Another good post on David Armano's blog; Logic and Emotion (note - he's just moved to Critical Mass and no I'm not on his payroll!) on the future of advertising, which is a hot topic for me at the moment.
Highlight was probably the Nike + case study from R/GA and I'v e picked out some of what Nick Law, their CCO said which really chimes with the way I'm thinking and, I believe, a good example of the agency of the future in action:
"Nike + started with a simple observation - people love listening to music when they run".* So right from the word go, this is about answering consumer's needs then only partially met - which goes far further than traditional marcoms of agency 1.0. The work is also embedded in a simple truth - there's a buiness opportunity which helps to de-risk the whole project.
"...a completely new category where product, online experience and marketing are inseparable". I love this and believe this is where the future really lies: combining product with a usable, uesful and delightful experience and wrapping it all up in easily absorbed marketing. There's also the added bonus of word of mouth through the community and advocacy through the service / product artifacts.
Now another 'new' category here (although I'm sure have been many examples over the years), a partnership, a collaboration not just between two mega brands (nike and apple) but also a partnership with the agency to provide true product, service and business innovation.
"Nike + is revolutionising marketing. Consumers expect more from a brand than static outbound messaging and nike + redefines how how a brand can reach it's audiences through meaningful personal experiences , two way communication and innovative technology."
Key here is 'reaching audiences through meaningful personal experiences'. I've talked about this shift before - no longer is it about top-down one-way messaging, now it's about creating something genuinely useful that users will fall in love with and will make sense to the business. It's about core, not décor.
"...it's not an advertising idea, it's a technology idea... we're deliver a product. Once at this destination where the product lives then we can embroider the experience with more classic marketing and provide community - now have a different relationship with Nike than if they just saw a 30 second spot, an emotional experience and change the way they behave with the brand and their products."
Not an advertising idea, a technology idea... but does that mean ad folks are equipped to come up with these kind of ideas? Of course! - but they need to start to 'think different' (as Lee Clow might put it). We might need a few new skills, people from a few diverse (non-ad) backgrounds. But this is a real way forward - this is about creating Value and that's what both consumers and businesses want. And the big problem with ad agencies right now is that they need to find new ways of creating value.
"...a fun and active communication platform for the community."
You know, when I was a keen member of my local athletics club Croydon Harriers 20+ years ago, training for road and track races, the 1st London Marathon: I used pieces of string to measure training routes on the map, sung Clash tunes in my head - (OK, I occasionally put a cassette walkman in a backpack but mostly I was concentrating on the run too much).
I'd time myself best I could - but it was fairly unscientific and often quite a solitary experience (but actually I loved that) - funny how over the years running has become more of a communual, non-geeky, legitimate activity. That's progress.
Yup - back in 1980, I would have loved Nike +
(*please excuse any mis-quotes)