Prospect Magazine recently conducted an online poll on “The World Thinkers 2013”. Everyone could vote their favorite philosophers, artists, scientists, academics. I will leave on the side how dubious a process like this can be taking into account that you cannot really compare an evolutionary biologist with a sculptor and I will remind you that our minds are wired to like “lists”. Internet is full of lists of ANYTHING, there are lists of the best lists and so goes on. I had written about the great power of lists here.
So, Prospect released the final list of the 65 (best ?) World Thinkers for 2013. I think that the list is interesting for 2 main reasons:
A) The convergence of science, entrepreneurship, philosophy, art in our minds. The term “pop science” has gained such a popularity during the last years resulting to a phenomenon where if you check the best-selling books of a bookstore you will see that philosophers are publishing their thoughts using comics, entrepreneurs write about their achievements citing scientific researches and scientists issue new papers having already conducted experiments in social media. The rise of smartphones and tablets, the total democratisation of Internet access and the constant need to be “updated” have re-wired our brains to consume easy, visual information (this is not scientifically proven. it is my theory, so dont take it seriously) for everything we might be interested in and this has created space for people to emerge and be considered “influential” when they are actually nothing important. For example, I am pretty sure that there are more important thinkers than Nate Silver, Christine Lagarde and Sheryl Sandberg.
B) The second most interesting thing about the list is actually the last sentence of A. The power of lists is so strong that I could not resist the temptation to comment on the people included, their ranking etc. Amazing. I posted the list on my Twitter account and I instantly received mentions from people reminding of figures who are not included, how wrong this list is etc. So my hats off to Prospect. It is extremely engaging to issue a list as generic as the “World Thinkers 2013”.
However, the main reason of this post is not to comment on the list itself or to the power of lists. In this post, I would like to write a few words, embed some videos, link some books of the Thinkers that I was lucky enough to read, listen, watch. In this way, you could follow them as I do.
1. RICHARD DAWKINS
The most influential Thinker of 2013 is Richard Dawkins, something somehow expected not because of personal taste but because Dawkins is a famous scientist with many friends and contrarians, there are a lot of controversies around what he says, he publishes a lot of books, he speaks a lot, he is always on the forefront of media attention AND last but not least he is probably the most famous “atheist” (there is a lot of discussion around the word atheist and agnostic but I will not write about that now). His books attack religions and as you can imagine this gives him extreme popularity no matter what he writes in his books.
I have written a lot of posts about Dawkins, his interviews, his books and his theories. I have watched him live on a panel about Cristopher Hitchens (he is dead otherwise he would probably be included in the list as well), I have read 2 of his books and I have watched a lot of his interviews. I am a big fan of his theories, of how gently he handles controversies, of his british sense of humor but I was not following him for the last year. I was informed that there was a super interesting interview of his with Al Jazeera which led to online controversies with Muslim journalists and religious people. I spent 45 minutes watching the interview and I have to admit that the journalist did a very job confronting Dawkins. The job of the journalist is to question established figures, try to expose possible weak points in their theories and although Dawkins was excellent is his answers, I will give a point to the journalist on the argument about the physical abuse VS mental abuse.
I say that a lot but this is A MUST WATCH INTERVIEW.
3. STEVEN PINKER
Steven Pinker is a Harvard professor and deals with pretty much everything covering a range from linguistics to psychology and from evolution to social sciences. I “discovered” him last year and I have already read 2 of his books.
“The Better Angels of Our Nature” is a HUGE book on the argument that people are becoming less and less violent throughout the years. I have to admit that it is a “difficult” book that requires a lot of concentration and I came close to leave it a number of times but when a book gathers data about human interactions and social stats from centuries ago it does make sense to be a little boring.
The second book I read was “How Mind Works” which was published in 1999. It follows the logic of “pop-sci”, Pinker tries to explain complex neuroscience with “common words” and he is pretty good at it. I would definitely suggest for someone who wants to get to know Pinker.
I also follow him on Twitter and you should as well because he suggests books, new scientists, comments on publications, writes about Harvard etc.
This video pretty much has everything about him.
10. DANIEL KAHNEMAN
Raise your glasses to my personal favorite Thinker, Daniel Kahneman. I know it seems childish to support a scientist like you do for football teams but Kahneman and his book “Thinking Fast and Slow” has actually influenced my daily life, how I work and how I interact with people.
Kahneman is a psychologist but his theories, his research and his books have given him the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002. He is considered the father of “behavioral economics” and I am pretty sure that this is the main reason of his popularity and catholic acceptance. He represents all the characteristics of the “pop science” phenomenon I described in the introduction. He explains how brains are working and he manages to do it in such an engaging way that you end up forgetting that you are reading a science book. He enriches his theories with illustrative examples, he has a kind face, he is a charismatic speaker and the most important of all is that his theories can be applied to a range of daily activities like buying things in a super market, making calculations, choosing the color of your car etc.
I have written a very long post on how his theories affect marketing and advertising, I have cited many of his articles but one of his TED talks is all you need to understand his importance.
16. NATE SILVER
Nate Silver is a statistician who gained extreme popularity during last U.S. elections when his formulas accurately predicted the poll results of each separate state. His blog in New York Times became the next best thing of Internet, he was invited in talk shows, he was voted as one of the sexiest scientist, people got crazy of his “magic ball” that can see the future.
I followed the “trend”, I read his best-seller book “The Signal and The Noise”, I was not blown away and it turns out that like all trends do, Nate Silver faded out. Do not read his book. Not a big deal.
21. MICHAEL SANDEL
Michael Sandel is an American philosopher and professor at Harvard. He is mostly famous for his Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) “Justice” which has the most subscribed online students than any other online course and millions of views on Harvard YouTube Channel.
Watching all 12 lectures of “Justice” is not an easy task as you need to extract the hidden messages from the casual conversation that Sandel has with the students attending the actual course in Harvard but it is totally worth the time. You catch yourself asking basic questions like “What is the moral thing to do?” and ‘Why I like Simpsons more than watching a history documentary about Cold War?”.
I consider that watching “Justice” courses can be a life changing experience. I recently bought Sandel’s book “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets” but I haven’t read it yet.
I will not embed one of his lectures. You can find them in the recent post I had written about him but you can watch this TED talk as a warm-up session.
Most of the posts in this blog are related somehow to advertising and marketing and if you have read some of my previous thoughts, you know where I stand for the current form of most advertising formats .
