Results tagged “advertising”

I have been meeting with some different companies recently looking at ways we can increase the benefit of the content on our sites for our users.

There were many interesting things I looked at including product tours, interactive buyer's guides, presenter led content, branded editorial and complete TV channels online.

Below are a snapshot of some of the different things discussed. Check them out and let me know your thoughts on them:

Coast Productions produced some really engaging content for Canon as parted of a brand campaign that involved taking competition winners to do dream photo shoots with a professional photographer in some incredible locations. Check out the results

Adjust Your Set are the people behind M&S TV and have created the 12 channels for their current allocation. Here are some interesting videos

Gate Web Video do a range of presenter led content, using a presenter to talk users through all aspects of their journey, embedding the presenter onto the page. See what you think and have a look at their showreel

We also had a pitch from Dennis for producing an interactive magazine for helping with Buyer's Guides and distributing content online. Here is their pitch work, a basic magazine on imaging

Hope you find some of the stuff interesting, any ideas on content or new tech we could utilise let me know!!

Ssssssssssee ya....


Favela Painters




Back in the late nineties I spent a lot of time trying to convince brands that the web was bringing about a market where you had to give to get.

In 2001 I wrote businesses will benefit most from an active participation in Internet Culture that contributes to and respects the online community. I guess by now that's a bit old hat and most planners out there have most likely folded that thought or one like it into what they do. That said, I'm continually amazed at how few branded digital initiatives make that connection between contributing and leeching.

And in fact WeTransfer is pretty much the only one I've come across that makes the exchange in a transparent way: we provide a genuinely useful service for free and in exchange, you get to see beautiful photographs that are linked to brand experiences (and no, you don't have to click on the ad link to use the service, just be aware of the brand).

From a UX point of view I also love the single point of focus, very old skool Google:-)

Thanks @alexandermoore

Just installed Fallon's Skimmer app and as much as I'm uncomfortable with the Air platform I'm really enjoying it. They set out to achieve a few simple goals and have pretty much succeeded.

No-one cares about this sort of stuff anymore, but I followed the links back to Fallon's website and was impressed by their tech+culture choices, they're getting really close to best-practice. The Skimmer app and the website both follow a similar look-and-feel but each makes use of its particular strong points.

The website

The website is built in reasonably semantic xhtml (except the multimedia insertions but hey, it's an ad agency) and not only does the code carry meaning, it validates! I only got one warning on the homepage for an unencoded URL path fragment. It's also almost accessible, also unusual for site in this space.

The javascript library is jQuery (of course) but an added clue that someone there knows what they're doing is the library link to Google code instead of the webserver.

The blog pages are served up using a nicely made skin on top of Wordpress and video and images are served from good old Flickr and Youtube embeds just like Mom used to make 'em.

Both the website and the desktop app are trying hard to fit closely with the frequent webuser. The diggerati and the road warrior, the MBP brigade already twittering-up a storm about SXSW would feel welcome and respected. Hell, I bet even Cory Doctorow himself wouldn't mind checking out a couple Chrysler ads in the "our work" section.

The app (download Skimmer here)

The desktop app is called "Skimmer" and its purpose is very simple. Aggregate a few key social networks allowing the user to both push and pull content. Once the content is in the app, suggest a connection with other Skimmer users to share content and status.

In one sense this is really no big deal. What I like about the user experience is the clarity of the purpose and the honesty of the deliverable.

I would have preferred a bit more feedback when loading assets (and come to think of it, someone needs to tell that designer about colour contrast and visibility) and would have preferred either a web pureplay or a cocoa app but I can't deny the experience is on the whole very impressive.

The Slideshare (watch the presentation)

Finally, if i was a client looking to better understand how my digital media spend was going to loop back to ROI I'd be comforted by the whole experience of the Fallon planning team.

They built these digital assets with the best intentions (participating in internet culture to benefit from it--sound familiar?) but the case study should help help put a client's mind at ease. They're showing they understand basic tracking and monitoring and have demonstrated the quality of their digital planning in the process.

If I was still in agencyland I'd be blogging my little heart about this case study;-)

Thanks David :-)

A nice man called David tweeted me yesterday with a link to a video of Russell Davies talking about interestingness, size and creativity. In the video, Russell refers to a project I did a couple of years ago for Birdseye. I just wanted to thank David as it's always nice to know there are people out there who share the passions I get out of bed for:-)

I've been thinking about advertising agencies big and small, partly because of the LGFE reunion this thursday and partly because I'm pretty much always stuck in the thick of one or other user-centred design process debate.

I sent the following question to a recruiter this morning as we're talking about maybe working together. I don't know the answer, but I'm pretty sure it's tough for a passionate user experience person to work without discovery...

Here was the question I had in mind:

80% of the magic of user-centered design happens in the discovery phase, prior to the IA proposing the information model for an interface. As most pitches involve going to the client with a ready-made proposal, agencies tend to find it difficult to produce user-centered design. Does your agency have a strategy in place to overcome this challenge?

I suppose the answer is "win the business then shove the IA through the door" but I can't imagine this guy or this guy playing it like that...

Are you a senior agency bod? How do you handle ideas of value, resonance, co-creation and needs assessment? I'm still working on the question :-)

Natural History Museum


I love this photograph for the Natural History Museum kids only sections (sorry about the image quality, snapped on a bus stop).

The portrait had to have been done in a massive black poly tunnel and considering the background is exposed to a stop more light than the foreground the dynamic range of the shot is astonishing. Information exists in the darkest shadows and none of the white fabric definition is lost on the sides of the hood (which are white on white after all). They should use this shot in lighting school.

