Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friends of Glass

This is, without doubt, the oddest recycling campaign I've ever seen. The campaign has been put together by The European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) and centers around the Friends of Glass website, the Blog in a Bottle and the Singing Bottle Hank.

Hank's Microsite offers visitors the chance to watch Hank's video (also embedded below) and send letters of petition to a number of celebrities and organisations, due to Hank's catchphrase, "I'll be back".

An oddity for sure!



The European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) is an international non-profit association founded in 1977. It currently counts 59 packaging containers and machine-made glass tableware members operating in 23 European countries.

The federation represents the glass container industry at the international, and especially European, level and serves as a forum for examining common questions. FEVE maintains a dialogue with the European institutions and agencies on environmental, trade and other important issues. The federation promotes glass packaging and glass recycling, complementing the activities of the glass industry at national level.

Still Worried About the Blackholes?

It's not so long ago that the world was all a flutter about the LHC in CERN and the speculative talk of blackhole creation ending the world. I heard one person on Sky say that it was a 1 in 200,000 chance that the experiment would all go horribly wrong. I wonder if it's all going to start over again?

It was announced on Friday that the National Ignition Facility (US) has created a super laser with the power to burn as hot as a star. This is the first real chance for scientists to carry out lab research on safe fusion power. During a dedication ceremony to the new laser, governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said "We have invented the world's largest laser system, we can create the stars right here on earth. And I can see already my friends in Hollywood being very upset that their stuff that they show on the big screen is obsolete. We have the real stuff right here."

I wish I had a video or audio feed of the speech.

The NIF's new high-energy laser system is located inside the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory outside San Francisco, and is made up of house-sized sphere that focuses 192 laser beams on a small point, generating temperatures and pressures that exist at cores of stars. When the lasers hit hydrogen atoms suspended in the chamber, they will trigger a fusion reaction that will produce more energy than was required to prompt "ignition".

According to NIF director Edward Moses, "This is the long-sought goal of 'energy gain' that has been the goal of fusion researchers for more than half a century" adding, "NIF's success will be a scientific breakthrough of historic significance; the first demonstration of fusion ignition in a laboratory setting, duplicating on Earth the processes that power the stars."

Scientists at the NIF also promises groundbreaking discoveries in planetary science and astrophysics, but the biggest achievement will be that the electricity derived from fusion reactions could help humanity's growing appetite for green energy.

"Very shortly we will engage in what many believe to be this nation's greatest challenge thus far, one that confronts not only the nation but all of mankind -- energy independence," said lab director George Miller, "NIF has the potential to revolutionize our energy system, teaching us a new way to harness the energy of the sun to power our cars and homes."

In my opinion, this is fantastic news. We're looking at the potential to have all the earth's energy needs satisfied. This could be the end of all fossil fuel requirements.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Kilkenny Push

As part of our 10 year birthday celebrations in Cybercom we made a commitment to work with a number of charities. The first charity we've been working with was Moving Mountains. I have posted several times already about Moving Mountains, and its founder Gavin Bate's, recent Everst climb.

Richie Fitgerald, one of the two lucky Cybercom staff who were selected to go to Everest to support Gavin in his attempt, is going an extra mile (81 extra miles actually!) this weekend to raise money for Moving Mountains. Richard and a team of 30 are moving a 10ft polystyrene mountain from Dublin to Kilkenny. Yesterday while Richie hit the road at 9am to start running to Naas. Then today it was on through Castledermot and Carlow, to get to Kilkenny. All day tomorrow the crew will hard at work in Kilkenny to raise as much as possible. On Firday some of the Cybercom crew took to Grafton Street to do some collecting.


If you pass the guys anywhere along the way be sure to give them a beep or make a donation to the cause. For more information on the charity, visit www.movingmountains.org.uk and to support the event visit www.justgiving.com/cybercom_moving_a_mountain.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Augmented Reality Pizza

This is by far one of my favourite Augmented Reality campaigns to date. It's really slick. Just log-on to Papa John's Roadtrip, download and print an icon of founder John Schnatter's 1972 Camaro (that he sold 25 years ago to open his first restaurant), pop it front of your webcam and virtually drive the car. What's really good is that instead of a standalone driving game, while driving you get access to exclusive discounts for Papa John's, displayed on virtual billboards along the virtual road.

In June, Papa John's will also be adding the icon to the bottom of pizza boxes - the first time a brand has made augmented reality available at point-of-purchase.

"Augmented reality is consistent with our continued emphasis on exploring technology in ways that provide better value and connection to our customers, as well as enhance our ability to engage them in ways above and beyond the transaction," said Jim Ensign, Papa John's vice president of marketing communications. "We were at the forefront of online ordering and text ordering, and augmented reality takes our digital marketing approach to a new dimension."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vinnie's Bis-quits

I can't imagine anyone who doesn't love the Fox's ad on tv at the moment with Vinnie the panda. Though I'm not sure I can watch Criminal Minds with a straight face anymore! Anyway, I got an email today to let me know that Vinnie's role has been expanded and he is now the panda to head Fox's social media campaign. Vinnie will be live on Facebook and Twitter, answering any and all biscuit related questions.

Vinnie will also be writing a blog on the Fox's website, as well as providing visitors with the option to create and send audio and video messages to your friends on Facebook and Twitter, or via email or text. The site also promises a host of online apps that let you chart Vinnie's tour of the UK as he travels to various ‘business meetings'.

Ultimately Vinnie promises to 'sort out' anyone who messes with your biscuits!

Green Crisp Packets

This is an online ad that ran recently on a number of networks. The ad itself isn't ground breaking or anything but to be perfectly honest, I just think it's seriously cool that a company has gone to the trouble to develop this kind of packaging. Kudos!

video

Malibu 'Island Melon' Update

Just a quick update on my recent Malibu Rum post.

This is the latest of their ads, and is promoting the free 'Island Bowling' mobile game. Hilarious stuff - I have to say it's a pity that these aren't showing on Irish tv (to the best of my knowledge). They also have ringtones for downloading and a Facebook Page that you can follow it all on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Display Ads: All About the Font

I spotted these two display ads earlier and they really caught my attention. It's nice when you see something really simple yet extremely eye-catching. The two ads were sitting on the same page (with a 468x60 banner that I declined to include as the size would mess with my page structure) and were definitely part of a network-buy (the page was an online media converter that I use and definitely not a site you'd single out for inventory).

The ads clickthrough to www.visitlondon.com - unfortunately a site decidedly less attractive then the ads.



Forget Kumo, Welcome Bing

I wrote on Monday about various happenings in the world of search. The biggest bits of news were around Yahoo! and Microsoft's new search offerings, both set for release shortly. In an update, following a very in-depth article on AdAge yesterday, there are several really interesting bits of information to share about Microsoft's Kumo and the massive advertising campaign rumoured to be behind it. For starters, Kumo is no more. Kumo, as it turns out, was just the in-house operations name that Microsoft were using for their new engine during trials. Bing is the name of Google's newest rival.

According to AdAge and other sources, Bing's $100m advertising campaign, through JWT, will target the web, TV, print and radio. However, although some stories circulating the web have suggested that Microsoft plan a full-on attack campaign (similar to the 'I'm a PC' that targeted Apple directly), it has no been reported that their will not be specific mention of any competitor, Google, Yahoo! or otherwise, and the campaign will instead concentrate on getting users to rethink how they search, questioning if the "other" search engines actually deliver what they want.

The main thinking behind the campaign follows a series of research initiatives by Microsoft to determine how and why users search the web, and how they treat the results they are given. Their research concluded that 42% of searches needed additional input following a users first attemp, 25% of clicks are the back button, and only 65% of users are satisfied with the search engine they currently use. Oddly this data may be seen to be villified by Google's recent Search Options, which added several ways for users to refine their searches, following an initial attemp.

Beyond this, an extremely interesting analysis that has come to light is the breakdown of advertising spends by Google and Microsoft last year. According to TNS Media Intelligence, Google spent just over $25 million on all its advertising. Microsoft, on the other hand, spent $361 million.

How crazy is that?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eminem's Relapse Augmented Reality


Last week I posted about the launch of Eminem's new album and the massive Social Media drive behind its promotion and launch. Some seriously cool stuff.

I was doing some early morning surfing today and I came across this new Augmented Reality addition to the campaign by the guys over at Outside Line. Basically, in a new section of the site, users can partake in an online AR talent competition. What the heck is that I hear you ask. Just pop over, log in, create a 3D “E”, and spray paint with your personal design. Then enter your design into the running for some really sweet prizes.

Last week they gave away a trip to Detroit. Round two is now open and they're promising an equally slick prize to the best design.

Check out this video to see exactly what you need to do...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Google Wonder Wheel

I posted on Thursday about Google's new Options for Search. Google produced a nice video about the new features, and hopefully you all watched it, so I didn't go into a great deal of detail. However, having had a good play around with the new features, I thought that the new Wonder Wheel function deserved a bit of elaboration.

Wonder Wheel is one of the new tools allowing you to refine your search and find alternative keywords. Once you've performed a search, click on the new 'show options' link in the top left hand side of the results window. Towards the bottom of the list is Wonder Wheel. Clicking on the link will reveal a keyword cloud. In the below example I searched for 'Marketing'.

The main reason I thought that Wonder Wheel deserved a bit more attention is because I realised it's a great tool for developing SEO and PPC keyword alternatives, through Google's own suggestions. Obviously you can pop into your AdWords account and use the kyword tool but this is a fast and simple way to generate keyword lists in seconds. Definitely worth keeping in mind, especially when preparing initial proposals.

Changes in the World of Search

Following Google's recent Searchology event, where the search giant unveiled a number of new search features, both Yahoo! and Microsoft have revealed their plans to change the way we search the web.

Following much speculation and chatter on the web, Microsoft confirmed it is ready to launch its newest search engine, code named Kumo, this week. Microsoft is expected to launch Kumo during the Wall Street Journal 'D: All Things Digital Conference'. The name Kumo which literally translates to “cloud” or “spider” was among a host of names which have been mentioned in relations to a possible rebranding of Live Search. Yahoo! on the other hand has announced that they want to restructure its offering to actually change how we search. Sources at both Microsoft and JWT have confirmed that the launch will be driven by a major advertising campaign created by JWT.

