communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.


Decorating the house

Is something on my to do list for 2008 and luckily there are wonderful people in the blogosphere just brimming with wonderful ideas to share.

here is a great interior decoration blog and it linked me to this equally fab wallpaper design site

please please veronika help me decorate me house :-) (blush blush)


The new generation

Something overheard from two teenage girls "Hey, did you know that Enrique's dad also sings?"


Radio and crafting

I drove to my parents house for Xmas and spent the entire trip listening to radio commercials of which there are many. I remember none, nor what they were selling expect for the Flanco ones because they use the same voice as the TVCs and i kinda grew to like that fellow.

As if reading my mind Scamp does this bit about how to do good radio commercials and while I think the explanation is a bit old fashioned I think that what the invited writer is really thinking about is crafting your commercials as opposed to delivering soundbytes.

read on here and then have a look at the comments, one is especially retarded and funny

Design communications

I was having a nice chat with a great friend of mine who works in branding for a major international and we realized how basic comms performance is nowadays. We like to think that we have gone past the stage where “make me a logo and a TVC” was the regular client brief but truly we have not.

The problem is twofold: clients do not demand more, but agencies do not offer it either. I found myself at least three times in client meetings saying “why don’t you brief us to change your window decoration design and internal signage look and feel”. This usually gets me ugly looks from the CD and the accounts because effectively agencies do not want to deal with this, as they are advertising agencies ultimately, so they want to do TVCs.

The concept of communications design is one that is very remote from what we do in Romania but at the same time one we desperately need. This fuses the need to touch consumers at any point (basically communication is everything you do) with the idea of design, namely that any THING, IDEA, CONTENT that you as a brand produce should be carefully managed (designed) to best fit its purpose.

For instance, shop window design is something no one speaks about although it is statistically the no. 1 reason people go into a shop. POSM design is usually “let’s slap that TVC still frame on this wobbler” and the job is done. Internal comms is also lacking in design and implementation and this is probably why in big companies works gets rejected at various levels: because people have no coherent internalization of the brand.

What company in Romania can do these things? Not one, to my knowledge. How many companies do TVCs? Hundreds. Where is the comms evolution then if we are all struggling to make the same things?

images via

Getting a job in advertising

The business of communications is an especially attractive field these days in Romania with demand growing intensely and offer trying to keep up. However, as companies are waking up to the need to have specialists handle their communications, communication companies are waking up to the realization that two things have happened: the staffers they have are unable to keep up with the changes in comms and the overall manpower is simply not sufficient. More and more specialized needs are surfacing in comms and we are simply not ready to handle them from lack of knowledge and lack of people.

I have had in the past months more than 10 times heard my friends in comms asking where to get a good account, a good planner, a good designer. The answer is almost invariably “if you cannot poach them from your direct competition you need to go to the University and find them there”. Your choices are generally limited to one person and your strategy is always costing a lot: poaching means doubling the pay, hiring babes in the woods means huge training costs. The trouble lies even deeper though: the poached are old school people who will bring nothing new to the table, the newbies almost never come from the right background (I need to make this clear, I think designers should have design training, accounts should have marketing training, copywriters should have screenplay writing or journalism training, planner should have marketing comms, sociology or anthropology training).

In Romania this has led to a dire occurrence in comms HR: the under-qualified over-demanding newbie. These are people with no experience and (stress here) no training in comms who apply for specialized jobs and get them solely on the basis of their aspirations. You need only say you want to be an account, a planner, a designer and your potential paycheck jumps through the roof because there simply is no other way.

What makes the experience with these types of people especially sour is that although they have formally NO SKILL to perform their job, they evaluate their situation based on how much responsibility and money they are given. Practically they will leave if you don’t instantly provide them with the best desk, best accounts and best salary. And the reason this works is because they can jot down another job experience in their CV and get an even better-paid aspiration-based position at the next people-hungry agency.

I see this reflected in our work in 4 ways:
- we deliver crap work: since experienced people spend their time training the new ones in the OLD WAYS there is no evolution on the market
- we reduce the actual time spent on proactive work: because when you think you know everything and you don’t, mistakes occur and they need to be fixed, that’s retroactive work
- we increase the average salary for basic performance which leads to
- we create a generation of well-paid people who don’t know anything new thus effectively raising the retribution bar while lowering the performance bar

Now maybe it’s just me but that simply does not sound okay. I think people should be hired on know-how and paid on performance. The worst mistake you can make is ire them on aspirations and pay them on endurance.
Other thoughts?


