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.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Advergaming: Burger King Games (over 2M served)

Mediapost's Gaming Insider reveals the top gaming experience on the Xbox 360 this year isn't "Gears of War", but rather, the Burger King.

Microsoft and Burger King can't stop talking about how "Sneak King," "Pocketbike Racer," and "Big Bumpin'" three advergame titles released late in November, have outsold "Gears of War," the current hot title for the 360. According to Burger King, they've served over 2 million of these titles at $3.99 each, with the purchase of a meal at any of their restaurants. The games all feature the BK mascot--the plastic-y king who is at once funny and terrifying, as well as the famous Subservient Chicken.

Burger King's advergame is stacking up to be one of the most successful such campaigns ever launched. It's not an especially crowded field--most advergames are Flash games, hosted on microsites, and played by cubicle drones and tech journalists wondering how they can possibly write 250 words on a game about bathing toddlers. But there are a few gems: "America's Army," produced by the U.S. government as a recruitment tool, is widely considered one of the most successful advergames. Twenty-eight percent of the visitors to the "America's Army" Web page click through to the recruitment page, and 19% of 2003's freshman class at the U.S. Military Academy stated they had played the game.

So what did Burger King do right? Company strategists leveraged an extremely recognizable, even iconic part of their brand--that creepy, creepy King--and they hired a firm that knew what it was doing to create the titles. The company on the job was Blitz Games, which developed "Fusion Frenzy"--a party game that amounts to a bunch of casual games slapped together. "Fusion Frenzy" was never a huge hit, but all its mini-games were fun and addictive, which is really all you need for a solid advergame title. Plus, they were selling Xbox 360 games for $4 apiece, when the standard price point is $60--a tough deal to pass up.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Industry: Radio and American Music Culture

American Radio Works presents Hearing America, a Century of Music on the Radio

Sounds rather academic, but actually a compact and enthralling presentation exploring American Radio and it's historic influence...the introduction of 'clear channel' radio that spread NY-networks across more of the rural listenership, creation of "country" music as a backlash to the refined opera and classical programming that ruled the airwaves, the diversification of music taste thru introduction of jazz and black music styles, introduction of rock 'n roll (aka black music) and the slow dissolution of the style for white tastes, the invention (and later dominance) of the modern R&B format and Country format.

Entertainingly edited and puts the current radio format dominances all in perspective.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Inbox of Immaturity: The Holidays: Final Chapter

Don't let Rosie or Donald ruin your holiday. Take the time to de-stress and enjoy your family and friends.

The IOI must give thanks to YouTube for a year of laughs and YouTube must pay tribute to NBC and SNL, specifically to Andy Samberg and Lazy Sunday. It seems the year has come full circle with NBC now having a channel on YouTube. Without further ado, here's the video you've all seen a million times, but spreads the holiday cheer nonetheless:

The now infamous gift

Shoutout to Aaron for being first to send the Unrated version early Monday. And for a couple more laughs from NBC:
Triumph the Comic Insult Dog and The Delicious Dish

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Freedom in Mess

Here's a book I can't wait to get my hands on: "A Perfect Mess" by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman. I take so much crap for the state of my desk (see below) especially in comparison to the pristine condition of some neighbors.

Now I know I was just a lost sheep, wandering around in my own realm of clutter and shortly, I will be reunited with my kind--people who embrace a little mess, who can see the value of piles and "areas" and now, with this book under our arms, the ammo to be fine with it.

In addition to the inevitable genius held within the pages of this book, the New York Times reported today on the glory of mess, and defined several categories of mess (my desk fits best into vertical mess—using the power of the pile, my articles are all stacked into the appearance of order). I think the part of this mess movement that I like best is that it's calling it what it is, and that's all. I'd like to predict a trend in 2007: the de-stigmatization of mess!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

IOI Special Report: American Immature Young Men

The Sethsus Bureau has recently surveyed a very specific group of young "professionals" about consumption of media, breakfast, and electronics. Details: 15 respondents - ages 25-27, college educated, living in major urban markets in the Northeast U.S., but with very different jobs (private equity to A&R rep to government). Here are the findings:

• Spend on average 20.5 hours/week on the Internet. (Most popular sites:,, and Yahoo/YahooMail)
• Spend on average 11 hours/week watching TV.
• Spend on average less than 1 hour/week (.86 repeating) listening to the radio. (Raised significantly by 1 participant with XM and 1 who listens to Internet radio)
• Spend on average 10 hours/week listening to their iPods. (2 people do not own an iPod. Ha-losers. What? Sorry. And only 2 download podcasts)
• Spend on average 4.5 hours/week on their cell phones. (Approximately 50/50 texting to calling ratio.)
• Go to the movies on average 1 time/month.
• 25% subscribe to NetFlix.
• 60% have DVR or TiVo.
• Spend on average 4 hours/week working out.
• Eat breakfast on average 4-5 times/week.
• Go to the bathroom on average 6-7 times/day (3:1 ratio of #1 to #2)
• 8 out of 15 plan on going to graduate school in their lives. (1 uncertain)

Most popular "biggest concern for 2007" was B-school followed by $ (generally, for school, for engagement ring), career, and then GWB, Cholesterol, Adjusting to new city, and How awesome I'll be with 1 vote each. (Yellow Cake was a late submission and thus excluded from overall report.)

