Intel and Ashton Kutcher Spark Innovation by Sheila Shayon May 6, 2011
Intel, a world leader in silicon innovation, and Katalyst, actor Ashton Kutcher’s original content production company for social and digital media, television and film, may seem like strange bedfellows. But like opposites that attract, they’re a smart fit, and together have created IdeaJam.
It’s one more example of a hybrid partnership that social media has wrought, as brands cross the digital divide and become co-creators of original content rather than bystanders on the sidelines.
“Social media has challenged marketers to think differently; marketers need to go back to their bias, and producers to theirs - there’s no room for formulaic narrative anymore in the immediacy of social media,” Anthony Batt, president of Katalyst, told brandchannel.
IdeaJam is a TED-like series of brainstorming sessions bringing together creative cognoscenti to brainstorm (jam) about ideas, and help kickstart the best of the bunch. The first IdeaJam, called Dream Bigger, was a 48-hour digital content creation conference in Los Angeles that brought 48 people from filmmaking and social media together to compete for a $20,000 production deal; 48 hours to create an idea and produce a pitch.
The model marries speed, technology, and a rarified braintrust from the fields of video creation, education, music and comedy, in four events to promote dialogue and collaboration around the central theme: "What Inspires You?" – content for a new IdeaJam YouTube channel.
That first IdeaJam was held April 1-3 in Hollywood and moderated by Katalyst co-founder, the social entrepreneur and social media phenom that is Ashton Kutcher. When in session, it’s streamed live on U-Stream so the public can participate.
To get an idea, check out the “Crash My Pad” pitch, which posed the following questions: “Is social media ruining human interaction? What if the key to human interaction is entrenching yourself in social media through a reality show format: Could one man, in a strange city, with no money and no friends, survive, based on the generosity of the Internet alone?”
Now, “Mr. Social” will be turned into a web series with Katalyst, and the creators were awarded a $10,000 grant from Intel and $10,000 from Vimeo for production.
Intel provides technological expertise and products, and Katalyst, founded by Kutcher and Jason Goldberg, brings creative perspective and acumen to what they see as a radical shift in the relationship between brands and entertainment.
“Brand elements as part of the story make the most powerful advertising. It’s a new world to have millions inter-connected to a brand and subscribing to an Intel IdeaJam channel on YouTube. It’s an emotional shift with the audience,” says Batt.
“Using brand elements as part of story-telling is like making a brand deposit instead of a withdrawal. We use brands as producers and publishers rather than product-sellers. Brands have been marginalized – put on the side of content, but the next iteration of product placement is brands as entertainment.”
Central to IdeaJam is mentoring from onsite experts in the field and for this kick-off event, they included:
Cindy Chupack (Screenwriter and EP, Sex & the City)
Juan Devis (Director, New Media Production, KCET)
Dina Kaplan (Co-Founder, blip.tv)
Richard Marx (singer/songwriter)
Heather Morris (Brittany on Glee)
Wally Pfister (Director of Photography, Inception)
Steve Poster (Emmy-nominated Cinematographer)
Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith (Producer, 10 Things I Hate About You & Whip It)
Michael Suscy (Director, Grey Gardens)
The judges at the end of the 48-hour marathon were:
Ashton Kutcher & Jason Goldberg (Katalyst)
Chad Hurley (You Tube founder)
Erin McPherson, Yahoo Video Programming
David Janollari (MTV scripted Entertainment)
Guy McCarter (Managing Director, Greenroom Entertainment)
The word spread just on Twitter to more than 52 million people about IdeaJam via @IntelEdge, Kutcher’s @APlusK and @KatalystHQ, while more than 24,000 tuned in live to the U-Stream channel.
The other top contenders can be seen on YouTube, such as MatchMyFriend, a dating service based on friend recommendations that broadcasts the live streams of your friends’ first dates:
And Flame Court, where online disputes about offensive wall posts are adjudicated.
From Intel’s perspective, “the social media engine is the natural voice of technology, and for us it’s about communicating the benefits of our products rather than the features,” Laurie Koehler, Consumer Campaign Activation Manager told us. “We’re saying to the consumer, here’s interesting content created for you.”
“The next IdeaJam on education is all about how kids and technology are going to flip the classroom,” says Koehler.
Educators, parents, teachers and students came together on May 2nd to generate ideas around education and innovation in the second IdeaJam session, with educator Alan November, in the moderator’s role. That conversation continues on Facebook, and Twitter @IntelEdge.
“YouTube is the inspired app, Katalyst is the social media expert, and we bring the technology tools,” said Koehler. “Social media is not for the feint of heart, it’s an open dialogue, ongoing conversation. We know how to create a connection with a happy consumer, but it’s how to communicate with customers when they are not happy that’s the challenge. You must have fortitude and not bail out too soon.”
IdeaJam exemplifies the best of the old and the new as a blue-chip technology company partners with an iconoclastic 21st century social media agency on the world’s largest video platform.
In Batt’s words, “IdeaJam is piercing the veil of creativity and inspiration.”
Sheila Shayon is a senior media executive with 25+ years in television and new media including expertise in programming, production, broadband, start-up models, creative and branding strategies, digital content and social networking.
Shayon has worked for HBO, Time Warner Cable and Wisdom Television. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication.
Currently, as President/Founder of Third Eye Media, a New York-based multimedia production company, Shayon works with online brands to combine editorial content and social networking applications.
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IdeaJam - Intel and Ashton Kutcher Spark Innovation
Social media is going to be the ultimate media form before we know it. I just wish this type of innovative thinking would catch on at the same pace all over the world. I often feel like I'm stuck in a time warp in South Africa, hungry for something new and relevant to my own region. It's slim pickings and businesses here don't yet make enough use of social media platforms. I think they greatly underestimate local social media audiences. It is bigger and far more advanced than they realize.
Lucinda Gordon, Specialist Consumer Advisor - May 31, 2011