Monday, 22 December 2008

My DNA personlity type

I came across this on Chris' blog via Twitter and had a little bit of time to kill so did it. I turns out I'm what they call a 'Free-wheeling' inventor - I actually quite like the description, I think it sounds good for someone working in planning & strategy ;o)




Nice test, I'm a bit surprised I have a low level of empathy on their scoring though... On cool sort of test basis, I'd recommend 'Now, discover your strengths' which is more about looking at your main strengths and encouraging one to develop them rather than overall personality - it's really interesting. Buy the book and do the test online.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Next generation talent



Melanie invited me this evening to judge in a social media panel for this Next Generation Talent competition ran by Panasonic in partnership with YCN.

For the launch of the new Viera HD TV entertainment hub, Panasonic decided to run a competition for aspiring UK creative talent to create a print or TV ad for the new product. From the 60 entries, the Brand Communications Manager at Panasonic and creative agency Billington Cartmell shortlisted about 15; and this evening a social media panel of about 8 people further shortlisted the candidates down to 6. From tomorrow for 48 hours (very short time frame...) people can choose their favourite entries on the website and an ad is going to be published in the Guardian tomorrow morning to that effect.

I had a very nice evening and thought it was pretty interesting for a bunch of reasons. To start with, it was the first time I was on a panel for an advertising competition, so that was pretty cool.

Referring to Will's post here for a second, I noticed the conversation tends to go towards swiftly towards bullshit bingo. I tried to avoid some words, but they keep coming back. I guess It can't really be helped given it goes with the territory, but it's always funny to notice. We could have had printed grids, really...

More interestingly, some of the entries were really great. It was sometimes difficult to judge given a lot of effort had gone into all of them. The conversation kept coming back to what the idea was behind the execution and whether that was something that could be used for an ad, which is fine for the purpose of selecting a winner, but another point I think is more interesting is the fact they have great material for brand advocacy and sort of high level user generated content they could be promoting a lot more than for just one winner of a competition. And the fact that the voting is limited to 48 hours is a shame as well.

Here are the 6 selected by the panel this evening:

'All memories in HD' (I'd say that one was my favourite of the 6)
'Centre of attention'
'Meet your HD family'
'Boxes'
'The mess around'
'Roots'


Now a very special mention to my personal favourite: 'The beehive' or 'BeeHub'

It doesn't actually have anything to do with the brief, but it's mad and I'm going to remember that one and talk about it. It would be amazing for some sort of viral piece - or purely promoting the fact that Panasonic is actively encouraging creative talent in the UK, and not just looking for someone who do their next ad.

And even about a next ad, just think again what a drumming gorilla has to do with chocolate before you start knocking off the bees...

Referring to a great post from Paul I read this morning, the competition itself is advertising that does and that's where there is a lot of value. Rather than trying to get a 'professional' ad out of one those competition entries, keep expanding and encouraging people to do and talk about this TV and these advertising ideas and creative concepts - that's more exciting - like the bees.

PS: Neil just opened Think Tank post of the month votes, there are some really good nominations, go check them out!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Fill a plane

A friend in China just invited to participate in this digital campaign for KLM Asia-Pacific, I thought it's a nice little idea. Register your plane and invite your friends on board to win prizes once the plane is filled up with passengers. In the meantime, have your picture on the homepage:



Apparently you can only email your friends about it, but coming soon are the Facebook applications and stickers for your blog or website - though I find it a bit strange they launched the campaign without having those ready...

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Monday, 24 November 2008

Tropfest short film festival winner

Tropfest is the worlds largest short film festival. It already happened a couple of months ago so you may have heard of this, but this year for the first time the best film award was won by someone who shot their short entirely with a mobile phone camera.

The movie itself is beautiful, so if you have 3 minutes check it out, but it also made me think more about the way we use/consume/create media, not only has it been getting easier and easier for anyone to create and use production tools on their computer (I recently edited a video at work in a couple of hours, and it was the first time I ever opened iMovie) but all the different tools are getting mashed together in smaller and smaller devices. It's a topic that is definitely being talked about a lot these days, but I'll look at putting some of these thoughts together for a post.

I was also at the Mushrooms of the Russian Avant Garde exhibition on Saturday, I'll definitely write a post about it tomorrow once I upload the pics to Flickr - it was pretty weird and fascinating...

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Global Beersphere


Thanks to Andy for the logo!

Catching up on on my posting so this is already old news but the Global Beersphere happened last week and it was a great evening! Thanks to Faris for initiating it and to all the people in different locations around the world to take on managing the event. For those not in the know, Beersphere is a casual gathering of all sorts of planner type peeps, generally in a some cool bar or pub and guess what? Having beers/drinks and a good chat.

The lovely Rachel was our official host for the evening, and it was a pleasure to meet her again and as well as a good bunch of other always interesting people.

The event took place last Thursday 13th November, for the first time in about 9 locations around the world: New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Boston, Berlin and Bucharest!

Blogadi Blogada


Image courtesy

It's being a seriously busy November over in Ice Cream land, but going to the London Bloggers meetup always inspires me to make an effort and get back to writing a few posts. Thanks again to Andy for organising the event, and also for the inimitable inspiration for naming the events - which gave me the title for this post as well!

It was nice to see some people met before (Anthony, Jaz, Andy, and others) and meet new always interesting people is as ever a great pleasure (Melanie, Hayley, and several Chris - sorry I need to find your blogs).

Melanie who writes at Fake Plastic Noodles, which for some reason I thought was Fresh plastic noodles - (Sorry I haven't had time to read it yet, but hopefully will soon) talked about some differences in the UK and US blogospheres, her experience of moving over to London and the fun it was getting working visas in order, some good talk about PR / blogger outreach good practices, and it finished with some great informal questions / conversations.

A few more drinks and good conversations and we was on my merry way home. I'll definitely try to make it to the next one. As I said, it's a great way to meet cool people and find out about all the different topics they blog about and it's really a good motivation to post regularly.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Last post before November!



Happy Halloween everyone! I'm very proud to announce this is the 15th post this month, which for those very math astute will realise that's extremely close to a post every other day! But I'm probably the only one that cares that much...

So let's get to what I'd like to write about quickly. I was at Playful today and it was an absolutely amazing conference. Certainly the best one I've been to this year and one of the best ones I've been to full stop. I think what was really brilliant was to bring together a bunch of people passionate about whatever domain and particularly interested in play, games, interaction from different fields and talk about what they are doing. So a wider spectrum than if they had only invited hardcore game designers - more than often probably pitching the latest product they developed (nothing wrong with that by the way, but I guess not what I was looking for today).

Which brings to what I was looking for today. Nothing specific, really. But I came out of it really inspired! I learned a lot of things about hacking things, making them do stuff they weren't meant to. Theories about games, play, meaning, scores, etc. A lot of very smart people either demonstrating experiments, or talking from a slightly more abstract point of view about people, play and games.

I think one special mention for myself was to meet James Wallis from Spaaace. James opened the event with a brilliant talk about play in general, OuLiPo and a lot of other interesting things inclusing board and role playing games which I love. The best was to learn over a drink after the conference that he designed one of my favourite card games ever: Once Upon a Time. The funny thing is that I just did an internal talk about playing games last week (Which I will upload to Slideshare very soon - as soon as I find some time) and we're going to organise some sessions fro Once upon a time and a couple of other games. A lot of other talks were amazing and I will tell you as soon as they are uploaded on Vimeo and Flickr for the pics

Thanks again to Toby, Richard, and everyone else at Pixel-lab for organising the event! Thanks to all the sponsors as well - Poke, Melinda @ Miss Geeky, The people who provided lunch that I can't remember who they are right now, etc...

PS: I think I just realised James Wallis also created Nobilis, an RPG I've been wanting to try for a long time that looks amazing! And I also realised that had I simply read the details on the speakers list, I would have known all of that already, but hey...

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Robocop on a Unicorn (And people stuff)


Image courtesy


Also because from this post onwards, October will be the month with the most posts in this dramatically thought altering - NOT - ice cream blog!

And just because that's what it's all about!

If you're still wondering what the "it" is I'm talking about, call your mom. Watch Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel. Go for a drink and have a laugh. Give a call to your best friend. Check the status of the US election campaign/election. Have a drink. Update Twitter. Cook a meal. Whatever else you fancy...

Next step, pull it all together. This time the "it" being all the data, information, experience, feelings, thoughts, opinions, etc.

Analyse.

It doesn't make any sense.

For the most part, and that's just to be nice, all the sense that is there for you is what you added.

And that's people.

I love it!

PS: I was completely not going to write this originally, but there you go. It almost wrote itself. If this doesn't make any sense to you, I would estimate you're on the right track. Same if you disagree. Or even if you agree for that matter. The secret is in short sentences. Although there is no secret.

PPS: I had a nice time at the Digital Lounge - I may even have had a drink or two for those ready to believe such an astonshing statement. I'll talk about Digital Loungers later on. And by the way, Robocop on a Unicorn is a big meme that is going round the internets these days! Check it out. Do tell me if you explain why, I'm sure it will be quite entertaining.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

London Meme

Lolly tagged me a few days for a meme apparently going round the London blogosphere these days, I always like memes it's a nice idea and as she said it's nice to share some original bits of information about myself.

1. Top three non-work websites:

Well, I'm going to repeat Lolly here, but I spend my days and nights surfing the web for work anyway so separating work and non-work sites isn't that easy.

Nevertheless I'll go with TED.com as my first. It's my favourite website anyway even though I guess you could argue I use it for work as well. I love the interface and design, and of course love the content! I always learn something new watching TED talks, and now that I have an iPhone, I'm watching more of them than ever.

I'm tempted to go with Twitter for second position. I really started getting into it a few months ago and I really like it. I'm meeting cool people through it and I like the random glimpses I get into other people's lives I'm following.

I was hesitating to go for Netvibes for third, but I'll go with Deezer. It's a music streaming site and I often prefer it to Last.fm. Frankly since I started using it, I barely have any music on my iTunes, I mostly listen to streamed music. It's all free, and when you register you have access to almost all the music you can think of, you can also upload all you music library and access it from anywhere, create and share playlists, favourite albums and listen to them whenever you want, listen to smart radios, etc.

3. Three favourite cocktails:

Being heavily influenced by The Big Lebowski (I sad recently that The Dude was my favourite fashion icon), I'll start this with a White Russian. It's not a drink for every circumstances, but there are times when it's just the perfect drink.

A classic Long Island Ice Tea. It's a great and simple cocktail and it's where I was born! That said, I noticed that a lot of bars in London can't make a proper one - even though it's not very complicated...

To finish, not a particular cocktail, but I love "Rhums arranges" aka rum macerated with fruits or spices, they're so good! Check out my home made ones in the widget on the right hand column here.

3. Top 3 Karaoke songs:

Obviously we're going to go pretty cheesy here. I just sang some karaoke last week for our agency party, which was lots of fun! I like some old school Frank, and I think I'll go with Fly me to the Moon (or New York, New York ;o). Then back to the 70's with Sweet home Alabama from Lynyrd Skynyrd. And sometimes when I'm fairly drunk and have someone up for it with me: Fight for your right to party from the Beastie Boys!

I'll tag Will, Neil, and Sandrine next.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Sony Ericsson Bond



A bit of shameless promotion, iris Digital just launched the new Sony Ericsson James Bond site for Quantum of Solace. It's a very cool Flash website with secret agent type missions, for each mission you solve you get access to a fun little mobile application - with a very cool spy cam application for the last one! I'd love to know what you think!

Check it out!

PS: I completed all the missions today and got all the mobile apps ;o)
Nice little games! It's a shame I'm not allowed to enter the competition to win the VIP trip to Monte Carlo...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Playful



Cool, I'm going to Playful next week! Playful is a one day conference in London all about game design - apparently the talks are going to revolve around the nature of games as well and that's something I'm really interested in.

Funnily enough I'm doing an internal presentation here for the iris Digital team about Playing games so I'm full on into the topic - though my presentation is more about play as a concept and I'm not really going to talk about video games whereas it seems Playful will be. I'll definitely put the deck up on Slideshare afterwards.

The conference has a good speaker lineup, including Alex Fleetwood from Hide and Seek, Adrian and Dan Hon, who are sort of ARG gurus, and Iain Tait from Poke.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Smart Phones

Everyone is talking about new smart phones, so far the Sony Ericsson Xperia and HTC Google phone look pretty interesting but it doesn't feel like they will be able to top the iPhone in terms of design, interface and functionalities.

On the other hand, iPhone should be worried about this newcomer on the market: The Pomegranate phone - check it out!

Really nice website showing all the new phone's features.

The site is actually part of a campaign for the Canadian province of Novascotia. Weird and original idea - and for those who don't get it, the Blackberry come from Canada (At least I think that's why they went in that direction).

Friday, 17 October 2008

Palin comparison

Vic started a very cool project in the office yesterday and asked us all to draw Sarah Palin on a post-it note, the results are amazing!

Palin comparison


of course, my amazing design contribution:

Frieze Art Fair

My brother invited me to the opening night of the Frieze Art Fair yesterday evening. I had never heard of it, but it's a really big show, with art galleries from all around exhibiting contemporary and modern art pieces. It was just funny being in this particular art world with all these art type people (artists, gallery people, critiques, buyers, etc).

I didn't see much that really touched me but there was one piece I thought was particularly amazing and stayed glued to it for 5 minutes or so. It was created by Attila Csörgö and his work revolves around mechanical and geometrical devices.

The piece is called Platonic Love, here is a picture from his portfolio website:



From afar, it just looks like a mess of threads moving with no rhyme or reason, but get closer and after trying to figure out where all the threads go, which is connected to which, what counter weights what - all starting from a little engine at the bottom and you're quickly just lost in contemplation. After that you realise those little twigs held by all the wires actually move in unisson to form geometrical shapes. So they go from this cube, prism and pyramid as on the pic, move away and then regroup as a pentagonic shape - amazing!

The fair is on for 3 days until Saturday evening, and it's always refreshing and thought provoking to go see some new art, so it was great for that. We also discovered a really nice little Moroccan restaurant close to Baker Street for dinner, so I'll definitely keep that address in mind! The harissa was home made and frankly one of the best I've ever had, the tagine was delicious and the people were really nice and down to earth. Recommended!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Poverty


Image courtesy

I only learned about Blog Action Day yesterday from Neil, so not much time to write a very profound post - but immediately liked the idea. That said, as mentioned on the website, it is a hefty topic; particularly in view of the fact that participants are requested to keep within the topics of their blogs - which is actually forcing me to think about that too.

Rather than look at any kind of relationship between digital and poverty straight away, I'd like to stop a minute and look at what we're talking about in the first place.

Type "define poverty" in Google and this is the first result you get: the state of having little or no money and few or no material possessions. My parents didn't have much money when I grew up, it was a bit tough at times and often felt I was poor compared to other kids. It was true for a certain understood value of the meaning of poverty, and I'm going to ascertain this is the most common meaning - after all if Google says it's first, it must be true.

On the other hand, thinking about myself again, while I didn't have much money or material possessions my parents loved us (And still do), always managed to put a great meal on the table regardless of how much we had to prepare it with, my siblings and I went to school and got a good education, had access to clean water, health care, etc. Which brings me to the other main definition of poverty which relates to poverty as being a violation of basic Human Rights and Needs as defined by organisations such as ATD Fourth World.


A dollar a day have a good set of definitions for poverty on their website and point out correctly that poverty is too complex a concept to reduce to one single definition - it requires several points of view, depending on the specific issue you're looking at:
At the UN’s World Summit on Social Development, the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ described poverty as “…a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.” When people are unable to eat, go to school, or have any access to health care, then they can be considered to be in poverty, regardless of their income.
As I said I had all those things - so I don't consider I was poor. Maybe I was part of a statistic at some point, but that's about it.

Now I'd like to bring it back to digital and hopefully make sense. The conversations and ideas I'm generally living around are the global aspect of the internet, online communities thriving and sharing across the world to a degree that never happened before and it's all very exciting.

The digital world is extremely rich and varied; there are worlds of opportunities there I find wildly exciting. One of the reasons I love working within digital is that there will likely always be more to it that I can ever comprehend and I learn new things every day.

I generally feel like digital is very inclusive and has the potential to concern all of us to a degree or another, but actually looking at poverty I completely forget that this digital world I find so exciting has a pretty high access barrier right now. I forget that it is a privilege to own a computer with a fast internet access that allows me to participate in something like Blog Action Day. I forget that I'm part of a minority that has that access, and it often goes hand in hand with clean water, food, health care, and money. It's a luxury.

The latest statistics tell us about 22% of the world population are internet users. At what probably is the other of the spectrum, 21% of the world population lives in extreme poverty, and this is 2001 information, so out of date.

So what can digital do to bridge that sixty percent gap? Well Blog Action Day speaks for that better than I can: over 10,000 sites participating and an estimated reach of over 10 million people. I don't have a brand new insightful and creative way to end poverty - far from it - but I'd like to finish with two points if you're reading this:

1. Don't take it for granted - "it" is anything from the device you're reading this from to the sandwich you're eating at the same time.

2. Participate. It's too big a deal for one single person to have THE solution to poverty, but inside of the conversation taking place today something(s) will emerge and the more people participating the better.


Flickr

I'm doing some research for an internal presentation i'm going to do about play & games, and came across this. I just love all the game based photos from Ella's dad:



And this one, one step close to appropriate given the current conditions...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Live soon

I still need to finish changing my blog layout - or at least put it back in a normal sort of shape - though I have an excuse given I was moving this weekend. I moved to Rotherhithe on the river, it's definitely nice and much closer to work, but i'm already wondering if I did the right choice... Oh well.

I don't do much shameless promotion, but I will be soon as we have several pretty cool projects going live soon here at iris Digital headquarters; including a cool 3D cow, nice flashy site with slick mobile apps and a Halloween viral. More details soon, but check out this cutie in the meantime:



PS: Actually news in the press, so I could have talked about it more. In NMA Today:

Sony Ericsson is to increase its digital marketing investment significantly by allocating almost a third of its total marketing budget to online for its pre-Christmas campaign.

