Friday, 30 September 2011

Smart use of Corporate Social Responsibility link to UNICEF by Dulux paints

I really like this smart  "Own a colour" CSR link between Dulux paints and UNICEF, that suddenly started pinging around the web yesterday morning at a rapid rate.

Pick a colour, name it, describe it if you wish and for the privilege it costs you a donation to UNICEF from £1 upwards, all made nice and easy as for the lowest donations £1, £3, or £10 you can donate super simply by tapping in your mobile number and replying to the confirmation text. Easy peasy. 

Easy to participate, makes you as a participant feel good because of the charity angle and as a result Dulux will benefit from the warm fuzzy glow. Nice.  If only I saw more of these well designed examples that didn't make participation an arduous click journey rarely in return for anything worth the bother if you did actually persist and get all the way through.

I'd have given Dulux and Unicef extra points if they had managed to get their PPC search sorted though - I heard about the initiative via my Twitter feed and clicked that way, but going back to do some due diligence,  searching for "Dulux colours" or "Unicef"  alone didn't produce any site visibility above the fold, and I eventually found it yesterday via a search for Unicef Colours, albeit the news results today have improved natural visibility.

Monday, 19 September 2011

6 minutes worth spending on branded entertainment c/o Coca Cola

Call it AFP (ad funded programming) or BE (branded entertainment) as you wish, but here's a stunning piece of animation from Coca Cola as part of their Happification series. Take that as praise indeed from someone that's worked in the industry and knows a thing or two about quality production values. Maybe it's my inner industry nerd but I was rather disappointed not to find any credits on the end.  Nevertheless, nice storytelling, composition and animation and a pleasant way to spend 6 minutes of distraction, that will no doubt engender positive feelings towards the brand and I don't even like drinking the stuff!

AFP & BE are both terms which are increasingly being bandied around by clients and agencies at the moment, but there still seems to be far too much hot air and not enough commitments made.  There are many many marketers who frequently can't see beyond a 30" or 60" commercial, ignoring the talent of the many many uber creative little production companies out there (and some of the bigger ones too) that can make a lot of great content for very reasonable money considering it's value stretches way beyond the average wear-out life-cycle of product related advertising now that we live in a multi-media multi-platform long tail world.

Sure, 6 mins of high quality scripting, storboarding, composition and animation / post production won't come super cheap but divied up across a brand with a worldwide presence it's tantamount to peanuts.  I see so many times that company structures from a pre-digital mass age crippling opportunties. Such a shame.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Facebook London hack day

I spent yesterday at the first Facebook London Hack Day @ the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.

It was a very interesting day from multiple perspectives but a huge shout out for a super seamless event to whoever organised it and the staff making it happen @ the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. Brilliantly done.

There were reportedly well over 400 agency folk from various disciplines in attendance which made for a buzzy atmosphere, not to mention the chance to catch up with a lot of familiar faces from around the industry, some whom I hadn't seen for yonks. Welcoming everyone with coffee and breakfast (or M&Ms for the most sugar-needy) was always going to start the day off well.

It was great to see the Facebook commitment to the event with a speaker line-up of senior Facebook staff, many having flown in from California.  I was quite surprised to see so many people around me taking notes of every word though. There are still clearly an awful amount of otherwise quite smart and sociable folk out there that can't quite make the mental leap between their own personal use / experience of Facebook and what works and moving that into a work headspace, evolving the shouting at, advertising, burst lead approach.  Worrying.

I did have to laugh a little at the hack brief which was all about getting commuters off the tube network during the Olympics. Almost to the word the same brief I worked on for the TfL pitch when the Congestion Charge came in nearly 10 years ago.  The barriers remain the same, the context is now madly different. 10 years ago there was no Facebook, no smartphones, no Oyster cards.  I am sure there were lots of great ideas generated, I just wonder whether LOCOG and TfL etc have the real ability or influence to implement them in the time available. We'll see what happens - the winning idea will be posted to the Facebook Studio showcase site in a few weeks time.

