Doers Makers Innovators takes a brief hiatus from the advertising creative world with tomorrow’s appearance by Ford’s Scott Monty. But Scott fits the definition of a Doer Maker Innovator.
It was only a few years ago that 140-character tweets were a foreign language to most corporations. The idea of connecting with customers in real time, engaging in an actual conversation, or encouraging critics (or fans for that matter) to actually talk about your brand in a public forum remained actions to be avoided not pursued. Especially at a company as traditional as Ford Motor Company.
Now, just a few short years later, Scott’s early accomplishments and initiatives have influenced how all smart companies use social media.
It’s a familiar case to anyone who blogs or engages in social media, but in 2009 when Ford came under fire for demanding that the Ranger Station, a Ford fan site, pay for trademark infringement, it was Monty who helped steer the automaker to a more reasonable solution, engaging with fans and critics in close to real time.
A year later, the first Fiesta Movement campaign launched, and a we witnessed an entirely new way to market vehicles — give them away and let the drivers create content, tell stories and and attract followers. Seems normal now, but in 2009 letting consumers take over your brand, so to speak, was unheard of.
Monty continues to lead Ford’s global social media efforts, engaging with the community in real time, teaching CEO Alan Mulally how to tweet, setting examples for how other corporations can stay closer to their customers.
I should add that Scott is a triple Terrier, with degrees from CAS, BUSM (Med) and GSM. Hope to see you tomorrow. Noon. Room 209. BU COM.
Well this was the most ambitious thing we’ve done this year. Inspired by Tim Leake and Hyper Island, I had my 24 CM527 students conceive, write, design, edit, format and produce an original book in three hours.
And to make it more interesting, we weren’t even sure what we (they, actually, not me) were going to write about until the exercise started.
The book, “Get out of your minivan and into our spaceship,” is available here. If you have the latest Adobe Reader, peruse it in full screen and start by clicking the bottom right hand corner.
It was a lesson in creativity, collaboration, decision-making, real-time content generation, stress endurance and humility. Trying to produce 66 pages when you don’t even know what you’re going to write about does not leave time for contemplation, pride of authorship or arguing. This was an exercise about making. And making fast.
If you want to understand the process, above is the deck I used to lead the exercise. We started with nothing more than the idea that the book should be about what this generation might bring to the advertising industry. After that it was a free for all.
In brief the steps included.
- Introduction to exercise. 10 minutes
- Divide into 12 writers and 12 art directors. 2 minutes.
- Start as six four-person teams and generate chapter topics. 5 minutes.
- Vote on the 12 best chapters. 5 minutes.
- Compete for who gets to write which. 2 minutes.
- Writers generate a range of titles for each chapter. 5 minutes
- The class picks titles. 5 minutes
- Determine order of the book. 5 minutes
- Compete for who writes which chapter. 2 minutes
- Writers write their chapter. 30 minutes
Half-way point: approximately 90 minutes
The rest of the time, another 90 minutes was spent on the following
- Art directors draw images and hand letter titles
- One art director scans images
- One writer begins to edit copy
- Designers work on formatting
- Edit, tweak, hurry
Feedback from students was pretty positive.
“Last Friday’s class was the most innovative/rewarding learning experience I’ve ever had in my many years of education (and we both know that I have a zillion degrees). Educators should do more of this.”
Thank you, Tim.
Take a look and let us know what you think.
Here are some images and tweets via Storify.
We talk a lot about creativity in all of its new iterations in both CM 417 and CM 527. (And CM 423 in the fall.) It’s not about words and pictures anymore. We need utility, content, immersive experiences, creative ways to share. All because our audience (actually we should be calling them users) no longer has to listen. If we want their attention, we have to earn it. With incredible content, genuine utility, and an invitation to participate.
It’s creative content (not just advertising)
Obviously, Nat Geo wants you to watch the show – The 80s – The Decade that Made Us – a three-day mini-series event starting April 14. After all, more viewers means more advertising revenue. But this site entices you not with anything resembling tune-in messages, but rather with a rich experience that whets your appetite for more.
Someone, a content strategist or user experience specialist, figured out how to let you explore, discover, filter and share according you your preference. You can access the site by year, category, story or user ratings. Hey, we all like to see what everyone else thinks and compare ourselves to them. Same goes for sharing. From any place on the site — should you suddenly get so excited you have to tell someone — you’re never more than a click away.
It takes advantage of technology
It considers the user
We all know that for better or worse, no one watches one screen at a time anymore. So not only is the site a precursor to the show, it’s a companion piece as well. Or a go-to destination for after the show, as content never dies on the web. Rather than present information on Nat Geo’s terms, it considers the user. And, of ourse, it works on a laptop or a tablet, the latter being the new choice for that second screen involvement.
It took a team of T-shaped people to make it
It takes an art director and a copywriter to conceive an ad. Sure it calls for additional skills when you get to production. But in a case like this where does the concept begin? What defines it? Art and copy? Code? Navigation? Content? The way the screen experience works? All of the above. The team included art, copy, production, content management, user experience, site design, front end development, experience designer, back end development, QA and project management. At least.
I should add, for those of you interested in media or strategy, that Nat Geo is a client of mediaHub, Mullen’s media arm. It’s not an advertising client, per se. Yet in an age when attention has to be earned not (exclusively) bought, when owned content is part of garnering attention, it’s impossible to be in any area of the advertising business without being creative, generating ideas and knowing how to make them.
Sadly, we can’t execute something like this at COM. (I am hoping that day arrives soon.) But in the meantime we can imagine and conceive ideas like this.
As long as we’re paying attention, taking note of what’s possible, and thinking beyond yesterday’s definition of advertising.
Check it out. Let me know what you think.