Saturday, 20 December 2008

Nifty Google docs holiday message


Four Googlers worked together simultaneously on a single Google Docs spreadsheet. Each cell in the 100 row x 186 col spreadsheet was filled using 18 different colours. The entire process was captured in time-lapse.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Ideas for your Out of Office automated message

  1. I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.
  2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.
  3. Sorry to have missed you but I am at the doctors having my brain removed so that I may be promoted to management.
  4. I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation on 5/18. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.
  5. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.
  6. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again. (The beauty of this one is that when you return, you can see how many in-duh-viduals did this over and over).
  7. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
  8. Please reply to this e-mail so I will know that you got this message.
  9. I am on holiday. Your e-mail has been deleted.
  10. Hi. I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.
  11. Hi! I’m busy negotiating the salary for my new job. Don’t bother to leave me any messages.
  12. I’ve run away to join a different circus.
  13. I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please refer to me as ‘Loretta’ instead of ‘Anthony’.
I've gone with two because... well... it's the truth. :-p

Thanks to Noah Kagan for the list.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Laggard! Facebook groups to join...

Following on from my iPhone apps recs post, I decided to quickly whip up a Facebook group one. So here are some groups that I have joined (note: pages are a different story):
Got one that's not on the list? Let me know and I'll check it out.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Who should take centre stage? Heritage vs. new.

Tim Burrowes, former group editor of B&T magazine, has recently entered the blogosphere with a new project called mUmBRELLA and despite the title the offering has nothing to do with Mums or umbrellas... rather 'everything under Australia's marketing and media umbrealla'.

Anyway to cut a long story short I was very perplexed by the following post, and admittedly it is an 'opinion' piece, titled the media vs. Laurel Papworth. I've included some excerpts below to paint the picture:

"It’s that snide use of the phrase “heritage media”. You have to hear it come out of her mouth to feel the full contempt she appears to have for things non-digital.

"Her usual argument is that the established media, whether print or broadcast, is stuck in its ways, ignorant of the new and doomed, doomed, doomed…

"And there is a certain type of digerati who really winds me up. So obsessed are they with the new, that they refuse to accept the possibility that anything that went before has any value. Don’t Twitter? Then you’re a muppet. What do you mean you haven’t been on People Browsr yet? It’s been available in beta for nearly a fortnight - what are you thinking?"

+ So whilst I do agree with a lot of the sentiment, which... I guess is like what I was trying to channel in my post here, I do believe that there is a way to approach things, especially when 'knocking' someone in their own turf if you like, and so personally.

Without involving myself too much (apolitical stance please), I guess I am in the fortunate position of actively working and playing in both 'heritage' and new media so can cling firmly on the top of the fence and appreciate both - separately and in unison, for what they're worth.

Anyway I am eager to hear how Laurel responds - if she does... and to see the official launch of mUmBRELLA next year.

Moggies top ten out

Craig Wilson aka The Media Hunter has released a post containing the list of the top ten nominees for the marketing and media post of the year. Congratulations must go to the following bloggers:
So now the hard part for me is to judge them. They have all been critical in building this great community as we know it so it's going to be tought rating each one! Results will be published next Monday.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Thesis... so much to write about

In '09 I will be writing my masters' thesis on a marketing topic that I have yet to determine. It involves a literature review, primary and/or secondary research and then the report. The report itself will be between 15,000 - 20,000 words.

At the moment I am thinking along the broad topic lines of something to do with brand management and digital (incl. new media). I guess I could look at online branding (such as looking at recent results released through the IAB).

I'm also tossing up between doing a coursework module in 'Services Marketing' (a bit repetitive on my existing theory) or lashing out a little into something under the advertising or PR umbrella.

Would love to hear people's opinions...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Warning warning content saturation approaching

Seth posted this fantastic post regarding the future of content on the net and how it is nearing its saturation point. I thought I would share (have included the post below) and I must say I tend to agree.

I'm all for the long tail and niches but after a while the environment will feel like it is very cluttered. For instance how many Australian marketing and advertising blogs do we need? How many can we actually sustain? How many do we actually consume? If there aren't enough readers out there ever, it seems like an awful waste of time and energy, and almost a revisit to the early years of the blogosphere à la an extension of the personal diary. By you, for you if you like. And what is really the ROI on that?

Despite my pet hates with the platform, I think Twitter has really found an interesting space in the greater web. If we as individuals are almost full as Seth says, people have to be a lot more proactive about getting their content out there and to the consumers who matter (the return of direct marketing?). If Twitter itself had a filtering mechanism (and yes I'm sure there are third party programs that do) it would really take user-generated content and suggestions/recommendations to the next level to truly find its semantic calling.

+ Warning: The internet is almost full
"Due to the extraordinary explosion in video, blogs, news feeds and social network postings, the internet is dangerously close to running out of room.

Nothing can grow forever, and exponential growth is always short lived. We're running out of disk space, so if you have something left to say, better hurry. Once it's full, it's full.

