We are a nation in mourning. We have been denied our RIGHT by the cheating foreigners. Or, as the more level-headed amongst us migh be thinking, we’ve been spared seven years of small-island jingoism and casual racism, dredging up the ashes of empire in unseemly and ugly fashion. Whichever side of that particular fence you fall on (clue: if it’s the wrong side, sling your hook; we don’t need your sort ’round here), the fact remains that football’s not coming home; it’s going to hang out with Roman and the oil barons instead. Don’t worry, though; they’re both fantastic countries with unimpeachable records on human rights! Eh? Oh.
Leaving aside frivolous sporting matters for a moment, it has once again been a BIG WEEK. Everyone’s favourite agent provocateur Julian Assange has been disclosing secrets left right and centre – and noone can complain, because it’s ‘in the public interest’! (this is my new favourite statement, largely because ‘the public’ is such a large, amorphous entity that almost anything can be considered to be, to some degree, in its interest. Basically meaning that anything is, to an extent, permissable. Thanks, Julian, for ushering in a new era of libertarianism). Top Tip for 2011, though – get Julian on your Dead Pool, quick smart.
Elsewhere, the festive season is upon us and so are the advertising campaigns – this video, for example, by La Senza (and I challenge any man reading this to watch that and not feel a bit…well…grubby. I promise; it’s impossible). Web Curios would, however, like to suggest that maybe this year, given how utterly banjaxed everything is, you potentially consider a different approach and perhaps use your monies differently. Or, you know, go ahead and buy that scented candle set that we both know will stay in its packaging in the guest bedroom for evermore. Your call. Of course, if you want to buy me a present then feel free.
(sometimes I think I’m in the wrong industry, you know).
Anyway, enough of this. OTHER STUFF has been happening – INTERNET STUFF (seamless segue, I think you’ll agree). But before we turn our attention to INTERNET STUFF, a picture!
Location-based Stuff: Ok, so I have to put my hands up here and confess that I thought Facebook Places would blow the competition out of the water, and the only times we’d be referring to Gowalla and Foursquare was as examples of the weird things that we thought would be big one day back in 2010. Several things have cropped up this week, however, that make me think that I am an idiot and should possibly reconsider my position on this (amongst other things, but this probably isn’t the place for that type of discussion):
- Gowalla 3.0: What this effectively means is that Gowalla has decided to position itself as the universal check-in tool; that is, using Gowall you will be able to see your friends check-ins made using a whole slew of other platforms – Foursquare, Facebook Places and Twitter, primarily. This makes it suddenly very useful and very relevant – and when you look at what they’re doing in terms of synching up locations across platforms, it makes one think that perhaps there’s a future for them after all. Disney certainly think so.
- Location-based promos: This week has also seen a slew of really quite clever uses of location-based PR and marketing activity, which suggests that brands are finally starting to realise the potential real-world applications of this technology – mostly Foursquare, it transpires. My favourite by far is this personalised reward scheme by KLM, which is sweet and personal and wonderfully Dutch (I think – any Dutch people reading this, feel free to let me know if promos like this are indeed in any way indicative of your national character or whether I am simply making a patronising, lazy generalisation) and falls just on the right side of stalky. Passengers checking in to KLM locations on Foursquare can receive personalised gifts, tailored to them, based on their social media profiles. It’s expensive, and obviously can only be done small-scale, but it’s a wonderful piece of customer engagement. Less cute but equally smart is this promo by GAP, which allows users to check in to its adverts online, which in turn grants special promos on selected articles of clothing and drives push notifications through Foursquare when users are near GAP outlets. It will be interesting to see how successful this is; it could be an excellent (and trackable) way of converting ad views into sales. Possibly the most clever of all, though, is the Foursquare/Safeway/Pepsico linkup in the States, which effectivly synchs the Foursquare app directly with Safeway’s existing loyalty card schemes. This, kids, is the future of retail. Er, I think.
- [POINTLESS ASIDE: I was in Amsterdam last week(end), not doing lungs but instead hanging out with the fine folk of Digital PR. I shan't wax lyrical about what a beautiful, relaxed, relaxing, accomodating and awesome place it is; I shall instead wax lyrical about the INSANELY BRILLIANT Schiphol Airport. I'm not normally an aviation enthusiast, but this place has a museum, an art gallery, a casino, a massage area, a SMOKING ROOM, some amazing restaurants including a cafe with a seating area comprised of giant teapots in which one can sit, and a shop where one can, should one choose, purchase pornography featuring what appears to be a sad-eyed Eric Cantona. You don't get that at Stanstead.]
- Persistent Locations: We’ve touched on this before on Web Curios, but it’s worth mentioning again as in the past few weeks I’ve seen/spoken to a variety of comapnies peddling this sort of tech. Effectively what it will do is enable location-tied push marketing, in much the same way as those posters on the tube a few years back that tried to send you film trailers if you were standing near them with your Bluetooth switched on (or in much the same way that strangers in bars circa 2003 thought it was HILARIOUS to send you ‘funny’ porn anonymously clips via Bluetooth. That happened to you too, right?), except in much smarter and more targeted fashion. Watch this space
- Then again, though, Facebook has Deals…:…and I think it is going to be HUGE. HUGE, I SAY. Then again, though, as has previously been shown, my opinion matters not one iota. Isn’t that right, The Man?
