Monsieur Banksy on Advertising

Banksy Coke Ad

“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”



Get a life

Traffic jam – cars stopped. I am filtering on my motorcycle with my wife as passenger through the idling useless, inefficient boxes of steel that take more space than needed to transport one individual (I wonder how much smaller our carbon footprint is compared to these life-sucking monsters). One car driver suddenly decides to honk and bark at me. I haven’t touched the car, I’m just making my way past.

Why is she barking at me, with her hateful face, ugly words distorting her mouth? I’m actually tempted to give her something to bark for, like a good a kick in the car door. Why is she so angry at me on my bike? Any clues, anyone, because I am clearly missing something. Is there a psychological issue taking place, and Sydney car drivers morph into the chassis of their cars and, unbeknownst to me, I’m invading their personal space? This happens to me quite often, so I’m wondering, especially since it pretty much never happened in London or in France – do Australians have a problem with motorcyclists? Or maybe I’m over analysing and they are simply taking out on me the fact that every morning they’re wasting their life away in traffic jams, idling on their arse and getting fatter, taking 45 mins to drive 5kms.

Seriously, get a life.

Getting a life through traffic

Don’t you love me, baby?

Dear Richard,

I am writing to let you know that your brand sucks in Australia. You left it in the hands of greedy slackers and, as a result, they have rolled it in the mud and tarnished it. Goodbye irreverent, hello irrelevant.

Your Virgin Money card is a scam. Not only was I refused a credit card that would earn me my cherished Virgin Velocity points (American Express gave me a gold Velocity card, but Virgin Money gave me a basic, shitty card), but my account was charged twice for insurance I never took. It’s only twenty bucks twice, mind you, but these forty bucks would have done more good if I had given them to a homeless person. And when I called to cancel my account, I was transferred to some very nice people who could not pronounce my suburb or my surname. You’ll be glad to hear that they of course made me listen to some very funky music and begged me to stay. But I said no, no, no.

Now, let’s talk about Virgin Australia, the airline in which you have a 13% stake. It’s still my favourite airline, but the frequent flyer program is not quite hunky dory when it comes to earning points with Partner Airlines. You see, I am still waiting for the points for my return flight with Singapore Airline from LHR to SIN of September 2012. That was 8 months ago, dude, and I’m still chasing it with the Virgin staff.  And now, to add to my aggravation, the points earned for my business class trip on Virgin Atlantic from LHR to SYD were not added to my Virgin Velocity account. Now, Virgin Atlantic is YOUR baby, Sir. So much for carefully choosing partner airlines so that I can keep my Gold status with Virgin Velocity and maybe reach Platinum. I’m not into bling very much, but I do put a lot of value on our relationship when it comes to accessing The Lounge and the speedy checkins in my travels. Sadly, the automated emails that I get in response to my online enquiries don’t make me feel too special, you see.

So if you could please stop prancing around in galactic hot air balloons with gorgeous chicks and get everyone to do their job properly, it would be quite nice. You’d save me lots of time and you’d earn yourself a few more bucks by having me back in love with Virgin. But maybe I’m disillusioned and you’re not that into me after all? If not, it’d be nice to know what I did wrong.

I’ll wait for your response.

Your (formerly) devoted,

Boris Jacquin

Get back to work

Responsive design

The year of the mobile user

If 2012 was the year of the mobile, it is clear that with the rapid introduction of 4G on the networks, and with less than 50% of brand sites being mobile-ready today, 2013 will be the year of… the mobile.  Saying so, however, is omitting one very crucial element of what makes the mobile experience so important: the User. Let’s therefore declare 2013 the year of the Mobile User.

The User at the forefront

More than ever, how and what your website displays on a device says a lot about your brand and your organization. The mobile, tablet or desktop experience that brands offer to their customers should nowadays be considered as an integral part of the overall brand experience. It is a reflection of how much time has been spent thinking about the digital customer journey. Take, for example, the Restaurant industry. Too often visitors are faced with a website that is not optimized for mobile at all, or a slimmed down version of a website where the most important information is difficult to access.

Analytics as the building block

Before embarking on designing a mobile version of a website, the first thing a marketer should be doing is look at the analytics, where many answers to the information architecture lay. The most visited sections of your website and the keywords that led to these sections always give some serious pointers. In the case of the QSR industry, 3 areas come to mind: Where can I eat? (that’s the restaurant finder), What can I eat? (the menu), How much is it going to cost? (menu, offers, vouchers).

Get to the point and make it easy

Mobile users browse on their mobile for very good reasons. And one of these reasons is not because they find it pleasant to crane their neck in a train or at a traffic light and browse with one finger. It’s easy to imagine that users access your website on a mobile because it’s the only device available to them at that very point in time, or the most convenient to them right now. Whatever their reasons, mobile users need to access accurate information quickly and in a way that works perfectly on their mobile device, regardless of its size. As a result, a mobile website should never be the poor cousin of the “main website”, and any decent Marketing Manager should declare war on PDF.  Just think for a minute what asking a mobile user to download a PDF says about your brand: do you really care about your customers?

Many devices, one website

Think about the increasing variety in device size across mobile phones, tablets, tablet/laptop hybrids and laptops.  iPad screen sizes now range from 7.9inch to 9.5inch, mobile smart phones start from 3inches and tablet/laptop hybrids start at 11inches. The only way to answer the screen size dilemma is to deliver the same content to all sizes and make sure that your website will respond to the screen size of the device it is accessed from.

Device-discrimination is no longer acceptable and, just like today’s normal marketing principle where it is the customer that dictates the demand; it is the user that dictates the device, not the brand. And in 2013, forcing your customers to use a certain device to access the information will be as obsolete as an ad in the Yellow Pages.

Responsive design

The FIscal Cliff Explained Simply

“Fiscal Cliff” put in much better perspective

Lesson #1

  • U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent Budget Cuts: $38,500,000,

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

  • Annual Family Income: $21,700
  • Money the Family spends each year: $38,200
  • New Debt on the Credit Card: $16,500
  • Outstanding Balance on the Credit Card: $142,710
  • Total Budget Cuts so Far: $38.50

Got it??? Ok now…..

Lesson #2
Here’s a way to look at the debt ceiling:

Let’s say you come home from work and find that there has been a sewer backup in your neighbourhood. Your home has raw sewage in it all the way up to the ceiling. What should you do:

Do you raise the ceiling or do you remove the sewage?


Facebook: the end is not in sight yet

I’m not very well versed with IPOs and the consequences of a falling share price, but I read today that what happened to FB will create issues for them in the short-term – of the corporate kind, such as big withholding tax bill for the shares it allocated to its employees, as well as staff retention problems and 2nd round share offerings (Business Insider article on Facebook).

I don’t think the end is near, but I think that people will increasingly move to platforms that do something useful for them (Apple just bought, which is Pinterest with an actual revenue generation model). In my opinion, Facebook’s big problem is that it relies on the old model of mass advertising, while the actual desire to get away from mass marketing is one of the first reasons people spend more time on the internet.

My take is that people who watch a lot of TV will stay on Facebook, while the rest of us with some sort of functioning brain will increasingly stay away from it. As long as the old advertising model works, Facebook will stay alive and continue to make zillions – and soon they’ll crack their mobile advertising issue and everything will be fine (they are currently making $1m a day with their sponsored stories only – imagine when they sort out their mobile conundrum for ads and brand pages).

The future of Facebook relies on its ability to become like TV: dumbified for the masses.
Facebook is well on its way to achieve this.


Top industries to embrace mobile

The top 5 industries that embrace mobile

The restaurant and food industry is embracing the mobile movement more than other business sectors, according to a new infographic. Check out the Nando’s loyalty app for Australia as well as the Nando’s website, which launched in May 2012 and incorporates the latest responsive design techniques (reduce the size of your browser window and watch what happens).

Responsive design ensures that the same content is distributed across all the devices. The content style adapts itself according to the device it is accessed from. It relieves from server-side scripting, which would otherwise serve content specifically for one type of device. Thanks to responsive design, content needs to be uploaded only once – it is the browser that decides how to display it to the user, according to the screen size of the device.

Anyway, I digress – the object of this post was not about cool web design and good usability, but more about the infographic below – if you don’t have a mobile site, now is actually too late – the user has bounced already to your competitor who has one. But as they say, better late than never! (I’m always amazed how many organisations don’t have a mobile site).

Top industries to embrace mobile

Online Car Reviews

Once in a while you stumble upon an unusual site and might think, “wow, this is genius”, or “how original, I didn’t know someone did that!”. That’s what recently happened to me when my wife, The Makeup Mole, showed me cute videos about caretakers of baby sloths.

But this short post is not about bathing sloths at all. This post is about Finn, who started Finnweasel at the age of 7 – which probably made him one of the youngest bloggers in the world – and who has now started another blog in which he will be reviewing cars from the point of view of a kid. His car reviews are carefully written and he takes the time to sit in each car that is lent to him and take many precious notes on his iPad about what it is like to be in a car from the point of view of the ones who travel with you at the back. Did you know that the fabric of the seats of a Ford Focus CL is actually quite itchy on the calves of those whose legs don’t reach the floor? Had you thought about the many compartments that make it handy to stash lollies on long car journeys? And how about boot space to fit a kid’s bike?

If he carries on with his task of reviewing as many cars as he possibly can, who knows, maybe his site will become a point of reference and market research for car manufacturers. In the meantime, I recommend that you check his site for some informed, witty and entertaining reading from a 9 year old backseat traveler.