Monthly Archives: March 2008

Did blogging killing the conference?

Howdy, it's been a busy few weeks here. Someone said that if you wanted to you could eat every night for free in NY because there is always something on, an opening, a talk, you name it. Whoever that person is, or was, was indeed right. Yesterday I went to the PSFK Conference and The Creativity 50 party (more on that in another post). I could have gone to the Nike Dunk party or hooked up with the One Show judges, but was, genuinely pooped. Anyway, all this interaction led to a wee thought.

Blogging is great. Bloggers are great. The Internet is great. The ability to find information and interesting things has changed forever. This is good. It generally means brands and people have to be more honest. However, I left the PSFK conference yesterday a *little* (sorry Piers – everything else is supercool!) disappointed because I felt like I knew all the stuff everyone talked about. Now, please don't take this the wrong way. I am not saying I am a know-it-all or that the speakers were uninteresting – far from it. There are far more intelligent people than me, brain surgeons, accountants, footballers (that's an interesting sideline – who do you suppose is, or was, the most intelligent footballer?) who would have got loads out of the conference and some great speakers. It just so happens that I am in this industry and move in the same (digital and in some cases physical) circles as many of the speakers.

This is no way makes me special, it's my job. But even if it wasn't my job it would be very easy to follow these same people through their blogs. Anyone can do that and so anyone could in theory know what I know and know what they know – to an extent. 

Blogging has become such a ideas fest and public knowledge fest and the field of people practicing the sort of things the ad industry wants to hear at conferences has become quite narrow and easily navigable.

So in the space of 2-3 days everyone (in my gang anyway) has been to Muxtape, had a little squiz at Spotify and played with Twit Pic. 

It just seems to me that the internet means there are fewer surprises these days. Which is a shame because creative people thrive on surprises and finding the things that are different.

I think I might switch off the internet for a bit, give bob a break.  

Is search advertising?

Andrew Walmsley on search:

This is marketing, and, moreover, it is advertising, in a pure, analytical and rather detail-obsessive way. To master it truly, we must understand how it creates value in the marketing and media mix, and where and how it influences users on their journey to being customers.

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In-game advertising

David Murphy gives a good overview of the current state of the in-game advertising market in this week's Marketing – worth a read if you're interested in that sort of thing…

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Absolut Machines

The perfect way to loose half an hour of a rainy Sunday afternoon – go play


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The Rise of The Ad Man 2.0

Iain Tait with a must read post, prompted by the must watch The Rise and Fall of the Ad Man, asking:

assuming that the time is right, what would you do to create a brand new agency, like they did in the 60s?

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Clusters + Connectors

David Armano:

forums, blogs, widgets and whatever alone are not where the action is at. Community clusters and connections are building blocks of our individual and group social systems. But what happens when these touch points become orchestrated? When they compliment each other and act as functional parts of a larger organism?

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Why great planners have to be dumb

Tod Norman, partner at brand response agency Watson Phillips Norman, on why great planners have to be dumb.

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Spread the Creativity Love

Yesterday I was invited to take part in the Creativity Magazine round table discussion. It was a good chance to meet a lot of US Creative Directors and see what's going on in this crazy country. And the big news is….it's same same but different as I l believe they say in Thailand.

I think there were about 12 of us. A pretty good mix of TV / Design / Digital which in itself tells a story. There was a lot of talk about 'digital' and a lot about craft. The consensus was that nobody could write or art direct a decent ad anymore because we, (Creative Directors) have been telling all the students we see not to show us ads but ideas. So like good children they have been doing that which has lead to a lack of craft skills. Bit of a shot in the old foot then. I guess we should have seen that coming. Someone probably did somewhere.

The digital talent drought is the same over here as it is everywhere else – if anything worse because the digital budgets are so much bigger. And no one seems to be any the wiser on how to solve it other than throw money at the problem. Pack your bags boys they sure pay more over here! That obviously doesn't apply to anyone from Dare ;-)

A little was talked about integration. Fernanda who is joining JWT London as their CD got slightly obsessed with her 'Tudor Court' analogy – in other words whatever agency has the ear of the king will ultimately prevail. I think I managed to freak her out when I said how bitchy the London creative scene is – and if any of you know Fe you'll know it takes a lot to freak her out. But c'est la vie – just look at all that fuss over the TFL ad from WCRS. Jeez.

I must admit it was kind of nice to sit on the sidelines and not to have to be part of that particular aspect of the indsutry anymore. When I was back in London a few weeks ago I saw an ad for a Barclays interest rate and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I remembered that there wouldn't be some sort of scrap between us / the DM aganecy / and the Press agency over who had done what and how it looked and all that sh**….

Of course it's not all rosy over here at Anomaly Towers. Creating products has it's own headbutting the wall in frustration moments. We have been waiting 2 months for a sample bottle for the skincare range we are creating. It turns up and it's basically a bit crap. A different type of sh**.

One of the things I found interesting was that Steve, the creative director of Taxi in Toronto (avid readers will know that I dig Taxi) said that when Ogilvy Canada won a Cannes gold for their evolution spot all the Canadian agencies celebrated together as if they had won. Martin Cedegren, CD of 180 in Amsterdam said it was the same whenever a Swedish agency won something at an International awards show. The US contingent looked a little sheepish at this point, not sure there is much mutual back slapping there – especially on the east coast. Then I thought about my own experiences.

I think we were always happy when someone won a good piece of business because there was always plenty of good business around (I don't think I ever actually lost a pitch at Dare – Flo lost Fiat but I now see this was part of his long term strategy to get BMW and Becks and turn Dare into a German agency! They're damned clever those Germans. So, yes, new biz, was pretty relaxed. But awards. No, not really. I remember being very annoyed when our UK competitors won things we didn't and I'm sure they hated it when we won things. There is something about being English and coming from the ultracompetitive (bitchy) UK creative scene that I think means this will always be the case. I'm sort of glad I'm not really part of it anymore. Sorry Fernanda.

A twitter experiment – wanna join in?

I like the fact that even though Florian and I are on the other side of the world we can still collaborate in a little project or two. Flo had the great idea of doing a twitter post every day from Andy Warhol's diary. Being a bit of a Warhol nerd I loved this. So I said why don't we get other people to do posts from other artists?

I have started to post random comments from Tibor Kalman. He is my professional hero (as opposed to my 'play' heroes; Andrew Weatherall and Dennis Bergkamp). He edited Colors magazine and ran his own agency M&CO. He is a great man. My posts start with (DRT) – Daily Random Tibor, Flo's with (DRW) – daily random Warhol.

If you would like to get involved let me or Flo know. I think it would be fun if we created a site or something where all these random art quotes lived.

Just one thing. The artist needs to be dead (otherwise, you know, they could be twittering themselves, innit)