Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When seven becomes three hundred and fifty million

This is a brilliant, albeit extreme example of word of mouth, from David Meerman Scott's New Rules of Viral Marketing:

Cindy Gordon, VP of new media and marketing partnerships at Universal Orlando Resort, wanted to publicise the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, in 2007.

"Gordon and her counterpart at Warner Bros. chose to launch The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by first telling the exciting news to a very small group of rabid fans. Seven people at the top Harry Potter fan sites, such as Mugglenet , were hand-selected by Gordon’s team, with Warner Bros. and Rowling herself providing input about the choices. These seven (affectionately referred to by Gordon’s team as “the AP of the HP world”) were invited to participate in a top-secret Webcast held at midnight on May 31, 2007.

The Webcast was hosted by Scott Trowbridge, vice president of Universal Creative, and featured Stuart Craig, the academy award-winning production designer for all the Harry Potter films. In the Webcast, live from the “Dumbledore’s Office” set at Leavesden Studios, Craig discussed how his team of twenty designers is bringing together The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.

“If we hadn’t gone to fans first, there could have been a backlash,” Gordon says. She imagined
the disappointment dedicated Harry Potter fans might feel if they learned about Universal Orlando’s plans in, say, The New York Times rather than an insider fan site.

Soon after the Webcast, the team sent an e-announcement to their in-house, opt-in email
list of park guests so they could hear the news directly too. Team members also sent the e-announcement to friends and family. During the secret Webcast, a Web micro-site went live to provide a place for bloggers and the media to link to for information on the theme park, which is slated to open in late 2009 or early 2010.

Visitors to the site learned that the
park will feature immersive rides and interactive attractions, as well as experiential shops and restaurants that will enable guests to sample fare from the wizarding world’s best known establishments. Because Gordon’s team launched The Wizarding World of Harry Potter through social media—putting fans first—they were able to run the entire promotion in-house, with a very small marketing budget (covering the Webcast infrastructure and the micro-site production) and a tiny development team. They did not hire an agency, and they did no widespread outbound media relations, no marketing stunts, no CEO conference call, and no expensive advertising.

Of course, not all companies have Harry Potter on their team. But Gordon still accomplished a remarkable feat with an approach that most large organizations would not have taken. She told just seven people, and the power of word-of-mouse led to 350 million people hearing the news."

A brilliant illustration of Katz & Lazarsfeld's Two Step Flow Theory of mass communications

See the full document here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Indaba Music - musicians collaborating online

Indaba Music is a music site and community that allows musicians to meet and collaborate with others online.

Founded in 2005, it claims to have 350,00 members all around the world, and is now featuring remix competitions for established artists like our old friend T-Pain, and Rivers Cuomo of Weezer.

In his competition Rivers writes, rather touchingly:

"I wrote this tune with Shusui. Now I want to write the lyrics. Before I do that, I'd like somebody to produce a better demo of the music. I'll pay you $208."

Hear the results (or enter) here

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Augmented reality advertising on Brightkite

Brightkite is a mobile service that lets you keeps in touch with friends and colleagues - almost like a geo-location twitter, with pictures. I have to declare a slight interest because I used to work with two of the founders, Rob Lawson and Jonathan Linner, and I'm very proud of their work.

Their latest feature is to offer Augmented Reality advertising on their iPhone and Android apps, using the Layar browser.

From their blog:

"Now, not only can you see posts and photos that you and your friends have left, we’ve added local businesses with special offers for you.

Our first partner has been one of the US’s biggest electronics retailers, who have been piloting the service throughout December – you can see their nearest store and click through to see what local offers they have in-store. We will add merchants slowly and increase the targeting criteria, to make sure that they are relevant and in the right balance to the content left by your friends."

The picture shows how it appears on the screen, with an ad for BestBuy on the bottom.

Good work! As one of my colleagues has pointed out, now you can buy oudoor advertising like posters, but in real time, through mobile.

Friday, December 18, 2009

If I Can Dream - Simon Fuller's new show

Simon 'Spice Girls / Polo Idol's new show for 2010 is 'If I Can Dream'.

According to early publicity:

"Fuller's "If I Can Dream," which is being billed as the first of "a new generation of post-reality entertainment," will document the story of five young people who dream of success in Hollywood. The show will allow viewers to interact with the individuals and narrative in real time, and will be seen live 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.ificandream.com.

The series is scheduled to launch multiple platforms including online, radio, TV and mobile handsets early next year."

10 Trends for 2010

Here are my 10 trends for 2010.

The full post is on Posterous, as my white on black background makes them a bit painful to read on here.

