Thinking Different, Again

March 6, 2014

A while back, I wrote about the high school football coach who never punts, who always goes for it on fourth down and who always onside-kicks. He had looked at the game in a different way and was exploiting inefficiencies and insights. This is a similar story of the Houston Rockets’s D-league (developmental) team which has all but eliminated the mid-range jump shot. They only shoot 3’s or go for close-to-the-hoop shots. They’ve recognised that all shots in basketball have a value but that that value is not recognised on the score board. As one of the players says “shooting 33 per cent of 3s is the equivalent of shooting 50 per cent of 2s”.

Hopefully we’ll see more of this sort of different thinking in all sports, particularly if the “b-team” concept takes off in the UK and Premier League teams (like Liverpool) can experiment with different concepts, players, formations and tactics before trying them on the  big stage.


Transparency as an Advertising Trend

June 26, 2013

I read Amir Kassaei’s tweet:

(he’s our global chief creative officer at DDB) and then saw this cartoon from Tom Fishbourne:

He writes:

Authenticity and transparency are two of the biggest marketing buzzwords right now (and have been gaining steam for a while). Nearly every case study and talk coming out of Cannes last week seemed to reference authenticity as a theme.

Transparency and authenticity are likely a theme because as an industry we’re starting to realise three things:

  • To be good conversationalists, you have to be a good listener – for brands, this means listening to people and giving them what they want
  • Consumers may not want a “conversation” but they probably want, on some level, reassurance that what a brand is doing and saying comes from a good place (it usually does)
  • Our clients are some of the most passionate people about their brands out there. Sometimes our job is to give them a platform, some training and direction before getting out of the way.

As I’ve said before, although in the context of media units, what’s new is usually effective vs its predecessors until everyone else catches up. Perhaps the same could be said of trends – the effectiveness starts the trend and once its a full-blown trend, it becomes the norm. Which, in this case, is a very good thing. Transparency. Authenticity. Good people doing good things for good reasons.

Radar DDB 10am One Thing: Social Money

March 21, 2013

The following is this week’s Radar DDB 10am One Thing that I wrote for the DDBlog.

Payment - By Steve Snodgrass

TV, newspapers, human resources, taxis and hotel rooms. So many industries have been and continue to be disrupted by the internet and social media. The latest is the very act of making a payment. American Express has already integrated its offers with Foursquare (check-in to redeem), with Facebook (sync, like, save) and with Twitter (sync, tweet, save) but now other start-ups believe they have the secret sauce to revolutionise the payment industry.

The recently launched Cover app is self-styled as the “Uber of restaurants” – your credit card is kept on file and charged after every meal, tip included. No awkward moments of waiting for the cheque, no more using your phone to work out how much to tip. Just book, eat and leave.

Online and on the social web, Chirpify connects your credit card to your social activity – users simply need to comment or reply “buy” to content in order to purchase that item. The “social commerce and payments platform” promises no linking to other experiences, no shopping carts, no complicated checkout process. Just an instant sale.

On a personal level, flattr allows users to “tip” content creators by sharing a set monthly donation across all the pieces of content they have liked. The service has been around for a few years, but has recently expanded from a simple button included on blog posts to integration with some of social media’s hottest sites like Soundcloud and Instagram.

Social money is a new way of thinking about paying for things on and offline. It takes an existing process and reimagines it, redesigns it, disrupts it by using the power of digital and the social connections digital can forge. Do you think this digital disruption will stop at money? We think it has a long way to go.

Cover, covered by Wired:

The One Thing is a result of the daily 10am meetings held in the DDB Canada offices, where our digital teams meet to discuss new online trends, tools and technologies. Today’s One Thing was written by Ed Lee, Tribal DDB Director, Social Media.

For an archive of the 10am links, visit our Pinterest board.

Follow Radar on Twitter

Photo: Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

Wisdom of Terry Crews

August 29, 2012

As part of the launch of a new, interactive Old Spice video, Terry Crews was wooing the people of Reddit through an “AMA” (ask me anything). Despite being the pitchman for Old Spice and having a movie in theatres he did not try to promote either, unless he was asked about it. This unselfish approach won over Reddit and led to a new meme – nice guy Terry Crews (in the vein of “nice guy greg”).

All this aside, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the AMA and wanted to share some of the best pieces of wisdom from Terry Crews.

On the worst job he had:

I was in college and my job was pounding in signs around campus. My boss was lazy and i did all the work. Then HE called ME lazy. I got mad and quit. You know what I learned? I never should have quit. I should have pounded more signs. I should have been the best sign pounder in the world. But I let one guys wrong opinion of me fake me out of my money. And I needed it. I almost starve. Pride is an ugly thing that must be killed at the very sight of it.

On being a celebrity:

I remember shaking every hand and taking every picture, then seeing my wife and kids sad because I was out with them, but spent no time with them. I had to set boundaries. I love being famous and all the fans, but my wife and kids need Terry the husband, Terry the Dad. Terry the Star has no place at home.

On auditioning:

I LOVE too audition. because if they hire you, it means they wanted you. Everybody wants to be wanted.

On turning a perceived weakness into a strength:

What others think is a hindrance to Hollywood has ALWAYS become someone’s calling card. Barbara Streisand nose, Sly’s Slur, Arnold’s accent — it’s all about how you see yourself. I know there is only one ME. If you hire me- you GET ME. And there’s only one. There will never be another

On steroids and acceptance:

Never used them. I empathize with those who want to be strong but there are no shortcuts. People take steroids because they BELIEVE they have no other way. Steroids are about comparing yourself to other people– but if you just become the best YOU, you’ll find you never needed them.

Finally, that new video from Old Spice and W+K:

Thanks to Parker for the run down.

Kieffer Sutherland Cupcake Ad

August 22, 2012

I’m not sure if Jack Bauer Kieffer Sutherland was allowed to do this outside of his contract with the Counter Terrorism Unit, CTU Fox.

Its a really fun film that reminds me of a better time. When 24 rocked my PVR.

Update – seems as if Acer is pulling down the creative…I’ll update when I can find a stable link.

Buffer App – First Takes

September 28, 2011

My tweeting “style” is best compared to an ice hockey player. I go hard at it for short bursts and then go long stretches with minimal activity. After reading this Edelman Digital piece on Buffer App, I thought I’d give it a try – Buffer App stores your Tweets and then publishes at the optimum times for “engagement”.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to my Twitter stats (number of replies, favourites, retweets and followers) in as much as I look at them from time to time, but I don’t track them.

So when it comes to validate the stats provided by Buffer App to Michael Brito, I can’t confirm or deny.

  • Buffer users increased clicks on links they posted by 200% within 2 weeks of using
  • The amount of retweets doubles on average
  • Buffer users increase their follower count by 104 followers within 3 weeks on average

I have noticed an upward trend, as told by my gut, that it feels like I’m getting more official retweets and more @ replies, although that could be because I get replies from tweets I’ve buffered and forgotten.

One thing I like a lot is the reporting which looks a lot like the by-tweet reporting from the Promoted Products beta.

Buffer App reporting

I’ve noticed that Buffer App is scheduling tweets at the same times each day so if Buffer App is optimizing tweets from all its users based on their secret sauce, then it is an excellent service. Either way, I’m going to keep using it – it works for me in that I can store tweets and it seems to work for my followers who don’t get bombarded by umpteen Twitter messages all in a row. Check it out yourself.

Source: Buffer App Increases Engagement on Twitter | Edelman Digital.

The Champions League of Social Media

June 2, 2011

I love social media and I love football. Why wouldn’t I post this?

It’s interesting to see the utter dominance of the US within social media – the Super Bowl received almost 4x more tweets than the Champions League.

From We Are Social, a specialist agency in the UK.

Blogging Me Blogging You in 2011 – Change and Balance

January 3, 2011

2010 was an exhausting year. A second job change in two years. Gruelling agency workload. Plenty of family commitments. But challenging and rewarding all at the same time.

Over the last few years I’ve seen my approach to blogging change. Initially, way back in 2006 when I started Blogging Me Blogging You, this blog was a sandbox – somewhere for me to try out all the stuff I couldn’t persuade my superiors to sell to our clients. But it was technical – how do you set up a blog, customise it with basic features, add a feedburner feed, moderate comments. Etc etc. I’ve managed to move to a new domain ( but am still using the hosted software – as Parker says, I still have the training wheels on.