My quote of the year

In Contagious' Most Contagious 2007 report available here: "Come one, the music industry. It's time." (about Radiohead's wildly successful In Rainbows online sale)

The best things that happened to Romanian advertising in 2007

My list

strange though how two of them come from agencies which are not Romanian (Orange is done by W+K and Dero let's be honest is practically written by BBH) and two are made by the same copywriter in the same agency :-) (way to go Raluca!!)

Shareware - the future

I am rereading Funky Business as I just bought the Romanian version and I am taken aback by the possibilities of a future where people learn to accept some of the basic tenets of that book and of Internet.

The main idea of FB is that power lies in the brain (talent movies capital and not the other way round), not in owning hardware but actually in the ability to create, and that differentiation comes from ideas not from massive accrual of assets and great distribution (because naturally with Internet distribution is not really an issue anymore, you can find anything at anytime).

Now another thing that I find interesting about combining this with the openness and democratization of intelligence that the www allows you is the fact that, truly, hoarding knowledge and information is no longer an option. The FB authors mention that a while back their school was the only option for people looking to do business courses in Sweden. Now the options are limitless as any student can pretty much apply to any business school. They also envisage a world where all students can get the same information instantly via the www.

This is knowledge shareware and it exists right now. Of course it comes from the most advanced knowledge centre in the world, MIT which has a free courseware application online enabling anyone to download their courses free of charge and study them.

This is the future, people, when all assets are at everyone's discretion and anyone can use them. And then the real power comes directly from how you choose to use them, from your brain. Do you censor them and try to hold on to the old way? Or do you get with the program and learn that you are the only true asset that exists in a world where everything is horizontal except brainpower?
MIT info via

medical untruths

Yeiii! Somebody has taken pity on us poor mortals and has compiled a list of medical myths that have absolutely no substantiating information. So shave away at those legs because the hair will not grow back thicker, stop drinking flavorless water because liquid intake can be any liquid intake and much more. read the complete list here via Ze
This brings me to think how more accurate information about effects of drugs or causes of popular diseases might influence advertising. What if our consumers actually knew what Q10 as an enzyme does? Would we still be able to sell Nivea as a miracle cream? Lack of information is really a blessing for advertising as it is done today.


thought of the afternoon

Why is it that nowadays everytime we say tech we mean something related to Internet, software or computers? We never mean technology as in an engine anymore...times are a'changin..

Top technology ads

According to Boing Boing here's 2007's ultimate tech ads. Meaning ads that use technology of some sort, not just Internet stuff :) and includes an old Honda ad for some reason but hey it's a good one

How to make your blog no. 1 in Romania

True observation from reading lots of Ro blogs --> talk about dating or relationships or love or whatever big category all of these fit into. You will IMMEDIATELY get loads of comments from either: the single feminist, the secret women-hater whose GF abuses him verbally, the "cool boys" - wannabe serial daters, the players, the haters, the experienced ones etc etc. It never fails. Your blog can bring light into matters of global importance, it can discuss the most recent discovery in cancer cure and yet, the biggest traffic will, undoubtedly, come from your one puny post about relationships and love and dating.

Brief and unprofessional anthropological conclusion: people who surf the blogosphere don't have much of a social life ????


More wohoos

My godchild Alexandra

One of the nicest holidays ever

My brand new Mac (not shown as it is camera shy)

Holiday cheer

W O Chinatown style H card letter o O O_McElman_070717_2619
\"M\" in lights!!! O M E letter n Vintage LEGO Letter T S

In the good holiday spirit I have decided to dedicate the remainder of this year to posting about the wohoo! moments of 2007 in my life or life in general. naturally since I am lazy and suck at doing research (unless of course it is for our beloved clients, hint hint say no more) I will post these as I remember them. To start off, I commend myself for starting on the long road to a healthy life by bringing my bike from my parents' home to mine. It has to this day not been used but it's here. So wohooo! moment no. 1.

