Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Commodification of Technology

has occurred to such a great extent that we now get advertising that may as well be the Pepsi Challenge:

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 13.27.28

 

I also suspect that this fails for the exact same reason that the Pepsi Challenge failed – Pepsi might have tasted better blind, but the positive visual brand association with Coke meant Coke always tasted better when sighted.

If brand association can affect taste and the processing of flavour, why not information and the processing of search results?

 

Internet Persistence and Why We Need To Change Our Mode of Thinking

The internet is a funny old place. Going through the list of people I follow on Twitter last night, I came across “Kronenbourg 1664″. In fact, it’s K1664Slow, a Twitter account from a campaign they ran a few years ago. You can still see the account and its tweets:

This is from, I think, a few years ago now when Kronenburg ran a campaign alongside a couple of well-known bands producing slowed-down versions of classic hits. As I recall, I followed them on Twitter because it was how you got the download code (the slow version of Ace of Spades is well worth a Twitter follow).

It’s rather old. Other than one post in April this year (more on which in a moment), the last activity was back in 2011. It’s forgotten about, thrown overboard. The flotsam and jetsam of digital advertising.

This is the thing with the internet. Stuff you put on there doesn’t disappear later. To borrow a term from computer programming, it persists. It continues to exist outside of the context it was originally meant for.

K1664 Slow was actually quite a good campaign (I really did like that version of Ace of Spades) but the internet doesn’t work like a campaign; it persists. Which means now, years after the fact, these elements still exist, glitches in the system.

Glitches because right now Kronenbourg doesn’t want me thinking about the Slow campaign; they’re doing something about the hops farmers of Alsace. I know this because when I went to the website in the K1664 Twitter feed – www.k1664.co.uk – it redirected to alsacenews.com.

I think this new campaign is some kind of ironic take on the farmers of the Alsace region of France. I’m not really sure. It certainly is very different from the Slow campaign, and certainly not anything like the content I was expecting to stumble across having re-discovered the K1664Slow twitter feed.

It’s a glitch in their system. It causes dissonance between what I expect to see and what I actually see. And that damages their brand.

Any digital asset that exists without the expenditure of media budget persists outside of the life of campaigns. Brands need to get used to this – their ideas now live outside of the traditional campaign system. Some examples:

  • Any and all twitter account set up for the campaign. If you delete them, then every single follower you gained is both a. lost and b. has a link to a non-existent Twitter account on their “People I Follow” tab (broken links are glitches too).
  • Any and all Facebook page created, or tabs created on an existing page. Again, if you delete them, the links in every one of your fans’ timelines now point to a broken page.
  • Any microsites created for the campaign (usually because the main site was for some reason incapable of supporting the campaign – this is not a reason to build a microsite by the way, this is a reason to fix your main site). These microsites will exist until the domain name expires in a few years.

But it doesn’t end there, because any URL shared during the campaign will continue to persist everywhere it was ever sent, shared, emailed or posted. And any time anyone clicks on that link, they’ll find either:

  1. Your old, out-of-date campaign, or
  2. A broken page. A 404 error message. A ‘site not found’ error message. A message that tells them your brand does not exist.

Neither of which are particularly great outcomes.

Brands need to get better at managing this, which brings us back to Kronenbourg.

Because they’ve actually tried, and, whilst I don’t mean to pick on them, it does serve as a good example of why this can be so tricky. Because the microsite URL does redirect to the new campaign. Because they did post into the K1664Slow twitter feed inviting people to the new campaign:

So what’s wrong with this? It’s just the two campaigns feel so different, so disconnected in their entirety, that they may as well be for different brands. Just because I was interested in K1664 Slow doesn’t mean I’m interested in a hipster Alsace hop farmer.

These glitches serve as visible histories of a brand. They tie a brand to its past, which impacts what that brand can say, authentically, in the future. In this environment, brands need to get better at telling consistent, long-term stories. Stories that can exist in isolation, but retain a connection to past stories. Brand-building outside of just one campaign.
As with so many things digital, this is not a new idea. This is what great brands have been doing for years. My point is that digital has increased the likelihood of this being noticed. In this instance digital persistence is serving as our collective memory; glitches in brand systems are more easily noticed.

In this persistent world, we need to pay much closer attention to the ever-increasing amounts of digital content we are releasing. We need to understand the ways in which it can and will persist, we need to understand when it will NOT persist. We need to accept that what we create doesn’t stop when the media budget does, that what we create now leaves visible history, a past remembered by the internet. We need to remember that this should shape our future – that we need to be persistent as the systems we now operate in.

Great Work Stems From A Great Brief

If it wasn’t entirely obvious, this is a very lovely reminder

“There was actually a design brief – and it included two objectives: One, they wanted a package that was so unique and so differentiated that you could find it in the dark. The second was even more surprising. They wanted glass that was so distinctive that even when it was shattered on the ground, you could still tell that it was once a Coke bottle”

The original design brief that led to the famous Coca Cola bottle, from 1916 (or thereabouts)

From Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits, which has been an ok read so far.

London Calling, an Exhibition At Our Gallery

It’s strange, the people you meet. When Lindsay first moved to Serbia to do a 9 month project with work, I went out for a few days as well, had a look round the city, all the usual stuff that happens when your girlfriend moves abroad for the best part of a year.

As part of that, I spent one Monday walking round the streets of Belgrade. It’s a great city, full of energy and interest. Coming out of the Nikola Tesla museum (awesome, you should go) I wandered into a small gallery shop and met a couple of artists, Uros and Tamara. This is when I first learned that Serbia’s art galleries and museums have been shut for, in some cases, over a decade. Serbian artists, whilst their work maybe shown all over Europe and the World, have no place to show their work in their own country. This story has since even been covered by the BBC.

One of the benefits of working for an independent agency is that we have quite a lot more freedom than we otherwise would. For about 6 years, we’ve ran an art gallery from our reception for no other reason than Simon and Margaret, our CEOs, are huge art fans.

Hopefully you can all see where this is going. Serbian artists have nowhere to exhibit, we have an art gallery. So, to help raise awareness of the situation in Belgrade, and because their art is brilliant and questioning and fun, I’m really pleased to say that from the 9th September, the Reading Room Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of Serbian art from Uros, Tamara and other artists from their art movement K42.

Please stop by and have a look. And if you’re in town on the 12th September, there is a private view in the evening, which I’d love people to come along to. Best probably to tweet me and let me know if you’d like to attend – @adamsefton.

I’ve also written up an interview I did with Uros and Tamara, and published it on Medium. You can read it by clicking here.

Cowbird

 “It seemed like we were about to hit a terminal velocity, and hit some kind of wall, suddenly bouncing back in the opposite direction, craving more substance and depth. I think we’re already seeing this hunger for substance and meaning in technology, in the same way that fast food is being abandoned for slow food.

This is a movement away from self-promotion and into self-reflection. Away from curation and into creation. Away from disposability and into timelessness. Away from compression and into a deepening. These are all shifts that Cowbird is trying to encourage.”

Jonathan Harris in Need to Know magazine.

Cowbird.com