December 28, 2010

The digital year ahead

The end of a year is always a time when people look backwards but mostly when digital trend watchers look forwards to the coming year.

It seems like for the past 10 years everyone has been saying that the coming 12 months will finally be the year of the mobile. Everything seems to point this being true in 2011 but in ways that nobody expected. It isn’t just about phones any more but now the tablet is allowing people to stay connected away from the PC like never before. Expect to see a whole selection of new products appear at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that will allow people to connect wherever they are – with each other and with brands.

What does this mean for the world of advertising? Location-based marketing will grow even more in 2011 according to Jesse Thomas in a recent article on Mashable.We are moving from people “checking in” to impress their friends to more retailers giving special offers to those people who drop in regularly. This is leading to a whole new way to drive traffic to stores and gives marketers a powerful tool to reward visits.

Meanwhile, it is predicted that Augmented Reality on smartphones will go mainstream. In this article in the New York Times, Nick Bilton explains how this technology has moved from being a geeky gimmick to a truly useful tool. It’s not just about looking through your phone screen to reveal hidden information or seeing yourself with a virtual girlfriend. People are now at home watching TV and augmenting the experience with additional content on their phones or tablets. In the case of ABC TV network app where the tablet listens to the audio of the TV show and is able to display relevant information at key moments in the program.

Social media is not going away in 2011 and many are predicting that it will grow even stronger as a marketing tool. In the Harvard Business Review David Armano presents six trends, for me the most interesting of which is the move to a more open social experience where campaigns cross boundaries between various social networks. This comes from the reality that people don’t stick to one social platform but dip their toes in many different ponds.

Now that I’m based in China it’s interesting to see how they fit into this picture. The country may have come late to the digital marketing party but is fast catching up. With our own social networks, location-based tools and microblogging services – not to mention the explosion of digital devices in the hands of the consumer – China is poised to impress the world with some amazingly creative and effective examples of 21st century advertising. The sheer numbers of online customers and their passion for all things new makes China a wonderland for switched-on marketers. While viral videos still seem to be the most popular online medium for brands we will hopefully see more active forms of participation through the smart use of mobile while more campaigns will become social-centric allowing increased participation.

As this digital decade ends and another begins we can look to the One Club to remind us of the best digital campaigns of the past 10 years. From a Subservient Chicken to Nike shoes that talked to your iPod, through to an online video that literally changed the face of advertising and gave us the word “viral”… enjoy some of the best work that will no doubt appear like ancient relics 10 years from now. Yet their ideas will still stand strong even if technology moves on. Creativity never gets old.

December 19, 2010

Week of tweets #22

After 6 weeks working in Shanghai I’ve barely managed to keep tweeting while my blogging has been very thin on the ground. Well, these regular updates from my life on Twitter hopefully make up for my silence.

iCandy – Dentsu London’s light extrusion 3D text demo now available to everyone as an iPad app… http://engt.co/epVKIS

  • This amazing project by Dentsu and Berg has been featured on my blog before. Now anyone with lots of patience and time on their hands can make incredible 3D writing appear in the air. Just don’t ask why. It’s cool.

Very smart… RT @tomgooday: RT @blogilvydotnl .WWF a .pdf that cannot be printed http://bit.ly/hg4p8s great idea!

  • This won’t catch on unfortunately but I love the thinking behind it. A future award winner to be sure.

Brighten your Monday with GE’s Ecomagination YouTube extravaganza – http://bit.ly/fVuOoj

  • The agency behind GE’s campaign have dome some amazing work. The song might be a little annoying but the execution is spot on…

What the fail whale designer did next – cool murals from Yiying Lu http://bit.ly/hUvJOc

  • No doubt she was paid peanuts for her design that is seen by millions – but she rode that fail whale to international stardom. Read the full story here.

How times have changed… RT @mariegoupry: A Day in the Life of Social Media http://bit.ly/ez181p

Amazing 360 degree video for Doritos Late Night Flavours –http://bit.ly/bdm7tw

  • Incredible music video that allows you to change to viewpoint of an immersive world featuring singer Professor Green. The link with the product is a little week but great branded entertainment.

Ooh la la! French iAd for Perrier featuring Dita van Teese –http://youtu.be/5hAnqMMU8E0 via @brunoclement

OK GO launches a GPS Art Project http://bit.ly/gx8gnN If only their songs were as interesting as their videos.

  • As Daan (one of my old colleagues) summed up, “Maybe they’re a viral ad agency in disguise :-)”

and finally – something non-digital to mark the season…

The true spirit of Christmas today – beautifully captured in Pot Noodle ad from AKQA http://bit.ly/dT487U

You have to be English to get the full irony. But sweet anyway. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 3, 2010

What’s Swedish for amazing?

As reported in Wired magazine, Research in Motion has acquired Swedish interface design firm TAT, whose initials stand for The Astonishing Tribe. As Wired reports, “We have no idea, but if these concept videos produced by TAT are any indication, we’re guessing your next BlackBerry might have”:

  • A touch- and motion-sensitive UI that reponds to your body’s movement as well as your fingers on the screen
  • Eye-tracking technology to provide enhanced 3-D effects
  • A slicker, easier-to-manage interface for switching between multiple apps
  • Eye-popping 2-D and 3-D visuals

Check out their vision of Future Screen Technology below…

December 1, 2010

Week of tweets #21

My Twitter follower count recently broke through the 1000 barrier (I know Ashton, nowhere near yours). To celebrate here is another “best of” from my most recent tweets…

Small wonder! RT @glueisobar: What a brilliant piece of design!! i3DG: a mobile 3D exhibition. http://bit.ly/aOPECI

  • Just love it when you take an idea from times past and update it for the digital age. This would be great for McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Wise words. RT @MrJonath: “Digital may be everyday but it’s not effortless” – Iain Tait in New Media Age http://bit.ly/aNOcqE

  • Iain Tait is going to be my next featured digital hero in this blog but in the meanwhile he defends the value of digital specialists in this article. We might live in a post-digital age where technology is every day, but (as Iain says) “to deny there’s an art and a specific skillset required to produce and execute great digital products or advertising is a huge, epic, ostrich-like mistake.

Love it! RT @intersphere: Major Oops. Publicis’ Hacked Twitter Video Is a Lesson on Inoculating Your Brand Against Satire http://ow.ly/3bZTN

Sweet idea – unless you’re a tree. RT @BLOGILVYdotNL: When Facebook becomes a book http://bit.ly/ds4bFk

  • Developed by Perfect Fools for DDB Paris, from an original idea by Siavosh Zabeti and Alexander Kalchev. Bouygues Telecom asked them for an idea to launch their Facebook platform. Something that would “go beyond using your profile picture in a funny way, or pranking your friends with a small joke”. They took a look at the way people use Facebook and “found that even though we use the social networking site everyday, we forget our favorite moments we share online”. So they created an app that could change that, and keep your Facebook in book form.

More Kinect goodness… RT @mariegoupry: Xbox Kinect Launch – Interactive Art Installation in Munichhttp://bit.ly/f7zgJT

  • I am always amazed how quickly new technology gets hacked and repurposed. You can find loads of incredible Kinect rehashes online now. They’ve also sold a bucketload of the devices. Which is more can be said for their Windows 7 phones.

The new new media? Richard Branson announces Virgin’s magazine for iPad – in the Guardian UK http://bit.ly/fCwDVA

  • Forget the arms race. Now it is the tablet war with rival media moguls battling it out for our touch screen devices.

And finally, a big bucket of cold water from my good friend and colleague Eric Phu

Reality check… RT @intersphere: View From the Consumer |http://bit.ly/ijfHyG by @ericphu

  • Here’s a sample : I will not jump through your hoops, so don’t even bother asking. If you want me to participate, you better keep things simple.I don’t want to create a custom video, or spend 20 minutes interacting with blatant advertising. I don’t even want to watch a two-minute video intro, or click through 10 pages to get to a point.