> Who are you and could you speak us about Contagious? I’m Jess. Hello! Contagious is a quarterly magazine covering the most exciting and innovative developments in non-traditional marketing and branding, as well as design and pop culture. There’s more information here. It’s a gorgeous–looking thing (we’ve won two design awards already!) but we’re always really careful to keep the balance between content and design. It’s intended as a handbook for those attempting to navigate the new marketing landscape. We have commentary from leading industry figureheads, reports into new areas such as branded content and mobile marketing, a country specific feature, in depth case studies (previous ones include Stella Artois, Camper, Nokia, Nike, McDonald’s, Red Bull…), reports on retail design and futurology, a massive news section which covers all the most recent developments in the sector, sections on pop culture, an agency case study…It’s quite big:) > And Engage 2006? Engage is an event we’re organizing in conjunction with Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide in Singapore. The event is designed to dissect some of the issues we raise in Contagious and those facing the industry in general, and we’re flying speakers in from London, New York and right there in Asia to discuss the new marketing landscape. The site is here: www.engage2006.com There are some great speakers (Naked Communications, The Viral Factory, Weapon 7, Campfire, Cake, Anomaly), and there’ll be panels to place a big emphasis on questions from the audience (we’re also using an SMS system to encourage people to submit their questions and blogging the event as it happens – trying to keep the whole thing running in accordance with the stuff we’re discussing, if you get what I mean). It is a not for profit event open to all agencies and clients in the area (NOT just Leo Burnett people) and we’ve also invited local media and design students to attend with the aim of encouraging young Asian talent to think ahead as they prepare to join the fray. Sorry for aggressive bolding, I just think this adds a whole bunch of credibility to the event, as it’s not a money-spinning venture populated entirely by back-slappers. We’re hoping it’s going to be a good opportunity to actually get to the bottom of some of the challenges facing our industry today (rather than the seemingly ubiquitous vague waffling about ‘media fragmentation’ without ever actually saying anything that seems to dog conferences these days. *Shudder*). There’s also a quick story about it here. >Why did you choose to do it in Singapore? It’s a great chance to bring together some of the smartest thinkers in the States and the UK with some homegrown talent, and make it a truly global event. Non-Traditional Marketing (NTM) is steadily on the rise in Asia, and it’s a great chance for people to learn the ropes and then apply their own creativity to it. >What do you think of the next trends in marketing? Is it just a new fashion? Nope. The change has been happening for years as audiences gradually fragment. The penetration of TV ads just isn’t what it was, and with the amount of time people spend online, gaming, out and about etc. the smartest campaigns are obviously going take a more integrated view, and follow their consumers rather than trying to dictate to them. What some people are happy now to dismiss as ‘stunts’ (guerilla, experiential and ambient activity) will eventually form a greater part of the marketing mix. Don’t forget there were people who thought the Internet would never catch on, and look at the role it now plays not only in our everyday lives but in the way we engage with brands. Advertisers spent $12.5bn dollars online last year. The marketing industry and advertisers themselves are quite often very reactive, meaning that when there’s a panic about traditional media they tend to swing dramatically in the opposite direction. What’s important (as in all things) is a sense of balance. Online and viral are important, but not everything. TV isn’t dead, but it needs reinforcement. Ambient, guerilla and experiential ideas can be extremely effective, but can have limited reach so need extending. It’s all about getting an idea of how the big picture fits together.