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Crap ads: government attempts to persuade exporting

Posted by guesto on June 23, 2009

I really dislike this ad.

The actual opportunity that this is failing to promote is a great one – now that the financial services that our economy is built on are on their knees, so our currency is buggered too.

Which is actually an opportunity, if we get back to actually making and exporting stuff. Now that euros buy more pounds-worth of stuff, we should all take the opportunity to sell more of it. With our newly boosted debts to pay off, you can imagine Westminster would want to wring this opportunity for everything it’s worth.

But how is this ad actually supposed to help that? It is just an abstract shape and a line that doesn’t mean anything. I only know it’s about exporting and currency because I read an article in brand republic. Sure there is a URL there, but that also serves as an example of how not to URL an outdoor ad. Who is going to remember that?

The web destination is crap too of course, not that anyone will ever see it. It’s actually easier to photograph it and blog about it from a mobile than it is to read their intended bumpf.


Posted in Other Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Snow v The Servers v The Trains

Posted by guesto on February 3, 2009

I have to slightly disagree with Jemima Kiss’s opinion that Fortunately, the internet is entirely snow resistant, as she commented on how the internet allows us to work from home. That’s true, but the weather did lead to the crashing of the two sites I most wanted to read yesterday, namely TFL and NationalRail.

Yes, in an ironic show of solidarity with the transport systems they represent, both these sites completely shut down on Monday morning as commuters tried to find information about whether or not they could get to work. Perhaps this is understandable, as Hitwise reports that National Rail got 3 times it’s normal traffic, and TFL 5 times it’s normal.

Traffic to TFL and National Rail on snow day

I can imagine the conversation with the techies on this one – 5 times normal traffic is way beyond their burstable limits and it is unreasonable to expect the site should be able to cope with such a spurious event. There is probably a techy or account manager somewhere that suggested that the site should be equipped to cope with that much of a freak traffic day, but that suggestion would have become a cost estimate, which would have found it’s way to the budget holder’s desk, who would have said “no way”.

So perhaps it is reasonable to apply the same empathy to the transport systems themselves? After all, 5 inches of snow is 5 times the norm for London. And whatever the final recorded amount was, I heard it was the most for 18 years. So applying server logic to the actual transport system, would we want public money poured into providing “redundant capacity” in unused train tracks, snow ploughs and snow chains for buses? I very much doubt it. The press would have a field day with that too!

But don’t worry, I’m not completely excusing the transport authorities, who really should try harder. After all, as Haroon Siddique summarises, it’s not like nobody knew it was coming.

But instead I’ll refrain from ranting about what happens on one day out of 6,570 days, I’ll rant about what happens on way too many normal days of the week:

Dear First Capital Connect,

I understand why it can be an operational challenge to run more trains than you already do per hour through central London. But there is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for only running 4 carriage trains at peak times. Have you ever tried to get a northbound train from Farringdon during evening rush hour when only 4 cars turn up? I’m beyond worrying about getting a seat, I just worry about fitting on it at all! We commuters (that pay your wages with our fares) get squeezed on like cattle, tempers fray and you wonder why people see fit to take it out on you?

4 Carriages = 1 timetabled slot = 1 driver
8 Carriages = 1 timetabled slot = 1 driver

That’s like double the efficiency in terms of passengers per slot and better economy of scale. Is there something that stops it being that simple that I don’t know about? Please tell me.

Alternatively, could we have an option to only pay half our rail fare if you only provide half the passenger capacity?

And don’t even get me started on your plans to raise prices AGAIN despite the worst recession in a generation.

If First Capital Connect were my client…

…I would love to see how they like me servicing them the way they service me.

  • At their busiest hour I would switch off half their servers without reason or apology
  • I would wait until they had serious financial problems then raise my prices beyond double the rate of inflation
  • I would make redundant half my workforce that allow them to pay for my services, make them wait in long queues, then hit them with penalty fares for not paying
  • I would do all this, then put up posters around my office threatening them with legal action if they complain too aggressively.

Now, I would not exactly be the world’s most successful agency if I were to do that now would I? I imagine they and other clients would go and do business elsewhere.

UNLESS of course I were to somehow have a completely unchallenged monopoly over the entire sector in their area, then I COULD behave in exactly that way and they’d have to accept it!

Hmmm, I wonder if the government will grant ME a monopoly like they did the train companies. That sounds like great business!

Posted in Insights & Opinions, Rantings | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twitter gets the spammer treatment

Posted by guesto on February 2, 2009

Having decided that Twitter is now mainstream, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to have received my first twitter-based spam today. If even mainstream brands and daytime presenters are enjoying the reach of Twitter, it’s inevitable that spammers will rolling up their pikey sleeves and flexing their dirty little fingers too.

It came in the form of a “spammerscum is now following you on Twitter” email. Naturally one clicks through to see who could possibly be interested in my drivvel, only to find a photo of a suspiciously good looking girl and a single tweet offering the chance to earn $2,000 a week working from home. I won’t include a link – lets not give them the publicity they want.

It made me think how they intend to broadcast through twitter. As they are following me, they only get to darken my inbox once if I decide to check who is following me. Thankfully they don’t get into my own updates feed, unless they @message me, which would be very time consuming.

I guess that initial single view of their page and URL is all they want really. And as there is little to stop them registering new profiles, they can just keep doing that as much as they like. Hmm, this could get messy.

Oh spammers, why do you have to go and ruin everything? Does it really ever work? Honestly?

It’ll be interesting to see what twitter do about it. It’s not exactly been built with as much protection as something like Facebook has. So they’ll probably have to start investing in upgrades to put in extra security measures and stop the few spoiling it for the rest.

Looking at that one loser’s profile, it shows that they are following 457 people, and only have 5 followers themselves, presumably them too. Perhaps a watching-to-watched ratio that unbalanced in the watching direction could trigger a spammer alert to Twitter moderation? After all, nobody can read 457 people’s updates.

So is this to be Twitter’s downfall? Is it to be a victim of it’s own success? Or are they deliberately operating a policy of allowing it for as long as possible? It certainly does fuel the success to keep it easy to signup, allow traffic (and PR) to grow.

Posted in Digital, Insights & Opinions, Rantings | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Twitter seems to be going mainstream

Posted by guesto on January 23, 2009

I’ve seen lots of evidence in the last couple of weeks that “Micro blogging” site Twitter may have reached it’s tipping point and is now breaking into mainstream use by “normal” consumers (EG, not just by early adopter internet nerds or kids). It’s been a site of interest for a while of course, but quite easy for a blue-chip client to ignore, or dismiss as not being used by a mainstream audience.

Here is a round-up of some of the key indicators that I’ve noticed recently.

Channel 4 News report on Hudson River plane crash

Writing in the daily “snowmail” email for Channel 4 News on 16th Jan, Alex Thompson writes “Incidentally you may have noticed in recent weeks and months Channel 4 News tweeting away on Twitter and it’s worth noting that one of the first images of the crash appeared on Twitter within minutes of it happening. After similar “news reports” from big stories such as the Mumbai attacks. There’s clearly something going on here that we’ll have to keep our eyes on.”

Take out: The immediacy of being able to “tweet” an event (even faster than blogging) combined with the accessibility with which anyone can do it (as easy as texting) means that citizen journalism on an event can be instantaneous. A news channel like ITN (who provide Channel 4 News) always need reporters “on the ground” so Twitter provides an opportunity not just to find out immediately what is going on where (like an early warning system) but also leverage the content and opinions of those that are tweeting.

The celebs get on board
I’d seen loads of reports on my feeds about mainstream celerities using twitter to connect with their audiences. Jonathan Ross being the one to get the most media buzz about the event. Last week my colleague at AKQA Rick Williams wrote on his own blog a list of just some celebs that are tweeting:

Oh my god – Philip Schofield is on Twitter!

Is it the beginning of the end for Twitter…or is Twitter more than a fad?

Philip Schofield – (2,366 followers in a week after that little piece to camera on This Morning)
Jonathan Ross – (13,933 followers)
Stephen Fry – (51,000 followers)
Alan Carr – (4,018 followers)
And Dancing On Ice (wtf?!?!?) –

Rick’s Takeouts: “Twitter’s got some real legs when it comes to TV in general. or Dr. Who…What if you could follow the Doctor and get his thoughts whenever he’s not in a scene – The thoughts & emotions of the Doctor when he’s not in the scene; after a big argument for example or by adding a quick retort out of ear shot?? You could get the Doctor to ask for advice and get the audience to reference material online that could help him…Good for spin-offs or integrated two-way ARGs. Some fool out there is calling this Transmedia, but essentially it’s just a different way of telling a story….”

Then, there was the mildly significant event that was Obama finally taking over the White House.
Obama already had a Twitter account @barackobama but for the inauguration day his team also set one up at @obamainaugural for people to specifically follow the day.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the inauguration led to an unprecedented spike in people “tweeting” as shown here by a “tweetscan” report for “Obama”.

Mentions of "Obama" on Twitter, Jan 09

Take outs: Twitter is a useful barometer for events of significance, or just for guaging how significant an event is.

Hitwise report a 974% increase in UK traffic to
Hitwise UK research director Robin Goad reports on his blog that traffic to Twitter in the UK has increased almost ten fold in the last year.

“UK Internet traffic to the site has increased 10-fold over past last 12 months. For the week ending 17/01/09 ranked as the 291st most visited website in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953 for the week ending 19/01/08. UK Internet traffic to the website has increased by 974% over this period.”

It is also worth noting his point that this ONLY measures traffic to the website, so does not include all of the interaction from mobile devices, widgets etc where much of the interaction will actually occur.

Blue-chip brands get involved too
Mashable has published a great article showcasing 40 good examples of brands engaging wih consumers in twitter.

One of the simplest examples in the list is Home Depot, who are using it to quickly respond to customers who mention them in their tweets:

And there are plenty more newbies
Even my step brother popped up on the site the other day which I didnt expect. His first tweet?

“Trying Twitter, not too impressed so far so going to cycle home in the cold. “


Posted in Digital, Insights & Opinions | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Consumers fight retailers in a war of attrition

Posted by guesto on December 24, 2008

As I speed-shopped around Carnaby, Regent and Oxford street on Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a war of attrition with Diesel and Ted Baker.

I really really need a new pair of jeans and a new jumper – even to the extent that I have embarrasing holes appearing in my current threads. I’m hardly a pauper, so I should not allow myself to get in such a state, but I KNOW that there are big sales coming, and I don’t want to pay £100 for a pair of jeans that are going to be £50 in a few week’s time.

And I’m clearly not the only one thinking this way, as consumers come to expect retailers to start their discounting earlier and earlier. The more people do this, the more desperate the retailers become and the bigger the discounts offered.

The trend of sales starting earlier is not a new one. I remember when “January Sales” meant just that – sales that started in January, once Christmas is out of the way. That seems a distant memory now with all but a few sales now starting on Boxing Day or the day after.

Retailers have inadvertently set this expectation for consumers now, with Hitwise reporting that there were almost as many searches for “boxing day sale” in 2007 as there were for “January Sale”, suggesting a key shift in consumer perception. Boxing day is also now the highest-traffic day of the year for most retailers, as the following Hitwise chart shows.

This year there have been rumours of retailers offering up tp 75% discounts from Christmas Eve – which offers excellent value to consumers, but surely destroys retailer’s profit margin as they pursue short term cash flow.

So what can retailers do in response to this trend?

Flash sales
Flash sales – one day store-wide discounts have been on the high street for several years now, albeit in a fairly understated way. 2008 has been the year when M&S and Debenhams in particular hit the headlines by offering 20% discount across almost their whole range for specific days only. This is quite a good move when you think about it, as it gives consumers their fix for a bargain to keep the cash flow coming, but limits the exposure to a few days that would probably otherwise be quiet anyway.

Sneak previews
John Lewis have pre-launched their last few sales online and offered a sneak preview by email. While this does announce to their competitors what some of their deals are and exposes them to price matching, it also gives them a chance to speak to consumers early and communicate their deals before they get lost in the noise of everyone else’s. Maybe they are inadvertently encouraging shoppers to hold-off purchases even more – but perhaps they would do anyway?

Online only sales
Hot in my inbox is an email from M&S announcing that their sale is starting on Christmas Day! But online only. This is actually a great idea, because it allows consumers to keep shopping and gets their products bought first, while nobody except a probably IT support team need to be in and working until a few days later.

And then of course there are discount vouchers. Now distributed more widely online than ever before. These also give the consumer the perception that they are getting a bargain to entice them to shop more, but again limit the retailer’s exposure by being time limited or even limited run.

Who will win the war of attrition?
Consumers need to buy food, presents and clothe themselves, but with a shortfall in credit I think it is the retailers that need to buckle first, because unless the cash keeps flowing through the checkouts, they will struggle to pay wages and debts and end up going the way of Woolworths.

CONSUMERS OF THE UK UNITE! and let’s force them into giving us a good deal. I’m going to start now by ditching this post and getting down the west end.

Happy Christmas!

Posted in Insights & Opinions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

iPhone makes other products redundant

Posted by guesto on November 25, 2008

In his speech about the next 5,000 days of the web, Kevin Kelly made the observation that “what’s amazing, is that we are not amazed” (with the web). Well having owned an iPhone since the first day of release, what amazes me most about it is that more than a year later it still continues to amaze me more and more.

One thing I’ve noticed since the release of the 2.0 software and 3rd party apps, is that my iPhone seems to be making other products that I own redundant.

Chromatic Guitar Tuner

Chromatic Guitar Tuner

I first noticed this with my Guitar Tuner. I have a circa 10-year old analogue tuner that is reliable, but only works for the basic six notes. I was about to buy a new digital tuner, but instead found and downloaded “Guitar Toolkit” from the iPhone app store.

This uses the iPhone’s microphone to listen to the guitar, automatically senses all standard, flat and sharp notes and gives a visual readout that is surprisingly accurate. Not only do I now not need my old tuner, I can now finally do the wierd tuning needed to play Radiohead’s “Jigsaw falling into place” without needing to buy a new tuner.

Of course, the “basic” apps that come pre-installed on the iPhone create quite a bit of redunancy themselves. Who needs a calculator when the iPhone finally brings a decent calculator interface to a phone.

Redundancy too for bigger, more expensive products like GPS/Sat Nav. I don’t drive at the moment, but as a passenger the other day I was easily able to navigate our way to a wedding in a remote location in the English countryside using iPhone’s Maps software.

Until yesterday, my favourite app has been Apple’s iRemote which is making my bedroom and living room stereos – and all my CDs redundant. Now, with both stereos plugged into Apple AirPort Express hubs, I can stream music to either room from the iTunes library on my big PC downstairs. Impressive enough, but with iRemote I can now call up all 85-odd gigs of music from downstairs on my phone, and select to play it out through the speakers in my lounge or bedroom. Perfect for waking up in the morning!

This makes me grin with glee everytime I use it and marvel at the ability to have control over so much music in the palm of my hand, with an easily usable interface too. But yesterday I discovered Simplify Media, which gives me all that – but outside of my house too!

The core functionality is already something that I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover. It means that when at work, I can call up the entire 85GB of music on my home PC and browse and play it through iTunes on my laptop. The whole library appears as a shared library in iTunes, exactly as it does when you are on the same network. Today’s test reveals that that streaming performance is pretty good, but I guess some people will be at the mercy of their broadband provider on this one.

Simplify Media Screenshot

Simplify Media Screenshot

But the best bit of all, is that Simplify Media also offers an iPhone app, which means that I can access the entire month’s worth of music on my home PC, from my phone, from anywhere I can get a signal. That includes when walking down the street, waiting at a train station, or plugging into the stereo at a mate’s house. And it even scrobbles everything to !!!

