Alternative marketing thinking


Archive for the category “Design”

Advertising. Not Like the Music Industry.

There have been many stories in the media in the last few weeks about the decay of advertising. There was this long one about The Future of Advertising in Fast Company. BusinessWeek countered it with this one on how Big Dumb Agencies may not be going away anywhere soon. The most provocative one, however was by Adaptive Path’s Peter Merholz. It was a brutal piece, one that tore apart our business as one with a “poisonous core”. While there has been a lot of debate and discussion around the post – in fact Peter has posted a rejoinder explaining various points on his original one, I thought the last item on his first rant to be a bit off key.  Advertising Agencies are the New Music Industry, he wrote.

I am not sure if the music industry analogy is the right one for the advertising business. While just like the music business, traditional advertising is being run over by the arrival of the Internet and other digital mediums, unlike the music industry, which went down primarily because of the growth of file sharing, I think advertising will evolve thanks to a combination of many smaller changes.

Search Marketing. While Google and others in the search marketing business are seeing exceptional growth, search marketing alone will not end advertising as we know it.

Social Media. Yes it is hot at the moment and will be extremely important in the years to come. Social media engagement will be one of the many things that marketers will need to help manage a brand.

PR. For years PR was a discipline that marketing had little influence over. Bougsky’s allegedly famous quote “…write me the press release” aptly describes how PR has become an important mover of marketing messages. Recently Pepsi’s Shiv Singh tweeted about wanting a partner who was a combination of a digital agency, a traditional agency and a PR company.

Video. BMW films showed us what can be done when branded messages are played out in digital media. There have been many experiments that have followed. The age of video, though, is just beginning to play out.

Mobile. Mobile devices will have as much or more impact on the marketing business as computers, TV and radio have had in the past. Always connected, always on phones are a tsunami that will change traditional messaging, but will need to do more to completely annihilate brand messages.

Location Based Services. These new and emerging concepts will add another dimension to real-time marketing. There are some simple and straight forward “Minority Report” kind of possibilities that location based messaging can do. These concepts will evolve and amaze us in the years to come.

Reality Enhanced. Ideas like augmented reality are just being experimented with at the moment. There will be more we will do by overlaying smart digital ideas over real things in the future.

Gaming. In an attention starved world, inventive new branded or brand embedded  games will give marketers access into the minds of people.

Crowdsourcing. Not so much a concept as much as an approach to producing ideas. Crowdsourcing will chip away advertising agency strongholds and change advertising in many ways.

Amazement. For decades, advertising had this knack of creating jaw-dropping moments. Not anymore. Anyone with a digital camera can now. Ads now have to fight even harder to be seen and talked about.

Marketers, marketing messages and the ones who create them, advertising agencies, will have to change to stay in touch with people who have lot more to do. The reason for this change will be many. All of them equally relevant.


Art Of The Barrel

For the past year the team at Johnson Banks has been creating a new kind of buzz for Glenfiddich Single Malt. The brief as posted on their blog was to take a series of actual whisky barrels and find a way to express the vast lengths of time it takes to actually produce a bottle of the product. Using parts of the barrel as a canvas, the charred staves, the trunk, the metal hoops and more. Read more about the project here.

Masks From Artist Yoriko Yoshida.

Just in time for the Swine Flu season, a range of unique, one-of-a-kind Masks From Artist Yoriko Yoshida.

Put Your Brand Here!

Wonderful little round up of the best branded apps that have come up for the iPhone.

Stories From The Aisle. Boom Time For Shopper Marketing.

Not the first time are we writing about shopper marketing. And there’s good reason for doing so. Because the dynamics in the media landscape have changed, and now the one place you can still aggregate a mass audience is in-store. If 35 million Americans watched the season ending finale of American Idol, the most watched show on television, some 150 million Americans pass through the revolving doors of WalMart, Costco, Walgreens, Safeway and Kroger to boast weekly shopper counts of 20 million, 30 million, 44 million and 68 million, respectively. Point of sale is probably the most important point at which shoppers makes choices, and if you can hit them with a message, you can measure it with a sales lift. A study by Booze & Co found that over the next three years, in-store marketing activity will grow at a higher rate than any other marketing tactic. One of the key inflection points in this space has been WalMart’s decision to start an instore TV channel. With over 2600 locations around the US and hundreds and thousands of TV screens the network will rival the reach of traditional TV network. The IPTV based network is capable of delivering a precise message at the moment of purchase, down to one single screen. In India too such networks are beginning to proliferate. Future Group’s Future TV is one such player connecting up 10 million customers a week. Although there is a lot of buzz surrounding these latest in-store shopper marketing strategies, there’s still an ailing economy driving decisions. That could cause companies to pause before jumping into the newer in-store networks and rely on the tried-and-true shopper marketing tactics. More in AdWeek.

What Are We Buying?

Wonderful infographic that shows how different countries are consuming things, as only NY Times can do it. What your global neighbours are buying – a look at how people spend their discretionary income. The infographic illustrates that cash spent on clothing, electronics, recreation, household goods, alcohol – depends a lot on where they live. People in Greece, for instance, spend almost 13 times more money on clothing as they do on electronics. People living in Japan spend more on recreation than they do on clothing, electronics and household goods combined. More Interactive charts here.

Designing For The Mobile Web

One of the biggest challenges that web companies will need to brace for is the coming mobile web. Websites will have to be smaller, cleaner, load faster and easy to navigate. While Apple and Adobe have collaborated long and hard on design and word processing platforms, Flash the chosen motion add-on for the web, is still not available on the iPhone. So designers will have to think up new ways to deliver visually enhanced experiences on the device. Smashing Magazine has a wonderful story on how to design for the mobile web. A must read for anyone who is interested in connecting with people in the coming year. Couched as a trends article, this is more a how to, with loads of very important insights on how the phone and its user are different compared to when he/she uses other devices. The story points to 5 key differences that a designer has to keep in mind when designing for the medium, including lack of white spaces and images. On the technical front, look out for the use of sub domains rather than use .mobi as a TLD, it’s a lot easier to manage content delivery on different platforms, we suspect. Another important trend that’s being noticed is the need to prioritise content for visitors. Show only what is important seems to be the mantra of the best sites, which means even ads are out for the moment. Mobile as a platform for delivering web sites is still evolving. Music and movie makers seem to have a leg up at the moment as people using their phones as music players and mini screens for watching things is already firmly in place. How to deliver easily navigable websites and corporate borchureware, now that’s another challenge. The Smashing Magazine story is here. How NY Times redesigned navigation for the iPhone is here.


A video directed by Krner Union that uses a simple mirror arrangement to transforms the casual movements of birds and mice into a beautiful display of synchronized actions. Watch the video.


A very interesting graphic representation of the germination cycle of a seed. It shows how the seed travels on various carriers across air, water and land to finally grow into a new plant. Watch the video.

Get Paid In Card

For the 10 million or so unbanked in the US, there’s a new way to get paid. Instead of converting a paycheck into cash, prepaid cards let users pour it into a piece of branded plastic. One of the new players in the space is Prepaid Visa RushCard, the product is a partnership between Unifund (a company best known for buying up and collecting on bad debts) and Russell Simmons, a founder of Def Jam records and the Phat Farm apparel brand. Simmons devised the card because he “thinks everyone should be financially empowered. Ram Palaniappan, general manager of RushCard thinks that the cards are meant to offer the “dignity” of inclusion to consumers otherwise left at the margins of American money culture. While RushCard is not new, it’s been around since 2003, looks like a product that’s sure to do well in these downtimes. More in NY Times.

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