Wednesday, December 31, 2008

for Precision Marketing magazine Dec 08: Twitter 2009

Here's a short bit on Twitter what I wrote for Precision Marketing magazine just before the holidays. An intro to twitter; yes people, there are still those out there who do not know.

Add to that this mornings revelations that social media is actually more popular than ever, and this nugget from hitwise which clearly demonstrates it's not just a US thing.

'UK Internet visits to Twitter have increased by 631% over the last 12 months, with 485% of that growth coming this year. Twitter is more popular with Brits than Americans: last week the site’s share of UK Internet visits was 70% higher its share of visits in America. Twitter cannot yet be considered mainstream in the USA, but in the UK it’s getting there.'

Anyway, here's the piece.

As Confucious famously said; ‘It’s difficult to make predictions, particularly about the future’ however I’m going to stick my proverbial neck out and venture that 2009 is going to be the year that Twitter enters the mainstream.

For anyone reading this and asking themselves, what is Twitter?
Twitter is increasingly pulling away as the leading opt-in, permission based communication and listening platform. Google it.

Anytime anything is being said about your company, products, or services you can monitor it and, most importantly, respond instantly if appropriate. In fact you can also use the various freely available tools to track what’s being said about any thing you fancy. Your competitors for instance.

Yes, Twitter gives your opponents and critics a voice too, but that means you can listen and act.

As Twitter progresses towards it’s critical mass it’s increasingly one of the most effective research tools in your box. Simply tapping into that stream of ideas, content, links and commentary focused on your area of business your research has so much more value than traditional focus groups, for example.

Traditional focus groups only tell a portion of the story. On Twitter, groups can form and unform on an ad hoc basis, self-selected around subjects that interest them directly.

It’s no surprise that among the top 5 UK Twitter users (in terms of number of followers) are; Stephen Fry and John Cleese. The trick to adding value is simple.
Have something interesting to say.

And unless you are part of the conversation you cannot contribute therefore you don’t add any value.

The last point is of particular significance for our politicians.

The recently launched is a portal that brings together the collected tweets of several UK MP’s, including Tory leader David Cameron, following the lead of the PMs office earlier this year who launched the official Downing St twitter feed.
And, while it’s disappointing that Barack Obama stopped Twittering the second the election was over , his team saw the value of connecting directly to a fanatical group of supporters with real time updates as the campaign unfolded.

The internet is about people, not technology. Twitter is people-driven; so if your business depends upon relationships and interactions with people it’s time to take notice of Twitter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

NASA 'Money' video by Shepard Fairey

Featuring Chuck D (Public Enemy) and David Byne (Talking heads) amongst others this is the tune of the week and an absolute dynamite video illustrated by artist Sheparde Fairey, of 'Obey' fame.

thanks to Clarence.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Probably the last post here before the festive break so just a note to say thanks to all who have read, commented, contributed and shared here in the last 12 months and also to all the great minds who have influenced this content in one way or another.

It just remains to say 'Feliz Navidad' to all and i'll leave you with this clip of EL Vez, the Mexican punk Elvis with his take on the Jose Feliciano Xmas classic, (spot the PiL mashup element).

El Vez was briefly signed to Alan McGee's Poptones label in the late 90s.
Can't resist another little niggle to the music 2.0 evangelists.
The success of Oasis et al gave McGee the opportunity to invest in the long tail, and give a platform to the likes of El Vez and others like the criminally overlooked Jasmine Minks.
This is where record companies still have a role, as a kind of socialist curator.

NGOTB gurus of marketing #236 - George Bernard Shaw

One of my favourite Seth-isms, recently featured in Tribes.

'Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance.... whatever it is, the forces for mediocrity will align to stop you, forgiving no errors and never backing down until it's over.'

I repeat this to myself every day.

Another one I tell myself everyday is this nugget on creativity by George Bernard Shaw. Another heretic, who made it his life's work to challenge the status quo, aka the forces for mediocrity.

Friday, December 19, 2008


More power to the argument that 2009 is going to be the year that twitter really breaks.
Tweetminster is a service that lists all UK MP's who are using Twitter and their twitter id. Following on from the official Downing St twitter feed and social media makeover now you can find and follow your local MP (if they tweet, it's still in the early stages so low on numbers) or some of the bigger names like C*meron*spit* are also on there. Check it out at

Thursday, December 18, 2008

dave trott the hard way via persuasionism

Can I just point you to this great story by Dion Hughes from the excellent Persuasionism.

Dion recounts his early efforts at getting a job in advertising as a youngster and an encounter with ad legend Dave Trott.

It's a charming story, and be sure to read the comments as Trott himself responds.
Anyone familiar with his writing will be aware of it's poetic structure, he even applies it to blog comments.

As i said, a heart-warming nice wee story.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

twitter, google reader, rss conundrum

Posted this over at last night.
It occurred to me the other day that i tend to read the blog posts from those i follow on twitter - who 'tweet' new articles via twitterfeed or suchlike - more often than the others in my google reader (which i check once or twice a week at the most).

Wouldn’t be good if there was a twitterfeed - that i can control - that tweets me selected blogs - from my reader - as they happen?
This would save a lot of dicking about between twitter desktop client and browser/feed widget.
Yeah, this kinda happens with friendfeed but I don’t control that - I'm not necessarily friends with most of the authors in my rss reader , whereas with a custom google reader feed into twitter, spec’d by me... is that bit more personal.

Or maybe this functionality already exists? Any thoughts?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Music 2.0 debunked brilliantly

My beef with the so-called music 2.0 evangelists has always been that they focus on business models and distribution rather than the actual CONTENT.

