Change is good

“If too many people know your name, change it, then change it again.” With all due respect to Diddy, we like “Ogilvy” just fine, thank you. But we’ll admit that he’s got a point.

Swap the word “name” for “business model,” and it starts to sound like the mantra of our industry—and for that matter, his. “It’s not the industry that fails,” Diddy said, “It’s the business model.”

Ok, we get the hint. Do agencies need to grow comfortable with letting go and opening up to harness the creative genius that’s out there?

There is a disconnect with an industry that has historically tried hard to protect it’s ideas and venerate total originality over improvement and iteration. Facebook called us on that yesterday.

Maybe it’s good to remember what Kirby Ferguson told us (on the web, not here) a couple of years ago: Everything is a remix.

Only Connect

Anselmo Ramos of O&M Sao Paulo and John Mescall of McCann Australia, the supergeniuses who brought us Dove Real Beauty Sketches and Dumb Ways to Die schooled us all on how to develop ideas that go viral.

  1. Be subversive: take a convention and play with it.
  2. Enable Sharing: make it bite-sized.
  3. Harness Emotion: but go for only one of them, pinpointing the one feeling you want to elicit in viewers.

Maybe it’s two feelings, because you certainly want to evoke authenticity, says Conan O’Brien.

Younger people today are hyperaware of phoniness. They want the soft sell, at least in social, otherwise it will be seen as tainted.

Love it or hate it, Twitter is becoming the social soundtrack for for our lives. We share an experience, like an amazing web video, and then connect around it. Those connections, says Deb Roy of Twitter, are the “most meaningful.”


Right now, someone in a bar along the Croisette is threatening to punch the next guy who mentions content right in the mouth. That cantankerousness belies some industry insecurity.

We’re a little freaked out about content because we don’t really know what it is, how it works, what people want, who should do it, where they should work, how to pay them, or even if it’s a good idea in the first place.

If we follow LinkedIn’s approach, we’ll just dive it. The network poured effort and cash into content marketing and publishing with acquisitions, a bespoke magazine, an influencers platform, and its SlideShare partnership. Content is missing it’s fully-realized commercial adjunct, but that’s coming.


But it better be personalized. As the world grows, as IBM says, more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent, we are leaving monolithic big data behind in favor of dynamic, adaptable, and personalized data. R/GA, in the person of Nick Law, sees the next creative revolution on the horizon. And it is personalized data.

That makes sense for the FuelBand guys to say, of course, but our tolerance for content overload is reaching the breaking point. Marketers need to use smart data to accurately cater to people’s needs. And we will measure our success through participation.


Content and it’s discontents will need a special person to bring the parties together. John Maeda, President of RISDI, is up to the task. He spoke at a Fast Company/Ogilvy & Mather summit about redefining leadership into a creative mode and looking not just to bring opposing ideas together.

He wants to find those rare folks who, with one hand on the cracked and one on the conventional, “form a bridge between them.”