Monday, June 29, 2009

Hmmm. So what shall we do this week?

Trench Warfare Originally uploaded by [Cardz]

Downsizing continues in tradland, with some good agency friends getting put on a three day week last week. But they're resourceful people, so they're already planning the comeback tour and have several good dates locked in.

Like next Wednesday's 121 Marketing Network monthly informal social meetup. 121 are based at Linkedin and organised by Karina Rose Heavey, who says it's 'a group for Ireland-based Marketing professionals to discuss marketing ideas, industry trends and help people find other marketing experts.'

On Thursday there's a Facebook apps developer workshop happening in the Radisson. Already pretty full, but worth looking at the next one. Why am I going? After all, I expect to model in six inch stilettos and a clingy micro mini for Dolce and Gabbana before I know how to develop a Facebok application. Isn't this getting just a bit nerdy?
Well no. I want to know who to talk to when my clients ask me to creatively reach their female over 55s target. Biggest growing demographic on Facebook right now, and I'd prefer to reach them with an application than a pay-per-click ad.

Online PR in Ireland has a new face too. Become a fan, contribute, listen and observe, because social meeja doesn't really respect that solid thick line you used to be able to marker between pr and advertising.

Two examples of lines blurring are Damien Mulley's piece here about Hennessy doing a Bord Gais with bloggers, and the planned blog-up that WHPR have organised at Ogilvy's offices next Wednesday. Behind-the-scenes look at the making of the latest Bud ad. With pizza. Everybody wants to engage now.

Film production companies too are looking at the future of advertising with a sober acknowledgement of where it's at and a co-operative shoulder-to-the-wheel mentality which is absolutely brilliant to see. I can think of nobody better able to spearhead the issue than Max Brady of MaxFilms. Along with Russ Russell of Russell Curran she's pushing the new message out. Sounds like a great example of like minds working for a common purpose, despite the obvious competitive special interests. I'm all for it and wish them a great second half of '09.

Producers have met to take action in recognition that advertisers’ available budgets have been cut, and that TV production needs to evolve to meet changing needs in the current economic climate. Through industry co-operation, new working practices are to be brought into the production business that makes the production of advertisements, locally, more competitive.

“Ireland has always had a diverse, and very creative, commercials production sector, wrangling smaller budgets into giving higher production standards”,says Russ. “We would hope that the actions we have now taken will assist Irish advertisers, and advertising agencies, to begin spending on TV production again; ensuring the survival of a very unique and atypical sector of the Irish economy, and ultimately helping to contribute towards the survival of our television broadcasters”.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Google loves you, agencyland. It really, really loves you!

I got your fatal error

Well sort of, enough to create an online educational portal because it truly values your juicy relationship with your clients. Here's what Rupal Parekh says in Advertising Age:
The AgencyLand platform, now in beta with select agencies, houses a ton of Google-centric content created for agency staff. Naturally, much of it is focused on digital topics. There are webinars, a searchable library with more than 200 marketing case studies and short, on-demand video segments featuring Google leaders such as Chief Economist Hal Varian. It also aggregates Google's array of ad tools, such as a media-planning tool that connects advertisers and publishers and a website optimizer, which helps measure user behavior on web pages.

Looks sound on the face of it. They got initial buy-in this year from Ogilvy, Initiative, Starcom and Carat to be guinea pigs while it works out the kinks. Testing goes to the next batch round about now, and will include DDB, Group M and BBDO among others. Mr Google himself told me that he hopes to make AgencyLand generally available to agencies late this year.

It's free. It consists of 15-minute training modules, it gets co-branded with an agency's corporate livery, uses some of their exclusive content, shows pics of various agency employees and generally sounds like a mock-up of however many Powerpoint documents you've put together over the years, with your logo in one corner and your prospective-bed-partner new client's logo in the other.

Google will be doing this because they're not evil, they care for you and they want you to thrive in the digital space, of which they inhabit practically every pixel already. Martin Sorrell, a man of no small presence himself, used to call them the 'frenemy' apparently. He's since changed it to froe. Frunny bastard.

Thanks to cityferret at Amber Green for this.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is the advertising agency 'problematic'?

As is the way of the cloud, I discovered Helge Tenno's slideshare via Damien Mulley. The most hooky bit of it for me was a quote Helge used from Jeff Jarvis at the Nokia Ideas Project, which itself is a one-minute lesson in quo vadis for ad people. It should give pause and cause at least some slight gear change. 
Since the Internet is a connection machine, anything creating artificial middle men, preventing companies from connecting directly with their participants, will become problematic. (link)
The obvious screaming question then becomes What do I do? I'm an adman! It merits a longer discussion than this, but the essence of the answer is Upskill, reskill or get the fuck out of the way.

My old company, Grey, used to share an office with Mediacom, its WPP sister and media buying monster. They had a poster on the wall, a big red Mediacom logo with the legend Closer to Clients. I never believed it. Then they closed down. All of the links in this post are important and demand the attention of anyone with an interest in pursuing or even just maintaining a career in advertising.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

Pic by hoskarsson

Internet advertising will  reach 36% of all advertising by 2013, writes Jacquie Bowser in Brand Republic
PricewaterhouseCoopers, in its report into the UK entertainment and media market, said internet ad expenditure grew by 17.1% year on year in 2008 to £3.35bn, an increase of £540m. The increase in advertising would happen over the next five years as digital technologies become increasingly widespread.

Overall, the UK entertainment and media market will experience a 7% decline in revenue from 2008 to 2010, to $85bn. Following this low, the market is set to flourish, increasing to $98bn in 2013.

However, the only segments that will be larger in 2013 than in 2008 are internet access, internet advertising, TV subscriptions and license fees, filmed entertainment and video games. Revenues in 2013 from television advertising, newspaper publishing, business-to-business publishing and consumer magazine publishing are all expected to be lower than in 2008.

Now I'm not one to stir up trouble. Much. And anyway, the UK is so very far away after all. And 2013 is a ridiculously unimaginable spandex-wearing futurespace. Plus didn't PricewaterhouseCooper tell us that Ireland Inc was tickety boo there a year or two ago?

Nah. Forget I mentioned it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I scream! You scream! We all scream! Etc!

One incredible benefit has resulted from my job loss last year. I have met dozens of new and interesting people. Many of them are that most magical of get-up-and-go things: entrepreneurs! God, I even love the fucking sound of the word.


Let me not disappear too far up my own fundament, because this post is canvassing for a refreshingly different party. It's being organised by one of the sweetest success stories of these days. Ice Cream Ireland are the guys behind Murphy's Ice Cream. They're Murphys, and they make ice cream. Go find out all about them. (And take special note of how they are marketing their product. Social Media Summa Cum Laude, these guys.)

So. If you're in Dublin and can slide away from the office an hour early this Friday, go sample some of their amazing new creations at The Powerscourt Centre. I'll be there with an armload of freezer bags and I'll execute every last murphyfurphyn one of you if you try to stop me...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Training Day

There is no scarcity of ways to upskill in Social Media.

Essentially it's what you do already if you're any good at your job. Think Facebook. Put yourself at the centre of a web of can-ness and provide your client with fresh options for fresh times. As a copy and content writer, I have personally seen two blog start-ups for well-known Irish brands in June alone. I have no idea how many others are out there getting ready to sail. Question is, are any of them yours?

If they are and you're not involved, you should at the very least turn the safety catch of those twin barrels pointing at your foot to the On position. For starters.

Exhibit A.
This weekend Greenhouse Incubator in Limerick held a conference on how to use social media to market your business. I couldn't be there but I followed it on Twitter via my mobile. While my four year old 'played' hurling with our local club in the glorious Dublin sunshine, I marvelled at what new avenues technology has given to us. Evert Bopp is the grey matter behind Greenhouse and he should be applauded for its dynamism in the midst of an apparent media blackout on positive push stories.

Exhibit B.
The Irish Internet Association is running two programmes this month of high relevance to meercatting people. On June 17th they will be featuring the Nobel Laureate of Online Marketing, Krishna De. Krishna will cover the relevance and practicalities of Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter for business people.
A week later on June 25th she'll also present a half day course on blogging for business.

Exhibit C.
The market is about nothing if not competition. And competition begets choice. Covering much the same ground as the seminars above, runs Social Media Unspun on July 23rd. You can figure it out from the title, yes?

There you go. Fair warning. I know a bunch of people in advertising who will be clued in to these events already, but the number is as far away from industry tipping point as Angelina Jolie is from signing that Beschoffs Batterburger contract.

POSTSCRIPT: One of the presenters from Greenhouse, Campbell Scott, commented below with a link to his presentation. I wouldn't want you to miss it, so click here to see the whole thing. It'll take a minute of your time. And as well as turning you on to some of the entrepreneurial marketing that's out there, it'll make you puke at the thought of all the boring zedfests of powerpoint pitches you've made prospective clients stay awake through. Lack of brevity is the source of shit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mad Avenue Blues

David McWilliams picked me up no fucking end today. He's off gadding about on his next Breakfast Roll Decklander juggernaut of clichés-in-waiting, but he could still find the time to twinkle piss on the green shoots of my positivity. Thank fuck for the 140 character limit to Twitter or else I might've really got the thrust of what EconosseurMan meant. See what the fuck I just did there? Maybe we can ALL become Phraseologists of Doom™ and make a nice packet faffing around the globe with a film crew and a group pass for the local youth hostel and an amazing almanac of allegorical alliteration. The Moral of the Mayan Meltdown?Where does his indefatigable energy come from? Can NOBODY downsize me of this meddlesome monarch of monetary mooning?

Here, I didn't even mean to vent my spleen on him. Sorry David. Nothing personal, ya gent. :) You just didn't help today. I lost my iPhone contacts too, which helped a whole lot less. But anyway. I digress yet again. There is positivity everywhere. Just not here this week. And ok, we have mountains to climb. But that's what mountains are for.

And seeing as you're already down, here's a nine minute twenty one second wonder that's funny, then eight minutes too long. You don't have to watch it all. But that doesn't mean it won't come up on the exam paper, shitheads.*

* Yes I do have an irrational mind picture of me facing two grey-suited interviewers as they pore intently over a very long list of the bad language that I have liberated into the swearyverse. And yes I do know that I won't be feeling so darn funny if it ever happens. But let me tell you now from the comfort and privacy of my own blog, those two grey-suited gentlemen are nothing but motherfuckers, from a long line of similar.

POSTSCRIPT: The interweb has exacted its revenge, and within five hours. That nice man McWilliams tweeted me and was nothing but gracious and now I feel bad for tirading on his ass. But with a small adjustment I shall let my words stand, as a testament to my own rash fucking mouth. Er, fingers. Mind. Whatever. Oh fuck off.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Career strategy for ad agency personnel

My friend Esther* wants to move and can't find a job as an art director in New York. She's pretty good too, has a great mind for travelling straight lines in sticky-on-the-memory creative curves, from the single-minded proposition through to the mounted billboard. But nobody gives a shit about that anymore, because the only openings have that word digital in front of them. It's driving Esther crazy. It's onomatopoeic like a box of hornet, with a high-pitched znnnng! that will walk her into a gun store one of these hot afternoons. Just don't be the next big agency cd who makes a moue with your mouth when you're looking at her book. Not on that day.

Esther's story is an old one. The changing of the guard. She already works with an ad agency, btw. One that appears, on the surface, to be doing quite well. But she's aware in the bones of her that it isn't. One or two questioning remarks drifting down from meetings. She can pick it up in the disinterested body language of the clients sitting in reception too. The chrome around the receptionist's desk is a gazillion miles away from Google. They'll have Bing by Christmas no doubt, but it won't be the MS one.

Anyway, enough of the corny. She'll transfer relatively easily because she wants to get it and is willing to learn. Her employer will find it more difficult, through sheer dint of scale and the possibly greater problem of unwillingness to engage with the present, let alone the future. Their new website, not linked to here, is sufficient unto the day, they believe. They're not blogging. They're not using social sites for anything practical as far as I can see.

I have charted a graph of their growth opportunities in the medium to long-term. If you have an analytical mind you can read the future potential growth of traditional analogue agency opportunity here.

*Esther isn't Simon's real name.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

O2 and Samsung Tocco supporting Irish Autism

O2 and Samsung are well capable of promoting themselves, but I'd like to post this to support the tireless Lisa at Irish Autism Action.

She's got two incredible kids with autism herself, yet despite the 27 or so hours she devotes to them every day, she also finds time to do stuff like help loads of other special needs groups and she fundraises like Billy-o for the autie cause.

The latest push comes with the kind assistance of O2 and Samsung. For every Samsung Tocco Sold In O2 stores during the month of June, €10 will be going to Irish Autism Action Charities in your area.

If you ARE in the market in Ireland for a smartphone, maybe you could possibly consider putting the Samsung Tocco on the shortlist. And if you're not, perhaps you could spread the message to anyone you know who might be.

If you want to find out what that support means from the perspective of someone with autism, Lisa's blog post says it rather nicely. Please support her essential (and usually unsung) work if you can.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'll give you viral!

Next person who tells me they're putting up a 'viral' on that YouTube, I suggest they carry a little medical warning card for the A&E staff, explaining that the word, when used incorrectly, caused an explosion of rage in the person they were talking to and yes, an x-ray will confirm that that is a smartphone up there.

Sorry. Had to get that out. Now, a little on video content.

This has been happening around the edges for a while. It looks like a useable model for YouGoog to make money off, and it certainly represents a penetrating possibility for global brands. The stars of YouTube have been getting jiggy with some of these brands, making ads for them and pushing their creative work out into the world. I really don't know how to say this next part but it's, um, really hard to see where the, like, ad agency fits in here?

If you're unaware of who or wtf YouTube stars are, here are just three.

Of themselves they don't represent fabulous numbers, of course. Sexy old Matt Cooper probably reaches more than any of them directly. But that's missing the point of the true meaning of viral.
Pay attention now. In many, many ways this is the money shot. Virability (which is a word I just invented that neatly fuses viability and- oh you got that did you? Well fuck you, smartie pants.) makes this first of the concentric rings merely the smallest one. The next one to ripple out is wider by far. And so on, until the rings disappear and the campaign has run its usefulness.

Sanyo is pushing its new digi camera on YouTube by using iJustine, Lisa Nova and others to shoot their own ads that show off the spec. From Adweek:
"These cameras allow people to be more creative," said Tom Van Voy, vp of audio visual products sales of Sanyo. "We're reaching a part of the community that can fully utilize the capabilities the camera can offer."
The video I've embedded below has had 2.5 million views, and Lisa is just one of eight acts to be pushing the camera. Her ad is almost 3 mins long and tells me tons about the camera and if I'm to be totally honest I didn't even know I was being played the first time I saw it. Not that it mattered, because I loved the content and I came back again. But I surprised myself with how many geeky points about the camera I'd actually remembered.

Think about it. You're not constrained by a 30" airtime budget. You have way more freedom of expression. And slowly, as this campaign shows, the science is creeping in to placement. Measurement will legitimise everything. Hell, do you think Google would have it any other way?

Next up to try the same approach is Carl's Jr., the US burger king (sorta), who are letting nine YouTube channelistas make their own ads for Carl's Six Dollar Burger. The brief ? Tell how you eat a burger and mention the product by name. Watch this space.