Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shoreditch Beat Poetry.

For those of you missing out on the feted Project 10 circulation list, here is my contribution.

And So This is Christmas, And What Have You Done?

This year I learned that a film which makes your CEO look like a ruthless jerk can only make people love you more. I learned that in an age where we're obsessed with privacy, we're actually sharing more than ever. I learned how being on a horse changed advertising forever. I learned that having over a billion hits on YouTube means you don't have to worry about being in the charts. I learned that touchscreen devices can be beautiful. I learned that augmented reality still has some way to go. I learned that a new logo can divide opinion and that crowdsourcing in a crisis makes you look desperate. I learned it all first on Twitter.

I've blogged, tweeted, updated and checked-in. I've Googled it, Bing-ed it, Yahoo!-ed it and gone back to Googling. I swiped, pinched, tapped and flicked. Booted up, started up, switched on, signed in, accepted, allowed, downloaded, friended, followed and liked. I forwarded it, I tagged it, I attached keywords and uploaded it. I was always-on, on Skpye, on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, online. I declined, ignored and turned off. I was offline and IRL (in real life).

I did 14 hour days, 10 hour flights, 8 hour jet lags, made four 2 minute films, and wrote seven brand strategy documents. Gave two talks, got 5,000 followers across 3 Twitter accounts and posted over 200 blog entries. I ate my 5 a day, topped up my Oyster, got my Nectar points, paid my council tax, my mortgage, my phone bill, my gas bill, my water bill, my car insurance, my MOT, my parking permit, and waited 2 months to get broadband. I did coffee and lunch and dinner and drinks and networking and schmoozing and catch-ups and crits and conference calls and feedback and sign offs.

I bought clothes and shoes and accessories and apps and magazines and chocolate bars and stuff for my house and ingredients to cook and take-out so I didn't have to cook. I loved Mad Men and X Factor and 30 Rock and Glee and celebrity gossip and mexican food. And hated the cold and the dark and the early mornings. I saw my old friends and made new friends and worked with the best and fancied the wrong people.

I have been energetic and excited and hyperactive and inspired and nervous and frustrated and absolutely exhausted… and so this is Christmas and what have I done? I've done my best and my hardest and with focus and with passion and I've tried and I've failed and I've tried again and I've succeeded. And I'm bloody glad it's Christmas because I intend only to do two things til January… Eat. And Sleep.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Checking into to Hauling

In this month's edition of UK Wired magazine, there is a fascinating article called "Commerce Gets Social - How Your Networks Are Driving What You Buy". The piece looks at different ways innovators and consumers are sharing their purchasing data. From Blippy - a site that lets you share your purchases and see what your friends are buying online, to Groupon - a location-orientated deal-of-the-day site, the race, according to Wired, "is on to monetise the social graph".

Furthermore, and in a move that made me feel like the Winklevoss twins to Wired's Zuckerberg, the piece went on to mention the phenomenon for "hauling". In low-fi YouTube videos, girls share their latest purchase, or hauls, with the world. Stars of hauling have earnt hundreds of thousands of views and lucrative promotional deals. Not so low-fi now.

History tells us that technological advancement and consumer behaviour will continue to evolve. So, can we hypothesise on a potential future based on the evidence around us? We are already hardened "We Live Like This" consumers - surrounding ourselves with the brands, products, services and content which seem best to convey who we are and what we like. This brand-orientated peacocking while pretty normal to us, is instinctive to the digital generation. The 'Like' button is testament to that. Combine this with the new behaviour of "checking in" and something interesting presents itself.

In 2010 alone we went from tentatively checking in to locations on Foursquare in January, to happily checking in to TV shows on Get Glue in December. The fast pace of technology is shortening the distance between the absurd and the mundane. So, what if we can start 'checking in' to products? What if "hauling" goes beyond bedroom videos and onto the highstreet? The scope is huge - from checking in to a new purchase to detailing entire outfit.

So, what data sets could we be sharing with our friends, our network and the brands themselves?
Our username
Our location (place and time)
Our context (captions and comments)
Our spending habits (how much we spent, what partner brands we are pairing alongside)
And the exact moment all the brand's marketing efforts translate into a purchase. That's kind of exciting.

Struggling within the confines of "You are not "creative" therefore you may not have In Design installed" as set by the MB IT department, I have attempted to visualise how this future might look. See below.

Maybe checking it to all this data will prove too much. Maybe registering our every move will render us stationary, but - as Wired states - "The new generation want to scream from the mountaintops what they've bought, and to the largest audience" this hypothesis may not be too far from the truth. Time will tell.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


It's been tough, but I somehow struggled through the past few months since the close of Glee Season One. And now, just as January began to defeat me, Glee has triumphantly returned to our screens. And not a moment too soon.

But this post is not simply an excuse to get #Glee into the old keyword search (if I was in that game, I'd write about Justin Bieber's Facebook page). No, I want to write about their recent cast addition - Charice aka Sunshine.

It turns out Charice and her mind-blowing vocals came to the show via internet viral stardom. According to her Wikipedia page, young Charice notched up an impressive 13 million YouTube hits in 2007, winning her spots on Ellen, Good Morning America and even Oprah (I'm really clocking up those keywords!)

So why Glee? And why my fascination? Well, Glee more or less paved the way for "consume what you see TV" - as the songs rolled out, their iPhone toting, click-happy tween fanbase could immediately jump on iTunes and get downloading. And that almost inaudible sound in the background? That is the sound of easy money. Glee's previously unknown cast became Triple Threat cash machines overnight.

And when it came to gearing up for Season Two, what lessons had they learned?
1. Tweens love Glee
2. Tweens love the Internet
3. Tweens have the attention deficit capability to love both at the same time

The solution? Book the biggest thing on the Internet pronto. Sadly Beiber, Double Rainbow Guy and David had been lost to pre-pubescent anarchy, Microsoft and the dentist respectively. Charice (and her millions-strong fan base) it had to be. Genius. With her at the helm, and guest appearances from Britney and Gwyneth Paltrow this season is going to be a whole world of good.

Now, did I mention Bieber enough to get him in the tweet out for this post?

Monday, January 03, 2011


Had a bit of a shifty around Westbourne Grove yesterday checking out the sales. And I was amused by the gratuitous and largely pointless use of iPads throughout the stores. In Aubin & Wills, I was smugly told that I could order those black velvet shorts "through the iPad" - wow! In Matches, a sales assistant seemed simply to be rocking the iPad as part of a carefully thought out S/S2011 outfit. And, in All Saints (below) the place was practically riddled with the little things. At every turn, Italian tourists were desperately trying to check Facebook, as elder shoppers looked on in awe. Fascinating.