Sunday, 1 March 2009

Thursday, 15 January 2009

quality adwords

(click to enlarge)

and generally quality campaign: TV, site, facebooktwitter.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

like glowing ants

This is global air traffic in a 24 hour period as captured by satellite (and they all seem to be going to London.)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

google new year

The genius of Google’s advertising is that it doesn’t look like advertising while probably doing a better job than most advertising. It’s so functional, so straight-up. It doesn’t even feel like false altruism where you know that your wallet will have to appear at some point. It’s just lovely, simple and it perpetuates the use of Google.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

what's digital and why you should apply

Something I did for the folks over at AdGrads.

100 percent digital

It might be overstated (there’s probably always going to be the “‘bed, bog, bath’ element”) but Mr Billingsley’s comment is almost certainly right: we’re going to be digital advertisers because the world is now digital, and getting more so.

What does all this digital malarkey mean for people looking to get into the communications business and, before we look at that, what does digital mean anyway?

One of the lovely insights of Dare’s grad video – where the parents of Dare folk gloriously fail to define what their children do – is that pinning it down is tricky.

Part of its slipperiness is that things just keep shifting. Facebook was born in 2004, YouTube in 2005, Twitter in 2006, the App Store in 2008 etc. The only constant is change.

The other thing about ‘digital’ is that it’s polysemous – it has multiple meanings. 

It’s used to refer to electronic media (web, screens, mobiles, ipods, nike+ shoes etc) but also, and more importantly, the behaviours those media have unleashed and fed: interaction.

There’s an important difference there that Jeremy Bullmore expressed perfectly in Campaign when he said,

all about interactivity

There are two important things there for grads trying to get into the industry. The first is, “whose roof”?

Most of you will have been concentrating on the big above-the-line ones. That’s a good bet for a digital future as long as that ATL agency gets digital, which means they aren’t just talking about it, they’re doing it  (hmm, a black sheep has just popped into my head.)

On the other hand, another good bet are the agencies whose best is yet to come: the digital ones, primed as they are to thrive in the coming digital ecosystem.  

And now for the second important bit of Mr Bullmore’s quote: if you’re worried about applying to a digital agency because it’s got the word digital in it, don’t be: as he says, it’s not really about tech, it’s about interactivity.

And what's that? It's spreading the intelligence more evenly between people who make stuff and people who consume it. Sometimes it’s only a little, sometimes it’s a lot

This interactivity let’s you do a lot more than you can at your typical traditional ATL agency. Or to reunite that idea with its owner:

we are not an advertising agency

I think that's really exciting (and Mr Tait has 9 more great reasons digital is better for those interested). In digital you’re unshackled from just doing TV, print and radio to all sorts of exciting things like sitesapplicationsblogsgamesbranded contentwidgetspodcastssocial things and experimental stuff And a lot of this (not all) is actually useful to people; it's additive rather than interruptive

In my experience grads tend to think of digital as something on-the-sidey and techy. Maybe it once was. Now it ain’t. Technology is so ubiquitous, so ‘ready-to-hand’, that it’s becoming invisible and when that happens it gets socially interesting. In other words, technology and culture used to be separate, increasingly they are the same (look what you're doing now.)

It’s a brilliant time to get into an industry that’s only going to grow (even in these tough times) and that’s much more about interesting interactive ideas than it is about tech.

Go on, apply!

Obviously I am biased but this would be a good place to start...

(For those wanting more, I suggest you have a play in here, read this, canoe back up this and maybe watch this. That should be enough to be getting on with.)

Monday, 10 November 2008

a good, good guide

GoodGuide is great. It helps you find healthy, safe and green products. And - most importantly - it's now available on the iPhone. The fact that it's on the iPhone isn't the important bit. It's that it can be used at the point of purchase, which I'd imagine impinges much more on buying decisions than the memory of the site from home or work.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


Hit 50,000 hits today on Flickr for digitalbites and not much else happened so I thought it was worth a post. Good times.

Friday, 7 November 2008

getting creepy

New technologies can look like magic. That's Douglas Adams speaking.

But magic comes in two shades: black and white (which if the last posts are anything to go by seems to be a minor obsession at the moment).

The black stuff indicates some dark intention; the white stuff a benevolent effect.

New tech goes the same way. Phorm looks black. Genius looks white. But, in essence, they both do the same thing: use our data to sell more effectively.

And there's going to be a load more black technologies as the web breaks out and evolves into an Internet of Things.

Throw into the mix that data capture will get a whole lot smarter not only because of new ways of getting it (through GPS, RFID, accelerometers and the like [SPIME devices]) but because our increasing desire for personalisation means absolute transparency (that's Kelly), and you have some really quite creepy tech around the corner.

Stuff that knows about YOU. Where YOU are. What YOU like. Maybe even why YOU like it - and tense changes of all those. It's gonna get freaky.

The challenge is to tweak and present these technologies from having a perceived dark purpose (I don't really think Phorm does) to being understood as benevolent. We need to fuzz them up.

art from code

from here

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Friday, 17 October 2008

clients paying agencies to advertise agencies

So the FT will shortly be running ads to warn against slashing ad budgets. Says Frances Brindle, FT's Global Marketing Director, "There is considerable evidence to suggest that companies that continue to invest in advertising in tough times emerge stronger than those that don't." 

It's all correct but there's just something lovely about clients paying an agency to advertise agencies.

turn left where the telephone box used to be

Thought it might be nice to record the Stage 1 IPA talks for selfish future referencing and for anyone else interested. They are a series of talks that aim to cover some of the essential truths of the communications industry. My posts will be pithy and I'll add bits in sometimes, esp. if there's a jump-off to psychology.

The first one was by industry legend Jeremy Bullmore. Here's his talk, triple-distilled:
  • A man asks for directions to a shop in a small town. The postman tells hims to go up the road and turn left where the telephone box used to be.

    Why has the postman failed in his communication? Because he makes the assumption that the listener knows what he knows. Or rather, he fails to appreciate the listener's knowledge is not the same as his. This lacks a word in English but it's something like empathy. Psychologists, however, do have a term for this faculty, theory of mind. Using clever methods - like the Sally/Anne task - it is possible to see this mental trick coming online around the age of four in developmentally typical children. Autistics never master this. The point: communicators need a theory of mind - or the ability to see events through the eyes of those they are communicating to - in order to be successful.

  • Passive audiences were never passive. Audiences have always actively understood communications, it's just that before digital they never had a way to express it; digital makes stuff that has always happened explicit.

  • There are no such things as messages. There are stimuli and responses. 

  • The best creativity elicits the best contribution from the receiver (the artist rules his subjects by turning them into accomplices)

  • There is no dichotomy between creativity and effectiveness in communications. Effectiveness is the end; creativity is the means.

  • Advertising creativity makes client's money go further. Anything outside of that definition is not creativity.

  • Brand body language is what people read. When the body language doesn't match the communication, there's a problem. 

  • Good brands make you feel safe, they release you from anxiety (mostly likely because of problems with information in market economies)

digital britian

"Our ambition is to see Digital Britain as the leading major economy for innovation, investment and quality in the digital and communications industries. We will seek to bring forward a unified framework to help maximise the UK's competitive advantage and the benefits to society." 

Stephen Carter, UK Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting

clarity crunch

"My favorite time to manage is during a bust. It brings more clarity about what your customers need and what your priorities should be."
Sergey Brin

Thursday, 16 October 2008

i love data layering

...especially if it's in 3D.