Monday, 7 December 2009
In an extraordinary feat of co-ordiation, diplomacy and sheer bloody-mindedness. The Guardian in the UK has managed to pull off an outstanding coup at the start of this vital series of meetings.
Since September its 'Greenlight' editorial team, led by Ian Katz, have been hard at work convincing, cojoling, drafting and re-drafting a single story designed to run on the front page of as many papers who would carry it.
It starts like this
"Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency.
Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted."
From reading Ian Katz' story behind the story you can begin to see what an undertaking this was. I met Ian about 18 months ago in London as our agency wanted to understand more about the climate change debate post 'An Inconvenient Truth'. He talked very authoriatively then and clearly continues to lead the vangguard on the subject.
We talk an awful lot about media firsts in out business - certainly one of our more over-used cliches. But this is a media first of genuine innovation. When the pressure is on for newspapers globally, I think its a very heathly sign that work like this can be produced.
Clearly there are many different points of view on climate change - not least since the stories of email leaks from the University of East Anglia came to light - so I am full of admiration for getting a single script agreed for so many papers, in so many countries, with so many differing positions on climate change. The only disappointment? Probably the reaction of the American media - with only the Miami Hearld (Katz says we should buy 2 of this brave paper whenever in Florida) printing the story. Indeed the Guardian received this little missive from one climate chnage denier in the States "This is an outrageous attempt to orchestrate media pressure. Go to hell."
Thursday, 3 December 2009
First Henry re-enacts the Hand of God and puts those puckly Irish out World Cup (leading to farcical debate about the '33rd team'), then Mr Reliable, Tiger Woods is caught up in a car-crash-cum-domestic which has seen debate and innuendo grow as he kept his silence. Its now not a question of whether he had an affair but how many.
New French version of same ad. Not lack of football in Henry's palm.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
This appears to be a good and clever deal for both parties. Social network sites/applications are loved by both handset makers and mobile networks alike, the microblogging service is seen a potential driver in selling more expensive handsets and those potentially lucrative data plans. both handset makers and mobile networks alike, the microblogging service is seen a potential driver in selling more expensive handsets and those potentially lucrative data plans.
Starting today, Orange UK customer can send and receive tweets by SMS to and from their followers, and in a world first, also share photos on Twitter via the carrier’s Multmedia Messaging Service (MMS) as part of its newly launched ‘Snapshot‘ service - sort of like an Orange-branded TwitPic or similar sites. This additional Twitter functionality is to be included in customers’ existing plans and won’t cost any more aside from standard charges for sending an SMS or MMS outside of any included bundle.
What is really interesting for Twitter development in Poland is the launch of Twitter services via Orange IPTV later in 2009. Users will be able to Tweet on-screen directly when watching certain entertainment and sports programming. When you consider the level of mirco-blogging created on social networks by fans of 'reality TV' programming (currently my Facebook news feed is dominated by the UK's X Factor with viewing figures of 12-14 million per episode) - you can see that this might be very appealing for viewers, although a US experiment with Twitter on Fox was a technical failure.
However if Orange get this right technically, it could act as a real stimulus to user growth for Twitter (remember Twitter has grown to a be a global phenomena without using traditional paid-for advertising, so partnerships like this are critical to grow its user base). Currently Twitter is at the early stages of development in Poland, with 300,000 users, tiny when compared to Gadu Gadu and its 7,000,000 instant messenger users.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Thursday, 15 October 2009
The deal, that was 6 months in the making with both parties sharing the revenues generated You Tube via an 'agreed formula', see C4 will make its existing online video 4oD catch-up service available via YouTube shortly after shows have aired on TV.
Both parties have signed up for an initial 3 year period and C4 content will become available on the Google-owed site early in 2010 (in the UK it only appears to protect foreign rights revenues C4). Regular and new series such as Skins, Peep Show and Hollyoaks will be joined by 3000 hours of archive programming including shows such as Brass Eye, Derren Brown and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
So why the deal, and why now?
