Monday, 14 December 2009

A Gift from Behind the Paywall

Haven't posted a video freebie for a while, but I find this effort irresistible. You will hardly notice that anyone wants to sell you anything.

The concept is leaving designer chairs around New York City - for the taking. Each chair has GPS and there's a whole load of effort that's gone into concept and into shoot. The agency who wants to sell their services is Mono - let's hear that name again a couple of times in the vox - it's Mono. And the Real Good Chair from Blue Dot does a nice appearance in the recession-time objet trouve role.

And the source of this video left by the kerb with code all ready to embed? Giving it away for the all the right reasons, News Corporation's Wall Street Journal.

Thanks to Andy Jordan at WSJ.

The chair? It's here for $129

PS: you guys made up 'kerb mining', right?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Event, Meet Social Media, Part Two

What a temptation it is for the naive. 'Let's put the tweets on screen - it's the innovative coming together of event and social media'. It's remarkable how the live public screening of a previously unseen tweet will change the nature of that message. Usually for the worse. Herding can ripple instantly through a room. Here's one instance via @ExponentialEdge :
as Danah Boyd of Microsoft is twitterbullied by the crowd at Web2.0 Expo, New York last week.

Let's not name the awards event in London where the first tweet following arrival of the MD on stage was 'bloody's that boring old bloke again'. The brand owners were pleased they had decided against displaying message on the big screen behind the hapless man. It had been part of the plan until a couple of hours before the show.

It's a lot of power to hand to an audience. But at least it's not a vote for life or death.

Not yet.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Not Like Newspapers

Blogs are not like newspapers in that we don't have to publish every day. Or every week. Not unless we have advertisers who may be peeved if their ad doesn't show. Or if we have readers with regular habits like people who read the papers and watch TV. We do?

Or we do, or may do, if we publish regularly. Like every day or once a week. Otherwise we don't. Those newspaper guys were really on to something way back then - habituation.

It's why the blogging amateurs will go away and the pros will stay. Others... hell, they are out at work.

For the pro tips:

For a contrarian view of how to do it: make it up yourself.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Event, Meet Social Media, Part One

We return to professional matters:

The end of the world was kind to conference and awards. Sponsorship was hard hit. But annual events are annual and cancellation was as thinkable as football skipping a season.

And now, with a consensus that recession may soon be behind us, we have new colleagues. Event, meet social media. A match made in heaven. Just think of all the things we can do together. And all those things we don’t yet know we can do. Extending a live event brand has never been easier. Problem solved at a stroke – a brand that spiked on the timeline and then went dormant for five sixths of the year – hey presto, extended year round via SM. Mindshare and revenues ahoy!

Note of caution is that when you provide a place for people to communicate, people do communicate. And the glacial rate of innovation that happens when you stage episodes annually can undergo rapid climate change.

What customers (now participants) want of your event/forum/club/brand/validation service, etc, may not what the brand owner had in the business plan. What such interaction will bring to event brands, we do not yet know. What I think we do know is that it will probably be lots.

Let's come back to this over the next few days.

NB: the idea that the great economic unwinding/resetting is over and done with may not reflect the view of the author, and may be for the sake of convenience.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Scientist, the Minister and everyone else

The twitter exchanges last Friday between Professor Brian Cox and Lord Drayson were textbook high class tweeting. The subject matter was weighty - Britain's scientific research base. The conversation was erudite and informed. No one mentioned breakfast or pets.

It has been hailed as a great example of social media democracy in action. An interest group presenting a case to to the guy with the access to the money. The fact that Paul Drayson is in the House of Lords doesn't negate the fact that it was a direct real time dialogue with government. He and Brian Cox came out of it as people who cared very much about the direction of real scientific research.

During the afternoon Cox had tweeted a link to a piece in The Register - For everyone who cares about science in the UK - read and RT :

Ministers of the Crown have busy days and it was possibly not until about 6pm that Drayson spotted the thread. The conversation on the funding of science went on until around 9pm. My expertise in science money is zero. So I went to dinner. Presumably Lord Drayson did not. Absurd as it sounds that really is the crux of the matter as a social media issue. This exchange has been hailed in the UK and the US as some sort of basic model for new democracy. But it's not a system. These exchanges will not fit into diaries. They are spontaneous. And when Iain Dale suggests that Ministers are sub contracting their tweeting, whilst it's denied by many, it has plausibility.

