Adventures in SponCon.

Hello great friends, and welcome back to our weekly missive! Life is good  here at the HQ, where we're busy learning the correct pronunciation of Moleskine, eating scones, and launching new (and slightly off-brand) Instagram accounts.

We also managed to find time last week to travel deep into Brooklyn to meet with the founders of Storey, which is a new, and pretty cool app for building interactive content -- think of it as like SquareSpace, but for individual stories. It's fun to use, relatively idiot-proof (we would know), and a nice alternative to the typical marketing blog post that's been a staple of online content since the Blogspot days.  It is, in our (humble) opinion, quite worth checking out (and obviously we used it to make a businessperson's guide to the 10 Crack Commandments):

Here's some other cool stuff that's on our mind this week:

Adventures in SponCon
Molly Osberg has a fascinating essay at Splinter News about Red Bull and what she calls "The Sponcon Industrial Complex". Loyal readers will know that we're a sucker for any and all kinds of Industrial Complexes -- and we'd hardly be self-respecting #content pros if we weren't familiar with Red Bull's oeuvre. The whole essay is worth a read, but he crux of Osberg's point is that while Red Bull has undoubtedly been a boon to content creators of many stripes, its particular methodology is a potentially Faustian bargain. Money quote:

"The problem is when the lines between patronage and content marketing gets blurry, which is exactly what the brand wants." 

It's a very good point, and speaks to the intrusion of branding in every part of our lives as consumers. That said, we'd argue that for most brands, the marketing part of the equation is always at or near the surface -- and that all but the most successful artists have at some point had to reckon with the business side of their profession. But that's not to say Osberg's thesis isn't valid, and everyone involved in the content world -- brands, agencies, and creatives -- would do well to understand the underlying economics that pay our bills. 

Other stuff

In client news, check out the gorgeous and largely serif-free new website and branding from our friends at Fohr (formerly Fohr Card). They're responsible for the absolute best influencer marketing technology out there, and we think their new branding reflects that. 

The NYT's advertising reporter Sapna Maheshwari explains how she tracks what companies know about her digital footprint, and offers up advice to people who don't like their every online movement being logged by advertisers (hint: you're basically shit out of luck). 

In the department of people we can definitely relate to, here is the tale of a guy who was raised by wolves and now says he can't deal with human company. Preach. 

Everyone has friends who tell really bad stories -- sharing this guide with them could potentially help said stories  suck a bit less. 

And finally, props to our longtime pal Kolby Yarnell, who we've worked with since the early days of native advertising, on his new gig as GM at Vox Media's advertising shop, Concert. Mazel tov homie, even if we all know it's just a precursor to your second career as a proprietor of independent 'zines.