Archive | April 2008

Why I Can’t Be Bought

I can’t be bought because I’ll gladly give myself away to interesting and worthwhile opportunities. If you have to pay me to convince me that your opportunity is interesting and worthwhile, then it probably isn’t.

Conversation from Gtalk

This is why I like hanging out with her.

Me: have an idea of where you want to go (for dinner)?
Friend: hmm
Friend: i have a stain on my shirt, so nowhere too nice…

My Greatest Accomplishment



My Greatest Accomplishment, originally uploaded by nien_liu.

Top Ramen that looks the way it does on the packaging. Someone going to give me my own cooking show?

On Racism

A couple of weeks ago, a class discussion led to the topic of racism. It was an emotionally charged situation where everyone was defensive about their experiences and views on racism.

The reason why it was so emotionally charged was because no one was listening to one another. I feel that people seemed threatened when people offer a different view/experience with racism because it calls into question the validity of their own – for example, two black people having completely different experiences or a white person saying that they have experienced racism as well (in the form of reverse racism). So when we start sharing our experiences with racism it becomes a forum where everyone wants to inform/educate everyone else without listening to anyone else.

I know this seems like a hard pill to swallow. Even with my own politics it seems hard because if I give time to a perspective that I think is false, I justify it. But consider perceptions. Perceptions are just as if not more important than reality and they play a big role in how we experience race in this country.

Meet the New Creative

This is old news but a guy at Poke created a really cool iPhone application. where it will synch the music to the rhythm of your steps.

As I’m schlepping around the country looking for work, I realized that some agencies created a new “digital strategist” position to work in the digital space (as opposed to just the strategist/planner). Not that I mind. If anyone were to change their job descriptions it would be the planner since we have to continually prove our worth and justify our existence.

Interestingly enough, while our job descriptions are always evolving, those of the copywriter/art director’s don’t. And you can see it in some of the interactive work where it is obvious they threw print/TV ideas on the web. I think a lot of copywriters/art directors don’t have the right skill sets to work effectively in the digital space – but some do. The point is their job descriptions aren’t going to change any time soon, so to make up for the lack of expertise, guys like Greg Elliott are more important than ever.

Elliot (and guys like Hashem Bawja and Ian Tait) represent a different kind of creative who uses technology as their creative medium and that’s the creative of the future.

New Media Again

I think MAGE left an interesting thought on my last post about new media – “now. As slow as media companies have been to use the new media, business have been slower to understand it,” – that got me thinking about media companies in general.

I agree that media companies are slow about using new media. We had Tata Sato of Mindshare visit our class this semester and the question of new media came up. And if I remember correctly, her response to it was that they don’t do anything that hasn’t been proven to work. One reason why media companies are making a killing is because they have the greatest handle on metrics and ROI – something clients love hearing about. I think the problem with new media is that there are no established case studies that the media company can use to make the suggestion to their clients.

Some of the shops that can get away with making new media recommendations are more creative or innovation types of companies. Or simply companies that create things, not messaging – Anomaly, Zeus Jones, Poke, etc. Those things that they create go on to become a media channel of sorts. And I say “media channels of sorts” because I know some agencies prefer to create tools or useful experiences where no content is being delivered.

How the iPhone Will Change Mobile Marketing

This is a summary of a project I was working on for a class.

iPhone takes smart phones mainstream
Smart phones – Blackberries and Treos – have always been popular among business users because of their email and web capabilities. But the design aesthetics and costs have deterred the typical cell phone user from switching over. The capabilities were desired, but not in that packaging. But the iPhone got it right.

And in the process of getting it right, it helped turn users towards the larger category of smart phones in general. Blackberry reported an increase in sales after the release of the iPhone. And from our survey, all iPhone users swear to never go back to a normal cell phone. People are now in tune with a smarter, more dynamic mobile experience.

Increased functionality = intense usage behavior
While all smart phones have increased functionality, the iPhone made took the idea mainstream to the average consumer. The study found that the increased functionality of the iPhone lead to intense usage behaviors. Users described the iPhone as “a computer that happens to make phone calls” and also stating that “everyday is like getting a new phone…with all the third party apps.” Obviously, there is an opportunity to engage people through the phones, but through very specific terms of engagement.

The brand is the phone and the phone is the brand
That observation infers that if a brand wants to engage a user on their mobile device, that they have to also take the route of increased functionality. Typically, a brand would engage through the phone (like a media channel) to get to the consumer. However, there is an opportunity to transform the phone experience into a brand experience. It’s a daring proposition that suggests that a brand should take over the phone, but done in a way that adds value.

Terms of engagement
Applications or widgets are an effective way to engage people on their phones. Small pieces of software are effective in changing the phone experience into brand experience. Also, software is designed and structured in a way to deliver on function. A couple of cues to consider when designing applications or widgets for mobile marketing campaigns:

All about utility, not story – stories do very little in terms of creating function. It’s counter-intuitive thinking in the communications business, but it’s one that will create applications that will last longer.

Start with the client’s product idea – often times we create concepts to layer on top of the product to sell it. However, applications have the potential to becoming business building opportunities. The closer the application is tied to the product the more relevant it is for the user.

Insights for usage/design not feel/think – for the sake of usability, planners have to consider insights that will inspire how the application will work and how people will use it.