One thing you can't live without include: Water (with most votes -- LEARNING ALERT: Be careful how you word questions! There are a lot of sarcastic (or smart, depending how you look at it) people out there), BlackBerry and iPod tied for second, Food related items in third (Cheese, Popcorn, "Food"), and with one vote each—Phone, Car, Friends, and my personal favorite from a risk consultant "Instant access to information."

Finally, the best purchases of 2006 were new TV (with most votes -- LEARNING ALERT: 4 of 15 claimed new TVs bought this year were best purchase, probably the same as how many bought them. However, not 1 of them named the brand! The went into detail with size and type : 46" LCD, plasma, DLP, etc.) but not Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. OPPORTUNITY HERE.), iPod in 2nd, Plane tickets to...(INTERESTING - "It's all about the memories, man. See if I invite you to the reunion!") in 3rd, and with one vote each—DVR, Soccer cleats, Car, Apple computer, Tumi luggage, (THERE WE GO ON BRAND WOM), and Custom-made English leather army biking boots.

NOTE: The most interesting feedback I had was this: SURVEY THESE GUYS ON A FRIDAY!
I've tried to get these mofos to answer questions on everything from beer ("Come on, what do you think of Sam Adams Light? Seriously, I might be able to hook up free cases!") to fashion to favorite ads, and I'm usually lucky for a 25% response rate. But last Friday I hit 75% in one day (received 15 out of 20).

(Photo by: Matthew Johnson )

Friday, December 15, 2006

Inbox of Immaturity: The Holidays: Part Three

Yes, one great thing about the holidays is the “Christmas sweater” party. Find great holiday sweaters here.

Speaking of parties, ours is tonight. Check out our band flown in from Germany.

It’s also pretty fun to eat cookies, but Alyson warns not to get carried away.

Speaking of cookies, Soy is making our kids gay.
Radio show helps you catch a snake. (Long but worth it.)
And finally, PS3 can’t catch a break, but will (with Wal-Mart's brillance) help you dislocate your jaw.

Web 2.0: The Unseen Video

The Unseen Video (for electronic artist Mike Milosh's "You Make Me Feel") is a dynamic music video that changes it's look based on your local weather forecast.

The video's server connects to your local weather station and gets the forecast, and then interprets this forcast to alter the background color, motion and the ornaments within the video.

The idea is better than the actual execution, but a good effort and a peek at the ultra-customized future in store for us all.

Average American: Census Bureau 2007 Statistical Abstract of the US

NY Times provides an eclectic portrait and a audio podcast profiling Americans that is drawn from the 1,376 tables in the Census Bureau’s 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Some statistical stew:

-Americans drank more than 23 gallons of bottled water per person in 2004 (more bottled water per person than beer) — about 10 times as much as in 1980.
-We consumed more than twice as much high fructose corn syrup per person as in 1980 and remained the fattest inhabitants of the planet, although Mexicans, Australians, Greeks, New Zealanders and Britons are not too far behind.

-Americans bought more than 2 billion pairs of shoes in 2004.
-Americans spent more of their lives than ever — about eight-and-a-half hours a day — watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies or reading.

-6 percent of men and 11.2 percent of women say they have had same-sex sexual contacts

-The floor space in new private one-family homes has expanded to 2,227 square feet in 2005 from 1,905 square feet in 1990.
-More than 24 percent of Americans in their 70s are shorter than 5-foot-6. Only 10 percent of people in their 20s are.
-More people are injured by wheelchairs than by lawnmowers, the abstract reports. Bicycles are involved in more accidents than any other consumer product, but beds rank a close second.

-With medical costs rising, more people said they pray for their health than invest in every form of alternative medicine or therapy combined.

-Adolescents and adults now spend, on average, more than 64 days a year watching television, 41 days listening to the radio and a little over a week using the Internet. Among adults, 97 million Internet users sought news online last year, 92 million bought a product, 91 million made a travel reservation, 16 million used a social or professional networking site and 13 million created a blog.

“The demand for information and entertainment seems almost insatiable,” said James P. Rutherfurd, executive vice president of Veronis Suhler Stevenson, the media investment firm whose research the Census Bureau cited.

Mr. Rutherfurd said time spent with such media increased to 3,543 hours last year from 3,340 hours in 2000, and is projected to rise to 3,620 hours in 2010. The time spent within each category varied, with less on broadcast television (down to 679 hours in 2005 from 793 hours in 2000) and on reading in general, and more using the Internet (up to 183 hours from 104 hours) and on cable and satellite television.

