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.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Pollution Penance: Adventure Ecology Floods Second Life

I'm late to this, but seems organization Adventure Ecology (in conjunction with Ogilvy UK) subjected London, Amsterdam, Ibiza, Tokyo and other regions in Second Life to a sudden flash flood which thankfully lasted for only a few hours. The flooding of the areas was done to show the financial, and more importantly, environmental implications of global warming. David de Rothschild, a London-based environmentalist and founder of Adventure Ecology, spoke about the event saying that "Our message was, you may have a second life, but [you still need to] offset your second life in real life."

via MMORPG Blog and GreenNormal"

Postcards From Second Life:Draft FCB in 2L

Draft FCB are really in Second Life.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mass Interactive:Trevor, the Mentos Intern

Check out Trevor, the Mentos Intern. He's livestreamed on the web. Give him work. Rate him. Make friends with him on Facebook.

Similar to, only with a purpose (so says Sarah). Either way, fun idea.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Truth Awareness:Delta Flight 6499

Robert McKee made a YouTube of his experience being stuck on the JFK tarmac for seven hours.

And now you see it too. 464 viewers today. Lets see where this goes.

Oh, did I mention this is Delta Airlines?

Notice that crying baby throughout the video. Nice.

The ubiquity, ease, and low cost of consumer recording, editing and sharing software is quickly making it less feasible for big companies to get away with stuff like this.

via Consumerist

Web 2.0: WidgetCon 2007

I like toys and candy, what of it?

In a world of more choice, and more complicated choice, are we taking shelter in behaviors and preferences whose simplicity offers comfort?

Benjamin Barber believes that pressures from society today and our insatiable consumer culture are making us revert to childhood familiarity. I heard him speak about his book, "Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole” on National Public Radio. He sites three years of Superman and Shrek movie blockbusters, and the number of adults reading Harry Potter books, among other examples (a listener phoned in to comment on the candy-flavored drinks now offered at Starbucks) to prove that our capitalist society has finally cracked our rational being.
While I don’t agree with Barber’s citations (Shrek has plenty of humor and messages unintelligible to 9 year olds), nor his point on capitalism, I think the notion of our instinct to revert is interesting. In certain ways, I can see that coming to life online, in smiley faces that stand in the place of a complex thought, and in the escapism of virtual worlds (Avin and I have an ongoing debate about whether Second Life fits here). The internet is home to endless choice, and yet it’s a sanctuary where people can exist simply, childishly, without someone razzing them about it.

Just something to chew on, I guess.

Politics 2.0: Hillary Soprano

Hillary gets jiggy with the Web2.0ness. Check the "8 Things You Can Do" social/share features on this site, plus all the social net share buttons throughout. Beats headshots and a lame resume.

Though ObamaGirl is better.

Politics 2.0: SiCKO Seeks Your Stories

Michael Moore gets jiggy with the Web2.0ness.

Politics 2.0:CNN/YouTube Debates

Anderson Cooper and CNN get jiggy with the Web2.0ness.

Postcards from Second Life: Crayon's Virtual Branding Event

Yesterday, a few of us gathered around my computer and watched as my avatar made his way through SL to the Crayonville Amphitheater- virtual home to new marketing firm Crayon which was hosting a panel on Marketing in Virtual Worlds.

Much of the panel discussion hovered around what the panel members respective companies had tried so far to build their in-world brands (such as Coke's Virtual Thirst contest).

A central theme that emerged- not so different from discussions around here- was that companies have thus far mistakenly hedged their bets on simply having a presence in Second Life as the end goal- setting up shop in the same fashion as the do in the real world and assuming people will just come to them. Now, those companies are left with often times barren landscapes as residents gravitate elsewhere...

...towards brands/companies that view Second Life for what it is: a tool used to ENGAGE people. Coldwell Banker is a recent example of a company that gets the need to provide value to be relevant. Other (relative) success stories include Pontiac's Motorati Island, HBO's island for the L-Word (which holds recreations of the show in it's lobby), and IBM (company island includes tutorials on open source coding). These three have some of the highest weekly unique visitors in SL among real world brands (+4000 according to SL demographic experts).

Despite these few exceptions, it's not a surprise that the most trafficked areas in SL are those created by residents- they offer more than a slick logo and building, and bring some value to the table and the experience of being in-world (such as Amsterdam Island, a recreation of the real thing...complete with many familiar Amsterdam activities).