This practically makes me cry with joy. But I’m wondering if it is also now going to make my old iPod redundant? I previously still carried that around with me as well, because even 16GB of music on the iPhone is not enough to keep me content, I want the full 60GB of choice my old model offers. I’m not about to freecycle it just yet though – let’s see what happens to my electricity bill when I start leaving my home PC permanently on!

Digital and product convergence

The iPhone must surely be the most preeminent example of the convergence of product design and digital design that our industry has long predicted. I wonder how far such leading “converged” products can go in further commoditising and making redundant other less holistic products? I certainly don’t believe that there is much room in consumer’s lives/budgets for multiple super-products that do everything. Perhaps therefore, it is the first product within key categories to acheive this status that will rule the roost for some time thereafter.

Thinking back 8-10 years to when I was a Product Design student in Southampton, I remember that we were not allowed to design “black boxes that did stuff”, we had to design and show how the physical product would perform a function, not just assume that some wizardry would happen on circuit boards within. But what the web has taught us in those last 8-10 years is that by harnessing the wisdom of crowds and encouraging collaboration and contribution from 3rd parties, so much more can be acheived. Who ever’s job it is at Apple to review and approve all these 3rd party apps must be rubbing their hands with glee as they see so many companies and individuals produce work that just makes their product better and better.

What I think the product designers of the iPhone did excellently well was to design key controls – like the microphone, or touchscreen, or accelerometer – that can be accessed by 3rd party apps and used for new purposes. I doubt that the original designers were even completely sure what to do with the accelerometer when they created it, but it doesn’t matter, because they just need to unleash the box of tricks and let everyone else find new and innovative ways to make us smile.

Posted in Digital, Insights & Opinions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sites that are benefiting from the Credit Crunch

Posted by guesto on October 13, 2008

I’ve been very interested to watch how the economic turmoil of recent weeks is affecting trends of visitors to websites and how this might change the media opportunity for my client. New stats, trends and analysis are being published every day, but here is a quick roundup of a few articles that I have seen recently…

1. Online newspapers
NMA reports that: “Online newspapers enjoyed a month of positive growth throughout August, with many showing jumps in traffic in the latest ABCE figures. Guardian maintained top position with over 23m users up over 12% on July, it was followed by closest competitor The Telegraph, which saw a spike in user numbers of over 17% to over 22m. News International’s Times Online went up over 20% up to 19.6m, while The Sun continued to hover around the 15.9m mark.”

This growth is credited not only to the credit-crunch, but also to the Beijing Olympics and the US presidential race. Post Olympics figures for September will be more representative when released.

It is natural that online newspaper traffic should increase during the credit crisis, as so much happens during the day, that morning or afternoon printed publications become old news before they are even read. Online is not only a faster, more timely medium, but it is also mostly free – allowing consumers to increase consumption while cutting the cost of buying a newspaper.

As I’m not a media buyer myself, I don’t know if news sites like these quickly raise their advertising prices in line with these trends, or if their price reviews take a short while to catch up – but I have a cool idea, which I’ll post about later.

2. Job sites
Hitwise reports an unseasonal boom to their category of “UK Employment and training” in the last month. This is likely to be fuelled by the numbers of unfortunate people being made redundant, or fearing it and preparing it.

Although this sector is booming, it is potentially less accessible a media opportunity for some, because of the cost involved. As the IAB reports, “Recruitment is still the biggest sector category spending online with a 32.9% share of online revenues for the first half of 2008”. This means that the CPM of ad space is likely to be high here, with a visitor intent that is quite specific to one goal only – therefore less receptive to additional messages, perhaps?

3. LinkedIn
Also connected to actual and potential redundancies, the professional social networking and CV/Resume site LinkedIn is experiencing a boom, as people visit to tart-up their profiles in prep for looking for a new job. As The Guardian reports: “The number of users from the investment banking industry have doubled in the past 7 weeks, as have the number of users who listed themselves in the financial sector.”

There are a few ad spaces such as MPUs on LinkedIn, but as it is not their primary revenue source (that’ll be paid subscriptions) they don’t offer advertisers that much to choose from. An advertiser would also again need to consider the cost of competing with recruiters for inventory and the sensitivity of the subject too. “Half price sofas at DFS” might not resonate too well with someone that is worried about losing their job!

