Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Grolsch have launched an online game in the spirit of their Green Light District concept which we have posted on before.

It's also very reminscent of the Stella Trapped idea that popped up in Canada with an online game called La Defi.

Give it a go and see how you fare.

Thanks to Claudia Simms for this.

Thanks to Victor Houghton for finding this on YouTube.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

From the WSJ

The guys who set up Kazaa are in the process of launching Joost which could completely change the way we consume what we have previously called TV. It's a blend of the best of TV and the internet and is hitting all the business and media pages in the press.

This is what their new site says:

"Yesterday, we were The Venice Project™. Today, we're Joost™. Tomorrow, we're yours! Imagine having infinite choice, and TV that is truly interactive. TV anywhere, anytime..."

This could be the big for thing for 2007.


The become a beta tester click here.

From www.to22.net via NOTCOT:

"To make a martini you will need a glass, gin, some dry vermouth, and, of course, an olive. While designing their unique martini glass, to22 decided to give greater importance to the olive. “The olive has become the signature element of a martini and, yet, it is treated almost as an afterthought.” The form simply developed from two conical elements with a hole in the middle. “ At first, we want to present an elegant, symmetrical object which has no bottom or top. It only becomes a glass when you plug the hole with an olive. Now, all of the sudden, this little green item becomes very important. After all, it is the olive that permits you to fill your glass.”

Also think it was shown on Tastespotting as well. This site is full of the most amazing links to cool stuff in the booze and food industries.

Prompted by this article in the Observer over the weekend about Hyper-Local newspapers and Outside.in we are thinking about the future of targeting and the context in which our communications appear in.

RSS, Pheedo, Ultra local papers and websites and ambient media seem a good bet.

Cast your vote... we can do these for any topic.

But don't be influenced by this:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Follow-up to the Bruce Campbell Old Spice spot can be seen here

I am having probelms posting the actual video at the moment.

I wonder what they have in store for the SuperBowl. Almost all of my friends have taken the experience test on the website . I got an 82 (second try) but most of the questions changed.

These dice are placed in bars to help patrons decide on their drink. I like the bartenders choice on each die as it allows the bartenders to get creative and have some fun.

The clever clogs behind the Rocky Balboa campaign have followed up on their Match of the Day 2 coup with a cover wrap of the free sports magazine on the Underground. It's also now appearing on Ebay for the princely sum of £1.

I wonder what's next? Probably an appearance at Ricky Hatton's birthday party.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Whichever PR came up with the incredible idea of sending Sylvester Stallone to the Everton vs Reading game last Sunday deserves a medal. Sly was the main feature not only at the pretty mundane game but also on Match of the Day 2... what better way is there to tell a few million of your target market all about your film?

Very canny.

It certainly got talked about; by 30,000 people at the game, the commentators, the press and the presnters on Match of the Day 2!

From the Observer last Sunday:

"Crucially, recycling glass reduces the need for energy-intensive quarrying of silica and lime. For every tonne of recycled glass used, 1.2 tonnes of raw material is preserved. Besides, glass recycles beautifully precisely because it contains such simple materials. It can be turned back into jars and bottles using the minimum of energy except - and herein lies the problem - if it's green glass. Because the UK is a prolific wine importer but produces very little wine, traditionally more green bottles have been left sitting on the wall than we have use for. They used to be piled up in green-glass mountains and shipped to South America for reprocessing, but now they are crushed and used as aggregate in road building.

Granted, assisting in the expansion of UK motorways won't earn anyone an ethical halo - which is why wherever possible you should try and buy clear glass. In fact, there's a shortage of clear glass returned for recycling. Pubs, restaurants and bars could contribute some of the 600,000 tonnes of glass they generate each year, 80 per cent of which is chucked into landfill. The exceptions include the Strada restaurant chain and Young's pubs. Their glass is now recycled by an innovative firm, Smash & Grab (smashgrab.co.uk), which rescues the equivalent of 625,000 wine bottles from landfill each year."

So let's all make sure we use clear glass as a way of doing our bit for the environment.

Nike's laser etched poster is a great way of promoting their new laser made trainers in a way that gets talked about.

