Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Event: Got the message? Advertising meets interactive design

At the suggestion of END, I attended an event on Thursday 2 March in SoHo as part of the InSync series (part brainchild of Dave Green, former Bits web-guy and friend of Alice). The title was marginally misleading; there was little interactivity discussed, more advertising and something called "The Big Idea". In that respect, it was disappointing, but it did introduce me to advertising procedures, practices, protocols and approaches. At the minute, "interactive design" means "a commercial that interrupts you when you're being interactive". Very narrow view.

One of the presenters, Nicolas Roope (co-founder and director of Poke), seemed either on the verge of getting it or completely got it but dumbed it down for an audience of primarily advertising types. He's been in the interactive market for a decade, so knows what the possibilities of Web 2.0 are. He mentioned MySpace etc., but offered no proposals for how to exploit this new avenue for advertising. Hmmm.

Here are the notes:

Intro (Nico Macdonald, Design Agenda and AIGA Experience Design)
Advertisers now need to deal with a fragmented and multi-channel audience filled with cynical and savvy consumers. To date, advertisers have used the approach that the promotion of products should all be the same.

Interactive design has historically been hindered because of problems with the channel of distribution - i.e., broadband and web browers haven't been up to scratch.

The topics that will be covered this evening include:
*Value of Big Ideas
*Emotion
*Reaching and Connecting with Audiences
*Moving between touch points (interactive platforms) by creating experiences which allow people to move between them.

Speaker 1: Nicolas Roope, co-founder and director, Poke; player with AntiRom interactive products (e.g., CDRoms in 1996)
Two key topics for this presentation:
*The web should be considered an emotional medium
*It closes the gap between promise and delivery

The drive for creatives is to try and capture the cinema moment.
MySpace is all about forming relationships [although it is USA-centred - Q: How make a uniquely British product?]
Social software creates as much emotion as the constructed medium of film.

How can advertisers exist in Web 2.0?
*engage, thrill, excite and inspire
*can't assume you've got a captive audience - and must have something to offer
*imitation only?

Example: the Global Rich List, giving users their personal position in the world, and then teaching a nice little lesson at the same time. It engages participation. Users didn't have to buy anything, they just puta nd idea out there to a captive audience and thrilled, etc. them.

It's about "starting a conversation".

Advertising is a promise. The web brings delivery closer - one click (e.g., clickthrus to charitable organisations, Amazon, etc.). Important here is the continuous experience, cornerstone'd on the brand. This builds confidence.

Constructed the BA reservation website, promoting transparency - "making that promise real". Consumers can see the company is making an effor at their cost, for the consumer.

Online users aren't forgiving [they trust as long as they feel they have control over their own content]

Speaker 2: Paul Banham, Creative Director, London Office, Agency.com
What the industry needs to do is make better ads.

[many examples of his own ads, most of which were those which interrupt users when they're already doing something online. i hate those, and try my damndest to ignore them]

The industry standard for click-thrus from banners to interactive advertising is 2-5%.

Speaker 3: Marc Shillum, Creative Director, plan-b (former creative director, Levi's account, Bartle Bogle Hegarty)
Can't rebrand a company - my mother's still my mother even if she changers her name.

The Big Idea is about storytelling, asking customers to tell you the story about what you are.

Dialogue must come later. Monologue is first, explaining the brand. Dialogue shouldn't be brought up at the beginning of a relationship because it won't work; it needs the monologue to tell the story.

[disagree - this speaker ignored interactive design, unless he thought "interactive" meant interacting with the consumer]

In the end, the emphasis in this evening was on advertising, the end product - not novel, interactivity approaches to diffusing a message. Massive should have been here.

More event details here. Next one Dave is curating. eTech speakers. Audio/Visual and interactive technology. Games. I'll be there.

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