Friday, March 30, 2012

Tom from Google+

The first British ad for Google Plus, breaking on TV tomorrow night.



Very classy, as you'd expect, but too subtle?

& yes, they clearly chose the name Tom deliberately!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Item of the month club

A couple of weeks on from the Dollar Shave Club, I saw Me Undies, a new company in Springwise who send you a pair of pants every month.  So far so amusing, and I remember that things like this have happened before, but it could be the the 'item of the month club' idea will soon really start to take off.


Just as it's convenient for contact lenses, it could also be convenient for other things like cosmetics and toiletries - getting someone to have a regular subscription could make ecommerce more viable, since you reduce the cost of sale per item.

Some more examples -

T-Shirts - Lots, including Ohh Deer, Threadless and Shirtify (which selects your band T-shirts based on your listening on services like Spotify)

Luxury & beauty items - including Not Another Bill (which sends you a mystery item every month for £15 a month), GlossyBox (5 miniature cosmetic items each month for £10), and the US version BirchBox

Kids stuff - Toys - 5 toys every 3 months, none battery-powered.  I really like this!

In fact Mashable has a list of 20 of them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Frisbee Rush mobile to TV game

Created by the good people at Unit9 - this is very clever!


Frisbee Rush from unit9 on Vimeo.

"Frisbee Rush is a mobile controlled Desktop/TV arcade game, allowing for anyone to use their Smartphone to throw Frisbees into a game environment on their Desktop or TV. The Player can choose to use real throw gestures or flick the Frisbee on the mobile screen to slice through and destroy anything on the big screen. By using mobile gesture recognition technology connected to an entire 3D City we have created a new way for smartphone users to interact with their TVs."

Out soon - more info here

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things I Love - Sunday 25th March

Lynx's stunt, sponsoring the Panda Cam at Edinburgh Zoo.  If the pandas do end up mating Lynx can claim the credit...


Sites like David Mitchell is a Koala.  Very creative.  Mattresses That Look Like Celebrities seems to be the final word in this trend, but we'll see.


This initiative in London, turning a row of disused shops into a space for pop-up and temporary retail units.  Go and visit Queen's Parade in Willesden Green if you can.  Really, really well done everyone!


The Afterparty, a novel by Leo Benedictus.  If you like Popbitch and Private Eye, you'll love this.  I read it in one sitting (albeit on a long flight) and it's a very entertaining, very well written novel about celebrity culture, featuring actors, publicists, an X-Factor contestant, and cameos from (fictionalised) real people like Elton John & Rebekah Brooks.  It's now out in paperback, and you'll love it.

Websites for Apprentice Candidates 2012

I love The Apprentice.  It's an endlessly entertaining show.  Last year I wrote a post looking at the websites of the different candidates, the point being that under the new rules Lord Sugar is looking for a business to invest in, rather than an employee, so it's interesting to look at their current businesses.  Last year I spotted Tom's potential as a winner, because his site listed some interesting businesses and ideas.

So here we go for 2012.  As before, candidates are forbidden from tweeting while the show is in progress, because it was all filmed months ago, and clearly they are likely to give things away  (Update - 23rd April - lots of them are tweeting, so I've added their Twitter accounts).  However they are allowed to have websites, and many do, from their current businesses.  It's surprising that more don't have sites; the people are appearing on a TV show that will be seen by about 8m people a week, so it's best to control your own image, rather than letting the newspapers and other sites do it.


Adam Corbally - he's a greengrocer, offering services like veg boxes - also, LinkedIn, Twitter

Azhar Siddique - LinkedIn, also Twitter

Duane Bryan - he runs Drinks Designer, which lets you design the contents and packaging for bottles, for gifts etc - also, LinkedIn, Twitter

Gabrielle Omar - 'website coming soon' - also, LinkedIn, Twitter

Jade Nash - LinkedIn, Twitter

Jane McEvoy - McAvoy Family Foods

Jenna Whittingham - Facebook page for Beauty & the Boutique, Twitter

Katie Wright - Personal site, plus LinkedIn

Laura Hogg - Bridal company (as Laura Reece), plus a personal page, Twitter

Maria O’Connor - The restaurant that she runs, apparently

Michael Copp - Bedroom & Kitchen Designs - plus Twitter

Nick Holzherr - several online businesses, including QRky (QR business cards) & Foodient advertising & apps around food and recipes - also, LinkedIn, Twitter
***Plus - Nick's 'recipe app' Whisk***

Ricky Martin - LinkedIn - plus a video of him wrestling - & Twitter

Stephen Brady - LinkedIn only

Tom Gearing - a wine investment business - also, LinkedIn, Twitter

Bilyana Apostolova - nothing found

On the basis of this, I think my money is on either Nick, or Tom!

(Have I missed any?  Let me know in the comments!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Prometheus TED Talk

This is excellent - to promote the film Prometheus they made a fake TED talk from the year 2023 in which the character Peter Weyland speaks about technology.



Really innovative, really clever, and a great way of getting the attention of all the TED heads around the world!

Background here

PS - I'd love to know how much they paid for this!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dragon Tattoo on DVD

I love this story about the American DVD release of the remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.


The DVD has deliberately been made to look like it's a burned pirate DVD, in honour of the main character being a hacker.  But some people are confused:

"They've pitched such a fit that Redbox has had to post a clarifying message on its site: "The handwritten look on the disc of this movie is legitimate and is intended to look like a burned DVD.""

Are you Insanely Driven?

A new immersive game to promote Reckitt Benckiser's graduate programme.



Launches early next week.  More here and on Facebook

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hungry Jack's use Fiverr to source a new ad in Australia


I was wondering when this would happen!  Hungry Jack's (Australia's version of Burger King) are using the site Fiverr to source content for their new ad.  Fiverr is the site where people will 'do anything for $5', including small photoshopping tasks, coming up with slogans, or dancing to any song dressed in a hotdog outfit...  My friend Chris was an active seller for a while - you can read my interview with him here (& hire him here).  (& you can read about brands using services like Fiverr in my 12 trends for 2012 here - it's trend 11)

But I digress...  I think this is a really good initiative, and it'll be interesting to see what comes out of it.  One think for the restaurant to bear in mind is that if any photoshopping or software is used, it's probably being done on non-professional versions (e.g. student versions) and as such isn't legal to use in finished work, but I'm sure they know that.  The their credit, HJ are calling it an experiment.

These are the sorts of entries they've had.  I think they'll edit the best ones together.





You can read more about it here, on Fiverr's blog, and on Hungry Jack's Facebook page.

Via Adverblog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Things I love - Sunday 18th March

Apologies for the lach of these in recent weeks.  I've been too busy (& too ill last weekend).  Here we go...

South Africa - I've been here for the past few days, for work, and now relaxing at the weekend.  Cape Town's great - lots of variety, and Table Mountain is stunning, al the more so for being so close to the city.

Daunt Books in Marylebone.  Whenever I go travelling I pay a visit to Daunt to aclimatise myself by reading a racy thriller about the destination.  Daunt have books, including novels, laid out by country; it's a brilliant service, and one the internet doesn't do at all well.  So for Cape Town I've been reading Payback by Mike Nicol.  I have to point out that my local colleagues are pretty appalled...

One thing I've hated:  Homeless Hotspots, BBH New York's appallingly misjudged idea for usuing homeless people as internet connections at SXSW.  I won't rant for too long because I've calmed down now, but seriously...  Did no one in the room raise any concerns when they came up with the idea, when they looked into logistics, when they designed the logo and the T-shirts?  I'd like to think in the UK that would have happened (with the words 'Nathan' and 'Barley' appearing in the intervention).  & yes, it is different from someone running a shoe shine stall.  With shoe shine you're teaching someone a skill, and enabling them through minimal outlay to do it themselves.  With HH you're not.  Oh - and let's not go into the possibility that other names were brainstormed before HH.  (Meanwhile, the readers of the Daily Mail loved the idea)

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Four times..."

A very clever ad from Santam in South Africa, starring Ben Kingsley.



Bet you watch it twice!

Selling One Direction in America

One direction seem to be on the verge of making it big in America.  They've been there on tour and making personal appearances for about a month now, and the album Up All Night is released there tomorrow.



To promote it they've done a series of media partnerships - see pic - with mainstream and niche companies including AOL, Vevo, RollingStone (!) and Cambio.  There are also a series of competitions, including one where you can win a personalised MP3 message and postcard from the band.

It seems amazing that in 2012 you can launch a mainstream album on one market months after it's been on sale in another.  Surely any rabid Directioner worth their salt would have bought one from the UK, listened to all the tracks on YouTube or found another way to download them?  The point is that music is only one part of the 1D experience, and fans want a physical artefact of the group in addition to the music.  So they want a physical copy, and if they can get a signed one then all the better.  (Recent signings across the states have limited the number of fans to 1,000 per event.  Imagine that - 1,000 fans queueing up to buy physical CDs in a record shop...)


One Direction Paper Dolls - I've been getting a lot of traffic for this search term since I wrote about it last year.  To download the templates, go to the 1DCP site, and then go to task 4 to see the dolls link (see pic above).  Use the arrows on the bottom.  Good luck, Tinkers!

Friday, March 09, 2012

The genius of the Dollar Shave Club

The Dollar Shave Club launched last week with a very entertaining YouTube video.



It's a very high concept model - it's like a subscription for contact lenses, but for razor blades.  There are three options, the 'humble twin', at $1 per month, the '4X' at $6 per month, and the 'executive' at $9 per month.

It also fits into the whole 'simplicity' idea - it's very straightforward to understand.  & the ad is arguably the most arresting one of its kind since the first Old Spice Guy ad (& also borrows slightly from Orson Welles)

More at Mashable

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Marketing with Pinterest - BMI's Pinterest Lottery

This is a very clever use of Pinterest.  British Midland International (BMI) has set up 5 boards on Pinterest, each for a different destination city - Beirut, Dublin, Marrakech, Moscow and Nice.  Each board has some pictures on it, and each picture is numbered with a different number, from 1 to 45.




If you re-pin the pictures you will be entered into a lottery to win free flights.  Once a week they will pick a number from 1 - 45, and anyone who has pinned that number will have a chance to win.  They only count the first 6 pictures you pin - clearly otherwise you could pin all 45.


See more on BMI's Tumblr


I've posted 7 pictures onto a new board I've called BMI Pinterest Lottery

I think that this is a really clever way of using Pinterest.  The pictures now sit in my boards, and people who follow me will see them.  Very well done!

Via Mashable

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The 'Source' command on Pinterest

I discovered this today.  I'm not sure how widely known it is, but if you use a 'source' command in the URL - see below - you can see the pictures on Pinterest pinned from a specific site.



E.g.

http://pinterest.com/source/apple.com/

or

http://pinterest.com/source/nike.com/

or

http://pinterest.com/source/lisastickleylondon.com/



& finally 


You can see the most popular content from a site.  It makes it a brilliant source for all kinds of research!

Versus - Google+ Hangouts Debates

This seems like a very good use of Hangouts:  Live debates held on Google+, under the banner of Versus:  The Google+ Debate Series on YouTube from Intelligence²  The first one happens on 13th March, and is about drugs featuring Richard Branson, Russell Brand, Elliot Spitzer, and - er - Johann Hari.  Could be very interesting, or could be a mess, but it'll raise the profile of Hangouts.



It'll happen live on Google+ on 13th March at 7pm UK time.  See it here

Update - here's the full debate.  Some people were live on stage, others, including Russell Brand were via a video link.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Isobar Create London - NFC Developer Event



Isobar, one part of Aegis, the company that I work for, is holding an NFC developer event & competition in London on the weekend of 24th / 25th March.

"Calling all talented developers and designers…
We’d like you to join Isobar Create London (together with O2), the UK’s first developer event that will challenge people to pioneer new and innovative uses of Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.  
This is an open invitation for you to attend and help define the future of this exciting technology.  
In addition to being amongst the first people to get a hands on opportunity with the latest in NFC technology, you’ll have a chance to win loads of goodies such as mobile handsets, and even have your idea brought to life courtesy of a kick-starter fund from BlueVia.
We’ll also have guest speakers and food provided throughout so read on and sign up.
When: Saturday March 24th, through the night to Sunday March 25th. Doors open 8am on Saturday for a 10am kick-off. Teams to finish and present ideas at 4pm on Sunday.
Where: Shoreditch Studios, Old Street, London MAP
Who: Isobar Create London, together with O2, is for developers and designers who have big ideas, the skill to bring them to life, and who aren’t scared of working through the night.
We’re looking for teams of up to 5 people. You can sign up as a ready-formed team, or sign up as an individual and pair up with others at the event."

Get involved here

& check out some of the coverage of a previous event in the US here.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Brands' new timelines on Facebook



Facebook is now letting brands have full timelines, like people.  Here are some good examples, courtesy of AdAge.  The best ones have filled in their past (for people who are interested) and probably done a bit of artful omission.

Jaguar - Sadly not much on the history - nothing before 2008 at the moment - hopefully more to come

Coca Cola - goes back to the 1880s - someone's been very busy

Ford - again the company historians have been working overtime

Old Spice - includes some comical made up stuff about the origins

Tide - includes lots of old ads

Burberry - no mention of Daniella Westbrook...

Manchester United - All the way back to Newton Heath

This also gives an indication of the costs that brands face with Facebook, as well as the benefits.  If you are on Facebook you know that Facebook will keep tweaking how the pages work; it's a constantly evolving process, but unlike with your own site, Facebook decide the pace of change.
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