The panel discussion appeared to be one of those places residents respected as adding to the experience and not just "being there"...

Well, it's not bursting at the seams, but compared to the largely empty buildings of most companies, this is pretty good. And, according to Crayon, the sim was at max capacity and they actually had to turn away some last-minute sign ups.

Perhaps just as interesting as the panel itself was watching how the audience of avatars engaged with the presenters. While one might assume that, in this world where the laws of physics can be broken, and one has the ability to create objects from nothing, keeping people's attention would be tough. But there we all sat, pointed at the stage, listening intently to the words of these virtual branding experts.

We also started to see how closely this virtual world can mirror the experience of First Life. Just as you would lean over to a friend who was at a conference with you, whispering side-conversation back and forth, avatars were doing the same. (In Second Life, you can chat with basically anyone within earshot- simply start typing, hit send, and your words appear on screen for all to see. Think chatroom- with a visual component).

As we sat in our Minneapolis conference room, discussing the panel's comments, many of the same comments were popping up on screen from the avatars in attendance- some questioning the need or use for Second Life, and many other's pouncing quickly in defense of the world. The general consensus from the audience was that, while SL is important and shouldn't be ignored, it is still too complex, too vague, and not user-friendly enough for adoption by the masses.

Overall, a good event to take in. It was the first in what will be a monthly thought-leadership series. They also have weekly informal chats- Coffee with Crayon- every Thursday @ 9AM EST at Crayonville for more new marketing goodies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The more things change

Social media maven Dana Boyd sees a growing divide between users of MySpace and Facebook (essay at link). The divide appears to be socioeconomic. Boyd is dissapointed to see familiar class divisions appear in what some have idealized (projected, perhaps) as a borderless utopian social community. Perhaps it is dissapointing, but it also seem entirely expected. Many of us want to see the internet as an entirely new social phenomenon. In many ways, it is, but culture is a persistent devil.
I actually see this development in a more positive light. Just a few years ago, we fretted about the growing digital divide. The fact that more than one class even exists on the web is surely progress.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blog DNA

WEB2DNA converts your website into a DNA graphic image. It was inspired by DNA 11 - a company that turns your real DNA into works of art, and, Marcel Salathe's Websites as Graphs - another system that visualizes your website structure.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pollution Pennance:Batman Drives Green

Even Batman has eco-friendly intentions. Seems that gigantic jumping Batmobile-thing that he used in the last movie is just getting too expensive to drive, even for the super rich Bruce Wayne. So, meet his new ride: The Bat-Pod!

via AutoBlogGreen

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Citizen Journalism: Festivus (err....Cannes) For the Rest Of Us!

Not a bad idea. 4 Arnold employees decided that, rather than sit around and wait for Adweek and industry trade to tell them about the Cannes festival this year, why not just crash the damn thing and report from the front lines for those of us not privileged enough to be registered attendees?

"The stuff you won’t hear at the seminars, won’t get printed in the trade pubs, the stuff that’s more likely overheard at the bar aka Cannes’t HQ."

While not an overt campaign for the Arnold brand, it's an example of an agency doing something clever and different to insert itself into culture and create a buzz, something that puts the attention on them instead of clients.

Peep the first in a series of videos (on Arnold's website as well as YouTube) explaining what it is they're trying to do over there...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Commercial Interruption:"You Will"

AT&T's classic visions of "the future" circa 1993. How much came true?

A Pefect Storm: NH Hotel PR Stunt

NH Hoteles, a Spanish hotel chain, recognized the stress of modern business travelers and schemed up a therapy session. Thirty lucky winners will be let loose in one of NH's hotel rooms with mallets and hardhat to release their aggression. You might think that's pretty sweet, until hearing the detail that these people were psychologist-selected--my question: what was the criteria? Sane enough to not off someone with a mallet? Or crazy enough to really reduce their demolition costs?

I really hope that NH takes this event and squeezes every opportunity out of it. Wagering on success based on profiles of contestants, creating a virtual reality game, posting footage from a head cam on youtube....

unhinged exec+weapon+lots of glass windows=awesome opportunity.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Giving a brand a REAL face on social networks

Hotlists is an extension of which allows the user to upload brand logos or images into a database and then browse the database to create a personal lists of brands, images, logos etc that he or she deems hot-or-not. The application was recently added to facebook which allows a social network user to integrate brands into his or her online profile. Although not very widely used yet, this widget would give a brand a tangible (or many) face to look at and profile to read and judge.

