November 2009

In August this year I stumbled upon a contest called Bob's Got No Idea. The brand behind the campaign was yet to be revealed and entrants were asked to submit an essay or video demonstrating some sort of creativity about advertising. I initially dismissed it but at the last minute (reflecting back, somewhat gladly) decided to enter with this submission...

Welcome to the 2009 Australian Marketing Trade Press Awards.As you've no doubt noticed, with the new year approaching trade press publications go crazy with their annual awards. Which isn't surprising really given this is an industry that places such importance on self recognition. Is it just me or does the whole concept of nominating yourself for an award seem odd? Or more so that you have to pay for it? But before I turn this into a rant about weirdly shaped trophies and unnecessary flight carbon emissions, I ask you; who will award the awarders? Said publications will recognise the best in the industry throughout 2009 in a multitude of categories, but none of which are Best in Trade Press.So with the little credibility I have, let the awards begin...

I've been thinking a bit about the agency process recently.And it surprises me how much impact just one person in that process can have. In some cases millions of dollars are put on the line, and it can all come down to a single few people.A client might turn down a great idea. An account manager might not be convincing enough. Or the creativity didn't hit at the right time. But on any other day, with any other person, the outcome could be different.And for some reason, it's been doing my head in lately. Crazy....

Just an observation I thought I'd share with you all. Over the last 10 months, I've watched 6,148 videos on YouTube. On average, that's 20.5 videos a day. And if the average video is 2.7 minutes long (sorry academics, no peer reviewed source provided), that's 55.35 minutes a day. This means I'm spending more time consuming a single website than television, radio, newspapers and magazines combined. Thankfully, there's no way to track how much time I spend on Facebook. I know I'm not an accurate portrait of this generation, but I'm not even sure the above stat includes videos embedded on third party websites....

I was in a meeting today (I won't drop any names, but they were certainly worthy of dropping) and I was asked, "If you started an agency today, what would it look like?"I threw out some generic ideas and buzz words, and of course it wasn't until I was on my way home that an idea hit me.There is a fundamental problem with the agency/client relationship. Agencies are constantly forced to compromise on pieces of communication for client approval. It makes economic sense because without happy clients there's no one to pay for the expensive furniture in the office. But, it does mean the communication is not at its most effective. It seems to me, the two parties in this relationship have almost opposing objectives. These differences are usually overcome by settling somewhere in the middle. An area of compromise.So if I started an agency today, perhaps its motto would be "No Compromise". At all. If the client wasn't 100% happy with the work, then we wouldn't work with them. It's either take it, or leave it.Financially, it's never going to happen. But it does ensure only the best work is ever done.Unfortunately, it doesn't overcome the fact this is an industry where success is determined and therefore influenced by awards. But maybe it's the start of a conversation worth having....

In what can only be described as excellent timing, there's been much discussion recently about starting your career in marketing, including my own article. With just one exam pending, I will have completed the third year of my double degree, with one year remaining. Unfortunately I failed a law subject last year (perhaps this is the wrong time to be bringing this up) which means I have to make up the unit over Summer. And what I'd like to do, is an internship. So instead of approaching agencies, which is what I'll do if this little experiment fails, I thought I'd advertise it on my blog first. Here's what's in it for you...

The way I see it, flash mob stunts are like ambient marketing. High impact with low reach. Except of course, with the internets, the reach is heavily extended.Take a look at this recent one by Flip...

I'll start by saying this post is not intended to be arrogant or self indulgent in any way, but I know my only writing style can't avoid sounding that way, so just a heads up. And for this to make any sense, you'll need to read Stan Lee's article, Blogs Apart from this month's Marketing Magazine.It's certainly an interesting read, one that I'd suggest is unnecessarily cynical and perhaps just another dig I've come to expect from older generations. And I can't help but think that with less than a handful of Australian marketing student bloggers out there, it might not even be all that relevant. Yet I feel one of us should probably respond. So here's my thoughts as to how I perceive the article personally.To me, this blog is just a conversation starter. In many ways it's my resume. And just like you'd be stupid to employ someone based on their resume alone, the same goes for bloggers. But it's a foot in the door somewhere, where I'm then given the chance to prove myself. I've actually recently come to the decision I don't necessarily want to work just in the social media area, but definitely in an agency. This blog, I hope, will help me indirectly achieve that goal. Even if it's just because someone's happy to grab a coffee or beer with me.Even the most talented graduate in the country is useless if no one's heard of them, right? Especially when you consider how many positions are never advertised but rather are filled through a network's word of mouth. I'm thinking writing a blog like this one is a great way for someone to begin to "know the right people".Now I realise I criticise the industry. A lot. Probably too much. But if there's anything I've learnt about this industry is how cut throat, back stabbing and competitive it is. I'm certainly not the only one criticising, I'm just not doing it behind everyone's backs. Perhaps the only reason I publish it with my name attached is because I've got nothing to lose but I think every point I raise is a worthy one, and hopefully something other people agree with or are willing to discuss, even if not publicly.As for the expert claim, I don't think there's a single student blogger who claims this. I think some might suggest they could provide insights, even without practical experience, but none of them are claiming a guru status. And you know what, I think insights without experience can still be valuable if taken for what they are.The one thing I'd probably agree with Stan on is the issue about telling employers how things should be done. This is something I'm quite passionate about, and again, I'm only going to offer my insight, but Gen Y are not going to "bow down to employers". That's not how you're going to attract and retain talent. I see it more as something people can take on board or not...

I've been thinking about "cool" lately. Ignoring the fact it's probably not cool to use the word "cool", start by taking a look at Adam Ferrier's thoughts on the five indicators of someone's coolness.I suppose thinking about the cool people I know, my definition would be that the coolest person in the room has the personal brand worth the most social currency. Here their personal brand encompasses everything from their personality to what they're wearing to what they do for a living. Included in this is the ability to share said social currency through remarkable story telling.Just had this stuff on my mind a bit lately. What do you think? What makes someone cool?...