Friday, November 28, 2008

Great takeover ad for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa on MSN

This is a great example of a really impactful ad.

Today only, on MSN in the UK (& possibly in other countries too) you can see this ad for the new Dreamworks movie Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Click on the bar at the top of the rectangle, and the whole page slides across to show this page, allowing you to watch 3 video clips, play a game, and enter a competition.

Would love to see the effectiveness stats for this one!

This ad unit was created by Eyeblaster

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Criterion Collection Site

The Criterion Collection has an unrivalled reputation (in my house at least) for producing top quality DVDs, brimming with extras both on the discs and in the form of sleeve notes. I've got several of their titles, including Salesman (possibly my favourite film, see the pic at the top of the post), Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter (yes, I'm a Maysles freak), Hoop Dreams and Battle of Algiers. All discs are region 1 only, so you need a multi region player.

(Trivia fans may also want to know that Criterion effectively invented the Director's Commentary, including an additional audio track on their second laserdisc release, King Kong, in 1984)

Now they have a site to match. The new site is the sort of place than any film fan could spend hours in. They have:

Sections on themes (cult films, new German realism etc)
Profiles of key directors
Celebrity top 10s (inc Steve Buscemi, and Diablo Cody - a great place to go to get inspiration for what to see next)
Lots of merchandise
& best of all, if you live in the US, films to watch online.

There are currently 19 films available from Au Revoir Les Enfants to The Thief of Baghdad, each for $5. The best bit is that if you then want to buy the film on DVD or Blu-ray you get the $5 discounted from the purchase price.

Excellent - but when can we see the films online in the UK?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New adidas Football virals - Predator and F50 TuniT

There are 4 new films on YouTube to promote adidas Predator and F50 TuniT boots:

For example:



Check out all the films here.

Full disclosure - adidas is one of my agency's clients

Monday, November 24, 2008

Special Edition 'Hacienda' Kickers

This is a bit of an off-topic post, but I wanted to write about this to preserve it for posterity. Somehow the people in charge of protecting the heritage of the Hacienda in Manchester have given Kickers permission to make a licenced boot.

I don't associate Kickers with The Hacienda. I associate kickers with a kid in my class called Bozkurt, who, as soon as he had a part time job saved up to buy 2 pairs of kickers, one red and one silver. Each day he'd wear one pair to school, and sit the other pair on his desk. For about two years.

So do a 'Bozkurt' special edition, but not a Hacienda special edition. I can't see many pairs of Kickers being worn in the Hacienda, in any era.

For the record the blurb says:

"Be a part of this unique collaboration between Kickers and legendary Hacienda nightclub. Paying homage to iconography from the interior of the Manchester hot spot, these boots feature black and yellow chevrons on the in-sole, two-tone laces and FAC 51 emblem on the heel. The 88/08 print references 20 years of acid house, of which both the Hacienda and Kickers are an integral part. Made of leather and available in brown."

There's also a Buzzcocks special edition.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buy Friends a Drink on Facebook

This is a neat new application. GetThemIn has developed an app that lets people buy drinks for their friends through Facebook.

You can buy anything from a single can to bottles of champagne and spirits. Friends get a voucher that they can take into a participating off-licence (inc Threshers).

My only complaint is the pricing - £1.99 for a 440ml can of Fosters, £6.49 for 4 330ml bottles of Heineken, or £14.99 for a 70cl bottle of Teachers? Pricey!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Social Networks & Mobile Internet Users

Just as search is generally the most popular desk-based internet application in most countries (& Google is generally the most popular site, with some exceptions), social networking is becming the key application for mobile internet users.

The latest report from Opera, makers of Opera Mini, the most popular mobile web browser in the world (their statement), shows that social networks are generally the top or near the top mobile web sites in all markets that they survey. (In fact if you read this blog, and you're interested in digital media, you should definitely sign up for the free monthly reports).

From the latest report, here are the top social networks for mobile internet users in each market, with the social network's overall position in brackets:

Russia - (1)
Indonesia - (1)
India - (2)
China - (5)
Ukraine - (1)
US - (2)
South Africa - (1)
UK - (3)
Poland - (1)
Egypt - (2)

So in 5 of the 10 markets featured, social networks are the top sites. Search is top in 4 (all Google), while in China the top site is Kong, a wap-only mobile portal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Shopping 2008 - Here come the Vouchers

One of the recent Christmas trends has been discount shopping vouchers, virally spread. I've just been sent the first vouchers for 2008 Christmas UK in-store shopping. I'll list more as I spot them. But only if they offer decent levels of discount (i.e. nothing less than 25% off).

Threshers - 40% off on wine and champagne, offer ends 2nd December

The Gap - 30% off new collections, inc Gap Kids and Baby Gap, offer ends Sunday 30th November

Carnaby Street - 20% off in all of the shops, on Thursday 27th November 2008 from 5pm until 9pm (it'll be busy)

Pizza Express - Buy one pizza, get one free (inc takeaway), valid until 7th December (you'll need to eat if you're going round the shops)

More as they appear...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Google Voice Search for the iPhone

At the moment the iPhone and the Google phone are selling because they're cool and desirable bits of hardware. However I believe that in a few months there will be several killer apps that will be driving the sales - cool things that you can only do on an advanced phone that will make them must-haves for a bigger section of the population.

This is one such app - Google's voice search (free, of course).

It was launched a few days ago with this official video:

& here is one of many videos made by a happy user, showing what it can do:

Watch those phones fly off the shelves!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fuzzwich - Easy-To-Make Animations

Fuzzwich is a relatively new site that allows you to make simple animations, without having any actual animation skills.

This video explains how you do it

How to Minivid! from fuzzwich on Vimeo.

& this video is an example of a finished video:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google Flu Trends

This is a brilliant example of how search data reflects real life. is a philanthropic organisation, funded by Google, that uses the power of information and technology to address global problems.

The Flu tracker predicts patterns of searches to predict flu outbreaks in the US far earlier than traditional systems.

See it here, and see a video explanation here, with correlations based on pervious years here. This is an excellent project, and as I said a perfect real-world example of how search reflects real life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I feel that I should have been playing with Wordle years ago; never mind. Here, to catch up is the content of the blog as a Wordle word cloud. The bigger the word, the more the mentions, although it has only done it for the current page; it doesn't search through the archives.

The Future of Political Funding?

I've read a lot of analysis of why Barack Obama won last week's presidential election, and a lot of his success is put down to the way he managed to raise money from individual voters, rather than corporations. A lot of his campaign's activities in social media (Facebook pages, YouTube channels etc) were to recruit grassroots support and ask for donations. This meant that the Obama campaign was able to spend more money than the McCain campaign, and that the way he used the money was less restricted than if he had received larger amounts from a few corporate donors.

I also read the story about the Atheist Bus campaign in the UK. This campaign, in response to a pro-Christian bus campaign, raised money from individuals via the JustGiving charity site, to put a pro-atheist ad on one London bus. As it's turned out, the slogan ("There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life") caught the public's imagination so much that they exceeded their target within hours, and now, with nearly £120,000 in donations, the organisers plan to make the campaign national. The average donation is just over £10; over 800 people have donated (the charity can can claim the tax on the donation back if the donation comes from a UK taxpayer). The campaign is now also selling t-shirts with the slogan.

So why not do something like this for political campaigns? Ask people to design a slogan or a poster (heavily moderate this of course), set up a vote to select the best, and then raise money with the specific aim of running that poster. This way parties would raise money for campaigns (remember that many political posters only appear in one place, but generate lots of PR coverage), and could engage their supporters in a tangible way.

I expect that this will be done to some extent during the next British general election; can you imagine how many would have been willing to donate a tenner to see something like a 'Bliar' poster run across the country a few years ago?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nokia Unloader

This is a new campaign for the Nokia E Series. To emphasise how the phones make working easier, they allow you to upload a boring document for destruction.

The document I decided to destroy was a bit more visual than most - a picture quiz from my monthly pub quiz - watch as the paper gets tarred and feathered.

Very cool!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cat Cabins for Cat Protection League

This is a neat way of getting people to give money to the UK charity the Cats Protection League.

They have introduced a new scheme to sponsor that they call Cat Cabins. Each Cat Cabin provides shelter for 129 cats; and by sponsoring at the full rate of £10 a month, donors get a regular email with a 'kit-e-mails' - mini video clips showing the cats enjoying themselves in their new homes.

A really good way of capitalising on the internet obsession with kitties!

US Election Digital Comparison

All you need to know - a comparison of the poll result with digital metrics, like blog mentions, site visits, time spent, and Facebook friends.
Measuring an Internet Election

Full chart and notes here

Full data set here

Social media not necessarily that effective then - or at least not on all voters (but likely to be influential on younger voters)...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Puppies! On a Webcam!

Or click here

What makes this (vaguely) relevant to this blog is that it's a great way of promoting the other channels on UStream.TV

Update: Except that it's not live 24/7 - currently just showing a slideshow. Boo.

Ben & Jerry's Free Ice Cream for Voters

Other companies are giving away free stuff to people who can prove they voted (see a full list here, including Starbucks and Krispy Kreme), but Ben & Jerry are the only ones who've made the effort to comprehensively organise it through Facebook.

Can we have some of this action for the next British election please?

Excel Music Video for AC/DC

This is a very neat idea. AC/DC have produced a video in 'glorious ExcelVision' for people who can't access YouTube at work. The viral comes in a 4MB attachment that you can forward, or that you can download here.

(Or you can watch it on YouTube here)

I really like the originality of this, and is in direct contrast to the digital luddite tendancies they show elsewhere - for example AC/DC are one of the few bands that do not allow their music to be sold on iTunes.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lewis Hamilton's Blackberry Storm

This is an example of how Vodafone use their sponsorship of Lewis Hamilton - he's the first person to use a new Blackberry Storm, and is shown here talking about it.

I found this from a paid search link on YouTube.
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