-Since 2000 the number of hobby and athletic nonprofit associations has risen while the number of labor unions, fraternities and fan clubs has declined.
-More Americans were born in 2004 than in any years except 1960 and 1990. Meanwhile, the national divorce rate, 3.7 divorces per 1,000 people, was the lowest since 1970. Among the states, Nevada still claims the highest divorce rate, which slipped to 6.4 per 1,000 in 2004 from 11.4 per 1,000 in 1990, just ahead of Arkansas’s rate.

-From 2000 to 2005, the number of manufacturing jobs declined nearly 18 percent. Virtually every job category registered decreases except pharmaceuticals. Employment in textile mills fell by 42 percent. The job projected to grow the fastest by 2014 is home health aide.

-One thing Americans produce more of is solid waste — 4.4 pounds per day, up from 3.7 pounds in 1980.

-More than half of American households owned stocks and mutual funds in 2005. The 91 million individuals in those households had a median age of 51 and a median household income of $65,000.
-That might help explain a shift in what college freshmen described as their primary personal objectives. In 1970, 79 percent said their goal was developing a meaningful philosophy of life. By 2005, 75 percent said their primary objective was to be financially very well off.

-Among graduate students, 27 percent had at least one foreign-born parent. The number of foreign students from India enrolled in American colleges soared to 80,000 in 2005 from 10,000 in 1976.
-As recently as 1980, only 12 percent of doctors were women; by 2004, 27 percent were.
-In 1970, 33,000 men and 2,000 women earned professional degrees; in 2004, the numbers were 42,000 men and 41,000 women.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Web 2.0: Spokeo

Web 2.0 upstart Spokeo aggregates all your social media identities into one simple(r) interface. MySpace, Blogger, LiveJournal, Flickr, Youtube, and 20 other social networks so far. It also allows members to track friends' blogs, photos, and videos in a constantly updated "news stream".

AKI COMMENT: These guys started Spokeo as a student project at Stanford. Good idea. Good start. Presumably, other missing networks will be made accessible soon, such as LinkedIn, Ziki, Slideshare, Grouper, Jumpcut...sigh, does it ever end? Hell, consider adding Second Life also, fellas. Will keep eyes out on the progress.

Talking Teen in the UK- Fewer words but more diverse.

Teenagers use just 20 words for a third of their speech, according to a new study by Lancaster University.

Interesting, but not entirely surprising. - Probably partly down to the fact that big chunks of what we say is not about imparting meaning but rather just reaffirming social patterns and structures (from saying hello to complaining about the weather / the traffic / school etc).

On an aside a fantastic book by ethnographer Kate Fox called Watching the English looks at this kind of thing (though not from the teen angle specifically) while dissecting English habits and customs most entertainingly.

But back to teen slang, and more interesting to me is that while teens are using few words, slang is becoming more divergent from mainstream modes of English. Some forms are now regarded as genuinely unique dialects by researchers, where as in the past they were just modes of speech - ie not (nearly) sufficiently different to be a dialect. Good article and a bunch of definitions in The Independent here.

Anyway you can test yourself on your brit-teen slang on BBC News here.

Academics: Get a Bachelors of Innovation

Building off the increasing attention being given to innovation in the business world, the University of Colorado announced that it is building a new family of degrees in Innovation in order to start preparing students for careers that require innovative solutions and creative thinking to solve complex problems. The program will combine law, business, entrepreneurship and engineering components (the Innovation Core) in order to give students the most well-rounded approach to innovation as it applies to the real world. Students will work on projects for partner corporations and put their academic skills to the test for companies facing complex problems.

This is a damn cool idea. If properly executed, I think this has the potential to give students a great, broad education in how to approach business issues in an innovative nature. Aki and I have discussed how many companies, particularly more traditional ones, view the very word "innovation" as resulting in some sort Star-Trek, wild-eyed idea with no foundation in their business reality. A focused academic program in innovation could help to reshape corporate America's thinking on the topic and get them to realize that the small, incremental changes businesses make in order to separate themselves from their competitive set (such as Bank of America's wildly successful Keep the Change program, which has netted +2.5 million new consumers in just over a year) are just as- if not more- innovative than any "game changing", blue-sky idea. I would imagine that, given corporations hesitation for new things (even non-traditional academic degrees) this may get off to a slow start, but I think the potential could be great if done properly. Bachelors of Innovation-- there's a phrase that jumps off a resume.

Calculating the ROI of Second Life

Ilya Vedrashko of MIT Advertising Lab blog, and Hill Holiday posted this insightful presentation "Calculating the ROI of Second Life"

via MIT Advertising Lab

Last minute shopping: Left Behind Eternal Forces

If, like me, you're looking for last minute presents for the devout(s) in your life, you probably can't go wrong with the new video game from (the aptly named) Left Behind Games. Eternal Forces is a game in which "players must either convert or kill non-Christians." The website claims that AOL.COM believes it has: "a positive moral message." However, according to a story in the SF Chronicle, others, including some "liberal and progressive Christian groups," aren't so sure.

