Monday, December 31, 2007

The most scaryist time of the year

Well 2007 is on the way out. And as usual in Ireland, all things come to a halt for a while. Christmas is a scary time of the year because, usually, everything gets changed this week. This is probably the reason why resolutions are saved for this time of the year in this part of the world. You've just survived one week of changes intact. Why not make more...

For some people, this is a time of the year when they are handed responsibilities that they normally don't look after. (Some even learned new skills this way). These people (of which I'm one) have their lives thrown a little off kilter for a while. And they have to consider what's important and what needs to change.

For others everything comes to a stop. Work stops. The life of the office stops (and some people try to hide the evidence of what happened at the office party... ah flickr and facebook) and the news cycle slows. For them this comes as a chance to think. And they have to consider what's important and what needs to change.

So the adverts change from "buy this" to "stop smoking" or "start a new hobby with this magazine" and of course "sale now on..." since the Christmas stock costs too much to store.

And so the resolutions begin. The "I'll never rush in to a sale again" is heartfelt but unheeded within a week. So I'll ignore that one.

Yup... resolutions.

What do I want to do or change? Trust me I've had a while to think about these things so...

1) Be master of my own domain...
I don't mean tidy the house (but now that you mention it, the bathroom mirror does need to b put in the bathroom. I mean it's time that and actually got used as something more than a redirect. Part of this is to do with changes that seem to be afoot. The "cork" in "cork-host" may need to change.
All advice gratefully accepted.

2) On your bike...
Personally, I need to get out more. I've used every excuse not to cycle this year. 2008 will see a saddle put under strain. Regularly. That and go back to Capoeira again. Things sort of stopped over December.

3) Learn (or relearn) a language...
I've always been more a OnLamppp man than an AJAX man. So I'm going to refresh and perfect my Perl, python and PHP. I do intend to get Ruby (and maybe rails) in my head. Sort of useful with a domain eh? Somehow I just know that Java will need something more formal than a commitment by me. Any pointer to classes or tutorials would be appreciated.

What, you assumed French? (Actually Portuguese would be useful for Capoeira but that's another story.)

4) Take time to smell the roses...
Or actually plant them. Simply put, my garden is a mess. Actually that not true. I was careful. My garden is black. Black weed-proof plastic. I need to do some things. Lay a patio. Do "something" with a terrace. I genuinely don't know what should happen out there. I do know I need the hardscaping finished. Help?

5) Give voice...
This is neither a resolution nor a commitment. But my attendance at PodCamp Ireland and the forthcoming Creative Camp gave me an idea... which I'll post later.

I think that is enough. You can't make yourself too many resolutions simply because putting too much pressure on yourself almost guarantees that you won't do any.

Any resolutions or advice?

take care,
Will Knott

tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My access over the next few weeks is going to be sporadic so I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and I hope to post properly soon.

take care,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Get Granny texting

There was a minor kerfuffle when Meteor aired an advert which seemed to be ageist.

And while Jessica James, may have had fun filming the advert, as a 91 year old she may not be a regular texter.

Which got me thinking. I know that while Granny Mar is still a young woman, she isn't the first person you would come to mind with when it comes to high end technology... so I'm going to make a request... to Meteor.

Get granny texting. Find and film a senior citizen using your products. Upload it to youtube and try to viral it. Even if you don't succeed you can at least point to it as an attempt to make up for the kerfuffle. You could make a series, and I suspect that not only would it smooth the troubled waters created, you might even sell more product.

There is a niche market in making technology for senior citizens. However any product designed for this market is going to have an interface that most people would love. Large screen and buttons would be a start. It's not as if old people don't get technology. Watch the grandparent playing on a Wii (if you can find a Wii) and you'll see a simple and intuitive interface that everyone will love. That's usability!

Living Control are a UK based company which use the tag line is so simple an adult can use it. Do we loose out ability to do things as we get older. Well, yes, but not that much.

There are frequent adverts on the radio at this time of year about keeping an eye on elderly neighbours. Why not give them the technology and the time to learn how to use it so they can communicate the way we're used to. A friendly chat isn't as good as an IM chat, but it's a start.

And while I'm on the topic. Could anyone recommend the computer set-up I should get my mum using?

take care,

tags : , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If IKEA came to this town

Part of the main news tonight was that IKEA opened in Belfast. The predicted hordes didn't show (a sign of economic slow down perchance?) The part of the news that didn't mention was that the plans to open such a shop in Dublin is still stalled.

Well right now a new motorway (more M8, but at least its a more usable lenght) is being built between Cork and Cashel. So there is prime retail land for a major superstore which could be built in Cork (or South Tipperary). Add on and off ramps to the motorway (with a long extra lane, an piles of hard shoulder to take the strain) and it might be viable.

And of course, having something like that in Cork (or South Tipperary) before Dublin is something which would make county hall cackle.

How do you go about checking if its viable?

take care,

update : following this shot I wonder if we could get Harney and O'Keeffe on the couch?

tags : , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Key to Scorsese

Well I said I'd review viral advertisements... and I'm choosing to start with this effort. The advert is called "The Key to Reserva" but if you do a YouTube search you might have to add "Martin Scorsese" and "Alfred Hitchcock" to the search.

Just to explain the format, I'm about to write spoilers now, so you might want to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the embedded video, follow the link above or do a search. I'll wait.

This advert must have cost a fortune to make. Not only did they hire Martin Scorsese to direct but they had to clear the rights to Alfred Hitchcock's posters and to Bernard Herrmann's score to North by Northwest. All of this to market a wine by Freixenet, which sounds like its an online network provider, or a social network (based around wine?). If this is the start of a campaign then it has to be compared to the Hugh McCloud designed Stormhoek campaign.