Try your profiling muscles at this

In case you were wondering how profiling works this test by Grant is an excellent example. I got it via Russell and I think it's an excellent example of how you can think about culture and the world around you. Try it, it basically asks this

"A man approaches a woman in Union Square and asks, "Would you watch my dog while I run into the health food store and buy yogurt?"
She falls to her knees and says to the dog in question, "Look at you, Mr. Doggy! Aren't you a doggy-woggy?"
Please unpack."

And if you've ever wanted to go work for W+K now is your chance to prove that language and cultures cannot be barriers in the true sense of the word.

Music for the late evening

when things don't really go the way you want them to go this is a very very very bad song to listen to :-)

Blogvertising from the doers

I e-mailed Romania's no. 1 blogger, Zoso, and asked him to meet me for a cup of coffee and a chat about the state of blogvertising and digital in general. I had previously met him at an Ericsson event and thought he was a bit of a evil dog, not sparing anyone their share of shit, but in a quiet cafe with a slice of pizza he turned out to be a bit less vituperative.

Zoso writes the most visited blog in Romania, in Romanian, and focuses on media, digital and sometimes the bitter truth about living and working in Romania. I got him to answer some questions about the type of projects he got approached with and why he had done the now (in)famous Logan project.

I did not want to record the conversation so I will just jot down some of the conclusions on the topics above

There are different ways of doing it and Romanians seem to be less in touch with all these but Zoso thinks that ultimately blogs are the brainchild of personalities and the reason people read blogs are because they like what these people have to say. If you can get them to try out your product and like it [and then hopefully write about it], it's the best endorsement you can get. He would never write good stuff about products he thinks are crappy (he named one soft drink :-) and when he writes he mainly says what he thinks even if the product is not the best. it's the deal with all his endorsements: tell it as it is. the brand manager can take it or leave it.
Fortune from blogging
Not too many people approach him for projects. People come to him and ask him to come up with his own way of promoting a product. This seems to be great at first but it usually ends up with them commenting on his project and rejecting it over and over again. Zoso puts all this down to people not yet understanding that digital communication is different from regular communication. He seldom makes more than E500/month from these projects because he refuses to sell CPT (sites do that).
The Logan project

He was approached by a team that had outlined a clear path and he felt he could do it without feeling he was doing a disservice to his blog and credibility. He was right - the endorsement did not hurt traffic or the trust people place in what he says. he also thinks he is partly responsible for the double than predicted traffic to the Logan Kiss FM website. It worked based on the same simple recipe: he did not lie about the car or the project, he simply wrote what he thought about the car and the communication (which BTW included him saying he would not buy a Logan and that Logan was a fair car, meaning giving you enough for the paid cost, but not a great car)
The attitude to blogging and bloggers
People are wary of bloggers because they feel they can harm business but don't know how to truly approach them (he actually told me that if my company did something nice i could send it to him and he would blog about it. if it was good :-); he talks about an online shop which he gave a bad review to and that la ter contacted him and tried to fix the problem by being decent and open.
He is surprised by the amount of people sitting on a pile of opportunities and not doing anything about them. There's lots of people in Internet in Romania who have no clue what to do - they simply have a lot of potential and do not know where to take it.
His secret to being no. 1 blogger
Devote 3-4 hours a day to keeping up to date with your topics and only write honestly about stuff.

I was pleased to realize that things are really simple and not a science as some people will have you think. What he said made a lot of sense and confirmed most of the stuff I had been thinking of and writing about. Blogvertising is about harnessing the support of influential people, digital is about providing good honest content or apps and Internet is about utility. :-)


Why do we need positioning?

Today I was having a conversation with one of my favorite copywriters/CDs and the doubt plopped into our heads: why, after all, did we need a positioning to do a good campaign? We knew what the campaign was meant to achieve and it could be done without there ever being a positioning attached to the product.

Predicament. Because on the one hand you cannot mess with the longest-standing pillar of communication and Mr. Ries' brain child, but on the other some of the coolest things we've seen lately are loosely linked with a positioning of any sort (I mean between Gorilla and Cadbury's positioning there is, like Mr. Izzard would say, a bit of a winded road, left at the traffic lights...)

My answer: it's for peace of mind and continuity, otherwise you'd have to have a stroke of genius every time you communicate and that hardly ever happens.