Apparently the game's creator sees this as a pacifist game, although all the baddies have Muslim sounding names and you earn points by mowing them down. Wal-Mart is carrying it and refuses to pull it off the shelves.

Murray: I've ordered a copy for you already.

Via Slashdot

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Most Impacting Trend of 2006 (and 2007)

Fallon Planners (and co-conspirators) were asked to share their single most impacting trend of 2006. What most impacted how you perform your daily tasks as a planner?

And a few brave ones even looked into their Magic 8-Ball to predict the most impacting trend of 2007.

SETH GAFFNEY, Account Planner, Fallon


Brands are people with MySpace pages, friends, blogs, and most importantly "real" voices. They are run by people, their consumers are people (not consumers), and thus they are human. We can celebrate their failure (see BusinessWeek feature), talk to them, call them out, and help co-create them.

El Gaffney sees in 2007... EXECUTIONAL PLANNERS. "YouTube that shiznit!" isn't good enough. Brands that embrace complexity and do things look to creating multiple stories (even around their own communications - I've noticed a huge increase in "Making Of/Behind The Scenes" videos for our own campaigns) need a better plan of how to implement. "We'll put the Behind the Scenes on our website" isn't good enough. Moving this way is scary and means there's more to do. Clients will pull a Tim Gunn/Rod Tidwell combo - Make it work and show me the money. It will be up to us to provide the insights, roadmaps, and metrics for optimizing each piece.

ADRIAN HO, Director of Account Planning, Fallon


Cut and paste, mashup and remix of social and cultural concepts. Starting with my BlackBerry which really allowed for the dissolution of the work life barrier and ending with Audi. These themes featured heavily in my client strategies and the context that I applied to my brands.

Adrian sees in 2007... POST-MODERNIST BRANDS. More brands will begin understand that they need to break themselves apart and allow for their customers to pick and choose and remix the parts of the brand that they want instead of having to swallow the story whole.

SARAH SALINE, Assistant Account Planner, Fallon


Not just for techies. Increasing numbers of corporations, people and organizations post podcasts are fueling a diversity of knowledge. It's finally becoming more than a cool new technology that is absorbed and thrown away. In 2006, I started to develop a library of sorts. I like them better than traditional news articles because there is no paper clutter (a serious problem for me) and they can be arranged into categories on my playlist. Reviewing podcasts is now becoming a reliable search tool for me.

RITCHIE EMSLIE, Planning Director, Fallon


However, Ritchie sees in 2007... Obsession with celebrity, religion and ethics, gender and age roles, individualism, the meaning of balance, luxury, digitalization, the environment. This explains our love or hate or love-hate for: Paris Hilton, Richard Dawkins, Bratz dolls, George W. Bush, Blackberries, prefab housing, iTv, Al Gore.

ADAM CHORNEY, Connection Planner, Fallon


Ads came second to ideas. People are finally starting to realize that making the ads is the easy part. Along with this, connection planning and account planning are becoming largely indistinguishable. Kind of like having an art director and a copywriter on a creative team - one's good at drawing, the other's good at writing, but they're both responsible for the idea.

Adam sees in 2007...WHO THE F*#K KNOWS!? That's what so awesome about our world right now (if you're the type who isn't scared shitless by it all). We're gonna have to stay flexible so we're ready when the next big thing changes everything all over again.

AKI SPICER, Planning Director, Fallon


Harnessing the power of a departmental hive mind has been my own preoccupation thru 2006. Blogs became a liberating tool that interlinks creatives, AEs, even clients into the same feed of planning thoughts, trends, videos, statistics. It has become an extension of the face-to-face meeting, a virtual roundtable. It has fueled my own ability to 'think out loud' and it's made information distribution faster than developing a full powerpoint deck. And it has forced a drive towards personal action in a job that can get very bogged down in esoterics and abstract theory ("stop overthinking it and do something, post a blog entry").

Aki sees in 2007... PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE HIVE MIND. I expect increased collaboration in multiple dimensions - driven by wikiality, video, audio, etc as technology continues to get cheap and accessible. Assimilation into this Hive Mindedness will fuel departmental thought-efficiencies and wring value from our diverse experiences and individual voices. It all speeds up, we get past this awkward 'gee-whiz' phase, and we soon get on with saying something truly important.

AVIN NARASIMHAN, Account Executive, Fallon


As the Internet speeds toward interaction, community, and social interaction, social networks reveal huge ad revenue from big biz. MySpace, Facebook have both inked deals with big advertisers. The latter even uses its specific features (news feed, student groups, etc) to allow advertisers to offer targeted messaging to students based on the pages they look at, groups they're in, interests they have, etc. Facebook also was in talks with Microsoft this year. I saw my traditional client begin to recognize the power of social media-- getting buzz generated in the world of social media can be key in integrating ad campaigns into pop culture, and many businesses have started using mediums like YouTube and MySpace as campaign launchers.

