Listening to stories

Supertargeting: If an ad isn’t adding value, it’s not an advertisement, it’s wallpaper.

Posted in Uncategorized by James Welch on October 10, 2014

Supertargeting for digital advertising is possible across the globe through third party data. But no one sells much third party data here in the Middle East so supertargetting online is – some say – a dream. Except for in a few places; Facebook is one of them.

You know how you see ‘relevant’ ads on Facebook more often than elsewhere? That’s thanks to aggregated profile data made available to advertisers. When not used smartly, supertargeting can become super creepy. Have you ever felt stalked online? The aim is to avoid that, of course. If an ad isn’t adding value, it’s not an advertisement, it’s wallpaper.

Well, Facebook has just announced at its F8 Conference (click here for the link), the launch of its Audience Network (aka FAN) for advertisers spending in mobile – giving an alternative option to the quasi-monopoly that Google has been enjoying. You see, in the cookie-less land of mobile, Google, Facebook and Apple are amongst the few who can track and identify users across screens and devices. Only Apple doesn’t sell that information.

So now, via both Facebook and Google networks, we can target people more closely both on computers and when their out and about via mobile. Thank you Facebook and Google!

Read more here: and here

Alibaba and the Forty Thieves – at an IPO that would raise almost $22 billion

Posted in Uncategorized by James Welch on September 19, 2014

Tomorrow, the next big IPO in techland is taking place; so, what do you know about Alibaba?Ali_Baba_and_the_Forty_Thieves_VideoCover

Surely, Ali Baba is a poor woodcutter who discovers the secret of a thieves’ den, entered with the phrase “Open Sesame“. The thieves learn this, and try to kill Ali Baba. But Ali Baba’s faithful slave-girl foils their plots; Ali Baba gives his son to her in marriage and keeps the secret of the treasure.

Well, let me tell you what the other Alibaba does, EVERYTHING!

In wikipedia-speak, it’s “a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses.” Jack Ma (more…)

Wearables: You Are What You Wear

Posted in Uncategorized by James Welch on September 7, 2014

My wife – in the early days of just-dating – threw out my orange, baggy, linen shirt. I liked it because all my other clothes were safe, dull, grey. I liked it because it made a statement.

John Waters didn’t hitchhike across the States in this, I don’t think

John Waters didn’t hitchhike across the States in this, I don’t think

John Waters, the film director, has just written a book on hitchhiking. During an interview on my new fave podcast, Fresh Air *, he revealed that his favorite suit is plaid – and the top half and the bottom half don’t match. Except they do match at the back. That makes a statement.


So Long, Singapore

Posted in Adland, Brand, Data, Digital by James Welch on July 11, 2014

So Long, Singapore!

Wow, the last two years have been exciting. But it’s time to say, so long, Singapore.

MBA vs real-world learning

In December 2011, I told some old friends that I was about to do an MBA in Australia – where I lived at the time – at an unheard of business school. They explained to me that it was too little too late: “You’re supposed to be turning 30 not pushing 40; you’re supposed to do it at a famous school with cool people, not a cheap school with average people.” Fair cop. They asked me why I was keen to get a Master’s in Business Administration anyway and I explained I wanted to use it to work out what’s next. “That’s an expensive way to procrastinate,” said one of said friends. Harsh, but fair.

So, three months later, I feigned a family holiday and instead booked a solo trip to Singapore. I met 35 people in seven days. And asked each person to introduce me to one more person, if they could.

Mumbrella, June 2012

Mumbrella, June 2012

One of those ‘one-more-people’ was the guy at WPP’s “other trading desk” the Media Innovation Group. The digital media tech company on the bleeding edge of digital whose tools were used by GroupM. And this bloke decided I was the man for the role to bring his business to life across Asia Pacific.

Soon enough it was announced in the press (thank you, mumbrella) that I would be moving on to embark upon some “real-world learning” to launch WPP’s Media Innovation Group across Asia Pacific.

Data, creativity and real-time bidding

The business at the Media Innovation Group was technical. And naturally, full of three letter abbreviations. The Media Innovation Group (MIG) was a real-time bidding (RTB) media buying shop – sometimes called a trading desk – with a state-of-the-art data management platform (DMP). Since those ‘early days’, everyone has started talking more about “programmatic”. But if anyone uses such language with you, ask them to explain themselves. Most can but many can’t! The tech-heads think media is all about tech. It’s not, it’s about results, of course.


Use data creatively and make the small things unforgettable

Posted in Data, Digital by James Welch on July 4, 2014

Small things count. Or rather, let’s start to appreciate that the small things count.

I was in a meeting the other day with Darren Woolley of TrinityP3. The project is an agency assessment – how to evaluate the relationships between agencies and this particular advertising client. Darren talked through the Issues Matrix.

The Issues Matrix

The Issues Matrix

“To build a relationship fix the big issues and fix the regular issues. If there are big, regular issues the relationship is over already! Fixing big issues might take time. But the regular, little issues are the ones that are unnecessary and will create a relationship breakdown.”

Think about the little things in life. Take a plane ride for example. When was the last time you sat on a plane and had someone a bit stinky sitting next to you? (more…)

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…)


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