Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Things Advertisers Worry About Around Christmas

I'm going on holidays as of tomorrow - won't be back (and have sworn off blogging to get my third attempt of a fictional novel off the ground) until Mid-January sometime. So merry, merry and happy happy to everyone....Thought I'd leave you with the re-post below from last year. Enjoy!

I love to save quotes I overhear or emails or blackberries that I think are particularly funny. Here is an absolute classic that was sent by someone at an Ad Agency to the Interactive client about a production issue involving Christmas Elves. Here the Account Executive is explaining to the client why they aren't going to get the photo assets in a timely manner.

"Now it is almost the 4th. We awarded the job to a production house this morning – the 3rd and made Elf casting, wardrobe/styling their first priority. ….Casting happens simultaneously but it also takes time. Even if we take any little person from Toronto and use in stills only will save us half a day at best. Making costumes, hats, shoes, prosthetic ears, eye brows and whatever else elves need will take us to Friday. What complicates things is that little people don’t come in regular sizes, and we will have to tailor make their wardrobe. We cannot pick them off a rack. We can’t use stock, as the stock elf will look differently from the TV elf and that defeats the purpose of having elves for visual candy campaign glue. Styling TV elves after the stock elf may rob our elves of their unique personality and make them generic, boring and invisible in the crowd of shoppers drug mart and furniture warehouse elves which is completely unacceptable. I hope this explains the issues to you to your full satisfaction."

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Difference Between My Blog & My Tumblr log

Inky led me to a great url visualization tool that shows the difference between my blog and my tumblrlog.

What do the colors mean?

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Ok So first my blog:

And now my tumblrlog:

Public Displays Of Experimentation & The Digital Self

"Identity construction becomes a continual daily task"

- Jamal + Chapman 2008

I've got to think that the continual "status casting" and lifestreaming that is going on with the youth of today has to have an impact on identity construction in a more fundamental way than people are realizing.

Part of growing up is about taking chances. The Web to some extent has sped up that innovation and yet, on the other hand I wonder at what point the "public displays of experimentation" will have an adverse affect. Kids generally are experiential and telling them something is one thing - but something impacting them in the real world is another. Now, connected 24/7 they not only have their successes streamed live and in digital colour, but their failures as well. Their memories both good and bad are being digitally imprinted without the ability to hide them quietly as the time and distance of the event passes.

"Identities are not fixed by some core, singular, essential, universal properties. Rather they are contested, multiple and shifting and are embedded in cultural and historical practices"

- Bhatia, 2002

Except that the culture is being created at a lightening pace and the concept of history, before it is even understood, is already in the making.

Monday, 17 December 2007

One Step Forward, and 2.0 Back?

Ah the debate. To comment on or not to comment on the flame war between Mike Arrington and Shelly Powers. Quick background: I was reading Mathew Ingram's post in which he disagree's with Lane Hartwell's decision to take down the popular "Here comes the bubble video". First glance I notice a guy named Mike (I swear I didn't notice it was *that* Mike until he made the I'll do whatever the f*ck I like comment to Mathew) who out of no where made a comment about a woman named Shelly.

"Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn't matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She's a woman, so she's right."

The comment seemed totally out of context for me, and I went wtf? I even wrote (again not noticing it was *that* Mike) wha' up with that? Turns out, Mike has a personal beef with Shelly and believes that Shelly has a personal beef with him. Glad we could all get invited to that particularly family dinner. So Mike then asks if people think he's sexist bc of this video and then by this morning closes the comments on his post. In a round about way, thought I'd answer the question given now that I have what I think is full context that this has nothing to do with copyright and everything to do with a personal squabble.

My now 12 year old daughter has lived in a small Greek village with her Dad for the past two years. One of the biggest transitions that Cee had to make was realizing that women/girls were not considered equal by everyone. I still remember her calling me one day so angry - I'm like, calm down what's wrong?

"Mommy. They don't let girls play soccer here. It's just not done."

And I was like, well, change the rules.

"Uch. You don't understand. That's just not done here."

What was I to say? I reminded her if she wants the world to change, she has to change it. We talked about a great book that everyone should get their kids called the TheNobel Book Of Answers...I babbled on a while, and well, she wasn't convinced and we changed the subject.

About 7 months later in the Spring, not even a year later, Cee had managed to not only get herself on the soccer team, but in fact, every single female in her class. When I asked her how she did it this is what she said:

"Oh well it was easy. I realized that asking them was the problem. If you ask them, they say no. So I just stopped asking and started playing."