For those who haven’t read any of my previous posts, I could wrap my thoughts up around the fact that advertising is broken. 30 second TV spots do not have a good ROI, banner ads have a crappy CTR, video ads make users angry, QR codes are a joke, mobile ads are the famous “fat finger” problem.
I could go on for ever. There is no solution or a holy grail in advertising. You can never be sure of what will work and what not. But if you want to call yourself a marketer and a creative adman you have to at least experiment with yourself, find new formats and surprise yourself first and the consumers then.
Native advertising is a very trendy word during the last months in the marketing industry. In a few words, native advertising is the form of advertising that a consumer cannot easily distinguish from the original content of a website, requires the collaboration of the brand and the content developer of the site, offers value to the consumer, takes a story-telling approach and is original.
Right now native advertising is mostly used in famous websites like Buzzfeed, Atlantic, QZ and Mashable. As every innovative product that breaks industry standards there are people who consider it the next best thing, others who make fun of it and there are cases which revealed its tremendous weaknesses.
In my humble opinion, native advertising will be the leading advertising format the next years. If done correctly (with skilful story-tellers, creative brand marketers, nice design, original content, personalisation) can create tremendous potential for the advertisers and the consumers. However, if you treat native advertising without respect, you think that everyone can create a nice story, can wrap it up around a brand with original ideas or if you try to confuse consumers and not set any limits then maybe it would be better to invest on the typical banner ads and deceive yourself expecting high CTRs.
These are 3 good examples of people who are masters of native advertising, know how to use it and present it in a very creative way.
2. Mashable is one of the most successful tech portals out there. It started as a personal blog from Pete Cashmore and has reached the point of Microsoft begging to get a premium advertising slot there. Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer, talks about how Mashable works with publishers to produce nice native ads.
3. Sharethrough is probably one of the first companies which were based on the “native advertising” business model. Sharethrough brings publishers and advertisers together in order to create innovative native content, integrate it to the platform and measure its performance. Dan Greenberg, CEO, presents why native advertising is here to stay.
I have written about the brilliant Edge and its publisher John Brockman in previous posts. In few words, Edge is one of the best intellectual websites out there with a great variety of content covering subjects from neuroscience to philosophy and from marketing to banking.
One of the latest posts from Edge was based on a simple and pretty mainstream idea. Ask famous people to make predictions about 2013. The novel thing in the post is that the people interviewed come from really different educational, professional backgrounds and origins and that they were asked about the things we should worry about.
It takes a lot of time to read all the interviews (although it is really worth), jump from one conclusion to another, fully understand the complexity of some opinions but if I had to somehow categorize the answers, this is what I would write:
- Huge amounts of data and small chances for right predictions
- The changes in human sociology due to Internet/Social Media dominance
- Politics controlled by technology and not by human decisions
Only a rule of skin in the game, that is, direct harm from one’s errors, can puncture the game aspect of such research and establish some form of contact with reality.
There is a never-ending discussion around online advertising, its business model, its strengths and weaknesses, its chances of survival etc. I have written many different posts about advertising here and here and here but if we tried to explain to an alien what online advertising is we would just say 1 word: BANNER.
Banner ad is the dominant format of online advertising, it’s what websites are selling to advertisers, it’s what creative people around the world are brainstorming about, it’s what many people are praying for you to click on and it’s what most Internet users hate. Banner ad as we know it has more flaws than strengths like the fact that it is “born” to distract our attention, that its nature cannot offer branding opportunities and many more.
NY Times, maybe the only newspaper in the world with a perfect balance between high quality journalism and tech innovation, are trying to innovate and change how the online banner works. NY Times Idea Lab, for which I have also written here, have partnered with brands in order to tailor the banner ads in a novel and engaging way to the readers. You can read all about it here.
The challenge of any advertising format is to achieve scale: You want to, as an agency, place one buy and get your fantastic ad campaign in 20 to 30 million homes at a pop. The easiest way to achieve scale is to participate in the bottoms-up industry-wide programs to develop and implement these standards.
I am pretty sure that you all know John Keynes. Not because you are economists or you have read his books. I haven’t either. But Keynes was such an influential economist whose theories are still around and many government apply his ideas to fiscal reforms, budget policies and every day politics.
John Quiggin focused on a specific part of Keynes’ theories and wrote a really interesting essay on how far humanity is from the British economist’s predictions.
Keynes strongly believed that technological innovation will create the right conditions for a world with no poverty, where abundance will replace scarcity and where the distribution of money will be ruled by totally different criteria.
A really insightful essay. Bonus, New Yorker’s profile on Keynes here.
For the first time in history, our productive capacity is such that no one need to be poor
Copying is one of the most fundamental aspects of the Internet. The chance to copy, replicate and publish content in an extremely fast pace and in global scale is a mixed blessing according to which side you are on.
If you are Google, a curator, a blogger, a simple US series fan who illegally downloads content, you can argue that copying brought democratisation and opened new markets for the products themselves.
If you are Hollywood studio, a singer or a newspaper with journalistic content you can counter argue saying that copying destroyed any meaning of content exclusivity, fair trade, attribution to the producer himself etc
Some days ago, the whole issue of copying was brought to surface once more because some newspapers in Ireland asked money for any incoming link in their content. Moreover, Google is in negotiations with European governments on the policies around linking and copying.
Monday Note, probably the best media business blog, has a post that fully explains the situation.
If someone wants to read about the history of copying, its nature and how it was treated when printing emerged the New Criterion hosts this amazing essay.
With each new stage of copy culture, the ease of duplication is countered by the increasingly complex technology required to produce and use the copies it creates. Just as Twain wrote that the bad of the printing press was “overshadowed a thousand times by the good,” the Internet age presents its own problems even as it solves countless others.
Mo Yan is a Chinese writer awarded with the 2012 Nobel Literature Prize. Everyone who has read his books immediately became a big fan of his work. Literature critics claim that he is the China’s answer to Kafka and that his storytelling talent is unprecedented.
I still haven’t read any of his books but I had the chance to read a big fiction piece that he wrote for The New Yorker and I must admit that it was one of a kind. I found his ability to twist fiction around every day experiences amazing but I was really amazed by his speech in Stockholm after receiving the Nobel prize.
A popular saying goes “It is easier to change the course of a river than a person’s nature.” Despite my parents’ tireless guidance, my natural desire to talk never went away, and that is what makes my name – Mo Yan, or “don’t speak” – an ironic expression of self-mockery.
“If you had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing, even though you knew that five people would die right before your eyes if you did nothing—what would you do? What would be the right thing to do?”
