December 11, 2008
We’ve made a decision to stop publishing on Marktd. Despite making changes to focus on the creative/marketing ideas sister site of PSFK.com, we are still unhappy with the quantity and quality of the site.
Marktd started life as a subscription site called IF! which offered ideas to marketers about how to promote their products in a fresh, modern way. It was fairly successful and we got a good number of people pay the $25 subscription - but we felt that the subscription stopped it being read by a large group of people. A few months back we decided to stop the subscription and relaunch the site as Marktd. Since then interest in the site hasn’t really picked up. I would suggest that this is because of a number of reasons:
* We just aren’t that interesting in marketing and advertising. Personally it’s been 7 years since I had a full time job in advertising and the longer time goes on, the less interest I have in the field. Combine that apathy with the fact that only one or two of the regular writing team have ever worked in advertising.
* Many of our readers who work in marketing and advertising don’t seem to be that interested in only reading about marketing and advertising.
* When we do find exceptional marketing ideas that we are interested in, they tend to end up on PSFK.com anyway.
* We launched Marktd because IF! just wasn’t good enough. We’re closing Marktd because the site just didn’t meet our standards.
Maybe one day we’ll think about relaunching it - maybe with a sponsoring partner. From today, the Marktd email newsletter and RSS will change to PSFK content. We’re hoping that the existing Marktd readers will get even better creative ideas content as a result.
December 8, 2008
Guy Kawasaki has created a revealing photo essay documenting his tour of Zappos.com’s Las Vegas headquarters. The phenomenally successful online shoe retailer is probably best known for it’s over-the-top cheerful and helpful customer service. It seems that one way it achieves this upbeat customer satisfaction obsession is by keeping it’s employees comfortable and happy - really happy. From the looks of Guy’s pictures, Zappos looks like an office playground the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the first dot-com bubble.
Greek Cypriot industrialist and heavyweight European contemporary art collector Dakis Joannou has brought together an all star team to create the most unique watercraft on the sea. Named “Guilty”, the 35 meter long yacht is decked out with sleek, artistic interiors by Ivana Porfiri and a pop-art exterior camouflage design by Jeff Koons. This design experiment injects a dose of eccentric fun and innovation into the traditional design language of classic nautical architecture.
[via Life At HOK]
December 5, 2008
We’ve heard a lot of brands wishing to ‘own’ music recently, and we always get a bit, well, annoyed about it, because music belongs to people and persons, not brands. And the only thing brands should be trying to do in terms of music are those bandied-brand words, ‘facilitating’ and ‘enabling’. Ruby Pseudo’s team in the UK did a focus group recently where - in six minutes - the kids named 44 brands they saw as being part of the whole music “thing”, either in a good or an appropriate way.
Our results? The same brands kept coming up. As an overview:
- Network brand 02 was mentioned by over 65% of the respondents. That’ll probably go up too since they’ve brought all the Carling venues (isn’t it a bit like when Reebok brought Thierry Henry and everyone was like, um, he’s a Nike guy?)
- Virgin also occupied front of mind, and was cited by over 45% of the kids.
- Carling (for the time being) took bronze with 35% of respondents calling it out as being appropriately involved with music (Reading Festival and the like)… Diesel was also a runner-up with 25% calling out the denim brand as having a finger in the fat music pie (Diesel New Music Awards).
Overall, the notable brands mentioned in their respective categories:
- Broadcasters: C4, BBC, M&V
- Food & Drinks: Carling, Innocent, Coca Cola, Becks, Red Bull
- Fashion: Nike, Oxfam, Diesel, Adidas
- Network Providers: 02, Virgin, Orange, T Mobile
- Mobile Phone Brands: Sony (25%), Nokia (10%) Samsung (5%)
Some useful quotes from respondents:
‘They had a guitar hero tent at Reading, I thought it was amazing, the best thing they could’ve done. There were like loads of geeks playing and really getting into it and they were giving away free t-shirts and there were competitions.” Libby, 16
“They had a Duracell tent at Reading as well, something about lasting longer, some music tent, can’t really remember.” Jamie, 21
“They made a digital map at Glastonbury so you could navigate around and find the best places to get drunk and listen to music!” Tarik, 18
“As for Orange RockCorps- absolutely love that idea - it has the level of exclusivity that will interest and provoke youth into volunteering- genius.” Leonie, 21
‘Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel…’
“I did the orange RockCorps thing the other day which is so good for people our age who might not be able to afford tickets for gigs or they might be sold out by the time we get the money together. So many people turned up to the community service I went to that they didn’t have enough tools for us!” Jay-Ann, 17
[article originally appearing on Ruby Pseudo Wants a Word]
December 4, 2008
There’s an interesting piece on the Profero site on how companies that have chosen to take digital into their hearts could thrive in the recession:
2009/10 will see the toughest financial period for nearly quarter of a century, but managed correctly brands with an unambiguous, intelligent and coherent digital strategy, the ones that have had the foresight to utilise their digital presence over the last few years to generate a genuine consumer loyalty and create a lasting dialogue, could achieve some relative benefits in the slump and weather the storm better than their purely offline, or less savvy competitors. It’s a big “if”, and it is impossible to say just how things will pan out, but one suspects that the brands that come out of this with the least damage will be the ones who have understood and taken seriously the centrality of digital in twenty-first century life. Those that have chosen to ignore the influence of digital in modern society, whether by accident, an inability to adapt or by design, may just find these tough times just that little bit tougher.
Last night, we attended Microsoft’s soft launch party for Softwear, the company’s new line of graphic tees designed by hip-hop artist Common and “inspired by the 1980s when both Microsoft and hip-hop really came of age.” The software giant’s foray into fashion is intended to conjure a sense of nostalgic hipness around the brand, while reacting to the “I’m a PC” stereotype made popular by Apple. The shirts, which will hit select stores in the US on Dec 15, incorporate old DOS iconography, geek vernacular, and a retro-futuristic aesthetic into some surprisingly stylish designs. Softwear’s two lines, Classic and Common’s designs, can be previewed at Microsoft’s Softwear site, where viewers can also learn about the impetus and story behind the concept, narrated by Common.
December 3, 2008
In contrast to IBM’s unimaginative predictions, Microsoft’s Future Visions videos are actually a bit inspiring, pointing to innovations in technology we’d be excited to see and use. Their “future vision on manufacturing” concept video brings to life many advances that seem rather intuitive: ubiquitous touchscreen interfaces, holographic video conferencing, virtual paper, 3-D guided assembly processes, and a host of other efficiency boosting technologies. Watch the video below:
At our Good Ideas in 2009: Digital salon yesterday, much of the conversation surrounded how our online identities are created, both actively - through our own decisions of what we share about ourselves - and passively - through the actions and perceptions of others. Given that we only have control over half of that equation, how do we ensure that the best and brightest portrait of ourselves is seen by the wider community?
Piers posited his “Red Coat, Black Coat” theory back in 2006, which proved to be a harbinger of conversations to come about approaches to online privacy as the internet extends its reach further into our daily activities. At yesterday’s session, two methods became most evident: one centers around greater transparency. By choosing to let every detail out into the public sphere by our own hand, we’re able to send a clear message that says “this is who I am and I’m okay with that.” Of course, this is a bit of a risky proposition, but a more complex picture with all of its strengths and flaws, is certainly a truer one as well.
The other view that operates alongside the above idea of being “free and open,” is to take a more dynamic role participating in the feedback loop. Developing relationships with not only your friends, but your critics as well, promotes conversation and can lead to understanding.
These lessons don’t only apply to our individual profiles anymore either, but speak to the larger identities being developed at the level of corporations and brands too. Building on this platform, we’re witnessing a trend of businesses starting to raise the bar in terms of the amount and type information being provided to the public, while at the same engaging consumers on a more personal basis.
Online retailer Zappos was mentioned during yesterday’s session as one company that has been able to implement this model in a positive way through the context of their social media-styled employee blogs. Other examples that illustrate this new movement include user generated review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp that enable businesses to directly respond to their costumers and GM Facts and Fiction, an attempt by General Motors to dispel rumors about the current state of their company.
As we begin to see successes from the early adopters of this paradigm shift, we expect more companies will jump aboard and participate. This trend can only lead to a richer consumer experience for all involved.
[image via Michael Martin]
December 2, 2008
Amidst the budget cuts all around, one brand that is actually increasing their ad spend is Adidas. Most of their spending is going to be digital. For their new Adidas Originals initiative - the ‘Celebrate Originality’ campaign which includes 17 celebrities from music, sports and fashion - the brand wants to make sure that they reach as many consumers as possible. From WWD:
While Simon Atkins, business unit director, adidas Originals, North America, declined to reveal how much the company is spending, he said the timing couldn’t be better to roll out the campaign, because “while others are cutting back, we are going to be aggressive in the marketplace,” adding the campaign will celebrate three-stripe’s 60th anniversary. Adidas will begin by running TV commercials, but digital initiatives such as Web home-page takeovers and Facebook will account for more than 50 percent of the spending.
Their partnerships are pretty interesting as well, such as the one with Diesel which explores ‘10 Original Ways to Successfully Waste Your Time’ (!!!!).
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