The Internet in Real-Time
Online data visual presents how much activity that occurs on familiar online apps and services.
I like Matt Muir’s comment from his weekly Web Curios roundup (recommended, btw):
PRO-TIP - keep this in the background next time you have a meeting with a client in which they demand that you make CONTENT for them, and just look at it significantly when making the point that the terrible likelihood is that NOONE WILL CARE BECAUSE LOOK AT ALL THE OTHER THINGS.
How Videos Go Viral On Twitter
This network map video shows how people shared the Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ video on Twitter.
We also analysed how the Commander Hadfield ‘Space Oddity’ video spread. Cooler subject, but sadly it made for a slightly less awesome diffusion video because it went viral so quickly. All the secondary nodes (influential sharers like Dara O’Brien and William Gibson) had tweeted it within 2 hours of the video’s release, meaning that the network’s pretty static from then on.
But our video did tweeted by Commander Hadfield himself, which was nice.
We’re looking for a full-time creative technologist / coder for our Manchester office. You’ll need to be driven by experimentation and thrive on ‘never been done before’. Ideally you’d be literate in some of the following: C or C++, OOP, OpenGL and Augmented Reality. Have played with SDKs like openFrameworks, OpenCV, VVVV and Cinder. Love hacking periferals like Kinect (and DMX).
Must also be cool with making work that makes prison rape jokes.
"B-buh-but irreverent spirit of the brand, man!!"
Try harder. Do better work.
My Facebook’s getting quite keen on The Color Run, “The happiest 5k on the planet” - or a truly genius bit of experiential marketing from Dulux in aid of Cancer Research. It’s coming to London on 14 July.
"Wear white at the starting line
Finish plastered in color”
"Less about your 10-minute-mile and more about having the time of your life, The Color Run is a five-kilometre, un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometre. The fun continues at the finish line with a gigantic “Color Festival,” using more colored powder to create happiness and lasting memories, not to mention millions of vivid color combinations"
This is extremely clever.
It’s got deep, primal cultural reference points - the Hindu festival of Holi, and La Tomantina, the Spanish festival with the tomato-fight. More broadly than that, Carnival.
It’s Instagrammable and shareable as all fuck. Not just social run-with-your-friends, but producing fantastic digital social currency as well. It’s got media crossover nailed.
And it steals from the best - specifically Fallon’s Sony Bravia “Color Like No Other” campaign. The 2005 Bouncing Balls ad - and more particularly the 2006 Paint slot, where director Jonathan Glazer used 70,000 litres of paint, mortars, bottle bombs and 1,700 detonators to redecorate Glasgow’s Toryglen estate to a soundtrack of Rossini.
That, and this Dulux work, is marketing at its most emotionally evocative and beautiful - which is a conflicting feeling. I don’t especially like being sold to effectively: it makes me feel like I am being manipulated.
(Then again, I had no idea the Sony Bravia was a TV rather than a mobile phone, and indeed first recalled the campaign as being by Samsung. Far East Asian company, beginning with S… So perhaps advertising’s influence is not exactly invincible yet.)
Anyway, campaign is from IMG STG (Sports Technology Group). Dulux should do more work with them, because their TV campaign by BBH is unfortunately falling flat on its face.
The media companies that will do best in the future will be those that shift to a model more like application companies, and stop thinking about push/consumption models, and more about community and participation.
Stowe Boyd: Media CEOs Are Panicked
28 Jan 2013
ETA: Needs to be read against the Oreo Super Bowl Twitter viral - as The Verge’s Tumblr put it, “Ad makers are now operating like media companies in their pursuit of relevance.”
"Oreo wasn’t alone, of course, as plenty of other brands sought to tweet something witty associating their products to happenings inside the dome, but it was the cookie company that won big with its rapid response marketing team. David Armano, Managing Director of Edelman Digital Chicago, says this type of reactive — rather than proactive, where the ads are created in advance — advertising is a growing trend, but it’s also only one part of an overall shift in the industry. Companies like his, charged with expanding awareness about their client brands, are now increasingly operating like media outfits: complete with newsroom-like real-time tracking of news and popular discussions, which can be responded to instantaneously with a sharply written tweet or Facebook update."
So where does this leave us?
Advertising ►►Media companies ►►Application companies
Because: The maxing out of attention as currency. People are paying attention to as much stuff as they possibly can - it’s now a matter for content-creators not just to get your attention, but displace something else
Therefore: Realisation that companies can’t just make stuff, they’ve got to focus on building that audience
Therefore:Even while the internet reduces friction for people to switch retailers, the retailers themselves are having to return to this weirdly quaint and retro notion of customer loyalty.
Question: How does this mesh with how consumers use brands - to communicate, to self-make, to define identity? Is it all some hyper-fluxy liquid modern slash postmodern bricolage (in which case, good luck with that loyalty thing, brands) - or, in a hyper-fluxy world, is the sense of permanance afforded by brand loyalty (Coke, John Lewis, Nike) about the most reliable source of stability anyone can get?
Looking at the boom in heritage brands (Barbour et al.), I reckon there’s something in that stability thesis…
(PSNot quite sure what Boyd means by “application companies”, but I guess “Those who build apps” / consumer-facing tech cos?
minimoonstar said: In my exp execs rly believe the empowered consumer line, rather feel threatened by it enough that they don’t have any self-assurance abt ability to manipulate said msg to own benefit
The last thing marketers should do is drink their own Kool Aid…
…They should read more Baudrillard, however:
- The ideological genesis of needs precedes production; and
- Totalising power of the capitalist symbolic order is total.
I haven’t worked out yet if this means individual marketers can actually shape things or it is all One Big System, but, you know, holiday reading…
Coca-Cola’s new ‘Coming Together’ advert
"There’s an important conversation going on about obesity out there. We want to be a part of the conversation."
I’m interested in this sentence - the positioning of the advert moreso than the actual content.
Now there’s a brand that’s bought into social media listening and the narrative that social has turned advertising on its head. No longer are brands able to broadcast what they mean at passive audiences - no! instead consumers are having conversations, and constructing webs of signification with each Like and Reblog, and all a brand can hope for is to humbly generate content in the hope that it might be used as currency in this attention economy.
"Consumers’ most valuable relationships are not with brands but with other consumers," says Mark Earls - hell, I’ve even used that line myself…
It’s “The Real Thing”, right? Well. I’m less interested in this as a truth-statement or Big Idea that Coca-Cola are reorienting their entire marketing strategy around; instead it’s something we need to examine as ideology. This is the story that brands are choosing to tell us. Us as marketing professionals, us as consumers.
Is it a defensive strategy - as in, this IS the new reality and their only hope of survival is to acknowledge the new paradigm?
Or does capital’s capture of signification continue unabated, and we are now only being told that we are free and powerful in the hope that we might slip the bonds of regulatory guidance and indulge in that refreshing icy-cold beverage we have always wanted, but, since 1989, have been replacing with mineral water and sports drinks?
"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."
Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, 1971.
Tumblr’s hyperspeed, hyper-fertile image culture has generated a strange trend: creating DIY adverts by putting brand logos on apparently abstract and unrelated images.
What’s going on? What are the visual tropes, who’s doing this - what inspires people to co-create and appropriate brands like this?
Is it an act of subversion or aspiration? Brand hijack, or identification and longing? The meanings are unclear - these images are posted without commentary, making semiotic analysis the only route possible
What does it mean for the relationship young people have with brands? What are they saying that Nike, Adidas and Chanel mean?
And has this abstract visual language always-already been coopted by the brands themselves?
Two blog posts exploring social media brand campaigns, and what happens when they try (or are unexpectedly forced) to talk about social class, privilege, and the boundaries between us.
1. What #WaitroseReasons Reveals About Why People Talk About Brands
by me, on Facegroup.com
9 Oct 2012
On 17th September, upmarket UK supermarket Waitrose launched a Twitter promotion, #WaitroseReasons, asking their followers to share why they shopped at the store. The response was not the love and affirmation they expected, but rather a torrent of snark and parody. The media didn’t know whether to call this a success or failure.
So I argued that most analysis was facile and #WaitroseReasons was really about class belonging - an act of social boundary definition:
[What] the #WaitroseReasons tweets were doing: making observations that demonstrate the author’s familiarity with and membership of a specific segment of the more comfortably-off middle class.
It went big on Twitter, because it was a way for people to talk about their favourite topic: themselves. The discussion around the hashtag wasn’t really about Waitrose as a retailer so much as a way for people to start talking about that great British obsession, social class, and where we fit into the hierarchy. It was a discussion about belonging- [and] Waitrose was just a signifier
Moving from middle class problems to First World ones:
2. Despite its flaws, #firstworldproblems ad campaign breaks new ground
by Emer O’Toole, Guardian Comment Is Free
9 Oct 2012
US marketing firm DDB’s new campaign for the charity Water Is Life is striking. It features people from Haiti reading #firstworldproblems tweets, and also responding to them. In one advert, a sweet little boy complains “I hate it when my leather seats aren’t heated”, before the camera pans out to show him sitting on a mound of rubble. In another, we see a laptop with the tweet “Slow internet is the worst thing that can happen to you”, before being taken on a journey to Port-au-Prince, where a local medic in a disordered clinic connotes the vast suffering he has seen with the simple line, “Slow internet is not the worst thing that can happen to you”. […]
There has been some backlash against the campaign. Critics point out that DDB seems to have missed the screaming irony at play …
An excellent post, summed up by its quote from Nigerian writer Teju Cole:
"Here’s a first world problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are."
Marketing fuels the world. It is as American as apple pie and delivers relevant advertising to consumers about products they will be interested at a time they are interested. DNT [Do Not Track rules] should permit it as one of the most important values of civil society. Its byproduct also furthers democracy, free speech, and – most importantly in these times – JOBS.
WTF? And ORLY?
But so quoth the representative of the Direct Marketing Association to the W3C web standards working group, in an attempt to get Do Not Track rules turned into almost exactly the opposite.
The current state of the matter is covered well by Ed Bott on ZDnet, where he says:
The debate over the Do Not Track standard has officially moved beyond Alice in Wonderland. These days, I’m not sure whether it’s 1984 or Brazil.
In a sane world, telling a website “do not track me” would result in behavior that assumed the person making the request did not want to have unnecessary data collected about them.
But to the online advertising industry, that DNT:1 signal means, “Right, you’re one of those idiots who thinks this is about privacy. Now give me all your data. You’re welcome.”
I cannot make this stuff up.
So there you have it. The advertising side wants the standard to be rendered meaningless, the tech guys throw up their hands and say they have lost any energy to go on with a “pathetic” process. And privacy advocates are completely marginalized.
Seriously, thank fuck for the EU and a slightly more rigorous regulation process this side of the Atlantic.
But I haven’t talked about this topic in a while, and I am reminded that I should do so more. If you’ve got any questions on this, just shout (Ask box or comments) - I’d like to help think about how this works & what it means.
Facebook is working with a controversial data company called Datalogix that can track whether people who see ads on the social networking site end up buying those products in stores.
Amid growing pressure for the social networking site to prove the value of its advertising, Facebook is gradually wading into new techniques for tracking and using data about users that raise concerns among privacy advocates.
“We kept hearing back [from marketers] that we needed to push further and help them do a better job,” said Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights.
Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70m American households largely drawn from loyalty cards and programmes at more than 1,000 retailers, including grocers and drug stores. By matching email addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against emails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook.
Facebook raises fears with ad tracking
Emily Steel & April Dembosky, Financial Times, 23 Sept
More on Datalogix here.
The little-known company, which rarely talks to the press, creates incredibly detailed profiles of nearly every US household, drawing on thousands of data points. The information ranges from the kinds of products they buy at the supermarket to the make of the car they drive, as well as financial data such as the value of their home and their estimated net worth.
Datalogix specialises in transporting that data – mostly collected offline – to the web, where marketers buy them to target ads at the right consumer and to determine whether people who saw their ads actually ended up buying their products in bricks-and-mortar stores.
In related news:
Facebook complies with EU data protection law, dumps facial recognition
Liat Clarke, Wired, 21 Sept