Arsene Lavaux

Marketing executive consultant, Cisco

This conversation is closed.

Empower consumers to co-create the advertising content they are exposed to. No more ad noise in our lives. Simply sustainable value added.

For decades we have been inundated by mass marketing content that creates much more annoying noises in our lives than value.

What happens when consumers in the uprising of the mobile Internet era turn traditional marketing around by crowd-sourcing advertising content creation and aggregating consumer demand in near real time?

What would the implications be on our economy?
Would brands discover high-value marketing insight to create growth without pushing unwanted noise in consumers' lives?
What would be the implications of this new form of digital collaboration among consumers and brands on our environment?
Could it lead to a greater societal wealth?

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    Nov 30 2013: In the past, advertising and communication 1-dimensional nature. But today we are experiencing a major revolution in the advertising industry. With the trend of the media, entertainment increasingly diverse, advertisers must now available anytime, anywhere, 24/7, 365 days, whenever customers need. Advertising doesn't face of customer that is a tool to help create a better world . The most important thing is to create brand engagement with customers. Companies are innovating to find new ways to help customers associated with their brands. However, creativity is not the ultimate goal, but the ultimate goal is to provide a better life ...
  • Nov 28 2013: Arsene, If this conversation ends this week, maybe we should continue through our own blog or something. All in the spirit of the Cluetrain Manifesto (

    About a month ago, a former colleague of mine who now works with Gartner as a BI analyst, challenged me and others to write a short story on how societies will be affected by (big) data in 10 to 15 years from now.
    Here's what I sent him:
    I am sure you will recognize a thing or two. I am currently working on a short analysis of developments which will, in my opinion, lead up to a future like this.

    One more nice read:

    Have a great day,
    Jan Willem
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      Nov 28 2013: Hi Jan Willem,

      This conversation ends on Dec 4th, next Wednesday.  Let's hope to keep on sharing very constructive content by then, as you just did.  We can most definitely explore ways to keep exchanging after this deadline.  It's a fascinating subject in my view.  When we envision the future implications, it's difficult not to feel a sense of purpose to move thought and actions forward on this.

      Thank you for making me aware of the Cluetrain Manifesto.  I will definitely read it with a lot of interest since "the human voice is unmistakably genuine" has been a driving principle of my entrepreneurial actions in the startup ideas I have operationalize as well as in my marketing activities at larger companies.  Actually, I have done some interesting experiments to tear down the walls of the traditional "corporate voice", and create a direct, real-time conversation among target consumers and what becomes a "connected brand" entity.  

      The results were very encouraging.  I used different information formats: text, image, video, and voice.  The engagement metrics were through the roof.  The key is to find large enough distribution channels (that can potentially scale on their own through social amplification) to reach an order of magnitude that disrupts traditional unilateral marketing communications.

      There is a lot of hope in that perspective.  There is a new breed of social startups that have recently gained access to funding to illuminate the social sphere of influence, and the power of organic amplification that comes with it.

      Still along those human lines, the E2E movement.   E2E for "end to end" consumer experience, fusion of software and people (see:

      With these trends in motion, I am confident that the consumer collectives are on their way to a promising future.  Your article is spot on...

      [to be continued]
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      Nov 28 2013: To build on the subject of big data that drives a lot of your thinking in your article, a few days ago, I also published a little something on the subject.  It's called "Big data bot on a human diet".  If this is of interest to you, it's on my amateur blog at, I'd value your thoughts.

      Last but not least, it's quite intriguing to me that the last article you mention is about a very recent interview of Nilofer Merchant who wrote in The New How that, “Permission to innovate without asking happens when the strategy is co-owned".

      A few years ago, as I was starting on a first co-creation venture, I had the pleasure of exchanging ideas with her on the subject as the community of Wshers we were developing had the purpose to "co-own the strategy" of their target connected brands. 

