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Siren + Hello Velocity: MeatFace Campaign

Marketing as a Medium:

An Interview with Experimental Creative Studio Hello Velocity

* * * * * * *

Our online lives are completely saturated with marketing, even when we're not expecting it. From social media feeds laced with paid advertisements to product placement and "native marketing" masquerading as editorial content, to be online is to be subjected to a constant stream of messaging aimed at making us feel incomplete, so we'll be better consumers.

This saturation presents a challenge to those of us who might be concerned with such quaint notions as trying to leave the world a bit better than we found it. Do we try to ignore marketing culture? Or can we participate in it in a way that challenges its expectations? A crop of conscientious young creatives has opted for the latter path, taking it on themselves to try to reshape marketing culture from the inside, or at least have fun trying.

Hello Velocity is a trio of artists who sculpt in the medium of viral marketing. JS, Kevin and Lukas bonded while they were all studying design in Providence, Rhode Island. Soon they began working together making sculpture, furniture, and eventually absurdist web projects. In 2014 they launched Bitelabs, a farcical biotech company pushing the potential for artisanal, in vitro meat grown in a laboratory using celebrity muscle tissue.

This two-month campaign went viral: the Bitelabs site was viewed almost half a million times, and generated some 22 thousand tweets for tens of millions of total impressions across Twitter and Facebook. Bitelabs was written about in more than 16 languages all around the world--not too shabby for three artists testing the waters of digital marketing! After Bitelabs, the trio were accepted into the New Museum's NEW INC program, the first museum-run incubator program for art, design and technology.

JS reached out to me upon discovering that Siren was also artist-founded, and he was curious about our experiences navigating the business, client, and fundraising world. We clicked immediately and soon Siren was collaborating with Hello Velocity on their next brainchild, MeatFace (these boys love their protein!), a satirical ad campaign going on right now that is taking on the dehumanizing swipe culture of other dating apps and confidently declaring: Tinder, Meat Your Match.

I asked these up-and-coming social artists some questions on the nexus of art and entrepreneurship, marketing, and tech culture.

* * * * * * *

What do you mean when you say 'marketing is a medium'?

We're interested in marketing, particularly social marketing, because of our interests in the mechanisms at play in social media. Particularly, today, we're fascinated with the cultural implications of media in the social age, where there is a shift from brands having an identity, to individual's identities being created through brands. With a like, a pin, or a follow, consumers have so many more ways to interact with brands-- and marketing so much more potential than making a sale.The landscape for identity construction has matured into a robust network. Brands and personal identities are in constant negotiation, and micro-celebrities are flooding the network. This is the canvas we're working on, using marketing to be cultural players and to disseminate a critical viewpoint.

How did you come up with the idea of Bitelabs? Looking back, why do you think it went viral?

We started working on Bitelabs out a confluence of different interests we held at the time. The project was a critical examination of celebrity culture, an investigation of virality's potential as a critical medium, and oblique publicity for in vitro meat as a technology. One of the things we emphasize when talking about Bitelabs is the form of the project vs. its content. The form we chose (biotech startup) was a deliberate language of legitimacy used to construct a vehicle for our content. It was engineered from the very start as a viral project-- in vitro meat to follow the (at that time recent) Google Burger; a perfect visual imitation of (90% of) 2013/2014 tech startup web design; an absurd Twitter call built into the structure of the campaign.

How do you think you approach marketing differently than most "marketing" agencies?

Brands have the potential to be critical and interesting cultural players, instead of just barfing banners all over the net.

What we sell with brands is the idea that they should be interested in their cultural production as they scale up. We work with brands so that they can be culturally conscious, engaged, and conversant. Companies and brands are powerful forces in creating and shaping culture, but these effects should be viewed as integral brand activities, rather than externalities.

We believe in the spread of ideas: branding and marketing are media that have every ability and obligation to transcend making sales. We investigate the mechanics of selling and constructing identity and the implications of doing so in a social network.

