Friday, July 31, 2009

DC Shoes & Ken Block

How do you engage an audience for seven and a half minutes? DC Shoes decided the best way to do it was to let Ken Block do what he does best!

Even if you've seen Ken stunt drifting before, this will blow your mind. Sit back and be amazed...

Open Happiness

For those of you (us) too young to remember, the year was 1971 and for the first time in advertising history the world was confronted by a tv spot that did not fit into a nice 'advertising' box. Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" ad campaign completely distorted the line that previously existed between advertising and pop culture. People loved it, and not just Americans or British audiences, it was a global phenomenon (there's a great overview of the whole experience in the Library of Congress) .

So it may have come as no surprise to many that Coca-Cola would attempt the same feat again, however this time they have taken it a step further. "Open Happiness" is a massive collaborative project involving Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo Green, Panic! At the Disco's Brendon Urie, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes and Janelle Monae. A veritable Smörgåsbord of modern pop music. But how do the two concepts differ and how are they alike?

The following is the full 4min 25sec "Open Happiness" video, directed by Alan Ferguson. See if you can notice the single most significant thing about this video...

The original 'full version' video for this, features a coke logo at the very end. That video was removed from YouTube and this is the only replacement I could find, unfortunately the logo has been edited out in this.

Did you get it? It's fairly obvious in those last 2 seconds. For 263 of 265 seconds of video, there is not a single Coca-Cola logo in sight. That is without doubt one of the most expensive pieces of "adver-tainment" that you will come across, and even though the logo only comes in at the end of the piece, you knew the whole way through exactly what it was for. The brand is more then a logo. The brand is a collective of all the work that has been put into it in every piece of advertising and marketing you have ever seen.

"Open Happiness" was produced by Polow Da Don and Butch Walker, writen by Cee-Lo Green (and co-written by Polow Da Don and Butch Walker), and directed by Alan Ferguson.

In a follow up to an earlier post of mine, you may enjoy the new extended version of the Calvin Harris 'Coke Creatures - Yeah Yeah Yeah La La La Dance Party'...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kwik Fit Obama Viral

Barack Obama endorsing Kwik Fit!


Well, not quite. The most powerful man in the world isn't actually putting his name behind the chain of tyre and exhaust centres. According to Marketing Magazine Kwit Fit produced the film for the Kwik Fit annual general meeting. From there, the rest is history.

The viral is a mix of clips from speeches by Obama and was put together by DDB London.

hat tip to Nick for this one :)

Nike and Paul Rodriguez

I posted about Nike's new 'It Was A Good Day' ad last week and I had wanted to include a clip of an earlier ad that Paul Rodriguez did with Nike SB but I couldn't find the video anywhere. Thankful a friend pointed me in the right direction and it is just as good as I remember. Check this out...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Doritos iD3

You'd imagine that there isn't too much to an advertising campaign about a new flavour of crisps but you'd be extremely wrong. Doritos new iD3 campaign, invites users to guess the flavour of their mystery flavour by participating in a seriously slick online game. In a similar fashion to the recent Protocol viral, the game utilises Facebook Connect to pull in all the information necessary for you game profile and to personalise the game narrative and actually push the game out into Facebook.

The game runs as a three-part 'choose your own adventure' type game, where users go undercover against the London underworld to discover the secret flavour. The story revolves around a case of mistaken identity, in a blend of live action film with 3D interactions, sound recognition and interactive engagements. The whole thing is done through an extremely high quality production value giving an excellent cinematic feel to it.

In an interesting mechanic, users need to insert a promotional code from the inside of the new Dorito flavour to play the game. Each promo code gives six lives of game play.

Beyond this the most interesting part of the whole campaign has been the approach that has been taken to promoting the campaign. In what is now becoming an increasingly common tactic, the campaign was previewed and pushed through an exclusive blogger programme. Through this the campaign has seen a serious jump-start by gaining huge traction on blogs, forums, and Twitter, before it had even launched. In fact, event the campaign Facebook page already has 46,875 fans.

Don't think it's just a game though, by guessing the mystery flavour there's also £20,000 up for grabs to a lucky winner, and runners up prizes of Xbox 360's and gig tickets.

So without further delay, check out the trailer...

The campaign was produced by +REHABSTUDIO and Initials Marketing.

Digital Marketing School

Just over a week ago now (apologies for the delay folks) saw the launch of Ireland's first free, online marketing school. The Digital Marketing School, founded by Niall O’Driscoll and Andrew Jenkinson, has been set up through the vStream marketing company and is aimed at Irish SMEs and start-ups who are looking for an online consultancy resource.

While I would personally disagree with a number of points that are made in the new ventures press release, all in all I think this is a great idea and really well put together. The site already features 7 different tutorials, an interview and a case study, all provided as online videos by the two founders.

