One week ago a video turned up in my Facebook timeline which had been shared by more than 20 of my Facebook friends. Quite impressive, especially since it was posted by the metal workers union IG Metall. It is meant to make people go vote and it is indeed a brilliant piece of video.
Short intro: The blogger Turner Barr accuses the global HRM firm Adecco of having used his idea, name and even personality for a campaign.
In my first post about the fight over “Around the world in 80 jobs” I mentioned I had both asked Turner Barr and Adecco for further clarifications. I had asked Turner since when he had been in contact with Adecco, what he wanted to achieve, what they had offered and what he considers being a good outcome of the story. After their first reply I had asked Adecco (again) how and in which kind of process they had developed the idea and also questioned the “corporate social responsibility” character of the campaign which looks more like a brand idea to me.
None of both answered me, but Turner published an article where he outlines his demands towards Adecco:
– pay him the amount the agency got, which he calculates being 50 000 $
– pay 50 000 $ to a charity
– stop using the name and brand
That’s a bold statement for a negotiation. And he might be asking too much. Of course, this would be unacceptable by Adecco. They might apologize and they might pay an undisclosed amount to a charity but dropping the name and stopping the campaign and paying Turner on top would be, realistically, way too far. If it comes to a legal conflict, Adecco has better chances given the fact that they have a running registered trade mark application. The only One thing Turner can do is register a Trademark as well, but focused on another sector, e.g. media, marketing and publishing. Here, he could beat Adecco since they registered applied for human ressources services and it would be up to a court to decide if they play in the same field and which that is. Referring to the deleted part, see the first comment, about Trademark law and possible outcomes of a conflict. My knowledge apparently was a bit superficial.
However, there is another risk for Turner which is far more dangerous.
He could risk to lose his community by being too greedy. Apart from the demands towards Adecco ,he also started a fundraising project to “keep Around The World in 80 Days alive”. While I agree with Turner that Adecco has copied his idea and should do something about it, I think he is going a bit too far here. He should use the story to gain popularity and interest and it’s perfectly ok to ask for an apology and for a payment to a charity. That would easily be backed by the community which has been following the case so far. This community and the reputation risk for Adecco is the only leverage he really has (apart from the more than uncertain legal situation) and should not risk that with wanting too much at once.
The ball is in Adecco’s court. If they come up with a smart solution and offer, they can win back some sympathy. But they need to offer something. If both, Adecco and Turner, are smart now, they listen to the many voices who evaluate the case and find a way for both to profit.
This is how it was settled: Adecco apparently accepted Turners demands, stopped using the brand and paid their dues. I am impressed, I did actually not expect such an ending. But I am very happy and pleased, not only for Turner but for any small creative entrepreneur and also for online activism in general. Together, people can have a very strong voice.
This is a story of either a bold theft of creativity or a big big coincidence. It is a story of a blogger and a multi million dollar company, a story of an idea and its name, a dream and a campaign. Read the full thing.
Adecco is the “world’s leading provider in HR solutions” and currently running a competition called “Around the world in 80 jobs” as part of the initiative “Adecco way to work”
The problem is: “Around the world in 80 jobs” is also the name of a website by blogger Turner Barr from Washington. He is actually doing what the title depicts: Travelling the world and working in different jobs and blogging about it. Turner has been doing this since 2011. Adecco registered applied for the trademark in April 2013.
Barr is upset: “Recently, I was both astonished and demoralized to find that my entire brand, image and web personality was swiped for use in a marketing campaign … without ever being asked for permission or acknowledged. The video for their marketing campaign was particularly creepy for me, as even my age and personality didn’t escape the level of detail spent on creating this doppelganger”
Right now, the story is trending online, from Twitter to Reddit and Adecco’s Facebook wall is full of idignant accusations.
I mailed Adecco’s German press office to get a statement, explicitly asking if they were knowingly using somebody else’s idea. Here is the answer (in English, find the German original at the bottom of the article):
“‘Around the World in 80 Jobs’ is just the name of a competition as part of our initiative. With ‘Adecco Way to Work’ we want to give young people perspectives and inspiration, especially considering the difficult situation in Southern Europe. We are aware that there is a conflict in the use of the name ‘Around the world in 80 jobs’. We are trying to find a solution. Today we do not see the necessity to take legal steps against Mr Barr. We did communicate to him that he may use the name in the US and beyond. The initiative is about the perspective of young people, not about the name.”
