Thursday, June 28, 2007's a secret...

An arty shh, courtesy of Novembre85.

A recent report on the BBC has been jumped upon by many bloggers as evidence that there is in fact a 'class divide' between different social networking sites.

Well, considering there was another piece of research telling us that your average social networking person is a member of about four social networking sites, you could easily doubt the validity of the former. As I've stated before, I think the former is wrong-headed; it's not class based, it's design/intention based. And as for the other piece of research, it doesn't surprise me.

Simply put, people don't appear to have a great deal of loyalty.

But I would like to take issue with the conclusion of the latter. I'm a member of...oooh, quite a few social networking sites. But Facebook is the one I turn to most often (read: 90% of the time). And, given the recent widget explosion, it seems I'll be there for a while longer.

Though lots of people are very concerned that the widget explosion could lead to a mass commercialisation of the site, turning the clean and pleasant design into an ad riddled MySpace. Which, frankly, I don't think anyone wants to see (unless it's for something I actually want).

And these things lead me to think about another potential problem, highlighted by Mike Butcher, one of the speakers at the PSFK Conference I went to (yes, I will write the rest up, prompted by my reclaimed Moleskine).

Namely, what happens when some of these social networks become more closed circles, as he predicts they will?

I mean, will we have a Skull and Bones social network? Doubt it, to be honest (the fear it'd be hacked would put paid to that).

People will begin to get fed up with having so many friends, with their worlds converging (personally, I have 249 friends on Facebook at the moment, and I'm purposefully not putting my blog's URL up there - I'm trying to keep my home friends and my ad friends separate for at least a little while longer), and will begin to break away. I'm not sure whether I will...probably not, but who knows?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating lots of mini networks, where each one serves a purpose. No, I think that's equally as short sighted. But I am interested to note just where Facebook goes from here. I mean, it has countless widgets, unlimited groups and so forth. Yes, there are privacy settings, but the amount of people not using them is unbelievable. Most people, in my limited experience, don't self-regulate to that extent - and most of the time, it's unbelievably refreshing to see.

The title of the post references secrets - and with good reason; I do worry a bit, personally, about things I've said online (don't we all?), especially considering that they can be stored for all eternity - and I do wish there was a more secretive way of social networking (not blogging per se, but Facebook - do I really want potential employers to see me after a few beverages/in dubious fancy dress?). Of course, this matters less in a career like advertising, where a bit of character is encouraged. But imagine what it must be like for someone's political career/law career say.

The one saving grace is that the whole world is learning this, and growing up at the same time. People are beginning to realise that being an online presence, as it is, isn't all its cracked up to be, and you have to self-moderate. That said, if the worst it's doing is teaching a bit of common sense, it can't be that bad.

Again, I return to the darker element (and I wish I could have gone to this) of the internet. If this rise in social media leads to more private social sets online, what's to stop people destroying, say, other people's lives/careers with a well-placed lie? After all, if we believe James G Watt, "A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on".

Say, in this hypothetical situation, that a lie is told. The person who the allegation is about is say, on holiday. Days pass. People begin to wonder/believe what's been told, and the time away helps them decide. Simply put, people have to become their own PR entities, which shouldn't be the way it is.

So perhaps it is a good thing that we live in such social networked, open times. I'd rather have a single forum where I 'am' online, in addition to my blog. It'd probably save a helluva lot of problems in the long run, regardless of my worlds overlapping.

NB: Before you ask, yes, I have been looking at Orwell and Huxley's pages on Wikipedia, hence the Orwellian thinking in this post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why good branding is like Marmite..

A pyramid of filth. Via chiri_dr.

Boy, I'm really pushing this whole 'advertising analogy' thing this week. Don't quite know why, but there we are.

From bands to Marmite in one post to another. No, I've not been drinking lead paint (though it is delicious - but deadly).

You see, I hate Marmite. Absolutely despise it. I'm not a fussy eater, but Marmite is Beezlebub's own fecal matter. Not pleasant for anyone concerned. (Nor is Parmesan cheese, but that's a post for another day).

But so many people love the stuff. And it occurred to me - at least I have some reaction to the brand. And the fact it's so violent (in my case) against it, it becomes a conversation with others. Far better to be talked about than not at all. Everyone has some stance.