There are hundreds of questions like this one and and they will always raise great debates because there is no right or wrong answer. To tell you the truth, I find them a bit cheesy because anyone can express himself and sound authoritative at the same time because there is no need to support your opinion with rational arguments extracted from experience or studying. You can have the dumbest person on earth next to Michael Sandel and both can be right or wrong at the same time without you knowing who is the dumb and who is the famous Harvard philosophy professor.
On the other hand, maybe this is why these questions are brilliant. Philosophy is usually treated as a vague form of art which only academics can discuss about. These dilemmas make everyone understand that philosophy is around us every day in every part of our life. It can be someone’s dilemma on whether an expensive car will make him look more attractive, an individual’s decision on which job offer to choose or if it is worth to spend your free time on charity actions over playing video games with your friends.
Michael J. Sandelis an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is famous for his Harvard courses named “Justice” and his books like the latest “What Money Can’t Buy”.
His course is one of the most highly attended courses in Harvard ever and includes 12 lectures, of approximately 1 hour each. The lectures are available online on YouTube, iTunes, they have their own website and they are recently offered as part of MOOCs (or Massive Open Online Courses) created by Harvard and MIT. Watching them will really put you in serious thinking about the choices you make in your every-day life. Moreover, the way the actual Harvard class is built, the participation of students and the constant Q&A, totally gets you in a philosophical mood and makes you think that this is definitely a modern version of the Ancient Agora of Athens.
I have only watched episode 1 and I am really considering to take some days off work to watch the rest.
Most of you haven’t understood that I have written the word “of” twice in the post title. Take a closer look. See? Don’t worry. Most of us don’t check this kind of things because our vision runs in such a fast, unconscious and automatic way that we use only a tiny fraction of our mind to do daily tasks like the reading of a title.
But what does that mean about our mind, the brands and their communications strategies? Let’s check.
Most of the posts in this blog are about the advertising industry, its norms, how it works and my humble thoughts on why I believe that advertising doesn’t actually work, doesn’t bring ROI and keeps functioning in a wrong way. A wrong way which every player in the value chain has adopted over the years, doomed to make the same mistakes again and again. Imagine a situation in a huge music festival where millions of bands are playing at the same time, some have better microphones, some better singers, some better songs but since they perform at the same time the only thing coming out is pure noise. The audience doesn’t have a good time and the only thing that bands care about is the volume and not the song itself. Replace the word “band” with the word “brand” and you will have a clear picture of the advertising industry nowadays.
Before I start putting my thoughts in order, I would like to clarify that criticizing the advertising industry must be one of the easiest things to do. I mean, watching an ad is a seamless and mutual experience for everyone so everyone’s opinion matters. Anyone can say “Oh my God, this ad is crap. Not funny at all, what do they think? That I will buy a can of Red Bull because someone fell off from the space?” I consider myself part of the huge advertising industry and I have added grains to this monstrous experience and I am not claiming to have discovered the holy grail but since advertisers fool themselves claiming to be the most creative minds out there, advertising should be the most open space for innovation and breakthrough applications while unfortunately it is totally different. So this whole post is just an idea of how advertising should move forward, change its disciplines and why not change the perception that people have about it. And I am pretty sure that most of us hate advertising the way it is right now.
SO LET’S START
People who regularly read this blog will already know that my main objection towards advertising is the fact that brands think that the more money they spend on ad budgets and the louder they speak the better results they will get. They don’t care about the effect the content will have on customers, the benefits that possible partnerships with other brands might have, the fact that non-advertising might serve better results for them etc.
You might also already know that neuroscience is something that gets more and more popular during the last years and even more applicable in advertising. I am not talking about complex science issues of brain structure, neurons etc. I am talking about valuable lessons that neuroscience can offer and can really change how brands interact with customers. Most of these lessons have already been communicated by famous ad figures like David Ogilvy, in his books, but they were extracted either from painful research or by experience and intelligence. But now they are available to everyone and no one seems to pay attention to them. All marketers are super busy looking on CTR and PPC numbers forgetting that customers have reached the highest saturation point, are fed up with the ad bombardment and they actually turn to products which block advertising like the new Internet Explorer.
HOW WE DECIDE
” A pen and a pencil cost 1,10$ The pen is 1$ more expensive than the pencil. How much does each cost?”
It is not the easiest problem but also not the hardest. If you think quickly, you will probably say that the pencil costs 10p but this would make them cost together 1,20$. Most of the Harvard students answered the same. Don’t worry about your intelligence. It is just a proof of how strong System 1 is.
Our understanding of how people decide has improved dramatically during the last years, especially because of the rise of neuroscience as a pop reading genre. So how does the brain work when it is about to decide?
Let’s just say that our brain is divided in 2 systems. System 1 and System 2.
Think of System 1 as the unconscious part, the part which makes most of our routine decisions like for example your decision to move your mouse down so that you keep reading.
Think of System 2 as the conscious part, the CEO of a company. It has the total control of the company but cannot overview all the operations of all departments and employees. It deals only with tasks that require strategic thinking, critical ability, combinational thought etc.
System 1 operates automatically and quickly with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control. It runs automatically, processes all daily routine tasks while System 2 on a comfortable low effort mode in which only a small fraction of its capacity is engaged.
System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The highly diverse operations of 2 have one thing in common: require attention.
The automatic operations of 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas, but only the slower 2 can construct thoughts in a series of steps.
Almost the entirety of what happens in your mental life is not under your conscious control. System 1 operates most parts of your daily tasks which means that the majority of our decisions are implicit. We don’t know that. As I said, they are unconscious.
Do you know which is the other reason why we don’t know that? Because another part of our brain is doomed in causality. That means that we are born with the fallacy to find causes behind anything in our life even if there is no logic explanation. We believe we choose certain toothpaste from the hundreds available because it is cheaper, it smells mint but probably we have chosen it because the packaging, the color and its position are so wisely chosen that trigger some parts of our unconscious to choose it. P&G for example has dedicated teams that visit big retailers and check the exact positioning of their products, the distance of the consumer’s hand to the actual shelf etc
I will divide the communication of brands in 2 main parts. The implicit actions, the body language, what brands communicate via non-verbal strategies and the explicit actions which are the regular ads that we are all aware of.
A. WHAT BRANDS (SHOULD) DO
I will get into more details about the “voice” of advertising later but for me the first lesson of the power of implicit memory is that brands should invest a lot more money on their implicit communication than the explicit one.
I recently read an amazing essay, which I embedded, from 2 communication planning specialists on the how brands can exploit the power of System 1 and plan their implicit comms and these are the parts on which I agree.
