Monday, October 02, 2006
More Sony E-Reader, New Quark Logo, The Dead Parrot, Good Riddance to the Old Agency Ways, and Stop Asking Opinions and Do Something
and promoting e-readers for the visually impaired
and to support breast cancer research
MS Word documents:
Company-created interview with Sony VP Ron Hawkins http://news.sel.sony.com/assets/reader/documents/Reader_Q_A_with_Ron_Hawkins.doc
Quotes from impressive industry leaders who want to say something good in case the product takes off
Spec sheet http://news.sel.sony.com/assets/reader/documents/ebook_Product_Spec_Sheet.doc
The daily comic Close to Home illustrates how the Internet has affected a critical social and religious institution. http://www.gocomics.com/closetohome/2006/10/01/
Quark has a new logo... again!! I haven't seen this reported anywhere except here
http://www.ospreydesign.com/foreword/archives/001921.html. The company has not issued a press release (perhaps they are gunshy?)
Last year they made a big deal about their logo
but then bloggers and others realized it was just like that of the Scottish Arts Council
The whole thing was so badly bungled... including their defense of the mistake, which seemed a lot like the Monty Python "dead parrot" sketch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H6DSoqZz_s
I wonder if they got a makegood from their agency. The logo business has changed quite significantly over recent years. A Google search http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=logo+design will get you to lots of companies that will design logos for less than $500. This used to be a big business for graphic designers ("corporate identity") and now, it's not... except for big agencies who still make megabucks with big corporations in market repositionings.
Article that laments the downfall in advertising creativity... huh? Maybe in the B2B space... Back when there were three networks and that's all there was, everyone saw the ads. With narrowcasting, they don't. The article also makes it seem that older advertising was actually good, but we only remember the good ones. The turning point was the "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" ads for Alka-Seltzer, which won many awards, was highly memorable, but made Alka-Selzer sales go down. The Clios changed their ad awards standards the next year or so. What's really changed is that there are more media than print, and executives, starting two decades ago, became sick and tired of the agency markups and started demanding fixed billing. It wasn't the three-martini lunch era that ended, it was the 15% markup on anything that moved era that ended, and well it should have.
This article is probably even more important: consumers are sick and tired of being asked their opinions.
Nothing kills creativity like market research. Consumers can only respond to what they know, and all their answers regress to means. If good strategy is to create differentiation, and exploit niches that others haven't, using market research is like hitting a railroad spike with a stale banana. Market research is best directed at measuring historical things, and identifying problems, never to ask what kinds of products people want. The best examples I can think of, but can't find anything on it, both involve Coke. The New Coke fiasco is a classic that is online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke
But when Coke bought Columbia Pictures, they attempted to do market research about what movies people wanted to see. It didn't work. Creativity is the search for newness. Market research used in that way just creates mediocrity.
Finally, whatever happened to leadership? Research is the greatest excuse to do nothing. All this article tells me is that new, small agencies are going to well, because they way they get noticed is because of the risks they take and their unforeseen success. Let's hear it for entrepreneurship.