Saturday, November 28, 2009

#NEoN 09

Thanks to Scottish Enterprise and Abertay University who invited me to do a talk at the NEoN Digital Arts Festival in Dundee the other week.

As one of the world centres for video game design and development, Dundee is home to Realtimeworlds, of Grand Theft Auto, Lemmings and more recently, the double-BAFTA winning, multi-million seller Crackdown (and soon to be released APB, subject of much excited babble at NEoN).

Also Denki, creators of much of the game content on Sky interactive and DirecTV in the US and the much anticipated Quarrel for Xbox which will debut in 2010.

Among the many other speakers i caught the session with legendary Pixar animator Bud Luckey (who was in the same hotel as me). While Bud is best known for his work on the likes of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, the Incredibles etc he cut his teeth in the ad business with the likes of Tony the Tiger and also early Sesame street (his viruoso banjo skizzles in full effect).

I also heard Mark Daniels of New Media Scotland give some exposure to the many interactive arts projects thriving in Scotland, including the BAFTA winning Cybraphon (from Edinburgh-based artist collective FOUND) an interactive mechanical 'band in a box'. The Cybraphon’s performance is affected by online sentiment as it trawls the web for reviews and comments about itself.

Previous memories of Dundee principally involved being ambushed en route to the railway station by the Hilltoon huns from Dens Park and Tannadice following 'New firm' clashes in the late 80's, but Dundee is an altogether more cultured city these days.

Where else could have a statue of Desperate Dan on the main street?
Looking forward to my next visit.

Monday, November 16, 2009

slow week for news

They just don't get it.

Consumers 'don't trust' social network sites: 'According to exclusive research for Marketing magazine by Lightspeed Research, only 33% of consumers trust social networking sites to provide the detailed independent information they need to make purchasing decisions, with 23% not trusting them.
That compares to 68% who trust other online sources of information such as search, product review and price comparison sites (with only 5% not trusting).'

It must have been a slow week for news over at Marketing magazine for this to be the headline story.
Have you read a more vacuous, ignorant and just plain stupid statement this year?
Who goes to a social networking site looking for 'detailed independent product information'? That's not what they are for. And what are 'other online sources'?
Who writes product reviews? Usually other people.
Do you trust search? Or what you find?

This is minor bullshit but it's the kind of thing that a few clients/sceptics/curmudgeons/sheepwalkers read that then sets us back months as they scurry back to the familiar and mediocre, digital comb-overs still just about intact.

artvinyl 2009

A wise man once said 'You cannot skin-up on an mp3'. This is very true, for that purpose you need a 12" cardboard record sleeve. Some these sleeves also come as rather tasty bits of graphic design.

Every year select 50 of the outstanding examples of sleeve design and ask us to pick a winner. 2009 voting is open now at the artvinyl site.

Of the 50 excellent pieces, my money is on the sleeve for Jarvis Cocker's Rough Trade album 'Further complications', designed by Jarvis himself with long-time Pulp collaborator, and Designers Republic founder Ian Anderson.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

this is pop #35

Turns out there is a scientific reason why fizzy pop tastes better out of a glass bottle.
This, and many more secrets of the soda trade revealed by John Nese of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA - the ultimate soda-lovers destination with over 500 niche soda pop brands on the shelves.

This guy knows what he is doing and why he is doing it.

finders fee to Dodds.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

inane drivel

You'll, no doubt, be pleased - as indeed I was - to know that National Car Parks have got Christmas 'all wrapped up'.

Yes,'tis the season for inane drivel.

Brands with nothing to say, suddenly feel the need to add to the noise with pointless non-communications, usually incorporating some kind of 'amusing' festive language.

'Yule' be sure to see plenty more 'tree-mendous' 'crackers' like this in the coming weeks...[take one of your tablets, now - Ed]

Friday, November 06, 2009

remembering to be mindful

In this advertising/marketing business we tend to not spend enough time thinking about the stuff that really matters, the human being stuff, creating value and meaning, but a lot of time thinking about the abstract stuff: strategy, data, ROI etc.
Focussing on outcomes and getting stuff done rather than processes and asking 'why?'.

That's what I get out of Hugh's cartoon.
It's kinda about 'mindfulness'. Being present. Not being distracted.
Mindfulness itself isn't difficult. What's difficult is remembering to be mindful.

top of the world

No reason for posting this other than it's ridiculously happy.
The mighty Shonen Knife do the Carpenters.
Not sure why there are English subtitles though...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

one of these things is not like the other things.

How can we, as consumers, with limited attention and infinite choices choose a product from a overcrowded, commoditised market of same old sameness?

Disruption lesson over, thanks cookie monster and happy birthday Sesame Street.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

fake it to make it

There's a great piece of advice I heard around how to climb Mount Everest.

Start at the bottom and keep climbing until you reach the top.

The theory is easy, the practice is somewhat more difficult.

How should brands meaningfully participate in social networks and social media?
Look for situations where you can create value, and be relevant then start doing something.

The theory is easy, the practice is somewhat more difficult.

There's a series of TED from last year featuring talks about urgent need for a new focus on compassion. That series was the forerunner to the launch of the Charter For Compassion which launches later this month.

Among the initial talks that precede the Charter was one from Swami Dayananda Saraswati

He asks 'How do we, as a world, start to demonstrate real compassion, practically, politically, socially and economically'.

The answer is simple. How do you learn to swim? By swimming.
How do you learn to ride a bike? By riding.

But his killer nugget comes right at the end.

You have to fake it to make it.

To be compassionate you have to start acting compassionate. Even if it feels forced at the beginning. It then becomes a natural behaviour over time.

This is sometimes known as a positive feedback loop.

So back to brands in social networks and social media?
Look for situations where you can create value, and be relevant then start doing something.

Fake it to make it. Start doing it, act as though you want to create value, act as though you are being authentic and relevant. Act as though customer is a priority and over time the interdependent benefits are apparent and it becomes real.

The theory is easy, the practice is somewhat more difficult.