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Copybox - The Copywriters' Photoshop

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Issue #03 - Insight

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B
ill Bernbach sparked advertising’s “creative revolution” by allowing creatives to seize power from statisticians and MBA’s, showing that intuition and imagination, not pre-testing and proven methods, was what created great advertising.

Over forty years has passed and once again, we’re living in a metric driven, cost-per-click world, where the Internet, despite all it’s creative promise, is increasingly becoming a channel primary for direct-response marketing.

Sure, the Internet is the most precise marketing vehicle ever created, but can you even remember the last time you saw a really good web ad? Didn’t think so, and that’s what we want to change - according to Gustav von Sydow from "Burt", the company behind 'Copybox'. Gustav Martner, co-founder at Burt, has only this week sold his other company - Daddy - to Crispin Porter + Bogusky. They're no strangers to interactive awards at the major international shows, so perhaps we should hear them out.

 

Agency.Asia: You're creating some pretty interesting techy platforms for copywriters. That's unique in itself. Explain to us “reactive advertising” - global-customization of how internet ads look and behave based on the conditions of each exposure?

copybox-agency-asiaBurt: Reactive ads are unique and dynamic - based on some sort of variables – one or many. But in a wider sense – and this is what’s important and thrilling about reactive advertising – reactive ads is about using data and variables to enhance messages in a creative way – just like many creatives use graphics, sound, interaction and other assets. At Web 2.0 Expo, we introduced the concept of “reactive advertising” - mass-customization of how ads look and behave based on the conditions of each exposure. The idea is that, since no two people or situations are alike, ads shouldn't be either.

Agency.Asia: Can we do an demonstration of a piece of copy here? Let's say one of our readers is in Shanghai and the other is in Sydney ...

Burt: One way of "reactifying" this piece of text is to design a personalized greeting message. For example, "G'day mate, hope everything is great in Sydney!" and "Non ho, hope everything is great in Shanghai". Not terribly creative perhaps, but the principle is pretty clear: we customize the message each individual viewer.

Most campaigns usually include more than one type of data, and often it's being used in ways that we don't expect. We've done everything from campaigns for airlines with ads based on what's currently on TV, to selling video-on-demand by finding the closest pizza home delivery place. That's what happens when you give good tools to creative people. They come up with ways of using it, that we as toolmakers couldn't anticipate.

Agency.Asia: Actually, you guys might be interested to hear we had some very complimentary feedback on Copybox from one of our Agency.Asia Linked-In Group members, Alen Todorov:  "Normally when I write copy (for interactive) I know I have two paths I could follow : very targeted or very creative. This app seems to finally blend the two. Absolutely great."   That seems to be a pretty accurate summation to us.

 

 

Agency.Asia: What are your thoughts on the future of interactive advertising?

Burt: We're big believers in a creatively led approach to interactive advertising. It's high time to use technology not only to improve relevance and accountability, but to do more clever, entertaining and creative work.

There is currently a glaring disconnect between what technology can do and what agencies are actually doing. In the last couple of years many promising ideas for digital advertising has emerged - reactive ads being one - but most of them are just too difficult, time-consuming and expensive to be a realistic alternative. It's just too much trouble.

And we know this, not form the standpoint of frustrated technologists, but because part of Burt has actually worked with creating and producing award-winning campaigns for advertisers like SAS, Red Bull, Volkswagen, Burger King etc. Dynamic ads and the golden egg. Last week Sweden’s major ad award show, the Golden egg, announced their nominees and Burt got some indirect love since our partners over at Daddy grabbed two in the interactive category.

At Web 2.0 Expo, we introduced the concept of “reactive advertising” - mass-customization of how ads look and behave based on the conditions of each exposure. The idea is that, since no two people or situations are alike, ads shouldn't be either..

But even more interesting for Burt is that two of the four nominations in the interactive ad category used dynamic message-customization: Åkestam Holst created an which suggested different clothes based on local weather. And Starring created a unit that matched a products on Blocket (Sweden’s largest classified site) with payment plans from the client, Swedbank. And from what I hear these dynamic/reactive ads have performed great.

Agency.Asia: So you have the point of view of a creative agency rather than a technology company?

Burt: I guess you could say that. This puts us in a rare position to create tools that make it cheaper and easier for agencies to squeeze out everything the Internet has to offer.

Agency.Asia: So what products are you currently working on?

We have 'Copybox', "the Photoshop for copywriters", that is a word processor tailored for the needs of the interactive creative. 'Meme Machine' is our technology platform for dead simple management of reactive ad campaigns. Our third product 'Rich', is the first campaign analytics tool that is built with creative agencies in mind.

Agency.Asia: What are your plans for the near future?

Our products are on track for public release at the Cannes Lions in June. We're currently working with top agencies in Europe and USA but would like to further develop our network of Asian agencies that are looking to push the envelope of digital advertising.

 

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