Monday 21 June 2010

Scheduled Vs Unscheduled Content

Sometimes we get a bit bogged down with which pipes the content is delivered on or what screen it's going to be viewed with. It's true that you can tell a lot from the contextual variables for enjoyment based on that but in principle the single largest differentiator in terms of value for video content is scheduled versus unscheduled. The reason for that was brought home again listening to you lot on Twitter talking about how rubbish the last episode of LOST was.

I should thank you for that. I don't watch many TV shows and even films are a struggle outside of a movie theatre but I make an effort to download something I keep hearing about so I can keep an eye on TV culture. 

Even though LOST was obviously a bit contrived at points (how many fit babes can you fit on a beach?) I was into the second series and doubting if that was a wise investment of time but you nailed it for me by saving me having to endure all of the series only to be disappointed at the end. 

Though it was interesting to make a note of you scheduled types because apart from it being more expensive to watch it's also a lot more sociable in that format. Which is what I mean by scheduled versus unscheduled. TV was often a lot more social than we gave it credit for. Do you remember the next day when Del Trotter famously leaned on a non existent bar in Only Fools and Horses? Everybody was miming it weren't they. It was so funny and so memorable.

The wire is different though YO! I love the characters and script writing  in it (You feel me?).

So if you have any other must see tips I'd love to know what is culturally important and maybe why you think that too would be great.

Thursday 10 June 2010

I was alone, I took a ride, I didn't know what I would find there.

I rarely blog about Steve Jobs and Apple. I think the obsession with Apple in the United States and Kingdom is symptomatic of an intellectual malaise that stretches from marketing to politics. Deconstructing the yearning for a killer app it's not hard to critique and conclude it as end-of-empire-futility. I mean, how can we belch on about authenticity in brands when as far as I know most advertising people couldn't care less about the supply chain details any further than a POS shelf wobbler because surely it hasn't passed you by that the newspapers harp on about productivity and the best selling apps are all games?

That doesn't mean I don't think Steve Jobs is anything less than the Henry Ford of our times. I dislike his editorial perspective which he's entitled to have and implement but the bottom line is I've loved buying and using his products. I see the MacBook Air as the Volkswagen Karmen of our age. It's so beautiful that I intend to buy a few so I can use one for as long as I'm able to.

That doesn't mean I think an app is going to save marketing. The malaise is too deep, the wilful blindness too pathological, and apart from all that I don't think we're in the business of the blockbuster any more. I think marketing doesn't get it, that more 'one to one', is de facto less 'one to many'. This is the why I fall asleep with gratuitous use of 'awesome' and 'cool' app tweets. I mean really. Shut up already.

Any hoo: Steve did an hour and a half interview which I felt should compensate for ever reading any more tweet links about him for a couple of years at least and I was right. It's a great chunk of what he's about along with some really great revelations about his business. The one I most liked is that app usage is overtaking search on his latest products. Which to me is obvious when a traditional keyboard is not available as per iPhone and iPad. Quicker to use a tool than finger dab the screen. This is interesting to me, but y'all gotta get with the program that the killer app is the operating system. The rest are tertiary ecosystem bricks, and one I talked about in my quick podcast over here.

I could mention that I didn't really know about his lisp before, that someone ought to tell Steve that the half mast jeans and 80's sneaker look is the least coolest thing he does.I'd be pushing for Boot Cut, Rock & Republic denim with some cowboy boots since keeping his weight up is not so easy now, but the polo neck and frameless Lennon glasses work well with that. 

These are inconsequential matters. Even though I'm not a die hard fan boy gushing on the bulletin boards I feel I've paid him a better compliment here than I've read anywhere else and truth is you don't need to listen to me. Listen to him. I heard him reply 'we're having fun' when someone asked him about his business successes recently. Who else says that? Nobody right?

You can see that the most trivial agenda item (though not ignorable) is the quarterly report. It shows clearly, but in the final analysis of Apple, I need to remind you, it's not about the technology, it's about the human and rest assured advertising and marketing world: The malaise is inside us. There is no app for that, though watching Steve the human being below is a start.

Henry Ford of our times. I think Oscar Wilde said that first.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Google Insights (Post Millennial Tension)

It's that time of the year where I need to revisit my Google insights topic on how the search term 2012 is trending.  So far there's nothing to back up my still unarticulated hypothesis apart from a minor blip around the time of the Chile earthquake on February 28th, so there's nothing to say apart from perhaps introducing the 'Jakarta complex' (catchy name huh?). Or is it?

It's worth of course noting that Indonesia provides the most volume for the search term 2012 but it's a classical mistake for the quantitatively obsessed bloggers to attribute national scale when the latest data suggests it's Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka that are more interesting for analysis. The reason why 2012 is one of the few metrics I can use is that it uses numbers so it gets a truly deeper look at national trends than local languages. By that I mean "Revelation" probably has a different name in the Ukraine, though that is one search term I'd like to add for context and analysis. But 2012 it is so let's proceed with that and see what occurs. This might all end in tears since Misentropy pointed out to me the Baader Meinhoff complex but so far so good in my estimation. It's always a bit lonely out on the edge and ahead of the curve but it's been eventful thus far and that's what I'm banking on.


Some days my email inbox is one thick Smuckers chocolate fudge jar leaking pure intellectual indulgence of sweet but lucid and illuminating thinking. This morning's paragraph is from Thomas in the UK as we're having a discussion about music and Jaron Lanier (who I think we're in violent agreement on, is punching above his intellectual weight with his latest book).

