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Google #Firestarters

3 Oct

Today I’ve been particularly fascinated by Google Firestarters, a project aimed at generating discussion in agencies about the ways that agencies operate and the ways in which they could change for the better.


It’s primarily aimed at the planning community but I think anyone who works for or with a marketing/advertising/creative agency will find the coverage of this event compelling.

only dead fish google firestarters agency OS BBH GlueIsobar agencies clients slideshare October 2011

Image from - be nice and visit his page

The event includes the usual inspiring slides from the nice folks at BBH and GlueIsobar (and these are always interesting anyway) but anyone who

#oneaday 150: Sell out with me tonight

8 Jun

I got into a conversation yesterday about something that always riles me: selling out. This post from A Little Bird Told Me, one of my fave local fashion blogs, explores the tip of the selling out iceberg in relation to blogging for the love of it and being paid to blog. It’s not very often that I get ranty, but this one really gets me…

I’ve blogged on both sides of the fence – blogging for a living as part of my role working for a fashion website and blogging in my spare time just because I love to write. I’ve guest-blogged for designers and I’ve recruited guest bloggers to write for the site I used to run in my last job. Prior to The One A Day project, I blogged via LJ from 2004 – 2010, so I’m not exactly new to it. However, I always, always find blogging for myself more rewarding than being paid to pimp a product – once you’re being bankrolled or sponsored (even if it’s not in monetary terms) by a brand, you take on an allegience to that brand and have to conform to certain guidelines. It becomes a job, rather than a hobby and you lose some of the freedom and delight that comes with having your own blog.

selling out sell out blogging fashion blog press day PR new media comment  selling out is the new keeping it real

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve absolutely loved the blogging and writing bits of my career. I am a writer at heart. But I don’t think you should mix personal blogs with work ones if you’re not prepared to comply with the way that the media/press industry works. If you can make money off the back of your blog, Great. But with a great backhander comes great responsibility and you’re subject to swaying your content to be biased towards the hand that feeds.

I think ‘selling out’ in blogging terms completely depends on your outlook and what you want from blogging.

One of the things that irks me is this ‘we cannot be bought’ or ‘we should be able to operate outside of normal media rules’ blogging mentality combined with a desire to be included in certain industries. If bloggers (particularly in the fashion world) do not want to be ‘courted’ by brands, or expected to provide content in return for invites to shows and press days, then why aspire to attend them?

Press days and shows are designed for one reason only: to generate positive publicity. You can bet your bottom dollar that if a blogger was invited along to an event then produced a negative post about the brand hosting that event, they wouldn’t be invited to many others. Why else do you think fashion events are teeming with cupcakes, nail bars and goodie bags? It’s not because the brands are nice – they simply want to wow you into being nice about them. By attending, bloggers are saying they are available for courting and are willing to write in exchange for blog visitors/samples/etc. Brands love bloggers because it adds a layer of authenticity to their proposition. Advocacy is a million times more valuable than advertising in this overly-social world of content creation and curation that we live in.

fashion cupcakes high snobiety louis vuitton chanel fashion cup cake press day PR blogger blog

Like I said on Twitter yesterday, it’s a two way street. The brand gets ‘credible’ advocacy, the blogger gets publicity and traffic. We are all editors and curators of our own magazines now, but just because the media landscape is changing doesn’t mean that industry rules will or should.

Selling out is always going to be a massively subjective issue. Bands, writers, artists, bloggers – we all face that ‘sell out?’ fork in the road at some point. The path you take is up to you. Being commercially-minded doesn’t make someone a bad person or make their blog any less credible in my eyes. But imagining that blogging for a brand without conforming to that brand’s ideals is possible is rather naive and idealistic.

There are some amazing bloggers out there who work really hard to make their blogs a success and I think it’s fantastic that we’re in the thick of a real DIY-success ethic where you get out what you put in. If reaching a wide audience, engaging people in conversation, provoking thought, getting recognition and being successful is selling out, then I’m all for it.

As long as you’re happy in what you’re doing and it’s right in your eyes, that’s the best way to play it. I could bang on about selling out all day but in the end, the concept only really exists if you believe it does – shape your own idea of integrity and as long as you stick with that, what others think shouldn’t matter.

#oneaday 10 – The best a man can get

10 Jan

Working in advertising has given me a different view on certain things that I used to take as read in my previous client-side roles (she says, for all of the 56 days of her advertising career). I mean this in a completely positive way – I now have a way of seeing things from both sides and I think this will help a lot over the coming months as I get stuck into my new (ish) job.

There are always a lot of jokes about advertising and people who work in the industry, like this from one of my favourite web comics, Toothpaste For Dinner:

toothpaste for dinner advertising marketing

There have also been a few decent books and films born out of advertising, and one of them happens to be the book that I’m reading at the moment…

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#oneaday 4 – a right royal wedding souvenir

4 Jan

So, sticking to my schedule (and failing to stick to the gym regime) that I set myself yesterday, today’s one a day post is all about Design.

it's nice that design

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Round up of 2010

28 Dec

The last year has been eventful to say the least. 3 jobs and 3 houses later and I’m finally feeling all settled and ready to give you my review of the year’s stuff. Enjoy! Feel free to argue/agree with me by leaving a comment. What were your fave things of 2010?

2010 year in review

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Near life experience

7 Oct

Today at work I had a near-death experience. No, really.

Okay, well maybe not really.

But it was quite scary.


Death or Glory

Erm, the first one, please


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The redundancy shakedown (and other songs)

22 Sep

In these ‘interesting times’ as one previous Director I worked for put it; it’s not uncommon to hear about redundancies, companies closing and people going jobless. It used to be something that was a vague notion slightly over the brow of the hill of my sphere of reference, something that happened far away, or to other people’s dads when I was at school. But of late (and by late, I mean, pretty much since I started working); the heavy axe of redundancy swings perpetually overhead; and work becomes not so much a day-job, but a full time battle to keep your head down, lest it get chopped off by said axe.

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