April 8, 2010

The beauty of data

682_big02There are many people taking data and transforming it into amazing visualisations. Visual Complexity is a site that gathers together some of the best projects from around the world.

As they say on their site, their main goal is “to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web”. Take a look here.

March 17, 2010

Advertising in the Internet of Things

There is a lot of talk about the Internet of things. In this video we see how even the simplest devices like an alarm clock can communicate with other “things” so you get up soon enough to defrost your car. It all sounds like science fiction but it probably isn’t too far into the future.

So if the world around you can think for you – that is going to leave you with a lot of time on your hands. You’ll have more time to entertain yourself, go shopping or think about your next holiday. In a world where everything is connected advertising could be so targeted that it knows what you need before you do. No doubt our clothes will be connected to the internet too and can tell if you are coming down with a fever. Would your doctor automatically send you the right medicine? Or will you be confronted with a series of ads for cold treatments when you look at your connected screen? Would choice even come into it? Maybe, behind the scenes, various brands have been informed you are coming down with a cold and they will bid to be the product you’re presented with? They will have all the access to your data to see if you are worth bidding for. Income, how often you and your family get sick and so on.

The internet has already changed so many industries, for better or worse. Advertising has already changed dramatically. The internet of things will accelerate everything even faster. Rather than wait for it to happen advertising agencies should already be looking to this new world and trying to figure out how they fit into it. Some are starting to rethink the old advertising model (even online advertising needs a rethink). It is going to be fascinating to see what happens.

October 27, 2009

Mashup down under

The Australian Government’s 2.0 Taskforce has invited anyone to use their data for interesting new mashups. Already there are some very interesting results such as the Fridgemate that locates all the useful services you need wherever you are in the country. Check out the Mashup Australia website to see all the examples. Who will win the top prize of AU$10,000? It’s a great initiative to stimulate innovation – more governments should be equally encouraging!

August 16, 2009

Kings of Data

mlewis_maex03Advertising is a business where all too often it is the creative people who get most of the credit. As they stand there holding up their trophies at another award ceremony they are very unlikely to thank the data analyst who help shape the campaign that just won.

Meet¬†Dimitri Maex, he runs Ogilvy’s analytical team. His recent profile in a Fortune magazine article¬†highlights how much the number crunchers are beginning to be a force in the advertising world. When a client like Cisco paid more attention to him than the creative team during a presentation he knew his time had come. As the article says, “After years of calling the shots, the traditional Mad Men of advertising — the creative types who cooked up memorable sell-lines like “the ultimate driving machine” — are increasingly sharing the spotlight with, you guessed it, the nerds”.

Of course the recession has helped people like Dimitri take center stage as it “made advertisers hungrier for proof that their multimillion-dollar campaigns are working”. Clients have also been looking for new ways to compensate agencies. As the article tells us “Coke is starting to grade its agencies based on four criteria, including sales and market share gains. The new compensation model will be introduced in 35 markets this year and is expected be rolled out to all of Coke’s agencies worldwide by 2011. Agencies that perform have the chance to pocket 30% above their costs — far more than they make under the old fee system”.

To learn how data influences campaigns read the article.

radiohead1I want to look at another Data King. This time it is someone that takes raw data and transforms it into something truely beautiful. Aaron Koblin works at Google Creative Labs and has been playing with data for years producing projects such as the visualisation of SMS messages in Amsterdam, the flight patterns of more than 205,000 different aircraft being monitored by the FAA on August 12, 2008 and even a music video for Radiohead.

Watch a fascinating presentation by Aaron here to discover how he works his magic with data.

The creative kings are not dead. They just need to learn to work together with the other masters of their domains – the kings of data. Together they make a powerful alliance.