Imagine that implicit communication is a brand’s body language - the non-verbal signals a brand creates by its actions. Focusing on the brand actions a marketer could:
- allow a more holistic view of a brand and its communications
- exploit the dominance of the unconscious in the decision-making process
- provide a scientific rationale to what many in marketing already know, but do not have the language to evidence.
The dominance of System 1 in our everyday life suggests that the models we have historically used to understand advertising are wrong. Feelings and associations are the most important behavioral drivers and they are less influenced by messaging and more by associations and heuristics. So how could brands reinforce their implicit communications based on System 1?
Signalling is a concept from evolutionary biology that is often used in economics but rarely in marketing. The main belief is that businesses are constantly communicating through their actions even when they are not intentionally communicating. Everything a brand does is a signal and signals are automatically processed and stored as feelings.
There are 4 main principles on building a brand signal:
1) Act extravagantly
2) Sacrifice more
3) Distinctive design
4) Concrete Actions
Let me quickly cite an example of brands which work on these 4 main principles, have an amazing way to create brand signals and position themselves in consumers’ System 1.
ACT EXTRAVAGANTLY – RED BULL
Extravagance can be applied in many different brand activities. It can materialize in ad spending, sponsorships, shocking communication tools, celebrity endorsements but there is one brand which has put all these under one umbrella and has achieved amazing results.
Red Bull is a brand that has always been thinking out of the box and has proved it thousands of times. Red Bull has a CEO, Dietrich Mateschitz, who tries all crazy stunts and things despite his age (something similar to Richard Branson), it has an amazing plan of sponsorships from a F1 team to BMX legends and from a NY soccer team to music bands, it has perfectly implemented a content generation mechanism with music platforms which deliver cool music to the fans, it produces tens of viral videos every year, it sponsors “make your own flying machine” events around world.
If you carefully think, all these activities serve one goal that is the brand mantra “Red Bull gives you wings”. It is positioned as the cool refreshment that everyone should drink, all its actions are planned to promote the “adventurous side of every day life”, it hasn’t launched any other product and its next goal is to dominate emerging markets.
Most of its competitors on the refreshment industry are communicating their products around sports, performance enhancement, muscles etc. Red Bull tried something totally different and apparently it is successful.
SACRIFICE MORE – MR PORTER
“Sacrificing” in the marketing world means to be able to make bold decisions that might result in losing part of your market share but at the same time reinforce you in the eyes of the segments that you truly target. A very good example is MR. Porter, One of the leading online retailers for men’s clothing.
What is happening in the retail industry during the last years, because of the recession, is a constant struggle to lower the prices, minimize the delivery costs and create a “Zara experience”. Mr Porter decided that its products are not designed for this –huge- customer segment and moved its prices higher making its products more upscale than ever. It markets itself as the place for “real clothes” that make a real difference to a man’s life and – I suppose – that it targets not only premium customers but also regular ones who, seduced by the Mr Porter brand, prefer to save some money and instead of buying 4 shirts from Asos they will buy one from Mr. Porter.
However, just increasing the prices will not make a brand to be considered premium. It is not that easy. Mr Porter can be also considered a digital content generation company. Its website is daily updated with blog posts, exclusive videos from cool men, its mobile app has exclusive content and they recently launched a tuxedo app with tips for black tie, cocktails and how to hit on women. Giving tips about bars, drinks and women do not have an immediate effect on your sales since Mr Porter does not sell neither alcohol, nor condoms but it invests money to create an ideal image for the modern man who, inclined to visit the bars that the app suggests, will buy the Mr Porter clothes.
DISTINCTIVE DESIGN - Apple
I suppose it is the first brand that comes in everyone’s mind when we talk about design. It is true that design – both software and hardware - deserves a big chunk of Apple’s overall success. It revolutionized how we interact with devices in our hands, how we touch buttons, how we use our fingers, how we experience the in-shopping experience. The last months, it seems to lose its momentum and Microsoft have made some steps forward design wise. It will be interesting to check the battle on that side but again, in my humble opinion, disruption in established formats is designed to take place every 10 years so maybe it is time for Windows to lead again.
CONCRETE ACTIONS – RYANAIR
When a brand acts based on a certain principle, mandra, motto then it manages to communicate a specific, concrete image to the customers who implicitly receive it as a fact in their mind. RYANAIR is a very good example of this. Its founder, Michael O’Leary, is constantly pushing regulators for more flexible legislation on passengers’ standards under the excuse of cheap flights, RyanAir is intentionally releasing future plans about allowing cheap flight tickets for passengers standing still although it knows this will never be allowed.
All these actions implicitly communicate to customers that RyanAir will always fight for the cheapest possible flight tickets. This strategy may result losing some of its customers who have more premium standards but establishes itself as the first option for all the other customers segments, especially in a recession period. Actually it does what Mr Porter did but on a reverse scale.
B. WHAT BRANDS (SHOULD) SAY
In the previous paragraphs, I tried to emphasize the great benefits that brands can extract by acting (and not saying) based on the fact that human choices mostly come from the unconscious part of our mind. The system 1 that I described earlier.
This doesn’t mean of course that brands need to halt all their advertising plans or that advertising cannot have any effect on customers. Advertising (what brands say) sits in the middle of most brands’ existence being one of the most their critical components. On the other hand, we cannot ignore that advertising doesn’t seem to work right now, it doesn’t reach its full potential and billions of dollars still keep going down the drain. We can examine this problem either on a basis of how we can improve the communications of brands in the existing – not so functional - model or on a basis of how we can change the model itself. I have tried to put my thoughts in order in previous posts about the second basis and I have actually suggested some new strategies like the emergence of storytelling/narrative method, the convergence between content and advertising etc.
So let’s focus on the first part, how we can make advertising/comms work better in the existing model and see how neuroscience could help. I will use the same scope which is how advertisers should act and work having on their mind System 1, the unconscious, implicit part of our mind. The System which makes most of our daily decisions.
COGNITIVE EASE AND INSTAGRAM
One of the most basic lessons of –elementary level- neuroscience is the phenomenon of cognitive ease. Cognitive ease is when we avoid putting our mind on a deep thought for the assessment of a certain issue and we prefer to make our decision using only our System 1. I don’t have any scientific proof of the statement that I am going to write in the next sentence but I can feel it in myself and can also see it happening in all of my social contacts. I truly believe that people nowadays are “addicted” to cognitive ease in all aspects of their daily life mainly because of the huge rise of online services – from social media to buying grocery from the local store. In a few words, people of younger generations are raised without having to put any specific effort on anything because the online services can offer anything themselves. They can communicate their coolness by posting a song to hundreds of friends, they can show their artistic nature by pushing a filter on Instagram, they don’t need to go the store to buy grocery because grocery can be delivered to their door, they do not need to go out and talk to girls because they can do it via Skype etc etc. All this cognitive ease starts to get embedded in our human nature and marketers should exploit this social norm.
