MIMA – Staff that doesn’t work properly: how technology changes the nature of advertising

Enlightening presentation – it probably was one of rare presentations that attempted to explain the trend rather than pose more questions.

Faris Yakob (@faris),  the former Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson NYC, described probably most “strategic” and systematic approach to current changes (or the current state of constant change).  He started from the definition of technology…

If new job titles appear, the industry is trying to accommodate a change it can no longer ignore. What was “Chief Technology Strategist”?  Though “chief” and “strategist” are understandable, the definition of “technology” is not quite clear. The word “technology” is evolving.

Technology is Imagineering…

Technology is “staff that does not work yet”

We perceive new technology differently in different times of our lives:

  • Technology existing when we are born – “just exist.”
  • Technology appearing when we are 0-30 years old – “very exciting and interesting.”
  • Everything that happens in the world after we are 30 years old – “against the natural order of things and beginning of the end of the civilization.”


Our focus should be not on “emerging technologies” but on “emerging cultural practices.”

Henry Jenkins



Some of the implications of the increasing speed of technological change:

  • “Passive Massive”
  • “The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed”
  • Generations became smaller based on the approach to technology
  • Why things seem to be moving faster? Because they are…
  • Only when something becomes cheap, it becomes transformational…
  • Technologies become socially interesting when they are finally technologically boring…

Digital content is not a product; it is a process…   How should we approach this change?

We should think as a dandelion…

Dandelion reproductive strategy: to invest little in each individual “offspring” and allow the wind – a free resource – to carry seeds to new “opportunities.”  Human reproductive strategy: to invest a lot in a few offsprings  and hope that they will be also successful benefitting from this investment.

Advertisement strategy (old): invest into an expensive commercial… and hope it will be successful. Considering that digital content behaves differently, creating many inexpensive opportunities to succeed could be more beneficial – it is impossible to predict what will succeed, we can just manage the cost…

Cultural Latency

“Diminished cultural latency means that the propagation of information is so fast that the spread itself becomes the defining aspect of the system: the rate-of-spread becomes as important as the information itself.” Faris Yakob

Google will fix it for us if we will not 😉

A quick glance into the future… Forsquare is the new Twitter…

Going Mobile – i612

“if you think your audience not mobile, you are most likely wrong.”

Companies need to start now to learn and be ahead of the competition  in the months ahead.

Fundamental principle that is often overlooked:
Marketers need to concentrate not on cell phones, but on consumers who are mobile and build programs and promotions to help these consumers.

Brands need to define target audience, understand its challenges and find a way to be useful. Example: SitOrSquat application – a bathroom locator with reviews – created for Charmin. The application offers utility to its users and provided by not intrinsically engaging brand. The database of available bathrooms was easier to find than encourage consumers to provide reviews.
Another interesting note: it is much easier to capture consumers’ phone numbers than e-mail addresses via mobile… The reason might be difficulty of typing e-mail addresses on our tiny keyboards.

Going into a campaign it is important to define what are you trying to learn.

Mobile advertising: important not to drive consumers to the “normal” site; even more important is to make sure that consumer can accomplish promoted action on the landing page

2010 Digital Predictions and the State of Emerging Technologies – MIMA

Thought-provoking event with several fundamental insights:

  1. Future opportunities for simplification as product strategy (based on the success of Twitter and earlier iPod – both simplifications of existing technologies)
  2. Mobile should be the “primary interface” for web development (not just “mobile compatible”) – mobile is the channel through which more customers more likely to experience web in the future.
  3. Separation of streams: Facebook (a couple of dozens of close friends), Twitter (business communication in the area of expertise), LinkedIn (wider network of business associates), etc

After the event I downloaded Gowalla (in addition to the ubiquitous foursquare).

Politics and Social Media – Social Media Breakfast

The event attracted more marketers than journalists or politicians and was useful for all. 😉

Journalists covering political campaigns had the same perception of social media “I have to do it.” Though they agreed that it was not true even a year ago.

From the journalist’s perspective, stories are now “compartmentalized” for specific channels: some are worthy a blog post, some can be added to Facebook, and some don’t warrant more than a Tweet.

Twitter is a Wild Wild West in political communication – voters are not afraid to ask questions. Twitter seemed to be the dominant force and concern among political campaigns and journalists because of its immediacy.

“You can do a lot of damage as a candidate in 140 characters.”

Changes brought up by social media:

  • commentary is live and immediate
  • Google Alerts and RSS are too slow (!) – Twitter does a better job
  • Blogs are “back-up documents” for Tweets
  • Information is not always sourced correctly – error issue

Iconoculture Consumer Trends for 2010 – AMA

Iconoculture analysis of consumer trends was a wonderful event to get an inspiration for the remaining of the year.

Main consumer values

  • Individuality
  • Community
  • Practicality
  • Creativity


Women and minorities demand more attention – gender dominates economy conversations.

Number of people defining themselves as more than one race has increased 33%.

Consumers feel they have a voice and demand more control over marketing message.

