the Wheat and the Chaff

Category: Thinking

The End

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Source: Matt Baron, Cargo Collective

Time to say goodbye.

This blog has formed part of an important personal journey for me over the last couple of years. I’ve treated The Wheat and the Chaff as a repository for interesting stuff from culture to collect and share amongst a handful of friends – the only people I ever expected to read it other than myself. For years that has been pretty much been the case. This week changed that and made me personally aware for the first time just how quickly things can escalate and spread nowadays.

A post from last year, credited to, but reproduced without permission from another site and author, suddenly generated a shit load of buzz and attention. The buzz and attention was completely warranted – it’s a brilliantly written labour of love on an emotive subject that has struck a chord with many. The recipient of it was not. Interestingly, despite the article being posted nearly a year ago, its sudden second-life illustrates that ‘stock & flow‘ aren’t necessarily exclusive in the internet age.

The author was credited upfront and the site was linked at the end of the piece, but this completely failed to recognise the way that people consume information in the age of the internet. As a result, my blog was credited with the piece rather than the original site. I don’t know how it was discovered on my blog with zero visibility rather than on the original site which has a far bigger readership, but it wouldn’t have happened had I directed people to the original source upfront. For that I’m sorry.

My blog has always been a hobby. But for many others, the content they create on their sites is their livelihood, and it’s unfair when that is potentially impinged upon through the thoughtless behaviour of others.

The content on this blog could only be described as ‘eclectic’, from plenty of bolshy strategic thinking and ad land oddities, to Houston Rap, random tumblrs and British Suburban decay, and for that I’m proud. It’s always been about the stuff that I want to read, which has meant I’ve sometimes played fast and loose with copy and pasting. And I forgot along the way that I’m not just collecting a scrapbook for an audience of one.

So for me, this hobby has run its course.

Cheers

(check out the rest of Matt Barron’s portfolio here)

(and go here, it’s great)

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An ad break made from Lego

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To celebrate the upcoming Lego Movie, media agency PHD  took over an entire ITV ad break on Sunday with British ads remade entirely in their iconic building blocks. The first spot was an abbreviated version of the famous 2012 Vinnie Jones CPR ad for the British Heart Foundation. That was followed by 30-second ads, remade practically shot for shot, for Confused.com, BT and Premier Inn. Short promos for The Lego Movie aired in between each of the spots, followed by a proper trailer at the end. A really nice stunt, really well done.

 

While we’re on the subject of one of my favourite subjects (Lego, not clever media buying), last night Tom Dyckhoff and the Culture Show explored Lego’s impact on architecture in a fascinating little doc that you can watch for the next few days on the iPlayer.

Reddit: How to win at the internet

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Reddit is home to everything the web likes best, from kitten gifs to breaking news. What draws its 7m daily users? And what does it take to make it to the site’s highly prized front page? The Guardian’s Tom Lamont tried to find out.

Insight should be about the culture, not just the category

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This is brilliant piece by Rob Campbell about the importance of living your brand for realz really struck a chord.

 

A list of reasons why our brains love lists

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By Maria Konnikova, writing for The New Yorker. 

The Weightless Project

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Under the idea of “obesity is preventable, hunger is solvable,” Weightless Project combines wearable technology (Jawbone, Fitbit and Basis partnered with the project so far) to a pressing world problem of hunger.

(via Adverblog)

Dear Agency Whiners: Do Something

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My W+K colleague Jen Lewis has a pretty inarguable response to a widely shared and pretty scathing critique of the failings of agency culture by Murat Mutlu.

A couple of months ago, an article by Murat Mutlu appeared on Digiday called “Why Talented Creatives Are Leaving Your Agency,” and it touched a nerve in the industry. I saw it shared many times and picked up on other blogs, and all of the commenters were ecstatic: Finally, their all-too-familiar frustrations now had a voice. Since then, I’ve frequently found myself in the middle of this discussion with others, online and in person. And while this is exactly the kind of debate we should be having about the advertising industry, just pointing out what’s wrong is not enough.

It’s easy to blame agencies and the agency model, but the reality is that we each need to take responsibility for the situations we put ourselves in. So rather than ranting about what’s wrong with agencies, here is a list of a few ways people in advertising can help make the right career choices so they aren’t in situations where they are unhappy and frustrated.

