Saturday, October 31, 2009

Online Shopping & 3D Body Scan

Back in June I wrote about a nifty online shopping experience that Zugara had developed to allow customers to "try" clothes on, online. Essentially by using an Augmented Reality interface between their site and a customers computer and webcam, Zugara are providing a service whereby you can see an Augmented Reality version of the clothes you're interested in, projected onto your image on screen. This of course followed the fantastic use of Augmented Reality by Glasses Direct in which customers can "try on" different glasses before purchasing them online. So here we have two great examples of real-world applications of Augmented Reality, and I mused, how long will it be before we can stand in front of our webcams and have perfectly fitting clothes delivered to us everytime we shop online? Think about it, it's just a case of software to determine your measurements, surely not something that would be too difficult?

So when I read on Revolution Magazine that the UK fashion company InnovaClothing has developed software that uses body scanners to capture a 3D image customers to produce perfectly fitting clothes, some part of me just wasn't surprised. This is the world's first online shopping service that features a 3D body scan to fit clothes to each customer's unique body shape.

Ok, so admittedly this isn't quite as far along as you'd hope; the service currently requires customers to undergo a consultation scanning session in Glasgow, where the company is based. Although they do have plans to roll out the service to new locations over the next two years. From that point, customers can log on to InnovaClothing's site to view their clothing collections and get personalised style advice from the company's image consultants to choose a style that suits.

It does however beg the question, how far away are we now from having the same service provided directly through a website?

This is a research project by the University of Cambridge called ProFORMA. It's only in the very early stages of development but already the results speak for themselves. This video shows how easy it is to scan an object with only a standard webcam. Considering that this is a conventional 2D camera it certainly may spell the end of super-expensive 3D scanners and open the doors to a whole new realm of customised clothes shopping online.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Russell Athletic: 80s-izer

This week saw the launch of Russell Athletics "80s-izer" campaign in the UK. The campaign sees Russell Athletic thrusting itself back into the market with a pretty cool online advertising suite; including a campaign microsite and online advertising, all done in a retro 80's theme. The campaign aims to deliver a 'viral' effect by allowing users to 80's-ize themselves into a movie, through the campaign microsite. The movie can then be pushed out to Facebook and Twitter
directly through the microsite.

The site ultimately aims too recapture the popularity that Russell Athletic once had within the college / university 'pep' crowd. The campaign draws on the return of the 80s in popular culture and plays up Russell Athletic's roots as a classic American college brand. This campaign marks a strategic return to the UK market for the Sportswear brand, following a fairly quiet time since the mid-90's.

The site was created by Frank PR and also hosts a company timeline and a selection of products, although users cannot purchase them from the site.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Augmented Reality: RSPCA Elephant

The latest RSPCA campaign has just launched with a pretty cool Augmented Reality element. The Big Stop Circus campaign is calling on the British Minister for Animal Welfare, Jim Fitzpatrick, to ban circuses from keeping wild animals. The Augmented Reality element allows users to print out a mask, which appears on camera as an elephant's head. Simple but pretty cool none-the-less.

The campaign is being primarily being seeded through Twitter, to drive users to a campaign microsite encouraging them to retweet the campaign and share the campaign through Facebook and other Social Media sites.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Applications Open For The Arthur Guinness Fund

As I said back in August when I first wrote about the 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." So back in September on a Thursday evening the country took a break and celebrated the birth of Guinness (the signing of the Guinness lease at St. James’s Gate), and across Dublin hundreds of people enjoyed a spectacular evening's music. Arthur's Day wasn't just about music and pints though. To celebrate the birth of Guinness, Guinness announced the setting up of the Arthur Guinness Fund.

The fund represents up to €2.5m that will be made available to Social Entrepreneurs. The fund is seeking to find and support up to 25 Social Entrepreneurs over a two-year period within Ireland. These 25 Social Entrepreneurs will gain financial support (€100,000 per project) and practical support and advice from the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Alumni network.

Sean Coughlan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland said, "We were delighted to support Guinness believing, as we do, that this initiative could have a very significant impact for social entrepreneurs and the communities they support and have agreed to be their partner in the development of the fund."

The big news is that applications are now open for the Arthur Guinness Fund.

