Thursday, March 10, 2011

Have digital people got a chip on their shoulder?

Digital life is a bowl of cheeries

Interesting at Ad-tech last week I didn't manage to see much apart from the last session around mobile GPS and how marketeers can leverage it. Nothing of real substance in there, speakers shared loads of stats on why mobile is important, and its usage, the ongoing battle between Foursquare and Facebook regarding checkins and an old favourite for many digital marketeers, QR codes. (I thought no one bothered with QR codes anymore)? What was interesting though was the last speaker Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum, he shared two pieces of work he had done at the museum around photo tagging using geo location. (As their head of digital he's doing a great job in bringing the Powerhouse experience to the streets, literally).
But what was interesting was Seb having a slight dig at QR codes and marketeers and agencies constant reminder of how good digital is considering that the last speakers were talking of it's capabilities and it's customer interaction Seb said the contray he admitted his first experience of using QR codes was a 'disaster’ basically the reward for the effort was so poor most people felt the whole thing a bit of a faff, in the real world, it just wasn't working. Admittedly it's changing, but what was glorious to watch was the other panels faces, it looked like Seb had just farted in their geo-fenced location.
This friction in this presentation got me thinking on why do so many digital people in marketing and agencies always share stat after stat on why a particular piece of technology or platform is so much more superior that any other form of media? As in reality it's new and there's no real concrete facts around it. I see it time and time again on blogs, presentations, tweets and at events like Adtech - stat after stat of digital been better, better ROI, better engagement, better recall, better than any traditional media. We are obsessed with it and much of it is ‘cherry picked’ in that you’ll see a stat or casestudy that brand X email campaign had a 99% open rate with zilions of new members etc. What they fail to mention is that this eDM was part of a much bigger campaign with an on-pack promo, radio and posters.
Another example I picked up recently was a tweet that said;
Huge! RT @Warlach Cadbury UK pound on tv vs pound on digital. TV returned 60p, online retuned £2. #atsyd (via @ordnung)
Now that is a pretty impressive stat and as a marketing director I would be licking my lips, but much of Cadbury’s advertising was first spent on programme sponsorship and with this ran many successful TV campaigns yes TV which then went online and became very successful viral pieces, not through any great planning just the ads were funny and entertaining I wonder what the ROI if they had just done online? look at 'Gorilla' with the Phil Collins soundtrack and the two kids with the 'dancing eyebrows'. Brilliant. Another I can recall was John West ‘Bear’ where the fisherman grabs the salmon from the clutches of the hungry bear, this started life as a TV, many of us in the digital business forget that bit. It happens all the time, stat after stat is used at any given opportunity.
Does digital have an inferior complex? Why don’t we just do what we are doing well and everything else will come our way? Without selling all the virtues of using online, we all know it works just like TV it depends on the creative, the media placement and with online the technology behind it.
The smart people know successful digital campaigns do rely on offline communication. Not all but most, and there’s campaigns out there where it’s mainly all online, Old Spice is a a good example. (Ironically that idea was conceived by a so- called through-the-line agency, W&K). My view as always; it's down to the idea no matter what the channel and in my mind the campaign success is greatly increased if there's true channel integration.
Do you agree that digital 'cherry pick' stats?
Photo by Tim Irving of Opart.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My hero

We all needs heros people we look up too, mum and dad are always in there but my one and I have many (Spike Milligan, Martin Luther King, JFK) but one person even when I see an image of him I get a shiver and that's Ali. I saw this and I thought it was such a great piece, below is the background to the project, lovely work.Michael Kalish created this elaborate sculpture that, when viewed from the right angle, looks like Muhammad Ali:

Artist Michael Kalish went big, using 1,300 punching bags, 6.5 miles of stainless steel cable, and 2,500 pounds of aluminum pipe to construct a 22-foot-high installation that took three years to complete.
The idea for the project came to Kalish as he was falling asleep one night in 2008: an array of custom-made, teardrop-shaped speed bags suspended in midair that, from just one vantage point, align themselves like pixels into an image of Ali’s face.
It’s not actually quite done yet. Ali himself will hang the final bag at the unveiling.