Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

The Rise And Rise Of Individualism

You have a custom ring tone, a custom call back tune, a facebook page full of personalized widgets. You have set up a special iGoogle landing page too? Cool! You are now firmly part of the new culture of individualism that’s sweeping the world. Made possible by the rise of digital tools, mass customization and small batch manufacturing.

Like the laser engraver, that can give your iPod a completely new look with some custom laser engraving. But wait till you hear about this device that Bug Labs just introduced. A collection of snap on modules from which you can make just about anything electronic. A cell phone, a GPS receiver, a camera. With some simple bits of coding and soon you could be walking around with a personalized device all your own.

London just finished up with a toy hacking workshop, a two day gig that encouraged people to open up toys and make new things out of them. Now throw in the powers of a Fab 3D home printer and pretty soon you could be churning up a range of unique products and selling them on the coolest online store, Etsy, a place for everything made by hand, in small batches.

Former Wired Magazine editor Louis Roesetto has set up a chocolate company, now in beta, that will produce small batches of fine chocolate. Or the story of Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley startup company focusing on the production of high performance, consumer-oriented electric vehicles, that shuns mass production like the one that Henry Ford introduced.

Last week CPB and Dominos introduced an online pizza ordering system that gives its American customers the ability to make custom pizzas. These orders can also be stored on the system so that they or others can access and try them out. The features are pretty rudimentary just now, but the system holds the promise of enabling users to create thousands of combinations of quirky and unique pizzas. Imagine a Dominos hub in Memphis, next to where FedEx runs its overnight shipping business and these pizzas could be preordered a day in advance, giving customers unlimited choice.

Just like with everything, the agency business too is seeing the effect of individualization beginning to make an impact. Search giants like Google and Yahoo are showing us that it is possible to create hundreds of variations of the same ad with little or no effort.

Yahoo’s automated smart banner advertising system can deliver custom made banners on the fly. And on a service like Spotrunner, (WPP, Interpublic, and CBS have made investments in the company) anyone can walk in and create a TV commercial, a media plan and more simply by logging in with a credit card and spending half an hour. Combine this with the power of Visibleworld’s Intellispot and you have custom made the ad for a nationwide release in the time it has taken us to write this story.

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