Monday, February 1, 2010

why i'm voting against @Adbroad in the Shorty Awards

If you've got other things on your mind besides social media, you might not have heard of the Shorty Awards. The Oscars of Twitter. Sans limos and red carpet and televised gala. Election is by popular vote and I'm jazzed to be a finalist in two categories: advertising and innovation.

The first round of voting was last week and there was a bit of a dust-up in advertising, the rare ad awards show in which Lee Clow isn't a frontrunner. @FrankAdman (a fictional art director from the 60s) accused @iwearyourshirt (a guy who wears other people's Tshirts for a living) of breaking the rules by getting robots to finagle votes. Turns out, boosting vote counts via robots (or humans in feverish imitation of them) isn't against the rules. But Shorty organizers reacted responsibly by re-weighting votes, assigning different values to tweets according to content and origin. Ah, the vagaries of life on the digital frontier.

Speaking of frontiers. Very few new ideas come along in advertising. But this may be one of them. Invent a fictional character---emphasis on invention. Don't appropriate a character from a TV show or film or book, a character you own no IP rights to. Invent an original character who can be made to do what you wish, gallivanting from twitter to facebook to youtube to...whatever the next social media platform will be. Use the character to build an audience. Then sell that audience like a media buy.

@FrankAdman appeared about the same time as AMC's Mad Men wandered into the twitterverse. He's a west coast art director living large in the 60s: chain-smoking, skirt-chasing, inventor of the virtual "Twittertini" which has evolved into the lexicon of social media-speak on Twitter. He now has over 14,000 followers. I don't know if @FrankAdman is for sale. But if I were Kodak or Clorox or Dewars or another brand with heritage in the 60s, I'd certainly put in a call. Er, a tweet.

I'm voting for @FrankAdman in the Shorty Awards because I love the idea of a fictional character winning in the advertising category again. (Last year's winner was the tweeter for Peggy Olson.) I want @FrankAdman and @BettyDraper to take home Shorty Awards this year. To help demonstrate the power of brand fiction in the digital universe.

I'm only sorry we'll have to pull AdBroad's campaign commercial.

To vote for Frank, go to the Shorty polls here. Vote for Betty here.


kim haggin rossi said...

It's true, I'm embarrassingly gullible but... are you being facetious? Seriously. Do you think Adman is a sham?

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Not being facetious, Kim. FrankAdman isn't a sham, he is a great example of brand fiction: ie, unbranded entertainment in the service of a brand. He's not servicing any brands yet, as far as I know. But the potential is there for 60s brands to engage him, thus engaging his audience, don't you think?

Full disclosure: I've met Frank Adman (or rather the man behind him) on the sm conference circuit. We're shared twittertinis. But that's the extent of our association. Ah, would that AdBroad and FrankAdman lived in the same era ;)

kim haggin rossi said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my inquisitiveness. Got it about FA. This is all new to me, not the ad world (that's old to me), the social media world. Branding yourself as a branding guy sounds like good work, if you can get it.

As for eras, I may fall in between yours and that of Frank Adman. '61 to be exact. You? I feel like the oldest not working designer in graphics.

In any event, both you and Frank (or whoever he is in "real" life) seem pretty darn cool to me. I cast a vote for each one of you knuckleheads. xo

Amy Axler said...

I so want Betty to win in innovation I may have to pull the cork on the cold champers early.FA does nuthin for me. Betty makes me pant.