Archives for posts with tag: ad:tech Tokyo


One of the highlights of ad:tech Tokyo was the keynote of Clark Kokich, Chairman of Razorfish. He introduced the audience to his soon to be released book “Do or Die: A complete rethinking of how brands create and sustain customer relationships.” Interestingly, the book will be released as an iPad app, not a printed book. (The preview site is still a work in progress and not live, and the publishing date of the book wasn’t clear to me, definitely early enough to be a stocking stuffer.)

Advertising used to be about changing perception. Now it’s about changing reality.

That was one of Kokich’s most dramatic paradigm shifts the advertising industry has to deal with in the future. While Einstein might not agree with him, (He famously said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”) but I believe Kokich understood and distilled a very important insight advertisers have to deal with for a long time to come.

Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers relied on this fact to make us see things- the way they want us to see them. But wandering through life, letting others create our perceptions, can make a very unfulfilling life. The declining power of mass advertising and the increasing control of customers leads people to desire to be in charge of their own perception of reality. As marketers, changing perceptions is just not that effective anymore. You need to change reality.

Redefine the definition of a big idea

Vail Resorts Epic Mix app redefined the big idea: It was not a huge campaign, it was not some big initiative, it was an app that changed the skiing experience. It was based on the insight that skiing as a solitary experience needs to be complemented by a social experience to enjoy a fulfilling vacation you want to share with your friends. Vail Resorts stayed away from telling people how enjoyable it was to vacation at their properties. Instead, they worked hard to make the actual experience more fun.

Reverse the process: From “Channel up” to “Channel down”

Sure, the commercial is memorable but the real meat of the campaign was a grassroots campaign that allowed fans around the world to write their own future through a unique experience on and their Facebook page that gave fans the power to create personalized videos, photos and information that put them on center stage at the World Cup 2010. Fans were then able to take their customized content to build their own Facebook campaign in an attempt to get noticed and selected for “The Chance” which is an elite Nike Academy football camp.

Master the art of collaborative creativity

The “Write the future” campaign from Nike was developed through a collaboration between AKQA, Razorfish, Mindshare and Wieden & Kennedy under the leadership of Nike. None of us is as good as all of us. This can be very effective if the collaboration is organized properly.

Don’t get up in the morning and think ‘What can we we say about the brand today’. Instead, get up in the morning and do something in the spirit of the brand, based on its core beliefs.

Kokich’s closing thought.

I’m looking forward reading his book.

Screen shot 2011-10-24 at 4.31.17 PM

I’m flying to Tokyo this afternoon to speak at ad:tech Tokyo about the changing agency/brand landscape.

To develop an engaging presentation is hard work. Too bad, most presentations are not engaging and feel like patchwork.


Because most presenters work modular not linear.

When people speak a lot, they tend to revisit their old presentations to create a new one. They take one module out, add another module from another presentation and cobble everything together. It’s like a potpourri of leftovers. It tastes like nothing and leaves a bitter aftertaste.

A good presentation is like a good story. And good stories can’t be glued together through modules. Good stories are linear and lead people somewhere.

Never use your old presentations to create a new one.

Don’t open Power Point unless the presentation is alive in your mind.


– Research your audience.

– Research the conference. What will make a difference?

– Outline the presentation on paper first.

– Then on post-it notes. Put them on the wall. Leave them up for a day and return.

– Outline your presentation on paper again.

– Finish the presentation in Power Point. That part shouldn’t take longer than an hour. Visualize everything. Don’t put your speaker notes on the slides.

– Tell the story without slides.

– Use the slides to give your story visual oomph!

Congratulations, your speech might just change the world.


I’m staying a few days in Tokyo to speak at ad:tech about Social Media Tracking and ROI. It’s my first time in Tokyo, and when I arrived at my room last night I found this note:

“We are working toward protecting environment and energy saving pertaining to the ecological problems. If you feel unnecessary to have your room cleaned and linen, towels and amenities replaced everyday, please request Non-Cleaning service. In exchange, you will receive the coupon which could be used in the restaurant and hotel shop. Coupon will be issued per day of non-cleaning as follows; ¥1,000 per coupon.”

Basically, I get around $12 in exchange for not cleaning my room. I’ve seen in many hotels rooms around the world the offer not to clean towels/linens because, face it, who needs to get his hotel cleaned room each and every day unless you live the Keith Richards lifestyle? I have 6 towels, 2 beds, my room doesn’t look like an episode of “Hoarders” after one day – not cleaning my room every day seems perfectly reasonable to me. With the exception of the Tokyo hotel, nobody has offered anything in exchange for not cleaning my room. All I got were glossy flyers or brochures, talking about the hotel’s commitment to environment. We all know what’s really behind their green mindset: Cost savings. It costs money to clean towels/linens. It takes a maid at least 30 minutes to clean a room. Skipping one day is a nice way of saving a buck.

But this hotel didn’t bother with a glossy brochure (it’s a rather sad piece of paper). Instead, they offered me real value. $12 I can use to buy my kid a little present, to have a tea and pastry. This little offer for a mutual value exchange left me impressed. They applied the thinking of Behavioral Economics to save themselves money, delighted me, and helped the environment at the same time.

Just imagine airlines would have used the toolbox of Behavioral Economics to get out from under. Reward people not to check too much luggage, offer financial incentives to cut down on carry-on luggage and amenities on board. Give people choices, not just cut, cut, cut – until you make record profits.

Sure, sometimes competitive pressure is so tough that you need cut amenities/services and/or increase costs. We are all adults here. But, how do you think all of us airline passengers feel about record profits for airlines after being treated like a herd of cattle  through a 6-hour flight from Boston to LAX?

Here’s an idea: What if companies made some of their costs transparent to people? You can’t disclose everything, your competitor might eat your for lunch if you disclose your exact profit margins. Just keep it to certain prices that fluctuate constantly. Explain that keeping blankets on board costs you that much money and you give people options to keep those blankets for a price or you will eliminate them. Communicate that fuel prices have increased by 40% (I’m making these numbers up) but tickets prices have remained the same.

Basically, don’t just tell people that you’re going to eliminate blankets and good luck. Communicate your challenges to the public. Integrate your pricing strategy into your overall communication plan. People won’t get that angry when you hike the prices because most of us are adults. We just don’t like to be treated like children. Oh, and the glossy brochure stuff really doesn’t work anymore.