So compare that with the last parade of ads you saw in your recent TV watching time. Remember any of them? And no, no answering the question like an 'ad person' (who'd typically say 'yes, CHI's work is great....[or] I like what Fallon have done with X').

I sincerely doubt people recall that many, much less having a strong opinion like I/others have about Marmite.

Now let's bring in another figure...

Everyone who works in advertising has an opinion about this gentleman. Via Analogue Logic.

Yes, Mr Barry Scott of Cillit Bang.

If you've not seen the delights of his advertising, don't worry! It's below:

It's not my favourite ad, put it that way. But boy, is it effective (warning, opens a pdf). Reckitt Benckiser are laughing all the way to the bank.

And people have been playing with the brand to a great degree. It's not always popular, has been found out a few times, and there have been some underhand marketing exploits, as the 'popular' link explains.

Yes, it's massively derided. But I know about it, and I'm willing to bet 75% of the people who read my little missive today will know about it.

Basically, the end of this little analogy is just to say - agencies (be you digital, ATL or integrated) make your ads stand out and get people talking. Cutting through the dross is half the battle. I'm not sure if everyone liked the Tango ads at the time, but damn, weren't they spectacular in terms of sales/word of mouth. And so are the Cillit Bang ads, I have to say.

And finally - never buy Marmite. People don't like you when you do.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Formed a band, We Formed a Band.. Look at us..

The Stone Roses/Primal Scream bassist Mani.

Well, it's time for what one of my tutors would call an 'inappropriate analogy'. To hell with it, they didn't have any Art Brut lyrics to use when writing titles.

Yes, I'm drinking at the well of pretension today. And it tastes good.

The subject of this piece of overstretched thinking is advertising (and its denizens) as a band. This has already been brought up by the erstwhile Mr Davies, but I thought I'd give it my own thoughts. Especially after going to a few gigs last week.

Planners then. We're quite clearly the bassists of the whole operation. Making sure the work hums along, is in rhythm with what the client and the audience want. Bands/Advertising can work without us (Sony 'Balls' is clearly an extended guitar solo of creativity), and we must never forget that. But with us, we can make the work groove along.

Also, perhaps most importantly - when we do our job, you barely notice that we are there. The work works, it's on the right brief, and products/albums get shifted. We're the creative midwives of the whole operation (thanks to Craig M for that description), who are often in the background. Plus - bass solos rarely work (unless you are Andy Rourke or Mani Mountfield).

Production/Creative Services...let's think about them. I'd say they are the drummers in our advertising band. Driving the work through with their thumping beats. Without these guys, the world falls apart.

And their ability to make even the most outlandish request fly (through their extended drum soloes on the phone to suppliers and others) means they are essential. God, we need these people. Often the most understated/lovely people in the advertising band.

The ad band in force. I'm quite happy to be Rourke. Listen to the Queen is Dead for proof of that.

Now, these next two are up for debate (depending on what side of the fence you sit). But this is how I'd appraise them:

Account Handlers are the vocalists in our band. Without their melodious vocal stylings to the client, even the most flamboyant piece of guitar work/creative execution wouldn't get into the hearts and minds of the record buying public.

I'm not sure if the lyrics would sound the same if not for these guys. It's got to be well projected to convince a weary record buying public, who are used to the NME trumpeting them as the next big thing.

Finally, Creatives. These guys are the lead guitarists and the lyricists of our little outfit. They make the sonic landscapes that everything comes from. Sometimes at odds with the way the vocalist sings their lyrics, they are nonetheless vital to providing the hooks in the band.

Sometimes they can get overly flamboyant, and are pulled back by the rest of the band, but when they collaborate, the music has a good beat, and you can dance to it.

(NB: Yes, I know The Smiths don't quite fit into the ad band as Morrissey wrote the lyrics, but ah well).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

If I could plot a week of gigs...

Billy Corgan and chums giving it their all..

Well, this week's been very cool, and largely in a selfish 'spending lots of money on live music' way.

Put it this way; if you'd had said that in a week I'd have been able to see The Smashing Pumpkins and Grinderman, I'd have sniggered at you. Two of my favourite bands, and definitely my two favourite front men, Billy Corgan and Nick Cave.

Tuesday then - got a little email from someone who read my desperate plea on for tickets, and flogs me one. I was a bit sad that my housemate couldn't come along, but he told me to go and have a good time.

