Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Media Milestones of 2010

Following on from last year's list:

Jan – Google introduce the Nexus One phone

Feb – Facebook hits 400m members, and celebrates its 6th birthday
Feb – Google launches Buzz to general indifference
Feb – The Super Bowl was the most watched programme in US TV history
Feb – 690m Valentines gifts were given on Farmville

Mar – Facebook overtook Google to become the most visited website in the US
Mar – Facebook changes ‘Fan’ to ‘Like’
Mar – 24 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube each minute

Apr – iPad launched, 200,000 sold on the first day
Apr – iAds and Promoted tweets announced
Apr – Twitter 106 million accounts
Apr – Facebook allows other sites to integrate the ‘Like’ button, 50,000 do in the first week
Apr – Foursquare hits a million users

May – 94% of UK homes have digital TV
May – YouTube celebrates its fifth birthday; now serving 2bn video views a day
May – Global smartphone sales rose 49% year on year

Jun – iPhone 4 launched, suffers technical issues, but still sells 1,7 units in 3 days
Jun – The World Cup breaks internet traffic records (Akamai)

Jul – Old Spice ‘Responses’ campaign generates nearly 6m video views in 2 days
Jul – Facebook hits 500m users
Jul – Opera’s mobile brower serves a billion page views a day

Aug – Facebook launches the ‘Places’ mobile app

Sep – Google launches Instant Search
Sept – Halo: Reach generates $200m in revenue in the first 24 hours

Oct – Lady Gaga becomes the first musician to achieve 1 billion views on YouTube

Nov – Facebook launches ‘Deals’ in the US
Nov – new browser RockMet launches
Nov – 35 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube each minute

Dec – Word Lens mobile translation launches
Dec – Twitter announces 100m new accounts in 2010, and new investment values Twitter at $3.7bn

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dr Dre in Mafia Wars

Another great celebrity/gaming/monetisation/micropayments/sponsorship example...

It's now possible to buy Dr Dre endorsed virtual goods in Zynga's Mafia Wars, in this special 'Hustlin' Wit Dre' section of the game.

Full info on TechCrunch

11 Trends for 2011

As in previous years I've made some predictions for the year ahead.  

My blogger template doesn't really lend itself to long text posts, so the full post is on Posterous, but here are the headlines:

1 - Monetisation
2 - More advertising
3 - Partnerships & Sponsorships
4 - Targeting, data, algorithms & location
5 - Asian Influence
6 - Technology for self-improvement
7 - New companies
8 - Streaming rather than downloading
9 - Brands will be more 'human'
10 - The internet will become more automated
11 - Celebrity

Head over to Posterous to read it in full

PS - here is last year's list.  I don't think I did too badly...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Word Lens - automatic text translation on your mobile

Word Lens from Quest Visual is going to be a game-changing application.

Point your phone at some text, and it automatically translates it into English.  Useful for menus, signs, and so one.  Direct, word-for-word translation only (e.g. "Beach Closed - Recent Attack of Shark") but that's ok for short phrases.

So far it's just for Spanish and English, (& also iPhone only) but I'm guessing other languages will come soon.  Having spent a baffled week in Tokyo a few years ago, I can see that it'll be totally revolutionary.

Update - it seems to have been a successful launch - they've recouped their investment in download sales already

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Green Hornet on MythBusters

The Green Hornet film comes out early next year.  It's the latest cult comic book to make the transition to the big screen.

One very clever piece of promotion is this special episode of the Discovery Networks show MythBusters, looking at the 'science' of two of the stunts in the film.

I love this because I think it's the first time MythBusters has actually done something on a film pre-release.  It's a huge cult show, and has previously done specials on James Bond and McGyver, so it's perfect as a way of promoting a film to the target audience.

Also, staying with The Green Hornet, it's interesting to see them using a Tumblr site for their blog, and keeping the Tumblr url - 'tumblr' is clearly cool in 2010!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I haven't seen enough films this year

I don't recognize nearly enough of these!

List of the films here

Pinterest - Visual Inspiration

Pinterest is a new bookmarking tool that let's you save pictures in an attractive way.

I'm a very heavy user of Delicious, and one of the tags I use most in my personal life is the 'shopping' one - stuff that I want to buy for myself or others, when the time is right.

I've a feeling that Pinterest is going to take the place of Delicious in this area - plus I can browse other people's selections.  For example this list of 'gifts for man type people' or this one for kids.  It's easy to 're-pin' the things you like to your own boards.

See more at the Pinterest blog, and ask for an invite!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gorillaz Advent Calendar

An interesting bit of promotion by Gorillaz - each day visitors to their site get a new 'gift' - for example a soundcheck video or a wallpapers.  The final gift will be a free album.  Free, that is, to members of their fan club.  Good way of driving loyalty!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gifting visualised

I really like these visualisations by Finisterre, showing you what to buy at different stages of a relationship.

(Beanie for someone you fancy, sale stuff once you're married).

