Saturday, December 31, 2016

Crowdsourcing a Roadmap

I'm surrised this has taken so long to happen, but over Christmas Airbnb, and then Twitter, asked its users what new features they should be developing, essentially crowdsourcing their development roadmap.

Brian Chesky from Airbnb posted this on Christmas Day -

& has had over 2,000 suggestions -

(I love 'Mars')

A simple tweet generated lots of free ideas, and also gave the fans a feeling that they were contributing.

Jack Dorsey also did this for Twitter (and Square),

Jack also had lots of feedback, and responded -

To be honest, these must have been things that Jack had heard every time he spoke to users, but it may be that some, like the ability to edit (maybe just in the first 2 minutes) will now be given much more focus.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ten Trends for 2017

It's time for my annual trends presentation.

This year it seemed to me that lots of what was happening and about to happen were comebacks - things that had been heralded a few years ago, but were finally hitting the mainstream, the most obvious being Augmented Reality, but also Live Video (remember webcams?), Web TV and more, which can all be said to have followed the Gartner Hype Cycle, and are now getting to the 'mainstream' stage.

& in the spirit of accountability, I also look at what happened to last year's trends.  enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Uber Surge Pricing and the 'Low Battery' Urban Myth

I love tracking urban myths.  When I was a school I did a history project about myths in wartime (Germans eat babies, etc) and I love finding new ones.  The main thing is that they are stories that people at the time want to believe.  There's quite a lot of academic literature about urban myths because they tell us a lot about current fears and concerns ('I did a favour for a middle eastern man and he told me to stay out of London this Friday').

Here's one in the making.

A few months ago Uber revealed that their app can see the user's battery level, and as a result they could see some interesting data.  For example, they could see that if someone was on less than 15% battery, they were more likley to request a car even if it was surge pricing, the point being that they had to get home - their phone might have died. by the time prices fell.

This has since turned into a myth that 'if you have a low battery Uber will give you surge pricing' (essentially turning the story on its head).  Yes, they could theoretically do it, but they've never said that they do it.  What this arguably says about Uber is that people see them as smart, but devious.

I'm looking forward to tracking this over the next few years.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lucozade's Live Fitness Classes

There's a whole genre of communications events around bus shelters - Duracell, Coke, Pepsi, Adobe,Walmart and others  - and now Lucazade has pulled this one off, using live video streamed into the advertising screen:

Very well done!  We're going to see lots more of these.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lots of Content

Amazon has just released some ads for the Echo Dot - the $50 version of the Echo - 100 ads in fact.

They're pretty good, and it's a good strategy to produce lots of cheap things (as long as they put across a strong overall message) than one expensive thing, if your audience is likely to be exposed to lots of media.

At 10 seconds, you can also see them getting lots of views on Facebook - you don't get that much time to get bored and scroll past (assuming you start watching in the first place).

You could almost call this a 'Fast Show' approach - once you have a strong message (or punchline) you can keep repeating with small variations.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Subverting Instagram

A photo posted by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on

A great campaign for the French addiction concern charity Addict Aide, subverting the conventions of Instagram to reach an audience and make them think.

See the account here

More here

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Snapchat's Spectacles, and the move to Hardware

Snapchat has announced that they are releasing a video camera, called 'Spectacles', and shaped like...  you guessed it.

I think it's a great move, and very much in keeping with Snapchat as a fun brand.  You can imagine them being a bit hit at a party, a wedding, on holiday or whatever.  They record 10 or 30 second video clips which can then be shared to a phone via Bluetooth and then uploaded, so it sounds like they're shareable - i.e. you could buy a couple of pairs for people to muck about with (at $130 a pair).

It reminds me a bit of the Flip video camera - it's a fun, single use device that is 'good enough' to be fun, rather than a high spec product.  Let's see how these sell.

It also raises the question of what hardware would other software companies produce?

Amazon made the Kindle, and then moved on to the Kindle Fire tablet, the Fire Stick, and now the Echo and Dash buttons, which are ultimately all about making shopping easier.