Well, Channel 4 have been in a tight spot revenue wise (like all UK commercial broadcasters) for some time as advertiser demand falls while audience remain static. So while the debate about C4 taking a share of the BBC license fee rumbles on, they are forced to look for other revenue sources. Given that You Tube has 20 million UK users, even with a relatively low cost-per-view - this should bring in much needed funds for C4. It'll be very interesting to see what concessions are made to the sponsors of existing C4 shows. Channel 4 have an excellent track record in monetising their programs from a sponsorship point of view. Will this deal be covered in existing and future C4 sponsorship deals as they are on Channel 4's online catch-up site, 4 On Demand.
Channel 4's out-going chief executive Andy Duncan said of the deal "it demonstrates our ability to strike dynamic commercial partnerships to help underpin our future as a commercially funded, not-for-profit multi-platform public service network." So yes, some much needed immediate cash.
But there are sceptics industry stating that C4 have mortagaed the longer-term value of their content for short-term rewards.
"No broadcaster in the world has done a long-form deal with them [YouTube] for a good reason," said a senior executive in the digital broadcasting industry. "They already control 65% of the UK video market. With that kind of market power, long-term they will screw you. Channel 4 has taken short-term profit and Sacrificed long-term value. It is not a smart deal.
For You Tube, well I see this as a win win situation for them. They get some exceptionally high-quality content that viewers will seek out and spend considerable time with. No doubt boosting overall revenues and not just those linked to the C4 content.
There appears to be an interesting kicker to this deal. I have no idea Whether the new C4 series 'Rude Tube' is tied to this deal, but it seems too close not to be.
Zane Lowe presents a weekly wraps up of the best You Tube action (in the tradition of You've Been Framed but for the 'yoof'). Classic You Tubes are replayed and the story behind them told.
Long-term its hard to tell what the result will be, but in the short-term it appears to be a good deal for Channel 4, You Tube and consumers.
Monday, 12 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Winning the Olympic bid must surely be seen as the biggest pitch in town - the legacy created by an Olympic games is enourmous and hopefully a positive one (if you're not Montreal, the 1976 games indebted that the Canadian city for years afterwards).
So I asked myself; as we work in an industry where we generally face an open, competitive pitch to win and retain our clients, what can we learn from this process.
What I really liked the Rio's attitude was this: we want the best so we'd better get the best possible team on board. So who do you go to in terms of the best 'Olympic pitch experts'? Well you get the guy who helped win the last one, right? And thats precisely what Rio's bid leader, Carlos Nuzman did. He brought on board Mike Lee, the communications director of London's 2012 bid and his Vero team.
I read a piece by Lee in the Guardian on the day following the decision and I've tried to draw out a few general principles which we might apply to our daily reality of pitching. Clearly I'd like to ask him for more detail, but I dare say he'd probably charge a pretty hefty fee given his success rate.
1) Fully understand your audience
We say this a lot but rarely go to succufficent lenghts to really get to understand individual and corporate motiviation. What are they really looking for? This will never be committed to a brief, so you have to read between the lines. How brave are they? Whats the true extent of ambition?
Lee recongised that the IOC, despite a repuation for being a conversative organisation, had acutally a storng track record for making bold decision in where to award games. He cites Toyko '64 and Beijing '08 as examples of this. This gave him an insight and allowed Rio to develop its bid in a certain way
2) Create a powerful narrative
A pitch is a story, the story of your agency and the process you've been through. It will be much more patable and easy to understand if there is a powerful narrative running through it. It also needs to be a balanced story.
Lee recongised that Rio had a very strong emotional pull as a bidding city - no South American city had hosted before, Rio is famous for its party spirit. However, before playing these trump cards Rio had to prove its worth from a more rational point of view. So Lee had President Lula and the Governor of the Brazilian Central Bank put the raitonal case first, to build the framework. They proved the money and polivital will was in place. Then bid president Nuzman did the emotive close, using videos like this...
3) Get the right people and ensure they are fully committed to the process
Friday, 2 October 2009
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
My impressions, and not only mine, when getting information about your arrival to Poland was that you are to control the Polish office’s activity.
Absolutely not. My goal is to share my experiences from more developed market with my Polish colleagues. I won’t execute personal management but I will work on product development, especially in digital media sphere. Great Britain outdistances Polish market with 2 or 3 years in this area, mainly because of higher penetration of the Internet. I have to integrate media Zed Digital and interactive Moxie and to launch NewCast brand into Polish market. Those objectives are planned for twelve or twenty months.
