Don’t panic! Part two

Just seen another interesting article today in the FT about the dangers of businesses panicking in the Web 2.0 arena.

As Marty and I have both suggested, it may be a new medium, but the basics surely haven’t changed.

I love the quote from Loren Feldman, a New York-based film-maker, in the FT article about how to succeed in the new business arena: “Make interesting s**t that people want to look at and then get people to buy it or advertisers to advertise on it. How’s that? This requires conference after conference after conference?!”



  • Loren Feldman’s site
  • Oliver Kamm’s blog on blogging
  • It’s amateur hour’ but let’s not panic

    I saw a very interesting article in The Sunday Times this week, by Bryan Appleyard about the nature of the web and blogging in particular.

    It seems the backlash has begun. According to some, the dream of a democratized participatory utopia has been shattered by the reality of the blogosphere, which, in the view of Jonathan Freeland is “a claustrophobic environment, appealing chiefly to a certain kind of aggressive, point-scoring male — and utterly off-putting to everyone else”.

    Andrew Keen, in his forthcoming book The Cult of the Amateur: How Todays Internet Is Killing Our Culture is similarly dismissive of and concerned about – Web 2.0; ‘Truth’ is being flattened, as we create an on-demand, personalized version of the truth, reflecting our own individual myopia. The undermining of truth is threatening the quality of public discourse, encouraging plagiarism and intellectual property theft and stifling creativity.

    As usual, The Simpsons managed to sum the whole thing up perfectly. In an episode called Fraudcast News, Lisa starts a newspaper to get the truth out against a corrupt media. Others in Springfield follow and soon everyone has their own newspaper, prompting Homer to comment, “See Lisa. Instead of one big-shot controlling all the media, now there’s a thousand freaks Xeroxing their worthless opinions.”

    The citizen-journalist dream was propounded in The Cluetrain Manifesto: the End of Business as Usual. Andrew Keen is especially unimpressed by Cluetrain’s 95 Theses, many of which he dismisses as “opaquely childish. Having read them, I find I have to agree. Here’s number 74 for example; We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.

    Bless. People are always telling me they’re immune to advertising, as though they are, in some way, superior to the rest of society, operating on a higher plane. I always ask these higher beings what cars they drive. If they really were ‘immune to advertising’ they should be driving, say, a Toyota Corolla or a Skoda. Needless to say they are invariably drawn to the same sexy, heavily advertised brands as the rest of us. Funny that!

    Continue reading “It’s amateur hour’ but let’s not panic”

    A call to action for direct marketing


    The 2006 UK DMA Business to Business Gold Award Winning pack for the National Phobics Society.

    Why are UK direct agencies so reluctant to embrace digital?

    Talking to friends at other agencies, it seems most are merely playing lip service to digital. Most direct agencies have a ‘digital department’ these days (usually a sort of studio affair made up of a couple of flash designers) but few seem to have really welcomed online into their hearts. From what I’m hearing, digital is not included in briefs as a matter of course, and it’s hardly ever seen as being part of the thinking or the big idea at the beginning of a campaign.

    But whether we like it or not, the internet is changing the way people interact with brands, products and services. Research from the Henley Centre for AOL* proves that the internet is playing an increasingly important role in changing people’s brand opinions and modifying their purchasing decisions. They found almost half of online consumers had changed brands as a result of using the internet – with ‘brand embracers’ even more likely to switch.

    Clearly it can’t be ignored.

    Continue reading “A call to action for direct marketing”

    Vote For The Worst

    This is sweet. is playing Simon Cowell at his own game on American Idol.

    Contestants get chosen not just for their singing ability but their ‘story’, their ability to make audiences sigh, weep and laugh with them, or jeer at them. The show wouldn’t be the same without the misfits and no-hopers Simon et al get to slag off. But they never win, right?

    Now, VFTW have started a SUCCESSFUL campaign to keep all those ugly, tone-deaf no-hopers in – right to the end.

    It makes for better TV (in a car crash sort of way) yet might actually end up getting the show taken off air.

    If the ‘real’ ‘talents’ don’t make it through, mainstream USandA will switch off, ditto advertisers, and finally ta ta Simon.

    It’s not like those ‘we can make Jedi an official religion’ or ‘stop Ronaldo getting player of the tournament’ email campaigns. They’re little effort and one hit. This is paid for, week in week out, and unlikely to be fixed by an overseer because who’s to say they’re not genuine callers?

    Just shows it always helps to have a higher goal…

    More at

    The Agency of the Future

    Panic stations for agencies. Attending a recent MediaTel seminar on our digital future, how encouraging is it to hear a spokesperson from Yahoo comment about how incredibly ignorant senior managers in agencies are about digital? Red button? No clue. Blogging? Er… Web 2.0? Ah yes, new sports car, I had one of those Alfa Romeo Spyders once, lively engine, lovely mover…

    I remember the good old days of telling my agency at the time how important interactivity was in 1995! All very exciting, but no serious business built – so we had to go and do it ourselves. I’m pleased to report now that we built a serious business, probably by not taking ourselves to seriously, but by wanting to innovate and learn the technology properly. Ah, how things have moved on. Now they listen, but I am not sure they really understand, still. The debate about the agency of the future is a live one, but who having the debate will be in one?

    Britain is fabulous at innovation, not so hot at distributing or manufacturing. That’s why it’s a great place to be right now, in an agency that has tested new models, seen the future (a bit), and wants to be good at operationalising itself to meet the challenge of the digital future. We all know consumers are harder to reach now than ever. We like the idea of participation based communication strategies because without consumer participation, there is no effective strategy from now on.

    Web 2.5 – revenge of the suits

    On the London Underground over the last few days I’ve seen two little tube card ads in a striking graphical style (for the underground) – headline only, no copy, and no brand/product, just a web address as signoff

    One says ‘70% of online information comes through 1 company’ – which is the sort of thing that lots of companies would love to be able to say and shout about in their ads. Fine. I was just surprised they didn’t put their name to it, but might be a teaser, whatever

    The other says stop the online search monopoly’ (or words to that effect). Aha says me, it’s a bad thing, and we should protect our liberties or summat.
    This is where it gets weird.
    The website has the look and feel and earnestness of a leftie activist project to mobilise people against tyranny. It wants to you to join the movement, buy the T-shirt!

    But then the ASK founder is on the homepage telling you about trying something new… And their logo is on there…
    Naughty, naughty. The comments already posted on the site say it perfectly.

    Hahhahah… this is a cynical site by ‘ask’ to get us to use their appalling search engine instead of google. not only is it based on a lie – that we ave no choice over which engine to use, its promoting a crap company AND it’s doing so by pretending to be a non-commercial, social activist site

    Way to go, Jeeves, now you’re not only incompetent and stupid, you’re evil as wel. Well done!

    If this is an attempt at brand-repositioning you guys are in trouble – my first glimpse of the info revolution was being told I don’t have the
    right version of Flash! Everyone liked the tube ad, hated the site. Why is that?? This isn’t web 2.0 it’s web 2.5 revenge of the suits. (Do you
    want the full analysis?)