In summary though:

The Cloud
Augmented Reality
Mobile Payments
Asian Influence

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coldplay on Ebay

Starting tomorrow, Coldplay are auctioning off lots of their guitars, keyboards, amps and other paraphernalia from the last ten years, in aid of the charity KidsCompany.

The auction is broken down into 4 different auctions:

Friday 18 December - All items related to Parachutes era
Saturday 19 December - All items related to A Rush Of Blood To The Head era
Sunday 20 December - All items related to X&Y era
Monday 21 December - All items related to Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends era

All auctions will last for 10 days, with the final auction ending on 31 December 2009.

You can get the catalogue here.

(& here are the stats for it - nearly 2,000 clicks so far, in less than an hour)

& here's an easy link to the items in the auction. & to the seller - Coldplay KidsCo Auction

I love how they have photographed themselves with lots of the lots, to help prove authenticity.

I'm sure I can't afford it, but this travel guitar looks great...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mia Rose

Mia Rose is a surprising YouTube phenomenon. A singer songwriter, she has been active on YouTube since 2006, and her latest song, uploaded 2 weeks ago, has had 1,100,000 views to date, with 7,000 ratings and 5,500 comments.

She's got an active online community; for example she lets them compete to design her record artwork.

Citizen Sound give more information here

Definitely one to look out for next year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Media milestones of 2009

I compiled this list for a colleague, and I thought others might also like it, so I've put it here.

I hope that most major digital media milestones for 2009 are included. Let me know any that aren't. (The launch of Wolfram Alpha's been left out deliberately.)

All stories should be easy to find by searching.

Key digital media events of 2009

Jan - Data shows that China has nearly 300m internet users, an increase of 42% in 2008

Jan - Guitar Hero III becomes the world's first $1bn game

Jan - Obama inauguration shows on Facebook, with CNN

Feb - Facebook turns 5, and becomes twice as popular as MySpace globally

Mar - Skittles creates a site that is essentially just twitter search

Mar - YouTube block music videos in the UK, due to a disagreement over rights (This was resolved in September)

Mar - Google Streetview launches in the UK

Apr - Ashton Kutcher becomes the first person to get a million followers on twitter

Apr - Pirate Bay ruled illegal

Apr - 1 billionth iPhone App downloaded

May - Pre-roll ads come to YouTube in the UK

Jun - Bing launches

Jun - Facebook introduce 'vanity' urls - i.e. your name in the url

Jun - Twitter praised for role in the aftermath of Iranian election

Jul - All sorts of records smashed in the aftermath of Michael Jackson's death, inc the video streaming record (& google news & twitter go down)

Jul - iPlayer overtakes MySpace in the UK

Jul - Microsoft & Yahoo do search deal

Jul - iPhone 3GS launched

Aug - Ofcom says nearly 25% of UK households use the internet for catch-up TV

Sept - iPhone App store generating an estimated $2.4bn per year

Sept - twitter overtakes MySpace in the UK

Sept - Facebook declares that it's cashflow positive

Oct - 2 billionth iPhone app downloaded

Oct - Online advertising overtakes TV advertising in the UK

Oct - 'Jan Moir/ Stephen Gately' storm on twitter

Nov - Modern Warfare 2 sells 7.2m copies globally on the first day

Nov - Google buys the mobile ad serving company AdMob

Nov - Murdoch rails against Google, rumoured to be dealing with Microsoft

Dec - Google introduces real time results in search, and Google Goggles mobile picture search

Give Chrome for Christmas

A fun idea to virally spread Google's Chrome browser. (Full disclosure - it's made by Glue, which is part of Isobar, the company I work for).

Go here, and follow the steps.

You can even choose some funky designer wrapping paper.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Most Contagious 2009

Most excellent round up of the year in digital media. Includes a 20% off subscription offer.

Free 46 page pdf.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Spanish football fans give blood for the national team

This is a piece of work that's currently happening in Spain, produced for adidas by Netthink, part of Aegis, the company that I work for.

Under the banner The Power of Red, adidas has placed a huge blank Spanish football shirt on the wall of Plaza de Felipe II in Madrid. The Red Cross are also in the square, collecting blood from sports stars, actors, celebrities, and fans,

The more blood that's given, the more the shirt gets painted red. How better to show your passion and commitment than giving blood for your team?

See the progress here - adidas el poder de la roja

Amazing satellite pictures from Australia

Sadly this doesn't work embedded, but click on the link & then zoom in to see what I mean...

Living Stories - Google aggregates the news

Busy Google has just launched this new project fromtheir labs, called Living Stories. A collaboration with the Washington Post and the New York Times (neither owned by News International), the page gives you developing stories in one place.

At present it seems very US-centric (let's see what it looks like when there's a major international story breaking), and it also looks very much designed for mobile devices.

Almost uniquely (or maybe uniquely) for Google there's no search box.

See the video below:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Mobile and local

A couple of potentially game-changing local mobile applications.

First, Google Goggles will identify local businesses from your mobile, so that you can see reviews and ratings easily.

Second, Postabon, currently just in New York, shows you location-specific special offers, and ties in with other services like Foursquare.

I believe that one of the drivers for web adoption was that people realised that they could buy things more cheaply online, and I think the same will happen for the mobile web. I recently had a meeting with Forrester in which they forecast the level of mobile web adoption in Western Europe at around 40% by the year 2014 (it's currenly in the early 20%s), but I think that this forecast is *very* conservative.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Celebs on shopping channels do great business

With the whole world (seemingly) going bonkers every day about new developments in social media, mobile apps and all things new, it's easy to forget how powerful some traditional channels are, such as shopping channels, especially in the US.

Exhibit 1 - Puff Daddy on Home Shopping Network

Check out this officially uploaded video of the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy on HSN, selling his Sean John Unforgivable Woman Gift Set. & don't forget to watch the counter on the bottom right hand side - in ten minutes they sell over 2,000 at $55 - $60 a go. That's over $120,000 in revenue in 10 minutes.

Exhibit 2 - Susan Boyle's album launch on QVC

Watch this unofficially uploaded clip from the launch of the album on QVC. Susan Boyle's not on personally, but the presenters do a very good job of selling pre-release albums, nearly a month before it went on sale officially. Again, keep an eye on the sales figures, this time in the bar along the bottom of the screen. Nearly 3,000 sold in six minutes at $20 a go - for an album that wouldn't be available for several weeks.

Great targeting, and great selling.

(Simon Cowell has to be the marketer of the year. While everyone else was fretting over piracy and illegal downloads he discovered and marketed an artist aimed squarely at people who don't download.)

Google real-time search

Unveiled today, including data from twitter, and Yahoo Answers, and potentially to include results from MySpace and Facebook.

It's also availble for the iPhone and Android

Video here:

Live 'within days'. What will this mean for all the twitter search mining companies, and buzz measurement companies..?

Via Mashable

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bowtime for Strongbow

Nice campaign from Strongblow, encouraging user-generated content.

Aimed solidly at the working men of Britain (with ads on TalkSport radio, for example), the campaign is looking for people to say what they do for a living, and how they've earned their 'Bowtime'. They give you music to download, but after that they rely on the users to do the editing etc.

Site here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Send Social

This is a great idea - send a package to someone you know on a social site, without having to know their address.

It works very much like the RSA encryption system - the service contacts the recipient, who has to agree to receive it, then collects a package from you, and delivers it.

I expect this to become massively popular with twitter celebrities! They can now get presents from their followers, without having to reveal their address. Just in time for Christmas.

(If you want to send anything to me, I'm @dancall. Or send it to me at work, come to think of it).

Via the excellent Springwise newsletter

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Send a free Christmas postcard through Gmail (if the recipient lives in the US)

This year you can send a free Christmas postcard to a friend via Gmail. One per user.

Just visit this page, choose a design, fill in your message, the address of the recipient, and Google will post it for you.

Here are some of the designs:

But - a very big but - it's only for recipients in the US.

Great idea, but given that the Google has a massive reach in the UK, and the UK is Google's biggest market in terms of revenue per capita, why not let people in the UK use it too?

See also - Shoot It, an iPhone App that sends real postcards from your photos

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nike turns twitter red for World Aids Day

Don't quite know how they did this, but if you use the hashtag #red today on twitter, the text of your entire tweet turns red (as seen by your followers). See the @joinred page for more.

It's sponsored by Nike - see here for more - and the tag #laceupsaveslives will also turn your tweets red.

Very, very clever.

& you have to wonder whether any money changed hands...

(The Guardian also has a run-down of events on Facebook and Google)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blogging and paid inclusion

Over the weekend there's been a bit of a storm in the UK social media arena regarding companies paying bloggers to post videos on their sites.

The first came in this post from Katy Lindemann, highlighting the approaches made to bloggers by GoViral (a company that I've used), including some screengrabs of emails that they send out offering payment for inclusion.

The second came from this post by Jamie Goode, highlighting that some bloggers were being paid to post videos with content for Douwe Egberts, but not declaring the payment. In fact the post rather backfired on Goode, as in the comments he was called out about the funding of trips he'd made and events he'd been to; he subsequently declared quite a long list of companies and bodies that he'd received hospitality from.

