Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tarantino Mixtape

Successfully mashing up visuals and music. More here & here

Eclectic Method - The Tarantino Mixtape from Eclectic Method on Vimeo.

Social network users choose which ads get displayed on their pages

This is brilliant in its simplicity: Chinese ad sales agency Bomeiti lets people choose which ads appear on their profile pages, through asking them to fill in a survey. OK, I can see pitfalls (more people would want to have ads for sportswear brands on their pages than san-pro for a start), but this looks like an interesting model for people like Facebook to follow.

So far it just seems to be on the sites Mipang and ShanghaiNing

Via the Springwise newsletter

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Frame a Friend for Shifty

Great little fun app for the new film Shifty. Upload a friend's pic to make it look like they've been caught on CCTV, then post it to Facebook.

The Shifty site also has a mixing competition; they certainly seem to know their target audience.

Shifty was made as part of the FilmLondon Microwave initiative, a programme to give film makers the chance to make films for £100,000. It's currently on release in cinemas, and is getting very good reviews. There's lots to see and do on the Microwave site, including this list of films in the pipeline, advice on Web 2.0 and DIY sales and advice on locations for people filming in London. More power to them. On a recent trip to Paris I was delighted to visit a local cinema showing almost exclusively French films.

#5 - Rio Ferdinand's online magazine

Rio Ferdinand is one footballer who seems to understand digital media. I was recently doing a brief assessment of the online presence of several footballers for a colleague, and by and large their sites are terrible (hello Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi...), although Stephen Ireland's site is very well done. (Yes, OK, they can all play football better than I can do *anything*).

Rio seems to have a good presence online; both his MySpace page and his official site look good, are updated regularly, and give you a reason to visit regularly.

Now he's launched his own online magazine, #5, named after his squad number at Manchester United. It's pretty good - although I'd despute the claim that it's the world first digital lifestyle magazine - with lots of content, videos, etc, and is well designed, if you like online magazines.

See also: Monkey Magazine, TalkSport Magazine and Wired UK, also powered by Ceros

Thanks to Priyanka & her One Part Truth Two Parts Mixer for the tip!

See also: Football3s - Fantasy Football re-invented

Legacy Locker

Legacy Locker is a US service that lets you register online your online usernames, passwords and accounts. In the event of death, this information will be passed on to named beneficiaries.

I think that this site, and others like it, will become huge businesses. The logisitics of tracking down all the bank accounts and savings plans held by people who have died suddenly must be horrendous. Plus, many webmail accounts will be deleted if inactive for a few weeks, and as far as I know there is currently no process for letting relative access these if the user dies.

Legacy locker costs approx $30 per year for an account, $300 as a one time fee, or there is a very limited free trial on offer. In fact you could probably use the free trial, and keep all the other important info you need in a gmail account for beneficiaries to access.

For more information explore the site, and read the blog.

Medical flow charts

This is an excellent collection of medical flow charts, produced by American doctors, and published on There are about 50 in total, ranging from Abdominal Pain, Short-Term to Urination Problems. While it contains the usual disclaimers about how it's for general educational purposes only, it looks very useful.

There aren't enough flow charts in every day life; we need more of them!

Via the ever-reliable Metafilter

Staying in is the new going out

Good presentation from Google showing the sort of trends you can deduce from analysing search patterns and so on.

Taken from their new Barometer blog, which gives UK-specific insights, tips and tools for people planning marketing and advertising campaigns.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bandzoogle - websites for bands

The falling price of recording & distributing music, and even music lessons (for example on YouTube) have all helped contribute to the current vibrant music scene. There have probably never been more bands making music. But arguably, as in the gold rush, the people making the money are the people selling the picks and shovels.

Bandzoogle is one example of this. Bandzoogle lets bands build a professional looking website in minutes ('so easy even your drummer can do it'). Features include a store to sell music and merchandise, a mailing list builder, calendar, and forums. It's basically a few steps up from the usual MySpace page. Pricing is $14.99 - $19.99 a month.

A few examples from the site:

Enter The Haggis
The Pimps
Elise Davis

Bandzoogle have just announced sales of over $1m i music and merchandise for bands through their sites. More info at their blog

Similar service available at Bandcamp

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Viral films for Scrabble

Created by O&M in France to mark the 60th anniversary of Scrabble. There are 3 films in total under the theme The Beautiful Word.

More info at the excellent I Believe in Advertising

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bloomsbury offer free download of Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie

To celebrate the appearance of the novel Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie in the shortlist for the Orange Prize, Bloomsbury is offering a free download of the full book for the next 24 hours. This is the first time that I can think of this happening for a book (but tell me if it's been done before.)

Click here to find out more.

Here's Kamila talking about the book:

Via the Scott Pack's excellent blog Me and My Big Mouth.

In other book news, why does Dan Brown have such a poor site?

Sorry From Gordon

Viral site from The Conservatives in the UK. Promoted by buying the keywords 'Gordon Brown' in Google in the UK.

Use the multiple choice options to create a letter of apology from Gordon Brown to your friends.

Just one sign that the battle for the next election is going to be viral, funny, and near the knuckle.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twitter game for Terminator Salvation

This is a very clever use of twitter. A game has been set up, using twitter as a playing mechanism, to publicise the release of Terminator Salvation (Terminator 4).

Info here: but in essence you follow the twitter account @resistance2018 then get sent messages with challenges that you have to complete. You get points to complete challenges, and the people with the most points at the end will get prizes.

More details:

"Resistance Assignments (Abbreviation: RA) will be of the following types:
    • Word Mix (Abbreviation: WM) - Word Mix is a simple jumble of letters that need to be unscrambled. Ex: "OHJN" is "JOHN"
    • Trivia (Abbreviation: TR) - Trivia questions require simple answers about Terminator Salvation. You may often be directed to the website to find the answer.
    • Partial Transmission (Abbreviation: PT) - Partial transmission is a simple letter, word or combination of both that you must fill in and then reply with the complete message. Ex: "_O_N" is "JOHN"
  1. Skynet Warnings (Abbreviation: SW) are informational messages related to the war between humans and machines.
  2. Terminator Salvation Updates (Abbreviation: TSU) are information about the film. The updates may also reinforce the instructions and provide tips on how to earn more points.
  3. Status (Abbreviation: STAT) are direct messages that update you on your points and rank in the game."
Very neat. 447 followers at the time of writing.

See also the official site here, featuring a multiplayer game.

Monday, April 20, 2009

IGA Video Challenge on YouTube

This is an intriguing new game from Innerscope Records in the US. Visitors watch music videos from Innervision on YouTube (e.g. Lady Gaga), then have to answer a question based on the video to get the the next level ('how many kids on the bench?'). Innerscope get lots of views for their videos, from users giving their full attention.

Sadly this doesn't work in the UK, as a result of the YouTube / PRS dispute. (& annotations don't work on embedded videos anyway).

More info at Digital Music News

Bananaz from Gorillaz, now showing on Babelgum

Bananaz, the documentary all about the cartoon band Gorillaz, is showing in full today on the online video site Babelgum.

Go and watch it now (if you've got less to do than I have). I'll definitely get the DVD though; Damon's always entertaining.

We Are Hunted

We Are Hunted is a new music aggregation site that has been getting a lot of buzz in the last few days. It aggregates mentions of music from social networks, blogs, forums, torrents, P2P networks, and twitter to produce a daily, weekly and monthly chart the 99 most popular songs online.

For example, two tracks by The Streets are currently in the top 9, following the free release of some new material by him on twitter last week. (In fact Mike Skinner seems to be doing lots online. Might do a special post on him later).

But others have complained that We Are Hunted is too random, and doesn't really capture what is happening, as it does not use any data from YouTube. For one thing there's no Susan Boyle, who is certainly the most talked about singer online this week, this month, this year.

More specifically, Jesse Cannon at MusFormation basically rops them a new one by saying:

"Anyone who knows anything about music listening on the web knows that the majority of Internet music listening is done on YouTube and Myspace. Until this site figures in YouTube, it is totally inaccurate. Take for example a song like Brokencyde's "Schizophrenia" which has been played 4 MILLLION times (2 Million on myspace alone) in the last 90 days, you are now telling me that Dj Mehdi (66,000 myspace plays) compares to that???? Not plausible! Let's take it bigger Beyonce "Halo" with 20 Million plays in the last 100 or so days on YouTube alone."

To which one of the founders responds:

"Thanks for your review. Tough but fair. We know we have a lot of work in front of us. We'll do our best to improve."

& for that reason, with others, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. One to watch.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Super Size Me now showing on YouTube

As of the 8th April Morgan Spurlock's documentary is showing in full on YouTube. It's part of a new initiative to put more TV shows and films on the site. It's shown in widescreen (although my screen grab has been mangled a bit in uploading to blogger), and has had about 360,000 views in 10 days.

You can explore the different films here. Trust me - Super Size is one of the best on there. The range is smaller than a the video collection in a village post office. So far. But, like the village post office, they've got some totally unexpected things there, like Aguirre Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo & St Elmo's Fire. Although that last one's blocked in the UK.

There are also TV shows, but these all seem to be blocked for the UK. We're not missing much though - Alf, Married With Children, Barney Miller, Jackie Chan cartoons, Sherlock Hound... Nothing to get excited about.

The potential is there though. The quality looks ok, and YouTube certainly has the reach to make this a popular destination for entertainment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bobba - like a mobile Habbo

This could be huge: Bobba is a new virtual world for mobile phones from Sulake, the makers of Habbo Hotel.

You need to be 16 to have an account. It's still in beta, but it's signed up 4156 members in 10 days. Watch this one grow.

It's available for the iPhone and these Nokia devices

More info here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

YouTube Symphony mash up

Posted earlier today, this is the outcome of the YouTube symphony competition - mashed up from thousands of entries around the world.

& if you like this, you'll love this - the same thing done in a more modern style by Kutiman - ThruYOU

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ben & Jerry's on Facebook Connect

An example of how Facebook Connect is slowly spreading around the web.

Facebook Connect is a way of integrating sites with Facebook. In a way it's a direct reversal of Facebook Applications, where a site would effectively appear in mini form on Facebook; with Facebook Connect, Facebook functionality appears on other sites.

In this case people can use their Facebook details to log into the flavours section of Ben & Jerry's site (what - no Phish Food?), choose their favourite flavour, then post it to their Facebook profile. Two years ago this would have been a Facebook App, now it uses Facebook Connect.

See the screenshots below; visit Facebook for more details:

Log in through Facebook Connect:

Post your favourite flavour to Facebook:

Taken from Facebook's new 'Marketing' page, where they are sharing case studies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Iron Maiden - Flight 666

A new widget to promote the Iron Maiden documentary Flight 666, with videos, photos etc. OK, producing a widget is not rocket science, but at least this one works, unlike the U2 360 widget, which I spent ages playing with before giving up.

The Iron Maiden film will play in cinemas for one day only, on 21st April 2009.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It's amazing how little musicians get paid

Two examples of how little YouTube pays in royalties, from the PRS supported website

Pete Waterman, record producer, writes:
"I co-wrote 'Never Gonna Give You Up', which Rick Astley performed in the eighties, and which must have been played more than 100 million times on YouTube - owner Google. My PRS for Music income in the year ended September 2008 was £11."

Mark Kelly, keyboard player for Marillion writes:
"In my last quarterly PRS for Music statement I received 0.6p from YouTube. With over 10,000,000 views for Marillion's videos I'm wondering if there's more to come. Like many musicians, I rely in part on my PRS for Music income to live. If we are not going to be earning as much from traditional CD sales because people choose to get their music in other ways then it's only fair that the likes of Google share some of the fantastic profits they are making at our expense."

It puts the current dispute between the PRS and YouTube/Google into context. It's exactly what the PRS should be doing - using real examples to illustrate their point and counter the idea that everyone in music is rich.

But remember, YouTube loses a lot of money. Losses are projected at $470m in 2009.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

city-lit Paris

One problem with traditional guide books is that they're often out of date before the ink is dry. When I was travelling in Australia in 2002 I ended up ditching my massive copy of Let's Go because it was too big and heavy, too out of date, and it was far easier to go online and search for hostel Darwin or whatever as I went around.

While I was throwing out Let's Go I was buying lots of other books about Australia, including the brilliant Town Like Alice, and several other Neville Shutes, a couple of Peter Careys, a Thomas Keneally, and even - um - Stark by Ben Elton. These were far more illuminating than the guide book. Since then I've got into the habit of going to Daunt Books in London to shop for books before travelling, because they arrange their fiction by destination, not by author.

Oxygen Books have done a similar thing in producing a series of city guides focussing on the literature associated with the city, and they very kindly sent me a copy of citylitParis version to review.

It's really good. Each extract is between half a page and two pages, and the book is split into different sections to cover first thoughts on arriving, food, different areas, famous Parisians, and others.

Writers featured include Julian Barnes, George Orwell, Colette, Jean Rhys, Hans Christian Andersen, Alex from Franz Ferdinand, and Catherine Sanderson, the blogger known as Petite Anglaise. The selection of extracts is really imaginative, and covers old and new, high brow and low brow.

I'm going to Paris in a few weeks for a short break, and its given me lots of new ideas for places to go, even though I know Paris really well. There are other cities in the series including Dublin, but what I'm really looking forward to is the Berlin one out later this year.

They're promoting it through outreach to bloggers as well as though traditional channels, and even through twitter - @citylitParis

Is this your luggage?

A very strange site, but brilliant in it's simplicity:

The reason for the web site? i would really like to try to find the people who own my suitcases, so if you HAVE ANY FRIENDS WHO HAVE LOST A CASE PLEASE GET THEM TO HAVE A LOOK."

Currently 5 suitcases are shown, with the contents. Have a look to see if any of them are yours.

Please tell me that this isn't a viral for a suitcase company, an insurance company, or an airline...

(I would love to go to one of these auctions. Greasby's seem to have the contract for BA in the UK. Click on the 'catalogue' link to see details of the next auction. Auctions are held every Tuesday. That would be a very surreal day out.)

Related: Help Charlie to find the owners of this photo set.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Subservient Chicken is now 5 years old

Subservient Chicken, a viral site for Burger King in the US, is now 5 years old. This is still one of the most famous online marketing activities, and was instrumental in getting people to think beyond banners and buttons. It was a site that made you enjoy spending time with the brand; it was the essence of the idea of using digital media to create time with the audience. It was produced by The Barbarian Group and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, and still sets the mark against which other online ideas are judged.

(In writing this I had a look to see if it was still live, and it is. Hats off to BK for keeping this live 5 years after it first launched. They do the same thing with Simpsonize Me)

This post gives you all the details from the idea to the reality, the viral spread, its cultural impact, and beyond.

Also, crucially, it looks at the effectiveness, with these two quotes:

"About a month after the sandwich debuted, BK reported that sales had steadily increased an average of 9% a week. Since then the company has seen “double-digit” growth of awareness of the TenderCrisp sandwich and “significantly increased” chicken sandwich sales. And the TenderCrisp does sell better than the original sandwich. – Adweek"

"You’re standing in the middle of the street, and there’s a Burger King on one corner, and a McDonald’s on the other. You gotta eat something and those are pretty much the only choices. What do you do? You go to the one who brightened your day a little bit, who did something funny. Who spoke to you. – Benjamin Palmer, CEO, Barbarian Group"

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Boat That Rocked playlists on Spotify

This is a great illustration of how bands can use Spotify in their marketing. The Boat That Rocked, the new British film about pirate radio in the 1960s, has used Spotify to create playlists for each of the 9 DJs featured in the film. For example Dave, played by Nick Frost, has tracks from The Who, spencer Davis Group, The Kinks, The Troggs, and others.

Just go to the site, select a DJ, see their playist, and then click on one link to add it to your playlists on Spofity (Spotify is now available for free download here).

I'm really impressed by how well this works - it just takes one click and you've got the playlist.

The Boat That Rocks has also got a soundtrack album, and some of the DJs have playlists to buy on iTunes, but for my money this is the best use of music in promoting the film.

See also - Share Spotify Playlists

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bruno on MeinSpace

The trailer for the new Sacha Baron Cohen film Bruno has exploded all over the internet today (see below). Here on the right is the US site for the movie, done exclusively with MySpace (re-directing from It's blocked in the UK, so all I've got is a screenshot from an ex-colleague. They've done a great job; for example:

Favourite music:
Destiny's Kinder
Milli (from Milli Und Vanilli)
Chris Martin von ze band Caltspiel
U Zvei
Ze rapper Funfzig Pfennig

Click to expand

There's also a twitter account @brunovassup

I'm expecting all sorts of great stuff from both the movie and the marketing. Borat had what is still the single most engaging use of MySpace that I've seen - a fan would post a comment on Borat's wall and then 'he' would post back on theirs, usually something totally inappropriate. See the screen grabs below to see what I mean.

Megan writes on Borat's wall
Borat writes on Megan's wall
Bruno Trailer below (with age verification)

MuZoid twitter music application

More twitter usefulness - the MuZoid app, created by music industry analysis firm MusicMetric.

Send a tweet to MuZoid, and they reply instantly with a page on the artist, detailing their releases (with links to buy from Amazon), a list of any upcoming gigs, a list of similar artists, and similar gigs. Simple, and it works.

For example:

Lily Allen
Elvis Presley


This is a fantastic use of twitter: London agency Poke have produced a piece of hardware for their local bakery, Albion, which lets the bakers tell people what has just finished baking. There is a twitter account that you can follow @AlbionsOven (typical tweet: Lovely, layered bloomers, french baguettes, sourdough, traditional bridge, and many more breads, still steaming), while the bakers just need to turn the dial to the appropriate pre-set tweet.

See a video of it in action:

BakerTweet from BakerTweet on Vimeo.

I love this so much, because it's so simple, but also because it's a nod to the Trojan Room coffee pot webcam, set up at the Cambridge University Computer Department in 1991, so that the techies could see how much coffee there was left in the pot without leaving their desks.

One small thing though - why don't they mention this on the Albion website?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Aggregated tweets

Two examples of twitter monetisation.

ExecTweets - tweets from senior business execs / interesting people, paid for by Microsoft

MarchTweetness - tweets relating to March Madness, paid for by AT&T

More info at MarketingVox

I wrote earlier about possible ways to monetise twitter - some of these now seem to be happening.
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