This advert is an odd fish. The re-created fake Hitchcock movie clearly owes a debt to North by Northwest (notice the R.O.T. monogrammed handkerchief when Robert Thornberry (I read the credits) takes the hot lightbulb. The same monogram appears on Robert O. Thornhill's handkerchief in "North by Northwest"). The look and feel of this movie feels like a Hitchcock, even the Kelly-like blonde (called Grace in the credits) seems right. The script surrounding the movie however feels like something Christopher Guest would write. With the plot of the piece, it would like to see a feature length version of the premise if Guest wrote it.

The advert, with a running time of a little shy of 10 minutes feels like an escapee rather than a viral. In fact, given the number of times the same advert shows up on YouTube, it might be. And a broadcast advert with closing credits has precedent. However if this is a viral it does make some sense. There are frequent rumours of drink advertising being banned from television, and while this format does suit age checked cinema audiences, an internet drive would get more viewers. The subject matter, namely Martin Scorsese making a movie based on a Hitchcock script is also not a subject likely to attract a very young audience. Plus, making the subject of the advert be the the MacGuffin of the re-created movie is an idea that Hitchcock might agree with.

Freixenet aiming for the same audience of most wines... those who like to wrap themselves in a little glamour (a crowded market), and maybe the film geeks. Stormhoek aims for the tech geeks. I'm sure that there is an overlap, but whichever is the more successful has yet to be seen.

As amusing as this advert is, I don't care enough about the product. However I would pass this on to any movie buff friends I have... which may be the point.

Thanks Shane for telling me about the clip.

take care,

tags : , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You can bring an ad to YouTube, but you can't make them link

A while back Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz of For Immediate Release said that
a) You cannot design a viral advertising campaign
b) All adverts should be viral

This seems like a contradiction, but here goes...

b) first. All adverts should be put online in order to gain the potential of going viral. This seems like a no-brainer. If you want an advert to get maximum exposure, you need to cover all the formats (and have a web site for someone to go to).
There is however a problem.

Or rather rights.

If your advert (and I'll assume television here, but this applies to radio) has music, you can get the cheaper rights to cover a small region (say the UK and Ireland, or Australia) or get the more expensive world-wide rights. The alternative is to commission music, but the composer can still negotiate world-wide rights at a higher price.

Then come writers, copyrighters and actors rights. In the case of up-and-coming you can probably get them cheap. Given that you'll probably want to use phrases and still on your website, I'd advise you to go for the worldwide rights anyway. It's cheaper than lawyers. Since it is now possible that an advert will run for the rest of time on the internet, you'll probably need a landing site anyway.

In the case of a well know personality, well then things can get expensive. Thanks to the internet, gone are the days when an A-List actor will appear in an advert on the other side of the world where no one that hires them will see it, because everyone know that the bloody thing will eventually show up online.

Which gives rise to a class of advertising I call "the escapees". These are adverts that fans (or rather "fans") have put online by themselves completely independent of the advertisers or the product holders. Personally I suspect that they are slightly ignored for the run of the advertisement in its local market. But the advertiser is legally obliged to start pulling those advertisements eventually.

Which brings be back to a). "Escapees" are adverts that have gone viral despite the intentions on the creators. There are also a class of adverts which are designed to stay on the net.

These "potential virals" were created, at first, because they would not be approved for broadcast (I remember one series of condom adverts where the sexual nature of the adverts more or less guaranteed that they would be online only). Other times a viral is the long version of the advert, a TV spot is 30 seconds... an online advert, or a YouTube clip can go on for much longer.

However a viral advert must be linked to. Word of mouth must be created. People have to care about the bloody thing, either because it's amusing, or very topical.

You can't guarantee that an advert will be popular enough to be viral. You can try, but word of mouth cannot be faked for long on the internet. You can't fool all of the people, because if they aren't interested nor amused, they won't tell others

So why am I typing about this... Well, given the number of adverts and wannabe viral adverts that have been crossing my screen, I've decided that I'm going to start reviewing them.

Wish me luck (and send me adverts)

tags : , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 03, 2007

What teachers should make

I'm sort of on an education buzz a the moment (as I try to inhale manuals again, mashup camp has me hitting the books) which following the Science Week posts make sense. So congratulations Kevin Breathnach, Brian from, Pedro Monscooch, Poetbloggs and Johnny Keyes who won.

However things haven't completely stalled on that front. Sinead Cochrane asked what changes would you make to an existing piece of technology? and yes, I do want to see my suggestion made (flashing gnomes are optional).

Of course, combining things would improve an existing technology, so the after effects of the first European Mashup Camp will effect my thinking as well as meeting interesting people and presenters. Also being surprised by some large companies joining the fray.

And speaking of large companies, David Berlind (who set up Mashup Camp) has an interesting wrinkle against the existence of the Kindle, a kind of Fahrenheit 1981.4. Sounds far fetched, well I know one Apple advocate who has turned anti-Apple due to the DRM and legal disputes with iTunes so she can't get music she paid for back. Scary how knowledge could be destroyed.

Going back to education when Adam Beecher posted the the Impotence of Proofreading by Taylor Mali I did a looking searching.

Mali created a poem about what teachers do. About how they inspire and alter the way you think (spot the trend here). Of course, he got something wrong. The video is not what teachers make... its what GOOD teachers make.

and if you're still looking, go see how teenagers talk and should be talking also by Mali.

take care,

tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,