What can the father of Mad Men advertising teach us about Social Media success?

I came across a blog on the Masterful Marketing success of David Ogilvy this morning and while reading began to ponder on how much of his “great marketing” lessons are still relevant to social media marketing today…


Here are the 5 big take away lessons from David Ogilvy as listed in the blog.  Below I attempt to put them within the framework of Social Media Marketing and to update them accordingly…

1. “Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.”

Social media is not a campaign — although you can create a campaign when executing your social media and while good ideas about content and the “market conversation” are still vital — more important is the conversation that allows for the “audience” to participate and the opportunity to promote them.  No longer is it just about your “big idea”, smart marketers today focus on building relationships first.

2. “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.” 

Business in 2013 is the “end of  business as usual” — Brian Solis has shown us that. Businesses in Canada are in the bubble of a very old mindset, one that is risk adverse and complacent after having 100 years of resource based commodities fueling it. The only ones that are selling anything new are those consultants and marketers who have embraced social media and see a future where unless Canadian businesses become more human they are destined to become obsolete in the next decade. Canadian businesses are going to miss the opportunity to connect with their audience who being online have options to connect with global competitors, like our American cousins, who are focused on building social media relationships at all costs.

3. “I abhor advertising that is blatant, dull, or dishonest. Agencies which transgress this principle are not widely respected.”

In today’s market place the agencies still have control over much of the advertising space as together they and the larger businesses continue to support old school marketing and advertising campaigns. Small and medium enterprises, for the most part, have their heads in the sands and are trying to ignore social media in hopes that it will to away…

4. “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

I wish all the advertising agencies in Canada would print this out and pin it on their walls. Most are still painfully ignorant about social media preferring to service the status quo with the tried and true ways of doing marketing — totally missing the reality that the “progressive” consumer has moved on and they are now just shouting at Dumb and Dumber with their one way mass media tactics.

5. “If we hire people who are smaller than we are, we will become a company of dwarfs. If we hire people who are larger than we are, we’ll become a company of giants.”
Amen. Don’t even get me started on the companies of dwarfs that populate the Canadian business landscape. Oh for the days of Giants. Even finding a business leader who has vision is rare. I am so grateful to my clients who have dared to have me activate their  social media and enrich their business!

Yes, the world has changed thanks to Web 2.0 and Social Media. Thank God, for Facebook and Twitter, as the world of business will never be the same.

Social Media at its best is a communications model of Mutual Understanding

Visualizing New Media (ART & Telecos) Meta Data from 2 decades ago —- still relevant today!

Last night I was offline going thru old papers in storage when I came across a saved article from 1991. Back then Artists interested in technology were reading about New Media from the likes of MIT’s magazine called Leonardo. We were contemplating what the future would hold with the inevitable convergence of Computers, Telecommunications and Video and we were not sure what the new model of communications would look and feel like once they came together…

In my sorting I found an xeroxed copy of a 5 page article entitled: Art and Telecommunications – 10 Years On. I immediately stopped, got my ipad and googled the title and author with this question in my mind – Would the article I held in my hand have been relevant enough to be mentioned 20 years later?

Not only was it mentioned it is archived and for sale online for $16.00 USD!

I began to re -read the article for relevancy sake, curious to see how the caliber of thought around the issues of Art and Telecommunications two decades ago would hold up in the light of Social Media. This is a knee jerk reaction due to the fact that I am constantly told that I bring nothing to the table as an Artist – except some crazy notions about design…and while I try to argue differently I see eyes glaze over when I mention media theory. What people fail to realize is that it is the artists who inform the great thinkers on communications and thereby contribute greatly to the thought leadership that trickles down to the scientific community, hackers, IT and Marketing consultants and eventually into popular culture. McLuhan said that everything he knew about Media was informed by the poets and the painters.

I learnt alot about Social media 2 decades ago from the Artists who were exploring technology and communications and writing on it. My mind is well prepared for the quantum shift we see today in business, technology and culture.

The biggest take aways? The adoption of the convergence Model of communications AKA – Social Media and the Call to Artists of the urgent necessity to “enter into a dialogue with, as well as a critique of, our technological culture”:

“to avoid embracing contemporary technology is to opt for voluntary cultural fossilization: an an art practice that becomes quaint and irrelvent to all but a “cultured” few. To embrace technology is to live and work in the real world, to grapple with the forces that are shaping our world, perhaps to some productive end”

Wanted: More Social games for change!

This video came into my stream via the Saatchi – Saatchi today! Love it! Thanks Michelle. So fitting that your interview came via the Saatchi Empire as we a have a long history together with respect to “ideas that change the world” – one that dates back to 1998 when I saw an ad in WIRED for a competition that invited Creatives to submit their ideas for the Award for Innovations in Communications. I did and I was short listed….the rest is history…

For this reason I find this interview on Social Games fascinating! So glad to see this form of gaming is finally starting to gain world wide attention! A different kind of game – for sure. Over a decade ago I was waiting around for “girl’s games” to happen and they never really did, while doing so I played Rich Dad’s Cash Flow Game and was intrigued by Farmville – but it was not till I found EMPIRE AVE with its social aspect that I found a game I really love! While your level of participation on Empire Ave directly affects a change in your stock price – for better or worse – and can also effect your influence in a vertical – (on an Index) it does not focus on social change per say.

The idea of playing games to create real change is very appealing and a path that I that I cannot wait to take my social media clients down… With a background in animation and new media, my ability to create characters, personas and tell stories will be a great asset in providing insight. Combine this with my skills in social media engagement and now we are talking Back to the Future.

If I had the power to wish myself to be anywhere right now it would be at this event in NYC. Maybe next year… In the meantime I better dust off my old sketchbooks and revisit my drawings for games designs…

Today was the first day of the Games for Change Festival in NYC! Al Gore spoke and said : “games have clearly arrived as a mass medium.”

“Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact”. Often referred to as “the Sundance of Video Games”, the Games for Change Annual Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and the only international event uniting “games for change” creators, the public, civil society, academia, the gaming industry and media.”

To all the organizers and participants keep up the high levels of engagement for change!

Old Media Fights back in grand old euro-centric style against new Social Media

Considering that the French were early adoptors of the RAPIER sword and that one of their great novels was Les Miserables which was about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness – i.e. the French peasant revolution —the old media guard does not seem to have learnt much from this colorful past when it comes to the new media of today! It could be a European mindset or maybe it is really just the old boys of french media who think that this is a good idea — but when I heard the news flash that the use of the WORDS Facebook and Twitter had been banned from French media while driving in my fossil fool car I hit the gas in fear of a slow down of human consciousness.

Advertising 101 states that if you can grab mindshare first on any new product or service you have positioned yourself above the clouds. Take the example of Kleenex. An established brand name that we go looking for to this day! And if you can’t find it—well you might just be inclined to GOOGLE for it! Oh…there I go again…my bad —–using a brand name to describe a thing we do or possess. Of course we all know that Media controls the world and colors our perception of it. Mass media like Radio and TV – from which Twitter and Facebook are now banned in France has to realize that regardless of what they do the user is now in full control — NOT the companies that create these applications.

What they are fighting against here is indeed, bigger than the French Revolution. It is a quantum shift in the way we communicate that puts the user right in the center and ultimately obsolesces corporations. Embrace the change guys cause your ship is sinking fast and there ain’t no one coming the the rescue..for you see, the rats, the masses, the unwashed, the unwanted have abandoned it long ago! En Guarde! Alle!

In which a loaf of bread STARS as a form of MEDIA

Social Media, Creativity and Innovation in Canada

I was watching the Lang O’Leary exchange last night from my comfy berger chair with my laptop connected to a twitter tool – when I heard the CEO of the Canadian Business Development Bank — discuss the dismal failure of small and medium sized businesses to innovate and it dawned on me that I could be facing a tough market for a long time simply due to the prevailing Canadian business mindset which is very conservative and risk adverse. As a single entrepreneur, I am not going to be able to shift that anytime soon. I did not do the survey or write the report that says Small & Medium sized Canadian business gets a D for Innovation. The fact that we are ranked 14 out of 17 worldwide for our lack of creativity and innovation is however, shocking. “Yikes”, I said outloud. The cat jumped up. I almost dropped my laptop. Could it be that bad? Way worse than what I had thought but totally in line with what a good friend, who works with Google insiders, said to me some time ago about the state of Canadian business – “They are doomed on their own local markets, if in the next 5 years, they don’t get connected with their consumers online”.

While Marketing is an integral part of business- its first role being to determine if there is even a market for a product – it never fails to amaze me the number of businesses who still think that they can rely on word of mouth as a viable long term strategy for marketing their product or service in a high technology city, province and nation.

