Jul 24

the New Technorati

My first reaction on looking at the newly designed technorati was not quite sure, the colours were not quite right, the information was not where it was. It was strange and different. But then I started to click around and I like it.

Discover section
: automated popularity instead of voted. Find out who is linking to things in multiple categories, not requiring anyone to take more action than providing a link on their own blogs. A little thrown by the Sports section, I think it is biased towards American sports but if you look at the total list, these are the ones most linked to. The Myfavourites allows you to build your own list of blogs to track, by categories. I don’t think I’ll switch from bloglines, but it is a good tool. The Most Popular is another way to look at popular sites, searches, tags, videos, posts, news and books.

All of these sections drive you to discover new information in different ways, although tied into what is already popular. It’s good to see the search and the watchlists still as strong, to allow you to find the stuff in your favourite subjects that may not be of popular interest.

I’m glad to say my first reaction has been updated..and I now like it. tag:

Jul 24

Doctor Who viral

From the viral mailing list today, we get a link to a new Doctor Who game, to keep you amused now the series has finished for the year. Not really a viral, more a link to an existing website. You get to be K9, move round the maze, collect things, avoid the baddies and get to the end. (Wait a minute, wasn’t I just playing this on MySpace). Unlike Pacman however, this environment is more 3D, which means I always manage to screw up the controls completely as I never can work out which way to go. I’m enjoying this, in a mindless way, with random screams as the little dog goes completely the wrong way.

k9.JPG

Jul 24

Blackout Country

The US has been suffering a number of blackouts as the heatwave hits the countries ability to provide enough electricity to run all the air conditioners. The blackouts have affected MySpace, which was down for most of the weekend; at times the error message blamed the blackouts and sometimes, like currently, states the outage is due to planned maintenance.

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Nevermind, if you can’t connect with all your buddies, you can still play Pacman. I wonder how many of the MySpace audience actually know what Pacman is?

Meanwhile, the blackouts gave the Social Engineering panel at Hope the opening they needed to get people to agree to various things, such as promising them access to basements to look at electic meters. The panel was one of the most popular at the event, with the main hall packed to overflowing to listen to stories about past successes and a live demonstration of the activity. I think the moral was never trust anybody, especially when being asked to do things to help!

Jul 21

DRM free music by Yahoo

Yahoo have released for sale a song that is DRM free. (One song only, mind you). Unfortunately it’s Jessica Simpson – but you can get it personalised before you download it – get your name in the song. As the Yahoo blog puts it

We’ve also been saying that DRM has a cost. It’s very expensive for companies like Yahoo! to implement. We’d much rather have our engineers building better personalization, recommendations, playlisting applications, community apps, etc, instead of complex provisioning systems which at the end of the day allow you to burn a CD and take the DRM back off, anyway!

Suw, reperesenting the Open Rights Group is quoted in the BBC article:

Suw Charman, executive director of the digital advocacy body the Open Rights Group says the experiment is “clearly a gimmick” but still a significant move. “It’s an important experiment,” she said. “I hope it’s the beginning of a significant movement from them [Yahoo].” “It sends a strong message about not having to have DRM on everything.”

Now this is one track only, a very commercial track with a ‘trick’ included. Yahoo and more inportantly the record agencies will wait to see how successful it is before they attempt another version. Oh no..does that mean I have to go and buy a Jessica track to support this?

Jul 21

Emily Goes Global (or at least the UK)

The story of thatgirlemily has spread to the UK. The Metro apparently had a shot of the billboard in Los Angeles with the caption:

“Californication: A wife takes revenge on her cheating husband by buying a giant billboard poster to abuse him and ridicule his manhood. The woman, known only as Emily, paid more than £22,000 for the ad in Holywood’s Sunset Boulevard – from their joint bank account, naturally.”

Displaying fine journalistical skills they do not appear to have dug any futher into this story to find out that is is marketing…I wonder if they will. I can’t link to the story as it’s not online, but thanks Ed for the email. I’m sure there’s a scan out there somewhere.

Jul 21

Morning Coffee

At the instigation of Noah and Piers, a group of us got together this morning for coffee and chat about marketing, trends, technology etc. A couple of hours went by very quickly..and it looks like we’ll be having a few more of these so sign up if you are interested

Jul 20

Greenpeace Anti-car ads

From today’s viral mailgroups comes a link to a new Greenpeace campaign. As it’s called the Gas Guzzler you can guess where it is going, but it’s well put together as you watch the “hero’s” collegues react to him in the office. It turns the usual adland admiration of a new car into disdain. the message with the Send to a friend bit make sit plain:

Do you know someone thinking of buying a 4×4? Tell them not to screw the climate by sending them a link to our video.

Jul 17

Client Agency meetings

From Advergirl (via Adrants) the perfect description of a meeting between big client and big agency.

Agency account planner who has a “new media definitions cheat sheet” that she clipped out of Ad Week folded in her wallet: Well, I was thinking that we could try some “user generated media” – that means we would ask consumers to send in their own videos or art projects or commercials. They could really talk about how they experience the brand. Like a community.

The new CMO who works on gut instinct and a short attention span, who makes seat-of-the-pants decisions with little or no information and holds the agency accountable for not giving him all the details when the ill-conceived projects bomb: Ok, ok, I’ve heard enough. Here’s what we’ll do – customers will send in videos of how their dogs experience Cola. We’ll advertise on Friendster and Myspace. And, we’ll give away two Labrador pups to the winner – maybe a guest appearance at that big dog show my wife is always talking about – Westchester, or whatever.

Big corporates seeing the message control slipping away, not quite sure what to do (but they have to do something) but hemmed in my fear and lawyers and a (oten real) risk of litigation.

Jul 12

The Grudge Game

I’ve gone and joined a variety of Chinwag mailing groups, one of which is used to announce various ‘virals’ to the world. Perfect fodder for posts.

So the first one to discuss is ‘The Cursed Room‘, a ame in the style of the Crimson Room to support the release of The Grudge 2 (and I keep writing that as grunge). According to the mail..’it’s gone ballistic’ (although 20 posts on Technorati and 10 google links is not necessarily indicative of viral buzz, maybe these exclusives are driving a lot of traffic?)

My first impression is the long load and then the tinyness of the playing area – it’s not conducive to actually seeing things

grudge.JPG

But once you get over that the game is actually quite good fun, if you like them (and I do). I’m just normally very bad at them, so the forums that have been set up are quite helpful to work out where to click and how to combine the elements. This one is a hit for me.

Except for the fact that actually, I have no idea what the film or product is about and I’m still not that interested – I’m just playing the game. So I think may be not so much of a hot for the product

Jul 11

Links bad

The last time I looked the web was links. Navigate by links, get better search ranking through links, links fuel the hamsters that drive the wheels. But not if you are Gartner, who have sent a C&D to James Governor for providing a link to one of their studies. Not exactly what the reason to put things on the web….hiding it from everyone. Now, I’m guessing that the link was to a study that Gartner wants you to pay for, but they failed to manage their own IP by not firewalling it well.

Jul 11

A credit card to match your Mini

If you’ve spent time on the Mini design your own car site, you can now extend your design skills. You can now design your own mini and get it on your own personal card from Platinum Visa. Taking the user design just one step further, match everything…so all you need now is the design your own Matchbox toy car.

As manufacturing becomes more flexible, we move further into the production runs of one. Have your designed car, PC, phone, MP3 player. Make it match your lifestyle and the features that you want – no more and no less. And this should bring along flexible prices as well.

Jul 11

Make your own Ad for Kayak

Dave Weinberger links to Kayak.com, which is running a build your own ad campaign. Kayak is a travel comparison site, for flights, hotels and all the other things you need on trips. I love the way it also pulls together all the reviews for hotels as well as all the prices.

The company is now starting to run national ads and is looking for further input from the fans of the sites, with a competition to build your own add wither through a tool kayak provides or on your own. The winner gets a trip to New York and their ad prefessionally remade and then used nationally. The sense of humour comes through strongly on their own ads, so there is plenty of scope…and the instructions make it clear what they are after:

* You must be funny. If you are not funny, don’t try to start now.
* You must own or have rights to the images you submit.
* Keep it clean; no porn.
* Keep it cleaner; no swearing, either.
* Don’t use our tool to make us look dumberer.
* We get a copy to post (it IS our tool and our brand).
* Oh, yeah. You must be funny.

Looking at some of the ones submitted to date, it looks like people are playing within the rules.

Kayak joins the growing number of companies that are asking for this kind of involvement from their users, with varying degrees of success. It depends on the level of respect that exists between the users and the brand, in both directions. This camapign looks like it is moving from a good starting place.

Jul 08

Doctor Who tonight

I’ve been watching the trailers fopr Doctor Who all week, looking at the newspapers and been subject to the over the top coverage on the BBC morning show. The big finale is tonight..does Rose die or not? We know she’s going, but how. And I’m going to be on a plane! So I have to wait til that is over and then go find it and most likely wait til tomorrow to watch. I canlt wait to put into action my plan to buy and set up a Slingbox…wouldn;t help tonight but better going forward.

Jul 07

Let’s make a viral!

Adrant’s has a post about a Coke press release announcing their latest viral. As a way of trying to get the video to be viral. And I continously hear the Account teams and creatives in the agency discussing what they are going to do for the viral element of a campaign.

So there is now an assumption that you need do nothing to get a viral other than call it a viral. Just churn something out, send it out to a few blogs and put it on a few video sites and away it goes. Now, having a good, targeted buzz campaign is always going to help something go viral, send out the seeds, so to speak. But it is not the only key to success.

The key – it has to be good. It has to give the viewer something. If i’m I’m going to waste 30 seconds or more watching or playing with something I have to get something back – a laugh, a sense of wow. Not just another ad that some agency has put on the web on You Tube that I would not stop the fast forward for on the TV.

The best virals are shared because they are good. And they can become self-sustaining after a while. How many people use the ‘Most viewed’ on YouTube to look for new things. Or use somethng like the Viral chart to see what is going on.

So instead of deciding how the next viral can be made and distributed, how about agencies focus more on making something remarkable first. Put into the strategy tools that make it easy to be viral if it takes off. If web based, give it a URL that can be linked to directly, don’t embed deep in a flash site. If video, let people take it away and put it on their sites, don’t lock down with DRM. Make it easy for people to send on, using send to a friend stuff…not everyone can work out how to copy and paste a link.

Just don’t assume that just because you call it viral that it will become one.