Archive for the 'memes' Category

We made you

This video by one of b3ta‘s denizens is a good example of what makes YouTube so valuable. The video channel has sold much of its soul and is shackled by copyright worries, which is difficult when individuals want to use music and stock footage creatively. Sometimes, something new and interesting emerges, like this.
Referencing recent news events that dominate UK news and liberally peppered with (some admittedly less recent) web memes, it’s a wonderfully ephemeral parody of, er, everything.
Plus, it takes a welcome pop at the boringly rebellious Eminem.


Life imitates art

We’ve created a lift blog: about as analog as you can get. These are a series of posters made to promote my department as well as provide some unexpected inspiration. They’re very ephemeral – staying up for one day only in each of the main lifts – but the feedback is phenomenal. Content is varied, but is linked to the market intelligence, consumer and social trends that we analyse and provide to our agencies. Sometimes the content is quirky and can be as unusual as today’s or this week’s big web meme, even if it’s just a picture.

I’m particularly pleased with today’s offering: a quick mock-up of the real BBC story about the ex-RBS chairman’s home being vandalised by a shadowy group angry at what is perceived as bankers’ greed juxtaposed by an apt quote from Fight Club.

Browsing content with a dragon

tedI wish Brand Republic (register for free) would get their bloody website fixed. You never know when the thing’s going to slam a door in your face. A shame, because some of the new content’s pretty good, especially the blogs.
Charlie Hoult’s “Brand Karate” blog posted a link to this fascinating product demo. If, like me, you read a lot of printed documents and despair of the hassle of reading them as pdfs or scans, then you’ll appreciate the swankiness of this technology (based on something called Seadragon – no, I’ve not heard of it either).
Check out the advertiser-friendly zoom.
The site, “TED – Ideas worth spreading” hosting this demo has a truly intriguing collection of videos, and I’m going to spend some Big Brother time checking these out (especially the Richard Dawkins vids – he’s my pet subject at the mo).

Blurb from TED:

“TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds… The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).”

Selling the biggest pup in history

creationOddly, considering it is a book about atheism, I found Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion to be the most life-affirming and spiritually uplifting thing I have ever read. Starting out as a confused child baptised in Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches, I’ve lurched from belief to agnosticism, to uneasy scepticism and now to atheism.

And I now have a justification for keeping a copy in our marketing-themed library. If you’ve bought religion, then there’s people out there who will try and sell you anything. Especially old men who dress like Gandalf (with occasional headwear variations).

Image courtesy of b3ta

The power of words

This snippet is from today’s Daily Telegraph feature on the Tony Blair years. It’s astounding how a list of words, presented in isolation, can evoke an era more eloquently than any well-crafted sentence.

Blair era words

A geek map of online communities

This terrific map nicked from the boingboing blog would make a fun addition to anyone trying to describe Web 2.0 in a presentation (especially if you’re brave enough to give the ecosystem diagram a spin in front of an audience).
Web2 map
The complete map is a cheeky Dungeons & Dragons-style rendering of the current state of online communities by a popular Internet comic. The size of the “lands” corresponds to the current traffic or membership of the various online brands, and it appears that their location on the map bears some resemblance to the level of interactivity or connections between them.
Needless to say, this being Web 2.0, it won’t take long for the map to be out of date.

Can advertising help create psychopaths?

violenceSchool massacres have become a meme, or a contagious idea. That’s the astounding conclusion of a thought-provoking article in one of the weekend papers. The media noise – advertising, films, TV, conversations – affect our self-image from which everyone, including deeply disturbed individuals, take their cue.
The distressingly large list of similar massacres has become a genre in its own right, and one which grows in power at each retelling.
Sam Leith, the Daily Telegraph‘s young arts editor, describes the mindset that causes us to seek a target to blame:

“As a species, we are very bad indeed at coping with eruptions of meaninglessness. We like things to have causes and effects – ideally, causes and effects whose relationships to each other are simple. And this seems to be why, in the wake of any eruption of violent senselessness, we tend to comb through the wreckage looking for explanations. And it’s art that usually cops it.”

Advertising is possibly one of the least valued and most despised form of communication to which everyone is exposed. If Leith is correct, then I wonder to what degree advertising, often guilty of stereotyping and of attaching a consumer’s idea of self-worth to brands, can be blamed for having one of the loudest voices.

I’m not suggesting that endless repetitions of the latest KFC ad is going to make someone brain a waitress with a chicken wing. But maybe some people’s perception of what constitutes happiness and fulfilment could be affected by these messages. To someone with low self-esteem and affected by violence seen elsewhere in the media, how would their failure to achieve such contentment manifest itself?

Self-important bit

I’m Victor Houghton, a, er... something or other in one of the UK’s largest advertising agencies. My job title has a comma in it, which is embarrassing. I’m the chief finder-things-outer with a splash of trends who is lucky to work with all the major functions of the agency, even though I am most closely associated with strategic planning. Everything in this blog has most probably been stolen from other, infinitely more talented people, although the opinions are most definitely my own and not those of the agency.



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