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.


It's not in the BIG Idea!

For a while now I have been struggling with the concept of big idea and why that simply strikes me as a sorry excuse for messing up deadlines, bad marketing and lack of vision. I always seemed to think that it was more in how you did it than in what you did and somehow Jack White agrees with me :P

“Everything from your haircut to your clothes to the type of instrument you play to the melody of a song to the rhythm - they’re all tricks to get people to pay attention to the story, If you just stood up in a crowd and said your story - ‘I came home, and this girl I was dating wasn’t there, and I was wondering where she was’ - it’s not interesting, but give it a melody, give it a beat, build it all the way up to a haircut. Now people pay attention.”


Rocky Horror!!!!!!

Everyone needs to know what the original is like (watch below) so we can tomato and potato and cabbage and generally throw any veggies at the Romanian version here if they screw it up

trans-sexual transylvania....wheheieie


Fast Strategy

Today is the day when you can do instant planning online as part of a great new project by Planning for Good.

Mark Earls is trying to assemble a team of planners for a UK planning job and he has put together a blitz planning sesssion from the UK's IPA headquarters. More details on how to plan and participate here

LATER EDIT: and even more here courtesy of Iain's twitts and the brief here



I know it's old (already featured on OTV :-P) but I have to paste it here. ASIMO is so neat :-)

More on research

"P&G’s focus on consumers gives new lease of life to the company" .. that;'s what Fortune says about the new consumer consumer centric attitude of the giant. I'm saying consumer twice because naturally they were consumer cnetric before so now they must be twice that ...
OTOH, Apple overtly disses any market research stating that they make products they would love and that seems to work.
But they both make money.
Two great companies with two very different approaches to creating meaning and the questions is how can they both be right. One says people have no idea what they want and the other says that only by listening to people you can understand what they want.
Truth lies in the middle. I think that people truly don’t know what they want but their actions speak louder than words and by observing them, you get more information than you would talking to them. Basically when asked to rationalize what they want they put to work a host of notions they are familiar with. But innovation does not work with notions everyone knows. What it does is it takes things we do not have a notion for yet and makes them part of communication. If people could tell you what they wanted then it would already exist. The trick is to see what they do and find a name and a solution for it. Maybe that is the real definition of what we mean when we say insight.

Stuff I learnt

while reading the latest edition of Fortune

“one common mistake is to confuse invention for innovation. Invention is to create something new. Innovation is to create something new that makes money”

“You cannot ask people what they want if it is around the next corner” Steve Jobs

Jean Louis Gassee, former Apple exec, “Democracies don’t make great products. You need a competent tyrant”


About renewal

The advertising and media industries seem to have reached one of those stages again when teams and pockets and egos are stirring and everyone leaves. Within less than a month we have seen:
- in media: editors in chief move from Ringier's EVZ to Patriciu's Adevarul or Realitatea Catavencu's Cotidianul after only a couple of months ago we saw defections from Cotidianul and EVZ to Romania Libera and freelancing.
- in advertising: Leo announces practically a decapitation of its newly formed CD team, rumors abound that DDB have quit in corpore, McCann loses two GCDs, Lowe faces series of resignations, BBDO reshuffles management team.

Tonight, I sat for beer with an art director who'd resigned from Lowe and got a job at Leo hoping he would be working for the same man who had interviewed him while back at GMP. He wasn't going to though because that same man had just been fired....

People tell me that this has happened before but I think we are seeing the turmoil of two industries whose growth has been anything but organic. With budgets in media/advertising bordering on the ludicrous (Tolontan quotes KanalD man whispering "This is insane, this kind of money is not for real") the two industries have had either to poach people from competitors or to hire beginners with an appetite for quick money and little interest in doing the job.

In advertising, the results are severe: accounts come and go because changing teams usually means changing strategy and TOV and brands need consistency. Work quality suffers because new people need to develop the basic skills before they can go on to doing good work and since marketing cannot wait, bad work is getting put out in the meanwhile. Or the account moves again.

The causes: rapid growth and greed/opportunism. I would also include bad management and the rule of ego over business objectives.
The solution: try to take as big a piece of the pie as you can handle. Do good work for less clients and grow teams in the meanwhile. This will mean that you preserve accounts, grow margin, incentivise your people and as your reputation thrives you can attract more good people and good accounts.

Preserve perspective and balance because sometimes constant renewal is not the solution.

Idea Forum 2 - ask speakers a question

This year's Idea Forum will be packed with good speakers and I thought we might try to take advantage of the openness of the www and find out more about them.

