That was the year that was, and the answer is, an app

I went to the Cursitor Street lunch last Friday and caught up with some old drinking mates, long-trousers and a love of alcohol being key distinctions of many present. All good chat and claret, although the opera singer, spoon-banging and last night of the proms style flag waving and group Jerusalem karaoke was all a bit much for my punk sensibilities/credentials. Hence many Marlboro Reds were drawn on the outside steps. Fag addicts get to enjoy their own social scene, where smirting has replaced cringe-worthy chat-up lines and talk rarely gets argumentative. People I see occasionally often break the conversation ice with something about how they always read my blogs, which I know most don’t. It’s a bit like if all the people who say they saw the Sex Pistols at the 100 club in 1976 were present, the place would have been filled ten times over. I’m sure I don’t have ten times more blog readers than page impressions, which sometimes reach double figures. One person actually told me I’d been writing too many blogs lately and it was cluttering up his Twitter feed. As I haven’t written a blog for over a month, I dug deeper. He doesn’t even tweet and he actually meant the updates I do on LinkedIn, mainly a few words and links to stuff I think worth sharing and that others may also want to share, the whole point of social media after all. As the evening approached curry-time, wobblyclark became wobblyrant, and a few topics got blog-listed for probably the last of 2012.

When digital was still online and its evangelists were dudes fond of goatee-stroking, a favourite pass-time was finger-pointing at boring and self-interested advertising agencies. Primarily for a TV commercial being the answer to any brand communication question. Interesting how at many agencies in 2012 the answer is an app, before the business and communications questions have even been asked. Even if an app is the solution, don’t forget not everyone’s got an iPhone and you won’t reach the majority of people, even the ones you want to target. Even if you can get your app visible in the stores, some are downloaded and never used; many of the others are only used once and even a popular one’s frequency of use dives dramatically over a short period. Some great stats buried in this article.

Earlier this year the Superbowl broke social media records with a headline figure of 12,233 tweets-per-second, unlike high BPM which can be enjoyed when on an emotional high, speed Tweeting is not advised when euphoric, tired or emotional. Some top celebrity Twitter gaffs of 2012 here. Digging deeper into the Superbowl tweet stats, around 5.4 million people made an average 2.2 social comments each. With an average TV audience of around 113m that means less than 5% were socialising about it online, and they joined in the conversation once every two hours. This is to be considered carefully when second and even third screening start to eat-up too much of your communications planning mind-space.

I am not the only one who sees a bleak future for ad-funded TV content, read this, and I was interested this week in the ten most popular ads on YouTube in 2012 as featured in Campaign. The top-slot is held by Honda Civic, which has 3.8m worldwide views, still a small proportion of the audience an ITV spot can deliver, and all at one time. Compare the YouTube views for Honda to those for branded stunt of the year, Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Skydive, the highlights of which have clocked-up over 30m views on the official Red Bull YouTube channel alone. In the age of mass ad-avoidance, creatives will have to devise more compelling content people actually want to watch, on a big screen as well as smaller ones.

If you are wanting people into have conversations with your brand, please remember few are likely to be interested in chatting to you, or telling their friends, about your calorie count, scientific formulation or the proportion of people who prefer you to some other brand. Every brand has got a story or two, make sure you aren’t the bore in the room.

A few things I’ve learnt, or been reminded of in 2012.

There is nothing more the media, and adland, likes than talking about itself, reaffirmed by Leveson enquiry newspaper coverage and the annual Campaign A List (subscription only)

If you want to influence people, the best solutions simplify the complex, not complicate matters further.

If you’re bigging-up NFC as a marketing communications channel, and you know who you are (#DOOH), you are now commonly known as a group with, “Not-a-Fucking-Clue”.

If you’re going to gamify anything, it needs to be fun first and deliver rewards more valuable, and not in a monetary sense, than gold-stars at school.

Lastly, some seasonal rants; best delivered half-cut.

Poster Boys, OMC and IPAO stakeholders: Please Officer Someone Took Away my Research

Chanel 4 executives: I will not watch 4OD TV shows on my laptop and be forced first to watch three-and-a-half minutes of TV ads I’ve possibly already seen and mostly I wouldn’t want to see in the first place. 4OD should be available through my Sky box or Smart TV menu, like iPlayer, ITV player and Demand 5 (not sure about the brand truth there), but of course then I would be able to strip-out the TV ads, so you couldn’t sell my eyeballs in the over-hyped, but currently heavily demanded, VOD media buying channel.

Pre-roll ads on VOD are of less interest to me than who has the maddest dress sense on Loose Women, since Jenny Éclair hung up her stockings.

I am looking forward to next year, I like change.

Best wishes to both of you.

You can read my other blogs and about what I do here: www.balloo.co.uk

  • http://www.akemansolutions.com Tim Butler

    Great post Ivan. Why are they showing 30 second commercials online, 5 second would be enough. Less is more :) Happy Christmas

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