MP3s Out of Stock?

I love Boomkat – it’s a great niche online electronic music store. The content is great. It gives you a real sense that the guys running it are totally in love with the music. Plus the previews of tracks are long enough and they load quickly. And their service is great too.

I was browsing the store at the weekend and thought it was a little odd when I saw the above. If you look closely the MP3 on the right appears to be ‘Out Of Stock’. Can you ever sell out of MP3s? (I’m guessing that there might be a licensing issue or something maybe?!?).

Webby Awards Vote

This is a shameless attempt to sway voting in this year’s Webby Awards. But being as it’s a People’s Voice vote I guess that’s the name of the game. Everyone else seems to be doing the same.

You can vote here.

This year Poke have got 2 things in there. Zopa and American Express RED.

Anyway if you’ve got a mo (you do need to register so it’s not instant) pop over here and cast your vote for stuff you like – especailly the two sites above ;-)

Waitrose Cycle Trailers

When I saw this poster I thought. Wow that’s cool, Waitrose are doing something good.

But then my inner cynic kicked in. I started thinking: “I’m sure not many people ever take them up on the offer”. “I bet they’ve only got one”. “I bet you have to leave a massive deposit”. “It’s just a PR stunt”.

I hate my inner cynic. Does everyone have one? Or have I been soiled by working in the communications industry?

Rail Replacement Replacement

I stayed in London with friends on Friday night and tried to get the train back home to Brighton on Saturday. I knew there were ‘engineering works’ which meant that I’d have to brave the ‘rail replacement services’ (a euphemism for a massive scrum in some car park to get on a few 1950s style double decker buses) which filled me with a little dread.

It was all roughly OK until 1/2 way down the A23. We heard a massive bang and the bus started wobbling. Not particularly a nice feeling when you’re on the top deck. Anyway the bus pulls over and everyone gets off. Suspension was knackered.

We end up waiting by the side of the road for over an hour for a replacement bus to turn up.

Not exactly my best story ever I grant you. But I’ve not got to the point yet. I’m not commenting on buses or trains or breakdowns. My point is about what a huge amount of absolute morons there are driving on Britain’s roads.

Standing on the verge by a broken down bus makes you an attraction for sight-seers. I’ve never known what it feels like to have people rubber-necking at you. It’s just a bit odd really. I don’t begrudge people for being inquisitive, I know I’d be the same normally.

But the people I’m moaning about are the ones who felt compelled to shout humorous, witty, insightful and occasionally helpful comments from the windows of their cars, vans, lorries and buses. Or, when their vehicles were sealed tight, manged to communicate using gestures and signals. Here’s just a few of my favourites:

  • “Gutted!” from a generic wag-a-like in a hen-do minibus, her hair extensions blowing like a flammable nylon mane in the wind
  • “Want a lift” from a classic white van man as he sped by with little to suggest his offer was sincere
  • A poorly executed 1/2 moon from a bunch of teenagers in a convertible Mini that was clearly borrowed from one of their suburban mums (the Mini not the moonie)
  • AAAAAaaaaaaagh” from more than a few people who kindly felt that their expressions of sympathy were better without words in case anyone on the bus had limited English

It made me realise just how rife Schadenfreude is, and how much people seem to get out of it. I’d wrongly assumed that it was just famous people with loads of money that people get a kick out of seeing having a bad time. But no, it’s ordinary people standing next to a broken down bus too.

The 7 Qs of Viral Content

As you might know I don’t really like the term viral. But neither does the author of Modern LIfe is Rubbish so I’m quite happy to link to this post on: The 7 Qs of Great Viral Content, which is a nice roundup of stuff that good content ought to be (if you want to try to maximise its chances of becoming viral).

User Generated Signage

I deliberated about posting this because of the very bad language in one of the photos. So if you’re easily offended stop reading and leave the page now…

Then I reconsidered when I realised that there’s actually an interesting point in here somewhere.

So here’s the story: my walk to work is made hazardous by dog mess liberally scattered around the pavements. I’m sure many of you suffer the same thing. Here’s some ‘fresh’ evidence from this morning:

The council try to persuade dog owners to not let this happen by giving them bins, and putting up signs.

Often the signs seem to be pretty ineffective. And like lots of the messages that we see every day they just fade into the noise and clutter of the urban environment. Over time they get defaced and fade away. If the message ever worked its impact gets diminished as it’s gradually torn away:

I was slightly shocked when I saw this on the pavement yesterday:

I was shocked mainly because of the use of very strong language. But you know what, I noticed it. I really noticed it. And I bet the people who walk their dogs round there noticed it too. Especially the c***ts who let their dogs shit on the street and don’t pick it up.

And my point is:

  • Councils have to play by the rules. They use recognised placements for their signage: lampposts, bins, etc. They use tedious ‘council-approved’ language: “fouling”, “provided”, “prosecuted”, etc.
  • ‘Consumers’ can use whatever language they like (as evidenced above). They can use whatever media they like. They’re just not bound by the same set of rules. Which means they can create much more compelling messages.

Sound like a familliar situation?

The Daddy of All Secret Clubs…

Following the post about secret clubs, posters like this have just started going up for Secret Sundaze (one of the original new wave of oudoor / warehouse parties).

It doesn’t get much more secret than that. If you’re smart you might be able to figure out the date. But you’ll need to know where to look (or how to search the internet) to get more…

But you know what, they don’t need to do any more. They’ve created a really really strong brand. From a very simple yellow and black identity with just an unfussy typeface they’ve manage to build something that has massive cutthrough in the congested flyposter space. When you see a confident yellow poster that doesn’t say much their followers know exactly what it’s for. They’ve build a brand thats understood enough by its audience that information on posters is merely clutter and distraction. They use their ads simply as beacons or reminders, letting other channels do the ‘heavy lifting’ of information: who the djs are, where it is, etc. Almost like the way the iPod ads work.