Creatives on a walk for a job

What the heck is going on in ad land? How come, that several creatives are touring from one end of the nation to another? (While documenting their pilgrimmage online on Facebook).

Santiago Cosme and Victor Blanco, two advertising students, are travelling from NY, where they landed, to the HQ of CPB in Colorado.

In Germany, there are two projects like this currently going on:

Philipp Bertisch und Marcel Günthel, again two Students, are walking across Germany taking up the tradition of craftsmen who travel the country to assist and learn different masters throughout the country. They have been travelling since July already.

And Marcus Brown, who walks for Dr. Peter Figge, with the objective to have a chat with Peter Figge, who recently became CEO of Jung von Matt. Why? Because he wants to work for him. On his way, he hopes to meet interesting people.

What is going on here? Why do these three cases all appear almost at once?

9 million facebook users in Germany.

The new stats of Facebook in Germany are amazing. Growth during the last few months has been aroung 10% more or less steadily. With 9.1 million users, facebook is now the largest social network in Germany, having surpassed StudiVZ, which used to be the largest.

In terms of sociodemographic, it is still 50/50 between men and women, the largest group being within the age bracket of 18-34 years old. Representative enough for most social media marketing initiatives.

The implications for marketers are quite interesting. When thinking about social media activities, facebook is now the big pond in which to place the lure. It’s the place to go to when thinking about launching any involving apps or quizzes to reach the target audience.

Yet, it is still a place where most users just go to find out about the news from their network. Some (attractive) brands have achieved „likes“ and made into the newsfeed of users. But I bet there are many more brands that have launched facebook activities which never made the news. Which will be the most successful German brands on Facebook at the end of 2010? I’ll keep you posted.

Hornbach is sponsoring ambitious DIY projects of users.

While I am scanning and writing about all sorts of crowdsourcing initiatives by brands, I couldn’t help noticing a new campaign in Germany asking users to participate in a DIY contest. Guess I couldn’t miss it, since it was plastered all over, Germanys biggest online news source, which I happen to visit almost 10x a day.

hornbach contest in germany

Hornbach is a German DIY store that everyone watching tool time would enjoy. They had TV spots running for quite some time, in which people completed seemingly complicated projects around the house – refurbishing bathrooms, redesigning gardens, etc.

It is a logical progression to start a contest asking users for their most ambitious  DIY projects. The whole setup does not convince due to originallity. There have been better ideas for contests.

It excites due to size of presence. Advertising for a whole day on (and I guess other large sites, too) is no small deal. Also, they’re willing to sponsor up to 10 projects with up to 15k Euros per project. Also, I should add: they’re not just asking for any project, rather, they are looking for extreme, original (what’s the translation for „wahnwitzig“?) ideas. Nothing of the ordinary kind.

In the contest conditions, they of course make sure that they can publish photos and names of participants, as well as reserving the right to document and publish the whole project they will sponsor. Unless they only receive applications of complete idiots, which I obviously doubt, they will have some fine material for future advertising, authentic, close to the community, relevant and most likely touching. We’ll see in a few months time, I’ll keep you posted.

Copy whatever works, the Germans seem to think.

There were endless discussions in Germany about the successful  social media tactics employed during the presidential election campaign in the US. Of course these discussions also included thoughts and recommendations about how politics in Germany should make use of social media during this years election period.

I agree to the general thought, however I was mildly surprised by the blunt and uninspiring German copy of a well known video from the US. Whoever made this copy, did not even try to add their own thoughts. The only difference: this time they’re German Celebrities. The rest is the same. Here it is:

Does that look familiar? It is just like this one, isn’t it?

If this is the way forward during this year’s election, we will probably see a lot more stupid copies of the stuff in the US. I’ll keep you posted.

Will there be Internet Censorship in Germany?

While everyone in the world is (rightly so) concerned about the election and the questionable democracy in Iran, we have to acknowledge the fact that German politics is just about to make a small step towards censorship as well. It’s not as big a news as Iran, but it does concern quite a few people in Germany, so I wanted to let my English speaking readers know, what is actually happening in good ol‘ Germany at the moment.

Here is the thing: What sounds like a very good idea for the digitally ignorant politician can actually turn into a very dangerous thing: The „Zugangserschwerungsgesetz“ (law for restricting access) is aimed at reducing child pornography on the web by blocking access to sites with this kind of content. Taking action against this kind of content is a good idea, no one disputes that!

The reason for more then 130.000 people petitioning online against it (more than 50.000 in the first three days alone) is the fact that the law proposal was very badly designed. On the petitioning website it specifically says, that the objective of preventing this cruel thing is not questioned at all. Just the means of reaching that objective are raising eyebrows of many bloggers, twitterers, etc, but also some not so digitally savvy users. Why?

  1. The way the government wants to set up the technical blocking of sites is highly ineffective. Anyone with some technical knowledge can alledgedly circumvent this effortlessly.
  2. But the much more important point: Judging which sites should be blocked, as well as implementing that block, was put into the responsibility of one single government body (the federal office of criminal investigation – the BKA). There also wasn’t any plan for a body controlling the BKA. In the first draft the BKA was supposed to be pretty much free to judge and execute any way they felt fit. Impossible in a modern democracy, one would think.

Had it solely been for preventing child abuse, it would have been fine. But it doesn’t prevent child abuse at all. That content will still be produced and distributed. These people will always find other channels, even if the technical blocking will someday be effective.

The reason this scared everybody is the fact that the introduction of such a law opens the gates for a number of other interests, too. Alledgedly, other lobbies interested in shutting down first-person-shooter sites, poker sites, etc. are already waiting in line until it’s their turn to get their way. (As ignorant as German official bodies seem to be at the moment, and as efficient as Germans are, I have no doubt that 10 years down the line we’d have a perfectly censored and controlled German webspace.)

German site has some more info on this whole dilemma (in english). Other bloggers also write heavily about it, however in German.

By now, the law has been softened slightly. Which is an improvement – otherwise it would have been a complete desaster. Since the first draft, the following things have been adapted:

  1. Delete instead of block: the proposal now states, that it should be the aim to try to delete those sites showing questionable content via the providers, before blocking them.
  2. Monitoring the controls: the BKA will now have to report to a committee controlling their actions. (I just wonder who makes up that committee…currently the office of data privacy in Germany is being discussed for that post)
  3. Prevention instead of collecting data: originally the user data of people (accidentally or intentially) accessing those sites would have been logged. This is no longer supposed to be the case.

The final vote in the German Bundestag is on Thursday. But it seems like everything is set now. And while the government tries to push this through within this legislature, the petition – the largest one sofar ever in Germany – will most likely only be administered by the petition committee after the summer break.

By that time the law might well have passed the majority vote in the Bundestag.