So, after writing a presentation, away I went to Shepherd's Bush on my own. It was the only gig I've been to where touts weren't selling tickets, but buying them instead...such was the level of the demand. I met up with a load of cool Pumpkins fans (who tended to be Scandinavian or Australian, oddly) and got this close to the door, when I saw the 3 people in front of me kicked out of line as they had fake tickets.

To say I was a little worried would have been putting it mildly. Happily, I got in.

It was the first time I'd seen a gig at Shepherd's Bush, and I was very impressed. The ticket was for standing in the (tiny) area in front of the stage. Yes, I had a damned amazing view. I make bugger all apologies for being the big person at the gig (I'm 6'3"), but I tried to let the little people go in front of me. I did, though, take some photos, breaking Lauren's gig rules by taking a few photos, which can be found on my flickr...

And what of the gig itself? Well, it was fucking brilliant. Best gig I've ever seen, by a long long way.

I've heard people say Corgan is detached and remote, but he wasn't tonight, bantering with the crowd nicely (especially during the second encore) and generally being a rock legend. His singing's improved, which was great.Jimmy Chamberlin is the best drummer I've ever seen in the flesh as well. The new folk were good too, adding more weight to the argument that the Pumpkins are Corgan and Chamberlin.

Thirty Three, Muzzle, Hummer (acoustic, brilliant) and Cherub Rock were my favourites. I got throughly crushed at the front, but it was fantastic.

Oh, and they played for 3 hours. On at 8, off at 11. Two encores, which is pretty special. Most of the set list can be found below (it's a wee bit blurry/dark, but that's a camera phone for you). Add to that Cherub Rock and Muzzle (the last tune, and one of my favourites of theirs).

If you want to listen to most of the gig, go here and here, which is a recording of the Paris show (most of the songs they played in London are there). You can also find a better copy of Muzzle from the London show here (not from me). The new single 'Tarantula' is pretty damned brilliant as well - a return to their Siamese Dream heyday.

So, how was I going to top that? Well, Wednesday brought around Grinderman, Nick Cave's new band (the 'mini seeds' gone raaawk).

Above: Nick Cave preaches to the converted. Photo from Obo-Bobolina

Now, unlike the Pumpkins, I've seen Nick Cave do his thing with the Bad Seeds (his main band) before. So my expectations were high, and I had one of my housemates with me (who naturally distrusts live music) who was a big Cave fan.

We ambled to Kentish Town's Forum, pausing to eat the best Fish and Chips I've had since moving to London (they DO get worse the further South you get, I'm sure) before arriving at the venue.

After seeing Seasick Steve as the first support (he was very good - great live), we had the misfortune of watching NYC Synth Punks 'Suicide' play lie. The clue's in the name; they were bloody dreadful. So we decided to hang back until Cave came on.

Well, he duly did, and it was a cracking gig. Shame about the atmosphere. You got the impression that the majority of the audience had come to do a crossword rather than listening to the down and dirty tunes that Cave, Ellis, Casey and Sclavunos had come to serve up.

So we did the only natural thing. Yep, we moved to the front, and the gig improved immeasurably as a result. No Pussy Blues was great live. Cave on the guitar is odd to behold - but it works, though I think he performs best without a guitar; more room to dance and flail around the stage.

Then, in the encore, he did some form of duet with Suicide, which was....odd. But ok.

I still think the Bad Seeds are better than Grinderman, but it was a fun gig. And my musical week was great fun.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Interesting 2007..

Ben from NDG staying anonymous.

Well, I had a bloody good time.

Thanks very very much to Russell for setting it up and generally being a great host.

Everyone was great to listen to, and I loved watching my friends get up and present. One and all, they were brilliant.

I met many, many, many people (the link love would get ridiculous if I linked to everyone I met), and I was throughly gutted I couldn't stay afterwards to enjoy a few beverages.

Here are my pictures. Some are a bit dark/rubbish, but the majority aren't too bad. Suffice to say, I'll never be a professional photographer. You can see everyone else's (much better) photos here.

Why did I leave? I had to plot an event of my own, my 80's houseparty. That went well too.

Back to work now...but I'm a lot more interesting as a result of Saturday.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mon Père, Ce Héros (Happy Father's Day)

The Humphrey family out for a meal.


I've been a bit of a rubbish son. My dad doesn't have a father's day card, and it looks like he won't get it till tomorrow or the next day.