My position is that most people have a reason for blogging. In industries like marketing it's comparable to academic publishing - you write to raise your profile, and not for money. I really enjoy writing my blogs, and I've always resisted putting ads on them, because I know how little I'd get from it. However I do welcome companies sending me information and videos, because I'm always on the lookout for material to use, however I have never been offered direct financial payment for posting anything. I've been sent gadgets to try, but these generally get collected a week or so later, and if I post about them I state that I've been asked to. I also openly promote work by my own agency, or made by my friends.

But the fact is that many see blogging as a sideline that they'd like to be paid for, or compensated for in some way. I see both sides of the picture because I've also seeded content. For example I once had this email from a blog owner that I'd sent a video to:

Thanks for contacting us, we would be happy to work you and help in promoting our content. Can you please provide me some more information about the campaign and how we benefit from promoting your content.

Or, more blatantly, this:

Love you guys. I have more than 1000 readers from around the world & you ask me to stick the video on my blog for free!
I simply love the nerve. You make 000,000s of dollars & you ask for free, love it!
Good luck with your video

They both clearly wanted paying, and in this case we didn't want to do it. I have nothing against using these sorts of services, if it is clearly stated that a payment or benefit occurred.

I used to work in PR (a long time ago), and while I found it brilliant that a good, well-timed story could be placed, for free, in major newspapers, there were other times when no one would cover a story at all, and you wished you could just pay the journalists to include it.

In digital media it's pretty much a myth that you can upload a video to YouTube and it will 'go viral' - 20 hours of content are uploaded onto YouTube each minute, so it's incredibly unlikely to happen on its own. If a video has become popular, and it is promoting a brand in some way I'd estimate that a very high percentage have been promoted either by using a service like GoViral, or Unruly, paying for ads on YouTube, or on sites like BoreMe, at least in the initial stages to launch them.

It's just how it works - but clearly some people need to be more open about the payment that they receive.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Inside Your Search

This explanation of how Google works is very, very good. & it's for Weetabix (UK)...

Marketing on Foursquare

Foursquare is a fun mobile service that's rising rapidly in popularity.

Essentially it's like a local guide, but with added interactivity and - um - fun. You join, then register your favourite places. Each time you visit one of those places you check in with your mobile, to say that you've been there. The person who checks in most often becomes the 'Mayor' of that place. So it's easy to become the Mayor of your own house, but harder to become the Mayor of a cool bar. It's easy, assuming you have a modern phone, and the fun, competitive element keeps people interested. It has potential to become very popular; just wait until lots of journalists start obsessing about it and suddenly it'll be all over the newspapers like twitter and iPhones.

My excuse for writing about it is that I've just seen the first piece of marketing to make use of it. (First spotted by me, that is. It's been going on in the US for a while now, as detailed by this article in the New York Times.)

Dose Espresso, a coffee bar near the Barbican in London, is giving away a free coffee tomorrow to anyone on Foursquare who checks in. & also free coffee for a week to the current Mayor.

(The offer to the Mayor came first, quickly followed by the wider offer)

I really like this (twitter seems to be spreading the word nicely for them), and I suspect that we'll soon be seeing lots more of it. Think about it (especially with the Mayor thing); if someone will go the the trouble to report that they like your business and try to be the most frequent customer, wouldn't you want to reward them?

The NYT article details a few other ways in which companies could integrate themselves into the game, including sponsored badges, and promotions across chains.

Update - here is another example, from the US

& here's one way to sign up your venue for Foursquare special offers

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teracent - creative optimisation company bought by Google

Two days ago the ever-busy Google confirmed that it will buy another company, Teracent.

Teracent is a specialist ad serving company that automatically optimises different creative treatments to ensure that campaign performance increases as time goes on. Different creatives are rotated to continually assess which ones perform best - the ones that do get more exposure.

It's hardly a new concept (I remember selling this for Bluestreak years ago, using a 'winner stays on' pool game analogy), but let's see how interesting this becomes when it's combined with both Doubleclick's online reach and AdMob's mobile reach.

Creative optimisation is still very powerful if done correctly, and doesn't involve any of the potential data issues that you see with behavioural targeting.

Here's a case study, linked to by Teracent, showing how this worked on a CPO (CPA) campaign for Mercedes.

Online As It Happens - Nokia lets you create your own widget

I love this new site for Nokia (Full disclosure - it was created by Farfar, which is part of Isobar)

The site lets you create your own visualisation widget, using practically any online feed that you can find.

Select the sort of widget you want to make (comparison, measure or display), then your data source, specific things you are looking for, and then a way of visualising.

So for example this is my widget comparing Furnished and Unfurnished properties in London listed for rent on the site Gumtree. You can see from this that far more furnished properties are offered for rent than unfurnished.