Andrew Jenkinson spoke about the reasoning behind the site, saying "From start-up companies to large multi-nationals there is a general lack of knowledge of this space. And it's also very hard to keep up to date, as last year's facebook is this year's twitter, and new technologies such as augmented reality are appearing all the time. It's hard for people to get grounding in this, as it can seem quite complex and confusing. That is why we decided to set up the Digital Marketing School and make it available for free. For Ireland to compete at an international level, digital marketing will be crucial."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Budweiser Lyrics Competition

At the beginning of the month I attended the launch of the new Budweiser ad - Lyrics. Budweiser's latest ad was released to coincide with the 4th July and was based around The Beatles song ‘All together now’. The ad was shot entirely from a moving train around the Chicago L.

Behind the ad there is a larger digital campaign running through the Website. Users are asked to create their own video or photo of themselves holding up a number, letter or word. This video is without doubt the best example I've seen...

A massive thanks to Darragh for sharing this.

When I first looked at this just after 6pm there were 13 views - an hour later it was on 114!

Display Ads: Video and Rich Media

Twentieth Century Fox are set to launch a serious cool online campaign for the release of the 'Dollhouse' Season One DVD boxset ('Dollhouse' is the latest program from Joss Whedon - he of Buffy and Firefly fame). The campaign utilises a suite of video and rich media display ads that, I hate to say, you would just never get to run in Ireland (publishers would flip a lid over the file size and CPU usage). As well as being able to watch 5 different in-banner video clips, the ads also allow you to follow Eliza Dushku on Twitter and send her messages, all directly through the ad.

Once you rollover the ad, it expands left revealing a panel to watch the videos and read/post from/to Eliza's Twitter feed. All logging-in to your account etc. is done straight through the ad. The banner does use a level of moderation and it is possible that your tweet could end up appearing in the ad.

Unfortunately I couldn't embedd the ad here for you to see, but you can pop over to the EyeWonder site to see a full demo of how it works..

Michael Rosner, senior vice president of global sales at EyeWonder, said:
"We've recently seen brands using Twitter in different ways to help promote a product or service, but we wanted to take the technology a step further by giving users the ability to tweet directly in the ad unit.

"Given we wanted to launch this new rich media feature with a premier partner, we used Fox's Dollhouse season one campaign, as the social aspect of it allows people to share their thoughts on the show and drum up excitement about the Blu-ray/DVD release."

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Breif History of the Internet

With Microsoft desperately pushing Internet Explorer 8 in every possible way, they have released a series of videos exploring the internet and its many fads and phases. This is their 'Brief History of the Internet' video - worth a watch...

Nike: IAM1

I try not to post too much about the same brands but sometimes (or quite often with these guys to be honest) a brand has a couple of really good campaigns going at the same time. This is Nike's new work for Air Max 1 - IAM1 Journey. It's based on a journey through five European cities to seek out and discover the unusual urban spaces they have, through the eyes of of designers, artists, musicians and media creatives. A brilliant video.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Now Look What You Did

I've been doing a bit of research on production companies and going through show reels etc. Some of the work out there at the moment is simply amazing - cgi and animation that would put Hollywood to shame. One company MAKE, a Minneapolis design studio that specialises in motion graphics and animation, are doing some really cool work. Unfortunately it was a pair of public service announcement videos of theirs that caught my eye. The two videos, "Cigarette" and "Trash", are both fully animated and were pushed through a dedicated microsite. Their message is all about your actions having an unexpected affect on the environment.

Is it just me or would you agree that they're a little bit too much? I mean, whatever about "Cigarette" which is possibly just funny, "Trash" on the other hand is just depressing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Display Ads: Sound or No Sound

I got involved in a really stupid conversation yesterday about whether sound had a positive or negative impact on online advertising. I took the stance that sound in itself means nothing and it's all about how that sound is used. Obviously if you're talking about in-banner video then it's pretty essential, but beyond that, what does it do for actual engagement in non-video ads?

My point seemed to be lost on my co-conversationists so I said I'd find them examples to show my point.

Consider the following two ads. The first uses sound as its main engagement. The call to action is to engage and create sound. The second, however, is driven by a complete absence of sound. IMHO both are good, low weight, eye-catching ads. They serve there purpose and 'get the job done'. The creative is simple but hard-working. What impact does sound have? Well a great deal, but both by its presence and absence.

Snoop Dogg Walk in Fridge

Heineken struck a chord with there Walk-In Fridge ads; one of those ideas that really captures a cultural spirit. And the latest 'spoof' version is just as good.

What would Snoop Dogg's Walk-In Fridge look like? Well, to announce his upcoming summer tour this is the video revealing all...