The mobile giant currently sets aside around 15% of its overall marketing budget for online, but is to increase this to 30% in the run-up to the critical Christmas period.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Sony Ericsson spent £865,546 on digital marketing between September 2007 and August ... this year, although this figure only relates to display.

Cathy Davies, Sony Ericsson's director of global marketing, said the company was deepening its commitment to digital as it looked to capitalise on the increasing amount of time consumers spend online. "Through our digital strategy we're really trying to communicate, not just tell people to buy our phones," she said. "We want to give them value."

As part of its increased investment, Sony Ericsson has launched a major international campaign surrounding forthcoming James Bond film Quantum of Solace, released by sister company Sony Pictures this month.

A campaign site dubbed Directive C902, developed by creative agency iris Digital, will go live in 42 countries from Monday. It features an interactive movie featuring four secret agent-style missions that showcase the Sony Ericsson C902 handset.

Visitors can download a 'spy' application to their phone that includes a fingerprint scanner and X-ray viewer and takes a series of surveillance photos.

The campaign is to be supported by a viral push from seeding specialist Unruly Media and an in-store push in flagship O2 stores.

"From our point of view, Bond is the hottest film property on the planet, so we've been working on this push for around 14 months," said Davies. "Digital can offer the full Bond experience and allows us to bring it to life, which is something you can't do with other media."

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Blogger's relief

Just because I can't enough of doing digital pr and promotion for other brands, here's another one! I just received my Berocca blogger's relief pack! And actually I've never had Berocca before, but it's a good time given I've just had a bit of food poisoning over the weekend it's probably a good time for an extra vitamin and minerals intake (That aside, it tastes just like any other orange flavoured vitamin and minerals effervescent tablets).

Nice idea from Berocca to get some digital pr. At first I thought going under the idea that all bloggers are stressed out was a bit easy, but without going as far as stressed out, all the bloggers I know are defninitely busy people and the box is subtitled "Tailored vitamins and essential minerals for hectic lifestyles". Sounds appropriate to me, or close.



In the pack I get a load of fabulous items I've dreamed of having for a long time but never dared buying (Because they're useless perhaps... ;o) such a Dead Fred pen holder, USB panic button, etc...

Anyway, it's a nice idea all in all, so good effort!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Blogology



I was at the London bloggers meetup yesterday evening and it was a brilliantly organised event, I think fun was had by all! It was sponsored by Smirnoff and we were invited to the Diageo company bar, and they have a very nice bar (Thinking about it, well, yes you would expect them to have a nice bar... But hey , I don't take things for granted ;o)

The PR agency Splendid organised it (with Andy, thanks!) in the context of their promotion for Smirnoff and a particular drink, the Moscow Mule - which is essentially vodka, ginger ale, a pinch of ginger and a squeeze of lime. Quite nice, even though I'm not a big fan of ginger in drinks.

I think the best part was that they had a sort of fact sheet about each one of us and our blogs and the Diageo professional mixologists (bartenders in normal speak) prepared a special cocktail for each of us based on our blogs (and on the base for the moscow mule - so, vodka and ginger). They were really great and I think they had fun doing it too. Really nice touch!

Neil just posted about interacting with online communities, and here is a good example of how to do it well, in my opinion at least. And seeing the great feedback on the meetup page, lots of others agree - and most of these people also are professional bloggers, work in marketing, PR, social media, etc...

By the way, we also had lots of food served, so goo in the spirit of drink responsibly! I would have loved to say that it went absolutely berserk crazy with drunken and wasted bloggers dancing on the tables that had to be thrown out of the premises but it wasn't the case - all very civilised lounge like cocktail night. Actually talking about it, that happened at Twestival last week - a Swiss twitterer was thrown out of the bar after having thrown up in the bar (I met him outside while he was recovering).

Joke aside, iris has Brown-Forman as a client (Jack Daniel's among other brands) and I kept thinking they should really be taking some more risks in the digital space because Diageo is seriously winning points here! I guess here is an opportunity for me to raise some points ;o).

Apart from the PR part, it was brilliant to meet more London bloggers, always a pleasure to hear about different people's interests, good conversations! Some cool pics on Lolly's Flickr stream, including my personalised cocktail and me.

To finish we all had a goody bag with a bottle of vodka, so I'm going to be able to organise a little cocktail night - and I also need to have some more people taste my special rums - particularly the pistachio, almond and honey one which has been macerating for 3 months now!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Internet Memes on Dipity

Adam just told me of this, I'd not seen it before. It's absolutely brilliant! A chronology of internet memes on Dipity, from the beginning of the internet and the moment the term 'meme' was coined in 1976 to today. Pretty cool interface as well, just zoom in and out from the top of the page. Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Ice Cream Weekly Digest

It's been a pretty busy week so there are a few things I can compile in a post.

I was at Twestival on Thursday evening (Thanks to Lolly for helping me get a last minute place ;o), I'm only a pretty recent Twitter user so there was a lot of cool people to meet and had a lot of fun! The bar was absolutely packed when I arrived so I also learned that it was better to go early to get a few free drinks, and also to avoid walking out for a cigarette break right before the raffle prize draw... That Nintendo Wii could have been mine, we'll never know....

We also had a live performance of the Twitter Song by @ihatemornings (I admit I only heard the song for the first time right before the event...)

I had to leave relatively early because I had a morning meeting with Google at their offices the day, which was pretty cool. I know everything about Youtube and its advertising/partnerships/branded stuff pricing and systems, which is essentially what we wanted to know about. Also talked about Google Gadgets and the fairly recent ad network they're developing.


Apart from that, I was quite happy I showed the Google peeps the Wario Wii Shake Youtube full page takeover everyone is talking about (Which is awesome by the way, check it if you haven't seen it! Now over 2m views in just over a week) and they hadn't seen it before! Big silence upon me asking about how much it would cost to do something like that again... Nice meeting anyway, and they have a really nice roof terrace.