This answer left me puzzled. It did not help to clear the accusations. If it was about the “perspective for young people”, not about the name, why would they register a trademark? And if they registered, why would they not decide to take it away from Turner Barr? Why would they not answer the question if they copied the idea or why it would look so similar? And how is this initiative helping young unemployed people?!
It does not create jobs. It does not create perspectives. The information about finding a job on the website are the same you can find anywhere else. The free coaching sessions can be found in one Southern European country, Italy, at least. Not in Spain. Not in Greece. Not in Portugal. The link to the Chilean offer leads to a pure informational website.
I adressed these questions in my reply to Adecco. I also asked Turner Barr for a statement. I’ll post an update as soon as I have answers.
According to the blog of the the agency Simplyzesty, the agency Mortierbrigade is behind the execution. It would be easy for Adecco to blame the agency and claim they had no idea about the original blog. But that would be too easy.
Here is my personal opinion: I don’t think everybody involved knew it was a copy. But some did. Which is why they registered the trademark to be safe themselves.
As a blogger I would feel the same as Turner, abused and then ignored by a very big company. As a marketer and agency creative, I feel ashamed. Do we not do our job because we like to develop ideas and come up with new exciting stories? To innovate?
Everybody is still waiting for an official statement and offer by Adecco. I am curious how this story unfolds. Especially since I suspect Adecco had planned to release some great videos showing the winners of the competition working in exciting jobs.
The original German statement by Adecco’s German press office:
“Die CSR-Initiative, die seit April läuft, heisst „Adecco Way to Work“. „Around the World in 80 Jobs” ist lediglich der Name eines Wettbewerbs innerhalb unserer Initiative. Mit „Adecco Way to Work“ beabsichtigen wir jungen Menschen Perspektive und Inspiration für den Arbeitmarkt zu vermitteln, besonders angesichts der sehr schwierigen Situation in Südeuropa. Wir möchten junge Menschen motivieren, über die Grenzen hinauszuschauen. Wir sind überzeugt, dass jede Initiative, die jungen Menschen eine Perspektive geben kann, in dieser schwierigen Situation eine kleine Hilfe sein kann.
Wir sind uns Bewusst, dass es einen Konflikt über die Verwendung des Namens „Around the World in 80 Jobs“ gibt. Wir bemühen auch weiterhin um eine Lösung. Aus heutiger Sicht sehen wir keine Notwendigkeit, rechtlichen Schritte gegen Herrn Barr einzuleiten. Wir haben ihm kommuniziert, dass er den Namen „Around the World in 80 Jobs“ auch über die USA hinaus verwenden kann. Uns geht es in dieser Initiative um die Perspektive für die jungen Menschen und nicht um den Namen.”
If you work in communication you know this situation. “Focus groups” are people picked by an advertising or market research agency who represent customers. They are put in a room to share ideas about a product, a design or a campaign. They are meant to find out “insights” and feedback to test the marketability, but in fact, most of the time they are like shown in the video: dull, frustrating, uninspired and uninspiring for everybody. Truth is: If you want to know what’s really going on in the mind of the people you cannot ask them. You need to find other ways to figure that out.
The second Awesome foundation grant this year goes to (drumroll..) Jay Cousins and his idea to build bird houses in the city! Here is a bit of his plan:
“Make a little birdhouse in your Keats” will show people how to make bird houses from trash and then place them in public spaces – trees, lamp-posts, street signs and buildings. This process will educate people about waste, and engage them directly in improving directly their urban environment. The birdhouses themselves will create a provocation, bring birdsong to the streets and make the keat’s just that little bit nicer for everyone in it. The project would manifest in workshops – street actions and documented online with a how to replicate in your own keats.
Awesome! We look forward to seeing this in action.
Last weekend I went to the German ADC festival in Frankfurt. The Art Directors club (ADC) awards good ideas and designs from the communications world, from tv ads to magazine design, there is a conference and of course many parties. My expectations were to meet interesting advertising people to talk about how to implement social media in their work and scout some young talents for P3000.
And I really did have some good conversations, everybody was really interested but somehow I had the feeling that there still are a lot of cultural differences between the advertising and the social media world. I’ll explain that in another post. What I actually did not expect so much was to be inspired, I don’t know why, but that actually happened to my joy and surprise. The exhibition was full of nice small and big design and advertising stuff: photos from magazines, print poster campaigns, even some good online stuff and I it was cool to stroll around and let the eye get caught by the vast variety. You can take a look at all the winners here and watch some picture after the break.
