Category Archives: marketing

Matter Box Contents




Matter Box Contents

Originally uploaded by Lloyd Davis

Others have covered this more quickly than me, but I thought I’d say something beyond what I said on Seesmic last week – http://seesmic.com/v/6XRvg23fSW

Charlie said he didn’t want samples. I do. I’m much happier with my shower gel and play-doh than with a plastic monster a calendar and a badge in the shape of a vodka bottle. If something that comes in this isn’t useful, it had better be completely, mindblowingly, gobsmackingly beautiful – cereal box shaped like a book? Nah.

While the crayons made of soap are potentially also useful, the thing that made my brain scream more than anything was the lametrocious rubbish written about it:

“A set of crayons that are really soap tell a story about how Nissan’s not what you expect.” which in my very very humble opinion is the biggest load of self-justifying, bollockshite I’ll read in the context of advertising copy this year. God I hope so, I couldn’t bear anything more slimy and contrived.

Like Roo, I like the recyclability of the packaging, but I’m looking forward to much cooler and less wanky stuff next time please.

UPDATE: in the comments on the picture on flickr, mike heath says:

“That is really funny that you got Black and White playdoh in your Sony Bravia promo item. err… ‘Colour like no other’ LOL! That is probably a collectors piece, like a misprinted stamp :-) Bit of a Homer Simpson moment at the packing factory!”

Keep taking the pills?

Before Christmas, I was introduced to Gerry Griffin CEO of Skill-Pill a mobile offering that provides downloadable and mobile-optimised, video shorts – “pills” for you to take when you want to brush up on something. Not quite Joe 90 and his electrode specs more like multimedia Cliffs Notes.

The main focus I think is on selling into larger organisations to be part of their development efforts but some are made publically available too. You can view the latest offering on Working with Americans online or download it to your phone by pointing your mobile browser at this page.

I don’t know. What do you think (of the content and the concept? I know I have American readers – how good is this?

King of Shaves

Every morning when I scrape a blade across my face, I think “Today, I really must write about King of Shaves” It’s true, if a little disturbing. But for some reason I never quite get round to it, the thought disappears out of my head by the time I’ve left the bathroom.

Sorry guys.

My introduction to KoS was at Interesting2007 – a little pot was in the goodie bag, supplied by Steve Bowbrick who managed better than most would have to give a sponsor’s speech appropriate to that legendary gathering. I’d seen the product before, but was a bit suspicious, it looked (and sounded – shaving? oil?) a bit Top Gear for me. But I tried it out and fell immediately in love.

The lubricants I’ve used in shaving my face aren’t that wide and varied. I never really got on with the whipped cream that comes in an aerosol tin (perhaps I should have used shaving cream that comes in an aerosol tin) though that was my first obvious choice. It did have the great smell of Brut, but it’s just bloody messy, especially when it gets bloody. I had some nice Body Shop stuff once, that you worked up with a brush, but as with so many Body Shop products for men, it seemed to have been discontinued or just not in the shop I went to or something. I know that just using soap dries your face, but I do love the smell of Roger & Gallet Sandalwood or even Imperial Leather. Of course I once used this from G-Room which was nice and minty, but after showing my arse in the shower using one of their other products I was always scared to go back in.

My first thought was that I couldn’t believe how much you use – a “few drops?” but it really does go a long way. I started my little bottle from interesting about 7 months ago and although I don’t use it every day (damn you, Imperial Leather) and I bought another bottle when I went on holiday and forgot, the first one is still going strong.

I think the things I love about the experience boil down to:

lack of mess – although it can make the cut hair stick to the side of the basin.
smoothness of skin afterwards – though comparisons between my face and baby’s bottoms are not rare anyway
size of packaging – tiny, so great for travelling
it just works – it just does.

I shudders at the term “brand loyalty” but I think they’ve got me.

PS They have a bunch of blogs – I don’t read them, but the fact that they exist gives me comfort that applying this oil to my face every morning is OK and probably a good thing. Just confirming my weirdness.

Social Media Starfish => Social Media Snowflake

Social Media SnowflakeA couple of weeks ago, Robert Scoble blogged and made a couple of videos talking about the combined use of a whole bunch of social media tools and wrapped them up by saying they were a starfish. His point by the way was not only to explain how these tools all help with marketing and sales conversion but also to talk about how Open Social is changing the landscape.

When I came to present this to a client in the context of a social media strategy however, I was about to use Darren Barefoot’s excellent graphic version (with added logos!) when it suddenly occurred to me that actually it would be better to talk about it as a snowflake because we’re in the business of making snowballs to roll downhill.

Hey Scoble, don’t worry, the underlying idea’s the same and all credit to you for it :)

Mippin

I was invited yesterday to see a demo of Mippin which is being launched today by Refresh. Very, very simple stuff to read web content on your phone. I like.

