Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MINI's Escape 'Tag' Game Comes to Tokyo

Last year MINI ran a very successful mobile game in Stockholm.  Players had to download an app, then try to 'hold' a virtual MINI, in a game of tag.  If you get within 50m of the current holder you can grab the MINI, but then all the other players will be after you.  The person who 'held' the MINI when the competition ended won a real one.

About 11,000 people played in Stockholm (playing an average of over 5 hours per person - see case study below), and now it's coming to Tokyo this Saturday, an area 32 times bigger.  Last time it was for iPhone users only, this time they've also created an Android app.  They expect over 100,000 people to play over the 9 days of the competition!

Here's the video announcement:

& here's an excellent case study of last year's competition in Stockholm:

"On the final day, parts of Stockholm were totally jammed with players"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 25th November

The book Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan - a novel about jazz & betrayal in the 1940s.  Nominated for the Booker, and very good.

This set of classic album covers, re-created in Streetview

The fact that Hugh Laurie's debut album sold more than Matt Cardle's (I haven't got either.  & yes, OK, in a month or two MC will have probably overtaken.)

Here's one of Hugh's favourite songs:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Friday - The Ad

Great opportunistic use of an internet sensation by Kohl, to promote Black Friday.

I wonder who got paid - Rebecca Black, the songwriters, or both..?

& I also wonder who's going to be the first to do something with Fenton & his owner!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Toyota FT-86 Fastest Painted Website

This is a neat stunt that Toyota pulled over the weekend in Tokyo.

To promote the new FT-86 concept sports car, they created a website based on a painted wall that the very busy Shinjuku station.  Web developers turned different parts of the painting into clickable links, and the site was able to respond in real time to tweets and Likes.

Check it out - it's only going to be live until the 26th.

& see the making of here:

Or alternatively, how about a website made out of chocolate..?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 18th November

My cousin Andy Farrell's book about The 100 Greatest Ever Golfers - so far it's got 4 5-star reviews on Amazon, and there's a quote from Arnold Palmer on the cover (& it's obviously the perfect Christmas present for any golfer)

This video on 25 ways to wear a scarf

Danny & The Deep Blue Sea at the Southwark Playhouse.  It finishes tomorrow, but get a ticket if you can.  It won lots of awards at Edinburgh, and both of the actors are on top form.

Herman Cain's 404 page - hopefuly that's what he'll be best known for!

This list of the best 100 dance tunes, from 1965 onwards, complete with YouTube links, starting with Shirley Ellis:

One Direction on Ustream

Last night One Direction went onto Ustream to hold an hour-long live video listening party for fans to hear extracts of their first album Up All Night.  This is on top of the mainstream media work they've done - breakfast TV, Children in Need, and so on.  This gives them more time to talk to the hardcore fans though.

You can see most of the listening party on YouTube - first extract here:

They talk about the success of the 1DCyberPunk - which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago -  all the stuff made by the fans and more.

So far the channel's had 71,000 tweets, and 13,000 Likes (Twitter more popular than Facebook among this audience it seems), and the album's out on Monday.

I think lots of companies could learn a lot about how 1D have built their community and kept their fans busy and engaged.

More next week!

Update 30-11-11 - One Direction acheived the highest sales for a first album this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Square's Card Case

This is all sorts of amazing, and it shows what Foursquare is missing out on.

Card Case from Square on Vimeo.

It makes payment so much easier, and you can imagine that if you saw someone doing this in your local coffee shop you'd want to do it as well.  As it's location-based it's a good competitor to NFC, something that Square dismiss as 'having no value'.  Square is currently only available in the US, but here's hoping it comes to Europe soon.  See the full details here.

Square have come so far since the early days (last year).  Now Branson is an investor, they process millions of dollars each day, and colleagues tell e that it's becoming the main way to pay for taxis in some American cities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Promoted Tweets in the Timeline

This is a first for me - today I got a promoted tweet in the Twitter timeline for a brand I don't follow.

See the screengrab below.  The tweet appeared at the top of my timeline, but then dropped when I refreshed.

I'm sure it was appropriate, and it was also something that I was interested in.  I'm assuming it was because I follow similar accounts to Sainsbury, and also a lot of food-related accounts.

Twitter say that they've been rolling this out since September.  I think it's not too annoying, but presumably the usual suspects will be up in arms about it when they see it.  However it will potentially create lots of revenue for Twitter.  You can currently roadblock (take over) Facebook for certain days for brands for pretty sizeable sums; with my work hat on this would be a good thing for advertisers to be able to do on Twitter too.

PS - this is what Sainsbury are promoting - the new Jamie Oliver Christmas ad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 11th November

These 'Muppets' concert posters, created by Michael De Pippo for fun, and now very likely to actually go on sale.

Rick Perry's appalling blunder on live TV, plus the memes that immediately came out of it.

This incredibly brilliant QR code

The scarves from Timothy Everest's new online shop

The Velorution bike shop in Great Portland Street, perfect for unusual presents, like things made from old bike tyres.

