Monthly Archives: March 2013

Is Content King?

ie_iconWell not necessarily. Merely content is maybe on the level of “minister without portfolio.”

GOOD content however is at least a member of the ruling politburo. But what about “Design is Duke” or “Video is, errr, Viscount”? Here is the reality, if you are relying on just one part of your messaging to get the job done, it won’t. Houses built on sand and all that… A friend recently went to a mentoring session where she was advised to “just get blogging” – she was told that what she said was not so important, just to be saying something.

Really? What unadulterated balderdash. Think of it in terms of having an actual conversation with a person you just met. If they just prattled on relentlessly about inanities and you had the option of pressing a “go away and don’t come back” button: you wouldn’t press it? If someone showed up for an interview unwashed, disheveled and with a hangover would you even have the conversation? What you say, what you wrap it in and how it is delivered are all important. And the good news is, if you do your work, you can have it all.

To get there ask yourself some simple questions and devote a serious amount of time to the answers: 1. Who are we? (“We” being your organization, product or concept.) 2. Who are we trying to reach? 3. What is the “resonant format” for reaching them? i.e., What is the language and delivery method best suited to them? And then, ummm, “just do it”. All.

Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO

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Lip up fatty

ie_iconWell with all due regards to Buster Bloodvessel and Bad Manners for the above referenced song, I don’t think the conversation about obesity is being won or well engaged by Coke with their new campaign on such. I think they got ill-advised.

If you are the problem then entering the conversation to ameliorate the problem almost always seems hypocritical. If Marlboro said they were going to make smaller cigarettes so you would get less cancer; if Colt said their guns would henceforth be using smaller bullets to make them safer: would you react positively? It would just sound like they were trying to buy you off with some platitudes. Smaller cans? We sell water too? Less junky options at schools?

The truth is in what they chose to run for their $4m slot in the Superbowl. That was for the big gun: Coke. And you know what? That’s fine! I don’t think people think badly of Coke as a company. They are a beloved brand. Why are they muddying it with apologies? No-one with concerns about obesity in America will be mollified by this. And people who enjoy Coke are having their buzz killed. I am wondering how Coke will follow this up: free Clearasil for teenagers perhaps?

The right conversation done correctly was well-demonstrated by the folks at Dove. They came out looking fresh and clean.

Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO

Nice to be noticed.

ie_iconI love art. In many forms. When I am at our DC offices I always try to make time to take in a gallery or show or walk the streets looking for cool street art. One evening I was in Dupont Circle strolling back from picking up a book at the wonderful Kramerbooks and spent 45 minutes watching some amazing street performers.

DC street performers
DC street performers

As I walked back to my hotel I saw a shirtless, shoeless man lying on the street surrounded by some very interesting art pieces. I stopped to take it all in. The man jumped up and starting speaking to me from a rather toothless mouth. He was definitely either on something or missing something but it turned out that he was an artist of some acclaim (at some time) – he even had a magazine article to prove so. He had certainly fallen on hard times. We stood and chatted about his art and many other things, (some on a level of “visitors from space”). I asked if he might sell me one of his “shrunken head self portraits.” We ended up at a price of one bottle of Pellegrino, one bottle of Pepsi, a box of Cheez-Its, a pack of Marlboro 25′s and $89. Not your standard auction fare… I came back from my shopping trip to do the exchange and from somewhere he had dug up a couple of bags and some bubble wrap (!). As I said my goodbye he got teary and thanked me for stopping to talk with him. “Most people work hard not to notice me,” he said.

Art for sale

Art for sale

Artwork

Artwork

I was flipping through a magazine recently and was halted by a series of Macy’s ads where the clothes being featured were modeled by people with disabilities of different kinds. I was not sure what to think at first. It certainly caught my attention. Was it some cynical advantage taking? Or was I the cynical one? I decided to go with the “thanks for noticing me” route. I bet these people were very chuffed to be in these ads. And guess what? People with disabilities buy clothes; maybe now from Macy’s. George Will once said, “Obama’s great political talent has been his ability to grant his admirers permission to think highly of themselves for thinking highly of him.” I love that observation. I think Macy’s just pulled off something similar and threw in the models feeling good about themselves for good measure. Good one Macy’s.

The “burning wreckage” antithesis of this would be Coke’s recent anti-obesity ads. More on that later…

— Simon Dixon, Idea Engineering, CEO