Webcontent 2007- envigorating exploration on the future of the ‘net

Rule #15, “Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room”

Just completed 2 days of amazing sessions at WebContent 2007 – where my “Blogzilla” presentation was well received.

Made some amazing connections: Jason Fried at 37signals, Zaga Novakovic from centiv, the wonderful people at duo consulting who put the whole show on, Calvin Hendryx-Parker of Six Feet Up, and Salim Ismail who just joined Yahoo as the “head of Brickhouse” (which is the new product dev center).

There were many others- and some great sessions- of which I hope to share more on later. Taxonomy vs. Folksonomy by Seth Early of Earley & Associates– was a fascinating look at how we categorize and organize information in the web 2.0 world.

Howard Tullman of Experiencia gave a great pep talk on change management in Internet time.

There was also more mentions of RSS, RDF, CMS, CSS, SEO, than I’ve heard in a long time.

When I do a mash-up of this conference with the 2007 AAF conference in my head- it all points to one thing: We’re headed for a new model of marketing built upon some kind of profile/open-id system that will allow us to opt-in for targeted marketing in exchange to discounted/subsidized content.

My personal highlight from the event, was being asked to re-run the Blogzilla intro as a warm up act for Salim’s first presentation when he was running late. Apparently, my presentation was one of the fun ones. As soon as I obtain permission for the mashup content in the video- I’ll post it live to share.

There will be more analysis and interesting information coming- but for now, all I can say is- I’ve never seen so many people at a conference say they would definitely return next year. Hopefully, I’ll be there too.

Get a Mac gets an effie. You heard it here first

When the “Get a Mac” campaign broke – we wrote about it, comparing it to the Burger King Manthem spot from Crispin Porter + Bogusky. We said one was a campaign, the other- a one shot wonder. One had brilliant strategy, the other a big budget. And for all the things we said, it turned true: TBWA Chiat Day is still churning out more of the simple spots- and Burger King is on execution 243.

Effie Awards : Effie Awards Press Release
June 8, 2007 (New York, NY) – Apple Inc.’s “Get a Mac” campaign, created by Media Arts Lab\TBWA was awarded the Grand Effie at the 39th Annual Effie Awards gala last night at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. The Effie Awards honor the most significant achievement in the business of marketing communications: ideas that work. Results from the “Get a Mac” campaign included market share growth of 42%, record sales and cultural influence.

“After much spirited discussion, the jury unanimously awarded Apple the Grand Effie for its portrayal of the Mac/PC rivalry. They managed to do it with humor, class, and honesty without falling into the trap of overtly negative competitive advertising,” said John Butler, Co-Creative Director of Butler Shine Stern & Partners and the 2007 Grand Effie Jury Chair.

There was a quote I heard at the 2007 AAF National Convention that summed the contrast of these two ideas up quite nicely:

“practice safe advertising: never do it without a concept”

Take note- a great concept wins an effie- and a stock price that’s climbed 50+ points- the other, continues to require extraordinary efforts to keep the brand fresh.

3 cheers to TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Is there about to be a "Bubble Pop" in the advertising world?

One of the recurring themes by some of the high-level speakers at the 2007 AAF National Convention was the crazy money being spent to snatch up web related ad companies. Another was how to monetize their newley discovered new media vehicle: the web. Yeah, you read me right- they are all rushing to figure out the metrics to quantify the ad buy on the web. Sorry guys- smart advertisers don’t need a third party to tell them if a campaign is working- they get really good stats (much better than Nielsen, the MPA or any other “validation company” ever provided) they have web stats and sales to evaluate.

What is even more sad- was so few of them really had a clue what Web 2.0 is, how it worked, or what it meant to them. Still worried about the silly notion of “control”- they sort of missed the Cluetrain Manifesto back in 1999 while they were busy buying up Web 1.0 companies.

Not only are most ad agency sites not much more than bad brochureware in Flash, most of the excitement about the web is still in an “how do we continue doing business the way we did, only using the web” instead of realizing- your business model is totally broken, start thinking purely about being branded content creators that makes it as earned media- never paid. Yeah, you can try to talk a client into placing ads through DoubleClick– (and get laughed out of the room. Or start talking a language of opt-in, immersive, brand experiences that the consumer builds their personal brand by combining in a unique way.

The endorsers of tomorrow aren’t LeBron James, Oprah or Britney Spears (heaven help us) but every single customer who choses to affiliate themselves with your brand and others- and none of it is under your control.

It’s probably not clear to most people attending the Ad Conference how this post came- since this is a pretty far stretch from most of what was talked about (although I’m looking forward to reading the autographed copy I picked up of Carat Americas, CEO David Verklin’s “Watch This Listen Up Click Here“).

But, this post about a post by Dave Winer– who was the guy who made the cutting edge of Web 2.0 possible (while most other people were still trying to figure out how to install AOL on their computers) about the new digital divide between those who get Web 2.0 and those who don’t:

Dave Winer: “It’s Time for Web 2.0 to Stop Being Exclusive” @ WEB 2.0 JOURNAL
A war of words has broken out in the world of Web 2.0 – between the software developer Dave Winer – who created or was a lead contributor to several of the most popular XML dialects and APIs related to web publishing such as RSS 2.0, XML-RPC, OPML, and the MetaWeblog API – and the founder of O’Reilly Media – the newly self-proclaimed “technology transfer company.”

Winer’s beef? “We need to get all hands involved in what we used to call Web 2.0,” he laments. “It’s time for it to stop being exclusive, and it’s way past time for one company to be controlling who’s supposed to participate.”

Winer’s contention is that events such as “FOO Camp” are harming the greater good, which is to make software easier, better, scalable, more reliable, and more secure, and instead turning Internet technology into an elitist world where it becomes a question not of what you know but who you know.

In Winer’s view, the very future of computing is at stake:

“We need to start doing some real investing in technology, not the BS that passes for technology investing that’s been going on for the last decade.”

In other words, what Winder fears is another Nasdaq run-up, followed by the inevitable explosion:

“But what I do want is to avoid a bloody mess,” he says. “We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid.”

Brooklyn-born Winer, who is also the author of one of the first ever weblogs…

The bold italics were added by me- to highlight the big leap ad people need to make- it’s time to start doing real investing in your creative departments, training, molding, challenging your teams to learn how this new paradigm needs to work. It’s time for all of you to get more than six measly pages indexed in Google for your site (like McCann’s site– note McCann bills itself as the largest US agency).

Like it or not, ad agencies today are the buggy whip manufacturers of the turn of the last century. It’s an attention economy, but only for those who understand that it has to be earned, not bought. The more you understand all this, the more Howard Luck Gossage becomes relevant: “People don’t read ads, they read what interests them- and sometimes it’s an ad.”

Well said Howard, too bad you aren’t still here. The bubble’s about to pop, and the sad part is- most won’t understand why.

Is there about to be a “Bubble Pop” in the advertising world?

One of the recurring themes by some of the high-level speakers at the 2007 AAF National Convention was the crazy money being spent to snatch up web related ad companies. Another was how to monetize their newley discovered new media vehicle: the web. Yeah, you read me right- they are all rushing to figure out the metrics to quantify the ad buy on the web. Sorry guys- smart advertisers don’t need a third party to tell them if a campaign is working- they get really good stats (much better than Nielsen, the MPA or any other “validation company” ever provided) they have web stats and sales to evaluate.

What is even more sad- was so few of them really had a clue what Web 2.0 is, how it worked, or what it meant to them. Still worried about the silly notion of “control”- they sort of missed the Cluetrain Manifesto back in 1999 while they were busy buying up Web 1.0 companies.

Not only are most ad agency sites not much more than bad brochureware in Flash, most of the excitement about the web is still in an “how do we continue doing business the way we did, only using the web” instead of realizing- your business model is totally broken, start thinking purely about being branded content creators that makes it as earned media- never paid. Yeah, you can try to talk a client into placing ads through DoubleClick– (and get laughed out of the room. Or start talking a language of opt-in, immersive, brand experiences that the consumer builds their personal brand by combining in a unique way.

The endorsers of tomorrow aren’t LeBron James, Oprah or Britney Spears (heaven help us) but every single customer who choses to affiliate themselves with your brand and others- and none of it is under your control.

It’s probably not clear to most people attending the Ad Conference how this post came- since this is a pretty far stretch from most of what was talked about (although I’m looking forward to reading the autographed copy I picked up of Carat Americas, CEO David Verklin’s “Watch This Listen Up Click Here“).

But, this post about a post by Dave Winer– who was the guy who made the cutting edge of Web 2.0 possible (while most other people were still trying to figure out how to install AOL on their computers) about the new digital divide between those who get Web 2.0 and those who don’t:

Dave Winer: “It’s Time for Web 2.0 to Stop Being Exclusive” @ WEB 2.0 JOURNAL
A war of words has broken out in the world of Web 2.0 – between the software developer Dave Winer – who created or was a lead contributor to several of the most popular XML dialects and APIs related to web publishing such as RSS 2.0, XML-RPC, OPML, and the MetaWeblog API – and the founder of O’Reilly Media – the newly self-proclaimed “technology transfer company.”

Winer’s beef? “We need to get all hands involved in what we used to call Web 2.0,” he laments. “It’s time for it to stop being exclusive, and it’s way past time for one company to be controlling who’s supposed to participate.”

Winer’s contention is that events such as “FOO Camp” are harming the greater good, which is to make software easier, better, scalable, more reliable, and more secure, and instead turning Internet technology into an elitist world where it becomes a question not of what you know but who you know.

In Winer’s view, the very future of computing is at stake:

“We need to start doing some real investing in technology, not the BS that passes for technology investing that’s been going on for the last decade.”

In other words, what Winder fears is another Nasdaq run-up, followed by the inevitable explosion:

“But what I do want is to avoid a bloody mess,” he says. “We have work to do here. We have a bubble-pop to avoid.”

Brooklyn-born Winer, who is also the author of one of the first ever weblogs…

The bold italics were added by me- to highlight the big leap ad people need to make- it’s time to start doing real investing in your creative departments, training, molding, challenging your teams to learn how this new paradigm needs to work. It’s time for all of you to get more than six measly pages indexed in Google for your site (like McCann’s site– note McCann bills itself as the largest US agency).

Like it or not, ad agencies today are the buggy whip manufacturers of the turn of the last century. It’s an attention economy, but only for those who understand that it has to be earned, not bought. The more you understand all this, the more Howard Luck Gossage becomes relevant: “People don’t read ads, they read what interests them- and sometimes it’s an ad.”

Well said Howard, too bad you aren’t still here. The bubble’s about to pop, and the sad part is- most won’t understand why.

Does your AAF chapter need help with its website?

From the roundtable this morning, it became really clear that a lot of clubs could use help with their websites. Many people didn’t have a content management system (or even know what one is), were delaying a new site because the chapter was going through an identity changeover, didn’t take credit cards via the web (or offline either), were paying for e-mail programs, didn’t know what RSS is- or know what to use for content.

All these questions and more can be answered by inviting The Next Wave to host a seminar for your AAF chapter. We’ll give a talk at your meeting, give a seminar that you can make money on, and provide assistance in building a site that can help your club grow. We’ll share the secrets of Google, the power of categories and tagging, and answer questions about if you should be on MySpace or Facebook, what to do about your member list, job banks, event calendars, building community- all using open source software and common sense.

Best of all, the information is from someone in your business- not a web geek. We share powerful information on how to get organic search results in Google so you don’t have to spend client budget on ad words- and how ad agencies fit into the new media landscape. We’ll also share our insight on how this technology is changing brand management and the media landscape. We can demonstrate how huge budget advertising is missing a low-budget opportunity for more eyeballs and how to build a better website for every agency.

Web 2.0 isn’t going anywhere- sooner or later your ad association, be it in Honolulu or Houston, Dayton or Daytona, will have to go 2.0. We’re here to help. A day with us will make you smarter- and make your life easier in maintaining your association website.

Call today, or e-mail, or visit our seminar site Websitetology, to learn more about how we can work together to make technology your best friend.

David Esrati, 937.228.4433, websitetology at the next wave dot biz (remove spaces)

Inspiration can come from anywhere- and creativity from anyone

The breakfast speakers at the AAF National Convention today were inspiring- not so much in what they’ve achieved- but in how things have changed and that the size of your ideas is the new currency.

Andy Berndt, co-president of Ogilvy NY, and Jonathan Mildenhall, the VP Global Creative and Communications Development for the Coca-Cola Company sat on the dais- and basically looked at each other and traded barbs- how does a guy who worked at a bunch of small creative agencies get to be the Co-President of Ogilvy? And, how does a guy who worked at a bunch of boutique UK firms like BBH and Mother- end up as a VP at Coke?

And the answer is: having the vision, understanding the new equation, and lastly, being really nice, down to earth guys. Neither of these two were close to gray hair (although Jonathan doesn’t have any- so it’s hard to judge) – but this is far from the gray haired, old school oligarchy that used to rule in Corporate America.

What was even cooler, they let a junior creative- Tristan Kincaid moderate and showcase the work for Fanta. A new campaign that screamed “refreshing” in a way- that wasn’t screaming- a great example of making ads that people would want to watch.

In their discussion about how Ogilvy and Coke WORKED TOGETHER on this new creative it became clear that the middle man account exec is being stripped out of the process by smart marketers- who want direct interaction with the creative team. And, along with this new way of working- they also skipped the client dictated creative brief- and just said- “Solve the problem.”

Andy gave this fantastic quote, to which I can’t attribute yet- “Give us the problem to solve- not the solution to decorate.” More insight on how one of the worlds premier brands is solving their marketing problems.

These guys realized we are in the day where both of the following statements are true:

  • Everything is an ad
  • Nothing is an ad

They are looking for a cultural platform- not an ad campaign, and are willing to look anywhere- and to anyone for inspiration.

Inspiring ideas- inspiring work.