Have websites had their day?

I can feel the morning getting away from me. A train beckons and I can’t be late for that meeting. But I AM running late and I haven’t done half the things on my list: my Facebook pages are still woefully incomplete, I need to load a new image on the blog (yep, this one) and I’ve only just signed up to Twitter. Who, for heavan’s sake, has got time for a proper job?

Social media is rather like the really good looking person standing next to French windows at a party. You’re immediately attracted but you’re cautious of going up an introducing yourself in case you sound like a sad prat (tell me it’s not just me who feels like that).

Some of us have embraced sites like Facebook as if they were long lost credit cards. Others of us are sidling up, still figuring out what it is we’re going to say. Businesses, in particular, are trying to get the measure of social media and have the hugest potential to look embarrassing if they get it wrong.

None the less, embrace it they must, or be left on the sofa while everybody else is gathered round the beautiful person standing by the French windows and laughing like drains.

There’s are numerous reasons why businesses should do this: some of which I’ll go into in more detail when I don’t have a train to catch, but the most critical is that all this social energy is definitely reaching cirtical mass. The Today programme on BBC Radio 4 (hardly the home of cool) was plugging its Twitter url this morning. I’m currently involved in a project where it is becoming increasingly obvious that the website is going to be the least important component online.

Perhaps the headline: ‘Have websites had their day?’ is overly provacative, but I feel the platform morphing from one based on technology to one based on social energy.

More anon.

Monkey could make chimps of us

The earth moved for me this morning and it’s all thanks to a small knitted monkey dressed as the Queen of England.

And anyone currently considering online advertising, viral marketing, or how to maximise the cross-platform power of digital and print would be wise to take note.

Tea brand PG Tips has been exploiting the strangely mesmerising relationship between comedian Johnny Vegas and ‘Monkey’ for some time now. The partnership was originally conceived for a UK digital TV campaign in 2001. PG Tips repurposed the duo in 2007 as a tea loving odd couple with the Monkey holding all the intellectual high ground.

Now, in the run up to Chrismas, there is a new viral campaign showing Monkey doing an impressive impersonation of the British monarch delivering her Christmas Day state of the nation address, aided by occasional sips from a large glass of sherry.

Several takes and many sips later the ‘Queen’ has lost all sense of diction and deportment. (Any of you who can remember a very early radio gag called The Toastmaster by Michael Bentine will take particular pleasure in this.)

But what really sends me reaching for the headboard to steady my delicious sense of virtigo is how this campaign has teased out all that is good about digital communication.

Firstly, the ad from AKQA, makes no attempt to milk the PG Tips brand. We’re simply allowed to enjoy the sight of a knitted monkey in evening dress, tiara and lipstick getting progressively plastered. What’s not to like?

Secondly, The Guardian, who delivered the campaign as a news item, were able to use their Guardian.co.uk to show the clip. You can talk about knitted monkeys all you want but to truly understand the delights of a small puppet in drag getting of its face – well… you have to see the movie. Words, in this case, are simply not enough.

So thank you Monkey, for giving me a laugh this close to Christmas. I only have one question? Would you like to join the CDA Content Lab? We could use a talent like yours.

See Monkey get hammered