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You light up my life like a polystyrene hat October 20, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising.
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I give advertising a really hard time, partly because I work in it, and partly because it is a collection of some incredibly insightful and creative people who have chosen to try and sell more soup. I know soup needs to be sold, but I feel like after 8000 or so years of it, soup’s proposition is fairly well established.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself loving the below TED Talk from Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman and Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy UK. I originally found it via the newly-discovered (by me) brilliance of Simon Kemp, and after bristling self-righteously that someone would argue for perceived value instead of actual value, I found myself giggling at Rory and remarking to a friend how insightful he was; his delivery is so desperately English, I love it.

Watch and enjoy.

*Update* The afore-mentioned brilliant Simon Kemp is also sharp and posted a link to a Q&A done with Rory after the talk he gave.

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And the world seems to disappear August 18, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, marketing, storytelling, strategy, technology.
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So I was watching Curious Films’ Best Ads on TV vodcast this morning, the latest installment of which has a cracking Johnny Walker ad in it featuring Robert Carlyle. It’s below, enjoy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

posted with vodpod

So as I was watching this I got thinking about the length of this “commercial”. It may get a few runs on TV in its entirety, may get a few more in cinemas, but will most likely find its life, if it is to have one, online. So, that takes us quickly to a place where it isn’t a TV spot, it isn’t anything other than video which will be consumed in various places and fashions.

We’re seeing the destruction of industries built to sell physical things in large quantities. Text, pictures and sound are things that will shortly exist almost exclusively in bits, not atoms. Fred Wilson talks about the destruction of industries that are “end-to-end digital”. We’re seeing in the music industry, in publishing, in television, in marketing, in R&D and we’re going to start seeing it in a bunch of other industries that perhaps aren’t as innately adaptable to being entirely digital, but you can bet that the parts that are will follow swiftly.

Clay Shirky said in a recent TED talk that advances “don’t become socially interesting until they come technologically boring”, and we’re almost there. When everything is delivered via what we used to differentiate as “the Internet”, the medium may infact cease to be the message.

That strikes me as, social or not, very, very interesting.

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Let’s give them something to talk about July 6, 2009

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, technology, work/life.
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So while waiting for Toronto‘s subway system to get its act together this morning, I caught Clay Shirky‘s latest online lecture, given as part of the TED series. The title, “How Twitter, Facebook and cell phones can make history” does a lousy job of conveying the depth of information and the ideas contained within. Back in November I touched on issues around social media and the gross misunderstanding of what was important in this new revolution, making the following statement:

It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Now, I’m on the record as being a fan of smart people agreeing with me, and in this case, Clay’s latest talk is bang on the money.

The moment we’re living through is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.

He says it far more eloquently than I, granted, and the rest of his talk is loaded with fantastic insights and examples of how technologies, once ubiquitous, develop interesting uses (and not the other way around). The TED Talk is below. Enjoy, then go change the world.

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On the mic with Mike September 5, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, strategy, work/life.
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As regularly as out jet-setting schedules will allow, I and a good friend, Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson get together for an exchange of ideas and a bottle of wine. At our last meeting I decided we should begin to document some of the things we talk about, so while this one runs a little longer than I expected, consider it the pilot for what is to come.

We touch on why people over-complicate situations they’re in, as well as the culture we’ve built up in a desperate attempt to avoid the inevitable (that is, find ourselves in the wrong). I wrote quite a bit earlier this year on embracing the times when we’re wrong and encouraging the right kinds of mistakes in others, please check that out too.

Hope you enjoy!

We also reference the following talk by Sir Ken Robinson.

Lastly, please check out Michael’s School of Thinking and sign up for free daily thought exercises and programs designed to make you a more perceptive person and a better overall thinker.

Why creative is not a department August 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in creativity, web 2.0, work/life.
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How I hate a title for a post that isn’t a line from a song.


The below talk by Sir Ken Robinson (again at TED) is extraordinary. I wish I’d seen it when I was a kid, it would have made a whole lot of things make lots more sense. Thankfully I had parents who were already thinking along these lines, so they made everything a whole lot easier than some of my friends got from their traditionalist upbringings. Ken’s talk is on creativity and the new role it has to play in today’s world.

Please watch it.

What I be is what I be July 30, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in web 2.0, work/life.
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Some things just change you

Some things just change you

I’ve had this idea for a while around customised experiences, specifically driven by the increasingly tailored existence we live in our online lives; everything we want, nothing that we don’t. This of course stems back into offline notions of luxury and living life the way you wish, but I’ve been telling a few people that, more and more, people are going to expect those tailored services in every facet of their lives because, well, once you’ve had it, there’s no going back.

There’s a natural barrier that exists when you stop dealing in ones and zeroes, so the challenge is on to find ways of delivering customised experiences on a mass scale. “Remember you’re unique,” as the saying goes. “Just like everyone else.”

This thought came to mind as I watched a TED talk, Reed Kroloff on movements in architecture and the falling cost of building stranger and stranger shapes due to the increased ability to automate the construction of materials and parts of the structure. It’s always exciting to see your own ideas echoed elsewhere in the world, and even more so to sit here connecting seemingly random dots and pieces of information into a much larger whole.

Image courtesy of pulpolux, with thanks to compfight.

If there’s somebody callin’ me on, she’s the one July 21, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in work/life.
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It’s a strange road to walk in advertising for a guy whose dad was gone 2 weeks of every month as a kid, off working with the poorest people he could find, teaching them how to farm and look after their own children Now the middle child of three sons spends part of his day figuring out how to sell confectionery to more people. Marketing can be great fun, but it is such nonsense some of the time.

I’ve just watched an amazing talk from the TED series about a photographer who found a young girl, a product of the Korean war, and gave her a new life in America. I’m not much for crying, but I have tears streaming down my face as I write this. It’s an amazing talk, and a good reminder of how far out of whack our lives can get. Please watch the below video, it is extraordinary.