Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Wilderness Downtown with Arcade Fire

The Wilderness Downtown is an experimental film made in HTML5, by Chris Milk, with help from Google.  It only works if you use the Chrome browser.

Put the postcode of the house you grew up in into the box, and prepare to be entranced!

(Slight warning - it opens lots of windows)

Arcade Fire's involvement goes to show how connected and savvy they are.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

People change

One of the things that I always find annoying in meetings is when people come up with the whole 'People don't change' statement.

In fact it's typified by this cartoon by Hugh McLeod:  I must have seen it so many times.

But people do change.  It was part of our video from earlier this year, and shown by the fact that people get married later, more people stay longer in education and so on.

Here's another illustration from this excellent article in the New York Times:

"We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s."

That's a pretty big change!

The Last Exorcism stunt on Chatroulette

This is a very clever use of Chatroulette, to promote Eli Roth's new film The Last Exorcism.

Chatroulette users thought they were online with an attractive woman, but then...

Nicely spread through this YouTube video of the best reactions.  Excellent stuff.  You can imagine how much fun they had!

Update - my colleague points out that it's been done before...

Facebook Places

Last night Facebook launched 'Places' their new location-based feature.

Similar to Foursquare and Gowalla, it allows you to check in at places you visit - for example bars, cinemas, airports, stations...

You can see it on the mobile app above.  It won't let me check in at the moment, but I'm sure I will in the next few days.

Clearly this will increase the number of people checking in.  Foursquare and Gowalla have tiny (although influential) levels of reach compared to Facebook.  According to their most recent figures they have more than 150 million people using Facebook on a mobile device.

Foursquare and Gowalla will survive, as they have a less mainstream audience, and their own features and promotions.

Facebook will soon start to do retail deals based on their new feature, like Foursquare are currently doing with Gap.

There will also be lots of embarassing situations (& worse) caused by people sharing their location.  Oh - and I think we urgently need a new etiquette of cheching in!  (e.g. not if you're going for a job interview, not if you're meant to be ill, arguably not in churches, and so on).

It will also underline how you need to know WHY you usespecific services.  I use Foursquare to keep a track of places I go to, and for a bit of fun.  It's useful to know that I've been to my local bakery 14 times in the last 3 months (kind of...), but not so useful (as I see it) to know that I've been to work every day this week, which is why I don't check in at my office.  The increased use of location services like Places mean that people need to know why they use it, before they do.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Casey Spooner's crowdfunding success

Casey Spooner (one half of FischerSpooner) got invited to tour the US with the Scissor Sisters, but couldn't find the cash to cover expenses, so he turned to the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter for help.

He needed $7,000; within one week he got $7,250, by pre-selling packages of albums, T-shirts and tickets to the show and more on the site.

"We got no label, no sponsor, no money, no time!!!!! We can't pull this off! AND here we are moving forward...."

You can see the page here, with the differently priced packages, ranging from $25 to $10,000.  (No one's gone for the $10,000 option - DJing at your house - but he's sold two of the $1,000 option - hanging out back-stage).

Now he's after $10,000

It shows the personal equity of musicians and performers!

Also - lots of other great examples of crowdfunding at the Kickstarter blog

Monday, August 16, 2010

Buzz doesn't always translate

I saw a great chart last year, showing how the very good box office performance for Twilight could have been predicted by the level of buzz generated, and the number of people saying that they were going to see it.

But...  Not always.

Click to enlarge

A case in point is the first weekend performance for the new film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  From this chart (using Radian6) you'd expect it to have beaten both The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love in revenues. 

It didn't - the estimates for the first 3 days are:

1 - The Expendables - $35m
2 - Eat, Pray, Love - $23.7m
3 - The Other Guys (last week's no. 1) - $18m
4 - Inception (last week's no. 2) - $11.4m
5 - Scott Pilgrim - $10.5m

So why didn't the buzz reflect the reality?  I think it's mainly because Scott Pilgrim fans are very active social media users; fans of The Expendables, and particularly Eat, Pray, Love, less so.  It may also be the case, as I mentioned last week, that the marketing was fantastic from the point of view of the hard-core comic book fan audience, less so for a more general audience.  In which case we've been here before:  In 2007 Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse, a film very much targeted at film geeks, only made $11.5m in the first weekend.

