Listening to stories

Yes, we ALL should be mocking generic advertising

Posted in Adland, Brand, Data, Digital, Uncategorized by James Welch on March 28, 2014

Dissolve is a library of stock footage for video.

They saw this piece by Kendra Eash on Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency site.

And made it into a film. (HatTip


What a gem.

Another way to mock generic advertising was taken by David Mitchell in 2009.

I’ve used this film in presentations (more…)

The big questions

Posted in Data, Digital, Uncategorized by James Welch on February 26, 2014

It’s time to ask the big questions. And I’m going to ask them from the stage.

[It's exciting: next week I co-chair and deliver a keynote at the Social and Mobile Monetization Conference, Shanghai.]

I don’t suppose I’ll get the answers I’m looking for. So I’ll propose my own answers to the questions!

Maybe I’ll get away with keeping my own opinions unchallenged. That said, I’ve seen some of the names, job titles and companies of the paying audience, as well as the other speakers at the event, so I expect they’ll be quick to air their thoughts. At least, I hope so.

Anyway, here are the questions that I’m posing in the marketing materials for the event:

Searching for answers to big questions about the business behind brands – in the context of social and mobile. (more…)

WTF! Using Space Invaders as the premise for a ‘big data’ presentation to the WFA?

Posted in Data, Digital, Uncategorized by James Welch on February 12, 2014
Space invaders

“A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”
Just like a brand’s digital presence…

Yes. Big data has a lot in common with Space Invaders. And that’s what’s so exciting.

How do I know? Well, I’ll be telling that story to the WFA soon.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is a formidable body who put on conferences and a forum or two each month across the globe for their members who are top, international companies who have big advertising budgets.

What a delight to be invited to speak at their Integrated Marketing and Communications Forum in Singapore next week.

My topic is about data-driven marketing, a subject close to my heart as I’ve been helping advertisers and their creative agencies get closer to some of the data normally closely guarded by their media agency trading desk. Ah the brave new world of programmatic buying (more…)

TNDP Shanghai… and The Seven Dwarfs

Posted in Adland by James Welch on January 21, 2014

Disney’s Snow White

Do you remember the Walt Disney film that was on the goggle box every Christmas? You know, the film where Snow White awoke from her eternal sleep after being kissed by the handsome prince. Oh, sorry. Spoiler alert.

Earlier, when she fled to the forest fearing for her life she encountered seven little chairs that belonged to the seven dwarfs.

Well, I was in Shanghai recently and I encountered there six other happy ‘dwarfs’ at a dinner in town. I  was lucky number seven. And having the seven dwarfs is a good thing. You see a dinner party should always have a few characters round the table. And at the regular event that started in Sydney and is now across Singapore and Shanghai, The Next Dinner Party (“TNDP, because adland needs another bloody abbreviation”) we often encounter some of the dwarfs. But this time we had all seven.

I don’t think I should call them dwarfs as they’re all running really interesting businesses. But it works for me. Does it work for you?

Doc was the first to arrive. He was there before any others. He was half way through a martini when we did eventually get there.

“Stop me at martini number three” Doc said, “I’m on “four” right now.”

Well that didn’t make any sense. Not until he admitted he’d started at number ten and was working his way down. At “three” he switched to red.

Doc is a VC in tech land. One of the smart ones, building businesses “often before their time” as he confesses. Some make money when time catches up. Some don’t. He’s a successful man. And he can drink. (more…)

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Some things are just worth sharing – bob dylan’s new box set

Posted in Automation by James Welch on November 22, 2013

This is one way to make people of a certain generation send a video viral.

Buy the box set here

Buy the box set here

If you were given a “video budget” to launch the new bob dylan box set, would you film some thing as cool as this.

Click here. Scroll up and down through the different TV shows and channels:

“Like A Rolling Stone” – Official Interactive Video!

And share with a friend!

(if you’re in the mood for other ‘viral videos (more…)

Consumer Engagement and Experience Conference, Singapore, October 2013

Posted in Adland, Conference, Data, Digital by James Welch on October 17, 2013

So, Monday 21st October and Tuesday 22nd October, I’m the Chairman of a two-day event. Time to write a few ‘ice-breakers’; time to think of some cunning questions to put to each of the speakers. A smart bunch of people.

Oh and I’m collaborating once again with my ol’ chum from the land of UX. Also from the land of Oz, at it happens.


We’re talking on (more…)

“All the clever people think down the same road and its very congested”

Posted in Adland, Cannes, F1 by James Welch on October 3, 2013

At Spikes – the big ad conference in Singapore that is created by the Cannes Lions team – all sorts of weird and wonderful people speak. Including me !

Well, the Ogilvy team had invited Sir Jackie Stewart, the Formula 1 hero – who is known for his charm and arrogance, his fast driving and racing safety advocacy and for being a story teller.

Spikes Asia, Festival of Advertising, Singapore 2013

Jackie Stewart “I made Martin Sorrell. He used to carry my bags.”

He gave us his top tips for success… after he’d told us how he “made” famous ad man, Sir Martin Sorrell, “he used to carry my bags.”

His top tips were preceded with (more…)

We’re watching you. All the time. And that’s a good thing!

Posted in Adland, Cannes, Spikes, Uncategorized by James Welch on September 2, 2013

This is a the intro to a SPIKES.ASIA presentation about seeing the world from your consumers’ point of view.

New technologies allow us to watch people more closely and in real time…

James Breeze & James Welch.  Spikes Forum Room,
Convention Centre Mon 16 Sept 2013, 4pm

James Breeze & James Welch.
Spikes Forum Room,
Convention Centre
Mon 16 Sept 2013, 4pm

In this multi-media presentation, James Breeze and James Welch, will show off some gadgetry, tell a few stories and create some magic. The key gadgets that the two Jameses will show are new ways to carefully understand online – and (more…)

Digital agencies need tech agencies, just like Bond needs Q

Posted in Adland, Cannes, Digital, Uncategorized by James Welch on June 18, 2013

James Bond’s gadget guru, Q, describes how he adds technology to Bond’s armory in the latest movie, Skyfall:

“I can do more damage on my laptop

sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey,” Q says to Bond,

“than you can do in a year in the field.”

At Cannes this week you’ll see all those wannabe-Bonds, without Q; storytellers without data; digital agencies without (more…)

Data-led creativity deserves more than just hype

Posted in Adland, Data, Digital, Uncategorized by James Welch on December 14, 2012

The futures of data and creativity are fundamentally connected. While this eventuality seems inevitable and the statement may be even something of a platitude nowadays, the stark abyss between data and creativity is present across many industries – but none more than the advertising industry.

It has been noted by close observers of the many famous advertising awards ceremonies that effectiveness is now key to success, but still there are too few examples of data-driven creativity.

This post first appeared in Marketing Magazine, Oct 2012

This post first appeared in Marketing Magazine, Oct 2012.

There are five reasons that data – for the moment – might be removed from the creative process:

First, data mining is often too arduous and complex. As a result, it’s expensive to make data useful, hence there are many sophisticated data analysts who can charge like a wounded bull. Their outputs might be impressive, but their hourly rates scare off too many potential clients.

Second, data mining teams are often unglamorous and lack the cool-factor found in creative agencies. Or so the creative agencies believe. One creative director recently used the oil and water analogy, saying “we’re better off at opposite ends of the creative engine”. (more…)


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