Thursday, July 31, 2008

Samsung - Follow Your Instinct

Here's a great example of a brand using YouTube Annotations.

Follow this very laddish story from Samsung here. Remember - the annotations don't work in embedded versions.

If you want to cheat go here.

Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good

I've just finished reading Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good, about the rise of social media companies in the US.

The book, written by Sarah Lacy, will be coming out in the UK officially on 15 September, re-titled for us as The Stories of Facebook, YouTube and MySpace, but why wait? You can buy the original in the UK already.

In fact the UK title is misleading, as Lacy focuses most on Max Levchin (PayPal and Slide), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Kevin Rose (Digg), presumably because the YouTube and MySpace guys were less able to talk openly.

No matter. The stories are excellent, the book flows, and you come out of it understanding what is different about these companies when compared to the original dotcoms of the late 1990s. For example you discover how much cheaper it is to start a company (Digg ran for the first few months on just $10,000, including creation of the site, and hosting), why Facebook is gaining traction over MySpace (it is constantly developing and adding new features; MySpace isn't), why many of these companies aren't that bothered about having an IPO (they would lose too much control, and frankly the owners aren't that interested in money), and also how incestuous the whole Web2.0 sector is (so many things link back to PayPal and Netscape).

I'm not sure that I agree with all the conclusions, and I still can't get as enthusiastic about as Max Levchin, the creator, but this is a very good book to read if you want to understand what is happening in digital media at the moment.

In fact I'd go further - it's one of the 4 books you need to read to understand the current digital media landscape. The 3 others are:

1 - Accidental Empires, by Robert X Cringely. Published in 1996, this explains the rise of personal computing, Microsoft and Apple.

2 - The New New Thing, by Michael Lewis. Published in 2000, this explains the rise of the internet and the browser wars, and introduces us to Jim Clark, and Marc Andreessen who also features prominently in Sarah Lacy's book. Oh - and Jim Clark is Chad Hurley of YouTube's father in law.

3 - The Search, by John Battelle. Published in 2006, this is all about Google and the database of intentions.

Read them!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dark Knight, Indiana Jones & Iron Man on Facebook Lexicon

I know that this doesn't prove anything, but I love this chart:

It shows the level of wall posts on Facebook containing references to the 3 movies with the biggest opening weekends in the US.

So we have Dark Knight getting the highest peak of buzz, then Indiana Jones, and marginally below that we have Iron Man.

& the figures for the US opening weekend revenues from BoxOfficeMojo show:

Dark Knight - $158m
Indiana Jones - $100m
Iron Man - $98m (marginally below Indiana Jones)

OK, not scientific proof, but a lovely little chart for a Friday afternoon.

Magnum Worship

I've belatedly realised why we're seeing so many 'flavour' ideas for drinks and FMCG brands online - it's that they've really only just started to use online in a big way, and flavours are a convenient hook to rally people around.

Anyway, today's comes from Australia, and is for Magnum.

In Magnum Worship you have to select a flavour to worship, choose your dance and so on. Very well done, with all the social network integration that you'd expect.

But there's more - hidden away (a bit) on the site is an 18+ section that shows you how to make cocktails with Magnums. Whoa!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nonesuch Records

I like this new site for the American record label Nonesuch

Nice to look at, but also very logically structured it lets you easily see their artists, buy music, and even see when people are on tour.

Nicely done, and you can read more about it here, on the site of the design agency, Sisu.

This soundtrack for The Wire keeps calling out for me, but I'm resisting for the time being...

BBC Desktop Monkey for The Olympics

In a similar vein to the last post, here is a desktop reader that the BBC have produced to keep people up to date with what's happening in The Olympics.

The BBC commissioned Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn from Gorillaz to produce some on screen idents for the games, based on the opera they had written called Monkey - Journey to the West.

These are now available to see online, plus to download for mobile, and as the widget.

We like!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Sun's Desktop Keeley

How do you make rss readers interesting? Put a Page 3 girl behind them - as The Sun have done with their new reader Desktop Keeley.

Destined to be very popular with the audience, I would have thought, giving The Sun a permanent presence on many computer screens.

Full disclosure - this app was produced by Glue, one of Isobar's agencies.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Why isn't The Wire on the BBC?

Today the final series of The Wire starts in the UK, on the relatively obscure digital channel FX.

With the level of praise for The Wire in the British media at an all time high - big feature on last week's Culture Show, numerous raves in the press, including this piece in The Observer, why has the show never been shown on terrestrial (non digital) TV? Surely BBC2 would be the natural home for it.

The truth is that I don't know, but having followed the UK media industry for several years, I can think of a few reasons:

1 - The show won't get good ratings. All TV channels, including the BBC, rely heavily on ratings to decide where to place TV shows, and which TV shows to run. The Wire never got great ratings in the US, despite strong critical approval, and we can't actually see the level of ratings that it gets on FX because FX isn't on BARB, meaning that you can't see their viewing data. It could be that the BBC has looked at the sort of ratings it would expect from a difficult US show (no recaps at the start of the programme, hard to get into initially, and hard to follow if you start half way through), and decided that it's not worth it.