Of course, the decentralized nature of the net means that it will never be physically full. As long as we can keep making hard drives, we won't run out of space to store those inane videos of your Aunt Sally. What is full is our attention.

Ten years ago, you had a shot of at least being aware of everything that mattered. Five years ago, you had to be really selective about what you took in, but at least it was possible to know what you didn't know. Today, it's impossible. Today, you can't even read every article on a thin slice of a thin topic.

You can't keep up with the status of your friends on the social networks. No way. You can't read every important blog... you can't even read all the blogs that tell you what the important blogs are saying.

Used to be, you could finish reading your email, hit "check email" and nothing new would show up. Now, of course, the new mail is probably a longer list than the mail you just finished processing.

The internet isn't full, but we are."

Monday, 8 December 2008

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Engage thy enemy

Another word for my (overused/annoying) marketing word of the week - engagement.

I was doing the blog browsing rounds recently and thought it quite amazing how many members of the Digerati are labelling themselves as experts in engagement. I mean... how can someone or something become an expert in engagement? Engagement involves both the party doing the engaging and the party being engaged, therefore to be an expert is somewhat undefinable as engagement is such an individual notion. It's like people who think themselves fluent in online conversation... how can they? Why can they? Your appreciation of conversational elements will be different from mine and vice versa. Anyway I then thought that collective engagement via social media could actually be ironic and that engagement must be something that is user led between two parties; something organic...

To finish, I would like to make mention that the word engagement can also mean something that involves a hostile encounter - something which I don't think is too far off at the rate and method that some companies are trying to dabble in social media.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Determined to offer... confusion in uncertain times

Crisis management, where art thou? Commbank, Commbank... Bommbank. As a long-term customer, I, like many others (200,000 people) awoke today to find my account balances playing musical chairs with me. What's even worse is that I found out about the error via News.com.au, I'm still yet to receive any communication from the bank.

http://www.news.com.au/comments/0,23600,24703544-5014239,00.html

It's also funny to see the comments section of the above link has turned into a meat market for tellers and call centre staff to throw in their two cents:

As a staff member at a call centre for CBA I would just like to than all the CBA customers for their patience and understanding. After being on the phones with you customers all day, I do understand the inconveniance this problem has caused. We are only human and systems do have problems from time time. I just know that the team I work with are trying hard to keep our customers happy....and things are sometimes just out of our hands. I hear that we now may have a fix for the problem, and I know personally that I will make every effort tomorrow at work with every client by being patient and understanding

Posted by: Terri of of CBA 8:36pm today, Comment 324 of 328

I am a staff member for the commonwealth bank, some of you people need to realise that we are all humans and people and systems can make mistakes from time to time, even as a staff member i have been affected. This is what i have been explaining to customers all day and they have all gone away happy that at least they know what has happened and they have been told they're money will be returned and any fees will be refunded. Not everything in life is picture perfect. And just for everyone's information they have found a way to fix the problem which will hopefully be fixed overnight tonight.

Posted by: Todd of cba of melbourne 6:36pm today, Comment 320 of 328

Don't Worry all, you will be reimbursed for this technical glitch. This is not a problem with our outsourced services to India, this always happens. It's just neva effected this many people before. We like your business, so please be patient.

Posted by: jude of cba of frankston 3:54pm today, Comment 308 of 328

So it happens all the time? Wow reassuring.

Where is the important clear and consistent message from senior management? Why weren't employees briefed about what they can and cannot say online and to the media? I know CBA is a mammoth organisation but surely they can see the same principles that apply offline, should be replicated online!

And to finish, naturally a couple of ranting customers (not including this post!):

Paying fees to banks to use our savings money on the stock exchange : disgusting ATM fees : abhorrent Bank Spin : disgraceful Interest rates : higher than everywhere else on the planet. Why am I paying acct keeping fees, loan fees, application fees, exit fees, henious overdrawal fees..the list goes on and on. ..and now they LOSE MY MONEY! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

Posted by: dougie of brisneyland 11:04am today, Comment 41 of 328

It would be courtesy for the bank to have a pop up on netbank or auto recorded mge on phone banking to advise customers of the glitch. I found out via news.com.au. Not good enough. Now lets the the repurcussions of this from o/drawn fees, overdraft interest and unpaid credit card interest...... lets see how quick they are to fix all that!

Posted by: Mel of Tas 10:54am today, Comment 28 of 328

Saturday, 15 November 2008

iPhone Applications that I may or may not endorse...

The next hundred words or so are going to bang on about the iPhone, so I'd recommend haters and laggards stop reading now, or read and realise that there is a whole other world of marketing possibilities that you are missing out on. You don't have to like the platform, just acknowledge that there's a good chance your customers might.

At the moment, I am just one app away from moving onto my fourth screen page full, so I thought I'd give a run down on what I have downloaded so far and perhaps... you know... we can share app stories. I must mention though that nearly all apps but one on my list were free of charge. I don't really believe in paying for apps, in the same way that I don't believe that websites should charge users a subscription fee to access their content. It's so not Web 2.0.