Use buzz tracking data with caution!  As with all research bear in mind the audience being surveyed.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. on Ebay for Oxfam

This is excellent - the mus ician Sam Duckworth, aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is auctioning off a private gig in your house in aid of Oxfam's Pakistan Flood Appeal.

"Hello, I'm the musician Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and I will come and play an acoustic gig wherever in the UK, for the highest bidder. With the exception of transport costs, all money raised will go to Oxfam's Pakistan Floods Appeal."

Currently the bidding stands at £1,380.

You can also donate here

25% off at Gap with Foursquare

A new Foursquare promotion happened at the weekend in the US.  People checking in at Gap got 25% off their bill.

I'd love to see the stats, and I'd love to know what Gap are doing with the data they're getting from it (level of spend, discounts per store, most popular stores, most popular things bought etc).  In fact it was so successful (apparently) that they've now extended it until 22nd August.

This is an interesting example of Foursquare being used like an emailed voucher, and it shows one example of the potential of the service (and of location-based apps for retailers).

More at AboutFoursquare

Friday, August 13, 2010

YouTube Annotations can now click through to other sites

YouTube Annotations is about 2 years old.  It's a system that video uploaders can use to direct traffic to other videos, and has been used in lots of fun ways, including 'choose your own adventure' games like this one by Samsung.

Now YouTube are letting a few partners send traffic through to other sites.  This is potentially huge - for example click on a film trailer to buy tickets, or a DVD, or even click on an item of clothing to buy it.

These don't work embedded, but have a look at this example on YouTube itself.  Click on the buttons at the bottom of the video.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scott Pilgrim is ticking the geeky boxes

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is Edgar Wright's first American film (after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and after the TV series Spaced).

Edgar has huge geek credibility, Scott Pilgrim is an established cult comic book series, and this film must be a joy to promote.  The target audience essentially live on the internet, and there are lots of ways to get them interested in the film.

Heck, one fan has even made this trailer himself, matching shots from the original trailer with frames from the comic:

Here are two uber-geeky things that the marketing people have done:

Collaboration with CubeeCraftCubeeCraft produce paper patterns to make models of cult comic book figures, and other cultural icons, so this is a pretty natural tie-up.  More on it here.

Competition on IndabaMusicIndabaMusic is an online music community.  Musicians post demos and complete songs and ask others to submit other parts (e.g. drums) or do remixes.  The Scott Pilgrim competition (in the film Scott is in a band) asks people to remix a theme for a fight scene.  Prizes come via Fender guitars, and also include the chance to work with Dan the Automator.

Just two examples of reaching out to niches.  My question would be though, is this going to focus it too much on the sort of people who would have gone to see the film anyway?

The classic case of this was Grindhouse, who managed to engage hard core fans, but seemingly left the mainstream behind. (The film didn't perform very well at the box office).  Similarly Kick Ass made a big noise online but generated less than $50m at the US box office (source).

My hope is that Scott Pilgrim is using lots of mainstream, high reach channels as well!

McDonalds 'Better' ad

Very similar to this Pringles ad, also very good.

Via Bannerblog

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Foursquare and the new, new thing

There's been controversy surrounding Foursquare over the last couple of weeks, with analysts at Forrester advising that marketers shouldn't bother with the service.  Their view is that the reach is simply too small (4% of US users) to bother with.  Better to use more mainstream and established channels.

Yes, people can be too obsessed with the new, new thing, but that Forrester are wrong on this, both specifically and in principle.

1 - Yes, Foursquare may only have a very low level of reach, but with 100,000 iPhones, 200,000 Android phones, and 300,000 Symbian phones being sold each day, the number of people capable of using services like this is growing very quickly.

2 - No one is proposing that you put large amounts or a large percent of your budget into it. Advertisers that currently use it, for example Huffington Post, generally media companies, and they are doing it to boost their prestige by tying real world things to their programmes.  Others like Domino Pizza are using it for loyalty.  I doubt that any of the deals involve that much money.

3 - Some audiences are hard to reach.  Some audiences don't watch much TV, because they go out a lot.  Foursquare is specifically appealing to people who go out a lot, so it can be a good way of reaching these people. (to put it very simplistically).  In fact your audience is using it already, so you should be aware of it, and control how their experience of you within Foursquare.  This applies for lots of other services. 

4 - It's good to test new ideas and new media channels, with small budgets.  Set up targets and work out how you're going to measure it, but please use some of your budget to test new things.

5 - It's good to deal with young companies.  Imagine it you'd been dealing with Facebook back in 2005.  You'd be in a very advantageous position with them now.  The person you initially dealt with would be very senior within the company. In this way marketers should keep a track of companies & people with good ideas, and do business with them.

6 - Dealing with companies like Foursquare can generate lots of PR.  Yes, everyone is obsessed with the shiny and new, so why not be part of it?  With the caveats expressed earlier on targets and measurement.

7 - Finally, it's mainly a technology, so you can use it without any involvement from Fourquare.  Jimmy Choo is my favourite example of a brand using Foursquare, and they just went ahead and did it.  See also lots of innovative uses of Twitter.

To conclude, I agree that people can be too obsessed with the new, new thing, but use that buzz, allocate small budgets, test, learn, and refine.  Your audience may well be using it anyway.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Levi's movie trips on Gowalla

In the area of checkins and badges everyone raves about Foursquare, and it certainly has the most users, but increasingly Gowalla is doing the more interesting things.

The best way to stay up with these are through the Gowalla blog.  For example a couple of weeks ago it announced a promotion with Elements Skateboards where, if you managed to find a Water Bottle badge, you could exchange it for a real one in the Elements store.  Gowalla is also getting involved with politics, enabling people to follow politicians on the campaign trail (presumably some of the only celebs who don't mind being followed).  Lots of really interesting initiatives.

My favourite, though, is this set of movie routes, devised in partnership with Levi's and Alamo Drafthouse.

The films include Dirty Harry (San Francisco), There Will Be Blood (Bakersfield), Rocky (Philadelphia), and this one for Godfather II, in New York.

You need to follow Levi's on Gowalla to see all of the places.  The first 50 people to complete each route get special VIP tickets to the Rolling Roadshow screening of the movie in that city.

So - Foursquare has the users, but Gowalla has the better ideas?  Discuss.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The endless ingenuity of the internet

One of the many things I love about the internet is the endless ingenuity of the users in creating and mashing up.

A prime example is the new meme of putting Kanye West's tweets as captions to classic New Yorker cartoons (which are pretty random and baffling anyway).  A near-perfect mashup, as it turns out.

A couple of favourites:

Long may this continue.  Kanye loves it too!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Expendables YouTube Takeover

The best one of these I've seen in a while.

It doesn't work embedded, so watch it here.  I'm not going to spoil it by telling you what happens!  (But here's a hint - watch the videos on the right hand side...)

An earlier example - YouTube Warioland from 2008

Monday, August 02, 2010

Spots vs. Stripes

Spots vs. Stripes is a new initiative from Cadbury.

As part of Cadbury's sponsorship of the the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games they've been holding a competition to create a new pocket game to be played by 2 or more people.

Games have been submitted and the final 10, as picked by the judges are on show here.  The top 2 games will be sent outro 25,000 people to play.

To add extra depth to the campaign there's a Spots Vs Stripes site, and you sign up to play for Spots or Stripes on Facebook.  There is also a series of Spots Vs. Stripes events planned, like this one in London.

Oh - and there's a new ad to support it all too:

Very well done!
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