Please Vote for South By Awesomeness

Beyond Myspace

Please vote for this panel to be included at next year's South By South West Festival.

Using this URL:

[Full disclosure: it's my girlfriend's panel, and she said I could be on it. However I maintain that my bias does not effect my judgment, and saw her speak to the theme at the NY Music Tech meet up, think it will be awesome, and the other speakers will be brilliant.] 

Please also vote for this one, even though I won't be on it:

What do women want in bed? With their laptops, of course. Why are some entertainment platforms better suited for females? We'll explore what women are using and why, providing perspectives for the marketers and brands while providing opportunities for sexy and sophisticated women looking to explore new digital trends.

Because I want the answer to 'technology for women' to no longer be 'make a pink one'.

Voting is open for all the panels until Friday. It will take you literally less than one minute to register. And then SXSW will be more awesome, thanks to you, and I will be very grateful.


RFP or Digital Scavenger Hunt?


One of the my digital brothers in the network sent this my way.

[One of the cool things about being in a huge network is that we can share and learn from each other - I'm reaching out to my digital siblings across the world to see what genius I can steal.]

McCann Istanbul is pitching Turkish Airlines, and they got on to the pitch by finding the pitch brief at the end of a social media scavenger hunt.

Let me explain.

Turkish Airlines wanted to celebrate their love of digital, put prospective partners' love to the test, and, by exposing the pitch process to the world, turn the pitch itself into a teaser campaign, that positions the brand as part of NOW.

So, instead of issuing a traditional RFP, they sent some agencies a social media treasure map: the tag 'thybrief', surrounded by various social media logos.

So across platforms like flickr, tumblr and blogger, clues as to the whereabouts of the pitch brief were hidden.

The team in Turkey followed the clues and cracked the fact that there was a password in the HTML source code of the blog, which got them into the gmail account and google docs, where the pitch brief was waiting.


Like issuing a pitch brief via twitter, this suggests clients are looking to innovate in how they engage partners, and using social media to both facilitate and expose the process.

Lovely Rita Free To Careful Reader


A dude called Jamie from got in touch recently and said he would like you give one of you, the lovely and discerning readers of TIGS, an awesome piece of free furniture.

[This is what does - they sell sweet designery furniture and accessories and that - like this Knoll stuff.]

He seemed like a nice chap and I thought that seemed cool, so we're doing it. Now.

Here's the deal - I chose this bookshelf ribbon thing to give away because READING IS FOR AWESOME PEOPLE, and, you know, you are reading this right now.

In order to make this interesting / useful / fun for more than whoever wins, I thought I'd ask you guys to offer up a little something.

Don't worry it wont hurt, and I'll go first.

Since this is a bookshelf, I'd love for you to tell me, in the comments, what the best book in the world is.

This is obviously a horribly subjective question to answer, so don't think too hard about it.

I shall go first:

The best book in the world is....Stone Junction by Jim Dodge. It describes itself as an alchemical potboiler, and that works for me. If I could make everyone read one book, I'd make them read that.

You don't need a reason, and it can be any kind of book, but later I'll post the whole list of the best books in the world, and then everyone can read something that they otherwise wouldn't have known about.

It's like a TIGS version of the Amazon's recommendation engine, except someone also wins a free ribbon bookshelf. 


Terms and conditions are the is only one winner, decisions are final unless I change my mind, Allmodern will send the bookshelf directly to you, but this is only open to people living in the USA and Canada, because they can't ship stuff any further than right now.

But just because you can't win doesn't mean you can't contribute. In fact, if you do play and can't win, say so in the comments and I will personally send you something. Maybe a book.

Let's say the winner will be chosen and posted and that by Midnight my time next Monday, 29th June.

Best of luck!

I'm sad I can't win. I need a new bookshelf.

APG Awards Aren't Just for Advertising


The APG awards wants YOU.

Because of its heritage in, well, account planning and the fact that account planners mostly reside in larger agencies, the APG awards has tended to be dominated by larger agencies.

But this need not be the case! Anyone can enter, and from any country, so if you have some good strategic, commercially driven thinking you are proud of, it's probably worth a crack.

[A little bird told me that they'd love to see more transmedia ideas. I'm just saying.]

Here are some other things they would like you to know:

The APG awards deadline is on the 1st June. We are seeking non-traditional ad agency thinking - from anywhere! Read on for some answers to some frequently asked questions....

(1) Do the Awards reward non-advertising solutions?
We actively encourage papers concerning solutions that are non-traditional, and last time we saw some fantastic examples. Tate Britain won for an idea which was about the theming of tours (so more NPD than communications). Radio 1 won a special prize for a digital tool called Musicubes. Orange won for creating a piece of content with Frank Lampard that could be downloaded to your phone.
(2) Does my paper have to be for a big, well known campaign?
Not at all. Last time, although Sainsbury’s won the Grand Prix, there were awards for niche campaigns: Gold for Tate Modern and Silver for the Learning Channel. It is not to do with the size of the brand, but to do with the quality of the thinking.
(3) What if all the thinking did not originate in my agency?
Sometimes an agency inherits an idea from another agency, and needs to fit their solution around it. However, it might still be that your have made a valuable strategic contribution. It might be, for example, that you do not take credit for the macro strategy, but your contribution turned on a fascinating channel insight. Or, it might be that you team up with the other agency to create a paper that combines both of your contributions. We would really encourage partnerships, especially given the way most agencies work is increasingly collaborative. Last time, for example, Lucozade Hydroactive was written by both M&C Saatchi and Fast Track. We would love to see more of these in the future.
If you have not yet started on a paper, but would like to, do get going soon! Unlike some other Awards, it really shouldn't take too long to get it written, given that the thinking has already been done.


