Tuesday, April 21, 2009

social media is like sex

I was trying to explain social media to a friend in advertising the other day. She's one of the smartest art directors I know, who can ferret out meaning from the most obtusely written brief.

"I don't get social media," she said. "What the heck is it, anyway?"

I told my friend not to feel bad. Lots people still don't get social media. Even those who claim that they do. I quoted something making the rounds on twitter recently: Social media is like teen sex. Everyone says they're getting it, but few really do. (An adaptation of another tweet from a Google analytics guru.)

As I began describing Twitter streams and Facebook widgets and analytics and vlogs, her eyes glazed over. And I realized another reason social media is like sex. You can talk all you want about the mechanics to people. But until they do it, they can't know what all the fuss is about.

Last week Joseph Jaffee wrote a piece on social media for Adweek. Many commenters accused him of being condescending to ad agency types by writing a primer too basic for them. Some of the comments were personally insulting and Alan Wolk referred to this backlash in an article on a new era of meanspiritedness on Madison Avenue. Surely, for negative commenters, the piece was too basic. But I think those of us immersed in SM often overestimate the degree of conversance normal people have with it.

Ad agency revenue models are still tied to client spending on media. And social media is still perceived to be free. (Fred Wilson called it "earned" media, but isn't that PR? How about the more robust CGM--Consumer Generated Media.) Not surprising if creatives at global AORs are still encouraged to think of social media as just one more shiny charm to add to their campaign bracelet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

fail whale on twitter and it can cost you

With copywriters streaming jobless into the streets, how hard can it be to find one to ghost-tweet for you, posting random observations a few times a day in no more than 140 characters? The job might seem like a cinch, but remember--in the twitterverse, authenticity reigns. Posers and pushers are quickly called out. Which is what happened to Hugh Jackman the other day when "his" tweet mistakenly referred to the well-known Sydney Opera House as the Opera Center. The blooper is apparently costing him $100K, which he's offering to donate to some lucky tweeter's charity of choice. (Presumably, so he can get the tax write-off.) Got a nonprofit you want to pimp? Tell Hugh about it. But be brief. Very brief. Say, 140 characters.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

world's first twitter ad agency?

Yeah, it's a recession. Ad agencies all around us are downsizing, reorganizing, even shutting their doors. (RIP, JWT/Chicago.) So, um. Yeah. What better time to start up a new one. We met as twittering Mad Men. Now we're forming a Mad Men 2.0 agency. Same convenient initials as Sterling Cooper. Supporting Characters. It's a consortium of social media players I'm proud to be part of. Advertising veterans. PR strategists. Creative technologists. Futurists. To help brands achieve relevance in digital space.

Yesterday, Ad Age posted a video piece about it and my partner, Carri Bugbee (aka @PeggyOlson). Ad Age called us the world's first twitter ad agency. But we won't do only twitter. In fact, we'll sometimes advise against it. Because we believe that a technology platform ought to be the last choice you make when designing a social media campaign. We'll talk more about this and other hard-won insights in our Social Media Road Show. Coming soon (hopefully) to a conference room near you.

Monday, April 6, 2009

1 day, 7 hours, 30 min, 50 seconds to save a killed idea from permanent death

You know that brilliant ad campaign you did for a client who loved it until his global manager weighed in? The amazing interactive concept you came up with that the CD in general just didn't get? The TV idea that would have gotten you to Cannes, if only cost consultants hadn't nixed the production? Now there's a way to make them live. Send them to Killed Ideas, the first awards competition for creative that never saw light of day. Steve Hall (of Adrants fame) is looking for DOA concepts not only in advertising, but graphics, industrial, package and interactive design. The best will be compiled into a book called Killed Ideas, a project of Blurb, a publisher working with artists, photographers, designers and agencies. Unlike most competitions, submissions are free. Just upload here. But hurry. Entries are due tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7th at midnight PST. (Lucky East Coast procrastinators get until 3 am) No more extensions. The fake deadline's already come and gone, sorry. If you don't make this deadline, your dead concepts will stay dead. Or sitting in a dark drawer or notebook, waiting to be revived by some other client. Same thing.