Friday, September 22, 2006

Geekdinner tonight in London with Howard Rheingold

Looks like it's a last minute thing but Howard Rheingold is in town tonight, 22nd September - author of SmartMobs. Ian's organising a geekdinner - which will probably be a dinner rather than just drinks. Find out how to sign up over at the geekdinner blog. I'm a bit networked out this week what with Mobile Content World 'n all, but if I get second-wind, I'll be there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tales of the Unexpected meets Ealing Comedy

I went to the Corpse screening yesterday afternoon at Soho House and thoroughly enjoyed it. 15 minutes of comic horror courtesy of Richard West and Ben Pullen and the fine actors Oliver Chris, Philip Jackson and Angela McHale. Go check out the website for more info and a sneak preview. And before long you'll be able to check it all out on your mobile too.

Avast me hearties...

It's "talk like a pirate day" today. No really it is. Check it out.

Thanks to Adrian at HW&W for pointing it out.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Adidas marketing reaches Second Life

I must admit, I try many things online (and mobile for that matter). I figure that I need to understand the space as a consumer myself to be able to understand the consumer better. That means I've tried online shopping, email newsgroups, social networking, business networking, online tv, mobile tv, blogging, moblogging, tagging, ebay, instant messenger etc etc. However, much as I try, I can't get into virtual reality. I know it's big and it's popular and lots of people seem to be living out their lives through their virtuality. However, I just can't get into it. I've tried Habbo Hotel (ok, too teeny-bop for me) and, albeit sometime ago. Maybe it's because I'm not that much into computer or videogames? Maybe I haven't given it enough of a go? It just seems a bit odd to me to want to spend your hard-earned cash on virtual real-estate that lives on a server somewhere. I feel the same way about chatrooms too.

However, this virtual living is HUGE and shouldn't be underestimated. There are folks who make their real-life living out of selling virtual stuff. And I really like the sound of this campaign from Adidas where they are using Second Life (one of the biggest virtual reality worlds), to promote its new Microride trainer. You can buy virtual Microride trainers to give you extra bounce and there's a bounce floor where you can test them out.

I think this sounds like a well thought through campaign and more interesting than the usual sponsorship you might normally expect in these areas.

Mobile could be the greatest media ever created

According to one of the head honchos, Peter Chernin, COO at NewsCorp, during his speech at the recent CTIA. However, he figures we need to spend more time, effort and imagination on marketing mobile entertainment services, that we haven't worked out the emotional connection to attract and retain customers. Nor does he think we make the content easy enough to find. But he remains confident that this market is growing and is set to be huge.

QR codes are so last year now that we have FP codes ;)

QR codes are as common as muck in Japan by all accounts these days with the average Jo/e using these barcodes to access information about anything and everything on his/her mobile phone.

But it seems that it's not enough and that the humble QR code is a bit too obvious so there's now a way to create an FP code (fine picture barcode) that is embedded in a picture and that it's so well hidden that you'd be hard-pressed to find it with the naked eye courtesy of the team at Fujitsu. Of course your cameraphone can pick it up easily enough which means you have all the easy access and usability benefits of the QR code without it interfering with your creative treatment.

I did hear a rumour that HP was looking at exactly this a year or so ago but I never read anything about it since.

Jan explains more about it here.

Wanna know if your surname is local to your area?

Well you can find out at the Surname Profiler project. UCL has been investigating the distribution of surnames in Great Britain - both current and historic, "in order to understand patterns of regional economic development, population movement and cultural identity'. So you can search for your name and find out the geography of your family name from 1998 and 1881 and see where it's most popular. There is also some demographic matching using Mosaic.

I searched for my name and back in 1881 the most popular location for Keegan was Liverpool (no big surprise there with the Irish influx) and in 1998 it was Wigan which is where my Dad is originally from. We're also most prevalant in Rhode Island in the US. Again no big surprise there with all the Irish immigrants heading that way back in the day. It also tells me that the name is most common amongst the 'sharing a staircase' Mosaic group which is way down the pecking order. I'm happy to say, that I don't share a staircase with anyone and nor am I dependent on state benefits!

Try it for yourself here.

Chinwag Autumn get-together next week

Hurrah, the lovely Sam Michel at Chinwag has organised an Autumn meet-up in London on 28th September for his Chinwag subscribers and their friends. I expect it'll be a mix of noo meeja types from techie to marketing and I know it'll be a good bash. There'll also be some free drinks courtesy of recruitment people Propel.

