Off to Thailand!

Hi,

I’m off to Thailand with the missus until 14.08 so you’ll have three weeks without me. I promise I’ll be back with a bunch of interesting observations about Advertising in Thailand.

Spk later yeah?

xx

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Cool Shit Round Up 17.07.2015

The Ads

Greatest Moments by Brothers and Sisters for Sky Sports

Rewards by Adam&Eve for Harvey Nichols

The Art

I Feel Ya: SCAD + ANDRE ‘3000’ BENJAMIN Exhibit. The innovator-supreme Andre 3000’s infamous Coachella jumpsuits are being exhibited at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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The Song

Toro Y Moi x Rome Fortune Pitch Black

The Article

Kanye West: why can’t rock ‘n’ roll’s old guard handle him? by Tim Jonze in The Guardian 

 Please leave Generation Z alone until 2018

If you’re in the toy or gaming industry you don’t need to read this. 

I’m hearing more and more about the need for brands to appeal to ‘Generation Z.’ Otherwise known as ‘post-millennials’ or, if you prefer weird militaristic terminology, the ‘Homeland Generation, ‘ these are individuals born after 1998 (making the oldest ones 18). They have never known a world without easy internet access, e-commerce, financial downturn, smartphones, an African American leader of ‘The Free World’, legislation protecting almost all minorities, the minimum wage and the threat of terrorism. They will admittedly be an interesting bunch and will bring with them a heap of new challenges for marketers down the line however there does seem little point in trying to actively reach a demographic who, at this stage in their lives, don’t have any of their own money.

The counter-argument that I would anticipate is that brands are what people are increasingly choosing to define themselves with. For example, there is no shortage of brand-complemented narcissism on Instagram, Buzzfeed’s commercial partners manage to merge their ‘listcicles’ with lifestyle-base content and Apple’s marketing is largely based on the personal qualities that its target market aspire to. If we follow this logic then it would make sense to get in there early with Gen Z (sorry) however there is one major factor that is being overlooked and that is that kids and teenagers have not fully developed yet as individuals.

Sure, Generation Z likely enjoy Zoella videos and Minecraft or One Direction or whatever but these are things that they will grow out of and probably be embarrassed by once they reach an age where they have their own income- I used to think The Kooks’ ‘Naive’ was a brilliant song, I watched How I Met Your Mother and thought that The Libertines were a culturally pivotal band for Pete’s sake (pun intended). We also have no idea how this demographic will evolve once they start to have to deal with financial responsibility, career choices, marriage, voting, tax, parenthood etc. Might this impact their starry eyed social liberalism or their projected entrepreneurial spirit? Who can say?

By no means am I saying that Generation Z aren’t an important research topic for planners, marketing strategists and the like. There is no harm in trying to understand them or even making some speculations about what their spending habits and feelings towards various brands might be however it seems foolish to be putting time, effort and money into ‘reaching’ them with our advertising before they have any independent purchasing power, experience of adulthood or sense of what defines them as individuals. So back off until 2018 when some of them will be 21 and spending their Zero-Hour Contract wages on products that they’ll take home to their parents homes which they’ll still be living in because of the Housing Crisis.

Cool Shit Round up 10.07.2015

The Ad

#WeGotYou by Hill Holiday for The Partnership for Drug Free Kids. We all know that anti-drug fear-mongering is a dead end but this is a clever campaign nonetheless!

‘It’ll feel like everyone is doing it’ and ‘I want to fit in but I don’t want to smoke.’

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The Art

Political Portraiture by Lola Dupre. See the full collection here.

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The Song

Regret by Everything Everything. Really enjoying the album, it’s not easy to find a relevant guitar band these days.

The Photo Collection

‘The History of Grime’ by i-D magazine

Apple Music, the brand and first impressions

So it’s finally happened, Apple has thrown its hat into the ring alongside Spotify, Google Play and the (in my opinion) doomed Tidal. Announced by its beautiful TBWA produced ad the company has rolled out its music streaming service allowing those of us dependant on both Apple products and music streaming to sync up with the mothership. Emphasizing music discovery and curation the new service allows you to browse artists to whom you can ‘connect’ and receive periodic updates and follow popular cultural platforms such as Vice and Pitchfork who are dispersing playlists alongside those created by Apple.

