Over the Dandruff

Thoughts we often overlook

10. Siri Thinks Different

Look out! The age of a personal assistant in your pocket is upon us.

While users of the iPhone 4S begin to discover the mind-boggling capablilities of the new Siri technology,  the search market is getting bombarded with questions about a shift of power.

Google, which is currently used in over 65% of all searches in the U.S., has become a staple in the search market and a household verb, “Google it,”  used when we desire more information.

 

 

To quote the great Bob Dylan, “The times they are a-changin’.”

Siri is improving the way we search for information by bringing humanity to the digital world. Instead of commanding your phone for what to do you state what you are looking for and technology takes over from there.

While some may dismiss Siri, the fact remains that the new technology poses a serious threat to Google. It’s not like Google has failed to look into voice-command search, it’s the fact that Apple was able to humanize Siri so that we communicate with, not command, our smart phones.

I know it sounds weird now, but give it a couple of weeks. When new iPhone 4S owners begin using Siri on a daily basis it will explode. Lord knows that the updates for Siri in the coming months will make the technology more precise.

While users enjoy a more convenient lifestyle, they won’t be wondering, “What search engine is my Siri using to get this information?” It won’t be from Google.

Think about all the times you’ve “Googled” football stats or lyrics to a song strictly to shut your buddy up. This will become a distant memory. Siri will take away searches from Google, which will result in a loss of revenue, simply because it is more convenient. The technology is right there and ready to roll, straight out of the box. Siri has made an already easy to use product even easier. All you have to do is say the word.

Apple, the ball is in your court.

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

9. Near Field Communication

For the creative strategist project our group has decided to focus on Near Field Communication (NFC).

NFC is a relatively new technology that figures to make a huge impact on Advertising; Razorfish named it as one of the five technologies that will change business.

Image recognition technology, such as Google Goggles or QR codes, and NFC compatibility have made Smartphones the ultimate tool to have intimate, one-on-one communication between a brand and it’s audience.

So, you might be wondering, “How does this work?”

For the image recognition technology a smartphone user simply needs to hold their Smartphone to a QR code or outdoor advertisement and they are connected to a page the brand has created for the user.

For NFC compatible Smartphones it is a little different. Waves on new smart posters have been hitting the streets across the world. These smart posters also have NFC chips in them, so when a smartphone user interacts with an advertisment they have the option to pull information about the brand directly to their smartphone.

This is huge folks.

Brands will no longer be pushing information to their audience. Instead the audience will pull information about a brand, giving the brand permission to communicate with the user at their convenience. There is no intrusion or interruption of life because the user decides if and when to dive into the brand.

The information that an audience can access via NFC can range from promotions to a mobile brand website that is easy to use for an audience on the move.

I can’t wait to do a big dig on Near Field Communication to see what has been done in this field and what the future of NFC and the Idea Industry may hold.

Let’s do this.

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8. Sweat the Small Stuff

Human nature is a funny thing. A life can be ruined in minutes or saved by a complete stranger.

Over the last few weeks in my Creative Strategist class we have discussed the importance of human values within a brand. These values must echo throughout personnel and be displayed at every touchpoint an audience has with a brand.

It’s a continuous process, a never ending story, that creates brand trust and brand loyalty. It’s also what separates good brands from great ones.

The small, not-so-random acts of kindness that humanized a brand create an unbreakable bond between a brand and it’s audience.

Just over a year ago Bill Taylor shared an amazing story about a simple act of kindness by Buick that made his father a lifelong Buick loyalist.

About three months later, a tear-jerking story of kindness went viral and brought a pleasant change of pace to an airline industry full of people with more important things to do.

So, what have we learned? Sweat the small stuff. This applies to both life and brands.

For brands, be kind. It’s harder than being clever, but do it. Be fully aware of what matters most to your customers, employees and communities that make your business possible. Unleash your humanity.

For life, be present in the moments that matter most. In the world of big, fast and now, take a second to enjoy the little things in life that make it worth living.

