OK Go go to Facebook this time, but who’s to say what the future will hold?

If you’re an avid consumer of the internet, you would have seen OK Go’s latest rather neat music video, released last Friday. It was shot in zero gravity, on Russian airlines S7, and the final version was finally done in a continuous take, but over 45 minutes due to the restrictions of physics, so to speak! My thoughts:

Every video of theirs is better than the last, which is a really hard thing to do. The annual brouhaha around SuperBowl ads in the US and Christmas ads in the UK is proof of that – and rarely do brands consistently deliver. Harvard should do a short ‘modern’ case study on them. I’d be interested to watch a short documentary, even – the ‘making of’ video is a good teaser.

OK Go went with Facebook for the launch of this video over YouTube, thanks to the lack of ad revenue that the band saw with YouTube in previous years. Also, the record labels and YouTube together struck a deal which made it *less* profitable for them if they allowed embeds, so they didn’t – and fans suffered as a consequence, as they usually do (more here). It will be interesting to know how the Facebook strategy compares to YouTube for OK Go, specifically with regard to the data they’re able to collect on their audiences.

Today’s Monday Note has a good summary of why pledging allegiance to one social platform can be suicide for a brand in the long run – as a lot of people advocating the open web have said for a long time. To be clear, the Monday Note piece refers to media unicorns specifically, but the logic is the same:

When a content provider makes 44x more traffic outside its own premises, it becomes highly vulnerable to changes the third party might make to its distribution mechanism. As long as publishers’ and distributors’ interests are aligned, everything’s fine. But who can guarantee such harmony will last?

We all know the havoc that the changes to Facebook’s organic reach caused to brands back in 2014 for example. However Facebook’s growing advantage is reach, and its new(ish) focus on mobile and video is probably what caused OK Go to go with them for this one release, a smart choice for now.

What will be really interesting – and it’s likely we’ll see this in the months to come – is for a brand to release entertainment content in formal partnership with someone like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video as they grow in reach (the documentary idea I mentioned above could be an additional part of such a package). Spotify’s newly launched Video format might also be an interesting experiment for some. At some point, market forces must lead to Facebook and Google’s stronghold over video and/or mobile loosening, surely?

Slow TV: My Contribution

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a toboggan ride down a winding road from the village of Monte to Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira. 2 kilometres in a wicker basket being ‘controlled’ with ropes by 2 men standing on the basket behind the passenger seats, a form of transport that first originated in the area in the early 19th century. It was fun – CNN called it one of the 7 best commutes in the world, apparently. I took a video of the whole thing because I remembered this TED talk about Norway’s TV show about ‘the world’s most boring television and why it’s hilariously addictive’ – so maybe you’ll find my toboggan ride somewhat interesting, I don’t know. Maybe it’ll even make someone ‘inordinately happy’ as those videos of entire train journeys did, for one commenter to this old Metafilter post.

I’ve obviously watched it a few times myself by now (it *is* bizarrely addictive, in my biased opinion!). There were some lovely views of the sea, points when I thought we’d dash into walls or go into the gutters by the side (but didn’t), and we passed an intersection where a car crossed the road just seconds before we continued down the path.  I even stopped to smile for a photographer at one point.

With my addiction to on-demand entertainment courtesy the ‘Netflix and chill’ culture I currently live in, slow TV might be the antidote I need to my hyper-wired brain at the moment.

Collaboration, a documentary

Yesterday I watched a documentary on collaboration with some of my colleagues at PHD. It’s worth watching; features Vint Cerf (‘co-father of the internet’, as they called him!) and Howard Rheingold amongst others. There was an interesting point about how innovation spreads when networks are connected, which resonated with me because it’s something I do a fair bit. Vint Cerf mentioned how the value of the web isn’t inherent in technology itself, it’s in the kinds of things & collaborations that people use technology to do. There was also a point made by Mr. Rheingold about the importance of not just being a leech – he referred to Van Gogh’s work, a lot of which focussed on fields, and the principle of  ‘sowing and reaping’. The point being that a lot of people consume what other people create on the web, but it’s our responsibility to build on these things and not just consume mindlessly –  vital for a strong and nourishing internet. If we want the good of the web to overpower the bad, then those of us who create need to remember to do this responsibly and over the long run, and not abandon it to ‘someone else’.

On sunshine and advertising in China

I’d bookmarked this documentary on Aeon a few weeks ago and finally got down to watching it. 15 minutes, and a beautiful film on advertising in the modern world, especially the philosophical questions that come with working in this field in a developing nation like China. You’ll also learn why the Chinese in the film insist on having people who represent ‘sunshine’ in their ads. I recommend it.

An endearing portrait of a conflicted modern-day ‘Mad Man’, Sunshine explores the world of advertising from an insider’s perspective. Drawing connections between cultural tropes from Mao’s era and China’s current push into consumerism, the film offers an interesting insight into both changes and constants in Chinese society.

Sunshine from American Buffalo on Vimeo.

I love @transferwise. I even said it on broadcast media.

Some of you may know that I think Transferwise is a great service: simple to use, great UX, disrupting the fintech landscape. I’ve even blogged about it before. So when they were looking for people to back them up in ad they were making to reach an Indian/Asian audience here, I thought I might give it a go. Never been in one, so something else to add to my list of life experiences, so to speak.

Feature in a telly ad: check.

Now go get on Transferwise!

Brainstorming, etc.

Thought I’d share a few of the videos I got to watch during the Coursera course I did recently that specifically focussed on that most coveted creative process, brainstorming.

First, want to know what a brainstorm to create the perfect printer looks like? Look no further:

(That reminded me of this Oatmeal take on printers that I have next to my desk, so read and guffaw if you haven’t seen it yet!).

Then, more brainstorming fun from Bud Light – their 2009 Superbowl commercial which I hadn’t seen before:

Frivolity aside, let’s look at the situations that precede some brainstorms that can make us approach them very differently. Two Apollo 13 clips:

In the end, my friends, failure is NOT AN OPTION.