Tuesday, 22 May 2012

And now, this

Andy Warhol once said

I dig it.

Probably the most important AdAge piece in years - I hope it actually gets read

If you care about advertising, or social media, or business, or modern life in general, may I suggest immersing yourself briefly in one of the most relevant articles published in adland in quite a while. To be blunt, advertisers have been letting it slip a little. The Cabury's Gorilla, Old Spice Videos - good entertainment, but thin as a pancake and doing exactly NOT the job they came here to do: build brands and build loyalty to brands, assuming instead that any time spent with their content is a win. Why this was ever the case one has to wonder, but nevertheless it's pretty much the way things are done now.

This article here pretty much sums up my position. I find it rare that adfolk actually have positions these days (one would imagine, a tenet of strategy generally) but that's a matter for another day. Pretty much every point is spot on.

"The point is we need both -- the brand-building skills we learned in the past, combined with the brand-extension tools technology offers today."

It's hard to believe ideas like these have not been voiced more in adland or ad media of late. Everyone is still very much, too much, on the social/digital train. My job as a strategist, or someone with eyes, is to look how much track the train really has left.

Digital is expanding into infinity. This is a bad thing.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


For me, looking at the photos that I've liked on Instagram is like watching Baraka. Only it's better cos they're my mates and doing stuff I can relate to, not a sea of Asian-ish people flailing their arms in a particular direction.

To see the creativity and adventures of my friends around the world, in real time, puts me in a really good mood.

As an app it's perfect for now.

I love it because it kind of an anti-social media, anti-rushing, anti-firsties, less is more approach to what is fundamentally another gamified experience. The content has intrinsic quality and scarcity. It allows people to consciously appreciate and share the very smallest events in their day. The one social platform that makes you slow down instead of speed up.

A picture is worth a thousand words? It sure beats twitter for information depth, if not written wit.

It also makes quite a lot of people get genuinely better at, and more interested in, taking photos. I've seen some peoples' skills increase rather dramatically over a short period of time.

Instagram provides a lot of creative practice in trying to communicate ideas visually. There is a richness and abstractness of communication that not many platforms can compete with. It's not always about pure photography, it's about making a commentary of sorts.

And really, the only thing you do is think in pictures and like in likes. It's very spaced out. Perfect, really.

What I would love to see is an export function for the photos I have liked. I want to be able to show others these photos and possibly even integrate it (in some kind on non-kitsch way) with the photography in my house. Not an LCD frame that rotates photos every few minutes but maybe some kind of electronic wallpaper that links to the feed. Come now nerds, do it.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Social Media Metrics

Want to know what is a complete crock of shit?

This is: Check it out. This evening I tweeted about the dinner I made at home, made a rough comparison to one of my favourite restaurants in New York and left it.

A few minutes later some scanning software picked up on the name Bar Pitti (I didn't hashtag it), retweeted my tweet on their restaurant guide account, and that tweet in turn was published on the restaurant guide actual website under the guise of some kind of "top tweet" relating to the restaurant. Mine's the middle one.

Now this is quite retarded. I didn't give permission for my tweet to appear on a foodie website, and I'm quite sure the restaurant doesn't want to know that I think I make better linguine (and I don't - it's literary license).

Besides my personal issues with unauthorised use, bla bla, I shudder to think what other problems like this are happening every second, wasting readers' time, creating neutral to negative publicity for the businesses or people concerned - but also, happening across industries or on far more important matters or in more sensitive situations.

I know this happens because someone sold a gullible, marketing someone a product that involves keyword scanning and retweeting and all the metrics they could possibly hope for. But guess what? I don't care. This social media measurement idea has really reached quite a low. And until the people paying for rubbish metrics wake up (most companies) we will forever be a second-rate, "it's not rocket science" industry.