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Different times | Campaign magazine – It’s tempting to look at the best of today’s creatives and compare them with the greats: David Abbott, John Webster, Helmut Krone, George Lois, Ed McCabe, Mary Wells, Bill Bernbach, Paul Arden, Sir John Hegarty. And to think there’s no-one around who could hold a candle to any of them. But is it a fair comparison? They were working with account men like Frank Lowe, Tim Bell and Nigel Bogle, they were working with media guys like Mike Yershon, directors like Ridley Scott, Alan Parker, Hugh Hudson, and planning hadn’t even been invented then. Of course it was easier to do great work, everyone wanted great work. There weren’t hundreds of TV channels and big data and micro-targeting, and ad tech, and dozens of different platforms, and five campaigns shown at creative pitches. What was wanted was quality not quantity, one fantastic ad not a dozen space-fillers. It was, in fact, much easier in those days to do great work. Sure the competition was tougher, but everyone was agreed on what they wanted, ads that made the public sit up and take notice. I know the people working today may not have stood up against the greats. But I’m not sure that if any of the greats had been working today, they would have been able to produce great work either. – Dave Trott on the futility of comparisons that relate to now, versus then and changing ad environment for creatives (and everyone else for that matter). The contrast in creatives and their output is very striking. One cannot ignore the nature of the medium in the creative process. The move to social seems to have kneecapped creatives and creativity. By comparison earlier media revolutions like television enhanced creativity. Creatives were constantly learning new ways of creativity within the medium. The copywriters seems to have reduced their standing in creatives even more than visual designers. How can platforms provide creatives with a similar range that legacy media did? What can creatives do to recover their own mojo as a profession? More marketing related content here.
Pop Mart/Asian IPOs: go figure | Financial Times – Pop Mart, which sells $8 boxes of figurines, has taken advantage of its newfound popularity to join the listing boom in Hong Kong. Shares nearly doubled in value on the first day of trading on Friday. As with other recent Asian listings, a redirection of money previously set aside for the postponed Ant Group listing appears to have fuelled the frenzy. Demand has also been boosted by the approaching holiday shopping season.
Coca-Cola Launches Global Creative and Media Agency Reviews –Coca-Cola is launching a full global review of its media buying and planning services. The creative portion of the review encompasses creative, experiential marketing, production management and shopper marketing. “We are on a journey to fundamentally transform and dramatically improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our marketing investments,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson told Adweek. “By improving our processes, eliminating duplication and optimizing spend, we will generate significant savings to fuel reinvestment in our brands. “Media and creative agency services require significant investment from our brands. They are also a crucial component of our ongoing digital transformation journey to drive our business. With that in mind, we have decided to undergo a complete redesign of our media and creative agency models in an effort to align the strategic, operational, and commercial needs of our new, networked organization,” the spokesperson added. “This will necessitate a full review of our media and creative planning and buying practices, as well as our media and creative agency appointments and commercial relationships around the world. We expect this process will be completed by the end of 2021.”
Pompeo shames MIT, calls Chinese authorities ‘jackbooted thugs’ in remarks about academic freedom | South China Morning Post – “A Fulbright student coming in from some country ought not be returned to their home country and to suffer from the jackbooted thugs that now want to take the information that they got, send them back into the United States only to have them just take a little bit more information that they’re going to hand off to the Chinese [Ministry of State Security] … or the People’s Liberation Army”, he said. “MIT wasn’t interested in having me to their campus to give this exact set of remarks,” Pompeo said in his opening address. The school’s president, L. Rafael Reif, he added, “implied that my arguments might insult their ethnic Chinese students and professors”. – interesting, if true, that US universities are no platforming politicians to avoid offending Beijing
The Hottest Campaign Ads on Twitter Didn’t Really Work: Study – The PAC, Priorities USA, spent a good chunk of the cycle testing the effectiveness of ads, some 500 in all. And, along the way, they decided to conduct an experiment that could have potentially saved them tons of money. They took five ads produced by a fellow occupant in the Super PAC domain—the Lincoln Project—and attempted to measure their persuasiveness among persuadable swing state voters; i.e. the ability of an ad to move Trump voters towards Joe Biden. A control group saw no ad at all. Five different treatment groups, each made up of 683 respondents, saw one of the five ads. Afterwards they were asked the same post-treatment questions measuring the likelihood that they would vote and who they would vote for. The idea wasn’t to be petty or adversarial towards the Lincoln Project, which drew both fans and detractors for the scorched-earth spots it ran imploring fellow Republicans to abandon Trump. It was, instead, to see if Twitter virality could be used as a substitute for actual ad testing, which took funds and time. If it turned out that what the Lincoln Project was doing was proving persuasive, the thinking went, then Priorities USA could use Twitter as a quasi-barometer for seeing how strong their own ads were. But that didn’t turn out to be the case. According to Nick Ahamed, Priorities’ analytics director, the correlation of Twitter metrics—likes and retweets—and persuasion was -0.3, “meaning that the better the ad did on Twitter, the less it persuaded battleground state voters.” The most viral of the Lincoln Project’s ads—a spot called Bounty, which was RTed 116,000 times and liked more than 210,000 times—turned out to be the least persuasive of those Priorities tested. – I think that there a lot of lessons for creatives and strategists in this piece of research in terms of eliciting behaviour change, beyond politics
China shadows the rise of Hong Kong’s next tycoons – Nikkei Asia – Avoid politics, build trust: One dynasty heir speaks on a generation’s dilemma
A transatlantic effort to take on Big Tech | Financial Times – Companies are counting on the incoming Biden administration, which will include a number of tech-friendly officials from Barack Obama’s time in the White House, to help them stand up to Europe. It shouldn’t. One of the huge risks for the new administration is that it will be seen as too cosy with concentrated corporate power. Witness the cries already coming from the left about some of Mr Biden’s appointees who have backgrounds in private equity. Individual appointees should be judged on their own merits. If we didn’t let anyone from either the finance or the technology industries into the new administration, we would be the poorer for it. Take Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive, who is now Mr Biden’s chief markets adviser. He cleaned up derivatives trading while at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during the Obama years – grab the popcorn
About Google’s approach to research publication – Google Docs – A cross functional team then reviewed the paper as part of our regular process and the authors were informed that it didn’t meet our bar for publication and were given feedback about why. It ignored too much relevant research — for example, it talked about the environmental impact of large models, but disregarded subsequent research showing much greater efficiencies. Similarly, it raised concerns about bias in language models, but didn’t take into account recent research to mitigate these issues. We acknowledge that the authors were extremely disappointed with the decision that Megan and I ultimately made, especially as they’d already submitted the paper. Timnit responded with an email requiring that a number of conditions be met in order for her to continue working at Google, including revealing the identities of every person who Megan and I had spoken to and consulted as part of the review of the paper and the exact feedback. Timnit wrote that if we didn’t meet these demands, she would leave Google and work on an end date
Hong Kong’s Civil Servants Under Siege – The Diplomat – I think the oath taking is a big deal. If you don’t sign it, they will immediately assume you will be against the government one day. Most of us don’t agree with this practice. Those who are almost retired and are older think it’s quite normal. They stress that Hong Kong is a part of China, and civil servants have the responsibility to uphold the policies issued by the government and support it no matter what we think. But most of the newer recruits, what we care about is that freedom of speech is protected. The Basic Law guarantees our freedom of speech. No matter what career we have, we should enjoy this right.
RTOS port to RISC-V core for high reliability designs | EE News Europe – opportunities that previously would have gone to ARM
Wikipedia Matters by Hinnosaar, Hinnosaar, Kummer and Slivko – we conduct a randomized field experiment to test whether additional content on Wikipedia pages about cities affects tourists’ choices of overnight visits. Our treatment of adding information to Wikipedia in- creases overnight stays in treated cities compared to non-treated cities. The impact is largely driven by improvements to shorter and relatively incomplete pages on Wikipedia (PDF)