2 - FX out-bid them for the rights. FX is owned by Fox, and FX is their 'edgy US content' channel. They need something high profile to help put the channel on the map, and The Wire fits the bill. So - does anyone know the rate for syndicating The Wire, and did FX simply outbid the BBC as a loss leader (see point 1). This may have been compounded by the fact that if The Wire didn't get good ratings for the early series in the US (it didn't), the BBC may not have been interested when the first series was up for sale - and FX may have got a 'first access to future series' clause (I don't know - I'm only guessing).

3 - Terrestrial channels can only show a set % of non-UK output, to protect domestic TV production. This is why (thankfully) we don't get wall-to-wall US and Australian imports, and in fact thanks to the success of the Aussie soaps, we get fewer big budget US shows on the Beeb than we did in the 1980s. But... BBC2 doesn't really show many American shows, and they found room for the (pretty over-hyped) Mad Men earlier in the year, so I don't think that this can be the answer.

4 - There's no slot for it. British TV is pretty poor at scheduling American shows, or perhaps given point 1, many American shows don't attract big audiences. Channel 4 has pushed The Sopranos later and later into the night. Curb Your Enthusiasm has been pushed into late night slots on More4 (they didn't even bother to promote the brilliant Steve Coogan episode), and the BBC has always struggled to find a regular slot and audience for huge hit shows like Seinfeld and Family Guy. (Channel 4 initially put Family Guy on at 6pm, which suggests that they didn't bother to watch it first). But... Come on - make a commitment to The Wire. Put it on at 10pm every Saturday, with a 3 episode catch up every 3rd week. Then, when you've done all 5 series, start again from the beginning.

5 - Language - There's lots of swearing, but this can't be the reason, as the BBC shows all films and TV uncut, but with warnings.

6 - No appreciation for it. I doubt that this is a reason - I'm sure all of the BBC top brass who've seen it love it. But I have one particular gripe with the BBC which is that several years ago they had a show called The Cops, which was also a very gritty police show, featuring characters like Roy, played by John Henshaw, that would have fitted right into The Wire. The BBC dropped it after 3 series, despite it winning 2 BAFTAs for best drama series, and now you can't even get it on DVD. The VHS sets go for about £40 each on Amazon. [Rant over]

7 - No one is interested in whether it is on terrestrial or not. Over 80% of UK households have at least one digital TV set, and most of these can get FX. The first 4 series are available to buy, so in this multi channel world who cares if it is on terrestrial or not? Again, this may be a reason, but I don't think that it's the right one. Appearing on terrestrial channels still guarantee higher audiences, and in the Reithian tradition, I believe the more people that see this show the better.

(This post is not meant to be knocking the BBC. BBC2 is the perfect place for The Wire, and I'm just fascinated by the fact that it isn't on BBC2)

UPDATE - David Hepworth of The Word magazine is also asking the same question - but his commenters say they prefer it on DVD because:
-Watch when you want.
-Pause for beer breaks.
- Switch subtitles on for Snoop's scenes.
- No annoying channel logo.
- Commentary tracks.
- It's not shown here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Revels Eviction

As with Absolut and Walkers, it's all about flavours for the British chocolate sweet Revels.

Each pack of Revels comes with 6 different flavours - chocolate, caramel, coffee, orange, raisin, and - um - maltesers.

Revels are introducing a new, so far secret, flavour in the near future, so they need to get rid of one of the current ones. (Or have seven flavours - but perhaps I'm not meant to go there).

This site very entertainingly runs the whole eviction process. Who goes, and who survives? You decide!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Small Batches

In fact, there seems to be a mojor trend developing for brands to generate small batches of things and sell them online.

Two recent ones I've seen:

Gillette producing American University branded editions of their Fusion Power

Victoria's Secret launching their VS Pink Collegiate Collection

Walkers Do Me A Flavour

Slightly similar to last week's Absolut Los Angeles, comes this new campaign from Walkers crisps in the UK that also uses the idea of producing small batches of limited edition flavours.

Rather than base flavours on cities, as Absolut has done (because that would be asking for trouble, frankly), Walkers are asking consumers to think of a brand new flavour, and upload a picture for inspiration.

Walkers will then make the 6 they think are the most promising (judges include Heston Blumenthal), and the public then get to vote with their wallets to pick the best.

The proposer of the eventual chosen new flavour will get £50,000, plus a royalty of 1% of future sales of the crisps. The other 5 finalists will get £10,000 each.

Very neat!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Absolut Los Angeles

I saw this when I was in the US last week.

Absolut are running a programme of making different special editions out of different US cities.

So far they have done Absolut New Orleans, and the current one, Absolut Los Angeles

As they say on the site: ABSOLUT® Los Angeles is a unique and innovative blend of flavors, just like the city itself. The aromatic blend of Acai, Acerola, Pomegranate, and Blueberry, is a nod to the city's trendy, environmentally forward, and health-conscious ideals.
I bought some, and it tastes delicious! The site also gives you cocktail ideas, and tells you about a specific LA charity that they are donating to.

Finally, they're polling site visitors to decide the 3rd city vote for your favourite (US) city here
Related Posts with Thumbnails