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Trends, commentary, and insightful rants from the bleeding edge of advertising, content & branding.

The Great Recession is Over. Now What?

 

ass kickin' time

I know you probably don’t remember this, but a year ago, you were sweating bullets. The end was nigh, this was the big one, the economic cataclysm that would consume a generation. You saw your life flashing before your eyes.

And then? Well, things got bad for a while. But somehow armageddon was averted. The ship righted. The blood stopped flowing. And you opened your eyes and realized that you weren’t going to die this time.

Every few years or so, a turning point pivots this little roller coaster called the economy. You don’t realize it at the time. You only see it in retrospect. When Netscape went public. When Google launched. Seismic events that redefine the economy and change the rules of the game.

This is that moment.

We’re at the bottom of one of the biggest recessions in American history. All the deadwood has been cleared out, the money is starting to flow again, and the 2010’s are going to be defined by what you do right now. The tendency is going to be to sit back and be cautious, because people got burned by this thing and they’re not going back into the fire.

More playground for us.

Because the next decade is going to be defined by those of us who recognize the signs. Who realize that media isn’t dead, it’s just fractalizing. Who know that people don’t change habits just because they’re moving more and more of their life online. Who know that whenever something dies in an ecosystem, there is nothing but daylight for the sure and the strong.

Recoveries are made by those who invent them.

If you wait for others to see how warm the water is, you’ve already lost. Pretty soon the whole pool will be packed with people. You’ve got six months, tops, to try to do the things you’ve wanted to do, and help shape what the next phase will look like. After that, you’re locked into whatever shape the economy will take. You’ll be a spectator, not a driver.

Stop reading blogs. Go reinvent the economy.

Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

Filed under: mobile, recession, skateboarding cats, supergenius llc, , , ,

DUMB WORDS! BANNED WORDS & PHRASES 2010

 

Her words are witchcraft and heresy. The very tools of the Devil!

 

Although by no means exact, rough web based estimates of the number of words in the English language put the total at somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million.  By any civilized standard this is too many! A million words! That has the sulfuric stench of the devil.  Here at super genius we’d wager that at least 40% of that is pure waste, and we’d like to do our part to cut that waste. On the heels of the infamous memo put out by Tribune CEO Randy Michaels (a memo we support by the way); we’ve decided to begin publishing our own list of words we’re banning in 2010 and invite crowdsourced (uh oh! spoiler alert on that one!) additions.  Now, a millions words is a lot for us to go through so as THE BANNENING continues and we add new words we’ll publish them in our twitter feed (there’s another one!) under #dumbwords. The real goal here, is to avoid using words that make you sound like a jargon drunk simpleton. By not using these words you enhance your reputation as a human being. And so:

BRAND PROMISE (yes we know, two words, but it’s combination that kills)

CROWDSOURCE (CROWDSOURCED)

TWEET

THE “CLOUD”

VAMPIRE

ALCOPOP (this was actually on the 2007 list but we didn’t publish that year)

BLOG (the term micro-blog has been added to our 2011 watchlist)

SOCCER

AKIMBO

Additional words will be published via the 140 character service known as Twitter under the hash #dumbwords. If you have words to add to the list please do the same. Cheers!

Filed under: advertising, Bad Ads, Self Help, skateboarding cats, Uncategorized, Vampires, , , , , , ,

Why We Blog

thacarterAgency blogs suck. That’s why we write one. It is a strange feeling to communicate in a medium you despise. Deep down, you despise blogs too. With rare exception, blogs do not add anything to your life. They are time-suckers. They are usually poorly written. They breed like gnats. Of these creatures, there are few things worse than the corporate blog, which are typically just glorified vehicles for press releases. Of the corporate blogs, there are few things worse than the advertising agency blog, because it has the stench of desperation. You can see someone, somewhere in the organization decided the blog had to be clever – because we’re an AD AGENCY, dammit – and so you have the obligatory twist of whimsy. But since it’s still a corporate communication, it has to go through legal, PR, IT, and some poor junior copywriter whose job it is to keep the blog from doing anything that would slander the reputation of the company. The result is inevitably unreadable. Why do we blog? I’m sure the readers of this blog are using the word ‘hypocrite’ along with their epithet of choice, and they’re probably not wrong. We might be hypocrites, or worse. We snark. We steal from popular culture. We bite the hands that feed us. We link to the sites that pique our interest and occasionally offer meta-commentary. We post opinions as fact. We have an alarmingly high opinion of ourselves. We lie to ourselves while pretending to be brutally honest. We’re maddeningly inconsistent. None of which you’ll find on a typical agency blog, except for the alarmingly high self-regard. If these were other times in history, we’d streak, or skywrite, or perform magic tricks. We’d paint, drink absinthe, and become expatriates. In some eras, we’d be hailed as prophets, in others, heretics. But this is 2009. And that is why we blog.

Filed under: advertising, online advertising, skateboarding cats, supergenius llc, , , , , , , ,

You Are Not Viral. Stop Trying.

funny-pictures-strings-forte-pleaseSo you’ve decided to save some money this year by crafting a funny, on-message, stealth viral campaign.

Congratulations. You’ve already failed.

Here is the sad, honest truth that keeps a lot of creative people cranking out a lot of subpar home videos and releasing them to the web:

Viral is a lottery ticket. So many factors have to be working with you that it is impossible to predict the success and failure of any one idea, no matter how brilliantly conceived and on-target. In fact, the brilliantly conceived, on-target viral campaigns are the most doomed to fail. Here’s why:

It’s not the perfect storm. For a viral campaign to really catch fire, every wind has to be blowing in your direction. For ten years now, everyone in Hollywood has been trying to recreate the campaign for The Blair Witch Project. This just happened to be the first movie that utilized the web as its main promotional medium, by creating a virtual, creepy, unpolished world that heightened the verisimilitude of the movie itself. It couldn’t have been done after that, it couldn’t have been done prior to that. It only worked because there happened to be dramatic technological upheaval and a new form of communication.

The idea has come and gone. Let’s stay with arguably the most successful viral movie campaign of our lifetimes, Blair Witch. In the wake of that film, a hundred movies tried to do exactly the same thing with a thousand times the budget. But viral is a fickle mistress: once you’ve seen it, it’s over. I mean, over. The target for Blair Witch probably didn’t notice the desperate attempts to catch their attention, because they saw it the first time, when it was still cool.

Your competition has multiplied. By a million. When you make the leap to the web, you’re no longer competing for eyeballs with other marketers. You’re competing for eyeballs with everyone who owns a computer. There are a million people in Los Angeles alone trying to craft “viral” videos to advance their career, to land an agent, to hit the big time – and they don’t have a product to push. Andy Samberg creates a viral video on SNL every couple of weeks, has a million people watch it on television, and (aside from Lazy Sunday) still can’t get much viral traction. Professional entertainers can’t do this. It’s hard.

You’re smarter than a doorknob. Afro Ninja. Numa Numa. Star Wars Kid. Some of the most popular viral videos of all time. What do they have in common? They are viscerally stupid. They’re humiliating. They are the web equivalent of a blooper reel. If you’re smart enough to say the words “viral marketing campaign,” you’ve intellectually excluded yourself from being able to judge whether a viral video will succeed or fail. Your sense of humor is not America’s. Please trust us.

You can embarrass yourself. A lot. Because the most successful viral videos tend to be the most outrageous, marketers frequently assume that outrageousness will get noticed. This is deadly thinking. For every Bruce Campbell Old Spice or JC Penney’s ad that gets traction, there are a thousand misfires, some of them crippling. Agency.com is a smart agency in general. How did this happen? But by far, the majority of viral efforts just never get noticed at all. And that’s embarrassing enough.

Viral does not mean free. Pay to play, baby. Unless your video features NSFW images of people doing unspeakable things (or a skateboarding cat) you can’t just release into the wild on its own and expect some sort of wildfire runaway hit.  You want people to know about it? You want your viral thingy to get seen? You better be prepared to ante up for that viral goodness.

This is not a screed against web content in general. The smartest thing you can be doing is looking for new opportunities to spread your marketing message via the internet. Just don’t go looking for the viral force to be with you.

Filed under: online advertising, skateboarding cats, supergenius llc, viral, , , , , ,

About

Super Genius LLC is a digital media and creative incubator that excels at bringing fresh, new thinking to existing strategy as well as blank-page strategic development. Our mission is to open up unique and exciting ways of connecting brands and consumers.

"The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." William Gibson

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