Archives for the month of: July, 2013

Criticism sucks. As do the hours and constantly redoing things. Which begs the question: how did I end up here?

It all started by me paying attention during commercials. When every one else would be paying attention something else when the ads would come on, I didn’t. My younger self would wait for them when the break would come on. Like how one would wait, fingers crossed, for the DJ to play their latest favorite song on the radio. I would wait for my latest favorite ad.

And that’s exactly why we do the things we do, because we want to become what impresses us the most. So bring on the criticism and long hours, because I want to make something that will impress people the way these ads did:

Oh the beloved #. It is actually called an octothorp, by the way. I’m not sure where hashtag comes from. Although a quick read of wikipedia will tell you.

Mainly associated with Twitter, it is found on several sites. Most notably Tumblr and Facebook. It is useful for sorting information. For example the best uses of this come from sports leagues. I was watching the MLB All-Star game this week and all I had to do was follow #asg and I had all the intel I needed to know.

Apparently there was a guy who dared Twitter people (or I guess they’d be called Tweeters? Or Twitterers?) that if they re-tweeted his tweet 1000 times he would run out onto the field. The only way anyone who wasn’t at the game knew about this was via Twitter #asg. A whole new dialogue came out of this experience. Pictures from fans made their way on the social network.

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Furthermore the better brand uses of the hashtag (because this is a blog about advertising) was during the Home Run Derby the day before. Fans could follow the players involved in the derby, or the other players/journalists who were at the event. MLB provided fans clips of interviews with the players about the events that were taking place.

Both these examples, planned and unplanned, brought the experience closer to the viewer, hundreds of miles away. Twitter has always been seen as a conversation medium, and people generally do. Twitter, or better yet the hashtag, are ways of organizing and finding information on a mass medium that is over saturated with content.

This is important to note because people generally won’t adopt a hashtag just because a brand tells them to. They do it because they want what ever it is that they are writing to be read. If there is an event going on like an All-Star game. Then by MLB promoting #asg is a good idea. It encourages people to use the # and get involved with MLB.

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As tablets take over the world, their capacity to challenge the desktop & laptop for supremacy is widely debated. In many ways tablets are a cheap and easy to use. For those folks who only want to check their emails and post status updates, a tablet is perfect. It even works well if you need a half-decent word processor, and there are no shortage of them.

What I would like to bring up is the changing use of design software. There are several apps that use photoshop-esque techniques. Which in turn make it so one could alter the colours and filters of a photo while sitting on the sofa with their feet up. These techniques would take a skilled designer the better part of an hour to try out several effects. Now changing effects comes at the swipe of a finger. There are also several other apps that incorporate other aspects of graphic design. Adobe has a series of mobile apps that tap into every aspect of design, web or graphic. This change gives everyone the ability to become a graphic designer. With more people using these tools to alter their photos several things are happening.

One is that the use of filters is quickly becoming the norm and annoying. I hate sepia.

Another is that the bar is being raised quickly. What used to be able to get you a job (a snazzy portfolio) is not the norm anymore. Although the industry is adapting, it is taking a while. Soon knowing how to do something is not going to be the case anymore, because everyone will know how to do it. For example, I know how to string a few sentences together, does that make me a copywriter? What the industry will soon be calling for are people who have an understanding. Creatives will not just need to be able to come up with witty headlines and fancy graphics, but strategy and understanding of our dear friends marketing & business.

I’m optimistic that this will raise the level of advertising, and in turn make it more strategic and successful. This will benefit both advertisers and the audience. I’m excited that my career is beginning as this trend is.

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A screenshot of Adobe Ideas

Pixlr-express-effectA screenshot of Pixlr Express

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