Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Intuition for play and purpose

Luis Von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University is putting the collective intelligence of internet users to good use, and he's doing it in a resonant way: games. Von Ahn devised two easy online games, The ESP Game and Phetch that put active users together in an internet version of charades. One person sees a photo and tries to give clues for the others to go out and find it.

Through these games, Von Ahn is giving people a fun way to solve a problem that cannot be solved by computers yet, called "human computation." The trick of these games is that descriptions for every image are logged--and stored as tags. The ESP site claims that every image on the web could be tagged in a matter of weeks should the game be played as much as other popular online games. And he very well could be on to something. During a speech at Google, Von Ahn pointed out the unharnessed potential of people playing games online....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wigetization: Daft Punk Promo Widget

Daft Punk, the French electronic duo known for making music that scares your cat and using robots for live shows, have decided to promote their new live album, Alive, with an embeddable widget, which allows visitors to listen to previews of new tracks, buy the single, read Daft Punk’s biography, read the newsletter, and see a photo gallery of the band.

“Standard” promotional tools are giving way to user-syndicated web based promotion and social networking - at costs that are next to nothing.

via Mashable and Brand Republic

Friday, October 26, 2007

Makes You Think.

"Interesting Snippets" is a flickr site for Lynette Webb, a Senior Strategic Insights Manager at Google UK (previously incorrectly described (by me) as Director of Futures). In her own words, it's "my personal dumping ground for various cool quotes, the odd stat, as slides to talk around when describing how things are changing online and in media & communications generally."

It's essentially a blog that is headlined with an interesting picture and quote (often from a blog, article or speech). I would love to ask which usually comes first: inspiration from a photo, the stat or a broad idea that she finds can be articulated in one of the first two.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What's Next: The New Keyboard for the Texting Generation

Given I'm just a couple years out and, as many who know me would agree, still as prone to immature humor as ever, one of my favorite sites continues to be College Humor. While running through the RSS feeds today, caught this article on what a keyboard redesigned for the texters and IM junkies among us may look like. Silly as it might be, makes me wonder if this would actually be met with success...

The left...

and the right side...

can't forget that number pad

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trash Talk: Plastic Bag Gallery

The Photographers’ Gallery invited people to submit photographs of plastic bags spotted around London and elsewhere which can be viewed here.

[…]Reminding us of our ability to consume and dispose, this project provides the public with their own platform for visual expression and is part of the Gallery’s continued remit to encourage further audience participation and highlighting photography’s influence in everyday life.[…]


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guilty Pleasure: OS Bape

Fashion appareller Bathing Ape's website is more like an Operating System that loads onto your computer, not on the web per se. Nothing dangerous happens, prob not sticky enough to leave it on forever, but an interesting approach toward maintaining Bape's "band apart" ideals. Accepting this BAPE OS is sorta like bondage games - with a brand you like.
The top left corner (consider it the safeword) exits out when you're bored with it...or gotta get work done. It actually works in the background on my MacBook, so you may never need to exit out, actually.

A great strategy for a passion brand like uber-luxe Bape...the average Wal-Mart and Meineke Mufflers prob can't roll like this, though.

thnx to Simon Law for the pointr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Virtuality: CSI Murder Investigation Enters Second Life

Next week 10/24 CSI:NY will be taking it's mainstream audience- and a historically traditional network- into the virtual world for an hour of murder mystery. The episode will feature the detectives perusing the world for clues as they try to solve the case, and will attempt to draw people in by inviting them to for a "live simulation" of Second Life and the chance to be virtual detectives to see if they can crack the mystery. The NY Times has more details, worth a read.

An interesting and perhaps the most mainstream play since virtual world buzz began to get people engaged with Second Life. Could potentially be a turning point for 2L: if, even after the counterintuitive and confusing process of getting started and moving around is simplified and tied to a network TV show, people still don't engage, what then? What's next in the evolution of Virtuality? On the other hand, if it's executed well and gets a strong reaction, what's the next step to deepen that engagement?

I'm not a fan of the show- truth be told I've never seen an episode- but I'm definitely eager to see how this turns out.

In the meantime, suppose we'll have to settle for the trailer while we wait a week for that virtual goodness.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Radiohead Did It Again

I thought about disclaiming off the bat that I am a diehard Radiohead fan, but then realized that's like saying I have two arms and two legs--describes nearly everyone.

Radiohead has built itself into a category of untouchables through decades of unbelievable work. It's one of the few bands ever to evolve with changing times and produce drastic evolutions from album to album.

Now, Radiohead has turned the inner workings of the music industry on its ear. Today, Radiohead released an album that you can buy for whatever price you like. On its own site--not through a record label. Name the amount and you will own a digital version of the new album. By cutting out the middleman and eliminating physical products to distribute, Radiohead keeps most of the money. In theory--the site is so overwhelmed with traffic that I can't get it to load.

