Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tweenbots

This is just about one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.

Kacie Kinzer (a student at Tisch ITP in New York) set out to explore the nature of movement and people's preoccupation with getting from one place to another. Kacie raises the question, "Could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it?" An extremely bold question in my opinion, and one that I wouldn't think was easily answered. To make things even more complicated, Kacie takes it a step further, asking, "How could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself?"

Where to start? What to do?

Simple (in Kacie's mind at least) - build a robot.

To answer these questions, Kacie conceived the Tweenbots. Human-dependent robots that navigate through the help of the pedestrians they encounter. The robot itslef will move at a constant speed and in a straight line. The only indication of their mission is a flag baring their destination. After that it's up to those around to help them.

Would you trust strangers minding their own business to stop and help a robot? Considering the dangers that the robot would face it's seems impossible that it would get more then 15m (imho). Never-the-less Kacie placed the Tweenbot down on the path, walked away and set it on it's journey.

Surprisingly as it turned out, over the course of several months and numerous journeys, the Tweenbots successfully got from their starting point to their designated destinations. Although there were instances of a bots getting caught under park benchs, stuck against a curb, or trapped in a pothole, there was always a random passerby who would rescue it and send it toward its destination.

Not a single Tweenbot was lost or damaged. Brilliant stuff - perhaps even a sign that human nature isn't that bad?



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's In The Box? (ARG)

Following my post yesterday I was excited to see an article by Hashem Bajwa on Augmented Reality over on AdAge today. Hashem discusses some recent AR campaigns, including General Electric's Smart Grid technology (also here) and the Topps' 3-D baseball cards system. He also goes into detail on the Mobilizy app that I've previously posted about. All this even further reinforced my belief that ARG or AR apps/games are the way forward.

Low and behold I then received an email asking for my help with a Flash file and an image. Two guys I know were trying to crack an ARG that they had been sent a link to.

Have you seen this:



Do a Google Search for 'what's in the box?' and you'll see a lot of online chatter. Admittedly this video first appeared online about 4 weeks ago but the microsite didn't arrive until a week or so later, and it's only in the last 2 weeks that most of the really interesting stuff has come to light. Most probably this is an ARG for the next Half Life episode (based on the sound effects and audio used). There are also a lot of clues pointing to J.J. Abrams, which immediately brings to mind his 'Magic Box' outlook on storytelling (see his TED presentation).

I really want to go into the details about what I was able to work out so far but what's the fun in that. Go check it out and see if you can get anywhere. But be warned, I quickly discovered that whoever is behind this definitely sees their target audience as being very familiar with Flash, Java, Photoshop, HTML and CSS. Perhaps the modern gamer is far more educated then we were back in my day?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Watch and Read

I was hoping to get a post written this evening following on from this morning but I'm totally wrecked and have decided to share some cool articles and what-not that I've been reading/viewing today. Enjoy.

Fortune 500 List Demonstrates the Power of Blogging

Business in the cloud

Web Trends Visualization: 2009 - 2007 “Web Trend Maps”

Why You Need a Social Media Champion

Facebook Opens Homepage Stream to Devs; Seesmic, TweetDeck Bite

Honda's Road Music (via Seventy Seven)

Alternate Reality Interface

A friend was asking me about Trent Reznor's Year Zero on Saturday, and whether I knew of any other big ARG successes and how they worked. Other examples were Audi's 'The Art of the Heist', the Nokia Game (which ran for 6 years), and perhaps the most famous after Year Zero, The Beast. The Nokia Game was the first ARG to use an extremely diverse range of communication channels, with The Beast and Year Zero both pushing those even further. So what next I wondered? What other interfaces could be used for an ARG?

You may not remember the following video, it first appeared doing the rounds in July 2007. It's a promo released by HP to show off their Mscape geolocation platform, which was developed by their labs in Bristol, UK. The video shows “Roku’s Reward” - HP's idea of how game development could utilise the platform. Admittedly you need to over look the terrible stereotypes of who gamers are, but their vision was certainly ground breaking for the time.



The most interesting thing isn't necessarily the video itself or the vision that HP had. HP were in many ways right on the ball. The most interesting thing was the online reaction to the video. Virtually everyone agreed that the concept was fantastic, and that the platform had a lot of potential. However, they also all agreed that HP's prediction was crazy that the technology for this type of game play would be available on hand-held mobile devices within two years. Of course we can now all agree that this technology was very much only two years away (demonstrated recently by the Mobilizy landscape system and Dutch Bank ING's ATM finder).

So why haven't we seen more games/apps appearing that utilise the Mscape platform (or similar). Why has no one looked to use this type of platform for an ARG style marketing campaign? There are a huge amount of GPS enabled hand-held devices now on the market, and for those that aren't surely there is a cell-tower based alternative?

There is a limitation with the platform in that it needs to be based on a specific real-world location, or ‘anchored’ in Mscape’s terminology, but there are many large cities around the world that could sustain a user base within their population that would make it commercially viable. In fact if you think about it there are many cities that would have a transient tourist population that could benefit from some sort of GPS-based interactive system like this; museums, galleries, theme parks etc.