The closing keynote was delivered by Mark D'Arcy, 4 months in to his new role as Director of Global Creative Solutions.  For a man fresh off a 14 hour flight he did a fantastic job, delivering a tight presentation with a strong call to action to agencies to stop thinking about Facebook as the "condiment", the salt, sprinkled on other activity and think more about the power of social  at the heart of your brand activity. I'll leave you with a slide from his deck that nicely sums up an ethos I have been banging on about for years now.  The world is moving so fast you can't sit around waiting for someone to write the instruction book.

Dive in, fail fast and move on.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Food for the soul

Hurrah! I've found a few moments for lunch, and just watched a video for the first time in months. It's about seeing, design and I feel a whole lot better for spending 6 minutes of my life with it.  Thanks to Channel Intel.  I've been so ridiculously constantly chasing my tail at work for months now that time to nourish my curiosity and intellect has been distinctly lacking.  Now if only I could make TEDx London at the weekend. Ho Hum.

Monday, 12 September 2011

WWW World without web?

Smartphones, tablets, netbooks, desktops, laptops, the digital outdoor panel I saw someone interacting with at a bus stop at lunchtime... we're increasingly living in a realtime, always connected world.  This has merits and disadvantages for sure, one of the reasons I love sailing is because in the middle of the Channel there's no connectivity, no new ideas to constantly compete for my attention. It gives me time to think, time for the digital dust of the week to settle.

Technology is at it's best when it's invisible. Just making things easy or being useful. We've all been frustrated at some point when technology refuses to co-operate for some inexplicable reason and you've wanted to throw the whole damn machine out the window. The internet, or rather connectivity to it, in its many guises be they apps, mobile sites, search engines, video streaming sites, Skype (which even got a mention from the vicar at my cousin's wedding last weekend) has changed our lives, changed how we interact with people, changed how we arrange meeting up with people, changed how we figure out where places are. I could go on.  So far today, I've read countless emails across a multitude of devices and inboxes, ditto tweets, I've written two blog posts, interacted with an internal forum, contributed to a community I manage,  bought a shirt online, made a table reservation online, looked somewhere up on a map, commented on some posts from friends on Facebook, uploaded and shared the photos from said wedding, watched videos, and I'm listening to Spotify as I speak. All pretty run of the mill stuff in my daily life. The device has almost become irrelevant. I couldn't have achieved anywhere near all of  those things offline in the same amount of time.

So next time you get some annoying error message just stop and think about the many good things internet connectivity facilitates. Things you couldn't do 20 years ago.  I'm planning to start a presentation to my yacht club tomorrow with this great quote from a great book... "The Go-between" by LP Hartley.

"The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there"

So true. We can't hide in the cupboard under the stairs and hope it's all going to go away. We have to learn to embrace the changes and take advantage of the things that are relevant to our lives. Everyone's picture will be different. And it doesn't matter. That's the genius of the beast.  Just imagine the world without the web... these Dutch guys deprived themselves of the internet for a week, this is their short report on the experience.  Would it match your views?

Watch this: [subtitled]

Mobile Mobile Mobile

My buddy @mobilista and I have been banging the mobile gong for many years now, so it's great to see that people are finally cottoning on to the power of mobile for consumers and marketers alike. I was fortunate enough to attend a round-table dinner with some of Google's mobile team last week and some of the stats they shared are staggering.  If you aren't taking mobile seriously yet, be it for content, advertising, or PPC, get on the case quick.  I see so many clients who are only just slowly waking up to the importance of on-site SEO let  alone ensuring their web presences are mobile operating system friendly, and they shake their heads when I tell them to upweight the priority they place on mobile. 

When whopping amounts of people are more and more using their mobile O/S devices (so smartphones & tablets) to access the web, having a site that doesn't render properly or worse still is an entire replica of huge heavy web-based sites, with no acknowledgement of different data requirements, navigation behaviours and preferences in a touch based context is barking mad.

What triggered that little rant? Well reading through the 3 month backlog of emails whilst I've been bouncing from one mad project to another I found this....