Monthly Archives: February 2009

Send in the net police: power to the people!

I can’t claim to know the ins and outs, but I’m sure we’re all aware that there is an evil worm virus attacking computers the world over. It is apparently the most evilest of worms to have ever been invented and it keeps changing to make it a slippery blighter to catch. Interestingly, Microsoft is invoking mob behaviour by offering a £172k reward to anyone with a lead. It’s like Crimewatch dot com.

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Big bother about watching you

Now there’s nowhere to hide! That’s because telecom companies could soon be compelled to keep data on our email, phone records, texts and web browsing. Not only that, but the police will have direct access to it in “real time”. In fact, according to the home secretary, it’s just the first step towards a centralised “super-database” on all our twittering and poking. Creepy privacy issues aside, isn’t it a direct marketer’s dream? How wonderful it’d be to have access to such a treasure-trove. We’d know who’s talking to whom and when and where they’re doing it! We’d then ping them ultra-direct and thoroughly relevant bits of one-to-one marketing. Of course my tongue is firmly in cheek, but if people opted-in is it really so far-fetched? Rather than being bombarded with stuff that’s largely irrelevant, you’d get tailored marketing that’s directly relevant to that moment of your life. Now that can’t be bad, can it? Just think of the possibilities…

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Are T-shirts the reason that Stephen Fry is Twittering?

I’ve been intrigued by Stephen Fry’s obsession with Twitter for some time now. My suspicions were first aroused when he appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show discussing Twitter. A few days later I came across this video from the BBC website with Mr Fry discussing the joys of Twitter.

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Time Out or Time In?

Marketers are not always keen to discuss their difficulties in public – especially in times of an economic crisis. It was something of a surprise then that Catherine Demajo, Time Out London’s head of marketing, was in such a candid mood at a recent round table discussion hosted by community media company Chinwag.

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Do you believe what you read in the paper?

British newspapers received another body blowthis week, outside the all too familiar storiesof looming redundancies.

The national press isno longer considered a reliable source of information and, unless sweeping changes are made to the existing system of self-regulation, they risk becoming irrelevant,according toa majorreport.

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Editor’s blog: Pontificating in Portmeirion

Well, it had to happen. You’re not going to attend any gathering these days – dinner party, conference or even bus stop queue – without hearing the fourth estate receiving a good kicking. Here in Portmeirion yesterday afternoon at the ‘Names Not Numbers’ conference, the media took a mauling from an ad man – and an ex-McKinseyite ad man at that. William Eccleshare, the boss of BBDO in Europe, took the great inky unwashed to task for being such a bunch of Cassandras and resolutely ignoring all those green shoots of recovery that we currently see springing out everywhere through the frozen lawns.

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I wouldn’t have to change anything if it wasn’t for those pesky consumers

If mobile media usage grew by 36 per cent last year, how much did advertising spend grow on mobile? Whilst we don’t yet know the answer (but it’s coming!), I ‘d like to bet it didn’t grow enough.

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Editor’s blog: Putting the world to rights in Portmeirion

When you attend a conference entitled ‘We are Names Not Numbers’, you expect a few starry appearances. Julia Hobsbawm’s bash at Portmeirion, from where I’m writing this overlooking the estuary, doesn’t disappoint.

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The best night of my life!

Nike AKQAOr maybe one of the best nightsI had this week, wasyesterday’s Creative Showcase awards event, which we held in association with Microsoft Advertising (full review on the IAB site).And didn’t AKQA do well! Not only did they win Agency of the Year for the most successes throughout 2008, but also the most Contagious Award for Fiat eco:drive, which “has a practical application for the real world, that can genuinely improve the lives of people that use it”. They also won the Microsoft Advertising Most Innovative Campaign Award for their Nike Bootcamp work.
Without being too OTT about my respect for AKQA –because this year’s entries were by the far the best we’d seen across the board–what makes them stand out, along with some great other agencies such as Lean Mean Fighting Machine, Agency Republic and AIS London, is their consistent uniqueness (for want of a better phrase!) Having worked on these awards forfour years now, we’ve certainly noticed that some agencies have tended to adopt an ‘if it aint broke, don’t fix it’ kind of approach to their creativity. This may work perfectly well if you have a client that’s happy to see pretty much the same campaign over and over again, but with a different strapline. But what the bulk of this year’s winning campaigns have proven – including Orange and Poke’s beautiful online balloon race, which was awarded ‘Best Creative Campaign 2008’ – is that great digital work doesn’t need to follow a strict formula, and technology allows each campaign to be drastically different to the last. In fact,I think you can definitely tell from the final execution, which agencies get most excited about a brief.
Last night’s guest speaker, Alex Evans – one of the main men responsible for creating the PS3 game ‘Little Big Planet’ – was a real inspiration, because to see someone quite so passionate about creating something pretty and fun that consumers enjoy is incredibly refreshing. He talked about the importance of the creative process, and that it’s essential that once you start creating that you invest your personality into it, because then you really care about the end result. For him, this is why UGC and consumer interaction is so fundamental to success, because once people have created with you, or for you –even if it’s leaving a comment on a blog –then you’ve pretty much got them hooked. With few exceptions, that is what’sdriven thosestand-out, respected andjealousy-inspiring campaigns that 2008 has seen. Roll on next year!

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"Working from home"

I’ll let you into a little secret, at the weekends the IAB’s website traffic drops right down to less than a tenth of what it is in the work week. For us, this is excellent news because it makes it very obvious that we’re hitting the right audiences: UK businesses and their staff. So it was very interesting when on Monday, the height of the ‘snow issue’ that our site traffic dropped to just 60% of its usual amount. Surely in an industry like new media that fits well with working from home, when people do so, their use of the internet should remain more or less the same. As the country plummets further and further into a recession, when every penny counts for business, it was quite alarming that estimates placed Monday’s loss to the economy at around £1 billion. Make of it what you will, but all in all, scary and telling stuff.

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