Friday, March 1, 2013

Oreo Cream Separator


Loving the Oreo Cream Separator. Another great character from Wieden & Kennedy.

Ray Ban Instagram Product Demo


 A creative use of Instagram to demonstrate how life looks through Ray Ban's Abermatic sunglasses.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Donate your desktop

Donate Your Desktop by NZ entrepreneur Nelson Rayner is both an inspired media idea and a fresh take on charitable giving. By donating your desktop via the app, you can effectively donate to charity for free. It works by refreshing your wallpaper daily with advertiser content. Each advertiser makes a donation to your chosen charity. A simple and effective way to harness "slacktivism" with real results.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Ballantine's tshirtOS

This is one of the most exciting things I've seen lately in wearable tech. Ballantine's programmable t-shirt is internet enabled, so it can display tweets, share playlists, take photos and post them to Instagram. And the initiative is brand building to boot - the potential for self-expression is consistent with the brand's proposition "Leave an impression."

The following video is a kind of Weird Science/Dude Where's My Car adaptation which shows the real potential of the T-shirt - and all the trouble it can get you into

I want one. With enough support, the good folks at Ballantine will put it into production for real. Sign up on their Facebook page.

Monday, July 9, 2012

BPAY Bingo

A good use of gamification to take the drudge out of paying bills and make BPAY the payment method of choice. BPAY Bingo created by BMF.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

McDonald's Hamburger Timetable

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This is an inspired media idea - the time, the place, the context of waiting at a railway station used to maximum effect. It drove McDonald's sales, brought a smile to commuters' faces and made the wait a little more palatable.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to get people to save

I'm always interested in finding new ways to make people do things that don't seem immediately relevant to them, yet may be in their best interests. Saving for the future is a good example.

Last year,  BBDO Colenso, NZ, created the ingenious Impulse Saver iPhone app for Westpac. It's a great piece of "choice architecture" which bypasses people's rational decision making in favour of their natural impulses and sense of play. Just as you'd impulse spend, now, at the tap of button, you can save a small amount whenever it takes your fancy. And it probably makes you feel better afterwards than the spending spree.

A very different approach to encourage saving helps young people connect to their future selves, chipping away at their sense of immortality and tapping into a vein of responsibility. A new study from NYU Stern (via PSFK) suggests that young people are encouraged to save by seeing realistic virtual images of themselves at retirement age. In a controlled experiment, those who saw images of themselves when older claimed they'd save a third more than those who did not see images of their future selves. Increasing Saving Behavior Through Age-Progressed Renderings of the Future Self was published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 48.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gayby Baby crowdfunded documentary

Filmmakers, photographers and performers can now get fledgling projects off the ground with a good idea and a dose of social media. Pozible makes creative projects possible through crowdfunding.

A recent success story is Gayby Baby, a new documentary by Maya Newell about the experiences of kids growing up in same-sex families. It's told from the perspective of the kids themselves. As family units evolve and transform, theirs is an important new voice that I'm looking forward to hearing.
See Gayby Baby on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @gaybybaby

Monday, January 30, 2012

The New Digital Divide: between brands and consumers

This is a useful infographic by we are social Australia, based on global research from the CMO Council, illustrating just how far apart marketers and consumers are when it comes to expectations of a branded social experience.

In particular, marketers are failing to connect fans with each other. They're not enabling customers to troubleshoot each others' problems. They're missing a trick when it comes to crowdsourcing innovation. And, they're not adequately rewarding loyal fans, providing little incentive for ongoing interaction and support. Reward doesn't have to be financial, it can be as simple as making the online experience more playful, like a game, and more connected.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A breakthrough in plant-human communication

The Botanicalls Project has developed a way for plants to Tweet their owners when they need feeding. Via psfk

Colour coded image search

This is my favourite image search, much better than the usual Google results. The images are more interesting and you can search by colour as well as keyword.

Fantastic pictures which inevitably stimulate debate. Personally I love the dramatic look à la Sin City. The Dark Side.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kraft in Greece uses packaging to send personalised messages - without changing the packaging. Through a mobile app, Kraft’s Lacta brand lets people use augmented reality to write a message on a chocolate bar. The recipient is notified via Facebook and uses their camera phone to reveal the message on any Lacta bar. (Via Springwise).

It's a smart initiative, driving consumption without adding packaging cost.

And the customisation craze is still going strong. A recent survey by IBM, "The Smarter Consumers Survey" indicated that people are still looking for a more personalised shopping experience. Moreover, they're willing to share their personal data with trusted brands to improve their experience.
75% said they’re willing to provide their media usage to retailers.
73% would provide demographic data.
61% would be willing to share their name and address.
59% would share lifestyle data.
56% would give their location in return for a more relevant shopping experience.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Compare Travel Insurance - the unfeasibly happy midget

It feels like one of those ads they make up as a game on the Gruen transfer, but this had me crying with laughter when I saw it at the cinema the other day. They must have had fun with this and it shows.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

This is a nice piece of collaborative storytelling from people at the Burning Man festival. Based on Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go!" it recounts the highs and lows of life, the thrill of exploration and the inevitable slumps. Beware the sinister Waiting Place, a prison of our own creation, where people are perennially waiting for something to happen while life passes them by!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Icons Transformed by Colour

This is uncanny. Check out the set, which includes iconic images of Einstein, Che Guevara and Hitchcock, among others, at Ufunk.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Facebook Timeline: Anti-Drugs campaign

A campaign from Israel's Anti-Drug Authority uses the new Facebook Timeline feature to tell the "Sliding Doors" style story of a guy who, in one version of his life, becomes a drug user and in a parallel life lives drug free. It's a familiar storytelling device to highlight contrasts, but the use of Facebook Timeline is novel and the side-by-side profile pics are powerful. People live their lives on Facebook, so seeing a life unravel in this space is all the more hard hitting.

Google's Zeitgeist 2011: Year In Review


And to compare, here's Twitter's version of 2011:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Coke has been giving families what they really want for Christmas. Over 11 million Filipinos have left their homes to find better opportunities abroad and many have not seen their families for years. This film shows the raw human emotion of families reunited. It's disarmingly heartwarming and topping the viral charts for most shared.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

These were created by artist Neil Wax as a comment on consumer culture and the value judgements people place on feeling "good" vs. feeling "bad". I love the way feelings are expressed through cleaning products. Cleaning is much more value-laden than you might think. It was once a major source of pride to have a pristine home. Now there's greater pressure to have a full life, not just a well-kept house. People who are meticulous tend to hide it, so they're not labelled obsessive, or worse, considered to have no life.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Walk of Shame - Harvey Nichols

An alternative Christmas spot. I particularly like the "pie at bus stop" scene. Check out #walkofshame.

Luck is an attitude

I couldn't agree more. Make your own luck. Create your destiny. If something doesn't sit right, change it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Looking for a new messiah

Since the death of Steve Jobs, the technology sector has a new swagger. Samsung has the audacity to take on the iPhone. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was recently featured in a Wired article entitled "Jeff Bezos owns the web in more ways than you think." Worth a read.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Adidas Face of the Marathon

This is an inspired use of technology to convey a personal experience. Adidas have captured what it's like to run a marathon through the facial expressions of runners. Head mounted cameras filmed the experiences of 15 participants throughout the duration of the Berlin Marathon. See the profile of the runners here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carlsberg Biker Cinema

From Carlsberg in Belgium, a nice study of preconceptions. Would you stay or would you go?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Algorithmic Search Engine for Video

 We've all come to rely on tagging to order our online worlds. It's how we label and find things. But effective and reliable video tagging has so far relied on people painstakingly going through the film and labeling the content manually.

Now Julian Palacz has created an algorithmic search engine for video. It's a great breakthrough in that it's able to search the spoken word directly. His project The Algorithmic Search for Love is currently being exhibited at Sao Paulo's FILE festival. It demonstrates how the search engine works by finding all the scenes with the words "I love you" from Palacz film collection.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wagon Wheels and Artline on Facebook

A bit of self-promotion for George Patts Y&R, but what the hell it's my blog. Our Facebook pages for Wagon Wheels and The Mighty Artline just exceeded 20,000 fans - credit to all, especially Michaela.

If you harbour a fondness for old skool, random but right, circular confectionery, or share a predilection for perfect pens, join the throng!

Intel's Museum of Me

It's done the rounds already, but if you haven't seen it, check out Intel's Museum of Me. It's just an aggregator of your Facebook information, but with lush production values and a touch of narcissism.

The Information Blanket

What a great contextual media idea. As they say, "every baby needs a blanket; every parent needs education and training about how to raise a newborn." You can donate a blanket to a family in Uganda for US$25 at the information blanket website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fiat Street Evo App.

This campaign is inspired. Fiat appropriated everyday street signs, so people could use their mobiles to scan, for example, a stop sign and information about the car's breaking system would appear on screen.

So the entire city became a hidden catalogue, just through the use of a simple app. called Street Evo. They took it further, and turned the campaign into a game, with hidden prizes behind certain signs.

Fiat effectively turned familiar objects into QR codes, that is, patterns that phones can scan to extract information. QR codes are increasingly included as response mechanisms in print or outdoor campaigns. But they often fall flat because a lot of people still don't have a clue what they are, or or how to use them.

By turning everyday road signs into codes, Fiat took away the barriers and the uncertainty around QR codes and generated massive participation in their campaign - in a week over a million signs were spotted.

Cadbury's Charity Shop

A Glass and A Half Full of Joy continues with "Charity Shop". Kind of twee but maybe in a good way, as it raised a smile. Sadly, I remember when the original song came out.

Ben & Jerry's Fair Tweets

In support of World Fair Trade Day, Ben & Jerry's have come up with an initiative to use the spare characters from people's Twitter updates with their permission.

You install a browser plugin from Chrome or Firefox, or bookmark the Fair Tweets mobile site and Ben & Jerry's algorithm will automatically populate the unused space in your message with World Fair Trade Day communication.

This is a smart media idea, which hardwires communication to personal networks. Although it could result in message overkill from heavy tweeters. It uses the permission of the tweeter, but not their followers, who are subjected to news they didn't sign up for.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Choice Architecture: Using fun to change behaviour

Following on from my Play it Safe post, here are some more examples of how you can change people's behaviour simply by appealing to their sense of fun. Some call it choice architecture, others behavioural economics. Whatever it is, it's simple, playful and it works.

VW's The Fun Theory includes Stockholm's Piano Staircase, above, which got 66% of people to choose the stairs over the escalator.

The Speed Camera Lottery was the winning idea, implemented by The Swedish National Society for Road Safety in partnership with VW. Fines collected by speeders were put in a lottery, which safe drivers snapped by the road camera could win. The average speed dropped from 32 km per hr beforehand to 25 km per hr during the social experiment.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SMS Slingshot

Nice. The SMS Slingshot draws on gaming culture, seamlessly combining digital and meatspace. I wanna have a go.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Mighty Artline - turning stupid into cupid

Does your Valentine's message lack lustre? Add some erudition to your prose and turn stupid into cupid with The Mighty Artline's Love Translator. Go to Pitt Street Mall today to get your personalised lurve message from Mills & Boon author Melanie Milburne, or visit the Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


That's a bloody big visual for Google. Particularly in the context of all the clandestine activity the search engines have been engaged in lately - dubbed the "Bing Sting". Is Google becoming more visual, stealing Bing's thunder in retaliation?

When you click on the Google logo, it directs you information about Jules Verne, in celebration of  the author's 183rd birthday. Rather like Bing's homepage hotspots allow you to explore the visual.


BrandZ's study of the Top 100 Brands 2010 has some useful data, which support arguments we repeatedly make about the value of brands.

The resilience of a strong brand: over the past five years, the value of BrandZ's Top 100 Global Brands appreciated by 40% to $2.04 trillion, even as the S&P 500 declined by 11.5%.

Rebuilding trust: trust works in tandem with recommendation to build brand value.

Value is more important than price: even during the recession, only 7% of people bought on price alone.

Value is delivered by own-label brands: while people select brands for the reassurance of authenticity, quality and value, these needs are increasingly fulfilled by own-label, across all price brackets. 

Value is important not only to everyday but to luxury brands: even those who can afford to spend lavishly choose not to spend frivolously.

Strong values and leadership: all of the world's Top 10 most valuable brands were created by visionary leaders. They continue to be lead by the same people, or by successors who share the same unshakable principles.

Philanthropy or "CSR" isn't enough: post-recession and natural disasters, people are feeling personally responsible towards others and to the environment and they choose brands that reflect their wishes and values.

Position brands for emerging markets: as Y&R points out in "How to Dominate the World" 85% of humans live there.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Epic Fail

You sometimes learn more from failure than success. Not in this case. It's such a blindingly stupid blunder that flouts any basic manners or empathy.

For more epic fails, see ViralBlog's social media fail compiliation.

Update: The post was followed by an apology and a whole load of parody and it quickly blew over, as Adage reports. It was that misguided it was almost laughable.

Wish Tree

The Wish Tree is a way to share your wishes for your local environment and help realise them. An iPhone app geolocates your suggestions so others can see them and build on them. An apt metaphor and visualisation, each wish starts life as a seed, then grows into a tree and bears flowers as it's cultivated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tag Clouds on Steroids

Check out Tagxedo. You can make tag clouds in all sorts of shapes, drawing in data from your blog, Twitter account, or just about any data source. Hours of fun.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Word Lens

A nice application of augmented reality for instant translation by QuestVisual.

Viral Friday Widget

ViralBlog Widget

YouTube Trends

I like the new YouTube Trends dashboard, which lets you compare trending videos by country and by age. According to YouTube, 35 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute, so this is a great way to see what's floating to the top - the good, the bad, the ugly, so long as it's popular.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tackling cyber bullying in cyber space

This is a nice example of relevant media placement - initiated by Victoria Police in Australia. Having tried unsuccessfully to serve an intervention order to a man, who'd been harassing his former partner on Facebook, the police uploaded a video of the court order to the social media site. The elusive offender was finally served and the victim protected.

When the police initially sought the help of Facebook, Leading Senior Constable Walton found them rather unhelpful, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, describing the organisation as "rather complex and bureaucratic".

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Self-determination is a major trend right now - a desire to take greater personal responsibility and shape your own future. This is complemented by a willingness to collaborate with others for mutual benefit, which increases each person's chance of success, leading to a virtuous circle of positivity and confidence.

The trend is illustrated by Levi's Shape What's To Come online community, which connects women to peers and potential mentors, helping them to make their personal, professional or cause-related goals a reality.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Man vs. Food

My favourite TV show right now is Man vs. Food, showing on TLC. It's about one man's journey to sample the biggest food challenges and pleasures the US has to offer. It has no pretensions or foodie aspirations, it's just about the food people love, whether that's a pizza the size of a baby, a seven-pound breakfast burrito, or a sumptuous meal from an award-winning restaurant.

The presenter, Adam Richman, is the most charismatic, cuddly, all-round good bloke you can imagine. His love of food is palpable and his lack of judgement sincere.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tales of Things

Any place or object potentially has an interesting history that's personally relevant to a few or many people. Now those stories can easily be shared.