But, inspired by Andrew's posts about heroes and Lauren's recounting of her nana's time in London, I thought I would try and resolve the whole caboodle and write something I've been meaning to write for a while.

Something about my dad.

It took me quite a lot of time when I was younger to realise just who my father was as a person. He'd was the one who spoke authoratively about a wide range of topics when I was younger, was 18 in 1966 (bloody brilliant, eh?), loved Cream, 'knew a little bit about a lot', worked in advertising and was just 'my dad'.

But all of that changed when I was about fourteen. My gangly adolescent self looked admiringly at my father's bag of oddly designed implements and went to a knackered shop with a few mats and yardage markers outside. Inspired by my dad's enthusiasm for the game, I took up golf, started to go to the driving range (being a lefty, I was hitting balls the wrong way round according to him), simply enjoying being there, watching us get much better one day and worse the next, as is the way of all things.

Gradually though, we started to improve. I'll never forget parring a par three my first time out on a proper course, despite shooting a cricket score, or the look in his eyes when we'd both walked off the 18th.

From that point on, my relationship with him irrevocably changed; we weren't just father and son, but we were competitors. Not versus each other, but versus the elements, enjoying the ebb and flow of wandering around green patches of countryside. I think I grew up a little bit from that point. I realised that my dad was more than just 'my dad'. He suffered from imperfections just the same as everyone else.

He could swear like a sailor, really, really wanted to win and do well (he still does, and his eyes still light up when talking about his latest round), and was Mike Humphrey, husband, father of two who suffered from the same worries and concerns as I did, whether it was at home, work or about the future.

Above: Puckrup Hall, our local course.

Fast forward five years, and I'm in the second year of University. I've not touched a club for a little while, and I'm on a driving range - and it's not going well. Left, right, left. Like watching a perfect army march illustrated by hooks and slices through the air.

I think to myself 'This isn't surprising'. And it isn't. I've had a few bad moments on a course, and every time I come back to it, it makes me more cross. I'm too competitive, too used to being a reasonable player to serve up this crap.

Yet I still go back there once and a while.

I'm teaching one of my best friends from University the game. We talk a bit, shoot the breeze, and despite my poor performance, I begin to enjoy myself again. Naturally, I talk about my dad, explain a bit about him and his love of the game and life in general. All sorts.

It's then my friend pipes up. 'You really respect your father, don't you?'

And I have to stop.

I nod and say yes, but the question's been planted.

I think about it a little bit later on in the evening, and rethink what I should have said:

'Of course I do. He's shaped how I am today. My manners, my strange little regional ways of pronouncing things (as dad lived all over the country when he was little), and my BBC English accent. But it's more than that - he's my friend, someone I trust above all. I call him when I'm not sure of what to do professionally. I can really talk to him, and he just gets it.'

Fast forward another four years to today.

I've not played golf for a few years and....oddly, I'm in the same profession as my father. He's an account handler (the MD of a regional agency based in Cheltenham), and I'm an account planner.
And it's not just a case of 'doing what dad does', a cop out because I didn't know what to do.

Far from it. I tested and rejected a lot of career paths before this one, and dad was there, not forcing me to do anything, offering guidance when I considered my potential choices, and allowing me to be my own man. I won't lie, when I finally chose advertising and realised planning was the career for me, he was (and still is) delighted for me.

Which makes me very happy, and bores my mother and sister to tears when we talk ads, which we'll do over a few pints at our local. Golf has much the same effect, but I think that's just a prewired Humphrey male trait; to talk far too much about our interests to the point of boring the rest.

I won't lie to you, my dad is my personal and professional hero. Through him, I learnt the importance of common sense, of trying your very best no matter how good or bad you are at something, and never, ever giving up on something you believe in and really, really want.

Professionally, he loves leading a pitch, presenting good work and making clients happy. Personally, he loves being dad, who both my sister and I can rely on. Such is the measure of the man, I still call him whenever I'm making a career decision.

He shaped my childhood and he still does today, albeit in different ways. I couldn't have wished for a better role model.

So dad - have a happy father's day. I'll try to remember to post my card on time next year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

6 Blogs that make me think...

Yours truly, astounded by all the thought in the room. Thanks to Sammy.

I've been tagged by Daniel at Adstructure, so I thought I'd write some wibblings about 6 blogs which make me think (no, not 5 - I felt like 6). You should definitely read his blog, if you don't already - a real alternate point of view to the majority of British/American plannery ad blogs out there. Special mentions must go to the Paul Feldwick post. Fascinating stuff.

