Friday, December 23, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 23rd December

This Tumblr of very low key rock & roll anecdotes

Tim Minchin's Woody Allen Jesus song.  I can see why ITV didn't want it in a prime time show two days before Christmas, but now lots of people are hearing it anyway.  It might even work better on YouTube, and I'm sure it would sell a lot of copies if it was available as a download.

This terrifying mountain biking video.  Dear mountain bikers, I think of your mothers...

Jon Spira's excellent documentary Anyone Can Play Guitar, all about the Oxford music scene, and featuring Ride, Supergrass and Radiohead.  It's also a great example of how creative communities work; the scene revolved around a venue that all the bands played in.  There was also lots of movement between the main and peripheral bands.  A lot like lots of other creative communities.  Watch it!

The Divine Comedy's song Gin Soaked Boy.  Is there a better 'list' song?  Is there a better final couple of lines?

Oh - and my new 'long skinny' scarf from Tallulah and Hope!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Four companies Marc Andreessen talks about

Marc Andreessen was one of the writers of Mosaic and one of the founders of Netscape.  Since then he's been actively involved in lots of businesses, as an entrepreneur and an investor.  He's definitely someone worth listening to.

In CNET yesterday he was interviewed about future trends and predictions.  The whole article is essential reading, and I wanted to list some of the companies he talks about.  All are potentially changing and disrupting the online world:

Fab is an ecommerce site.  It sells niche homewares, for members only.  When you join you're given access to the curated sales, but also given a percentage of sales from items that you share, and also from what people that you sign up buy.  You can also get inspiration from what other people are buying, a bit like Pinterest.

Uber is a taxi service.  Request a car (an American Town Car, rather than a taxi, and then track it online as it comes to you.  You can also work out the cost online, and cleverly they charge you based on their distance or time taken for the journey, according to the speed of the car.  If the car is going at more than 11mph they charge by distance, if it's less than that they charge by time spent.

TaskRabbit is an online services company, a bit like Zaarly.  Find people to do small jobs for you, like deliveries, household chores, or even virtual assistance.  All people offering to do the tasks are vetted by the company, and rated by members.

Shopkick is like a rewards-based Foursquare. Get rewards for visiting stores, checking in, or by scanning barcodes of specific items.  They've just launched this promo with Visa:

Please read the full article - lots and lots to think about!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lands' End Canvas promotion on Pinterest

Pinterest has been around for a bit over a year, and I think this is the first marketing campaign to use it.

Pinterest is a visual bookmarking site.  You can save images on different 'boards' and see other people's saved images for inspiration.  I think it's been one of the hits of the year; some of the users have thousands of  items 'pinned', and I've come across lots of non-geeky people who use it.

Lands' End Canvas are using Pinterest to spread the word about their collection and their presence on the site.

For the next few days they're encouraging people to pin some of the Lands' End images to their own Lands' End boards, in a competition they're calling Pin It to Win It.  The owners of the most creative boards will win a prize.  (What's in it for Lands' End is that pictures and links to their clothes are shared, and will be seen by many of the people who subscribe to the entrants' pages)

See the full ts & cs here.

Here are a couple of examples of boards people have made to enter the competition - The Budget Babe's board, and Susan Henry's board.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 16th December

The brilliant 'Pst a Pudding' service from The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.  Very fast delivery (& the box says 'Warning:  Contents Irresistible'

The self explanatory site You Park Like a C***.  Wonder if this'll be turned into a book.

This lovely interactive Christmas card

& this, probably the strangest site you'll see all week...

12 Trends for 2012

Here's my new Trends presentation.

I've been doing predictions for the past few years now, and since my Next Generation Media presentations have proved to be popular I decided to do this as a presentation.

I look at the things that will be more popular next year.  None of them are that surprising (although maybe they are - I'm very close to this sort of stuff), but they're all trends that will grow a lot next year.

Here are the 12 trends:

Mobile Commerce
Mobile Payments
Mobile + TV
Connected TV
Mobile in China, India & Africa
Mobile's Threat to Other Services
Ecosystems & Walled Gardens
Real Time Bidding & Automation
Education Enabled
Hijacks & Guerrilla Marketing
'eBay' for Services

Bohemian Hangouts

I'd love to see this actually work...

More ads for the new Galaxy Nexus here

Converse Create

Converse Create is an interesting take on FCommerce (Facebook Commerce).  Instead of just being able to buy Converse shoes on Facebook, you can design your own, and then sell them to others.

It's reminiscent of the Kaiser Chiefs stunt from earlier in the year, although likely to attract more participation because people are probably more passionate about sneakers than Kaisers!

But it also reminded me of something else:  In 2008 Keds did the same thing, but without Facebook.  They let fans create and sell their own shoes through Zazzle.  I don't know how well it worked for Keds, but the ubiquity of Facebook, and the tools they offer, make this much more likely to be a success on Facebook, I think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stephen Fry leverages his followers to promote Sherlock Holmes

The second Guy Richie Sherlock Holmes film, A Game of Shadows, is out in the UK on Friday.

To help promote it the film company have persuaded Stephen Fry to post a daily puzzle to his 3.5m followers on Twitter.  This is very smart, because the official account for Sherlock Holmes 2 has only 3,600 followers.