      Let's connect the unconnected, let's experience the promises of our fluid society (
  • Nov 27 2013: Excellent idea Arsene, I have had similar thoughts myself. But I think it is more than just advertising, it's about balancing the power between supply and demand in general. Integrating ethical and moral values with economic transactions. I am convinced the future of western societies lies in those kinds of ideas. Especially in a globalizing world.

    See also Charles Leadbeater:
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      Nov 27 2013: Hi Jan,

      Excellent Talk by Charles Leadbeater. Thank you for sharing!

      I think Sophie-Charlotte on this thread should be interested in watching Charles' talk. He answers a question she posed that I had voluntarily not answered yet.

      Also, if you are interested, we should talk. You are absolutely right, the broader idea is about open innovation and co-creation (collaborative innovation as Charles puts it). It applies to many industries, not just advertising.

      Happy to share some of my real life example as I executed a few years ago on an idea that I had when I was 12-year-old. This idea that TED published actually :)
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    Nov 15 2013: TED friends: I thought I would share this talk for our conversation. It looks very relevant in my opinion.

    How could we humanize this "filtering bot"?
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    Nov 11 2013: As a matter of fact, I know one thing is of much debate.What exacly is noise? For example,I like some music very much, but for my mother it's only some noise.We often argue about it. And I think good advertisement should be designed with the combination of audio,visual and physical feelings. Do you mean to mute all the advertisement to make people's consuming habits affected by the new forms of propaganda? It sounds interesting.
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      Nov 11 2013: Hi Yoka,

      This is an excellent point. We all have our own, personal definition of noise...

      Can we imagine new media where we are much less likely to be exposed to what we perceive as noise?

      We may not need to block everything from reaching our eyes and ears. Beyond content that we consume for entertainment or knowledge, what if the advertising content became something of high value to us.

      What if, every time we form the desire to find a product or service that solves something of meaning in our life, at this point in time, we could be exposed to real time information that would help us acquire this solution, ideally, in the terms of interest to us (price, shape, mode of delivery etc...).

      To some extent, search engine were pioneers in that sense, but there is still a lot of noise when conducting web searches, it takes us quite a few attempts and quite some time to get to something, and often times, we do have to compromise, we do not really find what we really need, or want.

      A bit off topic, but I'd also like to build on your comment "good advertisement should be designed with the combination of audio, visual and physical feelings".

      Do you think that in the future, even through the digital streams of the mobile internet, we will be able to make the "good advertisement" resonate with more of our senses?

      I am interested in new forms of electronics, I know for a fact that there already are early prototypes of olfactory sensors for example. There are other experiments on creating texture and shapes.

      What would the experience be like if one day, all of our senses could resonate with new forms of personalized advertising content?
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        Nov 29 2013: Hi,Arsene,
        I see your desire on exploring the ideal status of services from all kinds of advertisement now. I think you want to develop a characteristic-oriented electronic advertisement filtering method. That could be effective and convenient for some busy and lazy people. But still if it's too personalized, maybe our personal information and inclination that related to our privacy would be collected and I'm afraid we would have to lose a lot of privacy and safety due to some possible cyber violations. I'm with the idea to develop a humane way of letting people filter advertisement by themselves instead of providing filtered messages based on collecting people's personal information.
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    Lejan .

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    Nov 11 2013: How could any product advertising add sustainable value to consumers? This idea is contradictory in itself, as the informational content transferred is neither meant nor expected to deliver much if any useful information about products and services.

    On this topic I actually love to have my add-blockers and pop-up killers installed to be as noiseless as possible on my way through the Internet and to cut off all the 'buy me, buy me, buy me' pseudo-values as I go. This is true value to me as a consumer and when I am going to 'consume' something, any manufacturer is actually the last I would consider to ask about the advantages of their products. How could they not manipulate me in their favor?

    And if your idea contains also consumer co-created and shared advertising ban-lists to upgrade each others first line of add-block defense, I would go for this shared value as well and participate right away.
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      Nov 11 2013: Hi Lejan,

      What if us, consumers, could turn around the way we are being advertised.