This ad from Old Spice has been getting rave reviews and is a great example of a dusty brand doing something so good it gets talked about.

Here are some of the comments:

"I'm in marketing...and I must say...whoever the creative genius is that created the idea for this commercial...teach me more!!! Best commercial I've seen in a long time...and it had me wanting to really think...at a time of night that I usually try to avoid it. Please, show us more!"

" haha this should have been shown during the super bowl, if it would have everyone would know it as the best superbowl ad this year."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Similar to Ford's Bold Moves, Kodak's marvelous short film is a great example of a brand doing something fairly remarkable and doing it well. Old fashioned, gigantic American corporations are having to embrace the ways of the modern world.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

So far this is incredible. Go to http://www.ctuagent.com

Passcode 99K36F

Jack needs your help. Get involved.

If you found yourself over-indulging during the festive period, you might stand a chance of being able to blame Threshers, particularly if one of their pre-Christmas vouchers found its way to your inbox.

Threshers is one of the largest chains of wine stores in the UK. For ten days, from 30 November until 10 December, they offered 40% off ALL their wine. What’s more is that they promoted this offer in a remarkable way: they relied on the power of word-of-mouth.

The only way to claim 40% of your purchase at the till was to have one of Threshers’ super-special vouchers in your hand (pictured above). The only way you would have heard about the voucher or how to download it was through the grapevine.

Perhaps the intention was that the offer remained exclusive and small-scale. However, by 1st December, news of the offer had hit the mainstream media and the coupon had been emailed to 800,000 people. Anecdotal evidence suggests the promotion has been a massive success for the chain. One store manager reported on Gapingvoid that his store took more in one week during the promotion than it had done in any other week that year.

So, as the Christmas fog clears, let’s try to understand what it was that made the Threshers offer take-off. Readers of Hugh MacLeod’s gapingvoid blog have already been offering their suggestions:

1. The offer sounded great. 40% seemed like a huge saving and people really latched onto it. However, the reality was that Threshers had an ongoing 3 for 2 offer operating in its stores, meaning that customers could already effectively save 33% on their wine purchases. In this case, some sort of tipping point was reached which made sales go absolutely crazy. I suppose the aim of the voucher was ultimately to re-establish the Threshers brand in people’s minds at a time when other stores might have been dominating the market.

2. Threshers is a convenience wine store: they can be found everywhere in the UK, from large cities to rural towns. The voucher served to remind people that their local store and this ‘great’ offer were only a short distance away.

3. The viral had an air of mystique and intrigue. Because the offer wasn’t publicized anywhere else, it had people wondering whether it was some kind of email scam. This suspicion would have had them asking their friends and colleagues about it, hence spreading the word even further.

4. The offer was there to be ‘discovered’; it combined value with exclusivity.

5. The timing of the offer was perfect. As people were starting to think about stocking their wine racks in time for Christmas, they would have heard about the Threshers voucher. I’m not sure the offer would have been quite so successful if it had been made on 2nd January.

I’m sure we will now see other businesses attempting to mimic the Threshers magic. However, the important thing to remember is that the nature of viruses is that they are unpredictable: no one ever knows how far they will spread. As one blogger points out, it would be folly to think that you can just craft one.

Nevertheless, the story of the Threshers voucher will surely be held up as an example of how to make a success of viral marketing, and will inspire envy in others attempting to achieve similar results.

Links to the original articles on gapingvoid:

Widgets and branded utilities are predicted to be massive in 2007.

From PSFK:

"If there's one thing that royally screwed Web 1.0, it was the rush to build mountains and then bring the people to the mountains, rather than the mountains (an d their message) to the people. If you wanted to be online (and you wanted to get some $ from a VC or two), you had to build a site with a cool name. The problem was (a) there weren't that many people online in the dial-up internet age and (b) they had enough trouble getting past things like ISP closed gardens to get through to you.

Everything was about getting people to come to you rather than you going to them.

Of course, the great Google came and oiled the wheels. It worked out a clever equation that got people to go places. The world seemed to love it, but it wasn't what they really wanted.

What the world wants is for the internet to come to them, not for them to go to it. They don't want to visit a bank's online service in the same way they don't want to go to a bank's branch. Sure, people want to know their account balances and even pay the bills in an instant - they would rather watch the funny video their friend has sent them that go and try and remember their password to log on somewhere.

