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I’m a rocker, baby I’m a rocker September 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, marketing, work/life.
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“Marketing must be one of those professions where salaries give you the best bang for buck as an employer.”

He was saying most marketers aren’t all that bright.

I can’t say I disagreed with him at the time.

The above quote was delivered to me yesterday at breakfast from a friend who heads up international business development at a company any Australian who reads this blog would be familiar with. I’d just finished telling him how a client had recently said to me “We don’t know about that technology stuff, we’re just marketers.”

When she said “that technology stuff”, she meant the Internet.

Give me strength.

I said last week marketing isn’t rocket science, and it isn’t. Unfortunately it’s also almost completely devoid of the courage required to alter the markets these people exist in (As an aside, they say no one is so sanctimonious as a reformed smoker, I wonder if the same can be said for anyone who walks away from jobs in marketing and advertising to something a little less transient?).

Of course the flip side of that is agencies who have those ideas clearly need to get better at articulating the more strategic paths forward, and in order to get there we need to prove we’re good for more than just the last campaign. I spoke to someone last night from the company responsible Coke’s new bottle debacle and reiterated my point: someone should have been fired for that nonsense.

Regardless, let’s forget all that marketing stuff today, go read this fantastic post by Umair Haque, What Apple Knows That Facebook Doesn’t. Be warned, it is loaded with “that technology stuff”.


Ok, almost 9am, time to give her a call. Serenity now…serenity now…

Image courtesy of Stephen Poff, with thanks to compfight.

When you say nothing at all September 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, marketing.
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Given my Blackberry has died another horrible death, I don’t have the photo I took specifically for this post. Actually it isn’t quite true to say my BlackBerry has died, it still works, the screen just doesn’t show anything other than white. Is this the device equivalent of being blind or in some way physically incapacitated? Yes, it can still do all of the things the manufacturer says it can do, I unfortunately don’t know the entire menu system backwards and thus am not sure where to press. My fault clearly.


Coke. My friends at Coke. You currently have an outdoor campaign plastered all over the bus stops and tram shelters of Melbourne – probably the country. The ad shows a young man gripping the sides of a Coke bottle with either hand while the copy says “Hold on and enjoy the ride.”


You are Coke. You have one of the best known brands the world over, a brand that, unlike the McDonalds or Nike’s of the world, has managed to escape much of the multinational & eco hoo-haa that has plagued many other symbols of popular culture. The Happiness Factory was genius, and positioned the brand at the edge of advertising, where original content is employed to tell stories beyond the scope of a soft drink.

And the only story you have to tell right now is a new bottle shape?

You should be ashamed of yourselves. And somebody should definitely get fired.

A new bottle.

Sweet mother of all that is good and pure, what a waste of time.

Image courtesy of hangdog, with thanks to compfight.

Let’s call the whole thing off July 31, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, digital strategy, marketing, technology, web 2.0.
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Whats wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?

Australian music manager Glen Wheatley’s latest project Stripe is set to launch. It is a digital radio service which will have 40 stations up by Christmas playing over the 3G network to any 3G enabled phone, and 100 by the end of 2009. Those wanting to have ad-free radio on their phones will apparently part with a little less than $10 a month for the privilege.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so painfully short-sighted. All together now: the epic, epic lulz.

It betrays just how deeply bereft of real strategic insight media is – and how sorely the media industry needs fresh DNA, instead of old dudes with the same old lame ideas.

Thanks Umair. Mind you he didn’t write that about Stripe, he wrote that about a misguided Wired article where old media guy #1 was berating new media guy #2 for spending time in Second Life as it wouldn’t help him sell more Coke. The point remains though.

Let’s do the why’s together so we all take something away:

  1. Why would I pay $10 a month for radio on my phone?
  2. Particularly me who does not listen to radio at all?
  3. Why in an age of increased personalisation will I believe you can satisfy me with someone else’s taste-making?
  4. Why create a service that relies on early-adopter up-take when the early-adopters do not listen to radio or value music in pure ones-and-zeroes terms?

Now, I imagine much of the VC money has already been sunk, unfortunate for those involved. If you guys with the money could just begin to understand that broadcasting in a one-to-many model is dying and being replaced with niche-casting and many-to-many, you might have a hope of creating something with lasting value.

This last quote from Programming Director Jarrod Graetz is killer:

“A great advantage of our service is that you don’t need a new device or gadget to hear us. If you’ve got 3G coverage, you can access your favourite music and programs from your (3G) mobile phone, and of course on broadband internet. No ad breaks, less interruptions, more music. We position ourselves as “What you want on radio” because we believe Stripe delivers what Australia wants.”

The bolding is mine (the lack of vision entirely their’s). I may not need a device to hear you, but I have a device anyway, it is called an iPod. It comes with NO interruptions and ONLY my favourite music and programs. See, it doesn’t actually matter if you do serve up what I want on radio, because I don’t want radio.


Image courtesy of Dave Goodman, with thanks to compfight.