Google has now made phones, and maybe most interestingly, the Chromecast, which is all about accessing content, or sharing content.  Oh, and their car.

What would Facebook make?  (The Facebook phone has often been rumoured)

What would Instagram make?

What would Twitter make?

How about WhatsApp?

What about Slack?



Friday, September 16, 2016

Krispy Kreme's 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' Giveaway on Snapchat

I love this - sadly I think it's happening in the US only.

This campaign will run on 29th September, to tie in with the bizarre 'Talk Like A Pirate Day' which was created in 1995:

"In celebration of Talk Like a Pirate Day, which falls on September 19 this year, Krispy Kreme is inviting customers to dress up in their finest pirate gear to receive one dozen free original glazed doughnuts. Qualifying costumes must include three pirate-themed items, such as a bandana or eye patch.

If individuals do not own such gear, they can simply visit a Krispy Kreme store to access the chain’s custom Snapchat geofilter, which can be used to digitally adorn their outfits.

The filter features a pirate hat, parrot and sword.

Consumers must then show their Snapchat selfie with the accompanying filter to any in-store associate to receive a free set of a dozen original doughnuts."

I think it's a great use of both location (you've got to be in a Krispy Kreme to get the filter), couponing (one of the first give-aways I've heard of on Snapchat), and you can bet that the pics are going to be shared far and wide, as will pics of people eating the free donuts!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Apple - Don't Blink

A great summary of their iPhone 7 (& Apple Watch) launch

Those headphones are going to be endlessly amusing though...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Slash Football's The Last 5

This is a great example of Facebook Live Video.  Slash Football, the football community, are going live every Saturday afternoon at 5pm (UK time) to talk through the football results.  Like they do on TV, but with panel members who are less 'TV'

(Starts about 3 minutes in)

Plus, there's a definite reason why it is live - pre-recorded just wouldn't work.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Twitter and Sports Rights

This Twitter Moment from yesterday gives an example of what Twitter is turning into, with their recent sports rights deals - a video platform that is the place to go to catch up (legally) with the latest action.

I'm sure as a twitter poster 99% of my tweets will still be text, links, and pics, but as a twitter user, I'll be watching more and more videos.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Deliveroo feeds the Pokemon Go players in London

Seemingly everyone is playing (& talking about) Pokemon Go

It's not yet possible to buy locations in the UK - although it will come soon, and McDonalds has paid for 'Gyms' to be located at 3,000 of its restaurants in Japan - but some companies are using guerrilla tactics to capitalise on the craze.

For example, Deliveroo, the food delivery people, are taking out food to popular gyms, and giving it out to players when they tweet the #GottaFeedEmAll hashtag - with a different restaurant each day

See some happy customers here:

& here

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shell's Fill Up & Go app

This is a really good example of a brand app that is useful.

Lots of parents fill up at petrol stations, then go in to the kiosk to pay, while leaving their kids alone in the car (which is technically illegal)

The Fill Up & Go app lets you scan a QR code on the pump, fill up, and pay through your phone, which has been told by the pump how much fuel you have used.  Payment is via Apple Pay or Paypal.

Very smart!  More here

Friday, July 01, 2016

Fifteen of my favourites from Cannes 2016

This year I was lucky enough to go to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

It's the first time I've been, and it was a great week.  There were lots of interesting talks, meetings, installations and more.  So many people seem to have been there, and it's always strange to unexpectedly bump into people you know from home when you're abroad, especially at midnight at a party, or walking along the street, but clearly at Cannes this is the normal state of affairs.

Here are fifteen of the best things I saw, either around and about at Cannes, or in competition (although to be honest I watched those online back in London...).  I've tried to steer away from the more famous ones like #OptOutside.

Life Saving Stickers - I love simple ideas, and this one, making life-sized stickers that look like kids to stick onto wheelie bins is great.

Tata - Dipper Condoms - Trucks in India have the slogan 'Use Dipper at Night' to remind drivers to dip their headlights.  But Tata trucks took this as their inspiration to create a condom brand called Dippers to reduce levels of sexual disease among truck drivers

There was lots of VR on display - I really liked Samsung's Maison Samsung which had lots of things you could try out

A photo posted by dancall (@dancall) on

The Second Scoreboard - A campaign in Costa Rica put a second scoreboard on the TV during football matches - showing how many domestic violence events had been recorded during the match.  A great way to raise awareness among likely perpetrators.

The Second Scoreboard from J. Walter Thompson Costa Rica on Vimeo.

We held an all woman panel - and it wasn't to talk about diversity, more about the use of data within marketing.

BMW - Animal detecting billboards - Billboards on windy roads that used video cameras with night vision to show what animals had strayed onto the roads ahead.

Grab a seat – it’s Pimms O’Clock - Also using live posters - time time using beacons to see which local beer gardens had spaces, and putting the information onto digital poster sites

Legoland Dollars - Lego produced a physical currently for kids to spend at its resorts, and managed to get the dollars sold at foreign exchange desks in airports, including an entry on the foreign exchange display board

Lots of media owners did stunts - I really liked the 'Pinterest in Real Life' with tips for what to do in and out of Cannes

Clever Kash – ASB knew that parents didn't always have loose change for pocket money so they made a physical piggy bank that could be topped up via an app.

Pink Ribbon - Check it before it’s removed – It's against Facebook's Ts&cs to put pictures of bare breasts on the site, so Pink Ribbon posted pics of to highlight how women had to check their breasts before they were removed too.  A very bold campaign.

Donate the bars - Another campaign that used features of a media property - in this case people who took vertical videos and uploaded them to YouTube were able to donate the blank black bars on either side to charity campaigns

Verizon in Minecraft - Verizon actually built a working cell tower in Minecraft, giving connectivity to phones

Toyota Landcruiser Emergency Network - There were several campaigns based around creating a movement (for example the more famous The Swedish Number).  This one allowed Australian Toyota Landcruiser owners to form their own mobile network to spread safety alerts in areas of low connectivity.

There weren't many (any?) chatbots - there will be best year - but a local taxi company was using Messenger as a way of booking

A photo posted by dancall (@dancall) on

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Snickers HUNGERithm

I love this example from Snickers in Australia, which coincidentally uses two of my trends for this year, sentiment analysis and dynamic pricing.

The Snickers HUNGERithmithm analyses the sentiment of Twitter in Australia, and the more unhappy the mood becomes, the cheaper Snickers bars get at 7/11 stores.

Users just have to click on the button on the Hungerithm page of the Australian website, which then prints a money off coupon for a bar.

More here

Friday, May 27, 2016

Some thoughts on Live Video

Last weekend Candace Payne's 'Chewbacca Mask' video acheived over 100mm views on Facebook.

It's the first Facebook Live video to do this - but very few will have seen it 'live'

'Live' refers to the way it was uploaded - no editing, no enhancement.  Live is now the simplest way to upload video to Facebook (& YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat etc) - just open the app and shoot away.

The speed is extraordinary.  It his 100m in about 48 hours, I think.  By comparison Adele's Hello hit 23m views in 24 hours, and Psy's Gentleman (the follow up to Gangnam Style) took 4 days to reach 100m views in 2013, at that time the fastest ever video to 100m.

I suspect that Facebook put quite a lot of muscle behind this once they realised that it was so viral, and did a lot to help it get to 100m, including PR and more.

I also think it shows that Facebook is now the best place for a certain sort of video, better than YouTube, because it can reach so many people so quickly.

I think it also opens up lots of creative opportunities for using live video that is actually 'live' - think about what sort of times everyone will be looking at Facebook at the same time.  How about (in England) right after England's first Euro 2016 game?  Lots of people will go to Facebook to discuss the result (or look for distraction) and it would be a great place to respond immediately to what has just happened.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Louis CK's Horace & Pete

One of the things that really winds me up is the lack of decent original content on YouTube.  Yes, there are the vloggers, but as far as I can see they're the new Kids' TV.  I don't know anyone who watches them, apart from young kids.  While they get lots of views, and as a result lots of press coverage, they're only influential to a small group of people - kids.  Some of the people who are currently vloggers will go on to do other things when they're older - kids TV examples include Richard Bacon, Ant and Dec, and even Jeremy Irons - but I suspect many won't.

I quite often hear people at YouTube talking about all the great content, but they can never recommend anything that I'd want to watch.  If I watch something longer than 5 minutes on YouTube it's probably an old documentary, for example one of Adam Curtis' early ones that some public spirited soul has uploaded.

By contrast, I'm spoilt for choice with great podcasts - Marc Maron's WTF, The Nerdist, Adam Buxton, ReplyAll, Scroobius Pip's Distraction Pieces, RHLSTP, Tech Tent, Talking TV...  There's so much great stuff out there.  It's easier to do audio only at a budget.  These podcasts are usually enthusiasts talking to each other, which works fine in audio, and don't need much in the way of production.  They also don't compete with my TV viewing - Night Manager, Line of Duty etc - because I listen when I'm cooking, when I'm on the train etc.

It's now looking like there might be more independent video aimed at an older age group.  Since January, Louis CK has been filming and releasing episodes of his new show Horace & Pete on his site.  It's a sitcom set in a bar, but more inspired by Abigail's Party than Cheers, and stars Louis and Steve Buscemi as the eponymous characters.

Apparently it cost $500,000 per episode to make, and it's being sold for $5 an episode on Louis's site, or $31 for all ten episodes. (remember that he pioneered the direct sale of his own stand-up film 5 years ago).  It was 'dropped' an episode at a time from the start of the year, via an email to site subscribers.  It's also likely to be on Netflix or HBO at some point - Louis has the rights to licence it to other people.

It's not a very replicable example - Louis is a big star - but it's interesting to see him making stuff for online release, like Jerry Seinfeld does - with sponsorship - with Comedians in Cars.  Maybe if the audiences and advertising grows, and the costs of production come down, lots of my favourite podcasts could become web series, or develop new formats more suited to being watched rather than being listened to.

In the meantime, please tell me what great original content I should be watching on YouTube!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Volvo's Thumb Drive on Instagram

Touch the screen to drive the car on Instagram

A video posted by Volvo Car USA (@volvocarusa) on

Chat Bots are Coming

Image source:

Messaging apps are becoming more and more popular.  WhatsApp has over 1 billion users, Facebook Messenger 900m, and WeChat 700m, and there are also lots of smaller ones like Kik and Line.

I've long felt that companies should offer Messenger platforms for customer services, but the issue is always one of providing support quickly without getting overwhelmed by millions of people wanting to get in touch.

Earlier this month Facebook announced that it was introducing an API for people to develop automated chatbots - effectively a way of answering questions automatically.

This is a good solution in principle - it allows companies to offer another access point, and gives them a platform more flexible (in some ways) than sms or email as it can be quicker, and can include clickable links, 'cards' and links to other apps, like maps.  It also means that people wouldn't have to download a new app for each company they want to deal with, but just add the company as a contact on messenger, which is much easier.

I expect that early bots will be essentially a new search interface.  Take the example of retailer John Lewis.  I'd expect that a lot of the search queries are for closed questions to find the address or opening times.  ('When does John Lewis close tonight?', "does John Lewis stock Chanel'  etc).  A bot could take 1,000 of the most popular search queries and for each use natural language AI to try to work out when this question (or similar) is being asked.

You can also see that, for a lot of closed questions like 'When does John Lewis close tonight?' you only need one search results, not pages and pages of them.  Just as 'search' isn't great for vague, open questions like 'What's the best thing to do in London tonight?', it's not that great for questions with one correct answer.

I can also see apps being replaced by bots. Again, imagine a cooking bot, a cocktail bot, or even a city guide bot.  Again you would use questions to select what you wanted 'A cocktail using Gin and Orange Juice', 'Things to do tonight' etc - which is essentially what apps like Mixology and YPlan do.

But I also think that chatbots could turn out to be an absolute nightmare.  In the past month I've had problems (mostly minor) with DVLC, Ryanair, BT, Lambeth Housing and more, and in each case it's been almost impossible to get hold of an actual person who could answer a question, instead I was directed to forums, sent emails from accounts that you couldn't reply to, asked to press numbers on my phone keyboard and so on.

I fear that bots may make this even worse, and will lead to a whole new level of 'computer says no' pain.  It also makes me remember the pain of dealing with (some) grown-ups when I was a child:

- What would you like to drink Daniel?
- I'd like a glass of water please
- Water?  I've never heard of a little boy drinking water before.  Who ever heard of such a thing! I've got some Coca Cola - would you like that?

But let's be positive.  I think that the potential is huge, and it's being done successfully (apparently) in China, where some cities are connected via WeChat - you use messenger to arrange medical appointments and so on.

Friday, April 15, 2016

BuzzFeed on Facebook Live Video

I've seen the future of the internet etc...

It's amazing how engaging watching two people put rubber bands around a watermelon can be!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Volvo Highway Robbery

Volvo rigged up a device on a highway to generate energy from all cars that passed - and then used that to charge their Hybrid.

I'm betting this will win something at Cannes!

More here

RUN and RUN / lyrical school - Mobile phone video

Watch it on your phone.  Pretty amazing!

RUN and RUN / lyrical school 【MV for Smartphone】 from RUNandRUN_lyrisch on Vimeo.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Gaming the Instagram algorithm

Instagram is going to start using an algorithm to try to show users the posts they are most likely to appreciate, rather than just use a chronological timeline as it has until now.

The chronological timeline is simple and easy to understand, but it has drawbacks - if I don't look at Instagram within an hour (or a few minutes) of one of my friends' updates I'm unlikely to see it.  An algorithmic timeline could be better - this is what Facebook uses, and it puts important news like engagements, and new babies at the top of my newsfeed.

As services like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook get bigger people follow more users, so there is more to see, but also more clutter.

The drawback of an algorithm is that can make some posts invisible - essentially if Instagram thinks that I'm not likely to like a person's post, it's likely to bury it.  It's a black box in that it's not clear how the algorithm is worked out.

(I remember a story of someone getting so fed up that their posts about the unrest in Ferguson weren't getting seen on Facebook that she changed her status to 'married' so that it would appear in friends' feeds)

Some Instagram users are getting panicked that their friends won't see their posts and have been asking friends to turn on notifications so that friends will get an alert every time they post.  This clearly isn't workable - imagine if you turned this on for 20 people - but it shows that people will try to game the new algorithm, just as they've been trying to game the current system by using lots of hashtags, tagging lots of friends in their pictures, even when they're not there, and messaging friends to ask them to like pictures.  In my experience the most popular accounts, beyond the celebrity ones, are ones that are very specific to a genre - cats, landscapes, desserts - you get the idea.

What I suspect will happen once we have the new algorithm is that 'the rich will get richer' - if you currently have a lot of followers and get a lot of likes, you will start to get even more.  Instagram is doing this both to make it a better experience for users, but also to make the platform a more engaging place for casual users, so it will show you more of what you have already said you like.  This way you will return more often.

(Instagram already uses algorithms of course, in the 'search' tab, to show you popular pictures like the ones on the sites you already follow, and in recommending new accounts for you to follow, based on who your friends follow and sites that are similar to the ones you follow or have visited).

So what is likely to be included in the Instagram algorithm, to choose what pictures to show you?

The strength of connection to the account, including on Facebook - so you'll get to see more pictures from people you know, and even more from people you know well.

The frequency of linking pictures - if you often like Nigella Lawson's pictures you'll be shown all the news ones

The frequency of liking a type of picture - if you like pictures with the hashtag #dessert you'll be shown more #dessert pictures from accounts that you follow

The location - if you've posted a picture somewhere, you'll probably be shown friends' pictures from the same area.

The frequency of posting - Instagram will want to reward the people who put the work in - and besides their pictures are likely to be better.

At the same time I think it's likely that Instagram will start to penalise the spam tactics that people currently use to game it that I mentioned above - too many hashtags, too many users tagged - in the way that Facebook did in penalising the brand posts asking questions ("It's Friday - what's everyone  doing tonight?) and other ways of fishing for interaction.

Instagram has always been gamed to a degree, and now that there's a 'black box' algorithm the gaming will increase - companies will offer to make brands' instagram pictures more popular - but essentially if you post good pictures, often, then you should be fine.

Friday, March 11, 2016

KFC's competion in Minecraft

I like this - although you could substitute the word Second Life for Minecraft and picture it happening ten years ago...

KFC Minecraft Case from HB on Vimeo.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Brands & Google Cardboard

Virtual Reality is all the rage in some circles, with Oculus Rift finally coming out at the end of this month (it's fully sold out as far as I know), but for me the real sign that it's taking off is that mass market brands are getting involved, with their own versions of 'Oculus Thrift', the Google Cardboard.

Google Cardboard costs only about £10, and uses your existing phone but with special VR apps.  The experience isn't as good as Oculus Rift, but whenever I've shown it to friends at my home they've immediately gone to Amazon on their phones and bought one.

Last month I saw that Coca Cola was using multi-pack packaging in different ways to make virtual reality viewers -

Earlier this week McDonalds unveiled a video of a viewer made from a Happy Meal box - called, appropriately, Happy Goggles.

More examples as I find them (but you have to admit that both Coke and McDonalds doing something very similar is a great endorsement!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Inferring boredom from mobile behaviour

One of my trends for this year is ‘Telepathy’ - how AI and machine learning makes it possible for devices to learn how people are feeling and what they want.  Another great example of this – the Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, now infers mobile engagement of its readers.  If they’re not scrolling through the story a bar emerges at the bottom of the story offering other stories that might be more interesting.

It’s early days, but I’d expect to see many more examples like this

'When you're house-sitting for millennials and you ask how the lights work'

Monday, February 22, 2016

Amazon x New Yorker

I love this idea:  Amazon is turning stories from the New Yorker magazine into short documentaries for its Prime TV.

The executive producer is award winning documentary maker Alex Gibney - his Wikileaks documentary is excellent - and this is a potentially great collaboration.

Lots of films (Argo, Pushing Tin, Top Gun) were inspired by magazine articles, and if the tone is right some of these stories could make great shorts.

Now all I need is a Prime subscription...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BBC3 & The Independent - 2 Unwilling Experiments

Both BBC3 and The Independent are going online only, ceasing digital broadcast and newsprint publication respectively, as money-saving initiatives they have both been forced into.

From a personal point of view, neither are major parts of my media consumption.  I've seen a few things on BBC3 - The Professor Green programme on suicide was very good - and I've read a few articles in the Independent because I follow them on Twitter and click on links.  (I was a pretty loyal reader in the early days, but one by one the good writers got lured away, and it suffered horribly from a lack of investment).

It's going to be interesting to see how both fare.  The fact that my experience of the Indie is via Twitter & Facebook points towards how I'm still going to see the output of both.  I never see a paper copy of the New York Times but I must read about 4-5 stories a month because they're shared by people or entities that I follow.  Likewise Netflix isn't broadcast, but you couldn't escape people talking about Making a Murderer about a month ago.  Also, podcasts.

(I must point out that both the NYT and Netflix are successfully getting people to pay subscriptions)

The best case scenario for both I think is...

BBC3's new shows are well made, and the people in them share the links via social media.  BBC3 uses a lot of talent who have big followings, and could be encouraged to share as part of their contracts.  I've always felt that the people who moaned about BBC3 being online only didn't really know how young people find and watch content (I'd love to see some of the iPlayer stats for example).  The BBC is going to increase the marketing spend for the channel, apparently, which is kind of the wrong way round, but let's see how it works.

Similarly the Independent needs to get its feature writers to actively share, and also needs to commission work from people with strong followings.  This could lead them down the 'Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank' school of commissioning (hope not) but it could also find some new voices.  The Guardian always gets lots of readers (I think) for articles written by Russell Brand for example.  The most important thing is the features - too many news organisations will cover the news the the same way, so they can compete best with features.  Again the key is the sharing.

So I can see both working well, but then I'm a natural optimist.  If they do work well, I can see other newspapers especially following the digital-only route.

The worst case scenario...  Well, both fail.  Let's hope it doesn't get to that.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Zoolander with Barbie on Instagram

Love this - to promote the new Zoolander film, a Derek Zoolander has been making guest apparances on the @BarbieStyle Instagram account - the account that is more aimed towards adult fans

Lots of great pics - here are 3 of my favourites:

& some of the pics are also on the Zoolander Instagram

Also - Zoolander took over the Fiat Twitter feed (another of the movie's partners)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jeep uses Vertical Video at the Super Bowl

Last weekend one of Jeep's Super Bowl ads deliberately only used 1/3 of the screen - so that it could easily be re-purposed for 'vertical' viewing - i.e. on mobiles, held normally.

Full story here

Exploring M&S on Google Maps

One of my trends for this year is mapping.

People take maps for granted, but there is lots of activity around mapping at the moment, and lots of money being spent on mapping technology and companies.

We think of maps as open - and indeed I've made lots to help me with places to visit on holiday and so on.  But actually they're closed ecosystems, and this example with Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street, London illustrates that.

On Google Maps you can now see inside the store to see the different departments.  You can change floors by clicking on the numbers on the right hand side, near 'zoom'.  You can't see this for the other stores nearby, and you can't see this (as far as I know) on Bing or other mapping companies.

It's very much Google's decision what they choose to put in the maps, beyond the basics.  If you're Emirates and you pay to name Arsenal's stadium then you'll be in all the maps.  If you're R Costings and you're the sponsor of Cambridge United's stadium than you're not listed.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Anti-Drone Measures

I'll start collating these...

Dutch police train eagles to take down drones

Japanese police use drones with nets to catch other drones

Monday, February 01, 2016

Kanye's Global Listening Party

Whatever you think of Kanye West, he (& his people) are good at promotion.

His new album launches soon, and to promote it they're doing what I think is a media first - a global live listening party on 11th February 2016 steamed to cinemas around the world: has links to cinemas around the world -

Friday, January 29, 2016

Twitter Trends

Today #KanyeAnalPlaylist was trending on Twitter.  This helps to explain why

This sums up for me what is simultaneously the best and worst thing about Twitter.

The best - it's funny, irreverent, unpredictable, and gives me things I can't find anywhere else

The Worst - I can think of lots of people who wouldn't find this funny, and would see it as conforming for them that Twitter isn't a site for them, and isn't a site they need to take seriously.

It often amuses me that Facebook's trends are what was trending on Twitter 24 hours earlier - Amber Rose is trending now, but her tweet was from 2 days ago - but maybe they're moderated and I'mpretty sure they're less prone to attacks of the crazies like this.

With twitter's share price looking like a ski slope, I hope that it can stay as irreverent and funny as ever, but be successful as a business.

(But to be fair, Twitter has turned the trend into a Moment)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tesco's Sponsored Twitter Moment

I really like Moments, the new collated, curated Tweets feature.  I try to read them every day, and it's a great way of seeing some of the best of recent news and activity.

This is the first Sponsored Moment I've seen, from Tesco, promoting their new Feel Good Cookbook

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Califia Farms on Instagram

I know I need to update this more often.  Working on it!  In the meantime, I love the creativity in this:

A video posted by Califia Farms (@califiafarms) on

Friday, January 15, 2016

Visualising sugar content in food with the Sugar Smart app

Sugar Smart is a new app from the NHS's Change4Life campaign.

It's available on iOS and Android, and when you scan the bar codes of popular UK food items, it access the official nutrition information and tells you the suger content, expressed as sugar cubes.

It's a fun app to play with the super market.  This is the score for a 2 pack of Gu -

I knew Gu would lave a lot of sugar in it, but I didn't know Muller yogurts had so much.

I was also surprised by the content of some cereals that I'd previously seen as healthy.

(Numbers are generally shown for the complete pack, for 100g, and for a 'serving)

Yes, this data is all available on the label, but this gives you a much easier way of visualising what the table of nutritional numbers actually means.
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