Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interactive video for the Lynx Effect in the UK

This is pretty fun, and (I'm told) a first, in that it uses keyboard shortcuts in a video

Watch the video above, and click on the timeline (red line when the video plays) then click on the numbers 5 7 3 8 to get an amusing effect.  You need to use the numbers on your main keyboard - the numbers on the numberpad don't work for some reason.

It's pretty good!  ;-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The new Delicious - Please give us our features back!

I love the online bookmarking tool Delicious.  I use it very heavily for work (I use it to write this weekly newsletter), and I also use it to save links to things I want to buy, things I want to do at the weekend and so on.  I've even used it to find hotels - basically Delicious users are a pretty smart group, and if a few of them have bookmarked a hotel's website then it's probably going to be a good hotel.

However Delicious as a service hasn't really changed much since it first started.  There was a re-design about 4 years ago, I think, but nothing really since then.  Yahoo announced earlier this year that they were going to close it or sell it, and I was very pleased that two of the founders of YouTube had decided to buy it.  Meanwhile I've also started to use other services, like Pinterest (for visuals) and Instapaper (for long articles).

Today Delicious introduced the new version.  It's a lot more visual, and they're encouraging you to make 'Stacks' - essentially playlists of items.  Here's a video to explain how it works.

However, in doing this they seem to have messed with some of the core features, and the more visual look is making it much slower.

Here is some feedback I've left on the YouTube video:

It's a lot slower than it used to be

It doesn't seem to auto-fill tags when I save things any more

The Chrome 'Save in Delicious' plug-in doesn't seem to work any more

The tags need to be alphabetical

Have you deleted tags? I'm pretty sure you have (or maybe they're not all showing).  For example, I have the tag SanS which I used to bookmark good places in San Sebastian.  It's still there (luckily) but it's not showing on the right hand side.

It would have been nice to have had warning of a switchover date, so that I could have exported everything just to be safe

Most importantly, how to I get to the second page of my links?  E.g. I have a 'Page 2' option at the bottom of my main page, but not at the bottom of my page with 'Mobile' tags, for example.

(I've also heard that tag bundles (collected groups of links) have been deleted, but thankfully I never used these)

Here's an interview with Chad Hurley in AllThingsD - but it's pretty clear that the interviewer isn't a Delicious user, because none of these points have been brought up.

Update - I've now tried creating a Stack - this one is called FMCG Examples.  It's pretty good, but it's quite hard to put your old links into a stack.  It's as if they designed it for new users rather than the existing users.  Also, why can't the URL be rather than

Thursday, September 22, 2011

KLM's 'Answers' on Twitter

This is how you re-use someone else's idea - you do it in your own way.

KLM wanted to show how responsive they were to customer queries, so they created a number of personalised answers to tweets, but in a very different style to Old Spice.

The UK's first promoted trend on Twitter #gleeonsky

Twitter has been selling promoted trends since June 2010, but until now they've always been global.

It's very frustrating to see a new film promoting themselves on Twitter, knowing that we won't see it in the UK for a few months (as Super 8 did), or a mobile operator offering a US-exclusive deal.  It's also very wasteful in media terms; you're paying to reach people who can't buy what your selling.

Today that's all changed - in the UK at least - as Twitter introduces UK-specific promoted trends.

The first brand to use it is Sky, promoting the new series of Glee - #gleeonsky  This is Sky's Tweet.

Although, according to Bitly, they've only had 71 re-tweets and 700 clicks so far.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pepsi use Pongr for their X-Factor competition

A really interesting new competition from Pepsi in the US tells us a lot about how mobile is used, and the future of QR.  It's arguably a nail in QR's coffin.

Pepsi are the sponsors of X Factor in the US.  They have produced special bottles with the Pepsi and X Factor logos side by side.  All you have to do to enter the competition is take a photo of the logos with your phone, and email the picture to  You can see some of the pictures here.

Pongr 'Snap and Send' technology will recognise qualifying pictures, and send you back a link with a reward, like a behind the scenes video.

I really like this because it's so easy.  Assuming you've got a smartphone you just need to use the built in operating system to email a photo.  No external apps to download - Pongr does the work, not the user.

According to recent data from Nielsen, only 1 in 7 Android users has a barcode reader on their phone.  I'd guess this would be comparable across operating systems, so it's far better to use built in technologies on the phones, rather than a QR code or similar.

Charlie Brooker summed up his feelings on QR at the weekend - and while I like QR in some situations (it sends you to a specific place, unlike mobile search) it can be very fiddly.

Also - what happened to the technologies from the PepsiCo10 companies, which are being incubated by Pepsi?  Are any of them being used in X Factor promotions?  If no, why not?

Consuming Less; Consuming Better

Lots of brands are stressing their environmental credentials.  Some recent examples -

Howies Hand Me Down - a range of clothes and bags designed to have a life longer than the wearer.

The IOU Project - items made from cloth made by weavers in India.  Expensive products that are pretty much unique

A.P.C ask people to bring back their old pairs of A.P.C. jeans, and buy new pairs at cost price

Patagonia's Common Threads Initiative with Ebay - take the pledge to buy less, and buy used Patagonia items

Rapha's Jersey Downsize offer - if you lose weight as a result of your cycling, you can return your old Rapha top and buy a new one for half price

As a related point, I'm starting to think that just as the well off are now generally thinner than the less well off - a factor of changes in food production in the latter part of the 20th century - the more well off are starting to have less 'stuff' than the less well off.  I think I've noticed this more since reading John Naish's book 'Enough'.

The more well off can afford better quality, so they need fewer items of clothing, they are more likely to have more digital technology so they can live more with downloads rather than physical objects.

What this means for marketers is a focus on quality, difference and scarcity.  If you only want two pairs of shoes (rather than 20) you're going to make sure that those two pairs are pretty special.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Toyota Yaris Social Snap Shot

Toyota Social Snap Shot is a handy tool (currently in beta) made by my colleagues at glue Isobar as part of their work for the new Yaris.

The theme of the current Yaris campaign is 'Outsmart Life', and the aim of the app is to make your life easier - so what they've done is to make a filter for your Facebook so that you see a digest of the best bits.

Select up to 10 friends - entertaining ones - and then the app creates a video at whatever frequency you want; daily, weekly, or whatever.

It then creates a video giving you those people's most recent posts, plus any upcoming birthdays, popular content and so on.

Give it a go here

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My picture from Jack Draws Anything

I'm delighted to say that Jack Henderson has now drawn the picture commissioned by me, and put it up on his Jack Draws Anything site.

I asked for a picture of Spiderman playing football with an elephant, and I think Jack has done a very good job!

Jack has now raised over £25,000 for the Sick Kids Hospital - and you can still sponsor him here.

Also, he's up for a .Net award, for Social Campaign of the Year.  Click here to visit the .Net page and vote for him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Baileys sampling a new flavour through Facebook

Baileys are the latest brand to sample through Facebook.

Unlike Heinz, who sold a limited edition flavour, Baileys are offering you a free 5cl sample of their new Biscotti flavour, to be sent to your home, and one to send to a friend too.  200,000 samples are up for grabs.

I'll update with pics when it arrives!

The Pig With The Froggy Tattoo

Keeping the fires burning for the new Muppets movie...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Selling Coldplay

Details revealed today, including their first single getting it's first ever radio play, and then immediately available to buy on iTunes.

The album is called Mylo Xyloto, is out on 24th October, and available to pre-order now, in a variety of formats:

Digital download - £7.99

CD - £8.99

Vinyl - £16.00, including posters, and a digital download to actually play

Pop-up - £49.99, limited edition, including hard backbook, artwork, vinyl copy, CD copy, studio diaries, and a digital download.  The package ships in early December, but the digital download arrives on the 24th October when the album is officially released.

Interestingly it's all through - no special site for the album.

See also my posts on Drake, The Beastie Boys and Radiohead

Friday, September 09, 2011

Nike MAG

In Back The The Future Part II (the one in the future, not the Wild West one) Michael J Fox wore some Nike sneakers that have been called 'the greatest sneakers never made'.

Now they have been.  Nike has produced 1,500 of them, to be sold on Ebay, in aid of the Michael J Fox Foundation, which is raising money to find a cure for Parkinson's Disease.

You can see more about the shoes here, and bid on them here. They're currently selling for about $4,500 a pair.

What mythical goods would you bring to life?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

David Guetta sells his album through Facebook

I think this may be a first.  David Guetta is selling his latest album Nothing But The Beat directly to fans through Facebook, using Facebook credits.

Each track costs 19 credits, or approximately £1.10, or the album 150 (£9.50).  As it's Facebook credits, Facebook takes 30% of the payment in commission. 

You need to use the app.  The buying and purchase process is pretty smooth.

French Connection - I Am The Suit

This is the new 90" ad from French Connection.  It's going to run exclusively in The X-Factor, in the same way that Yeo Valley did last year.

French Connection UK - The Suit from paydirt on Vimeo.

I think it's very good, and while it is likely to stop the traffic in some homes (& send people to their laptops to watch it again), I think it'll also create a lot of bafflement.

However it's also going to be very easy to parody, re-work, and I'm guessing that it'll attract lots of attention, and controversy (the 'milk' bit).

I'll try to update in a few weeks when we know the sort of stir it creates.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Quitting Smoking with Mobile & Social (Concept)

This is a great concept from a group of students at the Miami Ad School.  It integrates a mobile app with Facebook so that your friends can pile on the peer pressure.

(It seems that great minds think alike - here's a similar concept from the Cannes Future Lions)

I'd love to know whether it is actually possible to integrate in this sort of way, and get it approved by the app stores.  I suspect not, but it's great that students come up with impractical (but brilliant) ideas.  Maybe when they graduate they can make it happen!

Via Adverblog

Vauxhall with Noel Gallagher

The new Vauxhall ad appeared on TV on Friday, during the England - Bulgaria match.

It's all about their sponsorship of the England football team, and features Noel Gallagher's new single AKA... What A Life.  It's a great deal for him - paid (presumably) lots for the right to use the song, plus lots of primetime airplay for the single.

There was an article in the Evening Standard last night about a return to longer TV ads (French Connection are making one too), and it'll be interesting to see how well this does.  It looks great, and you can imagine cut-down versions working very well too.

Monday, September 05, 2011

"This is what it's like to be shot at with an AK-47"

Amazingly good product demo from the Texas Armoring Corporation, who make bullet proof glass and more.

Clearly I'm not likely to ever need to buy any of their products, but it's very impressively done, and it raises the bar a bit for the Will it Blend guys!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Google Offers

Google Offers, Google's version of Daily Deals is currently in beta in the US.  It's interesting that Google are doing this, when others (Facebook, Yelp) have recently withdrawn, and people are questioning Groupon's economic model.  Can Google get it to work?

Google has been promoting it via the Google home page.  Some of the recent ones have only had about a 100 buyers, although today's offer of 80% off at the American Museum of Natural History had over 16,000 buyers.  Let's see how this one pans out!
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