Tag Archives: 2015

Farts, Apple Watch, Racial Tensions: This Is What People Read in 2015

Another year is nearing its end. This year the most popular posts ranged from flatulent humor to Apple watch (and everything in between).

I had time to post a little bit less than on previous year, but readership remained stable and some surprises in the most read post list as well. You never know yourself what post will tickle your reader´s fancy.

This year I read lots of interesting books, saw some interesting movies and had some interesting debates. However, despite the Apple Watch, the year seemed a little bit boring from advertising and technology point of view.

I think it will be calm before storm, and next year will be humongous (both in macro and micro –level).

Or it is just the same old shit, you never know.

Most read posts 2016

  1. Ideas are like farts
  2. Why Apple Watch is Crucial For The Future of Apple
  3. Anatomy of An Insight: #Joulurauhaa
  4. Rethink Your Marketing Research
  5. Forget The Apple Watch This Is The Only Wearable That Truly Matters
  6. 5 Ways To Make Your YouTube Pre-Rolls Kick Ass
  7. Agencies Are Slow
  8. Digital Pre-Testing: Harmful Waste Of Money
  9. Just Say The Obvious, But Do It With Flair
  10. Anatomy of Insight: Straight Outta Somewhere

This will be my last post for the year.

I will be returning, whether you want it or not, in 2016.

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When Ad Makes You Feel Something

Contrary to the ad I trashed yesterday, this is awesome:

When ad gives you chills, you know it is good.

Rugby is not that popular in Finland and we have not been any good at it either. So ever since the days of Jonah Lomu my team of choice has always been All-Blacks. I will be rooting for them also in the upcoming world cup.

Full disclosure: This ad was done by R/GA London.

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Digital Pre-Testing: Harmful Waste of Money

Lately many research agencies have been introducing digital pre-testing opportunities. You can test your campaign creative, whether it is a display ad or Facebook post. While it is lucrative for those research agencies, it is actually utter lunacy for the brands.

The main problem is that this testing does not happen in the real environment. People are too involved in the process and read too much into it. Focus groups are already killing any creativity and cut-through in TV ads. Soon the same will happen to digital assets.

It also doesn’t make any sense as you can test digital in real marketplace. With TV it is harder to test different creative, whereas the main advantage in digital channels is the real-time optimization. You don´t need to guess or academically discuss what creative works the best. Just put the different creative solutions in Google display network with smaller budget and it automatically starts favor what works the best. I remember when we had to do A/B testing manually; nowadays networks do it automatically for you. When you launch the campaign, that is when the real work starts.

Testing & optimizing is really important for brands. Testing digital assets in isolation is expensive way of getting results that you would get with the fraction of the price in the actual environment. So instead of wasting your money on digital pre-testing, give more money to your agency to produce more assets and to test out different alternatives in the real world not in the focus group –altered reality.

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Why People Root For Deez Nuts?


How far are you willing to take this practical joke?
As far as America wants to take it.
Deez Nuts in Rolling Stone interview

If you ever doubt the power of Internet, just check the rise of Deez Nuts. This “presidential candidate” is currently the highest-polling independent since Ross Perot. What could be a viral campaign for Straight Outta Compton (Deez Nuts is originally a song from Dr. Dre´s The Chronic) was just a funny idea from an 15-year old teenager. He realized that anyone can file to run for president with Federal Elections Commission and you don´t even have to use your real name or address.


The hype has just begun. Warren G (the originator of Deez Nuts) has volunteered to become vice president for Deez Nuts. The search interest for Nuts has surpassed Hillary Clinton and is almost as high as Donald Trump.


Why Deez Nuts has become such a phenomenon?

  1. It is funny. It is hard to think about more serious decision than selecting your new president. That does not mean that people would not want take the piss out of it.
  2. People adapt to everything. Donald Trump´s candidacy shocked people at first, but now it is already old news. You need constantly some new stimulus or otherwise you get totally numb to the whole election (and we have not even entered the primary phase). There is so long time till the actual election that people will get bored to pretty much everything: eventually even to Deez Nutz.
  3. Shareability. People share things that instantly make them laugh. If newscaster pronouncing “Deez Nuts” does not make you laugh a little bit, you must be too cynical for your own good. The name and the backstory is a perfect example of digital age and what makes people tick in 2015.

It remains to be seen how long Deez Nuts will remain hot topic in US election. For non-voting fans of practical humor hopefully quite long.

