adserving, debating, futuregazing, predicting, programmatic buying

Reunification isn’t going to happen so get over it: Why media is already planning for a future that’s here already. and why that’s awesome.

last week Adnews posted the above video from earlier this year in which the CEO of Cummins & Partners Sean Cummins lambasted the egos of agencies as the only thing stopping the grand reunification of media and advertising agencies under one roof. Cummins was rebuffed by both Henry Tajer “There is no going back, there is no return, there is nothing but forward” and Rob Morgan “With all the money media agencies need to spend on planning and buying, no ad agency has the cash or the clients to justify doing the same”.

the return to full-service debate is not only unfounded (there is no going back, silly) but misses the broader point that both Tajer and Morgan make (whilst still managing to disagree) … that, if anything, we’re set to see further diversification rather than consolidation of media agency offerings.

to get an idea of just how far media has moved on – take a look at this little puppy, and make a mental note of when you need to start really concentrating to track exactly what is going on.

OK so anyone with a bit of media know-how can stay on the tracks, but remember this is the Sesame Street version of what’s happening. this is programmatic buying for dummies, simplified so that even a strategist can understand it. just about. programmatic now exists at one extreme end of the spectrum across which media agencies operate – and I don’t think its what Cummins has in mind when he’s making his bid for reunification.

this spectrum across which agencies operate is reflected, I increasingly believe, in a bifurcation that now exists in how people consumer media. conventional wisdom is that media consumption is now a fragmented, disparate and diverse set of behaviours and attitudes that necessitates the need for a host of segmentation and profiling to understand the media footprint for a specific target group.

but I’m increasingly wondering if it isn’t a whole lot more simple … that people sit at one or other end of a spectrum of media consumption – and therefore planning. or, as the rather awesome William Gibson put it: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. the future is here, and it’s distributed exclusively at the programmatic end of the media spectrum.

… the end of the spectrum at which people have now moved so post-broadcast that the very idea of appointment to view is something they associate with house rather than TV viewing. these are the platform-agnostics. the content-demanders. the subscription viewers, like the 325k who watched last nights GOT S4 finale (thanks for the heads up MCM). they are the digital natives who have only ever accessed the internet through apps (not browsers). they are the rampant social mediarites and twitterati, an army of instgrammers who get news from buzzfeed and buzz from newsfeeds.

it’s for these people that content, social and a host of other offerings including – yes – programmatic buying capabilities have been developed and deployed by media agencies. capabilities that will see further diversification not reunification into their ad agency houses of old. for these people the future is already here and they and their smart phones and TVs are reveling in it. do they expect more or brands? no. do brands need to radically adjust their comms strategies to market to them? yes … and that adjustment has barely started.

… we’ll get a glimpse of just how far we yet have to go in a little over three hours when PHD’s Mark Holden introduces Jason Silva to the Cannes stage. the session is designed as a complete paradigm reboot of the mind-set through which we see the (media) world. changes that, in Mark and Jason’s words, will open up boundless possibilities.

so let’s put aside our reunification talk. we’re well past that point of return. we all of us – media and ad agencies alike – are on the same trip to those endless possibilities … the perspectives are different but that’s only to be expected: after all, the future is here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.

you can watch Jason’s Cannes presentation live as it happens right here … enjoy the trip.

featured image – Jason Silva and his ‘come to future’ eyes, via flavorwire.com

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branding, cinema, connecting, futuregazing, internet, IPA|ED:one, opinionating, thinking

An opportunity not to be missed: what Tiffany Shlain’s ‘Connected’ means for brands as the internet transforms us and our world

so last night, thanks to Disco Davo (thanks Disco), I was lucky enough to be amongst a cinema of people gathered to watch an Aussie-first and unique screening of a movie called Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology.

organised through social media club sydney in conjunction with AMP's AmplifyFestival, Tiffany Shlain's (@tiffanyshlain) film is a narrative on how the internet is fundamentally changing us, interspersed with a personal account of a year in her life.  the result is a fascinating polemic on the nature of our interconnectedness as a species.

