Monday, December 31, 2007

hogmanay

On the last day of the year I'm indulging in two ancient Scottish traditions.

Number 1: cleaning the house from top to bottom, it's seen as bad luck to go into the new year with last years dirt. Personally I'm of the opinion that it's bad luck to be superstitious but I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry.

Number 2: Later on we will no doubt partake of the traditional Scottish new year ritual of having a wee dram, singing a few verses of 'Loch Lomond' and getting misty eyed and nostalgic for the mythical 'Gods own country' and a time and place we have never been.
Add to this the surreal aspect of acting out these rituals in the heartland of the sworn enemy - leafy Hampshire.

have a good one whatever you're up to.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

a merry jingle

this one rarely crops up on Xmas compilations, Thin Lizzy and the Sex Pistols (aka The Greedy Bastards) from 1979.

See you next year

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dem Phones

This is really good, courtesy of Lean Mean Fighting Machine.

Lol-inator

Thanks to Lloyd for spotting this bit of a giggle.
This blog makes a lot more sense when plugged in here.
Literally minutes of fun to be had.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

i want one of these...

Can't think what to send me for Christmas?
Vox have brought out these nifty little pocket size headphone guitar amps, the amPlug. In 3 flavours, Classic Rock, Metal, and for traditionalists (like me) the classic AC30. You can also plug in your ipod and jam along. Back in the day - in my first band - all four of us used to plug into one AC30 and make some racket.
Anyway these little fellas are about 30 nicker a pop. Just add Rickenbacker and it's perfect for the axeman or axewoman in your life. More info over here.
Disclosure: Vox are not a client but it would be great if they were..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sky does a 'facebook' with a moody bit of privacy invasion.

Spotted by those eagle eyes at the Project VRM Group: some small print on the end of a flyer insert in the most recent issue of the Sky subscribers customer magazine.

"Information held by the Sky group about you may also be shared with other companies outside the group, including for sales, marketing and market research purposes by such companies, unless you indicate that you wish to be excluded from such uses by contacting us on 08702 40 40 40"

That means your complete viewing and interacting history I'm guessing?
Ok you can opt-out - but only by calling the 0870 number.

when email marketing goes wrong pt2

Call me old fashioned, but when someone addresses me directly by my surname they are either my schoolteacher (and that was a long time ago) or they are just spoiling for a fight...

Friday, December 07, 2007

comments...

Heres the thing. Theres a few readers here - theres 40-odd in the facebook group, plus I know that about a hundred that come here on and off via blog-friends, twitter and facebook. Not exactly A-list numbers but a few none the less. I get the odd comment in this space but now the majority of comments are coming via email, facebook mail or DM tweets rather than on the blog. Its great to get feedback in any form but it does get a bit lonely round here with no actual comments, and makes it look a bit like I'm talking to myself, which is not actually the case. I'm pondering...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the key to reserva - scorcese spoofs hitchcock for freixenet


Excellent spoof sees Martin Scorsese make real an 'unreleased' Hitchcock script, it’s actually an online film created for Freixenet champagne.

found it at threeminds.

they say
'It shows that short form content distributed digitally can be a legitimate art form where both the craft of creating excellent entertainment and the business of building a brand can come together seamlessly'

its about 10 mins but worth it. watch here You can add your comments too.

webby 5's

I was fortunate enough to be invited to launch of nominations for the 12th annual Webby Awards hosted by Poke London at the ICA last night. As well as the mingling and quaffing of Russian beer Poke had invited a selection of pioneering web types to present.

As if to confirm that none shall escape the Attention Crash the presenters could use just five images and five sentences in five minutes. (Influenced by last years award ceremony where winners were limited to acceptance speeches of only five words. One of the funniest examples was some fella who's speech went 'thanks mom...whoever you are')

Some pulled it off better than others, Matt Hanson from aswarmofangels on his co-creation movie project and the Webbys own David-Michel Davies (if only for reminding us of all your base - cue much dewey eyed-ness) got full marks.

Didn't stay for the debauchery sesh after the talks, couldn't handle that on a school night, but did get a chance to briefly chat to Flash guru Niqui Merret and similarly Brighton based designers Ribot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

new media douchebags


from makemarketinghistory via zeroinfluencer

conversation marketing in action
























Had to laugh at this card I saw.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brijole


Had a week off and been doing some cooking.
Here's my take on an Italian/American classic dish.
Famously featured in that great episode of Everybody loves Raymond where Deborah and Marie compete over who's was the best. Its also cropped up in a couple of Soprano's episodes (I'm now mid-way through Season 4 by the way)
The correct name for the dish is Braciole howver its been Americanised into Brijole over time. Go on, do it and get fat as a rat.

ps...
Purists would say do it all on the hob, however this douchebag chef is happy to stick it in the oven.

Beef Braciole/Brijole

Serve with your favourite pasta or gnocci with a rocket and parmesan salad.

1 lb beef / 8 steaks approximately 1/4 inch thick
8 slices of prosciutto
1 packet pine nuts
Big pile of grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
8 garlic cloves, chopped
Bunch of fresh flat parsley, chopped
Olive oil
3/4 cans imported Italian tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato puree
2 bay leaves
Bunch of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 celery sticks, chopped chopped fine
Red wine
flour spread on a plate for dredging
salt & pepper to taste
Serves 4.

1.Pound steaks with a meat pounder until 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt & pepper. Lay a slice of prosciutto on each one and sprinkle evenly with with the crushed pine nuts, cheese, garlic and parsley. Roll up the slices and tie with kitchen string or fix with a cocktail stick..

2.Heat a good glug of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dredge the braciole in flour shaking off any excess, then place in the pan. Cook until browned on all sides then remove and place in a baking dish.

3.Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring until tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add a couple of glasses of red wine and cook until most of liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Pass the tomatoes, with their juices through a seive into the pan. Half fill one of the tomato cans with water and add to pan. Add tomato puree, turn heat to low and cook at a simmer for about 10mins.
Add the sauce to the baking dish with the braciole, mix in the basil, place in a low ish oven (about 120-150) and bake for 2 hours (or until the beef is tender and crumbly).
Top with mozzerella with 20 mins to go if you like,
Serve with the pasta or gnocci and salad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mighty Boosh on Brick Lane


Wandered down Brick Lane for a legendary Salt Beef bagel just now, and I passed this shopfront, taken over by the Mighty Boosh to promote series 3 which starts on BBC3 this week. It's bluetooth thingy sends a clip from the new show to your phone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

obsessive compulsive disorder of sorts

I am compelled to purchase The soaraway Sun at least once a week, just to get my blood boiling by whatever the latest spiteful, racist, ignorant bile is being spewed forth by their 'star' columnist John 'Gaunty' Gaunt. I can't help myself, I have to read it.

For almost the same reason, I am likewise a compelled to seek out the ad industry rag Campaign each week just to rile myself with their self-regarding, complacent bollocks.

I'm glad I'm not the only one...

Friday, November 09, 2007

'Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters'

Something about Facebook's social ads thing doesn't smell quite right to me.

Yes, a referral or recommendation from a trusted source/friend is worth a million ads, but the key word in there is trust. Its got to be genuine to have any meaning.

So I add myself as a 'fan' of a particular brand and give them permission to market to my friends on facebook via my updates in the news feed. i don't see much revolutionary thinking in this, it's the same old intrusive model except now the individual is the advertising channel.

Trusted sources? Listen, its probably the 3 strikes rule if you start spamming me.
After all, for me anyway, a decent percentage of my 'friends' on facebook are fairly vague acquaintances whom I've connected with via this blog, their blogs, twitter or met at social or business events etc. I can just about tolerate the majority of zombie bites or sheep being thrown but I 'll draw the line at flogging stuff.
And to think, we all had a good laugh at get paid to twitter.

