Stuff is 'dead' but print smells nice

The dominant medium now is video. Not TV – video.

David MacGregorSome people like print. When we launched Idealog magazine, leftfield Breakfast TV host Paul Henry interviewed me and co-founder Martin Bell. I had been warned to take care because he could be unpredictable.

My heart sank when we entered the studio during the break to find our host sitting on the presenter couch sniffing the newly minted first edition.

“I can tell a good magazine by the way it smells,” he said, apparently without irony. “And I like the way this one smells.” Ahh, that new mag smell.

Others like radio – ‘theatre of the mind’ and all that. Personally I have never been a fan. Commercial radio is uniformly, searingly atrocious. I never listen to it. iTunes sealed radio’s fate. Why listen to some high rotation payola driven pap when I can mix my John Lee Hooker with Florence and the Machine or a spot of Philip Glass or any of the thousands of songs in my library – perfectly curated to my taste – by me.

The dominant medium today is video. You’ll note that I didn’t say TV. Audio visual presentations are today’s ‘Killer App’. Whether broadcast on television, downloaded on demand or watched on a video distribution platform like YouTube, Vimeo or any of dozens of others, video content is where you should direct your attention.

Video is changing dramatically and, once again, it is Google that is investing its enormous intellectual capital and dominance in online advertising to take video from a passive sensory experience to an interactive, integrated and engaging one.

Visit to see some of the tools that will soon be available to all. Google has worked with the creators of some of most iconic ads of all time to reimagine the classic campaigns leveraging the new toolkit.

Of course the Re:Brief experiment is at the cutting edge of the content marketing. For small businesses, those without multi-million dollar budgets, video can still be accessible. There is no reason why video can’t be lo-fi, too. There’s nothing wrong with shooting clips with whatever tools you have to hand. The best camera you can have is the one you have with you. The camera on your laptop or iPhone is just fine if the information you have to convey is simple.

Online US retailer Zappos uses simple videos, presented by staff to show and tell not only the benefits of the latest Nike or Skechers shoe, but also to reinforce its brand positioning as knowledgeable, helpful and fun – an utterly customer-focused business.

The biggest mistakes you can make when creating video content for the web or mobile devices are:

1. Not assigning enough of a budget to have a content strategy. Once you begin to communicate with video, prepare to make it a habit – a content plan will help.

2. Not having a clear social media strategy to attract an audience. ‘If you build it they will come’ is almost as naïve as the ‘strategy’ of – ‘hey, let’s make a viral video’.

3. Finally, spending too much money on the wrong content (not every production has to be a magnum opus – better to have a hundred stories that cost $100 each than one stinker that costs $10,000). Better to be useful than have a big-budget stinker on your hands.

David MacGregor is executive creative director of MacGregor Media, a co-founder of Idealog and sniffs his magazines on the iPad these days.

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