Been kicking it with the homie Caleb Kramer - trend maestro at Tribal DDB. Lately, we’ve been talking shop about the convergence of media, technology and culture. Pondering what happens when you get creative here or there within this new media-technology revolution.
There are wild changes taking place all around. So, without further ado, please find the convergence report below.
The Wilderness Downtown. The succesful rock group, Arcade Fire came together with Google to create an awesome interactive music video via Google Maps. Plug in the address of home you grew up in and watch! NOTE, you must view in Google Chrome (obviously).
Digital Installations in California. Showing us a new way to play with physical spaces – evoking emotions through novel lighting systems. Architecture may not be the same as this new tech-art form takes shape.
Why QR codes are Killer App for driving sales and brand loyalty. These QR codes are only scratching the surface when it comes to adoption and engagement by consumers. Scan a QR code with your phone and it can unlock a world of possibilities including discounts to your favorite store/product(s), clues to a story, spark a scavenger hunt, historical facts and so much more. All depends on the context of your program, the particular use of the mobile device and where the code can be seen.
GAMING THEORY/MECHANICS TAKING OVER
Gaming Dominating Mobile Apps right now illustrating an appetite for smartphone users to engage in game-play activity. This might be a little “no-sh**” fact but it also reveals how much gaming has become the norm when it comes to entertainment/leisure activity.
Gamification of Business. See various examples of how businesses are using gaming dynamics to influence relationships with consumers and drive purchase intent.
Gaming Mechanics at the forefront of creative-entrepreneurial-tech-marketing minds. Seth Priebatsch has been getting a lot of love by the marketing mavens on Twitter lately and for good reason. Kid is all over trends within gaming mechanics realm.
Quest to learn – teaching students via gaming. NY Times covers a school that is showing children how to create/design games - really interesting video. On a side note – NY Times just keeps doing it right, a constant-evolving case study on a traditional media news publication turning into a multi-facet digital media brand. Truly awesome. Keep going NY Times!
TRENDS + TRADITIONAL MEDIA-MEETS-TECHNOLOGY
7 Megatrends from one of the premiere Silicon Valley investors (Ron Conway). Offers a terrific glimpse of where one of the pirates of the valley is placing value in the tech marketplace.
U.K. multi-facet entertainer, Stephen Fry decided to write his autobiography via an interactive experience through an iPhone app. What?! Yup. It’s kind of awesome.
ABC is leveraging the capabilities of the iPad by providing a resource for additional content for their new show, My Generation – offering the consumer a richer experience. The iPad application gets audio-cues from the Television program and reacts to various storyline/touch points within the show. This is super-interesting and a step in the right direction for Hollywood.
Last but not least - if you review anything within this posting then make sure to view Ideo’s video on the future of the book below. Really exciting when one thinks of the traditional story telling experience and how new digital devices and social networks can revolutionize the dynamics of story telling.
Usually on the M+C – the ‘pay homage – pop culture’ tends to go to individuals who influence the masses. Today – we are paying respects to entire TV show because from top-to-bottom Mad Men is nothing short of amazing.
Matt Weiner, Scott Hornbacher, the producers, writing staff, physical production team, Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery and co. deserve all the standing ovations and accolades for their terrific work on AMC’s one-hour scripted drama - Mad Men.
This show is totally and completely two things.
The set, production design, costume design – how they put together all the 1960s aesthetics is so precise – so on point. Mix this with great writing and their magnificent beauty of contextualizing strong ideas within the words and actions of the characters and you have one of the best programs on TV in 2010. The layers are endless.
For example, watching this awesome clip from the show. Some of the best scenes are when Don is pitching potential new clients. Do you notice it? He’s pitching new clients but he’s also talking about something else – that’s much deeper, much more personal to both his character in the show and to everyone in the room at the same time and of course us – the audience. Brilliant.
So the other day I did a post on transmedia and ARG. I know some of you (those who even got half way through the posting) must have thought. What in the ____ is Mitch talking about? Well – I just discovered this awesome presentation on Transmedia seen through the lens of the hit Fox TV show – 24. Perhaps within this context one can stop scratching their heads and start pondering the next awesome franchise that enables us to dream of new heights and journeys – even if it is make believe. After all - we all want to believe in our dreams. Even if they are Jack Bauer-secret agent dreams.
A few years back – an obsession unfolded. Magazines. The stories, photos, layout, even the advertisements – all spoke to me. What was behind the novelty? What content popped? What content did not pop? Why was that the case?
