July 26, 2012

The internet’s 3rd wave

As casual gaming company Zygna tanks, losing 42 percent of its value with a knock-on effect to Facebook, the writing is on the wall that the second dotcom bubble is ready to pop. For those of us in the business who lived through the first one it’s time to look beyond the current worries and consider where to go from here. The first bubble burst when too many companies were trying to build online businesses that nobody needed. It was the wild west when good money was thrown at bad ideas. The industry was smarting for a while but came back strong on the back of social. But it has been clear for some time that it couldn’t last.

You need to look at it from three sides. The dotcoms themselves, the advertising industry and most of all the public. With the swift success of social and the app economy many dotcoms sprung up based on the insatiable appetite of the public for anything new. Being able to connect with friends and spend hours oversharing or killing time with angry birds has created a generation of digital addicts. Marketers saw this phenomenon and jumped on the bandwagon either putting ads in the middle of all this hyperactivity or creating their own branded experiences to feed the audience’s addiction. Maybe it’s the global economic downturn that has been a splash of cold water in the face of the public but suddenly lots of people don’t want to waste their time sharing, liking or playing mindless games.

So what’s next? Can we get a glimpse of the internet’s 3rd wave already?

My personal opinion is that we are entering the Age of Usefulness. It will still be social but above all it will help people make the most of their time not waste it. Nike Fuel is just one example of this. A brand that has a true purpose in people’s lives and is building utility into its products that uses digital as the infrastructure behind a meaningful relationship with customers. We’re going to see more brands seeking to have this kind of purpose in people’s lives and this will be reflected in their marketing. Where does this leave all the dotcoms and startups designed to distract people with meaningless amusements? Many will fade away but some will rethink what they offer to the public. In this Age of Usefulness people will be seeking value. If time is currency then they will want to invest it wisely. To enrich their lives and relationships. Brands will have to be more responsible and answerable for what they sell and what they stand for. Now that can only be a positive thing.

The next bubble burst will be painful but what comes afterwards will be something more substantial and be a true fulfillment of the internet’s promise. Tim Berners-Lee will be able to be very proud of his creation once more.

May 6, 2011

Month of Tweets # 4

April was a month of Easter Eggs, Royal Weddings and other equally forgettable things. But so as not to forget some of the cool things I tweeted last month here is a round up of the best…

Very cool… RT @adenhepburn: New Digital Buzz Post: Xbox Kinect: Become Your Own Souvenir! http://bit.ly/dGeMG4

  • I love Kinect hacks and 3D printing so put them together and I am in digital heaven!

Sweet… RT @PeteFyfe: This is quite smart. 3D projection mapping on a small scale for Vodafone: http://bit.ly/fC5ZRy

  • We are seeing more innovative uses of 3D projection mapping being the big brashy building projections being watched by pretty agency girls. This one is very cool.


Gaming for a good cause – some great examples. RT @simonmainwaring: Zynga: How the virtual world can save the real world. http://ow.ly/4z1M5

  • We all know how casual gaming is a huge market and this article shows how this audience has a heart as well as spare time to waste growing virtual cabbages and such.

Interesting stuff… RT @ktroia: Razorfish5: Technologies That Will Change The Business of Brands http://ow.ly/1cbUGE

  • I don’t mind plugging other agencies as long as they are sharing great articles like this one…

Ads that analyze and target you personally – interesting article on CNN http://bit.ly/fTq4nQ

  • Immersive Labs have developed a system where your computer analyses your face to target ads just for you. Will this take off or will people think this is taking things too far?

Everyone copies, Apple included. It’s how you do it that matters – article on The Telegraph UK http://bit.ly/hS8uao

  • With Apple likely to be the most valuable company on the planet before too long it is interesting to read how they didn’t get there by being original – just by copying better than anyone else.

I like… RT @ThePersuader: Brilliant use of #RFID helps #Renaultbring Facebook ‘Likes’ to life [Video]. Love it! http://ow.ly/4G7Xg

  • In the future we will probably all be “liking” things in the real world by swiping our mobile phones. Is this a taste of what’s to come or just a gimmick?

Very cool… Nike Software Turns Runners’ Footsteps Into Loopy, Swooshy Paintings – on FastCo Design http://bit.ly/euXxOr

  • This kind of project really excites me even though I know that it would only appeal to a limited audience. But who cares? it’s looks fantastic.

They shoot they score… RT @contagiousmag: Heineken hits the back of the net with the launch of Star Player from @AKQA http://j.mp/mq4ET6

  • Could this be the future of an different kind of interactive TV experience?

I usually end with a smile but thought I’d buck the trend with this sad tale of a fantastic agency that has closed its doors due to some unfortunate circumstances. Thanks for inspiring us Modernista!

Sad story… RT @Adweek: The rise and fall of Modernista.http://bit.ly/k9jEfb

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.
September 6, 2010

Week of tweets #17 (summer is over edition)

I seem to be very bad at doing this on a weekly basis. I could say it doesn’t matter as nobody reads my blog but I had my highest ever visitor count in August. So no excuses… this better be good!

Great! RT @Schwartzie14: 1 of the smartest creatives in advertising gives u some excellent tips on expanding yr brain – http://bit.ly/9m5Y6S

  • I love a good list and in this one from Edward Boches he shares a selection of books and blogs designed to help anyone in their digital evolution.

How do you top the Nike Chalkbot? Meet Precious – the bike with a brain… on DigitalBuzz Blog http://bit.ly/bntxiB

Good read… RT @BBHLabs: Interview w/ MDC & Partners Chief Innovation Officer @faris, check it out http://j.mp/agaeXb

  • Faris Yakob from MDC & Partners is one of the many smart people driving our industry forward. So when he speaks you have to listen – especially when you see his hair.

Real world social – RT @adenhepburn: Facebook Integration At The Coca Cola Village http://bit.ly/9RsK63

  • Digital and physical are becoming more and more intertwined. This beach party looks like hell on earth to me but presents some really interesting possibilities for making social networks more real world.

Do We Need a New Definition of Creativity? In Today’s Digital World, the Answer Is Yes – AdAge article…http://bit.ly/d7UETa

  • In this article by Ana Andjelic she gives some tips about being creative in in the ad world today. She says that “the best creative is the creation of relationships, connections and interactions. It connects tools with behaviors, locations, and objects. It creates networks or systems. To be creative there, you need to be strategic: you need to figure out who connects to whom, when and why and to what result. Simply, you need to plan for a chain reaction. These networks then give way to a collective creativity that becomes visible to all to use it, build upon it, change it, and add to it”. Keep reading here.

Like… RT @adenhepburn: Sony: Media Monster Wars Facebook App http://bit.ly/aH68Eu (great example of branded social gaming!)

Great article… RT @Clickaholic: RT @LarryTolpin: 50 Ways to Foster a Culture of Innovation – http://j.mp/ciUJZa

  • Some great tips here such as having no fixed rules or templates, getting rid of fear, having fun, making mistakes and more…

Revenge of the Nerd: Great review by Scott Foundas of upcoming movie The Social Network. Must see it…http://tinyurl.com/2e9jqu2

  • Will Mark Zuckerberg be queuing up to see this one? I doubt it.

Looking good… RT @chrisgrayson: VIDEO: Augmented Reality cosmetic virtual mirror kiosk by @IBM, demo for Clinique –http://is.gd/eRXdK

  • We will definitely be seeing a lot more of this instore digital displays and interactive kiosks as the technology become cheaper. IBM seem to be investing a lot of money into it. The voice over on the demo is not very exciting but the possibilities are…

and to end on a lighter note as usual….

Apple take note – great sponsorship opportunity 🙂 RT @robbiew: Sez my 4 yr old daughter: “I want to go to Paris and see the iPhone Tower”

August 8, 2010

Week of Tweets #16 (the lazy edition)

I noticed that my last summary of my best tweets was exactly a month ago. Well I was on holiday then off work sick so I have some excuses. Now I have a month of tweets to choose from but they were thin on the ground. Enough dithering… let’s get on with it already!

Avant garde or deja vu? RT @chiatdaynight RT @jbhester: Madison Avenue’s World of Tomorrow http://nyti.ms/931tG6

  • The Media Kitchen agency and Popular Science opened the Test Kitchen, a living room of sorts where employees can test the latest technology. Is this big enough news to appear on the NY Times? Probably not… they just have great PR people. Ogilvy have had Digital Labs for years and other agencies no doubt have done the same. I do like the idea of making it look like a living room though. Slippers anyone?

RT @LarryTolpin: ‘What Makes A Good Creative Director?’ – via @BHHLabs – http://j.mp/cN46me

  • Great article by Felix Unger on the Design Taxi blog. Those of us who’ve held that title for a while could do with a reality check from time to time to see if we are really living up to the expectations of the CD role (and not just cruising). Topics include: The creative director should produce work (not just post-it scribbles), should know every creative brief intimately, should be a shepherd and more…

Amazing. RT @simonmainwaring: crazy and inspiring new devices coming out of MIT give a hint of what might be possible. http://ow.ly/2fTF6

  • I’ve always been a bit of a geek when it comes to future technologies.  This article shows what kind of tech we could be using everyday in the near future.

Reading NYTimes: Will Zynga Become the Google of Games? http://nyti.ms/dzJhFQ

  • Casual gaming has been buzz word for some time. But with Farmville and social networks it truly exploded. This article shows where it could go next.

Great post on the evolution of digital. RT @edwardboches: Digital ideas, platforms and eco-systems: http://bit.ly/aI3261

  • “For years, digital agencies have strived to distinguish themselves from traditional advertising agencies that practice digital with the claim that they build platforms – applications and utility that delivery functionality and integrate into people’s lives – while ad agencies come up with digital gimmicks”. Read on

Great read! RT @digicynic: A new (controversial?) blog post: How to sell better work. What’s your inspiration strategy? http://bit.ly/bjYmTY

  • A must read article by Jerome Courtial that covers such topics as: refiningwhat the account team stands for, integrating innovation specialists into the day to day of client servicing, being creative to get more client face time and more…

Movie trailer for horror movie with your Facebook friends. “Lost in Val Sinestra” Brilliantly done: http://bit.ly/bsCNAz via @daanvanrossum

How they shine so bright..RT @AdHack: Pixar’s tips for creative success – mastery, depth, communication, collaboration:

Amazing work… Future vision: Augmented City – Keiichi Matsuda’s 3D vision. http://tinyurl.com/36wpaq4

  • Unfortunately you need some old-fashioned green and red glasses to enjoy this properly…

and finally…

Love it! RT @ChristianHughes: Great fake vintage ads for Facebook, YouTube and Skype – http://short.ie/bpblog060810 (via @Betapond Blog)

  • I’ve seen a few of these things floating around the web. Are people yearning for simpler times?

June 14, 2010

Week of Tweets #14

Welcome to another edition of my regular roundup of favourite tweets.

Instant advertising… NYTimes: An Ad Engine to Put ‘Mad Men’ Out of Business http://nyti.ms/by4u4L

  • How automated can advertising get? This article covers some new developments in banner advertising.

Great idea… RT @intersphere: Condom brand uses#Chatroulette to create an HIV awareness campaignhttp://bit.ly/a7g4vl

Hope the video below doesn’t offend anyone. No doubt Steve Jobs will stop reading this blog now. Nice way to use fun technology to get a serious message across…

Another one converted 🙂 RT @adage: Bring on Digital: Why I No Longer Consider Myself a Traditionalist: http://bit.ly/9P0ufM

  • Liked this article showing how one “traditional” creative discovered the creative possibilities that digital provides.

RT @PSFK: BMW Brings “Joy” To Singapore With Interactive 3D Building Projection http://su.pr/20cYz5

Interesting… RT @BrandRepublic: Pepsi launches location-based iPhone app with check-in rewards http://fwd4.me/Ra2

  • I’m the king of the castle! Has Foursquare unlocked our inner children or started the next bandwagon? I still believe in location-based marketing but maybe not the version we know right now.

RT @pyesawichjr: Will the future be filled with data displays and 3D holographic objects projected into physical space? http://bit.ly/dyVmBv

  • I love a good futuristic story. This article imagines what things might be like 10 years from now. Oh how we’ll laugh when we look back at Layar (no offence guys).

Sorry, we don’t serve Flash… RT @anguswong: Restaurant replaces menus with iPads.

  • Will this replace waiters? Not really. They’ll just be wiping grease off iPad screens instead.

Now that’s a YouTube channel! RT @leorayman: DDB/Tribal launches Budweiser World Cup/reality show mashup www.BudUnited.com

  • Reality TV continues to be a great way to draw in an audience. This campaign is a great execution of a YouTube-based campaign.

Great article… RT @Razorfish: Digital advertising out; engaging experiences in (via @psfk) http://bit.ly/brIXu3

  • Does advertising work these days? Can we connect more with our audience through “brand-fueled” events and content?

and finally…

I Like!… RT @PSFK: Facebook ‘Like Button’ Goes Physical http://su.pr/2vmUhw

June 11, 2010

IKEA Play Report

This is a great initiative from IKEA using the power of social media to encourage people to play more with their kids. Check it out here on Facebook.

February 22, 2010

Week of Tweets #7

The Twitterverse continues to expand and grow. Will Google Buzz bring all that to an end? For now, here is another list of the best of my tweets…

Consumer-generated ads? Oh, by the way… the winner is an advertising creative director, writer, film maker… http://bit.ly/cM9C5R

  • Yes, crowd-sourcing is the buzz-word du jour and the idea of agencies disappearing to be replaced by creative customers who come up with amazing ad campaigns. But as this article discovers, those average Joe consumers are actually advertising experts after all!

I’m jumping on the sofa! NYTimes: You, Too, Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report’ http://s.nyt.com/u/BhL

  • Interesting article looks at how the imaginary user-interface of the future has actually been developed into a working version.


Fascinating NYTimes: Viewing the Mouse Tracks You Leave Behind http://s.nyt.com/u/Bna

  • The New York Times always has great articles about technology. This story about an application developed by Anatoly Zenkov, a Russian graphic designer and programmer, shows how people interact on a computer screen. Cool stuff.

The geek will inherit the earth. RT @PSFK: The New Agency Superstar: The Digital Technologist http://su.pr/23jMEw

  • With more and more technically innovative projects appearing it is finally time that the techies get their dues.

Sign of the times RT @nickburcher: Facebook pages promoted with TV ads and offline media – Smirnoff, Lynx Twist … http://bit.ly/aMNanu


  • Used to be a time when URLS were a required addition to most ads but now it seems like Facebook has taken over. Is it the new web? I have a horrible AOL walled-garden feeling coming on.

Customers give it up to get more. Telegraph article: Advertising is getting personal – at http://bit.ly/aQcuKa

  • This article shows that customers are gradually letting brands into their lives a little more in exchange for something of value. I liked this quote – “the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians.”

Let’s end with a smile…

I like it RT @dabitch: ha ha ha : http://www.shadyurl.com/ “Don’t just shorten your url, make it suspicious and frightening”

  • I put in my own blog URL and got this: http://5z8.info/this_persons_account_has_been_hacked_i4y1r_gain-inches
December 7, 2009

In your Facebook

Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden came up with a great idea to launch the new IKEA store in Malmo. Using the in-built functionality of photo tagging they set up a Facebook profile for the store manager and invited everyone to tag their names on items in the showroom photos for a chance to win the object. As with any photo on Facebook, as soon as someone tagged themselves, news of this action also appeared on their news feed, growing the campaign across thousands of different profile pages as it was shared between friends.

September 10, 2009

Who’s who online?

sellersThe other night I watched a great movie – The Life and Death of Peter Sellers starring Geoffrey Rush. One of the things that really stood out was his identity crisis. As Wikipedia say “his ability to speak in different accents (e.g., French, Indian, American, German), along with his talent to portray a range of characters ensured his success as a radio personality and screen actor yet Sellers’s private life was characterized by turmoil and crises”. He only seemed to be confident when he was inhabiting a character. When Kermit the Frog told Sellers he could relax and be “himself,” Sellers (while wearing a Viking helmet, a girdle and one boxing glove), replied, “There is no me. I do not exist. There used to be a me, but I had it surgically removed.”

The internet has allowed so many people to reinvent themselves whether it is via chatrooms, Second Life, World of Warcraft or a MySpace page. In a world where everyone wants to be Googled there are many tips from people telling you how to manage your online identity. At the same time we’ve seen people having their identity hijacked by others. Sometimes it is in good humour like the Fake Steve Jobs but other times it is truly criminal. Like Natasha Cann who “endured the Father’s Day from hell when hackers broke into her Facebook account and proceeded to scam her closest friends out of significant amounts of money”.

It is the same with brands who are trying to reposition themselves and define their identity in the digital world. Everyone wants to dabble in social networking, perhaps marketing via Twitter or experimenting with user-generated campaigns. But if people’s online identities are fake (or at least enhanced) can brands really rely on the response they are getting? Are the online identities that brands are projecting really true to their values? Let an intern loose (so they claimed) on your Twitter marketing and brands like Habitat come across as opportunistic and untrustworthy. Are fake brand personas connecting and interacting with fake consumer personas? Is the internet suffering from an identity crisis just like poor Peter Sellers? Do we need a little more truth in online advertising – from both sides?