Ok here goes...

Must haves:
--> Facebook
--> Twitterific
--> Google
--> eBay
--> Wikipanion

Neat for work:
--> MProfs
--> MProfsQ&A
--> Dictionaire
--> NYTimes
--> WritePad (a little PDA never goes astray)

Fun but can live without:
--> Google Earth
--> MetroFree (Melbourne public transport timetables)
--> Remote (universal digital remote)

Party Trick central:
--> Shazam (this is the most innovative app to-date)
--> MiniPiano (just learnt how to play Happy Birthday - meaning I can add that extra touch to birthday voice mails)
--> Lightsaber (seeing is believing)
--> iPint (best product integration so far by Carling)

Download because you can:
--> Chanel
--> Style.com (home of US Vogue)
--> GeoPedia (Like Wiki but content is derived by your current location, so a walk down Swanston Street in Melb's CBD might give you the history of the architecture, places to eat or prominent people)
--> Shakespeare (nothing like reading the great works of a literary master on a 7x5cm screen ;-P)
--> 100 Words to Sound Smart (meant for trailer trash, as smart words include 'angst', 'Catch-22' and 'epitome')
--> Flashlight (points out a flaw in the iPhone)
--> Translator & French (perfect for travelling)

Neat games:
--> Hangman
--> F25 Hockey (ah... arcade games)
(Not really a gamer so you can see I really need to expand this section)

My lonely paid app:
--> Koi Pond (too hard to describe... a pond with fish in it and the water ripples... seems boring but the beauty is in the fact that it is an excellent relaxant)

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Quick profile pimp

Jules just did a belated post about Mr Scott Drummond of Sports Hydrant (& formerly of marketingmag.com.au), which included a shout-out this way. Thanks Jules and great post! Scott was instrumental in humanising and bringing personality to the Marketing brand, after all who wants to connect to a masthead when they could connect to a face (and an afro). I've mentioned it in my post on the site and will here as well, I've got big shoes to fill but I feel that having some preexisting understanding of the community will help me to continue on from where Scott left off. The only thing is, it's hard to maintain things on the home front with such a large task at hand so apologies if my blog is/becomes as boring as bat shit.

On another note, would love to meet Melburnian bloggers at this Thurday's Beersphere, David posted the details over on his blog here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Twitter and why it's not just the whale that fails...

Ok, I've been feeling a bit negative towards Twitter as a social platform and wanted to jot some thoughts down as to why:
  • Too much noise, so much noise in fact that it is nearly impossible for any brand to cut through the clutter without spamming their followers.
  • If you want to follow more than 50 people (which most Tweeters do) then you are looking at about a tweet per minute showing up on your home page, meaning that any Tweet you make, rapidly becomes hidden in the myriad of other tweets.
  • The platform is so one-dimensional it's not funny. Ok, I know the web lends itself well to succinctness but what really can 140 words display about a product or service? It's like going back a hundred years to the joyous days of when advertisement artwork just lay with the copywriter. No colour, no images, not visual assault... I have a mental image of a black and white poster on some swinging saloon doors in the wild wild west!
  • If a brand wanted to appear professional then Twitter isn't the place. Do I really want to know when you are going to bed, going for lunch, getting a plane, enjoying your holiday (I'd suggest you gtf off Twitter if that's the case) or scratching your arse? No!
  • ^ All of these personal activity Tweets were once the forefront of Twitter's USP but now? Well now it's like some late 90's congested internet chat room.
  • It's simply a time-killer, after looking at the amount of time people spend Tweeting, I'm amazed that they can sustain it with other work related activities during their day. Other than personal fulfilment, what ROI is Twitter really offering? I know from my Tweeting experience that hardly anyone has clicked through to visit my blog but yes that's probably just me.
  • Without any internal filtering systems, it is really hard to find relevant Tweets. You can be really selective with who you follows by just having 10 or so really informative and inspirational Twitters but where is the fun in that. You won't understand half of the @ replies.
That's it for now but I'm sure there's another 10 or so inside of me.

Night...

Monday, 27 October 2008

Pepsi goes fugalicious

Pepsi have redesigned their packaging and logo... into the style which you see below. Drastic but cyclical measures for any brand.

Before:



After:

So what are you thoughts? Fugalicious or ridiculously fresh and zexy?

P.S. Wtf is with the text speak on Mountain Dew.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Sssh! I'm being quiet!

Just wanted to do a quick post to say that I've just started a new role, so have been a little physically and mentally inundated with that. I hope to get some posts up soon as I've hit a creative streak again.

In the meantime, feel free to start following me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateKendall.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Hamish & Andy Cadbury Gorilla ad parody



Phil Collins would be proud.

Original ad can be viewed here: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=CbLr2NEV_7o

Monday, 13 October 2008

The Zeitgeists ranked number 88 in top 100 Australian blogs *!