Two days later Drayson was subjected to what he described as a 'twitter blizzard'. This regarded a rumour that the UK was about to pull its funding from CERN. The story seemed to be groundless.

Great experiment. Great fun. And just maybe a result for science. But if social media is going to have that sort of access and influence it's going to require government that doesn't look like anything on offer at the moment.

The Twitter thread is available from mid afternoon Oct 1st. You can pick up on @ProfBrianCox at:

@lorddrayson knows what I think. STFC funding situation is a disaster for UK, probably accidently. He can fix it, and I urge him to do so.

@lorddrayson crops up at about 1800

@tonyveitchUK Exactly. If people want to make a point to me- just tweet me!
@tonyveitchUK Fact is you have to follow people if u want 2 have a conversation with them.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Essence of Sugababe

The band of the Coldstream Guards features no original members. Nor does Manchester United. Both are accepted by majority decision to be the real thing. Sugababes now have no original members. So are they Sugababes? It seems that they are.

In dance hall days there was an unspoken protocol. Bands were allowed by fans to soldier on as long they still had the legacy of at least one original member. And recourse to law has often decided just who owns an identity.

I researched this with some rigour. There is an example at of T Rex appearing, as the post says, ‘without an urn in sight’ . The Sugababe innovation is to apply the principal to a current big name. And hence to create brandband – or bandbrand. Bandbrand is a promise of a vibe. The folks on stage are employees. That’s fine for brands.

Just don’t expect to see Pink Floyd on stage in your old age. Something else is demanded of bands.

PS: since posting have read re Neil Mccormick in the Daily Telegraph, He has uncovered the work of The Blind Boys of Alabama, gigging since 1939, undeterred by death. Also checked out Someone should tell them.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Embed Me - with passion

Madmen went well (see below). We all did what we were supposed to do. If it runs for a dozen seasons then story lines will catch up to real time. Sterling Cooper will have to deal with the uncertainties of Social Media.

The agency would catch up to a world where the blogger, the tweeter, the viral sender is free to choose only the very finest content with which to be associated. Material of the quality of AMC and HBO.

Chosen embedded video for this post was about to be a viral from a global consumer electronics brand. It was all about social media. And it was mildly amusing. Then this came along - spotted on the day we are gifted a whole new series of Peep Show. Please pay attention to the sponsor message whilst enjoying David Mitchell's passion to the full. Thanks to the Daily Mash.

The Daily Mash is at

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Reflection on Smoke and Mirrors

If you live in the USA you may know of Derren Brown. You may not have known of him before last Friday. The UK’s star illusionist had promised to predict the lottery live on TV and to explain how he did it.

The public was disappointed with the result. A padded hour of flim flam showed us people who had been brought together in the preceeding week to deliver the wisdom of crowds whilst Derren interpreted the ‘deep mathematics’.

Accusations flew of cheap post production tricks, and of no real explanation as to how he ultimately revealed all the pre-slected balls to be correct. YouTube reruns have been forensically examined. Professors of mathematics have spoken.

Derren’s in - crowd were pretty convinced their wisdom had delivered the numbers. A large part of the UK population now believe that he fixed the lottery in advance. The BBC on Saturday morning ran the story in its main news. The Sunday papers are full of Derren Brown. And as the story grew on-line over the weekend Twitter search now returns a lot of ‘who is DB?’ from accounts outside the UK.

That's a lot of tricks delivered - including the gall of saying that no matter how shabby this looks – people will believe. Misdirection. The biggest trick that Derren Brown pulled off was to understand how media works today - and to go global.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Cameron and the Philosopher

Also published at Business and Politics, 25 August 2009

Ironic that neither David Cameron nor Nassim Nicolas Taleb seemed to be quite prepared for the risks they ran at the rather odd RSA ‘debate’ event. Yet they emerged unscathed.

Both guys seemed surprised: Cameron during the event that NNT was going to introduce subject matter that wasn’t on the Tory agenda. Taleb’s revelation came afterwards at a media mauling and at the obvious fact that not all of the press in this country would be on side. Given his assertion that news is entertainment it should not have been that big a shock that The Mirror should express ‘outrage’ at his rather complex opinions.

