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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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You can’t hurry love August 18, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, music, web 2.0, work/life.
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What if people knew what this moment felt like?

What if people knew what this moment felt like?

We’ll get to the stuff I was talking about yesterday in due course, it ain’t goin’ nowhere baby. And what I have on my mind is much bigger than that.

So I was reading this piece on movement through the web which touches on notions the web having made creativity itself more accessible – mind you it does this in a fairly esoteric fashion wherein a bunch of stuff does straight over my head).

It got me thinking about how the advent of blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad etc. gave people the ability to express themselves, or at least opened other avenues to express themselves. if like me, you believe creative is not a department and we’re all inherently creative as a by-product of being human, then that’s pretty exciting.

YouTube, Vimeo and a bunch of other video services (such as Seesmic and Oovoo) have allowed people to express themselves in a similar fashion via video. What I’m thinking about though is something that enhances people’s ability to express themselves musically. Yes we have Last.fm, Pandora, what have you. These all function around recommendation engines, I’m interested in tools that allow people to make music more easily.

I hear you saying “But I can’t read music.” You know what? Most people with a blog couldn’t spot the difference between a verb and an adjective without the help of Wikipedia, I’ve played guitar for 15 years, I’m less good at reading music now than I was when I was 13, which is much more than The BeeGees ever could.

The issue is this: people love to construct barriers to entry. They love to put up walls around things they have achieved in a move towards exclusivity; if everyone can do what I do, then it isn’t actually an achievement.

How does that relate to blogging? In terms of raw self-expression, blogging has enabled more voices to be heard than any other publishing medium in the history of the world. The individual impact may not carry that of Tolstoy or Goerge Bernard Shaw, but that makes it no less valid a form of expression, and the collective voice is far greater.

Being a musician myself, I’m wondering how music can be made more accessible – not the acquiring of other people’s music but the actual creation. Maybe part of the equation of putting value back into the 4 megabyte files everyone is downloading is sharing more of the experience of creating them in the first place. Maybe that will only serve to drive down the value further, but as the perceived value continues to approach zero, what do we have to lose?

I’ll happily acknowledge this post is a complete shot from the hip, but I really believe theres something in this.

My only question is: where to from here?

We’re cool. No, we’re not. October 30, 2007

Posted by David Gillespie in branding.
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I was chatting with my CEO the other day about our brand; what is inherent in it, where we want it to go. Any time I ask him what we are, he says “We’re cool!”, and I just shake my head. Perhaps it’s a crucial aspect of the GenX/Y divide, but I see this problem with so many brands, shouting from the roof top how relevant and interesting they are. The crux of the matter is you’re only interesting if other people say you are; otherwise you’re just conceited and out of touch.

By way of demonstrating relevant corporate culture, I showed him Vimeo’s Harvey Danger lip-synch. A great video rife with the culture of the office it stems from, they apparently started receiving CV’s from people saying “I don’t know what you do but I’d like a job”. To inspire people in that fashion, to get them excited about what your company stands for can drought-proof you against times when your offering falls flat. Your products might not always meet the needs (or even wants) or the market, but if your core culture remains appealing to your audience, it means you’ll get another shot with the next thing you do – provided you’re still in business of course.

I had breakfast with a great, great man this morning who works for another company we kinda compete with (I say kinda because it’s not black and white but I don’t want to get into semantics right now). He was talking about how his company has spent quite a bit of time trying to position themselves in a certain way, but at the end of the day they are perceived how they are perceived and they’re not convinced they can change that in a dramatic fashion without alienating their core users. Fortunately for them, they’re the market leader by a long way, so it doesn’t really matter; an entirely different position to being a start-up.

Getting back to the Vimeo clip though, I imagine that would intimidate as many people as it turned on. But with the nature of even the most staid professions changing (I call several accountants “friend” who are not remotely stereotypical), I’m excited by a time in the not too distant future where big corporations find a way to redefine the way they do business while still delivering on their core offerings. Could Ernst & Young get away with injecting the life that exists inside the four walls into their external communications and retain its market position? I don’t know, but it would be exciting to find out.