(and FYI, the boys still to this day are annoyed that she is "changing the way the girls in the village are thinking").

Ok, now to the question of sexism on Arrington's particular comment...

And I think for today, I'm going have to default to what I think my daughter would say. If I presented the scenario to her (remember she's 12)

- that two people were having an argument. One thought one thing. The other person thought another. Then the boy person, said to the girl person,

"You only agree with that other person because she's a girl and your a girl too"

Do I think she would think it's sexist (after I explained what it was of course)? Probably not, but I bet you $100 bucks she'd say

"Well that's just dumb."

I think it's pretty dumb too.

And now back to our regular scheduled blogging....

oh and ps. if anyone cares about the copyrite issue Mathew still thinks Lane's wrong found here

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Creative Perspectives

Its funny how looking at something in a new way gives you a completely different perspective with unexpected consequences. I think that's at the heart of creating innovative strategies. It's why I'm loving Tumblr so much and why I finding myself spending less time reading Techmeme and more time playing around on FFFound.

(image credit: farm2 from Flikr)

Calm Before The Storm

We woke up this morning to what they are saying is only the beginning. Four cm have fallen in two hours. Looks like we're going to have a white xmas. That's going to make for one happy husky.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Oooooo How Lovely

Treat yourself to a moment of design zen...

Click here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

An Ecosystem Approach To Marketing In The Digital Age

Cross-posted from One Degree.

As an environmental planner, I studied the impacts of technologies (waste treatment plants, large dams, road work projects etc.) on communities. Technology has always had an impact on how we live, how we work and how we interrelate with the environment around us.

Similarly, working in interactive communications since 1996, I have seen the growth of digital networks and their communities.

While at first glance, it may seem that environmental and digital ecosystems have little in common, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. There are many parallels between natural ecosystems and their networked counterparts and therefore many lessons to be learned.

‘GreenMan marketing part I’ attempts to formalize this strategic approach and lay down a foundation, a philosophy and a way of thinking.

Truth, Lies & Advertising

Someone passed on a comment asking me to clarify my online advertisings dirty little secret posting.

The question was, am I saying that online advertising doesn't work or that I am anti-advertising? Actually the answer is not at all, so I guess I better clarify :)

My post was attempting to question the current definition of online advertising which is based on traditional mass advertising thinking. I don't like how it is defined and truthfully, I think that maybe the problem lies withe the usage of the word advertising.

A while back I had seen a great post at Adliterate that asked the question, are brand ideas to big for advertising?". As well, if you add to the mix multi-dimensional branded customer experiences, then you know for sure that the term advertising is no longer as relevant as it used to be. My point was, and still is, that online advertising as it has been traditionally defined by organizations like the IAB have a very narrow and limited definition and it simply doesn't work.

Secondly, I talked about current methods for measurement and tracking. My point was that we again, are using old tools (and old thinking) to measure a new medium. What is required are holistic approaches and one that take into consideration that the system will always be imperfect. There are ways to improve on it. Just this morning, I was talking to someone who is working on an overall KPI approach. I mentioned to her that I have long wanted to apply social impact assessment models (which are used in Environmental planning to measure non-quantifiable assets and inputs such as loss of culture) into assessment models. More food for thought.

Finally, I wanted to make the point that in an effort to "sell" the digital space, many organizations and companies have made promises to clients that they were then unable to meet. While digital allows for far greater accountability than say a print ad, the Utopian promise of everything is measurable has still not been delivered to clients on a consistent basis. Can it be going into the future? Well, as my friend Vanessa likes to say, with the right people, enough time and enough budget, anything is possible.

Monday, 10 December 2007


That's to me and Rogers Yahoo. Me because I accidentally deleted my last posting and Rogers Yahoo! because of this...

Read here.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The IChing Of Facebooks Network

This IChing reblog from here is in light of the news that some Facebook users are selling their own ads against Facebook policy. Like I always say, it's in the network's DNA to go around obstructions.

"When faced with difficulties and obstacles to the achievement of its intentions, a network of superior values searches for errors in the assumptions underlying its initiative, thus creating the opportunity for its own further development.


1. The network, when faced with obstacles, should retreat temporarily in anticipation of a more appropriate occasion for action. (Resulting in: Accomplishment).

2. When its obligations so dictate, the network should attack the obstacle directly rather than seeking ways to circumvent it. (Resulting in: Basic need).

3. If the network has others dependent upon it, whose existence would be endangered by its failure, it is preferable for it to avoid tackling the obstacle. (Resulting in: Solidarity).