Maybe the real disclosure should have been that I am predisposed to thinking anything Radiohead does is awesome. In reality, it's probably not a sustainable business model for anyone but the top artists who have a devout following of millions, but it is a signal that there are ways to distribute music outside of EMI and iTunes.

Brave New Media: How Facebook Users Spend Their Time blog discusses "how Facebook users spend their time".

Not unsurprisingly, people spend most of their time browsing profiles, but using applications is getting up there in terms of number of users, and the time spent is almost as long.

And speaking of Facebook Apps...Compete data show that Facebook activity grew 32% from May to August, 2007, with more than a third of the growth coming from the new applications.

And furthermore...O'Reilly released a report The Facebook Application Platform and it has good and bad news. Good: there are nearly 5000 Facebook applications, and the top applications have tens of millions of installs and millions of active users. Bad news: 87% of the usage goes to only 84 applications! Only 45 applications have more than 100,000 active users. "This is a long tail marketplace with a vengeance -- but unfortunately, the economic models (for developers at least, though not for Facebook itself) all rely on getting into the very short head."

Here's the distribution of active users among the top 200 developers. (Some developers have multiple popular applications.) As you can see, the drop-off is extremely steep:

Doh! Tim O'Reilly says: "This doesn't mean that Facebook won't become an important platform for developers, just that a throwaway Facebook app is not the ticket to quick riches. Embracing the Facebook opportunity requires more than just optimism."

via O'Reilly Radar and Blog

Monday, October 08, 2007

Guilty Pleasure: LOL Cat Rewrites the Bible

Beloved by cat fans, humor fans, and internet-randomness fans, LOLCat has taken one more step in formalizing its language as, well, a real language. LOLCats is translating the Bible.

Excerpt from the Book of Matthew:

19. Joseph was all liek "Oh snap, dis embarrassin. I's gonna hide mah wife".

20. But when he was tihnkin, zomg, angel frm Ceiling Cat was in his dreems! Angel sayed "Hai, don't be fraided to has Mary for ur wife, cuz her baby be frm Holey Ghosty."

For more LOL Cat love: Time Magazine article from July.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Guilty Pleasure:

The name is self-explainatory. Not since Hot Chicks With Douchebags have I seen a more amusing display of wild humans behaving in their natural habitats.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The American Mustache Institute

In case you haven't heard, there's a Fallon Mustache Contest going on and I'm a proud participant.

It started yesterday, the same day that New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott wrote this feature on the American Mustache Institute (leadership pictured above).

As Elliott points out, this is more than a humor site. It's a net-roots PR effort designed to raise awareness for an annual event held in St. Louis, called 'Stache Bash, that raises money to fund a baseball league for disabled kids.

So instead of sending out a few press releases and crossing their fingers, they created a community with a fun hook that caught on with bloggers and even mainstream sports media.

According to Dan Callahan, a VP at Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis (Omnicom) and one of the guys behind this idea (and, presumably, his mustache):

“...based on where things are headed, we thought we could do better by creating a community” through the online poll because “the idea of online community-building is the future.”

Ah yes, The Future.

The poll that launched the site last summer asked visitors to vote for the Top Sports Mustache of All Time.

Write-in candidate Keith Hernandez won.

Now they're asking us to vote on who deserves to be on Mount "Stachemore".

Are they really going to carve a memorial to the greatest mustaches of all time? I hope so, as long as the kids still get their baseball gear and everything.

And by the way, from Wikipedia: "The word is pronounced with the stress either on the first syllable or, more properly, on the second syllable."

'Stache on ya.

(Fallon Mustache Contest updates to follow. End date: Nov 1, 2007)

Social Currency: Cavemen on Primetime TV...But Does It Matter?

Peep a short clip of one of the Cavemen- of Geico fame- on the View:

Whether or not you like the campaign, got me thinking that, despite how much quirky characters can win attention from the masses, it can be a dangerous trap to fall into. Seeing it as an end (ie creating a TV show just because people "like" your characters) and not a means to an end. Attention is great, but if it doesn't translate into results, all is lost.

Example: a lot of people love commercials for Bud Light, Miller Light, and (my personal favorite) Miller High Life commercials. But, as funny as I think the latter are, do I drink it? Hmm...

Nike (and in particular Jordan) are some of my all-time favorite commercials...but I haven't bought a pair of either since I was in middle school.

Point being, it's attention getting creative, people talk about those spots, even love them...but do they act? Surely I'm inserting my own bias with these examples, so back to the point- I'm not saying the Cavemen haven't brought any results for Geico. But who is going to watch a TV show based on them? Who cares? :30 of them may be funny...but 30 minutes? Seriously? And even if people watch it...are they switching to Geico?

Anyone else have an opinion to throw in? Will you watch the show? Do you even like the Cavemen? If you're a Geico customer, what does it all do for you?