Date: Thursday 28th Sept, 2006
Time: 6.30pm until we get tired or the venue shuts
Place: The Slug & Lettuce, Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TF

Spaces are limited, so please sign up here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Valleyschwag arrived this morning :)

September's Valleyschwag
And in my Valleyschwag parcel were 2 t-shirts , a set of Perplexcity cards, a mousemat you can put a photo into and lots of stickers. The t-shirts will definitely come in handy (well, I'm wearing one of them already), one of my nieces can have the mousemat and the stickers will adorn a notebook I expect. As for the Perplexcity cards, maybe I'll just have to try it out and play the game.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The NewsCorp Juggernaut adds Jamba to the fold

The Annoying Thing GameAccording to the Wall Street Journal (via The Guardian), NewsCorp will announce today that it has bought a 51% stake in the German ringtone firm Jamba (operating as Jamster in the UK and US). Yes, this is the company behind the Crazy Frog and who spent gazillions on advertising mobile ringtone subscription services in 2004/5. News Corp will pay $187.5m (£100m) for a 51% stake in the company. Jamba's sales rose from $40m (£21m) in 2003 to a whopping $500m (£268m) last year, but will fall back to around $300m (£161m) this year, according to the WSJ. VeriSign bought Jamba in May 2004 for $273m (£146m) in cash and stock. So it looks like Verisign has made some money on the deal and it gives them an exit strategy in the future with a potential buyer in Rupert Murdoch for the whole shebang.

NewsCorp will also merge it's current mobile division Mobizzo with Jamba and put Lucy Hood in as it's CEO. Way to go Lucy - that's a fantastic position to be in. A m-commerce proposition for myspace will be delivered by Jamba and they will also soon be launching Simpsons Mobile according to the official release on the Verisign site.

I guess this is more proof that mobile media is now being taken more seriously. Time to wake up and smell the coffee marketers. Mobile ain't goin' away anytime soon.

Monday, September 11, 2006

textin iz gud 4 ur lang skilz

Well according to a new study reported in The Guardian it is anyway.

Researchers Beverly Plester and Clare Wood from Coventry University presented the findings of their research on thirty-five 11 year olds to the British Psychological Society's developmental section annual conference in London.

The research team found children use their mobile phones more for sending text messages than for talking. Unsurprisingly, the majority of texts were sent to friends, the research found.

Most text abbreviations were phonetically based, such as "wot" for "what" and combination texts, such as "C U L8r". Many children also used a form of youth code, a casual form of language such as "dat fing", "gonna" or "wanna".

Surprisingly, the children who were better at spelling and writing used the most "textisms".

Mrs Plester said: "So far, our research has suggested that there is no evidence to link a poor ability in standard English to those children who send text messages. In fact, the children who were the best at using 'textisms' were also found to be the better spellers and writers."

Reading teen texts is like reading another language, so I'm not entirely surprised by this research as it suggests good language skills to be able to grasp another language at all, even if it is 'text language'. And it's no bad thing to learn how to abbreviate a message and cut to the chase either. My nieces are a case in point - both very eloquent in English and TextSpeak.

So Lauz, if ur redin this, den dont wori coz ul do wel in ur eng gcse xams nxt yer coz ur so gud @ txtin ;)

Event: New Directions in Mobile - 3rd October 2006

is on at 01zero-one in Soho on 3rd October. It's an afternoon session covering some of the key developments in mobile: how mobile and wireless technology has changed the way we do things, trends to watch and future opportuntities, as well as key innovations and business models.

There's a great speaker panel including yours truly! I'll be covering business models for mobile content and services (which will include the case for ad-funded content and content by brands), Steve Flaherty will be talking about Mobile TV, Paul Walsh from Segala is talking about Mociology and the Mobile Zeitgeist (which probably gives him carte blanche to talk about any aspect of mobile he pleases!). Then in the second part, we'll be hearing case studies and real life stories from Moblog UK's Alfie Dennen, Jonathan Bill from Vodafone and Jon Carney from Marvellous Mobile.

It costs £80 to attend the event (£50 concessions) and you can find out more about the event here and book your tickets online. Hopefully see some of you there.

