28 April 2009
Dad: So how old are you now?
Me: I turn 25 in June.
Dad: Really? Are you sure?
Me: What do you mean, 'am I sure'? How is it you don't know how old I am?
Dad: I thought you were 24 last year.
Dad, handing me a paper sack: Well ... don't forget to eat your breakfast burrito.
Epilogue to this story: At the time we had this convo, Dad was dropping me off at BART, and I really didn't want the breakfast burrito. He kept shoving it at me though, because that's what he's like, and I was a total bitch about it, but finally took it because I figured that was the only way we were leaving the house.
So I get to BART and I'm actually planning to admit defeat and eat this thing. But when I open the bag, there is no breakfast burrito; just an Asian pear the size of my head. I get all super happy because I haven't had one of these in years, and make a big sloppy mess of eating it on the train.
At the end of the day, when I see Dad again, he looks all stoked and goes, 'Did you eat what was in the bag?!'
I'm like, 'Yeah. Thanks for the pear!'
And he goes, 'That was your favourite snack when you were a baby!'
So really, regardless of my actual age, to my dad I'll always be roughly 6.
26 April 2009
Chelsi: When you think about it, 'Trojan' is the worst name to ever give a condom brand.Me: How do you figure?Chelsi: Why do we remember Troy? Because a wooden horse slid covertly in. Then lots of men spilled out and ripped the city apart. FROM THE INSIDE.Me: ...
This is true.
24 April 2009
Amielle Lake is the CEO of Tagga, a Vancouver-based company that helps agencies add a strategic mobile component to their campaigns. (Think broad SMS efforts, mobile websites, etc).
The service -- currently live in Canada and the US -- includes reporting and dashboard management, and payment models are flexy.
We sat down yesterday to talk about Tagga in a video interview. As luck would have it, I ended up gleaning a lot more than I expected. Amielle tells this great story about Tagga's birth and the state of agencies at that time; it also turns out she worked in mining and knows French cheese like this. (*crosses fingers*)
Funny what you can find out when the pressure's on (ad:tech was ending, hence the skulky suited man in the BG) and you know your first take MUST be perfect (I don't know how to use my video editing software. But you probably guessed that).
Compulsive Twitterers can hit the Follow button at: @tagga and @amiellel.
23 April 2009
Shortly after his keynote at ad:tech San Francisco -- and David Spark's timely pre-talk grab -- founder Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia sat down with me to talk shop.
Expect to hear his dish on where consumer generated media is now and why brands should dive in (as well as where). We also talked about what-in-hell happened with Wikia, why branding's underrated, and what keeps Wikipedia afloat. (It ain't advertising.)
I tossed one last question in to finish off my videocam juice: childhood nickname. His was Jimmidee.
Mine was Pukang. Don't ask.
18 April 2009
13 April 2009
Effort's called Smooth Originals, premise follows thus:
Remember the days when men were strong and silent, women were chic and sophistiqué, and the action was as smooth as our 4% triple filtered beer? Formidable!
Godard, I'm sure, would blush prettily at the acknowledgment. Or at least Brigitte Bardot would.
Dad: Miss San Francisco? Nothing like the Bay, eh? I think you should move back. Wanna move back?
Dad: That's how I felt when I moved to America. Your grandfather asked if I'd like to spend more time with him in Manila, and I was like, 'No, dad. America is my home now.' I'd made up my mind to live there, so my heart was there; it had been there for years.
Dad: But knowing that -- knowing how much time I'd spend in the States afterward -- if I could go back, I would take my dad up on his offer to stay in Manila a few weeks more.
Me: Let me see if I understand. Knowing now what your life would be like, and that you'd spend most of it in America anyway, you would have stayed longer in Manila to be with your dad?
Dad: ...Actually, no.
Me: So why are you asking me to move back?
Dad: Worth a try.
07 April 2009
06 April 2009
It's weird about Paris. You get the sense that it's a lot like San Francisco: picturesque, unassuming, discreet by night. But beneath the surface, it's really more like New York: roaming, sleepless. You just don't realize the latter until you're swept up in it, holding on for dear life, then you look around and realize you haven't dreamt for days.
On Monday afternoon at Marketing 2.0, all 250+ speakers, moderators and attendees were invited to dinner at Bistrot Renaissance. Given the girth of our group, we thought the venue would be sizable -- so it was with surprise when I showed up to find it was no bigger than a cafe.
People sat in groups of four or six, wherever they could be squeezed together. (For visitors that popped in just for a drink or something, it must've seemed like every social media zealot in Europe had alighted upon the Renaissance with a vengeance.)
