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My Favorites in November: Advertising in 60 Seconds, Problematic Crowd Work & The Parisian Lifestyle

30 November 2015

History of Advertising Timeline

This was a special month here in Paris, especially the second half, with the terrorist attacks and the start of the COP21 climate conference shrouding the city in a very particular atmosphere. Much more security, armed forces on almost every street corner, helicopters, heads of state… it’s not the usual Parisian life. But nevertheless, the earth keeps spinning, people will not stop going into bars and cafés, and I won’t stop sharing my favorite inspirations neither. Here are some tweets about entrepreneurship, marketing, creativity, crowd labor and Paris (of course). Make sure to look at the short video about Google’s “Alive Memory” project in Russia.

You may know I like timelines (as a visualization of time & history), and advertising, and videos… here’s a nice mix of all: The History of Advertising in 60 Seconds, created by Mashable and sponsored by Adobe. It’s a “bird’s-eye view of the evolution of the advertising industry, from ad agencies to brand-building to soap operas to branded content,” as the descriptions says. Fun fact: the 1st TVC, created for Bulova watches in 1941, cost US$ 9. It’s a cool video, but you have to be fast and very concentrated, as there is a lot of history in these 60 seconds!

This is a nice interactive infographic, created by Anna and Mark Vital. From William Procter to Milton Hershey and Hugo Boss, spanning founders aged from 18 (Michael Dell) to 61 (IBM’s Charles Flint), it looks at  the biographies of top 100 founders of the Forbes’ list of the biggest public companies, and shows that “35 is the most common age to start one of the top companies in the world.” It’s a nice visualization to navigate through, but I would have loved to know if that is backed by more, maybe scientific, data. Still quite insightful!

I know a bit about the crowdsourcing debate (contest fairness, unpaid work etc.), I’ve actually been writing quite a lot about it. In articles like Should Crowdsourcing Participants Get Working Contracts? or Does Crowdsourcing Deliver On Its Promise? I try to objectively question the value of crowdsourcing, at least to find out when it is unfair and when it is not. This video takes a humorous approach to it, one that I find witty: what if you asked people to work for free in other industries? It’s a nice spot, which emphasizes an important problem of creative industries in a funny manner.

Data dictatorship is a problem today. If you can calculate the precise effect of X ad spend on sales, then your management might ask you to multiply X to multiply sales too! But that’s not how it works, and CMOs need to achieve “just the right balance between short-term revenue pursuit and long-term brand building.” On HBR, Peter Horst (CMO at Hershey) and Robert Duboff (CEO of HawkPartners) underline how “advanced marketing analytics and big data make that job much harder today.” It’s a great read, albeit a bit long!

In a presentation about crowdsourcing being similar (or not) to traditional labor, Eric Favreau and I outlined that a key dimension to consider is worker autonomy. If people are free to choose and work, then it’s not at all similar to labor; if they are not, then crowd-work is. That’s the line of defense that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick uses to defend his company against assertions that drivers should be classified as employees. But recent research from NYU, however, points out that Uber’s software exerts similar control over workers that a human manager would. Fascinating in the current debate!

L’Oréal is the latest brand to bring content-creation in-house, with a content arm, housed in Montreal, which will consist of three people with the mandate to produce content (from how-to videos to make-up tutorials and social media photos) for the 35 brands in L’Oréal’s Canadian portfolio. The effort is a pilot that could spread across the global company to other regions. “How we’re consuming media today is changing,” said Ekaterina Dobrokhotova, head of consumer engagement at L’Oréal Canada. Outsourcing that can become expensive — and result in a slow pace. Dobrokhotova realized the time was right to create an in-house arm.

Can cleaning be uberfied? If it can, then it will not be through Homejoy, an online home-cleaning startup that was in the midst of an explosive expansion, but recently announced they had run out of money and had to shut the doors for good. Former CEO Cheung said that worker classification lawsuits were the “deciding factor” in Homejoy’s failure to raise additional funding. Others paint a different picture. In interviews with more than a half-dozen former employees, Backchannel sees a more complicated story emerge, one in which lawsuits were not the primary nor the proximate reason for the company’s demise. A fascinating article about scaling a business.

In the span of World War II, which has affected nearly every family in Russia, nearly 6 billion letters were sent home from the frontlines. As there exists no database that collects and catalogue them, Google decided to rescue these letters, to collect them from users and to create a browsable online archive of wartime letters in Russia. Here’s the video that presents the “Alive Memory” project. I love the idea!

This is another fascinating article about the specifics of working in creative industries, specifically when working with media. Matt McCue, senior writer for 99U, writes about getting onto the cover of the New Yorker. Cartoonist submit up to 10 sketches, so there can be 500 entries competing for approximately 12 spots in the magazine ‘- “terrible odds of success.” This is the same problem every creative faces—on steroids: tight deadlines, a crazy competitive environment, a discerning audience, and uncertain pay. So why do they do it? And how do they generate their ideas week after week? Read the article, it’s highly interesting.

On “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver weighed in on the terrible Paris attacks with an epic rant “made up almost entirely of obscenities followed by a shout-out to French pastry” as Alternet writes. “If you’re in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good fucking luck,” he said. “Because go ahead! Bring your bankrupt ideology — they’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macaroons, Proust, and the fucking croque-en-bouche. You’ve just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friends. You are fucked!” Amen, John Oliver.

Paris and history and images. Again. I told you I love it! Mashable shared some great photos by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont a French photographer who grew up mostly in Algeria, converted to Islam, made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and in 1923 did a beautiful series of color phots. Look at them, you will recognize many places if you are a Parisian like me. Wonderful.

It’s the 3rd time I share something about Magic Leap (first time here, second time here), one of the most funded and mysterious companies out there at the moment. Here is an article about a presentation that was appended to a 2013 patent filing, and that adds more evidence to what Magic Leap wants to offer… and how they want to change the way we experience & interact with technology in the future. Look at some of the visuals, imagine that someone (called Magic Leap, but also Microsoft and others) is currently working on making that a reality. Well that’s what the future is like – fascinating!

An interesting interview of Mariam Naficy, who launched the online cosmetics store Eve.com in the late 1990s, which she sold for $110 million, then joined The Body Shop to set up and run its e-commerce division, and now heads Minted.com which sells cards, custom art, and home decor crowdsourced from independent designers. She talks about failure, getting up again, facing doubts, running a company as a women and mother… a good read!

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