So come and have a go if you think you are strategic enough, so to speak.

As far as I'm concerned, award shows should be weighted heavily towards 'non-traditional' [if by that we mean new kinds of stuff] work, because we should be using awards to encourage commercially successful and generally ambitious experimentation that will help drive the industry forward.

More on that tomorrow.

Augmented Pencil

Augmented Pencil

As part of our support for The One Show Interactive, we [we being the royal we of McCann NY i.e. not me] made this augmented reality pencil that lets you draw on the screen, to remind ourselves that no matter how in love with technology we are, ideas always start with a pencil.

If you happen to be going to the One Show Interactive awards tonight do come and say hi.

[You can print the AR symbol off the site - but here's what the prettier One Show version looks like.]


SpringFest or Renaissance Planners

This video contains some highlights from the SpringFest we hosted [at McCann NY], in partnership with the research company Brainjuicer.

It was a fun day.

Mark and Grant are always awesome, and I got exposed to some people I had never heard of, like Mitchell Joaquin of Terreform1, who helped concept the future world of Minority Report, and is now trying to build softcars, where the engine is in the wheel and the body isn't made of metal, and is crafting experimental building structure made out of cloned meat on collagen scaffolds.

As I occasionally hint at on TIGS, I think making stuff from lots of different, disparate source material has a stronger likelihood to bring the awesome.

Mitchell created his own field at MIT by combining cities, ecology and mobility, which he calls ecotransology.

{recombinant academia}

We also met Simone Gostra, from SG Partners, an architecture and media practice, that built the world's largest media wall in a way that was self sustaining - absorbing solar energy during the day to power it at night -

[Wait. Hang on. Did you read that? Isn't that just completely awesome? I spoke to Simone and he envisages building covered in photovoltaic skins that trap light and energy, that not only power lighting in the building, but also act as a display wall on the outside. Like in Blade Runner.]

for the Beijing Olympics, using architectural, technological, visual and ecological understanding. 

{recombinant architecture}

The problem with the endless specialisation that Taylorism and Fordism, the division of labour and that, drive us towards is that less and less people are polymath, or glot in some senses, enough to pull different fields together and create new.

Recombinant thinking needs more than T-shaped planning - it needs renaissance planners.

Science + math + art history + literature + linguistics + economics [behavioural, of course] + psychology + technology + design + business + philosophy + media + common sense + being nice = direct route to awesomeness.

[If you'll excuse me, I have some studying to do.]

[UPDATE: This professor at Columbia agrees with me.]

SXSWi Beesphere

Beersphere SXSW

So SXSW is just around the corner, and from what I can gather there are some lovely people from all over the place coming to play.

Whenever there is a confluence of 'awesome people who don't see each other very often and like thinking about the Internet and advertising and like blogs and that' and 'beer' - there the spirit of Beersphere is invoked. Or possibly evoked. Or both.

So thanks to @andyhunter, who decided when and where while I vacillated, we are having a little impromtu Beersphere in Austin.

Whenwhere: 5pm Sunday 15th March, Club Deville in Austin, Texas [which I assume is near the other stuff] - It's on Red River Street - map here.

Why: Because.

Feel free to tweet me @faris if you get lost or aren't sure if the guy with stupid hair and a pint is me [it probably is].

Retail Advertising Conference / Vegas [Baby]

Retail Ad Conf

For the rest of this week I'm going to be in Vegas [Baby] at the Retail Advertising Conference.

I'm speaking tomorrow about social media and that - I'll put the deck up once it's all over.

While I was writing the deck someone twittered in an exasperated gasp - "I don't think we need any more social media presentations!" - which made me feel like I was wasting my time.

But then I remembered that 'we' is a very specific term on twitter, for the moment.

And that most people - the vast majority of all people, including people who work in marketing, the larger we, still aren't on or probably aware of twitter. [Although it feels like that is changing fast].

And that people find technoglorious stuff mostly quite alien and other and scary.

And that it isn't really.

So maybe I wouldn't talk about social media at all really - at least not specifically.

Maybe I'd get rid of that term [which I fear may be unhelpful as long as the word media means "something I buy space in to put my ads" for marketers] and talk about how people and brands behave in spaces where they are equal and being nice and that.

Hopefully the audience will find that interesting or useful.

We shall see.

If you are going to be there come and say hi and we can be social and make media together.

[I'll start using the hashtag #racvegas for the event if people want to say hi that way.]