* Marketing Blogs ;)

Thanks to Julian @ Adspace-Pioneers for the inclusion in the updated Top 100 Australian Marketing Pioneer Blogs. The list includes some invaluable marketing content from talented and upcoming bloggers.

Check out the full list here:
http://adspace-pioneers.blogspot.com/2008/10/top-100-australian-marketing-pioneer.html

Friday, 10 October 2008

Shanghai Walkabout

It escaped me that there were numerous versions of the new Tourism Australia TVC; my critique below was focussed around the "New York" one, so here is the "Shanghai" one for completion. Thoughts? Looks a little bit more like Tim Burton, than Baz Luhrmann to me with the tealight candles in the tree. =) My preference is for the "New York" one as I feel the story doesn't develop as well in this version.



I also just wanted to throw some e-pinions in here from some comments following the clop on YouTube... interesting but mixed messages:

RoboDouche
Oh you Americans and your miserable urban existence. Don't you wish a small Aboriginal stereotype would wander into your home off the street and throw dirt at you so you could jump around in a river too?
Oh Baz.
Impressive production values as always... but very little class.

homiejarvis

Absolutely glorious. No sweeping shots of beaches and skyscrapers and running horses and smily children with zinc. Just a beautiful waterhole at sunset. Beautiful, sexy and smart. With a brilliant understanding that there are wealthy women all over the world who have lost themselves and who make the choices about travel destinations! Brilliant move Baz.

liberatesputnik
Absolutely perfect.

With the way the market is going, the only Americans who could afford to travel to Australia will be the rich ... who will probably be overworked and stressed. They recognized their market, and they hit home.
Well done Baz. Gave me chills.

fivecougarsoz
why is it so depressing!?!? and why is there 1 minute of a depressed woman, backed by depressing piano, and only 30 seconds of anything about Australia???
Stick to movies Baz.


Ok, one last point superficial point before moving on, wtf is with the bleached blond hair on the little boy!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Come Walkabout - Bazza's New 'Australia' TVC


Ok, quickly wanted to get this up as I've just watched it... it's the new Australia TVC by Baz Luhrmann:



+++++
- I like the use of Sybilla Budd as the actress and prefer her any day to Lara Bingle (but it seems a little strange that she would play an American?)
- Beautiful scenery and Australian imagery which shows a different side to the usual tourist-clap (like beaches and Sydney - please no more Opera House & HB)
- I feel that the way it is executed would help it stand out internationally amongst the competing clutter

------
- It must have to be the corniest, most awful, OTT tagline (or whatever it is)... "She arrived as Ms K Matheison, Executive VP of Sales" and "she departed as Kate". Which by the way, is an interesting use of the name Kate, as the epitome of a female Australian name =) Anyway please excuse me whilst I go vomit; which is in large part due to the choosing of sales as the chosen profession.
- Perhaps the execution is also too similar to Bazza's other Chanel TVC with Nicole Kidman; the suspense, the melodrama, the excitement, the predictable resolution, blah blah blah - I'm a little bit like I've seen it all before
- The Aboriginal boy is a good inclusion but the way that he is represented is a bit cliché, if want of a better word, and perhaps lacks a modern day portrayal of Indigenous culture
- Finally, the target audience... wtf! Which is from what I can gather is some overtly sophisticated, affluent, lonely, city work-horse in a poor relationship. Now that is where Hollywood and marketing differ - there needs to be a real empathy with the audience.

Whatever happened to the good old backpacker market, or even the grey army? I can see what they are trying to do... highlight Australia's USP - space but you can also get space and wilderness driving an hour or two out of the average city. Is it really enough to promote people flying 15-20 hours across the world to rediscover themselves by having space?

Overall it's a big improvement on the previous campaign and I like the fact that they will leverage the TVC against the release of Australia the film but still I feel there are a few weaknesses. It will be interested to see the impact on the Aussie tourism dollar...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Two Talking Cats for Thursday

The original:


The translation:

Monday, 29 September 2008

IBM - Mitsukoshi: Marketing to Japan's Ageing Population



I liked this micro-documentary that I saw on IBM's Documentary Channel. It's interesting to see the benefits of optimising websites for differing generations, including the addition of verbal directions/prompters. With Gen Y being so topical and blinding, especially in relation to technology it's easy to forget the older generation. I'd love to see more examples of strategies tailored towards the 65 plus market.

IBM's channel can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/IBMDocumentaries

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Follow My Blog

In what seems a rip-off of Twitter, Blogger now has a follower ap/add-on which I think works quite well on this platform. Good for cross-promotion too ;) so please don't be afraid to become my first follower! -->

Thursday, 25 September 2008

POL Publications placed in administration

I was startled to hear about the reports of the closure of POL Publications earlier this week. They do VIVE magazine (of which I am a subscriber and have half my subscription left!), POL Oxygen, Fashion Capital magazine for Chadstone SC, Luxe and VIVE La France. I hope ACP, News or Pacific think about picking up their mastheads - if they can't continue operations after the proposed finance review. Pacific could do what they did with Text Pacific, the name POL Pacific works! I'm not sure what the details are behind the financial mis-management, but the current climate hardly supports the sustainability of Niche magazine publishers. You'd think as consumers tastes tighten, sales would increase, but the whole magazine publishing industry in Australia has seen a period of decline.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The real difference between a heavy Mac and PC user

Yes that's even the leopard screen saver displayed on the iPods and not to forget, the plasma TV - this must be the biggest fanboi/brand loyal ever...
Whilst my favourite touch here is what looks like an accountant's calculator. It's work and play for this user.

