Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gone to Vegas

About now I'm arriving in McCarran airport Nevada, Las Vegas's international airport. Some time back my mate Ross popped the question to his lovely missus and, with her answer of 'yes', there's a Summer wedding just around the corner. Of course you can probably guess why I've just arrived in Vegas...... stag weekend!

So here we are, twenty or so blokes looking forward to a weekend of relaxing by the pool and perhaps taking in some of the delightful tourist attractions that Nevada has to offer. Or, it'll go something like this......

So with all that in mind, I'm afraid to say that Digitology is taking a short break. I may or may not be able to update in the next four days, but chances are I won't. I hope you can all manage ;)

See you next week folks

adidas micoach

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of popping over to London for the day for the launch of adidas micoach. The micoach is a virtual running partner that delivers real-time audible coaching. Forget standard heart rate monitors or exercise program utilities, this is a system that monitors your performance and tells you what you need to do to reach your programme objectives. The miCoach interactive training system tells you whether to speed up or slow down by tracking your heart rate, pace, distance and stride rate. The system does this by constantly monitoring data delivered by a small sensor worn on your shoe and a heart monitor worn around the chest. The particular device that I have been using is the adidas micoach pacer.

So what's the difference between the adidas offering and the various other systems on the market?

Aside from the basic way the service works - audible telling you what to do - the most important difference is that this is exactly that, a service. The device that adidas have developed is essentially a very simple data recorder and performance indicator. The real customer value comes from the website and added functionality that adidas provide outside the device itself. adidas's goal is to become the most personalised sports brand in the world by providing an intelligent web platform through which users can interact and educate themselves about how to perform better, train better and, ultimately, run better. In the end, adidas want us to be better athletes.

To achieve this, adidas have created a web platform that acts as an interactive training service that motivates, inspires and enables runners to become better and reach their training goals, whatever they may be. This is the key. For every runner the goals you set and those recommended by the system are completely unique based on your goals, your current level of fitness and what suits you to train. At you can create personalised training plans, set goals and pro-actively monitor and manage your progress over time. The platform includes six training plans, ranging from those who want to run faster and improve a personal time, to those who want to lose weight, and you can also create your own personalised training plan. These tailored training programmes are designed around your heart rate zones and will help you achieve your fitness goals more efficiently than traditional exercise regimens. miCoach listens to your heart to determine your personal training zone ranges, each represented by a distinct colour for easy-to-understand and effective training - blue, green, yellow and red. miCoach helps runners set goals and then reach them by monitoring their heart rate and telling them when to slow down or speed up to meet their personal goal.

There are then two options when it comes tot he devices themselves:

  • The miCoach Pacer - a small, lightweight device that delivers real-time audible coaching as you exercise via headphones or combined with your own MP3 player. During your run, the miCoach Pacer verbally coaches you (i.e. speed up to green zone, slow down to blue zone, etc.) to ensure that you are staying within your targeted heart rate zone and keep you running at the right personal level.
  • The miCoach Zone – an easy to read colour-code LED display on a wristband device provides accurate, real-time coaching making it easy for you to train at the right intensity with the help of a heart rate monitor.

“miCoach makes it easy for anyone at any level to get personal coaching. The instant progress reports help you get the most out of your run and achieve your personal goal,” says Bernd Wahler, Chief Marketing Officer of adidas Sport Performance. “The audible coaching feature of the miCoach Pacer provides a new dimension to any workout experience allowing users of any level to discover their true potential. This product is really about offering our consumers a personal way to train.”

So what's the verdict?

About a year ago I started running. Not long enough, not far enough and not often enough. Then a couple of months before Christmas an old rugby injury cropped up again and I just had to stop. Although my knee got better I simply wasn't motivated to get back into a training schedule. Since I've started using the micoach that has seriously changed. The nature of the service means that I have been easily able to set up a training programme that suits me and when I do go running I have constant motivation and direction as to what I need to be doing. I would definitely recommend the micoach to anyone from dedicated runners who want to improve their style to beginners who want to get fit.

So is that that?

Not by a long shot. Not only does the service have two major updates on the horizon already but the nature of how it's been built leaves it open to almost limitless expansion on a number of different fronts. In June the micoach mobile application will launch. This will be a free of charge download for any smart phone that will allow you to use the micoach service with your phone's GPS. A second June update will also see the introduction of speed training so that the micoach service can be used for short to middle distance sprint training. Of course these are just two of the many possibilities that adidas have revealed. Considering that the web platform already has several options for Facebook integration and data sharing, there's no reason to think that the ability to actually share your results and training programmes isn't on the way. Overall the approach adidas has taken leaves them in a position to change and enhance the micoach service by simply updating the web platform. This means that the device you buy now will remain an active product for the foreseeable future. I for one think this is brilliant. adidas are demonstrating a very real understanding that the modern consumer wants more and demands it.

Basically I'm really excited to see what happens with Social Media integration in the next year. I think adidas are leading the way in sports technology, and showing a level of understanding that the competition just don't have.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Calling All Patricks, Paddys, Pats, Patricias....

Just over a month ago, Guinness Storehouse celebrated their 1 millionth visitor. An awespicious milestone for sure. So in a year already marked with this tremendous event what could the Storehouse do that would be even bigger? Well, today the announcement was made for what just might be that event!

Today, Wednesday 24th February, Guinness Storehouse announced the first details for its St. Patrick’s Day Festival celebrations, and they look huge! Not only will the Storehouse play host to live music, food and free entry for all St. Patrick's Day visitors, but for one very special day, St. Patrick’s Day, the Storehouse will be giving everyone named Patrick, or any variant of the name Patrick, with a special complimentary “VIP Pass” (Very Important Patrick Pass) into the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Storehouse. The special Pass will allow this select group access to all the festivities.

The initiative has been planned as a celebration of the Storehouse's 10 years since it first opened its doors to the public. So once you've the right name and a picture ID (official photo ID, e.g. passport, driver’s license or National Identity Card), you'll be in for free.

For everyone who is attending the festivities, Paddy's or not, there will be some seriously cool performers out on the day, set to thrill and entertain. You'll be greeted by fire jugglers and street performers, creating a visually sensational backdrop to the stunning seven storey Storehouse building. Inside, “Rattle and Hum” will take centre stage and perform all your favourite U2 tunes. Alongside the guys, you'll also be treated to Irish born guitarist Jimmy Smyth, and Irish groups Sliotar and The Gravel Walk. Finally DJs Peter Cosgrove and Peter McKenna will be keeping the Gravity Bar filled with funky lounge tunes, set to the stunning panoramic views of the city.

For those more interested in the mystery of a pint of Guinness, visitors will be invited to learn how to pour the perfect pint of like a true connoisseur and have the chance to take home a hand drawn caricature of themselves enjoying their perfect pint! This is really just the tip of the iceberg though, get over to the Guinness Storehouse site for the full details on everything that is happening on that most important of Irish holidays :)

A few interesting Guinness Storehouse facts:

  • Guinness Storehouse building was erected between 1902 and 1904 for use in the fermentation process
  • The building is 125 feet high, 170 feet long and 151 feet wide.
  • It would take 14.3 million pints of Guinness to fill the giant glass atrium in centre of the Guinness Storehouse building
  • Gravity Bar is the highest bar in Dublin located 46 metres off the ground

Smirnoff Be There, The Wedding Night

Since the beginning of last December, with their Masquerade Ball, Smirnoff have proven themselves many times over to be able to create unforgettable and extraordinary experiences. So considering the event that followed the Masquerade Ball was their Carnival Experience I guess it's no surprise that this Friday's event is just as out of the ordinary.

This Friday, 26th February, The Wright Venue, Swords, will play host to the wedding of the year with The Smirnoff Be There, The Wedding Night.

Forget royal footmen and exotic stilt-walkers. This is an evening of tiaras and tuxedos, with the simple rule being dress to impress. Girls are expected to wear that special dress, be it a simple elegant dress or the worlds biggest meringue. Then just choose your bridesmaids and grab Mr. Right. Smirnoff promise that nothing will be what you expect and above all it will be a night full of surprises; filled with an array of performers and theatrical acts.

About the Smirnoff BE THERE campaign
Most of us have been a part of experiences that are truly unforgettable and extraordinary. We talk about these experiences for years to come and revel in the fact that ‘we were there’. The word ‘there’ is often used to talk about amazing events or happenings. How many times have you heard someone say: I was there!? / Were you there? / I can’t believe you weren’t there! / Are you going there? / You’ve got to be there?! Smirnoff’s campaign is all about inspiring and enabling consumers to seek and create these unforgettable and extraordinary experiences – to BE THERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ballygowan Pink - B Part Of It - Update

Just eight days ago, Ballygowan launched their 'B Part of it' campaign to help raise funds for breast cancer awareness across Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland the campaign supports the Marie Keating Foundation, and in Northern Ireland it supports Action Cancer. The first phase of the campaign has seen the launch of a range of new pink bottles of Ballygowen, a campaign microsite and Facebook page and a number of offline activations. Ultimately each bottle of of the new Ballygowan Pink that is sold makes a contribution directly to the foundations.

So eight days later and what's happening witht he campaign?

In my honest opinion, the campaign is doing absolutely brilliantly. The Facebook page now has over 6,000 Fans, 30 Fan Photos and over 120 Fan Comments (and that doesn't include any conversation under those comments!). This is a massive amount of interaction and engagement for a Brand that has otherwise not had a strong Facebook presence. Bare in mind this Facebook page was only set up eight days ago when the campaign started - it has actually driven all this engagement in eight days! Beyond the great charity element to the new Ballygowan campaign, what has really captured my attention here has been the public support. The comments and interaction from Fans of the campaign on the Facebook page has just been brilliant. If there was ever a case study for the use of Facebook by a charity, this is it. Serious hat tips to the team behind the Facebook page!

Check out the latest video showing some of the campaigns high profile supporters...

Touchless Interfaces

With all the recent hype around the iPad and the emergence of touchscreen tablet computing I decided to look into what else was on the horizon. I may well be showing my age here but the truth is that it hasn't been very long that touchscreen interfaces have become practically the norm and almost everyone carries at least one touchscreen device in their pocket. So perhaps it's too early to be considering what will come next? Oddly enough, no.

While Sci-fi writers may have long ago dreamt off touchless interfaces, the reality has been a lot less forthcoming. However, it may be close at hand. The latest step toward touchless interfaces comes from John Underkoffler. John was working at the MIT Media Lab when the producers of Minority Report called looking for ideas for their movie. Unsurprisingly, they hired John and his idea. Now, following a long hard slog of development and testing, John and his company, Oblong, brought their new interface to the TED conference. What may surprise you is that this was a year ago, and in the following year the system is said to be close to implementation.

This is an actual spatial operating system.

Something else that this got me thinking about was the massive explosion of the adaptation and use of Augmented Reality. In my mind the two systems are inherently linked - while AR uses coded image identifiers to render interactives and otherwise unseen media within an artificial 3D environment, the spatial operating system recognises your hands as manipulators of objects with an artificial 3D environment. If you also consider the various laser light artificial keyboards that are on the market, I expect the next 24 months of interface development to see some huge changes.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Give A Day, Get A Disney Day

Disney's latest campaign, 'Give A Day, Get A Disney Day', is the latest example of a growing trend of major businesses driving community support through a volunteer programme. The campaign is aiming to inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service to one of the campaign partner businesses in their communities. By volunteering for a day, participants will each receive a 1-day, 1-theme park ticket to Disneyland or Walt Disney World for free.

The nicest element to the campaign is an absolutely brilliant personalised video creative presented as the redesigned campaign microsite. Just pop in your name and date of birth year and hit play for a hilarious muppet escapade. I won't ruin it by telling you any more, just go and do it!

The campaign also has the following personalised video for sharing through blogs or Social Networks...

Lyons Tea - 'All Talk'

Following on from my post two weeks ago about the new ‘The Master Blender’ TV ad campaign from Lyons Tea, I was really looking forward to the second offering in the campaign. The ad continues the story of the Lyons Master Tea blender and his apprentice. This time we see the two characters adding 'All Talk' to their tea, for people who are.... all talk.

This is the second of three tv executions for the campaign and continues with support from three radio ads and a 48-sheet element. The campaign has been created by Rothco with the tv ad directed by Stephen St. Leger and production by H2 Films. Post-produced is by Windmill Lane Pictures.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Special Message From Francois Pienaar

I was due to give Darragh a hand on Friday afternoon with his interview with Francois Pienaar for Unfortunately a number of other interviews ran over and I had to dash before the interview could be done. As a long time rugby fan and South African by birth I was really looking forward to the opportunity to meet one of the greatest rugby players of all time, and a fellow South African.

Thankfully though, Darragh did something totally awesome and got Francois to record this message for me...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Trans-Siberian Railway Desktop Journey

Have you ever dreamt of taking a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway? This majestic train route travels the breadth of Russia, spans two continents and visits 87 cities. The following video is part of a joint project between Google and the Russian Railways to let people enjoy the journey, taking in Baikal, the Khekhtsirsky range, the Barguzin mountains, the Yenisei river and countless other beautiful Russian towns and landmarks, without leaving the comfort of your own armchair.

To also enjoy a customised Google Map of the trip, just visit here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Your Country, Your Call

I was invited along to Guinness Storehouse on Monday evening to give input into a new Social Media focused project that is being launched. I had only been told bits and pieces about the campaign and, to be honest, I really didn't know what to expect. However, there were a few key things that I knew and they were enough for me: Dr. Martin McAleese was the main person behind the campaign's idea and it was all being patroned by his wife, President Mary McAleese. Aside from this, I had been told that all work on the campaign, by all parties, was being done on a pro bona basis. Considering the global economic situation we all find ourselves in, this was a pretty stand out point.

The evening began with an an overview and background from Dr. McAleese and then a general open floor discussion / Q&A about everything to do with the project from the overall strategy through to the site design.

The campaign microsite, which will be the main focus of all activity is

So what is it all about? This is a international competition (anyone in the world can enter) that is being driven by a hope to ignite imaginations and inspire thinking. The overall goal is to find two ideas that have the ability to fuel prosperity and jobs for Ireland. The ideas could be anything – absolutely anything, the only caveats are that they must focus on Ireland and should be so robust and expansive that they will be looked on in a decades time and seen as true turning points in Irish history.

The two winning ideas will secure their ‘thinkers’ a prize of €100k each and the ideas will then have a €500k implementation fund (as well as the expertise of a host of world class people from all walks of industry) to get them off the ground.

The competition also has a second side to it – Your Ireland Moment, which is a call for people to submit their personal moment that they most felt proud to be Irish. This can be found through the main site.

The whole project will have an extremely strong focus on Social Media and will be driven heavily through both Twitter and Facebook. however, there will also be event, radio, print and television used across the campaign duration to help boost awareness and participation.

This is Dr. McAleese’s brainchild and something he is truly passionate about. Personally I think it is really exciting, and well worth a look. In fact, I already have 4 ideas scribbled down on paper that I need to flesh out a bit. Check out the following video from President McAleese about the campaign...


Big hat tip to PlanBStudios for sharing this video...

A TAT Cascades powered prototype of the Augmented ID concept. Accurate mobile face detection and recognition using Polar Rose's FaceLib. Recognizr shows how powerful computer vision and 3D graphics can be used to create fast, precise and aesthetic augmented reality. This prototype runs on Android.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

NCPC: Dolphin Boy

Stunning work by Saatchi & Saatchi (US), this is a YouTube video with a difference. Although this isn't the first "out-of-bounds" use of YouTube, it is definitely one of my favourite.

Check out 2008's Wario video that used the same concept of "out of bounds".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ballygowan: Be Part of It

Today, Sunday February 14th, Ballygowan unveiled their new campaign to raise funds for breast cancer awareness across Ireland. The campaign, in support of the Marie Keating Foundation, or Action Cancer in Northern Ireland, is called ‘Be Part of It’ and promotes the early detection of breast cancer to help save lives. Phase One of the campaign sees the launch of a range of new pink bottles of Ballygowen through both off-trade and on-trade channels. Each bottle of of the new Ballygowan Pink that is sold will make a contribution directly to the foundations.

The ‘Be Part of It’ will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign across all channels and is patroned by Ronan Keating. The campaign will, however, be primarily driven by a new campaign microsite and facebook page. During the next eight months the campaign will also run a series of events to involve consumers in raising funds for the charities, in the lead up to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Ronan Keating, speaking about the campaign, said; "The Marie Keating Foundation is very close to my heart, as you know. I am delighted that a brand like Ballygowan has come together with the Foundation and our Be Part of It partner in Northern Ireland, Action Cancer, to help raise much needed funds. What’s really exciting for all of us is that this campaign is not only about fundraising, but also raising awareness and education. I am thrilled to be part of it".

The Ballygowan Pink bottles, in 500ml and 2 Litre bottles, are now available from all grocery and convenience shops, while special glass bottles, in 250ml and 750ml, are available in pubs and restaurants nationwide.

Leonie Doyle, Head of Stills Marketing at Britvic Ireland said; "We are delighted to introduce our Ballygowan Pink bottle, as the first part of our ‘Be Part of It’ campaign. Breast cancer affects 1 in 12 people in Ireland. We hope that our campaign can play a key role in raising much needed funds for the Marie Keating Foundation, as well as educating woman on the importance of early detection in beating this disease. There will be lots of ways for consumers to get involved throughout the year and raise more money for this great cause".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Media Monks

MediaMonks is the biggest independent digital production agency in the Netherlands. They work for national and international agencies across various different market segments (B2B, B2C and government). They develop for multiple formats and platforms and, imho, produce some of the best digital media out there. Seriously, just sit back and watch...

To be honest, even their ad is pretty cool...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Is Irish Film

As a regular visitor to The Irish Film Board website, I was delighted to see their latest addition to their digital suite -, a media hub for all things Irish Film related. Although the hub offers all the latest news and coverage of the entire Irish Film Industry (work information, upcoming events, competitions, short films, box office information, podcast links etc. etc.) and is sure to be highly useful to all those works in Ireland's Film Industry, it is hoped that the site will be of benefit and appeal to a wider audience, providing a place that film enthusiasts can reference and learn more about Irish film.

Simon Delaney in Zonad directed by John Carney

Personally I'm loving the Short Film section. While I have a number of close friends who work as actors, directors, producers and more, it is often almost impossible to find out what's good and what's worth catching when it comes to Irish Shorts. In particular, the site gives a great look at Ireland's up and coming film talent that don't get the mainstream coverage to bring them to general public attention.

Ondine directed by Neil Jordan

From a technical point of view, the site is fresh, easy-navigable, and ultimately does exactly what it says on the tin, just very well! The IFB Twitter feed is pulled in directly to the page and there is a clear and obvious link out to Facebook. Both great indications of the IFB's adoption of Social Media and willingness to move with the times - something often not so forthcoming with Irish national bodies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 - A Case Study

Last week saw Trinity College play host to the Dublin Web Summit. The event, which was beyond sold out, brought together a fantastic panel of speakers to discuss the lessons & direct experiences of scaling up companies, inspiration for Irish tech start ups and a round house debate on the implications and expectation of Social Media and the advent of user curated news and content. The Summit's speakers were Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, Matt Mullenweg, founder of Wordpress, Wired’s Editor-at-Large, Ben Hammersley, and former Iona CEO, Chris Horn. The Summit was presided over and MC'd by Mark Little.

I was lucky enough to attend the Summit as a guest of one of its sponsors,

The conference was, to say the least, one of the most informative and thought provoking events I've been to in the last 5 years. To start I would commend Mark Little on being one of the finest MCs I've had the pleasure of seeing. Mark not only knows what he's talking about inside and out, but he shows a genuine passion and interest in the people speaking and what they are speaking about. On the otherside then, it should be taken into account also that the line up of speakers was just brilliant. Craig Newmark, Matt Mullenweg, Ben Hammersley and Chris Horn all displayed an insight into a world that both enthrals and intrigues me. I live Social Media and online content, it's a passion, and I am lucky enough to be able to work with the things that I find most interesting. These people were, in one way or another, all part of that world down to its core. Newmark and Mullenweg: the creators and innovators. Hammersley: the critique, moderator and commentator. Horn: the technologist and advocate. While the room may have been filled with geeks much the same as myself, there was not a single person present who wasn't captivated.

Watching and listening to these people talk, I realised that the entire landscape of the world I work in, is primordial in its nature. Nothing is concrete, nothing set in stone, and nothing that is beyond question. Opinion rather then fact prevails in the majority of circumstance and everything we accept today could easily be idiotic to even consider tomorrow. The web and Social Media are changing so rapidly that the only way to stay with the leading edge is to immerse oneself in everything to do with it. Surround yourself with like-minded people and make sure to listen to everything they have to say, because every suggestion or idea is worth considering. I do quite a bit of freelance work but I would never consider myself to have owned my own business. Listening to the panel got me thinking about this. How would I approach the modern digital world if it were my own business I was driving?

Speaking to my host at the Summit, seemed like a good place to understand what the trials and difficulties faced by a start-up are. Fred, a Swede who married an Irish girl and now lives in Wexford, was full of good suggestions and commentary on how he and his wife took their digital idea and created a seriously impressive business. The best thing, however, that Fred and Geraldine, his wife, offered was a Case Study (available to download here) that the company has created on exactly how they have become Ireland’s biggest and fastest-growing classifieds website. Reading through the case study I was thrilled. Here is a company that has realised how Social Media works. It's all about sharing. Giving away knowledge and learnings makes you stronger. Other businesses succeeding makes the market stronger. Here was someone who actually saw the benefit of giving away information that others would hold tightly to their chest and do anything to keep secret. Bravo!, from a standing start in 2005, has experienced an average of 10 - 15% growth in visitor traffic and ad placements per month. At the end of last year the business had reached a company turnover of €1mil and is hosting more then 50k of active ads. According to Google Trends, the business is now the number one place to buy and sell things in Ireland. Consider that all that was achieved in less then 5 years. This hasn't gone unrewarded or unnoticed though. Last year Fred and Geraldine received the Net Visionary Internet Marketer award from the Irish Internet Association and was short-listed for the All Ireland Marketing Awards 2009 in the Small Business Category.

As of November last year, had the following metrics:

  • Visits per month: 2.8 million
  • Unique visitors per month: 776,000+
  • Traffic increase per month: 10 - 15%
  • Active ads: 54,000
  • New ads placed per month: 30,000
  • Turnover: €1 million
  • Revenue growth year on year: 400%

No one can say this isn't extremely impressive. For anyone who is started, has started, or is just thinking about starting their own business, I would recommend reading the Case Study (download here). It is full of good advice, practical suggestions and solid information on how one of Ireland's best success stories came to be.

Aside from the website, DoneDeal can also be found on Twitter (here or here) and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Google Buzz

TechCrunch said, "If Google Wave Is The Future, Google Buzz Is The Present". And that means what exactly? Well I'll assume you've heard of Google Wave. You may not know exactly what Google Wave is or what it can do, but I'll presume you remember everyone going crazy about Wave towards the end of 2009. Well, Google Buzz is the new 'next big thing' from Google.

Before I throw too many words at you, check out Google's video explaining what Buzz is...

I have to agree with TechCrunch on this one. Consider Google. A huge global mega-corp with interests in virtually every part of the modern web, from video hosting (YouTube) to email (Gmail) to image hosting (Picasa) to software/OS (Chrome) to hardware (Nexus One). The big glaring gap in that list, however, is Social Networking. In the grand scheme of things, Google do not have a presence within the hierarchy of favourite Social Media Networking sites. So why not fix that?

And you know what, Google are going to try just that.

Google's latest venture, Google Buzz, is designed to bring together elements of Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, and Facebook together in one convenient location, accessible by either desktop or mobile. Google Buzz is described as the ultimate feed, a kind of FriendFeed on steroids. Through the "convenience" of your Gmail account, you will now be able to stream your status updates, pictures, links, and videos from your friends. In a similar fashion to Facebook you can then “like” them and comment on them. The service will also suck in feeds from Flickr, Picasa, Google Reader and Twitter. Beyond this, Google Buzz will then also offer the added functionality of making recommendations of feed items that you might like based on friends’ activity.

So if this is all about a "super feed", what's the big deal?

Well, Google want Buzz to be different in one fundamental way: Buzz is about Social Curation. As most of us are probably (painfully) aware, there is just too much content being created to be able to filter through to the stuff that is of real genuine interest. Buzz will do this. When importing content from something like Twitter (import only to begin but Google say the service will eventually allow you to fully manage services like Twitter directly from Buzz), Buzz will filter out content so that you only see the best bits. Admittedly this sounds very controlling and perhaps not of immense value to begin with but Google do promise that the service will be as open as possible.

So what are the downsides to all this?

Well as has been seen with Google Wave, just because something is from Google does it automatically mean it's got universal appeal. Google Wave is a phenomenally powerful tool but it's simply not of use to everyone, and there are plenty of people who will go their whole life without a need for it. Google Buzz is really facing the same problem. Can it be of use to everyone? Because that's really what it's about these days. Niche is just that, niche. And for a company like Google to spend the time and money in development and promotion, they need to have something that we all use/need.

When it comes down to it, for me, it's too early to draw any conclusions. Give me a month of using the service and I'll come back with an educated review.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Google Search - Parisian Love

Love this video shared by Dermot yesterday on Twitter...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lyons Tea - Secret 'Ingredient'

It's so very true that things come in three's, and so with little surprise I find myself writing about a new tea advertisement just a day after I wrote about two others. The reason I find myself wanting to share this ad is, however, very different to yesterday's post. Tomorrow Lyons Tea will launch their latest campaign. The campaign reveals that ‘talk’ is the secret ‘ingredient’ in its tea. Not only do I think that this makes perfect sense for brand association, but ultimately I think the ad is very good.

The new ‘The Master Blender’ TV ad launches tomorrow, 8th February, with a humorous tongue in cheek story all about the Lyons Master Tea blender and his apprentice. The two characters describe how different types of talk are added to the tea, which results in conversations for all the people who drink it. The campaign shows us the wonka-esque magical tea factory where Lyons create their famous tea. The Master Tea blender and his apprentice are seen in a huge hallway lined with row upon row of specially labelled drawers of tea, each with a different type of talk. For this ad, the Master Tea blender selects ‘Footy Talk’ and proceeds to show his young apprentice how it is added to the tea. With their job done, the ad cuts to a scene of two older women sitting on a couch about to enjoy a nice fresh brew. As they each take a sip the conversation immediately turns to ‘Footie’.

What I particularly like about the new add is the detail that we are shown. For me this is very much on par with Coca-Cola's Open Happiness. Production and performer budgets are clearly miles apart but Lyons still create the same magic. A wonderful sense of 'something more' that you can enjoy as you make and drink a nice cuppa. Serious hat tip to Lyons of this one - well done!

Liz Finlay, Lyons Tea Marketing Manager, commented on the new campaign, “It’s no secret that Irish people are both big talkers and big tea drinkers - the secret is we, at Lyons, have been adding talk to the tea! The talk combined with the best blends of the finest tea makes for the best tasting, conversational cuppa! We’re delighted with our new TV advertisement and we think consumers will find this is just the right blend of fairytale, magic and humour! We’ll be supporting the new campaign with some really exciting activity in store, radio promotions and lots of PR over the coming months, giving Irish people plenty to talk about.”

The campaign is primarily driven through tv, in three executions, with support from three radio ads and a 48-sheet element. The campaign has been created by Rothco with the tv ad directed by Stephen St. Leger. Production was by H2 Films with post-produced by Windmill Lane Pictures.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"I Like Drisco" - Haiti Charity Single

Thought this worth sharing as it's a worthy cause and, lets face it, who doesn't like Brian O'Driscoll?

Check out the charity single, "I Like Drisco", (video on the way apparently) from Johnny Rayge & ITO. All proceeds from sales are going to Haven.

Sex & Tea.... How Odd?

It seems that an odd new trend might be developing, which sees our favourite hot beverage suddenly becoming linked to sex. Both PG Tips and Yorkshire Tea have new ads hitting the small screen that rely on something that I can't imagine being further from a cup of tea in any way. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bothered by the subject but I'm not sure I'd want my tea brand linked to sex. It seems like an odd coupling to me (pardon the possible pun there?). Anyways, the ads are live so I'll let you judge for yourself.

PG Tips

Johnny Vegas and his pal Monkey do the Meg Ryan "fake orgasm" scene from 'When Harry Met Sally'. The spot, which was created by Mother, is all about just how excited Monkey gets over his cup of PG Tips when johnny asks him to describe just how good it tastes. The scene is done as an almost 100% imitation. It is set in a cafe very similar to 'When Harry Met Sally' and sees Monkey shouting "Oh yes!", to have a woman at a nearby table tell the waitress: "I'll have what he's having". The ad finishes by asking viewers to find their way to best describe the taste of tea.

Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea have just launched a new ad for their 'Teatime's Important' campaign. The ad sees a young couple stop what their about to do to enjoy a nice cuppa. The ad, created by Beattie McGuiness Bungay, shows a Yorkshire couple enjoying a very passionate embrace before the young man whispers (in an extremely prominant Yorkshire accent) "would you like a cup of tea?" His counterpart is delighted by the offer and the pair put things on hold to have a cup of Yorkshire Tea before continuing their fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Nike Red - Lace Up, Save Lives

I am absolutely loving this new campaign from Nike to support AIDs campaigning. It's not fantastically original, in my opinion, as it's essentially a rehash of the Make Poverty History - White Band campaign, but at the same time it's great to see someone like Nike using their sponsorship commitments for something so worth while. The influence that these lads have is just so huge that I think they're the perfect people to promote this kind of topic. It helps bring it out into an arena that a lot of young people, blokes especially, wouldn't talk about or openly support otherwise.

Basically Nike have recruited some of the biggest sports stars from their sponsorship ranks to help raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. The campaign uses the tagline 'Lace Up Save Lives', and features a cast of athletes including Liverpool footballer Javier Mascherano, Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Arsenal's Andrei Arshavin. All profits from the sales of the new Nike (Red) laces goes to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

This is just one of a series of partnerships that have been launched between major international brands and (Red), which launched last November to create awareness and a deliver a sustainable flow of money from the private sector into the Global Fund. Partners of the fund are allowed to add the (Red) mark to their products and in return make a significant percentage contribution of the sales/profits from that product to the Global Fund.

There's also a nice slideshow of images from the campaign:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tweetup In An Elevator

I was reading through my RSS feeds earlier this morning and I came across this great post by Jeff Pulver.

On Monday afternoon, Jeff unexpectantly found himself part of a 75+ minute tweetup in an elevator, at the New York Times. Jeff was at the offices to attend a discussion on social media and the Haiti Disaster (which incidentally was really good according to Jeff). Andrew Rasiej, founder of the Personal Democracy Forum, moderated the discussion and a number of Jeff's friends were there as speakers; including Ann Curry from NBC News and the Today Show, Rob Mackey who is a staff writer The New York Times, Erik Parker who is a journalist that was in Haiti when the earthquake struck, and Jason Cone who is the Communications Director for Doctors Without Borders.

Following the meeting, Jeff was chatting to Ann Curry as they made their way, with 9 others, to the elevator. Without too much thought the 11 passengers boarded the elevator on the 15th floor and awaited the short ride down to the lobby. The doors closed, and their decent commenced. Oddly though, the elevator missed the lobby by about one and half feet below the lobby. What transpired then couldn't have been scripted. Jeff found himself trapped in an elevator with what he describes as
an amazing cast of characters. The group included: Ann Curry; Jennifer Preston, Social Media editor of the New York Times; Geo Geller, Jeff's friend who documented the experience; Ann Blinkhorn, an executive recruiter; Phil Thomas DiGiulio, Co-founder of @pegshot; Alex Howard, Associate editor at; Todd McCarty the new Senior Vice President of Human Resources at the New York Times and just a single individual wished to stay anonymous.

The alarm was immediately sounded and building maintenance confirmed they were on the way. What surprised Jeff most was that almost just as quickly, the cameras came out and photos and video were captured. Although signal was bad Jeff was finally able to tweet "Stuck in the elevator with @anncurry @geogeller @holaphil and 5 others in New York Times building." Jeff also commented that
the conversations in the elevator were fun and enjoyable, and the experience turned into a pretty amazing and unplanned tweetup and a chance to get to know a bunch of people whom I would never would have otherwise had a chance to spend time with. 75 minutes passed and the doors opened, and everyone went back to their various tasks and chores.

When Jeff woke up yesterday morning he was a little startled to read about his experience in Gawker. Further to this, the story took on and even more surreal feeling when Ann told the story in the opening of the Today Show by sharing the video captured by @holaphil.

If this isn't a clear indication of the level of interconnectivity that we now have as a society, I don't know what is. While people may not know each other in person, may not have a clue what someone else does or even looks like, there is a common thread connecting us. A kind of digital shadow that allows us to all share our experiences and become part of something larger. I think it's safe to say that it is an evolution of the human condition, facilitated by technology.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On Social...

At the end of last year, Giles Rhys Jones spoke at a being digital mashup event. I've unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Giles but I reckon if this video is anything to go by, there's a serious interesting conversation to be had.

Monday, February 1, 2010

BBC: The Virtual Revolution

This is the introduction to The Virtual Revolution, a new BBC four part series about how the web is changing the world. The show's presenter, Dr. Aleks Krotoski, has already created quite a buzz throughout the Twittersphere with the shows conclusions and comments, and while I wouldn't agree with all of them, I think there's a lot of food for thought. The first episode was on BBC2 on Saturday and there is a repeat this evening. For full details, visit the BBC Virtual Revolution website.

Thanks to Damien for reminding me to blog this :)