Another thing to consider is that during the age of Google, many people started to express themselves to the world though blogging tools - and as they started to express themselves they needed to find stuff to put on their blogs. What many found was the grand-daddy of widgets: the Flickr Badge. The Flickr Badge is a Flash or HTML piece of code you can put on your own site that shows off photos from Flickr's archive.

After bloggers started to use the Flickr Badge, they started to find other widgets - search engines, advertising programs, news headlines, streaming music and even daily cartoons. Blog software Typepad has a whole array of widgets bloggers can add to their site. Bloggers put these widgets on their sites and they put them on their desktops.

And then YouTube arrived with the new prince of widgets: the video embed. With it every blog and MySpace page can become a niche television station.

What's happening is that the internet, and the content is contains, is beginning going to go to the people. Listen to what Peter Rojas has to say here about the widget.

Gradual widget adoption combined with RSS technology means that 2007 will see a boom in the use of widgets. It's taken media and brands quite a while to get round to thinking of using these things - but now every brand, ad agency and media site is going to try to work out how to broadcast content, entertainment, information and even coupons via widgets. Butr that's not all: the shape of widgets is changing too. Early widgets were boxes that published streamed data but now widgets can take many forms - roll over an external hyperlink on PSFK and you can see the Snap preview widget in action. Fancy, eh?

We're bound to see a lot of duds being spat out by brands in 2007 but, we hope, we'll actually see brands providing something useful for people: who knows, the widget might make it the year of Branded Utility?"

Brands, be useful.

From Buzz Canuck via Glue Planning:

Here's Buzz Canuck's top five killer bee stats:

"1) 67% of all consumer decisions are primarily influenced by word of mouth (McKinsey) - That's right - word of mouth governs 2/3rds of our economy and yet the Wall Street Journal doesn't have a page dedicated to it, I've never met a VP of Word of Mouth and I've not yet seen a marketing budget code that was labelled "word of mouth or buzz". Egads.

2) 1 out of every 7 social conversations are word of mouth based (Northeastern University) - Think for a moment from a media perspective - how valuable is a two way, in-depth, interactive medium from a trusted source which answers all your questions and validates the way you think about a product and is something we tap into 14% of the time we talk. Ching $! Ching $!

3) Only 3.4% of face to face WOM conversations are stimulated by a marketing organization's promotional efforts (Journal of Services Marketing) - It's not that it can't be done by a marketer, it's just that we refuse to heed the cardinal rules of word of mouth. Involve your consumer, don't carpet bomb everybody and their cousin, identify the right early evangelists, create a hard edge that stand out in your product, be honest...and a number of other word of mouth road signs we tend to drive past blindly as marketers.

4) 90% of customers identify word of mouth as the best, most reliable and trustworthy source about ideas and information on products and services (NOP World) - It just makes sense, we tend to believe things when we receive information from a trusted source - be that friend, family or colleague. People lay their reputations on the line when they recommend something to somebody else. The currency word of mouth is thus enhanced by its most valuable characteristic - "honesty" - which makes it the purest marketing form we have.

5) 44% of consumers claim to avoid buying products that overwhelm them with advertising/56% of people have stopped doing business with a company that doesn't respect them (Mood and Mindset Study Canada) - The consumer in 2006 has three extreme scarcities that are creating diminishing returns from mass marketing and leading to a consumer exodus - no time, no attention and no trust. Think of advertising and word of mouth as two of your best friends - who do you want to hang with - the friend who is flashy but brags to the point of lying, doesn't listen, doesn't even let you speak, interrupts what you like doing and makes you pay a lot to be with them or the friend who you trust, has the same interests, listens to your concerns, is there when you need him, introduces you to stuff that isn't widely known or available and gives just as much as she takes. Cheers to my best drinking buddy - word of mouth!"

For the whole range of stats click here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hats off.

From Flickr.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Crispin Porter and Bogusky never miss a beat. They have just created this widget for Volkswagen, pictured above, and made Contagious magazine’s Most Contagious list in the process.

