Think Hard


I have every sympathy with Banksy here.
July 18, 2013, 12:04 pm
Filed under: brands, business, creativity, design, marketing, politics, social media | Tags: ,

banksy_nugget



The US election result and some thoughts on the media and communications that shaped it.
November 7, 2012, 4:50 pm
Filed under: brands, business, creativity, marketing, politics | Tags: , , , ,

When Barack Obama rode into power in November 2008 on a wave of optimism, change, belief, creativity and downright sexiness the world gasped.  American politics had not been so riveting since the 1960’s and certainly not as glamorous.  This online ad encapsulated it all for me.

And then reality kicked.  The mother of all recessions and hostile antipathy towards what’s now known as Obamacare.

One of Mitt Romney’s central strategies was, in creating 12million new jobs (really?), he would revoke Obamacare and return America to the most obviously polarised class structure in the Western world.

Obama meanwhile was criticised for continuing the Afghan war and for appearing remote; too much a thinker, not enough a baby-hugger.

He was doomed.

Five things saved him I believe.  Catching, and killing, Bin Laden (in a brave and high risk operation), Hurricane Sandy, Clinton’s speech, his wife and a brilliantly single-minded and principled political agenda that reached out Liberally to the WHOLE of America.

While Romney seduced the white vote with constant appeals to their pockets “it’s the economy stupid.” Obama consistently ploughed his furrow of social justice.

The Democrats are painted as Socialists (albeit dressed in Blue) but they strike me, under Obama, as the world’s great Liberals, balancing vote winning (in the underpriveleged) social issues with strong foreign affairs and a balanced view on the economy; it’s not the economy at ALL costs.

This chart said it all when I saw it last week.  It demonstrated what a danger Romney would be given the keys to the White House (we all saw his ineptitude abroad earlier this year in the UK)

The statistics are overwhelming and, guess what, the only country favouring Romney was Pakistan; default home of Al Quaeda.  World, we got a close call here but escaped unharmed.

Obama’s return to power was anything but certain.  He had to rely on a strong ethnic vote (and his ethnicity unquestionably helped there – were a white candidate standing against Romney the result would probably have been very different.  Should Hilary Clinton choose to stand in 2016 her support amongst female voters may have a similiar effect).  He had to scrap on the streets of the swing states for his life.  He only performed moderately in the TV debates.  He was saved in the end by his sticking to principles but his negative campaigning was far removed from the elegance of the Obey campaign.

This TV ad from last month though was a masterclass in Liberal balanced communication and I hope it made its mark.  There were so many that one will never know and it seems it was the doorstep canvassing that really made the difference.  Obama’s strategy in micro-marketing being better and more energetic.

A note on the TV coverage.  I watched it here, in the UK, flipping between the BBC, Sky, CNBC and CNN.  By a country mile the most interesting, insightful and challenging coverage came from CNN.

The BBC was plodding and boring.

So, America has made a brave, some might say, and reasoned, others might say, judgement call.  At the end of an administration that has see the economy hit by its very own Hurricane Sandy and against a presentable and domestically credible conservative voice offering the promise of a return to “The American Dream” Obama has held on, scraped back into power and given the opportunity to carry on his work, Not only that but The Senate surprisingly remained in the hands of the Democrats.

One major blot on the horizon; the Republicans still hold power in the house and so the opportunity to quash social change policies remains real and present.

One word sums it up again though.

Hope.

I’m Mark Gorman and I approved this message.



Creative Scotland backs Edinburgh’s initiative to drive growth in the creative industries

I sit on the board of Creative Edinburgh and today’s announcement acknowledges real progress and significant funding.  This is the press release that was sent out announcing our funding by the City Council Development Department.

Creative Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council have today (19 October) announced new funding to support a strategy for developing the city’s creative enterprises.

The heart of the plan is the revival of Creative Edinburgh, which will be marked with a formal launch on 3 November. The organisation will help businesses work together, make the most of the city’s reputation and generate inward investment.

Creative Scotland is providing £120,000 which will complement investment from the Council and assistance already received from the European Union. The funding will support various initiatives in the Council’s People, Place and Pound strategy for creative industries.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Economic Development Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, welcomed the announcement:

‘We have long recognised the important contribution that the creative industries can, and do, make to the economy. I look forward to working with partner organisations on our strategy to grow the size, scope and international competitiveness of the creative industries base here in Edinburgh.’

Caroline Parkinson: ‘This investment will support creative businesses to continue to develop, grow and innovate. Whether finding new workspaces, or creative hubs, Creative Edinburgh is well placed to establish a network to share experience, find new clients and generate business growth.’

As home to the world’s most famous arts festivals, Edinburgh has a unique offer in its creative and cultural industries sector but the sector remains one of the city’s least understood economic assets. Creative Scotland’s investment is aimed at strengthening the sector, driving growth and promoting Scotland’s global reputation for innovation.’

The work of Creative Edinburgh supports the Council’s People, Place and Pound strategy to support the creative industries in the city. Key areas for development include:

  • Promoting and connecting creative businesses to each other and potential customers.
  • Identifying creative spaces, including locations that can act as ‘incubators’ for new businesses.
  • Providing business development support to help new creative start-ups get off the ground.

Overall, Scotland’s creative industries are growing at a faster rate than the average of the Scottish economy over last 10 years. The creative industries represent 5% of all registered businesses in Scotland and contribute £2.4 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Scottish economy.

In Edinburgh alone, it is estimated that there are 4000 creative businesses and organisations, which provide jobs for 26,000 people.



A breath of fresh air

The impact of the global recession has hit VisitScotland’s Framework for Change ambitions hard.  Even with the injection of energy from Homecoming Scotland our tourism economy has failed to grow at the rate demanded in this economic vision.  So, the additional £5m that Mike Cantlay announced for ‘guerilla marketing’ this summer and autumn has to be welcomed. It looks like a clear demonstration of logic, and we don’t always say that when we are critiquing public sector initiatives.

The logic is blindingly obvious.  The pound is weak, making the UK a cheap destination; so let’s increase our marketing in Europe.  What’s more, there’s a ruddy great cloud of volcanic ash hanging over us that’s making most people terrified to book flights to Europe (me included); so tempt people to stay at home – Cantlay claims 40% of us have never holidayed in Scotland.

I’m impressed with Cantlay’s decisiveness and ambition. Really impressed. He’s acting like an entrepreneur and spotting opportunity – not prevaricating about the bush as the opportunity drifts away like ash on the wind.  (Obviously though, Malcolm Roughhead and his team will be the real architects of the plan.)

He claims the £5m additional spend is but a pebble, but pebbles create ripples.  And his willingness to take a risk and very publicly throw that pebble into the pool surely has to be applauded.

Sure, you can debate whether the money is being spent in the right way, but that’s a question of tactics that I do not have the right to interrogate.  What I admire is the boldness of strategy and a willingness to put VisitScotland into the firing line, although I suspect it will turn out to be the line to receive plaudits some time hence.

He points to Obama’s effective investment in tourism marketing in the US believing that this will have a similar effect.  Will it?  Only time will tell, but for sure this is a very public and welcome act of aggressive marketing at a time when “cut” is the loudest word in most public sector boardrooms.  I hope it cleans up at the awards this time next year.

Oh, and Ian Gray:  I hope you’re watching. Probably not.  You’ll just think it’s mumbo jumbo.



Foresight

Could you close the door behind you on the way out?

I worked on this ad with Pete and Iain at 60 Watt six months ago.  We felt sure it would have a role to play in the Scotsman.com campaign.  And sure enough.  It ran today.

 

 



The Drum Power 100. Are you ready to rumble?

I am nominated for the Drum Power 100 and if you’d like to vote for me feel free.  (But I think the link is fecked actually.)  And anyway no clients are on the list so who cares.

But this is where the real battle lies.  Two creative Goliaths are out to slay one another.

Gareth Howells (Newhaven) versus Don Smith (Realise – ex Union.  He has retired from advertising).

Because they are creatives they can raise the bar.

I love this.

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Twitter ye Not?

For those of you who missed my earlier post about Twitter you might have missed the burgeoning debate.  It really is getting quite heated.  Do feel free to join in here.

We’re up to 55 comments so far.




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