So what next? Well, for more information on the Arthur Guinness Fund and how to apply, click here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tweet Inspires New Air New Zealand Campaign

Following on from Air New Zealand's recent success with their 'Bare Essentialls' campaign, the airline has launched a new ad campaign inspired by a Tweet from one of their passenger.

Back in June Tim Benjamin was on a flight with Air New Zealand and tweeted the following message: "Just flown Air New Zealand from LHR to LAX. Best airline I've experienced. Food & IFE great. Staff allowed to have a personality."

Albion have said that it was during their research phase, that they came across the tweet. The particular comment "Staff allowed to have a personality", struck a chord and Air New Zealand's agency Albion immediately recognised that it was the perfect strapline for the new campaign. Air New Zealand runs a policy of trusting its crew members to uphold the company's brand and service values without forcing them to comply with rigorous rules, allowing them to "have a personality".

Benjamin's tweet now forms the basis of Air New Zealand's latest brand campaign, and appears on ads running across digital outdoor and online advertising placements. The online executions feature full rich video and are backed up with standard formats showing the crew's personal opinions of the onboard products and their personal recommendations for places to visit and things to do at the various Air New Zealand destinations. The video executions will appear on digital escalator panels and LCD digital screens at various tube stations across London and will run for four weeks. They will also appear on roadside LCD 48 sheet billboards.

Scott Carr, Air New Zealand General Manager, Europe, said, “This year, the campaign is 100% digital and online, allowing us to fully interact with our audience. By letting the crew shine through the use of video footage, the digital executions really enable us to demonstrate the personality of the airline. In addition we believe the creative executions are a breath of fresh air and break from the traditional style of airline advertising giving the campaign real stand-out and our world-class crew the recognition they deserve.”

This is the making of video for the new campaign:

Albion have been acting as Air New Zealand's lead agency since last April, following a four-way pitch against Adam & Eve, Publicis and Farm. The account was reported to be worth £2 million.

For those that missed it, this is the video for the 'Bare Essentials' campaign:

Monday, October 26, 2009

iPhone Halloween Custome

It's pretty common place to see Supermen, Doctors, Witches, Vampires and a huge assortment of celebrities and movie characters wandering around on Halloween night, but it takes someone with real creativity to do something really cool. In recent years a lot of people have chosen to dress up as internet memes or personalities, mimicking some of the various stupid things that people have done that have made them internet viral hits.

So what's left out there for people to be truly original this Halloween?

I spotted this over on Mashable, and it's definitely one of the coolest costumes I've seen. At least it's a costume that takes a lot of time, money and commitment on the night.

The costumes apparently took 3 weeks to build and each of them weighs 85lbs. Most of this comes from the 42″ LCD screen and car battery that form the guts of the costume. The visuals are powered by an iPhone 3GS which is attached to a LCD.

Co-creator John Savio writes, "This all started two years ago Reko Rivera and Bobby Hartman created a wearable large iPhone costume with a real 37″ lcd tv. An iPod was attached with a looping video of a real iphones screen in normal use. This time with the help of John Savio and John Matthews the team created yet another amazing rendition of the new iPhone 3GS…The team has about $2000 into the two costumes and has no regrets!"

This originally appeared on MacRumours.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Volkswagen Golf GTI 2010

When it comes to using the iPhone to promote a product or brand, there are now literally thousands of examples of how to do it, and how not to do it. Either way, most follow the exact same approach - create a free iPhone app, throw in a host of features and functionality, deliver at least one USP that will give you first mover advantage, and away you go. The kids will love it, you'll get hundreds of thousands of downloads and everything will be good in the world.


What if you approached it from a whole new line of thinking. Consider that you're a car manufacturer in a marketplace of falling print readership, a marketplace where audiences are moving their TV viewing to the Web, and a marketplace that has been severely effected by the current economic climate. Volkswagen are such a car manufacturer but instead of going with the flow and doing what everyone else has tried doing, Volkswagen have decided to do things a little differently.

So in preperation of the launch of their 2010 GTI Golf, Volkswagen have done a bit of research. According to their findings there are 4 million 21-34 year old male iPhone gamers. This is the core GTI target market, and Volkswagen believe that while they may want this car, they simply don't know it yet. So they have decided to go after that audience in a very targeted, using the iPhone, but not as we know it.

