1. The Pure Ideology Personal Brand Workshop



    Oh my gosh I’m doing an event NEXT WEEK at the gallery Legion TV in east London. Please do come along, it will be a top laugh and features emoji-themed cocktails.

    The Pure Ideology Personal

    Brand Workshop

    Thursday 2 October 18.00 - 21.00

    A printing workshop party organised by Tessa Norton.

    Contributing artists: Michael Lacey, Kate Turner, Sian Murphy with DJ set by Bob Stanley.

    “In today’s competitive environment, you need a way to differentiate yourself from your peers. You need an “X” factor that makes you indispensable. In short, you need a personal brand. We created a personal brand experience to help you find and showcase your strengths so you can stand out from the crowd.”

    – Price Waterhouse Coopers Personal Brand Workbook, 2014

    Walking through Broadway Market in east London and countless similar streets worldwide, we’re confronted with a confusing barrage of images. Greetings cards, craft beer labels and cupcakes vie for our attention, communicating their messages through a selection of increasingly esoteric pictures. Whether owls, pugs, handlebar moustaches or the face of Slavoj Žižek, it is these images that function as logos for a no-logo generation, or the mascots of a gentrifying subculture.

    In this bewildering environment, communicating your unique personal brand can seem to be an insurmountable challenge. So what better way to differentiate yourself from your peers than with a cotton tote bag? In recent years the humble object has transcended its origins – the cotton tote is no longer just something to carry your coconut water and Moleskine, but rather a primed canvas for expressing your personal “X” factor.

    The Pure Ideology Personal Brand Workshop offers visitors to Legion TV a unique solution to these modern woes. You are invited to produce a unique bespoke tote bag to take home with you, guaranteed to give you that all-important competitive edge over your peers!

    Full details at the Legion TV website

    This event is part of The Art Licks Weekend 2014.



  2. "According to the researchers, the trend of decreasing communication before a breakup was strong and consistent. Specifically, the amount of tweets to the partner in question decreased, the amount to other users increased, and the amount of original tweets being sent from the account decreased overall. This is, in effect, the communicative “stonewalling” that the researchers were looking for to indicate a looming breakup….
    all this valuable knowledge about what breakups look like on Twitter just before they happen could be used to design a kind of “early breakup warning system,” which would certainly be equal parts terrifying and fascinating for our culture."

    What Our Breakups Look Like on Twitter | Motherboard (via internet-of-dreams)

    As well as being quite interesting, this article features the only good use of Wordles in the history of research.

    (via internet-of-dreams)


  3. Is Research Boring?

    There was a conversation on Twitter the other day – as part of the ESOMAR Congress hashtag – about making market research more attractive to people. It’s not a new conversation, of course. It’s quite an old one. Someone said that research has an image problem and that it was seen as dull.

    The assumption behind this is that if we could just correct this “image problem” people would see that research is, in fact, exciting. This is where I weighed in, perhaps without thinking it through. Research, I said, IS often boring, because it is about people and businesses, and sometimes people and businesses do boring things. There was a fair bit of disagreement over this, from industry veterans I like and respect a great deal. So I thought I’d expand on the idea. Is research boring?

    Read More

  4. OMG, that’s fantastic - I’ve got to know though, where within the Top 2 did you place exactly?

  5. flyingseraph:

    Why Ad research is like growing a pot plant

    Don’t get too excited. Not that kind of pot plant.

    Here’s a simple analogy - taught to me many years ago. It will help you spend your research budget wisely. As I watch what goes on in Marketing/Ad/Research land it seems many have forgotten, or simply never come across it.

    Think about growing a plant. You spend time and take care choosing good seed and ensuring you have rich soil – good chance of a healthy plant. Plant weak seed into poor soil and you have very little chance at all. Even if, late in the process, you bring in the fertiliser and weed killer, you’re unlikely to get lush growth from a stunted plant that stood little chance in the first place.

    Well, that parallels your choices in communications research.

    There are distinct stages in the development of communication when you can conduct research. Leading to 4 types of communication research.

    One is extremely useful almost all the time.

    One is pretty useful most of the time.

    And one is occasionally useful.

    The fourth – generally the most expensive - is most useful in lining the pockets of shareholders of research companies. It’s least helpful to marketers or their communication Agencies. Often, it’s downright harmful.

    In sequence - from planting to harvesting - they are: Strategy Research, Development Research, Advertising Evaluation, and Tracking Research.

    The 2 bookends – early and late are most useful:

    Early research to inform strategy i.e. well before the brief, is always useful. When conducted well. It’s the gardening equivalent of choosing robust seed and ensuring the earth is fertile.

    Tracking research – once the communication is made and in market – is very often very useful.

    Development research during the process is sometimes helpful. But there’s a gigantic caveat: it must be research to learn how and why people respond to the idea. And how well it communicates the core strategic thought. It is definitely not about testing. Not about winners. Certainly not about execution.

    But I despise – with a passion – the big, expensive pre-tests (a.k.a. copy tests). Pseudo-scientific, mumbo-jumbo mainly used for arse-covering. These big studies cost a bomb. They provide a sense of security because they’re big and bulging with numbers. Generally, they’re not much more reliable than the toss of a coin. And if our CMOs are no better than a coin toss – in my experience, they are – goodness help us all.

    (It’s at this point you’ll hear the squealing and gnashing of teeth of a few research companies. And it’s about now that a ‘validation study’ or two will appear.)

    If you do have a communications research budget, spend as much as you can afford getting the strategy right, then switch what’s left to tracking. Put a little bit aside for Development research – for the limited occasions it’s needed.

    If someone tries to sell you a big, expensive, ‘consistently reliable’ quantitative Evaluation study that ‘usefully informs communication development’, does a great job with emotional response, etc. ask them about their pot plant….

    The other kind.

    (Please follow me on Twitter: @MarkSareff - it’s a tomato plant in case you were wondering)

    I come across this analogy a fair bit, actually. It’s almost always posted by someone in advertising, and you can understand why. It’s essentially saying there is no possible way to usefully consult consumers about execution at any point in an ad’s development. The people who believe this are persuasive types who marshall interesting arguments (or, as here, elegant analogies). They are also, to a human, the people whose work is being assessed in this way. There’s a very strong sense of “you would say that, wouldn’t you”?

    It’s like an employee saying, “Look, make your job interview really rigorous before you hire me. And when I leave, conduct a pretty thorough exit interview. But when I’m on the job, don’t do performance reviews or assessments or anything, just trust me, yeah?”

    That sounds GREAT, of course. I wish employers thought like that. But I know why they don’t.

    (I am equally partisan, of course. Though tracking research is just as shitty, perhaps even shittier, than pre-testing, so I dunno why it gets a free pass here!)

    (via peterspear)


  6. I am speaking at this conference - which has a mildly gross title now I think about it, but should be good! The idea is that ten agency people talk to a mostly client-side audience about a TREND.

    I have, with enormous pretension and overreach, offered them “a field guide to the new culture wars” - I’ll be talking about pop culture in an period where so much of it exists below the line. The good - fan creativity, engagement and demands for better representation and calling culture to account. The bad - clickbait and churnalism. And the ugly - celebrity doxxing, gamergate, et al.

    As that synopsis probably indicates the talk will be unashamedly from a pro “social justice warrior” (or whatever) perspective. No objectivity asked or given. It should be fun to do though!

  8. wizzard890:




    i know its supposed to be like social list but did anyone think this through

    organize the things you love, like the economy

    collaborate in the workplace

    share lists, photos, and the means of production

    (via digitalmillenium)


  9. Warren Ellis’ and Mike Allred’s contribution to the world of brand storytelling and content marketing. This is an interesting artefact, not really because much of these two gentlemen’s style or eccentricity has truly bled into it - it is, to be frank, a quite boring comic. But it’s very of its time, a marker of all sorts of current assumptions about marketing and branding and even comics.

    Let’s start with the comics. Someone at Bacardi knows that there is a level of cultural cachet around comics at the moment. Not just because making a comic about Emilio Bacardi’s life seems a good use of marketing cash, but because whoever at Bacardi thought of this also realised there’s extra leverage to be had in getting credible creators involved. The kind of young men - I’m presuming Bacardi’s target is men, this is a comic about men talking and politicking - who know who Warren Ellis and Michael Allred are might also be drinking Bacardi when once they drank only Snakebite.

    At the same time, the choice of those guys speaks to comics’ status right now: an engine of popular culture yes, but simultaneously a slightly raffish, slightly indie presence on the edge of that culture. Ellis and Allred themselves are creators who flit in and out of the mainstream, lines of communication between the centre and the nearer fringes of comics, not remotely obscure but still kinda hip - it’s the equivalent perhaps of getting a Pitchfork favourite to soundtrack your ad (or, to get a little more modern about it, curate your branded Spotify playlist).

    So this isn’t much like Hostess Twinkies ads in Spiderman, or product placement of cars in comics - its closer to something like the Japanese “business manga” micro-genre, except without the kinetics and exaggerations manga storytelling tends to bring. But that stuff is coming out of a culture in which graphic storytelling is absolutely familiar and accepted - business manga exists because businessmen have stories and one of the ways you tell stories is manga. The Spirit Of Bacardi comic is a more rarefied bloom.

    (One of the ways you can tell this is in the presentation of it on the Bacardi site - the Spirit Of Bacardi comic is not presented page by page, but with a really aggressive “guided view” type technology, darting Prezi-style around captions, speech bubbles, elements of the frame. This is designed to hold the hands of people who have never read a comic before, but actually cripples the web-native reading experience, making it almost impossible to get a feel for script and art simultaneously, let alone page composition. It’s a incredibly cautious way to present comics.)

    Spirit of Bacardi is also a marker of where we’re at in content marketing terms. The idea of content marketing is that your brand creates something people might like to have anyhow, rather than things designed only to sell shit to you. As the planner John Willshire puts it - talking more broadly about 2010s marketing - “making things people want” beats “making people want things”.

    On paper, that’s working out for Bacardi. They have a very good writer and a very good artist making a comic for them. It is a very lavish production, it must look and feel beautiful. Is it a good comic? Is it a “thing people want”? No. It’s a Wikipedia article on Emilio Bacardi with illustrations. It feels like the stuff that used to be in the Eagle magazine in the 1950s telling the life of St Paul. It’s on that kind of level of excitement.

    Is this the fault of Ellis and Allred? You suspect not: the brief’s the thing. On paper they’re the right guys for the job. The story revolves around conversations between men of power, and Ellis is usually great at giving a sense of the stakes in a conversation. The art revolves around men in suits, and Allred is good at drawing casually cool men in suits.  But the brief isn’t giving either skill much to work with: Ellis’ conversations work because there’s a tension in them, and here the story is a simple processional. Allred’s rumpled suits work because they bounce off a wider, wilder world, and here the world is the world of corporate booze, where everyone drinks and nobody is drunk.

    Why waste time criticising a corporate comic done for the money and rum? Not to slight either man’s talents: the quality of this thing is utterly irrelevant to the wider careers of two fine creators. But for content marketing, that’s precisely the fatal problem. If you want to “make things people want”, those people have to care about whether it’s any good or not - more, whether it exists of not. And I do care about whether “a comic by Warren Ellis and Mike Allred” exists, in the abstract. I do not care about whether “a comic about Emilio Bacardi, published by Bacardi” exists, in the specific.

    That’s the difference here, and it’s the difference between “content marketing” and “brand storytelling”. In this case, and in many cases, those two things end up pitched against each other, and nothing interesting comes of it. Brand stories are to brands as drug experiences or dreams or holiday photos are to people: touchstones for the individual, tedious for anyone else. You mine them, you don’t tell them.


  10. My work are recruiting for a graduate programme in the UK. I don’t know anything much else about this - how many slots there are, for instance - but  we’re a global research agency which is good fun to work for and has one of the friendlier office cultures I’ve encountered. It’s fairly small for a global agency - 150-ish people worldwide - so you’d be put onto interesting, responsible work fast. Anyway, I thought I’d link it here.