Monday, November 29, 2010

Guerilla Foursquare campaign for the Monsters film

Monsters is a new low-budget British sci fi film directed by Gareth Edwards.  It cost approximately £500,000 to make, is released this week, and has been getting some good reviews (66% positive on Rotten Tomatoes).

They've very cleverly used Foursquare as part of the promotion, but not in a conventional way.

What they've done is to check into various places around London and leave the following tip:

"ATTENTION: Exclusive footage has been found from the upcoming release of Monsters (Dec 3rd). View on mobile or PC – Follow STRA Agents for more information"

These tips have so far been left in nearly 300 venues in London, ranging from cinemas like Vue West End to Tate Modern and the London Eye.

In many of the venues the tips have been 'done' by other users, taking them higher in the rankings for the venues tips.  

It's very clever.  Whenever I check into a venue I look at the tips, and this is a good way of targeting cinema goers.  It's also a great example of someone using a technology in an unusual way.

But... It's also pretty spammy.  I'd hate it if lots of companies did this, and I'm sure Foursquare would act pretty quickly if the practice became widespread.

Update - it seems that it was done in partnership with Vue and Cineworld - special 'infected' zones have been set up.

Update - they're trying to organise Foursquare swarms (i.e. more than 50 checkins at once) at a number of venues on launch day, 3rd December.  If a swarm happens, all participants get a discounted ticket:

"On the 3rd December (release day) from 6pm, fans who are eagerly awaiting the release of Monsters are encouraged to gather in 5 Vue Entertainment cinemas and 5 Cineworld venues around the UK. Using the Foursquare application on their smart phones, fans will need to unlock the coveted Swarm Badge, which can only be unlocked when 50+ Foursquare users check in to a venue simultaneously. 

Unlocking the Swarm Badge will unleash a discount to see the film that very evening at Vue Cinemas (7pm) and Cineworld (TBC) in the following participating venues: Vue Birmingham City Star, Vue Bristol Cribs, Vue Cheshire Oaks, Vue Leeds Light, Vue Westfield, Cineworld Birmingham Broad St, Cineworld Cardiff, Cineworld Edinburgh, Cineworld Greenwich (O2) and Cineworld Sheffield. "

Oh - and this is the trailer for Monsters - it looks pretty good:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rapha x Paul Smith

Luxury cycle wear brand Rapha has just unveiled a collaboration with Paul Smith, including clothing and accessories.

This film shows Paul Smith in conversation with Rapha founder Simon Mottram.  Did you know Smith was so into cycling?  Neither did I...  Fascinating conversation.

You can see this courier bag racing off the shelves!

Very nicely done.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Google puts banner ads on image search

Spotted in the wild by colleagues - Google is now putting banner ads on some image searches.

For example 'John Wayne'

Or 'London'

The banners don't show up on the main search page, just on the Images page.  I guess the reasoning is that people looking for images aren't going to be freaked out by banner ads.

There seems to be no targeting on general terms like these - 'Flightworx' has no relevance to 'John Wayne', and Car hire in the Canary Islands clearly has no relevance for a search on London - but for other, more commercial terms like 'Power Drill' you get shopping ads with a small picture, plus an ad promoting the Image ads service.

Read more about it here.

(Yes, I am using RockMelt.  I like it...)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Volkswagen Fun Theory - Speed Camera Lottery

This is the winner of a competition to find a new 'Fun Theory' idea - to change human behaviour through fun.

The idea is to set up a speed camera, to take pictures of all cars passing a spot.  Speeders get a fine, BUT at the same time some of this fine goes towards rewarding some of the people who obeyed the law, on a lottery principle.

Very clever!

Via Adverblog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google Goggles Marketing Experiment

Google Goggles is a fun picture search application, now available on the iPhone as well as on Android phones.

It's not perfect, but it's fun to use.

To boost trial Google have announced this experiment in the US - take pictures of any advertising assets of Buick, Delta Airlines, Diageo, Disney & T-Mobile, and you will be directed to mobile content, in the same way as if you'd scanned a QR code.

It comes as people start to be aware of the rising level of mobile internet use - Morgan Stanley's recent presentation on this subject is here.

One to watch, I think.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

KLM Surprise

KLM Surprise is a very innovative use of Foursquare.

KLM has set up a Foursquare account, and is asking people to add them as friends.  Travellers who do, and then check into KLM locations like airport lounges are then studied (for example their recent tweets) and some are rewarded with unusual and thoughtful gifts based on what KLM can work out about them.

The Next Web has more details:

"The KLM team has surprised travellers with champage, notebooks, a watch, and traditional Dutch foods. One passenger, Willem van Hommel, was going to miss one of his soccer team’s most important matches of the year due to his trip to New York. KLM surprised him with a Lonely Planet guide to New York with all the best soccer bars in the city marked out for him. Another traveller, Tobias Hootsen, was surprised with a package to remind him of home during his long stay abroad."

You can see how this sort of thing could get really intrusive, but I think in this case KLM has done it very well.  It's a fun, low budget initiative that will really get talked about by the people involved, and (perhaps most importantly) didn't actually require any involvement from Foursquare themselves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

OK Go & Range Rover

Fast becoming the band with the most commercial deals, OK Go have announced this project with Range Rover Evoque as part the Pulse of the City project.