Much more unusual and inspiring that a lot of other ways clothes are promoted online.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

New Car search visualiser in Bing with Silverlight

I like this visual search app from Bing, using Sliverlight.

Select the different criteria you are looking for, the make, MPG and so on, and it filters out the models that don't meet your requirements.

E.g. here I look for a passenger car...

By Volvo...

Have a play here

The difference a word makes

An interesting example from the Midem blog on the difference a single word can make to search ad effectiveness.

Neil Cartwright shared results from a recent campaign by his agency Media Junction.

It ads were to promote a series of concerts by an artist.  If the ad said 'Show' the ad had a click rate 5 times higher than if it said 'Tour' - People presumably buy into a show rather than a whole tour.

Clearly click through rates aren't the only measure of success, but it's a great example of the effect one small difference to copy can make.

More here

Monday, December 06, 2010

Save as WWF

WWF is a new file format.  It's like a pdf, but you can't print it, so it saves trees.

Very clever (although pretty maddening at times too, I imagine).  Very innovative thinking.

More here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Starbucks' 12 days of sharing

Sort of like an advent calendar, but with only 12 windows.

Today, being World Aids Day, the sharing was for charity - 5 cents (US) from every cup of 'handcrafted' drink went to the global fund to help fight Aids in Africa.

I'll try to update this every day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Guerilla Foursquare campaign for the Monsters film

Monsters is a new low-budget British sci fi film directed by Gareth Edwards.  It cost approximately £500,000 to make, is released this week, and has been getting some good reviews (66% positive on Rotten Tomatoes).

They've very cleverly used Foursquare as part of the promotion, but not in a conventional way.

What they've done is to check into various places around London and leave the following tip:

"ATTENTION: Exclusive footage has been found from the upcoming release of Monsters (Dec 3rd). View on mobile http://bit.ly/bL5whU or PC http://bit.ly/atYSgu – Follow STRA Agents for more information"

These tips have so far been left in nearly 300 venues in London, ranging from cinemas like Vue West End to Tate Modern and the London Eye.

In many of the venues the tips have been 'done' by other users, taking them higher in the rankings for the venues tips.  

It's very clever.  Whenever I check into a venue I look at the tips, and this is a good way of targeting cinema goers.  It's also a great example of someone using a technology in an unusual way.

But... It's also pretty spammy.  I'd hate it if lots of companies did this, and I'm sure Foursquare would act pretty quickly if the practice became widespread.

Update - it seems that it was done in partnership with Vue and Cineworld - special 'infected' zones have been set up.

Update - they're trying to organise Foursquare swarms (i.e. more than 50 checkins at once) at a number of venues on launch day, 3rd December.  If a swarm happens, all participants get a discounted ticket:

"On the 3rd December (release day) from 6pm, fans who are eagerly awaiting the release of Monsters are encouraged to gather in 5 Vue Entertainment cinemas and 5 Cineworld venues around the UK. Using the Foursquare application on their smart phones, fans will need to unlock the coveted Swarm Badge, which can only be unlocked when 50+ Foursquare users check in to a venue simultaneously. 

Unlocking the Swarm Badge will unleash a discount to see the film that very evening at Vue Cinemas (7pm) and Cineworld (TBC) in the following participating venues: Vue Birmingham City Star, Vue Bristol Cribs, Vue Cheshire Oaks, Vue Leeds Light, Vue Westfield, Cineworld Birmingham Broad St, Cineworld Cardiff, Cineworld Edinburgh, Cineworld Greenwich (O2) and Cineworld Sheffield. "

Oh - and this is the trailer for Monsters - it looks pretty good:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rapha x Paul Smith

Luxury cycle wear brand Rapha has just unveiled a collaboration with Paul Smith, including clothing and accessories.

This film shows Paul Smith in conversation with Rapha founder Simon Mottram.  Did you know Smith was so into cycling?  Neither did I...  Fascinating conversation.

You can see this courier bag racing off the shelves!

Very nicely done.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Google puts banner ads on image search

Spotted in the wild by colleagues - Google is now putting banner ads on some image searches.

For example 'John Wayne'

Or 'London'

The banners don't show up on the main search page, just on the Images page.  I guess the reasoning is that people looking for images aren't going to be freaked out by banner ads.

There seems to be no targeting on general terms like these - 'Flightworx' has no relevance to 'John Wayne', and Car hire in the Canary Islands clearly has no relevance for a search on London - but for other, more commercial terms like 'Power Drill' you get shopping ads with a small picture, plus an ad promoting the Image ads service.

Read more about it here.

(Yes, I am using RockMelt.  I like it...)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Volkswagen Fun Theory - Speed Camera Lottery

This is the winner of a competition to find a new 'Fun Theory' idea - to change human behaviour through fun.

The idea is to set up a speed camera, to take pictures of all cars passing a spot.  Speeders get a fine, BUT at the same time some of this fine goes towards rewarding some of the people who obeyed the law, on a lottery principle.

Very clever!

Via Adverblog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google Goggles Marketing Experiment

Google Goggles is a fun picture search application, now available on the iPhone as well as on Android phones.

It's not perfect, but it's fun to use.

To boost trial Google have announced this experiment in the US - take pictures of any advertising assets of Buick, Delta Airlines, Diageo, Disney & T-Mobile, and you will be directed to mobile content, in the same way as if you'd scanned a QR code.

It comes as people start to be aware of the rising level of mobile internet use - Morgan Stanley's recent presentation on this subject is here.

One to watch, I think.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

KLM Surprise

KLM Surprise is a very innovative use of Foursquare.

KLM has set up a Foursquare account, and is asking people to add them as friends.  Travellers who do, and then check into KLM locations like airport lounges are then studied (for example their recent tweets) and some are rewarded with unusual and thoughtful gifts based on what KLM can work out about them.

The Next Web has more details:

"The KLM team has surprised travellers with champage, notebooks, a watch, and traditional Dutch foods. One passenger, Willem van Hommel, was going to miss one of his soccer team’s most important matches of the year due to his trip to New York. KLM surprised him with a Lonely Planet guide to New York with all the best soccer bars in the city marked out for him. Another traveller, Tobias Hootsen, was surprised with a package to remind him of home during his long stay abroad."

You can see how this sort of thing could get really intrusive, but I think in this case KLM has done it very well.  It's a fun, low budget initiative that will really get talked about by the people involved, and (perhaps most importantly) didn't actually require any involvement from Foursquare themselves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

OK Go & Range Rover

Fast becoming the band with the most commercial deals, OK Go have announced this project with Range Rover Evoque as part the Pulse of the City project.

Download the Evoque app from a mobile app store, then follow the instructions to be part of a global mapping stunt.  OK Go will be getting people to create their logo in LA on the 17th of November - watch the video for full details.

Friday, November 12, 2010

OK Go, in association with Samsung

A new OK Go video is always to be welcomed, and this one is sponsored by Samsung:

"This video was made in partnership with Samsung NX100 iFn -- http://www.cre8yourworld.com

All 215 loaves of bread used in the making of this video were past their sell-by date and rescued from the clutches of certain disposal."

The animation art is by Geoff Mcfetridge at Champion Studio,  You can see another one of his animations here.  & another one here.

The sponsorship includes this content on the Samsung site.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Two years ago that would have been implausible; five years ago it would have been impossible"

A very entertaining presentation from Tom Scott, at IgniteLondon about a FICTIONAL riot that originated from a Chatroulette clip.

It's clearly inspired (he says as much himself) by the Cat Bin Woman case and others, and it shows how quickly things can spread and get out of hand with modern technologies.

"Two years ago that would have been implausible; five years ago it would have been impossible"

Five minutes of your time well spent!

Via Metafilter

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Google Instant Previews

Another day, another innovation from Google.

Google Instant Previews gives you fast previews of the pages behind the results, without you leaving the main search page.

So for example, if you look for 'Gaga' you can see all of the different pages before you click on one (& a search for Gaga turns up some pretty varied results)

See the screen shots below - to activate the previews, click on the magnifying glass on the right of the link.

Full info about Previews here

Monday, November 08, 2010

Jackass' 3D Facebook page

Very reminiscent of the recent YouTube takeovers...  I didn't know that you could do this on Facebook!

See it here

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Gowalla sponsored Hockey trip for Oddset in Sweden

Colleagues at Carat in Sweden have just launched a sponsored trip on Gowalla for their client Oddset, a gambling company that offers live betting on the Elitserien premier Ice Hockey in Sweden.

12 arenas have been set up with bespoke badges - any fans checking in at 3 of the arenas qualify as having done the trip.

The first 1,000 to do the trip win a pair of tickets to any game (excluding the playoffs)

It's the first proper campaign using Gowalla in Sweden.

Good work!

Now *that's* Loyalty

The Motorhead website has a section for fans' tattoos.  So far 649 pictures have been uploaded.

Beat that, Gaga!

Facebook Deals

Facebook deals are effectively the best ideas from Foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and the other location services, with the clout of Facebook's incredible reach.

(More than 200m Facebook users now regularly connect with a mobile device)

The video outlines how it works.

There are 4 types of deals:

Individual Deal - a one-off discount

Loyalty Deal - unlocked when people check in at a venue or chain between 2 and 20 times

Friend Deal - When you tag multiple friends with you when your check in

Charity Deal - Promote a cause

Friends' deals will appear in the news feed, spreading the news about the offer, and marketing the venue.  The whole process is user-initiated; I'd expect this to take off very quickly (although I think it's only available in the US for the time being.)  Here's the guide to how to use it.

So where does this leave Foursquare etc?  I think they'll be fine for the time being, as users seem to use those services (or at least my friends do) more frequently and in a different way.  In the long term though, who knows.

The other impact is to further drive the take-up of smartphones.  When people see the benefits that their friends get from having a smartphone in terms of real savings, more people will see why they need to have one.

