In this episode of our monthly debates, Mitch and I tackled the "Rise of Machines" i.e. automation of marketing & advertising versus "How do you Scale Humanity?" with respect to investing in talent and "humans" to serve "other humans." It's The Matrix meets Sixth Sense. Creepy! @mitchjoel and @jaffejuice
It's hard to resist making this a looooooooooooong post, so instead I'll do my best to be as brief and succinct as possible, so here goes...
My good friend and ex-client, Maarten Albarda and I are co-authoring a book together. It's my 4th book (after Life after the 30-second spot, Join the Conversation and Flip the Funnel) and Maarten's first. Besides sharing the same vision and passion for the subject, we're bringing a 1-2 punch to the table in the form of advertising-agency perspective on the giant elephant in the room: media or rather paid media.
The book is called z.e.r.o. and the sub-title, "zero paid media as the new marketing model" kind of says it all (and in less than 140 characters).
The book posits that in a perfect world, your paid media budget would be z.e.r.o. - literally, but also figuratively in the form of an acronym which stands for Zealots (advocacy), Entrepreneurship (innovation), Retention (customer centricity) and Owned Assets (moving from tenant to landlord)
On one hand, it's me returning to my "Life after" roots, but on the other other (and more poignantly), it's our set up of our premonition of a perfect storm approaching in marketing; one in which the bottom could conceivably fall out of the media model. Fortunately, the world is not perfect and change takes longer than we expect, but then again...just look at how your world has changed in the past few years to validate the fact that sitting and doing nothing is not a viable solution.
For me, it's a bold move for two reasons:
I've made the move from being a 3-time published author to self-publishing (thanks to Richard @ Wiley for everything to get me this far and props to my new home, Archway Publishing)
Review the various pledge rewards and become a backer. We've named them after famous misers.
From the Hetty Green and Warren Buffet (digital and hardcover copies respectively) to the maximum reward, which delivers 10 autographed books and an in-person keynote from either Maarten or myself (only 2 available per person)
The no-brainer and value rewards are the Mr Burns and Mr Krabs respectively, that also include a 140-character acknowledgement (plug) in the book itself
We just pre-launched the book and Kickstarter campaign at the Festival of Media in Montreux, but here's the crazy part...in just over 24 hours after I hit the publish button (in stealth mode), we've almost hit our initial funding goal of $10,000. With your help, we'll push this over the edge and see how far we can take it.
The wild thing is that the book will become it's own case study insofar that it will demonstrate how we were able to self-publish our book for "z.e.r.o." by tapping into our advocates and leveraging our owned assets. It's U.N.M.2.P.N.M. circa 2005 retooled for 2013.
So...if you're part of my community and/or appreciate my content, show your support on Kickstarter with the pledge amount (or more if your heart desires). I will post regular updates over the 6 week period to acknowledge my backers (which would be you)
And all things being equal, Z.E.R.O. will launch in September of 2013 and will contain the 10-point action plan towards implementing this bold vision towards helping marketing evolve, normalize and allocate scarce resources to a re-prioritized hierarchy of connection points.
My weekly Mediapost column is out which focuses on the workplace of the future and how innovations in how, where and when we work will impact on companies - large and small, especially as it relates to talent. Check it out.
I’m personally fascinated with innovation in the workplace. About 10 years ago, remote working — AKA working from home — was gaining traction, offering new possibilities with groups like women looking to balance a family and a career. With VPN access and the continued adoption and proliferation of high-speed broadband and wi-fi, remote working became a reality even before Blackberry made access ubiquitous via push e-mail.
Companies like Jet Blue led the way in terms of powering their entire call centers (ticketing, customer service) using stay-at-home moms, largely based in Utah. Dell perfected the ability to outsource their technical support to countries like Malaysia, India and the like.
Unfortunately, trends in the workplace seem to have taken a turn for the worse during the same period. Open plan seating is just another way of putting lipstick on a pig in the form of cubicle purgatory. Once upon a time, we could aspire to occupy that corner office. No more. It’s sad that the model for today’s corporate office environment is 1999s Office Space and no, giving everyone locked and supervised iPhone’s doesn’t exactly make me feel differently.
What excites me is the boom of shared workspaces geared to today’s start-up, consultant or mercenary. I’m not talking about the more corporate kind offered by companies like The Regus Group, but companies like Grind, WeWork or Alley to name but a few. It's a mushrooming category of cool places to rub shoulders with fellow creative class, founders and entrepreneurs.
Perhaps once upon a time, it was cool to have a “virtual assistant” who would answer the phone and dupe your caller into thinking you were larger than life. Nowadays, the transparency afforded by social media is sort of a democratized open secret that lumps everyone into the same Twitter, Facebook, Web, Moo Card, Card Munch, Evernote and Dropbox melting pot.
