Oct 04

UN World Food Programme Contest

Running a contest to to make a video (stop calling them viral please…) is pretty common currently, for all sorts of reasons, anti-DRM, Coke and Mentos, Chevy taho etc etc. They are being used more and more froma commercial aspect as a way for brands to engage with their consumers.

But here’s one for a slightly different reason. The UN World Food Programme, in the guise of fighthunger.org are asking for contributions of “a short video (no longer than 120 seconds) that sends the message that child hunger should end by 2015” which is one of the UN’s Millennium Development Goal. There’s some serious reasons behind this and some serious backing:

Everyone who enters is a winner because by sharing your creativity you’re joining our global movement to end child hunger by 2015. The overall winner will have the chance to visit and film a WFP School Feeding Project. The winning video will be used by Fight Hunger: Walk the World in their media campaign to end child hunger by 2015.

Nice to see the site (and the contest rules) licenced under Creative Commons; they’ve also done the sensible thing and not built themselves out a video site but are just using exisiting sites such as YouTube. A far better reason to be out making your own content than the usual brand competition.

Oct 03

Galactica and Microsoft

I actually noticed an online ad yesterday. It’s not something I normally do, having developed my finely tuned sense of ignoring ads and having no recall. But this one for MS Visual Studio just stuck out because it was slightly incongrous. They are sponsoring the Battlestar Galactica webisodes, so just have a small, static logo, just above the viewing area. It’s not your usual entertainment sponsorship but I can see the potential match in demographics.


Oct 03

Lastminute Top Secret Hotels

Lastminute.com have a fairly decent new promotion for their Top Secret Hotels, where you can book 4 or 5 star hotels, but you don;t know what you are booking. It’s just a new spin on the ‘make your own magazine story’ but it is nicely put together, has a straightforward user flow, lets you load up your own photo and just works for me. I liked the disclaimer at the end – bet that took a lot of copywriting from the original legalese.

The promotion is not easily carried through the the main page however…on my POC at least the tiny text link is below the fold. Once on the hotel page, it’s very upfront with the incentive – send the link to a friend and receive a 10GBP voucher to use against your next booking.


Oct 02

Barcamp Roundup

The weeked ended, we threw all the rubbish out, the comfy couches got put away and the beanbags sent back with Red Bull. Post Mortem notes can be found on the wiki and the general feedback from this and from emails sent all seem to be positive – Barcamp NYC2 was seen as a success.

I was surprised at the number of people who did not turn up, it appears only about half the signees were there, but maybe there was a larger fluctuation than I was aware of. A hardcore bunch did stay overnight but I was not one of them in the end. Despite borrowing a sleeping bag (thanks dan) i ended up trekking back to the flat to sleep in my own bed.

A huge thankyou to Peter who was our contact at Microsoft and smoothed all the arrangements out. It was a wonderful space, plenty of room, wifi was wonderful and everything just worked well with the spatial logistics. He also pinned a target on himself by opening up sessions about Why Microsoft Sucks. After the first one focused on the OS only, he volunteered to go through it again. Interestingly, from my perspective some of the issues that were bought up I did not see as issues – because I know no difference having not worked on Macs but they were obviously painpoints for people who worked oer the 2 systems.

Another great session was from Dennis Crowley on Pervasive Games. Turning the world into a game is fun; one of the originals was Kit William’s Masquerade (just looking at this, it was probably published a few years before many in the audience were born). Technology adds an extra dimension to playing in the real world, with mobile phones, GPS, instant connectivity; the web adds the collaboration effort that allows quick solutioning (Masquerade would have probably taken a lot less than 3 years if redone now)

Looking forward to the next one – perhaps BarCamp SouthBeach
in the middle of january could be a good break.

Oct 01

Digital Ages of a Marketing Director

My second presentation within a week! After only ever doing this type of thing at work, I gave a presentation at barcamp today ‘the digital ages of the modern marketing directory’, a tongue-in-cheek look at the challenges in convincing corporates to market on the web. I gave a quick run through three stereotypes that I have come across:

  • the Luddite – those people who do not believe the web can be used to market goods but often hold the budget. Difficult to convince to spend money in this type of marketing
  • the Enthusiast – the ones who know they have to be on thw web but get stuck on a few things that they just know will work – lets make a viral is their rallying cry
  • the Realist – people who use the web everyday, who treat the web as just one channel in the marketing mix, who don’t need convincing on using the web, just need the right information to feed into the rest of their studies on RoI

It then opened up into a general discussion about different ways to market on line, targeting audiences and good practices for online spend. It went well enough, to a full house, that I need to actually turn this into a more formal presenation with slides and I can extend the time I think.

Sep 30

Half Baked

Social Carnivore

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

One of the fun sessions this morning was Half-Baked. You’re given 10 minutes to design and plan a new company and then pitch it for prizes. We had mobile trackers, content networks, iPod hiring, recycling and more.

The winning entry was Space RocketCelebrity, a social networking, user generated, voting competition to send you and a celebrity into space.

My team came up with Social Carnivore (tagline – we don’t ask, we just take) a new industry to dis-disintermidediate the social data that is out there, aggregate it all and sell it off to the highest bidder. We were runners up for being the most scary of the ideas and for the best logo, seen here in its glory after Eric knocked it out in 2 minutes.

Sep 27

Cab rides and planning

I nipped back to London for a couple of days to present at a conference. For my trip back, I’d booked a car to pick me up – my normal behaviour the last few trips has been just to get a yellow cab. With the long wait to get through immigration and then a long queue for the cab, it has been taking me nearly 3 hours from landing to get home. Yesterday was completely different. The US immigration queue was the quickest I’d ever seen it, I was asked no questions at all by the agent/officer (whatever they are called); I only had hand luggage so no waiting for the carousel to start and I walked out of the airport to see a long queue of taxis but no people waiting. I was through so quickly that my booked car had not arrived. That’s the way it goes though.

For some reason, I had almost the exact same conversation with the cab drivers at both ends of the journey, all started by the driver,s not by me. This was a commentary (rant?) about the US attitude to cars and driving – they had the same opinion, which was not that complementary.

Sep 22

White and Nerdy

Al Yankovic’s latest song, White and Nerdy, is all over the blogs, obviously hitting a key demorgraphic. AOL pulled the ‘World Premiere’ as it had been leaked online already – there’s currently 21 entries on YouTube for the same video. By looking at the viral video charts today, 2 of the YouTube versions actually have higher links than the ‘official’ one on MySpace.

The video chart itself is interesting in that it often shows up the multiple versions of a single piece of content often on different netowrking sites, so you see stuff being popular on YouTube, then MySpace, then Google video, rolling in waves across the networks and back as different ‘groups’ get hold of them. Some one far better at coding than I could do some cool things with the data, showing the trends across the sites.

Sep 22

Moo Cards

Like many others, I’ve been taking a look at Moo cards and their integration with Flickr. Love the idea so I ordered the 10 card offer that is available for Flickr Pro users to give them a go. My current cards are Streetcards, with a Hugh illustration which always get a reaction. The sample set will give me chance to compare reactions.


Aug 21

Boats and Clouds

Boats and Clouds

Originally uploaded by RachelC.

I’m a little this fortnight. I’m volunteering at the World Rowing Championships, working in the IT section which usually means getting jounalists connected to printers. The place is pretty wired (or wirelessed) up, as long as we can keep it going when all the broadcasters really hit it.

Aug 11

Telling it All – a video diary

YouTube has all sorts. Miming, karaoke, comedy, rants and TV. But here’s something different, life vignettes from Peter, a 78 year widower from the Midlands (that’s England). He started an account with YouTube 6 days ago and has over 2000 subscribers. There’s no theatrics, screaming or posturing, just a man in front of a video talking about his life. Take a look a the most recent film, where he talks about the 4000+ emails he’s received. (Via Lloyd). And see how the internet can change people’s lives.

