Where portfolio students talk.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Next-Gen Creative

(Preface, this entry is long, but read it when you can. I think its important.)

At portfolio schools we're often driven to chip away relentlessly at the micro end of mass communication. Advertising of course, is only a small piece of the gigantic scope of modern marketing and I think students often lose sight of the bigger picture.

Understanding it however, can be as important as the smaller one--and in fact, these things are often one in the same. So when creatives in the advertising biz are looking for the next big idea--the answer, especially now, may not lie so much in our classical understanding of creative work, as it may lie in a different kind of problem solving.

The future of marketing/advertising is (for lack of a better term) Virtual Reality.

The synergy between instantaneous micro and macro communication (the Internet, fiber optics, wireless communication to name a few) and the video game industry are beginning to understand the true, powerful scope of their synergy.

It started with things like The Sims, World of Warcraft and Second Life. The concept of real-time interactive communication at a global scale. Millions of people all across the world, of many different demographics have caught on. The game console systems (XBox, Playstation and Nintendo) have followed suit making online interactive play possible.

But all this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Advertisers have in fact started to explore in-game marketing avenues--case in point, Fight Night Round 3, where product placement is plastered all over the game. At some arenas, the King leads you into the ring.

But the real future, starts with Sony's yet to be released Play Station Home, the interactive interface for the PlayStation 3. The following taken from Wikipedia:
PlayStation Home (trademarked as "Home™") is a community-based service for the PlayStation Network which has been in development since early 2005. Home allows users to create an avatar for their PlayStation 3 console. This avatar will get their own apartment, which can be adorned by items players can receive in several achievements. In the future the service will also expand, allowing players to have more sorts of clothing, as well as hold pets.[citation needed] When it is available, Home will be launched via its own category in the XMB between the "Game" and "Network" category. This service will be free of charge.

While Sony's exploration is merely the precipice of the future--this kind of secondary reality, that has been explored in massive interactive RPGs, in which people create societies , based on the same principles that govern our own in the real world including money make this an advertisers dream situation. Consider it reality, all over again.

Vending machines, clothing, shoes, buildings, banks...everything is an opportunity for a new kind of interactive, highly-central product placement. In fact to call it product placement really does it a dis-service. What it really amounts to, is product involvement marketing. The possibilities are essentially unlimited.

So here's where the Ad School thing kicks in again.

For the Ad agency of today--the one that right now at the forefront of cyberspace exploration, where interactive is the hot word--to become the Ad agency of tomorrow, they've got to start investing their ideas into these virtual worlds (where already millions of people worldwide spend millions upon millions upon millions of time and dollars) to remain ahead of the rest of the business. So they don't spend the next 10-15 years catching up.

What does that mean to us? Whereas right now, the line between writer, art director and graphic designer are blurring--soon enough the line between creative and media person will be blurring as much. It's already started to happen. Case in point Cripsin Porter Bogusky.

For our books, that means showing ideas that most of our instructors in the biz now might not get. But ideas that no doubt will soon enough become an unavoidable reality.

So I'm curious. Is anyone putting up marker comps of marketing/advertising ideas that happen in Second Life in your classes? In my opinion they'd be well served to.

All thoughts are more than welcomed.


ryan said...

It's the word "unlimited" that should scare us the most. A bill board in a virtual word may not turn many digital heads but pushing the envelope much further and you are going to lose the attention of older Teachers and Cds who dont see the possibilities of this new medium.
I'm sure everyone in the biz can think of an agency or product that was late to the web, and how it suffered because of it. The inverse is that, there were companies advertising on the web from the very beginning. The work may not have been amazing, but there is something to say about being first.
Maybe the bigger ideas are the ones worth fighting for, something ad-students rarely get to do. All I know is that "product involvement marketing" is going to be big, and it's silly to ignore a hot medium thats only going to get bigger.

ryan said...

.... Like always, a good idea should work anywhere. Are you in Second Life because it's hot? Or because the idea really works there?

americanmidwestsamurai said...

That being said Ryan, I don't think the question is "are you in Second life because its hot, or it really works there" but "where specifically within Second Life are you and why" is really the relevant question don't you think?

The proliferation of these virtual worlds will eventually be so widespread that it may be inexcusable to not be in (like its inexcusable for any legit company to not have a website).

Anonymous said...

You guys use too many big words. It seems like you guys are trying to bigwordout eachother. This is a good point that is brought up. I will be presesnting all my print/outdoor ideas in WOW form.

Anonymous said...

World of Warcraft.

Anonymous said...

If this is the true reality, which it might be, then aurthur you are to something. Something more.

Mass media at the moment is trying to acheive perfection. Get to the consumer and make them buy your product. If your product appeals to middle aged men, the advertise on the WPT or the WSOP. If your product speaks to women below the age of 50, then put your stuff on the WE network or O! Oxygen. At some point and I'm sure it's already taken place the typical medium has died.

It's up to us to not only figure out how to brainwash the consumer but to brainwash them where they will be able to be brainwashed.

the internet is huge, duh. Like aurthur said, no legitamite company can go without a website. So what is next. Advertising to people who spend 12 hours a day on their computers trying to slay the evil Galgamor. Or is the fantasy land where Galgamor exists, the lexicon that we, as creatives have to create.

What I'm saying is that advertising in games is and has already been around. What do we as creatives have to do to incite the next media revolution? When you are dealing with a multi million brand is it too much to create a world like WOW or the Sims ? A world that people can connect to that has its roots in a soda or an electronics company. Even depending on existing platforms such as mmorpg's might be complacent. Why not create a world that is equal parts interactive, and phisically active?

I don't know what it is but you see campaigns out there now that draw people in because they, the people, are an integral part of the brand/campaign.

there has to be an untapped idea that is jsut sitting around waiting to be exploited. The days of brilliant writing/art direction are over. The people that will be talked about at ad schools in 2075 are on the cusp of what we're doing right now.

traditional mediums are stagnant, as creatives we are lucky enough to be dealing with the blend of traditional and "WTF"

God speed and happy brainstorming.

Anonymous said...

from an earlier comment.

"A bill board in a virtual word may not turn many digital heads but pushing the envelope much further and you are going to lose the attention of older Teachers and Cds who dont see the possibilities of this new medium."

A good CD will recognize the and innovative thinking. A CD that is stuck so much in the "old ways" is not worth working for.