Avin sees in 2007... BUSINESSES WILL HARNESS THE POWER OF VIRTUAL WORLDS. Like kids in grade school, businesses are falling in line with their peers and jumping on the virtual world bandwagon, many times with good ideas but not necessarily clear evidence of how it will impact the bottom line. Through hits and misses in the competitive radar, businesses will start to learn how to harness the power of communities like Second Life, and start accomplishing their goals of A) upping their brand cool/buzz factor; and B) creating bottom-line impact that justifies the expenditure of entering and "living" in these virtual worlds. 2006 saw a patently tradional bank get down with Second Life-- pending results (ie brand buzz, recall and recognition, awareness) I'll be interested to see the reaction of others both in the financial world and outside.

PAUL SANDERS, Interactive Producer, Fallon


The critical mass that social networks achieved impacted us web people most. I'd also say that we've learned (or relearned) that connectivity without purpose is only novelty.

This sets up my pick for 2007...I foresee MORE PURPOSE BASED INTERACTIONS that extend connection to collaboration at the brand level. The consumer-generated Super Bowl spot is just the beginning. Collaborative networks will unleash new brand dynamics. We've only scratched the surface of the possibilities on this front.

KATIE COOK, Account Planner, Fallon


This year many companies jumped on the “going green” bandwagon, providing consumers environmentally friendly alternatives such as energy efficient cars (SUVs) and bamboo flooring. My parent’s recently had a deck built out of recycled egg cartons!!! Companies aren’t just providing products, they are also practicing “going green.” Wal-Mart recently opened an experimental store in Texas to study environmental efforts such as heating stores with used cooking and motor oil., while Cargill used meat scraps to make methane and replace high-cost natural gas.

Katie sees in 2007... To Adam's comment, WHO THE F*#K KNOWS!?

MURRAY HARDIE, Group Planning Director, Fallon


Atheists go mainstream and start sticking up for themselves at last - perhaps there's hope for mankind afterall.

Deborah Zavitka, Senior Planning Coordinator, Fallon


Belief in the world of possibilities and the power of thought. Lives built by the stories one chooses to create rather than by the addictions that keep one frozen and enslaved; for example, fear.

Deborah sees in 2007... LOVE AND GRATITUDE WATER for drinking, and COLORPUNCTURE therapy for all.

Beyond 2007... Walk through time rather than walk on the moon.

ALYSON HELLER, Assistant Account Planner, Fallon


def. Places or environments created for a brand that are so compelling that those who experience them want to share the experience with others. Usually located online, but may also be found in the real world. E.g., Joga Bonito, advertising in Times Square.

Social media went mainstream and content was king, prompting us to explore new ways to engage and entice consumers. We sought to create places - enviralments - that would contribute to social media offerings and be passed along like the viral videos/sites of yore. Unlike viral, enviralments invite longer-term interaction (create a profile or post to Flickr vs. simply watching a funny video). Enviralments at their best fit under Adrian's "surprise and delight" theory of brands.

Alyson sees in 2007... MANTRAPRENEURISM. def. The movement for companies to have a sense of purpose beyond profits. The act of incorporating social responsibility into the business model, wherein the interests of both corporate shareholders and community stakeholders are jointly considered before taking action. Famous mantrapreneurial organizations: Patagonia, (RED), and Whole Foods.

As people react against corporate control, companies will need to shift their roles in communities. Sure, profit will be a primary motivator but we are looking to connect with and later support others who are doing good in the world. Sustainability concerns - environmental, social, economic - will have to be fully integrated; piecemeal charity efforts will no longer be enough. We want to feel like we're giving back, even when we're just getting our daily caffeine fix.

Low Involvement Fetishist Alert

See Heath's latest work in news release form on the Bath University site.

Will be interested to read (OK skim through) the full thing in December's Journal of Advertising Research. No prizes for guessing the results though....

Emotional Appeal 4, Factual Messaging Nil.

Thanks to Lee's blog for the heads up.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Nintendo Wii more effective virally than PS3

Several years ago, I gave a talk at the AAAAs planning conference. Part of the topic was on observations we had made about what makes for a successful viral campaign.

We looked at things we had done as well as successful viral campaigns and came up with some useful principles. Two of them were:

1. Successful viral campaigns contain many more themes than traditional campaigns. In fact, successful viral campaigns purposely build in different themes (like the image on the right) that will resonate with different audiences. It is this very nature that allows them to spread across diverse groups of people, rather than staying within one group (sort of like this blog which is focused on planners like the image on the left).

2. Successful viral campaigns contain ideas that will resonate at 3 levels of media:
i) Micro media - emails, in-person conversations
ii) Middle media - blogs, discussion groups
iii) Mass media - TV, newspapers, etc.

They have ideas that you can imagine being reported in all 3 different levels.

