Monday, December 31, 2007

Predictions for 2008

A few personal predictions for 2008:

Firstly, take it for granted that the number of internet users, mobile ussers, PVR users and braodband users will go up, as will the amount of money spent in both advertising and also purchasing online.

Main predictions -

The Google Doubleclick deal will be approved in Europe, as it has been in the US, and this will shake up display advertising. Network inventory will become more valuable as Google (& others) develop more sophisticated ways to target consumers. At some point in the future when you arrive at a page the ad server will decide to show you an ad based on either a) what pages you have previously viewed, b) what search result took you to the page, c) the content of the page you are on, or d) your geographical location. I have also heard rumours that if (when) the deal goes through some major sites will refuse to take Doubleclick tags, as it will let Google indirectly see how much traffic they are getting, what their click rates are etc, so expect major standoffs. & journalists will still fail to understand what ad serving is, and why it is important - for example The Observer this weekend still referred to Doubleclick as an advertising company.

Social networking will grow, but many individual social networks will decline. From the industry data I've seen some of the big players are at or near saturation point in major markets - can they really get over 40% reach in markets in a month? Also, people will get bored of what is on offer. I know I visit the sites less often - do you too?

Gaming will become even more interactive, with the launch of 3 new games next year - the Wii Fit (a foot-controller for the Wii), Rockband (like Guitar Hero, but for 4 players), and the all-conquering Grand Theft Auto 4.

In mobile, other handset manufacturers will try to catch the iPhone with new handsets, and Apple will launch a greatly enhanced new iPhone.

More bands will do a Radiohead, and release music directly to fans. Trent Reznor of the NIN has a good business model - the music for free, a higher quality version, with artwork etc for a fee.

Digital media in Asia will grow faster than in Europe, with the effect of the Olympics, and also the continuation of current trends - for example India added more mobile subscribers in 2006 than the UK has in total.

New Web 2.0 companies will continue to be bought for amazing amounts - $300m for Digg anyone?

& some company that we have never heard of will be on everyone's lips by the end of the year, showing that the continuation of innovation in digital media.

Monday, December 17, 2007

ASCII search ads for Sixt

This is genius, and I'd love to know if anyone has ever tried this before.

The phrase for Car Rental in Germany is Mietwagen, and this yields many, many paid search results, all looking pretty similar.

So Jung vin Matt, agency for Sixt, created some search ads in ASCII code - leading to far higher standout.

See full info here

Thanks to my colleague Peter Horvath at Kirowski for telling me about this!

Monday, December 10, 2007

3 Skypephone Competition

Regular readers will remember that I recently featured a quick & positive review of the new 3 Skypephone.

The good people at 3 have now been even more generous, and are giving you the chance to win some of these to make Skype calls yourselves.

The winner of the competition gets three 3 Skypephones, the runner up gets two, and the person in third place gets one. Here, niftily copied from the email they sent me, is what you have to do:

You need to tell 3 why you want a 3 Skypephone – and it can be done however you want as long as it can be linked to. For example, it could be a blog post, forum thread or simple webpage, a picture or a set on Flickr (here’s something 3mobilebuzz knocked together, a link to a YouTube video (can you do better than this?) or even a Facebook group where 100 friends sign up and support the quest for a 3 Skypephone. The more creative the better.

The only rules are: the content needs to be original, not ripped off an insignificant YouTuber (they’ll know because you have to tag all your videos 3mobilebuzzcomp1!), and the URL of the site which brought the competition to entrants attention needs to be included on the entry
email - i.e. . The deadline for submissions is midday on Monday 17^th December.

Entries must be sent to the hallowed keeper of prizes, enforcer of rules and judge of all (it says here), .

As always 3 will keep everyone updated as to the best submissions via

3 await your gems of creativity in the name of free goods!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Supergrass Secret Gig

This is a good example of how bands can use the internet to organise special, low profile shows.

Supergrass have a new album out next year, and the first single from it Diamond Hoo Ha Man comes out soon.

To promote this two members of Supergrass are playing a series of low key gigs under the name Diamond Hoo Ha Men. They've set up a MySpace page for this band here , with Supergrass as the first friend, and also leaked news to the NME, and to their fan forum

At time of writing tickets for the main London gig at Madame Jo Jo's have now all gone (but I got one - woo!)

What I like about this is that anyone who was a fan could get involved (tickets didn't sell out for a few days), without using the name of the band explicitly outside of niche channels. OK, it's not the full band, but it should be a great show for any fans of the band. Also, in the week that Radiohead announced tickets for a giant gig in Victoria Park, it was possible to get tickets for this much more intimate event.

Fingers crossed for a great gig!

Monday, December 03, 2007


I was at a conference about online video today, and someone predicted that in a few years time 80% of the online video content will be professionally produced, because people will get bored of other people's home made stuff(aka User Generated Content)

I totally disagree with this. I think YouTube and other video sites have shown how keen people are to make and share their own content. It really doesn't matter if it's any good or not, because that is a very subjective judgement. People always think that the user generated content is dogs on skateboards, kids hanging around in the park, or similar, but it's actually far more complex, and is driven by interests and passions.

For example... I'm learning the guitar, and I've just discovered the whole subculture of guitar videos online, where people have posted video lessons of how to play different songs, and how to do different techniques.

One site that collates these is TubeGuitar - To me, trying to learn how to play a blues riff, or the intros to popular songs, this is far better quality content than the professionally produced stuff, and the fact that it is made by enthusiastic amateurs makes it better.

I've only just discovered this subculture and any trawl of YouTube will show that the breadth of material is beyond anything anyone could have imagined a couple of years ago. So will the user generated stuff only make up 20% of this content in a few years time? No chance.

(As a slight aside, this ten minute lesson on playing the blues on ukulele is one of the best things I've ever seen on YouTube. With kids in British schools now being taught the uke in music lessons (instead of recorders and violins), expect some incredible guitar bands in about ten years or so.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Shopping - Vouchers for Borders, Gap and Selfridges

Continuing with my spate of frequent blogging (& also partly as an experiment to see how much traffic this will bring in), here are links to 3 money off vouchers for UK retail stores. But beware - these all expire on on the 2nd or 3rd of December, so hurry!

These vouchers are a great way of driving footfall, and high internet penetration in the UK, and especially in London, ensures that they get passed around.

So - here are the vouchers for:

Borders - 25% off, expires Monday 3rd December

Gap - 30% off, expires 2nd December (via Simon Wakeman's blog)

Selfridges - 20% off, valid from Friday 30th November - Sunday 2nd December

Update -

Threshers too - 40% off wine & champagne valid until the 9th December

Further Update - 20% off at House of Frazer valid until Sunday 9th December

& there's more - 10% off at Debenhams valid until Sunday 9th December

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New 3 Skypephone

I've recently been trialling the new Skypephone from 3 - and I'm really impressed.

The Skypephone is the first hybrid mobile and Skype device. It looks just like a normal mobile - see a picture of it in the mess that is my desk (above) - but with a button that allows you to connect directly to Skype.

Once you've signed in to your Skype account it works seamlessly, allowing you to call Skype contacts directly with the handset.

So far so good. But it gets better. I'd assumed that I'd need to be in Bluetooth range of my laptop (my main Skype connection) for it to work, but it actually works anywhere where there is connectivity through 3. Very, very impressive.

My only issue is that I don't know enough people on Skype (most of my friends are on other IM platforms, and I don't use much VOIP), but for people with large Skype contact lists this phone would be perfect.

You can read more about other people's views on the Skypephone at the official 3 blog here

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Three Thoughts About Social Networking

Three thoughts about social networking, partly driven by the Mashup event I went to last night

1 - Social networks are like fashionable bars - it's where the cool people hang out this year, but next year they'll find a new place to go.

2 - The great line from Brideshead (I must find the exact quote) "I spent most of my second term at Oxford studiously avoiding the friends that I'd made in the first term"

3 - If you were a 13 year old girl and had a 17 year old brother who was on Bebo, would you also join Bebo? No, neither would I. (Apols to Bebo - I could have used any example).

I thiknk what all three of these thoughts mean is that social networking will continue as a trend, but there will be a lot of churn between the different networks, just as there is with other media types, like Lads Mags in the UK from the 1990s to the current day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mighty Boosh Shopfront off Brick Lane

I saw this really innovative media placement at the weekend - a painted over shopfront with two large video screens promoting the new series and DVD for the British comedians The Mighty Boosh. (Or here for Wikipedia - their site is a little bit slow to load)

Really eyecatching, and just round the corner from Sunday Upmarket, so the perfect place to attract the attention of people who are likely to be Boosh fans!

Great video of it here

Facebook Activists against The Golden Compass

Next month the first film of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is releases, and already campaigns against it are gaining momentum on Facebook.

In the books there is a strong anti-religious theme, and while this has been reportedly toned down for the film some Christians are very worred about the possible impact that this message could have on children. More background to the book and the controversy here

Facebook has become one of the focal points in the campaign against the film, and the largest group - Do NOT Support The Golden Compass - has doubled in members in the last week, now standing at 40,000 strong.

To quote the summary of the group:

"THE GOLDEN COMPASS, a new movie targeted at children, will be released
December 7, 2007. This movie is based on a the first book of a trilogy
by atheist Philip Pullman. In the final book a boy and girl kill God
so they can do as they please. Pullman left little doubt about his
intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "My books are about
killing God."
The movie is a watered down version of the first book and is designed
to be very attractive in the hope unsuspecting parents will take their
children to see the the movie and that the children will want the
books for Christmas.
The movie has a well known cast, including Nicole Kidman, Kevin Bacon,
and Sam Elliott. It will probably be advertised extensively, so it is
crucial that we get the word out to warn people to avoid this movie."

40,000 is a strong level of support for a movement on Facebook, and this will no doubt grow significantly as the release date approaches. Facebook doesn't allow users to see where group members are from en masse, but I'm guessing that most are Americans. Expect a lot more fuss, and some organised protests from this group in the month to come.

Incidentally this also shows how Web 2.0 channels have taken over from the Web 1.0 channels - a couple of petitions exist online (unless you know of more), but so far they only have a few hundred signatures

Sheffield United - Brilliant User Generated Example

I've not idea who is behind the parody versions of the German film Downfall, but they are classic examples of user generated content, and while very tasteless this one reminds me a lot of the sort of humour that appeared in Viz at it's peak. Very tasteless, also not respectful of copyright laws, but (to me anyway) very funny...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Let's not get carried away with blogging

A confession - I love what we in the business call social media, but let's not get carried away with the power of all social media. Last week I was at a conference in Barcelona where many of the panelist spoke about bloggers as if they were a huge army (11% of all those online blog, according to one presentation), but in my experience the number of 'real' bloggers is substancially smaller.

For example, we recently tried to contact some bloggers to talk to them about digital music. You'd have thought, given the stats, that it would be easy to find people in the UK who blog about digital music, and MP3 players, but it was actually really hard, because so many of the blogs we saw wer not 'real' (or rather did not suit our purpose) because they were:

1 - not updated regularly
2 - very off-topic
3 - completely unread (or rather no one had ever commented)
4 - spam exercises to get high rankings for words like iPod
5 - professionally run operations with infrastuctures (Engadget officially counts as a blog), rather than personal endevours

Yes, there are 'real' blogs out there in the UK, but they tend to be about either politics, marketing (like this one), or very geeky technology. The idea that there are millions of people writing daily accounts of their lives that other millions are reading is a bit of a myth, at least according to my experience.

What you do get, however, is lots of people contributing to social media in other ways, like posting reviews, and especially talking in forums and in social networks. That stuff is real.

In the days of the dotcom boom I used to use a 'Craig Test' when deciding whether to buy tech shares or not. That is, would any one other than my mate Craig (Hi Craig!) actually bother to use this? In such a way I managed to avoid investing in shares like Scoot, and The Money Channel (& Calluna for the real obscurists out there), but managed to do pretty well on Pace (set top boxes), TrafficMaster (traffic info) and Baltimore (encryption). But I'm glad I cashed in even on those in early 2001.

These days I try to imagine if my mate Jon (Hi Jon!) would use different sources of social media. I've had long debates with him about the point of blogs (which he sees little point in), while he has become a very keen Facebook user in the last few months. The point is that some parts of social media are more mainstram than others, and let's not get carried away with the potential power of things called blogs, while a lot of the real power is with more mass market things. (In fact Jon probably uses a 'Dan Test' - is this something that only someone like Dan would do?)

I would say that it is currently hard to overstate the power of things like football forums, Amazon reviews, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace, but let's not get too carried away with blogs, unless you're after certain audiences, like, but not exclusively, media, movies, technology and politics.

Update - I should have also mentioned that there are brilliant 'real' food blogs, like the amazing Tamarind and Thyme, and many of the other blogs that appear in her blogroll. This is a perfect example of what I was moaning about the lack of earlier - dedicated amateur, spreading opinions and knowledge, regularly. But, as i said, these are sadly few and far between, except in certain areas.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Boots & Beer

Going through my links from my holiday, I found this - the annual Boots & Beer Walking Festival, organised by the Black Sheep Brewery in North Yorkshire.

Pretty simple concept - a weekend of walking and drinking, raising money for good causes. Sponsored by Country Walking Magazine, this looks like a lot of fun. More than 300 took part, and along with the walking they had a pub quiz (hooray!), and a folk evening. You can keep your Innocent Village Fete!

Black Sheep is one of my favourite breweries not just for the beer, but for their independent spirit (they started when the founder Paul Theakston left the family brewer Theakson after they were taken over by S&N in the late 1980s). The keep up the tradition of doing special deition beers, and it's always good to see their beers in pubs and supermarkets in the South.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quiz Question - who owns the URL

Answer - The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Cumbria

Bear Cottage, Marsett

This is totally off-topic, but I wanted to give a quick plug for a cottage that I stayed in on holiday last week.

Bear Cottage in Marsett is the nicest holiday accomodation I've ever stayed in. Normally with holiday cottages you get tatty old furniture - basically the stuff that the owners don't want in their own houses any more. Bear Cottage is full of brand new, tasteful stuff (beds, sofas, tables, TV, kitchen), and beautifully decorated throughout.

It is a converted cow shed, but the conversion gave the owners to flexibility to get everything the way they wanted it, so the downstairs is very much like an upmarket studio, while the 3 bedrooms upstairs are very snug and cosy.

The location is good too - in North Yorkshire, near to Hawes, and within easy striking distance of both the Yorkshire moors and the Lake District. I can't recommend it enough! (But I should warn you that it has no internet connection, and no mobile reception!)

Let me know by emailing me or leaving a comment if you'd like to know how to book.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marketing by giving it away free

Two recent examples of this, and I'm sure it will become an even bigger trend in the future.

First, in music, with Radiohead's excellent In Rainbows album being given away for free (or more depending on the buyers conscience), but also selling physical 'disc boxes' (the music on vinyl in nice packaging) for £40. Plus it creates a lot of marketing to help Radiohead do an advantageous distribution deal for CDs in shops before Christmas.

Second, in publishing, for the book Cooking With Booze, where you can actually read and print all the recipes (or rezzipees, as my friend Simon calls them) online, while promoting a wonderful looking book of them which I'm sure will find its way under many Christmas trees this year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New UK Artois site

I've just seen the new 'Artois' site for the UK.

I like it - nice visuals and music - and it also lets you see some of the classic old ads (Jean de Florette style), and play an interactive beer pouring game.

My only real criticism would be the lack of deep linking, and the opeing of a new window for every page. If it allowed deep linking, I could post a direct link to the ads, but I can't, so you'll have to find your own way there!

UPDATE - ok - the penny's finally dropped. Artois can't legally deep link into the site as visitors have to go through age verification before they see the content. So no real criticisms then, but what a bummer for usability!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Two New Stop Motion Ads - Human Flipbook and Sony Bravia

You wait ages for a stop motion ad to come along - and then two come along at once:

First is the Human Flipbook for the Erbert & Gerbert sandwich chain in the US which is such a perfect idea. In it a story is told by using t-shirts instead of pages in a flipbook, with 150 shirts being shot one after each other. This is brilliantly executed, and they've also done a making of video, but the actual story in the flip book is a bit of a let down (which is often true of flipbooks). You're really far more interested in the shirts than the story.

Second is the new ad for Sony Bravia in their 'Colour Like No Other' series using play-doh rabbits in New York, and using She's a Rainbow, a relatively unknown Brian Jones era Rolling Stones song, as the soundtrack. While this is visually stunning, it's less innovative and a less brilliant idea than the t-shirts, but it's still completely wonderful.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Led Zeppelin Vs the Ticket Touts

Led Zep are playing a one off gig at the O2 Arena in London on November 26th, in tribute to their friend Ahmet Ertegun.

One night, 25,000 tickets, and then that's it. Tickets were priced at £125 each, and given out by ballot, with people signing up at a special website. Supposedly millions sighed up, and by now the lucky few have been informed, while the rest of us have been disappointed.

Ticket touts are very interested by this event, because of the uniqueness of the gig, and the scarcity of the tickets. So many bands have been inspired by Led Zep, and many of the original fans fromthe 60s and 70s are now pretty wealthy people.

So how are they stopping people touting the tickets? It's all very complicared, and involves passcodes, photo IDs, wrist bands and tickets.

From the confirmation email, posted up on Ebay:

1. You have 72 hours to book and pay for your tickets.
2. Your individual passcode can only be used once and will be invalid after the deadline as mentioned above has passed.
3. NO tickets will be mailed out. All concert goers must pick up their tickets and non-transferable wristbands in advance of the show at the O2 Arena between 10am and 6pm on Sunday 25th November and between 10am and 6pm on Monday 26th November. To avoid long queues on the day of the show you are strongly urged to pick up your tickets and wristbands on Sunday 25th November or arrive as early as possible on Monday 26th November, please be aware that ticket collection will be busy at peak times and you should anticipate having to wait to be served.
4. To collect the tickets each original purchaser and the person accompanying them to the show must be present in order to pick up the tickets and wristbands. NO EXCEPTIONS
5. Each original purchaser must provide the actual credit card used for the purchase along with valid state-issued PHOTO ID in order to receive the tickets and non-transferable wristbands. All wristbands will be fitted immediately.
6. There will be no exceptions to the above, no name changes or letters of authorisation will be accepted under any circumstances.
7. On the night of the show EVERYONE will be required to present BOTH the WRISTBAND and TICKET for entrance to the show. Wristbands must NOT be removed or tampered with prior to entering the show or your access will be refused. Original ticketholders must bring photo ID to the show as they may be required to present it upon entry to the venue.
8. The original conditions of sale will be enforced. These tickets are non-transferable and any resale will void the transaction without refund.
9. If you book the tickets and are unable to attend we will refund the face value of the tickets (£125 per ticket) if you contact us before the 20th October 2007. No refunds will be accepted after this date

It sounds like this is going to be pretty hard to get round, but people are trying, both on Ebay (The passcodes to buy tickets going for typically £250-£300), and on special ticket sites like

Sunday, September 30, 2007

No Gray In My Day

As I was walking near Liverpool Street today I found a new gallery, run by the artist Roger Malloy.

Roger has renovated a building and turned it into a gallery selling his photos and other work by other artists. It's great because it is just a few rooms with photos and larger prints stuck to the wall. I bought a couple of the photos, and he just pulled them off the wall and gave them to me.

Please visit his site, No Gray in My Day, and buy some of his work. This site is another example of something simple but effective, and here's hoping that the gallery goes from strength to strength.

Meindl Boots

A lot of the examples on this site are of very flashy websites which really innovate. However companies don't need to innovate, they just need to provide clear information.

Which is why I like this very clear and comprehensive site for Meindl, a company in Germany that makes walking boots (& yes, I have just bought some).

I like the common sense approach, the sections on the company history and philosophy, how to care for your boots, and the FAQs.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Gorilla Variations

Like most people I know I really love the new viral film for Cadbury's Dairy Milk - the one where the gorilla drums to 'In The Air Tonight'

However two weeks since I first saw it it is really showing how inspired it was, as you can see from these versions that other people have made:

So here is the same film in different forms:

Bonnie Tyler

Deep Purple

50 Cent

X-Factor Audition

Toy Version

Thursday, September 06, 2007

RAC Great Car Cover Up

Here is a really great bit of work from glue London, one of Isobar's agencies:

"glue London have launched an online viral to raise awareness of RAC’s Car Data Check product which now costs only £5. which is running until 4th October, gives consumers the chance to win one of three mystery cars - a stunning convertible worth tens of thousands of pounds, a guaranteed head turner or a complete dud. But which is which? The website provides footage of the three cars that have their identities concealed. They have been filmed in a secret London location, and users are asked to text their choice of car A, B or C for just £1, of which all the profits from the competition will go to the road safety charity, Brake. The winners of each car will be chosen at random and asked to pick up their car at the Grand Reveal which will be filmed on the 17th October and shown on the website.

Users are able to view the three mystery cars by looking at three different camera angles and they are also able to view Mike the security guard keeping an eye over the cars. The website offers consumers a free bonus entry into the prize draw if they send on the competition details to their friends, as well as a car popularity graph so that they can see which car is receiving the most votes."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seeqpod - Musical Search

This is great - a search engine just for music. Find and listen to what you want, for free.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Travel Resources Pt 2

I'm now back from my travels, and I've got a couple of things to add to this...

1 - Once at your destination pick up any fliers you can to find great nights out, espcially those that have URLs on them, then look to see if the places any good. also buy listings mags - many of these are still far more comprehensive in printed form than online.

As an comment on this, and also the Delicious search tips that I put in last time, you can se why places that want to appeal to the public need an address online.

For example, it's easier for me to recommend The Bird, a buger bar in Berlin (best burger I've ever had) because it's got a website. Similarly Kaffee Burger, a great venue, where I saw an Elvis tribute act on Elvis' "30th Deathday".

But it's much harder for me to recommend The Live & Let Live, the best pub in Cambridge, as it has no web presence. OK, I can link to these sorts of sites, but this info is not controlled by the pub, and given that the pub usually has about ten different draught beers on offer, there is no shortage of stuff that they could put up.

2 - Sometimes you can't get online, so mobile services like AQA can be a godsend. I never tried it for 'what's the best gig on tonight in Hamburg' but it was great for train times at short notice.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Travel Resources

About 5 years ago I arrived in Australia for a few months with a big fat copy of Let's Go Austalia in my bag. I ended up dumping it pretty quickly, because I found that all I really needed was Google. Hostel in Freemantle? Check. Train times for the Ocean Pacific? Check. Good bars in Cairns? Check.

But recently I've been using Google far less for travel because of two new discoveries.

Gridskipper - the quirky, original travel blog has been around for about 3 years, but its new re-design focusses on maps. & since I'm off to Berlin soon, and they seem to have one posting on Berlin every day, it's been essential reading

Delicious - again I've been using delicious for a couple of years, but it's only recently that I've started to search it. For example, if you put Berlin Bars in the search box (without + signs or "quotes" - just berlin bars) it shows you all of the sites tagged by members with those two terms. Obviously this depends on second guessing the tags that other people use, but with a bit of playing around you should get some good answers, and of course you can see how many people have saved each link.

No Catch - Sustainable Farmed Cod

I recently read the book Cod, by Mark Kurlansky, about the impact this amazing fish had had on the world (early US settlers survived on it, for example), and the problems of overfishing.

I was doing a bit of research to try to find an update on this, as the book was published ten years ago, and in doing so I found this site for No Catch, a British sustainable food company that farms cod in sea pens.

The site is pretty funky (the videos in some sections are downright weird), and it gives a lot of information, including a background to the company, a comprehensive list of stockists, and a small but very inviting set of recipes.

Friday, August 03, 2007


This is one of the best things I've seen in ages. It's a Google Maps mashup that shows the amenities (bars, restaurants, parks, bookshops, grocery shops etc) local to any address, and then calculates a 'Walkscore' - how much stuff is within walking distance. It seems to work fo r all countries where Google Maps works.

So effectively it's a proxy of a fun index. For example my parents' house has a score of 12%, while my flat has a score of 68%, and my office near Covent Garden has a score of 92%.

It also now finally visualises my statement of how many bars, restaurants, takeaways etc there are near my flat. It would also be vital for house hunting, given your lifestyle and how much of a wild time you want to have in your new home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Become an Organ Donor

This is a bit of an off topic post.

Last night I want to a talk about Heart Transplants at the Wellcome Institute in London. I don't know anyone who has had a heart transplant, but I was born with two holes in the heart, which were operated on successfully when I was four, so the topic interests me.

About halfway through the talk I realised that I did not have a current donor card. but now you don't need one - you can do it all online, and register on a database that also can be accessed by medical authorites if anything happens to you abroad.

Please take a couple of minutes to sign up here at the site.

It's one of the best things you can do today. One of the speakers last night, John Fisher, had a transplant seven years ago and is now one of the most inspiring, full of life people you could ever meet. The main thing preventing more transplants is the lack of donors, so if you feel strongly, but have not yet got round to doing it, do it today.

(Usual service of strange websites and unusual ads will resume next week!)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Simpsons Movie MSN Emoticons

I've just found these new Live Messenger bits for The Simpsons Movie.

Winks, emoticons, backgrounds and display pictures. Very neat!

Details here

UPDATE - this is very cool too - create your own Simpsons style avatar for your Live Messenger on the main Simpsons site here

UPDATE 2 - It seems that these have now been taken down from MSN. I don't work at MSN, so I have no way of getting them back - sorry!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Simpsons & JetBlue

I love the way the Simpsons movie is taking over real life things in the run up to the release.

First the takeover of some 7-11s in the US and turning them into Kwik-E-Marts - and now the takeover of the JetBlue airline site:

Really good stuff - found via a trip to the indispensable MovieMarketingMadness

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Clairol - Good Example of a Women's Site

One of the things that I have to do is to find good examples of online campaigns and sites. For some audiences this is easy - young men for example.

This is a good example of a site and a campaign targeting women - Clairol's Blame it on the Color in the US

Includes videos with different endings, information on colours, and a section where people can add their own stories.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

IsobarTV at Cannes

Isobar, my agency, is producing daily broadcasts from the Cannes Festival.

There's about 5 minutes of interviews and colour each day, featuring the movers and shakers - and not just the Isobar folks!

Watch it here at

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Michael Moore film Sicko on Google Video

This link will take you to a full version of the Michael Moore film Sicko on Google Video.

I've no idea how long this will be live, but if it's illegally posted (& Google Video is pretty rigerous at checking that you can post things) it's a great way of getting publicity for the film.

The stuff about the UK - which starts about 55 minutes in - is a lot more convincing in the full movie than in the 3 minute clip I'd seen before. There's also a great interview with Tony Benn about 5 mins into the UK segment.

UPDATE - ok, it was not a stunt - it's now been taken down. For what it's worth its excellent, and goes a bit like this:

MM meets people in the US without health insurance
MM talks about how Hilary Clinton tried to introduce a better healthcare system into the US, but got slagged off by medical professionals saying that this system would not work
MM then goes to Canada, the UK and France and addresses these arguments, showing that the fears are groundless. Great interview with Tony Benn at this point
MM then addresses the issue of the 911 firemen and others who are not covered by health insurance for injuries they picked up
MM takes them to Cuba for treatment
MM says "If we can take great cars from other countries & great wines, why can't we take better ways of running a health service?"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Great interactive poster ad for BBC World

(Click on the pic for a bigger version)

This is pretty old - it won an award earlier this year - but it's just hit my radar thanks to an appearance on Digg.

The campaign was to promote the launch of BBC World in America, and consisted of 4 different pictures, up in the same spot on different days, allowing passers by to vote on their perception of the picture, with live display of results.

For example:

Picture of soldiers in Iraq, with the option of Occupier or Liberator
Picture of the chinese flag, with the option of Befriend or Beware

Really great stuff, and also an illustration of how Digg can amplify relatively obscure stories, or turn trade stories into general interest stories.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rage Against The Machine

This is a great example, courtesy of my colleague Juho Koikkalainen from Finland:

Rage Against The Machine was formed in the beginning of the 90’s and it split up about five years ago as the vocalist left the band. The rest of the band formed Audioslave with the ex-Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell. Now Audioslave have come to an end as Chris Cornell wanted to concentrate on his solo carrier boosted by the recent Bond movie title song.

RATM has an enthusiastic fan base who have been waiting eagerly for the band to be re-united. Rumors started to spread as soon as Audioslave split up. RATM did one off gig in Coachella couple of months ago and video clips from that gig spread out through Youtube the next day: Here

Now there are now over 200 of those clips online. Couple of days ago this website was published -

It has only two counters and not much else. What happens when counters go to zero? No one yet knows. People are of course waiting for the news that the band has been reunited and that they would release a new album.

Here is a great campaign showing how to create buzz around a certain subject. & the NME has now picked up on the news, driving it into the mainstream media.

Thanks to Juho for this great example!

Update - it's now been revealed that the even ton the 24th August is a gig at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. With hopefully more to come.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I know this has been around for a few weeks, but it is brilliant - a live feed of photos uploaded to Flickr.

Compulsive viewing!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Battle for the Bronchs - Astralian Asthma Campaign

Australian site for GlaxoSmithKline. "The battle for the Bronchs is a battle for turf, and a battle for control over the environment"

See it here

Bronchs/Bronx - Geddit?

Thanks to my colleague Sam Tait for the tip!

Joost Banners

Joost have put these funky banners on their sites for beta testers to use.

Joostâ„¢ the best of tv and the internet

If you want an invite to use Joost please let me know!

Joostâ„¢ the best of tv and the internet

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pirate DVDs of Spider-Man 3 in the UK

This weekend I saw a huge number of people selling pirated DVDs of Spider-Man 3. There must have been about 10 different sellers around Brick Lane, in very prominent positions, and I've heard reports of other sellers wandering the streets in the West End. Where were the police? (Edit - the police have apparently raided and seized premises elsewhere in the UK, so presumably were more interested in following the sellers back to the factory than picking them up)

On a slight aside, I couldn't see any copies of Grindhouse, the new Tarantino/Rodriguez double bill that was released in the US about a month ago, and has been delayed for international release. Is it not even popular enough to interest the Pirates, or has it not been pirated yet because all the prints are still in the US?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Volvo Hunt is on again!

The global competition kicks off again on the 4th May, to coincide with the new Dsney movie Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End.

However this time the treasure is hidden beneath the sea, in a chest containing the key to a new Volvo XC90, and $50,000 in gold doubloons.

Find out more here

& here are the YouTube videos

Google Personalised Homepage - Themes Added

This might be why I had trouble with my personalised homepage last week; they've just introduced cusomisable themes.

They look very good. I've picked the cityscape, and set it for London, UK. Supposedly it will update to reflect the lighting up time and things like that, so it should get dark in about ten hours or so. Woo!

Update - ok, it seems that this has been around for a while, and I'm slow to notice it. When will they start to sell sponsored themes?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Google Personalised Homepage Wiped!

Help! About two hours ago I lost all of the content settings on my Google personalised homepage. & while I've tried putting a few back, it keeps suddenly reverting back to the most basic settings.

I know this isn't me, because I've searched and found other bloggers that this has happened to.

It's just so frustrating - about a year's worth of useful rss feeds (on two different tabs) gone - and I can't remember the addresses of some of them.

Come on Google - can you wind the tape back (or whatever) and restore them? Please? Pretty please?

Update - as of this morning it's back, so thanks Google. Made me aware of how reliant I am on this though, and how I need a backup. Netvibes anyone?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gu Puds

People always mention Innocent smoothies when they talk about modern brands that they love, but I prefer Gu Puds.

I've probably been eating these delicious little puddings for about 3 years, and they are just wonderful. Premium, but not too much so, and pretty much guaranteed to wow your guests. & now I've found that thyy've started making ice cream.

Check out their site here - and have a go at their 'decadent weekend'competition.

Unfortunately they don't allow deep linking to their site (boo to Gu!), but if you can find it have a look at the recycling section. I've never done anything that creative with the ramekins, but it's a nice feature to display.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shrek and Kellogg's

Stretching the limit of what is a digital example here, but this shot shows the on-pack promotion that for Shrek (free kids ticket) that can be found on Kellogs Rice Crispies and Frosties at the moment in the UK.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Harvey Goldsmith Vs. Big L

I really enjoyed last night's edition of Getting Your Act Together with Harvey Goldsmith on Channel 4.

Essentially the format is very similar to Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith tries to sort out an entertainer or act desparately in need of help.

This week it was slightly different, as he was trying to help commercial local radio station called Big L, based in Frinton.

While the programme is clearly edited to make Harvey Goldsmith look good (it's produced by Bob Geldof's company), the team at Big L did come across as hopeless.

They've set up a station in Frinton, a tiny seaside town, with an AM frequency, and also listening facilities on Sky Digital and online, making them technically not a local radio station. They've then staffed it with refugees from the BBC in the 1970s (Mike Read, Dave 'Diddy' Hamilton), who clearly don't realise that time has moved on. For me it really emphasised how much the media landscape had changed in the last few years.

1 - Focus groups are not bad, but they can be used badly. In their aim to set up an old fashioned radio station they had deliberately done no research, and had no musical policy apart from allowing the DJs to play what they wanted. Fine if you've got John Peel, less fine with their DJs.

2 - No one owes you a living. They had no concept of where the revenue was coming from, and no concept of why people in Frinton should listen. Their backers were not worried by the losses - stated in the show to be £50k per month - as they saw it as a start up. I've worked for companies that made no money, and they went bust, but I always prided myself on delivering more revenue than I cost. The DJs were bleating on about how hard they were working (18 hour days!) but what was the output?

3 - Marketing ideas are cheap, and you need to get the whole team behind them. Harvey's catchphrase of 'Growing Old Disgracefully' was pretty lame, as was his idea of the competition to join the mile high club. They should have brainstormed these together, rather than just had them imposed from him. (Not as bad as his idea for Saxon last week - an attempt to break the world air guitar record that went spectacularly wrong)

4 - Don't make a TV ad unless you've got lots of money. Big L seemed to waste lots of time shooting a TV ad - but how were they going to affor do get it shown? It's not even on YouTube.

5 - Don't appear on a reality show - especially not on the first series of a reality show. It was unclear who had called Harvey in, but they seemed to be under the misapprehension that he was just going to help them with some marketing ideas.

6 - Sort your website out. Their website has a listen again feature that works well, but why have the adsense ads at the top? I double they even make a fiver a week, and it just makes the enterprise look cheap.

7 - I'm Alan Partridge gets better with age. Several of the characters at the station seemed to be living their own Partridge lives, subsidised by the people bankrolling the operation. The set up at Big L would make a great sitcom.

Very entertaining show though - catch it on Channel 4's online service 4OD

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

iPhone Theme for Sony Ericsson M600i

This is very enterprising - and very cheeky!

Update - this is nothing to do with me - if you want one of these then get in touch with the YouTuber directly!

Update - Click on the video to get through to the YouTube movie, then look for a link to the YouTuber's site. Or Google it - but stop posting comments to me!

See also - Bobba - like a mobile Habbo

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Future of Online Advertising show

Update - all the tickets have now gone - thanks to all the people who entered. The answers were:

Past - AT&T
Present - Nokia
Future - 14%

I've got my hands on five tickets to The Future of Online Advertising in New York, and
I'd like to give them away to you, my readers (sorry - flights & hotels not included!). If you're interested, please email me answering the simple 'Past, Present & Future' questions below.

Past - Which telecoms client featured in the first ever banner ad in 1994?

Present - Which mobile handset manufacturer launched a new advertising service in March?

Future - According to a report from eMarketer, what % of US online ad spend will Automotive comprise in 2007 - 7%, 14% or 21%?

Five winners will be selected at random on April 18th. Please note that you must be able to travel to New York to win.

Here's the info on the event:
June 7-8, NYC

* How to guarantee the success of your online ads
* Tips for packaging your inventory and maximizing ad revenue
* Online Advertising Basics - Everything you wanted to know but were afraid
to ask
* Advertising in RSS feeds - the next big thing?
* Marketing Beyond Google, Yahoo, AOL & MSN with Scale, Quality and Safety
* It's all in the creative - how to create successful online ads
* Targeted Ad Networks - Cost Per Influence Vs. Cost Per Thousand
* Ads in Online Video - the future of interactive advertising?

* Erick Schonfeld (Business 2.0)
* Henry Copeland (Blog Ads)
* Jim Coudal (Coudal Partners)
* Mike Hudack (
* Jay Adelson (digg/revision3)
* Darren Rowse (
* Greg Stuart (IAB)
* Carla Hendra (Ogilvy)
* Matt Freeman (Tribal DDB)
* Jeremy Allaire (Brightcove)
* Chas Edwards (Federated Media)
* Steve Rubel (Edelman)
* Andrew Goodman (Page Zero)
* Michael Walrath (Right Media)
* Steve Olechowski (FeedBurner)
* Alyson Racer (New York Times)

Prime Time video shop in Berwick Street closes

I was in Soho at the weekend, and saw that the Prime Time video shop in Berwick Street had closed.

When I first moved to London I joined, and was really pleased to finally have found a video shop that stocked lots of interesting tapes, had a decent back catalogue, and even filed its videos by director (Scorsese, Hitchcock, Allen). Even cooler, David Thewlis was also member.

But now it's gone, driven out of business by a combination of

- Cheap DVDs in other stores like HMV - several listed at £3 to buy in this weekend's papers
- Free DVDs in newspapers (although this seems to be declining)
- Pirate DVDs on sale openly - 4 DVDs for £10 off Brick Lane this weekend
- Online/postal film clubs like LoveFilm.

Personally I prefer to buy DVDs these days rather than rent, and then swap them with friends. This beats rental for me because at the end of it you've got a pile of DVDs to show for your money, and I seem to get pretty little time to watch DVDs at the moment anyway.

The other thing is that Blockbuster must also be closing branches in the UK. One other DVD show local to me (Apollo on Clapham High Street) has now gone, selling off it's stock cheap, and letting people see why it went out of business - they had about 1o copies of The Calcium Kid.

My local Blockbuster doesn't even have the wherewithall to get a new copy of Pirates of The Caribbean - so anyone walking in to rent a copy one of the most successful fioms of recent years has to go elsewhere to buy one instead.

RIP Prime Time, but not the others.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Reebok RunEasy Site

Here's some fantastic work done by my colleagues at Molecular and Carat Fusion in the US for Reebok's new running campaign Run Easy. The site enables new runners as well as serious runners to share their runs with each other, but more importantly to discuss their runs and the sites and sounds along them.

Take a look and add your runs, pictures and associate play lists with those runs!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

New adidas Impossible Is Nothing Campaign - 30 Second Films

The 15" films have now come down - here is the first of the 30s - David Beckham:

& also a 5 minute montage of all the athletes:

Shaun The Sheep

I saw the first two episodes of Shaun The Sheep last night (recorded from Monday), and I really loved them. Classic kids TV - effectively silent movies about sheep, with all of the inventiveness of Wallace & Gromit. & being silent, they're going to be incredibly easy for kids to enjoy at all ages and in all languages.

They're on BBC1 at 3.45 every day - set your Sky Plus! It would also be a great idea for the BBC to repoeat them as fillers in prime time too - they're good enough.

Friday, March 02, 2007

New adidas Impossible Is Nothing Campaign

We're currently seeding these short teaser videos for the new adidas IIN campaign.

They feature successful sports stars talking about overcoming adversity.

Update - Beckham film added

Lionel Messi

Jonah Lomu

Gilbert Arenas

Alyson Felix


Friday, February 23, 2007


I bought the first issue of Monocle, the new magazine from Tyler Brule, today and really love it so far.

I say so far because it's huge, and looks like it would take a week to read properly.
What's impressed me is the gerneral look and feel of it, the fact that it's not scared to run very long articles (something other magazines really fight shy of), its really eclectic in the subjects that it covers, and the fact that it seems to be a labour of love, like all great magazines.

However what I'm scared of finding on going in deeper is:
- It'll be really right wing
- It'll be full of pairs of trousers for £750
- It'll be completely humourless and po-faced
- It'll be written by pseuds
- It'll love really terrible, dull, flavour of the month music
- It'll love the film 'Hidden'
- I won't like it

We'll see. I'll try to do an update at the weekend.

Update - 1st March.

OK - I've read it now, and i still love it.

Addressing the points one by one:

- Right wing? No, not noticably
- Trousers? Don't know, because cunningly they don't put prices in. What's even better is that the don't bore you with stockist information - if I want to find that jacket I'll find it online.
- Humourless? No, not with headlines like Kabul and Wireless about an arabic DJ
- Pseuds? No, except for the bit that said their favourite Sunday newspaper was Portugese
- Dull music? No, and in fact one of the plugged albums was one I'd already thought of buying
- Dull films? No, and they even plug Grey Gardens on DVD. Any fan of the Maysles...
- I won't like it? No, I still love it, and I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Terrible distribution though. The only place I can find it in London is the stall at Leicester Square tube station, and he's now sold out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine Viral Compendium

7 Valentine's Day Virals:

Send Your Love a Kiss – for The Last Kiss on DVD

Give A Love Note – for the British Heart Foundation

She’s So Twisted for Auntie Anne’s
Plus the site

Valentines Serenade for Norton

Love's Arrow for I Want One Of Those

Spread the Love for World Archipelago

& Shooted Cupid for Capri Sun (Thanks Simon!)

So... Not a great selection, and not as many as I'd imagined there would be. I'm sure there were better ones a couple of years ago like the Lastminute love tattoo Perhaps we're all too busy these days doing regular campaigns.

Monday, February 05, 2007

'I Hate Macs' - unfortunate media placement

Two massive Mac ads around Charlie Brooker's excellent opinion piece on The Guardian website.

But... Fair play to Apple for leaving the ads up, and they must be enjoying the level of debate that this article is creating. Over 6,000 Diggs so far, and zillions of comments on the thread. Given that the article was pretty much tongue in cheek, this is not bad for Apple at all.

Or to put it another way,

Mitchell (as the PC): QUICK - take the ads down - that man's being rude
Webb (as the Mac): You know what - leave them up. It'll take more than one bloke writing in the Guardian to destroy our cool image.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Guinness Hands TV Ad

Here's a YouTube preview of the new Guinness campaign, due to hit the UK TV screens next week.

I like it. Some of the commenters on YouTube (well, one actually) have said that they expected something glossier with a bigger budget, but Guinness is about great ads, and not sticking to one formula.

Yes we all love 'Horses', but this is far more in the vein of 'Dancer' (or Anticipation as it was more properly known), the low budget commercial from Ireland that became a big hit the mid-Nineties.

Declaring an interest - media planning and buying by my colleagues at Carat, creative by AMV BBDO

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mitchell & Webb's Apple Mac Ads

I love these new ads for the Apple Mac. Effectively copies of the American ads from last year they feature Mitchell and Webb from TV's Peep Show (and of course their own sketch show) as the uptight PC and the funky Mac.

I think that M&W have created their personas so well that the ads work easily as well as the originals, and having shown them to a colleague who was totally unaware of their previous work, I can vouch for the fact that they get their point across even to non-fans.

I would even go so far as to say that these are the best ads made by British comedians since Fry and Laurie's ones for Alliance & Leicester ("compact & bijou") in the eighties.

See them all here, or on YouTube here

Also, it won't harm the chances of their first movie Magicians finding an international audience.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Heidies Take Over

This is an interesting one - for the last week the website has been hijacked by two girls who call themselves The Heidies, and are after their 15 megabytes of fame.

The site will revert to Diesel pretty soon, but the archive of their activities are on YouTube here.

This seems like an interesting way of attracting viral attention - I wonder how it was seeded..?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tom has 150m friends

There's less of a frenzy about MySpace than there used to be, but it' still growing as fast as ever.

Back in August I made this post celebrating Tom's 100 millionth friend, and now he has hit 150 million, meaning that notionally there are 150m members of MySpace.

Of course it's not quite as easy as this, because some accounts get deleted, and others fall into misuse as the members move on, but it is still a significant milestone.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Great integration between web and mobile for 24

My colleague Dan sent me this one:

Go to the site

Type in your details, including your phone number, plus the password D9D5JJ

You'll then get a phone call from CTU, and a text leading you to somewhere else...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Borat MSN Emoticons

Over the past few months I've got quite a lot of traffic from Google on the search term Borat MSN Emoticons, because I've blogged about Borat and MSN Emoticons separately.

So why doesn't someone make some? Seems like a good idea to me. You could have:

High Five!
Great Success!
and so on...

Anyway, if you do want some new MSN emoticons, why not try these ones for Capri Sun?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Venice Project is now Joost

The Venice Project, a much-discussed move into peer-to-peer video by two of the Skype founders, has now been officially named Joost - see the site here

It ticks all the web 2.0 boxes in naming - phonetic name, not actually a word, strange sounding - but best of all on their sites they have a number of screen grabs, like the one above, for bloggers to post onto their sites.

I've registered to be a beta tester, but nothing yet.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Ford Sponsors Ben Griffith on MySpace in the UK

I found this yesterday: ford have been advertising in newspapers to promote their sponsorship of a young British singer-songwriter Ben Griffith who has a MySpace page.

The deal is very subtly done, with no Ford branding on his page, but Ben has this to say about it on his blog:

"So, I have some very exciting news.

About 2 weeks ago I was contacted by Ogilvy and Mather who represent fords advertising interests. The people at Ford were looking for an artist who they felt was well on their way to big things. MEEEEEEEEEEE i shouted? and they said yes you.

So ford have loaned me a Ford Focus to drive around to all my gigs in, and in return they're taking photos of me on tour, in the car, at home, chillng out, writing my songs, and then I have to write a journal that'll be used for an advert.

It's going out in lots of papers and so as you can imagine I'm very excited. It means a whole audience of people will check out my myspace site who don't even know I exist. I think in music, if you're passionate about what you do, you basically need help to get out there and be heard. And I'm hoping that is what this ad will do.

So if you see me or have seen me in a paper or magazine and that's why you're here. Please leave a comment about my music, cos then I know you've been, and also add me as a friend so that we can stay in touch."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Chevy Sponsors YouTube for New Years Day

Chevy sponsored the YouTube homepage globally on new year's day 2007 - see the screen grab above.
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