Getting wi-fi is not a differentiator, any more. It’s pretty much free no matter where you go (Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Cosi, Panera, McDonalds and the list goes on) and if Google gets its way, it’ll soon be accessible in every public place or space. A desk and a chair is essentially a commodity, but what makes the difference here is the ability to be a part of a growing community and movement.
At Evol8tion, we don’t have an office. Rather, we utilize partnerships with said shared workspaces. Sometimes we pay and sometimes we don’t. We choose to move around like nomads with next to no overhead. What really attracts us to these spaces is the commonality of the people who work there and the collaborating opportunities that are just waiting to happen. Need a freelancer Web developer? Guess where you can find them.
In addition, there is so much value add in the form of guest lecturers (from Cindy Gallop to Noah Brier to myself), events (mixers or pitch nights), office hours with potential investors or even mid-day yoga.
The innovation doesn’t stop there. A company called Loosecubes is doing a “Priceline” with available space across companies of all shapes and sizes. Major corporations with excess space (perhaps due to inevitable rounds of layoffs) can now put this space to use and in the process, get a leg up on talent acquisition, ideas and even a bit of incremental revenue.
If we want to see more innovation in the workplace, doesn’t it make sense to begin – literally – in the workplace?
I remember back in 1997 when I interviewed at TBWA\Chiat\Day, they were experimenting with an incredibly innovative approach, which was ahead of its time. When I eventually joined them in 2001, it was no more. The idea: no one had an office, except for the CFO and HR, for obvious reasons. Instead people just had lockers and could move around anywhere in the office, logging in and out of shared terminals.
What other trends do you see affecting work? What innovative approaches are helping companies – big and small – do better at attracting, retaining and maximizing the full potential of their talent pool?
Here's the full text, but of course you can view it on Mediapost (and comment there or here if you like):
On Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel, “pranked” the unsuspecting Twitterverse with the following ruse: he got Tracey Morgan to come up from the audience (all spontaneous of course) and essentially play dead by lying on the floor of the stage (oh, the dignity). Then he encouraged hundreds of millions of viewers to Facebook or Tweet something to the effect of “OMG Tracey Morgan just passed out on stage at the Emmys. Turn ABC on now.”
According to EOnline, “the prank blew up online,” with “OMG Tracey Morgan” becoming a hot topic online, registering 54,000 tweets. (I searched their source, Topsy Free Analytics and found around 15,000 tweet.) It also registered an increase of 127,300% of Tracey Morgan mentions on Facebook at the exact moment Kimmel uttered his innovative breath.
So what did we learn? Tracey Morgan has a baseline level of conversation on Facebook at around zero!
To me, the real experiment was to test to what degree people were watching live versus time-shifting. Only the live watchers would have been participated, with their networks jumping on the Retweet bandwagon. By inference, those time shifting would have been avoiding Twitter -- to avoid spoilers.
So would this “stunt” drive tune in, which really is about the only thing anyone in the broadcast business should be concerned about? All the rest is nothing but noise or “clutter.”
May I have the envelope please: This year’s Emmy Awards registered 13.3 million viewers, up 6% from last year, but down 10% among adults 18-49, which tied a record low from 2008, when the show registered a record-low audience of 12.3 million. Some 4.9 million of them were 18-49. That’s an abysmal 37% of total viewers falling into the coveted demographic.
Even if the goal of the experiment was to gauge engagement, we’re talking about 0.4% of total viewers -- taking the higher tweet estimate and running on the assumption that every tweet was unique, which we know it wasn’t.
So, no. Not exactly the smash hit capable of catapulting this year’s Emmy’s into the Hall of Fame. At best, it's the tweet that saved the Emmy’s from catastrophe. Kimmel, who is terrific, should stick to his “viral” successes, which are less about innovative approaches to digital or social and more about producing great content, which today -- more than ever before -- are capable of being embraced, shared and distributed to every corner of the world in nanoseconds.
The Kimmel-Morgan prank is sadly just another example of how we’re trying to force fit our tired old ways into new forms and formats; how we’re incrementally tweaking an approach instead of blowing the whole thing up and making an exponential leap of educated faith.
Case in point is the plague of hashtags used in broadcast from #telljimmy Iovene on "American Idol" -- why? -- to Nancy Grace’s #CrockPotWifeKiller. Seriously?
Hashtags are truly an evolution in syntax and vernacular. From a function(al) standpoint, it’s a smart and efficient categorization taxonomy of conversation, which is easily searchable and findable. From a form standpoint, it’s a creative and colloquial way of self-expression: #justsayin #toomuchinformation
Hashtags really will change the way we communicate with each other. They already have. That said, we are in danger of poisoning the drinking waters with our overwhelming obsession to control, force and contrive every last bit of humanity out of what is still in its absolute infancy.