What was Mandelbrotian complexity was ever going to have to with bumper sticker policy was never clear. NNT had been the darling of the bank bashers … overnight he became Philosopher to the Tories. NNT’s own agenda was to tell the world it’s going to hell in an over-leveraged handcart.

The risk lesson for every aspiring PM could easily have been ‘don’t mess with complicated stuff’. What was Cameron supposed to do if Taleb came up with a persuasive argument? Argue back? Change policy there and then? Philosophers don’t necessarily provide the policies you need for votes. Nuance is always off message. NNT found that even in the more intelligent British press, nuance is off message there too.

That was what I wrote until I was about to post and then in interview with Channel 4 Taleb hands gold to the Conservatives. ‘You and your party may be the only hope for a resilient society insulated from black swans’. ‘Only hope’ is a slogan coup and a half. Forget that what our Levantine thinker probably meant was that DC is the only person likely to be elected soon to lead a major government with its own currency together with the political room to start to work down debt.

In the aftermath The Economist called Cameron brave…although not for that bizarre encounter. The genuine bravery of the debate will probably not be repeated. That same edition points out the difficulty President Obama has in getting his Afghan/Pakistan policy on to a bumper sticker.

Politicians who need winning policies may well be best advised by philosophers in more private surroundings.

Truth is complicated stuff.

Update: thanks to RSA for opportunity to show the debate

The posts below have been moved to 'We are all Mad Men now'. The original post by (Bestshow)Watch was inadvertently misposted here.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

We are all Mad Men now

PR is changing. But not as much as advertising. Advertising is being replaced rapidly by PR – we're told. And according to a twitter today the new series of Mad Men is to be promoted big time with massive PR. It’s enough to make a Madison Avenue man choke on his Lucky. PR? Sterling Cooper did not have a PR division!

But look a little more closely at the current view. This is in fact the view across the street from my hotel on Madison Avenue just a few days ago. There’s the hotel, just behind the car. And here’s the advertising just in front of the car. An ad on Madison for Mad Men.

An ad well crafted and well postioned. Great execution. Great media work and planning. Looks like advertising to me. Well, yes. But this is a viral phone booth and it's saying to me 'write about me' (Does anyone use them to phone anyone anymore?)

And the addition of a whole range of Mad Men clothing via Banana Republic clothing seems as much a WoM point as a genuine sell. MM King Size would not be far behind, at another time.

The exchange of value here is that we can use the hashtag and search term ‘Mad Men’ to attract you to this blog and I and thousands of others do the work for free. So, according to Theano Apostolou at producers AMC I have become a Mad Men evangelist. What is without a doubt is that the brilliant PR, excellence in craft and the integrated campaign that runs event, merchandise, press and TV delivers wonderful value for money - for me and thousands like me, as well for AMC.

Perhaps the greatest irony is something else altogether. This is a campaign that doesn't require me to own anything new or to consume any more than a simple forty-five minutes of TV.

It's been a pleasure to work for Stirling Cooper.

Get to for the 'recreate yourself in 60's style' avatar treat and the 1960's cocktail guide of evergreen delights. I'm a sucker for advertising.

PR Week US:

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Analogue for a Digital World

I have a friend who was at a loose end. The answer to boredom was a start-up. I was at a loss to understand the business model. He would direct people to great products and services. He didn’t mind paying out in time and labour until he could think of a way to monetise the whole thing. He would have a bit of fun on the way too.

So, there on Oxford Street, he would stand with his sandwich board - tantalising images of exciting products. The tourists could drop him a dime for the entertainment, or just walk on. Most of them walked, but he kept telling them to visit Debenhams, shop at Selfridges or such. He couldn’t make them buy, but he did consider that there might be mileage in bringing friends in to push people in through through the shop doorways.

You would have thought the stores should have been happy. All that free marketing. All those potential saps with currency. All they had to do was to present products that these people wanted to buy. But that wasn’t the way they saw it at all. The shopkeepers wanted to be paid for the privilege of the sending customers to them. But his business didn't make any money for them to harvest.

Without revenues my friend has had to rethink and remodel. He is going to Fleet Street. Just along from where the newspapers used to be. He will buy a paper in the morning, shouting out the headline to people who are interested – and urge them to read the story in a real newspaper. This time he will pick content that is in the interests of his paying clients, and urge them too to read the papers. I hope he doesn’t get into trouble over this. Best however, if he checks it out first with the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

PS: OK, not quite, the links about to charged for go back to the client, but that is the gist of it. I am a blogger and I can send a reader to a newspaper for free. If I am a PR company and I have the throw weight to send many more customers I have to pay to do so!