In my opinion, this is where we will see the next 'big thing'. The newest Nintendo DS is already equipped with a camera; a GPS unit could easily be added as a component or built-in to the next gen. The Sony PSP is in the same boat (with a camera and GPS unit already available). So who's going to do it? I wager it'll be Japanese and it will sit on one of these platforms, with customised versions for a dozen or so of the largest cities in the world (mostly US with Toyko, London, Paris and Berlin).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Heineken Walk-in Fridge 2

I got an email this morning from Roger van Zijl with a link to the new Heineken ad. The ad is a follow up to the previous Walk-in Fridge ad. Funny stuff - definitely worth a look.

Tic Tac Micha


There's nothing better then a well planned and executed gorilla marketing campaign, and Tic Tac Micha is a great example of a gorilla campaign that also pulls in a strong digital aspect.

On a slightly rainy day in Copenhagen, an unassuming geeky looking chap set up what would become the first part of a hugely successful Danish marketing campaign for Tic Tacs. The campaign utilised a viral online video based on the street performance, a campaign microsite and an aggressive ATL campaign. All in all the idea is simple, but as I've said many times before, you don't need something to be complicated to be good.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lambient Marketing - Are Ewe Serious?

The guys over at Seventy Seven have done some really unique work for thetrainline.com with their new Lambient Marketing campaign, using sheep to advertise. Seriously. Check out this video for all the details:



Peugeot 308: 'Nude In A Scarf'


A friend of mine living in London texted me last Wednesday morning with the very odd txt that there were naked people all over the place. I then got an even more bazaar txt saying it was ok, they weren't naked, they were wearing skin-colour onesy's. Unfortunately I was busy at the time and had to let it go, but a bit of research this morning has shed some light on what was happening.

On Wednesday, London commuters were joined by 308 naked people during the rush hour commute. Initially it appeared that they were totally nude except for blue scarves to cover up their naughty bits. Closer examination however would show that these people weren't actually naked but were wearing specially made bodysuits.

The 'naked' people were roaming around to promote the launch of the new Peugeot 308 CC. Apparently the scarves were to highlight the 308's new Airwave Neck Heating System. Full details are available at the campaign microsite, there are more photos on the 'Nude In A Scarf' Flickr page, and here's a YouTube video of some of what went on:



Cheers to Nick for this video. Nick also makes out an interesting point; this is an example of how product launches are increasingly using covert, unpublicised, mysterious 'events' to create conversation and chatter.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mini: Chameleon


A number of sources have revealed that Mini plans to d├ębut its first colour-morphing car in Singapore in June. The newest car in their range, which will be called the Mini Chameleon, will change colour according to weather conditions. So when it's raining the car will brighten up to improve visibility, but on a sunny day it turns to a light colour that can reflect heat and cool down the vehicle.

The Spanish company Payola Forlids are the people behind the 'FeintPaint' colour-morphing technology. The technology utilises tiny magnetic iron oxide particles that interact with a low grade magnetic field causing the space between the particles to change, and in turn causing the colour to adjust. According to the Payola Forlids site, the colour change will only take a seconds to occur.

No Pants Day


No Pants Day, via Rick; sounds like a larf - why not?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Digitology is 1 Year Old!


Well it doesn't seem like it, but Digitology is 1 year old today! For the last year I have tried my best to entertain, educate and share the best bits of what I consider to be Digitology - Digital Marketing, Digital Arts, Digital Technology or Digital Design (though I also like to include a few wild cards every now and then).

365 days / 8,760 hours / 525,600 minutes later, and here I am. Not bad that this is my 478th blog post - that means I blog at a rate of 1 blog per 18.5 hours (God I have too much time on my hands - though I do most of my writing in the wee hours of the morning). I feel like I should have some sort of epiphany or revelation but to be honest, I'm just happy to know that I (hopefully) make a positive contribution to the blogosphere. I'll have a quick run through of stats from Digitology for those that are interested and I'll share some of the things that I've learned about bloggin in the last year.

Digitology Stats
Unique Visitors: 13,554
Visitors:20,132
Page Views: 29,886
Pages per Visit: 1.48
Ave. Time on Site: 2 min 12 seconds

Bare in mind I only put Analytics in place 3 weeks after I started Digitology, so stats are very slightly off.

So what have I learned about blogging?

  • Blogging is about people
  • Blogging is about sharing
  • Blogging is about talking
  • Blogging is about listening

Blogging is, above all, about conversation. It drives creativity. It drives innovative thought. It drives thinking. Bloggers generally share exactly how they feel. Read a blog and you should get to know someone, even if you've never met them - though you should try and meet them, because every blogger I've had the pleaseure to meet has been inspiring.

If I could recommend that you do one thing, it would be visit every blog that I have in my blog roll (Digitology Follows...). These are the people helping to turn the cogs and wheels that make it all go around.

Well there it is folks - short and sweet. I want to say thank you to everyone who reads my ramblings, and especially to everyone who takes the time to comment. Hopefully I can continue to improve what I do over the next 12 months and provide interesting content :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Favourite Ad on TV

I don't know why but this is without doubt my favourite ad on TV at the moment. Absolutely love it.