      As opposed to manufacturers pushing to us their "manipulated message", as you put it in your great comment, what if we were the ones to express what we are looking for, and team up with other consumers interested in the same product or services?
      Do you think the power of us, consumers, could be strong enough to get manufacturers of products or providers of services to deliver what we want and nothing else - no more noise?
  • Nov 9 2013: That's kind and healthy,nice idea.But I don't count on too much about no annoying noises advertisement long as there is advertisement we want to have,not everyone feels comfortable to accept them all.So I meant when our products don't need any advertisement anymore,annoying noises of advertisement disappears automatically:)
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      Nov 11 2013: That's an interesting point. When there is a new product or service of interest to us, wouldn't we want to become aware of it?

      As long as what the product or service does is in resonance with something we need or want, would we still perceive the advertising content as noise?

      Are there new collaborative interactions, among consumers and brands, to communicate in much more mutually beneficial ways?

      Ways where consumers are exposed to products and services they really need or want, and at the same time, ways that avoid the huge waste in marketing spend for brands who are still using poorly targeting media.
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    Nov 6 2013: I love the idea of co-creation, but aside from a small fan base, it seems like a lot to ask of consumers. How to solve for that?
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      Nov 7 2013: Hi Sophie-Charlotte,

      I'll be happy to share quite a few real life experiences on this as well as new ideas. First, let's see if other members of the TED community could share their thoughts on this great point.
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      Nov 27 2013: Hi Sophie-Charlotte,

      Jan shared interesting information that partly answers your question.
      Specifically, you may want to have a look at this TED Talk by Charles Leadbeater:

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    Nov 5 2013: I love the idea! Companies like Trustee are trying to do that in a way. What's your take on their offering?
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      Nov 5 2013: Hi Sophie-Charlotte,

      Thank you for being the first to join this conversation.

      Truste seems to have an interesting offering. Specifically, I see they have an ad service that relates more closely to the idea we are discussing here when compared to their other services.

      The way they market this service is "better behavorial targeting" and therefore results. This is not something radically changing the way consumers and brands interact to uncover new, sustainable value.

      For years, marketers have used behavioral targeting by inferring which future behaviors consumers may have based on past behaviors. The issue here, in my marketing experience, is still the inference.

      Regardless of how sophisticated the set of behavioral data may be and how sharp the marketing targeting decisions may be, the mere fact of relying on the past to predict the future introduces a big value gap when compared to real time consumer desire.

      There are quite a few behavioral targeting offerings out there, retargeting being one that has seen some momentum lately. They all have their relative effectiveness in terms of meeting the brands' marketing objectives. Nonetheless, at least for what I have seen in various industries, the result metrics could be much improved and so are the related marketing budgets, and to another extent, the impact on our environment.

      Exploring how we could unleash consumers' real time consumption desire to better illuminate down funnel decision making dynamics could result in much stronger marketing returns on investment.

      All in all, building consumer trust and moving towards greater privacy considerations is clearly the way to go. But I believe both consumers and brands could mutually benefit from new forms of real time digital co-creation.

      Could we find other nascent startups venturing in that promising space?
  • Nov 29 2013: That is a great story Arsene! Thanks for sharing. I will try to contact you soon. My Skype handle: jan.willem.ebbinge
    Now first I will take a look at the Twitter and Facebook pages you mentioned. Very inspiring!

    I will get back with a reaction
    Jan Willem
  • Nov 28 2013: Thanks Arsene, I have some reading to do.
    Still, I am curious about the recent startups you mention about "social sphere of influence, and the power of organic amplification that comes with it.". Can you give some examples?

    And didn't you mention an idea that you had? About a vision or a plan you had when you were 12? Enlighten me! :-)
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      Nov 28 2013: Hi Jan Willem,

      As a starting point, I would look at:
      > Linqia
      > Traackr

      I am acquainted with their founders and happy to make a connection. This space is evolving so fast that many months later, I am sure there are a bunch of competitors that I am not even aware of. Could be worth researching.

