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Archive for November, 2007

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I always tell anyone who listens (and even those who don’t) that the best thing by far about blogging is the people you meet, some of those people become your friends and some of your friends become really close friends. And when an awesome friend gets a great new job abroad, one that they’ve wanted, it’s kind of bittersweet to see them go. You want the best for them and are genuinely happy, but you want to still be able to hang out and shoot the shit.

Charles Frith is the 2nd person I met in blog-land (the 1st being one of my partners-in-AdGrads Will) and is one of the most awesome people I’ve ever met full stop. At Interesting 2007 we had a raucous time, getting told to shut up within 1.4 minutes of the start of the day, and things kind of took off from there. The thing about Charlie is that he’s really really interested in everything, and always gives you some good stuff to think about whenever you meet up. Plus, we’re both a little crazy, love the headphones on the outside look and think sleep is the cousin of death. It’s best way to be.

I’ve got something brewing, courtesy of Mr. Punk Planning, that will hopefully lead to my own jaunt abroad and will put me further in debt to him..watch this space.

So Charlie aka Sir Charles aka Big Kahuna aka My homeboy, I’m wishing you all the best in the republic of the people, but get your ass back to the island soon dude, it’s not the same without ya.

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 I’m quite late to comment on Marilyn Manson, he’s been around for years and everyone has mentioned that he’s a marketing genius but I quite fancied a brain dump on him. I’ve been watching his videos of late and using some of them as stimulus in certain briefings as they really capture the dark side of surrealism, which I’m, quite a fan of anyway.

Manson kicked off his concept of ‘shock’ around 1994/95 and has made quite a good effort at distributing it as a cultural idea which converges across a number of mediums – T shirts, music, music videos, live gigs, books,  interviews, films, documentaries, websites etc. What’s also great is that he gives credit to his content by using as many opportunities as he can to reveal he has intelligible reasoning and logic for it to exist, that and like it or not his look is quite cool. It therefore has the very makings of a successful brand – distribution channels and mediums along with a level of kudos. I guess what I’m trying to address is the use of convergence and transmedia strategies effectively to deliver a cultural idea into the heart of contemporary society. Some may argue that shock has always been there, Ozzy snorting ants is rock n roll story that’s used WOM to be told countless times. Sure. But in terms of a contemporary cultural movement and contemporary mediums that has been kicked off by a rock star I think Marilyn Manson proves quite a good case study. I guess the band brand of Marilyn Manson could therefore teach a few of the commercial brands a trick or two about getting into popular culture.

On a similar vein, I’ve noticed a few other ideas (using the word ideas to mean films, games, music) breaking out of their traditional platform. The franchise that is the Alien films looks to return Alien War to London in April 2008.

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his was at one point the only film experience of its kind and saw 2 million visitors running and screaming through it between 1993 and 1996. Essentially bringing a very atmospheric film to life to be experienced – branded entertainment, branded content, convergence or transmedia? Probably all. Then I recently learnt that the Resident Evil games (which are known for their atmosphere and deep dark plot lines look to make the whole game experience a certain twist of reality by opening…..A Resident Evil House….but in Japan.

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It’s only because I’m a geeky fan of the above (which usually have OTT fan bases) that I’ve started to notice them break out of their original launched platforms. It’s great for the business of content but also for taking a brand experience into a whole new dimension. Nintendo World, The Terminator Experience, Nike Land (which I would imagine could be fitness clubs) the possibilities are quite endless and can stretch as far as the imagination can.

It’ll be interesting to discuss other cultural ideas which have broken out of their original conception to become a much wider and involving entity if you know of any.

 

Anton xxx

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Half A Million Minutes In

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It’s already been a year and I’m surprised, but in a good way. The kind of surprise you get when something you’re selling on eBay goes for higher than you had hoped. You were selling it and expected to get something for it, but perhaps are a little taken aback by how much you ended up getting. And I feel the same way.

A year ago today, myself and my compadre Anton started this blog that y’all are reading now. We didn’t really have any kind of agenda with what we wanted to do with it, but we knew we wanted to do something nonetheless. We both figured that having two of us writing it would only be a good thing as it would keep posts ticking over, given that Anton is in the midst of building a career in advertising, and I’m trying to stick my hand in a closing door to wedge it open and sneak inside.

For me it’s been a year that has been flat out amazing. Awesome. There’s absolutely no way I could have predicted the crazily unbelievable and wonderful people who I’ve met because I started blogging, and how meeting all these people has made me better. And led to things like me somehow getting my name in Campaign and Media Week; and AdGrads, which is now a crazy, positive beast of its own, and something that I (and the rest of the guys) hope is a resource for many more people in the future

More importantly, I’ve found some fantastic friends who, regardless of how the future plays out, I’ll keep. Above everything, that’s the most important thing.

It seems somehow symmetrical that today, a year to the day I started blogging, I have my first graduate recruitment interview at Raineys, almost like I planned it that way. But I didn’t. Hey it makes a nice story though.

