Mister Three Sixty

Non-denominational opinion on Marketing + Communications

Six Social Media Trends for 2010 – Harvard Business Review

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David Armano, of Edelman, writes for the HBR:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2009/11/six_social_media_trends.html

DDB UK – The Sunday Times, Top 100 Best Company 2004, 2007 and 2009

DDB London – The Gunn Report Most Awarded agency in the World 1999-2008 and 2009

Tribal DDB – Advertising Age 2008 Network of the Year

DDB London – IPA Effectiveness Agency of the Year 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006

DDB London – IPA CPD Gold Accreditation 2008
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Written by misterthreesixty

January 4, 2010 at 9:01 am

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10 Awesome Uses of Augmented Reality Marketing

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http://mashable.com/2009/12/26/augmented-reality-marketing/

Visuals are an important part of advertising, so it’s not surprising that so many companies have jumped on the augmented reality bandwagon, offering tools that visualize their products in a magical and memorable way.

Written by misterthreesixty

December 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm

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Sacrifice Complexity

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simplicitysquare[1]

Let me get to the point: Too many people confuse complexity with cleverness.

I know the world is a complex place, with more information, more opinions, more fascinating facets and back alleys to explore every day. I also know that people can be complicated. We like complexity in our friends because it makes them richly interesting and in our brands because it makes them more lovable.

But this does not mean that complicated, involved, wordy thinking equates with smartness. I see far too much strategic thinking wearing complexity as if it were a virtue. You always know this stuff when you see it; for a start it is long, layer upon layer of considerations and sub-divisions, varieties of variables and modifications. The only limitations on the thinking being how much PowerPoint a Human can absorb. I think it stems from an assumption that nothing short of total and complete comprehension will allow for the development of powerful strategy.

There is chaotic complexity all around us and our understanding of it can never be more than partial.   The job of the strategist is to try and make sense of it. Sure it means digging deep into the root causes of things, it means looking at problems from multiple angles as you seek to find the answer. But please don’t feel the need to share your complex, interlocking analysis with the rest of us. In fact “don’t show me the workings, tell me the answer”. That’s what strategic thinking is all about. Our role as strategists is to be a brilliant persuasive guide, not a Human encyclopaedia.

A wise old Ad planner used to say he could spot the smart ones from the also-rans with a simple test. He gave them an inch-thick bundle of papers to read and report on. If they came back a week later with two inches of papers, they were on their way out. He wanted one side of A4. Napoleon (not a Planner but certainly old) said “All Strategy is sacrifice”. You either charge down the hill, or you stay and wait for them to come to you. Either way you must choose one course of action and reject the others.

It is true that there is danger in oversimplification (it means we miss out important factors, like, er… actually there are no WMDs). I know that too much Advertising and Branding strategy is unhealthily and unrealistically reductive. But if you want to be strategic, the solution is straightforward Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Written by misterthreesixty

July 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Of Zombies and fatty cigarettes…

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BHFUK ADVERTISING: Who can forget the fat dripping from cigarettes, the dead child brought back to life zombie-like or the pub that transforms into a car-crash scene? Some of the most strategically-sound and powerful campaigns of the last decade have emerged from the Public Sector. But to believe that the lessons they offer are only really applicable to those of us who work on Public health and information campaigns or at the Central Office of Information is deeply misguided.

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Written by misterthreesixty

June 26, 2009 at 11:16 am

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Down The Rabbit Hole

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future-hiro-heroes

When Mister Three Sixty first wrote about transmedia storytelling here, he didn’t realise what a rabbit hole he’d fallen into. Once in the hole, you find more and more people are talking and writing on the subject. Rather fewer of them are actually doing anything about it.

So here are some of the best examples of the thing in action;

  • Star Wars – original movies and franchise, prequel movies, Clone wars animation, comic books, toys and on and on.
  • Heroes – TV show, with weekly online comic (sponsored by Nissan), graphic novel , fictional website for Primatech, a front company in the series (sponsored by Cisco), ‘create your hero’ mobile phone competition (sponsored by Sprint), weekly online and mobile trivia games, blogs written by characters and on and on.

Entertainment properties do it well because media businesses own a range of platforms and have the impetus to extend their IP as widely as possible. Unfortunately this model isn’t exactly replicated in the marketing world.

Some good brand examples;

Mister Three Sixty is still working out a practical framework for marrying business strategy with transmedia story development, but this chart from Gary Hayes seems like a promising startpoint. Thanks to Robbie and Sven for some good thinking and ideas – they really helped Mister Three Sixty’s journey.

Written by misterthreesixty

May 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Architects of Perfection: The agency of the future?

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lilypad1

Unprecedented change in the marketing communications world is clearly putting agencies and clients under pressure to evolve. Although lots of the old models look broken, Mister Three Sixty doesn’t believe the new ones haven’t fully emerged yet. So what could the agency of tomorrow look like? Well it will still be about smart, creative, likable people. But what roles are required?

First, the people you still won’t be able to do without: 

  1. Charming Client Service Director
  2. Convincing Strategic Planner: Or maybe a Human Scientist; someone who cares about psychology and biology and behaviour and sociology an’ that but can also work it into a form that other people can work with.
  3. A Scriptwriter. Specifically a writer versed on longer-form writing, I mean more than a Copywriter here, since where marketing is going requires someone who can think about big narratives, not just spots or executions.
  4. An Interactive Art Director. The moving visual image will become even more important.
  5. Technologist. Someone to open doors into new possibilities.
  6. (Social) Media Relations Expert: Because Earned Media can be effective as hell and pretty cheap too.

I reckon that would be a good start, but to really rock, you’d also need:

  1. An Experience Designer: So many things are designed without thinking about the people involved (from chairs, to urban centres, to websites). This doesn’t have to be the case.
  2. A Data Analytics Guru: The data wave keeps growing and if Charlie don’t surf, he ain’t gonna win.
  3. A Connections Media planner: Someone who can think creatively about how the medium and experience interact, not just a TGI monkey.
  4. A TV Documentary Researcher: Someone who knows how to weave a great story and get the relevant people and places lined-up to tell it.

That’s it. If Mister Three Sixty doesn’t draw a line somewhere, it would be huge. It should be perfect. On paper…

What do you think? Who has Mister Three Sixty missed from the line-up? Where is the real talent going to be tomorrow?

Written by misterthreesixty

May 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Brand Narratives: What’s the story?

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The Hungry Caterpillar

Stories are how we first learn about learn about the World. MRI research shows that as we read stories, our brains appear to simulate the scenes, actions and feelings we’re reading about.  So stories can build empathy between the storyteller and reader/listener.  This suggests that the power of narrative should be fairly interesting to anyone involved in communicating for brands right?

Mister Three Sixty has been doing a lot of reading recently on the theme of Transmedia Narratives. “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience” (Henry Jenkins, MIT).

matrix_1The Matrix is a classic example where key bits of information are conveyed through three live action films, a series of animated shorts, two collections of comic book stories, and several video games. Others working this vein include Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and JJ Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield).

This isn’t necessarily a new idea  (Faris has covered it in detail before) but it feels like an idea that is about to get much, much bigger. Transmedia narratives offer the opportunity to combine three interesting trends;

  1. The idea that brands should be telling stories,
  2. The layering of a brand’s messages accross different channels and platforms, allowing each to play to their strengths,
  3. Our desire to retell, repurpose and remix stories themselves.

Mister Three Sixty thinks this will have a big knock-on effect for communications planning and creative development. Will the classically reductive approach to Creative Brief writing do the job when what may be needed are long-lasting and expansive mythologies.

Mister Three Sixty asked NYC-based Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, whether in his experience, it is possible to develop narratives from scratch for brands, rather than just exploiting entertainment content. “It is indeed possible for us to develop worlds without relying on pre-existing IP. In fact, we would prefer doing so, as it would allow us to infuse a persistent narrative with sensitivities to the strengths and weaknesses of an array of platforms from the very start.

Often we are forced to contend with the inherent limits of the properties we are given to work with, because they were created with linear narrative (a single movie or videogame) or interruptive narrative (a TV commercial) in mind.

On the other hand, when Mattel gave us Hot Wheels and told us the only requirement was that all 35 cars featured in their 35th anniversary celebration needed to be included, we were unleashed to create a fabulously successful series of IP’s for them, each piece of which was especially designed for the platform at hand”.

Mister Three Sixty thinks there is an interesting debate to be had here. Some questions for you:

  • Do you think existing agency structures and skillsets are able to really build proper narratives and tell stories, as opposed to providing mere glimpses of stories e.g. condensed into a 30 second spot?
  • Or will traditional agency structures be replaced by new types of agencies, able to develop a brand World replete with characters, story, backstory and chronology?
  • Can any brand recount an engaging narrative over several years or is the idea of a transmedia narrative best suited to entertainment properties?
  • Is this already being done right now, or are existing approaches more about layering and repetition across multiple channels rather than the telling a story?
  • Who is best placed to write and develop the narrative and the world that supports it? PR agencies, film marketing companies, ad agencies, production companies, DM copywriters, digital design companies?

There’s more, so much more Mister Three Sixty could cover; the power of Archetypal characters, or the seven main universal plots…  but these can be the subject of another post.

Would really love to hear your thoughts…

Written by misterthreesixty

April 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm