags are down 12% and 15% respectively.
in the we-fuelled revolution (the wevolution if you like) brands and businesses that don’t quickly evolve are being taken down… in the same week that EB and FHM made their respective announcements; Twitter acquired Posterous, CNN was rumoured to be buying Mashable for upwards of US$200m, TED launched a education-based YouTube channel, LinkedIn hit 3m Australian members, The Australian announced that it has 30k paying digital subscribers and Hungry Jacks sold 485,332 burgers in a Scoopon deal that crashed the site, oh and a video called Kony 2012 became – with 100 million (yes that’s right) hits in six days, the most viral in history.
blink and you miss it people, blink and you miss it.
here’s the question: how is the wevolution affecting your brand and business? how prepared are you for the change that you may not yet have even seen coming? and how do you avoid the fate of EB and FHM?
Yoruba ceremonial drums, Nigeria. picture from here.
so the lovely Emily got for me a signed copy James Gleick's The Information for my birthday (thanks Emily) and whilst I'm only a couple of chapters in, its already proving to be a bit of a treasure trove. the first chapter discusses the African Drums. when 18th Century Europeans first heard the drums, they had no idea that they were conveying information. yet the drumbeats contained detailed and what seemed to be superfluous information.
"Instead of "don't be afraid," they would say, "Bring your heart back down out of your mouth, your heart out of your mouth, get it back down from there" … the drums generated fountains of oratory"
the explanation for the elaboration is fascinating.
"in mapping the spoken language to the drum language, information was lost. the drum talk was speech with a deficit … the drum language began with the spoken word and shed the consonants and vowels. that was a lot to lose … consequently … a drummer would invariably add "a little phrase" to each short word. Songe, the moon, is rendered as songe li tange la manga – "the moon looks down at the earth" … the extra drumbeats, far from being extraneous, provide context"
James Gleick, The Information, Chapter One
there's a beautiful parallel with the world and brands and communication. the moments in which brands connect with people are fleeting and becoming more so. there is a very narrow opportunity in which a marketer can convey information. messages need context, and brands provide it.
so rather than someone hearing "we make cars" (the message) they hear "we make Jeeps" (the branded message). this context takes the message from a simple "this is what we do" to a more richly imbued communication embodying all the associations someone recalls when they hear "Jeep's cars".
this context is crucial … "we make cars", becomes:
we make Jeeps
we make Toyotas
we make Hondas
it's a useful thinking framework – to separate the context and the content. marketers work in challenging times. the potential opportunities to make meaningful connections with people have never been greater; but with opportunity has come complexity. how are communications cutting-through? how to create the most distinctiveness in market? how and when to engage audiences through media beyond which that I buy?
separating context and content helps to address some of those challenges.
creation of context is the creation of brand meaning. what does my brand stand for? why does it exist? what are the associations I want to create (or reinforce) when someone recalls my brand. this is a long-term process, and it's contribution to a brand's business not always easily measurable. but it's crucially important context – and the marketer is responsible for continuously creating it.
creation of content is the creation of the message. we're having a sale this weekend. new model now available. we've improved our fuel efficiency. the role of content is to influence and stimulate an action or a response. these are shorter term, and the extent to which they permeate and become salient in market are very measurable. they can also be spread with huge efficiency by media other than that which is bought.
separating these two elements helps navigate increasingly complex waters. how can I – as marketer – create context for my brand? a context unhindered by the need for immediate ROI in market. what platforms (through owned media) can I create to hold and communicate this context?
…and how can I efficiently and effectively deploy my messages into market? how can I inspire and encourage people to pass-on that message on my and their behalf?
the combination, like the African drums, are simple messages imbued with the richest of context … so that the content is un-mistakenly attributed to its brand. the add the pieces together you first have to separate them.
which brings us, of course, to Harry Potter – and this week's announcement that the upcoming Deathly Hallows Part 2 won't be the end of the Potter franchise.
Potter as brand is now established. seven books and eight movies have communicated the narrative and its characters, all of whom are now familiar memes in our culture. like Star Wars before it, Potter – because of the human stories it tells – is now firmly embedded in the popular psyche. but context and content have hereto been one and the same; the experience absolutely binding the two together. books and movies as one-directional communication of story. around this controlled narrative a user-generated culture arose, but it never penetrated back into nor influenced the context or content coming from JKR, Bloomsbury and Warner Bros.
that's about to change. Potter is about to undergo a context content split.
Potter as a brand is now evolving to have two distinct streams. the context will continue to be provided by JKR and co. both the ideological: what are the rules and conventions of the Harry Potter universe? and the physical: in the form of the Pottermore owned-media platform (which will also be the sales platform for HP eBooks).
but content will now, for the first time, be created by JKR and anyone else with the passion and energy to contribute. the long-term building of the Potter brand co-existing but separate to the short-term creation of Potter content.
the evolution is already apparant … the above announcement inviting and teasing its audience to "follow the owl" – an ARG element signalling a shift in the Potter brand to one that is co-created, crowdscourced and owned by everyone.
Josh Spear is "from the internet". no really, he is. he put everything owned in the Internet and now has much of his possessions stored in the cloud.
his website, JoshSpear.com emerged in 2004 from the back of a Journalism 1001 class in which he was disappointed with the way academics ignored blogs as an emerging media. Josh describes his home as "a daily source of inspiration for marketers, brand managers, advertising executives, and a wide range of everyday people from around the world who love to stay ahead of the curve"…
which I guess more than qualifies Josh to be talking to us at Circus. his theme was 'the Fringes of the Internet', and the way the internet is affecting people and businesses.
he described how shortly after starting his blog he was approached by businesses who wanted to put ads on his site, this turned out to be a fine way to made money, and led to a conversation with advertisers about how effective the ads on his site were. very effective it turns out … they were seeing click-through rates of 2%…
two percent? asked Josh. yes, they replied. that's a 98% failure rate, said Josh. yes they replied, impressive isn't it!
Josh guessed then that the internet would have a major impact on businesses, and co-founded Undercurrent, a digital strategy firm that applies "a digital worldview to the challenges and ambitions of complex organizations"
"It's about the human behaviour we're going to talk about not the specific websites"
4chan is bad place on Internet but it's also important. it's anonymous. people respond to photos with photos. [it's a bit like the Abyssal plain of the internet; a deep, unexplored region rich in biodiversity that influences the rest of the ocean in ways that we're only just understanding] … it's where 'I can haz cheezburger?' began … the LOL-CAT meme. a meme which now results in tens of thousands of cats created every day. like this one:
Rick Rolling began on 4chan. in fact "anything funny that's unexplainable starts on 4chan". to the extent that a Time Magazine poll ranked Moot (4chan's creator) as the web's most influential person. only later was it noticed that the first letters of the ranked online poll spelt out a phrase. an incredibly sophisticated and advanced work of electoral engineering / hacking.
Time Magazine's 2009 online poll results. the first letters of the top 21 names spell out "marblecake also the game". marblecake is the name of the IRC channel where Anonymous started their campaign against Scientology, and "the game" is a reference to "The Game" meme source: Wikipedia
the rabbit-hole, it would seem, goes very deep indeed. "4chan is 'the bottom billion' pageviews on the Internet". Spear points out that two things consistently happen to Moot (who is called Charles) (1) he is forced to dump 4chan's data every 12 hours due to hard drive space and (2) every week he is served a subpoena for the information he holds (before it's dumped).
[this is all pretty mind-boggling I'd have thought for the average brand marketing manager, and you can see how they would be queuing up for the elvish Spear to safely have them gaze down the rabbit hole without falling down.] things used to be simple. then there was digital. which disrupted. everything. this is such a familiar phrase that it's beyond cliche, but Spear asks a very interesting question:
"is there a unit of disruption?' … and how do you stay on top of the disruption? which happens all around you all of the time and increasingly finds ways to impact on your sensory sphere. much as this blog discussed in a January 2010 post, Spear describes Tweetdeck as one way to control the disruption. he has "become an air traffic controller of my disruption"
we are our social graph. we're made up of our disruptions [connections], a point made wonderfully and elegantly with this map of the world, a map formed by nothing but the connections on Facebook.
What happens to a generation of people growing up in the world as drawn by this map and 4chan? a world populated by cat memes and Rick Rolling? a world in which gifts are given virtually. Spear pointed out that thousands of dollars are spent on things that don't exist. virtual economies are springing up everywhere. Farmville makes $50m a month. when Bear Stearns collapsed, a friend of his at Facebook didn't contemplate the collapse of the further banks but rather was promted to think that Facebook should start a bank.
Virtual economies are being used by brands – for example the number of tweets Uniqlo products received affected their price – a fascinating dance between buzz and value.
Radiohead invited people to pay what they thought their album was worth, an invitation that made more money than all other record sales combined. People's idea of money is changing.
the same goes for people's idea of location… take Foursquare, which introduced game mechanics in the form of mayors and badges. Foursquare also allowed tips to by left inside the check-ins, inside the game. tips linked to location so that they're readily available to those who enter the space. Foursquare allows reviewing in realtime on a geographical basis… Spears asked why people share all this information, and showed a slide outlining three reasons why we share adapted from MIT research and Henry Jenkins:
Strengthen my bond – you are what you share in your social graph
Define collective identity – you are based on the five people you spend most time with
Give me status
Viral = a bad thing, something you catch
Spears notes that 'pass-along' is made not of viral, it's made of people sharing something with more than one of their friends, and so on. reaching people is about tapping into cultural resonance. to test this, Spear's office put an image of a funny(ish) joke about Tiger Woods on the web. the pic got 30,000 views in first 48 hours, created a 'microblip' of cultural resonance … a map of interest, which could then be observed. so how, in Spear's opinion do you create cultural resonance?
group of people + unique culture = amplify to affect society
it's about tapping into a shared interest online because you can't rely on time and space, as shared interests are a way of creating cultural resonance. connect your brand to this. or don't. these interests are being shared whether brands get involved or not.
but be careful brands – angels fear to tread where P Diddy TV trod with Burger King. the video has long been removed, but fortunately for us Lisa Nova's spoof lives to remind us how it want down (nb Nova is now working in TV comedy – she got noticed because she understood the rules of the internet)
in Spear's opinion the fringe of the internet has a novelty scale:
the fringe's novelty scale, as presented by Spears
Spears says that agencies who want to use things like crowd sourcing or 'the fringe' to do their work need to either be the lowest cost option, or the best. if you're neither, you're stuck in the middle, and the middle is not a great place to be.
Spears asks what is the Internet good for? advertisers and agencies may answer that it's good for awareness [incremental] and persuasion. but Spear observes that this is not what the Internet is meant for. the internet is meant for sharing, cooperating and collective action. the latter of which is, in Spear's words, "the holy Grail of humans using technology"… at the fringe are the beginnings of these kinds of great examples…
the Copenhagen wheel collects data from your bike. one person doesn't generate enough data to paint a picture of a city, but eveyone's data does … and allows the aggregation and interrogation of usable data to generate insight and utility.
Ushahidi encouraged free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, and in the aftermath of Haiti and Christchurch interactive maps directed resources in realtime to where help was most needed. the US state dept now relies on this kind of information to coordinate relief efforts. crowd sourcing is used to collect and sort data. organisations no longer ask for money but for a little bit of time and effort. Alive in Egypt transcribes voice messages into tweets, allowing people to deploy messages and information even when access to the internet is being blocked.
So what has 4chan guy got to do with the fringe?! well what if all the people sending cats around every day gathered intelligence instead? they already have, it's called WikiLeaks, and "we can't yet imagine how this will affect the world"
Some challenges for brands:
how do you change from interrupting people into adding utility for people?
How can brand engage with born digital consumers in their language?
If you take a brand into the universe of the internet, ask yourself if you are following the rules of that universe?
Are you surrounding yourself with enough people that speak digital?
the contents of this post [unless in square parenthesis] is the content of a talk given by @JoshSpear at Sydney's Circus in February of 2011, thanks to Josh for his input in writing this post