Tuesday, March 30, 2010

About the death of the blog

 Many thanks to snapper du soir Rymus for the pic.

A whole lot of Irish blogs have been celebrating, dissecting, bitching about and bitching about the Irish Blog Awards, held on Saturday last in Galway. Very nearly didn't happen, as the CPSU had staged a drunken sit-in in the spartan Marxist surroundings of the Radisson Blu the night before, but once the funeral march for The Death of Irish Blogging™ began there was no stopping the bloggernaut.

Every year the event gets bigger and more commercially relevant, as a glance at the sponsor list will confirm. Heads like WHPR, Microsoft Ireland, Bord Bia, Lastminute.com and twice as many more get involved just to rub shoulders with a bunch of bedroom-dwelling dweebs, of course. Not for the fact that the world of Irish bloggers is just bloggers of the world in Ireland. If you get me.

Anyhoo, the catfighting about winners aside there's a full list of them here. Fantastic achievements from all. Many thanks to Fr Damien Mulley and the team for a sensitive and loving send-off to the lamented blogosphere. Not quite sure why it needs a bigger venue every year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remember when your info channels used to close down?

Found on Glue chap Andy Kinsella's blog, via a tweet from Digital Times. Kids today, don't know they're etc etc.

Monday, March 22, 2010

'Advertisers should fear Twitter and Facebook more than regulators'

Interesting viewpoint from the global head of comms giant Havas in the Guardian last Friday.
David Jones, the global chief executive of Havas Wordwide, has warned that advertisers who market their brands as socially responsible should fear "inherently negative" social media such as Twitter and Facebook more than getting ad campaigns banned by regulators.

Jones said that with the rise of social media, with which many companies are still grappling, brands should be more worried about consumers than trying to outmanouevre the regulator.

"Social media is inherently a more negative than a positive medium on many levels," he added. "Lots of stuff that is passed around is negative. If you are a brand or a company today you should be far less worried about broadcast regulations than digitally empowered consumers. What is an ASA sanction versus a [negative] sanction from a couple of million people if you are not authentic?"

'Surely he's being a bit melodramatic,' thought I to myself. 'It's not quite that vicious, is it?' Then, with consummate irony on the timing front, Néstle found itself in a whole Facebook of trouble over its supplier policies in Indonesia. That wasn't the touchpaper however. Having an idiot at the controls of the Facebook page was what provoked a storm of negative howls.

First off, a fairly cocky status statement greets you:

Ok, so far so not exactly shiniest practitioner of good community relationships. And pretty soon it gets called out on the attitude by Paul:

Ok, nobody's throwing stuff around so far. This is now the moment where a cool head will decide how things go from here.

Ouch! Way to show the customer who's always right, Nestlé. Firm, firm, firm hand at the controls. We like it! But Paul ain't going away.

Take that, you big multinational you, and rethink! Which they did!

Oh no they diint!
Oh yes they diid!! They just told him that he was as irrelevant as the on average eight insect legs per  bar that end up in the choccie vats, allegedly. With more pithiness than I can muster here, somebody later on in the thread said 'Well, the chocolate's hit the 93,000 fans now' or something similar. Sorry I can't find it now for proper attribution, but the thread is very, very, very long by this stage and will be having a massive impact on the company. I'm frankly amazed that there's no real sign of moderation from what is, after all, the world's biggest nyom conglom. I did find an apology of sorts in there too, but am curious as to why they bothered.

The floodgates are ripped off at the hinges long since, and the well meaning complaints and the cranks and everything in between are going full tilt through Nestlé like prune juice. Their nut clusters are in such a vice right now that it will have some sort of impact on share price, I don't doubt. And while obviously at the heart of this is a very sore point about how they go about their ingredients gathering in our super-connected world, it still got kick started with a rookie mistake. Control of the FB page was given to someone who should not have been entrusted with the brand's reputation on the two-way street.

This is what Havas head honcho Jones meant when he spoke about fearing the negativity of online interfaces like Twitter and Fb. Oh boy is it ever.

I wait with huge interest to see what Nestlé's next move will be. Last word with Paul, and this is still on the host's fan page. (Numbers of fans still growing, it is noted.)

The Last Advertising Agency on Earth

The last agency? Really? It seems flip and simplistic, but judging from the small handful of trad advertising agencies who take it seriously enough to try to do something about it, it isn't that unlikely. It happened to a me I know, but only once. Thanks to Damien Mulley for sifting it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frito Lay Dips takes over the Vimeo page

A long time ago I worked with Pizza Hut and those guys knew how to obsess about food shots. I wouldn't normally ask animation to make food appealing, but when it uses the medium as well as Frito Lays do here it somehow scores above where it should've, adding an extra little ingredient of magic along the way.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The medium is not the message

There's an inherent danger to working online. I don't mean stalkers or trojans or ill-advised pics/comments on Facebook (that modern equivalent of the office party/photocopier/alcohol interface). I mean the danger of forgetting that the medium is not the message.

Watchfulness applies to people like me especially. More and more of what I write is specifically, if not exclusively, for online use. I'm surrounded by people who are in the same position. Journalists, media commentators, broadcasters, advertisers, marketers and entrepreneurs. Companies too. The net result is one constant information flow, a lovely jubbly Dow Jones ticker tape that never stops, and access to it is universal. We all rush to investigate the latest applications in social media. The local news rumours and stories fly quickly, get verified or scotched within minutes and it's all quite chummy, even when arguments break out. As they frequently do

It has its own heady and self-satisfying effect, I find. But like Gollum, you fondle the shiny things for too long at your peril. The marketing mantra remains the same: the medium is not the message.
I'm convinced that it's an age thing. I clearly remember when a fax machine was the absolute razor's edge of tech empowerment for the office. It's not really surprising, is it, that the wow factor of Chatroulette (or insert your own recent online thing discovery here), how it can start and what it ends up being used for, will never be lost on a guy of my vintage.

For an entire generation of kids however, the shiny toys were always there. They never didn't know mobile phones. If Foursquare (or insert your own recent online thing discovery here) is to have any relevance for them, the marketing department needs to allow it to continue the conversation they're having around it, without the tool itself being a distraction. It reminds me of something Martin Scorsese said years ago. Once you've drawn the viewer's attention to what you just did as the director, you've ruined the magic.

Paul Dervan recently wrote about a book that analyses the teen market and how it operates online. One of the subcategories the authors break it down to is Geeking. But as Paul says,
'Geeking' should not be confused with 'geeks'. The authors explain that these are not 'geeks' as we might know the term - but rather kids very enthusiastic about a particular hobby. For example, they could even be sports nuts. And this is not really about digital for the sake of it. It just happens to be their way to get into their hobby and the online communities around it.
I keep a few geeks, real geeks, in view at all times. I can tell that they are because nineteen tweets out of twenty I have no earthly idea what they're talking about. But they move through this online medium with the ease of talcum-powdered ferrets because it's what they've always done. They produce online games, platforms and applications and they're younger than me. Much. I keep them close to remind myself of the mantra. Medium not message. They have loads to teach an old dino like me. They don't care about Facebook per se. It's just allowing them to pass notes to each other.

Meanwhile, because it's ultra-multi-media and great fun, there's this from Heineken Iddly.

Heineken İtaly Activation from Kreatif360 on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Digital Misfitz and Digital Landscapes

March 2nd, and Digital Misfitz had their latest event in space@rothco. A very full room of (mostly young) advertisingy types to hear about digitality from the marketing/media perspective. In their own words, 'Digital Misfitz brings together artists, creative minds and industry specialists through events on topics surrounding digital technology specifically in relation to advertising.'

Declan Kennedy from Facebook app developers Betapond did the sales bit for the new Big Blue, Mark Little did the 'the world is changing faster than my presentation' bit and Suzanne Fitzgerald very ably pulled the entire thing together, with sponsors and helpers from advertisingland, including Smirnoff, who obviously had alco-response wifi receptors built into the skulls of the student hordes from DCU and DIT. 
Interesting to see the coalescence of disciplines around low-key but well
managed events like this. Great attendance, very relaxed and people do seem to be putting ideas into their own heads about taking a very malleable medium and shaping it to find new ways of communicating.
On the Digital Misfitz fanpage you'll find the entire evening's content (minus the alcohol. Pesky students.) I'd post some of the video here but Facebook doesn't do house calls. You must become a fan of.


At the five-course end of the spectrum, the students from the Smurfit Business School were only sipping orange juice at 7.40 am (AM!!) in UCD for the half day conference on how to apply the web to your business. The panels were top-tier stuff and the chair, Professor Damien McLoughlin, terrified the assembled audience of business types by telling them with great frequency that they should be terrified. If you wanted a complete overview of how Ireland must work as part of a world economy and concentrate on quality, not 'the biggest' anything, the speakers here were the people to be listening to.

The round-up included Chris Horn, Google's John Herlihy, Colm Long of Facebook, HP's MD Martin Murphy, Kim Majerus of Cisco, Eamonn Fallon, co-founder of Daft.ie, Damien Mulley, Dylan Collins of Jolt Online Gaming and boards.ie co-founder John Breslin. It was a wide-angled presentation, but a quick look at the Tweets from the morning has some terrific bite-sized zingers from the speakers.

What Mashable reported from John Herlihy's speech on the importance of mobiles here.
The big brain end of things here. Chris Horn on the similarities of feedback loops, positive and neg, for engineers or businesses.