Friday, November 30, 2007

The best advice I ever got

When I started to work as a junior copywriter, my first task was to create headlines for a charter travel company, marketing their Greece vacations. Proud of myself, I handed about 50 headlines to my CD and was waiting for the Clio's to roll in.
After he read all my work, the Creative Director looked at me and said: "Never show me any work you wouldn't want to share immediately with your best friends."

When would I share an idea with my best friends?
a) The idea (headline/campaign/new business ventures) has to be so easy to understand that my friends, who don't work in advertising, can get it quickly
b) The idea has to be so new/unexpected that it creates one of those Aha moments

At heart, his advice told me that I should treat a 20-word dog food label, a text link on Google or CTA on a banner just like it's going to be big. Important. As something that matters. It does matter to the client. It should matter to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Make love not war Part 2

I've been married for more than 6 years and I've known my wife for more than 8. By now, we should know each other pretty well, wouldn't you think? When we are with friends she has to listen to stories she heard gazillion times before, and she still manages to smile or laugh when the punchline comes around.

I think these moments and habits partners know intimately, make us believe we know the other person. But, once in a while, we're in the middle of a conversation and one of us shares a moment or story we never heard before. And it reminds all of us that we do know a lot about our partner but we don't know everything. (And, by the way, each person is evolving each and every day.)

An entire industry has been built around the idea to avoid these personal and revealing moments. Instead, we discuss the lives of others on TMZ, PerezHilton or These are just diversions and white noise.

The real stories are with your family, your friends, colleagues. You can wait all your life to hear these stories and experience amazing moments. Or you can simply ask. But don't ask if you're not ready for an answer. Meaning: if you're too busy/pre-occupied to listen, don't even bother asking. As you can read in 'Listening Is An Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project', by Dave Isay:
"If we take the time to listen, we'll find wisdom, wonder and poetry in the lives and stories of the people all around us."

As discussed in my previous post, we have to change our marketing lingo in order to find meaningful connections between brands and people. Once we embraced a more personal, dare I say more loving language, we need to embrace the idea of listening as an act of love. Just like the first date when we force ourselves to ask questions and listen, brands need to listen to people to show 'their love'. It's hard for me to use deep-rooted emotional words to describe the brand-people relationship. But that trepidation shows me that this is something we need to work on and develop.

Successful marketing needs to be rooted in discovering the stories that make people unique and the dreams that drive them. Everything else is just a diversion and white noise.

Thanks to Tom Peters for the inspiration and Ira Glass for constantly pushing the idea of listening as an act of love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Make love not war

What do football and media planning have in common? Both are littered with military analogies: We launch media 'campaigns', implement 'the blitz', 'target' audiences, hope for 'hits' and 'impacts'. We want to hold our audience 'captive' by delivering 'sticky' experiences. This use of language in the marketing world has defined relationships between brands and people. And created a divide between 'us' and 'them'.

As we know, brands have become the Miami Dolphins of 2007 and people the New England Patriots. It's an unfair battle. Even without spygate, the Patriots (people) have an unfair advantage:

- They have a better strategy (Ad avoidance - Bill Belichick)
- They have stronger weapons (DVR/Adblocker - Randy Moss/Tom Brady)
- They have a huge home advantage (My Media on my terms - Gillette Stadium)

There are two ways to go:
Either we build up our team through draft (bring in new weapons), developing better strategies (Think DMA, Napster, etc.) and try to develop a walled garden that eliminates the home advantage and puts brands/publishers in the driver's seat again.

Or, we develop a new language and, most importantly, replace our current American Football metaphor with something more communal and relationship-building.

As Doc Searls describes:

"Advertising is about supply finding and "creating" demand. Nothing wrong with that. At its best it's good and necessary stuff. But think about what will happen when demand can find and create supply. That's the real holy grail here. And it's one that will take fresh development effort on both the supply and demand sides. The difference between those two right now is that the supply side has been working on targeting, creating and controlling demand for the duration, and the demand side is still getting started."

