Sunday, May 31, 2009

re: last post

In hindsight, my last post might have come off as a little anti-digital. But what sense would that make if it was written by a self-proclaimed digital native? I'll clear things up by saying I am not anti-digital just pro integrated. After all we live in an offline world. Or do we? The answer to that is that we live in both worlds. And that's why we should take into account the mass coverage of TV, local appeal of radio and well...the customized approach of digital (variants: dee.gee.tul, dee.ji.TAL)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Media r(EV)loution

When TV was introduced to the public in the 50s some feared the future of cinema. Going out to the cinema was a favorite pastime at the time and studio owners reasoned that their audiences would be lured by the comfort of watching shows at home. I can imagine how excited people were to learn they didn’t have to get out to be entertained. They were clearly happy to go out before TV was invented but there’s no doubt that the frequency of “cinema outings” dropped after the introduction of quality TV shows.

Rewind to a few years earlier and the same story probably enfolded with radio and cinema. People were happy to stay home and listen to radio shows using their imagination to make up for lack of visuals but the larger than life moving pictures took them out of their homes.

Today we are experiencing the same thing with the internet and TV. This time around, the battle is not between Hollywood studio owners & TV producers. It’s between agencies: media agencies, ATL agencies, BTL agencies and I suppose it’s also between TV producers & social media/search organizations (facebook, google). Where is our audience going? How can we account for media spend? Clients/brands want to know. Everyone in the agency is involved(in no particular order):

CEOs / Board members want the best return on investment for clients
Account Directors / Managers want to serve their clients in the best way possible
Account Planners want the best ways to engage the
audience with the brand
Media / Communication Planners want the appropriate media to position the brand.
Creatives want to be given the freedom to be…creative.

and of course*…
Clients are concerned about their stakeholders, market share, profits etc
with the yearning to stay current, no one wants to be left behind.

If you examine the history of media, you’ll find that it always evolves. The present top dog will be succeeded by a more exciting form of entertainment/communication as it becomes more traditional. Traditional media still functions and though its initial novelty has faded, it is interwoven in our everyday lives (don’t underestimate the power of that). In college I learned from my sociology class that demand will always exist. It is supply that changes. So if the demand for entertainment / better communications is always going to be there, perhaps our focus should be on the supply. What inventions will shape the supply of communications & entertainment?

Case in point: With the rise of TV shows on YouTube / Hulu, consumers are catching their favorite shows online. This affects the TV viewership and ultimately the money generated from advertising. The demand for the TV shows is still there but convenience is an added demand. Networks are losing to online video networks who provide just that. What about TiVo/ Sky Plus you ask? They aren’t free, YouTube is. There isn’t one solution to this problem but it's worth looking back at how the old “top dogs” dealt with their mid age crisis. Hollywood studios responded with better movies and improved technology (color & sound).

I’ve heard long enough that digital is the future and that agencies without this function should brace themselves. I agree, but lets remember that Digital is the future as long as we’ll make it. Interaction might well be the demand while digital (whatever people mean when they say this) is the current supply.

*don't ask me what's meant by "exponential mindset" I just liked the Venn diagram, check out this blog to find out more ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

50 million visitors

Congrats to the FWA for reaching the 50 million mark, check them out and add yourself to their list.

worth the visit!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

online and offline identity

The rise of social media (is anyone tired of hearing those words?) has brought about change in the ways we interact: globally, professionally, personally…and just about every interaction you can slap “ly” on. The fact that social media is changing our daily interactions is undisputed. So much so that social networking sites such as Facebook,, flickr etc are creating brands of themselves (even real brands are copying them). The news is out, social networking is here to stay.

So what do we make of this? Naturally, we respond in kind. When Facebook opened its doors to all members of the public back in 2006, what was once used (and known) as a “college networking” site transformed overnight to a global social networking site. People from all backgrounds became a part of it, old friends reunited, mother’s chimed in, teachers signed up, your bosses added you. It opened the door for new friendships, embarrassing photos, & pointless but funny status updates (pre-twitter era). But it reached a point where people began thinking of privacy and perhaps thinking of how their offline identities were catching up with their online personas.

Today, most people are developing their online brands.
The question I ask is how we can stay true to ourselves without giving away too much. Twitter raises this concern for me, in particular. Facebook saw a rise of private profiles as more people migrated there. What about twitter? When people are free enough to give you up-to-the-minute status updates of their lives (or at least, the lives they chose to reveal) what happens when you find out that your future employer checked out your twitter page or your friends find out you follow Britney Spears? Get a nickname I say!

Unilever's response

The wonders of the internet, I got the answer to my last post. Apparently, that video made its way on CNN and Unilever issued a response: was posted a year ago, which means they had an answer waiting before I even asked ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dove, Lynx/Axe & Unilever

Everybody has probably seen the Dove ads a couple of times. Hats off to Ogilvy for providing a fresh new perspective on beauty (as it is represented in advertising) with the Campaign For Real Beauty. I commend Dove for taking the further steps by creating the Dove Self Esteem Fund. There’s no doubt that the brand values are reflected in the campaigns.

