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when digital got in the way April 7, 2011

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, automotive, digital, digital advertising.
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This time last year I had a strange desire. No, not that you dirty minded pervs. No, a desire for throbbing engines, helmets and leather. Yes, I wanted a motorbike. Part practicality – I could save a chunk of cash by parking at a different train station – and part just because I’m heading into the dreaded 4 and 0. Not yet though. And then it all went away. Overnight. And it’s been taken over by another desire.

For a massive 4×4. Partly because any moment now we will have child no. 2 but also because I enjoy driving big cars. I enjoyed immensely driving the humoungous 8-seat Dodge Durango while on holiday in Florida a couple of years back – except when you went round a corner. We have corners in Europe.

So I should be frothing at the mouth at this new partnership from Microsoft and Ford for the all new C-MAX. I know the old C-MAX from my previous life on the Ford of Europe account (I didn’t work on it btw). It was the bastard child. Nobody liked it. The Focus and the Mondeo looked down on it and the S-MAX showed how versatility and all those other things can be put together in a great driving package. Some time down the track it’s been re-born. And here’s where my current desires fit in. I perceived the C-MAX as crap. Then I saw the telly ad. It looked nice. And what’s this? It has 7 seats! Woo hoo. We NEED 7 seats. (I know we will have 2 sproglies but have you EVER tried fitting your mum/mother-in-law in between 2 car seats in a V50? No? It just won’t go. So 7 seats are now officially tick box requirements for our next automobile.)

And then I completely forgot about it. And then I saw this tie up with MSN. Partnering with MSN gives you lots of good content, instant access to a gazillion people and a whopping amount of digital platforms on which to share the product love. It’s got lots of nice technology content, men things, stuff that men will like, manly stuff and things that are loosely related to the technology and men things about the car. I didn’t read any of that though because I watched Tiff Needell driving the car. The production quality was horrific which is inexcusable for a brand like Ford. And the car was DIRTY! I almost fainted. But the film content was good. I had no idea it had Active Parking. Which would terrify me at first in the same way Stop-Start mechanisms do. I am paranoid the bastard won’t start again. I couldn’t get as excited as Tiff at the automatic boot release though. I would get more excited at an automatic boot close as you get on premium motors from Germany. No more slamming. I even smiled knowingly as Tiff flashed his headlights in a retro Top Gear over-taking manouvre on the Oxfordshire back roads where it was filmed.

But where are the 7 seats, Tiff? WHERE? Nothing. Not even a nod to say “for those who want extra versaility there’s a 7 seat version.” So I had to jump ship to the microsite. Which seems to have no reason to live as it’s same content as the main site. And discover it’s called the Grand C-MAX. And try and find the video for that. And it was a bit rubbish. And then I looked at the prices and thought ouch! And then I figured I could get a decent used XC-90 for the same amount of cash and enjoy it more. Because it’s bigger. And it’s what we wanted all along. And they have some lovely films of Sweden. For the first time in ages I felt let down by digital because it got in the way.

some stuff and things that caught my eye June 28, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in adidas match tracker, brand, digital, digital advertising, iab europe, klout, lego, notepad, psfk future of retail, social media, twitter, yahoo!, you tube.
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Some people ask what’s the point of Twitter? For me it’s part information source, part staying in touch with friends and colleagues and part sharing bits of my life. I’ve found these things of late, I thought you might like them too…

Your handwriting as a font.

Notepad – a virtual piece of paper in the cloud.

You Tube video editing – from their labs, now it’s easier to trim off the crap bits, add titles and stuff all using the interweb. I may have to go back and sort some of mine.

And here’s Yahoo!’s labs.

Klout have updated their Twitter influence score system. Here’s mine. Apparently I’m only Casual – perhaps because I’ve refrained from spamming the airwaves this past week. And here’s a nice post about it.

IAB Europe white paper on brand advertising and digital.

How Lego connect their fan network.

The PSFK future of retail report.

A lovely presentation on new business opportunities in retail.

The Adidas match tracker. Experience footy games like a geek.

And then there’s this topical re-imagining of the England football badge.

Enjoy.