Best examples are Instagram where someone can actually just press 2 buttons (photo+filter) and communicate his feelings or his talent. Amazon, which was a very good example of cognitive ease has already amplified its offered services towards that road by applying “One Click Buy” button. With the click of one button you can have books delivered in your door the next morning.
HALO EFFECT AND POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING
I find halo effect to be one of the most interesting cognitive biases of human mind. Halo effect is the phenomenon whereby we assume that because people are good at doing A they will be good at doing B, C and D (or the reverse—because they are bad at doing A they will be bad at doing B, C and D). Again, I think that this effect is on great rise during the last decades both in business and personal environments.
Business-wise, companies in the social media era need to have a consistent public image in all communication channels in order to attract more and customers to engage with them, like them, retweet them etc. Companies, even in the B2B sector, constantly struggle for a perfect first impression because their online presence is visible 24/7 so if someone for example visits the official Coca-Cola Facebook page on a Sunday night, the page needs to be updated with the latest content, relevant videos and announcements etc.
On a personal basis, we find the application of the same exact rules. Every each of us carries a personal brand that needs to be polished/edited/relevant for the audiences we need to attract. Our LinkedIn profile hosts the latest projects we carried out, if someone is single on Facebook and tries to find a girlfriend posts his abs or a love song etc. We struggle for the first impression so that other people will form a holistic positive opinion about ourselves.
Halo effect can deliver great results on the field of political campaigning where the first impression plays a vital role on how people will vote. When Barack Obama ran for President for first time in 2008, his behavioral scientists/consultants advised him to appear with his shirt sleeves rolled up so that he will appear like someone who is ready for work and willing to het his hands dirty. You may think that this sounds rational but it wont have a huge effect on actual votes but the tricky part is that we don’t realize this kind of things. Our unconscious System 1 processes this kind of information and prepares them for System 2 to put them in order and form a coherent opinion which is “Barack Obama seems like someone who is ready to work hard if he gets elected”.
PRIMING, THE FLORIDA EFFECT AND OOH ADVERTISING
Priming is an implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences a response to a later stimulus. For example, if a person reads a list of words including the word table, and is later asked to complete a word starting with tab, the probability that he or she will answer table is greater than if they are not primed.
Again, I find this effect to be powerful and “magic” at the same time. It reminds me a little bit of the phenomenon of synethesia, which I have analysed here, and it truly reveals how strange the human brain is. The marketing applications that priming can have towards consumers is really strong and I would place it mainly on OOH advertising.
OOH advertising was always the least popular form of advertising for most brands but this has started to change during the last years with the domination of screens and interactive technologies in our lives. Right now, as you can check from the report from Kinetic, the leading OOH agency, OOH starts to get more and more traction and people interact more and more with various OOH installations. Using the priming effect on OOH is a unique chance for brands to “tune” consumers’ minds towards a specific direction, vertical, product and increase sales. There are many case studies during the London Olympics 2012 when OOH budgets were really high. There were brands investing a lot of money on billboards and interactive screens priming consumers’ minds while they had installed selling points of actual products nearby
Just an example of how powerful effect priming can have in our daily life is the experiment which led to the famous “Florida Effect”. Half of a group of college students were asked to arrange brief sentences including at least one of the words Florida, forgetful, bald,gray, or wrinkle. The other half were presented with none of these words. After completing their task, the students were told to walk down the corridor to another room. The experimenters, unbeknownst to the subjects, recorded the time the students took to walk that short distance. Are you ready? Those students of the first group walked more slowly than those in the second group. The experiment was dubbed ‘the Florida effect.’ The unconscious association of terms commonly associated with being old affected the students’ walking pace.
Here is the latest report for the future of OOH advertising from Kinetic
FUN AND SEX:NOT ALWAYS THE SOLUTION
I have worked the last years dealing with ad campaigns around the world and there is a certain pattern that most advertisers follow no matter where they come from. It is the same from Dubai to Brazil. “Let’s find something funny, a fun twist in the script”.
I am not blaming them, most of the times I am trying to put my thoughts around something funny too. The main reason behind that is that most of us think that fun is always more memorable than any other feeling, so consumers will remember the product for more time and this will lead to sales. Although the first part is true, fun is a very powerful memory tool, this doesn’t mean that people will choose your product against another because you have twisted it with something funny.
Kahneman says that when human mind is in a good/fun mood, System 2 relaxes and actually stops functioning. All your decisions are made based on uncosncious thoughts that you are not even aware of and generally, there is no room for logic. But what if you want your customers to actually think, process info, judge and then reach to a conclusion about what they will choose if you are sure that you have the best product out there? What I am saying is that if your product is far better than its competitors (on pricing, packaging, quality, positioning) communicating it in a funny way will not deliver the results you want.
Something similar happens with adding “sexiness” on the ads. There are some product categories like perfumes, cars, clothes that are always communicated based on the idea of sexiness. The main idea behind sexiness is that advertisers want to promote the idea of uniqueness, the idea that if you buy this product you will really stand out from the crowd. But this brief, which is mostly about marketing and less about advertising, cannot apply to ALL perfumes and cars because some perfumes and cars do not want to stand out and create a unique experience. There are perfumes which would ideally want to be positioned as the daily choice of working women, or there are cars that target young urban generations and promote easy parking sensors. So creating a “sexy” ad will not help at all.
IMPLICIT EGOTISM AND DIGITAL ADVERTISING
Implicit egotism is an effect attributed to the way people allegedly gravitate towards places, people and situations that reflect themselves, including perhaps similarities with their own name. In a nutshell, research has shown that people are more inclined to marry people with the same name or with the same starting letter.
The most recent research was when a group of students was shown pictures and the bio of russian mystic, Rasputin, and his date of birth was edited to be the same with the date of birth of each of the students separately. At the same time, another group of students was shown the same pictures and bio but this time his date of birth was the real one. When the first group was asked what they thought of Rasputin ALL of them had a positive opinion for him while the other group was indifferent.
Again, it might seem a bit funny and a hard to believe phenomenon but as I wrote before. We cannot realize this kind of System 1 associations because they are unconsciously driven.
