Category Archives: Uncategorized

Life changes

I’ve recently made a big decision and decided to go freelance – so far so good!

Really loving the flexibility it is giving me, the insight into different companies/agencies and the variety of work.

So, if anyone has any interesting creative projects they need a producer for then let me know!  Although I’m a digital specialist, ‘ve got some ATL experience too and keen to expand my experience in this area too.

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Experience Economy

Really jolly interesting article about consumer motivations from the New York Times.

Must write my musings  about ‘seeking out meaning not money’ and what this will mean for people like myself working with technology (and at an ad agency!).

But, perhaps when I’m not about to drop….Zzzzz.

Just when we thought we were getting digital

Just been reading an interesting article about Creative Technologists by Crispin Porter & Bogusky which was food for thought.

Creative Technologists are beasts which already exist in many digital agencies, but often is the case that ‘traditional developers’ are still at the fore.

What do I mean by the traditional developer?  Basically someone who is passed a brief, and asked to build something, pretty much without asking questions. This is compared to a Creative Technologist who in the ideal world is involved in the project from the start to finish, pushing the boundaries, not hemmed in by their particular programming language and looking for opportunities to apply technology creatively for brands they work with to help them grow their brand. Which will win? As technology infuses our lives further and further it only makes sense that roles like the latter become increasingly significant in creative agencies and account planning.

But to truly make the shift I don’t think this will be easy, for all parties.  For ‘traditional developers’ it would be a steep learning curve and shift in skill set: understanding branding/brand communications and being able to apply technology to the brands, improving communication skills so they become more like account people in a way (technology sales people essentially), generally being less code driven and more creatively driven (therefore a wider tool box of technological knowledge that reaches well beyond what a programming language) – they also need to be infinitely curious and open to learning, to prove their true worth and stay ahead of the fast moving curve.

For account people and producers, it will be a challenge to open their eyes fully to the breadth of technology and understand how this can fit into projects and account planning.

For clients it will be to be brave and work in new unchartered territory.  Balancing any risk with the fact that this is often where the biggest wins can be found. And ultimately recognising how technology is going to become more integral to our lives as themes like the ‘internet of things’ start to breathe more life.  This being the idea that we will live in an intelligent world of objects, things and products all conversing with each other throughout a network – it’s no longer about the internet, it’s about a whole infrastructure of technology supporting our lives and interactions.  The new opportunities for brands will be there for the taking, if they can keep their eyes open to new types of opportunities, models and partnerships.

Naturally it will be developers who will make the easiest transition to this new mind set.  You can also see that masses of developers have natural leanings towards creativity.  However I think true Creative Technologists will be relatively rare in the current market place and not it’s not particularly anyone’s fault, it’s just because many developers are used to being delivered a brief and not being part of forming the brief so they aren’t in the habit of trying to inform the solution creatively and being an agnostic source of technology information.

I guess the key is starting to put developers even more at the heart of the creative solution (and not just lip service) – otherwise they won’t have the mandate to behave as such.  There will also be a job to be done in skilling up in the areas that aren’t part of their current tool box (less about code and more about the brand angle).

New creative team models will also play a role. I think creative teams could and should in future include: art director, technologist + ‘a/the’ brand expert (which depending on the agency set-up could already be the Art Director already), to provide a good balance of perspectives.  The old model of copy writers and art directors, seem less relevant, although not entirely irrelevant.

I think for any one who works in an agency, it’s going to be a whole new learning curve away from creative applications of digital and towards creative Technology, new business models and new concepts of the role of agencies for their accounts.

…just when everyone thought they were getting digital!

SEO checklist

The WebConfs website has a very useful list of “Best and Worst Practices for Designing a High Traffic Website.” Basically they collected all the major factors that might affect the search optimization of your site, attributing a score to them. The score ranges from -3, which is very bad for your site, to +3, which is very good. Below you will find a summary of the most important factors:

Keywords

  • Keyword in title tag (+3)
  • Keyword in URL (+3)
  • Keyword density in document (+3)
  • Keyword in H1 and H2 headings (+3)
  • Keyword in the beginning of document (+2)
  • Keyword in ALT tags (+2)
  • Keyword in Meta tags (+1)
  • Keyword stuffing (-3)