In analyzing the news and spread of the two consoles, Nintendos Wii and Sony's PS3, you can see these principles in action. Wii clearly has the buzz crown and I am betting that this will translate into market leadership.

Here are some of the memes around Nintendo's Wii
Long lines
Sold out
ebay auctions
Wii brings in new gamers
Wii elbow
Wii outsells PS3 2 to 1
Nintendo sued over remote
Wii sports
Wii can keep you healthy
Broken straps
Wii remotes flying into televisions
Wii smacked baby across forehead
The must have holiday toy

As you can see, they reach far beyond the typical gamers and into various areas of general and vertical interest. There are surprising ideas here as well, ones that can (and have) be relevant at all 3 levels of media.

In contrast, here are the memes around PS3

Long lines
Line violence
Sold out
ebay auctions
Game store theft
Police officer theft/fraud
Blu Ray
Blu Ray a mistake
Sony updates firmware
Best graphics Ps3 or xbox 360?
Beaten by Wii in sales
PS1 downloads
Wii more fun
xbox 360 sells more
Fight night/games
Linux on PS3
PS creator demoted
HD 1080p

While the PS3 has lots of different themes around it, most of them appeal directly to the hardcore gamer/tech-head that you'd expect. There's little about the PS3 that's going to bring different interest into the brand. Because of that, it's unlikely that the mass media are going to be terribly interested in reporting PS3 news.

Google News gives wii the nod with 15,500 stories vs. PS3 with 14,900 stories
The difference is even greater on Google web search with 189,000,000 mentions of Wii vs. only 137,000,000 mentions for PS3.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ad Agency Deathwatch: Piers Fawkes/PSFK

While PSFK isn't an "agency" per se, we feel there is much we may learn from the organization's agility and collaborative network. Adrian Ho sat down with PSFK's Piers Fawkes for a chat about daily inspiration, change and adaptability, the death of the agency business model, and PSFK's own business model and how it differs from the traditional agency model.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Are Miami's new high rises high enough?

Today, I like living in Minnesota. The sun is out and the air is crisp (that’s a little rose-colored, but go with it).

And I’m beginning to wonder about the sustainability of some other options. A while back, Adrian posted about the rising global temperature, and warned Floridians that they might want to make haste to higher ground. Aside from questionable investment value, I read some disturbing news about quality of life on the fine peninsula. Time magazine reports that Miami, land of glitz, glamour and glbeaches, is actually the country’s least affordable city to live in. The median house price is one of the highest, ($372,000) and the median HHI is one of the lowest ($33,000).

During a recent visit, I stopped in at Arquitectonica, a large architectural firm in Miami. There, I heard that the city is essentially blooming and buildings are going up everywhere (look at all the cranes in this picture).

So who is going to live in all these new expensive developments? Not the middle class—they’re leaving to find a reasonably-priced home elsewhere. And not all those people making $30k. I’ll be curious to see if Miami can lure into permanency the high-rolling crowd that’s made the city a standard party-and-leave destination for so long. And what they're going to do when the whole joint starts going under water.

Inbox of Immaturity: The Holidays: Part Two

Less holiday cheer this week and more response to the changes in eating-habits around this time. I guess people are getting ready for the highly-rated Super Bowl spots by beer companies. A trend for '07 may be "in the air". Hope not.

This would have me on the ground laughing.
Prevent the situation above here.

Immature (and unwise) lyrics calling out 50 cent.
I guess singing wasn't paying the bills.
A comeback if your Indian friend insults you.

Finally, back to the holiday spirit(s): Get Santa Drunk. (Use the arrow keys.)

Back next week with better links and a priceless photo.

Clearification, funny but is it any good?

Reader Bogdana tipped me off to this in a comment on a post about other Microsoft Vista marketing below. This is Clearification, a campaign featuring Demetri Martin of the Daily Show fame for Microsft's new Vista.

The campaign consists of a site with small animated shorts and then an episodic film for which 2 of 6 episodes are currently available.

They're funny and it's pretty easy to see where they're headed. Clearification refers to the ability of Vista to resolve the complication of daily life (as well as the new glass-like interface look). The product is embedded into the 2nd episode, and the Microsoft branding as well as linkage to the Vista homepage is pretty prominent and obvious.

So, all the i's dotted and t's crossed as far as branded content is concerned and it makes me feel better about Microsoft that they've hired Demetri and not censored him (obviously at least). But, it still doesn't work for me.

I'm all for odd combinations, but they ought to bring out surprising AND useful facets about each other. I don't consider the fact that my newest operating system has a great sense of humor an asset (but maybe I don't get it). It doesn't seem to be helping Demetri either.

What do you think?

Ad Agency Deathwatch: Martin Sorrell Won't Be 'Disintermediated'

Ad Age reports agencies 'not moving fast enough' to adapt to changes wrought by digital media.