In the afternoon, we had the second iteration of iris Digital's creative gathering where one person on the team has the run of the boardroom for a presentation while the rest of us sip some beer and enjoy. Matt told us about Lomo and Lomography, they are a Russian camera brand with a very active group of enthusiasts. It was pretty cool. Check Lomokev's Flickr stream for some beautiful lomographies. You may notice Lomographers have a lot of fun with cross processing their pics, among other things. I booked myself in for a talk end of October, though don't know what it will be about yet.

Image Courtesy

And apart from that I'm looking for a new flat and walked around a lot yesterday, I saw a really nice place in Rotherhithe - I may end up there, it's a really nice area and the flat was good as well... We'll see!

Friday, 26 September 2008

NMA Top 100 2008

I know it's not everything, but the NMA Top 100 Interactive agencies 2008 just came out yesterday and iris Digital is on there for the first time, number 63 on the list which is pretty cool

;o)

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The eagle has landed... At the V&A!

The mystery behind the 7th Syndikate finally unravelled this
evening and I'm glad to say I had a really good time!
I almost ran to get to the Albert Memorial on time. I put on on
my hat and sunglasses as instructed while arriving there, along
with a newspaper under my left arm. I met with a few other
strange characters similarly dressed on the steps, and they were
generally as clueless to the purpose of this whole thing
as I was...


A few minutes past 6:45pm: the man with a tan mac and a
bowler hat, our mark to tail as agents of the
7th Syndikate, finally arrived. Needless to say we got
some funny looks from people on the streets, particularly
when having a drill sergeant experience in the underground
subway by the museums... Perhaps not as fun as when I got
to walk around Birmingham
with my full on Indian wedding
suit (running errands for the bride who was a friend)
but still very cool.

Turned out we were going to the V&A and it was brilliant!

I like the V&A a lot and just walking through the doors
at night while the place is closed to the general public
was excellent!

The new exhibition this was all about is opening tomorrow:
Cold War Modern, A collection of designs created between
1945 and 1970.

We had a few drinks, a few explanations about the whole
ARG (alternate reality game)
and then got to see the exhibition before everyone else. ;o)

Here is some info about it:
The decades after the Second World War saw an intense
rivalry between the world’s two superpowers: the Soviet
Union and America. In the ‘cold war’ that ensued,
the two powers engaged in aggressive contests to build
their own spheres of influence. They accelerated the
development of new technologies to produce weapons,
launched ambitious space programmes and waged
propaganda campaigns across the world.

Vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays
of modern living, signs of progress and images of
future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn
into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a
superior vision of modernity.

I met some cool people while over there, though unfortunately
didn't get everyone's details - just leave a comment here or
on the Facebook group if you want to be in touch!
The campaign was created by 1000 Heads, they label
themselves the Word of Mouth People. I met Seb who was
in charge of the campaign and I learned they carefully
targeted 73 London bloggers with for this campaign.
Now I don't know about you, but in my book contacting
73 people and having 30 showing up is a damn good ratio!

Congratulations to all those involved in the campaign,
it was brilliant! (I kind of suspect Lolly may have
suggested I'd be a good candidate - thanks if that's
the case ;o)

A really cool exhibition, it made me think of the
Weapons of Mass Communication last year at the
Imperial War Museum, though this one was much better.

Some architectural designs, fashion of the times
(Manhattan in a glass bubble and Pierre Cardin's
space dress were amazing, and there are lots more!)

Really good campaign and great exhibition,
I highly recommend seeing it!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Now part of the Syndikate



Been pretty busy these few days, between a big Indian wedding (One of my best friends); talking monkeys, Bebo, milk, angels and heroes at work (Intense but lots of fun on current projects!); and my mom arriving in town I didn't take much time out for blogging... That said, I followed up with 7th Syndikate and I just received this message confirming I'm now part of the conspiracy ;o)

I'm confident I figured out who it was for/from as well!
Hi Willem

You've been activated; you will now be known as Bill WG-104.

Stand by for further instructions.

Countdown begins now.

Curtis TH-915

-----------www.7thsyndikate.org-------------


Saturday, 6 September 2008

The grey jackal skips joyfully across the pond



That's the title of an email I received a couple of days ago. From TRUST.NO.ONE

New ARG..? Or just a dodgy email?

I received a second email from Curtis-TH915 today. The first one had got into my spam box a couple of days ago and I hadn't noticed yet - nor do I generally open anything titled that way.

A non sequitur but Google Curtis TH-915 and this is where you get. Not so exciting. Try "I'm feeling lucky" it's even better.

It's all from 7th Syndikate.

Pretty strange email arousing my curiosity, gaming, mystery solving, scoobidoo-esque, search skills, role player and Famous Five enthusiast instincts! Something is wrong with the grammar/syntax of that sentence, but I'm sure you get the idea.

At least a couple of other people in the London blogosphere received the same message (Check your spam boxes maybe you have one too!), Melinda aka Miss Geeky twittered that it could be an ARG... Having looked into it, I think it might be as well.

If it is, it would be my first time getting involved in one, could be fun! (Or it might jut be something dodgy, but I don't think so at this stage - and they want buzz, well I'm participating without even knowing what it's about! And I don't care, I love games, love a mystery, I'm curious and it gives me easy content for a post ;o)

I figured it out by the way (It's not that difficult). Something's going on for (or in) 3 weeks. Watch out for the people randomly placing the words "big armadillo" in their conversations!

TRUST.NO.ONE

Friday, 5 September 2008

Web and TV, a sibling rivalry

I hadn't watched a TED talk for quite a while, so I was glad to watch this one earlier and I thought it absolutely brilliant (Well sure, they all are - or close). Peter Hirshberg is a Silicon Valley executive, entrepreneur and marketer - amongst other things, he's on the board of directors for Technorati.

He delivers a really fun and insightful talk starting from the fact that TV and computing pretty much started at the same time and they evolved as rival siblings.

For examples, he tells us about fundamental marketing methods

Marketing Lessons:
A. If you use our product...
You'll find true love, fulfillment, prosperity
B. If you don't...
You'll die

He also shows us the surprising first example of proprietary material locked in by the vendor, the Winky Dink crayons:



Check it out!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Wikipedia Trends


Photo by blmurch

I found out about this new project this morning, though I can't remember at all where I read about it so I can't link back to it, sorry... (Might have been an SEO blog, I was quickly browsing through a few I didn't know about this morning).

Anyhoo, check out http://stats.grok.se

It's a pretty cool idea, you can check through traffic stats for specific Wikipedia articles, month by month. Look at trends from one article to another. For example, the Barack Obama article was viewed 1,350,292 times in June, with a huge surge on the 4th June, also matched in Google Trends for June. I think it coincides with the religious stories with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, though I'm not sure that explains it. Comparatively, the thimble article was only viewed 4,424 times, probably a relief to find out people are more interested in the American presidential candidate - apart for the thimble enthusiasts, maybe.

It started to make thing about whether clients monitor the articles concerning their brands or anything related at all. I know some do for sure, but others don't. Just checking through, I noticed a couple of brands we work for at iris that don't have any presence. Even if there are probably a limited amount of people interested in finding out more about Utterly Butterly, they may be disappointed to find out there is no information available about it on Wikipedia.

Given Wikipedia is one of the main points of reference for any internet user, I think it's important for brands and products to be present, and it could also be an additional point of presence (for traffic/awareness) for digital campaigns - keeping within Wikipedia neutrality rules and guidelines, of course.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Drinking detergent..?

I was doing some research earlier and came across the Ariel website, I'm wondering if it's normal for me to think their current home page is pretty disturbing.



Let's look at this step by step:
  1. Ariel is a washing liquid/powder and is classically branded in blue and green, because it's so clean, fresh and obviously feels/smells like the sea/sky/nature/apples/limes/etc.
  2. Way too many people in the world don't have enough or any clean drinking water, which is definitely a huge issue and Ariel seems to want to get involved. I guess the relevance can be debated, but it's a noble cause, so why not.
  3. However little clean drinking water you have, drinking detergent is not good for you.
So here we have a the pic of a kid in Africa basically appearing in a washing machine (animated blue bubbles going in a circle, pic shows up in the middle). Ariel branded, blue like no water has ever been before but interestingly the same colour as the Ariel liquid you can find at your local supermarket - or maybe same as a swimming pool. And the kid is drinking it.

Wrong.

No..?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The real tetris

A bit more easy blogging, I just recently saw the real Tetris video, it's absolutely awesome!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Kourtrajme - The Funk Hunt

Ben and my cousin just told me about a series of French short movies I hadn't heard about and some are really awesome, mostly visual with excellent soundtracks; They called their production house call Kourtrajme - Short Movie in French "verlan" slang, basically.

The Funk Hunt is the story of a vinyl record through time and musical styles from the 7o's to pretty much nowadays. The record itself is actually the main actor in the short and the music is brilliant!

Check it here if ever the embedded version doesn't work: Part 1 Part 2





Funky!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Talk about Social Media and influencers



Yesterday, one of my colleagues asked me what my favourite thing about digital was. It's a tough one, I actually love everything (or almost) but I still said if I had to choose it would probably be social media. You can't really take it out of digital solely, at least I think it's part of a bigger whole - and also because I don't really like the buzz word. Still, I think one of the most fascinating aspects of the digital space is that people have the same opinions about brands and things they had before, but now they can address the entire world standing on their virtual cardboard box, not just a couple of passers-by a Sunday morning on Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.

And a LOT of people have really worthwhile things to say, may it be smart, witty, insightful, funny, informative... You name it. Whatever the topic, from politics to marketing via technology, fly fishing, or thimbles (Not so sure there are that many people talking about thimbles but I just thought of Eddie Izzard). People listen, and well, if you're reading this you pretty much know the gist.

Bit of a long introduction, but I came across the Unofficial Sony Ericsson Blog a couple of weeks ago. Sony Ericsson is the main client of the agency I work for, so definitely interesting from that perspective. Really good blog (Granted, you do have to be interested in mobile/technology in the first place), and this is someone with a pretty consequent voice: 478 Authority on Technorati (Whatever you think of it), and over 1000 readers at the moment.

I checked my Netvibes earlier and saw a post titled "Someone needs a wake up call...". It obviously drew my attention. Really interesting and very detailed post of all the thoughts and (pretty constructive) criticism the author currently has for Sony Ericsson. Whatever one thinks of social media, this is definitely something a brand should listen to, because this is one of their most important advocates talking. You can imagine if he takes the time out to write such a long post, how many Sony Ericsson users have already given up long ago and gone to buy an LG/iPhone/Nokia/Random other handset..?

You may be already doing this, but if you're working in digital/marketing/related perhaps the brand(s) you're working on have similar strong advocates and it might be worth making sure they're being listened to.

Research reports are interesting and useful, but mostly collating the opinions of 500 to about 2000 people, and who knows in what circumstances they were asked the questions. Here we have one person (And a few contributors), actively listened to by over a thousand people and in all likelihood a bunch of other followers. It's pretty daunting to think about. I like it!

And I know what I'll be answering if someone asks me why they should be spending money and effort into their digital communications.

PS: I checked, there are blogs about thimbles. Well, they're mostly about knitting but still. Most of them also have more authority than this blog does ;o)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Music sharing with Blip.fm


Photo by Indigo Goat


I just found out about Blip.fm from Iain (via Twitter), it looks pretty crazy! Check it out! It looks like Twitter mixed with Deezer or Last.fm - I'm still loving Deezer (I was just setting up a Beethoven playlist in it - finding myself listening to more and classical and jazz music while doing strategy work - when I found out about Blip) but this looks intriguing.

I'm waiting for a bunch of songs to be uploaded on the site right now! I like the way it suggests people to follow that have played music or artists you like, I wrote a fairly long list of artists so I'm already following 31 people that will probably be playing music I like!

The funny thing is that it says I joined Blip.fm on 31st December 1969. I'm extremely proud to be a member of a site since before any kind of computers were networked at all - feels very pioneering - though in this case, I just followed Iain's Twitter call ;o)

Join me in random musical sharing!
You never know, it might even convince some of the Twitter averse out there!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Holidays (or lack thereof)



I spent last weekend in Paris which was cool, but only quick for a friend's wedding - really need a proper holiday, though I don't really know what I'll be doing yet - or I might keep money to move house, given I'm also thinking about that...

Seriously missing some beach and particularly some sun! In the meantime, I can hang around the Corona Beach. As virtual beaches go (And marketing sites in general), it's pretty cool - check it out! But the sun still isn't real...

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Lough Derravaragh



According to Wikipedia and Google Images, this is Lough Derravagh. It's in Ireland, and it's pretty.

All right, I have to keep posting on some kind of regular basis and I'm just thinking of a kind of format for a lazy drunken type blog post, probably celebrating the sheer amount of random and trivial knowledge and information that can be gotten from the internets in a couple of clicks. For the first edition, I went for a Wikipedia Random article and Google Images of the result. Obviously not perfect, but hopefully you will bear with me while I optimise the post format and idea.

In the meantime, I'm sure you'll agree this place looks damn pretty and will give you a (slight) rest from the intellectually demanding world of advertising, digital stuff, planning, strategising, or whatever you call your favoured and complicated job discipline.

This is apparently where the kids of King Lir spent 300 years before being turned into swans - so enjoy it, you never know when or what you'll be turned into...

Sur ce, bonsoir mes amis!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

I am who I am because of everyone


Photo by bobster1985

He is who he is because of everyone!

I've been intrigued by the press adverts for the new Orange campaign created by Fallon for a few weeks now, and it went in slow stages, mostly while on the tube. First quickly noticing Orange seemed to have a whole new vibe going on, saw the long copy, my mind moved on. In the last few weeks, read the ads, not really getting it, was still kinda curious, and finally checked the website and looked into the campaign a bit more yesterday.

On one hand, I think it's a very bold and interesting proposition. "I am who I am because of everyone". We're getting straight into ontology, and existential philosophy there. Orange exists because everyone is connected and everyone is connected thanks to Orange. Orange becomes a brand at the core of what it means to be a human being and represents the sense of connectedness between all of us. I may be wrong - and perhaps exaggerating - but I'm guessing that's the idea. Leveraging people such as Rose Tremain is a good, and to promote Jont's Unlit on the website is pretty cool (Though Unlit was already a great idea without Orange).

Now the other hand, I think a brand needs a seriously rare case of hubris to think they can position themselves at the heart of being. Reading the slogan, my first thought was "Well yeah, I am who I am because of everyone! doh! And..?" That's the case for every single person on this planet and the notion is pretty well known and understood these days (At least, I think so, I could be wrong). Every company is nothing without the people in it, its customers, clients, etc. It's not rocket science. I think everyone intrinsically knows that.

So is Orange saying it's very special, we're all very special and Orange allows people to connected together, or is it saying that it's the same as everything and everyone else, that we're only one small part of a huge of web of connections; a cog in the machine, no more, no less..? It's the latter that came straight up to mind for me.

To finish, I thought the TV ad was pretty slow, boring, heavy of significance and the whole campaign takes itself too seriously. I then checked a couple of articles and apparently they spent nearly £100M on the campaign, their largest budget yet. They won Turkey of the week by Campaign and pretty mixed reviews elsewhere. I also liked the Voxpop video on Brand Republic, check it out.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Patsy @ iris for Bothud launch

The iris Summer edition of Bothud magazine just came out, launched in style drinking champers with Patsy! I tried for a "Blue Steel" look ... It's uncanny, just like I graduated from the Zoolander school for kids who can't read so good! Check here for some more pics.



Really, spot the difference ;o)





I also went to the Bloggers Meetup Summer Social yesterday, which was really nice - I met lots of cool people and free drinks, sponsored by Stella, can't go wrong! Annie Mole of the London Underground Blog even uploaded some pics.

Spiderman: Web of Shadows

I just came across the trailer of a new Spiderman video game, apparently coming out in October this year. Apart from the very cool fact that you can see a symbiote infested Wolverine in the video, I checked the website for the game and I thought it looked pretty cool as well, check it out.

I like the map navigation system with goodies to unlock, but what's even more surprising and really intriguing is that it claims that members of the website community can influence aspects of the design and development of the video game, which I think is very cool.
I haven't fully looked into it, but as I understand, players will have a lot of freedom of choice in the game and are reflecting that in this campaign, apparently people could lastly vote for the artwork featured on the Xbox 360 game packaging and before that people chose the model who would be playing Mary-Jane in the game.

Good example of interactivity and involving the users in the creation of the product. I would call that an interesting example of Wikinomics applied to the video games industry. I wonder how many people are registered on the website. I checked the site forums and there are over 6,000 posts in total; I don't know when the site was launched, but it sounds pretty healthy for a video game site.

That said, the game strangely looks much alike another I came across, whom apparently everyone is talking about these days; namely [Prototype]. You can view the trailer for the game here. Also set in New-York and and apparently completely open world, where the player is pretty much free to roam as they please. I'll have to check what they're doing for their online campaign...

Friday, 25 July 2008

Personal


Photo by Russ and Lori

I was at a networking event earlier this week and was told by (a really drunk) someone that I expressed my personal ideas and opinions a bit too much in my blog. Which was interesting, because I generally consider I'm not doing enough of that - actually not doing enough writing altogether, really. And ultimately, it's my personal blog... So sure, it's personal thoughts, etc. Check out George's AdScam (Which I love by the way) if you need contrast...

That same person also explained how and why I was really arrogant - but that's not really my fault, I'm French and moreover was raised in Paris, so I can't help it... (But apparently they're trying to make some efforts about it) ;o)

Anyways let's update on other news: I decided to go ahead and get myself a professional Flickr account! If I upload pics at the same rhythm I write here, maybe you'll see pics from my holidays two years ago in about two years time! Lucky for you, patience is virtue...

Let's finish with the best news, I'm finally changing my role next week and starting to work full time on digital strategy!! Woohoo! Jen's replacing me on the recruitment front at iris and is already doing great. It's weird to be letting go of all your work, but I'm really looking forward to the change!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Big Red Button

All right, I had a few drinks (great evening at Beersphere, met with cool planning/digital/blogger/smart/cool people) and this is the first thing I saw opening an email in my inbox - huge and covering most of the screen.

