Tuesday, September 01, 2015

'Request your free catalogue online today'

Storage solutions company Big Dug is currently advertising on the underground in London.  On the ad it clearly says 'go online to order our catalogue'

Why would you order a catalogue if you were on their site anyway?  Surely it would be easier just to search on the site?

Well actually, no.  When I posted this on various channels people told me that lots of companies like this, especially in B2B, still have catalogues, because it's easier for people to show to colleagues, to refer to throughout the day and so on.

So while it seems that catalogues for consumer categories are becoming less popular - Littlewoods prints far fewer for example - but in some industries an online catalogue is not essential.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Star Wars uses landcape video on Instagram

Star Wars is (I think) the first user to use landscape video on Instagram (as opposed to square video).

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

It's part of Instagram's new (possibly controversial) support for full screen, portrait and landscape pictures.

More examples here

Instagram Video in Landscape - Examples from Instagram on Vimeo.

Follow that, Vine!

Monday, August 24, 2015

In praise of cheap content

Apropos of my post last week about the genius of BuzzFeed's cheap videos - Americans Watch Geordie Shore For The First Time and more - and how they wouldn't have been a great deal better if a lot of money were spent on them, comes this animated gif.

Yes, there's a place for expensive ads like the one John Lewis just produced, but there's always going to be a place for things like this too.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

'Americans Watch Father Ted for the First Time'

Apparently BuzzFeed produces about 75 video clips a week.  It's clearly a bit of a scattergun approach, but it means that they produce things that will resonate with lots of different people in different ways, and also that they understand that with content there is a point of diminishing marginal returns in production cost.

(Diminishing marginal returns is an economics phrase that essentially means that after a certain point the amount by which you enjoy something, or something gets better, starts to decline at a certain point.  My economics teacher at school taught it by telling us to imagine eating chocolate bars - first one great, second one great, 3rd one great, 4th one - good, 5th one - you're starting to get a bit sick of eating chocolate, and so on)

It looks like BuzzFeed made this video pretty cheaply.  3 couples, one laptop, one camera, no script, some clips of the show probably free under 'fair usage' rules, and a bit of editing.  They could have used multiple cameras, a nicer set and so on, but it wouldn't have made it a great deal better.  The idea was great, it was well presented, didn't last too long, and has had over 600,000 views in a couple of days.  They just did it and got it out there.

They can also replicate it very cheaply with Mrs Brown's Boys, Only Fools & Horses, One Foot In The Grave, Phoenix Nights, Dick Emery...  (They've actually done one for Geordie Shore...)  Or show Brits lots of shows that didn't make it over here on a large channel.

(In fact they now have 114 videos called For the First Time including Moms Play Minecraft For The First Time, and Indians Try Baseball For The First Time)

I think BuzzFeed are going to do quite well at this whole viral video thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Realtor's Partnership with Airbnb

Realtor, the US estate agent, has partnered with Airbnb to let people try an area before they commit to buying there.

When you find a property on Realtor.com you can easily see nearby Airbnb properties that you could rent for a few nights to see if you like the area to live in.

Yes, it's a bit of a stunt (how many people actually do this?) but it's a good differentiator for Realator, and it emphasises that with Airbnb you are 'belonging' anywhere.

More here

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Man from UNCLE's 'Invisible Ink' Instagram

This is a good, unofficial use of Instagram -

Warner Brothers UK has posted the picture below.  If you regram (hence sharing the pic to your own friends) with a certain filter you can see a hidden word in the background, and this could win you a Jorg Gray watch.

This what it looks like with the filter applied:

More here

Update - as one of my colleagues has pointed out, Ted Baker did something similar in March

Friday, August 14, 2015

Very's Shoppable YouTube Ad

A good example of a shoppable YouTube ad, and apparently the first time this has been done for a UK brand - a 4 minute film of Rizzle Kicks performing Summertime:

You can't actually click on the products in the video, but a steams opens (I'm guessing it's a 'card') on the right hand side after 15 seconds or so.

En case it doesn't work embedded you can see it here

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Old Spice's Choose Your Own Adventure Game on Instagram

A while ago Instagram started letting you click through to other accounts by tagging other users, and now people are starting to use this in creative ways, for example this Choose Your Own Adventure game from Old Spice.

(I've loved Choose Your Own Adventure books since I was a kid, including the later 'Dungeons & Dragons' infludenced ones like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (which according to Wikipedia sold *2 Million" copies...) so I'm the perfect target audience for this.  They were kind of the pre-cursor to video games, but clearly with far fewer options.  I suspect no one under the age of 30 would have any time for them)

Old Spice's version starts at this picture, and each choice you make (typically 2 options per picture) takes you to a new account for that choice with only one picture on it, and then you get more hoices and so on.

It's best played in Instagram, but now you can play on the web too.  Just click on a pic to see the options.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Google is showing popular times in its local listings

This is an excellent innovation from Google - its Local Search cards (mobile only, I think) now shows the most popular times for the day you are searching.  It's presumably quite easy to do, if Google can track historic visits), and give you some very practical information if you want to avoid busy times.

From Google's blog here is info on The Louvre

& from my phone, here is info on the British Museum

It only seems to be for very popular attractions at the moment - I tried a restaurant and Selfridges without finding a search card - but it's a great innovation.

More info here

Monday, July 13, 2015

MUJI To GO - A story told with products

Muji has created a story told through products.  It starts with people packing for a journey, then follows them to their destination, and then shows why they travelled.

Short clips exist on their website here and also on Instagram.

The complete film is here

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scan a Dorito

There are lots of brands who let you scan a code or a logo to win a prize or 'unlock content' like videos, but this is the first one I've seen where you scan the actual product.

Doritos are letting you scan a new 3D Bacon Ranch snack to watch exclusive videos on your phones.

As image recognition get better I expect we'll see more of these - it's easier to recognise a logo than a product, but now we may see a space to scanning biscuits, chocolate bars and more.

More here

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Publishers vs Ad Blockers

Ad blockers are big news.  It's said that anything from 15 to 39% of UK internet users use ad blockers, and since they're viewing pages with no ads on them, publishers are losing lots of money as a result.

Publishers can tell if someone is using an ad blocker, and some are starting to put up notices on the site asking people - with varying levels of politeness - to turn them off.


Lonely Planet

Expressen.se (What makes me Grumpy?  It's that you use AdBlock - stop that!)


The Guardian (very polite, very 'Guardian', at the bottom of the page)

Wired - Banner at the top ('Do us a solid?  Me neither)

& also Channel 4 - which disables video playing for people with ad blockers

I think we may see more people adopting Channel 4's approach - but then if people can get what you have elsewhere people will just choose to visit a different site.

Seen any other good examples?  Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter - I'm @dancall
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