      Regarding the vision I had when I was 12 that took me quite some time to execute on. I can write a novel about it. Actually, I had kept a blog on blogger that depicted our adventure in a detailed way (the blog was part of the influence strategy obviously). Unfortunately, it was on blogger and it's gone apparently.

      But, without writing a novel, I can give you the highlights and I am happy to speak on Skype (arsenucciu) if you want more details.


      I was 12 years old, on a bus in Cezanne country. It was early in the morning and I was not that happy to be awake this early to go to high school for the first time in Aix-en-Provence, the "big city" nearby my Provence village.

      Mornings don't bode well with me :)

      Even less, when the music on the bus radio was constantly interrupted with irrelevant ads. They were creating so much unwanted noises in these grumpy mornings, that I thought there had to be a better way for advertisers to reach their target market. I couldn't understand how some sort of return on investment could be possible. They were losing, and I thought we were losing big time as consumers.

      Then, same thing on TV. Then, later on, even today, push ads on the web are nonsense most of the time (even retargeting).

      Back in 2006, I thought we could disrupt that with mobile. As a wireless engineer who had purposely deviated into marketing early on to try to figure out a way to act on the idea I had had a few decades before on the bus, I thought that we could deliver tailored ads on mobile that would immensely resonate with us, consumers, and unravel the untapped potential of distance in the marketing mix../..
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      Nov 28 2013: ../.. It was pre-iPhone and I thought creating an electronic coupon paltform that would deliver location-based ads had potential.

      However, as a blinded, reality distortion animated entrepreneur, I knew that I needed to challenge my intuitions. I embarked on an mba program in Boston suited for entrepreneurs. Studying there, I realized that I didn't want to create a startup that would be tracking too many "big personal data" on consumers. Therefore, I morphed the nascent Mgem concept into WishaDeal. A crowd-sourced deal discovery and consumer demand aggregation app that would create a powershift towards "consumer collectives" as you call them in your article.

      Although I was already passionate about the concept of open innovation (I had experienced it early on in my life at my family's business, not too far from your country) and was hoping to create new products from crowd-sourced ideation to market penetration (since by illuminating the demand upfront you tremendously reduce R&D risks), I thought focusing on deal creation for stay-at-home and work-at-home moms could be an interesting start.

      Therefore, I started engaging with hashtags #sahm and #wahm on Twitter (respectively stay-at-home-mom and work-at-home-mom). Scaling the following to over 5,000 (Twitter page still there at I thought this would be a great way to connect at no cost to mom influencers in the blogging sphere to amplify our value proposition throughout the social networks.

      But it was not enough.

      Then, I started to engage the same target audience on Facebook ( and was using co-creation to not only develop our community site ( at the time) and develop community leaders. For that, I used real-time collaboration tools and engaged my community leaders to even co-create our own social currency, "the kishes".../....
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      Nov 28 2013: .../... "the kishes".

      Kishes are like bitcoins in a way, except that their value in the beginning was purely inspirational, aligned with the vision. The ambitious idea to disrupt traditional HR was to quantify every value added behavior in the community (creation of new deals, sharing, all facets of value creation actually) and empower remote talents, distributed anywhere in the world (mostly U.S. actually, because I had planted a social seed in the U.S., a few in Canada too by the way) to engage in these behavior on our open platform.

      This way, from this co-creation platform, we could see emerge the leaders and give them the reins of the startup. We had even managed to have community leaders take on key social responsibilities like leading facebook engagement as an example. I just made them administrator of our facebook page.

      We used a game dynamics to design an environment of relentless creativity, although we could only reward the early wishers with the inspirational "kishes" of our vision.

      As demand aggregation shaped up, we were contacting the "targeted brands" to negotiate a business deal. Note that the deal could be a premium deal because we would request something unique. Something that we wishers wished to pay a premium for because it filled an unmet need in our lives.

      Well, that's already a novel, if you want to know more, we can speak :)
  • Nov 27 2013: Hi Arsene,
    we should definitely talk!
    Curious about your example, and I have a thing or two to share as well.

    Not much time right now, but let's keep in touch

    Jan Willem