Dom from glue is one of the speakers and I am currently getting together some questions we might want to ask him before he gets in. I have started a topic on twitter ( asking for your points of interest but will also be rounding up comments here.
So, if you had one question to ask the head of emerging technologies in a digital agency what would that be.
So far I have:
- "would be curious to learn about some emerging examples and if the digital tech is any different from the internet space" from Dragos Novac
- a job offer for dom from radu ionescu (:P); later Radu wants to know when video shooting is recommended for websites.

please feel free to pitch in


Sunday evening

video is cheesy but close your eyes and listen


IMTO presentation

For those who have not seen it is here

LATER EDIT: also some links for those who asked
the barbarian group
branded utility interview

LATER LATER EDIT: here a thorough linking to all that was written about the conference

UGC money

”Advertising revenues against user-generated content are modest,” says Mr. Verna,” and they are expected to stay that way for some time.”
context here


Improv Everywhere here
see especially the Frozen Grand Central Station :-)


Someone has the guts to diss the all mighty "insight". Via Noah have a look at this gutsy definition of insight/insightful:
"Insightful. The word is a suspicious overstatement for 'perceptive.' If it is to be used at all, it should be used for instances of remarkably penetrating vision. Usually, it crops up merely to inflate the commonplace."

Digital advertising

Thought: if you run a campaign on TV and then you upload it on youtube and people watch it there too, do you call it "viral"? Or even simpler, if you upload a commercial on youtube, send the link to all your address box and people watch it there, is it a viral?
I seem to get thins weird notion that it is not.
And I wish for two things:
- client to stop asking agencies to make "virals"
- agencies to stop saying they are making "virals"


View from my room back here in Iasi at the IMTO conference
Neato, no? :-)


Idea Forum reloaded

Finally, it's back on the map! Idea Forum strikes back and this time it's all about merging something or other. I look forward to hearing the smashing Emily from Contagious and Dom who is, check this, Head of Emerging Technologies for London's glue.
But most of all I hope to catch a word with Ed Cotton who runs the most successful trend spotting blog in the US.
More coming up soon...
for details check event website here and manafu here


Art Directors' Club

Pics from the presentation. I spoke about how little things get you to big creative ideas and how magic is in the details. :-) At least that's what I think I spoke about. Thanks Serban for asking me :-)

Going to Iasi

To attend the IMTO event this weekend and dangerously dragging Manac with me [I am the quintessential woman driver :-P]. Schedule is to get there late Thursday and hang until Saturday lunch time. Drop an e-mail if you want to meet...


Landor launches partnership in Romania

This is the event whereby Landor is announcing it's joint venture with Romanian Seed Consultants. This will make the branding scene even more interesting.

Olimpiadele comunicarii 2

So, I was doing the pre-jurying for OC and one thing that struck me was that most teams had cleverly integrated an online dimension in the campaign. There is also a definite push for more research to be integrated in the preparation but it seems to be done matter of factly as if people were trying to prove that they had heard of research (most research presented came to the conclusion that the brief was correct :-).
I had fun


A market for developing ideas

I am reading this interesting book by HR Patapievici which discusses the lack of a market for ideas in Romania. He says that we are, as a nation, unable to develop ideas in the sense of taking something interesting and enlarging on it, developing it. We just love to break new and big ideas and leave them there. Naturally this refers to philosophy
We seem to be doing the same, though, with brands. No one is willing to take up and build on someone else's strategy. All we want to do is rebrand and reposition starting from he very odd idea that we are the first and only ones to know best.

First real viral campaign by a Ro agency

is a campaign for Lowe Romania. They are obviously preparing something and have made a couple of fun videos to generate some buzz. These videos have been sent to key people in the industry and they feature weird clues as "Lowe fires last art director", "Lowe owners decide to sell and start a spa" etc. The message is clear: lots of people have lost track of what Lowe has been up to, if anything, and this is a way to dispel rumors.

Also probably an interesting portfolio project by Lowe Digital {sorry if I got the name wrong}. Someone please direct me to the videos if you have them in an embeddable format


When favourite series meets SL

Remember SL? They've put in on CSI :)
Just saw this on AXN

Links for tonight

on raising capital here
branded utility from a newspaper here
on how much creatives make here (also, men, in case you felt emasculated by his, know that Cabral happens to be mega hot)
if you want to learn one extra, completely useless buzz word here

and yes, i am going to install soon

Word of the evening

context here

The need for definition

I have been struggling lately with the need to define exactly what I do and what I would like to do. I understand that the general term for it is "planning" but this is getting more and more foggy everyday. And to add to the blurriness, the human factor also gets in the way, because sometimes you might think you are doing what you should be doing but then people around you get in the way.

I like the people in Anomaly because they do not feel the need to define what it is that they do and simply brand themselves as solution providers. You have a problem, they solve it for you. Generally, it helps if this is a communication solution. I also think I liked something that Bogdan Naumovici said about his shop, 23...something about ideas that solve problems. Maybe that is what all these big idea briefs are about.