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Fight Against Lazy Writing


Although I am not necessary an advocate for perfection, I am fierce fighter against sloppy writing. I believe in “less is more”. Write like you would be boxing, every hit has to do damage to your opponent. Strip away all the fluff, edit and then condense even more.

I have been reading this excellent book about making of James Joyce´s Ulysses and it reminded me of this Ezra Pound´s classic poem called “In A Station of the Metro” (right spacing in the above picture):

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Short, isn´t it?

The story behind this imagist classic is inspiring. Ezra Pound stepped onto the platform of a metro station and caught a glimpse of transcendent face amongst the crowd. As he turned to follow it, he saw another ones. This mesmerized him and he wanted to write poem about it. He wrote over thirty-line poem about it, tried to finesse it but eventually tore it up. It just was not working the way he intended (Pound was fierce editor). The sight haunted him and he tried to write it again six months later. He failed miserably. Eventually he finished the above poem, year after. Only two lines and 14 words: nothing more and nothing less.

That story should be the guiding light for everyone who has to write in his or her work. Simpler is more difficult to write, but it is more effective. The same Ezra Pound laid out the three laws of writing imagist poetry in his “A Retrospect”:

  1. Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective.
  2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
  3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome.

These rules are worth to live by even when not writing poetry. Essentially you must cut the crap, get to the point and let it flow. In advertising where our space is even shorter, it is disrespectful to our audience to write lazy copy. We should be always sharp, simple and short.

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Woody Allen Way Of Work


Woody Allen is one of my favorite directors. Not all of his movies are necessarily great, but on the other hand he is doing about one good movie constantly every year. He explained his work ethic in the recent interview:

“I’m lazy and an imperfectionist. Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will work on the details until midnight and sweat it out, whereas for me, come six o’clock, I want to go home. I want to have dinner. Filmmaking is not [the] end-all be-all of my existence” 

The comment raises important point. Does it make sense to try to be perfect? Woody Allen is naturally superbly talented and even a half-hearted attempt from him is way better than from majority of directors. Would you want your legacy to be around 50 good movies (as a director and even more as a writer) or just one excellent (and maybe couple of unfinished ones)? Is your good other people´s excellent? If you have tendency to perfectionism, you are the harshest and quite often the most unfair judge of your own work.

There is a balance in perfection and production output. The more you try to perfect, the less you produce.

Dr. Dre just announced that after 16 years in making his magnum opus “Detox” will never come out:

“I didn’t like it. It wasn’t good. The record, it just wasn’t good. I worked my ass off on it, and I don’t think I did a good enough job.”

It is great virtue to be self-critical, but should you cut your losses earlier? Naturally Dr. Dre did not exactly just sat on his laurels during that time, but still. Maybe you should realize that you are not making the masterpiece earlier? Or maybe you just should be less self-critical? Woody Allen makes this exact point:

“My problem is that I’m middle class. If I was crazy I might be better. If I shrieked on the set and demanded, it may be better, but I don’t. I say, ‘Good enough!’ It’s a middle-class quality, which does make for productivity.”

Maybe we need less wannabe perfectionists and crazies reaching desperately for the perfect work in our industry and more people, who can churn good stuff out constantly.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Pampers Pooface

Sometimes your whole ad can be filled with the most obvious clichés and it still works:


  • Everything looks more epic in slow motion.
  • Everything sounds more epic with “Also Sprach Zarathustra” as a soundtrack.
  • Babies are cute even when they are releasing the brown trout.

It takes skill to be totally predictable, but still totally on point.

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The Difference Between Invasive and Innovative Advertising is The Interest

I have mentioned earlier that I practice CrossFit. As a part of the addiction, I have become a victim of advertising and started spending on CrossFit apparel. When I started to train, it was ok to just go with regular running sneakers and whatever gear you had. Now I have different shoes for weightlifting and other exercises. I cannot even think of going back to training with normal (read: non-branded but equally functioning apparel).

Talk about taking your own medicine.

I was reminded of my Crossfit-addiction, when I noticed this ad on my Gmail:


I had not heard about the brand (Rhone) before, but it had the magic words that sparked my interest and also a discount. Discount is an interesting thing: if you are offered it, it already feels like bargain before you even know the starting price. Uncharacteristically I clicked on the ad (which was probably the first Gmail ad I have clicked ever).

The site offered apparently sweat and smell-proof shirts with quite steep prices. With my excessive sweating and vain ways I am of course the ideal target audience. After checking a while there came a pop-up which offered an opportunity to participate in lottery. Discount is interesting, but even more interesting is an opportunity to win something for free.


Naturally I signed up, so they have now my contact details.

After that I have been encountering Rhone advertising in my FB feed. They have been smartly changing the picture so I have noticed it every time:



Again uncharacteristically I clicked and again there was a pop-up with time-limited offer:


Nothing Rhone does is crazy innovative or cutting edge: just simple retargeting. They are essentially using the oldest bribes in marketing world: discount, rewards, exclusivity and lucky draw. If I would encounter as much communications from a brand in different field I would be super pissed off. Now I am more delighted and pondering should I actually test those shirts. That is exactly what smart marketing should do. From the starting point of not even knowing the brand, becoming a potential buyer within only a week is quite a feat.

So the lesson is: if you are able to find audience with natural interest, you can almost borderline spam them if you offer them something rewarding. People get touchy about marketing when it is totally irrelevant for them. It is not so much about what you say, but to whom you say it.

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How To Make Unskippable Pre-Roll Ads?

“Our ads don’t need to be shorter, quicker, and more snackable; they can be longer, richer, and perhaps even a bit stranger.”

State of advertising in 2015:
Traditional agencies do 30s tv ads.
Digital agencies do 30s skippable pre-roll ads.

In many ways the fun age of experimentation is over and it is back to the status quo and advertising business as usual.

That does not mean there are not opportunities in pre-rolls. They are one form of storytelling. Some of the rules for good story apply to every media, but if you apply TVC storytelling method to skippable pre-rolls in mobile it does not work.

I recommend reading this Google study of Mountain Dew ad and its skip rates. Maybe surprisingly to conventional wisdom in mobile the best performing ad (viewed at 26% higher rate than others) was the longest one:

Some important lessons when you are running your next pre-roll campaign:

1. Just redistributing your TVC is a waste of money and just plain stupid.
When viewer has the power to skip your advertising bullshit, she will most likely do it. Spending a little bit money to different edits or even additional content pays itself back with more effective video advertising and better results.

2. Shorter is not necessarily better.
People have time to watch cat videos, music videos and naked ninja warrior. The problem for brands is that generally people don´t want invest any of their time to it. However, if they start watching your content, they can go longer than the standard 30 seconds…

3. It is all about the beginning
Pre-roll videos should not follow conventional story logic. It is better to start with your outrageous part or the most mysterious part. The main goal is to lure your audience to watch by any means necessary.

4. Do not be obsessed by the branding.
The longest clip has quite moderate branding throughout. Ad recall was worse, but eventually the brand lift was the same as with the other pieces.

5. When in doubt, have animals or cute babies.
Some things in storytelling never change.

Making more unskippable content is not even that difficult. It just requires a new way to approach your content production: more effort, edits, continuous testing and tweaking.

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Personal Blogs Are Dead. Long Live Personal Blogs.

Fish where the fish are.

That has been my mantra for a long time. It does not make sense for brands to build expensive destinations and then spend shitloads of money trying to force people to discover those destinations where they don´t want to go in a first place. Generally it is better to collaborate with existing successful destinations. Two thirds of the apps get under 1000 downloads. Same way as it makes more sense to borrow relevance from already popular unit than trying to make your brand popular yourself.

In many ways the same applies for blogging. We who are still blogging in WP, blogspot, etc. are relics of an old age. Nowadays if you have some thoughts you want to write, better to highlight them on Medium or LinkedIn. There is an existing user base and recommendation algorithm helps your content to pop out there. Majority of readers to this blog come from Twitter & LinkedIn, so why not be even closer to the reader?

I realize the value of Medium & LinkedIn, but at the same time I also recognize the value for having something “own”. Own naturally being quite relative term in here, because probably WordPress can switch my account off anytime. That is why it also still makes sense for companies to have a website. In the digital world where information ownership is getting centralized to few major players, it might still make sense to retain some of your intellectual property to yourself.

That being said, I will feature some of my “best” posts from here in Medium and later on LinkedIn. Mainly I want to test them out from user perspective and also compare the reach. Also being a lazy and egoistic person, I feel that I could easily revisit my highly intelligent gems with no big effort and get some more readers.
You can find the greatest hits in Medium.

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