As more of you started reading it, it became a place I tried out thoughts on the industry, the space we’re in and where we may be going. Then I got busy at work and I wasn’t able to spend as much time thinking and writing as I would have liked – so the blog changed again. I still try to find time to think about stuff and to articulate it in a blog post but more and more this is where I find cool stuff and post it with a few comments. The most popular posts this year have been the opinion pieces but these days my professional opinion manifests itself in client presentations and strategy decks before making an appearance here. I’m not sure who that benefits more – clients or readers!

The blog is changing and I’ve changed as a consultant as well. My attitude to social media has become less wide-eyed and naïve over the last few years – although I am still a great believer in the medium – and rather than thinking all my clients should “join the conversation”, I’ve been more inclined to think about what the conversation can do for my clients. Rather than advocate total transparency, I talk about the need for selective transparency. Rather than jump in feet first, I now have a better understanding of how and why to take things slow and some (not all) of the internal gates my clients need to pass through for a successful programme with full internal alignment – see my presentation to the AMA Toronto chapter on gaining alignment for more on this. Although as with all things, there is a need for balance – a time to surf and a time to wax your board. Knowing when to push and when to step back is an important part of being an advocate in a relatively unknown and unproven discipline.

I feel much more comfortable with this balanced middle ground – as opposed to holding a fiercely revolutionary view point – and I hope my clients (internal and external) do so too. A balanced, media agnostic viewpoint is certainly what I believe this spaces needs.

From a personal standpoint I’ve also started to let go of certain things. One of the main reasons I joined Radar DDB this year was that the ad agency model allows for focused job roles. There are account folk to manage the accounts, strategic planners to plan the strategy, creatives to create the creative and producers to oversee production. The PR model is very much all about generalism (from what I’ve seen) where the person managing your account is also developing strategy AND creative while overseeing production and execution. My new role is more focused and, while I can still bring the jack-of-all-trades approach to some of our projects, I feel comfortable being part of a larger team.

The last two years, at both com.motion and now Radar DDB, have taught me that I am good in start-up mode. Taking a nascent social practice and growing it quickly. Hopefully 2011 will teach me I am good at the sustain part of the job too. It certainly feels like it is the more important part – the first year you can run on adrenaline; the second you have to consolidate and sustain.

I’m still struggling on how to delegate efficiently, especially to a highly talented team, and on how to achieve more balance in my life – there has to be a happy medium between serving the three masters of my career, my family and me. Mitch may disagree though! I definitely feel of the three masters, “me” has come of worse in 2010 and I hope 2011 can bring me more time on the football field and at industry events like Third Tuesday, which I co-founded, and Thirsty Thursday.

So here’s to a great 2010 and a 2011 full of new challenges, of new opportunity but most of all, of balance.

Three Essential Facebook Stats and Hacks for Social Media Communicators

November 25, 2010

Social media gurus and experts turn up their noses at Facebook as the center of your digital strategy but I am a huge believer. Not only does it offer great advertising targeting data and massive audience scale but it recently overtook Google as the number one referrer of traffic to news sites. And no one got fired for putting Google on the search engine marketing plan!

First up, great Facebook stats from the beyond agency, via Tim Dyson. Below as a PDF:

…and in one of those jam-packed-with-stats videos:

Finally, here are three lesser known hacks which I find almost indispensable these days. Enjoy!

Spotting Me Spotting You

October 25, 2010

I’ll be at a couple of interesting events this Thursday October 27:

In the morning I’m talking about overcoming barriers to the adoption of social media for financial institutions for the American Marketing Association’s Toronto chapter, courtesy Jacky Hoodregister here. I’m trying out a new (for me) presentation deck style so I’m excited to see how it goes down with the audience. Of course I’ll be sharing the deck here and on my SlideShare.

In the evening I’ll be at the DDB Canada sponsored AdLounge event, Conversuasions as the emcee presenting intimate fireside chats from some great leaders in the marketing space. The storytellers are my former boss’s boss, Mia Wedgbury, Tribal DDB Chicago Group Creative Director,  Jim Marcus and WestJet’s social media guy, Greg Hounslow who has a great title to his chat – from Polar bears to social media! You can register here.

Apologies for the slightly self-serving post but I’m excited to be at these events, let alone be participating.


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