Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Skype Translator

This seems straight out of a sci fi film (and in fact is similar to Douglas Adams' Babel fish).  Skype has just released a demo video of its live audio translation in action.

I'd love to play with this (translation - try to break it), and I'm sure that bits where it didn't work have been edited out, but how brilliant the potential is, especially for a nation of terrible language students.

Earlier - Word Lens - written text translated, from 2010 (now owned by Google)

Friday, December 12, 2014

10 Trends for 2015

Each year we produce a trends report to help us think about how the worlds of technology and media will change over the next few years.
There are lots of things happening, and we hope we have chosen some the most interesting
This year we look at:
App Simplification & Integration
Video Ads
Connected TV
Paying to go Ad-Free
New News Sites
Start-ups Going 'Full Stack'
Symbols & Emojis
Virtual Reality

Please have a look!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

YouTube with Ads on Apple TV

The new YouTube app on Apple TV brings lots of functionality (lots of it things that you'd have thought would already be there), plus it now supports advertising - so you can target ads in YouTube at people watching on an Apple TV.

I'm sure this much be coming to Chromecast too - this data shows that Chromecast has now overtaken Apple TV in share in US broadband households (but both are behind Roku).

Connected TV, with ads that you can target like online ads, is coming.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 End of Year Reviews



2014 Year in Review from Facebook on Vimeo.

Google - Year in Search

Twitter - Moments - Key events in News,. Entertainment & more

Twitter - Perspectives - Top 5 tweets from people like JK Rowling, Neymar Jr and more

Spotify - The Year in Music

Tumblr - Year in Review

Google Ventures - Looks at the companies they invest in, including Uber

Slate's Year of Outrage - what people got angry about, day by day

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Honda lets you configure a car in a Tweet

A nice use of Twitter cards by Honda - configure a car within a tweet.

OK, so it only lets you make 3 sets of choices, but it's fun and well done

See it here in all its glory - as ever embedding the tweet doesn't show this off particularly well

See also - configure a Mercedes on Instagram

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review - Twitter is not a Strategy by Tom Doctoroff

Tom Doctoroff is CEO of Asia Pacific for JWT.  A couple of years he wrote What Chinese Want, a look at consumer and brand culture in China; now he’s followed it up with  Twitter Is Not a Strategy, a look at how the principles of brand building must not get lost in the age of real time marketing, and bought, owned and earned media.

The book contains some insights form the East, but this one is much more globally focussed, and It’s a good summary of why branding is still important now.  The book is broken down into the principles of how communications work, looking in turn at consumer behaviour, ‘the brand idea’ and engagement ideas, finishing off with a look at new rules for online content.

He looks at a number of communications case studies, including many he likes, like LEGO, Honda, KIT KAT and Oreo,and a few he doesn't, like Dove (he thinks it fails to communicate enough about the brand in its 'empowerment' ads).  He also rightly takes a swipe at some of the poster boys for real time marketing, like Arby’s ‘Pharrell’ stunt, and asks how much it really achieved for the brand.  For a physical book it seems very up to date in terms of many of the case studies that it references, which is very good.

My main criticism would be the title.  I don’t think many are arguing that Twitter is the answer for many brands, but that Twitter should be used as a way of targeting and amplifying campaigns in other media.  As such the title (& use of a version of the Twitter mascot, and the distinctive Twitter blue) seems to be both dismissing Twitter and riding on its coat sales at the same time.  For example the book currently appears in the top 20 Amazon results in books for the keyword ‘Twitter’.

Buy this book if you want a good, up to date primer of how traditional thinking on branding and marketing must still be applied in the social and real-time age.

You can also see Tom discussing the book in the video below

Monday, November 24, 2014

Getting people to pay for it

Contributor by Google is the latest attempt to get people to pay for web content.

People register (currently you can join a waiting list), agree to pay a monthly amount, and then this is split between the participating sites you visit over the course of the month.

In essence it's a new version of Flattr, which was created in 2010 (& is still going), but with the Google version the sites you visit become ad-free, with the ad space replaced by a 'Thank You' message.

It's being labelled as an experiment, but I can see this working given Google's size and power - think of all the sites that get revenue from Google AdWords.  Think also of how much advertising rates have fallen - sites that get 5% of your $3 a month would probably make far more out of you than they would from the ad impressions that you generate.  Other sites (like this blog) would far rather take payment this way than take the teeth whitening and belly flattening ads that plague some corners of the web.

