AdLand Suit is Dan Shute, a Board Account Director at Delaney Lund Knox Warren, a top ten London Advertising Agency. This is where I write about the life of a Suit - which can include pretty much anything. Delaney's didn't know I was doing this, but they do now. They still don't agree with everything I say though. They'd also probably rather I swore less.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
This was originally going to be a very different post. As planned, I write this on the train on the way back from Edinburgh, having just spent 30 odd hours at the Fringe. The plan was that I'd have watched several shows and would now be writing several hundred words on each of them, making and breaking the careers of the protagonists as I went. (You know, or not.) Unfortunately, a couple of things happened which changed the plan somewhat.
The first, on which I'll spend little time, was the cricket. I couldn't ignore it. And so, having traveled up to Edinburgh from London, I spent an awful lot of time sitting in a pub watching sport that was happening in London. And then we won the Ashes. That, my friends, was 'time well spent'. And I apologise to the stand-ups whose shows I neglected because of that. I did see Laura Solon, who was awesome, and Dan Antopolski, who was VERY funny when he was funny, and talked too much about his kids when he wasn't. If you're up next weekend, see both of them. But especially Solon.
The second issue was an idea I had yesterday - Fringe postcards. I've been thinking quite a lot about online relationships of late, and this came about through that. Essentially, my thinking is this. I really quite like a lot of the people I interact with through this blog, and through Twitter. From the outside, it may well appear that the relationship I have with them is a slightly odd one - for one thing, they don't (apart from a fairly random few) know who I actually am. But that's one of the joys of the internet, as far as I'm concerned: the relationships I have aren't based on anything other than the fact that I like reading what people have to say, and talking to them, and they reciprocate in turn. They may not know my real name, but we talk about real things, share genuine emotions, and bicker occasionally. It's all really quite lovely, in a tediously 21t Century kind of way.
And, whilst getting an email, a comment or an @reply is a very nice thing, to my mind nothing quite beats getting something through your letterbox. That's your actual letterbox, in the front door of your house. Or flat. Or palace. Or whatever.
I had an idea. I thought, as I sat, fairly bored, on a train from London to Edinburgh, that it would be nice to send these people a postcard. I'd love to claim that there was some kind of underlying motive to it all, but there wasn't. I like them, and I wanted to do something nice. And so I tweeted, at around 10am on Saturday, that I'd send a postcard from the Fringe to anyone who DM'd me an address before 1pm. And then quite a lot of DMs arrived.
So I spent yesterday afternoon writing postcards to everyone who wanted one. In the process, I discovered that it's harder than you might think to buy postcards in Edinburgh. (And don't get me started on stamps.) The writing took a fair while, but it was strangely satisfying. As I've said, I don't just appreciate the people who choose to read this blog or follow me on Twitter, I genuinely like (most of) them, and this seemed like a nice thing to do. I posted cards to all parts of the UK, to Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (my timing was bad for the US - I'll plan the next one better, promise), and I hope they're as good to receive as they were to write.
And so there we are. If you wanted a postcard, let me know that it arrived, and, if you feel like indulging me, tweet a photo of you with it wherever you are. That would be lovely. But the main thing was that I just wanted to say hi. And I don't think getting a postcard is ever a bad thing. Yes, it means that a fairly large number of people now know that my handwriting is a touch embarrassing, but it also means... well, it means that those people got a postcard and that they know that I genuinely enjoy (not 'value'. Enjoy. I think the difference is rather important.) the relationship that we have. On balance, I think that's probably a pretty good deal.
If I was any good at ad-blogging, I'd now share some observations on brands' digital behaviour, and the importance of involving people in the conversation. But that would be boring. If you asked for a postcard, one is on its way. Because we should all care about what people think of us, and we should all do what we can to be nice. Andd because you're ace. That's the point.
PS I'm on holiday for a fortnight from next Sunday - I'm thinking about doing the same thing from there. But slightly bigger. Even if it's just because there's more time for people to get involved. Let me know in the comments if you fancy a postcard from somewhere slightly further afield than Edinburgh.