WPP Group's CEO revealed to a group of media and advertising bigwigs efforts within his 20-year-old company to remain relevant in today's rapidly evolving marketing world. His remarks were part of an interview this morning with New Yorker writer Ken Auletta at an event sponsored by the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

Of the many challenges he handles running the world's second-largest advertising-and-marketing services company, the toughest, he said, is staying on top of technological changes. "What keeps me awake at night," he said, "is the thought that somewhere there are software engineers working in a garage, probably in Shanghai, who'll disrupt things as we know it."

WPP, like all companies involved in media and communications, is being buffeted by the continuing growth of the internet. Traditional media -- broadcast and cable TV, print, radio and outdoor -- will not be as profitable in the future as it has been in the past, he said. Digital media, already the fastest-growing sector of all media channels, will continue to take more share. Currently it comprises only 7% of global advertising spending; Mr. Sorrell believes that it should grow to 20%.

"We spend 20% of our time online, according to Google or Yahoo," Mr. Sorrell said, "so by logic, 20% of all dollars should be spent online."

In some countries, such as the U.K., online and search outlays already comprise 14% of total media spending, besting the U.S. and other developed countries. "I think inexorably online and related activity will get to 20% -- farther, probably, because [people] will be spending more time online," he .

The web, he said, has democratized access to information that was never before available publicly. "The power is in how you use the information, and analyze it," he said. But the result of widespread internet use is that structures of companies and media will have to change radically. "In our own business, for instance, there's advertising being made by consumers," appearing on sites such as YouTube and, he said.

"Our established agencies are not moving fast enough" to adapt to the change, he said. Rather than disregard the fledgling technologies, some of which, like that used by a start-up SpotRunner, could replace companies' need for creative and media ad agencies and ultimately put much of WPP's holdings out of business. That's why Mr. Sorrell is investing in them. "We could ignore it," he said, "but I'm not prepared to preside over a company that gets disintermediated."

via Ad Age

Second Life Entrepreneur = First Life Millionaire

MarketingVox reports that SL real estate entreprenuer Anshe Chung has become the first resident of the virtual world to amass $1 million in First Life cash. She made her money buying and investing in Linden real estate, and cashing out in First Life $$. Got to say I'm impressed. She got on SL back when there was a $10 fee to open an account, and for that she's turned herself into a millionaire.

Apparently, the actual woman behind the avatar is a teacher who resides in Frankfurt and took on SL as a side business. Anshe Chung has done a nice job of proving how to be successful in SL; get in with something people want (to buy some land) and figure out an interesting way to give it to em (have your seductive female avatar sell shit for you in this case).

I guess this answers my earlier questions about whether or not SL would actually prove to be profitable for businesess. Though I still have doubts as to whether some companies who are getting in on it actually have a true plan beyond trying to up their buzz and cool factor. Wells Fargos foray comes to mind; they made a good move by branding their own Stagecoach Island within SL. Visitors to the island could skydive, dance, shop, and finance their adventures by taking Linden dollars out of Wells Fargo ATMs.

But, any effort at strongly tying the bank into the SL culture was non-existent. Sure there were some financial messages integrated into their SL offerings, but why should anyone care? Further, the bank only maintained the island for a few months as an experiment; so was it a true effort to enter this world or simply test the waters? And if it was the latter, it seems to me that its an arrogant move to test the SL user with a half-ass attempt rather than a genuine entry into the world. From what I gather, SL residents are already pissed that massive corporations are moving into SL, so "experimenting" with them is not going to ease entry into the world.

Which brings me to another point- how do we get anyone to care about our brands within SL? Some brands have entered the virtual world in a unique way and have managed to create- at the very least- a perception of differentiation. For example, ADIDAS sells customizable Second Life kicks.

And Pontiac has created MotoratiLife, which puts the power into the SL resident's hands, allowing them to interact with the Pontiac brand thru their natural love of cars-- which hopefully leads the SL'er to a First Life purchase of the Pontiac brand.

Giving them something that actually adds value to the SL user experience is common sense, though it doesn't seem every business entering SL gets this. It seems to me that many companies are just jumping on the SL bandwagon the way kids follow the leader in grade school: all the cool kids are doing it, so its got to be what I should be doing!!

With so many companies jumping into the virtual fray so fast in hopes of bringing in the big $, could SL perhaps be the next .com boom --> bust?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Don't Panic": Living Dangerously

Wired compiled the number of incidents of various ways that people peish and copiled them into a summary. This data is based on the number of mortalities in each category throughout the 11-year period spanning 1995 through 2005 (extrapolated from best available data).

Time informs us that we worry far too much about things we shouldn't (murder, lightning strikes)...and ignore the things we should (motor vehicle accident, cholesterol).