Yeah, Radiohead and NIN have uncovered some interesting TACTICS but what about the actual music? What are they saying about anything?

Same goes for the numerous Myspace careerist popsters.
Lots of nifty marketing but where's the cultural significance ie punk, acid house, hip hop.

Check out the second half this rant from lefsetz letter, which sums it up perfectly.

'We don’t have a theft problem. We’ve got a MUSIC problem.'

'Don’t tell me it’s the same as it always was. It was different in the sixties and seventies. Sure, we wanted to go to the gig to hang out, but we NEEDED to hear the music. We NEEDED to be closer to the geniuses who made it. We felt it was us versus them, the act and its audience versus the system. Whereas now the acts ARE PART OF THE SYSTEM!'

thanks to jmac and dan

TiVO do Dominos Pizza

My friends at TiVO NY tell me they have set up and launched another seamless web and tv integration like the Amazon partnership i reported on a few months back.
Now the custom Domino's pizza utility, that has been popular online, can also be accessed via TV for TiVO customers.
The Domino's app allows you to log in with your web id, there's also no messy account management on tv as you can pay cash when the pizza arrives. Keeps it simple.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Music Industry Manifesto

Perhaps the definitive statement of the punk diy philosophy was made manifest this diagram*, from a Stranglers fanzine, showing three chord shapes on a guitar, and these words:

“This is a chord, this is another, this is a third - NOW FORM A BAND.”

For the fanzine producers a magic marker, scissors and a Xerox machine were your tools and the network of punk gigs in pub back rooms and youth clubs was the distribution network.

A nation of spotty youth, given the tools and the spark to create something of their own, followed those instructions and a movement was born.
You may even say it was a community of purpose.

The tendrels of punk reached out – from the bottom-up – beyond just music into fashion, art, literature, film even ballet.

Is this starting to sound familiar?
And is this the 21st century (slightly longer) version of the three chord manifesto

The Music Industry Manifesto

1. Music will always continue, but the parasitical 20th Century music industry is dead.

2. Music does not rely on technology or distribution. It simply requires people. It did not begin with vinyl, the CD, the electric guitar or the synthesizer.

3. If piracy is able to damage your ivory castles, you should seek to understand it and learn from it. Piracy is the most effective distribution.

4. You will never win the war on privacy, because the pirates have a belief, and you are protecting a business.

5. People will only pay for what they want to pay for. Get used to it.

6. Artists and fanatics run the show - if you are in neither camp you’re fucked.

7. DRM’s only function is to limit the spread of music and to irritate the very people you should be pleasing - your audience.

8. I’ve paid for the tape, the vinyl, the CD and the MP3 - if I ever pay again, I’ll pay for the rights to the content in whatever format is appropriate for the rest of my lifetime, not for something limited to one format.

9. Let’s face it..artists can make more money if middle-men are not involved

10. Look - we all know you’re pissed about you’re expense bill no longer being approved but please stop taking it out on the rest of us

11. The people of the world want to share what they love. If you stand in the way there is only one outcome. Rebellion

12. People embrace what they create. We all want to take part. It’s no longer your industry, its ours. Sure that hurts…

13. Just become a concert promoter. Live music will never end. Rip-off, insular and selfish business models already have. Sorry

14. People will pay for what they want to. If you create something of value to people, people will pay for it

15. People will not longer automatically pay for something that YOU think is valuable

16. Resistance is futile. However powerful your connections are, the people of the world will find a way around it

17. Every time you sue, you nail an even heavier nail in your OWN coffin. Think about it…

18. The people of the world love music as much as they always have - not less - its just they have seen behind the curtain now

19. Artists love fans and will get paid by them for products and services the fans adore. Get out the way and let it happen

20. Copyright is a byproduct of the business model for content creation and distribution. It’s not the reason for content creation

21. The case studies of artists making more money from not using your regime will never stop - only increase. Listen up

22. It makes no difference how connected you are to the government. Artists and fans out-number you and always will

23. All the time you spend wining about protecting music you could spend working out ways to help the new world mature

24. If you really wanna get rich, concentrate on facilitating fanatical advocacy. There is no ceiling of value to that

25. People can only truly be of financial benefit to you if they are free. Confined humans have no long-term monetary benefit

*Pedants corner: The drawing is often attributed to, but never actually appearted in, Sniffin Glue fanzine.
It’s actually first appeared in another fanzine ‘Sideburns’ and was reproduced in Stranglers fanzine ‘ Strangled’ during 1977. I was even moved to edit the Sniffin’ Glue wikipedia page to this effect.

The Music industry Manifesto courtesy of Jonathan MacDonald

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the three stooges...

one of those intellectual comedy days on twitter, mainly thanks to @johndodds and @marcus_brown, plus the influence of @zeroinfluencer (even in absentia).

cant decide if this is phish or just foul...

If this email is for real and from HBOS it's a massive FAIL.
click and it should enlarge.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Borders social marketing 'strategy'...

Book retailers Borders announce a social marketing strategy.

From the Precision Marketing:
'A three month campaign, aims to build a network of brand-supportive influential bloggers on book and lifestyle communities across social networks, incentivising them through discount offers as well as access to exclusive content.'

3 month campaign?
'brand-supportive influential bloggers' what about brand supportive anyone?

Further on theres some guff about 'structured viral marketing campaigns' and 'brand presence across the social networking arena'

Lets see what happens.

Portable Social Graphs

This is a nice pres from Razorfish, explains the Facebook connect thing very well. Portable data and and all that.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

post-messaging: value creation versus value subtraction

This is a great article by Jay Rosen around the marketing-in-a-post-messaging-world theme. This is a better articulated version of stuff i'm saying every day.