Clearly, we haven't found the right models for the demand side yet. But we need to start now. And the way to start is with adjusting our marketing language.

Ludwig Wittgenstein said:
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

Our current language limits us and our relationships with people. Let's change it.

The end of the Internet Part 2

I joined the digital world in the late 90's: Razorfish, Dot-com's, bubbles, layoffs, etc. Exciting, nerve-wrecking, sleepless times. One afternoon in 2001, I 'surfed' the Web and suddenly had the realization that everything on the Web was boring. It felt so stale, nothing new happened, no innovation just pure stagnation. It felt like I had reached the end of the Internet. I shut down the computer, opened a book, listened to radio and watched TV. End of Part 1.

Fast forward 6 years. Part 2.
We're on the brink of a recession, traditional media spend growth will slow, digital advertising spend will increase dramatically and social media is the new, new, new thing.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Not really.

Sure, more and more brand are moving money to digital agencies but I don't really see innovation. Most of the transferred money will end up on search engines and portals, some of it on MySpace and Facebook. But, where's the innovation?

Where are the ideas and campaigns that utilize communication tools such as Twitter? How can we create experiences on Jaiku and Seesmic? Where are the digitally integrated campaigns that utilize all the tools Web 2.0 users are working with each and every day?

The window of opportunity is wide open: Brands have tired of print and TV, they look for digital marketing to save the day. As providers for marketing solutions, we need to be prepared for this dramatic shift in spend. If we don't innovate and offer new models to connect with and engage people, brands will quickly tire of digital marketing and move on. We have to find new ways to spend money, new places to engage people, new methods to converse with people.

Recessions are scary times. People tend to act more conservatively, tend to regress to known and stay away from the unknown. One failed campaign can mean a financial disaster, restructuring and/or, ultimately, the loss of a job. Your job.

The window of opportunity is wide open but it will be closing. Fast.
One day, your client will sit in front of you and ask you: 'What have you done for me lately?' If your answer will be filled with words like SEM, SEO, portals, reach, CTR, engagement, you better shut up and let silence speak for you.

The time to innovate is now. All of us have to save the day because now is the time to develop integrated, digital models. New ideas.

Are you ready to save the day?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How to achieve your dreams

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I came across the incredible story of Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon and pioneer in the field of virtual reality who is dying of cancer.
Even though he appears incredibly healthy, he has numerous liver tumors, was given no more than 3-6 months to live but still manages to do one-armed pushups.
He called his lecture 'The Last Lecture' and discusses his childhood dreams, how he achieved some of them, and some not.

Most importantly, he discusses the lessons he learned throughout his life and how rewarding it is to help others to achieve their dreams.

In short, the lessons are:

1. Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
2. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
3. Never lose the child-like wonder.
4. If we do something which is pioneering, we will get arrows in the back. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
5. Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
6. If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and the dreams will come to you.

It's a long lecture but a lecture that will inspire and move you. And that should be worth your time. If you just want to see a short version, watch below

Via Businessweek

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blog Nothing Day

To support the ongoing WGA strike, I won't be posting this Monday. Please join the Blog Nothing Day group on Facebook.
See you Tuesday!

Dell goes C-List

Even C-list celebrities need endorsements and Dell came to the rescue of unforgettable performers such as Burt Reynolds, Ice-T, Vivica Fox, Brooke Burke, Chuck Liddell and Estelle Harris with their 'Yours Is Here' promotion.

Does it work? The tongue-in-cheek humor is slightly amusing and the execution is flawless. Personally, I like the idea to ask all your friends to contribute via PayPal instead of receiving the unwanted socks, ties and bargain bin book. Feels a little bit like a wedding registry. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Will it work for Dell? Not sure if this new approach to gifting really works in this environment where everybody cuts back on holiday spending. I just wish Dell would have been a bit more creative with their treatment of their C-celebrities. The only one that I really liked was Ice-T but it would be awkward as a guy to send his smooth, female-targeted message to my father. Unless, I'd rather have socks.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Yo, Nordstrom, respect

A company that gets it and doesn't participate in the rat race they call Black Friday. For some companies brand equity and long-term business goals are more important than short-term profits. Refreshing.