When I watch TV, I want to lean back and submit to a great story. It’s no surprise that these days, the only way to find great script is to go beyond the broadcast networks, which seem to be trying to cover as much of the screen as possible with #hashtags.
And for what purpose? Driving tune-in? If so, where’s the call-to-action, incentive or even Tracey Morgan cadaver? I’d like to challenge anyone working for the networks to share their vision, objective, method to the madness and/or metrics associated with their social media integration and use of hashtags.
While we’re waiting for their response, Tracey you can get up now and dust off your tux.
The irony is that the title of the article was kind of misleading and arguably just a cheap (yet proven) trick to get some blood flowing (or boiling). Ironically, Mitch blogged that it proved that Marketing wasn't dead at all!
In fact the article itself was really a manifesto and endorsement for both "Join the Conversation" and "Flip the Funnel" i.e. highlighting the following proof of live "after" Marketing:
Restore Community Marketing
Find your Customer Influencers
Help them Build Social Capital
Get your customer advocates involved in the solutions you provide
So Mitch and I got into a pretty interesting discussion about whether Marketing is Dead or Not. Or more importantly, whether it is going through a Renaissance, Revival or something else...
Join the Conversation dammit (it's not a cliche when I coined the term and wrote the book on it!) @jaffejuice on Twitter and @mitchjoel on Twitter.
And be sure to forward this to any brand marketers you think would
benefit from the discussion and ultimately give their perspective on
the theme at hand.
Listen to it LIVE (left click) or download it HERE (right click)
Is Nike a Shoe company? An apparel company? A health and fitness lifestyle company? Or a technology company? DigiDay Brian Morrissey's insight and my purchase of a Nike Fuel Band prompts a great discussion about brands, branding and the future of marketing and consumer engagement in a digital world.
Join the Conversation dammit (it's not a cliche when I coined the term and wrote the book on it!) @jaffejuice on Twitter and @mitchjoel on Twitter.
And be sure to forward this to any brand marketers you think would benefit from the discussion and ultimately give their perspective on the theme at hand.
Listen to it LIVE (left click) or download it HERE (right click)
Could this be the year that advertiser's finally gave up? Forget #brandbowl. This was the year of #blandbowl.
Last night I was live tweeting as part of Wharton's Future of Advertising program and so actually so most - if not all of the ads - versus actually socializing with human beings and even enjoying the game.
It gave me the opportunity to utter WTF about 20 times.
I believe there were about 54 to 70 spots depending on different accounts (which may include halftime show or perhaps pre-game), but that seems like a LOT of clutter.
In addition, according to @AlanKercinik - who was keeping me updated on - auto made up about 31% of ALL creative spots. Seriously guys, how are you not all hopping mad that you all just canceled each other out and pretty much zeroed out any ability to differentiate.
Flashy Flashy Flashy. Fast Fast Fast. Bright Bright Bright. Hashtag. Dogs. Hot Chicks. Dogs. 4 Wheels. Hashtag. Overproduced Hyperbole. Hashtag. Fast. Fast. Fast. Brand in question: ?????????
In general, I couldn't believe how over the top and overproduced some of the spots were, to the point where they went completely over the heads of people watching.
Reminder: Most people are inebriated and/or watching with groups of people making lots of noise with the sound of the TV either being drowned out by the noise or turned down.
Reminder: Copy. Text. Spoken Word don't work. Keep it Simple. Stupid which is why Coke's Polar Bears works. It's safe and predictable, but people get it.
To me, I think advertising in the Super Bowl has become a giant ego trip for most advertisers (like the tax prep software one that no one will remember tomorrow) and it's all about the announcement itself, rather than the execution. Look at me...I'm a playa!!!! Yawn.
It should be so simple i.e. focus all your efforts on hitting the fast ball zipping straight down Broadway for a game winning home run...made all the easier if an existing platform/equity can be leveraged (e.g. Polar Bears) but instead it becomes a completely insider and incestuous attempt to outdo one another in terms of lavish production.
...but this post was really meant to be about innovation (or the lack thereof) from the Big Game. Starting with basic new media best practices and integration like making sure your freaking website doesn't crash (Coke, Acura) or how about the complete neglect of your digital storefront; your home i.e. your website.
From what I heard only Bud Light did some kind of intelligent drive to digital via it's Facebook integration to get people to donate money to Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), although I completely missed it during the spot. People were saying, "why did they use such an ugly dog?"
All in all, with over 50 spots, only 2 companies did anything that could be called "innovative". Let me be clear...I take my hat off to both companies for their efforts and I wag my (M.I.A. middle finger) at all the others for zzzzzzzz....boring, bland, safe and mediocre creative. That said, I'll also offer a little commentary on what worked/could have worked better.