'But now being a bulk message sender via the media is like the guy in the street trying to get you to take a handbill. He may have motivation for delivering the message, you have none to take it.
They are the people formerly known as the audience. And they do not want your message.'

Success in the new web, and the world for that matter, for brands is now increasingly dependent on their culture, philosophy and values, as ultimately the networked world will enforce total transparency of business practices.

As you and I, the people formerly known as consumers, gain more and more control of our experience and data, we pull down the shutters on brands and marketing that assumptions on what we want, based on demographics and generations instead of actually asking - and even more importantly, listening to and acting upon our answers.

To paraphrase David's Power of the Network:
'As we become the connections and the way the connections are made we are reconnecting with our human selves and accordingly what we are demanding from brands is more human interaction.'

A new marketing about doing things for people, being good. Helping them get to where they want to go. Creating real value. The Lotus Economy - 'thinking in straight lines, digitally or otherwise, will keep you going round in circles.'

Ive been banging on about the language of advertising for a bit here. About replacing words like audience, targeting, consumer, campaign etc with personalisation, relevance, transparency, authenticity, humanity.

There's a lot of us thinking the same way.

found via david cushman and gapingvoid.
pic from Reuters.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

NGOTB gurus of marketing No235 #oscarwildeday

Here's one of my favourite Wilde-isms in recognition of @stephenfrys #oscarwildeday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Neil Perkin's 'Why Generosity Is The Future Of Marketing Strategy'

I'm briefly back in the saddle after an amazing 10 days or so. See the last entry prior to this if you missed it.
Briefly, just to repost this amazing presentation that Neil Perkin has put together covering a lot of the stuff about ethical business/marketing for good etc that we've been discussing this year. Maybe 2009 is going to be our year?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

first pic of little Anthony....

Anthony, born on Monday night at 21:58. 7lbs 6oz.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

thought for thursday

Mahatma Gandhi, Never get out of the Boat marketing/business guru #124

“Carefully watch your thoughts for they will become your words. Manage and watch your words for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions for the will become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits for they will become your values. Understand and embrace your values for they will become your destiny.”

also Unfrozenmind...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

think tank - post of the month#2

Delighted to report that this months winner in Neil's Think Tank monthly was none other than Jonothan MacDonald's Isabella Barwinska post, as nominated by yours truly.

It was a close run thing with David Cushman's equally excellent The User is the Destination Now a close second place.

Wouldn't mind being in the pub to hear that conversation, vote rigging accusations etc ;)

Nominations for posts from November will be open at Only Dead Fish at the start of December, if there's anything you've read recently you deem worthy of wider acclaim.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ag8 - the new roles for digital

The New Roles for Digital
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: media digital)

pres from Ag8, zeroinfluencer's new thing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

marketing bullshit swear box

Going through a creds presentation yesterday - and inspired by a tweet from @samismail pulling me up on 'marketing speak' - I noticed myself editing and removing certain words.


Here's some of them that have been banished alonside their replacements;

Consumer (nuff said) - replaced with person/people
Driving (as in driving traffic, registration etc) - replaced with encouraging/attracting
Capture (data etc) - replaced with asking for/ rewarding
Audience (no-brainer there!) - replaced with community
Targeting - replaced with involving

I will be fining myself 1GBP of the realm for each usage of the above and donate the proceeds to a named charity at Christmas time. Hopefully it won't be much, so i would appreciate any additions you have to the list and if you care to join in with your own effort please do, and you can display the badge below in your own space.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

noho(pe) square hits the skids

Here's the view from Geronimo HQ on Berners St W1.

The large hole in the ground is what should be 'NoHo Square' - as sort of Covent Garden-esque shopping/restaurant/apartment development.

Developers Candy & Candy (CPC Group) have apparently run out of cash - they're also reputedly defaulting on a multi $million loans for land bought in US for other developments.

So who knows whats going to happen to the space?

Any suggestions?

Photo by resident Geronimo snapper, Johnny Mitchell.

Friday, October 31, 2008

the engaging 'brand'

Not turned out that bad for Russell Brand.
DVD rentals site reports that Russell Brand's stand-up DVD rentals have increased by 133% during the kerfuffle over the Andrew Sachs answering machine prank.

"He's controversial, always on the edge offending others".

Of course he is. That's what he does and thats why we love him.
Even Andrew Sachs was not that bothered, a bit miffed but an apology in quiet and a couple of beers would have done the trick.

Read this sum up by Paul Carr which nails it.
'In Russell Brand’s defence, the Mail on Sunday can go fuck itself. And so can the Daily Mail.'

Lessons to learn...
To paraphrase of a couple of Seth-isms;

The opposite of 'great' is not 'very bad'.
Its average.
Average is boring
Average is invisible.
If it's average it's never going to work
Because no-one will notice it.
And no-one will talk about it.
Ideas that spread win
And Ideas that spread are the ideas that go to the edge.

Everywhere, the forces for mediocrity align.
Jonathan, if your listening...resist!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

cluetrain manifesto: 10 years on...

Cluetrain Review
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: web 2.0 cluetrain)

I mentioned Permission Marketing's (nearly) 10 year anniversary a couple of posts ago.
It sits alongside the Cluetrain Manifesto, another 10 year old, as among the most important things written on marketing in recent times.

thanks to Neil for finding and Micheal Specht for making this snapshot version.

Sony-Ericsson W595 halloween 'viral'

Nice little viral-type thingy promoting the Sony-Ericsson W595 which enables uploading video direct to youtube.

The piece was created by Brando-digital, who have recently been joined by David Cushman as Director of Social Media.

Play with it here.

