Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Understanding the Economics of Digital Compared to Traditional Advertising and Media Services

Calling this recommended reading would be too light, this is essential reading for anyone working in Marketing. Full stop.

"Understanding the Economics of Digital Compared to Traditional Advertising and Media Services,” is a definitive text explaining how digital is unlike any other medium at a marketers disposal. The book quantifies why digital cannot be viewed using traditional non-digital benchmarks, and how both agency and client will benefit from a greater understanding of the economics driving digital. Presented by The 4A’s and written by McCann COO Joe Burton, this is a users manual for the web2.0 marketplace.

In it, Burton examines:

  • the cost and service differences between traditional and digital
  • commission rates
  • reach and frequency targets
  • return on investment capabilities of digital
  • key drivers that contribute to the costs of digital advertising
  • the differences between digital and traditional executions
The glossary is similar to a document I created for work, a lexicon of digital marketing terms, and in itself is worth hanging on to if you're new to digital marketing.

I would urge all digital and non-digital marketers to give this a read.

Expandable Banner Ads

This is one of the best examples I've seen of an expandable leaderboard ad. The interaction is a fluid user-controlled slide with a corresponding animated (pseudo-video) sequence. The only trouble with running something like this in Ireland is that almost all publishers have strict rules on expandable open and close interactions. Generally speaking it's either click-to-open-click-to-close or mouse-over-to-open-mouse-off-to-close, which almost certainly rules something like this out of the question. A pity really.

Check out these other expandables:
Sony PSP
BT Shredder
Renault: Power Uphill

Monday, March 30, 2009

AdAge Powe150

Just opened up my emails to find out that Digitology has been listed on the AdAge Power150 Media and Marketing Blog list! Seriously chuffed. I guess now the pressure is really on. Time to step up to the plate so to speak.

One in 8 million

One in 8 million is the New York Times storytelling project. The concept is simple; show New York as a "305-square-mile parade of people, all with something to say". So basically this is a collection of "passions and problems, relationships and routines, vocations and obsessions". Check it out – it’s an absolute must.

Wolfram Alpha – Beyond Google

I’ll forgive you if you don’t know who Stephen Wolfram is. To be honest, unless you’re a certain type of geek, you will not have come across his name. Believe me, this is unfortunate because Stephen Wolfram is building something special. Something very special indeed. What Stephen’s building isn’t just special, it’s perhaps one of the most impressive and significant concepts in the last centaury, and that’s a big statement.

I’m going to make a very small presumption; I will assume you are familiar with Google. Google is the preferred search engine for almost everyone’s daily interweb questions. Google is limited though. Google is a search engine, and it will search for information as per your specified parameters. Wolfram Alpha is a different animal altogether. Stephen Wolfram has no interest in killing Google or building something to compete with them (not directly anyway). Wolfram Alpha will be an "answer engine" rather than a search engine.

I couldn’t be more excited about this. I have spoken so many times about Web3.0 and the Semantic Web. I thoroughly believe the future of the net will be governed by intelligent systems that are able to interpret data, and driven by a new need for the people using it. The total quantity of unique data on the net is growing, fast! Simply searching through it would take a very long time.

That’s where Wolfram Alpha comes in. Basically Stephen and his team have built what they calls a "computational knowledge engine" for the internet. This means that you can ask it factual questions and it computes answers for you. It won’t just scan through the net and spit out a list of sites that contain your search term. It will actually computes answers for you. It will understand and then compute answers to questions.

Think about it. That’s pretty huge. And I don’t just mean ‘how many litres in a pint’, I mean ‘what were the political motivations behind the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq’. Google can’t do that!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

PPC Copy Writing

I can't even remember where I picked this up, but it's a little trick that I use in almost every AdWords campaign that I put together. So I'll share it with you just in case you're not familiar with it.

When creating your PPC copy you can easily create dynamic keyphrase insertion by simply using parenthesis. That is, when a user searches for your keyphrase they will see it as your ad title. Let's imagine our keyphrase is 'digital marketing blog', and it's in the AdGroup 'Blog'. By using the four following codes for your title copy you can control what a user sees:

A user searches for 'digital marketing blog'

  • {keyword:Blog} as the title, and they will see your ad title as 'digital marketing blog'.
  • {Keyword:Blog} as the title, and they will see your ad title as 'Digital marketing blog'.
  • {KeyWord:Blog} as the title, and they will see your ad title as 'Digital Marketing Blog'.
  • {KEYWORD:Blog} as the title, and they will see your ad title as 'DIGITAL MARKETING BLOG'.
Generally I use {KeyWord:XXXX} as this is how I would usually write my title copy, but you can figure out what works best in each campaign. This is a particularly useful trick when working on a direct response campaign.

Sunday Links

This week's Friday's Best of the Web runner-ups are.....

Barnardo's: Believe in children I, Barnardo's: Believe in children II: Two very powerful ads from Barnardo's
Good Art HLYWD: Nice intro, nice design, nice site.
Divine Chocolate: Chuck eggs at world politicians in protest to the G20. Definitely worth a look.

Latest TV Technology

Is there too much swearing on TV? Are unhappy programs getting you down? Is it embaressing when something racey comes on and you're sitting with your family?

Fear not, LG have the answer for you.....

Sometimes viral marketing videos just need to be crazy. Fully accomplished here!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Internet User Statistics

This is a breakdown of user statsistics over the last year, from visitors to my blog. The two most intersting things, from my point of view as a digital marketer, is that 60% of visitors are using Firefox and at least 95% of visitors are using Flash 9.0 or above.

Let it Shine!

The new 60 second TV spot for the Honda Insight, created by W+K Amsterdam, has to be seen to be believed. Using the cars themselves, W+K created the largest LED-style display ever. This is the first TV spot from W+K since their appointment in November 2008. The team behind it are Zach Watkins, Craig Melchiano, Mark Sloan, Jeff Kling, John Norman and Sue Anderson. The concept is to build on Honda's ‘Everybody wants to be good’ tagline and reinforce Honda as a leader in automotive hybrid technology.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Your Light Switch is your Vote

This December the Global Climate Change Conference is taking place in Copenhagen. The forum has been choosen as the place to present to the leaders of the world our feeling on glogal warming. So this Saturday, March 28th at 8.30pm Earth Hour is calling on all citizens of the world to switch off their lights. Switching off your lights will be your vote, and your call for our leaders to do something to combat global warming.

Earth Hour wants 1 billion people to vote. 1 billion people of all ages, nationalities, race and background. These 1 billion votes will be presented to the conference in Copenhagen and used as a sign that the world wants change.

The Earth Hour site is packed full of information about what different people are doing and how you can help spread the message. Their download section is packed full of resources; from posters to blog banners, social network badges and media widgets. In fact pretty much anything you could want.

Earth Hour started off in 2007 in Sydney when 2 million homes and businesses decided to switch off their lights for 1 hour. Following this huge success, the 2008 Earth Hour went global and 50 million people switched off their lights. The event was not limited to homes and small business however. In a landmark event, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all turned off their lights.

This is a call to action. This is a real grass roots movement that needs your help. Don't be confused, no one thinks that we can go without power or that it is inately bad, this is about how we generate that power. There are ways and means currently at our disposal to generate clean safe energy. We just need to do it. Pay the price, make the changes and safe our planet.

All you have to do is switch off your lights for 1 hour.

Do it!

There is a wealth of information also available over on the Google Blog.

Social Media 101

I was talking to two friends the other evening about the modularisation of university programmes and the various pro’s and con’s associated with it. We got on to talking about the education systems as a whole; concluding that the Irish and English systems are pretty good. Though one small area of disagreement cropped up regarding Primary School and what children are taught.

I for one think that every child should study History, Geography and Science. I see the basic information that is revealed to you then as essential everyday knowledge that is necessary for life. People should know their history and the workings of the world around them. IMHO.

All that may be changing though, for the English at least. As reported by the Guardian, there is a proposal in place for a major redevelopment of the Primary education system in the UK to require children to learn about Twitter and Wikipedia and Blogging! This would be the biggest change that the education system has undergone in at least 10 years.

I think this is incredible news. Having posted yesterday about Queen Renia’s progressive political use of YouTube, this is an even bigger revelation. Social Media is part of life. It’s something people have always done, but now it’s found digital incarnations. Why would you not teach children about them? You teach them about the printing press, why not teach them about Tweeting and Poking?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sure it's Thursday, but tomorrow's Friday!

Online PR for Royals

As most of you are probably aware, it's not a new thing to have celebrities posting their own YouTube content. It's not even new to see a royal face or two, consider that The Royal Family (UK) has their own YouTube Channel. What is interesting is to take a look at the more innovative and progressive political uses of YouTube by these people.

Don't worry, while I am a fan of Mr. Obama I'm not going to talk about him. In my opinion the most progressive political use of YouTube that I have seen lately is from the Middle East. In fact, from a woman in the Middle East. I accept that that may sound odd to some people, considering the general western perception is of a region where leaders are not interested in freedom of speech and women don't appear publicly in politics. So when I say that the most progressive political use of YouTube I have seen to date is a young Arab female, I'd forgive you for being surprised.

Queen Rania is etting the trend and opening barriers for women and men alike, throughout the Middle East. She not only has her own YouTube channel on YouTube that promotes open dialogue and freedom of expression, but she is actively striving to breakdown the stereotypes that exist about Arabs and Muslims.

Her activities have even won her the Visionary Award on YouTube Live '08.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bad News, Bad Taste

via the good work over at Assistant to the Brand Manager

This almost turned my stomach. You go to do a photoshoot for the Belfast Telegraph. You realise that the coverstory is not something that will promote good feelings (I really hope they noticed!). So what do you do? Call someone and get them to mock up something that could be stuck over the front cover? Get yesterday's cover? No, if you're the Belfast Telegraph you just push ahead.

Bad move guys. Very bad move.

Facebook: the new Twitter?

So long as you’re not one of the 120 million worldwide users that Facebook has, you’ll have noticed a distinct shift in how the social networking site operates. In its most recent update the move has been made to create a very Twitter-like environment. Status updates are now king, and rule over everything else.

While no functionality has dropped off, everything else does feel like it’s been pushed slightly sideways. Friend requests and Group invites are now small and inconspicuous, sitting above your ‘feed’, out of harms way. New groups that your friends join, events that friends are going to, and friend’s birthdays all run down a single column space on the right hand side of the page. This is not the Facebook that people were using.

But why? Is Twitter such a threat THAT Facebook needs to change it’s entire user interaction?

Without doubt celebrity endorsement has to be looked on as an initial key driving force. This year has seen Twitter’s number rocket, with many people now using the site to keep up to date with all their favourite bands, tv personalities, comedians and movie stars. The Facebook status update fell by the wayside.

Of course this had the direct effect of boasting Twitter’s site stats. In February alone Twitter had 7 million unique visits, up 1,382% from a year ago (according to Nielsen NetView). But it’s not just the numbers, it’s who these numbers are. 42%n of Tweeters are between 35 and 49 years old.

So first Facebook offered to buy Twitter. An offer was made of $500 million offer for the microblog network. The offer was not taken.

Facebook did however offer one very obvious advantage over Twitter. When you Tweet, your comments are open to the world for all to see (not always advantageous) whereas on Facebook you can select who can view your profile and, more importantly, any conversation that a comment generates is kept altogether in one place. An extremely handy feature when you want to see the whole conversation, and something which is very difficult on Twitter.

So is this best of both worlds, or a lousy hybrid that falls down entirely? Personally I like the new Facebook. I have no issue finding everything that has always been there and I enjoy the Twitter-esque functionality it now offers. Win win in my books.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nike: Challenge (Men vs Women)

"Honey, where's my shoes...?"

You like your girlfriend, you may even love her, but lets face it, in the ultimate grudge match there is no love. There's brotherhood and sisterhood. There's the age old question of who's the better, stronger, smarter or fitter sex. In Nike's latest campaign they dare to not only ask the question, but provide a forum for an answer.

Nike+ Challenge pits the sexes against eachother to see who can run more in 38 days. Launched on March 13th the campaign integrates Nike's extensive product suite of sports fitness wear and shoes, with the Nike iPod Sports Kit - allowing all your workouts to be recorded and communicated back to the Challenge in the easiest way possible.

This is a fantastic example of cross-brand integration and digital integration. The campaign microsite gives you everything from suggest running routes, to song mixes, to product links in the Nike online store. This is a must see campaign!

Evolution of the logo

I posted before about logos both here on Digitology and over on Cybercom, but both these posts have nothing on this video. Awesome stuff (sorry I'm a graphic novel geek).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bill Shannon: Legend!

I'm sure everyone has seen the new Visa ad featuring the dude on the crutches. One word: awesome. If you're lucky enough, you may have also seen the same guy in the RJD2 promo video. Both of these are simply breathtaking, and unveil a talent that most of us would never have had the opportunity to enjoy. But who is the man behind the moves?

Bill Shannon is the gentleman in question; this is his site and this is the LifeFlowsBetter YouTube channel on which he's also featured. If you don't do anything else today, watch the two videos below and visit his site. You won't be sorry.

Gmail: Undo Send (finally!)

I wrote before about Gmail's Mail Goggles, the great addition to prevent those late night (sometimes inebriated) emails that you just wish you'd never sent. Well Gmail has finally announced the addition of an Undo Send button that lets people stop an email message they have just sent.

Let's face it, it may not happen often but when it does and you hit the sent button only to have all that anger fall away, followed immediately by the sledge hammer of reality, that you should not have told your boss those things, this is one feature that will save your (job) life.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

7UP Free

I spotted the following ad today on RTÉ, for the new 7UP Free campaign. At first I thought it was a static GIF and there was obviously some sort of serving issue with their fully animated SWF. I happened to accidentally refresh the page and realised that this was not a static GIF but was in fact the full ad, as it was intended.

I was fairly surprised that this was the best that could be come up with, considering I think the campaign as a whole definitely has merit and could easily lend itself to ads that are not only interactive but pull in some of the rich content featured on the microsite. I mean, why would you not use all the creative at your disposal and only focus on the banner waving man?

I presume that this campaign has been done by Marketing Network but I am open to correction as I can't actually find any mention of 7UP on their website. Perhaps there are more ads out there that are more interactive and use some of the rich content, but I haven't found them. I know that RTÉ do have certain restrictions on the placement of rich media ads on their site.

Data Visualisation and Storytelling

I have always loved how people interpret data and visualise it to make it easier to understand. The very nature of one person trying to create an understanding of complex information through non-vocal expression can take so many carzy routes, and the fact that anyone is even able to achieve this is even crazier. Visual interpretation for an individual is based on their own personal experiences and their specific perspective on that visual at that time.

Two people look at Van Gogh's 'The Scream' and one sees a person screaming, while the other sees a person hearing a scream.

So whenever I see a new data visualisation tool, I get a bit excited. The last 6 to 12 months have seen a lot of really interesting directions and attemps by various people for various purpouses. I was going to write a round up of my favourite and just as I started I was sent this article by Garrick Schmitt, in AdvertisingAge. This is a great article and I would urge everyone involved in the digital world to read this.

Sunday Links

There were no Sunday Links last week as there were no sites that didn't make the Friday's Best of the Web. So instead there's a whole plethora of sites this week, all definitely worth checking out!

Watchmen Website: If you haven't seen the film or read the novel perhaps best to avoid for spoilage, but otherwise a fun site worth checking out
Speed Lessons: Novak Djokovic with some fantastic animation, presenting speedy solutions to some *often* asked questions
Vodafone Rugby Tribe: Purely from a technical and logistic point of view this site is really easy to navigate and use, definite learnings here
Slurpee - Brainfreeze Laboratory: fun stuff, chill out (pardon the pun) and check it out
David Armano's Critter - Twitter for Pets: While only a concept, I reckon there's a host of celeb types that would scream wildly for this
Sell Sell: really cool blog
Awesome Adverts
Awesome Adverts
Spacesick: Evil Corporations Rebranded: maybe it was just how they presented themselves?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Google Street View for Ireland

Slightly odd that I was only talking about this yesterday , but as it turns out the Google car has been cruising around Ireland since Monday last, getting ready to start Street View'ing next week. The black car with a giant panoramic camera (and Google logo on the side) will be adding Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford to the list of Street View'd cities around the world, and bring the total number of countries to 10. Google's online, 360 degree panoramic map system will allow users to see Ireland (and its people!) as they really are.

Ed Parsons, Google's geospatial technologist, says it will take from three to four months to up to a year to complete the Irish addition. The actual areas covered will be city centres and suburban and outlying areas, but it will vary for each location depending on population density and business activity.

While there are many pedestrian areas in all these locations, Parsons confirmed that they too would be covered, but he would not divulge how. It has also been confirmed by Iarla Flynn, European policy manager for Google, that full use will be made of Google's advanced blurring tools to ensure both faces and registration plates are concealed.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Microsoft Surface

What you need is a big ass table! Funny stuff.

Google Street View nearly here

Rumours have been flying around that Ireland would be the next place to fall to the roaming Google camera vans, and with the launch of a plethora of UK cities in the new UK version of Street View, this seems very likely. People, pictures, landmarks, streets and houses from 25 UK cities are now available. The whole endeavour (to date) has taken 22,369 miles of video.

Cities currently available:

The Dutch version of Street View also went bringing the total number of countries covered by Street View to 9.

Although concerns have been voiced on a number of occasions regarding individuals privacy, Google have made several statements dismissing this, saying that they only take images and video from major roads and motorways therefore eliminating any expectations of privacy. And while Google have introduced software to blur out faces and licence plates, the question has been raised by the firm, Privacy International, as to whether they have the right to even take the images in the first place. A recent statement said, "existing case law suggests that images for commercial purposes cannot be taken without prior consent of those who appear in the images".

It does raise an interesting point. Are Google making any money from the images, do they have the right to take them, and how would you feel about finding yourself on Street View?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What will the next idea be?

When ASICS wanted to create a corporate promotional video, they approached Nordpol Hamburg+ (who are currently listed in the top ten advertising agencies in the world), who in turn got artist Sipho Mabona to create this incredible piece...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Digital Marketing? No thanks, we're Girl Scouts

Apparently this kid is pretty famous in the US at the moment but, to be honest, today was the first time I heard the story.

Wild Freeborn, a good upstanding Girl Scout, set her sights on selling a huge amount of GS Cookies (as they do across the waters) Her mission was to sell 12,000 boxes of them. Yup, 12,000! Being the good dad that he is, her father decided she may need a little help and decided it was time to get digital.

He went about it by creating a YouTube ad and a coordinating online order form. Simple idea really, but aren't the best ones always just that. Guess what - it was a success. Orders started flowing in. Happy days for all concerned. Only it wasn't. The Girl Scouts of the USA forced the the campaign to a close, saying that it was against Girl Scout rules. Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate breaking rules ;) but let's be serious here. Why would you stop someone selling cookies that directly benefits your organisation by doing what you asked them to do - sell cookies.

Spokeswoman for the group, Denise Pesich, said, “We want to make sure that whatever the girl is doing is integrated into the program that she’s studying, we want to make sure we are in the development stages of a technological platform that will integrate it and be fair and equitable for all girls. But more importantly, it’s girl safety at its core.”