In the name of your position we can find words: „business development” and you will take care about specialist brands. So one may presume that specializations are the driving force of business increase.
Absolutely positive. Two spheres now accelerate the increase of European media houses - digital and non standard communication. Combined Zed and Moxie, employing respectively 20 and 6 persons, generate really strong product. It’s worth saying that ZenithOptomedia has “in house” interactive creation only in the United States and in Poland. And only few media houses have such internal resources. With their help we want to plan better consumer engagement activities. The times when consumers were inundated with unilateral messages are gone for ever.
Why does Zed act as separate department? Why won’t you integrate it with the rest of the agency planning media off-line?
New media market grows so fast that it needs specific approach and (being in the swim????). That what we decidedly demand from all planners, also dealing with traditional media, is to understand new media. Those people don’t buy Internet but they have to know what it is about. Running the separate department is necessary for keeping particular level of skills and specialist knowledge which are then transferred to the rest of the agency. Zed is a global brand; it operates on all main markets and time for deeper integration of structures absolutely hasn’t come yet. Increasingly ZOG (through Vivaki) are creating market leading digital planning tools – especially in the growing SEM and Social Media areas – in order to create a leadership position in the digital field, so we need digital experts to fulfill our ambitions.
Doesn’t commission, still much more higher in Internet, decide about keeping separated Internet departments inside the agency?
No, it doesn’t. In most media houses in Great Britain TV and buying departments still operate. TV is the medium which eats up the biggest budgets and planning service is highly specialized and it demands to work on data constantly. This should be justified with market needs regulating work distribution and structures scheme in the agency. In my opinion there is a need of running online specialization in Poland.
Online planning is among basic services offered by media houses. So why is it priced much more higher than traditional media planning?
Because it takes more time and is an increasingly complex medium to plan and buy in. Spending £ 1 million for TV and for Internet is fundamentally different in terms of amount of work. TV planning systems have been developed for forty years and Internet for just ten. This difference in labor intensity will be reduced, of course, with the passage of time. The complexity of the medium means that bespoke tools and systems need to be developed also – these tools maximise the efficiency of client investment.
Ultimately there will be one planner for all media or off-line and digital ones working as one team?
There is no clear and concrete scenario yet. I think that there will be two “species” in future agency’s structures. In the first one there will be planners focused on data and numbers (“data centric”) probably coming from digital or direct sphere. The second group will include strategic-creative planners. They will create big, game changing ideas within the campaign. Those “data centric” ones wouldn’t hit on such ideas. Even today such division becomes to emerge if you track the structure of the agency and different departments.
Media houses are paid in different ways including commissions, hybrid system – i.e. commission + success fee - or flat fee. Which one is, in your opinion, the best for both sides?
There is no one model suitable for all clients. The most popular system in Great Britain combines remuneration for planning, conditioned with the value of all used resources (tools, data, etc.), with the commission. Most of our contracts provide for bonus for appropriate results as purchase price, sales value, etc. Except for single SEM projects I don’t know the examples of clients who pay only for effects.
So there is no tendency for renouncing commission, yet it’s connected with thinking about purchase in terms of biggest kick-backs from suppliers.
I don’t know any planner thinking that way. Besides, in ZenithOptimedia planner is that one who makes crucial decisions concerning purchase and buyer realizes them. So system combining payment for planning – where planner makes decisions – and commission for buying caries no risk for both sides. It’s similarly with hourly rates but clients are still not accustomed to it.
In several months, when your ZOG mission is over, you’ll leave the agency which…
Will be number one in digital offer on the Polish market. Such opinion will be given according to the following criteria: clients feedback, perceiving among suppliers, effectiveness in new business and number of awards. For newcast, I want the division to be the preferred non-traditional player, both for our clients and for suppliers, to do business with with..
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Singer Andy Gallagher thinks Shynola's video for Coldplay's' Strawberry Swing 'looks a bit familiar'.
Pretty quickly a rebuttal has followed in this incredibly long and detail note from Shynola on their website
It includes their sources of inspiration for the Coldplay promo, and even carries a thinly veiled suggestion that it was Andy Gallagher director who is indeed the plagiarist
All very interesting but here's the thing. In a world where the music industry is apparently on its knees due to piracy (see the hilarious 'yes its bad' 'no it isn't' spat between the rock royalty of Radiohead vs Lily Allen), is therefore hemorrhaging money and struggling to finance music videos. Here was a massive opportunity for Coldplay to get their new vid seen by an audience who might not ordinarily bother otherwise (6 music listeners).