About the Rabbit ‘Free Events’ Widget:

‘The city’s expensive enough. The VW Rabbit Widget displays free events in the major U.S. city of your choice. Download and stay up to date on what’s cool and affordable in your city. From museum tours & gallery exhibitions, to concerts, recitals & readings, the Rabbit Widget will help you stretch your budget across a wide range of interesting activities. Event times, categories and descriptions are all displayed in this zippy app.’

Quirky and eye-catching as well as functional and useful.

No longer is a widget simply something you’d find in a can of Boddingtons.

This post was found on the MIT Adverlab blog:

“Widgets are tiny web applications that sit on user desktops and deliver content without relying on the browser. Some are are fun but fairly useless, like the Staples' Easy button that sits on my computer next to the Wrigley-looking WinAmp, yet others can come very handy; check out the UPS Shipment Tracker and the Starbucks Card balance checker. Widgets are created with Yahoo's Widget Engine (formerly known as Konfabulator), which is a JavaScript runtime engine for Windows and Mac OS X. The engine also needs to be installed on the users' computers for the widgets to run (more info on Wiki). As Marketallica's Ozgur says (in English, in Turkish), "widgets are waiting to be discovered by marketers."

The Purina widget, pictured at the top, has been downloaded 15,000 times, generating thousands of 'eyeball hours' as it sits on 15,000 desktops.

From Lynette Webb at Isobar via Fallon Blog:

"User generated content, grassroots media, whatever you want to call it, had a huge impact in 2006. YouTube came from nowhere to end the year as one of the pre-eminent entertainment sites online and a fascinating window into the bizarreness of daily life. Blogging continued to diversify and there was a rise in ‘serious’ professional blogs. Uploading photos became standard practice, as a means of sharing and storage, and some led by Flickr even forged new forms of online community...

Points for marketers:

Classic content providers are increasingly talent-spotting in user-generated content sites. Advertisers and their agencies should do the same. Not only can it spark ideas, it can also lead to some interesting collaborations.

Don’t don’t don’t be tempted to launch a flog aka a fake blog for your product. You’ll get found out eventually and any short term benefit will be obliterated by the fallout. As my colleague Gary put it “Why, oh why are people still launching fake blogs? Who doesn't realized by now that this is a bad idea? It's like the headline is "Man surprised that hitting self in the head with hammer hurts, causes bruise".

Think of sites like YouTube as being a new genre of TV channel, but with different rules for success. Be creative in how you seek to use them and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Be a good sport if someone creates a send-up of your ad, or does something creative with your product (so long as it’s not hurting anyone). It means they’re talking about you and even if it’s not what you’d ideally want them to say, it’s better than not being noticed at all. Getting huffy and responding with a “big company corporate” response is only going to prolong & worsen the problem. (Learn from Coke-Mentos)."

For the full text click here.

This great post on the Fallon Planning Blog is fascinating and well worth a read.

From the Fallon Planning Blog:

"Nowandnext.com and Future Exploration Network have collaborated to produce a map of major trends for 2007 and beyond, across ten segments: society & culture, government & politics, work & business, media & communications, science & technology, food & drink, medicine & well-being, financial services, retail & leisure, and transport & automotive.

Click here to get the full pdf.

The creators encourage you to add to it and collaborate."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally…a viral which I actually feel compelled to share.

I came across this post yesterday on the AdRants blog:

“Blurry red squiggles are infected with wit in an episode of Budweiser's weird new Crowntown TV effort. We don't totally get it and even entertain the thought that it might be blinding us slowly, but we can't seem to stop watching.”

I can understand what they mean.

Crowntown TV is the latest online campaign from Budweiser. The videos have already generated hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.

You might describe Crowntown as a mini-sitcom. Five episodes have been made so far, each following the escapades of characters Dutch, Jennie, Boone, Tee and Larry. Yes, they are blurry red squiggles, but they’re probably the funniest blurry red squiggles on the internet. Budweiser are clearly attempting to attract the upscale, urbanite, evolved male market with this latest campaign, using the Flaming Lips to great effect in the title music.

For a brand to be making such socially-observant, sophisticated comedy packed with truisms is remarkable. In doing this, they appear to have really got to grips with the viral advertising medium. Following their success on the internet, there has even been some talk of the viral videos being translated to television.

Miller Lite’s latest TV campaign, Man Laws, also makes a successful transition to the internet, thousands of viewers re-watching the TV ads on YouTube. The commercials, which have been airing in the US, show the Men of the Square Table, a council composed of important, macho and famous men, including Burt Reynolds and the wrestler Triple H, debating various man issues. These include how long a friend’s ex-girlfriend remains off-limits and whether it’s considered moronic to crush a beer can on your forehead.

What we can infer from the cases of Budweiser and Miller Lite is that brands are increasingly embracing viral as a means of communicating with their consumers. Furthermore, they are swiftly learning how to do this to great effect.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We should all be keeping our eyes on the development of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth (pictured above) in 2007 as the two giants go head-to-head in a race to virtualise the planet.

Microsoft are currently investing millions in order to compete with Google. The company recently launched Virtual Earth 3D and users have been swift to praise its superior level of detail.

Virtual earths will allow us all to tour the sites of the world from the comfort of our own homes. Some are forecasting that discovering the world virtually will become a more popular family activity than watching television. On Google Earth, users can already sight-see in New York. They will soon be able to fly to the moon or see what life is like on Mars following a planned collaboration with NASA. Microsoft want to have added 100 new cities to theirVirtual Earth 3D by the summer.

The two companies are approaching the design of their virtual earths in very different ways. Microsoft have chosen to go for a top-down approach, ploughing huge sums of money into photographing the world. Google on the other hand are relying on the internet community to help them expand their world, developing software called ‘Sketch-Up’ which allows users to generate their own 3D images.

Brands are already recognising the potential for advertising within these virtual earths. Google Earth and British Airways have entered into a partnership which will allow tourists to view popular destinations and check the proximity to their chosen hotels before they travel. Whirlpool has introduced its products to Google Earth’s 3D Warehouse using Sketch-Up and commentators are predicting that in the future we will be able to purchase in real life the appliances we have drawn into our virtual homes. Meanwhile, an online banner ad for the GM Saturn Aura will catapult browsers to their nearest Saturn dealership on Microsoft Virtual Earth. Nissan and Fox also plan to utilise this new advertising space in the future.

And the latest on gaming on Google Earth...Intel have designed a game called Mars Sucks. Read more about it here:

Find more photos of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth at http://www.flickr.com/

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Canadian PSA's for Drinking and Driving. Responsible drinking messages are becoming more prevalent in Canada; especially over the holiday season.

This was from Paul in Toronto.

Thanks to Russell Davies and PSFK for this:

"2007 will see the rise of brand abstinence. A mix of ethical consumerism and brand disappointment will see a growth in apathy held by some consumers when it comes to new product purchases.

For corporations, at best this will result in a shift towards products that offer these consumers a guilt free purchase, at worse, these consumers will turn to brand abstinence and recycle, re-craft, maintain and retain products they of their peers own."

To read the rest of PSFK's predictions click here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Grolsch launches their new bottle with a commercial based on the One Red Paper Clip idea. I really enjoy when he trades two pink poodles for a guys girl friend.

“Don’t be afraid of the Purple Cow,” is marketing guru Seth Godin’s latest message in his book Purple Cow: Transform your Business by being Remarkable.

In a world full of boring, usual, same-old-same-old brown cows, the Purple Cow is remarkable. It’s a trailblazer. It stands out. Godin describes his work as:

". . . a manifesto for marketers who want to make a difference at their company by helping create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place. It is a plea for originality, for passion, guts, and daring. Not just because going through life with passion and guts beats the alternative (which it does), but also because it's the only way to be successful. Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable."

Godin hopes to change the rules of the marketing game. No longer should companies be creating safe products hoping that great marketing will do the job of selling them. They should be creating remarkable products which the right people will actively seek out. If an offering isn’t remarkable then it simply becomes invisible and fails.

In order to test his theories, Godin applied them to the marketing of his own book:

He chose to sell what people were buying by acknowledging that a group of people existed who took an interest in new marketing ideas.

He focussed his efforts on early adopters and ‘Sneezers’ – people who spread ideas. He published an article in Fast Company magazine summarising his theories and advertising 5,000 free copies of the book. Subscribers had only to cover the $5 postage and handling cost.

