Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tapping Creativity: The New Model For Advertising

Fostering an online environment that rallies the creative type is gaining momentum. Online creative competitions don't exactly have large creative shops worried but maybe they should. I wonder how the post digital traditional agency is being challenged by these services that connect clients with a pool of motivated creative talent. A lot of agencies would laugh at the idea, but there's something to be said about tapping the talent of hungry creatives and brand enthusiasts.

Since Doritos asked its consumers to create a TV ad that aired during the super bowl, companies have been jumping on the bandwagon asking their consumers to create content. Most of it has resulted in an enormous pile of b-rated advertising. It's yielded a lot of work that is either off brief or amateurishly executed, but I recently came across a site that has polished its process and just may have a shot at creating the kind of content that matters.
Design 21 is a social design network that uses its website to host a variety of competitions. It enables designers, art directors, copy writers and creative thinkers to select projects and submit work. It's organized well and I'm most impressed with the briefs (here's one for FSC) and amount of planning to set up these projects. They also have an interactive forum enabling participants to vote on designs and view the winners and finalists. The ideas and creative work certainly spans a wide range of talent and experience, but a lot of it has been surprisingly impressive.

I think their model is a lucrative idea for a few reasons. First off they take advantage of
the accessibility of tools like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Creative Suite. These products are making it easier for motivated individuals to create high quality deliverables with relative ease. More importantly, it harnesses the creative ideas of product enthusiasts and key influencers. These are the people who are dedicated to a product and stand at the epicenter of the brand and they have the best chance of describing it well to others. Or maybe you're of the persuasion that brands will start marketing themselves....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Culture Is Shaped By the Marketing World

This is an annoying observation but there are a lot of smart and influential marketers who shape the way we think about our culture. Since good ideas come from good ideas I wanted to share the blogs that inspire me. Here's a list of the top 150 marketing blogs as defined by a Twitter search.

There are a lot that I didn't recognize, but here are my favorites:
Noah Brier -
Russell Davies- http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/
Seth Godin - http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Faris Yakob - http://farisyakob.typepad.com/

Telling a great story

We all love pretty pictures and it's the reason why interactive media is so successful. Here's a great model created by New York Times to illustrate and explain how US Airways Flight 1549 went down and was rescued. This news model packs a powerful punch. It's informative, visually stimulating and an efficient system for delivering content.

Friday, January 16, 2009

planned / perceived obsolescence

We live in a consumer world and as much as I'm annoyed by it I have to admit I'm caught up in it. I'm over the phase of disposing every possession I own like Chris McCandless from Into the Wild, but I still think that our culture needs to do some re-evaluation. Michael Moore is pretty famous for saying media breeds fear and leads us to security through consumerism. The US loves shopping and watching TV, in fact the story of stuff video describes how US culture is defined by the "work, watch, shop treadmill." What's most interesting about their video is how business has designed products for planned obsolescence.

Innovation fatigue plagues our culture. In fact the streets of San Francisco are riddled with discarded technology; TV's, computers and fax machines line our curbs. We're buying new products so quickly we don't know what to do with the old ones. Don't get me wrong, the problem here isn't innovation, in fact I'm proud to be at the forefront and like being an influencer. The problem is that companies design products for obsolescence. The film makes a great point, a vast majority of products are designed for disposal when it's very possible to swap out parts instead of discarding an entire item. Cuba's Yank Tank industry is a great example of being resourceful in an effort to conserve materials.

I think we need to rethink how we design products to expand their lifestyle and create a more sustainable and responsible way to be consumers. I have an elementary school science teacher who is convinced that automotive companies purchased the patents for materials that would make cars extremely safe and nearly industructable. He claims that insurance companies wouldn't have a purpose if the technology was used and I think the same applies to the consumer goods industry. What if we made computers that allowed us to swap out old motherboards or appliances made replacement parts readily accessible?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Citizen Journalism

I knew about the plane crash on the Hudson 30 minutes before CNN & NYtimes posted it on their website because of Twitter and was able to discover more using their search feature. There's more value than people give credit in this service that increases the ability to share information

Twitter enables search, but does anyone know of a Twitter current events page or application? It seems like there's a continued need to use Twitter to link the little guy to the mainstream. Or maybe Twitter will start making money by selling friends.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Make TV

I've attended the past 2 Maker Fairs and it's been an amazing resource for engineers and innovators. As DIY culture goes mainstream Make's is broadening their audience and have released their first episode of a series called Make TV. This first episode highlights Cyclcide who supplied creatively constructed bikes that we rode at the Maker Fair and Coachella. Subscribe to their content, I'm sure it will be a good source of creative inspiration.

Maker Profile - Cyclecide from make magazine on Vimeo.

Brand Control

Wonder why we're such a consumer culture? Maybe marketers have been one step ahead of consumers in understanding the science of marketing. This study has a few good insights into how brands permeate our subconscious.

"Brand choice turns out to be a largely unconscious process," says Tjaco Walvis, who led the one-and-a-half-year study. "But in that process, the brain behaves much like Google. It seems to use a set of rules called an algorithm to pick the brand from our memory that best and most reliably fits our functional and emotional needs at that particular moment. It behaves rationally, but in an unconscious way."

Based on the study, Mr. Walvis concludes that the brain's "algorithm" for brand choice has three elements.

Firstly, the brain selects the brand it has learned is best able to satisfy our biological and cultural goals. We unconsciously select the brand that is the most uniquely rewarding, based on its associations with our goals and the brain's reward centers (e.g. the dopamine system).

Secondly, the brain selects the brand that has shown most frequently in the past that it is able to fulfill these needs. Coherent brands that repeat their promise are more likely to be chosen. Volvo, Coca-Cola and Disney are examples of coherent brands.

Thirdly, the brain selects the brand it has interacted with most intensely in the past. Brand participation creates numerous new connections in our brain, facilitating that brand's retrieval. Nike Plus is an example of strong participation concept.

Brain Works Like Google, New Study Finds - Metals News.com