What we remember and treasure are the small gestures of compassion that bring humanity into the digitized world we live it.

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

7. The Mirror

There as been some undeserved outcry against the new diet drink Dr Pepper launched called Dr Pepper Ten. The brand has obviously tried to target men with the tag line, “It’s not for Women.” The Facebook page for Dr Pepper Ten blocks women and even has a list of the top 10 “Man’Ments.” People have become offended by these male-oriented sales tactics, some vowing to swear off Dr Pepper forever.

This isn’t the only campaign to be taking some heat recently.

Now Stop! Take a breath and realize that this is just an ad.

It’s not the products that are causing the outcry, they benefit, it’s the advertisers who can’t seem to break away from the idea that, “Men look at Women. Women watch themselves being looked at.”

This has been a reoccurring topic of debate in all forms of mass media. There has been a dominant male-gaze in everything from cinema to music, it’s a part of our social norms.

Advertisements are often a reflection of cultural norms within a society. That is not to say that advertising is, “A slave of popular culture and bears no responsibility when it comes to changing attitudes…”  Sure advertising has the power to effect real behavioral change, but if you’re not liking what you see blame society as a whole.

So if you don’t like what you see, go out and make a change.

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

6. Insipration

Keep at it, Let’s do this.

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

5. Take a Shower

Beating the creative block can be a long and gruesome process. Many of us resort to blankly staring at screen waiting for a great idea to pop into our heads. We then begin to question ourselves and our abilities. This is what we get for working without limitations.

There has to be a method to the madness.

The creative process is just that — a process. I believe that we work better by establishing a general routine that outlines key steps in the creative process. It shouldn’t be over-detailed or mechanical, but rather flexible guidelines on how to solve the task at hand. This routine actually allows us to concentrate on one issue at a time instead of trying to encapsulate the “Big Idea” all at once.

In this routine, Interruption-free space is sacred. The digital era that we live in creates the desire of detraction over downtime, therefore, the “creative pause” is a necessity. This allows us to break from the intoxication of a particular concept, clear our heads, and get the creative juices flowing.

Whether it involves exercise or hopping into the shower, (even just 30 seconds to recollect) it is during the creative pause that our “A-ha” moments occur and a group of ideas become the right idea.

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

4. By The Numbers

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

— Alice Walker

 

The documentary film Miss Representation released an eight-minute trailer a couple of months ago that sheds light onto how women are being misrepresented by the media. The male gaze, introduced by Laura Mulvey, has been a consistent point of debate in the many different channels of media. In Ways of Seeing, John Berger states that, “Men look at Women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” This is a subject that deserves some thought and will be looked at in the next couple days.

For now, however, I wanted to transition to the eye-popping numbers presented at the beginning of the trailer:

 

American teenagers spend:

31 hours a week watching T.V.

17 hours a week listening to music

3 hours a week watching movies

4 hours a week reading magazines

10 hours a week online

 

That is a lot to take in.

These numbers add up to a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day. These numbers validate the quote above.

In an interview in Miss Representation, Jackson Katz states that “People learn more from media than any other single source of information.”

WE, the brand thinkers and problem solvers, have the power to influence our generation and the generations to come.

WE create the future. Let’s do this.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

3. Nine

That’s the number of seconds, on average, we can pay attention to something for. NINE seconds, down from twenty minutes just a few generations ago. It’s pathetic, alarming and informative.

Last week Dave Allen, of North, wrote an essay that places some of the blame for the short attention span on the web, specifically social media. This is a valid argument. There is a brand overload in the world of social media that users want to avoid. Facebook users want to connection with friends and family. Tweeters user Twitter, well, because it’s awesome. Take a look at MySpace, I know it’s been almost 5 years but take a look. This is why we made the switch the Facebook, it proves that social brands never last on the internet.

Last April, Sally Hogshead had a presentation about the importance of introduction, whether for a brand or an online dating profile. The ability to fascinate in these nine seconds has become the “knock on the door” to reach your audience, so it’s important to knock appropriately.