(Thanks to Flickr for pics)

It continues... Microsoft's long awaited comeback to the "I'm a PC" campaign!

First things first, I'll get the movie-length follow up to the Shoe Circus ad done and dusted...

Check it out below if you want to see Gates doing a highly embarrassing robot dance:



I've got really mixed opinions about this one. It is actually much funnier than the first Shoe Circus TVC; I find it always helps when you take the piss out of yourself ;) They are less subtle this time around with divulging the campaign's purpose, it resonates around Seinfeld and Gates trying to connect to the 'real people'. Overall it's an ok follow up that I wouldn't find assaulting if I watched it more than once due to some hidden meaning. The major downside is the tagline which is PC = perpetually connecting - to me this is nothing but meaningless jargon. Yes it's an acronym - congratulations but I would have preferred something that broke through the current clutter and noise - something which was dimensional and in line with the repositioning strategy.

Anyway onto the second video offering, after all this is where is gets interesting!

So after setting up their own YouTube channel back on the 28th of August, Windows/Microsoft have added a new video launching The Real PC campaign. In true Microsoft style they are back to full fledged sporting competition, but this time it's an away game (against team Apple, hosted at Google Stadium). The channel can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/WindowsVideos and the video in question:



Featuring Sean Siler, the piece talks about the stereotype of PC and the idea of collective uniqueness within PC users. They've also integrated it into the updated website: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/, which encourages PC users to become the face of PC by submitting a photo/video and PC-use spiel which then can be shown on their website in the PC Gallery, in online advertising and in Times Square. Nifty.

Three reasons why I think The Real PC campaign will work:
1) No Gates (currently too much of a negative brand ambassador?)
2) Branding of choice is Windows throughout and not Microsoft, it makes sense to distance Microsoft as the parent company
3) Acknowledging the past attack from Apple, turning it around and saying touché - what is 'cool' anyway!

For it to work, you need to have an understanding of what their core objective is. To me it revolves around changing consumer perception and launching the Windows portfolio as a serious competitor in today's online climate by using the concept of the PC as a channel.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Microsoft follow up with Seinfeld ad axing

Not surprisingly, that Microsoft ad has been axed just two weeks after its first appearance.

The article below even describes it being referred to one of the worst ads in history. I would have a hard part disagreeing with them there.

Apparently the TVC was meant to be promoting Windows Vista, but I was so baffled by it I though it may have been promoting a new updated system. Don't mind me though, some people just went with the shoes! Furthermore, I don't know why they would be musing on about the future being delicious when promoting Vista, since Vista is hardly new to the market now.

More info can be found here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/seinfeld-is-axed-ndash-even-he-canrsquot-make-bill-gates-look-cool-935071.html

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Brand Extensions gone bad

I couldn't find an actual product image but the above is in reference to BIC trying to enter the panyhose market... can anyone justify a logical link from biros to pantyhose for me please... anyone?
Crystal clear Pepsi... and the point was??????
Harley Davison Bakery Crafts - Martha Stewart eat your heart out!

Hooters Air took the promise of in-flight entertainment to a whole new level...

Mark Ritson, one of my favourite marketing spokespeople slash writer, has a good article on stupid brand extensions from a 2007 issue of UK Marketing mag. http://www.marketingritson.com/documents/brandextensiondisease.pdf

The current state of the Australian Liberal Party =

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Marketing Word of the Week

Can someone please remove the word leverage from the English and/or brand management dictionaries? It must be right up there with intangible, in terms of one of the most overused expression I've currently heard my marketing peers use. Anyone got any other pet hate words?

Apple Store to Open in Melbourne... in Chadstone

Melbourne Fanboi's you're in luck. Apple is heading South and opening a flagship store in Melbourne, which of all places, will be in the depressive monolith that is Chadstone Shopping Centre. The store will open this weekend at 10am, and the first 100 visitors will receive a free Apple T-shirt.

Whilst in Sydney last week (I hope you noticed the lack of posting!), I visited the George Street Store featured above (thanks Gizmodo for the pic) and was pleasantly surprised. The store was really buzzing and plenty of friendly eye-candy staff were on hand to help out if needed. If you're backpacking, don't head on down to an internet cafe, save yourself $2.50 and head to an Apple store instead - if you don't mind standing.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Microsoft Shoe Circus TVC feat. Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates



Microsoft launched a new TVC featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, who reportedly received USD$10 million to appear. The whole thing is a bit of a teaser for Microsoft's future, which is tagged as "Delicious" at the end.