Via Zeus Jones

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day."

Irv Kupcinet
Columnist and TV personality

In case you're bored by football or need some entertainment during your dinner preparations, listen to a 5-hour (Thursday and Friday) special on KCRW from 12-5pm PST (3-8pm EST), featuring special episodes from This American Life with Ira Glass.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

3.5 Billion Conversations daily

MediaPost reported Tuesday that there are 3.5 billion brand-related conversations per day in the US.

Spending on word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing jumped 35.9 percent in 2006 to $981.0 million and is expected to top $1 billion in 2007, making it one of the fastest growing alternative media segments.

Driving the growth is the continued consumer shift to alternative media and the marketer's need for increased brand engagement and ROI. These are some of the findings of the first in-depth analysis of the emerging word-of-mouth (WoM) marketing industry by PQ Media.

PQ Media defines Word-of-Mouth (WoM) marketing as an alternative marketing strategy supported by research and technology that encourages consumers to dialogue about products and services.

Word-of-Mouth (WoM) Marketing is the fastest-growing segment of the $254 billion marketing services sector of the media industry, which includes among others, branded entertainment, direct marketing and public relations.

Think about it: 3.5 billion brand-related conversations daily. Many of these conversations will take place tomorrow at the turkey table. We're just in the baby stages of conversational/WOM marketing and will see dramatic changes in the near future how to connect with people. The opportunities are endless.

One of my hope is that Black Friday will be a laughable chapter of American business history when I sit at the Thanksgiving table of my kid in 20 years. (And Cyber Monday won't even be a footnote.) As an immigrant, that ritual of getting up at the crack of dawn to get a good deal is just strange and very foreign to me. And I hope that the new world of marketing will allow these people to stay in bed, enjoy breakfast with their family and get some needed family/friend time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The inhumane network

Advertising can be entertaining (Well, actually it should be!), inspirational, informational. Good creative combined with a sophisticated, well thought out media buy can be magical. Good creative combined with an unthoughtful media buy can be worse than Chinese water torture.

Case in point: Cisco's current campaign for their human network. Yesterday, I was catching up on my Fox shows online and enjoyed the first commercial interruption brought to me by Cisco - interesting visuals, intriguing story and creative. I even memorized the URL for later exploration. But my memory became really foggy when I had to watch the identical commercial message for a second time. Third time. By the fourth time, I felt like water was slowly dripping onto my forehead, driving me insane. And my drive to explre Cisco's site just disappeared and turned into anger. At the lazy media buyers who didn't even bother thinking about frequency capping, user experience and, most importantly, how they wasted their client's money.

It's very easy to turn an engaging experience into an annoyance if you didn't focus on the little details of each campaign.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I do know how to quit you

Is this your Facebook inbox? Too many friends, too many invitations, too much crapola. Some early adopters are starting to leave Facebook because they don't see the value and ragard the site as a time-suck.

Maybe it's just the pendulum swinging the other way: People are starting to understand that you can't manage hundreds of contacts/friends, especially when you barely know these people. Facebook can have an amazing value if we can start to extend our real-life connections to the internet. Just like your first email address that turned into spam account, Facebook might become just another network that becomes less and less valuable. Just another AOL.

And, in case you're ready to quit - follow these instructions.
I'll stay on for a while. And see where it goes.

And if you invited, poked, gifted me and wait for a response: Stay tuned. There are more important things in my life I have to take care of.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday's thought

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

--Albert Einstein

Friday, November 16, 2007

I must be in the wrong business

Tim Vanderhook writes in his latest MediaPost column about the aftermath of acquisitions (DoubleClick, aQuantive, etc.) and his predictions for the future of portals.