For a clear exposition of how newspapers wish to charge for businesses sending links to clients you could always go to:
an unpaid link to Communicate where David Pugh for NLA and Kevin Taylor of CIPR, slug this one out.

The lithograph is one of many wonderful drawings of early 19th century London by George Scarf, including lots of street marketing. He died in 1860 and it should be safely out of copyright. If not, George can contact me at a time of his choosing.

Friday, 24 July 2009

There ain't no cure...

...for the summertime blues. Except possibly to knock off for two weeks and to see you back here on the blog on August 5th.

Let me know if anything happens.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Nice Work #2

As we enter the dog days of summer the randy mice become ever more reluctant to post. Unless it's very easy, takes little effort and is extraordinarily worthwhile. We offer this in the spirit of never posting on the subject we are supposed to be discussing because that would represent nerdified, tunnel vision. Our qualifier therefore courtesy of CNBC. Nassim Taleb a couple of weeks ago and more relevant now. Sorry about the BIG SPACE below. It seems to come with CNBC embedded player and I'm not going to start trying to hack it about.

Note that the CNBC model actively encourages and invites us to do this quick cut and paste embed job. They must think it's in their interests. It doesn't say 'CC' anywhere, that I can see, just 'embed me'. OK, that's it, we are off to count the black swans for the weekend.

Friday, 3 July 2009

A Really Good Friday

Good Friday 1930 was the day the BBC had no news. ‘There is no news today’.

That hasn't happened again in seventy nine years. News has just kept on growing on a first past the post basis. Biggest story of the day wins.

A friend was asked yesterday if she could pop a post up for a growing blog because nothing had appeared for twenty-four hours. But maybe nothing of interest had happened. Nothing that people were going to break into their daily lives for.

Charles Arthur claims that blogging is dying. That the long tail is shorter, or at least, narrower than we have imagined. Eight out of ten blogs are abandoned ships that still float. He says so in print - The Guardian on June 24

Personal blogs are a lot of hard work. They cost a lot of time. And the format really is an analogue of traditional media. There's an expectation of regular publishing updates.

Now twitter has released everyone from the drudgery of the past. If this was just a text message then I could it send anytime. Right? Or not at all. If you don’t see my tweet then someone else’s message will appear on your tweetdeck. And I can wait until I have content and context that really is king.

Yes, there are wars, there’s politics, there’s business, but despite all the everyday suffering and the joy, it’s still noise until a big new story comes out of nowhere.

So, today, there was no news.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Did you know Michael Jackson is dead?

Two hours ago the world was told by Twitter that Michael Jackson had died. Informed by the re-tweeting of a report from one LA based website. I guess many people reacted by going straight to the BBC or CNN to see if it was true. I did. And those sources were more much more circumspect (although Sky News was not) 'MJ in a coma'. 'MJ reported to have died'. This is what reliable news sources are for.

Isn't this why in a world of billions of messages the trusted news brand becomes ever more important, not less?

If a brand is a promise, the great news titles of the future have a most extraordinary opportunity. Gather and verify. Then comment.

And, yes, Jackson was a great artist.

additional: guardiannews
Web grinds to a halt after Michael Jackson dies

additional: with the loss of Farrah Fawcett Majors earlier in the day, rumour began of the death of Jeff Goldblum in a movie accident. An attempt to build a loss of youth meme methinks. But stubborn Jeff is OK, below:

additional: the point on verification: from Kevin Spacey's verified twitter account at 0014 GMT,
*Jeff Goldblum is alive and well. I just spoke to his manager. Stop these stupid rumors.*
(this completely negates my point as the definitive facts came from a individual source using microblogging and cutting out any middleman except Twitter!)

additional: the death of one of the first truly global performers, an icon known by all humanity, will have communication outcomes that are yet unforeseen. So I won't try to see them.

Friday lunch GMT: Video from Charles Arthur at the Guardian and on YouTube, but worth reading CA with it shows Twitscoop responding (do you record it all Charles?!)

Monday, 15 June 2009

News Less Perishable - read all about it!

Read newspapers from a year ago. You already know things that their most informed writers never dreamed of. It’s time travel into their future.

A dear friend who works in the public sector claims he never reads his Guardian until it’s four weeks old. He’s a Sunderland supporter. I must tell him they are still in the Premiership. The news about Newcastle and Middlesbrough will interest him too.

A few weeks back this dear friend, (who couldn’t know there might be those tiny green shoots), asked how business was going. After all people wouldn’t have the same spending power to buy into shindigs. Shindigs!

It was explained - probably pompously, that many events were remarkably recession proof. That they were core business in a big global industry. They were what made the profits. Imagine Sunderland not bothering to play football. There is season for footy and for other events. It’s a long cycle planned a long way ahead. Life really is going on.

But there are nevertheless far fewer news stories than one might expect about recovery. I know there’s a mountain of debt ahead. But right now for quite a lot of people it all looks a lot like life before Armageddon. Read those recent papers and speculate on how we mostly dodged the bullet – so far.

And as news goes online it should become easier, not tougher to see past and present together. The archive is always available. Read it at random. Read last year, and the year before – and wonder. Gosh, I knew so little back then.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

New Politics - New Media

The next live event Business & Politics Show, supported by redbrand, is at City Rooms, Leicester, June 30th. Iain will be on the panel along with John Willman of the FT and others TBA.

The reporting of this week's local and European elections will be 'rough and ready' according to Iain Dale speaking of his citizen-powered on-line radio effort.

Iain has been canvassing for volunteers to report from counts around the UK, whilst blogs do the marketing. To quote:

'We're not going to try to repeat the kind of election programme the mainstream broadcasters do - it will be very much live and loose, and totally reliant on citizen journalism and bloggers to make it work.'

So tune out of the mainstream and drop in. The medium, and the way is the message is owned and distributed, may be as big a change as anything else that's happening in politics today. This is blogging goes verbal.

Are you ready for 'rough and ready'? And for the archive it looked like this. (Blogger asks if is should aligned left, centre or right!!)

Friday, 22 May 2009

Skills for the Future (wherever it is) - further memo to Andy Burnham (or now Ben Bradshaw)

'So then, what are you doing at the moment, my friend?' '

'Oh, I'm looking after the lighting and IT systems on the stage set bus in the musical of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at The Palace, London, and commuting between York and Kings Cross'.

This exchange took place on a train on Tuesday. Not a conversation that had ever happened before. My friend's careers teacher didn't have a brochure on becoming carer to Priscilla's bus. Life in the creative industries can take us to unexpected places irrespective of what formal qualifications say we should be doing.

You see, training to a very exacting specification is required for brain surgery and for the piloting of jet airliners. On the job innovation for these people is not usually successful.

But for those of us that exist in the fold that encompasses business, technology, communication and entertainment, our prime skill is the ability to re-skill, to tinker and make it up as we go along.

We know now that the world did not end with the recession. We will not return soon to a simple life. We can pretty well bet the farm on the unusual and unexpected to be an even greater part of the inter-connected culture of the future. So how do we educate and prepare people for challenges we can not conceive of ? How can we help make and stretch minds that are more capable, that are more creative, that have an ability to think across categories and boundaries?

What can people learn that allows them to become flexible, innovative and adaptable? If by 'creative jobs' we mean brilliant technicians, then train away. If we mean creating innovative new stuff we have never thought of before and can't yet imagine...

Well, maybe we have to add to the vocational the disciplines of mathematics, physics, English, about Latin? Stretch the mind, understand structure, and let us learn (and invent) the rest in the playground.

(with apologies to non Anglophone nations) (and apparently Priscilla and the whole of the West End is doing v nicely, thank you)

And we have a picture of the set itself, credit pic of bus by Jeff Busby, for full details go to

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Government to Create Jobs - apparently

Couldn't get old head around story from Media Week telling us that Culture Sec Andy Burnham had 10,000 creative industry jobs up his sleeve. Haymarket stablemates Brand Republic and Event magazine puts us straight on this going for a more modest 5,000 creative industries APPRENTICESHIPS.

I would like to be very constructive on this one. Event and especially A/V does suffer skills shortages. That's partly in the nature of a highly seasonal industry. Don't know how happy today's freelancers would be when day rates are pressured by lots of supply. But that would be years away.

