Stephen King’s Treasure Hunt
Stephen King’s latest epic is not due to be released until 10 November, but his UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton working with Unity London has launched what it describes as the biggest ever game of literary hide-and-seek. This enables hardcore horror fans to get their hands on it early… as long as they don’t mind a bit of interweb and real world treasure hunting. The 335,114 word novel has been broken down into 5,196 pieces, and, using clues given on the homepage participants are encouraged to hunt them down and deliver them back to the site. These extracts have been scattered across hundreds of websites and locations throughout the UK, including fan, horror, thriller and lifestyle websites. As pieces are found they will appear on http://www.stephenking.co.uk enabling fans to move them around and link them together, gradually forming bigger sections of the book.
The Kindle may not necessarily be the e-reader to bring the technology into the mainstream. That said, publishers seem increasingly certain that the print medium may be in jeopardy, and so many are already experimenting with new multimedia technological enhancements, including FLIPS and Vooks
Newcastle Brown Ale to move oot of Toon
In the same year that Newcastle United FC lost its top flight status, the Geordie Nation has suffered another blow with the announcement that the production of Newcastle Brown Ale is moving away from Tyneside after 82 years. Heineken, the Dutch brewer and owner of the iconic brew — affectionately nicknamed Dog — is shifting operations from Gateshead to the John Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, as part of a cost-cutting exercise that will save between £13-£14m. While the brand is synonymous with Tyneside, sales in the US now eclipse those in the UK. Exports of the distinctive 550ml bottles with the blue star logo account for about 105m pints a year, while around 55m pints are sold in the UK.
Kellogg’s to laser-brand individual Corn Flakes in fight against fakes
Kellogg’s is to start branding individual Corn Flakes with the company logo in a bid to protect against imitation products. The food giant plans to burn the Kellogg’s signature on to individual flakes using a laser and will then insert a proportion of these branded flakes into each box. If the system proves successful, it could be used on Kellogg’s other cereal products, including Frosties, Special K and Crunchy Nut.
“No one really grasps how dysfunctional Microsoft has become,” the source continues. “Yes Microsoft did spend half a billion dollars for, as near as anyone can tell, absolutely nothing [ie, Danger]. Not exactly the first time. Asserting that it’s a ridiculous supposition is in no way disproving it.”
On Nov. 9, Germans will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and many of them will be raising a glass of the country’s most popular sparkling wine, Rotkaeppchen, as they toast the achievements of 1989. The name means Little Red Riding Hood, and the brand is one of many former German Democratic Republic products that have survived and thrived in a unified Germany, helped along by a wave of nostalgia — or “ostalgie” — for all things associated with its communist past, but maintained in the long term by good old-fashioned capitalist marketing principles.
Regretsy catalogs some of the worst pieces to found on Etsy.com, the online marketplace for would-be craft mavens. Etsy has created an online marketplace for crafty geniuses–small-time makers of beautiful objects who’d otherwise remain unknown. But not everything on Etsy is great. Not by a long-shot. And that’s why there’s Regretsy. Tagline: “Handmade? Looks like you made it with your feet.” Here’s just three of the gems they dug up, and their comments, in italics.
Little Chef gives nod to Blumenthal’s menu
Roadside restaurant chain Little Chef is reportedly planning to roll out Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal
‘s trial menu across all of its UK outlets. Little Chef has been trialling a menu at its Popham outlet that contains dishes such as braised ox cheeks and coq au vin, created by Blumenthal, owner of The Fat Duck restaurant. Blumenthal’s attempt to turn the Little Chef around was featured in a Channel 4 documentary that aired earlier this year. The menu has proved popular and plans have been made to introduce the dishes at all 175 Little Chef restaurants. Little Chef was saved from bankruptcy in 2007 after private equity firm RCapital stepped in to save the chain. The chain was founded in 1958 as an 11-seater snack bar in Reading, and has had a series of owners since that time including Granada, private-equity firm Permira and Travelodge.
You’re probably already noticing business cards containing Twitter (Twitter reviews) usernames as opposed to domain names, bands promoting their MySpace
(MySpace reviews) profile instead of their own website, and even ad campaigns directing people to participate in a social media rather than visit a branded website. The latter is exactly what Vitamin Water is doing through a multi-channel campaign featuring NBA superstars LeBron James
and Kobe Bryant.
What’s Twitter doing? Going after a TV series. The San Francisco-based web phenom has partnered with Reveille and Brillstein Entertainment to develop an unscripted TV skein described as “putting ordinary people on the trail of celebrities in a revolutionary competitive format.”
According to a recent survey, iPhone
users are more likely to recall mobile ads than non-iPhone users. US Mobile Phone Users and iPhone Users Who Recall Viewing Mobile Advertising, by Type, Q1 2009 (% of respondents in each group) iPhone users had higher rates of recall from all measured types of mobile ads than nonusers, including mobile display, standard text message (SMS
), audio, picture or video messages (MMS) and mobile TV and video ads.
There’s one word consumers haven’t heard much that might serve these companies better than their current dirges: sorry. That thought came to mind as a rash of “We’re sorry” ads broke out recently across the pond in the U.K. an underwear manufacturer apologizing . Marks & Spencer
recently ran a national campaign apologizing for for charging bigger-breasted women more for bigger bras. The headline, of course: “We boobed.”
When P&G Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley appears at one this week, some believe the near-term future of packaged-goods marketing — and the long-term future of Procter & Gamble
— may hang in the balance. Some are even billing the appearance as “Tide Thursday,” a reference to “Marlboro Friday” in 1993, when Philip Morris, battered by value-brand incursions on its Marlboro brand, cut prices 20% and stepped up consumer marketing in a move that was ultimately copied by many in the consumer-goods industry, reshaping the way many marketers approached pricing and advertising.
An ad for cold remedy Benylin
that encourages calling in sick to work or taking “a Benylin day” when feeling ill has resulted in a formal complaint to the ASA
by the Federation of Small Businesses
. The Benylin TV spot advises sick workers to take a day off while a website forming part of the wider campaign offers tips on calling in sick. A spokesperson for the FSB, said the ad makes light of the seriousness of not turning up to work, claiming that work absences costs the UK economy £13bn every year. The ad shows a woman waking up in the morning feeling sick and struggling to get out of bed. A voiceover asks: “What if today you just worked at feeling better? Benylin can handle your cold and flu symptoms. The rest is up to you. Take a Benylin day.” The Benylin website also offers tips on calling in sick to work, with different scripts for formal, friendly and casual bosses. The website also offers DVD
reviews, TV timetables, games and homemade remedies.
Marketing executives are going back to basics this year, putting renewed focus on satisfying and retaining customers and investing in research and insights, but they are “sick” of hearing about Web 2.0, according to a survey from Anderson Analytics conducted for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG). The second annual Top Marketing Trends survey of MENG members examined for 2009 the top marketing concepts, buzz words, global areas of opportunity and targeted customer demographics, as well as the books and thought leaders that marketers look to for inspiration and growth opportunity. The economy played a significant role in this year’s survey as more marketers expressed concern on how a recession would impact priorities moving forward. Half of executives believe their marketing budgets will decrease in 2009, but 56% indicated their staffing plans will either stay the same or increase.
Study:CMOs Must Evolve to Meet New Marketing Challenges
The growing popularity of interactive tools such as wikis, blogs and social networks is giving customers the ability to engage with firms as never before, and global marketers need to put customers at the center of their operations to respond to this new and challenging reality, according to an study of global CMOs conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Google.
The report, “Future Tense: The Global CMO” (pdf), finds marketers are increasingly able to reach out to consumers at all points along the value chain, not just at the moment a purchase decision is made. Because of this, global marketing of the future must engage all corporate stakeholders with consistent, constant and accurate messaging. At the same time, it must encourage and be able to respond quickly to customer feedback and involvement, pulling stakeholders closer to the corporate brand.
While Everyone Else in Adland Zigs, BBH apparently Zags
As the economic downturn worsens and agencies cut costs, Bartle Bogle Hegarty is doing something different: diversifying into products such as vegetarian meals and personal alarms. Through Zag, the agency’s brand-invention company, BBH’s London office is creating its own brands and bringing them to market with joint-venture partners. The idea is to identify “brand lag” — areas where consumers are active but there are few brands. Zag launched in 2006, headed up by former Unilever executive Neil Munn, and its first U.K. brands are launching just in time to bolster the agency’s growth. The agency recently opened a Zag office in New York.
I don’t often write about politics on this blog, but a couple of articles in the UK press caught my eye. In an interview with the (London) Times at the outset of his trip to the UK, President Bush admitted “that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a ‘guy really anxious for war’ in Iraq,” expressing “regret at the bitter divisions over the war.” The Times reported that Bush now aims “to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.”
Yet Bush’s attempt to heal old wounds seemed to fall on deaf ears.
The (London) Independent also issued a scathing editorial today reflecting on Bush’s visit and his presidency: “[P]erhaps Mr. Bush’s most significant legacy, as far as Britain is concerned, will be the destruction of the instinctive trust of America and its leaders that once prevailed here. It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Bush has done more damage to relations between our two nations than any president in living memory. This rupture is not an accident of circumstance; there are no impersonal forces of history to blame. This sorry state of affairs is the consequence of the actions of a single leader and his small coterie of advisers. … And whatever the future holds for transatlantic relations, there will be very few in this country who watched President Bush’s plane depart yesterday without a feeling of profound relief that the end of this disastrous presidency is finally in sight.”