How soon is now?

Culture in a 24 / 7 world

#SayYesKatie; The Dictator Kim Jong-Ils All Over Seacrest; The Secret Adman’s Ball

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The line between movies and real life isn’t blurred, it’s non-existent.
This past week two upcoming films provided interesting, and quite different, windows into the future of movie marketing. Last Sunday agent provacateur Sacha Baron Cohen took to the Oscar red carpet in full character to promote his next film, “The Dictator.” This very act flipped the (carefully orchestrated) script where celebs chat about their outfits, spouses, projects and jewelry. But just showing up in unusual garb wasn’t going to be enough for Cohen.  During his carpet walk, Cohen’s dictator characted engaged the Entertainment Industrial Complex’s Manchurian Candidate,  Ryan Seacrest, in a conversation about an urn he (Cohen) was holding that contained the ashes of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jung-il. As the awkward chat was wrapping up, Cohen tipped the urn and spilled ashes all over Seacrest. A miffed Seacrest looked on as Cohen was briskly escorted away by security. See the brilliant farce here. Culture jamming at it’s finest.

Not to be outdone, director Ridley Scott released a brilliant trailer for his new film Prometheus this week. The spot features one of the characters from the movie giving a TED talk in 2023, and of course this trailer was released just as the real TED conference in 2012 kicks off. Synergy in it’s truest form.  In a tweet promoting their story on the spot, PSFK asked, “Do you think TED will still be around in 2023?” My answer is an unequivocal yes. TED is more than a conference, it’s an idea. The date of 2023 is interesting for another reason – it will mark the 100th anniversary of Y&R. Now that I know what TED will look like then, I’m going to try to figure out what Y&R will look like in 10+ years.    

Carving a niche in this DIY world
“Viral video” is a term we all hear regularly. Putting aside for a minute the arguments against the term, I don’t often hear people talk about the ‘how’ of creating content that achieves escape velocity and enters the broader mainstream. Further, maybe video isn’t the best form of content for the brand. There are other ways of creating memes that get spread. This week, Len Kendall, a digital strategist at Golin Harris, provided a one-man case study on how to do it right. Looking for a unique, and uniquely social, way to propose to his girlfriend Katie, Kendall enlisted the help of his social graph (and meme launchersBuzzfeed) to create #SayYesKatie. Kendall started by creating a Facebook group so that he and his friends could plan the operation. Then he worked with Buzzfeed and posted all the tools people would need to make original versions of the meme. Hundreds of tweets and Facebook comments, dozens and dozens of images and thousands of views later, he had his answer (yes) and a second Buzzfeed post featuring the very best contributions. The story was also picked up by MashableHuffington Post, and many more.

Another guy who has carved out a niche for himself is Nicholas Felton, or as he’s more commonly known online,Feltron. These ‘annual reports’ on his life are a cult hit with data geeks as well as design nerds for their depth of information and elegant layout.  While completely different from Kendall’s effort, it too speaks to the importance of content. In this case it’s about a commitment to the long play, Felton’s been doing this since 2005. And it’s definitely about understanding your audience. Both Kendall and Felton have found ways to appeal and activate their audiences (which are both comprised primarily of that elusive 21-35 male that brands are always trying to reach but never seem to know how to).

MTV launches Mobile Social TV
By now you know my interest and belief in the future of Social TV. This is an area that is going to absolutely explode, and just wait until Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook really get involved. This week MTV Europe announced a new app developed in conjunction with digital agency AKQA. The app, called “Under the thumb,” are what “MTV and (parent company) Viacom are calling a “world first” in that it will let users watch MTV content on mobile devices, share it on the go with others, and then watch those on-demand programs simultaneously with those friends,” according to TechCrunch. That’s pretty awesome when you think about it. Watching On-Demand programming and connecting with your friends through mobile devices. With all the data available on users via their mobile devices, perhaps different ads will be served to each mobile user? Or would it be better to have the same ad sent, so that it can be discussed by both mobile users, just as they are discussing the programming?

What is an ad agency, anyway?
In 1976, a benefit show for Amnesty International called The Secret Policeman’s Ball was created. For nearly 30 years it raised money and awareness for important international issues, with yearly events in the UK. Legends of comedy and music gave their time for the worthy cause. This year, for the first time, a Ball is being held in the U.S. (this Sunday at Radio City Music Hall and on Epix) featuring Coldplay, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and many more. Producing this event is the ad agency Mother London. Here’s what Kit Hawkins, executive producer for the show and a Mother Londoner said about this interesting collaboration in an interview withFactCoCreate: “Entertainment has always been a part of Mother’s culture. It’s our belief that if you’re interrupting someone’s favorite TV show you have an obligation to reward them for their attention,” he says. “Communication is no longer a separate side to entertainment. What’s interesting is that our conversation has shifted very quickly in the last couple of years between entertainment and marketing to why shouldn’t they work together? We passionately believe it’s part of the future.”

Want to reach kids? Meet them where they are, in games:
I’ve been following Raptr for a little while now. They’ve gone from 1 million to 12 million members since September, all the while collecting all sorts of interesting data on video game usage. Now they’re going to start making it available to be leveraged by brands. Raptr is implementing a reputation system for their social community of 12 million strong hard core gamers, and brands will be able to engage the best Gears of War, Call of Duty or Arkham City players. Read the full article in Venture Beat. The opportunity to get in on this early is now.  The engagement level of video games absolutely dwarves other mediums and gives access to one of the most coveted demographics by marketers.  Raptr might be on the cusp of being a major advertising player.




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