I must admit I feel a little dumb right now. Nothing that a few cocktails tonight won’t cure, but still a little sheepish.
Well you know how you’re always told to never judge a book by its cover, always give someone the benefit of the doubt, wait and listen before forming an opinion?
I failed miserably on all three counts while I waited with 700-odd digital marketes at the IAB MIXX keynote conversation for Ashton Kutcher to show up.
I’ve never seen any of his films/shows, I knew he was young and he was married Demi Moore, but what could he possibly have to say? Look at me I’ve got 3+ million followers on Twitter and this is how I did it?
I was wrong!
Ashton breathed some seriously giddy-making oxygen into the room. He was articulate about social media, his generation, his causes and his company, and everyone who left the Crowne Plaza was impressed and probably felt as silly as me!
Ashton grew up in an MTV age with short attention span. When you’re only used to 5-10 minute clips it’s difficult to sit still at the opera. His desire to be disruptive coupled with media restlessness added up to media on the web!
The internet has given rise to an open universe. Consumers live their lives in public. We’re in an age of TV reality shows and low cost entry to exposure on the web, streaming your every move through a webcam in your house. If consumers live their lives in public then brands have to follow suit. He didn’t mean big companies had to give away everything but simply “peel back the curtain a little”.
When asked about TV shows and film, he said TV is becoming more improvised and “you don't wear make up on the web. There is no script, it's based on honesty”.
One example he gave of where he saw some great innovation and understanding of the social web was with the Mountain Dew campaign, where they’re handing over control to consumers to see what they come up with!
He was very passionate about the sharing aspect of the web - “Make content synonymous with the brand”, because if people share your brand information, maybe a product or service, it means it's something important to them, and that is more powerful than straight marketing in his opinion.
When pressed on what everyone will be talking about next year, he said it’ll be that someone will have figured out what the metrics are to track the impact of social media marketing. Current KPIs have to evolve and in a year’s time we should have a better handle on it.
All in all, a very refreshing session. For many of us who have been in the industry for 5-10 years, it’s time to take heed and listen more intently to people like Ashton and his generation.
We can’t afford to let this advertising/marketing phenomenon creep up and pass us by.
Now for that cocktail……