October 31, 2008
SharedEgg offers some neat data visualization maps that provide a glimpse of the interconnected web of products, brands, and activities that binds us. Based on data collected from constituents of various ’subcultures’, the maps reflect the different labels people have for themselves and others based on what they like, what they consume and how they spend their free time. SharedEgg explains their process:
What we ended up asking of our participants was just to list some of the products, and activities that they are involved with: what music artists they listen to, what movies they watch, what television shows they watch, what websites they might visit, brands they wear, accessories they wear, what electronics they own, and where they have lived.
After we had this information from the participant, we asked them to categorize those products and activities into preset subcultural categories (Bohemian, Casual, Cyber, Nerd, Emo, Gamer, Gangsta, Hardcore, Hippie, Trendy, Indie, F.O.B., Sporty, Preppy, Punk, Rocker, Reggae, Skater). After gathering the information we needed, we had to come up with a taxonomy that would allow this data to be best visualized within Many Eyes Data Visualization Software.
Internet culture whiz Clay Shirky gave some interesting insights into the biggest mistake of corporate branding. Shirky argues that advertising seek to perfect brands, and in doing so, fail to reach and speak to average day people. When a brand markets a perfect image, people are less inclined to interact with the product, because it doesn’t reflect their imperfect lifestyle. Brands that use a flawed, or ‘human’ marketing campaign reinforce and locate themselves within people’s lifestyles. The most promising direction now for brands, Shirky argues, is to use a raw and unfinished front, making their image far more approachable and reaching a wider audience. Watch the video for more:
Many people will remember a study some months back suggesting that exposure to the Apple brand enhanced one’s creativity. Apple users rejoiced; everyone else gave a collective “hmph” and shrugged the study off as fluff. But NY Times Consumed columnist Rob Walker now highlights further studies that seem to prove the same point - as well as a larger one, that exposure to brands overall can have a significant effect on our performance in many aspects in life.
Walker singles out the Speedo warm up parka that was originally designed for Michael Phelps until consumer demand prompted Speedo to manufacture the jacket for purchase. Thousands have already been sold - but unlike the $550 consumer version of its LZR Racer suits that Phelps wore while swimming, the parka will not actually make people faster. Or will it? Walker quotes Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor of marketing and psychology at Duke, who lays out how this subliminal effect might work:
“The trick is, the first time you wore the warm-up parka,” it wouldn’t have any effect, he says. “Because you’d realize, Oh I’m being ridiculous.” Wear it often enough, though, and you’ll probably stop ruminating about it. “Below the level of conscious awareness, you’d put the jacket on, and what’s activated in your mind is maybe Michael Phelps going very fast,” he continues. “And those things could actually kick up your motivation to go faster.”
Over on his site, Russell Davies has started to list some thoughts about design, marketing and service. He promises a series of thought-provoking posts and the one he has up there already is worth a good read. In it he says:
These are the bits of the average large organisation that we creative industries folks encounter: Three silos, doing design or content-type stuff, marketing-type stuff and some sorts of aftersales. And no silo ever talks to any other because the process almost always proceeds steadily from left to right.
…However, it should be noted that people actually experience the product in a different order. People’s experiences of most big-time consumer products starts with the communications / marketing / whatever you want to call it. The experience starts with the thing that gets built second. This, I suspect, is why we’re not seeing more people actively doing something like pre-experience design. It’s not because integrating marketing and design thinking isn’t a good idea, it’s because it’s organisationally / politically impossible.
This may not have been a problem in the past, but as more and more products ‘informationalise’ it’s going to become more of an issue.
The way we influence and interact through the internet is constantly changing. We’ve all witnessed how user generated content has brought new creative potential to consumers and opened up the doors of online collaboration. But while UGC’s impact on marketing and the way youth consume and create web content is significant, some believe it still has a long way to go. Screenplay’s Strategic Director Helge Tennø offers a compelling argument on the limitations of the current means for online collaboration, deeming them too rigid and presenting “artificial barriers” for participation:
The essence is that we need to start looking at collaboration as something richer than getting participants to contribute their preset format content in a serial, one dimensional, string, within a rigid structure of publishing.
Collaboration is all about creatively collecting and combining a collection of data, making it accessible anywhere, through anything, with incentives for collaboration.
You can see the full presentation in the slideshow above.
PSFK friend Ruby Pseudo recently published a nice collection of insights on marketing to teens: the Teen Commandments, a primer for brands trying to reach youth in the digital world. One of Ruby’s compelling findings from her continued research in teen culture was that youth are showing a growing disinterest in social network marketing, with one young research participant stating:
I generally hate – with a passion – all Facebook applications. I currently have 500 unchecked applications. They are of no interest to me whatsoever. I don’t care what celebrity I look like; I don’t care whether I’m hot or not and I don’t have time to draw silly pictures on walls.
Ruby’s full list of ‘Teen Commandments’:
- Don’t be too flippant and don’t give youth the basic facts they’re looking for; i.e. - What it is? Where can I get it? How much does it cost? etc.
- Be approachable and accessible to youth.
- Don’t redirect visitors to another site.
- Don’t use background music. Youth can see through a false ‘hip’ image.
- Don’t create a Facebook profile for your brand.
- Don’t target the emotionally vulnerable with insincere “‘Single? Broken-Hearted?”" questions.
- Don’t target a small age range, allow your brand to grow with its users.
- Don’t blatantly rip and appropriate youth-produced content onto your site. This once again presents a false image, of which youth can see through.
- Don’t use pop-up advertising. It irritates rather than entices.