4. It is preferable for the network to avoid hasty action against an obstacle in order to gather support and make adequate preparations. (Resulting in: Influence).

5. Despite the importance of the obstruction, if the network is totally committed to the task it will attract collaborators with whom success may be achieved. (Resulting in: Unpretentiousness).

6. If a network no longer concerned with mundane affairs is faced with obstructions, it can through its experience and insight bring about a solution of special significance, rather than vainly attempting to avoid the issue. (Resulting in: Development).

Transformation sequence Obstructions cannot persist indefinitely, thus eventually liberation is achieved. (Resulting in: Liberation)."

Friday, 7 December 2007

Intelligent Sticky Notes?

Some very funky ideas and work from Pattie Maes and the Ambient Intelligence Group.

‘Quickies’ enrich the experience of using sticky notes by allowing them to be tracked and managed more effectively. The project explores how the use of RFID, Artificial Intelligence and ink recognition technologies can make it possible to create intelligent sticky notes that can be searched, located, can send reminders and messages, and more broadly, can help us to seamlessly connect our physical and digital worlds.

Have to say the intelligent sticky notes sounds very cool. I happen to be obsessed with sticky notes (stickies and sharpies!).

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tumblr Is a Feast For The Mind

So, I started tracking some VC tumblr logs and, well, (no offense) *yawn*. I stopped following them (see my post about it here). They seemed to use the service as aggregated lifestreams which I don't have a lot of interest in. For me, different lifestreams (and the services that enable them) have different meaning.

Then one day (it's like a children's story) i bumped into Andre. I love Andre's tumblr log. He must be a designer because he finds the most amazing stuff. Fantastic images. Cool ideas. Seriously, he calls it a digital scrap book - I call it food for the mind.

Anyway, I started to link from him to all these other tumblr logs and i realized that all of these guys and gals were using it that way. Tumblr wasn't aggregating their lifestreams, it was creating a new type of lifestream. Not even food, but a feast for the mind.

So i started one...(you can find it here, but I put it on my links on the side as well). It doesn't take up very much time and while I am going along my day, if i see something that I want to capture (not write about at length - not send to 1000 people - just capture) I use the tumblr toolbar in my browser (works similar to and voila! Captured.

Now the thing they don't tell you (well they don't really tell you very much on the homepage at all) is that tumblr allows you to quick edit and grab specific things from a page effortlessly.

I'll show one example:

Say, you are on flickr and you like a photo and you want to capture it on your tumblr log (CC license of course).

And then voila!

Not aggregated lifestreams IMO at all (although I guess some people can continue to use it that way). Just a completely creative, loose way to digitally capture moments and thoughts through the day. Very, very cool.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Online Advertising's Dirty Little Secret

Woah. So all of sudden the Facebook thing happens and NOW everyone is saying

"Yeah, but do online ads really work?"

A discussion that has been going on in Advertising circles for a long time.

Personally I have always felt that the "trackability" and "measureability" of the Web has been overstated. For a new medium we tend to have pretty old media measurement models with things such as CPM rates (cost per thousand impressions) and click through rates. Even with more "so called" sophisticated targeting and tracking, we still end up asking the same question, do online ads 'work? And what does everyone mean by work anyhow?

Does it mean someone saw them?
Does it mean someone clicked on them?
Does it mean a particular action happened like a pay-per-action model?
Does it mean it generated a lead that led to a sale?
That someone filled out a form?
Does it mean someone was tracked until they purchased something on an e-commerce site?
Was it one sale? Was it a lifetime customer?
Does it mean they like the brand more now? Eh?

What makes matters worse (and I'm not even talking about click through fraud) is that online discussions tend to ignore other forms of media and advertising (because we ALL know advertising doesn't work!). Maybe they clicked on an ad but only did that after their had been exposed to TV, print ads, some radio play as well as a direct mail flyer.

I think what this all calls for is some realistic discussions around measurement, industry wide new standards for ways we measure and broadening out the definition of online advertising from banner and google ads to include other forms of online communications (social media, corporate websites etc.).

Online advertising's dirty little secret is out. Now it's time to do something about it.

(photo credit "shhhh"

Monday, 3 December 2007

Online Privacy Abuses Will Ruin The Web

I'm a bit surprised at some of the people who have come out saying that they think the whole Facebook privacy issue is over blown (see here, here and here). For some it might be a matter of not caring about what they consider their mundane data and for others they might have concerns over the heavily reliance that many online businesses have on online advertising.