(Carrot mob example http://carrotmob.org/)


Unemployment and volatile changes encourage consumers to take more responsibility for their own health.   Example: http://www.bluezones.com/ The site is very interesting, suggesting that 70% of person’s longevity is under his/her control. The site openly suggest to eliminate fast food… brave.

Consumers are aware about transparent nature of social media and keep closer eye on their digital footprint.

Companies taking advantage of this trend (brilliantly):


Wisk created a Facebook application helping personal reputation management. “With WISK-IT you can find tagged and untagged photos in your friends’ albums and ask them to wash them away.”

Milk and Honey bars restrict use of social media and require its members consider everything heard at the bar “off the record.”

Mark Monitor is a b-to-b business that exploited the same trend.

“MarkMonitor Managed Services help corporations identify and respond to online brand threats through automated monitoring, research, expert analysis and rapid, prioritized response recommendations”


Conservation of resources (for example water) is moving from “environmentally friendly” to “practical.”

Indulgence offsetting: sin is in as long as its balanced by something positive/practical. Example: “five” ice-cream (ice-cream created with only five all-natural ingredients).


Collaboration between consumers and brands: “If I buy your product, I hope you listen to me.” Crowd sourcing from the perspective of companies.

Re-Inventing The Ad Agency – CATFOA

Excellent event with a great speaker, the presentation mentioned quite a few resources worthy further investigation. Edward Boches (@edwardboches),  Chief Creative Officer/Chief Social Media Officer, MULLEN (Boston) presented his view on the future, which, contrary to many people in the industry, he was actively embracing.

Media landscape is changing; some of the examples:

Wine Library TV (explanation) was a phenomenally successful video blog produced by a wine enthusiast. The blog attempted to change the perception of wine as difficult to understand subject to a much more accessible topic.

Wine Library TV creator also became a popular book author.

Lemonade – a movie created by a person who lost his job in the advertising industry (movie on Hulu).   The movie described several people who were able to transform their lives positively after layoffs. The movie became possible with the help of social media to connect people and sponsors.

Respectful agencies that specialized on TV advertising only went out of business..

New media is changing the world and nobody knows what will happen.

Some of emerging networks:

LiveFyre – a site dedicated to finding and discussing news in different topic areas.

“LiveFyre is a place for topical, public, live-streaming conversation and debate between friends and people who like the same stuff you do. Start a Fyre about virtually anything- articles, blog posts, videos, tweets, you name it, then pose a question or statement to spark the debate.”

Blippy – a site allowing to see what other people are buying.

“Thanks to a just-launched, Twitter-like service called Blippy, you can now post all your credit and debit card purchases to the Web, for all to see. Lucky us.” More..

Including very familiar  foursquare http://foursquare.com/

Nobody (including brands and agencies) wants to change… But consumer is no longer a spectator; the consumer is co-creator. Consumers can produce ad parodies faster… and much cheaper.  Community is the new form of content.

Consumers do not want to have “one perfect thing” – what is spectacularly explained in Malcom Gladwell’s presentation “Malcom Gladwell On Spaghetti Sauce.”

“Good-enough revolution.” Definition of quality changed: fast, easy, convenient is now sufficient (example – mp3, which is technically gives an inferior quality sound).

Before: advertising told stories

Now: finding people to tell their stories (crowd sourcing is picking up).

Interesting: typical crowd sourcing efforts produce too much of consumer generated content that is bad enough to be unusable.  However, this content can give a very useful insight into brand perception by the consumers – uninspired entries are not waste but a great research material.

If an advertiser tells stories, they should be better than “news releases.”  Google Chrome ads were so interesting, that explanation of how they were produced became as popular.

Original Google Chrome ads

Explanation of how these ads were produced

Before: an ad

Now: an ad, a landing page, social media channels… somebody expressing their dissatisfaction…

Future advertiser will be a choreographer, a curator of many channels and communities, rather than an ad producer.

How agencies can survive?

  • encourage people to use social media
  • changing strategic approach: what is consumer’s relationship to the media?”
  • smashing the silos

New campaign approach: creating a community first, and then promoting the product/service to the community.

Agencies are building up analytics staff (yes, metrics! 🙂  )


  • Targeting + Creative + Conversation Strategy (it is easier to create a community than to decide what to do with it later)
  • Curator/Choreographer will emerge as a new important role
  • Crowd sourcing  will grow
  • Whoever hires the best digital talent will win
  • Creativity will matter more than ever (since attention can no longer be bought)

The change is happening:

Before: it took fewer people to create a message

Now: all people need to work together (including web developers and brand strategists);  people need to know each other and not be afraid to give recommendations.

Mullen –  a great resource for information and cutting edge ideas.

Edward Boches’ presentation was one of the best during the three years of CATFOA history.  It encouraged me to think about curating and creating (and creativity). These are opposite concepts in my opinion; if the brand is trying to “create” an innovative ad, it is not trying to crowd-source. Crowd sourcing seems to be more “statistically relevant” – most creative undertakings are gambles, while searching and testing should produce more reliable results. My guess is curating will win over creating, but it is just a guess…. 😉