We all know that the music business has a problem with illegal downloads. For example legal downloads of In Rainbows were far exceeded by illegal torrent downloads of the album. Almost 400,000 illegal torrent downloads were made on the first day and 2.3m in the 25 days following the album’s release, compared with a full-week’s peak of just 158,000 for the next most popular album of the period (source).
And there is a whole generation growing up without paying for music. And not seeing anything wrong in that.
What interests me is how slow the TV industry is responding to essentially the same issue. iplayer is all fine for the BBC which doesn't work on an advertiser funding model, but commerical media companies have a problem; people (in the UK) watching a US produced TV show often don't want to wait even a day longer than people in the USA to watch the latest episode. And when they can jump online and download a bit-torrent or stream the latest episode through any number of sites, why would they then watch it later when it's broadcast on UK TV?
People are often surprised when they learn that I work in advertising, but I don't own a TV. But I don't see why I should when I can't get what I want, when I want; whereas I can get every episode of all my favourite shows instantly online, and see new epsiodes at the same time as my friends in other countries. I would pay for them, or view them streamed with ads - except most US companies only make their shows downloadable from US itunes or from Hulu or similar which block non-USA IP addresses. So of course, I don't end up paying, but watch ripped versions instead. I know I'm not the only one. US media companies are losing millions of dollars by being short-sighted and trying to protect their big deals with UK media companies. Both are going to lose out in the long-term.
TV production companies and media owners need to wake up fast and realise they are living in a global world that is instantly connected, and that if they want to earn their buck they need to treat everyone, everywhere the same, and serve everyone fast. Or someone else will - for free
People cited online ads from 888.com, Dulux, Ford, Garnier, Halifax and L’Oreal as being particularly annoying or intrusive.
Source: 2008 Research by Opinion Matters among 1,046 adults aged 16+.
One of the most interesting things he says is that he believes most elements of the marketing mix, besides social media, have become more transactional. Social media has the most strategic importance, and is being used to "power the fundamentals of the business", and he cites examples like customer certified solutions and ideastorm as examples of how they are listening to and harnessing people power to make their business better.
He also noted that when the BBC interviews him the first thing they ask is 'can they podcast this?', whereas newpaper reporters still turn up with paper and pen. Which led to this, which I thought was apt...
This is wonderful! The bench is 'designed' to prevent loitering, but people find a way around that.
From this very through provoking talk...
You can read more about Design with Intent here.
Two things I have learnt.
1. I like to think in my head, not write stuff down.
2. I want something simpler than a blog to collect interesting stuff, but not just something that bookmarks links.
photo from here
Doesn't this make you long for the freedom of the open road...and a Harley?
People can upload their own creeds here. The Harley-Davidson site is an awesome example of a brand that understands its customers, and delivers interesting and useful content; I dig the rider maps, planner and the rider education courses. Everything just fits the brand perfectly.
This quote comes from a leaked memo Schultz sent to his CEO. It's a fascinating and clear analysis of the way a number of supposedly small changes, made to increase efficiency as Starbucks grew, have collectively robbed Starbucks of all the important things people loved about the brand and the store.
Off on holiday on Friday. Starting off in Glasgow so thought I'd kick-off with an iToor.
They say, "Do you want to tap into the essence of a city? Delve into the spirit of a community? Grasp the magic of a particular street? Comprehend the legacy of a particular structure?...[itoors acts as] your personal escort, your friend with the inside scoop, your portal to travel as an artform."
Beyond the flowery language you get high quality, relavant travel programmes on your mp3 player, for a whole range of cities, with content from carefully chosen sponsors.
For Glasgow there are 2 iToors that both sound great.
They also have a nice set of del.icio.us links.
I’ve been interested in semacode for a while. It seems like such a great idea: condense a webpage url down to a small square of code that can be snapped with a mobile camera phone; the software on the phone automatically decodes the semacode and takes you to the webpage.
So, for example a Harry Potter book on Amazon has the following web address...
A bit long winded to stick on a poster or flyer and expect someone to type it into their phone or remember it by the time they get home.
But turn it into semacode and you have...a black and white square sematag.
But there are so many uses for this beyond immediate sales or vouchering. It's a great chance to bring the story of a product right to consumers at the point of decision. You could add these to the back of bottles of wine to take people instantly to a site where they can read about the growers and wine region. Because the semacode design is so simple and scaleable, you can do interesting things like set the lights of a skyscraper's window to create a giant semocde that people can see for miles around.
One other interesting use is in hyperlinking geographical locations. The main project for this is semapedia. Here you create a semacode link toa wikipedia page about a geographical location. then go and stick the code up at the location for passers-by to interact with. Quite a nice way to find out what a statue is all about, or what happens in a building.
Back in March, Edelman hosted a breakfast seminar with Jeff Jarvis, a media expert, social media guru and Buzzmachine blogger. Here you can watch Jeff talk about the influence of the blogosphere, the challenges for companies entering into a dialogue with bloggers, his view of emerging communication trends and more in the videos on the Edelman site.
Apparently a large portion of Edelman's USA income come from advising companies on how to blog; seems a shame that more advertising companies aren’t getting in on this game. Brand blogging is all about conversations, getting close to consumers and doing so in a creative and engaging on brand way.
Today I'm loving...Jones Soda. A great example of an alternative, cheeky upstart company that puts the consumer at the heart of the brand, and really makes the brand website hit the mark.
Jones Soda has always been about the consumer and interacting with the consumer. From the ever changing photos on the labels - designed and voted for by consumers, to the choice of flavours - also reviewed and voted for by consumers, to the company's websites: www.jonessoda.com and www.myjones.com, and the recent MyJones Independent Music site, www.myjonesmusic.com.
There are over 300,000 labels in the label gallery, and consumers can create custom labels for personal orders too.
Their endline is "Run with the little guy... create some change."
A sweet example of a brand getting on board with the trend for 'consumer-made' goods. Customer-made is the phenomenon of corporations creating goods, services and experiences in close cooperation with experienced and creative consumers, tapping into their intellectual capital, and in exchange giving them a direct say in (and rewarding them for) what actually gets produced, manufactured, developed, designed, serviced, or processed.
The nicest bit is that there are various audio tours that you can download: like the lunchbreak tour, the lover's tour, the heavy hitter tour.
On till the end of August.
Two bits that I thought were particulary pertinent:
"... believes that in five years the typical net user will collect all his relevant data and application feeds from one page. Conventional bookmarks will give way to a single aggregator where headlines from rival newspapers and blog commentators will inform our world."
Five years? 2 max. And brands need to be thinking about this now. How do you communicate your brand when people will be looking at updates to your site via a RSS reader that strips out everything except the words and photos/videos (that's if you can create enough of a relationship with them to get them to add you to their reader in the first place)? Flash sites and pretty skins, and many of the tricks brands currently use, are mostly useless in this world. Every brand will need a blog to tell their stories and have converstaions. So many brands can't create a regular website that people will want to come back to; this is going to be an even greater challenge. But if they can crack it, then it's a great opportunity for the brand to reach the consumer fresh everyday.
"One of the tenets of the widget economy is that it will bring about an unprecedented era of personalisation. This much is true. But it also requires a level of openness not yet seen in the net economy. Websites will have to open themselves up to third-party developers, a radical proposition for established online properties. For news outlets, it will mean delivering news via feeds to the eyeballs rather than the established model of attracting the eyeballs to their news."
Motorola and Burger King have done some interesting widgets for Myspace. Very easy to see effectiveness, in terms of take up. But I'm still having too many conversations with clients along the lines of "but we want people to come to our website, not make something for someone else's". The lack of willingness to open up is worrying, or as expected, depending on your point of view.
LastFM, Twitter, eBay, flickr, TechCrunch are all pretty big 'web2.0' companies who have done widgets for Facebook, and there are loads of widget games etc from developers, but nothing from 'big brands'. I suppose they'll get there eventually: branded games and quizes seem obvious easy wins for most FMCG brands, a mobile company could offer an widget that let you see where selected friends were via GPS and google maps, or that let you send X number of free group texts.
There's more on facebooks openess policy and how it's affected the netowrk's growth and the impact widgets can have on brands in this post.
Want to know a bit more about the trend for widgets? Try this...Year of the widget. Mac users love their widgets...flickr pics of dashboard widgets.
And go to iGoogle for a simple way to get used to widgets (if you're not already exoeriencing the widget frenzy on facebook that is). iGoogle is one of Google's fastest growing products.
My favourite talk was Jack Schulze on comic book meta/design. You can read the transcript here and here a screen grab of part of it...
I like the way he goes on to talk about "imagery which knows it's part of a substrate: it understands that it's part of the object which it's on." This is so awesome. Shamelessly ripping off more examples from his talk...
This is fascinating. From Time magazine: What the World Eats. 15 different homes around the globe show the kind and amount of food eaten.