Anyway, we trust it's not the exciting number of jobs that ends up as the most creative element of the story.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Get on down to the House of Disrepute

And another note on the subject of on-line identities - provoked by a tweet link to the Outspoken Media blog sent by Dinis Guarda. The gist is, how to leverage benefit from negative press and flame wars that might come from your innocent commercial opinions expressed in your branded blog.

It's all good advice I'm sure, although possibly less guaranteed in outcome than suggested. But maybe the real clincher for discussion here is just how many previously innocent brands might want to join a new axis of evil. There's eyeballs in those hills. Some people might look pretty longingly at the sort of metrics that people like Guido (and The Telegraph) are getting. Let's call it disrepute management.

Setting fire to your own house would attract attention. Until everyone does it.
is Outspoken Media.

PS: we all know Skittles Twitter thing, but have you read #skittles? This doesn't remotely qualify for the notion above but I could not imagine this post in support of a Mars sweetie product a matter of weeks ago:

HallLife: Omg skittles new commercial so f**kin funny you guys got to see it I almost spit out my drink its called reflect the rainbow

Sunday, 3 May 2009

And the most popular awards in Manchester are...

Last Thursday night in Manchester. At Old Trafford: How-Do, the awards programme for all UK NW regional media, about 540 takers. The long standing Roses Awards for regional advertising over at the Hilton on Deansgate, about 300 I am told by folks. Something else on at The Midland - googling it seems to be PPMA Recruitment Advertising Awards - add unknown number, let's say given its capacity, another 300. Organisers of all events welcome to amend my estimates.

Not a swine flu mask in sight in an industry that might have 'challenges' with the sponsorship revenue stream nowadays, but is still putting an awful lot of bums on seats. (Ref to self

Note to any transatlantic readers - bum as in ass, not as in 'Buddy Can You Spare a Dime' - mostly anyway.

Does this v small (but important) sample say 'bring the event to my town and I'll pitch up, make me travel and, hmm, well...? Anyway congrats to both brand owners for a substantial cumulative total. Better numbers next time if they are on different days?

Many thanks to HGA for last minute ticket sort-out. And how do you punctuate How Do for search? How-Do I assume.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The Brand - Corporate & Personal, err, Intertwined

Following the Duncan Bannatyne train thing (see below) here’s some sort of brand antidote to issues on this eastern side of the island. Pictured is the West Coast’s Sir Richard Branson at work. The Virgin Leader is illustrated creating content for his blog and for mine. From this hands off management position, the good knight is able to keep an eye on how those toilets are holding up on his Pendolino trains. And to dream of spaceships. Of course businesses like Stagecoach, Scaled Composites and MBNA are delighted to help out.

I have resisted bowing to Virgin's PR power by not using this picture for a whole week now. Until I just couldn’t resist the man's brand power any longer. Hat tip to The Fact Compiler for bringing this gem to my attention. It had appeared previously in the Mail on Sunday.

There now, remember the tremendous value of this sort of photo opportunity to your brand/client. Of course, what we really do have here, is clear demonstration of the benefits to entrepreneurs of getting off the stock exchange and going private without those troublesome shareholders. So, if you want to create a multi billion dollar empire that breaks all the brand rules, has a name that won't work, doesn’t know its demographic, stays off the equity markets and becomes a global giant, you know what to do.

Now then, get on with it.

STOP PRESS: ask Sir Richard for hints and tips on how to create your very own global empire: Q2) and at Huffington Post Yep, all the news that's still around and hasn't gone away.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Celeb Customer Complaints Department

Duncan Bannatyne is not happy. He says why at . Never a shrinking violet, Duncan lays into the East Coast rail service with venom. So remember, when you need customer service to improve, live near someone on the Dragon's Den panel. It may not get a result, but it makes everyone feel a whole lot better.

(Charities have harnessed the power of the famous for years - how about consumers?)

PS: Just spotted DB's biz biog 'Anyone Can Do It'. I hope you not confusing that idea with 'Everyone Can Do It', Duncan.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Running out of Blogroll

Apologies for the disappearance of the links to blogs. We will investigate and call up standby holiday repair teams. Or you could just go straight to Iain D in the blue corner and Tom H in the red - miss out the middleman. That's called disintermediation - the internet's all about it and Associated Press has thoughts on the subject. This humble aggregator points you to New Jersey

OK - they are back! With interesting new stuff.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Events - not too dear, boy!

I'm going to come back to this very soon, but right now right now I'm canvassing views. There seems to be a consensus that the B2Blive industry is, so far, rather resilient. I received this today,...this is in the North East (UK)

Thinking Digital is now SOLD OUT
Hi All, I'm slightly amazed to announce that the Thinking Digital Conference is now soldout. To register for waitlist pls visit
Thanks for all the support.

Herb Kim

I'm part of the industry and as Warren Buffett says 'don't ask the barber if you need a haircut' but maybe, together with social media, we are disruptive and providing marketing and networking spaces at much lower costs. Opinions, views and experiences, send by mail if you don't want to post.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


So ad agencies are done for in these times, are they? BMB hasn't heard that news and opens up shop in New York. Bil Bungay, the B that goes together with Beattie and McGuinness, believes that out of chaos comes opportunity and new order. Bil’s sample time was the overturning of the applecart in the late seventies when pomp rock got eaten by The Sex Pistols (for a while).

Well, advertising and design is rock and roll. It’s a scalable enterprise and as such has few winners, but they win real big. Most talented folks will keep on gigging for a lifetime down the pub. But that’s OK too. One or two will get through.

As far as those who are already of superstar status, well, starting conditions apply and capital is required in downturns. Intellectual and brand capital is amongst the very best.

In the last few years Bil B has given over lot of valuable time to Fresh Creative Awards to get people to notice new talent from the regions. So, we'll see what Madam Upturn brings.

Your hero I K Brunel would have liked your Atlantic Bridge, Bil. We wish BMB well in NYC and beyond. We still have exportable products.

The story is at Brand Republic.

East Coast - the drier side

Thanks to peezedtee for this charming infringement of copyright. Like some of you, I am a poster fan, a graphic design freak, an enthusiast of the late 1930's up to September '39 and a frequent passenger between KX and the North. In that aggregated spirit I offer this delightful piece of transport advertising together with the challenge: does this campaign show more than two things you can't do any longer on the East Coast Main Line?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Mandy and Macmillan

OK, let's get this over with. I've already been asked once.

1. Randy mice has been a mildly amusing expression in the UK since Mandy Rice Davies and Christine Keeler helped to discredit Macmillan's government in 1963. Find your own exciting pic.
2. Randy mice is a nice way of expressing a desire to meet and mingle on the desktop. OK?
3. It has nothing to do with Mandy as in Lord Mandleson.
4. Macmillan when asked what scared him most in politics said 'Events, dear boy, events'.
5. She was one of those events.
6. Events - part of the industry we make our living from.
7. Apologies for the explanation to those of you who are already acquainted with this stuff.
8. Never apologise, never explain.

Post script: and then The Spectator of all people decides to do this:

Friday, 27 March 2009

Who are you?

Long before The Who made money from forensics they seemed to think that schizophrenia involved multiple personalities. In reality it involves multiple miseries. Take my word for it - we have lived with it in our family. No, sir, multiple personalities are usually elective. We've all created a whole series of different faces for ourselves ever since we first did social around the camp fire. And now we do social media. This party doesn't require our total attendance. Just send along part of yourself.

Viewing tweets recently I wondered, how far are ordinary people prepared to go? Political allegiance? Social policy beliefs? Sexual predelictions? What about, opinions on your employer? And just how much you would like to throw that brick - and who at? This is quite a big personal brand thing. This is danger, this stuff isn't on your CV. And it's starting to bother corporations.

Twitter is a medium that brings out a candid comment in one hundred and forty characters. And if you are prepared to put the hours in, you can have one hundred and forty different characters of your own. I've don't think I've witnessed anyone actually have a spat with themselves, as yet. A matter of time.

This is a public medium - but it feels like the public house. Here is a building where everything you say is pasted up on the outside. No wonder organisations are getting nervy. I expect very soon corporations will make their feelings known quite specifically via their contracts of service. You see, it takes effort for the disgruntled to blog their ire, but stuff is more likely to hit the fan more often in the heat of a mobile moment. And this will come from an employee with inside info - as anonymous as a guy with a gun in a balaclava. Logged in via one of his nastier personalities. Reputation will be at stake in cases of malice as well in situations of justified disgruntlement. This is a world of both transparency and potential duplicity that few enterprises have fully yet to understand.

This really was me, and both of my twitter persona are very nice guys indeed. I'm sure they won't get fooled again.