engaging, outdoor, planning

The importance of maintaining the journey: how the Autism Trust started strong but lost me on the way

what a wonderful opening gambit.  saw the above poster yesterday in Stockwell.  no brand, no logo, just a message to Gordon Brown on a very public space…  very disruptive and very timely.  so far so brilliant.

so you call the number and you get a voicemail saying "hi this is Polly.  sorry I'm not around to take your call…"  here's where it starts to go wrong.  Pollie shouldn't be expecting me to call.  she should be expecting Gordon to call.  the message should be for him.  opportunity missed to keep the consistency of the consumer journey.

anyhoo you can leave a message or visit a website; theautismtrust.co.uk, where you're greeted with the following screen…


the opening screen asks if I want to see more support for individuals with autism and their families?  well, no.  I'm following a trail of breadcrumbs left for the prime minister.  I'd be more than happy to invest time in learning more, but not when I don't know why I'm on a site for an autism charity.  opportunity #2 missed.

such a shame.  what should have been a brilliant bit of cause-related marketing is reduced to no more than a stunt.  a fraction more investment in the welcome page, combined with a whole lot more strategic join-up, could have created a consumer journey with more impetus than a, well, thing with lots of impetus.  instead, I fear lots of interested people are right now just getting lost on the way.

broadcasting, innovating, television, viewing

One email chain about Whedon’s Doll House: Two great hopes from Mediation about marketing TV shows

there follows a genuine email chain from my inbox today, names have been initialised to protect the innocent:

OB: "Dollhouse, the new Joss Whedon show, has started in the UShttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollhouse_(TV_series)  Hopefully over here soon…
CS: has had a lot of critical slating but lovely premise, can't wait to see it.  Cx
AK:Oh how very exciting.  I like Dushku.  Can't wait to see it.  Ax
JG: I saw the ads whilst out in Ottawa earlier this year. I do hope
it gets picked up here. The likes of Battle Star Galactica (great show) were
part funded by Sky… they’d do well to get behind some of Whedon’s stuff too.
OB: We stopped watched BSG half-way thru
second series, just didn’t grab us. May try again.
JG:You’ll have to catch repeats then as it finished last night!  It didn’t really change style or quality through the series so I’m
not optimistic you’ll enjoy it much more if you go back to it.
HDL: I really enjoyed the first series of BSG and then it all got a bit a silly.  V exciting re Dollhouse though sounds weird even for JW.  I miss Firefly…
JG: Dollhouse is coming here very soon, maybe on FX I caught the
tail end of an advert for it yesterday – hope it’s good J
OB: In my efforts to find a date for Dollhouse
in the UK
I noticed that Knight Rider has been re-made too. Will def. be watching that!
JG: Not found an exact date – it’s going to be on the Sci-fi channel
in May (Dollhouse that is) Sci-fi have got Knight Rider too.
OB: Thanks, will keep an eye out for it. It’s
great that US TV comes over here so quickly these days rather than having to
wait ages…

I hope two things.  one, that somewhere out there Sc-Fi is planning some media beyond it's own channel to tell people about this programme.  too many shows languish for too long with too small an audience because of the perceived difficulty – and cost – of promoting them.

this is because in the main, promoting programmes beyond your own channel is expensive and is most likely to pay back in the medium or even long term.  but Doll House is one of those rare exceptions to this rule: its a TV project which, because its from Whedon, is genuinely anticipated by a core fan base.  something on which I hope and pray that Sci-Fi are planning to capitalise on.

secondly I hope that for not too much longer the world doesn't have to live without some software that tracks what I like and tells me when TV shows that I may like are coming my way.  or indeed coming back.  I was on the phone to a lovely lady from Sky yesterday week (part of the flat move trauma) who informed me that Fringe was back on Sky.  if she hadn't have said something I may never have known.

this is an application waiting to be written, first brand to write it wins the prize.  watch this space; I will be…

content creating, converging, innovating, user-generating, viewing

Video. Everywhere. Always: What we can all learn about P Diddy’s adventures in mobile broadcasting

Free TV : Ustream
the idea that there will ever again be a status quo in media planning has surely got to be abandoned.  technology and interaction are now evolving at such a pace that the challenge is not just how best to use what's out there but firstly to know what's out there.

case in point is Mashable.  for two years it's been creating editorial about the best of Social Media news and views.  and I had no idea it even existed.  none.  so it's a thanks to PAffleck (thanks) who pointed me in the direction – via Mashable – of how P Diddy is using mobile app. Ustream.tv to broadcast his life direct from his mobile to the world.