Here's and example of a 'measure' widget - the number of times Nokia is mentioned on Engadget's mobile section

& here's one for 'display' - the bands most chosen on Last.fm

Make your own here! There's a competition to create the best.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Play Asteroids and more on Atari.com

The re-launched Atari.com includes several arcade games from the 1970s and 1980s that you can play for free, including Asteroids, Battlezone and Lunar Lander. One player and two player versions available.

Good way to build traffic.

Have fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Paranormal Activity uses Eventful to find an audience.

Eventful is a music site that I wrote about a few months ago. Essentially it's group buying for fans - fans can demand that an artist comes to their town; if enough fans sign up then the artist comes. The site has social tools like widgets that people can embed into their social network pages, to try to motivate friends to join their cause.

Universal Pictures have been the first to tap into this to promote a movie. As this article details they set up an account for Paranormal Activity, then said that they'd release the film in the top 10 cities in the Us demanding it. Demand rose, so they then said that they'd release it nationwide if they god 1 million demands. Which they did - see picture.

The film has now made over $100m in the US in revenues.

I love this because it shows people using things for purposes other than what they were intended for. Yet why not use a live music site to promote a film? Often the audiences will be very similar. (Small caveat - I'm taking all of this at face value - it is actually possible that this is all part of the hype for the film.)

Another brilliant example of this is that Everton now use the game Football Manager as part of their scouting network - Football Manager keeps up to date information on thousands of footballers to make the game realistic; Everton pay them a fee to use this to research up and coming talent.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pixel Art competition for Green & Black

Nice promo by Green and Black using multicoloured packaging to let people create virtual pictures. (Effectively pixel art - you have 14 x 50 spaces to play with).

Peter Blake has done this one (which you can win) -

But I think I prefer this -

Get creating here!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The History of the Internet in a Nutshell

A very useful guide to the past 40 years of the internet, with landmarks for each year. (including '1998 - Internet-based file-sharing gets its roots', pictured)

It's too short, clearly, but it's a very useful primer.

Orange Friendometer

This is genius - test yourself on declared information about your friends on social networks.

You can play based on friends in Facebook, twitter or MySpace. The questions take the form of a multiple choice between 4 different friends. You have answer things like:

- 'who has the largest photo album',
- 'who is 32?'

Plus identify photos, guess who is a fan of certain things, etc. It's great.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Trailer

Very clever & engaging trailer for the new game - see it here.

Doesn't embed, which should give you a clue as to what might happen...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Come get Rihanna live on Nokia.com

Rhianna will be playing live on Nokia.com on the 16th November to promote her new album Rated R - find out more in the widget below. (Widget content launches in a new window).

Will be interesting to see how many streams she gets - U2 had 10m when they streamed live on YouTube, while Foo Fighters had 400,000 when they did it on Facebook and the iPhone.

Full disclosure - my company works for Nokia (but I have no involvement with this particular project).

Put This On - new mens style blog & video series

Put This On is a great new men's style blog and video series, available on YouTube, Vimeo and through iTunes.

It's aimed at men who still dress the same way as they did when they were teenagers (no shortage of them around), and while it's a bit American it's also pretty universal, I would have thought.

It's also just crying out to be sponsored - while it has had only 900 views on YouTube in 4 days the quality is amazingly high.

& in related men's style news, Sunspel have a new site.

Download Lego Christmas designs

Great idea from Lego - lots of Christmas things to make from standard pieces, using downloadable instructions.

More released on the 19th and 26th of November.

They did a similar thing at Easter - love it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Engaging Ebay Banner Ads

Really engaging banner ads for Ebay by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

There are also other versions, including Fashion Show and Music Player

See also - Axion Banner Concerts

Digital ads on the underground for Air New Zealand

I love these new ads for Air New Zealand currently showing on the London Underground, and first spotted by my colleagues at Hyperspace.

Each ad focusses on one of the cabin crew, doing something spontaneous. Digital outdoor is a strange medium in that it can sometimes be a portrait shaped video screen, but these ads use the medium perfectly.

See the video of the ads in situ (no sound).

(NB - Air New Zealand also did the 'bodypainted safety video' a few months ago).

Monday, November 02, 2009

How hits happen on twitter

I've always been interested in how hits happen - how some ideas get spread around and some don't. This post is a look at some rules for how hits happen on twitter, using data from an analysis of the Jan Moir twitter storm two weeks ago (well covered by The Guardian here).

I used the tracking tool Radian6 to look at the total number of tweets on the day the story broke, then focussed on those that had the hashtag #janmoir. (There were 8,630 tweets about the story, and 3,063 using the hashtag; Radian6 will only let me download 5000 tweets, so I've had to focus on the hashtag).

I've then analysed this data, to produce some guidelines on how to create a hit on twitter (assuming that the content is worth sharing). I've written a longer version, and have tables, which I'll share if you email me (DM me your email address @dancall on twitter), but it seemed a bit long to post here.

Here are my guidelines for creating a hit on twitter:

1 - Give people something to support or easily identify. A hashtag acts like a banner on a political demo - it gives people something to rally behind

2 - Provide a link to what the you want them to share. Bit.ly works well, and as all bit.ly links to the same page aggegate for tracking you can then monitor the number of clicks. In this case it was 70,000 in a day.

3 - Be direct. If you want people to re-tweet it ask them to, as Scott Pack, did here:

4 - Be respected. Contrary to a lot of the reporting, twitter hits can start with people with comparatively few followers, but their followers know and respect them so the combined reach of messages can grow quickly. In fact in this case the average number of followers of people using the hashtag did not rise above 500 until after 1pm, 5 hours after the first tweet. (The big spike at 6pm was Richard Bacon, the only person with over 1 million followers who used the hashtag).

5 - Be funny. In all of the analysis I've done, the second most re-tweeted person was someone with less then 500 followers, who tweeted "This is not just the Daily Mail getting kicked in the nuts... This is M&S kicking the Daily Mail in the nuts #JanMoir" when M&S demanded that their ads be removed from the page.
(The most re-tweeted person was the one who posted a link to the article as a Google document so that it wouldn't increase the Daily Mail's page views.

Other interesting points -

- Twitter is harder to influence than traditional media, particularly the press. The new film Starsuckers shows that it's comparatively easy to get fake stories into the newspapers as there are comparatively few 'gatekeepers' (people who decide what goes in) and they don't always check sources; with twitter fake stories get shot down pretty quickly.

- It doesn't take than many tweets to get to be the top trending topic. JanMoir was the top trending topic on Friday morning with less than 200 posts an hour.

See also - my other 'How Hits Happen' posts

JCDS (UK) Ltd TV Advertising Solution No.1

I don't think that this is ever likely to be used by Blackberry...

Created by Jimmy Cauty, formerly of the KLF.

Website here - more pranking to follow, I'm sure...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

JoshWard84 for T-Mobile

Josh is the star of the new T-Mobile ads, and is attempting to put together a band through MySpace. It's part of the 'what would you do if you had free text messages for life' campaign.

See his MySpace page here, his twitter here and his YouTube channel here.

See also - Ford sponsors Ben Griffith on MySpace

Update - Josh's song has now been released

Friday, October 30, 2009

Aggregation Corner

One of the most pervasive online trends I've noticed recently is the rise of the specialised and quirky aggregated blog. Blogs that aggregate the best (or s=worst) from either a particular site, or for a specific genre. (in fact the rise of tumblr has a lot to do with this, but not exclusively).

Here are some of my favourites:

Take a Weird Break - the strangest stories from Take a Break magazine

The best of Wikipedia

Regretsy - the worst of Etsy

YouSuckAtCraigsList - bad and dubious ads

My Parents Were Awesome - cool pics of people's parents (almost a reponse to this)

Iconic Photos

& - my personal favourite - Black & WTF

Which is full of pictures like this

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nokia Good Things signpost in London

This is one of the projects that we've been working on for Nokia.

Nokia Maps allows people to recommend places ('Good Things') that other people would like. To add to this idea we created a 50 foot tall signpost in Potters Fields, near Tower Bridge (which will eternally be known to many as the place where David Blaine did his Above the Below stunt.)

Every time a registered user tags a place on the map, the signpost turns to point to it, with the nominator's description on the signpost. Very cool!

Created by Isobar & Farfar.

More info here

Nominate your own favourite places here

& Here's one of mine

Case study

A history of Google in 2 minutes

Great promotional video from Google, released earlier this month.

What's coming next - read this summary of Eric Schmidt's take on what the web will be like in 5 years time

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Did I lose a million dollars or gain a million fans?"

Brilliant quote from Mojo Nixon, on the results of his free track giveaway on Amazon. It's the eternal question with 'free' - is the exposure worth the cost of the content given away?

Mojo Nixon was cult at best before (translation - I'd never heard of him), but now he's got a lot of exposure by giving away his music free for a limited time.

My view is that he's neither lost a million or gained a million fans (there were 173 songs being given away, so clearly fewer than 1 million people have downloaded), but he's gained a great opportunity - and it's what he does with that opportunity that matters.

Via DigitalMusicNews and Businesswire

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ThisPlace 09

ThisPlace 09 is a project that's been created by a couple of colleagues, Christian Johnsen and David Hawksworth, independent of their day jobs.

The Copenhagen Climate conference takes place on 7-18th December this year. The aim is to collate messages generated by people on the site into a book (ethically produced), and distribute this to as many of the the 15,000 delegates as possible.