So what's the big deal? Her dad helped her and was main point of contact on all electronic and non-electronic touchpoints, no one could directly contact her (scary child preditors etc.) and she was learning about both technology and mass marketing. I really thing the Girl Scouts need to re-evaluate their rules.

Dublin Flash Mob

Via Darragh

Here is a video of Monday's Flash Mob outside the Central Bank:

Happiness Factory 3

By now everyone is familiar with Coca-Cola’s Happiness Factory. The first two campaigns have each achieved a huge level of success. Well Coca-Cola have finally launched Happiness Factory 3, in a continuation of the story of what goes on inside a coke vending machine. Happiness Factory 3 includes a new TV ad, a music track, and a series of interactive online games. The whole campaign is called “Yawnbusters.” This part of the story shows us what the factory workers do when they get tired. Why, drink a coke of course!

The TV ad continues the great 3D animation that has become synonymous with the inside of the coke machine. Animation agency PSYOP were again called in to provide their skills.

In a new move, Coca-Cola have teamed up with Warner Music to produce a dedicated music track for the latest campaign. Incorporating Coca-Cola’s 5-note melody from the first two commercials, the music track features Gnarls Barkley’s Cee-Lo, Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco, Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes and Janelle Monae. The track is available from iTunes. The track was premiered on MySpace (myspace.com/openhappiness) but is also available on the Coke Facebook page.

Finally, to create a fully interactive campaign, Coke have launched the Happiness Factory 3 microsite, where visitors can play as a factory worker inside the coke vending machine.

Coke describe the Happiness Factory objectives as the promotion of “optimism” and “positivity”. The two feelings that they see as integral to the Coca-Cola brand.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

It's a beautiful day and I have a parade to go to. If you're Irish or in Ireland I hope you're enjoying this very unseasonal day of sunshine. And wherever you are, I hope you have a craic'n Paddy's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

So You want to be a pilot?

At some stage every young boy dreams of flying a plane. So what if someone told you that you could become a pilot. But be warned, I don't mean taking 120 hours of lessons to be allowed fly a single prop Cessna. I mean the chance to become a pilot of a major international service.

In what can only be considered a stroke of craziness akin to Ryanairs recent publicity, AirAsia are giving 10 individuals the opportunity to take to the sky as an AirAsia pilot. So what do you have to do? Blog about why it should be you. That's it. Write a blog.

Between the 1st April and 15th May just send in your posts for a chance to win. Tell them why you deserve 1 of the 10 spots and a chance to become an ace.

All the details you'll need are here on the AirAsia blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

2012 - This is the end

How would the governments of our planet prepare six billion people for the end of the world?

Roland Emmerich's new movie "2012" will be hitting cinemas this November. The plot is based on the Mayan prophecy that the world will end on December 21st 2012. Marketing for the movie started last November (2008) with the following teaser trailer but since January a number of other channels have come online. The movie microsite has gone live and provides links to two other sites that form the core of a really smart digital marketing campaign. It doesn't stop there though, the character played by Woody Harrelson has both a Facebook profile and Twitter account. Unfortunately the Facebook page is private and there is little Twitter activity but I'm hoping this will change as the launch date approaches.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Casino Obama Ad

A new tv ad for the opening of a new casino in America has been pulled following a request from the Obama administration. The ad features a really good Obama sound-alike. I think it's hilarious but they had to know it'd be pulled, so you have to wonder if that's the bigger campaign idea - create an ad that you know will be requested to be pulled but will not get you sued.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Clean Coal Clean

If you haven't seen This is Reality yet, then check it out. With a lot of attention being focused on getting economies back on track, it may be fairly easy for the lesser moraled out there, to slip a few fast ones.

A good example is the notion of 'clean coal' that you may have heard bandied about by some US politicians. Seriously 'clean coal'! And people are buyin gthis. Well Joel and Ethan Coen definitely do not believe in the notion of clean coal and they had a hand in this great fakevertisment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Twitter Mosaic

I'm sure everyone knows where to get a Twitter mosaic at this stage, but just in case, drop by here.