“Fear is the mortal enemy of innovation, creativity and happiness.” So says Alex Bogusky, the epitome of the ad industry rock star, and founder of The Fearless Cottage. Bogusky, in a somewhat modern day transcendentalist manner, recently left his post as partner of ad agency Crispin, Porter & Bogusky (responsible for breakthrough campaigns for Burger King and Domino’s, among others) and has wandered into the woods in pursuit of a greater purpose. And while that exact purpose seems somewhat nebulous in the incubation stage (the site touches on sustainability, food industry activism, art, design, advertising), anything Bogusky does is worthy of taking note and bound to have an impact on how society approaches creativity.
The most tangible output of the Fearless Cottage so far is the Fearless Q&A series, in which Bogusky interviews guests on topics ranging from what’s wrong with our school’s cafeterias to what’s happening in experiential marketing, in hour-long format on his YouTube Channel. One of the most engaging episodes features his own father, a logo designer, and offers Bogusky fans a look into the iconography and craftsmanship that was the setting for the young creative genius in the making.
DESIGN with Alex Bogusky and his Dad
While I’m not exactly sure what’s going to come out of Fearless Cottage (it seems like Alex isn’t sure either), I’m looking forward to tuning into their weekly Justin.tv Q&A and taking part in the pseud0-movement that may or may not revolutionize the way that Americans eat… or sell products… or something.Read More
The future of books and reading are top of mind for me since Seth Godin, best-selling author of a dozen must-own books for marketers, sent a powerful message to the publishing industry with this announcement:
“I’ve decided not to publish any more books in the traditional way. 12 for 12 and I’m done. I like the people, but I can’t abide the long wait, the filters, the big push at launch, the nudging to get people to go to a store they don’t usually visit to buy something they don’t usually buy, to get them to pay for an idea in a form that’s hard to spread … I really don’t think the process is worth the effort that it now takes to make it work. I can reach 10 or 50 times as many people electronically. No, it’s not ‘better’, but it’s different. So while I’m not sure what format my writing will take, I’m not planning on it being the 1907 version of hardcover publishing any longer.” Read the MediaBistro article here.
I’m not reading this as “hardcopy books are dead” as much as “the system sucks, I’m going to find a better way.” And this leaves me to reflect on some of the trends in the book publishing industry that are paving Seth’s way.
Kindles and iPads and such
It’s no ephiphany that reading is headed the way of the e-reader or tablet. Amazon’s sold a billion dollars worth of stuff through mobile devices, a lot of it books on the Kindle or through the Kindle.app.
What surprises me about this market is one of the ways digital reading offerings are being positioned. I recently worked on a creative campaign for Zinio, a digital newsstand for interactive magazines and books with their own iPad app, and one of their selling points is the 60,000 issues of magazines available. The Nook ad hanging on the entrance to B&N touts over 1,000,000 titles. Same goes for Amazon and everyone else, “We’ve got x number of things you can read, isn’t that mind blowing?”.
To me it seems counterintuitive to where everything else digital is headed – curation, personalization and customization – to avoid massive information overload. Sure, I want to know that if I invest in a digital reader, I can find whatever I want. I get that. But never will 1,000,000 books be of any more value to me as a reader than the couple thousand books that I’m going to read in my lifetime.
In my opinion, the future of the digital reading experience is all about personalization. A smart reading list, delivered to me chapter by chapter from different books, based on my cultural and social needs for entertainment, education and professional development.
If you’re fascinated in where the digital reading experience is headed like me, or you have a long list of gripes about the form and function of e-readers, I recommend this incedible essay “Embracing the Digital Book” on the future of e-readers by Craig Mod.
There is No Book
So what about the word “book”? I hadn’t thought about the nomenclature until I came across Bob Stein and the if:book project by the Institute of the Future of the Book.
In this article, Bob imagines a future where “app” is the most likely term to replace “book”. Who knows what will happen here, I mean we’re still saying things like album and record despite the complete overhaul of the music industry. I personally think “book” has resiliance in spite of the medium. On a side note, I think “TV” is here to stay also, no matter what device we watch it on.
