Garfield (not the cat) on Cyber Lions

Although I would be interested to see what Garfield the cat would have to say about Cannes.Garfield Says - Big Fat Hairy Deal

Anyway. You’d expect a geek like me to talk about the web being a “transformational opportunity to engage the user”. But when someone from Advertising Age says it, you know it must be true ;-)

Actually Bob Garfield writes a whole lot of sense about online and the new world of marketing, a lot. So it’s no surprise when he gets it right about this year’s crop of Cyber Lions at Cannes.

Once again, these efforts are the tip of the digital iceberg, but they do remind us that if you don’t think URL, UR dead.

Blog Shares

Not quite sure how it all works, but it looked like a bit of fun and something I should at least know about. I’m preparing to have my ego crushed as this proves my blog is less useful than a blog about something really useless. Oh yeah, my blog is about marketing stuff. That’s where it deserves to be… ;-)

Listed on BlogShares

Genuine Marketing Gimmicks – An Oxymoron?

Sorry few posts. Hectic week. Going holiday Friday. Lots to do…

I’ve started to use Radio 4 as my alarm clock. I didn’t think it would work. But people talking, gently, as they do on R4, is quite a nice way to wake up. You get kind of drawn out of sleep and into a conversation.

As I was becoming concious yesterday morning I caught this snippet. From an interview with the director of the new Omen horror film. (Due to my 1/2 waking state I’m paraphrasing):

Interviewer: Isn’t releasing your film on 6/6/6 just a cynical marketing gimmick?

Interviewee: Absolutely. Is there any other kind of marketing gimmick? I’ve never heard of a genuine marketing gimmick.

I’m pretty sure he’s wrong. There must be some genuine marketing gimmicks. In fact aren’t all marketing stunts just gimmicks? And some of those are very genuine, aren’t they? Anyone got any great examples of ‘genuine marketing gimmicks’?
(The definition of a gimmick I’m using is: “A trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity, or business”, probably thinking more about the tricky side of things).

Nobody Reads Ads

I just read this Guest Essay from the 2004 Gunn Report by Fred & Farid. There’s some really interesting stuff in there. I particularly like the way that they talk about consumers:

The marketing strategy talks to the consumers; but we are not consumers! The only place and moment when we think like a consumer is when we are in the supermarket. The rest of the time, we are not consumers. We do not think like consumers. We are not Targets; that is even more stupid. We are an audience. We are viewers. We are spectators of a huge media show.

But for me it was this quote, by Howard Gossage, that really stood out from the whole essay:

Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it is an ad.

In a post-schedule, non-linear world these are some of the truest words I ever read. Have a read of the essay, there’s definitely some good bits.

RSS what?

marketing sherpa logo
According to a report from Marketing Sherpa:

Currently at least 75 million consumers and businesspeople in the USA and UK use RSS on a regular basis. However, depending on which study’s stats you believe, only 17-32% of RSS users actually know they’re using RSS.

I don’t find this at all hard to believe. I use RSS all the time, lots of people I know use RSS, but without knowing what RSS actually is or how it works. Before trying to write a definition of RSS I did about 10 minutes of fruitless searching, attempting to find a definition that you didn’t have to be a techie to understand. I couldn’t. I’m sure that there are simple definitions out there. But all the ones I found tended to stray off into scary things like XML definitions.

Having tried (and in most instances failed) to tell clients about RSS feeds the most useful description of RSS I’ve found is something like this:

“Using RSS you can make your website content very portable. It takes the most important information: titles, text, links and images. And makes it easy for you, or other people to display it in the way they choose. An RSS feed enables people to view your site content on their phone, on their computer, on other websites (MyYahoo, Google personal home page, etc.). It gives you extra distribution channels for your content with almost no extra effort.”

That’s the fundamentals (as I see them). Of course there’s loads more you can do with RSS, but as a basic description this sort of works for me. If my dummies definition misses lots of important things please let me know.

Mobile Marketing

Yesterday I spoke at the Mobile Marketing 2005 conference. I actually quite enjoyed it which surprised me.

It was a tricky old thing. From speaking to lots of people later it’s obvious that there’s a lot of different levels of knowledge and experience within the sector. And there’s still a lot to play for. Which is inspiring.

What’s less inspiring is quite how ‘old media’ a lot of the thinking in the industry seems to be. Especially from the network operator side. It’s almost as if the web and open source hasn’t even registered. The networks (and a load of ‘feeder’ companies around them) seem to want to control and own everything. Their value chain seems to rely on them owning and delivering content. Much like a properly old-school ISP.

Is it really economically impossible for a network to detach itself from all their ‘value added services’? I hate using that term (especially when the services in question add no discernible value in my world). If I was offered a network that just charged a data rate but let me go where I wanted, using whatever device I wanted, I’d be in like a shot. And hoovering up mobile bandwidth. They may not get me paying 50p to watch a movie trailer from them (I would absolutly never do such a thing by the way). But they would get the data charges.

Or am I just being naive?

Until they sort themselves out I’m hoping for a massive wi-fi cloud and using VOIP on mobile wi-fi devices. Fuck the mobile networks. (Note to mobile networks (especially any of our clients): I didn’t really mean that completely).


I’m doing a talk at the Mobile Marketing conference next week. And in my researching of interesting mobile marketing ideas came across this amazing promotion for Qwest in the US.

It’s a city-wide treasure hunt using semacodes
– nothing particularly innovative there – we’ve pitched mobile treasure hunts lots of times (and quite honestly never been 100% sure of the idea).


Make it a big contest between ‘schools’, and throw in some huge big inflatable creatures and hey presto! You’ve got a winner.

Even if the participation rates are tiny. Who could fail to notice groups of people running round a city with 20 foot high animals, and subsequently have conversations about it. Nice!

Levi’s Antidote

Levi\'s AntidoteLevi’s Antidote is, in its own words:

“…a living, growing snapshot of what people are thinking and doing across Europe.”

Now, as the guys at SMLXL so rightly point out, this is theoretically a great idea. A campaign that supports creativity, gets people involved and says all the right stuff about Levi’s. BUT, to my mind it gets lots of things wrong…
Continue reading Levi’s Antidote

iPod Nanos on Tokyo Metro

ipod nanos in tokyoFrom Cult Of Mac Blog – iPod Nanos on Tokyo Metro – This is a great (if a little expensive) promotion. Having said that, this is one of those ads that creates so much residual ‘buzz’ around it that the initial investment is totally worth it. I’ve just finished the excellent book Buzzmarketing: Getting People to Talk About Your Stuff. Hence I’m temporarily obsessed with ‘buzz’. I’ll write a review of the book soon. In the meantime, have a look at the site.

I’m especially loving the use of photo message QR codes on the back of the dummy Nanos (in case you don’t know these are like barcodes that you photograph with your mobile – all the rage in Japan apparantly).