Joining an all-hands staff meeting a half-hour late, I immediately take control of the room through constant interruptions, derisive snorts, and loudly slurping two-dozen chilled oysters. When the meeting breaks, I am taken aside and told I have management potential. The fact that I don’t work there is never brought up.
I can’t decide whether to make this into a joke about creative directors or account directors.
There’s no question that the business of brands is changing. People have been going on and on about it since well before I ever got involved. Though it seems like there are some agencies out there that are actually getting on with it rather than ringing their hands about it.
The original impetus for the book was a recognition that there is a growing gap between the education designers and other creatives are getting at school and the emerging practice being developed in the real world. This isn’t simply true for students, it’s also true for practitioners. Modern marketing has become so complex and so specialized that even if you are on the forefront in one area, you may not know what’s happening in other areas.
Very excited about this one. I ordered it while collecting links for this post.
I’m not so easily worried by semantics, but the ambiguousness of social is causing problems. The word is out of control, having become a buzzword as sticky as it is devoid of meaning.
Is it a social idea if it’s a game that prompts you to post something to Facebook at the end?
Is it a social idea if it’s a microsite that pulls in Twitter feeds?
Is Skype a social idea?
Is a Facebook post a social idea?
Is Game of Thrones a social idea?
Is a hashtag a social idea?
Beer and wings is definitely a social idea.
It’s become the digital equivilant of the term widget (the business school use, not the precurser to apps). Which isn’t a big deal until you have a team working on a social idea, not realizing until the idea is killed (or terrible) that there were 10-different expectations of what a social idea should be.
After all, the Internet is social by design.
But really, an idea needs to be good before it can be social. Or, ideas have the potential to become social if they’re good enough. Things can be done to help out, but social is an outcome, or use case, of an idea. Social networks are places where social behavior can happen, but even there, social is a behavior. It’s not a deliverable any more than viral is.
So let’s get more specific. Words should mean things. Especially in the communications business.
Jim Wayne Miller on the difference between humor and analysis:
“Humor and analysis go at things in altogether different ways. Humor puts things together—in surprising and unexpected ways. Analysis takes things apart—through rather routine procedures. And this difference is the heart of the problem.”
Gamasutra ran a really great interview with the creatives working on the latest Splinter Cell. Centered around balancing realism with ethics and controversial gameplay, it’s well worth a read if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
But I thought this point about the challenge of using a constantly changing medium to bring about emotion in users was salient for the day job…
At the same time, I’m hoping that we’re going to get to a point where we can touch people the same way Journey touched me, with a game like Splinter Cell or a game like Assassin’s Creed where the graphics are realistic and it’s true humans that are telling me a story — I can be touched that way and be in control, and it’s not just a game forcing an emotion on me, but just me through my decisions, living those emotions as strongly, or even more strongly, than in a non-interactive medium.
RD: Also, remember we’re constantly trying to hit a moving target here. If you look at every other storytelling medium, it has been stable for at least a hundred years. Filmmaking, the language has likely stayed the same since George Méliès. Theater has largely stayed the same since Shakespeare. Books, since Gutenberg. And there’s been time to iterate and perfect the craft and perfect the ways of communicating this material.
And you look at what we’re doing. The hardware is constantly changing. What can we do when the hardware is constantly changing — we’re constantly evolving and trying to simultaneously maximize the potential of the tools that we have to play with while telling these stories. And because you’re trying to hit a moving target, you’re going to have a hit and miss ratio.
I don’t think it’s an accident that a lot of the games that people are pointing to as stirring these deeper emotions have been ones that have not been necessarily bleeding edge, that were built as more of a stable technology, things like Passage, for example. Those are games where the technology and the sandbox was clearly defined, and that allowed a, for lack of a better way of putting it, an ability to concentrate on just one aspect of creating something that was more emotionally moving, because there was a place where you knew that you could aim.
With what we’re doing, with these advances in technology, with the new consoles, we’re trying to do that, but at the same time, we don’t know at any given moment the tools we have to do it with, and when you don’t know the tools that are in your kit, you don’t know what you’re going to be able to build with it.