1. Take responsibility for yourself.
The original article points an abstract and reprimanding finger at agencies: “You need to win these projects that push our boundaries, it’s down to you,” said Mutlu. But who is this fictional “you”? An agency is just a group of people. It’s us. So if we want to win projects that inspire us, the responsibility is on our own shoulders. The fact is, nobody wants to make bad work. Not creatives, designers, account teams, planners or clients. We all want to look good, so we have to find ways of doing that together. No one will hand you a carte blanche brief to just go do something “amazing.” If you feel like you’re missing opportunities, create them. Ask to be involved in other projects. Propose your own.

2. Believe in what your industry does.
We work in the advertising industry. We create advertising. If you’re not on board with that fundamental idea, you’re already in the wrong place. If you’re smart, you know that advertising can be bigger than just selling products. If you make work with a voice and point of view more ambitious than the product alone, you can start conversations with the community and, more important, contribute positively to culture. If you don’t believe advertising has a role in creating culture, don’t work in advertising; otherwise you’ll always be frustrated. If you only want to make films, or art, or stories or games in the abstract sense, go and do those things.

3. Work for someone who has the same values as you.
If you don’t share the same creative values as your boss or your boss’s boss, you’re at the wrong place. Find a place that shares those values. You might care more about salary, so go to an agency driven by commercial goals. You might care more about work/life balance, so go to an agency championed by someone who does too. Maybe it’s just down to the creative work, so find a place driven purely by that same ambition.

If you join an agency full of people who talk differently about their goals and ambitions than you, don’t be surprised that you feel alone and frustrated. Read their tweets. Read their blog. Ask around. What do those who are hiring you care about? What questions are they asking you? Are they the same things that matter to you the most? If not, don’t kid yourself.

4. Understand the realities of the workplace.
This is your job. You are here to work. Sometimes work is hard. Sometimes you have to compromise. Sometimes you have to work late. Sometimes you put a lot of time and effort into a project that falls flat. Sometimes you don’t get your way. That’s the reality of going to work. In every industry. Around the world. Since the dawn of time. As creatives, why do we deserve to be molly-coddled more than others?

5. Have some perspective.
In what other industry do you get to flex such a range of creative muscles? We get to do strategy, problem solving, user interaction, directing, photography, animation, copywriting, event management — the full bloody works.

We get to spend our days talking about what we find interesting in the world around us. We figure out how to apply that to the work we create. We get to talk about technology and business and politics and music and art and film and storytelling. We get to make something tangible and share it with the world. If we’re lucky, we get to make something people do actually give a shit about. Maybe that’s as simple as making them laugh, or it could get them to see the world from a new perspective, or take an action they otherwise wouldn’t. Sure, we’re not saving lives. But if that’s what you want, become a doctor. There are other industries to work in.

6. If you hate something, change something.
This industry is built by people. By us. Our future depends on us taking responsibility and finding solutions to the problems we face, not lamenting and pointing fingers. You can’t be upset that your agency isn’t taking risks and trying new things if you aren’t either.

Yes, old models will die. Old agencies full of lackluster talent will perish. Taking their place will be the new agencies or startups, or whatever you want to call them, that are driven by a united ambition to solve problems and create culture. They’ll be staffed by people who take responsibility for their futures, who believe in their product and believe in those around them.

Agencies aren’t dead. They’re evolving. If you want to come along for the ride, stop moaning and start moving.

Camera phones and oversharing

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Following on from Joe Bishop’s article posted here last week, i-D‘s Milly Abraham has her say on the scurge camera phones at gigs and clubs.

We get it. The endless stream of content needs to stop in 2014.

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Here’s yet another interesting addition to the endless stream of articles talking about the need to step back from the endless stream of content from Planner in High Heels, Patricia McDonald. The post builds on ones from the first few weeks of this year from Mel ExonAndy WhitlockToby Barnes (and also Alexis Madrigal’s piece on The Year the Stream Crested).

Six things things that make stories go viral

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As Maria Konnikova explains in her article for The New Yorker, the reasons will amaze, and probably infuriate.