Technology of course is the most innovative of industries as it relies on that “analytical computing machine” which has now connected the entire globe in a web of communications. Technology, Communications and Media have now merged in cyberspace and for the most part small Canadian businesses are nowhere to be seen along the information highway (remember when we actually called it that here in Canada?) while the virtual social media space is becoming more and more crowded with consumers, your friends, family and business associates, all piling on in search of information on health, wealth, love and stuff to buy – Canadian businesses are nowhere to be found….not in search, not in the social networks. They are lucky if they have a website, out of date, static, boring with a contact phone number.

I have been blogging on this topic for some time now. In fact, over a decade ago I was in much the same position trying to sell business owners on the idea of having a website. At the time they could see no advantange to cutting print costs or being found on the new medium of the internet. It was a hard sell. Much the same as it is today.

Now that a business should have their marketing focused online you would think that the need for those who are creative thinkers, indeed the creative class would to be embraced, employed and hired to work with them to create a new level of productivity and success. Sadly small businesses are missing in action and if you are tying to secure work a larger client make sure that you have a freshly minted undergrade degree in marketing from a University which did not even touch on social media or have you study the history of media aka MCLUHAN in Canada. Even though creativity (dare we say ART/Apple) and TECHNOLOGICAL (electronic/MS) innovation has transformed BIG business culture over the last three decades, heaven forbid they actually hire someone with the knowledge, skills and experience of this history who could base their innovative marketing strategies on the nature of media, someone who could engage in the type of experimentation needed to sail the uncharted waters that are the sea of Social Media.

With a virtual “tsunami” of tools, apps, methods, numbers, metrics, stats, strategies available today where even medium-sized businesses think that being creative means having a personal facebook account with pictures of the last party you went to or a blog filled with some sort of trivia that reminds one of a content farm.

Feeling depressed about the D GRADE Canadian businesses got on innovation, I googled for a quck fix – the phrase “quotes on innovation” for something positive and the search engine pulled up, guess what? — Quotes on Creativity and Innovation. It seems you cannot have one with out the other. Duh? And yet time and time again I am smacked down for being too creative and too innovative…

So while I stuggle to “sell” the idea of social media to small and medium sized business in Canada at least I now know who is to blame for the conflict. It is not me..it is not my problem, I have an ART SCHOOL Education, I know how to innovate, how to problem solve, how to imagine, how to visulize, how to be flexible, be open, be transparent, be engaging. The problem lies with the make money mindset that has no idea how to connect with consumers in the 21st Century when their is an oversupply of goods and a lack of attention from consumers who are now in control!

This time, I am on the side of the banks. While I may have very little capital in the bank since no one wants to fully engage me to execute any serious social media in Canada — they preferring to sit on the fence and watch their customers disappear down the information highway instead….I will do as I have done for decades now. I will ride out the wave working remaining in the moment of the NOW Revolution of Marketing.

It may be too much to ask for a “standard” small business to innovate on its product offering…but it would be nice if they had the vision to innovate in when it comes to their marketing strategy. Same old product, new way to market and sell it. Now there is an idea.

There are only two options here you either adopt social media or you are swept away. Time waits for no man or woman. Above us is the global connected techosphere where the big boys play. Learn the rules of the game and pay to win Canada. FYI, the name of the game is not HOCKEY – forget the pre meditated brain injuries in this game it is all about BRAINS, Creativity and innovation!

My Summer Saga I Pad Mega Media Adventure

“Well I actually think, behind the crisis is, the kind of the inflection point or the transformation point. If you look back at the two previous crises, and I’m actually writing a book on this, it’s called The Great Reset, hopefully you’ll invite me back to talk about it when it comes
out in April or May. But if you look back on previous crises, they’ve always been associated with the rise of new economic systems. So, the crisis of 1873 was associated with the rise of the first industrial revolution, and it gave rise to the second. The crisis of the 1930s was the rise of the second industrial revolution and these big steel companies and auto companies, and then we figured out how to make the society work.
This is really a crisis, not just of the financial markets and wanton spending and too much credit, it’s a tectonic crisis that’s associated with the rise of a new economic order.” – Richard Florida from HP interview today ……   http://bit.ly/cJXu5J
It has been 4 months and the Crisis to which Richard speaks above has become for me – an ongoing EPIC adventure akin to that of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote

Love the media in the Don's hand, is it a long poking ipad thingy?