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omg what happened and what should I do? June 14, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in digital, digital advertising, social media, viral.
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Free ebooks are ten a penny but this one caught my eye because:

- someone I trust tweeted about it

- the content looked pretty awesome and interesting & it has a fun title

- the content has many questions that a lot of clients and peers still have so always useful fodder

- it looked pretty cool

- and you can get a free download by paying with a tweet – the social payment system. I’ve not come across this before and is a great “forced viral” tactic that plays on the notion of “value exchange” that we all bang on about. Share the love and we’ll give you something for nothing. If only I could have changed the tweet content to make it less salesy but hey.

I haven’t read it yet – that’s what train journeys are for but chime in with any thoughts.

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memories matter & a droopy problem – using digital to promote health issues October 6, 2009

Posted by nicholas gill in Aardman, Alzheimer's disease, digital, digital advertising, Domain London, Erectile Dysfunction, Pharma, Profero, video, viral, you tube.
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Two new campaigns I wanted to share for the same reason: using digital to raise awareness and action of two serious health issues by doing something interesting.

Memories Matter

memories matter

Do you have a favourite memory? Something that you always look back on and smile? Domain have just launched a new campaign for the Alzheimer’s Research Trust including a microsite which stores peoples’ memories forever. The site demonstrates that without more funding for research into dementia, this is what we stand to lose. Sadly, dementia set to double within a generation. The site is a blend of real people and celeb memories including Terry Pratchett (the world’s most “famous” sufferer of Alzheimer’s) and others including Michael Parkinson, Felicity Kendall, Patrick Moore, Gordon Brown and loads more.  When you read some, you’ll laugh out loud. Read others and you’ll be quite choked. So many people, so many very personal memories.

This is quite close to my heart as my grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s and it’s so heart breaking to see the inevitable decline from a once strong and clever man through the comedy moments of losing his glasses and they’re on top of his head all the time & deciding to flush tea towels down the toilet instead of the washing machine; to living in a different time period where he recognized nobody and nothing around him and the fear and anger this created inside him. Worse still was the decline in his health through the disease, the tension it caused in his relationships with his wife of over 50 years, his daughter and the inter-family relationships that are hard-wired into that bond. Sadly the mental decline and the need for constant care saw him spend his latter days in a care home where it was so painful to see someone you love literally wilt away.

Alzheimer’s is not a sexy charity in the way Cancer Research or stuff for kids is but it’s a cruel disease robbing people of their memories and ultimately their lives. Please support this campaign. Well done, Catch.

A hard Story About a Soft Subject

In Bed

[Site / You Tube Channel]

Obviously this isn’t one I’m familiar with but a wonderful take on a serious issue – erectile dysfunction. Profero have teamed up with Aardman films to create a series of short films about Dennis and his journey from Droop to Don Juan for Bayer-Schering pharma. In England, we’re very bad at admitting any health problem – unlike our American friends who appear to hold in high esteem their physical and psychological problems and will happily tell you all and the drugs their taking too. Over here, we just ignore it and hope it will go away. Not so easy when it’s a condition that affects millions of men over 40. I particularly like the disengaging tone and the way the truths of the problem come through (no pun intended) by being entertaining and engaging. In this overly-cluttered advertising world, doing something interesting is the only way to get noticed. This has it spades. Thanks to Nick Clarke for sharing.

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digtial wtf version 2 December 4, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in digital, digital advertising, social networks, web 2.0.
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An updated version of this deck (September 2009) can be found here.

Here’s the deck I presented earlier today to the students at Southampton Solent University. An updated version of the original Digital WTF with new examples and changed front end. Deck can be downloaded from slideshare. Links to all elements below. Let me know any comments.

David Lynch on the iPhone

My Barack Obama

Nike Running

Nike Boot Camp

Nike Photo ID

Orange unlimited

Orange Balloonacy

My Starbucks Idea

Dove Evolution

Flora Healthy Hearts

Volkswagen site TV ad

Volkswagen night driving

American Express Members Project

Vodafone Live Guy

Anti-social networking

Foster’s Scuba

Subservient Chicken

Diesel Heidies

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i like live guy November 24, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in active branding, blog, brand experience, Dare, digital advertising, facebook, picasa, social media, social networks, twitter, vodafone live guy, web 2.0, website, you tube.
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This is Vodafone Live Guy. Live Guy is visiting 11 cities (well, he’s visited a few last week but I was just OOO for too long to write this) until the end of this week. Each day he’s giving away a Dell pooter. How do you get your paws on one? Find him using all types of web 2.0 wondery-ness. Why do I like this so much and why will it enter my new fangled version of Digital WTF?

1. It’s a great demonstration of a product proposition. Vodafone Live gets you and your pooter live wherever you want to. Rather than a-n-other web site, page, banner ad etc. telling you this, Dare (yes, them again.) created Live Guy to dramatise the live-ness of Live and bring the proposition alive up and down this great nation.

2. It’s beyond the site. It’s a blog, it’s a twitter feed, it’s a you tube channel, it’s a facebook love fest and it’s a picasa picture party with a Google mash-up twist. Multi-channel, multiple touch points. Experience Live Guy how you want. My preference was Twitter and that’s where I found out about him first and enjoy his regular ramblings.

3. Live Guy speaks. In the interweb world we espouse two way communication as the new currency. Interact with your audience. And Live Guy does. I asked him a silly question, he gave me a sensible answer. Made me very happy.

ng-to-vodafoneliveguy

4. It’s not just a blah competition. It’s involving and engaging and there’s 11 chances to win the Dell pooter. Say goodbye to the dull registration form kids.

I could go on but I want to get this out before it’s over. Go find him.

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anti-social networking September 25, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, content, digital advertising, facebook, user generated content, web 2.0.
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Great Facebook application for the new film How to Lose Friends and Alienate People about journalist Toby Young’s adventures in NYC with Vanity Fair. The book was very funny so I hope the film does it justice.

Deface your friends, un-friend them, cheat at scrabble and lots of other things to undermine social networking. First Facebook app I’ve got excited about in a while. Sorry, Emily ;-)

Reach out and touch me:

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digital kids September 23, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in brand experience, digital, digital advertising, kids.
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Digital is not something that children have had to get used to; it’s always been there. They stay online longer than adults, more likely to access the web form different locations and devices, undertake a phenomenal range of activities and adapt to new trends and technology with consummate ease. And with over three quarters of UK children accessing the web from home or school regularly, the opportunities for brands to interact, engage and influence with them are massive. But for brands, the opportunities need to be leveraged in an appropriate and unobtrusive manner.

Brands targeting younger children have a dual audience of the child and the parent; the former to engage and the latter to gain approval and provide reassurance. This needs careful balance so you don’t lose the fun element and over-do the barriers to entry to ensure parental consent.

From a child’s perspective, sites need to engage them on the same level as you’d approach any child project. The difference with digital is that it can be so much more immersive and deep than many other channels. Tonally, the site needs to use words and images that make the site feel like it’s their world, not their parents. Tactile, graphically-driven interfaces draw more interest and usage. Friendly characters or cartoons encourage identification and interaction. Interactive games deliver education and skill enhancement. Kids love being part of clubs and delivering competitions is a no-brainer, especially if the prizes are in the “I want one of those” categories.

Kids want personalization and self-expression. Custom avatars, virtual worlds, profiles and badges are hugely popular: witness the core functionality of the Wii-mii on the Nintendo Wii as a demonstration of tapping into the personalisation trend.

The ability to interact within a community is also key. For younger children this is typically their local community: school friends, streets. For older kids the global community is their playground.

Children don’t just access the web through a hard-wired computer at home anymore. Mobile penetration and usage is high in this age group and will only continue as technology becomes more pervasive and cost-efficient. They also use other devices to communicate and browse including hand-held games so brands need to decode usage and ensure their digital presence can be re-purposed and re-packaged seamlessly to become device-agnostic.

From a parents perspective, they need to be re-assured that what their kids are doing online is safe, educational and fun.

Reach out and touch me:

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[daily dobbie] peace channel September 16, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in active branding, content, digital advertising, peace channel, social networks, ten alps, user generated content, video, viral, web 2.0.
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Peace Channel created by Bob Geldof’s company, Ten Alps. Really simple way of aggregating content pertinent to one issue.

Reach out and touch me:

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[daily dobbie] anti advertising September 12, 2008

Posted by nicholas gill in advertising, digital advertising.
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Got banner ad blindness or boredom? Replace online advertising with art.  And here’s the anti advertising agency.

Source.

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