Only two weeks ago, Heineken came out with the Starplayer iPhone app, which lets players estimate situations in Champions league football matches, while watching it on tv. I had the chance to test it from the beginning and I have to say it’s pretty impressive overall. The concept to run a game simultaneously to popular football games and let players worldwide play against each other is as simple as it is genius and the app is very well done. There are few things I did not like so much: 1st) I fail a lot, and I think I am not he only one, so it’s pretty difficult and on the edge on being demotivating. 2nd) it takes a lot of energy, the phone is almost empty after a match and 3rd) there are some minor usability flaws, like images that look clickable but aren’t. Here are some screenshots and explanations: Continue reading →
An interactive trailer which pulls your friends information from Facebook and integrates it in the movie.
Technically, it’s not a problem to put individual text and video into a flash movie. Alone, the right idea and the concept is a challenge that Lost in Val Sinestra solves in a very smart way. By connecting your Facebook account to the Val Sinestra Trailer Editor a random selection from your friends list is made, you can chose a “Thrill factor” and your movie is being generated. Your own name will be used for the director’s title, your friend’s names and pictures will be integrated into the plot, on guest lists, on papers, fotographs or in the tv news. Alone, the sharing is not thought through really. In the end, I would expect a suggestion to share your own movie in your news stream and at the wall of all the people that take part in the movie. Technically, that would have been possible.
Der Online-Fashionshop Haburi hat zwei interessante Aktionen auf seiner Facebookpage: In Kooperation mit Cinemaxx können Fans (man muss Fan sein, um teilnehmen zu können, eine Praktik, die immer mehr zum Standard wird) einen Kinosaal mit Freunden füllen. Wer tatsächlich 199 Freunde zu der Aktion einlädt, kann mit diesen eine Exklusivvorstellung von Sex & the City 2 besuchen.
Spricht die erste Idee eher Frauen an, richtet sich die zweite (“Fashion Rocks“) eher an ein gemischtes Publikum: Wer gerne auf Festivals fährt, kann ein Foto seines Lieblingsfestivaloutfits posten und kommentieren lassen. Unter den Mitmachenden werden dann 5×2 Tickets für Rock im Park gewinnen. Umgesetzt wurde die App mithilfe von Wildfire. (Update: Inzwischen von Google gekauft, eine Liste über einfach Social Media Tools gibt es hier.
Es fällt auf, dass Markenkooperationen via Social Media viel leichter zu organisieren sind, als über andere Kommunikations- und Vertriebskanäle. In letzter Zeit sind mir ein paar solche Kooperationen zwischen Medienunternehmen (Filmverleiher, Kinobetreiber), Reiseveranstalter oder wie in diesem Falle, Online-Fashionshops aufgefallen. Falls ich weitere Links werde ich sie hier posten, falls euch welche auffallen, schmeißt sie hier rein!
Dieses Jahr habe ich die große Freude und Ehre, auf der re:publica zu sprechen. Tex Drieschner, gleichwohl Musiker wie “Solutions Architect” bei Red Hat lud mich ein, auf seinem Panel zu Innovation zu sprechen und dort werde ich dann u.a. mit Tim Leberecht (Vice President das Marketing bei Frog Design) und Iepe Rubingh, Aktionskünstler und Erfinder des Schachboxens sitzen und darüber sprechen wie Neues in die Welt kommt.
Mein Vortrag trägt den Titel “Chaos vs Totgeplant: Von der Organisation der Innovation”. Ich möchte Formen vorzustellen wie Organisationen Innovation “organisieren” wollen und das natürlich mit Fokus auf Online-Tools. Wie schaffen es einige Organisationen immer wieder auf neue Ideen zu kommen und andere scheitern auch mit millionenschweren Programmen? Ist das eine Frage der Kultur oder der Organisationsregeln? Und ab wann macht sich eine Organisation eine persönliche Idee als Innovation zu eigen?
Schon an diesen Beispielen erkennt man große Unterschiede in der Herangehensweise, die einen binden Kunden ein, die anderen ein Netzwerk aus Zulieferern, bei anderen wiederum ist es nur intern, die Form der Beschreibung und der Bewertung einer Innovation unterscheidet sich zum Teil erheblich und die auch der Grad der Formalität.
Wer kennt weitere Innovationsplattformen von Organisationen, die hier noch nicht enthalten sind? Bitte ergänzt weitere Links in den Kommentaren, der Fame der re:publica wird euch sicher sein und mein Dank natürlich ebenso!