Thomas writes:

As a perhaps superficial example, the 50's seem utterly distinct from the 60's which seem fairly distinct from the 70's. The 70's have a soundtrack that is distinct from the 80's. But 90's from Millenial? The sharpness of the contrast is becoming more and more attenuated. Perhaps this is because I didn't live through those periods but we've been to the Moon and now we've stopped bothering because it seems so pedestrian. The wide eyed wonder and mystery has become implicit and uninteresting, so full scale shifts in our cultural attitudes seem less likely, and thus there will no be soundtracks to accompany those shifts.

Is good yes?

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Cognitive Biases

This is just as much for me as you which is why I'm embedding it some weeks after I first saw it. I am however slightly in love with all cognitive bias nomenclature if only because it's utterly humbling how little room there really is to be right. I could use a little humility more often. I even caught myself saying 'I don't know' to some French tourists requests for advice on some options the other night. I mean I think I knew what they were looking for but deep down I knew my ability to project what they were looking for was way more powerful than actually knowing. So I gave them both options.

Come to think of it I could have blown my cheeks and done the whole 'bof' thing too. Anyway cognitive biases; worth raising if it all gets a bit subjective as it often does in the worlds most subjective business. Yes I'm talking about advertising.

And while we're using Scribd just now. There's another document I wrote over a year ago, floating on the net that I neglected to proofread and edit myself. Some of you have written whole blog posts about it but I see that as asymmetric love for my writing as I don't read your work. I will however be editing it so you can see that the biggest howlers have nothing to do with paradoxical oxymorons but simple logic. If it was really important I'd have fixed it a long time ago but lesson learned. If  you want a job doing properly it's best done etc.
Cognitive Biases - A Visual Study Guide

Sunday 6 June 2010


A year or so back, Bangkok artist Jim Brewer explained to me a video installation concept he had and that I liked the idea of immediately. I'd touched on the subject myself back here though I had no idea when I wrote it how thematically integral it would be to maintaining the facade of cognitive integrity that is possibly holding together as well as holding back the entire Kingdom. (Sorry about that mouthful I'm spoon-feeding you but anything less elliptical is asking for trouble under censorship rules in Thailand). 

I saw Jim's piece in the WTF gallery a week or so ago and was absolutely super fucking jubilant when I learned that the some of the Thai visitors found the work so provocative and distressing they asked, nay 'demanded' to know more about the farang who made the piece. Artistically, the timing couldn't have been better with the recent color-coded massacres in the Kingdom, including the repugnant use of state-sanctioned snipers against Thai citizens (and foreign reporters) seeking refuge and safety in the temple Wat Pathum Wanaram  วัดปทุมวนาราม closest to the Red protest site.

Yellow shirts are hardly worn on Mondays as they used to be. 

I believe it was  Ian Curtis of Joy Division who wrote the song "Love will tear us apart".

Thursday 3 June 2010

Characterising The Internet

A few moons ago, but not so many that it's a distant galaxy, I met Marcus Brown at The George on D'arblay Street in Soho London where he made a special trip to come and see us from his home in Munich, Germany. One of his comments that rang out then and applies even more so, to this day whether it's transmedia, digital or otherwise was 'it's all storytelling'.

I don't think anyone does it better than Marcus including his latest offering Jack The Twitter. In any case, he's gone and done a presentation of his portfolio in the last couple of years for us and I don't think there's a better example of character-development versatility on the internet. Take a look and see if you know someone in your marketing department who is looking for something fresh that stands out. He's the champ.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Alexander McQueen, Gen-X, Post Futurism & Star Wars (Help me Obi Wan Kenobi)

One of my probably duller-than-I-think, and self important (dinner party) pieces I'm prone to doing now and again (usually if there's a good red to hand) is how surreal it is to be a Gen X'er

Don't misunderstand me. I know Baby Boomers and older who have more life in them, than many Millennials and so on and so forth but allow me a Gen X tale.

Below is the first taste of hologram technology I witnessed at the age of 8, living in West Germany watching Star Wars.

I don't remember the opening sequence being so special that I had to duck my head but that doesn't mean Star Wars didn't leave a massive impression on me; lots of things did at that age. However the Princess Leia hologram scene was unforgettable. The idea of not writing down a plea-for-help-message on a piece of paper (this was pre-internet) and instead using a plenipotentiary (of sorts) droid to project an hologram was sensational and yet plausible. The tonality projected through this medium imploring help, felt so much richer than any typewriter or pencil could achieve.

Here it is:

Yet Victor & Rolf's work in the Dutch Pavillion at the Shanghai Expo is just as, if not more seductive; and yet somehow while my experience of it is no more or less than any other person's enjoyment, there's just something delicious about the uniquely Gen X experience of overtaking the future. It happens a fair bit and I haven't even gone into the how amazing it is to juxtapose pre and post internet cultures alongside each other, though I will attempt to some day.

Hopefully here.

It was of course the late (and truly great) Alexander McQueen who did it best with Kate Moss. It's a pity that so much incredible creativity in the fashion industry get's ignored, I guess because, by and large, the egos in fashion leave advertising standing in the dust.

That doesn't mean advertising doesn't plunder fashion's inexhaustible creativity time and again. Above is my favourite piece by Alexander McQueen in 1999. 

Anybody know which brand ripped this idea off? It might be creativity but it is also definitely art. Something our lot could learn something from.

It's beautiful isn't it?

More blow jobs, less world wars