What does your ideal client relationship look like?

We want to work with brands and companies that have a stake in shaping culture.

We want to be your experiment. We want to be your pilot program for new paradigms.

What is your assessment of macho tech culture? As three males, do you think it is possible for you to run counter to this bro-culture?

Male-dominated tech culture is very real, and while it is debatable how far we really fall into the tech archetype, male-dominated art world culture is also very real. As a company started by three art/tech bros(?), we're cognizant of this. As the HV team continues to grow we hope we can continue to broaden the range of viewpoints that join in our design process.

How do issues such as politics, social justice, and empathy play into your campaigns?

Within a media sphere dominated by short form content, is it possible to create short form content that actually creates long term response? We have often described our projects' purpose as starting, facilitating, or furthering conversation around specific topics-- whether that's celebrity obsession, or objectification in dating app interfaces. In this sense we feel these campaigns differ fundamentally from general trends in media: as our attentions shorten, conversations seem to stop. Headlines reign and mediators fall away. At the heart of all our campaigns is our belief that critical (and targeted) provocation is valuable, and that human conversation can lead to change.

I'd call your work subversive, but not snarky -- it questions social tendencies but ultimately asks what it means to be human. What made you think this would be a good collaborative fit with Siren's mission?

We knew it would be fun to work with Siren after we'd all downloaded the app and saw how bonkers (in a good way) some of the questions got. That was when we all said, "yep. We get it, this is a social intervention."

Of course we met Susie through an arts context and so we were already predisposed to think of Siren as a good collaborative venture. But also what's really interesting is that Siren is challenging what has become the ubiquitous dating app interface--swiping--from the standpoint of its effects on culture. This could be couched in some standard disruption lingo, but the decision to avoid that trope makes it a very different kind of endeavor and a goal we felt good about aligning ourselves with.

LaptopImage copyright Thinkstock The way broadband speeds are advertised is misleading and should be changed, a cross-party group of 50 MPs has said.

Internet providers are not in breach of current guidelines, even if only 10% of customers can obtain their fastest advertised speed, the group said.

The British Infrastructure Group is calling for greater powers to enable consumers to hold providers to account.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it was aware of concerns about speeds and would consider further work.

Other industries, such as airlines and banks, are forced to compensate customers for errors, delays and poor practice, so why not broadband?British Infrastructure Group

"Our position on broadband speed claims in ads is based on extensive work undertaken in recent years, including a full public consultation on new guidance," it said in a statement.

The report from the infrastructure group, which was set up by former Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, said consumers had "very few rights and protections" they can turn to if they are "poorly treated" by their internet service provider.

UK hits broadband target... maybe

Mandatory refunds

"Consumers must be given the power to hold their internet service provider to account when they let them down or outright mislead them into signing a contract that makes promises that bear no resemblance to the later reality," its report said.

"BIG will therefore be campaigning for mandatory refunds for anyone who has been mis-sold a broadband contract.

"Consumers also need the power to leave contracts if they are found to have been misled."

The group highlighted that there was no minimum level of compensation if customers received a poor service.

'Scandalous'

"Other industries, such as airlines and banks, are forced to compensate customers for errors, delays and poor practice, so why not broadband?" the report said.

"This is a scandalous state of affairs and this must change."

Ofcom has asked fixed-line internet service providers to sign up to a voluntary code of practice, which requires them to provide consumers with more information and advice on maximum broadband speeds.

But the infrastructure group said regulators needed greater powers to step in and "take real robust action" against providers found to be misleading customers.

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The Internet is similar to a corn maze. There's lot of ways you can go in terms of promotion and SEO. If you are good and patient, though, you can figure things out. The tips below will give you the start you need.



Insert your keyword into any summaries you give when providing backlinks. It's crucial to include your keyword, though use the most compelling phrases and don't forget a call to action in those summaries. For the search engines, who are continuously searching for clues about relevant content, though not just for the reader.

