Monday, 7 December 2009

56 newspapers in 45 countries: 1 front page story

As representatives of the worlds 192 countries get down to the serious business of halting climate change in Copenhagan today; for the first time ever a large group of diverse newspapers spoke with the same voice on this single subject.

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

The Curse of the Gillette 3 and and the joys of photoshop...

You can not escape the seeming untamed joy of sports and brand commentators with this story. Its everywhere.

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.

So 2 out of the Gillette 3 have brought a certain amount of, how to put this, somewhat negative publicity their way and as a result heaped unwanted focus on to the Gilette brand which they are paid handsomely to represent.

Federer appears to have avoided the full curse so far - I do not think that failing to win the ATP Finals really puts him in 'curse' territory. He is simply not having a great season by his high standards.

There are big questions over what Gillettes response will be. Well I would imagine they currently have a team of lawyers pouring over the various contracts but I would be surprised if Gillette seek to pull the plug on these high profile, long-term deals. However, there is some evidence of a level of embarrassment on Gillettes part. I've just seen this post on Huffington Post - evidence of a bit of diplomatic editing.

It looks like Gillette have altered the French version of the current work to remove all conitations of Henry being a handball-ist. Note the dofference between the old Spanish version of this opening frame and the new French version

Old Spanish version of Gillette ad

New French version of same ad. Not lack of football in Henry's palm.

Question is: will they removed the car keys from Wood's pocket next?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Orange / Twitter deal - coming to Poland soon...

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

Interview -

I met Natalia, the author of, a few weeks ago. We had a great chat about various communications issues and questions. Her focus tends to be on digital and non-standard solutions (many fantastic global examples on her site) so we got on famously.

Links to my interview here. It is naturally transcribed in Polish but Google have a neat translation tool...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Channel 4 You Tube deal

There were strong rumors last week and these have been confirmed by MediaGuardian today. A landmark deal between the UK commercial broadcaster, Channel 4 and You Tube - For You Tube to host C4 programs shortly after broadcast.

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.

UPDATE 19/11/09

Monday, 12 October 2009

Fireworks in the Ukraine, a damp squib online?

The dust is settling on the aftermath of the 1st ever England football match to be screened exclusivily online. As the pitch recovers from the burning flares - the analysts are wondering what this experiment means in the long term for sports broadcasting.

On Saturday night, the amide of the flares and fireworks, England lost their 100% record under Capello Flabio in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukriane. Meanwhile up to 500.000 either England fans paid up to 10 pounds to log on or attend the Odeon cinemas in 12 (or did not given this photo)

The main concern that surrounded the announcement of the deal was that of technical glitches and viewing quality. The Upshot appears to be a mixed result. The Swiss agency Kentaro, left holding the rights after Setanta went bust this year, and Perform, the internet broadcaster employed it to show the match after receiving no "satisfactory" offers from TV broadcasters, said almost nine in 10 viewers who responded to a post -match survey found the picture quality "satisfactory or better".

However numerous callers to radio shows on Sunday complained about glitches and delays in loading video and comentary - no doubt a result of living in a slow broadband area.

So, the question stands - when will we see the like of this again?

Remember this event came about after Setanta (who held rights to some of England's away Qualifiers) went to the wall in the UK. Kentaro rejected a bid of £ 1 million from the BBC for the live rights (the Beeb later struck an 11th hour deal for the highligths package) and decided to break the mold and put out the live broadcast online. Its hard to predict when more 'distressed purchase' rights will come to the market like this again. Can not see Sky, ESPN or the BBC going bust anytime soon. ITV are having a horrendous time but they are unlikely to try to unload this Champions League rights - its their best upmaket access to small audiences.

Either way - if these rights are up for grabs again, I'd be very interested to see a brand come in and become the facilitator and broadcaster. In many ways, this happened in part with the Ukraine match. Many national newspapers had Partnered Perform with The Game that offer to their readers (at a price of course), but it was the betting site, Bet365, who did bring The Game to its users for free.
For instance, could we see Ford also their Champions League partnership to the next level and provide the content? Clearly with the usual free-to-air trade off of being branded a exporsed content / ads from the advertiser.

Doing the maths, where possible on this experiement, its hard to make a case that more revenue was brought in by eskewing the traditional halls of rights is a TV broadcaster. Kentaro will not release the full numbers but given the estimate of 300.000 people buying on-line rights at anywhere from 4.99 to 11.99. Its come up short of an usual Sky audience for an away fixture of England (c. 2 million), the ad revenue Sky would attract and the price they might pay.
But its not beyond our Imaginations to find other ways of monetising this sort of deal. Meaning that it could become viable to see this again, screened in a similar way. Although the Internet broadcaster would need to do a better job than Perform in restricting viewing from illigimate websites (such as And curb the sharing of log-ins (apparently a user could sign in as many as 25 friends)
That said, given the state of the economy and the enourmous pressure on national broadcasters, rights holders, in all sports will be looking at this ground-breaking experiment with much interest.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How to build a winning pitch. Mike Lee's lessons from London and Rio

I was extemely heartened to hear the news from Copehagen last week, that the IOC had awarded the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, bringing the games to South America for the 1st time.

Rio had seemed to be the 'peoples' choice for some time but it was by no means a shoe-in. Concerns over security and infrastructure had enabled Chicago to come close to being the US's 3rd summer games in little over 3 decades.

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

Lee makes the point that while Obama flew in for the day to support his home city, President Lula (like Tony Blair for London) had been a fundamental part of the bid for 2 years. Visiting IOC members, current and future games sites - publically showing commitemnt to the cause.

So for us its all abiout the right pitch team, the best people with clear and defined roles

4) Have a clear defining idea

Leave the audience with a very clear idea - they will no doubt, like the IOC, have to sit through 3 or 4 more equally determind presentations, so ensure they have somehting to take away.

For London this was all about inspiring the young people of the world. For Rio it was an idea about the journey the country (and region) was on to bring people out of poverty and create a new, modern Brazil.

So, hats off to Mike Lee - his business will no doubt flourish as his results speak for themselves. Hopefully we can learn a little from his valuable tips.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Cannes Lions - Warsaw event 01.10.09

Last night I attend the Warsaw leg of the Cannes Lions review. It was hosted by SAR (the Polish Ad Industry body) and Phil Thomas from Cannes Lion International came over from London to talk to the 700 or so the ad industry folk gathered at the Terraces Zloty cinema.

It was nice touch that Phil came over here - that will hopefully encourage some more creative bravery in the market. Given Poland's size it is hugely underrepresented at Cannes and generally has a lower level of creative output than a market of this size warrants.

The message from Thomas was clear - our inductsy is changing as consumers engagement with the media and therefore advertising changes, "our jobs and roles will change completely in the coming years" Thomas said. This, of course, is music to my ears. Hopefully everyone took a little inspiration from the event.

The event was a little swollen on the side - at 4hours in length not everyone stayed the course, its hard to retain anyones attention for that long, let alone the ad folk. Especially when you play out no less than 5 adidas 10 min films back to back - that really did not deserve to be there.

My personal favorite was a series of 3 films by DRAFTFCB Stockholm, SWEDEN. A campaign to encourage Swedes to pay their TV license.

What I loved about this, beyond the brilliantly executed fake flash mob humor of the movie, was the simple but powerful insight: In Sweden instead of demonising those who do not pay their TV license (the UK model), celebrate the fact that many people (like you) activily chose to pay their license. As they say independent TV and radio is not a given thing.

Loads of other great campaigns to see on the Cannes Lions site. Indeed what struck me was that in today's era of tight budget, witness power of many of the shorter length copy ads. As Dave said Drogba - the economic crisis as 'belt' is not necessarily restricting the flow of blood to Creatives brains.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

M&M Poland interview 29.09.09 - "Man with a mission"

Got my 15 minutes of fame in Poland yesterday in the weekly marketing trade title - Media & Marketing. The interview was conducted just after I arrived 4 months ago, but held back to now for better impact and an update on a newcast project.
Here are the images

And for all those non-Polish speakers, heres the transcript in English:

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

Coldplay video row - real life creative tif or promotional tool?

The dulcet tones of Cerys Matthews on 6 Music Just informed me of a battle royle in the music video industry today. In a similar vein to the row over the ground-breaking Honda 'Cog' TV commercial - the production team behind Coldplay's' Strawberry Swing video have been accused of stealing a idea.

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

Back to the Future - digital newspapers in 1981

Ah is not history wonderful - so many of the answers we crave today, are questions we faced in the past.

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.

http://width="425" height="344">http://name="allowFullScreen" value="true">http://" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="425" height="344">

Monday, 14 September 2009

UK Product Placement - opening the door to brands

Want your beer flowing in Rovers Return? How about having Jamie Oliver noshing your brand of bangers? Previously money can't buy marketing strategies, until now....

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
Uploaded by mediafun. - Click for more funny videos.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Orange Warsaw Festival 2009

The latest installment in the cultural game of chicken which is the search for Poland's 2016 European Capital of Culture took place this weekend

The Orange Warsaw Festival is the second annual installment of a partnership between the telco giant and Warsaw city hall in an effort to convince Poles and more importantly, the Euro mandarins who'll decide, that Warsaw is indeed the most culturally rich, diverse and deserving city in Poland.
Warsaw and 6 other Polish cities (for the record: Gdansk, Torun, Lodz, Poznan, Lublin and Szczecin) are battling it our for the right to join a Spanish city (9 candidates there) as 2016 European Capital of Culture.

Its clearly an accolade which can pay back handsomely. A 2004 study by the European Culture Commission (Palmer Study) demonstrated that the choice of European Capital of Culture served as a catalyst for the cultural development and the transformation of the city. Plus the tourist dollar that is sure to follow, makes this a big deal in any country, let alone the 'newer' European territories.

So the Polish rivals are going at it hammer and tong to prove their worth. This is great news for inhabitants and tourists alike - in a country that loves a festival anyway, you can't move for them now (in Warsaw this weekend you could add a Jewish festival and Brazilian festival to the Orange affair).

It also presents opportunities for brands to get involved, to help candidate cities shoulder the financial burden of putting on big shows and get what they can in return in terms of engagement which an audience.

So far this summer, Poznan got out the traps early with a season of concerts which included a rare Polish outing for Radiohead .

Gdansk has been playing the Solidarity of Arts card - not surprisingly in the year Poland celebrated 20 years of democracy.

The Orange affair in Warsaw was perhaps as the capital city should offer. It was big - estimates of 35,000 people over the 2 days. It was set in a remarkable and hugely iconic (indeed symbolic) location, right underneath Stalin's Birthday Cake - the Palace of Science and Culture. And it was very accessible - free in fact.

I noticed that beyond the usual levels of event branding (clear ownership but not over the top) and Orange 'experience' areas. Orange also used the event to bring together many European employees for a conference in Warsaw. A good move this when this type of budget is under more scrunity than ever. And also a - for this was the weekend when Orange was without doubt the dominant brand in a city centre littered with special build posters and ambient media.

But the really interesting aspect for me is this public:private partnership approach. Its nothing new but it seemed that these 2 partners seemed to find a common ground - never easy as commercial requirements often run contrary to less flexible state-owned institutions. In harder economic times, this flexible and open appraoch to commercial content partnership is vital.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Hard hitting ambient poster from Australia

Something I stumbled on today while browsing random Blogger pages. Amongst the countless weird hobbyists I found this site by a Brazilian graphic designer.

The image below caught my attention, but I had to look twice to really see what was going on in this poster...

It's a campaign by the Australian Childhood Foundation - - 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.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Orange extend their film about 500 miles

Something that I came across in Poland last week that seemed worth commenting on.

UK punters will be well aware of Orange's long-term and very well executed use of film as a brand communication vehicle. The amusing Gold Spot ads at cinemas and the Orange Wednesdays have been part of the film experience in the UK for some time

So I was interested to see that Orange Poland (re-branded here a couple of years ago) have also chosen to follow the film route. But happily, they aren't copying and pasting but applying a decidedly Polish take.

Like most of continental European, the Poles tend to holiday during a certain season (pretty much July and early August). With the Zloty suffering against the Euro and the country gripped by talk of economic crisis (really not that bad so far - fingers crossed...), as a consequence holidaying in Poland remains the best bet for many Poles - for at least one of their summer holidays (seems most people have two).

The options are three-fold; coast, lakes or mountains. With the deadly Polish roads actively keeping the population stable (there was a weekend when 66 people died on Polish roads recently - and not in 2 coaches), many Poles let the train take the strain.

Orange have understood this and have provided an addition to their regular summer cinema season in key Polish holiday resorts.

So running on the line from Sopot (twinned with Southend on Sea no less...) on the north coast to Zakopane in the Tatra mountains in the south, rail users could watch a vary of films - new and classic- in a branded Orange coach. Unlike Orange Wednesday, no Orange phone is required to settle in for the flick.
Once in each holiday town - Orange have also set up screens to keep you entertained when you're grown tired of talking to your family...

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Capturing a great sporting moment

I just love this image - taken by Tom Jenkins for the Guardian - the players consumed in joy and just visable is the little brown urn that England and Australian battle for over the course of a long summer every 2 years or so. Try explaining that to confused Poles.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Writing in buildings

This is a building opposite me in Warsaw. Normally an unremarkable office block. But last night transformed with the symbol of the Polish 2nd World War resistance to mark the 65th anniversary of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

They chose the moon

Lots of milestone anniversaries this year - and 40 seems to be the magic number. Not just my brother James, but also 40 years since 3 guys set up a little festival in a farmers field in up state New York. Imagine their surprise as 250,000 hippies block the roads from New York city heading for Woodstock.

In the same year, another 3 guys had the whole world watching them. Just last week its 40 years since JFK promise of sending a man to the moon and returning him safely home came to pass.

I just found this amazing site which essentially re-enacts the whole mission from lift-off to splash down. is truly extraordinary digital undertaking - compling hours and hours of footage stitched together with a stunning graphical representation of each stage of the mission. All the live audio is there, photos from earth, video from space. I love this. Its amazing to think that these guys did this with less technology on broad than we have in our mobile phones.
I found this at on recommendation from Blazej Wocial from Moxie Interactive

Friday, 24 July 2009

Britain's most memorable ads - the common link

There are many small pleasures about being an English abroad. One of them is being able to hear BBC radio thru my Mac. Believe me when you find the local language totally impregnable it is a real joy to hear your language across the full gamut of the BBC's portfolio.

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

I'm just a teenage intern baby - the future of media reseach?

Got sent this FT link yesterday

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

Livestrong Tour de France messages courtesy of Nike ChalkBot

Regular Tour de France viewers will be well accustomed to seeing messages of support painted onto the roads of France every July. Fans apparently get up at 3 and 4 in the morning to get their message to their guy on the key climbs - which this year will be the likes of Col du Tourmolet and Mont Ventoux. Its as much a part of the race as the yellow jersey, shaved legs and the inevitable drug related subterfuge

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

Glastonbury 2009 - bands, brands and fans*

Yes it really really really did happen - Glastonbury was the best party on the planet for me and the other 170,000 lovely people there.

Everything and anything appeared to happen: sun, rain, thunder and lightening, celebrity rumour and confirmation, beers, tears, freaks, green police, police on bikes.

What was very interesting is how this little community existed for 5 days. Well I say little, I heard/read somewhere that the Glastonbury site becomes the 2nd biggest city in the South West of England for 1 week every year. That gives an idea of the scale of the thing. Its immense but never completely overwhelming - feeling more like 6 villages linked by paths in varying states of mud. To get a real sense of it, a walk to the Stone Circle and up to the fence is perfect.

Anyway in between having an all round great time, I tried to occasionally engage brain to think about the communication possibilities Glasto offers and could offer brands.

The first thing to say is the Evis' - father and daugther - just about seem to have got the balance of a going commercial concern and a legendary ethically based festival just about spot on - no mean feat.

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... to Orange. Ah its tough being a Telco sponsor at big events isn't it? When more than 40,000 gather in one place, your phone is simply a camera again. This despite all the infrastructure Orange put in place. That said, Orange seem to have created a nice utility in the Charge and Chill bars, they looked very inviting but queue deterred me (bands to see and all that). Orange also created a decent app on their Glastonbury site. Looks handy but as I said, impossible to download at the festival. They did draw my attention to it by using each and every Gaymers cider pint cup - so i guess it had an OTS of 40 with me.

But to be frank, the corporate sponsors biggest input is two-fold. Firstly to allow Glastonbury to be so much more than any other festival given the level of content; there is just so much stuff going on - 50 stages, 100s of acts and countless more 'entertainers'. Areas like Thrash City and other late night areas are a case in point - a full size helicopter, demolished buildings, flame throwers, dancers and freak shows, post-apocalyptic burlesque and decedent hideaways. I was staggered by the level of detail.

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.
All in all - a simply unbeatable event, superbly executed and I'm sure pretty memorable for all bands, brands and fans involved

* - bands, brands and fans - a term I got from the very excellent music marketing newsletter

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Missing the Ambassador

So i didn't get an invite to the British Ambassadors reception yesterday. I found out about it when I signed up to be a HSBC Premier customer here. HSBC sponsored the event - a shindig for the Queens birthday I think - but clearly I didn't quite cut the mustard to get on the guest list.

In a complete act of pleasing coincidence, I was looking at the Innocent Smoothies blog today. Imagine my surprise that that these doyens of healthy living were passing a spare 15 minutes by gorging themselves on Ferrero Roche in a world record attempt. Apparently the record is a mere 7 in 1 minute - I say mere, maybe Ferreros are a bit like Jacobs Crackers - simply impossible to eat more than 3.

Anyway - the Innocent chaps had this timeless piece of advertising. I had to add it - simply as I had a very tenuous reason to do so. Was the British Ambassadors reception at all like this? That would have been really spoiling me.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The hazards of the new music economy

In the week when the 'Digital Britain' report was published - issues around digital piracy are once again making headlines. Record company execs (those that are left) continue to rub their chins and consider how money is to be made by their artists. Artist they have invested considerable sums in mentoring and promoting.

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.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The fastest animal on earth...official

Sometimes i might just post stuff that grabs my attention. Here's an example - a fascinating picture in the Guardian today

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

How to build a social network

This move to a new city and workplace got me thinking last night (over herring and vodka incidentally). This is the first time since leaving home to go to university (in the days pre abundant access to internet) that I have been forced to build a social network, a real live one, from scratch.

Less of the typical Uni chat of where are you from, what A Levels did you do and what halls are you staying in maybe, but this is a very novel situation to be in. Not just novel, also pretty daunting at times when you consider it - I don't know the place, i know nobody here and to cap it all - Polish is the 3rd hardest language for a Brit to learn (behind Vietnamese and Korean I am reliably informed by the Brit/Pole expert, Michael Moran in "A country in the moon').

So how the hell do I go about it?

Well, when something appears that difficult you cheat a bit dont you. I'm not talking 'buying in' friends and favours. More using what wasn't there for me in Leeds 1991 - yes, da internet.

A few weeks ago, after finding the majority of web forums/blogs re being an Expat in Warsaw to be very limited or horrendously out of date - I stumbled upon

A site for expats and 'global minds'. Now I'm not professing to posses a global mind, but I thought i'd give it a go. So far so good - you sign up, they assess your 'globalness' (i passed happily) and you get put in touch with other Expats in your city of choice.

The big test comes tomorrow night - when virtual becomes real - there is a gathering in a high-end Warsaw bar/club. So no more messaging and poking, creating and adding to forums (loads of v helpful info for me about opening bank accounts and other highly practical stuff). No its time to meet and talk for real. Lets hope I'm global enough for 'em. I'll report back on the fun.

I guess the comms point of this - yes thats what I do so I'd better make an intelligent observation - is another great segmentation opportunity. Hence thats why The Economist and Allianz and Skype appear to be partners - global brands for global folks. I say appear, as I'm kind of waiting for the payback. This is a value exchange, they have put me in touch with some new (hopefully nice) people - surely they will want my attention as a result. Nothing obvious yet, I'm interested to see how it works and how Internations monetise what is a pretty impressive site.

Anyway lets see how it goes - I am a notoriously bad networker (tend to talk to my friends only) but as I said, its like Leeds in October '91 - there's only one way to enjoy this, time to get out of the comfort zone.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

20 years of democracy in Poland - do they still love politicans this much?

Day 2 in Warsaw so I thought I'd go and explore in between rain showers. I was drawn to the sound of live music. I walked past a fashionista bar called CONfashion - awful name and bizarre papping going on outside, to the opera house. A huge Glasto scale stage has been erected and a local band were mid-sound check. I had no idea what was going on, no one in the office had mentioned a festival. It was only as I strolled on and found an outdoor photo gallery that all became clear.

Its 20 years since free democratic elections in Poland - and there's going to be something of a party tonight. CNN also helped me grasp this (my only English language channel) with a Poland Week.

I love this pic of Lech Wavensa - taken in 1981 when he was leading the ship workers of Gdansk against the might of the Soviet Bloc and Marshall Law. So I asked myself - could politicians be as popular now?

Well of course not - he was a freedom fighter, a revolutionary then. I need to research more his record as President and see how it went. What I do know is that according to the Independent, Poles as so content with the EU, the turnout on Sunday could be as low as 15-17%. Not a sign of utter apathy or, in the UKs case, disgust. Simply a sign of basic satisfaction.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Not a film homage site

Ding dong, Li Hang, Wing wang
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....