June 18, 2008

FMCG online? OK, but make it count

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 9:04 pm

I was reading Dave Duarte’s latest post around how FMCG brands needs to be marketing themselves online and decided to check out the two websites that were given as examples – and  On the face of it both of these seem like they could be cool applications that provide an element of utility, but I can’t help but think that they missed an opportunity here.

Take Party With Pyotts.  Great, I can register and create an event and then send email invitations to my friends.  They can simply click a link to RSVP and I get a neat listing of the people I’ve invited and whether they are coming or not.  But that’s where it ends.

You’re giving people a tool to plan a social event, so why not build some social elements into it?  If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably been invited to an event planned using their event application.  What’s cool about the eventing there is that not only do you see your invite list and RSVP’s but people can chat pre and post event as well as upload photo’s and video’s.  And Facebook isn’t the only place for this, there are dedicated sites like and for this as well.

So here’s a utility that’s been tied to the brand (because all parties need snacks) but it’s living in its own little world.  Unfortunately only has an API that allows remote posting of events, the others only allow you to retrieve existing event detail.  But there’s an insight in that right there – if websites are exposing their data for you to use in other ways, why not do the same?  Why not build a application or widget that pulls the detail and displays it elsewhere, not only exposing the event to more people in the environments in which that are already playing, but exposing the utility and therefore the brand to more people.  With websites exposing their data through API‘s and service-oriented architecture it becomes a simple matter to mash-up some data and build a really cool application.  Yes, retain your registration data in your database, but it could become something really useful by simply pulling together related data from other services (flickr, Youtube, Facebook).

Then, Pro-Vita.  Here you can build a sandwich using Pro-Vita and selected toppings and see how they stack up with the built-in BMI calculator.  Neat.

But now what.  I’ve invested the time in building my sandwich and it’s over.  Domino’s Pizza created something similar with their Big Fantastic Deal but with their application you could actually order it.

It’s back to the utility of the application – interesting only gets you so far, making something useful will get people coming back to use it again.

So what about Pro-Vita then?  Well, once I’ve created my sandwich, let me save it.  I can then save a few of them and put them together into a snack menu.  I sense a potential link to here…  And if I can save my snack menu (which knows what ingredients I need to make them) why not let me say how many people are coming and then print out a shopping list for me with the quantities I need.

Who knows, might even know how many people were coming.

Subsequent to starting this post I was in touch with the marketing department at AVI, the company that owns the Pyotts brand.  These pages are only meant to be holding pages while bigger and better things are planned.  Fair enough, but any interaction I have with a brand – online or off – will add to my experience and opinion of that brand.  So if you are going to do something, do it right and do it well!


April 2, 2008

Google SA

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Allan @ 8:57 pm
Tags: , ,

Just got back from the AMASA end of year thing where a talk by Stafford Masie was the main attraction.   Overall he came across well and is certainly passionate about Google.  The bulk of the audience seemed to be somewhat oblivious to what’s happening online (Google Maps street view drew oohs and aahs) so the talk was aimed squarely at them.  All the usual stuff was trotted out about media landscape changing, consumer is in charge of your brand, user generated content – you know the drill.

What was interesting was that he said that South Africa has the most expensive broadband in the world.  OK, I’m with you.  Then he went on to say that in 18 months, South Africa would have the cheapest broadband in the world.  Really?  Where can I sign up….

He mentioned a few things that Google SA would be doing – Google Maps of South Africa in 2008, and GDrive – 20GB of free online storage.  Also demo’d Google Co-op which looks like it could have some awesome applications.

At one point he asked if there were any reporters in the room, but didn’t ask if there were bloggers.  This was after mentioning CNN using citizen journalism a bit earlier.  Little bit of a disconnect there :P

Then, he unfortunately went into demo mode.  I say unfortunately because it’s easy to get caught up in the moment when the audience are easily impressed.   The demos weren’t as focussed as the first part of the talk and as much as the audience were interested and enjoying it, it dragged on a bit.

One thing that did occur to me though.  Stafford was showing street view and saying that they have teams of people out there getting the images.  Imagine if they could combine an image pool like flickr, geotag the images, feed them through a tool like Photosynth and show that as the street view.  Now that would be cool.

March 30, 2008

Cadbury at it again

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 5:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Saw on Faris’ blog that Cadbury have launched a new website and with it a new ad.  This time with trucks.They have also made bits of the ad available for download.  People were going to do it anyway, so why not make it easy.The ad couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, so here then is my first attempt at a remix video: 

February 6, 2008

and here comes ooVoo

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Allan @ 9:02 pm

In case you haven’t come across it before, ooVoo appears to be Skype on steroids.  With up to 6 people chatting face to face in a video conference it looks like an awesome piece of software.I’ve had it installed for a while now, but haven’t had a chance to get round to actually testing it out.  Until now.  It seems ooVoo are going on a bit of an awareness drive and they’ve taken it straight to the social media space.  My ooVoo Day let’s anyone who wants to, grab ooVoo and sign up to spend some time in a face to face conversation with the bloggers that they read.I’m busy working through my current batch of neglected RSS feeds and so far I’ve come across 3 bloggers that I read who are signed up for the gig.  What an excellent way to generate some buzz and get people actually talking, while at the same time giving something back to the communities that keep the blogs alive.I’m off to sign up, who’s with me? 

December 10, 2007

old dog, new name?

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 1:31 pm

Was just reading an article on AdAge that Bravo in the US are piloting a new “L” shaped ad space on TV.  I’m wondering how this is different from a traditional squeeze back?

July 29, 2007

Loeries 2007

Filed under: Advertising,AtPlay Update,Loeries — Allan @ 9:44 pm

Through garbled SMS and MMS messages, it seems that we won a Bronze and a Gold Loerie this evening, for Peugeot 107 in the mobile category and for Peugeot 107 again in the Mixed Media category. I’m sure once the hangovers have cleared tomorrow I’ll get more detail and a clearer picture.


May 27, 2007

Recycling in advertising

Filed under: Advertising — Allan @ 1:38 pm

I just saw this post on some VW ads and it like an interesting trend at the moment. MTN was the first one that I saw where they took the OK Go video, and made a 45 second ad out of it. The OK Go video has been viewed almost 18 million times on YouTube, the MTN version 389. Now, VW take great but old AngryAlien clips, and stick a pay-off line and logo on the end.

The optimist in me says well done for rewarding companies like AngryAlien and pushing them more into mainstream media. The cynic in me keeps asking if it isn’t just easier to take something that we know has already worked online and just brand/repackage it. I sure hope the cynic is wrong.

May 24, 2007

Mobile & Web New Media Marketing, Day 2

Filed under: Advertising,Mobile,Technology — Allan @ 6:14 pm

Let me sum up today with a generalization: Buy our product.   I really didn’t know what to expect from today’s speakers and for the most part, I was disappointed, because what I did not expect was to sit through speaker after speaker punting their company and product.  What I was hoping was to watch engaging speakers talk about how to really leverage the mobile platform and build engaging campaigns.  Yes, MMS and mobizines may be new for some people, but they’re just another channel to push stuff at you.  I guess in light of the speakers yesterday, it was just a bit dissapointing.

There were two that I did enjoy though.  Brian Richardson from Wizzit Bank was clearly passionate about using the mobile platform to bring banking to the unbanked and it came through loud and clear.  The other presentation was by Leon Orsmond who was also engaging and entertaining, but somewhat controversial in his views.  At least for most of the audience.  While a lot of people were getting their panties in a knot, what they failed to grasp was that at last a speaker had made them think.

I made some notes/questions/objections to some points that were raised:

Exactmobile said that they could get the MSISDN through WAP, but the last time I checked, that header comes through as empty.  I guess the operators are only forwarding that header on to the Exactmobile domains.

Then someone (I forget who) in the mobizine/thumbtribe presentation mentioned that they got a 72 hour swell forecast especially created for them by some guy in the US.  I wonder if they had ever heard of Spike and who has been doing this with alarming success for a fairly long time.  He also questioned the validity of MXit as a commercialized marketing channel.  I think 35 000 subscribers in 24 hours isn’t doing too bad.

May 23, 2007

Mobile & Web New Media Marketing, Day 1

Filed under: Advertising,Technology — Allan @ 6:12 pm

The first day of Mobile & Web New Media Marketing has come to an end, and since I don’t have the luxury of being able to blog in realtime, here’s some quick thoughts before I wander off in search of food.