Share and track the history of any object with Tales of Things. Users take a photo or video of the object and can generate printed QR codes to attach to it. The movement or future stories of the object can then be tracked. It's part of a movement called the "Internet of Things" - real objects that are tagged with digital information.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's reinvent the Wagon Wheel

George Patterson Y&R Sydney are re-launching the old-school classic, Wagon Wheel, inviting our audience to participate in its reinvention.

Meet the Product Innovation Team on Facebook and the website.

Read the AdNews article.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The art of priming

Advertising agencies stress the distinction between message inputs and what people take out of communication. The message needn't be too literal. Take the audience on a journey and let them draw their own conclusions; don't beat them over the head with a blunt message.

The subtlety of good advertising and the art of priming an audience to be receptive to communication is perfectly captured in a scene from the film Inception.

If you haven't seen the film, stop here!

In Inception, a rational message needs to be delivered to the heir to a great business empire - that he should dissolve his father's business. But, this is a message he simply won't buy. Only through tapping into the emotional power of the bond between father and son, in a way that delivers a positive emotional outcome, will the message ever have a chance of success.

The way forward is to convince the heir that his ailing father didn't want his son to be like him, but rather find his own way in life. The young man could not be forced; he needed to come to the realisation himself.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The rise of Twitter

With vast quantities of data at our disposal and the need to make sense of it all, data visualisations, from tag clouds to timelines, are more in evidence online than ever.

The Blog Herald has published a nice infograph on the rise of Twitter. Click here for a larger view.

Using Twitter to predict the future

Following on from "Google flu", a project initiated by employees at Google in 2008, which aimed to monitor flu outbreaks through search, now we have "Twitter flu". Twitter and Facebook status updates are potentially more effective as predictive tools because people enter more words than they would typically do for a search query, so you can get a better idea of context.

Scientists at the Intelligent Systems Lab at Bristol University in the UK collected a database of over 50 million geo located tweets and, by identifying which words were associated with higher incidences of flu, used the data to generate a predictive model.

Any sort of viral effect could be predicted in this way - not just flu but contagious ideas, films or anything that generates chatter in the social space.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Isaiah Mustafa, prince among men

Isaiah Mustafa, having created hundreds of personalised videos for his fans, bids us farewell. There's only so much one ridiculously handsome man can do.

See this Mashable article for the numbers, showing how ridiculously successful the Old Spice campaign has been. And here's a sample of the best personalised videos.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

London's helpful transport

When I was in London recently, I noticed that the transport system has gone awry. Instead of the usual delays without warning or explanation, pre-recorded and even real voices are now taking great pains to explain the cause of the problem and reassure passengers that they'll be on the move shortly. It's quite disconcerting. I was half expecting a "have a nice day".

Monday, July 12, 2010

England - the spoils

The English are not usually a flag-waving nation, but they do make an effort once in a while. The World Cup, for example. But, following our inglorious World Cup defeat (again) by Germany, the spoils are in evidence on motorway hard shoulders the length and breadth of the country. Here's a sample out of hundreds of flags thrown out in disgust from cars on the the M11, which runs through Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Monday, June 21, 2010

iPad - putting the magic back in magazines

 Harry Potter - The Daily Prophet

One of the most exciting things about the iPad for me is the way it's revolutionising publishing, magazines in particular. A few years back, magazines  had a lot of trouble moving from hardcopy to online and most of them failed dismally. They lost all the lustre and power of the magazine format in the translation, forsaking big, glossy pictures and straightjacketing themselves into copy heavy, image poor formats. Now the iPad is giving those with imagination a new lease of life. The hybrid format, both tactile and virtual - and big - allows publslishers to make magazines magical again. Magical enough - dare I say - to pay for them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Harvey Norman's mystery shopping

I happened to turn on Sunrise this morning and there was Gerry Harvey doing some mystery shopping - in fact, highlighting poor customer service in his own Harvey Norman stores. While some might say he's taken leave of his senses, it suggested a level of transparency and bravery that most retailers wouldn't dare to match. It was also quite amusing to see Gerry Harvey with a prosthetic nose and to witness the responses from his sales staff to the "customer's" queries, such as "Well they're all for sale".

In order to solve a problem, you first have to acknowledge it exists. This was a public act of recognition of bad customer service with an implicit promise that things would change. And on Today Tonight this evening, Gerry Harvey will be giving his shopping tips for getting the best price.

We talk about "branded utility" - brands providing some useful tool or service to consumers. It's normally used in the context of the digital or social media space, for example, the Nike + training system that lets runners record and share their running data. But Harvey equally displays branded utility - he's championing a consumer cause of better customer service and sharing a useful skill of negotiation.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Samsung Shakedown

I love this Samsung campaign. It gets people involved with the product from the offset and taps into their innate sense of fun and playfulness. It uses technology to create nostalgia - I'm reminded of those dodgy fairground games of my youth.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Revenge of the Torture Test

When I were a lass I remember stumbling upon a U-matic (that's a non-digital, big bloody video cassette) of "torture test" advertising (extreme product demos) through the ages, or at least the last few decades. I'll never forget the image of a live chick(-en) being placed in a container and thrust into some boiling water. The material was so heat resistant that the chick emerged alive and well to die another day. If ever I needed super heat resistant container, I'd have bought that one.

For years, the torture test was relegated to the archives, but it's back and bigger than ever. Now that the zeitgeist is all about authenticity and substance, it's return is timely. People love seeing proof that something really works. Plus they like seeing things smashed and blown up. Take a look at the Google Chrome Speed Tests.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Divide and Conquer

This is one of the most abused expressions, usually used in a happy clappy collaborative context to mean "let's split up responsibility and all do our bit to get the job done."

What it actually means is "let's increase our own power by breaking up the minions into isolated groups (so they can't link up and threaten our power base)".

Divide and Conquer or "Divide et impera" is all about power and control. It's a great phrase. Use it acerbically.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Design by Committee

Nokia's "Design by Community" initiative gets punters to vote on aspects of their ideal concept phone. It's an interesting exercise, but I suspect it may be doomed to mediocrity, or at least inconsistency.  It brings to mind the book Painting By Numbers, by Komar and Melamid, which tells the story of an experiment to create the perfect picture, purely by listening to what viewers wanted. The "ideal" painting was a preposterous mix of classic and new, rife with inconsistencies.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Facebook trumps Google

Facebook became the most visited website in the US last week. According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook had 7.07% of US visits in the week ending 13th March 2010, compared to Google's 7.03% of visits.

That 0.04% may seem trivial, but it's monumental. The Web has always connected both information and people. Human connections - not only social but informational - are now coming out on top.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Perpetual Love from Old Spice

Having attracted around 5m views on YouTube within a month, Old Spice goes from strength to strength. Now it's offering ways to woo your woman through continuous Twitter feeds at

If by any chance you haven't seen the man your man could smell like:

The Marmarati

Staying true to its "You either love it or you hate it" ethos, Marmite has always attracted devotion from ardent supporters. This is the latest installment.

To promote their extra strong XO variant they created a secret society, the Marmarati. Privileged "1st circle" members, who were active bloggers, got to test the product. Naturally they spread the word, building hype before the product launch.

It's one of the best examples of a social media "ambassador programme" that I've seen.


Pepsi Refresh

I like what Pepsi did instead of blowing $20m on a Superbowl campaign. This campaign is massive. US citizens, businesses or not for profit organisations can submit ideas, rally support on Facebook and Twitter and get funding for a social project (see

The campaign has limitations: it only takes 1,000 submissions per month and it's not global. While this makes it more manageable for Pepsi, it makes it less inclusive. It also potentially limits how much they can promote the project in Bought media. Driving too much demand will lead to more dissatisfied customers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

George Patterson Y&R - Picnic It's No Picnic

I think George Patterson Y&R's Picnic campaign is fantastic.

Can you eat one in 30 seconds? If so, upload your video here and you too could be a TV star.