Judging by some of the YouTube comments (which should be used as an infallible source of market research!), I don't think the desired result is what was hoped:

Jazkiljok says "Billionaire Bill shops at tacky shoe store at crappy mall where he coincidentally runs into Jerry who being out of work and having nothing to do all day - also hangs out in the same sad ass mall. Jerry makes inane comments cause he's bored, Bill wiggles his ass cause his haemorrhoids are itching."

luvmasterr comments, "The 90's are over, we want our commercials to be about something."

ifoundthemissinglink... "Sorry. The Mac and PC Commercials are still better. At least they make sense. At first I seriously thought this was a shoe commercial."

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Fairfax Journos stop work

After announcements that Fairfax plans to cut down staffing by 550 roles, including some editorial, industrial action has been taken today by journalists in the form of a strike and may continue until Monday. An overwealming majority voted in favour of striking, with most coming from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age mastheads.

Back up systems at Fairfax are supposedly in place in times of strike, although after checking both of the above online offerings, the following was published word-for-word on each (you've got to feel for the poor intern!):

Fairfax Media journalists in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Wollongong today voted to stop work for three days after rejecting the company's latest offer in negotiations over an enterprise bargaining agreement. Fairfax Media Deputy CEO Brian McCarthy said: "This industrial action by editorial staff is disappointing. Publishing arrangements are in place and we anticipate all our newspapers will be published as normal over this period."

Can't wait to see the quality journalism that will come my way in the next few days! ;)

More here from News Ltd's The Australian:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24255753-601,00.html

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

How to sell soap



I'm sure this short clip on how to sell soap from a couple of years ago by a company based in Germany has done the rounds already but I wanted to post it in case anyone missed out. Keep it simple stupid with viral marketing is all I will add. Oh the music is a treat too ;) Enjoy...

Sunday, 17 August 2008

MMS and Murphy's Law

In the past say five years, I have probably received a maximum of ten MMS's on my mobile. In other words, hardly enough to warrant having the MMS function on a mobile. So what happens when I cross over to my new iPhone? Yes, that's right I get three in one week and can't even read them as it doesn't support this type of messaging (supposedly to stop people sharing tunes).

Being the curious person that I am, I then have the desire to see what the messages actually entailed, so head online and sit through an excruciating process through Optus fricken' Zoo to try and retrieve them, which btw does not even support Firefox as a browser! What fun. Of course what I then see in front of me, makes me question why I have wasted fifteen minutes of my life on checking them.

Anyway I thought MMS as technology was meant to be dying?! Damn laggards!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

City beach proposed for Melbourne CBD

This must be one of the most stupid ideas proposed by Councillor Sneddon & Co of the City of Melbourne Town Hall Council for this coming summer. Modelled on the Paris Plage, they want to deposit up to a kilometre of sand on the banks of the Yarra to recreate the beach experience in the city.

For one, Melbourne has plenty of city beaches, so instead of polluting the environment further and faking Mother Nature, tell people to catch a tram to Port Melbourne or South Melbourne beach. Melbourne CBD is already busy, why hog foot traffic further?

Two, who would want to relax on a crowded, urban beach complete with a good dose of 'suits' walking past doing their daily lunch run? What about air quality, isn't the good sea breeze a major factor in determining the beach experience!

Furthermore when you heat up enough to brave a dip, you'll have no where to go except in the Yarra, where you'll sure to be refreshed with hepatitis.

For some things I believe you can successfully recreate an experience, others, like the indoor ski centre in Dubai, I believe are pure gimmick!

Wicked Musical in Melbourne

The Broadway musical Wicked has now been playing at Melbourne's Regent Theatre for quite some time but at $119 a pop per ticket, I've delayed organising to see it for quite a while. Perhaps for good reason though as I've just checked Ticketek and new tickets are becoming available for October this Friday the 15th of August at 12PM AEST, so might be able to secure me some good seats!

Whilst we are on this Wicked subject, one of my favourite YouTube artists, who sounds so much like a Disney character that she constantly gets accused of lip-synching, BeeBop20 covered the song Popular from the musical and it's very catchy! She also does a lot of Fan Dubs which are worth checking out.

Striving for Finger Independence

The other day whilst lost in a daydream, procrastinating or some other escapist activity, I noticed something about the dynamics of my hand that I had never have noticed before. I noticed that I could not move my little/pinky finger, towards my palm without moving my ring finger as well.

A simple biology lesson would show that these fingers are dependent on the same tendon so this is perfectly normal anatomy for most of the population with approximately 1/20 people having the 'ability', if it actually is one, to move it unaided.

Now you're thinking why did it take me this long to figure it out. Well I never had music lessons; never learnt piano or guitar, or became a game addict so never needed to analyse my finger movement. Anyway my goal now is to 'strengthen' my pinky so it can move by itself. What a goal!