I truly believe that implicit egotism can have creative applications on advertising and especially digital advertising which works based on big data and customer profiling. Nowadays, brands have huge banks of data about their customers like date of birth, address, marital status, age etc. Tailoring the descriptions of products based on the profile of each user and deliver relevant ads could really deliver great results. Pofiling is already happening but ads are tailored on data like browsing history, likes and cookies, which are much weaker data than the ones I wrote before and not only that but also create frustration to consumers who consider that their digital privacy is not respected at all.
All these small lessons have not come from me trying to come out as a neuroscience expert or a marketing guru. They come from just studying carefully a lot of books, mainly Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” / Eagleman’s “Incognito”, around neuroscience and trying to apply combinational thinking between what I read and what I know from the advertising world. Actually, this is the magic of the whole thing. There is so much knowledge out there, so easily accessible to everyone which could really alter many established industries and make them much more efficient. The truth is that more and more companies, marketing consultancies and brands hire behavioral scientists who are true experts on this field to create effective campaigns but they unfortunately miss experience on the nitty gritty ad business and they end up launching complicated communications.
The last issue that comes out of this whole discussion is whether people have a real choice during their daily interactions with the world or if our minds are so wired up that the space for real personal choices is minimal. This is a really controversial subject on which, to tell you the truth, I am not even in a position even to comment.
My friend Michalis Moulakis is an award winning Creative Director, a Marketing Consultant, spare-time musician, avid reader and all-around Inventive Tinkerer.
He’s all about intelligent commentary on trivial matters, so here is a think piece he wrote on the new Brad Pitt Chanel No.5 ad.
Enjoy. I know I did.
SNIFFING OUT TYLER DURDEN AT 31 RUE CAMBON
Why the Brad Pitt Chanel No.5 ad is actually quite brilliant
Monday October the15th 2012 was the day that marked the premiere of the first male-pitched TV ad for Chanel’s iconic No. 5 fragrance. Brad Pitt, probably the world’s most recognizable film star, made his pitch looking authentically scruffy in his own bohemian millionaire casual style of dress and a bit overexposed under the sharp black-and-white ambient filter lens of “Atonement” director Joe Wright. Most reviews so far have been terrible, while at least half the comments on YouTube have been derisive, some of them hilarious: “HE JUST BROKE EVERY RULE OF FIGHT CLUB”, wrote one commenter. TIME magazine’s Erik Hayden declared the commercial, “serious to the point of parody”. Brian Moyland at Hollywood.com called it “embarrassingly awful” and ventured further to say that Pitt doesn’t even look good in it:
“The kicker: Pitt doesn’t even look that hot. With his long hair, goatee, and loose-hanging shirt that is open just so far, it looks like he went to the Fabio School of Poise, Modeling, Romance Posing, and Bartending Arts.”
Now, if you happen to be a world famous A-List Hollywood leading man in a 30-second, vaguely dramatic black-and-white French perfume TV ad, “looking hot” is pretty much the whole job description and in my opinion, Pitt certainly manages that. So, I don’t know why such spite. But I do not wish to argue whether that is the case here. I really don’t care who thinks Brad Pitt is hot and who doesn’t and I’m pretty sure he cares even less.
What I do want to argue however is that the commercial is actually great.
Read Marcus Aurelius — of each thing, ask: what is it, in and of itself?
What is its Nature?
Dr. Hannibal Lecter, “Silence of the Lambs”, 1991
What we have here is a perfume commercial and I’d dare say that there is something of a Holy Trinity when it comes to those things:
SEX. DESIRE. FANTASY.
Each one of the above taken separately, as well as all of them together-as-one, cover the entire corresponding area of the consumer mind map when it comes to selling perfume.
Okay now. Let me just get some obvious stuff out of the way so we can get to the good part.
While the negative criticism of the ad seems to have come both from men and women, we must remember that the product advertised here is ultimately directed to women only.
So here is my most shallow, ground level reading of the creative rationale:
A. This is a women’s fragrance commercial.
B. Brad Pitt casts a long-distance spell of sex, desire and fantasy over a lot of women.
C. A women’s fragrance TV ad in which Brad Pitt addresses directly a female audience and by looking straight into the camera more or less says to them, ‘If you smell like this perfume, I’m gonna like the way you smell’, will make the product an object of their desire.
Relax. I’m not about to argue that that’s what makes the ad brilliant.
Of course the above argument may be valid, and while no woman in the audience is foolish or crazy enough to actually believe that Pitt is addressing her personally (save the obligatory superfan mega-stalker of the John Hinkley variety), for most of them – who are normal, meaning media-savvy enough to accept the conventions of the genre - the simulation of the experience will do just fine. If Brad were actually speaking to YOU, the ad tells them, that’s what it would kinda feel like.
But that’s not my argument.
Moreover, I certainly don’t intend to bother you with such commonplaces as fragrance expert Joanna Norman’s cliché-ridden tirade, which explained it all thusly:
“”No one, as far as I know, has ever used a male icon to promote a female fragrance. There is a dual element: For women, there’s an appreciation that it’s something different; for boys, it makes them think, ‘That will impress my girlfriend.’ It’s a brilliant example of a classic rejuvenated via a youthful icon.”
There’s a lot more to it than that.
THE GOOD PART
To try and explain why I think this ad is almost perfect, I must direct your attention to the delightful complexities brought about by the associations inherent in the Messenger (Brad Pitt), the Sender (Chanel’s No. 5) and the Message (the Subtext of the Copy), as well as the actual interplay between these associations created in the viewer’s mind.
Let’s begin with the Message.
It’s not a journey. Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear. Dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel No. 5. Inevitable.
I find it most interesting that almost all of the negative criticisms I have come across online so far make sure to include a verbatim account of the copy of the ad. This happens, more often than not, in an unmasked attempt to ridicule it beyond contempt.
Here are just a few examples, just to give you an idea of the merciless scorn I’m referring to:
“…a bog of nonsensical fortune cookie half-wisdoms.”
“…seemingly written by a housewife who took a creative writing class at her local community college and is trying to fix her marital woes by leaving notes for her husband in his sock drawer…”
“…the world’s worst poetry as written by a lovesick tween…”
“…Pitt’s ‘vaguely existential monologue … sounds like it could plausibly have been discarded narration from the trailer for Terrence Malick’s (film) Tree of Life.”
“…I’ve written better prose on my okcupid profile, half awake and propped up on my left arm at 3 a.m.”
“What the fuck just happened? What is he talking about?”