Armed with an Ipad, in the Spring I set out to take my business of sales and marketing consulting to the next level only to find myself filled with the creative angst of the Shakespearean query:  “To Be or Not to Be?”  which played out in spades over the spring and summer on a number of different levels with a number of different clients and their needs, wishes and demands. If I had the time or inclination to write down all the bizarre and laughable details it would be too much to believe, so allow me to speak in the sweeping terms of the times in which we live – and say that I have been off tilting at the windmills which represent old media vs new media while at the same time poking away at the Creative vs the Scientific, parrying between Male vs Female ways of thinking, engaging in left vs right brain processes and finally, lunging at LIFE and DEATH.
It all began April 20th with the BP fiasco which for me resulted in a long mediation on Modern Art and the Death of Culture
Death of Culture

Google death of culture and see who else has taken this subject on...

And so it was that I sashayed into a self interest course over the summer on “How to Die Well” thinking not of myself or those who I know but rather of our Culture as a whole, our Western culture which is now experiencing a deep grief and inability to come to terms with the loss of so much human, animal and plant life on daily basis due to its terrible inbalance which no man can correct. Indeed is seems that such a thing is impossible this late point in the game of western lifestyles, business practices and modes of thinking. I hoped for some reason to gain insight into what words I might be able to offer in the face of this ongoing  crisis. What ensued was a deep and often dangerous one sided discourse on life and death in the 20th Century lead by a leading expert who had failed to factor in …as they all seem to do….the effects of Media on the one hand and the natural balance of Life on the other which left me wondering, as usual, if my $50,000 art education investment was ever going to bear any fruit other than making me, once again, the OUTSIDER that Colin Wilson describes in his non fiction book on Artists.  Further, It left me grieving for the days when people still knew who McLuhan was in Canada. The expert heading up the session had attended Harvard and has worked in big Canadian Hospitals assisting over one thousand people in the face of their death. Still, like a fish in water what he was not aware of the environment that he lives – the Electronic Environment that McLuhan wrote of and how it that changed everything about our culture – including our response to Death and Dying…

As an artist, I have long embraced the concept that my Western Euro-Centric culture is on its death bed, a simple study of the works of the poets and painters shows this as a fact. What we see now are the final death throes of the demise of all our existing cultural institutions. For those who went to art school and studied the history of art this is not a new concept by any means. The absolute terror that this expert had seen over and over again by those facing death was the result of the TOTAL oblivion of their cultural memory which was delivered by the mercenary armies of the print bastards – armies who wiped out European Pagan and sacred culture and left all remaining scared of its monsters and demons and hungry ghosts and severely disconnected from any form of collective memory of ancestory in a matrix of disharmonic time which pits one race against another…

At one point the questions was posed as to why we were so terrified and disconnected when confronted with our own death or that of our family or loved ones. I tweeted out the word: “ARMIES”.

Buddy was completely taken back, shocked at the single keyword  which escaped my mouth like the a bird eating a small seed, quickly. The word came at him from what he thought was left field and he dismissed it as having no relevance to the rest of the conversation. All I can say is you cannot study the Media Theory of McLuhan for over 10 years and not know his theory on print and its relationship to citizen armies. If McLuhan is dry then try Bob Dobbs and the  “Print Bastards”. Same difference.

Greatest Salesman who ever lived!


The theology holds that “Bob” is the greatest salesman who ever lived, and has cheated death a number of times. He was famous for his SubGenius publication, SubGenius Pamphlet #1 (a.k.a. “The World Ends Tomorrow And You May Die”) (1979).

Whatever. If looks could kill I would have obliviated after that word “ARMIES” flew out of my mouth. From there on in I was cut off from an opportunity to expound on McLuhan or Bob Dobbs and had to listen instead to hours of discourse on Beuwolf, which incidently had been required reading prior to class.

I had googled the word Beuwolf and done the wikki check and found that it was some old english manuscript which made my hair want to fall out at the very thought of reading it so I got the equvilent of the Coles notes, reading the kids version which I picked up at Indigo. Before the class I scanned the book and looked at the pictures.

Shortly after my word was dismissed the history lesson began. I soon revealed my ignorance of British history by saying I did not know who Cromwell was. Back in my room later on I googled: Citizen armies on my IPAD and landed on the page below. The image says it all but the page honors McLuhan. DUH. Somewhere in a past I recall that I actually made an animated short on this concept — it is in storage somewhere…. Someday when I retire from this rat race or the world becomes truely aware of the environment in which we exist – and no, I do not meant the toxic slug of the old captains of industry — I will digitize my animated short and post it online…for now it is enough for you to study this picture and visit the link.

The Print Bastard

The Death of Western Culture