May 31, 2007

Campfire is "not cliche"

Someone sent me a link to Campfire, the folks behind Blair Witch Project and BMW's The Art of the Heist. I read their "Philosphy" and almost threw up my cat food I was laughing so hard. I will say this. As an unemployed creative, I might take more offense to their ideas than someone with a job. But judge for yourself. Please, enjoy....

The more things change, the more we re-name…them.

Never in the history of marketing has so much change come so quickly. And generated so many clichés: Buzz, Viral Film, Branded Entertainment, Social Media, Consumer-created Content, Yadayadyada. The rapid explosion of new terms is surely a sign that we’re making it up as we go along.

Just to make it more difficult, while content and media platforms are rapidly transforming, our process of work is being totally reinvented. The spot DNA, around which our industry practice was built, is collapsing, leaving no agreed up working structure in its place.

Fires make us warm. Stories make us human.

Because Campfire’s partners have participated in the creation of some terrific stories—The Blair Witch Project, Sega’s Beta-7, Audi’s The Art of the Heist—you might think Campfire is all about storytelling.

In fact what interests us most is the upturned faces around the fire, the audience. Otherwise known as the community. And we believe that you don’t create communities, you discover and join them. So the Campfire process starts with traditional marketing disciplines of research, planning, and strategy. With Levi’s we talked to young men sick of the multiplicity of Metrosexual fashion choices. With Sharp the dialogue was with an older demographic looking to move upscale with their choice of big screen TV.

Only when we understand a brand or campaign’s core community do we begin to develop creative content. Campfire content can include mysteries, games, debates, short films, blogs, even forums. But since Campfire methodology is about instigating persistent engagement, discovering the audience and what excites them is essential.

Maybe the Campfire metaphor is really about spreading buzz from one fire to the other. But that would be another cliché.
Ok, first of all, research, planning and strategy are cliche'. It's a given. if you don't do your research, then you're stupid. Their whole thing about "We actually INTERVIEWED human beings BEFORE we made a move is...standard and....CLICHE...and expected! Who does marketing without doing their research? Hello? They're trying to come across as "We're going to stick to what works and not deal in cliche's."


Did you notice how many cliche's they used themselves in their anti-cliche wretch-fest? No? Let me list them for you:

"process of work"
(just say "the way we work." This is a cliche'.)

"Fires make us warm. Stories make us human."
(I've got barf running down my chin. And it smells like cat food.)

"...the audience. Otherwise known as the community"
(So "social media" is a cliche, but "community" is not? Who do you think is INVOLVED in social media? THE COMMUNITY!)

"mysteries, games, debates, short films, blogs, even forums"
(all trendy marketing methods. ie: cliche. They can be done well, but they're still cliche'.)

"Campfire methodology is about instigating persistent engagement"
(engagement is one of the trendiest cliche' buzz-words known to "new-marketers"!)

I think what I take offense to most is their assertion that "we’re making it up as we go along." OF COURSE WE ARE. It's what I call experimentation. And the reason all these catch phrases and terms get made up is because the people paying us to make their stuff want a name for everything. Or, the names are made up by former marketers who write books we all read. Or, the names are made up because they are made up by sincere people making sincere efforts to...experiment.

Please, Campfire. You yourself are a cliche'.

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