Archive for March, 2007

I thought this was brilliant! In 5 minutes, it summarizes the evolution of the web, issues and paradigm shifts concerning Web 2.0.


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Appeared on 13th March 2007. To read, click to enlarge.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I’ve written a couple of others for the Straits Times, entitled Marketing Strategies Get a Lift from Technology and Building a Political Brand.

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Volvo C30 Site

I used “New Media” in inverted commas because it really isn’t new anymore. There’s also this Web 2.0 jargon being thrown about. It’s the web. It will evolve. It is the mainstream media and will continue to replace and supplant old media.

Anyway, I was personally impressed by the recent campaign, which incidentally I got via eDM for the new Volvo C30. Marketing Interactive had a summary of the campaign here. See the actual campaign here.

The internet has given rise to citizen journalism and an exponential growth in “Word of Mouth” (WOM) information dissemination. In the past WOM would have been restricted to your immediate social circles but the internet puts the power of publishing in everyone’s hands.

Hence, a wired person will typically (anecdotal evidence) surf independent review sites and blogs before buying a product and be wary of marketing information from manufacturers. For example, when I bought my Canon Digital SLR, I relied on bloggers information and the independent review site Digital Photography Review and not once did I got to the Canon Website. Why would I when I want impartial information?

So, Volvo’s decision to allow users to submit self created UNCENSORED video interviews is a very mature and enlightened way to go in my opinion.

I’ve maintained many times (including an article I wrote for Marketing Magazine here) that the internet as a medium will force manufacturers to be more transparent and focus more on product quality and service delivery. I think Volvo here is very confident of their product and hence brave enough to launch this campaign. It is the right thing to do, of course, since even if Volvo didn’t provide this platform, the information would have appeared in blogs, in car forums and other digital platforms.

Well done, Volvo.

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According to Marketing Interactive Singapore, Batey is out of the running for the Singapore Airlines pitch. This must be the pitch of the decade for Singapore… or maybe even the century!

35 years, they held the account. That’s probably longer than the average age of the creative team that’s going to work on future Singapore Airlines campaigns.

I personally think it’s a good thing. I see big brands starting to fray at the edges. Not looking tired yet, mind you, but I see the signs of future passe coming on. Coca-Cola IMHO is one (see their new campaign… trying too hard) and the other is Singapore Airlines. And the time has come none too soon. I have not been impressed with Bateys work at all.

It’s going to be a tremendous blow to them but it’ll probably do them good as for so long they have rested easy in the assurance that their bread and butter was taken care of, or rice bowl, in the Asian context.

According to the article, the shortlisted agencies are DDB, Publicis and TBWA. The agencies that didn’t make it were Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R, and the Bates-Ogilvy initative called Gold.

One thing I’m excited about is that one of the shortlisted agencies (I won’t mention which one) asked me to sit in on a “mock pitch” to give them my feedback/comments from a client’s POV. Looking forward to that.

However, don’t wait with bated breath for a completely fresh and radical approach. According to an alleged statement by Singapore Airlines, they said “Singapore Airlines takes this opportunity to reassure our customers and supporters the world over that the Singapore Girl icon will remain, and there will be no change to the hallmark sarong kebaya uniform”.

Incidentally, there are men in Singapore Airlines who work as stewards and they don’t wear the sarong kebaya uniform. Just a side note.

So long, Batey Ads.

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The world seems to be evolving into “user created” experiences. Some blogs are essentially user created magazines, Wikipedia is user a user created encyclopedia and Second Life is a user created 3D virtual world. In this sense, when I say “user created”, I mean individuals as opposed to organisations.

Second Life is a particularly brilliant piece of leveraging “user creation”. Although it is not a game, Second Life is considered a MMORPG (Massive Multi-Player On-Line Role Playing Game). Not a game because unlike say, World of Warcraft, there’s no real objective to Second Life. However, a lot of people treat it as a game. Unlike World of Warcraft, everything you see on Second Life is user created and the IP owned by the creator. The inventors of Second Life, Linden Lab hence does not incur any creative development cost. And in the gaming industry, the biggest cost is the creative cost.

