Life imitating art

May 6, 2014

Well, politics imitating art.

Kevin Spacey did it first

Julia Louis-Dreyfus did it again

Will Kerry Washington do it next year?

Dissecting the News

September 8, 2013

The BBC makes a parody of the way the BBC produces typically BBC-type news segments.

via a very leading Quora post – why is the BBC so popular despite poor standards.

Radar 10am One Thing: Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart Lecture

September 3, 2013

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

This week, renowned actor Kevin Spacey gave a keynote presentation at the Edinburgh International Television Festival. The highlights of the talk were three key truths for the media and advertising industries.

First, that data can guide creativity. When buying House of Cards, Netflix ran the data to show that its subscribers would watch political dramas, would watch a cerebral actor like Kevin Spacey and a challenging director like David Fincher. The data didn’t drive the creative, but it did help validate it.

Second, that consumers will flock to great content. Netflix releasing House of Cards, and subsequent series, in one go, 13 episodes at once, has changed the “appointment viewing” experience – no mean feat considering the potential spoilers available on Facebook and Twitter. Viewers binged hard on these addictive shows, dedicating days at a time to  ”crush” entire seasons. Perhaps our consumer has more of an attention span that we have given them credit for.

Finally, Spacey talked about how devices and content have been truly separated. Content and stories will be viewed on whatever device they want to…but that stories are key. Advertisers and advertising agencies must create great stories that demand the consumer’s attention, wherever that attention is directed.

Image credit: The Guardian.

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. 

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

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Maybe there is a future for newspapers after all

December 23, 2012

Or, like one of the first comments says, maybe you could have given these execs an ipad with a wireless connection.

by Duval Guillaume, the agency that has become “the reigning king of online viral epics” via Business Insider

Planning in the Digital Age. Keep It Simple

February 9, 2011

Great graphic from the Planning Lab:

Media Planning from the Planning Lab: Keep it Simple

Click to enlarge

Based on this, I’m excited to update my slides on the four types of media with this new overlay of how they could and should work together.

The copyright issue

January 25, 2010

From the UK, Sally Whittle has this cautionary tale of an Irish air traffic controller blogger who had a post lifted (almost wholesale), it’s words taken out of context and reprinted as an expose on her industry.

This blog was supposed to be an account of my life, what I do, and how I got here. Today it has been transformed into a weapon to be used by an unscrupulous, nasty person against some of the people I care most about.

Pretty damming stuff but based on the TSA incident a few months back, I do wonder if there are two sides to the story and I’d be interested to hear the journalist’s point of view on why this happened.

Apart from the human element, I can see a couple of major learnings from this:

1. Ensure you have copyright over everything you write and post online. From Sally’s post:

One of the things I tend to do with any blog I write per myself or a client is pop a copyright statement on the site.

Good idea – this blog also has a disclaimer which means any comments to the blog are forever licensed to me:

By posting a comment to this blog, you are granting its author (me) full and irrevocable license to your comment and acknowledge that the authors do not have a duty to modify or withdraw posts, but that we may do so if we choose, for any reason.

2. More prescient for our industry as a whole is just how time-strapped journalists are and how desperate they are for good, compelling content. If a journalist at a (relatively) prominent national newspaper is prepared to do this, what else is going on that isn’t being reported? Journalists are under huge pressures and many don’t know exactly how to deal with a new world which requires them to write their features, do daily blog entries, record multimedia, interact with readers and maintain the same standard of quality throughout.

As I have been saying for years, the future of marketing is content. If you are marketing, one of your KPIs should be how your content is shared. If you are in PR, you should be considering how easy it is for the media (and I would include bloggers in this) to share and repurpose/reprint your content – with recognition of the source and ideally in the proper context.

I can’t begin to think how Melanie feels after something of this magnitude.

Make it easy to connect with your stakeholders

November 27, 2009

Great quote from Mathew Ingram on why organizations should be experimenting with social media:

The principle is simple: Instead of requiring people to come to us, reach them with our content where they are and connect to that to our site.

This is exactly what we do at com.motion. We use the existing technologies to connect our clients with their stakeholders. We go to them; we do not expect them to come to us.

Clients are spending a lot of money on content or on creating online assets – why make it hard for the end user to find it?

The Globe and Facebook.

Would you ban the Internet?

June 27, 2007

A couple of months ago, the IABC asked me to expand this article, Irony is a Social Network, into a longer piece. It lives behind the paywall on the IABC site, but here it is, for your reading pleasure.

If you could have instant access to the very customers, stakeholders and influencer that you, as a communicator, hope to influence, wouldn’t you want to listen to them? Interact with them? Read what they read, watch what they watch and gain an unprecedented insight into their likes, dislikes, hopes and fears?

Communicators have always wanted to get inside the heads of their audience; to find out how their constituents want to get their information and what messaging or positioning works best. And now they can.

Ethnographic Research

With the advent of social networks such as MySpace, Friendster and Facebook, communicators now have access to a focus group of some 25 million where they can perform deep, meaningful ethnographic research into their target audience.

Used in the correct way, social networks can tell you who the next great band will be, which politicians will win the next election and which brands are gaining or losing momentum. The same networks will also reveal insight into your employer or client’s brand and, more importantly, what that brand means to the people who use it.

On the Black List

However, more and more organizations, including the Ontario Provincial Government, are lumping social networking Web sites together with serial time wasters, productivity drainers and offensive material like YouTube, online gambling sites and pornography.

