Tag Archives: advertising

Did Leonardo Da Vinci have a Macbook Pro?

7 Oct

McKinsey Quarterly recently published an article about the rising importance of creativity in the digital world … and it’s good news!

The creative economy

As we labour away in a frenetic 4th Industrial Revolution where WORK is being transformed by algorithms and bots … some of us wondering where we will fit, the one shining star is digital creativity.

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See machine learning is great for programmed processes but not so great for human creativity. That’s where Leonardo fits in. I know for sure he didn’t have a Macbook Pro but his fecund mind and total genius produced art and engineering and product design.

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Who cares if you are marketing on Instagram, Facebook or Youtube – it’s still all about great content and that has to start with big ideas.

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This has to start with an existential approach to business thinking and that will come from the top.

source: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/five-fifty-Creating-Creatives

I love this

7 Mar

comminications mistake

I shouldn’t but I do love this.

Looks like they need a communications coordinator real bad!

I’ve changed the name of the recruiter to protect the guilty.

Attention to detail … and when in serious doubt use spellchecker.

Raymond Chandler, his hat, and the mechanics of writing

11 May

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I admire Raymond Chandler and I love his hat. It’s straw unlike his writing.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Chandler was probably the godfather of the hard boiled private eye. That may sound like a Bedouin dish but it’s a description of a certain literary genre.  The pulp school of crime fiction. Chandler was an interesting character himself. Raised partly in the barren mid west of Nebraska and partly in an English public school, his metaphysical trajectory included stints as an accountant for an oil company and an alcoholic. The alcohol produced blackouts, he forgot to go to work and he lost his comfortable job which left him holding his hat. It was the tail end of the depression and Chandler lived at that time in Los Angeles. It was a lawless, corrupt place with bruising you couldn’t see.

Chandler had been dabbling in poetry since he was a schoolboy. He now had an opportunity. He decided to become a writer.

At that time, there was a magazine called The Black Mask. A pulp offering launched in 1850 by journalist H. L. Mencken and drama critic George Jean Nathan as a money maker to prop up a more literary offering, The Smart Set, “a magazine of cleverness”, was an American magazine of literature and culture.

Chandler was an intelligent man who approached his pulp writing with a scientific mien. Like Ernest Hemingway he laboured over unfussing his writing. It was all about the mechanics.

Chandler’s most famous invention was Philip Marlowe, the world weary gumshoe … sorry I had to say that. His novella’s – The Big Sleep and Farewell My Lovely are classics of the genre.

He wrote sentences like this

‘It was a good crowd for a Tuesday but nobody was dancing.”

Here’s to Raymond Chandler.

Do you think there’s some merit in cutting out the flap doodle.

On the internet no one reads anymore.

Remember Raymond when your writing.

Everybody loves Raymond.

 

Anchorman 2. When is too much marketing too much?

15 Jan

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I love Will Ferrell and I think Steve Carell is a genius. This newish brand of just plain silly comedy out of the US is funny. And in my book, any excuse for a laugh. I was really looking forward to seeing Anchorman 2 with my family. The first Anchorman was great. And I know Will Ferrell is not to everyone’s taste.

But when I first heard about the 2nd Anchorman instalment I was kind of excited.

And then I heard about it, and I heard about it, and I heard about it again.

Transit ads on buses. The usual internet blitz. Cardboard moustaches. A hell of a roadshow. Youtube ads and trailers.

Saw the film and loved it.

But guess what?

The box office results have been disappointing.

What could have gone wrong? A stellar cast. Great script. Funny as …

No. Too much marketing!

To quote the Steven Zeitchik’s Los Angeles Times story (December 23, 2013)

‘That heaping plate of Ron Burgundy over the past few months (there was also that anchoring of news in North Dakota, the relentless Dodge Durango commercials, the Newseum exhibition, the underwear cross-promotion) made people feel like they had gotten their fill of the character.’

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being repeatedly bashed over the head.

Be strategic and subtle. Plan your marketing. Give ’em time to breathe.

But let them know you’re there.

Anyway … I loved the film!

In just 60 seconds

6 Jan

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According to an article published in the second half of 2013, this is what happens on the ‘net’ every 60 seconds.

To quote the article in the UK Daily Mail, published July 30:

‘In just a single minute on the web 216,000 photos are shared on Instagram, a total of £54,000 ($83,000) sales take place on Amazon, there are 1.8 million likes on Facebook and three days worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. 

Cashback site Qmee has created an infographic that shows this information as well as how many tweets are sent, photos are viewed, Skype calls are made, domains are registered and more in 60 seconds.

The graphic pulls information and figures from PC Mag, Business Insider and other sites to create a the snapshot.’ 

So what does this say to businesses who are trying to market themselves in 2014?

You better get some fresh content.

Google loves new and updated content.

Content that is relevant to your market.

PLAN DO ACT CHECK

Lessons learned from House of Cards

28 Dec

House of CardsHouse of Cards is an American remake of a BBC drama featuring the oh so Machiavellian Francis Urquhart or old FU (BBC) renamed for the US series as Francis Underwood and starring Kevin Spacey.

Both series are well made and gripping in a politico thriller kind of way. And Kevin Spacey is just amazing playing an amoral, unethical and complex Washington power broker.

One of the main characters is a young journalist with an eye for breaking news which she isn’t even getting close to on the big, traditional newspaper she works for.

Sick of covering C grade stories, she hungers for something more.

She is also aware that traditional print newspapers are losing ground to online forms of news.

Without giving the plot away, she finds herself being a conduit for real news. She talks the editor into running her stories. She gets some recognition. She leaves the paper to join an online blog.

Here’s the lesson I learnt from A House of Cards:

“Will it get me in 8 seconds?” The blog editor asks her regarding a proposed post

“That’s all we have.”

8 seconds to hook the reader.

Can you hook them in 8 seconds or less? I’m sure I lost you in the first paragraph.

Now I don’t think that short grabs work for everything. Long copy works for some products and some stories. People still like to read.

Think it through. What are your key objectives?

And, here’s to old FU!

Frank Sinatra and content development. I did it my way

29 Sep

APPROVEDI love Frank Sinatra. His phrasing was amazing (sorry about that one!)

One of my favourites is his rendition of ‘My Way.’ Originally a french song and re-written by legend Paul Anka, it’s a testament to uniqueness, bravery. resilience and self belief. Ol’ Blue Eyes put in all the blows, hits and lingering disappointments. This song is about living and by the soaring end, this listener is in no doubt that Frank lived a life.

I’m a my way kind of person. Strong minded and creative. I often run on instinct fuelled by experience > what’s going to work and what’s not.

But here’s the thing: when you’re planning websites; developing content (products, knowledgebases, social platforms etc.,) always communicate with your stakeholders (internal and external) regularly, get approval and formal sign off. 

This is not always easy. You have to pitch it right and differently depending on your audience. The cost/benefit analysis.

Many great ad campaigns have been ruined by ‘the client.’ They just want the logo bigger. They often don’t share your enthusiasm for standing out in a crowded marketplace. But they are the client nevertheless, nervous or not.

Set up a ‘milestone’ approval system so that everyone’s on the same page. I do love cliches.

And stay brave!!

I love it. Take it out! Part 2

22 Sep

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What was exciting about working in this environment was the chance to watch the words, art direction, talent and production all culminate in an ad campaign. I watched our agency put in a new government with a real US style campaign and I overheard the Chairman telling the future Prime Minister what he was doing wrong.

During this time I had the chance to pitch myself for a place in a highly thought of creative school. It was simply called The Copy School. I wrote a radio ad featuring myself as an ideas cowboy riding into town. I was good but I was green, ending with a Sam Elliott (Big Lebowski) narrator/Voice Over saying nice colour green. That got me over the edge and I was accepted with 10 others into this elite school. Each week we would attend an agency and be hands on trained by the top CD’s who would give us a practical assignment … an ad to write.

One of them, a man who went on to become a best selling author quoted Dr Samuel Johnson as saying ‘What doth please the mightly, do strike out.’ Dr Johnson or his biographer Boswell. I think he took some paraphrasing liberties there but I got the message.

What we love. What we think is sparkling copy. What we think is clever may not be right for the product or the audience. David Ogilvy was tight on the rules of writing.

It’s good to keep that in mind and not be married to our words.

It’s a lesson I never forgot.

Oscar Wilde famously quipped:

I worked very hard today. This morning I put in a comma and this afternoon I took it out.

I love it. Take it out! Part 1

21 Sep

ImageI got my first job in advertising by showing up at an agency with a two page short story I had written about bikies. I still remember one memorable phrase I concocted. It went something like ‘their jeans were so dirty, they could only be removed with a blow torch.’

The amazing thing was not only did I get in and meet with the Creative Director, but he gave me a job on the very lowest branch of the agency tree: the despatch department, run by a fiery red-faced ex army guy they called Sarge. I wanted to write. To create. I was on cloud 9 or maybe even 10.

For the first few days, the CD would acknowledge me. Smile. Ask how I was doing. That stopped soon after. But it was a great place to work. Big clients, global agency. A bunch of creatives around, artists, writers, producers, editors, designers. I loved it.

Then they promoted me to media accounts. Yike! That wasn’t my bag, so they put me into media planning, under a benevolent media genius who will remain nameless, but let’s call him Daniel Boyce. One day he called me into his office and asked me ‘so how are you liking it here?’ I was momentarily blinded by his striped shirt and the harbour view behind him, and blurted out without thinking ‘I don’t like it.’ Daniel fixed me with a steely glare, just as the phone rang. ‘Daniel Boyce.’ He said into the mouthpiece in a cultured accent, glancing at me with what I perceived as contempt. “I’m going to get fired.’ I thought, but no. Daniel put down the phone and asked me why I wasn’t happy in media planning. I told him that I wanted to write. To be a copywriter. To be a creative. The phone rang again. Same rigmarole. Then, ‘Thanks for being honest. Everybody lies to me around here.’

The next day I was relocated to the TV/Broadcast unit where ads were recorded and edited, pilots were made and new business pitches run.

We had two theatres and a big meeting room. I was able to watch actors, writers, engineers create, edit and senior executives pitch for new business. Something different everyday.

It may have been airlines and soft drinks but it was wondrous to me …

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Rodie – King of Content

2 Sep

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“When I have an idea, I turn down the flame, as if it were a little alcohol stove, as low as it will go. Then it explodes and that is my idea.” Hemingway.