I have a question over what happens to the data I give afterwards, though?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'my inbox' article for marketing direct magazine

Here's the 'my inbox' piece I've written for Marketing Direct magazine. Not sure when it's being published - couple of weeks I suppose - so treat this as a sneak preview.

It still amazes me how so few companies go anywhere close to doing email marketing properly.
Seth Godin said in Permission Marketing (nearly 10 years ago now, yikes!) – [email ie permission marketing ] ‘…is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.’
The key words there are ‘personal’ and ‘relevant’ .
The success of any direct marketing is directly proportionate to the level of personalisation and relevance – to me, me, me – of the content, and the level of permission I have granted to the brand.
Miss that out and I’ll most likely ignore it.

With that in mind, my losers of the month are Oasis.
Somewhere back in 1998 I must have signed up for some mailing list or other. I have not heard a dickybird since, until now when they have something new to punt.
Oasis’ PR must have hired some multi channel bright spark who thinks it’s a good idea to bombard unsuspecting punters with tour dates and release news down the phone and email with annoying frequency and at silly times of the day. I was woken up by a text message about the album release at 5am the other day and now seem to get emails about world tours every day. Despite unsubscribing the message has not got through.
Just because you have my details doesn’t mean I want to hear about every thing you are doing.
If you are playing in Guildford or Basingstoke maybe. You know where I live, after all?
Personal. Relevant.

Why persist with one-way, broadcast tactics? I’ve volunteered information and given you permission to contact me when you might have something of interest to talk to me about. I probably have a purchase history.
With Mamas and Papas I do.
In fact I just spent 2 grand on furniture with them about two weeks ago!
So their one-size-fits-all 30% off furniture in November shot was particularly annoying.
A personalised, relevant communication would have recognized that and give me an offer on some other product.

Good job I’m not a vegetarian or the the massive side of roast beef oozing pink juices featured on my Waitrose promo email might have offended. They have never asked me of course.
At least the info overload is kept to a minimum,
Though I don’t get the offer. ‘If you don’t enjoy one of our products we’ll refund or replace’ – except this doesn’t apply to their online shopping service partner Ocado – I’m already confused so they have lost me.
When I attempt an order I’m told that the ‘Waitrose Deliver’ service is not available in my postcode area.
Might have been a better idea to check that out before sending me the email.

I used to love the emails from a couple of years back.
Seasonal themes, cool graphics and edgy humour made them stand out form the usual boring travel industry stuff .
The format has gone a bit dull but there’s still a bit of personality.
The usual ‘ If you cannot view this email line click here..’ is replaced with ‘Gone a bit Picasso? See it clearly here’
OK, the content is not that personal or relevant but the little bit of human-ness allows them to get away with it.

I’ve crowd-sourced a contribution from Sally, one of our Account Directors on Dorothy Perkins ‘whole-site-in-an-email’ newsletter
featuring fairly unauthentic editorial supposedly written by celeb fashion ‘guru’ Gok Wan.
Sally says ‘the content is up to date, nicely written and not overly sales-y. It’s nice, clean and simply laid-out – very readable. did this format first but it works well . As long as it’s not too frequent, I don’t mind receiving this, and it’s a great way to harness ‘immediate’ shopping, i.e. click through and buy something online now.
I also like that the overall hierarchy puts fashion tips above the 50% off offer. Not sure about the Gok Wan content but that’s probably just me!’

With tough economic times ahead, it’s more important than ever to nurture loyalty; and make you’re your marketing work as hard as possible. By keeping the focus on being personal and relevant , rewarding those customers who are paying attention – they’ve given permission – and delivering the kind of content , offers and products (!) that reflect their lifestyle, circumstances and interests you are in with a chance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 questions towards a new creative brief....

I'm trying to develop a Creative Brief template, if you have a minute.
In a non-advertising context where we are looking to create content (or to facilitate the creation of content by others) and utility; what does the brief look like?

Here's where i'm at - suggestions, modifications, critisisms all welcome.

Position in 8 words…
In a nutshell, what do we want to do?

The Brand

What does it look like? How does it feel?
What do people actually say/think about it?

Who are the community we are looking to serve?

Who are we talking with?
What level of permission do we have with them?

But who are they really?

How do they think? What music do they like? Who are their friends?
Where do they play? etc

Why should I believe you?
What backs this up? Prove it. What de we rally know..facts?

Call to action?

What do we want the community to do as a result of engaging with this?

What is the background or context?


Are there specific media we need to address?

What data do we want to ask for?

How do we measure?
What will success look like?
What do we want people to think as a result of participating?

Thanks to @deirdre for pointing me to this conversation around branded utility from 2006...


I just recieved a free copy of Seth Godin's new book 'Tribes', released in the uk Nov 6th I think.

Everyone who pre-ordered has been sent a free extra copy - the idea being that you pass on your paid for copy to someone else. Ideally someone who needs to read it.

Plenty of references to core Seth themes -'ideas that spread, win' - 'average is invisible' - this time though it feels more like a personal development book than straight up marketing.

We're used to Seth coining a new phrase with each book (permission marketing, purple cow etc) - this time it's 'sheepwalker' - a follower/defender of the status quo. Quality.

'[many people spend all day]...trying to prevent their organisations from from being devoured by the forces of the new. It must be wearing them out. Defending mediocrity is exhausting'

Thursday, October 23, 2008

how to do search #124

very clever, creative and funny.
thanks to big picture advertising

Sunday, October 19, 2008

are rewards the new 'free'?...

