Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Copy this

This video was produced by CREO Productions to promote a book.
It exemplifies how a good presentation should look and feel like: compelling visuals and minimal copy wrapped around an engaging story.
And never forget: "Think as wise men do, but speak as the common people do."
Thanks, Aristotle.

Are we social networked out?

I used to be on Friendster, have a tiny presence on MySpace, just started exploring Facebook. Then there's Linkedin, Twitter, a private messageboard, Adgabber, etc.
Once in a while I ask myself when enough is enough. How much time can I invest exploring social networks and getting value back in return? How much time in the day can I spend nurturing my friends on this various sites? When do invitations for connections on Linkedin become irrelevant?
It's a slippery slope: Once you ignore requests, just press the 'Accept' button without thinking twice about it, it gets even easier to just ignore the site because you gave up on the whole site concept.

Some might call this a problem. I consider it a maturing process.
In the beginning, Friendster was about the number of connections. People were excited to have more than xx friends and wore that badge of honor with pride. But, they quickly realized that quantity is fun but irrelevant.

The future of social networks is bright. MySpace and Facebook will lose the cutting-edge quality they once had but they will keep attracting masses. Niche social networks focused on building valuable and quality relationships is where the real action is. the opportunities are endless.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Placebo Effect

There are two types of people: The optimists and the pessimists. Some might call them the naive and the sceptics. Depends on your point of view.

A new study shows how to market to the optimist group: Describe in detail the product experience people will have. Go in detail about your store, your product, the ingredients, give them a taste of what they are going to experience when they purchase your product. These positive enhancers can be found in the group that reacts to a placebo pill and they are also more interested in taking chances to win money. Actually, chances were 50/50 to win or lose money. But the positive enhancers were just excited about the possibility to win money.
The basic rule for this happy audience: Make sure not to contradict their expected experience: If you market the solitude of First Class flying, don't bother them with filled lounges or rowdy bars on-board. If you market a performance vehicle, make sure the product experience is not that of a lame duck.

The big questions remains: How to market to the sceptics? Just through facts and information? Does this ever work in marketing? Don't think so.

I believe things are much more complicated than the study indicates. Each of us is a pessimist and optimist, depending on your day, your mood, your perception of a brand, your perception of the world that day. Generally, I would put myself in the skeptics group. But not always: When I got my iPhone, I didn't have any pessimistic/skeptical feelings about this purchase. It didnt' even cross my mind that the iPhone would not live up to the hype.
I checked out Bacardi's Mojito site a few days days ago and immediately imagined myself on a hot summer day drinking this refreshening cocktail. Images of South Beach, hammocks and sunsets floated through my mind. I completely forgot that my homemade mojitos never taste that great and they will never be as good as the ones in the Delano. Ok, I didnt' buy Bacardi this weekend but I'm still thinking about it.

In the end, marketing only works when you are in this open/positive mood. Certain brands stimulate positiveness: Apple, Virgin, Nike. Most of the other brands have to work harder: They have to build experiences that allow people to become open to new ideas, new products, new ideas. This can be done through a delighting site, a surprising product experience, a heart-warming encounter with a company rep. It's about opening hearts. And minds.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


This just made my day: Wikimindmap.org is a wonderful that allows you to browse in an efficient and quick way any Wiki content. The tool was inspired by the mindmap technique. It's the perfect tool for research since Wikis can be hard to maneuver and Wikimindmap allows you to give a quick overview of the topic you're researching.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Let's talk

The Age of Conversation continues to make waves in the marketing community.

Steve Woodruff gives you now a taste of the whole book by offering you a small bite of what each and everyone of the authors has written. Check it out

A Taste from A-D

A Taste from E-J

A Taste from K-R

A Taste from S-Z

Amazing read. Buy the book here.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Web Trend Map 2007 Version 2.0

iA has done it again: The 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. It should give you a high-level overview of the relationships between numerous sites that are mostly focused on Web 2.0.

I found it very intrguing to explore, dicover new sites and interesting connections.

This is the clickable version. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


One of the most admired brands, Harley-Davidson, gains more admirers: Today's NY Times article discusses Harley's ongoing marketing campaign to attract women to their brand. No, not the trophy girl behind you: Real female buyers intrigued by the open road and Harley's brand image. Currently, women buy 100,000 motorcycles yearly and they are the fastest growing segment.

The elusive 18-34 male crowd gets less and less important. And great marketers finally wake up that marketing doesn't end at the 35th birthday and when you've reached every male in the world. Or as Jerry G. Wilke, Harley Davidson's VP for Customer Relationships and Product Planning and Customer Relationships says: "The opportunities are endless, and we will continue to do more."

Ride forever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What will the future bring?

When I grew up, the newspaper, the hourly radio news and the 8pm TV news (in Germany) were my main source of information. Entertainment came from movies, some TV in the afternoon (there was no morning TV in Germany until 1987), a bit of radio, and mostly books.

Boy, have times changed:

I don't think most kids today even understand the idea of broadcast/network TV. Their broadcast TV is the DVR. My kid holds still for a photo no longer than a nanosceond until she rushes to the camera to say 'See'. She will never get the idea of waiting for a photo to be developed. And one day she will look at me and say: "What is a DVD?" Most have teenagers have never set a foot in a CD store.

The new generation expects to have everything available at a moments notice: News, Entertainment, Reference materials, even friends. Being off-the-grid is not an option. That also means that they are available 24/7 as well.

This will change our whole marketing environment. Campaigns will cease to exist at one point because brands have to be available all the time. The Google model won't work anymore because the underlying structure of its knowledge (the algorith that determines PageRank) is currently a commercial secret. The new generation won't accept this. The Wiki-approach will become more and more important than the top-down corporate approach that Google uses today, wrapped in a user-friendly exterior.
But beneath that wrap is the typical approach of GE, Ford or today's politics.
Users will ask for more democracy, for more openess.

Sites like FaceBook, YouTube or Digg claim to democratize content and media. But, in the end, they just destabilize the current system: Music industry, movie industry, TV, radio, politics.
Without sounding like an old fart, my main concern and real prediction for the future is that this new world reinforces a lack of opposing opinions. Why read varied opinions when you can get support for your views on blogs, niche sites and social networks? The world might be flat but our individual worlds becomes smaller and smaller because we don't allow other opinions and values to interfere in our subjective world.
Exploratory information seeking was the real value of newspapers. Reinforcing your own value system and limiting your information input to subjective interests is the real challenge coming generations will face.
Microsoft asks "Where do you want to go today?" We might not know in the future because we're so wrapped in our own little world.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Toddlers and Branding

I'm the proud father of a 2-year old girl. When my wife and I started on this adventure called parenting, we made a conscious decision to ensure that our girl encounters the least amount of commercial messages possible.
The following facts from Commercialfreechildhood.org support our decision:

- 26% of children under two have a television in their bedroom.
- In a typical day, 68% of all children under two use screen media...for an average of more than two hours a day.
- At six months of age, the same age they are imitating simple sounds like "mama," babies are forming mental images of corporate logos and mascots.

We tried our best: There was no Baby Einstein. We never went to any of the fast food places, never pointed them out, tried to stay away from any brands on TV, magazines or on billboards. As an example, we go quite often to Starbucks and she calls my drink 'Papas coffee' instead of 'Papas Starbucks'.

A few weeks ago, my wife bought Crocs for my girl. We both hesitated to buy these trendy shoes but they are comfortable, easy to clean and our girl loves them. Surprisingly, we didn't call them shoes or green shoes. We called them Crocs. And when she wants to wear crocs, she requests 'Crocs'. Just like Kleenex stands for tissues. But, as a parent, I feel we've started to head down a slippery slope. One that's hard to escape.