4. Google docs
As part of the afore-mentioned article from HitWise, they describe how they discovered that Google Docs is the site receiving the most traffic from the search term “CV”. This reveals Google’s innovative strategy to promote their product by ensuring they are found under terms that people could use their product for. EG: Writing a “CV” or drafting a “Letter”. They can then also promote that their alternative to Microsoft Office is “Free” – which will also appeal to cash-strapped business and individuals.

5. Voucher sites
And of course, sites offering vouchers, discounts, deals or just money saving advice continue to boom. So too seem to be the numbers of emails circulating for Pizza Express, GBK, Strada and more offering 2-for-1 vouchers you can print and take to the restaurant. I think that by now everyone knows that these are very deliberate and not leaked at all. But who cares? Consumer gets a bargain and restaurant gets a customer. I consider that a win-win, and a very cost effective one too!

Posted in Digital | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Setanta score own-goal over England v Croatia Highlights

Posted by guesto on September 12, 2008

Before this week, I was warm to the idea of Setanta. Little guy takes on the near-monopolistic beast that is Sky in an bid to add some competition to the market. Good on you for having a go. But now I find myself incredulous over how they have screwed-up over the England V Croatia highlights, missing a massive opportunity to boost their business, and pissing-off England fans right across the country.

I’ll assume you know the story – Setanta buys exclusive rights to air England v Croatia match, big whup – nobody that bothered, game poves to be an absolute belter, with Arsenal’s Theo Walcott scoring a hatrick and England winning 4-1, Setanta get all greedy over selling the highlights to other channels, so people like me that can’t watch Setanta (not even the pubs in Kentish Town have it) don’t get to see the game at all, even after the event. Everyone let down.

This is annoying enough, but what really winds me up is this statement on their website:

“Setanta always wanted as many football fans as possible to be able to watch tonight’s Croatia v England World Cup qualifying match. We always intended to make highlights available, and were disappointed that we were unable to reach agreement with any of the terrestrial broadcasters. This was not due to any lack of willingness on our part: we have been able to strike highlights deals in Wales and Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, none of the terrestrial broadcasters who expressed an interest in the England game offered us a fair market price.

“We are delighted that we have been able to find a solution to this problem with our own free-to-air highlights programmes. A lot of people had to move quickly to make this happen and I would like to thank them for their efforts. We hope football fans enjoy tonight’s games.”

I mean, don’t kick me in the balls and call it a blow-job. Don’t try and tell me that you have the interests of England fans at heart here, and definately don’t think that you have taken the moral high-ground there.

THIS is how I as a consumer read and understand your statement:

“We wanted to make us much money as possible from England’s success, and we tried as hard as we could to get as much money as we can. When the terrestial channels didn’t fall for our ploy, we decided to blatantly disregard the people of England by not selling it at all, cutting off our noses and spiting our own faces in the process.

We are ignorant enough to think that showing highlights once, for free on our still-niche channel is an acceptable gesture to the fans, and we are disorganised enough to do it in a way that nobody will have the chance to know that it is available or watch it. We hope that everyone appreciates our complete lack of understanding of the media landscape in 2008.”

Yes I’m ranting, but I am aggravated not just as a consumer, but also as a marketer that is flabbergasted at how badly they have missed an open-goal of an opportunity that could have made their season. Here is what I think they should have done:

  1. Decline to sell the rights to the highlights to other channels, I agree with that.
  2. Put the goals free-to-view streaming in high quality on the website as the only place to watch them. Make it a good experience, make the quality excellent and allow users to watch it as many times as they like and send to their friends
  3. Put clickable pre-roll and post-roll adverts on the clips that promote Setanta subscription packages and allow the customer to click-through and order if they want to buy
  4. Mobilise your media sales team to contact all your best sponsors and sell banner-advert space on the web page at an extreme premium, as the best and only place that the 60m residents of England can watch the clip. The revenue would be more that than you have ever made from a webpage
  5. PR-the-arse off the fact that you are declining rights-sales and making the content free for fans. What nice guys you are.

That’s a win-win: Fans get their football, Setanta get increased brand equity, subscriptions and immediate revenue from online advertising. I think that strategy would be especially successful in the long run, because England fans being England fans will now get all over-excited about our prospects and be keen to watch the next matches. Warmed to your brand by your giving away the highlights free when we wanted them, we might then sign-up for your subscription package – in massive numbers.

Instead, I feel even more dismayed that you have obviously invested extra effort in monitoring YouTube and other sites to get clips taken down that fans have shared. Its as if you just stubbornly don’t want anyone to watch it and you don’t care what that says about you as a brand. I found them anyway, of course – you can’t stop these things – but I had to watch them in crap quality on some awful Korean (or something) website covered in abbrassive ads and pop-ups. I now hate Setanta for making me do that.

Everyone hates Setanta

Everyone hates Setanta

I would have thought that Setanta would have been a bit more sensitive about this issue, after all, everyone is well-aware that you are an Irish company, and many die-hard football fans don’t think you should be allowed to show our football at all. That’s not my opinion, but this sort of behaviour will probably have some questioning whether Setanta are doing all this just as some gay Irish plan to spite the English?

Posted in Digital, Rantings | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Cleanvertising spotted in Farringdon, London

Posted by guesto on August 19, 2008

I spotted this in London today – the first example of “Cleanvertising” I
have personally seen – at the Smithfield Market end of St John’s
Street in Farringdon.

Cleanvertising in London

Cleanvertising in London

If you are not familiar with the concept of cleanvertising, I suggest you have a quick read of this post on Springwise, which is where I first heard of it.

Although it looks like someone has spray painted the pavement, it has actually had the graphic cleaned out of the dirt on the floor. So the Bacardi graphic is the clean bit, the contrast is how dirty the floor is.

I love this idea because it allows a brand to go geurilla without upsetting anyone or getting fined. It is free media and if the council doesn’t like it, it provides a nice nudge for them to clean the pavement.

So how could this be relevant to Sainsbury’s?
We are looking for places and ways to remind customers to not forget their reusable bags. Could this be a fun and very PRable of getting the message out there? Opens up a new take on “cleaning up”!

Posted in Other Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Field Day 2008 – Amazing Foals, Awful Organisation

Posted by guesto on August 10, 2008

Went to Field Day in Victoria Park, London yesterday. Foals headlined and were amazing, really tight and energetic – looking forward to seeing them again at Brixton later in the year.

Foals on stage at Field Day

Foals on stage at Field Day

The weather did it’s best to ruin the day, alternating between drizzling pouring it down for the whole day. But the prize for ruining everyone’s fun must go not to the weather, but to the idiot organisers who managed to completely screw-up the toilets by way of poor planning and farcical management on the day.

This picture gives you an idea of how long the queues were, but what you can’t quite see is that when the queue reaches the toilet area itself, it goes through a zig-zag layout as if it were a queuw at Alton Towers. Even with that in place, the line literally reached from one side of the festival to the other. I felt sorry for the girls that had no choice but to stand in it.

Queue for the toilets

Queue for the toilets

I’ve been to a good 10-12 festivals of various sizes in my time, and I’ve never seen it managed so badly. They had nowhere near enough toilets for the number of people there, they had urinals lumped in with the cubicles so that queues formed where they didn’t need to, there was not enough signage and not enough marshals trying to help people find the right queue, instead of having arguments with paying customers that were rightly outraged at the situation.

At one point, I saw through the fence that only about a third of the urinals were in use, with the rest of them standing empty. Yet the useless marshals had everyone queueing in one giant line for no reason. When I suggested that they have a seperate queue for urinals to speed things up the marshal told me to just get in the queue but push through it! They actually made all the guys get into the zig zag and push through all the girls to get to the front, instead of just letting them through a side gate. Unbelievable.

Anyway. Aside from that, the day was pretty good. Foals were the highlight but I also enjoyed all the bands I saw, which were Howling Bells, White Lies, James Holden, Lightspeed Champion and Foals in that order. Photos are on my Flickr at

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