Create a QR Code Campaign, Simply: Personally I remain unconvinced by QR codes, both in terms of current utility and overall longevity, but should you wish to do something with them then this service is a nice, simple way of setting up the service.
Bedpost: Ever think that the internet has gone too far? Ever worry that social media (ARRRRRGH I HATE THAT TERM SO MUCH) and the web in general is impinging too much on your day to day existence? Trust me, it’s only going to get worse. Bedpost, for example, is ‘a personal web application that will give you some insight into your sex life’ (their emphasis). Yes, that’s right, you can now have your very own OCD sex diary! Feel free to go and have a good scrub in the shower to get that slightly weird, dirty feeling off your skin before you carry on reading; I totally understand.
Speaking of the Internet and Privacy and Stuff…: Click the link and read the piece. This week, an Australian man’s attempt to track down a girl he met at a club and took a shine to went viral. This is his story, which is probably one of the most interesting accounts of what it’s like for the personal to become the property of 22million people. It’s sweet, and sort of touching, and it makes you think about the people behind the meme du jour rather harder than you might otherwise.
Research.ly: A potentially useful tool for finding useful / interesting people on Twitter (though personally I still find Google works best, as for most things).
Texts Sent To The Wrong Leila: Exactly what it says on the tin.
Get Your Tweets in Piccadilly: I know that this, or stuff like it, has been done before in Times Square, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first time that it’s been done in the UK. Anyway, Coke is giving people the chance to have their festive Tweets featured on its mega advertising space in Piccadilly Circus. I am guessing that there’s a fairly hefty degree of moderation being applied here, before you start trying “Pepsi Rules”, and other such hilarious gambits. Oh, and this week’s other nice Twitter promo comes from Sony, who are sort of ripping off Old Spice, but in a robotic, automated fashion.
Gawker Media Redesign: Gawker is one of the biggest online media networks in the world, and this week it redesigned itself. The article linked to is an excellent overview as to why, and should be read by anyone with an interest in online publishing and the media, as well as content creation and distribution in general. Which frankly should be most of you.
Leslie Nielsen Died This Week – which is sad, as he was brilliant. Remember him through this awesome collection of his genuinely funny performances in ad campaigns over the past few decades. Man was a comic genius.
Kettling! – In tribute to this week’s student protest, play this fun game all about everyone’s favourite demonstrator-suppression technique du jour! Oh, and if you’re interested in games and narrative and horror at all, do read this excellent piece about the frankly terrifying sounding game Beautiful Escape. And if you’re interested in horror, then this article about the intellectual confluence between Wikileaks and what has been described as ‘the most horrifying film ever’, A Serbian Film, should pique your interest [WARNING - article contains descriptions of some pretty nasty stuff; you have been warned].
Right. Enough. Firefox crashed halfway through this, so effectively I’ve had to write this twice. I think we can all agree it’s not been worth it. VIDEOS:
1) I found this yesterday and got really excited and warmed by the backstory, and then a whole load of people started going on about how it was just a marketing stunt. I don’t care. It’s a lovely song, and I want the story attached to it, about a guy missing his girlfriend and wanting this song to reach her virally, to be true. Listen; it’s short, and your heart’s cockles may just be warmed:
2) Orangina. You have to shake it. Or, alternatively, you have to make a really, really creepy advert featuring anthropomorphised wild animals being human and, in a few really upsetting instances, ’sexy’. Try unseeing this:
3) Geeks will already know Jonathan Coulton as the genius behind ‘Still Alive‘, the closing track from Portal (still one of the best games ever, IMHO). Anyway, he does other non-videogame music, and this video for his song ‘Shop Vac’ is probably the best example of what gets (irritatingly) referred to as ‘Kinetic Typography’. Cee-Lo’s done it recently, but nowhere near as well as this:
4) A few weeks back I posted the video to Game Over, the UK hiphop allstar single. This is the UK’s female MC’s take on it; personally I reckon this one’s more consistent, though with fewer standout moments. Take a look (well, a listen – there’s no video to speak of):
5) Choose Your Own Adventure-style things on YouTube are nothing new, but this song about getting a haircut is one of the cutest executions I’ve seen in a while:
6) Do you remember those toys that were quite big in the 80s, which consisted of penguins (for it was always penguins) going up a motorized staircase, then rolling down a twisty ramp to end up at the bottom of the staircase again, to go back up the staircase, to repeat ad infinitum in some sort of ersatz perpetual motion system? No? Shame, as in that case the retro-reference to this brilliant video by Japanese band Denki will be lost on you. Watch it anyway, though, it’s great:
7) The band is called Solar Bears, the song’s called Dolls; beyond that, though, I have no idea. It’s actually a very beautiful piece of music, and gels very well with the random animation:
45 seconds, but one of the best and truest depictions of depression I’ve ever seen. Watch it, and then go back to the top of the page and donate some money to one of those charities I’ve linked to in para 3. Thanks:
9) To close out, creepy atmospherics from Babe Rainbow with the video for ‘Shaved’. Have lovely weekends, all of you: