Monday, November 30, 2009

Friskies: 'Free Running' Cat

Pet food brand Friskies, who are part of the Purina group, will be launching there latest ad tomorrow (Tuesday 1 December). The ad will be used for TV, cinema and online, and was created by DDB London. The documentary-style ad follows Bobo and his 'crew' as the ‘world's best free-runners'. Of course this mighty accolade is all thanks to them eating Friskies.

Unfortunately the Englishe version isn't up on YouTube just yet but you can watch it here.

'Have You Seen This Cat?' Viral

You may feel a slight bit of déjà vu over this ad, which wouldn't be surprising. Back in August Friskies launched this viral:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Experience RE

This is really cool - great work for a renewable energy company. Just Click play...

The video can also be watched here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

ISPCC Twibbon

I wrote on Tuesday about the launch of the ISPCC Christmas Appeal, and hopefully you've all gone out and bought yourself a Holly Sprig. However, many of you may not have been able to pick one up yet for one reason or another so why not show your support by adding a Holly Sprig to your Twitter Avatar in the form of a Holly Sprig Twibbon.

Just click here and you'll be given the option to preview your new Avatar with added Holly Sprig. Then just follow the simple onscreen instructions and you're done.

It's a small thing to do but if it helps bring even a little bit of awareness to this extremely important Christmas appeal it'll be worth it. So come on folks, add the Holly Sprig to your avatar and make sure to tell your friends exactly why you did it.

ISPCC Christmas Appeal

The ISPCC are calling on people to make a donation now and make Christmas a happier time for children in need. Donations can be made through the ISPCC website, by calling 1850 50 40 50, or by purchasing an ISPCC ‘Holly badge’, available nationwide for €2 through ISPCC street collections and shopping centres in the run up to Christmas. What’s more, the ISPCC offers a range of low-cost Christmas cards and gifts with a difference in their online Christmas shop.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ISPCC Annual Christmas Appeal Launches

Last Christmas, 40% of children’s calls unanswered due to severe lack of resources.

As I've gotten older I've realised that there are some things in the world that are in excusable. Some things that should never be allowed to happen. Cruelty to children is top of the list. Thankfully here in Ireland we have a huge number of people who dedicate their lives to helping those who are incapable of helping themselves. People who work for a number of organisations trying to do the right thing. The ISPCC is such an organisation.

Unfortunately, last year, due to a lack of funds, ISPCC was unable to answer almost 40% of calls made to its Childline service on Christmas Day. What's even more tragic is that in the last 12 months the demand on the service has only increased.

So yesterday the ISPCC launched their annual Christmas appeal to raise the vital funds necessary to ensure that thousands more children can access the services they need. The ISPCC relies on the Irish public for the vast majority of its funding, and while we as a nation are great givers, in the approach to Christmas we need to give more. As the saying goes, no gift is too small to make a difference.

Speaking at the launch of their Christmas appeal today, Ashley Balbirnie, CEO of the ISPCC said; “I know many Irish people are experiencing tough times with the ongoing recession but we must be mindful of those who are worse off than us and in particular children who are in abusive situations, alone and calling for help. We need to think about what is important to us at Christmas and how we can help others who truly need support. Throughout the Christmas period we see an increase in calls from children seeking help and it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas and forget about those less fortunate. Christmas is a time for giving and a time for sharing, donations to the ISPCC are essential to support our efforts to help these defenceless children.”

The ISPCC has already received over 665k calls for assistance this year from children all over Ireland. That's an increase of 35k calls over this time last year. With many families hit hard by the economic downturn, those experiencing financial worries is only going to be worse then last year. All the additional stress and tension may inadvertently find itself taken out on children.

“Ireland is going through a challenging and turbulent time, with many people finding themselves out of work or experiencing a reduction in pay or hours of work. It’s not easy and it can be a hugely stressful time for people, particularly with the added financial pressures of Christmas. Children are not immune to such family tensions and worries, and for many children this stress can impact negatively on their own well being.” Balbirnie concluded.

The ISPCC are calling on people to make a donation now and make Christmas a happier time for children in need. Donations can be made through the ISPCC website, by calling 1850 50 40 50, or by purchasing an ISPCC ‘Holly badge’, available nationwide for €2 through ISPCC street collections and shopping centres in the run up to Christmas. What’s more, the ISPCC offers a range of low-cost Christmas cards and gifts with a difference in their online Christmas shop.