he's not alone.  loads of people are doing it.  assuming you have a good enough phone (current limiting factor but this will change), you can upload your clips direct to your own broadcast stream.  better than that – if you see something cool you can start live broadcasting it – there and then – from your phone to your mates, or whoever…

I never thought I'd say this, but I guess we all have a thing or one to learn from P Diddy.  if he can do it why aren't brands?  how often are we and the clients we work with creating reasons and incentives for people to engage there and then with experiences that are happening right now in the real world?

it's difficult, but the reality is that we're moving to a world of video being everywhere always.  that's a lot of competition for our precious advertising space.  I for one – no matter how much I sometimes feel I have yet to learn – want to understand this now…  cos the brands that get this sooner rather than later may be the ones that don't just thrive, but survive, in a digital world where any status quo no longer and will never exist.


Balancing for free and monetisation: how No Doubt are giving their music away for free, as long as you pay for it

alongside reports that 2008 box office grosses from the live music industry surpassed total sales of recorded music for the first time in decades, comes news from trendcentral describing how No Doubt are giving away their back catalogue away free with every purchase of a $42.50 full price ticket.

as I observed in a previous post, its a move that would make Trent Reznor proud; understand what – with an eye to the digital world – you need to give away for free and what – with an eye to the bottom line – you can realistically charge for.  the crucial step that No Doubt's effort has made has been to inextricably link these two elements together.

as budgets become tighter, all businesses and brands will have to ask themselves what they have to deliver on each of the above?  what are you giving away for free and what are you monetising?  marketing efforts are essentially given away for free, in exchange for consumer time and attention, which when you think about it is a fairly loose link…

if free elements (marketing) were more directly linked to revenue generating elements (sales of products or services), brands would be considerably more able to justify investment in said marketing efforts…  Walkers are doing this with 'do us a flavour'; help us create a new flavour crisp (for free) by buying our range of flavours (with your hard earned money).  so are Orange; have a cinema ticket on us (for free) by being an Orange customer (you'll need to pay for that).

may be a useful thought-experiment when developing marketing and campaign efforts for your brands.


Practicing what they preach: Mail Media Centre in ‘DM with utility’ shocker

its a rare thing useful DM.  companies seem more than content to send me the same mailers time and time again, in the mistaken notion that this time I'll respond.  when will they understand that I will – in my own good time – type what I want, when I want it, into the Google?

but I have been shaken out of my negativity by a piece of DM that is not only really rather pertinent to what it's trying to tell me (the power of touch), but has more utility than a useful thing in a tight spot…  and whilst a 'reusable pack to warm you up when you need it' may not change the world as we know it, its infinitely more useful than a letter from Virgin telling me (again) that 865 Terra Byte broadband is now available in my postcode.

the effort is on behalf of the Mail Media Centre, a new source of intelligence and innovation for the direct mail
industry courtesy of Royal Mail.  the site aims to showcase – to planners and clients – compelling
creative and expert advice, with the aim of encouraging excellence in direct mail.

the site is packed with case studies, stats, expert opinion on DM and even a response rate calculator to give you a steer on the number of impacts that might stick.  all of which is good for two reasons…

one, DM isn't in my experience planned as closely alongside other media as it could, so anything that encourages planners (of all disciplines) to know more about how to plan the channel should be welcomed.  two, even when it is integrated is isn't in my experience done very well…  some great examples of stand-alone retailer use of the channel exist in the form of Tesco Clubcard and Boots Advantage Card mailings, but on the whole we seem to be satisfied with long copy and a 1.2% response rate.

getting something with utility from your brand and into the hands of your consumers is something that has a role to play in more than a few strategies, the trick is (1) targeting, so that you only invest in reaching the people you need to reach, (2) creativity, so that people invest their time and attention into what you're sending them and (3) building 'reasons to pass on'into the collateral you deploy: focus on a tighter group of people and give them reasons (and reward) to target other people on your behalf.

there's a storm heading for the DM industry and its called sustainability.  DM needs to demonstrate that it has a necessary, efficient and effective role to play on any schedule.  the MMC's initiative, and the useful bit of DM that it deployed to me, are two solid steps along the way.

advertising, social networking, user-generating

Two bits of communication, one voice: How British Airways is demonstrating local knowledge thru Social Networking site Metrotwin

