SWAN of the Week, Number 137

“Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

Elon Musk

Happy Friday!  

And welcome to the latest wave of new subscribers. I’m glad you’re here. Let’s teach each other something. 

Last week I had the honor of sharing a keynote at AdFed’s Student Ad Summit in Minneapolis and met quite a number of young talents just brimming with potential, creativity and a welcomed challenge to the status quo.

I started working at an ad agency when I was 17 and learned firsthand the power of digital nativism in a creative culture (and an industry that relies on youth and “what’s next” to break through).

Taking that lesson forward, I believe that Generation Z can develop even stronger and more competitive super powers than Millennials, the first digital natives. Gen Z has only ever known an internet-fueled, mobile world, which means they lack the baggage, hang-ups and constrictions of that world.

For example, they’ve built cooperative Minecraft worlds in three dimensions FOR FUN. It’s a completely different way of wiring your brain, and we need their type of thinking in modern marketing.

So here’s where the opportunity comes in. If you can approach the “world of olds” like a student, learn the foundational craft of the communications arts, and not immediately dismiss things as passé or ancient, your multi-dimensional skills in creativity are deeply needed and marketable.

For those of us Gen Xers and older, we should be looking for opportunities to embrace these new thinkers and not fight them. Not look down our noses at their slang or social behaviors, and instead approach them like a student and teach, mentor, partner with and equip this next generation.

Speaking of understanding the past to look to the future, I want to share your formal invitation to the LA premiere of Perkons VR later this month. I’ve learned so much from Cory McLeod and others on this project over the years and am thrilled it’s being added to the Wende Museum of the Cold War’s collection. Be sure to RSVP if you can come! 

Also, this week we announced my upcoming keynote at Social Media Breakfast MSP, called “WTF is Social Media in 2020?” on February 28. It’s going to be provocative, educational and hopefully encouraging in a world where social media gets such a bad rap. You can get tickets here

See you on the internet!


SWAN of the Week, Number 136

“The television commercial is not at all about the character of products to be consumed. It is about the character of the consumers of products.” 

Neil Postman

Happy Friday!

Last week, one of Vine’s founders launched Byte, a new 6-second looping video social network. Byte has the standard social features you would expect: a feed, Explore page, notifications, and profiles. Because of the heavy interest and excitement about Byte, I recommend brands proactively register their profile handles as a best practice. Maybe you won’t need it. But maybe you will. Do it right now before your brand’s handle is taken!

Speaking of new social networks that are absolutely blowing up, this week I’m quoted in this Forbes article about TikTok and its role in the Super Bowl. You can read my full take here. I’m excited for a new social network. New energy. New creativity. It’s a new place to advertise as a complement to TV. Bring on the new mediums. 

Sunday isn’t just the Super Bowl, it’s Groundhog Day, and that’s a good time to reminisce about the 5 years I was the voice of Punxsutawney Phil on Twitter. Ah, the memories. 

AND, this is the one year anniversary of my frozen polar vortex pants going viral. The backstory: My kids had a snow day from school and I said “let’s make something go viral!” And we did! With a big hat tip to Tim Brunelle for the inspiration. My frozen pants pants got picked up by BuzzFeed, IFL Science, BoredPanda, Distractify, Someecards, 22 Words, the front page of Imgur, and news pubs in Canada, Ireland, India, Spain, Japan, and Serbia!! 

Two kids thought it was hilarious. One is still embarrassed to this day. 

And that’s what it’s all about. Enjoy your weekend. Don’t forget to ignore the game and shush everyone during the ads. It’s the American way. 

See you on the internet!