Lou Reed and Metallica - together at last - on Later.  Yes, they've both done lots of better things, but they look like they're having so much fun:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

H&M use a Promoted Trend to offer something money can't buy

I like this a lot.  H&M are using a promoted trend with the hashtag #BeatVersaceQueue on Twitter in the UK today to offer an one lucky shopper per store a 10 minute private shopping session on the first day of sale for the new range by Versace at H&M.

This collection is likely to sell out on the first day, and queues are likely to stretch round the block for all stores.

By offering shoppers the chance to win something that money can't buy they're creating real buzz for the brand.

"We are giving 20 lucky winners the chance to beat the queue and shop The Very Best of Versace for H&M on 17th November before anyone else. 1 winner per store will be selected to have a special 10 minute allocated time before the stores open to the rest of the public at 8.50am.

For your chance to win, follow us on Twitter @hmunitedkingdom using the hashtag #BeatVersaceQueue and your preferred store. In 140 characters tell us why you would like to be the first to shop The Very Best of Versace for H&M collection?

The winners will be selected by 16th November."

Nicely done!

Kevin Spacey in multiple roles for American Airlines

This is very clever - I love the pay-off!

Excellent use of a celebrity in advertising!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Jeep Wrangler - Call of Duty Special Edition

Jeep have partnered with the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game.  They're producing a special edition Wrangler Jeep with the game's branding on it, and as far as I can make out the Jeep also appears in the game.

That stats behind Call of Duty are huge - millions of players each day, millions of minutes spent playing - and probably a very good fit with Jeep's target audience.

That's what articles like this imply - can anyone confirm?

Update - PC Mag says that the Jeep features prominently in the game

How news spreads across networks

This is a screen grab of the Bitly stats for the Sun's story about Frankie Cocozza being ejected from X Factor.

Click to enlarge

(Background - Frankie Cocozza is a young, not very good singer on the British X Factor.  He'd managed tp stay in because he is popular with some people - he has over 300,000 followers on Twitter, acquired since the start of the competition - but he was always going out drinking and finally - reportedly - boasted about taking drugs in front of production staff)

It's an interesting story to look at because it was initially only in one source - The Sun - before being reported elsewhere.

The pattern of clicks shows that clicks started between 1pm and 2pm (15,000 clicks) rising to 25,000 clicks the next hour as the story spread.  Then it started to fall as more sources started to report it, and the story moved on from the original news.  However it still got over 1,000 clicks between 10pm and 11pm.  (I've no idea whether Bitly track all the clicks accurately, but I'm assuming that they get the pattern about right)

Next look at the sources of the clicks.  Twitter and Twitter's URL shortener account for over 60% of the clicks, then email, IM, apps and direct clicks, with 18%, then Facebook desktop (12%) and mobile (6%).

Not surprisingly, nearly 90% of the clicks came from the UK - it's a very British story.

I think it's interesting to see how news spreads - and the importance of Twitter in passing around this sort of news.  Don't forget that this was a school day, and that many of Frankie's fans would have been at school when the story initially came out.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Things I Love - Friday 4th November

Inspired by this regular post from Timothy Everest's blog, I'm going to start making regular Friday posts on random things I've found around the net.

This week:

Nelson, a graphic novel by 54 British artists, in aid of Shelter

Kitten Covers - classic album covers, with kittens

The very minimalist site for the restaurant Duck Soup

Honest Burgers in Brixton - now getting longer queues than Franco Manca

QR Code postage stamps that track their status

Jimmy Carr's Halloween outfit

How to be a Retronaut - a great repository of retro pictures and articles

Google's Easter Eggs - search for Do A Barrel Roll; also try tilt, askew, anagram and recursion

& Jon Ronson's investigation into Ark, makers of Rebecca Black's Friday

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Converse's 'Take it Outside' Treasure Hunt

A great competition from Converse.  To promote their new boots, they're leaving some pairs around the UK.

Pictures are posted on Facebook, with a date and time that the boots will be left in the vicinity.  Other details are added on Twitter.

For example here:

& here:

Users then have to find them. There's only one pair, so it they're the wrong size they can give them to a friend.  A great low-tech competition.  I particularly like the low-tech converse logos!

(I think if this happened a year ago you'd have had to check in on Foursquare as part of the mechanic.  Foursquare seems to be getting less buzz these days)

& even if you don't find the boots you can win a trip to the 100 Club (sponsored by Converse) by emailing

GTA Five - Vinewood

The new trailer

It plays on a classic film theme - the old gangster wanting to retire.  Visually it looks very impressive!

Find out more about 'Vinewood' in the wiki here

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Twitter Stories

This is great - Twitter's repository for interesting, unusual and inspiring uses of the service

I love this one:

"Aaron Durand’s mother was in trouble. She had run an independent bookstore for nearly two decades when an economic downturn hit that threatened to close the shop. Aaron wanted to help his mom, but wasn’t sure what he could do. He wrote about his mom’s plight on his blog then tweeted it out, adding at the last second an offer to buy a burrito for anyone who bought $50 worth of books during the holidays at his mom’s shop.
The story took hold. The Tweet was passed along from person to person across Portland’s art and design community. It was retweeted and retweeted until hundreds of people had read the story.
Overnight, new customers started to arrive and business began to pick up. The story continued to snowball on Twitter. The bookstore went on to have its best holiday season ever, and has continued to thrive each season since."

(Doesn't always work, of course...)

See the stories here

JESSIE J IS TOTES AMAZEBALLS - or How Hits Happen on Twitter

Trending Topics (TTs) are one of the most mysterious aspects of Twitter.  How do they start, how do they grow, what takes off...  These are all questions that have puzzled marketers at some time.

Twitter promote TTs as one of the most useful aspects of the service - allowing people to see what people are talking about to get early warning of breaking stories.  Recently I've noticed TTs becoming more and more driven by pop culture, and not about news at all - the band One Direction seem to inspire at least one a day - and when one particularly strange one JESSIE J IS TOTES AMAZEBALLS trended in the UK last week I decided to investigate how it had started and become popular.

(I should say that I've seen Jessie J and I agree that she's pretty amazeballs, but totes?  That's probably over-doing it a bit.  Maybe after a couple more years)

To do this I used the analysis tool Radian6, which has access to the entire Twitter firehose - that is all tweets sent.

In all cases I've hidden the identities of the Twitter users, but I'll show the Tweets.

The phrase got a sudden flurry of Tweets on 27th October, to hit a peak of about 18,000 for the day:

According to my analysis, this was the first tweet, in minute 1 a user - with 1144 followers - tweeted:

It was then picked up by friends, first slowly, and then it started to gather steam, rising from 1 tweet a minute (TPM) to hit 14 tweets a minute by the 7th minute.  In this time the first Tweeter Tweeted other versions 6 times.

I show the number of TPS for the first 90 minutes here

It continued to be re-tweeted, but it did not rise above 21 TPM until the 40th minute, when it suddenly started to hit 45 TPM on the 43rd minute.

What happened was that on the 40th minute it was tweeted by someone with 13,978 followers

and then in the 42nd minute by someone with 94,090 follwers.

(This last user is pretty amazing - a 23 year old from Ireland who 'loves Rihanna more than my mother'...)

This last one was re-tweeted more than 100 times, and the TPS started rising to hit 45, and then a few minutes later 51.

It then declined again, until it hit an absolute peak of 68 TPS in the 67th minute.  I think thiw was caused by two tweets by users with nearly 12,000 followers each, in the 63rd minute.  I also think that by that time it had hit the TTs, so other Jessie J fans had seen it and spontaneously joined in the fun.

So what does this all mean?

1 - Twitter works organically, but can be swayed by very popular users if they are in the mood.  If you're a brand it helps to have some of these people; if you're a digital PR person it's essential to have either lots of followers yourself, or be on very good terms with people who do.  But also the messages must be relevant to your followers.

2 - This can de-value Twitter's reputation.  How so?  Because they trade on the TTs as a serious, useful service. It's mentioned a lot in their presentations to agencies, and other companies, for example Nielsen, put a lot of store in the top trending topics.  People are now actively starting to manipulate them - although there's not evidence that Jessie J's people were involved in this - and it's potentally going to be akin to SEO spam.

Twitter already block words in TTs - all the main swear words (I think) and other words like 'Assange' (once 'Sweden' was trending because it was ruled that Assange could be extradited there, but 'Assange', a word that featured in all the 'Sweden' Tweets, didn't appear).  If Twitter can block these, why not address some of the other abuses?  Block TTs in block capitals?

Or even do 'Trends among Friends' - i.e. just trends within who you follow.  That would be a better solution!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Zero Moment of Truth

Zero Moment of Truth is a new buzz phrase created by Google to describe the consumer's decision-making process:

The First Moment of Truth was a concept from classical advertising, the moment at the shelf when the consumer makes a decision.  The Zero Moment of Truth is the step before that, when someone is researching online.  According to the document, the Zero Moment of Truth is:

"A BUSY MOM IN A MINIVAN, looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son at school.
AN OFFICE MANAGER AT HER DESK, comparing laser printer prices and ink cartridge costs before heading to the office supply store.
A STUDENT IN A CAFE, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking for a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
A WINTER SPORTS FAN IN A SKI STORE, pulling out a mobile phone to look at video reviews of the latest snowboards.
A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER CONDO, searching the web for juicy details about a new guy before a blind date.
ZMOT is that moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone or some other wired device and start learning about a product or service (or potential boyfriend) you’re thinking about trying or buying."

Have a look at the video, and then download the book here.

The Hope Tank - Mending Broken Hearts

The Hope Tank is a new project for the British Hart Foundation by my colleagues at glue Isobar, in aid of their 50th anniversary Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.

The Hope Tank virtual aquarium site is home to an increasing number of zebrafish - each one a representation of hope for the campaign. The zebrafish is a real fish that has the ability to repair its own heart, so scientists funded by the BHF are trying to unlock its secrets to learn how we can mend human hearts too. Show your support by creating your own personalised zebrafish here.

Hear about the amazing science behind it here:

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