While we're discussing how to better connect with consumers, brands are still marketing (or shall we call it brainwashing) to toddlers and babies. Yes, I admit, my kid watches Sesame Street once in a while. But, is Sesame Street really educational? Or is it just a selling tool for their licensed characters? My girl loves Elmo but what does that mean? Does she love him because she likes his red fur? Or does she like him because he's on TV, a doll in her crib and printed on her diapers? I guess it's the latter. Don't we lie to ourselves when we let our kids watch Sesame Street because they can learn so much? Maybe when kids are older they can get something out of Sesame Street. My kid just sees a lot of dolls and humans running around. And Elmo. So, next time I go to to a toy store with her, she might recognize the Elmo doll and wants it. Badly.

Coming back to the Crocs: I'm ambivalent about this. Shall I call them green shoes from now on because that's what they should be for a little girl? Or shall I make it easier for everyone and just call them by their brand name? I might opt for the green shoes. Especially after reading excerpts from Susan Gregory Thomas book 'Buy, buy, baby: How consumer culture manipulates parents and harms young minds.'

It's easy to talk about consumer control when we're dealing with adults and conscious decisions. It gets much tougher when you consider the consequences of brainwashing a kid in believing that Elmo is cute and Crocs become synonymous for green shoes.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Involuntary Contextual Advertising

Some hilarious examples of bad media placements.

This may happen when you place your ads on advertising networks.

You wish there was some kind of QA or Contextual Check for OOH.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Getting personal

I was tagged by Giddle Bits and Cheap Thrills to tell 8 random things about myself.
Ok, here we go:

1. I changed my last name to my wife's name. Uwe is tough enough to pronounce, Hook is easier for Americans.
2. I was robbed once in Puerto Rico at knifepoint.
3. I didn't have a drivers license until I was 24.
4. I'm 100% left-handed but write with my right hand. My mother 'convinced' me when I was young.
5. I ran 5 marathons and my best time is 3:20.
6. I went to the Kwik E Mart 4 times. And July is not over yet.
7. I was on Germany's Jeopardy. I sucked the first round (around $400) and took off in the second round (around $10,000) but was still last. The winner was a mother of 5 adopted children and I was happy she won $10,500.
8. A few years ago, I took a red eye to Atlanta, drove all night to Vero Beach where the Dodgers were in the midst of Spring Training. I got a hot dog, a beer, sat down on my seat, ate, drank, just to fall asleep in the second inning. Woke up next to Tommy Lasorda who was handling a line of people asking for his autograph. He looked at me and said: "Rough night, ha?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Is second life close to death?

How times have changed: The last few months Second Life was grabbing headlines in the traditional press and blogosphere. Apparently, many first lifers believe that things are not going that well in Second Life: Empty stores, brands mostly going instead of coming and advertisers feeling disappointed about the ROI of their investment.

I'm not surprised.

Second Life was envisoned as an alternative to real life. The residents wanted to escape their daily routine, communicate with friends and strangers on a different life, experiment with a virtual world and see where it would take them. And then came the brands. Billboards, showrooms, commercial displays. Second Life turned into Time Square because marketers didn't understand the premise of Second Life. Instead of working with the community, becoming a valued participant, they decided to disrupt and be annoying. The good news is: the disrupters are bailing. Nobody visits their islands. Nobody cares about their brands.

Instead of lamenting the demise of Second Life, we should be celebrating the opportunities for a real second life. Community-centric, a place where brands can experiment and discover how they can build relevant connections to their customers. It was always meant to be that way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Playstation leaving TBWA/Chiat?

News hit a few days ago that Playstation and TBWA/Chiat might head for Splitsville.

Two thoughts:

1) Playstation is in a tough position. The PS3 is a glorified Blu-Ray player, albeit cheaper than a stand-alone player, and even the price cuts will not change that. Xbox has taken the lead in the gaming community niche and Wii just has been fabulous in connecting with the casual gamer. Even though PS3 was the latest player to be released, their social networking options are pretty limited. Is there a chance Playstation doesn't get it?
2) TBWA/Chiat is known for disruptive advertising. Is there a chance this doesn't work either anymore?

My guess is we have to focus more on Playstation. Or rather Sony. There was the scandal about fake blogs. Or the scandal about CD copy protection.