The full line-up:
'Walk-in Fridge'
'Walk-in Fridge Spoof'
'Walking Fridge'

Friday, July 24, 2009


I've been waiting for someone to do something really cool on Twitter from a brand point of view. Sure @twitchhiker got from the UK to New Zealand on nothing more then the gratuity of strangers, and Fox's Biscuits and Compare the Meerkat are both making great use of Twitter (imho), but no single brand has done anything really, really special. At least that was hat I thought.

V Australia and Virgin Atlantic are in mid-campaign for their 4320:LA competition. The proposal: 3 friends spend 3 non-stop days in LA living the life of movie stars - they have to tweet every minute for the entire time they are there - 4,320 minutes to be exact - if they do it, 3 round the world tickets.

So what did they have to do? The First Stage was simple - the 3 entrants who submitted the best 3 entries got through to Stage 2. For Stage 2 each entrant nominated 2 friends to form their team. These 3 Teams then completed a mini 72-minute challenge set by Nova Radio's Ryan, Monty and Wippa (how Australian are those names!). The challenges involved various physical activities which tested each Team’s physical and/or mental agility and teamwork skills. Overall each Team was then judged on the following;

  • the outgoing nature and personality of the Team Members;
  • the number of Twitter followers each Team Member has; and
  • how frequently each Team Member uses Twitter and the current and past activity on their Twitter account.
Following these 2 stages, the lucky 3 people were whisked off to LA to get down to the real work. The 3 chaps who got through to Stage 3 were:

Their original entry tweet was: "We'll go one better. Pose with one new friend every minute in LA. That’s 4320 friends, to help us have the time of our lives."

I think this is a brilliant promotion, an excellent use of Twitter and something entirely original. Fair play to whoever came up with this - if anyone knows the agency behind it, please let me know.

Each of the lads was asked for a one line description of themselves...

The world's most gifted footballer never to make it. Culinary master - the creator of 'McYap.' Unwavering belief that geeky kids are cool.

He's Bruce Wayne (Office Geek by day/Party King by night). Loves karaoke & marathons. Parties like he runs, it’s all about the long-haul.

Daredevil skier (often coming off 2nd best). Once resulted in a de-gloved chin and lacerated tongue. (Improving his tolerance for chillies).

Augmented Reality: Business Card

I recently wrote about the Augmented reality ID that The Astonsihing Tribe are currently working on. Definitely one of my favourite AR Apps that I've seen, but I think this might be just as good.

James Alliban recently stumbled across this video and was inspired to created a really special business card. As a developer, James loves the potential that Augmented Reality offers and was dtermined to use it to enhance his business card and give people the opportunity to really learn something about himself. So James created this brilliant Augmented Reality Business Card:

James recorded his video bio and had a 3D grid of coloured planes printed on the back of his new business card. These planes then become the colour points within the video. James had his cards printed by the fabulous people at Moo.

While I was thinking of business card, I couldn't help but be reminded of perhaps the greatest business card moment in a movie!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nike: It Was A Good Day

There are three reasons I love this ad; 1) the song is fantastic - I remember the first time I heard it and exactly how good I felt because of it, 2) Paul Rodriguez is a phenominal skater and I love his free-style, and, 3) Nike Brand Kitchen simply kick ass - these guys are the business when it comes to creating sporting tv spots.

'Nuff said: sit back, hit play, chill out

Agency: Nike Brand Kitchen
Advertiser: Nike
Creative Director: Ean Lensch
Producer: Craig Smith
Nike Skate Group Creative: Jon Humphries
Production Company: Harvest
Director: The Hoffman Brothers
Executive Producer: Bonnie Goldfarb, Scott Howard
Head of Production: Rob Sexton
Director of Photography: Max Goldman
Editor: Mark Hoffman
Sound Design: Ravenswork
VFX Company: The Syndicate
Music Artist: Ice Cube
Song: It Was a Good Day

Coraline: Stuck in Banner

As part of the online promotion for the DVD release of Henry Selick's movie, Coraline, there were a number of rich media ads run on international sites. I tried to get a copy of my favourite to pop up on Digitology but I can't find it anywhere for some reason, so you have to settle for a video of it. I like the way it takes the piss out of bad online advertising, and yet clearly takes advantage of all those, less then creative, engagement techniques.

Worth a look at the trailer if you never saw the movie, here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guinness 250 Years Celebrations

Unless you've been hiding under a stone lately, you'll be well aware that this September 24th marks the first Arthur’s Day. This is the annual celebration of the founding of Guinness. Of course this year is particularly special as it's the quarter century Anniversary, so there's a whole summer of events and activities ahead of us. The important one, however, is the day itself, and the incredible events that will be taking place.

Tomorrow tickets go on sale at 9am, through Ticketmaster, for gigs at four venues and 28 pubs, all of whom will be playing host to some seriously cool international stars, here in Dublin to help us celebrate this new national holiday. Tickets for the four venues; Tripod, Vicar St, Whelan’s and The Academy, will be on sale for €17.59, and tickets to the 28 pubs will be €9. Also, all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Arthur Guinness Fund. Nice one!

So what do you get for this charitable donation? Well, if you're lucky enough to grab a ticket(s), the line-ups look like this:

Vicar Street
Sugababes, Razorlight, Black Swan Effect, Reverand and the Maker, The Blizzards

The Academy
The Kooks, Richard Hawley, Imelda May

Calvin Harris, Jamie Cullum, Soul 11 Soul with Caron Wheeler , Republic of Loose, Mongrel

David Gray, The Enemy, The Wombats, The Undertones, Lisa Hannigan, Hot Rats(Supergrass)

In the pub venues punters will have the unique opportunity to see two well known artists and a special guest in the surroundings of one of Dublin's best pubs. Details of these artists and special guests will be kept secret until the night itself.

Each gig will kick off at 17:59 in tribute to Arthur Guinness himself, and the signing of the 9,000 year lease on the St. James's Gate brewery.

So what are you waiting for? Set your alarm, switch on a reminder, tell your best friend, send a tweet, write a blog or yell out your window. Whatever you do, just remember to get a ticket!

Follow the build up on Facebook or enjoy a quick teaser from this video:

Pizza Hut iPhone App

Pizza Hut in the US have just launched a new iPhone App allowing you to order directly from your phone. The App is free and provides an incredibly comprehensive suite of features, allowing complete customisation of you order down to the smallest detail. The interface is touch as usual but goes a step further, utilising the iphone’s multi-touch abilities for choosing you pizza size and dragging and dropping on your desired toppings. Another funny little feature is that shaking the phone will "sauce your wings".

The App offers an interesting couple of further additions in the form of a virtual fridge with coupons pinned on it for your local Pizza Hut, and a cool little game called “Hut Racer”.

Though I kind of wonder why I'm telling you all of this, you could just watch this ridiculously detailed YouTube video...

The App was developed by IMC2

From Pizza Hut’s press release:
The pizza ordering section allows consumers to virtually build their own pizza by choosing a type of crust in the scroll wheel, “pinching” to select size, and dragging-and-dropping toppings onto the pizza, all with visual confirmation. If an overeager pizza customer adds too many toppings, the pizza explodes and toppings go flying across the screen with an alert to make their pizza happier with fewer toppings. Toppings are easily deleted by clicking them in a generated text list. To customize for half and half, users tilt the phone left or right and the toppings move to one side or the other. When finished, the user sees a visual representation of what their pizza will look like.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Augmented Reality: Museum Guide

This is the second time Augmented Reality has done this to me! About a month ago one of our Creative Directors, Marty, gave a Friday Session presentation on AR. Afterwards I mentioned that I didn't think it'd be long before online shops were using the technology for clothes shopping (work out your size, let you see garment on you etc.). Sure enough 3 days later I found someone already doing it.

So when I posted about the 'Augmented Reailty: New York Subway Map' I shouldn't have thought that anything different would happen. In that case I speculated that AR would be perfect for galleries or exhibitions. Well here's a video of an Augmented Reality system current being tested for the Paris Science Museum. Unfortunately you may want to turn your sound down (sorry).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Street Performance World Championships

The Street Performance World Championships recently did a corporate evening that I was lucky enough to be invited along to. Little did I realise I'd be made look like a real 'dummy'....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kings of Concrete 2009

Just saw this over on Irish Street Art and it had to be shared.

Next weekend (25th & 26th July) over 20 different writers from all over Europe will be coming to Dublin for the annual Kings of Concrete Street Festival. In a complete blur of colour, sound and movement, this years two day event will transform Wood Quay from the everyday, into a canvas of art installations. Just some of the events taking place will include Breakdance Battles, MC Battles, Free Running and Skateboarding.

This is the 4th year the event is taking place and is expected to draw over 10,000 people during the two days. This is a free public event hosted by Dublin City Council, so there's no excuse not to get yourself down on at least one of the days. Check out a full event listing here.

To get you in the mood, check out this video from last year...

Cheers to Andy for this!

Tilt-Shift Film

This is a fantastic example of Tilt-Shift Film. I absolutely love how the simple change in depth of field and perspective completely changes what we think we're looking at.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Augmented Reailty: New York Subway Map

I posted about the London Underground Augmented Reality App recently. Definitely a really cool and practical use of AR. Though completely useless outside of London. Well fear not people of New York - you now have the same AR luxury at your disposal. Intorducing the New York Subway Augmented Reality App...

