29 March 2007

Real v. Virtual...it's a no brainer...

I was reading something the other day about Text 100's efforts in Second Life. Actually, I started reading and then, realising it was a story in "Second Life News Network", I figured it might be a less than balanced perspective so gave up. Not before I'd seen that it was a look at Text 100's "Expo"...basically a virtual exhibition hall for showing things off (I've been in and I still don't get it, by the way).

Back in the real world - you know, the one where I do real work for real clients, earn real money and pay real taxes and therefore make a real contribution to society - it was about this time that I was told about the Lewis PR Battle of the Bands, an event held at Lewis PR's own venue, The Media Centre at Millbank Tower. I know we took the piss a bit at the time about the venue being less than rock 'n' roll, but reading about Text 100's virtual venue got me thinking...which might be best, a real or a virtual place to hold events?

Let's think about it for a minute. Lewis has its own state-of-the-art venue. This means that it can hold its own events there - like the Battle of the Bands - which presumably means it doesn't have to pay venue hire fees, just cover the costs. So the Media Centre saves it money. Not only that, but the venue can be used for client events which Lewis will charge for (price list on the website). So the Media Centre makes Lewis money (this is real money, by the way, not Linden Lira). How much do your clients pay for venue hire every year? Imagine that revenue in your bank account rather than some hotel's...

Presumably this is part of the reason why Lewis has the money (even if you don't think it's enough) to consider opening a bunch of real offices on proper pieces of land in genuine cities across the earth?

But hold on. Shall we take a quick look at Text 100's Second Life Expo?

No, let's not. It's a bit rubbish.

There's a smell of delicious irony here too (perhaps). Back in early October last year, Lewis won the PR account for Linden Labs, the creator of Second Life. Now, knowing how long these pitch processes take, an early October decision might've meant agencies first being shortlisted in, ummm, July, or maybe even August.

As you'll remember, Text 100 made a huge song and dance about being the first PR agency to establish a presence in Second Life at the beginning of August...you don't think there's a chance Text 100 was in the running, do you, and thought that establishing a Second Life office might be the commitment the client was looking for..?

Ha ha ha ha ha.....

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see your point, but I don't think anybody ever got rich off the back of venue hire. The money for the international offices probably comes out of Mr Lewis' own personal fortune, which he used to be very keen on reminding everyone about. Not that there was ever any real evidence of it mind....

Anonymous said...

Second Life is the social media equivalent of the mini disc...it broke new ground in that it got us all thinking about doing an everyday task differently, but then some bastard came along with a better way of doing things differently (namely MP3) and nicked all of the customers. Us PROs close to social media (and I mean close as in sit next to someone who really knows their stuff) know that Second Life sadly lives up to the stereo-type of early adopter social media type. Namely either a 20 year old stunning blonde Swedish student called Helka, a Japanese uber-cool trend setter or a 37 year old manual steel worker called Mike who likes to chat to young girls. Second Life will evolve into some more coherent form of social interaction, and that wont include being a PR tool.

Fiona Blamey said...

>>some bastard came along with a better way of doing things differently<<

You don't mean - gasp! - World of Warcraft?

I see the Times is due to have some kind of massive WoW exposé this very weekend. If it's anything like the Second Life feeding frenzy, be very afraid. Although I for one will be very tickled to see serious national newspaper journalists bravely dolling themselves up as night elves and casting spells at sand molochs in the name of investigative journalism.

Anonymous said...

I do indeed mean WoW! Did you see Caitlin Moran's brilliant piece in last Saturday's Times? One of the funniest pieces of journalism I've read in ages...well worth digging it out.

Fiona Blamey said...

I didn't see that, Anon, but tracked it down on your recommendation and enjoyed it very much. Nice to see the Times taking Warcraft almost seriously - after all, it's a global online community that is actually genuinely popular, unlike SL.