Yahoo! described their new approach as "
a distinct move away from the '10 blue links', or the standardised text-heavy search results page," instead they [Yahoo!] "envision the web as a series of 'objects' as opposed to 'pages', making for a more engaging user experience." Essentially they think that the results they deliver should be a collection of relevant information i.e. searching for a restaurant would deliver reviews, opening hours, menus, contact information etc.

Although Yahoo! never describes it as such, this is clearly a move towards a Semantic Web. This is great news. Instead of simply delivering a collection links that have been determined by a search algorithm working on text, users would receive information that is determined through its actual meaning. Yahoo! has referred to this as an arrangement of "
about-ness".

Yahoo! gave the example that a search for Beyonce would display the singer's home page, but also a list of her albums and links to tracks hosted on its music site Rhapsody.

The overall project is not new however. Officially referred to as the 'Search Monkey project', it is now over a year old and still under rigorous testing. The major downside (imho) is that the system is based on companies sending Yahoo! the data they want included in their search results. This is a system based on control. Where does UGC content fit in? Where do the bad reviews end up? To me this seems very much like a 'big brother' defined index of 'good' information - you get to see what you are allowed to see.

Regardless of how each companies search 'improvements' turnout, it's not surprising that they are each trying to improve, innovate and extend their offerings. Recent ComScore data (April this year) showed that Google has gained half a point to 64.2% of US search market share, while Microsoft (8.2%) and Yahoo! (20.4%) have both fallen.

On the Google front, there is also the up-coming release of their newest offering Google Squared (due end of May). Although many details remain a mystery, Google have described the new service as providing search results in a spreadsheet format rather than a typical links page, emphasising pure information instead of just related content. This sounds very much like a Google knowledge engine, perhaps similar to Wolfram Alpha. As such, this is probably the most exciting search news here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Havok May Locate New Team in Dublin



Havok, the Emmy Award-winning Irish software company (owned by Intel), responsible for some of today's top games, is currently deciding between San Francisco and Dublin to locate their software development team for the next gen of games consoles.

After ruling out lobbies from agencies in Britain and Singapore, David O’Meara, Havok's managing director looks certain to locate the new team in one of its current centres. Unfortunately David has warned that Ireland's tax rate of 55% makes it an unattractive location for software developers. Havok's headquarters are currently located in Dublin, and the firm has confirmed that it has no intentions of moving out of the capital.

“We need world-class talent so that means we either go to the universities or get it from abroad,” said Mr O’Meara. “This talent is mobile so a high tax rate here makes California more attractive to them. Effectively we will let our staff decide where we locate.”

Havok’s special effects tools are used in production of both games and movies by the world's largest developers. Initially the company developed a physics engine that ensures the laws of the physics are maintained by digital objects, however Havok has confirmed their intention to develop a complete games development engine.

“Developers would not have to use any technology other than Havok’s,” said O’Meara. “The system will be modular so they will be able to use their own or third-party technology with our games engine.”


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twitter: The Movie

Filmmaker Frank Kelly has announced his plans to create a feature-length documentary inspired by Twitter users' experience. The film, 140, will consist of 140 different filmmakers, each shooting 140 seconds of film that represent what connects the filmmaker to their home. Overall the film's theme is connection.

Frank described the project, saying "I'm asking the filmmaker what it is that connects them to their home. It can be anything they want, a landscape, cityscape, a sunrise, a wife, husband, child... doesn't matter. But it has to be captured in 140 seconds and at the same time as everyone else." Adding, "The idea came from being able to communicate with a lot of people at once, and the fact that you could actually synchronize something: You put a message up, and everyone who's following you gets it instantly."

The project is currently recruiting it's 140 filmmakers through various Social Networks and Twitter, obviously.

"There are a couple of students, one in Utah who is 18 years old," Kelly says. "It goes from him all the way up to commercially successful, award-winning short filmmakers and documentary filmmakers. I wasn't going to tell anyone no, because the main thing is to get across the filmmaker's point of view. Just because they weren't established didn't change the fact that they had a personal connection with something."

Read the full story here, or tweet Frank yourself.

Sophos Release Klingon Anti-Virus Version

I can't really explain this one to be honest. Sometimes things simply defy explanation.

Sophos explains, "Use Sophos's Klingon Anti-Virus to quickly perform an on-demand scan and find viruses, spyware, adware, zero-day threats, Betazoid sub-ether porn diallers and Tribbles that your existing protection might have missed. The software can be run without deactivating your current anti-virus software. Phasers can be left set to stun."

I think it makes more sense to just watch the video!

Friday, May 22, 2009

No 'Call To Action' Display Ad

This is a first for me. Sprint ran the below ad for an extended 8 week campaign. It does not feature a 'Call To Action' - there's no clickthrough. I have never seen anyone do this before. Is it the stupidest idea ever or perhaps brilliant. It certainly has the potential for massive engagement times and huge amounts of offline and online conversation, but could it achieve real results?

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

BBC Blast Studio


I'm not sure why, but I hate when I wind up with lots of post that have videos. I dunno, it seems like cheating or something. Anyways, this one had to be shared because it's pretty incredible.

Fallon London and The BBC have just launched, what they call, "a simultaneously digital and experiential event". Blast Studio is a mix between an art installation and an online interactive experience. In real time, children engaging with the site will be able to control the studio itself. The whole thing will then be filmed to create TV ads. At the same time actual artists are going to be invited to express themselves in the studio together with the online audience.

So check this out...

Google News

Seems google has come to my attention on several fronts in the last week, so rather then write about them too much, I'm going to give an overview of the three developments that I think are most interesting.

Google Supports Newspapers
In a recent letter to the Office of Fair Trading (in the UK), Google has called for a relaxation of the rules governing newspaper mergers. Quoted as saying, "the present laws do not reflect the increased competition publishers face from search engines and internet companies". The letter went on to say that Google would be completely supportive of publishers such as Trinity Mirror or Johnston Press, were they to investigate merging their operations with local or regional newspapers.

Google's call has been seconded by senior executives at the Local Media Alliance, who are also asking for a relaxation of merger rules. Their own opinion being that present laws do not take account the large impact the internet has had on newspapers. Ultimately, they have said, a relaxation of the merger rules would allow newspapers to diversify their offering, increase their reach, enhance their content and reduce their overall costs.

Google's stance is understandable considering that it currently provides one of the largest news services in the world, through search listings, that it pays nothing for and receives advertising revenue (in the form of PPC ads appearing alongside the listings). Only a month ago Rupert Murdoch publicly asked, "Should we be allowing Google to steal all our copyrights?". In an extremely harsher statement, Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson recently said, "Google devalues everything it touches" and "it divides content quantitatively rather than qualitatively".

The Office of Fair Trading currently has these rules under review as part of the Digital Britain report. An announcement is expected in June.


Google Search Options
Google recently announced the addition of search options to your Google search results. This is their way of allowing users to refine their search results through an easy to use interface, without any knowledge of the standard Google search definitions. Google describe the new options as "a collection of tools that let you slice and dice your results and generate different views to find what you need faster and easier. Search Options helps solve a problem that can be vexing: what query should I ask?"

The easiest way to understand what Google Options has added is with this nice video:



For the general public I think these are great additions, but beyond the novice user I'm not sure they've add anything that I haven't already been able to do. Though I do like to write my blog posts directly in HTML so maybe this was never aimed at me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Interactive Display Ads Hit Target Market Perfectly

To promote the New Zealand tv show Girl Racers, Tribal DDB created the following two ads. I'll be honest I was very much in two minds as to whether they were a bit too much to post, but when it comes down to it I considered the target audience that the tv show probably attracts and realised that these may be some of the most suited ads I've ever seen.

Seriously.

Think about who watches a tv show about girls who wear tight spandex onesies and drive really, really fast cars. In my opinion these ads hit the target market nail firmly on the head. I hope you agree....



A Blurred Line Between ARG And Viral Social Media


It all started back in November 2008. Following a 5 year hiatus from the music scene, information started leaking out that Eminem was working on a new album. In and off itself the news attracted some online chatter but nothing was confirmed. However, within a very short space confirmation of the forthcoming album, "The Relapse", began to pop up on various Social Media platforms. Although not in isolation, the most public tool in service was Twitter.

Use of Twitter or other Social Media platforms wasn’t a new move by any means, but the approach most definitely was. Over the course of the following 6 months Aftermath / Interscope Records created a stunningly impactful and captivating campaign. Flitting between Eminem's troubled public past and the new terrifying imaginary world from his latest album, the marketing team dragged fans into an eerie game of hide and seek. Using Twitter, a mix of disturbing thoughts and weblinks were filtered out to the digital community. All of this revolved around a fictional mental institution, Pompsomp Hills, in which the rapper was housed.

Besides the stark and grim mental images tweeted by the star, a number of images were also posted. These included a link to the album's cover, a collage of pills forming Eminem's face; screenshots of an iPhone game set in Pompsomp Hills; and a link to the following trailer for the album’s first single "3 A.M.".



Clearly set in the fictional institution, the video is both disturbing and frightening, as if some sort of demented cross between the Blair Witch Project and a Japanese underground horror. This was the precursor to albums microsite and interactive experience. Both these elements coupled with a “real” looking, amateurish website for Pompsomp Hills brought to life a stunning narrative that almost begged to be real.

Without doubt this was an integrated effort on several key fronts that started a long time before anyone was aware of where it would take them. And although the ‘clues’ were never hard to figure out, and sometimes as simple as a straight forward link, the campaign still stands out as one of note. Fans have been engaged and interacted with on a level that has not only created an exceptional amount of online chatter but ultimately an anticipation that will drive record sales.

Of course this isn't the first time an ARG has been used to promote an album. Most famously, Trent Reznor masterminded (of Nine Inch Nails) the "Year Zero" album release in 2007, that expanded the album's dystopian story line into a full blown audio, visual and mental experience, driven by hidden messages and microsites littered through out anomalously posted images and videos. Unsurprisingly perhaps, recent news has alluded to the concept being turned into a TV show.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cadbury's Creme Egg: Twisted


In an integrated offline and online startegy, Cadburys have created an absolute craic'r of a campaign. The Cadburys Creme Egg Twisted campaign pulls together a great offline DM invitation with a Social Media driven online fulfillment. The campaign launched with ‘security strongboxs' being sent to all hardcore fans who have been talking about Cream Eggs on various Social Network sites.

The box contained 2 Cream Egg Twisted bars and an empty wrapper. Behind the empty wrapper, fans found a hole in the bottom where a third Twisted Bar had escaped. The boxes challenged the fans to visit the (then) exclusive campaign microsite and become agents of Cadbury's Intelligence Agency. Their task was to then track down the escaped Twisted Bars. After an initial exclusivity for the hardcore fans, online ads also went live directing users to the site.


The microsite utilises a Google Maps interface and clues via Twitter that agents would need to solve to locate the 16 targets, which all needed to be ‘gooed'. Agents were up with a chance to win a holiday in Morocco or a cash prize of £20,000.

The campaign has been developed by CMW, and represents my favourite work of theirs to date.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dark Night of the Soul


This isn't necessarily the most digital thing I've ever posted about but I had to share. I first stumbled upon Dark Night of the Soul earlier this year through a couple of extremely vague blog posts. Even though information was scant, I will admit that I was seriously excited about what I read. Not only did it seem that the whole project was fronted by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, two of my favourite artists, but the third major influence and driving force was to be David Lynch, my favourite director of all time.

Essentially Dark Night Of The Soul is a project album with songs written by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and a bucket load of the industries most respected singers (with all elements contributing to the overall composition and production). David Lynch comes in providing the 100+ page book of photography that provides the backdrop and narative to the whole project. The album was initially planned to be packaged with the book of photographs and released by the beginning May, but unfortunately in now looks like an offic release has been suspended.

A spokesperson for Danger Mouse has said, "due to an ongoing dispute with EMI" the book of photographs will "now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: 'For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'"

A pity that's for sure, considering that the artists involved, in addition to Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, include James Mercer of The Shins, The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, Frank Black of the Pixies, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel and The Gerbils.

You can order the book or poster, both without music, from the official Dark Night Of The Soul Web site. If you want to listen to the album (obviously I reccommend that you do!), yopu'll need to pop over to NPR Music.

Star Trek Alternative Reality Game

I've posted several times about the various ARGs that have been created recently. Unfortunately the Star Trek ARG was not something I participated in, and I really wish I had - it looks like it was incredibly well done. Check out this video run through of how the game played.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Colonel Sanders' Privacy

I've posted on Google Street View a couple of times, both about introduction of the service to Ireland and also the comic views that turn up sometimes. As I've mentioned several times, the major topic of conversation has always been about people's privacy when it comes to Google roving around taking photos of them in public. To counter this, Google introduced a feature that automatically blurs out people's faces. Interestingly, it's not fussy as to whether they're a real person or not!


A New Irish Agency: Radical

Thursday saw the launch of a new Irish Digital Agency with the merger of Captivate Digital and Interactive Return, to form Radical. The two companies were already both part of Publicis Media. This move is a clear confirmation of the continued increasing market demand for integrated digital marketing solutions.

Radical describes itself as offering
client solutions for search engine marketing, online advertising, search engine optimisation, web design & development, web analytics, email marketing, social media marketing, online public relations, usability, and online marketing training.

"This is a very exciting time for us," commented Martin Murray, Managing Director of Radical. "Offline marketing spend is down 30% in 2009. Due to its greater measurability and accountability, online marketing is still showing steady growth in Ireland. Digital marketing is expected to grow to 27% of total advertising spend in the UK in 2009 and we expect Ireland to follow suit over the coming years."

John Dunne, Strategy Director of Radical said, "This merger makes a lot of sense for our clients. Radical will deliver integrated digital marketing solutions across all online channels."

News of the impending changes was first released as a teaser through the Interactive Return twitter account (now rebranded for Radical) with this post:


From here the following news was then tweeted on Thursday morning at the same time as the Captivate Digital and Interactive Return press conference:



Considering the recent Cybercom campaign in conjunction with Gavin Bate, this is yet another example of Social Media being put to the forefront of marketing. I don't think anyone can question the necessity for companies to pull up their socks and get with the Social Media (and Digital) program. It ain't going away, and is going to continue to increase in importance and prominence.

Good luck to the guys in Radical!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

BBC's 'The Cut'


The BBC has confirmed the launch of it's latest youth orientated tv programme, 'The Cut'. The show takes the form of 5 minute online episodes with a weekly TV omnibus on BBC Two.

Tapping into the recent trend of online youth programming such as 'Kate Modern', the show has been a collaberative development between BBC Switch and 'EastEnders' writer Al Smith. Interestingly, both Pete Gibson and Sarah Walker, 'KateModern' producer and director respectively, are also involved with the show.

The BBC describes the production system as using "the latest tape-free digital video cameras and edited in house" allowing the show to be "fast and reactive, with an efficient digital production process allowing capture and broadcast to be just a few weeks apart." The main objective from this is that they will use viewer feedback to make decisions on future storylines and to choose new characters. All-in-all it sounds like an exciting idea at least.

Geoffrey Goodwin, head of BBC Switch, said: "This series reflects the way many young people want to consume content. We've united top British writing talent with the freshest and newest interactive ideas to make appointment to view content for soap loving British teens. The story is fast paced and relevant to young audiences, with secret crushes, family dramas and plenty of intrigue. The writing is quick, witty, and knowing, rich with pop culture references and with storylines suggested by teens themselves."

The show currently has an active discussion board to talk about the proposed storytline, as well as a form to drop in your email address to get notified of when it's all starting.

Continuous Digital Strategy


Here is a fantastic article by Gavin over on Servant of Chaos about the concept of a continuous digital strategy. I highly advise all digital professionals to give it a read, and then while you're over at the site, have a good look around. Gavin produces top content and writes one of my favourite blogs on the subject of branding and social media.

Friday, May 15, 2009

1 Million Twitter Followers in Less Then a Month

There has been loads of coverage about the Tweet battle that briefly rages between Ashton Kutcher and CNN to get to the 1 million follower mark. In the news today, however, their exclusive little club now has a third member, and she has managed to gain all her followers in less then a month!

Who is it?

None-other-then the Queen of Talkshow TV, Oprah Winfrey!

A few examples of Oprah's recent tweets:

  • "Met Stella McCartney for the first time. Love her fashion. Loooved her even more!"
  • "Worked out an hour. And now going to read the Sunday papers and have a skinny cow or 2!"
  • Oprah also uses the service to mingle with fellow Twitterati, including Hugh Jackman and Shaquille O'Neal.
  • "@RealHughJackman Hugh...I'm countin' the hours. Wanna do dinner the night before. Same booth? Or catch up fresh on the air?"
  • "@THE_REAL_SHAQ thanks for being my twitter buddy. this is cool."

Ashton Kutcher now has 1,755,197 followers and CNN have 1,471,498 followers.

Facebook Dollars


I read several articles this morning about Facebook's plans to test a new system of virtual money to let users make purchases within applications. Obviously at the moment Facebook already has its "Facebook Credits" ($1 buys 100) that users can use to purchase virtual gifts. However, according to MediaPost, Facebook will be extending this system to its third-party applications. A move that will surely net millions in revenue.

Through a little more digging I then discovered that Facebook confirmed the stories, "We're starting a very small alpha test in a few weeks with a handful of developers that explores ways for users to use their Facebook credits with third-party applications on Facebook.com"

I also saw the following estimations here:

  • Facebook's third-party apps will garner their developers between $300 million and $500 million in revenue this year
  • Facebook itself will earn between $45 million to $55 million from its gift shop


Cursor Takeover Display Ad

This might not be as flash (pardon the pun) as the Cadbury's Breakdancing cursor but it's a great example of a nice simple cursor takeover.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Become the Highest Tweeter in The World!


Following on from my previous post, there are some seriously cool things happening with Cybercom's 10 Year Birthday celebrations in conjunction with Gavin Bate.

Following a number of really cool suggestions, it was decided that Neil Perkin's suggestion was a winner. Neil suggested that Gavin do an online auction to give someone the Tweet from the top of Mount Everest, and in so doing raise money for his Moving Mountains charity. Craic'n idea, which I wish I'd thought of!

So get yourself over to the auction and do some bidding!
This is a seriously cool opportunity and all proceeds go to Moving Mountains.

---Update---

Bidding is going crazy! Check this out - http://cgi.ebay.ie/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170331229446

Samuel Beckett Bridge

Some photos I took yesterday of the Samuel Beckett Bridge arriving in Dublin. A more indepth review of the where, how and why can be found here.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Social Media Wine Connoisseur


How does this sound?

  • Live rent free in the beautiful heart of Sonoma County along the beautiful northern coast of California
  • Learn the intricacies of making the perfect wine from more then 450 wineries
  • Get paid $10,000 a month for 6 months

What's the catch?
  • You have to capture the whole experience through Twitter and Facebook, sharing your experience with the world.

No seriously, what's the catch? Well it's certainly not that. The catch is that the job has to be won. Murphy-Goode Winery is offering all this to one lucky person according to a San Francisco blog. Kinda sounds a lot like the recent Australian Tourist Board promotion!

So what do you have to do? Well first get yourself over to http://www.AReallyGoodeJob.com, fill out the application and submit a one-minute video showing off yourself and your special skills. Seriously, I really think this is an Australian idea!

The job description describes the responsibilities as follows; “Throughout the course of the job the successful applicant will learn about viticulture, winemaking, Sonoma County and Murphy-Goode wines. He or she will prepare and post dispatches on their experiences though social media tools such as Facebook, blogs, internet videos and Twitter as well as traditional media.”

Ok, so this really is like the Best Job in the World, but is that a bad thing? No, not in my opinion. Lets face it, the campaign worked. The response, globally, was huge and it drove massive ammounts of traffic and publicity. So the real question is, when will it happen here? Does an Irish company have the bottle to do it?

HD Camera Phone Part 2

You may recall my post about the new Samsung camera phone that features a built in HD camera. Samsung created a video that made it seem like the phone disappeared, and posed the question - how did they do it. Finally the answer is revealed...

(watch some of the suggestions - hilarious stuff)

Papermotion

Papermotion is the latest example of an augmented reality technology. The system allows newspaper readers to digitally interact with advertising. Developed by the French company Total Immersion in collaberation with the Australian Dreamscape Group, Papermotion should be the first mass produced augmented reality product that can be utilised on a campaign by campaign basis.