Truth is, marketers have always oversold online advertising targeting and tracking as the Webs holy grail. And let's face it, ad supported services have been at the heart of so many ‘free’ things that we take for granted.

I've blithered on (in four postings in the last week no less) about the privacy issues and potential abuses of people's data, so i won't beat that particular drum again. Let me come at this in a completely different way - as a marketer.

Peter and I wrote an article for strategy magazine a long time ago about why marketers and advertisers should be concerned about customers' online privacy. The premise? If we don't care, the legislators will.

When companies and agencies start to cross lines without any thoughts to their responsibilities as corporate citizens, the public starts to get nervous and starts to question if their personal freedoms are being trodden upon. When that happens, inevitably someone stands up and says, dang, we better make a law for this!

This is how the European privacy laws were created and similarly here in Canada with bill C-6. When we don't play nice, it's the governments job to try and make us. Do we really want that? Will they understand what things are about privacy and what things are just stupid? What things would protect people and what things would just ruin the Web?

In the end if we want to ensure a sustainable Web ecosystem that works for both people and business, we have to find the right balance between customers best interest and our own marketing self interest. And if we can't someone else will surely make us.

update: ..and when you thought it couldn't get worse, it does. So much for being able to just leave the service. Read this Facebook's Beacon Ad System Also Tracks Non-Facebook Users.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Funny Fact

(Peter saw this one in Time Magazine)

10% of Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.

Zuckerberg Shrugged: Man Vs. Ecosystem

It's in the Webs DNA to go around obstructions. We've seen it in the past with things like P2P, online music downloading.

There's something to DNA and Umair's posting on the subject got me thinking. So let's talk about what's wrong with the DNA of Facebook and how they let this whole Beacon issue get completely out of control.

Firstly, we could blame Harvard of course. Old school business models that have at their core a specific type of elitism (a friend of mine who did his degree there called "The H Bomb"). But it appears that the arrogance of Facebook has begun to mirror Zuckerberg himself as he stands of the PR stages of the world commanding his people from high upon the hills. With the ever expanding belief that his opinions and contributions should supersede those of the Facebook members themselves.

He built the company so there must be something to this. He's the one who refused to sell at a billion dollars and as it turns out, he was right. But the real question becomes, is his type of thinking 'sustainable' in the digitally connected ecosystem of the Web?

Missing The Forest For The Trees

Zuckerberg seems to take a classic command and control approach to his ecosystem management. Why do I say this? Command and control models have these characteristics:

- Model of master and servant
- Knowledge as a tool for domination
- Top down system of management and control
- Belief that ecosystems are static
- Belief that what happens outside the ecosystem does not impact what goes on inside it

Hum...sound familiar? Think of it this way, if Zuckerberg were in charge of a forest, he would end up cutting down the entire thing, leaving a barren landscape at the end of it. So much for the forest ecosystem.

And, in the end, will that be good for business? Well, one might suggest in the short term it probably brings in a lot of revenue and might appear to be successful. But similar to what has happened in the logging industry, in the end, you just end up with a wasteland and a lot of really pissed off community members on both sides of the fence.

And Zuckerberg? I think he should consider forgetting about business for a while and consider taking an ecology and environmental planning course or two (or three). Otherwise as Zuckerberg shrugs, he'll end up missing the forest for the trees.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Social Activism 101 - Web 2.0 Style

It's ironic that a lot of the people who tout the principles of Web 2.0 have a tendency to forget one of the basic tenants...The power shift from companies to community.

Back in the day, my friend Jay, an campaigner at Greenpeace, took the power that the Web gave to the people and applied that to social activism. Thus in 1996, Fax the Feds was born. Thanks to our friends at Google, I even found a reference to it:

"Fax the Feds!. ...Fax your Federal MP Web Page Services. Keep your MP accountable! This is a FREE service to send your MP a fax message about any issue of concern. Within minutes, your message will appear as a printed fax in the MP's Ottawa office using a sophisticated web page engine."

Well, it seems as if our sophisticated web page engine has gotten even bigger and more powerful, thanks to the ever expanding edges of Web 2.0.

For some reason it heartens me that while some people think the Facebook concerns are an over-reaction, that in the end, it's the law of the network that prevails.

This isn't the first time (Sony root kit anyone?) and it won't be the last, but it's a great lesson to all those companies and organizations out there.....

Customers are more in control and connected than ever before and in the end it will be them that have the last word - social activism 101, Web 2.0 style.

So ignore, ignore, ignore – but remember if you choose to do so, you do so at your own peril.

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