Most people are shocked and appalled at the three agonising minutes of TV that made up Guinness' latest campaign. On paper, however, it does seem like a good idea. For these reasons:
1. Nobody has ever done it.
2. It's branded content. Brands are publishers now, right?
3. Jonathan Ross is a popular TV host.
4. It appeared on a time when lots of people are watching their TVs.
5. There's a hashtag!
So how come it was one of the most cringeworthy things the universe has ever seen?
I blame the execution. There's no humour in it. No self-awareness. No irony. No rough edges. Jonathan Ross and Danny Wallace are both sarcastic presenters who revel in things going wrong, or unexpected mistakes. They are both brilliant at ad-libbing.
When you polish all the imperfections out of the script, add a laughter track, and time the reactions down to the second (and make sure the cameras catch them as exactly the right moment) the whole thing looks fake.
The one thing that we don't want from our advertising - which is a huge irony in itself - is fakeness.
The backlash against this mentioned problems such as the campaign didn't have a decent call to action, or that the site wasn't properly mobile optimised, or that the research wasn't interesting enough. That's all rubbish, and way too deep to explain why this campaign was so awkward to watch.
If content itself had been better, and Jonathan and Danny has been allowed to be themselves and entertain us properly for three and a half minutes, then we wouldn't have cared.
Microsoft and Sony released video ads for their new consoles this week. Both are amazing, showing off some of the best creative work I've seen in ages.
For me, Sony just pips it, mainly because I was a PlayStation kid (since 1995, as the video says) and there were so many nostalgic references. I did get a chill when Spock beams into the Microsoft video, howevs.
I know I've been on a bit of a rant about simplicity recently, but imagine trying to explain this PR stunt to my Mum.
"The new solution allows consumers to scan a smartphone on a vending-machine sensor, which will activate a touchscreen interface with purchase options. If the consumer has the SAP Hana app installed on his or her smartphone, the cloud menu can recognize the user and will eventually build a user profile based on purchase history. Consumers can select promotional offers and give feedback on their purchases. Gifts can be sent between app users, who will be informed via text of their gift credit."
Good luck with that.
... the first step is photographing the enrolled users fingerprint in 2,400 dpi resolution.
The image then needs to inverted and laser printed on to a transparent sheet in 1,200 dpi resolution and thick toner setting... Latex milk or white wood-glue can be used to create a mould by spreading it onto the transparent sheet and letting it dry. Then you breathe on the mould for moisture and place it on the sensor to unlock the phone.
As with most security technology, it's more about the time it takes to break rather than the fact that it's unbreakable at all. Even the longest, most diabolically brilliant passwords can be guessed eventually. It's just whether the criminal can be bothered.
When I get my iPhone 5S, I'm not going to worry. Even if they did get in, all they'd find is photo after photo of my dinner anyway.
Are you worried? Would this stop you buying a new iPhone?
Yeah, so I failed the challenge to ban a different marketing cliche every day through August.
Don't care, been busy.
Anyway, I'm going to carry on regardless. And today's term is... 'Learnings'. You know, like when you're in a review meeting and you've screwed something up. You know you've screwed something up, and you know you're going to have to tell the client. Or even worse, the client has screwed something up, and you're going to have to tell them.
So you title the PowerPoint slide: 'Key Learnings'. You coward, you.
'Learnings' completely removes the fact that someone in the room has ballsed something up. The word you really want is 'lessons', but you're too scared that this will take you back to school, when learning your lesson meant getting told off for doing something wrong. Calling it 'learnings' and it's much less impactful, creating a cushioning bubble of comfort far removed from the harsh reality of the screwup itself.
No more of this, please.
One of the great pieces of advice I took from my Waggener Edstrom days (from either Waggener or Edstrom - I can't remember) was the phrase 'fail forward'. If you screw something up, it means you're moving quickly and trying new things. If everything always goes well for you, then you're doing it wrong.
When you do screw up (and you will), you take it on the chin and learn your lesson. You admit your mistake, and use the information to do something bigger and faster. And next time you'll shoot higher and make an even bigger mistake. Which propels you on again.
'Learnings' is a wimpy word, and totally undermines the awesomeness of fucking stuff up. Next time you write your slide and are about to type 'Key Learnings', call it 'Gigantic ballsups' instead. At least it'll force you to spend time actually learning from them.
As someone who once fiddled with Microsoft Tag a bit, I just got a shutdown notice from Microsoft. They are removing support for their version of the QR code on... Wait for it... August 19th, 2015.
Let's take two learnings from this.
1. The QR code isn't catching on, and tech like NFC is taking over. 2. Microsoft is more generous than Google with its notice of closure.
In fairness, drinks bottles, shop windows and bus stop adverts don't use the Microsoft standard. They all use the less colourful, classic open standard QR code. Which is a shame because the Microsoft Tag interface and reporting was brilliant, plus it was able to generate standard QR codes and NFC triggers.
Despite the fact they're popping up everywhere, I'd love to see usage numbers of QR codes. Anyone know if they're actually ever snapped?
"Hey Jon , we want a social media campaign."
"OK, what do want the outcome to be? What are you trying to achieve?" "Buzz."
"What for?" "Erm, to create buzz!"
"Yes, but where do you want them to go? What are you asking people to do?" "Buzz about us."
"Let me put it this way: What do you want to measure? Clicks? Leads?" "Buzz."