There's more to this conversation but ... maybe after a good night's sleep

Smart pics

I have this problem: I write presentations and sometimes I need a great picture to tie it all together. You know like when you want to say that what you will see is going to blow your mind and you put in a picture of a street sign that ha s been painted over and now says "Go ahead! Danger awaits!" everytime I ask myself where to get these smart pics from. Getty does nothing for me and google pics is simply prey to the users' own inability to tag pics right.

So can someone point me to a good source of interesting pics (please please do NOT say flickr), pics that have inherent interesting messages, pics that are great conversation bonding agents?
Or does someone what to help me make a data basis of these? This one I have from and there's also some cool ones in this presentation from Interesting 2007

Blogvertising vs word-of-blog

It's occurred to me [as I am trying to invite a person over to Romania to do some trainings here] that blogs ARE some of the most effective closed-community means of promotion available.

I mean when you want to get the buzz going in a certain community you simply connect to the top bloggers of that community and then let them do the work. Netcamp organizers did something similar when they pushed discounted tickets to top bloggers in Ro (just one example linked, because Radu is too cute). The trick is however not to simply place your message there but to make them part of conveying your message, get them involved. This usually means that their readers will link to them with similar messages and there you have it: instant word of blog with minimal spending.

As always there are some basic rules:
- relevance: don't use blogs on tech is you're pushing a bra competition
- professional: do your homework because the blogger will not compromise if your stuff is shit
- honesty: ask them straight out, pay them and you'll get phony and phony smells a mile away

context is everything

Definition of stand-up: "think of a guy who can make you laugh without tickling you". Funny? maybe.

Now put it in this context: one huge bouncer clad in a red tight tee that says "don't fuck with mr. zero" and one stand-up comedian's friend explaining the above. Now imagine the bouncer's expression... priceless, as says one credit card. (thanks andrei and sergiu)



and for more enjoyment check here also

from the makers of Ice Age (hint hint, say no more)


How to travel if you're change adverse

First things first, you're change adverse of you hate moving from flat to flat, changing your job, have your best friend marry, have your parents move to a different town, hate your restaurant when they fire your waiter, don't like new flavors in your yogurt.

So, if you're like that you will probably be an uneasy traveler because travel means change. The change adverse traveler's guide to new cities is this:
- never take the tour buses to anywhere and never go to see any sight in the first couple of days - do shopping
- always take the metro at rush hour and look with disgust at people carrying big bags and or bags with souvenirs
- never eat in the tourist places and always order non-specific food (no croissants in Paris, no pasta in Florence, no English breakfast in London); actually order the opposite - sushi in Florence, eggs Benedict in London
- speak English - only classical tourists try so very hard to remember how to say thanks in all the languages of the world
- give directions even if you have no idea - makes you feel at home
- buy the local newspaper
- don't take pictures - they will be cheesy ones anyway, 1 gazillion other tourists probably took the same one years and years before

... and you'll be fine :-)

DISCLAIMER: this is a post I wanted to write in a completely new blog about cynical travel but I ended up not traveling all that much this year so...

Two strategies?

Working on a presentation right now and I have come across a conundrum that has been plaguing me ever since I became a planner.

We work to establish the best way for a brand to go and usually this is only one [I find it hard to believe that a brand vision taken in a different direction would obtain similar if not identical results]

So you give direction, and then creative comes and does something good but off the direction you suggested: it's nice, it works, it can sell but it takes the brand someplace unclear and where you won't know what happens. And it definitely has nothing to do with your vision. Usually this happens when a great insight comes along.

The question here is not whether you should allow for that creative to be presented. Apparently most great planners think good work should be nurtured even if it is not on brief (maybe it's that bit of serendipity Richard was talking about), the question is simply how do you put them in a presentation? Both!

I always thought that presentations had to have a sense of ultimate purpose: they had to build up to a conclusion that would be so simple and yet so obvious after all the premises were laid out. And then you showed the creative for that. But when your premises say one thing, the creative is there to support it and then you have something else, for which there is no premise but it's simply nice, what do you do?

Thought of the evening

Craftsmanship is a thing of the past. They used basic, ugly tools to make wonderful, beautiful things. Today we use wonderful, beautiful machines to make basic, ugly stuff.