For information on ways to support the ISPCC this Christmas, please log onto

ISPCC Childline Service
The ISPCC Childline service is available 24/7 on 1800 66 66 66. Support for young people can be accessed through the Childline website on The ISPCC offers a range of face to face, telephone and web based supports for young people and parents through its ChildFocus and TeenFocus services. For details of services in your area please contact the ISPCC on 01 676 7960 or view the ISPCC website

Monday, November 23, 2009

Philips Design Probe - SKIN:Tattoo

There is some seriously cool stuff being done by the Philips Design Probe, and this is by far one of my favourites. I love the idea of this...

Tattoos and physical mutilation are amongst the oldest forms of personal expression and identity. Subcultures have used tattoos as a form of self representation; a visual language communicating personality and status. Philips Design examined the growing trend of extreme body adornment like tattoos, piercing, implants and scarring.

The Electronics Tattoo film expresses the visual power of sensitive technology applied to the human body. The film subtly leads the viewer through the simultaneous emotional and aesthetic transformations between two lovers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Augmented Reality: LG Chocolate & Avatar

As part of LG's strategic partnership with the new James Cameron Avatar movie, the company has teamed up with T3 and Total Film to bring a little bit of Augmented Reality to their December issues.

As part of their global partnership with 20th Century Fox, promoting the launch of Avatar, LG Electronics have teamed up with media group Future (publishers of T3 and Total Film) to feature an exclusive augmented reality gatefold ad in their December issues. The campaign is designed to promote both Avatar and LG's new Chocolate BL-40 widescreen mobile phone.

LG's own media agency, Mindshare, were responsible for brokering the deal.

The 6 page ad promotes the stunning widescreen cinema-aspect of the new LG handset by offering users a sneak peak at video from the movie. By holding the ad's AR icon up to your webcam, you can access a special Avatar trailer that plays on an onscreen 3D model of the new handset. Coupled with this is a host of in-magazine features that bring to life both the movie and handset.

John Barton, sales and marketing director at LG, said: "We're delighted to be working with Future on such an exciting campaign. Both 'Avatar' and the new LG Chocolate BL40 represent innovations in their respective industries which this campaign will bring to life by delivering a cutting edge platform to interact with our customers."

Malcolm Stoodley, sales director at Future, said: "As Future's first augmented reality campaign in the UK, this is an exciting new format for advertisers that really brings this campaign alive for our readers. With an audience of influential movie and technology advocates, the exclusive 'Avatar' footage showcases this pioneering new film and LG's new mobile phone to T3 and Total Film readers like no other medium can deliver."


Khoda” is a fantastic animated video project by Reza Dolatabadi using 6000 paintings that were specifically created for the 5 minute film. Each time you pause the video you see a new painting.

Over 6000 paintings were painstakingly produced during two years to create a five minutes film that would meet high personal standards. Khoda is a psychological thriller; a student project which was seen as a ‘mission impossible’ by many people but eventually proved possible!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Calvin Flakes

Last week Calvin Harris tweeted about a gift that arrived for him from Kellogg’s.

Basically Harris had been doing a lot of tweeting recently about his breakfast preferences, about his choice of cereal. Picking up on this, Kellogg's sent Harris his very own breakfast cereal with the strapline ‘50% cornflakes, 50% branflakes – the perfect mix’. This is superb marketing. Simple, low cost, and yet highly, highly effective. Instant Brand Ambassador!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Web In 5 Years, According To Google

Revolution Magazine carried a great article last Friday about an interview that Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO, gave at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009.

While the interview is initially about Google, where it's come from and where it's going, Eric Schmidt also gives an overview of how Google sees the web changing in the next five years time. Schmidt outlines a 'radically different' internet that will be dominated by the Chinese language and Social Media content, and delivered to us by super-fast broadband.

By far one of the most interesting points that Schmidt raises is that brands should be listening to youth consumers when planning their marketing strategies. He simply points out, "Talk to a teenager about how they consume media and remember in five years they'll be your employee".

This is an overview of Schmidt's vision compiled by ReadWriteWeb:

  1. Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
  2. Five years is a factor of ten in Moore's Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.
  3. Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance - and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
  4. "We're starting to make significant money off of Youtube", content will move towards more video.
  5. "Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results."
  6. "We can index real-time info now - but how do we rank it?"
  7. It's because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that "is the great challenge of the age." Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

This is the interview:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

Last Thursday saw the trailer go live for the new Capcom "Resident Evil" game. Essentially this is the lastest in the popular zombie killing series of games, featuring all the blood, guts and gore that would be expected.

What wasn't expected was the takeover video ad that turned an otherwise normal webpage into a zombie rampaged mess. Allowing users to both watch and play the new game. This is seriously cool...

Mona Hamilton, VP-marketing at Capcom, said "This is the first time users can interact and actually play the game inside the trailer, it really allows people to experience that surprise horror and fear. ... It was designed to take the experience to the next level.", part of the MTV Networks entertainment unit inside Spike Digital, and JVST, San Francisco, worked with Capcom to create the interactive trailer. Unfortunately the interactive nature of the trailer means that it is only available on the GameTrailers site, however, there is an impressive advertising suite backing up this element of the campaign across the US market. Unusually, all this advertising is driving users to rather then a dedicated campaign microsite.

Brad Winters, general manager for, said "It's a captive audience with people coming to the site for nothing other than to watch game videos. ... This engages the audience more than just watching a video and if you can get them involved in the content, it's going to make more of an impression."

This is the first interactive trailer that has hosted, and while Winters doesn't see it taking over the traditional trailer, he did say "I think we'll see this kind of interactivity more and more as part of marketing plans. ... And not just for video games and movies, but it's an opportunity for anyone creating video content [for their brand]."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Augmented Reality: Esquire Magazine

Last Monday Esquire revealed that they would once again be pushing the boundaries of print. As I'm sure everyone will remember, Esquire's first foray into enhanced print was with their ePaper 75th Anniversary issue, and following that they did their brilliant split cover. This time, however, it's Augmented Reality that is their enhancement of choice.

For their December issue Esquire have developed an Augmented Reality cover featuring none other then Robert Downey Jr.. Downey introduces the issue and does a brief plug for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie. The real fun comes in with a host of bonus content that is accessed and controlled on the Esquire website by installing an app and interacting with the Augmented Reality marker.

In the following video, Editor-in-Chief, David Granger, runs through the features. An example given is for the issue’s fashion features, which, by tilting the magazine in different directions, allows you to adjust the the weather in the shots with the model's changing to suit the new conditions.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Facebook & Sports

For most Irish (and indeed French) people, there is only one thing to think about today - where will I watch the match? Of course if you were lucky enough to grab yourself a ticket to Croke Park your question is already answered, but what about the rest of us?

Perhaps Facebook is the answer?


Let me back track to late October. On the 22nd October, Nike did something really cool. They invited Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fàbregas to take over the Nike Facebook page for an interactive Q&A session with fans from around the world. For 90 minutes Cesc answered questions about Arsenal's Champions League match against AZ Alkmaar. The event also featured behind-the-scenes photos from the game that were posted to the Facebook page.

With 3 days to go before the event even took place, over 800 people had signed-up to participate, with a further 400 plus questions lined up for Cesc to answer. So even though Cesc is a Nike football ambassador and is regularly featured on TV spots and advertising campaigns (see the video below for the recent Total Control campaign), this was without question a new move for Nike and AKQA, who worked on the project for them.

But what does any of this have to do with today's World Cup Qualifier play-off between Ireland and France?

Well, as I said: Facebook.

Nike aren't the only brand to be pushing the boundary on what Facebook can do, and what it can provide for its users. Carlsberg are doing an A1 job on providing engagement and interactivity in a way that is absolutely brilliant.

For today's match, the Carlsberg Facebook Page is giving fans the ability to follow the match live, give their views and opinions through a live match chat and opinion polls, and give real-time reviews of each players performance through an interactive rating card. This is seriously cool, and aside from being a great example of what Facebook as a platform can do, this is a clear indication of how the public's viewing habits have changed in the last 12 to 24 months.

People crave interaction. No one wants to be a spectator, they want to be a participant. They want to share their opinion, become part of the event, and feel like they are actually involved. Social Media is allowing that. Social Media is giving everyone, everywhere, all the time, the ability to take part. In many ways it's the perfect tagline or brand ident - 'Take Part'. And lets face it, it's only going to get better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lonely Planet Google Wave App

Google Wave has exploded in the last month with round after round of invitations growing its user base rapidly. However, one thing has alluded the service and driven a charge of companies to be the first to overcome it: the introduction of a Wave App.

Following a number of beta trials, it looks like Lonely Planet may be the first to get there. The guidebook maker has created a trip planning tool that works through Google Wave, to allow users to create trip itineraries in real time with advice and collaboration from other users.

The application, Trippy, loads a map that contains Lonely Planet recommendations and reviews. Then using a drag and drop interface, points of interest can be selected and assigned dates and times for your trips.

Chris Boden, Lonely Planet's director of mobile and innovation, said, "The Trippy gadget turns trip planning into a collaborative activity, enabling a group of users to create itineraries together in real time."

Lonely Planet has also recently launched a series of augmented reality apps for Google Android handsets. The apps provide Compass Guides that highlight points of interest in various cities, through a visual real time interface. Combined with Android's GPS, the app detects your exact location with the internal compass determining where you are looking. These apps are, unfortunately, only available in the US via the Android Market.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eyeblaster Research Global Benchmark Report 2009

When it comes to display advertising there are a multitude of different formats that can be used; different dimensions, different formats, different engagement techniques. However, when it comes to producing really special, highly engaging, richly interactive ads that users will remember long after a campaign has ceased, there really is only two words to remember - Rich Media.

Rich Media refers to ads that have a much higher file size (300kb plus) then standard flash ads. They usually incorporate interactive and engagement techniques that focus on delivering in-banner content. This may be video or gaming, or any number of other interactive techniques that were once confined to websites. The downside is of course that Rich Media adserving is generally much more expensive. So you're left with a decision: do I spend more on development and adserving?

Well the question then becomes, what are the real advantages of using Rich Media when it comes to cold hard engagement metrics. Basically, how much better will I engage with my target audience if I use Rich Media?

A new study conducted by Eyeblaster reinforces the idea that video and 'expanding' are the key factors in driving increased engagement. The Global Benchmark Report 2009 shows that expandable ads have the highest interaction rate of all rich media formats. The report goes on to show that keeping content fresh by continually changing the imagry, copy and sound or video, will increase your interaction rates even further.

The report is divided into two parts: The first provides an analysis of the benchmark’s numbers in the context of a prevalent industry question. The second provides a general overview of the benchmarks and a review of changes from the last edition. The report was written based on the analysis of data from more than 250,000 ads in all sizes and formats served in the 12 months starting July 2008. The full report can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LinkedIn & Twitter Join Forces

Yesterday LinkedIn announced the formation of a new partnership between LinkedIn and Twitter. In the following video, Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, gives a run through of why the partnership is so important to both companies, and what uses can expect to get out of it. Joining Stone, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, describes the partnership like peanut butter and chocolate. For those of you who don't like peanut butter, the rest of us think this sounds delicious!

In the last year the adoption of Twitter by businesses and marketing agencies is well documented and the number of case studies starting to come out of the woodwork shows numerous highly profitable ways for Twitter to add real value to campaign activity. Moving on from this, Twitter has spent a considerable amount of time in the last year looking for different avenues to integrate Twitter with other platforms and services, and it looks like this might be the one. Stone remarks, "[Twitter is used on a] personal level in business and that Twitter has essentially become part of your resume". He adds, "The general idea of putting a little twitter in everything is being able to inject into LinkedIn a little bit more of this fresh here's what's going on with these other things, but with a little bit of a curated sense in terms of your professional life."

So what exactly does this partnership mean?

When you change your LinkedIn status you can now tweet it too. Simple really. Over the next few days LinkedIn will rollout the service and it will be available through two touchpoints:

1. On LinkedIn
First you need to connect your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, allowing them to share articles you’re reading and alerting people. Doing this will be fairly easy by ticking the Twitter box on the LinkedIn homepage.

2. On Twitter
When setting up your connection you can choose to either send all tweets or selected tweets to your LinkedIn profile as a status update.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Augmented Reality: Tele Scouter

The Japanese consumer electronics company NEC have unveiled something seriously cool. You probably know how excited I got about Nokia's recent Augmented Reality concept, and even the slightly more bizarre Augmented Reality Contact Lenses I recently wrote about, but this is a practical everyday application of AR that actually works, and that's better then anything concept.

Meet the NEC Tele Scouter...

The Tele Scouter is NEC's Augmented Reality glasses, which project real-time language translation directly into people's eyes!

The system translates conversations in real time, and projects the translations directly onto a user's retina as a stream of 'subtitles'. Using built in voice recognition,the self-contained translation programme allows you to complete cut out the need for human translators. The system is also capable of delivering audio translations. Tele is due for release in Japan next November, and will be sold (initially at least) in packs of 30, at a cost of €65,000.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Golden Age of Video

This is just about one of the best YouTube videos that you will ever see!

Ricardo Autobahn has spliced together a whole heap of movies from every genre and decade of the last 60 years to create an original song. The beat, the rhymes, the rhythm; all of it perfectly pulled together. This is just brilliant. What makes it even more fun is if you can spot all the movies, and name them.

Apple Approve “Hitler Book” App

I spotted this article over on The Next Web and was totally dumbfounded. Just days after Apple banned an app for using the word iPhone, Apple have approved an app of a book written by Hilter. To make things worse, the app also includes a Swastika as its application icon. The book, Mi Lucha, was written by Adolf Hitler. It is a mix between an autobiography and an essay on the political ideology of National Socialism.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Videogioco is a stunning animation by Donato Sansone, with sound by Enrico Ascoli.

Cheers to @RobReid for sharing this one :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What iDon't, Droid Does Part 2

Last month I wrote about Verizon's new advertising campaign targeting Apple's iPhone. The campaign isn't straight forward however, and the phone has yet to be shown in plain view. Instead the teaser campaign has concentrated on promoting it's use of the Google Android operating system.

The ad does not feature the campaign URL (,the countdown in non-recognisable numerals, or the previous tagline - "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." All in all, very strange.

Augmented Reality: iPhone App

Back in August I wrote about my mate Tim's company MercuryGirl, who are developing an Augmented Reality layar for the Layar browser system.

Just last month, however, a new layar arrived the iPhone 3GS, from Ireland's leading property search site The layar allows users to search through the site's entire suite of properties, for sale, to rent or to share, through a visual, location-based augmented reality interface. Pretty cool!

Basically, as you view your location through your iPhone's camera, properties within view, that are available, are indicated by blue dots on the screen. The size of the blue dot, with larger dots appearing close to you, indicate how near a property is. The dot at the the centre of your screen will show an image of the property, and give a summary of the property detail including; the address, the rental price, and a summary of the details e.g. “single bed, studio apartment".

If you then press the image you can see any photographs and directly contact the advertiser. The service utilises all sale, rental and shared properties listed on their site. With all new listings automatically updated as soon as they go live on the site.

The Layar app is free to download here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Facebook: Communicate With The Deceased

Facebook recent redesign has brought with it the usual plethora of complaints, praises and oddities. As one would assume, there are already multiple Facebook groups denouncing the changes and calling for a reintroduction of the "Old" Facebook - which if we all remember was the one that people complained about. In fact I have even seen a number of so called 'hacks' to allow you to make your account look like it hasn't changed.

These, however, are all things that we could have seen coming. Nothing in it is too surprising. What is surprising and something I'm sure no one in Facebook had even thought of, is the inundation of emails to Facebook Towers from angry users who have been asked to reconnect with deceased friends!

Facebook have hit several high profile headlines with there introduction of a new sidebar box that highlights friends that you haven't communicated with in a while, and tries to encourage you to connect with them, either by messaging or poking. Unfortunately the new ‘reconnecting’ service has turned into a minor PR catastrophe. Matters did not improve when Facebook’s head of security responded with a solution - requesting proof of death such as an obituary or news article.

All of this, of course, comes on the back of Facebook's introduction of the option for family and friends to ‘memorialise’ profiles of members who have died. Effectively all sensitive information is removed and the profile becomes a static memorial.

Online fraud involving the deceased isn't new. Identity fraud is a major problem in most countries and the people involved are continuing to find security loopholes to steal identities. In light of the Facebook security request, it is difficult to believe that anyone would have difficulty forging an obituary or news article.

This is, however, an important are to consider. especially with the unprecedented amounts of personal data stored and published online through Social Media. According to CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, during the first quarter of 2009 there has been a massive 74 per cent increase in deceased identity fraud compared to the same period in 2008. So remember, it's extremely important to know who you give your details to, and what they intend to use them for.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple To Place Ads In OS

I read about this over on Brand Republic, and almost thought it was a joke of some kind. Apparently Apple haves filed a patent application for a new operating system (OS) which has embedded advertising. Basically the patent application states that the operating system would require users to interact with ads before they could use any of the applications on their computer.

In and of itself this is not information that can be considered either positive or negative. Obviously there are an awful lot of questions that would need to be asked first; would this mean a very reduced price?, would it only happen for a set amount of time?, what if you were not online? etc.

Having said that, an extremely important thing to consider is that as this is OS based, it covers a huge range of hardware from laptops and desktops to iPods and iPhones.

One source has indicated that a possible mechanic to the system would be that users could receive a free operating system upgrade in return for accepting the ads. Logic would also dictate that users would be happier to fill out certain information for the service, and it would ensure extremely targeted ads.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tilt-Shift Soldiers March On Paris

To be honest there's not much to say here - just watch. This is one of the best examples of Tilt-Shift cinematography that I've seen.

Photography: Albrecht Gerlach
Production: Tatiana Pereira @ Alta Media Productions
Camera Assistant: Tom Chabbat
Sound: Camille Michel
Canon 7D & 5DmkII for rent in Paris: