Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

This week we’ll be looking at how brands try to use a simple tool such as YouTube to surprise and delight its viewers.

YouTube takeovers are a simple concept which enable brands to take control of the dynamics of an entire web page, providing them with an effective way to make a bold statement. At first glance, the YouTube page looks nothing out of the ordinary but as the video unfolds the viewing experience takes on a completely different perspective.

Tippex: Hunter ….. a Bear

This first example is probably the most well-known and most amusing YouTube takeover. The ad for Tippex allows users to decide the fate between an anxious hunter and a big brown bear. This directly involves the user within the takeover, allowing them to dictate how the video unravels.

Google Chrome: Fastball – A Race Across the Internet

This Flash-based game was created to celebrate the latest version of Google Chrome with Adobe Flash Player preinstalled, and to emphasise the speed at which users can access different areas of the internet. The video shows a ball working its way along a DIY-esk obstacle course which is intermittently interrupted as it asks users to participate in various challenges. At the end, users can compare scores and share their videos with others.

Schick Hydro razor

To communicate the hydration benefits of using a Schick Hydro razor, JWT Sydney created a YouTube takeover featuring several men being hit across the face causing a spray of water to burst out of the screen. This spray of water displaces copy and content screens causing them to float up with the rising water level.

From here on in the theme is car related…

VW Black Beetle

Volkswagen ventured into the realm of YouTube takeovers by revamping its Black Beetle advert. The video follows a fairly standard format with various elements exploding out of the screen, disrupting the channel’s layout. At the end users are invited to replay the video, sign up for information on the New Century Beetle and other Volkswagen models, or spread the word via Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. Take a look here:

Suzuki Swift: More Fun. More Swift.

Suzuki has also dabbled in the world of YouTube takeovers with this fun race between a free-runner and a girl driving the Suzuki Swift. The use of multiple screens, along with the usual page disruption makes for a fun and engaging piece of content.

Audi: Q3

Although not explicitly a YouTube takeover this example by Audi shows how you can effectively use a YouTube channel to guide customers through more specific elements of your brand in a visually appealing way.

Although these are all engaging pieces of advertising it will be interesting to see how the standard destructive YouTube takeover evolves to become even more interactive and engaging for consumers in the future – we’ll keep you posted!

Happy Friday!



This week’s topic of conversation is location-based services. The examples below range from the simple and cost effective, to the more technical, including a rather sinister use of the data collected from such services…

Location-based services were seen to be the up-and-coming trend of 2010 with many brands picking up on the popularity of operators such as FourSquare and Facebook Places. However, these aren’t the only location based services available as Visa is also dipping its toes into the water via it’s debit cards, as well as Everything Everywhere – the parent company of mobile operators T-Mobile and Orange – and Barclaycard which are forming an alliance in order to offer an NFC (near field communication) based service to customers.

Murphy USA Gas Discounts

This is a very basic example of a location-based service but in tough economic times it’s probably quite welcome by most. Murphy USA, a US based petrol station, is offering customers who check in on FourSquare $2 off a $20 purchase of petrol as well as a packet of Stride gum – a small amount of effort for a 10% discount!

Cheryl Cole Billboard

This is another fairly simple use of a location based service but this time with Facebook Places. I think any billboard that features Cheryl Cole is likely to turn most people’s heads and hence a prime position to feature a ‘check in’ in order to enter a prize draw to win tickets to an X-Factor show.

Visa and Gap Real Time Location Based Discounts

Straying away from the slightly more well-known location-based services, Visa is trying to employ a new kind of location-based customer experience. When a customer meets a certain criteria, such as shopping at a retailer within a particular area, or spending a specific amount within a given time-frame, they will be sent an SMS containing details of an offer they are entitled to. Currently, Visa only has one partner, Gap, and at present there doesn’t appear to be any further plans to expand on this. However, it is interesting to see other location-based techniques being utilised.

Everything, Everywhere partners with Barclaycard

The newly formed partnership between Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard is set to bring the UK’s first commercial contactless mobile payments service into action by using NFC, this will reduce the need for credit cards and cash and could be available as soon as July this year. However, although this is currently only geared towards making payment easier and faster, with time I’m sure the use of NFC will expand to encapsulate where consumers are and what they are buying in order to target them with relevant promotions and deals.


Another slightly more advanced location-based service which could prove very useful is Geoloqi. Geoloqi is a real-time mobile and web platform used for securely sharing location data. Some of the helpful tools that Geoloqi enables customers to use include:

–          Leaving yourself a note which you’ll get next time you’re at the grocery store.

–          Receiving an SMS when you’re near apartments that match your Craigslist search criteria.

–          Automatically checking in to your favourite places on Foursquare if you’re there more than 10 minutes.

–          Turning on the lights when you get home and turning them off when you leave.

If I die…

Now, I’m not going to say much on this one apart from the fact that it may make you cautious as to how much information you share with location-based services in the future..!

Happy Friday!


 It would have been hard to escape the big news story this week! From the cover of the Economist and the US stock market to the front page of the Metro and your facebook wall. But I think it is interesting how our reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden and our need to express our feelings and the search for information can be tracked in a way that would not have been possible two years ago. 
 Tracking the death of Bin Laden through twitter
 His death and the announcements afterwards are reflected in increases in twitter activity and at 12,4 million an hour, that’s a record number of tweets! This graph shows how they increased/decreased through the night and during President Obama’s speech. Follow the link for a better view of the graph below.
Google maps shows where Osama Bin Laden died
 It is unlikely this is the exact location where Bin Laden was found but it does tell us a lot about where he was hiding out. He was in a beautiful, urban area which was something of a tourist destination. Many are posting ‘reviews’ on the Place page expressing their emotions at his death.  
Osama is dead facebook page
This went live years before the announcement of Osama’s death in order to advocate the theory that he had in fact died ages ago. However within two hours of the report, this page had 150,000 likes and thousands of pictures and comments. It is rather un PC but serves as a real time discussion board so here is the link FYI.  
Spike in internet traffic
Users flocked to news sites for the latest information on Osama’s death causing a spike in internet traffic.  According to ‘Akamai’s Net Usage Index’ there was a 28% increase in traffic in North America and a 24% increase in global web traffic.  Akamai only measures news sites so overall traffic would be a lot higher as social media sites also saw huge surges in activity when news broke. Twitter reported 4,000 tweets per second around the time of Obama’s speech and according to ‘Mashable’, 50% of their readers heard about the event via social media.
Foursquare users check into post-Osama world

A quick search on Foursquare in New York for “Osama” reveals such checkin locations as “Osama bin gonathon” and “Osamapacolypse 2011.” The gesture recalls, on a much larger scale, how users began checking in to a major New York City snow storm in 2010 with made-up venues such as Snowpocalypse 2010.

 Social Media timeline of Osama’s death
This is quite interesting to see, it tracks the social media comments from Athar who first heard helicopters hovering ahead and unknowingly reported the raid in real time, to confirmation by Donald Rumsfield’s chief of staff. Follow the link below to see view it.
Happy Friday


This week the topic of choice is RFID.

So what exactly is it?

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification which in layman’s terms refers to a small electronic device that consists of a small chip and an antenna. It essentially works the same as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card, providing a unique identifier for that object which has to be scanned in order to retrieve the information.

Oyster Card

The first example of RFID I have to show you involves something that most of us carry around in our pocket everyday – the ever handy Oyster card! The Chromaroma app allows users to enter a game whenever they check in on the London transport system – tracking the number of swipes, places, modes of transport and even the number of passengers passed.

Coca Cola

RFID can also be used to generate social media buzz around an event. Young teenagers attending the Coca Cola Village in Israel last summer were given RFID brackets enabling them to digitally like the facilities they were using. Perhaps even more impressive, if they were snapped by a photographer during the day, the photo would automatically tag them and post the photo on their wall.


Renault has also tried to engage consumers by allowing them to share their offline experience with their online friends at an automotive exhibition in the Netherlands.

Information display

Now for a slightly more ingenious use of RFID. By simply placing the RFID enabled object into a small ring of light, the object automatically displays information relating to that object. One of the examples shows a set of household keys which magically displays an overview of the home from the amount of water used, to the weather and everyday tasks that need to be completed that day.


Apple has also secured their piece of the RFID action by obtaining a patent for a RFID tag reader for their screens.


And finally, probably one of the most unlikely places you’d expect to find an RFID tag…

Happy Thursday and enjoy the Royal Wedding!

Hi Everyone

I thought it might be nice to have a look at the April Fools day ads from this year. April the 1st is the opportunity for serious brands to have a little fun and break away from their usual tone 🙂

The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392). Many writers suggest that the restoration of January 1 as New Year’s Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.

What some brands did:


Prank with bicycle baskets in Amsterdam – plastic Heineken crates were used to replace existing crates on peoples’ bikes around the city. Leading to a few confused expressions when the cyclist returned to find the bright green boxes instead of their usual ones.






Paint your house

Forbes initially thought this was an April Fools joke, turns out it’s real and has been so succesful that Adzookie have had 7,000 people applying to have their house painted.










They launched Gmail motion, where instead of using your mouse and keyboard, you use hand and body signals to control the computer and write an email. It was all backed up with great logic by a movement specialist and paralanguage expert.







Virgin Travel told people that Richard Branson had bought Pluto and was planning on having it reinstated as a planet once a specially created ‘deep space vehicle’ had increased the body mass by harnessing space debris and asteroids and dragging them into Pluto’s gravitational field.








Based around the Royal Wedding, BMW created an ad announcing the BMW M3 Royal Edition, available in three royal colours and embossed with special ‘Will’ emplem.








Artline Twitter pen

Here is a pen which senses what you are writing and uploads it straight to you twitter feed- quite a good idea actually!










Brand Republic

Pigeons to be used for consumer targeting, the idea was that they would be tagged with GPS technology and would be used to deliver personal messages





The brand created a video and print ad for a dog stool which allows your family pet to join you at the table.








The company were selling tickets to the Royal Wedding including entrance to the afterparty, rice for throwing and a complementary tour with HRH Prince Philip.

I’ve chosen touch screen digital displays as the topic of reference for today as it allows consumers to be a part of the experience rather than just an onlooker.

The first example of touch screen technology being implemented in everyday life is a very simple concept that allows consumers to scroll through advertisements as they are transported in a taxi in Shanghai:




A slightly more functional implementation of touch screen technology has been used in ‘El Bait Shop’, a beer shop in Des Moines, Iowa, that helps consumers choose the beer that is most suited to their tastes:








The following touch screen guide at DFW airport is helpful but could be even more so if it included reviews of restaurants, check-ins and comments, enhancing the customer experience:






However, with the technology behind touch screens constantly improving, and with the invention of numerous ‘smart’ devices, touch screens are beginning to influence the way we live our lives:



Or maybe technology’s set to get even more bizarre and life as well as advertising will become even more intriguing…






Happy Friday!!



For this Friday email, I am looking at some interesting things around mobile phones.

Mobile phone useage
This is a site showing over 43 different countries at different times of day. TNS have done a great job making this fun to use and really interesting, particularly if you want to compare useage across two different countries. You can see how culture/lifestyle affects what we use phones for and when we do it.

3D modelling on your phone
With just a few snaps of your phone camera, you can create a 3D model using this app developed my microsoft.


Unbottle yourself with Carlsberg
Carlsberg attempts to unbottle an entire ration – only problem is – it’s Sweden. They are asking people to compete with each other using their app to become Sweden’s most ‘unbottled’ by performing challenges, filming them and uploading onto the site below. Have a look at the link  to see some of the missions people have already done.


Location based social networking photo app
The app creates social photo albums based around locations, from you, your friends and every other stranger within 150 feet, allowing you to experience a location or say, an event, from other perspectives in real time. It also allows you to comment and interact with the other people taking photos

Mobile tagging and how it can be useful                                                                                                                   Mobile tagging is not new, we’ve seen a lot of advertising/content uses for it, but here are some ways to really make constructive use of the tool. How about tagging a product with instructions on how to assemple it if it’s an IKEA pack. Or, if it’s food, include a recipe and a video on how to make something.                                       

Aston Martin’s Glass Phone
I think this is beautiful, a lovely extension of their brand and they manage to relate it back to the car by using it to unlock the door or measure your movement during an accident to improve safety measures.
Happy Friday