Maxus Mouth

Time Inc Inspired Conversations: God of planning

By Rachel Cawley - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 09/04/2015

 

This morning Rachel attended Time Inc's Inspired Conversations session : God of planning.  Hosted by Paul Feldwick.  Below she gives us a short snyopsis on what she learned at the session: 

Paul spent 30 years in advertising in roles such as head of planning at BMP and is the author of several books on advertising theories. The session focused on his most recent book "The Anatomy of Humbug - how to think differently about advertising". During the session Paul discussed frustrations of how many theories of advertising there are. He took us through his six main theories as to how advertising works and showed how they are restrictive and contradictory but can also be flexible, creative and effective. 
 
Theory One: Advertising as salesmanship
Paul questioned if the reason behind all advertising is just to sell – it doesn’t matter if it is remembered or has a message, you just need to have the brand in front of the consumer. This theory harks back to the golden days of advertising where a Bovril sign would be painted on the side of houses – simply to get the attention of the consumer.
 
Theory Two: Advertising as seduction
Advertising needs to seduce it’s consumer. Therefore, brands needs to be conscious and adaptive. Paul argues this area of advertising is becoming more associated with research but, that it doesn’t need to be. It is based on human sensitivity and driven by non-verbal emotional associations. 
 
Theory Three: Saliences 
This is the theory of back to basics - getting the brand in front of the consumer. Paul explained we just need to look at the most successful IPA campaigns as they all gained campaign fame prior to winning.
 
Theory Four: Social Connections
With this theory Paul highlighted the importance to entertain consumers, communication is no longer just about consumption of content but forms the basis of how people converse and maintain relationships
 
Theory Five: The Spin (Public Relations)
This is the power of pictures and emotions not text and theories. The product must appear to be desirable without the prod of a salesman. 
 
Theory Six: Showmanship 
Paul concluded that advertising might not be an art or science but in fact showmanship. This theory would make the most sense when looking at the popularity of singing ponies, a man doing the splits between two Lorries and singing cats. 
 
Paul finished his session by stressing there is not a clear way of classifying ads, advertising campaigns do not fall into one of these theories but can fit into multiple.
 
In summary, we should consider all theories but we would understand advertising better if we start by accepting that we will never fully understand it. 

Invisible Media - Stuart Butler at Advertising Week Europe 2015

By Abbie Baisden - Global Content Manager on 09/04/2015

 

At this year’s Advertising Week Europe, Stuart Butler – EMEA Head of Planning at Maxus, led a panel of some of the biggest names in media, discussing the premise of ‘Invisible Media’.

Joined by Dave Coplin (Microsoft), Anna Watkins (Guardian Labs) and Peter Cory (Google), the panel considered the possibilities of the future of media and technology, and the effect ‘Invisible Media’ would have on different stakeholders throughout the industry. You can still view the complete panel on the Advertising Week Europe Website, or take a look at some of the key points discussed below.

“Media isn’t only interactive, it’s intelligent, it’s even clever enough to outperform us”

Advancements in technology mean that media can now predict our behaviours based on past activities, and adapt itself accordingly. However, all tech evolves to make our lives easier, so if tech and media continue to become more intuitive, they may also become invisible, eradicating our need to even attend to it. As we become acclimatised to new technologies, we start to forget it’s even there.

How will our interaction with media change?

  • Physically – Less present 

Voice interaction on a mobile phone has already started to make the keyboard function redundant, and we begin to view the QWERTY keyboard set up in the same way that we used to look at typewriters. 

Virtual reality is already becoming the norm - "We need stop fixating on screens and see that the consumeris about to step through the looking glass."

Tech is already moving beyond the wearable and towards 'embedded' such as the MC10 Biostamp.

  • Functionally – Less interaction required 

"The end of the internet as we know it" -  Eric Schmidt

The prediction is that the web will become so pervasive it will disappear, like electricity. We will become so accustomed to all devices being able to communicate with each other and to anticipate the information we want to be shown, that we will no longer be aware of it around us.

Media and technology can read data and provide solutions quickly and without human interruption. Increasingly tech will be able to understand our needs and motivations, such as the Biostamp, which reads a patient’s vital signs and alters their medical dosage accordingly. 

Artificial intelligence is being developed that is replicating human decision making and values, such as Bina48 or the iCub, and we are already looking beyond digital to quantum computing offer tech far more sophistacted abilities to 'think'.

  • Culturally – Less opportunity for mass messaging

As media becomes more adapted to individual needs and interests, it will become more difficult for advertisers to push a message out to a diverse audience. Catch-up TV and online streaming services have moved us from a nation of 60 million viewers watching one of five TV channels, to 60 million audiences of one person, watching what they like, when they like.