But no - i went to You Tube (now the music video deal has been done) but I was denied - the Coldplay video has been taken down by the publisher. Whats going on here? An admission that there might be something in Andy Gallaghers claim or a band who don't want to profit from this type of publicity? Either way - I really want to see the video now please....
Here at least is Andy Gallagher's...dare I say "original"...
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
As newspaper publishers globally struggle with business models to keep their printed edition in business and feed investmernt into their digital editions (free content, subscription based or a combination of the two) it looks like in 1981 we were faced with the same questions.
Brilliant piece of footage here from a San Francisco news channel on pioneering efforts by the SF chroncile to bring a digital version of its daily to market.
I love the fact that the early adopter 'home computer owner' is in his 70s but he is dead keen on the technolgy, This is not that long after some genuis at IBM said there would never be a market for home computers.
Thanks to Guardian MediaMonkey for this tip.
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Monday, 14 September 2009
Quite a surprising final story on the BBC late evening news this Saturday. Product placement in UK TV shows will be legalised at some point in the near future. The news represents something of a turnaround for the Government, with Culture Secretary Ben Bradsahw reversing his predecessor Andy Burnham position. Burnham said a year or so ago that lifting the ban raised "very serious concerns" and was "blurring the boundaries between advertising and editorial". This turnaround will bring a level certainty to what is something of a grey area of UK broadcast law.
I say grey area as product placement certainly exists, its just not legitimised. We would send brands product and key messages to props agencies with the hope they would get used in high rating shows. ZenithOptimedia London indeed had tremendous success with a COI 'Flu Jabs' Eastenders campaign in 2006 - not only were the Henry Cooper emblazoned posters we provided clearly seen on screen. But the soaps producers decided to incorporate the Flu Jabs season into the storyline (with Jim Brennan desperate to avoid the needle with Dot egging him on - classic stuff). But no money would change hands and no exposure was guaranteed.
This is all about to change with this policy decision. More will no doubt be announced at the official unveiling on Weds (at the Royal Television Society lecture) but we can hazard a guess at what this new future may hold of us.
Commercial stations and independent producers (the BBC will remain exempt - with the old 'send a prop and pray' model in place) will be able to accept payment in return for guaranteed screen time for brands. No detail on limitations as yet but I am convinced the regulations will be tight. Here in Poland for instance, product placement is sold in packages by broadcasters - usually with a minimum guarantee of 2 x 3 second exposures per episode. What isn't clear is how many brands can be exposed in this way in each show.
The timing of the announcement is interesting for two reasons. Firstly there is the evidence of a 'spoiling tactic' by the government. The Tories have engaged with the advertising/media community to draft various white papers on the future of broadcasting - it was understood that a softening of product placement regulation was one of the areas of interest. Secondly it comes at a time with ITV lobbying heavily for the removal of the CRR (a trading mechanism put in place by OFCOM at the time of the Carlton/Granada merging to avoid clients facing significant hikes in TV ad rates). Relaxation or removal of the CRR is by far a bigger deal for the beleaguered broadcaster. While broadcaster commentators like Peter Bazelgate reckon product placement could be worth up to £125m a year in the UK (based on the US experience of PP bringing in 5-6% of TV revenue).
I think this estimations are ambitious, great for headlines but probably unlikely to be reached for some time. Numerous reasons for this but a key issue will be the timelines that producers work to versus the speed with which clients tend to need to bring products/services to market. For a decent prime time drama, you are probably looking at 6-9 months between filming and airing. This timetable would put off any would be product placers - even a high profile broadcast sponsorship deal can go from deal to air in a matter of weeks and most clients businesses are based around the 2 month advanced booking deadline which UK broadcasters tend to insist on.
However that said, one can easily imagine the big winners here. It will be the shows that have shorter production schedules and offer bigger audiences - namely live talent/reality shows. Its no surprise that this picture of American Idol has been trawled out on all news outlets when this story broke. The deal between American Idol and Coke is reported to be worth $35m per year. Its a huge rating show, its live or 'as live' and I am sure its ad breaks and sponsorship billboards are very well sold, meaning product placement is the only way the broadcaster can maximise revenues in a hit programme. I imagine it'll go the same way in the UK.
