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They Say They Want a Revolution

They Say They Want a Revolution: What Marketers Need to Know as Consumers Take Control challenges designers, marketing specialists, and advertisers to stop and consider something. Consider that the audience controls what they want, watch, buy, and ignore.

Each essay in this collection supports the argument that consumers want more than the product. Knowing, feeling, and being in touch with the values of that product (or its manufacturer) align them with something special. In addition to the product itself, you have promotion and distribution. Consumers can choose what to watch these days. Turning on their TiVO’s block-advertisement feature or having a web browser ignore pop-ups and banners places the advertiser in an awkward situation. How do we reach the consumer when they don’t want to be reached? The audience is in control. They want uniqueness. They crave individuality. And their attention span grows shorter day by day, minute by minute.

Marketers need to evolve or die. They must instill some level of value, of differentiation now more than ever. They Say They Want a Revolution approaches these issues from a number of varied disciplines. Industrial design, marketing, graphic design, television advertising, branding, interactive design, and media development are some of the areas covered. Look for great articles by Larry Keeley (President and Co-Founder of Doblin, Inc.), Dennis Madsen (President and CEO of REI), Michael Markman (Digeo), Michael Snyder (VP of Marketing and Sales for Comcast Cable), Lakish Hatalkar (Emerging Media Strategist at Procter & Gamble), and Paul Matthaeus (Chief Creative Officer and CEO of Digital Kitchen).

Paul Mattheaus compiled the book as a survival guide for marketing and consumer specialists. I sat down with Digital Kitchen’s mastermind to learn a little bit more about the book, his thoughts on advertising today, and Digital Kitchen’s ambitions.

Q & A with Paul Matthaeus

Q: Paul, for those not familiar with Digital Kitchen, tell us a little bit about the firm’s mission and accomplishments.

A: DIGITALKITCHEN was founded on May 1, 1995 as the digital studio for an independent advertising agency in Seattle, WA. I chartered DK to cultivate and advance broader experimentation and creativity in full-motion electronic media, leveraged with an uncommon faculty for strategic brand marketing.

In 2000, recognizing DK’s uncommon proficiency for national-caliber, brand-driven production, Don McNeill joined DK as President and Executive Producer, with the charter of expanding DK’s influence nationally, and bringing a greater degree of live-action acumen.

The work of DK has touched over 100 countries, garnered awards in every major industry forum, has been featured in general and trade publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, BrandWeek, and AdWeek, and is part of the New York Museum of Modern Art Permanent Collection. In 2001, DK was voted best by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP). In 2002, DK won the Emmy at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. In the last three years, DK garnered more Emmy nominations in the main title category of any single firm.

DK has produced and directed work for clients such as Nike, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Budweiser, AT&T, Microsoft and Sony, and entertainment content for Paramount Studios, Sony Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, HBO, NBC and CBS.

Q: Define Brand Theatre, and tell us how Digital Kitchen creates it.

A: Brand Theatre is a quantum magnification of the brand experience by leveraging entertainment, advertising and interactivity across new and traditional media platforms. Brand Theatre aims to involve consumers voluntarily for time periods beyond 30 seconds, and as a result, is a superior tool for generating consideration. The metric is simple: involve someone for 30 seconds, and you have awareness. Involve someone for 30 minutes, and you have consideration.  Compared to awareness, consideration is a quantum leap closer to purchase. Further, consideration is a higher order of accountability. We develop Brand Theatre projects using a blend of advertising, entertainment and interactive disciplines, applied based on the demands of the particular client and communication challenge.

Q: If Brand Theatre is about creating meaning for consumers, how do you create meaning visually? One could argue that it’s more pathos than logos and ethos.

A: Per the old adage of “seeing is believing”, the visual component tends to be a better proxy of genuine human experience or ´┐Żevidence’ than words. Language—whether written or spoken—is the lexis of rhetoric.

Q: Do you agree with the statement that marketing today has more to do with anthropology than successful branding? Why or why not?

A: I do agree. The best branding is uniquely empathetic to the human condition, and finds a way to weave itself into that fabric. The idea that a brand can be somehow inflicted on unsuspecting consumers is an absolutely archaic construct, and in the long run, an uphill battle. Today, consumers are the ultimate judges of the effectiveness of marketing communications, whether we like it or not.

Q: The big take away from They Say They Want a Revolution is that things really have changed. Marketing research, user studies, Gallup Polls, or television viewership just don’t give enough concrete evidence about the consumer. What do you feel is the biggest step forward from the days of old? When did this take place?

