Archive for March 2009
So in the 70’s, marketers embraced the fact that sex can sell anything from shampoo to car batteries. And over the past several decades, we’ve been treated to an endless array of genetically altered babes and double entendres, so much so that we became numb to the obvious methods of product whoring. Those were good times, in retrospect, considering the skin-crawling fetishism of two current sandwich peddlers who have spoiled my appetite.
What’s the better recession strategy: being the pricier brand everyone wants, or being the more affordable second choice? Microsoft is betting the farm on the latter with its latest attempt to counter Apple’s I’m a Mac campaign.
The evolution of data visualization software is merging data and art, and allowing us to convey and digest complicated information in exciting new ways. But used irresponsibly, these technologies have the potential to usher in a new wave of “data porn,” where the dazzle trumps the data.
It would be a mistake to believe that social media is about technology. The underlying technology -- which will assuredly change -- is like the electricity running a factory: it enables certain functions, but is not the purpose of the place. Content drives social media. Why? Because content forms communities... and communities form markets.
Karen O, lead singer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is like a modern Siouxsie Sioux in this video for the band’s single, “Zero,” off of the new album It’s Blitz!
Advertising Age’s Garrick Schmitt recently wrote that “Data Visualization Is Reinventing Online Storytelling.” He celebrates the brilliant New York Times/IBM Visualization Lab and others for “turning bits and bytes of data... into stories for our digital age.” Admittedly, the Times’ work is groundbreaking, and I applaud Many Eyes and other “visual scientists” for their valuable work in helping us see complex data in clear, useful ways. But storytelling it is not.
Social media platforms, blogs, smart phones, online video conferencing and a host of other technologies will facilitate revolutionary changes for brand research and innovation. Many companies are already leveraging these technologies for more traditional types of data collection, such as survey research. However, few have taken advantage of the real opportunity these technologies collectively provide: crowd-sourced research models for consumer-driven innovation.
New York City’s Museum of Modern Art recently dropped “rogue” adman, Douglas Jaeger and his agency Happy Corp. While the incident is worth a write up in itself (I will revisit it towards the end of this post) a broader discussion about nonprofits and their mostly uncomfortable relationship with all things related to brand needs to come first.
Peggy Noonan recently wrote an opinion piece in the WSJ detailing what she interpreted as the depression we are feeling as we sense “something slipping away, a world receding, not only an economic one but a world of old structures, old ways and assumptions.” I agree with her overarching sentiment – and know a lot of people who are anxious and depressed in the current environment, and for good reason. But holding a glass to the cultural wall and listening closely - pardon me Peggy, but the loudest voice I hear is petulance.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has a cool job. He studies why people cheat, then devises variables to increase or decrease how likely they are to do so. In this TED talk, Ariely discusses his findings and suggests many of our current Wall Street woes further validate them. Turns out we may not be so different than the hedge fund managers and derivatives traders at whom we’re currently pointing our collective (middle) finger. And maybe the Ten Commandments have a place in our schools after all...