The attention grabber and big idea have to be precise and fascinating. The target audience has to be spot on and the viewer must be tuned in.

This nine second phenomena is the force bringing product placement back on the scene. I’m not talking about the type of car used in Transformers used in a movie or the soda Snooki uses to chase her booze, but more along the lines of how Entourage promoted Avion and AquaHydrate. These two products benefited from having their target audience in place and engaged, catching the attention of many viewers (including myself).

You see these subtle slip-ins all the time. Take EA sports’ Madden for example. Every time your team makes it between the opponent’s 20 yard-line and the goal line, you don’t just make it into the red zone you make it into the Old Spice red zone. When your running back rushes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns he’s not the player of the game, he’s the Old Spice Swagger player of the game and each player has an Old Spice Swagger rating.

Old Spice is able to reach their target audience within the nine second attention span and communicate their brand identity to the gamer. Avion and AquaHydrate capitalized on practically free marketing, thanks to the Marky Mark connection, and have become increasingly popular among the Entourage audience; their target audience.

Keep your eyes peeled for this type of product placement if you have a second, or nine.

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2. The Future

In November 2010, a year after introducing the Google Goggles app, Google launched the Google Goggles Experiment. This experiment was developed after Google noticed the increased use of the goggles app to search logos and advertisements. This brought up the question: “What if marketers could connect the consumers offline experience to an immersive online experience on their mobile device?”

Buick, Delta Air Lines, Diageo, Disney & T-mobile were the five brands that “Goggle-enabled” their outdoor advertising campaigns so that Goggle app users could access extra content by taking a picture of the advertisement. In the past month, French Connection, L’Oreal’s Garnier, Sony Music and Samsung became the first U.K. brands to try the Google Goggles marketing experiment.

If you don’t have a smartphone these days, you’re an outsider.

Smart phones are the connection between outdoor advertising campaigns and a brand’s identity. Brand thinkers are now closer than ever to their audience so it is vital that they build brand trust. The content does not “intrude” on its audience, it invites the user gets to dive into the content and discover more about a brand.

If the Goggles marketing trials become an advertising tool, it’s important that brands communicate how they positively impact the audience and society as a whole.

When a user “Goggles” your campaign, they are investing interest in your brand. This is the opportunity for brands to stretch out an idea, a mission and present it to an interested user.

October 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1. Imagine

Photo by Tony de Marco

Close your eyes. Imagine a Metropolis with no outdoor advertising. No billboards. No flashing neon signs. No decals on the sides of buses. Imagine walking into Times Square and seeing nothing but … buildings; it would be unrecognizable.

Now open your eyes and take a look at the landscape of São Paulo, Brazil, the fourth-largest Metropolis in the world. In 2007, Mayor Gilberto Kassab enforced “Lei Cidade Limpa” (“Clean City Law”) on Brazil’s most important city. The law was put in place to rid the city of it’s “visual pollution” which was mostly outdoor advertising. The relatively new law has become popular with just above a 70% approval rating.

Bob Garfield, of NPR’s On The Media, interviewed Vinicius Gavao, a reporter for Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper, about the law and how the city changed.

To the average American consumer the city seems empty and bland; like something is missing. But to Gavao, the “Clean City Law” has allowed many citizens to discover parts of the city that disappeared behind the layers of billboards and logos, which had sparse regulation before 2007.  Although the regulation might deprive the advertising industry of free speech, jobs and revenue, many of those who live in the city agree with the ban and appreciate the changes that uncovered the culture São Paulo.

This type of reform would never work in the United States because we are a culture that thrives on consumerism. We are dependent on trends and glitz and glamour.

Advertisements are a part of our everyday life. They are a part of our cities. Times Square, the mecca of advertisements, wouldn’t be a tourist attraction without them.

It has been said that the only way to escape advertisements in to go to sleep. How about a trip to São Paulo instead?

October 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment