Of Cookies and Kings

Two great stories that I think every communications professional needs to read this week:

The Superbowl Orea Insta-Ad

oreo-superbowl-blackout-adYou didn’t have to be in the US or a sportsfan to see and smile at this one. But for anyone who thinks it was effortless or even right-place-right-time, think again. There’s a good write up by the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi on how it came about. But this is the really important part: 

Ads like Oreo’s piece presuppose a 21st-century leap in both process and form. The process is, of course, lightning fast; Oreo’s ad team took just five minutes to conceive and produce the ad, according to company spokeswoman Laurie Guzzinati. It also required that ad agency and client executives be at the same place at the same time. Marketing executives from Oreo’s parent company, Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods), were assembled during the game in a “social-media command center” at its digital ad agency in New York, 360i, ready to jump on any development. The group included the agency’s creative directors and its tech-
support team.

The form — social media — also speeds response times by eliminating the middlemen, that is, the mass media. By posting to a social media channel, Oreo didn’t need to reserve TV airtime or print space in advance. It was able to move at the speed of the news.

Richard III

You know how I keep saying “Tell your own story first and best, or others will do it for you?” Nothing drives that home for me more than the discovery of much reviled Richard III’s bones from a parking lot (cue many many parking lot/parking tickets/”my car, my car, my parking lot for a car”/handicapped parking/winter of disinterment jokes….).

Yes, history continues to be written by the victors, but today it’s much harder  to own the story. Dead men do tell tales, and the Internet preserves them into perpetuity. For better, or for worse.

From Time:

For centuries, Richard III has skulked in the shadows of the English imagination, a debased villain guilty of the worst crimes. A whole complex of writers and poets sponsored by the ascendant Tudors, not least Shakespeare, acted as de facto propagandists, cementing a legend that has stuck of a gnarled, misbegotten, evil schemer. In the great bard’s words, Richard III emerges even from the womb “corrupt” and “misshaped.” In her Booker Prize–winning masterpiece Wolf Hall, novelist Hilary Mantel has one of her 16th century characters speak “of King Richard, born under Scorpio, the sign of secret dealings, tribulations and vice.” Here was a hunchback consumed by a warped ambition, capable, among other things, of famously having his brother and young nephews executed and then trying to marry a niece.

In more recent times, some in the U.K. have sought to rehabilitate this disgraced potentate, including the rather active Richard III Society. But in our democratic era, there’s a limit to which a royal — not least one who by any account has a degree of blood on his hands — ought to be celebrated. What remains are the facts buried in the ground. The bones of Richard III’s exhumed body seem to prove at least that, judging by the curvature of his spine, he had scoliosis and what was likely a bent back. But there is no evidence of some other deformities, like what Shakespeare dubs “an arm … like a wither’d shrub.”

From the Leicester Mercury:

Philippa Langley, of the Richard III Society, said: “This is the king who gave us the system of bail, opened up the printing industry giving us books and freedom of information and applied the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty and blind justice.

“And yet he is still presumed guilty for the death of the princes in the tower, even though there’s no evidence pointing towards him killing them.

“When investigating someone, your primary sources are those people who knew that person, and those who knew Richard said he was a great man.”