Thursday, 22 October 2009

AR in a banner with BK

It doesn't happen very often but yesterday I came across a pretty cool MPU while browsing the Internet (So not from a link or a blog about advertising ;). It's an ad I spotted on College Humor, (While showing this video to someone; it's really good check it out) so it's probably still playing on some pages if you want to try it out - refresh to cycle through the ads served.

I haven't checked yet but I imagine most certainly this is CP+B at work here for Burker King who as far as I know about created the first augmented reality feature in an online ad. And while you could argue how useful it is; what's most interesting is that the symbol used for the AR to display is something most people [in the USA] would have in their pocket: a $1 bill.

Now whether anyone outside of complete geekiness and/or who works in advertising would wait and play with the AR and go shuffle in his pockets to find a $1 bill is also arguable, but you don't need many people to start showing others how neat this little feature is (I'm also guessing you need a good bandwidth)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

RockArt Brewery vs. Corporate BS

Matt Nadeau of RockArt Brewery is facing the bullying of a much larger corporation. Seriously check out the video and hopefully choose to boycott Monster Energy drinks after that - there are plenty of other energy drinks to choose from aren't bullying a 7 man company making specialty great craft beers.

Even better, write a complaint to Monster on their:
Website contact form
Twitter account (no response from them so far there or there; not trending yet but spreading fast)
Facebook page (A big one, there will be some work there)
Youtube channel

You can use #BoycottMonster as a hashtag, seems to be the most popular at the moment.

For a bit of background, I've been appreciating small craft beers and ales more and more recently; I'm also against corporate bullying in general and that seems to be exactly what they're victims of. To finish, if ever this works and Monster gives up, I would have been a playing part in a worthwhile experiment and I quite like the idea of that too.

Update (26/10/2009): I just received an email from the Hansen Beverage Company who manufactures Monster Energy Drink, apparently they have settled for a happy agreement with RockArt Brewery, so I'm also happy. Also glad the beverage company followed up my email and responded to it, congrats to them for that.

Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery
Reach Trademark Agreement
October 26, 2009

Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery today issued the following statement in connection with a recent trademark issue:
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery have reached an amicable agreement under which both companies' respective products will be protected - Hansen's Monster Energy® line of energy drinks and Rock Art's Vermonster beer products.
> Rodney Sacks, Hansen's chief executive officer, said: "We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter expeditiously and put the concerns that had arisen behind us so that both parties can concentrate on their day-to-day businesses, selling their respective high-quality products. Our intent in this matter was simply to protect Hansen's trademarks and prevent any likelihood of confusion arising in the future through potential product extensions and was not to prevent Rock Art Brewery from selling their Vermonster beer."
> Matt Nadeau, owner of Rock Art Brewery, said: "Once Rodney and I were able to talk to each other we quickly appreciated each other's points of view and he acted reasonably, which allowed us to rapidly come to an agreement we are both happy with and allows both of us to move forward positively."

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Do little breaks make a big difference..?

You may have seen the Eurostar's advertising campaign called 'Little breaks make a big difference'. Beyond the posters I've seen in the tube, activities are being run across experiential, social and digital media (Created by Fallon, Vizeum and We Are Social). I was lucky enough to be invited for one of these little breaks mentioned in the tag line and went off to Paris on Saturday, along with about 43 other men and women in total for a romantic singles day out in the City of Lights.

Before we go any further, I'd like to point out I'm completely biased here given I love Paris and I love the Eurostar already and have been an advocate of both for a long time.

I lived most of my life in and around Paris, and am really Parisian more than anything - which is where my charming arrogance comes from; in case you ever wondered. It was quite funny going back for a day and with a group doing touristy stuff.

The Eurostar is simply awesome for a variety of reasons:
  1. It's a train. Traveling by train is much more sophisticated and relaxed than the plane - unless you have your own private jet (Of course your own private train would be even better).
  2. It goes from city centre to city centre, without going through the airport outside of town and several hours of humiliating security checks
  3. This is an important one that tends to be taken for granted: It travels by way of a tunnel under the sea. Sure, managing to have a few tons of metal carcass crammed with people flying is a feat human beings can be proud of, but building an underwater tunnel is definitely badass [technical term].
  4. it's fast and comfortable - now just about 2h20min from London to Paris
  5. Great food served with champagne in first class
  6. Did I mention it crossed a tunnel going under the sea?
I've been thinking about experiences a lot lately, it's interesting to note that advertising in the traditional sense cannot generate an experience, but that an experience can cause advertising.

At best, traditional advertising can generate an emotional response [Oh that's cute / clever / funny / etc], a thought [Sounds like a good idea], which might lead to an intention [Maybe I should try that out], and in an ideal world end in an action [buy something]. Nothing wrong with that and it does a great job for awareness and such like, but no experience there.

Now I think taking a similar scenario and adding your money where your mouth is by providing people with an experience demonstrating what the brand is claiming on the adverts can enhance all those marketing efforts.

The tagline for the Eurostar campaign is Little breaks, big difference. I saw the posters of laughing couples on a Parisian café terrace in the tube over the summer with that line and thought it seemed nice. The line would make sense to anyone, though not necessarily Eurostar specific (A little break flying to Barcelona or driving to the Cotwolds can also make a big difference). It doesn't matter that much because as far as I know in terms of positioning nobody had used the line before so they have a good chance owning that idea.

Now I think what really anchors that position is the experience.

So the cycle becomes something like:
See the advert > These people look happy > Think it's a good idea > Get a real life experience consistent with that idea. Now if I share that with other people, it's not conceptual, it's real. And people relate to real experiences more than they do with lines we all know were written up to sell more stuff.

I had a brilliant day out in Paris so I talked about it. With the cab driver on the way to St Pancras in the morning who told me he was going to check out prices because he was just thinking of going on a weekend away. To the cab driver on the way back home, to five different friends yesterday, to about 10 colleagues already this morning, and now I'm writing about it in my blog. Sure, I'm not a TV channel and I don't have an audience in the millions but I provided Eurostar with personalised brand interactions of at least a couple of minutes with each of those people.

Unless you go all #6weeks over it, difficult to say what it's all worth specifically; but I would say it's worth going through the effort of proving that your brand can deliver on the advert tagline or slogan in reality.

It was a brilliant day out and got to meet with a great bunch of people, though I have to say one disappointment was that we stayed indoors doing speed dating for almost the whole afternoon.

We had good fun but when I realised at least a couple of people had never been to Paris in their life I thought it was a missed opportunity. Speed dating is something you can do in London and we were already spending the whole day together and getting to know each other so it wasn't really needed; we could have gone walking somewhere, visit a museum, whatever something more Parisian - and speed dating is kind of the opposite of romantic. But then the tourist bus ride (courtesy of myself talking complete nonsense at the mic in front of the bus as we drove through town) and the boat ride were really cool and relaxed.

And on the romance front I hear you ask? Well there seemed to be at least one couple getting together, several dates scheduled and definitely some phone numbers exchanged so that sounds pretty successful too.

All in all probably the longest post I've written to answer yes to a question. Little breaks do make a big difference and good on Eurostar for being a brand demonstrating what they stand for rather than just telling us.

Update: The video edit is now on Youtube

Friday, 9 October 2009

FourSquare in London - the new thing I might annoy you with

I got really excited this morning. I arrived in the office a little early and the first thing I saw in my inbox was a message from FourSquare announcing that London was open to the service!

I had been waiting for a while to be able to experience it on this side of the Pond. It first started from the few people I follow on Twitter in the US. A few random tweets announcing they were in this bar / club / pub / venue with a link back to FourSquare. It seemed pretty intriguing and of course given I try to be all over anything catching online to make sure I stay one of the cool people in the know [read as something like, so hopelessly beyond geekness that it comes out as utterly cool on the other side of the spectrum].

In short, I'd say FourSquare is part Qype / Yelp / Tipped like reviews, part social network (and/or integrated in other social networks), part location based service and all wrapped up in a gaming / playful context. Of course, give it that last note along with some booze given the whole concept is about showing off where the party's at; and I'm all over it.

In the space of 45 minutes I had a bunch of friends signing up and over a few hours over 30. I don't know how many people are already signed up for London in total but it must be quite a few as they need a certain critical mass before starting the service in a given city.

Check it out, it's fun and you get points for going out and being at places out and about in town. All for bragging rights at the moment but as the number of users grows they intend to create other value out of those points.

Maybe think of a Top Table and the way they are now operating a stranglehold over the restaurant business - get points for booking through Top Table and more points if you post reviews afterwards. After a certain number of points, you can receive gifts. Sounds like a brilliant idea altogether though Björn, my chef brother, hates them because every restaurant has to pay to be registered on the site and moreover the site regularly almost forces restaurants to provide special deals for the site's users.

Anyhoo, I'm getting off the point. It's fun, there's no advertising, it's spreading like wildfire (in my world anyway) and I'm loving it. And now you can know everything I'm doing online with Eyebrowse, so can you know everything out there offline with FourSquare.

We'll worry about business models later; que sera, sera.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


I recently started participating in an interesting experiment called Eyebrowse created by students at MIT.

In their words:
eyebrowse is an add-on for firefox that lets you easily record, visualize, and share your trails through the web in real-time.
I'm always interested in data visualisation and research tools so I installed it and have been adding a lot of sites to it over the past couple of weeks or so. It's all a bit weird but kind of exciting too. I'll admit I don't actually understand everything and I'm not sure it's always correct or what it measures or not, but given there are lots of nice colours to look at and a variety of cryptic graphs to ponder upon I'm happy with it so far.

This video offers a quick 45 seconds overview:

eyebrowse | share and compare your web trails from Brennan Moore on Vimeo.

Here are my Top 20 urls for each day of the week:

Apparently I visit more sites [recorded by Eyebrowse] on Saturday. Thursday is kind of low, but I think I had lots of meetings at work during the day for the past two Thursdays. Apparently my top three sites are Facebook, Wikiedia and Twitter. I'm not sure what the size of the boxes exactly means (time dwell or number of visits to the site?).

This one displays my top urls by time of day:

That's where it's strange because there's nothing for 10pm, 11pm, 12am, 1am. I'm pretty sure I've surfed the web at these times in the past few days. Otherwise it seems my peaks times for visiting lots of sites are 8am and 2pm.

I don't know if it keeps recording visits to the same urls when I leave the same tabs open, close my laptop and come back later... Apparently there's only four hours in the day that don't have online activity yet. It's at night so it might be all those porn sites I haven't included in Eyebrowse so far :D

This one looks pretty cool, it's my recorded online activity for the past 20 days:

Another strange one here, the note says on Sunday 27th September I spent over 16 hours on one user's Facebook profile, but I know I was out all day and not online at all. Before you go thinking I'm some kind of crazy stalker, I assure you I was out. I even have friends who can testify. I've paid them well and they have a whole cover story, including a visit of Tent London with Ume and a random lunch encounter with Darika.

I could go on, but it's pretty fascinating and I recommend joining in the fun. And it will also save time when Big Brother comes knocking, I'll just give him the url.