I must admit this slipped past my radar until recently.
Nectar, the UK supermarket loyalty card sceme, now gives you music 'free' as rewards.
Perks are the new free...or what trendwatching call perkonomics

'A new breed of perks and privileges, added to brands' regular offerings, is satisfying consumers’ ever-growing desire for novel forms of status and/or convenience, across all industries. The benefits for brands are equally promising: from escaping commoditization, to showing empathy in turbulent times.'

For certain artists and genres the 'perk' model suits better than the 'free' model of radiohead, prince et al.
The music is free but manages to retain it's 'value' in what could be described as a slightly jaded market of free everything (ie free just means 'worthless').
And i'm still trying to work out where this sits in Chris Andersons 'four kinds of free'.

For added value, fans who downloaded Dido's free track ‘Look No Further’ are entered into a prize draw to win a VIP trip with 4 nights accomm to a playback of her new album in NYC.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

think tank #2

Just in case i forget, this will be up there with my potential nominations for think tank next month.

sample from intro (and it's mostly all caps! - beware...)



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

think tank - post of the month

The first Think Tank (a bit of background here) post of the month, initiated by Neil at Only dead Fish is Gestures and Communication from Chroma. Congrats.

'Thinking about media, social media and the decline of Grand Gestures in this way, it occurred to me that as the small gestures multiply, and the Grand Gestures wane (either by sheer media fragmentation that will render it harder to achieve, or by people just ignoring Grand Gestures all together), what will the communications model look like? What, if anything, will replace the Grand Gestures?'

Friday, October 10, 2008

They just didn't think it through #147


the lotus economy

In simple terms, the thing I love most about all this interwebs business is nothing to do with technology or marketing or any of that stuff.

It's the connectivity and the discovery that fascinates me.

A random tweet by J_Mac pointing to this site by Unfrozen mind revealed an alladin's cave of ideas on creativity and innovation.

here's a sample from one of their 'vision' pieces 'The lotus economy'.

'This transition from economic value to economic creativity marks a paradigm shift from the “Box-Economy”, measured by the optimisation of moving boxes, thinking in boxes, putting people in boxes and exchanging boxes, to the “Lotus-Economy”, measured by personal transformation, creativity and innovation. It has manifested itself as a shift from an economy based on producing and buying things to an economy in which the primary unit of exchange is “meaning” where organisations become hothouses for ideas and the revolution of the human spirit.'

There was a joke when I was at art school between the graphic designers (them) and paineters and sculptors (us).
The designers would mock ' heh, you won't see many job ads saying 'sculptors wanted' when we walk out of here...'

I'm joining up dots with this, A Whole New Mind, buddhist economics etc.
Anything else?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

pretty vacant

Oh dear.
Can't resist quoting J Rotten's old adversary, J Strummer esq:

'he who f*cks nuns, will later join the church..'
Death or Glory, 1979

life instructions #3

from Girl Anachronism via brand dna


I read something the other day, can't remember the exact quote but it concerned the early days of Amazon when they were struggling to turn any profits.
The head Amazon fella gathered the the team and advised; 'Lets not be scared of what the competition does, lets be scared of what our customers do - because that's who we have a relationship with'.

In hard times being customer-centric is more important than ever.

The supermarket we love to hate,, are being customer-centric and pro-active in helping their customers save a few quid off their shopping.
When shopping online you are given the chance to quickly and easily compare cheaper alternatives to the item you've selected.

Of course, it's win-win for Tesco as the cheaper alternative will often be their own brand.

It's not a big idea, it's a small one - every little helps though (is that Tesco or Asda - I can never remember)

Friday, October 03, 2008

get tossed

Get tossed by strongman legend Geoff Capes, nice little promo for social local business directory thing ratedpeople.

done by nonesenselondon

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Here's something I wrote for the company blog.
Again, the normal swashbuckling randomness has been streamlined a bit.
Re: 'weiji' - i've always known that to describe a person from Scotland's second city (after Aberdeen), but there you go...

"Beat the downturn with Digital.

Apparently, the Chinese have a ‘word ‘ (it’s two symbols, actually) for crisis.
‘weiji’ translated means “danger and opportunity’.
It’s not true actually but let’s not let minor quibbles get in the way of a good opening line.

As we enter deeper into tough financial times companies instinctive reaction is to pull back from experimentation and innovation and shore up on the tried and tested.
Playing it safe until we ride out the storm.

That seems a bit too risky to me.
Why? Because that’s what all the competition will be doing too.
And you will still be in there amongst the clutter and noise.

Maybe not all though? Perhaps some of the competition are embracing the ‘weiji’.

Now , more than ever, is the time to be looking at fully engaging in a meaningful dialogue and relationship with your customers (and employees).
And there’s ways to do this with digital.

Use Existing Platforms
Video platforms such as You Tube, photo hosting on Flickr and various blogging software platforms are all there waiting for your content.
The sharing nature of these platforms means that – if your content is engaging and compelling enough – the audience will spread it for you.

Join the conversation
Your customers and employees are worried about how the economic downturn is going to affect them.
And they are already talking about it, online, amongst themselves.
Writing your own blog, and contributing to others is a way to establish and maintain open channel of communication between you and your customers .
Be authentic, transparent - and most importantly, human - and you’ll reap the benefits long after this recession has gone.
A simple Google Alert can keep you in the loop as to where your company is being spoken about online, and you can be ready to respond.

Try different stuff
Jumping from campaign to campaign, promotion to promotion is time consuming and costly for you; and confusing for the customer. OK, there are spikes around TV or banner campaigns but what happens in between?
It all goes dark.
Is a 0.1% click through really worth the bother?

Brand ‘awareness’ is no longer a valid or useful measurement.
Branding happens through the actual behaviors of your business, and how you involve people in that experience.

Look at ways to make the experience ubiquitous - spread across as many touch points as possible.
Think about where your audience is and go and meet them there.
With something interesting, useful and engaging, of course. Not just ads.
Now, more than ever they are tuning out from advertising messages.

The nature of the web allows you to solicit feedback from your audience and keep tickling, squeezing and tweaking your content to keep it relevant.

Think about utility

Instead of interrupting people while they are trying to do something else, as most advertising does, think about to be useful in people’s lives. What are the tools or activities your brand can facilitate that can make a difference in your customers lives?

What do we mean when we say ‘customer service’?

Serve your customers. Be there with a human voice when they need you.
Neilsen and Edelman research suggests that upwards of 70% of people trust recommendations from their peers far above advertising, when considering products or services.
Think about your top 20% of your customers. What kind of ways can you serve them that will encourage them to promote your products and services to their friends, colleagues and family?

Look to the web for insights.

Social Networks can be rich vein of insight for what your customers are actually saying and thinking, right now. Watch, listen and act.

Embrace the ‘weiji’ - the opportunity. Take this chance to make a meaningful connection with your customers.

It could be the start of a life-long romance.

Eaon Pritchard, Head of Digital.

Customer service?
Call me anytime: 079 7901 6084
Or drop me a line: epritchard AT"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Diesel S&M shop

...on Carnaby Street.
A decent homage to a 30-odd year old idea.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

digital choice

here's the printed version of the snippet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

there may be trouble ahead....

Excellent thoughts around the current financial meltdown and ting this week by Charles and Neil.

What are things going to look like when we come out of the other side?

I've been checking out E.F. Schumacher's classic essay on buddhist economics. More and more it's starting to resonate - not as a dusty piece of history, but as a way ahead.

'For the modern economist this is very difficult to understand. He is used to measuring the 'standard of living' by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is 'better off' than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption.'

Charles says:
'One thing is for sure I'm sick to death of the word growth being used as if it's a sign of success.'

Marketing and economics are subject the law of impermanence - ie they pass through the following stages: birth, growth, maturity and death - just as humans are.

If we agree that innovation is often the outcome of 'conflicts' - the bigger the conflict ergo the bigger the innovation.

Like the fella once said 'if you don't like change you'll like irrelevence even less'

No-one's gonna argue we're not in the midst of a pretty major conflict at the moment so I'm looking forward to what's round the corner...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

whats the story?...

This week's NME features a songbook with the chords and lyrics to four new tracks from Oasis's forthcoming album, 'Dig Out Your Soul'.

NME are inviting readers to upload their own versions of the songs in a competition.
The winners will be taken to a date on the Oasis world tour, somewhere in the world.

Add to this, last weeks activity where New York street musicians (that's buskers to us) were orchestrated to perform songs from the album around subway stations in NY (see clip below).

Unconfirmed rumours suggest that the next Oasis foray into 2.0 culture and brand participation will be a crowdsourcing initiative to find a hairdresser to fix Liam's barnet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

liverpool daily post social media experiment

I came across this interesting audio case study by markmedia, which features an interview with Mark Thomas, editor of the Liverpool Daily Post newspaper.

The LDP is a business focussed daily paper who have recently experimented with using Twitter, liveblogging and generally engaging their readership in the social media space.

Among the topics discussed we get Editor, Mark Thomas's views on:
- The risks in opening up the inner workings of a news room.
- Unexpected benefits of engaging with the readership.

Markmedia's summary in presentation form is copied here, below.
And the audio file can be listened to or downloaded at the markmedia blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

jesus is my friend

Just in case you're one of the few who havn't seen/heard this little number...
Can't get it out of my head.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

old punks never die....they go and work for apple

We took notice as this week's launch of the new ipod nano unfurled.
Each available variant is illustrated with an album pic in the screen relating to each colour.

The array of current pod-friendly harmless popsters - Clavin harris for yellow, Interpol for red, James Blunt for blue etc etc - is shamelessly disrupted by the inclusion, in the pink model, of...not
'would you?/wouldn't you?' brat poppette 'Pink' (as you may have predicted) but none other than...gnarled, drug-addled grandads of glam-punk ...

thanks John.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

end of the world pt2

..and DIY giants B&Q are quick off the mark with clever bit of search...

google commemorates the end of the world

nice to see google's traditional 'seasonal-home-page-looks' celebrating one-off events too...
the end of the world for example.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

i met the walrus

This is amazing.

"In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. 38 years later, Jerry has produced a film about it. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin has woven a visual narrative which tenderly romances Lennon's every word in a cascading flood of multipronged animation. Raskin marries the terrifyingly genius pen work of James Braithwaite with masterful digital illustration by Alex Kurina, resulting in a spell-binding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit, and timeless message."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Best Practices in Social Media

Mitch Joel - Six Pixels of Separation - has initiated a meme around best practices in social media, i've come across it via servantofchaos.

heres the thinking so far:

Consistency (Mitch Joel)
Embrace your audience (Jason Falls)
Listen and add value (Kipp Bodnar)
Listen (Chris Brogan)
Be human (Kristie Wells)
Reach out to others (Morriss Partee)
Honesty and respect (Paisano)
Watch what people actually do (Liz Strauss)
Provide a platform (Beth Harte)
Tell a story (servant of chaos)

Permission to Play.

I'm adding this. It's a small idea we've been mulling around here lately
around the notion of 'permission to play'

The number of marketing managers etc we speak to who ask 'how can we get into Facebook?' or 'how can we build community round our brand?'

The key for brands is; to know where you have the right to be.

Apart from a few big-boys the blunt fact is that in most cases your brand is not actually welcome within social networks.
Knowing where you have permission to play comes from watching, listening and then, if you can identify a way to help, encourage or empower, there may be a role for you.