Aug 09

Tumble Dryer fun

The Editors blog over at the BBC discusses some of the curiosity stories that it has shown recently, including a firemen going for a ride in a tumble dryer. The concern expressed is that it could be subject to copycat activity. But it’s not exactly new – i distinctly remember a ‘honorary’ club at college that you could only join after you’d gone for a ride in the tumble dryer.

Aug 07

Viral videos – best use of a bra in a fight

A few viral videos to look over.

The first is a scene from a new movie Dead or Alive and features Holly Valance in what i think is the best use of a bra in a fightscene ever. Funny

And it must be a week for bras…ScaryMovie 4 has a point and shoot game (called, with little with or though, BraBlasters) to support it’s release on DVD. Successfully complete each round and the target;s clothes become fewer and fewer. The target audience is pretty clear for this – adolescent boys. There’s nothing else to the site, no way to send it from the site on that I can see, no scoreboard, no challenge, just semi-naked women.

A more surreal video from Xbox 360, involving a world record attempt at something – I guess it’s a waterballoon fight on a beach in Australia. I’m left at the end of the video with a feeling of ‘what??’ I assume it is advertising some game involving waterballoons, but not too sure..it could be the release of the console in Australia as far as I can tell. Even clicking through to the main site does not clear it up. The site does not help itself my needing to download a java applet, giving this notice, ‘friendly’ message as the site loads.


On the cute side, here’s a helpful video from the TUC (the Trade Union Council for everyone outside the UK). To promote an employer search portal they are launching, it’s a reminder to check out the companies you are applying to on the ‘internet’. Very silly.


They are running a little poll about blogging and your employer. Unfortunately the results aren’t given immediately (why not?) but it would be interesting to see the results.

Aug 01

Open Rights Group – sign up and support

The Open Rights Group is asking you to sign up and support the work it does. Five pounds a month can help them go a long way to reach their goals:

* To raise awareness in the media of digital rights abuses
* To provide a media clearinghouse, connecting journalists with experts and activists
* To preserve and extend traditional civil liberties in the digital world
* To collaborate with other digital rights and related organisations
* To nurture a community of campaigning volunteers, from grassroots activists to technical and legal experts

So please go and contribute, read the blog, add to the wiki and spread the word.

Aug 01

That Girl Emily – the end of the campaign

Emily, the poster girl for Court TV (see here and here for info and explanation) has reached the end of her campaign of terror on her cheating husband. And whilst there were some interesting stunts during the last 2 weeks, the reveal is rather dissapointing.

Also, if you think someone is cheating on you, I definitely recommend the private investigator my brother used, Vinny Parco from Intercontinental Investigations. He’s a real straight shooter – he showed me what I needed to know but he did it with real sensitivity and compassion. I think he has a show on Court TV.

There’s not even a link to the show pages. It’s a weak letdown to what looked like a tighly planned operation, even if the company were surprised at the early reveal (from the New York Times, registration required)

The bad news for viral marketers who use these kind of devices: executives at Court TV said they did not really want to be discovered so quickly.

Next time, do better please!

Jul 26

Vodafone viral

Yesterday there was Virgin mobile, now a Vodafone campaign. This one is pretty…lots and lots of cute animals and landscapes. The idea here is to promote their free weekend rates; by calling the number you can add your mesage and have it played on the site. The viral stuff comes from being able to send your message to a friend from the site. Surely it would be better if you just called them? (but the images are still pretty)


Jul 25

Virgin festival Tickets viral

From today’s delivery of viral sites comes this offering from Virgin. Here you can actually win something – tickets to the Virgin Mobile V festivals taking place at the end of August (in the Uk only) .

The site offers a nice little game to amuse for a few minutes, then a chance to enter the draw for the tickets. There are 15 daily draws, with the site being up for three weeks only. This means there’s no search engine marketing that is obvious – no paid stuff anyway – and hte site is relying on the member get member method. Send to 5 friends and get 10 extra entries into the draw.

I like this Site. Nice design, some thought has gone into usability (back navigation is always useful), good hook to get you to send it on and a fun game that you can play again and again.