To some extent, I think this little scenario may be familiar for most of us: I opened my email this morning and had another 5 emails from my dad.
- A funny image attached (Here, of course it’s kinda NSFW)
- A video of a funny ad for Bud Light attached (This one).
- A Powerpoint slideshow attached with misspelled notes from parents to teachers
- Another Powerpoint attachment with an illustrated joke in about 12 slides
- A written joke in the body of the email
I generally receive one of those a day. No written text in the body of the email most of the time, my dad might just modify the sender / receiver list. Depending on whether the jokes are in French or in English I can gather a guess to which of his networks it’s coming from: the US/UK old work crew, or the French/Swiss massive. And that’s not counting his Dutch or German family and mates – I can’t speak those languages that well so he doesn’t send me those.
This reminded me that when it comes to using digital stuff I live in a bubble with a very small number of people. Nothing dramatically new here in terms of idea, but when you hang out with the same people all the time, you tend to start behaving like that’s how everyone is.
Even though I know intellectually that Twitter has a tiny user base in proportion to Facebook, I don’t really think very often about the fact that it’s also tiny compared to MySpace. Yes, just because I don’t use it anymore doesn’t mean no one is using it. And the real shocker is that Twitter is microscopic compared to email.
Apparently there are about 27.3M tweets sent every day. Considering 30% of the approximately 11M registered Twitter users make up 97.4% of the total activity, that’s like having 3.3M people out there that like chatting together. A lot. Nothing wrong with that, but now if we compare it with the 63 billion emails being sent everyday (Excluding the 70% of spam – in total it’s about 210 billion), Twitter is just ridiculously small. About 7,692 times smaller.
On the other hand, the talk about Twitter is huge. Just to give a little impression I searched for a few terms on Google News and Google Blogs:
A hefty 362,000 news articles in English and a whopping 225M blog posts about it in just a few years. As a side note, it’s interesting to note that the level of news mentioning Twitter has halved and I just read a couple of posts about Twitter traffic stagnating in the US.
I compared that with a few other search terms, here Myspace:
So here are a few points:
- If you’re a business or someone who advises businesses on these matters, please take a serious look at how clean your email database is and how your business is communicating via email (everywhere: internally, marketing, customer service, suppliers, etc) before getting all excited about Twitter.
- If you’re some kind of writer in media (news, journalist, reporter, bloggers) and want to distinguish yourself from the competition, you might want to write about something else than Twitter. I obviously don’t follow my own advice.
- If you work in PR, apparently the writer types like hearing about Twitter stuff, so keep going I guess – the trick there is probably going to be about segmenting the twitter information depending on associations (eg. Twitter + celebrity endorsement, Twitter + new product launch; etc)
- If you’re a celebrity I doubt you’re reading this, but thanks anyway. It’s mainly your fault if these people in the points above can’t stop talking about Twitter [And assume it’s important. And also assume everyone is interested in hearing about it].
- If you’re about to get on your high horse and start huffing and puffing about the good differences businesses or crowds have made with Twitter (Like raising cash for Twestival, awareness of news and events like the Iran Election, Dell selling more computers, etc), I already know about them but I’m not talking about that here. There are plenty of articles and posts about that elsewhere.
Twitter is making so much noise because its nature lends itself to it. Facebook, Myspace, and even email aren’t originally built as broadcasting tools. But Twitter is made for broadcast. Just like TV or radio. It wasn’t built for people to interact as they do on it now (Check Evan Williams’ talk at TED). People just find ways to communicate and interact with one another because that’s what we do.
I think that’s why the media, PR, marketing, advertising industries like Twitter so much. It’s easy to understand and you have simple visible numbers of people who receive the message you broadcast. Using it at that simple level doesn’t really demand any behavior change from businesses or marketing departments. They’re still talking at people as they used to, not with them.
I’ll finish by certainly preaching to the converted but I don’t think businesses should bother talking with people that much anyway. They should concentrate on making shit worth buying and they’ll sell more of it. Or they should concentrate on making shit people are interested in, worth talking about, and they’ll sell more of it. Or they should hire a good advertising partner if they have nothing new to talk about.
What do you think about all this?
I saw a post from Gavin today about Sean McNally who designed a Dungeons & Dragons CV which definitely looks pretty cool. Given I did the same with a different design of AD&D character sheet years ago, back when I used to be a designer, I thought it might be a cool idea to bring it back and share it along with the similar themed business cards.
I have all the files so if someone fancies making this into an editable PDF or something like that, just tell me and I can send it over. It’s all in French but what’s written isn’t that fascinating anyway. And I think I look stupid on that picture but hey – and yes, in France it’s normal to have a photo on your CV, or at least it used to be.
