Musings of a Badger

“PowerPoint makes us stupid”

Posted in Musings by musingsofabadger on May 9, 2010

Its official! “PowerPoint makes us stupid” says Gen. James N. Matti in this article in the New York Times

The pic above – a PowerPoint diagram meant to portray the complexity of American strategy in Afghanistan certainly succeeded in that aim.   My favourite bit of the article is at the end:

Senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters.

The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”

Technology, innovation and utility

Posted in Clients, Digital, Innovation, Musings by musingsofabadger on November 15, 2009

I was chatting to a friend the other day and we started discussing the frequency/trend of agencies producing digital campaigns led by technological innovation rather than a strong core idea.  Now I like innovation and I like digital so I can see why creatives are often keen to get the latest gadget, app etc into their new campaign, but at the same time, we need to remember who the audience is and what the client needs from the brief.  I’ve stated elsewhere in this blog that innovation is important online but I’d add that its pointless if the audience doesnt want it!  Facebook apps are great but not if your targeting my Mum (I wont explore her specific profile here but suffice to say she’s not running about with an iPhone publishing her latest tweets).  If the innovation is USEFUL and is in a form that the larger part of the target audience is engaged with then we should go ahead and push forward, but if its just cool to use in our digital bubble and we’ve just got awards entries in mind then I’d suggest a sense check and re-read of the brief is in order.

Media and Creative – a magical chemistry

Posted in Advertising, Clients, Digital, Media, Musings by musingsofabadger on August 2, 2009

So, I wont be the first or the last to say this, but I’m a strong believer that these two disciplines work best when they work together.   Having operated on both sides of the fence I’ve seen what can be achieved when you put a creative brain with a media mind.  Admittedly most creatives would rather poke out their own eyes than read spreadsheets on ROI/CPA/CTR etc but if the information is simplified to its basics I defy any creative to not question ‘why?’ when they hear that Ad 1 has out performed Ad 2 on the same placement.  Now to refer back to Mr Seth Godin’s talk on shipping, many creative’s ship then move on.  But what about optimisation, a/b tests and simple variations that can help improve conversion?  Designers complain as they feel it can remove the purity of the idea (I know this feeling – I’ve done my fair share of online ads) but when I see that small changes to copy and imagery can make big differences to conversions then my eyes one up.  CPA dropping from £400 to £80 anyone? I’ve seen it happen.  I never lose sight of the fact that your only as good as your last campaign, so if your ads don’t help sell your clients product to the required level then that next creative job may not materialise.  The no.s online are so large that what seems like a tiny change to achieve a tiny percentage uplift can be the difference between achieving ROI or clients saying bye bye.

For inspiration – I never tire of the oft cited Economists ads.  Now thats working together…

Revolution Awards Judging – Entry Tips

Posted in Digital, Innovation, Musings by musingsofabadger on March 2, 2009

I was recently lucky enough to be invited as a judge for the 2009 Revolution Awards.  Now first and foremost I’ll respect the confidentiality required from the day but I did learn a few things that I’ve decided to jot down as a reminder for myself as much as something to share:

  1. Keep award entries short and visually appealing.  The agencies that had taken the time and effort to let a creative near their entry (or at least taken sometime over the presentation of their documents/web links) were all commended by my judging panel.  To give context, I had to read over 60 entries for a range of categories with each being at least 2 pages long, some many more. Those that were concise and we’ll presented stood out more than those that had been rushed and padded out.
  2. Read the entry requirements!  The number of entrants that hadn’t followed the submission guidelines was a surprise to me and those that hadn’t were marked down accordingly.
  3. Don’t underestimate your chances.  Whilst the ‘big’ agencies work was often well regarded, all on my panel wanted to give equal consideration to those with smaller brands / budget entries, so even if your not playing with the most well regarded clients, if you feel the work is strong enough then make sure you enter.
  4. Be accurate with your results and don’t try to fudge or confuse figures to make them more appealing.  Stick with industry acknowledged stats – Conversion rates, click through rates, ROI etc.  Talking about the number of dog years an ad was live/viewed for is going to frowned upon (this wasn’t an entry but hopefully illustrates a point!)
  5. Innovation featured strongly as a criteria, especially if it delivered.  Keep on pushing those boundaries and your more likely to get a gong.

The Badger starts to burrow

Posted in Musings by musingsofabadger on March 16, 2008

Ok, so I’ve a bit of time on my hands and thought I’d take this opportunity to set up a blog.  Why bother I ask myself?  Well, I’m doing a fair bit of browsing on industry chat, trends and such like, so thought it’d be a good opportunity to put my favourite/interesting/random thoughts and links into one place.

It’ll mostly be about digital, advertising and design, with a bit of random sports and training info thrown in for good measure.

It maybe interesting, it may also die on its arse but as they say ‘if you dont try, you’ll never know’.

The Badger