The last paragraph reads:

The biggest winners in this year of acquisitions will be consumers — receiving more relevant ads, at more appropriate times. Experience shows consumers don’t necessarily like advertising but are willing to endure it for free content. If the ads they see are relevant to who they are, what they are interested in, and where they are located, it becomes a win-win for all parties in the chain.

How do we motivate young people to join our industry when our lofty goals are for consumers endure our work? When I started in advertising, I wanted to entertain, inspire and engage people. Question is, if you compare your work to a root canal or an IRS audit, how can you expect to connect with people and, ultimately, sell a product?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Are you still dreaming?

When i grew up, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Walking on the moon like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Time passed and I wanted to become an airline pilot. Then a surgeon. A writer.
I became a copywriter (pretty close), marketing (insert title here), media (insert title here). And, here we are.

Matthew Kelly, founder and president of Floyd Consulting, was interviewed on Tom Peters' site about his newest book 'The Dream Manager'.

A few tidbits:

The first time you ask people to list their dreams, they tend to put together a shopping list and a travel book. But, as they begin to live a little bit more and experience some of those dreams, they begin to ask, "What are my legacy dreams? What are my character dreams? What are my spiritual dreams? What are my adventure dreams? What are my creative dreams?" Those are the higher level dreams.

But it's important to recognize that a lot of people have stopped dreaming. And if they've stopped dreaming in their own life, good luck trying to get them to subscribe to a dream that you have for your organization. It's simply unreasonable to expect people to do something for your business that they are not willing to do for their own lives.


The following quote is fairly depressing.

Before we start the program with a company, we usually get the executive team together, and do a one- or two-day offsite. These people are the best of the best, the brightest in their field, making lots of money, and 70 percent of them have not sat down to think about what their personal dreams are, for a decade, sometimes multiple decades. To see that process begin in a person is staggering.

Because at the end of the day, Erik, everybody has dreams. At the executive level, or the manager level, we spend so much time focused on a vision for our organizations, it's amazing how little time we spend on a vision for our lives.

On how to get back in touch with your dreams.

Sit down and put together a list of 100 dreams. It will be hard work at first, but take a look at the 12 areas: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy, and character. Essentially, if you come up with eight dreams in each of those areas, you've got your list of 100 dreams.

If you simply write your list of 100 dreams, put it in a drawer, and never look at it ever again, that one experience is life changing.

The next step is to start a conversation with the people in your life about their dreams, whether it's your spouse, your children, or the people you work with. You have to be careful with that. It will freak them out if you spring it on them out of nowhere. To ease into it, try saying, "If there were no limits on time or money, where are seven places you'd love to go in the next seven years?" And then you both make a list and talk about it. See which ones match up and which ones are very different. I think that's an easy way to start that conversation because lots of people dream of traveling. I think it's a great way to ease into the conversation.

Besides the fact that I immediately ordered the book, it also made me start thinking:
What are my physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, material, professional, financial, creative, adventure, legacy, and character dreams?

My first shot:













Some images might need explantation but, hey, these are my dreams. What are yours?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Together as one

When I discovered electronic music years ago, it wasn't really the music at first that excited me. It was more of that sweaty, human masses, unique, thank-God-I'm here experience. Sasha & Digweed at the Mayan in LA come to mind, Coachella at sunset with Bjork, Carl Cox at Giant, Roger Sanchez on a rooftop in Miami. We all crave these events. It might be an NFL game, NASCAR racing, Burning Man, Pamplona bull running - whatever strikes your fancy.

These events have become more valuable since many of our other experiences can be time-shifted, paused and re-started whenever you have time for it. Events are different: You can consume 24 hours of media in 8 hours but you have only so many weekends available where you indulge in 8 hours of music/sports/arts communality.
No wonder brands are craving to attach themselves to events.

Digital Marketing will only advance to the next stage if we find innovative ways to develop spectacles that create this community feeling. Facebook and Second Life have their limitations and they can't replicate this sweaty, mass feeling when you're one with the crowd. But social media is the key in developing, creating and spreading the word about these events. You can only create amazing events if you know what connects with people. And only events that create this 'Together as one' moment will ensure that the audience will spread the word for you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Generation X and Y

Douglas Adams (Yes, that Douglas Adams) said:

"Anything that is in the world when you were born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural way the world works.
Anything that is invented between the time when you are 15 to 35 is new, revolutionary, and exciting, and you can possibly get a career in it.
Anything invented after you are 35 is against the natural order of things."

Yesterday, I discussed the multi-tasking/always-on backlash and came to the conclusion that being on will continue to be a badge of honor. But, is that true for everyone?

Since Generation X and older didn't grow up with digital technology, these generations might have reached their threshold of connectivity. All the research and daily observations of Generation Y tells me, we only touched the surface.
the tech revolution ended for my mother with the VCR (Yes, it's still flashing 12:00). Where will it end for us? Myself?

For now, let's give a round of applause for the heroine of multi-tasking, Jennifer Connelly, as she's quoted:
"I do like to read a book while having sex. And talk on the phone. You can get so much done."

Monday, November 12, 2007

The car you can't ignore

Chevy shows all those Web 2.0 preachers and social media fanatics that mass advertising is still alive. Spend gazillions of dollars and you can ensure that blind people will see and deaf people will listen: Homepage takeovers, commercials after commercials, billboards, print: you name it.
Chevy achieved their goal: The Malibu can't be ignored. Just like taxes and death.
Is mass advertising so desperate that not being ignored is now a goal? Pathetic.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Is being connected soooo 2007?

Under the title "Too much information? Ignore it.", Alex Williams discusses in Sunday's NY Times our daily information overload and a possible way out of it as described in Timothy Ferriss' book 'The 4-Hour Workweek:'

After reading Mr. Ferriss’s recent best seller, “The 4-Hour Workweek” (Crown), Jason Hoffman, a founder of Joyent, which designs Web-based software for small businesses, urged his employees to cut out the instant-messaging and swear off multitasking. From now on, he told them, severely restrict e-mail use and conduct business the old-fashioned way, by telephone.

“All of a sudden,” Mr. Hoffman said of the results, “their evenings are free. All of a sudden Monday doesn’t feel so overwhelming.”

Personally, I often feel overwhelmed by all the information available: Trades, Personal Email, Business Email, Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, RSS feeds, etc. But I also don't want to get most of my news from waiters as Timothy Ferriss tells the NY Times.

Being connected will continue to be the new rock'n roll. We just have to find ways to adjust our life better. No 24/7 email, maybe 3/7 instead.
Ironically, Ferriss is now living what he's preaching:

Indeed, Mr. Ferriss makes little pretense of practicing what he preaches, at least if you count self-promotion as “work.”

LAST Monday alone, Mr. Ferriss — who has served as a guest lecturer on high-tech entrepreneurship at his alma mater, Princeton, for several years — spoke at Harvard Business School, followed by an afternoon doing an interview about his book, then finally another talk in front of 130 students at M.I.T. Mr. Ferriss, ever stimulated by yerba mate tea, was still there, hashing out personal-productivity theories over beers with Sloan School of Management graduate students at 11 p.m. on Monday night. All this, while recovering from jet lag after a flight from Japan, where he had taped a pilot for a television show — part self-help, part adventure travel — developed for the History Channel.

“If your definition of work is something primarily financially driven that you would like to do less of, like with my company, I spend far less than four hours a week on it,” he said.

All that other stuff — lecturing at the corporate campuses of Google and PayPal, blogging incessantly on his — that’s, well, “evangelizing,” he said.

Which is not to say he plans to become an Anthony Robbins for the geek set, touring relentlessly and hawking DVDs on late-night infomercials.