Oh, and the art direction is lovely too;-)

Cillit Bang is my friend

Mike Butcher points out that new European legislation will make astroturfing illegal.

Which of course is a good thing, but how are they going to enforce this? The higher end PR firms are creating great thinking about their clients by actually participating in the debate or even initiating it themselves.

I guess the Barry Scott test is going to become this law's Turing test;-)

Starbucks relaxed about metrics

I'll be happy if we create a single cheer chain," said Brad Stevens, VP-marketing for Starbucks. He said he's more interested in the qualitative response, as the effort has no traditional marketing metrics tied to it.

A lot of the folk I've been working with this last year are really hung up on metrics. Now, in this age of controlled procurement and tighter budgets I can sympathise with the need for clear ROI but it's nice to see businesses experimenting with engagement.

I'm sure we will eventually figure it all out, but in the meantime, advertisers could be getting a move on. If I have to go to another meeting that concludes with the client asking "could I see one you've done before" I'm gonna scream...

Advertising Age - Starbucks' Holiday Viral Effort Doubles as Social Experiment

James gets it right (again)

Modern Marketing - Blog by Collaborate PR & Marketing: Social Value First, Brand Value Second

An example of this was Nike's mega, Google-powered community Joga, which whilst on the surface seemed to be doing everything right, quickly revealed itself to be high on brand value and low on social value.

I posted this over on the TMW blog but this one is both spot on and important so I thought i'd cross-post it. A must-read for client-service types new to the collaborative media space.

Shut up and sing

I get a lot of questions about MySpace from clients.

For the most part, they find the site confusing and don't understand the mechanic it supports. In a nutshell, the service essentially allows you to spread the word in a seamless way--take a look at the Dixie Chicks movie above, their site had a single-click experience to copy this. The same site allowed me to express my support (and outrage at monkey boy) by posting comment, marking them as friends and recommending them in my profile.

Check out the Chicks' blog they're using Wordpress and it looks good. The only shame is the flash front end doesn't let you record name and email so my post went up as "anonymous blogger"


Just saw this item on Slashdot. A classic example of a big corporation not getting the new consumer.

In a nutshell, in the guise of protecting its intellectual property (IP) against illegal merchandisers, Universal is throwing out a lot of babies with the bath-water. The whole Joss Weedon, Firefly etc. type-thing is the foundation for huge amounts of high-quality fan-art and the fans that create, buy and wear it want a stake in the outcome. They promote the TV show and want nothing more than to be a small part of the magic.

Except that nowadays, the fanart IS the magic. Without this degree of customer participation, films like Serenity and shows like Firefly just wouldn't have the same reach, nor the same staying power (the stuff that sells season X DVDs long after the closing titles have rolled).

The core of the problem is simple. Traditional IP owners think of the IP as being the primary source of value for them. In essence, they pay guards to surround the mine and miners to extract the value. The whole idea that the consumer could be adding equivalent value is alien to them and their infrastructure doesn't allow for flexibility or evolution (they are frozen in time by legal agreements and the lawyers that protect them).

The punch-line of this particular piece is that the fans are sending Universal an invoice for their services (more details here). You go girl:-)


Glad to see Iain Tait is experimenting (and, in the process has found a place to buy genitals).

I just read quite an interesting report by Elizabeth Coverdale called Cyberculture and Gender Identification in Online Chat Communities. She looks at role-play, gender reassignment and in particular digs a little deeper into the language people use when "inworld" (be that in full 3d environments like Second Life or simply chatting over an IM client).

It turns out that men and women have subtle differences in the way they structure a conversation. According to Coverdale, women pepper their conversation with meta-messages design to create a mood, they use phrases like giggles or "lol" more frequently than men with an aim of creating a cocoon of aproval and friendship around the conversation. Men will just say what they want in shorter phrases with little or no introduction.

I can't say this has been my experience. I find myself often drifting into a world of emoticons when I chat...

My Second Life avatar is currently a young Korean woman and while I'm still just roaming around figuring out the various inworld dynamics I can imagine things could get a little wierd. (If you take a look at Iain's post and are confused by the pictures, a Google search should give you a clue... and cheesh, I'm reminded I never did find out what the three shells do in Demolition Man)

Co-creating value with

Got this a couple of weeks ago from Chris, a man I trust.

Hi Dug,

The running place both we got our kicks from is called Runners Need (, unfortunately as north as their branches are is Camden (with other shops in Holborn and Liverpool street). All the shops specialise in one thing and one thing only--running kit. All the people working there are seasoned runners and serious about ensuring you get the right stuff for your foot (I promise they haven't paid me to say any of this...)

They either put you on a treadmill or take you outside and watch you run, how your foot hits the pavement, the pressure exerted, pronation, etc. and then get you to run in a few different types of shoes that cater to how you run.

Good luck.

Now, I'll be the first to admit I don't know what pronation is but Nicki really needed some running shoes that fit her properly so I sorted out a fitting for her birthday.

Her feedback is that the shoes are not only a perfect fit but just right for what she wants to do with them.

Each customer works with the in-store experts to create unique value. Where do you run? How far, how fast, in what weather? Whether the customer is training for a marathon or simply wants to get better mileage out of her kneecaps, the in-store experts help build an experience with the customer that ultimately adds value for both the store and the runner.

Now so far so good, I only wish the website offered the same value co-creation potential...