Download the Evoque app from a mobile app store, then follow the instructions to be part of a global mapping stunt.  OK Go will be getting people to create their logo in LA on the 17th of November - watch the video for full details.

Friday, November 12, 2010

OK Go, in association with Samsung

A new OK Go video is always to be welcomed, and this one is sponsored by Samsung:

"This video was made in partnership with Samsung NX100 iFn --

All 215 loaves of bread used in the making of this video were past their sell-by date and rescued from the clutches of certain disposal."

The animation art is by Geoff Mcfetridge at Champion Studio,  You can see another one of his animations here.  & another one here.

The sponsorship includes this content on the Samsung site.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Two years ago that would have been implausible; five years ago it would have been impossible"

A very entertaining presentation from Tom Scott, at IgniteLondon about a FICTIONAL riot that originated from a Chatroulette clip.

It's clearly inspired (he says as much himself) by the Cat Bin Woman case and others, and it shows how quickly things can spread and get out of hand with modern technologies.

"Two years ago that would have been implausible; five years ago it would have been impossible"

Five minutes of your time well spent!

Via Metafilter

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Google Instant Previews

Another day, another innovation from Google.

Google Instant Previews gives you fast previews of the pages behind the results, without you leaving the main search page.

So for example, if you look for 'Gaga' you can see all of the different pages before you click on one (& a search for Gaga turns up some pretty varied results)

See the screen shots below - to activate the previews, click on the magnifying glass on the right of the link.

Full info about Previews here

Monday, November 08, 2010

Jackass' 3D Facebook page

Very reminiscent of the recent YouTube takeovers...  I didn't know that you could do this on Facebook!

See it here

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Gowalla sponsored Hockey trip for Oddset in Sweden

Colleagues at Carat in Sweden have just launched a sponsored trip on Gowalla for their client Oddset, a gambling company that offers live betting on the Elitserien premier Ice Hockey in Sweden.

12 arenas have been set up with bespoke badges - any fans checking in at 3 of the arenas qualify as having done the trip.

The first 1,000 to do the trip win a pair of tickets to any game (excluding the playoffs)

It's the first proper campaign using Gowalla in Sweden.

Good work!

Now *that's* Loyalty

The Motorhead website has a section for fans' tattoos.  So far 649 pictures have been uploaded.

Beat that, Gaga!

Facebook Deals

Facebook deals are effectively the best ideas from Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and the other location services, with the clout of Facebook's incredible reach.

(More than 200m Facebook users now regularly connect with a mobile device)

The video outlines how it works.

There are 4 types of deals:

Individual Deal - a one-off discount

Loyalty Deal - unlocked when people check in at a venue or chain between 2 and 20 times

Friend Deal - When you tag multiple friends with you when your check in

Charity Deal - Promote a cause

Friends' deals will appear in the news feed, spreading the news about the offer, and marketing the venue.  The whole process is user-initiated; I'd expect this to take off very quickly (although I think it's only available in the US for the time being.)  Here's the guide to how to use it.

So where does this leave Foursquare etc?  I think they'll be fine for the time being, as users seem to use those services (or at least my friends do) more frequently and in a different way.  In the long term though, who knows.

The other impact is to further drive the take-up of smartphones.  When people see the benefits that their friends get from having a smartphone in terms of real savings, more people will see why they need to have one.

Update - some early deals announced:

"The Gap will give out a free pair of blue jeans to the first 10,000 to check in on a certain day
The Palms Hotel, in Las Vegas, will offer a room upgrade or a free weekend night
JC Penney will offer $10 off any $50 purchase
McDonald’s will give $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dead Drops

Dead Drops is a new project instigated by the artist Aram Bartholl, and currently happening in New York.

Buy a USB stick, cement it into a wall, tell people where is, and let them upload and download content to and from it.

Who knows where this could lead, but ad DigitalMusicNews says:

"Sounds fun, though use protection, son: who knows what's lingering on those dirty sticks. "

Manifesto here

Instructions here

FAQ here

Map (pretty empty so far) here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tracking the mid-term elections with Foursquare

Foursquare have introduced this page to visualise voting behaviour by Foursquare users in the US.

It's also nice that it gives a gender breakdown - so far it's about 60% male, 40% female, which may reflect the entire make-up of Foursquare...

(Update - I've done the analysis - nearly 60% of US users are male, nearly 50% live in just 6 states)

It's also interesting that Foursquare got in an outside developer, Jess3, to create it.  More at the Foursquare blog.

Elsewhere Google have this gadget to show behaviour nationally and locally

& I also love this amateur site - WTF has Obama done so far?, which lists Obama's achievements to date.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lemsip x LoveFilm

One of a growing number of brand partnerships.  Watch one of a selected range of films for free, on a special LoveFilm page.  You need to create an account, so it seems like a good deal for LoveFilm.

(Although I don't think I'd want to watch any of the films, especially if I was ill in bed!)

More info here.

Other recent partnerships I like are:

Garmin & Merrell

Martini Gold & D&G

Dell & Threadless

Carte Noire & Penguin

Kraft & American Idol
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