Posts Tagged ‘social’
10th January 13
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
‘The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott’
Alfred, Lord Tennyson – The Lady of Shalott
I attended the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Tate Britain. Not entirely my cup of tea. Rather flat, two dimensional narratives of a romanticised past. Curiously the Pre-Raphaelites were regarded as radical in their day. It’s perhaps very English to express revolt by looking backwards…
I was nonetheless quite taken by a Holman Hunt painting of The Lady of Shalott. It seems to show a beautiful woman caught in a bizarre knitting accident. In fact it refers to a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
In the poem the mysterious Lady of Shalott is imprisoned in a tower, cursed to weave imperfect impressions of the world outside from the reflections she captures in a mirror. She weaves images of the traffic on the road to Camelot, the shepherds, knights, market girls and page boys that pass by her castle prison. But the curse denies her direct sight of life outside and ultimately she is unfulfilled.
‘ ”I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott’
One day The Lady of Shalott steals a glance out of the window at the noble, handsome Sir Lancelot and with that glance the mirror cracks. She escapes her imprisonment in the tower and takes a boat down river to Camelot. At last she can see the world as it truly is.
This may sound daft, but I couldn’t help thinking about market research.
My first job was as a Qualitative Researcher and I guess I was engaged in a form of reportage. Relaying to Clients what consumers thought and did, summarising their behaviour, interpreting their opinions. Like the Lady of Shalott I was weaving imperfect impressions of the world. Reducing culture to basic bullet points, pithy Power Point, vivid verbatims. We were all well aware of the shortcomings of this approach, but it was the best we could do at the time. I recall how, a few years into my career, the introduction of even the smallest piece of video stimulus to a research debrief could revive Clients’ flagging attention. It was the late arrival of actual consumers in the room.
‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.’
1 Corinthians 13:12
Perhaps with the social web a mirror has cracked. Disintermediation is the order of the day. We can gain fast, cheap access to raw, unfiltered consumer opinion. We can tame big data to animate culture. We can demolish the distance between concepts and customers. We can bring consumers into the creatives’ office, the innovators’ lab. We can workshop ideas. We can test real time in beta. We can see the world as it truly is. Live and direct. It’s invigorating, liberating, revolutionary. With one bound we are free. Read full post
31st July 12
Author: Vicki Maggs (@maggsy), Digital Analyst, BBH London
As we’ve all heard repeatedly, London 2012 has been anticipated as “The most social Olympic Games yet”, and it’s easy to see why. Since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Facebook users have grown 800%, Twitter users by over 8000% and Youtube videos are now generating 72 hours of video per minute. Not to mention the launch and growth of Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Foursquare.
Friday night saw the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games with 26.9 million UK viewers tuned in. According to Twitter, this one night alone generated more tweets than the entire duration of the 2008 Beijing Games - 9.66 Million.
Using Sysomos, we found over 840,000 tweets tagged the #openingceremony with the peak of conversation occurring on Mr Bean’s entrance. Interestingly, he was also the most discussed topic of conversation (aside from mentions of Danny Boyle @DannyBoyleFilms) – being picked up all around the world as a successful nod to British culture and humour. Mr Bean gained a very positive response with 97% of conversation favourable. Read full post
17th February 12
A version of this post originally appeared in the 16.02.12 edition of Campaign magazine.
Billed as a dive into the “rapid evolution of data visualisation tools”, last week’s ‘Future Human: Transparent Life’ could have lost its audience at ‘hello’. Data viz may have become a hot topic in recent years, but there was also plenty of healthy scepticism in the room relating to its publicity hungry off-spring, AR. Ah yes, Augmented Reality.. which, until very recently, has had to work hard not to be dubbed Awkward Reality.
