So Advertising Age is all over agencies today for their use (or lack thereof) of Twitter. A destined to be classic quote from a Euro RSCG spokesperson reads, "We're developing our Twitter strategy and in the meantime want to hold onto the name. It's a Catch-22: You don't want your Twitter handle stolen, but you also don't want to start using it before you're really ready."
On the one hand, all well and good. No one wants to make a fool of themselves. On the other hand, this is not rocket science. Certainly it's easier for a random individual to join Twitter and use it any way they see fit. That, however, is not entirely the case for a brand, an agency or an agency representing a brand.
While the wonderful world of social media is, as everyone insists, supposed to be one gigantic, happy conversation, brands, because they are more than one person, need an agreed upon approach to using the medium. But that doesn't mean they have to over engineer it or have every last detail of that "strategy" in place before they dip their toe.
Why? Because you can't develop a "strategy" unless you know the medium and you can't know the medium unless you use it. Yes, it is a bit of a Catch-22 but the Catch-22, itself, is a Catch-22.
There was once a day - or at least it feels like there was - when music had deep meaning. It was very personal and, depending upon the artist or the song, could immediately transform your emotional state, cause you to ponder your worth in the world or simply celebrate the beauty of life and the moments you cherish with the one you love.
There once was a day artists - musical or otherwise - wouldn't dream of allowing their work to be used in any form of commerce other than that of selling their own work. But over the past ten years or so, music and all things pop culture seem to have become one with commerce. Almost by definition, performers (not necessarily musicians in every case) like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Beyonce, M83, Dr. Dre, Kid Rock, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Christina Aguilera, 50 Cent, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and, yes, the Beatles must have an element of commerce in their portfolio.
Oh we really, really like this. Absolut has launched Drinkspiration, an iPhone app which makes drink suggestions based on mood, location, time of day, weather, liquor type (yes, they don't just limit it to vodka), drink color, shape of glass, type of venue and a whole lot more. You'll never order the same boring drink again.
Every drink the app suggests comes with a recipe so if you want something a bit too exotic for your neighborhood bartender, you can tell her how to make it.
In yet another effort to hipify itself with a generation that's never heard of The Sears Catalog let alone even noticed the store in a mall as they scamper by it on their way to Justice, American Eagle or Claire's, retail giant Sears has hired Disney cutie Selena Gomez for its back to school effort.
Wait, wait, WAIT!!!! Back to school? Stop! Stop! Stop!! Can we please start Summer first? Seriously. This is like summer blockbuster movies making their debut in April. Or Christmas promotions beginning the day after Halloween. There are rules here, people. Rules that must be followed. You can't just mess with seasons like this. You can't mess with our heads. Seriously. Why don't we just start celebrating New Year's 2010 today!
Anyway, Selena (Miley? Miley? Where did you go, Miley?), along with Demi Lovato, is Disney's new it girl so if the retail giant's trying to connect with teens and tweeners, they did choose the right spokesperson for its Arrive Lounge effort.
On the site, visitors can vote for the best styles in a series of air band competition videos. Design Kitchen created the work.
Saturday night: the show to end all shows, the one people actually queue in line for. (Though markedly less so than in previous years, as tweeted by Influencia.) And while recession-spawned conservatism was accounted for, the jury hailed from all corners of the globe and generated cheers -- like rock stars.
Saw some awesome work over the next two hours, but it remains a shock who ultimately won what.
There was a lot of talk about how Cannes Lions '09 differed from previous years. I'd say there was a greater focus on how efforts addressed users directly, although creativity remains a big part of that. And given who won the Grands Prix for Titanium and Integrated, it may be the first year agencies must take into account that the user has become a legitimate advertiser himself.
This is no death-of-the-agency foretelling; it's simply a call to listen more closely and respond more intuitively to the crowd. We have spent so many years trying to contrive artificial emotional connections between products and people; it is only natural that, now that they're able, consumers demand to know why those connections should exist in the first place.
What does your company stand for? Does it listen and respond to me? Crucially, is it as willing to incorporate me into its message as I am to incorporate it into my life?
Grand Prix recipients, and a wee bit o' work, listed below.
Hey, Cannes Lions delegates! Have a big heaping slice of buzzkill, brought to you by Weisser Ring!
I get that these are for a good cause. Given the appropriate context, these particular pieces are damn stirring.
But given that this image ornaments the exterior of the Palais and these ads plaster the interior, you gotta wonder: which sadistic member of the ad festival planning committee picked out this year's damaged kids motif?
At 72 Croisette (the so-called Gutter Bar) last night, Shannon Stephaniuk introduced me to the members of Ogilvy Stockholm, which won a Gold Lion for its work for UNA Sweden.
Their objective was to raise funds to support the war victims of Georgia (the country, not the state); and to do this, they spoke with the locals and gathered small, specific and personal items that belonged to people affected by the war.
See Shoes, Sweater and Sheet; I found the sight of those scorched, warped items physically painful, and the stories still more moving.
It's my strong feeling that the work deserved a Grand Prix, but apparently you can't win one if the effort is nonprofit. Weird logics. In any case, I hung out awhile and talked to the guys about the work, what they did and how it made them feel in general.
Video interviews below. Given that it's the Gutter Bar at 2:00 AM and not, say, an Embassy lobby, try to bear with the background noise. Better yet, imagine you're there, stumbling around with your third vodka tonic, playing guess-the-accent with your group of chums-for-the-week.
Back in June, we noted The Hills babe Audrina Patridge would soon make her debut in a Carl's Jr. commercial. That day has arrived. In the commercial, we get to hear how Audrina has to give up "like everything" to look as hot as she does in a bikini. But the one thing she won't give up is the Carl's Jr. Teriyaki Burger with which she's "totally obsessed" and cuz, ya know, she has to be "a little bad."
While Barbara Lippert says she "appreciate(s) that it's a somewhat more natural setup than having Paris Hilton hose down a luxury car while sucking and licking the burger on all fours," we still think the Paris Hilton spot was the best Carl's Jr. commercial ever. Bikini + soapy water + famous socialite in her prime = gold.
So Knob Creek, due to demand for its bourbon, is running low on supply and is at risk of running dry before its next batch is ready in November. Rather than bottle the next batch before its full nine year maturity, the comapny has turned its lack of product into a promotion. A sick joke of a promotion but a promotion none the less.
We've been sent all sorts of goodies from marketers in the mail. Sadly, most are of the throw-a-way variety. This is most certainly not the case when it comes to liquor, unless you consider pouring the product down one's throat throwing it away.
Biz Stone's Twitter talk this afternoon was met with a full auditorium, people clamoring for places to park cameras and laptops so they could livetweet questions in real time.
Kind of a neat format. Stone addressed questions as they appeared under hashtag #hkcannes, the results of which were projected onto a screen. Two problems with this method:
1) Wifi outside the press room isn't accessible for free, meaning those that livetweeted from inside the room were either paying for use or mobiling it up. Questions were never taken directly from audience members, raising their hands, for example.
2) Questions were still for the most part selected by a Hill & Knowlton rep. I'm pretty sure the Oracle of Delphi had a less formidable filtering system.
Stone talked a bit about Twitter's birth, which I'm sure will become the stuff of online legend, so I don't really need to go into it. (Hey look, here it is.) One point of interest: his partner, Jack Dorsey, conceived the idea out of a fascination with AIM status updates.