The salad days of agency work were gone and everyone was scrambling to try and get into social and "native" ads and still retain a smaller piece of marketing work that still existed.

Your name, plus your original "web name/handle"

Kurt Noble, "ElbonTruk"

Your first web encounter, year etc.

Using a Windows 95, Pentium 2, Nescape Browser.  The month was January, the year 1998.  

I remember using the search engine "Hot Bot" and spending hours just marveling at search and search results.  

I also remember browsing the availability of domains and even camping on a few THAT day.  You could still find a few single-syllable domains that month!

What our readers might recognise you most for, when you first hit the web.

That would have to be either The American Beauty Film website or Dr. Dre's website from the year 1999, the Marines.com site, from 2002, or the Lenny Kravitz site from 2001.  

We used to be routinely featured at Shockwave's "Shocked Site of The Day," long before Adobe acquired Macromedia.  

Your digital journey since. 

Since those early years I've journeyed through the time I now think of as "the rise of the microsites," cranking out a bevvy of really engaging and fun sites for big brands and, of course, their Ad Agencies.  

Then, around 2011, we started to see massive decline in the traditional agencies being able to get their clients to consider microsites for most campaigns.  

Simultaneously, there was a massive "gold rush" and proliferation of talent coming onto the market, competing for a vastly declining volume of projects.  

By 2013, the only TV spots that even had relevance anymore were during "live-event-driven" broadcasts, and only a very small amount of those spots would be tagged with a vanity url and the ones that were tagged were usually tagged with a ".../facebook" url.  

The salad days of agency work were gone and everyone was scrambling to try and get into social and "native" ads and still retain a smaller piece of marketing work that still existed.    

The only people that go to a Nike microsite, nowadays, are agency people.  Consumers have left that building and aren't spending time looking for "wow-factor" experiences anymore.  

During this interesting, transformative phase we've been doing more and more product-development work, focussing much more on thinking of the web from a product-driven, less "marketing-driven" experience.  

There is still a great deal of work helping clients discover and map out more targeted and evolved product taxonomies around customer-journeys in this ever-changing landscape.

What are you up to now?

We now live in an age where everything on the web is an ad.  Mashable, Laughing Squid, Buzzfeed, even The FWA.  

All the content-providers who used to provide some pretty interesting content are all part of this vastly coopted media play that utilizes those "creative" feeds to purvey their pre-packaged stories and content, the vast majority of which are really just Native Ads for products, services, or even people and talents.  

Facebook has coopted our personal history into Ad-units, turning our timelines into "movies" that increase their own page-views and volumize ad units.  

Facebook and Twitter have created platforms where a billion unpaid content producers spend hours of their lives each day doing what people used to get paid a significant amount of money to do, which is to create content.  

Even our own personal lives have become Media content and distribution streams now, and everyone in our industry is scrambling to provide consulting and creative services layers onto this ever changing landsape of media channels and hyper-syndicated outlets.  

Innovation awards are now handed out largely to the agencies who can best manipulate this system of feeds and many of the biggest success stories are now happening in this largely un-paid landscape of "selfie-PR" and "my-life-as-media" distribution system.  

What's interesting is we're starting to see the Snake eating it's own tail, in some cases.   Take Anchroman 2, for example, where we saw a campaign touted as the greatest thing ever, but well-before the movie actually came out.  We were all convinced that it was the greatest,  most innovative campaign in history.  

AdWeek ran stories about it, touting the agency, the execution.  Woops!  But the box office numbers came in and it was an unmitigated fail.

What happened? What happened is we realized that the marketing campaign was so ubiquitous and saturating that when the film finally came and we all felt like we'd already seen the movie.  We were sick of Ron Burgundy.  We'd seen him on ESPN, Dodge Truck Commercials, FunnyorDie, Facebook.  

Why would I want to go to the movies and see him more?  I was sick of him by then.  The campaign had given me my fill and I'd moved on.  Our lauding and previous estimation of the campaign was, in fact, 100% wrong.  

This is the age we live in now.  Everything's free, content is expected to be consumed on-demand, and, when it's good, we binge-snack it, and marketers are scrambling to figure it all out.  

The agency's primary job now is more of thought-leadership role, where we need to be extremely lazer-focussed, making sure that we roll out campaigns in responsive, multiple-device deployments, targeting ever-evolving consumer journeys that are vastly different than even those of 2 years ago, in some cases, even two months ago.  

I have been staying very active helping clients negotiate this landscape, but am also starting to very deliberately explore and get back into analag design.  This year we'll do at least 6 trade show exhibit designs, working to design customer experiences and sales and marketing experiences that happen in a building, with people walking around and traveling into environments.  

We think the future of Analog design actually looks brighter and that there will be greater opportunities in the analog realm than perhaps even in Digital.  

With the web becoming more and more distilled down into fewer and fewer daily destinations, we feel that Retail experiences in the physical universe look brighter and brighter, and we believe that digital will start to even chase the physical market, particularly  with the rise of Robotics, touch-experiences on Foil, and the kind of "Virtual" interactions that will be designed for the coming marriage of physical spaces and software, all of which will make Facebook feel like a comical weighstation experience that happened on the road to much more interesting experiences, social and otherwise.  

The next 3-5 years will be a return to innovation and more interesting digital experiences, particularly when we get the digital experiences more liberated from current devices and apps, and start to re-open up the narrowing Facebook/Twitter world we now reside in.  

We want to be relevant and helping clients negotiate this landscape and all of the interface and physical elements that need to be designed for them.  

It's going to get interesting again!

Kurt Noble... Then
Kurt Noble... Then

Kurt Noble... Now
Kurt Noble... Now


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