But I’m curious as to how Unilever (papa/mama bear) explains itself to consumers (or if we are being imaginative, bitter rival agencies/competitors) who post videos like the one below:

Especially when it is a response to an ad originally made by Dove:

Monday, May 11, 2009


I finally gave in! I signed up for twitter about a month ago. Ironically enough, this was immediately after I had a debate on the point of its existence with my friend. To be honest, I just didn’t want to be left out. All that talk about “follow me on twitter” was driving me crazy! I started off adding celebrities (forget gossip magazines let’s hear it from the horses mouth, I thought). But a few weeks later, John Mayer’s incessant tweets put me off:

Hmmm, what about family & friends? I sent invites(and even personal emails) and lets just say they don’t tweet.

Next step, I added ad industry/trend spotting publications, the likes of Ad Age, PSFK, Fast Company etc and from there I added ad agencies. The result? In the less than a week, Tom Morton, Executive Planning Director of TBWA\London & Rory Sutherland new chairman of the IPA and self proclaimed “Fat bloke at Ogilvy” gotta love him) added me. Naturally that made me happy because 5 years ago you would probably have to schedule a time to meet up with people like them to hear what they have to say. Now, I know that Tim Lindsay reports to his bosses in the states and that Rory watches Mad Men. So what? My point is that social media is breaking down the boundaries and in doing so offering us the opportunity to learn about the world at large. The million dollar question is, how long will twitter last?

Click on the bird to the right to "follow me on twitter" :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In the year 1989

As a kid I remember daydreaming of the perfect backpack. When I think of it today, it really was just a bag that had buttons I could press to light up the bag (might have done my homework as well). Last year, I bought my dream backpack for my brother.

*not the actual one :)

Actually, the 6 year old in me bought it for him and for a second -- I thought of keeping it. To think there are still more gadgets to discover is pretty exciting.

What did you dream of back in the day that now exists?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Lemonade out of cards?

Ad Land has experienced a number of job losses over the last few months -- and I was on the receiving end of it in February.
At the back of my mind, I couldn't help but wonder if it was all an excuse -- a reason to shield the salary margin for top management or perhaps a chance for backstabbing employees to push their fellow coworkers off the cliff (false & unfair annual reviews come to mind). But I suppose there are valid reasons on the side of employers. Economists are very familiar with this game, "maximization of utility" is the term. Everyone is out for themselves, all in the name of personal satisfaction.

Yesterday, this post by AdFreak put things into perspective. Cards of Change is a database of old business cards that might no longer see the light of day but, in the light of optimism, the former owners share their stories:

Our mission is to collect as many business cards and stories of positive change of people who have recently been laid off and connect them with new opportunities from potential employers, business partners and people who make the effort to look on the bright side of life.

I like it. It's a fresh idea, might not be the no.1 job source but it's thoughtful and tactful.

Turkish vs American

If you're an avid CNN watcher, you've probably come across enough airline commercials to whet your jet setting appetite. And it makes sense that those commercials make their way on CNN given the international audience the channel offers. But pay closer attention and you'll notice something interesting with the Turkish & American airline commercials. At face value it seems the two brands are in a battle for "cool":



They both feature well known actors, both named Kevin:


Costner OWNS it in this one, and yes it helps that he is a Titan :) I personally think he delivers 'cool' in an edgier way. TA = 1 AA= 0

They are both promoting their Business Class experience.

Both ads are classy in a different way but Turkish airlines just gets it. Yes, Spacey delivers his lines with precision and is on cue but you get the feel that he is talking down to you. On the other hand, the score used in the TA ad and the way the story is told gets you involved, "what's going to happen next? will he whisk off with the flight attendant?" The best part is that the story is told without words, leaving you to make sense of what it all means. TA = 1 AA= 0

We all know the story, business class means you can eat, sleep, and relax from the moment you are in the lounge. In this day and age it seems major airline carriers are touting their extra features: decked out lounge, on board experience & the impeccable service. Most business travelers are aware of these features so merely talking about them might not get a brand far. So maybe it's creating a story that will. How will you tell your story? With a well acclaimed actor who delivers your script as he knows how? or with a twist? Use the actor but don't make him the center of your story because at the end of the day the consumer is the real star. Turkish Airlines goes for the latter, wining the third round. TA = 1 AA= 0

It's a landslide victory, TA wins 3 - 0. The Art Grup agency did a great job including (as opposed to alienating) consumers. Don't tell me what it's like to be an actor, show me what it feels like. Both ads run on the same premise but TA gives us something to think mean I can be Kevin Costner too?? Just watch the ad:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Becoming a Consumer again

posted yesterday night:

It's almost past my bedtime and I've just realized something. Do I know what it means to pass an ad and not give it any attention? Not care about the underlying message or whether it's on strategy. Look straight into the ad and unmindfully (I know, its not a word) recite my soon to be completed daily rituals of laundry, dog walking, grocery shopping, teeth flossing.... ah the innocence.