Okay. I cheated a bit. The last two come from YouTube users. But the first four come from sources like TIME Magazine, The Huffington Post and Gawker. And say what you will about Gawker, they’ve always kept their Advertising column pretty balanced, if you ask me.
I’d like to argue that Pitt’s soliloquy contains a couple of lines that may just be some of the most effective copywriting of the last few years. These lines are, “…wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate, my fortune.” Taken in the proper context, that is, if you consider who’s uttering them, these lines kill. And context here is everything.
Keep those lines in mind later on, when we come to discuss the Messenger.
First rule of PERFUME is: You do not talk about PERFUME.
Second rule of PERFUME: You DO NOT talk about PERFUME.
We must consider the fact that while Brad Pitt is the Messenger, Coco Chanel is the Author of the Message. I am now talking about Coco Chanel the person and the brand, the fashion icon but also the entire idea of the materials of elegance experienced as idealized daily life. Coco Chanel is very much the epitome of fashion-as-lifestyle, just as Brad Pitt is the definition of international film superstardom fame-as-lifestyle, possibly even more.
Well, the audience has a very highly developed opinion of the Author of the Message. There is a set of expectations that come with watching the latest TV ad for Chanel no. 5. Here is a product that has had a phenomenally successful advertising and marketing run since its initial launch in Chanel’s rue Cambon boutique in the fifth month of the year, on the fifth day of the month: May 5, 1921. Chanel No.5 has been represented by actresses Audrey Tatou, Catherine Deneuve and in the recent past Nicole Kidman, directed by Australian ironic kitschmeister director Baz Luhrmann. It has also been linked with screen icon Marilyn Monroe after she famously said the fragrance was all she wore to bed. It seems that when it comes to promotion, Chanel No. 5 can do no wrong. It certainly doesn’t have to talk about perfume.
What this means is that Brad Pitt’s grungy look, which according to Pop Culture reporter Malene Arpe makes him look “…like a man who has six children and no liquor…” could never downgrade Chanel’s ultra elegant brand image. Rather, it is the opposite that’s taking place here: if Chanel decrees that this is how Sexy Desirable Fantasy Man dresses, then that has to be the paragon of elegance.
When Chanel touches the elegant materials, be they fabric, fragrance or other, they turn to gold. Chanel declares the definition of elegance. In a similar way, when Brad Pitt shows interest in a screenwriter’s material, the movie gets made and ten times out of ten, it’s box-office gold. I am not simply saying that Chanel and Pitt are a good match. I’m saying Chanel’s No. 5 is the Tyler Durden of the Perfumes’ Supraworld Fight Club. The men in the audience don’t understand this because they only see Pitt. But the women get it. They combine our commonly shared familiarity with the Messenger with a higher understanding of the Author of the Message, which is the brand. That’s why they can allow themselves to get a thrill from watching Brad Pitt softly informing them that ‘plans disappear and dreams take over’. The women react exactly like they should. The men react as if their old ass-kicking buddy Tyler just came out to them after thirteen years.
But none of the above would stand without our commonly shared knowledge of who the Messenger is.
“Hey, you created me.
I didn’t create some loser alter-ego to make myself feel better.
Take some responsibility!”
Tyler Durden, “Fight Club”, 1999
As mentioned before, the lines that truly matter in the ad’s much derided copy, are, “…wherever I go, there you are. My luck, my fate, my fortune.” They matter because Brad Pitt is playing himself here (which actually means that he is acting as if he were not acting, but that’s another story). Because Brad Pitt is playing himself, when he says, ‘My luck, my fate, my fortune’, we the viewers think we have a clear idea of what he is talking about. We certainly know at least some things about his luck, his fate, and his fortune. What we know is that he is at the top of his extremely lucrative and glamorous profession and, more importantly, we know that he’s been involved with two of the most desirable women on the planet. And we all silently agree that any logical person would value such tremendous luck, marvelous fate and incredible fortune, very dearly.
So, even though I definitely don’t really know Brad Pitt, and even though I’m sure that like any human being he must have experienced some personal pain and anguish, and even though we are operating within the various limitations of the commercial medium, I still feel safe to say that when he looks into the viewer’s eyes and calls her ‘My luck, my fate, my fortune’, he is speaking as if he’s placing an immeasurable but understandable, perceivable value on her. Not material value, mind you, but emotional value. He is essentially telling every single woman in the audience, ‘You are Anjelina Jolie.’ Or, if you happen to dislike Angelina Jolie, no problem. ‘You are Jennifer Aniston’.
Now, in conclusion, let us make the most tenuous of assumptions. Let us say that half the women in the audience don’t like Brad Pitt. The other half has been sold on sex, desire and fantasy within the first five seconds of the film, so let us now consider this other half, the ones who don’t like him. Is it too much of a stretch to assume that half of them still wouldn’t mind being Angelina Jolie? AND, would it also be too much to assume that the other half, the remaining 25% of the full female audience wouldn’t mind being Jennifer Aniston?
These two women represent the two opposing female archetypes in the “real” Brad Pitt’s biographical iconography. They are the two ends of the Romance spectrum in his life as we perceive it. They have both actually been what he just called you: his luck, his fate, and his fortune. They also happen to be two diametrically opposed personality types that are nevertheless included in Chanel’s No. 5 core target audience. And this probably means that, if you can afford to buy the fragrance for yourself, part of you correctly considers your lifestyle somewhat similar to that of these two women. Plus, you own a TV set and you probably “love” the one and “hate” the other.
Therein lies the ad’s greatness and the genius of the copywriter. It’s not the male face speaking those lines on your TV screen that counts; it’s the female face (either one!) evoked almost by choice and reflected in the interior mirror of every single intended viewer. The brilliant people behind this ad (and I call them brilliant without the slightest hint of irony), have not only managed to make every woman feel like the female archetype she wants to be, they’ve also let her take her pick!
Joanna Norman, the fragrance expert got one thing right. There is a “dual element”. But it doesn’t consist of the different ways in which women and “boys” appreciate the hiring of Brad Pitt.
Tonight is Fight Night at 31rue Cambon.
And Rachel vs Lara Croft will be the main event.
1. HOW THE PORN INDUSTRY CONTROLS OUR MIND AND CHANGES OUR PERCEPTION ABOUT WOMEN
It is widely known that all kinds of companies (from social media to FMCG), whose revenue strategy is solely focused on online customers, are using creative ways to “manipulate” our minds. Do not think about sci-fi techniques and crazy doctors but think for a moment how useful the “we are also recommending” tab in Amazon is or how many times you have clicked “also watch” on Youtube or even how good you feel when you buy something from AppStore and the bill comes after 1-2 weeks.