Links

  • Anchor text of inbound links (+3)
  • Origin of inbound links (+3)
  • Links from similar sites (+3)
  • Links from .edu and .gov sites (+3)
  • Anchor text of internal links (+2)
  • Many outgoing links (-1)
  • Outbound links to bad neighbors (-3)
  • Cross-linking (-3)

Meta tags

  • Description Meta Tag (+1)
  • Keywords Meta Tag (+1)
  • Refresh Meta Tag (-1)

Content

  • Unique content (+3)
  • Frequent updates (+3)
  • Age of content (+2)
  • Poor coding or design (-2)
  • Invisible text (-3)
  • Doorway pages (-3)
  • Duplicate content (-3)

Other factors

  • Site accessibility (+3)
  • Sitemap (+2)
  • Site size (+2)
  • Site age (+2)
  • Top-level domain (+1)
  • URL length (0)
  • Hosting downtime (-1)
  • Flash (-2)
  • Misused Redirects (-3)

3D interactive cinema game by 02

I recently did a presentation on innovation at my agency, to keep us and clients up to speed with new happenings in the digital world.  My main conclusion was to remind people that digital is more than just a mouse and a screen.  ‘Digital can be everywhere’ in the words of our 3D bod.

One innovation I looked at was interactive Cinema, as used by Volvo.  The in-cinema car driving game is controlled by the audience holding their hands up to control the direction of the car.  It looks a bit shaky from the demo video (below), with the car not really responding to the audience movement so well. So lets hope 02’s latest application of this digital technology is a bit more slick.

Going live on 10th July, ‘Asteroid Storm’ will feature in the trailer reels before Ice Age 3 3D and G-Force in the summer, followed by Up and Toy Story 3D in the autumn.

02 Interactive Cinema game

02 Interactive Cinema game

The game takes place on ‘Starship O2’ which is trapped in an asteroid belt. The audience is told by the captain that the ship has been damaged and that their help is needed to steer the ship back on course. Again by using their hands the audience is able to control the direction of the spaceship.

The 3D game itself is powered by technology from iO and was conceived by O2’s media agency, ZenithOptimedia. Creative work was done by VCCP and Agency Republic.

People expect a more and more from their cinema – it’s not just a venue anymore, they want more of an experience and a hightened feeling of an ‘adventure’.  Family are a key audience that cinemas are wanting to tap into, so digitally lead interactive and immersive experiences like this will be a great way to keep audiences coming back for more.

Could this be the saviour of print media?

Bridgestone (yes the tyre company), recently wowed the crowds with a 3mm thick E-paper at a recent Tokyo trade fair. It resembles a flexible piece of paper with touch screen technology. So, it seems updateable newspapers and magazines have suddenly become within reach.

According to ePaperCentral, “unlike other e-paper devices like the Kindle and Sony’s 505/700, the Bridgestone model does not use E Ink based technologies. Instead, it uses a powerful technology built in house that could completely revolutionize e-paper called QR-LPD.” With HP and Fujitsu already pushing e-Paper, Bridgestone is the latest Kindle-killer to the market.

The A4 sized full-colour capabilities are amazing. The ability to scribble-on-screen is ensuring Bridgestone’s 13” colour screen ‘has the future written all over it’. What’s more the paper does not need a continual power supply, as when it’s switched off it maintains the image on screen through its ‘memory state’. Great news for the environment. However, two problems which are not insurmountable remain – screen refresh is rather slow (0.8 secs min) and the price is prohibitive ($500+).

Yet, I can still hear Rupert Murdoch salivating already and perhaps we can really now save some trees.

Muscle men in bikinis – Japanese wii game

Only in Japan and WTF springs to mind!

It looks hilarious. And frankly I think it’s pure genius!  Can you imagine the brain storming session … “ok so guys, we want to create a new game to target Japanese males 18-35. They’ll be living alone and have a job which leaves them lots of free time.  From our consumer research, the insight we gained is that men this age are really feeling a sense of loss of masculinity as women take over traditional male roles’…..Ok. So first idea I had was – muscle men in bikinis…that’ll make ’em feel better eh’!?

If you want to see more muscle men really in bikinis with their little bottoms waggling then just follow this link.

Muscle men! (the video gets even darker)

Muscle men! (the video gets even darker)