I'm not going to choose the usual suspects, but instead will focus on those blogs I wasn't aware of until fairly recently:

1) Little Green Dot, written by Freya. Well written, interesting...and it makes you think about the future. That's what good writing and thinking should do, in my view. Especially about green issues.

2) Nicola Davies, written by (shock!) Nicola. One of the few examples of an account handler writing in the blog world today. She's ex VCCP Digital, and is just about to begin work at iCameleon.. she has a passion for all things digital - and writes very well.

3) Punk Planning, written by Charlie 'Allegedly bright' Frith. He's the first linked person I know very well in real life (yes, I do sometimes leave my computer). Having more experience of agency madness, and being ex-HHCL should be reason enough to read his blog - that and he's quite possibly the most inquisitive planner I know - and someone who isn't afraid to debate something if he disagrees with it - a trait we could all use.

4) Plan B, written by Peter Kwong. Another 'real life' friend, Peter works at VCCP, and is a lovely chap. His blog has only just begun, so I'm looking forward to reading what he has to say about all and sundry - his blog post about the PSFK Conference is worth a read.

5) Evidence of a Struggle, written by A Writer. Not much is known this elusive chap, save he (I think) used to be a copywriter. He writes beautifully - I found his blog via Adliterate.

6) Adlads, written by Sam Ismail and Anton. I know both of these gentlemen in real life, and they are both great guys. Sam's recent Saatchi exploits have to be worthy of a mention, and Anton's 'no bullshit' approach gets right to the heart of brands and thinking. Like me, they are 'branding the dream' by documenting their adventures in adland.

So aye. You all get this jpg to pass on to 5 (or 6 if you are obtuse like me) blogs you like:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mellifluous Musical Meanderings..

It's been a while since I've done a mishmash of music, so Oh No Cucumber Sandwiches returns for a sixth outing.. download it here, or scroll down and click on the last little drumming man to play in the blog (probably the best way to do it, as esnips will try and make you sign up - though it's a good service).

As Blogger is a strange beast, my first PSFK write up can be found here (and is out of order...strange) or by scrolling down.

Also, I have a musical request...if anyone, anyone, anyone knows of someone who has spare tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins gig in Shepherd's Bush, could they shoot me an email at the email on the blog or

Much appreciated, as I'd dearly love to go (and so would one of my housemates).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

PSFK Conference piccies.. and a minor apology..

Yes, I was there. And rest assured, a two part post is coming. Oh yes.

And, the write up will be a bit of a beast, given my notes.

I'm a bit busy at the moment, so it'll be done soonish..

Until then, have some photos. Never let it be said I'm unattentive to my blog/audience.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

PSFK: The First 3 Discussions...

Above: PSFK Conference folk having a bloody good chin wag.

I came, I saw, I blogged... well, I'm about to.

I also took quite a few snaps. View them here.

Before I go any further, I'm also acutely aware that the adlads, NP, The Geek Pirate and Charles Frith will also be writing this up, so if you want a series of alternate views to mine, read each one in turn. Then make up your own mind. Or move the pictures up and down really quickly - it helps simulate being there (or being at sea...either way, you win).

Anyway, I had a damn good time. Thanks to all who helped organise this, and all the speakers. A special mention must go to Piers for setting the whole shebang up. Legend, in a word.

On with the post. I've split this up into two sections, as I took probably about 12 pages of notes (Sam's twitter was fairly accurate about that), and I'm not sure anyone would be able to digest 12 pages worth of my wibblings.

So here's my morning thoughts (as they happened, because consciousness writing is always more fun):

Up at 6.30. Not much of a morning person, so I shamble to the shower in a state of dazed confusion, swear as I stub my toe. Shower, get dressed, eat a hasty banana and listen to loud music on my ipod to wake me up.

Get there. Wow, it's a proper conference and everything. People open doors for me? This doesn't really make sense; usually it's with a faint sense of derision, but not this morning. Oh no.

Free juice and a spot of tea helps towards making me feel civilised. I hob nob with the adlads, Juliana, Dan Symth (from Islington Council), Helen Taylor, Henry Lambert, Charlie and Mark McGuinness. All lovely people, who listen to my warblings and make sympathetic gestures.