I agree that sites such as Facebook (my poison of choice) can be addictive, time consuming and a complete distraction from more important matters such as, well, work. But the lines between “work” and “play” are blurring. I can’t ignore the possible groundswell of opinion against my client or my employer within these burgeoning communities – anyone who’s read the Kryptonite bicycle lock case study will know that the company’s value tanked after one post on one forum mushroomed into a full scale assault on a key product.

Simply put, there are many, much worse, timewasters at work – the water cooler, the cigarette break, the long lunch, the conference calls, meetings, those interminable emails, that much beloved and possibly patented “desk perch” that your boss loves to do and something called the Internet.

Just because something could waste time, doesn’t mean it will. Just because you can black list a site doesn’t mean you should.

Irony of I.T.

If, as Marshall McLuhan is so fond of saying, The Medium is indeed The Message, then what message does banning such an important form of communication send to constituents? Does it communicate openness, accessibility and collaboration? Or does it give the impression of an organization out of touch with its audience and out of touch with the very people who provide its mandate to operate? More importantly, which of those messages would you have your organization put out?

As far as government is concerned, there is a perverse irony of politicians using Facebook to cultivate, aggregate and motivate their own supporters while the people who are supposed to be executing policy are cut off from the very people who are supposed to benefit from it.

As communicators, we should be acutely aware of what our constituents are saying and where they’re saying it. The best messaging in the world will be rendered useless if it’s directed to the wrong place. We need to be going where our audience is. We need to adapt to our audience’s changing media habits – what worked five years, or even five weeks, ago won’t necessarily work tomorrow.

Ignorance is No Excuse

If you’re new to social networks, and are feeling a little overwhelmed with the possibilities, here’s a quick primer of how they may change your day-to-day job.

1. More monitoring and reporting. Now you know they’re there, you can’t ignore them. Sign up to the network du jour and periodically perform vanity searches for your employer or your clients. I guarantee you’ll be surprised what you find. Did you know there are more than 500 Facebook “groups” dedicated to “Nike” and “iPod”. How many people are interacting with your brand?

2. More influencers. As with any community, there are people who lead the community’s direction. Luckily for you, these people are self identifying in a searchable and trackable manner. They’re only a few keystrokes away so why not find them and introduce yourself?

3. Your own community. There may be hundreds, even thousands, of unofficial groups you’re interested in, but there’s no substitute for the “Official” group. Try creating your own group, your own space for people to play with your brand on their terms. Give them the tools to express themselves with and content to discuss before stepping back.

Whatever your feelings on social networks and the Internet, as a communicator you have to be aware that your toolbox is growing and how you can take advantage of the new channels of communications afforded to you by the interactive Web.

This article first appeared in the always excellent IABC newsletter, CW Bulletin.


PR is the Experience Business

May 10, 2007

Care of “…the world’s leading…” blog comes news of the Intel Centrino Pro Challenge, a series of YouTube-ified videos that feature ZDNet Journalists (led by one Rupert Goodwins) taking on IT executives from Nexus in a University challenge style quiz.

The whole shindig is chaired by Intel’s UK CEO and was conceived by H&K’s London office. Kudos for executing what must’ve been a tough event to coordinate. Those journeys from London to Slough are tough…

I think the concept of the Pro Challenge is great and really goes to show that PR people are now in the experience business. The experiences of journalists we’d like to cover our client and, increasingly, the online experiences of people who want to interact with our clients.

The problem is that this project works extremely well in real life but doesn’t translate to an effective digital experience.

While this would’ve a great yarn for the beer hungry journos (Goodwins’ formula for media coverage depends heavily on the amount of beer you buy him involved in the briefing), Intel customers (no doubt to be quoted in a prominent upcoming case study) and Intel execs (see customers) I’m not sure why it needed to be broadcast on YouTube six times.

Yes there are a few funny moments, as twl points out, but it’s not a great viewing experience. Thank heaven for small mercies that the master clip was edited into smaller, more bite sized portions. 20 min of that would have been almost unbearable.

I’m a big proponent of great media experiences – FH Canada client Gatorade recently had a media hockey game and I caught this sponsored football match from the Talksport presenters a few weeks back.

But some word’s of advice for PRs –

More of this,

Less of this please.

If you’re reading this in a feedreader, please click through to read PR is the experience business and view the embedded videos.

Public Relations is…

March 31, 2007

about relationships.

Thanks Max Clifford, shyster extrordinare and the very definition of a snake oil salesman, for that one. Clifford is one of the reasons the Public Relations industry has such a bad name.

He’s the sort of person who argues that Public Relations practitioners do not have a duty to the truth. The man who the dregs of society go to if the want to extend their fleeting and utterly undeserved 15 minutes of fame.

I’m not denying that Clifford is good at his job. He is more connected with, and holds more dirt on, the media than anyone in the UK. He is a master publiscist who earns his money the hard way.

However, when your career is built lying to the press (the infamous “Freddie Starr ate my hamster” headline was a completely fabricated masterstroke) and selling “kiss and tell” stories to various UK rags, it’s easy to see why he may not be the best de facto spokesperson for an industry trying to recover its reputation…

It doesn’t help much when every mention of his name in the media is prefixed with the words “PR Guru”. I know of at least one magazine in the UK who retained a PR agency with the sole objective of replacing Max Clifford as the go to source for opinion on Piublic Relations issues.

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