Great Display Ad: Hertz

I StumbledUpon a page that happened to have this ad on it. Really great work here, for what is essentially a very simple and straight forward ad.


HD Camera Phone

Basically Samsung have a new phone out that features a HD camera (quality is amazing). This is the viral that was created for it's launch. You just need to watch it and figure out how they've done what they've done.



Cheers to Darragh for this. Also check out Darragh on Twitter (very well worth it!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Imagine if Technology Had Never Evolved

In a step away from Visa's recent 'Life Flows Better' ad (as seen here), their new spot suggests, "imagine if technology had never evolved"?

How would you text? How would you listen tour music collwction? How would you work out of the office?

Funny stuff and definitely worth a look.

Updated Compare the Meerkat Website


My love of the Compare the Meerkat campaign is probably clear to anyone who has read my previous posts. I think this is a kickass campaign that has developed what could have been a juvenile and unexciting play on words into one of the most creative and humourous ads of the last year.

With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I was when Aleksandr started Tweeting that the website was going to be relaunched with new content. And I definitely had reason to. Picture galleries, family histories, ringtones, the ads and the out-takes; there's so much going on here. This is just brilliant creative work.

Fair play to everyone who worked on this campaign, hats off to you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Shoots Like apes Update



Just a very brief follow on from last Sundays shoot. Check out the video that Darragh posted to Culch.ie:

Topless NZ Rugby Players


Something tells me that the title I choose may find people ending up at this post looking for something slightly different to what they'll find (I'll keep you all up to speed on visitor stats regarding this post!). Anyways, thanks to Will for this one.

The New Zealand Super 14s and Adidas have come together and created this nifty little flash site. It allows you to choose two players from Tamati Ellison, Ali Williams, Richie McCaw, Jimmy Cowan Liam Messam and then watch them swap rugby shirts with each other. Something tells me that their target audience with this campaign may be drawn entirely from a single half of the population. Anyhow, worth a look if you're female, a rugby fan, or an online marketing type.

The (Australian) Lynx Effect

Great ad - interactive, simple, engaging - I'd imagine that the stats were great on these ads.


Living Online

Gavin has written a great post over on Servant of Chaos, about the how we live in the public through our online presence. I highly recommend giving it a read. On the back of this he also references Josh Harris’ movie, 'We Live in Public' (trailer below), which I also recommend seeing.

Flirting 2.0

With the explosion of Social Media and the new found ability to poke, tweet, follow, tag and so on, you need to know just how it is that you're meant to interact with the opposite sex...



Cheers to Rick for this one!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Electric Picnic 2009



Awesome stuff! Last Wednesday saw the announcement of the Electric Picnic line-up, perhaps the most eagerly awaited music news this year. And why not - it looks amazing!

So what are the who's what's and why's....
This year Electric Picnic will be on the
4th, 5th and 6th September
The venue (as always!) is Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois
Tickets went on sale on Friday last (17th April) at 9am

And the acts....
Headliners (though many would say this year is a collection of headliners!) are the dance giants Orbital, who confirmed that their Irish summer outing would indeed be the picnic. Then alongside them there is an almost endless array of mega-stars:
Flaming Lips
Basement Jaxx
Madness
MGMT
Fleet Foxes'
Klaxons
Bell X1
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Chic
Seasick Steve
2 Many DJs
Lisa Hannigan
Explosions in the Sky
Damien Dempsey
Alabama 3
Bat for Lashes
Zero 7
Erol Alkan
Roots Manuva
The Sugarhill Gang
Billy Bragg
Lykke Li
Imelda May
Echo & The Bunnymen
Magazine
Moderat
Simian Mobile Disco
Four Tet
Skream & Benga's Magnetic Man
Noze
Heartbreak
Halfset
Chris Cunnigham
Okkervil River
Magnolia Electric Company
The Low Anthem
The Villagers
Tunng
Jape
The Whitest Boy Alive
Micachu and the Shapes
The Walkmen
Michael Nyman
Dublin Gospel Choir
Quantic Soul Orchestra
Jazzanova

But stay tuned as that's not the end of it. There are still a lot of actsa to be announced in the coming weeks and as you can see, it's looking like one hell of a weekend.

So what else can I do there....
Back again (thank God on Sunday!) is the Body & Soul Village with all the stuff to right you back again - holistic treatments, reiki, yoga and massage, all combined with that wickedly chilled out vibe and music that feels of so good to the weary dancer. Then once you've got your energy back why not get yourself over to the Comedy Tent to refuel your sense of humour. Though if you're looking for something with a little bit more thinking you can always try the Spoken Word area, which will have (the brilliant) David McWilliams' Leviathan debates, and a host of poetry readings, Irish language performances and storytelling.

Is that it...
Definitely not! There's still Arcadia (except Glastonbury, Electric Picnic will be the only festival to host Arcadia this year), Thisispopbaby, Greencrafts, the Southern Comfort Crawdaddy Stage, the Bacardi B Live Arena and the Hot Press Chatroom. So you see, this is not a weekend to be spent anywhere except in Stradbally.

So how much will this weekend of joy cost me....
Weekend Tickets are €240
Family Camping Tickets are €480 (2 adults & up to 4 kids under 12)
Campervan Tickets are €60 (only one needed per campervan)

Well that's it....
If your mind isn't made up, you're a crazy person. Get your ticket and I'll see you there.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shoot Like Apes



An exciting day ahead for sure folks. I have the pleasure of helping out as a Production Assistant on today's Fight Like Apes video shoot in Whelans on Wexford Street.

Today's shoot is for the song ‘Something Global’ and will be directed by Eoghan Kidney and produced by Fionn Kidney. Eoghan previously directed the Fight Like Apes’ ‘Tie Me Up With Jackets’ that was hugely applauded for its ground breaking animation, which used 1,400 different oil paintings, and more recently the video for Valerie Francis' 'Punches', which has received a similarly massive amount of praise including a listing on KanYe's Blog (this was also Produced by one of my best mate's Tim Duggan who is CEO of Mercuryboy). Fionn's background is equally impressive, with experience as Director of Digital at Strategem, Assistant Producer with Mercuryboy and providing Consultancy Services to the Darklight Film Festival, to name just a few.

Today's shoot will be no different to '
Tie Me Up With Jackets' from the point of view of creativity and daring. The video will mix pro hi-def camera footage with footage from audience operated handycams, camcorders and camera phones. Of course there's more to tell but I'm afraid I'm sworn to secrecy for the moment. Hopefully this evening I can give a better account of exactly what has been done and how it was pulled off. But we'll have to wait and see.

If you want to know more; either check out Darragh's Tweets throughout the day as he keeps the outside world up to speed on what's going on on the closed set, visit the FLA website or Facebook Page, or pop down to Whelans at 11.30am and if there is any space left in the crowd you could be lucky enough to get in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

YouTube Symphony Orchestra

Following months and months of work, last Wednesday saw the YouTube Symphony Orchestra finally arrive. Including over 90 musicians from around the world, the event at Carnegie Halls a truely historic performance.

Check out Tan Dun's composition "Internet Symphony, Eroica" - a mash up of nearly 3,000 video submissions.

Spam Could Power 2.4 Million Homes

Following on from my earlier post (in a general environmental theme) I wanted to share this article that I spotted on [Geeks Are Sexy].

A report by McAfee has outlined that the total energy wasted by spam emails could power 2.4 million homes a year. The report, which was produced with environmental consultants ICF International, indicates that spam emails are responsible for 33 billion kilowatt hours of energy used each year. Surprisingly (to me at least) the report shows that the actual development and mailing of the emails only accounts for 7% of that energy, the vast majority of the energy is used to filter the unwanted messages.

The report also shows that the total energy usage produces 17 million tons of CO2, the same amount as 3 million cars.

A 100% Solar Powered City


Florida is set to create the world's first 100% solar powered city, Babcock Ranch, which will be powered by the world’s largest photovoltaic plant. In a joint venture between a housing developer, Kitson & Partners, and the Florida Power & Light company, the new development will be built close to Fort Myers. Babcock Ranch plans to create just under 20,000 houses with another 2 million square meters of shopping, commercial and semi-industrial development. The city will also be layed out with city-wide Wi-Fi and electric car charging stations.

The city will generate 100% of its power through solar means during the day, and then at night switch to an excess of electricity produced during the day that is exported to the grid. Construction of the $400 million solar plant is due to begin this year, with develoment of Babcock Ranch to commence during the summer of 2010. The whole project is estimated to cost $2 billion and to create 20,000 jobs.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirate Bay Founders Send To Jail


News has just broken that a Swedish court has found guilty and jailed the four founders of Pirate Bay, the world's most prolific torrent / file-sharing site. The men; Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Carl Lundstrom and Peter Sunde, have all been found guilty of copyright infringemnent and have been sentenced to 1 year in jail. On top of this they have been ordered to pay €2.7m in damages.

Via Twitter, Mr Sunde said: "Nothing will happen to TPB, this is just theatre for the media."

The biggest point that this case can possibly make is that these men have been sentanced and fined even thopugh there is no copyright content hosted on Pirate Bay. All they do is provide a directory service of torrent files.

Kutcher Beats CNN to 1 Million Follower

I posted yesterday about Ashton Kutchers challenge to CNN to get to the 1 million Follower mark, and guess what - he did it. Perhaps not surprising - seriously, who was going to try and get CNN there?

Anyways, here is the video he made as the 1 million mark drew in...



cheers to Kieran for throwing this at me

Jameson's Interactive Wall

This is pretty cool work from Jameson. Very similar to something I saw a while back on Contagious but I can't seem to find a link to it. If anyone remembers what it was or what it was for, let me know.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CNN Buys Twitter Account

A great story here that my mate Gav passed on to me.

Yesterday (Wednesday) CNN boasted it's Twitter followers by nearly a million with the acquisition of the '@cnnbrk' Twitter account. The account, currently the largest on Twitter with over 947,000 followers, was previously maintained by James Cox.

Unfortunately there are no financial details available regarding the acquisition but rumours are flying around the net that it may have exceeded 6 figures. More interesting then what the amount is, however, is that there was an amount at all, and it hasn't been denied. Twitter currently prohibit the selling of Twitter accounts and CNN and James Cox have in effect broken those rules. Twitter would be completely within their rights to close the account immediately.

What has also come out of this move is perhaps even more interesting. Ashton Kutcher, who is currently the second most follwed person on Twitter with 917,000 followers, has made a public challenge to CNN, as to who can get to 1 million followers first. Kutcher has agreed to donate 10,000 mosquito bed nets to charity for World Malaria Day if he is first to the 1 million followers.

“I found it astonishing that one person can actually have as big of a voice online as what an entire media company can on Twitter,” Kutcher said. “And so I just thought that was just kind of an amazing comment on the state of our media, and I said that, if I beat CNN to 1 million viewers, then I would ding-dong ditch Ted Turner–because I don’t think it’s gonna happen.”

CNN have since accepted Kutcher’s challenge.

SixthSense - The Future is Here

I love TED (not to be confused with Ted who I find funny and enjoyable). Quite simply the TED Talks have become the must see for everything that I find interesting and exciting in the world. I'm not going to go into what TED is and who has spoken etc. because you should go and explore it yourself.

What I will do, however, is share this latest piece of technology that has come to my attention through TED.

SixthSense is the very first piece of technology that I am truely excited about. Touchscreen blah. Solid-state memory blah. Quad-core Cell processors, you guessed it, blah. SixthSense is something so cool and so much more exciting then any of these things.

Imagine a technology that will make tactile interfaces obsolete. A technology that will make every piece of technology you use on a daily basis completely mobile. Imagine a technology that will give everyone access to supercomputing power. SixthSense is exciting.

At this year's CHI (Computer-Human Interaction) Conference in Boston, the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab unveiled SixthSense, the latest, most technologically advanced, wearable, gesture-controlled computing device. The device will allow users to access every computer based programme and interface through a reality augmented interface. Basically you use your hands in 3D space to control all actions. That could be drawing an @ sign in the air with your finger to access your email (with all information projected onto any flat surface infront of you), or checking the time by using that same finger to draw a circle (which produces an analog watch right on your wrist), or perhaps taking a digital photograph by putting your thumbs and forefinger together to make a rectangle (as you see photographers doing when setting up shots).

"We're trying to make it possible to have access to relevant information in a more seamless way," says Dr Pattie Maes, who heads the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT. "We have a vision of a computing system that understands, at least to some extent, where the user is, what the user is doing, and who the user is interacting with," says Dr. Maes. "SixthSense can then proactively make information available to that user based on the situation."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The HashTag

Just wanted to share this great article from Matt Dickman which gives a great insight into online brand reputation monitoring and the use of the HashTag. Definitely worth a read.

Bakery Tweeting

I've had a number of discussions with colleagues about the monetisation of Twitter, and it's inclusion in the digital marketing mix. There is still a very large question as to how effective it can be on a campaign by campaign basis (i.e. short term 4-6 week campaigns), how it can be properly tracked and how it can be used to actually enhance a campaign. In my own opinion there's no doubt the place that Twitter now has, and the growth that it's experiencing is undeniable, but how that can be used within a digital marketing campaign isn't yet clear.

An example of Twitter being used to great effect is the current Powerade Never Give Up Campaign, which has all three Apline Marathon runners on Twitter with constant updates and news. This is a perfect example of how to use Twitter but you have to remember that it's really just being used as a communication broadcast tool here - the actual amount of conversation is probably limited in the grand scale of things. This to me highlights the drawback and difficulties faced by Marketers trying to use Twitter as a conversation tool.

So if we consider Twitter as a broadcast tool, then perhaps it's got serious potential. Consider what I think is the best use of Twitter to date, full stop.

Poke London have created BakerTweet. BakerTweet is a wall-mounted box with a simple turndial and single button operation, with a small LCD display. The box allows users to choose from an inventory of items from cakes to croissants, and broadcast a message to their Followers as soon as these delicious treats are out of the oven. Seen here at the Albion cafe (which is located across the road from Poke's Shoreditch offices) the system can be seen in operation.

Jillz Cider Advertising - Only for the Dutch

Heineken have finally released their first ad for their new cider brand, but you'll never see it on UK or Irish TV for a very good reason. Dutch laws are a lot more relaxed then in the British Isles when it comes to advertising and this ad is definitely against guidelines. The ad features four apple-picking, shirtless heart-throbs who proceed to sing a very boy-band style tune.

Heineken describes the ad campaign as being targeted at women with an "evolutionary instinct to discuss, judge and select attractive men".

"The four singing hunks do not address women as the usual stereotypes of house wife, sex kitten, blonde bimbo or business bitch," Heinenken states in a press release. "Instead the ad aims at a more elementary level of their femininity, the evolutionary instinct to discuss, judge and select attractive men."

Pink and Poodle, the agency behind the ad, says it specialises in targeting hard-to-reach groups such as "women, youth groups and subcultures". Apparently the ad, which features plenty of sexual innuendo is designed to turn the current "alpha male"-dominated ad world on its head.

"Watching it [the ad] could be an ego-crunching experience for beer bellies everywhere," the release claims.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Channel Five ReBrand

Spotted this over on http://www.dixonbaxi.com/. Check out his other work too - seriously cool stuff.

Microsoft and Yahoo! Back in Talks

As reported by The Guardian, it looks as if Microsoft and Yahoo have been talking again about the possibilities for a commercial relationship. At the moment this appears to be strictly in relation to an advertising deal as opposed to any sort of acquisition attempts. Apparently the new Yahoo! CEO, Carol Bartz, has renewed last years negotiations, and held a number of meetings with Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, last week.

In the curent market, with Google's grip and reach expanding on a week to week basis, there must be a lot of pressure on the two companies to extend their own business activities. One option put out by The Guardian would see Yahoo taking over Microsoft's display advertising while Microsoft took control of all search advertising. Of course neither company has made any official comments on how they would do business with each other.

However, it's important to remember that it was only in February that Ballmer made a statement to Wall Street saying, "The fact of the matter is, these two guys [Microsoft and Yahoo] should somehow figure out how to get together and create more competition for this guy [Google]. And I'm hoping perhaps that that's a reasonable conversation to have with new management at Yahoo as Carol comes onboard."

Online Advertising - The Page Takeover


I spotted this cool example of a page takeover ad and thought it worth sharing. Unfortunately this is yet another example of a great creative route that is prohibited by most Irish sites.

Amazon's Latest Blunder

Over the weekend, in a move that defied any logic, Amazon suddenly removed all gay and lesbian themed books from their top-selling and recommended lists. This sparked thousands of Tweeters and Bloggers to start posting. Using the hashtag '#amazonfail' the entire incident became the most talked about topic on Twitter almost overnight. Suddenly we have a prime example of what Social Media can do when a business does something stupid. It also doesn't help that Amazon failed to properly monitor their online reputation.

So what happened?

While Amazon remained mostly quiet all weekend with the only explanation of the event coming from Patty Smith, Amazon's director of corporate communications, that the event was a 'glitch', Gawker reported that the hacker Weev had claimed credit for the whole thing. He was quoted as saying it was an "exploitation of a vulnerability in Amazon's product-rating tools." This in turn drove a large amount of interest in the hashtag #glitchmyass.

Amazon has since responded saying the incident was "embarrassing and ham-fisted", giving no further insight into the origin of the mess. However, it isn't really important if the event was a glitch or the work of a hacker. The main point of all this is that Amazon completely failed to monitor social media and online conversation. If they had had any sort of reasonable system in place they should have been able to deal with the whole thing much faster then they did.

This is just another example of why companies can't turn-off and go home for the weekend. The rest of us don't sleep, and if something goes wrong we're going to talk about it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Google Easter Egg

Check out this funny little Google Easter Egg:
1) Go to Google
2) Type in 'Google Easter Egg'
3) Hit 'I'm Feeling Lucky'

Lets Talk Twitter

Following the weekends Twitter events I thought I'd share this great video of Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter) talking about how many of the ideas driving the recent Twitter growth explosion have come from unexpected uses of Twitter invented by the users themselves.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Twitter Under Attack (Part 2)

In a follow up to my earlier post it turns out that there were two, and not just one, attacks on Twitter this weekend, and both originated from the same source. The attacks which were mounted using cross-site scripting (XSS) were the work of Mikeyy Mooney, the 17-year-old creator of StalkDaily.com from Brooklyn, New York. Mikeyy was quoted as saying:

"I am the person who coded the XSS which then acted as a worm when it auto updated a users profile and status, which then infected other users who viewed their profile. I did this out of boredom, to be honest. I usually like to find vulnerabilities within websites and try not to cause too much damage, but start a worm or something to give the developers an insight on the problem and while doing so, promoting myself or my website."

The attacks utilised a vulnerability by adding obfuscated scripts to the Name and More info URL entries in a Twitter user's settings.

Today, Twitter published the following blog post - Wily Weekend Worms.

Easter Sunday Music

It's funny how many times I must have listened to this song and never really thought about the religious imagery in it. Great song all the same; Dave Matthews - Bartender.

Microsoft's 2019 Vision

This is a really cool video showing Microsoft's vision of technology in a decade. Having said that, I would be surprised if technology had only advanced this far. Really all we're looking at here is superfast data transfer, improved touchscreen technology and overall technology miniaturisation. Thinking about it, that's not really a huge leap for the next 10 years considering how far technology has come in the last 10 years. Consider how common it is now for someone to carry around a device capable of broadband speed wireless internet access and real-time video communication. I would definitely expect more in 10 years.

Twitter Under Attack

Everyone’s favourite micro-blogging service hasn’t had the greatest of weeks, and it looks like things may have just gotten worse. It appears that the site under went an attack early this morning by a worm originating from the site StalkDaily. Some comments have indicated that this is an XSS attack, while others indicate the attack may have originated from a Twitter third party applications. Although details are scarce it seems that when you visit the profile page of an infected user your profile will become infected as well, with the worm modifying your ‘About Me’ section to include a link to the worm. Infected users begin to repeatedly spam tweets directing users to the StalkDaily website.

Sunday Distractions: Curve Ball

This is pretty much one of the most addictive games you'll play.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

What's Your Crazy Green Idea

Two students, Kyle Good and Bryan Le, have won $25,000 for their YouTube video about clean energy storage. The "What's your crazy green idea" competition by the X Prize Foundation asked people to submit a challenge that would form the basis for a potential future X Prize as a video. The pair's winning video was selected from 133 entries by more than 4,200 votes, and challenged developers to create an "ultracapacitor" that could be used to power consumer electronics.

The students' challenge asks for the production of an ultracapacitor to exceed the energy density of today's average lead-acid batteries while costing less than twice their price. The ultracapacitor should be capable of recharging in under one minute with a minimum life of half a million charges. It would also need to be completely recyclable and only use non-toxic materials. The test that the two students have put in place is that the winning ultracapacitor needs to provide enough energy for an electric vehicle to travel for 100 miles, recharge and then drive back again.

"A battery technology that allows a cellphone to go for a month without recharging or a laptop to go for weeks, those things have a personal value to people, and can transform things a lot faster than traditional technology," said Mark Bernstein, managing director of the University of Southern California Energy Institute, at the event where the prize winners were announced.

Advertising Software Evolution

An advertising creative’s career progression, with the design software used at each stage.

Red Dwarf is Back!


This weekend Red Dwarf is coming back to TV on Dave with the backing of a kickass digital marketing campaign. Red Bee Media have created an online treasure hunt inviting fans to find the crews landing location on Google Earth. The game started with an email sent to 55,000 fans, which contained codes and hidden links. The game also utilised a number of ARG style elements; including a personal ad for ‘The Cat' on Gumtree, an ad for two of the crew to rent a flat in Mayfair, and two websites: Lister's Coming Home and Scanning Jupiter.

Along side this, there were also a series of 'subliminal messages' featured on Dave and its website. Flashes of an image of the Red Dwarf spacecraft with the logo ‘Red Dwarf has landed' were run at several key times during the last couple of weeks, resulting in 438,492 site visitors in just four days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Unexpected Star Trek World Premiere

A cinema full of Star Trek fans were in for quite a surprise when 10 minutes into the showing of "The Wrath of Khan" the film mysteriously "broke". Suddenly out walked Leonard Nimoy and suggested that the cinema show the new Star Trek film. As it turned out, the hard core fans were the there for an unexpected world premier. Pretty cool.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Visual Complexity


I've posted several times about data visualisation, but you can't possibly imagine how excited I was to find VisualComplexity. I know, I know; I sound like such a geek, but it is so ool to see the different ways that people interprit information, and visualise it.

I think it's an art form. No question. To take some sterile and analytical, and transform it into a visual representation that tells you everything in a single glance, what took pages of words and numbers to do the same.

VisualComplexity describes itself as "a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project's main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web. I truly hope this space can inspire, motivate and enlighten any person doing research on this field".

If you ever have to report on statistical data, be it marketing reports or something else, go take a look at the site. Really impressive stuff.

Central Station Antwerp Flash Mob

Just in case you missed it, this is the latest Flash Mob to get serious attention. No wonder, the choreography is excellent. The group gradually grows as bystanders seem to just 'decide' to have a go. Really seemless stuff.

Economist Turns to Mobile Marketing


In a bit to increase readership, sales and overall awareness, the Economist in India has turned to mobile marketing. With a dedicated mobile channel and a number of strategic sponsorship partnerships, the publication has achieved significant inroads. However, considering the recent explosion of the Indian mobile market this may just be common sense. Anyways, the case study is here.

cheers to Paul for this one, and Tomi whom he got it from

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Double Aspect Ratio HDTV


I spotted this and had to share. It's a personal pet hate of mine when you watch tv and get any black barring. I mean come on, there is no reason why we can't operate to a universal standard (cinema wide-screen aspect ratio being my personal preference). Well it looks like finally someone has a solution to deal with two of the formats in use. Paris based company Studio FRST, has developed this Double Aspect Ratio 16943 concept, which can handle two viewing formats: a 16:9 format for cinema and 4:3 for television with zero black barring. Sweet.

Twitter Graffiti

cheers to Nick for this

Integrating Twitter and Google Search Results

Coming from a professional point of view, I find Twitter Search to be seriously useful. Without doubt, Twitter has become a primrary communication tool for the modern internet user, and to track and research brand opinion, it cannot be left out. If you want to get to grips with what people think, and see what they're talking about on a specific product or service you need to look at Twitter.

As a Firefox user I am always looking out for useful plug-ins, and this is one of the best. It will let you integrate Twitter Search into your Google Search Results. Twitter Search Results on Google will display the 5 most recent Tweets that contain your search query, with results showing up immediately above your search results.

Cheers to 10 Golden Rules for this :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

George Karellas in Final 16


Following on from my previous post, the fantastic news is that George Karellas is now in the final 16 for the Best Job in The World. Between the 3rd May and 6th May all 16 finalists will make there way out to Hamilton Island for the final selection process. After that, there will only be 1 winner - here's hoping it's George.