Anheuser Busch is setting up BudTV

US$30m is apparently being invested in Anheuser Busch's new venture Bud.TV. This is an online TV channel with several strands:

"The site - called "Bud.TV" - is aimed at consumers between the ages of 21 and 27 who routinely visit sites like and YouTube, said Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's vice president of global media and sports marketing...

...The Web site will feature sports shows, standup comedy and reality shows that are set in bars and restaurants, said Jim Schumacker, who will oversee Bud.TV.

Anheuser-Busch announced partnerships with some big-name stars who plan to contribute shows, including comedian Vince Vaughn. The Web site also will receive content from actor Kevin Spacey's project and actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's "Project Greenlight" filmmaking contest."

Schumacker said one channel will imitate the YouTube phenomenon, letting viewers produce their own skits and advertisements featuring Anheuser-Busch products like Budweiser and Bud Light...

...While the shows will be original, Anheuser-Busch won't make them itself, Ponturo said. The company will act like an executive producer, choosing ideas to fund and buying completed shows to broadcast."

This follows hot on the heels of an announcment of the creation of a mobile and online content division.

If advertisers are going to create their own content, where does this leave broadcast TV? Is Bud.TV the ultimate in TV sponsorship?

DoCoMo piloting in-mall location based marketing

Jan over at W2Forum has just written a post about NTT DoCoMo launching a mobile marketing system that uses RFID tags to work out what items you are browsing and send you accordingly information and offers whilst you're out and about to your mobile phone. So if you're looking in shoe shops, then your phone sends the tags out and by the time you get to shoe shop number 3, their server will reckon you're a bit tired and send you a message for a coffee shop.

The pilot will be running from 13th to 26th September (which isn't long enough for a pilot in my opinion). We also have to remember that they actually use RFID, QR codes and other fancy schmancy things with their phones which we think in the UK only exist in science fiction rather than sicence fact. And one hopes they've worked out how to handle data privacy issues (or maybe it's not the same issue in Japan as in the UK?). I also question whether or not they need the granularity of data to create an effective mobile marketing system. But I'm very excited they're doing something and look forward to seeing how it works out.

Of course the concept isn't new. We did something similar at ZagMe, albeit using text messaging, back in 2000/2001 at Lakeside and Bluewater Shopping Malls.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Brand Republic covers mobile marketing

Worth a look at their article 'mobile marketing uncovered'. They've missed the point about bluespamming (and it being umm against the data protection act) but that aside, it's a pretty good roundup.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Electric Picnic was brutal*!

Yes folks, I'm back in the land of the living having enjoyed music, festivities and fun at the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland with fellow festikittens Sarah, Sophie and Deirdre and festicat Tom. We arrived on the overnight ferry in Dublin very very early on Friday morning, picked up the hire car and headed slowly through Dublin (traffic was heavy), stopped at the supermarket in Tallaght to pick up food and drink and then wended our way to Stradbally.

We arrived at about 11ish I think and queued up to park, then queued up to get our wristbands (and picked up some freebies along the way - loo roll, sweets, condoms) and then queued up to have bags checked (for glass bottles) and then queued up to get on to the campsite. We were lucky though, we got a great spot in the yellow site less than 10 minutes walk from anything - car park, main arena, body and soul area, food, toilets. As we were putting up the tents, the rain came but we were more or less done by then. So we hung around the tents waiting for it all to open up in the main arena and we waited for Tom who was flying in a bit later and we'd saved him a spot near us to pitch his tent.

We headed into the arena early evening, got our lanyards and programmes and immediately I became the Electric Picnic information point. At every turn, I was asked where so and so was, which tent was which, where to get stuff. So I must look very responsible or something despite wearing dodgy festi-gear complete with hat and hair in plaits. Anyway, it became a standing joke all weekend. Wherever we went, I was asked something - even on the ferry.

Most of Friday evening was spent milling around, getting our bearings, eating, drinking (free soft drinks and phone charging in the Nokia tent), chilling in the teepees in the secret teepee garden, dancing in Pussy Parlure, watching strange goings on at Lost Vagueness, hoping to see Sinead O'Connor at The Big Tree (but she cancelled), meeting up with Sarah who flew in much later on Friday, and then heading off to see Massive Attack who were utterly brilliant. You could literally feel the bass as it was so deep and loud. It was the last night of their tour and they said it was the best night yet and that we were a brilliant audience. I bet they say that at every festival ;) Headed back to the tent after that and chatted and chilled out.