Yet a few minutes in, the event’s organiser and first speaker, the journalist Ben Beaumont-Thomas, had held the audience’s attention, wise-cracking his way through a history of human motivation behind how we portray ourselves in public (the 1970s neatly summarised as a ‘me’ decade of solipsistic confusion; the 1990s as an ‘us’ decade, the start of social transmission and an accompanying loss of privacy), before moving swiftly up to date, to focus on how we consciously and unconsciously allow increasing amounts of information about ourselves to be generated and left in the public domain: the ‘transparent life’ of the event’s title. And with that, the talk became less about bytes of visualised data and instead about something both simpler and more profound: human identity and the blurring boundaries between our private and public selves. Read full post
27th May 11
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
Sometimes recently I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and there have been birds singing in the street outside. Two or three o’clock in the morning, well before sunrise and they’re chirping away, casually, confidently.
I’m no ornithologist, but shouldn’t they be saving it for the dawn chorus?
Inevitably one is troubled by the abnormal. My initial concern was that their singing portended some dark event, an omen of impending doom.
But the world didn’t implode.
I wondered was I witnessing some form of ecological fallout? Was the nocturnal bird song an unnatural response to an unnatural environment?
The bird authorities’ website reassured me that our feathered friends sing primarily ‘to attract a mate and defend territory’ and that some species are just happy to do these things at night.
I prefer to imagine that the birds outside my window are adapting to the modern world. Working, socialising, eating and courting on a more fluid, 24 hour, ‘always on’ basis.
Perhaps the collective unconscious of London sparrows has connected with humanity’s accelerating metabolism. Perhaps they’re embracing deconstructed social norms, flexible working, speed dating.
Maybe this also explains the migrant foxes that have long since given up the tedium and conservatism of rural life for the bright lights and diversity of the metropolis.
I have always liked the idea that change is a social, collective thing. That we like to change together, that we are reassured by community even when that community is evolving in different directions.
I have sadly found it frustrating to entertain philosophies to which my Clients do not yet subscribe.
As a student I was taught that a society in some respects behaves like an orchestra. It assigns ‘in tune-ness’ to behaviours that are consistent with everyone else and it rejects abnormal behaviour as ‘out of tune’.
This of course has its downsides. But it’s reassuring to consider that, as we run at the future, we may be taking the the wildlife with us…
18th June 10
Author: Heidi Hackemer (@uberblond), Planning Director, BBH New York
What do our clothes say about us? Why do spend so much time on what we wear? What happens when we don’t?
Starting Monday, June 21st, a group of people from California to Dubai are going to take part in a little experiment: each participant gets to choose six (and only six) items of clothing and pledge to wear only these six items of clothing for a month. They’ll share their experiences via a group blog throughout the course of the month.
People have asked what the philosophy is behind the experiment and most assume it’s a statement about consumerism. In reality, we haven’t dictated a driving thought. Rather it’s about putting a challenge out there and seeing what people bring to it and do with it. Even in this pre-experiment era it’s turning out to be a nice brief: tight enough that there are walls and consistency, loose enough that the output will be varied and ripe for discussion.
To understand what people are bringing to the table, the one question we ask at sign up is “why”? So far, the primary motivation falls into one of four camps:
2) the mental freedom that comes with a uniform
3) creativity (“let’s see how inventive I can be with this limitation”)
There are a few things that we’re really liking about this experiment that will hopefully make us smarter about people and communities down the road:
1) The experiment itself. We’re deadly curious to see how the month will go and what it will unveil about the participants and their relationship to their clothes.
2) The speed at which it went from a little idea amongst two friends (myself and my former colleague at Fallon London, Tamsin Davies) to an idea that has been embraced by people globally and how digital tools are allowing to manage and keep pace with the spread.
3) The fact that this isn’t about an agency or a brand, but rather it’s first and foremost about collaboration with a community of curious people. The experiment has grown and breathes with that community and if we can help it continue to do so, should be quite interesting. That being said, in true spirit of BETA we’re the midst of updating the blog so it can handle a larger community (should be ready by Saturday) and also looking to add in some data capture and perhaps a sponsorship mechanism into the site experience.
It starts Monday the 21st – brave enough to give it a shot? You have until Sunday to sign up, details are here.