October 20, 2009

Social Environmentalism

It is no secret that I am a Twitter fanatic, I am continually fascinated with every aspect of the technological and societal impacts that Twitter has had on our digital and social landscape.

I came across a new site from GetTRASHED.org and McKinney that is using Twitter to save the planet and cyberspace one tweet at a time.

The site is www.recycledtweets.com

The concept is to recycle your boring Tweets.

The site allows you to recycle all the boring tweets polluting your Twitter feed with Re:cycled Tweets.

Take your friends’ cyber-garbage and turn it into cyber-gold.

And that’s not just clever wordplay: for every tweet you recycle, McKinney will donate a penny to getTrashed.org.

Think about it. You recycle your followers’ boring tweets, get all of your friends to recycle their followers’ boring tweets, and that’s a lot of birdseed for getTRASHED.

To participate simply follow these steps:

@reply to someone who posted a lame tweet.
Copy and paste their lame tweet, and add #recyclethis.
then Click reply.

Recycledtweets.com will recycle it and send them a new, transformed tweet. They’ll learn what an interesting tweet is. You’ll add another penny to the total being donated to getTRASHED.org.

But it’s up to you and the rest of the Twitterverse to take part of this initiative to help better social media content and the planet.

So get busy and take out the recycling—one tweet at a time

October 14, 2009

Getting Baked with Bogusky and Winsor

I recently got my copy of the new book Baked In by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor of CP+B fame.

Ad folks writing ad books is nothing new, David Ogilvy's legacy is probably better recognized by the books he has authored than any of the campaigns he had mastered.

What kept me intrigued about this particular tome is that it not only focuses on the tectonic shifts taking place in the ad industry right now, but it is also an honest assessment of where advertising is failing because of these drastic shifts in consumer engagement.

Baked In's focus is trying to teach brands how to make better products and to educate consumers to have higher expectations from these products so that the claims they make match up with what they actually get and in turn these products will simply advertise themselves by living up to their claims.

Who better to tell this tale than two ad execs who are at the top of the advertising game. It is either meant to make their jobs easier or render them completely obsolete.

Social media's meteoric rise has obviously spurned the need for a book like this and I was impressed at how relevant it read based on what we are seeing today.

However the shelf life (no pun intended) of this book may not last more than another few months as things are changing so rapidly.

Baked In initially started to read like a religious manifesto, talking about brands as if they were deities.

My rebellious mind immediately started to think about how these ideas would apply if the advice laid out in the book was being given in relation to starting a cult and it sort of matched up well.

My aversion to brands dictating social culture and dominating the social conversion may have skewed the way I am reading this, however I am trying my best to put that bias aside and accepting what the reality actually is, they do dictate most of our conversations.

With that said, the brilliance behind this book is that it's so passionately written and the experience behind the advice is apparent.

Both authors obviously believe in branding as more of an integral part of a social philosophy rather than just a means of selling stuff to people.

I get a sense that the authors believe that products are more than just things we want or need, that they are more of a promise that will make our lives better in some way.

An avowal that you will be better off if you own this product or use this service. Especially the ones that they help to peddle.

The book is full of repetition, reminding us a lot of what we already know.

I enjoyed the repetition of the "mixing marketing and product design deep within their culture" message because it is as simple as that and when adhered to it really can clarify the way we communicate those messages to the public.

By saying it over and over again, through real world examples, is a powerful yet subtle way to fasten this message into the minds of those who should be reading this book, marketers and consumers.

It is the expectations of the consumers that will ultimately be dictating the output of advertising from this point on.

Social networks and the internet today is far too powerful a voice to let any brand use marketing to get away with trying to correct the issues the product creates.

It's this extreme passion that when strained through the rational mind that turns every word on the pages of this book into well founded and quite practical advice.

But what else could we expect from two of advertising's great spin doctors?

October 5, 2009

The Pendulum Rest

When a powerful industry is uprooted from its long standing position, it is subject to a restoring force due to the natural laws of gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position.

However what is unique about the situation we find ourselves in here in advertising is that the acceleration back has actually altered the original equilibrium position.

What was once known as traditional advertising (print, radio, TV, outdoor) has been replaced with digital media. As the pendulum is settling back into place it is experiencing an altered equilibrium state that is quite different from where it originally started.

When released, the restoring force will cause it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. That dizzying oscillation is what we had been experiencing for about 8-10 years now.

The entire industry had been thrown into a flurry of definitions and a tug of war for the right to claim supremacy over the prevailing creative platform that is what we now know as Digital.

Perseverance and a new form of communication were both the sword and the shield wielded by digital creatives and technical professionals everywhere. Once considered nothing more than a service, we now stand tall looking out toward a new frontier.

An economic meltdown and new forms of social media helped usher in this new golden age of advertising. What was once thought to be an impossible battle soon became a truce, not a bloody victory, but a truce of sides willing to work together in order to thrive in this new environment.

Digital is not a revolution but an evolution.

It is creativity plus time.

Creativity thrives in free spaces. The onset of the web was about trying new things and failing for the sake of experience, like a toddler taking its first steps. It was a vast wide open space where ideas could be nurtured and matured.

But now the web is dominated by social media, news and entertainment and it is in those annals that we find fertile ground for our creative ads and capitalistic allure.

Powerful creative ideas compete powerfully when they are doing what those ideas are supposed to do, which is to provoke our audiences to not only be entertained, but also to think, to react and to interact. That is how advertising has evolved.

Digital is a repartee.

A succession or interchange of clever retorts.

The brands are now the straight man and the consumers are part of the act.

It is our job to set them up to retort not just for the sake of retort but for the sake of engagement and that engagement will eventually lead to loyalty and trust through allowing that conversation to take place.

We have been swung back in time.

Back to an age where the merchants engaged in conversation with their customers.

Like a digital souk where yelling and response both stimulates and excites all the shoppers into a frenzy, a lively center of commerce where the marketplace is the platform for socialization and communication.

Digital has converged advertising and the marketplace back into one area, back into a souk where people gathered to do business and to share ideas, crowded, bustling and exciting, the way it was meant to be.

The time for one complete cycle is a left swing and a right swing, that is called a period.

A new period has begun.