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Posts from October 2014

Be More Interactive


Earlier this year I was putting together a talk to inspire a global group of digital marketers for one of the world's biggest brands. 

It was an intimidating brief because they do a lot of very good digital work, in one of my favorite genres of work: do nice things for real people in the real world, film it, put it on YouTube.

In order to bring something else to the table, I decided to lean into the interactive part of digital work. Advertising that the user can do something with, to, that they can INTERACT with in some way. 

I put a call out on Twitter asking for work of this nature and...well there just wasn't very much. There were a few beatifully designed websites, and lots of lots of films. 

Since we started our own company and I no longer work for a big ad agency, I've not judged as many advertising awards this year as in the previous few.

The award shows are really helpful, especially if you are prilvileged to be asked to judge, since you get a crash course in all the best work in the world in that category over a few very intense days of viewing & debating.

So I went to look at what won the anachronously named CYBER category at Cannes. 

The Grand Prix Winners were: Volvo Epic Split, Pharrell's 24 HOUR music video for Happy, and The Scarecrow by CAA for Chipotle. 

Notice anything?

They are all films.

One is an ad, plain and simple. One is a very long film. One is a film with an associated game, but the film is what made all the impact. [Did any of the judges play the game? I wonder.] 

Not very interactive. In fact, no role for the user - just for a viewer.

Film has plenty of categories to be awarded in. Indeed Epic Split won in basically every category. Maybe 80s nostalgia, who knows. 

So I was a bit saddened that now the digital category was simply the place for films that were online. It seems to diminish it, for me. The beauty of interactive work was that the user was in the driving seat, as it were.

Sound of Honda won a gold - it's a great use of data and technology, but for most people it can only be viewed as a film. 

Droga picked up a gold for Newcastle Brown Ale's IF WE MADE IT. This was a SuperBowl hijack where the made some - you guessed it - films. Animatics of how they might have made a SuperBowl spot. They made a bunch of these animatics, including a version of the Chobani ad they also worked on. 

British Airways [and BBH/OgilvyOne I think?] won gold for the Magic of Flying. This is a beautiful piece, amazing use of real time data technology to inform a digital billboard. It's great. I love it. It's not interactive. 

All Eyes On S4 won a silver for the excellent HEIMAT for Samsung. It's a wonderul installation piece, where you have to keep your eyes on the phone for 60 minutes and you win it. In Zurich station. Online, you can only watch the film.

You get the idea. I guess I just miss ideas that work on the web, where the user is in control of the interaction. Where everyone gets an interactive experience. 

So, I was really, really pleased, with the Honda piece that came out today: THE OTHER SIDE. Super simple, incredibly beautiful pieces of film, yes, but the user controls the interaction, and it's SUPER FUN. 

Go watch and CLICK

[btw: if you have more good examples please post in the comments. I also liked The EA Giferator and Hashtagmyass of late.]

How Google Works

This is a LOVELY deck about how companies should operate for the modern age from someone who is very qualified to talk about it - Eric Schmidt. 

He points out that previous management styles aren't just poorly suited to it - they are "dead wrong". Most companies are 'slow by design' which is the opposite of what we need to capitalize on an environment where change is accelerating. 

That "smart creatives" need to have technical understanding, business expertise and creativity and that they need to be given freedom. 

That culture is supremely important. 

That strategy is about foundations and iterations not fixed plans. 

That ideas comes from anywhere, not just an 'idea' department. 

It really is very good indeed. The website and the book are now available.

Looks like a great companion piece to Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration [which is brilliant and ESSENTIAL READING FOR everyone running an agency or agency department.] 

Content Is Not King - People Are.

Post structuralist readings of the modern mediascape are my jam.

I have loved Ze Frank since THE SHOW - but now I love him in a whole new way. 

He is supremely qualified to talk about what kind of content spreads.

The depth is in the exchange not necessarily the content.

As I've written about before - stealing from Duncan Watts and Henry Jenkins and many other smart people - you cannot create content that will be successful, that will earn attention, that will be shared. 

You can only create content that has a better chance of being successful. 

Even more so in the stream - where content has many different functions beyond simple consumption.

We use content to communicate, taking pieces of it, re-contextualizing it, and using it to efficiently express ourselves ourselves in the stream. 

So if we want people to share content - brand content for example - we need to consider what people might want to use it for, not just how beautiful or informative or entertaining it is. 

The whole piece is gold. Nature of media and creative and data and that. Watch it. Thank me later. 

[THANKS TO the reliably excellent Mitch Joel for this gem.]

He talks about the different functional typologies that Buzzfeed uses. One is indentity - pieces of content that we relate to based on an identity function, that we share because same. In the case of this piece they made for Purina - the indentity reference is cat ownership.