If you want further clarification about what I am rambling on about see here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Me so slack...

Sorry I'm becoming snowed under with projects here and there, so haven't had the chance to give TZ the attention it deserves. Please stay tuned!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Cocktail Mummy fashion editorial by Miles Aldridge

I received this fashion editorial by Miles Aldridge in my inbox last week and really loved it. It's Cocktail Mummy - very nostalgic! I wish magazines in Australia would feature more fashion editorial like this.

Miles has more shots on his site - www.milesaldridge.com.

EDIT 3/08/08: I must eat my own hat, whilst lazily using my Sunday to flick through past issues of Vogue Australia, I saw that they had used an image from this shoot for a typical article about not possessing maternal qualities

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Australian Glamour to launch in 2009 and Grazia... me no like

News Magazines/Limited have finally confirmed they will be launching an Australian version of the high selling handbag-sized women's magazine, Glamour in 2009. It will complement their other female fashion title: Vogue Australia. From my experience with UK Glamour, I am not really a fan of the style and content in the publication but I think it will definitely be a serious contended in the already crowded marketplace. It should sit in that older more mainstream fashion and celeb-loving market well.

This is more than I can say for the recent ACP launch of the weekly Grazia. After checking this out on newstands I must say I was rather disappointed. I didn't like the saddle stitch binding on it as it didn't go with the more luxurious glossy style (it's fine for Who and New Idea though but Grazia should differentiate). The printing and finishing also seemed poor, almost like it was from the office XEROX! The content was a bit hit and miss too... it's like a weekly monthly, which makes it difficult to find a balance - some content was already no longer in touch with the zeitgeist. At $5, it is a bit steep for a weekly, for a few bucks extra I'd rather buy another monthly which I haven't read yet for more content and better editorial (shoots and articles).

(Thanks for GWAS for the Grazia cover shot - she's in the link's list to right...)

Plant Rant

Someone stole a plant outside the front of my house today.

It was only a $15 Yukka from somewhere like Bunnings with a cracked terracotta pot, so I can't understand why they would have unless they were on crack. Seriously who does that! Now the porch looks all bare and there is nowhere for the postie to hide my online hauls. No one else in the street had their plants stolen and let me tell you, their offerings are much more appetising to steal.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Brands brands brands

I got asked tonight to name my most loved and hated brand, and after some impulsive thinking I named Burberry as my most loved and Playboy as my most hated.

So why Burberry? Although I love fashion I think there's nothing worse than an aspiring fashion marketer naming a 'label' rather than a brand as their most loved brand. Whilst I know that labels can be brands and brands can be labels, I value a brand's history and 'empire' as well as its strategy and positioning, and I think a lot of new designers' establishing labels out there simply design clothes and that's it.

Perhaps it's also because these labels are still in brand infancy, after all Burberry started somewhere with Thomas Burberry creating the iconic trench coat for English and French soldiers in WWI, but with the choice of all the brand giants out there why choose a boutique fashion label as a most loved?

For me, Burberry has this beautiful history behind it, established in 1856, it's really stood the test of time, and successfully repositioned itself along the way through challenging times (eg. 'Chavdom'). I just love the feeling of British heritage and culture, and feel that their products, extensions and designs have always stayed relevant to the core brand.(My profile picture is even a shot of Kate Moss from the 2005 Spring Summer Burberry campaign).

Playboy on the other hand has just diverged into so many product categories that the initial brand has been cheapened so much, if that was possible! One of their taglines is "Head to Toe: We've Got You Covered", which is exactly the problem; too much, too varied and bad quality. Don't worry about buying fake Playboy as the craftsmanship is probably better than the real thing. Anyway moving on...

A book which I recommend (especially since you can read it for free on Google Books here) is Matt Haig's Brand Royalty which differentiates brands into great categories such as distraction brands, muscle brands, consistent brands and responsibility brands. It really does cover most of the top brands discussed today. He also, has a less popular book Brand Failures, which would be a good retrospective read to get an insight into what went wrong with some brands.

Thanks but no thanks

Ok, despite wanting an iPhone since early 07, I was not much of an apple consumer-pet when the Australia launch came up as I did not line up overnight to secure one. I then admittedly took my sweet ass time getting down to an Optus store (Vodafone and Telstra's offerings are a joke!) to see if I could finally get my hands on one.

Anyway at first I was told that I would have to sign onto the contact and wait to receive the phone, which would take around one to two weeks. I was planning to sign up to a 24 month contract (which in modern day mobile phone terms, may as well see me through to retirement!) and on one of the higher-spend packages. I also currently reside in pre-paid brick land (... a mobile that dates back at least five years) so to start being charged for a data package and plan when I can't use it seems somewhat absurd.

After further enquiry today however, I was told the phone won't be available for around four weeks after signing a contract! That would mean I would be paying for a whole month's contract to do nothing but sit and smell the roses until the phone arrived. What would happen to customers who had no phone I wonder!