United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken
Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton
Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat
It was an interesting retrospective, looking back at some of the campaigns he worked on. Mostly because the role of copy was so different.
He said, "the copy should be as long as the product is important". Hmmm... 'langauge' today is much more visual so this isn't really true. He also talked about how everyone is doing 'verve and style' but few are competing with facts, and how you shouldn't go for copy that says nothing. He also asked people if they could remember lines for several different brands in the past, and then what their current lines were. Very low recall for brands today. He was passionate about the role of stories; and urged creatives to be as ferocious as journalists digging into a political story in Washington in the quest to uncover that key thing that matters to consumers and would give them a reason to buy.
And a couple of bits of advice for planners:
- What a planner should give - '1 words and 1000 facts'
- Never write a brief with the word 'yet'
A collection of image mosaics that visually compare peculiar mundane objects in urban space, ranging from office buildings, over fitness equipment devices to detailed car tail lights.
The artist, Mark Luthringer, says, "the typological array’s inherent ability to depict prevalence & repetition make it the perfect technique for examining the excess, redundancy, & meaningless freedom of our current age of consumption."
Via urbancom blog
Tired of using innocent as a example of using web2.0 media to great effect? Want another great example, but with the added joy that most of the activity was started and is run by evangelist fans of the brand? Try moleskine. OK, fairly average website. So what's the big deal? Go to the moleskinerie fan blog. This is visited by about 5000 people a day, and has 9 copycat sites in other languages, and for a long time these were essentially the notebooks only marketing.
The founder of the site has used "web2.0" to great effect. See the great photos on flickr, fan pages on myspace and facebook, you can visit their squidoo lens and you can check some videos out on youtube, and as always, if you want to know more you can look on wikipedia.
What's even lovelier is the way the official Moleskine team works with, and appreciates, the fans.
And the notebooks are great too...
Podbop is a great site that's about a year old now, but has finally reached the critical mass needed to make it a really vaulable little tool.
It's a great example of how the web can democratise music discovery. Enter your city and the site shows you the bands coming to your area and links you to free mp3s to check out. You can even use an RSS feed to automatically download mp3s to you when a band on the system arrives in your area.
The podbop team describe it this way:
"Old way: looking up local concerts on an event site, googling 100 different bands, tracking down an mp3 for each band, then deciding what show you want to go to."
"The podbop way: type in a city, get mp3s, discover a band you like and go see them."
1. Laughing at this - new york to paris. Go to Google Maps, select 'Get Directions'. Type in from New York, and to Paris, France. Scroll down and read direction number 24.
2. Loving the idea of drop shots. A drop shot is an alternative mailbox where you can find or leave random things for people to discover. You can create or find a dropspot via the site, and you can upload photos of the drop shot, and its evolution, too. Something for the weekend.
Not doing...writing any of the following blog posts I've been meaning to write for months:
1. How I tried to spend 1 month without Google or any Google Aps (and cracked after 6.5 days)
2. Something about FMCG websites (the good, the bad, the ugly)
4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Responses to various blog posts I've found interesting but just haven't had the time to get round to yet.
Two little amusing things...
First, an A.I. creation called Yuichan with a Zen bent. Entrancing how real the conversation can feel, though once you've 'talked' with it for a bit the 'conversation' can go in circles.
Then there's this site that lets you compose an e-mail to your future self, and it will deliver it to you on any date you chose. Sweet.
There's a book too...
...but they're missing the point somewhat.
Also being delayed, on the way to New York from Chicago, behind a frieght train - to the tune of 8 hours; on top of an 18 hour time-tabled journey - brought out a whole new kind of rage out in the woman sitting behind me.
Love the design though: dynamic with lots of movement and a romantically retro-look.
Waiting for the bus in downtown Seattle this caught my eye. Not a great example of wall ads but it reminded me of some great flickr groups: ghost signs, wall ads, faded signage, old wall ads. Interesting how advertising was once so integral to buildings, but now posters are usually limited to designated sites and quickly vanish. It's as if businesses were more confident in the past. Big displays of who they were painted on their building walls, their business names etched in stone.
A nice little something from London Underground’s 'Platform For Art'; which is a great use of space and brightens up the daily commute.
Gloucester Road Tube station has just started to show the work of artist Chiho Aoshima. City Glow, Mountain Whisper, (digital prints on vinyl) is on display until the end of the month and is Aoshima's first solo exhibition. The landscape she has created runs along all 17 archways which sees the scene graduate from day to night and from urban to rural. On display until the end of March.