I'm tagging Neville Hobson, Benjamin Ellis, and toby moore, as we are all talking about some of this stuff at Social Media in Business in October.

1. Blog it.
2. Link to Mitch’s blog
3. Tag it “social media marketing best practices”
4. And then tag someone else with the meme.

marks out of ten? zero.

As Stan quite rightly points out.
'Have these people never seen a Bond film?
It's double O seven. Not zero zero seven.'

at last...twitter for tv!

Gah! I went blue in the face trying to sell the idea of a Twitter tv widget to TiVO, Directv in the US earlier this year, but to no avail. Maybe my pitch was too narrow... Seemed like a no-brainer to me and ,as it goes, some others now agree.

I've just spotted that Yahoo and Intel have got together to create a 'Widget channel', which will, according to the press release..

The Widget Channel will be powered by the Yahoo! Widget Engine, a fifth-generation applications platform that will enable TV watchers to interact with and enjoy a rich set of "TV Widgets," or small Internet applications designed to complement and enhance the traditional TV watching experience and bring content, information and community features available on the Internet within easy reach of the remote control. The Widget Channel will also allow developers to use JAVASCRIPT®, XML*, HTML* and Adobe Flash® technology to write TV applications for the platform, extending the power and compatibility of PC application developer programs to TV and related CE devices.

Among the initial applications mooted are an ebay widget (quel surprise!) and of course the ubiquitous Twitter.
"Transforming television into an interactive device for sharing real-time updates among friends, family, and other trusted sources is an exciting prospect that extends Twitter's reach into an important arena."
Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter.

There's some dissent/scepticism of course, i'm curious to see what devlops though.
Any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

we value your feedback...

from chaosscenario

design the cover for the next Soma records compilation

Glasgow's Soma Records have launched a design competition to create the cover art for its 2008 compilation album.

I've been rediscovering some early 90's techno via blip fm, Dave Clarke, Luke Vibert and god knows what else. Slam and Soma were, of course, very much part of that vibe and continue to innovate in that vein to this day, although they were probably second to Bellboy as Scotland's most important tech-house label ;)

Details and material to get working on the cover can found here.

I'm a bit late picking up on this though, time is tight, submissions are being accepted up until until September 6.

What are the prizes, i hear you ask!:
- a copy of the compilation to be released in December
- every album that has come out on the label during 2008,
- t-shirts
- free 6-month subscription to Soma digital downloads

spotted at flowmi

Monday, September 01, 2008

re: the first law of mass media

In another instance of pure synchronicity I read Seth Godin's post The first law of mass media on Friday morning and the same day was flummoxed by an element of a presentation i heard during a planning session for a car client.

The presenter was excited about the possibility of 'interactive' video (can't fault him there) however the examples showed were 'robot' driven pieces where the character in the vid 'answers' questions the user types in (from some kind of key word recognition gizmo that triggers answers from an FAQ database)

I questioned whether a robot answering was indeed better than a real person - there then folowed some debate about whether 'consumers' found it easy/benefitial to talk to 'real' car dealers.

If this relationship is percieved as broken then surely the task is repair the human relationship?

Seth says:

The public works tirelessly to flee to actual interactions between real people, and our organizations work even more diligently (and with more leverage) to corporatise and anonymise the interactions.

The irony, of course, is that an organization with guts can go in the opposite direction and win.

Friday, August 29, 2008 review for Marketing magazine

Here's the 'Digital view' piece I wrote for Marketing magazine about 2 weeks ago. They've still not published it so I figure I should at least let it out here before it's too out of date...
You'll notice the usual freewheelin' style was toned down for a more genteel audience ;)
Have you seen, the ‘Twitter for music’ service?
That’s it in a nutshell: a tool for suggesting songs - and sharing your story about them - within your network. In true micro-blogging style, blip messages use 150 characters or less.
Like an non-stop request show Blip will grabs songs suggested by your friends (dj’s) from music search engines Seeqpod and Skreemr. Likewise your ‘listeners’ can hear to the songs you post.
Whereas Twitter asks ‘what are you doing, right now?’ asks ‘what are you listening to?’
As an added bonus each ‘blip’ contains a link to Amazon’s music store where the song can actually be purchased.
It's not essentially a new idea - streaming via your friends is around with the likes of LastFM and iLike as well as ‘mix-tape’ services like Mixwit and Muxtape – but Blip’s appeal centres around it’s ‘micro’ nature and seamless integration FriendFeed, Twitter, Pownce, and Tumblr.
As the establishment music business keep looking for the magic formula that will bring the multi-million sellers of yesteryear Blip’s creators, US indie ‘label’ have embraced the fact that the traditional means of distributing music, and their associated business models, are no longer viable.
Blip wins by empowering the artists (any band is free to load their music into the network) and tapping into existing communities of music fans as the distribution channel.
There’s still some rough edges; the slightly spammy nature of invite process, for one and Blip needs a decent database plugged in for the retail model to have a chance. This is potentially the big opportunity for record labels or, indeed, retailers (HMV? Zavvi?).
Blip is browser-bound at the time of writing but the inevitable Adobe Air desktop app and mobile widget will only add to it’s appeal. One to watch…

Thursday, August 28, 2008

warte bis september

Nils is waiting until September.
You can call him on +49 4022 611 161 to find out why, ask and he'll answer in any language.
You can follow on twitter too.
Minimal and cool as.
hat-tip to charles.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Here's some linkage for some of the other UK based blogs which are keeping me company in the lower reaches of the AdAge Power chart.
A bit of linkety-link could do us all a favour, eh chaps and chapettes?

noticing - marketing
carbon graffiti - email
prwordsmith - pr
engage - seo
red rocket - pr
yet another planning blog - strategy
creative in london - ad creative
25 letters - digital strategy
ginger and proud - pr
offer and acceptance - pr
brand gym - brand
the cowshed - short films

I await your response...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

life instructions pt2: 'how to be an explorer'

i'm collecting these little 'windows to the soul' now.
this one found via makemarketinghistory original by keri smith

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

war on terror board game

Interesting story around Zavvi, the entertainment megastore, who ordered 5000 copies of a 'controversial' boardgame called 'War on Terror' and then reneged (on the very day of release ) on their agreement with the manufacturers to stock the game - sending the makers onto the verge of going under.