Obviously no political correctness back then

Went to see a history of animated advertising in France exhibition and was taken aback by how much more unconcerned people were back then. I spotted at least 4 commercials that included kids being slapped around (and they were not social campaigns anti slapping kids), kids drinking coffee, kids smoking (!!!!) and black people being made fun of.
I tried to find the Gitanes commercial that really got me going on youtube but it seems it's really archive stuff so i could no get it. But basically it tells the story of a kid who smokes in class, gets caught and says he does it out of patriotic duty because the ciggies are made by the French Regie. Upon which, the teacher says "well then, go right ahead, and give me one too" and they both go on smoking like good buddies...
Now, I ask you what would be reaction to something like this today? I mean even without the cancer scare and all that....
We used to have much more endurance to what was shown on TV back then I guess


Animated advertising in France

le Musee des Arts Decoratifs has this cool exhibition going on about French animated ads. They are a delight to watch and some are available for a preview here.

well, maybe it deserves a second chance

I know this is supposed to be some sort of professional blog but when in Paris do as the Parisians do, so I am being frivolous and laissez faire about it. Spent the evening walking round Champs Elysees. It kindof redeemed the other two crappy days by being crisp and clear, no pesky tourists and lots of lights...


Though of the evening

Everything fades at the sight of common sense. This is however not valid for the people who do not recognize common sense. And 80% of people today do not recognize common sense.

Love brands whatever comes

even when they are messed up by silly staffers. But how much longer, when there's a gazillion others waiting to gain your favors?


Whatever Eddie says about the French is true. Plus the smell.


Best sight so far in Paris

Found it at the exit of a metro station :-) whichever way you photograph it, it looks cool


Is my style of planning causing disturbance?

My colleague Sergiu did this to himself after working with me for three months. Before



The commoditization of holidays

Today I got a phone call from a journalist who wanted to know if I thought this holidays craze would last for much longer.

Were we going to see Santa Clause abused for months on end every winter season by advertising? I was feeling callous and said yes, that we were doomed to spend our holidays stuffing our baskets with things that would make us fatter and more unhappy, spending hours on end in queues and getting more loans to buy more stuff we really did not need. I said that holidays were a poor excuse for people to quench some deep rooted desires that communism had ferociously suppressed and that we were doomed to at least 10 more years of painful consumerism and silly holiday decorations...that holidays have turned evil.

and then I got home and I remembered my mother's st nick's cakes and the little gilded branch we always put in the window and the enthusiasm of coming home to a warm and well lit living room with mulled wine in big cups and my dad playing his silly music...

I miss those days when holidays were not evil.

After Netcamp

I felt like watching this again

Some speakers used it in their presentation. It's a true philosophy of the Internet as writing and if ever i could imagine a Digital Church, this would be its Bible's first chapter.

Some smart stuff from Netcamp

Saw just one seminar because I was busy at work but i took down these:

- treat any screen like a TV screen
- don't make people install applications to use your product
- don't upload crap on your website
- moderate through common sense
- when you have an idea, just do it, don't rely on the analysts and the press to tell you whether it will work or not. they only write about what they have seen and, if it's been seen, then you're not really making anything new
(Rodrigo from

Rodrigo's speech was filled with that thrilling common sense of someone who has created something meaningful by doing only the right things. When asked what he would invest in next, he said exactly what I wanted to hear: something he is passionate about or something that solves a problem (see, it's as easy as that when you start with the right objective)

Also his four steps to successful marketing:
- wear orange pants
- use your product on yourself as often as possible
- bring stickers and convince people to wear your tshirts
- talk smartly about your product


tell me what you have on your desktop

and I'll tell you who you are.

Yesterday at Netcamp it struck me that there is a split second between FnF12 [or whatever you press to put your presentation on screen] when everyone sees your desktop wallpaper and that is something no one, ever, ever considers as a relevant detail.

But if you think about it, what is more relevant, a presentation you wrote specifically for that event - sort of a tactical move - or the image you like to open your computer to every fucking morning - sort of a branding thing?

One of the speakers talked about web 2.0. His desktop wallpaper was a stock photgraphy landscape of a misty woods. Like I have seen thousands. Only it was probably taken by himself cos its was not all that well framed... as evil as it may sound i felt like laughing. I also remembered a brand manager who opened her presentation with a peek at her baby daughter's naked bottom. The presentation was about banking online. And then I remember the names of the folders, of which sometimes you do get a glimpse. All those "pics from sweetie holiday" and "my honey buns" or "crap to finish up" or "in Paris".

I used to work with a guy who carefully selected all his background photos for each event and had only one folder on his desktop which said NOW. I kinda liked him :-)


The grossest mistake in management

Is this "This will never occur in my category" or "this is not what my customers expect of me". It's like saying that if they have sliding doors in star trek, this does not mean we will have sliding doors in real life. The essence of economics is that is something works one place someone will find a way to make it work everywhere. And when you get there only your customers' willingness to stick by you will save you. And where does that willingness come from: from your brand.

A recent acquaintance told me about Blyk, an MVNO that delivers (almost) free voice and text to Young Adults in exchange for them receiving advertising on their handsets (you get app. 300 texts and app. 40 minutes free of charge monthly). Now this is not the revolution I was expecting but as you see from their ad below they have gotten the hang of something: free, paid for by ads. Like the newspapers. Soon someone will find a way to give you ALL minutes and texts free. The question I ask telecoms everywhere is "can you beat FREE"?


UPS is hot and cute at the same time

I've always liked UPS staff - in Ro they are generally good looking men and the brown uniforms they wear make them even more ...well, attractive to the eye. And now, there's also a cute and cuddly side of UPS in the form of their widget ...I just love the little guy :-) plus I find it a less annoying way of tracking your packages :-)

Thought of the afternoon

Advertising that stems from a desire to make profit for the agency or to get awards can only be irrelevant to the consumer as it caters to the egos and personalities of either the company CEO or the agency's managers. And neither one shop at your local grocery store.

Middle ages of planning

I have been reading A Master Class in Brand Planning (book newly published by the APG UK and also available from APG Ro at a good discount if you're a member) and it makes me understand that we are trying to reinvent the wheel in here.

The more I read the more I realize that they were going through what we are back in 1985, with planners being an uncertain professional group, with no clear job profile. So what offends me is that in Romania we have to go through the same motions although there is plenty of literature to explain to everyone how to use a planner and what planners are good for. But since we have built an industry based on personal creative merit and little to no professional skill I expect we do have to go through the entire cycle before we reach the age of enlightenment.

Second, I find it a relief to realize that planners did stem from marketing and research backgrounds as they were initially those preparing the marketing strategy for their clients. I have always wondered why NPD (new product development) was considered a part of a planner's trade and now it makes a lot of sense. If they were doing marketing they would have been expected to do that as well. This resolves an internal conflict I had about planners as simple lateral thinkers or all round interesting people: you should be that as well, it probably makes the difference between good planners and great planners. But bottom line, you should be able to to marketing and research also. Even if it is creative research :-)

One thing that planners back then had to face was the fact that, in time, companies developed their own marketing departments. This is sort of a fixture nowadays when marketing is the client's responsibility (or so it seems) and planners trying to be a part of that is deemed intrusive. But in fact, it should be a common part of what we do everyday.

In addition, we should focus more on developing skills that indeed support and develop the industry we are in. The thinking behind this is that if you come into planning believing that you are a good and interesting thinker, you will spend most of your time trying to acquire some marketing skills to basically keep up with the marketing manager. If you come in being a researcher you will try to understand how creatives essentialize messages to be able to make that leap from conclusions of a research to a campaign message. If you come in knowing marketing you will probably want to leave really soon because nothing advertising people do seems relevant enough. So you'd better come in with some marketing basis, a good heap of research analysis and top all that with creative and lateral thinking. And that will make you a decent planner. To get to great, well, at this point you have to do better than match a marketing manager and a creative director: you have to come up with something that will make your industry more effective, and virtually draw you out of the middle ages of planning.

Sunday morn' groove


Please read this

This is the latest thingie from Russell's campaign series and i find it so amazing and so to the point that I am seriously thinking about calling a planners meeting to discuss just this.

With Russell's permission I will paste this here
"It seems like we're about to enter a period where our digital lives will be full of the online equivalents of those messages you find on your television when you check into a hotel; always welcoming someone who's got a name a bit like yours. Never actually your name. And you wish they just hadn't bothered"

and try to underline how important it is for everyone to understand that we will not make our advertising more effective if we make it more targeted, because it simply needs to get more relevant.