People can nominate a place that matters to them that is likely to be affected by climate change, either on the site, or on twitter using the hashtag #thisplace.

More on the project at their blog here

So here is my nominated place for today - the Peak District, where I was on holiday last week.

Please get behind this if you can!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

U2ube - U2 play live on YouTube

For the first time ever YouTube will be showing a full live gig tonight - U2's concert in Pasadena will go out live across the site - if you fancy watching at 3.30am UK time.

In other YouTube news, they are now monetising one billion video views a week - approximately one in seven videos viewed on the site

Update - there were nearly 10m live streams of the concert

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eyeblaster Video Extender ad format

This pretty special - the video ad appears in the normal place - but you can increase the size of the box by dragging it around.

From Eyeblaster - Play with it here

Pulp Fiction in Google Wave

This isn't made by Google (as far as I know), but it's a great demo of the capabilities and potential of Wave, for those of us that are still a bit baffled by the hype...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Generation Media

This is a presentation that I've written as part of my role as Head of Media Futures at Carat Global Management.

It's a collection of statistics and stories showing how the media world is changing, from the number using social media to the success of the iPhone app store. In each case it's one story or stat per chart, with a headline, a picture, more explanation, and a link to the original source.

At work I write a weekly newsletter that now goes out to nearly 2,000 people (colleagues & clients) and the content of the presentation comes from the last 3 months or so of these. (& in fact if you read this blog and my stats blog regularly you'll recognise a lot of it too). I've been toying with the idea of making charts out of the newsletter content for ages - finally here it is.

This is the first one; the next one will be either a little bit or a lot different in format, depending on the feedback that I get from people. I know that the links in the charts don't work... Does anyone know how to fix this?

Have a look, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

0870 iPhone App saves users £267,000 in 2 weeks

This is another great example of a genuinely successful, useful iPhone app.

The 0870 app finds alternative, cheaper local numbers that connect to the same service (numbers with the national 0870 prefix cost more than local numbers). The app is free, but takes advertising, served through the AdMob ad server and sales house.

Simon Maddox, the app's developer has gone public with some stats on his blog - essentially, in 2 weeks:

153,135 calls made
£267,987.54 saved (assuming a £0.35 saving per minute, and an average 5 minute call time)
Plus $680.82 in ad revenue.

So far then this hasn't proved to be a major money-spinner for the developer, but it's performing a great service for the users. It's also fantastic that Simon is sharing the data.

More info at the Guardian's Technology Blog

Times Plus

Times Plus is an attempt by the Times and Sunday Times to monetise their readership. For £50 a year, or for free if they have a subscription to the newspaper, readers get special offers and special events. As a brand The Times will have great power in negotiating deals, and there are lots of unsold concert and theatre tickets, and lots of remaindered books that need shifting... (In fact, a friend's brother is a member of a list that gives him free theatre tickets at about 24 hours notice, on the condition that he has to turn up - so he gets in free to see a show, the show appears to be sold out, and everyone's happy. But - he has to go to the show, or he gets taken off the list)

Times Plus seems like a great idea, and I'm surprised more media companies haven't done it. The Guardian sponsors many events, like Glastonbury, and has a very strong community of readers. I expect them to do something very similar soon.

Friday, October 09, 2009

My review of Google Wave

I've been playing with Google Wave on and off for a week now; here's my first take:

First, it's been amazingly over-hyped, and the level of interest is out of proportion to what it does. By limiting it to relatively few beta testers they've created a whole viral storm around it. Whey I announced on twitter that I had an account (courtesy of a very kind friend at Google) I got 20 requests for one of my spare invites within 20 minutes.

So, what is it, and why all the fuss?

The 4 part screen

It's essentially a live team wiki or workspace that you can put widgets into. The screen is broken into 4 parts, with a box for navigation, one for contacts, one as an inbox, and one was the Wave.

In the example they give you pre-prepared they show a group of people planning a Barbecue together, first coming up with a shopping list, then deciding who would bring what, then inserting a widget for people to show whether they could come (Yes / No / Maybe).

BBQ planning - expand the box on the right to see full screen

& this is what it would be good for - it would replace the group emails that you get deciding where to meet up, what to do at the weekend and so on.

In a work setting it would be very useful for projects like trafficking advertising campaigns - the agency, ad server support people and media owner contacts could all sign in, update statuses, and then tick a box when the work was done. It would be much easier to follow than a long email stream.

So far, though, it's very fiddly and hard to use. There aren't many public widgets to use, and those that there are are quite hard to use. At present you'd need to be a very sophisticated web user to both want to use it and be able to (but hey - it's in beta). Of course it will improve over time, and the range of widgets available will be very important.