In reality, the net benefit of the relaxation in product placement regulation is likely to be worth about £20-30m per year in the UK. A help but not the answer to commercial broadcasting's woes.
Despite UK movie going audiences being quite used to product placement in films, it will be a case of suck it and see on TV. I agree with Robin Wright's assessment on the Guardian today - like everything in advertising, product placement can be done well or badly (you'll see both in every James Bond film "Is that a Rolex", "No, I wear Omega"....and???).
To do it really well we, as the media agency community, need to add to our existing skill sets and learn from experiences in other markets. To ensure the UK does product placement better than anyone else we're looking for natural fit between brand and programme. Shoe-horning in will turn off audiences and only increase the pressure on the TV market.
Here's an example I was shown from Poland on perhaps how not to do it....
Product placement - Telekomunikacja Polska SA
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Monday, 7 September 2009
Friday, 4 September 2009
It's a campaign by the Australian Childhood Foundation - www.stopchildabuse.com.au/ - broadly it follows a similar theme to NSPCC's 'Full Stop' and Child Line's 'Don't Hide It'.
However, I think the image and effect of this poster is almost overwhelming. Not least because of the incredibly powerful dehumanisation of the child.
Click on the above blog to see the making of video plus Melbournites reactions. What is really shocking is how few people react - at least someone 'rescued' the child dummy and got a nice surprise.
Plaudits to JWT Australia for their excellent pro bono work here.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Monday, 3 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Friday, 24 July 2009
This morning, as usual, I woke and munched corn flakes to the dulcet tones of Nicky Campbell and Sheila Fogerty. I'm not really fully awake at this time but one of the features that did stick with me was a piece on a recent survey into the most memorable advertising ever produced in the UK. So my work-based interest was piqued.
What was interesting about this latest ad poll (and don't we Brits love a survey about our favourite ads by the way - shows how high we regard the craft I believe) was that it focused on what made these ads memorable and helped to keep the ads and brands in our minds for literally decades.
Its the common or garden jingle (or sonic branding if we're looking to update the language) - a truly powerful tool.
Number 1 in the poll is Smash 'For mash get Smash', regularly voted as the UK's favourite ad. The BMP created Martians campaign and catchy jingle transformed the brands fortunes. And it despite the product all but disappearing from the kitchen - the ads still linger with people. It is a classic example of a brand being hard-wired into our brains. You say Smash - and I say 'for mash get Smash' without missing a beat. And in a world where we are almost tyrannised by brand choice - this ability for certain brands to create 'heuristics' (rules of thumb for quick decision making) in people's heads is a potent tool.
The other ads in position 2 and 3 are linked by use of music but in a very different ways
R White's Lemonade - made in 1973 but aired incredibly until 1984, its a classic jingle in that it was specifically created for the campaign. Written and sung by Ross Macmanus (Elvis Costello's dad) - 'The secret lemonade drinker' tune was a huge part of this ads enduring charm.
In at 3 is Guinness surfers. Created by AMV, written by Walt Campbell and directed by Jonathan Glazer and yes perhaps the most visually arresting of all the examples. But don't underestimate the power of that pulsating Leftfield soundtrack 'Phat Planet'
Here's some of the other poll toppers: Wall's Cornetto 'Just One Cornetto', Shake'n'Vac 'Do the Shake and Vac', Kia Ora 'I'll Be Your Dog', Mars 'A Mars a Day Helps You Work, Rest and Play' , Kwik-Fit 'Can't Get Quicker Than a Kwik-Fit Fitter', Club Biscuits 'If You Like a Lot of Chocolate on Your Biscuit Join Our Club.", Cadbury's Flake – 'Crumbliest Flakiest Chocolate'.
All classics, all driven by their sonic branding, all essentially made famous through TV advertising (and lots of it) and all created in the pre-digital age (bar 'Surfers')
So what I'm wondering is whether in the age of digital fragmentation if the ad industry hasn't slightly lost sight of the power and potential of the honest jingle or powerful soundtrack. As more campaigns move from being created for TV and simply 'put up on You Tube, to campaigns actually being devised with digital media in mind as its lead means of distribution. How many are really using the full power of aural stimulation and how many will stand the test of time like the jingle-tastic examples above?