To expand your customer base and bring more traffic to your site, use a product feed to boost your presence online. Such feeds provide detailed information about your offerings, such as pictures, prices and descriptions. Submit them to major search shopping and engines comparison sites. Your customers can receive each feed as it arrives, by using a feed reader.

One of the undisputed best ways to reach the top of the search engine results page is by having great content. If you consistently offer interesting or entertaining information, people will naturally want to return to your site. It may be beneficial to hire a professional writer if you struggle to come up with great content.

One good on-page SEO technique is to use alt tags to describe all the images on your website. By doing this, search engines will be able to index the images and find your pages. This method also has the added benefit of helping website visitors who are using text-only browsers.

Make sure that your URLs are SEO user friendly. If your site has a name that people may search for, then your site will instantly become more visible. This is a fairly easy step that can bring your website to a whole new level of visibility and popularity.

Make sure that you occasionally tweet about other products or brands, to increase your loyalty to other companies, if you have a Twitter account. In turn, you should receive positive feedback and potentially free advertisement as repayment for the service that you provided. This can lead to extra profit, especially if you promote large organizations.

In order to obtain the actual search volume for your keywords, you may want to consider opening a pay per click account. The account will cost you, but it may be worth it to see the real search volume data for your keywords, to be able to monitor trends, and also to view the impact when you modify or change your keywords. To better manage your search engine optimization, a pay per click account is a definite must.

Publish content with as little HTML code as possible. Search engines prefer pages that favor actual content instead of tons of HTML code. In fact, they consistently rank them higher. So, when writing with SEO in mind, keep the code simple and concentrate on engaging your audience through your words.

Starting a blog is a great way to optimize a website's search engine performance. The structured, frequently-updated content of a blog is treated favorably by search engines, which drives up a website's position on the search engine results page. Committing to a high-quality blog will also draw a website into communication with its visitors and industry peers.

When getting ready to place your advertisement on the internet, you will need to know how keyword density, proximity and frequency all affect search engine ranking. Make sure you do your research, so that you are marketing your company in a way that will bring about more business than you are currently getting.

Try to avoid having too many links coming from the same IP addresses. It usually backfires, even though it's tempting to add in seo dallas links from other sites that you own in the hopes that it will increase your rankings. Some engines penalize you for it and others may start. Just avoid doing so to be on the safe side.

Leave comments on other peoples websites on a regular basis. Take your time and find the articles that have a high PageRank page, and leave comments on these. This will help you improve the PageRank score, and may have other people coming to look at your site more often as well.

For every searcher and market demographic, there are certain "negative" keywords that will deter an internet user from clicking on your link from a list of search results. Use your marketing resources and consumer insights to establish which keywords are consideredirrelevant and offensive, or otherwise undesirable to your target market.

SEO is a way to make money on line. This is a great way to get people to see your site and click on it. The search engines will rank the content that is on your place and site your web address in the order it chooses. There are several things that affect this, and search engine optimization is one of them.

DO NOT use your front page's file name in links to it from the rest of your site. Only use your domain name as that is likely to be what other sites will use to link to you. By having two different links you'll split your link juice between the two and lower your page rank.

They do not have to buy their way to the top of search results. That's what many business owners do not realize. The most effective way to get your website higher in search results is to search engine optimize the content on your site and to use your site description and meta tags to show its relevance to certain key terms.

In order to find the best results for what you are looking for when using a search engine, it is important to not use too many words. The more words that you type into the search bar, the more specific that search has become and will hide many valuable options from you.

Millions of people may be getting into business via the internet, but most of them will end up failing when it's all said and done. It's important that you never allow your efforts to become lax. Focus on and use the tips from this article in order to make sure that your website is always as strong as it can be.



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It can sometimes seem difficult to even think about entering into the world of web design. Yet you shouldn't let the world alone discourage you from trying to pursue and endeavors that you feel like you can profit from. The tips in this article can help you understand some of the key aspects of web design.