Overnight, it absolutely threw it down. Raining stair rods. And it was obvious there were some tent and gazebo casualties overnight. Fortunately, we were just fine. Wellies definitely required though. We also found we had two new neighbours who had snook into the gaps between our tents.

Headed into the arena eventually at lunchtime and relaxed with cocktails in the Bollywood Bar and then checked out The Rags who were pretty good I have to say. We'd been tipped off about them by a guy we met on the boat on the way over. Next was Gary Numan, who was awesome. Can't get Are Friends Electric out of my head. And he was having such a good time on stage he couldn't help grinning. Mooched around a bit including partaking of some flavoured oxygen. Then headed over to see the Super Furry Animals who I'm sure played a great set, but I just don't know any of their songs so it all kind of passed my by. Sarah and I discovered Tilly and The Wall who have a tap dancer instead of a drummer. Kinda curious but kinda worked I think. Then I managed a bit of Belle and Sebastian (which was surprisingly rammed) and then I headed off to Sparks who were utterly brilliant. Quickly followed by New Order (where they announced Kelly Osbourne's wedding in the Inflatable Church), grabbed some food and then listened to Groove Armada from the comfort of our own tent.

Woke up earlyish on Sunday as Sarah was booked in for a massage at the Body and Soul area so we got up in search of coffee and breakfast. And it was raining. But we had a giggle chatting to some other festi-goers in the queue (there's always a queue). Sarah then went off for her massage whilst I went round some of the art installations - some of which were a bit worse for wear by this stage. Walked back to the Body and Soul area to meet Sarah only to bump into Judy Peplow who I sat next to at school and hadn't seen for 20 years. She's now a therapist and was one of the masseuses at the festival.

Sarah was very serene after the massage and headed to the Dublin Gospel Choir who were opening the main stage (like they did last year). The rain just about held off so the audience could really appreciate the set without getting drenched. Had a good bop and a singalong with them (Movin' on up was a crowd pleaser) and Deirdre found us at the front. Next we went for a wander to find the other campsite and we found 'Shop' and the Irish Scouts who had been helping folks pitch their tents. Had a good chat with the scout mistress. Next was Alabama 3 and a good bop was had by all. Next we met up with Tom and put our hands in the air for Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious 5. Twenty five years of hiphop from The Bronx was celebrated with hiphop versions of Nirvana's Never Mind and Madonna's Holiday amongst others as well as classics like White Lines and Don't Push Me (cos I'm close to the edge). The pisstake of Vanilla Ice was also very well done. Respect. The crowd went wild even though it was only 3pm in the afternoon.

After that, I needed a rest so went back to the tent for a bit and headed back to the arena a bit later for food and then to the Big Tree to see the Dublin Gospel Choir (so good I had to see them twice), caught the end of the Pet Shop Boys, then Basement Jaxx (who were good, but a bit dull after a while as we were at the back). So Sarah and I headed off to see The Frames (they'd also played on Saturday night to a packed house apparently) who were doing an impromptu extra set. A 20 minute set turned into about an hour and a half and it was brilliant. And at the end, the lead singer said for us not to clap but to carry on singing the chorus to Skylarking until everyone had left the stage. Everyone kept singing for a very long time and it was beautiful.

We then snook into the Body and Soul area just before they closed the gates which meant we could stay for a bit for their party. There was singing round a campfire, traditional Irish Music in a yurt, lots of drinking and merriment all round. And a perfect end to a perfect festival.

Then back at the tent, we found Deirdre who had been dancing her wellies off at Bodytonic (or Robotonic as one festi-goer was insistently calling it when asking me where it was). Chatted for ages and then eventually fell asleep.

Monday was a bit miserable. Everyone was tired. Tom had already packed up and gone (he had a flight to catch). It was showery. All the electricity had been turned off so we couldn't get coffee. Tents needed packing up and we had to get out of the site pronto. Still, once we got to the car, we got out of the site pretty quickly. Had lunch at Glendalough, then drove through the Sally Gap (in torrential rain which is quite scary on a mountain pass), then eventually got to Dublin at tea time. Next thing you know, we're on board ship in our comfy cabin and on our way back to blighty. And the adventure is over. Till next year.

*there seems to be some confusion as to what 'brutal' means in this context... well it's the same as 'wicked' or 'fab' or 'great'.