Real site can be found here

Friday, June 15, 2007

Simon Delivering

From our White Bear Lake, MN operative (you all know. It's King.)

"Thought this was an interesting example of brand action. Last night my wife Stacey took our daughter to her Thursday night soccer game. The fields are a busy place with parents, cars, not enough parking, and overlapping games.

As they arrived they noticed a completely out of place, and large Simon Delivers truck trying to park.

Next they noticed some Simon Delivers guys muscling large plastic tubs onto the field best they could.

As the story goes Simon Delivers decided to reward one of their best customers by deliverying the post-game treats to their kids soccer game. Right after the game the entire team (and a bunch of other people including my son) was able to load up on ice cold bottled water, ice cream sandwiches, etc.

Needless to say many, many, over-scheduled soccer moms and dads left the field last night talking about Simon Delivers having witnessed both an actual fresh delivery (their business) and demonstration of a company who appreciates their customers."

Politics 2.0: "I Got a Crush On Obama"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Periodic Table--Wait! Come back!

The periodic table of visualization methods is a great planner gadget. Practically any method of organization...organized! And they even remembered Lachlan's prized iceberg chart. So please come back, I wasn't going to talk about science.

Bankrupt!:20% of Americans Fear They'll Never Escape Credit Card Debt

According to a new survey by Lending Tree, 20% of Americans fear that they will never escape their credit card and other non-mortgage related debt and will be stuck with it for the rest of their lives.

via Consumerist

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Postcards from Second Life: Alternate Virtual Worlds

Found this great compile of alternate virtual worlds.

AlphaWorld - “SW City Revolution”:

From the website:

AlphaWorld, is the oldest collaborative virtual world on the Internet, and home to millions of people from all over the world. Since it’s birth in 1995 AlphaWorld has rapidly grown in size and is roughly as large as the state of California, and now exceeds 60 million virtual objects!


This has been open since 1996

Entropia Universe (aka “Project Entropia”)

The Sims Online - “”Sims Online” - game commercial”

PlayStation Home - “GDC ‘07: Playstation Home Debut Trailer”

Sony has officially and vehemently disqualified PlayStation Home as an alternative to Second Life. Here’s a quote from a recent Phil Harrison interview on the flog:

PH: I think you’re way oversimplifying by suggesting Second Life and Home are the same. In Home, you get a character and a 3D world, and that’s where the similarity ends. Second Life does some brilliant things but with Home, we’re providing a service. Therefore, the tone of voice is what will differentiate it – Home is about entertainment, it has a game focus, and it’s about sharing with a like-minded community. We don’t give users the level of influence over the environment, behaviour and object definitions that Second Life does – it’s as secure as any other PS3 game. With some of the operating system protocols that are built into the Cell chip, it’s about as secure as you can be on a consumer device.

Kaneva - “Kaneva - A Worldly Vision”

There - First Virtual Steps

HiPiHi - “hipihi Newest test video frequency”

There’s no Chinese port of Second Life, but somebody decided to build something just like it. (The claim here is that they didn’t even know about SL when they started.)


Areae Inc. - They’re being very secretive, but seem determined to create a space that marries Web 2.0 (social networking sites like MySpace and YouTube) with immersive user-created environments like Second Life. They have an all-star cast of advisers, but so far we know very little else.

Outback Online - Promises to be just like SL but also with multiple planets.


Other Neat Worlds

Whyville - A 2D world for 8-15 year olds. It’s been around since 1999 as a safe and educational social environment. Players interact in environments where they learn about science, math, art, civics, and economics.

Cyworld - A huge hit in South Korea and a newer phenomenon in the west.

Check out this quote from Wikipedia:

Korea’s Internet culture has embraced the Cyworld model, which differs from the blog culture of the United States. The simplicity of buying items to decorate one’s minihompy, without needing to learn HTML or Photoshop, has attracted many young women who had not previously used the Internet. This item-based business model has also bolstered Internet community sites that had previously struggled as free services. Many renowned Korean socialites and celebrities have been known to possess a cyworld account in which details of their upcoming tours and works are posted, such is the case with korean icons such as Duk-In Joo, poet and author of the bestselling meaning of meanings novel.