Back in the day, geek wasn’t so fashionably mainstream and everyone said my CV was insane and I would never get a job with something like that. I got concerned, didn’t hear anything back from the places I’d sent it at and changed it – sadly.
Also I was on Caramail back in the day, that was one of the first email addresses I’d opened and was completely addicted to their chat rooms. It was the most popular webmail / community sites in France. Obviously there is no Wikipedia entry in English, but there is one in French. My fellow compatriots will probably remember.
And the business card:
“The imagination paints,
The mind compares,
The taste chooses,
The talent executes.”
I just uploaded the images to Flickr as well. Hope you enjoy.
It doesn’t happen very often but yesterday I came across a pretty cool MPU while browsing the Internet (So not from a link or a blog about advertising ;). It’s an ad I spotted on College Humor, (While showing this video to someone; it’s really good check it out) so it’s probably still playing on some pages if you want to try it out – refresh to cycle through the ads served.
I haven’t checked yet but I imagine most certainly this is CP+B at work here for Burker King who as far as I know about created the first augmented reality feature in an online ad. And while you could argue how useful it is; what’s most interesting is that the symbol used for the AR to display is something most people [in the USA] would have in their pocket: a $1 bill.
Now whether anyone outside of complete geekiness and/or who works in advertising would wait and play with the AR and go shuffle in his pockets to find a $1 bill is also arguable, but you don’t need many people to start showing others how neat this little feature is (I’m also guessing you need a good bandwidth)
Matt Nadeau of RockArt Brewery is facing the bullying of a much larger corporation. Seriously check out the video and hopefully choose to boycott Monster Energy drinks after that – there are plenty of other energy drinks to choose from aren’t bullying a 7 man company making specialty great craft beers.
Even better, write a complaint to Monster on their:
Website contact form
Twitter account (no response from them so far there or there; not trending yet but spreading fast)
Facebook page (A big one, there will be some work there)
You can use #BoycottMonster as a hashtag, seems to be the most popular at the moment.
For a bit of background, I’ve been appreciating small craft beers and ales more and more recently; I’m also against corporate bullying in general and that seems to be exactly what they’re victims of. To finish, if ever this works and Monster gives up, I would have been a playing part in a worthwhile experiment and I quite like the idea of that too.
Update (26/10/2009): I just received an email from the Hansen Beverage Company who manufactures Monster Energy Drink, apparently they have settled for a happy agreement with RockArt Brewery, so I’m also happy. Also glad the beverage company followed up my email and responded to it, congrats to them for that.
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery
Reach Trademark AgreementOctober 26, 2009
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery today issued the following statement in connection with a recent trademark issue:Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery have reached an amicable agreement under which both companies’ respective products will be protected – Hansen’s Monster Energy® line of energy drinks and Rock Art’s Vermonster beer products.> Rodney Sacks, Hansen’s chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter expeditiously and put the concerns that had arisen behind us so that both parties can concentrate on their day-to-day businesses, selling their respective high-quality products. Our intent in this matter was simply to protect Hansen’s trademarks and prevent any likelihood of confusion arising in the future through potential product extensions and was not to prevent Rock Art Brewery from selling their Vermonster beer.”> Matt Nadeau, owner of Rock Art Brewery, said: “Once Rodney and I were able to talk to each other we quickly appreciated each other’s points of view and he acted reasonably, which allowed us to rapidly come to an agreement we are both happy with and allows both of us to move forward positively.”
You may have seen the Eurostar‘s advertising campaign called ‘Little breaks make a big difference‘. Beyond the posters I’ve seen in the tube, activities are being run across experiential, social and digital media (Created by Fallon, Vizeum and We Are Social). I was lucky enough to be invited for one of these little breaks mentioned in the tag line and went off to Paris on Saturday, along with about 43 other men and women in total for a romantic singles day out in the City of Lights.
Before we go any further, I’d like to point out I’m completely biased here given I love Paris and I love the Eurostar already and have been an advocate of both for a long time.
I lived most of my life in and around Paris, and am really Parisian more than anything – which is where my charming arrogance comes from; in case you ever wondered. It was quite funny going back for a day and with a group doing touristy stuff.
The Eurostar is simply awesome for a variety of reasons:
- It’s a train. Traveling by train is much more sophisticated and relaxed than the plane – unless you have your own private jet (Of course your own private train would be even better).
- It goes from city centre to city centre, without going through the airport outside of town and several hours of humiliating security checks
- This is an important one that tends to be taken for granted: It travels by way of a tunnel under the sea. Sure, managing to have a few tons of metal carcass crammed with people flying is a feat human beings can be proud of, but building an underwater tunnel is definitely badass [technical term].
- it’s fast and comfortable – now just about 2h20min from London to Paris
- Great food served with champagne in first class
- Did I mention it crossed a tunnel going under the sea?
I’ve been thinking about experiences a lot lately, it’s interesting to note that advertising in the traditional sense cannot generate an experience, but that an experience can cause advertising.
At best, traditional advertising can generate an emotional response [Oh that’s cute / clever / funny / etc], a thought [Sounds like a good idea], which might lead to an intention [Maybe I should try that out], and in an ideal world end in an action [buy something]. Nothing wrong with that and it does a great job for awareness and such like, but no experience there.
Now I think taking a similar scenario and adding your money where your mouth is by providing people with an experience demonstrating what the brand is claiming on the adverts can enhance all those marketing efforts.
The tagline for the Eurostar campaign is Little breaks, big difference. I saw the posters of laughing couples on a Parisian café terrace in the tube over the summer with that line and thought it seemed nice. The line would make sense to anyone, though not necessarily Eurostar specific (A little break flying to Barcelona or driving to the Cotwolds can also make a big difference). It doesn’t matter that much because as far as I know in terms of positioning nobody had used the line before so they have a good chance owning that idea.
Now I think what really anchors that position is the experience.
So the cycle becomes something like:
See the advert > These people look happy > Think it’s a good idea > Get a real life experience consistent with that idea. Now if I share that with other people, it’s not conceptual, it’s real. And people relate to real experiences more than they do with lines we all know were written up to sell more stuff.
I had a brilliant day out in Paris so I talked about it. With the cab driver on the way to St Pancras in the morning who told me he was going to check out prices because he was just thinking of going on a weekend away. To the cab driver on the way back home, to five different friends yesterday, to about 10 colleagues already this morning, and now I’m writing about it in my blog. Sure, I’m not a TV channel and I don’t have an audience in the millions but I provided Eurostar with personalised brand interactions of at least a couple of minutes with each of those people.
Unless you go all #6weeks over it, difficult to say what it’s all worth specifically; but I would say it’s worth going through the effort of proving that your brand can deliver on the advert tagline or slogan in reality.
It was a brilliant day out and got to meet with a great bunch of people, though I have to say one disappointment was that we stayed indoors doing speed dating for almost the whole afternoon.
We had good fun but when I realised at least a couple of people had never been to Paris in their life I thought it was a missed opportunity. Speed dating is something you can do in London and we were already spending the whole day together and getting to know each other so it wasn’t really needed; we could have gone walking somewhere, visit a museum, whatever something more Parisian – and speed dating is kind of the opposite of romantic. But then the tourist bus ride (courtesy of myself talking complete nonsense at the mic in front of the bus as we drove through town) and the boat ride were really cool and relaxed.
And on the romance front I hear you ask? Well there seemed to be at least one couple getting together, several dates scheduled and definitely some phone numbers exchanged so that sounds pretty successful too.
All in all probably the longest post I’ve written to answer yes to a question. Little breaks do make a big difference and good on Eurostar for being a brand demonstrating what they stand for rather than just telling us.
Update: The video edit is now on Youtube
I got really excited this morning. I arrived in the office a little early and the first thing I saw in my inbox was a message from FourSquare announcing that London was open to the service!
I had been waiting for a while to be able to experience it on this side of the Pond. It first started from the few people I follow on Twitter in the US. A few random tweets announcing they were in this bar / club / pub / venue with a link back to FourSquare. It seemed pretty intriguing and of course given I try to be all over anything catching online to make sure I stay one of the cool people in the know [read as something like, so hopelessly beyond geekness that it comes out as utterly cool on the other side of the spectrum].
In short, I’d say FourSquare is part Qype / Yelp / Tipped like reviews, part social network (and/or integrated in other social networks), part location based service and all wrapped up in a gaming / playful context. Of course, give it that last note along with some booze given the whole concept is about showing off where the party’s at; and I’m all over it.
In the space of 45 minutes I had a bunch of friends signing up and over a few hours over 30. I don’t know how many people are already signed up for London in total but it must be quite a few as they need a certain critical mass before starting the service in a given city.
Check it out, it’s fun and you get points for going out and being at places out and about in town. All for bragging rights at the moment but as the number of users grows they intend to create other value out of those points.
Maybe think of a Top Table and the way they are now operating a stranglehold over the restaurant business – get points for booking through Top Table and more points if you post reviews afterwards. After a certain number of points, you can receive gifts. Sounds like a brilliant idea altogether though Björn, my chef brother, hates them because every restaurant has to pay to be registered on the site and moreover the site regularly almost forces restaurants to provide special deals for the site’s users.
Anyhoo, I’m getting off the point. It’s fun, there’s no advertising, it’s spreading like wildfire (in my world anyway) and I’m loving it. And now you can know everything I’m doing online with Eyebrowse, so can you know everything out there offline with FourSquare.
We’ll worry about business models later; que sera, sera.
eyebrowse is an add-on for firefox that lets you easily record, visualize, and share your trails through the web in real-time.
I’m always interested in data visualisation and research tools so I installed it and have been adding a lot of sites to it over the past couple of weeks or so. It’s all a bit weird but kind of exciting too. I’ll admit I don’t actually understand everything and I’m not sure it’s always correct or what it measures or not, but given there are lots of nice colours to look at and a variety of cryptic graphs to ponder upon I’m happy with it so far.
Here are my Top 20 urls for each day of the week:
This one displays my top urls by time of day:
I don’t know if it keeps recording visits to the same urls when I leave the same tabs open, close my laptop and come back later… Apparently there’s only four hours in the day that don’t have online activity yet. It’s at night so it might be all those porn sites I haven’t included in Eyebrowse so far 😀
This one looks pretty cool, it’s my recorded online activity for the past 20 days:
I could go on, but it’s pretty fascinating and I recommend joining in the fun. And it will also save time when Big Brother comes knocking, I’ll just give him the url.
Prezi has been on my radar to try out properly for months, I’d seen the videos and read about it but hadn’t yet done a whole presentation. As for a lot of other people, Umair, Twitter‘s Jack Dorsey being a couple of them, I think the concept is definitely awesome.
I finally got round to spending a little bit of time playing with the free version today and created my very first Prezi, check it out here. Mine is still pretty linear here, but I’m telling a really (very) simple story here as it’s a first test.
I feel it’s a bit disconcerting to not have tools to place objects in certain places and have very limited fonts, colours and styles but that might just be the free version.
I’m interested in trying out the pro version, I think there are more features and functions; and I need to practice. Although really simple, the interface doesn’t come naturally for some reason – could be I’m too used to a complicated system to create presentations.
I’m pretty inspired right now and thinking not only about presentations but perhaps some other stuff it could be used for, one of the logical ones could be storytelling in some way. I’m thinking of a project in particular I just had the idea for, I need to get moving on it…
I would be great to be able to embed Prezis in Slideshare, I don’t know if that’s possible yet..?
I might be slow for never having noticed, or perhaps it just proves the extent to which I generally ignore the usual online display advertising, but Amazon offers users the possibility to give feedback about the ads served on the site:
A really simple and pretty boring flash animation in a rectangle MPU, just like countless other online ads.
Too many people still don’t get that:
1. Taking a poster and turning it into an animated online display simply doesn’t work. When the advertising industry started making ads on TV, they started shooting video for them. I doubt anybody thought broadcasting radio ads on TV would be a good idea. Same difference.
2. Online display advertising can be great if thought through, it really depends of the objectives of the activity. It can be as seemingly simple such as this Pringles ad that won several awards, or pretty extravagant like this Burger King ad (And it rarely happens but I saw this one and played through the game while browsing on The Onion, as opposed to seeing it on Bannerblog for example). They are rare occurrences, but these two examples are brilliant, fun, quirky, entertaining and memorable – all advertising should have at least some of those qualities.
So what does this mean? I like Amazon, have shopped with Amazon for years and will continue to do so. I’m really glad they care enough about their customers to ask their opinion about the ads served on their site when I’m visiting. They probably won’t be able to do that much to improve the quality of the banner ads appearing there, but being able to send my feedback about the ad really made a difference to my shopping experience.
Result: I like Amazon even more and I’m even writing a whole post here about it. All of that because of a little ‘Ad feedback’ link.
But wait, who was advertising again? Oh yeah, HSBC. Could have been anyone. I didn’t even get if the ad was specifically promoting something, but I assumed they would like me to open an account with them.
Well, as for a lot other banner ads out there, I would say this one was money wasted. And I’m not sure I want to entrust my money to a bank that’s wasting theirs…
In short, here are a few opinions I have included in there:
As I pointed out in my previous post, I don’t understand why all the four contestants have concentrated on displaying a range of Panasonic products rather than the TV but then again if those were selected finalists, I guess that’s what was wanted.
‘A Panasonic advert by Romaine Reid’ was the entry I thought was closest to a finished advert telling a nice story and showing pretty clearly what is being talked about. Though it also feels like it may lack originality at the same time, I like the idea of showing the HD qualities and relationship between the different products and they work all together.
I thought ‘Electronic devices coming to lights via their on lights by Daniel Childs-Clarke’ was the most interesting from a creative and visual point of view, there’s something original and special about the way it looks and I like that. On the other hand, I feel it doesn’t say much about the TV itself, or Panasonic and might be a strange way to show HD but there might be potential there.
These are the two finalists I selected for the next round of the competition, but I just wanted to add one more note about an idea and I what I thought was a good proposition that I liked from Steffan Harrison: Little things make the big picture happen. I feel it could be a rich creative territory to explore.
Congrats again to everyone participating and I’ll be curious to see who wins over the next few days.