Approaches to Interestingness: Nice Bottoms, Red Papers…

My colleague Justin Prunell alerted me to American Apparel’s contest…


Ogilvy Aims to Make White Papers More Exciting with ‘Red Papers’
Driven by its namesake’s forays into the publishing world, Ogilvy is launching a new series of tomes dubbed “The Red Papers”. The agency will talk shop about emerging marketing strategy. John Bell, head of Ogilvy’s 360 Degree Digital Influence group, professor at Johns Hopkins University is author of Red Papers’ piece, “Socialize the Enterprise.” You can subscribe for “Red Papers” free of charge.

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Autmotive v Social: Ford Facebook Explorer, The Megane Experiment

Ford is the first car manufacturer to use Facebook rather than an auto show to reveal a new model, its Explorer SUV. Prior to the reveal, which took place online today (26 July), Ford had been using the Ford Explorer Facebook page to gain publicity for the car and now has more than 46,000 fans. A series of videos and events, including conversations about the new car with Ford executives that replicate the experience consumers would have at an actual auto show, are available to watch through a live video link on the page. As part of the campaign, Ford will give away an Explorer to one of its Facebook fans, picked at random.


The Megane Experiment
Renault marketing strategy associates Renault with Gallic culture, akin to its “Nicole and Papa” ads of the 80s and 90s. The aim of the campaign is to improve UK sales of the Megane saloon. Ads will contrast the Côte d’Azur resort of Menton with Gisburn in Lancashire to establish which has the greatest “joie de vivre”. The tongue-in-cheek spots will compare a swimming pool in Menton with a puddle in Gisburn, and show a French couple at a sunny seaside restaurant and a British couple outside a pub in bad weather. A 10-day teaser TV and print campaign, launching this week, will claim Menton contains more than 21 Meganes, while Gisburn has none. Consumers will be directed to a website at themeganeexperiment.com, which will follow the journey of Claude as he drives a Megane from Menton to Lancashire. From next month, a follow-up TV, print, radio and digital push will follow Renault’s attempts to give Gisburn greater joie de vivre. Extra content will be avail-able on YouTube and Renault TV. I disagree that the French have “joie de vivre” though: generally they are chain smoking, shrugging and miserable.

Ford Reveals 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook (offonatangent.blogspot.com)
2011 Ford Explorer REVEALED: Can This New Model Save The SUV? (PHOTOS) (huffingtonpost.com)
Ford Shows Off New Explorer to Facebook Fans with Full Day Of Content (insidefacebook.com)
Ford to unveil 2011 Explorer on Facebook (reviews.cnet.com)
2011 Ford Explorer Changes The Game (ridelust.com)
Ford to unveil redesigned model on Facebook (newstatesman.com)
Scott Meis: Ford Facebook Reveal Day = Smart Digital Launch (scottmeis.com)
Ford unveils lighter version of Explorer (kansas.com)
Inside the 2011 Ford Explorer Facebook Reveal (mashable.com)
OMG LOL: 2011 Ford Explorer to get Facebook reveal (autoblog.com)

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Second Life: Now for iPad, but not for Tameside …

Ah, Second Life. Unfortunately, it ain’t what she used to be. The brands all left, there have been more than a few virtual scandals in recent years, user numbers have fallen off (as have staff numbers, after a 30% staff layoff) and the newest official Linden Labs viewer software didn’t exactly get rave reviews. However, there is still a relatively large and loyal SL contingent that is eager to access their digitized world wherever and whenever they can. Enter the Pocket Metaverse iPad App for  Second Life. Some people have been begging and pleading for a reliable Second Life viewer for the iPhone since day one. Those same people really began clamoring for something more mobile when the iPad came on the scene. Pocket Metaverse Pro ($2.99) is just that app. With versions for the iPad and iPhone (and free versions to boot), Pocket Metaverse is more than adequate for accessing Second Life and other similar Open Grid virtual worlds while on the go.

Not everyone’s a fan of SL though, notably the good people of Tameside, whose Council just scrapped a £36,000 virtual town hall in Second Life. Tameside Council, in Greater Manchester, ‘rented’ an island in the virtual world of Second Life and built a computerised town hall, hoping it would encourage users to access local authority services. But the project has been abandoned after council chiefs admitted they could not justify the cost.

