Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

Going Mad With Multiscreens

It’s a known fact that a large part of our lives now revolve around interacting with some screen or the other. From the original idiot box to the third screen of our mobile phone, we are armed and ready to receive communication of any kind, any time of the day and night. New York Times recently held a panel discussion with some of the brightest creators of new media, Benjamin Palmer of Barbarian Group, Lard Bastholm of AKQA, Robert Rassmussen RG/A, all moderated by Jack Hilt. Here are some quotes we picked up from the chat…

On the proliferation of screens
• What the proliferation of screens has done is give a zillion creators the power to publish.
• When the TV networks held the reins for content, all advertising had to do was buy into the public consciousness of entertainment, which was television
• (You can’t just advertise just anything anymore) with the internet, consumers have become smarter.
• Most media, like television, used to be a kind of flow. You’d sit down, you’d turn it on and you’d watch. The reason advertising is completely broken is, that flow doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no prime time.
• (On the Internet) brands have become transparent, and that’s changed the tone of advertising. Now you have to try to be more authentic — even if it’s just authentically acknowledging that what you’re doing is advertising.
• So advertising is by necessity a fractured narrative. We have a story we want to tell, and we use different media channels and different touch points to tell it.

On customer being in control
• It used to be that companies would commission a study at great expense to find out what people thought about their product. Now you just go online and find out. It’s really scary at first. You realize there’s a whole dialogue going on outside your brand, and you can’t control it.
• (When customers talk online) The feedback you get, is so much richer and more immediate than what we used to get.
• That’s scary because of the instantaneousness of it. I mean, people will call you on things in a heartbeat.
(Editor’s note, politicians and the government in Mumbai were at the receiving end of this new phenomena after the terror strikes in Mumbai; email, social networking sites and mobile phones became the centre of a movement that brought some 20,000 people together to a peace march at the Gateway of India. Read the tiny post that started it all)

On marketers trying to adapt
• We used to joke that advertising was “lying for a living.” We got away with that back then. We can’t anymore. And now, if we get caught in a lie, we’re in trouble.

On staying informed
• Most people no longer “watch the news.” Every morning I (Lars Bastholm) check the latest headlines on the BBC’s Web site. There’s a Danish newspaper that I check out every day, because that’s where I’m from, and then I look at The New York Times. I get a Twitter feed from CNN as well.

On how media can go with the flow
• The problem with established news shows is that they’re trying to be everything for everybody.
• Maybe the newscaster could begin with a Twitter feed where she’s talking about what she’s actually doing during the day – eg, newscaster talking openheartedly about what she experienced the second after she’s done with the interview.
• There is an interesting contrast between this fixed 6:30 p.m. news show and this idea of the fragmented narrative throughout the day.

On advertising money machines like the Superbowl
• The Super Bowl has become an advertising event. Everybody watches and talks about the ads.
• No one is saying that a Super Bowl spot won’t work. As a way to launch the conversation, why not? But you have to have lots of digital follow-up planned ahead of time.
• You can make revenue off multiple streams of content. If you’re giving somebody two minutes or three minutes of content, they’re probably willing to accept a brief ad.

On the future
• Clients are not saying, “Make us ads” or “Make us Web sites,” they’re saying, “Create interaction between our brand and our customers.” That’s our job now.
Read the whole round table here…

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