- Don’t push the boundaries of social network interaction.
…you’re in their (digital) space: they didn’t ask you to be there, and they can’t very well ask you to leave, so talk nicely. And if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all…
The basic message to brands: youth see through false images. They are aware and skeptical of online branding invading their social networking spaces. And amongst this growing DIY generation, creativity - genuine, authentic creativity - is king.
[via Ruby Pseudo Wants a Word]
Creative Cities Summit 2.0 concluded this week in Detroit, Michigan, a three-day conference bringing together creative practitioners from across industries (from city planners to educators) in a discussion about the integration of innovation, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, arts & culture and business and their roles in our urban ecologies. Brand Avenue points us to one of the conference’s most enlightening panels - a talk between Who’s Your City?’s Richard Florida, COMEDIA’S Charles Landry, and The Creative Economy author John Howkins (moderated by Carol Coletta of Smart City Radio). As Brand Avenue retells, Landry brings up the important distinction between how big and small cities make a name for themselves:
Memorable was Landry’s commentary about icons and signature buildings, particularly for smaller cities that seek to raise their profiles: “rather than one icon, do 100 things well that together, become an icon.” In other words, avoid the overarching narrative, and look for ways to draw attention to the small, incremental, positive developments (architectural, economic, social, educational, etc) that together, make the image of the city greater than the sum of its parts. An interesting point vis a vis the potential fallability of a place branding approach.
An associated and similarly good point: that everything is a resource in the creation of place–every indvidual move… Or, to quote a conference organizer on Sunday, “you are a media channel:” your story is also a part; you are also an agent. Your small move is a resource, one that plays a role in the creation of place; and places are made out of, for, and by people.
Gawker and Gothamist report that New York City is putting their subway advertising program into overdrive. First off are plans to wrap entire subway cars with ads (as graffiti artists did in the early days of the art form). The next public transport-ad scheme involves placing a series of ads inside subway tunnels that will create a rough animation as the car passes by. Also up for grabs are turnstile arms and pretty much any available surface.
Although you would hope that all this surplus cash would mean a reduction in fare (it will cost advertisers $95k a month to do the tunnel animations), I wouldn’t hold my breath. And let’s stay positive about all this. Don’t think of it as more urban spam, think about all these ads as fodder for legions of Poster Boy style artists.
There’s a new concept in the seemingly exhausted world of online advertising. Some Swedish advertising students designed a project for Doritos based around removing online banner ads. The group, known as Papercut, designed a browser plugin that detects banner ads and replaces them with content you choose. It would be taking the anti-advertising principle we wrote about recently and move it into the mainstream. From their presentation video they speculate that ads can be replaced with anything from news or mail to family photos. Their project is still just in prototype phase, so we’re curious to see a similarly inventive concept of customizable ad space make it to the production phase. In the meantime, we’ll have to enjoy the free (and unsponsored) Adblock Plus.
[via Social Hallucinations]
New York City is once again the recipient of more cutting edge advertising technology. The MTA is testing out digital screens that will display ads on the side of city buses. (Hooray! High tech urban… Continue reading| 1 Comment
Signaling strategies tell consumers what to look for. Examples of signaling strategies include celebrity and political endorsements, large scale ad campaigns and bestseller lists. It sends a message to the consumer that “(x) product or… Continue reading| Comments
LiveRail recently revealed their advertising platform for the iPhone, giving developers the option of adding short commercials to their applications, which would play whenever their app is launched. The positive spin: LiveRail gives developers the… Continue reading| Comments
Allstate insurance is testing out a new program, called InSight, that uses online video game tests to identify safe older drivers. Using simple games that measure brain fitness, the company is hoping that gaming proficiency… Continue reading| 4 Comments
Fuel-Design recently published a collection of classic British football programs, entitled “Match Day.” The collection, compiled by Bob Stanley and Paul Kelly, includes more than 450 programs spanning the lifetime of the league from 1945 to the… Continue reading| Comments
Nothing ruins an outdoor concert or film screening quite like sitting on the grass for hours, hunched over like a barely opened mollusk shell. But with the GreenSeat, sore backs are now a thing of… Continue reading| Comments
Amazon.com has quietly released a beta version of a new web-browsing interface for its massive online shop. The site is aptly named “WindowShop” as it allows visitors to survey popular items that might have been… Continue reading| 1 Comment
Having deliberated about trying to provide an alternative to services like Iconoculture, we’ve realized that a mirror of these type of services is not needed. Our research suggests that Iconoculture clients like advertising agencies are… Continue reading| Comments
I recived this lovely email from Howies today directing me to their series of Do Lectures:
Do one thing
Visit the Do site. (www.thedolectures.com)
And then forward one talk on to a friend. (The talks are amazing by… Continue reading| Comments
This is the latest work from BBH for UK credit card Barclaycard. Lovely film with a great soundtrack… Continue reading| 1 Comment
W+K have been the most talked about ad agency of the noughties. From their Honda work in the London office to the consistently brilliant Nike work that flows from Portland they’ve set out to create… Continue reading| Comments
One of the best strategies for brands today is to adopt one that harnesses the power of the community and that provides information that gives some insight into the rapidly-changing world around us. Kenneth Cole… Continue reading| Comments
Across the US and the UK families have seen their income reduce in value. In fact in the UK people were £14 a week poorer this September thanks to high inflation and limited wage increases… Continue reading| 1 Comment
The dairy lobby has always been a powerful force in America, but recently they saw their classic ad campaigns overtaken by cartoon characters that children more readily relate to. These new school cultural icons easily… Continue reading| Comments