IT council chiefs ditch Sadville after splurging £36k (go.theregister.com)
Council scraps £36,000 virtual town hall in Second Life (telegraph.co.uk)
Council’s £36,000 on ‘virtual’ HQ (thesun.co.uk)
Linden Lab guns for service-based Second Life viewers (massively.com)
Linden Lab Fail. (rcaston.com)
Second Life Owner Linden Lab to Lay Off 30% of Its Workers (dailyfinance.com)

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Twitter: Inside Scoop, Public Mood, Debt Collectors

Ted Linhart, vice president of program research for USA Network, is better known as @TedOnTV to his 2,900-plus Twitter followers. While USA has its own official Twitter feed — which it uses for more traditional promotion of its shows — Linhart uses @TedOnTV to give fans the “inside baseball” perspective on programming decisions, answer their questions, dole out scoops from upcoming episodes and comment on ratings. SmartBrief editor Liz DeHoff caught up with Linhart to talk about USA’s use of social media.


Using Twitter Data To Track Public Mood
Extracted words from Twitter streams were evaluated by a mood-rating system called Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW). ANEW determines the positive or negative tone of the word and assigns it a mood score. For example, positive words like “love” and “paradise” indicate happiness while “funeral” and “suicide” are negative. Through filtering the tweets by geographic location the scientists rendered a infographic-style video, where viewers can monitor each state’s hour-to-hour trend of moods.

Who Else is Reading Your Tweets?
Social media is becoming a treasure trove for the most unlikely of data hunters – divorce attorneys, health insurance companies and now debt collectors. Yes, debt collectors have begun using social networking sites to gather information about their targets.

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Beyond the Browser: Minority Report, Flipboard, Murakami

Minority Report
As my colleague Chris Paul notes: “finally”… Facial recognition software now allows ads in Tokyo to see faces of viewers and tailor the ads displayed. Very cool (or scary).

Response to social magazine iPad app Flipboard overwhelms start-up
Flipboard, the personalised, social magazine iPad app launched earlier this week, has created such an overwhelming response the company has had to enforce an invitation only system while it works to solve capacity problems.

Novelist Ryu Murakami plans to release his latest novel exclusively for digital bookworms through Apple Inc.’s iPad ahead of the print version. Mr. Murakami, the acclaimed author of over 15 novels including “Coin Locker Babies” and “In the Miso Soup”, replaced the publishers with a software company to help develop the e-book titled “A Singing Whale,” or “Utau Kujira” in Japanese. The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei. The newspaper reports the e-book will cost 1,500 yen ($17) and will be ready to download pending Apple’s approval. Apple Japan and Mr. Murakami did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
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Social Media: Ben & Jerry’s vs eMail, Cascadian vs FarmVille

Ben & Jerry’s is abandoning its e-mail marketing initiatives to focus exclusively on social media advertising. It will be among the first large brands to make that leap, reports New Age Media. (via Mad Company). Its e-mail marketing initiatives consisted largely of a monthly newsletter – until feedback it received from customers suggested that the majority of them would prefer to be contacted on social media sites. Going forward, it will send one e-mail update each year to customers, and focus on using its Facebook and Twitter profiles to engage regularly.

Cascadian Farm Becomes First Branded Crop in FarmVille
Organic brand Cascadian Farm is becoming the first branded organic crop to be offered in Zynga‘s popular online game FarmVille. Beginning July 19 through July 26, Cascadian Farm will give FarmVille players such benefits as coupon offers, organic farming and green living tips and – per the game’s philosophy – the opportunity to enhance their farm. The campaign was developed with the support of Sterling-Rice Group. The brand has recreated the real Cascadian Farm – located in the Upper Skagit Valley of Washington’s North Cascade Mountains – virtually, with the online fruits and vegetables planted in similar fashion. There’s also an avatar farmer called “Farmer Joe Cascadian,” who’ll serve as the “virtual” tender to the brand’s own FarmVille farm. Users can request to be his neighbor by friend-ing him online on his Facebook page.

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