How strategy kills a brand like the New York Times If a premium brand or product all of a sudden starts advertising with 'intent'—it never really works out very well. (When I say intent, I mean an advertisement that simply says, 'Do this'. 'Buy now!')
"Become a digital subscriber."
That's how The New York Times is advertising itself these days. It's a real shame to see such meaningless advertising from such an influential company in American media. The New York Times is the 'thought-leader', the superior brand—there's only one. That's the perceived reality of their brand.
Their advertising should be as intelligent as their content. It's a shame it isn't (and it's someones fault it's the way it is). I hope that someone comes across this note some day.
Meaningless, noise-making work like this simply ruins my perception of who they really are. Are they a newspaper comprised of brilliant writers? Or are they just another news source who's asking me to pay for content I can get anywhere else?
Well at least I know what their advertising is telling me—and I'm not buying it.
Sure they have a strategy to sell digital subscriptions, but today there's more than 2-billion ways to skin a cat. Maybe they should let their writers run the advertising department. Who knows, maybe that will help them get their voice back.
Last night I met a very smart gentleman who worked at a brilliant company called Google. Not exactly an idiot, right? But here's the thing, after a long and intense series of conversations, the one and only thing we actually agreed on is the idea that none of us really knows what it will take to solve or even change the real problems in the global world today.
He said, "Even if you really try to make change, it won't be effecive—simply because change is inevitable and will happen with or without your participation—and that's how it goes." My thoughts were that change to him seemed like a pre-determined science, an organisim, a part of an evolutionary process that 'I wouldn't or couldn't even understand'. (to put it his way)
While I found myself unable to disagree with his comments, internally I very much disagreed.
But isn't that the point? Shouldn't we all agree to disagree? Regardless of my disagreement, our intellectual debate enabled me to have an unexpected level of "knowledge-sharing" around the philosophies that he finds 'essential' or even factual in his world. And sometimes these facts are a very hard thing to dispute in another person's world. Why? Because beliefs are almost like a religion—they convice us all to belive in what we think is true.
I honestly don't even really know where all of this is going. Perhaps i'm trying to a that it's better to have a couple of intellectual debates on an average day than to have none at all. Each conversation, debate or intellectual 'banter' make us all a little bit smarter simply by gaining a perspective from other smart people's perspectives—even if we DO disagree with where they are coming from.
So what do you have to lose? Why not JUST listen to what others have to say? It might just pay dividends in the end and open your mind to another world of thinking that you never could have had on your own.
Sh*t you can say on the internet Commedian George Carlin once had a famous bit called 7 words you cant say on TV. In order to actually hear these words (without the censorship beep) you only had one option—go see him live. (or get a bootleg tape from a friend)
George always said: "You know the 7, don't you, that you can't say on television? "Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, CockSucker, MotherFucker, and Tits". Those are the heavy seven".
Shock is native to the online experience, the ground it was founded on. Hopefully this isn't news to you. Would your brand be cool with using words like these in your ads? Even if people found it truly entertaining? Do you want to be able to compete online? The rules are different here.
You have the freedom to say those words. You have the freedom to discuss topics that you wouldn't otherwise be able to in a mass marketing channel.
If your a challenger brand I suggest using this K-Swiss ad as an example. Be the counter culture. And for those larger companies and clients out there, if you want to compete, it's time accept the freedom of a new filter for your online creative.
Here's one thing I told my class of talented, young creative marketers.
Ideas and executions in the advertising business generally land in one of two areas. They are: smart or fun.
Half of young people starting off in the business have the technical skills and bold-minded courage to do stuff that's simply fun. Why not, that's what the business is all about. Doing "cool" stuff. The other half of young people are simply smart. They can logically break down a problem, approach it in an intelligent way and work off of the paths that have been set before. Insight is what drives them, not images and words. Either way, BOTH are equally important.
So which are you? Where do your ideas typically land? Can you be the other? What if you practiced?
Remember one thing—it's about range.
The best-lasting ideas in the world, the ones that last a generation, are both fun and smart. You can be both.
Conan and his writers have always done a brilliant job at placing the promotion at the center of the joke-that's why it works. So well in fact that they can actually run it or push it more because it simply doesn't suck.
The writers and creators of the promotion certainly understood that it didn't have to be just an ad, instead they made it a bit. So, now you know how to integrate a great promotion,and knowing is half the battle.
We like impromptus. In the 60s there were 'Happenings', then therewere 'Be-ins', little pop-up ideas, events, songs, shows, films, and news. Impromptus create buzz, makes peoples' eyebrows go up, lights up Twitter pages, and get's sent back-and-forth through txt msgs and immediately become limited-edition moments—making them ideas worth passing. Can your brand make an impromptu?
If you're into not having plans or simply want some weekly summer inspiration on happenings in NYC that are off the radar events and ideas-subscribe to NonsenseNYC.
A lot of us have a natural case of split-personality disorder.
Why is it that when we go into a client presentation or sit down to write that conference report do we all of a sudden go into what I refer to as Super-Professional Mode? It's not a fancy name-just a simple 'mode' reference.
A mode can be described (by me) as a program or repetitious state that machines follow. So why do we fall into these 'modes'? To be honest, I have no idea. But what I do know is that when we work in this 'mode' we're not ourselves—we're like surrogates. Here's some great advice I downloaded a few years back: "Write as you speak, speak as you
I find that if I run this operation everyday, it keeps me from acting less like that surrogate and a bit more like myself. Run it everyday and it will help you to de-program this 'mode' slowly over time.
Technology Interaction + Physical Reaction = Good Action
We owe it to ourselves to get people out from the screen on the indoor life and out into the world that people created—a more natural place, and a healthier lifestyle.
I've been so very busy launching The World Park, that I have not even allowed myself one second to edit or even sketch a new idea until it launches on Arbor Day in New York's Central Park.
But in the meantime, think about this video below and The World Park event. Both of them involve new technology and create a new experience that people physically need to interact within order to make it tick. The interaction is what makes it tick. It needs you to work.
Both promote a healthy lifestyle via physical interaction. If a mobile game motivates you to explore or walk further through more of the park—giving you a deeper park experience, or a Nike shoe makes you wan to dance or even take up dancing like Rock Band did to music...isn't that a good thing?
I'm certainly not a big supporter of Nike in general, but what I am a HUGE supporter of is the idea inside of this video. As creative marketers, designers, and product developers in the United States—we are still many year's behind Japan and their ability to create, test, market, and successfully test our next generation products. What I mean is, ideas like this will pop up in the US soon, but chances are that before they roll it out across the universe, they'll see how the most innovative consumer market uses it to create something, or nothing with it. Until then...let's wait and see.
Enjoy this idea that motivates action and even a little dance reaction:) I REALLY want a pair of these!
The Central Park animals are having their annual Arbor Day Celebration
in Central Park, and they've decided to create an event called The World Park. Their goal was to re-imagine the park experience of tomorrow.
According to my park resources, The World Park experience is an interactive, mobile game where you compete with friends across categories like Science, Pop Culture, Art and History—while walking through Central Park. You'll be able to enjoy the views from the 1800's, watch Stuart Little
race a boat, scroll through time, unlock park secrets, and even hunt
for a real-world William Shakespeare in the park. Bike riding lesson from Dustin Hoffman? Who knows what you'll find at The World Park.