It didn’t matter what it was – I scooped it up, read front-to-back. It could be fashion (Antenna, Dazed and Confused, Nylon Guys, V Magazine) or architecture/design (Wallpaper*), music (Fader, Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics), digital media/novel entreprise (Fast Company, Wired), culture & the times (Complex, New York Magazine, 032c, Monocle, Good) or the most dynamic creative works in advertising design ala Communication Arts.
Now-a-days I mostly stick to Monocle, V Magazine, Communication Arts and 032c for creative inspiration – all other information and/or inspiration one can find online. These magazines I just mentioned are always on some next level – the experience of the “book”, as insiders like to call it, is just so unique. Great curation and awesome editorial execution.
What makes the magazine experiences so special is the sense of discovery, learning something new, seeing how a brand is executing print advertising/design, seeing how a magazine is executing their layout structure and how the content is embedded into the book. 032c and Monocle do an amazing job with their layout – the process of going through each issue is as rich as the content itself.
Yet – what is the future of this dynamic experience?
Holding it in your hand – on an exploration – learning something new – taking me somewhere I haven’t been before.
With all the new technologies/platforms/communication tools out there – one has to imagine there is a vast opportunity to flip the magazine experience on it’s head while still holding onto the values that makes the traditional experience so rewarding.
What are your thoughts?
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Get on the boat or watch the competition fly past you? In the words of Jack Welch “When the rate of change outside exceeds the rate of change inside, the end is in sight.”
Seth proposes (and he has plenty of evidence to support) that we have already laid down the frame work of the social layer (social media) – what’s next (or already has/is happening) is the gaming layer.
What’s that mean? Watch and learn – our world is only going to continue to rapidly change where utility-meets-consumer behavior-meets-technology-meets-path of least resistance/we want it-right now culture. I know, it’s a little 2001: Space Odyssey circa 2010 but it’s happening. Check out Seth’s discussion and marinate on it for a minute.
We just might just be able to use these gaming dynamics to make the world a better place.
Also, peep a great follow-up piece by Seth on HBR – Welcome to The Decade of Games.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: When it comes to standing out from the crowd and getting your product noticed by consumers, maybe taking a step to the left in your marketing message/execution/positioning matters most? See Old Spice (recent campaign), Nike, Apple and Diesel. Maybe it’s worth being a little wacky in spirit of being authentic or as my peoples like to say on the reals.
Recently, I was doing research for a pitch and came across Paloma Vasquez’s PSFK posting, The Cast of Quirky Brands – highlighting the new Hendricks Gin. The proclamation of “It’s not for everyone” as the brands core marketing message got me thinking. Maybe taking a step to the left – especially in 2010 is the requirement? Hendricks, a new gin is sure enough making moves.
What’s also interesting is just last week a lot of the marketers on Twitter were sharing the clip of Steve Jobs’ 1997 comeback Apple speech. Great speech where Jobs states “People with passion, CAN change the world” followed by one of the best commercials of all time:
Is there a theme here?
Be different, step outside the box, authenticate the brand’s core message/positioning and people will always lean forward?
Reminded me of the History of Account Planning paper I copped off of Faris Yakob’s site. (FYI, great historical analysis of advertising and practice of planning – awesome read in general). Thank the genius that is Faris Yakob for sharing. Thank Henrik Habberstad for writing. Download here if you want to get some cool ad planning history/theory.
One of very successful but no-longer-in-business shops, HHCL & Partners had a really interesting approach when it came to planning strategy:
Apart from challenging everything that they take for granted and demonstrating an intelligence and insight that frankly frightens us, planners at HHCL & Partners need to (HHCL & Partners, 2001):
1. Interrogate the client and their market, understand what makes them and their brand special, different and competitive
2. Frustrate the competition by identifying all the conventions under which they operate and transform these into weaknesses of archaic thinking
3. Inspire the creatives by taking them somewhere they have never been before, opening their eyes to a different way of thinking
4.Challenge the consumers by making them question everything they ever thought they knew, wrenching them out of their zone of comfort and familiarity
Maybe this sounds hardcore or a little over the top. But one has to wonder – in 2010 – maybe this is THE requirement to ensure amazing work? Or Maybe, it’s just all about being incredibly diligent in finding that amazing-quirky-story. As the guru Tom Peters (below) puts it, story is more powerful than the brand.
What are your thoughts?
Is taking a step to the left in spirit of telling a great story a requirement to be heard this day in age?