So, what has this got to do with advertising? I sense that advertising has evolved from being one of information provision to one of entertainment. If I wanted to buy something, say a digital camera, the last place I would go to is a Canon, or Panasonic or Nikon website. I’ll probably go to an independent review site like this or read personal experiences of the camera in question from blogs. If I like a particular Canon ad, I’ll probably youtube it until I’m sick of it just for entertainment. OK, I may pay attention to the facts like how much optical zoom and so on but certainly not for the marketing claims.

So, why waste good money, usually millions of dollars on advertising? Why not, like Linden Labs, create a platform for user creation and let the users create their own advertising based on their own perception of the brand.

It’s a radical idea but if a manufacturer provides the platform for their users to create a multi-media impression of the brand; something like a multi-media wiki, moderated for malicious use, I think what will result is a fascinating piece of creative. This will benefit both the user and the manufacturer.

Transparency will be huge, skepticism will be reduced because this piece of multi-media communication is not manufacturer created but user created. Of course the manufacturer must be brave and confident enough to let go. This means that they have to be dead sure of their product quality, which obviously, is not a bad thing.

I just wanted to throw this thought out. I’ll probably come back and explore this a bit more.

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I like this ad. It’s clever. Mind you – I’m not saying that I think this ad is effective; just that I like it. I have always been concerned about the entertaining vs. effective (from a brand recall POV) balance. But this ad, I think it’s clever.

Seagram’s Drink and Drive Campaign

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I remember spending hours in a Langkawi beach with a number of beers in a star washed beach pondering the size of the universe, how far it extended, where it ended and what was beyond where it ended. And if there was a beyond after its end, was that part of the universe or not. If not, what is the definition of the universe? The beer and sunrise would get the better of the night and the conversation would end with the conclusion that the universe was expanding; which is a pseudo intellectual way of copping out of the inevitably inconclusive and meandering contemplation.

Now, the question of this age is how large is the World Wide Web? Evidently, like the universe, the WWW is expanding. I think that proposition, not many will disagree with. So, once again, we have established the cop out answer; an escape valve. So, now that we are on safe ground, what is the size of the World Wide Web?

According to pandia.com, the size of the WWW in 2000 was some 7 million sites which was a 50% increase over the previous year. OK, 2000 was a long time ago as far as net life is concerned. Let’s look at a more recent study. According to a study by Antonio Gulli and Alessio Signorini the size of the indexable web is a staggering 11.5 billion pages as at the end of January 2005!

Now according to the CIA World Factbook, the population of the entire world (July 2006 estimate) is 6,525,170,264. That works to about 17.6 pages per each and single person in the entire world. Probably more because presumably at July 2006 there were more than 11.5 billion web pages.

If you however, take the internet penetration of 16.6% or 1,093,529,692 (as of January 2007) according to internetworldstats.com , that works out to be over 105 pages per internet user (based on 11.5 billion pages). I’m not sure how many percentage of internet users actually create content but I assume it’s not very high (I’m guessing less than half). This means a bunch of people are creating a whole lot of pages for the rest of us to aimlessly go click crazy around.

The problem is that while searching for this information, it is clear that, like the universe, no one really knows how big the WWW is. OK, I’ve thrown out the 11.5 billion figure from the Antonio Gulli and Alessio Signorini study. However, in 2005 Yahoo! announced that its search engine index contained more than 19.2 billion documents.

Another study claims between 15 to 30 billion….

So, like the beer lined question of my teenage years, “how big is the universe”, the question of the teens of today is, “how big is the world wide web”.

The answer, like the answer in my youth is the cop out “no one knows but it’s expanding”

Whatever the answer, each generation has it’s imponderable, perhaps even rhetorical question to wile away countless hours while downing the lager. Perhaps in the distant future, after all of us are dead, the raging debate could be whether the World Wide Web was created or did it evolve from a primordial soup.

In the meanwhile, I add another web page in this ever expanding universe.

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