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Fascinating story about how Morgan Stanleys head of media research release a analyst note penned by their 15 year old summer intern. Apparently all their clients have gone mad for it.
If the actual content of the note was not a surprise - teenagers don't listen to the radio, buy papers or use Twitter - the means of conducting the research certainly was. Morgan Stanley do heavily caveat the lack of statical rigour, but that doesn't seem to have perturbed their clients.
So is it time to throw out some of our highly invested in quantitative media research and just take a hand full of qualitative samples but in more intimate detail? Bye bye TGI and hello GCSE aged interns telling us what the hell is going on.
What was very interesting was the value attached by this intern and his group of friends to live experience and events. Cinema is still a huge draw, clearly the quality of the product is a factor but like generations before - its simply a great place to hang out with friends. Linked to this was the value of the live music experience, in an economy where it is almost inconceivable for a teenager to actually buy music - live is the primary means to extract any cash from this market.
Which has to be one of the key outtakes for brands from this piece. Teens will ignore you in traditional advertising but as they chase free content, providing valuable branded entertainment is clearly the way forward.
So is it time for all us media agencies to reconsider our recruitment policies, to engage with an audience we stopped understanding years ago - and to be brave - if Morgan Stanley can do it I'm sure we can too.
Monday, 13 July 2009
So what Nike have done as part of their support for Lance Armstrongs LIVESTRONG Foundations looks like a really clever piece of comms.
Via the Nike supported LIVESTRONG site you can leave a message of support for your loved one who has fought or is fighting cancer. I just discovered leaving a message for my cousin Rob, you get 30 characters - you can send via the site or SMS (in US only it seems) and then the real magic happens.
Somewhere in France is the ChalkBot - a machine designed by boffins at a place called DeepLocal. ChalkBot receives your message and then paints it large and real in yellow paint on the route of the tour. It also promises to let you know when its been done. Getting to see it I imagine will be a big ask, but the idea is beautiful.
And here's the link to the video of how it all works on You Tube
Appears to be a real good example of a brand, celebrity, not for profit organisation and the world of sport working very well together to raise awareness and cash.
Tuesday, 30 June 2009
So who's involved? Well here's a good thing to do - after any event like this, try a bit of spontaneous awareness. I remember the Guardian, BBC (presenters everywhere you looked), Orange, Q, Gaymers/Calsberg, and of course the supported charity brands - Greenpeace, WaterAid, Oxfam and Million Mums.
In no particular order then, some thoughts:
I suppose the BBC is the dominant player for me and for everyone watching the round the clock coverage over the weekend and everyone who'll now want to watch Blur's triumphant closing set on I-Player. I geared for the festival listening to BBC 6 music the week prior and now I'm getting all my post-fest reviews from the same place. I thought we'd done quite well seeing as much as we did - sounds like we only scratched the surface. The fantastic BBC coverage also helped to highlight the power and value of the live music market, apparently bands who featured on the TV coverage saw huge surges in i-tunes sales across the weekend, I heard 200% for Pendulum and 800% for Status Quo (clearly coming from a low base)....
...seeing as much as we did across the weekend was certainly aided and facilitated by the Guardian Guide. Firstly I have to say I was a guest of the Guardian - even so, the mini Guide each festival goer was handed on entry was genius. The full line up, some basic maps and some lovely editorial touches - 10 top Glasto facts etc. This was my key media for the 4 days - especially given my phone had little reception all weekend and ran out of juice by Sat am (more of Orange in a sec). So we all went a bit analogue, and the Guide was perfect.
If I had an iphone, some battery and coverage - then this interactive festival maps would have been my app of choice - still it a great way of looking back.
...Q Daily - a 16 page festival newspaper printed and distributed every morning, was also a delicious read - a great place to read about all the secret gigs I missed...
The other side is a interesting value exchange - the big corporates support (indirectly I should add) the not-for-profits. Meaning the Evis keep the festival rooted and Greenpeace et al get a very decent payday - not least driven by some very hard hitting video content played out between bands on the bigger stages.
