Tuesday, 27 March 2007

John Drinnan: TVNZ looking for iTunes web link

John Drinnan: TVNZ looking for iTunes web link - 27 Mar 2007 - NZ Herald: New Zealand Business and Personal Finance News

Smart move. iTunes lets you aggregate your own stuff, rather than having to depend on a proprietary, browser-based player.

Elderly baby-boomers take over America

Elderly baby-boomers take over America

Mr Fell's company makes a living telling executives how to change their advertising to target the new elderly. He recently spoke to casino owners in Las Vegas. His message: out with the cheap bus tours, in with the razzmatazz and dazzle. Effectively, they should market to the elderly as they do to the young. "The extent that they have to change almost shocks them," he said.

Effectively, they should market to the elderly as they do to the young. This should make things a lot simpler!

Monday, 26 March 2007

First TVNZ, now Ribena - Gen C strikes!

Hannah Samuel blogs about the two 14-year-olds who are landing GlaxoSmithKline in hot water over the amount of vitamin C in Ribena - close to zero, according to the girls' science project.

It's just like the Famous Five, only it's real!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Just for laughs...

From MikeysFunnies.com ... an oldie but a goodie:

The following list of phrases and their definitions might help you understand the mysterious language of science and medicine. These special phrases are also applicable to anyone reading a Ph.D. dissertation or academic paper:

I didn't look up the original reference.

These data are practically meaningless.

An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

The other results didn't make any sense.

This is the prettiest graph.




I think.

A couple of others think so, too.


Rumor has it.

A wild guess.

Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of soda.

I don't understand it.

They don't understand it either.

Mr. Blotz did the work and Ms. Adams explained to me what it meant.

A totally useless topic selected by my committee.

I quit.

TBI Tuesday Q&A: Jonathan King :: The Big Idea :: an online community of New Zealand's creative industries

TBI Tuesday Q&A: Jonathan King :: The Big Idea :: an online community of New Zealand's creative industries

No comment, more of a personal bookmark so I can read it later. Also see the interview with Jonathan King in the latest Idealog. (The article's not online yet, but the podcast is)

Bum Rush the Charts

The people are flexing their power today, or tomorrow, depending on your time zone.

Bum Rush the Charts is an attempt by "all of us" to show the music industry that we don't freakin' need them! How do we show them that? By putting an independent artist at #1 on the iTunes store charts.

This is so Generation C! The power of many motivated individuals taking things into their own hands. Wonderful!

So today's the day, and there are detailed instructions at http://bumrushthecharts.blogspot.com/. If you're in New Zealand, it'll cost only $1.79. Only trouble is, the iTunes store isn't working right now. Does this mean the project is a success and the servers are overloaded?

I previewed the track and it's great. Just one little comment to whoever chose the band - to make it a little more inclusive, could we have an artist that doesn't have soft-porn cover art next time?

What Makes You Comment?

Bryan Eisenberg brings Direct Marketing nous together with a keen understanding of the internet. He sort of fell off my radar for a while, but I've come across his blog and (via JaffeJuice) discovered this thread on the psychology of commenting.

It's an interesting question, particularly because the most successful sites depend on the community of commentors.


Hugh McLeod is one of the best writers I've come across on the subject of new media marketing, he also does really funny little cartoons.

hugh's edelman talk

seen on Seth Godin's blog

Good news all around for TV/film production industry


Although some of the commenters on the blog are struggling to understand what "vertically integrated content development and media service" means.

Duh. It obviously means...



Sounds interesting, anyway.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Monday, 19 March 2007

Inspiring quote via Chicago, Taiwan and Auckland

At last week's New Thinking Week I was truly inspired by the story of Colyn Devereux-Kay, founder of Les Floralies and Egg Maternity.

She mentioned a quote she'd read on the wall of a supplier in Taiwan, and noted down. I've googled it and found the origin of the quote - an architect called Daniel Burnham.

Here's the quote:

Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.

The title of the first "additional reference" is nearly as long as the quote.



Sunday, 18 March 2007

Weekend viewing in brief

Fantastic Four: Fantastic entertainment. Not an art movie, nor a deep character study, but a rollicking good ride that combined special effects with interesting characters. Nice special features on the DVD too - a fun commentary with Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd and Michael Chiklis, as well as a gruelling doco following the four on their PR tour opening the film. Makes you think twice about being a movie star!

Two Weeks Notice: Had some really funny moments - and Grant and Bullock are great comedic actors - but the story kind of dragged in parts. It was a pretty predictable story, which you normally tackle by making the journey full of unexpected twists and turns. This story didn't, and suffered for it.

Both of these movies used humour and improv for those really magical touches. There's just something about improv that makes it seem so incredibly well written "That's just so real!". Well, because it is.

I've also been watching the video podcast from BestofYouTube.com - interesting to see what's the most popular. We still love spectacle, and it's interesting to see the number of videos that feature real life special effects, for instance urban acrobats or men in coats (which I remember seeing about 5 years ago!).

I guess what I'm saying - not that I meant to say anything - is that entertainment audiences today are searching for authenticity. Humanity. Oh the humanity.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Invest in this blog

Just trying something out here... Tall Street is a new "social recommendation search engine". Members vote on their favourite sites. Interesting take on search.

If you like MadYoungThing, please, check it out and invest a few fictional Tall Street cents:

Invest in this site, Help the Little Guy, at Tall Street

New building material for cars

blog.detectivemarketing.com: A Lego Volvo and a funky R2-D2

I want one!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

PR is a core competency in the Web 2.0 world

In this month's Marketing Magazine I look at the intersection of the PR industry and web 2.0. Since writing it, I've come to the conclusion that PR/communications is one of the core competencies in the web 2.0 world.

Lo and behold, Jonathan Carson, CEO of Nielsen Buzzmetrics, agrees with me - and expertly parses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths of the PR industry in a web 2.o context.

Mouthpiece Blog | The Buzz on Consumer-Generated Media

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Generation C, globalisation and exporting

Pew Research Center: A Portrait of "Generation Next"

Interesting facts here from Pew Research. Generation Next, aka Generation C, does believe that it is a unique and distinct generation (68% said they did, anyway).

Of course, this is just American research and doesn't necessarily reflect the rest of the world, but ... as they say, when America sneezes the world catches a cold, and that's even truer in this day of globalisation.

Of course, globalisation also means that a small country like New Zealand has the potential - potential, mind - to be a pretty powerful sneezer as well.

This week I'm at New Thinking Week, a series of events designed to help businesspeople think globally. So far the three speakers I've heard seem to be saying the same old thing, without making it as new or exciting as it actually is.

What are they saying? Export. New Zealand needs it for growth, your business needs it. Do it.

But they're saying it in the same old way, telling few stories and instead giving us lots of powerpoint slides and bullet points. Maybe I'm atypical of the business audience there, but I'm thinking there's got to be a better way to communicate just how exciting this concept is!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

So I'm on Second Life now

I've jumped on the bandwagon that is Second Life - all in the name of journalism, you understand.

My avatar (pictured) is named Gerontius Wunderlich, and since this snapshot was taken, I've lost the party hat and acquired a headset mic. Don't know why but it looks cool.

I'll be reporting my exploits here and also in my monthly online column in NZ Marketing Magazine.

So far, I've discovered the worldwide headquarters of Crayon, a company that switched me onto the marketing potential of SL in the first place, and TOUCHCAST/NEXT, a New Zealand-based marketing company.

There's also some amazing creativity that goes on. When you don't have to deal with physical materials, the only limit is your imagination. Perhaps some of the products being developed in Second Life will make their way through to real life. Time will tell.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Christian virtual ghettoes - why?

Thanks to Russell Brown's Hard News, I've recently discovered two Christian web resources, GodTube.com and Conservapedia.

Conservapedia claims Wikipedia is biased, anti-American and anti-Christian; that's why they need to reinvent the wheel (while copying the design verbatim from Wikipedia).

While the site looks lame, I can understand the perceived need to set up your own game if - and that's a big if - the claims of bias are true, and if you have enough volunteer power to create something as extraordinary as wikipedia. Otherwise, just do an ordinary website, don't call it a wiki.

But GodTube - why?? As far as I know there's no rules against posting explicitly Christian material on YouTube. It's a very nice, slickly presented site, but it makes me think of what a mistake Christians make when they lose track of the mission - to love God and love your neighbour - and instead set about building a deeply irrelevant subculture.

I heard a brilliant sermon recently on the Emergent Podcast about "finding our God in the other". It asks, why are Christians uncomfortable participating in conversations we cannot control? It's an honestly asked question, partially answered in a respectful, challenging and thought provoking way.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Well done PSM Healthcare - glass half full service

In the process of innovation, we're bound to make a mistake. How a business deals with mistakes can make the difference between glass half full and glass half empty.

The glass was definitely not half full for my wife Marie. Her bottle of "fresh as!" shower gel had fallen off it's hook, breaking its nozzle in the process, and oozed more than half its contents down the drain. It was like a murder scene with no victim and orange, gelatinous blood.

There was no explicit return policy on the packaging, but Marie saw nothing to lose by ringing the toll-free number.

The person on the other end was just that - a real person, who listened to Marie's dilemma, empathised and let Marie know this was a common problem that the manufacturers were working on. She then offered to send two replacement bottles to Marie.

Well done PSM Healthcare, for providing very human and very responsive customer service. One suggestion: make it explicit on your packaging that people can expect real help, and even replacement product if they're not satisfied, when they ring your 0508 number.

Environmental awareness in consumers

This report from NBR shows the most wealthy consumers want their dollar to count for the environment, as well as for good quality products.

(Quite amazing for the "we don't believe in Global Warming" NBR!)

Great to see some good, ideologically neutral, bottom line info for businesses to start giving a damn. After all, whatever your worldview - whether we're all part of some glorious whole, or distinct individuals, or some combination of both - we're not independent of our environment. As the Palmolive ad used to say: you're soaking in it!

Monday, 5 March 2007

TVNZ on-demand non-Mac friendly - phooey!

It never mattered much before whether web services were Mac-friendly - until I got a Mac!

So it's interesting to see the progress so far on TVNZ's OnDemand, as reviewed by Throng.

PS: (Added the next day) Discovered the review was by a 14-year-old who found their way into the not-yet-launched service by guessing the address. Generation C, take a bow!

(Two-headed hat tip: David Farrar and Public Address System:Monitor)

'Allo world

My first foray into videoblogging. Entirely worthless except perhaps for historical value!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Mini Review: The 40 year old virgin

This was the film everyone said I should see when I began writing The Last Gribblehickey, and I know why.

Geeky guy, can't get a girl. Afraid. Well-meaning friends who don't really have a clue. Transvestite prostitutes. True love, almost trumped by a huge mistake and miscommunication.

And all done in a far more R-rated way than I would care to.

It's not that The 40-year-old virgin wasn't funny. It's just that - call me old-fashioned - if I had known that it was this close to porn I wouldn't have seen it. And it had maybe as much swearing as The Departed, which I saw last week (and loved, and haven't reviewed yet).

For all that, it had a really sweet message at its heart - that delaying sex for the sake of a committed, monogamous relationship (some call it marriage!) is a really, really healthy idea.

It's a shocking, surprising idea to come out of Hollywood, but there was plenty of the opposite ideas in the process of telling that idea. Which often happens in movies - note the number of anti-war movies that have horrific violence in them.

Thinking back to the screenwriting - Virgin is a predictable enough tale, but it's buoyed up by a lot of improvisation by some of the hottest comedic talent around. What's an aspiring writer to do with that? All the received Hollywood wisdom says that once you send your script in it'll be changed around beyond recognition anyway, unless you do the whole thing yourself.

Answering my own question: I guess the key is to find, define and own your own space, your own style. And if that style is clean (or at least slightly cleaner!) then maybe, just maybe there's an audience out there for it.

Friday, 2 March 2007

The Dawkins Confusion - Books & Culture

The Dawkins Confusion - Books & Culture

The parts I understand of this review are quite entertaining. Well done to Alvin Plantinga for demonstrating that Christians can have intelligence, humor, and grace.

"new" media???

The numbers are out for advertising revenue in New Zealand, and while advertising revenue has gone down wholesale, radio and online have shot up.

What does it mean? Here are my educated guesses:
  • Advertisers are losing confidence in traditional, expensive media like TV and print. Radio has always been known as cost-effective, and maybe that message is getting through in a very ROI-conscious era.
  • Radio and online are more personal in their approach, which may reflect multichannel strategies to target people by interest, demographic or psychographic and invite them into a relationship (that would be the smart thing to do, anyway!)
  • The slow but steady rise of unaddressed mail also suggests more businesses are becoming aware of the possibilities of direct marketing.
And, of course, it could be the slowing economy.

But media and marketing are becoming increasingly difficult to silo these days. Right now I'm working on a feature for Marketing Magazine about "new technology" - an impossibly broad brief. In fact, I'm always writing about technology.
  • When I write about TV, I end up writing about online.
  • When I write about newspapers, I end up writing about online.
  • When I write about outdoor, I mention TXT.
  • When I write about PR, I write about blogging.
Truth is, these "new" media are about ten years old, as Steve Shearman pointed out to me yesterday. But what is new is the fact everyone's a) heard of them, and b) can see the possibilities.

Welcome to the future. Confused? You will be.

More on Generations in the workplace

I'm really enjoying Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over: How Organizations Use Stories to Drive Results. After posting the other day about Generation C, this paragraph in the book caught my attention.

It is no accident that quality of life - a second issue of the new era - is a key factor in how a mobile workforce of the 'best and brightest' chooses to live and work. As more and more baby boomers retire, there will be a period where the smaller Generation X population will not be big enough to fill all jobs. This will eventually subscide with the maturation of Generation Y, which is actually more numerous than the baby boomers. However, there will be major challenges filling key jobs in the interim, making the need to recruit and retain key talent more critical than ever.

How to interview

I normally get way too much information from my interviewees, which is usually fine, since the extra information often provides context or other story leads.

But when you're up against someone who doesn't want to give too much away, these tips may come in useful.

My favourite: hypnosis.

When people reach an important part of a story, slow them down and turn them into storytellers. Ask where they were standing, what they were doing, what they were wearing, what was the temperature and what were the noises around them? Then switch to the present tense, and ask questions like: What are you doing now? What is your friend saying? You and the interview subject will walk through the scene together. This technique frequently fails at first. People prefer to tell their story the easy way, in the abstract. "I drove the car off the cliff." Tell them this won't work. "I'm trying, but I just can't picture it yet. Drive me off the cliff with you." This is how you get a story, not a bunch of facts.

I would've never thought of that. But stories, not facts, are what makes the world go around - as I'm discovering through the book, Wake Me When the Data is Over.

Hat tip: Terry Whalin