The best viral spot in German federal elections 2013

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.

The Guardian has a version with English subtitles.

Adecco vs Blogger – part two

Short intro: The blogger Turner Barr accuses the global HRM firm Adecco of having used his idea, name and even personality for a campaign.

adecco blogger copy scandal 2

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:
– apologize
– 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.

Update: Adecco just posted that they have come to an agreement with Turner and so did he.

Update 2
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.

About Adecco and a blogger’s idea

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 blogger copy scandal

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.

Bildschirmfoto 2013-06-21 um 18.43.24

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.”

The truth about focus groups

Bildschirmfoto 2013-01-24 um 18.43.04

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.

A very simple and funny idea to promote a book, “Truth in advertising”. (via)

Next 2010 summary

Last week I attended the Next conference, here is a personal summary and some reflections. First and overall I really liked next11, it had a good atmosphere and creative feel, interesting audience and I sticky ideas to share.

Of course, the talks and encounters are the most important thing at such an event and it was really a shame I did not have time to talk and chat more with people. Station is a good location, the lectures where in different rooms that all left from a central hall that had the feel of a marketplace and also served as restaurant and party area.

Too bad also I did not take any pictures, the official Flickr does not have images that capture the atmosphere either. The photo is from t3n, who have many more pictures from next11.
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My days at ADC 2011, this week Next

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.

Next event I will be attending: Next 2011 I am particularly interested in Peter’s Social track and Nico’s branding day, to bad it’s simultaneous, so I’ll be hopping back and forth supposedly. Continue reading

Super Job in Wien: Kulturkommunikation

brut, das Koproduktionshaus Wien, sucht eine/n Leitende MitarbeiterIn im Bereich Kommunikation, Schwerpunkt Pressearbeit, Vollzeit

Via einer Mailingliste hat mich dieses Angebot erreicht, dass ich hier gerne posten wollte, da ich glaube, dass meine Blogleser genau das richtige Publikum für diese Ausschreibung sind. Das folgende ist der Wortlaut der Ausschreibung. Persönlich kenne ich dort (noch) niemanden.
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Purpular: Kreativnetzwerk und Kunstmarktplatz

Purpular ist eine ganze Menge: Kreativnetzwerk, Ausschreibungsplattform, Agentur, Marktplatz. Fast könnte man etwas Sorge bekommen dass die Mannheimer etwas zu viel wollen, aber die Liebe zu ihrem Produkt und ihrer Idee macht das wieder wettLinda Dröge hat die Seite im Februar gelauncht und ist jetzt auf der Suche nach kreativen Dienstleistern und Künstlern um ihr Netzwerk zum Wachsen zu bringen. Da stehen sie natürlich großer Konkurrenz gegenüber, aber die Musik spielt bei der Kreativität bekanntlich in der Nische und wer auf der Suche nach Illustratoren, Videokünstlern oder schönen Drucken ist, sollte mal einen Blick darauf werfen:

Berlin Music Week

Berlin has a fashion week, a social media week, a week full of movies (Berlinale), but despite the vibrant scene, no established big music event. Now, for the first time, Berlin will host the Berlin music week which is bunch of events like conference, fair, festival, lots of concerts and parties.

Of course, in its parts, it is nothing new. Alltogethernow (#a2n) as a conference saw it’s first issue last year. Popkomm as a global trade fair for the music industry has a tradition of over 20 years and is slowly getting back some of the relevance it lost while the major music labels had to fight with revenue losses. And the Berlin festival started 2005.

From a branding aspect, it is good idea to put all this under one umbrella and attract people from all sorts of music business, whether it be major or indie labels, concerts, live events or distribution. It will be a week packed with talks and meetups and of course many concerts. I am personally looking forward to being present at a panel at a2n about the myriad of possibilities of self marketing for artists and will be attending the Berlin festival, of course.

Lost in Val Sinestra Campaign

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.

Try it out at

Update: Obviously, this is not a movie Trailer but a campaign for Swisscom, as Techcrunch reports.