Update - some early deals announced:

"The Gap will give out a free pair of blue jeans to the first 10,000 to check in on a certain day
The Palms Hotel, in Las Vegas, will offer a room upgrade or a free weekend night
JC Penney will offer $10 off any $50 purchase
McDonald’s will give $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dead Drops

Dead Drops is a new project instigated by the artist Aram Bartholl, and currently happening in New York.

Buy a USB stick, cement it into a wall, tell people where is, and let them upload and download content to and from it.

Who knows where this could lead, but ad DigitalMusicNews says:

"Sounds fun, though use protection, son: who knows what's lingering on those dirty sticks. "

Manifesto here

Instructions here

FAQ here

Map (pretty empty so far) here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tracking the mid-term elections with Foursquare

Foursquare have introduced this page to visualise voting behaviour by Foursquare users in the US.

It's also nice that it gives a gender breakdown - so far it's about 60% male, 40% female, which may reflect the entire make-up of Foursquare...

(Update - I've done the analysis - nearly 60% of US users are male, nearly 50% live in just 6 states)

It's also interesting that Foursquare got in an outside developer, Jess3, to create it.  More at the Foursquare blog.

Elsewhere Google have this gadget to show behaviour nationally and locally

& I also love this amateur site - WTF has Obama done so far?, which lists Obama's achievements to date.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Lemsip x LoveFilm

One of a growing number of brand partnerships.  Watch one of a selected range of films for free, on a special LoveFilm page.  You need to create an account, so it seems like a good deal for LoveFilm.

(Although I don't think I'd want to watch any of the films, especially if I was ill in bed!)

More info here.

Other recent partnerships I like are:

Garmin & Merrell

Martini Gold & D&G

Dell & Threadless

Carte Noire & Penguin

Kraft & American Idol

Friday, October 29, 2010

Vouchercloud - a killer app for mobile

Vouchercloud is possibly the first bona fide killer app for smartphones; an app that everyone can see the value of.

It's an amazingly simple app - it finds your location, and then shows you which money-off vouchers are available for places near to you.  Select the voucher, then show it to the venue staff for the discount.  If you don't have GPS, you can look for vouchers alphabetically, or for by popularity.  If you don't have a smartphone you can use the SMS version.

It's free for users, as the venues pay to be on the app.  Perfect.

There are versions for the iPhone, Android, Windows 7, and Blackberry.  So far there have been nearly 1m app downloads in the UK.

Wanderfly - travel inspiration

I once heard someone at a conference say:

"Search is great, if you know what you're looking for"

Too often people don't - they want inspiration, or recommendation based on general principles.  Hence all of the 'best 10 gifts for kids' lists on shopping sites, Amazon's recommendations based on what you have bought in the past, and what other people with similar tastes tend to buy, all of the music blogs, and so on.

Wanderfly is a travel recommendation site, that gets you to set your budget, your leaving point, and then pick some of the things you're looking for.  It then returns options, including location, flights and hotels.

Have a play - it comes up with some interesting ideas.

Via the excellent Soap Creative newsletter

Earlier - Visual search for Hotels.com & Clerk Dogs - movie recommendations

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cheryl Cole competition using Facebook Places

This is a neat combination of an outdoor campaign and Facebook Places.

Find a post for the new Cheryl Cole album Messy Little Raindrops, and check in using Facebook.  One of the prople who checks in will win an expenses paid trip to see Cheryl at one of the X Factor shows.

From Facebook:

"There are a number of billboard posters around the country for my new album. If you see one with the Facebook logo, check in to the poster through your phone on Facebook Places. Once you've checked in come back here to enter the competition. You need to use a phone which supports Facebook Places."

More info here, and on Cheryl Cole's Facebook page

"I see no advertisement, only awesomeness"

That's a typical comment for this video by video camera company GoPro.

The small size doesn't do it justice - go to YouTube to see it full screen.

(The camera, plus a mounting unit, e.g. for a helmet, costs just less than $300...)

Via Metafilter

PS - you can even put it on a dog...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crowdfunding Belle & Sebastian in Brazil

A colleague in Bazil sent me this great crowdfunding example.

Belle and Sebastian last played Brazil in 2001, and had no plan to play on the current tour.

5 fans from Brazil wanted them to come, so set up a site to try to make it happen.

BRL 56,000 (= USD 33,000)  needed to be raised to make the concert happen.

They got 280 people to pay BRL 200 each (=USD 120) to guarantee this; they became the founding shareholders.  140 were sold to individuals, and 140 to companies.

A concert hall with capacity of 2,000 was booked, and then the other tickets were sold at BRL 100 each (=USD 60)

This money covered the BRL 56,000 and means that the people who bought the initial 280 tickets got their money back – so got to see the show for free.

My colleagues at the agency AgenciaClick Isobar bought 40 of the initial 280 tickets - see the screengrab below.

FMCG brands and Social Media

I was recently interviewed by MBA student Randall Helms for his dissertation on how FMCG marketers use social media, as part of his studies at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

It's now finished, and very comprehensive.  In addition to talking to me, Randall spoke to over 15 other marketers, some of whom chose to remain anonymous.

