Last week at ad:tech Paris I got to hang out with VP-Strategy Robin Sloan of Current TV. We built rapport over Extremely Important Stuff: why the universe needs Battlestar Galactica, how you (or, well, I) can't get a good burrito in Paris, and whether the talking space ship in Flight of the Navigator would look as cool today as it did when we were weebies.
Anyway, at some point I randomly said, "Can I take video of you talking?" or something to that effect, and he was all, "Cool," and by some strange juju I managed to catch him saying some pretty agreeable stuff about the media industry: what it needs (in the context of the perfect conference) and where it's headed.
ad:tech Paris wrapped up with a keynote called Facebook Today and Tomorrow, conducted by Commercial Director Blake Chandlee of Facebook's EMEA segment (Europe, the Middle East and Asia).
I already LiveTweeted the sesh so the last thing I want to do is type it all out again. The biggest takeaways: Mark Zuckerberg is God, and God's particular mantra is "Efficiency, Effectiveness, Scale."
One of the bigger bits of news eclipsing this talk was a recent announcement that Facebook is now 200 million (active) users strong. According to Chandlee, 50% of those users log in every day and spend an average of 25 minutes on the site.
And while the US once composed 70% of Facebook's total user figures, it's now just 30% -- not because growth has slowed on our turf, but because it's blossomed elsewhere. (France, for example, exploded from 2 million users last year to 9 million this year.)
Here are a few key video moments, punctuated by random Tweetdom.
So let's get this straight. In America we are free to choose the religion we practice, express the opinions we care to share, join the people with whom we wish to assemble, enjoy the right to bear arms, live a life of privacy and to vote for whom we deem worthy.
But when it comes to selecting who we wish to marry, it's as if America forgot the reason America became America. Supposedly, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Sadly, some prefer we become the land of the handcuffed and the home of the terrified.
No ad:tech's an ad:tech unless there's a session that speculates, however pointlessly, on the future of advertising. This particular variant featured New Media Director Robin Sloan of Current TV and General Director Travis Katz of MySpace. The moderator was Editor in Chief Nicolas Arpagian of Prospective Strategique.
Interesting sidenote about this panel: Arpegian posed all questions in French; Sloan and Katz wore magic insta-translating devices that enabled them to respond in English without missing a beat. It was so "Star Trek."
Sloan was up first, and he kicked off with something unexpected. Positioning his presentation as if we were already living in the year 2019, he walked us through the "past" 10 years.
Video snapshots below.
Yesterday EVP/GM-Global Ad Sales Chris Dobson of the BBC conducted a keynote on what it takes to succeed in the rapidly-changing media landscape.
The BBC, of course, was his primary example; though whether you believe it's one of the most forward-moving brands in the stratosphere is subjective. (Frankly, I'll buy it when the iPlayer is finally Mac-ready.)
On her new Current show Target Women, Sarah Haskins wonders where men learned to treat women so badly. In a hilarious analysis of Carl's Jr. advertising, Haskins arrives at only logical conclusion; it's unequivocally the burger chain's fault.
Haskin's dubs Carl's Jr. advertising Douchebaggery 101: Embracing Your Inner Douche and proceeds to tear down the chain's ad campaign while explaining how it make men...well...douchebags.
Special bonus: Haskins tries to wash a car Paris Hilton-style with decidedly less grace provong the point all advertising is fake anyway.
The best line in the video comes when Haskins describes guys as, "Good natured DoucheBros who eat fries like they're at a DoucheBag party about to win the award for DoucheKing of the Douche-O-Trons." Wow.
Writing on his blog, Idiot Flags, independent marketing consultant Stephen Ban comments on the closing of JWT's Chicago office and the general demise of ad agencies in general. Some gems:
"Agency networks create "conflict agencies" with new names -- effectively admitting that their brands are meaningless, and rendering the differentiation between and among the original agencies irrelevant"
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.