Sony doesn't get it. Yet. What we see out there in the markets, changes in how people connect with brands, how people are taking control from brands is not a fad. It's not going to pass by.

Sneakiness doesn't buy anything. Except a bad rap and a decline in brand favorability.
Stealth Marketing is the weapon of choice for companies who try to claim they get it but continue to market the old-fashioned way. Sure, it will work once in a while but it's not the real solution. A band-aid. A drink for the road.

Sony has to understand that people will find out. How they market to them. How the PS3 has been a failure so far. And how Sony is struggling to stay a premier brand.

Sony doesn't get it. Yet. They better hurry.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The new mantra

One of the big shifts we've seen in the last few years in consumer attitude is the focus on reality. We saw it in advertising campaigns (VW Safe happens), in sucesses of movies like 'Sicko' and 'An Inconvenient Truth', Live Earth. We see it in the low approval ratings for politicians, increasing demand for documentaries, distrust in corporations.

What does this mean for marketers? We have to get real. We can't serve up the same old messages of '205 horsepower', 'Whiter than any white you've ever seen', 'Natural Food' even though there's no category with this name. Spin is dead, super models pushing products don't work that well anymore and exploitative messages should be thrown in the trash immediately.

The message is not king anymore. It's the message that starts a conversation. And that message has to be real to start a real conversation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How to build a community

I love message boards. To be very specific, I love one message board. It's a private board built around the appreciation of EDM (Electronic Dance Music). That board has about 300 members, a lot of information, some drama, entertaining voices and just a great way to find out what's going on in the heads of 300, mostly, strangers.

There are many other boards out there that talk about EDM but they have no traffic, a lot of spam and nothing worth coming back for. Why is that?
They didn't follow the basic rules on how to build a community:

Create a community about a passion
It can be the iPhone, a car you love, music. Only if you tap into the passion of many will you be successful.

Invite the right people. Get rid off the wrong ones.
Easy to define the wrong people: Spammers, shills for brands, stalkers.
Hard to define the right people: You want to have a good mix of average Joes, freaks, weirdos, drama queens, super experts. Too many drama queens might result in a telenovela, too many average Joes in a borefest. You have to calibrate the right mix.

Ask community evangelists to support you
Communities are build by passionate people. Their first thing in the morning should be the check of overnight posts. Every few minutes they should be on the board, trying to feel the pulse. A community is a living thing. It needs a fire and police department, a hospital, a psychiatrist, pastor, city hall, etc. And all that in one person: your community evangelist

Be contrarian
You know the saying: Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one. But not everybody has a point of view. Clear, distinct point of views will start a discussion. A conversation. I'm not talking about stunts that we are familiar with from talk radio: "Bush should go to jail for treason. Call 1-888-I FELL FOR THAT DUMB STUNT." I'm talking about real opinions. Personal experiences. Detailed observations. The most benign observations spark often a heated debate.

Be real
That's the basic rule of all communities. Be real. Share your feelings. Or keep them to yourself. And log out.


A big thank you to all the contributors of "The Age of Conversation".
Please make sure to visit them at one point, you'll find good writing, innovative thinking and just good people.
(In no particular order)