Right, it is beginning. Better take m' seat.

Piers is speaking.. playing a few highlights from the NYC PSFK Conference. Looks pretty good. Can only hope today is as good. Piers's point about 'planting seeds of thought', to help change the way you view communications and life in general is great. As is his need to 'bring obsessives together'. It's an interesting way of framing the conference. Doing what you love, and are mildly obssessed by. A good way to think about things, and why I didn't do Law and did English. Do what you enjoy, everyone!

Right then. He's introducing the first chap, Timo Veikkola from Nokia:

Timo's speaking about his job, which is to find out what's going to happen in the next two to three years. There's a great quote of his, which is repeated now for your pleasure: "Nothing compares with the intimacy of one to one communications, but there are barriers of time and distance. My job is to make things natural".

Diversity, and travel, are both key to his job. I'm beginning to wish there was a graduate recruitment thing for 'trend hunter' at the University fairs, but sadly not (and who wants to work for a Law firm or Deloitte anyway?).

Trends, according to Timo, are "Manifestations of values, attitudes and behaviours, of reactions and expressions". Good to know that. Neatly covers off most things, from the Pogs I collected when I was 9, right through to this whole bloggery shenanigan.

So far so good then, but Timo did say something I disagreed with:

Maybe I'm far, far too much of an Orwell and Huxley fan, but I have my doubts as to whether it'll be all as wonderful as he suggests. Still, I'm not a trend watcher/prognosticator, so what do I know? He thinks, interestingly, that we've just come out of a 'Noah's Ark' period in the world, of natural disasters et al, and we're moving towards a knowledge based culture.

Cultural capital is, in Timo's view, being molded together to help make new things. He's referenced the new Morgan Spurlock as an example of this - What Would Jesus Buy? He wraps up on an optimistic note, that all of this will lead to good things in the future. Damn, I'd like his job. Never mind that... he's said some interesting things, and on we go.

Piers is moving onto the next person, Regine Debatty of We Make Money Not Art:

Well, during the slight technical mishap that went from switching from Timo's PC to Regine's Mac, I can say that she's easily the most stylish speaker thus far. Browsing through the PSFK handbook, I also realise that hers is one of those blogs I've heard about but not read about.

I silently curse how rubbish I am at refusing to subscribe to too many blogs. But never mind, this should be something I've never heard before (or maybe some of it, via BoingBoing). Her laptop's sorted now, so on we go.

She's interested in how artists use technology... mmm, this is definitely a field I know nothing about, considering my last proper brush with Science was at GCSE, and I can't really call myself an artist. She's most interested in 'Bio Art' today, and how people are modifying it. She urges us to go to the RCA, and see a show by Tony Dunn, in order to imagine what the future will bring.. and then puts us off our lunches by showing us stem cells being grown on the body. Urgh. But interesting - wonder if people will start a trend and make it cool? It'll then be branded, become more mainstream.. and the cycle begins again.

Victimless leather jacket? Would you like to wear something that's growing, instead of killing a cow to wear one? I'm not sure which has less appeal; I wonder if the growing jacket could feed off you - all kinds of Stephen King b-movie possibilities.. Although, we do eat yoghurt.. chock full of organisms, so I suppose we'll just have to consider it/market it for the future - though I doubt it'll fit me for a good few years yet.

I didn't catch all that... Regine is talking about Memento Mori in Vitro, and how it is a harbinger for the future - for who could have predicted that this would arise two years ago? Not me, that's for certain. Hell, I have to remind myself to get up in the morning sometimes.

Anyway....Regine is now talking about disembodied cuisine. Much as I like munching on all sorts of things (bloody steak being amongst them), I'm not sure I want to eat a still alive steak. Wonder if it'll promote a new form of carnivore behaviour? 'Still alive restaurants'? It'll only be a matter of time before people decide to munch on other guests, I'm telling you.

Regine believes that if we educate the masses, they'd eat it. Not sure myself, but hell - if you train the kids, you can do anything (bloody frightening, but probably true).

And with that, she's done.. some interesting stimuli, and I must check out her blog.

Onto the next set of speakers. Ooh, a panel. This concerns 'The Marketing Gap in Green', chaired by Karen Fraser. It features (from left to right) Tamara Giltsoff, John Grant and Diana Verde Nieto:

Karen frames the debate by imagining a world where consumers can see what companies are up to - how they are trying to become more green. Would be nice, albeit a bit strange. And very much like an Independent worldview (though that's my favourite paper - I'm not sure I see that view ever truly happening).

She then asks a question to the panel: Are agencies and corporations being shaped by consumers?

John steps up to the plate - apparently, there was a study in Marketing Week which stated that of the top 5 polluters, 4 of those are aviators, and John believes (much like Russell, if I recall correctly) that this isn't a brand issue - that the public will shape perceptions of these companies themselves. He notes that, the Body Shop aside, there are very few truly green brands.

Diana holds that it's not about charity - it's about making money, and that marketeers could fall prey to the 'Glass House' supposition. Fair point there; how the hell can you preach green issues and yet be trying to sell stuff? Well, I'd answer that one by claiming that the punters you are trying to reach do know how recycle/do more, and that they'll be flogged things. Just the way of the world - you almost can't help being mildly hypocritical.

Diana then moves on to state that the governmental perspective on the overall green issue has been very confused, and that the green issue has been largely driven by women. She backs up this point by emphasising a choice benefit from the supermarkets - women were the first to go for organic food, and they make the purchasing decisions in the typical household.

Tamara comes back to the paradox of marketing and advertising promoting green issues. Certain brands, she thinks, will be able to get away with this paradox, and others (like car manufacturers and aeroplane companies) will not. Fair point, and nicely put.

John believes you need 3 things for sustainable marketing - being 'green' means 3 things have to happen: 1. Setting new standards - be they labels or publishing a manifesto - for the consumer to follow/judge them on. 2. Collaborating with the customer, not merely selling to them - ie the Ikea Cagoule design (I can't find this one on the web, for some reason). 3. Having new systems in place such as lending goods and libraries, helping us live better - and this notion comes from web 2.0. We are working out where these ideas will come from online - after all, 5.6m people are on Freecycle.

Tamara discusses Zopa, and how web 2.0 can help cut out systems of commerce that have been in place for centuries. I like Zopa, and really wish I'd have talked about it in various client meetings - ah well, it's one for another day. But would I use it? I'm not sure....

John discusses the importance of thinking globally and acting locally - supporting local produce and shopping at the local corner shop, citing farmers markets and the like to support his statement. I'm all for this; I hope the local Londis can spark a revival of sorts (albeit with MUCH better advertising).

Karen wants to know just what it is consumers want, having overheard Tamara's point about packaging, and how you'd rethink convenience over ethics - essentially, people don't like too much packaging, but sometimes it is essential...when do the two converge?

John holds that people just want to be involved. Ask them, and you shall receive your answer. With my cynical hat on, I wonder - do I want to be consulted about a company's packaging decision? No, not really - but I suppose, it'd be nice to be asked. How long before we have floods of questions, and things become the question age...?

John follows that up by contesting that there is very little evidence to suggest that consumers require incentivisation any more. No - in an ideal world, he'd encourage mobile phone companies to halve their fees per month, but have a minimum of a four year contract per person. Nice idea, and one I think will happen. Not sure when, but I find myself nodding and agreeing with it.

Diana pipes up; people want to be rewarded and made to feel happy in her view - to be given an objective and an opportunity to do good. What's wrong is how much people are made aware - Second Life uses a lot of electricity. At this point, I wanted to speak up, and make the point about Second Life avatars and the average Brazillian, but I guess I was wise to keep it quiet...John's chock full of stats, even off the top of his head.

John proposes that green is beyond what people want - it's more needs based in the future. People will need to live in bigger cities. It's paramount that people realise that there will be things that they won't be comfortable with, like the debate about fortnightly bin collections. People will have to deal with issues like waste management in the future.

Karen then asks - what should agencies do? Diana immediately answers, telling them to embrace day to day sustainability, Carbon Footprints and the cost per employee. John holds that there will be niche 'green' agencies, much like digital is now. Diana cuts in, telling people not to treat the green issue as special interest; no-one is an expert at the moment. Too true - you seem to read a different statistic every day.

For Diana, being naive is a big part of learning, and leading to improvement. People think experientially, and we are all learning at the moment. All of the panelists agree, and it's time for Niku's talk...

*This was going to be a 2 part writeup, but sheesh, it's going to be three. Writing up my notes is proving to take a long time (especially in that style). I'll write the next instalment as soon as I can*
Google Analytics Alternative

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner