Monday, 13 September 2010

I Pad - everyone's playing catch up

I read an FT article on a research note put out by a Tech analyst at UBS over the weekend. It predicts Apple will shift 28 million I Pads globally in 2011 - having already seen 3 million fly of the shelves since launch in April.

I myself have seen how Apple's rolling release approach gets markets literally frothing with desire. IPad hits Poland later this month - and tech nuts are getting quite over excited

Seeing these "conservatives' figures from UBS will probably have Apple pretty chipper too - whilst the competition will be playing a long, painful game of catch up. This infographic (courtesy of really demestrates Apples enviable position in this market.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Social Shopping - the ZO Moxie monthly trends video

Yesterday it was Social Gaming

Today Social Shopping

Here's a quick run down of some key global trends in the new wave of e-commerce.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Social Gaming - a growing opportunity for brands

I'm not a gamer - I flirted with games on the various computing devices I've owned since the age of 10 - but they have never dominated my life in the way that serious 'gamers' tend to allow.

Its also very possible that your 30-something blue-chip client - either a brand manager or media specialist - isn't a gamer either. Far too busy to waste hours on some driving or combat game.

Perhaps a reason why the true power of games has yet to be realised by brands. The lack of client empathy held internet investment back for years in my opinion. Clearly there are great examples of brands using gaming as part of the communications mix. Notably Burger King's 'King Game' series - sold at their restaurants. Plus examples of brands involved in MMO like Puma and Football Superstars (a ZO client and newcast deal).

My attention was drawn again to the subject today when I saw a story on Mashable about the hugely successful Madden NFL franchise begin translated into a Social Game. It grabbed my attention because as an NFL nut, this is one gaming franchise I have sunk some cash into over the years. Most recently buying the highly addictive IPad app for Madden 11.

Then I started to do some reading, and the numbers are really quite startling:

Around half of Facebook's now 500 million users play social games

56 million Amercians play social games

Facebook's hit games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars have made their developer - Zynga - a $4bill (valued) company

This was a trend that very few people saw coming. The fact is that Social sites, well lets just say Facebook shall we, has lowered the barriers of access to gaming (console, game cost) much like You Tube has done for video. People are playing, often relatively low quality, but free games on a regular basis in huge numbers.

"Now playing games is literally a click away, and you don't have to look for them because your friend will tell you where they are. That's been a key driver" said Kristian Segerstrale, co-founder of Playfish: a social-gaming company, one of the big successes on Facebook and bought by Electronic Arts for nearly $300m at the turn of the year. Playfish indeed developed the Madden NHL social game for EA.

So millions of consumers are welcoming and enjoying these "15 minute" gaming experiences. what amazes me is how few brands are really utilising this massive opportunity. A chance to build 'old fashioned' media metrics like reach (just look at the hours spent on social and gaming by obvious audience like teens but also less likely ones - Housewives with kids). Plus building unique brand experiences - that are sharable, competitive, fun.

Chocolate manufacturer, Cadbury, have seized on this opportunity with the launch of their hugely innovation London 2012 campaign - Spots Vs Stripes. Reading the background to the thinking, it was all very analogue - the simple pleasure we get as humans from competing on any level - a race up the stars, thumb wars in the pub. So Cadbury have created a massive social gaming platform

With many client companies still at the early stages of their social media development - indeed maybe we'll always be at the beginning of the learning curve, as the curve tends to accelerate at pace - more should consider the potential in developing social games as part of the on-going strategy. I know plenty of non-game playing brand managers who'd love to have key consumers spending 15 minutes with their brands.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Pre roll ads - when ads and content need caution applied

I just read the news of a gastly accident during the "California 200" an off-road truck race event that occured this Saturday night.

A racing truck, travelling through at dusk through the Mojave desert flipped when taking on a 'rock pile' and crashed into a group of spectators. The resulting carnage left 8 dead and many more badly injured.

Naturally in the digital age, people were filming the event on phones and cameras - some of this footage found its way very quickly to the traditional news outlets and then to You Tube.

Unfortunately, it seems no one at Google/You Tube pre-checked the pre-roll ad that CBS had running in the lead into this horrific news item. The result - an ad (at least when I viewed twice) for All-State insurance featuring a car getting rear-ended.

Clearly this is a hugely unfortunate error - probably due to lack of proper tagging, but also due perhaps to a lack of supervision by the agency/CBS/You Tube/and maybe even the client Allstate. Either way, lessons need to be learnt form this as more and more digital display money goes into pre-roll ads and more viewers use You Tube as a primary source of news footage.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Sky and the HBO content coup

Today came news that BSkyB (owner of pay-TV platform Sky TV in the UK) had signed a whopping content deal with HBO - the hugely successful cable TV operator and producer.

The deal will give Sky access to HBO's first class library of productions - including The Wire, The Sopranos, True Blood and Martin Scorsese's eagerly-awaited crime drama Boardwalk Empire. It is believed to be worth around £150m over five years.

I think this illustrates a couple of interesting developments at Sky.

Clearly as Sky have recently been forced to relinquish their monopoly on Sky Sports channels, by allowing BT Vision to carry live Premiership games for example, Sky are looking to diversify their consumer offer. Whilst Sky claim that only 5% of their viewing is football related, it doesn't take a genius to understand that a far higher proportion of their subscriber revenue is directly football related. If this revenue comes under any kind of threat (not sure how much impact the BT deal will have in the short term), then clearly Sky must find other reasons to encourage subscribers to choose Sky, stay with Sky and ideally become a high value customer through taking Sky + and HD options too - which seems to be going very well right now.

So there is diversification going on to shore up subscribers, but also I feel this is part of a confident Sky move to strike for audience growth also as rivals ITV and Channel 4 go through a period of upheaval and re-gearing - with new management teams and profit short-falls.

Sky is reported to have a content development/acquisition pot of 1.7 bn GBP - versus BBC 2 (who originally screened The Wire to great acclaim) having c. 500 mill GBP. It is certain that Channel 4's programming budget will be under increased public scrutiny - indeed this HBO deal really feels like the sort of deal Channel 4 would have been 1st in line for 4-5 years ago. And ITV seem to struggle for consistency in either produced or bought in formats.

That said, Sky also have had their own troubles with self-made programming. Davina McCall's big budget Got to Dance failed to pull in big audiences earlier this year.

It also means that The Wire will soon be on the broadcast sponsorship market - who will be first in the queue? The Baltimore Tourist Authority perhaps?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Famecount - keeping tabs on social media efforts

As we enter the end of the group stage of the World Cup finals in South Afirca. It's not just teams like England. Germany and Portugal who nervously await their fate, the lack of progress into the knockout stages will have serious financial and status implications. The financial gold-mine that is the World Cup is also a vital time for many of the world's biggest brands. Will there huge investments to become FIFA partners pay off? Brands such as McDonald's and Hyundai have spent 100s of millions of US$ to be part of the world's biggest sporting event over the last 10-12 years.

Another brand looking nervously at its investment is Adidas. As official sportswear partner of the World Cup finals, Adidas gets a huge boost at every finals - from player and team endorsement through to pitch-side perimeter boards and sponsored TV coverage in certain territories. However there is a dark spectre making Adidas very nervous, and that is its old rival Nike. Nike have continued their policy of become official partner of the FIFA event, but they stick to their 'ambush marketing' strategy plus massive sums paid to individual players and football federations to supply kits.

Nike have already claimed to be the winner in this mammoth head to head of the sports giants. This seems a little premature but Nike feel they are winning the battle of the buzz. According to Nielsen Buzzmetrics, Nike have achieved a 30.2% of the brand buzz around South Africa 2010, while Adidas trail with 14%. Time will tell but it does throw up interesting questions about how brands track and quantify their social media efforts.

One interesting tool that came to are attention a little while ago is Famecount http://http// a free service which creates a % Famecount or index for brands by aggregating their performance across Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Topping the Famecount brand charts right now is Starbucks, mostly due to its 8 million Facebook friends and near 1 million Twitter followers. Starbucks embraced social media some time ago, so they have been adding friends and followers in a gradual organic manner, hence their Famecount of 68.8%. In second place sits uber-brand Coca-Cola with 52% and Pepsi nowhere to be seen. Coke's closest category rival in the social space appears to be Red Bull, thanks in part to more You Tube channel subscribers. Clearly a reflection of the original content Red Bull as a brand prides itself on and which indeed its brand DNA is built on.

What is interesting is that few of the top 20 brands in the survey are doing particularly well with their You Tube strategy. While Famecount assigns the lowest value to You Tube (25% vs 45% for Facebook and 30% for Twitter), a well executed You Tube channel can be incredibly powerful for brands. Hence the virtually unknown outside of social media, Blendtec, achieving a position of 39th, just behind Pizza Hut and ahead of Blackberry. All on a spend in the region of a few $100,000 versus $100,000,000. The Blendtec channel, "Will it Blend" is a cult success, with brand owner Tom Dickson blending everything from golf balls to an I Pad. As of mid June 2010, the brand has received over 117 million views on You Tube.

Famecount certainly does illustrate how smaller brands can and are outwitting their bigger spending rivals with smart social media strategies. Both Jet Blue and South West Airlines are 2 smaller US airlines with Famecounts in the top 20. In part this is due to their long-held customer service principles but also their novel use of the this newer media space. Southwest have games imbedded into their Fan-page that encourage the user to share with their Facebook friends. Easy, simple tactics that more brands should try to emulate.

And so back to Adidas and Nike. Well according to this slice of social media life, it is Adidas who are trumping their Amercian rival. Adidas Orginals has a score of 37.8% driven by its 3 million Facebook friends. As a follower of this myself, I know its good rich and engaging content, not just ads. This week for instance, we had the chance for a live chat with Adidas-star Snopp Dogg. I'm sure he'd love to know his famecount before he re-negotiates his next contract, well now he can use this great tool to find out.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Zoogle Day Poland 2010

Chewy Trewhella Google UK speaking at Zoogle Poland

A few months in the planning, 4 hours of content, 3 excellent Google speakers, 163 happy delegates.

Zoogle Day Poland has launched, here's to next year.

Steve Paler, Tango Zebra/You Tube @ Zoogle Poland

Artur Waliszewski Google PL @ Zoogle Poland

Jakub Potrzebowski ZO PL CEO @ Zoogle Poland

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Media in Mourning

Tragic, unprecented events in Poland this weekend have led to an unprecented response from Polish media owners. As the nation tries to come to terms with an unimaginable level of loss, a period of national mourning has been declared for 7 days (starting last Sunday and leading up to the funerals on Saturday). During this time, there will be very little commerical media activity in Poland. Indeed most clients have pulled all campaigns and will start again in May.

All networks clearly completed cleared their programming schedules to allow for 24hrs news. All commercials have been stripped from TV, radio, press and main internet portals until Wednesday at the earliest. All newspapers (paper and online) have changed their mastheads - such as market leading Gazeta Wyborcza below - as a mark of respect.

Same goes for TV station idents - they have all added the black ribbon of mourning.

On radio there has been a more subtle change. Perhaps I expected classic funeral march music on all stations. Actually the response has been more thoughful - music stations are still playing music, just more understated tunes, more reflective music. This is acutally much more emotive and a very appropriate response.

I guess this reflects the mood and actions of the nation. Everyone is in shock and very sad. But the overwelming belief in this country that has suffered more than its fair share of tradegy is one of 'it won't kill us, we will emerge stronger'.

Very strange and challenging times indeed....

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Social Network monopoly - the death of Bebo

It appears that the 'winner takes all' predictions about the social networking market are becoming truer by the day.

Yesterday the news that AOL would sell or close the social site, Bebo, effectively signaled the end of another once-successful social network which simply cannot compete with Facebook.

A couple of years ago Bebo was the only website that mattered in the playgrounds of the UK and Ireland when it hit the peak of coolness in 2007. Among 13- to 16-year-olds, Bebo was the place to be seen online, where members could blog, email each other, upload videos and design quizzes – while many adults just didn't quite get it.

AOL saw the potential in the site launched from a San Francisco living room by a husband and wife team and gobbled it up for an eye-watering $850m. Which even then analysts saw as a triumph of ego over due-dilgence.

It was the sites positioning and content that orginally set it apart from other sites and drove traffic to a peak of 40 million unique users in early 2008. An example of such content was the online drama serial Kate Modern.

However, it looks like AOL uninvested and misunderstood the brand Bebo. Compared to Facebooks 2,000 engineers; Bebo employed 40 - leading to technical issues which todays social networker has little patience for.

AOL aim to broaden appeal failed also. Moving away from a small but loyal audience was clearly an error. Figures from comScore show the dramatic shift – Bebo's monthly users in the UK fell by 60% from February 2009 to February 2010 to 3.8 million, while Facebook's grew 24% over the same period to 28.1 million.

So the still privately owned Facebook can count the passing of another social rival backed by big-spending corporates. ITV recently sold Friends Reunited for a mere $42m (just 14% of the purchase price). NewsCorps' My Space, a $580mill Murdoch punt, is struggling to re-position and losing share. And now Bebo goes.

Which all goes to show, people want to hang out where there friends are. So is there any hope for a non-monopolistic market in social networking?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Viral Video - why getting it right as a client rarely means zero media spend.

I was in a pitch meeting recently with a local Polish creative agency. As part of their impressive creds, they showed a viral campaign they had developed about a year ago. It was a subversive and quirky idea in a category untouched by usual viral work - pharma.

Clearly the client was impressed with the idea and, rather predictably, was even more impressed when the agency proudly annouced that there had been zero media spend behind it - it just happened.

This irritated me slightly as it showed a lack of ambition and knowledge on how to really use the media - beyond the most important aspect - having a great idea.

Yes of course viral often means 'free'. There are 1000s of now globally famous virals that have just 'happened', they caught the public imagination, were shared and spread before they are consigned to the library of 'remember that one with the fat kid / kid cute / sexy girl / exploding coke bottle / guy falling off the tread mill ....'


However the vast majority of these are classic UGC that did not have the brief to sell / build awareness / create Excitment in a brand. They were simply a fun way to spend 10 secs to 3 mins.
When you are a brand in this space, it seems to me you have to follow a few rules. Here are some rules from some guys who do know what they are talking about in the viral space -- The Viral Factory. I found their words of wisdom in the BA Business Life magazine March 2010 edition and thought they were worth sharing, I have paraphrased a little bit so forgive me:

Rule 1: Respect the audience

If traditional advertising has been occasionally guilty of treating people like idiots - avoid this tendency line. People can and will talk back to you and about you - through blogs, comments etc.
And while the size of potential Internet audience has us delirious with excitement, bare in mind that if you get it wrong - it can go really really wrong.


Rule 2: Audience 1st, Marketing 2nd

When you buy a 30 sec TV spot - you want to Squeeze every last penny of value from the investment. And why not, its yours and you control it in an environment of apparent focused attention (the commercial break - however we've been talking about Ad Advoiders for 15 years)

With viral you have to earn the audience attention by giving them something they want to watch. So start with that and then figure out how to get key marketing messages across without ruining the idea you thought was so good in the first place.

What do people like? Well Hollywood has a pretty good grasp on this: people like to laugh, they like romance, they like watching people in jeopardy, they like sex, heros, cute things, and they like things that make you go WOW!

Rule 3: Get rid of barriers

If you want people to share what you've created, then make it easy and fun for them to do so. Use content-sharing tools and platforms like You Tube, Flickr, Facebook, Blogger. These are freely available and people are comfortable using them. Of course you can make you're own but that is an additional expense, when money spent (beyond creating the idea) should be focused on....

Rule 4: Promoting your viral

This should be done shamelessly and relentlessly especially in the 1st 2 weeks after realease. By getting into the 'top 100' of viral, work does disproportionately better as more people see and share.

You can focus on getting influencial people - journalists, commentators, well-followed bloggers etc - to spread your message.

However, a greater chance of success sits with having a viral promotional plan and budget in place. We use people like Go Viral to seed brand content- via social networks, content placements, SEO with behavourial targeting. There are 2 main approaches; "pull" seeding - one to many, or "push" content placement in high volume/traffic spaces.

Both are essentially charged on a pay per view model which adds some accoutability to this area and shows that great viral marketing campaigns don't just happen and they like any great marketing campaign, they need focus and investment.

The difference being, if you get it right in viral the idea will fly and your ROI is almost unimaginable - a was in the case of Evian's Rollerskating babies - which was 'planned' to get 2millions view and is currently on 58 million.

Friday, 5 March 2010

TEDx Warsaw - session 2

The second session of the inagrual TEDx Warsaw event. I was 'live blogging' so expect a few typos and the odd loss of thread.....

Kicking off session 2 - Jonathan Ornstein

Jewish life in Krakow

How HRH Prince Charles helped to build a Jewish Community centre in Krakow -but now the need to attract Jews back to Krakow given there are only 150 Jews in Krakow.

Interesting view on how most Jewish people come to Krakow on hertiage tours - and go from ghetto, to concentration camp, to another camp to a cemetary. He compared this with a 2nd generation Japanese going back to Japan - only to visit Hirosima and Nagasaki.

2nd speaker - Noam Kostucki

How selfishness is the best reason to cooperate

3rd - Marek Minakowski - chief scientist at - a leading local portal

He's going to have a stab at predicting the future - excellent

Bascially nothing will change as human brain will not change. Its still going to be a case of Pull and Push - as we pull from Google now and Push to Facebook

Pull might become the 'crystal ball' to which you can pose any question. And push will become some kind of 'perfect secretary' who protects you from the over-burden of infomation.

Hmmm interesting guy but not sure I caught all he said.

4th Speaker -Sandra Bichl

2+2 is less than we are not predisposed to teamwork (apparently in German TEAM stands for "great, someone else to do the work")

Moving on to our hidden talents as individuals - either you've found them and its working for you, or you have yet to discover them (thats nice to hear!)

5th - Sebastian Straube

At current rate of development - we need 3 more Earth's to keep us sustained. That could be a problem

Sustainovation is the answer he tells us.

Bottom of the Pyramid innovation - focusing on the worlds 4 billion who have less than $2/day

Cradle to Cradle innovation - closed cycles for zero footprint

Catalytic innovation - disruptive innovation for social change - such as giving up your time for free

Next - Alek Tarkowski - given I have about 20 mins of battery left, might not get thru the session.

How do you protect culture in the digital age.

It seems that building culture actually means building another building - cultural institutions could use the internet to supplement whats missing.

If instituations move online, they need:

Openess - making stuff available so someone, somewhere can help and find an answer

Sharing -

Sustainability - find ways to support creators over a long time

Durability - what would a 100 year Wikipedia look like?

Indeed the battery did cut out half way thru this talk - shame as it was one of the best (in my view) so far. He went on to talk about cultural curation and how this will become more and more important yet easier - even creating a playlist is an act of curation.

Session closed with an amazing recital by a cellist and acordian player - playing a modern composition by a young Polish musician. Excellent - there is more music to come later. Probably better to see that on

TEDx Warsaw session 1 - live from Warsaw Uni Old Library

The lecture theater of the Uni Old Library building in Warsaw is pretty much packed - that makes 376 keen souls pushed through the morning snow to be at the inaugral TEDx Warsaw.

Its 10am - And as promised we're off with a video from the founder of the TED TEDx why it was set up

Now its the organisier Ralph Talmont-brief housekeeping

1st speaker for precisely 18 mins-Ian Hernandez. "Ever been to the circus?" Trapeze Acrobats and flying

Its all about collaboration. 3 stages
1) Competition: In a positive sense, going the extra mile, self-imporvement

2) Co-operation: its all about agreement

3) Collaboration: its all about creation

Summing up - lifes lessons come from very unusual places, and that achieve remarkable things you need the same trust and committment as an acrobat.

2nd Speaker - Lori Kent - importance of the arts in human culture

30.000 yrs of art in 18 mins - here we go - Cavemen, The Greeks, Dark Ages, Renaissance artists = as superstars, Modernism, right up to the post-post modernism now.

7 things to love about artists: they ...

1 - see well ... have vision - imagination
2 - aritists find a problem
3 - are self-aware
4 - are experts at play - like finger painting as a child
5 - embrace difficulty - Michalango imagine looking at a block of white marble
6 - oopps missed that one
7 - reflect and critique. well before 'crowd sourcing'

By the way - its great seeing an artist present using her own pictures rather than ppt.

Asks us to make our own day more artful, and put it at center of what we do

3rd up - Sergei Sawin - how to build an innovative organistion

1 Have courage to explore - from rubber to nokia phones
2 Know where you want to be in 10 years - if you can not predict the future invent it
3 See the world through your clients eyes - get out of the office
4 Focus on the job people are Tyringe to get done not on the product itself --
5 Discover your non-customers - eg use of the Wii by over 60s - bowling on you tube
6 Find out your lead users --
7 Foster collaborative creativity - Dutch ministry of transpostation has an amazing creavtivty facilty
8 Be open to new ideas
9 Prototype - helps turn ideas into a reality - try and fail a few times - this helps
10 Prepare for tough resistence - innovators are like Rambo - limited resources and no support.

"When the wind of change is blowing you can either build a shelter ... or a windmill" syas the chinese proverb.

4th speaker - Hodge Hodgson

Building carbon-neutral economies. A project at Berlin University - building a building that produces more engery than the inhabitants consume

A solar decathlon architecture in Madrid in June 2010

Oh quick one - all done in 4 mins

Number 5 - Jacek Olechowski

Networks and Trust - can we trust the networks that bring us together?

Toyota, Anderson, Madoff - lose trust, lose everything

Efficient ways of building trust? Because lack of trust is the biggest barrier
Thats why networks can be efficient and builder of trust - eg simply being TEDx event at a level of trust develops between strangers

Effective networks

Peers vs. Hierarchy - everyone feels at the same level
Long term goal v deal driven - not common vision quick deal
homogeneous v too diverse - a few set of rules and values that people can agree on

The social networking sites that are winning are fulfilling certain needs

6th Speaker - Stephen Kines - we're flying through them - do not think everyones getting close to their 18 mins, certainly no buzzer used yet.

Man walks on stage with a cucumber and a condom - this is getting random now - whats the metaphor - oh he's a lawyer and its about protection.

How rules can kill and constrict the entrepreneur - hence a new biz model for his law firms without Billable hours - is that one going to catch on?!

And last up this session - Michal Malinowski

A story teller dressed in traditional Papua New Guinea outfit- setting up a digital repository for stories from all over the world. Quite a trippy end to the session.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Superbowl 44 ads - winners and losers

I wrote last week about Pepsi and Coke taking different appraoches to their use of social media and specifically about using the Super Bowl as a kick-off point for their respective campaigns.

So although us UK viewers were provided with excellent coverage by the BBC - it was obviously an ad-free environment. So today i had a review of the ads which wounds last night, ads costing c. $ 2 million for a 30 second spot.

With the Oscars, the Superbowl half time ad break is the U.S. creative industry's chance to really shine to an enormous audience live and recorded. And with eye-watering media costs - you'd expect some really great work.

But as ever, there were (in my opinion) winners and losers, saints and sinners. I reviewed the ads here at

My clear favorite was from - renting a home service which seeks to encourage holidayers away from hotels and into peoples rented home.

For me they got it spot on. Great creative idea, good use of celebs, and 30 sec media buy which leads you (and you really do want to see more) that are online to see a short film which Heralds the return of the most infamous family holidaying, the Griswalds of National Lampoon fame . I'm not going to provide a narrative -- just have a look here t0 watch / play more

Google Trends updates has not quite yet for last nights activity, but I'm sure will see a surge in traffic, plus a boost in awareness and consideration after this campaign kick off.
I also liked Vizio for its interactive enabled ads - they no doubt understood the longer-tail effect and ensured their You Tube version was interactive, creating a deeper experience with this Internet over TV brand
Doritos ran numerous 'crash the superbowl' ads again. Good to see a big idea from 3 years ago (UGC for Superbowl) still going stong.

The losers - well its hard to say this objectively, its more the ads that I found to stand-out because of their poor execution rather than outstanding work around them.

Dr.Pepper Cherry with a bunch of midgets. Just lame.

Sketchers 'MBT' like show - pretty much looking like a hastily arranged powerpoint create ad for 120 million people to see

And what of Pepsi and Coke? Well Pepsi had the year off to focus on social media, and Coke, well Coke threw money at the problem and invited the Simpsons to create some happiness. Nice enough but somehow left me disappointed.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Cola Wars - this time it's social

They will be a massive break with tradition this coming Super Bowl Sunday. Yes as usual Americans will be glued to their screens (mostly TV screens) for 4 hours or so. There'll be 2 teams trying to outwit and out-muscle each other on the pitch and yes there'll still be a Mamouth spectacular half-time shows, led by the Who.

But there will be a difference during the now legendary half-time TV commercial breaks. For the 1st time in a quarter of a century one of the 2 soft-drink giants will not be there to compete. PepsiCo - home of Pepsi, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and various salty snacks - this year will not be paying in the region of $ 3 million for a 30 second spot. This year, PepsiCo is putting everything into a $ 20mill social media led campaign called The Pepsi Refesh Project.

As part of this CSR scheme, the Purchase-based firm will give donations, ranging in value from $5,000 (€3,592; £3,140) to $250,000, to good causes in the US, with a budget of $20 million in all. Web users will be able to vote for the individuals, groups and organisations which they consider worthy of receiving this funding, with up to 32 grants being awarded every month.

AOL, MTV, NBCU Universal and Yahoo are among the media partners for this communications drive, while Pepsi will also sponsor a reality series, If I Can Dream, on Hulu, the video-on-demand platform.Facebook and Twitter will be among the other services Pepsi will employ in spreading its message.

What is interesting here are two things.

Firstly that Coke is also using social media to promote a huge CSR programme this year. But it is buying into the Superbowl airtime in order to promote its own scheme. Visitors to a dedicated page on Facebook will be able to view a sneak preview of one of these ads if they send a branded "virtual gift" is one of their friends on the service before the Super Bowl. Each time such a "gift" is delivered over duration of the month-long scheme, the beverage maker will award $ 1 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, with a total budget of $ 500,000.

So these two behemoths of FMCG marketing are attempting to play the same game but with different tools. Will Pepsi's purely social punt (delberate pun) see them victorious by creating a larger 'reward' pot and letting the power of the idea generate the traffic required. Or will Coke's 'shock and awe' tactic of using the immense Superbowl audience (ranging from 80-130 million individuals), who tend to deliberately view the half time ads (and indeed PVR them to play again and again), see Coke generate big numbers to this site.

Either way, heres the second interesting point. Both companies are now talking about a new post-digital age where 'experimentation is over'. A recognition of the value to them of digital media that allows and encourages a two-way dialogue.

Clearly it will be interesting to track the evolution of these 2 similar campaigns, sowing the seeds of interest in different ways. It will also be interesitng to see how may of the Superbowl ads (generally always especially created for the event) will have a social media elememt or at the very least a Facebook URL. And look out for more of the same at the next global event of this scale - FIFA 2010 in South Africa.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

You Tube set to rival TV networks in sports coverage

Hot on the footsteps of You Tube's UK content deal with Channel 4 (blogged here last year) it now appears Google's video channel has signed its most significant brioadcast rights deal to date, Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket.

You Tube will show around 60 matches in the tournament, which starts in March, to a global audience. In India alone there is a potential online audience of 60-70 million (depending on source). IPL is currently broadcast by mainly pay-TV operations such as Sky TV in the UK. So its very likely this deal will open up the IPL brand to a huge audience.

Despite losing $470m per year, You Tube must see massive commercial opportunity to take on this deal. Thay will be looking to recoup investment by signing a global sponsor, plus local sponsors in key cricket markets (UK, Australia, Pakistan etc).

It appears that You Tube's live stream of U2 from the rose Bowl was the key testing ground for this move - 10 million viewer worldwide watched the concert. And it's clear that if IPL is a commercial and audience success, there will be more deals to follow.

All very interesting at a time when regulators in the UK are seeking to make live TV sports more accessible to audience by enforcing pricing regulations.

It also seems to me that this deal by You Tube is exactly what Channel4 (now a You Tube content provider) should have been looking to do after losing its grip on live sport after the 2005 Ashes. Channel 4 recently signaled its intentions to reclaim a position in sport by beating the BBC in buying the rights to London 2012 Paralympics coverage

Monday, 18 January 2010

Some happiness for the most depressing day of the year.

Today is 'Blue Monday' and has been since a PR agency coined it so in 2005. It involved some 'questionable' maths, a bit of logical thinking and a neat press release is depressed encourage Brits to book a summer holiday.

While, according to the Guardian article on it The maths has as much scientific rigour as a game of 'rock, papper, scissors'. Blue Monday is now an integral part of the January news agenda, especially when there is no longer any snow to talk about. Showing, I guess, the potential strength of news content - create a day that did not exist before, sit back and wiat for it to grow. A bit like Mother's Day I suppose.

Anyway, as we're all meant to be an absolute low-ebb, I thought it appropriate to share this viral Coke on how to cheer up the Punters at this time of year. Put a dude in Coke machine, place in college Refectory and give away free stuff. Genius


Monday, 4 January 2010

2010 media predictions

So I'm a little late getting to the predictions party. Blame the endless new year revelry, blame the long trip back to Poland - but better later than never. It also gives me the benefit of 4 days in 2010 to see how things are panning out. In the topsy-turvy economy we live in now - things can change pretty quickly.

Making predictions is a great way of starting the year for sure - especially when one of your resolutions is to blog more. Its also a great way to end up with egg on your face when none of your carefully crafted predictions comes true.

Clearly much depends on how well the global economy recovers (or continues to recover depending where you are). Sir Martin Sorrell has used most of the alphabet to describe the shapes of recovery. In the BRICS its a 'V' shape, while in the UK we're looking at the 'L'. Lets just hope its not the dreaded double dip 'W'.

Ok to the predictions:

1) Lets start with an easy one. Facebook will surpass 1/2 billion users well before the end of 2010. There is some science to this one - FB was growing at 500,000 new members a day at certain points in late 2009. Might be hard to keep that number but I don't see it slowing down, especially when you consider the potential for growth in large yet relatively untapped markets like Poland.

As a result, more later adopters will be touched by more social media. Potentially making social media a channel to market as well as marketing channel.

2) The UK election (one thing I can confidently predict before June 2010) will attempt to ape the 2008 US election in many ways. Presidential style debates have already been signed up to by the 3 major parties and with an election date looming, the Tories and Labour will employ every social media technique known to man - and hopefully a few we haven't really experienced yet.

3) The FIFA World Cup in South Africa in June/July will truly see the establishment of internet TV as a mainstream channel. Given the number of afternoon kick offs and South Africa's timezone compared to Europe - WC2010 will see millions of football fans viewing matches from their work desktops, their laptops and increasingly from their i-phones. Commercial broadcasters, all under pressure need to ensure they monetise this channel to make decent returns on the huge rights purchase that a FIFA world cup represents.

4) 2010 will be the year that Rupert Murdoch's much discussed 'online newspaper pay-walls' will get properly road tested. Murdoch's boffins have been stratching their collective heads for some time but apparently they are ready to go in 2010. Whether it be micro-charging or subscriptions - time will tell where the public are willing to pay or whether 'free' is what we now expect. And its not just the News Int titles that are desperate to realise cash based on their editorial investments. The Guardian, whilst being one of the best read online newspapers globally, is losing money hand over fist in the UK and simply must get its model right.

5) Perhaps as I'm not a massive user - I still feel that Twitter has much more to do to go from media phenomana to media powerhouse (in Facebook terms). Twitter appaears to be a long way from realising serious revenues (from advertising) and some of its audience may be under threat if the benefit it has felt from big celebrity names tweet less and less (Stephen Fry's self-imposed exile from all things 'social' and Asthon Kucher's threat to move off Twitter in the USA). Some media rules are true no matter what the medium - celebrities interest people, they sell magazines/newspapers, raise TV ratings and bolster Twitter numbers.

6)In the UK we see 'legalised' commercial TV product placement from the summer. Will the 'new' format realise the 140 million pound boost to broadcasters fortunes that the Culture Secreatry Ben Bradshaw has predicted? While the debate continues as to whether product placement should indeed come in (ISBA have just released a suprise U turn and are now against the idea) it will take the belief of advertisers, patience of consumers and willingness of producers for even a small proportion of this ambitious target to be reached.

7) Apple will release another piece of technology that will become quickly adopted and will have the marketing community pondering how best to use the new 'tablet' for communication purposes. It looks like late Jan might be the date Steve Jobs takes the stage and reveals all. Suffice to say, it will look great and we'll all want one.

So that's it - I know 7 is an odd number but 5 seemed lightweight and frankly I couldn't think of 10.

Maybe I'll come back in December and see how these got on.