You can download the dissertation over at Randall's site.  It includes a full transcript of his discussion with me, with all the Ums, Errs, and Wells included.

Randall's a great guy - check out his work!

TV drives search and social

This is a brilliant example:

British company Yeo Valley Organic have a new TV ad that they launched with a TV ad in the TV show X Factor on Saturday 9th October.

As Robin Goad of Hitwise points out in his blog post, this had a noticeable and quantifiable effect on the number of searches for Yeo Valley, and the level of traffic to the Yeo Valley site.

For example on a 12 week rolling average, searches for Yeo Valley were up 24%.  The nature of rolling averages is to flatten out spikes, so it means that on a day-by-day level searches must have absolutely sky-rocketed.

There was also a bit and measurable effect in social media.  As Nick Burcher points out on his blog, Yeo Valley quickly became a trending term on twitter - in fact the top term for London (in the midst of an eventful X Factor show) and the second biggest trending topic globally.

This all goes to show how TV and other mainstream media drives other activity like search and social.

We recently produced a report with the BBC & the Future Foundation, showing that mainstream media is very important in driving word of mouth communication - something I argued earlier in this blog post.

This is why I believe that the big media agencies will prosper in the future.  If you're planning and implementing search campaigns for a client, you need to know all about, and be involved in, other media activity like TV.

We find that if you have a TV campaign you get more clicks on your paid search links, so you can reduce your bid prices while the TV campaign is live.  If you have a separate search agency, this is much harder to do.

Similarly with social.  When you have a major paid advertising campaign people will comment on social sites, want to watch the videos on video sites, and so on, so it makes sense for the process to be as connected as possible.

Levi's Photo Workshop

Now open in New York, in Wooster Street.

It's the sequel to the Print Shop that they ran in San Francisco in the summer, and as with the print shop it's there to serve as a facility for the locals.

"Old cameras to rent, incredible studio space, provocative exhibitions, and a good mix of old and new Workshop faces will equal the perfect continuation of our Workshop dream. Your Workshop dream. It’s good to be back."

Most excellent!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nike Grid 2.0

Starts tomorrow, again in London, but this time with more postcodes (48 vs. 40, but still no SW4 - boo), more time (15 days), teams as well as individuals, and badges for completing runs.

So far just over 2,100 players have registered.

More info here.

My post about the initial event in April here.

Update - week 1 data visualised.  Very good!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swedish mobile location-based game of 'tag' - win a Mini Clubman

This is an excellent location-based game from Sweden. It's a high-tech version of 'tag'.

Download the Mini Getaway app to your phone, then use your phone to find the Mini using GPS.  If you get to within 50m of the current holder you can grab the Mini off him or her - but then you are the target and others will be after you.  If someone manages to be in possession of the virtual Mini for a whole week (which must be incredibly hard) they win a Mini Clubman.

I'm sure that there are lots of terms and conditions for this (not turning off your phone or jumping on a plane for starters), but what a thrilling idea.

Full info (in Swedish) at MiniGetawayStockholm.com

I must also point out that it’s a campaign from my collegues in Carat Sweden and Suddenly Stockholm who made the iPhone app, together with MINIs creative agency JvM

Update - It's all over now - here's a video case study:

3D video for Doritos on YouTube

Another creative first on YouTube - this music video for Doritos is in 3D.

Not in the Avatar way; instead you can drag in the screen and change angles as you watch the film.

As with lots of the really advanced YouTube creativity this doesn't work embedded, so go here to see it in full effect.

Really impressive!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

QR codes and automated 'Likes'

I've long been sceptical of QR codes taking off in the West, but I think I may be changing my mind...

Two weeks ago I showed how Google have integrated a QR code generator into their URL shortener, and Bitly have quickly followed suit (click on the 'info page' link to see the QR code now generated for any link).

Now there's this example from Nike in Belgium - they have a QR code on a store window that automatically generates a 'Like' for their page on Facebook.

Very clever!

The only problem is that QR code readers have very low penetration (as far as I know) so not many can use them. What we need now is someone to integrate a QR code reader into the phone operating system (Android?  Soon?)  and I'll be eating my sceptical words with fava beans and a nice Chianti...

Hat tip - my Danish colleagues - @VizeumCph

Google - Watch This Space

New from Google in the UK is this site marketing to agencies and advertisers showing how creative, targeted, and measurable display advertising can be.

This is the video on measurement:

Nice videos, nice music, and good explanations of how display advertising can work well for brands.

Have a look around here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buy 4 tickets to Paranormal Activity 2, download the original film for free

This is very clever, and to the best of my knowledge a first: Buy 4 tickets to see the new Paranormal Activity film (in the US) via Fandango, and get a code to download the first movie free from iTunes.

Easy to fulfil, and relatively low cost for the studio.

Currently being promoted on twitter - I'd love to see the stats for this one!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Create your own QR codes with Goo.gl

I've long argued that QR codes are destined to fail - not many phones have readers, other technology like Google Goggles is on the rise, etc, but now I'm ready to eat my words, because Google have created a free QR code generator.

There's a feature in Google's url shortener goo.gl that let's you generate QR codes yourself.

Just paste in a URL, for example http://digital-examples.blogspot.com/

This then generated the short code goo.gl/eNHC - if you then click on the 'details' link on the right hand side it gives you a QR code as well.


Next Generation Media Quarterly - October 2010

My new Next Generation Media Quarterly presentation is now online. Lots of cool stats and examples, many of which will be familiar to readers of this, and my stats blog

See other presentations in the same series here.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Virgin America competition on Awkward Family Photos

Awkward family photos is one of those brilliant blogs that showcases people's own terrible photos from their childhood.  (& if you're a fan you also need to see Crap At My Parents' House)

Virgin America like it so much that they've partnered with them to create a competition to find the best 'awkward' family vacation picture.  Winners will be decided by a vote, once the judges have selected the 20 best.  Prizes include discounts on VA flights and 4 round trip tickets on any VA routes.

What's great about this is that the competition is completely in keeping with the site, and is likely to inspire the existing fans of AFP.  A few years ago brands would be ripping sites like this off; now they're paying to partner with them.

Via Under The Influence

AXA mobile app animates a newspaper advert

This is very creative!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paid seeding example - Pizza Hut

Earlier this year there was a lot of discussion about 'paid blogging 'on the marketing blogs

Recently I've come across an excellent example of paid promotion on blogs that's done correctly.

A current campaign for Pizza Hut on a number of UK parenting blogs takes the theme 'free activities' and gets the bloggers to write about what they did over the summer with their kids for free, while mentioning the Pizza Hut Kids Go Free promotion.

Examples -

The People's Republic of South Devon

Blogging with Dr P

Fab Mums


Breastfeeding Mums

I really like this because it's clearly listed in all cases as a sponsored post, so it's very open and above board, the bloggers have been given a genuine reason to write, the subject matter is relevant to the blogs, and it's also perfect for the target audience.

As far as I can work out this was done through eBuzzing, but if you know different let me know!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Look-Up Augmented Reality Space Invaders game

When was the last time you saw someone play like this? from Soulbit7 on Vimeo.

Made by Soulbit7, and available for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. More here

Well worth 59p of your money at the iTunes app store!

See also this concept from June 2009 - pretty much the same idea, but with real objects as smart bombs:

Monday, September 27, 2010

CNN promote healthy eating through Foursquare

This is an excellent little promotion.

As a follow up (possibly) to this summer's World Cup promo, CNN has created a special service to promote healthy eating and farmers' markets around the world.

Check in at a farmers' market - over 10,000 are covered around the world apparently - and you get access to special offers at the market, in some cases.

Watch the video:

Full info at the Foursquare blog, plus at the CNN Eatocracy site

How to run a Groupon promotion

Groupon is a local, social, couponing company.  Groupon members join a local email list, then get sent two offers per day, local to them.  The offers can only be bought for 24 hours, and are generally limited to one or two per buyer.  Offers only go live when a certain minimum number of people buy, but in the vast majority of cases they seem to sell very well.  Users are encouraged to share the offers on social sites, to encourage friends to buy as well.  The idea isn't unique to Groupon, as it's been done in China for a few years, but Groupon are making the most headway in the West.

Groupon is one of those companies that have got big pretty quietly.  Groupon now boasts over 13 million members, growing at a million a week, so it's far larger than Foursquare, but with much less publicity.

I joined the London email list when it launched, and since then have bought a couple of the vouchers.

It works very well.  Some merchants say they regret using it (this being the most high profile example) but in far more cases the merchants seem to be delighted.

(The highest profile success was this promotion for Gap - showing that large companies can use it too - which sold 440,000, generating $11m in revenue, split between Gap and Groupon)

Groupon have also used merchants to create tutorial videos to show how to get the best out of the service:

The main bits of advice I'd give to someone doing this would be:

1 - Decide what you want out of it, and be sure you know why you are doing it

2 - Structure the deal to these aims - if you want people to sample what you do, skew the offer towards a sample

3 - Structure the financials to what you can afford to do as a promotion

4 - Set up a measurement framework so that you can count coupon redemptions etc

5 - Limit the level of coupons available, and set an expiry date

6 - Be ready for when people come in to redeem - offer the best customer service, and try to up-sell

7 - Similarly be very clear on ts and cs - don't allow more than one coupon per offer, be very rigid on expiry dates etc

8 - Offer another loyalty offer when people are at your location - e.g. buy 4, get one free

9 - Measure the effect, based on redemption, uptake of other offers, customer response and so on

10 - Go to 1, and repeat.

As a customer there are a few things that they can do to improve - for example I don't want to receive teeth whitening offers - but this is definitely a new media and social media success story.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Foursquare checkins visualised on Weeplaces

This is pretty clever - Weeplaces take my Foursquare checkins and turn them into a film:

Dan Calladine's Checkins by WeePlaces.com.

