Thursday, 31 May 2007

Pringles from Intel = Printel??

I just read an article this morning in about intel's plans to release a quad-core processor next year. AMD I believe is doing the same thing. Now, before you criticise me for being technically ignorant, I will first admit that I am an amateur geek. I am the kind of person that obtains joy not from inventing a new way of doing something but the kind of person who breaks something and then has a great deal of fun trying to fix it so that it is back in the same condition as it was before so I can use it for something else.

So back to my quandary about the duo, duo2, quad-core processors and however many chips Intel or AMD wish to stack together in the future.

Have we already hit the holy grail of processor speed? A couple of years ago when Pentium 4 chips were still in vogue, the speed that they being offered to mass consumers was in the vicinity of 2.8 GHz. Then the Parallel Processing craze took over and the speed of the individual chips of a duo was dropped to 1.83 GHz. The notebook that I am currently using sports a 1st generation Duo with two 1.66 GHz processors.

My question is: If all the new rage is stacking processors that are two thirds the speed of the fastest mass produced processors from two years ago, Has Intel given up on making faster processors? Have we hit the proverbial one minute mile of processors speed? Have we all but resigned ourselves to the fact that you can't fly across the atlantic?

If the speed at which we are now computing is not the result of faster better processors but by how many processors you can fit in a box then has Intel effectively redefined the consumer expectation? Does the consumer no longer want the speed vs size ratio to increase and are they happy to accept that the current pinky sized processors will never get any faster?

Parallel processing is a term that I heard at university more than a decade ago and I am sure that professional geeks have (armed with a soldering iron on the floor of their parents garage) plugged multiple P4 chips to a single computer in a quest to make it go faster.

What I am dumbfounded about is the lack of consumers outcry. Has our lust for speed blinded us to the fact that instead of being sold a faster better car, Ferrari has simply made a bigger car that can fit two v12 engines in it.

Has Intel (as the uncontestable market leader) simply dictated what the market should think? Will Intel's marketing campaign next year simply be "4 Chips Good, 2 Chips Bad"?

If this is really the case then this strategy can be applied to many other consumer products? Will be see the return of platform shoes under the tag line "Dr. Martin's Duo Sole".

The only intelligent thing that I can say further about this..........Oink!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

My Thoughts on Creativity

Marketing has always been my passion which is why after a decade in the conference industry I decided to embark on providing a service that can really help brands and business connect with the people they need to in a better and more effective way, beyond what I was providing to sponsors and delegates attending my events.

Too many books and articles that I have read have told me that marketing is an increasingly difficult business. Too many media channels, too much clutter and consumers who are becoming wise to the BS that is out there. Many of the friends that I have spoken to have even told me that I was nuts to try to build an agency. I was told horror stories of long work hours and crazy deadlines. So why am I still obsessed with R3TRO?

Well the answer is simple. Every successful campaign that I have seen, read about, been involved in has been ridiculously simple. The most successful ones are for brands that have one single message that is communicated in a manner that exploits what people already believe. I also believe that whether you are young, old, black, white, yellow, male, female or a mixture of all these features, people are fundamentally the same. Marketing then becomes art imitating life rather than life imitating art.

The rest of it is process. Thomas Edison once said "Genuis is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration." To be inspired is to be emotionally affected by external forces. To be creative the ability to create something from nothing. Creativity as such has no place in marketing. You cannot develop a successful marketing campaign by pondering clever ideas in isolation.

And then in a moment of clarity it came to me. How can I offer a down-to-earth crap-free marketing methodology to my clients? It was simple. By simply removing creativity from the equation and replacing it with inspiration. R3TRO is about looking back for the idea that already exists to inspire your next campaign.

Of course this is no revelation to people in the Advertising industry. Advertising is not about creativity at all. Creativity is simply a mask that is worn to disguise the reuse of old ideas that people have generally forgotten about. But business is not stupid and even if they do not see the situation as I see it, when was the last time you were pitched an original idea?

Forget the "original idea" as the core to your campaign because people just can't relate to it unless your business has the kind of marketing budget to brainwash your target audience. Rely on what they know and can relate to and develop something that inspires your customers and facilitates that emotional connection to your product.

At the risk of preaching, if you are responsible for a brand, or a product, to really communicate your message affectively, be inspired by your customers because only then will you be able to inspire new customers.