A: Two things: the proliferation and segmentation of media channels, and the rise of the individual choice over mass consumption. Obviously, technology is the driving factor in enabling both of these trends.

Q: One gets the impression that consumers don’t want to be sold to anymore. They want to be entertained. How do advertisers utilize entertainment as a means of impacting purchasing decisions?

A: Complex to answer really, because it depends so much on the individual and the object of their attention. But essentially, it is the job of any product to solve some sort of need for the consumer, and for any marketing communication to reward the consumer for their attention, whether it’s with information, entertainment or both. As basic needs become less of issue, what constitutes a ´┐Żneed’ becomes increasingly subjective, emotional and individual.

Q: Do you feel resistance to advertising has changed since publishing They Say They Want a Revolution? Then (2003), you claimed it was at an all time high. Have things gotten better or worse? Why and what will change that?

A: I really couldn’t say—I don’t watch the metrics that close and very little time has passed. The good news is, the consumer has more autonomy to view or not view marketing messages, so I suppose it’s entirely possible for the resistance to drop as the ability to avoid commercial messages becomes more ingrained in our habits and media platforms. But a shift like this heats up marketers efforts, which tends to elevate the invasiveness, so it’s entirely possible the trend is continuing.

Q: There have been a lot of short films lately that attempt to reach consumers in fresh new ways. Nike, Diesel, and Getty Images have hired directors to publish these shorts on CD-ROMs, DVDs, or the Internet. How do those shorts differ from what Digital Kitchen delivers with Brand Theatre? Do you fear companies will drive more work to these independent auteurs instead of agencies like yours?

A: No fear. I think all of those efforts are indicative of the coming shift, and any success just proves the efficacy of our perspective. In the early days first steps are bound to be clumsy, so we are seeing a huge spectrum of attempts in the category, which is a very good thing. The principle driving those efforts is fundamentally the same—DK differs primarily in the kind of thinking and resources we bring to the game: multi-disciplined in both marketing, entertainment and interactive. We don’t entertain any illusions of world domination in this category. If others are realizing success, that just validates our POV.

Q: If sight, sound, and motion are a means of reaching consumers—by creating rich experiences—then what about interaction? When will it become integrated into the experience of advertising and communication? What shortcomings have to be overcome?

A: Interaction—at it’s essence—is a yes/no proposition. I feel that however you manage it, getting your customer to voluntarily experience your message is 99% of the interactive battle. From there, the game is a continuing series of voluntary choices, that eventually should lead to some kind of transaction.

Q: What about portables? They still aren’t operating at a rich media level, where you get the “widescreen” experience of television or cinema. Customer relation-management has a new channel to consider. So how has that changed things from the days when broadcast was the one and only way for reaching consumers?

A: Portables are an important part of the media consumption food chain, and will continue to increase in importance as their sophistication and usage grows. New phones are now shipping with TV’s built in. It won’t be long before we have VOD, higher resolution and iPod sound quality.

Q: What do you expect to come of advertising in the next 10 years? How much will consumers control the messages they digest, and how does Digital Kitchen expect to play a role?

A: I wish I knew with certainty. The broad technology and societal forces that drive advertising are known and trackable—what final form it takes and precisely when it hits is a function of society and commerce.  

Thanks, Paul.

Paul Matthaeus, DK’s Chief Creative Officer has been a guest speaker for the national Broadcast Design Association, Boards Summit, American Advertising Federation and the Graphic Artist Guild.  His regularly published commentaries on technology and creativity in marketing have earned Matthaeus a reputation as a futurist and creative opinion leader.



Book Information
They Say They Want a Revolution: What Marketers Need to Know as Consumers Take Control
essays compiled by Paul Matthaeus
170 pages, Paperback
October 1, 2003
0.49 x 9.18 x 6.10 inches
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 0595298389

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2126 FILED UNDER Book Reviews
PUBLISHED ON Nov.02.2004 BY Jason A. Tselentis
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Arty’s comment is:

In today’s world, customer is the king. And due to the awareness, today’s customer is more powerful than ever.

This awareness was brought about by the Media. And well, it’s media itself, that has to keep on coming up with the ‘new & better’ ways of satisfying the consumer needs. No matter what product it is, without thorough marketing it’s likely to take a backseat in a few days/months.

It’s the era of survival of the fittest. And these days 'fittest is not the finest, but the fastest'. Get across your customer’s mind in the fastest way,...fastest your ideas makes sense, better are the prospects of the retention and higher are the chances of your success!

On Nov.04.2004 at 04:06 AM