I still think it's the best email marketing campaign I've seen:



Call me shallow, I don't care - most people are anyways...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

8 more - Social Media -things meme


Photo by Omer Simkha

Laurence just tagged me for the social media meme - basically it's about sharing 8 ways in which you've used social media (original post form C.B. Whittemore here). I like memes - it allows me to write a potentially/relatively interesting post without making the effort to think of what I should write about. I know, I'm a lazy bastard...

1. I started blogging last year in October - I wondered at the time why it was I wasn't already doing it - though I probably answered that question in the previous paragraph. I really love it and got into a whole world that in all likelihood will never ever be able to fully apprehend nor comprehend, which I find find very exciting! Technorati tells us they're tracking 112.8 million blogs at the moment, and that's by no means an accurate representation of how many blogs actually exist (Do they use it much in China..?). Over 112 million simultaneous conversations on every possible interest human beings have - awesome! And pretty overwhelming.

2. To waste time. Mostly with Facebook last year (though now I use mostly to find people and to let old school friends find me), and just recently with Twitter - I'm just starting to get into it and quite liking it; though I still don't think it can be "useful" on a day to day basis.

3. For recruitment. In other terms, I'm a complete online stalker (I'm sure you're all very happy to know that about me ;o). I've been looking for professionals in the digital space for close to 3 years and if I can't find them and unravel a good chunk of their lives on the web most of the time, they're probably not the associated digital geeks and nutters I'm generally looking for (I include myself in that bunch - can't say if that's good or bad). Prime suspect for this channel is LinkedIn, as well as Facebook and any other website that has some kind of community aspect (Not revealing all the tools of the trade). Google, while not exactly what goes under the vast "social media" umbrella, will lead you to it pretty quickly if you start googling people's names.

4. As an (important) extension to the previous point, I essentially sought and found my current job through social media channels. Pay me a drink some day and I'll go into more details

5. For meeting new people with similar interests. I used to play role playing games (table top, not video games) back in Paris with a group of good friends. I only stopped when I moved to London because I didn't have that circle of friends anymore. Last year, I decided to get back into it and found people doing all the research online, going through MySpace, Forums of UK RPG shops, conferences, etc. I managed to find a group of cool people and we (try) to play once or twice a month. Similarly, I got hooked on the Rhum arranges website, as you can see from the previous post - who again, have a very cool widget.

6. I started using too many websites for my own good. Fortunately Netvibes allows me to manage pretty much the whole lot of them as well as my blogs and other feeds. I've checked out a few other sites like that, but I don't think I'll be changing soon. And it's French so "Que demande le peuple?" It also has a community aspect, though it's still in beta (As are most such like sites these days) and I don't know many people using Netvibes so far, so it doesn't make it as interesting.

7. Not exactly using, but I read about social media. So far my favourite book in the domain is Wikinomics - loved it! Read it if you haven't, it's awesome. On the opposite end of the spectrum, The Wisdom of Crowds - which I didn't really like. Read it only because it's so hype right now and then you'll be able to quote it in meetings or something. Essentially there are some good enough parts in the book, but overall I thought it was a few interesting points poorly strung together into a (non) unifying theory. Just my opinion, glad to talk about it over a drink...

8. Actually talking about books, I love Amazon. How do I sometimes choose books to order if not from other reader's comments? Most of my library and DVD collection is on Amazon (I've rated them, but not commented for each - it's on my "maybe I'll do that someday" list). I also put nice pics such as the one on this post from Flickr, and I use it to to share my beautiful pics! (I need to upload plenty more...) On the music side of things, I'm now a complete fan of Deezer - best music/online radio/music community around by far (And also French!) - definitely tops Last.fm for me. I'm not using the community side too much yet, but using the music part every day!

Done! And to finish I'll tag Will, Michelle, Neil, Priyanka, Amelia and George for the meme.

Rhum arranges

Hey by the way, did you notice my very cool widget on the right hand side with my collection of macerated/infused rums? ("Rhum arranges" in French) I'm very happy I managed to find the online community for macerated rum lovers! If you click on the recipes, you can also have a look at the pics - most of the pics are actually my rums!


(Mango & Passion fruit rum - that's not ready yet...)

Friday, 27 June 2008

I love Sushi!



June is almost over... This has made me smile all month on the calendar on my desk so I thought I'll share it with you! Way to go Rob, cool work ;o)

Rambling: digital, names and stuff


Photo by aeu04117

I was reading the digital supplement to Campaign earlier. I don't read Campaign that much these days, generally getting my industry information from blogs rather than the press. But apparently the conversations that took place in the lunch they organised gravitated around some things I've been thinking about on and off for quite a while - mainly around the place of digital agencies, the name "digital" itself, and such vast topics.

I've been thinking I would wait until having really thought the whole thing through before blogging about it (Probably with some romantic notion of it being completely amazing and ground breaking) but actually I've been thinking about maybe doing something for the past 8 months and never starting, so I'm using the blog to draft some ideas and things will take shape over time.

Names are very important and human beings are pretty addicted to labeling stuff ever since the rise of language. And it's damn useful to be able to make sense of this whole wide world around us. Also, in numerous mythologies and folklore names hold great power, you can even practice ancient forms of magic with someone's/something's true name.

If there's one thing we surely kept from the myths, I think it is that names still hold a lot of importance in our minds, whether consciously or in the background - all the time. Looking at it from that point of view, it isn't that surprising there are so many arguments around what to call a digital agency (not "digital" apparently is the new thing). The number of words that have tempted to or have been used so far to describe an industry is ridiculously huge, and most are right and wrong at the same time, depending on what you're referring to.

Essentially I thing the whole names argument is a function of the technologies used and the work developed and/or created evolving faster than anyone can name and describe them.

But for all these ingenious buzzwords, does it really matter? It's all about communication and experiences in the end. Do people in the real world really want to know how the company that built this nice website/banner/interactive wall/application/widget/thing defines itself..?

I think that's it for now. I may give that some more structure later on. next rambling about the rift between digital and advertising (which I get on some level, but I find completely silly overall)