I remember being interested in their previous (and still going strong) product, mobizines (Scott describes mippin as mobizines on steroids) but was put off by the restricted content available and the java client. These Refresh guys have taken the good idea from it – we want to be able to read cool stuff as easily on the phone as you do on your desktop – but they’ve moved away from the horrors of transcoding a 15″ experience in its entirety down to a variety of small mobile screens and gone for the fact that most sites already produce content in a presentation-independent form – their RSS feed.

As a service, you can look at it two ways – as a “publisher” I get to include my RSS feed in their database, then if I want to I can opt to splice ads into the feed (in the same way that feedburner does) from which Mippin takes a small cut. Bigger publishers will want to customise the way that their feed is displayed and they can do this too.

As a “user” I can subscribe to the feeds I want and I can search for terms (or URLs) to find new stuff – so for example putting the URL for this blog into the search box returns a picture and title and a link for each post. A click on the link takes me to an uncluttered version of the post. Perhaps a little too uncluttered – the links have been stripped. But there is another link there to go to the original post (and you can pass it on by mail, sms or twitter – nice) There’s a kind of history page too so I can go to my regular reads. I see it primarily as an RSS reader for my phone. So of course my feature requests are to make it behave a bit more like an aggregator – I’d like a river of news view. I’d like to be able to define groups of subscriptions and get a river of news from each. I’d also like to be able to turn off ads, oh yes and I’d also like a zeitgeist tagcloud to be able to see what’s hot. Scott was boasting that moving from downloadable client to browser meant that their development times have been slashed, so I expect to see my requests implemented well before Christmas :)

As an aside, the experience is still dependent on the browser though – I want a really good free browser for my Windows Mobile Smartphone – IE just doesn’t cut the mustard, although I’m also tempted by a Nokia 800 or an iTouch.

Disclosure: I was given two cups of delicious coffee (and offered more). There was cake. Mike Butcher ate some cake, but I stuck to coffee.

Professional Crap Sifters

sep 07 049It seems that London’s opera critics think that Sally Potter’s Carmen is, well, a bit crap. I can’t comment, I haven’t seen it yet – but I still love the blogging and videoblogging over on the ENO’s mini-site. A couple of the critics have been a bit sneery about the whole 2.0 angle on this but I think they’re missing the point – the show may be gimmicky (err.. I don’t think opera folk call it a show, but you know what I mean) but the blog isn’t – I really think it’s taken a big step in a new direction for the Arts, opening up the creative process and the backstage, as the production progressed, rather than filming a fly-on-the-wall and then stitching it all together later. This shows up “what *were* they thinking?” as lazy rhetoric – you could have seen what they were thinking by following the site. The real question for the critics is “if they’ve been talking about what they’re going to do for so long and in such detail, why did the bits you don’t like in the production come as such a surprise to you?” and why weren’t you writing something about it back then?

I really hope that the ENO has the courage to keep that material up and to carry on with this experiment now and into future – it adds a layer of interestingness before you see the show as well as afterwards – it’s icing on the cake. As I say I haven’t seen the show, so I don’t know if this is an occasion to peel the icing off and give the cake to the dog or whether this is professional critics talking out of their arses again. Now is the time for the Carmen folk to get the conversation really going – fight back or surrender, doesn’t matter which, but say something.

The thing is that critics are part of the problem with opening up performance to a wider audience. The good news is that their power is diminishing as we gain the opportunity to hear people we know and trust talk about what they like and don’t like. I much prefer getting recommendations from my friends and I look forward to seeing some ordinary people’s reaction to Carmen, people who don’t have any prejudice against ENO and don’t already have a fixed opinion about how this opera needs to be done in London today.

I went to a C4 Education screening last night entitled “TV is dead?” My answer – read my blog (two years ago! – funnily enough about the same time as I started thinking about blogging for theatre) The bit in the programme where, if I’d been at home, I’d have been shouting at the telly, was when someone from the Beeb trotted out the old line that in future, as media professionals, they would be the people that we could trust to sift out the crap. NO, BBC, STOP! I don’t want your opinion on what’s crap and what’s not, I want you to make excellent programmes that no one else can make. More “Dr Who”, “Comics Britannia”, “Windscale”, “The Mighty Boosh” (oh God! *More* Storyville, not less!!!!) and fewer animals stuck up trees and celebrities who can’t tap dance.

Phew!

I really liked that younger people were included in the debate in a fairly unpatronising way, though friends and other regular readers know what I think of panel sessions.

Missing from last night was any recognition that the internet is about social interaction not content delivery (just like TV has always been) and so you should be concentrating on making stuff that people want to interact around rather than worrying about how they get it and whether everyone’s paid exactly the right money (whole other rant on that one – tell us straight – how much money gets spent on protecting rights? – how much more or less is it than the amount of money you currently lose to “piracy” – how much more money might you actually make if you weren’t so tight arsed about it all – *hint* watch Radiohead very carefully)

Also missing was any glimmer of understanding that advertising might not work any more. The real question here is “TV Advertising is Dead?” And it comes in two parts – 1. People don’t want to be interrupted or fed commercial information any more, they want it self-service and 2. The current advertising sales model is based on pulling the wool over the eyes of advertisers with extrapolations from sample audiences – what happens when you (and they) start to get real audience numbers in real time based on actual attention data from your viewers/subscribers in a form that makes comparison with other online media forms more like-for-like?

An amateur writes…

Thanks Adam for pointing to Michael Billington’s piece on theatre criticism.

I wish I had more time to respond, but in the few minutes before I get in the shower, I would add these points:

A great number of the theatre directors I’ve spoke to about in-house (marketing, if you like) blogging they have seen it’s *primary purpose* as circumventing what they see as piss-poor print-bound criticism which can kill a show’s sales just because the critic had a hangover.

Mr Billington should have a look here for an explanation of how to deal with that “relentless din”

I sat in front of Mr Billington at a press night last week. He was very well behaved, as you’d expect. The same can’t be said for one of his peers who threatened to disrupt the beginning of the show because the seat he’d been given didn’t suit his taste.

Is anyone doing (new)media literacy classes for these poor old hacks? How can we help them distinguish between the different types of blogging in theatre, spot the good stuff in among the rest and understand that you don’t have to read them all, any more than you have to read every column-inch of a newspaper.

ENO getting it spot on for Carmen

I just love the Carmen blog from the English National Opera.

It’s exactly what I was talking about here

Well done to the folk at interesource who got it going, but super well done to the ENO people who seem to have taken to it as naturally as I’d hoped. I was really grateful to get to talk to John Berry a few weeks ago and hear his take – I came away understanding that ENO was an obvious place to do this – democratisation of access to opera is one of their cornerstones. We also talked about ‘bootstrapping’ online and offline relationships and I thought I saw a small lightbulb go on.

There’s a ton of cool video on the site – perhaps too many talking heads (but who am I to talk!) but some fantastic music and behind the scenes action. Go look.

I think it’s a great example of post-geek bloggery – as I’ve been saying for a while, make your own fly-on-the-wall documentary of what you’re doing rather than getting a crew in to follow you around and then stitch you up after the event.

When I’ve pitched this idea to other people, the perceived barriers have been (lack of) editorial control and shining the light on the creative process too early. I don’t know what the process has been for creating content here, but I can’t imagine that Sally Potter has had to get her blog approved by a committee every time she writes.

One suggestion – a more obvious place to find CC-licenced images for bloggers to use to illustrate their posts about you :)

Toshiba Tecra A8

Well Euan didn’t want one, but I’m not so fussy :) she stayed with me for a week and I’ve just handed the A8 over to a DHL man to carefully take back to the Toshiba marketing folk.

Let me first be clear about the basis on which I took part. I wasn’t paid anything for this, I just got a loan of a new laptop for a week. Toshiba covered the cost of couriering the machine to and from me.

I gave up being nerdy and spec-obsessed a long time ago (well the spec-obsessed part anyway) so I can’t reel off lots of geek-speak about it, and my current laptop is a Tosh Satellite, so that was my main point of comparison. A week really isn’t very long to try it out. I was working hard when it arrived so didn’t have time to play until a few days in. I wish though that I’d taken the time because actually it was so much faster than my Satellite that I could have got things done much more quickly….

The speed comes courtesy of a dual core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 95GB hard drive. Weight-wise, it was like all laptops – heavier than you want it to be. It was wide enough to fit in my social media empire bag but only just and made getting other kit in and out tricky. But the screen did feel pleasantly wide.

It worked fine with everything I do (though for a 1 week trial it was a bore to have to download and install my staples of Firefox, Audacity, SonicStage, The Gimp & Core FTP), and far faster than any of the other machines I have to hand – in fact I was gobsmacked by how quickly video got processed. But without experience of other similarly-specced machines, I can’t say for certain whether this is the *best* choice of dual core/1GB/95GB option.

This really isn’t about this machine, it’s about me. I hanker for something prettier and more out-of-the-box functional and useful for what I do, or else a big change from my usual environment. If I’d had longer, I’d have tried installing Ubuntu – that might have made for a more interesting review, but it might also have ruined my all of my personal and business relationships while I sat engrossed in tweaking device drivers.

Hallam Foe Screening Pics

june07 068I made a set of pictures I took at the second Hallam Foe screening.

Observations:

1. Looking at Jamie & Sophia in these pictures really shows you how much they were acting their socks off. Just at a physical level, for example, in the film, it is quite clear that she’s an older woman, but here they look about the same age.

2. I need a new camera, this one is fine for whipping out and taking shots of London’s rubbish, but it can’t cope with the conditions and so some of these were too crap to post. All round I’m getting a bit tired of using shit equipment. Please Father Midsummer, can I have a new MacBook, a 3-chip videocam with flash memory not tape & a Digital SLR?

3. Having said that, the grainy quality of some of them reminds me a) (nostalgically) of prints from a 110 instamatic and b) the rougher cut of the film we saw before.

Update: I see that the movie is to be shown on the opening night of the Edinburgh Festival – kewl!