Gavin Heaton
Drew McLellan
Valeria Maltoni
Emily Reed
Katie Chatfield
Greg Verdino
Mack Collier
Lewis Green
Ann Handley
Mike Sansone
Paul McEnany
Roger von Oech
Anna Farmery
David Armano
Bob Glaza
Mark Goren
Matt Dickman
Scott Monty
Richard Huntington
Cam Beck
David Reich
Luc Debaisieux
Sean Howard
Tim Jackson
Patrick Schaber
Roberta Rosenberg
Tony D. Clark
Todd Andrlik
Toby Bloomberg
Steve Woodruff
Steve Bannister
Steve Roesler
Stanley Johnson
Spike Jones
Nathan Snell
Simon Payn
Ryan Rasmussen
Ron Shevlin
Roger Anderson
Robert Hruzek
Rishi Desai
Phil Gerbyshak
Peter Corbett
Pete Deutschman
Nick Rice
Nick Wright
Michael Morton
Mark Earls
Mark Blair
Mario Vellandi
Lori Magno
Kristin Gorski
Kris Hoet
G.Kofi Annan
Kimberly Dawn Wells
Karl Long
Julie Fleischer
Jordan Behan
John La Grou
Joe Raasch
Jim Kukral
Jessica Hagy
Janet Green
Jamey Shiels
Dr. Graham Hill
Gia Facchini
Geert Desager
Gaurav Mishra
Gary Schoeniger
Gareth Kay
Faris Yakob
Emily Clasper
Ed Cotton
Dustin Jacobsen
Tom Clifford
David Polinchock
David Koopmans
David Brazeal
David Berkowitz
Carolyn Manning
Craig Wilson
Cord Silverstein
Connie Reece
Colin McKay
Chris Newlan
Chris Corrigan
Cedric Giorgi
Brian Reich
Becky Carroll
Arun Rajagopal
Andy Nulman
Amy Jussel
Kim Klaver
Sandy Renshaw
Susan Bird
Ryan Barrett
Troy Worman
S. Neil Vineberg

Monday, July 16, 2007


Can you feel the excitement in the air?

It took just a few short months but finally the 'Age of Conversation' hits the bookstore and you can order it here

As a recap, that's how it all started:

"Drew posted about a project called We Are Smarter than Me which gives people a chance to help author a guest book.

In the comments of that post Gavin Heaton said "Great concept! And it sounds like it could be fun ... but you know what, Drew? I reckon between a few of us we could knock out a short book...All we need is a theme and a charity ..."

To which Drew said..."You are very right. Let's do it. Watch for an e-mail from me!"

Two weeks later -- here we are. And we'd like you to consider joining us.

And out of that blogging conversation and a few e-mails, Gavin & Drew concocted the idea for an e-book about this new era of communications we've all entered together. But not just any book. It has to be a quick book. Exciting. Sharp. Inclusive. It had to be a book about community and conversation that came from that community and spoke the same vernacular. The title -- The Conversation Age.

And that is why we are talking to you. Our idea:

100 authors. We're a few but need more.
The overriding topic is "The Conversation Age" -- where you take it is up to you.
The items are short - one 8.5" x 11" page -- it can be words, diagrams, photos (again up to you) If it is words - about 400, give or take a couple.
We write it quickly and get it out there. We publish electronically.
We make it available online for a small fee and we donate 100% of the proceeds to Variety the Children's Charity -- which serves children across the entire globe."

That was a months ago. And here we are. The book is printed, ready to be downloaded or shipped to you.

I'm very honored to be part of this prestigious group of bloggers:
Please explore all the contributors and pay a visit to their blogs

A Google Map of all the authors. Created by Matt Dickman.

The first reviews/mentions are in:


Social Computing

And, in case you forgot, all proceeds go to Variety, a charity dedicated to improve the lives of children around the world.

What are you waiting for? Order now.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Age of Conversation - one more day

The wait is almost over: The book launches Monday 7/16/07. Stay tuned.


I just read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, ‘Creativity’. He defines creativity as happening in the intersection of an individual who sees a new pattern, a ‘field of accomplishment’ (the ‘experts’ who can understand and accept the individual’s creative idea or act), and a ‘domain of knowledge and action’ (a body of knowledge mediated by symbols and bundled into systems, like geometry, art, or legal systems, which makes up what we call a culture).

If you think about it, this makes every creative act an act of collaboration. It's not an indivdiual act, it's a group act. We tend to focus on the achievements of individuals. But we need to become better collaborators.
We need to ask questions so that other people can think about the ideas and form their own opinions which they feel comfortable sharing. This will allow for more new ideas, allowing for open comments and looking at the world with fresh eyes.