Its not the same as genuine referral because it's the advertiser controlling,
we trust our friends precisely because they do not spam us like this (and if they start they won't be 'friends' for too much longer methinks)

For a start, the early adopters where this is initially targeted at
will more than likely utilise the blocking mechanism ie opting out of social ads.

How will these brands sign up fans anyway? banners? ads? bribery?

Here's an idea. What if brands spent more time trying to make their products, services and (yikes) even their ADVERTISING so good and so cool that people genuinely want to rave about them?

And for Facebook theres the trust question too. Beware the fickle users of social platforms...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well.

Don't normally mix up work with this journal, just to keep things seperate but this project has been taking up most of my time for the last couple of weeks , hence not much blog action round here.

It's an interactive tv ad - viewers can txt numbers shown in the 'never ending' journey - for various freebies and offers from Orange - if they are inclined.

There's also secret stuff hidden in the interactive, have a play if you have Sky digital tv at home and see if you can figure it out.

All the models and animation are handmade and shot, by the way, in classic Tony Hart style (thats a ref for oldies who remember early 80s kids tv).

Friday, October 26, 2007

mediacamp



It’s now Thursday so its taken me nearly a week to get it together to report on MediaCampBucks last weekend. Around 60 bods gatherered to debate Second Life, podcasting, creative commons, the future of tv and general geekery with an educational bent.

I hosted a discussion on interactive tv advertising, au naturellement. So often viewed as the poor relation of new media, I think I helped open a few eyes - to it’s possibilities as a word-of-mouth platform, conversation and permission asset tool - judging by some of the feedback I got afterwards.

Of course it was not long before the conversation turned to the possibility of ‘TV as an open content platform’. bringing more diverse programming to your tv ,with the majority not coming from the traditional broadcasters (spelling doom cable and satellite providers and paydirt for technology and telco IPTV?).

Like BT Vision (ahem).

To be fair I’m not convinced that TV is going to be dead anytime soon. What we are seeing is an increased number of options/screens where we choose to watch TV, that’s online, timeshifted regular tv, mobile devices, Xbox etc - although anyone who’s tried to use the BBCi player or Joost etc will know that’s its far from the finished article, so there’s lots of fun ahead.

The existing Cable and satellite providers have a head start as they already provide the infrastructure to get the tv and broadband into the home. Lets forget about the Long tail for a second, at the end of the day viewers will take the road that’s easiest. TV is a mass medium, for most of us dicking about with umpteen stbs and streaming in from here and there is just too much hassle for the 2 hours of tv a day we want.

If they can figure out how to get the following to the viewers, the cable and satellite providers will be laughing:

1- the content we want, when we want it (ie on demand)
2- the ability to time shift the schedule (for all) – live events, 24hr news etc
3- the ability to Search and pull content from wherever it is?
4- the ability to share and recommend?

That would do for me. Who’s going to pay? If it’s a top notch service, I will pay a subscription and advertisers will pay to get their messages into the correct living rooms based on some sort of behavioural tracking or something. And it’s all interactive.

It’s channel brands that have the most to worry about, in a time shifted, on demand environment who cares who’s bringing you ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’. Is it Paramount or Channel4? Not bothered, just get me it.

Enough about tv, and like the fella once said, I never make predictions, particularly about the future.

Highlight of the day for me, and a few others I think, was Sam Ismail’s presentation on how he and fellow adlad, Anton, took liberties with Saatchi & Saatchi with a couple audacious attention grabbing scams.

I wont go into the detail, The the stories are here and here.

Suffice to say they got themselves noticed by not being afraid to ruffle the feathers of the establishment.

Sam’s presentation was themed around job hunting for grads looking to break into advertising but ended up being about using new media as a personal branding tool. He summed up by saying the ultimate goal was; when his cv landed on the desk of the hiring person in the ad agency – they would already know who he was. Word.

I don’t think he’s going to have too many problems getting hired when the time comes.

Finally, thanks to organiser and Second Life guru, Chris Hambly for pulling the day together, and some linkage for Jason Jarrett, ‘veteran’ of podcasting and the man with the golden tonsils. I often listen to his abuddhistpodcast on my way home on the train. To be fair I have no idea what he’s on about half the time but he has a fantastic calming talking voice – It was nice to meet at last. Likewise Twitter buddy and Social media guru, Lloyd Davis.

Some new connections too, Brett Porter from the musicians collaborative thingy oomix and Melinda Seckington aka miss geeky , who is reporting on various similar days across Europe.

Another interesting guy who I never got a chance to catch up with properly was Microsoft tech blogger , Steve Lamb. Maybe he’ll see this.

Thats it, I need to get off to the creative geeks meet up tonight in Soho.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

ok now i'm really confused

Thanks to talent imitates genius steals for alerting me to this one.

Jerry Seinfeld, of legendary Seinfeld fame, has a new movie coming out that he conceptualised, co-wrote and stars in. It's about a bee. It's called Bee Movie [like B movie - see what he did there?]

He has also created a number of behind the scenes comic vignettes in a neat spin on the trailer, which are being aired on NBC. According to TIME:

Though the shorts are designed to promote the film on the Internet, NBC acquired the rights to air them during commercial breaks in an effort to encourage viewers to watch the neighboring advertisements.

So, there are now content breaks in the ad breaks to get you to watch the ads, but the content is itself a commercial message, except the broadcaster paid the advertiser to run them.


Post quoted in full, heres the link to see the clip.

the car as digital distribution channel/device?

Stumbled on this article. from the brandsbandsfans site.
Nokia and Apple both moving in on the auto industry as another digital distribution channel and Nissan leading the way with experimentation.

excerpt...
“Everything is digital, so we had to find a way to reconnect to this generation,” says Mixim creator Francois Bancon. Nissan’s latest concept car, Mixim, models itself on a gamer’s experience of driving, complete with an xbox-styled steering wheel. The Nissan Pino offers buyers drag and drop pimping of the car’s interior. Choice is the new driver here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

more rabbit than sainsbury's

Here's my tuppenceworth on the Sony rabbits.
I've only done 3 rabbits in the pic (red, green and blue), this saves time because all tv pictures are made up of those 3 colours anyway ;)

You can't argue it's not a pretty decent execution and full marks to the animators, art directors and cinematoraphy etc. The main debate Ive been reading about is around wether the idea was ripped off, but I'm not really bothered about that.

I think it was either Bob Dylan or Neil Young who nce said, something like,
'My only talent as a songwriter is the ability to open up a valve in my head to let the songs flow in from outside'. ie all the songs/ideas are out there floating about, someone just has to be a channel for them.

That's coming from a proper artist. As 'creatives' in advertising/marketing or whatever thats what we do. Hijack cultural phenomena and refashion into branded messaging etc. If we are being really clever we manage to make these communications (broadly)
a - relevant
b - authentic
c - useful
d - facilitate a dialogue

Unfortunately the rabbits thing does none of the above.
It's straight outta the old school of Pavlovian 'conditioned response' branding.
Instill an association between stimuli so that encountering one will bring the other to mind. That model is getting pretty tired now.
All that a 30: with budget of a small Hollywood movie tells me is that the product must be over-priced if they can afford to spend that much on spray and pray.

I'm not in the market for a new tv and no amount of shouting at me is going to change that. In fact, it's annoying me.
And even I were shopping, I'll get a recommendation from my geeky mate or go online and see what people who know about this stuff are saying.
That's where 'advertising' need to be too, in there - listening and contributing.

Old ad habits die hard though, a bit like trying to maintain a decent crack habit.
After one hit all you can think about is the next one. And , of course, the subsequent hits is never the same as the first so you need to up the dose each time.
Very expensive and not really sustainable (inevitably ending in death, but maybe that's too much drama)

I'm an interactive guy, what do you want me to say?

But heres something that anyone who's ever managed a team, done any teaching or been in a position where they are trying to influence behaviour will know. It's the first rule of engagement.

'Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I'll understand'
- Confucius


While we're on about dangerous narcotics, how much funnier would it have been if Nokia's music sponsorship participation programme thingy Rock Up and Play had featured Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse in some way?

note: can't believe i've managed to quote Chas'n'Dave and Ivan Pavlov in the same article.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Facebook group

Theres now a facebook group for this blog.
Feel free to join if you like and meet/share etc with other readers
and, of course, pimp your own stuff.
See you over there.

Close, but no cigar...

Spent a day at Ad:tech last week and had a stroll round the exhibition area. Chatted to a few of the stalls, mostly iptv/web tv people, stuff like that.
Many business cards exchanged as you would imagine. Anyway, now the follow up emails start to trickle in. Most get binned straight away as they are bog standard sales-ey type things. One caught my eye though.

Subject: Great to meet you at ad:tech last week.

Hmm, the personal touch. I'm liking it so far...

then doink!

The opening line is...

Dear Sir/Madam...

delete.

You nearly got me thinking this was a personal and relevant follow up.
You've got my business card and my email address but you can't take the extra 5 seconds to simply address me by name in the mail? So near yet so far.

I wish i could finish this post with the ultimate irony and tell you the guilty party was an email marketing firm, sadly it was not.

I'm not going to name and shame either.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Caetano Veloso

The music business is going through rapid changes as we all know.
In the past bands/artists would record an album then go on tour to promote it - sales would follow.

Of course now it's turned on its head and new records are more like the promo tools for the live experience - see the recent free Prince album ahead of his extended residency at the Millenium Dome (still can't get my head round calling it the O2) and just this week Radiohead's announcement that fans will be able to purchase their new album for whatever price they deem appropriate. Further musings on this and the trust economy by Mitch Joel over here.

With that in mind, delivering in the live setting is more important than ever. That makes it especially disappointing when things dont live up to expectations and artists lose sight of what their audience wants from them.

One of my colleagues, Esther Duran, is an afficionado of the bossa nova and a devotee of Caetano Veloso, one of the most important figures in contemporary Brazilian music. His works are considered masterpieces. Caetano says, "I make my records as a painter would paint his canvas".
He made a rare appearance in London, at the Barbican Arts Centre, the other night. Here is Esther's review.

"I really like Caetano Veloso and his seductive voice and guitar playing. I like him so much that I bought a ticket for his Barbican concert three months ago. Last night was the final night, the count down arrived to an end, Caetano’s performance at the Barbican was already with me!

Little did I know Caetano wasn’t playing the Bossa Nova and Samba that I knew him for, instead he was performing a crap rock and roll with pseudo-ska derivations…something very unusual for Caetano.

Is he in his middle age crisis? If so, he should have bought a Porsche convertible instead of wasting my money (40 pounds per ticket) and my time (2 hours of flashing lights and non-sense electric guitar)

Caetano please, come back to your senses and play the music that everyone knows you for. Leave the rock and roll and pseudo-ska for younger people and please, Caetano don’t be six years without releasing an album and reappear to the public with that pile of shit."


It stikes me that poor Caetano has messed up with a redundant mass marketing approach.
By compromising his sound to try and appeal to a wider mass audience he's only gone and pissed-off and alienated the audience he already had. Ergo trying to appeal to everyone and you end up appealing to no-one. Not only that, a fair chunk of the audience were newbies who had been coaxed along by their friends 'in-the-know' to witness 'the master'. Now he's also made his hardcore fans look like divvies into the bargain. Theres a lesson here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the road to domestos

To paraphrase CJ from Reggie Perrin 'I didn't get where I am today by not writing pretentious biogs and generally blowing my own trumpet at the drop of a hat to whoever happens to be wandering by'
Heres the article about my self what I wrote for Sam and Will's adgrads blog, just giving some background as to how i got from A to B on the murky dark underbelly fringes of advertising. For some reason they reckon this might be interesting to graduates looking for their first jobs.

FLASH!

It's 1992 and I'm in the back office of the record shop in Aberdeen that I manage.

I'm clutching a brown cardboard envelope containing an Italian white label 12" record that's been mailed to me by one of the specialist importer/distributers I buy from. The note attached tells me they are hopeful of doing some business with this record and what did i think? It will be available as an import in about 3 weeks.

On the blank white label the words Glam Hell's Party are scribbled in black marker.

I dump the record onto the turntable and drop the needle on. Its a full on Euro house/disco stomper that samples Curtis Mayfield from 'If theres a Hell Below..'

On first listen, I'm thinking that I could probably shift about 20-25 of these on import before any UK release and decide to give it a whirl at one of my dj engagements at the weekend.

Over the next few weeks I play it at every gig and everywhere it drops the roof goes off. It's a monster tune. When the labelled copies are finally available I end up selling over 250 12" on import over the following couple of months before it's picked up by Sony in the UK, remixed and released for a stab at the charts.

The Sony rep calls me to sell in his new releases and offers it as a 1 in 3 deal (ie buy 3 get one free) expecting a big order. I buy 6. Ive already sold 250 on import so I'm done with it, now it's time for HMV or whatever to takeover.

The Long Tail and the Tipping Point in action before anyone had properly coined those phrases.

Recap...

The distributer gave me one of the few white labels know in my history of being able to sell decent numbers of Italian imports. I'm also a reasonably well-known dj in Scotland. An influencer in my niche.

I play the record at the clubs I'm booked at (the small ones that are full of the clued-up kids - the influencers in their towns) - the cool kids love it and want it. When it's available they are the first to have it and play it at there own parties. The idea spreads. The specialist shops sell shed loads on import.

Sony cool detectors pick up the record for mass market - its in all the chains and hits the top 40.

It's hit the early and late majority.

It was round about this time I realised that I was destined for marketing because, without any formal training or anything, I just understood this stuff.

FLASH!

It's now 2007.

I'm working as a creative technical strategist with Weapon7, a specialist digital advertising agency in London, using basically the same principles to develop digital marketing campaigns for global brands. It's come full circle again as traditional mass interruption advertising is no longer as effective as it was in the pre-digital age, with word of mouth - this time accelerated by networked connectivity on an unprecedented scale. An evolved (fuzzy) role (geek marketer? T-shaped creative? Job 2.0? – delete as appropriate) with an evolved agency.

I quit the music industry around ’96 after helping launch a group of indie labels. We released about 15 records a month for 3 or 4 years. No big hits but the Long Tail kept us ticking over – we could sell about 2,000 of any release so it made sense to release loads rather than look for one big hit.

I then picked up my crayons again (I had hardly drawn anything since leaving Art School in 89 with a fine art degree) and spent a year or so learning how to work a mac on the job at the local newspaper setting ads.

Next stop was a small design and comms agency based in Aberdeen where we worked with the oil companies on everything from brochures, intranets and safety videos. The big lesson there was – never say no to a job. If we didn’t know how to do it we’d just go and figure it out. Try, fail and learn.

Decamping to London in 2000 I had the idea that interactive tv was going to be the next big thing, post dot com crash. After about 18 months at Sky I realised that probably wasn’t my smartest move (fail and learn, again) and then became Creative Director with Littlewoods Gaming, an old fashioned company looking to launch its gambling products into the 21st century and a market dominated by young pretenders like 888.com.

Around this time, I had my next epiphany when I was given a copy of Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. It seemed like everything I had been thinking but unable to articulate properly was encapsulated in those pages.

‘Pouring off every page like it was written in my soul’ as Bobby D would say – that’s maybe a bit dramatic but you get where I’m coming from.

My advice for grads making their first tentative steps into industry?

Well, if you are clever enough to be reading this blog and participating in these conversations you don’t need much from me. You already realise the power of community and dialogue in modern marketing. You are smarter than the average bear already.

Your potential employers and clients are desperate for new thinking, fresh approaches and innovation that’s going to keep their products/services and marketing relevant – beyond 30 second spots, no matter how smarty pants (I’m thinking drumming gorillas here…)

Be fuzzy, poke your nose in where its not wanted, challenge the status quo, don’t ask permission for anything and be prepared to fail and learn.

That’s about it.

Packing Up The Big Top from Modern Marketing

Another great article from James Cherkoff on his Modern Marketing page, musing on a wisdom of crowds theme.

When people want to know about something they go online and see what everyone else thinks. They don't rush to the corporate website to check out what gems the guys in marketing have come up with. Or to see if the new jingle is going to pique their aspirations. They jump in the bazaar. Trip Advisor. Amazon. Blogs....These days the problem isn't a lack of helpful opinion or market intelligence.

Read the comments as well as there's some great stuff in there.

Monday, September 24, 2007

mind the gap

A wee while back we were playing the Beatles 'Love' mash-up (sort of) album in the office. Much debate ensuing over the merits of the remix experiment, who might have done it better etc etc. One of our designers (i'll not mention her name so as not to completely destroy her credibility) pipes up...

'Who is this we are listening to?'


Hard to belive that someone can get to her mid twenties and have never come across the Beatles but there you go. It happened.

So, where are the gaps in your culturals? Which phenomenons have completely passed you by, much to the amusement and/or derision from your workmates/friends?
I've started plugging one of my gaps this weekend.

The Sopranos.

Somehow, despite devouring Goodfellas, the Godfathers, Casino etc and every thing Scorcese so much as farted I completely missed the Sopranos.

So to HMV where the boxsets are on £25 special offer, season 1 purchased and this weekend spent glued to the box catching up. Basically looking to do a season every two weeks so by about November-ish I'll be there, and can then rejoin the rest of the human race.

What's this got to do with anything? nowt really, but just to note the fatblogging has taken a knock as we felt compelled to stuff ourselves with meatballs and spaghetti all weekend for some reason. I'm 6lbs heavier now than when I started the diet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the revolution will be televised?

Heard Alex Cameron from Digital TX giving it the big one last night at Chinwags TV on the Web thing. I’ve been a bit of a fan since his glorious, if slightly flawed, Hendrix inspired rant at BT Vision’s iptv-lite last year.

Difficult times for network tv for a while, of course.

So heres the thing as I understand it.
Old style network tv existed mainly through advertiser funding. Digital and cable exploded as the first wave of fragmentation, advertisers don’t get the eyeballs they need for the critical mass so ad spending gets similarly fragmented. Less revenue means less new programming gets commissioned/made/bought and we get cheaply produced reality shows etc. More viewers switch off, advertisers get twitchy, programming gets worse etc etc – downward spiral.
Next wave of fragmentation, web delivered content, extends the long tail even further, mass media advertising becomes even less effective, media spending diverts even more to digital and interactive, more viewers desert tv.
In fact the tv content gets so poor that consumers end up making ther own instead.

What now?

In the Q&A Project Kangaroo was mentioned. As far as I can glean this is an idea around consolidation of all the media players and on-demand services. from the major UK broadcasters. The BBC is working with ITV, Channel 4 and the service will be built on the same P2P basis as the iPlayer, and later as a digital TV service. Can’t get my head round this working against the Long Tail distribution though? Dunno.

At the end of the day, we the viewers want great content, movies, live sport etc, same as ever, but don’t necessarily want to pay for it. Whether the broadcasters like it or not this is the model going forward so that’s what needs to be figured out.

But who is going to pay for it? The advertiser funded model is not really sustainable is it?

One heckler correctly noted that the future may be in a return to a sponsorship model from the old days of soaps (I’d forgotten that The name soap opera stems from the original serials broadcast on radio that had washing powder brands as sponsors)

Maybe, but perhaps a more evolved sponsorship model where the brand as sponsor is integral to the content. Theres a movie precedent of course with product placement – FedEx famously supplied all the transportation facilities for production of the movie Cast Away in which they were heavily featured (although no dirty cash changed hands)
I keep coming back to Where are the Jones’s partnership idea. Production co and community co-created, corporate sponsored (Ford) and Long tail distributed. (Though I’m not 100% sure the sponsor is integral to the content, keep me right here Dave!)
Brands as providers kind of thing.

As an aside, what does stuff like X Factor and those awful Lloyd-Webber find a star things mean? It's a kind of stealth product placement. The ’entertainment’ is the deconstructed production process of the one hit wonder fodder or whatever.
Although this has being around since The Monkees – but at least they had a few good tunes.

UPDATE
more perspective on the Chinwag Web TV take-over
Fiona Blamey
Rags Rupta
Broadstuff

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Electric Business


I spent Monday evening having a conversation with a group of small creative business owners - from the Surrey/Hampshire area - in Guildford.

Many thanks to Kate from the Farnham Electric Business Club for asking me to fill in.

I was asked to give a short presentation and kick off a discussion and braindump to see if we could collectively come up with some ideas and tactics around the theme of 'Know your Product'.
In retrospect I think I tried to squeeze a bit too much content into the presentation as I had to whizz through to allow enough time for the dialogue piece, and despite leaving my notes in the cab I just about managed to wing it.

My presentation was loosely themed around the value of conversation and connection strategies for small businesses with low or no budget for marketing.
I started off with a sort of case study of a piece of work we did at Weapon7 for the launch of Xbox360 which went viral via the Xbox fan forums. Using a fraction of the media budget it created a disproportionate buzz compared the more expensive media and showed how getting the early adopters and influencers talking can accelerate the spread of an idea.

I introduced gapingvoid's Stormhoek blogger outreach from 2005 and neatly segued in the launch of the Blue Monster label (how cool to be featuring it on day of launch) to demonstrate the influence of social media and show the value of unlikely partnerships, and followed that up with a look at Go Home Productions - how garden shed remixer's cgc ends up on MTV and remixes for David Bowie.

The homework for the group was to connect to me, join the conversation, start experimenting with new tools/tactics outside of traditional marketing and look into the kind of innovations that can develop the talkability of their product or service.

I also promised some recommended reading to get some thinking going, I'm going to list a couple of things here for those who have done the homework and looked me up.

BOOK - Seth Godin's Purple Cow , when I first read this about 3 years ago all sorts of lightbulbs started going off in my head.

PODCAST - to get enthused about all things new media you could do worse than Six Pixels

BLOG - Any of the links on my sidebar will lead you off to many more links.

And in the spirit of link-love heres the people who left me their cards at the end.

Claire Harrison, Fine Artist
Designer, Nick Cannons
Another designer, Andrew Cross
The Boiler Room, Guildford music and arts venue.

Whats the pic all about? On my way to work I usually buy a coffee off Mr Coffee, a van parked on the courtyard ouside new Spitalfields market. Despite having Starbucks, Costa and numerous other established coffee chains around them, Mr Coffee has a long line every morning. Instead of the usual boring loyalty stamp cards you get a free pair of pants with every 20 coffee's. Or if you just ask they will give you a pair anyway.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Look out kid, You're gonna get hit


As a Dylan freak, I'm loving this.
Send your own Subteranean Homesick Blues message.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

too much monkey business


"We've created a branded space in which Cadbury's can be generous in bringing joy,"

Yep, the Cadbury's ad with the gorilla doing Phil Collins.
You can't argue that it's a pretty funny and entertaining piece of content, decently executed. A bit of random Youtube-esque silly-ness in fact.

Yes, it's gone viral and theres a lot of debate about it

but did it need the massive tv budget to do that...?
and is it more about the clever dicks behind it than the brand...?

It's here

Quechup spam

sorry if i've spammed you with that Quechup thing. I got an invite from a trusted source and signed up to see what it was, then the b'stards hi-jacked my address book and spammed everyone. apologies again.

Go Home Productions retrospective


Arguably one of the finest exponents of the art of mash-up/bootleg/bastard pop - Go Home Productions - has released a 20 track retrospective 'cd' compiliation this week. "This Was Pop (2002-2007)" A 5 year bootleg retrospective.
GHP has delivered some of the most celebrated examples of the mash-up genre over the last few years including the Madonna/SexPistols fusion 'Ray of Gob' and 'Rapture Riders', the Blondie/Doors hybrid.

The mash-up phenomenon exploded around 2001/2 as bedroom mixers, enabled by the democratisation of music production allowed by software such as Acid, Ableton and later garageband fused acapella tracks with the instrumental tracks of other records to create new 'remixes’. 'Stroke of Genius' was probably the biggest of the time and that spawned an MTV slot with the video mash-ups to compliment the tracks and Mash-up club nights like ‘Bastard’.

GHP’s retrospective is a pretty decent introduction if anyone’s missed out.

GHP is also a pretty interesting case study in a couple of the basic ideas of the new marketing.

I'm thinking about, the power of free, permission and the product is the marketing.
By giving away the tracks for free via his website and mash-up community blogs like GYBO and Boomselection (early example of the long tail of distribution..?) GHP has build a fanbase and mailing list, with permission to contact the list when there’s new tracks uploaded.
With this comes reputation and with that comes dj bookings, ‘legit’ remix work etc.
From fiddling in the shed to official remixes for Bob Dylan and David Bowie is quite a ride.

Of course, it helps that his work is shit-hot. As an art form that is by nature ‘user-generated’ there are thousands of wannabe mash-up artists making pretty average at best, shoddy at worst mixes, but GHP’s ‘Purple Cow’ is the vast musical knowledge from years of fandom which allows him to introduce the little extra elements into his tracks that the less detail focussed would miss. In ‘Rock in Black’ - the Queen and AC-DC blend – the little addition of Freddie’s ‘..get on your bikes and ride’ line is that knowing final piece of polishing that gives it the extra 5% .

Anyway, the tracks are here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Chromeo


A couple of the guys that have done some work with us recently have also made this promo clip for the new Chromeo album.
Pretty cool i think you'll agree.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

fatblogging wk#5 28_08_07

bit of a breakthrough this week. now 16st 6lb. 4 pounds off.
now its coming off i'm setting inital target of 14 stone by December.
Ive no idea if that's realistic?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Flogging a dead horse.

Campaign magazine run a feature this week, maybe influenced by the 7 deadly sins of digital - they home in on the 7 deadly sins of advertising, as illustrated by the most commonly used stereotypes and cliches.
Ranging from buffoon dads to single women with cats and 'crowds united for a cause'.
What's more remarkable is - how they narrowed the list down to seven.

The article is not online as I write but heres a couple of snippets to give you a flavour.

'Using stereotypes allows advertisers to communicate layers of meaning built up across centuries to a mass audience very quickly'

hmm, perhaps the only mass audience is the one that is fast forwarding past these ads with their Sky+.

'Great advertising shouldn't resemble the act of looking through a window at the world...in a world where we're given so much in the way of horror stories, greyness and hardship, the last thing we need is to see more of that in our ad break'

Er no, we use stuff like Art, Music, Movies to escape, not ads.

'Society still looks to advertising to entertain, promise and show world truths without it's gritty traumas' - the editorial.
Well, you wouldn't expect the industry rag to turn on it's own community but...

Maybe this stuff was true 20/30 years ago but the world has changed, consumers have changed and the rules of engagement are different. We are just not paying attention any more.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

MediaCamp BUCKS 07








Got my felt pens out and designed this nifty web 2.0 friendly ;) logo for MediaCamp BUCKS. I'm also pleased to add that I hooked up with Chris Hambly, the founder, to add my (considerable - see fatblogging) weight to any organisational areas where I can be of use.

For anyone reading this who would like to get involved, whether to present, sponsor or to participate in any way - the usual un-conference rules apply (ie there are no rules) - visit the wiki here for more info.

MediaCamp BUCKS is an UnConference with a strong educational flavour for bloggers, podcasters, and new media professionals & amateurs for one day to share, explore, challenge, and grow our abilities in new media.

When? Friday 19 October - Saturday 20 October 07
Where? Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, England, UK about half an hour from London - website

Monday, August 20, 2007

fatblogging wk#4 20_08_07

16st 10lb. another 1lb gone. A big shepherds pie last night probably took the edge off but at least I managed a whole week with only 1 beer - last wednesday (medicinal purposes).
Note on sunday: a 3-1 home defeat by the green half of the great unwashed would normally trigger the swift downing of a family size bag of Revels but I managed to resist...
keepin' on keepin' on.

Friday, August 17, 2007

its a big-ass table

cherkoff calls out adland

What makes a great blog post? the answer is..many things. Up there with the best reasons to post is pure partisan passion and opinion. Chuck in a bit of controversy and make sure you're gonna rile somebody somewhere and your just about there. James Cherkoff sticks it to the dinosaurs of the ad business in fine style over here.
"The tectonic plates that the marketing industry sits upon have shifted. What adfolk don't get is however great their ideas - no one cares anymore"
This gets the NGOTB chocolate watch for inspirational rant of the week.
Keep at it mate.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

fatblogging wk #3 14_08_07

16st 11lb. so 2 pounds off last weeks disaster puts me 1lb ahead after 3 weeks.
Its progress I suppose but a bit slow.

it's ok to consume...

I commented on a recent post by Mitch Joel - from the fantastic 'Six Pixels..' marketing podcast - on the evolution and widespread adoption of the tools of 'user generated content'. At one of the recent concerts by the re-formed lightwieght phoneys of 70s new wave The Police - despite the insights within his post I'm still not sure Mitch really gave a good enough reason as to why he was actually there in the first place ;) - he noted the mass of mobile devices capturing either audio or video at the concert and the subsequent upload to the various channels within hours of the event. Mitch observes 'So, why is there so much User Generated Content? The answer is simple: because they can. Content creation from the User’s perspective is no longer an option. It’s a right… '
Anyway it got me thinking about the same thing that has started happening at the football. Here's a bit of my comment (i've only reproduced it here because i wanted it captured in my own space for posterity)
'...the winger goes on a mazy run, beats 3 or 4 defenders, delivers and inch perfect cross to the big striker who powers a thunderous right foot strike into the back of the net past the flailing goalkeeper. as the camera pans to the striker running towards the delirious fans behind the goal...where once there were wild eyed faces of ecstacy with outstreched arms theres a metallic cyborg army of clicking one eyed monsters.'
At the end of the day (gratuitous football cliche) the clamour to create content can sometimes get in the way of simply enjoying and consuming. With music and football surely its about immersing yourself in the experience and simply getting off on what it is? Dunno.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson


Our man in the north, a key mover in the development of the two most important era's in British music, punk and acid house (yes London, the north had it first while you were still rare grooving in bobble hats and flares). Everyone knows the story. Cheers Tony.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

ACID HOUSE MEDIA

We now know about Punk Marketing. I’ve also come across Punk Planning and Rock’n’Roll Advertising. But where does the new media marketing and social media explosion sit in the world of pop cultural analogies?

Its ACID HOUSE MEDIA.

Like its distant cousins mentioned above ACID HOUSE MEDIA is a grass roots movement built from the ground up by passionate enthusiasts, bored with the conventional establishment thinking, and determined to build their own scene relevant to their values.

Podcamps are like the illegal raves, popping up in any urban space that can accommodate them. New friends are made in seconds as strangers bond over the sounds of techno bleeps. While the warehouse party generation kept themselves up all night with Ecstacy the drug of choice for the new media generation is another kind of E.
Connectivit-E. (behave yourself! – Ed)

Like the payphones in M25 service stations back in the day, Twitter spreads the word among the new media ravers about the latest techno tools to keep the party going.
For the hardcore the party continues all day and night in Second Life where people who have never met can rub sweaty semi naked bodies against each other.

Podcasts pump out the message day and night from the tower blocks and council estates.'Big shout out to the new media posse in the area. Keep it locked!'

Meanwhile, as in the first wave of Acid House, everyone is a DJ. Ripping and remixing content then sharing their ‘mixtapes’ via Youtube and Flickr then spreading the word via the superclubs like Facebook, which have sprung up as the underground starts its inevitable journey into the mainstream.

Where does it go from here? Every integrated agency is ramping up digital as the new media marketing rave bubble grows. Every big brand marketing director is asking questions about how they can leverage this cultural explosion.
Like Acid House it will not be long before the whole culture is absorbed by the mainstream. Maybe it already has? Maybe we will see the endless fragmentation of sub-genres? Balearic Digital Marketing, Drum’n’Bass Advertising, Handbag PR.

Maybe we won’t care though, because we will already be onto the next thing.

In the meantime – Get on one.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

tshirts-socialmedia-tshirts

Greg Verdino comments on AdAge's no-shit-sherlock revelation that the t-shirt is a marketing vehicle. Slightly more insightful is Greg's analogy that the t-shirt has more in common with some of the 'key truths' of social-media.
sample
'Advertisers still think about campaigns as discreet programs with fixed start and end dates -- when the last ad runs or the promotion expires, the campaign is over. (If) t-shirts are forever..'
full post here.
I'm still after a Twitter shirt if anyone knows where to track one down?

Monday, August 06, 2007

bbc news - wtf?


I wonder if anone else is puzzled by whats happening to the bbc news in the morning. I'm up about 5.30 and lately theres been some Australian bloke presenting the pre 6am news. The whole hour is an ego-fest for this guy - shouting at the camera, arms flailing and gesticulating. offering his opinions!
This morning he even had the normally MILD MANNERED fella that does the far east financial report upping his 'presentation' so as not to feel left out.
I would expect, and have seen, this type of 'news-as-entertainment' on 3rd rate US cable news channels but there should be no place for this bollocks on the bbc.
READ THE F*CKING NEWS. If I want entertainment I'll ask for Bruce Forsyth...

fatblogging wk#2 06 08 07

last nights weigh in...
16s 13lb
Poor start, up 1lb from last week.
Could have something to do with saturdays beer fest, my mate Adam turned up at the door after being awol for 2 years learning to be a yacht captain.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sky and Amstrad

In case anyone thought Sky were being a bit quiet on the iptv/broadband delivered tv front (i was one of those) the announcement of the Amstrad purchase reveals all. Now they have brought that relationship 'in-house', and added to the aquisition of Easynet earlier, I would expect some serious vid/content on demand developments sooner rather than later.
I'm now sitting back on my order for a Sky+ box - i'd bet they will free before long.

Monday, July 30, 2007

2d to 3d web


just read that Mattel's Barbie Girls an immersive brand virtual world, has signed up three million members in the first 2 months, and they’re getting around 50,000 new sign ups a day.
anyone else still doubting the transformation of the web from a 2d browser experience to a 3d immersive one? the only question now is how long?...

a journey of a thousand miles....

begins with but a single step.
Just back from an enjoyable week in the sun at Dionysos canyon in the mountains overlooking Kumlub├╝k bay in Turkey.
Highly recommended if you want a real away from it all holiday.
I was all set to start a flickr page and post my snaps when I was struck by the realisation...
I AM A FAT B'STARD.
I cannot possibly share the pics of my semi-naked wobbling.
Hence forth a portion of this journal will now be given over to the phenomenon known as fatblogging. I'll do the first weigh-in tonight and each Monday will be tracking my progress. Need to work out a plan and some targets but today is offically the start of the new me. Wish me luck...

Friday, July 20, 2007

white list email marketing

avoiding the blacklist courtesy of Seth Godin


Monday, July 16, 2007

Sign O' The Times


The biggest marketing story of the week is, of course, the new Prince album 'Planet Earth' which was given away free with the Mail on Sunday in the UK this weekend.
Quote from his purpleness “It’s direct marketing and I don’t have to be in the speculation business of the record industry, which is going through a lot of tumultuous times right now,”
Prince has been a thorn in the record industry's side since probably day 1. Among the most famous incidents being when he went on 'strike' in 1994 in a dispute with Warners over publishing rights and appeared with 'Slave' written on his face for a number of months.
There will be plenty written and discussed over the implications for the retail end of the record industry - its not harming the artist much as the sell out tour indicates. Let's not forget, hardcore Prince fans are going go and buy another copy when the official release happens. It's worked as a re-awakening for lapsed fans like myself. I've listened a couple of times now and ive liked the organic band-y sound, although Prince has been off my radar for a few years anyway so maybe thats not a new development.
One question though. I wonder how it ended up going out with Britains most reactionary right-wing paper rather than . say, the Observer - which does a monthly music pull out a la Mojo or Q - which would seem to me to be a more appropriate partner? Highest bidder I suppose, but that took a little bit of the shine off a real innovation, for me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bernie Rhodes knows...don't argue

dang dang dang dang, d-dang d-dang dang, dang dang...
Had an interesting email exchange with legendary punk agitator, ex-Clash and Special AKA manager Bernard Rhodes the other day.
Suffice to say, we wont be going for a pint together anytime soon.
I'd contacted Bernard after being enthralled by the content on his website, where BR rails against all and sundry and laments at the shallow and vacuous nature of contemporary popular culture. I politely suggested to BR that he might like to consider opening up the site into a more bloggy format to allow readers to comment and perhaps link up with like-minded readers - thus enabling a conversation and a community to evolve around the content. I also encouraged BR to think about things like Twitter (when you check out his stuff i'm sure you'll agree.Soundbites a go-go)
Well, BR responded indirectly via his contact page by announcing he wont be getting involved in social media as it is the domain of 'ranters, bullshitters and timewasters'. This got my goat a bit and a non too polite exchange followed.
I still think BR has some pretty interesting views which would get some debate going for sure but it appears he's not ready just yet. Thats a shame I think, if this forum had been around for some of BR's influences such as Guy Debord
I think there would have been some interesting ideas reaching out further than they did in their time. I wonder what Malcolm is up to...

Live earth

If the combined egos of the pop glitterati on stage at live earth could be harnessed to generate electricity we'd have no energy problems for the foreseeable future.
Where was Jarvis when we needed him? Madonna's performance (put your hands together to save the planet...?) was up there with Jacko's legendary Brits self deification from 10 years ago. I really though we were past that. Politics and pop does mix when theres something at the core, but what exactly were this lot saying about anything? Pussycat Dolls? I mean, come on. The funniest thing was the ticker tape thing at the back of the stage typing out loft insulation tips while Genesis hobbled around the stage looking like a bunch of cowboy builders.

chinwag party

Met up with a couple of twitter pals at the chinwag party, Artful Dodger Sam and Stoke City fan Will. Its great to put faces to names and a few beers and hot dogs were quaffed. I also managed to have a chat to Luke Razzell, who I'd seen speaking at the last Chiwag live, and his girlfriend Charla.
We've now facebooked up and I'm hoping to be able to contribute to his new Blogfriends project, if I can.
I was also introduced to zeroinfluencer aka Dave. Dave is involved in one of the most interesting developments in tv for a while, Where are the Joneses?. Its a wiki based tv show where the plot and script etc are written by the 'community'. Didn't get a chance to really have a proper blether but I'm hoping that will happen sometime soon. Thanks to Chinwag for bringing people together, again.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

can a brand 'own' football?


Had an interesting conversation today around Nike and adidas, both brands trying to 'own' football (soccerball, for my US chums). With Euro 2008 fast approaching the battle will become even more fierce.
Nike's Shooting Gallery ups the ante although some of the invitation clips smell a bit phony to me...;)
At the end of the day (gratuitous football cliche ole) I'm on the adidas side, if only because the badge adorned the shirts of Willie Miller and co on the greatest night in the history of football - May 11th 1983
Nike just havent earned it yet.

Monday, June 25, 2007

interruption marketing can still work...

Walking down Commercial Road about half an hour ago I came across one of the last outposts of full on interruption marketing. An old dosser approached me, I expected the usual 'have you got 10p for a cup of tea' routine. But no.
This fella has obviously had a think about it. With interruption strategies your message has to really cut through the clutter to get my attention and be highly targeted. Bear in mind that round E1 way there are plenty city boys with there 100k bonuses burning holes in their pocket (i'm not one of them unfortunately). His pitch was as follows. 'Excuse me mate, have you got a spare couple of hundred quid for some hard drugs and kinky sex?' I gave him 50p.
Of course, if he collared me tomorrow with the same story I might not be so inclined.
But as a one off interuption which made me pay attention and gave me a wee laugh it worked.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

chinwag live - dark side of social media


Popped down to check this out last night. Details of the panel are here.
Interestingly enough there were no representatives from any of the big social network 'providers' (is that the right word) ie Myspace, facebook. Apparently they were invited to contribute but declined on the basis of a reluctance to be thrown into the 'bear pit'. A bit poor in my view as probably around 75% of the audience were advocates and active participants in at least one of the popular tools around.
There were the usual topics discussed - stalking, myspace riots etc but not really any great insights to be fair. I enjoyed the comments of James Cherkoff and will be checking out his modern marketing blog, and had some sympathy for identitologist, Luke Razzell who got a bit of stage fright at the beginning and then just got into his stride as the session came to a close.
The funniest thing, though, was a generally angry Tim Ireland from bloggereads who landed some new terms on me, 'sockpuppets' and 'astroturfing'. I'll not bother explaining them here, look them up if your interested.
Tim's pearls of wisdom/tales from the darkside included the revelation that politicians and their lackeys are using social media outlets to try and galvanise support for dubious policies and generally manipulate the conversation on blogs by the use of multiple identities and faking grass roots support (there, Ive given away the astroturfing reference'). as he gazed upon the audience with a face that begged 'can you believe this?' I found myself contemplating...politicians manipulating media to further there own dubious ends, and hoodwinking the populace?
surely not. The words no shit and sherlock came to mind.
Notably no mentions of Twitter/Jaiku (although a good few of the audience could be seen feverishly twittering updates on their phones) and ning (this is a relatively new one to me, but after an hour or so fiddling with it yesterday it seems potentially a bit of a bad apple...dunno).
The main take-out was, of course, be careful what you post out there because its up there forever and might come back to bite you. And there was a general agreement that, yes -there is a dark side to social media but likewise there is a dark side to any interaction between humans virtual or otherwise.
I'll definitely be checking out, and no doubt commenting on, these chinwag events in the future. Next time I'll aslo try and do a bit more real life networking, I was on my jack last night so didn't mingle that much. Big thanks to Thayer for the invitation and baptism into the chinwag network.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

south west trains

dear south west trains,
I hope you've got your google alerts on cos I'd like you to read this.
This morning I tried to renew my weekly ticket (in the same manner Ive done for the past 2 and a half years that ive been commuting with them) only to be told by the guard on the train that they will no longer renew tickets on the train and I am liable for a penalty fare plus a non-refundable single journey ticket to get to Waterloo, where I then had to q for 20mins to get my weekly ticket at the desk.
After a great debate I had togive in, and endeavoured to get a refund upon arrival.
I pulled up one of the managers at Waterloo to try and get him to see sense - and heres the funny bit - he pointed me to the swt website where I could make an appeal but told me there was no point as no-one reads them. ha!
Anyway, this is where all the pr, marketing and advertising fluff you like falls over.
At the point where the consumer (ie me) actually, physically interfaces with the brand the experience is shocking. This got me thinking as I listened to the station announcements 'anyone verbally or physically assaulting our staff will be prosecuted' 'dont talke your eye off your bags or we'll take them away and blow them up' etc etc - negative, negative.
Now SWT have a monopoly situation. I have NO CHOICE but to use their service. But, and its a big one (we like big butts) they are fostering some serious ill-will towards their brand by doing everything in their power to make things more difficult and annoying for their consumer. I have NO CHOICE at the moment but if in the future I get any opportunity to stick one on them I will be taking it. And theres 1000's others who will no doubt feel the same. B'STARDS.
This is Thatcher's legacy - public services SOLD OFF to the private sector. For what? To improve service by creating competition? where is the competition?
Ive come up with a new line for their marketing.
'South West Trains - Fuck you and give us your money'
They should use it - at least it's transparent.
Great start to the day.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stop poncing around with more cultural bullshit.


jeez, i thought my ramblings were pretty random till i came across the website of former Clash manager and original punk strategist Bernard Rhodes.

Heres a sample quote:
'These are the early days of a street peoples movement, formed to counter the vast amount of cultural and political bullshit which is constantly invading our lives.Worse, this corrupt and boring corperate paradise for squares, is being promoted by a media we detest but are forced to endure.
If you're hip you'll understand'

www.bernardrhodes.com

current fave

Seen this online art collaborative thing which i'm liking.
zoomquilt

the vinyl countdown...a sagely tale


disaster struck the other day.
We'd been out shopping a while back a bought a bunch of 12inch frames designed for LP covers. The idea was to frame up some of our ols album covers with arty artwork ie the Velvets 1st, Sticky Fingers (Warhols) Sgt Pepper, maybe some old Blue Notes and suchlike to hang on the stairs. Anyway in a space saving excercise last summer i'd boxed up all my old records (i used to be a club dj back in the early 90s so its a fair old pile 1000's of 12inch singles plus 100s of vinyl lp's from jazz to punk and whatever else) wrapped the boxes in bin bags and stored them in the old ww2 bomb shelter we have in the garden. So i went out the other day to have a dig about and it turned out that over the winter the rain had come in through the airbrick and basically all the bottom level of boxes had been sitting in a few inches of water for about 5 months. I've salvaged most of the actual vinyl but the covers are pretty wrecked.
The moral? Look after what you care about, dont neglect it cos when you need it it might not be there any more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

berrysplat tv


Berrysplat tv is a project I've been involved with that I'd like to share.
Ribena is a popular drink in the UK - they claim that 97% of blackberries grown in the uk make it into Ribena. The story of this project is - what happens to the other 3%?
Budding filmmakers (we gave cameras to some film students and alereted Ribena's opted-in database to kick-off participation) are invited to submit their movies with fun, interesting , innovative ways of 'splatting' berries. The clips are voted a la YouTube etc and the overall winner trousers a thousand quid. As a little extra bonus some of the best videos will be featured behind the red button on the interactive tv ads during the four week run of the tv campaign, so its multi platform. It just gone live and theres a few bugs being ironed out on the fly but I'd welcome any comments/views.
Its a decent little piece of brand participation with a cross-platform twist and a couple of incentives. Also its not overly sell-y.
Ribena fact: while I was chatting with my hairdresser the other day she told me that when she and here boyfriend lived in New Jersey they used to make a weekly pilgrimage to a specialist deli in Brooklyn, who imported stuff from the uk, to specifically buy Ribena - for 10 dollars a bottle! - they rationed themselves to one glass a day as a taste of home.
have a look here www.berryspat.tv

Thursday, May 31, 2007

the horses are on the track....


and no it wasn't me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

another new discovery that's blown me away
'Because as with nature, innovation doesn't take place in a vacuum'
Innovation ecosystem blog

file under 'no shit, sherlock?'

BBDO agency investigates our shared habits in an attempt to work them to a marketer's advantage or find opportunities to break them.
SOMEBODY GIVE THESE PEOPLE A SHAKE

Come back CSP, all is forgiven

in a grumpy mood last week I commented on Christopher S Penn's otherwise excellent and insightful journal that a list of twitter updates doth not a good blog make...and i was unsubscribing. well, he's binned the twitter updates (can follow on twitter after all if i'm interested) and so i've come back.
here's his latest musings,always thought provoking and forthright.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

linked in

Never got round to using this Myspace for grown-ups but Ive now just done a megablast from my mail contacts and i guess I wait and see who it reels in.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Billy No-mates


No votes so far - hardly surprising judging by the amount of comments i get here.
Still, you've got to be in it to win it.
Vote here

This is England


Really looking forward to seeing Shane Meadows new movie This is England.
Got me remembering back to 1979-82-ish, splashing bleach on my Levi's over the sink and going for a No1 crop. I bumped into my mum on the way back from the barbers and she never recognised me. These were the days when fashion, music and that were a statement and had meaning. identity through subculture etc. Quite a contrast with today (I'm thinking about Kate Moss Top Shop again...) I also remember Saturday afternoon shopping for Ben Sherman shirts, trying to track down the ones with original Oxford cloth. Dexy's, Two-tone, Fred Perry everything. Traveling to Ipswich to see AFC in the UEFA cup - suedehead army....Happy days, i'm going goo-ey now.
After all that i hope the film is actually any good.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY from trendwatching

Another gem from the excellent trendwatching.com. true and correct.

sample: "Old economy fog is clearing: no longer can incompetence, below-par performance, ignored global standards, anti-social & anti-eco behavior, or opaque pricing be obscured. In its place has come a transparent, fully informed marketplace, where producers have no excuse left to underperform. TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY for some, TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH for others."

full thing here

Be an Arsehole today

Still reeling from this Christopher S Penn post on one of my new favourite blogs, yesterday.

sample; '..commit today to no longer communicate or work with people who are poisonous to your well being. You know who they are - rumor mongers, gossips, backstabbers, energy vampires, and generally not nice people'

changed it from Asshole to the English venacular of course...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Damned United

Loving David Peace's 'The Damned United'. Unputdownable is the phrase I believe.
Essentially a biog of the late great Brian Clough, famously the gratest manager England never had, in the form of a stream of conciousness from the mind of Cloughie
during his ill-fated 44 day stint as Leeds boss in the early 70s and reflections on his rise to the top in the decade that preceded. Dark and menacing in tone
it's is like a 'Heart of Darkness' in the world of football.
bonus: its on the 3 for 2 table, too.

Kate Moss and Top Shop

The latest post-consumer (ahem) consumption frenzy as Kate's 'collection' launched at Top Shop last night. Shoppers were allowed 20 mins to purchase a maximum of 5 items. A whole can of worms really and I'm not sure what to make of it as an observer. I'm reminded of the notion that it's no longer about celebrity as endorser, it's about celebrity as provider (of what though?)
Kate's 'designs' are - lets face it - hooker outfits for teens and thats not particularly healthy. Neither is the consumption frenzy (again) like the Primark riots and the Ikea opening where sofa hunters were being stabbed by rivals in the queue. Dont know where I'm going with this but I just get a bit squeamish.
(note to self; Too much use of consumption in this post)

'I came in here for the special offer..guaranteed personality'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

D&AD 2007 - Need for Speed Carbon AV Wars


Its that time again, and I please to note another entry in the book for 2007 to add to last years haul of 3 (including 1 Yellow Pencil nomination).
You can argue of the merits of the D&AD awards (smug ad industry back slapping vs genuine recognition for good creative) but to be fair I'll take any accolades going thank you very much.
The piece in question was a digital tv interactive 'ad' for EA Games release of Need for Speed Carbon - 'AV Wars'. You can check out a snippet on my portfolio site
The reason I'm pleased about this award is it was a conceptually strong idea with some great content to work with. EA marketing people had commissioned AV 'remixes' of NFSC by leading VJs that was earmarked for release at some date after launch. We asked for exclusive use of that content for the 'ad' and played it out longform behind the red button off the ads on digital tv. Of course NFSC fans recorded the thing on their PVRs ripped it and it was all over Youtube within hours.
So it was abit of tv that empowered and involved the viewer and contributed to community and conversation online via the forums and social media. And it looks pretty cool too. Job done?

Digg!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Office fave - Thou Shalt always Kill

loving this

Bowie fixated bbc drama a go go


Great news, after I cried into my cornflakes following the last episode of the best british drama on telly since god knows when, Life on Mars, a cursory reading of the Metro over someones shoulder on the tube revealed that a sequel is being shot.
Ashes to Ashes will be set in the 80s this time. I cant wait for The Laughing Gnome after that, or Hey! Mr Gravedigger for that matter.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

web 2.0 bullsh*t generator

Remember the dack.com web economy bs generator from a few years back?
These guys have updated it for web 2.0. Literally minutes of fun to be had until it starts to ring true too close to home...
Also there is Brownpau's Buzzphrase Generator for some "excellent catchphrases with which to litter your site and marketing materials".
fantastic.
go ahead make bullsh*t

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

wembley


Had to laugh at this. Scottish builders at the new Wembley have hidden Scotland flags and stuff under the turf. Spirit of 77 lives on...

sunny day on brick lane



snapped this, no idea what its about, something to do with teeth anyway, but quite liked it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

adobe cs3

Off to see a preview of Adobe CS3 tonight. Still angry at them for binning Freehand.
It will be shaking hands with the devil...
this is more of a tweet than a blog, sorry.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pies and Prejudice


Enjoying C4 talking head and sometime Radio 2 dj Stuart Maconie's latest 'Pies and Prejudice'. A vague travelogue of the north of England (with some fairly gratuitius south-bashing for good measure). Being Scottish i'm not sure where I stand on the old north-south divide. I'm veering towards being an honorary Southerner but only because I worked in Liverpool for a while (Stuart berates cockneys for their 'thumbs in lapels cheerie-ness' but equally a pain in the arse is how everyone in Liverpool thinks they are a comedian or have stepped out of some black humour Carla Lane sitcom (howzat for sweeping generalisation!)
Heres a snippet on Hampshire (my current residence) that made me Lol on the train.
' ..I remember defence secretary Geoff Hoon using Hampshire as a reference during the early days of the invasion of Iraq when British soldiers were patrolling the city of Umm Qasr. 'Umm Quasr is a city similar to Southampton' he informed the Commons, prompting one British squaddie to reply to an interviewer, 'He's either never been to Southampton, or he's never been to Umm Quasr. Theres no beer, no prostitutes and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth'.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spitalfields market


Nearly pee-ed myself with exitement at coming across 7inch God save the Queen ON a&m
just now in Spitalfields market, it's thursday - antiques day.
There are supposedly only around 100 of these in existence and go for around £5k.
I couldn't believe my luck when I saw this one for fifteen nicker!
Suspicions were aroused however when i noticed the pink vinyl...and another 10 copies in the same box...
Decent business idea though, press up your own batch of ultra rare records and sell them on for ten times the price of a regular 7inch. I cant remember manufacturing costs but i think a batch of a thousand would cost you a couple of hundred. not a bad return...
Spitalfield is Londons best market by far, changes everyday and not overrun by tourists like Camden, Borough nd Portobello.