Linkety Link … 2007-09-30

Putting the i-Phone Back Under Lock & Key

Now, Steve Jobs got out of jail with Apple loyalists once already after the $200 price drop fiasco. This latest development. however, may just be going too far …

Evidently an Apple software update is disabling iPhones that have been unlocked by owners who wanted to choose which mobile network to use. Earlier this week Apple said a planned update would leave the device “permanently inoperable”. Yowch!

iphone

Apple requires iPhone owners to take out a lengthy contract with AT&T in the United States but there are a number of programs on the net that unlock the device for use with other networks. Thousands of iPhone owners hacked their device to unlock it for use with other mobile carriers and to run a host of unsupported programs.

On Monday Apple issued a statement in which it said many of the unauthorised iPhone unlocking programs caused “irreparable damage” to the device’s software (yeah, right). The company said this would “likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed”. That warning has now proved correct as many owners are reporting their phones no longer work following installation of the update.

iphone guts

As if this wasn’t enough, some owners are reporting on technology blogs and Apple’s own forums that the update is also deleting contacts information, as well as photos and music, on iPhones that have not been modified in any way.

Links for 2007-09-28

Links for 2007-09-27

The Future Of Marketing: Entertain, Provide Utility or Die!

My most impressive blog post title to date I feel! I read a great article on InFlux today, pointed out by the ubiquitous Piers Fawkes. Rather than paraphrasing the article – here’s a cut and paste of the highlights.

influx

“We are rapidly moving into a landscape where there will only be two models of marketing communication.

1. An entertainment based model where marketers work hard to breakthrough the clutter. The goal is to raise awareness and to get people to like you.

2. A utility based model- the brand provides something useful, good and meaningful to its consumers and perhaps the world beyond. Instead of just running regular ads, they are big idea platforms that inspire, encourage engagement and give something back.”

If you don’t do either of these, you will die.

The “shouting” benefits model of marketing communication is about to become as extinct as a dodo. So the challenge for brands that operate is to understand how they get to entertainment and/or utility.”

This mirrors my feelings about how marketing has to evolve, although I wouldn’t have phrased it in quite the same way. I think Faris puts it nicely: that it’s crucial for brands to deliver “value as well as messaging” to ensure there is a “balanced value exchange”.

I have been banging on about “non interruptive communications which add value” for a while (I wouldn’t claim to have invented it!), and its great to see so many marketers thinking the same way, and to see the thinking evolving.

Linkfest for 2007-09-26

Linkful Goodness for 2007-09-25

Wes Anderson and the online “Prequel”

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, movie director Wes Anderson, who directed some of my favourite films (“Rushmore” and “Bottle Rocket” to name but two) is adding an especially unconventional and groundbreaking touch to his latest film project – “The Darjeeling Limited”.

Darjeeling Limited

Before the movie is released in New York on Saturday, Wes Anderson is releasing a 13-minute short called “Hotel Chevalier” online. The short film’s premiere will be Tuesday night at Apple stores in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Starting Wednesday, it will be available as a free download on iTunes. Very smart. You can see an Apple trailer for “The Darjeeling” here.

Anderson (not me, the other one) says it is his goal to “get every person who goes to [”The Darjeeling Limited”] to see the short first.” As an added incentive the short features an extended Natalie Portman nude scene (!) – while her character makes just a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in the main feature.

Natalie Portman

This is a great idea, clearly. I need to find out more about the strategy behind this, but at first pass it plays superbly into “Branded Utility” (something I personally am passionate about), as people are being marketed to in a way that genuinely adds value to their lives. (Well, if you think seeing Natalie Portman in the buff counts!). The Apple connection is also smart – I wonder if the guys at Media Arts Lab were involved?

Going forward this could also be a great way of integrating brands in to movies in a way that supports artists, inextricably associates the brand in question with the content, gives extra value to the viewer, yet leaves the main feature unsullied. Hmmm…

UPDATE: Although this was touted by the WSJ as a “novel approach to generating buzz for “Darjeeloing”, I now learn that “Hotel Chevalier” played as a short film (almost a B-feature) to “Darjeeling” at festivals, but was cut from theatrical release by Fox. I guess necessity is the mother of invention!

UPDATE 2: The prominent and not completely intuitive inclusion of an iPhone in the “Hotel Chevalier” short points to some kind of Apple marketing involvement…
Hotel Chevalier iPod

UPDATE 3: You can see Wes Anderson talking about Hotel Chevalier here (via IFC):

The Soap Opera Returns!

In a “Back To The Future” moment, we learn that Procter & Gamble’s venerable Tide brand will be the sponsor of a new made for mobile broadband series through GoTV Networks, a 10-parter called “Crescent Heights”. A bona fide Sopa Opera, retooled for the new millenium! For the uninitiated, the name “Soap Opera” stems from the original 1930s daytime radio serials sponsored by companies like Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Pepsodent.

Tide Soap Opera

In the 1940s, Tide itself was sponsor of several high-profile serials (some of which could be characterised as soaps) including the “Red Skelton Show”, “The Right To Happiness” and “Perry Mason”.

“Crescent Heights” will not air on NBC (or any TV station) but will be available mobile and online through Tide’s Web site. Parenthetically – this isn’t the first time that P&G has been involved in a branded online video series … the show “Released”, presented by Dawn, featured on the P&G Classic Soaps channel through AOL.

I haven’t watched the show yet but it sounds lke a great idea … a great example of non-interruptive (one hopes) marketing, and even Branded Utility. I am still wondering about the model … a press release talks about Tide being “integrated into a scripted drama”. One hopes the action doesn’t just revolve around washday!

Crescent Heights

GoTV’s Daniel Tibbetts is quoted as saying “Our goal is to build brand affinity for Tide by producing high-quality programming that resonates with Tide’s target audience and drive consumers to [Tide.com]. We’re confident ‘Crescent Heights’ will deliver on that promise.” So he’s focusing more on “association” than “integration per se.

Suzanne Watson, Tide’s Brand Manager focuses on the medium: “We’re thrilled to partner with GoTV to deliver ‘Crescent Heights’ and be a part of leading the forefront of mobile technology.”

Once again – great idea and kudos to P&G (no mention of their agency that I could find). I will reserve final judgment until I have watched the show!

UPDATE: OK I still haven’t watched the show (sorry), but AdRants has this to say: “Endless product promotion aside, we admire the series’ capacity to remind us so vividly of Saved by the Bell: The New Class — except without the charm of the previous class’ success to leech off of.” Adrants also noticed also a rather badly faked show message board(!)

Crescent Heights

JWT’s “Digitivity Deep Dive” and the “Cult Of The Amateur”

I attended the JWT “3D: Digitivity Deep Dive” yesterday at the Frank Gehry designed IAC building on the West Side. Very interesting speakers, including the inimitable Barry Diller, collegehumor.com‘s Ricky van Veen, del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter, MobStar Media’s Jamie Goldblatt, and Joost‘s Dave Clark.

IAC Building

JWT released a survey to coincide with the day.

I was particularly taken by Andrew Keen, who was brought in as a counterpoint to the Web 2.0 Love Fest. Keen is a polemicist who denounces Web 2.0 as a “grand utopian movement” similar to “communist society” as described by Karl Marx. He stated it “worships the creative amateur: the self-taught filmmaker, the dorm-room musician, the unpublished writer”. He also professes to be no fan of the blogging phenomenon

cunt of the amateur

I met him afterward chatting with Ty Montague and promised to blog the speech! (He grimaced at me and walked off). True to my word you can check out (hey, even buy) his book here.

Del.icio.us