Giles Embleton had a lot to say about electronic law, and while it was certainly interesting, IANAL and so a lot of it was unfortunately lost. What his talk did do though was spark an interest in deciphering exactly what this all means for our clients. One thing that I did think about was around the Protection of Personal Information Bill, which “aims to regulate the processing of personal information by public and private bodies”. A few weeks ago I heard of a company, whose name I’ve now forgotten) that can take your mobile number database and run it against databases that they have to give you more specific information on them. I’m guessing that the bill will put a stop to that sort of thing, but how does it affect things like GIS research where multiple databases are processed against one another?

Mike Stopforth then woo’ed the crowd with his easy-going delivery style. Nothing there that I hadn’t seen before, but then I work in the same industry :) What was great though was that he did an excellent sales and marketing job – there were some big name clients in the audience and the more clients we can get to come around to our way of thinking, the better for everyone. One thing Mike never mentioned in his Aston Martin story was whether the dealer concerned saw any monetary returns on his generosity.

[Edit] Mike mailed to say that as far as he knows there were no direct sales for them as a result.  Pity, being able to show a financial result helps sell to pointy-heads.  Still, I’m sure it will make a great case study nonetheless.

The 5FM case study was interesting in that we had both the agency (Stonewall+) and the client presenting. I had 2 questions which I never got a chance to ask, since it looked like Ben was about to expire from the flu and besides, I had a mouthful of Endearmints. So these are them: the stats growth shown from pre-launch (October 2004) of 1.7 million impressions to post-launch (2006?) of over 2 million is 23%. How much of that is attributed to organic growth of the site? How do these figures compare to the growth of say 2002 to 2004? And then, when I was active on IRC about 10 or so years ago, 5FM had one of the largest chat rooms on the SA IRC network. How many of those users and those interactions have converted over onto the new 5FM site?

[Edit] Ben mailed to say that the chat is still running on the site in the Music & More section.  Archived stats are being hunted.

Tomorrow is all about mobile, so should be interesting to see what people have to say.

May 11, 2007

AtPlay Update: 11 March 2007

Filed under: Advertising,AtPlay Update,Mobile,Technology — Allan @ 8:58 am

Insure by phone. An interesting article over at insurance news portal announces that Metropolitan Life have launched a new product called Cover2go – simply SMS them a number to have R10 deducted from your airtime and be covered against accidental death for the next 6 days for R60,000. It’s been launched as a trial in the taxi ranks in Jo’burg. Can’t imagine why :) Still, a really neat offering. I’ll be interested to see how it is policed though, especially since I would think a large proportion of that market are on pay as you go type non-contracts. Perhaps you have to SMS your ID number to them.

While on the subject of buying through SMS, a really useful one for me is being able to purchase electricity via SMS. A quick Google found 3 in SA –, and I ‘m not too sure about leaving my credit card details stored online though, although it would be a small price to pay to avoid the accusing stares I get when the power goes out in the middle of American Idol (albeit stares in complete darkness).

Then, from the what-will-they-do-next-with-an-ipod department, I bring you two products. First up we have Big George Foreman and his gipod200! Because every barbecue needs an ipod docking station. Secondly somthing to err, tickle your fancy. It’s called the OhMiBod, because sometimes, 2 speeds just ain’t enough. Link may be seen as somewhat risqué, so if you’re easily offended, rather just keep reading.

There was an email kicking about earlier in the week about a cool 3D mobile phone campaign that Saatchi NZ did recently. HP Labs have developed something similar called mscape, which runs on mobile phones that have GPS units embedded in them. OK, so not all mobiles have GPS’ at the moment, but then a short while ago we never had camera’s in our phones. So anyways, what’s cool about this is that anyone can go and create an experience or game using images, sound and video, and then, using the GPS unit in the phone, this is overlaid and activated as you move around in the real world. It’s technology like this that makes working in interactive that much more interesting, as it lets us bridge online and offline spaces – it’s something we started doing with semacodes on the Peugeot 107 campaign. Sounds awesome, go check it out.

So you’re sitting in the cinema right, waiting for the movie to start. And it’s pretty damn boring. So what do you do? You become a joystick, that’s what. MSNBC have launched something in some US cinemas called NewsBreaker live. Cameras mounted in the cinema monitor the collective movement of the crowd, and use this to control a game of breakout on the screen. As blocks are broken news headlines from MSNBC drop down. I actually doubt people are reading them.

Then lastly for those who like pretty things, a flickr photoset of business cards.

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