This week, James Davies, chief strategy officer, Posterscope, parties with the mobile community hipsters in NYC (absinthe cupcake, anyone?), prints a new shirt button (duh…3D printers) and affirms his philosophy of always hiring people smarter than yourself.
This week I’m in NYC as I dedicate a portion of my time to helping advance our US operation. My focus is to help export some of the science and innovation in planning from the UK and bring back the latest in ad-tech and mobile from the US.
I’m up at 4.45 am and check the weather forecast for New York. It’s minus 16. Great. Double check I’ve packed a selection of hats, given my follicular challenges.
A trip to the airport via Cromwell Road where ‘The Lego Movie’ and Land Rover are battling it out, having chosen their respective weapons of Clear Channel backlights and JCDecaux digital screens. In my humble opinion, Lego lost that round, having missed the obvious but surely brilliant opportunity to build giant 3D Lego characters climbing all over their posters. I’d have thought that would have been the easiest creative media sell ever.
My daily news routine consists of the email digest of global business news from Quartz on my mobile and Twitter via Flipboard on my iPad. My Top twitter picks include @Paul_Framp, @thenextweb and @lifehacker.
Make it to Heathrow with time to spare. I always love using BA’s boarding pass app, especially when followed by someone who has obviously never seen this happen before. Deriving pleasure from this probably makes me a bit of an idiot.
After an incredibly productive seven-hour flight, I arrive at our mid-town (isn’t that what they are trying to call Holborn now?) offices in time for my second lunch of the day. This is followed by meetings that include a session at CBS Outdoor USA (they are not part of the new Exterion operation) at which CEO Jeremy Male makes a pleasant surprise appearance. The meeting goes well, which distracts me from the fact that my body clock says its 10.30pm.
It’s hard not to feel energised here and the combination of jet lag and trying to cram in as much as possible means it’s always the city that never sleeps for me.
I’ve chosen convenience over cool for this trip, so I only have a 10-minute walk to work from my hotel.
On the way to work, I use mobile augmented reality to find the Starbucks opposite our office, buy a holiday from a nearby NFC enabled poster and get pinged by an i-beacon, which reminds me to buy breakfast. I also pop into Best Buy to spend $75 on an ink cartridge for the 3D printer so that I can print a new shirt button. I consider watching the Lego movie trailer on my phone after seeing an ad in the newspaper, but I don’t bother as it didn’t feature a QR code – an opportunity missed.
Today is mostly about internal meetings – and I run a training session on real time digital OOH.
Things have warmed up a bit versus the forecast, so it’s only minus 10 degrees on the way to work today.
My over-scheduled diary causes inevitable chaos and my assistant and I have to rearrange the whole remainder of the week. She thinks it’s hilarious. I think she should probably hit me.
Drinks with our senior leadership team in the innovative Pod 51 hotel. Innovative means tiny rooms in this case, but fortunately the bar selection is far from Lilliputian and we have a great time. Apparently they have a really good rooftop garden bar, which we decide not to check out.
The snow hits New York. The snow also hits Atlanta, where it apparently doesn’t snow. The TV news teams jump on this opportunity to be extra American and deploy ‘Snow Team 4’ to the streets of Manhattan.
I get to check out an hour of TV, to which US marketers are still enormously wedded. It accounts for around 40% of adspend, but watching tonight it’s hard to see why – it’s not all ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Modern Family’. The majority is low-rent reality TV, poorly attended live sport and not-funny comedy, plus the local ads are appallingly cheesy.
Today’s selection of meetings, web-exs, conference calls and Skypes include an update with the UK team on our data partnership with EE. Our pilot, whereby we are using mobile website and app data to optimise OOH location selections, is going brilliantly.
The team has been busy uploading batches of m-commerce data into our new proprietary planning application and using its algorithm to work out the most effective applications of the data. Someone once told me to always hire people who are smarter than you and today’s conversation confirms my success in this area.
Drinks with our mobile display partners, xAd, tonight. They have built an amazing business in the US through their location-targeting accuracy, self-optimising geofences that shapeshift throughout the campaign, and a measurement panel that assesses real-world actions resulting from mobile and OOH exposures. We’ve recently extended our partnership to cover the UK too.
The party in the basement of Chelsea Market populated by NYC’s mobile community is definitely Super-Hipster. Fortunately, I’m wearing my trainers. I get asked for ID on the door, which must be a ploy to make people like me feel good. I vow to avoid the shots, gin lollipops and absinthe cupcakes. I eat an absinthe cupcake. It’s actually very nice.
I call a cab using the Uber app and it turns out to be an Escalade, which makes me feel very gangsta rapper.
Back at the hotel, I realize I’ve forgotten to eat anything apart from the cupcake and there’s no food in the minibar, so I have a packet of Rolos for dinner and fall into bed.
It’s a half day in the office before I head back to London. I think I’ll take my kids to see ‘The Lego Movie’ tomorrow…all because of that poster on the Cromwell Road of course.
Favourite media: Rap music (it’s full of ads which I guess is called earned media)
Biggest inspiration: The constant flow of tech entrepreneurs that I get to engage with.
Dream job: Judge on the ‘X-Factor Hip Hop’
Not a lot of people know this about me… I used to be a pirate radio DJ