He made the product remarkable and attention-grabbing – the book came packaged in a milk carton.

He made the product easy to spread. Initially you could not purchase a single copy of the book; it had to be bought in packs of 12, making one copy for the buyer to keep for himself and 11 for him to dish out to his friends or colleagues.

He let the book make its own way to the mass market rather than thrust it upon them, working on the principle that designing anything for the masses is misguided given that it’s the people on the fringes who actually buy stuff.

He makes it sound so easy: small risks, focussed audiences, limited mass marketing. Maybe it is. Let’s make 2007 the year of the Purple Cow and put the daring, the gutsy, the original and the remarkable at the centre of our thinking.


For some examples of companies which have succeeded in standing out from the herd, follow the link below:


From Most Contagious 2006:

"Although it launched at the end of 2005, Heineken’s Greenspace is the event that continues to give into 2006. The launch event was the culmination of an urban regeneration project of disused warehouses undertaken by Heineken in Valencia, Spain, overseen by creativedirectors Adrian Caddy and Mike Kettles. Following the festival Greenspace was handed back to the city and the space has continued to play host to concerts and is available for locals to develop creative ideas, supporting art, design and film. Further events in the series are planned. Walter Drenth, Heineken’s Global Marketing Communications Manager, believes Greenspace has ‘delivered beyond expectations’ with their aim for a sustainable space for social interaction. Rem Koolhaas who helped launch the project sees it as ‘fresh, really representing corporate generosity’. Keep an eye on this fusion of CSR and patronage of the arts. Heineken, after all, is a brand that now eschews TV advertising altogether in the UK."

See below for an example of a youtube video of Marsha in concert on youtube. See how Heineken is in the background the whole time.

It's a good example of an alcohol brand pushing it's CSR credentials and of owning a colour - as Grolsch do with the Green Light District.

From Most Contagious 2006:

"We’ve been extremely taken with Diageo’s latest campaign for Cacique rum, developed in conjunction with Senora Rushmore and digital agency Double You, which captured the current resurgence of animated film noir. Cacique’s South American Indian icon (‘Cacique’ meaning ‘tribal chief’ in Spanish), was reinvented as an edgy, nocturnal character leading drinkers into ‘the mystery of the night’. A website urging users to ‘escucha la llamada’ (‘listen to the call’) hosts a gorgeous animated short incorporating black and white imagery, comic book characters, mistaken identity …what more could you ask for? Ladies, put on your spiky stilettos, fellas, slip into those lean pinstripes. The mysterious Indian awaits."

Users are encouraged to give their mobile details to the Red Indian who may call you up with a free trip to Hong Kong.

Visit http://www.escuchalallamada.com/ to take a look.

From BoingBoing:

"What is the Venice Project? Skype co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström built it with some of that $2.6 billion from selling Skype to eBay. Friis explains on his blog:

It’s simple, really — we are trying to bring together the best of TV with the best of the Internet. We think TV is one of the most powerful, engaging mass medias of all time. People love TV, but they also hate TV. They love the (sometimes…) amazing storytelling, the richness, the quality itself. But they hate the linearness, the lack of choice, the lack of basic things like being able to search. And wholly missing is everything that we are now accustomed to from the Internet: tagging, recommendations, choice, and so on… TV is 507 channels and nothing on and we want to help change that!"

This from Engadget is also very informative:

"The system is intended for use by copyright-holding content owners who no doubt intend to advertise on this new network; their video data is encrypted so the P2P here isn't the same kind of P2P you might be thinking of. Friis apparently demonstrated full quality full motion video to the FT at a local Starbucks -- where all new internet projects shown off before launch -- but there's no way of knowing how real world use will clog the proverbial tubes; right now P2P video TV might not work the smoothest considering that no matter what upstream bandwidth will never equal the downstream bandwidth necessary to sustain millions of viewers, but that will begin to change in the coming years."

Move over youtube? Possibly. We'll look back at the end of the year and think how small, short and poor quality youtube videos are and come to expect TV quality footage on our computers with high quality content.

To become a beta tester visit the Venice Project blog here.


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