Thursday, April 24, 2014

'Nice People' & the problem with the sharing economy

I've been meaning to write this post for some time, and this article yesterday was the prompt to finally make me do it. (Image above from here)

Many of the companies in the sharing economy by nature are appealing to what I'd call 'nice people:

Airbnb, which is the biggest company of this type, now valued at $10bn, wants nice people to let other nice people stay in their homes.

There are plenty of other variants -

CampInMyGarden, StoreMates (self-storage in someone's house), GetAround (rent someone's car), Cookisto (takeaway food cooked in someone's house)...  In fact if you Google 'Airbnb for' it comes up with lots of suggestions, including boats and office space.

The problem is, I think, what happened to Groupon.  I think Groupon would have been a great company if it had stayed smaller, dealing only with 'nice people'.  What happened was that people spotted a way to make money, and started opening businesses mainly to offer Groupons - low quality spas, and so on.  This meant that the customer experience started to deteriorate, and it gave Groupon a bad name.

I've stayed in two Airbnbs, in Paris and Seville, and had a great experience both times.  It was brilliant to stay in a local's property, and live like a local, instead of using a hotel, for a lower cost than almost any hotel.  However now you get stories of people buying properties specifically to use as Airbnb rentals which for me is a bad sign.  Yes, these will probably be clearly marked as such by the owners, but it's a different experience, and a different sort of host.

Similarly, at the moment I think the guests are mainly 'nice people' (with some exceptions, obviously).  Even though Airbnb take a fee from you to cover any damage before you check in, I think both of the hosts I had would think twice about doing it if they had to clear up after bad tenants.  It's not just the money, it's the feeling that these people were in your home.

Watch this clip from Dragon's Den when StoreMates were on in 2012:

I think this could de-rail many of the 'sharing economy' companies.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ASH uses Tinder to show that smoking is a turn-off

Brilliant idea, brilliantly done.

Give them an award now!

Full details here

#LastSelfie - The WWF on Snapchat

A very nice idea from the World Wildlife Fund in Denmark - the animals are as transitory as the pictures, unless we save them.  Although it is clearly preaching to the converted, since you have to follow them first on Snapchat to get the pics...


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dropbox's Carousel

A way of storing and easily accessing all your photos from a mobile device.

Where do I sign up?

Oh - here

Full details

Bet they paid a fortune for; given this bit in Mad Men everyone must have wanted it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dove's Beauty Patch

Currently all over YouTube, and very similar in style to the amazingly popular 'Real Beauty Sketches'

It's very similar in feel, with similar music and tone.  Presumably parodies are already being made.

Watch this one climb to 50m views...

Share for Dogs - A fundraising campaign on YouTube

This is a neat idea:  PEDIGREE Adoption Drive, a charity programme from PEDIGREE Petfoods in New Zealand has made a cute film of some puppies.  The video has an ad that runs before it on YouTube, so the more the video goes viral, the more money will be raised.

Has anyone done this before?

Also - earlier work by the same charity:  Find your Doggleganger

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Hope - A Film by Craghoppers

'Hope' is a 15 minute film created by Craghoppers to profile the work done by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda.  I was lucky enough to be at the launch event at Google last night - colleagues at Vizeum were involved - and it's a really great bit of branded content.

Please watch and share!


Monday, April 07, 2014

Amazon Dash

Returning from a week at a conference (with a couple of days of holiday thrown in), one of the things in my inbox was information about Amazon's new product Amazon Dash.

It's a combined barcode scanner and voice search tool (I had to check that it wasn't an April Fool), to allow people who use Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service, to add things to their baskets easily.  Once things are added, people have to go online (or into the app, I'm guessing) to review and place the order.

It looks a lot like a TV remote control, and it's interesting that it's come in the same week as their TV set top box.  I also think it's interesting that it's purely point and talk (no text input), so it's a great example of the future of household consumer technology, and then there's the free local delivery aspect too.

Sign up (if you're a Fresh member) here

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Burger King's Motel Stunt in New Zealand

BK branded a motel, and groups of friends could visit and eat the new TenderCrisp Chicken Burgers, effectively cheating on the Beef.  Once at the hotel people had to check in on Facebook, and share photos of them eating the Chicken.  The hotel was fully branded to BK, but had no beds!

I love this pre-roll, featuring the voice of the man who narrates Cheaters on TV.

Full info here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Google released Chromecast in the UK last week.

Chromecast is a dongle that fits in the HDMI slot of a TV, and to all intents and purposes turns a TV into an internet-enabled TV for just £30.  The dongle connects to your wifi and then allows you to send content to it from a phone, tablet or computer, including YouTube, iPlayer, and Netflix.

I've had mine for nearly a week now and I love it.  At £30 it's about the same price as the Freeview boxes when they became popular, and I think that it could have nearly as big an impact.

Last night a friend and I sat on the sofa, taking it in turns to play YouTube videos on my TV (a 1970s documentary about British Hell's Angels, the trailer for 20 Feet From Stardom, some episodes of The Muppet Show...) and it was such great fun.  (I know you've been able to do this for ages on gaming consoles and on Cable, but I don't have either of those.)

It's clear that some wrangling went on prior to launch in the UK.  The BBC is there with iPlayer, but there's no 4oD, no Sky (& Sky's 'First Episodes' on YouTube are blocked), and no LoveFilm (owned by Amazon, who will have their own dongle out soon).  My only other negative is that you're expected to keep it plugged in all the time - there's no on/off switch - but I'd recommend you unplug it, and plug it in when you need to use it.

For me, though, it's pretty revolutionary.  I watch mainly BBC shows, and so it's perfect for my needs.  It puts a new perspective on the BBC's decision to take BBC3 off digital broadcast - you can still watch shows on TV very easily via this.  Also, it gives the lie to Noel Edmonds' assertion that the BBC is sleepwalking into the future - they clearly know far more about the future than he does (especially as he describes us as 'living in a world of Google and Microsoft')

I won't be cancelling Sky yet - their 'Sky Atlantic' strategy has got me hooked on both True Detective and Girls, which I can't get elsewhere (& obviously the new series Mad Men is coming), but it's taken me closer to cancelling it.

If it were November I'd be buying them for friends and family as Christmas presents.  (My friend bought her own last night on Amazon on her phone).

"My 90 year old grandmother tries the Oculus Rift"


(I've posted this the day after Facebook announced plans to buy Oculus VR for $2bn)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Evian x Spider Man

You have to wonder who has the most to gain - Spider Man in tying with a series of ads that is guaranteed (on past performance) to get >40m views on YouTube, or Evian, in getting the kudos of a link with what will probably be one of the summer's biggest films.

& this is just the teaser...

Update - & here's the full ad:

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