Oct 25

Softly, softly Catchee Customer

Katherine Stone discusses a new campaign to promote the Mercury car in the US. Arriving unannounced at a coffee store, the promotional people bought everyone a coffee and let them take a look at, and talk about, the new car model. No big fanfare, no promotional speech, just buy a coffee and and let the product be talked about. For me, this type if experiential marketing, bringing the product to the customer sits some where inthe middle of the push-pull model. Not overtly interupting my activity, but present, giving a choice to interact instead of being seen as a pair of eyeballs/ears what does nothing but wait to be fed. Choice of participation or choice to ignore and just drink the coffee.

Oct 24

Rhapsody Videos

I watched 2 completely different spoof videos based on Queen’s Boheemian Rhapsody. The first, via Boing Boing is called Zero Wing Rhapsody; funny lyrics here. The second uses Queen’s original track and is inspired by the British Army’s Amarillo video. The senior service’s (the Navy) video of the whole thing whilst miming the lyrics. Not as slick as the first, there are funny moments – the Titanic-like air guitar moment, the pilots headbanging whilst flying the helicopter and the insight about what really goes on in the officers’ wardroom.

Posted in fun
Oct 24

I want to play – Budget Cars and Blogs

BL Ochman has been working on a new campaign for Budget Car rental,called Up Your Budget, using blogs to power the campaign – a Treasure Hunt across 4 weeks and 16 US cities. That’s US only – therefore I can’t play, although the rules don’t state I need to be resident in the US. A nice prize as well – $10k per city.

The idea is nothing new, treasure hunts have been done before and will be done again. But it’s the tools that power this that differentiate it from previous ones (at least outside the tech industry). A blog to drive the campaign : easy to set up, easy to manage, direct interaction with the competitors made possible with comments and trackbacks. More unusual for me is the fact that all the marketing is blog based. There appears to be no offline ads, no promotional material, Word of Mouth is it. So if the only marketing being done is getting people like me to write about it, getting enough mass so the MSM will write about it and provide further publicity, then this could be a very effective campaign overall. Budget will be one of the first adopters and always known for that.

As a further bonus, the cartoons are provided by Hugh MacLeod. Colour at last ;o)

Oct 24

Insurance Questions

I’m refreshing my car insurance and one of the sites (and now I can’t remember which one) had the following list as one of it’s pre-screening questions. These type of questions usually point to increased premiums or people they will not insure – an interesting list putting together professional models and fast food deliverers.

– performer or presenter in films, TV, radio, music or other performing arts;
– professional model;
– professional sportsperson, manager or coach;
– non UK armed forces or diplomatic staff;
– taxi or minicab driver, proprietor or controller;
– connected with gaming, nightclubs, circuses, fairgrounds, amusements or street trading;
– scrap waste; or second hand dealing;
– fast food delivery

Oct 21

Busy time, busy city

Very busy working and meeting up with people – lots of fun but tiring. Not going to have anytime this trip to do sightseeing or shopping, although a rarely do any shopping when I’m here. Normal service may be resumed later.

Oct 19

Meetings in New York

I met up with Lee Wilkins yesterday in New York, who was here to attend Blogon. By one of life’s strange co-incindences we were in hotels next door to each other. Spent a nice evening tlaking blogging and podcasting and plans for the future (and sucking up the W’s free wifi in the bar!)

Oct 19

Gmail no More – now it’s Google Mail

Google are having to change their domain in the UK due to ongoing legal issues over the gmail name. They have FAQ page up, stating that they are no longer issuing gmail accounts, but have switched to googlemail.com. The question about whether I will have to change domain remains open:

# What if I’m a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will that address ever change?
Unfortunately, we don’t know. We would love to say that your address will always remain the same. But the trademark issue is still unsettled, and unfortunately, we cannot predict what the other party or the courts might do here. You can always use your same username with an @googlemail.com address to avoid this issue later on. But trust that we will do the best we can to make sure your email address won’t ever have to change.

# What if I’m a UK user who already has a Gmail address? Will I also need to change that address?
No, this change doesn’t affect existing Gmail addresses. For now, our plan is only to issue @googlemail.com addresses to new users. Trust that we will do the best we can to offer all our users a reliable and consistent email experience.

Oct 18

Posting Volumes

Dave Sifry of Technorati has posted his lastest update on the State of the Blogosphere.

The company is now tracking 19.6m blogs, the with the trend of a doubling every 5 months appearing to continue; currently 70000 new blogs are created every day. This time, he’s also included details of splogs, showing they are running at between 2-8%

Daily postings, at around 33000 an hour, appear to have slowed recently.


Is this because the surge since June has been due to school-aged children posting who are no longer on holidays or because of the increase in new blogs, driven by the interest, whose posts rapidly fade away. As blogs increase in numbers and popularity, the challnge now is making sense of the information.

Talking about posting volume, I’ve just seen that I’ve reached my 500th post in just under a year. That’s an average of 1.4 posts per day over the last 12 months.

Oct 18

Visitor Mapping Service

I’ve been trying out a nice little mapping service from gvisit, that puts site visitors on google maps (the mashup map of choice these days) It’s a short term snapshot over a few hours with 20 visitors maximum listed, but it’s more fun for me being visual than reading the list of countries in the traffic analyser.


Oct 18

Blog Design Mistakes

Jakob Niekson has published a Top 10 of Blog design mistakes. A must read. Wonder how I do?

1. No Author biography Got one of those – over there on the right.
2. No Author Photo. mmmm – not sure if I want one of those. I’m one of the people in the photo a few posts down and I’m occasionally in my own photos on Flickr. Otherwise – I’ll think about this.
3. Nondescript Posting Titles. Definitely fail on this one – but I’m trying with this post. Could do better.
4. Links don’t say where they go. Mixed report on this, I usually describe what the links are sending you to, but not consistently
5. Classic Hits buried. I think I need to get some first! Then I’ll list them in the side bar.
6. The Calandar is the only Navigation. Ok on this – a few ways to get to the stuff.
7. Irregular Posting Frequency. A few hiccups, but generally pretty regular I think.
8. Mixing Topics. Definitely. If pushed, I say this focuses on the use of technology and marketing. I may have to focus down somewhere.
9. Forgettting I write for my Future Boss. Difficult one; it’s like a student forgetting he may be a candidate for leader of the Tory party one day – it’s not easy predicting what will matter in the future. Hopefully, I’ve not made too many mistakes.
10. Having a Domain Name owned by a blog service. OK on this one – it’s mine, all mine.

Not too bad overall – how do you do?

Oct 16

Lost Property

The BBC are reporting that a Ministry of Defence worker left his gun in a public toilet in Sainsbury’s. What was he doing to take the gun off? And why was it loaded with blanks – what use is a gun loaded with blanks!

Oct 16

Hotel Manners

For our team development sessions, we were lucky enough to go to one of the best hotels in the UK, Cliveden. A wonderful experience, with the added spice of some celebrities staying. (we did eventually get a photo)

The service throughout was outstanding; except for some particular fussy behaviour over dinner. Eating as a group, we ordered red and white wine, different preferences. For some reason, the staff assumed that we would all have white with the starter and red with the main – not so, so we sorted that out and somewhow I’d ended up with none. Asking to get some wine, apparently the person currently serving could not do it – she asked someone who asked someone who wnet and got someone, who then proceeded to wander over, stare at the table and go off again. The second time of asking, the same chain of whispers was carried out – but at least the server found out who was missing the wine this time. The bottles were 2 feet behind me – but I had visions of being tackled to the ground if I had dared to grab the bottle. Apart from – superb place, well worth the visit.

One of the outcomes of the 2 days was a shared vision/mission statement. Usually (I’ve done this a few times) they end up being in the format of: ” We will……..by…..through…….”; filling in the gaps with whatever the team is working on. This time, something a little different came out, something that I can apply to other areas as well -“Evangelise the why, revolutionise the how, innovate the what”. Of course, I want to say ‘innovise’ – it just sounds so much better, so what if it is not a word!


Oct 16

Windows Installation

Yesterday my sister and her husband decided to reinstall Windows 98. All was well, it was working a lot faster and they were happy. Until they rebooted this morning and it asked them for a product key. Which they could not find and did not know it was needed. This resulted in a call to me and a lot of spelling out of command line typing until we found it and got them back working. They won’t be doing that again!

Oct 14


Update: I see they fixed it.

To tie in with poster ads, Wonderbra have a site promoting thier new range, experiencewonderyou.co.uk. A nice site, but with the flash navigation it prevents you linking wiithin the site so I could not send someone a direct link about one of the products. I like the rolloever effect on the individual product pages – dressed or underdressed!

The site is pretty slick – so it is quite funny to see the error that slipped past what I know would have been lots of testing. Been there, missed similar things (and worse!)- how ever often you read and stare at copy, there’s often something that slips through to the live site (and I have no excuse given the atrocious proof-reading that takes place on this blog. So here, Wonderbra have a new product – the pluging bra. I wonder what that does?


Oct 14

Take That Moment

Currently sitting in a hotel lounge after a day’s team building. The hotel is one of the nice country houses that got converted after the war to a hotel. During the day we’ve been disturbed by camera crews filming various people. At one point I stopped to see if I could recognise anyone, only to report back to the rest of the team that is was a blond guy with a stripey jumper whom I did not recognise. However, on closer view, it was Gary Barlow, who is currently sitting 10ft away with Mark, Jason and Howard for a Take That reunion which is being filmed (or at least bits of it are – the dinner and drinks weren’t). Robbie did not make it.