So the more I think about planning as a term, the less I understand what it is that we are supposed to be doing: Goodby was heralding the death of planning, saying that planners had lost their way when they broke from the creative circle and entered the consultant circle. Truth of the matter is sometimes you need to be a consultant because someone needs to re-organize positionings, to prepare research and to come up with platforms for brand management. So planning as creative stimulus is not enough. Neither is planning as marketing consultance.

I am not trying to figure out a solution for this. I just wonder, what with the changes that are about to happen in my life, where exactly the value lies when you factor in human intervention too. And then I think of me and the things I know how to do well and I wonder what the definition for that is.

I know this makes no sense, but hey, it's my blog :-P


Looking fwd to the summer


O yeah! I'm looking fwd to this one. check out the trouble Pixar went through for promo, they even brought back Woody and Buzz

oh, and Horton hears a who is not that bad...I may have jumped to conclusions there

Big ideas revisited

So, I worked on a big idea brief and we actually went with five. Interestingly enough, the client only wanted the one which implied absolutely NO intervention on his part on anything product-related. The recipe was once again: "can a TV commercial that you guys do help us sell more without us doing anything but complaining about production value?"

And this makes me realize that major corporations are stuck in a maze of their own making. They work so hard to establish rules and procedures and develop structures and guidelines and eventually the one thing they cannot do is change themselves. And when time comes, and change is essential, they need to look outside their own structures to make change because they have made internal change impossible. This is the difference between corporations like Unilever, and companies like Apple or Google. Unilever has invested so heavily in tangible assets that they have a hard time changing anything now. Trying to change would obliterate last year's key acquisition so you trod on, impervious to what the consumer wants because, although you know, there's nothing much you can do about it.

One other thing people in big corporations are scared of touching is THE BRAND, which means that they will not improve packaging, change format of advertising, come up with anything new for fear what has worked so far will stop working. Truth of the matter is that people are not all that attached to brands in real life and you would have to screw up repeatedly and really bad for them to actually stop buying you. Evidence of this is the numerous crap campaigns that do not affect sales vs the one time someone said they found a needle in your bottle when all sales were affected.

In marketing there are no non-movables except one, you need to have a vision for change always. And when you ask for a big idea always be prepared to do it internally before you go searching for it outside.


The human resources conundrum

The advertising industry is in turmoil in Romania. Reason? There is no one to hire. I mean, sure, there is a bunch of converse-wearing, emo-haircut, slim tie, Fabrica-populating, Red Bull guzzling, cool wannabe blogger students who come a'knocking. But the truth of the matter is they are not hiring material for one reason and one reason only: they only want to be in advertising as a temporary way of passing time, in between parties and sleeping, before they become millionaires and don't need to work anymore.

So ad agencies who used to be complacent have started putting out to look for the good people.

Some examples

Also for your delight check out some of the more creative ways in which they write their job ads here Plus the search is on with several events happening such as the ADC's school of creatives and maybe even some Young Lions initiatives.

If you ask me, these are just ways in which the ad industry proves it has no clue as to what it is it should be doing. When you look for art directors how about Filter Design Competition, or the local Art Schools or look for talented cartoonists, or do internships for arts students? Putting out a cool ad just means you'll attract more people who have no clue how to make a cool ad but sure love one when they see it.


Must reads for tonight

DRM content here
Design and value here

The antithesis of TV

Is this new service by google which enables you to bid for your preferred demographic group. If we do not start from the assumption that people lie about their details online, this may actually be as far away from TV advertising as it can get. It means more control over your budget, but does it mean effectiveness?

In romana pentru ca trebuie

Primul post in romana de pe blogul meu de acum si de atunci. Ca sa pot trimite link cu inima impacata (a doua oara) catre asta. Nu ma intereseaza atat povestea cat scriitura. Si efortul unui om care ia bloggingul in serios si genereaza constant interestingness/content/value [da, nu am echivalent in romana] fara a discrimina intre online si offline.
Domnule Tolontan, impecabil!


Best advertising for Mercedes

Is a show called My Super Sweet Sixteen where most of the bratty 16 yos eventually end up getting a black and sparkling Mercedes.


I met more people

Twitter users had their own meeting tonight in Bucharest and being a twiterrer myself, I went. I think that since there is a less than clear point to twitter, the same should have applied to the meeting as well :-) so we just chatted and had a beer or two. I love the fact that this type of online apps enable...well, communication really. You feel united into a sort of community of practices and that is an effective ice-breaker.

great to see you all, twitterers :-)

Interesting 2008 via 2007

I missed out on Interesting 2007 (russell's awsome project last year) and if you are like me you will love the Interesting 2007 website packed with ...interestingness :)
Also, if you are like me you will book the last week of June for Interesting 2008 :-) in London.