From January 2012

Do you have to leave your culture before you can really see it?

I hate sounding like those travelers who always keep telling everyone how much you learn from traveling but I must admit that there is something there.

Recently I exchanged thoughts on this with another planner through email. To travel and experience other cultures, or much rather live for a longer time in a different culture, makes it easier for you to see what your culture is really about. I guess it is the change of perspective and contrast that does it.

When I live in and learn new cultures I usually start comparing the cultures I know to each other. To know more cultures therefore makes it easier to understand new ones because you can put them in perspective. It is easier to position something when you have something to position it against.

My friend actually went as far as saying that living and experience other cultures than your own makes you not even a better planner but also more intelligent. I haven’t gone as far as seeing my pervious experiences as this significant before but when thinking about it I can definitely see how it can help me in my work. By having a palette of cultures to go to as references I can see cultural expressions when placed alongside the same situation in another culture.

I rarely save up money to travel but have managed to live in both Canada, USA, England, France, China and now Argentina by going there to work or study. When you “travel” that way you naturally end up spending more time in a place and get to know the people who live there to greater extent than if you are just visiting.

But it takes time to really get into a culture. After 2,5 month in Argentina I finally master the language which opens up more doors. I’m still curious to see where this experience will lead.

At the time I’m not only learning about the world of advertising doing my internship at Castro Innovation here, I’m also broadening my knowledge in culture. Sometimes it is hard to explain for future employees what you have learned form previous experiences but now I think I’m a little bit more capable of doing that. Thank you!

Additional small note:
I think posts like this that spans both personal development and strategy explains why I find it relevant to share my personal development process in this blog. To be a planner you need to understand your target audience, but to do that you need to understand yourself and the world too. I hope you enjoy the reading, I definitely enjoy the ride. For another excellent blog about personal development, please visit my friend Mayka, Swedish DJ and artist. Her brother went to the same school as me, Hyper Island, so some of her influences might come from that direction. But I keep getting surprised how often we think about the same things. Thank you for the inspiration!

Honestly, how many hours do you spend in Google Earth?

I received this link from my dad today, thank you!

I’ve always been fascinated by maps. When I was a kid I used to draw them, play with my earth globe and when Google Earth arrived I spent hours zooming in and out on different parts of the world fantasizing about what it would be like being there.

Unit9 has together with BBDO made an online game inspired by Google Streetview. It’s a perfect way of delivering that extra layer to make your fantasies from Google Earth come true. The goal of the game is to help free Maria who’s trapped in Streetview. You will get to travel the streets by car and in the end you will even receive a call from the character to your cellphone – the Google Streetview feeling and the phone call gives the game a very surreal feeling.

Watch the video and try it here!

Are we just starring at the snow in the snow globe?

How many case videos do you watch and how many blog posts about the latest advertisement do you read everyday? I never tried to count but I would guess that I probably get exposed to about 10 new ideas like this daily.

How many of these ideas have I seen in the real world or online?

Very few.

Sometimes I really get the feeling that the advertising, whatever advertising is today, the definition is definitely much broader today than before, is only made for other people in advertising to see or social media savvy people looking for something to share. Where do people actually find and interact with these things?

I just started to watch television. I haven’t owned a TV for years and for the past years only watched what I want, when I want it and without commercials. The reason why I started watching is because it is good for practicing spanish, but I also realized it is good for learning about the culture. Even though TV is changing a lot with the digital development to more on demand and online streaming traditional TV is still a very wide spread medium and a good way to see what is popular in different target groups.

While working in advertising and digital media it is easy to get a very limited view of what the world looks like since many of your friends are in the same business. I just have to look at my Facebook wall to realize that. I still see a lot of lol cats but a big part of the content is case videos of advertising I will never see IRL. Of course a lot of times the reason is because it comes from another country, but still…

It is important to be up to date with the latest in advertising and technology but it is also important to try to put yourself in the position of your target group and try to see the world through their eyes even if it might mean you have to give up a bit of that cutting edge. Walk the same streets, watch the same TV shows, go to the same bars, whatever you have to. It is important to remember to sometimes put down the snow globe and take a look around you.

How did social media change movie making?

Found a really interesting article on movie making today in my friend Matildas twitter feed. It is an interview in Mashable with the indie movie maker Edwards Burns.

The areas that caught my interest are the how the casting, distribution and marketing are done today. We have already seen this development in a lot of other markets too but what interests me is how this way of making films exists simultaneously with the old fashion big budget way. It is the same in all old markets – you have the traditional way and the cutting edge digital way and it is interesting to compare both.

With the help of YouTube, actors today have a very simple channel to show their work and present themselves to filmmakers. This way of applying for a job has for a long time also been popular in many other industries, for example people working with service or like me in advertising. Of corse this increases the competition between actors but as we have seen during the past years anyone have a chance of becoming a star on YouTube.

While I was working at MTG with their online streaming service Viaplay we spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle the customers expectations of having movies recently released on cinemas and iTunes also available through Viaplay. Today the path for the release of a new film is to first be available on cinemas, second for renting and buying and third the movie will be available through television. Since Viaplay is primarily a television channel and secondary a rental store we had to wait for a long time before we could provide new movies. After years of illegal downloading people have gotten used to having new movies available at home at the same time as they go up on cinema and we spent a lot of time thinking about how to communicate this to the users.

When Burns latest film Newlyweds was released the initial distribution channels where primarily digital for home watching (iTunes, VOD and Vudu) and it only went up in a few small movie theaters. By skipping the traditional pattern for releasing a film he not only avoided the big marketing costs that are needed to ensure a big number of visitors at the cinemas, but also prevented the fans from downloading the movie illegal in lack of legal options. Indie producers can choose how they want to release their material and I think that the bigger production companies will change their behavior too in the near future.

Of course it helps to already be famous to be able to throw a successful marketing campaign on Twitter, like the one Conan O’Brien managed to pull off after being banned from television. But by engaging in the conversation with the movie fans online by listening and giving them relevant reasons to talk about your movie anyone can succeed in marketing their movie. People interested in movies are often very interested in the production of the movies and they love to be the first ones to know about a good indie production. To connect with the heavy fans is crucial since these are the ones that can help you to spread your content to the others. Burns managed to connect with 5000 fans on Twitter, and by giving them insights into the production, engage in conversations with them and ask them to contribute with content he managed to build a buzz that made his film Newlyweds reach the top six in iTunes when it was released.

I guess what we are waiting for now is to see movies released on YouTube where we can watch them together with our friends in Google+ Hangout. Think we are there soon!

I really admire people who can change the behavior of a traditional existing market and adapt to the new opportunities that the digital landscape offer. It is easy to follow an already existing path but to create a new one takes a lot of curiosity and guts. The web is still changing a lot and it is important to remember that everyday we have a chance of shaping it and the way we use it.

To choose to shoot a film with a certain camera is a marketing trick that has proven to be very effective to catch the attention of the movie nerds.