The first was Coke's Polar Bowl, which apparently had two Andy Serkis characters covered in bulbs reacting live to the game itself and broadcasting themselves as two Polar Bears supporting the Pats and Giants respectively. Ordinarily that would be awesome to follow this live streaming, except for:
The scarf colors were ambiguous given both teams sort of wear the same colors
The site went down
It didn't work on iPad or iPhone, which imho, is how many people would be watching TV these days and especially at a party. I'm sure someone at Coke or their agencies will explain this to me...and I assume it would have worked on Android, but either way, I think it was a missed opportunity
Next time, take into account how people typically watch TV in a multichannel multiscreen environment.
The second was the Shazam Bud Light integration during the Half Time show with Madonna. The idea was that you'd Shazam the new song by Madonna and then get to download the LMFAO remix. The challenges here were as follows:
Shazam had to work over the noise of the party (it did)
There were several steps that had to be followed e.g. verifying age, e-mail address and filling out marketing opt-in boxes (it is what it is)
The disappointment of not being one of the first million as what happened to me...
Overall, the big winners here were Shazam and LMFAO/Madonna...both getting ridiculous downloads of app and track respectively. I feel Bud Light scored 1,000,000 kudos but fell short on anything from 1 disappointed customer (me) to countless many more millions of potential new customers and/or exisiting loyalists.
Next time don't use a cap and set a record for music downloads!!!
And that's about it from the Super Bowl that really was a Super Bust when it comes to creativity, originality and innovation.
In my new capacity at Evol8tion, we're looking to make connections between technology-based startups and established/blue chip brands.
The Evol8tion mission is to match "viable startups" to their "brand soul mate," but the real platform here is innovation, defined as new approaches that achieve disproportionate positive business outcomes and effect transformational change.
Actually that definition is mine, as the dictionary one is so bland...but you get the gist: doing things differently in order to get a result (which is the opposite of - or antidote to - Einstein's definition of insanity, as well as synonymous with "productive originality" which is actually the definition of creativity...but I digress)
The concept was simple - lose weight by / via community. Put it out there and put it out there publicly. Get the support of the community, but also be accountable and beholden to that same community who will encourage and congratulate, but also chastise and commiserate. Why not?
I started (according to the post at around 224 pounds) and have yo-yo'ed since to 177 and back up to 212. Interestingly enough, I'm at the same weight now as I was in 2007 when my third child was born, so that can't be too bad. The real prize is to get back to my wedding weight of around 181, which takes me back to the beginning of 1999.
The ability to have a public "timeline" is interesting.
It's an archived record of your highs and lows (literally) and serves as a historical reminder of how you pick up weight, lose it and maintain. Sound familiar? (Facebook has just introduced "Timeline."
Right now, I'm back in the zone and #fatblogging again, but this time thanks to my Withings wi-fi scale. Yes, it's a wi-fi scale that tweets and posts to FB automatically. I realize that's a revolting concept to many, but it's equally empowering to others...you know, the masochistic narcissists.
Truthfully, that's the smallest piece of (somewhat unnecessary) functionality to the concept. The real functionality of the scale is to automatically detect a specific family member's weight and then map it to their profile to determine BMI, lean and fat percentages etc. This is automatically added to your online account, but also iPhone and iPad apps that graphs each weigh-in relative to goal etc.
Withings also allows you to share profiles with other Withings members, as well as to alert your doctor (it has a separate blood pressure product which plugs into your iPhone) if there are irregularities / negative trends etc.
It's just another example of how health is becoming intimately intertwined with digital, social and mobile technology.
My actual weight loss regime is managed via Weight Watchers Online. I've used WWO several times before and I love it. It works. Where I typically go off the rails is losing interest in the application during my maintenance period, but that's on me. Weight loss is really not that complicated:
Food awareness e.g. jumbo movie popcorn is essentially 29 points, 80 grams of fat etc.
Substitutions e.g. egg whites for regular eggs
Calories In vs Calories Out
The Weight Watchers App is good, but not great. It pivots around the size and quality of the database and whilst it's interesting to know every equivalent of Denny's products, truthfully no one should be setting foot into a Denny's if they're trying to lose weight. I'm not sure WWO fully understands community 2.0 and specifically social.
Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Withings book. Or Foursquare's.
I really love the ability to manage my own weight loss...with the help of technology and the community. It's empowering. Independent. And manageable.
I'd encourage any brands that either directly are built on a health and wellness platform and/or incorporate this theme into their branding, positioning and marketing to seriously look into this field. There are limitless possibilities of partnership with early stage startups, companies and apps looking to make their mark on this exciting space of DIY "Connected" Weight Loss.
What's your favorite weight loss, health or wellness startup, site or app? Share it with the community.
to the reincarnated and reinvigorated Jaffe Juice.
What was once a weekly op-ed column is now an unshackled, uncensored and uninhibited dialogue
on the subjects of new marketing, advertising and creativity.