Week 88 – what the hell is interactive advertising

by danhon

A few days late, here’s Week 88, ending Friday December 14, 2012.

A shorter week this one; we took a late long weekend to visit friends down in San Francisco. While we were there, we got some gorgeous tintype portraits done. If you’re ever in San Francisco, you should get some. They’re from Photobooth.

Account work

Let’s just say that I’m busy.

Interviewing, or, what the hell is interactive advertising, again

We’re looking for UX/UI talent at our Portland office, so the last few weeks have been filled up with interviewing candidates. What this ultimately means is a bunch of super interesting conversations (the best interviews always end up feeling like conversations, not scripted question/answer sessions). At the heart of those conversations are questions like where design is going and what the role of product/service design is in relation to what the building I’m in does (a creative advertising agency).

A lot of these interview conversations end up approaching the whole “what is interactive advertising” question, as well as the issue of what, exactly, interactive advertising should be.

There’s the current gaping maw of interactive advertising, that issue of online media and display advertising (P&G still needs banners. Kraft still needs Facebook content. Nike still needs YouTube page takeovers) – but to someone coming from outside of advertising, interactive display advertising has always felt like a blunt axe-handle-to-the-head approach to solving the problem that advertising claims to solve.

(What problem is that? Oh, there are a bunch, but ultimately, advertising is part of the answer to the question: how do I sell what I’m selling?)

So we’re looking for people who will solve the here-and-now problem of all that inventory, all that blank ad space not only just lying around, but actively, almost offensively, breeding. But at the same time, if this place is all about solving clients’ communications problems so they can sell more stuff, and if the way that this place has hit on doing that is by films like this one for Nike and this one for P&G (ones that are centered on genuine insight and making a provocative, emotional connection)…

… then who’s making provocative, emotional interactive advertising? Stuff that’s really good?

Or, to make it even easier, where’s the provocative, emotional interactive work in general?

Three links from week 88

  • Alec Meer does a Wot I Think on Miasmata, a PC combat-free first-person survival game by IonFX. I’m super-encouraged by the resurgence in exploration of combat-free games.
  • There’s just so much good writing on the internet. Modern Seinfeld (@SeinfeldToday) is another great example.
  • For as much as I love Elon Musk’s SpaceX and what they’re doing for access to space and his rethinking of how we get there (this Wired article is a great backgrounder on how they’re doing it faster, better and cheaper), every time I seen a piece about the X-37B, my inner space-geek goes a bit gloopy.

Coming up

Next week, I’ll have spent about two weeks with a Nexus 4.