Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brilliant Personalised Viral from

I love this - a personalisable video for the MoveOn campaign in the US encouraging citizens to vote on November 4th.

You can personalise it to any name (except it shortens my surname to just 'C' - Calladine is clearly too long for the system).

One of the best bits of political communication I've ever seen.

Update - there's a ticker on the MoveOn site showing the number of videos sent. 8.7m so far, and moving fast!

SeeYourHotel - Search Hotels on a Map

Search gets more intuitive. Previously I've written about's visual search application, and now comes SeeYourHotel, via the always-reliable Springwise newsletter.

SeeYourHotel allows you to search by location, anywhere (as far as I can tell) that's covered by Google Maps.

Fill in a location (city name, area, street etc) and it will show you hotels and landmarks on the same map. You can then narrow down your search by setting a price range (in USD), or by Star.

Great work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Templates for They Came From Upstairs

This is a really nice way of promoting a kids' film. Fox, the studio behind the new movie They Came From Upstairs, has produced these downloadable stencil templates for parents to do some pretty advanced pumpkin carving. Very good!

The film isn't out until July, but this is a great way to introduce the characters.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stephen Fry 2.0

This refresh to Stephen Fry's personal site is very welcome. Stephen is of course very geeky, and you can imagine him having fun specifying the different sections and so on to his builders. In fact I look forward to reading a Dork Talk column about it.

The new site is a repository for all of the different things that Stephen does - it covers his work for The Guardian, his videos, his twitter updates, his influences, a forum, a store, and - though not yet live - the new 'ClubFry' which will be a social network for his fans.

Have fun!

DoubleClick Rich Media Innovation Library

We had a meeting with DoubleClick earlier today, and they showed this this excellent gallery of the sorts of things you can do with their rich media ad serving. They've got examples of video, viral (inc widgets), live data feeds within ads, games, and bespoke ad units.

See it all here - but sadly there is no deep linking, so I can't direct you to any specific ones, and apparently they change the examples regularly.

It's a great place to spend an hour if you're looking for inspiration.

Friday, October 10, 2008


JungleSmash is an interesting new project by James Altucher, a Hedge Fund manager and finance writer.

JungleSmash is all about user generated video ads. They have chosen Crest toothpaste as a launch brand, and are offering $2000 for the best video someone can make about Crest. (They have no affiliation with Crest; they say they chose the brand because they like the toothpaste.)

Then, they'll choose another brand and so on.

I read about this on the Freakonomics blog. In the comments after the post a lot of people say that it's been done before, and of course it has, by the brands themselves, but not by disinterested outsiders.

It'll be interesting to see what the public come up with. So far it hasn't set the blogging world alight, as evidenced by these 8 posts to date, inclucing the original post on JungleSmash, but I have faith that some interesting films will be made.

(The issue of the low bounty is not necessarily an important one - Adam and Joe got an amazing response to their competition as detailed here earlier - as long as people think that it's fun.)

The real question for me is whether people are going to use their imagination, or just go along with existing advertising concepts for Crest. For example there is no shortage of lame rip offs of the British Hamlet ads of the 1970s & 1980s like this one here

Let's wait, with open minds, and see what JungleSmash turns up.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Google in 2001

As part of their 10th birthday celebrations, Google have made their old index of search results available so that you can search their database from 2001. (It seems that this is the oldest index still available - nowadays the idea of them wiping the old ones seems a bit like the BBC reusing the video tapes used to record artists like Jimi Hendrix on Top of The Pops in the 1960s)

Anyway... This is not as nerdy as it seems, because as Ferris Bueller pointed out, life moves pretty fast.

You can entertain yourself, but in 2001 the top result for...

...Paris Hilton was a hotel
...iPod was the Image Proof of Deposit Document Processing System
...MySpace was a data storage service that had suspended service
...Facebook was an internal database for Harvard
...Twitter was a nature page (link not working)
...Orkut was the blog of someone called Orkut
...Bebo was the home page of a musician called Bebo Norman
...Flickr was a random page on a tech blog was, a 'what's on' guide for Cleveland
...Firefox was a pretty random homepage
...Wordpress was a literary publishing company
...Piczo was an Epson printer
...& there were no results at all for YouTube!

Thanks to Nick Burcher's blog for the initial inspiration!

Update: Unfortunately the Google 2001 site is no longer live to play with. However the old sites are still live, so you can still see the top results. If you want a screen grab of the 'no results for YouTube' page email me!

One Star Reviews on Amazon

You've been able to see reviews by star rating on amazon for ages now, and lots of pleasure is to be had by look at either one star reviews of stuff that is generally accepted to be great, or five star reviews of stuff that is pretty lousy.

For example - there are 3 one star reviews for series 1 of The Wire:
"After seeing all the positive reviews I thought it would be a sure thing that this would be a good show... but how wrong could I be. The show is so slow paced, the actors are all one dimensional and every episode is like a repeat of the last with about 10 seconds of actual action. All this is topped off with language that is unnecessarily difficult to understand. Please don't waste your money like I did, the most I could stomach was 3 episodes.
24, prison break, lost and house are all far better than this garbage."

There are 4 one star reviews for Willam Boyd's novel Any Human Heart:
"I've tried hard to like this and ploughed by way to page 200 and something but have finally decided to knock it on the head. This is without a doubt the most boring book I've ever picked up, I don't care one jot about LMS or any other cardboard cut-out in this novel. It's deeply uninteresting and the constant references to famous people of the day are really irritating."

Happy browsing!
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