I really am lovin' these practical AR Apps that are starting to spring up. I think it's an awesome use of technology, perhaps the most cutting edge convergence of mobile tech and data activation that anyone is developing at the moment. Most of all I get giddy at the potential for what will come next. Consider the technologies that already exist for visual displays and the level of miniaturisation that is possible with camera technology - will it be long before AR can be seamlessly, and noticeably, integrated into a pair of glasses? Think about going to a new city for the first time - just rent a pair of AR specs. Going to a museum or gallery - rent a pair of AR specs. So on and so on.

Someone just has to do it.

Bad Reporting on Silicon Republic

I have about two dozen Google Alerts that I run, and get results from everyday. Mostly client brand terms and company names, but I also run some generic alerts on industry terms. I was interested to see Zesty's recent Social Media survey referenced in the teaser for a Silicon Republic article. Nice I thought, good coverage for Niall and Lauren, I better take a look at this.

So I click through to have a read.

I was less then over enthusiastic about the article's title 'Workers waste two hours a day on social networks', and could immediately see that the author, John Kennedy, was already on track to produce a sensationalist piece of nonsense.

The article references 300 people as having participated in the survey and goes on to throw around statistics from this that it attributes to "the Irish public". The number of people who participated in the survey was 182 (though not all participants responded to all questions). As someone who has studied statistics for over 5 years through various parts of my education, I will tell you straight off that this is not a statistical sound representation of the 'Irish Public'. Neither is it a sound cross-section of the 'Irish Public'. How was the survey promoted? Who are the target audience / regular visitors to Zesty's site? Both extremely important questions that are not even considered in the article. This is a PR site that was promoted through Social Media channels. Reason stands that the participants will be Social Media users.

For those who care; to give statistically sound inferences on the entire 'Irish Public', with a confidence level of 99%, with a confidence interval of 1, it would be necessary to survey 16,575 people (based on a July 2008 Irish population figure of 4,156,119).

I would also like to point out that the survey does not delve into the reasons why people who participated in the survey were using Social Media. I took the survey and can tell you now that I definitely skewed the results. I work in Digital Marketing, I currently have several live campaigns all active in Social Media channels. I therefore spend a huge amount of time every day on Social Media channels. However, in this case, my employer should be worried if I'm not on them, not if I am.

I would like to make this very clear - I don't have a problem with the survey at all and I think it's great that Zesty took the time to do it, and freely shared the results. Fair play! Zesty themselves describe the survey as an "overview of how Irish people use social media" and nothing more. They indicate that the major stand out for them was "just how much time people were spending online", but again this is no huge revelation and is merely a reinforcement of the widely recognised fact that media consumption habits are changing (have changed) and digital is the fastest growing media.

My problem is with the completely sensational article that John Kennedy has written, and the "conclusions" that he has drawn. Very, very disappointing that Silicon Republic would happily publish this.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Smirnoff 'Moscow Mule' - The Launch Party

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Smirnoff 'Moscow Mule' Blogger Launch Event, which was loads of fun. Last night, however, was a whole other experience with the full Launch Party!

Fire Breathers, Stilt walkers, Jugglers, an amazing 'Hula Hoopist' and a great Ring Master - a really, really visually stimulating line-up of entertainers. Arveene Juthan and Dan Williams on the decks, and a special appearance from Jade Jagger - seriously good tunes too.

So the best part (baring in mind I'm a total geek)?

I love the creative behind all of this.

The outdoor went live - non-branded, slick looking creatives with a cryptic (non) call to action. The ad/visual fits in perfectly too (you'll have to wait for that - though I should have it very soon). Everything revolves around the idea of the 'extraordinary'. The guys behind this have done a great job of integrating the message across all platforms and really bringing it to life. For a drink that is so old it has been given a new lease of life, and it's a fun one!

So until I get the visual from the girls and can show you what I mean, check out this...

For those who haven't seen it, I also thought it'd be worth sharing Damien's video of Marty ('THE' Smirnoff Mule bartender - total legend btw) making a Smirnoff Mule...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Galactic Mail: FedEx vs. UPS

I spotted this over on [Geeks Are Sexy] and it blew my mind. It's a 3D short animation produced by French Animator Douglas Lassance (AsteroKid) in collaboration with Jonathan Vuillemin (Motraboy).

The piece took four months to get from storyboards to compositing, but there it took a slightly different route to the norm. The guys decided that Galactic Mail wouldn't be about generating impressive 3D renders using, what Jonathan calls, the Sigg Jones approach with proper global illumination shaded film,they concentrated on the pictures themselves and their composition, colours and overall coherence of the style.