"British Airways flies hundreds of thousands of passengers between New
York and London every year. So it feels right for us to be backing
something genuinely useful for people living in and traveling between
NYC and London"
…is the elegantly simple reason that BA give for creating Metrotwin; a social networking site that twins New York with London and treats both cities as a single online community.

at the heart of the site is utility – classic aggregator territory here – with the site aiming to recommend only "the ten best places to drink coffee" and suchlike.  Metrotwin’s
recommendations come from locals, bloggers and online communities based
in both cities but can be reviewed and rated by everyone.

speaking at the Social Networking World Forum (social networking must have come of age – they have a world forum, though its not in Cannes so a bit to go yet) in London this week, Chris Davies, digital marketing manager at BA said that this and another social networking site from the airline had "challenged
the perception of the brand" and made the airline seem more "up to date and

I'm not sure I'd go that far.  but the site is clean, simple, brilliantly designed and – most importantly – really single-minded about what its there to do and why BA is doing it.

I was going to do my usual "it's not joined up – they need to be amplifying their online content with broadcast" line, but I think the (presumably deliberate) separation between Metrotwin and the broadcast campaign that BA has been touting (the 'do what a local does stuff) is totally right.

two very different strands of communication from BA.  one generated by users, the other by the good people of Kingly Street.  one is digitally-centric whilst the other is broadcast-centric.  but what unites these two bits of communication is local knowledge.  do they need to be seamlessly integrated?  no.  they need to come from the same place, with the same brand voice; each living in – and making the most of – its own media world.

that said, I do hope that BA and agencies are using Metrotwin content in the online advertising.  it would be a shame to see such great user-generated digitally-centric content siloed in the site – get it out into online spaces, show the web what you're up to – cos its all good.

thanks to Hanson for the heads up on this.


Aggregating the aggregators: how the Addictomatic helps you ‘inhale the web’

the best ideas are the ones you see, and think – 'that must have already existed', 'why hasn't anyone done that before?'  that's what I thought when Grainne (thanks) sent me the Addictomatic application.  developed by Dave Pell and Crowd Favourite, the site scans a range of sites across the web for information on any topic or subject of your choice.

it aggregates the aggregators.

you can personalize your results by moving around the resulting boxes, and then you can bookmark the page and keep coming back to your customised results for that search.  its this level of 'curated utility' that separates it (1) from efforts like Sprint's glorious Now Widget (which limited what you could aggregate) and (2) iGoogle (which relies to a large extent on you know where to aggregate stuff from).

its lovely stuff.  whack your clients into the the application, save them and keep an eye on what the web is saying about them.  or anything else for that matter.  the web is invigorating – go inhale…

designing, experiencing, innovating

Japan Car at the Science Museum: how Japan’s car manufacturers are imagining a networked future for our cars

Japan car model
a trip to the Science Museum on Friday saw Mediation and colleagues visit the Japan Car exhibition.  described as an exploration of the car as a 'mobile cell', the exhibition shows how Japanese car design reflects the 'soil and the
spirit of Japan'.  click thru for the exhibition's Flickr and YouTube sites.

one of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition was said exploration of car as mobile cell;

"The future will bring more than individual drivers each controlling a single car.  cars will become parts of whole transport systems integrated with the surrounding city.  the essence of a car us already shifting from its drive train to its information systems … The concept of cars evolving into moving urban cells is visualised by portraying cars as blood corpuscles flowing through capillaries."

the concept is captured in this video from the exhibition, which shows visual representations of traffic volumes and traffic flows around central Tokyo; generated from GPS signals continuously transmitted from several thousand cars.

"the cars are seen to be circulating, radiating out from the central area near the Imperial Palace just like red blood cells traveling around the body through a network of blood vessel centred on the heart".  its a very new way of examining how the nature of the network will come to predominate how we communicate – both passively and actively – with each other.

how long before cars get their own social networking system?  our vehicles constantly transmitting data about where they go and how they get there to their Facebook equivalent?  what will they learn from each other?  and what will we learn from them?

great exhibition, which the manufacturers don't seem to have capitalised on in a wider marketing perspective.  perhaps these things are just better left to exist in isolation; another element to be added – by consumers – to their brand molecules (as theorised by John Grant in After Image).  then again, Mediation can't help but think there was an opportunity (missed) to take the great contents of the exhibition to a wider – broadcast – audience.  press partnership anyone?  …anyone?

Japan car blossom

Japan car in bitsJapan car streamline

 Japan car illustration

Japan car bonsai