Stuart believes that the internet has returned us to a more human form of communication.

The internet has brought us back to more traditional story-based methods of communicating, preceding the advent of ‘broadcast messaging' and the printed press, which was a bit of an anomaly in human communication.

Beyond that, consumers can even bypass the corporation, and with it brands. Consumers can connect to fund, develop, manufacture, market and distribute products and services themselves.

What does this mean for the media industry?

 

“Technology is becoming us because it’s built to serve us” according to Stuart. We should celebrate new ways to get closer to the consumer and new, more powerful communication strategies.

The panel discussed Ada Lovelace. Credited with creating the first algorithm designed to be carried out with a machine, Ada’s work directly contradicted what her father, Lord Byron was fighting for. Whilst Byron defended the Luddite’s and their plight to destroy the machines that were putting them out of work, his daughter was helping to create one of the most significant advancements in automated technology in history.

Ada saw technology as a ‘collaborative tool’, a means of making work more efficient, freeing up time to work on other things that need a human input, and this arguably is how we should address the increasing automation of media.

If we allow technology to work on the more administrative side of what a media agency does (data analysis and recommendations), we will have more time to work on what makes each individual agency great, the creative solutions that keep engaging audiences because they surprise them.

Giving the audience what they need, not just what they want

If consumers are now only engaging with exactly what they want to see, how can media outlets and brands hope to get in front of new audiences?

Well, our panel believe that there will still be room for an authoritative voice in the world of invisible media, we won’t lose common cultural experiences (for example, every British teenager watching Grange Hill at the same time because there simply was no other option) but the way that we engage with these experiences will be different.

“It’s the themes that will align us”. Brands and news providers can still decide the message they want to put across, but they must adapt the way it is presented in order to engage different audiences.

“No longer a purveyor of a single message for the masses, it has become a vehicle for rumour”

And with storytelling, and re-telling, comes misinformation.

During the London riots, for a full two hours, it was a widely known fact that there was a tiger on the streets. The story spread like wildfire across social media, and was circulated alongside a heavily doctored image of a large tabby cat.

Although social media does pave the way for ‘open journalism’, we will always need some news outlets for content curation and to add authority and reason to the stories that are being spread across the web. A trusted source that can provide facts in a sea of opinions.

It is here, Anna Watkins insists, that true journalism will always exist.

The end of the controlled corporate brand?

The democratization of information across the internet has put the power of a brands image in the hands of the consumer. We don’t live in a world where brands can control their message anymore, only encourage it, and the best way to do this is to be authentic (a strong theme throughout the entire conference).

Consumers are becoming more aware of the brands they bring into their homes, and increasingly companies are having to demonstrate the core values behind their products and display the human side of their business. People don’t react to brands, they react to people, and no amount of technology will change that.

The good news is, there will continue to be a need for media agencies. The challenging news (optimistically put) is that they will undergo some pretty big changes.

As programmatic buying becomes evermore popular, media agencies will need to be there to step in, use the high quality data we are collecting extremely intelligently, but to add a human touch in order to offer a creative solution.

In reality, what may look to a machine as ‘a bit risky’ may actually be a huge opportunity for a brand to reach a new audience, and it’s down to our media planners to be able to spot them.

Category: Media | Comments...

MAXUS MOUTH : Mobilegeddon

By Malik Roberts - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 09/04/2015
 
I’d like to start this post off by saying that rotating around Maxus has been a blast. I’m both quite sad that it’s coming to an end, and very excited about getting stuck into the interview process and pitches that are waiting for us in our last weeks of the scheme. 
 
I’ve just finished my SEO rotation, which I have to admit, was one that I was very much looking forward to. I learned a lot working with the SEO guys, but my major take away was that ranking in Google is really complicated, (no wonder I can’t get my blog on the first page)! 
I thought Google would be taking a break from tinkering with their algorithm after introducing the ‘Hummingbird’ update… I was wrong. Word on the web (and in fact, from Google), is that they’re going to be launching a brand new update which will be targeted towards ‘mobile-friendly’ sites. The update will start rolling out on April 21st, and will be ranking pages (that’s right, pages instead of sites), on a real time basis. There is some ambiguity as to what ‘real time’ actually means, but the general consensus is that when Google crawls your pages they will immediately be labelled as mobile-friendly (or not), and be affected by the change in algorithm. As I mentioned before, the algorithm is run on a page-by-page basis. So if you have 10 web pages on your site and 5 of them are mobile-friendly and 5 are not, then only the pages that are mobile-friendly will benefit.
 
Zineb Ait Bahajji (from the webmaster trends team), is quoted as saying that the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm will impact more sites than their panda or penguin algorithms. I did some snooping and it’s believed that around 50% of mobile searches are done via mobile, so it would make sense that this new update would make waves! 
 
There is good news for anyone who’s feeling a little anxious about these changes. You’re able to check right now to see if Google thinks your site is mobile-friendly. Some pages have started popping up with a little ‘Mobile-friendly’ label next to them which, (you guessed it!), let’s you know that these pages will be a joy to browse with your mobile device. 
 
Malik is one of our Maxus Launchpad Graduates

Maxus at AdWeek Europe

By Various on 08/04/2015
 
Many Maxus employees were lucky enough to attend the plethora of sessions taking place at AdWeek. We were inspired by the speakers and looked towards our own ways of working to identify gaps and opportunities to improve. Our PACE ethos was never far from our minds with many of us identifying pace values during the talks such as staying focused, the importance of collaboration and relevancy.  
 
The changing landscape was a recurring topic with speakers discussing how we adapt to the changes and the growing power of the consumer. Further to this, sessions focused on ‘back to basics’ – understanding who we are as an industry and what we do alongside understanding people, their needs and wants; and ideating with discretion accordingly. This leads onto thoughts that planning needs to be better (more ambitious) faster (less pedantic and nebulous) and stronger (more effective). 
 
To learn more about Maxus’ insights into AdWeek please read the below summaries by the people who went to the sessions.
 

Nile Rodgers in Conversation with Spotify –Tony Dean


It was a privilege to attend this session and hear the disco legend talk through his life as a one man musical creative powerhouse. From humble beginnings being born under Queensboro Bridge to his 13 year old mother, through to international stardom and multi-platinum selling records – this fella has seen and done it all. 

 
Although I’m pretty confident Maxus didn’t draw inspiration for our PACE values from Mr Rodgers, during the session, it became quickly apparent that he has demonstrated these behaviours throughout his life and by doing so has become one of the most successful and respected figures in musical history. Let me expand….
 
Passionate – It was clear from his grin when he picked up his guitar at the beginning of the session and started riffing out a snippet of ‘We are Family’ on his beloved ‘Hitmaker’ Fender Stratocaster that he has the same level of passion for his art form as a 62 year old man that he did playing in Luther Vandross backing band as a fresh faced twenty something. “I hate silence” - the only negative he could muster when asked about his likes/dislikes. This guy lives for music no doubt.
 
Agile – When Rodgers broke onto the scene with Chic in the 70s, disco was BIG in every way (flares, hair, lights) however the early 80s saw a disco backlash and Chic was no more. This could have been the end of his career however he picked himself up and massively leaned into change to forge a reputation as a producer extraordinaire during the 80s. David Bowie’s ‘Let’s dance’, Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ and Daft Punk’s monster hit ‘Get Lucky’ to name but a few of his works. Disco, funk, R&B, rock, pop and dance – there aren’t many more flexible in the business.   
 
Collaborative – As aforementioned, his collaborations have shown how some of the most successful outcomes come from teamwork. Nile Rodgers trying to do ‘Like a Virgin’ – nope. Nile Rodgers for Madonna however and you have a 25 million selling worldwide hit. One of the things that really came across during his interview was that as long as he was making great work, he was happy – who with, what style or who gets the credit was irrelevant. Great work is great work. 
 
Entrepreneurial – "All our songs start with the chorus - which is very non-traditional”. Chic knew that that they needed to do something different to stand out from the crowd when breaking through on US radio for the first time so Rodgers and co. took the gamble by landing a big chorus from the off and hoping the listener would be hooked from then on. It worked. 
Rather than learn anything new as such, this session highlighted to me that whether you are disco legend or a media planner, the PACE values apply. If you stay focused, positive and excel in each behaviour you are in with a good chance of creating industry leading work, whether that be for the disco halls of 1970s New York or the clients of Maxus.
 

Digital Marketing Game Changers hosted by Amobee – Alex Smith 

 
The discussion focused on technological growth and dominance in the media industry, with the panel debating the challenges and opportunities for emerging providers when taking on the behemoths Google and Facebook.  To put this into context they set the scene explaining that currently 70-80% of all tech spend will end up going through either Google or Facebook this year, the silver lining however was that they identified the ones to watch in Rubicon, Oracle and Adobe amongst others.
 
The panel did however identify three risks with the new players taking on Google and Facebook:
 
1. The upfront investment involved in competing on the same scale
2. The risks involved in stitching together tech stacks
3. Client willingness to hand over 1st party data
 
They also talked about in this changing landscape how the user is becoming ever wiser to the fact that publishers are mining their usage data for commercial gain, and predict that this will begin to change the way publishers adapt their business models.  It was mentioned that an ever increasing amount of publishers and tech vendors are beginning to flip the marketing model on its head, creating a value exchange for sharing data/ receiving ads.
 

Women in Media and Sports - What rules are left to be broken? – Rachel Cawley 


This week I was lucky enough to attend Advertising Week Europe.  The week is dedicated to showcasing the industry’s best and brightest thought leaders alongside well known figures from popular culture such as Nile Rodgers, Rio Ferdinand and Katie Price.

Clare talked about the importance of women backing one another and working together to improve the position of women within advertising and sport. Clare was joined by Poorna Bell, Global Lifestyle Editor of The Huffington Post UK, Tracey de Groose, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Ruth Holdaway, CEO of Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation and Casey Stoney, Captain of GB Football Olympic 2012. The panel debated the challenges women in media and sport face and what the two can learn from each other.
 
Watching Clare it was clear to understand why she is such a popular presenter, she captured her audience’s attention by talking passionately about women’s limitation within sport alongside her own experiences and her desire to create sport equality.
 
The session was inspired by the #thisgirlcan UK campaign featuring real women. The campaign gives women the confidence to exercise and believe it is okay to sweat and go beetroot red because the results are you feel better and look better! The panel discussed the advantages for brands to invest in women’s sport - they are currently very cheap to sponsor and give a unique brand message as male sport stars are overused by brands, and this can cause the legitimacy of the relationship between the brand and the sportsmen to be questioned.
 
The key learning from the session was that women in sport lack support. Firstly, the low pay of professional women athletes especially when compared to average male athlete’s wage. Casey Stoney has a part time job to support her football career. Secondly, young impressionable girls who are body conscious and ashamed to exercise in public, this can be changed by campaigns that celebrate the beauty of women and exercise. Thirdly, there needs to be a greater understanding of the many roles for women in sport from commentating, accounting, lawyers to advertising. In advertising we can help support these three key areas by providing the investment and information through brand sponsorship and awareness.
 

Music : Make or Break ? AdVolve – The Revolution of Music in Advertising – Stephanie Marks

 
Given how emotive music can be in advertising it was really interesting to understand the process that agencies and clients take when finding the right music for the right film.  This was the main topic of conversation so Julz Baldwin actually had most to talk about – I didn’t even realise that creative agencies had specialists in this field.  Her view is that 9 times out of 10 the music is left to the very last minute, it’s a bolt on and there’s often no budget left.  Think about the John Lewis ads, how successful would they have been without a beautiful soundtrack to go with it?  I would guess that the team at John Lewis know this and probably approach their process slightly differently.  Budget is critical; it determines what you can afford – you want a hit from the charts, or a classic track, its hundreds of thousands of pounds, and therefore you need to plan for it.  And the cardinal sin?  When clients ask you to get something made cheaper ‘which just sounds a bit like Beyoncé….’  Music requires creativity too and clients need to realise its importance in the process of making great advertising.
 
What if you’re an artist, how can you benefit from this world?  Clement Marfo who performed ‘Champion’ fell on his feet when his track was used around the Olympics, it became a bit of a theme for the Games and was used in hundreds of montages.  He certainly found his fame this way and monetised his property further than just record sales, however this was more by opportunity than design.
 
Alex Joseph had a different experience, he worked with film makers where the sound is treated just as highly as the script or the set or the actors involved.  His job sounded really interesting and thinking about sound and the difference it can make to a piece of footage was incredible – I think as a punter you take this for granted and don’t really realise what planning and debate has gone into this.
 
Miles Lewis was probably the least creative (sorry Miles), but he was able to add data to the argument; knowing how many times Shazam is used to identify tracks in modern culture and advertising and how much more important the sound is becoming as advertisers use Shazam as a mechanic to interact with consumers.
 
Was it a good session?  I think it could have been better.  Each of the people on the panel were experts in difference aspects of music and I don’t think we got to explore as much we would have liked about each of their areas of expertise – possibly as a result of the chair who could have been better prepared.  It was a small venue with not many people there and when Clement Marfo performed his track at the end and asked for audience participation, I wasn’t the coolest in the crowd and it made me a little uncomfortable….  
 

Print will still thrive in the new age of news – Alex Grieves 

 
In the world of the always-on news cycle, citizen journalism and social media reign, does traditional print news still have a role? The short answer is ‘yes’. In a panel discussion around ‘the new age of news’, representatives from the Times, the Mirror and the Wall Street Journal discuss how news is taking new dynamic forms to better cater to fragmented and increasingly complex audiences. While social media is increasingly where stories ‘break’ and digital platforms are where commentators swiftly react to stories, it is still print where the news is carefully curated and reflected upon. To key audiences loyal, it is crucial for news organisations to understand how different channels engage their different audiences and how this evolves over the course of a day as well. A publisher, social and emerging platform strategy are all crucial for new organisations as they diversify when, where and how they disseminate stories each day.
 

Adland in 2020: Break down process, foster creativity, get things done – Alex Grieves 

 

A few highlights from some of the best industry thinkers on what we need to remember to progress the ad industry:
 
1. Never forget our work at its core. It’s what we’re here to deliver on (Robert Senior, Saatchi & Saatchi)
 
2. Collaboration is key – it’s about being greater, together (Tracy De Groose, Dentsu)
 
3. Creativity is about survival, about destroying processes and egos and never letting the past be an excuse for not being better in the present (Nils Leonard, Grey London)
 
4. Planning needs to be better (more ambitious), faster (less pedantic and nebulous) and stronger (more effective) (Andy Nairn, Lucky Generals)
 
5. Embrace tension; out of it comes something really great (Ringan Ledwidge, Rattling Stick)
Invisible media – Alex Grieves 
 
In his fascinating talk on ‘invisible media’ – media and technology that silently and seamlessly fits into our lives without any evidence of its existence – our very own Stuart Butler made important points about media in 2015 in beyond.
 
1. The Internet has brought us back to more ancient forms of storytelling: Rumours, gossip, watercooler murmurs – the Internet, and social media in particular, provides us with the modern platforms to continue some of the most traditional methods of communication.
 
2.Our obsession with new tech/channels has taken us farther away from the consumer: In our efforts to provide ‘high tech’ solutions, ‘media firsts’ or create something ‘innovative’, we often forget that we are trying to create better experiences for people than they had before. Human, not smart, tech will win.
 
3. Perhaps we move away from 'big ideas' to ways of behaving in diff contexts: In the age of fragmented experiences, agility is key. Brands’ ability to adapt to consumer contexts and deliver something interesting, meaningful and relevant will be more important than ‘big ideas’ that fail to flex with the people who are meant to buy into them.
 
In the era of hype around the latest technologies, Stuart’s points are on point as to how we remember to create better human experiences founded on timeless human truths – and how media can help us do this better.
 

Jimmy Carr and Rory Sutherland – Christina Sorensen 

 

I saw the Rory Sutherland and Jimmy Carr talk hosted by Ogilvy. The talk was about the role of humour in advertising today. Jimmy’s perspective was that brands don’t utilise humour enough these days in the fear of offending people. He’s view was that advertisers should be less scared and worry less about the actual impact the ads have on people .One point I thought was very interesting is that it’s often middle to upper class people that get offended on behalf of the ‘lower’ classes subject to the joke – something Carr sees as very patronising behaviour. 
 
One of their ideas was to utilise comedians more when writing advertising copy. Sutherland and Carr did however agree that there might be limitations to this as ads often needs to appeal to an international market, and that humour tends to vary a lot between nations.
 

Is Razor Fish Right? That Advertising is as effective as a part of Value Exchange – Erin Hughes

 
The discussion was based on using advertising as a way to entice consumers to unlock content. The bulk of the discussion focused on the positive and negative examples of how this should be conducted especially in a world where consumers so actively try to avoid averts by Skipping a pre Roll or clicking out of a pop up advert in an Mobile App. 
 
Unlocking content through advertising was considered to be based upon the value exchange model, for example the consumer is rewarded for watching or engaging with an advert. For example, Scrabble offered free Wi-Fi was offered once the user solved the puzzle (which was considered a positive & creative way of using this)
 
Alex Hughson, Media Director @ MC & Saatchi mentioned that in order to make this successful for the advertiser- this needed to be thought out properly in order to achieve the marketing objectives. There also needs to be emphasis on the value element for the target consumer and a way to boost brand recognition and not something that will be a nuisance 
Overall the discussion concluded with the importance of relevancy, value, and brand representation for the reward of unlocking content
 

From the newsroom to the boot room – Tobi Akinkugbe

 

The Daily Mail invited their sports writers to deliver a unique talk on how their insight helps to add an exclusive edge to the content that they produce. On stage was former Liverpool & Arsenal stalwarts Jamie Carragher & Martin Keown, they were joined by World cup winning Rugby coach, Sir Clive Woodward. I found the talk extremely intriguing, not just because I’m a massive football fan, I was also interested to see why the Daily Mail had invested in ex pro’s to write for them. Carragher, Keown & Woodward were able to share anecdotes of their individual experiences in sport with the Mail team. 
 
Transition - Each of them spoke about the adaption that has to be made when making the transition - ‘you’re not just a football person, you’re a media person now’ so the thinking has to be a little bit different. Barriers from previously orchestrated rivalries were formed due to affiliations as players had been let down, allowing the Mail to benefit from collective hindsight that would never have been shared previously. 
 
Challenges - Another interesting theme was to hear how difficult it was for them to be critical of ex colleagues. Keown, in particular, spoke of his affectionate relationship with Wenger ‘like father & son’ he described. He also mentioned that the respect he had for Wenger meant that he still called him ‘boss’. So whilst part of the job is too offer uncensored opinion on the game, a big factor is also trying not to burn bridges as these are used to gain deeper access into what happens behind the scenes. 
 
Insight  - The ex-pros turned sports writers are able to offer unrivalled insight into the game as they’ve actually experienced iconic moments in sporting history. For example, Koewn spoke about what it was like to be a part of the ‘invincibles’ and what ingredients made them such a special side, or Clive Woodward who could talk about how he steered a team to a world cup winning title – was interesting to hear that he had quite a few clash of personalities in the dressing room to manage. Carragher also re-lived moments of the memorable night in Istanbul where Liverpool recorded one of the most famous come backs in Champions league history – being able to share  what exactly was said in the dressing room at half time to inspire such an incredible come back.
 
 
Category: Media | Comments...

MAXUS MOUTH : Apple Watch

By Rachel Cawley - Maxus Launchpad Graduate on 08/04/2015
 
After months of whispers and rumours about features, prices and usability the Apple Watch will be available to touch from Friday and to buy from later this month.  
 
Ever since Apple announced their plans to launch an Apple Watch the loyal super Apple fans have been waiting with baited breath.   We have been told the main difference between an iPhone and Apple Watch is the effort involved with interacting with it – it is supposedly much easier and time efficient. – Early reporters who have had access to pre-release versions have talked about an adoption curve where suddenly the ‘point’ of the Apple Watch suddenly drops into place.
 
 
As to be expected with any Apple product there are many more features than the rival smart watches. The custom version of iOS presents your apps in small circle - this is aesthetically pleasing and shows Apple’s flexibility in changing features to work well with the new product. The screen is touch screen but you’ll be predominantly using the Digital Crown which is built into the Watch’s winder. The Digital Crown is a modern take on the traditional watch winder and functions in a similar way. Turning the Digital Crown lets you scroll through messages, zoom in and out on Apple maps and other features. In true Apple fashion there is a range of watch faces to choose from and each one can be further customised. Apps have been updated to cater for the Apple Watch, messages for example let you quick reply to texts and iMessage will automatically create answers taken from the content of the messages themselves (must say I’m quite sceptical of features like this) If you are feeling particularly expressional digital touch means you can also reply with a hand drawn message, sketch is used to draw something quickly, and your friend can see you drawing from their end.
 
 
So far the smartwatch has failed to go mainstream, it could be argued that this was a very risky move for Apple as sales aren’t guaranteed with a niche product which is very different from a phone where you can get a contract and pay for it on a monthly basis. Despite this critics have confidence in the smart watch and think Apple are likely to become the market leader in smartwatch technology. 
 
The price is always the key question when it comes to Apple products. Apple released three versions of the watch: Sport, Watch and Watch Edition.  Prices range from £299 to a staggering £13,500 in case you are partial to an 18 carat rose gold case watch……will it sell? It feels inevitable? Will it change the game? Not sure….in the way e-readers have not destroyed books, and tablets have not destroyed laptops; it feels like maybe the future relies less in dominance but in fitting alongside other comparable formats…..but it is sure to be on a few peoples Christmas list this year.
Category: Media | Comments...

SXSW - Uber: Thinking Differently

By Jen Smith, Head of Strategy & Planning on 23/03/2015
 
When Uber launched in the UK last year the London Black Cab community went on strike, such was the anger at the threat to their business model.
 
But what was a largely average talk by Malcolm Gladwell at SXSW, he did manage to raise a few interesting points about our perception of this controversial of companies.
 
What if, Malcolm proposed, Uber had not launched as a direct competitor to taxi services but instead had launched as a revolutionary solution to drink driving?
 
Drink driving in the USA is a huge problem – more people have been killed as a result of drinking and driving than have been killed from partaking in any US involved war!
What is interesting about Uber is that early results have suggested that it could be having a huge impact on the number of drink driving offences committed in the USA; there is more than a whiff of Rory Sutherland approach to behavioural economics in this alternative view of companies and services.  By focusing on the enablement – make it easy, change behaviour not attitude; it will be interesting to see if in future years the attitude towards drinking and driving also starts to change.
 
The conversation on the stage then turned to what other impacts this single organisation could be having on other industries; for example town planning.  In all cities residential developers are required when building new houses to also make sure that the development site is built with adequate parking facilities.  This is a huge cost to developers where every square foot is necessary to accommodate demand and profit.  What if developers saw Uber as a great opportunity to re-think how they build inner city housing?  In the same way new developments are now being built with life-style services (such as a gym and concierge) included, the opportunity exists for developers to work with Uber to offer residents free transport services, and in exchange they are not required to give up prime footage for parking spaces.
 
Finally of course in a country such as the USA where car manufacturing is such an important part of their economy, the inevitable question is how will Uber impact upon this?  If less people drive how will it impact on the number of jobs available within this sector?  
 
As a relatively new user of the Uber service it seemed to me that the growth of Uber as a source of income offers a greater flexibility to the new generations.  Getting in an Uber in Austin I met retired women, and students alike; who all talked to me about how they love the ability to pick up work as an Uber driver as-and-when it suits them, the automatic payment system meant they didn’t have to worry about carrying cash, and they determined totally their own hours.
 
There have been a lot of conversations in the media recently about the impact Uber could have on logistics and delivery businesses, but I think it is most interesting to think how it also has the potential to impact some of our social issues; particularly thinking about our aging community and how as a technologically backed organisation it can help solve a practical problem of reducing the need for our older residents to drive, but also how it can have a social impact in our communities by bringing real people within the same community together.  
Maybe if we think differently about this and other businesses we could see potential for impact in limitless opportunities.
Category: Media | Comments...

SXSW: What can the FA learn from the MLS?

By Jen Smith, Head of Strategy & Planning on 20/03/2015

As the baby of the soccer/ football organisations you might be forgiven for thinking that it should be the MLS learning from the FA.  But in a lively panel debate the actions and approaches of some of the new clubs within the MLS seems streets ahead of some of the decisions made by the more established / heritage football clubs within the UK.
 
1) “You are part of the brand not just a fan of the brand”
Rather than treating their supporters as an entity that sits apart from the sports team, the teams within the MLS are making an active decision to make their supporters part of the brand - not just amplifiers of it.
 
At the basic level they are rewarding people for making an effort. Being an away supporter is tough, it takes commitment and costs to travel to those matches, but it has been shown to be vital to the success of the game.  In recognition of this some of the teams are giving away tickets for free, sending fans the message, “If you make the effort to travel we will make the effort to make you know it is appreciated”.
 
2) The game is much longer than 90 minutes
What started off a cute supporter initiative to celebrate the first game of the season has quickly become an established ritual within the experience of the Seattle Sounders games.
 
Now, every game starts with a march through the local town, taking the whole community in a parade towards the ground. For the last game, 6,000 people lined the streets hours before the game to extend and celebrate the whole experience.
 
3) Good behaviour happens with carrots not sticks
The owner of the Portland Timbers talked about the benefits of having such close ties to the fan-groups. The relationship is now so symbiotic that the fans self-police bad behaviour - they know that if they allow it to happen, it would jeopardise the relationship they have with the club.
 
4) Data enables everyone to be a VIP
Kansas City generates 1 Terabyte of data for each match.  The club is now utilising all this data to ensure that they can make everyone feel like a VIP.  From in-stand concession ordering via mobile phones for half time drinks and snacks, through to re-investing the savings made from technology (e-tickets alone took $100k off the bottom line) back into the fan experience.
 
All in all, it made for interesting thinking, especially considering some of the football headlines of recent weeks. Would any of the teams in the FA be prepared to call their fans an extension of the brand? And are they missing some key opportunities to change the relationship they have with them?
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SXSW : On Being Present

By Alex Grieves - Senior Strategist on 17/03/2015

This blog was first published on austin.ipa.co.uk 

Let me start by saying my Monday has unfortunately not been a ‘win’ as far as SXSW days go. Whether it was due to failing technology (side note: c’mon SXSW, it’s a tech conference!), discussions that didn’t quite live up to their expertly copywritten titles, or mistiming sprints over to the ACC, I could’ve probably played today better. 

The silver lining, however, has been the time I’ve had to reflect on feeling present at SXSW.

Queues As a SXSW first-timer, I’ve quickly learned that there is a unique and specific hatred for queues that develops here. They waste time. Their amoebic nature means that for people rushing to the next talk, they are constantly in the way. And they’re chaotic (how many times have you been approached by someone trying to figure out what exactly you are waiting for?). 

But, at a conference where my fractured attention is at all all-time high, I’ve actually welcomed the enforced standstill. It’s forced me to focus on my surroundings – most notably, the incredible people around me. And that’s when, on Sunday morning, I met a woman in the queue for textile innovation. Our chat began organically enough (who doesn’t love a quick rant about a long queue) but our conversation quickly turned to work/life balance, traveling the world, her hopes and worries for cultivating her team, and what I want to be when I ‘grow up’. Our easy rapport and connection got me hoping after a mere five minutes that this woman might agree to be a mentor to me in the future, once we were settled back in our respective lives (hers at an innovation lab in Philadelphia; mine in media in London). 

The queues here are admittedly annoying. But they kill the rush and give birth to interesting opportunities. 

Virtual reality Tom Dunn and I just left a fantastic session on 3D production and immersive technologies that centred primarily on the challenges and opportunities for virtual reality now and in the future. Of all the points made, what resonated most was that VR helps us to create presence in a world of high-tech sensory overload. Tools like Oculus confine us to the here and now – and allow us to experience it fully in hyper-reality. So unlike the rest of the tech running our lives – our phones, our feeds – VR provides the renewed opportunity to confine us (literally and figuratively) to a moment that we can fully enjoy. 

With the trending narrative around digital, social and all tech things bright and shiny focussed around how it’s destroying our minds, attention span, and relationships (a porn talk today reminded that the majority of teens’ first experiences with sex are now digital), it was refreshing to hear that our quest for sensorial innovation might help us take back the present.‚Äč

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SXSW : That Puts It All Into Perspective

By Tom Dunn - Head of Futures on 16/03/2015

This blog was first published on austin.ipa.co.uk 

The theme from yesterday was about the need for technology to take a back seat and allow utility and purpose to take over. Today, my sessions had a much more positive view on the ways in which technology can make the world better.

The trials of making jewellery that is infused with ‘useful’ tech but looks fashionable paled into insignificance during a talk by Dr. Hugh Herr from The Center for Extreme Bionics. Called “The End of Disability”, the session covered the amazing developments in prosthetics, and how his team are creating ‘thinking limbs’, that measure and adapt to various factors to provide wearers with a normal (enhanced, even) existence. A double amputee himself, it was an intensely personal and inspiring story. After being told by his doctor he wouldn’t be able to ride a bike, drive a car, let alone go back to mountain-climbing, he showed photos of himself halfway up vertical cliff-face, within 12 months of his operation with his new ‘hackable’ limbs. 

"At the beginning of the year society called me crippled. In twelve months I was achieving things I had never done before." For an organisation whose motto is ‘Advancing Technology for Humanity’ I’d suggest fashion isn’t high on the agenda.

On a similarly positive note about technology, a collection of speakers from the world of film-making, theatre and art spoke enthusiastically about the opportunities in Virtual Reality, and their role. The hypothesis was that we have, in technology, a new and powerful tool but we don’t yet have the language. But maybe the wrong people have been in charge, and instead of being at odds with the tech world, it could be the artists who define the language of using these new technologies. Succinctly summed up by Anagram (a theatre duo from Bristol) saying that VR “could draw from hundreds of years of theatrical tricks, and not just look like a crappy cardboard box on your face because that’s what Google tells you.”

I agree. But then it’s difficult not to agree with someone who’s just made you sit on the floor and put a blindfold on. 

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SXSW : Sport, Space & Sunshine

By Jen Smith, Head of Strategy & Planning on 15/03/2015
This blog was originally posted on austin.ipa.co.uk 
Read more at http://maxusglobal.co.uk/maxus-mouth#MX0UPYQ7HL2FEqUY.99

This post was originally posted on austin.ipa.co.uk

I know if you are back in London #SXSW can be a little annoying! Smug tweets about #free-beer, #Ryangosling, #Taco-truck can make it feel like Disneyland for ad-people! But the problem is it is truly such an awesome experience, that you are just blown away and want to share it with everyone.! And in that vein I want to share my first day  #sport, # Space # Sun#Sport: Being the least sporty person on the planet, choosing to spend an hour listening to the National Soccer League could have been an odd choice.  But this year at SXSW, Sport seems to be a big subject, and soccer(!) is a massively growing sport in the USA with a real considered strategy for growth.

They have deliberately focused on attracting and servicing millennials, using technology, social and data at the start of their journey rather than trying to fit it into an already established organisation, and proving that it doesn’t just create a good fan base – football crowds self-police bad behaviour – hello FA?, but also saves money from the bottom line.

#Space: The next talk was from Dom Pettit, a real life astronaut who has spent 370 days in orbit!.

He has single-handedly doubled the number of photos taken from space from 500k to 1 million after a single mission!  It was a truly inspiring talk based around the photos he has taken, and while not directly related to comms threw up some surprising inspiration quotes that are applicable to comms.

“Frontiers are places where experiences in life at home don’t apply”

“The concept of been-there, done-that should not apply.  Take a different angle on something everyone has seen before and you will find something amazing”

“When you look at earth from space – the distance allows you to see beautiful detail you can’t see when close up”

#Sunshine: It’s sunny, it’s warm, it’s beautiful!
#Sorrynotsorry
#Offtostalkryangosling 

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