A Cup of Chaos #80: Dino Prank

raptorial elegance #2

I have not done a cup of chaos on a Friday for sometime … but this just seemed too delicious to ignore.

raptorial elegance #2 Jes via Compfight

We Are Smarter Than TV

1963 ... television eyeglasses

Back in 2007, Drew McLellan and I embarked on a journey of crowdsourcing discovery. Inspired by the We Are Smarter Than Me collaborative writing project, we wanted to see whether the collective intelligence of marketers across the globe could make sense of the emerging social media landscape. Three months later, the first edition of The Age of Conversation was published. It brought together over 100 writers from 22 countries and captured the mood of the time.

Three editions and six years later, working on these collaborative publishing projects has made me a firm believer in the power and insight that comes from focused communities. In fact, working on the latest edition – Age of Conversation 4 – is again reminding me of the breadth and depth of insight that comes from a diverse – yet focused – group of professionals.

The one consistent theme through all of the four editions, however, is the role of inclusiveness. From a brand perspective, we tend to think of this as a “loss of control”, but through the lens of the consumer, it’s a different story. Rather than seeing this transformation in terms of a shift of power, we should view it as a fundamental mark of mutual respect. And rather than thinking about limitation and even copyright, we should think of generosity and awareness. Effectively this shift means a transformation of what we consider the “marketing funnel” with “conversion” being less about sales and more about shifting our customer relationships away from transactions and closer to longer term engagement. This in turn requires an understanding of customer lifetime value.

The publishing industry has faced this transformation for decades and continues to struggle. The music industry is now making a much better fist of the challenge, but TV seems resolutely trapped in the quagmire of industrialised thinking. This makes the entire industry ripe for disruption. And platforms like Netflix and Hulu are well placed to deliver this kind of broad disruption. And as Oscar winner and artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London recently said, it’s time for TV to learn from other industries. It’s time for them to learn from the crowd. After all, we are smarter than TV.

1963 ... television eyeglassesCreative Commons License James Vaughan via Compfight

Kickstart Your Campaign with Video


The crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, is a fascinating microcosm – it brings together all the elements and challenges of a business often before that business exists. So in many ways, a Kickstarter project is a pre-startup startup – and accordingly it faces many of the same immediate challenges. But where startups sprint towards product, Kickstarter forces a path towards market development. Those who can’t market, don’t win. And like current marketing trends indicate, video plays an increasingly important role in that process.

Research from MWP Digital Media shows that Kickstarter projects that have a video are 85% more likely to achieve their funding goals. This tends to match some of the trends we are seeing in broader marketing circles – with YouTube and Vimeo consumption continuing to rise – impacting not just brand and engagement metrics but also working at crucial junctures in the path to purchase.

Video, however, is a steep learning curve – so there are obvious benefits to outsourcing. But new features in familiar apps/platforms like Instagram and Twitter (via Vine) make it easy to experiment. And I have a feeling that the role of user (or brand) generated video content is only going to accelerate in the next 12-18 months. I have already begun testing this out for myself and with clients.

These days marketing never sleeps. I hope this shift isn’t catching you napping.


Travel Like a Local – AndableTV


Travelling for business can be pretty boring. Once you fight off the jetlag and close out the meetings, many business travellers find themselves hanging out in their hotel. In the bar. In the lounge. Or in the room.

It’s almost the opposite of being social.

But what if there were ways to tap into the local community? What if you could find and meetup with others who share your interests? That’s where various forms of social media can really transform your travel experience.

This episode of the new AndableTV channel looks at things you can do to travel like a local. There are some great ideas to try out on your next trip. And there’s more to come on the AndableTV sustainable living channel. Be sure to subscribe.

Taxi Al Fed via Compfight

A Date with Lindsay Lohan. Or How Celebrity Adds Punch to Your Brand


If there is one thing I love, its when people are publicly honest. Or self-deprecatingly honest. Or self-deprecatingly honest in public. But I love this even more when the person at the centre of the confession is famous. Or hyper-famous, like Lindsay Lohan.

So, imagine that you are the brand manager for eHarmony, the dating site, and you notice that your social media mentions are going through the roof. What could it be? A crisis? A catastrophe? Another cat picture?

Maybe it’s a parody by Funny or Die. Featuring Lindsay Lohan.

Convergent Storytelling – or how to tell a mofo of a story

Convergent storytelling

When we think of convergence, we tend to think of the obvious – of like things coming together. “Convergent media” for example is often seen as a force for disruption – yet for me, it’s far from disruptive. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it is assertive.

But what happens when the technology of production and the technology of distribution are brought to the forefront of the experience? What happens when the gaming and comic genres forcefully collide to produce new narratives and modes of storytelling? What happens when music becomes a mode of expression and commentary, doubling in on itself? And what happens when the viewer is drawn into the total experience, emerging gasping minutes later?

That what you get with the Biting Elbow’s official video for their song Bad Motherfucker (yes, don’t play it in the office without headphones).

So now think, what can you learn from the techniques, craft and approach? How would a tamed down version of this drive engagement with your customer base? What would it mean – and would you be ready for a luke warm take on this?

Biting Elbows – ‘Bad Motherfucker’ (Insane Office Escape 2) from Ilya Naishuller on Vimeo.

It’s Not Risk. It’s Gaining Trust


We often (still) hear stories of businesses and individuals fearing social media. And if you listen closely to what is being said, you will hear the fear. You will hear anxiety.

And when you hear about those folks who brave social media – who push the envelope within their organisation, you will hear them talk about managing risk. Engaging stakeholders. Dealing with the randomness.

But this great TED Talk by Amanda Palmer reveals a new way of thinking about this.

What if, rather than managing risk, we were to think about “gaining trust”. What would that mean for the way we approach our customers, audiences, stakeholders and employees?

And how would it change what we do.

IMG_9400 bluedance via Compfight

I Love Dick


On Australia Day a wave of patriotism spreads across the nation like vegemite on hot, buttered toast. Australian flags appear on cars and clothes. Australian songs dominate the airwaves (or should I say the playlists) and we celebrate one exemplary individual as Australian of the Year (yes, I know, it’s likely to be a sports “hero” again).

On Australia Day, it’s a celebration of Australian-ness in all it’s gory beauty. It’s a celebration of shared values with more than a touch of larrikin humour.

But sometimes what we THINK of as Australian is less than true blue. Vegemite is one. But there are many others.

Dick Smith’s products have always called this out. In the 80s he was famous for “Dick jokes” – using his name to send a nod and a wink to the mums and dads at home in TV land while cleverly entrenching himself as “one of us”. After all, he was using that great Australian value – Larrikin humour – to differentiate himself from everyone else. You’d hardly imagine Tandy Electronics using the tag line “electronic dick” in their advertising, would you?

But Dick Smith’s latest campaign for his home grown products has sailed into troubled waters.  Falling foul of regulators, the 60 second spot received a PG rather than G rating. This means that the ad can’t be shown in the peak slots around the 6pm news bulletins.

Take a look at the ad. While times have changed and we are certainly a more conservative nation than we once were, it’s not a patch on the ads that used to run when I was a kid. And it’s almost un-Australian to not like a dick joke.

I don’t know about you, but I love Dick.

A Cup of Chaos #79: Eagle Snatches Kid


Imagine … you’re just out at the local park doing some bird watching. It’s cold but the kids are still out playing and enjoying themselves. In the sky you see a great eagle and you marvel at its majesty. You track it as it banks on the air currents and then watch in horror as it swoops down on an unsuspecting toddler.

And now, imagine that you study film production and CGI at university and you want to get 100% for your film project. Maybe, just maybe, you’d produce something like this.

Here’s to the Curious


What did we search for in 2012 – and more importantly, what did we find? Google’s Zeitgeist 2012 reveals the remarkable personal, international and social events that brought us together. And those that tore us apart.