Why great creative is more important than ever

Every year we all have the opportunity to dive into the creative pool of Cannes Lions, the international festival celebrating creativity in communications, entertainment, design and tech. Like me, most people do it via the festival’s excellent website.

No matter; it’s still an exhilarating splash, and this year’s annual plunge has me convinced that, in the “Engagement Economy,” great creative is more important than ever. Let me explain.

I believe that Apple invented high-tech marketing back in the ’80s. And with Steve Jobs at the helm, it was all about creativity — in messages, design and production. In the early ’90s, I cut my marketing teeth working with Jobs at Next, and then rejoined Apple, where I was manager of consumer advertising.

Over the ensuing years, my faith in great creative to produce something valuable and inspiring has never flagged.

But the marketing game has changed considerably since then, specifically with the advent of online channels and the almost unlimited data that we marketers can now leverage.

In some quarters, this has led to creativity being sidelined, or at least being knocked askew on its pedestal, as the scientific side of marketing has grown in importance.

Bad mistake, because while you need both art and science in marketing, creativity is the killer ingredient that drives marketing effectiveness.

‘Thumb-stopping creativity’

In today’s world of all things digital, the demands on people’s time are more intense than ever. As marketers, we can shout, loudly and often, and hope someone hears us over all the background noise.

Or we can capture people’s attention through truly creative work, and start engaging with them in a meaningful fashion by appealing to their hearts.

It’s a matter of value versus volume. Easy choice, don’t you think?

Cheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, who spoke at Cannes Lions this year, would seem to think so. Here she is, quoted on the festival’s website:

For Sandberg, “Organizations often don’t move quickly enough.” People are spending most of their time on digital — but for creative teams, “usually it’s outdoor, then print, and mobile is often just added in the last 10 minutes.” This is particularly misguided, she explained, since “a natively mobile ad grabs your attention in a couple of seconds. We call it ‘thumb-stopping creativity.’ It communicates the brand very quickly and you measure results, not seconds. Taking advantage of that power is so important.”

What is great creative?

Great creative always starts with strategy. Here’s an area where all that scientific data comes into play as it’s mined for insights into what the customer wants, and what you can provide. Essentially, you need to be relevant to be engaging.

A great example of this is the recent joint campaign of Airbnb and the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed around a meticulous recreation of Van Gogh’s bedroom as portrayed in one of his most famous paintings.

Many Airbnb prospects, myself included, are looking for more than just convenient, cost-effective digs. We also want a unique and immersive experience of place. In a splendid display of relevance, the ad speaks beautifully to this desire, while also building interest in the Art Institute’s special Van Gogh exhibit.

In addition to being relevant, a campaign or ad must be bold and take risks to engage most fully. People like the jolt that comes from boldness, bravery and risk. It’s not a data thing; it’s a chemical thing.

You don’t have to look farther than the “Fearless Girl” campaign, produced by State Street Global Advisors to honor International Women’s Day, that captivated so many people earlier this year (and bugged a few, too) with its boldness.

Appearing one night in the middle of Wall Street, the sculpture of a courageous young girl, arms akimbo, staring down the famous Charging Bull statue, became an instant media and internet sensation.

The ad and story around the statue not only went viral faster than a bull market, but the campaign also has some serious legs as the statue continues to be a much-photographed tourist attraction.

And how well did the combo of relevance and boldness work for State Street Global Advisors? The firm’s SHE Fund, which invests in companies with women executives, experienced a 384 percent increase in average daily trading volume in the first three days following the campaign’s launch. Let’s hear it for Girl Power.

Celebrate great work and its impact

You can find many, if not all, 2017 Cannes Lions award winners on YouTube. Viewing these ads is instructive, inspiring and often just plain fun. But don’t let your commitment to creativity stop here. Act on it, consistently.

In the age of martech, do not abandon creativity. It means more than ever

[“Source-martechtoday”]

After Musk Remark, Zuckerberg Shares One Reason Why He’s So Optimistic About AI

After Musk Remark, Zuckerberg Shares One Reason Why He's So Optimistic About AI

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The battle of billionaire geeks continues
  • After Musk insulted Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive has responded
  • Zuckerberg says he remains optimistic about AI

Hours after billionaire Elon Musk made a public aspersion about Mark Zuckerberg’s knowledge, by saying Facebook chief executive’s understanding of artificial intelligence is “limited,” Zuckerberg has reaffirmed why he is so optimistic about the nascent technology. To recall, Musk was responding to Zuckberberg’s comments made during a Facebook Live broadcast, where the Facebook CEO called out naysayers.

In a public post, Zuckerberg congratulated his company’s AI research division for winning the best paper award at the “top” computer vision conference for research in “densely connected convolutional networks” subject.

In the same post, Zuckerberg shared “one reason” why he is so optimistic about AI. These efforts, he said, could bring “improvements in basic research across so many different fields — from diagnosing diseases to keep us healthy, to improving self-driving cars to keep us safe, and from showing you better content in News Feed to delivering you more relevant search results.”

“Every time we improve our AI methods, all of these systems get better. I’m excited about all the progress here and it’s potential to make the world better,” Zuckerberg said, whose company already uses a range of AI-powered tools to, among other things, serve relevant posts to around two billion people on the planet.

Zuckerberg’s remarks comes merely hours after Tesla and Space X founder and CEO Elon Muskcriticised Zuckerberg’s inability to foresee the evil side of artificial intelligence. Musk believes that all these AI efforts need to be regulated by the government, as otherwise there is a chance one day these AI-powered robots would kill humans, in what he describes as the “doomsday” scenario.

Over the weekend, in a Facebook Live session, Zuckerberg without calling out Musk, said “naysayer’s” predictions about “doomsday scenarios” were “irresponsible.” When a user asked about Musk’s views on Zuckeberg’s remarks, Musk tweeted Tuesday that he has spoken to Mark Zuckerberg and reached the conclusion that his understanding of AI is limited.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Why every big car launch has a woman next to the vehicle

Why every big car launch has a woman next to the vehicle

The power and drive of owning an A class car can only be more gratifying than the power and drive of possessing an A-class woman. At least that’s what modern day advertising would lead us to believe – the launch of every second vehicle is accompanied by sexily dressed women seated on the bonnets with their toned pins on display.

Last week Malaika Arora was one of the ladies behind the launch of a major car brand, where she was certainly the object of much attention.

She wore a black dress by Lebanese designer Rayane Bacha, with lace trimmings on the torso and the skirt. In the past, actresses like Priyanka Chopra, Jacqueline Fernandez and Katrina Kaif have attended car launches looking equally dolled-up for a night out while they stood near the extravagantly-priced vehicles.

Here’s a look at the reason behind to seduce potential buyers. What the connection is between a car and a hot woman is not exactly obvious, but it is evident that it appears to be a big hit. No wonder, then, that every major player from Audi to BMW, Volkswagen, Tata Motors and Nissan have turned to pretty models and actresses to get the message across.

Magda Kay at Psychologyformarketers. com explains, “Cars have been associated with sex for better sales for many years now. It is one of the products that easily link to erotic messages. Producers want their cars to be perceived as sexy, fast, daring, and so most of the advertising using sex, will work perfectly for cars.”

In case you’re wondering why it ticks, the answer lies in your brain – more specifically, in what’s known as the ‘old’ or the ‘lizard brain’.

This reptilian part of the brain developed over 100 million years ago and its chief goal is to ensure survival, and among other things, sexual behaviour. In an article called ‘Triggers of the Reptilian Brain’, Alex from Feedtherightwolf.org explains, “The reptilian brain is motivated by visual images, sounds, touch, smell, and taste… The visual stimulation is the strongest, since we process about 80 per cent of our daily informational intake through our eyes.”

What that really means is that when a product is linked with anything sexual, advertisers target the instinctive part of the mind to convey it as a desirable product. However, with the rulebook of censorship around, the game becomes to push the limit and keep it as risque without getting caught.

That is why when an attractive lady poses with a car – or a deodorant or even a glass of mango juice – the overly sexualised image with the fitted dresses, deep necks and pouty lips plays an important role in the overall message. The trick isn’t new at all, though – over a century ago, Pearl Tobacco placed the painting of a naked woman on the cover of the cigarillo boxes in 1871.

Needless to say, there has been no looking back ever since. In fact, just last month Scottish football club Ayr United decided to launch their away kit with the shoot of a model wearing the yellow and white jersey painted onto her body.

The sponsor’s founder Calvin Ayre has said, “We hope the pictures will give The Honest Men the boost they need for promotion and a good Cup run too. Mon Ayr! ” True, this is just the boost they would need to win. After all, who needs training, talent or even a half-thinking mind when you’ve got other assets on display?

[“Source-businesstoday”]

Manchester bombing: Why the ‘New York Times’ should not be blamed for printing leaked information

Manchester bombing: Why the ‘New York Times’ should not be blamed for printing leaked information

An editor’s first instinct is always to publish. And the news executives at the New York Times would not have had to think too long and hard about the ethical issues when images from the investigation into the Manchester bombing landed on their desks.

It would have been a very different matter had the leak been to a paper in Manchester or London, where the shock of what happened is palpable and the sense of hurt and harm is very close to home – even among journalists hardened to atrocities such as this. But even here, the imperative to publish would have been strong, and the images have been carried by the British press.

Once, it may have been possible to contain a leak of this nature. But in today’s news environment – where traditional news organisations are competing with new media players – it is no longer feasible for the authorities to appeal to the “better nature” of journalists in the interests of “the public good”.

Editors will be conscious of appeals to stay their hand in matters of national security – but within the boundaries of sovereign nations. Making an appeal of this nature to a publication in a different jurisdiction – and one like the United States where press freedom is enshrined in the constitution – is much more difficult.

Stopping the spill

Once a leak has happened, it is impossible to contain the spill. If the New York Times had not published, someone else would have. And they may have done it in a way that was more disrespectful to the bereaved and injured; and in a manner that sensationalised the material.

In a free society, leaks will always be one of the sources news organisations rely on for their stories. Gone are the days when a chancellor of the exchequer would feel impelled to resign because he had mentioned an item in the budget to a journalist when he was on his way to deliver it, as Hugh Dalton did in 1947.

Indeed, leaks now have a special status of their own in the news agenda – leaks by the likes of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden had a greater impact on the news agenda than the work of many a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Legitimate source

From the editor’s perspective, of primary importance will be the need to be assured that the material is from a legitimate source. In this case – where the information appears to have come from official intelligence sources – the New York Times will have been easily satisfied about the veracity of the material.

The motivation for the leak will also have been taken into consideration. Journalists know that sometimes they are being used. In this case, the motivation is still unclear. And on the face of it, it looks like the material was being shared just because it could be. Even if, as an editor, you know you are being played as part of a bigger game, you might well decide to go to press in any case if the information is clearly in the public interest.

Far removed from the scene of this particular crime, the New York Times will have been less concerned about the impact its story will have had on those who are suffering after this atrocity. A British editor would have almost certainly have considered the issues about intrusion on grief, which is covered by the IPSO editor’s code.

They will certainly have been swayed by concern over the impact on the investigation. But they would also be conscious that if the material is out there someone will use it.

Only those close to the victims will be able to say whether this adds to their sense of loss or not. In many cases, families want to know everything they can – sometimes it is a way of sharing the pain of the loved one they have lost. A vacuum is often worse.

Public interest

In terms of the public interest – this is undoubtedly one of those cases where the need to know is not driven by prurience or the desire for salacious gossip. The importance of the story is perhaps less in what it says about the bomber and his crime, but more about the fitness of international intelligence agencies to meet the threat of terrorism.

It also tells us much about the relationship between Britain and America – particularly as the leak came after home secretary Amber Rudd’s blunt warning over the leaking of the bomber’s name.

And it reveals a dysfunctional relationship between those charged – on both sides of the Atlantic – with keeping us safe and secure. In bringing that to public light, the New York Times may well have done us all a service. This is a faultline in the fight against terror that needs to be fixed.

The ethical dilemma here rests not with the press, but with the people who decided to share intelligence that had been given to them in confidence. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Tom Collins, Professorial Teaching Fellow, Communications, Media and Culture, University of Stirling.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.

[“Source-ndtv”]