I only had the patience to add one point to my London map in Trippy

This is one way in which brands can get involved. The Trippy application is produced by / in association with Lonely Planet, and the popular apps will get lots of screen time.

The other way brands will become involved is to start doing customer support via Wave. For example if your car needed servicing you could get onto a Wave with your manufacturer, who could arrange a service with your local dealer, and cover lots of other details very efficiently. There's every chance that in a couple of years it'll be like twitter - it'll be something that companies need to be able to use to communicate with their customers.

Here's a post from Hill Holliday, with some other examples of the potential of Wave

Update - 5th August 2010 - Google have declared Google Wave dead.

"[...] despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What The Internet Knows About You

What The Internet Knows About You is a scary site that produces a detailed list of sites that your browser has visited, from the top 5,000 sites online. It is designed to raise awareness of the fact that your browsing history can be accessed by other sites; when you arrive at a new site for the first time it can tell what other sorts of sites you visit.

Go over to a colleagues desk and try What The Internet Knows About You on their machine - you know you want to...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nokia - Phones get us talking

This is a new viral that we are seeding for Nokia, to promote picture sharing through Ovi, and their 6303 classic, 6700 classic, and 6600i slide phones.

The site allows you to create a personalised film, and send it to a friend, share it though a social network, or embed it on a blog. Films were made by Farfar.

Watch the video below to see how I got my inspiration this morning!

Make your own here. Big, bold images work best.

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

Other films:

The Nightclub:

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

The Flowers

Learn how to share pictures online with Ovi by Nokia

Make your own here.

Public Enemy attempt to raise $250,000 recording costs through Sellaband

Public Enemy are bypassign the established music industry and raising the recording costs for their new album themselves through Sellaband, a site that lets bands sell stakes in their new works.

PE are looking for 10,000 people to each pay $25 (although people can also buy multiples of $25). Investors will receive a special version of the CD, plus a share in any profits.

It's great to see a mainstream (ish) band try to do this - the widget above will track the level of money raised.

More at The Guardian

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ukraine Vs England online only

Next Saturday sees a first in UK broadcasting - for the first time ever (in recent memory anyway) no TV station will be showing a competitive England football match, so it will only be streamed online.

Setanta originally had the rights, but they collapsed earlier this year, and once England qualified no other broadcaster was willing to pay.

The match is pay per view, with an 'Early Bird' rate of £4.99 if you pay now, rising to £11.99 on the day of the match. However according to a spokesman on the radio this morning they can only have 1 million subscribers - they cannot stream to more than that number.

There's also a deal whereby if you open a Bet365 account and have a bet you get free access, and there are affiliate deals with major newspapers - for example the Daily Telgraph, The Times, and The Sun.

Sign up here, at www.ukrainevengland.com

Friday, October 02, 2009

T-Pain sells 300,000 iPhone apps in 3 weeks

American singer T-Pain has sold 300,000 downloads of his iPhone app I Am T-Pain, made by Smule, in 3 weeks at $2.99 each. The app is basically just a branded Auto Tune function, changing your voice when you sing.

Other details are extraordinary - according to MobileCrunch the average user spends 66 minutes with the application, and so far 4.1m performances have been recorded. Great example of a next generation revenue model for music.

Here's an official video:

& here's a fan-made one:

See also - Cash from Chaos - ten examples of revenue generation

Science and Maths

I really love this new site for the Department of Children, Schools and Families by our sister agency Glue, to encourage kids to study science and maths at 'A' level.

The content's great - lots of videos and stories from people with 'sexy' jobs like snowboard designer, games developer, ride engineer, and radio producer.

The navigation feels very innotive too, without being irritating. Go and have a look

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Google Wave 'Trippy' example

Google Wave is Google's new toy, open to beta testers yesterday. I've got an invite, courtesy of a friend at Google, and I've been playing with it a bit.

So far, so frustrating though. I don't know anyone else with it (the invites I've sent out to friends take about 24 hours to be approved), so it's a bit like beign the only person you know wiht an email address.

In the meantime I've been looking at examples of what other people have done, to get a feel of what it's for and how I could use it.

So far as I can see it's like-a-real-time-wiki-that-you-edit-with-friends-and-that-you-can-use-widgets-with.

Have a look at this demo of the trip planning tool Trippy, using data from Lonely Planet, to see what I mean.

More on Google Wave in a few days when I get to play with it properly.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Spezify is a new-ish search engine that I've been playing with recently. (Alerted, like with lots of things, by the consistently brilliant Metafilter.com)

Spezify presents your search results as a jumble of pictures and text, and in doing so effectively creates a mood board for any subject.

Here are the results for a few brands:





Lily Allen

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