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Rick Rubin and the Future of the Record Industry April 3, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, articles, music.
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 Rubin2

The New York Times has an interesting article about Rick Rubin and Columbia Records (Sony). The traditional record industry is in trouble and Rubin is attempting to get his bit back on track. His approach is revolutionary: It’s All About The Art. It’s interesting from a personal interview aspect, as well as the larger music industry issues that abound in the digital age. Rubin’s honesty about the state of music and his task at Columbia is worth the 10 pages of text

Link

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It May Be What We Say, Not Who We Say It Too March 6, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in advertising, articles.
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chatter

This Blog Sits At The has a great article concerning a rebuttal to The Tipping Point. I admit I read the book and thought it may have had some valid points. The book introduced the idea of “Influencers”, people who have more than their fair share of sway over their peers. Many advertising related businesses are focussed on identifying and influencing the Tipping Point’s “influencers”. I can think of one beer marketing exec who mentioned the process to me just the other day. Which is why this article is so interesting.

Duncan Watts (a research scientist at Columbia and, for the moment, Yahoo) argues that “influencers” are less influential than Gladwell’s Tipping Point model would have us believe. He argues that news travels as readily through ordinary people as influential ones. This means that our world is not “hub and spoke,” with some individuals acting like O’Hare and the rest of us like Cleveland or, pause, Dayton. No, as Thompson put it, networks are democratic. We are just as likely to “get the news” from a friend as we are from an networking paragon.

He goes on to discuss the repercussions of this position. What I especially enjoy is that Content may still be King. There is no formula. It’s all about the quality. This Week in Tech chatted with Jonathan Coulton about how he was discovered by his audience and their general consensus was quality over time tends to float to the top on the web. Which would mimic real life, you’d think…

It turns out, hey presto, that consumers like things because they like them, not because someone told them to like them. Consumers like things because these things are a lot like consumers themselves: smart, creative, interesting, lively, topical, winning or otherwise engaging. And if the consumer doesn’t like a product or a service, it doesn’t matter how hip, authoritative, or viral we make them or our agents. They don’t like them. End of story.

Viva the chaos environment. Click here to read the rest of this article.

What Happens When You Click “Publish”? January 30, 2008

Posted by Ivan Pols in articles, presentation, social network.
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 Chart

When I hit “Publish” on my blog editor something interesting happens. Well, lots of things happen actually and  Matthew Hurst, an artificial intelligence researcher who studies this ecosystem at Microsoft Live Labs, has mapped the process in a sexy little chart. Here’s how the whole process goes down during “the big game”.

While some of this is fairly obvious if you sat down and thought about it, it’s still pretty interesting  to look at. And the cool Flash chart is a great design. Make sure you check out the dataminer’s website as well.

Link (via Wired)

The “Union of User Generated Content” Go On Strike December 18, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in articles, video, viral, youtube.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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In a statement released to blogs and YouTube today, the Chairuser of the Union of User Generated Content (UUGC) MastaMovie, said that Users were laying down their handicams and suspending their YouTube accounts until their demands for a share of Google AdSense was met. “There will be no more anime mashups with pop songs, no more cute puppy videos and definitely no more LolCats,” said the leader of the UUGC during a marathon 2 minute speech accompanied by video of his latest GTA exploits. “We’re the ones entertaining the masses and we demand our 5% share of the revenue stream.” Reports of severe content withdrawal are being reported from around the world.

Statement
MastaMovie slaughters bystanders while standing up for the rights of his Union.

Is Dripbook Aptly Named? December 5, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in articles, comment, design, dripbook, portfolio, presentation, technology, virb.
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Dripbook

I’m updating this blog post after a few e-mails with Dripbook. They are a group of people trying very hard to make an excellent service. Most of my reasons for writing this post could have been dealt with better communication on their website. I suppose that’s been done by now.

Photographers, illustrators, hair stylists etc are typically a little crap at keeping their websites maintained, if they exist at all. I appreciate any efforts to help these busy creative people show their work to the world. Dripbook is one of those efforts. I found out about them through a comment in one of the Virb art groups and Mashable have written about them too. I’ll check anything out and it seemed like a good project. Easy portfolio tools combined with a social network aspect to help you connect and promote. So I sent them an application. I had to apply because… they’re pulling the exclusivity card as a marketing stunt really. I said I’m handsome and make nice work and sent them my portfolio site (ironically). Thank goodness I was let in or my street cred would have collapsed like an underfed model. The feature I wanted to explore was their ability to publish to third party sites. Widgets that create a bit of code that refers to your dynamically updated portfolio instead of you having to create the books on your own site. I use viewbook.com for a site I built for a photographer which does that exactly. Unfortunately I never did get to trying that feature.