But claustrophobic spacing breeds intimacy among the far-flung. I was squeezed into a table with a girl from a British agency, Senior Editor Elsbeth Eilander of Tijdschrift voor Marketing, Marketing Exec Cedric Giorgi of Goojet and Sven Markschlager of JagerMeister -- who I knew already, because we'd become Designated Conference Walking Buddies. (Seriously? He talks about Jager ALL. THE. TIME. Did you know that in Germany, older people drink it to settle their stomachs? Or that it's preferred as a mixer in Australia? No? Now you do.)
All told, a pretty low-key night. We did the business-card-exchange thing, and I went home fairly early (around 11), which is great because on Tuesday, all flippin' hell broke loose.
David Armano -- you know the one -- was in town with his wife. We shook hands for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and he casually asked if I'd like to go to dinner. I was like, "Sure," mainly because I had no idea what havoc said dinner would wreak.
I met M. and Mme. Armano at the Holiday Inn around 8:30 or so. We were joined by Branislav Peric (@branislavPeric) of Duke, who right when I sat down said something to the effect of, "We are going to a very good restaurant."
"Thank you for that useful information," I said. I think it was at this point that we both decided to spend the rest of the night trying to destroy each other's souls.
It was Branislav who led us by foot to Cafe Moderne, where three others -- Fred Cavazza (@FredCavazza) of MySpace/Facebook moderation infamy, Sandrine Plasseraud (@metoo) of We Are Social, and Frédéric-Gérard Leveque (@digitalizer, better known as "The French Minister of Advertising") -- were waiting with an endless supply of alcohol. The drinks were good, the food exceptional, but the company...? Priceless.
I'm not really doing this topic much justice. It's not like you'll really enjoy hearing me reminisce about how much fun it is to talk social networking conspiracy theory with Fred, or to smirk about being "social smokers" with Sandrine. I'll synopsize by saying we were at this awesome restaurant until 3:30 AM, at which point our long-suffering waiter practically begged us to call it a night on pain of death. He then booted us out on our happy asses, but not before @armano and @digitalizer got all existential and whatnot.
We also got to see the Armanos kiss, followed by a brief but technical lesson on, well, French kisses.
(My favourite line from that video: "Put ze tongue." Heh heh heh.)
There was also this weird moment where @armano and @digitalizer compared their chest hair, but I don't really remember why it happened.
After that we hunted around for cabs and went to a bar in Republique, where David forced us to recount our top three favourite movies and I drank entirely too much vodka. We all collapsed into our beds around fivish, promised to do this again (which of course we didn't, because it would KILL US ALL), and now we're best friends forever until we die!!! on Twitter.
All right, that's enough wordsmithing. You got your Drunken Romp Videos, here are the photos to match: Marketing 2.0 Day 1 and Marketing 2.0 Day 2. Oh, and don't tell David I shared that hairy chest thing. He'll probably be pissed about it.
05 April 2009
"Easter" is trending high on Twitter today. I'm not religious, but I do look forward to Easter because it signifies the end of Lent. (I give something up every year because it strikes me as a good exercise in self-discipline.)
So in honour of the day all my vices come back full-throttle, I'm sharing 'Chocolade haas' (Chocolate bunny). This piece comes from a preschool art project called "Big Art for Little People," produced by Cut-n-Paste (KRO Youth) in tandem with the Dutch Culture Fund.
Created by Lernert Engelberts en Sander Plug. It's a couple of years old, give or take a few months. The imagery, music and concept are all stunning; and as a kid, one of my most favourite things in the world to do was take a generous bite out of a hollow chocolate bunny. It's somehow similarly cathartic to watch chocolate bunnies melt in all kinds of provocative and curious ways.
(Okay, maybe not for everyone. I showed this video to a friend recently and she frowned and told me this is just sick.)
Props to the infinitely charming Diana for sharing with me.
03 April 2009
One of my favourite Marketing 2.0 talks, besides the Paula Berg stuff, was by Scott Monty, Ford Motor Co.'s social media man.
The guy's been alternately lauded and lashed, but I think he's the real deal. It's not even just that he's a nice guy; he's not afraid to express a scathing truth from top-of-mind, even if it stings. Social media's all about that: finding out who people really are, before they can terrace their images.
I didn't take any video (bummer), but I'll let you in on a priceless moment during his Q/A, when Sandrine Plasseraud of We Are Social asked about ROI tracking for social media campaigns.
Monty scoffs and goes, "ROI is a campaign metric; social media is a commitment. [...] What's the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning?"
Later, Plasseraud pointed out Monty can say that kind of stuff because he happens to have the kind of freedom most enterprise social media practitioners lack. Soc-med lackeys typically fall under a more traditional micro manager -- and micro managers always want metrics.
That may be the case, but the guy's no tyrant. And considering the power Ford's given him to do what he likes, he's certainly not out of touch. To start with, he's always accessible via Twitter -- no matter who you are.