I'm assuming that Google will take a small cut of the fee (nothing wrong with that), and it's interesting that this has been announced in the same month as Music Key, a paid programme (also in beta) to let people have an ad-free version of YouTube.

As time goes on I think the paid model will do well for many sites, specifically (maybe obviously) those that have users willing and able to pay.  The brainier sites perhaps, like Metafilter, that currently has over 3,500 visitors voluntarily funding it.

You could also argue that this could bring about a whole new of clickbait, if it's based on a visit, rather than time spent or a deeper engagement, although people would get wise to this.

One final thought - imagine how valuable Google's list of paid ad-avoiders is going to be - people who both have disposable income and can't easily be reached with standard online ads...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rugby Highlights in a Tweet

A very creative use of Twitter:  Samsung Mobile, sponsor of Sky's international rugby coverage, is using highlights of the games as videos within promoted tweets, just minutes after the action has happened

During the World Cup, and every week during the premiership, fans are tweeting goals as vines (which get taken down due to copyright infringement; this is a good legal alternative.

It's tweeted from the Sky Sports Rugby account, but promoted (& targeted) by Samsung.

Bet no one can afford the rights to do it for the football though!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapchat's Snapcash

Yesterday Snapchat announced a way of transferring money across the platform using Square - logially enough called Snapcash.

It's just for person to person - and Square has allowed this via email or sms for some time - but it feels like another important step in  allowing people to make payments easily on their phones.

So far it's US only, of course.

Snapchat's announcement here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coca Cola's Spotify Jukebox with Blippar

A promotion from the UK.  'Blipp' any can ok Coke with the promotion, and it opens a Sotify playlist on your phone with 50 current UK hits

A nice partnership between Coke, Spotify & Blippar - full info on the Blippar blog

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Taylor Swift's 1989 #Taylurking

Taylor Swift has just sold the highest number of albums in the US in the first week of release of any artist since 2002, for her album 1989, and all this at a time when teens generally don't buy music.

One contributing factor was how she leveraged her social media channels, including Facebook (70m likes), Twitter (46m followers) and Instagram (13m fillowers).

The cover of 1989 features a Polaroid picture, and fans are allowed to create their own version through this page on her site.  When you do so you have to register with an email address, and effectively join a mailing list.

It can then be shared on social channels, and Taylor (or more likely her social media team) is regularly #Taylurking in channels and tweeting a selection of these pics, and pics of fans holding physical copies of the album.

Superfans have also been encouraged to buy multiple copies - there are different polaroids in the packaging to collect.
At the same time she's taken all her music down from Spotify - you have to buy it to listen to it (although its possible that it will return once the sales have fallen off a bit).

Very smart marketing

Update - Spotify has responded to Taylor Swift removing her songs in good humour, including creating this playlist:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Other Side of Honda

In 2005 the German agency Nordpol won a Gold 'Direct' Lion award at Cannes for a campaign called Channel Hopper that involved two TV ads that were shown simultaneously on two different TV channels, SAT.1 and ProSeiben, at the same time:

"The Grand Prix was taken by German agency Nordpol Hamburg for its internet and TV campaign for the launch of the Renault Modus.

Answering the brief to sell the car's "young at heart" proposition, the agency ran a internet teaser campaign and email to Renault prospects to tell them to when to watch a mystery TV ad, without telling them what product it was for.

The ad was special in that slightly different versions of it were broadcast simultaneously on two different TV channels. The audience was asked to channel hop between the two ads to get the full impact. They were then directed to see the ad's ending on the Modus website and encouraged to register for a test drive.

The judges applauded the campaign for signposting the future of direct marketing."

You can see the case study here (sadly not embeddable)

I have to say that I saw it in 2005, and I've seen it again now, and I'm still baffled as to how it could have been signed off, let alone won any awards (the car does not appear at all).  It seems like a clever media stunt that's looking for a brand to endorse it.

However Honda has just released a new film, The Other Side of Honda, that does something very similar, but much more effectively using YouTube and letting people switch between versions of the film by pressing the R key (the car is the Civic Type R) on their keyboard.  See the trailer below:

See the full interactive version here

The films show two stories with the same actor - one a light family story, the other a much darker thriller.

It's amazingly well done.  Both silent films are engaging in their own right, and being able to switch from one to the other makes it infinitely more engaging.  

You can't see views on this video (you can't embed it either), but I bet it's doing very well!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Targeted Gifs on Posters for Netflix in France

This is a very good case study on the use of targeted outdoor ads for the launch of Netflix in France.

For example targeting messages depending on events, weather, and trends

Friday, October 24, 2014

'Dorothy' Wearable Technology

This is a fun concept, and a good illustration of the sort of thing that wearable technology could do.

'Dorothy' is a device that can be operated by tapping you heels together 3 times (geddit?) to then perform a specific task in a 'if this then that' way.  For example calling your phone so that you can make an excuse to leave a bad date (we've all been there...), to text 3 friends with your location, and more.

More info here

The first ad on Snapchat

The first advert on Snapchat ran over the weekend of 18th & 19th October: a snap for upcoming horror film ‘Ouija’.

More info


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

App Integration - Apple Pay

Apple Pay, the seamless way to pay though an iPhone or iPad launched earlier this week.  Once set up, shoppers can use it to pay for things in-store with contactless payment terminals, and also through a set of 14 launch partner apps - shown below,

with more coming soon, including Starbucks, airbnb, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster.

While the reviews say that payment in apps is not perfect yet - you can't add multiple things to a basket in some, for example, this is one area where the integration of one app into another (making apps less self-contained, and more linked, like the web) should really take off.

This is a screen grab of what it looks like within the Groupon app - just pay with one tap through Apple Pay:

& here's another - OpenTable and Apple Pay:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

'How Google Works' on Slideshare

Slideshare is a great medium to use to promote a business book - I'm surprised it isn't used more often

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pinterest's Handmade Halloween

The first of a series, I think

Scanning Photos

There's an interesting article today on Marketing about the work of Ditto Labs, who work with brands to identify logos in pictures.  A few years ago this would have been used to detect fake merchandise and improper use, but now more creative uses are emerging:

"It is already working with one of Coca-Cola’s US agencies, Nissan and Michael Kors. Rival Curalate operates in the same space, scanning Pinterest and Tumblr on behalf of brands such as Gap and Urban Outfitters.
"Brands are using this for three reasons," Rose told Marketing. "One reason is in the way brands would do a focus group, they want to see how their product is actually being used in the wild, who’s using it, where - they want to understand usage occasion.
"The second is being able to look at a competitive set; how often is my product being used, and where versus my competitors.""

A good example of how unlikely things can be measured, and this measurement turned into actionable insights

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

App Integration - HealthyNow

I wrote about app integrations a couple of weeks ago - how apps are able to deep link, and put buttons in other apps, making the app ecosystem more like the web.

The first example I showed was Uber, allowing people to order taxis in specific situations.  Now I've seen another which shows how apps can pass information to each other in the background.

HealthyNow, an app that tracks your health and sets goals, now integrates with HealthKit in iOS 8 to allow it to pull in data from other health and fitness apps to monitor a bigger picture of your health:

"Through HealthyNow’s intergration with HealthKit, iPhone and iPad touch users can gather the information they choose from various health apps and fitness devices. iOS 8 offers developers the ability for health and fitness apps to communicate with each other. With their permission, each app can use specific information from other apps to provide a more comprehensive way for users to manage their health and fitness.

“Cerner’s integration of HealthyNow with Apple HealthKit adds to an already impressive scale of functionality at the fingertips of our members and will keep Sharp Health Plan at the forefront of mobile health and wellness,” said Michael Byrd, Vice President, Chief Business Development Officer, Sharp Health Plan, which has more than 80,000 members in San Diego County. “Allowing our members’ health and fitness apps to work together and work harder for them in real time instead of after the fact is more convenient, more accurate and consistent with our broader mission to deliver our members’ best health, their way.”"

As I said before, I think this will change the way people think about apps, and also change how companies develop apps, needing partnerships with other apps for collaboration.

Update - here is a list of the apps that integrate with HealthKit

#ThatSongWhen for Spotify

A good new campaign, highlighting the significance certain songs have for people

For example


they've also got some influencers to get involved:

(Caption reads: Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" is #thatsongwhen I made my first very long journey in a 2CV just after passing my driving test! ( so chuffed to be collaborating with @spotify on this project. If you go to you can share your song too 🎶 ))


& there's a Spotify site where you can tell your own stories

I really like the tone - very celebratory.

More here

Monday, September 29, 2014

Loom Bands took off because of the inventor's daughters' videos on YouTube

Is there anything more 2014 than Loom Bands?  About half the people (grown ups) I'm in meetings with seem to wear them...  They're everywhere.

An article in The Guardian at the weekend about Rainbow Loom inventor Cheong Choon Ng has this fascinating detail on the role YouTube played in the phenomenon (my bolding):

"We invested our entire family savings of $10,000 (£6,152) to order tooling and 2,000lb (91kg) of rubber bands from China, and assembled the kits ourselves in our garage. I spent months going round toy stores in Michigan with my daughters, trying to sell the loom band. Nobody was interested. The problem was that people didn't understand how they worked. So I asked my niece and my daughters to create YouTube videos, explaining how to make rubber-band bracelets. These created a trend.

In July 2012, I received an order from a toy store in Alpharetta, Georgia, for 12 loom-band kits. Less than two weeks later, the same store placed an order for $10,000. When my wife and I saw it, our jaws dropped. We thought it was a mistake. The store owners told us they had never seen anything like it. After that, our sales climbed every month until, in December 2012, we reached $200,000 wholesale sales a month. I took a three-month sabbatical from Nissan, but never returned to my old job."

I think that this is the original video:

See more of the videos here

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

App Integrations

One trend we're seeing at the moment is that apps are becoming more like the mobile web.

Apps (& games) are most people's experience of mobile - stats from Flurry show that apps now make up 86% of the time spent on mobile, and the mobile web just 14%.

The experience with apps used to be that you would open one, do something, and then open another one.

As time has gone on it's become possible to deep-link into apps.

My favourite example of this is CityMapper, the app that has done so much to demystify public transport (buses especially) in London for people like me,

The button below, if you open it up on a mobile, in CityMapper will direct you to my office.  No need to open the app, and put the address in, this link takes to to precise instructions to get to 10 Triton Street, NW1.

Get directions with Citymapper

While this is deep linking into an app from the web (which YouTube has been doing for years), we're now starting to see examples of deep linking to a precise place in an app, from another app.

Uber is a leader in this.  Their recent API announcement unveiled a number of integrations -

"Here are just a few examples of how our partner apps are making it even easier to get where you want to go with Uber:

Dinner date? Request an Uber to your favorite restaurant right from the OpenTable app. Your driver will arrive already knowing where you are headed.

Catching a flight? The United mobile app shows ETAs of the closest drivers and fare estimates, so you can get reliable ride to and from the airport for less.

Night out? Time Out shows different Uber options—from low-cost to luxury—so you can be sure to arrive in style to the city’s best nightlife.

Need a place to stay? Book a room through the Hyatt Hotels & Resorts app and request a ride to your hotel right from the reservation screen.

Want a recap of your journey? Use Momento to view a timeline of your Uber trip history alongside other moments in your life."

There's now even ain integration with the Starbucks app (in the US) that lets you order an Uber to take you to your nearest Starbucks, or even order a coffee for delivery by an Uber driver.

Apps did not used to behave like this, and in doing so now they're behaving more like the web, with things linking through to other things.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Buying on Twitter - Pilot programme announced

Twitter has finally revealed plans for a pilot programme allowing people to buy things within a Tweet.

"In our test, an entire purchase can be completed in just a few taps. After tapping the “Buy” button, you will get additional product details and be prompted to enter your shipping and payment information. Once that’s entered and confirmed, your order information is sent to the merchant for delivery."

The test includes partners like Stripe for card payments; you'd have thought that shipping and payment details could be saved within the app (as they are with Amazon) before too long - that would cut down on the stages.  [The video actually suggests that payment card data will be stored]

So far launch partners are mainly musicians, but also Burberry, Home Depot and some others are in there.  Full list in the blog post here.

I'd love this to work - but AmazonBasket hasn't exactly set the world alight so far.

Watch this space!

Nissan's speedy 'Royal Baby' tweet

Nissan apparently tweeted this just 7 minutes after the announcement that The Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant with her second child.
Pretty impressive when you consider that it wasn't particularly expected, or at a time when people were on high alert, e.g. during a sporting event.

Fewer than 200 RTs 3 hours later though - and I imagine that lots of them are from media obsessives like me, rather than royal fans (or petrolheads)

Full story here

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Brands using Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is Instagram's new video app, that steadies your images, making it possible to make professional-looking films in motion from an iPhone (iOS only at the moment)

Here is Instagram's video explaining it

Stabilization for Hyperlapse from Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.

It's had great reviews - 'It's like a $15,000 video set-up in your hand' - and brands are starting to use it:

Mercedes USA


Burton Snowboards

AriZona Iced Tea

Jimmy Fallon Tonight



The Science Museum

Dr Pepper



Any more..?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fanta's Vine Comedy with College Humor

Many brands have commissioned Vine stars to create videos for them, but Fanta has taken this one step further with a 6 minute show on College Humor called Fanta For The Funny, which consists of lots of these one after an other, to make a sort of '100 Best Vines' show.  It's not heavily branded, but the 'Fanta orange' colour features a lot.

Have a look at the full thing below - or see some of the individual pieces on the creators' own channels, for example here, here and here.

I suspect that this looks like a total mess to anyone over the age of about 22 - it does to me - but let's give it time and see if the audience takes to it.

More info here

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Audi's Barely Legal Pawn - Hijacking the Emmys

An amazing ad (or piece of branded content, if you want...) with stars from Breaking Bad and Veep, cunningly released just a week before The 66th Emmy Primetime Awards, which take place on Monday 25th August.  It's not hijacking per se, as Audi is the official sponsor of the event, but it's a very good move, and the ad has actually been placed on the Emmy YouTube channel.

Don't forget that Audi also did this film with two 'Spocks' last year

Monday, August 18, 2014

Amazon's Local Register

A competitor to Square, iZettle and more, but with the reassurance that Amazon's size brings.

I wonder why it took them so long

(US only at the moment)

Full story here

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Push For Pizza - 'Yo for Pizza'

Push for Pizza is one example (I expect there are many) of the influence of Yo.

Yo is an app that only lets you do one thing - send a message that says 'Yo' to a friend.  Nothing else.  As such, the interface is extremely basic and easy to use (but all you can do is send a message that says 'Yo').

Push for Pizza lets you order a pizza to be sent to you.  It's not quite as simple as Yo, in that you need to set up card payment details, address, and so on, and also you get two options (Plain or Pepperoni), but essentially, you press a button for pizza.

More details here

Yes, it's been done before, with a simple fridge magnet in Dubai:

What I think is interesting though, is this follows the trend of simplification and single purpose apps.  If you look at other pizza apps - Domino's etc - they can get quite heavy with different options, 'create your own pizza' and more.  I'm not completely sure that this is a problem that needs fixing urgently, or that people can't get around, but I suspect we'll see lots of apps going through a simplification process.

Update - See also The Pizza Button

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Chipotle's #BurritoWatch Mystery Site of The Day Promo

Chipotle has a promotion happing in the UK where they will give away 2,000 burritos a day for the next 7 days.

Each day they will release a mystery website and the first 2,000 to get there will get a voucher (presumably in exchange for an email address).

Today's first site is given above.  You can slow down YouTube by using the 'cog' icon on the lower bar - but even so it's pretty hard!

Full details of the promo here

Day 2 - an Instagram video

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

& then...

Day 6

Day 7

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Red Bull's #AirRace Promoted Tweet

I'm not quite sure how Red Bull has done this, but it's possibly the best use of a Twitter Card yet - the promoted tweet bleeds into the tweet above,,,

See the tweet here - sadly embedding it into Blogger doesn't show off what they've done.

The tweet clicks through to this page

Update - apparently it's made with 'unsafe' characters - see other examples here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Airbnb for...

Airbnb re-launched earlier this month with its new 'Belo' symbol, and the idea of 'belonging'

I think one of the reasons for this is that it can help Airbnb move away from purely accommodation  and into other parts of the sharing economy, where you can also feel you 'belong'.

The classic Airbnb model - you rent something from someone who doesn't need it at that time - is so flexible that it can apply to so many different things.

A few examples from Google Auto-complete:

Airbnb for...

boats, bikes, business travel
cats, cars, camping, commercial space
dogs, dinner parties, desks
eating, education
food, flights, freelancers
gyms, garages
jobs, jets
meeting rooms, motorcycles
office space
pets, parking, popup shops
restaurants, retail, RVs
storage, skills
tools, toilets, tour guides
workspace, weddings

There are already companies that offer almost all of these as a business model - in some cases lots of companies (e.g. 'airbnb for retail space' or 'airbnb for (homecooked) food').

Airbnb's new identity should help them move into these areas.

(I did the same on Netflix - because lots of companies are also attempting their 'single regular fee for all you can consume' model, but fewer business ideas came up - anime, audiobooks, books, comics, clothes, games, hotels, and jewellery - although all of these are quite interesting)

Update - 'Airbnb is planning a tours and city experiences service' - 21st September 2014

Official case studies from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more

Here are a set of useful links to official case studies:

Facebook Success Stories

Facebook's Developer Showcase

Facebook's Atlas As Server

Twitter Success Stories

Instagram for Business - & also some more (but more anecdotal) if you scroll through the Instagram Business Blog

Google / Doubleclick Advertising Case Studies

YouTube Advertiser Case Studies

Microsoft Advertising Case Studies

Yahoo Advertising Case Studies

ITV Case Studies

Sky AdSmart

Pinterest Success Stories

PlaceIQ Location-based advertising case studies

Unruly's viral video case studies

Guardian Labs

MyThings - Banner Ad case studies including things like dynamic ad creation

Plus - lots of location-based marketing case studies on GeoMarketing

Any more I should add?  Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter - @dancall

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finding the demographics of Facebook page 'Likers'

This one came up today - how do you find demographics of a page in Facebook, if it's not your own page?

This is one way to do it.

Create a dummy ad, pointing to any url at this Facebook Ads Create page -  (you're not actually going to buy any ads)

Select the page subject as an interest - to demonstrate I've picked Shakira, the world's most liked person on Facebook

Go through changing the age and gender, to see how many fans there are at each level.

Here are the results for Shakira in the UK - it seems to make sense.

(Anyone else know a simpler, free way?)

Note - this may technically be the demographics of people who list Shakira as an interest, rather than page fans, but even so it must be a good approximation of their demographics

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review - The Circle by Dave Eggars

The Circle is a satirical novel that was initially published last year, and has recently appeared in paperback in the UK, published by Penguin.

In it Dave Eggars creates a credible world, a few years in the future, where there exists a company called The Circle, which is to most intents and purposes an amalgam of Google and Facebook.

It's a bit like Google because you have a single identity through which you conduct your online life, in the way that Google likes you to have a single identity over all its properties (including YouTube), and in that it is very actively involved in video and 'streetview' style projects, and 'moonshot' ideas like digitising the world's books; The Circle has a project to count all the grains of sand in the Sahara.

It's a bit like Facebook in that it's all about sharing, and over-sharing, people join groups and send each other endless messages... and the founder is a young genius who is well known for wearing a hoodie.

Eggars explores this world through his heroine Mae, who joins the company and explores different facets of it.  The first line is 'Oh my god, Mae thought. It's heaven', describing her initial reaction to the company's campus.

While Eggars claims to have no particular knowledge of the scene, and denies that its based on any specific companies, it's very good in its imagination of the world of the Internet of Things and the Quantified Self.

I particularly liked his corporate mantras, including:

All That Happens Must Be Known

Sharing is Caring (people want to experience things their friends do)

Privacy is Theft (being private denies friends these experiences)

Secrets are Lies (because openness is truth)

He's also very good at finding names for different concepts, including:

TruYou - Your single online identity

SeeChange - Live cameras recording everything, accessible by anyone

ChildTrack - A way of tracking all kids, to ensure their safety

PastPerfect - A system that identifies people in historic photos and videos so that your history can be traced back easily

Conversion Rate - The proportion of your friends who like products that you recommend

Retail Raw - The retail value of these likes - that is if a product you recommend costs £5 and 100 of your friends 'like' it, then the RR is £500.

I have friends who work at both Facebook and Google (& lots of other places), and I respect both those companies.  I would say that it's better in its imagination of social media in a few years time than it is as a novel about people, but I'd definitely recommend it as a thought provoking book.  It deserves to be far better known than it currently seems to be (very few people at a recent Google event I went to had even heard of it) - read it and see what you think.

Buy it - you'll increase my Retail Raw!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beyonce teases the Fifty Shades Teaser Trailer

Yesterday Beyonce (or, more likely someone at Team Beyonce) posted a teaser for the first trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey on her Instagram account.

It ends with a version of Crazy in Love, which is the connection, but Beyonce is a great person for the brand to have to promote the film.

In this weekend's FT it was claimed that '£4,000 can change hands for each mention of their product in the [a YouTube star's] video itself (it costs roughly the same for a shout-out on Twitter).'  Goodness knows how much Beyonce costs...

Update - & here is the official trailer - 6m views in 24 hours:

Given that it's not released until Valentine's Day next year I think we've got a lot of marketing to come!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stabilo's World Cup goals flipbook

Very well done!

Heineken's @wherenext local discovery service

This is a fun idea.

If you want to know where is 'hot' locally, you can tweet @wherenext with your location - e.g. '@wherenext Chelsea' - and it will tell you places nearby which are being mentioned in social media.

It also works on desktop or mobile through this site - see screen grab

It's a fun idea, but clearly it depends on the level of data being produced, which depends on the existence of people like me tweeting their social, food and drink experiences.

It's also clearly game-able, and many of the most savvy venue owners are actively trying to encourage people to post on social media while they're out.

It also comes down to whether you trust machines (I'm assuming that this is automatically generated) or local experts to curate the best of what's on, for example to tell you in the screen grab that The Lukin is a far better place to go to than The Green Man.

But...  It's a good idea and I suspect that that there will be many more shots like this fired in the 'local' war before we find something that works reliably.  Well done to Heineken, who are pioneers in experimenting with location.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Snapchat's Geofilters

Snapchat is introducing lots of new features at the moment.  We've had Stories - including this World Cup #RioLive story sent to everyone's timeline on the day of the World Cup final - and now Geofilters.

Geofilters are filters that can only be applied at certain places - so for a city (to create a 'Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ' style postcard effect), or for specific locations, like Disneyland, as shown on the video.

Very smart, and you'd imagine brands with locations (McDonalds, Top Shop, cinemas, football clubs...) will be using this a lot by the time we get to Christmas.  & why not have a range of special Christmas ones for multiple locations - e.g. LEGO, Simpsons, Quality Street...

Also, you can imagine Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and others following very quickly.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Selfies killed the autograph

A great quote from Taylor Swift in her an article she wrote for the Wall Street Journal:

"There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven't been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento "kids these days" want is a selfie. It's part of the new currency, which seems to be "how many followers you have on Instagram."

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Pizza Pilgrims' Panini Sticker Swap

A great promo from Pizza Pilgrims in London.  If you have a sticker that they haven't got in their Panini World Cup Album you can swap it for a free pizza.

Blog post here

"We have started our Panini sticker collection in earnest at the Pizzeria in Dean St – an excuse to feel 8 years old again. so we thought it would be fun to open up our collection to the whole of soho.

In short, we giving away pizza in return for stickers. we will be collecting a different team each week – starting with Italy, obv. if you bring us a player (or, whisper it, a shiny) from the chosen team that week then an entire pizza will be yours, to eat in or take away.

We will also be giving away stickers when you eat in the pizzeria – so you can even get stuck in (!) if you are not a sticker collector (shame on you). we are also selling the sticker books and stickers if you just want to boost  your collection.

Finally – in classic playground tradition – we will be turning our foosball table into a dedicated #sohoswapshop between the hours of 3pm-6pm every day. just come down, and swap your doubles for ones you actually need!"

This week it's Costa Rica.
A great example of using Twitter to push a great (& cheap) idea.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Monster's Twitter Cards

Recruitment company Monster has just unveiled its new Twitter Cards, putting the full job ad into the tweet.

Very well done.

More here

Monday, June 30, 2014

Casey Neistat's Snapchat Stories

Snapchat recently introduced 'My Story' - pictures and videos grouped together - and 'Our Story' - similar for groups and events.

If you're not an active Snapchatter (I'm not) you might struggle to visualise how this works.  As an example here's American social media celebrity Casey Neistat, who posts his Stories onto YouTube to archive them:

For example:


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nescafe's Alarm Cap

Nescafe has made a jar lid that works as an alarm clock, waking people gently with sound and light.  It's part of a bigger trend of brands making interesting things - see also Coca Cola's 'second life' bottle tops, and Budweiser's Red Lights.

This is lots of fun, and it's easy to snark (Where can you get one?  How many of the 'opinion leaders and media personalities' drink instant coffee? Or sleep in the same room as a jar of coffee?) but it's an interesting idea.

See more here

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brands' 'Louis Suarez' Tweets

Lots of brands posted humourous tweets after Louis Suarez' apparent 'biting' incident in yesterdays World Cup match between Uraguay and Italy.


Translation: 'Hi, Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac'




& even

Lots more here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Works with Nest

A video from Google Nest showing examples of things working with the Nest thermostat technology - washing machines, cars and more.

It's a bit reminiscent of the 'things for business travellers and other rich people in the future' sort of videos - see a classic here - but I think that what Nest is trying to do is will be much more mass market soon.

See more examples of how other objects could talk to Nest here

Friday, June 20, 2014

Animated GIFs on Twitter

You can now use animated gifs in Tweets - for example:

Boo - sadly it down't seem to work on embedded tweets, but see it in its full glory here

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Budweiser Red Lights

This is a bizarre 'internet of things' example from Canada:  Budweiser has created a device that ice hockey fans can put in their homes that will react when their team scores a goal...

"Then there are gimmicky applications such as the Budweiser Red Light, a unit that ice hockey fans can install in their homes, which flashes and emits noises when their team scores. As the Budweiser Canada website puts it: "We are not joking: It’s real, it works and you can buy it." Imagine a pint of beer that bleeps when your football team scores a goal, or offers you a free second pint if they get through to a higher level in a competition."

See the site here

See a Red Light 'in the wild' here

Facebook's Slingshot App

Facebook has just launched Slingshot, a new photo and video-sharing app.  It's a bit like Snapchat in that the photos & videos will self-destruct, but the interesting new twist is that to see something you must first send something back, thus guaranteeing engagement.  The clock is ticking to the first brands to try it...

Facebook's had a bit of a rocky ride with some of its mobile initiatives - both 'Home' and 'Paper' have been flops - but this one might just work...

More info here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fifa's World Cup 'Voting' Twitter Card

Fifa is using a very useful 'Card' for some of its tweets at the World Cup.   Cards let people put more information into a tweet - for example a form to collect email addresses.

Fifa's card lets people vote for a man of the match (sponsored by Budweiser) during the match, listing all of the players.  Man of the match is chosen exclusively through online and Twitter voting.

See the screengrab below - as it reverts to just showing the man of the match as soon as he's picked.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Buy via Instagram with Like To Know It

Like To Know It is a new piece of technology that lets you buy from Instagram.  Vogue is one of the partners - like a pic on Vogue's Instagram that uses the technology, for example the one above, and you will be sent an email with direct links to buy.  In addition to Vogue, most of whose photos aren't 'shoppable' lots of other brands have signed up - browse some here, or seem them on LTKI's Instagram here

So it's not exactly directly selling on Instagram, but it's a nice workaround, and one that will let Vogue monetise their feed, albeit on a small scale.

Of course this also shows a feature that Instagram themselves could add, making it easier to buy directly with fewer stages.

More details here (with some pretty wild estimates of how much Vogue might be making)

Monday, June 09, 2014

Coca Cola's Second Lives

Brilliant in its simplicity...  Why has this not been done before?  (Or has it).  The bottle tops are currently being given away in Vietnam, then to be rolled out to the rest of Asia.

I also love how it uses the 'workarounds' idea of making do and mending, because people have been doing this with empty plastic bottles for years.  (I use one as a cocktail shaker, because I was thinking of buying one, and then realised that I had lots of perfectly usable plastic bottles lying around).

It also reminds me of this nice stunt from Coke from a couple of years ago - turn a magazine ad into a loudspeaker

Full story here

Update - Coca Cola is also a partner in a new 3D printer that will use old plastic bottles as one of its raw materials in making new products

Thursday, June 05, 2014

TBS & Family Guy Hijack Rihanna

A nice stunt by broadcaster TBS 'The home of Conan, Cougar Town, Ground Floor, Sullivan and Son, King of the Nerds, Deal With It, The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy':  On Monday Rihanna wore a very revealing dress to the CFDA awards in New York - and soon the pictures were being shared everywhere.

TBS posted this photo on Wednesday of Peter Griffin in Rihanna's outfit

...  & then on Thursday Rihanna tweeted this.

(Check out the number of RTs and favourites)

Very good, very opportunistic work!

Sainsbury's 'Food Rescue' site with Google

This seems like a very obvious idea:  Sainsbury's & Google have collaborated on a site that lets you search for inspiring recipes to avoid wasting food.

For example, if you have some broccoli in the fridge that you need to use up, it recommends 20 recipes that you could make.  You can search through your keyboard, or through voice, and also include multiple items, and also exclude items (it was sadly unable to come up with any recipes that included both broccoli and chocolate).

I should also point out that any recipe site worth its salt also lets you search by ingredient; but well done to Google and Sainsbury's for seizing the moral high ground on this.

See the site here

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

LEGO on Vine and Instagram Video

Nice work for our client LEGO.  Note that it's the same character, but a different treatment on the different platforms



Full story & credits
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