much was well-trodden territory for this blog … but there were two aspects I hadn't heard before that I found particularly interesting.  I hope that Shlain won't object to me sharing here…

one, Shlain described how in her father's book 'The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image' he made the connection between how the invention of the written / printed word had coincided with the rise of men in social, political and commercial circles.  he argued that this was because the written word is processed by the left side of the brain, which is more male.

last century's 'iconic revolution' (Shlain's term) – which saw imagery and images became a more predominant form of communication – coincided with increased predominance of females in society.  images are processed by the right side of the brain which is … more female.

the interesting conclusion is that the internet, with it's heady mix of words and images, is processed more of less equally by both sides of the brain, and is therefore a mass-communication channel that isn't biased towards one gender or the other…

the other aspect I found fascinating is how the brain and our body chemistry is predisposed to both connectedness and the pleasure hit we get from the stream of information on the internet.  when we connect, we release oxytocin – which evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security.  Wikipedia notes that 'many studies have already shown a correlation of oxytocin with human bonding, increases in trust, and decreases in fear' … so the more we connect, the less anxious we are, and the internet allows us to feel more connected than ever before…

dopamine is released when we experience something pleasurable, and encourages us to keep performing the action ad-infinitum (as there's no diminishing return from dopamine).  Shlain's interesting observation is that – as dopamine is released when we get a 'hit' of new information … we are becoming addicted to the internet (or more specifically the infinite content that it gives us access to)

if you get a chance to catch the movie I urge you to do so … it's a fascinating and beautiful experience.  and it left me thinking about the role of brands and advertising in Shlain's interconnected and interdependent world.  from one perspective advertising and media fuelled the worst of the excessive consumption society that is now placing sustained pressure on our environment…

…but on the other I can't help but think that Shlain's hypothesis presents us with a clear opportunity, an opportunity defined by a simple question that I can't shake.  in an inter-dependent world where billions of people increasingly connect, communicate and coordinate as communities, why do we continue to so readily seek to engage with individuals?

in an inter-dependent world, the only thing that matters is shared agendas and communities of interest.  and more specifically, what matters most is an opportunity for brands to fuel – rather than interrupt – their interconnectedness and interdependence.

its utility, but its more than that … its potentially brands becoming a key and fundamental part of a dopamine and oxytocin-fuelled revolution in how we live on earth…  it's tantalising enough to warrant asking what you would want of the brands with which you work?  …  for them to be part of humanity's next giant leap, or reconciled to history as part of the iconic revolution that for a while so influenced our culture and behaviour?

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futuregazing, imagining, planning, predicting, researching

Planning for the Future, Today: Courtesy of Michell Zappa and his Technological Mapness

Michell_zappa_future_map

created by Michell Zappa, and sent to me by the awesome Mimi-ness of things, this speculative but intriguing visualisation of how technological developments could pan out presents an interesting question and exercise for brands and connections planning.  how would you connect to people, given technological developments over the next year?  what about in four years time?

perhaps a lot more social media, a bit less print?  perhaps you'll have more sophisticated CRM management and real-time insight capture via social networks.  so largely the same, but different.

the future may be more different than you currently imagine.  Zappa's map suggests that within the next four years the following will be mainstream.  not industry buzzed, geek adopted, first mover technologies.  mainstream…

Social Graph, Tabs & Pads, and Multitouch.  so far so Zuckerberg and Jobs.  but what if you go a little further..?  3D printing, Linked data, Gesture and Speech Recognition, and Electronic Paper.  within four years.  this kind of technology – if adopted by the mainstream – would transform the retail environment.  it would radically alter the opportunities we have to engage and interact with the conversations brands offer us.

it suggests a useful exercise.  create a brand platform (I originally typed 'plan a brand campaign' but let's not go there right now) in 2015.  imagine these technologies being on every high-street and in every home.  how would it change what you create?  what would be possible?  what would you imagine for a world that could 3D print your product in their home?  or interact with your communications by talking or gesturing to them?

then translate your ideas to right now…  what could – at a stretch – be done in the next three months?  what you do next is easy.  you go do it.

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