After much to and fro Zavvi agreed to stump up for the order and return the stock so the makers who then decided to give away the surplus copies free outside Zavvi's flagship store on Oxford St, thus turning potential financial ruin into word of mouth PR that money can't buy.

And as 'War on Terror' say 'Why not let the public decide if it's 'unsuitable' for them?'

The full story with all the vendor presentations etc here.

2,500 copies of the game given away in under 1 hour at lunchtime today, with a line right round into tottenham court road. I managed to wrestle through the crowd to grab this pic of the distribution team with attendant news crews, tv bods.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

made in queens - sound systems for bmx bikes

Here's the trailer for 'Made in Queens' - Kids from Queens, NY in a film about their bmx bike pimpage.
The film recently premiered at Edinburgh film festival.
Follow the story here as it builds.

wisdom of crowds

As the new season is upon us...
'The fans make their views clear after yet another goalkeeping error.'
thanks to Al for this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

nietzche marketing

exerpts from a twitter conversation with @zeroinfluencer

zeroinfluencer: Brands are deities not entities, so have to pray for help. Brands need to be nihilists so that people can prey on them.

me: @zeroinfluencer'Brands need to be nihilists' is it a kind of nietzsche marketing?

zeroinfluencer: @EaonP The nietzsche planner "I speak on behalf of the void, formerly known as your customers."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

the boat goes mobile

You may have noticed the 'mobile' button over there on the right sidebar.
Yes, this blog is now fully mobile, coutesy of mofuse
So to get 'the boat' on the move simply point your phone's browser to

Monday, August 11, 2008

unified list of top 100 novels

As a list geek i was interested to scan this list of top 100 novels, compiled by neil bowers
Here's his methodology which seems fairly credible to me.

heres the top 10, not too many surprises:

1. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
2. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. The Grapes Of Wrath John Steinbeck
4. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
5. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
6. One Hundred Years Of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez
7. Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
8. Ulysses James Joyce
9. On The Road Jack Kerouac
10. The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien

The first novel I recognise of recent years pops up at no 40 - Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

search online for 'i am'

what's wrong with this picture?

i particularly like the 2nd sponsored link.
'i am a lippi selk bag...i am awesome'

Steven King's 'N' - mobile graphic novel

More widget-ness, as Stephen King's latest novel 'N' is previewed as 25 video webi-isodes, as a pre-lude to what is believed to be 'the first comic-style book adaptation specifically developed and produced for viewing on today's most popular small screen platforms' ie mobile devices.

Ideal accompaniment to the horror of your commute?
full story here

adidas/ultravioletsound free album widgetyness

Hot on the heels of Converse's ultra-cool 'My drive thru' free music download featuring a track by N*E*R*D and Julian Casablancas from the Strokes comes this Adidas Originals 'add value through content' incentive featuring (marginally less cred) dance/pop puppets UltravioletSound.

Via the 'Ultraviolet Sound widget' - which fans are encouraged to place the widget on their myspace, facebooks for maximumum 'viral-ness' - they get access to a free 11 track UltravioletSound album and 30% discount on Adidas Originals clobber (as worn by the band - au naturelement)

Ultraviolet Sound TrueAnthem Music

via greasyguide

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

scenes from an italian restaurant

Carmine's - a small traditional Italian cafe/restaurant in my old home town of Aberdeen - small menu, but brilliant at two things – pizza and pasta.

I first went there about nearly 20 years ago with the now MrsP. After our lunch Carmine told me 'this girl is a-nice, you bring her again, not that other one' (refering to another not so polite girl i had brought in the previous week!)

The reasons we love Carmine's are:

- the tinny cassette player blaring out Opera...
- Carmine does the cooking and serving himself while singing along...
- We were poor so Carmine brought sneaky glasses of wine (it's unlicensed) when we couldn't afford to bring our own in...
- The size of portion you were given was directly proportionate to your own size (huge Calzone for me)...
- Carmine comes over and shouts at you if you don't finish all your pizza...
- Despite being a regular for 10 years I was still called 'Ronnie' even though he knew fine what my real name was...
- Potential customers who only wanted coffee were chased out of the door...
- 'Poison' coffee (sneaky Sambuka!)...
- The cafe was across the road from the main Theatre in Aberdeen. The cast of whatever was on were often in there between performances (the walls were covered in signed photographs)...
- He closed at 7pm - daytime trade only so no bother from drunks etc...

lessons for marketing?

Carmine never advertised, ever - All w-o-m.
The turned-on-it's-head 'customer service' was legendary - people lined up just to get shouted at.
The one-size-fits-one approach to portions!
He never pandered. If you don't like it go to pizza hut.
People love authenticity.
The opposite of great is not 'bad', it's average. Average is invisible.

Anyway, I heard that Carmine is retiring this year. It will be a sad day when the last customer is chased out the door.

apologies for the blantant use of a Billy Joel reference as the title (I'm on a rediscovery of early Billy Joel, it's a phase that will pass, i'm sure).