I rarely venture out of Zone 1&2, it seems.

& Please don't stalk me - I'm really not worth stalking!

See also - my checkins visualised on a heatmap.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Visa & McDonalds give you $5 for checking in on Brightkite

This is another example of brands using the location based 'checkin' as a promotion mechanism.

If you visit McDonalds in the US & checkin with Brightkite you get the 'Easy' badge.  Checkin 5 times and you get to level 2, which gives you a $5 off voucher in McDonalds if you pay with Visa.  It's limited to the first 500 users who qualify.  Limiting offers is pretty normal with these sorts of deals; you need to be able to prevent it getting out of hand.

More at the Brightkite blog.

I'm looking forward to the day when these offers start to become common in the UK too!

Update - McDonalds have shared data from a recent promo with Foursquare - 33% uplift in footfall for a $1,000 investment

Gorillaz help launch IE9

Partnerships in music are all the rage it seems!

Yesterday I wrote about the multiple partnerships that Weezer had done to promote their new album, including naming it after the clothing company Hurley.

Now Gorillaz have done a deal with Microsoft to help promote the new IE9.

You can see Gorillaz prominently on this page Beauty of the Web.

& Gorillaz even have a button on their site promoting the new browser, plus this film, available on a stand-alone site, or on YouTube.

"It's like a wizard's portal!"

(I've only seen it in Chrome; it may look even better on IE9)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weezer's partnership blitz

Weezer's new album Hurley came out yesterday, and they seem to have pulled pretty much every trick in the book to promote it.

For example:

Micro-celebries - they're appearing in the videos of over 10 YouTube celebries, including Hot For Words (below) in a stunt previously pulled by Carls Jr.  Full list for Weezer here.

Partnerships - there are several of these.

The main one is with the clothing company Hurley, who have had the album named after them (a first, as far as I know), and created a special range of clothes to celebrate the band.  Tied to this, Weezer have parterned with the store Pacsun to sell the clothes, plus the album was on sale through Pacsun a day early.

They have also partnered with Axe (Lynx in the UK) to arrange a series of secret gigs.  You need to add Axe on Facebook or twitter to find out the dates, locations, and how to get tickets.  Here's the tweet that tells you how to get tickets:

Go 2 Amoeba Music (WSunset/Cahuenga) at 6pm &find dude outside in black AXE top for tix 2the 9/21 Weezer @AXE Music OneNightOnly show! – JWA

They have partnered with Amazon - enter the code PICKDEAL when you checkout at Amazon MP3 (US only) and get a discount on the album

& finally they've partnered with the Jackass team - the video (below) for the new single doubles as a promo for the new film Jackass 3D.

It'll be interesting to see how the album sells, and also whether the fans accept this pretty merciless level of selling themselves

A Better Twitter

Last night, without warning, twitter started to roll out a new version of the site - as they put it in their blog 'a better twitter'.

I haven't got it yet - it's only available to a few users in the US so far - but from the description and video they have made it a lot more engaging and 'rich' than before.  It looks more like one of the apps like Tweetdeck, and can suck in other media like pictures and videos, in the way that Flipboard does.

These are the enhancements:

"New design. The site has a cleaner timeline and a rich details pane that instantly adds more impact to individual Tweets while still maintaining the simplicity of the timeline. And, experience infinite scroll -- you no longer have to click “more” to view additional Tweets.
Media. Now, it’s easy to see embedded photos and videos directly on Twitter, thanks to partnerships with DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube.
Related content. When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: replies, other Tweets by that user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
Mini profiles. Click a username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets."

While I don't think that there was anything wrong with the existing twitter, this will make it far more like Facebook, and far more accessible to more people.  Twitter always was an acquired taste - it took me more than a year to acquire it after I signed up - but this will speed their growth over the 200 million and beyond.

It will bring more people back to the site and away from the apps.  It will also make it far more influential, and open to brands and advertising, although I certainly don't expect twitter to adopt standard ad units like banners.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Starbucks Doubleshot Show on Spotify

I've written about Playdio, the radio shows on Spotify service before; now Spotify are doing it themselves and creating shows for advertisers.

For example here's the show for Starbucks, presented by George Lamb and Marc Hughes, featuring double shots (geddit) in the form of two tracks by the same album, or two artists who've been in two different bands (today the choice is between Eric Clapton and Paul Weller).

The show is on daily, for the next 4 weeks.

Show 1 is here; show 2 is here.

Very good!

DJ Shadow and Shop-Placing

Shop-Placing is the opposite of shoplifting - you put things into shops rather than take them out.

Banksy did it in 2006 with his version of Paris Hilton's album, and now DJ Shadow has done it to promote his new music.  He's been placing place vinyl 7" records with tracks on in cult record shops near to where he'll be playing gigs.

""The idea is 'shop-placing; it's the opposite of shoplifting. You go into a store, and leave your record in the racks to be discovered later. It's not about being cute, it's about passing the music along in the most unobtrusive way possible. No hype, no shouting, no shot-in-the-void online campaign. Just, ‘Here you go…I’m glad you found it, and I hope you enjoy it.’ I’d rather give away free vinyl than a download, because to me, downloads are so impersonal and soulless.”"

More at PlaygroundMag

It also reminds me of last week's Nike stunt.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Doing a Faithless"

There's a great interview in yesterday's Financial Times Magazine with Brian Message, one of Radiohead's managers, and part of the music company ATC Management, who help bands to make money in the digital age.

Everyone knows about "doing a Radiohead" and it was pretty much a one-off stunt; "doing a Faithless" would probably be appropriate for more bands:

"The Dance is Faithless’s first post-Sony album. Although Faithless didn’t copy In Rainbows’ honesty-box payment scheme, Radiohead’s example was fundamental to the band’s decision not to seek another record deal. “I remember thinking, we’re not as big as Radiohead but we’re big enough to do what they’ve done. We have a big enough fanbase, we can tour places, we sell enough records that we can really control our own destiny.”

Indeed, Armstrong estimates the band will earn more from The Dance than any of their earlier albums. At a major label, a top act gets about 40 per cent of the price of each album in royalties and publishing rights (after repaying their advance). This time around, Faithless get everything bar the retailers’ cut.

In the UK, The Dance is being sold exclusively for a year by iTunes and Tesco. Fiat paid for their latest single’s video and have named a limited run of cars after the song. Music snobs deride Tesco CD purchasers as mindless consumers reaching automatically for the nearest Susan Boyle; a Fiat midrange saloon is a long way from hipsville. Armstrong, however, is unrepentant. “I never want to compromise the music, but once it’s made I want everyone to hear it, because obviously I think it’s brilliant. I’ve always had that philosophy: use every opportunity to get your music to people.”"

Here's the Fiat ad:

One of their other bands is the much newer Band of Skulls.  Check out their website for examples of the sorts of things they're doing to promote them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Coke Machine Fairy - Coca Cola's Foursquare treasure hunt in Australia

This is a very clever use of Foursquare by Coca Cola in Australia.

Building on the idea of the Happiness Machine, the Coke Machine Fairy is placing special 'winning' bottles of Coke around Sydney.

The 'Fairy' checks into a venue, announces it on Foursquare and twitter, and then the first person to get to the Coke machine and find the bottle gets the prize.  In face they've set up the Coke machines as entities in twitter, which is very smart.  See one here.

Here's an example:  Yesterday a bottle was dropped off near Chinatown at 6.27pm. It was found by 6.31.  Quick work!  The prize was a $300 voucher at General Pants.  Here's the winner:

Excellent stuff.  You can really see this creating a buzz.  Yes, it does 'borrow' massively from the Jimmy Choo campaign, but there shouldn't be any shame in that.  Great campaigns (& Jimmy Choo had a great campaign) will always inspire others.

Destroyer Burrito - Nike with twitter, Facebook Places and a food truck

This is a brilliant and innovative use of multiple technologies:

Nike created a special treat for their fans in Portland.  They tweeted a message to followers of Nike Sportswear to go to the Koi Fusion food truck near to Portland University, check in using Facebook Places, and request a Destroyer Burrito from the truck.

Wrapped in the usual burrito foil was...  a free Nike jacket.  It doesn't say, but I'm assuming it was free. 

I love this because it's clever, it's simple, it's controllable (only a certain number of items to give away), and it's the first use (I think) of the phenomenon of food trucks in America as a distribution channel.  It's also the first (I think) use of Facebook Places for marketing.  Finally, it uses passwords (Destroyer Burrito) in real life, which I think has huge potential.  Hmmm. 

More info here:

Google Instant with Tom Lehrer

Brilliant ugc to illustrate how Google Instant works.

Dare I say it's far better than Google's own version?

Also - Billy Joel version

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Coca-Cola Happiness Machine (UK)

This is a follow up to the original video from January, this time at a London University.

Like the original, it's excellent.  (Students go mad for free stuff!)

It begs the question: How many other 'social' or viral campaigns have transferred well across countries, with different or altered executions?  Most of the really famous ones (all of them?) seem to just to be aimed at one country.

Axe/Lynx is one that does seems to do it well.  The main theme is always the same, but localised to different markets.

Interactive ad for John Lewis

Spotted today on the re-launched Telegraph Fashion site:

Very good!

Who Killed Deon?

A new set of videos on YouTube & Facebook from the Metropolitan Police, promoting the concept of 'Joint Enterprise':

"Joint Enterprise means that if your presence, knowledge or actions lead to a serious crime such as murder you too could be charged with murder.
You don’t have to pull the trigger or stab somebody to be charged with murder. It could be supplying the weapon or driving the killer to the crime scene knowing that something bad is going to happen.
Always think about company - who you’re with and what their intentions are, the choices you make and the consequences of not making the right decision."

Watch the first video, then watch the individual stories of each of the main players.  Can you guess who killed Deon?  & who's getting charged with murder?

(In fact you can only watch the individual videos on Facebook...)
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