May 13, 2009

50 Billion, I mean Million, Visits!

Today marks the day that the FWA is celebrating its 50 Millionth visit.

Quite an achievement for what is now a true institution in our community. The FWA has been following and documenting our industry since 2000 and has stayed true to spotlighting the very best each and every day.

To me The FWA is like a thermometer that measures the temperature of our industry in the areas of design, technology, trends and unique executions. How amazing is it that there is a new site every single day? That alone is a testament to the hard work and dedication that we all pour into our work day in and day out.

Domani Studios stepped up and donated time and effort to throw a party for this milestone. Its heart warming that the celebration is about us, the people, the folks who every day take out a slice of time to check out what the bar in interactive excellence is today.

It is really nice to finally see the faces, the eyes and the smiles, the avatars and the logos, the persona of all the people who make up this industry and the folks who will inherit this industry.

I want to say congratulations to a good man, Rob Ford, who has served our community loyally and lovingly to make sure that The FWA exists, I know for a fact that he spends countless hours making sure that little square is there each and every day without fail.

It has been and continues to be a pleasure watching The FWA mature and grow, now video and photo, who knows what will be next.

Thank you Rob for your commitment and dedication in giving us a place to go to every morning and a goal to reach for each day. I cant tell you how many countless meetings I have been in where clients have said "lets win an FWA on this one", it would make you proud Rob.

Keep up the good work!

May 12, 2009

Digital Path-O-Gen

Creative Review just posted a great chat with Mr. Lebowitz, of Big Spaceship renown, where the topic is about the “viral category” at the D&AD awards.

When talking about insights as to how people behave and why they pass things along Mr. Lebowitz says “People don’t pass things along because they love brands, they pass things along because they love their friends”.

Just like there are varying schools of philosophy and strains of thought, there is really no right or wrong answer to this particular insight. I am sure with every varying demographic there is a separate rule as to why a particular person may or may not have the need to add to the viral vigor of a particular campaign or item they found on the web.

If we want to have an honest conversation about why people find and then pass things along we need to really examine the motivation behind why they feel the need to share everything they find on the web.

I think that it is really because they ultimately love themselves.

They want to be the one who found this cool video, or upload their face to a dancing elf or to be the one who uploaded their friends picture to the dancing elf.

I don’t know that anyone ever trolls the web for cool things and thinks, “oh I really love my friends so I will send them this”, its more about “I am so freakin' cool for finding this thing, I am going to show everyone!”

There is a sense of claiming an ownership over something you really didn't create just by simply being one of the first to pass it along.

The web is a giant treasure trove, we all look for that unique, rare find that we can claim we found and then spread it to our closest 200-300 followers, oops, I mean friends.

With the emergence of Twitter I think that what was viral before has a much farther reaching but shorter infection period, because people are spreading things at a much faster rate, its no longer about “send to a friend” its now about broadcasting to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people in your personal network. A barrage of links that come at us at a much faster rate and now the viruses must now compete for our attention as to what is the most endearing or funniest or most profound.

I think as technology advances that it becomes more about the mode of transference that will determine what kinds of content has that viral quality.

One very interesting feature that I have found intriguing in Twitterific is NEARBY, where your cellphone determines your positioning and then allows you to “Twit” with those closest to you, not friends, total strangers within your vicinity. The ability to start and contribute to conversations based on proximity. I find the possibilities behind proximity extremely fascinating and it will make the digital virus an even more contagious topic. A new pathogen that gives us an even more precise way to structure and target our campaigns.

Its a great discussion.

May 2, 2009

Let's Get Back

I want to say that the BBH Labs blog is one of my new addictions and should be read by everyone in our space, its insightful, relevant and has been saying all of the right things.

There was a recent post entitled "10 Reasons Why There’s Not More Great Work in the Interactive Space"

I loved this post for so many reasons.

Digital has suffered because of the relationships that have been formed in the production process.

Smaller digital shops have been feeding off of the low hanging fruits that the agencies have dangled for so many years and have been able to get away with delivering what you so beautifully referred to as MICROWAVED solutions.

These shops have always lacked real creative minds and have stockpiled on flash developers who produce absolutely wonderful work but add very little to the BIG IDEA.

The problem was that in order to execute something online that was compelling, the Idea Folks fooled themselves into thinking that it was the Flash folks who were the only ones to bring those ideas to life because there were so few really good ones and they were all stockpiled in these digital shops.

As we all know that is no longer the case. Now that social media, WP, HTML, Video and other venues have emerged, Flash is no longer the only sexy kid on the block. Digital shops now need to rethink how they do business and either completely submit to the larger agencies or to offer up real idea based solutions as a supplement to the agency offerings.

We all knew this was coming and that in order to create good work we would need to be strategic and think along the lines that our MAD FATHERS thought and to get back to the foot in the door and the fedora peddler roots that advertising originated from. A used car salesman wakes up every day, knowing he has to put on his A game, get his ass in gear and sell the shit out of his lot, to seduce the moms, college kids, down and outs and up and comers that his product is what they need and will provide them with value and usage.

We have all succumbed to the thinking that we are any better than that guy, we are not, we need to realize this in order to set things straight.

There is a humility to what he does and we need to adopt that same humility when selling our clients products.

The web is a very big place, tons of room for everyone to thrive, lets not pollute it with empty ideas. Interactive is revolutionary, it now gives us the ability to get immediate feedback and then act upon that just as immediately. It lets us interface directly with our audiences in a so much more intimate way than ever before.

I agree that the narrative and story telling is what will breathe life into the web and what it desperately lacks. the code/narrative ratio is way off.

There is just as much importance for a great story teller as there is for a great coder or designer, but show me one interactive shop that employs a great copy writer, I have met very very few.

So lets not let the technology of our new medium cloud our notion that old school disciplines like writing and selling are no longer needed, sometimes youth’s ego is its greatest downfall.