The corporate world has also embraced Cyworld, with examples of companies creating minihompies to accompany product launches. Celebrities and politicians have also increasingly opted for minihompies, rather than homepages, to gain closer contact with the population. - A collection of themed worlds commercially created. Free to play (although there is a premium account option), insanely low system requirements, and lots of music-band themed worlds.

See Habbo Hotel, Webkinz and Club Penguin for three more fun and monstrously popular social spaces… but I’ve got to stop somewhere here.


via Second Life Games Blog

Politics 2.0: Elect Susie Flynn

9 million children in America lack health insurance. Children’s Defense Fund wants you to do something about it—not just feel sad. By harnessing the power of people, we are trying to give this issue the fuel to ignite mass action and make politicians listen.

Results (3 months into our campaign)

Stage 1: Growing a Citizen Army from 3,000 to 20,000+
By courting the attentions of influencer segments—Mommy Bloggers, Youth/College, Educator/Health Advocates, Faith-Based Activists, DC Elite/Politico Insiders, NetRoots, as well as Traditional Mainstream Media—we boosted our supporter ranks from 3,000 email subscribers to almost 20,000 Susie soldiers.

(A) Amplified the conversation through chat rooms, blogs, and
dinner tables.

• Over 420,000 Google search results link to
• 20,000 Web activists and 1,000 friends across MySpace and Facebook
• 60,000+ unique visitors to the Web site, mostly referred by word-of-mouth
• 160,000+ pageviews
• High conversion rate—30% of visitors also signed our petition
• Over 800 letters of support to Susie Flynn
• 30,000+ viral video viewings on sites like YouTube
• 160,000+ brand minutes engaged with and her YouTube channel

Lacking budget, we exploited the viral rewards of every possible “earned media” opportunity: press coverage, email pass-alongs, social networks pages, blogs, YouTube video, and OOH to garner attentions.

B) Provoke More News Media Coverage of This Important Issue
• Over 26.5 million PR impressions valued at $600,000

Stage 2: Activating the Citizen Army
C) Expect Increased Pressure on Elected Officials at Local and National Levels
Within a month of launch, CDF secured the support of Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) who introduced the All Healthy Children Act (HR 1688), which is currently pending congressional review. Web site visitation and signatures are highest in the Washington, DC metro area.

Susie is well on her way to agitate the willing public to influence legislation. If successful, 9 million children will be guaranteed health insurance by the end of 2007.

Sign her petition @ website and en Espanol

Watch her videos @ YouTube

Make "friends" with Susie Flynn
@ MySpace
@ Facebook
@ Care2

Monday, June 04, 2007

Neo Health: Keep your brain in shape

Lumosity is a program/belief/business oriented around the idea that the brain needs to exercise its muscles, too. It's a program run by Lumo Labs (a group of mostly Stanford scientists) who have each been "touched by the devastating impact of declining brain health" and have subsequently dedicated themselves to finding ways to improve brain function as it ages.

They've created a brain fitness program designed to help improve memory, attention, processing speed, and cognitive control through a "balanced workout." While they don't have a wealth of scientific results, they are offering a beta test program; the way I see it, it's the safest unproven way to try to improve health today--much better than new drugs, supplements or diets!

Ad Agency Deathwatch: "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better!"

An NYT article today discussed another emerging trend exposing the weakness of traditional agency models. Richard Beckman, el presidente of the Conde Naste Media Group, has taken it upon himself to create a "agencylike business within Condé Nast’s ad sales unit, generating new revenue by planning events for advertisers and creating advertisements that help sell more magazine pages."

Among others, the in-house creative team has developed ads for department store Dillards

The National Gold Council

and even Lexus

Whether or not these examples meet creative standards of award shows isn't really the point. With clients (Miller Lite being just one example) and now their media partners increasingly handling traditional ads on their own (or hell, even by asking their customers to create the ads for them), its all the more important for us to not just be vendors and "people who make ads". Yet another sign that the traditional agency model needs to evolve to where we are true partners, not only creating communications but helping to craft and influence the business strategy of which the creative is just one component.

I often wonder how many people actually listen/take seriously all this talk of "agency deathwatch" and associated apocalyptic signals, but hopefully if we keep beating that drum there will be action before it's too late.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ad Agency Deathwatch:The Break Up

Allegory for the relationship we have with our customers.


More info at or check this analysis from Sarah