HTML5 video is set to become the next standard for displaying videos on the web and naturally, you should offer both a way in which users can stream your content through an HTML5 format as well as another format such as flash for those who have an older browser version.

Make sure that you regularly remove inaccurate and outdated content from your website. For example, if your webpage is filled with advertising for something that happened months ago, viewers will turn away. Allowing information that is outdated to remain on your website is a sign to users that you have not taken the time to update your site and it implies that you don't care about their time. Review, update and delete content as a matter of course.

Be wary of web hosting companies who claim that they offer unlimited bandwidth to their customers. Usually there is something that is written in the small print that is far different than that. In many cases people end up having problems when it comes to fair use policies.

Make your links obvious. Customers do not like spending time wading through your site searching for something they are interested in. Having a site map, as well as providing big, prominent links will help your viewer find what they are looking for without wasting time in a hunt. Lead them to your information.

Be sure your website works both without and with the "www" prefix. Some people will type this in before they head to your site as a force of habit, and some may not. You should make sure that customers will be directed to your site either way, or you may have some confused people on your hands.

Your user's needs should be your top priority. Do you know what the user's needs are? Usability, user experience and interaction are all important. These are primary considerations you must factor in. Keep in mind that it is not your view that is most important, but the visitor's view.

To help you design a website that is free of clutter, do not include any scrolling text on your site. Websites that have things constantly moving back and forth on the screen is really distracting to the visitor. Not only is this distracting and annoying, it screams unprofessional and will cause your visitors to leave quickly.

Make sure your business logo is well-designed and prominently on every page of your site. Your logo is a key component of your brand, and it should be one of the first things people see when they go to your website. If you can't come up with a good idea for a logo, there are design firms that will make you one at relatively low cost.

Understand that when you first start out that it's going to take time for your site to become popular. You can try your best to generate as much traffic to your site as possible but make sure that you know what to expect so that you can continuously adapt your strategies accordingly.

Site maps are an excellent piece of technology that allow search and users engines to get a better view of your site's layouts and functions without extra work. Include a link to your sitemap from the homepage and leave it as simple as possible. The sitemap doesn't need fancy graphics or fonts, just layout your website and update it when needed.

Use conditional loading and independent CSS pages when creating your site. Testing and regular maintenance is much easier this way. All websites require periodic maintenance, and you want this to be as easy as possible.

A lot of times when you load up a page to your file server, you cannot find it when you type in the address via your browser. You always need to double-check and ensure that you named the file correctly. Some people literally waste days trying to pinpoint the problem they believe is major, when in reality it's only a simple typo.

Get a few books on web study and design them. Stick to books for beginning web designers until you've mastered the basics, so that you won't miss anything you need to know as you study web design.

It would serve you well to learn to work with multiple platforms if you're planning to design multiple sites. Learning PHP, Java and MySQL and other platform skills will only help you in the future. Whether you are building a brand-new site or revamping an old one, diversifying your skill set.

Don't use JavaScript too much when designing your website. Some people do not have java-enabled on their machine, and many are still using out-of-date browsers. Instead of using too much JavaScript and AJAX, make your sites clean and lean a bit more on graceful degradation. Remember, the goal is to make your site user-friendly for all users.

Keep your font type simple on your website. Arial or Times New Roman is perfect for any website. You don't need to get carried away with bubble letters or illegible chicken wings. Your visitors are going to have a tough time reading your site, even though exotic fonts might seem cool to you.

With the amount of time that your visitors likely spend on social networking sites, it makes sense to add links to your site to let them share your content on their favorite social sites. You will gain valuable visitors to your site, as well as increased awareness of what you have to offer.

You've read the advice here and are ready to put it into action, so get ready to design your site! By sketching out a design and making lists of the content you'll need and you'll have your website online in no time, start.

Since people see a website's design as soon as they get on the site, it is important to make yours fabulous. You want to give off a good first impression. The tips that you have read has offered a lot of advice on how to design your website so that people will want to look around.

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