“I’d be much better off putting my time into three or four really good blog posts,” he said.

But, of course. That would take much less work.

Sunday halftime entertainment

The IT Room launches tomorrow. A Dell marketing venture that looks fairly amateurish in this video but could have some potential. We'll see.

In case Guitar Hero is getting boring: The Guitar Shred Show. Enjoy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Big Blue chimes in

From today's AdWeek:

"About 30 percent of the advertising revenue now resting in the coffers of traditional media companies will shift to online ad exchanges like Yahoo! and Google in the next five years, according to a new report from IBM Global Business Services."
Indeed, IBM concludes that "as the advertising value chain reconfigures, broadcasters, advertising agencies and media distributors in particular will need to make a number of 'no regret' moves" in key areas such as how to better connect with consumers in a multi-channel world and how to create new business models.

"There is no question that the future of advertising will look radically different from the past. The push for control of attention, creativity, measurements and inventory will reshape the advertising value chain and shift the balance of power," per the report summary. "For both incumbent and new players, it is imperative to plan for multiple consumer futures, craft agile strategies and build new capabilities before advertising as we know it disappears."

But that's only part of the story. The other part is the shift from traditional media to social media: We talked already about SNCR/Jaffe study claiming that by 2013 advertisers and marketers will be expected to spend more on conversational media than on advertising through traditional media.

An earlier study by Prospero reported that 88% of businesses expected to increase Social Media Spending in 2008.

More signs are pointing into one direction. Let's make sure we support this shift with big ideas and small ideas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The neverending story

This ad, created by Fallon London, communicates Orange's (Uk phone provider value proposition of unlimited text messages, and the big idea is fairly simple: if it's good, it shouldn't end.

In the spirit of integration, Poke (London) created a fascinating site with the same simple/big idea. (Aren't all big ideas simple?)
The first neverending site. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Facebook (R)evolution

Connie Bensen writes about the newly introduced advertising opportunities on Facebook and she's very skeptical about the overall user experience.
And Seth Godin compares Hotmail to Facebook. Not a flattering comparison.

My take? Something reaks. Rather awful.

It's almost feels like Facebook was the pot dealer in the school yard, giving away free joints and, after we all got hooked and shared our personal information, they are trying to sell the real drugs to us. Needles in the arm, baby. And the advertisers are waiting around the corner to provide the dealers with more stuff to support the addiction and reap the benefits.

Now, the big questions is: Can Facebook turn their new advertising model into Google's AdSense? My answer: No way. I smell a bit of desperation here. Facebook was developed with the user in mind and they never thought about a real advertising model, a model that could make Mark Zuckerberg a real billionaire, instead of a paper billionaire.

Nick Carr says it best:

"Facebook, which distinguished itself by being the anti-MySpace, is now determined to out-MySpace MySpace. It's a nifty system: First you get your users to entrust their personal data to you, and then you not only sell that data to advertisers but you get the users to be the vector for the ads. And what do the users get in return? An animated Sprite Sips character to interact with."

Is it time to write off Facebook? Not quite yet. But they are one of those boxers that win decisively the first round, already pronounced the winner until the opening bell of the second round rings and they get hit hard in the head.
And again.
And again.
Can they come back? I wouldn't bet on it. There are many young fighters out there, waiting for their chance. They are hungrier, will learn from this mistake and don't get sucked in by reading and believing their own clippings.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Apple on the defense

After their iPhone discount PR meltdown, increasing virus problems and more and more users calling their Mac a lemon, here comes the tragic customer experience from an Apple Store:

"He (Ed.: the sales clerk) said he was working at the store while going to grad school. And, yes, he hated the job, it was a bore -- he hated the attitude, like selling Apple stuff was an honor; but really it was no different than selling shoes, except selling shoes paid more. He knew he was taking out his frustration on customers; he felt bad about it, but he assumed he would be fired weeks ago and that would be it. What does it take to be fired, he asked. Apple's supposed to be about customer service, yet they seemed to like he was acting like an a-hole, he said. That pissed him off even more. The hypocrisy. They wanted him to act cool, kind of above it all, it was part of the image. But not crossing the line (wherever it was that week), to the point of terrorizing the customers."