Most of Dripbook is fine even if it’s a bit dull in the design stakes (a web 2.0 phenomenon apparently). The upload of images was easy enough, the networking idea is a good one. After I uploaded I found that my images came out looking soft. Which is odd considering they were sized down for web use and were sharp, black and white images when they left my desktop. Even that I could figure out given enough patience. My irritation is that the site is not recognizing that I have “published” a book of drawings. It says it’s published. But it’s not visible to anyone else it seems. I’ve tried every “publish” button three times and now I’m bored. If you can’t publish, you can’t promote and then the social network is useless.

Turns out that because I put a “Mature” marker on my book because it contained drawn nudity, I encountered a legal fix:

You followed the instructions exactly and did exactly what you were supposed to do. When a user goes to look at your book, he / she is asked whether he / she wants to look at mature content. Then a cookie is places on that user’s computer, and the warning does not show up again.

 A fact that would have been good to know a few days ago.

Not wanting to spend any more time on the site I figured that I’d cancel my hard won account and focus my efforts on other tasks, like my real job. Except I can’t find anywhere to cancel, suspend, deactivate, kill my account. Really. I’ve looked pretty hard. The FAQ neatly ignores the fact that anyone would be brazen enough to leave their services. I wonder what happens when you buy a premium account ($9 per month)?

Dripbook have informed me that they hadn’t got to that detail yet.  It’ll be done now.

Dripbook is in Beta phase which may excuse any screw ups and my decision to leave their site is based on a few personal impressions, not only some basic technical glitches. The site is slow, I don’t like their presentation options and I don’t like their design.

I‘d leave, but I can’t.

ps. Turns out that no one had ever asked to leave. I have that dubious honour. My apologies, Dripbook, for being that guy.

 I have been deleted. After the short e-mail chat with Dripbook I appreciate that I was rather harsh on their Beta site. I only wish they had been a bit more forthcoming with how Beta they were. I mean, who doesn’t have a delete account button?  If you think I was a putz let the comments fly.

Stephen Doyle – WAS SAW November 8, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, articles, design, design observer, funny, illustration, images.
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 WAS SAW

Stephen Doyle is a graphic designer who sculpts words that mess with meaning. Design Observer have a fantastic write up about him with some beautiful examples of his work. His hand-built words toy with your brain in only the most fun and profound ways. He’ll have you looking for your exacto knife.

Design Observer 

SuperVirals.com – Viral Spam-sploitation August 13, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in advertising, articles, media, Super Virals, TV, video, viral.
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How can you exploit the Viral culture to get your brand message out into the world? How do you do that without paying any real money for the videos themselves? I’ll tell you how. Because the latest venture to try and cash in on viral advertising arrived as an e-mail from BestAdsOnTV.com this morning:

SuperVirals now live!

Get rewarded for your ideas at http://www.supervirals.com

SuperVirals is a new website where top brands throw down the gauntlet for you to create cut-through content.

It’s where great ideas see the light of day. No approval committees. No research groups. No crazy deadlines. Just simple one-sentence briefs…

Upload your video, image or audio ideas and, as they get shared across the web, the SuperVirals scoring system decides the winner.

Currently up for grabs is AUD $3,000 in cash and over AUD $6,000 of cool mambo gear, shipped to wherever you are in the world. An aerobatics flight and a skydiving trip are also yours to be won.

Check out http://www.supervirals.com now.

cheers,
beamo,
bestads

spreadtheword

So I had a look. The venture is called SuperVirals.com and works like this: A brave brand gives them a one line brief (eg. “Show how Krazy you are for Krispy Kremes!”) and then unpaid people (insert suckers here) go forth and make viral video that is then sent out into the world in a competitive burst for attention (they encourage the creators to “share yours like crazy”). The winner is determined by who gets the most hits and will be rewarded with the grand prize of AUD $3000 and some gear from Mambo.

SuperVirals

It almost sounds like a recipe for success. Encourage people who like to make free content to make it for your client and then hand over a measly couple of bucks if they turn out to be the next Dove Evolution. Low overheads, easy access to talent and except for a few naive geeks losing some time, everybody wins. The perfect business model.

Except for a few details.

I’m not usually this cynical. Really. I love creative people making cool stuff. But SuperVirals.com is an exploitative business model and if they were making sneakers they’d be harassed by Oxfam. This is from their User Agreement:

By submitting a Content Idea to SuperVirals, you will automatically assign all rights (including intellectual property rights), title and interest in that Content Idea to SuperVirals forever without any payment by us to you or any third party.

You get no compensation at all, ever, they own your materials forever. Your song, your face, your ideas. They could probably sue you if you used your own song. In a worst case scenario, they take your idea, put some budget behind it and turn it into an international TV campaign and you get “zilch”. I realise that most of this is legal stuff is to protect themselves but it hurts content generators. They steal your intellectual property without giving you the most basic of creative rights.

If that weren’t bad enough, by making these Virals officially sanctioned they effectively handcuff creators and turn them into free hit-and-(mostly)miss idea generators who don’t have the resources of even the most basic ad agency. Let me show you what I mean:

A: To help your idea make it through to the live phase of a SuperVirals competition, and to give it the best chance of winning it’s worth sticking to a few simple common sense rules:

  • Don’t diss the brand…
  • Don’t show or encourage anything illegal…
  • Don’t include ANY copyright protected material such as any pre-recorded music and clips from TV or DVDs etc…
  • Do keep your private parts covered up!
  • Don’t be boring!
  • Click here for the SuperVirals Acceptable Content Guidelines.

It’s like you’re WORKING for these guys. I’m a creative in the ad industry and these are the rules I live with! At least I get paid to do this and I get a budget so I can afford to get something like original music (or some semblance of it). They don’t even give you a library to play with.

Here’s my favourite piece of optimism from the FAQ:

Q: Does it cost anything to enter a SuperVirals competition?

A: Nope. Zilch. The brands on the site have paid to tap into your creative talents.

They think someone would be foolish enough to PAY to make an advert? (Not even clients do that 😉 )

Another bothersome aspect of this venture from a consumer position is that they hold all the Virals and then release them in one burst. As if the net were not full of enough crap already, an unlucky few will be inundated with amateur brand work informed by simplistic strategies and with little to no production values all for the same brand! I say unlucky few because the only people who’ll see these ads are friends of the makers and I doubt I know anyone who has that great a need for a free Mambo T-shirt.

I suppose the brands who are using this service have very little to lose. The terms and conditions ensure they decide what they officially associate their brand with and for a few bucks they can side step their usual suppliers and potentially have a big hit. And Bush may apologise for Iraq.

If you have any ideas don’t give them to these guys. For once the traditional advertising industry doesn’t seem all that bad.

Where Are You On The Social Network Map? July 30, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in advertising, articles, culture, documentary, myspace, social network, technology, valleywag.
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World Map of Social Networks

Valleywag have done an amazing job assembling the data of who uses what to stay in contact with whom. If that made no sense, go to the article and see who’s winning the Facebook, Friendster, Myspace wars. Perhaps it’s Orkut? This is definitely a great tool for choosing your social network platform (a choice that either means you have friends or you live in a social desert). I find it heartening to know that one social network system does not dominate the earth. In fact, anyone talking net domination is speaking to their own blog echo.

Link

ps. Yes, there are more networks in the world than those mentioned in the article, but I think they were going for market domination, not a total breakdown.

The Viral Palette July 9, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in advertising, articles, blog, comment, culture, design, film, free, funny, games, geek, ivan pols, media, news, portfolio, presentation, statistics, technology, trash, viral, writing, youtube.
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One of the problems that Marketers are concerned with is how do they maintain Brand Values while trying to maximise reach with Viral Media. They’re uncomfortable with the stunty craziness associated with YouTube but realise they can’t miss out on the opportunity. What do they do?

I’m going to bust the misconception that you need to be off strategy and whacky in order to get millions of people interested in your content. In fact, the most viewed, most memorable corporate content is all about brand strategy and brand values. You have to have something to say, why not say what you believe in?

Instead of talking about the sociological theories of viral media or showing a powerpoint slide with the “marketing approach” shopping list (which only provides the illusion of brand control) I’ll show some examples and do a quick precis of what I believe they do. This is by no means an exhaustive list of options but I’ll try to cover the main bases.

How do you get people to pass along your message? Here’s what worked for a few brands.

Take a Stand

A couple of guys jump an airport fence under cover of darkness and tag “Still Free” onto the fuselage of Airforce One. It’s a political statement. Well, it’s a corporate political statement. Marc Ecko and Droga 5 decided to make a film that embodies the spirit of the Ecko clothing label: The Art of Street Graffiti, Freedom of Speech (Ecko had sued New York City over the right to a graffiti competition) and champion of the youth. The sheer audacity of the prank meant it spread like wildfire. Ecko quickly (nearly the next day) explained why they did it in a statement from the owner himself where he mentions all of his Ecko properties. He did it for the kids of America, because he believes it’s the right thing to do, because it creates an altruistic brand character for people who sell t-shirts to kids from the hood and the burbs. They claim nearly 80 Million views.

Buy the Still Free t-shirt
Read about the Still Free Game
The Marc Ecko Brand
Still Free Official Site

Cannes Cyber Grand Prix 2006

(more…)

Phamous Update July 7, 2007

Posted by Ivan Pols in art, articles, culture, design, erotic, erotica, fashion, female, film, hot girls, models, music, objectification, Phamous 69, photography, portfolio, women.
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 Phamous Picture

It seemed to take Phorever! I’ve finally spotted some new content on Phamous 69, everyone’s favourite diamante encrusted glam ero-disco magazine. If you haven’t seen it yet, picture high-end photography, film and writing applied to slick surfaces (including models) with a whiff of decadence. City kids swear by it.

Phamous 69