No longer just Cars, Booze and Cologne

The triad of male-centric advertising; cars, booze and cologne. They all have the same target audience, almost exactly, and they all used the same advertising technique for decades. Sex. Well not quite sex, but the potential for it, the insinuation of it, or even the promise of it (at least indirectly). Ads for any of those products traditionally featured very attractive women posing provocatively, wearing incredibly sexy clothes, or barely hiding a distinct lack of clothes.

But all that changed.

We were up. Advertising grew up. Well, it didn't really grow up but it did get slapped on the wrist a few times and decided that t would be best to change with the times. Cars became about fuel efficiency, families and, more recently, the environment. Booze is about responsible drinking, having responsible fun with your friends, going to responsible sporting events and generally drinking just enough booze to have fun, but remain responsible. Cologne probably changed the least. It still regularly features people wearing very little, the only difference is that now cologne ads feature male actors or male celebrities.

So where has all the sex gone? Is there no where left in advertising (bar condoms or Viagra) where sex is appropriate?

Well there are a few places where very obvious sexual overtures have been used, but they're not the places you'd expect to find them...

Twitchhiking to New Zealand



12 months ago if I had said to you that I believed someone could hitchhike all the way from England to New Zealand without ever spending a single cent, I know you'd have said I was crazy. People need to eat, need to drink, need a place to sleep, need to wash...... and so on, you get my point. It's no different when you're travelling. So how would someone travel to the other side of our planet for absolutely free?

Well they'd have to rely on the generosity and kindness of strangers. A fairly big ask we'll all agree.

So on March 1st 2009 when Paul Smith set off from Gateshead to make an 11,000 mile trip to New Zealand (Stewart Island) relying on only the help of strangers, many believed he was doomed to failure. What made this even more certain in people's head was the fact that Paul said he would make the trip in less then 30 days!

And guess what, just shy of 30 days later, Paul was on Stewart Island. By plane, boat, train, bus and car, Paul travelled the 11,000 miles without spending a penny. On completing the amazing journey Paul wrote in his blog:

'The Twitchhiker project showed that kindness is universal, that the whole can be infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, and that social media may begin online but it will converge with the real world whenever and wherever you let it.'

Paul's journey also raised more than £5,000 for charity, and went as follows...

  • Gateshead to Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam to Paris
  • Paris to Saarbruck
  • Saarbruck to Eppelborn
  • Eppelborn to Frankfurt
  • Frankfurt to Amsterdam
  • Amsterdam to New York
  • New York to Washington DC
  • Washington DC to Frederick
  • Frederick to Pittsburgh
  • Pittsburgh to Chicago
  • Chicago to Kansas City
  • Kansas City to Lawrence
  • Lawrence to Wichita
  • Wichita to Austin
  • Austin to San Diego
  • San Diego to San Francisco
  • San Francisco to Sonoma County
  • Sonoma County to Oakland
  • Oakland to Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles to Wellington
  • Wellington to Stewart Island

The two rules of Twitchhiking that Paul always abided by:
Move on from each destination in no less than two days
Never plan more than three days in advance


Another great part of the story was from Ken (Ken Morrill - @yenra), who drove Paul from Frederick to Pittsburgh. Ken created a mixtape for the journey, based on requests and suggestions from other Twitter users:
  • Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
  • The Long and Winding Road - The Beatles
  • On The Road Again - Willie Nelson
  • Litttlest Hobo Theme (Maybe Tomorrow) - Terry Bush
  • Ramblin’ Man - The Allman Brothers
  • Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
  • Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
  • Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
  • Cream - Crossroads - Eric Clapton
  • Radar Love - Golden Earring
  • Rocky Mountain High - John Denver
  • It’s A New Day - Will.I.Am
  • Already Gone - The Eagles
  • Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Don’t Stop - Fleetwood Mac
  • Land Down Under - Men at Work

Monday, April 6, 2009

Audi Flipbook

I was going to post this this morning but I'll be honest, it's just been one of those Mondays - totally mental. Still, at least I got several posts written for Cybercom.ie (where I contribute) and a good atart on two posts for Digitology.

Now however, I'm rambling.

Audi Flipbook - basically an awesome ad IMHO.

Flutter - Nano-Blogging

In a world where people just don't have the time for 140 characters someone needed to step up to the plate. Presenting........ Flutter


Fueling the Future of Digital Marketing

I was just about to put up a post about the new Audi Flipbook ad but I was sent this presentation through from a friend and I thought it worth sharing. This is by Nicole Still.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

In the spirit of lazy Sunday afternoons, I'm taking a break and chillin' out for a couple of hours. Enjoy...

,

Hollywood My Little Pony


I StumbleUpon this site yesterday. This is just one of the Hollywood My Little Pony's that they have. Star Wars, Batman and Robin, Edward Scissor Hands and He-Man are just some of the Pony's available. Just bare in mind, they're $330 each!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2009 AMPC Awards


A huge congratulations to everyone in Cybercom who worked on the Bushmills Trek and Powerade 'Never Give Up' campaigns - both of which walked away from last nights APMC Awards in the Shelbourne hotel with wins. Awesome stuff for all the guys involved.

Also a congratulations to the guys in Strategem for wins with Danone's 'Ireland's Happiest Babies' and Captain Morgan's 'Got a Little Captain in You?!'