The most compelling quote from Bob Stein’s article I thought was this:
“The distinction between media types was a lot more important during the analog era of the mid-twentieth cenury. In 1950 no one would confuse a novel with a movie or a song with a TV show. But today we have e-books with video sequences, and movies published with extensive text-based supplements. Is Lady Gaga a music star or video star?”
Is he envisioning a future where everything is sensory-rich and our need to categorize media dwindles? Will there no longer be audio-only, text-only, image-only art and entertainment?
Fundraising for Books with Kickstartup
The dusty economics of 20th-century publishing have no doubt accelerated the massive shift in how books go to market. Just like movies and music, the hyper-connected entertainment landscape allows individuals with a good idea to find success without a corporate backer. Case in point is another great essay by Craig Mod on how he raised capital for a book project through Kickstartup.
Through the innovative micro-funding startup, Craig and his partner raised $24,000 to produce and distribute a new edition of their book thanks to the wonders of the internet. Not alone by any means, Writer 2.0 editor Pagan Kennedy documents similar success with the crowdfunding for publishing model here.
Book Promotions through Crowdsourcing
My final consideration for this post is the promotions aspects of books in the new millenium. What better case than a crowdsourcing campaign for a book about the transformation of the publishing and printed media industry, Richard Hine’s Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch.
The fiction-based-on-real-life novel (like a Devil Wears Prada for the print industry) authored by a veteran of the print world and published by Amazon Encore is sourcing video trailers, digital print ads and online banners by leveraging the power of social media to engage potential audience members in the creative marketing process. Below is the video brief for the Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch campaign on Zooppa (disclosure, I work with Zooppa).
I imagine a future where this kind of reader interaction in the marketing process and funding process (as noted above) extends into the entire creative and publishing model in ways difficult to imagine today.Read More
When you’re looking at the packaging of, say, a few different cereals, how much do you think the way you feel about the packaging has an impact on your purchase decision?
Whether or not you think it makes an impact (though I’d guess most people acknowledge packaging sways decisions), a number of hi-sci market researchers like Neurofocus, for example, think they can tell what you’re going to like about a package or advertising image by digging deep into your brain.
By monitoring your neuron activity through biosensors while displaying series’ of images, these neuromarketers are giving ad agencies something to cheer about, while at the same time infuriating a handful of special interest groups. This Lawnmower Man meets Matrix meets Clockwork Orange stuff fascinates me, and I’ll admit, I think the level of benevolence or malevolence of neuromarketing applications is decided by the end goal of who’s paying for the research. Here’s some video to get you started on making up your own mind.
Popular Science’s The Future of Pleasure
Excellent overview of the applications of neuromarketing AND you get to see the “wires on the head, multicolored graphs and look at the pretty pictures” process that you might imagine. The key takeaway for me is neuromarketers’ claim of what they can measure: attention, retention and emotion. If you have a big, fat research budget and want to go all Orwellian on that new product ad, that’s what you may be able to impact.
Dr. Neurofocus: Listen to Your Brain
I threw this one in for fun. One of the leaders in neuromarketing, Neurofocus, put out this attempt at a viral video to raise awareness for their company. If you visit the Neurofocus Youtube Channel you’ll find a wide variety of more educational videos by their founder.
If you’re serious about learning more about neuromarketing, this hour long video should catch you up to speed.
The other side of the argument, by someone who probably believes “corporate social responsibility” is an oxymoron.Read More
Picture yourself on an airplane, and the passenger next to you is being a d* to the flight attendant. Normally, you watch the gracious airline employee suck it up, grin and bear it and take one for the team to keep things flying smooth. Deep inside, you know that your neighbor deserves a serious beating and kind of wish the flight attendant would do something about it.
If you identify with this scenario, odds are, you have the Steven Slater Virus.
Pictured below is a microscopic view of Steven Slater, former Jet Blue flight attendant turned internet sensation and counterculture media darling, sliding his way, two beers in hand, down the escape hatch to your heart.
This image is courtesy of the Fast Company article on our newest “screw the man” hero Steven Slater, which walks us through the nearly overnight viral phenomena springing up across the web and paying homage to the guy that won’t take sh*t from noone any longer.
Here’s a quick look at where the virus is spreading…
Steven Slater Youtube Ballad
In my opinion, the only thing that could make Steven Slater more viral, is if the Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa would do a personalized video to him.Read More