Mike Wesch who created “The Machine is using us” the best explanation of web 2.0 out there has come up with another beautiful and clear video to explain information and data management in the context of the web. It’s essential to bear in mind content creation in the context of web information structures – no categories, no shelves a freedom of structure. Everything is connected. So trying to construct narratives that don’t reach out beyond their delivery platform is like giving all your hard work and brilliant design a death sentence.
We have to create brand narratives that reach every part of the information structure, because we can’t control the user’s media experience any longer.
That title’s not a shameless piece of free marketing for a rather good breakfast show (well, it is but not in the way you think) that’s the name of one former inhabitant of Croydon who has changed his name by deed poll to “104.9(first name) The Breakfast Show (middle name) with Alex Zane(surname)” in an attempt to win £10,000 in their XFM’s Free Marketeers campaign going on at the moment. Brilliant for XFM – it made a very funny segment of the show, it will inevitably get them press exposure they wouldn’t have got otherwise and an expensive marketing team didn’t have to sit around working out what they could achieve with the ten grand. After all, what does ten grand buy you nowadays in exposure? Precious little.
Top marks for the XFM marketing team, I think they just earned their Christmas bonus. Not so sure about 104.9 though…
Anyway, I am doing my small part to help him get more publicity for the show because I think that changing your name for the benefit of a brand – even one you love – is a step further than I would take!
Amelia Torode posted today on her blog about how old ways of communicating with audiences by bringing value over and above seem to be coming back into brand correspondence. It’s a good post and has some great 20th century examples. You should read it.
The discussion that followed between John Dodds and David Bausola led me to thinking about digital projects and their impact models. I am not sure that new models can be measured in old ways, or at least not at this stage of the game when new combinations of digital content with brand dna are emerging all the time. The best example of this is The Beast. It was created by Microsoft to launch AI: Artificial Intelligence. It is considered the first fully mature ARG and is well -known beyond ARG circles. It’s the progenitor of “experiences” such as Volvo’s Pirates of the Carribean treasure hunt. It’s well known, but I bet you don’t know anyone who played it. I don’t even know anyone who played it and I know the writers of it!
I guess it could be described as demonstrating long-tail brand value. The innovation will continue to attach itself to Microsoft and to Stephen Speilberg long after ARGs have become more complex and satisfying experiences than The Beast.
With experiences such as these, as well as The Joneses you are dealing with an audience that reaches out to find stuff, finds pleasure in the search and is intensely dedicated. Then they are the people who tell other people, the early adopters, the Mavens (as Malcolm Gladwell) described them in his book The Tipping Point. So though they share characteristics with viewersof soap opera, comparing them with massive audiences of passive consumers isn’t right. They bring value in a different way and so the projects have different drivers and different end results.
One interesting thing about The Joneses is that though the project is officially “over” interest continues to grow and people continue to come to the blog and watch the video posts. Because we used distributed, free, social media as the distribution platform Ford will continue to gain value from the project for as long as these free platforms last. That’s quite a return on anyone’s investment.
I’m not sure that this is the best ad if you really want to recruit creative people. You just know that anyone who gets inspired by the stories told in this ad (particularly the girls) will be the kind of people you don’t want to hang out with, let alone work with. Perhaps I am being harsh. Judge for yourself.
Enjoy the video and let me know if my unreconstructed feminism has found a friend or an enemy.