As one of the world’s strongest brands, one that’s built on innovation, premium design aesthetics and most importantly being used-friendly, Apple has done a pretty solid job with its streaming service. What sets Apple Music aside from both previous Apple products and its competitors is its emphasis on curation. As well as opting to follow media brands such as Noisey and Pitchfork you can also tap in to the vast amount of playlists that Apple have curated for you based on what you told them you’re into. I’ve been suggested everything from ‘Introduction to Four Tet’ to ‘SoCal Punk’ to ‘The Fall:The 90s’ to ‘Hipster’s Guide to R&B’ and ‘Lounge Rap,’ it’s all highly specific and new suggestions seem to present themselves to me every time I hit the ‘For You’ tab. Beneath all of this is the acknowledgement of the profound truth that we are in an age of personal and public curation. The user gets the opportunity to work alongside the existing algorithm to control how they get to access and explore music and then curate a library of tracks which compliment, or perhaps exacerbate the individuals sense of who they are- it is a prime example of branding and the innovation lies in the way in which the (forgive me Mr Hegarty) consumer is involved. This will reach even further once the planned social media integration is rolled out.

It does, of course, have its flaws. Multiple music and tech commentators have pointed to the overload of features and content and the awkwardness of certain aspects of the interface. I do not doubt that this will be worked out in subsequent versions, Apple has released some pretty clunky incarnations of iTunes in the past- nobody’s perfect! From a PR perspective Apple could have done without its run-in with industry power-broker Taylor Swift who initially held out on releasing her hugely popular 1989 album to the service due to the initial policy of not paying royalties during the trial period.

Despite a few predictable bumps in the road Apple Music has gotten off to a good start. It’s a prime example of marketing led innovation at its best, leveraging both its existing cultural credit and influence and launching itself in line with the current truths of the market. A couple of personal peeves that I have with the service are firstly, where the hell is all of the UK Garage? All I could find was a really weird cover of ‘Blinded by the Lights’ by The Streets and Daniel Bedingfiled’s ‘Gotta Get Through This.’ Also I don’t really understand how Beats 1 Radio works, do I just check the schedule for the shows that I wanna hear?

Cool Shit Round Up 03.07.2015

The Ad

1000 years of less ordinary by W+K for Finlandia

The Art

Eggs Benedict by Niki Johnson (the last pope made out of condoms)

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The Songs

H.O.M.E. by Trinidad James (yeah he’s still about) featuring ILOVEMAKONNEN

Back Then Skepta x Plastician

The Interview

Shane Smith, CEO of Vice interviewed by Johnny Hornby, founder of CHI&Partners and The&Partnership at Cannes Lions festival.

Quick thought: Why has it taken will.i.am to point out the bleeding obvious about YouTube ads?

At last week’s Cannes Lions festival in the south of France accomplished hit-maker, brand-collaborator and The Voice judge will.i.am appeared alongside Sir Martin Sorrell, Johnny Hornby of CHI&Partners (and The &Partnership who brought us the event), Google SVP Lorraine Twohill and Will Lewis, CEO of the Wall Street Journal. will.I. am quickly sees his co-panelists turn against him once he dares suggest that people skip, or at least don’t actually watch YouTube pre-roll ads.The fun kicks off at around the 2.13 mark:

We all know that YouTube, like most platforms, wouldn’t be possible without ads- we all accept this. There is however a problem when most of the industry drinks the proverbial ‘Kool Aid’, buying into the mass-delusion that people appreciate seeing ads before accessing their desired content. The solution? There are probably people far more intelligent than I on the case but since it’s out of the question to do away with this unpopular yet necessary method of reaching the public I would put forward that advertisers and media owners need to start looking at how to properly target their ads to people who may actually be interested in the product being advertised and brands and agencies need to work together to tailor their content to fit the platform in terms of being engaging, entertaining and relevant enough to minimize user frustration from having to see an ad.

That’s just me though, what do I know?