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Canvas teaches us a lesson

February 1, 2011


Christopher Poole has already made a name for himself with 4chan, the site that generates huge male traffic because of the freedom and anonymity it provides its users.

He’s now onto his next venture, Canvas, which applies some of his core learning about the target in a different space.

Canvas, is as advertised, a blank space where users can collaborate and play together and benefit from anonymity. The current focus is around images, but the plan is to expand the offering to include audio and video.

There’s some interesting about the plasticine-like nature of Canvas that makes sense for the audience and is in some ways at the complete opposite end of the spectrum to conventional communication.

Most brands want to stick to a rigid story and want to have a lot of control. Even in the digital space where sharing and collaboration are buzz words that are now almost mandatory on every brief, they come with restrictions.

If brands trying to reach young males- think- mobile phones, sports drinks, video games, QSR chains, soft drinks, applied the Canvas model to their communication efforts, we would be looking at something very different.

Imagine that instead of complete assets; fragments of content are handed over to be played with, manipulated and re-imagined into new entities.

This isn’t about a community gathering together to create a conventional form of communication- like a TV ad- which seems to be the current model, instead it would be a conversational content delivered in a multitude of media formats over a period of time.

Brands and their agencies would simply have some idea of a rough storyline, but break it up into elements and assets that can be re-constituted and played with by their community into new forms.

The brand and agencies would check in to see how their content had morphed and reformed- celebrate and highlight these examples and continually add content to fuel the conversation.

This would be a radical shift from the current command and control system that exists today.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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