Fry is in the film, as Mycroft, and is a huge Holmes fan.  When he was Celebrity Mastermind a few years ago he chose Holmes as his specialist subject.  (Amazingly he didn't win; he hadn't revised enough and didn't remember all the details).

For the past few days Fry has been tweeting teasers to his followers at 2.21 precisely (geddit? - It's Holmes address in Baker Street).  Followers need to answer correctly tweeting with the hashtag #GameOfShadowsUK and @-ing one of the partners - @BleedingCool, @LoveFilm, @IGNUK, @DigitalSpy, @msnmoviesuk, @HeatWorld, and @HeyUGuys

Here are Fry's tweets:

The first person to get the correct answer (including the hashtag, and @-ing a media partner) each day wins a prize.

I think this is a very inventive use of Twitter to create anticipation for the film (& I'd love to know how much Fry got paid / or how it was tied into his contract for doing the film.)

Friday, December 09, 2011

Things I love - Friday 9th December

A slightly longer one this week, to make up for not doing it last week (too busy)

The delicious beers made by Fyne Ales in Scotland.  Great customer service too.  Buy a case or two for Christmas - for yourself or as a present - you know you want to!

This excellent mashup of the best film trailers from this year.  I need to see more films!

& speaking of mashups...  We used this at the pub quiz I run (1st Sunday of the month) - teams had to identify both artists from 10 mashups.  This was the best one:

The Procatinator

This QR Tattoo - it plays a random link each time.  Try explaining this to your grandchildren though!

These Christmas cards from Ham.  Officially this year's cutest cards!

Amazon's Price Check Day

This is possibly the most blatant attempt yet to get people to use stores for browsing, but buy online.

Tomorrow in the US Amazon is offering 5% off on up to 3 items when people scan in store with their apps.  Items will include electronics, sportswear, music, DVDs and toys.  I think the stores must be furious.  (Best Buy has even been reported as removing bar codes from some items to stop in-store scanning)

Discussion (& hat tip) on Metafilter

Update - some coverage of the stores' reactions here

Embedding Tweets

The new Twitter makes it possible to embed tweets - for example:
Cool, huh?

Simply 'open' the tweet, click on 'details', and then 'embed this tweet'

More info at the Twitter developer blog

Thursday, December 08, 2011

New Twitter

It seems only a few months ago that Twitter had a major re-design; now they're having another one.  (In fact it was probably over two years ago)

Watch the video

& read more about it here.

It's much richer, and much more visual.  I think it will also differentiate the mobile and desktop experiences a lot more.  It seems sensible, as Twitter changes its demographic.  Nowadays, as I've mentioned before, the trending topics are frequently dominated by teenage concerns, particularly (in the UK) One Direction.  I'm expecting this re-design to cause lots of grumbles from oldies like me, but the younger people will probably love it even more.

Update - here's an article that argues the same thing, but much better:  New York Times - A Twitter for my Sister


"So why the big redesign that was unveiled on Thursday? The answer comes down to one thing: my sister.
As I wrote earlier this year, Twitter has had a problem trying to become relevant to new users who find it confusing. I came to this realization when I watched my sister try to use Twitter. She, along with dozens of other readers I have spoken with, simply didn’t understand how to use the service and found it incredibly confusing.
Specifically, non-techies find the @ and # symbols don’t make much sense. Twitter has known this, but couldn’t exactly remove them from the service, after all, these symbols have become the fundamentals of Twitter’s entire communications system. Removing these key characters would be like removing numbers from a telephone.
That’s where the new Twitter comes in. The company had to figure out a way to keep the site running for people who are more technologically adept and for those who understand and rely on the @ and # symbols to use the service. But, it also must make sense for those who think these characters are used as substitutes for swear words in comic strips."

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Old Spice for Christmas

The Old Spice guy returns, as MANta Claus:

Personal messages to bloggers and online celebrities with gifts,

Plus gifts for whole nations

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

YouTube premium channels launch: Kin Community

Kin is one of YouTube's new premium content channels.  It's aimed at mothers, and all content is made by YouTube's partners.

You can see examples of the videos:



Two other strands, Parenting and Stories are coming soon.

Full story on AdAge

Monday, December 05, 2011

eBay - Donate Christmas gifts from your smartphone

This is a really good initiative from eBay in the US.  They have set up shop windows in New York and San Francisco, showcasing a number of toys.  QR codes next to the toys let people buy them, not for themselves, but to give to charity.

As we saw last year & this, mobile can be a real driver for donations.  If you make it easy & convenient for people to donate, people are more likely to do it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

"A seat of learning worthy of the Anunaki"

Well done to the University of Huddersfield for this very entertaining promo video.  Perfect for the target market, and it also gives you an informative tour of the campus!


Liz: 2 friends in common

You've got to love the ingenuity of the people making ads online - even if they are completely untrue.

Strangely this one appeared on a page of the online news site The Drum.  You can see that its from the Google ad network - the little box in the top right hand corner lets you set your targeting preferences.

Still - at least it's not quite as bad as this one:

Please tell me it's not just me that gets these!
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