Jonathan said, "I had this idea of making a movie with self-illuminated textures where all the shadows would be painted in already, and then combined with a “sliced” shadow system where you could really isolate how stuff are going to look when it’s in the shadow or not, nothing physically correct, but pretty controllable".

So check this out...

Space Shuttle Endeavour Passes Over Ireland

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Street Performance World Championships

I was delighted to get invited to last night's Street Performance World Championships Corporate Evening, hosted by Emergent Events, in The Sugar Club. Going on last night (Tuesday 14 July) and tonight (Wednesday 15 July), the event is a corporate showcase and networking event to show off some the best street performers in the world.

The guys at Emergent Events are the official agents for some of the SPWC's best performers; including Beautiful Stu; Senmaru; Charlie Caper (winner of Sweden's Got Talent); Grant GoldieJack Wise and the world renowned Space Cowboy.

Mark, Conor and Dan are the gents in question, and I highly recommend that anyone hosting a corporate event of any kind gives them a call.

Check out the following videos as a taste of what we enjoyed...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Plaid Nation Tour 2009

I can't believe it's been a year since I posted about the Plaid Nation Tour (2008). But sure enough it has been and the guys will soon be back on the road doing what they love doing. I got an email from R.J. just there at the beginning of July to remind me the tour was fast approaching and to ask me to send him my details so he could post on the annual Plaid Nation Swag Bag.

Well today, as I sat there getting ready to start the working week, a nice little envelope dropped on my desk. As soon as I saw the address label I tore it open...

So for those not in the know, what is Plaid Nation and what is the Plaid Nation Tour?
PlaidNation describes itself as a "rolling celebration of creativity and a demonstration of social media in action". Picture an agency taking to the road in their fully customised, social media optimised, technology enabled Ford Flex, driving around the states to meet up with as many creative, marketing, brand and internet folk as they can. Their aim - to engage, interact and celebrating all the innovative things that Social Media has to offer. What's particularly cool is that the whole thing will be brought straight to your pc as a 'kind of' reality show (but better, they promise).

So what does it all mean and why should you be interested in it?
This is a seriously cool opportunity to connect and engage with the latest social media tools, the cutting edge of modern marketing, without so much Tweeting a Tweet or Commenting a Blog. Plaid will dish out their learnings and insights about how and why the world's biggest brands are using Social Media. In this wonder-tour the Plaid Flex will be visiting (and driving between) Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans. Though don't fear if you're a West Coaster, or don't even live in the US, as they also actively reach out to the International Interweb community (they found me!) to share what they learn from all the marketing, brand and creative people they meet.

In case I'm doing a poor job of conveying the coolness of all this, check out their video...

Plaid Links:
Plaid Nation
About the Plaid Nation Tour
Plaid Nation Downloads
The Plaid Nation Blog
Plaid on Twitter
Plaid on Facebook

iPhone Music Video

The iPhone has innovated many things in our lives - where you access your email, how you interact with the world (opening up access to Scoail Networks etc.) and completely revolutionising the idea of mobile applications. So the question is, is there anything left for the iPhone to conquere?

Well apparently there is. With the release of the iPhone 3GS (which allows 30sec video capture) there has been a momumental increase of UGC video content online, and in particular on YouTube (400% per day since launch according to YouTube). Mostly it's the regular kind of stuff you'd expect - parties and other social occasions, sporting events etc. However a group of filmmakers at Showdown Productions LLC have gone a step further. They recently completed the first music video shot entirely on an iPhone.

It may not have the creative flair seen with the most recent Fight Like Apes video, but it's worth a look.

Source: PSFK and Claire

Monday, July 13, 2009

Augmented Reality: ID

These is one of the funkiest uses of Augmented Reality that I've come across. Imagine being able to combine all your Social Media profiles into a single "profile" that is, you. Pick and choose what information you want displayed based on what you're doing - in work, out at a club, whatever.

This is exactly what the guys at The Astonishing Tribe are currently working on. Following on from some brilliant stuff like their G1 user interface and impressive 3D eye-tracking concept, they are now in full swing to get the Augmented ID up and running. The augmented reality app will utilise facial recognition software to allow people to view your profile around you. By simply viewing someone through the app on your phone you will be shown their pre-selected info and social networking links hovering around them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Facebook Fan Box

Last Monday Facebook launched Facebook Fan Box. This handy little widget allows you to bring your Facebook page out of Facebook and onto your website. Instead of the usual 'Follow Us' link or button, you can now stream your Facebook activity straight to your site. This will include your most recent posts, a list of your fans, and, perhaps most conveniently, a button to become a fan without having to go anywhere else.

Fan Box utilises Facebook Connect and is extremely simple to add. Just go to your Facebook page, immediately below your page's profile picture you will see a new button. One click and a handy creation wizard will launch.

The main advantages of implementing the widget are to allow fan recruitment in a more direct and engaging way directly from your site, while remaining in complete control of the content provided (content can be customised by the administrator). However the biggest advantage is that anyone has access to the embed code, and can add a Fan Box to their own site. The potential for pushing out content to the net is dramatically increased. There's also a knock-on effect of increasing linking, and therefore increasing page rank potential.

Good examples of pages using the Fan Box include:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Complaining Web2.0 Style

Back in 2008, the band Sons of Maxwell were on their way to Nebraska for the start of a one-week tour. They were flying via Chicago's O'Hare airport and while sitting on the runway waiting to depart O'Hare a number of people on the plane commented that the United Airlines baggage handlers were throwing around a guitar. Dave Carroll, lead singer of Sons of Maxwell realised that it was his own Taylor guitar. Dave would later discover that the handlers had caused $3500 worth of damage.

United Airlines didn't deny what had happened but for the next 9 months Dave got passed from employee to employee, each of whom just failed to take any responsibility for dealing with the damage. Dave was finally told that United Airlines would offered the singer a $1,200 flight voucher to cover the costs for his guitar repair, as he had not followed the correct complaints procedure.

Feeling that there was nothing that Dave could do, he told the last person who gave him this news that he planned on writing and producing 3 songs about the experience. He also promised to create videos for each song that would be posted online for everyone to see. Below is Sons of Maxwell's first of these songs, simply titled 'United: Song 1'. The second song, 'United: Song 2' has been written and the video production is currently under way.The third song will follow soon.

'United: Song 1' was posted on YouTube 5 days ago on the 6th of July. In that short space of time the video has already received over 2 million views.

In light of this, United Airlines was forced to apologise to Dave and the band. The airline issued a statement via Twitter, saying: "This has struck a chord [with] us and we've contacted him directly to make it right."

In true internet brilliance, the 'United: Song 1' video now ranks number 2 in Google for searches on "United Airlines" and number 4 for searches on "Taylor guitar".

You can follow Dave on Twitter and read the full story of what happened on Dave's website.

Office 2010: The Movie

In the lead up to the release of Microsoft's Office 2010, their marketing campaign has gone into full swing with the unveiling of a campaign microsite (with blog), YouTube channel and newly created video content, including the below 'spoof' movie trailer.

As a whole the campaign doesn't strike me as being particularly innovative or well thought out. The blog is flat and technical. Site navigation is sticky and clumsy. For a product that must have millions at its disposal, Microsoft have failed to do anything special here. The video content sits in isolation with no other attempt made to draw viewers in. No ARG, no onsite treasure hunt, no supporting channels at all - at least none that are being used to any effect. The site does offer 'Share Links' and a link to the products Facebook page, where you can become a fan. But why would you?

The Facebook page currently has just under five and a half thousand fans, and offers such great status updates as, "New work out -- please spread the word!"

Unsurprisingly, that particular update is met with responses such as "what new work???" and "f?ck you". The fact that this hasn't been removed is further indication of a lack of commitment and moderation.

Still, perhaps I'm being too critical? The video does have high production value.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Moscow Mule

A Moscow Mule is a cocktail made with Smirnoff Vodka, ginger Ale, and lime. Served in a high ball glass with 4 or 5 cubes of ice. Garnish can consist of a sprig of mint (for decoration not flavour) but usually the drink is only served with a swizzle stick. The name gets its origins from the classic combination of Russian vodka, Lime and the intense flavour of ginger beer, which first served in a brass tumbler baring the emblem of a kicking mule (Hollywood circa 1941). The drink was invented by John Martin. The story goes...

In 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer arrived in New York. 3 friends were in the Chatham bar (Jack Morgan, owner of Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant, John Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff). Jack Morgan is quoted as saying, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett came up with the plan that vodka and ginger beer with a squeeze of a lime, over ice, would make a suitable nightcap. The concoction was made. Glasses were raised. The men drank., Several drinks later, the Moscow Mule was born.

Thanks to the good people at Smirnoff, and with help from Suzanne in WHPR, my eyes were opened yesterday evening to this fabulous drink. I was lucky enough to be invited to an excellent evening of entertainment and education, learning the history and heritage of the Moscow Mule while watching a skilled performer, dazzle me with his juggling and balance. Hosted in Pygmalion, a blogger event was held to usher in the return of this rather tasty beverage, bringing together a number of Social Media types (you know who you are!).

The official, media, launch is next Thursday (17th July) and, from all accounts, should be a fantastic follow up to last night. Stay tuned for photos and videos of last night (pending them coming off my phone) and a follow up next week, for the official launch.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heineken's New Walking Fridge

First there was Heineken's 'Walk-in Fridge', then there was the home made version of 'Walk-in Fridge' and finally the 'Walking Fridge'.

