Monday, November 23, 2009

Music (as we knew it) is Dead

John Mayer recently asked people who illegally downloaded his new album to “register” their copy if they liked it. This was a confusing idea for me at first, but I realized that the concept of registering (vs. buying) music is perhaps more accurate these days because music has changed.

Are we physically buying music anymore, or do we simply buy the rights to it? It no longer exists exclusively on a CD or a tape, and since those can be copied and put on all our different media (and because iTunes and Amazon recently got rid of anti sharing restrictions) music is an entirely new thing. It's not a physical commodity anymore, but data that we can copy and move and store wherever, without racks or milk cartons. And with services like Rhapsody, Pandora,, (my favorite) and many more, we're being loaned the rights to hear it via these channels. As a result, the way we think about, talk about and interact with (and sell) music needs to change too.

It’s nothing mind blowing, but I think it’s an important idea and just one of many such shifts in the way we see the world that’s happening today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hulu: No We're (Probably) Not Gonna Buy It

I've been lucky enough to have a second article of mine published on The Next Great Generation. In it I discuss the things that we, Gen Y, love and what we probably won't pay for when it comes to Hulu adopting a pay-for-content scheme. In the piece, Hulu: No We're (Probably) Not Gonna Buy It, I take a look at the reasons we like it: We love Hulu because it’s simple... because it gets us... [and] because it makes TV portable. And, why we're unlikely to follow it to a pay for content scheme: We probably won’t pay for commercials... We probably won’t change our habits... [and] We probably won’t pay for what we’re getting right now.

Young people have
adopted Hulu as a place to catch up on TV. It's a way to keep their favorite programs in their lives when the network's Monday night time slot just wont do. This in conjunction with the increasingly flexible definition of ownership among brands, the consumer vs the corporation, causes us to feel we deserve to watch our shows online for free. Sometimes the world demands we work late or maybe we work nights consistantly, and since we're paying for internet and cable already the idea of more charges on our credit card bill to see it on Hulu just isn't that appealing. I'll learn to torrent instead.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Published!

Here it is! "15 Ways Millennials Think About Brands"

I recently jumped on a crowdsourcing project started by Edward Boches at Mullen and driven by young writers. The purpose of the site, dubbed The Next Great Generation (TNGG), is to explore what it's like to be a member of Gen Y/ or a "Millennial." It's a place to give members of our generation a voice to discuss everything from the brands that speak to us (and those that miss the mark) to the values we hold most dear--with an eye towards educating older generations.

Perhaps our 'about us' says it best: "If we pull it off, The Next Great Generation will be an opportunity for Millennial Generation writers to develop a voice and gather a following, along with a real chance for older generations to listen in, learn, even ask questions."

Having grown up literally just saturated in information, our world view is far different from the weltanschauung of previous generations. In my post, "15 Ways Millennials Think About Brands," I look at some of the new ways we interact with marketing and what we expect from it.

If you enjoy it or have any ideas leave a comment and check out the rest of the site. We're brand new and always looking for feedback. Also if you're interested in writing something for TNGG we're always looking for writers.


PS blog, Business Updates, mentions TNGG and my article: Blog of interest to marketers debuts in the Hub. Woot woot.

And TNGG in general mentioned on the
Beancast picks up the story, posts: Crowdsourcing That's Actually Crowdsourcing

Some kind words on YRevold! (Brands: We Own You)

Also on SocialLink (Are Brands Important?) and

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's time for 21st century brands

I majored in Advertising and Political Science, here is what I learned in school: Once a campaign is developed convention dictates that it be integrated, applied over every media like spreading frosting on a cake. Design a good media mix, get a little multiplier effect going on and then call it a day!

The idea being, if a brand is the same everywhere, all the time, broadcasting a message that is disruptive and persuasive, its image burns into the audience’s mind like the memory of a first kiss or that time you hurled after accidentally drinking sour milk.

It is painfully obvious however that some brands are currently writing a new playbook, and with great success. I term them 21st century brands, but I suppose you could just call them smart. Yet, with home internet access almost 20 years old, only recently has it become apparent to even these innovators that there is real value in changing things up. Look back at say, the results of online fundraising for the past three presidential elections and woah, where did 2008 come from?! Sure, the internet and mobile technology evolved a great deal in a short time, so perhaps we owe it to that? Yeah ok, maybe. But it’s not as if Facebook is worlds apart from Friendster, a permutation with better marketing at best. Far more significant I’d argue has been the sharp increase of the general public’s literacy with these mediums, that they in depth and breadth have finally grown enough to change the game.

In terms of shifting paradigms, politics are decent gauge. Richard Nixon got spanked by JFK in 1960 because by then more people were watching TV than listening to radio; and Nixon refused to tan like a girl or wear makeup. Turns out sweaty and pale doesn’t come off as presidential. But eight years later Nixon was back, and with a presidential bid hailed by many as the first “modern political campaign” – winning him the White House and two mentions in Billy Joel’s hit song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Not bad.

The 1960 presidential election demonstrated the power of television just over twenty years after becoming commercially available. There is no doubt that 2008 was another game changing year. We had a new media environment, fueled by a more mature ‘web 2.0’ and sophisticated mobile technology that, most importantly, for the first time ever was actually being used by a majority of people. In other words, internet literacy had finally caught up with the technology available.

There’s no need to rehash how the Obama campaign was able to translate clicks and texts into real world actions or word of mouth buzz into persuasion by facilitating two way communication and foster community around shared meaning. Or to point out again how the supporters themselves became an integral part of the campaign/ brand structure, committing their time, money and passion to movement, and actively helping to write its story.

It is important to note, however, that for all the campaign's media savvy, none of this would have been possible without an electorate actually using and fluent in the capabilities of online and mobile technology. Or rather, using it and using it well.

What Obama did may or may not have specific lessons for brands. Let’s be honest, DEWmocracy wasn’t really that cool or successful - it was actually pretty lame. However, with a step back, one solid fact we can take away from the political sphere in 2008 is that similar to 1960, twenty or so years after its debut the net unarguably came into its own. How we interact with media has finally changed to the extent that ignoring it is simply not an option. We certainly won’t see any serious political candidate ignore this fact in the future and any truly successful 21st century brands will be the ones placing a high premium on adapting to this new space.

Marshall McLuhan coined, “the medium is the message” in 1964 and four years later Nixon demonstrated better than anyone that he got the message. Tick tock.