And while he knows the Ford brand gets undeserved flak, he doesn't behave defensively. Most of his current efforts are about getting people that haven't tried a Ford in the last five years to try one now, for free -- the better for dispelling old brand perceptions.
I found him alone in the break room shortly after his talk, and upon seeing me he actually put his BlackBerry down and shot the breeze for 20 minutes. However much it rang, he didn't look at it once. (Not even my mom does that.)
This time last year Monty was working with Crayon. Ford approached him for the social media gig, but he turned it down. (Crayon was stretched thin at the time, and frankly, he didn't want to move to Detroit.)
A month or so later, they approached him again. His name keeps coming up, they said, so why not come down to Detroit to get a feel for the culture?
Monty did. He did some reading and went down to home base -- then positively fell in love with what he found. (His eyes light up when he says this.) Ford's a legacy brand: people, their children and their children's children ascend its ranks. And it's not just about that: the loyalty, and the talent just waiting to be tapped, moved him.
So he accepted. And now he sits in his chair and sort of fidgets, looking giddy like a kid. While we chat, some guy walks over and expresses gushy praise for his presentation; Monty grins, turns back to me and says "I will never get used to that" in this down-home, aw-shucks sorta way.
But small-town vibe aside, Monty's also painfully practical. When I expressed interest in Ford's refusal to take government bailout cash, he nodded gravely and said something to the effect of, "People are happy with us now because of that, but we can't ride that sentiment for long. We have to keep moving."
This session razed the Richter Scale of Awkward for too many reasons.
To start with, I don't think reps from Facebook and MySpace were supposed to speak together. They were placed on the same panel in the interest of saving time.
Everyone was anxious for lunch -- which, it turns out, was more of an appetite-whetter than a satisfier; moderator Fred Cavazza spent most of the panel talking about other stuff; Damien Vincent of FB expressed a Freudian allegiance for the other team; and -- oh yeah! -- Cavazza conducted makeshift photo ops during the presentation.
MySpace's Olivier Hascoat was cool though, except for that moment where he reluctantly poses for an iPhone shot while Vincent's talking. Way to be a sport, man.
In the event that you didn't catch all that, take an audio/visual tour:
Fred Cavazza hijacks Facebook/MySpace talk.
Cavazza monopolized at least the first 20 minutes of the program. He's smart and I like him, but he's no presenter -- though he did cover a lot of ground: social media metrics (granted, in an uncomfortably abstract way), and even skittles.com at some point.
We were all there for Facebook and MySpace though. And you could see the reps at left, getting progressively antsier. (See vid: Hascoat HELLA shook his head, all contemptuously and whatnot.)
Meanwhile, in the audience, my stomach eats itself. Wanna know the best part? This was what lunch was like (photo credit: 13stock). It was gone in 8 minutes, give or take. And no, there weren't any plates, which effectively ensured we all remained equally hungry.
Damien Vincent's Facebook faux-pas.
Vincent, top brass of sales for Facebook France, gets so excited about wrastling the mic away from Cavazza that he forgets where he's working.
"Hi, everybody. I'm Damien. Um, so I joined MySpace -- I'm sorry, Facebook..."
Vincent plugs the filter factor.
He could've done more with this topic -- like exploring Facebook's potential as an internet-wide entertainment curator and aggregator. No such luck.
Vincent on various Facebook ad formats.
Jump to 1:26 real quick: Cavazza's got his own agenda.
Olivier Hascoat wraps up by saying brands are just consumer perception.
Food for thought, pun only slightly intended.
Maybe it's true what they say about Paris: You get a mite more existential while here.
Charlie Schick, the Editor-in-Chief of Nokia Conversations, talks about giving your brand a human face:
Alex Hunter waxes like a true ad man. "Consistency is not dogma. Consistency is a state of mind, like 'win'."
Marketing 2.0 took place at ESCP-EAP University in Paris this year. It spanned both Monday and Tuesday.
I moderated a few panels and the wifi was down both days, so there was no way to cover the event in the detail I would've liked. Before my camera died though, I tried this thing where I just recorded random snippets of speaker talks.
This post is devoted entirely to Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media at Southwest.
I don't have particularly strong feelings about Southwest, but seeing her discuss its approach to consumers -- in both good times and bad -- made me wanna do the cattle call after all. She's good people, and it seems like she addresses situations with humility and openness instead of just reacting. Her presence at Southwest speaks more for its corporate culture than for any social media strategem.
Paula Berg discusses the 'Nuts About Southwest' Blog:
Southwest's insecurities over the 'Cattle Call':
Mitigating mile-high mini skirt drama (for those who don't know, here's some context:
On the "Too Pretty to Fly" drama. "After the mini skirt debacle, we have a lot of customers out there that are probably thinking, 'hat the heck is wrong with Southwest Airlines, and what do they have against pretty girls?!'"