Digital: Facebook as Social Glue, Digital Creative, Conde’s Ads, Digital v Traditional Agencies

Today was extremely important for the Internet. Facebook announced that its “Like” button is going to appear on publisher sites all over the Internet. These buttons will populate a user’s profile in Facebook linking back to the originating site while also providing Facebook with even more immensely valuable, realtime data about its consumers. Here’s an Ad Age story covering the announcement (which includes my perspective) and below is my deeper analysis of the announcement and what it means for marketers, publishers and agencies.

What makes a great online display ad? Ashley Ringrose, co-founder of Soap Creative and curator of Bannerblog, has a few ideas. Among them: A truly interactive ad must have an interactive idea. That, and it should be useful, not annoying, to consumers.
Conde Nast’s digital arm is treading firmly on guarded agency turf by offering creative services to advertisers — even for ads that don’t run in Conde Nast properties, Advertising Age has learned. The glossy publisher’s in-house creative services group known as CND Studios is now accepting client assignments to craft ad campaigns regardless of placement. It is a significant shift for the company, which in the past has only done creative work for advertisers buying space on one of its publications, whether in print or online.

Battles between agencies leading to failure
The “battle” between digital and traditional agencies is contributing to the failure of many advertising campaigns, Kristi VandenBosch, ceo of Publicis & Hal Riney, has said. VandenBosch was speaking at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco, covered in more detail by Geoffrey Precourt, Warc’s US editor, here. She suggested that rather than providing a coordinated service for their clients, traditional and interactive agencies frequently ended up in conflict with one another. “Traditional and digital agencies are caught up with who gets to lead, but neither has earned the right,” said VandenBosch. “[Often] it is not a battle for leadership or control, but for who gets the credit.” The main cause of this situation is that traditional agencies generally emphasise “objects”, whereas their counterparts that primarily focus on new media tend to think in terms of “systems”.

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Trust Agents v Digital Natives

I came across an interestingt piece entitled “Trust Agents: The New Digital Natives“:
“Trust agents have established themselves as non-sales-oriented, non-high-pressure marketers. They are digital natives using the Web to be genuine and to humanize their business. They’re interested in people (e.g., prospective customers, employees, and colleagues), and they have realized that the tools that enable more unique, robust communication also allow more business opportunities for everyone.”

digital native

Image via Kwout

They aren’t in marketing, or in sales (although they do both simultaneously). They have a strong streak of digital intelligence, and their knack for creating conversations puts them far beyond the stereotypical techno-geek. Meet your neighborhood social media professionals, they’re using the Web to not only put human faces on corporations and politicians, but also to defend their honor when something goes awry. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith call them “trust agents” after their book by the same name, and say that they are harnessing the power of Twitter and other social media to “build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust.”

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Anomaly Leaves Second Life

Yes, I can announce that the Anomaly avatars have left the building … their “Company HQ” in the Tenjin sim has been vacated. Unbeknownst to many (they didn’t talk about it much) Anomaly were actually fairly early adopters of Second Life. They bought a plot (near to PSFK Island, as it ‘appens) back in 2005 I think. If they called themselves an Ad Agency, they could probably claim to be the first to have built an office in this part of the metaverse. I discussed it briefly with Anomaly partner Johnny Vulkan, who by that stage was fairly dismissive of the opportunities the virtual world offered marketers. Their only client to venture in to Second Life was Enviga (against Anomaly’s advice). Enviga eventually built a large green Enviga-drinking robot in Anomaly HQ and left it at that.


Purple pundit Piers Fawkes of PSFK (indulge me in my aliteration) was also eventually underwhelmed by Second Life. Anomaly neighbour and virtual pioneer Piers at one stage referred to himself as a “big time property developer” and “marketing consultant” in Second Life. He was quoted some time later as saying that “Second Life [wasn’t] much good for marketers“, presumably something he had learnt from experience. That said, his (rather ramshackle looking, slightly vandalised) virtual island HQ remains.


Who else is left? Crayon’s slightly stalinist-looking and underpopulated sim (traffic count: 32) remains. Crayon claimed to be the first agency to launch in Second Life (and indeed, the launch itself was actually held there). To my knowledge Crayon’s only Second Life client engagement was Coke’s Virtual Thirst, an effort which received mixed reviews at best.


Leo Burnett at one stage built a giant tree (replete with caged birds and apples) but they have now also departed. Their space was apparently envisioned as a place for international collaboration.


BBH built a (rather bland looking) office back in 2006 – also claiming to be the “first” – and said office for the moment is still there. It actually looks fairly well maintained, if unevolved and sterile. The only evidence of client involvement is a rather large Levi’s poster.


My views on marketing through Second Life? Well, I’d start by saying “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”. There seems to be a dichotomy between those who piled in to Second Life without thinking it through particularly well (net result: lots of money spent and little to show) and those who rejected it out of hand (net result: nothing spent and nothing learned).

As with any marketing experience, success depends on objectives. Want to reach a lot of people quickly? Second Life probably isn’t for you. Want to reach and connect with tech-savvy 30-something virtual world enthusiasts (hey, someone might) then it might make sense.


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Pixar’s Creativity, Crispin’s SNAFU, Dunhill’s Club, Undead Print

How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
Behind Pixar’s string of hit movies, says the studio’s president, is a peer-driven process for solving problems.
(tags: pixar creativity process design digital)

Evidently some of the “I’m a PC” were ads made on a Mac. Oh dear.
Yet another mis-step by Crispin Porter & Allthumbs. Someone got hold of the news that some of the recent “I’m a PC” ads were made on a Mac. A big deal? Possibly not. An avoidable screw-up? Absolutely.
(tags: microsoft pc mac advertising crispinporter crispinporterbogusky bogusky snafu apple)

The brand’s latest location is the Bourdon House in Mayfair, the former residence of the Duke of Westminster, which had been an industrial workshop. What emerged from the rebuild is partially a store and partially a lifestyle experience: Amenities include a barber shop, a spa with heated marble floors, and a 12-seat soundproof theater. There’s also a walk-in humidor, which sports a collection of cigars that run up in price to £50; if you want to smoke, you have to do so in the courtyard outside, but there are a selection of vintage scotches and rums to accompany you. “We want to make men’s lives easier, give them a home away from home,” says Dunhill CEO Chris Colfer Attached to the store is Alfred’s, a private club housed in the Duke’s fully restored former quarters. Modeled after the notorious Hellfire clubs of the 18th century, Alfred’s is only accessible by members. In order to become one, you have to be invited to join—and no, they don’t just let anyone in.

If Print is dead, this makes a beautiful corpse
What’s the perfect accessory for the designer bag you somewhat insanely splurged on? Not The Last Magazine, that’s for sure. This beautiful piece of printed matter, designed by Magnus Berger, a graphic designer from Baron & Baron, does make its readers look elegant and up-to-the-moment, with stories about various rising talents. But it’s huge — 15 inches by 21 inches. Consider it the coffee table book of fashion glossies. Since it appears only once every two years, you get a while to digest this supersize $10 portion of glamour, coming soon to newsstands. So you’ll have time to choose just the right coffee table for it.
(tags: print magazines digital future photography design popculture)

Mad Men on the Catwalk, Agency Model is Bent, Networks Plan to Keep ‘Em Watching

Links for 2008-01-23 : Publicis and Google, Strawberry Frog and Frito Lay, Multitaking, Mac-Lovin’, Putin, $1 Starbucks

Links for 2007-12-07 : Avatars, Coke There, Honeyshed, FaceBook Book

Links for 2007-11-30 : Coutts, Trends, Mobile Metaverse, E-Waste, Digital Planning, Zeus Jones, PCs, Nokia

Links for 2007-11-28 : Green Room, Neuromarketing, Smart House, Disruption