November 30, 2009

Week of Tweets #1

One thing that is a shame about Twitter is its fleeting nature. Miss your tweets for a few hours and you may have missed something really interesting. I thought that I would sum up the most interesting of my own tweets from the past week. Hopefully you are following me at But if you’re not this is what you missed…

Laughing (and cringing) at some comments from the CLIENTS FROM HELL blog

  • This one went around a few times. Everyone working in advertising or design can recognise some of these stories. Wonder if our clients have set up their own AGENCIES FROM HELL blog?

Don’t Call Me A Social Media Guy – great blog post from Rohit Bhargava

  • Rohit writes some excellent blog posts and this one was retweeted many times. He says “I happen to believe that the future of marketing is increasingly going to require some level of knowledge and expertise in social media. But it’s not the only thing”. Worth reading.

Agencies frown now RT @edwardboches: Old ad pros win Peparami (Unliver’s) crowdsourcing competition,

  • What’s interesting is that even though the brief was opened to the world it was a very experience advertising team that won the pitch. But ideas are just the beginning. Will they now crowdsource the production? Just remember… a camel is a horse designed by committee. Or something like that.

Food for thought RT @WundermanUK: The same rules of engagement still apply, Lester Wunderman’s theories still ring true:

  • Many digital experts want to throw out everything from the past and focus on new paradigms. While that may work in some cases it is good to learn from the past. So much of what went into the “old” thinking of DM and advertising is valid today. Technology has changed but human nature is basically the same.

RT @BBHLabs: “Digital is so yesterday – consumers crave real-world & virtual interactions”

  • So we’re already talking about a post-digital world. I think it makes sense. In a world where technical marvels are greeted with a yawn, people seems to get excited by real-world spectacles. The Nike chalkbot wrote real messages on the road during the Tour de France. That excited people. Before it was messages written on a virtual wall that turned people on. Digital and physical need to work together.

Fascinating. Nokia focuses on the future – how the mobile giant plans to move ahead

  • Nokia must be feeling the pain with iPhone and Android getting so much attention. In some ways it is like Sony missing out to the iPod revolution. But don’t write off Nokia yet. Up in Finland they are cooking up the future.

Thanks #TweetCloud for not warning me that you would spam all my followers to say I’ve been on your site 🙁 Not cool.

  • I’ve really tried to avoid any Twitter apps that spam my followers (Mafia Family anyone?) but I thought it would be interesting to try this out. Well I tried a few different variations and found that each one Tweeted the results. I hate that. Anyway, below is my cloud from the past 6 months.

Until next week…


November 27, 2009

Augmented November

Augemented reality shows no sign of going away anytime soon. This month has seen a number of brands using the technique to different degrees of success. Esquire Magazine made the biggest noise with their AR cover.

It generated a lot of debate and although impressive to see did require the download of special software. That’s a major barrier. But as print magazines face serious issues (no pun intended) they are looking for new ways to attract an audience. This Mashable blog post from the end of last month explains Esquire’s strategy.

Meanwhile, at Disney Orlando the toy store took AR in an interesting direction by providing an in-store screen allowing kids to hold up Lego boxes and see what their model would look like in 3D.

OK, this didn’t appear in November but caught my attention this month. After sharing it on the Blogilvy site one reader made this interesting comment.

“We were in Orlando for vacation a couple of weeks ago. Spent 3+ hours in the Lego store looking at EVERYTHING. The reaction of my son (7yo) to the 3D screens was “Daddy, I’d rather look at the box. You can see more from the pictures than you can on the screen”. it reminded me of the old line – just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do it”.

A light-speed trip to France reveals that McDonalds are offering an augmented reality game for kids via their Star Wars themed Happy Meal.


On his blog, Nick Burcher provides a few screen shots and a description of the promo. So far I haven’t found a video of the game play. If anyone finds one please let me know.

Using a webcam and screen as an augmented mirror of reality is one way to use the technique but we are seeing more uses for mobile devices. This AR Firefighter game for the iPhone 3Gs uses the phone camera as a viewfinder then overlays (rather ugly) graphics. Personally I don’t like it but there definitely is potential for the right brand and audience.

Done well, augmented reality can create a lot of buzz. But just like flash mob videos, there comes a point where you just don’t want to see another one. Will this happen to AR? Some articles are very optimistic about the technology. report that AR will be worth US$732 million by 2014. But today things fall out of fashion faster than ever (did someone say Second Life?) so let’s just watch and see.

November 18, 2009

Fish food


How do consumers engage with brands in an increasingly digital world? That’s the fundamental question Razorfish set out to answer with this year’s FEED report. Download the Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Report 09 here. Great stuff and very amusing illustrations.

November 16, 2009


This is Marco Sandeman’s video response to “YouTube’s commenting culture and its sadly predictable responses. It’s about the insulters, the praisers, the troublemakers, the pedants. Comments run wild thanks to the anonymity that comes with the internet, for better – and for worse”. Click here to see more of Marco’s work.

November 12, 2009



Last week I participated in an event organised by IPAN (Interactive Professionals Association Netherlands) about Traditional vs. Digital Agencies. It seems to be a common topic at the moment and is guaranteed to get the blood boiling in people who believe that one side is better than the other. Microsoft’s Consumer & Online Marketing Officer Jacqueline Smit hosted the evening at the Flex Bar in Amsterdam. As usual there were opinions flying around about how “traditional” ad agencies don’t get today’s digital consumer. To be honest there is equal arrogance from some “traditional” ad people who don’t believe digital agencies understand brands. It’s a little like far right Christians and extremist Muslims wanting to bomb the hell out of each other. Personally, I prefer to take the Buddhist route – can’t we just all get along?

I think there is an interesting parallel with the movie business. Before Pixar all feature-length animated movies were drawn by hand (sometimes with a little digital magic added for extra sparkle). Toy Story opened the floodgates for 3D animation and before long there was nothing but computer animated movies out there. Were they all good? Anyone with a small child will know that there is a lot of truly horrible movies out there using 3D animation. When Disney bought Pixar it wasn’t just for their technical skills. It was for their storytelling abilities and craftsmanship. At the end of the day it is ideas that win out – not techniques.

A couple of years ago a so-called “surfer dude” came along with a unified theory of everything that seemed to solve a problem that had trouble physicists for decades. His theory was illustrated by the E8 eight-dimensional mathematical pattern. We need a universal approach to advertising and marketing that connects all the points in an equally elegant way. At King Arthur’s round table everyone was equal. Surely we can do the same with traditional, digital, social, below and above the line, word of mouth, viral and all other types of advertising. Peace.