16th June 11
Author: Matthew Kershaw (@mattski2000), Content Director, BBH London
There is a frothy bubble of excitement growing around the future of Connected TV.
Just this month, Philips announced that they have 1 million active Net TV users.
And all the major players are piling in: Google are still behind Google TV, YouView are finally preparing to launch with the ultimate boss, Lord Sugar, Virgin have just launched their Tivo service, Sony made a commitment early and even Apple are still just about in the game with their AppleTV device. And then there’s Anthony Rose, the genius behind the BBC iPlayer and ex CTO of YouView, now championing two-screen interaction.
With all this hype and excitement, you’d think that us ad folk would be talking about nothing else, combining as it does ad land’s two big obsessions: the power of television and the interactivity of the internet.
So why are we holding back? Read full post
14th June 11
Posted in Film
Author: Alice Bullimore, Integrated Producer, BBH London
What would happen if you asked everyone in the world to take a video of their life on the same day?
Well, it’s happened. The day was July 24th 2010 and people from 120 countries uploaded over 80,000 videos. Life, in a Day.
The raw footage itself is powerful. As Alexandra Coghlan comments in her great review, “what is perhaps most extraordinary and exciting about this project are its leftovers”, and on the ‘explore’ tab at youtube.com/lifeinaday the guys at Google have made all this footage available for us to filter and view, the many stories untold.
But then there’s the film.
Kevin MacDonald & Ridley Scott at RSA undertook the ambitious curatorial job of creating their story of the world, Joe Walker took on the crazily gargantaun mission of editing.
Over 4500 hours of footage reviewed, complied and cut into a coherent 90 minute film.
The film’s not bad either.
It was well received at Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals, Total Film have given it 4 stars and it currently enjoys a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
But what was it like laying down this challenge?
What if no-one had entered anything?
What if most of the crowd sourced footage was unusable?
With so much footage to go through, how do you choose what story to tell? An individual’s? The world’s? The editors’? Just whose agenda is at work, and what are the implications of a film like this?
Well, we’re privileged to be able to get a bit closer to some of these answers with a preview screening & live Q&A with the editor, Joe Walker, at BBH in London this wednesday 15th June at 5.00pm.
If you would like to ask Will and the team a question of your own, we have a limited number of tickets available for you & a friend to join us.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free pair of tickets. First come first served.
We look forward to seeing you.
You can also upload questions for Kevin MacDonald and Life in a Day contributors here, by 2pm UK time *today* in advance of the UK premiere. The film is on national release in Vue cinemas on Thursday.
6th June 11
Posted in Events
Author: Agathe Guerrier (@agatheg), Strategist, BBH London & BBH Labs
*Tonight at 9pm GMT* we’re happy to say Kronenbourg 1664 is hosting a live event on the brand’s YouTube channel, as part of its Slow the Pace campaign.
A Q&A with the star of our second commercial in the series, Suggs from Madness, it will be livestreamed from the studios of our partner Absolute Radio. Since Friday, users have been able to submit their questions on the channel via a Google Moderator widget, a tool that was developed a few months ago for YouTube’s own Worldview project (featuring Obama and David Cameron), enabling citizens to quiz world leaders on issues of global governance.
To our knowledge, no brand has ever done this before. So nous croisons les doigts, as we say in France, until 10ish in the UK.
Watch the interview here.
This campaign is an integrated approach to broadcast and the social web that we’re calling “Super Bowl, Super Social” (check out our post last year about Yeo Valley for a detailed case study). Very simply, we know successful brands marry broadcast and participation in ways that add value (utility, entertainment) to people’s lives – the real-time web pushes that a stage further: rewarding brands that provide experiences and content that are bolder, better.
In the meantime, let’s hope Suggs turns up tonight.
3rd June 11
Posted in Books
“Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light”
~ Dylan Thomas, quoted in Hegarty in Advertising
Sir John’s book, “Hegarty on Advertising”, goes on sale on Monday.
He would be first person to say this is no ‘how-to’ manual, but rather his own story: packed with no holds barred opinion, behind the scenes anecdotes and strongly held principles to work by. There’s no crystal ball gazing, instead a distillation of what he’s learned in 45 years in the business. As such we found it a dose in humility for the here and now: a grip on history that, as ever, sets the future in context.
Despite his protestation this isn’t a manual, several ideas and themes emerge that have a hell of a lot to teach the rest of us: what makes a successful start-up, the humanization of the workplace, how to approach technology and stay abreast of innovation, the role of difference and ‘creative destruction’, the impact of globalization, why ideas matter and more.
We asked him to shed a little more light on some of these themes. In doing so, we thought we’d see if we could put one of his most firmly held views to the test; his belief that “words are a barrier to communication”. We have no idea if this is going to work, but here goes – our first interview response without words.
What do you mean by “creative destruction”?
“Creativity isn’t an occupation, it’s a pre-occupation” – can you explain what you mean by this?
If you started an agency today, what would it be like?
Is there a single piece of work you think defines you?
Where do you look for inspiration?
You say the way creative thinking gets deployed “will always be a continually moving target.. to nail your colours to any particular medium or technology will sow the seeds of your destruction”. So how should we engage with technology?
And, finally, you say you can’t name all the people you’d like to thank, but if there had to be one (okay, perhaps a couple), who would it be?
Sketches are by Sir John Hegarty
For more about the book: www.hegartyonadvertising.com
1st June 11
- Picture the scene. There are around 4-6 people clustered around a table together. All trying to solve a problem, all very talented… most of them creative/strategy/tech hybrids. An hour later, they’ve gone in circles several times, sure, but between them there’s light at the end of the tunnel.. a few solutions look to be within reach. Then the school bell goes people have to head to another meeting and they agree to meet again. Except it takes a day or two to arrange the follow-up and then half an hour to remind everyone what they’re there to do. And repeat.. does this sound familiar?
There are some very smart people arguing that generalists are the future. When we have much more to do in less time, then it’s better we put together teams of people who can all spin plates, bang a drum and throw knives at the same time, right? Perhaps there are some people who are so extraordinarily talented across so many disciplines that they genuinely can claim to be the ultimate one man band; a steel-alloyed, swiss army knife of creativity. For the rest of us, I would beg to differ. Read full post
16th May 11
Posted in creativity
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
Last week I attended a talk by the magnificent Royal Ballet dancer, Tamara Rojo.
As a child growing up in Madrid she had not been aware of ballet and had stumbled into her first dance academy somewhat by chance. She immediately fell in love with the art form and became a diligent pupil. Observing her enthusiasm for dance, her parents took her to a performance of Swan Lake by a visiting Russian company.
The young Tamara was, however, disappointed and upset by the experience. She loved ballet, but had never imagined that it was to be crafted into stories and performed in front of other people. She thought ballet was, as she had experienced it in class, an entirely personal thing, a beautiful private escape.
Subsequently Tamara’s teachers would tell her that she was there to entertain the audiences, not herself. But one could not help concluding that Tamara’s exceptional ability to inspire others was derived in part from her determination to do something for herself.
Inevitably when we discuss modern communication,we spend most of our time considering whether we are properly reflecting the truth of the brand or engaging the interest and participation of the audience. And rightly so. But doesn’t it help, a little at least, to be motivated by our own interest, enthusiasm and sense of pride?
Many years ago I worked with the much loved and respected creative, Martin Galton. We would return, heads bowed, from another attritional Client meeting to supply the team with the customary ‘builds’. Martin, however, would only entertain a certain level of distortion of his original concept. Beyond that point he’d say: ‘Forget it.Throw that idea away and I’ll do you another one.’
Frustrating at the time, but his self-belief endured. In an era where the communications process is increasingly driven by the end user and hyper-targeting techniques, how many of us stubbornly hold on to our own vision? Is there still a time and a place to ‘dance for ourselves’?
28th April 11
Posted in business models
Last weekend @malbonnington posed a deceptively simple question: Do We Really Need Chief Innovation Officers in Ad Agencies? He cited four people with related titles, including our own @saneel who holds the title Director of Innovation at BBH NY. I was reminded of Ed Cotton’s posts which asked a similar question about the role of agency labs. In both cases, the comment threads are as enlightening as the posts – don’t take our word for it, go check them out, including Ben’s own excellent response here. Below I’ve pulled out and built upon our contribution to the debate in both cases. Consistently aided and abetted, prodded and provoked by others far smarter than us since we set up Labs in 2008 (you know who you are, the likes of @edwardboches, @benkunz, @timogeo, @malbonster, @patsmc, @willsh, @caseorganic, @irowan, @danlight, @shaunabe, and @tomux are just a flavour), this post has ended up being a distillation of what we’ve learned so far about this topic.
I suspect innovation, or more specifically, how we deliver it, is a topic that’ll continue to cause debate in any creative industry worth its salt, for the simple reason that innovation isn’t an ‘add-on to what we all do, it is the decades-old bedrock of our existence: asking audiences to see their world in new ways, seeking new routes to communicate, shining a light on invention. We may embrace co-creation and recombinant culture, but our industry still worships at the altar of originality. Who of us doesn’t want to do ground-breaking stuff? Inevitably, it follows that the very idea of “innovation transcending functional expertise“ can feel like a total anathema.
Certainly, my immediate response to the questions about Chief Innovation Officers and agency labs is pretty simple: in most cases, I wouldn’t appoint someone to the job.
I say this for three reasons:
a. Few agencies aspire to operate close enough to the “bleeding edge” to justify the cost.
b. As others have commented in the past, the hiring of a CIO all too often represents an abdication of a management team’s responsibility to lead change.
c. It’s a tight rope walk of a job. Incredibly easy to slip off.
And yet…for the people with the appetite to try it, here are a couple of thoughts on why, when and how we *might* make it work:
1. Start by picking your company carefully.
Oddly, it’s at the extreme ends of the spectrum of corporate health that this role may be most useful: at the hellish end where a company is wallowing in a stagnant backwater, the short term appointment a CIO could help signal a fresh agenda. At the opposite end, when an agency has grown too big to sit around one table yet retains a forward-looking culture, a CIO can play a powerful, much more strategic role. More on this below.
2. Demonstrate the value of exploring the ‘edges’.
Make sure everyone around you (that’s the whole agency, not just management) are on board with the commercial and creative advantage your role can bring. Summarised, the task is to explore and exploit the opportunities at the “edges” of your business, as described in a related FT.com article from earlier this year:
“Edges could involve new product introductions, expansion into new markets, or the launch of entirely new business propositions…the edges of companies are generally more open to change and the adoption of new technologies, because they face more unmet needs and fewer established routines. The people who are attracted to edges tend to be less risk-averse, as well….Longer term, edge initiatives have the potential to become the new core of the enterprise.”