If advertising is a firework, social media is a bonfire

A smart presentation that does a good job at pointing out the basic difference between advertising and social media.

The most interesting bit: “If you have an amazing bonfire already, use a few fireworks to bring folk to it”.

This sounds reasonable, but it’s the opposite of what most companies do: instead of advertising their social properties, they try to “socialize” their advertising campaigns…

In all honesty, the presentation follows with “If your fireworks are great, stop people disappearing by getting a good ol’ bonfire going”. But you can see how weaker that is: when we gather up for a firework, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to make friends with those around us when it’s over. We were there for the firework, not for the company…

Final Burp: If you want your advertising to go social, don’t go for advertising. Come up with a social idea, and then advertise that.

Google + News

This, instead, is a pretty good way for Google to contribute to the media industry:


Final Burp: Media owners will hate this. Users will love it. To me, that sums up all the current debate on media…

Google vs News

It seems like a good 20% of the news produced on the internet in the last few months is about news on the internet. Declined as newspapers are doomed, journalists are doomed, journalism is doomed, we are doomed.  And if you’re looking for the killer, you should probably head to Montainview.

Perhaps that explains why like Google has recently joined the club or the more-or-less enthusiastic supporters of micro-payments, using the Google Checkout platform.

However media companies shouldn’t be celebrating, as I think this will turn out to be little more than a PR initiative from a company that’s being accused of being a parasite.

The reasons why micropayments are very unlikely to work still stand:

– In the math of consumers, unlike the math of business models, the difference between zero cents and 1 cent is not one cent. It’s the difference between the feeling of grabbing something for free and the feeling of paying with your limited resources, plus the hassle of registering into and going through a payment verification system. (Dan Ariely has done lots of interesting research on behavioural psychology, check him out)

News can be easily replicated and divulged. Apart from any ideological considerations now why news should be free, it’s simply impossible to keep them from spreading. The same applies to editorials and any other from of digital text.

The analogy with iTunes is wrong: music is something that you own and use over time, whereas for everyone but researchers news are disposable.

The analogy with iTunes is misleading: from every song purchased on iTunes, an estimated 99 are still downloaded via p2p piracy. That’s not what I would call a successful business model for an industry.

Pricing policies would be a nightmare: is an all-you-can-eat model feasible for a search-driven, snack-size consumption? Can you fragment a newspaper down to its elementar financial value? (Clay Shirky suggested you can’t back in 2000, it’s funny to see how the debate hasn’t moved further.)

– They provide a massive advantage for free-riders: the one news organization that will publish news for free will receive almost all the traffic, and the related ad-driven revenues.

It’s no coincidence that 2009 was supposed to be the year when media starts demanding its money back, and so far everyone’s waiting for someone else to take the first step, and the risk of being considered a fool.

Final Burp: So, why is Google going down this route? PR. Why are media owners doing it? Self-delusion.

Random thoughts about Cannes Lions

Domino’s “You got 30 minutes” won a Bronze in Titanium and Integrated. They deserved at least a silver.

Hyunday’s Assurance also won a Bronze in Titanium and Integrated, and this is more controversial. If you see creative agencies for what they have become and are going to be more and more, and that’s idea factories, this deserved a Grand Prix (or at least a Gold, since one could argue that Obama For America was actually bigger and more influential).

If instead you see creative agencies for what they traditionally were, then you value the tv-execution more than the business idea (“if you lose your job you can return your car to us”), and in that case it doesn’t even deserve to be shortlisted.

But if you’re honest about it, you have to give it a Gold. (Cmon, it’s way more influential than Sprint’s Now, that is just a cute, contemporary idea…)

More great, inspiring work? Google “HD loves HB”, “Best job in the world”, “The village where nothing ever happens”, “This is not a jersey”.

Final Burp: Any, litterally any shortlisted entry from 2009 would kick the ass of any winner from the 90s. Despite all the predictions of doom, this IS a great age for advertising.

The Long Tail, as explained by The Long Tail

The Internet Advertising Bureau has put together this cute film (“I am the Long Tail”), inviting owners of websites supported by advertising to explain what they do, what made them do it, and how online advertising is making it possible.

It’s a very immediate way to get a feeling of the scope and potential of the web, as built by your next door neighbour. Enjoy!


Final Burp: Everything you need is out there. For free. If you can find it.

What’s happening now

Provided by Sprint.


Final Burp:  How long does it take to make sense of “now”? And how much time do we have before it’s too late?

Everything’s gonna be all right…


History repeats itself: pirates go to prison. And it won’t change a thing.

Four people from Pirate Bay have been convicted in a Swedish court of contributory copyright infringement, and sentenced to one year of jail.

Aside from the irony of sending digital pirates to prison while at the same time being unable to fight real pirates in the Indian Sea, this historical conviction is likely to change nothing. Just like shutting down Napster did.

Despite numerous attempts throughout the centuries, noone has managed to successfully outlaw revolutions, and technology is inevitably evolving quicker than regulation can, especially in democratic societies.


Final Burp: “We have long been a leading IT nation but with these kind of actions we will be left behind and become dependent on other nations’ arbitrary views”. Christian Engström, Pirate Party.  In other words, approach towards digital can be a source of competitive advantage among nations, just like loose financial regulations used to be.

The status of digital music

A few days ago I was looking for a pair of jeans at Banana Republic. I tried on a few, luckily found a pair that I liked and fitted me, and went on to pay.

The gentle girl behind the counter took my credit card, registered the transaction, folded the jeans, put them in a bag. And only after that, she said, “there are also two vouchers to download free music” and carelessly dropped them in the bag.

When I went back home I took out the jeans, and didn’t give those vouchers a second look.

What was supposed to me a sales promotion around music didn’t play any role whatsover in the sale:  the shop assistant knew that it would be completely irrelevant, I knew I wasn’t going to care a bit about it.

To me, this tells more about the status of digital music than any sophisticated strategy or elaborated point of view.


Final Burp: a music download is the ultimate commodity, priced at zero. Null. Nada.


BMW Z4 augmented reality. Feel like a kid again!

Do you remember when kids played with little car models, letting them run on floors and tables, dodging chairs, lamps and pencils, and their grandma’s screaming legs? I do.  I was one of them.

Now we can all do  the same, thanks to BMW and augmented reality. Dare has produced a pretty damn cool work to introduce the new Z4:  inspired by the tv ad, you can print the Z4 symbol, position it in front of your webcam, and drive the new Z4 on your own desk. 

This is the ad:


And this is  how you could use the Z4 as a paintbrush:


Pretty sweet. But I still thinking that driving it around pencils and water bottles would have been more fun…


Final Burp: Digital is not about virtual. It’s about making it real.