I spent this morning polluting some young minds at MIT - very kind (foolish?) of them to ask me and a bunch of smart kids. I met Beth Coleman (who kindly invited me to MIT) in the Stata Center designed by Gehry Partners. The architecture is stunning - provocative, challenging and interesting.
Even the cafe was interesting - a whole section of new recipes called R&D
And their folklore is fascinating - the genesis of the word 'hack'.
It made me think about what a different environment this is to most universities, and how diametrically opposed it is to somewhere like Oxford where I studied. This is all about provocation, the new, thinking different, challenging everything whereas the architecture of Oxford made me feel like you are receiving ancient wisdom which must not be tampered with.
Ad Age this week shared some fairly unsurprising data - past experience is the number one influence on purchase (followed by quality, price and recommendation of friends); advertising is said to have some impact among 48% of respondents of the Roper Study, and no influence among 46%. This will be of little surprise to many planners who are aware of studies like Ehrenberg's 'double jeopardy' effect. The research was a reminder to me of the stupidity of so many brands in trying to play by the rules of the brand leader and offer no fresh point of view in a market, or fail to try and reframe the market they play in. It's brave (read foolish) to try and follow the success of others; real common sense and observation shows that it is incumbent for brands lagging in a market to take a different stand.
(Apologies in advance, this is a bit of a US-centric post).
It's Thanksgiving tomorrow so all of you in the States have a good day with your family, friends and loved ones. If you're not in the US, why not take the day off and have some turkey (I love this holiday, it feels like pre-Christmas Dinner training to a Brit).
If you happen to be slumped in front of the TV at 9pm in a turkey induced stupor please feel free to watch any of the MTV channels where there is a media roadblock for the first TV work (a 90 sec manifesto) we've produced at M! for (RED). I'll try and get the ad up by the weekend - I'm personally very proud of the work, but much more to come and a heck of a lot more to do.
Adfreak has a fantastic youtube find today. Lots has been written about the hilarious/awful/heartwrending/murderous version of One by some Bank of America employees as they swallowed another bank. (Although Universal Music is now apparently sending out cease and desist orders to pull the video down):
Well, this has certainly made an impact on Modest Mouse as they opened up their shows at the Bowery this weekend with Johnny Marr and David Cross playing tribute. Well worth a watch, and a reminder of the power of youtube. (Thanks to angry citizen for capturing most of this before security moved in)
I don't normally do this, but I couldn't resist. I was stuck in Logan aiprort on Thursday waiting for the fog to clear, and after doing a bit of work I decided to have a bit of a trash binge with some magazines. And in People magazine I think I saw the two worst ads I have seen in a long time.
Your second cup of coffee is back. Remarkable as an idea, but the execution blows me away - the returning cup of coffee. Amazingly, the TV ad may be worse.
But this next ad stopped me in my tracks. A wine ad, asking you to introduce your friends to a little german. To be honest, I still think this has to be a joke:
This is just wrong on so many levels, but Schmitt Sohne wines obviously believe in it - you have to see the website.
I may have laughed at these but it does unsettle you about the effect these kinds of ads - bad puns with logos attached as Rob at Cynic would say - have on the good stuff that the industry produces, as you may well have chosen to ignore all ads by the time you get to the good stuff. Just feels like lazy thinking, that might feel safe to clients. Which, Andy McLeod would argue makes you brave:
"The real high risk lies in not breaking rules and not letting
advertising stand out. 'Brave' clients aren't brave, they're just
bright. The really brave clients are the ones who are prepared to spend
a lot of money on advertising that no-one can be bothered to look at."
For those in London, Russell Davies has pointed us to a talk at the ICA with Brian Eno and Steven Johnson discussing The Ghost Map. It's on December 4th. Be great if we could feed some of this in to the discussion.
I've spent the day in Chicago talking to HUMMER owners and after a long day headed back to my hotel, the FourPoint in downtown Chicago. All very nice - bigish room, good shower and bed. Probably the same room and neutral experience you'd find in any FourPoint in the world. And I'm sure to some that consistency is very reassuring. But after heading out for a late night wander around the Magnificent Mile I realized that consistency may be appealing to some it certainly isn't to me. I saw some hotels that were just instantly more interesting.
Take the Allerton Hotel a couple of blocks away. Don't know what Tip Top Tap is but it sounds interesting and fascinating - there's a unique story there. The rooms probably aren't as 'comfortable' but it feels a much more interesting place to stay. And there's plenty of other examples in the neighborhood.
I'm probably rambling like the sleep deprived person I am right now, but I guess to some people consistency is what they are looking for by and large, and to others it's interestingness. And I guess I'm one of the latter.