You can be a creative genius but in the end it's all about the others. Surround yourself with people from all walks of life: different experience, different educational and cultural background. And see what happens.
You can't be creative by yourself. We're in it together.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A billboard that rocks

Not user interactivity but sun interactivity.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How to make good copy great

Years ago, when I picked up a copy of John Grisham's 'The Firm', I couldn't stop reading it. I remember cancelling dates, leaving work earlier just to finish this book. Whenever I had to put the book aside to do something else, I couldn't get wait to get back to read more and more.

And this is how advertising copy should be.

Good copy makes a lot of sense. And relates to people in a rational way. Great copy means telling a good story.
Let's face it: Copywriters are sales people. And only good story tellers can be good sales people.

If your copy reads like a good story - compelling and engaging - the better your chance readers will read until the last word. And, ultimately, buy your product.

Consider your copy as a plot, with twist and turns, and a climax: An offer. Or something valuable to the consumer.

Where can you learn this skill? Many will tell you this is something you can't learn. Baloney.
Maybe not in school but can you do some home-schooling. Read a great fiction book. Just enjoy and read it. Once you're done, read it again. Take notes, understand what the author did, what techniques he used, how he made you want more.

A good story has peaks and valleys. Where are the peaks. Where are the valleys? Focus more on the valleys because that's where weak copywriters become boring. And bland.

One last advice: Don't tell the whole story. Don't treat your readers like a politician talks to his constituency. Leave something to the imagination of the consumer. Let them make connections. Don't make those for them. This tension makes good copy great.

That's what's wrong with movie trailers today: They tell you the whole story and there's no motivation for me to see the movie. When ID4 launched, one of their trailer just showed the White House imploding. Followed by the ID4 logo.
Talk about tension.

Don't tell the whole story. Set up the framework, the peaks and valleys, the climax. But allow for people to let their mind work. And open their wallets.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

This might change everything

This might be the beginning of the end of landing pages: Tailgate,from London based Fhlame Limited developed the "Worlds First fully transactional web 2.0 banner". This will turn faux-transactional banners into full transactional applications.

Instead of clicking through to a landing page, users can finalize their transaction on the banner itself. Publishers will jump on this quickly since users won't have to leave their site anymore.
Consumers might be hesitant in the beginning to transact directly in the banner but if advertisers utilize trusted sites, those hesitations will disappear quickly.

Kudos to Techcrunch for this find.

I finally got an intern

Or better: We all do.
The newest social media experiment is sponsored by Mentos and it's an interesting variation of Burger King's Subservient Chicken.

Trevor, the intern, is a student at the University of Cinicnnati and is a summer intern for Mentos. Your job is it to fill his day with tasks, such as proofreading, catching up on your favorite TV show, etc. While I was checking him out, he was naming frogs...:)

Given Mentos' target audience, this could be really successful. Mentos always had a quirky image and this experiment will enhance it. I was hoping for more interesting tasks but, hey, I'm not in the target audience. What do I know?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CTR of <1%. Don't monkeys score higher?

Great piece in AdAge from Mike Hartley of ZooZoom.com about the lack of good content and media integration on most online sites.

"To learn what works, brands must invest more in knowing the environments their target groups enjoy. They must understand the content in these environments, not just statistics about their use. Brands must invest more in production and evaluating what happened. It's relatively cheap to do so; mistakes are more easily forgiven because everyone sees the internet as an experiment, and the dividends are likely to be significant.

Considered steady strategic development in a medium that has already changed the nature of our relations and will continue to do so still seems rare. It's not "You are in danger if you don't" (although it may be) as much as "Why on earth are you missing such fine opportunities?" The Prius and a commitment to greener technology is a good example to consider. Toyota didn't become the world's largest car manufacturer by owning the lowest common denominator; it invested in an innovative and nonprofitable market that was obvious would become profitable."

In this changed media world, relevant marketing is the only way to go. Limited production budgets for digital marketing often don't allow to be relevant on all sites. The old mantra of "This campaign should work on each and every channel" doesn't apply anymore. It has to be changed to: "How can we communicate a relevant message delivering a specific positioning suited for this specific channel?"
It's much more work than we're used to. But it's so much more exciting.

(Still) Made Here

Trendwatching discusses a new trend called
"(Still) Made Here".

The overall definition, according to Trendwatching.com:

“(STILL) MADE HERE encompasses new and enduring manufacturers and purveyors of the local. In a world that is seemingly ruled by globalization, mass production and ‘cheapest of the cheapest’, a growing number of consumers are seeking out the local, and thereby the authentic, the storied, the eco-friendly and the obscure.”

The Dole example really intrigued me because it shows that transparency is becoming more and more important to brands and some companies seem to confront this new trend in very meaningful ways:

Dole Organic lets consumers “travel to the origin of each organic product”. By typing in a fruit sticker's three-digit Farm Code on Dole Organic's website, customers can read background info, view photos of the farm and workers and learn more about the origin of Dole products.

I see this trend really taking off in the food sector: Since organic produce has become so expensive and regulations seem to be relaxing a bit too much, more and more consumers are heading out to farmer markets to talk directly with the farmers. There's instant quality control and consumer feedback. Something that's missing at Whole Foods.

The trends of globalization and localization will remain very vibrant and important in everyone's life. While globalization delights our everyday life with new gadgets, cheap products and new opportunities, localization soothes our soul and let's us be small-town people for a few moments. It's the in-between where we feel comfortable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another good one

You have to stay with it for a while but the payoff is worth it. For a change a commercial that's not in your face and allows for intellectual connections.

I could see this as an intriguing online campaign (the video would have to be cut down a bit) with companion units and exploratory website. Commercials are great teasers, they work so much better when they are supported with experiential information.

Age of Conversation

A few months ago 99 profilic bloggers (and poor me) were asked to contribute to a book under the premise of "The Age of Conversation" and that all proceeds will go to a good cause.
I'm glad to report that this book will be available Monday next week (7/16/07). For more info, visit the Age of Conversation site.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Live Earth - IPTV has a long way to go

I didn't watch Saturday's broadcast of Live Earth, instead opting to watch the performances that interest me later on MSN.
Unfortunately, the user experience on MSN has a long way to go and needs some major enhancements to be ready for Prime Time: The streams are are buffering too often, video stops once in a while and the soundd just disappears. But that's not the real issue:

My main problem is that MSN didn't understand how users would utilize the site. Instead of offering small pieces of each performance (preferably by song) MSN forces users to watch the whole performance. There's no fast forwarding, no function to go directly to the performance of your choosing. Everybody has a few minutes to watch a few songs but who has time to watch a complete concert until The Police finally starts playing?

Interactive users expect on-demand functionality, anything else is a huge disappointment. And that's what YouTube understands: You can find all performances in snack sizes. You want to see The Police 'Driven to tears'? YouTube has it. (see above) A missed opportunity for MSN. And another point in the brand bank for YouTube.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


My newest iMediaconnection column is live. Enjoy.

Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life is a "comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing and personalized" ecosystem of websites "that makes all key information about life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. A really exciting example of wiki-innovation.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Great commercial

A real simple and cool commercial from Nike. It seems they got their mojo back. Who else wants to play soccer?

Friday, July 6, 2007

Music for your ears. And blog.

Blogmusik.net created an interesting service that allows you to create playlists and share excellent.

It took me a few minutes to create a playlist and posted it on my blog. You can find it on the right. Enjoy.

Indifference is deadly

There are some brands that I can't stand: Best Buy comes to mind, American Airlines, Citibank, just to name a few.

I've invested a lot energy into disliking these brands. I tell people about my experiences, share our frustrations and spread the word.

Most brands make the mistake just to embrace their most loving customers: They build loyalty programs, treat them with perks and make it easy for them to stay part of the 'family'.
In addition, brands try to convince the indifferent crowd to come over to the sunny side where all the happy brand lovers are. This is mostly a waste of time since most people don't waste a second thinking about brand unless they hate or love them. Getting indifferent people excited about your brand is a sisyphusian task.

Why not embrace the haters and harshest critics instead? They invested a lot of brain power and emotions into your brand.