User-Created: Video Democracy

New easy to edit video on the web: fire up an account, upload video, cut the footage. Editing tools are rudimentary, but good enough for you and your blog. Post and share on these sites or take it back to good ol'

AKI COMMENT: seems to be for PC, only and requires you install some software. I skipped that option. seemed to want to hustle me into signing up. Eh. Jumpcut seems the most intuitive interface, easy to use (just upload your video immediately and start chopping, no sign-ups, no schemes). My vote, so far, is Will know later tonite if I am sticking to that vote.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Postcards from Second Life: aloft Hotel

Aki Octagon could use a rest so we took a visit to W Hotel's aloft.

Prior to opening to the public (in First Life) in 2008, aloft hotels now offers a sneak preview inside of Second Life.

Tranquil gardens.

And no Seth, I cannot figure out how to keep my brown pants from riding up my arse in 2L. So much for the brave new future...

And just as in First Life, way-finding systems here have alot to be desired. Waiting for the elevator.

Still waiting...

Overall a good idea and purposeful use for a First Life(1L) brand to insert into Second Life(2L). Besides my wayfinding snafus at the elevator, I enjoyed exploring the hotel and seeing the future. I'd envision coming back to aloft (in both 1L and 2L), particularly to hold a party with my virtual friends.

Maybe we can hold our Annual Planning Event here, Deborah!

Impact Lab

Welcome to the Impact Lab

Recently rated as one of the top five science blogs in the known universe by Popular Science Magazine, the DaVinci Institute's Impact Lab is a relentless pursuit of the future and all the critical components that will make up the world to come. We're all about uncovering cutting edge, breakthrough, and emerging technologies and the forces impacting them. And we throw in some odd stuff just for fun.

Death to the Gatekeepers

Is it possible that with today's mentality we could actually move toward death of the gatekeepers?
I vote that it's doubtful, but wouldn't life be wonderful if we could eliminate gatekeepers and travel and live and work wherever we want? Review the link to find out more.


Death to the Gatekeepers
A new generation of freedom-loving entrepreneurs
have made it their mission to circumvent gatekeepers

By Thomas Frey, Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute

Recently a decision was made to allow people in 12 South American nations to travel from country to country without visas. Much like the efficiencies gained from a similar decision in the European Union, these countries are beginning to realize that life can exist without all the gatekeepers.

Branded Networks: Scion Broadband

Scion continues their forays into branded entertainment (beyond club party sponsorships) with a full-on broadband network featuring short films, anime series, music documentaries and more.

Scion has shown some growth and longevity as the only youth car brand. Whereas everybody else is still stuck at commercials with DJ music tracks, Scion is quietly building (and sticking with) underground youth culture as a platform for growth. I understand from other data that Scion actually does boast the youngest buyers/drivers, and the Scion experiement has proven itself successful at actually bridging young drivers up into the Toyota brand (and hopefully later graduation into Lexus).

Real or Fake?: Cafe Switch

Adrants points to a fake collateral site for Sara Lee's Cafe Switch, an instant coffee product sold in the UK. The fake site touts the benefits of Thumb-vertising, the latest in "innovative marketing," and has a laugh at how ludicrous the scramble for new media can be.

This is all well and good, but what I loved was the Cafe Switch site itself (make sure your sound is on for full effect). Everything about this product is over the top, from the packaging to the product names (True Kick, White Innocence, and Creamy Pleasure) to its preparation (simply "pump the pods"). At first I questioned whether the product itself actually exists - it seems like something a Hollywood writer would create for his ad exec character to pitch. But how to explain the legal disclaimer and corporate contact info?

So I'm putting it to you. Check out the site and cast your vote:

Is the Cafe Switch site Real or Fake?
Too Legit to Quit (real)
James Frey could take notes (fake)
Make Free Online Polls

And if you have additional information, please pass it along.


Oh google no! You're supposed to be perfect, how could you suck so?

As a Scot with lots of "ch" sounds in my name living in Minneapolis, I am relatively used to being mistaken for a German (...or Russian... or miscellaneous Arab/Scandinavian/Slav etc).

But imagine my surprise when I start firefox from a Starbucks in Edinburgh, Scotland and insists on redirecting me to the (German) home page.

I don't expect google earth to have decent imagery of the outer reaches of Europe (it is crap by the way), but I do expect them to get the language right on their search page.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Inbox of Immaturity: Announcement

Very last-minute I know, but this couldn't wait until the end of the week recap. You see, immaturity is happening (or at least building momentum) as I post. I'm late on the tip so not sure proper celebrations can take place this ad-hoc, but all you Tuesday boozers now at least have an excuse for getting sloppy. Today, December 5th is Repeal Day. It's patriotic, but "it doesn't exclude."

P.S. To drink my weight, I would have to chug 128 pints of beer!
How big is your beer belly?
Powered by the mighty Rum and Monkey.

Evenly split on the role of brands

As a follow up to last week's post, here are the results:

I have to say this is a lot closer than I thought it would be given the readership of this blog.

In case you're wondering, I voted for surprise and delight...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Information Aesthetics: Warning Signs (from the Future)

Warning Signs from the Future check the complete Flickr set here