Regardless of the perspective, getting social media right is Madison Avenue's new imperative," says Joe Mandese in this month's cover story. And as you'll see from our twin takes, entwined around the consumer, there's no shortage of perspectives on what being social means - or even what social media is.
IKEA knows that grass-roots volunteerism and community work are the new hot buttons for any brand that wants soul. Working with Ogilvy, the company unveiled a new identity and TV campaign in September, pushing the idea that if you improve your decor you are improving your life. It's the brand's first major ad campaign in three years.
The fast-growing e-reader market is finding its way into the American kitchen. Austin,Texas-based Key Ingredient is betting that the explosion of low-cost e-readers will make information about preparing food an underserved content niche. The firm, a veteran of the online publishing wars, has been offering Web-based cooking tips, recipes and blogs for about five years. The site is a mix of home cooking tips, social content, blogs and professional advice about food prep and the culinary life. The mainstream cooking elite have taken notice. Martha Stewart and Oprah have reviewed and recommended the product on their respective media outlets.
It isn't 15 minutes of fame, but fans of Andy Warhol can achieve 90-seconds of fame by submitting screen tests to an interactive Web site produced by New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to promote the Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures exhibit.
On occasion, I like to use a visceral device to give readers some perspective on the way Madison Avenue looks at the media universe. It involves a simple piece of paper. So if you will, grab a sheet - perhaps this very page if you are reading this article in print.
It's official. It's now more likely that someone will buy an electronic book than a printed one, by a wide margin. For every 100 printed copies of a book 143 digital versions are now sold, according to Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
There are redesigns that need to happen. You know the ones. You look at your site and say, "This is butt-ass ugly and it has got to go." Complex.com wasn't one of those.
A quartet of Sunnyvale, Calif., start-ups got a high-profile visitor in early January: the White House's chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra. The government's tech czar is on a mission to build connections between young Silicon Valley tech companies and similar start-ups in less techie places, such as Detroit, Cleveland, Maine and Washington D.C. His ultimate goal: create new jobs nationwide by "out-innovating the rest of the world," as President Obama put it in his State of the Union address a few weeks later.
In the fairy-tale version of the social media revolution, consumers have all the power. This is a swell story to tell children, in between assuring them that they are beautiful and unique snowflakes, but it massively oversimplifies the situation, even as it's a story business-book writers seem to love to tell. There are now shelves full of these empowerment fables heralding the brave new world in which everything is transparent and open and shared, and brands cower at the strength of a proletariat flexing its collective might.
The last two years have seen spectacular growth in Facebook's U.S. user base, comparable to the huge expansion of radio and TV ownership in the early days of those media. But inevitably, like its predecessors, Facebook will eventually begin to approach saturation - and indeed it seems to be reaching this stage now, judging by the flattening growth curve.