Offer them opportunities to express themselves, listen to them, make them part of your marketing plan. What's the worst that can happen? You gather a lot of insights about your critics. You will understand that your indifference and putting up a big walls that people can't infiltrate caused these negative emotions.

And, if you do it right and take your time, some of the haters might come over to the sunny side.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Respectance, a niche social networking site, offers a space for friends and families to honor their loved ones. What's even more intriguing is the opportunity to share your feelings with others mourning their losses.
Obviously, Respectance doesn't offer advertising opportunities and they base their business model on premium services.

I'm very intrigued by the opportunities niche sites like that present to people. A taboo issue like death was in desperate need for mourners to share their feelings.

Bugaboo DayTrips

Being a new parent can be a very lonely experience: You mostly stay inside the house running around like a crazed person. Bugaboo tries to counter the being-holed up experience new parents experience by creating Bugaboo DayTrips: The site offer daytrips parents can take with their Bugaboo (and kids) in numerous urban environments. A beautiful application with nice illustrations from different artists. It features social networking tools, downloadable maps and a viral function. Hopefully, the site will expand and allow for users to upload their own trips.

I explored the downtown Los Angeles map and was reminded to pay a visit to Phillipe's soon again. Best French Dip sandwiches anywhere...

Thanks to BrandNoise for the tip.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

Recent Cover Story Of Newsweek: "After Bush" talks about the hopes of the old US and the fear of the current United States:
"The United States has new challenges, new adversaries and new problems. But unlike so much of the world, it also has solutions - if only it has the courage and wisdom to implement them."


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Don't hurt my ears anymore

I've had it.
Please don't call campaigns/features viral when they're not.
It's not viral just because you can send it to a friend.
It's not your latest commercial converted to a digital video on a site.
It's not everything that can be attached to an email.
It's not viral just because you call it viral.
It's not something you can demand. Viral happens.

Viral happens. It's something that attracts attention, makes people want to share and spread it. And that's all there is to it.

Kwik-E-Mart update

My friend Fabian and I decided to head out to Kwik-E-Mart on Venice/Sepulveda. From the distance we could see searchlights and, once we got closer, a line wrapped around the block to enter the convenience store. Except during emergencies, when was the last time you saw lines in front of a convenience store? (Needless to say, we didn't bother standing in line...)
Marketing works. Innovative Marketing works even better.

Monday, July 2, 2007

7-Eleven gets it

7-Eleven and the Simpsons have teamed up and transformed a few convenience stores into Kwik-E-Marts. They are selling some of the best known Simpsons products such as Buzz Cola and KrustyO's cereal.

I'm happy to see that 7-Eleven is so advanced in their thinking to allow these innovative promotion. Most companies would distance themselves as far as they can since the TV show has been mocking the typical 7-Eleven setup for years.
Instead, they opted to embrace it. My bet: Their sales and profit numbers will increase dramatically. I will visit this afternoon...

Just one complaint: Where's the Duff Beer?

Duh - Word-of-Mouth works

Most of us have known this for a while and eMarketer gives us new ammunition when making our point: Word-of-Mouth Marketing is the most efficient way to communicate with prospective consumers.

"More and more, consumers are relying on advice from friends, family and even strangers to make purchase decisions, select physicians, choose travel destinations and pick politicians to vote for. And many of them are giving — and getting — that advice online."

eMarketers estimates over 25 million US adults regularly share advice on products or services online.

I believe eMarketer should have included communities as well. Social Networks/Groups/Communities/Whatever you want to call them are increasingly more important for all 2.0 people. Often it's not the friend or the funny uncle that will give you advice: It's the guy you've never met but you share a hobby with that will give you insightful advice. These people can be found on major sites (MySpace, Facebook, etc.), on private messageboards, niche sites. They are as trusted (or even more) than friends or family with good but limited knowledge about your specific issue

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Brand Gap

Great presentation, discussing how to bridge the distance between business strategy and design. Very long PowerPoint but it feels to the point and is very entertaining.