It's weird about Paris. You get the sense that it's a lot like San Francisco: picturesque, unassuming, discreet by night. But beneath the surface, it's really more like New York: roaming, sleepless. You just don't realize the latter until you're swept up in it, holding on for dear life, then you look around and realize you haven't dreamt for days.
On Monday afternoon at Marketing 2.0, all 250+ speakers, moderators and attendees were invited to dinner at Bistrot Renaissance. Given the girth of our group, we thought the venue would be sizable -- so it was with surprise when I showed up to find it was no bigger than a cafe.
People sat in groups of four or six, wherever they could be squeezed together. (For visitors that popped in just for a drink or something, it must've seemed like every social media zealot in Europe had alighted upon the Renaissance with a vengeance.)
But claustrophobic spacing breeds intimacy among the far-flung. I was squeezed into a table with a girl from a British agency, Senior Editor Elsbeth Eilander of Tijdschrift voor Marketing, Marketing Exec Cedric Giorgi of Goojet and Sven Markschlager of JagerMeister -- who I knew already, because we'd become Designated Conference Walking Buddies. (Seriously? He talks about Jager ALL. THE. TIME. Did you know that in Germany, older people drink it to settle their stomachs? Or that it's preferred as a mixer in Australia? No? Now you do.)
All told, a pretty low-key night. We did the business-card-exchange thing, and I went home fairly early (around 11), which is great because on Tuesday, all flippin' hell broke loose.
David Armano -- you know the one -- was in town with his wife. We shook hands for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and he casually asked if I'd like to go to dinner. I was like, "Sure," mainly because I had no idea what havoc said dinner would wreak.
One of my favourite Marketing 2.0 talks, besides the Paula Berg stuff, was by Scott Monty, Ford Motor Co.'s social media man.
The guy's been alternately lauded and lashed, but I think he's the real deal. It's not even just that he's a nice guy; he's not afraid to express a scathing truth from top-of-mind, even if it stings. Social media's all about that: finding out who people really are, before they can terrace their images.
I didn't take any video (bummer), but I'll let you in on a priceless moment during his Q/A, when Sandrine Plasseraud of We Are Social asked about ROI tracking for social media campaigns.
Monty scoffs and goes, "ROI is a campaign metric; social media is a commitment. [...] What's the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning?"
This session razed the Richter Scale of Awkward for too many reasons.
To start with, I don't think reps from Facebook and MySpace were supposed to speak together. They were placed on the same panel in the interest of saving time.
Everyone was anxious for lunch -- which, it turns out, was more of an appetite-whetter than a satisfier; moderator Fred Cavazza spent most of the panel talking about other stuff; Damien Vincent of FB expressed a Freudian allegiance for the other team; and -- oh yeah! -- Cavazza conducted makeshift photo ops during the presentation.
MySpace's Olivier Hascoat was cool though, except for that moment where he reluctantly poses for an iPhone shot while Vincent's talking. Way to be a sport.
In the event that you didn't catch all that, take an audio/visual tour:
Maybe it's true what they say about Paris: You get a mite more existential while here.
Marketing 2.0 took place at ESCP-EAP University in Paris this year. It spanned both Monday and Tuesday.
I moderated a few panels and the wifi was down both days, so there was no way to cover the event in the detail I would've liked. Before my camera died though, I tried this thing where I just recorded random snippets of speaker talks.
This post is devoted entirely to Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media at Southwest.
I don't have particularly strong feelings about Southwest, but seeing her discuss its approach to consumers -- in both good times and bad -- made me wanna do the cattle call after all. She's good people, and it seems like she addresses situations with humility and openness instead of just reacting. Her presence at Southwest speaks more for its corporate culture than for any social media strategem.
See the goods below.
Levi's has partnered with Dazed & Confused for a window display competition. This is for the Carnaby Street store in London. In the event that your blood, sweat and tears make it to the store window, your work will be featured in the June issue of Dazed & Confused, and you'll also win a token, if paltry, 501 pounds.
For that much, they're probably not getting the Five on Fifth treatment. But sometimes people surprise you in exchange for a little limelight.
More about the Carnaby Street display contest here.
Last weekend Sony Ericsson converted a number of London-based Carphone Warehouses into floral installations, where mothers could get free flowers in honor of Mother's Day.
The gig was a promotion for the W595 Sakura handset, which Sony's trying to position as "the perfect alternative 'floral' gift for Mother's Day." (The phone's outfitted with a cherry blossom design and is, in fact, quite festive.) It also hired a "floriographer" to school moms and kids alike on what flowers to choose -- and which to avoid -- on this most hallowed of holidays.
Top flowers to pick/avoid are below. For what it's worth, they illuminate the subconscious reason guys are always asking whether we like orchids.
And why would you give someone dead leaves?
- @MackCollier, in the thick of SXSW, captures social media junkies in unnatural habitats.
- Trojan continues that slightly uncomfortable pro-STD reverse psychology thing with an a la carte booth. Samples of genital warts, anyone?
- Mark Cuban invests in poo-inducing pizza. Just read the story, man.
- More 'net-based teen angst.
- "Is this the most sexually explicit ad ever?" In a word, no. We're still kinda confused about what dude was doing with the Six Hour Power jar, and it isn't immediately clear if he's going to bang his secretary or just give her a really peppy memo. It could go either way ... but the reason why this ad fails is, we don't care where it goes.
- Why Jason Calacanis employed a felon -- or how to handle negative press.
There's this competition called Volvo Ocean Race, in which heavily sponsored boat junkies take their latent talents to the high seas.*
To promote both its participation and its nautical domination, Puma left Il Mostro signage and giant footprints in the sand on the beaches around Rio, which is where the competition goes down this year.
Il Mostro's the name of its boat. (Guess it's somewhat more resonant than O Gato Gigante.) Two lucky civilians will be chosen to join Il Mostro's boat crew for one day. Visit the Puma Enigma site for more details.
The site doesn't presently work the way it's supposed to -- where you click on a flag and go directly to a brand destination. As things stand, no amount of clicking gets you much of anywhere -- except for the innocuous Puma.com logo at the bottom right-hand side, which sends you to the Puma Ocean Racing blog.
Beachside stunt by Espalhe Marketing de Guerrilha for Puma Sports Brazil.
Riding Ad Land's current obsession with breaking into Guinness, Cricket has just produced the world's largest cell phone -- a gigantosaur Samsung Messager composed of "wood, metal, lights, wizardry, and love."
The phone -- so big you risk cardiac arrest if you happen to be lying on it in vibrate mode -- kicks off Cricket's Get Some Respekt campaign. See it in person through March 15th in Chicago; the monster of mobile hits Philly on the 20th.
Orchestrated by Seattle's Cultural Engineers and events firm NEVERSTOP.