Metaverse: Gran Turismo v Nissan, Second Life v Penises

The new “Gran Turismo” game from Sony was up against some stiff competition, so for the promotional campaign it teamed up with Nissan to help spread the word. A competition was created offering the chance for an unsung racing driver to compete against the very best. Consumers had to register for the contest on the website or via their PlayStation 3 and then complete a virtual lap of a specific racetrack, in a specific car, on their console. The best drivers were invited to compete for real on a racetrack, and the champions in those races then went head-to-head in a GT Academy in the UK. The two ultimate winners were then signed up to represent Team Nissan in the 24-hour endurance race in Dubai in January 2009.
Pay no attention to the furry avatar behind the curtain. Linden Lab has a new pitch for Second Life: it wants to be a 3D teleconferencing platform for enterprise customers. Today the company announced a new product called “Immersive Workspaces,” an area in Second Life set aside for corporate meetings. Of course, you could already do that years ago, but this new product is “a completely exclusive and secure experience, with no connectivity to the Second Life mainland.” In other words, business users can be confident no one will crash their event with a barrage of flying penises.
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Marketing: Brand Value, The Broken Model

The majority of senior marketers (55%) “lack a quantitative understanding of their organizations’ brand value and may be missing out on opportunities to leverage their brand to drive business growth”, according to a survey from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Interbrand. The survey polled 118 chief marketing officers and senior marketing execs at ANA member companies and found that 64% say brands do not influence decisions made at their organizations. Though marketers reported a range of reasons why brands don’t factor into the decision-making process, misalignment of incentives and budgets, lack of metrics and overall lack of branding knowledge are top reasons.
Russell Davies is a clever chap. This is not news. Whenever I read his blog i find something interesting and often also he has managed to encapsulate some thoughts I have been having (somewhat better than I could, the b’d!). This is a great post about how the current marketing/ design model (the paradigm at least) is flawed and why silos don’t work. As usual, great inspiration, and music to my jaded ears …
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J. Crew v Michelle Obama

With a little bit of Gmail contextual wizardry, J. Crew is capitalizing on Obama and his wife Michelle with a google text ad that leads to a commerce-focused landing page. Its a smart move and I can almost forgive the copywriting, which reads, “All politics aside…this outfit gets our vote.”
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Age of Conversation 2 is Here!

Featuring an astounding 237 authors, from 15 different countries, covering 8 topics of discussion and hopefully raising $15,000 for charity. Drew McLellan’s and Gavin Heaton’s crowdsourced brainchild is now on the (virtual) shelves of Lulu.

The book is subtitled “Why Don’t They Get It?” and each author contributed a single page chapter on topics including:

  • Manifestos
  • Keeping Secrets in the Age of Conversation
  • Moving from Conversation to Action?
  • The Accidental Marketer
  • A New Brand of Creative
  • My Marketing Tragedy
  • Business Model Evolution
  • Life in the Conversation Lane

I wrote a piece on “From Conversation to Action” … but you will have to buy the book to read it! The book includes insights from social media pros, traditional agency veterans, authors, ministers, directors of marcom, artists, PR experts, non-profit directors and many more. Here’s a list of the authors …

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

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Dead Tree Media v Mistletoe Media

I have no particular beef with or antipathy towards the print medium, quite the reverse. That said, the news from the world of print this week is grim …

The New York Times is “Mourning Old Media’s Decline”, Gannett is to cut 10% of workers as its profit slips, the Christian Science Paper is to end its daily print edition, Time Inc. plans about 600 layoffs and Newspaper circulation continues to decline rapidly


The other big news is that Google will pay $125 million to settle two lawsuits with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild over its book-scanning and searching scheme. Google scanned entire books under copyright, and made the contents searchable. Google argued that this practice was permissible as a “fair use” of copyrighted material, because searchers could only access a portion of a given work. Google plans to use $34.5 million of the settlement to create a copyright registry modeled after similar music industry systems used to compensate songwriters and performers.

The healthy and burgeoning electronic/interactive/social media essentially live in a parasitic relationship to the so-called dead tree media, feeding off their labor and research/production costs. (Would Mistletoe be a good metaphor?)

The automotive and other industries are also built on a pricing that doesn’t include the social, health and environmental costs of the pollution and carbon any given car generates. Ideally, the pollution cost should be part of the cost of each vehicle.

So, ideally (I guess), should the dead tree media labor and research costs be part of the real cost of each electronic widget… Thoughts?

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Popculture: Pepsi, Yes We Carve, Bacon Salt

How long does it take to remake an icon? Try five months.That’s the amount of time Pepsi took to revamp its famous logo, after top executives Indra Nooyi and Massimo d’Amore called for a “quantum leap” forward in transforming the soft-drink category and defining Pepsi as a cultural leader, said Frank Cooper, Pepsi’s VP-portfolio brands.
Pepsi‘s influencer outreach surrounding the rebranding campaign included Charlene Li from Forrester, who received a package from Pepsi with the history of the logo on cans…
Festive Barack Obama themed pumpkins. What else?

Bacon Salt
Big company efforts in social media have mostly failed to this point. Facebook‘s application platform has become a graveyard of failed attempts to harness the platform, while other brands have suffered embarrassments at their ham-handed attempts to influence the blog world. Yet for some small companies, social media has proven to be a godsend of low-cost, effective brand building. Take Bacon Salt, an unlikely product dreamed up last year after a night out drinking by two Seattle buddies. What began as a half-joking idea — what if there was a spice that made everything taste like bacon — soon became a bustling business that’s sold 600,000 units in 18 months, thanks mostly to the harnessing of the word-of-mouth power of social media.(tags: socialnetworking socialmedia branding baconsalt)

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Gaming: Videogamers (apparently) aren’t Losers, Virtual insanity

There is an old curse that goes like this: “May you live in interesting times” It doesn’t get any more interesting than two recent strange news stories about digital worlds sparking irrational behavior in the real world. These two items illustrate the weird problems we could be encountering on a regular basis as bleed-through increases across the border of the real and virtual worlds.
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Twitterati

These days it seems everyone loves Twitter. (There was even a segment on CNN titled “What Is This Twitter Thing”. I have been amazed by how many Twitter applications have been created … some useful, some less so. Here are just a few …

twinfluence – Twitter Influence Analyzer
If you’re looking to understand your own social influence (or that of a brand), then try this application – it brings a bit of much needed social network theory to Twitter.

This is a deepy flawed but fun Twittr site that rates tweets and creates a mood score.
A great directory of other Twitter applications can be found here
And rather more scarily …
The US Army has posted a report citing certain mobile and web technologies that could be used to enable terrorism. One chapter, entitled “Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter,” observes that the Los Angeles earthquakes in July were reported by users of the microblogging site long before established news outlets had time to cover it, writes the BBC.Perceiving Twitter’s ability to publish anything, instantly, as threatening, US intelligence expressed concern that terrorists could use Twitter to plan and organize quicker attacks. This September, for example, activists used Twitter to organize protests at the Republican National Convention.
Nielsen has released numbers for its estimates on the biggest and fastest-growing social media sites in the U.S. for the month of September, and there are a few surprises.The biggest social network in the U.S. is still News Corp.’s MySpace, Nielsen’s numbers found. But the bad news is that its traffic has only grown by 1 percent since September 2007, keeping it just under 60 million visitors, and second-place rival Facebook has grown by 116 percent in the same time period.
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