Posts Tagged ‘digital media’

It’s not very often I get to give advice to Dave Trott.


The great man taught me pretty much everything I know about advertising (yet only a fraction of what he knows).


He was surprised to hear me say that his way of thinking is more critical to the advertising industry now, in the digitally obsessed world, than it ever was.


Sure, things have changed.


But the basic premise of advertising has not.


The single most important thing: You have to get noticed.


If you don’t, everything is irrelevant, and a waste of money.


We’ve been immersed in digital and social media for over a decade now, and agencies have invested in a lot of digitally savvy individuals, many of who are not people savvy.


They get how tech works; they just don’t get how people work.


So the terminology has changed.


Apparently old-style is ‘interruption’ and new-style is ‘engagement’.




Everything we do is interruption. Everything.


I’m scrolling through my facebook feed and your ad interrupts me: Fuck off.


I’m scrolling through my instagram feed and your ad interrupts me: Fuck off.


I’m scrolling through my tumblr feed and your ad interrupts me: Fuck off.


I’m about to watch a video on youtube and your ad interrupts me: Fuck oh…wait a minute, this looks interesting, I’ll check it out, and maybe even put you on my mental shopping list.


Make no mistake, we are ALWAYS interrupting people.


Point is, we can interrupt people annoyingly, or we can interrupt people pleasantly.


Same as we always did.


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Stardate August 7th 2558

There’s a growing realisation, finally, that brand interaction on digital is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Like the rest of us, I’ve been consuming messages (including ads) on sites like YouTube for a decade, as well as the ever-increasing number of commercial messages on the ever-increasing number of social media sites.

And for most of that period, Digital Ninja Turtles were trying to convince us that the Holy Grail was ‘likes’ and click-throughs, but you know, us that have been around a little longer than the advent of the i-phone had suspicions that this just may be, to use a technical term, bollocks.

The outing of Click Farms pretty much confirmed that was the case and it was easy to scam the whole system. So the King’s New Clothes were revealed and that puts paid to all digital advertising, now, let’s get back to normal.

In all those years of absorbing digital messages, I don’t remember ever clicking on one, ‘liking’ one, or interacting with any. And I haven’t become a ‘brand ambassador’ or ‘brand advocate’ for any brand, unless they pay me. Why should I?

But does the fact that I chose not to get involved with digital brand messages mean that I don’t actually like any? Do we have to rely on actual interaction data to measure the success or failure of our digital advertising? I don’t think so.
Plenty have logged in my brain and left an impression. Just like the tv ads I grew up with.

Of course there’s a role for digital advertising and I think we’re just starting to get the hang of it. As we’ve said all along, the medium is not the message, the message is the message. And Facebook has started advising advertisers to create messages that are interesting enough to pique people’s…well, interest. Sound familiar?

We used to say people were bombarded with hundreds of advertising messages every day and because of that we have to do something special to attract their attention. Not much as changed with that principle except that now we are bombarded with tens of thousands of messages per day, on smartphones, i-pads, laptops, on top of all the ambient stuff that assaults our eyeballs in our daily commute.

So the current generation, including my 16-year-old daughter, has evolved an amazing mental capacity. Not for accepting all this information, but for filtering it.

Yes, some digital coms require click-throughs, if they’re competitions or offers but even then, if the main message is interesting and engaging enough, it will still register the brand in people’s consciousness. And after all, isn’t that what advertising is about. What goes around comes around.

Blog off.

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Stardate March 1st 2555



I’ve been in the enviable position of doing not very much at all for the last 6 months.


Although trying to train two Bull Terriers is tougher than any advertising project.


But during that period I’ve also wasted an inordinate amount of time on social media – facebook, instagram, pinterest, of course the old favourite youtube etc.  More time, in fact, than anyone else in advertising.


And if you dispute that, then you ought to be fired for not doing your day job (interestingly, facebook is most active during working hours, weekends are dead because people have a life to live!)


It’s been for me a big social experiment because I’m fascinated (and dismayed) with the way the advertising industry is killing itself in its rush to embrace everything new and ditch everything that made it the great business it is.


Some companies are even hiring ‘digital guys’ to replace ‘traditional’ creatives.


What’s a Digital Guy or Gal?


Someone who understands the technology, the ones and zeros? That’s not me.


Or someone who simply understands how people USE the digital space? Well I certainly know quite a bit about that now!


And whilst agencies and some clients love the idea that people will be ‘having conversations’ about your brand, become ‘advocates’ or ‘brand ambassadors’ selling your brand for free, WAKE UP!


People aren’t so freaking sad they’re going to waste too much time ‘engaging’ with most brands out there. The majority of brands aren’t ‘loved’, they’re a necessity, and that’s ok.


Dave Dye nailed it recently when he said (I paraphrase) “people respect brands that understand the role they play in our life.”


Tell me your margarine is humanitarian and doing great for causes and I’ll say “fuck off, you’re saturated fat and I like you on my bread, end of story”. I don’t think I’m alone in that.


Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE these digital domains, they’re bloody addictive (which is why Pinterest has gone from 2 million users to around 12 million in just the last three months).


But here’s the thing:




By and large, they’re used by individuals to advertise themselves, their lives, their loves and passions – “look at me”; “look at what my dog can do”; “check my new wheels/heels”; “this is me, with so and so”; “look where I am today” and so on…


There aren’t too many ‘conversations’ going on about the relative merits of your average everyday brand.


Facebook should be called ME-ME-ME-BOOK.


Nothing wrong with all that.


And people get ‘likes’ too (our bullies have got thousands on the dedicated sites, BUT WE’RE NOT SELLING ANYTHING).


And yes, Starbucks has 28.7 million ‘likes’ which by it’s own admission is partly down to a steady stream of promotions, special offers, coupons and discounts (although there were only 290 thousand ‘active’ last time I looked)


By the way, for your comparative reference, Texas Hold’em Poker has 35 million followers.


Point is, the Holy Grail of unpaid-for media doesn’t exist.


How can you say to a client, in all honesty (yeah I know that sounds like an oxymoron) that “this idea will go viral”?


You can’t.


And by ditching the classic broadcast media in favour of the ‘new, multi-million individual-channel broadcast media’, you’ll be taking the biggest gamble with your brand it’s possible to take.


Even BBH’s wonderful Yeo Valley work, which generated millions of youtube clicks, did so after a 9 million-plus tv exposure during the X-Factor finals. I suspect it would have struggled to generate anything like that amount without the massive tv-kickstart.


There’s no such thing as a free media.


Blog off.

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