And without naming names because it would be a really long list, thank you to everyone who’s had to put up with this punk Texan kid over the past 12 months, you know who you are. Y’all have been rockin’. Someone (who shall remain nameless) told me a little over a year ago that breaking into advertising and the blogsphere would be difficult because the people are apparently very cliquey. I for one am glad that that person was unequivocally way off the mark. Here’s hoping the next 12 are even crazier.

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We Got Props

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This is hugely self-indulgent, but hey if I can’t do that here, on my very own cyber-soapbox then where can I?

Daniel over at AdStructure came up with a way to rank the top 27 blogs of people under 27 and surprisingly (for us) we were in it! Number 15 to be exact. It’s nice to feel wanted. So thanks Daniel for setting this up and congratulations on your newborn girl!

Sam

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Firstly, is it boring to talk about how agencies need to change, how the structure put in place in the 1950s might not be the best way to handle such a fragmented 2007 and that possible conspiracy theory that if agencies were honest the whole industry would crack at the top due to the severe profits of large agencies being through traditional TV (whilst it still has an important place it has to fundamentally change in terms of creative and media format i.e. Gorilla and IPTV). 

Still boring? Yeah well, I know but still I think I’ll have a go at Brand Image vs Brand Innovation as we still seem to be far off it. Inspired by the legend that is John Grant I can’t help but feel, WTF are we doing? We spend so much time, resource and money in producing a glossy frame when we don’t think about the actual picture at all. What I mean by this  is that we strive to make polished advertising messages however when we get brand/product facing we are let down by shoddy service or poor product and therefore this makes any ‘image’ we have tried to create totally null and void.

An example was today when I went to pay in a cheque at my local NatWest branch, whilst I understand that they say they open at 9.30am they could clearly see that there was a queue gathering outside and almost out of spite a member of staff stood inside until the clock hit directly 9.30am. I then approached the cash desk, two people were sat there, I approached one directly only to be told, ‘nah mate’…..well why the FUCK are you sat at the cash desk alluding that you might for a second be up for doing your job? Count the pennies either behind a screen or away from where people will believe that you’re sat there for a reason. This experience really clashed strongly with their current advertising – all about how they are human centric, customer caring and service based. So a total waste of money building an image that is utterly false and transparent to a marketing bull shit savvy public. 

So where then? Well surely seeing as we claim to be king of consumer knowledge we should be advising our clients on innovation rather than false motivation. If we are meant to be advising our clients to the best of our ability surely we should be telling them where they are faltering on their delivery or how to innovate in order to gain market share? But that’s for brand consultancies I hear you cry? Is it? If it is then how are there so many brands (big brands) which are failing to deliver on their promise? If it is then surely they can’t be very good at it?  

The long incomprehensible ramblings I’m trying to get to is that our current business model is quite literally screwed. We provide pictures whether it be on TV or on a computer or on a billboard making a promise that simply isn’t true. I’m not trying to be all sanctimonious, I love what we do, I just think we’re working back to front. The ability for us to add value is getting less (based on the consumer facing service failing) and we try and justify that value through (if we’re honest) dubious measurement methods.

So I’d like to change, getting closer to client’s business, bringing innovation to the table and using consumer knowledge to create real and tangible change (as opposed to suitable tone of voice) and then a true and honest brand image which in turn generates the good stuff. I’m aware that certain agencies have worked towards this, having a say in packaging, tone of voice, events, customer services but they’re case studies of inspiration as opposed to the norm right now. Anton xxx 

p.s. AHHH, it’s just happened again, I go into the Bagel Factory as I’m quite a fan, buy a bagel, hand over my loyalty card to be stamped and then told, ‘we don’t do that anymore’ ‘so what do you do?’ ‘nothing’ Had I not paid I would have spun on my heel. This is the kind of arrogance that brands think they can still wield,  with Tesco Express, Pret and Eat on nearly every corner should Mr Bagel Factory be somewhat a bit wiser? I can see the next ‘honest’ print campaign: ‘Really tasty bagels from a really unappreciative company’ or ‘Fuck you very much for your loyal custom’.

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Shopping to live? 

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Visiting Home

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I’m off home tonight, to the majestic city that is Newcastle. I hardly ever get to spend a long weekend there and as a result it makes it extra special when getting there i.e. the bars I would fall in and out of a student, all my friends who I grew with outside of work (I love work friends also but you know what I mean) and just the general ‘get out of London feeling.

How many people work where they grew up in advertising? I’m quite jealous of Andrew, the Northern Planner, who was able to stay up there and gets the buzz of the place. But I’ve been London-ed, there’s no turning back now, finish what you started and all that jazz. I wonder how else you can create that feeling of excitement when you know you’re returning home for nothing but parties, old friends, familiar accents and lots of laughing?….or maybe I’m just talking sentimental bollocks.

 

Have an awesome weekend

 

Anton xx

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