Archive for December, 2010
… from everyone at M! Here’s a card.
Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about “hacking” – from Matt Schwartz’s “Coupon Rebellion” in Wired, to Microsoft’s Kinect, to designer hacks for shoe skins. Not too long ago, Netflix asked consumers to hack its algorithm to find a better matching system. WikiLeaks has people hacking in its name and maintains a secret file that supposedly can’t be hacked. You can try Lifehacker to get your act together. You can check out the Hackers! newspaper. Better yet, read Ed Cotton of BSSP, who argues that brands should embrace hacking.
Why the buzz on hacking, and why now? Didn’t we stop calling culture jamming and moved onto DIY? Consumers set their own rules, so why would hacking a brand or changing its identity be any more extraordinary?
Hacking started out as exploiting hardware, software, or rules in general to one’s own liking. Today we are better connected, so hacking is less about the hacker and more about the group. Hackers or “hacktivists” seek change on a mass scale, not for personal glory but for collective improvement. From “revenge of the wikis” to random hacks of kindness (RHoKs), it’s all about making things better. And brands are a ripe target, given how slowly they tend to move. Logos have become a target (hello, Gap). “Don’t hack our Kinect technology,” said Microsoft, so users responded with holographic chats and sex games.
People needs spaces to explore and grow, brands are a natural place to play. They provide context to much of what we do in life. When a brand lets outsiders push it, it can create new behaviors and even culture.
Don’t fight it – embrace it! We hack the things we love because they make us happy. Nothing wrong with a little improvement. Brands shouldn’t fight change but should instead provide people with tools to play, mesh, improve, stretch, wrinkle, chop, and generally set things on fire.
Dear brand, won’t you help us hack?
M! Innovations Director Howard Goldkrand recently chatted with Jawbone.tv about our Dexter ARG and transmedia in general. Take a look.