I expect that's why Cadbury's gorilla, while apparently not making Cadbury so much money, not allowing any advertising practitioner to discover its secret strategy and not having much of a target audience, did so well :-)

Thought by Tay Zonday

"This is the Internet and it will murder your TV" :-)

Capitalize on UGM

This is one questions that I asked during that meeting organized by Ericsson and no one seems to have an answer. The question is naturally two fold: how do I producer of content as a user make money out of it and how do brands make money out of people producing stuff. I think, again, Fallon answers my question straight out by leading me to this man, Tay Zonday, who started out doing this

then he got millions of hits and ended up doing this

for Dr. Pepper.

Thumbs up for Dr. Pepper for being in tune with the hit now, and for Tay who's probably cashing up right now.


We have candidates

Starting today two crazy people will be analyzing every move they make in connection with brands and pretending they are not really doing it. This following this.

Dan and Melania, the future gurus of brand interaction have today been briefed on their assignments. Relevant discoveries to follow.

Many thanks for their utter and unexplainable lack of desire to be reimbursed for allowing us to use them as guinea pigs.

Thought of the evening

Are there really rules to blogging and if so does spelling things right count, or always liking your references or always making sense?
Sometimes it seems blogging has become more of a profession than a pleasure so I guess if you do it as such it should have some performance criteria.
But I think I want to retain my amateur status for a while - somehow it seems more in tune with the whole concept of "in beta"

LATER UPDATE: does template monogamy count as a plus?

Digital planning

I seem to get invited to Internet-related things and people listen to me speak about that and do not throw tomatoes at me. I wonder if this means that I actually know some stuff. I wonder if this means i might have a future in digital planning.
For those wondering like me, Iain has some answers here where he discusses the maings of a digital planner.

Whoa! Orangina...

via IF!


I sat with the big ones

I was invited today to speak at an Ericsson event on UGM. I was in awe as i was asked to sit on the same stage with people from hotnews and neogen and with zoso because i think having your presence on the net mean something for millions of people in the case of neogen, and thousands on the case of zoso makes you at least a decent internet pro if not anything else.

I find it amazing how closely knit and small the robolgsphere is and how interconnected the players are. Everyone seemed, at some point or the next, to have brushed against the other (or rather bumped against the other).

I had fun and spoke way too much apparently but found that people in Romanian internet are less prepared and in touch with what is being done. Also something that i have noticed ever since i started attending conferences, no one comes prepared. They come to give an opinion and sometimes that is simply not enough.

. ... also the setting was scary because we were on these white chairs on a podium surrounded by people but at some point it felt like some posh tech conference. so rock on Ericsson people :) via


Blogs meet the lolinator

If i was a big momma with a lot of attitude and some effing good time on my mind, this is what my blog would probably sound like.
Muchas gracias LOLinator and Diana.


Thought of the afternoon

"Just because you're doing lots of stuff does not mean you're doing lots of good stuff"

Merlin Mann of 43 Folders

IBM on the future of advertising

IBM thinks these (mobile advertising, global internet etc) will be the highest spend advertising channels in 2010. Scary huh?
I think it may be a while though with mobile advertising, but I guess with everyone fighting to prove that the phone is man's most priced possession, it makes sense to estimate that it will also be the highest interest channel for ad placement.
download pdf here

Measuring effectiveness

MIT Future of Entertainment conference had a panel about measuring effectiveness. The key question asked was "How do people make purchase decisions?". Fallon is reporting about this and I found it funny that the reaction to that question was just a bunch of other questions. No one seems to have been able to present a working solution for the so-important purchase decision dilemma. People talk about timing, convergence of ads and branding etc etc but there is no definite model. One panelist spoke about ethnographic observation as a means to finding that out and obviously the first thing that comes to mind is, geesh, we've had enthnographic observation for 100 years and now it occurs to us that this is the answer. Plus, I have been involved in some projects using that and the best i could tell you is that purchase decision is random and individual-experience driven, and in a world of increasing communication it happens a lot at the point of contact :-)

I have added a pixel

This is a cool project called pixelfest from these guys here where you and people from all over the world contribute to a pixel image. Just go here to add your pixel and change the pixel image. Mine is the green one inside the sun :-)

LATER - design is fucking awesome

Just look at the AMAZING stuff this designer duo does here

Design CAN make your life happier

This i could really use :-) via


Awsome cooperative work

this is great. NY artist Ji Lee puts up speech bubbles and people fill them in. More here

Beautiful things

from here

the site is not too bad either :-)Link

Work like life

I am working on a brief on hair loss medication. Somehow my stylist found it necessary to help me reach a deeper understanding of what that is like by cutting my hair REALLY short.

Sometimes the best insights come from experiencing the situation yourself. I have a feeling this will be a great brief :(


Whoa ...

They simply were smarter back then. Ogilvy via

Customer care

One sure thing: customer CARE is not effective unless it's genuine. If you do it because the competition is, and all you care about is devising processes to make your people CARE MORE than the competition, you will fail miserably.

I was just reading an anecdote about the text all air hostesses give you when the plane has landed. The whole "Please remain in your seats. Do not open overhead compartments as luggage may have shifted etc etc Thank you for choosing us blah blah". I have flown a number of airlines and the text is ALWAYS the same so I assumed it's compulsory. But, dig this, it is not. It's the airline's way to show it cares but because they all do it exactly the same it has become a process and not true care.

I guess that is why I still fondly remember one tube ride in London at rush hour when one conductor, instead of serving us the usual "please allow doors of carriage to close" simply said "look, people, there's another train only seconds behind us. Is a couple of seconds ahead worth having your nose stuffed into someone's armpit?"

I thought it was genius, I laughed and waited for the next train ...

LATER UPDATE: here's another example

Phone tricks

unfortunately these only work in the US or sth cos I tried the empty battery thing... and nothing
still they're fun to know and i wonder if there are Romanian equivalents

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked.

unlock your car
If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other “remote” for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

hidden battery power
If your mobile battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# Your mobile will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

to disable a stolen mobile
To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use it or sell it.


One stupid thing I heard today

Virtual connectivity is a trend.

Thought of the evening

When there is no local pride you need nation branding.



I always thought that part of a planner's job is to be really accurate at profiling. Diana also wanted to be a criminal profiler before she got into this.

So this article by Malcolm Gladwell was a blessing because it talks about processes exactly like ours when we try to figure out who our progressive consumers are. Also it pinpoints what the flaws are, namely that when you do behavioral profiling you simply cannot be sure your clues will lead to your conclusions in 100% of the cases. I cannot promise you that all your customers will think that red polka dots are cute. It's an assumption I make based on information and that is why I try to gather as much information as possible to make my assumption "statistically stick". Of course that's not certainty either.

But in our case it's just advertising, not murder :-) Thank God.

Malcolm is back to blogging and he has a new book coming out and I really hope it's about profiling.



Today I read three profiles of different people... of all three I envy most this guy

Jeff Gomez: He was a kid growing up in late 60s/70s in the Manhattan projects, where he felt like an outsider. In order to deal with this, he became involved in Sci-Fi media. Created his own Godzilla content by repurposing mass media imagery found in magazines. As he got older, he began to explore mythology and fantasy worlds, and was floored by the realism of those worlds. He wanted to emulate this, and find a system of rules that allowed him to do that, such as D & D. He needed to find a way to make fantasy worlds accessible to other people in the projects, and he began to get a sense of what the interactive experience was like for non-fans. Started looking to BBSes as places to extend the role-playing worlds. He predicted that there would be this kind of ongoing storyline on TV and these would go back into novels or video games, and low and behold this came to be. He began writing Palladium books, and Valiant comics. They asked him what character to pick to make into a video game. Suggested Turok, the Dinosaur Hunter, who ended up becoming a major property for Acclaim. Later brought Magic: The Gathering to Acclaim's attention. Now heads Starlight Runner Entertainment, which takes intellectual properties and develops fictional world around them.

He speaks here

Thought of the evening

Borrowed: media can be anything, anything is media.

user generated sight seeing

Via Faris via MIT Future of Entertainment conference this neato (!!!) gimmick called TagMaps powered by Yahoo! Berkley Labs which shows you the map of the world through flickr photos people take of the places you are looking for.

This above is from where I used to live when in London. Nice!

I want to go here!!!!

anyone got a free ticket? I'll do chores for it...

If you love gapingvoid

you might get the chance to see the man himself at netcamp. confirmation of his arrival here and details about the conference here. (he is not posted on the site yet which only goes to prove blogs are better at spreading the news)
wohooo, cannot wait to give him my card maybe it becomes the next drawing :-)