If you have a moment, read the whole story, it's pretty hilarious. And sad at the same time.

I don't frequent Apples Stores very often but there's a flair of arrogance and "We're better than the rest of you" in the air. This attitude was apparent during the iPhone discount meltdown, basically telling early adopters (Yes, me!) that they are suckers.

Apple used to be the underdog, fighting the good fight. Now, they're the big dog again since nobody regards Microsoft as an evil force anymore (Google is slowly getting comfortable in that role.). Customer service has always been Apple's weakest link (Don't remind me of all the blown iPod batteries and annoying calls to Customer Service). Not a big deal when your competitors are messing up but fatal when competitors are waking up. (Even though they still don't get it completely.)
Hopefully, Apple doesn't have to learn the hard way that a strong brand and exceptional advertising are just a small part of the equation.
Products and customer service are more important.

Monday, November 5, 2007


The New Yorker - 7.5.1993


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Will the strike elevate digital entertainment?

In case you lived under a rock, a strike is imminent in Hollywood. It's a dispute over higher home video residuals between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Crunchgear writes:

"One rule, in particular, caught my interest. It says; “The Rules prohibit writing services performed for a struck company in connection with new programming intended for initial viewing on non-traditional media (such as the Internet and cellular telephones), and the option or sale of literary material for that purpose.” Basically, no writing for websites owned by big media companies. No rules against online ventures that you start yourselves or that are owned by someone or something independent of the companies against which you’re striking.

Reuters makes a very interesting point concerning all of this.

“The last time the Writers Guild of America went on strike, restless viewers turned to cable, sending the category into a growth spurt that continues to this day. With a writers strike set to be announced Friday, the question looming over digital Hollywood is: Can the Web become the cable of 2007?”


To those of you in the Writers Guild; whether or not I agree with the reason you’re striking, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you consider creating content for the web. And if you do, I hope you’ll realize that you don’t need the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to get that content onto the Internet. Remove the slow, old, awkward, paranoid middle man. This is a great opportunity to change your distribution system. If all the content you created went straight to the web, you’d save us consumers a lot of time and money."

This could be a watershed moment, indeed. Digital Entertainment is only as good as the TV shows we watch online, the latest fall with your dirtbike from the roof and some diamonds in the rough. Nobody has really invented the sitcom advertising pod for the Web yet, the perfect length and content structure. I hope we'll never fixate on another formua like the :30 second spot but innovative ideas for content are way overdue. And a shift in the power from publisher to creator.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I remember that feeling in my teenager stomach when my father came to me and said: "Let's have a conversation." This 'conversation' was a long monologue, interrupted by a few rhetoric or unanswerable questions: 'Why did you do it?' 'Don't you think I have to work for my money?'
And then there were these innocent talks that traansported me to a different place. They opened up feelings, allowed to form a closer bond with my father: When he talked about his upbringing in the 30's, being a refugee in his own country, having to work 6 days a week for 12 hours in a job none of us would survive for 2 hours.

Conversational Marketing is about opening up. It's not about formulating a response to what a person is saying while that person is speaking to us. Brands are still to attached to their thinking, their positioning and their organizational thinking to really listen to people.

Organizations have to change fundamentally to succeed. Demolish the old separation of church (emotion) and state (thinking): The company produces the product and surrounds it with content and experiences. The thinking is done by the brand and the emotion is attached by an agency.

Instead, we need to integrate emotion during the product development process. This will allow to communicate authentic feelings during the marketing process. It becomes a more organic development and conversational. Conversational Marketing is not a tactic or another channel. It's a mindset.