Total Immersion are also currently working on a campaign with 20th Century Fox for the film Night At The Museum 2. This is due to go live on 17 May. "The fact that consumers can literally interact with our print advertisements in a way they never have before was a big selling point for us," said Marc Wooldridge, managing director of 20th Century Fox.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crazy New Coke Ad

Happiness Factory I get. It's fun, it's got history, there's a story, it develops. Sure it's a little wacky, that crazy world going on inside a coke machine, but at the same time it makes sense - there is some sort of believability in it. Then Coke comes out with this...



I need someone to explain it to me. I really do. Where did it come from and what is it all about exactly? I just don't see how it fits in with anything else Coke are doing.

---UPDATE---

I completely missed that this ad is part of a much larger campaign. The music for this ad was done by the genius Calvin Harris! (interview below) and there's a fantastic microsite too! The funny thing is, after messing around with the site for a while - I totally get this ad, and I'm really starting to love it.

Jane Russell’s Original Irish Handmade Sausages


I had the pleasure yesterday evening to be invited to a little offline digital get-together organised by Jane Russell from Jane Russell’s Original Irish Handmade Sausages. The event was a simple meet, eat and greet by way of a roof top terrace BBQ. Jane has just launched a new range of (fantastically delicious) homemade sausages and wanted to share them with some bloggy types (which apparently I'm one of - who knew?).

Hosted in the always enjoyable Odessa Club, this was a great event. Though don't think for a moment that I'm swayed by the awesome free samples that Jane was kind enough to give us. There was an impromptu interview done by social guru Darragh Doyle (a big thanks to Darragh for the introductions), and as soon as I can get my hands on it I'll pop it up.

Jane has taken the bold (though increasingly sensible) option of engaging the digital and social media community to help get her brand out there. So don't be surprised as, over the coming months, you start to see Jane moving into the digital social media world. I for one can't wait - everyone needs to try their scrumptious sausages.

Pop down to Listons, Morton's in Ranelagh or Donneybrook Fair, in either Donneybrook or Greystones, to pick up some now.

Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead

This is yet another fantastic TED video that I have to share. Here Seth Godin talks about the way in which the internet has moved from being a tool of mass communication and gone full circle to restoring the age-old human dendancy of forming tribes. Essentially being driven by the Social Media boom, Seth argues that the drive to share ideas and values, creates tribes that allow ordinary people to lead and create change. As a massive advocate of this movement, Seth rges everyone to become part of a tribe, or multiple tribes, and make changes happen.



In case you don't know who Seth Godin is (perhaps because you've been living in outer space for several years?); TED describe Seth as "an entrepreneur and blogger who thinks about the marketing of ideas in the digital age". For everything you'd like to know just visit http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/.

For other TED video that I like see here and here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

27Letters


GettyImages have just released a really sweet application to allow you to keep up with current visual trends from across the interweb. 27Letters will display the 27 most talked about, referenced and reproduced images for the month. Getty say it covers everything from “advertising to art, through to politics and celebrity.”

If you like, there's also a facebook group that you can join.

Chrome's Viral Goes To TV

I posted last week about Google's 11 short films that had been produced in a bid to push the Chrome browser. In a follow up, Google wanted to see if they could take a recently produced Japanese Google short and release it to a larger audience to promote Chrome. After speaking to their TV Ads team, on Friday Google announced that they'd be using Google TV Ads to run the "Chrome TV ad" on a number of TV networks from this weekend. Unfortunately this is all US based, but stay tuned, I wouldn't be too surprised if we saw it on our screens in the near future. For everyone who can't wait, here you go...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our Rock Stars

Maybe it's because I'm a geek, but this is totally hilarious...

An Expression of Joy


BMW have just launched their latest marketing campaign for the BMW Z4 Roadster - “An Expression of Joy”

The ambitious campaign centres around a massive and very unique art project, bringing together video, outdoor, print, mobile and digital elements. The campaign features a painting two football fields in size created by artist Robin Rhode and filmmaker Jake Scott.

Utilising 160 litres of paint and 45 cameras, the pair filmed two Roadsters fitted with paint jets mounted behind their wheels, drifting and racing around the immense canvas, to create both a 30-second ad and a 30-minute documentary.

The documentary will be shown in the US on Discovery HD today, May 10 at 8:00pm. Repeats are scheduled throughout May and June, as well as a transition cross the water for airing on the European Discovery network. The 30-second ad will be used both on TV and onlin through MSN’s expandable video unit. This is the first time the unit will be used for a digital marketing campaign, allowing users to see the ads in full-screen mode.

In addition to MSN, video banners will also run on a number of high profile sites including CNN and Yahoo. Print ads are set to include an eight-page insert in Vanity Fair’s June issue, and coverage in several top end art and interior magazines. Outdoor will center on 10 international airports around the US.

However, beyond all this activity, the most interesting element of the campaign is the campaign microsite - “An Expression of Joy” which shows the filming process through a dynamic video interface, and features the mobile game, “BMW Z4 – An Expression of Joy”. The game has been developed for the iPhone and iPod Touch and has been available for download since March. An impressive 500,000 downloads have already been recorded. times.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Monster Waves

I absolutely love nature - I love the outdoors and everything about being outside. Living in Ringsend I spent quite a bit of time down around Sandymount. Sometimes just walking or maybe taking photographs. I have always dreamed about living beside the sea - there's something about the ocean that draws me in, and completely inspires me.

I just stumbledupon this article on BBC about Bali Strickland (seriously renowned cameraman) and Huw Cordey (top producer and director), and their mission to film big waves. Definitely worth a read, but also check out the video too...

Top Brands on Twitter

Brand Republic have a list of the top 100 brands mention on Twitter, and whether or not they have an active Twitter presence. Interesting to see just how many of the top 100 don't actually Tweet themselves. Especially companies like Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Sony.

Be Careful What You Do With Your Old Hard Drive


The British Telecom's Security Research Centre recently carried out a joint security study with the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the US. They bought 300 hard drives on eBay, originating from the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia. A proportion of the drives were formatted, but none were done with a destructive format and many contained easily recovered files.

100 of the drives turned out to contain extremely confidential information such as building blueprints and launch procedures for the Lockheed Martin's surface-to-air missile defense system. Other drives included everything from medical records, x-ray images, patient photos, confidential letters and confidential corporate information detailing a 50 billion currency exchange.

So the moral of the story is that if you're selling or throwing out your old hard drive, you better remember to perform a destructive, all-zeroes format.

via Daily Mail

Friday, May 8, 2009

Your Blog - Top of the World!


I have three simple questions:

  1. Are you a Blogger or Tweeter?
  2. Would you like to see yourself at the roof of the world?
  3. What would you say if I told you all you had to do was suggest a cool digitasl strategy for a charity?

No brainers, right?

Well here it is, the simplest, most easy, and only, way to get your Blog or Tweet to the roof of the world, Mount Everest!

I work for Cybercom and we have been lucky enough to be given the chance to work with Gavin Bate, one of the most inspirational people on the planet. What do we have to do? All we have to do is the stuff we love doing - blog, tweet, code, optimise and market. What is Gavin doing? Well aside from running www.movingmountains.org.uk (an absolutely incredible charity), aside from making his 5th attempt to reach the highest peak on earth, aside from doing just about everything humanily possible to make the lives of those less fortunate just a little bit better, aside from all that, he's giving one lucky Blogger or Tweeter the chance to send him a message with their name and their Blog/Twitter URL where he will photo them on top of the world!

Seriously, how cool is that!

Get the full story here, but in a nut shell it goes like this...

Gavin is an expert mountaineer but he isn't a digital marketer, cyber guru or online addict. So Gavin needs help and has asked for ideas from the Irish digital community to promote his current summit bid (eventful). Why would you want to do that though? Well as Gavin said himself, "Unlike many of the climbers out here I don't really need to stand on a bit of real estate over 5 miles up in the sky. My sole reason for doing this is to raise money and the profile of my Charity www.movingmountains.org.uk "

So what do you need to do?

Gavin wants killer ideas that will help him promote his website (and donation page). In return Gavin will promote you from the top of Mount Everest by way of a picture with your blog's name on it or via an audio blog mentioning both your name and your blog's name.

Just send a link to your blog post of promotional ideas by Tweet (@gavinbate or @cybercom using #cyb10) and may the best blogger win!

Download a Car


The good people at Mitsubishi are offering you the chance to download a car. Seriously. Well kinda.

Basically the marketing folks over at Mitsubishi HQ have realised that downloading movies, tv programs etc. is now fairly mainstream and not restricted to über geeks. So for their latest promotion Mitsubishi have hidden 30 different parts of its new Colt car throughout a selection of torrent sites, P2P-networks and some non-torrent sites. Basically the first person to find all the parts and put them together, gets a free brand new Mitsubishi Colt - in assembled form thankfully.

The promotion is being launched at today's Barcelona Motor Show. If you want to take part just pop over and register at Bajateuncoltgratis.com. Of course you'll need to tell them you're Spanish.



Apologies if you're Spanish is rusty.

I got this via my mate Gav - cheers dude

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Malibu's "Island Melon"


I got an email from Francois in Great Works today about the new Malibu Rum campaign for their "Island Melon" flavour. Definitely worth checking out - two great ads and a fantastic microsite. Make sure you have a (few) goes of the free mobile bowling game that they've created to celebrate the new bottle.

This is the first of the new ads:



And you can check out the second here.

An Post DMAs


Just a quick post to say congratulations to everyone who got shortlisted for tonight's An Post Direct Marketing Awards. Especially all the guys who I have the pleasure to work with. A fair batch of Cybercom entries in there...

Best Alcoholic Drink Category
Carlsberg Live It - Euro 2008

Best FMCG Category
Powerade - Never Give Up

Best Direct Digital Category
Vodafone Pass The Pressie
Powerade - Never Give Up

Best Integrated Campaign Category
Powerade - Never Give Up
Carlsberg Live It - Euro 2008 (joint nomination with Strategem, Initiative Media and Irish International)

---Update---

Results just in, straight from the Mansion House...

Best Alcoholic Drink Category
Carlsberg Live It - Euro 2008
>>> Silver Award

Best FMCG Category
Powerade - Never Give Up
>>> Gold Award

Best Integrated Campaign Category
Powerade - Never Give Up
>>> Silver Award
Carlsberg Live It - Euro 2008 >>> Bronze Award