So what next?

To follow up these three hilarious ads, Heineken decided to get a real UGC version. So in partnership with Brandfighters, Heineken created a viral video contest and asked for submissions of ads featuring the mini fridge. On Tuesday the winner was announced...

All Things Digital iPhone App

Although the Wall Street journal already has an iPhone app, the recent All Things Digital D7 conference saw ATD launch a dedicated iPhone app of its own. The new app offers a distinct advantage over the WSJ version through deeper content and a free download. The ATD app delivers the same articles as the WSJ app, but also dedicated video and the ability to share content on Twitter and Facebook.

Features on the ATD app include:

  • Daily columns, blogs and video
  • Product reviews and analysis
  • Breaking Silicon Valley news
  • Galleries of D conference videos and photos
  • Post links directly to Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Email blogs and video links
  • Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology, Mossberg’s Mailbox and Mossblog
  • Kara Swisher’s BoomTown
  • John Paczkowski’s Digital Daily
  • Peter Kafka’s MediaMemo
  • Katherine Boehret’s Mossberg Solution
  • Voices links to compelling stories from around the Web
The app is available free from the iPhone App Store here.

The Journal has introduced a host of offerings in the last year and has experimented with a number of different revenue models, so the move to release a free app, offering emhanced content, may seem odd. The WSJ is one of the few online publications that currently charges for its content (over $100 a year), but WSJ owner News Corp. is clearly creating a future market with this free offering. So while the app is currently free, logic would dictate that this will not continue. Once the app reaches a tipping point, introduction of a charge system will put people in the position of paying for convenience, rather then content. A cost that current trends would indicate they are more then willing to take.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hula Hoops: A World of Their Own

Check out the latest ad for Hula Hoops, around their 'A World of Their Own' campaign concept. It's pretty cool work by the 'puppeteer' to be able to move his fingers so freely. On the back of this, the campaign also features a microsite, calling on the public to produce their own 'finger puppet' short film. Fun stuff, and there already seems to be a lot of entries. Definitely worth a look.

No More Locked Doors

How many times have you been playing a first person shooter and you quickly start to realise that the huge sprawling city that the game occupies, is in fact block after block of locked buildings. You can't enter them and they play no significant role in the game other then as landscape. Unfortunately the cost/resources etc. to develop and render an entire city would be astronomical. What if, hoewever, there was a cheap and effective way to do it.....

This is potentially the biggest breakthrough in gaming technology.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brainwave @ Krystle Nightclub

Rick O'Shea made the call and I hope you all answer it! Rick's asking for 2 favours, and they're not big asks either so lets just do it.

Rick is patron of the charity Brainwave and, as part of this years Horse Show Week, the charity is having a huge night out in Krystle Nightclub (replacing the old Horse Show Ball). We all know about the unspoken 'R' and the hard times that we're all in, but this really is worth it. Basically the entire club will be taken over for the night and there's space for 1000 dapper gents and beautiful ladies. In short, it's the perfect excuse to put the glad rags on and listen to some craic'n tunes from top DJs and an awesome live band.

All proceeds from the night go to Brainwave and will help them do what they do, so very well, over the next twelve months.

Tickets are now available on - here

Ok, so that's the first thing. The second favour Rick asks is that you do exactly what I've done. POST IT! Do a write up, link it, and get the message out there.

Thanks folks :)

McDonald's Appoints VCCP

Yesterday Brand Republic carried a article by Joe Thomas, about McDonald's appointment of VCCP to manage its employment brand and recruitment advertising. The appointment came after a three month pitch process, with VCCP facing down DDB in the final round. Leo Burnett remains McDonald's lead agency in the UK.

VCCP's recent work includes O2's rubber duck tv ads (including an Irish version) and my favourite campaign of the year - Compare the Meerkat.

Nike: Love Fifteen

It's not the first time that Nike have been able to push out an ad almost before the final whistle blows, but this time they did it even better then usual. No sooner had Roger Federer taken home his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam win, Nike was on the tv (including BBC immediately after the match!) paying homage to the achievement. In true Nike fashion however, they didn't do it alone. Step forward Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, Serena Williams and Pete Sampras.

It takes a big brand to do that and, quite simply, there is no one bigger when it comes to sports. This is an amazing piece of marketing. In the most subtle of ways Nike manage to reinforce their brand, their positioning, and enhance public perception. How?

Well, what does the ad tell us? Nike support winners. Winners support Nike. Winners use Nike. Nike are not bigger then any one person, and are humble enough to congratulate victory. That's powerful stuff. Also consider that they're capable of getting a 30 second ad on BBC - that's even more powerful stuff!