Sunday, 30 November 2008
From Spitting Image I hopped to things magazine, which was set up by some V&A amd RCA historians in 1994 in the belief that objects can open up new ways of understanding the world. If that sentiment ever needed validation then one only has to hop over to automatic washer where vintage automatic washers, driers and dishwashers to be found alongside restorations, video clips of the machines working, a cyber-museum, a patent-of-the-day feature, pictures of a graveyard for automatics called Aberdeen Farm and even a sister site called Vacuum Land. Life is good.
Friday, 28 November 2008
You SHOULD be subscribed by now but if not head to http://stlukespodcast.podomatic.com
For those who missed it do not fear, Simon was there with his trusty camera so watch this space....
Thursday, 27 November 2008
next up is Spitting Image . Unfortunately this blogger has died, here is his obituary:
John was a long time contributor to News of the Weird, coconspirator and eventually primary blogger behind spitting-image.net, and the author of the original and brilliant Overheard Starbuck. Readers of this blog knew John as a generous sharer of information and a keen observer of American culture, and anyone who had the pleasure of receiving his e-mail valued him as a wise and honest friend. John was proud of the accumulation of this site, which shall remain, a spark of light among the constellations. I will dearly miss him."
Kind of sad but glad I came across it.
Overheard Starbuck is worth a look. It does exactly what it says on the tin and is full of gems like this:"He had motive and opportunity."
---"And you have a tv set on which you watch cop shows. Seriously--who the hell talks like that?"
"It's almost like not being in a cult at all."
I love that.
This ad is one of the most effective things I've seen in a long time - thought-provoking, challenging and, crucially, makes you act straight away - especially when it comes to digital execution.
As well creating a brilliant advert, Barnado's and creative agency BBH have thought about how the digital execution can work alongside the TV, and how technology can enhance the idea. As an industry first, The Guardian have agreed to host full-page HD video across their Society and education sections. The speeded up sequence repeats itself until you click on the ad - or until you intervene - giving the user real experience of how they can help. Et voila - ideas you can do!
Additionally, as soon as the ad was screened, chat rooms exploded with discussions about whether it was appropriate or effective. If Barnado's were clever, they would have had a team of seeders at the ready answering questions and powering the conversation to further propell the message.
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Am I the only one who thinks this is very very very sad? Woolies is part of our heritage (Ok, so it came from America, but that fact that we've all forgotten that says a lot). They are an integral part of the British high street, and the only place you can buy a Buzz Lightyear costume, a toaster, some Pix'n'Mix and a lawnmower all in the same place. WE CANNOT LET THEM FALL! WE MUST SAVE THEM.
I suggest we start a campaign to save Woolies. Everyone should commit to go into Woolies this weekend and buy one thing - whatever it is (and as we all know, it could be any number of things!). Pass this on to everyone you know, get it onto every blog and LET'S SAVE WOOLIES!
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
It may not look it, but the horse is not a toy. According to the Mail, "the 15 in silver dun tovero was born 10 days ago" in Australia and will grow to 24 in.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Last week a few of us went over to the South Bank to help our client, Divine chocolate, celebrate their 10th Birthday. It was a lovely evening, not just because of the champagne, and delicious Divine chocolate goodies (yum yum), but also as it gave us a chance to hear from some of the cocoa bean farmers, from the Kuapa KoKoo Co-operative in Ghana. For those of you who don't know about Divine, they are the UK's only fairtrade chocolate brand, and not only this, but the company is co-owned by the farmers who pick the beans. Not only do they receive a fair income for their work, but they also receive a share in the profits. Divine have had a great 10 years, and it was lovely to be able to share the evening with them, and hear first-hand the stories of the farmers, who's lives have been changed so much by this fantastic company. Here's to many more years of Divine. And here's to more and more people out there choosing to buy fairtrade and therefore helping to build better lives for the people that bring us our food.
Pa Pa Paa (that's means Best of the Best, in Twi, the language local to Kuapa KoKoo).
The ten techniques of advertising headlines
1. The Reveal
Misdirecting readers, then pulling the rug from under their feet.
“I never read the Economist” Management Trainee Aged 43.
2. The Q & A
A question that is answered by the body copy.
Ted Bundy. Jeffrey Dahmer. The Boston Strangler. How do you think they got their start?
3. The Curiosity Arouser
A phrase that draws you into the body copy.
We stole their land, their buffalo and their women. Then we went back for their shoes. Timberland.
4. The Double Entendre
A line with two distinct meanings, one of which is relevant to the proposition.
Ever heard people talking about their Volkswagens? They go on and on and on.
5. The Parody
A line that pastiches a well-known phrase and gives it a twist because of the brand.
If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our club. The Edinburgh Club.
6. The Instruction
A headline that tells you how to interact with the rest of the ad.
To find out how quiet our new typewriter is, tap the keys on this page.
7. The Killer Fact
A single fact that conveys the entire meaning of the ad.
Two works of man are visible from space. The Great Wall of China and the fires raging in the rainforest.
8. The List of Three
A line that groups things into three, the third often contrasts the first two.
Delight Children. Impress Friends. Confuse Bumble Bees. Millets.
9. The Contrasting Pair
A line that exploits a contrast in two words.
They appear the same but disappear differently. Ford.
A line in which many of the words start with the same letter.
Flowers for the Fearless. Be brave not beige. Ikea.
(And an extra one in brackets) The extra bit in brackets.
An apparently straight line with a cheeky, more colloquial bit in brackets.
In advertising you’re allowed to exaggerate. (that explains the caravan) VW
Friday, 21 November 2008
"Blogging as a marketing tool is easier when you think of it as a chemical catalyst, not as a hammer and nail."
I was referred to this blog last night by one of the guest speakers at my last IPA session. It belongs to a self proclaimed professional blogger who works as a consultant providing insight into how blogging can effect advertising and marketing practices. Tying in with a previous post on our blog, he has set up the Microsoft blue monster blog that aims to facilitate an open relationship both with their employees and customers.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is his work for a S.African wine company Stormhoek. He claims that by utilising the blogsphere he has increased sales of their wine from 50,000 cases in 2005 to 250,000 in cases 2007. Check out his blog for more details, it’s definitely worth a read.
Think this is one worth adding to the blog roll...
Found this on the trendspotting blog. Facebook has 10 billion photos, uses 10,000 servers and has just borrowed $100m to purchase another 50,000 servers. Just to support the 300,000 images that are served every second, Facebook burns 38, 500 kw a second.
If Facebook were a nation it would be the 12th most populous in the world. The graph above shows its carbon footprint versus major US cities.
So, is social networking sustainable?
Remember TV-B-Gone? It was a gadget that allowed you to turn off any telly, great for those pubs which have TV's flickering away depsite no-one watching them, especially when they are playing music videos which bear no relation to the music actually playing in the pub.
It was invented by a bloke called Mitch Altman and, after discovering 'hackers' had been building the gadget into hats, mobile phones and even a long range sniper model, he has made the firmare open source. Which is nice.
Found this by hopping to posthuman blues and then to a blog entry which took me to gizmo
This is steampunk. Basically sci-fi set in the age of steam power. I found it on edgetrends, a link from the Vividians.
The movie City of Ember was seemingly "the best steampunk allegory" for many a year
Time to hop
How do musicians combat music piracy? It seems to depend upon the audience. Radiohead famously allowed their fans to decide for themselves how much they should pay for their last album. Both Bob Dylan and Miles Davis (well, his record company) have went the other way and released very expensive editions with loads of extras. £90 was what Dylan asked for a deluxe 3 CD edition of his Tell Tale Signs album including a 150-page book, a bonus disc of tracks on top of the regular edition and an exclusive 7" vinyl if you ordered direct from his website The first 5000 customers were also given a Theme Time Radio Hour poster.
Sony BMG have just released a 50th anniversary edition of Davis's Kind of Blue which includes out-takes, DVD footage, fold out pictures, essays and a 12 in vinyl original. It costs £50.
While this can be explained to a certain extent by Dylan and Davis having older, boomer audiences with cash to spare, even today. I think there's something more going on here. Matt Mason, the bloke mentioned earlier who wrote The Pirate's Dilemma, talks of how the producers of Heroes created so many income stream s around the show that the impact of DVD pirate's was negated.
Why will people pay so much for something that they can get for free? Because, It's not just about the basic product, the movie or the show, it's about all the culture that surrounds it.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
OK, i got a bit stuck in the last blog because there was no blogroll to hop from. I rummaged around in his Last.FM friends list and his delicious page but to no avail. My breakthrough came today when Tom (remember, he is Tom too or 2) very helpfully posted this link to the Vividian Design Movement. Now, i had heard of Light Greens (green is the new black types) and Dark Greens (back to the dark ages types) but I had never heard of Bright Greens. Bright Greens believe that the planet can be saved by better design, new technologies and innovation. I like the sound of this lot.
Anyway, the Vividians are among the original bright greens. Or were. For this site is their reuquiem: "After the years transpiring – various disasters, wars, financial collapses and a major change in political tone – the world has become a different place.It remains only to close the Viridian episode gracefully"
I did like this piece of par though: "I strongly recommend that you carry a multitool. ...It's a set of possible creative interventions in your immediate material environment. That is why you want a multitool. They are empowering."
anyway, he also mentioned something called Steam Punk...
Just wanted to share my wonder.
check out http://www.4clubbers.net/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=2576 for further details.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
A few of you may know that I spent a bit of time in Japan recently. I thought I would post some of the wierd and wonderful things that are happening over there.
The Akihabara district is the electronic district in Tokyo and is home to everything Manga and Anime. One of the wierest things is the explosion of Maid cafes where "men who are too shy to have girlfriends" - The Otaku - go to have a cup of coffee. The waitresses are dressed as in the picture and are deliberately nice to the men. The girl on the left is dressed as a nun and if you go to her cafe she will bless you and read bits of the bible to you!
The men often struggle to deal with their emotions in their interchanges with the maids. to cover their embarrassment when they can't think of anything to say they simply exclaim: "MO-E".
There is nothing sexual beyond the short-ish skirt. In some cafes they might give you a foot massage or clean your ears! - a sign of intimacy in Japan. But mostly it is about role-playing. The girls will act out anime characters. For example, one character is "mean to you, but you know she likes you". Another is "anti-capability". She will be deliberately bad at serving you because she is not trying to impress you with her skills, but rather appeal to you through purity of heart. There is a girl who will cut your hair badly using a child's scissors for $100. She's booked up weeks in advance.
And if you are thinking this is all a bit male oriented think again. The latest phenomenon is Butler cafes, where girls dress as boys and are nice to women. They are queueing round the block for that one.
A client asked the other day if ads were less effective now because they are being fast forwarded. This study reported in The Economist suggests that actually people concentrate harder when they are using the fast forward button instead of ignoring ads as they used to! For best effect though the brand has to be placed in the centre of the screen. There is no time to have to find it on the screen. Should we make all our TV now so they work on fast forward?
Google, iPhone and the Future of Machines That Listen
How do you talk to a search engine? In Googlish, of course.
Google’s new speech recognition service for the iPhone, was released on Monday, understands you most accurately when you speak to it just the way you enter queries into the Google search box. That makes sense, because the system’s accuracy comes from the billions and billions of typed queries that Google has recorded over the years.
Google’s voice search software for iPhones. (Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)
So don’t bother with polite formalisms like “What is the best pizza restaurant in San Francisco?” Simply say “best pizza restaurant San Francisco.”
The accuracy is far from 100 percent, and probably not even 95 percent, in the past decade, however, progress has accelerated. The stakes seem to be very high and there are a number of big and small players. The search giants Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all believe speech recognition is a prerequisite for the era of mobile computing. And there are lots of others including I.B.M., Nuance and Vlingo that are developing speech technology.
Their aim is to enable us to eventually be able to interact with our phone like we do with our friends - watch this space!
Microsoft has announced the introduction of a new version of its Windows Live software, offering similar features to social networking sites such as Facebook.
Microsoft said the new software will offer greater integration, as email, instant messaging and photos will be collated together on one page.
The most notable difference, however, is the new software's ability to show updates from other social networking sites, allowing users to aggregate information from the various sites they may have accounts with.
The news follows research by e-Dialog that showed 19 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds cite their social networking email as their primary account, with the same number preferring marketing messages to be targeted there.
The new Windows Live Services is due to be rolled out in the US over the coming weeks, before being made available worldwide early next year.
So next I find Tom (I don't think its our Tom) This Tom is learning to become an iPhone developer. He has developed a version of I am near for the phone. He says: "After a few hours I’ve got a native version of i am near working, which performs a similar function to the site, but with the ability to fetch the user’s location directly from the iPhone. It’s simple, but effective."
It's quite good actually. The photo is pubs nearby.
Grazia have launched their 'Grazia Live at Westfield' application for the iPhone, which not only gives users access to the latest content from the brand, but also links into their experiential activities at the new mall. It shows how brands can add value to mobile users on an ongoing basis, and from Apple's perspective engages an audience who so far have probably been left cold by the iPhone's beer simulators and tech demos.
Ian Tait has set up a Flickr groups called Computers Behind Blogs. It is basically photos of the computers bloggers use to write their blogs. It is quite enchanting and a little bleak, the lack of people in many shots creates a feeling of loneliness.
the photo is of my gubbed old macbook and emily's lovely new one (It's really not fair)
These silly pictures are getting boring, we need some right good postings on the site so I've invented a new game, it's called BlogScotch (note the digi-friendly cap letter in the middle of the word.)
The idea is simple, pick any site on the blogroll, go there, find something good, steal it and post it here then go to that persons blog roll, click on someone at random and do it again.
Its Web of Light is suspended between the buildings of a pedestrianised square in the middle of the city and has been drawing the crowds in recent weeks.
Unfortunately the body wasn't fully lit when I was there so click on the link to see the spider in its full glory...
A couple of streets away and even more astonishing is the spinning building described as “the most daring piece of public art ever commissioned in the UK”. In a derelict former Yates' Wine Lodge, sculptor Richard Wilson cut out a large section of the front and through the magic of mechanical engineering, has rotated it on a pivot like a huge opening/closing window. See Turning the Place Over in action here...
If anyone out there has a fetish for cool T-shirts a new boutique fashion label has launched called I am Colin - inspired by geeks. Prints include a cassette tape being wound by a biro, a y-fronts and cross bones logo and a guy with a caravan head.
A bit of insider info for you guys - The site's soundtrack was created as a joke on a speak and spell and since the site's launch the designer has been contacted by a London club to do a guest DJ performance! Very Nathan Barley
The T-Shirts are available only online currently, but will shortly be out in various trendy London boutiques.
And as a shameless plug, all the shots for the AW08 campaign and the site were shot by me on a very funny Sunday a couple of weekends back.
check it out at http://www.i-am-colin.com/
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Inspired talks by the world's greatest thinkers and doers.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week.
The technology is being supplied by Snapnow. Their service allows images to instantly become hyperlinks, allowing consumers to interact with brands, advertisements, or products the very moment they are interested.
Dont be deceived by the cheesy youtube video below, this stuff is "brilliant. Definitely the way things will be going" (Dent, E. 2008)
Monday, 17 November 2008
Yes lovely people episode 3 is now up and ready for a listen. You should already be subscribed and know this but just in case head on over to -----http://stlukespodcast.podomatic.com
This week Nat and Jamil, the new directors of our photography competition talk eco friendly mounting and the winner is announced
Your next podcast fix will be 28th November
Go here and watch this presentation, its great.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Friday, 14 November 2008
Justin Billingsley, Brand Director at Orange, spoke at the IAB conference the other day. He made the case for an advertiser being 100% digital and very inspiring he was too. He has also put his money where his mouth is and created this social media and content (social content? Blog with loads of fun stuff to do?) site through Poke. Well worth checking out.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
The 1st speaker at yesterday's Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) conference was Matt Mason, author of The Pirate's Dilemma. Matt is an ex-pirate radio DJ turned author, consultant and soon to be programme maker.
He talked around 3 main concepts:
Brands feed off pirates. Just as Capital Radio and Kiss (an ex-pirate itself) feed off the pirate stations in London, iTunes copied Napster. On which point Steve Jobs said, "if you want to beat the pirates compete with them." Also talked about YouTube as pirate TV which in turn TV feeds off. I also liked his point that if you are young with something to say you are no longer limited to forming a band, you can set yourself up on YouTube."
Abundance is better than advertising, This is about using the audience to spread the message by providing them with an abundance of reasons and incentives to do so. He talked about how a pharmaceutical brand called Novartis gave away drugs in Thailand and India and improved its brand image in a way that advertising had never been able to achieve. He described how the producers of Heroes negated the activity of DVD pirates by creating so many income streams - the show, merchandise, publishing comics on and off line, NBC.com. licensing, iTunes and Hulu and integrated advertising - that it made $50m profit regardless of piracy. As an aside, illegal movie downloads are hurting the business of DVD pirates.
Product at the centre: this was a recurring theme, marketing which placed the product at the centre of a narrative of stories, communities and content. Grand Theft Auto 4 being an example where you can play the game against your mates then post a film of your race, cut to your own music, on YouTube where only your micro-community of 10 will ever watch it. Of course, this is replicated a million times over around the world.
Find out more about Matt here.
Mr Sparkle will be returning to our screens as of today! Our glorious 30 second advert for H.Samuel has aired today so keep your eyes peeled when you are watching the box. Some of today's spots include:
SKY One 7.50pm during The Simpsons
ITV 8.45pm during The Bill
ITV2 10.55pm during The Thomas Crown Affair
Or if your a GMTV fan ITV 7.50am tomorrow....
Good use of the website too where you can go straight to the outfits featured in the ad and buy them. Because that's always been the issue hasn't it. You see the ad and think "Oo, that's surprisingly lovely for M&S" but then you never have a hope in hell of finding said garment in the stores
Meet Daniel Jenkins. Only 23, running his own retail business and already included on Courvoisier’s ‘The Future 500’ list. This is a list of Britain’s brightest stars of the future generation, all motivated and determined to push themselves to achieve success in their business and social life (read a summary of the launch here). Inclusion on this list is an impressive achievement for someone with a business only a year old, in this rocky economic climate, in retail! It shows what the power of having a strong understanding of your brand and place within a market can do.
He doesn’t advertise. His name is solely built through word of mouth, bloggers, and pestering the go-to people in the fashion industry until they recognise the worth in his business. And it’s working.
The selling point for Daniel Jenkins Ltd. is the fact that he is the ONLY shop in Wales to sell the labels he does, and in many cases the only shop in the UK to sell them. He has such a fervent belief in British fashion that in S/S ’09 he will only be stocking British labels.
Without a hook, Daniel Jenkins would be just another menswear shop in a tiny town somewhere in Wales but thanks to a passion verging on obsession at times, a keen eye, and a recognition that networking counts, he has managed to land himself a place on such a prestigious list. (That and a smattering of help from a certain little sister. Ahem.)
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Check out Upside Down Dogs for a UGC idea which is totally, perfectly, single-minded. In the search for a rich idea, sometimes brands seem to get bogged down in complexity.... maybe we could learn something here.
And if you like this site, you should check out the similar site for wet cats. Just be careful how you google it.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
The BBC's director of future media and technology has expressed concern that bbc.co.uk in particular is not interactive enough. This comes from a website which was one of the forerunners in having tailored content.
Read the full story here.