Volkswagen have become the first car manufacturer to launch a car solely on the iPhone. Not as an app, but instead as an exclusive, playable element of the iPhone racing game Firemint Real Racing. This is a game that already has 70 million downloads since its launch in June. Available at the iTunes App Store for free, the 'Real Racing GTI' level lets you choose from six different 2010 GTIs and race them on a track laden with VW logos.

On top of being able to drive the car and experience its performance through the game, Volkswagen are also offering an added bonus. Players can compete to win one of six limited-edition black GTI Mach 6 Golfs; featuring special edition stitching on the floor mats and head rests, carbon-fiber finishes on the doors and mirrors, red calipers on the wheels, and special logos on the front and on the steering wheel. In addition, the 2010 GTI's sound system has been upgraded to include full iPod integration. Over six weeks (from last Thursday), players can race as often as they want and scores are automatically uploaded to an online leaderboard. The best score for each week wins the car for that week.

The game also lets you send Twitter messages straight from the game and upload videos of your best races to YouTube so you’ll be able to show everyone the race that got you a brand new 2010 VW GTI.

In itself this would be a fundamentally revolutionary way to drive awareness of a new car, but this is the only marketing and advertising that Volkswagen is doing for the car. By concentrating on a young and tech savvy, car loving audience, Volkswagen estimate that they will only have to spend a quarter of a typical print and television campaign budget.

This is the Volkswagen promo video for the campaign:

This is a video uploaded to YouTube by a gamer his actual Volkswagen GTI race:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

V Australia - One Way Ticket

Back in July and August, V Australia and Virgin Atlantic ran two really innovative and immersive competitions. 4320:SYD and 4320:LA were Twitter driven campaigns that offered participants a once in a life time experience, through a first of its kind mechanic. Following their Twitter based activity, V Australia have launched their latest online marketing campaign, this time through Facebook.

The latest campaign is based on the concept of Frienemies.

Frienemy [Frie•ne•my]
- noun
1. A combination of 'friend' and 'enemy'.
2. A ‘friend’ who has become an ‘enemy’ by doing something that’s got on your nerves. So why not get rid of them?

The campaign calls on users to nominate a ‘frienemy’ using the V Australia Facebook app. By nominating a ‘Frienemy’ with the app you can win the chance to send them on a one-way trip to Johannesburg, Phuket or LA. The app features a public leaderboard of the campaign's top Frienemies, and will run until November 24.

The campaign has been developed by V Australia by Native.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Malibu: Drink Mixer

Slight bit of déjà vu today with updates on two campaigns that I previous blogged about. Following this morning's Budweiser Lyrics update of sorts I got an email from Francois in Great Works to let me know that Malibu's Radio Maliboom Boom has just launched the latest digital instalment of their campaign: the Malibu Drink Mixer.

The Malibu Drink Mixer is a digital tool that offers the perfect drink recipe by playing around with sonic variables that correspond to a range of different taste preferences. And if that doesn't sound like some serious high tech wizardry then I don't know what does!

The whole thing has been designed by a team of renowned DJs, and is said to provide "a deep sensory experience by allowing fans to experiment with mixing sound and taste together". All in all the Malibu Drink Mixer offers 625 beat variations and 81 different drink recipes, with the drink outcome offered to the user along with a corresponding recipe and downloadable MP3 that can be used as a ringtone, shared with friends or posted to their blog.

For me that's probably the two best parts, not only providing you with something to take away in the form of the recipe and MP3, but allowing you to easily push the content out into your network to share with friends. I definitely recommend giving it a go - good fun to get you into the weekend mood, or at least the tropical island mood, which going by the weather from the last couple of days is probably a great thought for all of us ;)

Check out the latest Maliboom Boom Radio ad - DJ Bernhard helps get the grove flowing

Budweiser Lyrics... Sorta

Back in August I wrote about the new Budweiser Lyrics TV ad and the competition running with it. I'm a Beatles fan and I loved the use of an otherwise somewhat unknown Beatles track in an extremely fun and memorable way. In short I really liked the campaign execution and thought that the creative perfectly matched the intended reaction.

When it comes down to it though, for any brand that produces a new ad or runs a new campaign, the real sign of success comes from the engagement that it generates. All in all this campaign was a huge success and I have seen the ad referenced in numerous places, by many people. Then you stumble upon something that really highlights the engagement that the ad has generated. This is a video created by ijbellehy1981 as a spoof / tribute to the original ad:

And for those that may have missed it, this is the original ad:

Many thanks to Darragh for the heads up on this :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pay Per Click YouTube

Massive news this week with the announcement on the Google Blog that YouTube will be linking up with Google's AdSense to allow 'Promoted Video' ads. Previously, all YouTube Promoted Video ads were managed on YouTube at Essentially YouTube’s Promoted Videos, which had previously only shown next to site search results and in the right column next to currently playing videos, will now be available through a huge number of AdSense using publishers.

The move may seem like a no-brainer considering that YouTube's parent company is Google, but it's a move that I'm sure has taken a serious amount of planning. The new Promoted Video ads will only be available to publishers in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, in English but Google has stated that additional languages and regions will be coming online very soon. From a Publisher's point of view, the Promoted Video ads will work exactly the same as the standard AdSense units. They will be contextually related to each page and will function on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. Obviously the standard ad auction system will still be in place, so no-doubt premium sites look set to start making serious extra cash.

Considering that over 20 hours of footage are uploaded to YouTube every minute, it's almost odd to think that this is a move that hadn't already happened. Having said that, the real job now is to try and attract premium content curators and producers into using the service and effectively pushing that content out into the web. Not one to miss a trick, YouTube are all over this with a premium ‘Promoted Videos’ feature that lets you pay to expose your video to other users. In essence, you can now just buy network video advertising space through an automated manual service - genius!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

87 Cool Things

I found the following presentation over on If Only We'd Thought of That and I had to share it. It's a collection of cool things, put together by Google Creative Lab, that are just extremely inspiring and creative. Basically it's fairly comprehensive list of the most recent mashups, location-based games, video annotation, augmented reality, digital light displays, photomosaics and collaborative projects.

If the below SlideShare is too small to view, check out the full presentation on Google Docs.

What iDon't, Droid Does

Verizon have launched an extremely agressive new advertising campaign, directly targeting Apple's iPhone. The strange this is, they won't tell us what it is they're selling! While it's clear that the device is a Google Android phone with a host of superb features, there is little other information available.

Debuting your ad during a Saturday night playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels is a sure fire way to generate a lot of attention. Usually that attention workd best if there is something to focus it on, a product perhaps. Considering that the last two/three weeks has seen a lot of twists and turns in the US mobile market, it would be safe to say that most people are still wondering what is going on. For months there were numerous rumours doing the rounds that Apple would would soon cancel its exclusive agreement with AT&T and allow the iPhone to be sold through other mobile networks. Then two weeks ago Verizon were seen to take an extremely public swing at AT&T with their new TV commercial. Then we have this latest add. So what's going on?

While the campaign creative may lack a brilliant creative it does have a certain je ne sais quoi. Perhaps it's just the thought of Samson taking on Goliath, as any mobile launch must now seem in light of Apple's bid for world domination, but it's fun to see someone taken down a peg or two (ok ok I don't yet own an iPhone). In the ad Verizon really don't hold any bars and hight the iPhone's potential failings: the lack of a physical keyboard, the inability to run multiple third-party apps simultaneously, the inability to take photos in the dark etc. etc.. The ad finally ends with "Everything iDon't ... Droid does. November."

"There's no summary about the product, and you don't know who the brand is," said Karl Barnhart, managing director and partner at CoreBrand. "It's clever, but you have no idea what this is for."

The ad also offers up a URL at th end -, which, if visited, brings users to a Verizon page featuring a countdown in non-recognisable numerals and an bit of dialogue - "Do you wish you had a robot sidekick that moved at light speed and lived in your pocket? Input your e-mail and Droid will notify you when compromise has been deactivated." The site has been created by McGarry Bowen, New York.

Whatever the phone may be, it's certain starting to brew up a lot of talk and speculation:

"It's unclear who they're aiming this campaign at," said Rene Ritchie, editor of The iPhone blog. "A lot of this is inside baseball, and seems to target people with particular pain points with the iPhone."

Roger Entner, senior VP at Nielsen, said "we've seen the Samsung Instinct try to bash the iPhone, but it didn't attract new customers," - when vendors take on the iPhone head-on, the device had better live up to its claims and all the ballyhoo.

"It's found a way to attack both sides of the story," said Andrei Jezierski, partner at marketing consultancy i2Partners. Referring to Verizon Wireless' push parodying the iPhone's "There's an app for that" campaign, which shows a map of Verizon's dense coverage area compared to AT&T's, Mr. Jezierski said, "Anytime you bash the iPhone, it's a great way to get attention, and 'There's a map for that' is a way for them to keep beating on the 'It's the network, stupid' message."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tim Berners-Lee Apologises

I wasn't going to post about this as I thought most people had seen it but a few friends last night hadn't so here you go....

Tim Berners-Lee, the man who effectively invented the internet, made a tongue-in-cheek apology for the forward slashes at the beginning of internet addresses. The forward slashes have long been an annoyance to web users and Tim finally confessed that the // in a web address is actually "unnecessary".

The Times newspaper was told in an interview that in hindsight internet URLs could have also worked without the forward slashes.

"There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time," he said.

Making Cadbury’s Make-A-Wish

Following on from my post yesterday about the new Cadbury's Make-A-Wish site, I though people might be interested in seeing the stills from the shooting of the videos, and the original character and set development proposals...

Shooting The Videos 1/5

Shooting The Videos 2/5

Shooting The Videos 3/5

Shooting The Videos 4/5

Shooting The Videos 5/5

Original Set Concept

Original Character Sketches

Monday, October 19, 2009

MTV's Online Music Awards

I spotted this great story over on Revolution Magazine. The virtual world Habbo Hotel has teamed up with the MTV Europe Music Awards to create an online MTV-branded space for users of the site to hang out back stage and become pop stars, and they even have the chance to win a virtual award. The virtual awards allow Habbo members to visit the main stage, walk on the red carpet and access several back stage areas. Habbo members also have the option to vote for their favourite artists, and participate in a number of competitions and activities in the build up to the actual MTV Europe Music Awards.

Christian Batist, senior vice-president of marketing at Sulake Corporation, the creator of Habbo, said, "Music is the sole biggest asset that our teen users value in their lives, and thus we are extremely happy to partner with MTV Europe Music Awards. The highly involving activities in Habbo will allow us to activate a massive music-loving user base to take part in the awards. We aim to generate massive amounts of votes for the MTV Europe Music Awards from our Habbo audiences around the world."

Habbo Hotel, which is a virtual world geared towards teens, attracts over 14 million monthly unique visitors.

Cadbury’s Make-A-Wish

Cadbury’s have just launched a new microsite for the UK and Ireland to support their sponsorship of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The site, which has been developed for Cadbury’s by Weapon7, introduces ‘The Wish Workshop’. ‘The Wish Workshop’ is the home of five unnamed, quirky characters who have a strange language all of their own.

The site offers five different films, all produced in a really cool old-school stop-frame animation. They show the five characters making and launching new wishes. The wishes which are represented by stars, will be added to the sky everytime new real-life wishes happen. The site also features a live stream to the homepage of all donations. Essentially visitors can see donations as they happen in real-time, including any donation that they make themselves.

Promotion of the site and campaign will be done on the 16million plus selection boxes that Cadbury's will sell over the Christmas period.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Augmented Reality: Cereal Box

To promote Luc Besson's new movie Arthur and the revenge of Maltazard, the clever folk at Dassault Systemes have developed a seriously cool augmented reality cereal box. Dassault Systemes have created a 3D game experience based on their multi-support 3DVIA Virtools platform. Check out the following video of the creative...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dublin Zoo Announces The Names Of Its Two Sumatran Tiger Cubs

Every now and then I see something that I think is worth sharing, and while it may not be anything to do with Digital Marketing or Marketing at all, I figure why not! Last May two Sumatran Tiger cubs were born at Dublin Zoo. Finally, following a nationwide competition that drew hundreds of entries, the cubs again find themselves in the spotlight with the announcement of their names. “Emas”, which is Indonesian for “Gold”, is the name that has been chosen for the male cub and “Wanita”, meaning “Woman”, for the female.

Gerry Creighton from Dublin Zoo said, ”Emas is a typical male. He’s boisterous and playful and loves to explore. We’ve got to know his manner now and we all agreed that “Gold” is perfect for him. He has a beautiful, vibrant rich gold coat with dark stripes contrasting it and he really is a winner in our eyes.”

Gerry continued; “We love the name Wanita and think it suits her down to the ground While Emas is a very strong male character, Wanita displays truly typical female traits. She has a really sweet nature, and is far more relaxed then her brother. She is really close to her mother and has shown classic feminine characteristics.”

Interestingly the cubs father, Kepala, has taken an active role in the cub’s upbringing which is quite unusual as male Sumatran Tigers are traditionally solitary creatures. In another unusual twist, the family enjoy sleeping together at night alongside each other.

Sumatran tigers are a critically endangered species with fewer than 400 alive in the wild. Dublin Zoo plays a significant role in the international breeding programme which is designed to ensure the survival of tigers in their natural habitat. As well as contributing to this breeding programme visitors to Dublin Zoo have the opportunity to support these critically endangered species by purchasing a Tiger adoption pack at Dublin Zoo gift shop.

The following video is an interview done by Darragh Doyle back in July with one of Dublin Zoo's keepers, Anita, about the cubs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Channel 4 on YouTube

Channel 4 have confirmed that they are in the final stages of signing a deal with YouTube to allow YouTube to host most of the channel 4's content in full. An initial deal has already seen Channel 4 securing the right to sell the advertising that appears around its content, in a profit=share arrangement with YouTube. Channel 4's chairman, Luke Johnson, spoke at last week's Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Summit saying that traditional broadcasters needed to 'seize opportunities' to profit from online video.

To date Channel 4 has attracted 25,500 subscribers and a total of 700,000 views to its main YouTube channel, but it also has several other channels including E4, T4 and Hollyoaks. It recent months however, Channel 4 has also been populating its website with a back catalogue of programmes, all of which have utilised pre-roll ads from Nina Ricci's Ricci Ricci and Nokia among others.

Channel 4 sources have indicated that their internal planning believes that the market is approaching a 'tipping point', and a greater number of people will watch its programming online than on TV. This is in direct correlation to a recent survey carried out in Ireland.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gary's Social Media Counter

A friend in work, Stephen, pointed me towards this post from Gary Hayes. Gary has used a series of industry stats (see below) to create a "real-time" Social Media counter. OK, we can all agree that this is based on statistics and obviously not an actual counter, but none the less I would say that if anything it's only getting less accurate by under-estimating figures as Social Media adoption grows.

Gary used the following data sources for the counter:
  • 20 hours of uploaded every minute onto YouTube (source YouTube blog Aug 09)
  • Facebook 600k new members per day, and photos, videos per , 700mill & 4 mill respectively (source Inside Facebook Feb 09)
  • Twitter 18 million new users per year & 4 million tweets sent daily (source TechCrunch Apr 09)
  • iPolicy UK – SMS messaging has a bright future (Aug 09)
  • 900 000 blogs posts put up every day (source Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008)
  • YouTube daily, 96 million videos watched, $1mill bandwidth costs (source Comscore Jul 06 !)
  • UPDATE: YouTube 1Billion watched per day SMH (2009)- counter updated!
  • Second Life 250k virtual goods made daily, text messages 1250 per second (source Linden Lab release Sep 09)
  • Money – $5.5 billion on virtual goods (casual & ) even Facebooks gifts make $70 million annually (source Viximo Aug 09)
  • Flickr has 73 million visitors a who upload 700 million photos (source Yahoo Mar 09)
  • Mobile social network subscribers – 92.5 million at the end of 2008, by end of 2013 rising to between 641.6-873.1 million or 132 mill annually (source Informa PDF)
  • SMS – Over 2.3 trillion messages will be sent across major markets worldwide in 2008 (source Everysingleoneofus sms statistics)

He has also created two downloadable version of the counter (righ click and save as):

Gary can be found at the following places:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bloggers To Write Local News

The Guardian Newspaper has confirmed that it will be hiring Bloggers for its local news service. The announcement by the paper that it was looking to hire qualified bloggers who could cover "community news and report on local developments" is a strong indication of the publishers acceptance that "citizen reporters" hold a legitimate place in the news gathering process. The Guardian has said that it will commence with Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh, but that they are planning to launch similar local news projects across a number of locations.

Brand Republic reported Emily Bell, director of digital development at Guardian News & Media, as saying: "Guardian Local is a small-scale experimental approach to local newsgathering. We are focusing on three politically engaged cities and we expect to launch in early 2010."

The Guardian are not however the only publication going in this direction. The Guardian will join a growing list of national UK publishers who are looking to tap into the local market. The Mirror Group recently launched more than 100 hyper-local websites that serve specific UK postcodes, with user generated content, while Associated Northcliffe Digital launched a local project with 50 regional news sites allowing people to write and upload their own content.

"Guardian Local is a small-scale experimental approach to local newsgathering. We are focusing on three politically engaged cities and we expect to launch in early 2010," said Bell. Sarah Hartley, the Guardian Local launch editor said: "While researching developments at the grassroots of community journalism, I've been impressed by the range and depth of coverage from local websites and blogs. This experimental project reflects both the shifting nature of journalism and the reality on the ground."

The Guardian has stated that the Bloggers they are looking for will have journalistic qualifications.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

National Australia Bank: Little Wonders

I found this great video over on Digital? Marketing? Blog! (via AdWeek) of The National Australia Bank's latest tv commercial, "Little Wonders". The ad uses some really sweet tilt-shift filming. I just love the effect so much - really nice.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Twitter in Talks with Google and Microsoft

According to an article on All Things Digital, Twitter is reportedly in talks with Google and Microsoft about integrating its real-time search results into their respective search engines.

While it is currently possible to see Tweets in Google and Bing, the deal in question would see the search companies gain access to a full feed from Twitter. This would allow them to fully index all tweets. Apparently Twitter is talking to Google and Microsoft separately about data-mining deals, which could see one of the search engines gaining a massive advantage over the competition should there be any exclusivity. However, talks are said to be at a very early stage, with Twitter exploring all opportunities.

This news follows the recent report that Twitter raised another $100 million in new funding, to add to the previous $55 million. The fund raising has given Twitter a $1bn market valuation.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Irish Web Awards 2009

Last night the 2009 Irish Web Awards were held in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. The awards are run by Damien Mulley and are just about the best awards ceremony you could ever go to. I feel safe saying that this is the only awards that you are guaranteed to have a brilliant time. The award's MC for the evening was Rick O'Shea, who did a stellar job.

Here are two videos from the evening:

Serious Sam HD - Super Happy Fun Time Mode

My mate Gavin sent me this and it just seems appropriate for a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dancing with Matt

I had the great pleasure to meet two of the most striking individuals I've ever come across recently. At Cybercom's 10 Year Conference Matt Harding and Mike Walsh were both brought in to speak. To say that both these guys are impressive would be to do them an injustice.

Matt spoke on the power of the individual to connect people and cultures. He showed that the simplest thing can bring people together in a real bond of friendship and community, even if they've never met and speak different languages.

Mike gave a discussion entitled 'Tomorrowland - Tales of the near future'. Mike's presentation was without question the best presentation I have ever seen in my life. Within seconds the room was captivated and proceeded to hang on his every word for the next hour. Mike showed exactly why, what many of us see as sci-fi and distant future technology, is in fact right on our doorsteps already.

The videos of the conference are currently rendering and will be available on Monday, so stay tuned if you weren't at the conference because these will be unmissable viewing!

For now, however, enjoy this video of the Cybercom crew dancing with Matt Harding on the Roof Garden at The Odessa Club...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Death of the Flash Mob

Have Flash Mobs had their day? Soundcheck certainly think so. Yesterday evening, Dublin saw its first ‘Death Mob’. 250 people collapsed in unison on Dublin’s South William Street, 'dying'. This was the end of the Flash Mob.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Levi's 'Go Forth' Fortune

Back in July I wrote about the launch of the Levi's Go Forth campaign. The campaign aimed to reinforce the Levi brand as the original working class hero, the spirit of the original American settler and the revolutionary patriot. The campaign was brought to life through tv, radio and internet. The campaign was developed by Wieden + Kennedy and called on the public to write a new Declaration of the Unites States of American. The tv ad for the campaign featured an original wax recording of Walt Whitman reading his poem “America" overlayed on black and white vignettes. The MP3 of the Whitman's recording is also available for download from the campaign site.

The campaign has had a number of iterations in the last three months and has used a host of iconic themes central to the original campaign spirit to maintain the overall campaign through this extended period. However the question still remained up until just a week ago, where could the campaign go next?

"The question we asked was how do we bring this ['Go Forth'] idea into the real world and bring the brand's unique history into the story and the challenge," said Doug Sweeny, vp of brand marketing at Levi's. "We're trying to get people engaged in the idea of go forth and make it very active."

While the campaign focus to date has very much been around the historic roots of the Levi's brand. However, the modern Levi's customer is very entrenched in a digital world, interacting with everything around them through various digital channels. With this in mind, Levi's needed to draw a clear line between the past and the future. The tool chosen to do this was an Alternative Reality Game that would bring users on a digital treasure hunt through both the real world and the digital worlds that we now occupy.

To fully realise the potential of an ARG and to make the experience as emersive as possible, a narrative was created around a character named Grayson Ozias IV. Grayson has left wax cylinder voice recordings hidden across America, and has challenged the public to find them and, ultimately, a $100,000 fortune that he also buried.

While the game may be considered in many ways to be a 'diet' version in comparison to some of the more elaborate and complex ARGs that have surfaced in recent years, this is more then made up for with the rich and layered content used to drive game play. People participating in the game are asked to solve online puzzles in combination with real-world tasks. All to hunt down clues that will unlock the next part of the game's story. "We're pulling a page out of the ARG books, but we're trying to keep it a little less complicated," said Levi's director of digital marketing Megan O'Connor.

The target audience is Levi's 18 to 24 year old consumers, according to O'Connor. It follows what she calls the "1+9+90 rule" in believing for every full-on participant there will be nine commenters and 90 passive observers, and for that reason, the game's story is accessible to all visitors, not just those playing the game.

Levi's have also made the step of expanding into the Social Media environment by posting some clues through the campaign Facebook page. The Page already has nearly 150,000 fans. In conjunction with this the game also uses Twitter. Plans have also been revealed for other social twists; including the use of live streaming service 12seconds. Perhaps most interestingly, however, will be the introduction of a social responsibility element, when Levi's ask participants to choose a charity that will receive a $100,000 donation.

Levi's is promoting the game via video banner ads on sites including Facebook, Break and Pandora. Publicis Groupe's Razorfish handled digital media planning and buying.

As mentioned above, the Go Forth campaign has seen several iterations over the past three months. This is the third online "excursions" Levi's has planned as part of the "Go Forth" campaign. In "The New Declaration," Levi's challenged people to redefine the Declaration of Independence. Then as the second "excursion" there was a video contest around the concept of "The New Americans." Another three expeditions are planned for the coming months.

All activity associated with the ARG has been done by Wieden + Kennedy. Go live was last Monday (5th October) and the game will run until mid-November.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everybody's Doing It

In Europe each year, 130,000 women die from Breast Cancer. This year Samsung Electronics Europe have pledged to help reduce that number.

Samsung has launched the 'Everybody's Doing It' campaign, an online campaign encouraging women in Europe to check for breast cancer and prevent the disease from spreading. The campaign microsite is a place where women can find an instant community of support and a place to view or forward the above viral movie called 'Everybody's Doing It'. The campaign is aiming to reach over 400,000 women, which is more than the total number that are diagnosed with breast cancer in Europe every year.

The video utilises simple yet stark imagery of each woman holding their arms across her chest, their gaze fixed on the camera as it pans around. The video ends with the message 'Everybody's Doing It: Join us on October 15th 2009'. October 15th is the date that has been chosen for women to be breast aware and to pledge to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Jaesun Yeon, a 30 year old woman featured in the video, is a Samsung employee. She said, "I took part because a good friend is going through chemotherapy. I met some amazing women on the shoot, including Simone Francis who had a breast cancer scare when she was only 17. Social media and blogging has been a hugely important way for these women to talk about breast cancer and to tell others to check themselves, no matter what age they are. What Samsung has done, is to create a powerful online platform to spread this message across Europe."

Ines Van Gennip, head of CSR at Samsung Electronics Europe added: "It's so important that global brands such as Samsung use their influence to give women who advocate breast cancer awareness an even louder voice. This isn't a disease that only affects older women, it can touch women of all ages and as many people as possible need to know."

The campaign also utilises Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. For more information visit

--- Up Date ---

As part of the campaign, Samsung has donated its famous Piccadilly Circus Screen to aid the promotion of the campaign.

The 60inch LED screen located in the heart of Piccadilly Circus will run the campaign viral video, reinforcing the campaign call to action, ‘tell all the women you know to visit'. This will be the first time it has ever been used to promoted a non-product campaign.