* - bands, brands and fans - a term I got from the very excellent music marketing newsletter http://www.brandsbandsfans.com/
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
What is clear is that music piracy is unlikely to go away anytime soon, it seems to be a behaviour simply too ingrained into key consumer groups. Whilst pressure maybe brought to bear by the record industry on the ISPs, and a few more BitTorrents may get their wrists slapped. This doesn't solve the immediate issue of how to monetise music.
Clearly one route for bands/music is to partner even closer with brands. Its not my intention to list all good the and the ugly in this area. But a couple of tales of woe come to mind - one from the Wireless Festival last summer and one from about 20 mins ago
So last July, I went along to Wireless in Hyde Park - then still headline sponsored by O2 - an organisation who knows what its doing in this space with their Priority proposition. However, O2 wasn't the only brand to shell out to LiveNation for the chance to grab the attention of 30,000 music hungry consumers. I seem to recall Sony Ericcson were there, Tuburg bought the pouring rights and Tiscali did something neat to get VIP access to bands playing intimately in a tiny tent.
However it was digital storage leaders, SanDisk, who got it all wrong for me. Just consider their proposition - storage, never having to worry about getting your music/photos/video to fit. So please tell why oh why they decided to headline sponsor the 2nd stage - a seemingly huge circus big top yes - but with very limited storage. People simply couldn't get in to see headline acts without restorting to mild acts of violence against their fellow man or bribing the security staff. Madness.
This all came to mind again after hearing an interview with Gallows on BBC 6 just now. Apparently the neo-punksters are off to do a US tour, but these lads have got a clear eye on the bottom line. They have accepted a sponsorship deal with Coke's Relentless energy drink. Seemingly a pretty good match up for both parties. Gallows get to stay liquid and ensure themselves a steady supply of eye-liner. Relentless buys a bit of credibility.
However cracks begin to set in when either one of these parties stop playing by the accpeted rules of engagment in this new music economy.
BBC 6 interviewer: "Do you have any concerns that accepting a brand sponsoring your tour bus is an issue for band of your background"
Gallows member: "Not really, I would never drink that Relentless stuff, but if they want to chuck us 15 grand and a free tour bus, we can't turn our noses up at that"
This is paraphrased but I can't see the Coke PR team being overly chuffed.
If we don't want to buy music anymore, we as consumers have to expect brands to be part of the equation from now on. But there are clearly some lessons to learn and few basic rules to follow for both parties.
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Hummingbirds are the fastest animals on Earth, relative to their body size. They can cover more body lengths per second than any other vertebrate and for their size can even outpace fighter jets and the space shuttle – while withstanding g-forces that would make a fighter pilot black out.
Christopher James Clark, a zoologist at the University of California, Berkeley, took high-speed pictures of male Anna's hummingbirds performing dives as part of their courtship ritual. He measured them moving at up to 385 body lengths per second (blps), which is around 27.3 metres per second.
This is the highest speed ever recorded for a vertebrate, relative to its size. The only animals that can move faster relative to their body size are insects such as fleas.
"During the dive, the hummingbirds experienced an acceleration force nearly nine times that of gravity, the highest recorded for any vertebrate undergoing a voluntary aerial manoeuvre, with the exception of jet fighter pilots. At 7g, most pilots experience blackouts.
Aerial dives are part of the courtship behaviour of many birds, including nighthawks, snipes and other hummingbirds. Falcons, kingfishers and many seabirds use dives to attack prey. By diving, birds can achieve extremely high speeds.
Clark wrote that maximising speed is an important component of the courtship display of Anna's hummingbirds, because of the loud sound generated as they dive. In previous research, Clark showed that male Anna's hummingbirds spread their outer tail feathers during dives and these vibrate like the reed in a clarinet. The dive produces a loud, brief chirping sound.
Its maximum dive speed of 385blps is faster than peregrine falcons (200blps) and swallows (350blps) diving in pursuit of prey.
"Incidentally," wrote Clark, "it is also greater than the top speed of a fighter jet with its afterburners on, 150blps (885 metres per second), or the space shuttle during atmospheric re-entry, 207blps (7,700metres per second)."
Isn't nature wonderful....
Friday, 5 June 2009
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Just some of the places Billy Ray thought he'd been.
This alas is not a homage to a great film. Simply the appropriation of the title for me to record the random goings on during my move to Poland.
More, i hope, to follow....