All these are well-studied techniques developed by big companies in order to increase sales, conversion rates, reduce churn etc. I have written about this here.
But let’s take a look at the porn industry. It is probably the most interesting industry regarding its internet strategies since it relies heavily on returning visitors, subscriptions and piracy. You should know that the most widely used revenue models like “pay per view” and 3D techniques were invented by the porn industry executives who needed to overcome obstacles like abundance, privacy issues and piracy.
I recently watched a TEDx talk about how our mind works when we are watching porn, whether porn can replace human contact, dopamine levels etc. It is amazing to see for example how scientists have estimated the minutes needed for ejaculation with the number of new pornstars in our internet history. The most amazing part is that the porn industry knows all these facts and this is how it has built a very lucrative business around a man’s primary need. Sex.
While I was watching this talk, I remembered reading an interview of James Deen in GQ. James Deen is a famous pornstar whose main reason of success is his every-day, ordinary looks and the “violence” he is using in his scenes. If you read the interview, you will see that Deen is admired by teenage girls and that he is a typical pop icon in US.
“Look, I’m not gonna try to fuck your sister,” Deen says assuringly. There is some dubious squawking from the other party. “I promise, I’m not gonna try to fuck your sister.” It is not enough. “Look, I’m not gonna try to fuck your sister!”Exasperation gets the better of him. At last James Deen must speak the truth:
“I mean, I’m going to fuck your sister, but I’m not going to try.”
Phenomena like this can reveal great dangers for the social well being of communities and this has been pointed out by social scientist and not me. Nowadays, men’s perception about women has fundamentally changed mostly because of the abundance and the easy access in extreme and violent porn scenes. When scientists asked male students if they think differently about girls after having watched sex they replied negatively but scientists claim that 20 year old guys have approximately spent their last 10 years watching porn so their judgment skills are affected. “It’s like asking a fish its perception about the water”
In a nutshell, this is a huge issue and I am sure it will raise big debates in the near future. I would recommend you watching the BBC documentaries “The Dark Side of Porn”. You can easily find it on YouTube and it is really enlightening about how women are treated.
2. THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTO CONTEST
You can see all of them here.
3. A JOURNALISTIC START-UP THAT PLANS TO CHANGE WASHINGTON FOR EVER
Clay Shirky is a media theorist, technology writer and a fellow speaker in several journalism schools in US. He is an active blogger, he has held many fights around newspaper paywalls, the meaning of journalism and in a few words his opinion around media is always respected.
I recently read his latest blog entry where he begged users to donate some money to “the best journalistic start-up he has ever witnessed”. Believe me, it is very rare for Shirky to publicly support something.
I was intrigued to take a look at Homicide Watch. It is a simple and brilliant idea indeed (bright ideas are usually simple). It turns out that Washington DC has a serious problem on journalistic coverage of homicides. Despite the fact that top-tier publications are based on Washington, they do not sufficiently cover the murders that take place every day in Washington. Even when they do cover them, they use different standards for each homicide based on the ethnicity of the victim, the exact location of the accident etc
The 2 guys behind Homicide Watch created an online platform which covers all crimes that took place in Washington based on official sources, social media, users’ live-time reports etc. Moreover, they follow each crime from the point of happening till conviction, an extremely useful fact for the local community.
The platform is being hosted in KickStarter and plans to expand by offering internships in journalism school student.
4. TV STILL IS (AND WILL BE FOR LONG TIME) THE BEST MEDIUM FOR ADVERTISING
The dominance of digital media in our every day lives has created many debates around advertising, if it needs to solely focus on online outlets, social media, why the CTR is still low on Facebook etc. I recently wrote about the state of online and television advertising here and here but I couldnt find anything more suitable from this small picture. It sums up the great power of television.
You can read more about it here.
5. ONE OF THE BEST YOUTUBE CHANNELS TO SUBSCRIBE
You are spending many minutes of your day wandering around YouTube watching aything from Gangnam video clip to cats playing music. Since you are procrastinating, earn something of it. asapScience is one of the best YouTube channels that you can subscribe to. It presents interesting science facts with a funny and simple way giving out useful information for phenomena like the creation of pearls and the science of orgasms. Totally worth watching them.
Here is an example:
1. WHAT IF ADVERTISING DIDNT WORK FOR PRODUCTS BUT FOR SOCIAL VIRTUES?
Big Think is a very famous pop-philosophy website that each day features a themed issue. It has hosted big intellectual trends from neuroscience to cyberwar and from ebooks rise to US politics. It covers each issue from 4 different perspectives and it usually presents short videos of academic figures talking.
Today, it featured an analysis about what advertising really stands for, its hidden messages, its tremendous powers and if it needs to exist in our society. The most interesting argument came from Alain de Botton who introduced the idea of advertising promoting things like kindness, affection etc.
2. NEWSPAPERS NEED TO GET MORE EXPENSIVE
Monday Note is probably the best website out there around media consultant business. Its writers cover all emerging media business models using up to date statistics, special presentations, business insights etc.
Last week they covered a research paper from Simon-Kucher & Partners whose conclusion was that newspapers need to raise their prices so that they can enhance more their digital strategy. The authors predict that subscribers wont mind to pay a little more for premium content. It is at least interesting.
You can find the whole report here.
3. A VIDEO AD IN A PRINT MAGAZINE
The title itself is more than strange and unfortunately I havent still “experienced” this ad but since Guardian covers that the forthcoming issue of Marie Claire will feature a video in a 2 page slot, it must be true.
I am sure that there will be problems on the “smooth experience” of the readers and that it will end up being a flop but it is more than interesting to see print publications moving to video ad solution while tv networks are trying to leave behind the obsolete 15” video ad format and have already started exploring new methods like storytelling. Remember what I had written about that here.
4. A MUST-HAVE PDF TUTORIAL FOR NEW AGE MARKETERS
Story Worldwide is a company that I usually check with great enthusiasm since their business if focused on a single idea: storytelling. Story Worldwide is a digital media and creative agency, which thinks that advertising doesnt work as it is right now and that brands need to re-introduce themselves to audiences via storytelling. They believe that brands can interact with consumers not by ad bombardment and smart targeting but only they have a nice story/narrative to offer. You can check their case studies but if you want to get the real meaning of what they are doing, read their tutorial about brand engagement via storytelling.
5. THE FIRST ADS OF FAMOUS BOOKS