I simply do not understand this service ethos - it's like Optus are of the mindset that they are doing customers the favour rather than the other way around. They told me my order would be rainchecked, but this ain't no Target, if I want a semi-expensive item and its out of stock, simply order it and let me know when its in. If its sold out, fair enough but don't bother me with this raincheck babble!

Edit 23/07/08: I must confess I caved in today and signed up :(

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Dark Knight Spoof

I saw the new batman movie recently, The Dark Knight and thought it was well worth every accolade it gets. It has received rave reviews, aside from Perez Hilton's bizarre self-important critique, and I can understand why! I'm not sure what the word is on the street yet, but hopefully it will be the Penguin as the nemesis in the next movie, Danny Devito style, or perhaps Catwoman.

Anyway I thought this TDK trailer spoof was hilarious and well done for a budget production. Check it out!

Myer is not their-store

Myer is planning to open its first overseas store in Dubai late next year. They then plan to open another four outlets across the United Arab Emirates and then eventually in the Eastern European market. I don't know why they are planning on opening overseas when they can't even get things right on the home front...

If you haven't been into Myer Bourke Street lately, then avoid yourself a brain hemorrhage and don't bother! It looks like a bomb has hit it, has the worst traffic flow problems of any department store I've ever been in worldwide and everything is currently merchandised as though it was more suited to being in a down-market discount variety 80s store. I especially liked the placement of the upmarket dinnerware category next to electronics and computers, and hearing customers debate whether or not they 'were allowed to go into that section as it looks like it's been closed off'.

I know its all temporay since they are refurbishing the store (it won't be finished until late 2009!!) but I liked the original store layout and generous retail space it had to begin with.
Oh yeah - one more thing to mention, they are currently in the process of invading the pedestrian pavement on the Bourke St Mall once again with a hideous black box... I don't know how Melbourne City Council approves such things!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Ikea: Nice example of OOH at a bus shelter

This instalment from Ikea is an impressive way to do out-of-home promotion and beats the bus shelters I've seen done up in Australia (which never seem to make it to Melbourne - probably because we don't use buses!). It's quite old, probably from a campaign in New York in 06 I believe just after doing a quick search. Nevertheless, I really like the idea. Who cares if the product gets damaged or stolen, being cheap and cheerful.

(Thanks to Flickr for the photo).

Monday, 14 July 2008

The Zeitgeists blog ranked number one in Google!

Just wanted to do a shout out and say that The Zeitgeists is currently ranked number one in organic google searches. It does help if you have an obscure name! ;)

If you hadn't cottoned on, zeitgeist is a German word and for those curious about how to pronounce it, see here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/zeitgeist. It literally translates to time (Zeit) and spirit (Geist).

Some more definitions:
- the ethos of a select group of people, that express a particular world view which is prevalent at a particular period of socio-cultural progression.
- the mind of the time, and mind is understood as the mental spirit (state of mind)
- the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time

There has been a movie and a band named after the noun... and Google also has a nifty tool called Google Zeitgeist, where you can search patterns, trends and surprises! http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/zeitgeist.html

You can even search by country - the latest data for Australia, extracted from May 2008, indicates that searches such as Yoda, Mother Teresa, Mini Cooper, baseball and CBA were some of the top gaining queries. Weird much?!

Globally the fastest rising for year-end 2007 was unsurprisingly, the iPhone, followed by badoo (a multi-lingual social networking site) and then Facebook.

http://thezeitgeists.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Creative Workspaces

These shots of workspaces from Design Sponge Online's sneak-peek section are inspiring to say the least. I'm in the process of recreating my office to cope with the ever-increasing amount of books, magazines, bills, textbooks and other papers so could use some ideas! I need functionality as well as form though... http://www.designspongeonline.com/category/sneak-peeks

I love the red shell on this laptop. I mentioned in a previous post that I was thinking about getting an Eee Pc for portability purposes, well I have now changed my mind since testing them out in Myer and am now waiting for the Dell E or mini inspiron instead; which is due out in August in the US. Seeing the above shot just makes me want one more!
Image from: http://gizmodo.com/393815/exclusive-dell-mini-inspiron-their-first-mini-laptop
And I'll finish with a view...

3 Australia Zorbing TVC feat. Lisa Mitchell's Neopolitan Dreams

Not being much of a extreme sportsperson myself, I wouldn't mind trying Zorbing, otherwise known as Sphereing - the popular sport that originated in 1994 in NZ (the image is from the Rotorua site), where you climb into a giant plastic transparent sphere and roll around, not unlike a hamster in a hamster ball.

Here's a link to footage of behind the scenes at the shooting of the 3 TVC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDz7wDGphuI&feature=related
It's pretty sweet actually seeing the zorb ball roll onto a car! It reminds me of the Sony Bravia LCD ad featuring the rubber balls bouncing down a San Francisco street along to one of my favourite songs: Heartbeats by José González.

And another link for Neopolitan Dreams live on Lisa's YouTube channel, which I actually prefer than the released version which has the overlap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ3Wn50Df0U